Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


Letters to the Editor

I see my old friend Jerome Richard, in a letter to this esteemed web journal last week, objected to my calling Alan Dershowitz a “rabid Zionist,” but, he does not explain why I said it.  Allow me to quote my offending passage:

“As you know, Carter spoke at Brandeis University. He received a respectful hearing from faculty and students. He had rejected the earlier suggestion of a debate with Prof. Alan Dershowitz, of Harvard Law School. This was probably wise, for, among other things, Dershowitz is a rabid Zionist. I will never forget his advice to the Israelis in the Jerusalem Post of 11 March 2002 that they should make it clear that they would blow up a Palestinian village, if ‘terrorists’ stemmed from there.”

I could have added that Professor Dershowitz,  on another occasion, defended the use of torture.  He advocated that a court procedure be set up to approve it. 

Is “rabid” too strong a word for such a person?


Waves of the Hand

You all have seen it several times by now.  President Bush climbing out of a helicopter on White House grounds, saluting an officer in uniform as he descends the steps, and, presumably, walking to the door.  And, on the way, periodically waving.  But, to whom?  We are never shown.  If, as I suspect, they are members of the White House staff, and, perhaps, those of the Executive Office Building, then our taxes,  that pay their salaries, are being squandered on photo ops!


The Case for Saddam

Hate to say it, but, perhaps, considering the absolute chaos that reigns in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the quarreling parties under control.  I keep thinking of Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia.  Once he passed to the Great Beyond, the place fell apart.  So, the same in Iraq.

Oh, but, I was forgetting.  We bombed hell out of the Iraqis - remember “Shock and Awe”?- in order to bring them democracy.  Now, wait, that doesn’t sound right.  Oh, yes!  Because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction!  Was that the original reason given?  I’ve lost count!


Tom DeLay, Expert

Much to my surprise, Tom DeLay is not yet in jail.  Matter of fact, he was on the so-called “Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer on CNN  the other day, posing as an expert!


A Living Document? - Part 2

Section. 4.

Clause 1: The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
Clause 2: The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, (See Note 5) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.

Clause 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Clause 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Clause 3: Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Clause 4: Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

Clause 1: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. (See Note 6) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
Clause 2: No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.

Clause 1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Clause 2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Clause 3: Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And
Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.



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Harvard Square Commentary, February 12, 2007