RadioBDC Logo
First | Cold War Kids Listen Live
< Back to front page Text size +

How not to spend $332 million

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty November 28, 2012 06:06 PM

ACLU of Massachusetts communications director Chris Ott wrote this guest blog.

If you hit the number in Powerball--with a jackpot currently estimated at $360 million as a lump-sum payment--would you mind donating $332 million of it to cover the estimated expenses associated with the Massachusetts state drug lab scandal?

In all seriousness, that's what state taxpayers could be on the hook for if we stick with a business-as-usual approach of simply re-trying compromised cases.

Fortunately, there's another way: end the failed drug war; dismiss tainted cases involving nonviolent drug offenses; dismiss cases involving police officers or prosecutors who communicated directly with chemist Annie Dookhan; and dismiss compromised cases involving defendants who have already served at least half their sentences. The ACLU and Families Against Mandatory Minimums have been advocating for this approach since shortly after the scandal broke.

That's how we can deal with the drug lab scandal in a way that's just and sensible, and without going broke, spending a fortune re-trying thousands of cases based on tainted evidence.

Pentagon love affair and the rise of the surveillance state

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty November 13, 2012 05:58 PM

You know we've reached some sort of climax in the total surveillance state when the director of the CIA can’t keep his illicit sex life private.

Did you notice that the FBI was able to read the CIA director's email without a shred of evidence that a crime had been committed and without bothering to obtain a warrant from a court?

The sordid details--which are pouring out on an hourly basis--of CIA Director David Petraeus' affair with his biographer-turned-mistress Paula Broadwell shows how easy it is for the FBI and other government agencies to track and reveal intimate details about our lives, all without a warrant. This investigation started when Ms. Broadwell sent nasty (but hardly criminal) emails to Jill Kelley who, in turn, told a friend in the FBI about it, but not before exchanging hundreds or thousands of pages of "inappropriate" or "flirtatious" emails with U.S. General John Allen.

It's hard to look away as the tawdry tidbits emerge. Reports of the lengths to which Gen. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell tried to avoid detection by sharing an email "drop box" make you wonder if they didn’t know, as the ACLU's Chris Sogohoian, explains, that such detection-avoiding techniques have been tried--and failed--by the likes of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Richard Reid (the shoe bomber), the 2004 Madrid train bombers, terrorists in Germany, as well as some domestic "eco-terrorists."

Is it possible that the CIA director simply couldn't fathom how powerful and unchecked the U.S. surveillance apparatus has become?


How not to honor veterans this Veterans Day

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty November 11, 2012 08:45 AM

Raquel Ronzone, ACLU of Massachusetts communications content specialist, wrote this guest blog.

As we pause to honor Veterans Day, ponder this: Boston Police officers assigned to the Boston Regional Intelligence Center--one of dozens of "fusion centers" across the country--have spied on individual peace activists and a variety of groups, including Veterans For Peace's Chapter 9 Smedley Butler Brigade, the Boston chapter of Veterans for Peace. Not only that, they have labeled these groups "extremist" threats to homeland security.


De nada, Señor Presidente

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty November 7, 2012 04:09 PM

ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney Laura Rótolo wrote this guest blog.

By all accounts, the Latino vote was crucial to President Obama's re-election last night. According to exit polls, 71% of Latino voters voted for Obama, up from 67% during the last election. One in ten voters this year was Latino, and that’s just the beginning--every month for the next two decades, 50,000 Latinos will turn 18.

This is a moment for Latinos and Latinas to step back, look at our achievements and demand changes from the administration and Congress we helped put into power.


This is what America looks like

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty November 7, 2012 12:57 PM

America awoke this morning to a newly-drawn political map, in which demographic trends translated into support for candidates who either support, or themselves represent, the growing demand for equal rights under the law.

No wonder Bill O'Reilly was heard to moan: "The white establishment is the minority. People want things."

He's right. They want equal rights under the law.


Do you know your rights at the polls?

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty November 5, 2012 09:00 AM

ACLU of Massachusetts communications director Chris Ott wrote this guest blog.

Big swing states like Ohio, Virginia and Florida have been attracting the most concern about voter suppression, but Massachusetts is not immune.

From false information about needing to show ID to vote, to objections to people voting absentee, to reports of robocalls telling people to vote on the wrong day--despite Hurricane Sandy, the election is still Tuesday!--the ACLU of Massachusetts has already been receiving reports about problems that could interfere with people exercising their right to vote in this year's election, Tuesday, Nov. 6.


About the author

Carol Rose is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. A lawyer and journalist, Carol has spent her career working for and writing about human rights and civil liberties, both in the United States and abroad. More »

More community voices

Child in Mind

Corner Kicks

Dirty Old Boston

Mortal Matters

On Deck

TEDx Beacon Street


Browse this blog

by category