Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Friday Notes: Mad World Edition

Another of the “worst of the worst” from Guantanamo, a television cameraman, is released without charges after six years.


Did you know that U.S. Customs officials can stop you at the border and go rifling through every little file on your laptop, for no better reason than because they feel like it?  According to them (and the 9th Circuit), they can.  Here’s what you can (try to) do about it.


Read this Ta-Nehisi Coates story.  An intelligent treatment of subject that really brings out the stupid in people.


Women’s Voices. Women Vote.


The Failure of Conservatism


  1. sasha

    Oh, they’ve done that for years now. I used to get quizzed on the phone numbers in stored in my cell. Now they sometimes ask to see the laptop.

  2. MB

    But there’s a bit of a difference between you and I, entering the US, no?

    This admin has essentially turned the ports of entry into a Constitution-free zone, even for US citizens.

  3. sasha

    Well, you’re definitely taller than me.

    No, you’re right, true on the difference. I guess my (completely unstated) point was that what they can and can’t do, and what the different procedures and rules for citizens and legal residents is completely and totally unknowable in that moment. So effectively, they can do whatever they want, and you go along with it or some other unknowable set of events happens.

    The one that bugs me the most these days is the airline security people, who now want to see my passport, visa, business cards, letters of employment and so on. I thought we had Customs officials to deal with that stuff, not Delta sub-contactors.

  4. MB

    Agreed about the apparent lack of transparency. For me (and for most all of us), there are two very different kinds of border crossings. The first is into a country that isn’t yours. At that point, I don’t think anyone can reasonably expect much in the way of basic rights (tho’ the reasonable expectation of the worst possible consequence of trying to assert any rights should be that you’re turned away). The other is returning to your own country. With the US, there is a fundamental right of entry for any citizen, and I have far less patience for the dicking around of customs and immigration people. And I have no interest in allowing this government to blur the distinction between these two types of border crossings in yet another effort to expand the power of the state over its citizens.

    As to the airline-junior-ICE-officer act, that pretty much arises from the fact that any airline that transports someone to a country that isn’t qualified to enter that country has to bear the costs of returning that person. And there’s a fine involved, in some cases. Doesn’t make it any less annoying, but it explains a bit of it.

  5. Peej

    For what it’s worth, my parents have had much worse experiences entering the country now as U.S. citizens (past two years), than they had as U.S. residents (the seven years before that). The best experiences? When they entered as non-residents on visitors] visas for the 15 odd years before that. Making it through the rigors of getting a visa in the post hostage years–several years dealing with folk who had actually been taken hostage–I think the feeling at the border was they’d already been put through the wringer and back.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén