Monday, March 26, 2007

Felons Among Us

I'm beginning to wonder if anyone today can say they have never known a convicted felon.

The number of successful business people, political leaders, moral paragons, neighbors and acquaintances among us who have done time seems to expand so rapidly that, soon, we'll be friendless if we exclude them from our circles.

My personal count is nine, two in the last six years. Their crimes included burglary, drug dealing, armed robbery, fraud and murder. One awaits a surrender date to the federal Bureau of Prisons. Four built decent lives after their release. The fate of the other four, including the murderer, are unknown to me.

A friend wrote me recently about a former colleague police say is a "person of interest" in a murder: "I sure hope he was not involved, but I've have had a bunch of shocking discoveries recently about people I know turning out to be child molesters and such, so who knows."

How many people among the political and media elite can say they've never done business with someone later convicted of a felony? How many degrees of separation are there between dozens of Fortune 500 CEOs and people currently wearing khaki or orange jumpsuits?

Either the moral fabric of our society is fraying badly, or prosecutors and judges are putting far too many people behind bars. Set aside the underlying reason and the fact remains many people are beging forced to re-think their opinions about people who commit crimes.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Who's In Charge Here? George W. Bush

Mike Allen at reports President Bush is interviewing potential replacements for Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General of the United States who placed political loyalty above his duties.

The current scandal over the firing of local federal prosecutors who displeased GOP powerhouses is the best evidence that Bush's entire tenure is based on politics and nothing else. That's because politics is the only arena in which he has ever succeeded. It doesn't matter that his advisors provided the thinking; Bush took the credit and came to believe it really was all about him.

Most Democrats and a growing number of Republicans are toting up the gruesome toll of the administration's failures and asking, "who's in charge here?"

The only possible answer is George W. Bush.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Take That, Delta Zeta

News arrives that the president of DePauw University has kicked Delta Zeta sorority off campus because of the social group's recent purge of the less-than-pretty-and-popular-and-nonwhite members.

University President Robert G. Bottoms told a news conference, "I came to the conclusion that our approaches to these issues are just incompatible." He did not elaborate.

Delta Zeta national kicked out 23 of its 35 DePauw sisters, including all who were overweight as well as the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. Six others resigned in disgust.

Delta Zeta HQ issued a statement saying it was "disappointed."

You go, Bob.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Supreme Court Stops The Iraq War

Congress passes a defense appropriation bill that effectively requires the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq. Bush vetoes it. Congress overrides the veto.

The Supreme Court gets involved because the administration claims congress is usurping Bush's constitutional powers to prosecute a war as he sees fit.

Congress argues the Constitution makes clear it alone holds the federal purse strings, something that has never been contested during any of the nation's wars, declared or not.

The nine justices conclude they don't care to rewrite the Constitution to suit the current president's needs, reaffirm the separation of powers and tell the litigants to deal with the situation amongst themselves.

Utterly defeated politically and constitutionally, Bush lunches with congressional leaders at Nancy Pelosi's home and they work out a reasonable, but prompt, troop withdrawl.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Free Scooter: Vote Democratic

The White House says there is no talk on the Bush team of a pardon for convicted perjurer I. Lewis Libby.

Any kind of pardon is out of the question before the 2008 election. And a full pardon at any time by Bush, something that would wipe out the conviction itself, would confirm the White House threw Scooter to the wolves.

But a Democratic president could pardon Libby and come out ahead.

It would be impossible for anyone to claim self-interest or campaign money were involved in the decision, contentions that played heck with Bill Clinton’s image after his pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich., half-brother Roger and pal Susan McDougal.

And by describing Libby as guilty, but also a victim of his evil bosses’ machinations, a Democratic president would appear statesman-like and compassionate.

Sure, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal would argue the pardon was granted solely to keep the stench of a GOP-bred scandal fresh in the nostrils of voters for as long as possible. But most people would see that factor as nothing more than an unfortunate side of effect of making sure justice prevailed.