• 2006 MITT ROMNEY PRAISES SUPREME COURT HEALTH CARE RULING
BOSTON—Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaking from 2006, lauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday upholding the individual health care mandate.
“With regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program which I proposed, I was very pleased to see that the court made the appropriate ruling,” said the then-59-year-old Romney. “That is essential for bringing healthcare costs down for everyone and getting everybody the health insurance they deserve and need. So I was very, very pleased with that development.”
This Sunday, 2006 Romney is scheduled to discuss and debate the issue with his current self on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
• UNEMPLOYED BOULDER MAN SUDDENLY BECOMES CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT ON FACEBOOK
BOULDER—Unemployed 28-year-old Paul Schneider surprised his Facebook friends Thursday by posting several lengthy posts on the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling upholding the individual mandate for health care.
“So glad that [Chief] Justice [John] Roberts totally got it right,” wrote Schneider, who dropped out of Front Range Community College in 2005 and has never previously indicated any interest in constitutional law. “I think the health care law is supported by the commerce claus [sic], but Roberts cut through the partisan bullshit and saw that Congress also has the power to levy taxes.”
Facebook friend Brittney Meacham said Schneider, a former Jimmy John’s co-worker, usually sticks to posting YouTube videos of classic rock songs and quizzes on the number of countries he’s visited and beers he’s tasted.
“I tried reading his first few posts just because I was surprised he might know so much about the health care thing,” Meacham said. “But now I’m thinking about just unsubscribing him from my news feed.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Schneider had made no public statements on Facebook indicating that he had done any thinking about how he would have to purchase health insurance for himself should he remain uncovered when the individual mandate takes effect in 2014.
By: Nick Tarine
• FACEBOOK CHANGES ALL FRAT GUYS’ SEXUAL ORIENTATION STATUS TO “TOTALLY GAY”
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Facebook found itself in additional controversy Monday after the social networking company automatically changed the profiles of every college fraternity member in the country to indicate that they are “totally gay.”
The company also changed the default relationship status of every fraternity member’s profile to read “It’s complicated with Your Mom.”
Until now, Facebook only automatically changed a user’s sexual orientation status to being interested in members of the same sex when they listed on their profile that they liked Coldplay.
By: Nick Tarine
DENVER—With Colorado facing its worst wildfire season in a decade, teams of reporters deployed around the state say they’re only now starting to contain the story.
But as dozens of television, radio, and print journalists enter their third week of taking on at least 10 wildfires currently burning in the state, even longtime fire reporters say the logistics and sheer size of the blazes have been hard to overcome.
“We spent the first two days of the High Park fire [near Fort Collins] just trying to decide on which hashtag everyone should use for fire-related tweets,” said veteran Longmont Times-Call reporter Josh Levinson, as he wrapped up another 10-hour shift for which he was paid no overtime. “We were totally unprepared for wildfires of this magnitude.”
The fire coverage started small earlier this month in isolated reports buried deep in Colorado newscasts and newspapers. But fueled by press releases and whipped up by strong gusts of social media crowdsourcing, the wildfires have quickly swept through the state’s news cycle.
Officials estimate the fires now cover 38 percent of the state’s front pages and a full two-thirds of local newscasts.
However, editors and producers around Colorado said they’ve been able to put the resources and the manpower needed to get the upper hand on the wildfires. They pointed to a number of recent efforts, including an unprecedented multi-page, full-color special pullout section in Sunday’s Denver Post, complete with detailed maps, photos, and a column from Vincent Carroll.
Meanwhile, last week KUSA-TV unveiled their state-of-the-art 9News FireWatch Action Command Center, bringing the station’s weather, breaking news, and the “9 Wants To Know” in-depth teams under a unified command structure.
“Before a week ago, if you had told me I’d be working on a major story with [traffic reporter] Amelia [Earhart], I would have resigned by the end of the day,” said 9News Chief Meteorologist Kathy Sabine. “But once I saw the terrifying power of these fires, and also how they could win me a fifth regional Emmy, suddenly all our petty rivalries seemed pretty meaningless.”
Government officials have also been quick to respond. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Saturday that more than 70 percent of the nation’s wildfire public information officers have been deployed to Colorado.
But with newsrooms already spread thin, media scholars said that any additional fires that sprout up could stretch reporters and photographers to the breaking point.
“There’s a good chance that the media could leave some fires completely uncovered for days at a time,” said Poynter Institute senior fellow James Saunders. “I’m scared just thinking about it.”
And even when the media are able to bring fire coverage under control, Saunders said, flare-ups will almost certainly continue throughout the summer — from sensationalized TV news “investigations” trying to scare everyone into thinking fake firefighters will loot their homes to a week-long series of Colorado Matters interviews exploring in mind-numbing detail how the fires might affect aspen tree reproduction rates.
“To stamp out all this fire coverage for good,” Saunders said, “the only thing we can do now is pray for rain and the start of the Broncos season.”
By: Nick Tarine
Reno, Nev.—Seeking to clarify controversial comments made earlier this month, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Sunday that he favors hiring more firefighters, policemen, and teachers in swing states.
“It’s important to reassure the voters who matter most that the Romney Administration won’t stand in the way of the resources that matter most,” Romney said in a speech to the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association. “I honestly wake up every morning thinking about what I can do to be as helpful as possible to these people who mean so much to this campaign and this nation.”
COLORADO SPRINGS—U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., forcefully called Thursday for the expulsion of all Dippin’ Dots ice cream from the United States, calling them “a commie threat from the future.”
Speaking outside a Dairy Queen, Lamborn said the futuristic ice cream balls were the greatest threat to American civilization since the great gelato migration of the early 1980s.
“I mean, what the shit is this shit?” Lamborn said, holding up a cup of Dippin’ Dots acquired from a nearby minor league baseball game. “It might come in different flavors, but all of them are red.” Lamborn then ate an entire Peanut Buster Parfait in less than 30 seconds while crying and singing “God Bless America.”
By: Nick Tarine