Law and Order/Legislation
Police car lights. Long exposure to capture the full array of police car lights. 12MP camera.

LAPD use StingRay cellphone spy device on non-suspects

Civilian surveillance is alive and well, thanks to regional terrorism investigations mandated by the Patriot Act. According to L.A. Weekly, the latest threat to an individual’s privacy and liberty is a real-time cellphone spy device called StingRay. While intended for intercepting terrorist transmissions, reports indicate that the Los Angeles Police Department used StingRay 21 times
behind bars

IRS steps up war on inmate tax fraud scams

Thanks to new laws mandating federal and state prisons to share inmate information, the Internal revenue Service is detecting more and more cases of inmate tax fraud schemes. The IRS has released a new report, showing that the number of cases being detected is on the rise. Inmate tax fraud on the rise? In 2010
Artist's rendition of the HSBC logo.

Atlanta counties sue HSBC for predatory subprime lending

Three counties in the Atlanta, Ga., area have filed a lawsuit against the British bank HSBC over allegations that the financial institution aggressively pushed minority groups into signing on for subprime mortgage loans that were likely to fail. Court documents state that the Atlanta-area counties of Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb lost hundreds of millions of
stash

Marijuana still safer than alcohol, study says

Voters in Colorado and Washington State decided to make marijuana legal for recreational use in November. That again raises questions about just how safe or dangerous it really is. Is it truly more worrisome for society than alcohol, which has always been legal and regulated for adults, except for a brief period of prohibition? Marijuana
pot smoker

Obama: feds will not prosecute pot smokers in Wash. and Colo.

In a Dec. 14 interview with Barbara Walters, President Obama made his first public comments on the legalization of Marijuana in Washington and Colorado. The president says he will not use federal resources to go after pot smokers in the two western states. But neither does he approve, and we’ve heard this rhetoric before. Legal
Too loud!

CALM law keeps the volume down during commercials

The baby is asleep. You have the volume down on your favorite show. Then a commercial comes on and the volume is screaming. Within seconds, of course, so is the baby. Excessive volume on radio and TV commercials has been the largest source of complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission since 2002, when it
A stack of routers and other Internet-related devices.

US broadband in a world of hurt

Is America a first-world nation when it comes to broadband Internet penetration? Numerous studies suggest that the U.S. has a long way to go. Despite talk of free flow of and access to information, millions of Americans still don’t have access or can’t afford high-speed Internet. The consumer cost for high-speed Internet in the U.S.
Close-up of the pencil-scribed word “privacy” being erased.

Your digital privacy is a casualty of archaic privacy laws

Your digital privacy is less safe than you realize, suggests professor Neil Richards of Washington University School of Law. So much so that you have “no idea” how much of your personal information is out there, available to governments or parties prepared to bid for your sensitive personal information. And digital privacy laws have done
gay couple

First same sex marriage licenses issued in Wash. state

Same sex marriage became legal in Washington State today, Thursday, November 6. More than 200 couples lined up outside the King County downtown Seattle administration building, to be among the first to receive a legal marriage license. Lining up for same sex marriage The couples began lining up 8 hours earlier, enjoying an atmosphere of
Deepwater Horizon

BP agrees to pay $4.5 billion for Gulf oil spill

Oil giant BP has agreed to pay the federal government $4.5 billion in penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the largest such settlement in history. BP still faces civil suits, but don’t worry. It is still making enormous profits. BP pleads guilty to 12 felonies The
Close-up on a field of wheat.

California Prop 37 fails to pass, GMO labeling still not required

The labeling of genetically modified food (aka genetically modified organisms, or GMOs) was a hot-button issue during the recent election. California Proposition 37, which would have required that food products containing GMOs be clearly labeled for public information, failed to pass. Critics of the legislation believe that the result of passing Prop 37 would have
Giant pink ribbon on the corner of 5th and Market, downtown Louisville, KY.

Charities and transparency – How not to get taken for a ride

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants the act of giving to charity in his state to come with some assurances that the money is going to the intended causes. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – along with its ubiquitous pink ribbon brigade – has authorities wondering whether charitable donations are being used more
Money hung out to dry on a clothesline

Zumba prostitution ring, and how not to money launder (Pt. 3)

Money laundering is illegal, as is prostitution in the U.S., save for at the Bunny Ranch in Reno, Nevada. If you can hide both behind a thriving Zumba studio business, then you’re doing better than Alexis Wright, the allegedy Zumba prostitution queen of Kennebunk, Me. Click if you missed PART 1 or PART 2 of
A prostitute has a work-related conference with a potential customer.

Zumba prostitution ring, and how not to money launder (Pt. 2)

Zumba prostitution rings aren’t commonplace in Kennebunk, Me. However, the impulse to hide illegal activity behind legitimate business is quite common, as is associated money laundering. CLICK HERE if you missed the beginning of this article. Kennebunk residents had their suspicions of Zumba instructor While many Kennebunk residents claimed to be in the dark as
A large Zumba dance class in progress.

Zumba prostitution ring, and how not to money launder (Pt. 1)

All was quiet in the small seaside town of Kennebunk, Me., at least until Alexis Wright’s alleged Zumba prostitution ring was uncovered. Now the community is caught in an uproar. Of all the possible legal fronts for illegal activities, running a prostitution ring behind a legitimate Zumba exercise dance studio is creative. Most creative businesspeople
Four hollow point bullets, displayed side by side.

Social Security Administration orders 174K hollow point bullets

Most people think of the social welfare program called the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an agency that provides retirees and near-retirees with a small measure of financial security via paid monthly payroll tax-funded benefits. Lately, however, those predisposed toward conspiracy theories are worried that SSA’s recent purchase of 174,000 hollow point bullets is something
A man sits on a bed between two women who are in close physical contact with him.

Three-way civil union challenges definition of marriage, family

A recent ruling in Brazil is once again bringing the political theater of definition of marriage to the forefront – and conservatives in the South American nation are up in arms. BBC News reports that a notary in Sao Paulo has accepted a civil union between three people – two women and one man. According