Author: BooMan

Complaint Department

Update [2005-3-15 19:16:3 by BooMan]: Hey! What’s Wrong With You People? Post some friggin diaries!

Update [2005-3-15 22:35:29 by BooMan]: You guys/gals are having a lot of fun in the diaries and the regional open threads. And that makes me happy. But please give some love to Pastor Dan and SusanHbu for contributing great content to the site.

This site has been up for almost 48 hours. We’ve been making improvements on the fly and a lot of issues y’all have raised have been corrected. A few others are in the queue.

Consider this an open thread to complain about the site, and make suggestions. Also, you could be nice if you want. I mean, if you have anything nice to say.

How does everyone like the colors?

Do you like the regional threads?

What do you think about the ‘World Recommended Diary’ feature?

How do we get more ‘World’ people to post diaries?

Does it bother you that the threads have East on the left coast and West on the right coast, or do you feel that since the East was settled first it should take place of honor?

Are the grey boxes too dark?

Do you spell it grey or gray?

And finally, about those default comment titles:

vote in the poll

Open Discussions (threads)

Up above you see East, South, Midwest, West, and World boxes.

Click on them.

They are Open Discussions.

Decide what part of the country/world you live in, and post away. Meet people from your area and marry them.

If you live abroad, use the World thread to talk about how strange Americans are.

And if you don’t want to limit your comment to just the Midwesterners, you can treat the World thread as a kind of all-purpose open thread.

Blowing My Cover

Blowing My Cover

Everybody has lives that they might have led if some little detail had been different, or if they just hadn’t been lacking some critical skill.

For me, that critical skill was learning foreign language. I never could get the spoken part. I did best in dead languages, particularly Ancient Greek. But after 5 years of Spanish, even though I could read a newspaper, I couldn’t understand the soap operas on Telemundo.

My inability to catch on to foreign languages led to my aversion to studying them. And that led to me giving up on pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy and a career in academics.

I don’t know if it started after seeing The Return of the Pink Panther or The Spy Who Loved Me but I have been fascinated with the clandestine services ever since I was a young boy.

I didn’t play with decoder rings or anything, but I read anything I could about espionage. During the Cold War spying seemed glamorous to me. And I often fantasized about being sent off to Tashkent or Cairo to glean the secrets of our enemies.

I always wanted to be a case officer, never an analyst. Of course, I figured that once I was inducted into the CIA that I would learn all our nations secrets, and the answers to every nagging question. I’d learn who killed JFK, and lord it over my friends that still were in the dark.

But I didn’t keep the kind of lifestyle that would impress the CIA, and I knew I never would be able to understand spoken Arabic.

So that dream died too.

Unlike Bob Baer, George Clooney will not be starring in a movie about my adventures and exploits in far off lands.

And I guess that’s a good thing. Amor fati as they say. After reading Lindsay Moran’s book (which I consumed in a few hours) I finally learned exactly what the training is to become a clandestine officer. And it is not for the weak-willed.

But it’s also become clear over the years that there is something fundamentally wrong-headed about our intelligence services. It’s not at all clear that they are the good guys anymore, if they ever were.

For anyone really interested in the origins of the CIA, and the building of our national security infrastructure this is a good resource.

L. Fletcher Prouty headed up the Air Force liaison office with the CIA. Technically, he was in both services, and he designed a lot of the architecture for how the CIA procured weapons from the military and handled accounting.

He later left the service and remained convinced till the day he died that JFK had been killed by a “high cabal” within the US Government, including the CIA. But conspiracy theories aside, he gives a fascinating history of the period between 1955 and 1964.

He gives a kind of a behind the scenes review of the Cuban revolution, the Gary Powers U-2 incident, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban missile crisis.

Prouty helped build our clandestine services, but he ended up being highly critical of what they do, and what they became. Now, with Porter Goss and John Negroponte in charge, I do not foresee any improvements.

Raw Story: Interesting Interview with Scott Ritter

Raw Story: Do you feel the latest flurry of warnings with regard to biochemical and/or nuclear attacks are part of this strategy–fear–or is something coming down the pike?

Ritter: No, they are using fear. [FBI director] Robert Mueller said he is a 100 percent certain that the US will be attacked by chemical and biological weapons. That’s a stunning statement if you think about it. I am a firefighter here in New York state, if we are going to be attacked by chemical/biological weapons; then why am I and other first responders not being mobilized to be trained in responding to that environment… in an emergency fashion? I mean this is a national security imperative.

Read more →

New Suggestion Box

Here is a new suggestion box.  The site is almost a day old and we have established a few things.

One: a lot of people do not like the default comment titles.  If anyone likes ’em, speak up now.

Two: people are freaking out about the spellcheck feature.  For now, you cannot post in comments or a diary until you uncheck the spellcheck button.

You can turn off the default spellcheck button in Display Preferences.

If you want to use spellcheck, just remember to uncheck the box before hitting post.

Three: we have to fix the New message lights so they don’t count our own posts as new.

Hmmm.  Anything else?

Is Gale Norton our Seretary of Interior or our Secretary of Energy?

I don’t have any expertise on the whole issue of ANWAR and energy exploration. But I find it very disturbing that Gale Norton has decided to advocate for oil drilling on the Editorial Pages of the New York Times. She is nothing but a shill for the mining, timber, and now, oil industries. Isn’t that the exact opposite of what the Secretary of Interior is supposed to be?

Even though it is noon, the landscape is pitch black. The wind chill stands at 70 below zero. A lone man drives across a vast frozen plain on a road made of ice. He sits atop a large, bug-like machine with enormous wheels. He is heading for a spot on the tundra pinpointed by satellite imagery to explore for oil. When the spring thaw comes and the road melts, any evidence that a man or a machine ever crossed there will be gone.

This is the world of Arctic energy exploration in the 21st century. It is as different from what oil exploration used to be as the compact supercomputers of today are different from the huge vacuum tube computers of the 1950s. Through the use of advanced technology, we have learned not only to get access to oil and gas reserves in Arctic environments but also to protect their ecosystems and wildlife. Gale Norton’s NY Times Editorial

I’m willing to entertain the idea that we have made advances in environmentally friendly ways of exploring for oil. But what about when we actually find oil?

Will we have one lone man up there pumping oil. Will there be no activity except during winter months?

In 1980, when Congress created the refuge, it set aside the 1002 area for possible future energy development. To date, Congress has not approved this development because of environmental concerns. In the meantime, America’s domestic production of energy has declined and we have become more and more dependent on imported oil.

Has Gale Norton advocated for alternative energy sources? Or just for less regulation for her special interests masters?

Not today:

more on the flip…