Sunday, October 23, 2005

This is a four-parter. It was also written over the course of 36 hours, so bear with me.

(1) The Roman Catholic church held a synod consisting of 250 biships to shore up church policy on things like whether or not priests should be allowed to marry in order to shore up their dwindling numbers. "No."

They also discussed whether or not politicians could be denied communion if they support laws antiethical to the church.

But no blanket recommendation was made on whether the politicians should be denied Communion, with a final proposal saying local bishops "should exercise the virtues of firmness and prudence taking into account concrete local situations."

The issue gained attention during the 2004 presidential campaign when St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said he would deny the Eucharist to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights. Other church leaders said they were not comfortable denying Communion and the U.S. bishops' conference is studying the issue.

The concusion here is clear. If a politician answers to another government -- and Rome is a foreign government -- then they are unelectable. You either answer to the American people or you don't. If your ethical obligations prevent you from fulfilling that duty, then it prevents you from fulfilling that duty.

Transitive property. Learned that one around fifth grade.

(2) Some of you may have heard (and it's funny how many of you haven't) that Judy Miller, a New York Times reporter of considerable and dubious fame, was released from prison after her source in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson leak case sent her a letter indicating that she could reveal her source for the leak. That source happens to be "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's right-hand man.

Judy claimed she initially refused to testify about her source for the leak in front of a grand jury because she was not convinced Libby's previous lawyer-delivered 'you may reveal your source' offers were uncoerced. After eighty-five days in jail, Libby personally sent Judy another letter indicating he was OK with her testifying about the leak.

Just yesterday, in responding to her own editor's public and published lament that Judy had blurred the journalistic line by way of personal "entanglement" with Libby, Mrs. Miller insisted that her relationship with Libby was purely professional.

Here's where it gets interesting.

In his letter to the jailed Miller in which he released her from her journalistic obliation to protect her source, Libby felt it was relevant to note that all other journalists interviewed by special prosecutor Fitzpatrick had cleared his name.

Why would Libby feel the need to release Judy from her obligation to protect her source only to preface that release with the observation that nobody else had implicated him?

Even more cryptically, Libby added, "Out west, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

If Libby had written "the leaves will be changing color soon" who would have thought twice about it? But to talk about the root entanglement angle? Miller's roots are in Washington politics and have been for years. I'd buy it if she was hearing from a distant grandmother with a penchant for horticulture minutae. Not when it's an aside written by a highest-level White House figure under scrutiny and possible indictment to a reporter who apparently has information implicating the same.

For all the neocons rolling their eyes, would they be rolling if this was Clinton's administration?

If this doesn't qualify as a "keep your mouth shut, we're all in this together" code, what would?

Have I mentioned that Fitzpatrick, the special prosecutor, is a Bush appointee? Makes it a real bitch to paint him as a partisan hack with an agenda. Bush himself has commended Fitzpatrick for handling himself and this investigation professionaly.

Call me nuts but I read that bit of poetic license as "everyone else has kept their mouth shut and everything will work out just fine if you keep yours shut too."

(3) Speaking of which, every time I see a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker I coo "you're gonna be indicted." This is accompanied by a little dance.

I'm sure it looks very strange.

(4) Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was good. No comparison to the original, though. But really they should have called it Michael Jackson Spends Every Scene Looking Alternately Confused, Bemused and Annoyed While Telling Four Very Annoying Kids To Fuck Off.

But if they did that you wouldn't have to see the movie.

"Hey, swings! ... But it still sucks!"


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