Just up on Wired: A Bush Administration bill that would have given retroactive immunity to big telecoms that helped the administration conduct warrantless surveillance on domestic communications is now dead in the Senate till next year. It looked likely to pass until Senator Christopher Dodd threatened to filibuster if the immunity provision wasn't removed; Senate leadership pulled the bill so they could get other work done before the Christmas recess.
Immunity for the telecoms would cut off the only available avenue to legally challenge warrantless wiretapping. It's based on a ridiculous premise: that the telecoms should be excused for doing something illegal and unconstitutional because the government told them to do it! The essence of democracy is that citizens are responsible to know and obey the law on their own accord - not just do whatever government orders them to. What are we coming to?
Video of Dodd's closing remarks (via O'Reilly Radar):
More thorough (but not so up-to-date) coverage by the NY Times.