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Scribble runs in the opinion section of Flak Magazine.

By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Spin-Off of
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From AP via

Patriot Act moves closer to renewal
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Posted: 1:00 p.m. EST (18:00 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate overwhelmingly rejected an effort Thursday to block renewing the Patriot Act, the 2001 law passed weeks after the September 11 attacks to help the government hunt down terrorists.

The 96-3 vote was no surprise to Sen. Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who was the lone senator to oppose the law four and a half years ago and is the chief obstacle to extending 16 provisions now due to expire March 10.

...The bill's sponsor, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said a full makeover was unlikely to pass Congress before March 10.

"Sometimes cosmetics will make a beauty out of a beast and provide enough cover for senators to change their vote," Specter told reporters Wednesday.

Indeed, virtually every senator who had stood with Feingold last year to kill a House-Senate agreement abandoned the effort this month after two of them, both Republicans, struck a deal with the White House to add more privacy protections.

Now, the legislation's supporters include some of the chamber's most senior Democrats, and the 60 votes required to overcome Feingold's filibuster.


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