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Hit the road, Tim

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Why won’t Tim Griffin leave? Why not give up the U.S. attorney’s office to someone better qualified and untainted by close association with Karl Rove? The Rove connection must have twisted Griffin’s values into something hateful and ugly. Or, he may have done it himself.

Griffin’s appointment was part of a larger scheme to politicize the Justice Department, but with Congress and the media alerted, the scheme unravels every day. If there was any doubt before, and there wasn’t much, we know now that Griffin’s predecessor was removed, and Griffin installed, not for better enforcement of the nation’s laws but to promote party loyalty and right-wing ideology. The lies of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been exposed, and the machinations of the furtive Federalist Society, a group of ultra-conservative lawyers and judges sometimes described as the Ku Klux Klan in black.

The administration found an opening for Griffin, a Republican Party activist, by quietly placing an exception into the old federal law that required Senate review of new U.S. attorneys. That exception is being repealed, and if Griffin wants to serve as a full-fledged U.S. attorney, capable of getting the position on merit, he’ll eventually have to go before the Senate and defend his questionable activities. He’s already said he won’t do that, which suggests there’s still a lot left to hide. But he’s clinging to the U.S. attorney’s job for the few more months he can keep it without Senate approval. It’s a poor example for our children, setting one’s personal interests ahead of the country’s. Resign, Tim. Repudiate Karl Rove. Gain the gratitude of the people of the Eastern District of Arkansas, and some self-respect in the process.

Partners

CBS altered its normal news broadcast to give more coverage to the Virginia Tech tragedy, but one thing didn’t change: The giant pharmaceutical industry keeps its commercials on schedule and uncut. The awful news from Virginia was interrupted so that Pfizer could hawk a new blood pressure drug.

The drug companies pay huge sums to the media to stimulate demand for their products, and the media is happy to accept. The drug companies are now running full-page ads in newspapers across the country, saying that “leading newspapers,” like the Washington Post, USA Today and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, want to keep the Bush-sponsored provision in federal law that protects the companies from competition. If Medicare were allowed to negotiate prices for its members, the way Wal-Mart negotiates prices for its customers, drug prices would decline. And so would the profits of the drug companies. And so would the ad revenues of the media.

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