Political Web, page A1 … for 7:20 AM ET, December 17, 2005
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Scott Shane / New York Times:
Behind Power, One Principle as Bush Pushes Prerogatives  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - A single, fiercely debated legal principle lies behind nearly every major initiative in the Bush administration's war on terror, scholars say: the sweeping assertion of the powers of the presidency.
Discussion: Concurring Opinions
Katherine Shrader / Associated Press:
Bush Approved Eavesdropping, Official Says  —  WASHINGTON - President Bush has personally authorized a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States more than three dozen times since October 2001, a senior intelligence official said Friday night.  —  The disclosure follows angry demands …
Katherine Shrader / Associated Press:
Shocked Lawmakers Demand Spy Program Probe  —  WASHINGTON - Dismayed lawmakers demanded on Friday that Congress look into whether the highly secretive National Security Agency was granted new powers to eavesdrop without warrants on people inside the United States.
Washington Post:
On Hill, Anger and Calls for Hearings Greet News of Stateside Surveillance  —  Congressional leaders of both parties called for hearings and issued condemnations yesterday in the wake of reports that President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to spy …
Rudolph W. Giuliani / New York Times:
Taking Liberties With the Nation's Security  —  YESTERDAY the Senate failed to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, as a Democratic-led filibuster prevented a vote.  This action - which leaves the act, key elements of which are due to expire on Dec. 31, in limbo - represents a grave potential threat to the nation's security.
David Stout / New York Times:
Supporters of Patriot Act Suffer a Stinging Defeat in Senate  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - Supporters of the broad anti-terrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act suffered a stinging defeat in the Senate today, falling well short of the 60 votes needed to bring the act to a final vote and leaving it in limbo for the moment.
Jeff Bliss / Bloomberg:
U.S. Senate Rejects Bush Plea to Advance Patriot Act (Update1)
Discussion: ACSBlog
Charles Babington / Washington Post:
Senate Deals Setback to Bush on Patriot Act
Nico / Think Progress:
Video: Feingold Convinces Senators to Block Patriot Act Extension
Discussion: AMERICAblog
Byron York / The Corner on National Review Online:
New York Times:
Lawmakers Back Use of Evidence Coerced From Detainees  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - House and Senate negotiators agreed Friday to a measure that would enable the government to keep prisoners at Guantánamo Bay indefinitely on the basis of evidence obtained by coercive interrogations.
Discussion: Balkinization
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
Stepping Back From Torture  —  It's not about who our enemies are, it's about who we are.
Evan Vucci / Newsweek:   Torture or Coercion?  —  Sen. John McCain scored a victory …
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 …
Constant Brand / Associated Press:
Iran Could Be Sanctioned for Riling Israel  —  BRUSSELS, Belgium - Iran could face sanctions if it keeps provoking Israel and the West, European leaders warned Saturday, even as the Tehran regime's interior minister said the Iranian president's remarks had been "misunderstood."
Nicholas Paphitis / Associated Press:
EU Threatens Sanctions Over Holocaust Flap
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Secular Blasphemy
New York Times:
Columnist Resigns His Post, Admitting Lobbyist Paid Him  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - A senior scholar at the Cato Institute, the respected libertarian research organization, has resigned after revelations that he took payments from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for writing columns favorable to his clients.
Discussion: Spot-On
Calculated Risk:
Fiscal Challenges, Social Security and Changing the Debate  —  From Professor Samwick at Vox Baby: … My response was blunt: … Ranking the Challenges  —  Any good manager would 1) measure the problem and then 2) solve the largest problems first.  With that approach …
Arnold Kling / EconLog:
Unpersuasive Argument Against Reforming Social Security
Discussion: Calculated Risk
White House:
Personnel Announcement  —  President George W. Bush today announced his intention to nominate four individuals to serve in his Administration:  —  The President intends to nominate Robert D. Lenhard, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Federal Election Commission, for the remainder of a six-year term expiring April 30, 2011.
Reflections in the Evening Land  —  The celebrated critic Harold Bloom, despairing of contemporary America, turns to his bookshelves to understand the trajectory of his country  —  Huey Long, known as "the Kingfish," dominated the state of Louisiana from 1928 until his assassination in 1935, at the age of 42.
Iraq vote 'met global standards'  —  International observers have praised the organisers of Iraq's parliamentary election, which they said generally met international standards.  —  A spokesman for the International Mission for Iraqi Elections conceded that there had been minor problems, but said the vote had generally gone well.
In survey of ten US presidents, Bush fares badly  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush ranks as the least popular and most bellicose of the last ten U.S. presidents, according to a new survey.  —  Only nine percent of the 662 people polled picked Bush as their favorite among the last 10 presidents.

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The Heretik:
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Sam Rosenfeld / TAPPED:
FAULT LINES.  Mike Crowley points to this (subscription-only) …
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Associated Press:
Bush to address nation on Iraq
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Associated Press:
Actor John Spencer has died
David Bauder / Associated Press:
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Erm...Yeah...Completely Believable...  Roy Blunt, acting Majority Leader …
Blood Alcohol Blues
Jonathan H. Adler / The Corner on National …:
OP-EDS FOR SALE  —  When I was working at CEI, I was offered …
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