Political Web, page A1 … for 2:00 AM ET, December 21, 2005
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Top Items:

Washington Post:
Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest  —  Jurist Concerned Bush Order Tainted Work of Secret Panel  —  A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.
Bruce Fein / Washington Times:
. . . unlimited?  —  According to President George W. Bush, being president in wartime means never having to concede co-equal branches of government have a role when it comes to hidden encroachments on civil liberties.  —  Last Saturday, he thus aggressively defended the constitutionality …
New York Times:
Spying Program Snared U.S. Calls  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations …
Noahmax / Defense Tech:
WIRETAP MYSTERY: SPOOKS REACT  —  A few current and former signals intelligence guys have been checking in since this NSA domestic spying story broke.  Their reactions range between midly creeped out and completely pissed off.  —  All of the sigint specialists emphasized repeatedly …
William M. Arkin / Early Warning:
Inside NSA's World  —  Every day, the National Security Agency intercepts and records more that 650 million "events" worldwide: radar signals, radio and data transmissions, satellite, cell and land-line telephone calls, faxes and e-mail and text messages and chats over the Internet.
Discussion: Decision '08 and The Poor Man
Ars Technica:
The new technology at the root of the NSA wiretap scandal  —  When the NSA wiretapping story first hit the pages of the NYT a few days ago, there were clearly a huge number of unanswered questions.  Is the wiretapping that the President has authorized illegal under the FISA act?  Is it unconstitutional?
Michael McGough / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Specter will question Alito on legality of NSA spying
Discussion: IntoxiNation-News …
Schneier / Schneier on Security:
NSA and Bush's Illegal Eavesdropping
Judge rules against 'intelligent design'  —  'Religious alternative' to evolution barred from public-school science classes  —  HARRISBURG, Pa. - In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred …
Discussion: firedoglake and Pharyngula
New York Times:
Judge Bars 'Intelligent Design' From Pa. Classes  —  HARRISBURG, Pa. — "Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.
Henry Weinstein / Los Angeles Times:   Federal Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design'
Anne E. Kornblut / New York Times:
Lobbyist Is Said to Discuss Plea and Testimony  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist under criminal investigation, has been discussing with prosecutors a deal that would grant him a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against former political and business associates …
National Review:
Clinton Claimed Authority to Order No-Warrant Searches  —  In a little-remembered debate from 1994, the Clinton administration argued that the president has "inherent authority" to order physical searches — including break-ins at the homes of U.S. citizens — for foreign intelligence purposes without …
Los Angeles Times:
Legal Test Was Seen as Hurdle to Spying  —  Some say the court's tougher standard of 'probable cause' led to the surveillance order.  —  WASHINGTON — Since Sept. 11, 2001, an obscure but powerful tribunal — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — has been a solid ally of the Bush administration …
Charles Lane / Washington Post:
White House Elaborates on Authority for Eavesdropping
ReddHedd / firedoglake:   Cheney to Founding Fathers:
Steven Greenhouse / New York Times:
In Final Hours, M.T.A. Took a Big Risk on Pensions  —  On the final day of intense negotiations, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, it turns out, greatly altered what it had called its final offer, to address many of the objections of the transit workers' union.
Discussion: Sisyphus Shrugged and Majikthise
Doug Struck / Washington Post:
Sunnis Allege Fraud, Demand New Iraq Elections  —  Conservative Shiite Coalition Emerges as Early Leader in Parliamentary Returns  —  BAGHDAD, Dec. 20 — Sunni and secular political parties angrily claimed Tuesday that Iraq's national election was rigged, threatening to leave in shambles …
Jonathan Allen / The Hill:
Civil liberties don't matter much 'after you're dead,' Cornyn says on spy case  —  Senators launched new salvos in the battle over national security and civil liberties yesterday as recent revelations of domestic spying continued to color the chamber's stalemate on an extension of the anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act.
Jon / Pensito Review:
Clinton-Hater Toensing Laughs - Literally - at Idea of Investigating Bush's Allegedly Illegal Spying on U.S. Citizens  —  New lows in hackery: During the 1990's, Victoria Toensing and her husband, Joe diGenova, made over 300 appearances on cable television in the service of the Republican agenda …
Crooks and Liars:   James Bamford punks Victoria Toensing
Why Checks and Balances Help Fight Terror  —  If ABC's The Note weren't on holiday break, they'd probably say something like: "When will stupid Democrats learn that smart Republicans love it when they focus on terrorism, because it reinforces the Strong GOP/Weak Dem narrative."  —  And they would have half a point.
Discussion: The Sideshow
Stocking Stuffer Request  —  While everybody has their credit cards out buying a "secret Santa" moustache mug for their most hated colleague at the office, I wonder if some of you might want to throw a little cash my way while you're at it?  For reasons I haven't figured out, this blog is doing miserably at selling blog-ads.
Associated Press:
Donors Underwrite DeLay's Deluxe Lifestyle  —  WASHINGTON — As Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fundraising, he lived like one too.  He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants _ all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.

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More Items:

Washington Post:
Bush's support jumps after long decline
Hilzoy / Obsidian Wings:
S.O.S.  —  From today's press conference:
Kevin Drum / The Washington Monthly:
WARTIME....Do President Bush's inherent constitutional powers …
Matt Stoller / MyDD:
Why am I picking on Obama? Because We Need Him.
Discussion: Beltway Blogroll
Jonathan Weisman / Washington Post:
House Voting More Often in the Wee Hours
Ezra Klein / TAPPED:
WHY BIG BROTHER NEEDS FRIENDS.  The emerging consensus …

Earlier Picks:
Pentagon Labels Gay Kiss-In a 'Credible Threat'
National Review:
A Friend at the Fed?  —  Unlike a lot of economists …
Jonathan Allen / The Hill:
Standoff over ANWR  —  Senate Republicans prepared a targeted version …
Louis Sahagun / Los Angeles Times:
A Public Goodbye for Williams
Stalin's half-man, half-ape super-warriors
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