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My Audio Story

November 12th, 2010 by Gustav

FINAL Obama facing Republican House

check out Prof’s opinions and backgrounds…


Last week, the Republican Party regained some major legislative clout in this year’s off-year election. President Obama now has to work on policy differences to get the progress people just not yet saw happening.

For the first time since the 107th congress and the first Bush administration, the President has to face an opposition controlled House of Representatives.

This year’s elections might be a great indicator of what might or what might not be accomplished in the next two years.

Before the elections, former president Bill Clinton said he thinks, if Republicans take over the House, Obama’s chances for reelection might improve.

Political Science student Seth McCauley agrees:

I think the Republican’s new responsibility is going to create a new nationwide perspective. I think once the public sees both parties fail they’ll realize they may have been a little harsh on Obama in the first place, and may be willing to grant him a second term.

The US Senate remains Democratic, but only has a slight majority over the republicans.

The big debate was whether Obama would lose his grip over the House, and in fact he did. The Republicans took control over the House of Representatives and now have about 50 more seats than the democrats.

Patrick McKinlay is a professor for political science. He commented on the reasons for this situation:

I think that the Republicans were able to tap into some major discontent with the economy.

It is traditional that the president’s party will lose seats in an off-year election.

Parties usually lose votes and seats because of a low overall approval rate of the current administration. The debate about health care, troops, and the economy helped Republicans stir the pot.

History and Politics professor Kathleen Green confirms:

Clearly for the first couple years the strategy was to oppose anything that Obama was behind for political reasons because it’s paid off.

Probably the worst-case scenario would be that nothing gets done in a very serious economic times.

However, Green holds some hope:

Some dove of peace could descend from above and the democrats and republicans could work together.

That might be very difficult to attain, as newly proposed bills usually end up in a gridlock.

McKinlay elaborates:

We may see some very sharp contrast. But of course that’s gonna make it hard because you need 60 votes to get anything done in the senate.

Everybody says they want compromise, but there haven’t been any tangible rewards for compromise, whereas the voter seem to be rewarding people who take extreme views.

In 2006, Bush faced an almost equivalent situation when the Democrats won the majority of the house by about 7 million votes. Consequently, Nancy Pelosi emerged as the speaker of the house.

John Boehner is currently leader of the minority house. He is poised to take over Pelosi’s role after the Congress convenes on January third.

On the chances of the new government, McKinlay said:

We might see a lot of contentious politics, but not a lot of policy.

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Branstad tightens his grip

October 13th, 2010 by Gustav

Governor Terri Branstad presented himself in a jolly demeanor on Morningside’s Campus last Monday. He strongly asserted his capabilities to get Iowa back on the rise.

During the Q-&-A part of the discussion, Branstad expressed how much he loved Iowa, running for governance not for the money but because he feels capable of redirecting Iowa out of its mess.

“I couldn’t stand watching the mess that was going on,” so Branstad. Naturally, he refered to the budget raised and instituted by Chet Culver. “Governor Culver conducted a fiscal mismanagement. He focuses on politics rather than policy.”

Issues being raised during his presentation were health care, the retention of judges, private and public education, tax regulations, and unemployment.

Chris Mansfield felt like “Branstad was prepared to ride to the rescue. Generally the people were mostly supportive of his efforts to retain the governorship.” The crowd consisted mainly of community-republicans. Chris said, “The college should have sent out one of those ‘all-student-emails’ to raise awareness.”

Branstad seems to have a plan for Iowa’s future. Right now, according to recent polls, his support numbers are around the 55%-mark. He is favored by 90% of Republicans in the state. Elections are held on November 2nd.

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Thomas Ritchie Visit

October 3rd, 2010 by Gustav

Thomas Ritchie utilizing his computer

Sioux City Journal’s Online Director talked in a Mass Comm class last Wednesday. The news world is changing, at a fast pace. Instant videos and online expansion are the means of future journalism.

Thomas Ritchie seemed a little out-of-focus when he presented his philosophy of journalism to the News Production class. No wonder, considering the number of the Journal’s subsribers shrank to about 41,000, plus about 10,000 who regularly access the website. Today, the impact of YouTube,
with its video possibilities, including lifestreams, and other social networking websites seem to change the news world. there chances for new story formats,
and extension possiblities to stories by plain video inputs.

Even recently growing websites like Twitter influence the way people show their interest on news. “As a celebrity show it’s great”, so Ritchie. “The difference to Facebook is that it’s even more public.”

Social media change news into a respondive fashion, where people give feedback
on other’s comments, and interact through their own “news contributions”.

Instructor Ross Fuglsang agreed: “Interactive immediacy is what the people want.”However, he is skeptical about Twitter, but as journalists’ identities
change, and even bloggers are considered journalists today, we will rely more on “somebody out there” who will gather information for us, which then would mean that, indeed, everybody can produce news.

Thomas Ritchie didn’t reveal whether he liked the changes to come, but he seemed to enjoy showing some media expansion possibilities on the screen. He said we need fast mediums to engage people so that they access online news. On a student’s question (anonimous) on online liabilty, he responded: “When abuse is reported we need to intervene. Otherwise we like people to raise their own issues.”

Another student, Shelby Powell, said after the lecture: “That was interesting information. A lot of it was new to me, but he seemed to be talking out of his mind sometimes.”

The path of modern news is somewhat blurry, but the direction is clear: quick, online, interactive. A notion that most old-dog newspaper editors probably regret.

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Story assignment on description

September 9th, 2010 by Gustav

Don’t Stop & Leave

The Kum-&-Go on Morningside avenue used to be a 7/11 around ten years ago. The gas station itself hasn’t been renovated since, but the counter has moved from time to time. The white and red sign saying “kum & go” is remotely visible. There are only two pumps. The occasional white pick-up or dark-colored car stops to access the market function of the gas station. Car engines keep running while their owners enter the transparent aluminum door. Milk, tobacco, and snacks are the highlights of revenue when the day grows older. When night approaches it is a deserted place. The grey wall of clouds above it made the place come close to a tavern in Northern Ireland when the fog looms around the forested hills; empty and socially evaded. There is a light at the side of the building that is quite functional. However, the occasional “buzz” visibly resounds.

Entering the station bright lights burn your eye light, their sources spread among advertisement, special offers, and product packaging. Virtually no one except the cashier resides between the aisles and different food corners. Empty, deserted, socially evaded. It’s a vacant castle where candy bars and carbonated drinks are the replacement for ancient bricks and wooden bars. “Klick”. The aluminum door opens. Twice. Assume once would meet a professor at a Kum-&-Go around 8 pm at night. Assume it’s real. Apparently, professors are hunters of cheap fountain drinks. Bargain of the night: 32 oz. drink for only 59 cents. The place shines thirstily when another customer approaches the food and fountain corner, which practically draws immediate attention to a disoriented customer. Even the desert accommodates oases. One chats with the fellow camel, joins forces for a while it seems, and after 2 minutes of irrelevant talk it all regresses back to human life. The cashier was evidently glad he could present the exotic offerings of his own oases, at least tonight that is. Surprisingly, among two customers one could claim to observe outmost diversity.
“Zzz-zz-nnnn-zzzz”. The ice machine recurrently starts humming. Have a slushy or some frozen food while you’re at it. “Cha-ching”. The cash register flies open and is pushed close just as fast. One could become distracted in this place. Too many unexpected sounds. Some sort of steady beep tone springs from the background of the tobacco facet. Marlboro Light; Marlboro Menthol; Marlboro 100’s; Marlboro Menthol Light; Marlboro Regular; Marlboro Ultra Light; Marlboro Paradise? Marlboro Heaven? Tobacco must be hard to come by at other places after seeing this arsenal of lung extinguishers. The sub convex mirrors at the end of the outside aisles reflect the image of the black guy exiting the station, fountain drink in his hand. Cashier X jolly awaits the two cars leaving, so he can too exit the red, purple and shop-worn interior. It won’t be his last cigarette for the night…

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Introducing… Alison Jo Kusler

August 27th, 2010 by Gustav

Alison is from Akron, Iowa. She is 19 years of age and will be a sophomore here at Morningside College. For her degree she pursues a major in Biology and a minor in Journalism. Sports were big for her in High School, but last year, while attending Augustana College, she did not feel like playing any. The reason she transfered to “M’side” is softball, trying to help the team on the second base position. Alison has two older sisters, both out of school and one of which is married.

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