Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ethics? Torture Guy Don't Need No Stinking Ethics!

Torture Guy, Alberto Gonzales, had a unique way of being an impartial judge when he was on the Texas Supreme Court. He would accept money from the corporate defendants who had cases pending in his court, then rule in their favor!

How could such a lowlife be our next Attorney General? How has he even kept his bar license? Any Democrat who votes for this guy should be removed from office. Republicans should be ashamed. He deserves to be Borked. Will the Democrats be true to their ideals?

As Texas judge, Gonzales heard donors' cases

WASHINGTON -- When White House counsel Alberto Gonzales was a Texas Supreme Court justice running to stay in office in 2000, he took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from companies that had business before him and he did not recuse himself from voting on their cases.

The practice is legal in Texas, and Gonzales was not the only judge to benefit from it. But his record in 2000 -- when he raised $539,000 for the Republican primary, outraising his opponent by a 1,047-to-1 ratio -- drew special criticism from an Austin-based group that tracks the influence of money on government.


Gonzales had been appointed to the bench in 1999 by then-Governor George W. Bush, but had to run in 2000 to keep his seat. That year, he accepted $2,000 from an insurance company after the court heard arguments -- but before it issued a decision -- as to how much the company should pay a man injured in a car accident. In a similar case, he voted in favor of another insurance company whose law firm gave his campaign $2,500 just before the court heard arguments.

Both cases involved whether insurance companies had to pay interest to plaintiffs whose final awards were delayed because the case went to court. The watchdog group said the decisions were ''a costly slap in the face to Texas consumers."

Bush Has Been Trying to Privatize/Abolish Social Security Since 1978

George Bush claimed Social Security would be bankrupt in 1988 when he ran for Congress in 1978!

And we all know that happened -- NOT! It was all part of his plan to abolish Social Security by privatizing it. Different century, same old song.

Here's the Texas Observer article of June 25, 1999 (via

According to Gary Ott, who was then a reporter for the Plainview Daily Herald, Bush stopped by the paper’s little office “maybe five or six times. He’d sit down at my desk; he was a fun guy. He was very outgoing, very friendly, and we would argue politics since I was a liberal. We’d argue over Carter policies.” Bush criticized energy policy, federal land use policy, subsidized housing, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“a misuse of power,” he said), and he warned that Social Security would go bust in ten years unless people were given a chance to invest the money themselves. None of this really distinguished him from Hance, though, so in the end Bush simply argued that a Republican could better represent the district: “If you want a chance in the way Congress has been run, send someone who will be independent from those who will run the Congress.”

Monday, January 24, 2005

We Love Lists

Especially lists of losers. Even when we're on them! (See number 3.)

The Beast 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2004

I would have left off Ben Affleck -- his movies suck, but he's harmless -- and substituted Torture Guy, aka Alberto Gonzales.

But the guy he's going to replace made the list:

8. John Ashcroft
Crimes: Promoting sexual shame, writing and singing alarmingly jingoistic and terrible songs, flattening constitutional protections, detaining brown people at will without charges or counsel, pretending to be a patriot, and intentionally ignoring terrorism in his pre-9/11 tenure.

Smoking Gun: Put a fucking curtain up to cover a naked breast on a statue. A statue.

Punishment: Only heterosexual judge on the supreme court in 2035.

What's on my turntable today

I think the word "turntable" gives me away. Even though they're CDs, not albums, I am a musical dinosaur.

Today's 5:

1. The Best of Warren Zevon (Rhino, 2002). A Christmas gift from my brother. Warren Zevon ruminating on the good, bad & ugly of life. From lawyers to rehab, this has it all. We all know the classics: Excitable Boy; Lawyers, Guns & Money; Werewolves of London; but there was so much more. Man, could this guy write lyrics.

2. Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company (Hear Music, 2004). Another Christmas gift, from my brother & sister-in-law (I assume my sister-in-law picked it). I forgot what a great voice Ray had and what a great phraser he was. He's the guy who sang the only version of "Georgia" that counts, right?

Except for a few clunkers (who decided to have Ray & James Taylor sing "Sweet Potato Pie", anyway?), a great disc. I love "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones, "You Don't Know Me" with Diana Krall, and "It Was a Very Good Year" with Willie Nelson.

3. Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose (Interscope, 2004). Sometimes you have to buy your own Christmas gifts. Along with Kanye West, this disc was on many "Best of 2004" CD lists. Produced by Jack White of the White Stripes. Loretta Lynn stripped down to her bare country roots. Awesome. "Family Tree" reminded me of all the Loretta Lynn classics: "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man", etc., and without the 60s/70s horn or string overlay. Just her great heartbroken voice.

4. Joss Stone, Mind Body & Soul (Curve Records/EMI, 2004). Another Christmas gift from bro & sisinlaw. Great voice, but very young & it shows in the lyrics. This is one of those rare discs that I've liked less the more I've listened to it. It gets another week, then if it doesn't hit me it goes out of rotation.

5. Los Lonely Boys (Oz Music, 2003). I gave this to my brother for Christmas & he liked it so much when I saw it on sale I bought it for myself. Reminds me of Los Lobos, high energy Tex-Mex rock. I hope they have Los Lobos' staying power. I remember being in LA for the Olympics in 1984, and my friend Jimbo read in the paper that "The Wolves - Do You Speak Spanish?" were playing in a club in East LA. Seeing them play live was one of the great musical experiences of my life.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Torture Guy's a Liar, Too

Torture Guy is a liar, too. Everyone else in the case reported by Newsweek, below, says he is lying about what he did to keep Bush's DUI from becoming public. A lying Attorney General. Well, the President's a liar too so he'll fit right in. Do you love that Bush "left blank" the question on the juror questionnaire asking whether he had ever been the accused in a criminal case. That's lying, too, by omission. Will the Senate show a backbone? Will these three officers of the court testify about Gonzales' lies? I doubt it, but an attorney can hope.

Gonzales: Did He Help Bush Keep His DUI Quiet?

Jan. 31 issue - Senate Democrats put off a vote on White House counsel Alberto Gonzales's nomination to be attorney general, complaining he had provided evasive answers to questions about torture and the mistreatment of prisoners. But Gonzales's most surprising answer may have come on a different subject: his role in helping President Bush escape jury duty in a drunken-driving case involving a dancer at an Austin strip club in 1996. The judge and other lawyers in the case last week disputed a written account of the matter provided by Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It's a complete misrepresentation," said David Wahlberg, lawyer for the dancer, about Gonzales's account.

Bush's summons to serve as a juror in the drunken-driving case was, in retrospect, a fateful moment in his political career: by getting excused from jury duty he was able to avoid questions that would have required him to disclose his own 1976 arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Kennebunkport, Maine—an incident that didn't become public until the closing days of the 2000 campaign. (Bush, who had publicly declared his willingness to serve, had left blank on his jury questionnaire whether he had ever been "accused" in a criminal case.) Asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy to describe "in detail" the only court appearance he ever made on behalf of Bush, Gonzales—who was then chief counsel to the Texas governor—wrote that he had accompanied Bush the day he went to court "prepared to serve on a jury." While there, Gonzales wrote, he "observed" the defense lawyer make a motion to strike Bush from the jury panel "to which the prosecutor did not object." Asked by the judge whether he had "any views on this," Gonzales recalled, he said he did not.

While Gonzales's account tracks with the official court transcript, it leaves out a key part of what happened that day, according to Travis County Judge David Crain. In separate interviews, Crain—along with Wahlberg and prosecutor John Lastovica—told NEWSWEEK that, before the case began, Gonzales asked to have an off-the-record conference in the judge's chambers. Gonzales then asked Crain to "consider" striking Bush from the jury, making the novel "conflict of interest" argument that the Texas governor might one day be asked to pardon the defendant (who worked at an Austin nightclub called Sugar's), the judge said. "He [Gonzales] raised the issue," Crain said. Crain said he found Gonzales's argument surprising, since it was "extremely unlikely" that a drunken-driving conviction would ever lead to a pardon petition to Bush. But "out of deference" to the governor, Crain said, the other lawyers went along. Wahlberg said he agreed to make the motion striking Bush because he didn't want the hard-line governor on his jury anyway. But there was little doubt among the participants as to what was going on. "In public, they were making a big show of how he was prepared to serve," said Crain. "In the back room, they were trying to get him off."

Gonzales last week refused to waver. "Judge Gonzales has no recollection of requesting a meeting in chambers," a senior White House official said, adding that while Gonzales did recall that Bush's potential conflict was "discussed," he never "requested" that Bush be excused. "His answer to the Senate's question is accurate," the official said.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.