In this Dow Jones story —FISA Deal Will End Court Cases Vs Phone Cos – GOP Lawmakers — Missouri’s Republican senator, Christopher Bond, is quoted as follows:

“I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do.”

If I ran the St. Louis Post Dispatch or Kansas City Star, the two biggest newspapers in Missouri, I’d assign my Washington reporters to ask Bond, at every opportunity, the following questions:

If the government tells you to murder someone, is that “something you need to do?” If not, what crimes are in the permitted zone? What illegal acts can the government order a private citizen or company to commit?

Amazingly, or perhaps not, there’s no sign that anyone is asking Bond these questions. Another example of journalistic non-feasance.

Doc SearlsDoc Searls has been in the hospital for a week, and many of us have been following the saga via his blog. Happily, as I learned during a visit yesterday in Cambridge, he’s seeing “light at the end of the digestive tunnel” and is back on real food as opposed to feeding tubes.

Doc is a treasure — to his family, his colleagues and his friends, and a guiding light in so many ways. To be his colleague is a constant pleasure and learning experience. To be his friend is a joy.

NY Times: Congress Reaches Deal on Wiretapping Bill: After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders reached a deal Thursday that would re-write the rules for the government’s wiretapping powers, and would provide what amounts to limited immunity to the telephone companies that took part in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

This “deal” — which the reporter stenographically reports, quoting others, as a compromise — is an absolute capitulation by the Democrats, who have shown themselves conclusively to be pure quislings. Fearful of looking “soft on terrorism,” they are bowing to Bush and Republican demands that they encourage companies to break the law — and break it so that government can have all the help it needs in spying on American citizens who have done absolutely nothing to justify the surveillance.

We may as well redact the Fourth Amendment when we publish the Constitution. It’s completely meaningless at this point.

McCain supports this travesty, of course. He believes in absolute, dictatorial power for the president.

Where the hell is Obama, who claims to believe in the rule of law? He’s in hiding.

UPDATE: No, it’s worse. He supports this, too, after being a leader in the fight against it before. What a raging hypocrite he has become.

A new kind of politician? Not one who’d sell out the Constitution to get elected.

So United Airlines baggage information page informs us that unless you’re a frequent or upgraded passenger, you’ll pay $15 for the first bag you check. This follows American Airlines’ lead.

Lemmings are smarter than this.

The policy is guaranteed — absolutely guaranteed — to lead to on-plane fighting for overhead space. It will turn an already lousy experience into the kind of chaotic crappiness that will leave everyone in a terrible mood. People in Group 4 will board, or attempt to board, with the earlier boarders — and dare the gate agents to do something about it.

Everyone knows that fares have to rise, at least everyone with a shred of common sense. The airline industry is trapped in fuel-price hell, and through no fault of its own can’t cover the cost of flying the planes.

You can make an argument that people with luggage are carrying extra weight and should pay more. But by that logic, obese and simply large people should pay more than children and petite women. (Obese people who take half of someone else’s seat should have to buy two seats, but that’s a different issue.)

The airline industry is caught in a vortex. It isn’t evil, but policies like this show it’s damned stupid.

Wall Street Journal: Taxpayers May Face Hurricane Tab. As hurricane season begins, Democrats in Congress want to nationalize a chunk of the insurance business that covers major storm-damage claims. The proposal — backed by giant insurers Allstate Corp. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as well as Florida lawmakers — focuses on “reinsurance,” the policies bought by insurers themselves to protect against catastrophic losses. The proposal envisions a taxpayer-financed reinsurance program covering all 50 states, which would essentially backstop the giant insurers in case of disaster.

This is a fiscal disaster in the making if it passes. It will encourage even more reckless coastal development that would be uneconomic if the people who benefit had to bear the real costs of what they’re doing.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes it. Democrat Barak Obama is for it. McCain is on the right side of this issue, and I don’t mean the right wing.

Obama has been presenting himself as a candidate who wants to tell the truth to the American people — to run a government that recognizes reality and doesn’t continue the lies of the past. His support of this legislation is a giant blind spot in his vision.