makes us older human beings, with our inward turmoil, feel a certain awe in the presence of a little child

While I’m sure that General Hayden the former NSA Director is a fine American, perhaps he has an unhealthy respect for authority with the resulting affinity for hogwash despersement, The “Bad Law” defense

If FISA worked just as well, why wouldn’t I use FISA? To save typing? No. There is an operational impact here, and I have two paths in front of me, both of them lawful, one FISA, one the presidential — the president’s authorization. And we go down this path because our operational judgment is it is much more effective. So we do it for that reason.

To appreciate just how illegal this non-FISA “second path” for eavesdropping is, one can just read Section 1809 of FISA, which expressly provides that “[a] person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally – (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute. . . .” And Section 2511(2)(f) provides that FISA “shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . may be conducted.”

The Administration’s new FISA defense is factually false
It looks like the general was not briefed as thoroughly as he should have, now the administration is stuck with defending either the old excuse for warrantless searches or the new one. In at least one case they’ve been caught twisting the law and in the other case twisting , breaking, and lying.

This has extremely significant implications for the Administration’s claims made yesterday through Gen. Hayden as to why it was necessary to bypass FISA. The Administration’s claim that the “probable cause” component of FISA was preventing it from engaging in the eavesdropping it needed is the opposite of what it told Congress when refusing to support the DeWine Amendment. And its claim that Congress knew of and approved of its FISA-bypassing eavesdrop program is plainly negated by the fact that the same Congress was debating whether such changes should be effectuated and then refused to approve much less extreme changes to FISA than what the Administration secretly implemented on its own (and which it now claims Congress authorized).

This may seem to some to be unrelated to the NSA controversy, yet to many people it speaks to lack of openness that time after time has not been used to guard against unreasonable breaches of executive confidentiality, but to hide a certain level of deviousness and incompetence that charactrizes this administration and its Congressional handmaidens………White House Declines to Provide Storm Papers

Mr. Duffy said the administration had also declined to provide storm-related e-mail correspondence and other communications involving White House staff members. Mr. Rapuano has given briefings to the committees, but the sessions were closed to the public and were not considered formal testimony.

“The White House and the administration are cooperating with both the House and Senate,” Mr. Duffy said. “But we have also maintained the president’s ability to get advice and have conversations with his top advisers that remain confidential.”

Yet even Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, objected when administration officials who were not part of the president’s staff said they could not testify about communications with the White House.

“I completely disagree with that practice,” Ms. Collins, chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in an interview Tuesday.

According to Mr. Lieberman, Michael D. Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, cited such a restriction on Monday, as agency lawyers had advised him not to say whether he had spoken to President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney or to comment on the substance of any conversations with any other high-level White House officials.

That would be the same Mike Brown of whom Bush said, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” after hurricane Katrina.

Update to the post I did about the ancient Chinese map, “Chinese Columbus” Map Likely Fake, Experts Say

But experts have dismissed the map as a fake.

They say the map resembles a French 17th-century world map with its depiction of California as an island.

That China is not shown in the center also suggests the Chinese did not make the map, one expert says.

Historians, meanwhile, dismiss the idea that Zheng He, an admiral in the Ming dynasty’s imperial navy, sailed to America. (See National Geographic magazine feature: “China’s Great Armada.”)

“There’s absolutely no evidence that Zheng He’s voyages went anywhere past the east coast of Africa,” said Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, a history professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

While Alito may be confirmed its never too late to stand up for American values and principle. from Think Progress

During this morning’s hearing, Sen. Russ Feingold noted that the same lawyers who created the legal justifications for Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program coached Alito about how to answer questions during the confirmation hearings

A petitition to let your Senator know that you’re concerned about Alito’s extremme judicial activism,

Dear Senators,
The Senate must reject President Bush’s attempt to reward right-wing special interests by nominating Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court of the United States. Alito’s record as an ideological activist would make his confirmation a threat to civil rights protections, reproductive and privacy rights, environmental protections, religious liberty, and laws safeguarding workers.
I urge you to vote not to confirm Samuel Alito to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is one of those stories that you read and wish would get more attention. Child abuse dressed up as drup treatment

A string of residential drug treatment programs for juveniles based on the “tough love” principle has been abusing children — and occasionally killing them — for three decades now. Some of them have been moved off-shore, and beyond the reach of U.S. regulators, after the authorities here got wind of what was going on.

(It won’t surprise you to know that many of the program operators have strong Republican connections. Mel Sembler, for example, founder of the notorious Straight, Inc., is a major Republican fundraiser and was GWB’s ambassador to Rome; his wife Betty chaired Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial campaign.)

Maia Szalavitz has written a book about it called Help at Any Cost, and according to Mark Kleiman its not being done by a big publishing house so the promotion for the book will be small. Anyone that is interested should contact whoever you usually buy your books from to request that they make it available. I’ll assume at least some of the stray readers that might pass by this page do some of their own blogging, those folks might want to consider mentioning it on your blog, maybe all together we can generate a little buzz. It would help a lot of course if the MSM, like 20/20 for instance would do a story.

“She was perfectly quiet now, but not asleep–only soothed by sweet porridge and warmth into that wide-gazing calm which makes us older human beings, with our inward turmoil, feel a certain awe in the presence of a little child, such as we feel before some quiet majesty or beauty in the earth or sky–before a steady glowing planet, or a full-flowered eglantine, or the bending trees over a silent pathway.” – George Eliot, Silas Marner