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January 1, Federal judge rules that Obama-era DACA program is illegal

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Hello Americans,

A federal judge ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program shielding certain undocumented immigrants from deportation, is illegal. Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling would bar future applications, and does not immediately cancel the hundreds of thousands of current permits. Hanen ruled that Congress had not granted the Department of Homeland Security the authority to create DACA and that it prevented immigration officials from enforcing expulsion terms of the Immigration and Nationality act. “Congress has not granted the Executive Branch free rein to grant lawful presence outside the ambit of the statutory scheme,” Hanen wrote. The Trump administration tried disbanding DACA in 2017 but was blocked by the Supreme Court.

In Oregon, smoke and heat from a massive wildfire are creating giant “fire clouds” — dangerous columns of smoke and ash that can reach up to 6 miles in the sky and are visible from more than 100 miles away. The Bootleg fire is currently the largest wildfire burning in the US, reaching about 75 square miles on Friday — bigger than the size of New York City. The fire was so dangerous that crews were pulled out. Meteorologists spotted a more extreme version of the fire clouds — colloquially referred to by NASA as the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.” Both types of clouds pose serious risks for firefighters. “Please send positive thoughts and well wishes to the firefighters. … It’s a tough time for them right now,” the National Weather Service said via Twitter.

President Joe Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” amid the censorship kerfuffle. Biden was asked about his message for platforms like Facebook as he left the White House for a weekend trip to Camp David. “They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden said. His comments came after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is “regularly” communicating with Facebook and other social media platforms on the “latest narratives dangerous to public health” that they think should be censored.

In California, two men were charged with plotting to attack the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento. According to the unsealed indictment, Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, started coordinating to attack Democratic targets in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Prosecutors said that Copeland reached out to the far-right group the Proud Boys in an effort to “recruit others to join the plot.” The pair exchanged numerous messages wherein they discussed blowing up buildings, the DOJ said. “I want to blow up a democrat building bad,” Rogers told Copeland in January 2021. “I agree,” Copeland responded. “Plan attack.” Authorities seized a stockpile of weapons from Rogers’ home including over 45 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs.

An 18-year-old will be accompanying a billionaire to space. The mystery bidder who put up a staggering $28 million for an 11-minute ride to the edge of space alongside Jeff Bezos will not make the trip, according to Bezos’rocket company Blue Origin. 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will take the seat instead, and will become the youngest person ever to fly to space. Daemen was a participant in the auction, but the amount he paid has not been disclosed. The flight is slated for July 20.

Illinois signed a bill into law that bars police from lying to minors during interrogations, becoming the first state to do so. Commonly used interrogation tactics like insinuating that incriminating evidence exists or promising leniency are officially banned in the state starting January 1, 2022. These types of interrogation methods have played a part in approximately 30% of all wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA, according to the Innocence Project. “In Illinois alone, there have been 100 wrongful convictions predicated on false confessions, including 31 involving people under 18 years of age,”  said Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project.

Stay safe,

Fraser Dixon

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Man Arrested for Looting Was Out on Bail for Grisly Crime

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Philadelphia, a city under siege, has witnessed the arrest of over 50 individuals in a two-day crime spree, causing the demise of numerous businesses. Among those arrested is Kenneth Frye, a suspect in a recent burglary who was out on bail connected to a significant murder case from the previous year.

The city’s police department apprehended Frye for looting a Fine Wine & Good Spirits store located in West Philadelphia. Previously, Frye, who once worked as a bouncer, was charged in connection to the death of Eric Pope. It’s reported by FOX 29 that he fatally punched Pope outside Tabu Lounge in Center City. Initially charged with 3rd-degree murder, a motion has been filed by the District Attorney’s office to reduce the charge to Involuntary Murder.

This wave of criminal activity, spurred by social media, resulted in numerous arrests, involving both adults and juveniles, and is just a snapshot of the broader chaos infiltrating the city.

Charges ranging from Rioting to Burglary and Disorderly Conduct have been filed against the arrested individuals, with many arrests occurring at notable establishments such as Lululemon, T-Mobile, and Walgreens.

Arrests include:

  • Aauanyae Haynes, a Black female, 19
  • Sabree Young, a Black female, 31
  • Steven Wells, a Black male, 26
  • Traqwan Word, a Black male, 24
  • Lisa Talley, a Black female, 34
  • Yasmine Fields, a Black female, 23
  • Kenneth Frye, a Black male, 24
  • Kyreek Leak, a Black male, 21
  • Reginal Alexander, Black male, 33
  • Gabriel Gines, a Hispanic male, 23
  • Alena Gigliotti, a White female, 26
  • Petra Gonzalez, a White female, 24
  • Jessica Blake, a Black female, 37
  • Semaj Suber, a Black female, 29
  • Aniya Taylor, a Black female, 21
  • Hartzog Mashaad, a Black male, 27
  • Isis Morgan, a Black female, 23
  • Khalilah Green, a Black female, 21
  • Ernest McCollum, a Black male, 31
  • Jessica Arnold-Coit, a Black female, 30
  • Quanika McQueen, a Black female, 31
  • Denzel Walker, a Black male, 27
  • Mikal Reed, a Black male, 26
  • Tyheed Hill, a Black male, 26
  • Anthony Abner, a Black male, 35

Per Fox News, three juveniles — a 14-year-old Black male, a 16-year-old Black male and a 14-year-old Black female — were also arrested for Rioting, Burglary, Disorderly Conduct, and Theft at a Lululemon store, according to the report.

This spree of destruction and lawlessness is indicative of the escalating disorder in the city, exemplified by the arrest of Frye, who, despite his involvement in a serious murder case, was back on the streets only to be implicated in further criminal activity.

The city remains in a state of turmoil as businesses struggle to recover, and residents live in the shadow of relentless criminal activity.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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One Third of the Entire Country’s Homeless Population Lives in This State

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The staggering issue of homelessness looms large over California, with the state hosting nearly a third of the nation’s rising homeless population, which stands at 582,462 people according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the bustling city of San Francisco, Anthony, a former restaurant worker who has lived in a tent for three years, is just one of over 170,000 unhoused Californians.

The city’s inflated living cost, with average rent for a one-bedroom apartment being roughly $3,000 a month, starkly contrasts with its minimum wage of $18.07 an hour, leaving many like Nelly Sorto, a full-time cleaner and a mother of two, struggling to break into the rental market.

Anthony, a former chef, has experienced the vicious cycle of homelessness firsthand, stating, “Once you get behind, you just can’t get up,” to ABC News.

The economic downturn during the pandemic left many like him, striving to find a permanent home and bouncing from street to street as city officials clear their encampments.

This visible homelessness crisis is often attributed to several factors, including the high cost of living related to the tech boom and mental health issues experienced by many individuals.

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, said to ABC News, “California has systemic issues in terms of its housing affordability… So, what we need to do in California is really have a massive investment to offset that difference between incomes and rent.”

The rising number of encampments has sparked frustration across the state, with residents like Jeanne Vasquez expressing concern over safety and the declining quality of life in their areas.

In July, Vasquez conveyed her discontent to ABC Los Angeles, citing instances of broken glass, needles on the ground, and inappropriate behaviors exhibited by individuals dealing with mental illnesses.

To combat this escalating issue, President Joe Biden announced an investment of an extra $3 billion focusing on support services including rental assistance, legal help, and job search support, with a particular emphasis on veterans.

However, GOP presidential hopefuls like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have utilized the grim reality of the homelessness crisis in blue states to critique Democratic leadership.

Trump has been vocal about his stance on “urban camping,” promising to ban it and offering rehabilitation options for violators, as mentioned in one of his campaign ads.

However, Friedenbach argues that such policies essentially criminalize the homeless and advocates for a more comprehensive approach involving the federal government investing in housing vouchers, long-term housing subsidies, and reforms in mental health and substance use treatment systems.

She believes that this crisis is a “manufactured issue” created by a “lack of investment” and calls for active listening from the federal government to truly understand and address the needs of the unhoused people.

Despite the relentless efforts of San Francisco outreach teams, many unhoused individuals either decline offers of shelter or already have shelter but cannot be compelled to come inside, as per a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.

While some, like Anthony, have been offered a place to stay, the glaring reality remains that thousands are still on the streets yearning for a place to call home, with at least 350 unhoused individuals still on the waitlist for housing in San Francisco.

The pervasive crisis necessitates immediate, profound measures and substantial investments to bridge the substantial gap between incomes and rent, and to address the systemic issues contributing to the surge in homelessness.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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Parents in Fear as Prowler in White Van Targets Children

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New London, Connecticut, is in a state of heightened alert as reports emerge of a man attempting to lure children into his white van.

The New London Police Department, in conjunction with the New London School District, is rigorously working to identify the suspect, whose latest sighting occurred near Bennie Dover Middle School.

The suspect is described as either White or Hispanic with black hair and a beard, which is either black or gray. The vehicle he’s been spotted in has tinted windows.

Residents of New London are understandably rattled.

“It makes me terrified; it makes me sick to my stomach,” expressed Mystique Elefante in a conversation with WFSB.com.

With an infant daughter of her own, Elefante vocalized her fears, stating she’s “afraid for my daughter to grow up,” amidst such unsettling reports.

For New London Police Capt. Matt Galante, the situation demands immediate attention and stringent precautionary measures. Galante advises students to maintain groups for safety and to vocally alarm others if danger is sensed.

“Scream, yell, make as loud a sound as you possibly can. Scream for help,” he told WFSB. “There are strength in numbers. We encourage kids walking home from school to walk together.”

This alarming incident has prompted a community-wide call to vigilance. Capt. Galante emphasized the urgency of alertness within the community and the role of every individual in maintaining a watchful eye.

“We wanted to get the message out to parents and the community at large that this may be happening within our community and for people to be vigilant and look for these types of events,” he mentioned to NBC Connecticut.

The New London Police Department has urged anyone with relevant information to come forward, allowing for anonymous tips to be sent to the New London Tips 411 system.

The involvement of the community is crucial in aiding the ongoing investigation to ensure the safety of the young residents of New London, as law enforcement intensifies its efforts to locate the prowler and his vehicle.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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