Republican Congressman: Investigate How Bush Adminstration “Disregarded The Constitution”

More than once I have thought about President Jeb Bartlett on NBC’s drama ‘West Wing’ while reading the morning newspaper.  When he offered to be censured by Congress for less than candid answers about his health and MS condition, he told his White House Chief Of Staff that no one in Washington takes the blame for anything anymore.  Therefore no one is ever held responsible for anything that goes wrong.  As such he stepped up to the front of the line and endured the political punches by doing the right thing on the award winning TV drama. 

If only real life at times mimicked television. More often than not when there are serious lapses in judgment in government much finger pointing and commission creating takes place, but little in true accountability ever surfaces.  We learn of the mistakes but rarely hear, as Bartlett said, anyone taking any self-blame.

After eight years of deception and lies about the reason that a war was started that claimed well over 4,000 American lives, not to count for the countless hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, there needs to be a reckoning.  When the U.S. Constitution is regarded as something to be undermined, rather than followed, it is time for a through and complete investigation.  History demands that the deeds done by the Bush White House see the full light of day.

That is the belief of this blogger.

What does former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards say about this matter?  Hmmm…….I am not alone in knowing there is a right and wrong, and a need for accounting of the action taken by Bush and Company.

There should be a thorough investigation of the ways in which the current Administration may have disregarded the Constitution (examples: under the Constitution, the suspension of habeas corpus rights — for anybody — is flatly prohibited; the Constitution gives to the Congress, not the Executive, the sole authority to determine the treatment of captives; surveillance of American citizens requires a warrant). But that investigation should — no, must — be carried out not by an independent commission but by the Congress, just as Harry Truman, a Democratic Senator, investigated the War Department in a Democratic Administration and just as a Congress controlled by Democrats investigated the Watergate break-in during a Republican Administration. Party considerations must not trump legislative responsibility. The Congress has the obligation to examine whether laws were broken or new laws are needed. Members of Congress have taken an oath to defend the Constitution. During the Bush Administration, the Congress receded further and further into irrelevancy; it is up to its new members to ensure that it regains its position as the First Branch of government. The original post begins with the wrong premise: the competing forces in this drama are not Republicans and Democrats but the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch and it’s high time that the legislative branch re-established itself as a separate, independent and equal check on the presidency.

“The Children’s Blizzard” By David Laskin

If you only read one book review on this blog, this is the one.

January 12, 1888 dawns as very warm across the Dakotas and Minnesota.  Children walked to school without coats, farmers went into their fields to take advantage of the weather to mend fences after what was already a long winter.  Later that day without warning hell opened a door on the open prairie.  In three minutes the temperature would fall 18 degrees.   Hurricane-like winds whipped snow and ice as a cold front raged over the countryside.  Sod homes were blown away.  School roofs were ripped off.  Windows exploded.  Animals beat to the ground by the force of Mother Nature.  And children in schools wanted to get home……..

On January 13th, some 500 people were dead, many of them children.  Some would survive the snow and darkness, but come Friday the 13th as they got to their feet they would succumb to the intense cold.

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This true account of one of America’s most ferocious storms starts in Norway, and the Ukraine as David Laskin introduces us to five families who will sell their belongings, say good bye to graves and loved ones, and set sail for America.  The tale moves along as the immigrants settle in the Dakota territories and Minnesota.  The first winter they make holes in the earth, put a few wooden slabs over the top, cover that with sod and try to survive a winter.  Some try to do so on flour mixed with a little water and cooked with only salt and pepper for flavoring.  In the summers they deal with grasshoppers and fire.  They thought the long winter that Laura Ingall Wilder would write of was the worst…….but in 1888 a winter storm came that made everything tame by comparison.

This book was mentioned on WGN this spring, (though it was published in 2004) but after the winter we had endured in Madison the last thing I wanted to do was read about a blizzard.  So I waited until the seasons had changed, and opened this amazing read last week.  Rarely have I found an epic read that makes the mouth drop in utter disbelief.  The enormity of the storm, the inhospitable nature of the prairie, and the desperate solitude that so many felt all alone in a new country on the wide open expanse of the Dakota territories, all make for a MUST READ.

Trust me on this one.

You will not be disappointed.  History comes alive!

Too Few Guns In Our Society

I was shocked to read that a kid did not have his own handgun so to easily shoot fellow teenagers.   I felt the kid’s mortification when he had to turn to his mother and use her gun in order to pump off a few rounds at the teens.  How embrassing!  I am sure he is going to be the laughingstock of the neighborhood now.  Surely the NRA can do something to assist all those who wish to shoot at others, and even provide a concealed weapons law so loaded weapons are available at all times.   Would it not have been better to have had all those teens being fired on to have their own loaded weapons?  Where is the outrage about not having these kids locked and loaded?  What is this world coming to when a shooter needs his mom to bring along the arsenal?  I hope the kid gets some therapy to undo the damage to his self-esteem, and then gets a gift card from the NRA for his own 9 mm handgun. 

Should we propose a voucher system so that city kids can have the same advantages that rural kids have with easy access to guns?  Might the NRA need a federal bailout so we can get more guns manufactured and into the hands of more people?  Come on people, there is a need for more handguns!

A Milwaukee mother was charged today with pulling a 9mm handgun out of her purse and handing it to her 16-year-old son so he could shoot a carload of teens arguing with him about a previous playground beating.

Wanda Young, 45, was charged with intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to a child and party to second-degree endangering safety while armed, felonies that carry a maximum penalty of 13½ years in prison.

According to the criminal complaint:

Young’s son is accused of firing the handgun at five family members last Wednesday on Milwaukee’s northwest side, hitting three siblings – a 14-year-old girl and her brothers, 15 and 17 – in the 9000 block of N. 95th St. They suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Police earlier identified the shooter as Young’s son Brian, who has been arrested twice before on burglary charges.

The 14-year-old victim told police she was in her mother’s car with her mother, her aunt and her two brothers looking for Brian Young to talk about her brother getting beaten up. Her brothers found Brian Young and another teen and fought with them. She said she saw Wanda Young come out of her home with her brown and tan purse, pull out a black handgun and give it to Brian Young, who fired it in the air as everyone ran back to her mother’s vehicle.

As the girl’s mother drove off, the 14-year-old told police she saw Brian Young fire at the vehicle several times, hitting her and her brothers as they sat in the back seat.

Police later discovered eight bullet holes in the vehicle.

“FiveThirtyEight” Predicts Al Franken To Win By 27 Votes

Millions of political junkies  have been quite taken by the site “FiveThirtyEight” this year.  It is one of my daily ‘first reads’.  There truly has never been a number crunching site such as this before.   And as we know the track record of this site is most remarkable for its specificity.  Well let see what the latest post says about the Minnesota recount for U.S. Senate…..

I will let you read the whole post as it is long and a mite complicated, but this is the main thought.

Now, we can attempt to solve this equation at the statewide level. When we plug in a tof .499956 — Franken was picked on just slightly very less than half of the ballots during the initial count — we get a value for franken_netof .837. That is, Franken will gain a net of .837 votes for every 10,000 cast. With a total of 2,885,555 ballots having been recorded in the initial count, this works out to a projected gain of 242votes for Franken statewide. Since Norm Coleman led by 215 votes in the initial count, this suggests that Franken will win by 27 votes once the recount process is complete (including specifically the adjudication of all challenged ballots).