Wally here filling in for Rebecca to report on the Senate Veterans Affairs hearing today. The above is a 'question' Senator Jim Webb posed/pretended to pose to HHS' Linda Birnbaum. (Birnbaum reminded me of Ernestine, Lily Tomlin's character. I mean that as a compliment. She would do her face, when speaking, like Ernestine and she even sounded a bit like Ernestine.)
Here's where I come down on Webb's nonsense.
A Vietnam veteran who develops a form of heart disease or leukemia or Parkinson's disease may be doing so as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Why aren't they being given the benefit of the doubt?
That's what VA Secretary Eric Shinseki stated he believed in. That's what Dr. Jesse (Jessup -- that bald guy that's always there who offered some testimony on panel one) offered as well. It's what Senators Daniel Akaka, Bernie Sanders and Roland Burris believed in.
But Jim Webb is this decade's Bob Dole. (Read Kat tonight. She's got a thing on that and may write about it.) And he is a skeptic.
The Vietnam veteran is ill. Was exposed to Agent Orange. And there is a positive relationship between the exposure and the illness. But Webb can't follow that? It's too confusing for him?
What a stupid idiot. I'm so sick of him.
His constituents should demand he explain why he's behaving this way.
Instead, he's gotten a lot of silence because he's been acting this way forever and few have called him out. (C.I. and Mike have called him out.)
At one point, second panel, Webb was blathering away, "I'm still curious to get your comments collectively or who ever would like to comment on the reason that the recommendation on ischemic heart disease was changed between 'o6 and '08? Was this new actual new scientific studies or was this a result of of further studies of scientific studies that were already done?" How stupid is he? As Birnbaum told him, science is always enriching and strengthening findings. But to him, something in 06 should be the same two years later. I feel sorry for Jim Webb. Most of all, I feel sorry for veterans as long as Webb's on the Committee.
And now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"