Court has First Amendment lesson for VA
A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered the Veterans Administration to respect the First Amendment rights of a 75-year-old veteran who snapped some pictures and displayed them at the entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park. Judicial Watch provided legal assistance to Robert Rosebrock who was confronted by VA security officers because he drew attention to the VA’s failure to use gifted land for the benefit of veterans, but has instead allowed its use for various other purposes such as parking for a golf tournament.
Cyber thief admits guilt
Jason Needham, 45, of Arlington, Tenn., had an edge when he started HNA Engineering to compete against his former employer, Allen & Hoshall. Needham retained passwords and access to his former employer’s computer network and he routinely used them to download such proprietary materials as engineering schematics, project proposals and budgetary documents, the Department of Justice said.
FCC orders $400,000 fine for NYPD radio pirate
The Federal Communications Commission levied a $404,166 fine against Jay Peralta, 20, of Queens, N.Y., for operating a radio transmitter that used frequencies assigned to the New York Police Department and used them to broadcast bogus bomb threats and officer-in-distress calls. The FCC said it became aware of the piracy from a Twitter post; and, NYPD provided a written statement from Peralta who is being held by police for related charges.
School teacher pleads guilty to child sex tourism
Clarence (Bud) Evers Jr., 53, of Evergreen, Ala., pleaded guilty to charges that he produced child pornography and engaged in illicit sexual conduct with minor children during annual summer vacation trips to Thailand, the Department of Justice said. Evers was employed as a technology teacher for the Conecuh County Board of Education.
Reward posted for Nigerian scam artist
Kelechi Declan James, 32, should be offended to learn that the Federal Bureau of Investigation posted a paltry $1,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest. James is a Nigerian national who frequents several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has been accused of running an email scam that resulted in victim losses of more than $5 million by convincing victims that their friends or relatives had fallen into dire situations and needed money.
Consumer prices dropped in March
A decline in gasoline prices led the Consumer Price Index to a 0.3% drop in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Items in the gasoline index fell 6.2% last month, followed by a 3.5% decrease in communications prices (including wireless telephone services which decreased 7.0%). BLS added that the cost of an airline ticket increased 0.4% in March. In contrast to the CPI’s overall decline, the National Retail Federation’s own calculations showed a 0.3% increase in retail sales in March, led by a 0.6% increase in online shopping and a robust 2.6% increase in shopping at electronics and appliance stores.
EPIC sues for Trump tax returns
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to compel disclosure of President Trump’s federal tax records from 2010 to the present. The lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service may be problematic, however. Rather than citing FOIAs’s disclosure requirements, the lawsuit relies on a provision of a 1976 post-Watergate tax reform law which authorizes the IRS Commissioner to release tax information in secrecy to members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees.
It’s safe to engage in free speech in Wichita, again
A student court at Wichita State University overturned the Student Government Association’s denial of recognition to a campus organization because its members support First Amendment-protected free speech, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said. The decision welcomed Young Americans for Liberty, which is affiliated with the Libertarian Party, to the school’s community of student organizations. FIRE said the group’s application was dismissed because a majority of Student Government Association board members saw YAL as a “hate speech” group.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Friday, April 14