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G M
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« Reply #100 on: January 21, 2009, 09:23:21 PM »

https://nydailynews.com/archives/news/2006/07/31/2006-07-31_finest_s_fabulous_flyboys__n.html

FINEST'S FABULOUS FLYBOYS. NYPD HELICOPTER PILOTS' SKILL, COURAGE SAVES DROWNING WOMAN
BY PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Monday, July 31th 2006, 1:34AM

Hero of the Month spotlights those men and women, civil servants and civilians, who go beyond the call of duty to make New York a better place.

POLICE OFFICERS Devin Buonanno and Dennis DeRienzo were patrolling in a sleek Agusta A119 helicopter, checking the city's bridges and railyards - potential terror targets - when they got a call of a body floating in the Harlem River.
From 1,400 feet above the World Trade Center site, they zoomed up to the Bronx and lowered the aircraft to search the water.
Amid floating debris in the middle of the rain-swollen river, the face of a woman - alive, but seemingly fading fast - appeared. There was no time to wait for the special rescue chopper.
The cops used a combination of DeRienzo's steady hands and calm expertise at piloting and Buonanno's strong grip and derring-do as he perched on the helicopter's skid to save the woman and bring her safely to shore.
For the July 5 rescue, DeRienzo and Buonanno are the Daily News Heroes of the Month.
It was about 5 p.m., two hours into their shift, when they heard the call of a "floater." Police units on land had been told a woman had jumped in the river, but they couldn't see anyone in the water.
The two cops responded, Buonanno at the controls. They searched the water between the Alexander Hamilton and University Heights bridges but couldn't find anything - but a witness kept insisting to cops that someone was in there.
Then Buonanno spotted the face. He made a left turn and transferred the controls to DeRienzo, the unit's chief pilot and flight instructor. Buonanno grabbed a life vest for the victim.
DeRienzo, who flew helicopters in the Marine Corps, hovered close above the woman, who was later identified as Iris Jimenez, 61. She had entered the water on the Manhattan side and now was in the middle of the river.
"She was exhausted, trying to keep her head up," said Buonanno, 37. "She wasn't able to get her hands or arms above the water for me to grab her."
"We couldn't wait for the air/sea rescue [helicopter], which has scuba divers and all the equipment for water rescues....It wasn't called out right away because the report was for a floater, not a live victim," said DeRienzo, 35. "It would have turned into a recovery instead of a rescue if we waited."
"Dennis got me right down on the water. I was saying, 'Two feet to the right . . . come back a little more, get me right next to her.' And he brought the helicopter just inches above the water."
Buonanno got out on the skid.
"I was out of the helicopter, holding the door frame. We were fingertips to fingertips, but anytime we moved, she went under," Buonanno said. "I grabbed her by her hair and got her shoulder and grabbed her clothing. I brought her to me, and said, 'Okay, we got her.' "
DeRienzo hovered low; Buonanno was still on the skid holding the woman. DeRienzo tried to get to the riverbank on the Bronx side of the river, alongside Roberto Clemente State Park.
"But when I got them closer to shore, we were so low that trees and rocks were in the way of the main rotor blades, and it would take down the whole helicopter if a blade struck," DeRienzo said.
Buonanno added, "We were checking the tail rotor and whether boats were coming; it was very finessed flying."
Then he told his partner, "I'm gonna jump," and inflated the tactical vest he always wears.
"I had no idea how deep the water was. We were 30 feet offshore," said Buonanno. "It turned out to be about chest high. . . . I couldn't tell you how cold the water was. I just don't remember."
He swam with Jimenez to the shore. Cops from the 46th Precinct helped them up the slippery rocks and put the woman in an ambulance.
Jimenez, who police said was distraught and irrational, was taken to Lincoln Hospital.
"I hope she got the help she needed," said Buonanno, who has been with the NYPD since 2000, joining the aviation unit two years ago.
His son, Devin, 10, had two words for him about the rescue, which was captured on video.
"Dad, awesome!"
DeRienzo, a cop for 13 years, came to the unit on Sept. 10, 2001. The former Marine didn't think he would be applying all the military tactical flying and expertise in shoulder-fired weapons and rappelling as a cop in New York City. "But 9/11 changed that," DeRienzo said.
Their rescue of Jimenez - the first for each cop - illustrated their specialized skills.
They didn't have much time to think about their act of lifesaving until they were heading home hours later. They had resumed patrol after Buonanno changed into dry clothes, completing their 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift.
When it sunk in, "I was happy for him, he was happy for me," DeRienzo said.
"And we were both happy for her," Buonanno added.

poshaughnessy@nydailynews.com
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G M
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« Reply #101 on: January 21, 2009, 09:30:35 PM »

http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2001b/pr271-01.html

MAYOR GIULIANI AND POLICE COMMISSIONER KERIK HONOR THE MEMBERS
OF THE NYPD INVOLVED IN BREEZY POINT JETTY RESCUE


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today joined Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik to honor members of the New York City Police Department responsible for the daring air lift rescue of three fishermen trapped on the Rockaway Point jetty in Breezy Point, Queens yesterday.

"Despite high waves, strong rip tides and windy conditions, these officers worked together to bring three men to safety," Mayor Giuliani said. "Thanks to the teamwork and resourcefulness of these members of the NYPD, a tragedy was averted. Yesterday's rescue mission demonstrates the bravery and commitment of our uniformed personnel to preserving the lives of all New Yorkers."

Police Commissioner Kerik said, "Due to the superb training of these officers, what could have been a tragedy was a text-book example of an Air-Sea Rescue. These officers demonstrated the best of the NYPD with their skill and professionalism. I am happy to join the Mayor and the rest of New York City in cheering these officers for their selfless acts of bravery during this extraordinary rescue."

Shortly after 4:30 PM yesterday, the crew of an FDNY launch spotted three men stranded on the Breezy Point jetty amid pounding waves, and made a report to the NYPD. Within minutes, an NYPD Aviation Air-Sea rescue team and NYPD harbor launch were dispatched to rescue the three men who had ventured out onto the 500-foot jetty to go fishing. Two police officers, Thomas Kelly and John Dalton, dove into the water from the helicopter with life vests to try to swim the three men to the safety of the harbor launch. Detective Alan Kane, using an inflatable boat, tried to assist the divers with a sea rescue. However, the high waves pounded Police Officer Kelly against the jetty rocks, injuring his left knee, and made a water rescue impossible. While Officer Kelly swam to the harbor launch, Officer Dalton led the three men onto the top of a 25-metal light tower at the end of the jetty. Sgt. Kelly Fitzpatrick dislocated his shoulder while helping Officer Kelly board the harbor launch in the heavy surf.

The NYPD Air Sea Rescue 12 helicopter, piloted by Detective James Lagarenne and co-piloted by Lt. Glenn Daley, was steadied in the high winds so that the crew could lower a sling harness to the tower. While Officer Dalton secured each man, one at a time into the harness, Officer Fernando Almeida guided the winch cable and Officer Patrick Corbett kept the harness from being swept away by the waves.

Once the three men were safely on board, the helicopter flew them to shore where they were treated by EMS personnel. The helicopter then returned to the light tower to pick up Officer Dalton.

Officer Kelly was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was treated for a bruised knee. Sergeant Fitzpatrick was also taken to Jamaica Hospital to be treated for a dislocated shoulder.

The Mayor presented certificates of recognition to Detective James Lagarenne, the helicopter pilot; Lt. Glenn Daley, the co-pilot; Police Officer Fernando Almeida, helicopter crew; Police Officer Patrick Corbett, helicopter crew; Police Officer John Dalton, diver; and Police Officer Thomas Kelly, diver. Sgt. Kelly Fitzpatrick and Detective Alan Kane were not present for the press conference, but also received certificates of recognition.


www.nyc.gov
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #102 on: January 22, 2009, 07:44:03 AM »

Yeah, I agree there is some breathless hyperbole and silly symbology in the piece. What resonated with me, however, was how folks stepped up unbidden and the social mores that cause that to happen.

I was participating in a drill a couple months back where we set up an ad hoc Cipro distribution center where I work. The local health department was waving the baton, and they showed up with their clipboards and plans, and proceeded to fall all over themselves as they set up the center. We'd lined up several hundred volunteers to go through the line, get interviewed, and then have the right anthrax meds distributed to them and their families. Won't go through all that got gummed up, but one thing that stood out were the barriers they set up to manage patient flow. They grabbed a bunch of chairs and some police tape and set up a couple hundred feet of circuitous flow through the various interview, triage and dispensing stations.

So we had this line set up, but all the health department poobahs have to keep crossing the tape to consult, so the tape gets knocked down and the chairs moved and the lines got sloppy after a while, which gummed up flow. I know the building we were in like the back of my hand, everyone in it owes me a favor, and have a submaster key that would let me into most storage rooms, including the one full of pylons and linking retractable tape. So I go grab a poobah and ask if she wants me to snag the pylons. Oh dear, it's not on the clipboard so we must continue to trip over the chairs and stretched out crime scene tape.

There was plenty of other stuff like this that I won't rattle on about; suffice to say that by the end of the drill I'd vowed to myself that if ever we go live setting up a distribution center for our side of the county I was going to ignore the officious pricks swinging the clipboards, task local resources I'm able to tap, and just go ahead and get things rolling right. And indeed, when I reflect back on scenes I've rolled up on--and there have been a fair number--there have always been a few amateurs around who stepped up and got things done, while occasionally whatever officialdom happened to be underfoot got bogged down trying to remember their training or running mental checklists and such.

Bottom line, the thing I took from the piece is that Americans have a habit of stepping up and filling voids when emergencies occur. Alas, the corollary that sprung to mind is, with the nanny state left currently on the ascendancy and with the "stand back and wait for the professionals to arrive lest you deal with litigation" ethic being expressed elsewhere around here, I fear the social mores that cause volunteers to step up when needed are likely being eroded.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #103 on: January 22, 2009, 11:10:05 AM »

I fully appreciate GM's point and as usual am in awe of his ability to drop pertinent articles making his point at the drop of a hat.

I also think BBG's point is quite correct.  The effective resistance on 911 was "We the unorganized militia".
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #104 on: January 26, 2009, 07:50:09 AM »

Calling for a "new era of responsibility" in his inaugural address, President Barack Obama reminded us that there are no limits to "what free men and women can achieve." Indeed. America achieved greatness as the can-do society. This is, after all, the country of Thomas Paine and barn raisings, of Grange halls and Google. Other countries shared, at least in part, our political freedoms, but America had something different -- a belief in the power of each individual. President Obama's clarion call of self-determination -- "Yes We Can" -- hearkens back to the core of our culture.

 
David KleinBut there's a threshold problem for our new president. Americans don't feel free to reach inside themselves and make a difference. The growth of litigation and regulation has injected a paralyzing uncertainty into everyday choices. All around us are warnings and legal risks. The modern credo is not "Yes We Can" but "No You Can't." Our sense of powerlessness is pervasive. Those who deal with the public are the most discouraged. Most doctors say they wouldn't advise their children to go into medicine. Government service is seen as a bureaucratic morass, not a noble calling. Make a difference? You can't even show basic human kindness for fear of legal action. Teachers across America are instructed never to put an arm around a crying child.

The idea of freedom as personal power got pushed aside in recent decades by a new idea of freedom -- where the focus is on the rights of whoever might disagree. Daily life in America has been transformed. Ordinary choices -- by teachers, doctors, officials, managers, even volunteers -- are paralyzed by legal self-consciousness. Did you check the rules? Who will be responsible if there's an accident? A pediatrician in North Carolina noted that "I don't deal with patients the same way any more. You wouldn't want to say something off the cuff that might be used against you."

Here we stand, facing the worst economy since the Great Depression, and Americans no longer feel free to do anything about it. We have lost the idea, at every level of social life, that people can grab hold of a problem and fix it. Defensiveness has swept across the country like a cold wave. We have become a culture of rule followers, trained to frame every solution in terms of existing law or possible legal risk. The person of responsibility is replaced by the person of caution. When in doubt, don't.

The Opinion Journal Widget
Download Opinion Journal's widget and link to the most important editorials and op-eds of the day from your blog or Web page.
All this law, we're told, is just the price of making sure society is in working order. But society is not working. Disorder disrupts learning all day long in many public schools -- the result in part, studies by NYU Professor Richard Arum found, of the rise of student rights. Health care is like a nervous breakdown in slow motion. Costs are out of control, yet the incentive for doctors is to order whatever tests the insurance will pay for. Taking risks is no longer the badge of courage, but reason enough to get sued. There's an epidemic of child obesity, but kids aren't allowed to take the normal risks of childhood. Broward County, Fla., has even banned running at recess.

The flaw, and the cure, lie in our conception of freedom. We think of freedom as political freedom. We're certainly free to live and work where we want, and to pull the lever in the ballot box. But freedom should also include the power of personal conviction and the authority to use your common sense. Analyzing the American character, Alexis de Tocqueville, considered "freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones. . . . Subjection in minor affairs does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to sacrifice their own will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated."

This is not an ideological point. Freedom in daily choices is essential for practical reasons -- necessary for government officials and judges as well as for teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs. The new legal order doesn't honor the individuality of human accomplishment. People accomplish things by focusing on the goal, and letting their instincts, mainly subconscious, try to get them there. "Amazingly few people," management guru Peter Drucker observed, "know how they get things done." Most things happen, the philosopher Michael Polanyi wrote, through "the usual process of trial and error by which we feel our way to success." Thomas Edison put it this way: "Nothing that's any good works by itself. You got to make the damn thing work."

Modern law pulls the rug out from under all those human powers and substitutes instead a debilitating self-consciousness. Teachers lose their authority, Prof. Arum found, because the overhang of law causes "hesitation, doubt and weakening of conviction." Skyrocketing health-care costs are impossible to contain as long as doctors go through the day thinking about how they will defend themselves if a sick person sues.

The overlay of law on daily choices destroys the human instinct needed to get things done. Bureaucracy can't teach. Rules don't make things happen. Accomplishment is personal. Anyone who has felt the pride of a job well done knows this.

How do we restore Americans' freedom in daily choices? Freedom is notoriously malleable towards self-interest. "We all declare for liberty," Abraham Lincoln observed, "but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing."

Freedom, however, is not just a shoving match. Freedom has a formal structure. It has two components:

1) Law sets boundaries that proscribe what we must do or can't do -- you must not steal, you must pay taxes.

2) Those same legal boundaries protect an open field of free choice in all other matters.

The forgotten idea is the second component -- that law must affirmatively define an area free from legal interference. Law must provide "frontiers, not artificially drawn," as philosopher Isaiah Berlin put it, "within which men should be inviolable."

This idea has been lost to our age. When advancing the cause of freedom, law today is all proscription and no protection. There are no boundaries, just a moving mudbank comprised of accumulating bureaucracy and whatever claims people unilaterally choose to assert. People wade through law all day long. Any disagreement in the workplace, any accident, any incidental touching of a child, any sick person who gets sicker, any bad grade in school -- you name it. Law has poured into daily life.

In Today's Opinion Journal
 

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

The Stimulus Time MachineStates of Distress

TODAY'S COMMENTARY

Information Age: Bad News Is Better Than No News
– L. Gordon CrovitzThe Americas: Drug Gangs Have Mexico on the Ropes
– Mary Anastasia O'Grady

COMMENTARY

Geithner Is Exactly Wrong on China Trade
– Bret SwansonWatch Out for Stimulus 'Leaks'
– George MelloanCongress Needs to Help the Economy Fast
– John Kerry and Kent ConradThe solution is not just to start paring back all the law -- that would take 10 lifetimes, like trying to prune the jungle. We need to abandon the idea that freedom is a legal maze, where each daily choice is like picking the right answer on a multiple-choice test. We need to set a new goal for law -- to define an open area of free choice. This requires judges and legislatures to affirmatively assert social norms of what's reasonable and what's not. "The first requirement of a sound body of law," Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, "is that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community."

The profile of authority structures needed to defend daily freedoms is not hard to imagine. Judges would aspire to keep lawsuits reasonable, understanding that what people sue for ends up defining the boundaries of free interaction. Schools would be run by the instincts and values of the humans in charge -- not by bureaucratic micromanagement -- and be held accountable for how they do. Government officials would have flexibility to meet public goals, also with accountability. Public choices would aspire to balance for the common good, not, generally, to appease someone's rights.

Reviving the can-do spirit that made America great requires a legal overhaul of historic dimension. We must scrape away decades of accumulated legal sediment and replace it with coherent legal goals and authority mechanisms, designed to affirmatively protect individual freedom in daily choices. "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing," Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison, "and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical . . . ." The goal is not to change our public goals. The goal is make it possible for free citizens to achieve them.

Mr. Howard, a lawyer, is chair of Common Good (www.commongood.org), and author of the new book "Life Without Lawyers," published this month by W.W. Norton & Co.

 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #105 on: January 27, 2009, 04:32:50 PM »

http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.ph...=gowzF&u=HpTzs

Quote:
Police tackle internet knife gangs
By Dan Whitworth

Newsbeat technology reporter, Glasgow

Hundreds of weapons have been taken off the streets of Glasgow six months after police started using the web to crack down on gang violence.

Young trainee officers at Strathclyde Police search social networking sites for pictures of people posing with weapons, mainly knives.

Constable Holly McGee and Cadet Fraser Reed, both 18, carry out the work.
"We're looking for anyone who is brandishing offensive weapons or blades," Holly told Newsbeat.

"We take the date, the time, detail of what's in the photograph, [then] a copy of the photograph is printed out and thereafter it's all sent to the gangs task force unit." 

That's when more experienced officers in the Violence Reduction Unit at Strathclyde Police get involved.

'The law's been broken'

The man in charge of this, Superintendent Bob Hamilton, says there are two ways of dealing with people once they've been tracked down.  If they were posing in a public place, like on the street or a park, the law has been broken and they'll be arrested.  Even when pictures are taken in private, though, which isn't technically breaking the law, he says the weapons are so dangerous his officers pay a visit to the people involved.

"We have large kitchen knives, axes, samurai swords, baseball bats, a huge number and different type of weapons" said Superintendent Bob Hamilton "We show the parents their pictures," he explained, "recover the weapons and make sure they know that behaviour is unacceptable.  We have large kitchen knives, axes, samurai swords, baseball bats, a huge number and different type of weapons - in simple terms weapons that can kill."

Superintendent Hamilton says Operation Access has been a complete success.

"We've questioned more than 400 people, most of them teenagers, as part of it and it's worked so well it will carry on indefinitely," he said.

Other forces from across the UK have also been in touch about the possibility of setting up similar operations.  Social networking sites Facebook and Bebo both say they're committed to improving safety for their members as well as helping cut crime.
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G M
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« Reply #106 on: January 27, 2009, 07:11:48 PM »

Oh noes! The poolices has the intraweb!  rolleyes
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #107 on: January 29, 2009, 01:39:17 PM »

Can a New York Bureaucrat Put the Whole Country on a Low-Salt Diet?

Jacob Sullum | January 29, 2009, 11:34am

Having taken on smoking, trans fats, and calories, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden is poised for an assault on salt. He wants packaged food producers and restaurant chains to cut the salt content of their products by 25 percent during the next five years and another 25 percent in the five years after that. "If there's not progress in a few years," he warns, "we'll have to consider other options, like legislation."

Since salt is linked to dangerously high blood pressure in only a small subset of the population, Frieden's proposal is the very model of a modern "public health" intervention. It disregards individual preferences and goes over the heads of consumers, treating the population as a collective. To its credit, The New York Times, toward the end of its story about what Frieden ambitiously calls his "national salt-reduction initiative," notes that not everyone thinks it's a good idea:

Beyond the technical hurdles, Dr. Frieden might encounter resistance on scientific grounds. Some medical researchers question whether a mass reduction in sodium is the best way to spend public-health resources when losing weight and quitting cigarettes would do more for the country's heart health.

Genetics dictate that different people have different reactions to sodium. Some people are more sensitive to high levels of salt. For others, low levels of sodium can be unhealthy.

But public health officials say there is a strong consensus that salt leads to higher rates of heart attacks and strokes.

That consensus alarms Dr. Michael Alderman, editor in chief of the American Journal of Hypertension, who thinks more clinical studies need to be done.

In a 2002 review of the research, Alderman, a past president of the American Society of Hypertension, concluded that "existing evidence provides no support for the highly unlikely proposition that a single dietary sodium intake is an appropriate or desirable goal for the entire population." Despite the weakness of the evidence, Alderman noted, the dogma of less salt is still "preached with a fervour usually associated with religious zealotry."

I noted the controversy over low-salt prescriptions in my 2003 Reason story about the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has been railing against the "deadly white powder," a.k.a. "The Forgotten Killer," since the 1970s. In 2005 CSPI filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing the FDA to stop considering salt an ingredient "generally recognized as safe."

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/131339.html
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Freki
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« Reply #108 on: January 29, 2009, 07:32:57 PM »

Don't tell him about sunlight and skin cancer!!!!!!! grin evil wink
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #109 on: February 01, 2009, 03:28:10 AM »

I agree that there are plenty of good uses to which this technology can be put. 

I also think it worth noting that it exists.

==================================

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28956016/

Begin Text

WASHINGTON - As President Obama's motorcade rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, federal authorities deployed a closely held law enforcement tool: equipment that can jam cellphones and other wireless devices to foil remote-controlled bombs, sources said.

It is an increasingly common technology, with federal agencies expanding its use as state and local agencies are pushing for permission to do the same. Police and others say it could stop terrorists from coordinating during an attack, prevent suspects from erasing evidence on wireless devices, simplify arrests and keep inmates from using contraband phones.

But jamming remains strictly illegal for state and local agencies. Federal officials barely acknowledge that they use it inside the United States, and the few federal agencies that can jam signals usually must seek a legal waiver first.

The quest to expand the technology has invigorated a debate about how widely jamming should be allowed and whether its value as a common crime-fighting strategy outweighs its downsides, including restricting the constant access to the airwaves that Americans have come to expect.

"Jamming is a blunt instrument," said Joe Farren, vice president of government affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. He and others pointed out that when authorities disable wireless service, whether during a terrorist attack or inside a prison, that action can also stop the calls that could help in an emergency. During November's raids in Mumbai, for example, citizens relied on cellphones to direct police to the assailants.

Jamming in downtown D.C.

Propelled by the military's experience with roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, jamming technology has evolved to counter bombs triggered by cellphones, garage openers, remote controls for toy cars or other devices that emit radio signals. Federal authorities rank improvised bombs, which are cheap and adaptable, as one of the greatest terrorist threats to the West.

On Inauguration Day, federal authorities were authorized to jam signals at some locations in downtown Washington, according to current and former federal officials. The Secret Service and other officials declined to provide specific details, some of which are classified.

Most of the nearly 2 million people attending the swearing-in and along the parade route would have been oblivious to any unusual disruption.

"Chances are, you wouldn't even notice it was there," said Howard Melamed, an executive with CellAntenna Corp., a small Coral Springs, Fla., company that produces jamming equipment. If someone in the crowd was on a call, they might have confused the jamming with a dropped signal. "Your phone may go off network," he said. In other cases, "it may never signal, if it's a quick interruption."

Industry officials said that radio-jammers work in several ways: They can send a barrage of energy that drowns out signals across multiple bands or produce a surge of energy on a particular frequency. In other instances, the devices detect and disrupt a suspicious signal, a technique known as "scan and jam."

Private citizens get gear

Some private citizens, hoping to eliminate cellphone calls in restaurants, churches or theaters, have tapped into an underground market of jamming equipment that has trickled into the United States. But that, too, is illegal under the 70-year-old federal telecommunications act, which bans jamming commercial radio signals. The Federal Communications Commission has begun to crack down on private use, which is punishable by an $11,000 fine.

The U.S. military is capable of shutting down communications across a wide area and has done so overseas, including when it has conducted raids to capture suspects. To counter explosives, devices can be set to jam signals for a distance of 50 to 500 meters, for example, or enough to allow a car to pass out of the blast zone of a small bomb.

Some federal agencies, including the FBI and the Secret Service, have standing authority to use jamming equipment or can request waivers from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department agency, when there is an imminent threat, a federal official said.

Jamming has been approved in the past for major events, ranging from State of the Union addresses to visits by certain foreign dignitaries, according to a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the subject.

After transit bombings in Europe, the Department of Homeland Security reached an agreement in 2006 under the National Communications System with cellphone companies to voluntarily shut down service under certain circumstances, which could disable signals for areas ranging from a tunnel to an entire metropolitan region, a DHS official said.

Local demands
Much of the controversy has been fueled by the growing demands from state and local governments.

In the District, corrections officials won permission from the FCC for a brief test of jamming technology at the D.C. jail last month, after citing the "alarming rate" of contraband phones being seized at prisons around the country.

"Cell phones are used by inmates to engage in highly pernicious behavior such as the intimidation of witnesses, coordination of escapes, and the conducting of criminal enterprises," D.C. corrections chief Devon Brown wrote to the federal agency.

The test has been put on hold because of a legal challenge, but the city will keep seeking permission, said D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles.

Texas prison officials made a similar request last fall after a death row inmate placed an illicit call threatening a state legislator, and South Carolina corrections officials said their department staged a test without permission in November.

In a pilot project, the FBI deputized about 10 local bomb squads across the country in 2007 so they could use a small number of radio jammers similar to the military equipment used overseas.

Friendly reception in Congress
The local pleas for expanded permission are beginning to get a friendly reception on Capitol Hill. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, plans to introduce legislation that would give law enforcement agencies "the tools they need to selectively jam" communications in the event of a terrorist attack, a spokeswoman said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, has introduced a bill that would allow the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and governors to seek waivers from the FCC to jam calling at prisons.

"When lives are at stake, law enforcement needs to find ways to disrupt cellphones and other communications in a pinpointed way against terrorists who are using them," New York City Police Commissioner Raymond F. Kelly told a Senate panel Jan. 8. He also cited the Mumbai terrorist attacks, when hostage-takers used media spotters and satellite and mobile phones to help them outmaneuver police at hotels, train stations and other targets.

Backing up such requests are the commercial interests that could provide the jammers.

Melamed, with CellAntenna, has worked for several years to open what the company forecasts could be a $25 million line of domestic jamming business for itself, and the amount could be more for bigger players such as Tyco and Harris Corp. He said rules that prevent government agencies from blocking signals don't make sense.

"We're still trying to figure out how it's in the best interest of the public to prevent bomb squads from keeping bombs from blowing up and killing people," he said.

Cell phone industry alarmed

But the cellular industry trade group warns that letting the nation's 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies decide when and where to jam phone calls would create a messy patchwork of potential service disruptions.

Critics warn of another potential problem, "friendly fire," when one agency inadvertently jams another's access to the airwaves, posing a safety hazard in an emergency. Farren said there are "smarter, better and safer alternatives," such as stopping inmates from getting smuggled cellphones in the first place or pinpointing signals from unauthorized callers.

Still, analysts said, events such as the Mumbai attacks may tip the debate in favor of law enforcement.

"Without something like Mumbai, the national security and public safety cases would not be as compelling," said James E. Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University. "Now, the burden of proof has been shifting to people who don't want these exceptions, rather than the people who do."

End Text
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #110 on: February 02, 2009, 04:36:42 PM »

Does this mean that the government can be jammed too?

http://www.discount-blockers.com/
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« Reply #111 on: February 03, 2009, 11:38:21 AM »

What Michael Phelps Should Have Said
Smoking pot shouldn't be a crime. Or the public's business.
http://www.reason.com/news/show/131438.html

Radley Balko | February 2, 2009

Dear America,

I take it back. I don’t apologize.

Because you know what? It’s none of your goddamned business. I work my ass off 10 months a year. It’s that hard work that gave you all those gooey feelings of patriotism last summer. If during my brief window of down time I want to relax, enjoy myself, and partake of a substance that’s a hell of a lot less bad for me than alcohol, tobacco, or, frankly, most of the prescription drugs most of you are taking, well, you can spare me the lecture.

I put myself through hell. I make my body do things nature never really intended us to endure. All world-class athletes do. We do it because you love to watch us push ourselves as far as we can possibly go. Some of us get hurt. Sometimes permanently. You’re watching the Super Bowl tonight. You’re watching 300 pound men smash each while running at full speed, in full pads. You know what the average life expectancy of an NFL player is? Fifty-five. That’s about 20 years shorter than your average non-NFL player. Yet you watch. And cheer. And you jump up spill your beer when a linebacker lays out a wide receiver on a crossing route across the middle. The harder he gets hit, the louder and more enthusiastically you scream.

Yet you all get bent out of shape when Ricky Williams, or I, or Josh Howard smoke a little dope to relax. Why? Because the idiots you’ve elected to make your laws have, without a shred of evidence, beat it into your head that smoking marijuana is something akin to drinking antifreeze, and done only by dirty hippies and sex offenders.

You’ll have to pardon my cynicism. But I call bullshit. You don’t give a damn about my health. You just get a voyeuristic thrill from watching an elite athlete fall from grace–all the better if you get to exercise a little moral righteousness in the process. And it’s hypocritical righteousness at that, given that 40 percent of you have tried pot at least once in your lives.

Here’s a crazy thought: If I can smoke a little dope and go on to win 14 Olympic gold medals, maybe pot smokers aren’t doomed to lives of couch surfing and video games, as our moronic government would have us believe. In fact, the list of successful pot smokers includes not just world class athletes like me, Howard, Williams, and others, it includes Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, the last three U.S. presidents, several Supreme Court justices, and luminaries and success stories from all sectors of business and the arts, sciences, and humanities.

So go ahead. Ban me from the next Olympics. Yank my endorsement deals. Stick your collective noses in the air and get all indignant on me. While you’re at it, keep arresting cancer and AIDS patients who dare to smoke the stuff because it deadens their pain, or enables them to eat. Keep sending in goon squads to kick down doors and shoot little old ladies, maim innocent toddlers, handcuff elderly post-polio patients to their beds at gunpoint, and slaughter the family pet.

Tell you what. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll apologize for smoking pot when every politician who ever did drugs and then voted to uphold or strengthen the drug laws marches his ass off to the nearest federal prison to serve out the sentence he wants to impose on everyone else for committing the same crimes he committed. I’ll apologize when the sons, daughters, and nephews of powerful politicians who get caught possessing or dealing drugs in the frat house or prep school get the same treatment as the no-name, probably black kid caught on the corner or the front stoop doing the same thing.

Until then, I for one will have none of it. I smoked pot. I liked it. I’ll probably do it again. I refuse to apologize for it, because by apologizing I help perpetuate this stupid lie, this idea that what someone puts into his own body on his own time is any of the government’s damned business. Or any of yours. I’m not going to bend over and allow myself to be propaganda for this wasteful, ridiculous, immoral war.

Go ahead and tear me down if you like. But let’s see you rationalize in your next lame ONDCP commercial how the greatest motherfucking swimmer the world has ever seen...is also a proud pot smoker.

Yours,

Michael Phelps
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« Reply #112 on: February 03, 2009, 05:02:27 PM »

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Reefer Madness   [Andrew Stuttaford]
Look, I don't blame Michael Phelps for apologizing. He has a living to earn, so he did what he had to do.
 
In the meantime, I merely note that this broken wreck of a man's failure to win any more than a pathetic fourteen Olympic gold medals (so far) is a terrifying warning of the horrific damage that cannabis can do to someone's health—and a powerful reminder of just how sensible the drug laws really are.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZDc0MzBiOWZkZDRkODc5YTU4NmM3ZTVhOGU1NTA2MjM=
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« Reply #113 on: February 03, 2009, 05:09:04 PM »

Show me one high performing pot smoker and i'll show you 10,000 middle aged losers living with their parents. Yes?
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« Reply #114 on: February 03, 2009, 05:20:43 PM »

No.

One of my best friends in law school (Columbia) made law review and later went on to become a senior VP of legal affairs at a major Hollywood studio as well as a law professor. 

His modus operandi before plowing into some heavy SEC regs was to fire up a fat doobie.  It wasn't my way, but it sure worked for him.

GM, I could give you lots and lots of stories like this.  Perhaps because of your profession, there are a lot of people around you who unbeknownst to you, are stoners.  Unlike you, because of my pursuit of happiness, live and let live approach to life, such people do not fear that I will try to throw them in jail-- so they see no need to hide from me who they are.
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« Reply #115 on: February 03, 2009, 06:00:34 PM »

http://blutube.policeone.com/Clip.aspx?key=7350646A116A3395

Much more common than gold metal winners or Columbia laws school grads, in my personal experience.
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« Reply #116 on: February 03, 2009, 06:07:01 PM »

Well of course it is!  You are a LEO!  cheesy cheesy cheesy



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« Reply #117 on: February 03, 2009, 06:23:24 PM »

Multiple times I have contacted people and busted them because they had weed and/or drug paraphenalia in plain view. So stoned/stupid that that forgot they left it sitting out on their dashboard/console/ashtray.
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« Reply #118 on: February 03, 2009, 06:35:36 PM »

Then there was they guy with weed in his socks. When we find the weed, he looks us in the eye and says "Those aren't my socks".
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« Reply #119 on: February 03, 2009, 08:16:51 PM »

Question:  You know those you caught.   How do you know those you didn't?
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« Reply #120 on: February 03, 2009, 09:43:46 PM »

Sounds like a zen koan.

If someone you loved needed neurosurgery, would you want a Dr that smokes weed to perform it? Airline pilot ? Any other person in a position of responsibility?
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« Reply #121 on: February 03, 2009, 11:58:18 PM »

Quote
Would you want a Dr that smokes weed to perform it? Airline pilot ? Any other person in a position of responsibility?

How would you know if they were or were not marijuana users? And please don't respond with "drug testing" because we all know how well that works... rolleyes

I'm going to guess many pot smokers are like many drinkers. They find a time and place for it. Many people who drink alcohol do it responsibly, why would that be different for marijuana users? Bad drunk exist, so do bad pot smokers. I would no more make a blanket statement about enjoyers of alcohol than enjoyers of marijuana.

To each his own...
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« Reply #122 on: February 04, 2009, 07:12:12 AM »

"Sounds like a zen koan."

Exactly.  Perhaps in its contemplation you will find satori.   grin
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« Reply #123 on: February 04, 2009, 08:33:05 AM »

I think i've proven that I absolutely cannot be enlightened....  ; )
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« Reply #124 on: February 04, 2009, 08:39:37 AM »

Quote
Would you want a Dr that smokes weed to perform it? Airline pilot ? Any other person in a position of responsibility?

How would you know if they were or were not marijuana users? And please don't respond with "drug testing" because we all know how well that works... rolleyes

I'm going to guess many pot smokers are like many drinkers. They find a time and place for it. Many people who drink alcohol do it responsibly, why would that be different for marijuana users? Bad drunk exist, so do bad pot smokers. I would no more make a blanket statement about enjoyers of alcohol than enjoyers of marijuana.

To each his own...



** A key difference is the nature of alcohol vs. the nature of THC. Alcohol is water soluble and quicky metabolized. I don't want a surgeon that is working on a major hangover from the night before, but a surgeon that had two or three glasses with dinner the night before is fine. THC is fat soluble and can be detected weeks after a single use in the user's system, raising legitimate concerns about a longer term degree of impairment related to it's use.

You might be surprised at the things I detect in people that aren't obvious to the average person.**
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« Reply #125 on: February 04, 2009, 08:51:07 AM »

"I think i've proven that I absolutely cannot be enlightened....  ; )"

Argue for your limitations and they are yours.  cheesy
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« Reply #126 on: February 04, 2009, 12:22:56 PM »

Quote
THC is fat soluble and can be detected weeks after a single use in the user's system

Depends on the user and depends on the system.

I just don't buy the all-encompassing, reefer madness, rabid, stupid stoners stereotype that has been perpetuated for so many years. And I think it gets people bent when someone like Phelps who has performed at an extremely high level (no pun intended) turns out to be a pot smoker.
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« Reply #127 on: February 04, 2009, 03:53:00 PM »

Quote
THC is fat soluble and can be detected weeks after a single use in the user's system

Depends on the user and depends on the system.

**Ok, do you know of someone who totally metabolizes THC in the same way most people can metabolize alcohol?**


I just don't buy the all-encompassing, reefer madness, rabid, stupid stoners stereotype that has been perpetuated for so many years.

**Reefer madness. No. Stupid stoner. You think there is nothing to the stereotype?**


And I think it gets people bent when someone like Phelps who has performed at an extremely high level (no pun intended) turns out to be a pot smoker.

**Yeah, because there is never any news about high level athletes using drugs.......  rolleyes
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« Reply #128 on: February 04, 2009, 10:26:28 PM »

GM is right that it is fat soluble, therefore lingers in your system.  People say it takes 30 days abstention to pass a zero tolerance test, but tests don't have a zero threshold.  The biggest other problem is that there is no portion control or active ingredients strength labeling, like an ibuprofen measuring 200 mg. 

Granted it takes away from the attention span and short term memory.  Let's say usage in moderation takes 10 points off your intelligence during the effects.  That would explain Crafty's friend still able to tackle complex legal issues while a person with 85 cents on the dollar intelligence-wise is lowered to near retarded levels.

I would not accept Crafty's old acquaintance representing me high in front of the Supreme Court, but I have no objection to an average Joe enjoying a few breaths while enjoying a Friday evening sunset on his private deck in the mountains.

Pot harms plenty of people.  In most cases I think they over-use, cause other problems in their life and then eventually quit.  People with mental health issues also tend to self-medicate and cause themselves deeper problems, and alcohol pot are the most accessible crutches.

The pilot who landed the jet in the Hudson could do a normal day's work flying on auto pilot and calling the tower a couple of times with a small residue of THC in his blood.  But his job is not to fly on auto-pilot on a calm, clear day, it is to take charge of the safety of hundreds in every possible unforeseen circumstance.  I want my pilot, my surgeon and my Fannie Mae oversight chairman to be drug-free.
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« Reply #129 on: February 04, 2009, 11:24:18 PM »

But is this a matter for freedom of choice (a.k.a. "Stupid should hurt")  or for the feds kicking in doors?

==============

By STANTON PEELE
The sheriff's office in Richland County, S.C., is investigating a report -- prompted by a photo of the event published in a British tabloid -- that Olympic hero Michael Phelps smoked marijuana there. It's possible Mr. Phelps will be prosecuted. That's right: For those of you who don't know, marijuana is illegal.

I'm guessing it won't take much investigating to discover that Mr. Phelps used the drug at a University of South Carolina house party last November. After all, the 23-year-old swimming phenom -- whose feats in the pool and at meals have been promoted across the globe -- has publicly apologized for doing so, promising "my fans and the public it will not happen again."

The Opinion Journal Widget
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And why wouldn't he apologize? Fat chance Mr. Phelps is about to become a drug policy reformer. He -- and his mom -- want to keep those endorsements rolling in. Imagine if all the prominent people who have ever been exposed for drug use argued for their decriminalization? There would be mayhem -- a lot of people might take drugs and no one would arrest them! The federal government's own surveys reveal that 40% of Americans have consumed marijuana, including the last three presidents of the United States.

The attitude of most Americans, Richland County's sheriff aside, is "Who cares?" After all, smoking pot didn't prevent Barack Obama from becoming president. And obviously, recreational marijuana use hasn't harmed Mr. Phelps, whose prodigious performances have garnered 14 gold medals, the most in Olympic history. If he can smoke pot and perform at such a superhuman level, then perhaps we should reconsider the effects of -- and punishments for -- use of the substance.

Today, not only is it illegal to smoke marijuana, but, most people are surprised to learn, the number of arrests for marijuana use and possession are increasing. In that bastion of liberal values and political views, New York City, close to 400,000 people were apprehended for marijuana misdemeanors in the decade ending in 2007. This was almost 10 times the number arrested in the previous decade. In 2007 alone, nearly 800,000 Americans were arrested for simple possession of marijuana, according to FBI statistics.

But, you're probably thinking, very few presidents, Olympic champions and college students are arrested for drug use. My daughter attends a prominent private university in the city, and she tells me many of her peers smoke pot. Yet neither she nor I had ever heard of a single arrest for this crime on campus.

Who are all of these people getting arrested? And what the heck's the matter with them? Don't they know how to get pot delivered 24/7 to their dorm via carriers from whom you order by cellphone?

Well, here's a hint: 83% of those arrested in New York City in the last decade were African-American or Latino. This occurred even though these groups, while underrepresented among college students, don't actually comprise the majority of drug users.

Then why are they the ones who are most often arrested?

It's complicated. Neighborhoods, social status, police activism, lingering racism, money and power, legal representation: It's a giant ball of wax.

Which gets us back to Michael Phelps and the sheriff of Richland County. What's amazing is not that he would prosecute a marijuana user -- this happens daily across the U.S. What's incredible is that the sheriff wants to apply the law equally, including to an Olympic god.

Next thing you know, he'll be suggesting that we imprison government officials who don't pay their taxes. Doesn't the man know how the world works?

Let me mention one thing I am grateful for: At least Mr. Phelps didn't claim he was addicted, enter the Betty Ford Center for 28 days, then emerge to do public service ads about his recovery. Now that would be hypocritical.

Mr. Peele is a psychologist, attorney and creator of the Life Process Program for addiction recovery. His most recent book is "Addiction-Proof Your Child" (Crown, 2007).
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 12:06:19 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #130 on: February 05, 2009, 08:40:36 AM »

Stupid should hurt. I doubt very much that it's possible to make a viable case against Phelps if the bong photo is all they have.
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« Reply #131 on: February 11, 2009, 08:56:57 AM »

http://www.reason.com/news/show/131612.html


Fear Is His Friend

Obama takes a page from Bush's crisis management book.

Jacob Sullum | February 11, 2009

I flashed back to the fall of 2001 upon reading the subhead over a New York Times story about Monday's presidential press conference: "He Says That Failing to Act Could Lead to Catastrophe." To rush a complex, ill-considered piece of legislation through Congress, George W. Bush invoked the specter of another terrorist attack. Barack Obama, bringing the change he promised, invoked the specter of economic collapse.

Just as the PATRIOT Act was a grab bag of legal changes that law enforcement and intelligence agencies had been seeking for years, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a grab bag of expenditures that leftish Democrats have long wanted, repackaged for the crisis du jour. In both cases, instilling fear was the key to suspending skepticism and cutting off debate.

In a Washington Post op-ed piece last week, President Obama warned that if Congress did not immediately pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, "our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse." While Bush gave us the concept of the never-ending War on Terror, Obama has introduced the idea of the never-ending recession, a phenomenon that has never been seen before but that can be averted only by uncritically approving his spending priorities.

"We can't afford to make the perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary," Obama declared in his weekly radio address on Saturday. "The time for action is now." During an appearance in Elkhart, Indiana, on Monday, he said "the situation we face could not be more serious" and insisted "we can't afford to wait." At his press conference that evening he said "a failure to act will only deepen this crisis" and "could turn a crisis into a catastrophe."

Obama insisted there was no time for debate. "We can't posture and bicker," he said in Elkhart. "Endless delay or paralysis in Washington in the face of this crisis will only bring deepening disaster." At the same time, he claimed there had been plenty of debate already: "many weeks of debate and discussion," as he put it at the press conference.

The stimulus bill was introduced in the House on January 26 and passed two days later. The Senate began debating its version last week and approved the bill this week. No hearings were held in either house. If that's Obama's idea of "many weeks of debate and discussion," verging on "endless delay or paralysis," maybe we should not worry so much about his prediction of an endless recession.

The false sense of urgency created by the president was designed to override two kinds of doubts: about Keynesian stimulus spending generally and about this package in particular. "Doing nothing is not an option," he said in Elkhart. It should be, especially when the something the president wants to do could be worse than nothing, adding $1 trillion to the national debt and diverting resources from more productive uses without delivering on the promise to "jolt our economy back to life."

And that probably won't be the end of the story. At Monday's press conference, Obama said the Japanese government "did not act boldly or swiftly enough" in the 1990s, when it spent trillions of dollars on construction projects in a vain attempt to revive the country's economy. From his study of Japan, the Times reports, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner concluded that "spending must come in quick, massive doses, and be continued until recovery takes firm root."

As with the PATRIOT Act, the success of Obama's Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will be hard to assess. If the Bush administration can take credit for the absence of terrorist attacks without any firm evidence that its policies were decisive in preventing them, the Obama administration can take credit for an economic recovery that would have occurred anyway. I hope that's what happens, because otherwise we can expect further expensive sacrifices to the god of economic stimulus.
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« Reply #132 on: February 11, 2009, 10:25:25 AM »

Every time I read something by a libertarian on the PATRIOT act, I'm reminded why they are the flat earthers of national security and justly a fringe party.
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« Reply #133 on: February 11, 2009, 10:41:19 AM »

Of course you do. And I have quite a bit of sympathy with the "err on the side of national security" argument. But you gotta admit, watching BHO read from the playbook his side of the aisle had aneurisms over is a source of amusement.
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« Reply #134 on: February 11, 2009, 10:52:04 AM »

Sure. I'm not fan of "If ACORN doesn't get millions of taxpayers' dollars, you'll be eating your babies for breakfast!" currently being touted, but it's apples and oranges compared with 9/11/01 and stopping the next one.
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« Reply #135 on: February 25, 2009, 11:55:04 AM »

Alas, not the chew toy for GM it might have been. . . .

Is Libertarianism a Sign of Mental Illness?

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

I don’t know whether this belongs in the comic-relief category or the future-threats category, but the Harvard Law School is having a conference to analyze the “free market mindset.” The basic premise of the conference seems to be that people who believe in limited government are psychologically troubled.

The conference schedule features presentations such as “How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community” and “Addicted to Incentives: How the Ideology of Self Interest Can Be Self-Fulfilling.” The most absurd presentation, though, may be the one entitled, “Colossal Failure: The Output Bias of Market Economies.” According to the description, the author argues that the market “delivers excessive levels of consumption.” Damn those entrepreneurs for creating so much wealth!

In the good old days of Soviet dictatorship, the regime classified dissidents as being mentally ill (after all, only a nutcase would fail to see the glories of communism).

Now that leftists at Harvard want to portray laissez-faire philosophy as being somewhat akin to a mental disorder, maybe the next step will be re-education camps for Cato staff? Maybe the next “stimulus” bill could include a few earmarks for such facilities? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get sent some place warm.

Daniel J. Mitchell • February 25, 2009 @ 11:48 am

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/02/25/is-libertarianism-a-sign-of-mental-illness/
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« Reply #136 on: February 25, 2009, 12:26:13 PM »

Funny enough, I believe in small gov't and free markets.
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« Reply #137 on: April 02, 2009, 06:57:40 PM »

Abstract for a much longer paper regarding Portugal's experience decriminalizing drugs, including heroin and cocaine.

White Paper

April 2, 2009
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal:
Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies

by Glenn Greenwald

July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

While other states in the European Union have developed various forms of de facto decriminalization — whereby substances perceived to be less serious (such as cannabis) rarely lead to criminal prosecution — Portugal remains the only EU member state with a law explicitly declaring drugs to be "decriminalized." Because more than seven years have now elapsed since enactment of Portugal's decriminalization system, there are ample data enabling its effects to be assessed.

Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. Except for some far-right politicians, very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. And while there is a widespread perception that bureaucratic changes need to be made to Portugal's decriminalization framework to make it more efficient and effective, there is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. More significantly, none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for "drug tourists" — has occurred.

The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. Those data indicate that decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens — enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization.

This report will begin with an examination of the Portuguese decriminalization framework as set forth in law and in terms of how it functions in practice. Also examined is the political climate in Portugal both pre- and postdecriminalization with regard to drug policy, and the impetus that led that nation to adopt decriminalization.

Glenn Greenwald is a constitutional lawyer and a contributing writer at Salon. He has authored several books, including A Tragic Legacy (2007) and How Would a Patriot Act? (2006).

The report then assesses Portuguese drug policy in the context of the EU's approach to drugs. The varying legal frameworks, as well as the overall trend toward liberalization, are examined to enable a meaningful comparative assessment between Portuguese data and data from other EU states.

The report also sets forth the data concerning drug-related trends in Portugal both pre- and postdecriminalization. The effects of decriminalization in Portugal are examined both in absolute terms and in comparisons with other states that continue to criminalize drugs, particularly within the EU.

The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf
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« Reply #138 on: April 17, 2009, 05:37:41 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/17/dhs-ignored-civil-liberties-lawyers-warnings-on-report/

DHS ignored civil-liberties lawyers’ warnings on report; Update: Senators demand data, explanation
POSTED AT 10:56 AM ON APRIL 17, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


The DHS pushed its report out on right-wingers in one hell of a hurry, according to the AP.  Internal reviews of the document showed concerns over potential civil-liberties violations before its publication, but DHS ignored them in order to quickly make the document public.  What was the rush?

Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department flagged language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway. …

Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the report was issued before officials resolved problems raised by the agency’s civil rights division about analysts’ definition of right-wing extremism.

In a footnote in the report, right-wing extremism was defined as hate-motivated groups and movements, such as hatred of certain religions, racial or ethnic groups. It went on to say, “It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

This answers the rather absurd meme that has popped up on liberal blogs, that the Bush administration is responsible for this report.  First, while the Bush administration might have wanted an assessment of right-wing extremist threats, it didn’t necessarily want one that painted returning veterans and conservative thought on abortion, illegal immigration, and federalism as extremist threats, nor did it want a threat assessment that couldn’t find a threat and had no data on actual, specific groups.  Secondly, and most obviously, this report was dated April 7, 2009, almost 3 months after Bush left office.

Just when does the new administration take responsibility for reports they release?  2013?  For people who thought Bush was such a dunce, they seem to give him remarkable powers to control government months after he’s retired to Crawford.

Now we see that this wasn’t just left lying around from the Bush administration.  In fact, it was such a rush job that Janet Napolitano couldn’t wait to resolve the obvious civil-liberty concerns raised by her own lawyers before shoving it out the door.  Napolitano would later have to backtrack on the exact same language flagged by the attorneys by claiming that she didn’t specifically approve the report issued by her office and that she would have changed the language in hindsight.  She had the opportunity to fix it before its release, but the completely threadbare report was deemed such a high priority that it went out anyway.

Now, what could have triggered that?  Anyone know of events occurring just after April 7, 2009, that such an assessment could have painted as radical, extremist, and threats to national security?  Hmmm.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI has tracked a few veterans for extremist activity, but because they joined extremist groups, not because they’re veterans:

Michael Ward, FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said in an interview Thursday that the portion of the operation focusing on the military related only to veterans who draw the attention of Defense Department officials for joining white-supremacist or other extremist groups.

“We’re not doing an investigation into the military, we’re not looking at former military members,” he said. “It would have to be something they were concerned about, or someone they’re concerned is involved” with extremist groups.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work — and that’s the way it did work in the Bush administration, whose assessment of left-wing extremists focused on groups with histories of violent actions and on actual data showing threats.

Update:  Via Michelle, Senators Coburn, Brownback, DeMint, Burr, Murkowski, Inhofe, and Vitter sent the following letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano yesterday concerning the DHS report:

April 16, 2009

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary
The Department of Homeland Security
310 7th street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20528-0150

VIA FASCMILLE

Dear Secretary Napolitano,

We write today concerning the release of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division.

While we agree that we must fight extremists who are both foreign and domestic we are troubled by some of the statements your department included as fact in the report titled above, without listing any statistical data to back up such claims.

First, your report states that “Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists…” without listing any data to support such a vile claim against our nation’s veterans.

Second, the report states that the millions of Americans who believe in the Second Amendment are a potential threat to our national security. Why? Do you have statistics to prove that law-abiding Americans who purchase a legal product are being recruited by so-called hate groups?

Thirdly, the report states that those that believe in issues such as pro-life legislation, limited government, and legal versus illegal immigration are potential terrorist threats. We can assure you that these beliefs are held by citizens of all races, party affiliation, male and female, and should not be listed as a factor in determining potential terror threats. A better word usage would be to describe them as practicing their First Amendment rights.

Also, you list those that bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India as being potential rightwing extremists. We would suggest that the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry to foreign countries are not potential terror threats, but rather honest Americans worried about feeding their families and earning a paycheck.

In closing, we support the mission of DHS in protecting our country from terror attacks and are proud of the many DHS employees who make this possible in conjunction with our state and local law enforcement. We ask that DHS not use this report as a basis to unfairly target millions of Americans because of their beliefs and the rights afforded to them in the Constitution. We also ask that you provide us with the data that support the unfair claims listed in the report titled above and to present us with the matrix system used in collecting and analyzing this data?

Finally, we look forward to your prompt reply and we offer our assistance to DHS in our shared effort to fight terrorism both home and abroad by using data that is accurate and independent of political persuasion.
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« Reply #139 on: May 11, 2009, 02:13:49 PM »

Wisconsin court upholds GPS tracking by police
By RYAN J. FOLEY | Associated Press Writer
2:42 PM CDT, May 7, 2009
MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was "more than a little troubled" by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals.

As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights -- even if the drivers aren't suspects.

Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.



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Picking a GPS That means "police are seemingly free to secretly track anyone's public movements with a GPS device," he wrote.

One privacy advocate said the decision opened the door for greater government surveillance of citizens. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials called the decision a victory for public safety because tracking devices are an increasingly important tool in investigating criminal behavior.

The ruling came in a 2003 case involving Michael Sveum, a Madison man who was under investigation for stalking. Police got a warrant to put a GPS on his car and secretly attached it while the vehicle was parked in Sveum's driveway. The device recorded his car's movements for five weeks before police retrieved it and downloaded the information.

The information suggested Sveum was stalking the woman, who had gone to police earlier with suspicions. Police got a second warrant to search his car and home, found more evidence and arrested him. He was convicted of stalking and sentenced to prison.

Sveum, 41, argued the tracking violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. He argued the device followed him into areas out of public view, such as his garage.

The court disagreed. The tracking did not violate constitutional protections because the device only gave police information that could have been obtained through visual surveillance, Lundsten wrote.

Even though the device followed Sveum's car to private places, an officer tracking Sveum could have seen when his car entered or exited a garage, Lundsten reasoned. Attaching the device was not a violation, he wrote, because Sveum's driveway is a public place.

"We discern no privacy interest protected by the Fourth Amendment that is invaded when police attach a device to the outside of a vehicle, as long as the information obtained is the same as could be gained by the use of other techniques that do not require a warrant," he wrote.

Although police obtained a warrant in this case, it wasn't needed, he added.

Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said using GPS to track someone's car goes beyond observing them in public and should require a warrant.

"The idea that you can go and attach anything you want to somebody else's property without any court supervision, that's wrong," he said. "Without a warrant, they can do this on anybody they want."

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's office, which argued in favor of the warrantless GPS tracking, praised the ruling but would not elaborate on its use in Wisconsin.

David Banaszynski, president of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, said his department in the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood does not use GPS. But other departments might use it to track drug dealers, burglars and stalkers, he said.

A state law already requires the Department of Corrections to track the state's most dangerous sex offenders using GPS. The author of that law, Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, said the decision shows "GPS tracking is an effective means of protecting public safety."
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« Reply #140 on: May 11, 2009, 05:38:57 PM »

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/133427.html

Fifth Circuit: No SWAT Teams for Regulatory Searches

Radley Balko | May 11, 2009, 4:52pm

It's a "Well gee, you'd hope so" sort of victory, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that using a SWAT team to conduct an administrative or regulatory search is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The case stems from what was clearly a drug raid conducted on a bar in Louisiana by the Rapides Parrish Sheriff's Department. But the raid was conducted under the auspices of an alcohol inspection, which allowed the department to get around the need for a criminal search warrant.

The Fifth Circuit ruled such a raid violates the Fourth Amendment, and is allowing a civil rights suit against the officers involved to go forward. From the opinion:

Taking plaintiffs' factual allegations as true, defendants did not enter Club Retro as would a typical patron; instead, they chose to project official authority by entering with weapons drawn in a S.W.A.T. team raid. They lacked any particularized suspicion or probable cause when they subsequently searched Club Retro, its attic, and the separate apartment and seized and searched all of its patrons and employees. Thus, defendants' entry and search was not a reasonable acceptance of Club Retro's invitation to the public. Any other conclusion would be an invitation for S.W.A.T. team raids by law enforcement officers of any business that is open to the public and would severely undermine the Fourth Amendment protections afforded to owners of commercial premises.

We are likewise not convinced by defendants' second argument that they conducted a permissible administrative inspection. Although Louisiana statutes and Rapides Parish ordinances authorizing administrative inspections may have provided justification for an entry and inspection of Club Retro, no such law permits the scope and manner of the raid that plaintiffs allege occurred here...


Administrative inspections, by their very nature, require more limited, less intrusive conduct than is alleged to have occurred here. We thus conclude that defendants' S.W.A.T. team entries and extensive searches, as described in the amended complaint, unreasonably exceeded the scope of Louisiana and Rapides Parish administrative inspection laws. Any other conclusion would allow the administrative inspection exception to swallow the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement for searches of private property.

The court also cited a similar opinion from the 11th Circuit:

In Swint v. City of Wadley, 51 F.3d 988 (11th Cir. 1995), the Eleventh Circuit relied on existing Supreme Court precedent to reject qualified immunity as a defense for officers who conducted two raids of a nightclub that were comparable in relevant respects to the raid here. There, a S.W.A.T. team of thirty to forty officers, wearing ski masks, swarmed a club after receiving a signal from an undercover officer who had probable cause to arrest one patron for an illegal drug transaction. Id. at 993. The officers pointed their weapons at many of the club's patrons and employees; prohibited the owners, employees, and patrons from moving or leaving; searched all individuals; refused patrons' and employees' requests to use the restrooms; searched the club, its cash registers, and door receipts; and maintained control of the premises and persons for between one and one and one-half hours. Id. The court concluded that the officers could point to "no authority that even suggests that the search and seizure of one suspect in a public place can be bootstrapped into probable cause for a broad-based search of the business establishment and its patrons."

For a few years now, I've been covering the ongoing saga of David Ruttenberg, a former pool hall owner in Virginia whose business was raided by a massive police force in 2004. The mix of SWAT, undercover, and uniformed officers stormed Ruttenberg's bar on ladies' night. Like the cases above, the search on Ruttenberg's bar was also clearly a criminal search disguised as an alcohol inspection, though in Ruttenberg's case, it was really only one of numerous violations of his civil rights by the police and political establishment in Manassas Park, Virginia. The police had tried to obtain a search warrant against Ruttenberg for the 2004 raid, but couldn't convince a judge they had probable cause he'd committed a crime. So the merely brought along some representatives from the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control, and called it an inspection.

So far, Ruttenberg hasn't had much luck in his own federal civil rights suit. His case was rejected outright the first time he appeared in federal court. Last July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit gave Ruttenberg a small glimmer of hope, affirming the lower court's dismissal of every claim, save for one—that the use of SWAT tactics to enforce a regulatory inspection was a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Last month, the same circuit court judge once again threw out that claim, too.

But Ruttenberg is appealing, and given how the similar the facts are to his own case, one would think this latest ruling from the Fifth Circuit could only help his cause. If it doesn't, the split between the Fifth Circuit and the Fourth and 11th Circuits would seem to make the case ripe for the Supreme Court.

It's pretty remarkable that we're even discussing this. We're talking about using SWAT teams to conduct regulatory inspections on businesses. That there would even be a debate shows just how tolerant we've become of the government using this sort of force.

Here's surveillance video of the raid on Ruttenberg's bar. Keep in mind, this was done other the auspices of an alcohol inspection. And a federal judge has now twice ruled that he sees nothing excessive about it.



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #141 on: May 12, 2009, 10:45:09 AM »

HAven't looked into this for myself yet, but these are said to have GPS jammers:

DIY version. Some experience required.
http://www.navigadget.com/index.php/...ade-gps-jammer

Store-bought versions. Some do cell phones or GLONASS as well.
http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/GPS_Jammer.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #142 on: May 12, 2009, 12:18:56 PM »

First link is truncated. Should read:

http://www.navigadget.com/index.php/2008/04/21/gps-tracking-jammer
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #143 on: May 13, 2009, 02:04:25 AM »

Thank you.
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G M
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« Reply #144 on: May 13, 2009, 02:37:00 AM »

I know cell phone jamming is a violation of federal law, even for local level law enforcement. I'd guess that GPS jamming is illegal, but this is a guess.
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« Reply #145 on: May 13, 2009, 03:04:38 AM »

GPS Evidence Too Unreliable For Legal Purposes

GPS devices can be easily jammed and their data can be spoofed, particularly when tied to cellular systems, experts argue.
By Thomas Claburn,  InformationWeek
April 30, 2009
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=217201050


GPS location data from tracking devices and mobile phones has become an important component of court cases as a way to establish where people have been and when they were there.

While the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the constitutionality of warrantless GPS tracking, a more fundamental question may be whether GPS data is reliable enough to be admissible in court.

Todd Glassey, chief scientist of Certichron, a time data trust service, and founder of the U.S. Time Server Foundation, argues that GPS devices can be easily jammed and that their data can be spoofed, particularly when tied to cellular systems -- as offender tracking bracelets may be.

This isn't a novel concern. The U.S. Department of Defense has forbidden the use of L1 GPS -- the version of GPS available to civilians -- for military purposes since 1998, owing to data integrity and security shortcomings. The military relies on L2 GPS, which is encrypted and more accurate.

A 2003 Los Alamos National Laboratory research paper by Jon S. Warner and Roger G. Johnston, members of the lab's Vulnerability Assessment Team, states, "Civilian Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers are vulnerable to attacks such as blocking, jamming, and spoofing." The VAT had previously demonstrated that claim by simulating the hijacking of a cargo truck monitored by GPS.

The FCC has tried to prevent the sale of GPS jammers, which are illegal under the Communications Act of 1934. But schematics for a do-it-yourself GPS jamming device can be easily found online and built for less than $150. And they can be bought online through various Web sites.

For less than $2,000, says Glassey, someone could acquire the gear necessary to spoof the location of GPS bracelets issued to sex offenders or other parolees. The potential risks are obvious.

Many law enforcement entities have opted to use L1 GPS tracking bracelets to allow defendants to remain free prior to trial and to track high-risk releases like sex offenders. Often, they wed these systems to voice-recognition systems and cellular location-sensing backup systems.

But according to Glassey, the availability of call-redirectors, Vonage, Skype, and other VoIP systems means that system safeguards aren't sufficiently secure.

"The knowledge of the use of GPS test equipment to alter or affect the readings inside of GPS receivers has already made the jump from the technology community to the hacker community such that commercial products and general knowledge of how to spoof L1 GPS systems is available everywhere," Glassey explained in a technical brief he prepared for the D.C. Circuit appeal of U.S. v. Jones.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed an amicus brief in that case in support of a claim by defendant Antoine Jones that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the warrantless placement of a GPS tracking device in his car.

But constitutional considerations aside, Glassey maintains that L1 GPS data should not be admissible in court without some other form of corroborating evidence. He contends that the reliability claims made to the court by manufacturers of GPS tracking devices are misrepresentations.
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« Reply #146 on: May 13, 2009, 03:08:45 AM »

http://www.corrections.com/articles/20369

Allow cell phone jamming
By Jon Ozmint, Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections
Published: 01/12/2009

 Technology advances at an amazing pace, and criminals figure out how to employ it for illegal purposes at an equally amazing pace. Within prisons across our nation criminals and their accomplices are using wireless technology to threaten public safety.

The Federal Communications Act of 1934 was created “for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communication.” By with-holding surgical jamming technology from state and local law enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) violates this purpose and fails to acknowledge advancing technology.

Cell phones are contraband in prison. However, contraband can get past even the best detection systems. X-ray scanners, metal detectors, drug and bomb dogs, and the best of search techniques are all creations of human ingenuity and they can all be defeated by human ingenuity.

In South Carolina prisons, we have improved procedures to squeeze the traditional contraband pipelines. As a result, we are now experiencing an increase in what we call ‘throw-overs:’ efforts to introduce contraband directly over our fences by throwing, shooting or dropping packages containing contraband. This method requires coordination with the ‘throwers’ on the outside, via cell phones.

Today, cell phones and related technology are now the contraband of choice in America’s prisons. Here’s why.

Cell phones allow inmates to avoid using inmate phone systems, where calls can be monitored and recorded. Recently, witnesses and others have been murdered as a result of ‘hits’ issued by inmates using cell phones. From drug dealing to credit card fraud to escapes, cell phones in prisons threaten public safety.

There are two ways to deal with the issue of cell phones in prisons. One is detection and location technology. This technology is expensive and imprecise. Further, it is only partially effective since it only works while phones are operating and it requires continuous staffing to monitor and search for phones, SIMS cards, and parts.

The second method, blocking or jamming, is 80% cheaper and 100% more effective. It is continuous and it cannot be defeated by hiding and moving phones and their parts: it eliminates the threats created by cell phones.

Years ago, technology used to block and jam signals was imprecise: in order to block cell phones within a limited area, such as a prison or a single building, the technology would interfere with other calls outside of that radius. Thus, the FCC was justified in prohibiting such blocking.

Now, improved technology can block only certain signals and within a set radius only. ‘Surgical jamming’ can be aimed. In fact, we invited the FCC to attend our recent demonstration of this technology in one of our maximum security prisons. Disappointingly, they refused to even send a representative.

From the beginning, the wireless industry has voiced two objections to using this technology in prisons: (1) interference with calls outside of prison, such as E-911 calls; and, (2) interference with our own law enforcement radios. After our demonstration, the public and the media present know that these arguments are specious: surgical jamming does not interfere with law enforcement radios or block E-911 calls. In fact, it will not block any call or frequency outside of the prison perimeter.

Jamming cell phones can be an effective and necessary tool for law enforcement. Federal agencies are already allowed to purchase and use this jamming technology. So, if a cell-phone detonated bomb threatens the U.S. Capital or the FCC building, federal law enforcement can jam the signal. After all, they are very important people!

But, out here in the hinterlands, if a cell phone-detonated bomb threatens a local courthouse or school, Congress and the FCC have made it a crime for our state and local law enforcement to use the same technology that they afford to federal authorities. Apparently, our safety is not quite as important.

This double-standard is the pinnacle of arrogance, even by Washington standards.

Congress and the FCC should be ashamed. And, they should act.

Jon Ozmint is the Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections and is asking the FCC to allow state and local law enforcement authorities to use jamming technology and to allow South Carolina to pilot surgical jamming technology in prisons, immediately.
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G M
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« Reply #147 on: May 13, 2009, 03:30:02 AM »

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cell-phone-jammer.htm/printable

A good primer on the topic.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #148 on: May 13, 2009, 09:27:43 AM »

The prison application of cell phone jamming is extremely persuasive though I would think guards also need some form of wireless communication for emergencies such as calling for backup.

In a church or music/theatre application I have mixed feelings.  When I turn my ringer off I miss calls half the following day until I discover it off.  But on silent mode in a quiet area I at least might know what calls I've missed and could excuse myself.  Playing tennis or golf with doctors on call for example, it may be rude to take a call,  but if jammed they couldn't participate if they couldn't regularly look to see if calls were missed.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 09:34:25 AM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #149 on: May 16, 2009, 10:04:07 AM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/11/state-pursues-cell-phone-jamming-test/print/

Monday, May 11, 2009
Maryland pursues cell-phone jamming test

Brian Witte ASSOCIATED PRESS


ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to ask federal regulators to allow Maryland to hold a cell-phone jamming demonstration at a state prison to show the effectiveness of stopping inmate cell-phone use, which has been a safety threat in prisons around the nation.

The Federal Communications Commission can give federal agencies permission to jam cell-phone signals, but the Communications Act of 1934 doesn't allow state and local agencies to use the technology, which prevents cell-tower transmissions from reaching the targeted phone.

"Current attempts to ensure that cell phones stay out of prisons can easily be foiled and must be supplanted by the best technology available," Mr. O'Malley wrote in a letter to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, who is co-sponsoring legislation in Congress to legalize cell-phone jamming at state and local prisons.

The Democratic governor wrote the letter to Maryland's senior senator to indicate his intent to request a demonstration and to update Miss Mikulski on the state's efforts to clear prisons of illegal cell phones.

"I am committed to seizing the opportunity that this legislative initiative has created to move law enforcement and the enhancement of public safety to the 21st century as cell phones become smaller and more difficult to find," Mr. O'Malley wrote.

South Carolina ran a demonstration in Nov. 2008 without federal permission, while Texas planned one, then called it off because of the federal restriction. The FCC has denied two recent requests from the District of Columbia and Louisiana for test jamming sessions.

Rick Abbruzzese, an O'Malley spokesman, said the time is right for the FCC to consider Maryland's request because Congress is taking up the issue and that there's a need for up-to-date data on how the technology can be used to prevent prisoners from using cell phones.

Inmates use cell phones to get around security, further gang activity and conduct criminal activity from behind bars, authorities say.

Last week, a Baltimore drug dealer who used a cell phone in the city jail to plan the killing of a trial witness was sentenced to life without parole. Patrick A. Byers Jr. was convicted of murdering Carl S. Lackl Jr., who had identified Byers as the gunman in a previous killing. Mr. Lackl, a 38-year-old single father, was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting outside his home in July 2007, a week before Byers was scheduled for trial.

Maryland corrections officials confiscated 947 cell phones in 2008 by using specially trained dogs and other security measures. That's a 71 percent increase in confiscations compared with 2006, according to the O'Malley administration.

Mr. O'Malley said the confiscations helped reduce serious assaults by inmates on staff by taking away a tool that inmates can use to coordinate attacks - resulting in a 32 percent drop from 2006 to 2008. Mr. O'Malley wrote that serious weapon assaults are down 75 percent over the same period.

"But while we have made progress, we can do much more to improve public safety and eradicate the harm caused by these cell phones by shutting them down," Mr. O'Malley wrote in the May 7 letter to Miss Mikulski.

Mr. Abbruzzese said state officials are working on the details of a demonstration, and it's not known where or when it would occur.

Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulator affairs at CTIA - The Wireless Association, the industry's leading trade group, said he has concerns about cell-phone jamming affecting customers who live near prisons.

"While we don't want prisoners to have service inside the jails, we also don't want our customers to be impacted outside the jails," Mr. Guttman-McCabe said.

Examples of inmates using cell phones to further criminal activity have cropped up nationwide.

In Texas earlier this month, a death-row inmate and two relatives were indicted in a purported cell-phone smuggling case that led to a statewide prison lockdown. A grand jury also indicted Richard Lee Tabler on a felony retaliation charge for threatening to kill a state senator.

In Kansas, convicted killer John Manard planned his 2006 prison escape using a cell phone smuggled in by an accomplice. The following year, two inmates escaped another Kansas prison with the help of a former guard and a smuggled cell phone.
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