Sunday, April 22, 2007







micki said...

If anyone lives in Puget Sound Energy's service area, go to:

and sign up for Green Energy.

Or consider doing it in your area.

micki said...

Scary thought!

Gonzo for Gonzo
Maybe Alberto Gonzales was brilliant yesterday—and everybody missed it.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007, at 4:49 PM ET

So, I've changed my mind. On sober second thought, it occurs to me that when I find myself in enthusiastic agreement with "White House insiders" and the National Review that Alberto Gonzales disgraced himself yesterday, I may have missed something important. Assuming the president watched so much as 10 minutes of his attorney general being poleaxed by even rudimentary questions from the Senate judiciary committee, it strains credulity to believe that Gonzales still has Bush's "full confidence."

Until you stop to consider that the president wasn't watching the same movie as the rest of us and that Gonzales wasn't reading from the same script. Perhaps what we witnessed yesterday was in fact a tour de force, a home run for the president's overarching theory of the unitary executive.

The theory of the unitary executive is a radical vision of executive power in which the president is the big boss of the entire executive branch and has final say over everything that happens within it. At its core, the theory holds that Congress has very limited authority to divest the president of those powers. An expanded version of this theory was the legal predicate for the torture memo: "In light of the president's complete authority over the conduct of war, without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the president's ultimate authority in these areas. … Congress may no more regulate the president's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield."

One of the key issues in the early battles over unitary executive theory was the president's firing power. In its first incarnations, the notion of a unitary executive shored up the president's claim that he was entitled to fire executive officials—including the independent counsel and agency heads—as the mood took him.

If you watch the Gonzales hearing through this prism (and in this White House, even the bathroom windows look out through that prism), they were a triumph. For six impressive hours, the attorney general embodied the core principles that he is not beholden to Congress, that the Senate has no authority over him, and that he was only there as a favor to them in their funny little fact-finding mission.

Consider how Gonzales rebuffed Republican Sen. John Cornyn when he suggested a future Senate hearing about the convictions of two Texas border patrol officers. (That's executive branch business, son.) Consider the attorney general's inability to explain why Kyle Sampson pushed ahead with a plan to do away with Senate confirmation for U.S. attorneys, if as he claimed, Gonzales didn't approve it. (That's between me and the president and Kyle Sampson, son.) Consider Gonzales' skirmish with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer over who bore the burden of proof at the hearings. (How can there be a burden of proof when you have no authority to sit in judgment over me, son?) And listen to him tell Republican Sen. Charles Grassley: "I'm here to provide what I know, what I recall as to the truth in order to help the Congress help to complete the record."

Finally, consider this telling colloquy with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham:

I tried to have dialogue with the Congress, to try to be as forthcoming as I can be, to reassure the Congress. I've tried to inform the Congress that I don't have anything to hide. … I didn't say no to the document request. I didn't say, "No, you can't interview" to my internal staff. … I've done—everything I've done has been consistent with the principle of pursuing truth and accountability.

This man was doing the Senate a favor by showing up at all. Turning over documents? He deserves a medal!

This record reflects either a Harvard-trained lawyer—and former state Supreme Court judge—with absolutely no command of the facts or the law, or it reveals a proponent of the unitary executive theory with absolutely nothing to prove. Gonzales' failure to even mount a defense; his posture of barely tolerating congressional inquiries; his refusal to concede that he owed the Senate any explanation or any evidence; his refusal to even accept that he bore some burden of proof—all of it tots up to a masterful display of the perfect contempt felt by the Bush executive branch for this Congress and its pretensions of oversight. In the plainest sense, Gonzales elevated the Bush legal doctrine of "Because I said so" into a public spectacle.

Viewed in that light, Gonzales did exactly what he needed to do yesterday. He took a high, inside pitch to the head for the team (nobody wants to look like a dolt on national television) but hit a massive home run for the notion that at the end of the day, congressional oversight over the executive branch is little more than empty theatre.
Dahlia Lithwick is a Slate senior editor.

Article URL:

micki said...

Ragin' Cajun Carville says Al Gore is going to run, and referring to Hillary and Barack:

"Mama needs more spice, and Obama needs more seasoning."

Carville also sooths that the future GOP nominee is not even in the pack yet -- and predicts that the nominee will be Jeb Bush.

Well, I said THAT a long time ago! Yikes!

micki said...

Earth Day could be a day of celebration,
Instead, it highlights a sick aberration,
We don't do enough,
And haven't gotten tough
On global warming -- a human race creation.

DEN said...

I am humbled by your poetic presence.


Gerald said...

I can see and read it now!!! Jeb beats Al with fraud in Florida, Ohio, and the Jethroe state of Tennesee.

Gerald said...

Al Gore will not run. He has fame for all time in the fact that he beat Bush but lost through fraud, the loss in the Jethroe State of Tennesee, and a 5-4 vote of a Nazi Supreme Court.

Gerald said...

Codepink has a song to counter McCain's Bomb Iran song. Great song!!!

Gerald said...

The tragedy of war is that it uses man's best to do man's worst. Harry Emerson Fosdick

A friend in finance says that our Nazi nation needs a fall guy to bring on the depression that will last at least 50 years.

Gerald said...

Yes, my spiritual advisor is so right. AMERICA IS EXPERIENCE PAIN AND SUFFERING.

Gerald said...

And, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg regarding pain and suffering.

Gerald said...

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

By Lee Iacocca

Mr. Iacocca wrote a book and he mentions what leaders need. Here is a list of nine C’s of leadership.

1. CURIOSITY He has to listen outside of the “yes, sir” group.
2. CREATIVE He needs to go out on the limb. He needs to think outside the box.
3. COMMUNICATE He must face reality and tell the truth.
4. CHARACTER He must know the difference between right and wrong.
5. COURAGE He must have a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table.
6. CONVICTION He must want to get something done.
7. CHARISMA He is followed by the people because they trust him.
8. COMPETENT He must know what he is doing and he surrounds himself with people who know what they are doing.
9. COMMON SENSE He must have the ability to reason and show common sense. If you do not have common sense, you cannot be a leader.

The biggest C is crisis. Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It is easy to send someone else’s kids off to war when you have never seen a battlefield yourself.

We are immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We are running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We are losing the manufacturing edge to Asia and once great companies are being slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy.

Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership. But, when you look around, you have to ask: “Where have all the leaders gone?”

Gerald said...

Nazi America is in pain and suffering because she has no leadership.

The noose around our neck is tight and we are choking to death from a lack of leadership. We are faced with a slow choking demise of Nazi America.

Nazi Americans are shouting out "Protect my sorry ass because I'm afraid!"

Yes, sorry ass Americans are afraid because they have not listened to Jesus and His words, "Be not afraid!"

Gerald said...

Yes, sorry ass Americans are experiencing pain and suffering. "Protect me, "I'm afraid!"

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: April 22

Gerald said...

Sorry ass Americans are in deep doodoo because we have no leadership!!!

Gerald said...

Listen carefully to Nazi Americans and you can hear them say, "You can slaughter my brothers and sisters in God but protect my sorry ass!!!"

Gerald said...

Here is what is strange!!!!! In the confessional booth my spiritual advisor is very succinct in conveying America's problems. But, I have to ask, "Why are they silent outside the confessional booth?"

David B. Benson said...

It is bad form to begin a fractional number with just the dot. Always write the leading zero first for clarity. For example, there is a big difference between




but writing just .37 somebody might miss seeing (or correctly interpreting) the leading dot.

Your Earth Day lesson in arithmetic...

micki said...

So, Carol hates numbers and all that math,
Dr. B leads us down the decimal path,
The system that's screwy
For some is the Dewey,
That dot misplaced sparks a librarian's wrath!

©¿rol said...

Click on "Ecological Footprint" and take the test

My total footprint was 16.

micki said...

Just returned from a talk at one of our locally-owned independent booksellers. (Made me think of the Dewey Decimal System.)

Anyhoo, the talk was boring as hell. It was about local media, or the lack thereof.

Good topic, bad delivery, IMO.

Good local media is very, very important. But, PLEASE, spare me from public access TV!

Carey said...

Thank-you Dr. B for that tip about writing decimals. Of course!

Thank-you Micki for perking up what is a delightful day down here with your limerick. Been to Earth Day celebrations and going back out.


Incredible opening post Den. You must have taken some extra time and thought on it.

I came armed with an earth pledge for y'all to sign, then I saw Micki's post.

. For six impressive hours, the attorney general embodied the core principles that he is not beholden to Congress, that the Senate has no authority over him, and that he was only there as a favor to them in their funny little fact-finding mission.

Summed up in a nutshell. Exactly. And yes, oh so scary. Gerald's Nazi predictions come to mind.

Carey said...

Here's the pledge to live a one-planet life (we live as if we have five planets).



The perennial question.

"Why are they silent outside the confessional booth?"

David B. Benson said...

My footprint seems to be 6.7 hectares. If everybody lived as simply as I do, we would need 3.7 planets.

And I thought I was doing quite well. :-(

micki said...

Well, things can go from bad to worse.

The names Ted Olson or Ken Starr have been floated as possible AG replacement.

Holy baloney!

DEN said...

It's not Sun-day,
its Earth-day,
and tomorrow is Moon-day,
a planetary extravaganza of days, soon it will be Saturn-day and return to Sun-day,
but no Earth-day again, till next year?


DEN said...

Day turns into nite,

Nite all!

micki said...

Den, we should make EVERY DAY Earth Day.

Then we might get on track.

Alan said...

hey hey! Den listed my favorite Pink Floyd song at the bottom... Comfortably Numb. The video is a strange one tho!

My footprint sucked!... because of the miles I have to drive. Everything here is stretched out and there's no public transportation to speak of. We spent BILLIONS on a rail line that virtually goes nowhere that commuters go. Basically from Reliant Stadium and the Medical Center to Downtown, which helps not a one of the many suburbia communities all the way around H-town. It was a hurry-up rush job before our Super Bowl so we could put on a good party, and the voters (sheep) fell for it.