Have you met this new liberal, Democratic senator named Arlen Specter?
If you haven’t heard of him, it’s OK. We hadn’t either. But he’s apparently from Pennsylvania. And though he looks like an old Washington insider (who’d live in an East Falls mansion, or something), we’re sure he’s an ACLU-loving dove who’s all about his constituents’ civil liberties.
Take his actions today. Specter invited all members of the Senate’s crime and justice subcommittee of the Senate's judiciary committee to Philly’s James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse. The reason for his invitation: a hearing on the Lower Merion School District’s recent Webcamgate controversy, in which student Blake Robbins was spied on using a school-issued laptop’s webcam. Specter was the only lawmaker to actually show up for the hearing.
Then this guy single-handedly “quizzed a panel of law and technology experts on the implications of Lower Merion School District's remote surveillance of student laptops via Web cam,” the Inquirer reports.
After the vicious questioning, Specter came to the obvious conclusion (rare for a politician): “A picture can be just as invasive on privacy as a statement,” he said, implying his respect for both the verbal and visual civil liberty. The unabashed liberal then said he was inspired to “write proposed legislation that would extend similar privacy restrictions for sound recordings under federal wiretap law to pictures and video captured by cameras.”
The irony of all this – maybe you could call it a coincidence – is that there used to be another senator from Pennsylvania, and his name was Arlen Specter, too! He was a mean old gremlin who followed lockstep with the Bush administration’s mutilation of the Constitution’s civil liberties. Over the Bush years, he supported the Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act, confirmation of virtually every controversial Bush appointee, retroactive telecom immunity, warrantless eavesdropping expansions, and the Bush tax cuts on several occasions. He even voted in favor of the war in Iraq.
Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald once called that other senator, “one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics.” The other Specter said the Military Commissions Act of 2006 would “set back basic rights by some 900 years” – right before voting ‘yes’ on that bill!
This new Arlen Specter is the exact opposite of that old Republican, and we don’t even know what happened to the other Specter. I guess it’s best to not ask questions when it comes to such matters. We’ll just consider ourselves lucky to have a guy like this new Arlen Specter representing us in Washington.
Specter is dragging his peeps up to Philly to deal with Webcamgate. Is Specter, who has a history of civil liberty-eradicating secrecy, really the advocate we need here?
Today, AIDS activists chided Rep. Chaka Fattah and Sen. Arlen Specter, in the most bizarre way possible, because Congress had promised to give $9B to AIDS programs, which it totally hasn't done.
School officials at the center of Webcamgate allegedly spied on Lower Merion students in virtually every way possible, and apparently there are thousands of pictures to prove it.
The defense is blaming the student for taking his laptop home. And if a judge thinks Carol Cafiero has a point, we’re all screwed.