The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal to make things on their end more efficient. But, FOIA advocates say this puts a lot of burden on the requester.
Hey millennial FOIA nuts: Time to familiarize yourselves with the concept of a paper jam.
“The goal seems to be ‘creating a lot of extra burden. Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it’.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal, FBI eFOIPA.
The goal seems to be “creating a lot of extra burden,” says Adam Marshall, an attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it.”
The FBI says the move will help the agency expedite its backlog, which was estimated at 2,614 requests in 2015. Agency spokesperson Jillian Stickels told the Daily Caller that using an online portal will automate the processing of requests and “increase efficiency.”
But does the FBI really want to make the process more efficient? And its decision to continue accepting faxes and standard mail seems to only create headaches for requesters, who might run out of toner or have their transmission signal interrupted when someone picks up the line.
“Most mail that goes to a federal agency has to go through a screening process,” says Marshall. “Sometimes they irradiate it to make sure that there isn’t anthrax or other things in it […] So, it can take a long time for your mail to get from you to the FOIA officer who’s going to open it up and read it.” Yet the law says that the agency is required to provide a response to a FOIA request within 20 business days.
A beta version of the online portal required users to provide personal information about themselves and limited requests to one per day. The FBI backed away from these rules in response to public pressure from Muckrock and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), but the system still imposes a 3,000-character restriction. Also, the FBI says that not all types of requests can be fulfilled through the portal, though which types the agency won’t say.
There are other bureaucratic hurdles: The FBI has multiple computerized filing systems for documents. Typically, if a requester doesn’t specify which records system to search, the Bureau only queries its Central Records System (CRS) and then might fail to locate a document that it actually has on file. Marshall finds these multiple record systems “incredibly confusing” even though understanding them, he says, is part of his job. Read the rest of this entry »
The suit claims that in September 2013, 30 employees were targeted for dismissal, mostly older and minority employees. They were replaced ‘in virtually every case by a white employee under the age of 40,’ the suit claims.
Keith J. Kelly reports: The New York Times Co. and its chief revenue officer are being sued by a former ad executive with nine years of service for “age, gender and race” discrimination after she got a new boss.
Tracy Quitasol, a 51-year-old Asian-American woman, was let go in January 2014 by Meredith Levien, who was a high-profile hire from Forbes two years ago and is now the chief revenue officer of the NYT Co.
Quitasol had been heading the Idea Lab, designed to come up with new digital ad programs, and was the executive director of product marketing and ad platform innovation.
The most explosive claim in the suit is the allegation that Levien, in a downsizing that took place in September 2013, let go predominantly older and minority employees.
A Times spokeswoman pointed out the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has passed on taking action on Quitasol’s complaints and said, “We plan to mount a vigorous defense against this suit.”
On the personal front, Quitasol claims in the Manhattan federal court suit that her problems began when Levien — then the executive vice president of advertising — along with the company’s human resources department failed to curb a junior-level staffer who refused to follow her instructions.
Quitasol claims it was a case of “gender discrimination” by the male employee — who, the suit claims, would only respond to instructions from male superiors. She brought the problem to the attention of Levien and HR who, the suit alleges, failed to take action. Read the rest of this entry »
Whitewashing the Democratic Party’s History
Mona Charen writes: Here’s what the former president of the United States had to say when he eulogized his mentor, an Arkansas senator:
We come to celebrate and give thanks for the remarkable life of J. William Fulbright, a life that changed our country and our world forever and for the better. . . . In the work he did, the words he spoke and the life he lived, Bill Fulbright stood against the 20th century’s most destructive forces and fought to advance its brightest hopes.
So spoke President William J. Clinton in 1995 of a man was among the 99 Democrats in Congress to sign the “Southern Manifesto” in 1956. (Two Republicans also signed it.) The Southern Manifesto declared the signatories’ opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Educationand their commitment to segregation forever. Fulbright was also among those who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That filibuster continued for 83 days.
“As recently as 2010, the Senate’s president pro tempore was former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.). Rather than acknowledge their sorry history, modern Democrats have rewritten it.”
Speaking of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, let’s review (since they don’t teach this in schools): The percentage of House Democrats who supported the legislation? 61 percent. House Republicans? 80 percent. In the Senate, 69 percent of Democrats voted yes, compared with 82 percent of Republicans. (Barry Goldwater, a supporter of the NAACP, voted no because he thought it was unconstitutional.)
“The Democrats have been sedulously rewriting history for decades.”
When he was running for president in 2000, Vice President Al Gore told the NAACP that his father, Senator Al Gore Sr., had lost his Senate seat because he voted for the Civil Rights Act. Uplifting story — except it’s false. Gore Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act. He lost in 1970 in a race that focused on prayer in public schools, the Vietnam War, and the Supreme Court.
Al Gore’s reframing of the relevant history is the story of the Democratic party in microcosm. The party’s history is pockmarked with racism and terror. The Democrats were the party of slavery, black codes, Jim Crow, and that miserable terrorist excrescence, the Ku Klux Klan. Republicans were the party of Lincoln, Reconstruction, anti-lynching laws, and the civil rights acts of 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964. Were all Republicans models of rectitude on racial matters? Hardly. Were they a heck of a lot better than the Democrats? Without question. Read the rest of this entry »
(CBS Houston) – A New Home teacher who showed her third grade class a video about a “devil doll” has resigned, according to KCBD.
Heather Anderson gave her resignation after a series of parental complaints and school board meetings about her showing of the six-minute video “Annabelle the Devil Doll” to her third grade students in March.
The video portrayed a murderous doll possessed by a demon.
Parents argued that students were having trouble sleeping and one parent even said their child had to see a counselor following the viewing.
Those in support of Anderson believe that the video was shown on accident as it played automatically after the first video ended; however, Superintendent of New Home ISD Leland Zant said in a statement that the video was shown to two different classes taught by Anderson. Read the rest of this entry »
Liberal clickbait factory Salon.com wants to let you know that Memories Pizza, the pizzeria supportive of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act that was forced to close after constant abuse and death threats, got “exactly what it deserved.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Salon’s Twitter account gloated over the closure of “anti-LGBT” pizza shop:
The link in the body of the tweet goes to a very brief Salon article which reports on Memories Pizza’s closure, but omits any mention of the death threats:
The owners of a small-town pizza shop who showed support for Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act have announced that they will be closing indefinitely, after facing mounting protests outside the physical establishment and online. Memories Pizza owner Kevin O’Connor told Fox News on Wednesday that due to an inability to differentiate between real and fake orders, he and his family would be taking a break. Read the rest of this entry »
The owners of a pizza shop at the center of the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law have gone into hiding.
— T Bradley (@TBradleyNC) April 3, 2015
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) April 4, 2015
The law’s latest version now prohibits business discrimination against protected groups like the gay community. It also forbids using the law as a legal defense in situations where such discrimination may have occurred. Read the rest of this entry »
Arsonists For Tolerance: Indiana Coach Suspended After Threatening to Burn Down Christian-Owned PizzeriaPosted: April 1, 2015
Hysterical Media Whipping Up the Next Ferguson?
The head coach of an Indiana high school girl’s golf team has been suspended after apparently threatening to burn down a Christian-owned pizzeria.
Have we strangled the last Mormon florist with the entrails of the last evangelical pizza provider yet?
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) April 1, 2015
Jess Dooley, a coach at Concord High School of Elkhart, Indiana allegedly struck out at the owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN who made news on Tuesday by saying that she would not cater a wedding if a gay couple tried to hire her for the job, after the state passed its own Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“We are a Christian establishment,” pizza shop owner told the media.
On the heels of the news from the pizza shop, coach Dooley allegedly took to Twitter to say, “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me? Agree with #FreedomofReligion bill? “That’s a lifestyle they CHOOSE” Ignorant.” Read the rest of this entry »
“Apple’s Gay CEO Tim Cook Wants to Boycott Indiana for Its Allegedly Anti-Gay RFRA, But Will Gladly Sell You an iPhone At Its Boutique in Riyadh, Where They’ll Stone You to Death For Being Gay.”
Ramesh Ponnuru writes: Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple, is spreading misinformation about a new religious-freedom law in Indiana. That law and similar ones, he writes in the Washington Post, “say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.” He goes on to claim that they “rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”
“What these religious-freedom laws say is that government can require people to violate their religious beliefs only when it is pursuing a compelling interest, and must do so in the least intrusive manner possible. Thus the Supreme Court recently ruled under a federal religious-freedom law that a Muslim prisoner doesn’t have to shave his beard.”
Discrimination against gay customers or employees is what opponents of the law are especially concerned about. But that’s a strange argument to make in the context of Indiana, which lacks any state nondiscrimination law on sexual orientation for people to resist. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal almost everywhere in the state, and was before this religious-freedom law passed.
“Cook may not be aware of this point or others that cut against his argument because reporting on this controversy has been abysmal. Cook may also be unaware that the ‘wave of legislation’ that he fears has largely already happened. A very similar religious-freedom law has been on the federal books for 22 years…”
Cook may not be aware of this point or others that cut against his argument because reporting on this controversy has been abysmal. Cook may also be unaware that the “wave of legislation” that he fears has largely already happened. A very similar religious-freedom law has been on the federal books for 22 years, and that law itself codified a Supreme Court doctrine that had been in place for most of the previous few decades. Nineteen states besides Indiana have similar laws. Read the rest of this entry »
Sarah Torre writes: The mainstream media has launched an all-out blitz over a new law that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion.
The media’s gross mischaracterizations of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act ignore the truth: Religious Freedom Restoration Acts prevent government discrimination against religious free exercise and simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests.
Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.
The First Amendment Partnership, an organization whose mission is “to promote and protect religious freedom for people of all faiths,” created the below infographic separating myth from fact on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts:
….By passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana joins the 19 other states that have implemented such laws. Eleven additional states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar level of protection….(read more)
Just as Thomas Jefferson is best known for authoring the Declaration of Independence, King’s contribution to this ethos is inseparable from his “I Have A Dream” speech, which articulated a future to which America continues to aspire. King’s portrait of a nation where individuals are judged on their actions and character without regard to their race remains the ideal for the vast majority of Americans.
Celebrating Martin Luther King Day, we honor his condemnation of racism, we commemorate his stand against government-sponsored discrimination, and we look forward to a day when colorblind society is a reality.
Henry Samuel, from Paris, reports: Two trendy Parisian restaurants have been accused of seating guests according to how good-looking they are, to raise the tone of the establishments.
“not showing my breasts enough”
(reason one hostess was scolded)
Former hostesses have claimed that Thierry and Gilbert Costes — brothers whose group owns hotels, cinemas, restaurants and cafes in the French capital — have introduced a highly discriminatory selection procedure for guests of Le Georges, in the Pompidou Centre, and Café Marly, overlooking the Louvre.
“The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen,” they told Le Canard Enchaîné, an investigative and satirical weekly. “As for the non good-looking ones, it is imperative that they be dispatched to the corners of the room.” Read the rest of this entry »