Issue 100, Winter 2005/2006

  • On December 21, a bipartisan coalition struck down a measure to permanently adopt most of the USA Patriot Act. The Senate instead passed a five week extension, citing the need to institute more protections for Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.
  • A NY federal judge ruled on January 23 that the Defense Department must release the identities of Guantánamo Bay detainees in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed last year by the Associated Press.
  • After being rebuffed in the Dover, PA court batle over Intelligent Design in science classrooms, proponents "evolved" their strategy; in California, they proposed a course called "Philosophy of Design." Facing legal pressure from a group of parents and Americans United, the class has since been withdrawn. Stay tuned for ID’s next "intelligent" class design…
  • President Bush has signed spending legislation that contains a provision banning political litmus tests for federal science advisory committee nominees and the deliberate distribution of false scientific information. Duh.
  • Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Evan Bayh (D-IN) have introduced The Family Entertainment Protection Act to "put some teeth into video game ratings." The bill seeks to institute heavy fines for retailers who sell violent or explicit games to minors.
  • Seeking data to revive the Child Online Protection Act (which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2004), a federal judge ordered several companies to hand over internet search records. Google has resisted so far, but others – including Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL – have complied.
  • Brett Hartinger’s Geography Club and Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things were removed from middle and high school libraries in University Place, WA, and Carroll County, MD. Following letters of protest from NCAC, along with other groups, superintendents in both counties compromised: The critically-acclaimed books have been restored on high school library shelves, but are still inaccessible to middle school students.