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January 21, 2009

Finally Putting Aside Childish Things...

...the clown parade continues apace:

There is simply no excuse for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts bungling the presidential oath of office to such an extent that Barack Obama might need to do it again, at least in private, to ensure the legality of his inauguration.

Roberts should be impeached and removed from office for this unforgivable error.

I suppose I should not be surprised. One of the Democrats I watched the Inauguration with thought he did it on purpose. She went on at great length about it. I just let it go. What else could I do when faced with the truthiness?

Conservatives are that way, you know. People who think like that like to humiliate ourselves on national TV for no apparent reason. Sheer malice, perhaps?

They're not really human, you know.

At any rate after 8 long years, the adults are finally in charge again and we can finally put away the childish, divisive politics of the past. With this new wind of unity and cooperation sweeping across the land, it's becoming clearer than ever that all of our problems were caused by those vicious, vengeful Republicans.

Is "misfeasance" even a word? :p

Posted by Cassandra at January 21, 2009 06:36 AM

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Is "misfeasance" even a word? :p

Yes ma'am. I find that if I'm unsure about a definition of a word, typing the word, plus the term "definition" into a "googlebox" is generally helpful.

On a more substantive note, sure there are those on the right and the left which make big to-do's about nothing -- in highly charged (often partisan) terms. That's not news, Lord knows.

If I understand Obama aright, however, a foundational precept of his philosophy is exactly opposite to the notion that process and progress is aided by such hyper partisanship. Let us hope that such an attitude infuses our discourse and dealings. Perhaps instead of simply "letting pass" such remarks your companion made, you would do yourself, her, and the entire gathering a better service by making some such reference . . .

Posted by: Overton, J. at January 21, 2009 09:42 AM

Immediately following the event the AP blamed Obama for stepping on Roberts, who grew flustered at said stepping before recatching his stride. By late afternoon the AP was primarily blaming Roberts and saying Roberts had 'admitted that it was his fault' (as if he was going to do anything else given 1) the fact that he's a decent, adult person; and 2) the situation). By this morning, of course, the conventional wisdom is that he not only screwed up, but did so on purpose. Memes mature quickly nowadays. Not that there's anything surprising about any of this. When you and your circle always act one way you start to believe everyone acts that way. Examples: If you have little respect for the Constitution, you effortlessly accuse your opponents of 'shredding' it. Why not? You would. If you use law enforcement to spy on citizens with no evidence that they had anything to do with anything (say, after the OK city bombing), you effortlessly accuse people spying on terrorists of spying on 'innocent American grannies' for kicks. Why not? You would. If you spend 8 years disrespecting the Republican President more than child molesters and genocidal dictators, you effortlessly accuse a (presumably) Republican justice of intentionally botching the oath of office of a liberal President. Why not? You would. It's all like arguing with a child who put their hands over their ears and started yelling "lalalalala" more than 8 years ago.

Posted by: Falze at January 21, 2009 10:20 AM

Is "misfeasance" even a word? :p


I know how to use Google, though Merriam Webster is better for the purpose (which is what I used before typing the humorous sentence above.

Hence the emoticon :) Come on. It is a funny sounding word, is it not? And archaic, to boot.

I let the remark go because my companion has a history of becoming overly angry when crossed and it ruins the day for everyone. Yesterday wasn't the day for that.

It's not hard to get along with other people. Sometimes, that involves biting your tongue even when you'd rather not - such as the moment in my own home when I had to listen to two guests (who are well aware of my strong support for the outgoing President) yammer on about how 'we've had 8 years of stupid ... and how it would be a relief to have 4 years of smart".

Not having gotten the desired rise out of me due to a promise made to myself to keep politics out of a family gathering, they then felt impelled to repeat the remark to make *sure* I'd heard it.

I've generally found that a bit of wordless eye contact, gently and quietly maintained, is often more productive in inducing the realization that one has stepped over the line than all the recriminations in the world - mostly because if such people had any sense they wouldn't say such things in the first place :p

re: the Roberts thing.

I kind of liked what Obama said: they were both nervous. And it is really not a big deal.

Which was my take at the time - I thought, "Oops!" and very little more of it until the comments about who was to blame (which frankly hadn't occurred to me, and about which I couldn't have cared less). It was supposed to be a solemn oath and I was sorry there was a hiccup.

If that's the biggest problem we have for the next four years, I think we can all consider ourselves very lucky.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 21, 2009 10:38 AM

Yeah, I watched it again. When the other justice gave the oath to Biden, he said "I Joe Whatever Biden the Fourth do solemly swear", which Biden repeated. He gave the oath in long stretches, which Biden, being a professional gasbag, was easily able to mimic.

You know how when you get married they give you the vows in smaller portions? Well, after Roberts said "I, Barack Hussein Obama" and was starting to say "do solemly swear", Baracky interrupted and said "I Barack Hussein Obama" as if he was getting married. That's when it derailed.

But it was Robert's fault, because Roberts is a Bush appointee. And he should be impeached. Today. This minute.

Posted by: MathMom at January 21, 2009 10:42 AM


I noticed the same thing, MathMom (the interruption).

My husband that horrible Repub said, "He should have given it to Obama in smaller doses". And I thought, "yep". But Stevens didn't do that with Biden. But also I don't really care about assigning blame.

It wasn't a long oath and people really need to stop playing "gotcha". It happened. Sheesh - it's just a human thing and not really such a big deal.

What I found interesting was defining down the grounds for impeachment :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 21, 2009 10:48 AM

And don't forget, we've spent the last 8 years collectively failing to make hard choices. Because the last 8 years have been *so* politically easy. /sarcasm

But at least science, like Prince Caspian, will be restored to it's rightful place, having being driven into hiding by Uncle Bush and his newborn progeny, the Christianist Right.

Of course, characterizing your predecessor in these ways aren't petty grievances and recriminations. We put an end to that already.

But what's even more, it's educating to learn that our new president believes the founders, who would have said it's not the governments job to "help[s] families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified" are just a bunch of cynics with "stale political arguments".

It takes a certain level of classlessness to jab barbs at your predecessor in your inauguration speech, it takes a whole new level to do so to the country's founders.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2009 10:54 AM

I should have warned the Chief Justice before giving him that book on spd rdng. I haven't spoke a full sentence correctly in ten years. But I can get throught the New York Times in less tht three minutes. Just chuck out everything but the sports section, and then only read about the Giants.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 21, 2009 11:12 AM

The Roberts' thing: My take was just plain embarrasment for the both of them.

School children fifty years from now will chuckle at them both when watching the swearing in of the first Black President.

Poor guys.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2009 11:13 AM

to such an extent that Barack Obama might need to do it again, at least in private, to ensure the legality of his inauguration.

Heh. If this oath works like all the others - it's the one you *sign* that counts. So, unless there's no signed form (like I signed when commissioned) there's no issue.

That's all I got to offer on this.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 21, 2009 11:17 AM

but..but..but didn't Obama interrupt the Good Justice to begin with?

Or was I just not Paying Enough Attention to the Nuance?

Posted by: Cricket at January 21, 2009 11:32 AM

Like two nervous teenagers at their first dance, they were stomping all over each other's toes.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2009 12:09 PM

Cricket, Cricket, Cricket,

You simply don't understand the urgency of the situation. Of course Obama interrupted the Gay Chief Justice Roberts. There is a planet to save, oceans are rising, unicorns are dying! Obama could not wait for a stammering, stuttering, incompetent Bush stooge to slowly administer the oath, when the Long National Nightmare should have been over 15 seconds earlier!

Posted by: MathMom at January 21, 2009 12:11 PM

- John of Argghhh!-

"it's the one you *sign* that counts"

As far as legalities go, you are correct. However, each time I reenlisted, I looked at it this way. The signed paper is a contract and a contract can be broken if you have a good lawyer. In taking the oath, however, I gave my word. That is something that I do not break.

Posted by: Charodey at January 21, 2009 12:16 PM

The word they want to use to complain about Chief Justice Roberts is "malfeasance", not "misfeasance", as they are claiming it was intentional, not accidental.

I think that they were both over-rehearsed, and more importantly, wrongly-rehearsed. I'd bet that they had each said the oath at least a hundred times aloud the day before, and that morning, and never as actors "running lines" do, where you say your line, wait for the other line, then say your next. They both learned it, committed it to memory, and to mouth-muscle memory, as a single thing, not as a sequence of call-reply. Then they were each battling with their own memory, their own mouths, and trying to fit to the other. They actually did very well!

Posted by: htom at January 21, 2009 12:16 PM

Charodey - in that context, certainly. Are you suggesting that President Obama will hide behind the verbal fillip to mentally absolve himself of the oath?

And, for the record, when I administered (and still do, in fact - odd thing about being a Regular, the commission is still in force in that regard) the oath, I always did it from memory.

No reading from cards for me.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 21, 2009 12:22 PM

John of Argghhh! - No, I had no intent to suggest that President Obama will use a verbal slip for such a purpose. I don't like his politics at all, but I think that he is a least as sincere as any other politician.

I was just making an observation on the way I feel about a legal contract as opposed to giving my word. Just a matter of personal honor for me that the oath is more important than the contract, but others may see it differently.

Posted by: Charodey at January 21, 2009 01:03 PM

I think there are a couple or three disturbing trends in this blog thread:

1) I don't know how fast memes are supposed to mature, but the fact they are maturing faster than ever is quite disturbing.

2) "Gay Judge Roberts?" Yes, Cass usta have a picture of him with a fruity hat on, but how can we hope to progress with that sort of label affixed to the Chief Justice of the United States?
If a certain blogger from the "Atlantic" who shall remain nameless, was constantly referred to as "Gay ____ _____", there would be hate speech indictments being handed out, hourly. Even though said person is a ______ ______ _____ and a _____ besides.

3) spd rdr is a Giants fan. Enuff said.

See what I mean? Disturbing.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 21, 2009 01:19 PM

"The burden of hope, of change, is not simply the President's, but a shared mission given to all Americans."

So, if there's no change, it'll be *our* fault?

Posted by: BillT at January 21, 2009 01:35 PM

To a democrat, everything that fails is always someone elses fault, so why *not* that one.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2009 02:44 PM

Don Brouhaha -

If you thought my comment about Chief Justice Roberts was for real, I've lost my touch. I'd better just put my keyboard down and back away from it slowly with my hands in the air.

Posted by: MathMom at January 21, 2009 02:46 PM

Looked up the word misfeasance on the free dictionary.
It is a word and here is the info.

Posted by: Mike at January 21, 2009 03:06 PM


Of course your comment was "real". Everything here is "real". There are other, important questions to be answered here, though, about rapidly maturing memes (or is that mimes?).

The situation is desparate, but not necessarily serious. Are you taking me too seriously? :)
Inquiring minds have already figgered this one out, as the Princess of Blogoslovia has again put up the fruity picture of the Honorable Chief Justice John Roberts. Gay, or not gay, that is the question.

Have you all no shame? Ok, that was a bad question, too.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha, not gay or a judge at January 21, 2009 03:45 PM

I have no shame, but I do have a cold. This may explain some things.

Posted by: MathMom at January 21, 2009 05:30 PM

I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night.

*running away*

Posted by: MathMom's Bratty Younger Sister at January 21, 2009 05:35 PM

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 21, 2009 11:13 PM

So, I has a question for the legal eagles: Can a word out of sequence in a sentence (according to Miss Ladybug's link) make that much of a difference?

Posted by: Cricket at January 25, 2009 02:11 AM