Understanding but no support. President Barack Obama, speaking Monday through White House officials, said he understood why so many parents value the freedom to homeschool their children. But he declined to address the plight of a German family seeking asylum in the United States because they are not allowed to teach their children in their home country. The Romeike family came to the United States in 2010 and wants to stay. But the Obama administration has denied their request, and courts have sided with the government. The family has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A petition lodged on “We the People,” the official channel for seeking redress from White House, gained 127,000 signatures, enough to generate this official response: “While we can’t comment on this particular issue, we know that homeschooling is a popular option for many parents pursuing high academic standards for their children. Homeschooling can provide young people with the resources and attention they need to succeed academically, and we understand why their parents value this freedom.”
Crash landing. The captain and co-pilot of a UPS cargo plane headed for Birmingham, Ala., died this morning when the aircraft crash-landed near the airport. The plane erupted in flames and broke into two pieces in an open field next to the city’s airport. Although it took out some power lines, leaving about 76 customers without electricity, the plane did not damage any structures. Officials don’t yet know what caused the crash. Federal investigators are headed to the scene.
Behind bars. A traveling hospital technician pleaded guilty today to infecting as many as 46 people in four states with hepatitis C. Under a plea deal reached with prosecutors, David Kwiatkowski, 34, will spend at least 30 years in prison. Kwiatkowski told the judge he was addicted to drugs and alcohol for years, stealing syringes filled with pain medication from the hospitals where he worked. To avoid getting caught, he refilled them with saline solution after he used them and contaminated them with his blood. He told investigators he began stealing drugs in 2002, one year before he completed his medical training.
Plea for mercy. Disgraced Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. asked a judge for leniency this morning ahead of a sentencing decision that could send him to prison for four years. Jackson pleaded guilty to stealing $750,000 in campaign funds for his personal use. His wife, Sandi, will be sentenced for failing to report about $600,000 in taxable income. Jackson’s attorneys asked for an 18-month sentence at an Alabama prison camp. Jackson asked the judge not to hold anyone but him accountable for his actions. Although they didn’t use an insanity defense, Jackson’s lawyers said their client’s bi-polar disorder contributed to his poor decisions.