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Colorado River Overlook, above the confluence/ Green River.  Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.  

Welcome to Overnight News Digest Sunday, where the OND crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, ScottyUrb, and BentLiberal, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with today's news.

Tonight I am taking a look at the most "popular" story at US newspapers.  I am eliminating Sandy coverage.  I am afraid it is not going to be very pretty.  Or necessarily informative of news.  It may give insight into human behavior.  

Most Popular Stories In Newspapers, USA

Salt Lake Tribune, 6:31pm Mountain "Popular Stories"
Utah football: Utes finally find their offense in Pac-12 play

The Utah Utes publicized Saturday’s game against Cal as a "blackout," but they forgot to tell everyone they were going to bring fireworks too.

The Utes played their most complete game of the year to blow out the Bears 49-27 in front of 45,017 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Last year it was after an embarrassing 34-10 loss to the Bears (3-6, 2-4) that Utah sparked a strong finish to land in a bowl game.

Saturday’s contest undoubtably was more fun for the Utes (3-5, 1-4), who must win three of their final four games to be bowl-eligible this year.

This is my alma matre and hometown team.  They finally have a win in their fancy new big fat BCS conference.  "Blackout" has nothing to do with broadcasting.  The team wears black uniforms, the fans are encouraged to wear black clothing, and there may be some dedication to the military.  I think.  

Deseret News, 6:48pm Mountain "Most Popular Across Site"
Mitt Romney snags surprise key Iowa endorsement

t's been 40 years since the Des Moines Register has endorsed a Republican, so this one makes news. The last time was preceding Nixon's re-election against George McGovern.

Iowa remains a key state, with razor thin margins in the polls. So the Register's endorsement of Romney on Saturday made noise.

While the impact of newspaper endorsements is often doubted, this one may be different.

Hints of the endorsement might have been found in the cover of Friday's paper, which seemed to reflect tension with the Obama White House over agreeing to release the interview transcript.

The Des Moines Register did not seem to have this feature.  (I looked)  They do have a picture of Mitt Romney with a flag growing out of his head.  

San Jose Mercury News, 6:51pm Mountain "Most Viewed"
College football: South Carolina loses star tailback Marcus Lattimore to injury

South Carolina finally shook off Tennessee on Saturday.

Now, the No. 17 Gamecocks will have to see if they can once again shake off a devastating injury to star tailback Marcus Lattimore.

Lattimore's right knee was injured on a hit during the second quarter of South Carolina's 38-35 victory in Columbia, S.C., and he was taken off the field on a cart.

Lattimore was taken to a hospital after he left the field. The team did not announce the details of the injury, but no one expects Lattimore to return this season. Last year, he missed the final six games after suffering torn ligaments in his right knee.

This is weird.  The most "viewed" story at the San Jose paper is an AP story on South Carolina's football team.  

Tampa Bay Times, 7:38pm Mountain "Most Shared"
Religious exemption at some Florida children's homes shields prying eyes

In this state, unlicensed religious homes can abuse children and go on operating for years. Almost 30 years ago, Florida legislators passed a law eliminating state oversight of children's homes that claim government rules hamper their religious practices.

Today, virtually anyone can claim a list of religious ideals, take in children and subject them to punishment and isolation that verge on torture — so long as they quote chapter and verse to justify it.

The Tampa Bay Times spent a year investigating more than 30 religious homes that have housed children in recent years across Florida. Some operate with a religious exemption, legally regulated by a private Christian organization instead of the state. Others lost their exemption and operate with no legal accreditation at all.

This is actually their lead story on their front page, as well as most shared.  

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7:43p "Most Popular"
Bernie: No finessing Cards' ugly demise

I could go with the cheap shots. Start snapping off lines based on old 1960s songs. Hey, if the Cardinals planned to play like this, they should have gone to San Francisco with flowers in their hair.

I could pick on the kid shortstop, Pete Kozma, an easy target for bitter haters. I could make a fun of Chris Carpenter’s aging fastball qualifying for an AARP membership card. I’ll make the predictable joke about Matt Holliday hurting his back while hauling his $120 million to the bank in an overloaded cart.

I could say that this never would have happened if Albert Pujols still played for St. Louis. But then again, maybe agent Dan Lozano can explain why Pujols and the Angels didn’t make it to the playoffs.

New York Times, 9:55p, "Most Emailed"
Barack Obama for Re-election
The economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown, and the country could suffer another recession if the wrong policies take hold. The United States is embroiled in unstable regions that could easily explode into full-blown disaster. An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010. Those forces are eroding women’s access to health care, and their right to control their lives. Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us. Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged.

That is the context for the Nov. 6 election, and as stark as it is, the choice is just as clear.

Their Obama endorsement.

Kansas City Star, 9:59p, "Most Popular"
Sam Mellinger | Kansas State is only partly in control of its BCS fate

The man who should soon be national coach of the year is talking about his quarterback who should soon be the Heisman Trophy winner and their team that has a real shot at going undefeated, and the question hangs in the air like the waft of a rotten, buzz-killing fish:

Is it good enough?

Kansas State is through with the heaviest lifting on what looks like the greatest football season in school history, a 55-24 power-blasting of No. 15 Texas Tech here on Saturday that’s sure to move the Wildcats up to No. 2 in the BCS standings.

But will it matter?

Los Angeles Times, 10:02p, "Most Viewed"
Fliers in December and January are more likely to lose luggage
If you plan to fly during the holiday season, the chance of losing your luggage increases sharply.

The rate of mishandled luggage in December was as much as 35% higher than the annual averages for 2008 through 2010, according to a study by NerdWallet, a personal finance analysis website. In January, the lost or damaged rate was as much as 43% higher than the annual averages for 2008-11.

For example, in December 2010, airlines reported an average rate of 4.7 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, compared with the average for the year of 3.47 lost or damaged bags, according to NerdWallet Inc. The trend did not hold true in December 2011, when the rate dropped to 3.25 reports, compared with the annual average of 3.33 reports, according to NerdWallet.

Alicia Jao, NerdWallet vice president of travel media, suggested a simple reason: Around the holidays, travelers carry more luggage with them, increasing the likelihood of lost bags.

I tried to include a story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and had 3 browser crashes in between the "paste" and the "save".  I took it as a sign.  It was their most-commented, a live blog of the NFL action today.  
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