Friday, June 16, 2006

Short Takes

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but there's just so much going on concurrently right now that I want to comment on.

- The Supreme Court decided 5-4 yesterday that police don't necessarily have to knock before they enter a home to execute a search warrant. I've not yet had time to read all the opinions, but what seems clear from the coverage is that this case - which was re-argued after the confirmation of Samuel Alito - woul have come out differently if Justice O'Connor was still on the Court. This seems like an awfully slippery slope for the Court to set out on, and severely weakens the long-term viability of the "knock-and-announce" rule (because why would you knock and give up the element of surprise unless you had to?). I may have more on this after I've had a chance to go over the case more fully, but on its face, this is a troubling ruling. Still to come from the Court are decisions on the Texas redistricting and Vermont campaign finance cases, among others.

- In answer to my question of "Who'll Blink?" on the so-called emergency supplemental to fund Iraq, Afghanistan, and Katrina relief (other posts on that here and here), the answer's in: the Senate blinked. The House passed a pared down supplemental of $94.5 billion on Wednesday, and yesterday the Senate followed suit. The bill was approved 98-1, with Senator Specter voting against passage because he argued the bill wasn't expensive enough. President Bush signed the bill. Importantly, Senate passage was complemented by the 98-0 approval of a proposal (in the form of an amendment to the '07 DoD authorization bill) to force the Administration to submit its requests for war funds through the normal budget process, rather than via "emergency" spending bills. This was a McCain move, and a good one as long as the Senate sticks to its guns.

- New Jersey's attorney general has issued subpoenas to five telephone companies in order to discover the extent of their cooperation with the federal government on providing call data. Now the Administration has sued to block the subpoenas. This could be a watershed moment, depending on how the case works its way through the courts. The government asserts that the state is intruding on federal matters, and that the subpoenas would endanger national security. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

- Some liberal Democrats are up in arms about statements from DSCC chair Chuck Schumer that the national Democratic organization would support an independent bid by Senator Joe Lieberman if he should be defeated by primary opponent Ned Lamont. Democracy for America's Jim Dean (yes, the brother of DNC chair Howard Dean) was annoyed, writing "The DSCC's mission is to elect Democrats to the Senate. Yet in this case, they would prefer to back an incumbent who leaves the party instead of a principled progressive who's proud to be a Democrat." Markos from DailyKos was even more irate. Just another example of partisan extremists working to sideline those in the center. Bully for Schumer. While I may not agree with Lieberman all the time (he's much more positive on the war than I have been for a long time, for example), he's a great senator and deserves another term.

There were more things I wanted to write about this morning but I can't remember them. One is this article in the CSM about the proposal to circumvent the electoral college. I decided I want to write more in-depth about that though, and will do so over the weekend.


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While I may not agree with Lieberman all the time (he's much more positive on the war than I have been for a long time, for example), he's a great senator and deserves another term."

Deserves? If he is defeated in the primary he deserves NO support from the party establishment! Lamont is not some left wing wacko and he'd also be THE choice of Conn Dems. Schumer is ethically obligated to honor that.

Believe me I'd love more Independents in the legislature (being one myself here in California) but if Joe chooses that rout (and I'd like to see him do it for the sake of giving voters more choice) Schumer must fully support Lamont as the DEMOCRAT on the ticket.

The "entitlement mentality" of senators disgusts me! This is from the same Schumer who "advised" Paul Hackett against running in Ohio because he wasn't "their guy" (with veiled threats of smearing in a Democratic primary).

So now they try to have it both ways with Joe gaining a seat as an independent yet still voting issue to issue like the political snake that he is (granted they all are)!

Just another example of what's wrong with politics.

At 1:29 AM, Blogger Elmo said...

Band of the week: Poor Dumb Bastards


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