DC Business as Normal: The people screwed again, and again, and…

There’s the wind up. Now the pitch. Fast ball right down the center. From the MercuryNews:

The Patriot Act cleared a major hurdle Thursday that ensures it will be renewed soon.

The Senate voted 96-3 to move toward final passage of new civil liberties protections to the Patriot Act, which the White House negotiated with a handful of Republicans.

Some Democrats remain convinced that the post-Sept. 11, 2001, anti-terrorism law gives the federal government too much power to intrude into the lives of innocent Americans. It is set to expire next month unless it is renewed.

But Thursday’s vote clears the way for final congressional approval, which seems assured once Congress returns after next week’s Presidents Day recess.

The Patriot Act bill would renew most provisions. Last year, the Senate blocked renewal after Democrats and a few Republicans argued that more protections were needed against government intrusion.


From the Chicago Tribune:

The Bush administration helped derail a Senate bid to investigate a program of warrantless eavesdropping.

Senate Democrats said the Republican-led Congress was abdicating its obligations to oversee a controversial program in which the National Security Agency has monitored phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents and foreign parties without obtaining warrants from a secret court that handles such matters.

“It is more than apparent to me that the White House has applied heavy pressure in recent days, in recent weeks, to prevent the committee from doing its job,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said after the panel voted along party lines not to consider his motion for an investigation.

Stree-ike two!

I’ve got an idea. Let’s see which civil liberties bill is voted upon by the Senate next. With the count at two and oh, there’s a remote chance they’ll be afraid (you may reasonably ask what I’m currently smoking) of striking out. Should they swing and miss on the next pitch, we all know the penalty. Even the mighty Casey didn’t get another chance at bat after he struck out.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. Realistically, politics is the art of the possible. Sununu et al got significant changes made, despite the fact that the clauses they got changed were largely ignored by Bush anyways. Half [okay, a slice of] a loaf is better than none. I’d call this one a foul rather than a strike, meaning they can continue to hit fouls all day as long as they keep hitting and don’t miss…

  2. With quotes like this (and there are more and worse), I’d say that it might have gone down the third base line, but was still ruled a strike:

    Appeals will be allowed of gag orders placed on recipients of national security letters. Appeals could occur one year after receiving the letters.

    I don’t remember an exception to the First Amendment for “Homeland Security” issues.