Monday, October 24, 2005

Weekend updates, indictment watch, and more!

After finally getting out of the office on Saturday, the weekend went well. Had a good time hanging out with my college roommate and doing our fantasy basketball auction/draft (this year it's 9th place or bust!!), drinking too much, etc. Sunday morning featured an early wake-up followed by my first long group-run since being cleared to resume marathon training. My last long run had been 6 miles. The coach suggested I do between 4-6, but the Sunday coach suggested trying to do 8. Was able to accomplish that without too much trouble (though my legs are a bit rubbery this morning, I think that's more due to their forced inactivity). That means this coming Saturday will be 11 miles (while the rest do 12) and after that, I'll be back up with everybody else. No feet problems at all...so, good news!

Unfortunately, running 8 miles made me pretty useless for the rest of the day on Sunday (though I did manage to make the Argonaut Sunday night). Didn't even watch much football, and I was asleep long before the conclusion of last night's World Series game. And today it's back to the grind at work. Oh heavenly joys...

So...what do we have to look at today?

For starters, everybody is on "indictment watch" (I refuse to call it "Fitzmas" until it happens) as the special prosecutor appears headed towards awarding Karl Rove and Scooter Libbey their own personal showcase showdowns.
Fitzgerald is expected to give final notice to officials facing charges as early as Monday and may convene the grand jury on Tuesday, a day earlier than usual, to deliver a summary of the case and ask for approval of the possible indictments, legal sources said. The grand jury is to expire on Friday unless Fitzgerald extends it.
So, it would appear that either tomorrow or the day after, we should hear something (one way or another). What's amazing, however, is how the Republicans are already trying not to distance themselves from indictments, but to spin them as "technicalities" involving political actions. Senator Hutchinson of Texas went so far as to call perjury a "technicality" yesterday. Huh? Look me in the eye, Senator and tell me that if these were Democrats you'd say the same thing. I suppose the good news was that some in the GOP are calling for anyone indicted to resign their position.

Worse will be the credibility problem in the White House. McClellan (how will he stonewall reporters once the indictments are unsealed?) appears to have bold-faced lied to reporters. Could he end up indicted as well? We can only guess. As usual, it's the cover-up of a two-bit "crime" that makes things worse for those involved. Personally, I can't wait for their mug shots. I wonder if they've have that creepy Tom DeLay smile?

If DeLay's problems and the potential leak-indictments weren't bad enough for the GOP, Senator Frist's troubles over his stock sale continue to mount. It would appear that his "totally blind" trust wasn't so blind after all. According to the Post's story:
Since 2001, the trustees have written to Frist and the Senate 15 times detailing the sale of assets from or the contribution of assets to trusts of Frist and his family. The letters included notice of the addition of HCA shares worth $500,000 to $1 million in 2001 and HCA stock worth $750,000 to $1.5 million in 2002. The trust agreements require the trustees to inform Frist and the Senate whenever assets are added or sold.

The letters seem to undermine one of the major arguments the senator has used throughout his political career to rebut criticism of his ownership in HCA: that the stock was held in blind trusts beyond his control and that he had little idea of the extent of those holdings.

Yes, yes...this is probably nothing in the long term (though it should be noted that this is what Martha Stewart went to prison for). But the damage to Frist's political reputation has already been done (this hasn't been a good year for the heart surgeon turned politician - first his 'diagnosis' of Terry Schiavo and that mess, then his flip-flop of stemcell research, now this....). He would like to be President. Does anyone honestly believe that's going to happen at this point?

The damage to the GOP's reputation keeps getting worse and worse - it's getting to the point where Democrats can imply that "Republican = Criminal." Plus there's the Iraq debacle, which is poised to cross the 2,000 American deaths mark any day. And Harriet Miers' nomination to the SCoUS, where the appropriate word appears to be "doomed."

But, you ask...what about fun stuff? Well...I aim to please...

Salon has a fascinating read this morning about the legal war over a condom patent. It actually describes one person involves as the "Leonardo of condom design." ;)

Lot's of newspapers and publications review Iris Chang's apparentlymagnificent biography of Mao, which the NYT says "methodically demolishes every pillar of Mao's claim to sympathy or legitimacy." The review goes on to say:
...this is a magisterial work. True, much of Mao's brutality has already emerged over the years, but this biography supplies substantial new information and presents it all in a stylish way that will put it on bedside tables around the world. No wonder the Chinese government has banned not only this book but issues of magazines with reviews of it, for Mao emerges from these pages as another Hitler or Stalin.
Which is something I've long contended - that when the "final history" of the 20th century is written, Mao will go down as it's greatest killer - a sociopath who killed through neglect as part of his meglomania.

And that's it for now. More later.

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