Thanks to all of you who heard my closing remarks while I was hosting the Bill Press show and asked me me to turn it into a blog post. Here’s what I said:
“A couple of final thoughts for all my friends, family, and listeners out there. It does not get more interesting and dramatic in the world of politics and American society then what is going to happen this weekend when the President and Congressional leaders meet at the White House. On Sunday, they are going to know, as the reporting indicates, whether they are going to be able to reach a deal. And keep in mind that the future of our country, who we are as Americans, what kind of society we want to live in, is really going to be determined in the next 48 hours. Are we a society that is going to take care of the poor, the elderly, those who are less fortunate? Are we a society that is going to protect the wealthy, protect the people who can give the most in political donations? Are we a society that is going to let rigid political ideology trump 200 years of credit history and trust worthiness in the United States? All of that is going to be decided in the next 48 hours… Lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — they will know on Sunday whether there is going to be a deal. It will take some time next week if they have a compromise to work out the language and move the legislation forward. But we will know by the time Bill Press is back on the radio 6am Monday morning where our country is headed, whether we are headed towards a constitutional crisis as the President tries to figure out what to do next; whether we are headed to a compromise, and whether that compromise changes the course of democratic values and even republican values. The stakes could not be greater. So, I’m urging all of you, as we are all enjoying the weekend and trying to figure out what we are going to cook for dinner Sunday night and whether we are going to play tennis or softball, keep in mind, so much of who we are as a nation is going to be decided by the politicians this weekend. So please tune in to the Bill Press show monday morning for a complete review. On behalf of Peter Ogburn, Dan Henning, and Bill Press, I’m David Shuster… Thanks for listening everybody. Have a great, safe, and peaceful weekend.
Over two days, baseball great Roger Clemens has been sitting expressionless in the courtroom…until now. One of the potential jurors, an admitted Yankees fan, was asked if he had “any opinions about baseball.” The young man told Judge Reggie Walton, “yes.” Judge Walton asked, “what are those opinions?” The potential juror said, “there are too many teams in major league baseball.” Clemens gave a half smile, chuckled, and bobbed his head up/down. The potential juror went on and added, “also, there should not be a salary cap.” The judge asked, “why is that?” The potential juror replied, “because I’m a Yankeees fan.” More chuckling and smiles from Clemens (and his lawyers.)
Regards from the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.
18 prospective jurors have now been questioned in court in the voir dire (jury selectio)n phase of the Roger Clemens perjury trial. 7 were dismissed for “cause.” 11 others answered questions to the satisfaction of the judge and were instructed to return at 9am on Tuesday 7/12. (Judge Reggie Walton wants 36 before both sides use their peremptory strikes… insuring there will be at least 16 jurors at the end of this process. (12 jurors/4 alternates.) It’s worth noting that opening arguments in this case, if they happen on Tuesday, would come just hours before Major League Baseball’s “All-Star Game.” Talk about timing.A few highlights from today’s voir dire: One member of the jury pool was quickly dismissed this morning because she “thought this was a one day trial” and had serious work conflicts if it wasn’t. Another jury pool member, with a thick Chinese accent, was removed when it became clear that he could barely speak and/or understand English. (Anybody know how the phrase ”human growth hormone” would translate into Chinese?) And a young woman was dismissed after one question when she broke down in tears and wept to the judge about her “difficult pregnancy.” Bravo to each of these citizens for respecting the process and showing up. While the questioning this morning revolved around whether jurors have conflicts, can be fair in their judgments, and are willing to presume Clemens innocent until proven guilty… the hearing was most remarkable when testimony tumbled out about the state of potential jurors’ marriages and sports fanaticism. One woman said she “doesn’t watch sports” but acknowledged that her husband “can’t go to sleep at night until he knows whether the Nationals have won or lost.” She said, “if I’m sitting with my husband and want to be with him, I’ll watch the sports highlights.” I wondered what she meant by the phrase ”be with him…” but the lawyers didn’t follow up. In any case, the woman made it clear she is not a baseball fan. She said, “the last time I went to a game was because it was opera night.” The prosecutor asked, “you didn’t go to see baseball?” She said, “No, I went to watch the opera at the stadium.” La Boheme at a baseball stadium? Anybody in tumblr or twitter land know which franchise she may have been talking about? Several prospective jurors, when asked about their knowledge/interest in sports as expressed on their written questionnaire, spoke about the obsession with Redskins. An elderly, blunt speaking woman who grew up in South Carolina and worked in DC for 40 + years doing H.R. for the marines said, “I’m a redskins fan, it’s something I have to do.” She said she “never watches baseball.” But when the Redskins are playing, “I don’t think anybody can find me.” She then explained, however, that her love of the team “doesn’t keep me from doing other things I have to do.” She prompted widespread laughter in court when she blurted out, ”it’s important to have a DVR or VCR.” The woman was asked if she ever bets or gambles on her sports passion. She responded, again to more laughter, ”just because I’m a die hard redskins fan don’t mean I have to gamble and lose my money.” Indeed. One prospective juror, who made it through the questioning and was instructed to return on Tuesday, initially seemed to know a fair amount about baseball in general and about Clemens in particular. She said she “often attends games,” and even “watched Clemens pitch on several occasions.” She then noted that Clemens had “played for the Red Sox, Astros, and other teams.” Under questioning by the prosecutor, her baseball knowledge came a bit unraveled. She said, “I know that Mr. Clemens is a member of the baseball hall of fame,” (he isn’t) and ”remembered when he was nominated.” (He has not been nominated.) While members of Clemens family appeared to wince, Clemens himself sat at the defense table expressionless. One interesting development about trial strategy: There are already some strong indications that Roger Clemens will not take the witness stand in this trial. With each prospective juror, Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin has been spending several minutes probing whether they understand that the defense has “no obligation” to put on a case or have Mr. Clemens testify. Hardin has repeatedly asked, “if Mr. Clemens does not testify, and you believe the prosecution did not meet every element listed by the judge to get beyond reasonable doubt, would you have any reluctance finding Mr. Clemens not guilty?” One personal observation. The Clemens trial is certainly intriguing. Furthermore, lying under oath to Congress or anybody else is a big deal. Still, if the DOJ felt it was necessary to pursue perjury charges against Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress about steroid use… shouldn’t the DOJ have brought charges against Bush AG Alberto Gonzales for allegedly lying about the politically motivated firings of federal prosecutors?
One more tumblr experiment tonight… This photo is from my favorite coastline in the world… Northern California near Big Sur. Hopefully this photo came through right side up. Thanks again to everybody for the twitter, tumblr, and facebook encouragement… much appreciated.
To all of my facebook and twitter friends/followers, thank you for indulging me as I try to figure out the tumblr thing. Hopefully this picture of my garden went through… If not, back to the drawing board!
Twitter followers, thank you for participating in my tumblr test. I’m trying to figure out how to post tumblr messages on twitter…
Musings about DC news, reporting, politics, and media.