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Meet the new boss …

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is becoming less enamored of President Obama as we get more proof that presidents, of whatever party, like to expand executive power, and the eight years of President Bush’s doing this were not some aberration changeable by a different surname following the word “president.”

He notes three specific cases in just the past week.

“On Friday, the Obama administration announced that it would no longer use the Bush-identified label ‘enemy combatants’ as a ground for detaining Terrorist suspects, an announcement that generated headlines suggesting a significant change from the previous administration. But the following day, after reviewing the legal brief the administration filed setting forth its actual position regarding presidential powers of detention,” Mr. Greenwald noted, the New York Times’ William Glaberson found that the Obama administration had asserted powers “not significantly different.”

The second case Mr. Greenwald cited was a bit lower-profile. The United States is negotiating a treaty governing intellectual property that privacy and government-transparency groups charge “would criminalize peer-to-peer file sharing, subject iPods to border searches and allow Internet service providers to monitor their customers’ communications.” Some liberal and libertarian groups refiled a Freedom of Information Act request last month with the Office of the Trade Representative. And got rebuffed again, being told that “the documents you seek are being withheld in full — in the interests of national security.”

Mr. Greenwald called “the Bush-mimicking claim” of a national security interest in this case “stunning” and “patently inconsistent with the fanfare over expanded ‘transparency’ during Obama’s first week.”

And then we come back to presidential signing statements, on which Mr. Obama issued a “pretty-worded” and “headline-generating” announcement of “a modest approach” toward presidential signing statements, “one of Bush’s principal instruments for literally ignoring the law,” Mr. Greenwald wrote. “Yet two days later — literally — Obama signed a $410 billion spending bill and appended to it a signing statement claiming that he had the Constitutional authority to ignore several of its oversight provisions.”

Not yet the end

David French, director of the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom, thought he had seen it all.

“But the Spokane Falls (Washington) Community College has proven me wrong,” he wrote at the National Review blog Phi Beta Cons before describing the case, now the subject of a pending lawsuit.

Student Beth Sheeran and some pro-life Christian students wanted to distribute their literature and post some in a campus display case.

“The college said no. Well, actually, they did more than that. They told the group that its materials (which, among other things, highlighted the toll abortion takes on African-American children) were ‘hate.’ They also told the group they couldn’t post pro-life material unless they also displayed pro-abortion propaganda as well. In other words, if the group wanted to make its voice heard, then it had to also help distribute the other side’s message,” an incredulous Mr. French wrote before warning that “the story gets worse.”

“When Beth and other members of her group resisted the university and pledged to go forward with the pro-life event, administrators actually showed up at the group’s planning meeting, threatened them with expulsion, and distributed absurd ‘Stop the Hate’ materials under the college’s ‘bias reporting’ program,” he wrote.

Quiz fun

The Center for American Progress, to pair with reports by Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin claiming that the country is moving left, put up an interactive quiz last week to answer the question “How progressive are you?”

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