Archives for FUBAR

Heading for America? Turn on your cell phone

Passengers at some overseas airports that offer U.S.-bound flights will soon be required to power on their electronic devices in order to board their flights. The measure is intended to enhance aviation security at a time of increased threats. The Transportation Security Administration says it is adding the requirement that passengers coming to the U.S. from some airports must turn on devices such as cellphones before boarding. It says devices that won’t power up won’t be allowed on planes and those travelers may have to undergo additional screening. “As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security
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Ordinary Americans trapped in NSA data sweeps

When the National Security Agency intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to an investigation by The Washington Post. Nearly half of those surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents, the Post reported in a story posted on its website Saturday night. While the federal agency tried to protect their privacy by masking more than 65,000 such references to individuals, the newspaper said it
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Feds, sheriff agree: Hold Cliven Bundy accountable

U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say they agree with a Nevada sheriff’s position that rancher Cliven Bundy must be held accountable for his role in an April standoff between his supporters and the federal agency. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Bundy crossed the line when he allowed states’ rights supporters, including self-proclaimed militia members, onto his property to aim guns at police. “If you step over that line, there are consequences to those actions,” Gillespie told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And I believe they stepped over that line. No doubt about it. They need to be held accountable
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America is, and always has been, a nation of immigrants

Celebrating the ethnic diversity of America, President Barack Obama said more than two dozen foreign-born service members who became U.S. citizens at the White House on the Fourth of July are vivid reminders that welcoming immigrants “is central to our way of life.” He pleaded anew for new immigration policies, saying the vast range of backgrounds and experiences that has made America a melting pot for more than 200 years also makes the country stronger. He argued that the system must be retooled for the U.S. to remain the greatest nation on earth. “The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to
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Corporations are people? Really? Since when?

There may be more to that “we the people” notion than you thought. These are boom times for the concept of “corporate personhood.” Corporations are people? Mitt Romney got mocked during the 2012 presidential campaign for the very idea. But it turns out the principle has been lurking in U.S. law for more than a century, and the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, gave it more oomph this week when it ruled that certain businesses are entitled to exercise religious rights, just as do people. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court’s majority, said protecting the religious rights of
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Benghazi suspect lawyer cites ‘lack of evidence’

A lawyer for a Libyan militant charged in the 2012 Benghazi attacks said Wednesday that she had seen no evidence tying her client to the violence, but a judge nonetheless directed Ahmed Abu Khattala to remain in custody as the Justice Department builds its case against him. The lawyer, Michelle Peterson, conceded that Abu Khattala had no reasonable chance of being released at the moment, given the terrorism-related charge he faces and his lack of ties to the United States. But she also argued that prosecutors had failed to show, in their broad and initial outlines of the case, that
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Enhanced airport security for overseas flights

U.S. intelligence officials are concerned that al-Qaida is trying to develop a new and improved bomb that could go undetected through airport security. There is no indication that such a bomb has been created or that there’s a specific threat to the U.S., but the Obama administration on Wednesday called for tighter security measures at foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S. American intelligence has picked up indications that bomb makers from Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, known as the Nusra Front, according to a
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Obamacare hampered by unverified personal data

Many of the 8 million Americans signed up under the new health care law now have to clear up questions about their personal information that could affect their coverage. A government watchdog said Tuesday the Obama administration faces a huge task resolving these “inconsistencies” and in some cases didn’t follow its own procedures for verifying eligibility. Two reports from the Health and Human Services inspector general marked the first independent look at a festering behind-the-scenes issue that could turn into another health law headache for the White House. The inspector general found that key personal details submitted by many consumers
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What is private? Well, that depends

Supreme Court justices found more common ground than usual this year, and nowhere was their unanimity more surprising than in a ruling that police must get a judge’s approval before searching the cellphones of people they’ve arrested. The term that just ended also had its share of 5-4 decisions with the familiar conservative-liberal split, including Monday’s ruling on religion, birth control and the health care law. But the 9-0 cellphone decision last week may be the most consequential of the justices’ 67 rulings this term. It signaled a high degree of skepticism about the government’s authority, without any need to
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New report now claims NSA spying is legal

The first time the bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board dissected a National Security Agency surveillance program, it found fundamental flaws, arguing in a January report that the NSA’s collection of domestic calling records “lacked a viable legal foundation” and should be shut down. But in its latest study, the five-member board takes the opposite view of a different set of NSA programs revealed last year by former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden. The new report, which the board was to vote on Wednesday, found that the NSA’s collection of Internet data within the United States passes constitutional muster
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