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Rand Paul spoke for 10 1/2 hours Wednesday against the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance, doing that thing that he does where he makes a lot of sense for a while before his next inevitable plunge into pure libertarian lunacy. Like his 2013 long speech against drones, it wasn't a real filibuster, because it actually took place during the time allotted to debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill, but it was a noble stand for liberty and the freedom to be left alone, and we'll give Sen. AquaBuddha credit for that for a moment before he starts talking crazy again, which should be about fifteen minutes after he wakes up.

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Three parts of the Patriot Act are set to sunset on May 31 unless Congress votes to reauthorize them, including the authorization for the NSA to collect all our metadata forever, which a federal court found unconstitutional a couple weeks back; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to pass an extension before the Senate takes a week off for Memorial Day. The Guardian notes that Paul carefully ended his talk before midnight, so as not to disrupt the Senate's schedule. Freedom and Liberty are sacred, but so is vacation/fundraising time.

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Another fun tidbit from The Guardian's livebloog: even though the "filibuster" lasted over ten hours, Rand Paul never talked for more than a half hour at a stretch because he got lots of help from other senators, like when Utah Sen. Mike Lee "delivered an extended speech on the Fourth Amendment and a Supreme Court case called Smith v. Maryland" for 30 minutes -- Lee thought it had been decided incorrectly, for what that's worth.

Also, would you believe that the "filibuster" may also have had a purpose beyond simply expanding the boundaries of personal liberty for all Americans? Rand Paul got a buttload of campaign contributions after his 2013 not-quite-a-filibuster, and as it happens, during the latest marathon, the Paul campaign was also running ads on the Drudge Report:

So that's nice, too -- a whole bunch of people signing a "petition" and receiving endless fundraising emails forever.

And then it was all over, and the Patriot Act will probably be extended anyway with some minor tweaks, but at least everybody was able to watch the second half of Letterman's finale, the end. And now Rand Paul can get back to the serious business of yelling at reporters and promoting freedom, except for uterus-Americans.

[HuffPo / The Guardian]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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