10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
AP Wire
Jan 31, 2014

1. AMANDA KNOX'S CONVICTION UPHELD

From her mother's home in Seattle, the U.S. student says she's "saddened and frightened" by the Italian court's decision.

2. PROSECUTORS SEEK DEATH FOR BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECT

The government says Chechen native Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "betrayed his allegiance" to the U.S. with the bombing that killed three and wounded hundreds.

3. NEXT STEPS FOR GOP ON IMMIGRATION

Party leaders are circulating a proposed pathway to a legal status — but not citizenship — for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

4. WHO'S ACCUSING SYRIA OF STALLING

The U.S. warns Damascus that it needs to speed up the surrender of its chemical weapons.

5. UKRAINIANS WAIT FOR OTHER SHOE TO DROP

Calling out sick amid his nation's deep turmoil, President Yanukovych sets off a raging debate about what's likely to happen next.

6. MISSOURI EXECUTES INMATE BEFORE APPEAL RESOLVED

Lawyers for Herbert Smulls say his is the third straight case in which the state has moved ahead before all court action has been dealt with.

7. HOW TORONTO'S MAYOR HAS BEEN UPSTAGED

An assault charge for pop star Justin Bieber has shifted the city's attention from the embattled Rob Ford.

8. SCHOOL SHAMED FOR SEIZING LUNCHES

The Salt Lake City School District apologizes and says it's investigating why elementary students owing money on their accounts had their meals tossed.

9. WHERE BILL DE BLASIO WILL BE SUNDAY

Not at the Super Bowl — even though it's being played in his own backyard. The new NYC mayor says he'll watch the game at home rather than foot the bill for the high-priced event.

10. NASCAR CREATES WINNER-TAKE-ALL SEASON FINALE

It's the latest and most radical change to the Chase for the Sprint Cup format.

Comments

tetrahydra

11. Body parts found in garbage bags in St. Clair county. http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/31/ju...

Tri-cities realist

#3. The border needs to be secured before ANY amnesty is considered. I'm surprised that there are some Americans who don't see the need to secure the border. Reagan got duped into granting amnesty without a secure border, have we learned the lesson?

Vladtheimp

ICE officer slams Obama for illegal immigrants attending State of the Union

“We have a President who will provide those illegally in the US with the seat of honor at one of the most important events of the year, but ICE officers who serve under him are unwelcome in the White House.” http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/2...

Lanivan

I am disappointed you didn't highlight Tea Party Texas Rep Steve Stockman, who walked out in the middle of President Obama's SOTU address the other evening, mumbling something about Obama being a big unconstitutional meanie. Rep Stockman, who, by the way, has not shown up at the House since January 9 - too busy "campaigning" (gee, Rep Stockman, you should file a complaint that the 113 out of 365 days that are scheduled for actual work in the 2014 House is just too much for guys like you - and besides, it's probably all Obama's fault, think of points that could be scored!!!), is the guy who invited to have the "seat of honor at one of the most important events of the year" last year as his honored guest, Ted Nugent, of course.

This is the very same Ted Nugent, a gun enthusiast who sits on the board of the NRA, who allegedly failed his medical exam to get out of serving his country during the Vietnam War by abstaining from any personal hygiene for 30 days prior, including using the commode, and taking meth just prior; who supposedly has admitted to being a pedophile, having a fondness for young girls; and who famously quipped that if Obama was re-elected in 2012, he would either end up dead or in jail (hmmmm, Nuge - it's 2014, times a'wastin'!)

Contrast this gent with Obama's guest - Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, Army Ranger, who was severely wounded during his 10th deployment.

Oh, wait - now I understand why you didn't highlight Steve Stockman's courageous action of patriotic valor.

Vladtheimp

Shiny objects - I quote the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union about Obama not meeting with his officers while inviting an illegal to the SOU and you bring up allegations about Ted Nugent from 40+ years ago - pure desperation.

Vladtheimp

What's really sad is that the STUPID Party (Republicans) think we are so stupid as well.

Lanivan

Of course, you do realize there has been greater border security under Obama than most other presidents; there has been many more deportations of illegals with criminal records under Obama than any other president by far; and there has been more money budgeted for border security under Obama. http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl...

http://www.politifact.com/florid...

Vladtheimp

As per usual, you are parroting Obama Administration lies - here is what a respected independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization says, based on actual research and data:

"This report examines data from a collection of mostly unpublished internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE statistics, to provide an alternative evaluation of the administration’s record on immigration enforcement that is based on raw statistics rather than pre-packaged press kits. These statistics show that, contrary to what is commonly believed, in fact immigration enforcement in the interior has slowed significantly in the last few years. ICE is arresting and removing noticeably fewer illegal aliens from the interior now than was the case five years ago, and even two years ago. Its focus has shifted away from interior enforcement in favor of processing aliens who are apprehended by the Border Patrol."

Key Findings:

The number of deportations resulting from interior enforcement by ICE declined by 19 percent from 2011 to 2012, and is on track to decline another 22 percent in 2013.

In 2012, the year the Obama administration claimed to break enforcement records, more than one-half of removals attributed to ICE were the result of Border Patrol arrests that would never have been counted as a removal in prior years. In 2008, under the Bush administration, only one-third of removals were from Border Patrol arrests.

Total deportations in 2011, the latest year for which complete numbers are available, numbered 715,495 – the lowest level since 1973. The highest number of deportations on record was in 2000, under the Clinton administration, when 1,864,343 aliens were deported.

When claiming record levels of enforcement, the Obama administration appears to count only removals, which are just one form of deportation, and only a partial measure of enforcement. Beginning in 2011, a shift of some of the routine Border Patrol case load to ICE enabled the administration to count an artificially high number of removals. ICE is doing less enforcement with more resources. Despite reporting more encounters in 2013 than 2012, ICE agents pursued deportation of 20 percent fewer aliens this year than last.

Enforcement activity declined in every ICE field office from 2011 to 2013, with the biggest declines in the Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Washington DC/Virginia, and Houston field offices.

Criminal alien arrests declined by 11 percent from 2012 to 2013, despite the completion of the Secure Communities program, which generates more referrals of arrested aliens than ever before. ICE agents took a pass on hundreds of thousands of aliens who were arrested by local authorities in those years.

ICE is carrying a case load of 1.8 million aliens who are either in removal proceedings or have already been ordered removed. Less than two percent are in detention, which is the only proven way to ensure departure.

As of the end of July 2013 there were 872,000 aliens – nearly half of ICE’s total docket – who had been ordered removed but who had not left the country.

The State Department continues to issue tens of thousands of visas annually to citizens of countries that refuse to take back their countrymen who are ordered removed from the United States. Many of these are violent criminals.

The whole report is instructive for people who are interested in the truth. http://www.cis.org/ICE-Illegal-I...

Vladtheimp

#2. Hundreds of career prosecutors revolt against Eric Holder

"The legislation Holder supports, known as the Durbin-Lee bill, would overturn the current mandatory minimum sentences not only for marijuana violations but for all drug offenses, including major and repeat trafficking in heroin, meth, PCP and other extremely dangerous, and often lethal, drugs." http://www.powerlineblog.com/arc...

sirhansalot

THe truth about mandatory minimum sentences

"Restrictive sentencing guidelines and statutory mandatory minimum sentences have taken away the discretion of judges to tailor sentences to fit the individual circumstances of particular crimes and offenders. Thus the traditional requirement mandated by the Eighth Amendment that punishment maintain some proportion to the crime committed has been abandoned in the name of the 'war on drugs.'

The result is the sentencing of many non-violent drug offenders to unjustly harsh prison terms where they crowd prisons already filled above capacity....

Adding to this problem is the fact that mandatory minimums, designed with the noble intention of reducing the racial inequalities too often resulting from judicial sentencing discretion, in practice simply shifts discretion from the judge to the prosecutor. Prosecutors retain the power to plea bargain by offering defendants plea agreements that avoid the mandatory penalty. Studies have shown that this discretion results in a disparity in sentencing outcomes based largely on race and quality of defense attorney....

These harsher sentencing guidelines, and the billions of dollars poured into enforcement efforts, the incarceration of offenders, and the building of new prisons each year, have failed to curb drug use, which is still on the rise.

Vladtheimp

For the record, the material quoted is from one side of the argument as presented by the ACLU . . . .

sirhansalot

Truth hurts sometimes

Former Grandhavenite

Mandatory minimums are a massive infringement of constitutional rights and the separation of powers, and increasing numbers of people across the political spectrum are recognizing that. Even if one still supports the authoritarian view that big government should get to decide which drugs you can and can't put in your own body, a reasonable approach would be to do the cost-benefit analysis on whether or not mandatory minimums are effective enough as a deterrent to be worth the massive amount of tax dollars spent on them and the increase in the size of the federal government.

Given the sterling record of making drugs impossible to get and the unbroken string of successes that the war on some drugs has racked up since the "Marihuana Tax Act of 1937", it would be an interesting position for a conservative to take. Also, notice the attempt to demonize and 'other-ize' the drug itself by using a term that was completely unknown to the public at the time, and then spelling it incorrectly to make it even a bit more alien and unfamiliar. Since it was an unprecedented expansion in the size and the authority of the federal government at the expense of state, local, and individual rights, they knew they had to pull out all the stops. I recommend checking out the educational documentary Reefer Madness to get a full picture of the dangers posed by the drug...

Vladtheimp

12. TAX DOLLARS AT WORK FOR OBAMACARE

California spends $1.37M on ObamaCare web stream featuring Richard Simmons http://youtu.be/ZJQXkIEqMMA

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/...

ghresident

Thanks Vlad, I just threw up in my mouth a little.............

Vladtheimp
tetrahydra

Interesting article, it saddens me very deeply to think of how many children feel ashamed of something that was not their fault. His explanation is off to me, why did he feel the need to distribute the material if he was only doing it because of a personal connection. Suicide was an easy way out without having to really explain himself.

watchingyou

Here is something that I for some reason can't find anywhere on the news today. Coverup? One of my employees was involved in an accident yesterday involving a Hamilton School Bus. There was Zero visibility and cars were traveling slowly through a drifted section of road when a school bus slammed into the rear of an oncoming car pushing that car into his. The driver of the car that got hit ended up with several staples in her head and parents ended up having to pick the kids up from the accident scene and were doing so 2 hours after the crash. I know it has nothing to do with Grand haven but why is there nothing about it anywhere? Were any kids hurt? Why was the bus traveling so fast in those conditions?

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