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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Crows possess higher intelligence long thought a primarily human attribute

StatNews: “…Research unveiled on Thursday in Science finds that crows know what they know and can ponder the content of their own minds, a manifestation of higher intelligence and analytical thought long believed the sole province of humans and a few other higher mammals. A second study, also in Science, looked in unprecedented detail at the neuroanatomy of pigeons and barn owls, finding hints to the basis of their intelligence that likely applies to corvids’, too.

Together, the two papers show that intelligence/consciousness are grounded in connectivity and activity patterns of neurons” in the most neuron-dense part of the bird brain, called the pallium, neurobiologist Suzana Herculano-Houzel of Vanderbilt University, who wrote an analysis of the studies for Science, told STAT. “Brains can appear diverse, and at the same time share profound similarities. The extent to which similar properties present themselves might be simply a matter of scale: how many neurons are available to work.”..A 2014 study showed that New Caledonian crows, rooks, and European jays can solve an Aesop’s Fable challenge, dropping stones into a water-filled tube to bring a floating bit of food within reach, something kids generally can’t do until age 7. These birds were the first nonhuman animals to solve the task…”

This database shows eight years of polling place locations

Poynter – “While reporting two years ago, Carrie Levine heard from voters that polling place closures were an issue. Levine, a senior reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, also read about the closure and moving of polling places, “all of which seemed limited by the fact that detailed location data wasn’t available,” she told… Continue Reading

Collection and Use of Biometrics by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

EFF – “On September 11, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to significantly expand both the number of people required to submit biometrics during routine immigration applications and the types of biometrics that individuals must surrender. This new rule will apply to immigrants and U.S. citizens alike, and to people of… Continue Reading

Unclassified FBI Intelligence Assessment – White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement

“Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, released an unredacted version of a 2006 Intelligence Assessment – White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement17 by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) entitled, “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement.” Previously redacted portions of the document, made public for the first… Continue Reading

Paper – Presidential Control of Elections

Manheim, Lisa Marshall, Presidential Control of Elections (June 1, 2020). Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 74, 2021 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616390 – “In recent decades, Presidents of both political parties have asserted increasingly aggressive forms of influence over the administrative state. During this same period, Congress has expanded the role that the federal government plays in… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee

CRS report via LC – Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee, Updated September 28, 2020: “The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in… Continue Reading

This is how police request customer data from Amazon

TechCrunch: “Anyone can access portions of a web portal, used by law enforcement to request customer data from Amazon, even though the portal is supposed to require a verified email address and password. Amazon’s law enforcement request portal allows police and federal agents to submit formal requests for customer data along with a legal order,… Continue Reading

5 Calls – easiest and most effective way for citizens to make an impact in national and local politics

How do I use 5 Calls? Type in your ZIP code (or let your browser or the app find your location for you). Choose an issue that’s important to you. Make calls! You have three members of Congress – two senators and a House rep. Some issues need calls to all three (we’ll tell you… Continue Reading

Internal USPS documents link changes behind mail slowdowns to top executives

Washington Post includes the 16 page presentation – “A senior executive at the U.S. Postal Service delivered a PowerPoint presentation in July that pressed officials across the organization to make the operational changes that led to mail backups across the country, seemingly contradicting months of official statements about the origin of the plans, according to… Continue Reading

Cherokee Nation reservation is now visible on Google Maps

Cherokee Nation – Anadisgoi: The Cherokee Nation’s reservation boundaries are now mapped on Google Maps. “After the monumental US Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma, we’ve had many questions about our reservation boundaries, which always existed on paper maps. Now that our reservation is labeled on Google Maps, it’s easy for people around the… Continue Reading

The Election That Could Break America

The Atlantic -“…The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous… Continue Reading