The news from D.C. was a decidedly mixed bag - good news on the Patriot Act front; bad news on continued funding for Bush's war in Iraq, and profoundly ugly news regarding the march to war with Iran coming out of the Senate.
First the good - A federal district court judge in Oregon ruled that two parts of the Patriot Act regarding seaches and intelligence gathering violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
From the CNN article on the ruling -
A federal court on Wednesday struck down two provisions of the Patriot Act dealing with searches and intelligence gathering, saying they violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures with regard to criminal prosecutions.
"It is critical that we, as a democratic nation, pay close attention to
traditional Fourth Amendment principles," wrote Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S.
District Court for the District of Oregon in her 44-page decision. "The Fourth Amendment has served this nation well for 220 years, through many other perils."
Then the bad - by a 404 -14 vote, the House passed a continuing resolution, H. J. Res. 52, to fund continuing government operations for the fiscal year. The bad parts? The CR included funding for the Iraq war, an issue that the Democratic leadership gave in on with barely a whimper, and also included a provision that condemned the MoveOn.org "General Betray-us" ad. The MoveOn.org condemnation provision passed as an amendment to the CR by a vote of 341 - 79.
Of the Arizona delegation, only Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7) voted against the provision.
As for the ugly, the U.S. Senate passed, by a disgustingly overwhelming margin of 76 - 22, the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to the Defense appropriations bill, HR1585. The amendment includes language telling the President that the Congress approves of using military force against Iran.
The passage of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment totally outstrips the import of the earlier passage of the Biden amendment to HR1585. Biden's amendment supports the creation of a federalist system of government with a strong regional component. It's a toothless 'sense of Congress" bit of fluff, but it is the first significant legislative departure from the Bush Party line, which wants a powerful central government in Iraq.
Of course, it may be possible that one of the reasons that the Biden amendment passed is that Big Oil loves it.
Of course2, I may just be thinking like a typical cynical lib... :))