NASA's Terra satellite flew over Hurricane Sandy around noon local time on Oct. 25. (Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Photo and Video)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012:
If a significant portion of the East Coast doesn't have power restored by Election Day next Tuesday, should voting be postponed in those states (or across the country)? That's the question that started to be asked Tuesday as Superstorm Sandy clean-up efforts continued. L.V. Anderson with Slate explains all the moving parts that would be involved with discussion of a delayed election. In short, it's really tricky, and it's tricky because Congress does have the right to mandate the timing of federal elections (i.e. the presidency), but states and local governments have authority over their own races. On Sept. 11, 2001, for example, a state judge suspended a mayoral primary being held in New York City that day. So, the election can't really be moved. White House spokesman Jay Carney said "I don't know" when asked about this Tuesday.
Because of Sandy, there are probably tens of millions of people on the East Coast who don't know that Disney announced plans Tuesday to buy Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion, giving the company control over the "Star Wars" franchise and other properties. But they'll know come 2015, when "Star Wars: Episode 7" is now due for release, followed by new "Star Wars" movies every two or three years. "This will give me a chance to go off and explore my own interests and at the same time feel completely confident that Disney will take good care of the franchise I've built," said George Locus, who founded Lucasfilm Ltd. and owned it up until this sale. As an admitted "Star Wars" geek, I'm excited for this. The prospect of new "Star Wars" movies not helmed by Lucas himself is an attractive one. Lucas is not exactly known for his strong writing, particularly dialogue.
Happy Halloween! WMBD 31's Alexandra Sutter visits Cantina bar in Pekin, which co-owner Sylvia Shultz explains is haunted. "When we got the keys to the bar last August, we were talking with the former owner and he said that, 'Oh, by the way, your bar is haunted,'" she said. Shultz says some of the ghostly characters at the bar include "Top Hat Guy," who always comes up the stairs and goes into the restroom but never leaves, and an old bartender from the 1920s who doesn't like when tourists come in looking for ghosts. Marketing stunt? Maybe. Fun marketing stunt? Definitely. I'll take "Haunted Bar" over Buffalo Wild Wings any day.
Another story that might get lost in the shuffle because of Sandy is the strong rebuttal by GM and Chrysler of new Romney ads in Ohio. Romney claims that Chrysler, the parent company of Jeep, had outsourced production to China, and that GM was moving 15,000 American jobs to China. Both claims are not true, the automakers say. Chrysler is not moving production out of the U.S. as it tries to break into the Chinese market, and GM's spokesman lashed out at the Romney campaign. “We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman GM Greg Martin told the Detroit Free Press. I'm a fairly liberal guy, but I can rattle off numerous, non-deceptive economic claims on which President Obama can be attacked. Why not use those? To try to swing a swing state full of auto industry workers with this stuff --- yeesh.
Final "Five Things" today
This is the final edition of "Five Things You Should Know." Instead of online-only publication, we're pulling a Reverse Newsweek and moving to a print-only publication, to be distributed every lunch hour in Uptown Normal. (Kidding. It's done after today.) For any of you still out there, thank you for reading over these past six months or so. I've enjoyed staying plugged into local news after leaving my full-time job at WJBC by doing "Five Things" every morning, writing from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. while my dogs, Luna and Teagan, helped me curate rows and rows of headlines. I hope you've found a few new media outlets worth reading occassionally. I know I have. Mostly, I hope you've come to agree that there is still a lot of good local journalism being done all over the place. Just because there's less of it, doesn't mean what's left isn't good. It just means there's less.
Ryan Denham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.