As a group of self-posturing macho men not afraid of a little torture, the Republicans do seem to have a habit of trying to take advantage of people when they are literally on their sick beds. Newt Gingrich handed his first wife the divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer. Tom Delay and Bill Frist sought, and fortunately failed, to score political points over Terri Schiavo. And now we’ve learned that Alberto Gonzales made a hospital call to get warrantless wiretaps OK’d.

In riveting Senate testimony worthy of a spy thriller, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey described how then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andy Card raced to a hospital in March 2004 to pressure ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft to approve what he, Comey, and FBI Director Robert Miller considered to be an illegal, unconstitutional power grab by the Bush administration. In a rare profile in courage, all three threatened to resign, forcing President Bush to order changes in the program.

"I was very angry," Comey testified. "I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man."

So whom did the White House pick to replace Ashcroft after he had defied Bush? Why Alberto Gonzales, of course.

Big Brother is alive and well.