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Other Opinions: Congress taps Do-Not-Call extension

So you pointed your mouse to and entered your name and phone number to say hail and farewell to those annoying telemarketers who always seem to call just in time for dinner.

Sweet relief. But do you recall when exactly you did that?

The question comes up because under the original law, names and numbers entered into do-not-call lists automatically purge after five years. An estimated 52 million numbers are set to expire by October. Perhaps yours.

Don't fret yet. Congress has put together a pair of bills to make permanent the program that in 2003 created the national Do Not Call Registry. About 150 million people are currently enrolled, meaning their numbers are required to be dropped by telemarketing companies that are required to pay $17,050 for the privilege of searching the registry monthly so they can update their call lists.

"When folks in Wisconsin signed up for the do-not-call registry ... they weren't just looking for a five-year trial period to see if they could live without telemarketers," U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said in a statement this week. "The first time you sign up to avoid these bothersome calls should also be your last."

All this is going on as debate rages in Congress over extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which among other things allows the government to tap phones without a court order.

Hey, at least they won't have to call. -- Duluth News Tribune