Topic: Chasing the Zeitgeist
Mid-Week Scandals: Handy Scorecard
One of my friends in Brussels sent an email Wednesday asking what's up over here with all these scandals. This was prompted by news there of the indictment of house Republican leader Tom Delay on conspiracy charges. The charge is that he was part of a conspiracy to take corporate contributions to his general organization, money for rent and mailings and other general and administrative costs, quite legal in Texas, send the surplus to the state and nation Republican committees for their general and administrative costs, and the arrange for those group to make contributions of the identical amounts to his friends running for Republican congressional seats. Thus the corporations, which cannot, under Texas law, make contributions to individual candidates, got their money to the specific individuals through the backdoor. The money was "laundered" so to speak. Fungible. Look it up.
DeLay Indicted in Texas Campaign Finance Probe (Newsday)
Texas Law Bans Corporate Cash in Campaigns (Washington Post)
US House leader DeLay resigns after indictment (CBC News, Canada)
Rep. DeLay Calls Indictment 'Baseless' (ABC News)
DeLay ranted about how political and silly the indictment was in a press statement Wednesday afternoon, followed by his appearing on Fox News then MSNBC saying the same thing - and one assumes he'll get around to every show he can. But then? See the Associated Press here: "The next step in the criminal proceedings against Republican leader Tom DeLay is a trip to Austin to be fingerprinted and photographed."
Now one assumes this fall-of-the-mighty was big breaking news in Western Europe as it confirms any number of things many over there think of our cowboy president - an incompetent who has surrounded himself with incompetents and corrupt, power-mad crooks, all of who tell him what he wants to hear and keep him insulated from the real world. Ha! The chickens are coming home to roost, or whatever they say in the version of French they speak in Belgium. I'll have to ask my friend about that. Les poulets viennent à la maison au perchoir? Probably not.
Over here this is naturally a big deal. It may the start of a big power shift, the end of the Bush Era, a meme that has been growing, as noted here and here. And of course that has implications worldwide, even in Brussels.
So much has been said what more can be added here? There is other news. Like this - Woman suicide bomber marks possible new insurgent tactic in Iraq. And then, of interest as my nephew is in the Green Zone in Baghdad, there is this in the Washington Post: "A car bomber penetrated the heavily fortified Green Zone in the center of the capital on Tuesday but was stopped by U.S. Marines at a checkpoint before he was able to detonate the vehicle, the military said." Yes, that's where our embassy is, and where the new Iraqi parliament meets. My nephew has mentioned incoming mortar shells now and then, and circulars warning one could get kidnapped if not careful. Now someone got a car bomb past the gates. Well, it didn't go off.
But the news mid-week was the DeLay indictment. It even got equal time with hurricane stories. If you think of the disintegration of the Bush administration and the years of Republican rule as a drama (and if you assume that is what is happening) - this was a big climax in the plot. Everything suddenly changes, or becomes clear to all - cue the dramatic music (with French horns way up in the high register). Think of the movie "Jaws" - the thump-thump theme (who knew cellos could be so scary?) has you on edge, then the giant shark suddenly leaps out of the water right in your face, and you drop your popcorn. Well, maybe it's not that dramatic.
Of the thousands of comments out there on what happened, putting this is perspective, this one from Digby at Hullabaloo is short and sweet - and I added references in brackets if it's too short for some -
And there's Tim Grieve over at SALON.COM with a more complete list:
Go to any news site and you can find all the stories. The wheels really are falling off.
Perhaps some young entrepreneurial sort will start selling scorecards so you can track this all. Out here at Oscar time the Los Angeles Times offers a handy checklist of all the nominees in all the categories - you pull it out of the entertainment section and mark your predictions of the winners, and when you have everyone over for the Oscar party everyone can pull out his or here checklist and match their guesses with what actually happens, and see who wins. Something like that might be useful here. (I came in second at one of those parties a few years ago.)
Ah well, we'll se what happens with all this. Who goes to jail, who survives it all, who get pardoned, who gets a medal, and where the poll numbers go - and who gets voted off the island. It's actually entertaining in a perverse sort of way.
But my friend in Brussels - actually I have two friends there - probably hasn't heard of the local scandal out here. This one is amazing.
Hospital Skipped Its Own Patients
St. Vincent bypassed nine of its own patients to transplant organ into a Saudi national. The state medical board begins a probe of two doctors.
Charles Ornstein and Rong-Gong Lin II - Los Angeles Times - September 28, 2005
Calling Michael Moore!
Right. Sometimes it's good to be a Saudi.
Yes, a few years ago I managed a department of systems analysts and programmers that maintained the financial systems for this and ten other hospitals that were then part of Catholic Heathcare West - accounts payable, general ledger, materiel, payroll and such things. I've been to many a meeting at Saint Vincent Medical Center. This is just odd. Glad I'm not there now, downloading financial records for the Medical Board of California, for any attorney with a subpoena, and for the feds. Yipes!
What a world. I understand that Osama fellow we haven't been able to find for years has a kidney problem and undergoes dialysis several time a week. If he need a new kidney, and could get to Los Angeles - well, one never knows.
Oh, and by the way, the New York Times reporter, Judy Miller, is still in jail for refusing to reveal her sources - this grand jury investigating the outing of Valerie Plame wants to know who told her what, or what she told them, or something. She may be part of the crime, setting it all up - or not. John Bolton, a man who hated Valerie Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, has visited her in jail, taking time from his duties as our new insult-everyone ambassador to the UN. And she's a martyr for press rights, it seems. It very, very confusing, and mysterious. And it may be a joke.
Here's the Hollywood take on it - Sunset Boulevard and Laurel Avenue, Wednesday, September 28, at the Laugh Factory of all places.