Political Web, page A1 … for 3:43 AM ET, December 21, 2005
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Top Items:

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 …
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 …
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?
William M. Arkin / Early Warning:
Inside NSA's World
Discussion: Decision '08 and The Poor Man
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
Henry Weinstein / Los Angeles Times:
Federal Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design'  —  A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled today that it is unconstitutional to compel teachers there to present "intelligent design" as an alternative explanation to evolution because it amounts to establishing religion in public schools.
Discussion: BBC
New York Times:
Judge Bars 'Intelligent Design' From Pa. Classes
Michael Powell / Washington Post:
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 …
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
Larry McShane / Associated Press:
Court Fines NYC Transit Union $1M a Day  —  NEW YORK - Commuters trudged through the freezing cold, rode bicycles and shared cabs Tuesday as New York's bus and subway workers went on strike for the first time in more than 25 years and stranded millions of riders at the height of the Christmas rush.
Discussion: Suitably Flip and Gothamist
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 …
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 …
Pajamas Media:
Who's playing with fire?  (Updates)  —  Omar of Iraq the Model for Pajamas Media  —  [SEE BREAKING NEWS BELOW]  —  The election commission last night announced shocking preliminary results of the elections in 11 Iraqi provinces.  The results "after counting 89% of the votes in Baghdad showed …
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.
Charles Babington / Washington Post:
4 GOP Senators Hold Firm Against Patriot Act Renewal
Discussion: The Left Coaster and AMERICAblog
Richard Morin / Washington Post:
Poll: Bush Approval Numbers Up  —  President's Job Approval Rating Increases by Eight Points  —  Washington Post polling editor Richard Morin was online Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the new Post/ABC poll, which shows an eight point increase in President Bush's approval rating …
Media Matters for America:
Caught in inconsistency by Media Matters, Wash. Post polling director changed story
Discussion: MyDD
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.
Discussion: The Stakeholder
Crooks and Liars:
James Bamford punks Victoria Toensing  —  James Bamford punks Victoria Toensing  —  Bush broke the law.  —  ReddHedd alerted me to this debate on C-Span this morning, and PensitoReview wrote up a post about it.  The republican apologist was all smiley and bouncy and hoped that her cheery demeanor …
Jon / Pensito Review:   Clinton-Hater Toensing Laughs - Literally …
Report: Syria agrees to hide Iran nukes  —  LONDON — Syria has signed a pledge to store Iranian nuclear weapons and missiles.  —  The London-based Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Iran and Syria signed a strategic accord meant to protect either country from international pressure regarding their weapons programs.

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More Items:
TAXING READING  —  Nobel Laureate Edward Prescott has an op-ed …
Marty Lederman / Balkinization:
Another Reason Why the AUMF Argument is Wrong …
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
Why Checks and Balances Help Fight Terror
Discussion: The Reaction
Jonathan Weisman / Washington Post:
House Voting More Often in the Wee Hours

Earlier Picks:

Michael McGough / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Specter will question Alito on legality of NSA spying
Pentagon Labels Gay Kiss-In a 'Credible Threat'
Stocking Stuffer Request
Los Angeles Times:
Legal Test Was Seen as Hurdle to Spying
Stalin's half-man, half-ape super-warriors
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