TIME Immigration

Number of Illegal Migrants from Haiti and Cuba Stopped at Sea at 5-Year High

Two boats with 10 Cuban migrants are pictured anchored in Cayman Brac waters in this handout photo
Reuters Two boats with 10 Cuban migrants are pictured anchored in Cayman Brac waters on July 20, 2014 in the Cayman Islands.

Over 4,300 Haitians and 2,985 Cubans apprehended since Oct. 1, Coast Guard says

The number of illegal migrants apprehended while trying to reach the United States by sea from Haiti and Cuba has hit a five-year high, Coast Guard officials said.

Over 4,300 Haitians have either been stopped at sea or are known to have arrived in Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland since Oct. 1, while the number of Cubans stands at 2,985, NBC reports, a total of around 850 more than last year.

Coast Guard officials said they are the highest numbers of the last five years.

The journey is dangerous and many Haitians and Cubans drown along the way, federal officials say.

The surge in captured migrants comes partly due to aggressive activity by Haitian smugglers, as well as relaxed travel policies introduced under Cuban President Raul Castro.

[NBC]

TIME Presidents

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Richard Nixon

TIME Cover Aug. 25, 1952: Richard Nixon
Boris Chaliapin for TIME

From his first TIME cover story

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the milestone for which the scandal-plagued politician is best remembered. But in 1952, when not-yet-President Nixon first appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, the scandal was decades away. He was a relatively young man, 39, whose political career was just taking off. Having successfully moved from the House to the Senate, he was the Republican nominee for Vice President, a man whose background could have still been unknown to readers.

In hindsight, it’s hard not to see foreboding or irony in the story that appeared under the headline “Fighting Quaker.” For example, his mother, the piece notes, preferred not to call the police on shoplifters at their family’s store, thinking of the shame it would bring to their families; Nixon apparently internalized the harm that could be done by exposing wrongdoings. Did he think of the harm he would do when he was the one exposed?

But it’s also easy to see why his life story would have been fascinating to voters. Here are nine things to know from the 1952 cover story.

He once worked as a carnival barker, for the “wheel of fortune” at the Frontier Days Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz. The Nixon family spent time in Arizona for the health of older son Harold, who had tuberculosis.

His parents had a lemon grove in Yorba Linda, Calif.—but, TIME noted, they would have rather grown oranges. (Nixon’s grandfather had moved to California from Indiana with the thought of growing the latter.) When the fruit farm proved “a lemon,” the family opened a general story in Whittier, Calif., called Nixon’s Market.

He played the piano and acted. His family, devout Quakers, attended church services four times a week. The young Richard Nixon played piano for the Sunday school. When he returned to Whittier after law school, he returned to work at the Sunday school when not busy as a divorce lawyer. He also participated in community theater. He met his future wife, Pat Ryan, while playing a fictional attorney in Night of January 16th, a play written by Ayn Rand.

His debating career began with bugs. In a seventh grade boys-vs.-girls debate on the relative merits of insects, Nixon asked an uncle who was an entomologist for a list of good things about insects, thus helping the boys’ team convince the judges that “insects are more beneficial than harmful.” However, he would later find that bugs weren’t so great: While in the South Pacific with the Navy, he said, the only things that bothered him—despite being under fire—were “lack of sleep and the centipedes.”

He worked his way through college, and lived in “a shack” during law school. While at Whittier College in his home town, he worked at Nixon’s Market. (He also helped his mom with the dishes, TIME noted, but that was probably not a paying gig.) After graduating, Nixon attended Duke University law school on scholarship, and lived “in a wooden patch a mile and a half from the campus” with three shack-mates.

He got into politics by answering a newspaper ad. In 1945, a Republican group was looking for someone to run against a popular Congressman in California. They placed an ad, which was seen by a family friend of the Nixons, who called him up and suggested he give it a shot.

But that early political career was dogged by the stench of by cannibalistic minks. When Dick and Pat Nixon moved back to California so he could run for office—they’d been in Baltimore before that—they ended up living next door to a family that owned “a smelly, cannibalistic brood of minks.”

He almost didn’t take the gig that got him national attention. Once he got to Congress, Nixon was offered a spot on the House Un-American Activities Committee, which had a terrible reputation. He hesitated before accepting, but his role in sorting out the Alger Hiss scandal—in which TIME editor and former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers identified the State Department’s Alger Hiss as a Communist—brought him to the national stage, and led the GOP to encourage him to run for Senate, which he did successfully.

He never went to the movies. Never!

If that’s not enough to demonstrate that he charmed some Republican voters, perhaps the letters section from the Sept. 15, 1952, issue will: “There is very little—if anything—that his opponents will find in his career to criticize,” wrote one reader. That opinion would have seemed vindicated when the fall came, as Eisenhower and Nixon took the White House. But, as history showed, another reader had a firmer grasp on the situation: “Surely I’m not the only TIME reader,” wrote George Brasington Jr. of Waycross, Ga., “who is now convinced that the GOP picked a lemon in ex-Lemon Picker Nixon.”

Read more about Nixon in TIME’s archives

TIME Health Care

Fed Government Removes Many Hospital Errors from Public Access

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services removed data about many serious hospital errors from public access earlier this month, preventing patients from thoroughly researching the malpractice rate of various hospitals

The federal government has stopped disclosing some hospital errors to the public, preventing people from being able to thoroughly research the conditions of a hospital prior to a visit.

USA Today reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) previously maintained a record of many avoidable mistakes called “hospital acquired conditions” (HACS) on its Hospital Compare website, but removed eight of these HACS last year — including instances such as patients given the wrong blood type during a transfusion, foreign objects left in patients’ bodies during surgery and a score of other life-threating errors. The data was instead provided on a less accessible public spreadsheet that disappeared earlier this month.

The Hospital Compare site now details just 13 conditions including the rate of infectious diseases being contracted after surgery. CMS says that some uncommon HACS were removed to reflect measurements from reliable sources such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CMS spokesman Aaron Albright wrote in an email to USA Today that the new data is the “most relevant to consumers.” He added that the changes reflect advice from the National Quality Forum, an organization that reviews performance measurements.

Ann Grenier, NQF spokeswoman, told the newspaper that certain HACS were removed because they were not “appropriate for comparing one hospital to another.”

The recording of HACS not only provides information for prospective patients, but it could also helps determine the amount of Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement that a hospital receives.

Under The Affordable Care Act, the hospitals with the 25% highest rates of certain HACS will receive up to to 1% less in Medicare reimbursement.

CMS says that the removed HACS rarely occur in the hospitals and that they are working on a new set of measurements for recording commonly occurring errors.

[USA Today]

TIME Race

Abraham Lincoln’s Handwriting Found in Racial Theory Book

Lincoln Handwriting Race
Courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum—AP This undated photo provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., shows what historical experts say is Abraham Lincoln's handwriting they’ve found inside a tattered book justifying racism that he may have read to better understand his opponents' thinking on slavery.

The Great Emancipator was reading a book that seeks to justify racism

Experts confirmed Tuesday what had long been whispered at a public library in the small town of Clinton, Illinois — a name written on a page in the book Types of Mankind was penned by none other than Abraham Lincoln.

On an early page of the book is written the name Clifton Moore, a local attorney and colleague of Lincoln, NBC Chicago reports. Below that note is one from a different attorney attesting that Lincoln wrote it in 1861, just before he was elected president. Lincoln is presumed to have written Moore’s name in the book to remind himself, or someone else, as to the identity of its rightful owner.

“There are certain letters of the alphabet that Lincoln wrote in a way that were not common to his era,” says the curator of Lincoln’s presidential museum James Cornelius. “A forger can typically do some of the letters in a good Lincolnian way. They’ll give themselves away on a couple of the others. This all adds up.”

The 700-page tome offers up the theory that different races on earth were created at different times and thus could not be equal and it was part of the natural order that Caucasians would enslave Africans and Native Americans. The book, published in 1854, was popular among racists and slave owners for lending support to their way of life.

Historians at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential stressed that Lincoln did not subscribe to the beliefs put forth in the book, but that racial division was a hot button issue at the time of his presidency and he was likely educating himself on opposing arguments.

“Everything we know about Lincoln’s legal, religious and scientific thinking tells us he rejected that argument,” adds Cornelius.

[NBC Chicago]

TIME Crime

Cops Arrest 500 Johns in Sex Trade Crackdown

111 prostitution victims recovered

Law enforcement agencies across the country collaborated in a recent series of sex stings that netted the arrests of almost 500 men seeking to buy sex and 14 pimps and traffickers, officials will announce Wednesday.

The police crackdown, part of an annual “National Day of Johns Arrests,” led to more arrests than any previous sex sting of its kind, officials said. Law enforcement agencies in 14 different states collaborated on the sting, which is part of an ongoing national pivot toward fighting the sex trade by punishing johns instead of prostitutes.

“If there was no demand, there would be no prostitution,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose Chicago office has taken a lead role in organizing the crackdown, told TIME Tuesday ahead of its announcement. “It makes them understand that there are some consequences here. The public still perceives prostitution as a victimless crime, so we’re going about it this way to address the problem and raise awareness.”

Officials said 111 prostitutes were recovered during the operation, including 13 juveniles. The crackdown, which ran from July 17 to Aug. 3, led police to multiple cases of abuse. Seattle police recovered a 15-year old girl whose mother was attempting to sell her for sex. Texas law enforcement officials arrested a federal border patrol agent who was trying to buy sex while in full uniform, as well as a man who tried to pick up a prostitute with his infant child in the backseat. Of the 150 johns arrested in the greater Phoenix area, 91 were trying to buy sex off the website Backpage.com

Dart said the “National Day of Johns Arrests” only lasts for 18 days in order to show the scope of the problem, but also because there are practical constraints on resource allocation in different jurisdictions. “Law enforcement agencies have issues that are pulling them in a million different directions,” he said. “This shows what we can do in a narrow window of time, and speaks to the bigger issue of what’s happening the rest of the year.”

Dart said 53% of the arrested johns were married and 47% were college graduates. “The idea that these are a bunch of ne’er-do-wells could not be further from the truth,” he said.

The National Day of Johns is part of a national trend toward punishing men who buy sex instead of prostitutes who are sometimes forced to sell it. New York has already announced some measures to punish pimps more than trafficking victims, and to rehabilitate women who have been in the sex trade rather than imprison them. The shift has also gained traction internationally, with Sweden’s ban on purchasing sex instead of on selling it has becoming a model across Europe.

TIME Retail

Target Openly Supports Gay Marriage in Legal Brief

Hackers Grab 40 Million Accounts From Target Stores
Joe Raedle—Getty Images A Target store is seen on December 19, 2013 in Miami, Florida.

The major retailer has joined a group of companies in filing an amicus brief in support of gay marriage

Target announced its support for gay marriage Tuesday by signing onto an amicus brief in a case before a federal appeals court, after years of criticism for its neutrality on the issue.

“It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage,” said Target Executive Vice President Jodee Kozlak in a statement Tuesday.

The retail giant joins a group of national companies signing onto an amicus brief filed in Wisconsin’s appeal of a lower court decision that struck down that state’s gay marriage ban. A similar case in Indiana has been folded into this case.

Kozlak said Target already offers benefits to LGBT employees and families. In announcing the move, Kozlak couched the decision in both ideological and economical terms regarding the challenges created by having contradictory marriage regulations in different states.

“This position is particularly challenging for a large organization that operates nationally, such as Target,” Kozlak said. “Current laws — in places like Wisconsin and Indiana that are addressed in this brief – make it difficult to attract and retain talent … We believe that everyone – all of our team members and our guests – deserve to be treated equally. And at Target we are proud to support the LGBT community.”

TIME Crime

Missouri Executing Inmates at Record Pace

Michael Worthington is pictured in this handout photo
Reuters—Missouri Department of Corrections Michael Worthington, convicted in the 1995 rape and murder of a St. Louis woman, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday.

Backlogged cases are working their way through the system

Updated 6:58 a.m. E.T. on Aug. 6

An execution Wednesday in Missouri brought the state’s pace of executions near record levels, at a time when problems with lethal injections around the U.S. have led to growing scrutiny of the method.

Death row inmate Michael Worthington was put to death early Wednesday, the first in the U.S. since the nearly two-hour-long execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona that again raised questions about the humaneness of lethal injections. It was the seventh this year for Missouri, the most since 2001.

The execution of Worthington—convicted in 1995 of murdering and raping a St. Louis woman—put Missouri alongside Texas and Florida, which lead the country in executions this year at seven each. The three states combined have now executed 21 of the 27 inmates put to death in 2014. The number of executions this year has been accelerated thanks to a combination of backlogged cases now making their way through the system, inmate appeals that have been exhausted in court, and conservative judicial appointments at the state and federal level.

“It’s kind of a perfect storm,” says Sean O’Brien, a University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor who studies capital punishment.

Missouri had already executed 76 inmates since 1976, the year the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, making it fifth among U.S. states behind Texas (511), Oklahoma (111), Virginia (110) and Florida (88).

The most inmates Missouri has executed in one year is nine in 1999. In 2001, it executed seven. But just a few years ago, executions in Missouri were rare. From 2006 to 2012, the state executed just two inmates as it struggled to obtain lethal injection drugs, partly because European pharmaceutical companies began restricting the sale of their products for use in capital punishment.

In May 2012, Missouri announced that it would switch to propofol, an anesthetic. It was the only state to do so, but Missouri never used it. Gov. Jay Nixon stopped the planned lethal injection of Allen Nicklasson in October after the European Union threatened to limit propofol’s export if it was used by prison systems in executions. Fresnius Kabi, a German-based pharmaceutical company, makes the drug—the same drug on which pop star Michael Jackson overdosed in 2009.

In October 2013, the state announced it would start using just one drug—the sedative pentobarbital, and the following month used it in the lethal injection of Joseph Franklin in November and Nicklasson in December. Earlier this year, the Missouri Times reported that the state department of corrections paid $11,000 in cash to obtain the drug from a compounding pharmacy, which is unregulated by the federal government.

Now that the state appears to have an adequate supply of pentobarbital, O’Brien says a backlog of cases is now moving through the system. And inmates’ constitutional challenges are finding little sympathy from federal courts.

“We’re seeing winning motions for requests for stays of execution at the trial level, but the Eighth Circuit vacates those routinely,” O’Brien says, referring to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and adding that a number of conservative judges appointed by President George W. Bush often reverse lower court rulings.

Nixon, a Democrat and death penalty supporter, has also been unwilling to grant clemency in lethal injection cases, many of which the governor worked on as an attorney general for the state.

“He hasn’t ruled on a lot of the clemency petitions before him,” says Susan McGraugh, a St. Louis University law professor. “But the simple answer for why these executions are moving forward is because they can.”

Worthington’s attorneys were still working Tuesday to get a stay of execution through last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been largely unwilling to grant stays to death row inmates who argue that their executions shouldn’t go forward based on Eighth Amendment claims. Worthington’s lawyers were attempting to get a stay until a decision is reached in a case in front of the Eighth Circuit brought by Worthington and 14 other Missouri death row inmates who are challenging the secrecy of where the state obtains execution drugs while arguing that lethal injection violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The court is scheduled to hear the case in early September.

Missouri has yet to be involved in a recent execution gone awry. One massive dose of a drug like pentobarbital has so far appeared to be a more effective way of administering lethal injection than a two-drug combination. The botched executions of Dennis McGuire in Ohio in January and Joseph Wood in Arizona in July both used a two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone. But Kent Gipson, an attorney for Worthington, thinks that Missouri will join those states soon enough.

“It’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong in one of these in Missouri,” Gipson says. “There’s a bigger risk of it happening when it’s all under a veil of secrecy and from an unknown source that isn’t tested.”

TIME intelligence

New Post-Snowden Leaks Reveal Secret Details of U.S. Terrorist Watch List

Edward Snowden, displayed on television screens, asks a question to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a nationally televised question-and-answer session, in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014.
Pavel Golovkin—AP Edward Snowden, displayed on television screens, asks a question to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a nationally televised question-and-answer session, in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014.

The documents are not as highly classified as the materials released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden

The U.S. government believes that someone other than former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has recently leaked secret national-security documents to the media, an official confirmed Tuesday.

The documents, published by the Intercept on Tuesday, detail the growth of federal terrorist watch lists. They were drafted after Snowden fled prosecution in the U.S. for Russia, when he no longer had access to classified intelligence networks.

CNN first reported that the government has assessed a second source of the documents. Classified as “secret” with instructions not to reveal them to foreign nationals, the documents would have been available broadly throughout the intelligence community and the military on the classified SIPRNet, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, the system predominantly used by former Army Private Bradley Manning to collect documents to pass to WikiLeaks.

That network is open to a vastly larger audience than the top-secret-level JWICS, the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, which was used by Snowden to gather as many as a million documents on some of the nation’s most sensitive surveillance programs. So far, just a couple of documents have been published, making it impossible to determine whether the source of the leak simply passed the Intercept a small number of documents or a larger contingent on the order of the previous leaks.

The published documents describe government efforts using the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), a database used by federal state and local law-enforcement agencies to identify and track known or suspected terrorist suspects. The database has been subject to public debate and federal litigation, because of the secretive process that determines inclusion on this list.

The leaked documents say TIDE included more than 1 million people in June 2013, after Snowden had fled the country. The documents also detail use of the database in tracking possible combatants in the Syrian civil war and in providing security at events, like the Boston and Chicago marathons. A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the possible source of the leak.

TIME Infectious Disease

Feds Face Growing Ebola Fears

A flood of calls, but no confirmed Ebola cases

Federal health officials are facing a surge in reports of possible Ebola cases from hospitals and health departments, none of which have been confirmed but which highlight a moment of growing domestic concern about an outbreak that has claimed over 800 lives in Africa.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told TIME on Tuesday that it’s received several dozen calls from states and hospitals about people who are ill after traveling in Africa. “We’ve triaged those calls and about half-dozen or so resulted in specimen coming to CDC for testing and all have been negative for Ebola,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said, adding that the agency is expecting still more calls to come in.

More than 1,000 people have been infected with the deadly disease in West Africa and more than 800 have died, making it the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Two Americans who were infected in Africa have since returned to the U.S. for treatment. Health officials said a patient tested for Ebola at a New York City hospital Monday was likely not infected.

It’s clear concern over the virus is building in the U.S. But individual patients being tested for Ebola shouldn’t be cause for panic, health experts say. So far all questionable cases have been quickly reported to the CDC—and all have tested negative. Even if the disease were to present in an American patient, CDC Director Tom Frieden has sought to reassure the public it wouldn’t spread, and that any hospital with an intensive care unit can successfully treat a patient with Ebola.

“We are confident that we will not have significant spread of Ebola, even if we were to have a patient with Ebola here,” Frieden told reporters last week.

A patient at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and a patient in Columbus, Ohio were reported to be in isolation under suspicion of Ebola this week. The Columbus patient tested negative, and the New York City patient is “stable and in good spirits,” according to the hospital. The CDC is still testing the New York patient’s specimen, but officials don’t believe the patient has Ebola.

Still, hospitals are making sure they are prepared. In a great coincidence, Dr. David Reich, president and chief operating officer at Mount Sinai, told TIME that the hospital had spent last weekend (days before the currently isolated patient entered the emergency room) training for the possibility of an Ebola patient in their hospital. That training consisted of making sure they were prepared to quickly isolate a patient and begin infection control protocol.

There have been more than 1,600 reported cases of Ebola and over 887 deaths in Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Over the next month, the CDC will be sending 50 disease specialists to the region to try to contain the disease.

TIME Education

University President Cuts $90K From Salary So Campus Employees Can Make Living Wage

"This is not a publicity stunt"

An interim university president decided to forego $90,000 of his salary so that his school’s lowest-paid employees could earn a living wage.

Raymond Burse, who’s been Kentucky State University’s sitting president for 12 months while its board looks for a successor, wasn’t pleased to hear that some of the college’s workers were earning a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, even though many consider $10.25 as a living wage.

Burse had served as president of KSU from 1982-89, and then was a top executive at General Electric for 27 years. He told Kentucky.com that his decision to forego some of his typically-$349,869 salary wasn’t a difficult decision.

“My whole thing is I don’t need to work,” Burse said. “This is not a hobby, but in terms of the people who do the hard work and heavy lifting, they are at the lower pay scale.”

Burse will now be paid $259,745 for the year.

“This is not a publicity stunt,” he said. “You don’t give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people.”

[Kentucky.com]

 

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