Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Specter has questions on the Patriot Act, where are the Democrats?

"This closed-door briefing was for specifics," Mr. Specter said after emerging from the session on Tuesday. "They didn't have specifics."

That's from Eric Lichtblau's "Specter Voices Frustration Over Briefing on Patriot Act." Opposition to the Patriot Act is not a partisan issue. That said, one has to wonder where the Democrats are? Is Lichtblau ignoring them or was this another issue they decided to take a passon yesterday?

If it's the latter, exactly what does it take to make them stand up and speak out? If Democrats want to be leaders they need to start acting like leaders. We didn't see a great deal of leadership yesterday (as reported by the Times).

From the article:

Mr. Specter's blunt displeasure could mean political complications for the Bush administration in seeking to extend parts of the antiterrorism law that expire at the end of the year. The White House has made the renewal of the law a top legislative priority, but an unusual coalition of liberal civil rights groups, conservative libertarians, privacy advocates, library officials and gun rights supporters has emerged in urging Congress to consider narrowing some of the powers.

Are Democrats waiting to see which way the wind blows on this one? (If they are, as Specter notes in the article, the public is voicing doubts and concerns.)

We'll end discussion of this morning's Times by noting this item from "World Briefing" that Kara wanted noted:

The spokesman for the country's judiciary said the judges had rejected a demand by Canada to return the remains of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who died while in detention in Tehran in 2003, for an autopsy. "Even though she had Canadian citizenship, an Iranian court will investigate her case because she was an Iranian citizen," he said. An Iranian doctor, Shahram Azam, who is in exile in Canada, said this month that he had examined Ms. Kazemi in Tehran and had seen signs that she had been tortured and raped while in custody. Iran's position is that Ms. Kazemi, 54, died after falling and hitting her head. In Canada, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew, denounced Iran's decision, saying it was consistent with its "pattern of cover-up and lies." Nazila Fathi (NYT)

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