The Tempest Online™

~ Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. ~

Archive for April, 2007

I’ll Give You A Quarter For The Little Fuzzy Guy

Posted by Daniel on April 30, 2007

//static.flickr.com/59/203201921_32565c3337.jpg?v=0 cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Garage Sales are madness. And the only other time (outside of the Wal-Mart parking lot) that I see such a large concentration of my old arch enemy, the MINIVAN CARAVAN!!

But so long as they are actually buying our crap, I can deal with it.

This year’s sale was pretty good, I must say. We managed to make twice as much money as we did last year thanks, in no small part, to the bounty that was the assloads of Spongebob merchandise. One guy who was walking, managed to buy 3/4 of that and left here with about 8 large bags. Thank you, Geeky Man, whoever you are.

Once again, Steve did all the selling while I did all the shopping. I did, however, manage to keep my purchases down to $65…and managed to find some of the most beautiful Italian crap that fits perfectly with the motif of the newly-finished first floor of the house. One particular heavy-assed wall hanging should prove to be quite the conversation piece. 😉

Business was up quite a bit this year everywhere. Last year, only about 20 homes participated in the sale…this year there were over 30. Thanks to the increased participation and subsequent extra traffic, we were able to unload almost every item that we had outside. I believe we even got several offers on a pallet of paving stones which was just delivered so that I can re-do the landscaping. I tell you, if the shit ain’t nailed down, someone is gonna ask “how much?”

Next week is the Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up. A chance to get rid of all the crap that wasn’t bought by the frenzied masses this week. Since I’m President of the Homeowners Association, I get to be in charge of that little event, too. Going from shopping home-to-home to manning extremely large trash and yard waste dumpsters is quite a humbling thing.

And the Clean-Up lasts all weekend.

Think I’ll have to do some shopping after that…and eat Lemon Cake. 😀

Posted in Just For Fun, Our Writings | Leave a Comment »

I Just Made a Lemon Cake, and I’m Tired

Posted by Daniel on April 29, 2007

Hi! Remember me? Yeah, that’s right, I’m Revel, stalwart (?) other half to the Tempest. I haven’t been able to post for quite awhile, and I have missed it. Not that ideas haven’t floated in and out of my cerebrum on a regular basis–they have. The Great Idiot still pisses me off on a daily basis. His houseboy turned fall guy, AG the AG–I’ve seen better liars at closing time at the old Cabaret. Karl the Snarl, after he got out of my girl Sheryl Crow’s face (Sheryl, if you’re reading–I am a HUGE fan, even more so now), could possibly face his political Waterloo over something as completely boneheaded as violating The Hatch Act. (As Bugs Bunny says, “What a Maroon!”). And excuse me, who the hell is Mike Gravel? Before the Democratic debate (the feel-good debate of April 2007!!!) I had no idea he was running. I still am not sure he’s really running, but I hope so…he was on FI-YAH. I hope this, of course, for the entertainment value, but also out of curiosity that he might be able to wring just a few more bemused looks out of Dennis Kucinich. And last but not least, George T–or as the ever lovely Maureen Dowd calls him, Slam Dunk shows us all that it’s never too late to make your self look like a the whiniest of whiny lackeys to a misbegotten hell-hole of an administration.

All of these things have been on my own personal radar, like they have been for many of you. And I want to write about them, truly I do. But you see, I just made a lemon cake, and I’m tired. REALLY REALLY tired.

Ok, the simple making of the cake didn’t make for my exhausted condition. Hell, the cake was SUPPOSED to be chocolate chip cookies.

Buckle your seat belts, this is the chain of events that have kept me from slicing and dicing, George, Gonzo, Karl, and the rest (and Ann, she may be quiet right now, but that smell in the air HAS to be her….).

LemonCakeWe were out of brown sugar, that’s why no chocolate chip cookies. So I compromised and made the lemon cake with white chocolate chips and homemade lemon butter cream frosting. Why did I have to have this? I WANTED A REWARD. You see, I have had home made chocolate chip cookies (and if I do say so myself I make excellent home made chocolate chip cookies) on the brain since a week or so before our Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale (at which we made a tidy $200.00, thank you very much…of which Daniel held himself to spending only $65.00…which is very good for him. He can tell you what he bought later, I think he’ll do it more justice). The reason? Because Pam complimented me to Daniel, saying I always had nice treats for sale during the annual event.

But I gotta tell you, the past 4 months of Gay Construction (which I subtitle the G.A.R.P. for Great Anderson Remodeling Project) have worn me out, and likely led to the shortage of brown sugar, which lead to chocolate chip cookies turning into lemon-white chocolate chip cake, which I insisted on making because I have been so worn out I wanted a reward.

See, it makes sense. Ok, rearrange your entire house, come back, sit down and reread it, and it will make sense.

The G.A.R.P. is our combined brainchild, a nearly superhuman effort that is sure to be remembered in a Beowulf style epic poem. At least on 18th Street if not all of Willowbrook. And Manchester, England…are we still big in Manchester? I hope so, I was hoping for some kind of band at the airport when we finally get to visit on our European-Australian tour.

I would say I just digressed, but lets call a babble a babble. Where was I? Oh, yeah…

The G.A.R.P. is what Gay Construction has been all about since the dawn of 2007. The Anderson family, or at least four of them, are coming to visit, as you no doubt already know. This required, of course, more than a light dusting. We have been in full tilt boogie mode revamping the Great Room, Dining Room, and Foyer, and it has been well worth it. And the Annual Sale is something we have been a part of every year since we moved here. I want us to make a good showing, we are after all the First Couple of Willowbrook. (That little reminder was for our neighbor, former first lady Nancy. She KNOWS why.)

So G.A.R.P. plus sale plus Pam and Daniel plus my undying love for a crazy Italian man led me to a quest for chocolate chip cookies that morphed into a lemon cake consolation prize.

Did I tell you, I just made a lemon cake, and I’m really tired? I’ve missed you guys, and I want to tell you all about it sometime.

Posted in Just For Fun, Our Writings, Politics | 2 Comments »

Look Mom…I’m On Stage!!

Posted by Daniel on April 27, 2007

LosersallLast night’s Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was anything but.

It was one of those times when you feel there is just no good candidate out there in the Democratic field. And this is one of the reasons so many people are disillusioned with our party.

Disclaimer: I understand that this is just the first of what will probably be many Democratic debates before the Primaries, however this would have been the golden opportunity for the field to whittle out the kooks and the weak. Unfortunately, they all appeared kooky and weak. I also understand that each candidate had but only one minute to answer each question, but this format leaves only more questions unanswered.

Pandering. Panic. Talking points. That’s all we got last night. More bumper sticker slogans.

I think the only real stand-out last night was former senator Gravel (AK), who reminded me of a more feisty – and alive – version of Ross Perot’s running-mate in the 1992 debates…Retired Vice Admiral James Stockdale. While Stockdale occasionally forgot where he was, literally, Gravel most certainly knew where he was…I just think he forgot when he was.

Back to the seriousness…

In the interest of brevity, I’ll give you the one shining moment…one golden opportunity where I think the Democrats, as a whole, have once again lost their nerve and decided to play it safe:

There was one point where I thought that Sen. Clinton was too cautious when she was asked about Rudy Giuliani’s comments that the country wouldn’t be safe under Democrats. That would have been a great opportunity for her to show outrage and anger over the use of the tactics that were used by the Republicans in 2004, and she didn’t do that. I think that would have been a good moment. Right then and there, Hillary should have chewed Giuliani – and by extension, the GOP as a hole (not a typo) – a new ass. She should then have shown the utter outrage over the scare tactics used by Giuliani as his failed attempt to bark with the big dogs. Instead, as is so many times the case when pandering and not wanting to speak truth, she peed like a puppy.

Moreover, where was any of the candidates on that Giuliani gaff??? You’re f—ing Democrats and none of you spoke up about it…not even after the debate when you had the mics all to yourselves!!

Again, I realize it is still early in the campaign, but if this is the road the Democratic contenders are going to continue to take, especially through 2008, count me out of voting Democrat.

Unless Hillary decides to grow a pair and actually speak up and speak out.

Now if I could only find my magic lamp…

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Posted by Daniel on April 26, 2007

Everything MUSTgo!!!Sure, but what if it’s not one, but two men…and they’re gay…and they have great taste…and

Okay, so this Saturday is the annual Spring Subdivision-wide Garage Sale. A chance for people to come and buy all the shit I bought at their garage sales last year.

So here is how it goes at this house:

  • We start rounding up all the stuff that can – and should – be gleaned from the household inventory. This usually begins after Christmas.
  • Steve takes off the two days prior to the sale to begin pricing and arranging everything.
  • Displays are mapped out, categorized and organized. After all, presentation is everything!!
  • Signs strategically placed.
  • Steve sets up his desk, cash box, beverages for sale, stereo on, and takes care of customers.
  • Daniel, as President of the Homeowners Association, goes from house to house helping where he can.
  • Steve sells the shit out of our crap treasures.
  • Daniel buys more crap treasures at the other sales.

Generally speaking, Steve is very adept at selling stuff in a garage sale (which is perfect, because I am so not a people-person and selling to the public just isn’t in me), while I meander through the subdivision making sure all is going well and traffic keeps flowing evenly. Occasionally I will see something I can probably do without, but simply must have.

One important thing we’ve learned over the years about garage sales, especially having one of your own…We now know what will and won’t move.

Clothes and books – You might as well donate them to some charity organization before your sale. These items just sit there, occasionally being picked through but ultimately being passed up for a spatula or one roller skate.

The big movers are electronics. This year, we have ass-loads, as we’ve been upgrading everything from computers to TV’s.

I can hear Steve’s cash register now…cha-ching…cha-ching!!

This year, I’ve also decided to unload all of the Spongebob Squarepants merchandise. I’d almost forgotten just how much of that shit I collected…and most of it’s still in it’s original packaging!! Everyone I know had been giving me items over the years because they knew I was so into it. I can’t believe I fell for the hype. What am I, twelve???

Besides, now I’m really into Transformers…I hear they’re more than meet the eye.

Anyway, you’re all invited over this weekend to gawk at our goodies and buy something. I’m sure you’ll find just what you’re looking for here…but if you can’t, I’ll be buying it right around the corner.

Posted in Our Writings | 2 Comments »

She MUST be talking about straight men…

Posted by Daniel on April 25, 2007

Some things I’ve been told by my jealous hag…

Men Are Just Happier People …

What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put.

The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

Hell, you can wear NO shirt to a water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal.

You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Same work, more pay.

Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress: $5000.00. Tux rental: $100.00.

People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.

Belches and farts are not only acceptable, but practically expected.

New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life.

Your belly usually hides your hips.

One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24th in 25 minutes.

Posted in Just For Fun | Leave a Comment »

It’s About Time

Posted by Daniel on April 24, 2007


The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on government-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of “emblems of belief” allowed on VA grave markers.

Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The settlement calls for the pentacle, whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the VA.

“I am glad this has ended in success in time to get markers for Memorial Day,” Fox said.


The VA sought the settlement in the interest of the families involved and to save taxpayers the expense of further litigation, VA spokesman Matt Burns said. The agency also agreed to pay $225,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

The pentacle has been added to 38 symbols the VA already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

“This settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledging that there are no second class religions in America, including among our nation’s veterans,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represented the Wiccans in the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the agreement also settles a similar lawsuit it filed last year against the VA. In that case, the ACLU represented two other Wiccan churches and three individuals.


VA-issued headstones, markers and plaques can be used in any cemetery, whether it is a national one such as Arlington or a private burial ground like that on Circle Sanctuary’s property.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle (NOT ACCEPTED BY WICCANS) have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.

Posted in Religion | 1 Comment »

A Great Lady Passes

Posted by Daniel on April 23, 2007


Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a seven-term congresswoman from southern California, died late Saturday of cancer.Millender-McDonald, who was 68, died at her home in Carson, California, said her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen.

McQueen could provide no details on what form of cancer Millender-McDonald had. He said she had been receiving hospice care.

The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness.

“Juanita Millender-McDonald was a trailblazer, always advocating for the full participation of all Americans in the success and prosperity of our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The dignity with which she faced her illness was an indication of the determination with which she always served the people of her district.”

Millender-McDonald was in her seventh term representing a heavily Democratic Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles.

I had the great pleasure in meeting Rep. Millender-McDonald in 1999 at a conference in Sacramento. We discussed HIV/AIDS among minorities in urban areas and I found her to be extraordinarily sensitive to and a champion of those suffering from the disease…regardless of their race or orientation.

“She was a dedicated public servant who tirelessly and honorably served her country for many years,” President Bush said in a statement. “We hold Rep. Millender-McDonald’s family, friends, staff, and constituents in our thoughts and prayers.”

Millender-McDonald is the second member of Congress to die this year of cancer. Republican Rep. Charles Norwood Jr. of Georgia died in February after battling cancer and lung disease.

“She was a champion for the consumer and fought injustice wherever she saw it. She always valued public service and served her state and nation with grace and honor,” said California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who served with her in the California state Legislature.

The congresswoman’s son, R. Keith McDonald, had received “temporary emergency release” from a 41-month prison term after his mother had surgery in May 2005, according to the Los Angeles Times. The former Los Angeles water district official was convicted of extortion in a contracts case. Millender-McDonald was never implicated.

The congresswoman, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, worked on former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s unsuccessful 1982 gubernatorial campaign and other local races as a volunteer before getting elected to the Carson City Council in 1990.

She went on to serve in the California state Assembly, and in 1996 sought a U.S. House seat during a special election to replace Rep. Walter Tucker III, who had been convicted of taking bribes while mayor of Compton, California, and of cheating on his taxes.

She won the special election, and in March beat out Tucker’s wife, Robin, in a primary that featured nine Democrats. She won a full House term in November 1996 and has subsequently won re-election easily.

Millender-McDonald has recently worked on issues including election reform and opposing the genocide in Darfur.

She drew national attention in 1996 when she took then-CIA director John Deutch to Watts to address the community following a newspaper report alleging that profits from domestic sales of crack-cocaine were funneled to the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua.

This year Millender-McDonald became chair of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees operations of the House and federal election procedures.

She is survived by her husband, James McDonald, Jr., and five adult children.

Under California election procedures, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has 14 days to set a date for a special election to fill the seat.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Caution: Gay Construction Ahead – Part 10 – We + Wind = Whoopsie!!!

Posted by Daniel on April 22, 2007

It is what it�is.There are just some things that I am not good at.� It’s a bitter pill to swallow (take it from an expert) and really throws a crimp into my whole theory of just how creative and clever I am.� And as sometimes happens, someone or something must pay for my ineptitude.

Take yesterday, for instance.

On what amounted to yet another day of shopping for thingamabobs, doohickies and wachamacalits for both inside and outside the house, we first needed to stop over at Scott and Ray’s house.

They just bought a brand spanking new gas oven and so we decided to buy their practically-new flat-top oven.� A hundred bucks for something much easier to clean than our current electric oven seemed a steal.� And I’m all about making things easier on Steve…especially the cleaning part…which I completely suck at.

So we go ever there to pay for and load up the new oven.� It was a necessary trip anyway, as Steve wanted to drop off a check to Ray for the new super-computer Ray is going to build for him.� “It’s going to make Daniel’s computer look like a Commodore 64.”, Ray said.� And I’ll have you know, mine is pretty top-of-the-line.

Anyway, checks and cash delivered, Steve and I load up the new-ish oven into my truck.� Everything fastened down and steadied, off we go to bring our new treasure home.

Now, it’s only about 4 miles between their house and ours, and most of that is covered by two miles of highway, so it isn’t as though we had a lot of stops at lights between there and here.� In retrospect, maybe that wasn’t such a good thing.

About a mile and a half from home, we’re driving (five miles under the speed limit) and for a moment, we feel the truck lurch.� Keep in mind, this was a particularly windy day, so it isn’t uncommon to feel your vehicle move when you catch the winds just right.

This time, however, we caught the wind just wrong!!� A split second after feeling the truck lurch from the wind, we hear and feel a very loud BANG!!!� I look in the rear view mirror…yup…the oven was hit by the wind, came loose of it’s bracings and flopped face-first onto the bed of the truck, landing very hard on the dolly with which we used to move it.

Steve suggested calmly that I pull over, however I already knew what we’d see, so why bother?� “Let’s just get home.”, I said.

It’s funny the different ways people tend to see certain events.

Steve:� “Well, what are you going to do?� These things happen.� Maybe it was karma saying we really didn’t need the oven and probably would have burnt the house down if we wired it in wrong, anyway.� Hahahaha.”� (he actually did laugh)

Daniel:� “Wouldn’t you know it?!?!� Why??� Why did that happen??� Just LOOK at it!!� It’s completely fucking RUINED!!� We just paid someone $100 for US to cart this now-USELESS piece of shit away!!!� And now we’re going to have to pay the trash collectors even more to haul it away from our house!!!� Fuck…fuck…fuck…fuck…”� (this went on for another thirty minutes)

Steve:� “Do I need to explain the whole karma-thing to you again?”

I suppose he’s right, in a way.� Ironically, as we were pulling out of Scott & Ray’s driveway with the oven, I was singing the old Sanford & Son song.

So yeah, the oven is now trashed.� And once my Xanax kicked in, I found it easier to look at the new $100 piece as lawn art.� At least until trash day.

Today being Sunday means another shopping day.� It’s even more windy outside than it was yesterday.� I believe it’s blowing 25 – 35 mph.� Hmmm…We should go buy a new refrigerator.

Posted in Gay Construction, Just For Fun, Our Writings | 3 Comments »

Could THIS Be The Reason Alberto Gonzales Fired Them?

Posted by Daniel on April 21, 2007

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
________________________________
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory
at all?

WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, “Where am I, Cathy?”
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
____________________________________
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty year old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he’s twenty.
________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh….
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh?
____________________________________________
And the best for last:


ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Posted in Just For Fun | 2 Comments »

Lies – Lies – Lies – Get Out

Posted by Daniel on April 20, 2007

gonzales_bush_illegal.jpgAttorney General Alberto Gonzales confronted a fresh Republican call for his resignation Thursday as he struggled to survive a withering, bipartisan Senate attack on his credibility in the case of eight fired prosecutors.

The best way to put this behind us is your resignation, Sen. Tom Coburn bluntly told Gonzales one GOP conservative to another at a daylong Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Gonzales disagreed and told the Oklahoma senator he didnt know that his departure would put the controversy to rest. I am committed to working with you in trying to restore the faith and confidence you need to work with me, he said.

The exchange punctuated a long day in the witness chair for the attorney general, who doggedly advanced a careful, lawyerly defense of the dismissals of the federal prosecutors. He readily admitted mistakes, yet told lawmakers he had never sought to deceive them, and added he would make the same firings decision again.

At the end of the day I know I did not do anything improper, he said.

But another Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, delivered a virtual invitation for him to step down.

He said the committee would continue its investigation and urged Gonzales to provide additional information. “If you decide to stay on its up to the president,” he said.

Gonzales sat alone at the witness table in a crowded room for the widely anticipated hearing. There was no doubt about the stakes for a member of President Bushs inner circle, and support from fellow Republicans was critical to his attempt to hold his job.

The moment I believe I can no longer be effective I will resign as attorney general, Gonzales said after making it clear he did not believe it had come to that.

The hearing was drawing to a close on Capitol Hill when Bush spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters at the White House, The attorney general has the confidence of the president. … The attorney general acted to replace the U.S. attorneys and there was nothing improper.

Struggling to save his credibility and perhaps his job, Gonzales testified at least 45 times that he could not recall events he was asked about.

After a long morning in the witness chair, Gonzales returned after lunch to face a fresh challenge to his credibility. Why is your story changing? asked Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, noting that the attorney general was now accepting responsibility for the firings after initially saying he had played only a minor role.

In response, Gonzales replied that his earlier answers had been overbroad and the result of inadequate preparation.

The process that led to the firings should have been more rigorous, he added, although he repeatedly defended the decisions themselves.

Gonzales sat alone at the witness table in a crowded hearing room for the widely anticipated hearing. There was no doubt about the stakes involved for a member of President Bushs inner circle, under pressure to resign since the dismissals of the prosecutors.

Gonzales insisted Thursday he played only a small role in the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors. Skeptical senators reacted with disbelief.

“We have to evaluate whether you are really being forthright,” Specter bluntly informed the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Specter said Gonzales’ description was “significantly if not totally at variance with the facts.”

“I don’t want to quarrel with you,” Gonzales replied after Specter asked again whether his was a fair, honest characterization.

Gonzales told the committee there was no impropriety in last winter’s firings and the decision was “justified and should stand.”

Gonzales conceded that “reasonable people might disagree” with the decision. He said the process by which the U.S. attorneys were dismissed was “nowhere near as rigorous or structured as it should have been.”

Offering an apology to the eight and their families, he also said he had “never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people” on that or any other matter.

Majority Democrats expressed skepticism at the attorney general’s testimony.

“Since you apparently knew very little about the performance about the replaced United States attorneys, how can you testify that the judgment ought to stand?” asked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Gonzales whether he had reviewed the evaluation records of the dismissed prosecutors, who Justice Department officials initially said had been fired for inadequate performance. He said he had not.

The attorney general began his turn as a witness after a tongue-lashing from Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee’s chairman.

“Today the Department of Justice is experiencing a crisis of leadership perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history,” said the Vermont Democrat. “There’s a growing scandal swirling around the dismissal” of prosecutors, he added.

Specter offered no more comfort in his opening remarks.

He said the purpose of the hearing was to determine whether the committee believes that Gonzales should remain in office. “As I see it, you come to this hearing with a very heavy burden of proof,” Specter said as Gonzales listened intently, lips pursed, a few feet away.

Posted in Media Matters, Politics | 1 Comment »