Monthly Archives: November 2006

Sometimes it just doesn’t come out right

But ya have to laugh ok…From the Times Picayune

Corrections and clarifications Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Headline referred to trailers, not residents: In some Thursday editions, a headline on a story about illegal travel trailers said “Kenner targeting ‘trailer trash’.” The phrase “trailer trash” was not used by anyone quoted in the story and was not intended in the headline to refer to Kenner residents living in FEMA trailers. The headline referred to the trailers themselves.

(h/t to reader Rob)

Holy Crap!

There was a big jump in new jobless claims last week.

In the week ending Nov. 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 357,000, an increase of 34,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 323,000. The 4-week moving average was 325,000, an increase of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 317,750.

Crime and delusionment

kiss hughes

Here are statements from Karen Hughes regarding Abu Ghraib torture in an interview with Judy Woodruff at Talk to Power.


And what I say to people around the world is those pictures depicted crimes, and I don’t think anyone – any country around the world would want pictures of crimes that were committed by citizens of that country to somehow represent their country around the world, and we don’t want that either.The – some of the individuals that you see in those pictures mistreating prisoners are now serving prison sentences – lengthy prison sentences in federal prison as a result of those crimes. And so I would hope that people around the world would recognize the fact that those were crimes, not policies of the U.S. government,and that the individuals who perpetrated those crimes had been brought to justice. (emphasis mine)

First…lengthy? The sentence for the “poster person” of Abu Ghaib (Lynndie R. England) was 3 years in prison according to WaPo and her sentence compared as thus to the others…

The sentence fell in the middle of the range of punishments meted out against the nine original Army reservists shown in photographs of abuse at the prison, with the “ringleader” of the abuse getting a 10-year sentence and one soldier who failed to report the maltreatment getting no jail time.

And Hughes’ statement regarding US policy is laughable given this and this and the cya Military Commissions Act.

Her salary is a waste of money…put it to good use like in a fund for building levees.

Dick Stiffs Idaho

Classy.

Local taxpayers will pay $3,500 for Vice President Dick Cheney’s Nov. 2 visit to this northern Idaho city to campaign for Republican candidates, despite GOP promises taxpayers wouldn’t get the bill. Officials with the city, as well as Kootenai County, say they will not ask the Republican Party of Idaho to reimburse them for expenses generated by the event, which was not open to the public.

[snip]

State GOP Executive Director Jayson Ronk said the vice president’s visit wouldn’t cost Idaho taxpayers a penny. Now Ronk is declining to comment and instead referred questions about the costs to the White House. “That’s just our policy,” he said.

For the event, the local Republican central committee gave out tickets, but not to some people because they weren’t registered Republicans.

Hostage Crisis

I’m going to be ill:




Being held hostage in Iraq can catapult a gal from a pedestrian UMass pedigree to the hallowed halls of Harvard. But it also apparently makes one rather full of oneself!


The story goes on to recount Jill Carroll rebuffing an interview request while she’s out with friends, apparently in a manner the requester found curt.


Bob Bateman responds:



That is as low as I have ever seen anyone sink in print. I hope, somehow, you have some way to police your own ranks of the likes of these women, and whatever editor was stupid enough to think that this was appropriate for publication on the Boston Herald site.


I mean, I’m still a little stunned here. Being a hostage makes you full of yourself? Maybe it just makes you not want to be hounded while you’re trying to be with your friends. She’s not Julia Roberts, you can make the public figure argument but you can’t exactly say she owes it to you because you saw all her movies. As to not wanting to do any press, well, I can’t imagine why Carroll wouldn’t, seeing the Boston Hairball’s response to her mere presence at a bar.

Honestly. Bateman calls the authors snotty teenagers and he’s right. No matter what Jill Carroll does, it’s still not enough to get her a seat at the Cool Kids’ table. She still didn’t make the cheerleading squad. At a time when journalism is terribly short on heroes, even its most lowly practitioners should be putting up statues and naming awards for Carroll, not sniping at her in the gossip pages like she’s Paris Hilton.

Sick people.


A.

Named

What we call it:

“A civil war,” said Matt Lauer on the Today show on Nov. 27. NBC brass had discussed it, he told viewers, and had come to the bold and publicity-generating—if not exactly jaw-dropping—conclusion that democracy is maybe not flourishing quite the way we planned.

The other two broadcast networks, equally boldly, have not followed suit.

“It was their decision to make and their process,” said Jon Banner, the executive producer of ABC’s World News. “We constantly discuss editorial matters here—all the time, every day. How that decis ion got made there I have no idea, nor do I want to guess.”

“To be honest with you, I think it’s a political statement, not a news judgment,” said Rome Hartman, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News. “We deal with the events of the day, and we decide the best way to describe those events based on the news of the day, not by—never mind, I’m not gonna go there.” Then he did.

Words are the currency I carry, words are what I live by, words are all I have, but in the face of this and this and this, I’m starting to wonder if the words truly do matter. Do people die any differently if Matt Lauer calls it something else? Are people here more likely to pay attention if it’s a civil war, instead of a regular war, or an insurgency, or any of the other ways it’s been called since the invasion?

We name things to understand them. We name things to sort them out, to find out where they fit in relation to us and to each other. We name things to put them in their place.


In the case of Iraq, I’m not sure “civil war” is enough to make sense of it.


A.

Someone is acting

If there are cries of “activists judges” all I say is thank God someone is acting. Two recent cases…

The Bush administration unconstitutionally denied aid to tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and must resume payments immediately, a federal judge ordered yesterday.

“It is unfortunate, if not incredible, that FEMA and its counsel could not devise a sufficient notice system to spare these beleaguered evacuees the added burden of federal litigation to vindicate their constitutional rights,” Leon, a D.C. federal judge, wrote in a 19-page opinion.

“Free these evacuees from the ‘Kafkaesque’ application process they have had to endure,” he wrote.

And in another case at least giving a ray of hope…

NEW YORK (AP) — An unexpected ruling by a federal judge in Louisiana could result in more homeowners collecting money for flood damage caused by Hurricane Katrina — at a likely cost of more than $1 billion to the industry.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. on Monday sided with New Orleans homeowners who argued that the language excluding water damage from some insurance policies was ambiguous.

Although he said the lawsuit against The Allstate Corp., The St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. and other insurers could go forward, he also said the issue of “flood exclusion” was so central to the case that it could be appealed immediately by the insurers.

Spokesmen for both Allstate and St. Paul Travelers said they planned an appeal.

Thanks to all who emailed on these…I appreciate every email, never hesitate to write…ok? (email address is in sidebar)—–

Your President Speaks!

Live, from Amman, Jordan, it’s the Chimpy Show.

Time Limits Defined

A time limit. As soon as possible.

All About al Qaeda

And, yes, I talked about making sure that al Qaeda doesn’t take — doesn’t provide — gets safe haven in Iraq.

Secatarianisms

Well that’s — killers taking innocent life is, in some cases, sectarian. I happen to view it as criminal, as well as sectarian.

All About Oil

But it’s one thing to put people in uniform, and another thing to have clear command structure, or the capacity to move troops from point A to point B, or the capacity to make sure that the troop carrier from point A to point B has got the necessary air in its tires or oil in its engine. In other words, this is a sophisticated operation to get a unifying army stood up.

Graceless Exit Preferred

And that’s why this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all.

Listen To What Iraqis Says

The only way that Iraq is going to be able to succeed is when the Iraqis, led by a capable person, says, we’re tired of it, we don’t want violence, we want the peace that our 12 million people voted for.

This Guy

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Prime Minister, you want to answer some more questions? (Laughter.) Go ahead. Hold on for a minute. Wait, wait, wait.

PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: We said six question, now this is the seventh — this is the eighth — eight questions.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, this guy?

Hard Kweschin

Q (As translated.) Mr. President, in light of the war that the United States is fighting against terror in Iraq, what has been accomplished? What do you expect to be accomplished after a three-year confrontation?

Another question — other people are accusing the United States of bringing terrorism to Iraq, and the proof is that what’s going on in Iraq and what’s going on in Afghanistan. And the biggest loser is the Iraqi citizen.

PRESIDENT BUSH: It’s an interesting analysis: the biggest loser for a free society is the Iraqi citizen when this society was just liberated from the grips of a brutal tyrant that killed thousands and thousands of the Iraqi citizens.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

How Did That Work Out For You Then?

Dan Froomkin:

Mike Allen writes for Time that White House aides are delighted that the U.S. television networks are sending their news anchors to Amman, “ensuring massive coverage of an event that the White House has said is unlikely to produce any major announcement or development.”

Why? Because the White House is simply happy to have Bush in the spotlight — rather than James Baker, whose bipartisan Iraq Study Group has been garnering so much attention in Washington these past weeks.

Writes Allen: “Bush’s aides have begun to chafe at the idea that Baker is needed as some sort of savior for Iraq. Hadley made it clear that the President hopes his Jordan foray will erase any such notion. ‘It’s important, I think,’ Hadley said, ‘for the President to send the message to Prime Minister Maliki that while he is listening to all of these voices for ideas, is open to ideas, that in the end of the day to reassure Prime Minister Maliki that it is the President who will be crafting the way forward on Iraq and to reassure Prime Minister Maliki it will be done in a way that is cooperative with Iraq, rather than imposed on Iraq.’ In other words: Baker is a consultant, not calling the shots.”

In Jordan, Allen writes, Bush’s team hopes “he’ll once again show himself to be in command.” [emphasis mine]

Hay Abbott!!!!!

The traveling press corps plays “Who’s On First, What’s On Second” with an unnamed “senior assministration official” over the question of who cancelled yesterday’s Abdullah-Bush-Maliki meeting, when it was cacelled, and why it was cancelled.

Q Have you gotten any clearer understanding of who made the decision not to make it a trilateral? I mean, did King Abdullah suggest it to Prime Minister Maliki, or did Prime Minister Maliki make the decision unilaterally?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, the one word answer is, no. I can tell you that when the President made the decision — or actually, it wasn’t even a decision a few days ago when the idea arose — of coming here after Riga, it was always a bilateral dinner. I can tell you that. It was always a bilateral dinner, and that was well understood.

I don’t know when the idea — the trilateral idea came up, but it was pretty clear from the dinner, I think, that both of them felt they — you know, there are three bilateral meetings here, which cover all the bases — President-King, King-Maliki, President-Maliki. So everybody gets to have these bilateral conversations and go into all the depth they want, and I guess they just concluded there was no need for a trilat.

Q Did the King of Jordan —

Q — who, that’s my question.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I can only —

Q Did the President Holden in Jordan believing that he was going to a meeting this evening?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No.

Q Did he leave —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t believe so.

Q Did he leave Riga believing that he was going to be meeting —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I wasn’t here, I can’t answer that.

Q When was the White House informed that Maliki would not be attending the dinner tonight?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can’t answer. I can only tell you that there was a good — there was a broad feeling that a trilateral was really not necessary.

The comedy continues…

Continue reading

Department of Oh Fer Chrissakes

Kos leads us to this particularly advanced bit of nonsense from Will Marshall:


The left’s unease with patriotism is rooted in a 1960s narrative of American arrogance and abuse of power. For many liberals who came of age during the protests against the Vietnam War, writes leftish commentator Todd Gitlin, “the most powerful public emotion of our lives was rejecting patriotism.” As he and other honest liberals have acknowledged, the excesses of protest politics still haunt liberalism today and complicate Democratic efforts to develop a coherent stance toward American power and the use of force.

Will, it’s not that I don’t sympathize with you on the surface. If all you do is sit around watching Fux News and suck your thumb, you do indeed come to the conclusion that people hate Democrats and think they’re traitorous bastards who despise America. If all you do is listen to Rush, if all you do is listen to your asshole Republican brother in law at the family barbecue, if all you do is stand there and let them tell you, day after day, what is wrong with you, I can see coming to the same conclusion you have. It’s so hard, isn’t it. Everybody’s so mean.

But what we have do, Will my love, is not “come to terms” with what our opposition says we are and promise, really promise, the American people we’ll change. What we need, Will, is not some national apology session in which we say we regret opposing a war that was in fact wrong and that we did in fact lose. What we need is not some sort of press conference to announce that we’re sorry we hurt all those segregationists’ feelings all those years ago by opining timidly that perhaps police should not turn hoses on peaceful protestors and that we should all just drink out of the same fountain. Because when you talk about protest culture, Will, that’s what you’re talking about. That’s what they’re really mad about.

And Will, every time you drag out some tired quote from some supposed liberal light that verifies exactly what your enemies think, every time you talk about closing the “yawning gap” between Democrats and the military, that’s one more time everybody hears exactly what our opposition thinks of us. Only this time they hear it from our mouths. So please, spare us your blithering on about what Democrats need to do is win the war on terror. What Democrats need to do is stop being such unpatriotic kumbayah pot-smoking libertines.

What Democrats need to stop doing is listening to people like you, who tell them to feel bad about the lies others tell about them.

What Democrats need to stop doing is standing with bowed head as the Republicans whip us senseless with their big brass belt buckle.

What Democrats need to start doing is grabbing that belt, pulling it out of their hands and saying, “Not anymore, Junior. Why don’t you explain why you blew a spy’s cover? Why don’t you explain where all the money our soldiers need went? Why don’t you explain why you tortured innocent people? Why don’t you explain where Osama bin Laden is? Where is he? Where the bloody hell is he and why isn’t he in jail right now watching his gallows being built outside his tiny little window? Huh? Huh? Got an answer for that, you overblown jingoistic piece of useless? Huh?”

What Democrats need to start doing is realizing that there’s nothing wrong with them, except that they don’t say, quite loudly enough to be heard over the noise machine, what’s wrong with their opposition.

A.

Happy Democrat Photo: WEBB! Edition


Oh hell yeah:



“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

That’s how we do things downtown.


A.

Dan Bartlett Explains

Curious as to why Chimpy’s come-to-Jeebus meeting with Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki was cancelled today?Dan Bartlett is here to set you straight.

You see, Maliki already had a two-way with King Abdullah, and Abdullah already had a two-way with Chimpy, so there is no need for Chimpy, Abdullah and Maliki to have a three-way. Got it?

MR. BARTLETT: The President is going to have a bilateral and dinner with the King of Jordan. Since the King of Jordan and Prime Minister Maliki had a bilateral themselves, earlier today, everybody believed that negated the purpose for the three of them to meet tonight, together, in a trilateral setting. So the plan, according to — since they had such a good, productive bilateral discussion, was just for the President to deal with bilateral issues and other issues with the King this evening in a dinner setting, and then the meetings set for tomorrow will still take place as scheduled.

Well that explains everything quite clearly.

Q So the dinner is off, the three-way.

MR. BARTLETT: Right.

Q Well if Maliki — he was never going to the dinner anyway, right? It was just supposed to be a meeting.

MR. BARTLETT: There was going to be a trilateral meeting, and then the dinner with the King. Now, since they already had a bilateral themselves, the King of Jordan and the Prime Minister, everybody felt, well, there’s no reason for them to do a trilateral meeting beforehand, because matters had been discussed.

Q So the scheduled trilateral is scrapped.

MR. BARTLETT: Right.

Q But the dinner — all three of them are still going to be at the dinner?

MR. BARTLETT: No.

Q Okay so Maliki is not doing anything?

MR. BARTLETT: The President will see Prime Minister Maliki in the morning.

Rest assured this has nothing to do with the memo leaked to the NYTimes today by a “senior administration official” [cough – Cheney – cough] authored by NSA Steve Hadley that said Maliki doesn’t know his ass from his elbow.

Q No connection to the memo, whatsoever?

MR. BARTLETT: No.

The traveling press corps is confused, to say the least.

Q The King and the Prime Minister had a meeting, but the Prime Minister hasn’t seen the President since he got here, and the President changed his schedule to come here for this meeting.

MR. BARTLETT: The President requested the meeting. This was the President requesting the meeting with the Prime Minister. And the substantive meetings on Iraq — look, they were not going to be doing a full detail discussion in a trilateral setting about Iraq and the future of Iraq and the strategy anyway, that just wouldn’t be appropriate. So it was going to be more of a social meeting anyways. But the fact that they had already had a good meeting together, felt like it negated the purpose to doing so. And the President and Prime Minister Maliki will have a very robust and lengthy dialogue tomorrow morning.

[snip]

Q Is there going to be a readout afterwards?

MR. BARTLETT: Tomorrow?

Q No, tonight.

MR. BARTLETT: There’s not a meeting tonight.

Q There’s not a readout for us?

MR. BARTLETT: For the King of Jordan?

Q Has it changed because Maliki is not part of the meeting?

MR. BARTLETT: I’ll need to check on that, whether you want a readout of the bilateral conversation between the King and the President?

Q Originally we were told it would be a readout by Elliot Abrams afterwards, but then it was a three-way meeting.

MR. BARTLETT: We’ll look into it, we’ll look into the need for that.

Q They’re having a two-way meeting now, and then they’re having dinner.

MR. BARTLETT: Correct.

Q Two events.

MR. BARTLETT: Both with just the President and the King, and their respective staffs.

Q Are they just meeting right now, just between the President and the King, or are there other people?

MR. BARTLETT: Secretary Rice and Steve Hadley are the two representatives from the United States government, and then two representatives to the King are there. And then the dinner will be a little bit — a few more people will be added to that dinner.

Q Are you going to dinner?

MR. BARTLETT: I didn’t make the cut.

Heckuva job, Chimpy!

The Shame of Texas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who became a millionaire after suing the owner of a tree that fell on him and left him in a wheelchair then ran for his current office on a “tort reform” platform, has signed on with the Bush Assministration in opposing the regulatio of carbon dioxide emissions over he objections of the Texas’ own environmental regulatory agency.

It’s not much of a stretch to say global warming policy will be on trial at the U.S. Supreme Court today.

Twelve states are squaring off against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which they say has failed to do its job by refusing to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas.

But in Texas, where the state climatologist says global warming is a pressing concern and scientists say the Gulf Coast could be flooded within the century, the attorney general has joined a smaller coalition of states that sides with the EPA, which says the gas is not a dangerous air pollutant.

The Texas attorney general’s office did not even consult the state’s environmental agency before signing onto the legal brief submitted to the high court, according to one of the agency’s commissioners.

“The State of Texas’ intervention in this case wasn’t derived from any formal request” from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said Larry Soward, one of three members of the commission. “This agency did not ask the attorney general to intervene in the lawsuit on our behalf, nor have we been involved.

“It’s routine or common course for the agency with regulatory authority to be integrally involved. And that hasn’t been the case.”

[snip]

Texas is the No. 1 emitter of carbon dioxide nationally, with roughly a third coming from tailpipes, a third from industries and a third from utilities.

[snip]

Texas has gained national attention, for instance, for plans by utility companies to build coal-fired power plants, which would add about 115 million tons of carbon dioxide annually into the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide emissions from 11 of the new plants, proposed by TXU Corp., would be the equivalent of adding 10 million Cadillac Escalades on the road, according to the nonprofit Environmental Defense.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has supported the plant proposals and has been routinely attacked by environmentalists because of it, despite the state’s taking a lead in renewable energy generation.

“Texas is one of the few places that refuses to be part of the discussion in how to limit emissions,” said Colin Rowan, a spokesman for Environmental Defense. “We should hold ourselves accountable to how much we emit.”

Forget That ‘Peace on Earth’ Business

Aaargh.


I spent most of last year’s pre-Christmas season in a holiday blues funk, either sick or getting there, and this year I am determined not to let the same thing happen to me. I love this time of year, the anticipation of seeing family and friends, figuring out what to give people that will surprise or delight them, making the whole house smell delicious with gingerbread and chocolates. When I occasionally long to be rich, it’s because I don’t want to have to budget for giving.


Add to that this being the only religious holiday I’ve ever really loved deep down in my bones. Easter was always chilly and miserable and meant eating hard-boiled eggs, and I was too young to appreciate the rebirth metaphor. It’s Christmas that’s always spoken to me, the story, the songs, the lights, the customs. So I’ve spent every day since Thanksgiving listening to carols and planning how to decorate the house and making a list of everything I need to make yummy treats. I will be merry this year if it kills me.

I find this “war on Christmas” stuff profoundly depressing, is what I’m coming around to. I resent having to defend my love of these days, I resent one more thing I enjoy being made a battleground for morons to tell me that if I don’t say exactly the right phrase to the Macy’s clerk then I’m committing some crime against the Christ Child. The whole thing’s exhausting and it’s beside the point. We’re quibbling over words at a time when we really need to be figuring out what the hell to do with the mess of a world we’ve been kicking around in. We’re fighting over what well-heeled shoppers use as a greeting while the earth is caving in. It’s selfish, and small, and appalling, and I want no part of it, attack or defense. Leave God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Rudolph alone.

Somehow we’ve got this idea now that if everybody doesn’t believe exactly as we do and act the same, that that diminishes us somehow, that that is a threat to our own beliefs. What earthly difference does it make to me what somebody says to somebody else in a store, or what someone else hangs or doesn’t hang on their house? Why should I feel affronted if my neighbor does or does not put up one of those giant inflatable Santas this year? I would decorate my house if I lived alone on a farm with no one for miles and no one ever saw my front porch. Put up a festive holiday pentagram and sacrifice a goat for all it would change what I’d do. Likely, living in the city, I’ll never even notice, as animal sacrifice generally denotes Thursday, but do you see my point?

It’s such beautiful poetry, Christmas. I loathe seeing it made into a weapon to decided who is right and who is wrong, who is faithful and who is not. I loathe the insecurity and pettiness that kicking up a fuss over someone else’s decorations implies. Just light some candles, already, and sing Silent Night. That’s all the magic that matters.


A.

Let’s Widen The War!

Wunnerful.

Using money, weapons or its oil power, Saudi Arabia will intervene to prevent Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias from massacring Iraqi Sunni Muslims once the United States begins pulling out of Iraq, a security adviser to the Saudi government said on Wednesday.

Nawaf Obaid, writing in The Washington Post, said the Saudi leadership was preparing to revise its Iraq policy to deal with the aftermath of a possible U.S. pullout, and is considering options including flooding the oil market to crash prices and thus limit Iran’s ability to finance Shi’ite militias in Iraq.

“To be sure, Saudi engagement in Iraq carries great risks — it could spark a regional war. So be it: The consequences of inaction are far worse,” Obaid said.

Newt

“We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade,” said Gingrich

Really?

katrina city flooded

Read Mr. Shearer for more—–

This Makes Him 0-for-2006

Chimpy’s super-duper mighty-frighty terra powers take another hit in court.

A Los Angeles federal judge has ruled that key portions of a presidential order blocking financial assistance to terrorist groups are unconstitutional, further complicating the Bush administration’s attempts to defend its aggressive anti-terrorism tactics in federal courts.

U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins, in a ruling released late Monday, found that two provisions of an executive order signed Sept. 23, 2001, are impermissibly vague because they allow the president to unilaterally designate organizations as terrorist groups and broadly prohibit association with such groups.

[snip]

David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who is helping to represent the plaintiffs in the case, said the executive order and a related federal statute improperly allow President Bush to create “blacklists” and engage in “guilt by association.”

“The court’s decision confirms that even in fighting terror, unchecked executive authority and trampling on fundamental freedoms is not a permissible option,” Cole said in a statement.

The ruling is the latest setback for the administration’s terrorism and detention policies, in lower courts and at the Supreme Court. In August, a federal judge in Detroit ruled that a National Security Agency warrantless wiretap program is unconstitutional. The government has appealed that ruling.

[snip]

The latest case focuses on Executive Order 13224, which is aimed at cutting off financing to alleged terrorist groups and is based on the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Twenty-seven groups and individuals were initially named as “specially designated global terrorists” under the order — including the PKK and the Tamil Tigers — and hundreds more since have been added to the list.

In her ruling, Collins said the order is unconstitutional because there is “no apparent limit” on presidential authority to designate groups or individuals as terrorists. In addition, the judge ruled, language banning those “otherwise associated” with such groups is “unconstitutionally vague on its face.” Collins rejected a number of other claims by the plaintiffs, however, including that the order’s definition of a terrorist group is too vague.

[snip]

Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official in the Reagan years who has criticized the Bush administration’s broad assertions of executive power, said that appealing Collins’s ruling may carry more risks for the government than simply changing the executive order’s language.

“If they take this up on appeal, they risk another repudiation of this omnipotent-presidency theory that they have,” Fein said.

Emphasis added.

“They Told Me To Sit At The Head Of The Table”

Either the famously impatient Chimp arrived a bit early for dinner or no one wants to eat with a Crybaby Loser.

U.S. President George W. Bush arrives for a working dinner with NATO heads of state during a NATO summit in Riga November 28, 2006. Heads of state and government from the 26 NATO countries met for a discussion on transatlantic issues at the highest level on Tuesday.

REUTERS

My Bush Boom Sets Another Record!

The housing bubble is thoroughly popped.

The price of existing homes sold in October fell for the third straight month and posted the biggest drop on record, an industry group said Tuesday, adding it expects weakness in pricing to drag on into next year.

The National Association of Realtors said that the median price of a home sold in October was $221,000, the same as in September, but down 3.5 percent from October 2005.

The previous record drop was a 2.1 percent decline in November 1990, the real estate group said.

While month-to-month declines in home prices are not uncommon, year-to-year drops had been rare before the recent housing slump.

August was the first month in 11 years to see such a decline. September was originally reported as a record 2.2 percent drop, but a revision in those numbers put that price decline at 1.8 percent.