Links for 3-15-2013

  • A U.S. District Court Judge, Susan Illston, found national security letters (NSLs) to be unconstitutional. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs since 2000, seeking information from financial, telecommunication, and other companies about their customers. NSLs do not require a judge’s approval, and the recipients are bound by a gag order with no expiration date. Previous legal challenges to NSLs centered on the gag order; this one, filed by an unnamed telecom company, challenged the law’s underlying authority and the gag order.

  • An anonymous resident of the U.K. unlocked another archive of Climategate emails, many of them involving Dr. Michael Mann of “hockey stick” temperature graph fame. (via Bryan Preston at The PJ Tatler)

  • North Dakota’s legislature is poised to pass a law banning abortion for reasons of gender selection or genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome.

  • From Mark Steyn’s weekly column: “As the CPAC crowd suggested, there are takers on the right for the Rand Paul position. There are many on the left for Obama’s drone-alone definition of great power. But there are ever fewer takers for a money-no-object global hegemon that spends 46 percent of the world’s military budget and can’t impress its will on a bunch of inbred goatherds. A broker America needs to learn to do more with less, and to rediscover the cold calculation of national interest rather than waging war as the world’s largest NGO. In dismissing Rand Paul as a ‘wacko bird,’ John McCain and Lindsay Graham assume that the too-big-to-fail status quo is forever. It’s not; it’s already over.”

  • A Miami grand jury is investigating Senator Bob Menendez’s relationship with Dr. Salomon Melgen, apparently focused on campaign cash traded for political favors. Former Democrat National Committee chairman and current Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe may be involved as well.