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February 2014
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Archive for February, 2014

Wausau Daily Herald Editorial: Finally, TSA Realizes We’re Not All Terrorists

tsa.gov

Wausau Daily Herald
Editorial Board

For years, the Transportation Security Administration has “managed” the risk of in-flight terror attacks by throwing every one of us — from geriatrics to infants in strollers — into the same category.

Call it “one size fits no one.”

Finally, that policy is changing. The TSA is dramatically expanding a service that allows participating passengers to pass through the dreaded screening process at airports with minimal intrusions.

The key to these customer-friendly, fee-based services? A welcome bureaucratic acknowledgment that life in a modern, mobile society demands trade-offs.

There are risks, and there are “risks.”

TSA administrator John Pistole told The Arizona Republic’s editorial board that his agency plans to open an enrollment center soon at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for travelers to sign up for the program, known as PreCheck. Finding innovative ways to move passengers more quickly while still maintaining an acceptable level of security has been an agency goal since 2011, he said.

To read more click here.

Jay Dobyn’s Embarrassing Case for ATF Comes to an End

FBI Joins Investigation After Noose, Confederate Flag Left on University Statue

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate a disturbing finding – a noose and Confederate flag were found on a statue of the first black student at the University of Mississippi, the New York Times reports.

Authorities are searching for two men who are believed to have committed the act of vandalism early Sunday on the main campus in Oxford.

The men were yelling racial slurs while they men defaced the statue of James Meredith, who was admitted into the school amid violence in 1962.

“These individuals chose our university’s most visible symbol of unity and educational accessibility to express their disagreement with our values,” the university’s chancellor, Daniel W. Jones, said in a statement. “Their ideas have no place here, and our response will be an even greater commitment to promoting the values that are engraved on the statue — courage, knowledge, opportunity and perseverance.”

Government Activist Wins Battle to Parody NSA, Homeland Security with T-Shirts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A government activist named Dan McCall has been selling T-shirts that make fun of the NSA and Homeland Security by using the official seals.

One shirt read, “U.S. Department of Homeland Stupidity.” Another: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.”

After discovering the re-appropriated logos, the federal agencies tried to get McCall to stop and even accused him of committing a crime, the Washington Post reports.

But now both agencies have reached a settlement with McCall, conceding that he has a right to parody the government, even if he is using the official logos.

 

Violent Crimes Dropped 5.4% Nationwide for First Half of 2013, Showing More Positive Trends

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Violent crimes dropped by 5.4% in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period in 2013, the New York Times reports.

The decline is part of a long reduction in violent crime nationwide.

According to the FBI statistics, property crimes also fell.

“We have had almost 25 years of a decline in crime, but on a year-to-year basis it’s hard to come up with a story,” John Roman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, said, referring to efforts to pinpoint reasons for the lower numbers. “But over all, this shows how we’ve gotten smarter on policing, immigration and gentrification in the cities and elsewhere.”

Murders dropped by 6.9%, aggravated assaults by 6.6% and robberies by 1.8%, the Times wrote.

 

Justice Department Hunting for Worthy Inmates Who Would Qualify for Clemency

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Justice Department is searching prisoners who may qualify for clemency.

NPR reports that Deputy Attorney General James Cole met Tuesday with defense attorneys and interest groups to help identify inmates with clean records, long sentences for low-level crimes and no significant history with gangs or violence.

The speech is a strong indication that President Obama plans to use his powers to shorten prison sentences for some worthy prisoners.

Defense attorneys said they are excited to help.

“We look forward to working together with them and others to help identify potential commutation cases and ensure prisoners have trained pro bono counsel to submit focused petitions for the meaningful consideration the Deputy Attorney General has pledged they will receive,” said Mary Price of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

Does Border Patrol Overreact to Assaults by Migrants? Question Reignited After Deadly Encounter

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol has been under fierce criticism for its use of force.

That criticism is only expected to get louder after a Border Patrol agent trying to avert an illegal crossing at the Mexican border Tuesday shot and killed a man after being struck in the head with a rock, the Associated Press reports.

The agent’s injury was minor enough that he declined to be treated at a hospital.

According to a Border Patrol statement, the agent feared for his life.

Neither the agent nor the man who died who died has been identified.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Head of FBI’s Office in Seattle Resigns Abruptly; She Had Long-Standing Sexual Discrimination Claims

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Laura M. Laughlin, head of the FBI’s office in Seattle for a decade, resigned abruptly Monday.

The Seattle Times reports that Laughlin retirement was anything but routine.

Laughlin, who joined the FBI in 1985, filed suit for sexual discrimination againt the bureau in 2011, claiming she was passed up for at least 15 promotions because of gender discrimination and retaliation since 2007.

An FBI spokeswoman said Laughlin was nearing her mandatory retirement age of 57 in September.

“Many special agents choose to retire before that age-related mandatory point,” FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich said.