Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I suppose it was a foregone conclusion

Wired is reporting that the House passed the renewal of the Patriot Act last night. President Bush is sure to sign it.

All 16 of the most objectionable parts were still included in the bill, but hey, we get 3 new protections:
  • Give recipients of court-approved subpoenas for information in terrorist investigations the right to challenge a requirement that they refrain from telling anyone.
  • Eliminate a requirement that an individual provide the FBI with the name of a lawyer consulted about a National Security Letter, which is a demand for records issued by investigators.
  • Clarify that most libraries are not subject to demands in those letters for information about suspected terrorists.
The last on is a decent improvement, but the first two fall squarely in the BFD category, at least as I understand them at this time.

Among "improvements" to the legislation, we're also going to regulate, at the Federal level, over-the-counter cold medications in the name of the War on Drugs. I suppose we're killing two birds with one stone and saving time by combining the wars.

Republicans, those champions of smaller, less intrusive government, voted 214 to 13 for the legislation. Democrats voted 124 to 66 against it.

Still no word if this is a permanent renewal or for x number of years. I'll be on the lookout for this piece of information.

The water just keeps on getting warmer and warmer, doesn't it, Froggy?

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