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Friday, October 28, 2005

Honoring Rosa

It's official! Rosa Parks will join presidents and war heroes who have been honored in death with a public viewing in the Capitol Rotunda. She will be the first woman to lie in honor in the Rotunda, the vast circular room under the Capitol dome.

Today the United States House of Representatives passed by voice vote a resolution allowing Parks to be honored in the Capitol on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American." On Thursday night the United States Senate approved the resolution.

The nation has determined it wants to honor the spark that set the fire of the civil rights movement in the United States nearly fifty years ago. It's very fitting to honor this quiet she-ro in this way.

There are several groups planning to lobby to make Rosa Parks' birthday, February 4th, or December 1st, the day she refused to give up her seat, a national holiday. The nation can show its appreciation in a lasting tribute for the courage she showed during a time of great danger.

*Getting Closer to the Answer to the 64 Million Dollar Question

In the Fitzgerald investigation Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter' Libby Jr., was charged today with obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak investigation. Mr. Libby has tendered his resignation and left the White House.

The grand jury indictment charged Libby, 55, with one count of obstruction of justice, two of perjury and two false statement counts. If convicted on all five, he could face as much as 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines

Karl Rove, President Bush's closest adviser, escaped indictment Friday but remained under investigation. Like the prosecutor in the vintage detective films or television law and order programs, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald seems to be saying to Rove "you're not out of the woods yet". Rove's legal status is a continuing political problem for the White House, because the investigation contiues to shed light on the president's and vice president's push to war in Iraq.

*Reference to post of July 26, 2005

Harriet Miers Steps Down

The "pit bull in size 6 shoes", (that's how the president describes his White House counsel), has requested her name be withdrawn from nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.
* "Dear Mr. President:
I write to withdraw as a nominee to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I have been greatly honored and humbled by the confidence that you have shown in me, and have appreciated immensely your support and the support of many others. However, I am concerned that the confirmation process presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country."

Harriet Miers , who is at best an okay lawyer and a very loyal friend to President George Bush, but an unbelieveably inadequate nominee for the Supreme Court made the request and the president has complied. It's a good thing that before he did even more damage to Miers and his own political fortunes Bush recognized his error and accepted her request to be removed from consideration for position on the highest court in the land.

Like the old Marvin Gaye song our president is a "Stubborn Kinda Fella". His greatest weakness is he is disinclined to admit mistakes and then correct them. This time Bush's retreat is a solid indication that with indictments looming for his top advisors, the low murmurings of a possible rebellion among conservative members of the Republican party began to grow into a loud roar, over this Supreme Court nomination and the probablity that it would be rejected, that this is an embattled White House. The president, in his second term, is either getting smarter(?) or he's getting better advice (?). He realizes another victory with serious losses is as, if not more so, debilitating for him and the country than if he just conceded in order to do battle another day.

Bush covered his retreat on Miers by stating he was defending confidentiality of White House counsel's records.
** "I understand and share her concern, however, about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation process. It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel."
Rather than pursue this nomination the president did the right thing. It's a bit unsettling to know he did for perhaps what might be considered the imprecise reason the right thing for a change.

On the other hand maybe he's right to protect the confidentialilty of Miers' White House files. It's widely accepted she obviously lacked the qualifications to sit on the nation's highest court. If her records as the White House counsel are anything like the judicial questionnaire she submitted--it was so weak the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to redo it; or her published writings--so vacuous they undermined her solid record as a corporate lawyer in Texas, then he did well to withdraw her name upon her request. Her personal visits with senators created so much confusion that aides suggested they be curtailed. Despite the appearance of Miers as being a walking calamity he repeated over and over that she was a woman of strong character and sound legal philosophy who would make a fine justice. Bush kept repeating how she would be confirmed and how the country would come to know and appreciate her as Bush did. It was Bush's "Stay the course" the judicial re-mix.

Several items are now on the presidential "To Do" list. They include deciding whom to nominate to the Supreme Court. Larry from the Department of Justice or Alberto the head of the Department of Justice.Both are are considered to be top contenders for the position. Another item is how to pump up that presidential approval rating. Political scientists have noted the president's rating improves when he makes an appeal to the entire country. Communicating to the right wing extremists will only compound his perception as being politically isolated.

Memo to George Walker Bush: Mr. President, you've three more years to lead this nation. Please do not squander anymore time in office on the critics in the right wing faction of your party. The nation, as a whole needs you.

    *From Harriet Miers' letter to President Bush withdrawing her name as a nominee to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.
    **From the president's statement withdrawing the name of Harriet Miers for nomination to the United States Supreme Court.