If you have been spending too much time hunkered down in the library for midterms or hitting the streets to celebrate your school’s homecoming, let BlackCollegeView.com bring you up to speed on the unscrupulous events taking place in our nation’s capital.
Let’s start with the saga known as Plamegate. Here’s a quick summary: In 2003, Robert Novak revealed CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame’s identity in a column. Plame and others have suspected this was retaliation for her husband Joseph Wilson’s claim that the Bush administration twisted available intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq.
Fast forward two years. It turns out that the source of the leak could be Karl Rove, the presidential aide who oversaw George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. New York Times reporter Judy Miller went to jail for 85 days to protect Libby, until he revealed that he waived his right to confidentiality.Now it turns out that Miller "doesn’t remember" who gave her the name Valerie Plame (that she had misspelled as Valerie Flame) which has pundits wondering just what the heck she went to jail for.
Will Rove and Libby be indicted for their role in possibly leaking a CIA agent’s identity? Will we ever find out the full story behind Miller’s close relationship with Libby? Will someone ever be able to explain why Robert Novak has not received any repercussions, considering Miller never even wrote a story on this? Stay tuned to find out.
Next up is the GOP scandal with Senators Tom DeLay and Bill Frist. DeLay stepped down as House Majority Leader after being indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges for an alleged illegal use of corporate funds in the 2002 Texas state election.
Frist is under fire for allegedly knowing inside trading. The Washington Post reported on Oct. 24 that Frist dropped shares with HCA, Inc., his family’s hospital company, because he had advance knowledge that the prices would fall. Trustees from HCA, Inc. have written letters to Frist since 2001 about the value of his shares. However, this contradicts Frist’s earlier claim that his stocks were in blind trusts and that he had little knowledge about the holdings.
And don’t forget about Harriet Miers. Who is she? That is exactly what the Senate, bloggers, pundits, and journalists have been trying to find out ever since she was tapped by President Bush to replace Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. However, no one knows that much about her besides the fact she was a corporate lawyer in Texas, headed the Texas State Lottery Commission, is an evangelical Christian, "…and has been Bush’s lawyer and a ‘work wife’ for more than a decade."
Her nomination has been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike; who fear Miers is not qualified to be a justice. Her nomination also comes at the heels of accusations of cronyism in the Bush administration. Many senators have said she will not have enough votes to become a justice, but only time and Senate hearings broadcast on C-SPAN will tell.
Last but not least is one of the year’s biggest stories: Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized FEMA for dragging its feet in responding to Hurricane Katrina. FEMA director Michael "Brownie" Brown resigned amidst heavy criticism on Sept. 12.
On Oct. 21, Marty Bahamonde, the lone FEMA member who rode out the Hurricane in the New Orleans Superdome, testified that Brown and five other FEMA aides ignored his e-mail warnings about the levee system being breached on the morning of Aug. 29. "FEMA headquarters knew at 11 o’clock," Bahamonde said in a Washington Post article. "Mike Brown knew at 7 o’clock. Most of FEMA’s operational staff knew by 9 o’clock that evening. I don’t know where that information went."
Bahamonde said he called Brown personally at 7 p.m. that day to tell him about the severe flooding in the city. By Aug. 31, Bahamonde also told him about the lack of adequate medical supplies, food, and water, to those in the Superdome. Brown’s press secretary Sharon Worthy replied to Bahamonde that Brown needed more time to eat dinner since Baton Rouge restaurants were so busy. "He needs much more than 20 or 30 minutes."
Good to know Brownie had his priorities in order.