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If I Had Infinite Hours in the Day: 20051226

If I had infinite hours in the day:

http://firedoglake.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_firedoglake_archive.html#113558284855857917 Firedoglake watches Howard Kurtz call Bob Barr a "liberal": "Howard Kurtz: 'Some liberals, meanwhile, attacked the paper for holding the story for more than a year after earlier meetings with administration officials. (snip) Some liberals criticized The Post for withholding the location of the prisons at the administration's request.' And in one fell swoop the whole matter of illegal wiretaps is now reduced to a partisan squabble instead of a justifiable concern about government overreach, invasion of privacy and complete disregard for the Constitution. Someone should hip Bob Barr to the fact that he is now a Fellow Traveler: 'What's wrong with it is several-fold. One, it's bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it's bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without court order.'... Meanwhile in between recipes for the perfect Molotov cocktail and love poems to Kim Jong-il that librul rag Barrons says that Bush's willful disregard for the law 'is potentially an impeachable offense'. Someone check Richard Morin for sharp objects..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/26/national/26mass.html?ex=1293253200&en=d3b74290195098cc&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss Archbishop Raymond Burke attempts to gain "control of the parish's $9.5 million in assets. The parish's property and finances have been managed by a lay board of directors for more than a century. Archbishop Burke has sought to make the parish conform to the same legal structure as other parishes in the diocese" by removing "both the parish's priests in 2004." Now Archbishop Burke has excommunicated the parish's Board of Directors as well as "Father Bozek, a Pole who came to the United States five years ago, said he agonized about leaving his previous parish but wanted to help a church that had been deprived of the sacraments for 17 months," and declared that going to church as St. Stanislaus Kostka "would be a mortal sin." But "1,500 people attended Christmas Eve Mass.... Catholics and others from as far as Oregon and Washington, D.C., filled the church. An overflow crowd viewed the Mass by closed-circuit television in an adjoining parish center. 'I'm not worried about mortal sin,' said Matt Morrison, 50, a worshiper. 'I'll take a stand for what I believe is right'." One has to wonder whether Archbishop Burke is an atheist: it is, after all, the only religion that could possibly be any comfort to him.

http://volokh.com/posts/1135029722.shtml Orin Kerr: "Was the secret NSA surveillance program legal? Was it constitutional? Did it violate federal statutory law? It turns out these are hard questions, but I wanted to try my best to answer them. My answer is pretty tentative, but here it goes: Although it hinges somewhat on technical details we don't know, it seems that the program was probably constitutional but probably violated the federal law known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. My answer is extra-cautious for two reasons. First, there is some wiggle room in FISA, depending on technical details we don't know of how the surveillance was done. Second, there is at least a colorable argument -- if, I think in the end, an unpersuasive one -- that the surveillance was authorized by the Authorization to Use Miltary Force as construed in the Hamdi opinion." Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense & Education Fund: Ex Parte Mulligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall) 2, 120 (1866): "The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government."

http://www.dailyhowler.com/ "WHERE DOES DISINFORMATION COME FROM: Where does disinformation come from? Consider Bart Gellman's short report atop page 12 in this morning's Post. Here's the headline... 'Carter, Clinton Authorized Spying, RNC Says.'... Gellman knew how bogus that claim really is. But you had to read all [of Gellman]... 'The RNC's quotation of Clinton's order left out the stated requirement, in the same sentence, that a warrantless search not involve "the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person." Carter's order, also in the same sentence quoted, said warrantless eavesdropping could not include "any communication to which a United States person is a party."'... Carter and Clinton didn't 'authorize spying' on U.S. citizens.... Why did Gellman write this report as he did? Why did the Post put this headline atop it? We don't know, but we do know this: Cheers rang out at the RNC when they saw their bunk at the top of page 12, with readers required to read very carefully to discern that the claim is pure hokum."

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2005/12/wages_and_compe.html "Thanks to my readers Movie Guy, Joe Rotger, and Spencer (as well as Dave Altig in personal email communication) for helping to clarify a misunderstanding I may have helped promote with my post earlier this week on wages and total compensation. The two BLS series I plotted there, average hourly earnings and total compensation, are not strictly comparable, because they apply in part to different groups of people. Average hourly earnings only refers to production workers, construction workers, and nonsupervisory workers, whereas the BLS compensation series includes all wage and salary workers as well as a compensation imputation to proprietors. Thus the divergent trends between falling wages and rising compensation in part reflects the phenomenon I referred to (an increased share of compensation going to nonwage income), and in part reflects the growing wage gap between nonsupervisory workers on the one hand and supervisors or proprietors on the other. The answer to the question I posed-- should we worry about the declining trend in real wages-- should I think be a stronger "yes" than I originally suggested."

http://instapundit.com/archives/027686.phpMarkos Moulitsas Zuniga lays down ten requirements for places he would like to live. And Glenn Reynolds and Steve Bartin make their play for the Stupidest Men AliveTM crown by recommending... Houston, which flunks five of the ten.

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001160.html Steve Clemons writes: "Powell was apparently the guy in the room who mattered when he was there because he would usually bring up the part of the picture that others had conveniently neglected as they tried to sell their plans to the President. The problem was that Powell had to be in the room.... Rice... today... looks like a Colin Powell cautious incrementalist -- doing what she can here and there, nearly in an ad hoc fashion to promote global stability, encourage and nudge forward self-determination, and doing deals with some of the world's real bad guys -- particularly in North Korea and Syria.... But she... has the 'latitude' to do what she is doing both because she has a personal relationship with the President... and because she does not have a Condi Rice at the National Security Council shutting her down. Rice's biggest failure as NSC Advisor to the President is that she got swept up in the strong Cheney-Rumsfeld current following 9/11 and tilted the President and the national security decision-making process away from judicious analysis and consideration of all options and all consequences. Rice deferred to "the cabal" and made Bush's decision making easier and less complex than it should have been because she filtered out much of what should have been before the President. In the past, Rice shut down Powell and his team..." In other words, there are two kinds of National Security Advisers: those who make sure the president hears what he needs to hear, and those who make sure the president doesn't hear what he doesn't want to hear. Condi Rice was the second.

http://www.povonline.com/cols/COL245.htm On Mel Torme: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas...

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/8952459?rnd=1135391764531&has-player=unknown Matt Taibbi writes: 'I actually worried that gopher-faced administration spokescreature Scott McClellan might be physically attacked by reporters, who appeared ready to give official notice of having had Enough....In fact the room at one point seemed on the verge of a Blazing Saddles-style chair-throwing brawl when McClellan refused to answer the cheeky question of why, if we weren't planning on torturing war-on-terror detainees in foreign prisons, we couldn't just bring them back to be incarcerated in the United States.... The room broke out into hoots and howls; even the usually dignified Bill Plante of CBS started openly calling McClellan out. "The question you're currently evading is not about an intelligence matter," he hissed. I looked around. "Man," I thought. "This place sure looks better on television." On TV, the whole package -- the deep-blue curtains, the solemn great seal -- suggests majesty, power, drama. For years I'd dreamed of coming here, the Graceland of politics. But in real life the White House briefing room is a grimy little closet that's peeling and cracking in every corner and looks like it hasn't seen a bottle of Windex in ten years. The first chair in the fifth row is broken; the fold-up seat doesn't fold up and in fact dangles on its hinge, so that you'd slide off if you tried to sit on it. No science exists that could determine the original color of these hideous carpets. Reporters throw their coats and coffee cups wherever; the place is a fucking sty. It's a raggedy-ass old stage, and the act that plays on it isn't getting any fresher, either. All partisan sniping aside, this latest counteroffensive from the White House says just about everything you need to know about George Bush and the men who work for him...'

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_12/007828.php The Washington Monthly: "The opinion was written by conservative darling Michael Luttig, who until today was considered a possible contender for a spot on the Supreme Court. Now, probably not. In fact, he's probably not even a conservative darling anymore. It's worth reading Luttig's whole opinion. It's not very long and it pretty clearly indicates that Luttig and his colleagues were seriously pissed. They want to know why the government claimed it was absolutely essential to national security that Padilla be detained indefinitely, and then suddenly changed their minds without so much as an explanation. They want to know why this change of heart came only two business days before Padilla's appeal was scheduled to be filed with the Supreme Court. And that's not all. They also want to know why the government provided them with a completely different set of facts than they provided to the civilian court in Miami. They want to know why the government provided more information about the case to the media than they did to the court. And finally, they want to know why the government did all these things even though they must have known that these actions rather obviously undermined their own public arguments about the importance of the war on terror..."

http://www.markarkleiman.com/archives/_/2005/12/.php The Reality-Based Community: "I wonder how long the Bush boosters will continue to peddle the fairytale that the Iraqi elections were a success? The folks nearer the action don't seem to think so. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is trying to put a good face on the Iraqi election results, but he doesn't seem to be willing to just make stuff up. He's pointing with pride to the process... but he's not happy about the outcome: 'It looks like people preferred to vote for their ethnic or sectarian identity. But for Iraq to succeed, there has to be cross-sectarian and cross-ethnic cooperation. At this point, it seems sectarian and ethnic identity has played a dominant role in the vote.' The really bad sign is that the losers aren't taking the results at all cheerfully.... [The] language is not the language of a politician in a country where democracy is likely to work..."