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House Tees Up Surveillance Reform for Senate

For the second time in just one month, late last night the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation – this time as an amendment to an appropriations bill that will now move to the Senate – aimed at reining in NSA abuse.
In a chamber that probably couldn’t pass legislation declaring the sky blue, the vote is a giant, flashing neon sign with one clear and unmistakable message: We want meaningful surveillance reform, and we want it right now.  

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EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE: CIA’s Linguistic Somersault Takes to the Sky

This past Memorial Day weekend, New Yorkers who happened to look up may have seen the words EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE appear across the skyline in synchronized bursts of white smoke. 

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The Terrible Toll of ICE Detainers

On the evening of June 28, 2012, Claudia Valdez called the police for help. An argument with her husband at the time had turned physical and she feared for her safety and that of her three young children. She ran to her neighbor’s house with her kids in tow and asked for help. Police arrived and ended up arresting Claudia, who is an undocumented immigrant, on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge which was dismissed soon after.

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Internal Police Emails Show Efforts to Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracking

As we suspected, local law enforcement officials are borrowing cell phone tracking devices known as “stingrays” from the U.S. Marshals Service—and police are deliberately concealing the use of stingrays in court documents submitted to judges in criminal investigations.

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The Definition of Insanity

Last night marked the first executions in this country since the horrifically botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April.
In case you've forgotten, it took Mr. Lockett over 40 minutes to die. He remained conscious, writhing in pain, as an experimental cocktail of lethal injection drugs failed to carry out their intended purpose.
And until last night, this country went seven weeks without subjecting someone to the same sort of medical experimentation.

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Preying on the Poor: For-Profit Probation Edition

Welcome to Alabama, the state of the never-ending seat belt ticket.
Hali Wood is 17. She's applied to work at several grocery stores in her home town of Columbiana, but none are hiring. A few months back, cops ticketed Hali for not wearing a seat belt. The fine: $41. Hali has paid $41 and then some, but she's still hundreds of dollars in debt. Why? Because the court contracts with JCS, a for-profit probation company that forces Hali to choose between paying their exorbitant fees and going to jail.
Here's how the scheme works:

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The Majority Has Spoken: Email Privacy Reform Possible Right Now

Something remarkable happened last night: A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives agreed on something.

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Vee Isn’t the Scariest Villain in Orange Is the New Black. This Is.

In the second season opener of Orange is the New Black, the show's heroine Piper uses her breakfast to paint a bird on the wall. A month alone in a cell the size of a parking spot has clearly messed with her head. Thirty minutes later, a row of naked prisoners opt to bend over and "spread 'em" rather than be sent to solitary. Mentions of "the SHU" — Security Housing Unit or Segregated Housing Unit — continue like this.

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A Pride Month Promise – The Trans Military Ban’s Days Are Numbered

By all accounts, Landon Wilson served with honor in the U.S. Navy during a short, but distinguished military career. He was trained as a cryptologic technician, at great expense to the military, and eventually served in Afghanistan where he assisted with Special Operations missions.

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Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today in Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, a case in which the ACLU filed an amicus brief alongside other organizations urging the Sixth Circuit to reverse a lower court’s decision holding a website and its editor accountable for defamatory posts submitted by the website’s users.

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