Edward's blog

This morning Laura Murphy, Director of our Washington Legislative Office appeared on NBC’s Today to discuss the recent controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s announcement that it would keep in place a proposed rule that ensures that new insurance plans include coverage of contraception.
Yesterday, the Transportation Security Agency held its official unveiling of three new full-body scanners at the Portland International Jetport.  These are, of course, the same scanners that notoriously produced "nude" images of passengers and the corresponding heavy handed TSA policy of patting down anyone who refused to go through the machine.

In Sunday's Washington Post, Jonathan Turley highlights ten sobering reasons why the United States is not the "land of the free".

Turley cites the following expanded powers that have dangerously eroded individual rights and liberties post 9/11:
  1. Assassination of U.S. Citizens
  2. Indefinite Detention
  3. Arbitrary Justice
  4. Warrantless Searches
  5. Secret Evidence
Today, LD 1095, a bill that would allow a privately run prison in Maine, was unanimously killed in committee.  This is very good news for three reasons:
  1. Private prisons need high incarceration rates to make money.  Quite simply, the more Draconian the sentencing, the better for business.  So while mandatory sentencing and three strikes laws keep the prison full to capacity, they do little to make our society safer.
The New York Times Sunday Review features a harrowing first hand account by Nicholas Peart relating his experiences as a target of the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" policy.

In 2009, the NYPD stopped and frisked 576,394 people. Over the 3 1/2 years leading up to 2009, the NYPD initiated over 1.6 million stops of New Yorkers.

Yesterday, The Boston Globe published a remarkable feature story on the Maines family.

In October, the ACLU of Maine was very proud to honor Wayne, Kelly, Jonas and Nicole with our Roger Baldwin Award for their truly exceptional  advocacy for transgender rights.

The ACLU today released a set of “Core Legal Principles” that we believe should govern U.S. border policies – specifically, a “North American Security Perimeter” plan that the United States and Canada are expected to announce this week.

We're not talking about combatants captured on a battlefield half a world away anymore.  We're talking about giving the president the authority to imprison--indefinitely--any American on the suspicion of terrorism.  There would be no charges, no trial, no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Paul Harris reports in The Guardian that FBI tactics are raising disturbing questions of 'entrapment':

Civil liberties groups are also concerned, seeing some FBI tactics as using terrorism to justify more power. "We are still seeing an expansion of these tools. It is a terrible prospect," said Mike German, an expert at the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FBI agent who has worked in counter-terrorism.

Last week, the ACLU wrote to the CEOs of the nation’s major cell phone providers asking that they stop routinely collecting and storing data on their customers’ daily movements.

Our cell phone companies know more about where we are throughout the day than our closest friends. One of the byproducts of the way cell phones work – staying in constant touch with the nearest cell tower – is that our carriers can tell roughly where we are.


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