Can You Hear Me Now?

Telecom Companies Get Wiretap Immunity

Congress To Get Free iPhones, Extra Minutes
Each representative will receive a brand new iPhone.

Richieville News Service-WASHINGTON, D.C.
In a striking victory for President Bush, the House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill that would give telecommunications companies immunity for their participation in the administration’s warrentless wiretapping program. In return, each member of Congress will receive one of the new generation of Apple iPhones. 
Some Democrats bitterly opposed the measure, saying the companies had broken the law and violated a fundamental constitutional right to privacy. But in the end, the promise of the sleek new phone, which has the ability to take advantage of the latest high speed wireless technology, proved irresistible to the 105 Democrats who joined with Republicans to pass the bill.
“This baby is so cool,” said Democratic majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland as he showed off his shiny, black 8 gigabyte iPhone. “Yes, AT&T took part in an illegal program to eavesdrop on Americans without a court order, aiding the Bush administration’s assault on our basic civil liberties, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but did you know this has GPS? You want directions to the nearest Starbuck’s?”
Rep. Rahm Emmanuel of Illinois was equally excited about the possibilities. “It’s true that with this bill there will be absolutely no accountability for six years in which major telecommunications companies aided in illegal spying on American citizens,” said the congressman, who unlike Mr. Hoyer had chosen a white case for his  phone. “But with this new 3G technology, I can use my iPhone  in Europe or Asia. Look how fast it downloads my Facebook page.”  
The bill, which expands the government’s ability to listen to domestic conversations without a court order, now moves to the Senate.  Some senators expressed disappointment with the House version and appeared to be holding out for new Blackberrys. But leaders of both parties expressed confidence that the holdouts would come around, thanks to the iPhone’s remarkably easy-to-use touch screen.
Members of both houses of Congress were given 500 extra “anytime” minutes and two-year contracts at $40 a month for basic voice services plus an additional $20 to $30 a month depending on the data features selected. The contracts include a $200 penalty for early termination, but AT&T said the company would waive that fee if a member had to resign due to scandal, indictment or to spend more time with his family. 

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