Never Underestimate the Fallability of Technology

I'm not saying that conspiracy theories are always bunk, but I do think that people assume nefarious intentions just a wee bit too quickly sometimes.

Yes, comments have been appearing and disappearing at random over the last couple of days, but no, it wasn't an attempt at censorship. (If it were, it would have been an awfully clumsy one. One look at the pattern of deletions -- and the unpretty way we've managed to patch it all up -- makes that glaringly obvious.)

I hope by now the regular Debaters know me well enough to see that it really matters to me what you have to say on the big issues we examine here. In fact, I spent a good chunk of yesterday copying and pasting comments into text files on my computer. As far as I could tell, there were 171 comments from the initial posting on May 15 through 5:45 p.m. on May 17. The comments are unedited and arranged in chronological order, just as they would appear on the blog, in this document. It took me ages to complete, but I did it because I wanted to make sure that even if some of the comments were permanently overwritten during the changeover, I'd still be able to read them and so would you.

I grant, it was a particularly unfortunate coincidence that this all happened under a post about Big Brother. But I am not Big Brother, nor am I Big Sister; I'm just a fellow Debater who cares at least as much about free and open discourse as you do.

For the full explanation of our technical difficulties, please read on.

As you might have noticed over the last several months, blogs on the Post Web site have been adding new features -- most noticeably the link on each post to Technorati. The new features appear when the blog moves over to our new publishing system. I debated my way into being the last blog to make the switch, but finally, it happened -- everyone had made the leap except me. And so, on May 15, the move began.

Unfortunately, the switch caused some comments to vanish, and some URLs also ended up changing, resulting in broken links. I'm working on going back over all the posts I've made since August to fix said links.

The comments problem first happened in the gap of time between when the page was copied from the old system and when it was published into the new system. My blog had to be republished a couple times, in part to try to fix some of the broken links, and you see the unfortunate but largely unavoidable result -- three separate pages on which comments to the last entry can be found.

I constructed the PDF document so you don't have to go back and forth between posts, but if you'd prefer to see the comments on their original pages, here's the key:

Comments from the start of the phone records Debate on May 15 and up to roughly noon the following day can be found here.

Comments from around noon on May 16 up until around 2 p.m. on May 17 can be read here. (Part of May 15's comments are duplicated there, too. Since the page no longer exists in any editable form, I can't erase the duplicates.)

Any comments made from 2 p.m. May 17 onward, can be viewed here. That's also where you can add your own thoughts to the Debate.

If all that clicking around gives you a headache (believe me, I had a pounding one last night trying to straighten all this out!) this document has it all in order up until yesterday evening, then jump to the last post for any additions since then.

Phew. Hopefully we're done with all that for now. Shout out to's Mike Corones for dealing with the technical side of things.

By Emily Messner |  May 18, 2006; 9:41 AM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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The only thing I was frustrated about was two deletions of large quantities of words I'd written, which have since been restored. I never suspected a conspiracy, which is ludicrous. I always assumed technical difficulties in good faith as most of us should. As a blogger with comments that are overwhelmingly unedited (except for 2-3 topics) you should be accused of being too lenient, not overly restrictive. We all appreciate your efforts. On behalf of those who assumed bad faith on your part, I apologize.

I was frustrated because two days had passed without explanation. Clearly you were working on getting things fixed during this time, so I cannot fault you for that.

Thanks again Emily. The time and effort you invest in this blog is greatly appreciated and I will inform the Washington Post as much.

Posted by: Will | May 18, 2006 11:15 AM


You said earlier in the Debate that you don't have pals in Washington. Hate to break it to you, but that's not true. If you ever find yourself in town, I hope you'll drop by and introduce yourself. Even though we don't always agree, your arguments are well reasoned and comprehensive, and I have tremendous respect for that.


(Note to other regular Debaters: I could, and will, say the same to you.)

Posted by: Emily Messner | May 18, 2006 11:27 AM

No no no. No one suspects Miss E of big brotherism.

But is it not possible the miners have infiltrated WaPo and played fast and loose with the blogs? Like grasping IP addresses to id govt leakers and political underiables?

Can you be sure? Can anyone?

Posted by: Conspiracy Theoretician | May 18, 2006 11:41 AM

Sure, it's all a technical glitch. Well, I have proof that...

Ack! Acccccckkkkk! Wheeze!


Posted by: smafdy | May 18, 2006 11:46 AM

Thanks for the explanation, Miss Emily. If Jim Brady and Deb Howell would take a lesson from you in responding to posters' concerns, the folks who post on would be a lot calmer.

Posted by: wiccan | May 18, 2006 12:08 PM

Thanks for the explanation. Is this blog run by WaPo or is it contracted out? I seem to remember that is a separate company from the Post Newspaper. I'm not suspicious, but many bloggers think they are dealing directly with the Post, as though the blog server is located at WaPo headquarters. Not that it matters of course ;^}

Posted by: Sully | May 18, 2006 12:20 PM

Cut and paste to restore the blog? I dont know... that sounds pretty low tech to me. Doesn't the Post save all msgs in a database all indexed and catalogued ala Google to be retrieved instantly on request?

Make me wonder about WaPo computer security practices already. Yeah the hackers and miners would be all over these blogs at will by now...

Blog with care y'all.

Posted by: Deep Mine | May 18, 2006 12:25 PM

wondered what happened there. Besides, let's not be paranoid, the NSA can easily walk into any telco, find the switch room, and cow the operator after some badge flashing to let them copy the switch log onto a flash card - it's a file that contains every number you dial, including local calls.

it's not like the WH is on a fishing expedition against the 71 percent of America that is on their Enemies List ... and the media which sometimes lets the truth be told ...

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 18, 2006 12:32 PM

Conspiracy theories are always bunk? Read:

"CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - A senior official in U.S. President George W. Bush's re-election campaign was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Wednesday for his role in suppressing votes in a key U.S. Senate race, a scandal that Democrats charge may involve the White House.

James Tobin, 45, one of three Republican campaign operatives convicted in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in a 2002 election, was convicted in December of two telephone harassment charges.

Prosecutors had asked for a two-year sentence.

U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe described the crime as "extremely serious" and a threat to the U.S. political tradition of free and fair elections.....

Republican John Sununu beat then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in the election and state Republicans swept a number of close polls.

"This is going to continue to be an issue for a while," said Dean Spiliotes, director of research at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

He said it remained unclear why the national Republican Party spent millions of dollars defending Tobin.

"At first it seemed like he was a free agent working on his own with maybe one or two people. But then pretty quickly we saw that the Republican National Committee was spending millions to help with his legal defense. That shot us some pretty large red flags among people in the state," he said.

"Ever since then it's kind of grown slowly but surely. It hasn't gone away and I don't think it has peaked yet either."..."

Well now if they could jam phones to suppress vote turn out in a sophisticated New England state, what can't and won't they do...?

Posted by: Conspiracy Theoretician | May 18, 2006 12:33 PM

Emily, you should request secretarial help for these kinds of things. I make mine do the head-pounding work. He He

Posted by: johnnyg in NE D.C. | May 18, 2006 12:46 PM

a lot of times people think that because they represent corporations that they are not representing a family....with special interests...

corporations, people that don't want to hire citizens, and rich people that want to use you, but not invest in you.

you know what I mean?

and speaking of illegal:

you want to get rid of the _illegals_
(univiteds, not guests) without spending money?

why do we need 6,000 National Guardsmen walking the borders doing border patrol, because they know how to or because the president of "it's all about me and my friends," get's seen as "he thinks" effective?

would you like to, do you want to get rid of the illegals without spending money?

arrest those that hire, arrest all congress people and people in the EXECUTIVE branch and Judicial branch that hire or consort with those that do...including their families.

wouldn't 1.9 Billion dollars go a lot further if you used it to prosecute treasonous citizens that pass laws?

take action to protect your country,

before it is sold to friends of this administration

and you are back in the peasant class...

Posted by: recognizing patterns for what they are, don't waste your time on spin. | May 18, 2006 04:05 PM

As long as we're handing out big sobriquets, I want to be Big Baby.

Posted by: Turnabout | May 18, 2006 04:23 PM

I never thought anything other than "technical difficulties". I kind of figured given Emily's sometimes overly generous moderation of her Blog, that when a chunk of posts from liberal, moderate, conservative, psuedo blogger, and the usual cut 'n paste from the usual moron ALL disappeared - it wasn't Ms. Messner's doing.

The Blogs on Blogspot and other Forums have been known to have technical difficulty. The esteemed Wretchard of Belmont Club, who blogs from Australia when he is not abroad, suffered incredible technical difficulties for a period of time until he finally got on a stable platform. Posts cut in half, times when no one could make a post, tech support saying everything was fine when it wasn't, threads later wiped. But now things are fine, even when the guy is in the US or Philippines or soldiers in Iraq download to him..

Blogs are new technology and the early days of any technology can be an adventure. A perilous one for new physical technologies like steamships, flight, autos, a new class of drugs.

Just the way it is.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 18, 2006 06:01 PM

Thanks for working to bring every thing back and keeping us posted. I'm sure we all know that computers are malevolent enough on their own and at times they things. Bad things.

Speaking as someone who survived the era of early Macs, which seemed to delight in destroying floppy discs and devouring term papers (especially around 3 am), the loss of a few entries in an on-line forum bothers me not one bit.

Posted by: I'm Sorry Dave | May 18, 2006 06:37 PM

It's not a personal or professional thing via Emily, it's an institutional thing with regard to WP.

Be very certain that WP has enough ink in the bladders when they print. Why the carelessness on the electronic side?

Trust is slow to earn and quick to lose. The only defense of recent weak performance of the blog is that it's free.

Sorry to be hard, but if you purport to be competent and then flounder, then you just bring something discrediting to the whole idea. Nietzsche said it better, but I would have to find the quotation.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 18, 2006 07:06 PM

Back to a core issue. Overall, the significant secrets are secrets simply from the American public, aroused to a state of perpetual fear and political manipulation through partial information and disinformation. Our actual enemies are not that uninformed, incapacitated, or naive.

Hayden's insistence to go to closed session in order open the veil of the curtain for certain politicos, is roundly ridiculous.

The best defense is to let the other side know that we are capable of penetrating, processing, and analyzing everything we might need to know as free citizens. The methods are logically conspicuous -- interception and digesting electronic data.

What is the flipping secret? It's all very obvious. It's simply a question of scope. And now that we know that the threatening intelligence/surveillance scope includes common domestic communications and messages, and thereby is actually unlimited, what more is there to deal with? Lack of language translators perhaps, but no question that their means are potent if you use a phone or keyboard, where truly there is no more individual privacy (unless you are a true terrorist with the means to preserve privacy [ironically to note]).

Get over it. The jackboots can sort through their lists and pick their targets anywhere with complete immunity. American values are on a total meltdown

Posted by: On the plantation | May 18, 2006 07:53 PM

"Hayden's insistence to go to closed session in order open the veil of the curtain for certain politicos, is roundly ridiculous."

No it isn't. He has to follow the law. Only certain members of the press, CIA, and certain politicos believe law doesn't hinder them. The law calls for a closed session commensurate with Intelligence Committee members & staffs security clearances and signed confidentiality agreements, that's what they get.

"The best defense is to let the other side know that we are capable of penetrating, processing, and analyzing everything we might need to know as free citizens. The methods are logically conspicuous -- interception and digesting electronic data."

The best defense is not to tell the enemy precisely what we know, precisely what our tactics are, and tell them precisely what we don't know and what holes exist in our defenses. Sorry. I am not in the camp that we should have told the Nazis and Japs that we had broken their codes, that we had a thing called the Manhattan Project, the Tarawa invasion would start on Nov 4th, and D-Day June 7th. I don't believe in being so "open" in a struggle of life and death that we kill Americans effectively by putting the enemy right into our sources, methods, and strategy sessions. Not even a quasi-traitor like Dana Priest believes that!

"What is the flipping secret?"

Ummmm, the flipping secret is that when enemy is trying to kill you, they don't publish their sleeper cell locations, WMD progress, each IED location, spies on US bases info in Arabic newspapers, run the news on Al Jazeera, or have open Al Qaeda meetings the infidel can attend.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 18, 2006 08:43 PM

Chris Ford,

Unlike you, I was a field operator outside the country in collecting foreign intelligence for around three years. Most of the stuff is ancient history now, more than thirty years old, and fortunately a lot of it was declassified by the initiatives of the Secretary of DOE Clinton (formerly AEC) under Bill Clinton,God bless her. This permits me to actually tell my kid what I did, in basic terms, a terrific relief.

Excepting forthcoming tactical operations, the primary purpose of state secrecy is to keep information from the American people. The foes pretty much have our strategy and capabilities figured out. There is no risk, in fact there is an advantage, in publicizing the fact that we have the investment in the power to know. The technical details are patently obvious to the educated.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 18, 2006 09:07 PM

Correction: Not "Secretary of Energy Clinton" obviously. A mistake in keying on my part. I have to get the exact name spelling correct, but I start with Salley Oleary, and research from there.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 18, 2006 09:12 PM

I have a question. As the Administration acknowledges their domestic intelligence accomplishments in dribbles and drabs and only when cornered through leaks to news services, but then they exclaim that that is really all there is until the next leak.
Okay, here is the question. When they say each and everytime that they are not listening to American's conversation on line, email or voice, why should we believe them again? Each revelation is just a little closer to the bone.

Posted by: From Yuma, USA | May 19, 2006 02:03 AM

the articles by timothy maier on the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) in Charlottesville, Virginia might be of interest to those who think government surveillance is a new found topic.

start with the search terms"Army of Bias".


Posted by: jim | May 19, 2006 02:17 AM

it's the root of our failure to understand cultures other then our slice of western traditions ... spy satellites were to tell us things we coudnt learn because we didn't have immersed human spys .. we never seem to have the patience to learn ... witness the Bush admin backing somali militia fighting islamic militia -- and another future blowback is set in motion .....ssssssssssssss

it ain't the gadgets, its the people .... this blog had glitchs just ain't no thing

the glitches in planning and executing the iraq invasion ... now that's worth sweating

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | May 19, 2006 02:31 AM


I know just how bad switching from one system to another, or even as far as IT doing security patches can screw up a platform. They can devestate data that isn't backed up and stored in a seperate system. It seems like every time they put a patch or switch servers out, that all the data in my lab gets wiped out, it has gone as far as crashing the instrumentation by removing the drivers to our instruments. Could I make one suggestion though, should something happen again, It might help stop some of the conspiracy theorists if you warn everyone in advance that something might happen because of an IT situation. One other thing, that this blog has some of the most widely opinionated people with strong convictions, and most try to debate the topics reasonably well.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 19, 2006 10:27 AM

I would very much appreciate bringing this debate down to a more practical level. This surveillance activity has got to be costing the government some really big bucks. So the question arises: What bang are we getting for the buck?

Quite honestly Emily, I don't see all that much success. It has been almost four years since that fateful day and its ringleaders have not been caught. And in Iraq, the most powerful military on the face of this planet with the aid and expense of what is supposed to be the most advanced intelligence agency in the world has not come anywhere close to apprehending Zarkawi.

This implies to me that capturing Bin Laden and Al Zawaheri in Pakistan and Al Zarkawi in Iraq either must not be all that much a priority of the plan, or the plan is being executed by some of the most dog incompetent peoiple on the planet from Bush on down.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 19, 2006 10:29 AM

Let me go one step further in my analysis here. If the capture of the ringleaders of the war on terror is not the priority of all this surveillance, then what is?

I think it has less to do with the war on terror and gathering any political advantage over democrats than it does in the neocon desire to re-establish the "unitary executive" theory--a dangerous philosophy that the Presidency contains within it the implied absolute authority in time of war that trumps all Constitutional concerns over the liberty of our citizenry.

It means that the Chief Executive can overide the Bill of Rights with virtually no check, no oversight. It means that the President is even free to break the law in time of war if he--and he alone--determines that it is useful to our security to do so.

That is quite a lot of power for any one person to assume. I wonder if this all-accommodating, obsequeious Congress would be willing to grant that same power to the next democrat who holds that office?

Posted by: Jaxas | May 19, 2006 10:47 AM

I feel your pain; Captain Murphy is proven right once again. (Although he actually said something quite different from what is generally attributed to him, but that's another story.)

With regard to the general paranoia, it's easy to understand, given the whole data-mining/phone-records/library records/PATRIOT Act Flail-EX of the past going-on-five years. (How time flies when you're looking over your shoulder!)

But the big question is/ought to be, "What IS okay; how do we take reasonable steps in self-defense without becoming the enemy we fear?" Isn't that it?

Given that we have fairly open borders, which is a good thing, and a very open society, which is a good thing, and a very pluralistic society, which is a good thing, and a great deal of personal liberty, which is a good thing, and we are fabulously wealthy (good thing) in large part because of our traffic with the rest of the world, we are spectacularly vulnerable to attack from within. How do we do the best job possible of defending against the Attas of the world without threatening you, me, and my children's pediatrician, Dr. Hussein?

I have to think that we can't defend ourselves adequately without using our technological strengths against a distributed, stealthy enemy who is using our openness against us. That, necessarily, gets us into widespread surveillance, data-mining, etc. But I'm not naive. My definition of the enemy is the guy flying the airplane into the building; some Attorney General's definition, someday, inevitably, will be me.

We're going to have that pervasive snoopery that everyone rightly decries. It's already happening and there is no way it is going to stop -- in part because the genie is out of the bottle and in part because, sadly, it shouldn't stop. The solution is what we have always used, for better or worse, in both protecting and managing our freedoms. There have to be checks and balances. Someone must watch the watchers.

The problem is not that the NSA is mining phone records. It's that no-one is watching the NSA do it. The NSA (or CIA, DIA, FBI, ad infinitum) will say that it can't be watched by an outside agent and do its job. Yes it(they) can. They will be fettered. They may miss some things that they might otherwise have caught. But they will be able to do 99% of the good that they can do, and 90% of the harm that they would otherwise do will be prevented or, at least, later publically identified and compensated for.

Trying to get phone records made somehow sacred and untouchable is a futile effort. We should spend our energies demanding real checks and balances. What should they look like? How could they function in the real world? What recourse could there be when they don't work in a given circumstance?

One key check and balance that we already have is the judiciary, which seems to be being systematically cut out of the process. Let's it put it back in.

Now, what else do we need?

Posted by: Hugh_in_TN | May 19, 2006 12:45 PM


The present administration has made sure that with control of both houses of congress and it also has stacked the SCOTUS with ultra right wing judges ie: Alito, and such that they have made sure that they can operate without interuption. It can say or do anything it damn well pleases under their inturpratation of Article II of the Constitution. That the President has unlimited power in times of war and can suspend even the rights set for in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 19, 2006 02:23 PM

Jaxas - "It has been almost four years since that fateful day and its ringleaders have not been caught. And in Iraq, the most powerful military on the face of this planet with the aid and expense of what is supposed to be the most advanced intelligence agency in the world has not come anywhere close to apprehending Zarkawi."

And within the US, under both Democrats and Republicans - unabombers, abortion clinic bombers, PR terrorists have been on the FBI most wanted list for far longer. Despite the vast wisdom of lawyers in robes and the vaunted law enforcement. 40% of murders remain unsolved.

What are your solutions to a problem you seem to think has easy answers?

"This implies to me that capturing Bin Laden and Al Zawaheri in Pakistan and Al Zarkawi in Iraq either must not be all that much a priority of the plan, or the plan is being executed by some of the most dog incompetent peoiple on the planet from Bush on down."

No, what it implies to me is that you don't know how difficult it is to find and take out rogue individuals running deep to ground without implimenting Soviet or Nazi totalitarian measures, including collective reprisals against the population sheltering the rogue. Even then, some partisans survived.

Hugh_in_TN "One key check and balance that we already have is the judiciary, which seems to be being systematically cut out of the process. Let's it put it back in.
Now, what else do we need?"

Well, if you are a great believer NOT in coequal Branches of the government - but in each Branch having "Oversight" and "Final Approval" of each other's activities......It's time for:

(1)Well-trained FBI agents and Congressional staffers to be allowed into chambers in Federal Courts to monitor all judiciary proceedings. And to give the judges a sense of what the Executive and Congress expect in each ruling.

(2)Courts to dispatch guardian ad litems to watch over all Congressional legislation of interest to the Judiciary and to warn Congress of laws the courts find unacceptable. For Congress to accept Executive watchdogs and end the practice of closed door committees so the Executive can intervene more readily on behalf of the People.

Of course that turns the whole idea of separation of Powers on its head, but people so deep in Bush hatred claim that Article II Powers come ONLY with oversight and agreement of BOTH the Courts and Congress. So they surely want the same done to the Courts and Congress!

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 19, 2006 03:04 PM

Chris, you seem to consistently drag all argument, all debate, all dissent from the "Bush Doctrine" as nothing more than Bush hatred.

Look. I don't personally know George W. Bush. But I have had quite enough of his public persona--which to me comes off as consistently brittle and defensive, doggedly stubborn in clinging to the discredited rhetoric he used to justify his war in Iraq, excessively political in his administration of policy (dangerous for a President seeking a legacy based on a higher more statesmanlike calling), reflexively dogmatic and ideological (as was so glaringly obvious in his responses to questions from the press corp yesterday) and one of the most obsessively secret men ever to occupy the Oval Office, even surpassing Nixon in his drive to keep even his (and his Vice President's) everyday doings under the cover of a national security classification.

For you to continue in the futile defense of this administration under the silly, piqueish notion that it all derives from "Bush hatred" is senseless and simpleminded and flies in the face of all of the galring incompetencies that have been demonstrated on almost a weekly basis since the re-election of this screwup President.

No. I don't have all of the answers but, what are we supposed to do out here? Simply sit down, shut up and not voice our displeasure when we see our country going to pot in so many ways, our liberties being threatened less from the angry, malevolence of Bin Laden than by the excessive thirst for power of our own President and Vice President, and a level of "amateur hour" incompetence that has even been fessed up to by Bush's own nominee for NSC Chief?

Posted by: Jaxas | May 20, 2006 10:27 AM

Re: The title of your posting ("Never Underestimate the Fallability of Technology")
I am almost certain that the spelling is "fallibility" (although I admit my own). Please don't bother to implicate
"spelcheque"; no true writer would rely on a software engineer for correct spelling.
The problem is not in the fallibility of technology, but in us humans, who choose to do more things marginally well
rather than less things as well as we are capable of doing them.

Yours for better proofreading (something newspapers used to do before spelchex),
Jim O'Brien

Posted by: James O'Brien | May 20, 2006 05:28 PM


This one caught my attention:

(1)Well-trained FBI agents and Congressional staffers to be allowed into chambers in Federal Courts to monitor all judiciary proceedings. And to give the judges a sense of what the Executive and Congress expect in each ruling.

Do you expect that giving judges a sense of what the Exec and Congress expect in each ruling would influence each ruling? Should it? Judges are supposed to rule based on scholarly and experienced interpretations of the Constitution - not politics - Right?

"Courts to dispatch guardian ad litems to watch over all Congressional legislation of interest to the Judiciary and to warn Congress of laws the courts find unacceptable. "

Doesn't that already happen in a sort of back-door fashion? Congress has staffers that are well versed in legal matters and I wouldn't be suprised if they often have the numbers of Supreme Court clerks. Of course some members of congress and their staffs are probably more on top of these sorts of things than others. Are you suggesting standards for Congressional legal staffers? Or perhaps training courses? Or perhaps exchange programs where SC clerks spend time on the hill advising members of Congress and some qualified Congressional legal staffers do some Supreme court clerking? Interesting concepts.

"For Congress to accept Executive watchdogs and end the practice of closed door committees so the Executive can intervene more readily on behalf of the People."

What kind of intervention are you speaking of? These all seem like measures that are more related to improving communications and perhaps coordination (if approached the right way) between the branches rather than increasing or balencing the level of checks and balences between branches. I see checks as power held over a branch by another branch.

An additional check that has been proposed in the past (Exec over Congress) is the line item veto. That would allow the Pres more leeway to sign bills into law while crossing out some of the pork that often finds its way into those pesky things. Good luck getting Congress to ever write a bill granting the President that.

Posted by: DK | May 21, 2006 02:18 AM

DK, a republican Congress did grant the line item veto to the President back in the 1990s. Then they went to the Supreme Court to have it ruled unconstitutional the first time a democratic President--Bill Clinton--used it.

The curious thing about it all was that the effort to have it overturned was led by Conservative Republican Senator Robert Bennett of Utah. In 1992, Bennett came into office riding a campaign based on term limits and--guess what? The line item veto.

Bennett has been in office now for 14 years. The only limit Congress ought to be considering is the incalculable weight of hypocrisy on the part of conservative republicans who do not practice what they preach.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 21, 2006 10:00 AM

Whoops, I remember the isue under consideration back in the 90's, but I thought it had never made it through Congress. I guess I wasn't paying enough attention back then.

Posted by: DK | May 21, 2006 10:19 PM

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