The Spectacle Blog
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Any discussion of Snoop Dogg's support for Tookie Williams ought to include a lyrical quotation from "Drop it Like It's Hot":
I'm a gangsta, but y'all knew thatI suspect that Snoop's professed belief in his former leader's innocence stems more from loyalty than from conviction.
Da Big Boss Dogg, yeah I had to do that
I keep a blue flag hanging out my backside
But only on the left side, yeah that's the Crip side
Of course they should all be fired. Fines aren't enough: The transit workers' union, like PATCO, should cease to exist. Then maybe NYC can pay its cops, firefighters, and teachers as well as it pays people who drive around in circles.
(Actually, PATCO does still exist -- sort of. Check out their hilariously amateurish official website.)
Most folks who live in New York or use public transportation regularly are supernaturally fluent in the routes -- stop any native in that city for directions, and you usually get a treatise on the benefits of one line over another. Training will probably involve the financial aspects.
Yesterday, a judge ordered that for every day the Transport Workers Union continues its strike, it must be fined $1 million a day, which the union plans to appeal as "exorbitant". $1 million sounds like a lot, that is, until you consider how much an apartment in New York costs, let alone just how large the union is (33,700).
Do the math. $29 a union member, per day, during an illegal strike which has crippled an economic giant of a city dependent on mass transit. Yet these strikers face no jail time, and as of this writing, no threat of losing one's job. The fine should be $1 billion, not $1 million.