From the "poor timing" department w.r.t. my "not time to panic about civil liberties" post, Bush signed some sort of martial law law, which I have not had time to analyse, but certainly set the Slashhorde off. (Not that that takes much; the Slashhorde has the political acumen of a five year old; even when the horde is right, it's by accident.) Link goes to Slashdot because the summary seems to contain useful links that are down now (even a day after posting, some other site must be shutting it down, maybe Digg); you can try later.
On the other hand, the ACLU has dropped its challenge of the Patriot act, citing "improvements in the law". If even the ACLU is no longer upset, one would imagine it's not so bad. This post cynically theorizes that the reason for dropping the lawsuit is crassly political, which if true leads me to the conclusion that the ACLU never really cared and it was always political. So, in the interests of granting evidence opposing my claim the most credence possible, I'll take the ACLU at its word.
Remember, "over-reaching law passed, over-reaching law challenged, over-reaching law fixed" isn't proof of the impending collapse of civilization, it's merely the system working as designed.
(As for the worries about Bush doing something nasty with Martial Law, I ask you, what could he really do? He's not even remotely charismatic enough to function as a dictator, as so many people seem to worry about. Moreover, he's already a weak President at the moment; he'd have even less base to function on as "The Guy Who Destroyed America". I can't think of a single person who'd support him in that role, and I doubt even the military would follow him if he tried to do something that grossly unconstitutional. Me? I may look like a Bush supporter to a Bush hater, and to somebody who insists on living in a black-and-white world where you hate him or love him with a passion, I might look like the latter, but I'm nowhere near "love", let alone "unconditional love". If he did something stupid with martial law, or suspends elections for a dumb reason for too long*, I'd be joining the March On Washington or whatever other counter-measures would be taken by the people, and I suspect a lot of "Bush supporters" would do the same. The only real power he has is a military that has taken an oath that implies, among other things, that they can't help him take over the country in contravention of the Constitution.)
(*: Actually, even suspending them makes no sense. The only reason to suspend elections nationwide that I can think of would be a biological attack that has already spread nationally, where the polling places could spread the disease. This seems unlikely, plus this also implies the nearly-complete shutdown of our society anyhow (schools closed, shopping curtailed, etc.), and this shutdown would probably come from the people, not the Federal Government, which couldn't possibly react quickly enough. Most other events would be local, and we already can extend elections for local reasons, which would seem like the real solution. Based on this logic, my tolerance for suspended elections would be extremely low, and again, I doubt there are many people at any level, anywhere, who would support Bush in any attempt to muck with our elections. God help Diebold executives and anyone they've been working with if anybody ever proves they've been manipulating elections.)