Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 7/10/05 - 7/17/05

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Soon, I will have my OWN copy...oh yes, very soon!

In several hours, we'll be heading out to the more-reasonably-scheduled Potter party at my favorite Anchorage bookstore, Title Wave. I'll finally have my book! *rubs her hands together*

I love Title Wave! It's a huge used bookstore that also has the best selection of new books around (they beat the evil Barnes and Noble hands-down). Their clientele is also a lot more eclectic and much less "yuppyish." The store itself, though large, feels cozy and a great touch is that they have a whole shelf of the "staff favorites." Each individual section has the name of a staff member artfully designed and attached to the shelf so that you can see what books that person reads. It's great for the customers because you can find someone that seems to have your tastes and then see what other books they have read.

Anyway, they are having kind of a "counter-party" to the Barnes and Noble midnight ones at 1:00 pm today - much more reasonable for those of us with kids (who are able to curb our "instant gratification" anyway) *grins at Monocot*

Read the piece that Mono wrote below about her "midnight madness" experiences. Don't expect that she'll write anything today - I'm sure she'll be reading the whole time!

The Latest "Uh, oh" for Karl

According to the July 16th edition of the NYT:
Prosecutors in the C.I.A. leak case have shown intense interest in a 2003 State Department memorandum that explained how a former diplomat came to be dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission and the role of his wife, a C.I.A. officer, in the trip, people who have been officially briefed on the case said.

This is the part that got me:
The memorandum was sent to Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, just before or as he traveled with President Bush and other senior officials to Africa starting on July 7, 2003, when the White House was scrambling to defend itself from a blast of criticism a few days earlier from the former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, current and former government officials said.

Mr. Powell was seen walking around Air Force One during the trip with the memorandum in hand, said a person involved in the case who also requested anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about talking about the investigation.

Note the date - July 7th. The day after Wilson's op-ed piece was published.

There are very thorough discussions of the memo and the surrounding issues on Americablog and DailyKos today.

Ummmmmm...yeah, and I'm sure Karl NEVER saw it...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mr Potter, I presume

I went tonight to the 12:00am bookstore debut of Harry Potter. I could buy the book at any time, but I enjoy the pagentry and show of first opening. There were little kids excitedly prancing around the store, with horned rimmed glasses and scars carefully drawn on their foreheads. Colorful characters in a mishmash of medieval clothing and monster suits worked their way through the crowd. There was a steady hum of anticipation as various theories flew around the building of the identity of the half blood prince. Seeing the kids around me excited over a book (a book! no x-boxes involved!), I found myself getting somewhat angry at the new Pope.

For those of you who don't know, letters from Cardinal Ratzinger were released this week regarding Harry Potter. The new pope feels that "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly,"

I'm going to avoid delving to deeply into the churches knowledge of subtle seductions of the young as Jon Stewart covered that quite well last night ;) Needless to say, I think there are many huge problems Catholicism has to deal with. There is of course the scandals that rocked the church system in the United States, and threaten to bankrupt many parishes. There is the dwindling number of people in Europe who attend masses. There is the steady march of traditional Catholic strongholds in South America towards Evangelicalism.

I don't consider the indoctrination of millions of impressionable school age kids into the seedy world of pagan worship through Harry Potter one of those concerns. Harry Potter is about a kid, who mostly tries to do the right thing and fights evil do-ers. He stands up for the downtrodden, and is in stark contrast to the injustice and corruption around him. This should be a character Christians embrace. He embodies many of the noble characteristics of mankind, and encourages children to read, to think and to dream. Instead he gets a rap as a corruptor of innocent youth.

I think this kind of knee jerk reaction is one of the things that angers me most about Christianity. It's not about the trees folks, it's about the forest. Focus on the things that are truly important to your faith, and the little things like children's books won't matter.

Why do Alaskans get excited when we make national news?

It's especially amusing because it's usually for some kind of disaster.

This is no different - MSNBC is telling ya'll about the fires.

The one on the left is by a large lake in Sterling, Alaska called Skilak Lake.

The one inaccurate line in the story is that there has been no smoke in Anchorage...HA!

As of 2:00 pm, our Air Quality Index was at 235 - considered to be "Very Unhealthful." The smoke is hanging in the air and the visibility is only about a mile. Everyone here at work is coughing, sneezing, complaining - especially since we are all very hot because we can't open the windows due to the smoke. The reason for most of the wildfires has been, like last year, hot, dry weather combined with multiple lightning strikes.

Twenty years ago, it rarely got above 65 in the summer time in Southcentral Alaska. Twenty years ago, we rarely if ever had a thunderstorm. It was so rare that it would scare the animals and even some of the life long residents!

For the last 3 years, we have been steadily getting more and more of them. As a matter of fact, check out this funnel cloud seen on the Kenai Peninsula when we were there for the 4th of July.

It's unheard of to have this kind of weather up here!!! I thought I left all this back in the Midwest!

21 years up here has made me a believer in global warming.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

This is how REAL Alaskans catch salmon!

EXCELLENT article today in the Anchorage Daily News Outdoors Section on this year's set-netting season on the Kasilof. It is an annual event/gathering with Josh's family and neighbors and we started going last year. It's a way for us to get our salmon for the year in about two days. Last year we brought home 32, this year we got our full limit - 45! On the crazy fish day they talk about in the article, we hauled in over 75 fish on one tide...and that was only using 2 nets! (You can only have one net per family with a permit.)

The article really captured the festive feel of the whole thing. I saw people that I hadn't seen since last year, we get to ride 4 wheelers up and down the beach, we get to behead, de-tail and gut many, many fish at one time. (Well, that might not be a "benefit" in some people's eyes, but I like to do it!)

Anyway, only Alaskans are allowed to do this, which also gives it more of a "family" feel.

My only regret - I wish I'd remembered my gloves like the lady in this picture. My hands were really calloused for my wedding!

This Monday

Well, this Monday my husband and I pack up from sunny Florida and drive 27 hrs with 2 cats to Denver CO. It's a good promotion, and in an area which has a lot more mobility in my company than Jacksonville. It's also still a huge step, and I feel somewhat like I'm jumping off a cliff and hoping for a trampoline at the bottom.

Everyone here in Jacksonville has been laughing over heading to Denver. "Why would you want to leave FL? We have no snow!" Well, let's see, I'm trading off sweltering hot summers at 90 percent humidity, noseeums, swamps,huge mosquitoes and the hurricane dodging game for a growing large city with great facilities, tons of activities, and giant mountains in easy driving distance. I blame the mountain thing completely on Celticdiva. Ever since visiting Alaska a year ago, I've yearned for majestic huge mountains.

It should be interesting to see how we end up handling snow, ice and all other things foreign. ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's about Rove, stupid!

Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial that amazes me. It completely brushes off Rove's part in the revealing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative and seems to be following Republican Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's lead by blaming it all on Ambassador Wilson himself. The point is summed up in the final sentence:

As for the press corps, rather than calling for Mr. Rove to be fired, they ought to be grateful to him for telling the truth.
Way to completely miss the point while aiding the Republicans in their campaign of lies, half-truths and misdirection!

They justify this "brush off" of Rove's responsibility this way:

But it appears Mr. Rove didn't even know Ms. Plame's name and had only heard about her work at Langley from other journalists
According to US Code Title 50, Chapter 15, Subchapter IV, Section 421 - "Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources"

(a) Disclosure of information by persons having or having had access to classified information that identifies covert agent Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.,
The key phrases are:

...having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent...
...intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information...
...knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States...
You can see why Mr. Rove's comments ALL ALONG have been carefully worded. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing the entire time. It's going to be hard to prove that ALL of those parts are true. However, there are significant clues if they can be backed up:

1) His weakest argument is his protestation that he "did not know her name." The Code's words (and all other federal regulations, while possibly more restrictive, cannot be less restrictive than the US Code) don't mention the word "name." It talks about "identifying" a "covert agent." While my marriage just happened several weeks ago and my name is still different from my husbands, I can be "identified" as HIS WIFE. With that information alone, ANYONE can go find a copy of our marriage license (public information) and find my name. If I am "identified" as my daughter's mom, ANYONE can go to the school records and find out who I am. So, it doesn't flippin' matter that he didn't share her name...HE SHARED HER "IDENTITY."

2a) Rove's minions are arguing that he did not know that she was a "covert agent" when he talked to Cooper. Give me a break! Look, she was a covert operative for the CIA, only people with access to classified information would even KNOW that she worked for the CIA and ESPECIALLY WHAT SHE DID for the CIA! Cooper's email made it clear that Karl Rove revealed 2 things:

- Ambassador Wilson's wife worked for the CIA

- She worked in the area of Weapons of Mass Destruction

I don't know about you, but I can't imagine too many folks specifically working in that area being able to go home and discuss the details of their day or even identify their job around the family dinner table or at a neighborhood cocktail party!

2b) If it WAS the case that he HAD learned her identity from other journalists, it was his duty as a Federal employee (who took the same "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic" oath that I took 13 years ago) to report such a breech to the CIA and investigate who leaked that information to these unnamed journalists. If any Joe Schmo like myself were found to NOT have reported such a breech, at the very least it would cost me my job.

This is why you are not hearing a peep from a majority of the Republicans – especially those with ties to the military. It doesn't friggin' matter if Joe Wilson was the biggest horse's ass on the planet. It doesn't matter WHAT Joe Wilson said. Just the information we posses right now is enough to show that Karl Rove is someone who would SELL OUT the folks serving our country in dangerous positions to enable those in the Administration to achieve their agenda. He would do this in order to "punish" a perceived "betrayer."

Ironically, I find Rove's actions to be the very definition of betrayal.

(P.S. Go to Americablog for another cool T-shirt opportunity - I love that "Benedict Rove" logo!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove held responsible? I'm not holding my breath.

So - I work for the Feds and I work on a base. I remember a situation where it was discovered that a woman committed a serious ethics violation - possibly criminal. BEFORE it was even proven, security was called to her office while they told her to pack her things. They escorted her from the base...permanently.

Now let's discuss Karl Rove...

We can all read the news so I'm not going to rehash the entire thing, other than to mention that his participation in the Valarie Plame affair is no longer in question:

According to a July 2003 e-mail that surfaced over the weekend, Rove told Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper that the woman "apparently works" for the CIA, Newsweek magazine reported. It added that the woman had authorized a trip to Africa by her husband, U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, to check out allegations that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger for nuclear weapons.

At the time of Rove's conversation with Cooper, Wilson had accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Cooper's e-mail is in the hands of federal prosecutors who are hunting down the leakers inside the Bush administration who revealed Plame's name to the news media.

News outlets are scrambling to get on-line polling data such as MSNBC and USA Today. Even though the polling numbers are non-scientific, they are still running over 80% for Rove to resign or be fired. I must believe that official, more scientific polling will at least show a majority wanting Rove to go.

But somehow, I just don't have any faith that something truly punitive will happen to Mr. Rove.

Already, there are signs that the Administration is frantically trying to dig a way out of the hole that they have dug for themselves when they promised in 2003 that if anyone in the White House was found to be involved, they would be dealt with. In today's press conference (the first time I ever felt a little sorry for Scott McClellan) McClellan seemed to focus a lot on the word "criminal" - as though if Rove is never convicted of a crime, they can claim that they need not act because he did not break a law.

I think that the majority of this country's citizens have the attention span of a 5-year-old with ADHD when it comes to infractions by the present administration. Karl Rove's elite spin/bait and switch abilities have worked quite well on the general public to date and I'm sure he's still in charge of his own spin. Even if something is actually done to the man, who doesn't believe that Rove won't STILL be calling the shots whether he's in or out of the White House?

Yeah...call me cynical, but I think that this administration has the ability to quite literally get away with murder even if they are found with a smoking gun.

(P.S. If you want some cool items with the "Mission Accomplished" logo on it, click on the Americablog link on the right)