The US news daily update from Guardian Liberty Voice for July 4, 2014 includes coverage of a wet and stormy Fourth of July, increased controversy over the status of undocumented minors in US custody, the spectacle of competitive eating contests, the grounding of the US military’s “go-to” fighter planes of the future, the annual Fourth of July swearing-in ritual for New Americans, and the government-instigated fire sale of a failing for-profit network of colleges.
Texas Governor Wants Children Sent Back Home…But Where To?
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who still considers himself a presidential contender for the 2016 Republican nomination, wants President Barack Obama to send undocumented underage immigrants back to their home countries. This is easier said than done because, since they are undocumented, American authorities do not know precisely where, or to whom, the children should be sent. More than 50,000 undocumented children under 18 years of age have been detained in the United States after crossing over the border from Mexico since October of 2013, more than three times the number who were detained in 2012.
The problem facing the federal government is that there are special laws in the United States that govern the care of at-risk children, but those laws make no distinction between the children of U.S. citizens and children who are undocumented, illegal immigrants. Once here, neither the states nor the federal government can simply ship them back to where they came from without first ascertaining whether the conditions to which they will be shipped back meet the minimum standards that would be required for a foster home in the United States.
This is a practical impossibility because no one knows where the children came from. Although they have been swept up by the U.S. Border Patrol after coming over the border with Mexico, most of the children are not Mexican. Instead, according to US news sources, most of the children appear to be from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and, while language experts can determine which countries the children came from, their presence in the United States without parental supervision automatically qualifies them as at-risk children, a group for which all 5o states have specific protocols that requires the states to step in as guardians until legal relatives are found. This could be another conundrum without a solution for the beleaguered Obama administration in which it takes the heat for an insoluble dilemma.
Competitive Eating? Seriously? No, Really: This Is Not a Spectator Sport
Consuming mountains of charcoal broiled hot dogs on the Fourth of July may be a family tradition in the United States, but it just is not a spectator sport. First of all, watching people eat anything is often an unpleasant experience, and watching people eat an endless succession of hot dogs is both unpleasant and unfortunately suggestive. Nevertheless, the Fourth of July, among other things, is the day when the Nathan’s Hot Dog chain sponsors its annual Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Moby Dick of all competitive eating contests,making this the one day in the year when Nathan’s pays at least one of their customers to eat their hot dogs, and that is US news that everyone can use.
Make no mistake about it, Nathan’s cooks up a better hot dog, fresh, all beef, properly steamed in the recommended manner, and served on toasted buns that are little more than folded pieces of white bread, but with all the pickles, sauerkraut, relish, mustard, ketchup, chili, cheese, mayonnaise and chopped onions that fit on the bun, as well as the New York favorite, the famous sautéed red onion sauce. This year, without going too deeply into the gory details, which are not appropriate for a family publication, seven-time winner Joey Chestnut racked up his eighth consecutive win by consuming 61 hot dogs in 1o minutes, somewhat off his own world record pace.
Hot dog lovers can get Nathan’s hot dogs at any supermarket and steam them to perfection at home. Hard core NY hot dog fans can even get jars of the authentic red onion sauce from Nathan’s primary competitor, the Sabrett Hot Dog company, but they cannot get the real star of Nathan’s cuisine. Nathan’s famous crinkle cut french fries are really only available at the original Coney Island location because, according to local legend, they have not changed the oil in which they fry the potatoes there since 1972, the year the hot dog eating contest began.
One thing that most patrons at Nathan’s do not get, however, is an engagement ring. That, however, was what Joey Chestnut gave his girl friend after winning today, along with a proposal of marriage, after becoming arguably the single best athlete in the world. Chestnut now has a string of eight continuous wins in what is commonly regarded as the Super Bowl of Sports Eating, which must make him number one on some top ten list somewhere.
US F-35 Fighter Planes Grounded Pending Investigation
The F-35 was supposed to be the all-purpose, multi-function jet fighter plane for the 21st century but, so far, the trouble-plagued aircraft has been more of a chronic migraine headache than a panacea for US military and the contractors who are building the plane. The entire fleet of F35s was grounded today, 11 days after the engine on the one-seat single engine aircraft caught fire while revving up for a takeoff at the Elgin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle. Elgin is the training facility for all F-35 pilots, including Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, personnel as well as Royal Air Force pilots, who also fly the F-35.
Placed in service in 2006, the F-35 is slated to replace the much beloved A-10 Thunderbolt, F-15 Strike Eagle, the F-16 Fighting Eagle, the F-18 Hornet and the F-22. Problems with the F-35 could leave the United States without a “go-to” alternative for those older aircraft that are still currently in service. The F-35 was at the center of the controversy over the 2011 discontinuation of the F-22 Stealth Fighter, which was phased out in favor of the F-35 when the per-unit acquisition costs of the F-22 reached $150 million. The per unit cost of the F-35 has now risen to $142.6 million, but that is still considered a bargain because the F-35 is capable of replacing all of the air-to-air and air-to-ground mission capable aircraft currently being flown by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps…but the F-35 is only cost-effective if the pilots are not afraid to fly it, and nothing scares a fighter pilot more than an engine fire when flying a plane that only has one engine.
Fourth of July Citizenship Ritual Honors New Americans
In the middle of the rancorous debate over America’s broken immigration policies, more than 9,000 new Americans are taking the Oath of Citizenship today in locations all over the United States, including 25 new Americans who were sworn in today at White House ceremony. Those invited to be sworn in at the White House include 15 serving members of the US military who, until today, were resident aliens who have already taken the “Oath of Enlistment” which is virtually identical to the “Naturalization Oath of Allegiance,” with the only difference being a statement renouncing all other citizenships.
The 25 new Americans for whom Mr. Obama personally administered the oath also included two US military veterans, one reservist, and the spouses of several of the military personnel inducted into citizenship by the president. With the exception of the members of the military and those who have held federal appointments, few Americans have ever heard the oath of citizenship and even fewer have ever taken it, making immigrants and sworn personnel the only people have actually taken the oath in earnest. Here is the oath. At some point during today’s celebrations, it might be a good idea to read it aloud and see what it really says:
Arthur Leaves Calling Cards Along the Southern Coast On its Way To New England and Canada
A weakened Hurricane Arthur, now pared down again to a Category One event, has left its calling cards in the Carolinas and Virginia, and now heads toward New England, Maine, and Canada, where the storm will be an unwelcome visitor for millions of people who were planning Independence Day festivities to mark the Fourth of July with barbecues, picnics and fire works, many of which may be rained out along the coast line. The storm left some flooding and wind damage, but no reported deaths or serious injuries, as it left the Outer Banks behind on its way up to coast toward its next landfall, where it will eventually disrupt Fourth of July celebrations…in Canada.
Canada’s yearly celebration of its more graceful independence from Great Britain is marked on July 1 each year but, this year, in particular, many Canadians are partying alongside their American neighbors with similar menus and festivities, at least in part to take advantage of a three-day weekend. Arthur may upset some of those plans as well. Sometimes, Canadians might just feel that America exports some of her most intractable problems to their shores, but then there is a reason the two countries have the longest undefended border in the world. When two nations have as much in common as the US and Canada do, it proves Robert Frost wrong. Sometimes, good fences do not make good neighbors.
For-Profit College Goes Into Fire Sale Mode
Corinthian Colleges has more than 72,000 students, most of whom live in California, Florida and Texas, who will not be getting their degrees from Corinthian. The nearly bankrupt for-profit company is selling off most of its assets as part of an agreement reached with the US Department of Education(DOE), which indirectly funded the bankrupt institution with approximately $1.4 billion in federally underwritten financial aid loans annually.
In many respects, Corinthian was little more than a grandiose trade school, offering degreed programs in auto mechanics and healthcare services. The college system was under close scrutiny by the Department of Education after allegations surfaced that the school used misleading statistics in its recruitment programs, including job placement statistics, while falsifying attendance records and student grades.
The DOE forced Corinthian to the bargaining table by withholding $16 million in student financial aid payments to the college until the college agreed to a restructuring proposal that would include the sale of the 85 as yet undisclosed campuses, and the closing of 12 more, which could leave Corinthian with as few as three campuses.
Corinthian’s collapse under federal scrutiny comes in the wake of aggressive state-level investigations that are looking into the value of the educational services the network of schools has provided, but Corinthian may be just a drop in the bucket compared to giants like the University of Phoenix (UP), which is also allegedly facing increased scrutiny on the state and federal levels. Statistics indicate that fewer than 15 percent of UP’s San Diego campus students graduate, and more than 25 percent of its students default on their student loans within three years of leaving the school.
US News commentary by Alan M. Milner, National News Editor, Guardian Liberty Voice