Will Specter Sue Bush?

I mentioned Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter’s (R-Pa.) disgust with the president’s signing statements in my post yesterday and today have found the links detailing Specter’s suggestion that Congress consider suing Bush for Constitutional breaches.

The Globe’s Charlie Savage has the straight-up scoop on Specter’s apparent threat to sue here.

Specter: “[T]here’s a real issue here as to whether the president may, in effect, cherry-pick the provisions he likes, excluding the provisions he doesn’t like. . . . The president has the option under the Constitution to veto or not.”

The Times’ Kate Zernike casts the line here explaining the signing statement as a: “device that gave him the authority to revise or ignore more than 750 laws enacted since he became president.”

Dan Froomkin broke out his bullhorn and asked the media to follow up on this issue, providing an extensive list of questions to ask lawmakers and executives.

TMV sums up Specter’s unsatisfactory meeting with asst. deputy AG Michelle Boardman. “If the Constitution and the law conflict, the president must choose,” Boardman retorted, which seriously makes me wonder whether or not I really read what I read or if it was a flashback to Orwell.

Can anyone tell me what Howard Kurtz is doing — still hung up on the NYT Swift story? Can we not file that away with the blown-way-out-of-proportion indictment of seven unfortunate Miami youth last week as, perhaps something in another time and place (as Time magazine puts it) we might laugh at?

Perhaps Specter’s threats are just threats, but dissent just doesn’t cut it when dealing with an administration buried under poor approval ratings. Syndicated columnist Marianne Means has high praise for Specter… Could it be time for action?

Burn Dem Flags

flag-burningA “symbolic” vote to ban flag-burning nearly passed through Senate today, falling one vote short after being approved in the House.

But the “excruciatingly close” vote appears to be symbolic of nothing more than Congress’ preference for debating insultingly unimportant issues whether or not they impinge on civil rights and contradict the Constitution that essentially enabled their rise to office.

In more relevant use of taxpayers’ dollars on The Hill today, a bipartisan group led by Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) denounced Bush’s series of “signing statements” as a grave threat to our Constitution. Among the more appalling Bush add-ons was to the recently passed anti-torture bill, to which he signed with the added condition that the new torture ban did not apply to the president. If it were up to Specter, he’d have Congress file suit against King George.

Frist instisted that this bill was necessary as a “small humble act for us to defend it,” as countless men and women have died defending the flag. Y’know, it would be a small but humble act for you, Doc, or perhaps even el presidente to honor our troops with even one measly visit to a fallen soldier’s funeral. Feeling Grieving for slain Russians without even a comment on the brutal death of Privates Menchaca and Tucker near Youssifiya?

kristian menchaca coffin

This Just In: Smoking = Bad

The U.S. Surgeon General warned today that smoking may be is harmful to everybody’s health — even the passive second-hand smoker.

Yes, I also forgot that we actually have a Surgeon General, and no it’s not Michael Chertoff, but, per Reuters, Surgeon-General Richard Carmona has been hard at work and has this conclusion: “Second-hand smoke clearly kills people and the only way to control it is to ban all smoking in workplaces.” There’s even this video, for yr health.

Granted, I was born in 1975 and have recently been corrupted by the relatively tobacco-free California public environment, but I can’t recall EVER witnessing smoking IN workplaces. Either Carmona is “involuntary smoking” something else, or Karl Rove has him up to something involving uber-sketchy subliminal (and carcinogenic) smokescreens.

Either the SG is dreaming up something for the useless FEMA to tackle, i.e. taking cigarettes out of ever-breaking workers as they stand by the dumpster with their stinky treats, or banning cigarettes is the administration’s first step to combat global warming. As far as I can remember, it would at least be this administration’s first recognition of anything in the air being bad for the innocent human breather.

At the very least, this should bring heated debate to Congress, not on the ills of smoking, but why ever anyone would dare suggest that our elected representatives forgo between-votes smokey treats, right John Boehner? (The halls of Congress are in fact exempt from the D.C. citywide smoking ban that went in effect in March 2006).

Be assured we are on our way to a world in which nobody can freely smoke cigarettes and, more importantly, nobody will be forced to die a slow death in the tar-laced puff-clouds of their colleagues. Indeed, only three months ago Congress saw this tobacco-related bill to pass:

H.R. 3199: “To extend and modify authorities needed to combat terrorism, and for other purposes.”

Dr. Surgeon General, care to tell us anything we don’t already know?

Indeed, the Patriot Act Reauthorization Bill gets back at the tobacco lobbies in the most world-saving of ways:

“….Requires any contraband cigarettes or smokeless tobacco seized and forfeited to be either destroyed or used for undercover investigative operations”