Editorial Round-up

A nice compilation of editorials from some newspapers around the country dealing with Libby’s get-out-of-jail-free card.

President Bush’s commutation of a pal’s prison sentence counts as a most shocking act of disrespect for the U.S. justice system. It’s the latest sign of the huge repairs to American concepts of the rule of law that await the next president.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

(Nod: Carpetbagger Report)

Tipping the Scales


The president has again proven his administration has no respect for the law. In a surprise as big as the period at the end of this sentence, President Bush today commuted former Vice President Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby after he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

I seem to remember not too long ago that the Washington GOP went after a sitting president for the same charges, only in his case he was lying about sex and not a national security secret. If anyone had doubts about this administration’s disrespect for the law, those doubts should be evaporated along with this president’s credibility.

Some level-headed commentary:

This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people’s faith in a government that puts the country’s progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years.

Senator Barack Obama

(Photo: Jim / morgueFile)

Polling Problems of the 21st Century

The problem with conducting polls used to be how to account for households with no phone; now the problem is how to account for households with only a cell phone. Quote:

According to government statistics released last month, nearly 13% of U.S. households (12.8%) cannot now be reached by the typical telephone survey because they have only a cell phone and no landline telephone.

How exciting it is to be part of the problem….

Red Storm on the Horizon?

china flag

Some figures from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

In June 2007, there were 27 listed product recalls:

  • 3 (11%) were products manufactured elsewhere
  • 8 (30%) were products manufactured in the U.S.
  • 16 (59%) were products manufactured in China

In May 2007, there were 36 listed product recalls:

  • 1 (3%) was a product manufactured in the U.S. and Canada
  • 1 (3%) was a product manufactured in the U.S. and China
  • 2 (6%) were products manufactured in the U.S.
  • 7 (19%) were products manufactured elsewhere
  • 25 (69%) were products manufactured in China

What do these statistics tell us? Several things, I suppose. On one hand, plenty of the products we consume in the United States are made in China, so the greater percentage of things made there, the greater chance that a product with a recall will be from China.

On the other hand, though, these numbers might tell us that oversight is missing somewhere in the process, whether it be at the Chinese manufacturing plant, the American distribution company, or either of the two countries’ governments.

The gross percentage of recalls over the past two months that were for products manufactured in China compounded with the tainted pet food a couple months ago, the unfair devaluation of Chinese currency, and accusations of technology espionage all leave me wondering what the next several years are going to bring on the international stage. China is growing, perhaps faster than they, or we, can check and regulate. Next summer Beijing hosts the Summer Olympic Games and will be thrust into the world’s spotlight. Chances are, once given the attention, they won’t be willing to give it up.

(Photo: Gary Tamin / stock.xchng)

Changing Direction

It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much. Justice Steven Breyer, 28 Jun, on how certain other Supreme Court justices have voted this term, votes that have driven the court to the right

In another change of direction, the Supreme Court changed its original ruling not to rule on whether or not Guantanamo detainees have a right to challenge their detention in U.S. federal court and will now review the case. Let’s hope the court sides with human rights and not with the barbaric position of the Bush administration.

Looking Through the Smiles


A new poll reveals 52% of likely votes would NOT vote for Hillary Clinton if she were the Democratic nominee for president.

Clinton rang up high negatives across the board, with 60 percent of independents, 56 percent of men, 47 percent of women and 88 percent of Republicans saying they wouldn’t consider voting for her.

Startling revelation for the Democratic party and the candidate. The polarization she fosters is exactly what this country does not need more of. After eight years of the current administration’s polarization, we need an actual uniter, a healer. Hillary is not that person. Furthermore, isn’t it time to break the soon-to-be twenty (20!) years of two-family rule in the White House? Bush, Clinton, Bush. Do we really want to keep the pattern up? I think not. We need someone fresh, with new ideas capable of letting every American appreciate a new-found sense of what it is to live in a united United States.

(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Constitutional Questions

More about impeaching the vice president, but in general terms. In all their other wisdom, the Framers of the Constitution back in 1787 left a glaring oversight in the federal impeachment process. Article 1, Section 3 clearly states that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over presidential impeachment trials. Not explicitly said, though, is that the vice president, being the President of the Senate presides over all other impeachment trials.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided…..

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 3

Constitutionally speaking, then, this would mean the vice president would technically preside over his own trial. Obviously he would have to recuse himself, so who would preside instead? Since the chief justice presides over presidential trials, my guess is that he would try the vice president as well.

Interesting enough, Ohio representative Dennis Kucinich back in April introduced a bill to impeach the vice president. The bill is currently dead in a House committee. Bill summary:

Sets forth articles of impeachment stating that Vice President Cheney: (1) has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq in a manner damaging to U.S. national security interests; and (2) has openly threatened aggression against Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and has done so with the U.S. proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining U.S. national security.

The Cheney Presidency

bush and cheney

He’s not running to become the next president, but he doesn’t have to. If you haven’t been reading the Washington Post’s fantastically revealing articles on Vice President Cheney, you should most definitely check them out. The articles are an insight to the stealthy, pseudo Cheney presidency.

Another article every American and Congressperson should read is an argument for impeaching the vice president. Quote:

Cheney is impeachable for his overweening power and his sneering contempt of the Constitution and the rule of law.

I’m amazed that so little light has been shed on the goings-on of the White House during this administration. The previous Congress allowed much of the beefed-up executive branch to happen since it failed in its oversight duties, giving the president and the vice president what amounts to free-reign on doing whatever they wanted to do. This new Congress, though, has thus far not done too much more than the last one. Subpoenas keep getting issued, but what, if anything, has become of any one of them that were issued? I appreciate the job that people like Vermont senator Patrick Leahy have been doing in trying to expose and correct the administration’s wrongdoings, but more needs to be done.

Checks and balances in our government work only when those who are supposed to be doing the checking and balancing actually do their job. Subpoenas may not be the best tool for this job particularly when the person overseeing the nation’s law enforcement, the attorney general, seems to have trouble doing his job too. Instead, more drastic measures perhaps should be explored. Take Illinois representative Rahm Emanuel’s threating to cut-off the vice president’s funding after the veep said he was not part of the executive branch. Cheney, then, reversed his original stance.

This administration has already proved it will do what is necessary to get what it wants. Congress, on behalf of the American people who elected them, should do no less.

(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Sending the Wrong Signals


The House of Representatives is poised to give themselves a pay raise for the excellent and very hard work they’ve been doing. After the $4,400 increase, their salary will be nearly $170,000.

Nevermind that the median household income, as of 2005, was $46,326; nevermind that 37 million [PDF] Americans live below the poverty level; and nevermind that 46 million Americans have no health insurance coverage.

As always, Congress is looking out for the working men and women in this country. I’m glad they found the time to take care of themselves amidst all their important work fixing the education system, fixing the health care system, saving Social Security and Medicare, finding alternative fuels, securing the borders, curtailing the illegal immigration problem, and solving that pesky Middle East problem. Well done, Congress, well done. You are a shining example for the rest of us.

(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

A Mess All Around

I’m a little confused about the situation in Iraq. The top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, offers, what I think, are contradictory assessments, or dates for assessments. Of course, though, we can’t call them “timelines” or, gasp, even “benchmarks.”Supposedly in September, just over two months from now, the general will issue a report assessing the progress, or lack of, on the troop increase, a.k.a. “the surge.” But, the general has also said it will take years (yes years, not two months) to resolve insurgency problems in Iraq.

So my question is, what is this September deadline for? Is it really a deadline for anything? Or will the general and the president keep on doing what they’ve been doing all along and continue the war? Will they send more troops and say they need a few more months? Or will we somehow be roped into a war with Iran?

I’ve struggled for a long time, now, with the Iraq war. Nevermind why we went or if we should have went. We’re there now, and that’s the reality. No sense dreaming about what-ifs in this situation. That helps nobody.

On one hand, I understand the necessity for remaining there. If we pulled out tomorrow, the region would likely collapse into a bigger mud hole than it already is. Civil wars on a mass scale seem likely. But on the other hand, what good are we really doing there? The Iraqi government seems reluctant, if willing at all, to stand up for themselves; we appear to be breeding more terrorists day-by-day (whether they’re al Qaeda or not, because some nut case with an IED is still a terrorist); electricity in the country is scarce after how many years; oil production and revenues are as prolific as sharks in a backyard swimming pool; etc. etc. etc.

What would happen if we pulled out? Chaos, probably. And that isn’t something we can afford seeming as that region is of extreme importance to us since we can’t seem to find alternative fuels. So, perhaps the entire Mideast oil supply gets cut off. Then we have to rely on reserves, which won’t last long, and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, not exactly someone begging on our doorstep to be invited to dinner. Now, then, the crisis is at home. Not because some terrorists “followed us home,” but because we, the American people and government, have no foresight. If we don’t need the oil, we don’t need to be there.

If we continue there, prospects aren’t really any better. Things will simply keep on keeping on. What about the prospect of splitting Iraq into three countries, or at least three highly autonomous regions (which would likely split apart anyway)? I don’t know much about that, other than letting the Iraqi Kurd population up north have their own country could embolden the Kurds in Turkey to revolt for their own country too. A mess all around.

So, really, there is no solution. No solution, at least, that will make everyone happy. We are left with choosing from the less-worse of choices, but which one is that?

What I find interesting, though, on Monday a top Republican senator hammered away at the president’s fortifications. Indiana senator Richard Lugar:

Our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond…. In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved.

Someone, somewhere needs to have a plan. A plan that will work for all parties involved. It would be great if, say, someone in Congress or the White House stopped with all the silly, inconsequential non-binding resolutions and posturing and actually do what we all sent them there to do: solve the hard problems. If they can’t, then let’s get someone in charge who can.

Bushism #87,927,752

More proof the president doesn’t know what’s going on:

You know, I’ve heard all the rhetoric you’ve heard it, too about how this is amnesty. Amnesty means that you’ve got to pay a price for having been here illegally, and this bill does that.

President Bush, today, deviating from months-long statements of the opposite persuasion

Standing Up to the President

50 high school Presidential Scholars met with the president Monday for the usual meet-and-greet. This time, though, the students proved why they were Presidential Scholars: they presented him with a letter urging him to stop torturing terrorist suspects.

We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants.

The president, of course, told them we don’t torture people.

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Perhaps certain Congressional leaders, say Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, and Boehner, should take notice. High school students can stand up for human rights and international law, but our paid Congresspeople can’t?

(Nod: The Daily Dish)


A cool site with tons of interactive polls. You can even see in real-time other site users voting in the polls. Wicked cool and easy to get lost on the site.

All Tied Up

Looking for creative ways to lace and tie your shoes? Look no further.

The Man with the Hat Is Back

Proof that not everything in the world has gone bad.

The Other White Meat

Democrats leading up to the 2006 midterm election railed against the Republican “Culture of Corruption” and touted their plan to end the shadowy deals and hidden uses of tax-payer money.

Well, there’s a reason why only 14% of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress, according to the Gallup Poll. 14%!

Part of the Democrats’ plan they campaigned on was to bring earmarks out into the light. Congresspeople often bring back the bacon for their home districts, securing taxpayer money for pet projects. Anderson Cooper of CNN and his staff called all 435 members of Congress to see if each would disclose the list of earmarks each requested. The results?

  • 45 have turned over their requests.
  • 68 flat out refused.
  • 6 told us they did not request any earmarks.
  • But the majority, 316, never responded.

45 out of 435 isn’t exactly shedding light on the pork problem. Oh, and one of the 68 who refused? None other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. How’s that for campaign promises.

New Rules

How far off the rocker is the vice president? According to him, the Office of the Vice President does not fall in the Executive Branch. Not being part of the Executive Branch allows his office not to report on documents they classify or declassify. Yes, more secrecy from the White House.

So the VP’s office is not in the Executive Branch, but the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as AMTRAK, is. Go figure.

On the Way to Big Things

Things are going to get interesting. Might there be a three-way race between three New Yorkers? Let’s hope not.


Did the Bush Administration and its pre-war planning (or lack thereof) take into consideration the massive refuge crisis in Iraq? Quote:

The United Nations says in a recent report that an estimated 1.4 million Iraqis have already fled to neighboring countries, mostly to Jordan and Syria, and at least 2,000 more leave Iraq every day.

More Trouble at the Justice Department?

While the Justice Department’s civil rights division seems content to move away from race cases and instead pursue religious cases, there may have been more Justice employees removed for political reasons. Quote:

In Congressional testimony in March, [Joseph D.] Rich [who recently stepped down as head of the voting rights section after a 37-year career at Justice] said seven managers had been removed or marginalized for what he characterized as political reasons or perceived disloyalty. Department officials acknowledge the changes, but dispute the reasons.

About the shift taking place:

Not until recently has anyone in the [Justice] department considered religious discrimination such a high priority. No one had ever considered it to be of the same magnitude as race or national origin.

Brian K. Landsberg, a law professor at the University of the Pacific and a former Justice Department lawyer under both Republican and Democratic administrations

Judges Say U.S. Can’t Hold Man as “Combatant”

And the cards begin to fall. Finally. Quote:

To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the president calls them “enemy combatants,” would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution and the country.

Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, U.S. Fourth District Court of Appeals

Voting Overseas

Apparently if you’re a U.S. citizen overseas (such as military personnel), voting in elections back home isn’t a sure bet. Quote:

A system should be in place, regardless of the cost, to make sure that the very defenders of our democracy have the opportunity to take part in it

Sgt. James Mowrer, an Iowa National Guardsman deployed in Iraq who helped organize voters in his unit in 2006

Iraqis Are Failing to Meet U.S. Benchmarks

Surprised? I’m not.

The Twin Towers

Watch this video, especially from 8:25 to about 10:15. That’s all I’m going to say.



These recut trailers work the best when the new version is so drastically different from the actual film. This one’s still one of the best.

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