Political Web, page A1 … for 11:30 PM ET, December 16, 2005
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Top Items:

Hilary Bok / The Washington Monthly:
Above The Law, Take 2  —  I just wanted to echo what Shakespearer's Sister said about the report that Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens without a warrant.  —  This is against the law.  I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is …
Bush declines comment on NSA spying report  —  Specter vows to hold hearings on alleged eavesdropping without warrants … MSNBC TV  —  MSNBC staff and news service reports  —  NEW YORK - President Bush refused to say whether the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants …
Drudge Report:
NYT 'SPYING' SPLASH TIED TO BOOK RELEASE  —  Newspaper fails to inform readers "news break" is tied to book publication  —  On the front page of today's NEW YORK TIMES, national security reporter James Risen claims that "months after the September 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized …
Dan Eggen / Washington Post:
Bush Authorized Domestic Spying  —  President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
Hindrocket / Power Line:
LET'S SEND THESE GUYS TO JAIL  —  The Valerie Plame case has established that any leak of classified information from an intelligence agency is a serious matter, regardless of how trivial the information may be, and must result in criminal investigation and prosecution.  Fine.
Katherine Shrader / Associated Press:
Shocked Lawmakers Demand Spy Program Probe
Discussion: Mathew Gross
Jeff Bliss / Bloomberg:
U.S. Senate Rejects Bush Plea to Advance Patriot Act (Update1)  —  Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Senate, rejecting pleas from its Republican leaders and President George W. Bush, refused to end debate on legislation to renew the anti-terror USA Patriot Act.
Fox News:
Senate Blocks Vote to Extend Patriot Act  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday blocked a vote to reauthorize 16 expiring provisions of the controversial USA Patriot Act.  —  As Congress raced toward adjournment, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to garner the 60 votes necessary …
Discussion: GOP Bloggers and
Charles Babington / Washington Post:
Senate Deals Setback to Bush on Patriot Act  —  Bipartisan Group Says Proposed Revision Does Not Adequately Protect Civil Liberties  —  Backers of a proposed four-year extension of the USA Patriot Act failed to shut off Senate debate today, preventing a vote on the matter and dealing a setback …
Associated Press:
Patriot provisions set to expire
Discussion: JunkYardBlog and protein wisdom
Nico / Think Progress:   Video: Feingold Convinces Senators to Block Patriot Act Extension
Byron York / The Corner on National Review Online:   FRUSTRATED, ANGRY REPUBLICANS
Eamon Javers / Business Week:
Op-Eds for Sale  —  A columnist from a libertarian think tank admits accepting payments to promote an indicted lobbyist's clients.  Will more examples follow?  —  A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on Dec. 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments …
Brian /
FLASH: Bob Novak Becoming Fox News Channel "Contributor"  —  This story suddenly becomes more interesting: As soon as Bob Novak's contract with CNN runs out on Dec. 31, he will become a contributor to the Fox News Channel, the AP scoops.  FNC spokesman Brian Lewis confirmed his signing with the network to David Bauder.
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Media Matters for America:
Media Matters for America Delivers Nearly 5,000 …
Discussion: Big Brass Blog
Jim Romenesko /   View Forum Post
ReddHedd / firedoglake:
Guess Who's in DC This Morning?  —  MSNBC reports that Patrick Fitzgerald is back before the Grand Jury this morning.  Am trying to track this down from other sources as well, and will update as I get news.  —  UPDATE: As of 11:20 am ET, MSNBC has not repeated their report.  (Neither has CNN that I have seen.)
Eric Schmitt / New York Times:
President Backs McCain Measure on Inmate Abuse  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Under intense bipartisan Congressional pressure, President Bush reversed course on Thursday and reluctantly backed Senator John McCain's call for a law banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in American custody.
Discussion: Washington Post, TAPPED and TalkLeft
Dan Balz / Washington Post:
Pelosi Hails Democrats' Diverse War Stances  —  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday that Democrats should not seek a unified position on an exit strategy in Iraq, calling the war a matter of individual conscience and saying differing positions within the caucus are a source of strength for the party.
White House:
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan and Senior Officials on Levee Reconstruction  —  MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone.  Happy holidays.  I look forward to seeing everybody this evening at the White House holiday party for the press.  We just concluded a meeting in the Oval Office with the President.
Washington Post:
Bush Pledges $1.5 Billion for New Orleans
Discussion: The Huffington Post

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Andrew /
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Robert Mayer / Publius Pundit:
Blood Alcohol Blues

Earlier Picks:

Nicholas Paphitis / Associated Press:
EU Threatens Sanctions Over Holocaust Flap
Time to pass the baton, Sen. Burns - Friday, Dec. 16, 2005
Elections Official: Some Voting Machines Could Be Hacked
Sam Dillon / New York Times:
Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds
Tarron Lively / Washington Times:
Smoking foes try to stop parents from lighting up
Discussion: Balloon Juice
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