If walls could talk

Today’s families might despair in the situation faced by the pioneers on the plains. Maybe families of the late 1800s did too, but they found a solution.

They used the material that was most abundant to them — sod.

Bush can expect a battle on Social Security

WASHINGTON — If President Bush wants to push his plan to overhaul Social Security through Congress during his second term, he will probably have to do something he rarely did during his first term: get his hands dirty.

To revamp the politically popular retirement program, many allies say, Bush will have to offer detailed proposals to Congress and engage in a broad public campaign to justify the change and its cost. That would be a big change in the way Bush deals with Congress. Typically, Bush has conveyed only broad goals and principles and left it to Congress’ Republican leaders to work out details. Social Security will be different, Republicans say, because Bush’s heart is unquestionably in the issue. He has made clear that it is his top domestic priority. At issue is the long-term financial stability of Social Security, the retirement program funded through payroll taxes, which will be strained when the Baby Boom begins to retire. As soon as 2019, the program will pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes. By 2052, the program’s trust fund is projected to have exhausted its surplus.

Michelle Werner

For Michelle Werner, everything leading up to her time at Columbia College was a privilege. Starting in 1992, at age 20, Werner served for eight years in the Army as a ground and flight medic. During her years of service, she worked with civilian rescuers, helping in traffic accidents, search and rescue missions and field operations.

“I am an adrenaline junkie,” she says.

Concerns grow over cell-phone infections

WASHINGTON — Early this month, Web sites began offering software promising ring tones and screen savers for certain cell phones. But those who downloaded the software found that it turned every icon on their cell phones’ screens into a skull and crossbones and disabled their phones so they could no longer access text messages, contact lists or calendars.

Security experts dubbed the virus Skulls and consider it an early warning of the damage hackers could do as they turn their malevolent talents from computers to cell phones.

Scholarship news

The MU Honors College received a $300,000 gift as part of the “For All We Call Mizzou” fund-raising campaign.

The gift, a scholarship endowment made by James and Catherine Brazeal of Leawood, Kan., is meant to help the university attract and retain minority students, enhance access to education and support undergraduate research and international study, according to a release from the MU News Bureau.

Tigers end skid

Heart has been widely discussed among the Missouri basketball players during the past week.

After the Tigers lost consecutive games to Davidson, Creighton and Houston, Missouri coach Quin Snyder said the losses had as much to do with lack of effort as lack of ability.

Suicide bombers recruited in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran- The 300 men filling out forms in the offices of an Iranian aid group were offered three choices: Train for suicide attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, train for suicide attacks against Israelis or assassinate British author Salman Rushdie.

It looked at first glance like a gathering on the fringes of a society divided between moderates who want better relations with the world and hard-line Muslim militants hostile toward the United States and Israel.

Terror group claims Iraqi killings

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq’s most feared terror group claimed responsibility Sunday for slaughtering members of the Iraqi security forces in Mosul, where dozens of bodies have been found. The claim raises fears the terror group has expanded to the north after the loss of its purported base in Fallujah.

Meanwhile, insurgents attacked U.S. and Iraqi targets in Baghdad and in Sunni Arab areas, underscoring the risks of holding national elections Jan. 30.

Designed for the ages

MU’s new athletic facility, the Mizzou Arena, has been in the spotlight since the day it was dreamed up. But what about MU’s earliest sports facilities — those that paved the way for Paige? Two of these original buildings are undergoing extreme makeovers to keep up with changing times and the needs of students.

Missouri’s season ends on high note

AMES, Iowa – When Thomson Omboga fumbled in the fourth quarter Saturday, no one on the Missouri football team’s sideline felt comfortable.

“It was pretty deflating,” Scott Paffrath, a senior offensive lineman, said. “Everything was going our way, and we had overcome a couple penalties.”

McKinney’s strong play key late in game

Jimmy McKinney was having one of the worst games of his career. His team was losing and his shots wouldn’t fall. Then, with about five minutes left, something clicked and a lackluster game turned into one he won’t soon forget.

McKinney, a junior guard, helped the Tigers cap a late comeback to beat Murray State 59-55 on Sunday at Mizzou Arena.

Tigers at home for NCAA Tournament

When Missouri’s name flashed on the TV screen as a regional host and national No. 16 seed in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, it disappeared so fast that Jenny Duitsman didn’t believe it at first.

“I was looking as fast as I could, and I saw ‘Missouri’ and then it went off,” the senior said. “So I’m like, ‘Hey, we’re in,’ (the tournament field) but I didn’t know anything else. Everyone were like, ‘I think we’re here,’ and I was like, ‘No, don’t joke with me.’ Then it was true.”

Extra Points: Women's basketball

Kassie Drew scored 20 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Missouri women’s basketball team to a 81-48 victory against Providence on Saturday in the consolation game of the Airport University Thanksgiving Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.

Drew, a freshman guard, also had five rebounds, three steals and a block for the Tigers (2-2).

Extra points: Hickman boys' basketball

McCluer North beat Hickman 87-77 in Washington, Mo., on Saturday. The win gave McCluer third place in the Gold Division of the St. Francis Borgia Thanksgiving Tournament.

Michael Washington led the Kewpies (2-1) with 21 points. Torres Roundtree scored 25 for the Stars (1-2).

Change of pace

Linas Kleiza is getting used to defenders swarming him.

He isn’t as used to starting the game on the bench.