My pal Christy sent me a list of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning-- as well as some phone numbers where they can be reached:
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)- Chairman
Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
John Kyl (R-AZ)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
1 (800) 828 - 0498
1 (800) 459 - 1887
1 (800) 614 - 2803
1 (866) 340 - 9281
1 (866) 338 - 1015
1 (877) 851 - 6437
I went on a music-buying splurge on iTunes a couple of weekends ago when I saw that Rufus Wainwright's new album Release the Stars had come out.
Wow dude, he's got the voice of a god. Not a Jeff Buckley god, but a god nonetheless. His voice is so pure, and his songwriting style produces sweeping, cabaret-inspired tunes.
Only tangentially related, I also watched the documentary Paragraph 175 the other night, where a half-dozen homosexual survivors of Nazi concentration camps were interviewed about their experiences before, during, and after the war. Being part of this group whose history, when it's written, is almost always tragedy makes for an interesting understanding of the human race. Still, I'm thankful for efforts like Paragraph 175 (and The Pink Triangle by Richard Plant) to at least preserve this part of gay, and human, history.
Which brings us back to way-out Rufus Wainwright, with his crooner's voice and playful love songs to men. I'll take today over yesterday, thanks very much, while being grateful for the scholarship that exists.
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Somebody please deconstruct the following sentence:"We are aware that the US bears high responsibility for the situation in the world, and I would like to stress that the United States and President Bush have our support in that." - Czech Republic president Vaclav Klauscurrent-events
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Barack Obama is provoking the pundits.
Maureen Dowd?s New York Times column today titled ?Can He Unleash the Force?? echoes rising criticism that he is ?tentative about commanding the stage and consistently channeling the excitement he engenders. At times, he seems to be actively resisting his phenom status and easy appeals to emotion. When he should fire up, he dampens. When he should dominate, he?s deferential. When he should lacerate, he?s languid.?
But then why is Obama rising in the polls and campaign fund-raising? One possible answer is that he is being true to his own nature, which can eventually be fatal in Presidential politics. But there is another possibility--that he sees something about 21st century politics beyond the conventional wisdom.
Last year, Obama came on the scene like the proverbial hare to Hillary Clinton?s tortoise, racing from nowhere to runner-up in the polls. But everyone knows how that fable ends, and Obama may be rewriting the script by slowing down to gather strength for the final dash.
Being a ?rock star? last year gave Obama visibility. This year?s challenge is be Presidential. His thoughtful, tentative approach to issues may not requite Maureen Dowd?s desire for political passion, but it can enhance his appeal to voters who want solid, sober judgment again in the White House.
His zinger the other night about John Edwards being four a half years late in opposing the war suggests that Obama?s hare is lying in wait to re-emerge against the Republican candidate after the tortoise crosses the finish line in the race for the Democratic nomination.
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The right wingers, led by the National Review, are in a frenzy. They want a pardon for Scooter Libby. They're demanding a pardon for Scooter Libby. According to today's Washington Post, the political situation is so bad for Bush, that may actually help Scooter:
At the same time, some White House advisers said the president's political troubles are already so deep that a pardon might not be so damaging. Those most upset by the CIA leak case that led to the Libby conviction already oppose Bush, they noted. "You can't hang a man twice for the same crime," a Republican close to the White House said.Ironic that the war Scooter helped launch -- the war which has destroyed Bush's presidency -- may be the main factor that allows for his freedom.
I hope you didn't think I was kidding last night when I mentioned that the Inside the Beltway powerbrokers-- mostly from the NeoCon and wingnut sectors but really across the board (see Carville letter to Judge Walton)-- would try turning Irving Libby (AKA- "Scooter"), a pedophile pornographer who was convicted by a jury of his peers-- and who had a level of legal representation to defend him that is unavailable to 99.9% of his fellow criminals, into St Scooter and DEMAND that Bush pardon him. The well-orchestrated campaign is already in full swing.
Although Peter Baker, in today's Washington Post claims that a pardon is a topic too sensitive to mention in the West Wing, there is no doubt that the fix is long in and that this kind of article from the Post is part of their preordained role in thwarting Justice for someone who is, after all, one of them, not one of us.
The sentence imposed on former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby yesterday put President Bush in the position of making a decision he has tried to avoid for months: Trigger a fresh political storm by pardoning a convicted perjurer or let one of the early architects of his administration head to prison.
The prospect of a pardon has become so sensitive inside the West Wing that top aides have been kept out of the loop, and even Bush friends have been told not to bring it up with the president. In any debate, officials expect Vice President Cheney to favor a pardon, while other aides worry about the political consequences of stepping into a case that stems from the origins of the Iraq war and renewing questions about the truthfulness of the Bush administration.
* Fitz "never found enough evidence to charge Libby or anyone else with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act"
* Why didn't Armitage get prosecuted if there was a real crime?
* Their was no legitimacy in even having a special prosecutor (or, as the editors of the National Review put it: "The fact that there was a special prosecutor at all was more the result of bureaucratic infighting and political cowardice in the Bush administration than of any wrongdoing by Libby or the others who were investigated."
* "The discrepancies between Libby?s grand-jury testimony and that of the journalists who contradicted him can be explained by differences in memory, and should not have resulted in perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges against Libby. Anyone who watched Libby?s trial knows it was a parade of conflicting memories, and reasonable people could disagree with the jury?s verdict."
* "Fitzgerald's deplorable behavior"
All of this might be funny if it weren?t so serious for Libby. He is a dedicated public servant caught in a crazy political fight that should have never happened, convicted of lying about a crime that the prosecutor can?t even prove was committed. President Bush has the power to end this ridiculous saga right now. He should do so.
Rudy Giuliani is smite by God. Comedian Steve Bruner talks about life in hotels. And a hideous new logo for the 2012 Olympics.
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I won't have the transcript of Tuesday's sentencing hearing in the Scooter Libby trial until today. But, Neil Lewis of the New York Times, reports:
The judge said there was no issue that Mr. Libby’s lawyers could appeal that seemed to present a reasonable chance of succeeding. But he relented somewhat and said they could file briefs next week detailing their arguments that there were two reasonable grounds for appeal: that Mr. Fitzgerald’s appointment as a special counsel was improper and that Judge Walton had erred in prohibiting the defense team from presenting experts on the fallibility of human memory.
I have thought all along that Judge Walton's refusal to allow a memory expert to testify at trial was a critical error. But Judge Walton ruled Libby's case is distinguishable from a case of faulty eyewitness memory, which is notoriously unreliable and therefore might require expert testimony.
I think the case law in the D.C. Circuit supports Judge Walton. But I also think it's wrong.
The test for an appeal bond is whether there is an issue on which reasonable judges could differ, or which is novel and which -- if decided in the defendant-appellant's favor -- would likely result in reversal.
Judge Walton indicated at Tuesday's sentencing that he didn't think his refusal to allow a memory expert to testify was an issue that would warrant an appeal bond. I disagree. I thought he was wrong when he issued that ruling and I think reasonable judges could differ on the issue -- and if the issue was decided in Libby's favor, it would result in a reversal.
From a legal perspective, I would find Libby is entitled to an appeal bond on this issue.
Okay, after watching that debate last night, one thing is very clear: None of those knuckleheads should be President. They're a bunch of war-mongering, homophobic panderers. The Democrats really, really need to nominate the most electable candidate.
The only fun thing about the GOP debate was watching them kick George Bush around. But, they created that monster. They own him.
And, I will say these debates are already getting old. There are over seven months til the first votes are cast. Ugh.
Well, another bad week, this time largely because of Amazon. A number of you have very generously made donations using my Amazon Honor System account, for which I offer my immense gratitude (which I similarly offer to everyone who has supported my work). Amazon regularly transfers funds from the Honor System account to my bank account. Normally, such transfers take three to four business days, and five business days at the most.
On May 6, Amazon initiated a transfer of $403.89. When it had still not shown up in my bank account on May 15, I wrote to Amazon about it (and trying to figure out how to write to Amazon at all about such matters is quite an experience in itself). I received a perfunctory reply, and they said they would look into it. After this dragged on for a few weeks (during which time a later Amazon transfer went through without a problem), I finally lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau toward the end of last week. The BBB wrote to Amazon. That, of course, elicited a very prompt response from Amazon, from what appeared to be a living human being.
This alleged human being said Amazon had experienced certain "problems" with "several" transfers of this kind in the month of May. But now, they had everything straightened out! The funds would be in my bank account by the end of business yesterday.
So I checked my bank account first thing this morning. Of course, the money is not there.
I just wrote to Amazon once again (to the alleged human being), and copied the BBB. I told Amazon that, at this point, receiving only the money which I am due -- which is mine in any event (thanks to some of you), and which I was owed a month ago under the terms of Amazon's own service agreement -- is not sufficient. I demanded an additional $100.00, to compensate me for the loss of use of funds, for the anxiety and worry this has caused me, and for the time I have had to spend trying to resolve this matter -- plus an additional $10.00 per day for each additional day this problem is not satisfactorily addressed, beginning today.
I've removed the Amazon donation link, as well as the Amazon Wishlist link (which I may replace with a Powell's link or a similar one). No more business for them. I do not intend to restore those links even assuming this problem is resolved -- which I do assume, by the way, so those of you who made donations in the week or two prior to May 6 need not worry. I'm sure the money will turn up eventually. But Amazon's service on this and some other issues has been so uniformly lousy, that I'm through with them for the foreseeable future.
As regular readers know, I live very, very close to the edge financially. $400 is a huge amount of money to me, half a month's rent. If I have to, and I've often had to over the last few years, I can stretch $400 to cover food and a few regular bills (electricity, phone and the like) for almost an entire month. So this has caused me considerable worry and aggravation.
Anyway, I'm completely distracted and in a thoroughly rotten mood, and ready to throw something against a wall, very, very hard. I'll try to get back to writing later today or tomorrow. I think I'll go play with the cats now, and let them cheer me up.
Again, I wouldn't worry if you used Amazon to make a donation. A few of you made donations just in the last several days. Many thanks to you, and to everyone else who has been so generous, and again, I don't think you need to be concerned. Another transfer has gone through without a problem, after the transfer that got "lost." It's only the one from early May that has disappeared. And as I said, I'm certain the $403.89 will get to my bank account at some point, although God knows when. Just a very unhappy and nervous-making experience.
So, on we go...
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