2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 17, 2006
NYPD flips on surveillance
cameras to fight crime, terror
* Privacy advocates cry foul over
thousands of cameras placed
throughout New York City
NEW YORK (AP) - Along a gritty stretch of street in
Brooklyn, police this month quietly launched an ambitious
plan to combat street crime and terrorism.k hga
But instead of cops on the beat, wireless video cameras peer
down from lamp posts about 30 feet above the sidewalk.,
They were the first installment of a program to place
500 cameras throughout the city at a cost of $9 million.
Government. - i ,. l
Hundreds of additional cameras could follow if the citsyngprjt
receives $81.5 million in federal grants it has requested to
safeguard Lower Manhattan and parts of midtown with a
surveillance ring of steelamodeled after security mea-
sures in London's financial district.
Officials of the New York Police Department - which
considers itself at the forefront of counterterrorism since
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - claim the money would be
aghns abssliercilpoln advyers.
well-spent, especially since the revelations that al-Qaida
memberstonce cased the New York Stock Exchange and
other financial institutions.
We have e ery reason to believe New York remains in
the cross-hairs, so we have to do what it takes to protect
the city," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last fi n
week at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of .
Government .. f.....aedfs. aw rstadse. Y.kCyP....pr .n ...ssid rr s dd.
The city already has about 1,000 cameras in the sub-
ways, with 2,100 scheduled to be in place by 2008. An
additional 3,100 cameras monitor city housing projects. ;..r' .. ..
New York's approach isn't unique. Chicago spent .4,k *4-m*444~ 45
roughly $5 million on a 2,000-camera system. Home- ,4*445/
land Security officials in Washington plan to spend $9.8 ~ ~ ~ 45.~
million for surveillance cameras and sensors on a rail '
line near the Capitol. And Philadelphia has increasingly
relied on video surveillance.
Privacy advocates say the NYPD's camera plan needs
more study and safeguards to preserve privacy and guard
against abuses like racial profiling and voyeurism.
The department "is installing cameras first and ask-
ing questions later," said Donna Lieberman, executive
director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Police officials insist that law-abiding New Yorkers
have nothing to fear because the cameras will be restricted
to public areas. The police commissioner recently estab- AP PHOTO
lished a panel of four corporate defense lawyers to advise New York City Police Department wireless video recorders are pictured attached to a lamp post on the
the department on surveillance policies, corner of Knickerbocker Ave and Starr St. last Thursday in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Lawmakers don' t fill out owntax% returns
_ ..., \ 51
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Pope calls for diplomacy in nuclear crises
In his first Easter message as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday urged
nations to use diplomacy to defuse nuclear crises - a clear reference to worries
over Iran - and prayed that Palestinians would one day have their own state along-
On Christianity's most joyous day - which happened to fall on Benedict's own
79th birthday - the pontiff also prayed for Iraq's relentless violence to cease.
From the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict reflected on the globe's
troubled regions shortly after he celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square, which
was packed with 100,000 pilgrims and tourists on a breezy, hazy day.
"Today, even in this modern age marked by anxiety and uncertainty, we
relive the event of the Resurrection, which changed the face of our life and
changed the history of humanity," Benedict said in the traditional papal
"Urbi et Orbi" message - Latin for "to the city and to the world."
Parliament session canceled as talks stall
Efforts to form a unity government suffered a new setback yesterday as Iraqi leaders
postponed a parliament session after failing to agree on a prime minister. Bombs targeted
Shiites near a mosque and on a bus as attacks nationwide killed at least 35 people.
Four more Marines were reported killed in fighting west of Baghdad as the U.S.
death toll for this month rose to 47 - compared with 31 for all of March.
U.S. officials believe the best way to stem the violence is for the Iraqis to estab-
lish a government comprising Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, paving the way for the
United States to start withdrawing its 133,000 troops.
But progress has stalled over Sunni and Kurdish opposition to the Shiite choice
of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to head the new government. With al-Jaafari
refusing to step aside, acting speaker Adnan Pachachi called a parliament session
for today, hoping the full legislature could agree on a new leadership after the
Army dispute stalls testing of body armor
A dispute over testing is stalling the Army's plans to move ahead with
buying a new high-tech body armor now off-limits to soldiers.
The stalemate is the latest development in a complex disagreement over
the quality of the protective gear, known as Dragon Skin, that is made by
Pinnacle Armor of Fresno, Calif.
The fight over body armor has spread beyond the Pentagon and rever-
berated throughout the country as families try to buy the best protection
possible for loved ones serving overseas.
Murray Neal, Pinnacle's chief executive officer, said Friday he will not
send the Army 30 vests to test next month, as planned, unless the Army
agrees to his testing requirements.
Pro-democracy protesters clash with police
The Nepalese capital ran low on fresh food and fuel yesterday because of a
general strike that shut down the city, and thousands of angry pro-democracy
demonstrators clashed with police firing rubber bullets.
The emboldened opposition urged Nepalis to stop paying taxes to the government of
King Gyanendra, who responded by further banning protests on the capital's outskirts.
Sunday's pro-democracy rallies across the Himalayan kingdom attracted tens
of thousands of people and were the biggest since opponents of Gyanendra's
royal dictatorship began their campaign of protests and a nationwide strike that
has cut off Nepal's cities for 11 days.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
An editorial on page 4 of April 5's Daily about wind power in Michigan (Great
mills, great times) should not have descibed the city of Ann Arbor as a community
that has not acted on its discussions to purchase more renewable energy.
The Notable Quotable in Friday's Daily was incorrectly attributed to Rep. Jerry
Lewis (R-Calif.) It was actually an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal editorial..
Please report any error in the Daily to firstname.lastname@example.org.
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI48109-1327
Even members of tax
law committees often rely
on professionals to file
returns with the IRS
WASHINGTON (AP) - When
it comes to their own tax returns,
many members of Congress who
specialize in writing tax laws turn
to professional preparers rather than
completing the paperwork them-
"It's onerous and everybody
knows it," said Rep. Richard Neal
Three of the four top lawmakers
on the Senate Finance and House
Ways and Means committees, which
are in charge of writing tax laws,
pay a professional to file their annu-
al tax returns with the Internal Rev-
The exception is the Ways and
Means chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas
(R-Calif.) The former college pro-
fessor said he has prepared his own
return "forever" and that he waits
until close to the deadline to file.
Monday is the filing deadline for
"There's no reason for me to pay
Uncle Sam - pay, you heard that
- until I have to," he said.
How about one of the tax writers
who could become chairman after
Thomas retires at year's end?
"Absolutely not," said Rep. Jim
McCrery (R-La.) "I'm not an
accountant. I'm a lawyer."
According to IRS statistics, that
makes these members of Congress
much like the public. More than 60
percent of taxpayers turn to a paid
professional to prepare their returns.
The number typically increases a
little each year.
Some lawmakers have more
complicated financial lives than
the average taxpayer, making their
returns more complicated. Some
said they had a professional do the
job to guarantee the return's accu-
David Keating, senior counselor
at the National Taxpayers Union,
said lawmakers should at least
try to complete their own returns.
Members of tax-writing commit-
tees should have to spend 20 hours
working on their tax returns before
giving up and handing the job to a
professional, he suggested.
"If they're going to sit on a tax-
writing committee, it certainly
makes a lot of sense for them at
least to attempt to do their own tax
return," Keating said. "And when
they scream out 'Torture!' to their
tax preparer, at least they'd have a
A few do dive in on their own.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he
does them "just so I can go through
the process." Then he asks an
accountant to check for mistakes.
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) usu-
ally prepares his own taxes using
computer software. Sen. Mike
Crapo (R-Idaho) does his tax return
and his children's.
Rep. Kevin Brady's wife, a former
banker, prepares the tax returns for
the Texas Republican's family.
Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.)
does not do his own returns, but he
agreed it might be a good idea to
try. "I think it is important that we
operate in the real world," he said.
These lawmakers have offered
ideas to simplify the tax system, but
none has gotten close to enactment.
Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) dis-
likes the tax system so much that he
wants to scrap individual tax filing
and the Internal Revenue Service.
He would trade the income tax sys-
tem for a consumption tax.
A less drastic change is advocated
by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) He did
not prepare his real tax returns, but
he was able to prepare a hypotheti-
cal tax return in 30 minutes based
on his proposed simplified tax sys-
"This last fact is truly revolution-
ary because no one can remember
the last time a member of the tax-
writing Senate Finance Committee
actually completed their own tax
return," he said.
DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief
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