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.
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.
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.