This US news daily update from Guardian Liberty Voice for July 3, 2014 is all about the weather, as communities from North Carolina to Massachusetts batten down their hatches in anticipation of the advancing storm system. Today’s news feeds also include a story about one California city that is rebelling against the federal government’s decision to temporarily house illegal immigrant detainees there, a warning about the health risks of excessive caffeine consumption, and reports on widespread exaggerations about the potential impact of the Hobby Lobby case, and the much more serious concerns about rising student loan debts.
Hurricane Arthur Targets East Coast Aiming for the Carolinas
The annual hurricane watch has begun in earnest again as Hurricane Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 hurricane season, tracks toward North Carolina’s Outer Banks, prompting more than 50,000 vacationers to flee from popular oceanfront resorts on the verge of the Fourth of July weekend. Now an official Category Two hurricane, Arthur is packing cyclonic winds of up to 100 mph that could carry three inches of rain onshore in a matter of hours. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is asking residents and visitors to refrain from putting “your stupid hats on” by staying out of the water and leaving the hurricane’s expected path before the storm arrives. Wave starved surfers on the East Coast of the United States are killed every year as they try to ride the waves generated by incoming hurricanes, only to be swept out to sea by vicious rip tides and undertows. Right now, the slow-moving storm is clocking speeds of less than 10 mph as it cruises up the coast as US news outlets watch the weather maps, poised to deliver spot coverage when and where Arthur comes ashore.
Boston’s Fourth of July will be Held on July 3 This Year
Boston’s immensely popular Fourth of July celebration is in danger of being rained out this year by the early appearance of Hurricane Arthur, the outermost rings of which are expected to reach the Boston area by Thursday night before making landfall there on Friday. Boston is not taking any chances that the storm might disrupt the annual performance by the Boston Pops Orchestra at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade, where the Pops have been playing to crowds of more than 100,000 annually for more than 40 years. Moving up the Boston Pops performance by one day is the only choice open to concert organizers because the band, which is made up of performers from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has another engagement on Saturday, making it impossible to move the performance date back in the event that storm conditions force the postponement of a Friday performance.
Heavy cloud cover and torrential rains may make it impossible to coordinate the annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, which is always embellished with a coordinated fireworks display punctuated with timed salvos from the howitzers of the U.S. Army’s 101st Field Artillery Battalion. The heavy cloud cover expected from the hurricane’s visit may force the postponement of the fireworks display, but the concert is expected to go on as re-scheduled according to US news updates for July 3, 2014.
Showdown Over Immigration “Invasion” in California Town
It is 81 miles from Murrieta,a small Riverside County,California city with a population of around 100,000, to the international border between the United States and Mexico at Tijuana, Mexico. Located more than 60 miles above San Diego, Murrieta was never considered a border town by its citizens until the U.S. Border Patrol started shipping detainees to Murrieta from overflowing detention centers in Texas. The decision to send the detainees to Murrieta triggered a popular uprising that blocked three buses carrying 140 detainees from delivering their passengers to the Marietta Border Patrol facility, forcing the Border Patrol to send those buses to other processing centers in San Diego and the El Centro area. The detainees are families from various Central American countries who have entered the United States illegally and, after being picked up by the Border Patrol, are being held pending deportation hearings. Local residents are adamant about two things: they do not want illegal immigrants to be allowed to stay in the United States, but they do not want to be involved in the deportation business either.
Border Patrol officials informed local authorities that they would be shipping batches of 140 detainees to the Murrieta facility every 72 hours…until the local authorities informed community leaders about the plan, triggering a series of demonstrations culminating with the blockading of the access routes to the Border Patrol facilities. US news sources are reporting a rising tide of paranoia in the small California city, where local residents are questioning reports that the detainees are families with children, rather than members of a Mexican drug gangs. Other residents, according a New York Times report, are fearful that the federal government would attempt to inject the children of the detainees into the local public school system, expressing concerns about the potential for infecting local residents with unknown diseases
Teen Death Highlights Health Hazards of Caffeine
A LaGrange, Ohio, coroner has blamed the sudden death of an 18 year-old high school senior on excessive use of powdered caffeine, indicating that Logan Stiner had a blood caffeine content of 70 micrograms of caffeine per millimeter of blood. A typical cup of coffee may raise blood caffeine levels to 5 micrograms, making Stiner’s blood caffeine levels equal to 14 cups of coffee. With 4,200 millimeter of blood in the average human body, that works out to around three-tenths of a gram of caffeine. More than 95 reports have been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug (FDA) Administration alleging adverse reactions to high concentrations of caffeine. Thirteen deaths and 35 adverse reaction reports were filed with the FDA linking the cases to the popular, caffeine-loaded “Five Hour Energy Drink,” but no direct link between normal caffeine ingestion and morbidity has yet been verified. Massive amounts of caffeine ingested over short periods of time can cause cardiac and pulmonary events that can be fatal, especially in cases where victims have impaired cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, but caffeine is essentially non-toxic, raising questions about how caffeine actually causes the deaths for which it is being blamed.
The Hobby Lobby Verdict’s Real Impact on Workers There
The Supreme Court decision that was thought to empower corporations to use their “religious principles” to justify a refusal to provide family planning services actually does not prevent affected families from getting free contraceptive care. While the Court’s decision does exempt religiously oriented privately held corporations from being forced to pay for a contraceptive care rider on their group health insurance policies, the Affordable Care Act already provides a procedure under which health insurance providers must offer the same level of contraceptive services to employees of objecting corporations at no charge to either the corporation or the employee. The Court’s decision merely extended an exemption originally negotiated for religiously motivated nonprofit organizations to for-profit corporations under the equal protection clause, according Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., who has said that the effect of the court’s ruling on access to contraceptive care is “precisely zero.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a 35 page dissent co-signed by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan, argues that extending the right to freedom of religion to a corporation is a dangerous extension of the “corporate personhood” doctrine established by the Citizens United decision.
“Diploma Mills” Are Exploiting Veterans and Making Millions Off the GI Bill
Investigators are increasingly concerned about growing evidence that students going through school on the GI.Bill are not getting what they paid for…and neither is the country that is footing the bills. Unlike “regular” students, veterans attending college on their G.I. benefit programs are not racking up the crushing educational debts, but they are not getting the education they wanted either. The Center for Investigative Reporting has discovered that the U.S. Government has paid out more than $600 million on behalf of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to schools that cannot qualify for state funding and, in many cases, are not accredited. Total student loan debt in the United States now tops $1.3trillion and represents the largest amount of unsecured debt in the nation’s history. Over the 10 year period from 2003 to 2013, the total student debt quintupled from $240 billion to $1.3 trillion. Estimates indicate that 38 million Americans are currently carrying student loan debts. One estimate put the number of student loans currently in default at more than 14 percent, and 10 percent of new student loans go into default within the first 24 months of graduation.
US News Commentary by Alan M. Milner, National News Editor.