Friday, October 28, 2005

Unlikely, But True
(Edited to add link to Salon report.)
So Scooter gets his and Karl twists in the wind. Not exactly the socko Fitzmas Morning we'd hoped for, but good enough for now, as Salon observes. By the time you read this, we'll know exactly what special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has got, and what the counterattack will be like. (Eric Muller at Is That Legal suggests--jokingly, I think--that He Who Shall Not Be Named might try appointing Fitzgerald to the Supreme Court.)

It occurred to me this morning just how unlikely it is that we ever got to this point. After passage of the post-Watergate Ethics in Government Act in 1978 (with a brief lapse in the early 1990s), the DC Circuit Court of Appeals could appoint independent counsels to investigate the executive or legislative branch--which is how we got Grand Inquisitor Ken Starr during the Clinton years. The act lapsed again in 1999 and was not renewed, thus putting the authority to create special prosecutors back in the hands of the Justice Department, where it had been in days of yore. In other words, the sole authority to investigate the executive branch returned to the executive branch--a bad idea under the best circumstances, and even worse under an administration led by a guy who can out-Louis XIV Louis XIV. (It's one reason I've referred to He Who Shall Not Be Named as the luckiest politician in American history.) When the Plamegate probe was first announced nearly two years ago, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was going to lead it, but he recused himself and appointed Fitzgerald, probably to avoid conflict-of-interest accusations--which was pretty unlikely for an administration (and an AG) so convinced of its inherent rectitude. Nevertheless, if not for Ashcroft's action, we might never have gotten here.

Other Unlikely Events:
On the current jazz record charts, saxophone legend John Coltrane holds down two of the top three positions, even though he's been dead since 1967. And Lonnie Nielsen has the first round lead at the PGA Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup tournament in California. Why should you care? Well, he's first cousin to The Mrs--which means we'll be flipping between football and the Golf Channel all weekend.

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