Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

The telecoms aren't quite immunized yet
Obama broke a few hearts last week when he issued a statement in support of the FISA overhaul, even though it contains a provision for retroactive immunity for the companies that illegally spied on Americans on aWol's whim. bu$h, scared shitless that the scope of his wrongdoing will be revealed by the process of discovery in a civil trial, has threatened to veto any legislation that comes to his desk that does not have the immunity provision. The House Democrats inexplicably folded like cheap suits and gave the pissant president what he wanted with a 293-129 margin. Now the bill goes to the Senate where Obama says he will fight to strip the nullification of the Fourth Amendment out of the legislation. Harry Reid paid lip service to the notion too, but was pessimistic. “Probably we can’t take that out of the bill, but I’m going to try,” Reid told Al Hunt in an interview for Bloomberg News. We seem to recall a time when nary a jot nor tittle got to the floor without the express consent of the Senate Majority Leader. But that was when the republicans were in charge. Frist put the emphasis on "leader" when he had the job, and Reid's pathetic, cloying, weak-kneed reluctance to display even one iota of leadership is why we want Hillary Clinton to hold the gavel in the Senate for a while.

Bill KKKristol tries to take us all hostage
On Fox News Sunday he primly posited that if it looks like Obama is going to win, bu$h is more likely to bomb Iran than he will be if McCain looks likely to prevail. He would “think it more appropriate” to let him [McCain] deal with the issue. So how is that "I'm not the same as bu$h workin' out for ya, John? This sorta thing kinda strangles that meme, so maybe Kristol will write about it in his column this week, too. Here's hoping...

Scalia conflates fantasy and reality
and Seton Hall law school takes him to task for it. A year ago, he was smirking that "a jury wouldn't convict Jack Bauer," the fictional "hero" of "24,"and that was bad enough. But his dissent to the Boumediene v. Bush decision was not merely over the top, it was sheer fantabulation. He cited what is essentially an urban myth as fact. The truth of the matter is, Scalia "repeated the false accusation that “[a]t least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantánamo Bay have returned to the battlefield.” His source was a year-old Senate Minority Report, which in turn was based on misinformation provided by the Department of Defense...Justice Scalia’s reliance on the these sources would have been more justifiable had the urban legend he perpetuated not been (one would have thought) permanently interred by later developments, including a 2007 Department of Defense Press Release and hearings before the House Foreign Relations Committee less than two weeks before Justice Scalia’s dissent was released." The authors of the report are Seton Hall law professors and council to Guantanamo detainees. Odds are good they will get a chance to argue before the Supremes before it's all said and done, so they seem to be pre-mocking him now.

Brokaw will host "Meet the Press" through the election
“I’ve been appearing on ‘Meet the Press’ since the days of Watergate when it was moderated by Lawrence E. Spivak right through the distinguished tenure of my great friend, Tim Russert, so I feel right at home,” Mr. Brokaw said in a statement. “Tim made ‘Meet the Press’ the center of the universe for informative and lively discussions of public affairs, particularly the exciting 2008 campaign for president, and I intend to continue that commitment to our viewers.”

Ferry Disaster
At least 800 people were missing, and presumed dead, after a ferry capsized in a typhoon that ravaged the Philippines on Saturday. Only four people are known to have survived, most did not make it off the ship in time, and those who did were in tiny, overcrowded liferafts that quickly sank in the cold, storm-tossed seas. Relatives maintaining vigil at the dock where the ship was meant to dock were clinging to the hope offered by an unsubstantiated rumor that some survivors had made it to a small island. There were 724 passengers and 121 crew on board, at least 50 of the passengers were children.

Barr as spoiler?
The powers that be in the GOP seem to think that the potential is there. Political insiders think he might be able to exploit the unease some real conservatives still feel about the faux-conservative McCain. Combined with the surge in turnout among Democrats during the primaries and a difficult political climate for Republicans, they see what could be a recipe for trouble for the GOP. "Bob could be the Ralph Nader of 2008," said Dan Schnur, a GOP consultant in California who worked on McCain's 2000 campaign but is sitting this one out.

Republican running for Fossella's seat passes away
Francis H. Powers, a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a retired Wall Street executive who was running for the seat held by Vito Fossella passed away at his home this morning. The seat is open after Fossella opted not to seek reelection after a scandal erupted in which it came out that the family values republican values family so much that he had two of them.

Tsvangirai withdraws from election
Zimbabwe's opposition leader announced Sunday that he will not take part in the run-off presidential election because a fair election is no longer possible. Tsvangirai says Mugabe has "declared war by saying that the bullet has replaced the ballot", and thus his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will not be a part of the June 27 vote.

Shalit closer to freedom
Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement that will free 100 Palestinian men being held in Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive since being seized by Palestinian militants in 2006.

Forgotten veterans laid to rest in Oregon
The ashes of eight veterans that had remained in unclaimed in storage lockers in funeral homes were interred with full military honors at Eagle Point National Cemetery. The remains were discovered as part of the Missing in America Project, a 2-year-old group that finds, verifies and arranges burials with full military honors for veterans whose remains lie unclaimed in funeral homes. Project volunteers have found and buried 175 veterans and are searching funeral homes in 44 states.

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