Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Kansas teen won’t apologize to Gov. Brownback over ‘you suck’ tweet

    Sullivan (via Twitter)Shawnee Mission East teen Emma Sullivan insulted Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback over Twitter while on a school field trip to the state capitol last week.

    "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot," she wrote to her 60 followers who tuned in to her sporadic updates about the Twilight films and Justin Bieber. In fact, Sullivan hadn't said a word to the governor during his brief speech, and she now says the Twitter comment was just an "inside joke" among her high school friends who were also on the Youth in Government field trip and disagreed with Brownback's politics.

    But the humor was lost on members of Brownback's staff, who found the tweet while scouring social media sites for his name and alerted Sullivan's high school principal. The principal reprimanded Sullivan and demanded she write an apology to the governor.

    Sullivan says he better not hold his breath. After originally acquiescing to her principal's request, the 18-year-old took her story to Kansas papers and news stations--and now to national outlets--and has changed her mind.

    "He was very angry, right off the bat," Sullivan said of her principal, Karl Krawitz. "He was extremely scared about it. He made it very clear that he wasn't happy."

    Sullivan agreed to write the apology letter "to get it out of the way," she says. "I didn't want to deal with it because I'm in the process of applying to school and am trying to keep my reputation good."

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  • What would Gingrich’s plan for dealing with illegal immigration look like?

    Gingrich at Tuesday's debate (AP)Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich became the first Republican candidate for the presidential nomination to explicitly spell out how he would deal with the estimated 11 million people living in the United States without legal immigration status at Tuesday night's debate.

    "If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out," Gingrich said, adding that he was willing to "take the heat" for advocating a more "humane" approach on the issue.

    Gingrich put forth two ideas--an employer-controlled guest worker program and juries of local citizens who would review the cases of illegal immigrants and decide which of them would get to stay.

    Gingrich's first idea is called a "red card" program, and is the brainchild of Helen Krieble. Employers would circumvent the immigration system's bureaucracy and give out temporary guest worker visas to immigrants that they would fund. Those immigrants would only be allowed to live in the United States as long as they were employed with their sponsor. If they had children while in America, those children would not be granted automatic citizenship under the 14th amendment, The Washington Post's Suzy Khimm explains.

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  • Immigrant advocates want to recall Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

    Brewer signing Pearce's recall papers (AP)The group that helped oust Russell Pearce, the powerful anti-immigrant Arizona politician, earlier this month is now setting its sights on Jan Brewer, the state's Republican governor, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

    Randy Parraz, one of the co-founders of Citizens for a Better Arizona, told Yahoo News that the group using its website to recruit volunteers who are interested in recalling Brewer. If enough volunteers sign up, the group will start its drive to collect the nearly 450,000 signatures needed to get Brewer's name on the ballot before her term is up in 2014.

    A recent poll from Public Policy Polling suggests this effort may face an uphill battle. Only 32 percent of voters said they would support a recall of Brewer, even though 49 percent of voters disapprove of her.

    Arpaio, the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America who has been criticized for his "tent city" prisons and chain gains, is up for reelection next year. Parraz says his group is mobilizing to knock on doors in Maricopa County to ask voters not to elect him again. The sheriff has held his office since 1992, and he tells the Arizona Republic that he's not afraid of the campaign. "I've raised $6 million," he told the paper. "I'll probably go out and raise another $6 million."

    "By the time we're done with him he won't be able to be elected," Parraz says.

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  • Three American college students arrested in Cairo

    Three American college students were arrested during protests in Cairo and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at police on Tuesday.

    A video on Egyptian state news, via The Washington Post, shows the students lined up in front of a table with their identification cards.

    The three students--Gregory Porter, 19, of Glenside, Penn., Derrik Sweeney, 19, of Jefferson City, Mo., and Luke Gates, 21, of Bloomington, Ind.--were on an exchange program, American University spokeswoman Morgan Roth told Yahoo News. Sweeney is a student at Georgetown University. It's unclear if the students have been officially charged with any crimes, Roth says--though CNN reports that they were accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. "We're working with the embassy to make sure we're in a position to monitor their whereabouts and well-being at all times," she said.

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  • Occupy Wall Street protesters wear Snuggies, sleep sitting up to get around new Zuccotti rules

    A protester draped in a snuggie (Courtesy of photographer Tom Martinez)

    ZUCCOTTI PARK, New York -- Early Monday morning, a new enemy dogged the small diehard group of Occupy Wall Streeters who have refused to leave a corner of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, even in the week since New York police officers raided the camp and took away their tents, blankets and other belongings: It started raining.

    Among the hardline occupiers is Sonya Zink, who has been living in the park since the movement began in mid September. The night before, the protesters slept sitting up, so as not to violate the new rules designed to discourage anyone from again camping out in the area. Prior to last week's raid, Zuccotti Park was home to a thriving mini-city, equipped with a "people's kitchen," information booths, medic's tent, library and post office box.

    "Sometimes they wake us up even if we're sitting up," Zink said of the dozens of police officers and security guards ringing the nearly empty fenced-in area in downtown Manhattan. Zink was among the 200 protesters arrested last week in the NYPD's middle-of-the-night raid, when she linked arms with other protesters at the center of the encampment to protect the kitchen. She lifted up her shirt to show what she said was a bootprint-shaped bruise from where a police officer kicked her during her arrest.

    SEE ALSO: Sparse turnout at Occupy Wall Street park a week after eviction

    She was released little more than 24 hours after her arrest--at which point, she returned to the park, ready to adjust to the tougher rules.

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  • What happened to wages of native-born workers after Arizona passed E-Verify?

    Day laborers in Phoenix, Arizona (AP)Lawmakers in several states have vowed to pass undocumented employer sanction laws after the Supreme Court upheld Arizona's this year. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has drummed up some support to pass a federal version in Congress that would require all employers to use the government's E-Verify database to ensure their employees are authorized to work--or risk losing their business license.

    Arizona provides a case study for the effects of a tough E-Verify law on the labor market.

    According to a study released this year by the Public Policy Institute of California, about 92,000 or 17 percent of the Hispanic non-citizen population of Arizona left in the year after the state passed E-Verify legislation. The researchers say most of them were illegal immigrants, and determined that the recession was not the cause of the exodus by comparing the migration patterns to those of other states.

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  • Catholics are buying bankrupt Crystal Cathedral megachurch

    Inside the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif (AP)

    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California is buying Robert Schuller's celebrated Protestant Crystal Cathedral megachurch for $57.5 million, the LA Times reports. The spacious, light-filled house of worship is a "a monument of 20th century modernist architecture," the Times writes.

    Schuller, 85, founded his ministry half a century ago and soon began starring in his own TV worship show, "Hour of Power." The church filed for Chapter 11 last year, and under the terms of its bankruptcy agreement can lease back the space for three more years before finding a new home. According to Catholic News Agency, there are more than a million Catholics in Orange County.

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  • American green card? No thanks

    A USCIS sample green card from 2010 (AP)Half as many people applied to enter a diversity lottery to receive an American green card this year than last.

    Last year, 15 million people around the world entered the State Department-run "diversity lottery," which gives out up to 55,000 green cards each year to people who live in countries with low immigration rates to the United States. (To enter the lottery, applicants must have at least a high school education and two years' recent work experience.)

    The Department says the number of entrants plummeted to 8 million this year because Bangladesh--which last year was home to more than 7 million visa lottery applicants--was taken off the list of qualifying countries. That's because it now sends more than 50,000 immigrants to America each year.

    But Muzaffar Chishti, the director of NYU law school's Migration Policy Institute office, says he thinks the Department's much-publicized computer glitch last year might have also lowered participation.

    "I think that event discouraged a lot of people from applying," Chishti said. Even though Bangladesh was taken off the list, other countries--Poland and South Sudan--were added to the list, suggesting that there should have been more visa applications.

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  • Violence mars Occupy Wall Street protests in Vermont and elsewhere

    Students at UC Berkeley's Occupy protest (AP)

    Violence marred Occupy Wall Street protests around the country this week. Occupy protesters told the Associated Press Thursday that a 35-year-old military veteran shot himself Wednesday at a protest at Burlington, Vermont. Authorities have not confirmed that the shooting was a suicide and are waiting to release the man's name until his family has been notified.

    Occupy Vermont leader Emily Reynolds told the AP that the man "clearly needed more help than we were capable of giving him."

    Police in riot gear violently broke up an Occupy encampment Wednesday night in the largely liberal university town of Berkeley, Calif. Dozens of protesters were arrested. In the disturbing video below, police used batons to beat protesters who refused to leave the encampment. The university has forbidden students--who are protesting the rising cost of tuition at UC schools, even as some course offerings and services have declined--from protesting in the area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

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  • Arne Duncan calls for personal finance lessons starting in kindergarten

    Duncan (AP)Education Secretary Arne Duncan said this week that schools should incorporate personal finance into lesson plans. He proposes that such instruction should start as early as kindergarten to combat widespread financial illiteracy.

    "As important as reading and math and social studies and science, I think today more than ever financial literacy has to be part of that," Duncan said at a speech at the Treasury Department. "To continue to have a population that is relatively illiterate in these matters I think has real negative consequences to our democracy."

    Duncan acknowledged that it's up to individual districts and states to make the move, however, since the Education Department doesn't have any authority over curriculum content. (Unlike Australia, for example, which began mandating K-12 financial education in all schools this year.)

    Some American schools have already taken the lead on this, showing their students not only how to open savings accounts but also how to understand credit markets and interest rates.

    More...Schools affiliated with the National Academy Foundation--a nonprofit network of career academies--teach high school students the basics of personal finance. More than 200 of their high schools focus on finance as a career, linking students to internships in the finance industry and offering them electives in subjects such as accounting.

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