Friday Links

Congress and the President have finally ended the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program. It’s progress. Not the endgame by any means, but an excellent first step. Meanwhile, fresh revelations come to light.

Significantly, it appears that Congress has shifted its thinking on this key issue. The Senate approved the reform by a two-to-one margin, in spite of vocal opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s progress.

I commend Senator Rand Paul, in particular, for his firm stance in defense of civil liberties. Call it grandstanding if you like, but I’ll take it. I don’t agree with all his ideas by any means, but I think he’s a man worth listening to, as argued by Fareed Zakaria.

And of course, whatever you may think of Edward Snowden, it’s clear at least that none of this valuable reform would have happened without him.

I am very proud to say that my wife, my friends (including Mr. Trube), and I played some role, however small, in the fight to restore our civil liberties. In his farewell address to the nation, President Eisenhower said:

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex….We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

And, for what it’s worth, here’s the text of the Fourth Amendment, which is only one sentence long:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It’s clear, as I read the news now, that I’ve been out of the loop too long. I need to pay more attention to what’s going on in the world. I’ll do my best.

In other news: I found out yesterday that presidential candidate Lindsey Graham has never sent an e-mail in his life. Not one. Let that sink in for a minute.

And finally: no politics, just beauty. Some of the earliest color photos ever taken, pre-World War I. Enjoy.

Have a great weekend! I’ve got something fun planned for Monday.

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