Friday, June 20, 2003

Breaking News: I can't help but think of this story, when I read this story.

John Ashcroft has a public relations problem, according to Hit & Run. One they've been trying to fix, but get no help from...the DOJ.

Here's a telling piece of the Times story to which Hit & Run refers:

"He said that critics of the law had 'charged that under the Patriot Act the F.B.I. has arbitrarily visited local libraries to check out reading records of ordinary citizens.'

"'The fact is simply not that,' he said. 'The Patriot Act simply does not allow federal law enforcement free or unfettered access to local libraries, bookstores or other businesses.'

"Mr. Ashcroft said that warrants issued under the Patriot Act had to be approved by a judge. In contrast, when records, including library data, were sought by ordinary grand jury subpoena, no judge was involved.

"The number of such warrants issued has been classified, despite objections by some in the Justice Department who argue that the low number of warrants actually served would help the department show it was not rummaging in library records."

Hmmm. Didn't stop Ken Starr, back in the day. But, of course, that was different.

And Eric Alterman is really steamed about this. But why? It's just another example of the warm, but resolute haze [go ahead, watch the Microsoft ad] of the Bush reality that is seeping over the land. Even, gasp, to Hollywood. Turns out the director's Canadian, no less, and the film was shot mostly in Toronto. Someone get the scoop on how many members of the crew were pot smoking, married gays.

Speaking of Ken Starr, Bush's team has dreamed up another moderate, bi-partisan judicial appointment, certain to gain the support of both sides of the aisle. My head aches from all the banging it gets these days.

I have my doubts about Howard Dean, but this story may help to change my mind. Breaking into the country club to raid the liquor cabinet certainly shows spunk, class-consciousness, and an anarchist streak that will definitely rally Dean's base. Of course, getting caught is a problem. Since he was the getaway driver, apparently, I imagine that scene in Dirty Harry, where the driver is chain smoking cigarette after cigarette, giving the thing away.

Speaking of reality, the Vatican must be relieved. Evidence that Mary was not the "perpetual virgin" they say she was has not been found.


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