What others are writing about:
1. The power of Al Gore’s oratory is not to be denied, but he’s not the only one who’s been talking about Bush’s executive power grab. Denny at Where We’re Bound offers the text of Senator Robert C. Byrd’s speech to the Senate. My favorite passages:
The American public is given vague and empty assurances by the President that amount to little more than â€œtrust me.â€ But, we are a nation of laws and not of men. Where is the source of that authority he claims? I defy the Administration to show me where in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or the U.S. Constitution, they are allowed to steal into the lives of innocent America citizens and spy.
I continue to be shocked and astounded by the breadth with which the Administration undermines the constitutional protections afforded to the people, and the arrogance with which it rebukes the powers held by the Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President has cast off federal law, enacted by Congress, often bearing his own signature, as mere formality. He has rebuffed the rule of law, and he has trivialized and trampled upon the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizures guaranteed to Americans by the United States Constitution.
We are supposed to accept these dirty little secrets. We are told that it is irresponsible to draw attention to President Bushâ€™s gross abuse of power and Constitutional violations. But what is truly irresponsible is to neglect to uphold the rule of law. We listened to the President speak last night on the potential for democracy in Iraq. He claims to want to instill in the Iraqi people a tangible freedom and a working democracy, at the same time he violates our own U.S. laws and checks and balances? President Bush called the recent Iraqi election â€œa landmark day in the history of liberty.â€ I dare say in this country we may have reached our own sort of landmark. Never have the promises and protections of Liberty seemed so illusory. Never have the freedoms we cherish seemed so imperiled.
These astounding revelations about the bending and contorting of the Constitution to justify a grasping, irresponsible Administration under the banner of â€œnational securityâ€ are an outrage. Congress can no longer sit on the sidelines. It is time to ask hard questions of the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA. The White House should not be allowed to exempt itself from answering the same questions simply because it might assert some kind of â€œexecutive privilegeâ€ in order to avoid further embarrassment.
2. R. Neal at the Institute for Southern Studies notes that Republican state legislators in Alabama are being forced to sign an oath to only support Republican candidates for leadership and to be loyal to the Republican Party. Republicans are getting upset… that someone has had the gall to leak the truth and tell the citizens about the existence of the oath.
3. Daniel Dennison at Warner Watch 2008 quotes adoringly from Virginia Governor Mark Warner‘s farewell speech:
“Virginians have told me three things,” Warner said. “That results matter, that they’re proud of the direction we’re going, and a third thing: You know, they really appreciate it when we work out our differences and work together to get things done.”
Um… isn’t that one thing? Getting stuff done, getting stuff done and getting stuff done? Don’t get me wrong. I like getting stuff done, but the only thing I’ll adore once, twice, three times is my lady. And I love her. I loooooooove her.
4. Kos notes that finally, finally all Democratic Party rivals to the Corzine-anointed Bob Menendez have stepped aside, avoiding the nasty, fractious details involved in that whole primary thing. Now Bob Menendez is assured of the Democratic Party nod in the fall 2006 race for the United States Senate. But, gee, wouldn’t it be nice for the citizens of New Jersey to have a say? No, right, that would be messy, right, support the troops, ok, I mean party, right, I forgot, ok, unity, right, it’s a good thing, ok, right, sure. But how about a choice? No? OK, I’m a bad, bad dog, unity, give me the collar, yes, whatever you say.
5. At Pursuing Holiness, Laura writes about The Book of Daniel, a TV show starring Aidan Quinn as a pill-popping Episcopal priest with a dysfunctional family who talks to Jesus, or maybe just “Jesus.” Writing from a Christian perspective, she’s decided she doesn’t like it, but her response to that dislike is refreshing:
Let me be clear: it offends me that Christians and Jesus are portrayed in this manner. It offends me that Christians are just about the only group that the entertainment industry seems incapable of understanding or at least portraying fairly.
On the other hand, youâ€™ve got perpetually offended Muslims – offended at the Burger King ice cream lid and insisting it be recalled. (It was.) Offended by the Red Cross – soon to be replaced by the Red Crescent and the Red Crystal in many places. Theyâ€™re offended by â€œJewishâ€ cookies. Plush toy pigs, pig figurines and piggy banks are disappearing in offices and even story time at schools in England due to Muslim ultra-sensitivity.
Is that the lead that Christians want to follow, living in a state of perpetual outrage and offense because the culture, which we already know is evil, is not compatible with our beliefs? Do we want to try to achieve change by brute force – huge numbers of us calling, emailing, and writing on this or that cause to force them to comply with our demands – or do we want to persuade others to join our side by seeing the inherent rightness and superiority of what we believe?
Jesus may have thrown the moneychangers out of the temple, but we arenâ€™t Jesus, and Hollywood and the idiot box are not the temple. Rather than react to this show, and others like it, why donâ€™t we respond to it?