Notes: Attorney General John D. Ashcroft is on a tour to promote the USA Patriot Act. Ashcroft's month-long promotion of the act is an "effort by the Justice Department to rebut criticism from civil liberties groups and politicians of both parties who say the Patriot Act has undercut civil liberties and jeopardized constitutional rights," says an Associated Press report by Curt Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Among other things, the act allows so-called "sneak and peek" searches where searches are carried out without the target's knowledge. However, according to a New York Times report by Eric Lichtblau, "[t]he Republican-led House voted overwhelmingly last month to repeal a provision of the law that allows federal authorities to delay notification that search warrants have been executed. Lawmakers have proposed other measures that would scale back surveillance powers and other aspects of the legislation."

From the same report, "[m]ore that 150 communities around the country have passed resolutions opposing the law. Librarians in numerous cities have complained, despite adamant denials by the Justice Department and the F.B.I., that government agents may be using their expanded powers to monitor people's reading habits."

Ashcroft says, in a report by Dan Eggen in the Washington Post, that abandoning the tools in the Patriot Act "would senselessly imperil American lives and American liberty." Ironically, the act takes away American liberties. As Weez points out in the strip, taking away liberties to preserve liberty is an oxymoron.