A New York City principal caused quite a stir when she banned a patriotic song from being performed at a kindergarten graduation ceremony, and opted instead for a pop-culture hit, asserting she did not want to offend other cultures. Though her decision angered local residents and parents, the New York City Board of Education has now come to her defense, prompting a great deal of debate over political correctness in the school system.
Greta Hawkins, principal at P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, found herself in some hot water with parents after she asked teachers to remove the song “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood from the program for the kindergarten graduation ceremony. According to school staff, Hawkins said she was afraid that such a song might “offend other cultures.” Instead, she opted to have Justin Bieber’s hit song “Baby” played during the ceremony.
Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) and other Republicans in Congress have accused President Obama of using security leaks that detail the counter-terror programs of his administration to “build his reputation” before the November elections.
"He's trying to be like George Patton or John Wayne," contended King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, adding,
This is the most shameful cascade of leaks I've ever heard [of] or seen in government. It's clear from those stories this came right from the White House, came right from the National Security Council, came right from the Situation Room. ...
It has to lead to people very high up in the administration in his White House.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being sued by environmental groups for withdrawing New Jersey from the 10-state cap and trade compact. Over the last two years, Christie has been forced to veto legislation that would reinstate New Jersey's position in the cap and trade scheme. The latest push is now coming from environmental groups National Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey and will give Christie an opportunity to solidify his position in court.
The United States continues its slow morphing into Big Brotherdom, this time through the use of cameras in the San Francisco transporation system that predict crimes before they take place based on “suspicious” behavior.
As Spain prepares for a major market test as it tries to access capital on Thursday, its Treasury Minister has announced that Spain has been blocked out of the market.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials have filed a brief in federal district court in opposition to a historian’s bid to unseal records pertaining to the Watergate political scandal in the 1970s, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. While the DOJ agrees that some of the Watergate papers should be released, it remains steadfastly opposed to making public the documents related to wiretap information, claiming that it is safeguarding the privacy rights of innocent people.
The Watergate scandal dates back to an incident on June 17, 1972, when five men affiliated with the Nixon reelection campaign and the CIA were caught breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and arrested. The arrests led to a major cover-up in an attempt to prevent the burglars from being tied to President Nixon.
The Environmental Protection Agency reportedly has been using aircraft to spy on cattle ranchers in Iowa and Nebraska. Nebraska’s congressional delegation recently submitted a joint letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concerns about the surveillance, to which the EPA replied that its use of the craft is well within the legal boundaries, as well as “cost-effective.”
The EPA's surveillance has covered Region 7, comprised of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri, though it has focused primarily on Nebraska and Iowa, because of the high concentration in those two states of livestock feeding operations in watersheds that have histories of contamination.
In an effort to tackle obesity, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sugary drinks over 16 ounces at venues across New York City, including movie theaters and street carts. It does not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy drinks, or even alcoholic beverages. Likewise, it does not apply to drinks sold in grocery stores.
Black Earth, Wisconsin, pastor Philip Caminiti, 55, has been sentenced to two years in prison for preaching a message that was not well-received by some members of the community. The message that landed Caminiti in prison is that parents should be spanking their children when they misbehave, even those as young as two months old, with wooden spoons and rods.
To be clear, Caminiti, pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church, was not accused of physically hurting anyone, or of spanking children himself; he simply preached a message that some found disagreeable.
The United Nations will be pushing for an expansion of its already powerful global environmental agency at this year's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, June 20-22. The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) will be renamed the UN Environmental Organization (UNEO) and promoted to the level of a “specialized agency,” giving it more authority and allowing it to receive more funding.
The ultimate purpose of the organization's restructuring is to support the Sustainable Development division of the UN, the same division that has imposed the radical and highly controversial Agenda 21 policies on nations across the globe.