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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 42,699

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Or not.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer: "This is one of the hardest things I have ever done."

On Twitter an hour ago:

@dawnzimmernj: Thanks to everyone for expressing your support. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

NYT Op/Ed: "The President On Mass Surveillance"

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/opinion/the-president-on-mass-surveillance.html

The President on Mass Surveillance

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
January 17, 2014

In the days after Edward Snowden revealed that the United States government was collecting vast amounts of Americans’ data — phone records and other personal information — in the name of national security, President Obama defended the data sweep and said the American people should feel comfortable with its collection. On Friday, after seven months of increasingly uncomfortable revelations and growing public outcry, Mr. Obama gave a speech that was in large part an admission that he had been wrong.

The president announced important new restrictions on the collection of information about ordinary Americans, including the requirement of court approval before telephone records can be searched. He called for greater oversight of the intelligence community and acknowledged that intrusive forms of technology posed a growing threat to civil liberties.

- snip -

But even as Mr. Obama spoke eloquently of the need to balance the nation’s security with personal privacy and civil liberties, many of his reforms were frustratingly short on specifics and vague on implementation.

The president’s most significant announcement was also the hardest to parse. He ordered “a transition that will end” the bulk collection of phone metadata as it currently exists, but what exactly will end? The database will still exist, even if he said he wants it held outside the government. Mr. Obama should have called for sharp reductions in the amount of data the government collects, or at least adopted his own review panel’s recommendation that telecommunications companies keep the data they create and let the National Security Agency request only what it needs. Instead, he gave the Justice Department and intelligence officials until late March to come up with alternate storage options, seeking a new answer when the best ones are already obvious.

But he added two restrictions that could significantly reduce the possibility of abuse of this information: Wherever the database resides, he said, it may be queried only “after a judicial finding or in the case of a true emergency.” (That calls for a clear definition of “emergency.”) Agency analysts will be permitted to pursue phone calls that are two “hops” removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization, instead of three. That extra hop allowed for the examination of an exponentially larger number of phone calls.

Mr. Obama did not address the bigger problem that the collection of all this data, no matter who ends up holding onto it, may not be making us any safer. That was the conclusion of the president’s review panel as well as a federal judge in Washington who ruled that the bulk-collection program was probably unconstitutional and an extensive report by the New America Foundation finding that the program “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism and only the most marginal of impacts on preventing terrorist-related activity.”

MORE AT LINK

New York’s Schneiderman Expands Financial Crimes Unit

Source: Bloomberg News

New York’s Schneiderman Expands Financial Crimes Unit

By Chris Dolmetsch
January 17, 2014 2:56 PM EST

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman formed a new unit focused on fighting financial wrongdoing, expanding an existing criminal bureau two years after Governor Andrew Cuomo created a financial regulator with a similar mandate.

Gary Fishman, 44, a former state prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, will serve as chief of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, an expansion of the existing Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the attorney general’s office said today in a statement.

“Financial industry leaders who play by the rules deserve a level playing field, and those bad actors who seek to take advantage of their competitors and their neighbors must be stopped and punished,” Schneiderman said in the statement.

New York has intensified market enforcement since the financial crisis. In 2010, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. formed a major economic crimes unit, where Fishman was principal deputy chief. This was followed by Cuomo’s 2011 merger of state insurance and banking regulators into a Department of Financial Services under Benjamin Lawsky, a top prosecutor when Cuomo was attorney general.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-17/new-york-s-schneiderman-expands-financial-crimes-unit.html

Live Feed: NSA Whistleblowers Hold Press Conference After Obama Speech

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/obama-nsa-reform-proposals/

Top Christie Aides Get Subpoenas in New Jersey Bridge Probe

Source: Reuters

Top Christie aides get subpoenas in New Jersey bridge probe

Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:00am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey state Senate panel is likely to issue subpoenas next week in its investigation into traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge that were apparently politically motivated, a source said on Friday.

Aides and allies of Christie were also among those targeted by a separate panel convened by the state Assembly, which issued 20 subpoenas seeking information on Thursday in its own investigation.

The Senate panel will meet on Wednesday to vote on the subpoenas as it looks into the abrupt closing of access lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in seeming retribution aimed at the small city's Democratic mayor, who failed to endorse Governor Chris Christie's re-election bid last year, the source said.

The bridge scandal surrounding the Republican governor, who is thought to be weighing a bid for the White House in 2016, broke open last week with the public release of emails showing a top Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, appearing to order up traffic problems in Fort Lee.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA0F16P20140117

Judge Spikes Photo ID Requirement for Pa. Voters

Source: Associated Press

JUDGE SPIKES PHOTO ID REQUIREMENT FOR PA. VOTERS

By PETER JACKSON and MARC LEVY
— Jan. 17, 2014 9:25 AM EST

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state judge has struck down the law requiring Pennsylvania's voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said the requirement that was the centerpiece of Pennsylvania's embattled 2012 voter identification law places an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote.

The decision paves the way for an expected appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Republicans approved the law over the protests of Democrats.



Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/judge-spikes-photo-id-requirement-pa-voters

List of Smoking-Related Illnesses Grows Significantly in U.S. Report

Source: New York Times

List of Smoking-Related Illnesses Grows Significantly in U.S. Report

By SABRINA TAVERNISE
January 17, 2014
WASHINGTON — In a broad review of scientific literature, the nation’s top doctor has concluded that cigarette smoking — long known to cause lung cancer and heart disease — also causes diabetes, colorectal and liver cancers, erectile dysfunction and ectopic pregnancy.

In a report to the nation to be released on Friday, the acting surgeon general, Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, significantly expanded the list of illnesses that cigarette smoking has been scientifically proved to cause.

The other health problems the report names are vision loss, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired immune function and cleft palates in children of women who smoke.

Smoking has been known to be associated with these illnesses, but the report was the first time the federal government concluded that smoking causes them.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/science/list-of-smoking-related-illnesses-grows-significantly-in-us-report.html

Man to Get $1.6M for Humiliating 3-Enema Ordeal After Traffic Stop

Source: ABA Journal

Man to get $1.6M for humiliating 3-enema ordeal after traffic stop

By Martha Neil
Jan 15, 2014, 12:15 pm CST
A city and county in New Mexico have agreed to settle for $1.6 million their portion of litigation brought by an arrestee who said he was subjected to a humiliating hospital anal exam involving three enemas, a colonoscopy and more after a traffic stop last year.

The city of Deming and Hidalgo County got a search warrant to authorize the examination of David Eckert after he was pulled over for failing to yield to a stop sign when exiting a parking lot on Jan. 2. It was based on a police dog's alert to the alleged presence of drugs near the driver's seat of his vehicle and a claim that Eckert appeared to be clenching his buttocks, according to the Associated Press and Forbes.

However, the warrant was valid only in Luna County, and a physician at a Deming emergency room refused to perform the examination, Eckert alleges in his suit, which was filed in federal court in New Mexico. Doctors at a second hospital, Gila Regional Medical Center, agreed to perform the exam, but the facility is located in Silver City, across the county line.

Despite the exam, no drugs were found on Eckert or in his vehicle.

"It was medically unethical and unconstitutional," his lawyer, Shannon Kennedy, told the Associated Press. "He feels relieved that this part is over and believes this litigation might make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."

Read more: http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/article/man_to_get_1.6m_for_humiliating_3-enema_hospital_colonoscopy_ordeal_after



http://gawker.com/man-who-endured-3-enema-traffic-stop-awarded-1-6-milli-1502645746

- snip -

1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Eckert's suit also named Gila Medical Center and the doctors who performed the search there; that portion of the case is still ongoing.

Utah Tax Officials Allow Joint Filing for Married Same-Sex Couples

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah tax officials allow joint filing for married same-sex couples

| By Dan Harrie | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published 3 hours ago
Updated 13 minutes ago

Utah same-sex couples legally married in the Beehive State or any other state may file joint state income tax returns, the Utah State Tax Commission announced Thursday.

It is the latest — and apparently final — tax guideline on the issue, at least for 2013 returns.

Previously, the Utah Tax Commission had issued a policy statement saying it would not allow joint filing of state returns by gay or lesbian couples married legally in any other state. That was before a federal judge struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage but after the Internal Revenue Service had announced it would allow joint filing by same-sex couples married legally anywhere, regardless of their state of residence.

The Utah tax agency did not immediately explain its reversal Thursday.

"Same-sex couples whose marriages were performed in Utah pursuant to the federal district court’s order between Dec. 20, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013, or whose marriages were solemnized in other states before Dec. 31, 2013, may file individual State income returns as ‘married,’" said Charlie Roberts, spokesperson for the Tax Commission.

Read more: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/57406343-219/tax-state-utah-commission.html.csp
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