Friday, December 28, 2012

John Norton Pomeroy on Impeachment

As I was writing a lecture on the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and thinking of those in favor of a broadly defined constitutional approach to impeachment, I came across a succinct statement authored by legal scholar John Norton Pomeroy in 1868 (he published it in 1870). Pomeroy and others were not so terribly concerned that an executive or other officer might act illegally, but rather that they might abuse their powers. I welcome any and all comments.

The importance of the impeaching power consists, not in its effects upon subordinate ministerial officers, but in the check which it places upon the President and the judges. They must be clothed with ample discretion; the danger to be apprehended is from an abuse of this discretion. But at this very point where the danger exists, and where the protection should be certain, the President and the judiciary are beyond the reach of Congressional legislation. Congress cannot, by any laws penal or otherwise, interfere with the exercise of a discretion conferred by the Constitution...If the offense for which the proceeding may be instituted must be made indictable by statute, impeachment thus becomes absolutely nugatory against those officers in those cases where it is most needed as a restraint upon violations of public duty. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

You Never Know What You're Going To Find... a used book store. So I say frequent them. You may come across a gem or two. I love Amazon as much as the next guy. I purchase books on that site almost daily (and manage to read through most of them). But I love an old book store too.

Here's a little slice of my day for anyone interested. Today I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Hollywood - Birds on Franklin Ave. They have a killer pressed chicken pesto sandwich that I highly recommend. Anyway, two doors down is Counterpoint records and books. I make it a point to go there after every Birds lunch and I generally find something good. Today I found McClellan's (selected) correspondence. Not a rare book by any definition of the term but one that I did not have in my library. So I snapped it up for next to nothing and called it a win.

Okay - on to other things. There is a lot on the horizon for Cosmic America - so stay tuned!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Historians - Stop It

Time to vent. I have no need to name names - you've read the reviews and you know who they are. But I swear if I read one more historian's erudite treatise attacking Spielberg's Lincoln for not delivering a comprehensive history of the abolition movement I am going to light myself on fire and jump out a window into oncoming traffic. So instead of doing that I think I will take a long winter's nap. It is an activity far less dangerous and far more interesting. Here's an idea for all scholars of history, American studies, or anyone else who feels a burning desire to weigh in on this film. Why not write about what Lincoln does do instead of what it doesn't .
Okay here I go...
Wake me up when this is all over.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baltimore Egg Nogg

I shamelessly lifted this Civil War era recipe from the Civil War Monitor website. For more holiday cocktails and punches, have a gander HERE. The holidays will be filled with cheer and possibly salmonella poisoning from festive libations such as this. And remember, if you plan on taking the buggy out for a spin around the town square...just take it easy.

(for a party of 15)

1/2 pint brandy or rum
1 and 1/2 c. madeira (wine)
6 pints milk
16 eggs, separated
12 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg

Take the yellow [yolks] of the eggs and the sugar and beat them to the consistency of cream. Add two-thirds of a grated nutmeg and beat well together. Then mix in the rum and Madeira. Have ready the whites of the eggs, beaten to a stiff froth, and beat them into the above described mixture. When this is all done, stir in six pints of good rich milk. There is no heat used.
Egg Nogg made in this manner is digestible, and will not cause a headache. It makes an excellent drink for debilitated persons, and a nourishing diet for consumptives.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Beat! Beat! Drums!

Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,

Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,

Into the school where the scholar is studying,

Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride,

Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,

So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets;

Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,

No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators—would they continue?

Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?

Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?

Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,

Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,

Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,

Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,

Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,

So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.

Walt Whitman