The Spectacle Blog

Re: No PATRIOT Act, No ANWR, etc.

By on 12.21.05 | 3:19PM

Dave: Doesn't that also mean that the McCain amendment is now in limbo as well? Wasn't Defense Approps the bill it was riding? If so, I'll trade ANWR to kill the McCain amendment in a heartbeat.

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Secret Spying

By on 12.21.05 | 3:14PM

Never mind that all the TV Newsers using the above headline last night and today wouldn't know a redundancy if it bit them you know where.

The fact is, a number of news outlets -- CBS News (big surprise there), ABC News, CNN and MSNBC (and by extension, perhaps NBC) -- were all presented with varied FISA court rulings as early as yesterday afternoon that confirmed what many folks have been saying: that even the FISA court acknowledged the Executive Branch's right and responsibility to order such wiretaps without a warrant in times of emergency.

One CBS News producer, who works on a different show than the nightly news, told us that nightly news producers both in DC and in New York were aware of the documents and the ruling and chose not to incorporate them into their reporting.

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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 3:07PM

From our blog, to the judge's ear? New York Supreme Court Justice Theodore Jones reportedly has ordered the transit worker union chiefs to appear in court tomorrow to face criminal contempt charges. (The Supreme Court is the lower trial court in NY. Go figure).

Let's hope Jones throws 'em in the lockup for the duration. And why aren't Bloomberg and Pataki hitting harder? This strike has gone on long enough. The strikers should be fired today and begin to be replaced tomorrow. Doesn't anyone remember New York rules? With all due respect to our midwestern pals, Chicago rules are softball by comparison.

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No Patriot Act, No ANWR, No Defense Approps

By on 12.21.05 | 12:57PM

Senate Democrats are on a roll. After jeopardizing national security by blocking the Patriot Act, they've filibustered the Defense appropriations bill in rejection of ANWR drilling.

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Re: Jim Robbins Explains It All

By on 12.21.05 | 12:55PM

Lawrence: I like Jim a lot, but I think he errs in his analysis of the FISA statute. He argues that terrorists are "foreign powers... as defined in section 1801, subsection (a)" of FISA. But as Orin Kerr explains, warrantless surveillance is permitted only on "foreign powers, as defined in section 1801(a)(1), (2), or (3)" -- terrorist organizations aren't defined as a foreign power until 1801(a)(4), (5), and (6). The surveillance may still be legal -- I'm more inclined to think so than Kerr seems to be -- but it isn't that easy a call.

Also check out Tom Smith's interesting response to Kerr, and Jeff Goldstein's long round-up, both of which get at the fundamental question: Whether we view terrorism through a crime paradigm or a war paradigm.

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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 11:49AM

Peter, That's wonderfully put. Though I must make a grudging admission that it applies much more to Pataki than Bloomberg. For all of his liberal leanings, the city is fortunate to have gotten him as the successor for Giuliani, given the alternatives. He is a highly effective manager; and who knows but that this strike may yet reactivate his inner Boss, honed from years in the private sector? He didn't get this far without knowing how to squash bugs. Here's hoping.

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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 11:16AM

Paul, not only will it be ugly in those tunnels, but it'll also be generally unpleasant all around. There won't be a whole heck of a lot of Christmas cheer once a citizen hops on a bus that was made unavailable to him days earlier because someone didn't want to pay into an already extravagant pension plan. And I doubt the workers themselves will be joyous that their strike, which earned them such ill-repute, earned them so little -- to the point where the union itself, as you point out, might actually implode.

And your RINO point is strong in quite another way; this is a city that's a liberal haven, a Democrat depository. Yet they couldn't satisfy these workers? What does that say about liberal efficacy?

Oh, and all this talk about RINOs reminds me about another subject entirely, something G.K. Chesterton once said about rhinos, that there's something eminently funny about a creature that existed yet looked as though it didn't. That applies quite well to Pataki and Bloomberg.

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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 10:55AM

Firing the transit workers and breaking the union would be glorious, but short of that the damage they are doing to themselves and their cause may ultimately bring about the union's demise in any case.

This is a union that cannot seem to recognize when it is winning a negotiation: the MTA backed off its demands to raise the retirement age for new workers to 62, from 55. That was a huge victory for the union. The MTA backed off its (pathetically modest) demand that workers contribute a whopping one percent of their earnings to help pay for health care benefits, instead of the current big fat zero. That was a huge victory for the union. The MTA agreed to a 10.5% salary increase phased in over three years, at annual rates of 3, 3.5 and 4 percent, something a lot of private sector workers would be very happy to be promised (if it weren't for the minor fact that you can't make promises like that in the private sector, because you might not be able to pay for them). THAT was a huge victory for the union. So why did they walk?

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Re: Gettin’ Their Memorial On

By on 12.21.05 | 10:22AM

Oh, I think the whole "conviction" thing was the problem in the first place. Anyway, I don't even think that Snoop was speaking out of loyalty. Given his age, I doubt Snoop had an opportunity to meet Tookie before the latter went to jail; unless, of course, they met in jail, which is altogether likely -- you know, sitting around the recreation room, writing children's books, imagining how to make the world a better place through peace and tolerance. It makes you yearn for Malcom X.

Snoop's comments are as opportunistic as all the other jackals who made that man's funeral into such a circus. If Tookie was truly redeemed, if he had truly repented, you would not know it by the behavior of those in attendance. For Snoop to claim he was observant of Tookie's metanoia is the same as Judas noting that Jesus had a few good points.

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