Poll: Majority Think Letting 9-Year-Old Play Without Supervision Should Be Illegal

Philip Wegmann /

A South Carolina woman, Debra Harell, was arrested last month for letting her daughter play unsupervised in the park.

According to a new poll released by Reason magazine, the majority of Americans agree that it should be illegal to leave children unattended at the park.

>>> Mom Put in Jail For Letting 9-Year-Old Play in Park Alone

The national poll finds that 68 percent of Americans would make unsupervised child’s play for kids under 9 years old at a public park illegal. An opposing 28 percent believe children younger than 9 should be allowed to play in a public park unaccompanied by a parent.

According to the poll, party politics doesn’t reflect a disparity. Democrats and Republicans seem to agree for the most part that children should remain under the close eye of an adult.

As children grow older, the demographics shift slightly: 53 percent of Americans believe 12 year old children should be allowed to play unsupervised in the park, while 43 percent believe they should not.

Paycheck for Terrorism: $5,300 for Suicide Attack - Daily Signal

Paycheck for Terrorism: $5,300 for Suicide Attack

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson /

For the first time, startling details are being made public about the millions of dollars funneled from Middle East charities to Islamic terrorists and their families.

Families of Islamic suicide bombers received a $5,300 payment.

The money was used to reward terrorists and their families after attacks on Israelis and U.S. nationals visiting Israel between 2000 and 2005 during the second intifada or Palestinian uprising.

The evidence was presented today in a landmark case in New York federal court. Three hundred U.S. nationals claim Arab Bank knowingly provided financial services to terrorists and their financiers in violation of the U.S. anti-terrorism law. Arab Bank contends it did not knowingly serve terrorists.

Palestians shout as they follow an empty coffin for Palestinian suicide bomber Wafa Idris. Middle East charities are under scrutiny for financially rewarding families for the suicide attacks. (Photo: Abbas Momani/Newscom)

Palestinians shout as they follow an empty coffin for suicide bomber Wafa Idris. Middle East charities are under scrutiny for financially rewarding families for the suicide attacks. (Photo: Abbas Momani/Newscom)

Bank documents reveal an elaborate system for which Amman, Jordan-based Arab Bank served as the center point. Some Israelis refer to the bank as the “Grand Central Station of terrorist financing.”

Millions of dollars were funneled from Middle East charities to Islamic terrorists.

For example, bank documents allegedly show that a dozen Middle Eastern charities with links to the terrorist group Hamas and other radical Islamic groups transferred $32 million to Arab Bank during the second intifada. The money was then allegedly paid out to families of suicide bombers and other Palestinians who engaged in acts of terrorism against Jews.

An additional charity, the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds, sent nearly $100 million through Arab Bank. The plaintiff’s analysis of bank records indicates $32 million of it ended up being distributed as cash payments to martyrs and their families, including the families of suicide bombers, and the rest was distributed to other Hamas-controlled charities.

140821_Sharyl_CHART

According to evidence presented by the plaintiffs today, based on bank documents, families of suicide bombers received a $5,300 payment, or about four times the average annual Palestinian income at the time of $1,600. If a martyr was wounded but not killed, he received $2,655. If a martyr was arrested and jailed, the family received $1,325. The recipients simply showed up at an Arab Bank branch, presented identification, and received the cash.

>>> Arab Bank Accused of Helping Reward Hamas Suicide Bombers in Terrorism Case

Under anti-terrorism law, it’s illegal for banks to do business with designated terrorist entities or with groups that they  know or have reason to believe are linked to terrorists or terrorist activity.

That’s where the two sides sharply differ.

Arab Bank's main offices in the Jordanian capital, Amman. (Photo: Khalil Mazraawi/Newscom)

Arab Bank’s main offices in the Jordanian capital, Amman. (Photo: Khalil Mazraawi/Newscom)

Arab Bank’s attorney told jurors in opening statements last week that the Saudi Committee was a legitimate humanitarian group that was never a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. Arab Bank also claimed that any business it may have conducted with terrorists or terrorist groups was limited in nature and entirely unintentional, due to typos or mistakes in screening.

Under U.S. law, it’s illegal for banks to do business with designated terrorist entities.

In 2005, Arab Bank settled a U.S. Treasury Department investigation into alleged money laundering and terrorist financing by paying a $24 million fine without admitting wrongdoing.

The plaintiffs in the New York trial are seeking monetary damages and financial penalties from Arab Bank.

This is a Daily Signal special feature.

Cartoon: Democrats React to Rick Perry’s Indictment - Daily Signal

Cartoon: Democrats React to Rick Perry’s Indictment

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden /

Is this what they wanted?

140821_Cartoon_Foden

Teacher Support of Common Core Drops Dramatically - Daily Signal

Teacher Support of Common Core Drops Dramatically

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona /

Schoolteachers’ support of Common Core national education standards has dropped significantly since 2013.

The annual PDK/Gallup poll, released on Wednesday, found that 60 percent of Americans oppose Common Core because they fear the national standards will limit teachers’ flexibility to teach effectively.

EducationNext’s 2014 opinion poll, which was released earlier this week, found teacher opposition to Common Core more than tripled—from 12 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2014:

“In 2013, teachers were more positive in their views of the Common Core than the public (76 percent compared to 65 percent), but today teachers are less positive (46% compared to 53 percent). A year ago, only 12 percent of the teaching force expressed opposition—virtually the same as the public. Today, teacher opposition is nearly twice as high as opposition among the public (40 percent compared to just 26 percent).”

In 2009, the Obama administration announced it would use $4.35 billion of competitive Race to the Top grants and No Child Left Behind waivers as incentives for states to adopt “standards common to a significant number of states.” Since then, 46 states signed on to Common Core and agreed to implement the standards by this fall.

Over the last year, as the deadline neared, some of those states have begun to reconsider the costs of their commitment—both financially and in terms of autonomy. As opposition grew states either withdrew from the two federally financed testing consortia or halted implementation. In March, Indiana became the first state to exit Common Core.

Since March, three additional states have exited Common Core—Oklahoma, South Carolina and Louisiana—and 14 others have pushed back against the standards in significant ways.

Meanwhile, support among teachers has plummeted and support among parents has declined. According to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s recent 2014 Schooling in America Survey, “intensity against Common Core is strongest among school parents.”

But opposition has taken many forms.

May of last year, the American Federation for Teachers’ Randi Weingarten called for a moratorium on the high-stakes tests associated with Common Core. “You think the Obamacare implementation is bad. The implementation of the Common Core is far worse,” she said.

New York’s test results from last school year also suggest Common Core implementation is not going as planned. New York was one of the first states to implement Common Core and began testing during the 2012-13 school year.

The Empire State’s test scores plummeted in 2013 but increased this year. But as the New York Post reported, the state also “dropped the number of raw points needed to hit proficiency levels in six of the 12 English and math exams given to students in grades 3 to 8, officials acknowledged.”

Before even the first round of testing, 49 principals in New York expressed their concerns in a letter to education commissioner John King. Now even the Gates Foundation—the second-largest financial backer of Common Core after the federal government—has called for a two-year delay of the consequences associated with Common Core testing.

The breadth of opposition against Common Core, particularly from teachers, suggests those closest to the standards and tests don’t like how implementation is playing out.

As The Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullmann writes in The Federalist, teachers are entering this next school year with both optimism and worry. Although some teachers are “enthusiastic” about Common Core, most will have to rethink their classrooms and teaching style to conform to a set of expensive standards that are untested and not benchmarked.

The deadline to implement Common Core has been reached in many states across America, but this latest push to centralize education is turning out as many have argued it would—it is further distancing educational decision-making authority from those closest to the students. Empowering teachers means listening to their concerns—especially when it comes to what is taught in their classrooms.

Warning Signs: ICANN Headed in the Fundamentally Wrong Direction - Daily Signal

Warning Signs: ICANN Headed in the Fundamentally Wrong Direction

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona / Paul Rosenzweig / Brett Schaefer / James Gattuso /

A recent bylaw proposal from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—which controls the Internet’s naming function and is currently being transitioned from control by the U.S. government to private control—is fundamentally misconceived and threatens to compromise ICANN’s independence.

Currently, governments provide advice to the ICANN board through a Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). But the advice is just advice—nothing more. And if a majority of the board rejects the GAC’s opinion, then the opinion is ignored. Governments do not have any privileged position for seeing that their advice is accepted.

The proposed bylaw amendment would change that. The board has, informally, decided that it should not reject advice from the GAC unless two-thirds of the board agree to do so. And now, the board wants to write that requirement into the bylaws so that a GAC recommendation cannot be rejected by the board unless two-thirds of the board agrees to do so.

Of course, the board will say that the GAC can operate only by consensus, so it will never really receive bad advice from the GAC. But that, too, is subject to change—and some in the GAC have already proposed that the GAC’s rules be changed so that it can act by majority vote. As a result, in the near future a majority of authoritarian countries may push through advice from the GAC that cannot be overturned except by a two-thirds vote of the board.

In other words, instead of moving away from governmental control, as the U.S. government has demanded—the government has said it will “not accept a proposal that replaces” the current federal role “with a government-led…solution”—the ICANN board is moving to institutionalize GAC advice as a near-mandate. This is exactly the wrong step and reflects, if nothing else, a tin ear on the part of the ICANN board. It would certainly make the board less accountable rather than more. It is so bad that if this bylaw proposal were adopted, the U.S. should immediately withdraw its support for the ICANN transition.

Free Lunch for Students Who Don’t Need It - Daily Signal

Free Lunch for Students Who Don’t Need It

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona / Paul Rosenzweig / Brett Schaefer / James Gattuso / Taylor Colwell /

On July 1, the Obama Administration began distributing free lunches to kids who don’t need them.

Under the new Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), only 40 percent of a school’s students need to qualify for free lunch in order for the entire school to be eligible. The pilot program began July 1 and is going nationwide this school year. Through the pilot program, CEP has already reached students in 11 states and 4,000 schools. Studies show that the program does indeed increase the school lunch and breakfast rolls.

The goal of welfare should not be to get as many people onto the rolls as possible, especially if they don’t even qualify. Particularly in a time of a skyrocketing national debt, it’s important to use taxpayer dollars wisely by targeting assistance to those most in need.

Welfare is the fastest growing part of government spending and is projected to keep expanding. Currently, the welfare system consists of roughly 80 means-tested programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and lower-income Americans, costing taxpayers nearly $1 trillion annually. About a dozen of these programs provide food assistance.

The goal of welfare should be to encourage self-sufficiency for America’s families rather than to push more people onto welfare. It is crucial that policymakers look for ways to reform welfare not only to ensure better stewardship of taxpayer dollars but, more importantly, to better serve those it aims to help.

Taylor Colwell is a former member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, pleaseclick here.

Should a High School Student Get Suspended for Saying ‘Bless You’? - Daily Signal

Should a High School Student Get Suspended for Saying ‘Bless You’?

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona / Paul Rosenzweig / Brett Schaefer / James Gattuso / Taylor Colwell / Andrew Kloster /

That’s what one student at a Tennessee high school is claiming happened to her. Kendra Turner, a senior at Dyer County High School, was given an in-school suspension for breaking a class rule prohibiting the saying of “bless you” after a sneeze.

The school has responded by claiming that Turner shouted “bless you” across a classroom, and was aggressive and disruptive, according to CBS News in Charlotte, N.C. Certainly, schools are allowed to punish students for shouting, or for aggressive or disruptive behavior, but public schools are generally not allowed to have standing policies prohibiting the saying of “bless you.” In this case, it seems that Kendra’s teacher had a list of words and phrases, including “bless you,” written on the classroom board that students were prohibited from saying.

In the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court of the United States held that teachers and students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” In that case, three students were suspended for wearing black armbands to silently protest the Vietnam War. That suspension was unlawful, the Supreme Court held, absent evidence that the anti-armband policy were “necessary to avoid material and substantial interference with schoolwork or discipline.”

>>> Check Out Heritage Guide to the Constitution to know your rights.

This teacher’s “no saying bless you” policy, which was enforced by officials at Dyer County High School who handed down the suspension, seems like a similarly unjustifiable policy. What harm can saying “bless you” do that a policy against shouting cannot prevent? In some contexts, such as test-taking situations, it might make sense to enforce a policy of absolute silence to prohibit cheating, for example. But why single out religious speech, or a traditional display of good manners? Lacking a good reason for this policy, it appears that Dyer County High School is in the wrong.

Kendra Turner certainly knew this, voicing her objections and informing her teacher that she had a First Amendment right to say “bless you.” But her teacher said that the term was only for church, and sent her to the school administrator’s office anyway. Thankfully, our Constitution does not banish religious words from public schools — it actually protects them.

Ironically, by punishing Kendra Turner and violating the First Amendment, school administrators might have actually caused a greater disruption — students at Dyer County High School showed up wearing handmade “bless you” t-shirts!

 

Florida Police Department to Begin Using Body-Mounted Cameras - Daily Signal

Florida Police Department to Begin Using Body-Mounted Cameras

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona / Paul Rosenzweig / Brett Schaefer / James Gattuso / Taylor Colwell / Andrew Kloster / William Patrick /

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Sarasota police officers will begin wearing body-mounted cameras later this year in an effort to increase police transparency.

That’s a topic of heightened national interest in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

But rather than resist the accountability measure, the Sarasota Police Department is the initiative’s chief proponent.

“It’s a modern and professional use of technology to modify people’s behaviors, both the police officer and the citizen,” Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said in an email.

These cameras will give a look from a police officer’s perspective and we will be able to capture information, and it will be able to help us with training. It will help us make sure our police officers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and also make sure the citizens’ actions are captured to help for use in evidence later.

With growing concerns over the militarization of local police forces at a fever pitch, it’s unclear whether body-mounted cameras, also worn by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, will add to authoritarian impressions of police.

Trevor Burrus, research fellow for the libertarian Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, calls them “essential.”

“I’m not sure why they aren’t being used more,” Burrus said. “They would eliminate many disputes with police by providing a record.”

John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney for the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute, said law enforcement body cameras are inevitable but is concerned about the potential for abuse.

“It may reduce some violence, but they are another way law enforcement is watching us,” Whitehead said in an interview. “We shouldn’t have to live in a society where citizens expect to be recorded by police.”

On that point, DiPino told the city commission, “Cameras are not anything new.”

We actually have cameras in police cars. There are cameras on roadways. We have red light camera poles and highways have them as well. So when people talk about their privacy being violated, you’re on camera now, you might as well consider yourself on camera.

Read more on Watchdog.org.

Teachers in Kansas Voted to Leave Their Union. A Year Later, ‘Things Are Going Pretty Well’ - Daily Signal

Teachers in Kansas Voted to Leave Their Union. A Year Later, ‘Things Are Going Pretty Well’

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona / Paul Rosenzweig / Brett Schaefer / James Gattuso / Taylor Colwell / Andrew Kloster / William Patrick / Travis Perry /

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — More than a year after teachers in the Deerfield, Kan., school district voted to leave their union, leaders say the doom-and-gloom predictions from the state’s largest teachers union haven’t come to pass.

“Things are going pretty well, actually,” said Doug Crandall, a teacher who also is president of the newly revived Deerfield Educators Association.

In May 2013, faculty in Deerfield Unified School District 216 voted to decertify KNEA, meaning the union no longer could negotiate with local board of education members on teachers’ behalf. At the time, Pamela Torgerson, director of Southwest UniServ, the district headquarters for KNEA, said the decision could turn out badly.

“My concern with that is that without any kind of organizational backing, it’s going to be hard for the teachers there to enforce their negotiated agreement,” Torgerson said. “So, if they get into trouble during bargaining, they have to go to mediation on their own. And if things work out even worse and they decide to go to fact-finding, they’re pretty much on their own.”

If anything, Crandall said, the opposite has happened. Negotiations prior to the current school year were smooth and uneventful, he said. The rocky part, he said, has been KNEA’s response following its expulsion from Deerfield USD 216.

“I was a member of KNEA for 27 years and the president of our local association here for over 15 years, and I did not see how they manipulate statements and try to ‘bully’ others that oppose them until after I helped us to decertify,” Crandall said. “They’re trying to tell some of our younger teachers they need to be scared, especially now with the new tenure rule, and it’s got some of our new teachers antsy.”

So antsy, he said, that he has heard KNEA is filing paperwork to have Deerfield faculty re-vote on the union’s decertified status.

Union representatives didn’t respond to calls for comment.

Read more on Watchdog.org.

No Slowing Down: After Indictment, Rick Perry to Speak at Heritage - Daily Signal

No Slowing Down: After Indictment, Rick Perry to Speak at Heritage

Philip Wegmann / Sharyl Attkisson / Glenn Foden / Brittany Corona / Paul Rosenzweig / Brett Schaefer / James Gattuso / Taylor Colwell / Andrew Kloster / William Patrick / Travis Perry / Josh Siegel /

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, under indictment on two felony counts, is in the nation’s capital today to deliver a speech at The Heritage Foundation about the border crisis plaguing his state.

Perry, who has been active and outspoken about immigration, will deliver his remarks at noon (available via live webcast). He’ll also no doubt face questions on the felony charges against him alleging that he abused his power by threatening to veto funding for a Democratic district attorney.

The potential Republican presidential candidate was indicted by a grand jury Friday on charges he abused his office and tried to coerce an elected official to resign.

>>> Exclusive Interview: Rick Perry Says Deploying Troops to Border Sends a ‘Powerful Message’

Perry ultimately vetoed $7.5 million for the Public Integrity Unit after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused to resign following a 2013 drunk driving arrest. The anti-corruption agency is part of the district attorney’s office.

Since the charges were made public, Perry has made it a strategy to fight back strongly against the allegations, and his trip to Heritage represents one stop during a busy two weeks for the governor, who is looking to boost his profile in advance of the 2016 presidential primaries.

Below, The Daily Signal recaps Perry’s eventful last week, and looks ahead to his future itinerary.

Garnering Friendly Support

Since the indictment against Perry was announced, several prominent Republicans have spoken out on Perry’s behalf.

Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor and a potential 2016 presidential candidate, released a statement Monday saying he has “complete faith and confidence in Governor Perry’s honesty and integrity.”

Over the weekend, a trio of  the GOP’s other potential White House hopefuls also voiced support: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas,  former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Perry is the target of a politically-motivated attack.

The indictment of @GovernorPerry seems politically motivated and ridiculous. Major overreach and an encroachment on his veto authority.

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 16, 2014


Even a prominent Democrat has doubted the teeth of the indictment.

David Axelrod, a former top aide to President Obama, tweeted Saturday that the Perry indictment “seems pretty sketchy.”

Unless he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason, Perry indictment seems pretty sketchy.

— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 16, 2014


Enlisting All-Star Legal Team

Fighting Back, Texas Style

When Perry was booked Tuesday at the Travis County courthouse, he wore a dark suit and blue tie. He posed for a mug shot with a sly smile, and without his trademark glasses.

Gov. Rick Perry's mugshot. (Photo: Newscom)

Gov. Rick Perry’s mugshot. (Photo: Newscom)

Before he posed for the mug shot, Perry told reporters he was entering the Austin courthouse with his “head held high.”

>>> Rick Perry Responds to Indictment: ‘I Stood Up for the Rule of Law in Texas’

Following the booking, he called the prosecution a “chilling restraint on the right to free speech,” and vowed to prevail in the case.

After making those strong remarks, Perry went for ice cream, tweeting a picture of himself holding a cone.

And then, ice cream cone at #Sandy‘s pic.twitter.com/rDYW6HvoS5

— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) August 19, 2014


In a filing late Tuesday, Perry waived the right to an arraignment hearing, choosing instead to enter a written not guilty plea.

Carrying on a Routine

Perry speaks at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., today before holding six events in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, his first appearance in the state since he dropped out of the last GOP presidential primary in 2011.

Next week, he will appear in Iowa.

Headlining a D.C. Event

Perry will be the keynote speaker for the Heritage event, “The Border Crisis and the New Politics of Immigration,” Thursday morning.

Tune in online tomorrow at 11amET for a LIVE event @Heritage w/ @GovernorPerry. The #BorderCrisis & more: http://t.co/9hJorGWFqa

— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) August 21, 2014

A panel discussion kicks off the 11 a.m. event. The panel features Rich Lowry, editor of National Review; James Jay Carafano, a national security and foreign policy expert at Heritage; Jan C. Ting, a law professor at Temple University; and Kellyanne Conway, founder of The Polling Company Inc., which has a new poll on Americans’ views of  immigration reform.

Perry speaks from noon to 12:30. He will also take questions.

Some 270 people have RSVP’d for the event, to be held in the Allison Auditorium of  The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.