Political Web, page A1 … for 10:20 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 …
Senators members seek spying probe  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic and Republican calls mounted on Tuesday for U.S. congressional hearings into President George W. Bush's assertion that he can order warrantless spying on Americans with suspected terrorist ties.
Knight Ridder:
Senators call for probe of Bush's domestic-surveillance program
Discussion: Done With Mirrors
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 …
Susan Schmidt / Washington Post:
Abramoff Reportedly Negotiating a Deal in Which He Would Plead Guilty, Testify  —  Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, facing trial on fraud charges Jan. 9 in Florida, is negotiating a possible deal with the Justice Department, in which he would agree to plead guilty and cooperate …
Discussion: The Democratic Party
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.
New York Times:
An Unnecessary Transit Strike
Discussion: Gothamist
Laurie Goodstein / New York Times:
Judge Rejects Teaching Intelligent Design  —  HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 20 - A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in high school biology courses because it is a religious viewpoint …
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 …
Richard A. Posner / Washington Post:
Our Domestic Intelligence Crisis  —  We've learned that the Defense Department is deeply involved in domestic intelligence (intelligence concerning threats to national security that unfold on U.S. soil).  The department's National Security Agency has been conducting, outside the framework …
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
Patrick Cockburn / Independent:
Iraq's election result: a divided nation  —  Iraq is disintegrating.  The first results from the parliamentary election last week show the country is dividing between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.  —  Religious fundamentalists now have the upper hand.  The secular and nationalist candidate backed …
Max Boot / Los Angeles Times:
'Plame Platoon' is AWOL on new leaks  —  Highly classified programs have been revealed, which could provide real aid to our enemies.  So where's all that outrage now?  —  IT SEEMS like only yesterday that every high-minded politician, pundit and professional activist was in high dudgeon …
Germany frees killer of U.S. diver  —  BERLIN, Germany (CNN) — A Hezbollah militant sentenced to life in Germany for murdering a U.S. Navy diver during the 1985 hijacking of a U.S. jetliner has been freed, officials said.  —  The German government denied on Tuesday the release was related to the freeing of a German hostage in Iraq.
Discussion: Silent Running
Craig Whitlock / Washington Post:
Hijacker Sought By U.S. Released
Discussion: Mediacrity and In the Bullpen
Washington Post:
Clash Is Latest Chapter in Bush Effort to Widen Executive Power  —  The clash over the secret domestic spying program is one slice of a broader struggle over the power of the presidency that has animated the Bush administration.  George W. Bush and Dick Cheney came to office convinced …
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:
Charles Babington / Washington Post:
4 GOP Senators Hold Firm Against Patriot Act Renewal  —  Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) could barely conceal his anger.  —  "The Patriot Act expires on December 31, but the terrorist threat does not," he told reporters at the Capitol yesterday.
White House:
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan  —  MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone.  I want to begin with talking about matters going on with the Congress right now, particularly the Senate.  —  The President, as you heard last night, applauds the House for its work to meet key national priorities.

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