Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cajun Chicken Wings

I was exchanging e-mails with Patsy this week about a number of topics. Her mother passed away over the summer and she only recently was at a point where she could open up the boxes of her mother's items and go through them. Immediately after the death, her brother and her sisters divided up their mother's items and, among other things, Patsy ended up with the cookbooks.

She was amazed at how many cookbooks, even name ones, as late as the 60s were built around canned ingredients. That's because fresh foods, which we take for granted today, weren't always as easily transported as they are today. In many grocery stores today, you can walk to the produce section and find a wide variety of fresh foods and vegetables. I can remember, as a little girl, when iceberg lettuce could always be found and any other form of lettuce was considered a bonus. Patsy has a similar memory where tomoatoes meant one variety.

It's also true that a number of families canned their own vegetables back then. With the corporatism of farming, family farms have disappeared. I spoke to my mother about this and she instantly thought of peaches and how canning made peaches available year round in stores (with the sugary syrup they're packed in). Canning was an early revolution in cooking and Patsy and I were discussing changes with regards to that and other topics.

She talked about how going through the pages, the ones most used were obvious and she could remember her mother cooking certain dishes. She was also surprised to find recipes to items we might think of as new.

She wanted to share one that she found in her mother's recipe box -- a plastic box with recipes on index cards. This is credited to "newspaper" and Patsy has no idea what newspaper but she knows it ran in or before 1978 because her mother had made a note on it to serve it at Patsy's father's retirement party.

Cajun Chicken Wings
1 pound chicken wings
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Seasoned bread crumbs
Oil for deep frying.

In a large bowl, comine chicken, milk & Tabasco sauce.
Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
Drain wings and roll in bread crumbs then refrigerate 20 minutes.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F, fry chicken wings, a few at a time, about 12 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and cooked on the inside.

If you're someone who eats chicken wings today, you may think they're a new thing. They really aren't. Back then, anything hot and spicy tended to get dubbed "Cajun" so I couldn't even begin to guess if chicken wings started out as a Cajun treat. (There's a similar Chinese dish as well.)

She remembered the retirement party for her father and how quickly the wings went when she saw the index card in her mother's recipe file. Moments like this were repeated when she went through the other cards and the cooking books. All of that almost got tossed in the trash. When they all gathered at her mother's house, they were mainly attempting to go through everything quickly -- both due to the fact that most of them had to travel a distance and also because, with the loss and the funeral, they were still in shock.

Patsy says she's not a big cook and hadn't planned on grabbing the cookbooks or the recipe box until she saw they were going to be trashed. She wanted me to pass on that if you find yourself in a similar situation, grab them. You don't have to cook. But just looking through them will provide you with the same kind of memories you'd have from looking through old photos.

Wally's mother and I were talking about on the phone this week and she agreed with Patsy. She said she hates having her picture taken and each year that happens less and less but if, years from now, Wally's trying to remember moments of his childhood, he could do so going through her cooking books. She noted she goes through phases where she's into this or that for a few years so just going through the books chonologically should bring back many memories. ("Including my first experiments with a dish which always seem to fail. Burned or undercooked, it's happened many times and we've laughed about it every time.")

Turning to Iraq . . . I continue to be shocked by the silence of The Nation on part of war resisters. My husband and I were talking about that and what C.I.'s termed the "Coward's Silence" all week. We believe we're done with it. It is distressing, week after week, to read a magazine that has nothing to say which really is the case, issue after issue, with few exceptions. It is the silence on war resisters, the refusal to cover them, that stands out the most to me.

The magazine wants to assert that they are against the illegal war but as one service member after another has faced court-martial for refusing to deploy, the magazine has played Coward's Silence. When Darrell Anderson returned, nothing. When Ricky Clousing returned, nothing. When Ivan Brobeck returned, nothing. When Kyle Synder returned, nothing. When he self-checked out after grasping that the military was once again lying to him, nothing. Mark Wilkerson and others, nothing. Ehren Watada faces a court-martial on February 5th and he's gotten a sidebar in the magazine, a sidebar to an article where he's called a coward. Agustin Aguayo is facing a court-martial and the magazine has nothing to say.

I don't pay for silence and I don't respect cowards. So, as we've waited for the magazine to weigh in, and waited and waited, my husband and I have finally reached the conclusion that The Nation doesn't have anything to say about the war worth hearing.

It can offer the sort of chat & chew talk one might find on any of the superficial Sunday chat shows. But bravery isn't a trait of the current Nation. We announced it at the Iraq study group meeting last night and others said they'll stop reading it as well. Comments included that the magazine was cowardly, juvenile, sucking up to the powerful, unable to take any stand, and directionless. At some point, you either represent and speak to your readers or you don't and The Nation doesn't. It offers superficial commentary on what Congress should do or could do or any number of things. It's as embarrassing now as American Prospect, Washington Monthly or any other Democratic Party publications that try to pass for left. It is not a magazine for the left anymore.

The left needs one but propping up a magazine that spits on readers isn't going to change things. And it does spit on readers. It robs them of their power and it speaks down to them with scolding posts of how they better not say anything bad about this, or bloggers should write about that, or any number of things. It's not serving a readership, it's attempting to channel the public into the magazine's safe, do nothing approach.

If you agree with that, please stop buying or subscribing the magazine. Stop enabling that behavior. Stop settling. Stop fooling yourself that at some point they will change and that they probably feel as strongly as you do. They've had months to cover war resisters. They've had many topics that could have led to an editorial. Instead, they have stayed silent. Don't support cowards who stay silent. Silence continues the war. Telling people that the only power they have is begging Congress to act robs people of their power. We are more than voters, we are citizens in a democratic society and any magazine that refuses to grasp that isn't worth reading.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Friday, January 19. 2006. Chaos and violence continue, but speculation is so much more fun for the mainstream press; war resisters stand up and some stand with them; General Casey uses weasel words;

Starting with news of US war resister
Ehren Watada who, in June 2006, became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Watada faces a court-martial February 5th and the 'judge' has stripped him of the right to present a strong defense. Arguments that can't be made in a kangroo court can be made by in the real world at Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq which starts tomorrow and concludes Sunday at the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus (10:00 am to 4:00 pm each day). As Michael Gilbert (The News Tribune) reports "a lineup of speakers will make the case that the war and the ongoing occupation are illegal under international and U.S. law, and that an officer such as Watada has a duty to disobey orders to take part in it." Zoltan Grossman tells Gilbert that "the event will take the shape of a congressional hearing" and notes that those participating include the following: Denis Halliday, Ann Wright, Francis Boyle, Daniel Ellsberg, Darrell Anderson, Harvey Tharp and Nadia McCaffrey.

While some stay silent (The Nation)
Peter Michaelson (BuzzFlash) steps up, "The world is upside down, and one brave first lieutenant tries to set it right. The U.S. war in Iraq is illegal and immoral, says 1st Lt. Ehren Watada. In thus choosing reality over fallacy, and refusing to deploy to Iraq with his Stryker brigade, the 28-year-old Honolulu native faces six years in the brig when his court-martial begins next month at Ft. Lewis near Seattle." Peter Michaelson and BuzzFlash stood up. FYI, BuzzFlash is offering Peace buttons and Howard Zinn's A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.

Also standing up, of course, in support of Watada is
Iraq Veterans Against the War have set up Camp Resistance and Portland IMC has audio of Dennis Kyne and Darrell Anderson speaking about Camp Resistance. Anderson spoke of how they were camping outside Fort Lewis, "That bus is parked right there and it's not leaving until the trial is over, not till February." Anderson noted the positive reaction from soldiers at Fort Lewis, "They see the bus, they know who we area. After six days, we had soldiers honking, soldiers rolling by in their civilian clothes and screaming out the window. And I remember like, wow, I was just coming up here for Watada and Suzanne Swift and I didn't think the soldiers were going to . . . I never heard of soldiers power fisting anti-war guys. And that's when it hit me, that they're done. They're not going back for a third time. 'Cause that's where I'd be if I didn't go AWOL, I'd be at my third tour right now. Three years in Iraq, three years. Could you imagine Vietnam vets, could you imagine going back to Vietnam three times? Three years and you don't come back from that. You go to Iraq, but you don't come back."

Ehren Watada's February 5th court-martial approaches, this week the US military announced their decision to charge Agustin Aguayo with desertion and missing movement which carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Watada, Aguayo, and Anderson are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Bring the Peace Mandate to D.C. on J27! On Election Day voters delivered an unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action. Join CODEPINK in a national march to D.C. on January 27-29, to send a strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and we want the troops home now! See our latest actions, and click here for details.

In Iraq today?


Reuters reports a bombing of a butcher's shop that killed the butcher in Hilla. Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing ("at AL ELLWIAH intersection in KARDA") that killed a police officer and left another dead, a mortar attack ("near haifa street") that killed 2 and left 3 more wounded, another martar attack ("bayaa area western Baghdad") that left one person injured and a mortar attack that killed a woman and wounded 3 more people. Kim Gamel (AP) reports that a Shi'ite mosque was bombed "in sourthern Baghdad" (before the bombing, two guards of the mosque were killed).


CBS and AP report that "a man working for the Ministry of Tourism and Archaeology Affairs . . . was shot to death near his home in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in western Baghdad." Reuters reports three shot dead in Falluja (Iraqi soldier and two ex-police officers), a Sunni preacher was shot dead in Kirkuk, and an attack on a minibus left two wounded in Hilla. Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, in Tikrit, a vehichle was stopped an official checkpoint, the car contained 4 family members and began accusing one ("OMAR") of having fake identification but they waived them on only for them to be stopped by "unknown gunmen" immediately after who wanted to know which one was Omar "and killed him immediately and stabbed his other brother" leaving his sister and mother to drive to the hospital in Tikrit.


Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 17 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today ("1 yarmouk, 2 amil, 1 aour, 2 zaafaraniyah, 1 selakh, 1 kamaliyah, 4 rahmaniyah, 1 bayaa, 1 shurta khamsa and 3 in dora. some were tortured and handcuffed").

In addition to the above, today
US military announced today: " A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died when an improvised explosive device detonated on a patrol in a northwest section of the Iraqi capital Jan. 18" and the BBC reports that six British oldiers were wounded following an attack utilizing rockets and mortars ("on the Basra Palace camp").

In legal news, on Thursday,
three US troops confessed and to review that:

*Hashim Ibrahim Awad who was the grandfather kidnapped and then murdered last year (April). Eight US service members were charged. They are known as the Pendleton Eight. Four had already confessed to their involvement. Yesterday, Trent Thomas became the fifth with his plea agreement.
*Three Iraqis, on May 9th, were detained by US troops, placed in plastic handcuffs, released (handcuffs cut off) with the intent to kill them ("Kill them all" is what some defense lawyers argued their clients were told). Four US troops were charged with this. William B. Hunsaker confessed (and was sentenced) earlier this month, Juston R. Graber also confessed to his involvment this month. Raymond L. Girouard maintains his innocence. Yesterday, Core Clagett entered a plea agreement. (It should be noted his attorney, Paul Bergin, has
his own problems these days.) So that's three out of four having admitted guilt.
Abeer is the one Megan says she can follow but just to recap for anyone who is confused -- three admissions of guilt in three different war crimes took place yesterday -- Abeer Qasim Hamza (14-years-old), Hadeel Qassim Hamza (five-years-old, Abeer's sister), Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen (her parents) were all killed on March 12, 2006. In addition Abeer was gang raped before being killed. Those charged in the incident were Steven D. Green (to be tried in a civilian court because he had left the military before the war crimes were learned of), Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard, James P. Barker and Paul Cortez. (Anthony W. Yribe was not charged with participating -- he was charged with failure to report the crimes, dereliction of duty.) Green has entered a plea of not guilty in a federal court. James P. Barker confessed in court in November (and named Cortez as a co-gang rapist). Paul Cortez confessed yesterday but his attorney maintains Cortez was an 'oberserver.' Was he an observer in rape?
Barker's testimony was that it appeared Cortez was raping Abeer but, from his statements, he wasn't able to determine penetration. (Wasn't able to determine it from his angle. Whether Cortez penetrated or not, he took part in the gang rape, according to Barker, because Barker confessed to how they took turns holding Abeer down during the gang rape.)

Meanwhile Robert Gates visits Iraq and calls the current climate a "
pivotal moment." Meeting up with the outgoing George Casey ("top American commander in Iraq"), CBS and AP report that Casey declares: "I think it's probably going to be the summer, late summer, before you get to the point where people in Baghdad feel safe in their neighborhoods." Is that what you think? Casey's not done with feelings checks or predictions, Robert Burns (AP) reports that escalated troops (the 21,500 Bully Boy wants to send into Iraq) COULD be back "home by late summer". COULD. A weasel word.

"Casey, didn't you say US troops would be back home by late summer?"

"No, I said could."

Meaningless weasel words meant to comfort and lull a public that's enraged by an illegal war with no apparent end.
AP reports that Nancy Pelois (US House Speaker) has declared Bully Boy "has dug a hole so deep he can't even see the light on this. It's a tragedy. It's a stark blunder."

CBS, CNN and the whole mainstream press report that Muqtada al-Sadr's top aide was arrested, this following yesterday's reported arrest of Shi'ite fighters, and that al-Sadr is now in hiding fearing for his life and moving his family around while stating that a holy period of Muharram (the new year -- short answer). al-Sadr is quoted stating that no attacks will be initiated by him during the holy period (however, a response would be another issue) but when it is over, "we'll see." How much of this is true, how much of this is the sort of jerk-around we were once supposed to believe during Vietnam (remember Henry Kissinger really, really wanting to have those Paris Peace Talks -- at least publicly?), who knows.

More importantly, what Nouri al-Maliki is willing to go along with (not order, he doesn't have the power to order) at this minute and after more troops are on the ground is also a question mark.

Most importantly, Baghdad is a city.

Al-Anbar Province and Baghdad are where Bully Boy wants to send the bulk of esclation. As Webster Tarpley and Bonnie Faulkiner discussed Wednesday on
KPFA's Guns and Butter, house-to-house, blah, blah, blah (the kind of nonsense that makes Michael Gordon light headed) creates a flank, you have less power to move in a city (tanks, et al). Tarpley compared it to the desperation measures of Hitler when commander-in-chief of the Eastern Front against Russia.

As people get exicted over who may have gotten arrested and who may not have, what al-Sadr might have said or not, what al-Maliki might do or not, what COULD happen this summer, it seems (yet again) some basic realities are being ignored.
Noting one reality is Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers): the illegal war "hasn't turned out the way advocates of the Iraq invasion had hoped or the way Bush and [U.S. Secretary of State] Condi Rice had predicted." Nor the way the New York Times and many others predicted either.

For more reality,
Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, will be speaking tomorrow as well as next Saturday:

*January 20, 7 pm, Chicago, IL (with Jeff Engelhardt)

University of Illinois-Chicago Contact: Adam Turl, 773-567-0936,
*January 27, 5 pm, Washington, DC (with Kelly Dougherty)
Busboys and Poets