AZ Gov. Ducey Wants Education Standards Reviewed ‘In Their Entirety’

Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

In a speech to his state’s education board Monday, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona said the math and language arts standards need to be reviewed “in their entirety.” Ducey did not call for Common Core to be repealed outright, however.

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Ducey, who was sworn in earlier this year, reminded the state board that he opposed Common Core during the course of his campaign, even though he did not call for an outright reversal of its repeal Tuesday.

“Our state needs to act so we can move forward,” Ducey said. “Begin by reviewing the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards in their entirety to ensure that our children are well served by the standards you develop—with full transparency.”

This review should include input from people at all levels of education from every corner of our state – including parents, teachers, principals, and content experts – and the focus needs to be on an Arizona solution.

And in any instance during your review, you find situations where Arizona standards can outperform or improve our current standards, I ask you to recommend replacement immediately.

Last week, Ducey’s fellow GOP governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, went a step further by calling for his state to pull out of Common Core altogether and replace them with state-approved standards.

“[T]he standards will be approved by majority vote of both houses of the Legislature through an up or down vote with recommendations sent to BESE for amendments,” Jindal’s office said in a statement. BESE refers to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Bayou State would join Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina as states in leaving Common Core. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia never adopted the federal standards.

h/t: The New York Times

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

BREAKING: What Sheriff Joe Just Admitted Sends Shock Waves Through His Re-Election Campaign

Photo credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

In what one news source describes as a “stunning about face,” Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has reportedly agreed to admit to what he has long denied — that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has violated a federal court order concerning the racial profiling of Latino drivers in an attempt to determine their immigration status.

The Arizona Republic newspaper reports that Arpaio, in a legal motion filed by his attorneys, “will admit he violated a federal judge’s order in his long-running racial-profiling case and agree to accept sanctions by the court….”

Western Journalism has frequently reported on ways in which “America’s toughest sheriff” has taken on the Obama administration, including the filing of a lawsuit seeking to stop the president’s executive amnesty orders from taking effect. Arpaio and the administration have often clashed on the subject of illegal immigration and what to do about it.

Close to two years ago, a federal judge ruled that the sheriff and his department had broken the law by targeting Latino drivers.

“As part of that ruling, [Judge Murray] Snow mapped out the steps Arpaio had to take to ensure his department ended the unconstitutional practice.”

Now, according to reports, Sheriff Joe is no longer claiming that he and his deputies have been complying with the court order; and he is agreeing to a finding of civil contempt.

“Defendants acknowledge and appreciate that they have violated the Court’s orders and that there are consequences for these violations,” his attorney wrote in a court filling on Wednesday.

Possible consequences of Arpaio’s admission include a public acknowledgement of wrongdoing or the establishment of a fund to compensate those targeted in his department’s profiling campaign.

WND quotes from the court filing that Arpaio’s legal team just submitted:

There is nothing Defendants can do to change what has already been done, but through the entry of an order finding them in civil contempt and by implementing remedies discussed herein, Defendants can express sincere remorse to the Court and to Plaintiffs, begin to make amends to those who have been injured and take affirmative steps to ensure nothing like this occurs in the future.

If the federal court orders Arpaio to compensate Latinos who were illegally profiled, the sheriff could find that he has to come up with much, if not most, of that compensation fund himself — a penalty that would sorely deplete any resources he might have to direct toward his re-election campaign.

Western Journalism reported in January that the 82-year-old sheriff intended to run for a 7th term as the top lawman in Maricopa County. When he announced that he was preparing to do battle in “the toughest campaign I have ever run,” Arpaio made no mention of the just-announced development that is likely to have an impact on his hopes of remaining “America’s toughest sheriff.”

h/t: WND

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

The Obama Admin Just Advised Border Agents To Consider Letting Drunk Drivers Go Free

Image Credit: Wiki Commons

As the legal battle rages over President Obama’s now-blocked executive order on amnesty for illegal immigrants, there’s another legal matter that’s stirring controversy for Border Patrol agents in Arizona.

Imagine if these law enforcement officers were told by their superiors — explicitly advised in a written memo — that they could, and possibly should, let drunk drivers go free. In other words, a preferred option for dealing with intoxicated drivers whom those agents stop would be…to let them keep on driving, even if they pose a serious safety risk to themselves or to others.

You don’t need to imagine such an unthinkable scenario — it’s apparently a reality, one that appears to be an offshoot of the Obama administration’s argument about exercising “prosecutorial discretion” at the border.

According to a Fox News report on a memo obtained by the ever-vigilant Judicial Watch: “The Obama administration is telling Customs and Border Protection agents in a busy stretch of the U.S.-Mexico crossing that they don’t have to arrest intoxicated drivers, sparking backlash from advocacy groups and others.”

Of the three options the advisory from Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) presents to border agents in the Tucson, Arizona, region, the recommended alternative for dealing with drunk drivers is to simply let them go on their way. This advisory apparently pertains to encounters with both illegals immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.

The reason DHS reportedly gives for the “let the drunks” go advice, says the Fox News post, is to try to keep the Border Protection agents out of legal trouble.

The advisory makes clear agents have no legal obligation to intervene in state crimes and that with the third option, “there is generally no liability that will attach to the agent or agency for failing to act in this situation.”

The bulletin, reviewed by FoxNews.com, goes so far as to say agents wouldn’t be liable if they allow the driver “to continue down the road and they kill someone.”

The president of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton, believes the DHS advisory to be more about politics than protection for the border agents. But whatever the reason for it, says Fitton, the policy hurts public safety.

“’Families across America are now at risk on the roads, as President Obama and his appointees at the Department of Homeland Security have given illegal aliens a license to drive drunk,’ he said.”

MADD — Mothers Against Drunk Driving — is also mad about the DHS memo and its implications. The Fox News report quotes the president of the organization as saying that all law enforcement officers — no matter who they are or for which agency they work — should follow “standard procedures” when they encounter a drunk driver.

“’Law enforcement is the first line of defense in preventing drunk and drugged driving, and their efforts are crucial to keep our roadways safe.’”

h/t: Fox News

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Arizona Sheriff Calls Out Obama, Insists Our Borders Are Not “More Secure Than Ever”

U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

For all of President Obama’s talk of the border being safer than ever, Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu provided some evidence to the contrary when he spoke before the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of illegal immigration Tuesday.

Babeu, America’s 2011 “Sheriff of the Year” and an Iraq War veteran, testified before the committee that between 88,000 and 123,000 illegal aliens are apprehended at the Tucson Sector, one of nine border-patrol zones along the U.S.-Mexico border, each year. The Tucson Sector covers most of the state of Arizona from the New Mexico state line to the Yuma County line — a total of 262 border miles.

Between 17 and 30 percent of those apprehended have a criminal record in the U.S. “This clearly shows that the border is not more secure than ever,” Babeu said.

He also detailed how 30 to 50 illegal alien criminals are released into Pinal County every day. “These are the people that everybody, including the president, said are the bad actors,” he said. Many of those released have criminal records that include rape, manslaughter, child molestation, financial crimes, armed robbery, and assault against law enforcement.

Babeu said he has asked the federal government for more information regarding those individuals and their criminal histories, but the government refuses to give it to him. “I, as the sheriff, who swore an oath to protect the people of my county, should have a right to that information,” Babeu declared.

He stressed to committee members that the situation is so lawless in some areas of Pinal County — the number one pass through county in America for drug and human smuggling — that it often feels like a war-zone on American soil.

In one day, law enforcement arrested 78 members of a well-known drug cartel and seized 108 illegal weapons. “[These are] not just handguns,” Babeu said. “These are scoped rifles and AK-47s, two of which were traced back to the Fast and Furious operation. This is in my county.”

He also spoke of illegal aliens who serve as scouts for drug-runs, equipped with binoculars and encrypted radios so they can avoid law enforcement. “When I tell a story like that, having served a tour in Iraq and commanded soldiers in the army, it almost appears I’m telling a story of some war-torn area,” Babeu said. “This is on American soil.”

“That’s what’s so disruptive,” he continued, “is the fact that here, as the sheriff, where our primary job is to answer 9-1-1 calls, how on Earth did we get here to this place that local law enforcement is leading the effort to fight criminal syndicates from a foreign nation on American soil?”

“I would urge this Congress,” he said, “to stand up as a lawmaking body, to enforce the laws, just as you expect me and every other law enforcement officer locally to do, and secure the border.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Grand Canyon Covered By A Sea Of Clouds

National Park Service

A temperature inversion at the Grand Canyon National Park Wednesday caused a layer of clouds to settle below the rim, turning the canyon into a sea of clouds. This one minute time-lapse video recorded at Hopi Point on the South Rim represents thirty minutes of cloud movement. The cold air filling the canyon is trapped by warmer air that lies above it, trapping the fog in place.

h/t: Mashable

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom