What Christmas song will we play today?
How about one of my favorites, that only professional singers can pull off? It’s a little bit like the “Star Spangled Banner” that way…and nobody nailed that any better than Whitney…
1. Christmas songs and singers. Pet peeve: playing “My Favorite Things” as a Christmas song. The song’s context in “The Sound of Music” has no connection to Christmas; the lyrics don’t mention it. You might as well say the song is about geese. Then there’s Susan Boyle. One of her Christmas songs turned up on the radio. and I was shocked. The winner of “Britain’s Got Talent” some years back was so hyped, I assumed that she was the second coming of Karen Carpenter. No, her voice was just OK—I know literally dozens of amateur singers who are as good or better— but she looked like Tug Boat Annie, so her singing was called remarkable not because of the product, but the misleading packaging. A Jim Nabors Christmas song also turned up: he was like that. We see the same phenomenon in the Oscars frequently: perfectly average performances are hailed as brilliant and garners awards because nobody thought the actors could be credible in a part at all. Ed Wynn in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Ann Margaret in “Carnal Knowledge.”
This one reason so few Americans really know what great performing is.
2. Wow–I have to give ethics props to the New York Times and CNN in the same week. CNN’s Dana Bash confronted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler over the position he asserted when Bill Clinton was facing impeachment in 1998. Nadler said:
There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties, and largely opposed by the other. Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy, would produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come.
Bash asked how Nadler’s current pursuit of impeachment wasn’t hypocritical, as not a single Republican has appears to support impeachment. Good for her.
“So, right now, you are moving forward with impeachment proceedings against a Republican president without support from even one congressional Republican,” Bash asked. “Is it fair to say that this impeachment, in your words from back then, will produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come?”
Nadler literally ignored the question, and defaulted to insulting Trump.What could he say? “Sure it will, Dana, but remember, I’m a partisan hack. You expect consistency? Integrity? Don’t be silly.” He also uttered another example of an absurd hyperbole designed to mislead the ignorant members of the public. There’s been a lot of that spewing forth from the coup-mongers lately. Nadler claimed that the Democrats’ case against the President is so “rock solid” that any jury would return a guilty verdict “in about three minutes flat.”
3. Can’t forget to note this…Pacific Gas and Electric has a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of catastrophic wildfires if a judge and Gov. Gavin Newsom approves it. They have little choice but approve it: a larger amount would drive the company into insolvency. The catastrophic fires have been blamed on the utility’s faulty equipment. Strange, because the wildfires are also always cited as proof that climate change threatens us all. Somehow, I’d think that if there was sufficient scientific evidence to prove that it was the climate and not corporate negligence that caused the carnage, PG&E wouldn’t be in this fix.
4. Funny how many respected Constitutional scholars agree that this impeachment is dangerous and flawed…when a jury would convict “in about three minutes flat.” Here’s Josh Blackman at the Volokh Conspiracy, and HE references my favorite “A Man For All Seasons” quote!
The House Judiciary Committee released a report titled “Constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment.” The report conceives of two ways that an “impeachable abuse of power” could constitute “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” First, “the exercise of official power in a way that, on its very face, grossly exceeds the President’s constitutional authority or violates legal limits on that authority.” Second, where “the exercise of official power to obtain an improper personal benefit, while ignoring or injuring the national interest.” That is, where the official “engag[es] in potentially permissible acts but for forbidden reasons (e.g., with the corrupt motive of obtaining a personal political benefit).”
The latter concept describes the legal theories behind many prominent challenges to President Trump’s exercises of authority. In case after case, both sides agreed that the President has the authority to take some action, but this President could not take those actions because of an improper motive: the travel ban, the citizenship question on the census, the DACA rescission, etc. Now, this well-worn argument will likely serve as the basis for an article of impeachment: the President can ask foreign governments to investigate possible corruption, but this President cannot make such a request because doing so could harm his political rival…My focus, as always, concerns the precedent this proceeding will establish. Yes, I am far less concerned about what happens to President Trump then I am concerned about what happens to the next President, whoever he or she will be…. impeachment for an “abuse of power” based solely on “corrupt” intent gives Presidents no notice, whatsoever, of what is expected of them. There is a nearly infinite range of conduct that can fall within this category. The House report explains, “[t]here are at least as many ways to abuse power as there are powers vested in the President.” Virtually anything the President does can give rise to impeachment if a majority of Congress thinks he had an improper intent…
On September 8, 1787–nine days before the conclusion of the convention–George Mason offered a proposal to expand the list of impeachable offenses. He would have added “maladministration,” in addition to treason and bribery. ..James Madison disagreed. He said, “So vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.” Masons’s proposal was rejected.
I see little difference between “maladministration” and the allegations here: President Trump engaged in an “abuse of power” based on a “corrupt” intent, where there is no clearly identified offense. Such a capacious standard fails to accord with any notions of fairness for the accused, and risks transforming impeachment into an inescapable feature of our political order…
Jonathan Turley’s … analogy to A Man for All Seasons is apt. For many people, Trump is the embodiment of the devil. Evil incarnate. And resisting him, at all costs, has preoccupied much of the last three years of our polity. Impeaching the President for an “abuse of power” premised on a “corrupt” intent will serve that present purposes. It will make some people feel like they’ve served a bigger historical purpose, and stopped a corrupt, tyrannical president. But this process–already a foregone conclusion at this point–will trigger consequences far worse during the next battle over improper motives. And at that point, alas, “the laws [will be] flat.” We should “give the Devil benefit of law, for [our] own safety’s sake.”