Obama Administration Awarded $5 Million To Oregon For Signing Up Residents For Food Stamps

September 30, 2011

n its quest to promote taxpayer-funded entitlement programs, the Obama Administration has actually rewarded one state with a $5 million bonus for its efficiency in adding food-stamp recipients to already bulging rolls.

It’s part of the administration’s campaign to eradicate “food insecure households” by improving access and increasing participation in the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Incidentally, the program was recently changed to SNAP to eliminate the stigma that comes with a name like food stamps. Just a few months ago the federal agency that administers the program, the U.S. WASHINGTON, DC – Department of Agriculture (USDA), launched a multi-million-dollar initiative to recruit more food-stamp participants even though the number of recipients has skyrocketed in the last few years.

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This week Oregon officials bragged that the USDA has given the state $5 million in “performance bonuses” for ensuring that people eligible for food benefits receive them and for its “swift processing of applications.” The money comes on the heels of a separate $1.5 million award from the feds for making “accurate payments of food stamp benefits to clients.” So welfare recipients are clients? .

It marks the fifth consecutive year that Oregon has been “recognized” by the federal government for “exceptional administration” of the entitlement program, according to the announcement posted on the state’s Department of Human Services web site. The state official who runs SNAP assures that her staff will “continue working very hard to exceed expectations” so that Oregonians can “put healthy foods on their table quickly.”

Could this be why the number of food-stamp beneficiaries in Oregon has increased dramatically in the last few years? Since 2008 the state has seen a 60% boost in the number of food-stamp recipients, which means that more than 780,000 people (one out of five Oregonians) get groceries compliments of Uncle Sam.

As if this weren’t bad enough, the feds are also giving the state a two-year grant to test an “innovative approach” to the food-stamp “client eligibility review process.” This will make it even easier for people to get food stamps because it grants state officials a waiver that allows them to grant the benefit without interviewing the candidate.

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Immigrations Officers Finally Get Off Their Asses And Arrest 2900 Wetbacks With Criminal Records In Week Long Raid – 1600 With Violent, Sex, And Drug Related Felony Offenses – Including 151 Convicted Sex Offenders And 42 Gang Members

September 28, 2011

US – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested more than 2,900 convicted criminal aliens over the past week as part of “Operation Cross Check,” a law enforcement sweep that spread across all 50 states and four U.S. territories — the largest-ever ICE criminal alien operation.

The arrests came a month after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, bowing to pressure from immigration activists, announced that ICE would focus its interior enforcement efforts in the future on serious criminals and delay deportation cases for most non-criminal immigrants who don’t pose a threat to public safety or national security.

ICE described the arrests as part of the Obama administration’s “ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators.”

The seven-day operation involved more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ 24 field offices, as well as coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down at large criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 2,901 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods across the country.”
From left: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton; Gary Mead, executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations; ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble and James Dinkins, executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations, take part in a news conference to announce results of ICE-led enforcement targeting at-large criminal aliens on Sept. 28, 2011, in Washington. (Associated Press)From left: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton; Gary Mead, executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations; ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble and James Dinkins, executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations, take part in a news conference to announce results of ICE-led enforcement targeting at-large criminal aliens on Sept. 28, 2011, in Washington. (Associated Press)

In August, Ms. Napolitano said the agency would proceed on deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who met certain criteria, such as attending school, having family in the military or having primary responsible for other family members’ care. She told Congress said has the discretion under the law to focus on “priorities” and her department and the Justice Department would review all ongoing cases to see who met the new criteria.

“This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,” she said at the time. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.”

All of the 2,901 persons taken into custody over the past week have prior criminal convictions including at least 1,282 who have multiple criminal charges. More than 1,600 of those arrested had felony convictions including manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault.

Of the total 2,901 criminal aliens arrested, ICE officials said 42 were members of known street gangs and 151 were convicted sex offenders.

Immigration legislation has been stalled in Congress for years as Democrats and Republicans have sparred over what to include. Republicans generally favor stricter enforcement and a temporary program that would allow workers in the country for some time, but eventually return to their home countries. Democrats want the legislation to include legalization of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country, and want a future guest-worker program to include a path to citizenship so those workers can stay permanently.

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Federal Judge Upholds Majority Of New Alabama Immigration Laws Targeting Wetbacks

September 28, 2011

ALABAMA – A federal judge on Wednesday said Alabama law enforcement officers can try to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, but blocked other parts of the state’s new crackdown law, which is considered the toughest in the country.

Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn generally let stand the parts of the law that allow the state to enforce its own penalties if they match already existing federal laws, such as being in the country illegally. She also upheld a provision requiring schools to determine if students are in the United States legally.

“Nothing in the text of [federal immigration law] expressly preempts states from legislating on the issue of verification of an individual’s citizenship and immigration status,” she wrote. “There is also nothing in the [law] which reflects congressional intent that the United States occupy the field as it pertains to the identification of persons unlawfully present in the United States.”

But the judge did block parts of Alabama’s law that she said go beyond federal code, such as the provision that makes it a state crime for an illegal immigrant to apply for or solicit work, or for someone to transport an illegal immigrant.

The Obama administration had asked the court to block 10 provisions in the law, but the judge agreed to halt just four. The other six she allowed to go into effect while a full trial proceeds.
People gather in front of the Alabama State Capitol for a rally against Alabama’s HB56 on Aug. 28, 2011, in Montgomery, Ala. (Associated Press)People gather in front of the Alabama State Capitol for a rally against Alabama’s HB56 on Aug. 28, 2011, in Montgomery, Ala. (Associated Press)

It marks a major victory for Alabama, which passed the law during its legislative session earlier this year.

Late last month Judge Blackburn had halted the entire law, saying she needed more time to consider the complex arguments and study the issue. But she had promised a ruling by the end of this month.

In upholding enforcement parts of the law, she reached a different conclusion from the one that both federal district and appeals courts reached on Arizona’s similar law.

But in her 115-page opinion Wednesday, Judge Blackburn said as long as state laws or regulations aren’t inconsistent with the intent of Congress, they are allowed.

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Romulus Michigan Police Officers, Former Police Chief, And Chief’s Wife Arrested In Corruption Probe

September 28, 2011

ROMULUS, MICHIGAN – Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy announced charges in the corruption probe of several Romulus Police Department law enforcement officers.

The press conference was held on the 12th floor of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in Detroit.

Former Romulus Police Chief Mike St. Andre, his wife and five officers were arrested or turned themselves in to the Michigan State Police Monday.

All seven were released on personal bonds after being arraigned in 34th District Court Tuesday afternoon.

The presiding judge is allowing the officers to keep their firearms but they have been ordered to stay away from all former informants and current witnesses involved in the case.

Charges are as follows:

Former Chief Michael St. Andre is facing 10 felony counts that include Conducting a Criminal Enterprise which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

For his wife Sandra Kay Vlaz-St. Andre, she faces four counts including Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and Receiving and Concealing Stolen Property over $20,000.00.

Detective Richard Balzer is facing seven felony criminal counts including Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and Misconduct in Office.

Officer Donald Hopkins is facing a seven counts including a charge of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and Misconduct in Office.

Detective Richard Landry is charged with a seven count felony. He’s accused of conspiracy and embezzlement.

Officer Jeremy Channells is facing a three felonies including Misconduct in Office and Neglect of Duty.

Detective Larry Droege faces Misconduct in Office and Neglect of Duty.

The arrests follow a more than three-year investigation into alleged misconduct in the department’s drug enforcement unit, sources tell Action News.

Michigan State Police raided the police department in March and have been leading the investigation in conjunction with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Also raided at that time was St. Andre’s home in Garden City and his wife’s tanning salon in Westland.

The Action News Investigators broke the story of how MSP has been looking for evidence to support allegations that tens of thousands of dollars had been taken from the police department’s drug forfeiture accounts. At least one kilo of cocaine used by undercover officers in reverse drug buys was also missing.

Prosecutor Worthy says some of the charges relate to hookers and drugs used by the officers. There also are allegations that some officers on the drug enforcement team may have “padded overtime,” putting in for extra hours they really didn’t work.

Romulus Mayor Alan Lambert released the following statement about the charges:

“For several years, we have cooperated fully with an investigation by the Michigan State Police into the Romulus Police Department,” Mayor Lambert said. “After hearing the Wayne County Prosecutor discuss the charges, I am very disappointed in the actions that were alleged. The end result will be a matter of due process.

“As a former police officer, I know the importance of public trust and integrity – especially in matters of public safety. I will work with other elected officials and our new Police Chief Robert Dickerson to strengthen the faith and trust between our residents and our Police Department. I hired Chief Dickerson because he has a strong background in law enforcement and police administrative operations and I will work with him to move this department forward.

“The charges against these five officers and our former police chief are not indicative of our entire Police Department. Our police officers are dedicated, professional individuals who uphold the law. They agree with me: that keeping our neighborhoods safe is our top priority.”

The new Romulus Police Chief Robert Dickerson spoke at the city council meeting on Monday night as well as the Mayor, assuring the people that this should not be a reflection of the entire department; it is just a handful of individuals. Dickerson said “I can move on without a cloud over the department.” And the Mayor Alan Lambert said, “I want the people to know the Police Department will protect them.”

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Dinner With Disgraced President Barack Obama? Three Bucks…

September 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – The emails from the Barack Obama reelect about winning a dinner with the president as a randomized reward for contributing to the campaign have gotten a bit more intense as time goes on, and the latest one, from the first lady, emphasizes that the winner of such a prize shouldn’t freak out about it.

“Just relax,” she advises.

The email is below.

From: Michelle Obama [mailto:info@barackobama.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 2:34 PM
To:
Subject: These dinners

XXXX —

Not everyone knows how to prepare for a dinner like this. As someone who’s eaten countless meals with my husband, I want to tell you the one thing to do if you’re selected to join him…

Just relax. Barack wants this dinner to be fun, and he really loves getting to know supporters like you.

I hope you’ll take him up on it before Friday’s deadline.

Will you donate $3 or more today and be entered to have dinner with Barack?

These dinners mean a lot to Barack. They’re a chance for him to talk with a few of the people who are driving the campaign — and a chance for him to say thank you.

So come prepared to tell your story, and say whatever’s on your mind.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be there. Donate $3 today, before the September 30th deadline:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Dinner

Thanks,

Michelle

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$77,000,000 Taxpayer Funded Runway Planned In The Middle Of Nowhere

September 28, 2011

ALASKA – Remember Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $400 million span that was supposed to connect Ketchikan to its airport on sparsely inhabited Gravina Island? The project gained infamy in 2005 as a waste of taxpayer dollars and the funds earmarked for it were withheld. The 8,000 residents of Ketchikan continue to be connected to their airport by ferry.

Fast forward six years and another remote Alaskan airport project is raising questions about how the government spends money.

The price this time is $77 million and the place in Akutan, a remote island village in the Aleutian chain, according to a report from the Alaska Dispatch.

By next winter Akutan is scheduled to have a 4,500-foot-long runway, built at a cost of $64 million ($59 million in federal and $5 million state funds), the Dispatch reports. The problem is, the runway is on Akun Island, 6 miles from the village across the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea. Plying those waters can be tricky with seas over 6 feet and winds above 30 mph.

Original plans called for using a hovercraft – at a cost of $11 million – to ferry passengers from Akutan to Akun. But, the Dispatch points out, the same model hovercraft planned for the route has proven unreliable under similar conditions elsewhere in Alaska. And when it did run, operating losses were in the millions.

Now, transportation officials are considering using a helicopter to ferry passengers from Akutan, according to the Dispatch report. Cost of that is still being determined.

Should officials get it all figured out and funded, who’ll benefit? Akutan has a year-round population of 100, but that spikes to about 1,000 in the summer when Trident Seafoods processing plant, the largest seafood processing plant in North America, is in operation, the Dispatch reports. Trident is contributing $1 million to the project, the Dispatch says.

And why is this necessary? Air service to Akutan is now provided by World War II-era amphibious aircraft operated by Peninsula Airways. Those are becoming increasing difficult to maintain, Peninsula Vice President Brian Carricaburu told the Dispatch.

Carricaburu also says the runway could cut the government’s costs in one way. Peninsula Airways routes to Akutan are now subsidized by about $700,000 annually under the federal Essential Air Service program. Using bigger, more efficient aircraft could bring that cost down, he told the Dispatch.

But to reach that point, it looks like a lot of figurative bridges have to be crossed.

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Department Of Homeland Security Official Anthony Mangione Suspended, Arrested, Charged With Child Pornography In Florida

September 28, 2011

MIAMI, FLORIDA – The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for south Florida has been arrested on child pornography charges, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Anthony Mangione, 50, of Parkland, Florida, was charged in a three-count indictment unsealed Wednesday with transportation of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography, authorities said in a statement.

“According to the indictment, between March 2010 and September 2010, Mangione allegedly transported and received visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” the statement said. “The indictment also alleges that Mangione possessed electronically stored messages that contained additional images of child pornography during the same time period.”

Mangione was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents and made an initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida.

During the appearance, Mangione pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to CNN affiliate WPTV. Both the prosecution and the defense requested he undergo a psychological evaluation, and the judge approved that request.

“The government has concerns that given the magnitude of the charges, that he might melt down,” defense attorney David Howard told WPTV. “So there is … real concern, and it’s going to be addressed.”

Mangione, a 27-year law enforcement veteran, wore a gray jumpsuit with “federal prisoner” on the back in court Wednesday, and his hands and feet were shackled, WPTV said. He made no statement during the hearing.

He was being held in the Broward County, Florida, jail, according to jail records.

A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media said Mangione has been on leave from his job at ICE. WPTV reported he was placed on paid administrative leave in April amid a federal investigation into four images on his home computer he allegedly received via e-mail.

According to its website, ICE targets and investigates child pornographers, child sex tourists and facilitators and human smugglers and traffickers of minors, among others. The agency developed Operation Predator, which it describes as “an initiative to identify, investigate and arrest child predators and sexual offenders.”

If convicted, Mangione faces up to 20 years in prison, the Department of Justice said. He also faces a term of supervised release from five years to life following his prison sentence and he will be required to register as a sex offender.

Asked about the Mangione case on Wednesday at a news conference on another matter, ICE director John Morton said his agency cooperated fully with the investigation, but he declined to comment further.

The case is being investigated by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, the Department of Justice said. Broward County referred questions to federal authorities, and the FBI referred them to the Department of Justice.

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