I enjoy reading all the e-mails but I'm usually running fairly behind in them. I try to go in order and read from the oldest to the newest. If you do have an emergency, please do something with the title so that stands out. Tina titled her's "Christmas emergency" so her e-mail caught my eye and jumped ahead of some older ones. Tina and her husband have four kids and two cars. They'd planned to spend the holidays with family which was gone to require nearly a day of driving. Their minivan just sprouted a series of problems. When we first exchanging e-mails at the start of the week, it was just a transmission leak and now it's sensors and several other issues as well.
At the start of the week, Tina was thinking they were going to have to call off the trip and as new problems have sprung up, that's the decision they've had to stick with. This time of year, money is usually tight for most of us and the second car is really too small to be on the road for nearly eighteen hours with two adults and four kids. Now Tina and her husband's big concern is getting the car fixed as soon as possible after Christmas. Tuesday, she went ahead and shipped gifts to their family that they were going to take with them and to make sure they arrived in time, she ended up paying a great deal more than she'd expected.
Since I'm not a mechanic, Tina's problem she wanted help with was about the Christmas dinner she's now going to be cooking. Tina's really just needed an ear and I was happy to listen. Her question basically boiled down to, "Do I fix a huge feast for the six of us or is this an area?"
No, there's no need for that. There's no rule that says you have to serve a turkey, big or small.
There's also no rule that you have to fix a feast all by yourself and knock yourself out. The oldest child is twelve and the youngest is five. After she got confirmation that she didn't have to serve a turkey and provide four pies, mutiple side dishes, etc. And that's why Tina and I thought her story was especially worth sharing.
She can cook a turkey and has done so before. She wrote back before Thanksgiving to express her surprise that the silly New York Times could scare so many about a cooking a turkey. (She thought the power of the paper was silly, not the reactions of people.) So when she and her husband were attempting to figure out what to cut back on to save the money to pay for repairing the mini-van, her thought was a nice Christmas dinner but not the usual spread. Her second thought was, "Oh, I can't do that."
So that's our point today, Tina and mine. Some people do not like to eat turkey, some people do not want to cook it. If for any reason, you're thinking about not serving turkey, there's no 'rule' that says you have to.
This is what Tina's going to be serving instead and it's a recipe a friend passed onto her at work last year (she's a school teacher) that her family enjoys.
Oven Roasted Chicken
3 pounds chicken, breasts and thighs
2 medium onions sliced, not diced (round circles)
3 large potatoes diced
2 stalks of chopped celery
1 green bell pepper diced
1 red bell pepper diced
4 large carrots, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes
butter (1 and a half tablespoons melted)
Line a pan with foil to avoid a messy clean up after. Place the chicken down first, on the foil, then add the onion, potatoes, celery, bell pepper and carrots. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes with a dash of pepper and a dash of paprkia. Pour the contents of the bowl over the chicken and vergtables. Add a dash of salt and pepper, lightly, over the contents of the pan and then cover the pan with foil. Put the pan in a 375 degree oven for one hour. Remove the pan from the oven to lift the foil covering so you can spoon the juices over the chicken and vegetables. Do the same with the butter (Tina notes the recipe calls for you to brush with the butter but she just pours it) and then sprinkle with paprika. Without covering the pan with foil, stick it back into the oven for an additional 45 minutes. And then you're done.
This is not just a tasty dinner, it also allows you very little cleanup. You have a meat and vegetables that have cooked in one pan and you have the bowl you've mixed the tomatoes in and a bowl you've melted the buttered in. Both the bowls can be cleaned during the last 45 minutes and you'll just have the pan to clean (the foil will make the pan much easier to clean).
She's going to be serving that with some corn on the cob, a green salad and one pie that she intends to buy from the freezer section of the store.
That sounds like a wonderful Christmas dinner to me. Vegetarians are already aware that the only rule for a meal is that it's something that taste goods. Brandy's main dish is going to be a baked acorn squash. There are no rules that say you must have a turkey or that, if you don't have a turkey, you must have a ham or cornish hen or anything else.
The rule is that it tastes good to you. There is also no rule that everyone must be stuffed so if you're responsible for the meal don't fall into a trap of attempting to fix huge quantities that will either be tossed aside or left overs. The woman who wrote last week is hoping her son will eat more than pizza on Christmas but she'll be serving a small pizza to avoid any problems and to cut down on stress.
Stress isn't an ingredient we should stock in our kitchens.
So give yourself the freedom you need and you'll find that you enjoy the day much more.
Today, I read this story by the Associated Press:
After one of the deadliest months yet for American troops in Iraq, the U.S. military could be preparing for a short-term surge of forces to stabilize the violence.
The 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division is expected in Kuwait shortly after the new year, a senior Defense Department official told The Associated Press on Friday. The official requested anonymity because the plans had not yet been announced.
The 2nd Brigade, made up of roughly 3,500 troops, is based at Fort Bragg, N.C., and would be deployed in Iraq early next year if needed, the official said. The move would be part of an effort to boost the number of U.S. troops in Iraq for a short time, the official said. The plan was first reported by CBS News.
The numbers aren't going down. And as C.I.'s pointed out, the increase for the so-called crackdown in August have not gone down either. John McCain, Joe Lieberman and others are calling for an increase. Bully Boy's not interested in bringing the troops home. I don't see support in Congress for cutting off the funding. No one seems to have the strength to do the obvious, bring the troops home. When you realize how many were tricked and/or went along to get along when the illegal war was first started, that's not a surprise.
A surprise is reading a columnist I enjoy this week attempting (I believe) to call for the war to end but, in doing so, pushing the myth that the laughable ink-stained-finger photo-op was a democratic election with open participation. Even in the cheerleading of that moment, I do remember the cautionary notes about how some areas of Iraq were not safe for people to go to the polls and I remember Seymour Hersh either writing of speaking to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) about the fact that there was some ballot stuffing in some areas.
I think when we promote half-truths to end the war, such as in treating a shameful election as something to be proud of, we prolong the war. I do not think anyone rooting for the war reads such a column and thinks, "Hey, they're admitting that the elections were wonderful so I can find some middle ground and get on board with the notion of troop withdrawal." I think they read such a column and end up thinking, "Well, even that lefty is admitting the election was a shining moment. We can make more! We have to stay!"
On a happier note, I want to say congratulations to Rebecca and Flyboy on Rebecca's pregnancy. I know some people say congratulations on "your pregnancy" and include the father-to-be in the "you." That may be the nicer way but, take it from a mother of eight, that's not reality. My husband's a pretty good guy and was very helpful in all of my pregnancies but they were my pregnancies. I was one hauling around all the weight, I was the one with the back pain, the morning sickness, and the one giving birth. Our children are our children but I don't believe pregnancy is 'shared.'
I always enjoy Rebecca's site but, since she's blogged about this and we've also talked about it on the phone, let me add that this reader hasn't been bored with the talk of her pregnancy.
And on Iraq, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:
Friday, December 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's been attacked repeatedly by the US military, the US military announces that three troops have died, the US media attempts to ignore the big Iraq story of the day, Kyle Snyder continues speaking out and Donald the Rumsfled leaves an appointed office but he does not complete a 'tour of duty.'
Starting in England, with the big story. Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) report that Carne Ross ("Britain's key negotiator at the UN") statement in the Butler inquiry (2004) that's only now been revealed and it exposes the lies behind the 'case' for war in England. AFP reports that Ross declared "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." Ross also declared that: "It was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained" (Al Jazeera).
Though Carne Ross' statements have been kept secret (swept under the 'national security' rug), Last month, he did speak to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee and note that the intel offered to the public was "manipulated." As Brown and McSmith note, the Commons Select Committee is the body that's brought the information public while an unidentified member of the Foreign Affairs committee states: "There was blood on the carpet over this. I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles ovre Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff." The Irish Times declares: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for attacking Iraq has been dealt a new blow with the release of once-secret evidence from a former British diplomat who dismissed the threat of weapons of mass destruction."
As the mainstream media in the US bends over backwards to note Ross' statements, many may be reminded of the Downsing Street Memos and how they were greeted with silence and then derision. AP was the excuse many hid behind with DSM -- claiming they would have run a story if AP had covered it -- if only a wire story . . . Well AP has covered it.
Turning to peace news, Alex Zdan (Trenton Times) notes Tuesday speech Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, gave to the Nassau Presbyterian Church where she described how her son became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq ("In studying all the literature, he was stunned by what he saw") which included refusing to accept a "desk job" in Iraq. On last Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho explained that the refusal was for himself as well as those serving under him, "He felt the best thing he could do for his men was to remain behind and speak truth." She is asking for everyone to contact their members of Congress and put pressure on Congress to carry out their oversight role. Monday, Carolyn Ho appeared on Democracy Now! and discussed her own progress when meeting with members of Congress. Outside of Maxine Waters, not much. So those who haven't contacted their Congress members should considering doing so.
Ehren Watada, as Aaron Glantz (IPS) reported, is also the subject of subpoenaes -- the US military is attempting to compell three journalists to testify in court: Sarah Olson, Dahr Jamail, and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin). Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that Olson is "one of few reporters covering the anti-war movement and the voices of dissent" and that she has not decided yet how to respond to the subpoena -- Sarah Olson: "Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."
Another US war resister continues speaking out: Kyle Snyder Washington's Bellingham Herald notes an appearence at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. Last weekend, at a speaking appearance, police showed up. Snyder continues speaking out.
Watada and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.
Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
As Aileen Alfandary noted on KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), two car bombs went off outside US bases in Ramadi.
Qais al-Bashir (AP) reports that Muhsin al-Kanan, a cleric who was tight with British forces, was shot dead in Basra and that a civilian was shot dead in Kut. Reuters reports that "a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency" was shot dead in Diwaniya as was an oil company guard.
Reuters cites hospital sources in Mosul having received 13 bodies today.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's the target of US forces. Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) reports that that the IRC states there has been "a spate of attacks on its offices over the last three years" and in the most recently, according the the IRC's vice president (Jamal Al Karbouli), about a week ago, "US forces had occupied and nearly destroyed its Falluja office, held staff for hours, and burned two cars clearly marked with its neutral symbol." CBS and AP report: "'We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times,' Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left.'"
Today, the US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from woundssustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team,1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of enemy fire while conducting operationsin Ninewa Province. Two other Soldiers were wounded and transported to a Coalition Forces medical treatment facility."
Tomorrow is the first of two 'big meets' for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki. KUNA reports that he "will convene another National Reconciliation Conference for political leaders from across Iraq." While he gears up for his conference, Jawad al-Bolani is in Syria apparently not overly concerned with the opinions of US Secretary of State Condi Rice. KUNA reports the Interior Minister of Iraq is there "to discuss security issues as the first Iraqi official to visit Damascus since diplomatic relations were resumed between the two neighboring countries." This comes at a time when Tareg al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's vice-presidents, is in the US and criticizing Bully Boy's 'plan' Al Jazeera quotes him saying: "Imagine one day waking up and finding out that your nation's leaders had completely dismantled all police and military. As a result, there is no one policeman, or state, or federal law enforcement agent, or even one national guard or any soldier to protect you from criminal elements, or terrorists. It will be total chaos. Then imagine that instead of calling back the army and security forces, the authorities in this imaginary scenario decided to form a new army and police from racist militias, some mercenaries and organized crime gangs. . . . This is exactly what has happened in Iraq."
In a lengthy talk/performance with the Washington Post editorial board, Condi Rice attempted to buff her image a bit but mainly demonstrated (yet again) that even her fabled 'expertise' in Russia/the Soviet Union is inflated. The take away should be Rice's declaration, "I find Prime Minister Maliki a strong man." A statement so laughable it begs for a remix and one that will come back to haunt her.
In other things that should haunt, Donald the Rumsfled began a three-day farewell while most Americans wonder, "I thought he'd left already." Today it was time to 'salute' him and watch for the media that makes (at best) an idiot of itself or (at worst) spits on democracy by referring to the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense's 'tour of duty.' The Rumsfled was a civilian. Civilians are in charge of the military in the US. He did not complete a 'tour of duty' but fools and those with no respect for democracy will repeat the nonsense. Roger Runningen and Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) note this remark by the Bully Boy: "He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." File it away from the future War Crimes Tribunal should Bully Boy attempt to say he was confused about what was being discussed.
aaron glantzamy goodmandemocracy now
radionation with laura flanderslaura flanderscarolyn hoehren watada
the morning show