The Spectacle Blog

Senate in Closed Session

By on 11.1.05 | 2:31PM

FNC reported that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid invoked a little-used rule to put the Senate into closed session to talk about information on the intelligence used to justify the Iraq invasion of 2003. Both Bill Frist and Trent Lott were on, harrumphing that this was Reid's stunt and a great affront to them personally.

Reid is not likely to have done this without some new information. We have had an unconfirmed report -- I repeat, unconfirmed, not second-sourced or even explained -- that something has been found in Iraq that dispels previous misconceptions. Whatever that means. Stay tuned. Reid has chosen to go ugly early. And there may be lots to come. Stay tuned.

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The Same Ol’ Diversity

By on 11.1.05 | 1:39PM

Ah, the diversity ruse. Cheap, easy, and oh-so-common. AmSpec's own James G. Poulos dismantles the argument: "Mere difference means nothing, accomplishes nothing, by itself."

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MoveOn Panicking

By on 11.1.05 | 1:22PM

The emails from MoveOn.org are fast and furious now. They smell defeat in the air. The latest version I just received asks me to contact Sen. John Warner:

Yesterday, President Bush bowed to pressure from the far-right and nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, posing a serious threat to basic civil rights, women's rights and worker rights for decades to come.1

Now, just 24 hours later, Senate Republicans are threatening to bring back the "nuclear option"2-a parliamentary maneuver to seize absolute power in the Senate and force through extremist judicial nominees, (nominees exactly like Judge Alito).

Senator Warner is one of a handful of moderate Senators who helped kill the "nuclear option" last Spring.3 That same bi-partisan group of Senators is meeting this week to decide if they will continue to block the "nuclear option" in the future.4 It's critical that we weigh in before they make that fateful decision.

Please call Senator Warner right now and ask him to oppose Samuel Alito, and oppose the "nuclear option."

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Re: Shame on Us

By on 11.1.05 | 1:12PM

Peter: Arguably, there would be a reporters' privilege under the First Amendment, but there isn't and the Supremes have held just that in the proceedings regarding the Fitzgerald investigation. I don't agree that there's only one problem. There are two. One is a reporter's privilege that could be clearly drawn to protect private conversations with sources but not the disclosure of classified information such as troop positions, etc.

You do raise the other good point from the Olson piece. There is no longer any excuse for unlimited, persecutorial discretion (and I use the term advisedly). Fitzgerald should have been required to report findings of whether there was a crime committed in the leak of Plame's name. Given its absence, he should also have been required to end his investigation.

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Re: Shame on Us

By on 11.1.05 | 12:55PM

Jed wrote: "But a clear and limited federal privilege law protecting reporters and sources is now a must. Or we risk giving up the openness of government that is one of the foundation stones of our freedom."

Jed, you have infinitely more legal background than I do, but would this not already be covered by the 1st amendment? I've heard a lot of liberals arguing for such a law, but there's already a contradiction in terms -- "a clear and limited federal privilege law" would probably be like our other clear and limited laws. Given media behavior in war zones, I can imagine situations where they will claim it's perfectly okay to report deployment positions. But we needn't go so far as security threats -- I'm thinking of the way extortion and blackmail will come to a head in this regard, either through corporate whistleblowing or sexual harassment lawsuits. The accused, in these circumstances, should know the identity of their accuser.

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Shame on Us

By on 11.1.05 | 11:39AM

For being swept away by Alitophoria yesterday and missing a very important piece in the Monday Wall Street Journal by former solicitor general Ted Olson. (Subscription req'd). Olson, looking at the Fitzgerald indictment of Scooter Libby, comes to the compelling conclusion no one else has articulated: that the indictment may reduce press access to government officials -- in all those "on background" confidential conversations -- that actually benefit the public by getting out information that the public should know, and may never otherwise. Money quotes:

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Senate Gals From Maine: We’re Not Sexist

By on 11.1.05 | 10:05AM

Whew! The gals from Maine, Snowe and Collins, are willing to consider Supreme Court nominees of both sexes, reports the Morning Sentinel: "I'd obviously like to see more women [on the Court], ... but it is not an overriding consideration."

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Re: No Liberal Brow More Fevered

By on 11.1.05 | 10:04AM

Wlady: True enough, but I'm not sure any president can pardon himself for being a man, far less a white one. That would clearly take a woman president to accomplish. He must be thinking of Geena Davis.

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Is Following the Law An Ideology?

By on 11.1.05 | 9:59AM

Judging by all the mindless gabbing last night on TV about Alito, the left has very little to work with. One of MSNBC's pinheads, scrambling to find some angle, any angle, to raise questions about Alito's suitability for the Court, asked correspondent Pete Williams if the judge's stated "reverence" for the Supreme Court suggested that he would approach cases too religiously. Williams could only laugh at the stupidity of the question.

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