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United States Government Politics

Dodd's Filibuster Threat Stalls Wiretap Bill 483

Posted by kdawson
from the talk-until-blue-in-the-face dept.
otakuj462 sends in an important followup to this morning's story on telecom immunity legislation. "Senator Chris Dodd won a temporary victory today after his threats of a filibuster forced Democratic leadership to push back consideration of a measure that would grant immunity to telecom companies that were complicit in warrantless surveillance... [T]he threat of Dodd's filibuster... persuaded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, to table the act until January. A compromise on the immunity will ostensibly be worked out in the interim period."
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Dodd's Filibuster Threat Stalls Wiretap Bill

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  • by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradisNO@SPAMpalegray.net> on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:03PM (#21734180) Homepage Journal
    You can find Chris Dodd's voting record on this site [votesmart.org]. I live in CT, by thw way.

    • by r00t (33219) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:59PM (#21734524) Journal
      Let's see...

      He seems to like the Thought Crime concept. Rather than merely punishing people for bad actions, he supports the idea that we should try to guess if a criminal might hate his victim. Extra years in prison for Thought Crime makes sense to him.

      He's OK with the government taking people's legally owned firearms during an emergency or major disaster. (as in Katrina... where the cops were followed by thugs preying on the now-unarmed residents) Got a disaster? Time to steal from the people!

      He somehow thinks that firearm suppliers should be held liable for the actions of firearm users. If this seems sane to you, consider applying it to computers or vehicles. (on the plus side, that kind of liability would put Microsoft out of business and solve all our traffic problems)

      He likes the PATRIOT act. Oh dear...

      He's a CAN SPAM kind of guy.

      He's OK with shovelling money to sugarcane growers.
      • by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradisNO@SPAMpalegray.net> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:06AM (#21734564) Homepage Journal
        Your post is exactly the reason I like to encourage people to look at the whole spectrum of a politician's activities, instead of focusing on a hot special interest issue. A lot of Slashdotters spend a lot of time complaining that special interests in Washington control everything, but are quick to support a politician on the merits of a single day's "work."

        Thank you for your post; it's just what I'd hoped for in a reply.

      • I don't like most of this stuff, but Dodd is still getting a check for $100 from me, and I'm going to make it very clear to him that he got it for this filibuster.

        I'll send $100 to that fascist bastard Lieberman if he filibusters against telecom immunity.
      • Hate crimes legislation is not thought crime legislation. Hate crimes involves doing something actually harmful to someone just because they're not in your favorite and it's dead easy to prove because most people who engage in such acts are usually incredibly stupid and are willing to brag about killing .
        • by Chibi Merrow (226057) <mrmerrowNO@SPAMmonkeyinfinity.net> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:24AM (#21735648) Homepage Journal
          Why should someone be punished any less for killing someone they love rather than someone they hate?

          Hate crime legislation is thought crime legislation. What matters is you denying someone their rights, not your reasoning for doing it.
          • by crashfrog (126007) <crashfrog@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @03:12AM (#21736002) Homepage
            Hate crime legislation is thought crime legislation.

            No, it's not. It's the recognition that the harm caused by burning a cross on a black family's lawn (for instance) is a whole lot more harmful to the victims than, say, burning some garbage out back behind your neighbor's house.

            Criminals should be punished commensurate with the severity of the harm they've caused their victims. Clearly that's an indisputable goal of the justice system. Things that fall under the level of "hate crime" represent acts that harm their victims far, far more than the basic act (just burning something on somebody else's property) might suggest.

            Hate crime legislation doesn't have anything to do with thought. It has everything to do with action. It's the actions that are being punished commensurate with the harm they caused. Completely consistent with the aims of the justice system.
          • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @09:34AM (#21737768) Homepage Journal
            Hate crimes are misnamed. The salient point isn't hate. The salient point is intimidation, not just of the victim, but every member of the group he belongs to.

            The racist who assaults an individual black person isn't just indulging in his personal depravity; he's sending a message to every black that while the law may say they can live, work or go to school wherever you like, he is going to make sure you stay where he thinks you belong.

            The bigot who kills a gay person isn't just acting on his hatred of that individual. He's telling all gay people that they'd better keep their relationships secret.

            A hate crime is an ordinary crime that is committed in a way calculated to undermine society's liberty and democracy. It is everything the basic crime is, plus an attempt by the criminal to impose his personal political, racial, or religious views on others through intimidation. What we call a "hate crime" would more accurately be called terrorism: terrorism for impulsive and poorly organized people. If you and your buddy are having a couple beers and decide to go out and torch the local synagogue, that's what we call a "hate crime". If you're more organized, if you write down a list of synagogues, visit the locations and make notes of when people are using the building and what kinds of security measures they have, then we call that "terrorism".
  • Now only (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eclectro (227083) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:04PM (#21734182)
    Don't you wish the rest of congress could grow a spine?
  • Show Apprectiation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Telepathetic Man (237975) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:05PM (#21734192)
    If you like Dodd's move, be sure to contact his office and express your support. Let him know he is doing the right thing.
    • by toofishes (1096147) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:15PM (#21734258) Homepage
      Don't look at this as a permanent victory either guys- the pressure needs to be kept up on all of the members of the Senate, especially those that may be on the fence (the other spineless democrats). Calls and emails made a difference today- Orrin Hatch was livid about "the blogs" spreading misinformation, and Reid obviously heard by the end of the day that his constituents were not happy that he was going to try and ram this bill through. When this comes back up in January, be heard. And better yet, contact your senator between now and then and let them know you won't accept retroactive immunity.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BuddyJesus (835123)
      If you like Dodd's move, then don't just contact his office and express support, vote for him in the Democratic primaries.
    • by Poeir (637508)
      Or donate to his campaign [wiredforchange.com].
  • by jonwil (467024) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:06PM (#21734202)
    They used filters and monitors and logging to spy on all traffic passing through key peering nodes on the say-so of the white house and the intelligence agencies even though such spying was illegal at the time it happened. I say we should hang AT&T, Verizon and the others out to dry for what they did. If it means they make less profit this year, tough, its their own fault for following the directions of G.W.Bush and his cronies instead of following the law (and demanding warrants for the spying)
  • by Blancmange (195140) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:07PM (#21734208)
    Despite the favourable outcome in this case, isn't a filibuster a kind of Denial Of Service attack on democracy?
    • by erroneus (253617) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:23PM (#21734316) Homepage
      To be clear, the US isn't a Democracy. It's a Republic. That means once the people are in office, they can do pretty much what they want regardless of what 'the people' want. So after the public election, it's all up to the elected as to what happens next. There is no ability for 'the people' to vote for an individual law or any such thing.

      Now that said, a filibuster is a kind of interruption to the flow of legislative activity. But it's sometimes necessary since there are times when majorities take advantage of minorities in the process. The filibuster helps to ensure that the minority is heard even when the majority would rather not listen to them. I have watched some pretty atrocious stuff happening on C-SPAN where the majority was simply ignoring proper procedure during legislative activities giving no voice at all to the minority side or their interests. When the gang or the mob is in control, the filibuster ensures that a minority can be heard.
      • by penix1 (722987)

        That means once the people are in office, they can do pretty much what they want regardless of what 'the people' want. So after the public election, it's all up to the elected as to what happens next. There is no ability for 'the people' to vote for an individual law or any such thing.

        That may be true for the Federal level but not the State or Local levels where laws are more likely to affect the electorate more directly. Voter referendums happen all the time. I'd love to see a national voter referendum for

        • The average person is easy to sway with a great big ad campaign. If the latest pop star says to vote YES on #42 for the children, well, people sure will. This may be the least-bad problem though!

          Where would the laws come from? Imagine them all filled with vague non-lawyer language that will be difficult to interpret and full of holes.

          As it is already, laws have both a bad part and some bait. It's purposely complicated.

          Most people are clueless about basic economics. A lot of people would try to set price lim
          • by penix1 (722987)
            I never said it would be "better" just "interesting to watch". Actually, I was thinking more of the moral laws (think of the children) and social programs than financial ones. On the Federal level the Constitution clearly spells out that Congress controls the purse strings and I wouldn't mess with that. It however doesn't say anything about the moral laws. I would put to referendum any new social programs and still leave funding up to Congress to wrangle out. I would take away corporate personhood if given
      • by Cyberax (705495) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:54PM (#21734498)
        Yes, and a pine is not a plant - it's a tree.

        Representative Republic is _a_ _form_ _of_ _democracy_.
      • by civilizedINTENSITY (45686) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:09AM (#21735040)
        democracy, which is pronounced \di-mä-kr-s\

        Its a noun, which means:

        1 a: government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
        We are a democratic republic. We *are* a democracy, even though we use representation. We are a republic, even though the supreme power is vested in the people.
    • Democracy Sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shihar (153932)
      The problem is that democracy sucks. Democracy leads to countless evils. Slavery in the US was democracy in action, as were Jim Crow Laws. The South splitting from the US was democracy in action. Hitler rising to power was democracy in action. There is nothing "good" about democracy other than it leaves a way to kick someone who is utterly incompetent out of power. Democracy is less likely to cause brutal oppression than a dictatorship due to the electorate having the ability to remove the government,
    • No, it isn't a DoS against democracy. A filibuster can be ended when enough of the majority ask for it to end. American democracy was structured to give protection to minority views. It's not fullproof protection, but it exists. This structure has been eroded, maybe due to the sheer size of the populace. People fear the different and the strange, and fear random 'bad things'. Any person can be terribly dangerous and terribly fragile. That fear is why you see the erosion of gun ownership and the proliferatio
  • by StringBlade (557322) * on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:15PM (#21734260) Journal

    Democrats want immunity for big business. Republicans want big government.

    Are the parties flip-flopping again or are they finally coming into parity with the fact that they're just one big party with two masks so the people get a sense they they're getting a change every 4 or 8 years?

    The threat of a filibuster shouldn't have even been necessary if the government was really for the people by the people.

    • by Scudsucker (17617) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:08AM (#21735032) Homepage Journal
      Democrats want immunity for big business. Republicans want big government.

      "Small government" was only ever a marketing slogan for the GOP. It didn't mean cutting the size of government at all, it meant cutting regulation and social spending - but baby, bring on those military and pork barrel projects.

      Sell out Dems like Reid, Hoyer, Feinstein, and Rockefeller need to be kicked to the curb just as soon as they can be primaried. As for the Republicans - well, their party needs a complete enema as Nixon would almost be a communist in today's GOP.
  • If you search for writings and speeches by US Rep Dr. Ron Paul (who is running for President) you'll notice that he wouldn't allow secret wiretapping etc...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Aaron England (681534)
      Ron Paul also wants to pull out of the UN, remove the constitutionally protected women's right to choose, remove public education and has a number of other insane ideas of how government should be runned. I don't like wireless wiretapping or our foreign policy much, but there more important issues out there which Paul loses most voters including this one on.
      • What has the UN really done since it's inception? Are we closer to world peace?

        Yes Paul wants to make abortion illegal, not because God said so though, because he thinks it's ethically wrong. That argument is much more reasonable to me, than using a book that doesn't even say abortion as a basis.

        Paul also wouldn't be the first to try and dump public education. I don't think it would be a bad thing either. If you look at the private schools, they do more with less as far as actual education goes and they thr
        • Are you sure you know where Paul derives his ethics from? Here's what Paul wrote about on the alleged "secular left's war on christmas [lewrockwell.com]". As for your arguments about public vs. private education, we really could go back and forth on that discussion all day. But what the discussion will eventually boil down to is that I believe every child deserves a fair chance of moving up the social ladder and public education gives him that chance. A child wouldn't have the same right to an education like he currently
          • Alright I will succeed you Paul's view on abortion, but as President he can't outlaw it anyway.

            Every child does deserve the chance, but if they don't act on it, why should I feel sorry for them? Today's school systems just rubber stamps a kid to the next grade without learning anything. Failure is indeed a viable option for today's students.
            • So you literally want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater"? My god, I had no idea Ron Paul was so radically destructive of primary institutions and infrastructure. I find this position indefensible in any possible sort of pragmatic, real world sense.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            The federal government provides very little funding for public schools. The district I attended got well under 10% of its funding from the federal government- almost all of funding was local or state. Abolishing the federal Department of Education would do little more than have the states and local municipalities be completely in control of their school districts that they almost completely pay for anyway. The students would probably not even notice and the teachers wouldn't either, perhaps with the excepti
        • by zzatz (965857)
          The UN has stamped out smallpox. The WHO is part of the UN.

          Made any international phone calls? The International Telecommunications Union is a UN agency.

          Like any large organization, there are parts that work well and parts that work poorly. If the US were to withdraw from the UN, you can be sure that the working parts would work less well or stop working at all. The parts that don't work, the mismanagement, the corruption, would go on with even less oversight.
          • Additionally, the UN hasn't created world peace, but it has surely helped to prevent another World War -- which was the primary purpose of its creation. (To be fair, the EU and its precursor organizations, and cold war policies of MAD [wikipedia.org] had a lot to do with preventing another world war, too.)
      • by ravenspear (756059) * on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:10AM (#21734594)
        Ron Paul also wants to pull out of the UN

        While I don't favor this, you would be hard pressed to argue that the UN has had a very productive impact in most of the activities they have undertaken. And even when their stuff has worked, it has usually been with the US doing most of the legwork. The UN is mainly an organization that allows its members to say they support international partnerships, while performing relatively few useful functions of its own.

        remove the constitutionally protected women's right to choose

        Last time I checked a woman's right to choose was protected by a Supreme Court decision, not the Constitution. Whether or not one supports abortion is another matter, but lets be clear on that.

        remove public education

        Not a bad idea considering the Constitution provides no basis for the federal government to be involved in education, and our schools are failing anyway. Plus, our students did better comparatively against other nations before the US Dept of Education was instituted.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Last time I checked a woman's right to choose was protected by a Supreme Court decision, not the Constitution. Whether or not one supports abortion is another matter, but lets be clear on that.
          Last time I checked the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution, that is to say, tells us what it says. Whether or not one supports it is another matter, but lets be clear on that.
          • And the court can and has changed its opinion on things in the past. IMO saying "Constitutionally protected X" implies there is something in the Constitution regarding X, as in Constitutionally protected free speech.
            • Yes, and the supreme court interprets what freedom of speech *means*. Laws mean nothing until they are *used* and precedents are set. Case law *is* law, because specifics are the limiting cases which define the reach of what are otherwise legislative abstract expressions.
        • "While I don't favor this, you would be hard pressed to argue that the UN has had a very productive impact in most of the activities they have undertaken. And even when their stuff has worked, it has usually been with the US doing most of the legwork. The UN is mainly an organization that allows its members to say they support international partnerships, while performing relatively few useful functions of its own." How much have you really studied the UN to be qualified to make such a judgment? I don't wa
        • "While I don't favor this, you would be hard pressed to argue that the UN has had a very productive impact in most of the activities they have undertaken. And even when their stuff has worked, it has usually been with the US doing most of the legwork. The UN is mainly an organization that allows its members to say they support international partnerships, while performing relatively few useful functions of its own."

          How much have you really studied the UN to be qualified to make such a judgment? I don't wa

        • Last time I checked a woman's right to choose was protected by a Supreme Court decision, not the Constitution.

          WRONG. You need to check again.

          According to the Roe decision, most laws against abortion in the United States violated a constitutional right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_V._Wade [wikipedia.org]

          • The holding in Roe v. Wade doesn't even completely apply anymore, as there've been a dozen or so cases since then amending, explaining, or otherwise complicating the holding to the point where only experts can really tell you what the Supreme Court thinks the Constitution says on the subject. And it will probably say something different a few years from now too.

            The Supreme Court also has a long history of inventing rights not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, which are later overturned. One of the e
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lokni (531043)
        And that is the one big problem I have with Ron Paul. The huge gigantic glaring hypocrisy when he calls for a restoration of privacy rights in this country under the 4th ammendment and yet still wants to prevent women from having an abortion. Sorry, if he is as principled as he likes to hang himself out as he would be for abortions as well. But no, he still wants the government to dictate what the woman can do with her own body. How you can be against the drug war and for abortion is beyond me as they
      • by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:24AM (#21735166)
        >wants to pull out of the UN,
        Something many Americans actually want as well, and many more couldn't be bothered with one way or the other.

        >remove the constitutionally protected women's right to choose,
        Wow, inflammatory much?

        He wants to remove the Federal influence on this because the constitutionality is highly debated.
        The tricker the question, the more local it should be.
        That's part of the founding principles

        >remove public education

        No, he doesn't mind public education, in fact I suspect he supports it.
        He just sees no place for the Fed in it under our constitution.
        It's a State deal, and there is should lie.

        >but there more important issues out there which Paul loses most voters including this one on.
        Just make sure you're arguing the same thing.

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever@nerdsha c k .com> on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:25PM (#21734332)
    It was quite refreshing to listen to Dodd describe in fair detail the crap that's been going on:

    The installation of systems poorly suited to specific taps but ideally suited to dragnet surveillance. In major fiber exchanges that aren't where the main foreign fiber trunks or satellite dishes are (i.e. the San Fransisco case that started it). And now we learn that Qwest balked because they wanted to put a dragnet on a switch center that handled almost entirely local traffic.

    Then Orrin "destroy their computers" Hatch started speaking. About how the American government didn't do {the bombings in Beruit, the Bali nightclub bombing, the bombings in Kenya, the London tube bombings, the Madrid train bombings, and (of course) 9/11}, the Turrists did. And I'm sitting here trying hard not to scream "And how would dragnet surveillance of domestic calls have stopped a single damn one of those things!?!?"
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:25PM (#21734342) Homepage Journal
    Glenn Greenwald had a good report on this [salon.com] today; incredibly, only 10 senators voted against this bill. Reid allowed the bill to proceed despite Dodd's hold (the only one Reid has disallowed). You'd think Reid was bought and paid for by AT&T [opensecrets.org] or something.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:42PM (#21734438)

    In the Constitution, See Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3:

    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

    Which means no retroactive anything is legal. I'm amazed that the media continues to overlook this critical bit.

    On second thought, no I'm not. There can be no compromise on this. The telcos colluded with Bushco to perform illegal acts, and granting them immunity after the fact is not allowed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rpillala (583965)

      The telecoms and their advocates in Congress like Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and apparently Harry Reid (D-NV) argue that they're not changing anything from illegal to legal, rather they're filling a legal vacuum and the telecoms benefit as a result. How convenient and timely. Also as I understand the term, ex post facto usually refers to laws that make something newly illegal, subjecting people who had committed no crime to criminal penalties.

      The most egregious senatorial hijinks of this affair has been Reid

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sanjosanjo (804469)
      IANAL, or constitutional authority, but I seem to remember from school that an Ex Post Facto law is one that makes some illegal retroactively. This is not the case here. This is a forgiveness of an illegal act, in the same vein as a presidential pardon perhaps. Not that I agree with this in any sense. I fully support Senator Dodd.
    • by worthawholebean (1204708) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:15AM (#21734650)
      No - ex post facto applies to criminal law, not civil law. Here are the four types of laws considered "ex post facto" in the U.S., established in Calder v. Bull:

      "1st. Every law that makes an action , done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action.
      2nd. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed.
      3rd. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed.
      4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender."

      Ex post facto laws are only those which punish people who were formerly innocent - not the other way around.

      Disclaimer: IANAL
      • by Torvaun (1040898)
        Ex post facto doesn't matter any more. Look at the Sex Offender Registry, and tell me that it doesn't constitute an additional punishment. Of course, a vote against the unconstitutional Sex Offender Registry is a vote for pedophilia, so it's here to stay.
      • Link [findlaw.com]

        Ex Post Facto Laws

        Definition .--At the time the Constitution was adopted, many persons understood the term ex post facto laws to "embrace all retrospective laws, or laws governing or controlling past transactions, whether ... of a civil or a criminal nature." But in the early case of Calder v. Bull, the Supreme Court decided that the phrase, as used in the Constitution, applied only to penal and criminal statutes. But although it is inapplicable to retroactive legislation of any other kind, the con

    • by Curien (267780)
      The bill would shield them from *civil* liability only. That clause doesn't apply.
  • Reid is a tool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Scudsucker (17617)
    Dodd put a hold on this bill; under Senate traditions that should have killed it. And under Harry Reid's turn as majority leader, that's still the case...if you're a Republican [blogspot.com]. Lindsey Graham placed a hold on a bill to prevent the CIA from using torture. Or when Tom Coburn placed a hold on a nondiscrimination bill. But when a Democrat wants to place a hold on a bill to protect our rights, he is simply ignored.
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:18AM (#21734684)
    In short: yay!

    (Reply follows)

    ----

    Dear Mr. InvisiblePinkUnicorn:

    Thank you for expressing your views on legislation that would provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless surveillance program.

    In December of 2005 it was first reported that President Bush had authorized the NSA to monitor communication between U.S. citizens and terrorist suspects outside the United States without first obtaining a warrant. Some telecommunications companies participated in this program and provided the government with access to phone records. Serious questions arose about the legality of this program and its compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

    In August 2007, Congress passed revisions to FISA, which I opposed, expanding the authority of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to conduct surveillance of foreign targets. Under this legislation telecommunications companies that assist the government in the future implementation of this program were granted immunity from criminal and civil action.

    This legislation expires in early February, and Congress is currently considering further revisions to FISA. President Bush has requested that any further modifications to FISA contain retroactive immunity for any telecommunications company that participated in the program since its inception. While developments in technology may require modest modifications to our intelligence laws, I will oppose efforts to provide retroactive immunity for illegal wiretapping as it is inconsistent with our democratic principles. All citizens must have legal recourse when their rights are infringed upon, and companies must bear the responsibility for breaking the law.

    Thank you again for contacting me.

    Sincerely,
    Sherrod Brown
  • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:18AM (#21734686) Journal
    The Dodd Gambit is a success.
    And as he reluctantly tabled the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was heard muttering "Dodd Gambit" under his breath.
  • nice Youtube clip (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scudsucker (17617) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:41AM (#21734826) Homepage Journal
    Of Sennator Kennedy [youtube.com] protesting immunity. Money quote:

    The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.
  • ... persuaded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, to table the act until January

    Why does American English use the verb table in this way? Yes, I know, different dialects of English are equally valid, but I'm just curious about how it makes sense to use to table to mean to set aside and not consider?

    When I say "he will table the bill tomorrow", meaning "he will submit the bill for active consideration, tomorrow", I picture a metaphorical table that everyone is sitting around while discussing things. When an American English speaker says "he will table the bill tomorrow", meaning

    • by Torodung (31985)
      I'm not sure about the etymology, but I picture the person putting the bill aside, rather than reading it to their peers. A "tabled" idea is one that is not being talked about and sold. It is collecting dust.

      Americans talk about everything. We're a very vernacular people. In another country, one might submit an idea in written form by putting it on a table for someone else to read. In America, I think it is more a case of a script being set aside.

      --
      Toro
  • Dodd did it, so it looks like someone stood against it.

    The truth is, they'll pass and do whatever they want without being accountable for it.

  • BOR is So Yesterday (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mqduck (232646) <mqduck@mqd[ ].net ['uck' in gap]> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @07:17AM (#21737032)
    Would someone remind me why we wanted to kick out the Republicans by bringing in the Democrats again? I seem to recall being told that they'd be better than this, but I'm sure it's just me 'cause I always get that feeling after Democrats are elected.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Copid (137416)

      Would someone remind me why we wanted to kick out the Republicans by bringing in the Democrats again? I seem to recall being told that they'd be better than this, but I'm sure it's just me 'cause I always get that feeling after Democrats are elected.

      Personally, my highest priority is seeing to it that the people who squander the public trust and thumb their noses at the American people lose their jobs as a consequence. If the next people afterward aren't any better, dump them too. Don't keep incompeten

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