Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gore Vidal on "President Jonah"

And be sure to follow this link to read &/or hear Vidal's excellent essay on the Imperial Presidency of the Bushbaby:

Senators in Need of a Spine (Auntie Times is right on target!)


The New York Times
January 26, 2006
Senators in Need of a Spine
Judge Samuel Alito Jr., whose entire history suggests that he holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress, will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice soon. His elevation will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government — and a Senate that seems eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead.
It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination. At the Judiciary Committee hearings, the judge followed the well-worn path to confirmation, which has the nominee offer up only the most boring statements and unarguable truisms: the president is not above the law; diversity in college student bodies is a good thing. But in what he has said in the past, and what he refused to say in the hearings, Judge Alito raised warning flags that, in the current political context, cannot simply be shrugged away with a promise to fight again another day.
The Alito nomination has been discussed largely in the context of his opposition to abortion rights, and if the hearings provided any serious insight at all into the nominee's intentions, it was that he has never changed his early convictions on that point. The judge — who long maintained that Roe v. Wade should be overturned — ignored all the efforts by the Judiciary Committee's chairman, Arlen Specter, to get him to provide some cover for pro-choice senators who wanted to support the nomination. As it stands, it is indefensible for Mr. Specter or any other senator who has promised constituents to protect a woman's right to an abortion to turn around and hand Judge Alito a potent vote to undermine or even end it.
But portraying the Alito nomination as just another volley in the culture wars vastly underestimates its significance. The judge's record strongly suggests that he is an eager lieutenant in the ranks of the conservative theorists who ignore our system of checks and balances, elevating the presidency over everything else. He has expressed little enthusiasm for restrictions on presidential power and has espoused the peculiar argument that a president's intent in signing a bill is just as important as the intent of Congress in writing it. This would be worrisome at any time, but it takes on far more significance now, when the Bush administration seems determined to use the cover of the "war on terror" and presidential privilege to ignore every restraint, from the Constitution to Congressional demands for information.
There was nothing that Judge Alito said in his hearings that gave any comfort to those of us who wonder whether the new Roberts court will follow precedent and continue to affirm, for instance, that a man the president labels an "unlawful enemy combatant" has the basic right to challenge the government's ability to hold him in detention forever without explanation. His much-quoted statement that the president is not above the law is meaningless unless he also believes that the law requires the chief executive to defer to Congress and the courts.
Judge Alito's refusal to even pretend to sound like a moderate was telling because it would have cost him so little. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who was far more skillful at appearing mainstream at the hearings, has already given indications that whatever he said about the limits of executive power when he was questioned by the Senate has little practical impact on how he will rule now that he has a lifetime appointment.
Senate Democrats, who presented a united front against the nomination of Judge Alito in the Judiciary Committee, seem unwilling to risk the public criticism that might come with a filibuster — particularly since there is very little chance it would work. Judge Alito's supporters would almost certainly be able to muster the 60 senators necessary to put the nomination to a final vote.
A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.
Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

Friday, January 20, 2006

Worthy of Attention

Yes, a few things you should take a look at:

  • The new novel by Philippe Sollers, Une vie divine, nrf-Gallimard, 2006, on the subversive power of joyfulness. Here's a link to learn more:
  • Mozart: not only an anniversary year, but a chance to HEAR, to LISTEN, to ENJOY. At this site you can also listen in to some pieces, even download samples. Recommended: his Requiem and of course and always Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.
  • And the site of Human Rights Watch including information on the 2006 report, independent assessment of how rights are faring around the world, and no special treatment for the playpen. You can download the full report as pdf file for free:

And here again with snow, I recall what I said yesterday about certainly enjoying the weightless light, the illuminated lightness within and about me!

Smile - Love - Learn

Friday, January 13, 2006

The NATION's Case FOR Impeaching a President who Ignores and Suberts the Law and the Constitution of the United States

THE NATION: article posted January 11, 2006 (January 30, 2006 issue)
The Impeachment of George W. Bush
Elizabeth Holtzman
Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.

--- use this link to read the entire article and END THE PLAYPEN:

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Welcome to Europe

Here, too, a brief but warm and heart-felt welcome to MY NIECE, now arrived in EUROPE from the USA's South to study for a semester in Edinburgh.
She, too, concerned about human rights and justice, will certainly find many opportunities and facilities to broaden her knowledge, experience, and life during her stay here --- and then she'll be on her way to Berlin in the summer after some general Europe-hopping after semester end.
At that point she'll be taken under the wings of her two doting uncles here in Weißensee -- and sent out for fun in Berlin's night-life scene. (Maybe she'll even have to deal with a bike tour out into the wonderful landscape of Brandenburg!
Anyway, she's linked here under "good ol' southern gal" and will surely be adding some intersting posts to her blog during her stay. The photos of Edinburgh from the first week are worth a look.
So for today, I've been absolutely personal --- that is also a form of hiding yourself and spreading light ! The Stars of Europe are ablaze! Liberté - Égalité - Fraternité ! The Constitution deserves passage!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Take the Leap

Did you know the truth of Being must wait for you to take the leap to create it in order to exert its sway? It needs you as you need it. You might call it interdependence: you belong to Being and its truth and it calls out to you to finally provide its basis. Write, think, create, dream...