FOIA suit seeks to crack secret tattoo research project
The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to compel the production of government documents pertaining to the development of tattoo recognition technology. EFF claimed that agencies of three federal departments—Justice, Commerce, and Homeland Security—are seeking a method that can instantly identify people who share common tattoos. EFF said it fears a tattoo recognition system envisioned by the government research could infringe on First Amendment association and expression rights.
LA Weekly’s new owners keep a secret
LA Weekly, an alternative newspaper that began publishing in Los Angeles in 1978, was turned over to its new owners, Semanel Media, prompting the Society of Professional Journalists to challenge the paper’s new owners to identify themselves. The acquiring company—its name is Spanish for “weekly”—was was created for the transaction. “In an era of rampant misinformation and distrust, it’s especially important that we do not allow the owners and backers of news organizations to remain a mystery,” SPJ ethics committee chairman Andrew Seaman said. Last year, SPJ exposed casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s secret $140 million acquisition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
College violates football player’s rights
The Goldwater Institute accused the University of Central Florida of violating the First Amendment rights of a football player by kicking him off the team and canceling his scholarship because he posted videos on a YouTube account. The student, Donald De La Haye, produced videos on a range of topics from pop culture to college life, and attracted nearly 350,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. UCF’s actions were a pre-emptive enforcement of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules that forbid student-athletes from operating businesses or otherwise making money from the use of their name, image, or athletic talents. The NCAA rule, the Goldwater Institute said, necessarily impinges on a student’s First Amendment rights of speech and expression.
NOAA storm predictions were on target
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on Thursday (November 30) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration paused to review how its pre-season storm predictions fared. They were pretty much “on the money.” NOAA’s pre-season outlook predicted there would be between 14 and 19 named storms, and between five and nine hurricanes. There were, in fact, 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes.
Florida bureaucrats veto medical marijuana
A coalition of patients and marijuana growers asked a state judge to order the Florida Department of Health to comply with a medical marijuana law that was approved by voters last year. The suit claims bureaucrats and agency officials have failed to meet deadlines for issuing licenses to marijuana dispensaries and have been foot-dragging while a backlog of patient applications has grown, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said.
Illegal alien killed after attacking border agent
A Border Patrol agent shot and killed an illegal alien while he was assaulting a second agent who was attempting to arrest him. Three Guatemala natives, were arrested and charged with illegal entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they the two agents confronted the four men after they activated a sensor device in a remote area of the Baboquivari Mountain Range near Three Points, Ariz., about 21 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Background checks denied for 226,000 gun buyers in 2015
In 2015, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System examined nearly 17 million applications for gun purchases and about 226,000 of them were rejected. Since the 1994 enactment of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the FBI has processed nearly 197 million applications for firearms permits and more than 3 million applications (1.5%) have been denied, the Bureau of Justice Statistics said.
Allergens invade U.S. homes
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, reporting results from the largest study ever of indoor allergens, said 90% of homes in the U.S. had three or more detectable allergens, and 73% had at least one allergen at an elevated level. Dr. Darryl Zeldin, the study’s author, said “elevated allergen levels can exacerbate symptoms in people who suffer from asthma and allergies.” The researchers studied levels of eight common allergens—cat, dog, cockroach, mouse, rat, mold, and two types of dust mites—they found in the bedrooms of nearly 7,000 homes.
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 Thursday, November 30