Law

Immigration Compromise In Jeopardy

Early this morning, the Senate voted 49-48 to amend the legislation to put a five-year sunset on the guest worker program portion of the compromise. Given the uncertainty that would give employers who hire anyone but seasonal workers, it is the equivalent of removing the program.

Cheney Interfered In Justice Department Over Wiretapping Issue

According to the written testimony of James Comey, vice president Cheney's office and Cheney himself, waded into the Justice Department's internal struggles over the legality of the domestic wiretapping program. It is further alleged that Cheney blocked the promotion of a justice department lawyer responsible for the dissent.

Fragile Immigration Deal Facing Killer Amendments In Senate Votes

Several key provisions of the bi-partisan immigration deal are under assault from amendments being considered in the Senate this week.

Congress Working To Block State Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Yes, you read that right. Rep Rick Boucher, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has introduced legislation making the EPA the sole decider on what the greenhouse gas emission regulations should be, if there will be any at all.

NY Makes Selling Violent Games To Minors A Felony

Any game that includes "depictions of depraved violence and indecent images" if sold to a minor is now a Class E Felony in New York.

McCain Wrong To Oppose Net Neutrality

During the All Things Digital conference this week, John McCain was asked about Net Neutrality. His response, clearly against Net Neutrality shows a complete lack of understanding of the issue.

Sales Tax Coming To An Internet Near You

For the past six years, the States have been lobbying Congress to pass legislation to have Sales Tax collected on online purchases. Such measures have failed each year, but this year looks different.

Ban On Tax For Net Access Up For Renewal

Established in 1998, the Federal ban on taxes on Internet access is again up for renewal. Without renewal, it will expire on November 1st, opening up a window for state and local authorities to levy taxes on access to the everything from email to twitter.

Immigration Bill Contains Another Threat To Civil Liberties

As part of the sweeping immigration bill before Congress, there are provisions to establish a set of databases that employers would need to use to verify work eligibility for both future and current employees.

Headlines (5/22/2007)

Relief for the most needy among us. This past week, Congressman Tim Ryan participated in the Food Stamp Challenge. The Challenge is to live on $3 a day for a week. That amount is what the average food stamp recipient receives.

NYPD surveillance prior to the 2004 GOP convention: a list. In NYC during the GOP convention and wonder whether the police were spying on you. Chances are, they were. Just disclosed documents detail who they where keeping an eye on.

Mental Health Problems Among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Casualty statistics should be more than a body count. Consider the lives ruined by mental illness as a result of combat.

Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq.

Headlines (5/18/2007)

Today's headlines are a mixed bag of political, business, and environmental news. Some good, some bad, some just more of the same:

Google wins part of nude-photo suit. This is a victory for search engines and fair use. It's not all great news however, as the court is still deciding whether Google can link to a website without permission.

Scientists cast doubt on Kennedy bullet analysis. A new look at old evidence debunks the single-shooter theory of the assassination. Please, please, no one tell Oliver Stone.

Deal May Legalize Millions of Immigrants. Much to the chagrin of the border-control crowd I suspect. If you're wondering whether it's a good plan, consider that people at both ends of the spectrum hate it. That's a victory for the silent majority.

Headlines (5/17/2007)

Big area of Antarctica melted in 2005. It was thought that melting in Antarctica was limited to the peninsula. Now scientists think it could be a lot worse.

For ’08 Resumes, Don’t Ask Them to Fill in Blanks Candidates on both sides are dodging questions about questionable episodes in their past. Can the American people get an attention span long enough to demand answers.

Senators Renew Call for Gonzales' Ouster. Two more Republicans have crossed over to asking him to step down.

Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason. This is Al Gore's latest book and hopefully his platform to a Presidential bid.

Headlines (5/14/2007)

Starting something new today. The news goes by faster than I can comment. So, to help apathy.net readers keep up, here are the stories I'm reading today:

Microsoft takes on the free world. Fortune magazine digs into Microsoft's plans to seek patent royalties from users of FOSS software like linux.

Iran warns U.S. over strike threat. Following Dick Cheney's remarks that the U.S. will stop Iran from building Nuclear weapons, Iran's president, Ahmadinejad, threatens retaliation for any American strikes and asks whether the U.S. has overstayed its welcome in the region.

Size matters, so does shape under new postal rates. New postal rates begin today in the U.S. The rates, available at the U.S. Post Office bring some confusion to mailing. No longer will first class mail only be rejected for weight, but also size. While normal sized first-class mail is going up a meager 2 cents, large letters go to 80 cents. A large letter is anything that exceeds any one of these dimensions: 11 1/2" long, 6 1/8" high, 1/4" thick.

Bush Makes Swift Boat Donor An Ambassador

Through the use of a recess appointment, president Bush has appointed Sam Fox, a donor partially responsible for the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth attack ads, the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.

Bush had submitted Fox to the Senate for approval, but Democrats attacked his association with the Swift Boat ads and made it more or less clear that he would not be confirmed. When the Senate went into the two-week long Easter recess, Bush withdrew the nomination and appointed him as a recess appointment. Fox will serve as ambassador until the next congress is seated in 2009.

I, for one, think that the president should be able to appoint who he wants to serve in the executive branch. The confirmation process, I believe, tends to politicize even the most mundane of appointments. Add to that the power of recess appointments and the confirmation process is easily circumvented anyway. But, that's not how our system of government works.

It is disingenuous of the president to use a two-week recess to ram through an appointment he knows the Senate will not approve. The purpose of the recess appointment is to fill vacancies in an emergency during a Senate recess. This was a two-week recess and there was no emergency. We're talking about the Ambassador to Belgium here.

More Government Spying

New FBI "emergency" procedures allow agents to request phone records verbally and no longer require that the agents follow-up with a grand jury subpoena.

In the past, agents were required to make such requests in writing and then follow-up with a grand jury subpoena. Very often, according to a report from the Justice Department's Inspector General, agents failed to do any such follow-up.

The report also documents many cases of FBI agents claiming "emergency" circumstances for such requests where no emergency existed. Instead of cracking down on agents, the FBI has decided to lift any semblance of due process by changing the rules to legitimize their illegal practices.

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