It was largely ignored yesterday, but the House Rules Committee had two chances to strike a blow at the NSA. Both Rep. Alan Grayson and Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Democrat and a Republican both at the edges of their party conferences, introduced amendments that would have effectively cut the purse strings for—and made it illegal to fund—anything like PRISM. Grayson's amendment:
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2014 or any succeeding fiscal year may be used to collect any information generated by a citizen of the United States while located in the United States, including telephone records, internet records, and physical location information, without probable cause of a terrorism offense or an offense within the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice related to action or conduct by that citizen.
Both amendments failed. At the moment this is playing out, politically, like the AP snooping story played out. It's useful to list in the litany of "Obama scandals" but there's no "fix" in the toolshed, not the one most members of Congress use.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.