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New York Tag

Legal Insurrection readers may have noticed that I sometimes refer to President Donald Trump as "Master of the Unexpected." That is a term of endearment among Trump's fans who also love the 1963 epic, Cleopatra, as it refers to quote about Julius Caesar and his tactic that led to a victory over the Egyptian army. However, a New York theater group has taken that analogy to a much darker level.
Shakespeare in the Park, an annual summer program by The Public Theater that puts on plays by William Shakespeare in Central Park, kicked off May 23 with a performance of Julius Caesar.

The Department of Justice has announced the arrest of two Hezbollah men, one in New York and another in Michigan, for allegedly plotting attacks in New York and the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Panama. DOJ officials released these statements:
Acting U.S. Attorney [Joon H.] Kim said: “Today, we announce serious terrorism charges against two men who allegedly trained with and supported the Islamic Jihad Organization, a component of the foreign terrorist organization Hizballah. Recruited as Hizballah operatives, Samer El Debek and Ali Kourani allegedly received military-style training, including in the use of weapons like rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns for use in support of the group’s terrorist mission. At the direction of his Hizballah handlers, El Debek allegedly conducted missions in Panama to locate the U.S. and Israeli Embassies and to assess the vulnerabilities of the Panama Canal and ships in the Canal. Kourani allegedly conducted surveillance of potential targets in America, including military and law enforcement facilities in New York City. Thanks to the outstanding work of the FBI and NYPD, the allegedly destructive designs of these two Hizballah operatives have been thwarted, and they will now face justice in a Manhattan federal court.”

On Thursday, President Trump announced the great news that he is withdrawing the U. S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the response across the internet was predictable.  On Friday, dozens of states and cities announced that they had established a "United States Climate Alliance" to meet the U. S.'s commitment without Washington. Thus far, the California-led effort seems focused on lowering carbon emissions and not on the government's financial commitments. The Los Angeles Times reports:
President Trump may be quitting the Paris accord on climate change — but forcing the rest of the nation to go along with him is proving more of a challenge. Led by California, dozens of states and cities across the country responded Friday to Trump’s attack on the worldwide agreement by vowing to fulfill the U.S. commitment without Washington — a goal that is not out of reach.

Authorities have arrested Jacob Schwartz, a New York City employee and president of the Manhattan Young Democrats, for allegedly possessing child pornography. The NYPD Computer Crimes division began an investigation in March and Schwartz surrendered his computer. The detectives "found more than 3,000 images and 89 videos depicting girls as young as 6 months old performing sex acts on adult men."

Earlier this week, I blogged about New York's 'free' college tuition initiative. Not only is there no such thing as a free lunch, there's definitely no such thing as a free government offering as The Excelsior Scholarship illustrates. Among the many strings attached to the tuition program, one of the most unrealistic is the requirement that tuition recipients serve state work time after graduation. Those finishing a two-year degree would be required to remain in New York for two years post-college while bachelor degree holders would be required to stay in the Empire State (presumably working) for four years. Leave before the state-mandated time and the scholarship turns into a loan that must be paid back. New York's Director of the Division of Budget in the Governor's office read our post and offered an alternative explanation to the unworkable (as I called it) tuition program. For debate's sake, we've posted his response in full beneath.

New York state recently passed legislation making it "free" to attend two and four-year state colleges. It's so free, it's estimated to cost New York state taxpayers a paltry $163 million per year. Called a "last-dollar" plan, would-be participants must first apply for federal monies before turning to the state for assistance. This 'free tuition' only covers half the cost of attending school and doesn't cover incidentals like books, fees, or housing. Oh, and participants must finish school on time.

A court in New York has indicted 13 members, including 10 undocumented immigrants, of the notorious MS-13 gang for the killing of two teenage girls and five other killings over the past three years. These charges include murder, attempted murder, racketeering, assault, arson, and obstruction of justice. The members slaughtered Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, "with baseball bats and machetes."
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