Saturday, December 24, 2005

Doesn't CAIR have two other stories to tell?

At the online site of Daily Times which describes itself as "A new voice of a new Pakistan," we read a story that in one form or another we've been reading since just after September 11, 2001. It begins:

The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim rights organisation in the United States, has described the revelation that Muslim gatherings and homes around Washington have been electronically “sniffed” for radiation as “disturbing.”

In a statement on Friday, CAIR said, “This disturbing revelation, coupled with recent reports of domestic surveillance without warrant, could lead to the perception that we are no longer a nation ruled by law, but instead one in which fear trumps constitutional rights. All Americans should be concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice system, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims.”
If CAIR ever tires of its "we poor Muslims in America" meme, I hope it gives America its explanations for the following:

1) Why so few Muslims choose to emigrate from America.

2) Why so many Muslims have chosen to immigrate to America since 9/11.

If, as CAIR constantly tells us, Muslims are now second-class citizens with a diminished set of rights, why are so few leaving and so many coming?

CAIR should explain these comings and goings.

Surveillance point and counterpoint

Some of the sharpest and most amusing commentary in the blogosphere can be found on the post threads. Here's an example from Chicago Law Professor Cass Sunstein's post, Presidential Wiretaps.

First, this comment:

It seems probable that the administration did not seek FISA authorization for the surveillance because it thought it would not get approval from the special court.(bold added) Approval, including ex post approval, is apparently pretty easy to obtain.

Doesn't that suggest that the surveillance went beyond "those reasonably believed to be associated with Al Qaeda and its affiliates"?
About five comments down, there's a response that includes this:
I agree with most of (the previous commentator's) words but completely disagree with his thoughts and conclusion. Here's my version of his political thoughts-edited for fairness.

It seems probable that the administration did not seek FISA authorization for the surveillance because it thought it unnecessary, even though approval, including ex post facto approval, is apparently pretty easy to obtain. (bold added)

Doesn't that suggest that the administration underestimated its political enemies, the Democrats, and their print arm, the NYT etc.
You just have to smile.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Churchill Series - December 23, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill was always interested in mail from the public. Naturally he couldn't read it all, but staff did; and Churchill had staff keep a tally of the letters by categories he determined. The categories were a mix of "perennials" and subjects of current interest.

Here's the list he made and count for the week of April 2, 1955, when his retirement as Prime Minister was widely rumored:

Requests for autographs, photographs - 45

Foreign letters - 23

On the atom bomb and H-bomb - 21

Requests not to retire - 42

Congratualtion and good wishes - 30

"Lunatics" - 76
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair. (p. 1117)

National Review correspondent puts in what the Times leaves out

National Review’s White House corresponedent Byron York provides critical background information as to why President Bush acted as he did with regard to domestic surveillance. York explains that was a lot more involved in Bush’s decision than just the need to “act fast.”

In 2002, when the president made his decision, there was widespread, bipartisan frustration with the slowness and inefficiency of the bureaucracy involved in seeking warrants from the special intelligence court, known as the FISA court.

Even later, after the provisions of the Patriot Act had had time to take effect, there were still problems with the FISA court — problems examined by members of the September 11 Commission — and questions about whether the court can deal effectively with the fastest-changing cases in the war on terror.

People familiar with the process say the problem is not so much with the court itself as with the process required to bring a case before the court. "It takes days, sometimes weeks, to get the application for FISA together," says one source. "It's not so much that the court doesn't grant them quickly, it's that it takes a long time to get to the court.

Even after the Patriot Act, it's still a very cumbersome process. It is not built for speed, it is not built to be efficient. It is built with an eye to keeping [investigators] in check." And even though the attorney general has the authority in some cases to undertake surveillance immediately, and then seek an emergency warrant, that process is just as cumbersome as the normal way of doing things.

Lawmakers of both parties recognized the problem in the months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. They pointed to the case of Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who ran up against a number of roadblocks in her effort to secure a FISA warrant in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the al Qaeda operative who had taken flight training in preparation for the hijackings.

Investigators wanted to study the contents of Moussaoui's laptop computer, but the FBI bureaucracy involved in applying for a FISA warrant was stifling, and there were real questions about whether investigators could meet the FISA court's probable-cause standard for granting a warrant.

FBI agents became so frustrated that they considered flying Moussaoui to France, where his computer could be examined. But then the attacks came, and it was too late.
Isn't it interesting to read a calm, fact-based explanation of some very important issues affecting the tracking and capture of terrorist.

As you read York's report, did you find yourself wondering, "Why doesn't the New York Times provide information like this?"

York offers much more. It's all here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Secretary General and the "overgrown schoolboy"

Why would United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan lash out at a reporter, calling him an "overgrown school boy?"

Because the reporter was asking about the mysterious purchase of a Mercedes-Benz by Annan's son with the use of Annan's name to secure some UN sweetheart "money savers" on the purchase.

According to one press report:

Mr Annan ... lashed out at James Bone, a respected UN correspondent for The Times.

Bone had tried to ask the Secretary-General a question about the whereabouts of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle bought by Mr Annan's son Kojo and shipped to Ghana with the benefit of UN tax exemptions.

But an angry Mr Annan accused Bone of behaving like an "overgrown schoolboy". He then questioned the reporter's professional standards and, as he has done for months, refused to address the issue of the mysterious Mercedes.

"You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession," Mr Annan told Bone. "Please stop misbehaving, and please let's move on to a more serious subject."

Mr Annan's tirade came just minutes after he said a thick skin and a sense of humor were essential character traits for any future secretary-general.
I can't wait to see how the New York Times, Washington Post and other liberal news organizations report this story.

And what will liberal and further left pundits say about this latest from one of their favorite world leaders?

Stay tuned.

No Chruchill Series post - December 22, 2005

The will be no Churchill post today becasue of many other activities.

I'm sorry.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Churchill Series - December 21, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers’ Note: This post is the second of a two-part post. The first can be found here.

On the morning of December 15, 1943 Churchill remained in bed. His temperature was still 101. There were no signs that his pneumonia had lessened.

Throughout the day, specialist physicians were flown from Cairo and Italy to Tunisia. They administered tests and prescribed medications. They told Churchill to cancel his work schedule. He reduced it somewhat, agreeing to see only one person at a time.

On December 16, Churchill summoned his personal physician, Lord Charles Moran. “I don’t feel well,” he said. “My heart is doing something funny – it feels to be bumping all over the place.”

Churchill was suffering a heart attack, at least his second in less than two years. (The other occurred during the night of December 26/27, 1941 when he was staying with President Roosevelt in the White House. News of that attack was not made public at the time.)

That evening he was “weak but cheerful.” He asked his daughter Sarah to read to him from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.

The following day Clementine reached him. They had not seen each other for almost six weeks. That evening they dined alone. The next day, Churchill suffered another heart attack.

Let us stop the narrative here to reflect a bit before continuing.

During the course of a single week (December 12 to 18) Churchill, age sixty-nine and with a coronary history, had pneumonia all the week and suffered two heart attacks.

No wonder his physicians feared for his life. In retrospect, it seems extraordinary that he survived at all, to say nothing of his living on for another twenty years.

From what source comes such vitality? We can only wonder.

Then there is the matter of Churchill’s behavior as a patient. In that, as in so many things, he wasn’t at all like most others.

Standard medical treatment at that time called for complete bed rest of six weeks or more following a heart attack. And the time was to be spent very quietly with no work or upset.

Churchill, as we’ve seen, would not accept such a routine. So was he reckless to press on with his extraordinary work schedule with all its enormous strains?

Well, before you answer, consider this: Moran says that Churchill repeatedly asked doctors who prescribed bed rest and quiet whether they had any evidence that such a regimen benefited a patient. They had to tell him no. He even asked if any of them knew of a single case where someone had gotten out of bed a day or two after a heart attack and been the worse for it. Again, the physicians said no.

So Churchill saw no reason for not going on with his schedule as his energy permitted.

He decided to continue meeting with people one at a time. He told his doctors he would get out of bed as soon as he felt strong enough.

Now back to our narrative.

By December 19 Churchill’s temperature was normal and Moran said “the signs of pneumonia are disappearing.”

In the succeeding days his strength returned even as he continued to work beyond the limits the doctors thought wise.

By December 24 he felt strong enough to get out of bed for the first time in two weeks.

On Christmas Day Churchill attended a brief religious service and then hosted a luncheon for military commanders. “His doctors are quite unable to control him,” his Private Secretary John Martin wrote, “and cigars etc have now returned.”

During the rest of December and into January Churchill maintained an active but reduced work schedule while also relaxing with painting and visits from friends.

On January 14, 1944 Churchill left North Africa by plane for Gibraltar where he boarded the battleship HMS King George V for the trip back to England. The ship arrived at Plymouth on the night of January 17. The King had sent his train to meet Churchill and take him on to London.

Of Churchill’s arrival in Plymouth an aide recorded, “There were no political, strategic or diplomatic dramas – the atmosphere was one of immense relief that the PM was back alive and well and truly in control of events.”
For references to Lord Moran, see his Churchill: Stuggle for Survival. (pgs. 17-18 and 161-170)

For other references, see Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (pgs. 762-767)

Senator Reid and WaPo team to distort Bush remarks

For Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and the Washington Post, teaming up to claim President Bush said something he didn’t say is as easy as one, two, three.

If you doubt that, read the first three paragraphs of this Post story, Democrats Criticize Bush For Saying DeLay's Innocent. Then look at what the President actually said.

Here are the paragraphs:

(One) Democratic leaders sternly criticized President Bush Thursday for saying former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is innocent of felonious campaign finance abuses, suggesting his comments virtually amounted to jury tampering before DeLay stands trial.

(Two) "The president of the United States said a jury does not need to assemble, that Tom DeLay is innocent," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "To have someone of his stature, the president of the United States, prejudge a case is something I've never seen before."

(Three) During an interview Wednesday on the Fox News Channel, Bush was asked whether he believed DeLay was innocent of the charges of money laundering and conspiracy that led to his indictment and resignation from the House Republican leadership in September. "Yes, I do," the president replied.

It all sounds pretty bad until you look at what the Fox News Channel’s transcript reveals President Bush actually said about DeLay’s trial and his innocence during the Fox News interview with Britt Hume (Scroll about a quarter of the way down to get to remarks cited here):

HUME: You know a thing or two about Texas politics. What is your judgment of the prosecutor in the case, Ronnie Earle?

BUSH: I'm not going to go there, simply because I want — I want this trial to be conducted as fairly as possible. And the more politics that are in it, the less likely it's going to be fair. (Bold added)

HUME: Do you just — do you believe he's innocent?

BUSH: Do I? Yes, I do.

The President never said, as Reid charged, that “a jury does not need to assemble”. He said just the opposite: He wanted a “trial to be conducted as fairly as possible.”

As for the President's "he's innocent" comment, there is in America a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, something The Post often reminded us of during the Clinton administration.

But it's understandable that the Post didn't tell its readers what the President actually said about DeLay's trial or remind them of the presumption of innocence.

If the Post did those things, Reid’s charge and its story would be seen for what they are quicker than you can say, “one, two, three.”

Jay Leno on Iraq and the New York Times

“More Iraqis think things are going well in Iraq than Americans do.

I guess they don’t get the New York Times over there.” —Jay Leno

The Liberal Bubble

The American Thinker editor Thosas Lifson writes today on The Liberal Bubble.

To a remarkable degree, America’s liberal elites have constructed for themselves a comfortable, supportive, and self esteem-enhancing environment. The most prestigious and widest-reaching media outlets reinforce their views, rock stars and film makers provide lyrics and stories making their points, college professors tell them they are right, and the biggest foundations like Ford fund studies to prove them correct.
And has all of that helped liberals to thrive? No, Lifson says:
It has been a disaster for them.
Why is that? Because:
American liberals are able to live their lives untroubled by what they regard as serious contrary opinion. The capture of the media, academic, and institutional high ground enables them to dismiss their conservative opponents as ill-informed, crude, bigoted, and evil.

The memes are by now familiar. Rush Limbaugh and the other radio talkers “preach hate.” Evangelicals are “religious fanatics” comparable to the Islamo-fascists in their desire to impose “theocracy.” Catholics observant of the teachings of their church are “hypocrites” and their priests possible “pedophiles.” Jewish conservatives are members of the “neocon” cult, a suspicious lot schooled in the esoteric works of Leo Strauss.

Liberal elites tend to cluster themselves in the biggest cities, coastal blue states, and if marooned in a red state, liberal enclaves like Austin, Texas, Missoula, Montana, Lawrence, Kansas, and Moscow, Idaho. Ensconced in their turf, they feel free to utter causal epithets directed at the President, Republicans, or conservatives in general, as if no person worthy of respect would dare to disagree.

As a result, liberal discourse has become an in-group code, perfectly understandable and comforting among the elect, but increasingly disconnected from everyone else.
Lifson has a lot more to say. You can read it all here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Churchill Series - Dec. 20, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

November 30, 1943 was Churchill's sixty-ninth birthday. He was in Teheran attending a Big Three conference with Roosevelt and Stalin.

Because it was his birthday, Churchill hosted that night’s dinner for the three leaders and their aides. Toasts were drunk to his health, with many remarking on his great good spirits and inspiring energy.

But a few weeks later, Churchill's medical condition was critical and his personal physician, Lord Charles Moran, feared he would die.

This post and tomorrow’s post tell something of the battle for Churchill’s life and his remarkable recovery, even as he repeatedly defied doctors’ orders and engaged in activities which placed his life at greater risk.

On December 2, Churchill flew from Teheran to Cairo where he immediately launched into a series of troop inspections, Allied strategy conferences, and diplomatic negotiations while in off moments reading correspondence from London and elsewhere, and dictating letters, memos, and planning documents.

By December 9, Churchill was so exhausted he lacked the energy after his bath to dry himself. Instead, he lay on his bed and wrapped a towel around himself. But he pressed on with what he often called "my duty."

On December 10, after another long and active day, Churchill had a private dinner with a young British officer. The officer had just returned to Cairo from months behind German lines in Yugoslav where he'd helped coordinate British support for the partisan Tito, whose hit-and-run attacks were tying down many German divisions Hitler wanted to use against the Russians or to bolster the Atlantic Wall he knew the Allies would soon attack.

With dinner over and Churchill satisfied he had learned all the young officer could tell him, Churchill's day had not yet ended. There was still the matter of a trip to the airport and an eight-and-a- half-hour flight to Tunisia to meet the next day with Eisenhower.

After the kind of day Churchill had put in, an eight-and-a-half-hour flight would be an ordeal for anyone, especially under wartime conditions. But for a sixty-nine year old man with a poor health history?

There were the problems with the flight. The plane landed the wrong airport. For about an hour, Churchill sat on luggage beside the plane in a cold December dawn.

When matters were finally straightened out, there was another hour-and-a-half flight before he finally meet up with Eisenhower on December 10.

Later that day, Churchill sent Eisenhower a note:

I am afraid I shall have to stay with you longer than I had planned. I am completely at the end of my tether and I cannot go on to the front (for an inspection) until I have recovered my strength.
For most of December 11, he remained in bed while dictating to secretaries and meeting with military planners. He didn’t appear at all well.

On December 12 his temperature was 101. His physicians told him he had pneumonia and must cease work activities.

Churchill ignored them. He continued meeting with military officers and dictating letters and memos to staff.

Churchill’s biographer, Martin Gilbert, says that by the night of December 14:
Churchill’s heart began to show signs of strain. Lord Moran feared that he was going to die.

Churchill himself was philosophical, telling (his daughter) Sarah, “If I die, don’t worry – the war is won.”
Tomorrow we’ll see how Churchill’s life-threatening health crisis worsens before he begins a recovery, and goes on to lead in a war whose outcome was a great blessing to us all.
For references to Lord Moran, see his Churchill: Stuggle for Survival. (pgs. 151-162)

For other references, see Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (pgs. 760-763)

Wise words on the NSA surveillance story

A Betsy Newmark post reminds us “I really don’t know” can be very wise words:

I haven't blogged about the whole NSA surveillance story, because, frankly, the combination of not knowing exactly how this procedure worked along with not having the legal background to understand all the laws and precedents seems to dictate that I shouldn't be pronouncing on this. In fact, I wish that most non-lawyers would just calm down before they start pronouncing this some terrible expansion of presidential power. And given, that we don't know much about whom was eavesdropped on and for how long and if a warrant was sought at some point after the fact, it seems that we have ignorance compounded in some of the discussion on TV and on blogs.
Betsy says the post that’s been most helpful to her is George Washington University Law School Professor Orin Kerr’s at the Volokh Conspiracy.

She also links to National Review’s White House correspondent Byron York who details problems the administration faced when using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Betsy ends with a summary and link to commentary by political pundit
John McIntyre of along with some comments of her own.

Betsy and John agree Democrats who see political advantage for themselves in the surveillance debate don’t realize their party doesn’t do very well when it jumps into the National Defense and War on Terror end of the pool.

Read the whole thing. It’s a great post.

Should the AP help the Dems? My Opinion

The Associated Press must believe the Democrats are not doing a very good job attacking President Bush. Why else would the AP run a story: Bush Leaves Out the Bad News in Iraqi Poll? (Dec. 19, 2005)

It’s not news that President Bush is using poll results that suggest his policies are succeeding. Presidents of both parties always do that, just as the opposition party always points to poll results that cast doubt on the President and his policies.

News organizations are supposed to report what the President and his opponents say about polls, and let voters decide between them. And surely the Democrats are up to attacking Bush’s use of poll results.

But while the AP's news story sounds like the sort of thing you expect from Democratic Leaders Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi, it's all from the AP itself:

President Bush is making selective use of an opinion poll when he tells people that Iraqis are increasingly upbeat.

The same poll that indicated a majority of Iraqis believe their lives are going well also found a majority expressing opposition to the presence of U.S. forces, and less than half saying Iraq is better off now than before the war.
Now if Reid and Pelosi had made those remarks, it would have been reasonable and informative for the AP to ask questions such as: “Do either of you know what percentage of Iraqis support the immediate withdrawal of American and coalition troops from their country?”

But how can the AP ask the questions and report when it’s making the statements?

That question deserves consideration. Personally, I hope the AP stops trying to help the Democrats.

The AP and the country will both be better off if the AP develops into an unbiased news organization.

Readers’ Note: I’m pretty sure the AP would want me to say it already is an unbiased news organization.

Monday, December 19, 2005

No Churchill Series post on Dec. 19

Because of my work load, there'll be no Churchill Series post today.

I'm sorry for that.

The Series resumes tomorrow, December 20.

I usually have the Churchill post up by about 11:30 PM Eastern.


Reuters Plays a Democratic Party Game

In a story headlined, House approves $39.7 bln spending cuts (Dec 19, 2005), Reuters helps the Democrats play one of their favorite games. In the process, it misleads the public.

The story begins:

The House of Representatives on Monday narrowly voted to cut $39.7 billion from federal spending over five years, including health care and other social welfare, as part of a conservative push to contain these growing programs.

By a vote of 212-206, the House, at the end of a rare overnight session, approved the spending cuts, which were opposed by Democrats.
The House really didn’t make any spending cuts to health care and other social programs. It voted multi-billion dollar spending increases for them all, only by a slightly smaller percentage than earlier proposed.

But Reuters partners with the Democrats and calls the reduction in proposed spending increases “program cuts.”

Once an MSM news organization reports such “program cuts,” a game rule requires it to quote Democrats hammering Republicans for “hurting the poor and helpless.”

Reuters followed the rule:
Democrats criticized spending cuts to student loans, child care and other programs. Rep. John Spratt (news, bio, voting record) of South Carolina, the senior Budget Committee Democrat, complained that Republicans were negotiating last-minute deals to help medical equipment manufacturers and suppliers, while maintaining reductions in some programs for the poor.

Rep. Chet Edwards (news, bio, voting record), a Texas Democrat, said, "This bill under the Republican leadership makes Scrooge look like a philanthropist."
Additional savings would come in student loan programs, which Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), a Democrat, called "the biggest cuts to student aid programs ever."
Ther's also a rule that allows MSM news organizations to report terrible things about Republicans without any supporting evidence. So Reuters can report Rep. Spratt accused Republicans of “negotiating last-minute deals to help ... manufacturers and suppliers, while (reducing) programs for the poor” without a quote from Spratt or anything else to support what it claims he said.

Some game!

Reuters waits until the sixteenth paragraph before reporting the $39.7 billion decrease in spending growth is part of a five year, $14 trillion dollar budget proposal. And it never reports the $39.7 billion represents only one-third of one percent of that $14 trillion.

Why does Reuters wait until the sixteenth paragraph? Why does it fail to report "one-third of one percent?"

Because that’s the way an MSM news organization plays the Democrats’ game.

More, Mr. President, Lots More!

I give President Bush a 10 for his press conference performance today. He was clear and forceful. Here he is on the New York Times' disclosure:

My personal opinion is it was a shameful act, for someone to disclose this very important program in time of war.

The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy.

You've got to understand, and I hope the American people understand, there is still an enemy that would like to strike the United States of America, and they're very dangerous.

And, you know, the discussion about how we try to find them will enable them to adjust.
The President's words won't go down well with the liberals who dominate MSM and their Democratic Party friends in Congress, but most folks on Main Street will understand what he's saying and agree.

Michelle Malkin and Ankle Biting Pundits have extensive coverage, including links to other bloggers.

The White House transcript and webcast are here.

Bush got a big, unintentional assist from an obviously hostile, partisan press corps. If I were running the Republican National Committee I'd be working right now to place ads on TV and the internet highlighting the press corps' performance. I liked this reader comment at Michelle Malkin:
The press corps reminded me of that Saturday Night Live skit that ran in the beginning of the 1st gulf war. The press kept asking “ When exactly will we attack, from which direction and what forces will be used” and “What secret code do we use and how does it work?”.

These people are so clueless and blinded by partisanship that they actually expect the president to let everyone know what methods we use to track the communications of people that want to kill us all.
Most of MSM will continue to distort the President's words and actions. The only way for him to counter that is by talking directly to the people.

So more, Mr. President, lots more!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Churchill Series - Dec. 18, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

A few random facts concerning Churchill:

The former cavalry officer who loved polo and fox-hunting rode to his Sept. 12, 1908 wedding in an electric automobile.

During Churchill’s time, the Prime Minister’s official country residence, Chequers, lacked central heating. Eisenhower referred to it as "that damned icebox."

Churchill once told Eisenhower: "All I want is compliance with my wishes, after reasonable discussion."

Of Churchill and Eisenhower, historian Carlo D'Este says:

Although the two men would engage in numerous heated debates during the course of the war, neither ever lost his respect for or friendship with the other.
Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: Young Statesman for photo and description of automobile (after p. 222)

Carlo D'Este, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life for other references (pgs. 328-331)

The Washington Post, domestic surveillance, and the Robert's children

The Washington Post editorializes today on government eavesdropping to determine whether people in this country are in contact with terrorists overseas. The editorial concludes:

Congress must make the administration explain itself. In the aftermath of the revelations, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said hearings on the matter would be a high priority in the coming year. That's good. It should be unthinkable for Congress to acquiesce to such a fundamental change in the law of domestic surveillance, particularly without a substantive account of what the administration is doing and why.
But the Post says nothing about domestic surveillance of some of American citizens' most private records. For instance, the adoption records of the Robert's children.

Remember? The New York Times decided it needed to take a look at the children's sealed adoption records. Blogger Michelle Malkin covered the story here.

To my knowledge, the Post never expressed any concern about the Times' domestice surveillance.

It's not too late for the Post to say whether it believes a private, powerful, partisan organization such as the Times should be able to secretly gain access to the adoption and other private records of American citizens, including children. And if so, under what circumstances, and with oversight by whom?

It would also be helpful if the Post explained how the new national shield law it and other newspapers are demanding would have operated in the case of the Times' snoop at the Roberts children's records. Would the law have prevented the public from learning what the Times was up to? Does the Post favor the public knowing when news organizations do such snooping?

Does the Post see any need for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter to hold hearings on what the Times did?