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May 15, 2006
Stephen Kaus Mon May 15, 12:36 PM ET

The Washington Post-ABC News instant poll, which showed that a stunning 63% thought the mining of everyone's phone calls was an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, appears to have been an aberration. A USA Today/Gallup poll out today shows disapproval by a 51% to 43% margin.

Newsweek reports that its poll shows "53 percent of Americans think the NSA's surveillance program "goes too far in invading people's privacy," while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism." The magazine further reports that Americans do not believe President Bush's assertions that the privacy of Americans is "fiercely protected," and that "we're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans." 57 percent think the Bush Administration has "overstepped its bounds" and has "gone too far in expanding presidential power." 38 percent think the Administration's actions are "appropriate."

The new polls are consistent with other polls over the past few months showing unease with the "big brother" stories that have daylighted recently. The coast is clear for the Democrats in congress to make their articulate move. Why do I feel that Danys Baez is striding in to "protect" another Dodger lead?*

What should be scary to most Americans is not the collection of all this information per se, but the complete lack of a check on what is collected and how it is to be used. People are inured to their personal information being collected and used, for example for marketing purposes. Every time I run Spybot-Search and Destroy, it finds a dozen data mining cookies that tell someone where I have been on the web. If the First Neighborhood mortgage company can get my contacts from Doubleclick, why not Uncle Sam. Oh wait, I forgot this one.

The problem is the complete lack of any oversight of what the federal government is doing and the apparent lack of any restrictions on what information it can gather and what it can do with it. The administration says there are limits, but the Administration is not credible. Bush said Americans' privacy is "fiercely protected," and that "we're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans," two things that we know are not true just from the USA Today story on Thursday, assuming we know what the meaning of the word "mining" is.

This sort of problem is solved thousands of times a day through the use of judges to approve what law enforcement wants to do. Even with this step, many questionable searches occur, because the judges are too lenient with the police or because the police lie in their warrant applications, and there are exceptions like hot pursuit or searches incident to arrests, but by and large, it is a system that has stood us in good stead for two and a quarter centuries.

The common denominator of all of the Bush search plans is the refusal to involve a judge. We need a debate on how far searches should go, given the technological possibilities and the nature of the present danger. Frankly, I do not know enough to be as certain of my view as some others are. But, there can be no debate on whether these activities should be conducted without judicial supervision. Additionally, if this is a program justified by the need to locate terrorists, if it is to continue, its use obviously should be limited to that end, something that I have not heard anyone in authority say.

Of course, judges have been eliminated from the trial and sentencing portions of other Bush Administration law enforcement programs, so why am I not suprised?

We have heard a lot of excuses for not involving the FISA court in the wiretap program, chiefly not enough time and too much paperwork. It is hard to figure out why judges should not be involved in the newly revealed data mining operation, except for this Administration's position that it can do any thing it wants, regardless of the law or our Constitutional tradition.

And by the way, I do mean "newly revealed." One of the right-wing tactics has been to dismiss the data-mining story as "old news," apparently because that canard worked so well to throw everyone off the scent of Bush's AWOL service record. But the stories that first reported this connivance by the phone companies were not authoritative, they were tentative and indicated that there would be a congressional investigation. I remember reading them and getting the feeling that the reporters had been told about the mining program, by sources in which they did not have 100% faith, so they were waiting for better information. Plus now it's in the USA Today, instead of that left wing rag, the New York Times. How Red State can you get.

* four blown saves in a row!

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Posted: May 15, 2006 7:47pm
Apr 17, 2006
By Elisabeth Waldon - Daily News staff writer
Chalk. Crank. Crystal. Fire. Glass. Ice. Speed. Meth.

You can swallow it, snort it, smoke it, dissolve it or inject it.

Methamphetamine by any name or method is a highly psychologically addictive illegal drug rising in popularity statewide, including Montcalm and Ionia counties. It's cheap, quick and the high lasts considerably longer than other drugs.

Meth is a synthetic stimulant drug that is used legally to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and obesity.

Side effects include alertness, motivation, heightened sexual stimulation and strong feelings of euphoria. That's why meth has become the illegal drug of choice for many.

The bitter-tasting power readily dissolves in beverages but is commonly smoked in glass pipes or in aluminum foil heated by a flame underneath — a method known as "chasing the white dragon." Smoking meth is the most impure form of ingestion, injecting it is the most powerful and taking it orally is the least detrimental.

While meth users are addicted to its more positive side effects, other results are less desirable — acne, amphetamine psychosis (delusions, hallucinations and thought disorder), depression, compulsive fascination with useless repetitive tasks, erectile dysfunction, formication (a false sensitive of flesh crawling with bugs, leading to compulsive picking and infected sores), immune system damage, long-term cognitive impairment, severe psychological addictions, staph infections, persistent adhedonia (an inability to experience pleasure from life) and last but not least death.

Lt. Steven Rau, a detective with the Michigan State Police Central Michigan Enforcement Team, said he's constantly receiving meth-related tips. Rau said people come from as far away as Kalamazoo and St. Joseph to steal meth ingredients in Montcalm and Ionia counties.

"It's always on the rise," he said. "They just come up with new methods to cook. We get a handle on one method and they get another method. It's cheaper and it's easier to get than other drugs.

"Rather than find someone to sell you the drugs, you make the drugs yourself," Rau explained. "You head over to Wal-Mart or Dollar General or Rite Aid and pick up the ingredients and then go home and in the comfort of your own home cook up a batch of meth.

"It's one of the toughest drugs to kick," he said. "If you smoke meth it's got about a 99 percent addiction rate. You go into these houses where meth users live and they're just trashed. There's no cleanliness to them. There's no personal hygiene going on with these people. It affects them in such a way that when you're interacting with these people they're constantly on edge."

State Police Lakeview Post Commander Steve Rains said many opportunities exist for meth producers here since Montcalm County is an agricultural area. He said making meth produces toxic fumes and orders so rural atmospheres are more conducive to meth production.

"It does make us more of a target here in Montcalm County as opposed to down in Kent County because of the population," Rains said. "Troopers have been trained in the characteristics of using meth, components and sources to look for. When we're doing traffic stops we're always looking. We're inquisitive just by the nature of our job."

State Police Ionia Post Commander Pat Richard said meth is a "huge" problem throughout his county too.

"It's growing exponentially," Richard said. "Troopers are diligently looking for any type of people who are trafficking meth or any type of drug."

Meth use has become so prevalent that State Rep. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, said she has been working to educate herself on the meth issue currently confronting her district.

"It's becoming more and more of an issue in our area," she said. "It's just a big concern because it just consumes the body. Parents really need to know."

Staff writer Elisabeth Waldon can be reached at or (616) 754-9303 ext. 3065.

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Posted: Apr 17, 2006 6:41pm
Apr 14, 2006

By Paul Vitello


While lawmakers in Washington debate whether to forgive illegal immigrants their trespasses, a small but increasing number of local and state law enforcement officials are taking it upon themselves to pursue deportation cases against people who are here illegally.

In more than a dozen jurisdictions, officials have invoked a little-used 1996 federal law to seek special federal training in immigration enforcement for their officers.

In other places, the local authorities are flagging some illegal immigrants who are caught up in the criminal justice system, sometimes for minor offenses, and taking it upon themselves to alert immigration officials to their illegal status so that they can be deported.

In Costa Mesa, Calif., for example, in Orange County, the city council last year shut down a day laborer job center that had operated for 17 years, and this year authorized its police department to begin training officers to pursue illegal immigrants — a job previously left to federal agents.

In Suffolk County, N.Y., on Long Island, where a similar police training proposal was met with angry protests in 2004, county officials have quietly put a system in place that uses sheriff’s deputies to flag illegal immigrants in the county jail population.

In Putnam County, N.Y., about 50 miles north of Manhattan, eight illegal immigrants who were playing soccer in a school ball field were arrested on Jan. 9 for trespassing and held for the immigration authorities.

“I took an oath to protect the people of this county, and that means enforcing the laws of the land,” said Donald B. Smith, the Putnam County sheriff. “We have a situation in our country where our borders are not being adequately protected, and that leaves law enforcement people like us in a very difficult situation.”

This story was published on Friday, April 14, 2006.
Volume 126, Number 18
Copyright and distribution information.

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Posted: Apr 14, 2006 9:46pm
Mar 9, 2006
Wireless On-Board Technology to Assist Law Enforcement in Finding Abducted Children
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Professional Truck Drivers to Help Find Abducted Children While Crimes Are in Progress WHAT: Announcement of the AMBER Alert Highway Network, a new initiative to assist law enforcement with recovering abducted children by using wireless on-board technology in commercial transportation fleets. WHO: U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), U.S. Representative Mark Foley (R-FL-16), U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC,, QUALCOMM, Inc. (, the American Trucking Associations (ATA,, Wal-Mart, Inc. (, law enforcement representatives, and other supporters. WHEN: TODAY, Thursday, March 9, 2006, 11:00 AM WHERE: American Trucking Associations, Capitol Hill Office (see driving directions below) 430 First Street, SE, 3RD Floor Washington, D.C. 20003 TEL. 202-554-3060 SPEAKERS: * U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Co-Chair, Senate Caucus on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children * U.S. Representative Mark Foley (R-FL-16), Co-Chair, Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus * U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) * Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield * QUALCOMM Wireless Business Solutions, Norm Ellis, vice president and general manager, Transportation & Logistics * National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Ernie Allen, president and CEO * American Trucking Associations, Bill Graves, president and CEO * Wal-Mart, Inc., Tim Yatsko, senior vice president, Transportation, and Danny Ewell, professional truck driver, and member, America's Road Team * Cpl. Wayne Sheppard, supervisor, Criminal Investigative Unit and Missing Persons Unit, Pennsylvania AMBER Alert Coordinator DIRECTIONS: From I-395 North, take the C Street SW Exit to "US Capitol." Continue on C Street SE. Turn right on First Street SE. The American Trucking Associations Capitol Hill office is located 3 blocks south of the Capitol Hill Metro Station (on the Blue and Orange Lines). By distributing AMBER Alerts to professional truck drivers via on-board communications solutions, the AMBER Alert Highway Network enables participating transportation companies and their drivers to support law-enforcement efforts to help recover abducted children. CONTACT: Katherine Himot, QUALCOMM Incorporated, cell 760-809-5765 NCMEC Communications, 703-837-6111 or Tiffany Wlazlowski, ATA Director of Public Affairs, 703-838-1717
SOURCE National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
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Posted: Mar 9, 2006 6:38pm


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