Saturday, July 28, 2007

No End in Sight

Yeah, I haven't seen Ratatouille yet, or the Simpsons movie, and I admit that Live Free or Die Hard and Transformers are on my list too, but I think I'll have to see this first.


Then I'll go see Ratatouille right after to calm myself down.

(Excellent NOW piece on the movie: part 1, part 2, part 3.

Friday, July 27, 2007

ITOMFA!

"Men who are accustomed over a long series of years to supposing that whatever can somehow be squared with the law is right -- or if not right then allowable -- are not useful members of society; and when they reach positions of power in the state they are noxious. They are people for whom ethics can be summed up by the collected statutes ... they are men who tend to resign their own conscience to another's keeping, or to disregard it entirely." (Patrick O'Brian, The Reverse of the Medal)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ITMFA!

The Takoma Park City Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of the president and vice-president. I live in a good place.

WHEREAS, President George W. Bush, in his oath of office, swore to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States;" and

WHEREAS, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, in his oath of office, swore to "support
and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic;" and

WHEREAS, it is a fundamental principle of U.S. jurisprudence that no one is above the
law and no one may operate outside of our constitutional system of checks and balances; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney conspired with others to defraud
the United States of America by intentionally misleading Congress and the public regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 371; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush has admitted to ordering the National Security Agency to
conduct electronic surveillance of American civilians without seeking warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, duly constituted by Congress in 1978, in violation of Title 50 United States Code, Section 1805; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney conspired to commit the torture of
prisoners in violation of the "Federal Torture Act" Title 18 United States Code, Section 113C, the UN Torture Convention and the Geneva Conventions, which under Article VI of the Constitution are part of the "supreme Law of the Land"; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney acted to strip American citizens of
their constitutional rights by ordering indefinite detention without access to legal counsel, without charge and without the opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the President of a U.S. citizen as an "enemy combatant", all in subversion of law; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have arrogated excessive power to
the executive branch in violation of basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers while acting to undermine the authority of the legislative branch and the judiciary by issuing "signing statements" that claim that the executive branch may disregard laws enacted by Congress when the President or his subordinates deem it appropriate, and by the above referenced conduct; and,

WHEREAS, in all of this George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have acted in a manner contrary to their trust as President and Vice President, subversive of constitutional government to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of Takoma Park, MD and of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, petitions from the country at large may be presented by the Speaker of the House according to Clause 3 of House Rule XII.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Takoma Park, Maryland, that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrant impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT our senators and representatives in the United States
Congress be, and they are hereby, requested to cause to be instituted in the Congress of the United States proper proceedings for the investigation of the activities of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, to the end that they may be impeached and removed from such office; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the City Clerk shall certify to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, under the seal of the City of Takoma Park, a copy of this resolution and its adoption by the Council of the City of Takoma Park, as a petition, and request that this petition be delivered to the Office of the Clerk and entered in the United States Congressional Journal. The copies shall be marked with the word "Petition" at the top of the document and contain the original authorizing signature of the City Clerk.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kyosaku, 3:05 PM

Ishi, 7:40 AM

Just another slow Saturday on the cat ranch.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Brickskeller Notes

Last night's trip to the temple of beer with Mike, Heather, Tara, and Michelle (celebrating Mike's new job and Mike and Heather's new house), summed up in four excellent bottles:

1. Laguinitas IPA. I've been drinking a lot of pilsner lately--it's high summer in DC--but a crisp, hoppy India pale ale is really a wonderful thing to drink in hot weather, with thirst-banishing properties found nowhere else in nature. So I asked the bartender what her favorite IPA was, and this was it. This is almost a perfect example of the style. Lovely, dry and bitter.

2. Stone IPA. After my friends arrived and we took a table, I continued my theme by asking our waitress what her favorite IPA was. Stone is very like Laguinitas in its indisputable IPAness, but with an incredible floral overlay from aggressive dry-hopping. I could sit with my nose in a glass of this stuff, smelling it, for--well, for minutes anyway. This went down nicely with my steak, which was a mediocre piece of meat grilled perfectly.

3. Thomas Hardy Ale 1995. This works pretty well as a digestif. I've had most of the vintages from the 80s, the oldest of which were almost like tawny port. The 1995 is a little lighter and less sweet than what I remember of the older vintages, with a dense chocolate note. Sometime I'd love to hit the Brick and taste straight through all the years of Thomas Hardy they have in stock. Preferably a chilly night in early November, preferably with a friend to roll me home in a wheelbarrow.

4. Lindemans Peche Lambic. I was going to end with the Hardy, but Mike and Heather split a bottle of this, and once we tasted theirs Tara and I had to do the same. Lambics are generally sweeter than I like, but the Peche is beautifully balanced, with all the cinnamon/vanilla/caramel complexity of fresh peaches. Summertime in a bottle.

Afterward we adjourned to Larry's Ice Cream Parlor (double scoop of Jack on the Rocks for me) before goodnights and totterings home. All in all a perfect night out.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Greenwald on the collapse of America's standing in the world

Well, as long as we're on the subject of the twisted parody of its former self that our country is fast on its way to becoming, go read Glenn Greenwald's discussion of the decline of American credibility.

Sorry for the political posts, but hey, it's the week of the 4th. I'll have more stuff about food and music and cats soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Olberman on the Libby debacle

Every American needs to see Keith Olberman's latest "Special Comment." I can't embed it here, so click on the link and watch the video at Alternet. Or read the transcript.

Nixon's mistake, the last and most fatal of them, the firing of Archibald Cox, was enough to cost him the presidency. And in the end, even Richard Nixon could say he could not put this nation through an impeachment. It was far too late for it to matter then, but as the decades unfold, that single final gesture of nonpartisanship, of acknowledged responsibility not to self, not to party, not to "base," but to country, echoes loudly into history.

Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign. Would that you could say that, Mr. Bush. And that you could say it for Mr. Cheney. You both crossed the Rubicon yesterday. Which one of you chose the route no longer matters. Which is the ventriloquist, and which the dummy, is irrelevant. But that you have twisted the machinery of government into nothing more than a tawdry machine of politics is the only fact that remains relevant.
Go watch.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Another Infinitesimally Tiny Step on the Road to Rich and Famous

Philippe and I auditioned for the Montgomery County MetroPerforms! program Friday night. If we're selected, we'll get to be one of a rotating number of acts performing outside Metro stations in Bethesda and Silver Spring, in a heavily organized, unspontaneous approximation of actual busking.

Whether we get picked or not (and I'm taking the whole thing very lightly), the auditions were a real kick. A big canopied stage was set up on the plaza at Ellsworth Avenue, and each act had three minutes to impress the panel of judges. And there were all kinds of performers, and pretty much all of them were great, which is very impressive considering it was an open cattle call. There was a woman with an alphorn. There was a kickass jug band. There was an amazing deaf dance troupe. There was the requisite Peruvian group, without which no gathering of street musicians is complete. While we were watching a classical mouth whistler doing a virtuoso performance of a piece from the Nutcracker Suite, I told Philippe, "I've never been prouder to live where I do."

As for us, we played pretty well, albeit a little shaky and too fast. One of the judges was gaga over Philippe's tone; when we were done she had him play some notes on his lowest string so she could hear what he was doing more clearly. So we'll see how it turns out. At the very least they might have Philippe come and float mellifluous low G's down the escalators.