When Bill Clinton came into office I was a Republican. By the time he left, I had voted for my first Democrat, Al Gore. I haven’t voted for a Republican since.
Bill Clinton ran towards the center back when there was a center. As a Republican, I wanted to balance the budget. Clinton and the Republican Congress made that happen. As a Republican, I wanted to make sure we had welfare reform. Clinton and the Republican Congress made that happen.
I wanted real security in our streets. President Clinton put a 100,000 cops on the street and the crime rate went down all across the country (for a variety of reasons, but his program helped the process). I wanted an effective military that had clear missions and executed them. President Clinton led the Kosovo War, where we completely achieved our objective without a single US casualty.
Bill Clinton brought the Democratic Party to the center. Accordingly, he left office with enormous popularity – 66% approval rating, more than double President Bush’s current numbers. He made a lot of people like me think that the Democrats were far more reasonable than we had suspected. He got us to open our minds to the Democratic Party.
So, why shouldn’t I be happy to see Senator Hillary Clinton running to the center again? Because the center has moved!
May 30, 2006
The Globe reports that Cheney reviews legislation and screens it before W sees it to make sure it doesn’t impinge on imperial power. Who’s surprised?
The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president’s desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.
…Knowing that Addington [Cheney's legal adviser] was likely to review the bills, other White House and Justice Department lawyers began vetting legislation with Addington’s and Cheney’s views in mind, according to another former lawyer in the Bush White House.
…Previous administrations left the reviewing of legislation to the White House counsel’s office and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
“What’s happening now is unprecedented on almost every level,” said Ron Klain , who was chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1999. “Gore was a very active policy maker in the Clinton administration, but that didn’t include picking through bills of Congress to find things to disagree with.”
…Douglas Kmiec , who as head of the Office of Legal Counsel helped develop the Reagan administration’s strategy of issuing signing statements more frequently, said he disapproves of the “provocative” and sometimes “disingenuous” manner in which the Bush administration is using them…“Following a model of restraint, [the Reagan-era Office of Legal Counsel] took it seriously that we were to construe statutes to avoid constitutional problems, not to invent them,” said Kmiec, who is now a Pepperdine University law professor.
May 28, 2006
Bill Maher presents a bunch of good jokes — as well as a rather unique reason to impeach the President.
May 24, 2006
May 22, 2006
New York Metro has this long, but worthwhile, article on Al Gore: his new movie, his new attitude, and whether he’ll run in 2008 as the “anti-Hilary”.
May 15, 2006
Dear lawyers: I take back everything bad I ever said about you. Mostly.
A lawsuit is asking a federal court to order President Bush, the National Security Agency and Verizon to end a secret snooping program, and Verizon’s stock took a hit on the news Monday.
Verizon (down $0.36 to $31.43, Research) stock fell more than 1 percent on the New York Stock Exchange early Monday.
The suit, filed Friday by two New Jersey lawyers on behalf of all Verizon subscribers, contends the phone records collection – first reported by USA Today on Thursday – violates the Constitutional right to privacy and federal law.
As a part of the snooping program, the government reportedly collects information every time a call is made on a Verizon phone line.
“The Telecommunications Act of 1934 is as clear as clear can be,” plaintiff Carl Mayer said. “You can’t turn over the records of your customers and if you do so it’s $1,000 per violation. The Constitution is very clear. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the Fourth Amendment prevents unlawful searches and seizures which we believe this to be.”
At $1,000 for each of Verizon’s 50 million customers, the company and government could be made to pay $50 billion dollars in a class action suit, Mayer said.
A senior federal law enforcement official tells [ABC News] the government is tracking the phone numbers [they] call in an effort to root out confidential sources.
“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation.
May 14, 2006
Former President Al Gore appeared in the opening sketch of SNL last night. It was hilarious.
The video linked above doesn’t include the “there are infinite universes, and here’s a parallel Earth” intro which gives the clip a little more context.
May 13, 2006
So, it seems, does everyone else:
In a new poll comparing President Bush’s job performance with that of his predecessor, a strong majority of respondents said President Clinton outperformed Bush on a host of issues.
…Respondents favored Clinton by greater than 2-to-1 margins when asked who did a better job at handling the economy (63 percent Clinton, 26 percent Bush) and solving the problems of ordinary Americans (62 percent Clinton, 25 percent Bush).
On foreign affairs, the margin was 56 percent to 32 percent in Clinton’s favor; on taxes, it was 51 percent to 35 percent for Clinton; and on handling natural disasters, it was 51 percent to 30 percent, also favoring Clinton.
Moreover, 59 percent said Bush has done more to divide the country, while only 27 percent said Clinton had.
But clearly Americans must trust W far more than “Slick Willie”, right?
When asked which man was more honest as president, poll respondents were more evenly divided, with the numbers — 46 percent Clinton to 41 percent Bush — falling within the poll’s margin of error.
Read on at CNN.
May 12, 2006
It’s not just that he’s not going to run for re-election:
U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay announced Thursday that June 9 will be his last day in Congress.
The Sugar Land Republican, who disclosed his intention to resign in April after being engulfed by legal problems in Austin and Washington, made his departure official in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
“I have recently made the decision to pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from an arena outside of the U.S. House of Representatives,” DeLay wrote.
“As a result, I am informing you of my intention to formally resign as the representative of the 22nd Congressional District of Texas to be effective at the close of business on June 9, 2006.”
(link via Salon’s War Room)
May 11, 2006
Armed with a little basic knowledge of Diebold voting systems and a standard component available at any computer store, someone with a minute or two of access to a Diebold touch screen could load virtually any software into the machine and disable it, redistribute votes or alter its performance in myriad ways.
“This one is worse than any of the others I’ve seen. It’s more fundamental,” said Douglas Jones, a University of Iowa computer scientist and veteran voting-system examiner for the state of Iowa.
“In the other ones, we’ve been arguing about the security of the locks on the front door,” Jones said. “Now we find that there’s no back door. This is the kind of thing where if the states don’t get out in front of the hackers, there’s a real threat.”
(link via Metafilter)
May 9, 2006
So let’s say you’re on a primary ballot and you’re already an elected official, the guy in charge of the voting machines and you own stock in the company that makes those voting machines and there were problems with the voting machines during the primary, such as poll workers not even knowing how to turn them on.
Should you be the guy to oversee what went wrong with the machines?
Of course you should, if you’re Ken Blackwell of Ohio, who insists he has no conflict of interest. In fact, his spokesman dismisses a Democratic call for him to remove himself from the investigation as a “silly request”.
May 8, 2006
A mixed drink recipe:
(Imbibe the Many Flavors Already)
1 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz peppermint schnapps
dash Curaçao (to make it blue)
The drink comes in two variants:
Bush (a tall drag): add seltzer and ice to taste.
Cheney (a shot to the face): pour into shot glass and slam.
Last week, some federal workers received
instructions that include Bush administration “talking points” — saying things such as “President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq” — in every speech they give for the department.
Which workers? The Department of Agriculture. Yes, the USDA is now supposed to mention the war in Iraq in its speeches.
“The President has requested that all members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq,” the May 2 e-mail from USDA speechwriter Heather Vaughn began.
(thanks to Regis for the link.)
May 7, 2006
U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.
For once, W and I can agree. He pretty much hasn’t done much of anything better than catching a nice fish.
Read on at Reuters.
May 5, 2006
Let it never be said that we here at Bray don’t bring you the latest, most up-to-date news of several weeks ago…
So, let’s say that you are Mick Jagger. And let’s say that you’ve got a really good hotel room in Austria because the Rolling Stones are doing a concert there.
Now let’s say that George W. Bush is going to be in town about the same time for a summit meeting. And let’s say he wants your really nice hotel room, and asks you to give it up for him.
What do you do?
Yeah, that’s what I do, too.
May 3, 2006
The Cato Institute is no one’s idea of a liberal thinktank. However, their recent paper “Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush laments that
Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power. In its official legal briefs and public actions, the Bush administration has advanced a view of federal power that is astonishingly broad, a view that includes
* a federal government empowered to regulate core political speech—and restrict it greatly when it counts the most: in the days before a federal election;
* a president who cannot be restrained, through validly enacted statutes, from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror;
* a president who has the inherent constitutional authority to designate American citizens suspected of terrorist activity as “enemy combatants,” strip them of any constitutional protection, and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror— in other words, perhaps forever; and
* a federal government with the power to supervise virtually every aspect of American life, from kindergarten, to marriage, to the grave.