President Barack Obama will be leaving office on a high note. According to a new CNN/ORC poll, his approval rating has increased amongst Americans. For the first time in nearly two years, more people say they look at President Obama in a positive light. Forty-eight percent of Americans believe he’s doing a good job, while 47 percent don’t agree. Although the gap between those favoring President Obama and those who don’t is quite small, there has been an evident change in the way the country perceives him. The poll also discovered that 52 percent of Americans believe the economy has strengthened and is very or somewhat good, while 48 percent of Americans don’t believe so. Read more.
New NYPD Manual Addresses Racism
One would think that not being racist, refraining from mocking others, not telling sexist jokes, and not harassing people are all things that would be common sense for a police officer. But after several incidents we’ve seen where cops are abusing their authority, rules like these must be reinforced. Federal monitor Peter Zimroth presented new training tools to Manhattan Federal Judge Analisa Torres for the next class of NYPD recruits. “It was essential that the materials be rewritten for the current class to reflect current law and policy,” wrote Zimroth. He compiled 75 PowerPoint slides featuring rules that address police brutality, stop-and-frisk, stereotyping, and other issues. Read more.
Two New Bills Pass That Reward Inmates For Getting Education in Jail
Two bills were recently passed last week that would allow inmates who pursue an education in prison to have their sentences reduced and their criminal records sealed. One of the bills, HB 3149, would seal criminal records for non-violent felony offenders looking for a job if they got their high school degree, GED, associate’s degree, vocational technical certification, or career certificate. The other bill, HB 3884, would allow an inmate to have their sentence reduced by 90 days if they pass the GED. The two bills got 80 percent of House votes last Thursday. Read more.
Writer Gregory Pardlo Wins Pulitzer Prize
Notable writer Gregory Pardlo has won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Digest, an anthology of poetry. The judges chose Pardlo’s work because it captures the essence of 21st century America and features thought-provoking pieces about the past and present. Other finalists included Arthur Sze for Compass Rose, and Alan Shapiro for Reel to Reel. Read more.