Tag Archives: msnbc

Parts of PATRIOT Act Declared Unconstitutional

In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Turley blasted President Obama’s record on civil liberties:

Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.

However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly.

Today brought better news. MSNBC reports that the U.S. Circuit Court struck down two PATRIOT Act provisions dealing with probable cause-less searches. The case centered around Brandon Mayfield, an attorney in Portland who was falsely linked to the 2004 Madrid bombings.

Mayfield was arrested and fingerprinted. His fingerprint was falsely matched to a print found in Madrid. After that, the FBI put him “under 24-hour surveillance, listened to his phone calls and surreptitiously searched his home and law office.” This , according to Judge Ann Aiken, crossed the line.

Two provisions down, many more to go. Until then, President Bush’s third term continues.

The Partisan Mind at its Finest

I don’t watch cable news. Sometimes people ask me why. This video explains as well as anything:

MSNBC’s Palin obsession is puzzling at first glance. There is no way she could win a presidential primary, let alone a general election. She polls poorly with independents, and not even everyone in her own party supports her. She is irrelevant to the 2012 election.

Why pay her any mind, then? Because she’s polarizing. That’s good for ratings. Palin has become a two minutes hate figure right out of Orwell.  Hence the video above. We must find something, anything, that will make this person look bad! And thus, to feel good about ourselves. It’s as base an impulse as there is.

The partisan mind is not rational. It suffers from clouded judgment. That’s been my hunch for some time. And it turns out that neurological research is bearing this out.

The left-right political dichotomy is obsolete and inaccurate. I propose replacing it with a liberal-illiberal split; conservatives and progressives might be surprised to find themselves firmly allied on the illiberal side.

Maybe then Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame can finally, mercifully, end.

Printing Money Troubles

There is a lot of talk lately about the Fed’s quantitative easing policy. It is an indirect way of printing money, and also a huge mistake. It turns out the Fed can’t even print money the direct way without making mistakes. A new $100 bill that is harder to counterfeit has been rolling off the presses recently. 1.1 billion of them have been printed so far, at a cost of $120 million.

CNBC reports:

An official familiar with the situation told CNBC that 1.1 billion of the new bills have been printed, but they are unusable because of a creasing problem in which paper folds over during production, revealing a blank unlinked portion of the bill face.

A second person familiar with the situation said that at the height of the problem, as many as 30 percent of the bills rolling off the printing press included the flaw, leading to the production shut down.

The total face value of the unusable bills, $110 billion, represents more than ten percent of the entire supply of US currency on the planet, which a government source said is $930 billion in banknotes.

Coincidentally, these would be the first bills to feature Timothy Geithner’s signature.