Monday, April 25, 2005

Breakfast and Tom Delay

Sitting eating my normal breakfast of omelette, sausage and strong coffee and looking after the monkeyworm, I had a piece of random gastronimical advice I wanted to offer my readership.

If you're not currently starting your day with an enormous breakfast, you should consider it. I know it seems like a huge hassle to wake up and cook a bunch of food for yourself. But if you get in a rhythm it doesn't actually take very long even to cook something fairly complex like an omelette. Even pancakes from scratch are doable - you'd be amazed how easy they are. You're probably sitting there shaking your head, and if you happen to have four kids, you may be right. But for the rest of you folks, I implore you, give it a shot for one week and see what you think. Wake up a half hour earlier and cook your favorite breakfast every morning. It changed my life. Seriously.

In political news, check out this article in the New York Times on the ethics committee impasse. It amazes me, particularly with print dailies supposedly on this neverending quest to attract a less savvy reader, that a reporter could get through an entire article without actually describing what the ethics impasse is.

For completeness let me spell it out once again - after Delay was admonished by the House Ethics committee, three changes were made by House Republicans. First, they removed the Republican members of the committee who had voted to admonish Delay and replaced them with folks who rely on Delay for financial and logistical support. Next, they changed the ethics rules so that Delay could remain Majority Leader even if he were indicted in Texas on charges peripherally related to the activities for which he had been admonished by the ethics committee.

Third, and this is the big one, they changed the Ethics committee rules so that the majority party can kill an investigation by simply not doing anything about it for 45 days. It used to be if Ethics got to an impasse, an ethics investigation was automatically triggered. The reason it was that way was for the obvious reason - with three Dems and three Repubs on the committee, one party cannot block an investigation.

The rule change was so brazen that to my knowledge the Republicans never even made an attempt to explain why the change was necessary. It was done purely to derail any chance that Tom Delay could be investigated for ethics violations. It is under these conditions that Delay is so valiantly offering to appear before the ethics committee, because he knows no matter what he says, including "Your MOM took money from lobbyists," he won't be investigated.

If the New York Times would report on this situation in plain english, the article would appear to be partisan because it would make the Republicans look like they have gone crazy with power. The trouble is, that's reality, so in the interest of "balance" we have to obscure what's really happening.

This is your fourth estate, ladies and gentlemen. Take a good look.


Anonymous said...

Ok what time limit is reasonable for an ethics charge (proveable or not proveable) to stay in the news without being reviewed. I know you hate tom delay but even with this hatred do you honestly think it is fair to have the media of america making charges against him without him being able to defend himself. The way i see it is liberals want to be able to prosecute someone in the media so that they never have to present thier evidence.

Adam P. Short said...

I think this comment speaks for itself on many levels.

Anonymous said...

Uh. Wow.

I can almost see Adam writhing on the ground trying to figure out how to respond. I think his post was the only way he could think of to ward off the aneurysm.

Look, Anonymous (which is appropriate, I wouldn't want to admit to writing that either), you don't have to be liberal to despise Tom Delay. He's a crook, and only by completing ignoring any and all evidence concerning the matter can you think otherwise. See, Adam's whole point is that the Republicans CHANGED THE ETHICS LAWS BECAUSE THEY KNOW DELAY IS A CROOK.

It's not rocket science. Look, the guy is bad, bad news for the Republican party. Changing the ethics rules not only says to America, "Yeah we know he's a crook, but screw it, we're in power", but it also leaves those rules changed so that when the Democrats return to power, they can get away with the same BS. It's bad from all directions, and it's even worse coming from the Republicans, because they are the ones who are supposedly "tough on crime" and all that jazz. Yeah, tough on crime unless it's a Republican leader.

As for your (non-)concern about Delay being able to defend himself, well, if the committee actually, I don't know, investigated him, he would have an opportunity to defend himself. But since they changed the law, all Delay has to do is stall and get his friends on the committee to stall for 45 days (ie. not investigate) and he's off scot-free. And what sucks is that now that's true for ANY criminally-inclined congressman from either side of the aisle. Good times.


Adam P. Short said...

It always makes me sad when conservatives come here and embarrass themselves, because by association it embarrasses our thoughtful conservative readers, who are outnumbered but highly valued.

That's why we have Ethridge the Enforcer to set the fools straight. Nice work Ethridge. I'll be toasting you tonight.

Anonymous said...

LOL.... Typical liberals...can you explain how this is wrong and stop the name calling

AP I am Charles Seeman, the same person who impressed you with his comments last week... all of a sudden I am "too stupid" to post here

I guess i am really sorry you think I am " too stupid" to understand anything....

anyways neither of you explain how it is fair to have charges throen at you without being able to defend yourself. But then again I guess both of you are so damn smart you do not need to explain anything...

I am also confussed as to how you know tom delay is guilty of everything when not one piece of evidence has been presented. The only "facts" presented on either side is what CNN, fox, rush limbaugh have said. Must be really nice to know the "truth" without knowing any facts... I hope I can develop such an "open mind"

Can you try to explain how my logic is flawed in any matter or are you going to resort to name calling....

Anonymous said...


So 45 days is not long enough to present evidence... since all the dems are saying the evidence is overwhelming i would think it would take less than a day for a lawyer with all this evidence to present his case.. unless of course the dem lawyer doews not have real evidence..

Lord Lessismore said...

DeLay defended himself very well in a letter to his supporters. The fact that he has not been able to defend himself in a public forum has everything to do with the Republicans in Congress, not the Democrats. That's what most incongruous about Mr. Seeman's argument. Blame the liberal media for reporting on a situation that the Republicans have created. Mr. Seeman -- what is your opinion of the ethics committee rule changes? Are they wise? Do they make sense to you?

The Democrats are wisely continuing to fight the terms the Republicans are setting for this "invesigation" because acceptance means tacet approval. And when the Republicans successfully stall and block any true hearing from happening, they'll say, "well, you had your chance."

Lord Lessismore said...

Oh, and by the way I have 4 kids and, if anything, that makes me more likely to make a big, fat breakfast on a semi-regular basis because then I can feed the whole crew at once. So basically I'm saying: have 4 kids, it'll help you eat right. Really.

Anonymous said...

Cube farmer:

First please call me Chuck... I assure you i am not here to cause trouble I am here because i am an ameteur " political junkie", full time CSPAN watcher and i really enjoy a good discussion / debate.

First: I saw tom delays' comments to his supporters and frankly without any "cross examination"
(for lack of a better expression) I considered it ok but not convincing... i basically considered it "his side of the story"

The republicans did not "create this". The things delay is being charged with are the same types of
"freedoms" all politicians take. I would like to see one charge that is different than anything dems do.

Second: the ethics committee has allready reviewed these charges and came up with nothing.

Since the ethics committee is a politcal machine Mr. Seeman thinks its actions are based on politics and not facts.

Mr. Seeman is wondering what your feelings about ethics charges were when Clinton was being prosecuted. did you feel than as you do now that the ethics committee charges has teeth and is valid. or did you say it was a "right wing conspricy.? Only you can answer this question honestly.

My last question is: do you beleive only Reps' stall ?

Adam P. Short said...

Mr. Seeman:

I've made myself clear on the subject of the merits of your argument, such as they are, and I'll have no more to say on that subject.

I would love to be able to say that I haven't called you any names, but of course looking over my second comment on this thread I see that I have called you a fool, at least by implication.

For that I apologize; it was uncalled for. I will admit I thought you were a drive-by poster... I said what I did for Ethridge's benefit, not yours. Had I known you were still around I would not have done it. That doesn't excuse it, but there it is.

On the other hand, no one here has called you stupid or said that you were too stupid to post here. If I have anything to say about it no one will say those things, and if something like that is said I doubt it will be Ethridge saying it, who to my knowledge has never spoken like that to anyone.

Also no one has asserted that Tom Delay is necessarily guilty of the offenses of which he is accused, or that "it is fair to have charges thrown at you without being able to defend yourself."

To clear up one last point, I may indeed be a typical liberal, but Ethridge is neither liberal nor typical. He is a geeky libertarian filmmaker with a very hot and intelligent wife, which last fact has caused all his friends no end of head-scratching.

Anonymous said...


What does him being a " geeky liberterian filmaker" have to do with having a "hot intelligent wife" ?

Lord Lessismore said...

"...DeLay is being charged with are the same types of "freedoms" all politicians take."

I have problems with this comment on a strictly logical basis. First off, "they're all dirty" is a pretty weak argument, particularly (as Adam points out) for the party of law-n-order, clean up the dirt, morals and family values. No matter how dirty they all are, when one is caught, he/she should be chucked out of office. Dem or Rep, I don't care. If it means whole-sale clearance of Congress, so be it.

I hold out a vague sense of optimism that there are some politicians who aren't out-n-out crooks. Call me naive. Right now, I'm thinking maybe (Rep) George Voinivich might be one.

And on Clinton, if they had found anything worth damning him with, I would have said, go for it. It's like the saying goes, Clinton got in trouble for screwing an intern. Bush is getting away with screwing the country.

Lord Lessismore said...

If it isn't clear (gotta stop blogging and drinking beer at the same time), I meant to say that I think maybe Voinivich might NOT be a crook. If he is, at least he's a crook that has the guts to buck his party line.

Anonymous said...

Actually, for the record, my rocket science comment might have been taken to imply some lack of intelligence, but using quotes areound "too stupid" when those words were never written is a more egregrious error, Mr. Seeman. You're a little quote happy, my man.

What I meant was that there's really only one plausible explanation for why they changed the ethics rules at the time they did. There was no mention of doing so before the possibility of Delay indictment in Texas occurred. It certainly wasn't on the radar. If you have a plausible explanation other than one I have given, please offer it here.

This also brings up the point that the rule change about staying Majority Leader has nothing to do with the current allegations but about his alleged crimes in Texas. If he is indicted in Texas, is that the kind of guy you want running the House for Republicans.

CubeFarmer is so right - it is UNEXCEPTABLE for any politician to engage in criminal activity and remain a politician. If they get caught, they go.

Now the 45 day issue - let's clarify this a little bit. Before the change, the committee (3 Reps, 3 Dems) would vote on whether to conduct a full investigation based on the complaint. If they deadlocked, a full investigation was automatically triggered. Now, if they continue to be deadlocked for 45 days, no investigation occurs. Of those two options, which one do you think has a greater possibility for political abuse?

Oh, and by calling me a liberal, you have effectively resorted to name calling. Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, Pot.


Anonymous said...

And for the curious, I suppose my geeky filmmaking probably had something to do with attracting my incredibly hot and intelligent wife (though most assuredly not the libertarian part). Mostly though, I think I just picked up the right lottery ticket. Heh.


Anonymous said...

Cube Farmer:

I was not using the argument that " they are all crooks". What i was saying is that under the current rules all senators, including delay, are allowed to do this and dem's are using the fact that the rule sounds "seedy" to prosecute delay. however I could not agree with you more that 1)if anybody breaks the rules throw them out and I am adding that politicians tend to make rules or exceptions to rules for themselves that we the people could only dream about.

In response to anonymous saying the only plauseable reason to change the rules is to protect delay. Under the old rules there are atleast two very liberal dems, of which many conservatives would love to get rid of,who would suffer charges if the old rules were applied.

I submit a second reason for making this change. In any court action, grand jury and lower level, the charges have to meet a standard of beyond reasonable doubt. If a court is deadlocked then the courts throw out the case. So how is it that reasonable doubt is not a reasonable requirement in a political process however it is the requirement under a court. Another reason this change is appropriate is because each party is in position to automatically thrown into an investigatation by delaying the procss by ensuring a deadlock vote.

as far as the quotes around too stupid I was trying to use it as a general term but obviously i was not effective in this attempt at communicating my thoughts.

Charles (Chuck) Seeman