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University of Iowa a first among firsts in women’s education PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:25

The theme for this year’s National Women’s History Month is “Women’s Education-Women’s Empowerment,” and the University of Iowa was among the first to recognize this connection.

 

  • In 1855, Iowa became the first public university in the country to admit women and men on an equal basis.
  • In 1873, it became the first public university in the United States to grant a law degree to a woman (Mary B. Hickey).
  • In 1907, the UI became home to the nation’s first female college newspaper editor.
  • In 1912, the UI graduated the first African American women, Letta (Cary) Bledsoe and Adah (Hyde) Johnson of Des Moines, from the College of Liberal Arts (now College of Liberal Arts & Sciences).
  • In 1941, Lulu Merle Johnson became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. from an Iowa institution and among about a dozen black women in the nation to achieve such status at that time.
  • And in 1983, C. Vivian Stringer became the first African-American to coach a Big Ten women's basketball team.

 

FYI
Learn more about National Women’s History Month at the Website of the National Women’s History Project at http://www.nwhp.org/whm/index.php.

 
Fill Desks, Not Cells, Advocate Urges PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:17

The statistics are overwhelming and irrefutable: The less education a person has, the more likely he or she will end up in jail or prison.

Once in prison, the more education an inmate receives, the greater the chance he or she will remain free once released.

“The correlation is so dramatic, I can’t understand why we as a nation are more interested in building and filling prisons than in educating people who haven’t finished high school or could benefit from post-secondary school,” says advocate Adam Young, citing a recent Huffington Post news story about Corrections Corporation of America. The business is attempting to buy prisons across the nation – with the stipulation that states agree to keep them 90 percent full.

Young, www.communityservicehelp.com, partners with charities to help people sentenced to community service get credit for taking classes like algebra and English instead of picking up trash. He says it just makes sense to take advantage of any opportunity to educate people who’ve already had a brush with the law.

“About 40 percent of all U.S. prison inmates never finished high school, and nearly 44 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school,” he says, quoting from a 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. “More current data shows that hasn’t changed. In Washington, D.C., for instance, 44 percent of Department of Corrections inmates are not high school graduates. Less than 2 percent had 16 years or more of schooling.

“Isn’t it better for all of us, for both economic and public safety reasons, if we help educate people so they can get jobs?” he asks.

The trend of budget-strapped states looking to economize by selling their prisons to Corrections Corporation worries Young. As the business cuts expenses to boost profits, prison-run GED and college degree programs will likely be among the first on the chopping block, he says.

“If states really want to save money, they should address recidivism through programs that include education,” Young says. “There’s a 2011 Pew Center study that found the 10 states with the highest recidivism rates could save $470 million a year, each, if they lower those numbers by just 10 percent.”

Those states are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

A widely cited 2006 study of two groups of inmates in three states found that those who participated in education programs in prison were less likely to be arrested again within three years of their release, and more likely to be employed. Of the inmates tracked, 31 percent of those who did not take classes were back in prison within three years compared with 21 percent of those who did study.

Arizona, South Carolina and Nevada all have recently passed laws that allow inmates to cut their sentences or shorten their probation by doing things like taking classes, Young noted.

“In early February, there was an interesting conversation about education and crime on Real Time with Bill Maher,” he says. “Maher said, ‘If you spent the money you were spending to send people to prison on schools, those people wouldn't wind up going to prison.’

“He’s 100 percent correct on that.”

About Adam Young

Adam Young is a longtime internet marketing professional who launched his educational community service alternative in January 2011. He was inspired by a minor brush with the law when he was an 18-year-old; the community service hours he received cost him his job and nearly caused him to drop out of college. Through his website, offenders have logged more than 300,000 hours of self-scheduled schooling that allows them to remain employed while completing service hours. Young advocates education as the most cost-effective tool for rehabilitating offenders.

 
Bipartisan Officer Safety Act Introduced PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:13

Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort Underway to Provide Additional

Court Options for Federal Law Enforcement Officers

 

WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Chris Coons of Delaware and Representatives Dave Reichert (WA-08) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-8) yesterday introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would allow federal law enforcement officers who acted under their official duties and charged with a crime in state court an opportunity to petition to have the agent’s case heard before a federal court.

 

“Federal agents are extensively trained, at taxpayer expense, to protect and serve the American public and are never off-duty. To expect them to stand by while a victim suffers violent acts in their presence is contrary to the oath they take to protect others and is a waste of taxpayer funded training,” Grassley said.  “This bill will help make our communities safer and help those who are sworn to guard and serve the public.”

 

“Day in and day out, federal law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect Americans,” Coons said. “When I was a county executive in Delaware, I worked closely with our local law enforcement professionals and witnessed firsthand how our brave officers are trained to detect and prevent dangerous situations, whether they are on-the-clock or not. The Officer Safety Act of 2012 will ensure that ‘off duty’ federal officers who intercede to protect the lives of others will be held to the same standards as when they are performing their official duties. This bill will help law enforcement better protect our neighbors and families. I applaud the leadership of Senator Grassley for developing this important legislation and I will continue to advocate on behalf of our brave first responders.”

 

“As a former Sheriff I know far too well that law enforcement officers are never ‘off duty.’ Every day, they earn our trust and often step in to save lives and protect the innocent while risking their own safety—regardless of whether they are on or off the job. We owe these brave men and women this assurance so they can continue to focus on serving the American people,” Reichert said.

 

"This legislation will allow federal agents to protect Americans, whether they are on or off duty. Our federal law enforcement agents are highly trained professionals who often go above and beyond what is required of them – and put themselves in harm's way in the process. They deserve our gratitude," said Pascrell. "I am proud to help advance this bipartisan legislation on behalf of dedicated federal agents throughout the country who work to keep us safe."

 

The Officer Safety Act of 2012 is modeled after the Good Samaritan Act, but is narrower, more restrictive, and provides no liability protection.  The bill does not provide immunity to federal law enforcement officers, but simply allows for case removal to federal court where the officer will be required to defend his or her actions.  In addition, it doesn’t infringe upon states’ rights, as they retain the same due process rights that have existed since the early 1800’s.

 

Specifically, the Officer Safety Act of 2012

·                     allows a federal law enforcement agent, who stops a violent crime while off-duty and is indicted in a state court for those actions, to petition for the state criminal prosecution against him to be removed to a federal court, and

 

·                     clarifies the “color of law” prong required in the removal process, as courts have invited Congress to clarify.

 

The bill is supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, and the National Border Patrol Council.  It is expected to be referred to the Judiciary committees in both the Senate and the House.  The bill text can be found by clicking here.

 

Here is Grassley’s prepared statement for the Congressional Record upon introduction of the bill.

 

Mr. President, as a 2003 Judiciary Committee report stated, “Law enforcement officers are never ‘off-duty.’”  Many are required to carry an off-duty weapon.  When they fly on personal business, they are expected to carry their weapon and check-in with the airline as a federal law enforcement agent so they can defend the pilots and passengers if something bad happens.  In fact, federal agents are specifically paid to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  And agents can be disciplined if they are not available when called.  They are not even allowed to engage in activities on their personal time that regular citizens take for granted, like coaching their kids’ sports teams, if it might interfere with their ability to respond to a crisis.

 

Federal law enforcement agents are extensively trained, at the expense of the tax-payer for the benefit of the tax-payer.  They not only train in basic academies, but they are required to participate in additional and regular training and re-certifications many times each year.  If training is missed or if standards are not up to par, the agent is disciplined or removed.  Federal law enforcement agencies take training requirements very seriously.  And the United States is known for having the best trained federal law enforcement officers in the world.

 

So what if one of these exceptionally-trained federal law enforcement agents walks into the grocery store on a Saturday and witnesses a woman being repeatedly hit by her husband; do we want him to walk past the woman?  No.  The taxpayers spend money on his training so that he can protect victims, not walk away from them.  In this situation, we all hope that he would use his training to protect the victim.  But when he steps in to protect the victim from a crime of violence occurring in his presence, he risks state criminal prosecution and damage to his career.  And that might lead him to hesitate.  This is contrary to good public policy.  If we were the victim in this scenario, every one of us would want that federal law enforcement officer to help us.

 

If a federal agent acts to protect an individual in his presence from a crime of violence, as taxpayer dollars have trained him to do, and then is indicted in State court for that act, he should have the right to defend himself within the federal court system.

 

So the Officer Safety Act amends the removal statute, found in Title 28, United States Code, Section 1442, to clarify when a federal law enforcement officer is acting under the color of his office.  This bill does not provide immunity for law enforcement agents, and it does not grant them additional authority.  It doesn’t even guarantee that the case will be moved from state to federal court: the State will be heard and its position will be weighed by the judge before deciding if removal is appropriate.  It does allow a federal law enforcement officer/agent, who is indicted in a State court for actions related to his protection of a victim of a violent crime that is committed in the officer’s presence, to petition for that criminal case to be removed to federal court, where the officer will be required to defend his actions.

 

Current law provides that removal is proper so long as defendants demonstrate that they are officers of the United States that acted “under color of” their office and have a “colorable federal defense”.

 

In general, a federal agent acts “under color of” his office when he takes actions that are necessary and reasonable for the discharge of his federal responsibilities.  Accordingly, the prototypical example of a federal officer acting under color of his office is a federal law enforcement officer who kills someone while performing an act related to federal law enforcement and, in the subsequent state homicide prosecution, claims he was acting in self-defense and/or is entitled to official immunity.  The Supreme Court has upheld this prototypical example as appropriate for removal from state court to federal court.

 

The primary restraint on the current statute’s scope is its limitation to defendants who acted under color of a federal office or, in other words, while performing official duties.  Defendants must show in their petition for removal that there is a causal nexus between the actions challenged and their federal duties.

 

The history of the removal statute explains why this is important.  The statute dates back to 1815.  It was passed in response to the New England States’ opposition to the trade embargo with England during the War of 1812.  The law provided for the removal to federal court of any suit or prosecution commenced in state court against a federal customs officer or other persons enforcing federal customs laws.  Thus, federal agents did not need to fear performing their jobs because the local authorities opposed the embargo and wanted to stop them from enforcing it.

 

A few decades later, the U.S. government encountered a similar problem in South Carolina, which in 1833 declared certain federal tariff laws unenforceable within its borders.  Congress responded by authorizing the removal of any suit or prosecution commenced in a state court against an officer of the United States for the enforcement of the federal revenue laws.

 

During the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, Congress’ disenchantment with state courts in the South led to new federal officer removal laws.  In the 1863 Habeas Corpus Act, Congress provided for the removal of suits or prosecutions against persons acting under federal authority for actions, or failures to act, during the Civil War.  In addition, Congress passed a removal statue similar to those of 1815 and 1833, authorizing the removal of suits or prosecutions commenced in state court against federal officers for actions, or omissions, related to the collection of federal revenue.  However, it was not until the enactment of the Judicial Code of 1948 that Congress extended the statute to cover all federal officers.

 

The courts view the history behind section 1442 and its statutory predecessors as justification for construing the statute broadly to assure the supremacy of U.S. law and protect federal operations against interference from state judicial proceedings.

 

This bill does not infringe upon State’s rights, as they retain the same due process rights to be heard on the question of removal that have existed since the early 1800’s.  In fact, this Congress passed a bill by unanimous consent that amended this statute, without a word about state’s rights.

 

Today, federal law enforcement officers, whether or not in uniform, require protections when they take actions to assist citizens.  Civil liability protections are provided to officers under The Good Samaritan Act, codified at Title 28, United State Code, Section 2671.  This bill, the Officer Safety Act, while modeled on the Good Samaritan Act, is narrower, more restrictive, and provides no liability protection.  Rather, this bill clarifies the “color of law” prong required in the removal process, as courts have invited Congress to clarify.

 

The bill makes no change to the current standards governing when removal is permissible, and therefore leaves alone existing standards and case law.  But it provides that in three situations, the law enforcement officer who is a defendant in a State criminal prosecution will be deemed to have acted under color of his or her office: (1) when the officer protects a victim from a violent crime committed in the presence of the officer; (2) when the officer provides immediate assistance to an individual who suffered or is about to suffer imminent bodily harm; and (3) when the officer prevents the escape of an individual the officer reasonably believes committed or was about to commit, in the presence of the officer, a crime of violence that resulted in or was likely to result in serious bodily injury.  I believe that in these situations, the federal courts should always determine that the law enforcement officer acted under the color of his or her office for purposes of determining whether to grant the officer’s removal petition.  But the courts remain free to determine under current law that there are other circumstances in which an officer seeking removal satisfies the color of office standard.

 

So the bill is a modest change that nevertheless provides an important layer of safety for the people who risk their lives day-in and day-out to protect us.  It will help make our communities safer and protect those who are sworn to guard and serve the American public.

 

This principle and this bill are supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, and the National Border Patrol Council.

 

I want to thank Senator Coons, a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, who co-chairs the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, and is a co-sponsor on this bill.  He understands the need to support law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day so that we can sleep safely at night.

 

Further, I want to thank Senators Coburn and Sessions, also members of the Judiciary Committee and cosponsors.  They, too, understand this allows us to support federal agents without spending a dollar.

 

“Law enforcement officers are never ‘off-duty.’”  To expect them to standby while a victim suffers violent acts in his presence is contrary to the oath they take to protect and renders their tax-funded training wasted as a citizen becomes a victim.  Please join me in protecting those who protect us.

 

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Royal Neighbors ‘crocks’ with over half a million ‘friends’ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lynnette Meincke   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:01

(Rock Island, IL)— When Royal Neighbors of America members Jenna Marwitz and Nicole Sparks, Brownwood, TX, wanted more time with their families, they found a way to cut down on their time in the kitchen…and became the Crockin’ Girls. What started as a fun and fast online recipe exchange with families and friends quickly went viral, resulting in more than one million Facebook© friends since the beginning. They have created a crockin’ community that has changed mealtime in households across the country.

Kristin McDaniel, Chief Marketing Executive of Royal Neighbors, joined the Crockin’ Girls in Texas for one of their weekly video shoots to demonstrate how to make “Come Together Roast,” a recipe for slow cookers created especially for Royal Neighbors.

Royal Neighbors and the Crockin’ Girls are a natural fit. The girls’ strong family values align well with Royal Neighbors’ 117-year heritage of supporting women and their families. Like the founders of Royal Neighbors had a vision to empower women, Nicole and Jenna are empowering a nation of “friends” to spend time where it matters most…with their families.

“Nicole and Jenna are typical Royal Neighbors. They saw a need and set out to fill it,” said Ms. McDaniel. “Back in 1895 when the women who founded Royal Neighbors saw what happened to families when the mother died unexpectedly, they also saw a need…life insurance for women. They, too, created a community, a nationwide organization that continues to empower and protect women financially with life insurance, while encouraging them to be part of volunteer efforts in their own neighborhoods.”

Royal Neighbors and the Crockin’ Girls are shaping a new generation of women who come together to make a difference.

Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation’s largest women-led life insurance companies, exists for the benefit of its members. It offers insurance products to fulfill financial needs of growth, savings, and protection. Members receive valuable benefits and can participate in volunteer activities through the organization's local chapters to help make a difference in their communities. The organization's philanthropic efforts are dedicated to changing women's lives through its national programs, including the Nation of NeighborsSM Program, and through the Royal Neighbors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Headquartered in Rock Island, IL, with branch offices in Mesa, AZ, and Austin, TX, Royal Neighbors serves more than 215,000 members and is licensed to do business in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, call (800) 627-4762, or visit www.royalneighbors.org.

 

 

END

 
Make a Fresh Start Playing by Your Rules PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:55
Expert Offers Tips for Living True to Yourself

What is the No. 1 regret of hospice patients in their dying days?

“They wished they would have lived life the way they wanted to, not the way others wanted them to,” says Kathie Truitt, author of The Hillbilly Debutante Café (www.hillbillydebutante.blogspot.com), quoting an article by former palliative care worker Bronnie Ware.

Truitt changed her life by necessity after a devastating series of events led to the loss of her home and career. Like many Americans who lost it all in the recent recession, Truitt decided to go about things differently the second time around.

“I got rid of the socialite sweater sets, the business suits and pumps, which were not me, and went to what is me – vintage dresses and cowboy boots,” she says. “I live in the Washington, D.C., area because I have too. But I don’t have to conform to how other people look, dress and behave here. I surround myself with the things I like; I have a country-style house, I drive a pickup, and, once a month, I take a ride out to one of the places featured in Southern Living magazine.”

You don’t have to have a lot of money to live a life truer to your spirit. Truitt offers some suggestions:

• Make location a state of mind. Does your heart yearn to be somewhere else? You’re in Kansas, but you long to live on the beach, or you’re in the city but you’re a country person, like Truitt. If you can’t follow your heart, bring that place to you. If you love all things Paris, for instance, decorate a room or your whole home Parisian style. Instead of going to the grocery store once a week, find a market and stop in every day for fresh food, the way the French do. Ride a bicycle; put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on your desk at work; eat lunch al fresco. Take a French class and maybe you’ll meet some like-minded friends.

• Turn your passion into a career. You don’t have to give up your day job to pursue a career doing what gratifies and satisfies you. If you love playing music, set aside time to practice and write songs. Pursue opportunities to play at local events; create video recordings and upload them to YouTube (it worked for Justin Bieber!); offer to perform at your place of worship. Whether you dream of writing a novel, designing jewelry or being a race car driver, working at it even part-time will help you feel fulfilled.

• Take the plunge and start your own business. In 2011, entrepreneurs started 543,000 new businesses each month, on average, among the highest startup rates in 16 years, according to the most recent Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. With all the tax breaks and incentives being offered to small businesses now, it’s a good time to open that restaurant you always wanted, or launch that graphics design studio. You’ll never know until you try!

As for Truitt, she would love to be back home in El Dorado Springs, Mo. Since she can’t be there, she wrote a novel set in the small, southern town, which is struggling financially. She hopes to fan interest in tourists visiting the town to meet the business owners described in her book, and see the sights. To that end, she’s also organizing an Antique & Book Festival there on April 14, preceded by a Hillbilly Debutante ball – featuring vintage prom dresses and plaid tuxes – the night before.

“There are many ways to live your dreams,” Truitt says. “You’re limited only by your imagination. I don’t want to be that person looking back on my life and regretting that I lived it by someone else’s rules.”

About Kathie Truitt

Kathie Truitt is a former radio personality and speaker in the South, where she was crowned Mrs. Missouri America. She’s the author of False Victim, a memoir about the nightmare of events that forced her from her home. She sells vintage-style clothing, accessories and jewelry at www.hillbillydebutante.blogspot.com.

 
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