From: email@example.com (Johann Opitz)
IL: Homeschoolers get knock on door from police
Despite law, superintendent sends out squad cars to ensure compliance
A public school superintendent has sent police in squad cars to the houses of homeschooling families to deliver his demand that they appear for a "pre-trial hearing" to prove they are in compliance with the law. Bruce Dennison, regional superintendent of schools in Bureau, Stark, and Henry counties in Northeastern Illinois, has contacted more than 22 families, insisting that they need his approval to conduct education at home. Dennison is exceeding his authority, according to Chris Klicka of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, who argues that homeschooling is legal in Illinois and families do not need school district approval to teach their own children. "He's muscling the homeschoolers pretty heavily," Klicka told WorldNetDaily. "One truant officer told a family that he 'could take away the kids if he wanted to.'" Also, a district attorney in the area has threatened to prosecute families that do not submit to requests to have their program approved, said K!
More lame-duck mischief
Shielded by the media spotlight focused on Homeland Security, the lame duck session of Congress has once again engaged in midnight madness. At 2:35 a.m. Friday morning, the House of Representatives passed 15 bills, all loaded with pork-barrel budgets to acquire more land for the government. Among these bills is S 990, labeled "CARA-lite," by the American Land Rights Association, which sees the bill as a scaled-down version of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (also known as the Confiscation and Relocation Act), a bill that would pump billions of dollars into government land acquisition. S 990 passed the Senate last year by unanimous consent, four days before Christmas, at 11:45 pm, with only three senators in the chamber. There was no debate, no recorded vote. The House version that passed Friday, is slightly different from the Senate version, so the Senate will have to approve it again before the bill can go to the president to be signed into law. Unless there is loud!
and determined objection, it is likely to be slipped through the Senate again.
A call for foreign aid
Clinton tells UCD crowd that giving more would lessen hatred toward U.S.
Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday that the United States must enhance its national security with a Marshall Plan-style program of increased foreign aid to troubled countries to create "more partners and fewer terrorists." In a sold-out speech at University of California, Davis' Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Clinton suggested the United States' war against terrorism should include a component of providing increased financial aid for economic opportunities, health care and education in the developing world.
[Hasn't worked in the past, doesn't work now, but 'redistribute the wealth' Klinton believes history doesn't repeat.]
Bush Aides Consider Bolstering Domestic Spying
The White House is considering ways to bolster domestic intelligence gathering to disrupt terrorist plans in the United States, but brushed aside calls for the creation of a new domestic spy agency as premature, administration officials said on Saturday. The talks among Bush's senior national security advisers come as the administration prepares to set up a Department of Homeland Security, which would include a division charged with analyzing intelligence gathered by the FBI and other agencies. "The administration is focused on setting up the information analysis and critical infrastructure protection division of the new Department of Homeland Security, as well as the restructuring of the FBI toward a counterterrorism focus," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the White House Office of Homeland Security. But administration and congressional sources said Bush's advisers were considering more sweeping changes to improve counterterrorism spying once the new department is u!
p and running, although they denied a report in the Washington Post that Bush was seriously considering setting up a new domestic intelligence agency modeled after Britain's MI5 spy agency.
Study: States Stink at Political Integrity
Illinois' gubernatorial candidates might have been on to something this fall when they campaigned on how badly state government needed a bath. A new study by the Better Government Association suggests Illinois is indeed facing an integrity problem. The study ranks the state 41st in the nation in facilitating a pristine political environment. The Chicago-based group's study, released this week, placed Illinois with fellow bottom-feeders Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee, Montana, Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Vermont and South Dakota. ... While Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Hawaii and California came in as the nation's top five states, the group did not exactly give them a ringing endorsement. ...
Officials at FBI probed, rewarded
Senior FBI executives received cash bonuses and promotions while under investigation for suspected misconduct during an internal bureau review of the August 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, that claimed three lives. The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General yesterday said in a report the bonuses and promotions went to former FBI Deputy Director Larry A. Potts, later demoted and suspended for improper oversight of the deadly siege; and E. Michael Kahoe, a senior FBI executive sentenced to prison for destroying a critical Ruby Ridge document. Other cash awards and promotions, the report said, went to Danny O. Coulson, former deputy assistant director who worked for Mr. Potts; and three senior FBI executives, Charles Mathews, Robert E. Walsh and Van A. Harp, accused of not conducting proper after-the-fact investigations to determine what happened at Ruby Ridge. "While a presumption of innocence is usually appropriate while a subject is under investigation, r!
ewarding a subject who is later found to have committed misconduct can result in adverse consequences," the report said. "The FBI should be mindful of the message it sends to both the investigators in a particular case and the rest of the FBI when subjects of an investigation are promoted or receive bonuses or awards while under investigation. "This is especially true where high-level officials are under investigation, because investigators may interpret the giving of an award as an indication that senior management has already judged the merits of the investigation," it said. The inspector general's report is the result of an investigation to determine whether the FBI's system of discipline is unfair because senior bureau executives are treated more leniently than rank-and-file agents. Investigators used the Ruby Ridge incident as an example.
Dan Walters: Elevating gaming over governance is a dangerous tendency
Once, it could be said, political campaigns and elections were merely the means of choosing up sides for the real business of governing. No more. Over the last couple of generations, there's been a turnaround in the political culture. The emergence of television as a political medium, the development of professional campaign managers and such phenomena as permanent ideological movements, blast faxes, political spam, overnight polling, focus groups and computer-directed political mail are hallmarks of the perpetual campaign. Instead of politics being the means to the end of government, the latter now occupies a subsidiary role. Getting elected, or re-elected, and plotting for the next set of elections two or four years hence are, in the new 24-7, all-politics-all-the-time culture, is much more important than actually doing something meaningful in office. Whatever one does officially is now viewed purely through the prism of how it might affect the dynamics of the next campa!
ign. And we in the media are more than complicit in the notion that an election is an end unto itself.
U.S. headed for largest defense budget hike since Reagan buildup
House and Senate conferees have reached agreement on the $393 billion defense budget for fiscal 2003 that places new emphasis on missile defense and marks the largest overall increase since the early years of the Reagan administration. House Armed Services Committee chairman Bob Stump, a Republican from Arizona, said the $7.8 billion authorized for missile defense - $814.3 million of which is allocated for the Defense Department for counterterrorism - marks the fifth straight year of real increases in defense spending. Stump said the fiscal 2003 defense budget is the largest increase in nearly 20 years.
Governors Warn of Layoffs, Cuts
With the elections now behind them, governors nationwide are suddenly talking about their states' grim financial prospects and offering harsh solutions - program cuts, employee layoffs and the possibility of higher taxes. Budget shortfalls that were hastily filled in recent months are opening again from California to Maine. Once-sacred programs like education are on the chopping block, as is health care. And though voters expressed little support for new or higher taxes, only a few governors are ruling them out.
UK: Surgical tags plan for sex offenders
Silicon chip to be inserted under skin
Britain is considering a controversial scheme to implant surgically electronic tags in convicted paedophiles amid fears that the extent of the abuse of children has been massively underestimated. Documents obtained by The Observer reveal the Government could track paedophiles by satellite, with a system similar to that used to locate stolen cars. The tags can be put beneath the skin under local anaesthetic and would also be able to monitor the heart rate and blood pressure of the abuser, alerting staff to the possibility that another attack was imminent. A letter from Hilary Benn, the Minister responsible for the supervision of sex offenders in the community, reveals the Home Office's electronic monitoring team is already developing technology to track paedophiles constantly. The team is now investigating the 'implant tag' after it was alerted to its capabilities by a campaign group for victims of paedophiles.
Fiery debate rages as immigrants pour in
'90s influx caught nation unprepared
So many people live illegally in Colorado that, if brought together, they could form the state's fifth-largest city, bigger than Boulder or Fort Collins. Lured by a robust economy, as many as 125,000 undocumented immigrants now call Colorado home. ... They are among the mass of new residents, legal and otherwise, whose arrival in the past decade makes up the largest wave of immigration since the influx that built this nation. ... Employers call those new immigrants indispensable; critics say the cheap labor carries a high cost to schools, hospitals and prisons. ... In fact, illegal immigrants in Colorado are costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, especially in schools. But in other areas, their costs are disproportionately low compared with their overall numbers. ... The Post found validity to some claims about the cost of immigration. The newcomers tend to move into poorer communities where housing is cheaper, burdening towns whose limited resources make them leas!
t able to afford the influx. ... Schools, in particular, are strained. To accommodate a surge in Spanish-speaking children, some Colorado districts have scrambled to build new schools. The districts have ventured as far as Mexico for bilingual teachers, turning in one case to a school custodian for translations until a Spanish-speaking teacher was found. ... Immigrants are not filling up Colorado's prisons. And changes in Medicaid rules have kept poor immigrants from overwhelming the health-care system. ...
MN: His land, his right, his strip club
No man is an island, but Albert LaFontaine says his strip club is. The Ojibwe man bought a former pizza parlor in tiny Elko in early October, declared the land a sovereign Indian nation and said he'll ignore any government's attempt to close it. "There ain't no way on God's Earth that they're going to stop me," said LaFontaine, of St. Paul. It's not the first time LaFontaine has said that. The 82-year-old man who in 1959 offered to sell a third of North Dakota to the Soviet Union has put forth a variety of schemes to build casinos on land that he's bought and declared sovereign. As an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain band of Ojibwe in North Dakota, La Fontaine said he received a document that gives him land rights in place of a parcel on the band's reservation. He said that - plus a plethora of laws and treaties that he recites to anyone not quick enough to get a word in edgewise - entitles him to make the Elko land his own reservation.
Schools the wrong target in lawsuits
... One reason public education seems so different is that society asks schools to fix problems society sends the schools. Kids don't get breakfast? They can eat at school. Parents aren't home when kids get out? Run after-care programs at the schools. Kids don't get medical care? Put a nurse in the school. Kids have behavioral problems? Put a counselor at the school. As more homes become less stable, society looks to the schools as the place that can provide some stability. Chaotic as classrooms can get, many look good by comparison. At Nathaniel Brazill's home, domestic abuse was common, and he witnessed it. That exposure remains the most likely explanation -- though not an excuse -- for why a kid with no history of problems stuck a gun in the face of a teacher he liked and pulled the trigger. But the schools are not the best option; the family is the best option. The state demands that teachers and schools be accountable. Parents demand that teachers and schools be accou!
ntable. Who demands that parents be accountable for making sure that children go to school ready to learn? More important, if the state can give schools an F and require change, what does the state do to F parents? ... Because of the owner's negligence, Nathaniel Brazill got hold of an easily concealed firearm made for the sole purpose of shooting human beings. Because of the firearm industry's lobbying, there was no requirement for a safety lock. Because of Nathaniel Brazill's overreaction, Barry Grunow died. To find that 45 percent of the blame still belongs to the school district is beyond illogical. In a way, though, it fits into today's education debate. When students succeed, the schools get about 45 percent of the credit. When they fail, schools get 100 percent of the blame.
Letters Editor: http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost/info/mail.html
War Over Extent of Federal Power at Fifth Circuit
In an evenly split en banc decision, the Fifth Circuit erupted in open warfare over how far the federal government can go in usurping state criminal law. Citing Lopez, the landmark Supreme Court case overturning federal law prohibiting firearms on school grounds, the dissent was scathing against the group who upheld a lower court ruling that said that robberies of convenience stores was a federal issue because they sold items interstate commerce. Affirmance without opinion was also at issue.
Gun-free UK: How RAF will shoot down airliners
THE rules of engagement for RAF pilots dealing with rogue aircraft are chillingly straightforward. Documents seen by Scotland on Sunday reveal that Tornado pilots have been told to give civilian aircraft suspected of posing a threat just two chances to turn away or land before blowing them out of the sky - hijackers, innocent passengers and all.
Gun-free UK: Military want right to down passenger jets
SENIOR military officers want the right to shoot down civilian aircraft seized by suicidal terrorists, without consulting the Prime Minister. Tony Blair is resisting the move, which would give the military absolute authority to order RAF jets to blow a hijacked aircraft out of the sky with the loss of hundreds of lives. High-ranking military officials believe Britain should follow the lead set by the US in the wake of the September 11 attacks last year. American generals have the power to order the destruction of any hostile aircraft, if they do not have time to contact senior politicians.
You say you want a tax cut?
... Yes, America, your message was loud and clear to anyone that is paying attention. You have given control of the federal government to the Bush Republicans in an off-year election that usually sees the President's party, whichever one happens to occupy the White House at the time, actually lose seats in Congress. Many of the pre-election polls indicated that the most pressing issue on most of your minds is the economy. So you say you want a tax cut? Too bad. The President says you will have to wait. ...
'Free' and other 4-letter words
Inside the First Amendment
No matter how much you support free expression, there's always something that can challenge your beliefs. Some are unsettled by violence on television; others have second thoughts about sexist or racist Web sites. Others question liberties taken in provocative books or art. I can defend any banned book or controversial painting, but somehow the sight of a guy wearing a "F--- You" T-shirt at a county fair or football game gets under my skin. You've seen him. Apparently unable to afford the "If I Only Had a Brain " T-shirt, he wears America's most overused phrase with pride. The tacky T-shirt puts parents in a tough spot. They try to steer their kids in another direction, determined to avoid an embarrassing moment or question. Why doesn't somebody do something about this rude behavior? Shouldn't government be able to stop public vulgarity of this sort? Of course, that's when I come to my senses. Public profanity isn't pretty, but it's almost impossible for government to con!
stitutionally designate some words as acceptable and others as inappropriate. The truth is that public profanity can violate our sensibilities, but generally doesn't violate the law.
Johann Opitz <firstname.lastname@example.org> RKBA!
"Throughout recorded history, without exception, it has been the sole accomplishment of organized government to deprive their populations of liberty and of their property." -- John C. Calhoun