Last month, it was revealed that the court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had rebuked the National Security Agency for using illegal search methods. Not surprisingly, this incident wasn't an isolated one. In another judicial opinion responding to a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, further illegal abuses by the NSA were unveiled. Like the previous revelations, this story reveals the dangers posed by an NSA conducting searches with far too broad a scope and too few constraints.
Nicholas Kristof has a column that exemplifies why the case for bombing Syria is so unconvincing. There's a fundamental bait-and-switch at the heart of the article, using the (uncontested) fact that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a monstrous tyrant to skate over the question of what exactly airstrikes against Syria would do about it.
Over and over again, Kristof notes the death toll of the civil war in Syria:
It’s all very well to urge the United Nations and Arab League to do more, but that means that Syrians will continue to be killed at a rate of 5,000 every month.
With Congress highly unlikely to take the initiative, Barack Obama did something unexpected and good for American constitutionalism: he asked for congressional approval for military action against Syria. His recognition that warmaking is fundamentally a shared rather than a unilateral presidential power is most welcome. But this victory for a more rational policy process will ring hollow if Congress gives the Obama administration everything it's asking for.
Matt Duss has an excellent piece for the Prospect explaining why military action against Syria is probably a terrible idea on policy grounds. In addition to the question of whether the policy is wise, however, it's worth considering whether a unilateral decision to attack Syria by the president would be legal.
The possibility that last year's Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel might be suspended for selling his autograph to willing buyers has left more people aware of the grossly exploitative nature of the NCAA Cartel. There's good reason for that. Preventing players from even making deals with third parties to be paid is a particularly indefensible manifestation of the NCAA's rules. And citing "amateurism" in defense of this exploitation is no answer at all. There's certainly no prohibition on reaping commercial rewards from Johnny Manziel's sweat.