Political Web, page A1 … for 6:05 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.
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 …
William M. Arkin / Early Warning:
Inside NSA's World
Schneier / Schneier on Security:
NSA and Bush's Illegal Eavesdropping
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.
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 …
Michael Powell / Washington Post:
Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design'  —  Dover, Pa., District Can't Teach Evolution Alternative  —  A federal judge barred a Pennsylvania school district yesterday from mentioning "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolutionary theory in a scathing opinion that criticized local …
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.
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 …
Patrick Cockburn / Independent:
Iraq's election result: a divided nation
Judd / Think Progress:
Fact Check: Clinton/Carter Executive Orders Did Not Authorize Warrantless Searches of Americans  —  The top of the Drudge Report claims "CLINTON EXECUTIVE ORDER: SECRET SEARCH ON AMERICANS WITHOUT COURT ORDER..." It's not true.  Here's the breakdown -  —  What Drudge says: … What Clinton actually signed:
National Review:
Clinton Claimed Authority to Order No-Warrant Searches
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 …
Chris Bowers / MyDD:
Our Conversation With Richard Morin
Discussion: Prairie Weather
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
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?
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 …
Discussion: Pam's House Blend
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.
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.
Kevin Drum / The Washington Monthly:
WARTIME....Do President Bush's inherent constitutional powers as commander-in-chief give him the authority to override federal law and approve domestic spying by the NSA?  That's certainly the justification he provided at Monday's press conference: … Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt support …

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More Items:

White House:
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
Discussion: Think Progress and First Draft
Jihad is 'Muslim obligation'
Discussion: Jihad Watch
Ben Lieberman / Washington Times:
Alaska oil drilling myths
Douglas Jehl / New York Times:
Spy Briefings Failed to Meet Legal Test, Lawmakers Say
TAXING READING  —  Nobel Laureate Edward Prescott has an op-ed …
Marty Lederman / Balkinization:
Another Reason Why the AUMF Argument is Wrong …
Washington Post:
Bush's support jumps after long decline

Earlier Picks:

Hilzoy / Obsidian Wings:
S.O.S.  —  From today's press conference:
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
Michael McGough / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Specter will question Alito on legality of NSA spying
Stocking Stuffer Request
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