The Spectacle Blog

Still Not Getting It

By on 1.27.06 | 10:45AM

Over at TAPPED, Sam Rosenfeld writes:

There simply isn't an actual dispute between the administration and its critics about the legality of the spying program. The president himself says, in so many words, that FISA was inadequate to the task at hand, so they broke that law. To be sure, he then hammers the podium and yells out a meaningless "This program is legal!" But the substance of what he's saying doesn't even dispute that the program is, in fact, technically illegal.
Um, no. What the administration is arguing is that FISA doesn't apply. To know whether this is true or not, you'd have to know the technical details of the operation. We don't, and shouldn't. But the sources inside the government who opposed the program and leaked to James Risen weren't concerned about FISA, they were concerned about the Fourth Amendment (and the caselaw generally runs against them on this).
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Re: Kerry’s Fumble

By on 1.27.06 | 10:40AM

Dave, the New York Times's coverage is even better than you suggest. How's this for an argent quote about Jean-François? "Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture..."

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The Dope Tax

By on 1.27.06 | 10:03AM

Is it really as absurd as Jay Homnick argues that it is to tax an illegal product? Since sentencing is harsher for sale of drugs without the tax stamp, it's just the sort of protection money we all pay to the government to avoid loss of liberty. It's a raw deal, since as Homnick points out, drug dealers don't get quite the service from government that legitimate businesses get: You can't call the cops if your stash is stolen, and the courts won't enforce a contract with your supplier. But given that, as Homnick acknowleges, "there is a long-standing practice of not excluding illegal income or purchases" from taxation, it would seem that that ship has sailed.

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Kerry Flirts with Lefty

By on 1.27.06 | 9:41AM

Senate source identifies possible explanation for francophiliac junior senator leaving comfy Davos pillows and flinging his windsurfing muscles at dreary Washington (he arrives Dulles noontime) in winter to take charge of filibuster fight on Alito.

Westchester mom and junior senator from New York Clinton has quit the left in her latest version of Republican lite -- howls of body armor, Amtrak armored cars, nuke Iran now, billions for defense not one cent for tribulations.

This leaves Lefty without a dance partner in the run-up to the primaries in '08. So Kerry can grab Lefty's hand, whisper and grin, and Lefty (overweight, shy, vitriolic, but a cup of sugar underneath the Michael Moore fashion line) will pause and smile at Kerry.

Is it enough for Kerry to get an edge in Iowa and New Hampshire? Speculation into the miracle of the Dem logic is not my skill set.

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No More Border Maps

By on 1.27.06 | 8:12AM

The Mexican government will no longer distribute border maps for illegal immigrants, reports the Washington Times. Despite U.S. action on the matter in recent days, the Mexico insists its decision was independent of outside pressure.

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The Votes Just Ain’t There

By on 1.27.06 | 7:49AM

California Yankee reports that at least nine Democrats will vote against a filibuster. The Filibuster from Massachusetts won't last long unless they can peel off from these nine.

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Kerry’s Fumble

By on 1.27.06 | 7:22AM

As John Batchelor pointed out in the wee hours, Kerry's Swiss-based filibuster is an act of self-immolation. It's so bad that the New York Times, in its news coverage, characterizes it today as "quixotic" and awkward. The Washington Post reports Republicans razzing Kerry for beginning the stunt from overseas. Contrast that honesty to the Boston Globe, which comes off as a little too home town for its senators by omitting an mention of Kerry launching this filibuster from Davos or the chilly reception on Capitol Hill.

The Times also reports, as did Batchelor, that Kerry returns to Washington today. Should be an entertaining Friday in the Capital City.

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Hamas needs Daddy Warbucks

By on 1.27.06 | 1:21AM

What will the Saudis do with Hamas?

Watching the telephone calls between Riyadh and Gaza City: will Abdullah make congratulatory call to Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas boss of Gaza and now of the West Bank? Will Bandar make the call for his dad the crown prince Sultan? Hamas needs the Saudis now, as it must make a payroll of 176,000 in the next week, and the Euros are check rubberizing while the Americans are suddenly not available.

Hamas victory is an earthquake. Hamas needs money. What about Cairo? Withdraw this foolish question

Tehran, with the deepest pockets, is much overcommitted at home.

The Saudis are the default Daddy Warbucks. What will the Saudis do?

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