Daily Archives: November 17, 2011

Herman Cain Will Get Secret Service Protection

Herman Cain

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Presidential candidate Herman Cain will receive protection from the U.S. Secret Service.

Mr. Cain will be the first candidate in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination in the 2012 election cycle to be placed under the protection of the federal law enforcement agency.

While early, it is not unprecedented for the Secret Service to take over the security of a presidential candidate. In May 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama, who was running for the Democratic nomination, was placed under Secret Service protection.

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Man Who Shot at White House to be Charged with Attempted Assassination

United States Secret Service

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A federal prosecutor said today that a man accused of firing shots near the White House will be charged with attempting to assassinate the president or a member of his staff.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who was detained Wednesday in Pennsylvania, was allegedly involved in a shooting Friday night near the White House. Two bullets were found on the White House grounds, one of which hit the building’s bulletproof windows.

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Girl Suspended for Wearing Confederate Flag to School; Mother Threatens to Sue

Naval jack of the Confederate States of America

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A New Jersey teenager was suspended from her middle school for wearing a Confederate flag shirt to class.

Her mother is threatening a lawsuit. The shirt isn’t racist, she explains; her daughter just loves Virginia.

According to the Times of Trenton (via Gothamist via Jezebel), fourteen-year-old Torri Albrecht wore the sweatshirt to Melvin H. Kreps Middle School on November 7. School officials asked her to remove it, noting that teachers had complained. The school says Ms. Albrecht was “disrespectful in her refusal to take it off,” so it suspended her.

Her mom, Jane West, disputes the school’s account, saying that the assistant principal lied to her about how many teachers were upset about the shirt. She explains,

The bottom line is there’s no proof that anyone complained about the sweat shirt or that my daughter was disrespectful about taking it off. The only thing I have proof of is that (assistant principal Jermaine Blount) lied to me.

Ms. West says that the shirt is just an expression of Ms. Albrecht’s pride in her Virginia birthplace, and that the family are “far from racists.” She’s demanding the school apologize, rescind the suspension, and allow Ms. Albrecht to attend a different school outside the district. “If I can’t get those things I’m suing,” she says.

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U.S. Birth Rates Dip with the Economy

A world map showing countries by fertility rat...

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A federal report released today showed declines in the birth rate for all races and most age groups. Teens and women in their early 20s had the most dramatic dip, to the lowest rates since the 1940s.

Experts suspect the economy drove down birth rates in 2008 and 2009 as women put off having children. With the 2010 figures, suspicion has turned into certainty.

U.S. births hit an all-time high in 2007, at more than 4.3 million. Over the next two years, the number dropped to about 4.2 million and then about 4.1 million. Last year, it was down to just over 4 million, according to the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For teens, birth rates dropped 9% from 2009. For women in their early 20s, they fell 6%. For unmarried mothers, the drop was 4%.

Experts believe the downward trend is tied to the economy, which officially was in a recession from December 2007 until June 2009 and remains weak. The theory is that women with money worries feel they can’t afford to start a family or add to it.

Many of the report’s findings are part of a trend. There was a continued decline in the percentage of premature births at less than 37 weeks, and birth rates fell in younger women but rose a little in women 40 and older, who face a closing biological window for having children and may be more worried about that than the economy.

But a few of the findings did startle experts.

One involved a statistic called the total fertility rate, which tells how many children a woman can be expected to have if current birth rates continue. That figure was 1.9 children last year. In most years, it’s more like 2.1. More striking was the change in the fertility rate for Hispanic women. The rate plummeted to 2.4 from nearly 3 children just a few years ago.

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Gingrich Gains zground in Polls

GOP Presidential Debate June 13, 2011 in New H...

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A national poll released this week shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a tie with front-runner Mitt Romney over the last month in the Republican presidential race.

The survey indicates Herman Cain‘s numbers falling during the same period. Mr. Cain has been mired in controversy over allegations from four women that he sexually harassed them when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.

According the the CNN/ORC International poll, 24% of Republicans or right-leaning independents say Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is their most likely choice for the party’s nomination. While his numbers have remained steady, Mr. Gingrich surged fourteen percentage points in popularity, up to 22%, since October. That two-point difference is well within the poll’s sampling error of plus or minus 4.5%.

At the same time, Cain has fallen eleven percentage points, from 25% in October to 14% now. The poll was conducted well after the news of the Cain controversy broke.

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On This Day…

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

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In 1973, President Nixon told an Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Florida, that “people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”




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Homeland Security Will Begin Individual Deportation Reviews Today

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The Department of Homeland Security will begin a review of deportation cases before the immigration courts, with the goal of speeding deportations criminals and halting those of illegal immigrants with no criminal record.

The triage of about 300,000 court cases is intended to allow overburdened immigration judges to focus on deporting foreigners who committed crimes or pose national security risks. Taken together, the review and new training, which will instruct immigration agents on closing deportations that fall outside the department’s priorities, are designed to bring changes to the immigration courts and to enforcement strategies of field agents.

The policy, described in a June 17 memorandum by John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggested that the Obama administration would scale back deportations of illegal immigrants who were students, military service members, elderly, or close family of American citizens.

The Obama administration removed nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants in the last three years. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Mr. Morton said those numbers would not decrease, but they wanted agents and courts to focus on deporting the worst offenders, including national security risks, criminal convicts and those who repeatedly violate immigration laws. Many immigration offenses, including being present in the United States without legal status, are civil violations, not crimes.

Administration officials have flexibility to transform immigration court rules because those courts are part of the Justice Department, not the federal judiciary. Central to the plan is giving more power to immigration agency lawyers — the equivalent of prosecutors in the federal court system — to decide which deportation cases to press.

In the first stage of the court docket review, which will begin today, immigration agency lawyers will look at all new cases just arriving in immigration courts nationwide, with an eye to closing cases that are low-priority, before they advance into the court system.

At the same time, immigrants identified as high priority will see their cases put onto an expedited calendar for judges to order their deportations.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reported in September that the backlog before the nation’s fifty-nine immigration courts was at “a new all-time high.”

Beginning December 4, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will start six-week projects in immigration courts in Baltimore and Denver, where teams of lawyers will comb through the current court dockets and focus on cases of immigrants who have been arrested for deportation, but who are in detention.

Immigrants who qualify for prosecutorial discretion will have their cases closed, but not dismissed, so agents could re-open the deportations at any time if the immigrants commit a crime or a new immigration violation. Immigrants whose cases are closed will be allowed to stay in the United States, but without any positive immigration status.

Deporting some illegal immigrants but not others requires a change in the mentality of agents, who have operated on the principle that any violation was cause for deportation.

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