Ryan Chartrand

The wrong doctor is in…

Last November everyone was focused on Robert Gates becoming our new secretary of defense, but what got overlooked was Dr. Erik Keroack appointment as head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Dr. Keroack is now in charge of family-planning programs at HHS, which means he is supposed to distribute $283 million of funds designed to provide contraception information and access for thousands of younger low-income individuals. But the problem is that Keroak won’t distribute the funds because he is against contraception; in fact, he is against all forms of birth control, even condoms.

You’re probably wondering what’s Keroak going to do with the $283 million of funds? Well if history is any indication he’s probably going to spend your tax dollars on advertising the wonders of being abstinent.

Now for some of you, you might think this focus on abstinence over contraception is a good thing, but in case you aren’t aware ABSTINENCE DOESN’T WORK. Just how ineffective is abstinence? According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the United States currently has about 53 births per 1,000 teenagers, which is a rate worse than India’s and Rwanda’s. Furthermore, even though this administration is spending $158 million annually on abstinence-only programs, there has actually been a rise in the out-of- wedlock birth rate across the country; in 2005 approximately 37 percent of the children born in this country were born to unwed parents. Clearly, abstinence is not working.

Should younger people be taught to abstain from sex? Absolutely, just as they should be taught to abstain from alcohol. But we know that the world is not this simple and temptation can get the best of us; that’s why so many parents have now included the sensible proverb for their kids: If you do drink, don’t drive. Similarly, people like Dr. Keroack should urge teens not to have sex – but if they do, at least use a condom.

Did Alberto Gonzales actually attend law school?

The reason I ask is because the more I hear our attorney general speak, the more I get the sense he doesn’t understand our legal system. For example, during a recent speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Gonzales questioned the competency of the federal judiciary to address national security issues. According to Gonzales: “How are judges supposed to gather up the information, the collective wisdom of the entire executive branch … and make a determination as to what is in the national security interest of our country.They’re not capable of doing that.”

NOTE TO MR. GONZALES: that it is not the job of our federal judiciary. Their job is to uphold the present rule of law and the Constitution, even if Mr. Gonzales probably views these things as “quaint.” These judges aren’t here to bend the law to adhere to you policies. They’re here to ensure that individual rights are not trampled in the name of national security.

Certainly this country has a compelling interest to fight terrorism and protect our nation’s security. However, judges cannot sit back and assume that government has appropriately tailored its programs to meet national security concerns while safeguarding individual rights. By examining and critiquing Gonzales’s policies, our judges are ensuring that “national security” doesn’t become a rubber stamp for the violation of individual rights later, a precedent no one wants to see happen.

Scooter Libby is soooo going to jail.

Now, I believe in the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, but the more I read about the Scooter Libby trial, the more I can see he is screwed. For those unfamiliar with the case, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former top aide, is facing felony counts alleging that he lied to a grand jury and FBI agents about where and when he learned about CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald believes Libby intentionally lied about when he learned about Plame’s identity to obstruct his investigation of who blew Plame’s cover; however, Libby contests that with all the hysteria during the run up to war with Iraq he simply “forgot” the answer Fitzgerald was looking for.

Although it might seem very difficult for Fitzgerald to prove when and how Libby knew anything about Plame, Fitzgerald has already gathered several close witnesses from the CIA and State Department who have testified that they discussed Plame’s identity with Libby on numerous occasions before Libby’s claims. Even worse for Libby is that one of his very close assistants, Cathie Martin, recently testified that Libby was also intensely interested in Plame’s identity.

With all this said, I hope Libby didn’t obstruct justice, but when I juxtapose his “I didn’t lie, I forgot” excuse with the detailed witness accounts, he looks pretty guilty.

Dedicated to Judith and Ferenc Molnar.

Patrick Molnar is a business sophomore and Mustang Daily political columnist.

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