Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito's the new pick

With breathtaking speed (gee, do you think Smirky had this possibility in mind when he nominated Miers?), Smirky the Chimp pandered to his far-right base and nominated Samuel Alito for O'Connor's spot on the Supreme Court. The obvious mark against Alito (whom many are calling "Scalito", for his resemblance on matters ideological to current nutjob Justice Scalia) is that he is on record for believing that pregnant wives should be legally bound to notify their husbands that they are choosing to have an abortion. He is also on record as thinking that "Congress ha[s] no authority to regulate private gun possession", even when that refers to currently illegal machine guns. More troubling still, Alito "rejected as unconstitutional the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act allowing state employees to sue their states for failure to provide them with the leave mandated under the Act. His opinion shows that he does not consider "disparate impact"” on women to be a sufficient ground for finding discrimination."
The real question about this nominee, though, is, can the Democrats stop him from being confirmed? Can they convince enough moderate Republicans (if any really exist, which I doubt) that this guy is too far out there? And if not, can they at least rein in wayward (or simply ignorant) Democrats to successfully filibuster him and then secure enough Republicans to defeat the "nuclear option" that will be sure to follow?
We didn't know much about Roberts, and knew even less about Miers, so Dems had no sure footing on which to stand any oppositional ground. This guy, however, we know to be an activist judge hellbent on proscribing federal power from helping citizens. This guy is a clear and obvious danger to all of our rights. Alito must be defeated, or we all lose.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Libby's Libby's Libby's going to jail jail jail

I don't know what to make of the indictments against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. (Nice nickname there, Lewis. What, is this 1934 and you're a 10-year-old ragamuffin?) While it's obvious Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has Libby dead to rights, it was disappointing that Libby is the only one he could file charges against. I mean, the Chief of Staff for the Vice President? Most people don't even know who the Chief of Staff for the President is, let alone what he does--and without The West Wing most of the rest of us wouldn't even know that. Perhaps Fitzgerald has more up his sleeve, and this is just the first thread he's pulled on to unravel this ugly tapestry of evil, but he's definitely not talking. It seems unlikely that Libby would rat out his bosses, though, even when faced with multiple felony counts and perhaps over a decade in the hole, so waiting for him to roll over on Cheney, Rove, Smirky, or any of the other lesser scumbags is probably a waste of time.
The fact that Fitzgerald did not charge Libby with outing Valerie Plame, though, is curious. How can he hope to prove that Libby lied about revealing Plame's existence without arguing that he did indeed pass on Plame's identity to Novak and the rest of the loyalist media spokespersons? Is that missing charge supposed to be some sort of Damocletian sword hanging over "Scooter" intended to pressure him to play ball? We can only hope . . .

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chemo 5

It's been said that any day that ends up with you in the ER isn't a good day. And if no one has said that, let me be the first. My fifth treatment was brutal, but not because of nausea, oddly enough. In fact, I don't think anyone really knows what happened. The nurse for Wednesday offered me a bed for the day, which was a real treat, or so I thought, because having to sit upright for 6 hours while poisons drip into my veins hasn't been much fun so far. I thought lying down might allow me to get some rest, which it did, but at the end of the day when I tried to sit up and leave, bad things began to happen. I've done some stupid things to my body over the course of my life--I've given myself alcohol poisoning (from overdrinking, of course) and tobacco poisoning (from smoking a cigar incorrectly) among other things, and this felt just like those experiences. I felt slightly dizzy and light-headed, with pins-and-needles feelings coursing over my arms and legs. Added to the profuse sweating pouring off my clammy head and the plummeting blood pressure that was undoubtedly occurring, I was incapable of remaining upright. Unlike a regular fainting spell, though, lying down didn't really help all that much, as I began to have recurrences of these symptoms even while prone over the next few hours. That was unnerving to say the least, since it gave me no remedy to try. The nurses thought I was simply having a low blood sugar reaction, but their palliative juice bottles and saltines did nothing to relieve my torment. They were out of ideas, and since the clinic closes at 8 and there are no doctors on call anyway, they had no recourse but to send me off the UCLA ER.
After a good 5 hours of additional waiting and suffering, the ER doc had nothing better to suggest than IV fluids (an additional measure to guard against my non-low-blood sugar count) and a shot of Atavan, which is a combo anti-nausea and knockout drug, as far as I can tell. TBO and I didn't make it back home until 2AM, by which time I was at least able to be vertical.
What really happened? All I know is that I am not going to take my last treatment lying down! Ick.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mierd [sic] in the morass

Who on earth is Harriet Miers, and why did Smirky nominate her? I'm afraid we may never know, if early indications of blockage from the right-wing are to be believed. Many bloggers, politicians, and even some respectable people on the far side are questioning Miers' competence or suitability for a seat on the Bench. The fact that she thinks Smirky is the most brilliant man she's ever met should be enough to disqualify her from holding any position requiring intelligence, but that's not why the right wing is upset, of course. They're bummed because she isn't conservative enough--as if anyone who could stomach being house counsel for anyone associated with this Administration could be anything but a rock-ribbed loon! I suppose the problem for the right wing is that Smirky hasn't lived up to all their dreams, but in that they are quite mistaken. He has done more than even the Grand Wizard (Reagan) himself to push the Norquist-Atwater-Rove vision of destroying the federal government to its conclusion. The problem for the right wing isn't that Smirky isn't catering to them anymore, it's that there's nothing more for him to do. He's simply not smart enough not to try and put all his friends in positions of power, and it was Miers' time for a payoff. With all his other top aides and cronies on the verge of being indicted or convicted, he merely wants someone he can trust (and that's not a big circle of people) where she can do the most good for the gang. That those Republicans who aren't so welcome in his inner sanctum (read: actual run-of-the-mill conservatives who want simply a smaller, not an utterly destroyed, federal government) are displeased is kinda funny; what did they expect from this clown? Smirky has done nothing but pay off his nearest and dearest, either with jobs or through federally legislated (or directly paid) windfall profiteering for his entire term of office.
Of course, we don't have a freaking clue who Miers is or what she stands for, and it's extremely unlikely we are going to find out anytime before she's presented for confirmation, given how feeble the attempts to uncover Roberts' actual thoughts were. Is she as bat-shit crazy as Scalia or Thomas? Is she a moderate in disguise like Kennedy? Who can tell? She's never been a judge or held any position of power (unless you count being head of the Texas lottery, which I don't), and her record as an attorney is acres slimmer than Roberts' was. Is cronyism in and of itself a non-confirmation vote rationale for the Democrats? I dunno. It sure didn't stop any of Smirky's cabinet appointments from sailing through unimpeded, even if they were comprised of psychotics like Ashcroft or incompetents like Brown. Is her lack of conservative ideals (as if anyone not "in the know" can figure that out!) enough to have right wing Republicans vote her down? Heck if I know, although it would be nice to see them devouring "one of their own" (we on the left see the resemblance, even if they don't) for a change.