Monthly Archives: March 2005

News Coverage of Fl SCt Privacy Committee Meeting

Two news articles on what I did yesterday, Palm Beach Post, Panel agrees on Internet access to court documents in Florida and Orlando Sentinel, Panel wants records online.

Posted in Law: Privacy | Leave a comment

First Amendment and Bush ‘Town Hall’

These people got ejected from a Bush “town hall meeting” on Social Security because of a bumper sticker on their car: Secret Service investigating removal of three from Bush visit. What's interesting here is that it's possible the Secret Service didn't do it but someone else, possibly pretending to be a Secret Service agent did the evictions. (See also this fuller account at Daily Kos.)

  • If the Secret Service had anything to do with this, it violated the law and the Constitution
  • If the evictions were by private citizens misrepresenting themselves as government officials, they committed a crime
  • If the evictions were by private citizens being intimidating, it could be a crime or civil offense (e.g. assault, threats, depends on state law)
  • It's conceivable that there might be a way for private citizens to artfully mislead people and give the impression they are secret service agents without actually making actionable mis-statements (“Sir? Could you please come this way? I need to talk with you. I'm sorry, but you will have to leave. Security. I'm sure you will understand.”) I just don't know enough about the relevant law to be sure.

Update (3/30): The Washington Post has more on the story:

As described by Recht, a man in a blue suit told the three they had to leave and “in a physical, forcible way” escorted them out, refusing to explain why. Mackin said local law enforcement is in charge of policing civil disobedience at such events, although the Bush advance team is often seen asking disruptive people to leave.

Posted in Civil Liberties | 10 Comments

Firefox on Steriods

Firefox on steroids. Nothing the advanced user will not have done already, but a very nice step-by-step guide for the rest of the world.

Posted in Software | 3 Comments

Discourse.net Zeitgeist

I’m in a conference room at Stetson Law School in Tampa today, having a very interesting meeting of the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Privacy and Court Records. So no blogging for now.

Meanwhile, have you visited the Discourse.net Zeitgeist? It’s a cute MT plugin that lists all the search terms that have lead someone to this blog in the last 48 hours. The more the people used the term, the bigger the type face.

Posted in Discourse.net | Leave a comment

‘FBI Helped Saudis Escape’ Not Such Tin Foil After All

Remember that tin-foil tale about the US helping high-ranking Saudis — including members of the bin Laden family — leave the US without interviewing them? It seems the conspiracy theory had one fact wrong — the flights in question didn't actually take off before the air travel ban was lifted, but only soon after, in a period when flights were still limited. Otherwise, the tin foil view is looking pretty good.

New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11: The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show.

The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts because they said they were concerned for their safety in the wake of the attacks, and the F.B.I. – which was then beginning the biggest criminal investigation in its history – arranged to have agents escort them to their local airports, the documents show.

But F.B.I. officials reacted angrily, both internally and publicly, to the suggestion that any Saudis had received preferential treatment in leaving the country.

“I say baloney to any inference we red-carpeted any of this entourage,” an F.B.I. official said in a 2003 internal note. Another F.B.I. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this week regarding the airport escorts that “we'd do that for anybody if they felt they were threatened – we wouldn't characterize that as special treatment.”

Yes, you see, we give Saudis special treatment like this all the time, so it's not really special, is it?

Posted in 9/11 & Aftermath | 6 Comments

Jeb Bush’s ‘Culture of Life’ In Deadly Action

Jeb Bush is all for 'life'…as long as it doesn't get in the way of more tax cuts.

Agency probes group homes' deaths: A federally funded watchdog group is investigating the recent deaths of four disabled Floridians amid an aggressive campaign by the state to cut millions of dollars from programs that provide medical care for disabled people in community settings.

Two developmentally disabled adults who lived in group homes in Brandon, and two others under the care of The ARC in St. Lucie County, have died since October 2004, a month after the state required the operator of the two Brandon group homes to change the way residents received nursing care.

A woman at one Brandon home developed such a severe infection at the site of her feeding tube that she has been hospitalized in intensive care since Feb. 13.

Will we see Randall Terry demonstrating about this outside the statehouse? Somehow I rather doubt it.

Posted in Florida | 2 Comments