The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department's new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities -- such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps.
The NAO surge continues roughly as you'd expect ...
"I have had a firsthand experience with the trust-me theory of law from this administration," said Harman, citing the 2005 disclosure of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, which included warrantless eavesdropping on calls and e-mails between people in the United States and overseas. "I won't make the same mistake. . . . I want to see the legal underpinnings for the whole program."
Thompson called DHS's release Thursday of the office's procedures and a civil liberties impact assessment "a good start." But, he said, "We still don't know whether the NAO will pass constitutional muster since no legal framework has been provided."
I think there is some reasonable debate here about whether people have no expectation of privacy in regard to things that are only visible from above. At the time the Constitution was written, certainly, a hedge afforded some privacy.
I'm rerecommending this chart because of the data it contains and not because of the conclusions it seeks to have you draw from that data.
The Bush Administration is certainly directly responsible for some of the changes on this list, such as international opinion of the US, and the increases in our budget and trade deficits.
However, in many respects this chart is pure partisan bullshit. The most starkly annoying aspect is the inclusion of US dependence on foreign oil as a percentage of total oil consumption by the party that faught domestic oil exploration in Alaska. You're blaiming your partisan enemy for the inevitable consequences of the policies you advocated. That's as low as it gets.
Many of the items on this list, such as the increase in oil prices and the amount of job creation, are related to aspects of the business cycle or developments in the global economy that aren't the direct responsibility of the Bush administration. Some, such as changes in the cost of insurance and the number of people insured, are more clearly political, but are the fault of a wide array of actors and not just the Presidency. In fact, the Administration did work on the insurance problem.
The things that I like about this chart are political but I don't see them as directly related to Bush. The most important statistic, I think, is the median household income. It dropped. In 8 years, it dropped.
Thats why our economy is contracting. Because in 8 years businesses have become more productive and they have increased their value but the people who live in this country haven't benefited. The only reason they've had more money to spend is because of phony inflation of the price of their homes built upon irresponsible credit mechanisms.
I suspect a lot of the real value is moving overseas. The question is whether American growth is just going to stop until the rest of the world catches up and our workers become competitive again? Thats going to take a long time. And I don't think its a problem that the Democrats are in a position to solve, although I suspect replacing the H1-B program with a permanent residency system would have a substantial impact.
Curling also said that society needed to learn to be more forgiving of past mistakes that come to light through background checks, but said that companies are afraid of hiring people with any spot on their record due to the threat of civil litigation.
That's a fine sentiment, and ChoicePoint is clearly hoping that the first one that gets to be forgiven for its past mistakes is itself. As for the Joes and Janes of the world who might have shoplifted or passed a bad check and can't get a job now, Curling suggested Tuesday that their forgiveness will have to wait for either litigation reform or a really tight job market.
This is so fucked up. I don't know what else to say.
Companies that buy this data and refuse to employ or do business with people who have some poc mark in their past claim they have to do this in order to avoid liability. Of course, liability can only exist because the data is available and so failure to access it could be considered negligent. The data is available because Choicepoint makes it available. Choicepoint could refuse to sell data that is more than 5 or 10 years old, because unethical, but they don't, because its profitable, because of the liability, which is created by the fact that they sell it. Now they claim that they wish people were more forgiving, in the same breath that they ask forgivness for their own fuckups. How these people sleep with this tangle of contradictions is extremely hard for me to understand.
Litigation reform? Actual litigation is not required before lawyers will act skitish. Why don't we just make it illegal to traffic in this information? Oh, I forgot, they're funding Senators.
NPR : O'Connor Decries Republican Attacks on Courts
Topic: Politics and Law
5:55 pm EST, Mar 10, 2006
We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.
and I where lucky enough to be able to attend the last day of witness testimony for the Samuel Alito Confirmation Hearing. Thanks to Tim Ball and John Flym, we were able to acquire a pass to witness part of an important historic event.
As the story goes, Professor Flym was having a problem with his laptop causing him to be unable to file his statement in time to give testimony. Tim's boss told him to do anything necessary to solve his problem. In the process, due mostly to chance and good timing, "anything necessary" wound up involving Tom and I. We were not able to completely fix John's problem the first night, but we were able to get him in a position where he could get his work done. The next day we returned to completely fix the problem, and John gave us a witness pass he had.
Having watched what must amount to several solid months of C-SPAN, being on the other side of the cameras was interesting. The hearing room in the Hart building is like being in a pressure chamber, more so than any court I've been in. I can only imagine the stress felt by those testifying. Tim was busy the entire day, so Tom and I took shifts attending the hearings. I was present during Flym's testimony, as well as that of Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Amanda Frost, Reginald M. Turner, Jr., Theodore M. Shaw, among others, and the closing of the hearings. Tom will probably chime in with his take on the hearings, but I remember him being very happy about being there for the testimony of Fred Grey, who defended Rosa Parks.
Later at Shmoocon, there was some humorous discussion about if the badge qualified as a ticket to the "Nerd SuperBowl" or the "Nerd World Series". At the time, I was strongly on the side of "Nerd SuperBowl", but lacking a well worded concise argument for why. Given some time to think about it, its clear that "Nerd SuperBowl" does fit best. The "Nerd World Series" would better fit a string of WTO and G8 summits, while the Security Council would be the "Nerd World Cup". Its good to be a nerd.
Anyway, joking aside, this was a really cool experience. Both Tom and I spend much time thinking about legal problems. It was a honor to be present in person for even the small portion of proceedings we were. On the linked page, I included a few pictures and screen captures from C-SPAN where I can be spotted. I was unable to find any screen shots where Tom was present. Since he knows where he was sitting and at what time, maybe he will have better luck.
Rattle wrote: The best source I've found for the current West Wing floor-plan come from the Washington Post. Depending on whichversion is correct, Miers has an office either right down the hall from the president or on the south-west corner of the second floor. Both are prime locations.
This is an interesting post. I wonder what the date on the first picture is?
Sandra Day O'Connor Announces Retirement - July 1, 2005
Topic: Politics and Law
2:59 pm EDT, Jul 1, 2005
Dear President Bush:
This is to inform you of my decision to retire from my position as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States effective upon the nomination and confirmation of my successor. It has been a great privilege, indeed, to have served as a member of the Court for 24 Terms. I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the Court and its role under our Constitutional structure.
Sincerely, Sandra Day O'Connor
O'Connor is a moderate, or in the parlance of Republicans an "unreliable conservative." They will not accept a similarly unreliable replacement, like Gonzales. The end result of this will almost certainly be a shift to a more Conservative court.
The political firestorm will kick off immediately, but why care? It will not impact the final outcome. It is merely a marketing campaign, wherein Bush will attempt to show the radicals that he is a serious conservative and the moderates that the liberals are unreasonable. The liberals will attempt to show the moderates that Bush is a radical. Its all posturing for the next election and only useful if you haven't been paying attention.
Bunnygrrl had some thoughtful comments on O'Connor's resignation.
As for me, well, she came down on the wrong side of the CDA court case, which puts her (along with a large majority of Congress and the Senate include John Kerry) on my long term mildly irrational grudge list. She writes:
The universe of material that is "patently offensive," but which nonetheless has some redeeming value for minors or does not appeal to their prurient interest--is a very small one. Appellees cite no examples of speech falling within this universe and do not attempt to explain why that universe is substantial "in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep."
This is one of the most ignorant things that has been written in any modern Supreme Court dissent. I think she should be required to listen to a selection of the most abrasive and angry punk, industrial and hip hop at a high volume until she decides to die her hair flourescent orange or she realizes what was at stake in that case.
] The defense claimed that the search at the airport in ] 2003 was not "reasonable" and therefore that evidence ] obtained from it should not be admitted. The Superior ] Court of California, County of San Mateo, is accustomed ] to dealing with cases that arose at the San Francisco ] Airport, but it's not particularly used to constitutional ] challenges to aviation screening procedures, nor to ] having multiple camera crews turn out for a single ] pre-trial evidentiary hearing in a misdemeanor drug ] possession case.