April 29, 2008

After this there will be no more good clean fun

Oskar Fischinger, Optical Poetry, 1936

* Cheney's lawyer says Congress has no authority to conduct oversight over vice president. excerpt:

"In what appears yet another effort to strengthen his position in the executive branch, the attorney for Vice President Dick Cheney said in a letter released by Congress Thursday that the Congress lacks 'lacks the constitutional power' to conduct oversight over his job.

"The letter came in response to requests that Cheney's chief of staff David Addington testify about the his role in approving harsh interrogation tactics -- which some see as torture -- at Guantanamo Bay.

"Cheney has long battled Congress over oversight. In particular, Congress has sought, and failed, to acquire information from his office regarding his meetings with oil company executives to discuss energy policy in 2001. Cheney was also the subject of a Washington Post series which detailed his attempts to strengthen position the position of the vice presidency as a bulwark against inquiry."

"'Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by a law what a Vice President communicates in the performance of the Vice President's official duties, or what a Vice President recommends that a President communicate in the President's performance of official duties, and therefore those matters are not within the Committee's power of inquiry,' Wheelbarger added.
"House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers fired back at letter Thursday questioning Wheelbarger's rationale. He quotes a Supreme Court justice's opinion in the case:

"'The power of inquiry has been employed by Congress throughout our history, over the whole range of the national interests concerning which Congress might legislate.... the scope of the power of inquiry, in short, is as penetrating and far-reaching as the potential power to enact and appropriate under the Constitution.'

"Conyers notes later in his reply that numerous White House officials have testified to committees of Congress, including White House counsels and chiefs of staff and the Chief of Staff to the Vice President.

"'On October 17, 1974, I was present when President Ford himself testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee on issues relating to the Nixon pardon,' the Detroit Democrat writes. 'The invitation to appear is thus based on a long tradition of comity between the branches... These principles have served our nation well, and I trust you will not turn your back on them now.'"

"Wheelbarger, however, has more legal weapons in her arsenal.

"She says that Cheney's chief of staff isn't the most appropriate to ask questions of if Congress is looking to get answers regarding the President's opinions. She suggests that Congress seek to ask questions of the Attorney General instead."
"Further, she indicates that even if Cheney's chief of staff were to testify, little of his testimony would be of any use because he would be limited by executive and attorney client privilege. Prior to being appointed Cheney's chief of staff, Addington was Cheney's personal attorney."

* Jeff Johnson interviews Bob Nastanovich mostly about the horse business but sneaks a question in about a possible Pavement reunion:

Q: So how would you navigate a Pavement reunion?

BN: I would call my bosses in horse racing and ask for a six-month leave of absence. And I hope when the smoke cleared I could get some semblance of my job back. I would prioritize a Pavement reunion over any other form of employment at this point. I don’t plan my life like it is going to happen, but I’m hopeful that it will. You know, Gary would be involved. Steve West would be involved. It would be a six-man band. Gary would play on his songs and Westie would play on his.

Q: So it’s been discussed enough to say that Gary would be involved? Like let’s pull out all the stops?

BN: Oh sure… Let’s give them everything we’ve got. There’s a game plan, it’s just a matter of—

Q: When?

BN: Not before 2010… I think Malkmus would consider the idea over 2009… and I’m hoping something would occur between January and August of 2010. I say hopefully cause it would get me out of debt on these horses [laughs]. It’s amazing to me how much interest there still is in Pavement. And among people that were little kids when the band was happening. But ultimately, it’s Steve’s decision, and whatever he decides I’m completely cool with. He’s the one who wrote most of the songs, would have to do most of the singing, a lot of the guitar playing, and most of the talking.

* Twofer Tuesday: From Highland, New York, Community Gun:

-- Before She Goes

-- James Brown

* "Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that." -- Jasper Johns


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