USF football coach Jim Leavitt fired for striking a player

On Nov. 21 during the halftime of the USF v. University of Louisville football game, USF coach Jim Leavitt slapped and choked player Joel Miller out of frustration.

USF officials reviewed the case and determined Leavitt guilty of all accusations. He was fired Friday morning. Leavitt was the only football coach in USF history, and the school is searching for a replacement immediately.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

The University of South Florida made the difficult but correct decision Friday to fire Jim Leavitt, the only head football coach the school has ever known. A university review concluded Leavitt choked and slapped a player, lied about it and interfered with the investigation. Such behavior cannot be tolerated, even from the coach who built the program from nothing to national prominence.

…Investigators appointed by the university interviewed 29 people about a confrontation at halftime during the Nov. 21 game between USF and the University of Louisville. Investigators said a frustrated Leavitt walked into the locker room, grabbed the throat of fullback Joel Miller and slapped him twice. Investigators said Leavitt’s denials were inconsistent and unconvincing. And they said he interfered after the fact by having contact with witnesses to the investigation. The findings were given to USF president Judy Genshaft and athletic director Doug Woolard on Wednesday; the university fired Leavitt Friday morning.

What do you think, Tampa Bay? Was USF president Judy Genshaft justified in firing Leavitt?

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Pulitzer Center announces Project: Report 2 for aspiring journalists

The Pulitzer Center, in partnership with YouTube and made possible by Sony and Intel, announces Project: Report for a second time.

The contest, which requires amateur journalists to submit a video of less than four minutes that addresses a local issue with a global impact, starts February 1 and all videos must be submitted by February 28.

There will be five winners in total, each receiving $10,000 in prize money that will allow them to travel to report on a global story.

I encourage all student journalists to participate in this contest. You have the chance to tell a story, take this opportunity with great responsibility and courage.

traveling abroad

Folks,

I have just returned from my travels in the Netherlands. I will return to posting breaking news as soon as I unwind and upload all of my pictures from my trip.

-Sadie Synonymous

PolitiFact chooses Palin death panel comment for ‘Lie of the Year’


St. Petersburg

In a recent poll, Politifact, the fact-checking website for the St. Petersburg Times, has dubbed Sarah Palin’s claim about “death panels” as Lie of the Year.

If you’re unfamiliar with Politifact, it is a fact checking site associated with the St. Petersburg Times that takes comments made by politicians from around the country and fact checks the truth of the comment.

St Petersburg Times:

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

“Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The list of runner-ups in the Lie of the Year poll can be found at Politifact.com

Senate votes on health care bill, passes 60-40

Washington

Breaking News: The U.S. Senate voted shortly after 1:00 A.M. on the health care reform bill. This bill, which must pass through other votes, the last scheduled for 7:00 P.M. Christmas Eve, passed Monday 60-40.

The New York Times:

The 1 a.m. Monday vote was on a motion to cut off debate on Mr. Reid’s manager’s package. A simple majority vote to approve the package is scheduled for roughly 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

The middle-of-the night session had a surreal quality to it. The chaplain, Barry C. Black, who opened the contentious Sunday session of the Senate with a prayer, did so again at 12:01 a.m. to officially begin a new legislative day.

For many Democrats, the landmark vote summoned the memory of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a champion of universal health care for his entire career, but who died in August before achieving that goal.

“Health care in America ought to be a right, not a privilege,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. “Since the time of Harry Truman, every Congress, Republican and Democrat, every president, Democrat and Republican, have at least thought about doing this. Some actually tried.”

Republicans said that the bill was fatally flawed and that voters would retaliate against Democrats at the polls in November.

Senate set to vote on health care bill 1:00 A.M. Monday

Washington

The Senate will conduct the first of three votes concerning the health care bill at 1:00 A.M. Monday. The Senate continues to push for a Christmas Day deadline.

House legislation has passed and a Congress compromise is set to begin after Christmas.

From the Huffington Post:

Under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes on three separate occasions to pass the measure. The first and most critical test was set for about 1 a.m. Monday. Democrats said Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s announcement Saturday that he would vote for the bill gave them the support they needed.

Nelson came in for strong criticism from Republicans in Washington, who complained that he had won favorable treatment for his home state’s Medicaid program. In a bit of political theater, they sought to open the bill up to extend it to all 50 states, but Democrats objected.

Nelson’s agreement to an abortion-related change in the bill drew criticism from Nebraska Right to Life, a longtime supporter, and the state’s Catholic bishops, who issued a statement that they were “extremely disappointed” in him.
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Asked if Republicans could prevent the bill’s passage, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said: “Probably not. But what we can do is continue winning the battle of American public opinion.”

This is what the bill entails:

The Senate legislation is predicted to extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans who lack coverage and would ban industry practices such as denial of insurance on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. The Congressional Budget Office said it would reduce deficits by about $132 billion over a decade, and possibly much more in the 10 years that follow.

At its core, the legislation would create a new insurance exchange where consumers could shop for affordable coverage that complies with new federal guidelines. Most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, with subsidies available to help families making up to $88,000 in income afford the cost.

In a bow to Senate moderates, the measure lacks a government-run insurance option of the type that House Democrats placed in their bill. Instead, the estimated 26 million Americans purchasing coverage through new insurance exchanges would have the option of signing up for privately owned, nonprofit nationwide plans overseen by the same federal agency office that supervises the system used by federal employees and members of Congress.

How do you feel about the bill? Is it everything the Democrats that elected Obama had hoped for, or does it not measure up?

What did McCain mean by the statement, “…what we can do is continue winning the battle of American public opinion” ?

I want to hear from you.

Debate over posting a woman’s abortion info online in Oklahoma postponed

Oklahoma

A law that would require personal information about a women who receives an abortion in the state of Oklahoma to be posted on the internet for public view, is a debate that was post-poned Friday until a further hearing to be held Feb. 19.

The law would allow private information to be posted online about a woman receiving an abortion collected from a 10 page survey required to be filled out by each patient.

From CommonDreams.org:

The law requires doctors to fill out a 10-page questionnaire for every abortion performed, including asking the woman about her age, marital status, race and years of education.

One section of the “Individual Abortion Form” says the woman must state her reason for seeking an abortion and answer this checklist. “Having a baby:

• Would dramatically change the life of the mother;
• Would interfere with the education of the mother;
• Would interfere with the job/employment/career of the mother.”
A Democratic former state legislator calls the law “abusive and invasive.”

“Nosy neighbors with some effort could identify or, even worse, misidentify these women who answer these questions,” says former state Rep. Wanda Jo Stapleton, one of two Oklahoma residents on whose behalf the Center for Reproductive Rights brought the lawsuit against the measure.

Lamb, who is running for lieutenant governor, rejects that notion. How can it violate women’s privacy, Lamb says, if their identity is kept confidential?

The measure specifies women’s identities will be protected. “Nothing in the Individual Abortion Form shall contain the name, address or information specifically identifying any patient,” it says.

“Nobody’s identity will be made known,” Lamb says.

It almost seems as if proponents of this law see the women who receive abortions as criminals and, like criminals, these women should give up their rights and have the details of their “wrong doings” plastered across the internet. This law would be a basic invasion of the right to privacy. When a patient gets cancer, their doctor isn’t required to post the patient’s information on the internet. Why the standard for abortion, which is simply another medical procedure?

Women in Oklahoma need to stand up against this motion to expose their lives at their most private. Information like this is not a public right.