Ah, the joys of buying a house. The DocLarry household has spent the last few weeks preparing for and then moving to the new Lost Chord headquarters. The good doctor was urged to "disappear" for much of the moving day. That urging came from Mrs. DocLarry.
We're still trying to find in which box we packed this or that. And we still have a bedroom to paint and thus do not have furniture in its final resting place. But we're definitely home.
Thanks to the generosity of hard work by good friends, our yard is now fenced such that Baxter may again wander his domain. Our neighbors informed us of the existence of a hawk and a fox in the neighborhood. The fence will keep Baxter from attempting to befriend the fox. The hawk will be thwarted in any efforts to snatch Lost Chord's resident beagle by large leafy trees. That and the size of the boy.
Blogging will be irregular during the period of adjustment. Photos will follow when we find the camera.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Ah, the joys of buying a house. The DocLarry household has spent the last few weeks preparing for and then moving to the new Lost Chord headquarters. The good doctor was urged to "disappear" for much of the moving day. That urging came from Mrs. DocLarry.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 12:22 PM
Perhaps this sort of thing has been going on througout our history. But it feels like the current administration tries to use dead people for political gain far more than any president in my lifetime. The Bush administration may have overdone invoking September 11th, but they're going back to that well one more time.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 12:16 PM
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Today's News-Leader includes a report of a robbery at a north side motel. Springfield Police Lt. Kevin Routh said the three victims were in the parking lot of the motel when a black man approached them demanding money. Routh said the suspect, after taking a "small amount of money" was last seen in the vicinity of Hotel 7. You may remember Hotel 7 as the scene of a party gone bad, with nine injured by gunshots. That led to several letters-to-the-editor and radio talk show calls blaming the whole thing on the victims' race.
Friday night's robbery comes on the heels of a string of robberies still under investigation:
The robbery came one day after five robberies were reported on Thursday. Police did not speculate whether the robberies were connected.Given the climate of racism permeating the Springfield area, how soon before we read letters-to-the-editor and talk radio calls complaining about black people living in Springfield?
Springfield police are still investigating the robbery spree that occurred largely on the south side of the city late Thursday and lasted for roughly an hour.
Victims in parking lots were approached by four black men who demanded cash, said police Lt. Kevin Routh. One of the men had a handgun, Routh said.
And one side note: Where were Vinney Davey Jerk-oh's Guardian Angels during these robberies?
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:12 AM
Monday, May 15, 2006
OK, that's rather obvious. But here's our point. In tonight's chat with the nation, the Decider said "We're a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws."
Unless, of course, you're the dictator and get to pick and choose which laws you're above.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 11:31 PM
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Finally! Someone has stated what should be obvious, but isn't to the Decider.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) sharply criticized President Bush’s proposal, expected to be announced Monday, of sending thousands of National Guard troops to police the southern U.S. border. Hagel said flatly, “that’s not the role of our national guard.” He added that “we’ve got National Guard members in their second, third and fourth tours in Iraq” and “stretched our military as thin as we have ever seen in modern times.”
We’ve got 75% of all the equipment of National Guard all across this country is in Iraq. We’ve got National Guard members in their second, third and fourth tours in Iraq. We have stretched our military as thin as we have ever seen it in modern times. What in the world are we talking about here, sending a National Guard that we may not have any capacity to send down to protect our borders. That’s not their role.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:39 AM
May 12, 2006 (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Why can't he stay awake during business hours? Is he ill? Is he just too old?
Is he bored because we're not in a cold war with Russia, despite his attempts to re-start one?
Perhaps he's worried about being indicted for authorizing the outing of a covert CIA agent, who was tracking Iran's nuclear capability when outed, and whose outing "significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation."
It's time for Cheney to resign. Then he can go shoot someone in the face.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 9:48 AM
Friday, May 12, 2006
Bush's Brain has informed the White House he will be indicted next week. Jason Leopold at truthout has details:
Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.
Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources confirmed Rove's indictment is imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove's situation. A spokesman in the White House press office said they would not comment on "wildly speculative rumors."
Rove is said to have told Bolten that he will be charged with perjury regarding when he was asked how and when he discovered that covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the agency, and whether he discussed her job with reporters.
Rove testified that he first found out about Plame Wilson from reading a newspaper report in July 2003 and only after the story was published did he share damaging information about her CIA status with other reporters.
However, evidence has surfaced during the course of the two-year-old investigation that shows Rove spoke with at least two reporters about Plame Wilson prior to the publication of the column.
The explanation Rove provided to the grand jury - that he was dealing with more urgent White House matters and therefore forgot - has not convinced Fitzgerald that Rove has been entirely truthful in his testimony.
Sources close to the case said there is a strong chance Rove will also face an additional charge of obstruction of justice, adding that Fitzgerald has been working meticulously over the past few months to build an obstruction case against Rove because it "carries more weight" in a jury trial and is considered a more serious crime.
We've been hoping Rove would be charged with treason. We're amazed he still has security clearance and remains in the White House.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:57 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2006
an aunt's death.
The phone call came this afternoon. My mother's only remaining immediate family member died suddenly early this afternoon as she was being discharged from the hospital. She'd been in and out of the hospital since having a stroke last year. Nothing unusual, really, although rather sudden and unexpected. But this death is a bit harder to deal with.
My uncle passed away seven years ago. He had suffered two strokes and was diabetic. He lived in the same town as the aunt who passed today, within a couple miles of each other. So my aunt and her husband often helped care for my uncle. And when he died, my aunt's husband expected to be paid for services rendered. Understand that there is history to all this. My cousins referred to their father as "Squeaky" because he was so tight with his money. My uncle had never married, and left everything to my sister, my brother, and me. That upset my aunt's husband, who hired a lawyer to threaten a lawsuit. We're talking about an estate worth less than a couple hundred thousand dollars.
My aunt sometimes made a meal for my uncle. My aunt's husband always provided a bill for my uncle to pay. We're not talking about an every day thing, or constant care. My uncle had live-in caretakers much of the time following his stroke. But my aunt's husband thought he ought to be paid for everything his wife did for her brother, which included things like checking his blood sugar (they were both diabetic).
The situation created a rift in the family. I used to receive Christmas cards each year from my aunt and most of her children. That stopped. Most communication between my mother and her sister stopped. It was silly and sad and stupid.
Fortunately my younger sister had established a good friendship with one of our cousins. They both thought the entire episode silly and sad and stupid and remained friends. Eventually, my aunt sent a letter to my mother. They began communicating through my cousin, and were even able to talk to one another on the phone a few times. But it all had to be hidden from my aunt's husband. And my mother hasn't visited the graves of her mother, father or brother (all in the same city) for seven years. She hasn't been to the state where she grew up, met my father and got married in seven years.
And now she doesn't know if she'd be welcome at her sister's funeral. This is troubling me. My sister is the family member notified about my aunt's death, and had to tell my mother her sister died. I don't mind getting the news through my sister. But I wish that wasn't how it had to be for my mother.
I grieve for my aunt. But I grieve more for my mother, who now has no immediate family still living. And who doesn't think she'd be welcome at her sister's funeral. Because of the greed of my deceased aunt's husband. May he rot in hell.
Stupid, silly, and sad.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 9:14 PM
a new house. Mrs. DocLarry and I signed a gazillion and one papers Wednesday morning, locking ourselves into 30 more years in Springfield. Yay. I'm happy about the house, yes. Nervous about the mortgage. And the fact that for the first time in my life, when something goes wrong with the place in which I live, I have to pay to have it fixed. Roof leaking? My problem. Furnace on the fritz? My problem. Plumbing not plumbing? My problem. Makes me feel "grown up." And I don't want to.
On the otherhand, I get to care for MY lawn. And I get to paint MY house. And I get to burn wood in MY fireplace. And I get to drink adult beverages on MY deck (see below). And best of all, I get to deduct MY interest payments from MY taxes! OK, second best of all. Best of all, I will OWN MY house. Little by little, but still.
Yes, this is a good thing. Yes, this is a happy time. Bonus: with all the rain we've had I am confident our house will not flood. The crawl space has some moisture, but no standing water. So we'll need to change the slope away from part of the house.
First order of business after signing all those papers was to hit Target for cleaning supplies, which promptly got soaking wet from a downpour as we left the store. Second order of business was to take Baxter to visit his new home for the first time. He doesn't quite understand what's going on, and is a bit nervous about all the packing being done. That and the storms. Doesn't like storms.
Our adventure in home ownership continued today with having the duct work cleaned. We get to paint next week. Woohoo!
Posted by Larry Burkum at 8:38 PM
Monday, May 08, 2006
Lillian Gertrud Asplund shunned publicity for 94 years, never married, and retired early to care for her ailing mother, also a survivor. From CNN:
Asplund, who was just 5 years old, lost her father and three brothers -- including a fraternal twin -- when the "practically unsinkable" ship went down in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg.
She died Saturday at her home in Shrewsbury, said Ronald E. Johnson, vice president of the Nordgren Memorial Chapel in Worcester, Massachusetts.
"She went to sleep peacefully," he said.
Asplund's mother, Selma, and another brother, Felix, who was 3, also survived the Titanic sinking in the early morning of April 15, 1912.
Asplund was the last Titanic survivor with actual memories of the sinking, but she shunned publicity and rarely spoke about the events.
Lillian's mother, Selma, died on the 52nd anniversary of the sinking in 1964 at age 91. Lillian's brother Felix, only 3 at the time of the sinking, died at age 73.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:39 PM
As an about-to-be
home owner mortgage holder we've been paying attention to interest rates, closing costs, and the like. We also just learned of an acquaintance purchasing a 1,000-square-foot home in the San Francisco area for nearly $500,000. So this bit from the New York Times caught our eye:
The rising costs have contributed to a 38 percent increase nationally in home foreclosures in the first quarter of this year over the same period in 2005.
In the past, the Times notes, "nothing is a better predictor of foreclosures than high unemployment and credit card delinquencies." So while Bush and Co. continue to point to low unemployment, a healthy Wall Street, and healthy consumer sales, the truth is that the current economic flu is of a different variety. The prevalence of adjustable rate mortgages, gas prices, and health care costs suggest that an economic collapse of a different sort may be underway. A sick economy, just a different virus.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 8:35 PM
We previously posted on what Dubya considers his best moment since becoming president: "when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake." Turns out he was lying. Not about what he considers his best moment as president. About the size of the fish.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the world's record for the largest freshwater perch caught is 4 pounds 3 ounces.
Either Bush caught a fish weighing nearly double the world record and didn't report it, or he's lying. Again.
Atrios also points us to this comparison of three American presidents.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 11:29 AM
Sunday, May 07, 2006
German weekly Bild am Sonntag asked George W. Bush to name a best moment in his presidency. Bush's response? Catching a fish.
"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.
"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
We doubt most Americans could easily come up with a "best moment" for this president. But then, most Americans probably don't know about Bush's fishing expeditions on his own lake.
What do you think former presidents Clinton, H. W. Bush, Carter and Ford would name as a best moment in their presidencies? We bet it would have nothing to do with fishing.
George W. Bush. Worst. President. Ever.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 9:44 PM
We haven't seen this covered much, but think it should be. The U.S. Geological Survey is closely watching a "hulking slab of rock that's rapidly growing" in Mount St. Helens' crater.
More from the Associated Press:
It's jutting up from one of seven lobes of fresh volcanic rock that have been pushing their way through the surface of the crater since October 2004.
The fin-shaped mass is about 300 feet tall and growing 4 feet to 5 feet a day, said Dan Dzurisin, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.
The observatory opened for the summer season on Friday. The day dawned with clear blue skies over the southwest Washington volcano, with snow-covered features within the crater easily visible from a Web camera at Johnston Ridge. The National Weather Service said clouds should move in on Saturday, with rain likely Sunday.
The rock in the crater began growing last November, steadily moving west and pushing rock and other debris out of its way as it goes.
Mount St. Helens, located in the Cascades of Washington, has been quietly erupting since a flurry of tiny earthquakes began in late September 2004.
The volcano has continued pumping out lava ever since. Eventually, scientists expect the volcano will rebuild its conical peak that was obliterated in the May 18, 1980 eruption that left 57 people dead.
The current growth of the new lava dome has been accompanied by low seismicity rates, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases and minor production of ash, the USGS said.
"Given the way things are going now, there's no hint of any sort of catastrophic eruptions," USGS geologist Tom Pierson said. "At any time, however, things can change."
The USGS web site has some nice photos showing the growth of the rock slab. We especially like this one.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 11:09 AM
Friday, May 05, 2006
The Birmingham (Ala.) Steeldogs are changing their name for a game tonight, adopting a "Bible theme" for their jerseys. I am not making this up.
Straight from the team's Web site:
For the first time in sports history, a professional franchise will wear Bible-themed jerseys during a game. On Friday, May 5th, the Birmingham Steeldogs arena football team, which plays in the arenafootball2 league (www.af2.com), will don jerseys with the name of Bible hero "SAMSON" embroidered on the front as they take on the Louisville Fire at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Specific Bible chapter and verse references will be created by combining the names and numerals on the backs of each player.
The jerseys have been produced to replicate the Steeldogs regular game jerseys. "Samson" replaces "Steeldogs" across the chest, in reference to the Old Testament hero renowned for his incredible strength. On the back of the jerseys, instead of having the player's last name, it will be replaced by a book of the Bible. The number on the jersey will correspond to a chapter and verse of that particular book.
For example, Steeldogs quarterback Ryan Hawk wears jersey number 12. On May 5, he'll still wear number 12, but the name on his back will change from "HAWK" to "JAMES", referencing the book of James, Chapter 1 Verse 2. The Bible-themed Steeldogs jerseys are the latest creations of Christian Throwback Jersey Company (www.christianthrowbackjerseys.com) of Birmingham.
The idea to wear the Christian jerseys during the game and auction them off with proceeds going to local non-profit ministries developed through a collaborative effort between Steeldogs Managing Partner Scott Myers and Brent High, President of Third Coast Sports.
"We have a long history of reaching out to local churches and youth groups getting them involved in Steeldogs football," said Scott Myers, Steeldogs Managing Partner. "With our team wearing these jerseys, it will help us further those efforts as well as allow us to present an uplifting message of faith to our fans."
The promotion is part of the first of three Barber's Dairy Faith Nights with the Steeldogs. Christian recording artists Audio Adrenaline will perform in a pre-game concert. Free Bibles will be handed out courtesy of Spiritual Outdoor Adventures (www.teamsoa.org). The Bibles will come in handy as those in attendance search to find the Bible references on the jerseys of each Birmingham player.
In 2004 High came up with the idea of giving away camouflaged Bibles and bobble head dolls of Biblical figures Moses, Samson and Noah as part of Faith Nights with the Nashville Sounds. The promotions garnered national coverage from the likes of USA Today, ABC World News Tonight, ESPN's Outside the Lines and The 700 Club.
The Steeldogs will host two more Barber's Dairy Faith Nights this summer. On Saturday, June 24 Aaron Shust will perform a pre-game concert. On Saturday, July 29 Warren Barfield will perform a pre-game concert. VeggieTales characters Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato will also make an appearance on July 29. Tickets to all Barber's Dairy Faith Nights in Birmingham are $10 and include a ticket to the game and concert. Tickets can be ordered by calling 1-888-456-0451.
So the Steeldogs will, as Roger Ailes puts it, be named after "a Biblical character who banged a Philistine hottie, got shaved by said hottie, lost all his strength and then killed himself."
Mr. Ailes also hopes that the "Louisville Fire renames its pleather-clad Wildfire "dance team" the Delilahs and equips each member with a six-pack and a FlowBee two hours before the kickoff.
Side Note: I am related to the lead guitarist of Audio Adrenaline, though we've never met. Tyler Burkum is the son of one of my cousins, whom I think I met one time, though we grew up but a few hours away. But that's another post.
And here is the rest of it.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:11 AM
An Iowa woman has been refused entry to a Chinese buffet because her family wastes too much food. The Des Moines Register reports:
[Wendy] Dershem said she joined her boyfriend, Jason Trotter, and her children, Madison, 7, and Carter, 5, at the Dragon House Saturday for the $5.95 all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. It was their favorite spot and the Des Moines woman and her children had dined there frequently since the children were babies. She said her group was one plate into the experience when a restaurant employee approached the group.
“They told us we are not welcome there anymore. We waste too much food,” said Dershem, 28. “But the buffet is all you can eat. And you know kids. They won’t always eat everything and they want something else.”
Manager Kent Cao confirmed that Dershem was told not to come back if she continued to waste food. A waitress and cashier had been watching the group on past occasions and were concerned.
“They just take one bite and throw it away,” said cashier Lin Huyen. “They take four egg rolls and crab ragoon, take one bite of egg roll and throw the whole plate. That is wasting food.”
Dershem said she was shocked by the scolding and complained to management when she paid her check.
“It was embarrassing. There are no signs that say anything like eat what you take or kids aren’t welcome. If it’s a one-stop buffet, post it,” she said.
But Dragon House manager Kent Cao said Dershem’s situation had gone beyond simply not cleaning plates. The group members took food, didn’t finish it and then piled on the same food again, he said.
“She’s done that too many times,” Cao said. “We would welcome her back if she has respect and knows what she wants.”
Bob Brammer, spokesman for Iowa attorney general’s office, says that consumer protection officials couldn’t recall any complaints from customers about all-you-can-eat buffets.
“Businesses are obligated to live up their offers,” he said. “But implementation needs to be reasonable. People can’t fill up a plate and hand it to someone who hasn’t paid.”
Bob Oberbillig, an adjunct professor at the Drake Legal Clinic, says the patron would have no legal case against exclusion from a business unless there are other factors such as racial discrimination or mental health issues.
“An establishment can exclude people if they smoke or waste food,” he said. “It’s still a private business.”
Dershem said she paid her money for unlimited food, whether eaten or not. Cao said it is folly to waste while hungry women and children don’t have enough to eat.
Our mother never had to tell us to clean our plate, but we've heard the line about starving children in China.
Oh, and they serve REAL Cashew Chicken in Iowa. Not the silly breaded Springfield concoction.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 3:32 AM
Thursday, May 04, 2006
So the sirens wailed, the wind blew, the rain came down. Not much thunder where we were, no damage, not a terribly stressful storm. Unlike others, we never lost power. We switched from our cable network rerun to the local affiliates to assess the situation and measure the coverage.
KY3 went wall to wall until the tornado warning was over. Lots of Ron Hearst, a little bit of Brandon Beck. Lots of radar. Pretty good coverage.
KOLR10 and KSFX also went wall to wall. We liked the use of their "tower cam" showing the storm moving into Springfield. We like tower cam shots of city streets when there's traffic. This was even better because of the cloud lightning and occassional cloud to ground lightning. What really topped it for us were the unexpected blowing power transformers, exploding in a bright flash. Pyrotechnics. Cool.
KSPR, being KSPR, ran "Lost." With weather crawls.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:40 AM
We're a little fed up with the local news operations. All of them. No, they're not always horrible. Yes, they sometimes do quite well. But it just feels like something's missing. We think that something is competition. So we're curious.
Would an alternative news service work in Springfield? What we have in mind, and it truly is just a thought, is a news service delivered via audio and video podcasts. Would it be financially successful? Would it have an audience?
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:31 AM
So the jury comes back with life for Moussaoui and the cable nets spend hours talking about the verdict and showing 911 victims' families talking about it. That's after an hour waiting for the sentencing recommendation where we heard what the news media didn't know. That was Wednesday.
This morning, after the judge formally sentences Moussaoui to life, the cable nets keep showing us 911 victims' families public statements live. Why?
This isn't about whether the victims' families should be hear from, it's a question of why show the news conference live? Most of the speakers are saying the same thing. Some are being coached. Some are reading prepared statements. This is not worth a live shot. The only reason to show this live is to help fill those 24 hours without having to do any real reporting. Or work.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 10:18 AM
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Stephen Colbert definitely touched a few nerves.
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert's biting routine at the White House Correspondents Association dinner won a rare silent protest from Bush aides and supporters Saturday when several independently left before he finished.
"Colbert crossed the line," said one top Bush aide, who rushed out of the hotel as soon as Colbert finished. Another said that the president was visibly angered by the sharp lines that kept coming.
"I've been there before, and I can see that he is [angry]," said a former top aide. "He's got that look that he's ready to blow."
Colbert's routine was similar to what he does on his show, the Colbert Report, but much longer on the topic of Bush, suggesting that the president is out of touch with reality. Aides and reporters, however, said that it did not overshadow Bush's own funny routine, which featured an impersonator who told the audience what Bush was thinking when he spoke dull speech lines.
In fact, some aides crowed over reports that the president easily bested Colbert in the reviews of both comedy acts.
Yeah, right. Bush's routine more funny than Colbert? Not a chance. Colbert lambasted the news media as well as Bush. And as has become so typical of the Washington press corps, they didn't like looking in the mirror. These are the same people who laughed at Bush's stupid slide show about looking for weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 7:41 AM
How can anyone view him otherwise? The man believes he is above the law, above the constitution, free to do as he sees fit. Sunday's Boston Globe includes an excellent article detailing the atrocities:
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.
Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush's theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.
Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term, said Bush and his legal team have spent the past five years quietly working to concentrate ever more governmental power into the White House.
''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."
For the first five years of Bush's presidency, his legal claims attracted little attention in Congress or the media. Then, twice in recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a torture ban and a requirement that he give detailed reports to Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act.
Bush administration spokesmen declined to make White House or Justice Department attorneys available to discuss any of Bush's challenges to the laws he has signed.
Instead, they referred a Globe reporter to their response to questions about Bush's position that he could ignore provisions of the Patriot Act. They said at the time that Bush was following a practice that has ''been used for several administrations" and that ''the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution."
But the words ''in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution" are the catch, legal scholars say, because Bush is according himself the ultimate interpretation of the Constitution. And he is quietly exercising that authority to a degree that is unprecedented in US history.
Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.
Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.
In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.
''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.
The entire article is worth reading. Bush is not only the worst president in the history of the United States, he may also be the most dangerous, claiming power he does not have. Republicans love to complain about "activist judges." Where are the complaints about Dubya's violations of our constitution?
We're not surprised Dubya doesn't understand the concept of "balance of powers" built into the U.S. Constitution. We're disappointed, but not surprised, the news media and, more importantly, Congress is going along with Dubya's little dictatorship. Fortunately, the American people are waking up to the little tyrant and his cronies. Each new poll shows Dubya's approval ratings going ever lower. And most of the polls indicate more people plan to vote for Democrats than Republicans in November. We're not holding our breath. Dubya may have invaded Iran by then.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 12:20 AM
Atrios provided these links to Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner this weekend. The entire speech is broken into three parts of streaming video:
This is the speech as shown on C-SPAN. Hilarous stuff. Watch for George and Laura in cutaways.
And Frederick at DailyKos has provided a complete transcript.
Posted by Larry Burkum at 12:06 AM