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MBTA cops never stopped inspecting your bags
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 31, 2008

These days, the morning commute is hardly complete without a newspaper, coffee, and potential violation of one's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

As commuters might have noticed during the past month — while they got their bags swabbed and frisked — the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has seemingly re-launched its highly controversial "Random Baggage Inspection" program that spurred so much protest in 2006, when the initiative yielded zero arrests and almost two-dozen false alarms for explosives in its first two-and-a-half months, according to the Boston Globe.

In e-mail correspondence with the Phoenix, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo wrote: "The same Random Baggage Inspection program they launched in the fall of 2006 remains in place today. Nothing has changed." In a follow-up e-mail, Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan wrote: "Security inspections are random but may be increased (or decreased) based on specific threats or increases (or decreases) in the national threat level." He would not, however, divulge dates, times, frequencies, or locations of inspections.

Anecdotal evidence suggests there is a sudden surge in allegedly preventative anti-terrorism measures. The first recent instance brought to this paper's attention was on November 19, when MBTA cops set up shop at the World Trade Center station. Since then, authorities have been spotted conducting inspections at Kenmore Square, Forest Hills, and Davis Square.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney John Reinstein confirmed that his organization's Boston office has received several calls in the past month regarding increased inspections. "We think it's an intrusion on the rights of the riding public that really isn't justified by any significant contribution to public safety," he said.

In 2004, leading up to and during the Democratic National Convention, MBTA police were the first in the United States to conduct inspections on public-transportation lines. Protests from the National Lawyers Guild, among others, seemed to halt the defensive, but in 2006 — after a New York appeals court ruled that bag inspections did not violate an individual's constitutional rights — then-Governor Mitt Romney officially launched the Random Baggage Inspection program in Massachusetts.

MacMillan's recent response echoed an October 2006 MBTA press release that noted: "[The] federal appeals court found that random bag inspections do not violate the Fourth Amendment if they are based on a 'special need' to conduct inspections without a warrant and are tailored to protect the rights of individual riders." But according to some, that stipulation might disqualify the MBTA's ongoing actions.

"People are being asked to give up something, and what are they getting in return?" said Reinstein. "The state says that anybody can bail out of it, which means they can also just go ahead and walk into another entrance."

Related: The trolley Svengali, Is the MBTA on track?, Sound off, More more >
  Topics: News Features , American Civil Liberties Union, Appellate Trials, Commuting,  More more >
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Your review doesn't give justice to the game..... Elebits 9/10 Gameplay 10/10 The game and physics anyone would want, in edit mode you can change the gravity from 0%-100% and make car dominos ^.^ Anyway lets get to the gameplay, a no lag first person shooter, which in a way is like katamari damacy. you zap these tiny electricity giving blobs called elebits, but they are mostly hidden under objects so you use your capture gun and levitate the objects so you can zap them and turn them into electricity for your gun. After a while you can energize things to get special elebits that power up your gun. Electric Drill Energized! >=D Graphics 10/10 The graphics are OK, but it suits the game, if the game were realistic, it wouldn't suit the game at all..... Plus... if you want real graphics on this game, that would be like saying you want a bloody katamari damacy The concept art for the cutscenes are so amazing, that it would be enough to buy this game. The landscapes, which if i say are greatly detailed, houses and garages are claustraphobic, the outside town levels are huge, and the amusement parks have giant TV's that you can turn on ^.^ Sound 9/10 Doors opening sound like doors opening, objects hitting the ground sound like objects hitting the ground, and elebits sound like poor defenceless cats, and zapping them sounds like zapping them, what can i say? The levels music doesn't cut the excitement and chaos of the game, but some levels do, did i mention that each and every level has its own music that you can choose at the start of any level? The voice acting is..... er....... um........ great? It has the best line ever "I HATE Elebits".... OK the voice acting is really bad... but cutscenes aren't that common at all... Story 10/10 Its simple, but good. Gets the job done. -.- nothing much to say Overall 9/10 A fun game where you zap poor defenceless elebits, while picking up everything from a pencil, to a moon. The sound is good, the voice acting is...........terrible, but there is almost never a cutscene. Graphics are like katamari's, good but not friggin xbox 360 graphics. a graphic noob : the gameplay iz a novelity and it wears off graphics teh pwnzorz Story is simple but good, gets the job done. Rent or Buy it depends.. if you like halo 2, rent. if you like games that have great gameplay that will last a lifetime with replay value, BUY! if your a graphic noob, don't EVEN bother.
By Elebit on 03/14/2007 at 11:05:44

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