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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Sunday News Round-Up

James Bamford has a detailed article in the NYTimes this morning regarding the NSA and its expanded use by the Administration.
In essence, N.S.A. seemed to be on a classic fishing expedition, precisely the type of abuse the FISA court was put in place to stop.At a news conference, President Bush himself seemed to acknowledge this new tactic. "FISA is for long-term monitoring," he said. "There's a difference between detecting so we can prevent, and monitoring."

This eavesdropping is not the Bush administration's only attempt to expand the boundaries of what is legally permissible.
Certainly worth a read. And the detail dovetails with what Arkin's Early Warning blog has been discussing as well. (Doesn't it somehow seem as though this Administration has taken Orwell and Phillip K. Dick as some sort of "how to" manual as opposed to cautionary tales?)

Plus, the NYTimes has a glimpse into the politics wars on campuses these days. Seems to me the question ought to be which side gets to win in demanding politically correct speech for only their side -- because the GOP doesn't want free speech that criticizes them any more than what they accuse the so-called PC folks on the liberal end of doing. Read. Discuss.

Looks like there is some substantial fear of violent reprisals in Iraq after the last election. With calls of things being rigged and some outright threats, there is a lot of worry that the nation is a bit like a powderkeg. Oh, and Knight Ridder is reporting that a number of Sunni candidates are being disqualified from service due to connections to Saddam's regime. That ought to make the Sunnis cheery. (via TPM) So much for the purple finger brigade.

Speaking of Iraq, the US military is refusing to return prisoners freed from the Iraqi interior ministry torture basement, because there is concern that inappropriate conduct is continuing. Oh yeah, they are so ready to take things over from us. *cough* Oh wait...

And it's yet another Republican Congressman under scrutiny, according to the WaPo. This time over the spending of Homeland Security dollars. It's some great on-the-ground reporting, and a good read.

Plus, hat tip to John Casper for this plummy little tidbit: the Boston Globe has some additional information on Abramoff's DC. eatery, Signatures, and what the Preznit has been doing to put together his Save His Sorry Ass State of the Union address. Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune offers some free critique. (via Atrios)

UPDATE: Missed this LATimes bit (via Detroit News) on the Abramoff mess and likely candidates for plea take-down. Who wouldn't want this sweet bit in their stocking?

UPDATE #2: TalkLeft has a treat up for everyone. Just go watch.

UPDATE #3: Time has more on the Iraqi elections and back-room dealing.