Buried in an otherwise innocuous-appearing article in the New York Times about wiretapping was this chilling sentence: “The issue [of surveillance of individuals by law enforcement agencies] has added importance because [these technologies] developed by the United States to hunt for terrorists and drug traffickers can also be used by repressive regimes to hunt for political dissidents” [emphasis added].

The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are planning to release a report this week entitled, “Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of its National Factions.”

Four San Diego firefighters won a court battle in the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District when the court upheld a jury verdict at the trial court level against the city compelling the firefighters to participate in San Diego’s 2007 Gay Pride Parade.

An article in the Washington Post today relates how Supreme Court justices are spending the early days of the latest session parsing the language of various statutes to determine the merits of the constitutional questions arising from them. One day, says Robert Barnes, author of the piece, the definition of “file” is debated; the next day it’s “unavoidable” that must be defined in constitutional context. Later in the week, the justices pepper counsel with questions over the interplay between verb and adverb in the phrase “necessarily implies.” On that point, Chief Justice John G. Roberts laments, “…the adverb points one way and the verb points another.”

When the Social Security Administration announced that there would be no cost-of-living-adjustment for 2011, Betty Dizik, Claire E., John Walker, Nancy Pelosi, and the AARP all agreed it would be difficult for the 58 million beneficiaries currently receiving checks. Betty’s only source of income is her $1,200 monthly payment from Social Security. At age 83, she exclaimed, “I’m like a lot of other people in my predicament who live on Social Security. It’s hard. We cannot make ends meet.”

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