The first House of Representatives hearing devoted to a controversial online copyright bill began in an unusual way: with politicians defending themselves from charges that the proposal goes too far.
It's "beyond troubling to hear hyperbolic charges that this bill will open the floodgates to government censorship," Rep. Mel Watt, a North Carolina Democrat, said during a House Judiciary committee hearing this morning.
Claiming that the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, will transform the United States into "a repressive regime belittles the circumstances under which true victims of tyrannical governments actually live," said Watt, a SOPA sponsor.
SOPA, which was introduced last month in the House to the applause of lobbyists for Hollywood and other large content holders, is designed to make allegedly copyright-infringing Web sites, sometimes called "rogue" Web sites, virtually disappear from the Internet.
"The notion that this bill threatens freedom of information is insupportable," said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the committee's senior Democrat and another SOPA sponsor.
Of course, John Conyers, is the same genius that uttered this comment:
"I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill ... What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?'"
If Conyers will take a test to prove that he actually understands what is in the bill then I’ll let him pass (this time) on arguably being the dumbest member of Congress. Otherwise his support of this or any bill should make every congressman run in the opposite direction.