The Spectacle Blog

So How Fast are You in the 440?

By on 12.20.05 | 1:39PM

A decent question to which Mr. William Beltran and Ms. Shairalee Delgado may have a lot of time to work out a better answer whilst serving a coupla years for shoplifting. Seems those two nitwits were boosting about a grand worth of clothes from a Ft. Myers, Florida store. According to a rather hilarious NBC news report When they escaped the store security folks, a couple of nice young men, just graduated from boot camp, took up the pursuit. The Marines chased them for almost a mile, and captured the two before turning them over to the cops. Against the Marines did the shoplifters have any chance? Successful pursuers, Pvts. Shane Ailant and Ryan Pitts of the U.S. Marine Corps, didn't think so. "No sir, not at all." Well done, guys. (Hat tip to #1 son, who knows I love such stuff.)

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Roberts Rakes Rockefeller

By on 12.20.05 | 11:53AM

Yesterday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (and probable source of many leaks of secret information) released a hand-scrawled letter he had written to VP Cheney two years ago after being briefed on the NSA domestic intel effort. Rockefeller, trying to score political points, raised the letter as proof of his doubts about the NSA program, and that his hands were tied, unable to do anything about it. This morning, Intel Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) released this statement which blows Rockefeller out of the water:

I am puzzled by the release yesterday of a July 2003 letter from Senator Rockefeller to the Vice President regarding the recently exposed intelligence collection program, which was authorized by the President shortly after September 11, 2001.

In his letter and accompanying press statement, Senator Rockefeller asserts that he had lingering concerns about the program designed to protect the American people from another attack, but was prohibited from doing anything about it.

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Mormons and Romney, Part Deux

By on 12.20.05 | 11:21AM

While some readers were upset that I detailed the potential problem of Mitt Romney's religion last week, Kathryn Jean Lopez's article/interview today reaffirms this issue's prominence on conservatives' radars.

Lopez is correct that the juvenile stuff is a non-starter: questions about the temple garments, SNL-style jokes about Romney engaging in polygamy, etc. Her interview subject, Michael Cromarite of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, confirms a few basic points about the issue of Romney's Mormonism:

-It won't be discussed as a public campaign issue, but quietly at dinner parties and among blogs. That buzz will be a sizable challenge for Romney.

-Evangelicals think Mormonism is a cult. Evangelicals are a large part of the GOP. A large part of the GOP will have serious questions for Romney.

-Given the choice between (fairly) pro-life Romney and dyed-in-the-wool pro-abortion candidate X, social conservatives will likely back Romney.

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By on 12.20.05 | 10:31AM

Peter: You are entirely right. Part of the problem with Congress is that the president hasn't once attempted to induce some discipline in Congress's miscellaneous ramblings. It's entirely his fault that we now have the spectacle of the federal government paying for television converter boxes so people can watch digital tv. But the real problem here is Congressional irresponsibility, which Will denies and Willfully ignores. We have reached a stage at which this Congressional divorce from reality has become dangerous for the safety of the Republic. I think we need to beat them over the head with this every day from now 'till November '06.

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By on 12.20.05 | 9:57AM

Jed, as a follow up, this is classic Will ambiguity:

But conservatives' wholesome wariness of presidential power has been a casualty of conservative presidents winning seven of the last 10 elections.
George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon, though very astute and worthy presidents in their own right (again, forgiving their major faults), haven't the conservative mark in history -- they were moderates. I'm not interested in gauging presidential status on the Conserv-O-Meter, but the argument Will is constructing here hinges on the assumption that these "conservative" presidents really clung to conservative principles, and as such really identified with the conservative movements that put them in power. You may be able to say that Nixon was, but only as an embattled president. Bush I is a harder case.

Will would be wrong to say the conservative appetite for limited government was sated by President Bush I's tenure; it was his trespass against his tax pledge that led to his downfall.

The only point that really kept me nodding was this line:

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Constitutional Abuses of Power

By on 12.20.05 | 9:39AM

It's always a hoot to watch Harry Reid whine. Take, for example, his complaining about the House attaching ANWR drilling to the Defense appropriations bill:

"This abuse of power will have long-term ramifications in this body, and is as bad or worse than anything ever attempted before, including the nuclear option," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, comparing the inclusion of ANWR on the defense spending bill to threatened efforts to prevent Democrats from using the filibuster option on the president's judicial nominees.

How's that for a good sense of proportion? The House amended a bill, passed it, and sent it to the Senate for approval. I remember seeing this somewhere before... Oh, right, in Article I, Section 7.

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Dick on the Spot

By on 12.20.05 | 9:33AM

Vice President Cheney's headed stateside from his surprise Middle East trip to be on hand for tie-breaking votes in the Senate, if necessary.

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By on 12.20.05 | 8:16AM

And while the Wall Street Journal helps get things right, George Will has joined the NYT's amen chorus, getting it most sincerely wrong.

Will's column in today's WaPo begins by charging the president with breaking the law and goes down hill from there at an ever-accelerating speed.

Will's worst point -- which makes me wonder which Washington he's been observing since 9-11 -- is that if the president wanted more power (carrying forward Will's comprehensively wrong assumption that the president needed more to do the domestic intel gathering) he could have asked Congress for it. And that the ever-compliant Congress would have obliged quickly. This is an argument that is, simply, insidious.

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The NSA hoo ha

By on 12.20.05 | 7:44AM

Thanks (today) to the WSJ editorial page for finally publishing the facts about the President's legal and constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches: "The allegation of Presidential law-breaking rests solely on the fact that Mr. Bush authorized wiretaps without first getting the approval of the court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But no Administration then or since has ever conceded that that Act trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security required it. FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed.

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