The TSA’s Response to the Breast Milk Incident

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(Jonathan H. Adler)

Last week, I posted a link to this video of one woman’s experience with airport security after asking to have her breast milk visually screened instead of x-rayed (as TSA procedures allow).  At the time, I said I’d like to hear the TSA’s side of the  incident, as the video appears to show TSA employees engaged in fairly egregious conduct.  I also contacted the TSA directly seeking their response to the incident and associated allegations.

The TSA has now responded on the TSA blog — and the response is not particularly reassuring.  Rather than provide any detail or clarification of the events on the video, the post acknowledges the woman in question was unhappy with her “screening experience” and “experienced an out of the ordinary delay,” claims the TSA investigated the incident, and reports that “the officers received refresher training for the visual inspection of breast milk.”  Really?  That’s it?  What’s offensive about the video is not the officers’ apparent lack of familiarity with the protocol for visual inspection of breast milk, but the apparent retaliation against a traveler who sought to avail herself of established TSA procedures.

If the TSA really has investigated this incident, it should, at the very least, make the investigation’s conclusions public and report on any disciplinary measures taken (or provide an explanation for the failure to discipline those involved).  If, as the TSA claims, it is official TSA policy to “strive to provide the highest level of customer service to all who pass through our security checkpoints” and its “policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy,” then it should be more forthcoming about incidents like this.




The Volokh Conspiracy

The TSA’s Response to the Breast Milk Incident

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(Jonathan H. Adler)

Last week, I posted a link to this video of one woman’s experience with airport security after asking to have her breast milk visually screened instead of x-rayed (as TSA procedures allow).  At the time, I said I’d like to hear the TSA’s side of the  incident, as the video appears to show TSA employees engaged in fairly egregious conduct.  I also contacted the TSA directly seeking their response to the incident and associated allegations.

The TSA has now responded on the TSA blog — and the response is not particularly reassuring.  Rather than provide any detail or clarification of the events on the video, the post acknowledges the woman in question was unhappy with her “screening experience” and “experienced an out of the ordinary delay,” claims the TSA investigated the incident, and reports that “the officers received refresher training for the visual inspection of breast milk.”  Really?  That’s it?  What’s offensive about the video is not the officers’ apparent lack of familiarity with the protocol for visual inspection of breast milk, but the apparent retaliation against a traveler who sought to avail herself of established TSA procedures.

If the TSA really has investigated this incident, it should, at the very least, make the investigation’s conclusions public and report on any disciplinary measures taken (or provide an explanation for the failure to discipline those involved).  If, as the TSA claims, it is official TSA policy to “strive to provide the highest level of customer service to all who pass through our security checkpoints” and its “policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy,” then it should be more forthcoming about incidents like this.




The Volokh Conspiracy

Egypt arrests, charges 22 “overwhelmed and terrified” Christian teens in church attack incident

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Blaming the victim, and the victim’s children. “Egyptian Christian Teens Arrested and Charged in Church Incident,” by Mary Abdelmassih for AINA, December 3:

(AINA) — In what is viewed as a precedent by right groups, Egyptian state security forces opened fire on November 24 on Christian Copts, killing four, wounding 78, detaining hundreds and charging 170 with grievous charges — “enough to keep them behind bars for 10-15 years,” says Coptic political analyst Magdy Khalil.

Working at the construction site of their new church in Talbiya, Omraniya, an area south of Cairo densely populated by poor Christians, the congregation was surprised at dawn by nearly 5000 security forces, opening fire on them with live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas. They responded by hurling stones or throwing back at them their tear gas bombs (video). To protest against this attack, nearly 3000 area Copts went to the Governorate building, where they were met again with a hail of live ammunition and tear gas; many were wounded and arrested. Coptic youth hurled stones, broke glass and two kiosks (AINA 11-30-2010).

The true number of those arrested is unknown as not all are yet charged. It was reported that police are still arresting Coptic men from the area, making families stay indoors. 170 men have been charged to-date.

Rights lawyers learned lately of 22 Coptic minors were arrested by security from the church site. Some, as young as 16, were hiding inside the church building but “hunger brought them out after 2-3 days, when forces caught them, saying they would send them to their families, but instead arrested them,” reported Mariam Ragy. They were sent to Al-Marg Juvenile Detention Center, northern-east of Cairo.

Lawyer Adel Mikhail, who represented two of them on December 1, said: “They are just overwhelmed and terrorized kids, mostly 16-year-olds, who had nothing to do with the protests. They were at church doing odd jobs like moving sand.” Police interrogated them on the day of the incidents without the presence of lawyers, who were prevented by security. They were all charged with attempted and premeditated murder, destruction of state property with intention of terrorism, theft of Interior Ministry’s property, intentionally disrupting public transport, and rioting. [...]

Father Mina Zarif of Mar Mina Church, criticized the media for portraying the Coptic youths as if they were registered criminals, making Molotov cocktails. “I doubt if any of those peaceful people know what a Molotov cocktail looks like,” he said, “let alone make one.” He added that what happened is a crime but the real perpetrators were not the protesting Copts. “Although wrong, they released their anger by breaking glass and hurling stones at the Governorate building.”

Jihad Watch

McDaniels takes blame in taping incident - Denver Post

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ESPN (blog)
McDaniels takes blame in taping incident
Denver Post
Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels was fined $ 50000 as was the NFL club for not immediately reporting a breach of the league's integrity of the game policy, the filming of the San Francisco 49ers pregame walk through by employee Steve Scarnecchia
Broncos, coach fined in filming of 49ers' practiceSan Francisco Chronicle
Broncos' Spygate Reeks of Cover-UpFanHouse
Niners feared spies in Londonmsnbc.com
Cincinnati.com -NFL GridIron Gab -Bloomberg
all 874 news articles »

Sports - Google News

Taser incident in East Lansing High School raises concerns

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

East Lansing Police are defending the use of a taser on a 17-year-old student at East Lansing High School last week, reports the Lansing State Journal.

Marcus Reid, 17, has been charged with two counts of hindering, obstructing and assaulting a police officer and one count of disorderly conduct from a Thursday incident at the high school.

The Journal reports a school officer, who had just been assigned to the school, was escorting a 17-year-old woman off school property because she had been suspended when Reid intervened. The officer called for back up and seven East Lansing Police officers responded to the school. A third student, an unidentified minor, also engaged in the scuffle with officers.

The suspended student, 17-year-old Hodan Sharif, faces one count of disorderly conduct and one count of disorderly obstruction criminal charges. The minor will face disorderly conduct charges in probate court, the paper reports.

Police say they had to use the taser on Reid because they could not subdue him with other methods. But Reid’s mother says the incident was excessive force. She alleges her son ended up with a hairline fracture from the incident, something police deny. Police say he never complained of being in pain while in the city jail.

Dionnedra Reid said over the weekend that her son, a junior, already was being held down on his back by four other East Lansing police officers when another officer Tasered him twice in the chest. Reid said she watched a videotape of it Friday with school officials. Monday, she said she objects to the use of police officers to enforce school discipline, such as escorting a suspended student from the grounds of the school.

Police refused to comment on Dionnedra’s complaints. They also note that the officer had just been returned to the school after budget constraints had lead the police department and the East Lansing Schools to eliminate the school officer post. The post was reinstated just before former Chief Tom Wibert left for a new job in Texas.

School officials and police say they are reviewing the incident.

Michigan Messenger

Video describes Silwan incident in detail

November 9, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

I don’t know who made this video, but it is the best treatment I’ve seen on the stoning incident in Silwan a month ago.

Elder of Ziyon

Incident Underscores Need to Modernize U.S. Nuclear Arsenal and Rethink New START

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

On October 24, 2010, at the Warren Air Force base in Wyoming, the United States Air Force lost communication with a sizeable portion of America’s nuclear deterrent: a squadron of nuclear-armed 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). In the past, this type of disruption was rare and limited to individual missiles. The broad scale of this incident, however, resulted in one of the most serious and sizable ruptures in nuclear command and control in history.

This incident comes in the midst of the Obama Administration’s effort to push the U.S. Senate to grant its advice and consent to New START, a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, in the upcoming “lame duck” session of Congress. Given that each missile is responsible for covering a number of targets and that New START is set to further reduce the ICBM missile force, the gravity of the incident may have been exacerbated had the treaty been in effect. The 50 ICBMs that went down represent one-ninth of the U.S. ground-based ICBM arsenal. id="more-46326">

The incident underscores the need for a robust nuclear modernization and recapitalization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure, which has been atrophying since the end of the Cold War. The rush to ratification may prevent the Senate from examining the full implications of this incident in the context of New START’s planned nuclear arms reductions.

The United States, alone among the world’s nuclear powers, has not been engaged in modernization of its nuclear triad. U.S. nuclear weapons are based on 1970s and 1980s designs. Originally, the planned service lifetimes were only a decade or two. By contrast, Russia and China have been upgrading each element of their nuclear triad, most notably in the area of long-range missiles. The Russians have also said that New START’s href="http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/04/an-independent-assessment-of-new-start-treaty?query=An+Independent+Assessment+of+New+START+Treaty">loopholes and permissive counting rules will allow them to deploy as many as 2100 warheads—well above the treaty’s 1550 limit to which the United States will certainly adhere.

Incidents such as the one at Warren may become more common if the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure continues to deteriorate. The Senate must ensure that the Administration requests both authorization and appropriation funds to support modernization of the U.S. nuclear forces and infrastructure and, specifically, their command and control systems prior to its consideration of New START. It is unclear to the public whether the report from the President to the Congress on nuclear modernization required by Section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 includes specific provisions related to modernization of command and control systems. The Senate’s Resolution of Ratification to New START that came out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee included a provision endorsing a $ 624 million increase for nuclear modernization in fiscal year 2011. However, this level of spending is inadequate and will not ensure a reliable, sustainable and effective nuclear arsenal into the future.

In addition to restoring and increasing the necessary funding for nuclear modernization, the Department of Defense should also conduct an internal review to see what happened. It should also convene a similar panel to the href="http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/PhaseIIReportFinal.pdf">Secretary of Defense Task Force on DoD Nuclear Weapons Management. This panel should be asked to pay specific attention to this incident as well as the overall command and control of U.S. ICBM force. A similar panel was asked to investigate the source of the problem after a 2007 Minot Air Force Base incident when a B-52 mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads took a flight across the United States and after the Air Force accidentally shipped nose-cone fuse assemblies for Minuteman ICBM to Taiwan the same year. The Senate should wait for the task force to report before they take up New Start.

Co-authored by Owen Graham and Michaela Bendikova

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

New Video in Rand Paul Supporter Incident:

October 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Todd Zywicki)

I don’t have any personal interest one way or the other in the whole so-called “head stomping” incident with the Rand Paul supporter.  And it seems obvious that there are overly-zealous political supporters of all stripes who can commit acts of violence, especially spontaneous violence when they are in a large group.  One can, and many have, recited instances on both sides of the political spectrum.  And none of it should be tolerated and none of it is acceptable or defensible.  Nor do I think it makes the slightest bit of difference to most people in deciding how to vote that there are some loonies out there in the world.

Having said that, this new video of the Rand Paul supporter incident makes the whole context of the incident look much, much different from other things I’ve seen and read.  When I watch that video, I have to say that in that context Valle’s actions could have been perceived as really quite threatening by those around the scene.  She races to the side of the car and thrusts the sign into the car window very aggressively and in what could be reasonably interpreted as a highly-threatening manner.  The members of the crowd then aggressively pull her away from the crowd and wrestle her to the ground.  This Profitt fellow then presses down on her shoulder/back with his foot, seemingly telling her (in a highly threatening way) not to move and pushing with his foot to add emphasis.  He didn’t “stomp her head” or try to injure her.  My impression is that he is trying to tell her not to move, not to injure her.  Paul supporters then run to get police to intervene.  Profitt stated after the fact that he felt like Paul may have been in danger from her actions.

Imagine that it had been a police officer or a licensed security officer who was standing where Profitt was–would he have behaved differently?  Perhaps, but I suspect more in degree than kind.  Given the aggressiveness of her approach to the car window I think a security officer might reasonably suspect she was a threat (Profitt says she lunged at the car several times before approaching it).  Would he wrestle her to the ground and try to incapacitate her?  It certainly seems within the realm of possibility.  Footage I’ve seen of police officers and other trained officials acting a similar situation seem quite similar to me in the way they wrestle a threat to the ground and try to incapacitate the person.

All this depends, of course, on the belief that (1) Profitt reasonably thought that Valle was a threat to Paul and (2) that he did not use unreasonable force in trying to keep her restrained until a police officer arrived.  On both counts there is room for interpretation.  But I have to say that on my viewing, Profitt’s explanation for his actions do not strike me as inherently unreasonable under the circumstances nor that much different from what I would have expected a trained security agent to do under the circumstances.

I don’t think this will have any effect one way or the other on that election.  But apparently Profitt has been charged with a crime.  He has been charged with a misdemeanor, not a felony.  I guess we’ll find out in the end whether he actually committed a crime, but this seems like a case where we should be careful about rushing to judgment.




The Volokh Conspiracy

ANOTHER Spontanious Pledge of Allegiance Incident -This Time in Pittsburgh

October 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

What is it with the League of Woman’s Voters and the Pledge of Allegiance?

For the second time in less than a week a debate began with a request for a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the League of Woman’s Voters moderator said no, and the audience got up and said it anyway. The debate between Democrat Dan Connolly and Republican Tim Murphy was about to begin when the Republican asked the moderator for the pledge. As the moderator Arlene Levy began to make excuses, the crowd stood up and took action on their own.

Once again the League of Woman’s Voters blamed it on politics.

“There have been some groups who want to create a ruckus, call attention to something and using the pledge to the flag and making it seem the league is unpatriotic if we don’t,” says Greater Pittsburgh League President Arlene Levy.

Levy says she thinks some of this is political but the League has no problem with the pledge if requested in advance by the candidates.

While neither Connolly nor Murphy made that request earlier, both of the candidates said there was nothing political about the pledge.

“I see it as something completely a-political. It’s something that unites all of Americans,” says Connolly.

“If the flag is political, then we have some problems here. The flag is what brings us together,” says Murphy.

Ms Levy says her chapter will be discussing this issue at its next board meeting — perhaps to incorporate the pledge in every candidate debate (YA THINK?)

The previous incident happened last Wednesday night at the beginning of a debate between Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean, GOP challenger Joe Walsh and Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer. The debate for Illinois 8th congressional district took place at Grayslake Central High School. While League of Women Voters moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish began explaining the rules of the debate an audience member raised his hand and (when called upon) asked if they were going to start with the Pledge of Allegiance. When she said no, the audience booed and almost all in the crowd of more than 300 stood and enthusiastically recited it anyway.




YID With LID

ANOTHER Spontanious Pledge of Allegiance Incident -This Time in Pittsburgh

October 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

What is it with the League of Woman’s Voters and the Pledge of Allegiance?

For the second time in less than a week a debate began with a request for a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the League of Woman’s Voters moderator said no, and the audience got up and said it anyway. The debate between Democrat Dan Connolly and Republican Tim Murphy was about to begin when the Republican asked the moderator for the pledge. As the moderator Arlene Levy began to make excuses, the crowd stood up and took action on their own.

Once again the League of Woman’s Voters blamed it on politics.

“There have been some groups who want to create a ruckus, call attention to something and using the pledge to the flag and making it seem the league is unpatriotic if we don’t,” says Greater Pittsburgh League President Arlene Levy.

Levy says she thinks some of this is political but the League has no problem with the pledge if requested in advance by the candidates.

While neither Connolly nor Murphy made that request earlier, both of the candidates said there was nothing political about the pledge.

“I see it as something completely a-political. It’s something that unites all of Americans,” says Connolly.

“If the flag is political, then we have some problems here. The flag is what brings us together,” says Murphy.

Ms Levy says her chapter will be discussing this issue at its next board meeting — perhaps to incorporate the pledge in every candidate debate (YA THINK?)

The previous incident happened last Wednesday night at the beginning of a debate between Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean, GOP challenger Joe Walsh and Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer. The debate for Illinois 8th congressional district took place at Grayslake Central High School. While League of Women Voters moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish began explaining the rules of the debate an audience member raised his hand and (when called upon) asked if they were going to start with the Pledge of Allegiance. When she said no, the audience booed and almost all in the crowd of more than 300 stood and enthusiastically recited it anyway.




YID With LID

Soldier at Miller campaign incident didn’t have permission to be there

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - An active-duty soldier involved in a highly publicized altercation with a reporter had not requested permission from his superiors to be part of a security team at an event for an Alaska Senate candidate where the incident took place, a base spokesman said Wednesday.

Fort Richardson spokesman Sgt. Maj. Derrick Crawford said that Spc. Tyler Ellingboe, 22, had not had not requested permission from any chain of command to work outside his regular Army duties.

A second soldier involved in the incident, Sgt. Alexander Valdez, 31, had gotten permission from his previous chain of command, Crawford said, but not from his current chain of command.

The soldiers were working as part of Republican candidate Joe Miller’s security team when they handcuffed a reporter from the Alaska Dispatch, who was trying to ask the candidate questions.

Crawford said Tuesday that commanders at Fort Richardson, where the soldiers are based, were investigating.

The two soldiers were working for a company that was hired by the Republican candidate for security purposes.

It is not against Army rules for the soldiers to take outside work, but Crawford said they must have written permission from their commanders and their work must not jeopardize their unit’s readiness, good order or discipline.

The Army is also investigating whether the soldiers violated rules forbidding involvement in political campaigns. Fort Richardson investigators are trying to determine whether the soldiers’ employment by a third party who was hired by Miller’s campaign shielded them from a violation of those rules.


- CNN’s Brian Todd and Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report


CNN Political Ticker

Rand Paul Supporter Arrested, Fired From Campaign, In Assault Incident

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Late yesterday police made an arrest in the incident I wrote about yesterday:

A Rand Paul volunteer who allegedly stomped on a woman’s back and head during an altercation outside Kentucky Educational Television studios in Lexington before Monday night’s debate has  been issued a criminal summons to appear before a Fayette district judge.

Tim Profitt, who was Paul’s Bourbon County coordinator, hasn’t been charged with a crime, said Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts. But, she said, he could be charged with 4th degree assault, a misdemeanor, if the case is sent to a grand jury.

Profitt was “disassociated” from the Paul  campaign after it learned that he might have been involved in the incident.

The Paul campaign also issues this statement:

“The Rand Paul for Senate campaign is extremely disappointed in, and condemns the actions of a supporter last night outside the KET debate. Whatever the perceived provocation, any level of aggression or violence is deplorable, and will not be tolerated by our campaign. The Paul campaign has disassociated itself from the volunteer who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind.”

To me at least, that should be the end of the political aspect of this case. Let the Lexington Courts deal with Profitt now.




Outside the Beltway

CNN’s John King Says Alex Sink Lied About Debate Cheating Incident

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(note if you cannot see videos below (click here)

It was the text seen round the world. During the final Florida gubernatorial debate, Democratic Candidate Alex Sink got caught getting a text message with debate advice from her staff, which was against debate rules. Her GOP opponent, Rick Scott called her out on the cheating incident when the debate resumed.

Yesterday she told Chris Matthews that when she was handed the message she was worried that it was from her daughter who is out of town:

“Well, uh, what happened was, Chris, last night that the makeup artist held up her phone and said I just got this message, I don’t know who it’s from. I looked at it because, you know, I’m a mom, my instinct is my daughter’s in Europe. I don’t know who this message is from. I glanced at it. I didn’t understand even what it was, and I just ignored it.”

Sink didn’t know that the folks at CNN had listened to the tape carefully. A little while later John King shows up on CNN,  directly contradicting her, saying,

“Today she said she wasn’t sure what it was when the makeup artist handed her the phone. She thought it might have been a message from a daughter who she said was in college in [England]. But we listened very closely to the audio, and the makeup artist, when she approached Alex Sink, said I have a message from the staff. And at that point they looked, it was on a cell phone, it was two sentences. It was essentially advice after the last segment of the debate telling her if that question comes up again, remember this, and be more aggressive when Rick Scott questions you. It was two sentences.”

In politics, the cover-up is worse than the crime.  Alex Sink may have been easily forgiven if she simply said, “we screwed up, but lying about cheating in the debate is really going to damage her support. She will be seen as a political hack and a dishonest politician.

Republican Rick Scott already had a lead in the tight campaign, but look for lead to significantly widen before next week’s election.




YID With LID

New MSNBC talking point: This Rand Paul incident is reminiscent of 1930s Germany

October 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Nuance.


Can I quote myself here? From the Behar post published this afternoon: We are, after all, now seven short days away from Election Day, which means Refudiation Week has officially begun. And needless to say, as the reality of the wave crashes in, I suspect we’re going to see some mighty interesting coping mechanisms playing [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Incident Reports Alleged Voter Fraud in Houston, Texas

October 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Big Government has come into possession of the following five incident reports which appear to point to potential voter fraud in Houston, Texas. As readers know, the True the Vote story much in the news, is centered on Texas. Bryan Preston posted an item on alleged Texas Poll Worker misconduct today at Pajamas Media.

As for the pdf documents below, Big Government is reaching out to known experts in the field of voter fraud for a comprehensive evaluation of how the documents should be interpreted.

The documents were provided by our friends at Liberty Institute.

Incident #15 Told Voter How to Vote

***

Incident #16 Intimidation by Rev

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Incident#23 SheilaJacksonLee Inside Polling Place

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Inciden#140 Clerk Asks Voter if She Wants to Vote Democrat

***

Incident#151 BillWhite Poll Watcher Brings in Pizza


Big Government

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