Thursday, October 06, 2005

Harriet Miers Indeed Has A Paper Trail

From The New York Times:

When he was asked if he had ever talked to Ms. Miers about her views on abortion, the president did not answer directly at first. "I have no litmus test," he said. A moment later, he said, "In my interviews with any judge, I never ask their personal opinion on the subject of abortion." To the best of his recollection, Mr. Bush said, he had never discussed abortion with Ms. Miers.

Mr. Bush also sent a clear signal that he would resist, on grounds of executive privilege, providing senators documents related to Ms. Miers's work in the White House. At least some Democrats are likely to seek such records, especially since Ms. Miers, who has never been a judge, has no "paper trail" of opinions.

"I just can't tell you how important it is for us to guard executive privilege in order for there to be crisp decision-making in the White House," Mr. Bush said.


EXCERPTS FROM THE OFFICIAL TRANSCIPT - U.S. SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE - HEARING ON THE NOMINATION OF HARRIET MIERS TO JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT - OCTOBER 15, 2005:

U.S. SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA) CHAIRMAN:…thus, I yield to my colleague, Senator Leahy.

U.S. SENATOR PATRICK J. LEAHY (D-VT) RANKING MEMBER: Thank you Mr. Chairman...Mrs. Miers, I hold in my hand a document, a receipt, in fact, from a purchase you made several weeks ago from the Blockbuster Video location at 1639 P Street NW. You rented a film that night. Several films. You purchased a box of Hot Tamales. You used a coupon. None of this is of interest to me. What does interest me is that you also paid lates fees. Late fees totaling twenty-five dollars and twenty-three cents, for the rental of film entitled “Phenomenon,” starring John Travolta and Kyra Sedgwick…running time of one hour, twenty-three minutes, yet it sat in your VCR for over three weeks, a gulf in time that I find, frankly, staggering…how are we to understand your sustained interest in this movie? How are the American people to interpret your… fascination with Mr. Travolta’s situation, your deep and abiding identification…I ask you simply: what, in your opinion, is the source of Mr. Travolta’s super-intelligence? Was it random…was he chosen…does the notion that Mr. Travolta, a lowly mechanic, would be able to master the Portugese language in just under twenty minutes seem plausible to you? Does that then make him qualified to teach a class in Portugese, despite having no previous experience, no discernable public record…

U.S. SENATOR HERBERT KOHL (D-WI): …perhaps a useful porthole…toward better understanding your relationship with President. Which of you is the Travolta in your dynamic, and which of you is the Forest Whitaker?

LEAHY: … Are you Mr. Travolta, Mrs. Miers? Did the President strike you with a bolt of lightning?

U.S. SENATOR ORRIN G. HATCH (R-UT): …the good senator attentions are misplaced…versus other choices on her account warranting much closer scrutiny…”Fast Times at Ridgmont High”…with reference to the Jennifer Jason Leigh character’s abortion…a significant plot point portrayed, I would say, quite sympathetically…

U.S. SENATOR JON KYL (R-AZ): …with all due respect to my colleague from Utah…widely regarded as a comedy classic…keystone of the genre…launched the careers of Sean Penn, Pheobe Cates, Judge Reinhold…hardly a litmus test…there are plenty of other reasons to recommend it.

U.S. SENATOR CHARLES E. GRASSLEY (R-IA):… a Jeff Spicolli in our midst? “Aloha, Mr. Bush?” Is that what we are to expect over the next three years?

U.S. SENATOR JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. (D-DE): …my concerns are much more fundamental, which I'm sure comes as no suprise…I’ll ask you point blank, Mrs. Miers: how can one claim to have properly understood “Matrix: Revolutions” having never viewed “Reloaded?”

U.S. SENATOR HERBERT KOHL (D-WI): …Mrs. Miers, you honestly expect this committee to believe that in your ten years as White House Counsel you never once discussed with the President the ending to “The Sixth Sense?” He never asked? And you gave no indication? Not even a hint?…

LEAHY:…Travolta to Kyra Sedgwick in “Phenomenon," Sedgwick to Kevin Bacon in “Murder in the First.”

U.S. SENATOR MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): ...“Grumpy Old Men”…was that indeed your recommendation?…

U.S. SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): …and why not “Two Weeks Notice?”

SPECTER …if we could just take a step back for the moment, I’d like to remind my colleagues of my intent as chairman going in…it was my hope that these proceedings would remain cordial, that we would band together as Senators to conduct a fair and thorough hearing, one that the American people desire, and deserve… devoid of rancor, devoid of posturing…most of all, devoid of spoilers…

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Christmas Greeting from the Foners

Happy Holidays, Foner friends and family! Hope our little missive finds you healthy, wealthy and sufficiently bundled up (10 degrees here in Aurora. California we hate you!). It’s been quite a year here at the Chateau Foner (pronounced Fo-nare). We have so much to share, it was a real chore fitting it all into one letter!

Mark just put the finishing touches on another banner year as plant manager at PIP Industries. Quarterly earnings were up 10% from the same time last December. His annual goal of 6% productivity was quickly met, leaving ample time and resources to execute a much-needed inventory at the Joliet storehouse. This might sound like bragging. Or it might sound like you’re reading the cover page of the PIP internal newsletter for the greater North Eest, because guess who scored the “Model Manager” profile for the fourth time in five years (third consecutively)?!

And as if that weren’t enough, Mark also managed to shoot the best 9 holes of golf in his life! A 45 at Sweetwater Links! For the skeptical among you, a copy of the actual scorecard is enclosed. Cindy was there, too, she’ll be happy to verify.

What’s that? “Who’s Cindy?” You know, Cindy. Mark’s wife. Erin, Brian and Sarah’s mother. Don’t tell us you forgot about Cindy just because she doesn’t bother to write or call. We all agree communication was never her strong suit. Now, if we could just convince her!

Seriously though, Cindy’s doing fine. She’s bounced back from her firing at the hospital, for the most part. And now that the malpractice suit is settled, she’s free to talk about it, which our therapist is encouraging as part of her anger-management program. But whatever you do, don’t bring up the gift basket home business venture. Or the South Beach diet. Both have gone the way of the graduate nursing degree. Anyway, Cindy wants all of you to know her resolution this coming year is to be a better correspondent. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

Speaking of “fingers,” Brian has a new nickname on his baseball team. I don’t want to just come right out and say it, but I will give you a clue: it starts with a certain dairy product that tastes good spread on toast. Eric put forth a really great effort this year, but I think it’s clear to all of us in the family that he just doesn’t have a knack for athletics, or competition in general. Feel free to write Eric back with suggestions for career paths that don’t require leadership skills, endurance, cooperation or strategic thinking. We’re all stumped here!

Erin has applied to law school and painted her first chapel mural. Just kidding, this is Erin we’re talking about! She was accepted early admission to IU and already knows what sorority she wants to join. Here’s a milestone for you: 450. That’s either Erin’s height in centimeters or her SAT Math score. See if you can you guess which one.

Remember Sarah, that innocent little towhead who slept with her thumb in her mouth and loved dolphins? Well, believe it or not, she just turned 16 (33 if you go by her wardrobe). She scored a “lead role” in the school theatre production of Into The Woods (Daddy’s not allowed to say “understudy”), and her dancing has gone in some…interesting directions. Next month she’s going for her driver’s license. Wish her luck! Remind her gas prices are well over $3/gallon!

This past September Brian, Erin, Sarah and Mark took an exciting trip up to Niagara Falls. Highlights included the Maid of the Mist ride and Brian’s all-night battle with a plate of bad seafood. Sarah met a nice Canadian boy who I’m sure will threaten to come visit us, and Erin and I found a bag of marijuana that someone must have secretly stuffed into her purse! Can you imagine?

Anyway, that’s the 411 on the Foner clan. Until next time, have a relaxing holiday and an exciting and productive new year. Quick suggestion from Mark: try and do something fun and impulsive every once and a while, something none of us would expect. No offense, it’s that just some of your Christmas notes are starting to read like form letters!

Okay now!

Mark, Sarah, Erin and Brian

(Cindy’s name removed by request)