Monday, December 2, 2013

  • Watching the Watch List: Landmark Case Goes to Trial over Massive U.S. Terrorism "No-Fly" Database

    Ibrahim2

    With hundreds of thousands of people now on the government’s terrorist watch lists, a closely watched trial begins today in San Francisco. Stanford University Ph.D. student Rahinah Ibrahim is suing the U.S. government after she was barred from flying from Malaysia back to the United States in 2005 to complete her studies at Stanford after her name was placed on the list. The New York Times reports that the federal government’s terrorist watch list, officially called the "Terrorist Screening Database," has grown to at least 700,000 people, and those on the list are often subjected to extra scrutiny, prohibited from flying, and interrogated while attempting to cross borders. The government refuses to divulge who is on the list, how one can get off the list, and what criteria is used to place someone on the list in the first place. Oftentimes, people have no idea their name is in the database until they attempt to board a flight. We speak with Anya Bernstein, associate professor at the SUNY Buffalo Law School and author of the article, "The Hidden Costs of Terrorist Watch Lists."

  • Pardoning Turkeys, Not People? Obama Urged to Reverse Lowest Clemency Rate of Modern Presidency

    Obama-turkey-pardon

    As President Obama continued a recent tradition of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys just ahead of Thanksgiving, critics pointed out that he has shown less mercy toward human beings deserving of clemency. Despite the administration’s recent talk of reforming the criminal justice system, Obama has granted the fewest pardons of any modern president. During his presidency, Obama has pardoned 10 turkeys, while he has pardoned or commuted the sentences of only 39 people. According to an analysis last year by ProPublica, which studied applications for pardons processed by the Justice Department, Obama has granted clemency to just 2 percent of applicants. Of the 39 pardons Obama has granted, just 11 have been for people convicted of drug crimes. We are joined by Anthony Papa, an artist, writer and noted advocate against the war on drugs, who was himself imprisoned for many years until he was granted executive clemency. Papa is co-founder of the Mothers of the New York Disappeared and is the author of "15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom."

  • Over 110 Arrested as Record Black Friday Protests Challenge Wal-Mart, Major Retailers on Low Wages

    Walmartstrike

    At least 111 people were arrested on Black Friday in a series of protests and acts of civil disobedience targeting Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers. In St. Paul, Minnesota, 26 protesters were arrested when they blocked traffic while demanding better wages for janitors and retail employees. In Illinois, 10 people were issued citations at a protest near a Wal-Mart in Chicago. Video posted online showed nine people being arrested at a protest outside a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Virginia. At Wal-Mart protests in California, 15 people were arrested in Roseville, 10 arrested in Ontario, and five arrested in San Leandro. Organizers said actions took place at 1,500 Wal-Mart locations across the country, up from about 400 locations last year. Meanwhile, fast-food workers have announced plans to hold a one-day strike in 100 cities on Thursday as part of a campaign to win a $15-an-hour wage. We discuss the labor protests with Josh Eidelson, staff reporter at Salon.com.

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