The Patriot Act has now been extended for one month instead of the planned 6 months.
Tom Daschle penned an op-ed in today's post and here is some reaction to it. Here is the actual editorial.
Just before the Senate acted on this compromise resolution, the White House sought one last change. Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words "in the United States and" after "appropriate force" in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas -- where we all understood he wanted authority to act -- but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.The St. Louis Cardinals are now going after second baseman Junior Spivey.
The shock and rage we all felt in the hours after the attack were still fresh. America was reeling from the first attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor. We suspected thousands had been killed, and many who worked in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not yet accounted for. Even so, a strong bipartisan majority could not agree to the administration's request for an unprecedented grant of authority.
The Bush administration now argues those powers were inherently contained in the resolution adopted by Congress -- but at the time, the administration clearly felt they weren't or it wouldn't have tried to insert the additional language.
All Americans agree that keeping our nation safe from terrorists demands aggressive and innovative tactics. This unity was reflected in the near-unanimous support for the original resolution and the Patriot Act in those harrowing days after Sept. 11. But there are right and wrong ways to defeat terrorists, and that is a distinction this administration has never seemed to accept. Instead of employing tactics that preserve Americans' freedoms and inspire the faith and confidence of the American people, the White House seems to have chosen methods that can only breed fear and suspicion.
If the stories in the media over the past week are accurate, the president has exercised authority that I do not believe is granted to him in the Constitution, and that I know is not granted to him in the law that I helped negotiate with his counsel and that Congress approved in the days after Sept. 11. For that reason, the president should explain the specific legal justification for his authorization of these actions, Congress should fully investigate these actions and the president's justification for them, and the administration should cooperate fully with that investigation.
In the meantime, if the president believes the current legal architecture of our country is insufficient for the fight against terrorism, he should propose changes to our laws in the light of day.
That is how a great democracy operates. And that is how this great democracy will defeat terrorism.
Will Forte performed a comedy benefit at his old training grounds of the Groundlings Theater this past Monday with other comedians.
To answer some questions that were privately emailed to me the other day. The focus of this blog will not change - we have an election year. I will try and mainly delegate Friday as "comedy days" on the blog when I try out some new material such as one I about to post.