TRENTON, N.J. – Republican Gov. Chris Christie may have prayed for Superstorm Sandy because it has provided political cover for his failed economic policies, the Democratic leader of the state Senate said Monday.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the states most powerful elected Democrat and a possible contender for his partys nomination for governor, said Christies jobs plan before the late October storm was a disaster and now the reconstruction will provide an economic boost through thousands of new construction jobs.
He said Sandy, which killed people in 10 states but hit New York and New Jersey the hardest, flooding neighborhoods, knocking out power and destroying homes, helped hide the failings of Christies first term, including persistently high unemployment and housing foreclosures.
His jobs package is a hurricane, Sweeney said during a press conference on Monday, the day before Christie was set to deliver his State of the State message. I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky because a storm came.
Sweeney immediately apologized for the remark. The governors office and leading Republicans pounced on Sweeney anyway.
No one prayed for what New Jersey has endured, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said. This is politics at its worst.
Immigration biggest federal justice effort
The United States spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other major federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, and it has increased that spending dramatically over the past quarter-century, according to a report released Monday by the nonpartisan Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.
The report, Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery, found that in 2012, the U.S. government spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement. That is 24 percent more than it spent collectively for the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The report also found that more people, nearly 430,000, are detained each year for immigration-related violations than are serving sentences in federal prisons for all federal crimes. And it found that deportations have soared from 30,000 in 1990 to nearly 400,000 in 2011.
Grounded drill rig towed to Alaska bay
A large floating drill rig that ran aground a week ago on a remote Alaska island arrived as planned Monday in the shelter of a Kodiak Island bay after being towed about 45 miles through swells as high as 15 feet, officials said.
The Royal Dutch Shell PLC vessel was lifted off rocks late Sunday and towed away from the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island, where it sat exposed to the full-on fury of Gulf of Alaska winter storms since grounding near the beach there Dec. 31.
Diocese can’t cover names in abuse files
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles must release the names of church leaders and pedophile priests identified in thousands of pages of internal documents recounting sexual abuse allegations dating back decades, a judge ruled Monday.
The decision by Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias overturned much of a 2011 order by another judge that would have let the archdiocese black out the names of church higher-ups. Victims, as well as The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times, argued for the names to be public.
The documents include letters and memos between top church officials and their attorneys, medical and psychological records, complaints from parents and, in some cases, correspondence with the Vatican about abusive priests.
There are about 30,000 pages, and it wasnt clear how soon they would be released.