Saturday, October 29, 2005

What a great day

Okay, so I sleep in, have breakfast with my family, go get a new air filter and put it in my car, pile everyone in the car, get some McDonald's for lunch, and head out to California farm country. We went to some apple orchards, small stores, a cider mill, and in general just had a fantastic time. Finally, we went to Kristi's (my wonderful fiancee) aunt's house to hang out and have dinner. All of this was great fun.

Adding to this fun: Fitzmas Day. Irving Lewis (Scooter) Libby was indicted on two counts of perjury, two counts of false statements and one count of obstruction. And you know, it's not over. Here's why.

First of all, Libby was the most egregious offender, and got nailed to the wall, but Fitzgerald pointed out that the grand jury's work is not done. Karl Rove is still in hot water, as Fitzgerald can indict him (Rove's own lawyer said he's not cleared yet) on breaking the IIPA. The indictment speaks about "Official A" telling Libby he spoke to Robert Novak and Novak was the outer, running the column with that info about Plame. Furthermore, Fitzgerald also said that the obstruction has kept him from learning things crucial to this case. For instance, it's pretty obvious "Official A" is Rove, but there's also the unnamed undersecretary of state, who seems to resemble a certain John Bolton, and remember, much of the speculation about the abetters in this treasonous action focuses on Bolton's aide, CIA's Fred Fleitz, and David Wuermser. They probably have some more answering to do as well.

I think that Fitzgerald used today as a warning to everyone else to cooperate or they, too, will be indicted. Five counts means he wasn't screwing around, not to mention saying there is still grand jury work to be done. The White House has a lot to worry about right now, and honestly should breathe a sigh of relief that Miller and Cooper stalled for so long on revealing sources, because this case could've been brought one year ago, Fitzgerald said, if they hadn't been stalled. Can you imagine if this happened a year ago? We'd be talking to President Kerry right now. Indictments in Iran-Contra killed Bush's father in 1992.

This was Act I today. The rest, including how many, are yet to be known. Either way, this administration is facing a nasty precipice, and I'd hate to be there. If Bush is to save himself, he needs to clean house completely right now. I think it's quite possible that Cheney may soon resign for "health reasons," because the spotlight may soon get too intense on him, further damaging this group of rabid ideologues.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers withdraws, what's next?

So, Harriet Miers pulled her own plug this morning on her nomination to the Supreme Court, presumably because she blew the questionnaire the Senate Judiciary Committee sent her and was rapidly losing senatorial support. Oh, and her responses to the questions of various senators in individual meetings were contradictory, leading to more public ridicule.

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and beat up on her. While I said that she's basically an FOB who got a JOB, and has too much allegiance to the executive (which is a major separation of powers issue), she seems to be a wonderful person, and really took a beating from everyone. I'm hoping now that everyone backs down, allows her to get back to work as counsel, and leaves her be.

What does this say for Bush, though? Politically, I believe he's running scared. Some of my liberal friends are worrying that this means a Scalia originalist (look, I don't like him much, but he writes some well-argued opinions) or a crazy Janice Rogers Brown nomination. I know the conservatives love Brown, but she scares the hell out of a lot of people, and she would ignite the nuclear option for certain. Right now, polls are consistently showing that Democrats are now more trusted on issues, and they would certainly unite, and could point to any use of the nuclear option as a corrupt party structure ramming through whatever they want. Given DeLay's indictment, Frist's SEC troubles, the pending indictments of Rove and Libby, and the FEMA disasters, the Republicans have serious problems, and cannot afford to ram through anyone without pissing off more people. A judicial fight might fire up the conservative base, but liberals have got their spine up, and they have greater support from Americans.

It's not like Republicans could successfully use a judicial fight to boost their chances at keeping Congress next year. A majority of DeLay's district has turned on him, Libby Dole has done an awful job of candidate recruitment, a host of Republican senators are at the bottom of approval ratings in the latest state-by-state poll figures, and Democrats have gotten several Iraq veterans to run, helping to blow up the argument that Dems can't fight. It's not a good climate for them right now to play power games.

What does this mean? Well, I personally believe that Bush may have used Miers as a stalking horse to bring Alberto Gonzales out as his next nominee, and while the right detests him too, he has a serious leg up on Miers in experience and judicial background. Furthermore, the advice that the president is likely to be getting these days is coming from more moderate people like Andy Card. Rove's influence is waning, and may soon be gone. Cheney is more withdrawn than before. Condi Rice is moderate on court issues like affirmative action, so I wouldn't expect the president to go far right with Miers' replacement. Between the change in advisor influence and his virtually complete loss of political capital, he can't afford a fight, and he's going to try and placate. It will be interesting to see whether Bush has it in him for another fight. He's only won with Roberts this year, and that's because the new chief justice is so freaking smart that it would've been a miracle from God Himself if he'd gone down.

When you can't sleep

you blog. Or read blogs. Or play a game.

Or find hilarious (yet true) stuff like this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Merry Fitzmas! (I think)

CBS and blogger Steve Clemons are both reporting that Patrick Fitzgerald will issue five indictments tomorrow in the Valerie Plame case, which will be sealed, and then a press conference on Thursday to announce them. Oh, it's beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pharmacist morality, my ass

Read this story and tell me if you still think pharmacists should be allowed to exercise their own judgment over a doctor. If you still say yes, you are in need of serious help.

To summarize, a 20-year old was raped by a neighbor, and desperately sought out the morning after pill. Many pharmacies she called did not have it in stock, and when she found one, the pharmacist refused. On "moral grounds." To a woman who had been raped.

The head of the Arizona Catholic Conference said that rape is a case in which they are fine with the use of Plan B, and that the Church understands such situations are mitigating circumstances. Apparently this pharmacist doesn't feel rape is a good enough reason. This woman, unless she has an abortion, now will have to carry the baby of a rapist, and possibly deal with any STD's he might have had as well. Rape is bad enough, but why do people then feel the need to pile on? She needed the damn pill, and this is why people with a valid prescription should never have to explain themselves to some pharmacist, and that pharmacist should always fill the prescription. Plan B is not an abortofacient, it simply stops fertilization from occuring, and while one shouldn't always use it, it is sometimes necessary. A pharmacist does not and should not have the right to say no.