Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bean and Tomato Casserole in the Kitchen

I was in DC last weekend, so I took the weekend off. Jess' parents, Ruth, and Jim's father and his girlfriend were there so we ended up doing some fun stuff in addition to activism. I was also worried about recipes due to the spinach/e-coli thing. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I worried about passing on a recipe that next week could have another e-coli alert.

Tuesday, Sue e-mailed a recipe that she swears by. She noted that it was all canned goods and she knows I prefer fresh but since parents were trying to get their kids to eat more vegetables, this might be a recipe to try?

The canned goods didn't bother me at all but, as she pointed out, the title of it might make me wonder? Sue found this online and the recipe is credited to Diana Rattray. You've got tomatoes in it which are always good for you and you've got green beans. The recipe is called "Bean and
Tomato Casserole." I was dubious about green beans and tomatoes but willing to try. You'll be surprised at how good it tastes. My youngest daughter likes it so much she asked me to walk her through making it and she's fixed it for herself for the last three days.

1 can green beans, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes -- (16 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
pepper -- to taste
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter

In a 1 1/2-quart casserole, mix green beans with stewed tomatoes, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serve in individual dishes. Serves 6.

This is really an easy recipe and, like me, you'll be surprised by how good it tastes. Thanks to Sue for passing it on. I know Betty prefers the oven because it's easier to keep an eye on her three kids if she's cooking in the oven (as opposed to standing at the stove and stirring). Roy has also written to say that of all the recipes we've had here, anytime it's a casserole, it's turned out the best. (Roy's noted in his e-mails that before trying recipes here, his cooking was limited to grilling a steak and eggs -- fried and scrambled.) I think casserole's have a comfort food quality to them.

I've made it twice and asked Wally's mother to try it as well and make sure she had no problems in making it so it passed our 'test' kitchens with flying colors. We think it needs something more. Not added to the dish, but to round it out. You can serve it with a meal the way you would any casserole. However, we think it works as a main dish served with a bread and our thinking is either cornbread or your favorite loaf (Italian for me, French for Wally's mom). If you're using a loaf of bread (already cooked) that you've picked up in the store, after you take out the casserole out of the oven (and turn off the oven), put the loaf of bread in the oven while you divide up the servings. (Close the oven door so that the heat will warm the bread.)

If you'd like to make cornbread, you can find a mix at most stores. I like to add to mine. Usually that's corn but sometimes I'll put in some jalepeno peppers as well. But with a bread, you really do have a nice meal. If yours is a meal that's not a meal without a meat, it will go well with pork, chicken or beef but I would still include the bread.

In the snapshot below, you'll see that Darrell Anderson is returning to the United States from Canada where he went in January 2005. He crosses the border today (may already have). I hope you've thought about him in the last week and that you're talking about him. It's the whole "If a tree falls when no one is around, did it make a sound?" paradigm. He took a stand against the war and he needs people to stand with him now.

Please read my son Mike's "Darrell Anderson, Iraq, Jim McGreevey." As for him and Elaine, yes, I saw that coming. The only 'problem' it's created is that some, though not all, of his older siblings have complained that they share a room on the weekend's "under your roof!" Elaine's a grown woman, Mike's a grown man. When the other children were out of in high school, not in college, my husband and I were not blind to what went on under "the roof." Do they share a room with permission? Yes, because Mike was adult enough to talk to his father when their relationship first started. So the (grown) children who are working themselves into some sort of moral outrage need to grasp the realities that (a) their father and I knew exactly what was going on with their (they thought) hidden relationships were going on and (b) Mike handled it like an adult and was told "Fine." My eldest son felt the need to counsel me that, "Elaine could get pregnant, you know?" I don't think Elaine has any interest in having children but if she does, I don't see that as a problem. She's an adult. She has healthcare, she has money. If she did get pregnant tomorrow, Mike would finish college. It's not a situation where they'd be facing the difficulties many face starting out. Shocker for the other kids, Elaine's not the first woman Mike's slept with under "the roof." He and his father have always discussed this and, as long as the woman was an adult, it's been done without sneaking around.

We tried to raise our kids to be responsible and we talked openly with them about sex which includes birth control. All of my daughters were on the pill while under "the roof" and I know that because I am the one who took them to the doctor to get on the pill. That includes my youngest daughter who still lives at home. My husband and I laughed and wondered when the children we raised turned into such "prudes." We were aware of what was going on previously, when they lived at home. The only difference is that Mike chose to act like an adult (before he was one) and his father and I discussed it and decided we really were too old to play the "Oh sure, you're just out of breath because you were moving some furniture, that's not been moved, and your clothes are out of the place for the same reason" game. He's an adult. When he started working in high school, here's another shocker for the grown kids, he grabbed the water bill. We didn't ask that. We didn't expect that. He did that because he wanted to. We never asked that of any of the kids and we both tried to talk him out of it and to use the money for college. His reasoning was that college was going to be expensive and if he grabbed a bill, after he graduated high school, he planned to live her while going to college and didn't want to feel like a "free loader." We wouldn't have seen him as that. (All of our kids are always welcome to move back. We have the room.) As a grown man contributing and conducting himself like an adult, my husband and I have no problem with what he's doing under "our roof."

My eldest son is "shocked" and thinks that Mike should be told, "If that's what you intend to do, you need to get your own place." I have no idea where that's coming from and am quite aware of at least three women he slept with under "the roof" while he was living here. When I told him that he got flabbergasted. Apparently, he was under the impression that his father and I had no clue about what was going on. I don't know if we were supposed to be deaf, dumb, blind or all three. But Mike's a grown man, Elaine's a grown woman. They're handling themselves like adults and yet the idea seems to be that my daughter (our youngest) could walk into the living room at any minute and "catch them in the act!"

That's not going to happen and the fact that it's a concern for some of the older children says to me that there seems to be a maturity deficit they're suffering from right now. Hopefully, it's only momentary.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday.

Friday, September 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the British military officers say out-of-Iraq, Medea Benjamin asks are you willing to "Give Peace a Vote"?,
is the US military writing off Al-Anbar Province, and tomorrow war resister Darrell Anderson is set to return to the United States.

Canada's CBC reports that, after eighteen months in Canada, war resister Darrell Anderson is readying for his journey home with his wife, Gail Greer, stating, "He needs to be home. This is not his home." [Note: CBC continues to list his wife as "Gail Green." US news outlets, other Candian outlets and her film credits list her as "Gail Greer." If Gail Greer is not the correct name, we'll note that in a future snapshot.] Darrell Anderson was wounded by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the US military and, as Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and others during this illegal war, head to Canada. Once there, he applied for legal status but, as with other war resisters, the government did not grant asylum. (This in marked contrast to Canada's actions during the Vietnam era.) Anita Anderson, his mother, tells CBC "there is no front line" in Iraq and that soldiers "are not supposed to be fighting this fight of war." If not arrested Saturday when he returns, Darrell Anderson intends to drive to Fort Knox where he will turn himself in. Information on Darrell Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Meanwhile, in England, Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports: "Senior military officers have been pressing the government to withdraw British troops from Iraq and concentrate on what they now regard as a more worthwhile and winnable battleground in Afghanistan. They believe there is a limit to wath British soldiers can achieve in southern Iraq and that it is time the Iraqis took responsiblity for their own security, defence sources say." The report comes as Bonnie Malkin (Guardian of London) notes that "former foreign secretary Jack Straw has described the situation in Iraq as 'dire,' blaming mistakes made by the US for the escalating crisis." Straw has words of praise for former US Secreatry of State Colin Powell which is only a surprise to those who never noticed their mutual admiration society until today. The report that military officials want British troops out of Iraq (and into Afghanistan) has already led to a denial from Defence Secretary Des Browne who, AFP reports, denied the report on BBC radio.

While the truth battles spin, Mark Malloch Brown, deputy secretary general of the United Nations makes a call of his own. Paul Vallely (Independent of London) reports
Malloch Brown has stated that it was Tony Blair's Iraq policy that "fatally undermined his position as Prime Minister and forced him to step down" and Vallely also quotes an unnamed "UN source" who declares of Blair, "But Iraq has finished him. Mr. Blair seems not to appreciate just how disliked and distrusted he is in other nations."

In the United States, Reuters reports: "The U.S. Congress on Friday moved to block the Bush adminstration from building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq or controlling the country's oil sector, as it approved $70 billion for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) noted Wednesday when reporting on recent polling of Iraqis, ". . . the Program on Itnerantional Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found . . . 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends to keep permanent military bases in the country." Noting the polling, Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "The writing is on the wall -- and on page after page of report after report. All leading to the same inescapable conclusion. Iraq has made us less safe; it's time to bring our troops home." What will it take for that? Not buying into the fear mania, which is a topic Huffington addressed with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA, The Morning Show[and is also the topic of On Becoming Fearless, Huffington's new book]. [Remember that KPFA broadcasts are archived and you can listen to them, free of charge, 24/7.]

The US Congress' decision comes as Robert Burns (AP) reports Army Col. Sean B. Macfarland ("commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division" in Iraq) stated that the resistance in Al-Anbar Province will not be defeated by American forces and will "probably" continue "until after U.S. troops leave the country". Most recent actions in Al-Anbar have revolved around Ramadi which is being carved up into a series of Green Zones (to little effect). [Currently at Alive in Baghdad, there is a video report on a man who was "Falsely Arrested and Abused In Ramadi.]

In the most noted violence in Iraq today, Kadhim Abdel has been shot dead. CNN reports that "the brother-in-law of Judge Mohammad Orabi Majeed Al-Khalefa, was driving in Ghazaliya on Friday with his son aged 10 and another 10-year-old boy when their car was attacked. Both boys were wounded." The Australian combines AP and Reuters to note: "It was not immediately clear whether they were targeted because they were related to judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who took over the Saddam trial last week, or if it was another of the sectarian attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad." (That statement is actually all AP.)


AP reports that a police officer died ("and two civilians injured") from a bombing in downtown Baghdad; while two Iraqi soldiers lost their lives in Anah from a roadside bomb (with two more wounded).


AFP reports that two police officers were shot dead in Dura. CNN reports that four people were shot dead in Balad.


AP reports that eight corpses were discovered in Iraq, three were discovered in Baquba and that two corpses "were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah". AFP reports that two corpses were discovered in Kut. (The Times of London ups the Baghdad corpse count to ten.)

In peace news, BuzzFlash declares the Dixie Chicks this weeks Wings of Justice winners for using their voices to speak truth to power. In 2003, the Chicks were savaged by some (and Diane Sawyer attempted a public shaming). They didn't back down and, to quote a song off their new, best selling CD, they're "not ready to make nice." [Click here for Kat's review of the CD.] The Dixie Chicks stood strong and a lot of people stood with them. There's a lesson in that.

CODEPINK is celebrating it's fourth anniversary on Sunday and Andrea Lewis spoke with Medea Benjamin about that today on KPFA's The Morning Show today. Addressing the organization's latest action -- Give Peace a Vote! -- Benjamin noted that: "We have November elections coming up and then we have presidential elections coming up and unfortunately If we don't translate the silent majority voice that's against this war into a voter bloc, we're going to be faced with another opportunity to vote for two major parties giving us war candidates. So Give Peace a Vote!is a way to say, 'I will not vote for anybody that does not call for an end to this war and no more wars of aggression.'"

Speaking with Kris Welch today on KPFA's Living Room, Daniel Ellsberg noted the upcoming World Can't Wait protest (October 5th -- day of mass resistance), his being named as the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the importance of speaking out.

As noted by James Glanz (New York Times) and Gritte Witte (Washington Post) this morning, American contractor Parsons has a 1/14 success rate for their construction projects in Iraq --- actually less than 1 in 14 because, as Witte notes, ""The one project reviewed by auditors that was being constructed correctly, a prison, was taken away from Parsons before its completion because of escalating costs." With that in mind, pay attention to Janis Karpinski (writing for The Huffington Post): "Our silence will beget more of the same and worse. We must find courage. We must stand up. One of the ways to do this is by screening and sharing a new documentary I appeared in called Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers -- which calls for a stop to the shameful war profiteering this administration has allowed to occur. We must speak up. We must because we are Americans and we know better than this. We can move beyond the shame only when we stop this from getting worse and participate in making it better."

Finally, next week, Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, hits the road again to raise awareness on his son -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, Ehren Watada awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .). Here are Bob Watada's speaking engagements for Monday through Friday of next week:

Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur
3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood
Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:

Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:

Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus

Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally(March starts at noon at pershing S1)
Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

The e-mail address for this site is

On a non-Iraq note, Lynda pointed out that a link was wrong this morning (and yesterday) so I'll note it here (it's corrected on the main site, but not on the mirror site)from Ms.: Before the new Ms. comes out on October 10, we’re doing a last push to get signatures on our "We Had Abortions" petition. With our right to choose in danger, we at Ms. think it’s important for us to take a stand now for abortion rights. We’d love to have your help!