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United States Government Politics

Broadcast Flag Sneak Not Attempted 365

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the should-we-celebrate-that-someone-wasn't-a-jerk dept.
Trizero writes "THOMAS, one of the best sources for Congressional action on the Internet has shown that no amendments occured to the CJS Appropriations Bill. Monday, Slashdot covered the EFF announcing a rumor that a senator was attempting to sneak an amendment to bring the Broadcast Flag into law. From THOMAS (scroll down to the bottom): "6/21/2005: Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. Approved for full committee consideration without amendment favorably." Translation: No one attempted to sneak the Broadcast flag into law." Update: 06/22 18:55 GMT by J : The EFF's new Activism Coordinator, Danny O'Brien, sees this as a victory for swift citizen action. Impressive numbers. Nice work by EFF and Public Knowledge, and everyone who raised their voice.
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Broadcast Flag Sneak Not Attempted

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  • So what happened? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:38AM (#12881304)


    So, the Broadcast flag wasn't smuggled into law within the CJS appropriations bill, as threatened earlier.
    The question now is: why not?

    • Did the massive phone campaign [publicknowledge.org] advocated by Public Knowledge [publicknowledge.org] manage to dissuade the senators?
    • Did the senators decide against this course of action on their own?
    • Or was this just an unfounded rumor to begin with?

    Discuss.
    • Re:So what happened? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <relyo.nhoj>> on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:41AM (#12881334) Journal
      D) None of the above.

      Sneaking something into an appropriations bill, by definition, requires it be "sneaked"... impossible to do, if everyone knows about it. 3 weeks from now, 3 months from now, 3 years from now, there will be another bill, people won't be on guard for it, and it will return.
      • eeeeh I think at this point the ACLU and EFF amongst everyone else is watching everything on Congress's table like a hawk. They've tried doing this before if I'm not mistaken (didn't they try and sneak renewing pieces of the Patriot act into another bill at some point?) It's not that easy anymore...
      • Sneaking something into an appropriations bill, by definition, requires it be "sneaked"... impossible to do, if everyone knows about it. 3 weeks from now, 3 months from now, 3 years from now, there will be another bill, people won't be on guard for it, and it will return.

        And that's exactly why you should donate [eff.org] to the EFF, and stay on thier action alert mailing list - so when they do try again the EFF can raise the alarm and you can hear it to take action.

        Basically now there's ALWAYS someone watching. A
    • by garcia (6573) *
      Did the massive phone campaign advocated by Public Knowledge manage to dissuade the senators?

      No, see below.

      Did the senators decide against this course of action on their own?

      Senators don't have free thought. They are paid by corporations to think/act like the corporations tell them to.

      Or was this just an unfounded rumor to begin with?

      Probably unfounded or at least only partially true. If anything, there was something far more insidious going on elsewhere and this was an attempt to divert the all
      • > Senators don't have free thought. They are paid by corporations to think/act like the corporations tell them to.

        I would say most of them are simply just highly attached to their own prejudices, many of which are ignorant, superstitious, and bigoted, while the rest are idealistic without the benefit of either pragmatism or human empathy. And without exception, they hunger for more power. Most corporations prey on these attributes first before falling back to naked avarice.

    • So what happened? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ndansmith (582590) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#12881491)
      Perhaps the backers of the broadcast flag would like to wait for another bill to append it to. For instance, the Real ID act passed the senate 100-0 as a part of an $80B war funding bill. The war funding bill had strong support in the senate and the house because the congressmen don't want to look bad to their constituents. Additionally, those sort of bills are not often held up in committee, because people want to get them through fast.

      Attaching an ammendment like Real ID or Broadcast Flag will not slow the process. So maybe the CJS Appropriations Bill was not an ideal carrier for Broadcast Flag since appropriations bills tend to be the most debated and delayed.

      • Re:So what happened? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by stiggle (649614) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:16PM (#12881667)
        What is it with senators appending bills to others to try and get them passed.

        Surely if you are voting on a specific Bill then thats all you should be voting on - not "The Senate should buy more duck food for the ducks on the lake Bill" with the appended "Nuke Russia Bill" and "Give Hollywood and Microsoft everyone's firstborn Bill"

        • by ndansmith (582590)
          That is just a symptom of Amercian-style representative "democracy." A good percentage of legislature at the federal level is hardly beneficial to the nation and its people.
          • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:44PM (#12881938) Homepage Journal
            The solution is simple. Pass an amendment giving the President a line-item veto. Let each item stand on its own merit. Perhaps a line-item veto could be overturned by a simple majority rather than a supermajority as with normal vetos. In other words, prevent Congress from blackmailing the President and each other with these (usually spending) bills that normally would never pass.

            But I suppose making things more efficient and effective isn't The American Way (TM).

            How long till someone proposes a whole year's worth of legislation as one bill... up or down? And voting down means depriving war orphans of free milk, which makes you worse than Hitler (at least according to Senator Durbin), whereas voting up cedes citizens' rights to the **AA, insurance companies and other large, rich corporations, buried so deeply in the legislation no one even knows it's there.

            • by LordNimon (85072) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:51PM (#12882014)
              Better idea: pass an amendment that prohobits "riders", like what Minnesota has done (or so I've heard).
              • by forkazoo (138186) <(wrosecrans) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:31PM (#12882373) Homepage
                I'm not sure how exactly you would phraze the ammendment, but yeah, I agree that a "one law, one vote" ammendment would do wonderful good for America. Just make it so that anything added into a bill where it doesn't belong is declared unconstitutional as soon as anybody challenges it. While we are at it, we should also have an accuracy in naming clause in the ammendment. So, you can't have a bill that does something terrible, and call it, "clean skies bill," or "school lunches for poor minorities act" which make use of torture illegal.
              • Re:So what happened? (Score:3, Informative)

                by Ateryx (682778)
                I think you're referring to the "personal protection" (conceal and carry law) that was passed a few years back with another law. It was revoked late last summer on the technicality that it was added onto another law. Fortunately for everyone in Minnesota, an even better law recently passed this spring allowing responsible citizens to legally carry a firearm concealed and open.
            • Re:So what happened? (Score:5, Informative)

              by stefanlasiewski (63134) * <slashdot AT stefanco DOT com> on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:11PM (#12882180) Homepage Journal
              It's not that simple unfortunately. A line-item veto did exist briefly during the Clinton Administration, but died upon it's first use.

              President Clinton briefly had the power of the Line Item Veto [loc.gov] between 1997 - 1998. It was Declared Unconstitutional [wikipedia.org] in 1998, after President Clinton's first attempt to use the veto. If I remember right, Clinton knew that the Line-item veto wouldn't survive, and chose to use it in a mostly symbolic act.

              The Courts said that this particular attempt at a line-item veto gave unprececented legislative power to the executive branch.
        • Well generally it does have something to do with the bill. For instance an Appropriations bill that gives the FCC its money will also declare what the FCC can do with the money. One of these items will be to give it the power to create the broadcast flag.
        • they write them.

          By permitting 'pork' to get tacked onto bills, the bill's originators insure that they will get support from whoever's 'pork' it happens to be.

          That how you end up with bills on railroad subsidies carying some agriculture provisions. Its all like that: "You scratch my pig and I'll scratch yours."

          It also how you kill a bill.

          Just attach a portion that touches on abortion (for or against, doesn't matter,) religion (a sure fire bill killer since it will be stuck down constitutionally, ever by
        • by drew (2081) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @03:05PM (#12883375) Homepage
          Since nobody else seems to have posted this yet (surprisingly)...

          Ob. Simpson's reference:

          Kent: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.

          Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --

          Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

          Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?

          [everyone boos]

          Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]

          Kent: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.

      • Ugh. Frustrating. Why aren't these pork-barrel bills ever named for what they really do. I'd love to see "The Anti-Consumer WillOfThePeople-Circumvention and Privacy Disposal Act" someday.

        *NONE* of this would happen if we limited the length of individual bills, acts and actions to maximum of 1,000 words on 10 printed letter-size pages in a single-spaced 12point courier font.
    • How about, "the Senators grinned and said, 'you won!' but will slip it into the next Iraq bill when fewer people are snooping around."
    • Or was this just an unfounded rumor to begin with?

      Given that this is slashdot, land of unfounded rumor, take an educated guess :-)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      1) Restate article summary
      2) Ask obviously implied questions
      3) ???
      4) Karma!

      The mods here are idiots.
      • by pegr (46683)
        1) Restate article summary
        2) Ask obviously implied questions
        3) ???
        4) Karma!

        The mods here are idiots.


        Yes, but karma, like most of the posts, is inherently worthless. Kinda like this post!
    • Re:So what happened? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bhsx (458600) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:00PM (#12882083)
      Well, I can tell you that for the first time in my life, I called my Senator, Dick Durbin. I've used the EFF's (invaluable) fax service before; but I've never actually called. This, for me, could be a final straw in my belief of a failing system, you see; so it became that important to me. This is how the conversation went:
      bhsx: I'd like to know Senator Durbin's stance on the rumor of a ryder being added to the appropreations bill regarding the mandate of the broadcast flag.
      Nice, very professional sounding rep: You know, we just started hearing about this yesterday, and we really don't know enough about it to say, at this point.
      bhsx: Well, the rumor only broke yesterday. I voted for the Senator last election; and will rethink that vote if this happens.
      Nice, very professional sounding rep: We are taking a tally, we've gotten plenty of phone calls about this. Do I understand that you are against this possible ryder?
      bhsx: Yes, very much so...
      Nice, very professional sounding rep: That does seem to be the concensus here sir, we will be looking at this very closely. Thank you for calling.
      Of course, Senator Durbin is eating crow over breaking Godwin's Law, so maybe he saw this as a possible platform for looking like the good guy again. Who know's why it happenned; but believe that every one of us here that faxed and phoned got heard. Keep up the good work everyone!
      • I did too (Score:3, Interesting)

        by davetrainer (587868)

        I called mine too - Arlen Specter of PA. Like you, the first thing I asked was "does Senator Specter have a position on this?" Like yours, the answer was no, not really. Big surprise, since this is surely the first these people have ever heard about this mysterious thing that they don't understand.

        Continue to emphasize it, there has been no debate over this issue in the appropriations committee or the technology subcommittee! My guess is, this is more likely to compel them to yank the rider out of the reo

    • It's like cockraoches in the night.. They disappear as soon as you find the lightswitch. That doesn't mean that they're gone, though. They just don't like the light.
    • Re:So what happened? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ntk (974) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:38PM (#12882443) Homepage
      It's not over yet.

      Just between you, me, and a few other passing Slashdot folk, here's the extent of what we know: there's a senator who is (or was) friendly to the idea of dropping a BF amendment into the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill.

      There are a number of opportunities for them to do this: drop it in sub-committee (Tues), full committee (Thurs), or even later in the passage of the bill.

      If it's an uncontroversial amendment, and you're a sneaky senator, you're better off dropping it in early, because then the job is done, and someone else has to fight to get it out of the bill.

      The more controversial it becomes, the later you should place it (when the bill has some momentum, and fixes are harder).

      The BF got a lot more controversial this week.

      The campaign switched this to becoming the "Broadcast what?" amendment, to the "Is this that Godforsaken thing that's been melting my staffers phones all week?".

      It was always an even split whether the sneak move would go in Tues or Thurs (which was why it was a 48 hour campaign, and we've been targetting the full Appropriations Committee). They could still try and stick it in tomorrow, but that's becoming increasingly unlikely (we're betting 50/50 right now). Too hot a potato.

      Next stop in this line of attack would be an amendment on the senate floor, but there's some time to go before that.

      I've written about the effect of your messages on the EFF site [eff.org], but that's mostly statistics on exactly how big the response was (summary: for a campaign targetted at a few senators in a short time-frame, it was huge).

      I'm currently pulling together all the possible opportunities the broadcasters have for sneaking the flag in. I'm tempted to publish that, because it would give people a better overview, but there's a bit of me that thinks "Don't let them know what the opposition knows!". What do people think?
  • Wait there's more! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prophetic_Truth (822032) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:38AM (#12881307)
    Don't start jumping up and down. This won't be the end of the broadcast flag...
    • Yes, they'll find a way to restrict low quality re-hashed sitcoms to only authorized viewers...

      Maybe these protection methods would make more sense if they had something really worth protecting.

      And before anyone gets all "well people do actually watch Friends, tom". That's simply a product of not having a choice. After decades of decreasing quality television people assume that they're getting what they actually want/need/crave/desire.

      So I say go for the whole shebang. Cancel analogue television and m
      • After decades of decreasing quality television .....


        When has television ever not sucked? Have you ever gone back and watched old TV shows? They don't just suck, they blow!

        If anything, TV today is better than TV in the past (but by enlarge it still sucks).

      • And before anyone gets all "well people do actually watch Friends, tom". That's simply a product of not having a choice.

        I wasn't aware that anyone in the US was chained to their screen and literally forced to watch. Of course there's a choice - kill your television.

        This is not to say that I'm indifferent to the broadcast flag - I think it's a terrible idea. But you do have a choice. You can vote with the power button on your remote.

        Sean

    • Yeah, it still has to get through the full comittee. They could amend it tomorrow.
  • A draft proposal wasn't added either.
  • So which bill are they going to try to put it in? Maybe the rumor got hot enough that he decided to slip the amendment into another bill sometime later, after the heat was off.
    • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:49AM (#12881426) Homepage Journal
      >So which bill....?

      Exactly. Some MPAA congresstooge will slip it in under the cover of night, as it were.

      On the other hand, consider the possibility that the story was leaked as a trial balloon, to see how much attention it would get. They'll put it out again every couple of months, until we all decide that a broadcast flag is inevitable.

      Considering how many people think digital TV is some kind of constitutional right, I suspect we'll get a broadcast flag along with subsidized digital TV -- to protect our way of life, fight terrorism, and to save the children.

      The MPAA will get their broadcast flag, and the government will borrow money from my kids to pay for it.
      • Considering how many people think digital TV is some kind of constitutional right, I suspect we'll get a broadcast flag along with subsidized digital TV -- to protect our way of life, fight terrorism, and to save the children.

        Yup, been there and talked about that [slashdot.org].

        Sad isn't it?
  • Poor senator (Score:4, Informative)

    by paranode (671698) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:41AM (#12881331)
    I wonder if the entertainment industry will keep bankrolling his election campaign after he has failed to help them.

    One of the most needed pieces of legislation in this country is a Federal-level law that states the amendments and provisions of a bill must directly relate to its topic. I know a few states have this now but Congress uses this backdoor to get all sorts of shady and illegal legislation passed every year.

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:51AM (#12881438) Journal
      amendments and provisions of a bill must directly relate to its topic.

      Like that will change a thing, really. It'll just mean that our bills will be titled

      "Wont somebody think of the children in Iraq and my taxes on my million dollar house are too high and random porkbarrel act of 2006"

      On the other hand, we'll quit getting stupid cutesy acronyms like PATRIOT and what not.
    • Re:Poor senator (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:55AM (#12881477) Homepage
      illegal legislation

      I have to call you on that one. If Congress passes the law, and the president signs it, it is by definition legal. There ain't no such thing as illegal legislation. There is such a thing as unconstitutional legislation, though, which is maybe what you were thinking of.
      • There ain't no such thing as illegal legislation. There is such a thing as unconstitutional legislation, though, which is maybe what you were thinking of.

        Why is there a difference? If I were to break a local, state, or federal law, I'd have committed an illegal act. But if Congress breaks the rules in the Constitution, which is the highest law of the country, it's merely "unconstitutional".

        Too bad it isn't illegal to pass laws or otherwise act against the constitution. "It seemed like a good idea at t
        • Governance has to be conducted with the assent of the people, not under fear of imprisonment by an authority claiming to represent the people. We keep electing mental midgets who blather and wag their jowls in moral furor, passing law after law that must be struck down time and again by the judiciary, but we got the government we deserve. Unfortunately, I also got the government we deserve, as did all the kids in Iraq.

          I personally have wished for worse penalties for contempt of the constitution and the p
        • by markhb (11721)
          It's really what I think of as the Louisiana Purchase rationale. A law is enforceable so long as it hasn't been declared unconstitutional. Only the courts can make such a declaration, and they have to have a relevant case in front of them to do so. In order to bring a suit against the government, you need to have standing to do so; i.e., you have to have been directly harmed by the government action or law in question. There was no reasonable cause of action regarding the Louisiana Purchase (you aren't
          • This is true, but even when its possible to trudge the path to unconstitutionality all that lawyer and court time isn't cheap. Maybe the proper "punishment" for breaking Constitutional law should be that when a law is ruled unconstitutional, all court fees for the entire process for both the prosecution and the defense from the first trial, all of the appeals, and the supreme court should be deducted out of the salaries of the people who voted yes, and the president if the president didn't veto it.
      • Re:Poor senator (Score:5, Insightful)

        by paranode (671698) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:42PM (#12881917)
        Unconstitutional legislation is illegal legislation. Perhaps an oversimplification on my part but a truth nonetheless.
    • Re:Poor senator (Score:3, Interesting)

      by brwski (622056)

      What would be even better is a constitutional amendment which would require either that bills be limited to one item and one item alone (no riders, etc.), or that each and every provision to a bill would have to be voted on for it to be included. A great addition to either of those would be a limit on the number of laws allowed. If we fill up the number, an old one has to go. That would rock...

      brwski

      • Re:Poor senator (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iabervon (1971) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:36PM (#12881853) Homepage Journal
        We have that in Massachusetts. It's nice for avoiding riders, but it has certain problems: they can't pass a bill to tax one thing (e.g., gas) to fund a different thing (e.g., public transit), and it's therefore possible for one bill to pass and the other not. If the funding bill is first, opponents will say there isn't money to fund it. If the taxation bill is first, opponents will come up with more popular things to spend the money on.

        I think a better solution would be to have a quick process for undoing the effects of a rider. The day after passing a bill with a rider that wouldn't have passed as a bill by itself, anyone could propose repealing the rider, everyone would look at the rider and realize that it's something noteworthy that wasn't actually discussed at all, and they'd vote with no argument for keeping it (since no argument was initially raised for adding it). Chances are that such a bill would survive a presidental veto on general principle (or the threat of sneaking something nasty about the areas that fail to support it into the next popular bill).
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:42AM (#12881344)
    Perhaps they should first mandate a legislation flag that sends up an alarm whenever someone tries to sneak something in like this ("Hey! Those mohair subsidies are necessary to defeat the terrorists!!!!").

    Either that, or REQUIRE that every piece of legislation be read in full on the House floor by Gilbert Gottfried, and on the Senate floor by Ben Stein before it gets voted into law. If you haven't heard it both screamed and droned, it can't be signed into law.

    • Ben Stein used to write speeches for Nixon, before he concentrated on protecting his money on TV.
    • That would make me watch C-Span a lot more than I do now (yes, I watch C-Span regularly - sosumi).
    • This is exactly what the line-item veto was for, but as soon as the republicans got control of the house and senate during Clinton's term, it was removed.

      The purpose of the line-item veto is so that unrelated lesiglation placed into a sure-to-pass bill can be removed without striking the entire bill down.

      • "This is exactly what the line-item veto was for, but as soon as the republicans got control of the house and senate during Clinton's term, it was removed."

        The republicans in Congress actually supported Clinton having the line-item veto. It was ruled unconstitional by the Supreme Court in 1998, which was a few years after the republicans got control of Congress. That was what stopped it.

  • by ajkst1 (630286) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:43AM (#12881346)
    But the coach did signal for the Statue of Liberty play. The quarterback then decided to go for the play action...
  • I am sure they will listen intently on my next call to them.

  • Is it too late for all those people yesterday to take back renouncing their citizenship and threats to move to Canada? Looks like they are safe to stay for at least another week or so.
  • And next time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:49AM (#12881414)
    I mean, you're basically getting a national ID card based on a rider. Shouldn't you all be lobbying your senator and congressperson to have this nonsense stopped?

    • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:12PM (#12881632) Homepage Journal
      Getting the nonsense stopped is harder than it sounds.

      The US Congressional procedures are very strange. Bills are created by committees; they don't usually go to the floor until it's been approved by the committee. After that, it's tricky to change the bill.

      Most deliberative bodies have a "motion to split", which allows you to take a bill and chop it into pieces and vote the separate pieces. The US Congress rules of order don't have a motion to split. That means that you actually have to amend the bill to remove offending language. On the floor, debate and amendments are limited.

      The point of not having the motion to split is to allow compromises to be enforced. If somebody says, "OK, I'll let you have your restriction on cadmium disposal, but only if I can have $15 million for my district to build roads." If you remove one piece or the other from the bill, the compromise falls apart.

      It's hard to make compromises in a 435-member House (or even a 100 member Senate). That's why bills come out of committees, where there are usually a dozen people at most. In theory that also allows them to be experts (or at least have experts on hand) in transportation/defense/telecommuncations/etc.

      The point is that your senator has less than 1% input into most bills. In theory he makes up for it with more than 1% input into other bills, depending on seniority. Of course it never works out that way, depending on favors he's done, whether he's in the majority or minority, etc.

      So ultimately even when it comes down to the up-or-down vote, your senator could be forced to say, "I'm going to vote against this entire bill guaranteeing proper nutrition for kittycats because I don't like the broadcast flag that's gotten crammed into it." And when he runs for re-election, the opposition says, "Senator Bob vote to starve kittycats!"

      The Republicans absolutely REAMED Kerry in the last election because of this. It's one reason that Senators haven't been elected to Congress in forever: they end up leaving these long track records of voting against things they agree with.

      It didn't help that Kerry fumbled the answer, "Well, I voted for that bill before they crammed all that pork into it" (the correct answer) came out as, "I voted for it before I voted against it," and the election pretty much ended right then.

      So Senators on the committee have massive power to write legislative pork and do favors for friends. That won't go away without a rewrite of the rules. Sadly, you'll discover that whatever party has 51% of the vote is not likely to vote to change the rules, since it tends to limit their power.

      Viva la revolucion!
      • Nice. So how do they enforce comprimise in a "motion to split" system? Or is that one of the better features -- because you can't trade favors, people are more careful about what they pass?

        I like that far better than a line-item veto. Mostly because I figure that if the broadcast flag came in front of Bush attatched to a bill, it wouldn't be line-item vetoed. :/
  • Perhaps it is time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jockm (233372) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:55AM (#12881473) Homepage
    Perhaps it is time for those of us who care about preserving fair use, and copyright reform, to stop being reactionary and be proactive. Perhaps it is time to put our energies, and (more importantly) monies into lobbying for the legislation we want, and not just stopping the ones we don't.

    I'm not saying it would be easy, just that it is time to add this to the conversation.
    • by fname (199759) *
      I've ranted before [slashdot.org] along the same lines. I'd kick in $100/year to buy some Senators who support expanding the fair-use rights of consumers, but only if enough other people kicked in so we'd reach $1,000,000/year. Anyone want to start it over at PledgeBank [pledgebank.com]?
  • Grammar Cop (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @11:58AM (#12881508) Homepage Journal
    "THOMAS, one of the best sources for Congressional action on the Internet"

    That would be correct as:

    "THOMAS, one of the best sources on the Internet for Congressional action"

    English is a language with positional importance of words and phrases. Some verbs, like "action", more closely associate subsequent clauses as objects of their meaning than do clauses that preceed those verbs.
    • Thanks for calling attention to that.

      I don't know about you, but I have no need for a source of "Congressional action." In fact, I'd really rather not think about it at all.
    • > That would be correct as:

      It would be "correct" either way! It would be more clear, less ambiguous and less open to misinterpretation the way you phrased it (and kudos for that), but being unclear, ambiguous and misinterpretable is par for the course for an English sentence, correctly grammarified or not.

      To quote Mustrum Ridcully, "it's more of a guideline than a rule." English grammar has a great deal of flexibility--more than you seem to give it credit for--a fact which is praised by poets and hu
      • You're right - I mistakenly wrote "verb" when I should have written "noun". And it's not even a rule-bending gerund :). Then I went with the "verb" format, to call the subsequent phrase an "object", when it's merely a dependent clause. Which is an object of sorts.
  • This is what is wrong with America today. We can't trust our Senators to not go behind our backs and implement a law that is against the constitution.

    Why do we, as American citizens, have to keep a close eye on everything that our elected officials do so that they do not sneak unlawful provision into law.

    I thought that our elected officials were supposed to be honorable folks looking out for the best interest of the general public.

    This is clearly not the case anymore.
    • "Why do we, as American citizens, have to keep a close eye on everything that our elected officials do so that they do not sneak unlawful provision into law."

      Complete the well-known phrase or saying: "The price of freedom...."
    • have to keep a close eye on everything that our elected officials do so that they do not sneak unlawful provision into law

      Um... it's not unlawful if it becomes a law. That's sort of the point of making laws: they define what's lawful. Then it's a question of whether or not it's constitutionally valid, and further more, whether it's in practical terms usable.

      As for "sneaking"... your reps/senators work for you, on stuff that impacts your life. You should be keeping up with what they're doing, at least
    • I don't think there has ever existed a form of government where those in power would not use it for their own ends if not watched carefully. Nothing new here, really. Just probably easier after all the constitutional erosion for things like this to happen - but it's not like there haven't been chances all along to stop that erosion, if people had been watching and non-apathetic. I think the collective "we" have made our bed; even though I hate the fact that I'm included in that collective, I can't make t
    • We can't trust our Senators to not go behind our backs and implement a law that is against the constitution.

      In this manner, the senators are generally trying to deceive each other more than the public, so the part about "go behind [i]our[/i] backs" sounds a bit off. Unless, of course, you're speaking in your capacity as a US senator. If that's the case... well, let me take this opportunity to say, "Screw you, you overpaid, worthless bastard."
  • What were they really up to while we were all focused on the broadcast flag? It seems like a good strategy: Spread rumours you're going to do something outrageous, so everyone goes beserk about that, and then do something else under the radar.
  • Too many eyes on this one for them to try and sneak it in.

    They will wait until our focus is on something else.

  • Some common sense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bemenaker (852000)
    Well, there are lots of theories being spouted off here, but let's try to rationalize a few.

    First off, was this just a rumor? Well, most likely not, considering how much the MPAA has gone after the BCF in the last several years, it would be pretty damn asinine to think they are not wanting to get this signed into law. Orrin Hatch has been sucking the c**k of the RIAA and MPAA to such an extent, it's hard to remember he is from Utah. (Yes, I know OH wasn't the one involved here, but he has been the assm

  • Warning! (Score:2, Funny)

    by bornyesterday (888994)
    This Slashdot article has been flagged by the government of the United States of America as a copywrited piece of creative work. Any resemblance to actual news publications or events is entirely accidental.

    Any attempt to copy and distribute the information contained herein will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    No animals were injured in the posting of this article.

    • This Slashdot article has been flagged by the government of the United States of America as a copywrited piece of creative work. Any resemblance to actual news publications or events is entirely accidental.

      Any attempt to copy and distribute the information contained herein will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

      No animals were injured in the posting of this article.

      This Slashdot article has been flagged by the government of the United States of America as a copywrited piece of creat

  • Slashdot, and thereby Slashdotters, are becoming more savvy in the legislative process we usually just whine about. Will someone qualified in the arcane wizardry of bill hacking weigh in with how public pressure on, or even just public knowledge of this process contributed to the unamended status of the bill on passage by its committee?
  • Well GOOD! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZosX (517789) <zosxavius AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:13PM (#12881641) Homepage
    The courts have already decided this. More than once. The Betamax decision should have already decided this over 20 years ago. The FCC does not have the jurisdiction in the eyes of the federal court. Tough luck. Now, get over it!

    Seriously, why should American's rights be trampled upon because the MPAA and the networks are all crying?

    Can we fire all of congress and start anew somehow? Perhaps these 80+ year old senators need some goddamned term limits. I remember watching an interview with one of the oldest Senators (forget which one) from the 80s and when asked if he knew how much a trillion dollars even was, he didn't know. He said something to the extent that it seemed like an awful lot of money, but he had no idea how much.

    Secondly, we need to close this stupid awful back door policy. We need to stop adding sections to bills that are wholly unrelated, especially since lawmakers have so candidly told us that they don't even have time to actually read what they are voting for, but at the same time, they can waste days and days of congress sessions for filibusters on Supreme Court nominees.

    Well, I guess nobody would ever say that big government is efficient.

    That's all I gotta say for now, but I could definately ramble on about the feds for days and weeks and still never exhaust my discontent with the state of the union.
    • Re:Well GOOD! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Sigil (891850)
      How about instead of term limits on Congress, have "space limits" on laws... in conversation with a lawyer friend of mine, he admitted that he doesn't even know all of the laws IN HIS AREA OF SPECIALIZATION! I asked him how we could justify, "ignorance of the law is no excuse" when even a trained professional, whose job it is to know the law, doesn't know the law. He had no answer.

      No, we don't need term limits on Congresscritters. What we need is a Constitutional amendment to the following effect:

      The s
  • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:27PM (#12881759)
    Every time one of these controversial rider bills comes up it should underscore to everyone the need for a line item veto on for the Federal executive. And this shouldn't be a partisan issue; I want this for the Prez regardless of which party controls which branch.
    • No, two wrongs don't make a right. The President should not have the authority to gut legislation at his personal whim, instead Congress should be forced to stop inserting irrelevant riders.
  • Without the BF, Television programmers and media executives will lose control and no longer have the financial incentive to create quality, top notch wholesome family entertainment and informative shows such as ... um, well, then there's ... ah, oh nevermind.

  • Let's be sure to keep crying wolf as often as possible. I'm sure everyone will continue to be just as eager to respond.
  • Fix the flag icon (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:05PM (#12882126)
    The U.S. flag has 13 stripes, not 12. Please fix it.
  • Slashdot? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @02:06PM (#12882708) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot announced an unfounded rumour as an imminent fact? Tell me it ain't so!

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