Census: Happy Marriages In North Dakota, Minority Babies Nearly Half Of All Born

The U.S. Census, in a first of its kind report, has named North Dakota as the top place in the country for successful marriages, reports the Daily Mail.

The article notes that States in the South and West often have higher numbers of reported marriages (19 per 1000), though a record number of those also end in divorce (10 per 1000).

“Surprisingly, the South and West, which we think of as more socially conservative, have higher rates of divorce than does the supposedly liberal East,” said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University, reasoning less education and more couples marrying at a younger age was to blame.

Overall, since 1970, the median age at first marriage increased in the U.S. from 22.5 years to 28.4 for men and from 20.6 years to 26.5 for women.

According to USA Today, the Census also discovered new facts about childbirth in the country. A recent story states that babies of ethnic or racial minorities now make up just under half of the total number of children born in the U.S. Only 50.2 percent of children born are white, according to the Census, remarkably lower than the 57.6 percent 10 years ago.

Minorities have been the majority in Texas and California nurseries for more than two decades and the number of States where minorities dominate has grown from seven to 14 in the past 10 years. Steady growth in the number of young U.S. Hispanics who have more children than whites is shrinking the number of non-Hispanic whites and changing the meaning of the word minority.

Perry Gains Support, Questions Remain

A Gallup poll released on Wednesday puts Texas Governor Rick Perry at the head of the pack for the GOP’s 2012 Presidential nomination with 29 percent of Republicans saying they support the candidate. Following Perry are Mitt Romney, at second with 17 percent, and Ron Paul, at third with 13 percent.

Perry has publicly expressed support of lessening the reach of Federal governmental powers and has championed States’ rights, but many doubt the candidate’s sincerity. Doubts stem from Perry’s past denials of any interest to run for the office of President and his entrance to the world of politics as a Democrat on the Texas Legislature in 1984. Another issue involves past close ties to Al Gore. Perry has defended his past by saying that things were different when he worked with Gore.

“This was Al Gore before he invented the Internet and got to be Mr. Global Warming,” Perry said. “Growing up in rural Texas, I never met a Republican until I was 25. … In 1988 when you looked at the candidates, Al Gore was the most conservative candidate that was out there.”

Perry’s explanations, however, fall short for many people, including Texas-based Constitutionalist radio host Alex Jones, who has continually questioned the candidate’s motives and conservative values.

“Rick Perry has shown himself to be the most duplicitous, deceptive politician that I have ever studied in the history of the United States,” Jones said in a recent broadcast.

Jones also noted Perry’s 2007 decision to bypass the Texas Legislature and require school-aged girls to receive a human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), Gardasil, created by Merck & Co., which raised concerns about the Governor’s ties to the company predating his mandate. One of the drug company’s lobbyists and a consultant at The Texas Lobby Group, Mike Toomey, worked as Perry’s chief of staff; the Governor reportedly also received donations to his political action committee from the company.

Despite doubts, Perry leads all other Republican candidates against President Barack Obama in a recent Rasmussen report. The report shows Perry receiving 40 percent favorability to Obama’s 43 percent in a recent telephone poll.


Bloomberg Thumbs Nose At Rescue Workers, Clergy; Champions Mosque

Planning for a ceremony being held in New York City to remember the tragic events of 9/11 has been marred in recent weeks by reports of political jockeying for roles in the event and the failure of New York officials to allow first responders to attend, although they reportedly will be permitted to gather in a nearby park. Fox News now reports that the city’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a fierce proponent of the mosque project near Ground Zero, has denied clergy members any right to involvement in the ceremonies.

Furious religious leaders throughout the country have called for the Mayor to reverse his decision. Many religious leaders believe Bloomberg, who claims a love for diversity in New York, has been unfairly partial to those of the Muslim faith as the Ground Zero mosque project moves closer to reality.

Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist and former Bloomberg employee, said of the Mayor in a recent Associated Press article regarding the mosque: “He believes in diversity and the greatness of New York is in the diversity of its people. He’s consistent. He doesn’t owe anything to anyone, and my hunch is that he’s not out of line with where most people in the city are on this issue.”

Bloomberg recently made fervent public statements about the importance of religious freedom in the United States regarding the mosque project.

“Democracy is stronger than this,” he said. “You know the ability to practice your religion was one of the real reasons America was founded. And for us to just say no is just, I think, not appropriate is a nice way to phrase it.”

Apparently, Rudy Washington, a Deputy Mayor in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Administration, feels the same about excluding religious leaders at the anniversary ceremony. Washington said: “This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me.”

As it stands, the 9/11 ceremony is set to include President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush as well as a handful of other political elite who will read selected poems and speeches.

Irene To Pound Eastern Seaboard

Over the next several days, Hurricane Irene is expected to slam the eastern seaboard, with a direct hit to North Carolina followed by a northwardly trajectory. Many people have already been evacuated from areas expecting a direct hit from the storm; Virginia, Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas are preparing for strong winds, possible power outages and a deluge of rain.

According to The Washington Post, Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell has declared a state of emergency, telling residents of low-lying areas in the eastern portion of the state to be prepared to evacuate.

“I encourage all Virginians to gather items they may need this weekend in case of power outages and disruptions in public services and to make sure their family members and friends are also prepared for this storm,” said the Governor.

The Navy has ordered 64 ships based in southeastern Virginia to head to safer waters out in the Atlantic to avoid the heaviest parts of the storm.

McDonnell is among four governors — New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Maryland’s Martin O’Malley declared emergencies for their states, while North Carolina’s Bev Perdue has declared a state of emergency in counties east of Interstate 95– who have opted to declare emergency to free up funds and resources for the weather event, according to CNN.

Fed Jackson Hole Address Friday

This time last year brought forth the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would embark on a second round of quantitative easing (QE2), leading to the subsequent pumping of $600 billion in newly printed greenbacks into the economy. This Friday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will again address the public from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to unveil new efforts to repair the economy.

QE2 was expected to bolster financial markets and bring the U.S. economy out of its downward spiral, but the result was an inflation-induced spike in commodity prices that lead to gold’s $1,900 per ounce peak last week. Bernanke is expected to deliver a speech on Friday that will outline little change in the Federal Reserve’s current policy. The Wall Street Journal reports that there is no reason to expect a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) being unleashed on the economy.

The Financial Times suggests the title of this year’s speech, “Near and Long-Term Prospects for the U.S. Economy,” is an indicator that Bernanke will shy away from addressing the effect the Federal Reserve has had on the economy recently, instead opting to talk about the future of the economy.

While QE3 is not imminent, it is still a possibility, according to reports. High inflation has lessened worries Bernanke may have about a sudden price drop, thus leaving the option on the table.

Ron Paul Adds Constitutional Law Expert To Campaign Committee

The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign announced on Tuesday that Constitutional and international law expert Bruce Fein would join the campaign as the senior legal adviser. The addition was described by staffers in a press release as an opportunity to add to the campaign’s intellectual heft in addressing issues regarding “constitutionality, civil liberties and the dangers to national security of an increasingly interventionist foreign policy.”

After graduating from Harvard Law School with honors in 1972, Fein went on to serve as deputy attorney and general counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under President Ronald Reagan, Research Director for Republicans on the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran, and on the American Bar Association’s Committee on Presidential Signing Statements. Additionally, his career includes stints as a Visiting Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct scholar at American Enterprise Institute. Fein has written a weekly column for The Washington Times for more than two decades, in addition to several books.

“I am honored to advance the Republican presidential aspirations of Ron Paul. He is the only candidate in the field who understands and practices the constitutional principles and philosophy of the Founding Fathers that made this nation a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” Fein said in a press release regarding the appointment. “He is the only candidate who knows that limited government and war are antonyms, not synonyms. He is the only candidate who repudiates aimless, endless wars at extravagant expense. And Dr. Paul is the only candidate that recognizes that the glory of a Republic is liberty, not domination.”

In his book Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire Before The Fall, Fein describes damage done to the Constitution by the policies of the Administration of George W. Bush and a lethargic Congress. The Constitutionalist describes the need for strong Presidential leadership and new ideals regarding U.S. foreign policy.

The Ron Paul campaign continues to get its message out using Internet resources and appearing for interviews on radio and television shows throughout the country. A campaign schedule for this weekend, shows Paul returning to Iowa for the first time since his largely ignored second place finish in the Ames Straw Poll.


School Board Accepts, Then Rejects, Reading List That Includes Books On Drug Use, Gay Sex

Early this year, discussions about editing Mark Twain classics to remove uncomfortable language in the literary staples made headlines across the country when editions of Twain’s period novels with some of the author’s racial language removed were released. The idea behind doing so was to create a more classroom-friendly version of the work for student-required reading. This begs the question from some: Who will edit the books listed on New Jersey’s Monroe Township school district’s required reading list?

Fox News reported on Tuesday that the school district had on its required reading list novels depicting graphic sexual scenes including homosexual orgies, one novel, entitled TWEAK (Growing up on Methamphetamines), was completely based on the everyday life of a drug addict.

“Some of the language is inappropriate,” said Chuck Earling, superintendent of Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, N.J. to Fox News. “We were not trying to create controversy. We were just trying to get students to read.”

The following is an excerpt from Nic Sheff’s novel, TWEAK:

We shoot up and take a shower. We have sex in my old bed until my knees are rubbed raw. After that, I smoke cigarettes and look for stuff to steal.

The tone of the novel remains relatively constant as the storyline follows the author’s on-again off-again addiction to methamphetamine which leads him into sexual encounters, parties and distance from his family. Another book entitled Norwegian Wood was reportedly required for high school sophomores at the school. The students would read in that particular work at least one account of a lesbian encounter between a 13-year-old girl and a 31-year-old woman, according to New Jersey-based Gloucester County Times.

Fox reports that a panel made up of teachers, librarians and school administrators created the summer reading list which was then approved by the area board of education. The summer reading curriculum has changed throughout the years at many schools, as classics are abandoned for newer, more cutting-edge books that districts hope will interest students more. But many are left wondering if abandoning Orwellian warnings and historical accounts for popular culture in the English classroom is of benefit to students at all.

Following backlash from parents, the Monroe Township school district elected to remove the risqué novels from its required reading list.

Obama Oversees The Most Rapid Increase Of Debt Under Any U.S. President

President Barack Obama has often noted that when he took office he inherited a huge national debt as a result of President George W. Bush’s two wars, his tax cuts and a prescription drug program that the country did not pay for, according to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

Despite the President’s claims, Knoller writes, the most recent numbers from the U.S. Treasury show that the Obama Administration will surpass in just one term the spending of Bush’s two terms.

“The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion,” wrote Knoller in a recent CBS News Political Hotsheet report. “The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.”

As the President and Congress continue with attempts to revive the suffocating economy with “super committees” and Federal Reserve money pumps, many believe that there is no end in sight to over-the-top government spending. The debt ceiling crises and subsequent credit downgrade over the past month prompted some to question the rhetorical caps on spending that do not actually stop Congress from spending money, according to a recent Fox News article.

“It is nothing but grandstanding for members of both parties to vote routinely for legislation that they know will create deficits and then profess shock and horror that the debt limit must be increased as a consequence,” Bruce Bartlett, an economic policy adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, recently wrote in response to Representative Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) proposal that the debt ceiling be done away with completely. Many Republicans agree with the idea that the ceiling is worthless if it does not serve the purpose of actually regulating spending, but have called for the definite need of a comprehensive plan if it were to be removed.

One thing remains constant in all media reports, the economy is not getting better any time soon. The “super committee” has been directed to make a plan for $1.2 trillion in debt reduction over the next 10 years, but many say the plan is too little too late in a time where nearly $5 trillion in debt can be incurred in a little more than two years.

Venezuela Nationalizes Gold Mining; Meanwhile, Gold Prices Drop

According to reports from The Associated Press, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez formalized the nationalization of the South American country’s gold mining industry early this week in response to rising concerns about the value of the U.S. dollar.

It remains unclear how the new decree differs from the country’s 1965 law that nationalized gold mining and led to the government granting itself exclusive rights to extract gold in 1977. Earlier this month, Chavez announced the beginning of a Venezuelan effort to bring the country’s worldwide gold holdings back to its central bank.

An AP article last week reported that Venezuela’s central bank said the country has about $17.9 billion in gold out of a total of more than $28.6 billion in international reserves; $11 billion worth of the gold is held in other countries.

“At the time of these disturbances, it’s preferable to recover our assets, in this case the gold, and have it here in the vaults,” Venezuelan Central Bank president Nelson Merentes said last week.

Chavez said the Tuesday formalization of Venezuela’s nationalized gold industry will enable the government to further bolster its reserves by shutting down illegal mining operations and conducting mining exploration and exploitation through “mixed business” models which are partnerships between government and private mining operations.

Unrelated to Venezuela’s gold mining nationalization, The Wall Street Journal reports that the price of gold fell today to $1,787 an ounce. Though the price drop is the most drastic for the precious metal in recent months, gold still remains at one of its highest prices in history.


Fairness Doctrine Dead And Buried, Some Foresee New Enemies Of Political Dissidence

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Monday that it would bring an official end to 83 regulations the organization now considers obsolete. One of the more famous provisions to be cut from the FCC’s regulatory books is the Fairness Doctrine, which has not been enforced for nearly two decades but remains in FCC rules.

The Fairness Doctrine became law in 1949, and was a means by which the FCC could ensure that the opinions of mainstream political ideologies received equal play on public airwaves. As more room became available on the airwaves over the years, the FCC was encouraged to re-investigate the language of the doctrine, which many opponents considered an attack on the basic rights of free speech. Many people believed the law was used more than once to stifle pointed political and social commentary citing such events as the 1969 Supreme Court ruling in Red Lion v. FCC, when a conservative broadcasting network was told it must offer free and equal airtime to a news reporter with contrary views.

During the Reagan era, the FCC — understanding that public airwaves were then accessible to thousands of stations — found that the rule, “actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance” and no longer enforced the regulation.

Current FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said on Monday: “The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.”

Though the doctrine and the other 82 obsolete rules have been and will remain dead, Fox News reported earlier this month that some people still worry of other measures the FCC could be taking at the expense of free speech by enforcing “localism,” a principal that would ensure that local stations serve their communities.

“The government would be compiling data as to what kind of content you were airing and whether the government thought that was appropriate content,” said Robert McDowell, an FCC commissioner in a Fox interview. “It could be political speech; it could be shows on baking or gardening. But we don’t know where the government is headed.”

Many free speech advocates have turned their attention from concerns about 1st Amendment violations in traditional broadcasting to focus on issues with newer forms of mass communication recently.  Following riots in England earlier this month and social disturbances in San Francisco (both instances in which governments tested measures of stifling communications through cellphone service and social networking websites), new questions have surfaced.

A bill that would give government the right to shut down portions of the Web in the name of national security, dubbed by many as “the kill switch,” was proposed by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) last year. Many people remain concerned that the U.S. will inch toward total governance of the Internet and other mass communication media through small measures in legislation like Lieberman’s.


President Approval Hits New Low While GOP Candidates Run Neck And Neck In Poll

On Tuesday, a Rasmussen poll detailed a 56 percent disapproval rating for President Barack Obama, and a Gallup Poll released Monday showed that GOP candidates are on the minds of many voters looking forward to the 2012 election. The poll’s results show Mitt Romney leading Obama by 2 percentage points, 48 percent to 46 percent;  Rick Perry and Obama tied at 47 percent; and Obama edging out Ron Paul by 2 and Michele Bachmann by 4 points.

Gallup reports that Obama’s approval rating at this time is lower than that of any of the six re-elected incumbent Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower. The organization also says that approval ratings and poll standings could change drastically leading up to the election as Obama tries to make amends with voters who may feel disenfranchised and with the addition of candidates such as Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki.

The President faces the strongest resentment from the conservative right. But following recent budget battles and frustrations among young and minority voters over joblessness and higher costs of living, the President has seen once-wide approval gaps closing from within his own base. Obama still has a 55 percent approval rating among 18- to 29-year-olds, though his approval by this demographic is far from the 28 percentage points he held over John McCain in October of 2008. The President still holds favorability with Democrats and low-wage earners at 85 percent and 55 percent approval, respectively.


Earthquake Rocks The Capitol

At about 2 p.m. EDT the Pentagon and several buildings on Capitol Hill were evacuated due to an apparent earthquake, according to a USA Today article. The quake cased disturbances throughout the northeast and caused JFK International Airport to be shut down, according to Fox News.

The magnitude-5.9 earthquake reportedly occurred in central Virginia, about 83 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. According to a Wall Street Journal post, the earthquake could be felt as far away as New York City. Seismologists for the U.S. Geological survey have said that this is a very large magnitude earthquake for the area, and the waves traveled great distances because of the makeup of the Earth’s crust in the northeastern portion of the United States.

Representative Waters Making Waves With Comments

Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) made headlines across the country twice last week, first suggesting that President Barack Obama “get tough with Republicans” to create proposals that help the poor and African-Americans and later for calling out the Tea Party.

In a story published by The Daily Caller on Sunday, Waters was quoted urging Obama to fight Republicans: “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the Tea Party can go straight to hell.”

The Congresswoman, earlier in the week, spoke at a job fair in Atlanta about minority frustrations with the country’s first black president, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“There is a growing frustration in this country and in minority communities because the unemployment rates are so high,” said Waters. She also claimed that a rising number of home foreclosures and a “wealth gap” between blacks and whites have begun to create frustration and anger in the black community.

Waters’ has not only set her sights on Obama and the Tea Party as she slings angry rhetoric, but has taken offense even with fellow Democrats for not fighting harder against budget cuts in the highly politicized battle over the debt ceiling.

“We were basically held up in raising the debt ceiling, until they got all of those budget cuts they demanded,” Waters said, according to The Times. “We didn’t raise any revenue and they didn’t close any tax loopholes. I believe the Democratic Party and the president of the United States should not have backed down. We should have made them walk the plank.”

Unrelated to her recent public outbursts, Waters is currently being investigated by the House ethics committee since allegations emerged last year that she attempted to improperly obtain Federal bailout money for a bank in which her husband owned stock. Though she demanded a trial last year, a Daily Caller article last week reported that the Congresswoman’s lawyer has filed a motion to dismiss the case saying that because two committee lawyers communicated solely with Republicans, a fair trial “is impossible.”


RFID Chips Gain Popularity In Mexico

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that amid concerns of increasing incidents of kidnappings in Mexico, many residents of the country are turning to what the paper calls “under-the-skin” tracking devices for a sense of safety.

A Mexican congressional report that detailed a 317 percent increase in kidnappings in the country in the past five years has apparently driven Mexican citizens to seek new means of protecting themselves in a country where firearm ownership is heavily regulated. The article said that the Mexican company, Xega, which reportedly sells radio frequency identification (RFID) devices to the public and performs implantation procedures of the devices, has increased sales of the product by 40 percent recently.

“Unfortunately, it’s been good for business but bad for the country,” said Xega executive Diego Kuri, referring to the kidnappings. “Thirty percent of our clients arrive after someone in their family has already experienced a kidnapping.”

The article states that Mexican media have estimated that as many as 10,000 people in the country have elected to have RFID chips implanted into their bodies, at costs up to as much as $2,000 upfront and $2,000 per annum for tracking services.

According to the article, most American scientists doubt the abilities of the chips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, to communicate with GPS satellites without the use of a larger external transmitter.

RFID technology first made headlines in the United States around 2007 when the technology was considered for use by medical professionals in patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, despite screams of disapproval from privacy advocates. While the future of RFID technology remains murky, many people believe under-the-skin chips will one day become a fact of life for entire populations.

”Soon RFID tags will be in everything from pharmaceuticals to clothing. Exclusive clothiers are already using the tags to recognize customers as they walk in the door from what they are wearing,” reads a report on political radio host Alex Jones’ website, Infowars.com. The article predicts a future “cashless society” in which every individual is implanted with an RFID chip that would be linked to personal bank accounts, medical records and any number of personal identifiers.


Despite Web Catastrophe, Ron Paul Continues To Defy Odds

The Ron Paul campaign has experienced media snubbing and the attempts of fellow GOP Presidential contenders to discredit everything the candidate says. The most recent unexpected hurdle came in the form of a cyberattack on a major fundraising initiative last Saturday.

According to RevoluTimes, at about 10:30 p.m. EDT the candidate’s official Facebook page was updated with the message, “The RonPaul2012.com website is under cyber attack. Our team is working to fix this as we speak. So sorry to all who have tried to make donations and could not. We’ll have more info ASAP.”

The attack, which reportedly lasted a little more than an hour, was described as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which overloads Web servers and causes a website to go offline. The attack took place during a campaign fundraising initiative that was being held in honor of the candidate’s birthday. Despite the disruption, the Paul campaign reported earnings of just over $1.8 million in small monetary donations.

“Our campaign is truly surging, and this is just more evidence of the strength of our grassroots support,” said Ron Paul 2012 Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton in a press release. “We’ve just come off of an impressive finish in the Iowa straw poll, and our rising poll numbers and strong fundraising proves our message is resonating with people.”

Though Paul was largely neglected by media following his second-place Iowa Straw Poll finish, smaller victories throughout the country for the campaign are making him a viable candidate. Paul reportedly won a New Hampshire Young Republicans straw poll held over the weekend, taking 45 percent of the votes cast.