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Why Policy Matters

16 May

It sure has been a crappy few weeks for the Obama Administration, right? Starting with the Senate refusing to pass a really minimal gun control legislation – carefully crafted in a bipartisan fashion, we now have revelations of the IRS targeting tea party groups, and the Justice Department obtaining AP phone records via subpoena.

It’s funny, because one of the attacks on Obama is that he’s perpetually in campaign mode. Problem is, he wins campaigns; if he was in campaign mode, none of this stuff would be a big dealIts messaging has sucked, lately, and Congressional Democrats tend to suck, as well. 

The background noise during all of this is the right-wing’s incessant attempts to manufacture a scandal out of the 9/11/12 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi.  Literally every single allegation-cum-conspiracy theory has been thoroughly debunked to the point now where (a) it’s palpably all about Hillary 2016; and (b) chief scandal author Darrell Issa has finally reached a last-resort argument, whereby calling the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” is an impeachable offense, because the Administration should have called it a terrorist act. I kid you not.  

The CIA and State Department’s editing and re-editing of a post-attack talking points document is not a cover-up or a scandal – it’s what diplomats and spies do. This is why the Wikileaks publication of secret diplomatic cables is, in my opinion, a bad thing. We oughtn’t broadcast what our diplomats or spies are doing. In an interesting twist, the Republicans demanding the public release of Benghazi-related information were quite outraged by the Wikileaks diplomatic cable release. 

The Republican narrative – despite all evidence to the contrary – has been that the White House intervened to make Obama look good. The evidence reveals that the CIA and State were squabbling over post-attack documents so as to provide information without compromising any extant interests or missions. 

The AP investigation and the IRS targeting are brand-new stories, the details of which are not fully hashed out, but they certainly look bad, and the Obama Administration is uniquely susceptible to outrageous criticism because of the right-wing narrative that Obama is a tinpot dictator, despite being limited to two terms and a do-nothing Congress. 

The IRS absolutely should not be targeting tea party groups or liberal groups, for that matter. But that isn’t an accurate depiction of what happened. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, it quickly became chic to set up a tax-exempt political advocacy group. I want the IRS to look into the activities of those groups to ensure that they comply with extant regulations on maintaining tax-exempt status, just as much as I want the IRS to crack down on, e.g., tax-exempt “churches” that overtly engage in campaigning and politics. As long as it’s done in an evenhanded, non-partisan way.  The Treasury Inspector General reports that the IRS scrutinized certain 501(c)(4) applications using “inappropriate criteria”. 

Targeting tea party groups is as bad as targeting AARP, safe sex advocates, Greenpeace, the NAACP, and Emerge

In fact, a few left-wing groups were subjected to the same scrutiny as right-wing groups, and while some tea party applications for a government tax-free subsidy were delayed, only Emerge – a left-wing group – had its application denied

What’s nice is that everyone hates the IRS, Obama demanded the Treasury Secretary seek the resignation or dismissal of the acting IRS Commissioner.  

As for the phone records scandal, there is a legitimate debate to be had about government access to journalists’ source information, and the balancing of equities between investigating leaks of classified information and shield laws. But you can’t have a legitimate debate in a climate of alleged scandal.  Because this isn’t a “scandal”.  This is what law enforcement does, every day – gather information as part of an investigation using whatever legal means possible, and the law allows this when all other avenues to learn the information have been exhausted.

The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot, though the Obama administration continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.

The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government.

Brennan talked about the AP story and investigation in written testimony to the Senate. “The irresponsible and damaging leak of classified information was made … when someone informed The Associated Press that the U.S. government had intercepted an IED (improvised explosive device) that was supposed to be used in an attack and that the U.S. government currently had that IED in its possession and was analyzing it,” he wrote.

He also defended the White House decision to discuss the plot afterward. “Once someone leaked information about interdiction of the IED and that the IED was actually in our possession, it was imperative to inform the American people consistent with government policy that there was never any danger to the American people associated with this al-Qaida plot,” Brennan told senators.

These are stories about tone-deaf executive branch overreach. Yet what the government did in this AP phone records case is likely completely legal. The government didn’t spy or snoop on the AP – it obtained phone records from the phone company. Under the law, the government is allowed to obtain information from third parties, and there is no 4th Amendment problem.  Furthermore, you don’t hear a lot of Republicans in Congress making noise about it – how do you demonize the mainstream media every hour of every day for years, then suddenly pivot to its defense to score a few points against Obama? The right’s animus for Obama is only matched (or exceeded) by its animus for fact-based reportage. 

This is why elections matter, this is why policy matters, and this is why legislation matters. This is why whom you send to Congress matters. 

For instance, in 2007, a bill in Congress called the “Free Flow of Information Act” would have required the DOJ to first obtain a court order before obtaining phone records or otherwise pursuing journalists’ sources to investigate criminality. Although it passed the house, it failed to make it past a Republican filibuster in the Senate to a vote. Put bluntly, Republicans killed the media shield law that would have prevented the DOJ from doing what it did to the AP. 

Benghazi? Republicans have consistently voted to de-fund the security for diplomatic missions abroad

For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.

Ryan, Issa and other House Republicans voted for an amendment in 2009 to cut $1.2 billion from State operations, including funds for 300 more diplomatic security positions. Under Ryan’s budget, non-defense discretionary spending, which includes State Department funding, would be slashed nearly 20 percent in 2014, which would translate to more than $400 million in additional cuts to embassy security.

So, facts matter, and policy matters, and you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. 

Oh, also this week, Congress voted for a 37th time to repeal Obamacare. So, you know, jobs & growth agenda? Not so much. 

Local AFP Activist Behind Anti-School Tax Direct Mail in Clarence

10 May

A spokesman for the New York branch of the right-wing group “Americans for Prosperity” (AFP) confirms that a local AFP organizer is responsible for sending slick mailings to households in Clarence under the pseudonym “Citizens for Sustainable Schools“.  No such group exists on the New York State Board of Elections website, nor is the actual entity responsible for the mailers identified on any of its materials online, or on the mailers themselves.  The AFP is a well-known fake grassroots (astroturf) advocacy group funded by Koch Industries, which advocates for conservative policies.  It is a well-funded special-interest front group based in Northern Virginia. 

Clarence voters will go to the polls on May 21st to vote on a 9.8% school tax increase to ensure that the Clarence Schools can maintain elective courses, art, and music programs in the face of financial hardships from decreased state funding, years of small increases, and legacy costs.  The school’s superintendent produced the following video, and had the courage to put his – and the district’s – name on it. 

The vote in Clarence is critical because the proposed increase exceeds Cuomo’s property tax cap, and must be approved by a supermajority (60% of votes cast). 

Chris Trimarchi of AFP New York denied that his group had any responsibility for producing or paying for the mailers, which hit Clarence homes a few weeks ago, and again on Friday May 10th. He directed me to Lisa Thrun, whom he identified as an “activist” working in the WNY area, and gave me her number. I placed a phone call to Ms. Thrun, and will update this post when I receive a reply. 

Ms. Thrun and her husband are quite active with AFP and other local tea party organizations.  They organized an Amherst anti-Obamacare teach-in with health reform opponent Betsy McCaughey in 2011, anti-Obama phone banks for AFP in 2012, and one of her LinkedIn profiles lists her as the local “Grassroots Chair” for the Koch Brothers’ decidedly astroturf AFP.  Ms. Thrun, as local chair of the AFP, is the named plaintiff in an AFP-backed lawsuit filed against Governor Cuomo over New York’s participation in a northeastern compact to reduce greenhouse emissions. Here is the first mailer that arrived in Clarence homes: 


Today’s version is very senior-centric, and contains great language about “open checkbooks”. Hope those seniors don’t have grandkids who might want an education!

How did I find the AFP connection? Simple. 

The mailers sent to Clarence homes, and the associated website are completely devoid of identifying information. “Citizens for Sustainable Schools” simply doesn’t exist, and the website’s Whois information is locked behind an anonymous registrant. 

Instead, I Googled the phrase “Respect the Taxpayers” and school+tax+new+york, which revealed phrases that were contained on the mailer: 

The thing is, the proposed increase is not outrageous, especially if it helps to protect the excellent quality of Clarence schools. A free and excellent public education is – or, at least, should be – every American child’s birthright. These things cost money – a good education costs money. No one doubts that an increase will be a hardship for some, but Clarence enjoys an overall property tax rate that is significantly lower than that of its Erie County neighbors, and part of the reason why Clarence has grown while other communities have not has to do with the excellence of our schools. 

If the budget doesn’t pass, it is likely that all bands and orchestras at Clarence schools will be eliminated, and all musical instrument instruction will cease. Those 13 educators will be out of work, having negative economic consequences. This includes the concert orchestra, symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, concert band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Band & Orchestra will be eliminated. Without passage, all vocal music classes will be cut from the middle and high school. All that will be left is the K-8 general music class – the bare minimum the state mandates. will receive ONLY a General Music class; the basic requirements mandated by the State.

On April 2nd, the Clarence Central School District has been recognized as one of its Best Communities for Music Education. Only 307 school districts in the country received this recognition.  9 of the Top 10 Seniors are music students. If the budget passes, the increase in monthly taxes would rise by approximately $11 per $100,000 of assessed value. If you own a house worth $200,000, that’s an extra $22 – the cost of a large pizza with a couple of toppings. Even with the 9.8% increase, Clarence will have the 2nd lowest taxes in Erie County.

For what kind of America is AFP advocating if it recommends effectively ending music and art education in schools? What kind of America does AFP seek if it demands that already financially burdened schools cut – with a hacksaw – to a barebones budget? At what point do we stand up and recognize that we invest in our children, and our families and our society derive a palpable, lifelong return on that investment? 

Vote yes on May 21st at the Clarence High School gymnasium from 7am – 9pm. The quality of our kids’ education, the quality of life in the town, and the town’s desirability are at stake. 

Brave Patriot Fights Tyranny of “Traffic Stop”

6 May

Here’s what happens when a brave 2nd Amendment patriot decides to fight the tyranny of the “routine traffic stop” in Ohio. 

The brave well-regulated militiaman had a Kalashnikov on his person, along with eight 40-round magazines. It is somehow important for the proper exercise of his 2nd Amendment liberties that he have these so that he can shoot as many bullets as possible at the unsuspecting police officers who were “just doing their jobs” as the AmeriKKKan lamestream media calls it. 

The difference between a “responsible gun owner” and “deluded homicidal lunatic” is sometimes razor-thin. But this video also depicts the idiotic pseudo-patriotic fever-dream of the particular gun people who think that the founding fathers intended for individuals to arbitrarily take up arms to fight an undefined “tyranny” from time to time, or that the Constitution somehow sanctions that. They didn’t, and it doesn’t

Scam Alert

3 May

If you receive a letter such as the one shown below advising you that you’ve won two free plane tickets from a real-sounding airline, you ought to know that it’s a scam. I don’t quite know why these sorts of places are allowed to operate for years without being thrown into jail and punitively fined by authorities, but there you are. 

Communication Breakdown

2 May

On April 28th, the Buffalo News’ editorial page offered up its recommendations in the upcoming school board races. One of the most intensely watched races is that of developer and tea party gadfly Carl Paladino. While the News expressed support for Paladino’s proposals for fixing the school board – many of which are totally reasonable – it would not endorse him. 

But we won’t endorse Paladino, either. He insists that he is not racist, but he shows no comprehension that the emails he forwarded not only suggest that – and powerfully – but that they would be painful and insulting to thousands of minority families and students in the district he wishes to serve.

While he is, in some ways, the candidate this district has needed, we cannot lend the weight of this page to a candidate who still insists those vile emails were funny. No one is perfect and it is always necessary to allow people their failings, but in life, there are some bright lines. Paladino crossed this one.

Nevertheless, it seems all but certain that Paladino will win this race; the South Buffalo neighborhood supported him overwhelmingly in his 2010 campaign for governor. If he does win, it will be his chance to prove that he is not racist.

He could go a long way toward showing that by acknowledging the despicable nature of those emails.

These emails (NSFW)

To be clear, I read that editorial very carefully – it’s not condemning Paladino for sending the emails, but instead for not acknowledging that they were disgusting, misogynist, and racist. There’s no question he sent them around, but he can’t just say, it was stupid, it was wrong, I’m deeply embarrassed and sorry. He’s like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda

So, what does Paladino do? He blasts some more emails out calling the News and its editorial page writer Dawn Bracely names. 

That’s not enough, though.  Paladino pal Larry Quinn had to chime in, too. 

Both of these guys need to take some remedial reading comprehension classes. Perhaps a lesson in humility wouldn’t hurt, either. It must be nice to be so righteously indignant over a perceived slight. It’s also easy to see all the answers for Buffalo’s failing schools from atop a mountain of white privilege. 

Conspiratorial Bullshit

29 Apr

Every time some idiot conspiratorial Alex Jones follower hack comes to your town, claiming that some horrible terrorist event was really a “false flag” staged by the government to take away your liberty, treat that person exactly as my new favorite person in Cambridge treats this imbecile. Language is NSFW. 

Tip of the Hat to Little Green Footballs

The Paladino Mailers

25 Apr

Never let it be said that Carl Paladino can run for elected office and not be reminded of horse porn




Mr. Paladino responds, 



24 Apr

As it turns out, Boston Marathon bombing suspect #1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was indeed influenced by an enigmatic, extremist hate group. 

Alex Jones’ “infowars” – the go-to radio show and website for ignorant, disaffected lunatics who see conspiracy everywhere. To call Jones fans the lunatic fringe would be unfair to the comparably responsible and informed members of the lunatic fringe. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frightfully bellicose and didn’t incite violence.


Greg Ball, the Putnam County Torturer

23 Apr

It isn’t every day that an elected official openly and proudly advocates violating state, federal, military, and international law. In this case, it started with a Tweet, but the state Senator has since doubled down on the sentiment, appearing on all kinds of TV programs to advocate in favor of blatant criminality.

Specifically, the fifth and eighth Amendments to the Constitution protect against self-incrimination, and prohibit “cruel and unusual punishment”, respectively. Once you torture someone, you can’t prosecute them. (But, in a moral and ethical abomination, the United States believes that it can continue indefinitely to detain them).

What the Tsarnaev brothers did in Boston is a horrific, tragic, and despicable crime. One is dead, the other is going to be prosecuted. Tsarnaev doesn’t deserve respect or sympathy – he deserves to be prosecuted under the law and then punished. Torture would jeopardize that prosecution. Greg Ball went on TV to repeatedly suggest – tortuously referring to himself in the 3d person – that he “as Greg Ball” would happily “use a baseball bat” on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if it would “save one innocent life”. Greg Ball did not specify in what way Greg Ball would use that baseball bat. Greg Ball.

Does criminality in response to criminality make us a better society? A freer society? Does the banality of Ball’s call for torture, and his own media tour/victory lap reflect poorly on just him, or a larger section of society in general? I mean, a lot of people seem to agree with him

The term “enemy combatant” generally means anyone who is a member of an armed force against which the United States is at war. After 9/11, however, it took on a new meaning, describing individuals fighting on behalf of al Qaeda and/or the Afghan Taliban who had taken up arms against – and been detained by – the United States as part of the “war on terror”. Under this novel definition, the U.S. government has asserted a right indefinitely to detain “enemy combatants” at military holding centers located outside the 50 states.

The government defines an “enemy combatant” in the “war on terror” as,

…an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who has committed belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy combat forces.

The Obama Administration formally ended the government’s use of “enemy combatant” in 2009, although it retained its right to indefinitely detain Taliban or al Qaeda combatants abroad.

It is not an un-American thing to suggest that our values and legal system are worthless if not counted on in the most difficult circumstances. Why defend the law and Constitution in one instance, while cheering its abrogation in the next? Is Amendment 2 worth protecting but Amendments 5 and 8, not so much?

Last week, a pair of Chechen brothers set off two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, and over 100 injured – many seriously. On Thursday, they murdered a police officer, and injured another. One of the brothers was killed during a shootout with police after having wounded himself when attempting to throw at police another pressure cooker bomb like the ones he set on Boylston Street. His little brother kept police at bay and shut Boston down all of Friday, and is now in custody while being treated at Beth Israel Hospital.

On Monday, the Obama Administration announced that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be prosecuted as any other common criminal thug within our federal criminal justice system. There is nothing special about Tsarnaev to justify treating him as an alien enemy combatant. Indeed, Tsarnaev is a United States citizen detained on domestic soil, who committed prosecutable crimes. He’s not some terrorist mastermind – he’s just another murderer.

But our country is sick with disease. Disease like New York State Senator Greg Ball:

It’s one thing to debate the relative merits of treating Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant”, but it’s another to offhandedly recommend using “torture” to “save more lives”. He went on to explain,

“On most days, New York State is terrorist target #1, and playing paddy cake with mass murdering killers is not effective in my opinion. In the war against these sick cowards who seek to harm innocent men, women and children, information can and often does save lives. Terrorists play by a different set of rules by manipulating the greatest strengths of our open society against us. One of the questions to be asked is this: is “torture” ever justified in the war against terror, if it can save lives? I am not shy in joining those who say yes, and I believe we must give those tasked with protecting us every constitutional and effective tool to do so,” said Senator Greg Ball.

I’m not aware of anyone playing “paddy cake” with federal civilian inmates such as 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam, the attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, 1993 World Trade bomber Ramzi Yousef, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, or Lockport’s own Timothy McVeigh, who murdered 168 innocent men, women, and children in 1995. It’s not “paddy cake” to be in a Supermax federal prison facility, either.

Which form of torture does Senator Ball recommend (link NSFW) for Tsarnaev? Burning him with boiling water? Asphyxiation? Cut off his hands? Perhaps just a simple beating? Re-enact the torture of Abner Louima? What evidence is there that torture even works to gather credible, reliable information? What part of “illegal” is confusing for the Senator? Why perpetrate an illegal act and run the risk of harming the prosecution’s case?

By sanctioning the use of behavior – “torture” – which is patently illegal under domestic and international law, what is Mr. Ball (and those who think like him) trying to prove or say? That our rage at a vicious act excuses a vicious response? That our principles, values, morals, and laws can be brushed aside as so much lint when a Chechen kid throws a major city into chaos and kills 4 innocent victims?

Of course Dzhokhar Tsarnaev won’t be treated as an enemy combatant. There’s no evidence he’s an al Qaeda or Taliban operative, he wasn’t captured fighting against American forces on a foreign battlefield, and he is an American citizen. And if we are so quick to advocate for our government to act in contravention to law and morality, what are we left with, really?

Niagara Falls Error Suspects

19 Apr

Friday in Niagara Falls, this happened

[View the story “Two Guys from Massachusetts Drive to Niagara Falls” on Storify]

Two Guys from Massachusetts Drive to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls! Slowly I turned…

Storified by Alan Bedenko· Fri, Apr 19 2013 11:28:01

Falls and the State Police have shut down Elmwood and 19th in the city while the State Police’s "robot" checks out a suspicious car.Niagara Gazette
Latest WTF RT @WGRZ: Police: 2 Russian nationals pulled over in Niagara Falls; 4 suspicious backpacks in car, robot & bomb techs on scene.jimgeraghty
FBI joint terrorism task force working with NYSP in the Falls @WGRZ go to for latestHeather Ly
Suspicious car with Mass. plates being investigated Gazette
RT @WGRZ: Police source: 2 Russian nationals pulled over in Niagara Falls; 4 suspicious backpacks in the car, robot & bomb techs on scene.jmartpolitico
What’s the difference between a backpack and a suspicious backpack? @WGRZ @NiagaraGazetteAlan Bedenko
UPDATE: Large police presence around vehicle on Elmwood & 19th in #NiagaraFalls. Car has Mass. plates. Unsure if connected to #Boston.WGRZ
Police are interviewing two Turkish brothers who drove into Niagara Falls this morning in a vehicle with Massachusetts plates.The Buffalo News
Caution tan people with Mass plates: lay low today.Alan Bedenko
So, Niagara Falls car with "2 Russian nationals" "suspicious backpacks" & Mass plates is really 2 Turkish guys. @WGRZ @NiagaraGazetteAlan Bedenko
Source says activity in #NiagaraFalls is routine traffic stop. vehicle has Mass. plates. Extensive search out of caution. Nothing found yetWGRZ
Russian, Turkish. Same difference. @WGRZAlan Bedenko
Residents near Elmwood & 19th Ave. in #NiagaraFalls asked to stay inside as police search vehicle with Mass. plates.WGRZ
State Police has bomb detection unit at 19th & Elmwood in #NiagaraFalls. Nothing found yet. Scene remains calm.WGRZ
Scene from 19th and Elmwood in the falls @WGRZ Ly
Niagara Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said two men are being detained as Falls and State Police… Gazette
UPDATE: 2 men in custody as investigation into Mass. car continues in Falls Gazette
Troopers say two people in vehicle were NOT armed, are cooperating, pulled over by NFPD acting on tip from resident @WGRZHeather Ly
Turkish-American sightseeing brothers from Massachusetts arrested in Niagara Falls, police suspect they did not "click it".Alan Bedenko
Police in #NiagaraFalls telling residents to move 100 feet back from vehicle with Mass. plates. Scene remains calmWGRZ
Look! @WGRZ has found two more "suspicious" Russians! Here is a photo: @ChrisSmithAV @BuffaloPunditJosh Potter
BREAKING: Possible photo of Turkish man pulled over in Niagara Falls.…Alan Bedenko
This just in, @WGRZ has photos of Niagara Falls suspects.… @J_Potter @buffalopundit @trendingbuffaloChristopher Smith
Mayor Paul Dyster on the car investigation: "There are many rumors circulating, none of which are based on fact…. Gazette
Updated story from Niagara Falls, where two brothers of Turkish ancestry were stopped this morning: Buffalo News
tow truck pulled up to car in Niagara falls, command unit now blocking view. ATF NYSP NFPD all here. Public moved back a block .@wgrzDave McKinley
Robot now being used to approach suspicious car w/ Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls..@wgrzDave McKinley
State police "robot" is still investigating car from Massachusetts. Press and bystanders have now been moved down… Gazette
UPDATE from #NiagaraFalls: Robot removed backpack, pillow & clear plastic bag of objects from suspicious car. Now opening passenger doorWGRZ
UPDATE: Bomb squad continues to investigate Massachusetts car as crowd is pushed back Gazette
#NiagaraFalls update: Robot removed 2nd backpack from vehicle w/Mass plates. Also took out a pillow & plastic bag of objects.WGRZ
.@wgrz robot drops 2nd backpack removed from car w/Mass plates in NF. Papers blowing all over. Earlier, robot ran over 1st backpack. WhoopsDave McKinley
Niagara Falls bomb robot cannot handle Kafka-esque municipal ennui, detonates itself, video at 11.Christopher Smith
Bomb Robot elected Mayor of Niagara Falls, promptly indicted. #niagarafallsbombrobotAlan Bedenko
Police say suspicious packages have been removed from the Massachusetts car on Elmwood. "I have seen at least 3 or… Gazette
Police add that the two men being detained are cooperating with authorities.Niagara Gazette
.@wgrz removed from stopped carw/Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls by police robot so far: 2 backpacks, 2 sleeping bags, 1 satchel, 1 plastic bagDave McKinley
Suspicious packages removed from Massachusetts car; detained men cooperating with authorities Gazette
#NiagaraFalls police say they have NOT found anything suspicious in the packages removed from car with Mass. plates. Still searching trunk.WGRZ
"So far, everything is going good," police at scene say of packages removed from Massachusetts car. Investigators… Gazette
.@wgrz fully donned bomb squad member now inspecting items removed from vehicle w/Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls. Put a device over one itemDave McKinley
A member of the State Police bomb squad is now investigating the Massachusetts car. He’s opened the driver’s-side… Gazette
PIC from #NiagaraFalls: Several items removed from car are on sidewalk
LIVE: News conference in #NiagaraFalls on car with Mass. plates stopped at 19th & Elmwood
Police officials say nothing found in Mass. Car in Niagara Falls but paper and clothingWGRZ
#NiagaraFallsRobot is now new spokeman for @WGRZ’s annual 2PackABackPack campaignChristopher Smith
Police only saying two men are in 20s, traveling to visit WNY, cited with failure to stop at stop sign, use turn signal @WGRZHeather Ly