For nearly three weeks, the benches at the back of a federal courtroom in Minneapolis were filled with local Somalis. The man on trial, Mahamud Said Omar, was accused of conspiring to help a terrorist group recruit some two dozen young Minnesota men to fight a holy war in Somalia.
It took a federal jury just eight hours to convict him of all of the five terrorism charges leveled against him, but the verdict is only the beginning for the Somali community in the Twin Cities.
For the first time in nearly a generation, Arizona voters will elect a new senator. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl is retiring after 18 years. His ideological successor is Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and a lot of people expected Flake to have an easy time of it.
But recent polls suggest Democrat Richard Carmona — a former surgeon general and a Hispanic — has a shot at winning. The race has become heated, and the airwaves are filled with brutal ads.
In Colorado, the presidential race is a statistical dead heat. The state went heavily for candidate Barack Obama in 2008 — but the president is now facing fierce headwinds.
Obama won last time by 9 points, an astounding margin in a state that hadn't gone Democratic since 1992. One Democratic strategist calls 2008 a one-time case of "irrational exuberance," especially among Colorado's large contingent of swing voters.