Archive for October, 2011

Profiling by the NYPD? Never. . .

This is ridiculous.

NEW YORK — Muslims who change their names to sound more traditionally American, as immigrants have done for generations, or who adopt Arabic names as a sign of their faith are often investigated and catalogued in secret New York Police Department intelligence files, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The NYPD monitors everyone in the city who changes his or her name, according to internal police documents and interviews. For those whose names sound Arabic or might be from Muslim countries, police run comprehensive background checks that include reviewing travel records, criminal histories, business licenses and immigration documents. All this is recorded in police databases for supervisors, who review the names and select a handful of people for police to visit.

The article later points out that many people Americanized their Arabic-sounding names to avoid discrimination.  Which they are then discriminated against for doing by the NYPD.  You have a right to change your name (even without a court issued name change) under the First Amendment.  I also found this part of the article quite interesting:

The legal justification for the program is unclear from the documents obtained by the AP. Because of its history of spying on anti-war protesters and political activists, the NYPD has long been required to follow a federal court order when gathering intelligence. That order allows the department to conduct background checks only when police have information about possible criminal activity, and only as part of “prompt and extremely limited” checking of leads.

The NYPD’s rules also prohibit opening investigations based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment. Federal courts have held that people have a right to change their names and, in the case of religious conversion, that right is protected by the First Amendment.

I’m curious to see how the NYPD responds to what seems to be a clear case of ethnic/racial profiling.  The legal justification seems to be in question when even the in-house lawyer for NYPD is criticizing their methods.  This also makes me wonder how the NYPD are handling Occupy Wall Street protesters.

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Why I support Occupy Wall Street

I am sick of being apathetic. My government doesn’t listen to me, my opinions, or even my money (because it’s not enough).

So why do I support Occupy Wall Street?

  • Because a corporation can out-lobby me with dedicated lobbyists while I have to lobby my representatives in between school, work, and having a life (see above).
  • Because I believe that human beings are more important that corporations or even money.
  • Because I believe that a government should represent its PEOPLE not its CORPORATIONS.
  • Because I believe that corporations have altered our government and our  laws to make the most short term money without consideration for their clients or employees but only for the corporation’s bottom line and its CEOs.
  • Because I have two college degrees and have virtually no job opportunities in my field until I get a Ph.D. and and even those jobs are disappearing.

We are here beseeching our Government to listen to us. Please don’t continue to ignore and belittle the Occupy Movement, for we are the People of the United States of America and we will be the change we want to see in this world.  I have hope now, and that is why I am joining in support.

Introductions

Hello All!

I am MadMicro.  I am a graduate student with a penchant for procrastination, hence my new project: Blogging.

There are many things that interest me, but on my mind lately are things such as:  Occupy Wall Street, science, graduate school, atheism, feminism, books, depression and coffee.

Hopefully, I’ll address each of these topics and why I’m interested in them in the next week or so.