He once stopped a school bus on a busy interstate because he “needed a hug” from the kids inside. He’s been known to strap weapons to his chest and leg that he has no authority to carry or conceal, then wear them in public. He once bulldozed an elderly woman’s house, promising to build her a better one. He then forgot to build it. He recruited a team of kids to torch a row of dilapidated shotgun houses, without clearance or first turning off the utilities. Meet The Worst Mayor In America
posted by stupidsexyFlanders
on Oct 23, 2007 -
Buy Sudafed, have a chat with Officer Friendly.
Detective Brian Lewis returns to his desk after lunch, scanning e-mails he missed.
One catches his eye: It says a suspected member of a methamphetamine ring bought a box of Sudafed at 1:34 p.m. at a CVS pharmacy.
Minutes later, Lewis is in his truck, circling the parking lot, searching for the woman.
is one of the new computerized tracking systems that will notify police of your decongestant purchases. Buy too much, or buy if you're already a suspect, and you'll be getting a visit from the law. Uncomfortable? Better hold your nose - the next version of the software will match you against everyone on your street to see if your aggregate buying warrants investigation.
We've discussed the
before, but this level of tracking opens up a new can of worms. It seems a small step before you get this tautology:
Why do you care that she bought Sudafed?
Because she's a suspected meth ring member.
Why do you think she's in a meth ring?
Because she bought Sudafed, silly!
posted by bitmage
on Jul 19, 2007 -
From the guy
who brought you the Whitewater scandal and the impeachment of President Clinton
for lying about oval antics in the Oral Office, a legal push to make the Supreme Court just say no to "Bong Hits 4 Jesus."
Ken Starr's petition to the Court [PDF]
makes clear that Starr believes this is no laughing matter, but a chance for the Court to make a landmark ruling that will give school adminstrators the power to limit student speech: "This case presents the Court with a much-needed opportunity to resolve a sharp conflict among federal courts
(and to eliminate confusion on the part of school boards,
administrators, teachers, and students) over whether the First
Amendment permits regulation of student speech when such
speech is advocating or making light of illegal substances."
posted by digaman
on Aug 28, 2006 -
"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government."
Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms
on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans
, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
posted by Mr. Six
on Jun 26, 2006 -
NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls.
"The NSA's domestic program began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the sources. Right around that time, they said, NSA representatives approached the nation's biggest telecommunications companies. The agency made an urgent pitch: National security is at risk, and we need your help to protect the country from attacks"
posted by gsb
on May 11, 2006 -
NSA,FISA, and Privacy It is of course the president who finally approves of actions that may or may not be deemed legal but before 9/11, this is what he had been advised to consider
"The largest U.S. spy agency warned the incoming Bush administration in its "Transition 2001" report that the Information Age required rethinking the policies and authorities that kept the National Security Agency in compliance with the Constitution's 4th Amendment prohibition on "unreasonable searches and seizures" without warrant and "probable cause," according to an updated briefing book of declassified NSA documents posted today on the World Wide Web.
If this is the sort of reading you enjoy, then by all means dig about here:
But then Windows
allowed NSA to have a sure access to your machine .
And by now we all know that Google
will fight the government on making its search data base available in order to protect your privacy.(Reality: to protect Google stuff). And if you worry about search engines tracking you and making data available, then here is a workaround
posted by Postroad
on Jan 20, 2006 -
Bush authorized domestic spying before 9/11. What had long been understood to be protocol in the event that the NSA spied on average Americans was that the agency would black out the identities of those individuals or immediately destroy the information.
But according to people who worked at the NSA as encryption specialists during this time, that's not what happened. On orders from Defense Department officials and President Bush, the agency kept a running list of the names of Americans in its system and made it readily available to a number of senior officials in the Bush administration, these sources said, which in essence meant the NSA was conducting a covert domestic surveillance operation in violation of the law.
posted by rxrfrx
on Jan 13, 2006 -
"I learned this week
that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story
..." President Bush really
did not want journalists to reveal his NSA spying program against Americans [discussed here
.] And in yesterday's rare press conference
, the President said: "An open debate about law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts... Any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, 'Here's what they do. Adjust.' This is a war." Neocon guru William Kristol argues
that talk of Bush being an "imperial" president" is "demagogic" and "irresponsible" since "Congress has the right and the ability to judge whether President Bush has in fact used his executive discretion soundly." What is the role of "open debate" in a war against terror that may last for decades?
posted by digaman
on Dec 20, 2005 -
Presenting: The ACLU Freedom Files.
Teaming up with producer Robert Greenwald
, among others), the American Civil Liberties Union
is presenting a 10-part series on current issues in civil liberties, viewable free online. Using comedy, drama, documentary, personal stories, music, interviews, and animation, each epsiode focuses on a timely topic, "stripping away the sound bites
" and illustrating what civil liberties mean for the average American. Check out the first three, available now: Harry Shearer, librarians, and harrassed Muslim americans take on illegal search and seizure in Beyond the Patriot Act
; high school students oppose mandatory drug testing and experience firsthand the power of The Supreme Court
, and Gulf War veterans, protestors, and attendees at a Bush speech llustrate the concept of freedom of speech in Dissent
. Production is ongoing: stay tuned for more
. And more
. And more
posted by Miko
on Dec 7, 2005 -
Microsoft collaborates with the Department of Homeland Security, Interpol, and the Canadian Mounties to produce the ultimate people-tracking database, mining email aliases, "chat room" logs, and arrest records
. This open-source software developed by MS Canada
will be given away free to police departments, says the company
. "The initiative was the result of a January 2003 e-mail sent to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates from a member of the Toronto Police Service sex-crimes unit, asking for help in battling child pornography," reports the Seattle Times
. "The billionaire, known for his philanthropy in the area of AIDS research and education, called on Microsoft Canada to develop software that would aid police officials." Buried in the enthusiastic accounts
of how the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) will nail "child sex fiends
" is any consideration of how such a system could -- and will undoubtedly someday -- be used against such lesser offenses as drug use, sharing illegal music files, or discussion of political beliefs that could be construed as supporting "terrorism."
posted by digaman
on Apr 8, 2005 -
Carnivore, the gold standard for conspiracy theory, has apparently been mothballed.
An interesting element of this is that Carnivore has been removed from service not because it is invasive of civil liberties, but rather because it has failed to perform against commercially-available monitoring technologies. Of course, since we do not know what those technologies *are*, it may be that they have built into them considerations of individual rights to privacy that Carnivore could not be altered to respect. However, given the drift of the US on matters of data privacy, this seems unlikely...
So, what are the programmes that do it better than Carnivore? What do they have to offer that Carniviore doesn't, or is it just the ISPs are now offering information straight to the government? And does this mean that it is no longer fashionable to append long strings of exciting-sounding nouns to emails?
(Apologies if this is old news to the more plugged-in - this report has only just been released under FOI)
posted by tannhauser
on Jan 16, 2005 -
Back in Decemeber of 2002 Christa Worthington was murdered
in the small Cape Cod tourist (and home of the 'livliest' nude beach on the Cape)
of Truro, MA
. Despite an active investigation and a $25,000 reward
there has little progress in the search for the killer. This has led to a police request for voluntary DNA samples
from 790 men. Civil libertarians
(ACLU press release in .doc format) are concerned that, though voluntary, police have stated that, "that those who refuse could face some scrutiny
." The Dept. of Justice, on the other hand, feels that DNA is a means to prevent
Though more common in the UK
, mass DNA testing has been used several times in the United States, most notably in Lousiana where more than 1,000 men
were tested in the search for a serial killer.
posted by cedar
on Jan 10, 2005 -
"is a protest blog collective focusing on civil liberties in the UK and the rest of [the] world. It was set up to point a finger at the erosion of personal freedom in the UK. Government's active measures introduce new means of control such as identity cards and surveillance cameras, the passive measures such as weakening of double jeopardy and presumption of innocence." Nice quote from this entry
My audience were all gluttons for freedom, if by that you meant the freedom to hunt, or the freedom to eat roast beef without the fat trimmed off. But they were perfectly happy to see their own liberties curtailed, if that gave the authorities a chance to crack down on scroungers and bogus asylum-seekers.
posted by languagehat
on Dec 20, 2004 -
Survey finds support for restricting Muslim-Americans' freedoms
Nearly one in two Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict civil liberties for Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide Cornell University poll on terrorism fears.
The survey also found respondents who identified themselves as highly religious supported restrictions on Muslim-Americans more strongly than those less religious.
Curtailing civil liberties for Muslim-Americans also was supported more by Republicans than Democrats, the survey found. The amount of attention paid to TV news also had a bearing on how strongly a respondent favored restrictions
posted by Postroad
on Dec 18, 2004 -
The Jefferson Muzzles
are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment.
posted by papercake
on Apr 13, 2004 -
Preserving Life and Liberty
- The Department of Justice’s first priority is to prevent future terrorist attacks. Since its passage following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Patriot Act has played a key part - and often the leading role - in a number of successful operations to protect innocent Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists dedicated to destroying America and our way of life.
Is this a legitimate way for the government to keep citizens informed, or merely a propaganda tool?
posted by RylandDotNet
on Mar 31, 2004 -
Last week some friends of mine launched terroristidkit.com to, as they put it, "[poke] fun at the racial profiling, loss of civil
liberties and terrorist paranoia that is sweeping the US." Five days later Register.com seized their domain and refuses to explain why
, despite the fact that they complied with two requests for identity verification and even called Register.com to talk about it; after putting them on hold for twenty minutes, Register.com put the phone down. Today the domain is now owned by Register.com
. What the hell is going on?
posted by lia
on Apr 11, 2003 -
Keep off the grass
These days in London it's okay to smoke grass but not okay to walk on grass.
Perhaps it's not all that surprising given that there's been a material breach
Any other current examples of civil liberties being eroded quite so outrageously where you live?
posted by skellum
on Jan 30, 2003 -
Strange Bedfellows fight tyranny? - Bob Barr, Dick Armey to join ACLU
Quoth James Madison: (Federalist Papers #47) - "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." and Benjamin Franklin:"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
William Safire Slammed the Bush Adminstration
(Nov 15) over John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness
program. NOW: Bob Barr, a gun-rights anti-gay firebrand conservative to join the ACLU? Dick Armey's joining as a consultant? Say that again?
And Nat Hentoff reports that the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Indiana ran a broadside called (sept. 8) "Attacks on Liberty" - "In the name of national security, President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and even Congress have pulled strand after strand out of the constitutional fabric that distinguishes the United States from other nations. . . . Actions taken over the past year are eerily reminiscent of tyranny portrayed in the most nightmarish works of fiction" MEANWHILE...an email of an editorial by right wing radio personality Chuck Baldwin, "Bush Government 'Out of Control' ("The Bush administration seems determined to turn our country into the most elaborate and sophisticated police state ever devised")
first published in an online Christian Fundamentalist antiabortion newpaper
is making the (right wing) rounds. It asks: "Does that mean one must leave the Republican Party in order to fight for liberty?" [antitroll protection dislaimer: most Democrats signed the Patriot Act
, the principle cause of concern behind the statements and editorials linked to on this post]
posted by troutfishing
on Nov 27, 2002 -
You Have The Right To Remain Silent
Police can hold people in custody and force them to talk, so long as their incriminating statements are not used to prosecute them, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Theodore B. Olson and Michael Chertoff, the chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, say in their brief to the court.
It "will chill legitimate law enforcement efforts to obtain potentially life-saving information during emergencies," including terrorism alerts, if police and FBI agents can be sued for coercive questioning, they add
ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?
posted by nofundy
on Nov 25, 2002 -
The Associated Press
has written a summary of the Bush Administration's curtailment of civil liberties. This appears to an unbiased and factual catalog of the changes 9/11 has wrought on our justice system. It would appear that the Law and Order wing of the GOP has spanked the Libertarian
wing but good. Let the Eagle Soar!
posted by pejamo
on Sep 6, 2002 -
: Now that the movie is out, and given the similarity of the movie's pretext to our current situation
, the phrase Minority Report
is rapidly becoming a cliché. But those vividly aware of the implications of current policy seem hesitant to condemn it — Spielberg himself is "on the president's side in this instance"
and Dahlia Lithwick concludes her article with the declaration that "We need a Bureau of Precrime." Are the merits of precrime more weighty than the drawbacks? Is "innocent until proven guilty" becoming an outdated concept?
posted by grrarrgh00
on Jun 21, 2002 -
Bye Bye, Privacy.
Despite opposition from civil liberties groups worldwide, the European parliament bowed to pressure from individual governments, led by Britain, and approved legislation to give police the power to access the communications records of every phone and internet user.
posted by tpoh.org
on May 31, 2002 -