Minutes before midnight, after a landslide House vote of 250-153, President Obama signed legislation backing a four-year extension on the controversial USA PATRIOT Act. (Did you know that’s an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism? Now you do.) Yay, habeas corpus denials, warrantless searches and carte blanche wiretapping! Four more years! Four more years!
Because the president was in France, he was required to sign it using an autopen machine: that rare and wonderful device favored by politicians, sports stars and celebrities, that can mechanically reproduce the act of signing one’s autograph. (See one in action here!)
Since first being patented in the U.S. in 1804 by English inventor John Isaac Hawkins, the autopen has scribbled its way into American history — and infamy — over and over again.
Read more via Wired.