- Created on 27 November 2013
Photo by AP
When President Barack Obama pardons two overweight turkeys named Carmel and Popcorn during a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, the number of pardons bestowed on semi-flightless birds during his presidency will almost match the number he has granted to human beings convicted of drug crimes.
Despite the administration's recent talk of reforming the criminal justice system, Obama has granted the fewest pardons of any modern president. Of the 39 pardons Obama has granted, just 11 have been for people convicted of drug crimes, according to Department of Justice records. He's granted 10 turkey pardons, sparing the birds from Thanksgiving execution to live out their lives on a farm.
If you count one commutation of sentence Obama granted, which was also for a prisoner convicted of a drug crime, Obama could theoretically even the human-fowl numbers next November if he pardons two more turkeys without granting any more human pardons. A presidential pardon grants a reprieve to a convict and ends the punishment. A commutation modifies the sentence, but doesn't affect the conviction.
Click here to read the rest of the story.
- Created on 27 November 2013
Photo by News One
On Monday, 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke (pictured), who attends Faith Christian Academy in Central Florida, was faced with quite a dilemma.
School officials allegedly mandated that she restyle her natural hair or be expelled for a week. But, just one day after the bizarre request got national media attention, the edict was suddenly rescinded and Vanessa now gets to remain in school with her crowning glory as is, according to WKMG Local 6.
Vanessa has attended the private school for three years and had never experienced any bullying over her hairstyle until now. When Vanessa's mom, Sabrina Kent, approached school officials over her daughter being taunted by classmates because her hair was not straight, they thought it would be in her best interest to straighten it.
The tween, who loves the texture of her hair, talked to Local 6 about her choice of hairstyle. "It says that I'm unique," Vanessa said. "First of all, it's puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it's not straight. I don't fit in."
Kent told the news outlet that the school's threat of expulsion over her daughter's hair was not a solution to her daughter being bullied. "There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they're blaming her," Kent laments. According to the miffed mom, school officials allegedly informed her that Vanessa's hair was a "distraction."
The academy does have a dress code in place which also loops in how students can wear their hair. "Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction," and the stipulations include, but are not limited to, mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.
Despite the school's strict dress codes, Kent is standing firm that her daughter's hairstyle will not change. "I'm going to fight for my daughter," Kent said. "If she wants her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that. There are people out there who may think that natural hair is not appropriate. She is beautiful the way she is."
Faith Christian Academy officials released a statement on Tuesday regarding the hair-raising issue:
"We're not asking her to put products in her hair or cut her hair. We're asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook."
Meanwhile, Vanessa and her mom will be lining up strategies over the Thanksgiving holiday just in case.
To read more, click here.
- Created on 27 November 2013
Photo by Getty Images
The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as "exemplars" of how "personal vulnerabilities" can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority.
The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. "A previous SIGINT" -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications -- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent," the document argues.
Among the vulnerabilities listed by the NSA that can be effectively exploited are "viewing sexually explicit material online" and "using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls."
To read the rest of the story, click here.
- Created on 26 November 2013
Supreme Court associate justices (L-R) Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan attend U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) | Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it will take up the question of whether a for-profit company can refuse to cover contraception for its employees because of religious objections.
Dozens of companies have sued the Obama administration over a rule in the Affordable Care Act requiring most employers -- with the exception of churches and religious non-profits -- to cover the full range of contraceptives in their health insurance plans. The Supreme Court will hear the most high-profile case, filed by the Christian-owned craft supply chain Hobby Lobby, as well as Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, a case filed by a Pennsylvania-based furniture company owned by a family of Mennonites. The cases will be heard together, likely in March 2014, with a decision expected in June.
Read the whole story here.