The SAT and ACT impose new registration rules after cheating scandals; JetBlue blames a captain’s meltdown on a “medical situation;” a newly released Human Rights Watch report covers the “moral” crimes Afghan women have been accused of; The New York Times reports on lower amounts of voter registrations in Florida after restrictions; also, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court receives challenges to the state’s voter ID law; Newt Gingrich cuts down on staffing; and George H.W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Dr. Seuss’s home is vandalized; and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke calls himself “a nerd.”
Kelly + Caitlin
SAT and ACT to Tighten Rules After Cheating Scandal, http://nyti.ms/H0qQzj
The SAT and ACT exams will now require students nationwide to provide their photograph when registering for tests. On the day of the test, students’ IDs will be checked against their photographs in order to make sure no one is taking the test for them. These new rules were laid out after dozens of Long Island high school students engaged in a cheating scandal, where high-scoring students used fake IDs to take the SAT or ACT for other students. Fifty students may have been involved in the cheating ring. The SAT and ACT will also eliminate “standby test registration,” where students can register the same day as the exam. The new ID rule will take effect this Fall.
Passengers recount fears during captain breakdown, http://bit.ly/HeAHS3
During an early morning flight from New York to Las Vegas, JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon had a nervous breakdown, alarming passengers and his co-pilots. Coming out of the cockpit and running down the plane’s aisles screaming about a bomb, passengers of the plan eventually tackled and restrained him while the co-pilots landed the plane in Amarillo, Texas. JetBlue airlines have called the incident a “medical situation” and insist that Osbon’s record never indicated flight risk.
Afghanistan’s War on Women Detailed in New Human Rights Watch Report, http://bit.ly/GSJd7l
A new Human Rights Watch report released today cites a troubling lack of justice for women in Afghanistan. The report detailed 60 cases of women and girls in prison for “moral crimes,” which include premarital sex, running away from forced marriages, and fleeing abusive husbands and homes. Of 42 married women interviewed, 22 were arrested as a direct result of running away from abusive husbands or extended family members. In follow-up interviews with their prosecutors, only one man had been arrested for the abuse.
(via New York Times) Florida’s New Election Law Blunts Voter Drives: Florida, expected to be a vital swing state once again, is enrolling fewer new voters than it did four years ago as prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials. The state’s new elections law requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. In the months since its new law took effect in July, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election, according to an analysis of registration data by The New York Times. All told, there are 11.3 million voters registered in the state. The law in Florida also reduces the number of early voting days in the state. Last Friday, on the anniversary of the passage of the 26th Amendment, which gave 18-year-olds the right to vote, Rock the Vote opened its national program to educate and register high school students, though not in Florida. “It’s a real shame,” said Heather Smith, the president of Rock the Vote, which joined the lawsuit. “We just cannot put those high school teachers at risk,” http://nyti.ms/GWG8Sq
(via WISN.com) Voter ID Lawsuits Sent To State Supreme Court: Appeals courts sent two lawsuits challenging Wisconsin’s blocked new voter ID law directly to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, determining it was imperative to resolve the cases quickly given the slate of important upcoming elections, including the state’s presidential primaries next week. If the Supreme Court agrees to take the cases, it could reinstate the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls just days before Tuesday’s election. However, attorneys challenging the law said it is unlikely a decision would come that quickly.The voter ID requirement was in effect for the February primary election and few problems were reported in the low-turnout election. But the judges’ orders blocked it for Tuesday’s spring election in which 35 percent turnout is predicted in the Republican presidential primary, http://bit.ly/Hga0tz
Newt Gingrich cuts staff, aims for Tampa, http://politi.co/GVdRPN
Newt Gingrich has cut about a third of his staff and has significantly reduced his campaign schedule for a “big-choice convention” strategy. Most of the layoffs affect junior and advance staff, with advance staff being contracted out from Gordon James Public Relations. Political strategists are surprised to see that Gingrich has not withdrawn from the race completely after a series of primary losses. Gingrich remains in a marginal third place and his campaign-finance report for February has shown that there is more debt than available cash-on-hand. The biggest change-up is the resignation of campaign coordinator Michael Krull and his replacement by Vince Haley, a deputy campaign manager and policy director.
(via Huffington post) George H.W. Bush To Formally Endorse Mitt Romney: Former President George H.W. Bush plans to endorse Mitt Romney at an event Thursday in Houston. Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho says the two will appear together and speak to reporters. Formal backing from the 41st president is another sign that the Republican Party is uniting behind Romney as pressure builds on challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to leave the race. The elder Bush has offered encouraging words to Romney throughout the primary season but had withheld a formal endorsement. Former first lady Barbara Bush has formally backed Romney. She recorded automated telephone calls for him during the primary in Ohio. Their son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, endorsed Romney last week, http://huff.to/HeC7aZ
Fox pulls movie ads due to Trayvon Martin case, http://reut.rs/HcxmDZ
Mega Millions soars to half a billion, http://nydn.us/HdmCq5
Ben Bernanke: ‘I Am Very Proud Of My Nerd-Dom,’ http://huff.to/HnapMS
Kris Humphries Divorce: Basketball Star Wants $8 Million From Kim Kardashian, http://huff.to/GWqdcr
‘Modern Family’ Cast Seeks Huge Raises As Contract Renegotiation Begins, http://bit.ly/HdwY88
Magic Johnson-led group is picked as Dodgers’ next owner, http://lat.ms/GWMRAQ
Lorax Statue Stolen From Dr. Seuss’ Garden, Family Hopes For Its Return, http://n.pr/HfntV6
Justin Bieber’s Tweet Ties Up Great Grandma’s Phone, http://bit.ly/HeUJgs