Sunday, November 9, 2008
Voters in California, Florida and Arizona voted on Tuesday to ban gay marriage, bringing about a victory for conservatives on a day which did not bring many conservative wins.
Meanwhile, voters in Colorado, South Dakota and California voted on measures which would have restricted abortion in those states. In Massachusetts and Michigan, voters passed measures that loosen marijuana laws. Finally, in the state of Washington a measure was passed that allows physician-assisted suicide.
The California ballot measure, Proposition 8, overturns the recent June ruling by the California State Supreme Court in the case In re Marriage Cases which reversed a 1977 statute passed by the California State Legislature and a 2000 ballot measure, Proposition 22, which also banned same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The wording of Proposition 8 is identical to Proposition 22. It was noted that many of the African-Americans and Latinos who cast their votes for Obama, also voted for the measure. The measure passed at 52% to 48%.
Lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres noted, “This morning, when it was clear that Proposition 8 had passed in California, I can’t explain the feeling I had. I was saddened beyond belief. Here we just had a giant step toward equality and then on the very next day, we took a giant step away.”
|Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen.|
Singer Melissa Etheridge, who is also a lesbian, stated that she would no longer pay taxes due to the passing of Proposition 8, announcing in a blog post, “Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen.”
Also in California, voters rejected a measure which would require parental notification for a minor to receive an abortion. The measure was rejected with the same percentage as Proposition 8, 52% to 48%. Meanwhile in Colorado, voters rejected a measure that would define life as beginning at conception. While the measure did not specifically mention abortion it would have required legislators and courts to confront legal rights for fetuses – effectively preventing abortion. The measure was defeated in a wide margin, 73% to 27%
In South Dakota, voters also defeated an anti-abortion measure which would have outlawed abortion in all cases except in the case of rape, incest or if the mother’s health was in serious question. If passed, the law would most likely have been challenged as unconstitutional.
In Michigan, voters approved a measure which legalizes medical marijuana. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, voters approved a ballot question that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana in which the possession of an ounce or less would be punishable by a $100 fine. The measure will also require minors under the age 18 to participate in and complete a drug awareness program and do community service. Failure to do so, would net the minor a $1,000 fine.
“Tonight’s results represent a sea change. Voters have spectacularly rejected eight years of the most intense government war on marijuana since the days of ‘Reefer Madness,'” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “The people were ahead of the politicians on this issue; they recognize and want a more sensible approach to our marijuana policy,” said Whitney Taylor, the chair of Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which backed the Massachusetts proposition.
Also, in Massachusetts, voters overwhelmingly, in every single Massachusetts city and town, rejected a ballot measure which would have eliminated the state income tax by 2010, the ballot measure was sponsored by the Committee for Small Government, which is headed up by two libertarians, Michael Cloud, a Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2002 and Carla Howell, Libertarian Party candidate for governor in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election.
The last time the income tax elimination measure was on the ballot was in 2002, where it was defeated, narrowly by 45.3%. This stunned supporters of the income tax, who mounted a fierce campaign against the measure this time warning Massachusetts residents that repealing the income tax would have drastic effects on the state’s finances, leading to cuts in services, education and local aid.
Finally, voters passed a question which bans dog racing in Massachusetts, which will lead to the closure of Massachusetts’ two greyhound racing tracks, Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park and Wonderland Greyhound Park.
The campaign against dog racing was headed up by the Committee to Protect Dogs and endorsed by GREY2K USA and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals along with other animal protection organizations who claimed that dog racing was inhumane as the dogs were stuffed into cramped cages and endured injuries. The measure was opposed by the park owners including George Carney who owns the Rayham-Taunton park and Charles Sarkis, a restaurateur who owns Wonderland.
“We did it. We did it for the dogs,” said Carey Thiel, executive director of GREY2K USA. “For 75 years, greyhounds in our state have endured terrible confinement and suffered serious injuries. We’re better than that,” Thiel added.
One campaign supporter, Sandy Bigelow noted, “It means everything. We’ve worked so hard for the dogs and they heard us. It feels so good. Oh, God, it feels so good.”
George Carney said of the results, “It’s not a very pleasant thing right now. Some of these people have been here 40 years. Here’s a company that did nothing wrong, paid their federal taxes on time, paid the town on time. The town is going to be a severe loser, and a lot of people here dedicated their life to the company.”
|We did it. We did it for the dogs.|
Both sides used emotionally-charged advertisements, the anti-racing side showing “sad-eyed greyhounds,” while the pro-racing side highlighted the workers who would be out of work when the tracks close.
Both measures must now come before the Massachusetts Governor’s Council for approval.
A ballot initiative approved by voters in the north-western state of Washington will make it the second state to permit physician-assisted suicide. Initiative 1000 follows the ten-year-old example of the Death With Dignity Act of neighboring Oregon, and will allow physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication for a terminally ill patient to administer themselves. It was approved by a margin of 16%, and the ‘Yes’ campaign outspent the ‘No’ campaign by more than three-to-one. The law comes into effect in 2009.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.
Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.
Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.
The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.
The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”
“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.
With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.
“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.
The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.
“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.
According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.
“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.
Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.
The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.
Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.
Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.
“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.
A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.
“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.
“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.
McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.
Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.
According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.
According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.
“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”
Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.
Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.
On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.
Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.
Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.
Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.
In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.
Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Catherine Mullany, a newly married British woman, and her husband, Ben Mullany, have been shot while on honeymoon in Antigua. Catherine died on the scene, while Ben is in a critical condition in Hospital.
The families of the Mullanys have described themselves as “deeply shocked and devastated.”
The incident occurred at 05:00 Antigua time (09:00 GMT) on Tuesday, and it is being treated by police as a robbery. A police spokesperson described the incident. “Shortly after 5am this morning officers from the Bolans Police station responding to a call, arrived at Cocos Hotel and Restaurant in the Valley Church area, the scene of a murder.” UK police have been asked to help in the inquiry.
Catherine Mullany was a doctor, who, before her death, planned to become a GP. Ben was a physiotherapy student at the University of the West of England (UWE), which is located in Bristol, England. Mary Price, the Media Relations and Internal Communications Manager for UWE, gave Wikinews the following statement:
|Ben Mullany is a third year physiotherapy student at the University of the West of England. Ben is a very good student who is greatly valued by staff and his peers. Staff and fellow students are deeply shocked to hear of this tragic incident. Our condolences go to his wife’s family and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.|
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Eleven suspected Somali pirates have been indicted in the US in connection with recent attacks on two US navy ships off the coast of Africa.
The men were brought to a courthouse in Virginia on Friday, to face piracy charges after being detained on US ships as the cases against them were being prepared.
A first group of five suspected pirates was indicted in connection with what authorities say was a firefight on March 31st between the USS Nicholas and their vessel in the Indian Ocean.
The six other defendants were charged with an alleged April 10th attack on the USS Ashland in the Gulf of Aden near Djibouti. If convicted, they will face life in prison.
Until recently, pirates detained in international operations off the African coast were generally tried in Kenya. Kenyan authorities, however, recently indicated they needed more international financial help for this; Voice of America reports that Kenyan courts are becoming overloaded with piracy cases.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Infinity broadcasting, one of the largest radio companies in the U.S.A., announced its KYOU Radio, the world’s first-ever podcasting radio station, began broadcasting on Monday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m., ET. The podcasts will also be available on San Francisco’s KYCY-AM at 1550 AM.
The new format allows any listener to create a podcast and upload it to the station. Infinity said that its “All Podcast” format, “is going to give voice to your vision.” Infinity will try to sell advertising on the programs, though they do not plan to pay the podcasters for their work.
Audio Wikinews is among other individually-produced content which will be featured on the station.
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Instructions For Salton Yogurt Maker By Atica Brewton
Making yogurt with the Salton Yogurt Maker is fun, easy and worry-free. A few things you’ll need are milk, powdered milk for thickening, a thermometer and a yogurt starter. Be sure your yogurt maker is clean before starting. It will provide a stable temperature for incubating the yogurt. In this article you will find the best instructions for Salton Yogurt Maker.
1. Add ½ cup of dry milk powder to 1 qt of whole or skim milk.
The milk should be heated on the stove to 185-190°F, stirring frequently.
2. While you’re waiting for the milk to heat, plug in your yogurt maker so it can be warming up.
3. Let the milk cool to 110-115°F. I usually place the pot in a large bowl of ice water, stirring the milk until it’s cooled to the right temperature.
4. Pour about 1/3 of the milk into a separate clean container and add ½ cup of plain yogurt with active cultures or 1 pack of yogurt starter. Stir until mixed evenly.
5. Pour this starter mix into the remaining milk and stir.
6. Finally, pour the milk into your pre-heated yogurt maker.
7. You should allow the yogurt to incubate 6-12 hours. The longer it is heated, the more tart the taste.
8. When the batch is done, put the container in the frigerator and allow it to cool for several hours or overnight. The yogurt will thicken as it cools.
Now you have a wonderfully delicious batch of plain yogurt. If you like it flavored, add some maple syrup, honey, fruit or jam.
Homemade yogurt is a healthy alternative to store-bought brands. You have control over the ingredients and there’s no risk of eating unhealthy additives and sugars. The Salton Yogurt Maker is inexpensive and easy to use. You don’t have to part with large sums of your hard-earned money for a more expensive unit. Making homemade yogurt is exciting and I hope you find these instructions for Salton Yogurt Maker useful.
The author’s website Yogurt Maker Enthusiast features tips on yogurt, using a yogurt maker, yogurt starters and homemade yogurt recipes.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
On Monday, the person responsible for changing the Hollywood sign in California to read “Hollyweed” as a new year’s prank turned himself in to local authorities. 30-year-old artist Zachary Cole Fernandez surrendered himself, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said.
According to LAPD, Fernandez went to the police station accompanied by his lawyer, where he confessed to have changed the sign and was bailed out shortly thereafter for US$1000. LAPD charged Fernandez with trespassing; earlier reports indicated vandalism charges were ruled out as he used black and white tarps to alter the letter “O” to read lowercase “e”. The sign was not physically damaged.
A court hearing is scheduled for February 15. Fernandez said this act was an art project, and claimed he faces up to six months in prison if convicted. It took Fernandez two hours to alter the sign. Regarding conviction, he said, “I’m a person of integrity. If I do something wrong, I will own up to it.”
Exactly 41 years ago, on the same date in 1976, then-university student Daniel Finegood modified the sign to read “Hollyweed” for an art class assignment. Finegood returned to change the sign again in 1990, spelling out “Oil War” to protest against the First Persian Gulf War. Fernandez, on Tuesday, said his act was to “bring light and positivity and happiness”. He said he was inspired by Finegood’s modification to the sign.
City Councilman David Ryu said in a statement. “Pranks of this nature deplete the resources of our valuable public safety personnel”.
The term “weed” is an English slang term for cannabis, a banned drug in many countries. On November 9, a ballot for legalising recreational use of cannabis in California for the age group of 21 and above was passed. The law legalising recreational cannabis is due to come into effect in 2018.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
In the past two months, Parker Somerville, a videographer for the website TMZ.com, transitioned from an average guy leading an ordinary life, to living in an extraordinary voyeuristic existence, and back again to the beginning. Simply put, it was a transition from reality to reality, with a two-week detour in reality television. Somerville was a former contestant on the CBS reality TV staple Big Brother, currently in its ninth installment.
Evicted on Day 14, Somerville hoped to have another chance to play the game, but came in second in the special “America’s Choice” poll to bring back a former HouseGuest (the poll results were eventually not used at all and nobody was brought back). Now freed from a three-week sequester, Somerville was interviewed by Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman and he discussed his thoughts on Big Brother, how he and his fellow HouseGuests were portrayed and received, and what he plans to do now that his experience is, for the most part, over.
Somerville will return to Big Brother on finale night in five weeks. Please check your local listings for time and channel. Big Brother airs on CBS in the United States, Global in Canada, and E4 in the United Kingdom.