FISA Follies

For all the fire-breathing rhetoric we can expect to hear about modernization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the coming months, last week's introduction by House Democrats of their bill on the subject makes one thing abundantly clear: The Democrats and the Bush administration aren't very far apart. But don't tell anyone.

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And Stay Out!

"Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho is a tough guy to run out of town. Not that his Republican colleagues aren't trying.

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Queer Theory

Of all the absurd claims expressed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his recent address at Columbia University, his assertion that homosexuality does not exist in his country is the most ridiculous.

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War of Error

Omar bin Laden, the fourth son of the Al Qaeda leader, cuts a striking figure. In one photo, he stares out from beneath an Adidas baseball cap, his beard closely trimmed--an entirely different look from his father's seventh-century aesthetic. He wears jeans and sits next to his much older wife, a pale-faced British woman with pig tails, whom he divorced a mere five months into their marriage. While his father would not approve of his lifestyle choices, few men know the terrorist mastermind so well.

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News Flash!

Washington, D.C., October 14 The United States Supreme Court this evening issued a decision awarding the Nobel Prize to George Bush.

Al Gore's Nobel Prize has us all wondering who he'll endorse, something Marc Ambinder says is likely to happen in December. My two cents: If at that point it looks like Obama has some chance of winning the nomination, it'll be Obama. I say that for the following reasons: 1.) Obama has the most credible claim to being a transformative figure, something Gore (rightly) fancies himself, too. 2.) Obama, like Gore, got the war right from the get-go. 3.) Hillary, in addition to coming up short on points one and two, has long been a rival of Gore's, and vice versa. And 4.) Crass politics.

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Friendly Fire

Last week, the day before a crucial anti-surge amendment proposed by Senator Jim Webb came up for a vote, Senator George Voinovich-- a moderate Republican on the fence about whether to support the legislation-- was besieged by lobbyists. They were not the usual K Street denizens, though. Instead of silk-shirt-and-cigar chic and libertine conviviality, these people had a decidedly military aspect: Close-cropped hair. Great posture. Extreme politeness.

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Friendly Fire

Last week, the day before a crucial anti-surge amendment proposed by Senator Jim Webb came up for a vote, Senator George Voinovich-- a moderate Republican on the fence about whether to support the legislation-- was besieged by lobbyists. They were not the usual K Street denizens, though. Instead of silk-shirt-and-cigar chic and libertine conviviality, these people had a decidedly military aspect: Close-cropped hair. Great posture.

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Chilling Effect

Scholars beware: A wave of libel lawsuits threatens to stifle open and honest discussion of issues related to the financing of terrorism. Instead of competing on the battlefield of ideas, where facts speak louder than rhetoric, several individuals and organizations have sued scholars researching the financing of terrorist groups.I know firsthand. I was sued, stood my ground, defended my research, and won.

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Pet Fancy

It can't be easy to be a model at Pet Fashion Week, whether you strut the runway on two legs or on four. The highlight of the two-year-old festival of canine couture, held in August in Manhattan, provides a surreal blend of Zoolander and Westminster. Amazonian models sport their fiercest fashionista stares--but alongside them, tugging at jeweled leashes, are befuddled pups in tartan skirts and crushed-velvet trains.

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