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January 07, 2009

Comments

Does his decision in the case change the facts of whether or not he is the legally appointed senator from illinois?

Will you, in any case where an elected or appointed senator made any decision with which you strongly disagree argue that said senator not be seated, no matter what the voters or the law may say?

Does the shocking fact that a senator has an enormous ego disallow him from being seated? Is Burris the only senator from the current crop that has an enormous ego?

Should we add a check to the constitution that no senator be seated unless the names of his children meet your complete approval?

Why does this remind me of most of the federal appointments in the past 8 years?

Overweening, self-important executive? Check.

Inappropriate, unqualified, or beholden appointee? Check.

Rubber stamp approval process? Check (though, admittedly, the rubber stamp is procedural, rather than self-driven).

Inability of the legislature to impeach said executive for many and varied high crimes and misdemeanors? Check.

Mainstream media treating resulting activity like pony day at the circus? Check.

We can argue about what should have happened, but what is happening is the process according to the laws and constitution. If we want better politicians, we have to elect them, because it has become obvious that they will not change on their own except to protect their privileges and prerogatives, and only so much as necessary. As for the M$M? I will take a page from my Italian mother-in-law: "you are dead to me."

oh, von, do reconsider retirement!

Does his decision in the case change the facts of whether or not he is the legally appointed senator from illinois?

No, but there is discretion to be had. Deny him the seat. If the courts force him to sit among you, as they may, turn your back.

Burris was told by his top prosecutor that Rolando Cruz was innocent. He was steadfast in seeing Cruz die. The prosecutor resigned rather than prosecute Cruz.

I'm sorry: that's it. No accomodation for Burris. If the Court adjudge him duly appointed and instruct that he sit, let him sit. But don't make it easy on him.

Court = Courts. Above.

second what SDM said. Hell, just come back and put up blog post titles!

No, but there is discretion to be had. Deny him the seat. If the courts force him to sit among you, as they may, turn your back.

Wait a minute, if you accept that he is the legally appointed senator, why go to the courts to deny him his seat? What kind of precedent does that set?

The senate has the power to expel a sitting senator. That's a way better option than refusing to seat someone who is pretty much inarguably a legally appointed senator.

It's only two years and counting, make him go to the courts once he is expelled. In the unlikely event that the court decides he can't be expelled, it's a moot point. Ok you get to be senator for a few months, who cares?

If you have the right to block validly chosen senators who do not meet your moral standards, do I have the same right? Do all Americans? If so, I think no one will ever serve in the Senate again, because I am pretty sure that all 100 fail someone's moral standards, one way or another. That's why we follow the law, and not your moral standards, in seating senators.

You're simply mistaken that "there is discretion to be had." Powell v. McCormack makes it very clear that Congress cannot add qualifications other than those already in the Constitution (age, residency, citizenship), and cannot block members beyond verifying that they were really elected (or really appointed). In none of these determinations does "discretion" exist. A person is either at least 30, or they aren't. They are either a citizen, or they aren't. They either live in the state, or they don't. They were either really appointed, or they weren't. These are all factual matters, not matters of "discretion."

They were either really appointed, or they weren't.

At the moment, Burris's appointment has not been certified by the Secretary of State of Illinois. That means that he is not yet really appointed. Does the Secretary of State of Illinois have discretion to refuse certification? That's a question for the Illinois state courts not the U.S. Senate. The Senate is entirely within its rights to refuse to seat him until he is properly appointed.

Now if only people had got as worked up over getting rid of George W. Bush over lying the US into war with Iraq, authorising torture and the breaking of other international law on treatment of civilians and prisoners of war, and warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, not forgetting the firing of US Attorneys for refusing to politicize their office.

But then. Bush is a Republican. And white.

Burris is a Democrat. And...

I concur with von here. Use any legal means to keep him from being seated. In a way this story makes it easier. Before it was "crook nominates good guy, any reaction will be bad", now it's "crook nominates bad guy. now the problem is just a formal not a moral dilemma".
In a way the ancient Chinese law had its merits: officials that punish the innocent suffer the same punishment they falsely applied. That would cure one of the main ills of the US justice system, i.e. furthering one's career by having people condemned (preferably to death) independent of their guilt or absence thereof.

It was hardly just Kenney: the lead detective in the case also resigned in protest, a repeat sex offender confessed to the crime, DNA evidence excluded Cruz and linked the sex offender to the crime.

Cruz spent 11 years on death row and could have eventually been executed.

Yes, I'm thinking about suspending the retirement

Yay!

Yes, Hartmut, but while not disagreeing that Burris's behavior over Rolando Cruz is scummy, I didn't notice Von getting all worked up and posting like this over - for example - the execution of Terry Washington.

Or indeed any of the other 152 people executed in Texas while Bush was governor.

See The Texas Clemency Memos, July 2003.

Now it's possible I'm just misremembering and von did blog about Bush's death penalty record back in 2003.

Or not.

Well, Bush was one of the persons I had in mind when talking about profitting from executions (with Gonzo as enabler and accomplice) and what should happen to those types of people. Would be a nice irony, if he could be held responsible for that*, if not for his presidential crimes (like they got the head of the GDR Stasi for a murder he committed in the Weimar republic while having great difficulty to hold him legally responsible for what he did as part of the GDR leadership).

*chances though: zero, zilch, lim|x->infinite| (1/x)

What do you have against ferns? If you know, or even have strong reason to suspect, that somebody is innocent, and seek their execution anyway, you're hellishly worse than any potted plant could be, outside of the Little Shop of Horrors.

Don't shrink from recognizing evil when you're faced with it.

Fairness compels the mention of three words: Ricky Ray Rector.

Brett: If you know, or even have strong reason to suspect, that somebody is innocent, and seek their execution anyway, you're hellishly worse than any potted plant could be, outside of the Little Shop of Horrors.

Wow. Brett, I didn't know you thought that George W. Bush and his crew of execution-enablers in Texas are all "hellishly worse than any potted plant could be". Or does this stringency of yours only apply to Democrats?

I'm somehow unsurprised that the prospect of a Democratic President and a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress is leading Von out of retirement, by the way. After all, no fun having to hold your own side to high moral standards, or even low moral standards, when you know that it will fail.

Wanna bet that after a long, long silence from von about Bush, Cheney, and the other criminals in the White House, he will suddenly start finding it worthwhile to apply moral standards to government once Barack Obama is in the White House?

Wanna bet a whole lot of other Republican commenters are digging up their "moral standards" from where they buried them during the Bush administration, and polishing them ready to go into action the moment Obama does anything that falls below their resurrected high standards for government?

Von was smart to quit blogging. There's going to be a lot of people who will be switching from one standard for Bush to another standard for Obama so fast that their readers would get whiplash... if they weren't mostly invertebrates.

when will the senate GROW UP and stop playing Monkey in the middle

http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com/2009/01/monkey-in-middle.html

Burris is a Democrat. And...

VON IS A RACIST!!!!!

Hey, might as well come out and say it, in caps. Subtle, this wasn't.

I didn't notice Von getting all worked up and posting like this over - for example - the Mongol sacking of Baghdad.

Or indeed any of the other thousands of people raped and murdered in Asia while the Mongols were on their rampage.

Now it's possible I'm just misremembering and von did blog about the Mongol's rape and murder record back in 1258.

Or not.

frankly, i blame the whole thing on von and his hypocritical racism.

shame on you, von.

Not only do we DEMAND our free ice cream, we demand that you have given us all possible flavors, in all possible permutations of mix-ins.

I call for preparations against the possible rise and return of the Mongol threat. We can't be too prepared; the obtaining of weapons of mass destruction, such as bows and arrows and siege weapons, by Mongol armies, is far too dangerous a threat to be complacent about.

signed,
Committee On The Present Danger

What was I thinking! Excuse me, I apologize, Von. Once George W. Bush is out of office, it would be extremely gauche to remind people of what they did and didn't say about Bush's administration, as they launch into Democratic misdoings with enthusiasm and pitchforks.

After all, it's vitally important to hold the US government to high standards, otherwise Christ knows what crew of crooks and fools might get in next time.

Welcome back, von, if you're back.

Hey, how'd that Jean Charles de Menezes thing work out over in the UK, anyway?

Great post, von: new information, commentary from the heart. Refreshing. Please post more. I'm sure I won't agree as much as I do here -- Roland Burris is indeed, at minimum, a potted plant -- but your voice adds a dimension to ObWi's front page that it needs right now.

? I'm very glad to see von posting, but the Cruz case has been much written about in newspapers and blogs in the past couple of weeks. I didn't blog it because it was so heavily covered.

No, but there is discretion to be had. Deny him the seat. If the courts force him to sit among you, as they may, turn your back.

Von, I just want to be sure that I understand what you're writing here. It is your belief that Roland Burris is a moral coward and a hack, and as such, that he does not deserve to be appointed as a United States Senator. I haven't delved into the details of the case, but I'm perfectly willing to stipulate that neither his record nor that manner of his appointment make Burris a fitting candidate for the Senate.

But you also seem to be advocating for the Senate to use its power to judge credentials in order not to seat a man whose appointment, while troubling, was entirely legal. You've made no argument that his appointment was procedurally defective. You even seem to acknowledge that this would be a flagrant abuse of its constitutional authority, likely to be overturned by the courts.

Here's the thing - the oath that Burris has been barred from taking binds Senators to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." The Senate is empowered and required to interpret the Constitution, and to uphold it. It cannot (indeed, must not) pass that responsibility along to the Courts. If you don't want Burris to be seated, you need to make the argument that the Constitution vests the Senate with discretion not to seat Senators who lack moral fiber. I don't think it does. Do you?

If the Senate objects to the conduct, past or present, of its members, the Constitution specifies two methods of addressing those problems: censure and expulsion. If you believe that his conduct in the Cruz case ought to bar Burris from being a Senator, that's the proper forum to hear such complaints. Seating a member is about the state of his credentials, not his character. And encouraging our Congress to ignore the Constitution to lodge a symbolic protest is, well, corrosive.

? I'm very glad to see von posting, but the Cruz case has been much written about in newspapers and blogs in the past couple of weeks. I didn't blog it because it was so heavily covered.

News coverage all over.

Etc.

And 1,184 blog posts on Roland Cruz.

I don't understand the accusation that Burris is a potted plant. That accusation insults potted plants. No plant has ever attempted to kill a man it knew to be innocent in order to advance its political career.

Deny him a seat.

All those words and no mention of due process or legality. You're entitled to dislike Burris, but if you endorse denying him a seat, you need to explain the legal argument for doing so. "He's a potted plant" is not enough, sorry.

Like a lot of others, I feel two things: (a) insofar as I know anything about Burris, I don't care for him; (b) I don't see the case for denying him a seat, since there hasn't been any suggestion that Blago acted corruptly in appointing him in particular (as opposed to his many other apparently corrupt acts.)

Ben Alpers wrote, "At the moment, Burris's appointment has not been certified by the Secretary of State of Illinois. That means that he is not yet really appointed. Does the Secretary of State of Illinois have discretion to refuse certification? That's a question for the Illinois state courts not the U.S. Senate. The Senate is entirely within its rights to refuse to seat him until he is properly appointed."

First -- no, the IL secretary of state does not have the discretion to refuse to sign a certification of a gubernatorial appointment. It is a ministerial function, and can be compelled by court order if the secretary refuses. If this were not true, then the secretary of state, and not the governor, would be the real appointing authority. The law provides that the governor appoints. The secretary of state cannot defeat an appointment by refusing to sign a certificate. (The Senate rule requiring such a signature is an internal procedural rule; it is therefore junior to the Constitution and the law. The Senate cannot indefinitely reject a nominee because a non-appointing authority hasn't signed a certificate.)

Second, Von's post was not arguing that Burris's nomination should simply be held until the certification issue is resolved. It was arguing that he should be denied a seat in the Senate altogether, regardless of the law, because he does not meet Von's moral standards. If we all claimed such power, there would be no Senate at all.

"At the moment, Burris's appointment has not been certified by the Secretary of State of Illinois. That means that he is not yet really appointed. Does the Secretary of State of Illinois have discretion to refuse certification? That's a question for the Illinois state courts not the U.S. Senate."

I actually don't think this is true. Under no reading that I can get does the lack of certification mean that he is not yet really appointed. The certification is formal evidence that he was appointed, but the lack thereof doesn't make the appointment itself deficient. I suppose the Senate can do what it wants about the formal evidence of appointment, but the secretary afixing the seal of the state on a document is a ministerial function, not a veto point or other discretionary issue.

I think the appointment is crap, but I'm not going to support a precedent saying that the Secretary of State seal is supposed to represent a valid veto point for decision making. Look beyond this case and think about how icky that precedent could get.

The certification is formal evidence that he was appointed, but the lack thereof doesn't make the appointment itself deficient.

That's a relief. My evil ex-stepfather burned my birth certificate years ago. I'm glad to know I was still born - er - I mean, still actually born. Of course, now my plan to shred by marriage certificate so I can start dating with impunity is now dashed.

I'm sure the state has valid copies on file, HSH.

Now if only people had got as worked up over getting rid of George W. Bush over lying the US into war with Iraq, authorising torture and the breaking of other international law on treatment of civilians and prisoners of war, and warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, not forgetting the firing of US Attorneys for refusing to politicize their office.

The trouble I have here is with the indefinite "people."

If you mean Von, say so - he's a big boy and can answer for himself. If he feels like it.

If you mean the general commentariat at ObWi, my response is "huh?" Do you seriously suggest that we (shorthand for "most of us who comment here," Gary) did not get "worked up" over the issues you mentioned? You have been reading the blog, haven't you? And you do realize that we [sic] are/were not in a position to get rid of GWB (before last year), end torture and warrantless wiretapping, etc.? We [sic] didn't greenlight Iraq, in any of its manifestations. At least I didn't.

If you mean something vaguer like "the whole blogosphere" or "Amerikka" or, indeed, "people" (as in "People are no damn good" - a popular sign of my youth), well, yes, the world as it is is a disappointment to many of us. But at least that's a fair, if shallow, comment.

It's the lack of clarity that is the rub. Without it, we [see above] may feel unjustly attacked by someone claiming implicit moral superiority to all of us [ibid], which, as you yourself have noted (IIRC), never goes down that well.

I somehow missed any mention of the Cruz story until this post, so I'm grateful to Von for posting it. And I'm glad to see Von posting, in general.

I don't agree that Burris should be denied his seat, believing that the failure of the Illinois legislature to impeach Blagojevich or change the process to a special election in a timely way subjects the citizens of Illinois to being represented by a vain, amoral politician. He will not be alone in the U.S. Senate in that regard, sadly.

The Illinois legislature could see the probability of the need for a change in the replacement process as far back as February, when it became almost mathematically inevitable that Obama would be nominated, in a year when it was very very likely that the Democratic nominee would win. But they did nothing.

They knew there were FBI investigations of Blagojevich. It was utterly predictable that corruption would taint any process in which he played a part. But the legislature didn't act.

I'm effing sick of watching politicians huff and puff after the fact about things they should have faced up to while they were happening. I'm particularly disdainful of those who wait for the legal system to do their jobs for them.

The trouble I have here is with the indefinite "people."

By which I meant "the people who failed to get worked up about".

The original version read:

"Now if only the people who failed to get as worked up about George W. Bush over lying the US into war with Iraq, authorising torture and the breaking of other international law on treatment of civilians and prisoners of war, and warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, not forgetting the firing of US Attorneys for refusing to politicize their office, had got as worked up over getting rid of George W. Bush over lying the US into war with Iraq, authorising torture and the breaking of other international law on treatment of civilians and prisoners of war, and warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, not forgetting the firing of US Attorneys for refusing to politicize their office."

But I felt it was rather clumsy and verbose that way. So I edited it.

If we want better politicians, we have to elect them, because it has become obvious that they will not change on their own except to protect their privileges and prerogatives

Garbage in, garbage out.

See, now THIS is a reason to oppose the Burris pick. Not some media-driven hissy fit about 'taint'.

(Yes, I'm thinking about suspending the retirement.)

Please do.

Jes: Thanks for the clarification. Yes, your original draft (like most ODs) was somewhat clumsy and verbose, and you were probably right to edit it. It's just that the edit lent itself to misinterpretations such as mine.

Yours in (the hope of) clarity. And charity.

dr ngo

I'm sure the state has valid copies on file, HSH.

Not in Joke World, slarti. It's sort of like comic-book reality. On the surface it may look very much like the real world, but there are subtle differences that make strange things possible.

No plant has ever attempted to kill a man it knew to be innocent in order to advance its political career.

If one tried and failed, would we ever know?

Maybe that's why that tree fell in the forest when nobody heard it, ever think of that, smart guy?

I think we all too lightly ignore the danger posed by ambitious ferns. I have been telling my fellow invertebrate precursor animals this for millions of years, but do they listen? Most don't even come to the meetings any more, and their mail gets returned stamped "extinct." Lame!

The Illinois legislature could see the probability of the need for a change in the replacement process as far back as February, when it became almost mathematically inevitable that Obama would be nominated, in a year when it was very very likely that the Democratic nominee would win. But they did nothing.

They knew there were FBI investigations of Blagojevich. It was utterly predictable that corruption would taint any process in which he played a part. But the legislature didn't act.

I'm effing sick of watching politicians huff and puff after the fact about things they should have faced up to while they were happening. I'm particularly disdainful of those who wait for the legal system to do their jobs for them.

I agree entirely. The procedural system isn't the thing that is broken. It is the political choices of the Illinois legislature that are broken.

Dr Ngo: Yours in (the hope of) clarity. And charity.

The problem with Rule 13 is, which words are needless?

The Crafty Trilobite: I think we all too lightly ignore the danger posed by ambitious ferns.

Coelacanths evaded receiving your mail for millions of years by having it marked "extinct" even though they were in fact partying in the Chalumna River.

Jes: Not thinking for the moment of Strunk & White (foolish me), I had to stop and Google, and thus encountered a slightly different version of http://icanhascheezburger.com/2009/01/06/funny-pictures-doin-it-iz-sittin-on-it/>Rule 13.

Ah, serendipity!

If we all claimed such power, there would be no Senate at all.

Now THIS is something I can get behind. How long do you think it would take?

The Bad Plant

A bit of an odd post. I mean, it's good to see Burris being criticized for his past behavior in public office (if only because, unlike Farber, I did not see the numerous press reports). Still, it's not like anyone worth even farting at has had anything nice to say about Burris or his recent behavior, so learning that he's been malign rather than merely a mediocrity previously is unlikely to change anyone's heretofore positive impression of the man, as no-one seems to have one.

Learning that Burris is even more of an offense to the concept of public service than I thought also doesn't change the fact that Blagojevich, still governor and still convicted of nothing, retained the legal power to appoint a senator, and that Blago's choice, while he may be an apparent waste of DNA, meets the constitutional tests for office. So far as I can tell, Burris must and will be seated (though I'd cheer for a vote to expel thereafter, on principle).

This whole episode has been a brilliant F-U by Blago, a man with a huge ego and nothing to lose. More informaiton about the failings of Roland Burris does not surprise and does not change that.

Jes, at some point, you have to be able to discuss issues on their own merits, and not continuously refer to other issues. Bringing up the lack of impeachment of Bush in response to every single post or matter brought up is old and tedious. It doesn't even serve your interests. I tend to agree with you on it, but the more times I try to read a thread around here and have to wade through your obsession, the less sympathy I have.

J. Michael Neal: Jes, at some point, you have to be able to discuss issues on their own merits, and not continuously refer to other issues.

How long have you been blogging? Extinct fish, ferns, and Strunk and White, bear a very clear relationship to the case of Rolando Cruz, who was exonerated on March 11, 1995.

I first read about Rolando Cruz in 2001 - I was looking up information about the application of the death penalty, and its failures, in the United States, for an independent project. While researching this, I read more pro-death penalty sites than I wanted to, and more right-wing rants against bleeding-heart liberal objections to the death penalty than I ever wanted to. I have, in the years since, whenever Bush's 152-corpse record in Texas was brought up, had Republicans angrily tell me that there is no evidence that any innocent person has ever been executed in the United States, and that it's essential that the state should continue to kill people as this practice deters other murderers. (That there is no evidence for this belief does not deter them.)

If I believed that the sudden discovery that the death penalty can be bad, that innocent people can be convicted and sentenced to death and, if not for the work of bleeding-heart liberals, or governors more inclined to commute sentences than Bush was, would have been killed.

If Rolando Cruz had lived in Texas, he might well be dead today: and discovering the innocence of the dead is far harder than proving the living innocent.

George W. Bush is still President. Even when he is no longer President, his crimes will not go away. The US soldiers who got their hands dirty with torture and murder because Bush decided that the law against torturing prisoners should be broken, will still most of them be living with the consequences of what they did: as will many of the people they tortured. The damage done to the US military may persist for a generation: the damage done to Iraq is inconceivable. The illegal wiretapping Bush confessed to is now legal, and Obama will be unlikely to want to prosecute a past President who did illegally what Obama can do legally. The messes Bush created will still be with the US for years, for decades to come.

Yes, we used to jeer at Republicans when they kept bringing up Bill Clinton years after Bush became President.

But that's because Clinton lied about a blowjob: long-term damage, one stained dress. Whereas as Bush passes into a peaceful and wealthy retirement, sheltered by Obama and others from the consequences of his crimes, Bush's long-term damage can't be hidden in a wardrobe.

You may wish to try this sentence again: "If I believed that the sudden discovery that the death penalty can be bad, that innocent people can be convicted and sentenced to death and, if not for the work of bleeding-heart liberals, or governors more inclined to commute sentences than Bush was, would have been killed."

Silly J. Michael Neal, dontcha know that George W. Bush and his Democratic enablers are responsible for everything that is wrong in the world?

For example, I was sick with a virus last week. It is a simple exercise in the application of chaos theory and the butterfly effect to show that if the spineless Dems had impeached Bush back in 2006 then instead of sitting at home snorting nasal decongestants, I would have been sitting on a beach in Hawaii sipping pineapple drinks with brightly colored paper umbrellas stuck in them.

Q.E.D., also.

"Jes, at some point, you have to be able to discuss issues on their own merits, and not continuously refer to other issues."

Really? Whether or not this is particularly true of Jes, it certainly isn't true as a general rule...

Thanks Jes and dr ngo for the rare reference to Strunk & White. I lost my copy some years ago and, foolishly, did not replace it.

Jes: Maybe give JMN a little bit of break? As he said, like me, he essentially agrees with you. Anyhow, I've enjoyed your feisty comments in this thread. (Did you have an extra up of coffee today -- or like me, do you prefer tea?)

Jes, what was the last thread where you didn't complain about the Democrats not impeaching Bush?

Seriously, though, a bunch of cops in the UK went to jail for shooting that Brazilian guy, right? And some high-ranking people lost their jobs over it?

"Thanks Jes and dr ngo for the rare reference to Strunk & White."

Rare? It's the best known style guide there is. (It's rather over-referred to, if anything, sometimes inappropriately, as it's only relevant to certain types of writing, and definitely not to all styles of fiction.)

You can read all of Strunk's original, minus E. B. White, here.

You can get a copy of the 4th edition here for $4 and change and $3.99 shipping, or here for $9.95 if you get some other stuff to bring your total up to $25 for free shipping.

It's useful advice, but you have to know when to ignore it.

Bedtimeforbonzo: Jes: Maybe give JMN a little bit of break?

Oh sure. Which bone?

(Did you have an extra up of coffee today -- or like me, do you prefer tea?)

Too much O-Negative. I'm a vampire.

Jes, what was the last thread where you didn't complain about the Democrats not impeaching Bush?

Assuming you mean "the most recent" and restricting the field to Obsidian Wings only, it was probably this one.

Phil: Seriously, though, a bunch of cops in the UK went to jail for shooting that Brazilian guy, right? And some high-ranking people lost their jobs over it?

Sir Michael Wright, who ruled that the inquest jury were not allowed to deliver a verdict of unlawful killing, should leave the bench. For good.

I am hopeful that the verdict the inquest was allowed to deliver, which was only concluded December 12 last year, will lead to resignations, even if Sir Michael has probably saved the police officers who actually shot Jean Charkles de Menezes from going to jail. The catalogue of publicly-exposed errors and outright lies on the part of the Met will, I hope, lead to some serious review of armed police in the UK.

As for what I thought and think about it, policemen shouldn't carry guns, it's their job to protect us, not kill us - and I want any police officer who is allowed to carry a gun to understand that if they kill someone, they'll be on trial for murder, and will have to prove they did have cause to kill or spend ten years in jail before anyone considers parole.

Gary: I referred to it as a rare reference in that I don't recall it ever being mentioned by name here.

What's more, I'd bet that at least 9 out 10 commenters here know "it's the best known style guide there is."

I wonder if using the phrase "What's more" violated a rule of style.

I'm sorry to have been out and failed to respond. To those that say that the Senate lacks discretion to deny Burris a seat, Ben Albers makes the argument that I would have made (and better):

At the moment, Burris's appointment has not been certified by the Secretary of State of Illinois. That means that he is not yet really appointed. Does the Secretary of State of Illinois have discretion to refuse certification? That's a question for the Illinois state courts not the U.S. Senate. The Senate is entirely within its rights to refuse to seat him until he is properly appointed.

Is this argument an argument that is likely to win in Illinois court? I have no idea: my sense is that it's plausible, but probably not winning. But that's my point: because it's plausible, the Senate has discretion to refuse to seat Burris -- and the Senate should do that for reasons that have nothing to do with Burris the appointment and everything to do with Burris the man.

p.s. to Jes: Up your game. You're being out-subtled by Bobby Rush. That's not a good thing.

Assuming you mean "the most recent" and restricting the field to Obsidian Wings only, it was probably this one.

I rest my case.

(Check your link.)

"I wonder if using the phrase
'What's more' violated a rule of style."

There are no rules of style; just suggestions that are more or less useful in different contexts.

"There are no rules of style; just suggestions that are more or less useful in different contexts."

Gary: From your own link regarding Mr. Strunk's Elements (i.e. Rules) of Style: "Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer."

Mr. Strunk was writing before contemporary linguistics existed.

It's useful advice. But if you've ever edited fiction, or read a slush pile, or argued with a wannabe fiction writer, you'll know that a lot of people take the idea of "rules" over-seriously and regarding inapplicable kinds of writing.

The same is more subtly true of good nonfiction; I wouldn't want, say, William Langewiesche, or Joan Didion, or Dave Eggers, or John McPhee, let alone Hunter Thompson, for instance, to follow Strunk too literally.

That's all.

"The same is more subtly true of good nonfiction; I wouldn't want, say, William Langewiesche, or Joan Didion, or Dave Eggers, or John McPhee, let alone Hunter Thompson, for instance, to follow Strunk too literally."

Indeed.

But I think lesser writers, myself included, would do well to follow Strunk's Elements/Rules of Style.

FWIW, I never understood writers/reporters who thought they were above having an editor (a good editor), such as yourself, go over or, heaven forbid, actually edit their stuff. I always felt better when I had a pair of good, fresh eyes reviewing whatever it was I had written before it went to type.

I mean -- as long as he or she did not change the meaning or essence (and, yes, "style") of what I had written -- I welcomed having someone making it better, and perhaps even saving me some sort of embarrassment.

"I mean -- as long as he or she did not change the meaning or essence (and, yes, 'style') of what I had written...."

A good editor -- and I should certainly stress that I don't particularly claim to be more than fair -- there are a thousand fiction, and nonfiction, editors who are far more skilled and knowledgeable than I am -- never changes the essence or style of a writer. The goal of a good editor is to bring it out, and help it be as clear as possible.

Bad editors confuse their jobs with rewrite-artist.

The down side of doing much editing work is that it typically becomes almost impossible to turn it off in your head, save in the presence of great writing. Or maybe it's that people who read that way go into editing. Hard to say which is chicken or egg.

Most experienced editors want to blue-pencil menus, signs, whatever they read (blog posts).

Von: I'm sorry to have been out and failed to respond.

That's fine, but the sooner you express your outrage at the Mongol hordes the better. Then we can move on to the 14th century outrages you've missed.


That's fine, but the sooner you express your outrage at the Mongol hordes the better. Then we can move on to the 14th century outrages you've missed.

Hey, not so fast there pardner! We still haven't sorted out the reasons for the fall of the Northern Song dynasty to the Jurchen in 1127, or established whether the exile and imprisonment of the emperor Hui-Tsung tragically cut short the artistic career of a brilliant painter and calligrapher, or was the well deserved comeupance of a dithering idiot who never should never have been trusted with matters of state policy.

I don't think we've properly determined which museum Indiana Jones gave Nurhaci to, either.

I suppose it's the Marshall College Museum, though.

I referred to it as a rare reference in that I don't recall it ever being mentioned by name here.

FWIW, a Google search for _strunk white site:obsidianwings.blogs.com_ returns 7 hits, stretching back to 2004; in all seven cases, the original reference to S&W was made by either Gary or von.

As I was making my way upstairs . . .

I think you are spot-on about what makes a good editor, Gary.

Re: "The down side of doing much editing work is that it typically becomes almost impossible to turn it off in your head . . ."

Speaking of being impossible to turn it off in your head, one thing that drove me nuts was driving home after filing a story from the Vet or Spectrum or wherever and replaying your story line by line in your head until you've convinced yourself that there was an error in there somewhere -- or, of course, that you could have made the damn thing better.

And: "Most experienced editors want to blue-pencil menus . . ."

lol

(I just hope I don't forget my reading glasses when out to eat. At 46, and having worn them since I hit the big 4-0, I find myself helpless when it comes to menus without them.)

An update for you, Jes.

The Roland Burris affair DEEPENS even more my contempt for Barry and the Democrats. First, the Democrat Senate bosses said they would reject anyone the disgraced Gov. Blagojevich appointed. With Barry saying he agreed with and supported that oh, so highly moral stand. BUT, Blago pulled a fast one on the Dems. Blatantly playing the racial card even more crassly than most Dems. So, we now have the sordid spectacle of Barry and the Senate Dem bosses REVERSING themselves and saying they would go along with Roland Burris being made a senator.

Barry Obama and the Senate Dems now stand EXPOSED as mealy mouthed frauds. How glad I am to be GOP!

Sincerely, Sean

“…from the Vet or Spectrum…”

Old school Philly. Man, what a bunch of memories those 5 words released. All the concerts, watching the Phillies get their butt kicked (yet again), Eagles fans… Combat driving on the Schuylkill…

BUT, Blago pulled a fast one on the Dems.

I believe the correct term of art is "pantsed".

Thanks -

Barry Obama and the Senate Dems now stand EXPOSED as mealy mouthed frauds. How glad I am to be GOP!

these two sentences create a DISSONANCE which is not entirely unpleasant. in fact, it makes ME giggle a little bit!

Sean, it's 2009, and 'Democrat' is a noun. Only illiterates and those seeking to give offense use it as an adjective. Let that little tribal badge go; we'll still know you're a glad Republican.

Arlen Specter is getting in on the act.

Maybe Gary should have dedicated his NYT link to Sean, not Jes.

When I read comments like Sean's, the vengeful, not righteous, part of me sees that Jes and Nell are entirely correct and Bush, Cheyney and the rest of 'em should indeed be investigated by a special prosecutor -- as one commenter in Gary's update said, Patrick Fitzgerald will do fine.

Sean: If the Roland Burris affair is the worst scandal we endure during the Obama era, it will be a good four/eight years indeed.

So Reid and Obama have reversed themselves on sitting Burris in the Senate? Maybe if Bush and Cheyney had abandoned some of their bad decisions we'd be a lot better off today.

Besides, the taint on the Democrats here, to the extent that we have been tainted, is mostly confined to Blago, which is why the Illinois Congress would do us all a favor and commence impeachment proceedings ASAP. (At least Dems hold their miscreants accountable.)

That's fine, but the sooner you express your outrage at the Mongol hordes the better. Then we can move on to the 14th century outrages you've missed.

Hate to disappoint, but I'm pro-Mongol. The Mongols were no more vicious than the various alternatives, and brought political stability, peace, and (for a time) good government. Ride, horde, ride!

I already linked this, von, but can you read it and still say you're pro-Mongol?

I see.

Von: Objectively Pro-Mongol.

pro Mongol and therefore anti typhoon

"...which is why the Illinois Congress would do us all a favor and commence impeachment proceedings ASAP."

Blagojevich has now been impeached. Tada.

bedtimeforbonzo: ... part of me sees that Jes and Nell are entirely correct and Bush, Cheyney and the rest of 'em should indeed be investigated by a special prosecutor...

Perhaps this is a little late to post, but re. torture investigation, Terry Gross just interviewed Philippe Sands (professor of law at University College London, author of Torture Team) on this topic.

Here is a related post by Duncan Hollis with many useful links.

"The procedural system isn't the thing that is broken. It is the political choices of the Illinois electorate that are broken."

Forgive me, but I believe that this is the more accurate statement.

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