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!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Eggplant Casserole in the Kitchen

Gina just got back from her vacation and during it, she visited some friends and came back loaded down with eggplants. She called me and asked if I knew any recipes other than fried eggplant which she's already done twice and "I've still got all these eggplants staring at me"?

When in doubt, casserole. The cheese in this recipe can be doubled if you're attempting to persaude a finiky child (or adult) to try it.

You need the following:

3 Eggplants
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 roma tomatoes
4 zucchini
2 garlic cloves minced
some fresh parsley to season to taste with
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (1 cup if you're doubling)
salt & pepper for seasoning

Cut the top off the eggplant and discard. Slice or cube the eggplant. It's much easier to slice it but some times I prefer to cube it. You can leave the skins on if you slice. Lightly brush the eggplants cubes or slices with the olive oil. If you don't have a kitchen brush, you can use a paper towel for this step. Now you can broil the eggplant, you can grill it or you can use a skillet to brown them. If using a skillet, use your largest one.

If you have a kitchen grill, that's probably your easiest avenue. If you're using the stovetop, you can use the same skillet (without cleaning) to prepare the zucchini. Transfer to the eggplant, as it browns, to a platter or plate.

Cut off both ends of the zucchini and then slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. If you're using the same skillet, you don't need to brush the zucchinni with olive oil but if you're using a grill or roasting, brush the zucchini with olive oil first. (If you're grilling or broiling either or both zucchini and eggplant, remember you want the pieces soft and brown.) Transfer to a platter or plate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and allow the eggplant and zucchini to cool.

Lightly grease a casserole dish with olive oil.

Slice the three roma tomatoes.

Begin layering in this order, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, parsley, a dash of pepper and/or salt, a sprinkling of cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese on top.

Cover the dish. If you don't have a glass cover that came with the dish, you can cover it with aluminum foil. Bake the dish for thirty minutes. Remove the cover and turn the oven to 400 degrees to bake for ten more minutes which will allow it to brown. The dish is now hot so allow it to sit for ten or so minutes before serving.

Brandy wrote with a question that applies to the last step. She said she didn't have a place to set things after they come out of the oven. You can buy things to set hot dishes on but you can also use a cold stove stop burner. You want a cold one, one that's not been used to cook something, due to the fact that if you set a dish on a hot or warm burner, you may end up cooking the dish more.

Now if you've made this recipe in the hopes that a child (or adult) would eat it and they are vegetable resistant, you can set some grated cheese on the table and encourage them to top their portion with some.

Thanks to Gina for calling because I was really unable to come up with a recipe today. The spinach issue (fresh spinach has been pulled from many areas due to an e-coli virus) had me leery about the recipe I had planned (which didn't involve spinach but did involve some uncooked vegetables). Remember to wash your vegetables and fruits before eating them raw and to wash them before cooking. (The FDA is advising that washing spinach will not help with the e-coli. Cooking might, but my recommendation is get rid of it. I love spinach but I have two friends who have been sick all week. I will eat spinach again. Hopefully in a week or two. But right now, my advice is get rid of it.) (Supposedly, this warning applies only to raw spinach. And fresh at that. But one friend got sick from a Sunday pizza they ate. The spinach was cooked. So my advise is to wait on eating spinach until you hear from the FDA or some other source -- trusted source and there are probably more trusted sources than the FDA. I don't want to alarm anyone but I also don't want anyone to get sick because I didn't make the point strongly enough: The e-coli virus has apparently made spinach unsafe right now. Avoid it. The only exception I would make to that is if you grow your own. If so, you're lucky and continue eating it.)

Now I want to note something from a recent Media Matters report on Bully Boy's Friday press conference, "Softball in the Rose Garden: White House press corps failed to challenge Bush's non-answers at press conference:"

The first question of the September 15 press conference came from Associated Press White House correspondent Terence Hunt, who noted former Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent statement in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism." Hunt asked, "If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of State feels this way, don't you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you're following a flawed strategy?" Following is Bush's response:
BUSH: If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic. I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective, Terry.
My job, and the job of people here in Washington, D.C., is to protect this country. We didn't ask for this war. You might remember the 2000 campaign. I don't remember spending much time talking about what it might be like to be a commander in chief in a different kind of war. But this enemy has struck us and they want to strike us again. And we will give our folks the tools necessary to protect the country; that's our job.
But who compared "the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists"? Powell simply stated that the administration's handling of the threat of terrorism -- and more recently its position on the treatment of detained terrorism suspects -- has tarnished the nation's image worldwide and led many across the globe to question the "moral basis" for these policies. Nowhere in Powell's letter or in the question was there a suggestion that the "behavior of the United States" is on par with the "action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children."
Following this answer, Hunt asked, "Can I follow up?" To which Bush answered, "No, you can't," before moving on to Reuters reporter Steve Holland. None of the subsequent questioners pointed out that Bush had answered a different question than the one Hunt asked.

Kat's noting another item from the same Media Matters' report so please visit her site today.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" about Friday's events in Iraq and I'm rushing to get this up because I know C.I.'s waiting on me to post this morning:

Friday, September 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq and among the dead are US troops; the count of discovered corpses in Baghdad continue to rise, meanwhile the latest US 'answer' is "Castle!"; war resister Darrell Anderson prepares to return to the United States; and Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC.
Starting with the violence (stick around for the 'answer'),
CBS and AP report that five US troops died on Thursday ("making it a particularly bloody day for U.S. forces" -- well not to the New York Times) and that a marine has died today in al Anbar province. al Anbar? For those who missed it, Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported Monday that that Marine Col Pete Devlin's assesment "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents." Today Will Dunham (Reuters) reports: "U.S. commanders in Iraq have demoted their long effort to subdue insurgents in Anbar province . . . 'Baghdad is our main effort right now,' Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top U.S. operational commander in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters in a briefing from Iraq."
Staying with the violence.
A senior Interior Ministry official
remarks to Reuters, on the continued discovery of corpses, "Forty bodies, 60 bodies -- it's become a daily routine." Friday started with Rebecca Santana (AP) noting the discovery of 30 corpses in Baghdad. AFP gives the announced figures for the last three days as 64 (Wednesday), 20 (Thursday) and 51 (last 24 hours). In addition to those corpses which were discovered in Baghdad, Reuters reports that in Mussayab a corpse "with a missing head" was discovered.
Reuters reports one person was shot dead and five others wounded in Baghdad. AP reports the incident: "In central Baghdad, a gunman opened fire from the top of an abandoned building in a Sunni Arab neighborhood, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding five others, said police Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali."
Reuters reports a car bomb in Mosul that left nine wounded, while, in Mussayab, a roadside bomb "late on Thursday" left three police officers wounded.
In addition,
Al Jazeera reports that a US soldier is missing after Thursday's car bombing in Baghdad that left two troops dead on Thursday and 25 others wounded. AP raises the wounded from that bombing to 30 and notes the missing soldier "has been reported as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown".
AFP reminds: "The United Nations has also warned that Iraq could slide into civil war as the daily bloodshed shows no signs of abating despire political efforts for national reconciliation." CBS and AP report that John Bolton told the UN Security Council yesterday "that Iraq's sectarian killings and kidnappings had increased in the last three months, along with a rise in the numbef of displaced people."
So where does it stand? Even John Bolton's sounding alarms, US troops are pulling out of al Anabar,
Reuters reports that the 147,000 American troops in Iraq are "the most since January," and the violence and chaos continue.
But don't fret 'a new plan' finally emerges as the 'answer.'
It's being called trenches which is really implying something it's not. When people think of trenches, they tend to think of trench warfare. What's being described is more along the lines of a mote --
AFP reports that Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf described it this way, "We will surround the city with trenches. The entry to the captial will be permitted through 28 roads, as against 21 at the moment, but at the same time we will seal off dozens of other minor roads with access to Baghdad."
Quote: "We will surround the city with trenches." That's the 'new plan.' Baghdad goes from capital to castle. But not overnight.
Al Jazeera notes "an operation of this scale would take months to complete."
In the real world,
Cal Perry (CNN) takes a look at the wounded US troops ("more than 20,000" have been "wounded in Iraq") at the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.
In peace news,
Courage to Resist has reported that war resister Darrell Anderson will return to the United States (from Canada): "Support is mounting for Darrell and his courageous stand. Two events are planned in conjunction with his return to the U.S. In Fort Erie on Saturday, Septemeber 30 at Noon there will be a rally in Lions Sugar Bowl and then supporters, including Iraq war veterans and military family members, will accompany Darrell as he crosses the border back into the U.S. over Peace Bridge."
Other peace actions are going on and will be going on including a three-day event in NYC that begins this evening at 7:00 pm, continues Saturday at 7:00 pm and concludes on Sunday at 3:00 pm. What is it? The People Speak directed by Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati. This is a workshop adaptation of
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States. The workshop will take place at The Culture Project's Bleecker Street Theater on 45 Bleecker Street. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered online here or here or purchased in person at the box office (box office does not take ticket orders). For those in NYC, or who will be during those dates, click here for a map. The presentation is part of the Impact Festival.
In Washington, DC,
Camp Democracy continues, free and open to the public. Today's events have focused on Electoral Reform and include an 8:00 pm (EST) showing of the film Stealing America, Vote by Vote." Among those speaking today were Bob Firtakis. Saturday is peace day and will include Kevin Zeese, Nadine Bloch, Allison Hantschel. CODEPINK's Gael Muphy will report on the visit to Jordan at the start of last month to meet with Iraqis as well as the trip to Lebanon. And war resister Ricky Clousing will discuss the court-martial he's facing. (This may be the first major discussion he's given publicly on the topic since August 11th.)
And on Sunday,
Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here. Free and open to the public with daily activites.
Finally, in Australia,
ABC reports that Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) will be expanding their role in Iraq when "Italian forces withdraw at the end of next month." Reuters notes this will be 20 troops added to "the extra 38 troops announced on Sept. 4". The 58 need to be weighed next to the intent, as Dan Box (The Australian) reported earlier this week, the Australian government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war")

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mac & Cheese in the Kitchen

We have a 'test kitchens' recipe today. Barbara wrote that her seven-year-old son will eat mac & cheese but nothing else lately. He'll pick at anything else just enough to be allowed to leave the table. She wondered if I knew any recipe that would include a vegetable. I sent her this on Tuesday and she's sick of it because she's made it every night but she says thank you because he is eating it. It contains peas. You can also slip in onions -- red, yellow or white as well as green. Wally's mother tried it with all the onions this week as a favor to me and agreed that yellow doesn't really work. I'm not fond of yellow onions. They aren't my favorite and they are the ones I purchase least. So I asked her to try it with the different onions and, though she likes yellow onions, she felt it worked better with the other three. However, if you're a yellow onion lover, you'll probably enjoy it with those. If you're adding any of the four onions to the dish (or maybe more than one) do it in the step where you add the peas. If you're making it for children, dice the onions unless you're kids enjoy onions. (If they do, you can simply slice them.)

1 1/2 cups elbow macranoi
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon spicy or Dijon mustard
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces shredded cheese
10 ounces frozen peas
dash of pepper

Preheat over to 400 Degrees. Grease a shallow 1 /1/2 quart backing dish.
Cook the macaroni according to the package directions and drain.
In a blender, food processor or with a wisk and bowl, mix the cottage cheese and mustard to a smooth consistency. Add the sour cream and a dash of pepper. Mix those as well. Add macaroni, 6 1/2 ounces shredded cheese and the pas. Mix. Spoon the mixture into the backing dish.
Take the remaining cheese and sprinkle it on top. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

If you have kids, you know that the mac & cheese love-fest is not uncommon. Six of my eight kids went through that phase where mac & cheese was expected every night at dinner. If you're using a box to save time and your children already eat vegetables, this isn't to make you feel bad. But if they're not eating enough vegetables or if you're looking for a way to sneak some in for yourself, this is a fairly easy recipe that will do that. A tip for when you first serve it to kids, include the section with the cheese on top. After they've developed a taste for it, you can scoop from anywhere in the dish and it won't matter whether or not the cheese is just among the ingredients or also there and on top. But when you're trying to get them to try this, be sure to serve them sections with cheese on top. (Also make them equal sections if you're serving to more than one child. My two oldest would fight over whose piece had the most cheese on top. They did that, sad to say, for over a year. The fact that they were eating it made it that much easier to get the younger children to eat any of it. If they see one of their siblings excited about a dish, they'll be excited as well. Which, looking back, makes me wish I'd thought to bribe one of them to act excited the first time I served cabbage rolls.)

Let me urge you to read Betty's "The Central Proof" (this is a turning-point chapter). And there are many other things I'd love to suggest but I'm attempting to hurry.

On the subject of NSA, illegal wiretapping of American citizens, I saw this online and wanted to excerpt from it. This is from David Lindorff's "Sen. Feingold Stands Up...Again" available at Common Dreams:

Once again, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), has nailed it, doing exactly the right thing, acting in a courageous manner as a progressive politician should act.
It is clear to everyone in Congress that President Bush knows he's in deep political and legal trouble over his warrantless NSA spying program. It has been declared a violation of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence law passed by Congress in 1978, and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, by a federal judge in Detroit. His justification for breaking those laws--that he is the commander in chief in a so-called "war" on terror--was summarily slapped down and tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court in the course of itsHamdi v. Rumsfeld decision in June. And anyone who thinks honestly about why the president would have decided to violate the FISA law and avoid seeking warrants for the spy program from a group of secret, top-security-clearance-rated judges in a special FISA court that has only rejected four such requests in 28 years has to admit that Bush is clearly doing something outrageous (most likely spying on his political enemies in a replay of Nixon's actions‹the very crime that led Congress to pass FISA in the first place).
My own Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican who keeps playing at liberal to the home crowd in Pennsylvania but who has shown himself to be nothing but an enabler of Bush's constitutional crime wave, held hearings on the NSA spying. He huffed and puffed a little about its being illegal, and then came up with a proposal that, if passed by Congress, would retroactively exonerate the president of his crime against the Constitution, while establishing a new shortcut to permit the warrantless spying to continue unabated, and unmonitored by either Congress or the FISA court.
It looked like this atrocity of Specter's was going to pass into law, but Sen. Feingold, with the help of, not Democrats, but three Republican senators he rounded up who still respect the Bill of Rights and rule of law, managed to fend it off by way of a filibuster threat.

That's bipartiasanship that I can get behind. We had a Washington Post story in my local paper so I'll use the link to it (I believe their archives are available longer online). This is from Jonathan Weisman's "Iraq's Alleged Al-Qaeda Ties Were Disputed Before War:"

A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.
Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda's overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden."

The report also said exiles from the Iraqi National Congress (INC) tried to influence U.S. policy by providing, through defectors, false information on Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capabilities. After skeptical analysts warned that the group had been penetrated by hostile intelligence services, including Iran's, a 2002 White House directive ordered that U.S. funding for the INC be continued.

The White House didn't just lie us into war by accident, they chose to lie. That's something to remember as they attempt to market the anniversary of 9-11 to their own means.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" covering the news from Iraq:

Friday, September 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, bits of the long over due US Senate reporton the lies that led to war (they're calling it a look into the intell) are scattered like crumbs, US soldier Mark Wilkerson reflects on how he reached the decision not to take part in the illegal war, US soldier Darrell Anderson is reportedly headed back to the United States after attempts to be granted asylum in Canada,
and Australia's Bully Boy says Brendan Nelson is doing a "fantastic job."
In the United States,
AP was first out of the gate with: "A senate intelligence committee report says there's no evidence Saddam Hussein had a relationship with terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his al-Qaida associates before the Iraq war." CBS and AP quote US Senator John D. Rockefeller stating of the report: "Ultimately, I think you will find that administration officials made repeated prewar statements that were not supported by underlying intelligence" and that it shows "the administration pursued a deceptive strategy abusing intelligence reporting that the intelligence community had already warned was uncorroborated, unreliable and in some critical circumstances fabricated."
Reuters notes that US Senator Carl Levin has pointed to the Bully Boy's statement on August 21st and attempted (yet again) to make an unfounded link. Levin: "The president's statement, made just two weeks ago, is flat-out false."
Though the press wants to play Levin's statement as an allegation, public record shows
Bully Boy stated: "I square it because imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein, who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who had relations with Zarqawi." As Levin pointed out, that "is flat-out false."
The lies that led into illegal war. Yesterday,
AP notes, the Senate passed a spending measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with another $63 billion dollars.
As the cost in blood and currency continues to add up, more and more people turn against the illegal war. In the United States,
Byron Pitts (CBS) reported on the mood in Jacksonville, North Carolina and spoke with retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper who admits to vote for Bully Boy twice but intends to vote Democratic for the first time. Van Riper tells Pitts: "I've turn him [Bully Boy] off. I've tuned him out." The cost in blood? AFP notes the Baghdad morgue body count for August stands at 1,584. It also includes 2666 US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the war, 118 British troops (that includes the one who died Thursday) and 115 "other" for a total of 2899.
Of the US fatality count,
Emil Guillermo (Asian Week) notes, "Ironically, of the Iraq war deaths, over 2,500 came after" Bully Boy's "declared on May 1, 2003, 'Mission Accomplished'."
CNN reports that, in Baghdad, a roadside bomb left six injured and killed three ("including a mother and child" among the dead) and that a US soldier died "south of Baghdad" from a roadside bomb. Reuters reports a car bomb in Baghdad that killed a police officer "and a bystander". Sami al-Jumaili (Reuters) reports the death of eight in Kerbala from mortars.
CNN reports that three people were shot dead in Baquba and a sunni tribal chief was shot dead in Hawija. Reuters identifies the man as Ibrahim al-Khalaf and notes that an Iraqi soldier was shot dead near Samarra (with two others wounded).
AFP reports six corpses were found in Baghdad ("tortured . . . shot to death"). Reuters reports the corpse of Haider Hamza was discovered "shot dead in front of his house" and that he had been "an interpreter working for Danish troops in Iraq".
AFP reports that Brigadier Muzher Kamel Mohammad ("head of the police force protecting Iraqi courts") was kidnapped in Baghdad. This as Reuters reports the US is clashing with people in Falluja and "U.S. troops used loudspeakers to demand people turn in 'insurgents' or face a 'large military operation'." Falluja. Again. As if November 2004 wasn't destructive enough. Hearts and minds, as Mark Wilkerson has noted, are not being won.
And the much touted non-handover? As
Jim Sciutto (ABC) notes: "Watching the headlines in the American media today, you might think the U.S. military handed over military control in Iraq to Iraqis. There was certainly a ceremony yesterday -- a handshake at a military base where Iraqi commanders took control of an Iraqi army division from coailtion commanders -- but the real story is the arithmetic. Yesterday's handover affects the tiny Iraqi navy and air force, with a few hundred folks in each, and a single Iraqi army division, the 8th Army with 5500 to 7000 troops. This means only about five percent the 115,000 regulars in the Iraqi army now take their cues from the Iraqi prime minister. The rest remain firmly under foreign control -- and so do the most dangerous areas of the country, such as Baghdad and the volatile Anbar province in the west. The 8th Army operates in the relatively small -- and relatively quiet -- Diwaniyeh province in southern Iraq."
In peace news,
Diana Welch (Austin Chronicle News) reviews the case of war resister Mark Wilkerson noting his disillusionment ("When we went, our general mission was to win the hearts and minds of the people. But when I got there, and I saw the people and how we were treating them, I thought, 'We're doing exactly the opposite'."), his awakening (finding out who was profitting -- "certain individuals were making on this war, how much money the corporations like Halliburton were making"), having his conscientious objector application rejected as he was called up for another tour of duty, and then deciding to check himself out. Alan Gionet (CBS4) reports that Rebecca Barker, Matt Wilkerson's mother, stated, "I think the public is looking at anyone who goes AWOL as cowards and it goes much deeper than that." Welch notes that Wilkerson could face a special court-martial (if found guilty, one year sentence is the maximum) or a general one (which would led to seven years if found guilty). Gionet reports: "Wilkerson is confined to base while his unit faces what could be its third deployment."
Phinjo Gombu (Toronto Star) reports that war resister Darrell Anderson will be leaving Canada and returning to the US, according to his mother Anita Anderson. This should take place during the last weekend of September and he will be met at the border by peace activists and Vietnam veterans as well as by Jim Fennerty, his attorney. "If he is not arrested immediately, Anderson plans to travel to Fort Knox in Kentucky to turn himself in. It is one of the two army bases where deserters are kept while the army decides whether to court-martial or discharge a soldier."
In Washington, DC
Camp Democracy continues through September 21st. It is free and open to the public. Today's events focused on labor issues. Saturday, September 9th, many events will be taking place and among those speaking will be Antonia Juhasz (The BU$H Agenda), Ray McGovern and Bill Moyers. The events will kick off at 9:00 a.m. in preparation of the 9:30 a.m. march around the Capitol Building "To remember the fallen and remind Congress and the public of the human cost of the War on and Occupation of Iraq." Sunday, September 10th will feature Juhasz, Ann Wright, Raed Jarrar and others. A complete schedule can be found here.
And beginning September 21st (International Peace Day), via
United for Peace & Justice:
"It's time to answer fear with courage, to step out of our personal comfort zones and take bold action to end the Iraq War.
Join us in a week of nonviolent action, including civil disobedience, from September 21-28, and in pressuring pro-war politicians all this fall through the Voters for Peace pledge."
In Australia, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson continues to be a subject of discussion over his role as self-designated media spokesperson for the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco.
First into the fray was prime minister John Howard who has "full confience" in Brendan Nelson. Of course he also claims to have "full confidence" in Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston whose testimony directly contradicts Nelson. And it's also true that Howard is the Bully Boy down under. So no one really cares what he says as he speaks from both sides of his mouth except possibly for this statement which has strong echoes of "Heck of a job, Brownie" -- from ABC's The World Today, Howard: "Dr Nelson is doing a fantastic job." Fantastic of a job, Brendie!
For those who missed it,
yesterday Houston told the hearing that he had repeatedly warned Nelson not to speak to the press because the events of Jake Kovco's death were not clear. Or as WA Business News sums it up: "Defence force chief Angus Houston has directly contradicted the Defence Minister's statement to police about private Jake Kovco's death, saying Brendan Nelson ignored repeated warnings not to speculate about the shooting."
Samantha Hawley summarizes (on ABC's PM) thusly: In a witten submission to the Military Board of Inquiry, Dr Nelson says it was Air Chief Marshal Houston who told him that Jake Kovco had been handling his loaded weapon in some way when it discharged. But Angus Houston directly contradicts that claim. In his own submission, the Defence Force Chief indicates he repeatedly urged the minister against speculating about the cause of death, saying it appeared to have been a tragic accident but this would need to be confirmed by the Board of Inquiry."
We turn to this statement from
April 27, 2006: "Of course we are, and I'm personally, very angry about it. I'm very disappointed. The inquiry and the investigation will get to the bottom of it. But I just ask Australians, it's very easy to criticise Defence. It's a large organization. It does wonderful things for Australians and for people in times of trouble, but don't just, I just say to Australians, don't just take a free kick here."
A free kick? Hasn't Brendan Nelson earned it? The statement above was when he went to the press to announce that Jake Kovco's coffin had returned home but not his body. It's been one mix up after another. Put yourself in the Kovco family's place, think of all the mix ups/screw ups Nelson's overseen and been responsible for and wonder if Brendan Nelson is the poor-put-upon he'd like to paint himself or someone performing their job very poorly.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Roundtable in the Kitchen

No recipe today. Labor Day is Monday. If you're taking a dish to a gathering, take something you know how to fix or pick up a prepared dish. (Fruits and vegetable platters are available at most shopping centers.) What we do have to offer is a roundtable. An earlier one can be found at
"roundtable." Thank you to Rebecca for putting this together after Elaine and I both voiced that we would have participated in Thursday night's roundtable gladly (if asked). After participating in this one, which was fun, thank you to Rebecca for assuming I would be too busy to participate in one Thursday night. While a lot of fun, it was also time consuming. Here is the roundtable.

Rebecca: Our second day in a row of roundtables. Tonight, topics will include food, independent media and the war in Iraq. Participating are:

Trina of Trina's Kitchen;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review

Our first topic is food. For this, we'll be referencing Jane Goodall's 2005 book Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, The New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story "The School-Lunch Test" by Lisa Belkin from the August 20, 2006 issue and The Nation's September 11, 2006 "The Food Issue" featuring contributions from many people on this topic. Trina?

Trina: For me, and probably for a lot of people who've followed food issues, the starting point is Frances Moore Lappe. She wrote Diet for a Small Planet in 1971 and it's updated regularly. That's a book I've gone through so many copies of. There are times when someone looks at it and I can tell they're really interested so I'll say, "You take it." Then I'll buy a new copy. Or I'll be using various recipes and the binding will break over time, so I'll buy a new copy. It's always been a staple in my kitchen since I first discovered the book. So when I saw her name on the cover of The Nation's Food Issue, I went to her article first. "A Right to Food? How to Frame The Fight Against Hunger," on page 39, actually is a good set up for the issue because it presents the rights of food noting that the UN's 1948 Delcaration of Human Rights declared foor a right as did the 1993 Vienna Conference on Human Rights. But she argues that there are problems with making the case just on the argument that it is a right since "rights and power are too easily uncoupled." She argues it should be seen as a power and, using that perspective, this will increase our ownership and our activism. The other issues raised in the Food Issue spring from that perspective. So if I were editing the issue, I would have opened with the argument Frances Moore Lappe presents.

Elaine: I'd question the placement as well. On the one hand, maybe it was seen as a summation and that's why it was placed where it was. But I agree with Trina, it works better as an opening essay. Something like Liza Featherstone's "Mean or Green? Wal-Mart's Organic Turn Divides The Movement," which starts on page 31, is enhanced when you realize your stake in it. Alice Waters has a strong essay that opens the section on food --

C.I.: "Slow Food Nation," page 13.

Elaine: Right. But I actually would have flipped the two. To me, it reads more like a conclusion. It's looking to the past and to today and it's much briefer. I'd end with that and open with Moore Lappe. The danger is that for those who are reading and not interested in the topic, or not seriously interested, by the time they're getting to the ownership of the issue, the perspective Moore Lappe's dealing with where we own our power, they may feel, "I've read all these articles, I'm done." I would have structured with Waters at the end because it is a shorter essay and it really is a summation.

Betty: If we're talking about placement, I would've moved Felcia Mello's "Hard Labor: For Farmworkers, It's Not Easy Being Organic." That starts on page 21 and it's an important article but, I did put the magazine down. I care about the issues, I think it's great that The Nation devoted an issue to it -- and look forward to an issue devoted to Iraq, hint, hint -- but Mello's talking about the non-organic realities for some workers on so-called organic farms. The farms aren't alternative in the ways they treat workers.

Elaine: And for anyone who's not read the article, talk about it.

Betty: Well, some farms that are organic actually do treat the workers like human beings. Others don't. The workers are largely immigrants. Mello describes seven-minute bathroom breaks on some farms, where the workers are timed. The wages are poor and there are no benefits. It's using 'organic' in the sense that there may not be pesticides but the treatment of workers is no better than it is on many farms, organic or not.

Trina: And she gives an example of Jim Cochran who owns Swanton Berry Farm who actually does offer benefits like medical, dental and pension and pays a higher wage. He made that choice and the people working at Swanton Berry Farm work under a union contract which is not common, nor are the benefits and wages offered, when compared to the other farms she visits.

Betty: And that woman who was studying law in Mexico but thought coming to America would improve her financial situation --

C.I.: Beatriz Gonzalez.

Betty: Beatriz Gonzales. She works for eight hours a day on her feet, sorting oranges and she's got arthritis and, in her knuckles she has arthritis, from the work, and she's been working there for four years and makes only $7.30 an hour. The minimum wage, which she started at, in California is $6.75. And that actually reminded me of conversations and discussion Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari have had on KPFA's The Morning Show about how there is so little affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Was she from that area?

C.I.: No, she's near Bakersfield. That's further south and closer to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Or that's where the farm is, I have no idea where she lives. But affordable housing is a problem pretty much everywhere.

Betty: And Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari have talked a lot about the living wage and there's just no way that someone making $7.30 an hour, working a forty hour week, at a job after four years, is making a living wage. Mello, the author of the article, talks to a shopper and she, the shopper, asumes that food from organic farms means the workers are better off.

Elaine: Right, she talks about the assumption that those marketing has dubbed "hard core" organic produce consumers have about that.

Betty: And about how there are other consumers who don't know about the conditions and prefer not to know. How it's a personal choice, usually for their children, wanting their children to not be exposed to pesticides and all, and they'll purchase organic but they're really of the "Don't wake me from this dream because I don't want to deal with reality."

Rebecca: You said you had to put the issue down after that article. How come?

Betty: Well. I mean, what do you do? That's what Frances Moore Lappe's addressing and why I think you open with that. Mello's talking about labels that would note true organic, the idea that hard core consumers have of the working conditions that produce the organic foods they purchase, and that's needed but I just had to put it down because, and I buy some organic in the winter but, for the most part, my father's semi-retired, he works his garden like crazy. In the spring, summer and fall, we've got more than enough fresh fruits and vegetables usually. I can't leave my parents house without hearing, "Oh take some of this, take some of that." The backyard was supposed to be just a few rows and my mother jokes about how now she steps out her back door and her backyard is gone because he's turned it into a farm. But when I do buy organic, in the winter, I am just like the hard core consumer Mello talks to at Whole Foods, I've just assumed, "Organic food equals fair labor practices." So it was just shocking to realize how frequently that isn't true. And, from Mello's article, that's not the exception, which I could have handled, but that's the norm for a lot of farmers so it was just a shock. It really depressed me and I had to put the issue down. If Liza Featherstone wasn't a name I recognized, I might not have picked it back up. She wrote a great article debating the pros and cons of Wal-Marts move into stocking organic foods. But when I got to Frances Moore Lappes' article, it was like, "Okay, here's something that can be done. Here's a way to look at it and address it." If that makes sense. And, just to put it into perspective, I went from laughing with Jim Hightower, who's a very funny writer, to the shock of Mello's article.

Rebecca: Now organic practices are something that Jane Goodall addresses in Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. C.I.?

C.I.: What? You haven't read the book?

Rebecca: I read it and loved it, thank you for it. But I'm trying to be moderator.

C.I.: You are allowed to comment. Goodall's tackling that issue, and Betty, I can send you the book if you're interested and a great deal more.

Betty: I'd love to read the book. Let me check at my library later today and if they don't have it, yes, please send it.

C.I.: No problem. But to me the issue of Goodall's book that I wanted to raise was one that Barbara Kingsolver also raised in Small Wonder. You have, in your produce departments, all these foods from various places.

Betty: Holland has been big in my supermarket. I have no idea why. But at the end of spring, suddenly they had some fruits from Holland. I don't even remember what. I didn't buy it. But I remember thinking, "Holland? Don't we have growers in Georgia?"

C.I.: Which is a point that both Goodall and Kingsolver make -- which is, this notion that we should have year round access to everything. There are growing seasons. That's part of the natural cycle. Instead of addressing that, we're getting fruits and vegetables from all over the world and, to have those, requires they are shipped great distances which requires fuel both for to get from point A to point B and to keep the produce refrigerated. Goodall uses strawberries as one example and notes that they are picked too soon so that they will last through the travel cycle. This effects the taste and effects the quality of the nutrition. Goodall writes of how some produce native to certain areas is in danger of being lost because it doesn't travel as well so there's no large market for it. And Kingsolver writes, this is a paraphrase, I don't have the book in front of me: "Most adults my age couldn't pass a simple test on what foods are grown in their home countries and what month they come to maturity." She writes of visiting a friend in Manhattan, in winter, who was serving a dish with fresh raspberries, and wondering where, in winter, fresh raspberries came from. Both Goodall and Kingsolver stress the point that it's important to eat locally grown produce both to support your communities and to cut down on the waste of fuel which, of course, effects the environment with the fuel being burned off into it and polluting so that we can have this or that out of season produce. Goodall focuses on how diets, over time, adapted to the environments they were in. She offers the Masai people of East Africa who ate a meat heavy diet due to the fact that they were cattle herders. But, as a result of the plants they ate, they had less problems than would be expected from a meat based diet. And how the Tohono O'odham tribe, in Arizona, began moving from their native diet to a more processed one and even the children were developing diabetes.

Rebecca: Which is a good transition to the article in The New York Times' Sunday magazine. This is from Lisa Belkin's "The School-Lunch Test," QUOTE: "By any health measure, today's children are in crisis. Seventeen percent of American children are overweight, and increasing numbers of children are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, which until a few years ago, was a condition seen almost only in adults. The obesity rate of adolescents has tripled since 1980 and shows no sign of slowing down. Today's children have the dubious honor of belonging to the first cohort in history that may have a lower life expectancy than their parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that 30 to 40 percent of today's children will have diabetes in their lifetime if current trends continue." And for those wondering why that quote wasn't set off, we're trying to make this as easy as possible for everyone to copy and paste without worrying about spacing. You'll find typos here, just like the last one. This is a rush transcript. Those wanting links, we're providing very few. We've told you where the article is, you can go to a web site and hunt it down if you're interested.

Elaine: Just googling the author and title should provide you with the article.

Rebecca: Right. So that's the current stats for children today and what can be done regarding student lunches is the focus of the article. Who wants to start?

C.I.: As with Frances Moore Lappe, I know and respect the work of Alice Waters so I'm excusing myself from commenting on either so no one thinks, "Of course you would say that."

Elaine: I wish you wouldn't. But let me grab the article because the Alice Waters aspect seemed more than insulting. I didn't care for this article at all. I didn't care for the majority of the people speaking in it. I didn't care for what happened in the schools.

Betty: The pledge. What was that? A woman has children recite a pledge to eat this and that? I'm sorry, my kids don't recite any pledge that I haven't been informed of prior and that I haven't given my consent to. If one of my kids came home telling me about a pledge like that, I would be up at the school complaining. It doesn't matter what the pledge is, what it's topic, I would be complaining because you don't tell my kids to pledge to anything without my permission. I am the parent.

Trina: You know I had the same response. This was a pledge that I could live with, and I assume Betty could as well, right?

Betty: Right. But you tell me first. You get my approval.

Trina: Because today's it's something we agree with, and I only have one child still in school, the other seven are out. Mike's in college of course, so it's just my youngest daughter that's still in school. She's in high school. Something like this, if she were pledging it, I would assume, "Well she's old enough to make up her own mind." And if that included not wanting to take the pledge, then the school better not have attempted to shame or force her into it. But I don't like the idea of pledges being brought into a school, regardless of what they are, without a parent being informed of and giving their consent. This was elementary school. And while I would have given my consent to the pledge, I would have had to have been notified first. I'm with Betty on that.

Betty: Because what someone else is okay with may not be something I'm okay with. There are many issues that I wouldn't want my children pledging to. I also had serious concerns about a lose weight diet author being put in charge in children's food. I would have been one of the parents calling the school system, as happened in Florida, asking, "Why is my child being put on the South Beach Diet?" And the fact that a parent did that demonstrates that parents probably weren't informed of it before the program started. They may have been told there was a new lunch program. But I'm sorry, I wouldn't want my kids on Atkins, I wouldn't want them on South Beach. I don't understand how you skip nutritionists when you're dealing with something as important as children's lunches and breakfasts? I don't care that you've written a 'hot' book or that you're responsible for a fad. That's not speaking to my children's needs.

Elaine: And what a child needs and what an adult needs are different things so I have trouble grasping how someone who wrote a weight loss book for adults could be brought in to begin with. That makes no sense. The issue of Alice Waters, just to touch it on quickly, there's a bit more going on with her program than weight loss. It's about healthy eating, reconnecting with your environment and long term goals. I don't believe that was grasped in the article.

C.I.: If you're talking weight loss, you're talking food and you're talking activity. Nation wide, there has been reduction in free form activity as well as in structured play. Harry Truman's cited in that article, about how WWII inductees were rejected due to being underweight and how, in 1946, Truman signed the legislation to guarantee that every child would have a meal which, hopefully, for those in struggling environments, would be the most nutritious meal. Where's the legislation for activity? There is no time for that because everyone's so busy teaching to a test which may be why some teachers didn't want to use the guide material they were provided with. But, and this is why choosing someone who wrote an adult diet book as your 'savior' is such a problem, your expectations with regards to diet are way too high. You're talking one meal. The Florida program, that's the state it's going on in, at some schools, is focusing on K through 6th. Somone familiar with children would be fully aware that children do not generally prepare all their meals. Truman wanted children to have a nutritious meal. That can be done. It can be done with the Florida program. But one meal is not weight loss. Lunch and breakfast is not weight loss. Any adult trying to lose significant weight by eating one healthy meal a day, low-fat, would not, or should not, expect to lose significant weight as a result if the other meals remain the same. And in many cases, the other meals will remain the same because of resources, what kind of stores you have access to, what kind of time you have to prepare a meal, etc. You want weight loss, you have to up the activity time each time. You want to reduce calories and fat for one meal a day, that's a worthy cause. But don't assume that will result in any significant weight loss.

Elaine: Remember to that one parent complained about how her child wouldn't eat anything at home, after the program started, and she said, the parent, that she couldn't very well throw out everything. Any adult who has done some diet is familiar with the restocking required. I don't think the parents were given, or shown, any power in this program -- going back to Frances Moore Lappe. I also think there's too much denial. Don't complain about the weight loss, which does require physical mobility, as C.I. pointed out, and allow people to sell Chick-fil-A bisquits in the parking lot at the start of the day. Don't say it's mainly parents buying. Why are you selling those to begin with? Yes, the PTO is selling them to raise funds. If you've banned junk food from the cafetria, why are you inviting it on to the campus once a week? As for JoAnn Kandrac, she's kidding herself. She says that the McDonalds coupons provided are "a tradition." The whole point of the program is to break away from bad traditions. If you give those coupons out to honor roll students as a reward then you are presenting McDonalds as an indulgence you can earn. It's a mixed message. Her excuse is, "This is educating our children that they can make smart choices at places like McDonalds." When the coupon you hand out allows them one burger, one fries, one soft drink, they're not making smart choices, they're redeeming coupons and being handed junk food.

Rebecca: I would agree with that. I also found it laughable that the author of the South Beach Diet took exception to her plan being called that and noted that it was a way of eating healthy. You put "Diet" in your book title and you marketed it as a weight loss gain. If anyone's confused, it's the author of that book. We're now turning to the topic of independent media. To give background, WBAI broadcast a program Thursday, The Largest Minority. I was listening with my friend T and we've all now listened to the program. Rachel called it to Mike's attention for one reason in particular but that entire interview was a problem. Who wants to start?

Trina: I'll just note that the issue, and Rachel was clear in this and Mike was clear in summing up her e-mail at his site, was not that someone was talking about cooking. It was the fact that two women were speaking, a host and a guest, and the guest was instructing the listeners to cook to please their man. That's how it played: Please Your Man. The whole thing was insulting. But that was the most insulting.

C.I.: The whole thing had no place on a Pacifica station. Tackling menapause, which a program in March did, fine. Tackling rape, tackling health issues, even discussing cooking, that's fine. But that retro bullshit, and I do call it that, had no place on Pacifica. It would have been booed by the mid-sixites. That it's considered acceptable today is nonsense. I e-mailed Rachel about it after I listened because the cook-for-your-man was only one problem with it. She agreed and said that writing the e-mail to Miake, she did it while she was listening to the show, was when she was ready to scream and she decided to focus on only one point to get the e-mail sent out. But to be clear, it wasn't just the women-you-better-keep-your-man-happy-by-cooking-for-him bullshit, it was also the guest offering up that women needed to marry men who were more successful than they were because that was the only way to happy marriage and that this was the natural balance. That bullshit, and I will call it that, I try to be supportive of independent media but I will not support that crap, had no business airing on any Pacifica station and the host's giggling responses were tragic. She should have called the guest out. She didn't. She giggled, she made jokes about her own significant other, she was playful, she was everything but a mature adult woman. It was embarrassing to listen to and, Mike was right, it was retro.

Betty: I want to add that this is exactly the sort of thing I talk about when I praise Andrea Lewis. Lewis isn't doing that nonsense. She's not playing like she's sitting in the beauty parlor giggling with the gals, while she waits her turn. This was sub-standard. It's the reason I don't listen to most radio programs geared towards Black women. I find it insulting to hear that "You go, girl!" nonsense. That's all it was. The guest and the host were Black women. I find it embarrassing that this nonsense aired, I find it more embarrassing as a Black woman that it was put out there by Black women.

Rebecca: T hated it as well. When it ended, she said, "Thank God I'm a lesbian. Hopefully, I've never embarrassed myself like that." She also made the comparison to a beauty parlor.

Betty: Well, T's Black. She's aware that this "Oh we got to get us a man and keep us a man, girlfriend!" nonsense is too often put out there to Black women as the height of any discussion we're capable of. Again, I have praised Andrea Lewis and she's earned it because she's not trying to deny who she is, racially or sexually, she's not playing prim and proper, she's natural on air. What I heard on WBAI, however, was a stereotype that Terry McMillan wouldn't even try to promote. I was so insulted and called Rebecca and asked, "Do I have to listen to the whole thing?"

Rebecca: Betty had fury in her voice. I could tell she was ticked off.

Betty: Because it's bad enough that Black women are fed that stuff on commercial radio. To have to hear it from a non-commercial radio station, one where supposedly educated discussions take place?

Rebecca: Your mother dropped by while you were listening and she didn't care for it either.

Betty: I was on the phone with Rebecca and my sister had my kids because I've got hers on Saturday, she's got mine on Friday. So my mother came in, nodded to me and just sat down because I was on the phone. She listened for about a minute half before she said something about how those women were 'tripping.' It's embarrassing to hear those kind of caricatures. As though all Black women can do is focus on getting a man and keeping him. And that 'advice' was so insulting. But it was presented in that you-go-girl wrapping that we're all supposed to assume surrounds the true package of Black women. I was disgusted. Again, I could hear that on commercial radio without having to go up and down the dial too much. Andrea Lewis, if anyone didn't get the points I was trying to make when I subbed for Rebecca or that I've made elsewhere, comes off like a grown up. Those two came off like a parody you'd see on Mad TV. It was so disgusting. I was so disappointed and so outraged and, like Rebecca said, I was furious.
I'm sure some liked it. I'm sure some White audience members thoughts, "Oh them colored women and their man troubles." I feel like I'm saying the same thing over and over. I can understand Rachel being so furious that she only focused on one thing in her e-mail to Mike. I'll just shut up at this point because I'm getting too angry.

C.I.: I think you expressed yourself very well. I don't think you were repeating yourself. But it was insulting. It was insulting on many levels. Again, had Pacifica broadcast that conversation in the mid-sixties, regardless of the race involved, there would have been fury over it. There should be today. The key points were, you have to find a man who is 'better than you' and hold the power because that is the only way to have a successful relationship and, after you find that man, your long day at work doesn't matter, get in the kitchen, over "a hot stove" and cook, because men like that. They like for their women to cook for them.

Elaine: You know what I thought of while I was listening? That scene in Tootsie. Where Dustin Hoffman's Dorothy Michaels and Dorothy's speaking to the battered woman and breaks from the text. When the director yells cut, Dustin as Michael pretending to be an actress named Doroty says that she wouldn't tell any woman to give up her home. I just flashed on that for some reason and maybe it's because there was more feminism and awareness in Dustin Hoffman's performance of Dorothy Michaels than there was in that entire show broadcast on WBAI. What's next? I think Rachel made a joke, in her e-mail Mike quoted, about how maybe they could offer up programs on how to apply blush? That really is the next step, the next low. That was disgusting. That it aired on progressive radio was disgusting.

Betty: They'll get an out. The show will. It will be, and this is what makes me so furious, well that's the way 'those people' talk. No, it's not the way I talk, it's certainly not the way any of my friends talk and it's not the way my mother or her friends talk. Silly little girls, aged old women who fancy themselves as 'girls,' talk that way. Mature women deal with serious issues and don't sit around yacking over how to keep your man satisified with you. Now I do go to a hot stove every evening after I get home from work, after I've picked up the kids. I do that because I am their mother. You can take it to the bank that if I didn't have children, I wouldn't be doing that for a man. A grown man's a grown man. If he's hungry, he knows where the kitchen is. If I've had a hard day, I've had a hard day. It was Black Cosmo aired on WBAI and it was insulting and embarrassing and I'll bet you anything that if it had been two White women, there would have been huge complaints about the program and there would be some attempt to address that nonsense. But it won't be seen as nonsense, it will be seen as, "Oh, I can't object that we aired something sexist and racist and retro because the two women involved are Black and what do I know about that?" And you better believe some smug, pampered Black man will rush in to say, "Oh, there was nothing wrong with it, they were just having fun." That was the first point my mother raised when I got off the phone. Because there are a number of Black men who dream of taking away the power of Black women. God forbid that they go out and get their own power. So instead it has to be a competition with us. So, yes, my mother is quite correct, some Black man on WBAI's staff will say, "Problem? There was no problem with that." There was a huge problem with that and I seriously question the way women are seen at WBAI as a result. I listen to The Morning Show, Kat tapes it for me and sends me cassettes. That airs on KPFA. I have no interest in listening to WBAI again. That something so racist and sexist could be presented and not send up alarms tells me that station has some serious problems.

Rebecca: Anyone want to add to that?

C.I.: I think Betty's said it all. She's very upset by it and she's conveyed why.

Rebecca: Okay, then we'll move on to Iraq. We'll let Trina and Elaine start because this was a topic on the last roundtable and I didn't invite either due to the late hour. They read it and wished they could have participated. So I apologize to them for not inviting them. And before we start, let me note that when I put this together, it was again last minute. I did get ahold of Ruth but she was actually doing something with four of her grandchildren so she wasn't able to participate. Okay, Iraq. Elaine or Trina?

Elaine: Why don't you start it off.

Trina: Okay. Thank you. I think the points raised in the previous roundtable were good ones, strong ones. Iraq has vanished from the coverage. Not because things improved there, it's worse. Even with the so-called crackdown, it's worse. It does bother me that the coverage is so poor and that it seems that independent media, just like mainstream media, seems to rush to cover every other topic. There's a lot of talk about how Ted Koppel read the names of the fallen on Nightline and now he's gone. Well, why can't independent media do that? Why are we going into a holiday where we will have broadcasts of pre-recorded programs and none will do that? Why will we have pre-recorded programs and no one thought, as Ruth's pointed out before, to use existing material from previous broadcasts to assemble a special on Iraq? I am very disturbed by what appears to be a lack of interest in the Iraq war.

Elaine: Those are good points, and thank you to Ava for attempting to include the point I would have raised in the previous roundtable, which is, and C.I. makes this point as well, don't blame the peace movement for the growth. Once again, we're coming up on demonstrations and actions, this month, and independent media may or may not cover the lead up, judging by past coverage, it won't, but somehow it will be the peace movement's 'fault.' Whatever the figures, it will be the fault of the peace movement for not getting and keeping X number of people interested in Iraq. As though the peace movement has a program on Pacifica or anywhere else. I'm thinking now, Dona called the office Thursday and spoke to Sunny, I had just finished a session and Sunny put it on speaker, who was that stupid woman you were all listening to?

C.I.: She wasn't on public radio. She was on commercial radio. We were in Sacremento and Jim had gone around the dial trying to find something to listen to. He landed on her and we were just appalled by her. Dona was so appalled that she wanted you to hear it. She insulted Mike Malloy, which was the whole point of over an hour of her show, Randi Rhodes and just about everyone who called in. She was a silly piece of nonsense.

Elaine: Who whined about how unfair the media was to Israel and justified Mike Malloy's firing.

C.I.: Right, but we may be doing a piece on that at The Third Estate Sunday Review, so I'm going to stop you there on the details.

Elaine: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that. Well, the thing that ticked me off the most was her talk of the need for 'fun.' Yes, there is a need for fun. I like fun. But if you're a political program --

C.I.: She airs on a station that carries Air America programming. Supposedly, she's a political program.

Elaine: Thank you. Then she has no excuse for whining about how she doesn't want to cover this or cover that. I'm going to drop that because I'm going to start giving examples and if this is possible piece for Third, I don't want to step on it. But the point is, there's very little coverage of Iraq. In the mainstream, in the independent media, with few exceptions, so once again, the heavy work will be done by peace groups and, once again, a turnout, a sizeable and impressive one, will turn out. But there will be the usual post-commentary of, "Why can't the peace movement mobilize?" They are mobilizing and without the help or support of the media.

Trina: I would add to that by noting that this week Donald Rumsfeld smeared critics of the Iraq war and of the so-called war on terror and instead of noting the smear and how out of bounds it was, everyone wanted to say, "Well, here's where he's wrong historically." Of course he's wrong historically. Expecting him to be right about history, when he's been wrong on everything else, is beside the point. Where were the voices condemning his statement. They could be heard in Congress. But you didn't hear them in commentary after commentary which read like everyone wanted to show off that they hadn't slept through the class discussion on WWII. Good, grab your prize. Get your pat on the head. But don't ever criticize 'tone' again because that wasn't tackled. C.I. and Cedric both listed names of people on the left who were attacked by the center and the left for statements they made. And yet Donald Rumsfeld makes an offensive statement and instead of dealing with how offensive it was, especially coming from someone serving in government, supposedly serving the people he's smearing, but all we get is, "Well, the real history of WWII . . ." Take off the kid gloves.

Rebecca: I'm with you. No wonder the left is in such a sorry state when the left can't even rise up against that kind of nonsense. Wally and Cedric did a joint entry on how Congress showed some spine even if most of the left didn't. I'm sick of that whole "You catch more flies with honey" nonsense. It's that bullshit that's allowed the playing field to tilt so extremely to the right for so long. We're not in a contest judged by Miss Manners, we're competing in the public square and if we're not willing to call out the ones who need to be called out, then we're not doing anything but proving how 'reasoned' we are. Good for the Congressional Democrats because "flies" aren't "voters" and "Look at us, we are so reasoned' isn't a winning campaing motto. Betty?

Betty: I agree and I think Trina's point is especially valid. This is the Secretary of Defense, a public servant of the people, smearing the American people. A large chunk to judge by the polls. That was so out of bounds, so off sides. It was a huge foul and instead of blowing the whistle, they wanted to talk about the next play. Sorry, Elaine.

Elaine: No, I followed your analogy.

Betty: If we can't come alive in the face of those sort of attacks, and Democrats in Congress did so good for them, then what kind of a movement do we think we have? It's a movement where, All Puff But No Politics can and did trash Bright Eyes and Kanye West, West for his statement that George W. Bush doesn't like black people, Bright Eyes for recording "When A President Talks to God" but the same supposed lefties can't call Donald Rumsfeld out on his offensive statements? That's just -- just really, really sad.

Elaine: Rebecca made the point, a good one, that some of the biggest voices, or what we were supposed to think were the biggest voices, haven't been urging the troops come home. Like she pointed out, Baby Cries A Lot has repeatedly urged just the opposite and continues to. She made a comment about how, when C.I. called Baby Cries A Lot out on that, I believe in 2004, it was seen as "controversial" and I wanted some clarity on that. I'm not surprised by it being seen as controversial but I was wondering what the crowd was.

C.I.: The Bull Moose crowd. The idiots, as Cedric pointed out, who chased down the mythical 'vangical voters and dropped the war as an issue immediately after the 2004 election. How dare I say that about Baby Cries A Lot was the gist of the e-mails from those. That and how I'd be sorry. I am sorry he has no guts. I'm not sorry for what I wrote then or since. But they are part of the problem, that crowd and Baby Cries A Lot. They wanted to push the nonsense of 'pottery barn' -- which isn't their policy -- you break it, you buy it. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize Iraq was an uninhabited object. I thought it had citizens and that the citizens might be the ones to best chart their future.

Trina: I think it is "the other." The looking at the Iraqi people as if they're not smart enough or functioning adults and so inferior that they are our responsibility or our burden. I think it's quite clear that there's a lack of respect for them. If there wasn't, people would have been outraged in this country that contractors were being shipped in to work on reconstruction, which never really got off the ground from most reports. I think if we saw them as adults, we, in this country, would have said, "Now just a minute. There aren't any engineers in Iraq? What's going on here?" And I think Elaine wrote some wonderful pieces for the gina & krista round-robin before she ever started blogging.

Elaine: Thank you.

Trina: Unfiltered used to air on Air America. It's been cancelled for over a year now. Could you talk about that show because you did listen to it and I think that the movement is where it is in spite of the media and that Unfiltered is the perfect example.

Elaine: Sure. I used to grab an hour of it during lunch, when you could still listen to archived shows without the new steps, and, when I was scheduling a hole in the schedule to do paperwork, I'd schedule during the show so I could listen. The show was often funny. I'm not saying it wasn't. It could be entertaining. But they refused to address some issues. For instance, I think this is what Trina's talking about, they couldn't go a week without some refugee from Op-Truth. An organization that couldn't call for withdrawal and, in fact, was preaching that stay-the-course nonsense. You couldn't get a peace advocate on the show but you could hear at least once a week from them about how we needed to stay-the-course. Tariq Ali is a guest and I was nodding along with what he was saying but apparently not everyone was because as soon as he was gone, Liz Winstead felt the need to note that they didn't agree with him. Who did Rachel Maddow and Liz Winstead agree with? They fawned over Op-Truth. It was so bad at the end, that they could offer a comedic look at couple training but you still couldn't get, in a three hour program broadcasting Monday through Friday, a peace advocate. It was "We must worship their opinion because they know, they were there" as the ad they couldn't stop airing reminded you constantly. Well other vets returned from Iraq and called for withdrawal but they couldn't get on the show because we weren't going to address that. Rachel Maddow was quite clear repeatedly that, in her opinion presented as fact, troops could not leave. Now when the polls shifted, after she had her own show, she apparently had a new way of thinking. But while she was on Unfiltered, she couldn't do anything but push the stay-the-course nonsense. Liz was less inclined to but when a listener would bring up the need for a peace advocate as a regular guest, Liz would go ballistic. She did at a guy once when I was the one who'd brought it up. She went ballistic and then offered a mealy mouth apology to the guy she'd torn into. But they couldn't talk withdrawal. What good were they? They were presenting the same argument as the Bully Boy and arguing for a 'smarter war.' A war based on lies is a war based on lies and you can't 'smarten it up.' But the peace movement had to overcome that as well. Not just the mainstream media dismissing them and shutting them out but the likes of Unfiltered or Baby Cries A Lot as well. The peace movement had to overcome that and they did. There have been so many obstacles and the worst have been the ones put up by supposed 'friends.' There was also the issue and, Rachel and Liz would go spastic when anyone pointed this out, that in a democracy, no one has a greater voice. But they were treating the Op-Truth crowd like gods and goddesses. They were worshipping that hideous organization. And it was hideous and it did attack CODEPINK in March of 2005. CODEPINK is still around. Op-Truth disbanded. But not until they'd done all the damage they could. And someone tell that leader he looks like he's wearing pantyhose on his head with that stupid photo at The Huffington Post. He looks like a White boy with Mommy's pantyhose stuck to his head. All he wanted to do was talk war, war, war. Now he can't sell that because America's not buying it and he's trying to reconfigure himself. He was disgusting in 2004, he's disgusting now. And let me say, on the record, to C.I. that I'm so sorry. I would start a piece for The Common Ills on this. C.I. would note that I was doing a piece and then I'd think, "Oh, I shouldn't even go there." So my apologies to C.I. for not finishing those pieces, when the round-robin started up, I would just give them to Gina and Krista, but this was before it started up. Then when I'd say forget it, C.I. would end up writing about it and I know C.I. didn't want to even mess with that crowd. So thank you to C.I. for that.

C.I.: You don't have to thank me for that. I'm glad it was written. I wish you'd written them instead because you would have said it better but when that 'leader' was on a program this year and disagreed with another guest, he repeatedly called the other guest 'your caller' as though the man speaking, who'd also been in Iraq but had different views than rah-rah-war, "your caller." As though the other person wasn't good enough to be a guest on the same program as 'the leader.' His smugness is the least of his problems but I'm glad I said it. I think you could have said it better, but I'm glad that it got said in 2004 and 2005. And Elaine is correct, that's what the peace movement was up against. A little twerp could get airtime preaching war-war-war and Leslie Cagan couldn't. A little twerp could go on week after week with the same speech, eventually, they started bringing on others from his organization because the Unfiltered audience had too many negatives on him, which is only surprising to anyone who's never heard him pontificate. Or take the actions at the end of August and start of September in 2004. Naomi Klein rightly argued that we should bring Iraq to NYC. Toad and the others freaked out. "Oh my God! Riots!" That wasn't what she was arguing and I had a difficult time then, and still do, believing that Toad was really confused. He didn't want any protests. When Laruga Flanders interviewed Tom Hayden this year, she asked if the Democrats gained control of at least one house of Congress via the November elections and then did nothing would he be in favor of some actions of protest, harkening to 1968 in Chicago, and he said yes. The audience applauded, this was at a thing for the republishing of the Port Huron Statement. Flanders agreed as well. If the Dems gain a House and do nothing with it, then yes, we need action in the streets. We need it now. But yes, the Democrats need to be protested if they do nothing.

Rebecca: The above was done early Saturday morning for those of us in EST time zones and we took a break and are resuming later Saturday. A long break, so we could all get some sleep. Betty?

Betty: The new thing seems to be that Donald Rumsfeld should resign, the new thing elected Dems can rally around.

Rebecca: That is true. The call on that has gotten louder. Thoughts on that?

Betty: Well, he does need to. He's been repeatedly wrong, he's acted as though he's impervious. He's mishandled an illegal war. The start of the war, the lies it was built upon, meant nothing good could come from it; however, he's been at the heart of the biggest scandals from Abu Ghraib to you name it.

Rebecca: Right. Dennis Bernstein interviewed Janis Karpinski on Flashpoints and she spoke of how, when the story on that was breaking, she wasn't advised of that. She wasn't over that area of the prison, she was attempting to find out what happened when she was informed after the fact and when she returned to the prison, one of the things she noticed was, still displayed, Donald Rumsfeld's memo, signed off by him, regarding the permission granted for these 'new technicques.'

Elaine: Torture.

Rebecca: Torture. Forget his involvement, or forget splitting hairs over it, the fact that he was Secretary of Defense when that happened, and remember there are photos that Congress refused to release, the fact that he was in charge then should have led to immediate calls for his resignation though, if he had any real sense of duty, he would have resigned without anyone calling for it.

Betty: Which goes back to the lack of accountability. No one's accountable. There's no accountability for the lies that led us into war. Rumsfeld's not accountable for anything. The no-bid contracts have resulted in on accountability. We're seeing some small bit of accountability for those who bribed or received bribes, but that's really it. In so-called military justice, we've yet to see any justice. There is no accountability in this administration.

Elaine: And Congress doesn't push for accountability.

C.I.: Nor did they with the imprisonments at Guantanamo.

Elaine: Exactly. Scare the nation and keep it scared and you can do whatever you want. That is the historical, Machevillian type 'lesson' from this dark era of our history.

Trina: Bully Boy doesn't worry about history, but I do think about it. I wonder what people, future generations, will think.

Rebecca: And?

Trina: I think they'll think, "How could you be so stupid to be lied into war?" For one thing, that's what I think they'll wonder.

Rebecca: Well, and this is the point C.I.'s made for some time, it helps the excuse when you act as thought it's all Judith Miller's fault. As though she were the only one in the press pushing the war. It helps when you ignore her frequent writing partners, still at the paper.

C.I.: And to beat that drum one more time, Judith Miller was not the editor of the paper. She did not decide if her story would run, where it would run, etc. She did not publish the paper. She also did not own or operate NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSBNC, PBS, go down the list. Some papers carried her writing, other than the Times. While you can probably make a strong argument that other papers expect the Times to do some sort of work and vetting, the reality is that those papers made the choice to run her pieces. And she wasn't the only one at the Times writing those pieces nor was the Times the only paper with original reporting or 'reporting' that led the push to war. Betty was talking about the lack of accountability and she's correct but there's also a huge lack of journalistic acountability. A lot of people are basically staying silent and getting off scott free because Judith Miller's been "punished." Iraq didn't even bring Miller down. It was the outcry over the involvement in the Plamegate matter. Which, to be clear, Judith Miller never wrote on. Her reporting had been questionable for some time, prior to the lead up to the Iraq war, then came her involvement in that. She refused to testify without her source, Scooter Libby now indicted, giving her permission to break the privacy trust built into the source and reporter equation. Because of who she was and the issues involved, a lot in the press wanted to scream, "Oh she should be forced to testify!" She wasn't sympathetic to many in the general public but it's still surprising to me how many of her peers were willing to turn on her. The Times saw headlines, after her release from jail was on the horizon, and honestly didn't realize the aminosity towards her by readers, the public -- which includes non-readers and there are a lot of them to judge by some of the criticism which attempts to hold her responsible for things she never even wrote -- and by the Times own staff. When that sunk in, Judith Miller's days as a reporter at the paper came to an end.

Rebecca: The myth is Iraq brought her down.

C.I.: Her gender and manner of carrying herself brought her down. If it wasn't about gender, others would be held accountable for their own actions but a lot of men are still around. When the issue of the lies, the press lies, that led us into war, is discussed, people always say "Judith Miller." She became the focal point. By all means, hold her accountable for what she wrote, but she's being held accountable for things she didn't even write. And the idea that one person could be so all mighty powerful is laughable. But it plays into the fear of women, powerful women especially, still in this society, so it's much easier to bash Miller and let others go unnamed. It's also true that Bash the Bitch, the true national pasttime, is so ingrained in this country that even those who didn't read the paper, didn't follow the criticism, know her name. It may be more well known than Jayson Blair's.

Rebecca: That would be interesting, to see Zogby or some other organization poll on that.

Elaine: I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. Blair's largely fallen out of the public eye but the war drags on and when people want to appear 'informed,' they'll toss off her name. She is the short-hand and it goes to, I agree completely, the fear of women in this society. She wasn't the only one who needs her feet held to the fire but she was the most prominent woman so she becomes the face for all.

Betty: And no one hear is defending her reporting. We are talking about the fact that to give Tim Russert or anyone else a pass is insane. I'm borrowing from C.I. here, but Dick Cheney offering lies on Meet the Press and then waving around a copy of The New York Times with a story on the front page doesn't mean Tim Russert has to take a dive. Nor does it excuse the awful reporting that the networks aired or the way they shut out voices in their aired discussions. Do you think they were all saying, "I wish we could have on someone opposed to the war. Hey, check with Judy Miller? Maybe she's okay with it. If so, we'll book Medea Benjamin." It's crazy. Her area, Judith Miller's, was The New York Times. If that paper and only that paper pushed the war, it wouldn't be enough. Other outlets did and no one is held accountable for that. We all are supposed to act like it was all Judith Miller.

C.I.: And now the witch has been burned and the village purified. That's the take away, that's the message being sent. A lot people, especially a lot of men, must be real grateful that what passes for press criticism is so superficial that not only do they not have to explain their own pre-war actions, but that no one even bothers to note those actions. Danny Schechter's documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception, a great film, has him wondering if it was all a dream? The press coverage. The official narrative today is such that the question could be posed: "Was it all Judy Miller?" The answer is now but the official narrative doesn't bear that out.

Trina: And it amazes me that Dexter Filkins, also with The New York Times, has not gotten the criticism he deserves. My paper does, or did, carry his stories. And he wrote the most mythical accounts.

Elaine: As C.I. has said for 2 years now, if Miller got the US over there --

C.I.: If.

Elaine: If, it's people like Dexter Filkins that have kept us there with their non-reality based reporting.

Trina: And that point, which I agree with 100%, is demonstrated repeatedly but no one tackles it. Well, in this community it is tackled and I'm sure in a few places elsewhere, but in the supposed press watchdog quarters, it's not even dealt with. Filkins was outed by The Washington Post as their go-to-guy when they wanted to plant a story. The reporter --

C.I.: Thomas E. Ricks.

Trina: Gets Dexy to speak on the record and it didn't even cause a ripple. Or take his review of Paul Bremer's book. Danny Schechter did take him to task and that was one of the few who did.
The point Schechter made was, "If you knew this then, why didn't you say it. You didn't need an official source to report what you saw with your own eyes." That's his point, not a direct quote.

Elaine: Right because Dexter Filkins, who won awards for his rose colored glasses view of the slaughter of Falluja, repeatedly spun the realities into something more palitable an bearable. He should be held accountable and he's not.

Rebecca: When it gets to the point that you're blaming Judith Miller for an article that had Chris Hedges' byline, it's clear that Miller's being scapegoated.

Elaine: I like Hedges, I think we all enjoy his writing, Rebecca's speaking of his article immediately after 9-11 that pushed the false lie that a terrorist training camp was in Iraq, training people to hijack planes. That article established the link between the two, Iraq and 9-11, a false link, for many. To his credit, Hedges has spoken of the story and disowned it. But there were two sources and apparently The Common Ills is the only one that will point that out. Apparently, actually going back to the article and reading it before weighing in, because this was a mini-hot topic a few months back, is too much work for our watchdogs. There were two sources, at least two, but he wrote of two sources. Only one was outed by Mother Jones. Who is the second source? Who is the second liar? No one wants to tackle that. And now, in ignorance and haste, you hear press critics give Miller the blame for that article.

C.I.: Chris Hedges is a good writer and anyone can get burned. But it's true, his article says "two" and only one was outed. It's that kind of nonsense, the refusal to address the issue by the press critics at large, that allows for a lot of stupid press criticism. And that stupidity, or refusal to explore, allows an impression that "Judith Miller's gone! The press works! All is well!"

Rebecca: Which is the ultimate lie. Going back to Falluja and Dexter Filkins, he didn't report what went on. As you, C.I., have pointed out, the Times and other outlets initially dismissed the reports of white phosphorus when they emerged in the last twelve months. What did they use to dismiss those reports? We had embedded reporters and they didn't report it so it didn't happen. Then the Pentagon admits that it was used and there's no, "We had embedded reporters and they didn't report it so how did that happen?" Does anyone think the press is doing a job today that demonstrates a huge improvement?

Betty: No.

Trina: No.

Elaine: Well, I think they're more cautious. I think they realize how angry the public is and that some of that anger is aimed at them, as it should be, so they're realizing that they have to tone it down a notch or two. The country won't accept that nonsense right now. The people were lied to and they know that. I think that makes some who would be more hasty a little more cautious and it makes some outright liars look over their shoulder with every word they type.

C.I.: And let's be clear, because members wrote about in e-mails and continue to, this wasn't confined to the hard news section or the opinions. This war march leaked into the arts coverage with Sheryl Crow being slammed for a Grammy nomination. As Billie and others have pointed out, they were so eager to slam her that they couldn't even get their facts right. It leaked into the sports coverage with Steve Nash and others being told to shut up. I wish I could remember the female athelete, a basketball player, that Billie always notes who got slammed in one column.
But it was a sports column, in the sports section, by an award winning sports columnist, and he listed her, Nash and others and basically said, "There's no draft, shut up! If the draft was reinstated, you could speak." And as Billie fired off to the columinist, in an e-mail, if the draft did come back tomorrow, it's questionable whether women would be included so, by the columnist's 'logic,' even then the female basketball player would have no right to voice an opinion. Members can tell you about columnists whose beat was their local cities, not Los Angeles, who had to rush in to weigh in about Michael Moore or the Dixie Chicks or whomever. Or the local columnist, Steve something, with the Dallas Morning News, who felt the need to weigh in that the actions of peace activists were traitorous. Now the Dallas Morning News just slimed Cindy Sheehan as being pro-terrorist in an editorial. Not a lot's changed obviously. They can't go after sports heroes but they can slime Cindy Sheehan. That editorial ran Friday, for anyone attempting to locate it.

Trina: It's appalling that she, Cindy Sheehan, can be portrayed like that but, and I think everyone will agree, a lot of the reason for that, the reason for that happening, is because independent media abandoned Iraq, didn't care about Camp Casey this summer and I think it allowed a lot of people to feel this was their moment, they could go to town on Cindy Sheehan and get away with it.

Rebecca: I would agree with that completely. And that gets to the failure of all media to seriously address Iraq. There's been too little serious coverage, too little coverage period. The war didn't end, just the media's interest in it. And we're going to have to wrap up because C.I. has entries and we all have things to do. Thanks to everyone for participating in this roundtable and joint post. Thanks to Trina, Betty and C.I. who did the typing. Typos are here. Enjoy them.