A Scintilla of Hope

Brooke’s Portrait 17

A Muslim woman who was detained, handcuffed, separated from her daughter, her car searched, and otherwise violated by U.S. Immigration officials at a Buffalo, N.Y./Canada border crossing, has been given the green light by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to sue for violation of her right to privacy, in no small part because the federal database that led to these violations erroneously identified her as a terrorist.

Read about it in Papers, Please! or read the full decision.

The most important part of the decision is that which says that DHS may not opt out of requirements for keeping and disclosing information relating to data maintained about an individual, supporting claims by individuals who feel they’ve been harmed by data held by the feds.  On the downside, there is now a major split among the circuits; as a result, this issue may end up before the Supreme Court.

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Movies I Love Department

It’s been a couple years since last I watched Under the Tuscan Sun, and a decade since reading the book, so catching it last night while working on other matters was a treat.  I think we had actually visited Tuscany before seeing it the first time (but, again, after reading the book), so it has always been rather special for that.

Cubism in Positano

In several of my workshops I display this photo taken in Positano, on the Amalfi Coast.  I always describe Positano by referencing Under the Tuscan Sun and the author’s visit there with her Italian boyfriend and their dining on the beach, a location that was just a hundred yards or so to the left of where this was taken.

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Good for the Goose Department

Like me, I suspect you find the message promulgated by the idiot Florida pastor, Terry Jones, to be abhorrent and anathema.  But, as they say, we’d defend to the death his right to speak that message.  (Well, maybe not that far, but certainly as far as the courtroom.)  So, the ACLU once again finds itself on the devil’s side, arguing for free speech even in the face of someone doing and saying something objectionable in a volatile place.  Jones wants to speak his piece in front of a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan.  The city wants a $100,000 peace bond, which the ACLU considers a hindrance on Jones’s speech rights:

The ACLU’s brief argued that the government cannot suppress speech by making Jones pay a bond based on the cost of police services necessary for anticipated actions of others, calling it an “unconstitutional prior restraint of free speech.” The group also cites a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that said it’s unconstitutional to have a group bear the cost of police protection due to the content of their message.

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Oops! Department

A cautionary tale as to why you should password-protect your wireless Internet router:  someone might use it to download a bunch of child pornography, and you may end up on the receiving end of a SWAT team’s automatic weapons in before waking up:

Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of “pedophile!” and “pornographer!” stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn’t need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents. That new wireless router. He’d gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought.

“We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night,” the man’s lawyer, Barry Covert, recounted the agents saying. They referred to a screen name, “Doldrum.”

“No, I didn’t,” he insisted. “Somebody else could have but I didn’t do anything like that.”

“You’re a creep … just admit it,” they said.

The authorities think this is a cautionary tale about password-protecting your Internet router.  Yeah, all child pornography downloaders should be sure their Internet routers are password protected before doing any downloading.  Would it ever occur to law enforcement that perhaps they should investigate just a little more, like maybe spending a day or two considering whether the router owner was really the perp and whether in fact it might be the unprotected router that was at fault?

(It’s a good article, going far beyond facts of the case in question, with other examples and commentary.)

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Passport Applications Revisited Department

A month ago I disclosed new U.S. passport application procedures and forms proposed by the State Department.  It was pretty horrendous.  Now comes more information, some analysis and some outrage, from Consumer Traveler.  It doesn’t get any better.

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She could emote with the best of them.

This entry was posted in Books, Civil Liberties, Movies & TV, My Photography, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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