So Much for That


Yesterday I noted Bernie Sanders' attempt to restore some privacy to the patrons of bookstores and libraries. Today the Republican leadership quashed the effort.

More info here.

NEXT: Gitmo Hearings

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  1. How’s this as an alternative?

    It’s illegal to notify one’s customers or patrons that a “national security letter” was served.

    So why not approach it from the opposite direction, using a version of the “dead man switch”?

    A bookstore owner or librarian can prominently display an erasable sign-board, changed daily, that gives the day’s date and the message “No national security letter served today.” If the sign is ever blank, the customers/patrons will know the jackboots have been snooping around.

  2. (You know some libraries already do exactly that, right, Kevin?)

  3. I’m always amazed that nobody mentions the real solution to the secret subpoenas, i.e., be like Katherine Gunn in the UK: scream the information to the rooftops, call every newspaper, television station and radio station in town, put it on a website, e-mail it to everyone you know, etc. If they try to prosecute you, they’ll look like idiots, since the information is now public knowledge.

  4. I don’t mean to throw a red herring into the mix, but what happened to the comment design lately? I mean, because of the design, it’s difficult to tell who wrote the comment. It wouldn’t be very hard to change; just change the css property of the span or div tag, i.e., ‘border: 1px solid #cccccc;’ That way, it would be easy to tell who said what. Who’s with me?

  5. I like Kevin’s idea for dealing with the jackboots.

    And I like Daniel’s idea for the comments style.

  6. s.m. koppelman,

    I’m glad to hear it. I emailed a libertarian writer with a similar suggestion after his comments on the same issue, and he also said some places were doing that.

  7. S.M., you said “some libraries already do exactly that.” Can you name a couple / provide web link?

    I’d love to have examples to cite when I promote the idea in my town.

    Rick, Re your assetion that Republicans are more frugal with tax dollars. I’m all for recreational use of pscychotropics, but perhaps you should refrain from posting messages until you come down.

    Take a look at federal deficits over the past 2 decades.

  8. Luisa,

    The Republicans in congress are far in fact more frugal with tax dollars then the Dems. The sizes of the Federal deficits aren’t salient here. What is, is which party in congress votes for more spending and it isn’t even close.

    Here are the facts; as much as federal spending has exploded during the last two years, Bush has asked for even more spending, and if the Democrats in congress had fully gotten their way, as evidenced by their votes, we would have had an even substantially larger growth of government.

    Also, all of the most frugal house members who earn an “A” from the NTU are Republicans:

    Same in the senate:

  9. It’s called buying with cash, folks.

    But go back to pimping Bernie Sanders.

  10. According to Daniel McAdams over at LRC-Blog, the Republicans were losing by 18 votes or so—and so they refused to gavel the vote. They waited and waited, while White House strongarming made its way through the chambers, until, 30 minutes into a 15-minute vote, they had coerced enough Republicans to cave in, and then gavelled it.

    As Daniel said, “Thank God those evil Democrats aren’t in control to take away our freedom!”

  11. Evan,

    There is no excuse for conservatives to vote for Bush when such a good alternative exists:

    However, in congress the Republican members tend to be far less statist then their Dem counterparts. This, of course, means that they are also far more frugal with tax dollars:

  12. Please contact your congressperson and find out how they voted. If they voted “yes”, to de-fang that part of the Patriot Act that helps the government investigate people’s reading habits, congratulate them warmly.

    If they voted “No”, tell them how unacceptable that is and that you expect better of them the next time the Patriot Act comes up for a vote.

    Please follow thru on this. Our future liberty, and that of our children might well depend on our taking action now.

  13. Make that “The Republicans in congress are in fact far more frugal…”

    Sorry about that. Luisa, the typo wasn’t due to the use of pscychotropics either…its been 30 years…unless I had a very belated…FlAsHbAcK….fLaShBaCk…

  14. Sorry to threadjack, but all the talk about libraries and bookstores (for some reason) got me thinking about all the debate about encryption in the mid 90s and the push for a key escrow system with the govt. holding all the keys.

    The original idea called for a warrant to be presented for the keys to be released.
    Now that we have libraries and bookstores forced to released their records based only on a (supposedly very easy to obtain) National Security Letter, what do you think the Patriot Act would have done to a govt. controlled key escrow system had it been implemented?

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