A District Court judge in Goffstown, New Hampshire has dismissed a criminal charge against a Weare man for recording his conversation with a police officer during a traffic stop. Judge Edward Tenney followed a recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Boston in Glik v. Cunniffe in ruling that William Alleman was within his constitutional rights when making an audio recording of Weare Police Officer Brandon Montplaisir during the traffic stop on July 10, 2010. The recording was made via cellphone when Alleman called Porcupine 911, an answering service for libertarian activists, as the officer approached Alleman's car. Though the charge was not filed until the following February, Alleman's attorney, Seth Hipple, told The New American on Thursday that the officer was aware at the time he was being recorded and told Alleman that it was illegal to record him without his permission. Alleman insisted he had a right to do so, and Judge Tenney agreed, citing the First Circuit's ruling in the Glik case. “Glik leaves no doubt that engaging in an audio recording of a police officer in the course of his official duties in a public place is protected speech under the First Amendment,” Tenney wrote. The judge also found that Alleman had in no way interfered with the officer in the performance of his duties. “The fact that Officer Montplaisir may have been unwilling or unhappy being recorded does not make a lawful exercise of the defendant's First Amendment rights a crime,” Tenney wrote.
The U.S House of Representatives voted 396-9 on November 1 to affirm “In God We Trust” as the official national motto of the United States. Reported the New York Times: “The resolution … is designed to clear up any confusion over the motto’s official status and to encourage schools and other public institutions to display it, said Representative J. Randy Forbes, Republican of Virginia and the measure’s sponsor.” Forbes explained that “what’s happened over the last several years is that we have had a number of confusing situations in which some who don’t like the motto have tried to convince people not to put it up.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s statistical and testing arm, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), released its latest “progress” report November 1st: The survey measuring fourth- and eighth-grade scores on the controversial National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, was billed as having found “significant” improvement for both grades in math and a slight improvement in reading — until one examines the numbers. The Washington Times piece by Ben Wolfgang, reported that reading scores among fourth-graders “remained flat on the study’s 500-point scale,” results that overall fall far short of the proficiency standards set for 2014 in math, reading and science by the No Child Left Behind Act. This Act is currently being rewritten to provide waivers and other changes to accommodate its failure without admitting so outright. But a graph depicting the just-released NAEP scores, published by Associated Press as percentage figures in the print edition of The Washington Times piece, shows at most, a 2-percent change in both subjects between 2009 and 2011. Note that there is always at least a 3-percent margin of error for such statistics, which tells us these numbers mean precisely — nothing. And what of Asian minorities, which have historically done considerably better than whites, blacks or Hispanics? Scores for Asians were not broken out; the only mention from the NCES site is that they were unchanged — indicating that Asians are still doing better at the same comparative rate.
A Federal Communications Commission ruling on closed captioning of television programs could jeopardize the continued broadcast of shows produced by “some 300 small- to medium-sized churches,” according to Politico. At issue is whether or not these programs should be exempt from FCC requirements for closed captioning. “The Telecommunications Act of 1996 required the FCC to establish a suitable timetable by which television broadcasters and equipment manufacturers would be required to provide closed captioning,” explains the Christian Post. “The FCC required broadcasters to fulfill the closed captioning requirement by January 2006,” the report adds. However, the agency exempted certain religious broadcasters from the requirement under the so-called “Anglers Order,” named for the ministry, Anglers for Christ, that had requested the exemption.
A dozen nurses in New Jersey have filed a law suit against their employer, charging that they were forced to assist with abortions. According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the conservative legal advocacy group representing the nurses, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) initiated a policy in September requiring that nurses serving in its Same Day Surgery Unit to assist with abortion procedures or face losing their jobs. ADF noted that “federal law prohibits hospitals that receive certain federal funds from forcing employees to participate in abortions. UMDNJ receives approximately $60 million in federal funds annually. In addition, New Jersey law states, ‘No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.’” On October 14 UMDNJ began scheduling nurses to go through training for assisting with abortion, with the trainees required to actually help out with the procedure. When one of the nurses objected to the requirement, explaining that abortion conflicted with her religious beliefs, a supervisor responded that the medical facility had “no regard for religious beliefs” of its employees, reported ADF.
It was a first last weekend, both for San Diego, California’s Patrick Henry High School and for the nation. On October 30, the school’s student body crowned self-described lesbian Rebeca Arellano their homecoming “king” at a school pep rally, naming Arellano’s “girlfriend” Haileigh Adams, also a student at the school, homecoming queen. The bizarre turn of events apparently marks the first time that a pair of homosexuals have been crowned royalty in the peculiarly American homecoming tradition. “Thanks to every single one of you!” Arellano wrote on her Facebook page, according to ABC News. “You guys made this happen and we are all part of something huge. I can’t fully express how grateful I am. I am completely shocked that this happened.” Added Arellano of Adams, “My girl looks absolutely flawless.” Predictably, the pair received overwhelming support both locally and nationally, with Arellano’s Facebook page covered with congratulations, reported ABC. Teachers at the school made sure their approval was apparent as well, with one teacher telling Arellano, “Today school is a bit better because of you girls.”
Despite the public perception that public school teachers in general are underpaid, Jason Richwine, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of “Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers,” says “the reality is that it’s just not true. There’s no way to look at the data and conclude that they are underpaid. They are certainly paid more than they can get if they work in the private sector…” In fact, Richwine found that “public-school teachers receive compensation about 52% higher than their skills would otherwise garner in the private sector.” The reason for the study is that “We want to reform the way teachers are paid. We want to pay the good teachers a lot and the bad teachers not much, or move them out of the profession. We can’t really [get] reform of that kind without understanding the current situation.” Previous studies that show teachers to be underpaid have grievous flaws and leave out critically important pieces of the compensation package, says Richwine. Most studies that show teachers as underpaid don’t take into account the richer retirement plans provided to teachers, their post-retirement health insurance coverage, and their shorter work year. In addition, job security is provably higher in teaching than in the private sector, says Richwine. Finally, under current practice it’s hard not only to pay the good teachers what they’re worth, it’s hard to know who those teachers are.
Demographic “experts” have said that the Earth now has 7 billion inhabitants, or soon will have, and population control groups are using the news as a pretext to warn of the need to check the population’s supposedly runaway growth. “Demographers at the United Nations Population Division set Oct. 31, 2011, as the ‘symbolic’ date for hitting 7 billion, while acknowledging that it’s impossible to know for sure the specific time or day,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “Using slightly different calculations, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the 7-billion threshold will not be reached until March.” The Times added that, whatever the differences in their methodology, “demographers agree that humanity remains on a steep growth curve, which is likely to keep climbing through the rest of this century.” The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) estimates that the world’s population will exceed 9.3 billion by 2050, and will pass 10.1 billion by the end of the century. “It could be far more, if birthrates do not continue to drop as they have in the last half-century,” warned the Times. Computer models have the bulk of the growth this century occurring in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, while the numbers in the wealthy and developed nations of Europe and North America are expected to remain stable. In fact, the populations of some countries, including Germany, Russia, and even Japan, are expected to drop. The news prompted warning and debate from an army of population control “experts,” who lined up to offer their views on the extent of the “problem” brought on by the dramatic increase of people, and how best to address the issues.
When news broke of two women making sexual harassment allegations against GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, the women's identities were kept confidential to protect their privacy. Days after the story broke, however, one of Cain’s accusers — frustrated because of Cain's constant denials of such inappropriate conduct — indicated that she wanted to come forward and tell her side of the story. Yesterday evening, however, the Washington Post reported, “Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer representing one of two women who made the claims against Cain, said Tuesday that his client is barred from publicly relating her side because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed upon leaving the National Restaurant Association, where Cain served as president from 1996 through 1999.” On Sunday, Politico reported that during Cain’s tenure as president and CEO of the restaurant association, two women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them “angry and uncomfortable.” Reports indicate that the women ultimately left the restaurant association after they signed non-disclosure agreements and were given financial payouts to settle the matter. The story almost immediately went viral, prompting often-inconsistent answers from the Cain campaign. Cain attempted to explain his inconsistencies by asserting that because a significant amount of time had passed, he could not remember the details of the charges lodged against him. “When I was initially hit with this … I didn’t recall it right away,” he told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham this morning, adding that he was “not changing the story but trying to fill as many details as I could possibly recall.”
Sheriff Chuck Wright of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, opened a news conference on Monday about an assault and attempted rape on Sunday in a local park by exhorting his law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals: “Our form of justice is not making it. Carry a concealed weapon. That’ll fix it.” Wright was pointing to the example of 46-year-old habitual criminal Walter Lance, of Spartanburg, to express his frustration with the flawed justice system that allows such a man to still be out on the streets committing crimes. Lance's latest arrest was for allegedly choking a woman walking her dog in Spartanburg's Milliken Park on Sunday and attempting to rape her. According to Fox News, Wright told his citizens: It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone "trust us, trust us, trust us," but in reality, you need to protect yourself. If you are not a convicted felon or someone who causes trouble or don't have any mental issues, buy a weapon to protect yourself and get some good training. Fox reported of Sunday's attack in Milliken Park: