Thursday, March 6, 2008

One in 100 Americans is behind bars, legislators spar over photo ID and more

News tidbits for today...

Criminal Justice
New York Times highlights a report that says that one in 100 Americans is behind bars.

Domestic Spying
FBI Chief confirms misuse of National Security Letters to search Americans' personal records. War on Terror politicians keep saying that Homeland Security needs greater powers to search for terrorists. But the abuse of power and the lack of transparency (even through judicial checks) is not about terrorism but about violating our privacy. Read the Washington Post article for details and a nod to the ACLU. Or find it on Truthout.

Confused by some of the legaleese that gets expressed during debates about the War on Terror? What does "material support" mean anyway? Eric Urmansky tries to stort out counterterrorism investigations and how even thin associations with or an expression of sympathy for controversial groups can be like committing a "pre-crime." Read on for a nod to the ACLU.

Voting Rights
Legislators sparred today over a proposed constitutional amendment on photo id at the polls. Senator Fitzgerald says that criminal activity at the polls needs to be addressed. If he is talking about the "crime" of felons who vote while they are still on paper (like Elizabeth Prude did in 2004), he should sign on in support of passing AB 390 to clean up our statewide voter list and restore the vote to those who are no longer behind bars. You can watch the whole press conference on WiscEye (you might find it under Recently Archived Video) or check out the WKOW coverage. This conflict is mostly over the end of last Thursday's Senate floor session when an effort to pull AB 645 to a floor vote was nixed by a a quick end to the session by Democratic leadership. The attempts to pull the bill continued today but without adequate support.

Public Schools
Update on the school board zoning decision.