Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Staying Late
Why is it that my employer will deduct every freaking minute that I am not at my desk from my paycheck, and yet, when I stay late, I feel bad about claiming 5 minutes, or 10 minutes or 15 minutes. I don't want to appear to be "rocking the boat" or not helping out the company. That's my fucking money dammit! That's my $1.25, or my $2.50 or my $3.75. How about when I stayed 30 minutes late because I got caught on the phone? That's my $7.50 and since it's technically over time - that's my $11.25. But will I ever claim those minutes, no. But you can be sure that if I am 1 or 2 minutes late getting on the phones, I hear about it and my paycheck gets dinged.

Here's some more. I hate that I have to be here and, at my desk, and logged in, and on the phone by 9:30a, sharp. Why do I hate this? Because it requires me to actually be here by 9:25, because it takes x minutes for the computer to boot, x minutes to log on, x minutes to open the program and get on the phone. Five minutes for which I am not paid. That's $1.88/day. That's $9.4/week. Since I've been here, seven months - that's $263 that they have cleverly tricked me out of. Bastards. And that does NOT include times that I've stayed late. Fuckers.

Constitutional Crisis
Remember how I said the firing of eight US attorneys was going to remain a big story...yeah, I was right. Today the Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to authorize Chairman Conyers to issue subpoenas to top White House aides (including Rove!), at his discretion. This directly repudiated Bush's temper tantrum yesterday (we'll go through his statement in a moment) - where he said, he would not allow top aides to testify. He did offer that they could be interviewed, NOT under oath, and with no transcript. I know, no transcript. what is this guy on? Anyway, Congress says "subpoena", Bush says "no", Congress says "the penalty for defying a congressional subpoena is the charge of contempt of Congress", Bush says "who prosecutes that charge?....Department of Justice (that I've stacked with cronies and who is led by my boy Alberto) HAHA...joke's on you." Fuck. What's that I smell on this fine Wednesday morning? Ahhhhh, impeachment.

And now for the snarky comments:

THE PRESIDENT: Earlier today, my staff met with congressional leaders about the resignations of U.S. attorneys. As you know, I have broad discretion to replace political appointees throughout the government (they serve at the pleasure of the president - see Daily Show clip on this one), including U.S. attorneys. And in this case, I appointed these U.S. attorneys and they served four-year terms.

The Justice Department, with the approval of the White House, believed new leadership in these positions would better serve our country. (why is that, when all those fired had stellar job reviews?) The announcement of this decision and the subsequent explanation of these changes has been confusing (uh, confusing? you changed your story more times than I get pissed off by dumb people at work) and, in some cases, incomplete. Neither the Attorney General, nor I approve of how these explanations were handled. We're determined to correct the problem.

Today I'm also announcing the following steps my administration is taking to correct the record and demonstrate our willingness to work with the Congress. First, the Attorney General and his key staff will testify before the relevant congressional committees to explain how the decision was made and for what reasons.(Under oath? gonzales has vexed congress by refusing to testify under oath) Second, we're giving Congress access to an unprecedented variety of information about the process used to make the decision about replacing eight of the 93 U.S. attorneys. (except for that minor hole from mid-November to early December - a critical time for this investigation)

In the last 24 hours, the Justice Department has provided the Congress more than 3,000 pages of internal Justice Department documents, including those reflecting direct communications with White House staff. This, in itself, is an extraordinary level of disclosure of an internal agency in White House communications. (it's called oversight, and transparency and democracy - you fucking asshat)

Third, I recognize there is significant interest in the role the White House played in the resignations of these U.S. attorneys.(yes, because it was improper and politicized the Department of Justice, an apolitical entity) Access to White House staff is always a sensitive issue. The President relies upon his staff to provide him candid advice. The framers of the Constitution understood this vital role when developing the separate branches of government. (Right, separate branches - so putting your yes-man as the top guy in the DOJ, that didn't muck up the separation, how? Separate and equal branches shit head, no more of this unitary executive bull shit.) And if the staff of a President operated in constant fear of being hauled before various committees to discuss internal deliberations, the President would not receive candid advice, and the American people would be ill-served. (Hmmmm....the Republicans didn't seem to have a problem doing this during the Clinton years, especially during the whole blowjob bit. And really, this investigation is about the perversion of Justice not a blowjob.)

Yet, in this case, I recognize the importance of members of Congress having -- the importance of Congress has placed on understanding how and why this decision was made. So I'll allow relevant committee members on a bipartisan basis to interview (no oath, no record) key members of my staff to ascertain relevant facts. In addition to this offer (offer? offer!?), we will also release all White House documents and emails involving direct communications with the Justice Department or any other outside person, including members of Congress and their staff, related to this issue. These extraordinary steps offered today to the majority in Congress demonstrate a reasonable solution to the issue. However, we will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. (How about this, Congress issues a subpoena and you comply, that's how it works.)

The initial response by Democrats, unfortunately, shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts.(Um, no. The Democrats want the facts, under oath and on the record, that seems pretty reasonable to me.) It will be regrettable (what does he mean regrettable, are you going to lock all the Dems up? dissolve Congress?) if they choose to head down the partisan (actually, a fair number of republicans want these answers too) road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available. I have proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse. I hope they don't choose confrontation. I will oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials. (How about this, Congress issues a subpoena and you comply - remember separation of powers, you don't get to make the rules anymore.)

As we cut through all the partisan rhetoric, it's important to maintain perspective on a couple of important points. First, it was natural (actually, it was pretty unprecedented - changing attorneys between administrations, not so unnatural, doing it mid-term, never happened before) and appropriate for members of the White House staff to consider and to discuss with the Justice Department whether to replace all 93 U.S. attorneys at the beginning of my second term. The start of a second term is a natural time to discuss the status of political appointees within the White House and with relevant agencies, including the Justice Department. In this case, the idea was rejected and was not pursued.

Second, it is common for me, members of my staff, and the Justice Department to receive complaints from members of Congress in both parties, and from other citizens. And we did hear complaints and concerns about U.S. attorneys. Some complained about the lack of vigorous prosecution of election fraud cases, while others had concerns about immigration cases not being prosecuted (and we were receiving complaints that they were pursuing investigations into Republican corruption and weren't trying to trump up charges against dems, we didn't like that). These concerns are often shared between the White House and the Justice Department, and that is completely appropriate.

I also want to say something to the U.S. attorneys who resigned. I appreciate your service to the country. And while I strongly support the Attorney General's decision and am confident he acted appropriately, I regret these resignations turned into such a public spectacle. (note: one of the fired attorneys has an op-ed in the NYT, it's basically a big fuck you to the administration. go read it. his name is iglesias)

It's now my hope that the United States Congress will act appropriately. My administration has made a very reasonable proposal (not). It's not too late for Democrats to drop the partisanship and work together (hmm, I think dems are working together, but thanks for the encouragement). Democrats now have to choose whether they will waste time and provoke an unnecessary confrontation (what does he suppose is going to happen in his "confrontation"? you have to follow the law - that's the way it works), or whether they will join us in working to do the people's business. (uh huh, because the do-nothing Republican Congress got so much of the people's business done) There are too many important issues, from funding our troops to comprehensive immigration reform, to balancing the budget, for us to accomplish on behalf of the American people.

UPDATE: From the Chicago Tribune:

" Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold -- the rule of law."

(emphasis added courtesy Glenn Greenwald )

Tony Snow in his press briefing today accused them [dems] of trying "to create a court room atmosphere" around the investigation. Uh yeah, that's because this is an investigation, and Congress is the court. Moron.

The Evolving Video Culture

Check out Ava Lowery. She is operator of the website Peace Takes Courage and was recently profiled in Mother Jones magazine. At sixteen, she is a powerful anti-war activist and produces excellent video shorts. Recommended by Michael Moore, her website received an average of 56,000 hits a day in February. Check out the short entitled WWJD and Rightwing Love Letters - keep in mind that the girl that these people are sending their hate mail to, is sixteen. Keep in mind that the death threats sent by Bush supporters, were sent to sixteen year-old.

If you haven't seen it yet, go check out the 1984 Hillary ad on YouTube. The author is unknown, but seamlessly merges video from Clinton's web addresses into an Apple commercial based on 1984. The final scenes urge views to go to, but the Obama campaign has denied that they were involved with the creation of this spot. It is my hope that this excellent piece was created on a mac by a teenager in his/her spare time.

Ava has been profiled by mainstream media and the 1984 spot was mentioned on all the morning talk shows, but I don't think that they really get it. The thing about these videos, is that they are phenomenally more powerful, and effective than anything that is created by political campaigns. It is because they are user created. It is because they are user recommended. It is because viewers can email them to their friends and family. It is because viewers can digg them, delicious them, bookmark them in a thousand ways. People like you give their stamp of approval, and that is worth so much more than a tv spot that you are forced to watch. And that makes these videos infinitely more valuable than any political ad that you will see on tv. (unless, of course, the ad originates on the web, gains enough support that the creator is able to put it on tv.)

Lucky Day
Short story. Guy buys 50 acres from his great aunt so that she can afford to go to a retirement home. Guy has not use for land, but clears a couple acres for a house. Guy finds some unusual rock on land. Rock turns out to be highly prized landscaping rock, valued at $100/ton. Guy has 240 MILLION tons on property. Guy's $50,000 spent on buying the land turns into $2.4 BILLION. Now that's a lucky day.

Boots on the Ground Demonstrations
As much as I like to see innovative new ways to use the internet, in the area of protesting, demonstraing, political activity. I really like to see innovative protests in person. At this time, people on the ground will be more powerful than a video on the internet (now, video of people on the ground, protesting - that works too). So, I really liked this story when I saw it. A group of Iraq veterans, wearing full desert camoflauge took DC by storm yesterday and for several hours went on a mock patrol. They took sniper fire, casualites and arrested participants identified by white t-shirts. They brought the dusty streets of Baghdad home to our capital. I want to see more demonstrations like this one. Additionally, Amnesty International built a life-size replica of a cell at Guantanamo Bay. I'd tell you more, but you need quicktime and the computer won't let me install it. Linky.

Lieberman refuses to rule out switch to GOP. All those who voted for him over Ned Lamont, are you happy now?


Blogger Janine said...

I demand more blogerations!

How else shall I procrastinate at the office?!

8:40 AM  

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