July 20, 2007

Utter Contempt
12:00 AM

This story in the Post today is absolutely incredible--if unsurprising. The White House has refused to let Harriet Miers testify before Congress, citing executive privilege. Congress has threatened to charge her with contempt. But now the Bush administration has responded by saying that the Justice Department will never pursue contempt charges against Miers or any other official who invokes executive privilege.

Constitutional Gridlock And Presidential Dictatorship
12:00 AM

By Sanford Levinson I'm about to go off to New Zealand, one of the last countries in the world not to have a written constitution and to be firmly committed to parliamentary sovereignty (though some judges are reasonably forceful in enforcing the relatively new Bill of Rights (that, however, explicitly denies the power of what we call "judicial review," i.e., the ability of courts to invalidate legislation).

July 19, 2007

From The Annals Of Inept Damage Control
12:00 AM

The Los Angleles Times, July 7: [Fred] Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for [the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn.] "Fred Thompson did not lobby for this group, period," he said in an e-mail. In a telephone interview, he added: "There's no documents to prove it, there's no billing records, and Thompson says he has no recollection of it, says it didn't happen." The New York Times, July 19: Billing records show that former Senator Fred Thompson spent nearly 20 hours working as a lobbyist on behalf of a group seeking to ease restrictive fe

Czar And Away
12:00 AM

Steve Benen tries to figure out whatever happened to the administration's "war czar." Answer: He's still around, sort of--if you squint real hard, sometimes you can even spot him lurking at press conferences. --Bradford Plumer

July 18, 2007

Bigmouth Strikes Again
12:00 AM

George W. Bush, 2002 State of the Union address: My hope is that all nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. Many nations are acting forcefully. Pakistan is now cracking down on terror, and I admire the strong leadership of President Musharraf. But some governments will be timid in the face of terror.

Why So Secretive?
12:00 AM

The Washington Post finally manages to figure out who met with Cheney's secret energy task force in 2001: One of the first visitors, on Feb. 14, was James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; a week later, longtime Bush supporter Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp., came by for the first of two meetings.

Where It All Goes
12:00 AM

This New York Times graphic on how the presidential candidates are spending their money is interesting. The three Democratic frontrunners all appear to have much, much larger ground operations in Iowa than their Republican counterparts. And Tommy Thompson's campaign seems to be spending absurdly large sums of money on pizza, relative to its size. --Bradford Plumer

Judy Miller On The Case
12:00 AM

You may have some prejudice against Judy Miller. But, if that means you won't read what she writes, it's entirely your loss. Entirely. About ten days ago, when a government agency playing small private business was able to get approval from another government agency to receive nuclear materièl, it was a sign that the feds have not really done their work.

July 17, 2007

Pitch Perfect
12:00 AM

You may measure the scale of an injustice by the reaction it provokes. So when a Scotsman feels the need to rally to the defense of the most celebrated English soccer player of his age it's clear that calumny is in the air. Yet such is the case with Aleksandar Hemon's attack on David Beckham, a hatchet job soccer's greatest butchers could only admire. Where to begin? Hemon's argument is, by turns, thin, implausible, manifestly unfair, and illogical. Cumulatively his arguments are, alas, just silly. Since I am an admirer of his work this saddens me.

July 16, 2007

More Cheney Chronicles
12:00 AM

Hayes on Cheney's role in the Ford White House: "Rockefeller would periodically produce these big proposals and he'd go in for his weekly meeting for the president and often-times give him these proposals. At the end of the day I'd go down for the wrap-up session and the president would say, 'Here, what are we going to do with this?' And I'd say, 'Well, we'll staff it out.' So I would take it and put it into the system. It would go to OMB and go to the Treausury and all the other places that had a say in his Council of Economic Advisers.