a request made according to common usage and common sense

I wrote here about James Comey who was formerly a Bush appointee in the DoJ. Mr. Comey and Goldsmith could figure to be extremely important in not just returning the balance of power among the three branches of government, but could lay down the building blocks for grounds to either censure or impeach both Bush and Cheney. Digby shares his insights, Call Comey

It is vital that he testify in a future hearing on the illegal NSA spying hearings. I do not know what he will say, and he may even defend the program on some level. But there is a reason why Comey refused to sign off on reauthorizing this program, forcing Gonzales to go to the hospital and try to strong arm a man who just had surgery to sign off on it instead. In his testimony earlier this week, Gonzales implied that it may have been a problem with another program. How very interesting.

We need to know just what in the hell was going on during the period between the time the program was instituted and the time Comey and others refused to reauthorize it. Why was it suspended? We need to know if there were other illegal spying programs. Comey is the man who can answer those questions.

unfutz has more here, Lawyers to the rescue

In a sense, we’re suffering through one of the ramifications of the Founders not anticipating the rise of political parties, and failing to make allowances for them in our system, for their choosing not to go with a Parliamentary system (in which the Head of Government is an integral part of the Legislature), and for their choice to combine the roles of Head of State with Head of Government in the person of the President. They counted on the natural tensions which should obtain between the Executive and the Legislature to provide a check on the power of both, but failed to conceive of the type of modern political party which could hold strict control of both parts of the government, thereby eliminating (for the most part) that tension and erasing their value to block abuses by the other.

Which leaves us crossing fingers and hoping Comey and Goldsmith raise above politics for the good of the nation. The current fashion trend in politics is the politics of fear and revenge when it should be perseverance and justice. Ed is right that the tension that should exists, doesn’t. As partisan as I might be I am even more cynical about concentration of power in the hands of any faction. As it is we are reliant on enough individuals within the ruling party to be guided by principles rather then party loyalty. Republican Speaks Up, Leading Others to Challenge Wiretaps

When Representative Heather A. Wilson broke ranks with President Bush on Tuesday to declare her “serious concerns” about domestic eavesdropping, she gave voice to what some fellow Republicans were thinking, if not saying.

[ ] “I don’t think that’s sufficient,” Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said. “There is considerable concern about the administration’s just citing the president’s inherent authority or the authorization to go to war with Iraq as grounds for conducting this program. It’s a stretch.”

[ ]…Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who has also criticized the program, said Ms. Wilson’s comments were “a sign of a growing movement” by lawmakers to reassert the power of the legislature.

The blogs of Wingnuttia have failed miserably in their defense of Bush’s hackett job on the Constitution and FISA laws. They have no legal basis what so ever for their view the this or any president has imperial powers, MR. JUSTICE JACKSON writing in the YOUNGSTOWN CO. v. SAWYER case,

The example of such unlimited executive power that must have most impressed the forefathers was the prerogative exercised by George III, and the description of its evils in the Declaration of Independence leads me to doubt that they were creating their new Executive in his image. Continental European examples were no more appealing. And if we seek instruction from our own times, we can match it only from the executive powers in those governments we disparagingly describe as totalitarian. I cannot accept the view that this clause is a grant in bulk of all conceivable executive power but regard it as an allocation to the presidential office of the generic powers thereafter stated.

So where does this leave the nutty clusters of blogtopia, the school yard plea that they did it too. They, meaning Democrats didn’t, but even if they did that is an argument only somewhat acceptable from a child and inexcusable in an adult, Jimmy Carter and Warrantless Surveillance

Whenever Bush’s defenders and apologists know they are losing a substantive argument (and especially when they start to see defections from within their ranks) they instinctively lash out at familiar targets, usually prominent liberals and Democratic politicians. Their goal is to rile up the Republican base, to remind them how much they dislike the other side and, by doing so, to distract them from the actual substance of the debate.

On Sunday, Charles Hurt of the conservative Washington Times engaged in a particularly transparent example of this phenomenon. The paper reported breathlessly that “Carter Allowed Surveillance in 1977.” The article quotes Jimmy Carter’s recent criticism of Bush’s secret NSA spying program, and then reports–as if it were some major scoop–that in 1977 Carter authorized the warrantless wiretapping of two Vietnamese spies.

But as the article notes in passing toward the bottom of the page, FISA wasn’t enacted until 1978. So what Carter did was in no way analogous to what Bush has done. Moreover, this is a total non-story. Carter’s surveillance of these men was later litigated under the caption United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 629 F.2d 908 (4th Cir. 1980). If you’ve been following this issue over the last few months, you’ll likely recognize that case name. The Truong case has been widely cited in newspapers, blogs posts, and even the government’s legal papers and public statements. It’s one of the handful of pre-FISA cases that held that the president had the power (absent a statute saying otherwise) to conduct warrantless wiretapping for national security purposes.

tortured attitude toons, where are the toons now? Marvin the Martian in a Hollywood casting nightmare. PG-13 rating at least.

Pandora , type in an artist or song and create a radio station that plays music that is similar in taste.

blurb, vanity publishing reaches new heights. Ever thought of putting all those index cards with recipes together adding some nice graphics and creating your own guide to culinary heaven. How about all those never to be missed blog entries with illustrations ( not mine obviously ) put into print. Haven’t had a chanse to try it yet, the software is still in beta. Good preview on the site and a space to sign up to be notified when they gets things up and running.

Social Security: Should We Applaud a Sneaky Proposal?

New York Hack Feb 10, 2006

It was another night of relatively well-behaved passengers. My favorite ride of the evening was when I picked up two teenage girls who gabbed about boys the whole way home. After they got settled in the back, one turned to the other and said, “Okay, so who do you like more — Simon or Andrew?” The other girl replied, “Well, Simon’s cuter, but… I don’t know… Andrew’s cooler.” Then she continued, “Oh, fuckin’ Gabe! I found out he does like me. He is SO annoying.” They continued discussing the ever-important boy situation until I dropped them off at their Upper East Side apartment building. By the end of the trip, it sounded like Simon was coming out the winner.

Later, a 20-something-year-old woman got in and, after a minute or two, said “I don’t think he likes me.” I turned around and was about to say, “Excuse me?” when I realized she had made a call and wasn’t actually talking to me. Apparently she was just coming from a first date that didn’t work out the way she had hoped. From what I could hear of her conversation, the guy had given her the old unenthusiastic “I’ll be in touch” line at the end of the date and didn’t kiss her when she gave him the opportunity. The moment sounded utterly cringe-worthy. When she got out, it occurred to me that I should’ve offered to set her up with Andrew. I hear he’s cool and I think he’s still available, even if he is all of fourteen years old.

First Photo of Bush and Abramoff

“Why do you refuse?”

“I would prefer not to.”

With any other man I should have flown outright into a dreadful passion, scorned all further words, and thrust him ignominiously from my presence. But there was something about Bartleby that not only strangely disarmed me, but in a wonderful manner touched and disconcerted me. I began to reason with him.

“These are your own copies we are about to examine. It is labor saving to you, because one examination will answer for your four papers. It is common usage. Every copyist is bound to help examine his copy. Is it not so? Will you not speak? Answer!”

“I prefer not to,” he replied in a flute-like tone. It seemed to me that while I had been addressing him, he carefully revolved every statement that I made; fully comprehended the meaning; could not gainsay the irresistible conclusion; but, at the same time, some paramount consideration prevailed with him to reply as he did.

“You are decided, then, not to comply with my request–a request made according to common usage and common sense?”

He briefly gave me to understand that on that point my judgment was sound. Yes: his decision was irreversible.

It is not seldom the case that when a man is browbeaten in some unprecedented and violently unreasonable way, he begins to stagger in his own plainest faith. He begins, as it were, vaguely to surmise that, wonderful as it may be, all the justice and all the reason is on the other side. Accordingly, if any disinterested persons are present, he turns to them for some reinforcement for his own faltering mind.

“Turkey,” said I, “what do you think of this? Am I not right?”

“With submission, sir,” said Turkey, with his blandest tone, “I think that you are.”

“Nippers,” said I, “what do you think of it?”

“I think I should kick him out of the office.”

(The reader of nice perceptions will here perceive that, it being morning, Turkey’s answer is couched in polite and tranquil terms, but Nippers replies in ill-tempered ones. Or, to repeat a previous sentence, Nippers’s ugly mood was on duty, and Turkey’s off.)

“Ginger Nut,” said I, willing to enlist the smallest suffrage in my behalf, “what do you think of it?”

“I think, sir, he’s a little luny,” replied Ginger Nut, with a grin.

from Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville