The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Friday Stuff

Rich Galen

Friday June 22, 2012


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  • Lots of things for a Friday morning.

  • This week marked the first day of summer in Your Nation's Capital. We had a temps in the high 90's to mark the occasion. A lovely young woman from the office said we missed Spring. I said, "No we didn't. We had Spring in January."

  • I got that kind of look that 65 year-old-man gets from a 20-something woman who is begging the elevator to go faster.

  • As you know all too well, two of my major shortcomings are legal issues and arithmetic.

  • On the legal front, all I know about Presidential claims of Executive Privilege is that they result in screams of "Cover up!" from the opposition party and "Your Guys Did it, Too" from the President's party.

  • Both are correct.

  • Executive Privilege is the concept that a President has to have the ability allow his subordinates to freely express themselves without fear of their words (or their differing positions) to become the subject of public debate (read "ridicule"). The first time it was used was by George Washington.

  • The President claimed Executive Privilege to stop Attorney General Eric Holder from handing over the documents that the GOP-led House of Representatives wants to see concerning certain aspects of the horribly stupid "Fast and Furious" operation that resulted in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

  • The part of that decision that I don't understand is this: The scandal was effectively contained within the Departments of Homeland Security and the Justice. This claim doesn't just lay Fast and Furious at the front door of the White House, it puts a pile of documents smack on the President's desk.

  • Like most Presidents, Obama (and the people around him) are very careful to leave room for "plausible deniability." Saying that the documents that Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has asked for contains intimate discussions among and/or between the President and/or his closest advisors removes any future assertion that Obama knew nothing about the operation.

  • Conservatives are making a big deal about the fact that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney couldn't remember the name of the Agent that was killed in the operation.

  • I don't see that as Carney, or the White House, dissing Agent Terry. I see it as another example of how inept this White House is.

  • Everyone east of the Blue Ridge Mountains knew that the Executive Privilege question was going to be top-of-mind during Carney's mid-day briefing with the White House press corps. It is astonishing to me that no one said to Carney: "Here's the name of the guy that was killed. You might also mention how much the President values the work and sacrifice all of our border and customs agents."

  • Dopes.

  • On the arithmetic front, I went to Wednesday night's baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Tampa Bay Rays with former NY Timesman Adam Clymer.

  • I added up the number of hits the Nationals got after the first inning and, in a rarity, got the answer right.

  • Zero.

  • Nevertheless the Nats won 3-2 with Stephen Strasberg going seven full, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out 10.

  • Wikileaker-in-chief, Julian Assange, is holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London asking for asylum so he can't be extradited to the U.S. for leaking all those classified documents a couple of years ago.

  • At about the same time a Syrian Air Force pilot flew a MIG-21 to a Jordanian air base asking for, and being granted, asylum,

  • If Julian Assange can pilot a MIG-21 to Ecuador, I say let him stay.

  • If not, hang him.

  • This last item takes my breath away.

  • NASA has announced that Voyager I will leave the solar system sometime in the next year or two.

  • Voyager I and its sister ship Voyager II were launched 35 years ago in 1977. Voyager I has traveled some 10 billion miles.

  • Just to remind you how long ago 1977 really was:
    -- Jimmy Carter was inaugurated
    -- The Food Stamp program began
    -- Apple Computer and Oracle were incorporated
    -- Apple II, Commodore PET and TRS-80 computers were introduced.
    -- Star Wars opened
    -- The Supremes broke up and the BeeGees released "Saturday Night Fever"
    -- Elvis Presley and Groucho Marx died
    -- The last natural case of smallpox was discovered in Africa

  • Have a good weekend.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to CNN's look at Executive Privilege, the U.K.Telegraph's coverage of Julian Assange, and USA Today's homage to Voyager I.

  • Also, a Mullfoto from Nats Park last night and a Catchy Caption of the Day that will leave you hanging.

    -- END --

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