Friday, June 23, 2006

When is a law not a law?

This is something that Arlen Specter, R-Penn, is going to attempt to find out. The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee will be questioning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, also known as AGAG, about the "signing statements" used by the President during his term of office.

Just in case anyone has somehow escaped this concept, basically each "signing statement" is GDub signing a piece of legislation into law, but including stipulations that, because it may infringe upon his presidential powers, the law doesn't apply to him. He's used these statements on a variety of issues, including surveillance and torture. Basically, it's GDub deciding (there's THAT dangerous word again) that he likes the law fine, as long as he doesn't have to abide by it. However, as Specter has said, "Our legislation doesn't amount to anything if the president can say, 'My constitutional authority supersedes the statute.'"

By the Boston Globe's account, GDub has signed at least 750 such statements since he originally took office back in 2000. This number is higher than any previous president for memos of this type. Truth be told, this number is higher than the total number of statements signed by all U.S. presidents since Washington. So yes, there is a precedent for this type of statement, but that precedent has never before been exploited quite so often. Of course, Specter stands by the belief that GDub using so many of these statements is simply another indication of how much the administration has stepped over and above their own guidelines and authority.

With this development, it appears that some of the GOP is finally making bold statements to distance themselves from the administration that is experiencing some of the lowest approval ratings in history. The question is, is it already too late to save face?

A couple of quick hits before wrapping up. Saddam Hussein ended a hunger strike after skipping one meal. I can just imagine the exchange. "No, please no. I am on a hunger strike in honor of my murdered lawyer." (three hours later) "Give me the food now, pig dog!"

Daily Show viewers may be more cynical regarding politicians and the electoral process than people who get their news from other sources. May be? Looks like Stewart and company really need to step it up. After all, being from a television show that advertises as fake news, and yet provides more thorough and insightful coverage of stories (admittedly peppered with jokes) than the Big Three tend to do is obviously weighing on them. They seem so tired... or is that the politicians they're making fun of?

Beijing bans disco from clubs, in an effort to halt the sale of illegal drugs. Makes sense, as too many listenings to the BeeGees or Abba can certainly drive me to shoot heroin.

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