It started with a case the show quickly forgot. The judge was handed a message, called for the attorneys to join him in chambers and announced a mistrial. He was under investigation and was being excused from his duties until he was cleared.
What was going on? Years ago, he was a prosecutor and convicted a man for killing his wife. The man had DNA testing done, just done, and he was innocent. The judge was now accused of intentional misconduct. He asked Diane to represent him.
Will was for it. Diane didn't see a plus. If they got him off, he'd never be able to hear a case from them. Will said it wasn't about that, it was about the "halo effect," judges would know that the firm had "their back." It would help the firm.
So they took the case but Diane said she wanted a new litigator. Alicia suggested and put in a good word for Cary. He did good in the interview except with the old man Will and Diane have brought onto the leadership team (to keep Eli and the rest out). He wanted to know if Cary was gay because his question was who would you take to a deserted island and Cary chose 2 men. Diane pointed out that it was Thoroughgood Marshall and I forget the other but these were major names and probably, actually, part of Cary show boating the way he used to.
So Will doesn't want him for any number of reasons but including that Cary led on the case that led to Will being suspended.
Diane asks Alicia about a woman Alicia dislikes. Alicia says she's talented but she can't speak to if the woman could get along with others. Alicia knows the woman is sleeping with Will, they've had skirmishes over that. Diane didn't know.
She interviews the woman without Will present but with the old man who likes the woman's answers: Brad Pitt and Yo Yo Man are who she would take to a desert island. He says she has his vote. Diane finds out she can't be hired because, as Will explains, he's sleeping with her.
The woman takes another job and keeps Will.
Alicia does a great job getting the judge off. Later Cary will ask if the judge was innocent and Alicia will admit she doesn't know.
Kalinda. The judge arrives at the same time as the meth king is due to arrive. He wants to speak to Kalinda and Alicia alone. Remember how the FBI is after Kalinda? Well they went to the meth king. As a result, he tells Alicia and Kalinda to handle it immediately and they are left with the impression that if they don't he will kill Kalinda.
Alicia comes up with a cover story for the FBI but they don't buy it. Kalinda goes to the female FBI agent that has the hots for her. She goes to the woman's apartment and touches her and the woman says something like, 'After 2 years of me pursuing you, now you're interested?' But she doesn't object to the seduction. As they get closer and closer, Kalinda tells the woman that the meth king will kill her if the FBI doesn't leave him alone.
She tells Kalinda that she's doing her job. She won't back down. Even, apparently, if it gets Kalinda killed.
Cary? He asks Alicia not to tell Peter about the interview so that he can. She agrees. But Eli sees him and calls Peter and rats out Cary. When Cary goes to meet with Peter, Peter knows (obviously) and gives a lecture about trust and then announces that they'll give him one month's pay, he's fired.
Fortunately, Cary does get hired. He and some others go out to celebrate a number of things. At the bar, he talks to Alicia and I thought he was probing to see if she'd told Peter. If he was, he learned she hadn't. He leaves the bar because his phone is ringing and it's Peter. We don't know why Peter is calling.
Kalinda comes in (Cary had invited her earlier). Alicia sees and Kalinda sees Alicia looking. Alicia averts her head and Kalinda looks hurt and is probably about to bolt when Alicia plays the grown up (thank God) and looks back up, shrugs and pats the chair beside her. Kalinda smiles and heads over and that was the end.
It was a really good episode. In fact, it was a great one.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday at the start of a two-day visit to boost relations between their Muslim states. "If Tehran and Baghdad are strong, the region will have no place for the United States and the Zionist regime," Ahmadinejad said, quoted by state news agency IRNA, in reference to Tehran's arch-foe Israel. He said there was "no limit to the strengthening of political, economic and cultural ties" between them.
Such moves would serve to "boost stability and security in the region," chimed in Maliki, who also held talks with parliament speaker Ali Larijani.Maliki was also to see Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
Dar Addustour notes the public remarks Ahmadinejad made with Nouri by his side about how the region was no place for enemies of freedom like the US and Israel. The Tehran Times has Ahmadinejad calling the US and Israel enemies of the free world. (It's "Zionist regime," but he's referring to Israel.) RTT News observes, "Observers believe Iranian leaders intend to enhance their influence in Iraq after the pullout of U.S. troops by strengthening ties with Prime Minister Maliki who, like a majority of Iranians, is also a Shia Muslim."
"We don't differentiate between Sunnis or Shias. Arab, Kurd or Turkmen, they are all our brothers," Erdogan told reporters in comments reported by the NTV news channel.
"If we respond to Mr. Maliki, we give him the opportunity to show off there. There is no need to allow him to gain prestige."
Turkey, which is majority Sunni, has been seen as a key ally and even a role model for Iraq, because of its secular constitution and close relations with the West, including membership in NATO.
Iraq is Turkey's second largest trading partner after Germany, with trade reaching $12 billion last year, more than half of which was with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Middle East observers are expressing concern that the row between the two neighbors is a sign of growing Sunni-Shiite tension in the region, as predominantly Sunni Turkey lines up against Maliki, Iran and Bashar al-Assad's violent suppression of Syria's mainly Sunni population.
Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, head of Ankara's International Strategic and Security Research Center (USGAM), says that Maliki's recent comments must be viewed in the context of his government's alliance with the Shiite regime in Iran. Maliki, who is currently on an official visit to Tehran, "is paying lip-service to Iran, which is trying to implement Shiite political dominance in the region," Erol told Turkish daily Today's Zaman. In response, he said, Turkey is being forced to protect Sunni rights in the region.
Aswat al-Iraq reports, "Kurdish region president Masoud Barzani returned yesterday night to Arbil province at the end of his external visit to Bulgaria, USA, Hungary and Turkey, sources said here. Barzani discussed with the Turkish president Abdulla Gul the relations between Kurdistan and Turkey, as well as the situation in Iraq and Syria."
The visit was a success for Barzani. It became an embarrassment for Nouri al-Maliki who first attacked Barzani early last week and cattily insisted that Barzani had Kurds who 'speak ill of him.' Alsumaria reports that Barzani has declared he could meet with Nouri to dicuss the political crisis 100 times and it would change nothing. In addition, he states that the Kurdistan Region is in danger and that he is going to begin talks immediately with Kurdish parties and Iraq President Jalal Talabani on the topic of independence. Rudaw speaks with Barzani and reports:
"I have met with Maliki many times. I don't have any personal problems with him. I have respect for him. But my experience with Maliki is that even if I met him 100 more times, it wouldn't bear any fruit because he has not implemented any of his promises," said Barzani in response to a question by Rudaw.
"Nothing but dictatorship threatens the territorial integrity of Iraq,"" warned Barzani, speaking to journalists in his office in Salahaddin, a resort town northeast of Erbil.
Relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad authorities have been tense recently over a range of issues, especially the unsettled oil and gas disputes.
"If all the people of Iraq are happy with this situation, they can do as they please. If the people of Kurdistan and all Kurdistani parties are content with the current situation and don't see any threat, I have no personal problems. But I must clear my conscience with my people," Barzani said about his recent strong remarks against Baghdad authorities, especially PM Maliki.
But the Kurds face a problem. While they pursue an independent oil policy and have taken important steps toward that end by drafting their own oil law in 2007 and signing over 40 contracts with foreign oil companies without Baghdad's input or approval, they lack the means to export their oil without Baghdad's help and therefore its permission. To date, the federal government has used its control over the national pipeline network, as well as its hold on the treasury and budget, to rein in the Kurds' ambitions.
Hemmed in by Baghdad and anxious to become economically self-sufficient, Erbil is turning its eyes to another potential outlet for its oil: Turkey. Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish region's president, reportedly told foreign visitors to his mountain redoubt that if Maliki remains in power beyond the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Kurds would go their own way. Not coincidentally, 2014 is when the Kurdish region expects to complete construction of its own strategic oil pipeline, one that skirts (federal government) Iraqi territory before reaching the border with Turkey. For Kurdish leaders, economic dependency on a democratic neighbour with an attractive window on the West is far preferable to a continued chokehold by a regime displaying authoritarian tendencies -- all of which raises the question of what Ankara would do if the Kurds ask it to take their oil without Baghdad's approval.
Today, AFP reported that Barzani has also stated that he opposes the US sale of F-16 fighter planes to Nouri and that, "The F-16 must not reach the hand of this man. We must either prevent him from having these weapons, or if he has them, he should not stay in his position."
The value of the F-16s on the world stage includes the fact that the US and its allies are the ones who know how they work. Nouri's close relationship with Tehran should be seriously factored in before the sale moves forward. If Nouri has F-16s, it's a pretty good conclusion that Tehran then has all knowledge of F-16s. The issue of Barzani and the F-16s was the first of three issues the press raised at today's US State Dept press briefing.
Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, made the following statement after the VA announced that it would be moving to hire 1,600 mental health care professionals. The announcement comes just days before the findings of a major VA Inspector General report that Senator Murray requested on long wait times for VA mental health care are expected to be announced. VA's action is welcome news to Senator Murray who has held multiple hearings over the past year on overcoming barriers to VA mental health care. Murray will hold a third hearing on this subject in order to hear the Inspector General's findings on Wednesday, April 25th.
Dr. Robert Petzel: Uh, thank you, Mr. Filner. The, uhm . . . What I want to do is, uh, first talk about our, uh, notification process. The, uh, the process by which we determine who ought to be notified or who might be at risk, as I said before, is an industry standard. I will stand by that process under any circumstance. It takes some time but it is transparent and it is weighted heavily in the favor of --
Ranking Member Bob Filner: Nobody knew about St. Louis for 8 weeks.
Dr. Robert Petzel: I'm --
Ranking Member Bob Filner: Eight weeks.
Robert Petzel: Sir.
Ranking Member Bob Filner: And I'm if that's industry standard, we shouldn't be following industry standard.
Dr. Robert Petzel: Sir, I'm not talking about the communication, I'm talking about the process that we go through. It is very thorough and it's weighted on the side of being abundantly cautious to be sure that we take into account every possible risk. The process by which we disclose to patients involves letters, phone calls and case managers. Particularly in the instance of St. Louis, every single individual that was effected was called, they were offered a case manager, there was a case manager that involved -- in fact, in some instances, the leadership of the medical center. I will admit that we've learned figuratively since --
Ranking Member Bob Filner: Sir, that conflicts exactly with what you said to me at St. Louis. The Chairman was there, Mr. Carnahan was there, Mr. Lacy -- Clay [US House Rep William Lacy Clay] was there, sorry, sir. Mr. [John] Shimkus was there. You never mentioned the word case manager, you never mentioned mentioned that they were called. Is that right, Russ? [Carnahan nods his head in agreement.] We-we went through this discussion with you. The first word I said to you was case manager. I said to you, "Why don't you have case managers?" You said, "Yeah, we'll look at that." We're both going to review your testimony in St. Louis because it's contrary to what you just said now.
US House Rep Phil Roe is also (medical) Doctor Roe. This is part of what he had to say in that hearing:
US House Rep Phil Roe: One of the things that we have to sell in medicine is trust. Our patients need to trust us. They need to trust the VA that that's where the quality of care and transparency, Mr. Filner is absolutely 100% correct. I can assure you that when I had a problem go wrong in my shop when I practiced medicine, not the clerk that answered the phone made the call to the patient, I made the call to the patient. I called them up. I explained to them. I had them come in and tell them what was going on. And I can tell you, with 1500 people, that could have been in a large institution with multiple people, I would have had the highest level people contacting someone when they think they have HIV or a potential life threatening condition.
That's Petzel. He should be gone.
Mike Vizena (Director of Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards) wrote a Saturday column for the Battle Creek Enquirer Saturday which included , "According to veteransandfamilies.org, 18 veterans commit suicide each day, and a CBS News investigation uncovered that the suicide rate for veterans is twice that of other Americans. These numbers are far too high, and we as a community should come together and strengthen the safety net of support for our veterans in need of treatment."
And the numbers aren't really going down. At some point, department heads are going to need to tie in accountability. They're going to need to set goals and they're going to need to fire those -- at the top the deputies -- who cannot meet those goals because the American people are sick of this across the board. In fact, if Barack Obama or anyone else wanted a winning talking point, that's what they could propose. It would probably work better for a Mitt Romney, Jill Stein or Ron Paul or anyone else who hasn't been president for the last four years, but it would work for Barack as well.