Really Slacker Friday


I've got a new "Think Again" column called "Hot Planet, Hot Air," here, and, oh, I did a shortish post for Comrade Tomasky at the Guardian on the current state of the Democratic race, here.

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc --

"If you don't think I'm leaving, you can count the days I'm gone."

This Week's WWOZ Pick To Click -- Bonearama's "Jesse's Perch." I may have neglected to mention how much I love New Orleans.

I didn't realize that, as a good progressive, I had to develop a position on the critical issue of "Girls Gone Wild -- Threat Or Menace." It's so hard to keep up these days.

Hey, Rudy, I wouldn't vote for you if you were the last comb-over on earth but, dude, I wouldn't vote for Bob LaFollette if he came back wearing a Yankees World Series ring.

And, look, we have a new definition of "moderate Republican." It is synonymous with, "Holy s**t, look at these numbers! He's as popular in my district as the mange!" Sorry, boys. Too late. Much too late.

For me, the biggest problem I have with the ongoing presidential campaign is that it is a context in which the most serious issue arising from the last seven years can't be seriously debated -- namely, the egregiously anti-constitutional expansion of executive power based of legal theories that seem to be derived from whatever Prussia has for magic mushrooms. It hasn't even come up, as near as I can recall, in either debate, and it's manifestly more serious than, say, abortion. It is the central place from which all of the depredations of the Avignon Presidency have issued -- whether that be unlimited warmaking power, the misuse of signing statements, the politicization of the Department of Justice, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, the old energy task force and on and on. Only by breaking that power, and by burying forever the legal philosophy on which it's based, can you begin to clean up the wreckage. The problem is that there's no way to run for president on a platform of weakening the office. All you can do is say that you'll handle the power better and more responsibly than this guy did -- which is exactly the same as saying your seamanship's better than Captain Joe Hazlewood's is. I've long felt that the Constitution sadly lacked a serious voting constituency, largely because we've become so illiterate about our political and philosophical heritage. This campaign is going to be the grisliest evidence of that yet.

Name: LTC Bob Bateman
Hometown: Capitol Hill

Steve from Vermont is correct, in some ways, in that I am partially recusing myself from the discussion of ethics of the institution, vice that of the society as a whole. As we say in the Army, "I got a dog in this fight," and so I thought it wrong of me to highlight some things which seemed to me (and perhaps to me alone) obvious in the numbers. Accordingly, I tried to keep my comments on that point limited, but present stories which themselves contain numbers. I will let Altercators derive their own observations from there. Anyone who likes, however, can write me personally. After all, I like Altercations, d'acccord?

Name: John B
Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Although George Tenet's new book and associated media tour have once again confirmed the Bush administration's determination to go to war with Iraq, never let it be forgotten that he is not just any weasel, but a lying weasel. The morning of 5/10 NPR ran a bit from their interview with Tenet in which he was asked why the U.S. intelligence community put no stock in the UN assertion that Saddam had no current WMD program. Tenet replied that the U.N. was only allowed to look in places that were already known to have been involved in WMD production in the past. At the time the U.N. inspectors said they had been sent dozens of tips on new locations by the U.S. government, had checked all of them, and found them all to be clean. Tenet spins a pretty yarn, but don't forget that he doesn't let the facts get in the way if he might look bad.

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