Freeway Blogging

We are all the blue dress now

There’s a lot to be said for a (mostly) free and open Internet that allows anyone to sit behind a computer, get a blog, and blather on about any subject they desire. It’s a 21st century version of the founders’ ideal of a free press. One problem with this medium is that these blatherings tend to be read mostly by folks with similar inclinations, IOW preaching to the choir. Freeway Blogging is a combination of political free speech, visual art, and performance art, and, it’s lower tech and more accessible than the internet. Best of all, the audience is far more demographically diverse – and often more numerous – than that of the usual poli-blog. Combining Freeway Blogging with the Internet yields a site like Tales of the Freeway Blogger, where people can share their efforts. One of my favorite sharings happened a few months ago, in Chicago:

George Bush is a Lying Sack of Shit

One of the artists who created this wonder describes the effort (and the reward) in the comments:

Hi, I was one of the (2) people who put up this banner in Chicago. Thanks for your supportive comments. We used a roll of cheap plastic white tablecloth, available at party supply stores or websites. Using a Sharpie I traced out the letters with a digital projector (you can also use an overhead or slide projector) using Adobe Illustrator (Word or Wordpad is fine too). I tacked and untacked the roll to the wall as I moved down the roll. After tracing, I rolled it up and took it to my comrade’s house. There, we laid it out on his very long driveway, held down edges of the plastic with a few rocks and painted the letters in quickly with cheap red latex paint. Don’t spend too much time being perfect with the letters, because from 10-20 feet, nobody can detect those imperfections. Then we duct-taped some pieces of wire to the edges: on the corners and about every 8 feet or so. All in all, it took about 2 hours (results may vary). At the pedestrian overpass at Bryn Mawr over I-90 (inbound to Chicago loop at rush hour) my comrade unrolled as I fastened the wires to the chain link fence. Once unrolled, we went back and further secured the sign from the wind by stretching duct tape from the top to the bottom about every 4 feet (if you look closely at the pic you can see it through the light plastic). It took about 3-5 minutes to set up with two people, but I recommend 3. If it had not been for Illinois Dept of Transportation clean up guys seeing it so quickly, it could have stayed up for a lot longer. While we were putting it up, the supportive honks from the hundreds of cars passing by was DEAFENING! It was so visible, that people in the opposite 4 lanes were honking as they read it in their rear-view mirrors. Try this at home kids! Thanks again for posting your comments of support! (my emphasis added)

I encourage you to visit Tales of the Freeway Blogger for inspiration, and for a look at a different, low-tech way to reach others. Also, the photos shown here have been cropped from the originals, which are much more impressive than what you see here.

Saturday Cartoons

See ’em at Bob Geiger’s place.

The Every Day Cartoon is, of course, on Fox News Network —

Rick Perlstein provides not-so-funny testimony on Bill O. and the hating of America.

And in the You Can’t Make This Shit Up department, see the Right Blogosphere. The wingnuts think Sen. Chuck Schumer is attempting a coup d’état . WTF?, you say? One of the Power Tools explains,

The Democrats’ unconstitutional usurpation of power continues: Chuck Schumer, possibly the wackiest of all Capitol Hill Democrats, announces a change in the Constitution:

    New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”
    “We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”

I guess “dangerously out of balance” means 5-4. What Schumer really means, of course, is that he wants to hold the fort for a year and a half so that a Democratic President can be elected, and the Court can be “dangerously out of balance,” i.e., 5-4 in the other direction.

The Right, of course, has never even thought about placing people to their own ideological liking on the Court.

However, what puzzles me is the bit about “changing the Constitution.” Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2, clearly says,

He [the President] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

In Rightie World, the only “advice and consent” the Senate is allowed is “Yes sir, Mr. President!” Unless, of course, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and the President is a Democrat.

This confusion on constitutional theory might have come about from a recent conference call held by the White House for rightie bloggers, in which the bloggers were initiated into the Revealed Wisdom of Executive Privilege. Captain Ed wrote,

The power to hire and fire federal prosecutors belongs exclusively to the executive branch. Congress has no particular oversight in these matters, and so the executive privilege claim is very compelling in this instance.

Yes, the President has the authority to hire and fire federal prosecutors, but the Constitution (see above) explicitly gives the Senate oversight regarding “all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law.” U.S. attorneys have been included in this classification since Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789. However, according to the DoJ’s own web site,

Initially, United States Attorneys were not supervised by the Attorney General (1 Op.Att’y Gen. 608) but Congress, in the Act of August 2, 1861, (Ch. 37, 12 Stat. 185) charged the Attorney General with the “general superintendence and direction duties …” While the precise nature of the superintendence and direction was not defined, the Department of Justice Act of June 22, 1870 (Ch. 150, 16 Stat. 164) and the Act of June 30, 1906 (Ch. 39, 35, 34 Stat. 816) clearly established the power of the Attorney General to supervise criminal and civil proceedings in any district.

Wouldn’t it be fun if Congress took back its supervision of the U.S. attorneys? Anyway, further down the DoJ web site says,

United States Attorneys are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate for a four-year term. See 28 U.S.C. Sec. 541.

It’s possible, of course, that when the White House Captain Ed and the Power Tools and other righties talk about “the Constitution,” they are not talking about the Constitution of the United States.

See also JeffFecke at Shakesville and Down With Tyranny.

See also Dr. Steven Taylor, one of the few honest small-government conservatives left in America: