Impeachment Primer

“A good magistrate will not fear [impeachments]. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them.” – Eldbridge Gerry (Massachusetts), later elected to the House of Representatives; served as Vice-President under James Madison.

“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” – Article 2, Section 4
Step one: the House of Representatives by simple majority passes Articles of Impeachment, laying out the alleged offenses of the impeached officeholder. Step two: the trial is held in the Senate. In the case of the president, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides, otherwise the President of the Senate aka the Vice-President. (The Constitution does not specify; inferring it would be the usual presiding officer.) A two-thirds majority is required to convict and remove from office. Conviction by the Senate does not disallow criminal prosecution.

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Saving Gospel Music

The accolades to Aretha Franklin in numerous obituaries and tributes made note of her early years singing in her father’s church. Ms. Franklin was possibly the most famous of many popular artists who learned their craft in church: Little Richard, The Staple Singers, Sam Cooke and hundreds – literally, hundreds – more. The conflict between the sacred and the secular, has been an undercurrent of many careers. Performers whose formative years were rooted in the black church carried the craft learned there to a wider audience but with a twinge of guilt for taking god’s music and making it profane.

Unfortunately, much of this roots music is lost forever, recorded on vinyl and tape and never digitized.

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The Evolving Brett Kavanaugh

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as you likely know, has re-thought his principled position on consideration of Supreme Court nominees. Previously, he was adamant that Senate hearings were not appropriate before the American people had spoken in an election. Now, of course, he is anxious for a speedy confirmation, before the upcoming election, of the latest nominee. That candidate, Brett Kavanaugh, has had his own evolution of a firmly-held belief. In 2009, he wrote about bringing criminal charges against a sitting president. His opinion no doubt strengthened his perceived qualifications to join the Supreme Court.

“In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel.”

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ICYMI: John Oliver Debuts Facebook Ad

As we all know, Facebook has recently had some well-publicized problems: Russian bots, a precipitous one-day drop in shareholder value, privacy issues et cetera. In response, they’ve launched an advertising campaign to reassure us all that Facebook is a safe and comfortable place.
In case you missed it, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” premiered Facebook’s latest advertisement.

In case you have any lingering delusions about privacy, read the Boston Globe’s summary of how your every movement is being tracked and sold. We’ve come a long way since Kramerbooks bookstore fought voyeur Kenneth Starr’s subpoena of Monica Lewinsky’s book purchases.