Counting down to victory

first_imgCHICAGO – More than 10,000 people filled a massive hall at Chicago’s McCormick Place to see if their Commander-in-Chief could back up his famed rallying cry: “Yes We Can.” After spending a long evening with eyes trained on massive projection screens airing media commentary, the crowd breathed a sigh of relief around 10:15 p.m. when it was clear: Yes, he did. Three members of The Observer’s staff were among the many gathered in the press area throughout the day. Here’s our experience, minute by minute: 2:37 p.m.: We check in with Obama for America’s media coordinators at the McCormick Place Hyatt and receive press passes. 2:53 p.m.: Upon arriving at the entrance to the south lot of Soldier Field, we are ushered through the first security checkpoint. Our car is searched by two Secret Service agents and a bomb-sniffing dog. 3:03 p.m.: We reach the second security checkpoint where we are again searched by agents and a detection dog, this time focusing on our equipment. After being ushered through metal detectors, we are directed to the press work stations. 3:38 p.m.: After shopping around for an ideal spot, we settle onto the main floor press area near reporters from Polish and Dutch outlets. A Polish reporter laments the waiting game he’s been trudging through since his early arrival on the grounds. 4:40 p.m.: The first sound check begins: a reading of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.” 6:17 p.m.: The media floor awakens from an extended lull as Ill. Sen. Dick Durbin passes through press area. 7:16 p.m.: Music starts up on the main stage. Playlist: Bruce Springsteen, Florence + the Machine, Zac Brown Band, Al Green, Arcade Fire. 7:20 p.m.: Ticket-bearing members of the public begin filing into the hall, visibly excited. 7:30 p.m.: Actresses Angela Bassett and Alfre Woodard enter through “special guests” gate, surrounded by enthused Obama supporters. 8:04 p.m.: Video montage begins, highlighting Obama’s previous campaign and first term. The video is YouTube themed, showing clips of major speeches, rallies and media appearances. Scenes range from light-hearted, family moments to the coverage of bin Laden’s death and the conclusion of the Iraq War. 8:31 p.m.: A second video featuring Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama begins. This short focuses on social issues, referencing unions, immigrants and the LGBT community, before concluding on the economy. One clip includes a quote from Biden, “If the 47 percent doesn’t make it, the country doesn’t make it.” 9:00 p.m.: Third video montage begins with footage of the First Lady in which she discusses the need to stay with the administration’s forward momentum. “Are we going to turn around and enact the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place?” “I’m going to need your help finishing what we started,” her husband said in another clip. “I believe in you, and I need you to keep believing in me.” 9:14 p.m.: Video beings with Biden referencing Romney’s touted flub about “binders full of women,” before segueing into dialogue about women’s issues. Footage presents Obama joking about Romney’s alleged flip-flopping on issues, popularly dubbed “Romnesia.” “Here’s the good news – Obamacare covers preexisting conditions.” 9:35 p.m.: Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church offers an invocation. “We praise you that you have uplifted a leader of character and confidence,” she said. 9:40 p.m.: Singer Ledisi provides a rendition of the National Anthem. 10:15 p.m.: MSNBC projects Obama to win reelection. The crowd erupts. 10:20 p.m.: CNN issues concurring projection as celebrations continue. Spectators break into dance as “Twist and Shout” booms through the hall. 11:55 p.m.: The crowd cheers and jeers as Obama’s opposition, Gov. Mitt Romney, comes onto the projection screens to give his concession speech. “I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory,” he said, before thanking his running mate Paul Ryan, wife Ann, sons, campaign team and donors. “I don’t believe there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you’ve done … This election is over, but our principles endure.” 12:09 a.m.: The crowd cheers in unison with footage of 2008 rally, “Fired up, ready to go,” as the newly-reelected President prepares to take the stage. 12:38 a.m.: The First Family arrives on stage to the loudest cheering of the night thus far. 12:40 a.m.: The President, smiling widely, offers an address focused on bipartisan progress. “I believe we can seize this future together, because we are not as divided as our politics suggest,” he said. “We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.”last_img read more

Alumni urge University to condemn Ugandan bill

first_imgA group of Notre Dame graduates are promoting a petition encouraging the University to officially condemn a proposed anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. The proposed law, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays” bill, would increase penalties against LGBT individuals in the country, as well as against others who attempt to hide or protect these individuals. As a matter of University policy, Notre Dame usually does not make public statements about specific social issues such as this one. Katie Dunn, class of 2009 and a Uganda study abroad participant, began circulating the petition after the Uganda CSO Coalition for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and Frank Mugisha, leader of Sexual Minorities in Uganda, requested she urge Notre Dame to publicly denounce the bill. “[Mugisha] has spoken on campus about this issue. He asked me to ensure that Notre Dame make a public statement against the bill,” Dunn said. “Notre Dame has a reputation for being conservative on this issue, and because of that, it has a powerful voice to the Catholics in Uganda. Right now its silence is very loud.” Penalties of the bill include life imprisonment or the death penalty for accused homosexuals, and heavy fines or prison time for parents, teachers and landlords of LGBT individuals who do not report them. Dunn said the bill could be voted on within the next few days. As a school that has a deep relationship with Uganda, Dunn said the University possesses countless reasons to fight the bill. “Notre Dame’s strategic plan, ‘Fulfilling the Promise,’ commits itself to increasing its internationalism,” Dunn said. “Notre Dame recognizes that institutions cannot use a country for its educational purposes and then not take responsibility for their role in that country. This is the University’s mission.” Eleanor Huntington, a graduate of the class of 2010 who has also studied abroad and done research in Uganda, is working to promote the petition. Huntington said she fears not only for the people she has met in Uganda whom the bill would affect, but also for current and future Notre Dame students. “What becomes Notre Dame’s rule if they know a professor is gay and he’s doing research in Uganda?” Huntington said. “Or if they have students who want to study abroad or do research or service in Uganda? Are they going to have to find out the sexual orientation of the student?” While it would not be helpful for other nations to simply judge or condemn Uganda, Huntington said Notre Dame possesses extensive knowledge of the country’s institutions that would be useful in finding solutions for the bill. “People in Uganda do have strong faith, and they would respond to Notre Dame’s actions,” she said. “There are enough good perspective administrators at Notre Dame that they would know how to effectively address the issue without embarrassing or causing judgment or scandal.” 2009 graduate Katie Day, who also studied abroad and conducted research in Uganda as a student, agreed Notre Dame’s Catholic identity should motivate the University to address the proposed bill. Day said she is completely mystified by Catholic bishops in Uganda’s praise for the bill, given that it contradicts the Church’s mandate to “uphold the human dignity of every single person.” “As the universal Church, Catholic leaders elsewhere in the world need to let the Ugandan Catholic Church know this bill is completely contradictory to our faith’s core beliefs,” she said. “I cannot think of anything more dehumanizing and degrading than this bill.” Dunn said she has received numerous positive responses to the petition from Notre Dame faculty and staff praising her and her teammates for their work. She has also received brief e-mails from University President Fr. John Jenkins and Dr. J. Nicholas Entrikin, vice president and associate provost for internationalization. “I hope Fr. Jenkins and Dr. Entrikin listen to their faculty on this one,” Dunn said. The University has a responsibility, both as a Catholic institution and a partner with Uganda, to provide guidance to the country and discourage this bill, Day said. Day said Notre Dame’s mission statement pledges that the University looks to nurture in its students, “a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.” “As the students and alumni of Notre Dame stand up to the injustice of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, we are fulfilling this part of Notre Dame’s mission,” Day said.last_img read more

Conference to explore gifts of gay Catholics

first_imgNotre Dame’s Institute for Church Life, along with the Gender Relations Center, will convene a two-day conference called “Gay In Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity” on Friday in the Andrews Auditorium of Geddes Hall. The conference will focus on non-heterosexual identifying Catholics who accept Church teaching on homosexuality and the gifts they have to offer the Church, John Cavadini, professor of Theology, said.Mary McGraw | The Observer “Most of the speakers are self-identified gay or lesbian persons, and all of them also identify themselves as agreeing with Church teaching on marriage and sexuality,” Cavadini said. “I wonder what we can learn by listening to such voices. I believe these voices have gifts to offer the Church.”Cavadini said the gifts these individuals offer are often lost in the Church.“I believe that the Church is not as good at receiving these gifts as we might be,” Cavadini said. “So I think of the workshop as opening a discussion regarding the discernment of gifts and the ability to receive them and to give a gift back. It is also simply an invitation to discussion.”Cavadini said he began planning the workshop in July 2012.“It was my idea originally, but many have participated in making the original idea concrete, especially Sr. Ann Astell of the department of Theology, who has been a partner in planning throughout,” Cavadini said.Cavadini said a controversial conversation prompted his choice of topic for the workshop.“A series of conversations going back to a blog written by one of the participants, that turned out to be much more controversial than I expected it to be, and I wondered why, prompted my decision,” Cavadini said.In the past, the Church has experienced a strained relationship with the gay and lesbian community. Cavadini said the conference will explore possibilities about pastoral strategies as well as Church teaching.“Is someone who self-identifies as gay or lesbian but accepts Church teaching — and that seems an immense gift to the Church — is such a person actually welcomed by the Church? Are their gifts received, and the gift of ecclesial belonging and support effectively tendered? I think there is a lot of evidence that this is not the case now,” Cavadini said.Cavadini said he is unsure as to what recommendations the workshop will produce for parish communities, but he has hope for the possibilities.“I am thinking of the ultimate goal as an exchange of gifts that builds up the One Body of Christ, as all gifts of the Spirit are intended to do,” Cavadini said. “Have we really explored the possibilities that are contained in Church teaching? Is there a pattern for mutual support, mutual gift-giving, implied in Church teaching?”The goal of the workshop is to listen to the voices of the participants, Cavadini said.“This conference is not intended to take up all of the issues connected with homosexuality and the Church,” Cavadini said. “In some ways, Church teaching with regard to sexuality has been seen as and caricatured as a series of ‘no’s’. But every ‘no’ implies a ‘yes.’ I want to find the ‘yes’s’ that Church teaching can lead us to, if it is not just abstract, but embodied in people who have seen possibilities in it that take it out of the abstract and into concrete lives, who have said ‘yes’ and are saying it, or trying to say it, all the time.”The conference runs from 2 p.m. to 5:35 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. Saturday, according to an online schedule.Tags: Gay in Christ, Gender Relations Center, Institute for Church Life, John Cavadinilast_img read more

Mendoza announces two new departments

first_imgIn an effort to restructure the current management department in the Mendoza College of Business, the University announced the addition of two new departments, according to a Notre Dame press release Wednesday. The new departments are the department of management and organization and the department of information technology, analytics and operations, according to the release. Roger Huang, the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College, said in the release that the change is the result of an effort to try and more accurately represent the nine disciplines that fall under the management department. “At present, the department is comprised of a broad array of disciplines under the single ‘management’ nomenclature, which paints very distinct areas of teaching and research with too broad of a brush,” Huang said in the release. “It’s critical that our organizational structure appropriately recognizes the emergence of information technology and business analytics as distinct and substantive areas of knowledge and associated skill sets.”Robert Easley, current chair of the management department, will chair the new department of information technology, analytics and operations, according to the release.“We have had an unusually large number of disciplines combined in one department for some time,” Easley said in the release. “We’ve all gotten along well despite these differences, but it has been challenging at times to unify around strategic initiatives. The faculty are now energized to find that their research and teaching will play a more prominent role in the new, more focused departments.”Craig Crossland, assistant professor of management, will take over as the chair of management and organization, according to the release.“It’s an honor and a privilege to be named chair of the management and organization department,” Crossland said in the release. “Although our previous department was both collegial and highly successful, we think the creation of two new departments will help us to better serve students and faculty by focusing on our own respective core strengths.”Students currently enrolled in management program, including majors, minors and concentrations, will finish their studies as previously planned, according to the release. Tags: department of information technology analytics and operations, department of management, department of management and organization, mendoza college of business, roger huanglast_img read more

New men’s dorm opening in August to be named Baumer Hall

first_imgThe new men’s dorm that will open in August will be called Baumer Hall after its donors, according to a Wednesday University press release. The construction of the new residence hall was made possible by a $20 million donation from alumnus John Baumer and his wife, Mollie, a Saint Mary’s alumna.“Residential life is a distinctive hallmark of a Notre Dame undergraduate education, central to our mission to educate both minds and hearts,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “We could not be more proud that generations of students will call Baumer Hall home, and we are deeply grateful to John and Mollie for their extraordinary generosity.”Vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding said this gift is particularly important to Notre Dame in light of the six-semester housing policy it announced in fall of 2017.“The Baumer family’s commitment to this new facility supports our ability to form the communities our students call home and for that, we are extremely thankful,” she said in the release. “Baumer Hall will help the University meet the need of housing undergraduate students through at least their junior year, as we continue to sustain and enhance the unique character of residential life for all students.”A native of South Bend, John Baumer graduated from Notre Dame in 1990 with an undergraduate degree in finance, according to the press release. He later earned his master’s in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. His father, Fred Baumer, worked as comptroller at the University for 21 years.John Baumer is a senior partner at private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners and has held seats on the boards of several companies and organizations, including Rite Aid Corp., Petco Animal Supplies, FTD Group and Equinox Fitness, the release said. He also serves on Notre Dame’s Wall Street Committee and Campaign Cabinet.Mollie Baumer played varsity soccer as an undergraduate at Saint Mary’s. According to the release, she currently holds a seat on Notre Dame’s Advisory Council for the Student-Athlete. Residents of Manhattan Beach, California, the Baumers donated to the Notre Dame men’s head lacrosse coaching position in 2015 and serve on the University’s President’s Circle.“This University has been part of our family story for three generations,” John Baumer said in the release. “The residence hall experience I had at Notre Dame was the backdrop for the best and most lasting friendships and memories I have made. Sharing every aspect of life with your residence hall community creates a foundation of friendship and support you will build on for the rest of your life. I am deeply grateful for my time in Zahm [House], and we as a family are delighted that we have the opportunity, through Baumer Hall, to ensure this tradition remains strong and meaningful for future generations.”The dorm, currently under construction, is located near Ryan and Keough Halls on the southwest side of campus. It will be four stories tall and 78,000 square feet, and is projected to house up to 251 men. Baumer Hall will also feature a two-story lounge, study and reading rooms and built-in amenities such as laundry, vending, storage, exercise room, a communal kitchen and an area for food sales in the basement, the release said.Tags: baumer hall, donation, dorm community, dorm features, new residence hall, president’s circlelast_img read more

County health officials weigh new COVID-19 restrictions and protocols

first_imgSt. Joseph County health officer Dr. Robert Einterz said he expects the county to implement new health guidelines in the next day in order to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, the South Bend Tribune reported Monday.Einterz said the guidelines could include moving back a stage or two in the state’s reopening plans. Governor Eric Holcomb recently lifted almost all lockdown restrictions Sept. 26 as part of the state’s Phase 5 reopening plan. Masks are still mandated in the county until the end of the year and statewide through Oct. 17.Einterz and others including members of the Unified Command team, the country‘s response team to the coronavirus pandemic, discussed options for additional restrictions Monday morning.The Tribune reported Andy Kostielney, president of the county Board of Commissioners, said he asked Einterz to set up a meeting Tuesday between the Unified Command team, South Bend Mayor James Mueller and Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood.State statute empowers the county health officer to close schools, churches and social gatherings, Einterz noted.The Tribune reported COVID-19 hospitalizations were the highest level since late April Friday. Last week, deputy county health officer Dr. Mark Fox said there was no obvious cause of the increase in COVID-19 cases.Einterz said the health department has begun to issue abatement orders — an official notice telling the establishment steps must be taken to improve conditions — to some bars and nightclubs in the county recently, where officials have found conditions that can further the spread of the virus.Health department inspectors have found “individuals packed shoulder to shoulder and not wearing masks and in violation of the governor’s orders,” Einterz said.The abatement orders outline the necessary actions and give establishments three days to comply or face closure.Einterz said some requirements such as closing a dance floor would be immediate.“I think there was a misconception on the part of the public and some of the establishment owners and managers that going to Stage 5 meant that everything was open and it was business as usual,” Einterz said.Tags: COVID-19, St. Joseph County, St. Joseph County Health Departmentlast_img read more

Gov. Cuomo’s Administration Defends Handling Of Unemployment Claims

first_imgMGN ImageALBANY — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his top aide are defending the state’s handling of an avalanche of jobless claims in the past five weeks.At his daily COVID-19 news briefing on Thursday, the Governor acknowledge frustrations expressed by New Yorkers trying to collect benefits.Cuomo was asked about the complaints news organizations continue to receive from the jobless who can’t get their claims processed.He said New York had done “far more, far faster than I think any other state in the country, and the number of people who have gotten assistance is mind boggling. But none of that matters. For a person, there is only one check that matters, and that is their check, and I get that.” Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor said the majority of cases that remained backlogged are those of the self employed, independent contractors, or gig workers, who typically aren’t covered under unemployment insurance.On March 27, Congress passed the CARES act which covered those workers, but DeRosa says in intial requirements that people applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance be rejected by traditional unemployment first.The state earlier this week unveiled a streamlined application process.When businesses began closing in mid-March because of COVID-19, the state unemployment phone system and computer systems continually crashed as the systems could not keep up with the number of new claims.The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that 4.4 million Americans filed new unemployment insurance claims last week, bringing the total for the month since COVID-19 hit to 26 million.That wipes out all the job gains since the depths of the Great Recession of 2008. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Four New COVID-19 Cases Reported In Chautauqua County Saturday

first_img4 new cases today of a male and female in their teens, and two males in their 20s; WNY News Now / MGN Stock Image.MAYVILLE – Four new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Chautauqua County on Saturday.The Chautauqua County Health Department released the following statistics:38 active cases, continue to recover under orders of the Local Health Official per NYS Public Health Law including: 428 cases under quarantine/isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.  Not all of those being monitored are confirmed to have COVID-19 but have either shown symptoms, are awaiting results, or have risk factors; To date: 129 recovered cases; 7 deaths; 174 total confirmed cases; and 17,925 negative test results.center_img 0 persons hospitalized* in Chautauqua County as of 7/9/20. The number of persons in Chautauqua County hospitals diagnosed with COVID-19, regardless of residency Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Falconer Square Project Moving Forward

first_imgFile image by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.FALCONER – A project that would redevelop a property in the Village of Falconer which was destroyed by multiple fires in recent years took another step forward this week.The Town of Ellicott Board have approved a new Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement allowing for advancement of the new Falconer Square project.The agreement gives developers the green light to increase the number of apartment units at the site from 53 to 55.The project is located in the middle of the village, at 13-37 West Main Street, the former site of a mixed-use structure that was destroyed by fires in 2017 and 2018. This new project features a 15,000 square foot mixed-use building and 4,000 square feet of townhomes. Construction plans were first approved last year.The Rochester based developer, Home Leasing, is applying for a state funding for the project, which village leaders previously supported in a letter.If the group can secure state funds, then a groundbreaking ceremony will likely happen this fall. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Nearly Nude Hedwig Star Neil Patrick Harris Runs Amok in NYC!

first_img View Comments Hedwig and the Angry Inch Related Shows Star Files Ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not…Neil Patrick Harris in a bandeau! Before he gets glam for Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch this spring, the How I Met Your Mother star took to the streets of Times Square to spread the word about the new production ala King Kong—at least that’s what it looks like happened on the new cover of Time Out New York. Oh, and did we mention he was practically naked? The Emmy winner is tackling the role of transgender rock goddess Hedwig Schmidt in the new revival of Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell’s cult musical, which Harris promises will be a “nasty and rugged and dangerous” ride. See him bare it all in Times Square, then catch him all dolled up in Hedwig beginning March 29 at the Belasco Theatre! Neil Patrick Harris Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 13, 2015last_img read more