I'm tired and she just a brief summary was fine.
So that's what I'm going to do.
Senators Jon Tester and Jim Webb are in a tizzy. Agent Orange victims, Vietnam veterans, are getting additional benefits because the VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has utilized medical findings -- as the law allows -- to expand the categories covered -- as the law allows. But Tester and Webb are in a tizzy and there's so much money being wasted.
Where? I have no idea.
In the entire hearing, at one point, a man was brought up. A veteran. He's allegedly getting additional payments. And he's allegedly bragging that he fooled the system because he only spent eight hours in Vietnam and it was a layover.
That's it? That's cause for this hearing?
And you know who brought that up? Eric Shinseki.
You find me any program -- government or private -- and there will be several people who know how to work the system and garner things they shouldn't. That's not on the program, that's on human nature. Since no one could provide any solid example -- after months of prepping for and pursuing this topic before the hearing took place -- I'd say that's very telling.
Like C.I., I'm no fan of Eric Shinseki. But even I felt sorry for him. Tester and Webb were relentless to the point that I thought they were gong to frisk Shinseki and possibly insist on a cavity search.
What came through most, and this what Trina asked if I could write a little something on, was how much grace Senator Roland Burris has and how he carries himself. In lesser hands, his remarks would often have come off as a harsh rebuke to Tester and Webb. Instead, he was able to make his points without joining them in the mud.
Senator Burris supported Senator Bernie Sanders' comment that the costs of war didn't end with the battle costs (bullets, guns, airplanes and tanks, Burris said), they continued on through to the care of veterans. I wish that the residents of Illinois could have seen any of the hearings Senator Burris participated in -- today's or any others -- because if they had, I think they would have ignored the DNC and backed Burris. (Roland Burris was appointed to the seat Barack Obama won in the November 2004 election after Barack won the presidency in the November 2008 elections. The Senator is filling the last two years of Obama's term.) He has a grace and dignity about him that is really something to take in. And it is really sad sometimes, after a hearing, to realize that someone who comes in prepared and conducts himself so strongly but gracefully really wasn't appreciated for the work he was doing.
I think Sentor Burris' role will be examined in the future and I think we'll see a verdict on him that is both positive and confused. It will be positive in what he accomplished as a two-year US Senator. It will be confused in trying to sort out why he was so attacked.
This may have been the last hearing he'll attend. I do not know that. I know that Congress is about to recess to go home and campaign for the November elections. I don't know if, after the elections, Senator Burris will remain in his seat through January (which is his right if he wants to do so) or if he will step down and turn it over early to the newly elected senator. And since that might have been his last hearing, Trina wanted me to note some of what I was saying about him in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin. (And the round-robin will be in inboxes tomorrow morning. I have not tried to repeat myself hear word-for-word but just hit the high points here. So you don't have to feel like I posted a spoiler here.)
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"