Friday, January 27, 2006

The Commissar Vanishes

The regime's efforts to erase history by disappearing archived photos of Bush with Jack Abramoff might be a bit scary if they weren't so funny and pathetic.

Update: Hadn't made the blog-reading rounds for a day or so, but now see that Laura Rozen made the same connection, with links to the book referenced in the title.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tiny violins

The Abramoff-DeLay lobbying scandal has put a detectable dent in business at D.C. restaurants, skyboxes, and other fringe benefits of working in and around Congress, according to the L.A. Times:

Jon Doggett, vice president of public policy for the National Corn Growers Assn., said he offered to take some Capitol Hill staff members to lunch last week, but was told they could not accept lunches from lobbyists anymore. ... [He] lamented lost opportunities to explain "a lot of stuff to a 25-year-old staffer with a political science degree whose [boss] is voting on issues that involve agriculture, and they've never been on a farm."

Dabbing away tears for Mr. Doggett and his lost opportunities, I offer a small suggestion: Make an appointment to explain that stuff at a table in the staffer's office rather than at La Colline. I know it can be done; why, I've done it myself. True, it's possible that the young staffer will fail to take any notes during your explanations. He or she may even yawn in your face, something far less likely to happen over a delicious lunch. But press on; those corn growers are counting on you.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Alito: no

My letter:

Dear Senator Warner,

Please oppose the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

This country is nearing a constitutional crisis over the separation of powers. Few Americans are as personally involved in and deeply aware of this as you. Two weeks ago you were obliged to stand with Sen. McCain to respond to the President's claim, in a signing statement of the defense bills, that he could waive the anti-torture provisions of the act should he find it necessary.

I was heartened to see such an immediate and direct response from you and Sen. McCain, committing to the oversight so vital to our system of government. But it troubled me that such a declaration would even be needed. It also struck me that the two of you are among a very small group of senior Senators in your party who have shown any ability to stand up to the administration.

So it troubled me even more to consider that you would soon be asked to approve the lifetime appointment to what should be another independent branch of government of a judge who has supported for decades a radical view of sweeping executive power, the so-called 'unitary executive'. (To add salt to the wound, Judge Alito is also the originator of the dubious practice of treating presidential signing statements as part of the background to be used by courts in interpretating legislation.)

This is an issue that cuts across partisan lines, or should. It's one thing for Supreme Court justices to overturn particular settled policies: those policies will return to state legislatures and Congress, where constituents and lobbies will battle them out. It's another thing altogether for the Court to acquiesce in an expansion of executive power that nullifies constitutional rights; from that there may be no return.

In light of the history of this administration's assertion of power over detainee treatment, and now their recent admission of having bypassed the FISA court for years to spy on American citizens without warrants, are you willing to put the Constitution at risk by approving Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court?

Please protect our system of government; please oppose this nomination.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Daring the American people

Thanks be for Al Gore's speech today. One of its strongest moments, though, was from Bob Barr. In introducing* Gore, he said that that Bush had broken the law and that

The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will.

*Update: Good thing Gore included it in the speech, eh? Apparently technical problems prevented Bob Barr from appearing via satellite as scheduled.


Friday, January 13, 2006

The visual presentation of information

Exemplified. Coalition casualties in Iraq animated on map. Tuftean and telling.