Saturday, March 31, 2007

Maddison's Special Easy Bake in the Kitchen

I took some time to go through the e-mails (and check the spam folder to make sure nothing went there by mistake -- which does happen often). Sue wrote in to share that her mother and older sister are "incredible cooks, gifted even" and that, while she enjoys eating their food, growing up it left her on the outs. With two strong cooks already in the kitchen, Sue was usually relegated to setting the table and she never really cooked ("even avoided Home Ec in high school") until after college. She has two kids (a boy and a girl, 8 and 10-years-old) and she's found a lot here in discussions that remind her of herself ("like when someone shares that they were frightened of their own kitchen"). She wants to be sure that doesn't happen to her kids and shared one thing they do on weekends which is make pigs in a blanket together.

She noted that she cuts up the franks, puts them on plate, opens a can of bisquits and lets the kid roll them. She provides some grated cheddar cheese, some grape jelly and lets them put that on before they roll up the package. Then they put the tray in the oven and bake it at "according to the directions on the can." The kids will eat that with carrots and they'll dip both in mustard. She writes that they really look foward to it and her oldest is now insisting upon putting the tray in the oven and taking it out.

I really enjoyed Sue's e-mail and think a lot of readers who started kitchen phobic will relate to it. To really honor what Sue's doing, I wanted to offer a kids' recipe today and phoned Wally's mother right away (I read Sue's e-mail this morning) to ask her if she had something I could use. She didn't but she said with the two of us hitting the search engines, we could find something. She found one first. The ingredients were in both of our kitchens (and possibly in yours already as well) and the cooking time was brief enough that we could fix it and sample it.

This is from Easy Kids' Recipes. (They have many other wonderful recipes for those looking for things to make with children.)

Maddison's Special Easy Bake
1 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon butter
1 satchet dried mashed potato
salt and pepper to taste

Defrost corn and place in a medium bowl. Melt cheese and butter in microwave, then add to bowl and mix together. Prepare the mashed potato according to instructions and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread corn, butter and cheese mix in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then spread mashed potatos over mixture.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes on 400F degrees. Let it set for 2 minutes.
*This recipe was created by Maddison.

I did two batches, one with frozen and one with canned corn. The frozen tastes better but, in a pinch, you can use canned corn (drain the can before using). Wally's mother wondered what a "satchet" was? I had no idea but assumed it was one of the packets of dried mashed potatoes mix in the boxes. That was what it is.
She recommends that you sprinkle cheese on top of the mashed potatoes and I think that would make up for the difference in taste if you're using canned corn. She warns, "Sprinkle, it's not a layer of cheese."

That's a really easy recipe that you could make for yourself if you're an adult or you could make with children. If you're not already allowing your children to boil water, do that step but make sure they know what's going on. With my oldest, my rule was they had to be tall enough to see over the pan of boiling water before they could boil. That rule was pretty much kept until Mike began cooking, at which point, big Mac & cheese lover, I walked in to find him standing on a chair by the stove with another chair in front of the sink (for draining the noodles -- he used a cheese grater over the pan to hold the noodles in while draining). I just watched in silence, telling myself, "If he burns himself, this is his lesson to learn. He should know better." He didn't burn himself and I didn't make myself known until he'd finished preparing his snack which he made a big show of sharing with me.

I tell that story because there's no set age. There are recommended ages -- as with board games and toys -- but you know your children best. Wally used to make nachos in a regular oven because the microwave was up on the cabinet and he was too short then to really manuever it. His grandfather taught him how to do that. When I heard that story, I thought of two of my own children I would not have done that with because they had a really bad habit of wondering off to see what was on TV. But the other six could have handled it early on. So it has to do with what child can handle and your the best judge of that. One thing we both felt was that you could use sliced olives or onions as a garnish (on top of the potatoes before you put the dish into the oven) on Madison's Special Easy Bake. Wally's mother also thought a hominy and corn blend might make for an interesting mix.

A number of us signed on to "NOW members endorse Dennis Kucinich" (Kat's Korner -- Kat wrote it, we signed on). Elaine's "I endorse Dennis Kucinich for the 2008 primary" and Rebecca's "this now member is endorsing kucinich" discuss this and what I'll add is that I'm for ending the war. Is Joe Biden? Is Hillary Clinton? Is Barack Obama? I hear war noises from all three on Iran, I hear sop tossed out by all three. Dennis Kucinich is offering solutions. I noted the health care issue this week but I've been talking up Kucinich to my extended family and all my friends and the biggest surprise to me is that some don't know his stance on the illegal war.

This is from Michael Shank's "Rep. Kucinich: Stop Funding the War" (Foreign Policy in Focus) and, as you read the excerpt, ask yourself what other candidate is talking this?

Shank: Many people feel that the November elections were a referendum on the Iraq war. If so, how have the Democrats performed in their response to that referendum?
Kucinich: Democrats were elected to bring an end to the war. Now if we had told the people in October to "vote Democrat and keep the war going to the end of President Bush's term, vote Democrat we'll fund the war through 2009, vote Democrat we'll privatize Iraq's oil," I don't think people would’ve voted Democrat. They would've said, "Well, there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans." I want there to be a difference. That’s why I proposed H.R. 1234, which says: end the war, bring the troops home now, get out of Iraq, stop the privatization of Iraq's oil.
Shank: Critics say that Congress is micromanaging the war, that it is not Congress's business, but rather the responsibility of the commander in chief. What in the U.S. constitution allows Congress to engage at this level?
Kucinich: President Bush has a strange understanding of the duties of his office. He's not a king. He's subject to the will of the people, as expressed through the Congress, as to whether or not a war is authorized and as to whether or not a war is funded. He can make the decisions once he gets the money. I'm saying we shouldn’t give him the money, period. We should not have even offered a bill. We should’ve told the president that we’re not going to fund it, period.
Shank: So why has Congress been so timid in exercising its authority to fund or not fund the war?
Kucinich: I think that's a question that requires a deeper understanding of the primary process that produced candidates that may not have been so strongly in favor of ending the war. But the surge that happened in the November elections was a profoundly anti-war surge that carried in all the Democrats, whatever their positions were. And now we find ourselves in this paradox: the American people demanding an end to the war and the Democratic Congress saying “hey, not so fast, here's a Democratic version of the war that we want you to look at as opposed to a Republican version of the war."
I think that as the American people realize what's happened here they're going to be outraged and they're going to lose faith in the Democratic Party.
Shank: In the supplemental there was a clause that was pulled at the last minute stipulating that if the president chooses to wage war on Iran he must first seek authorization from Congress. Why did that clause get dropped and what are the ramifications of that edit?
Kucinich: First of all, we should be engaging in diplomacy with Iran. And in connection with that, I'm convening a meeting with members of Congress to talk about setting steps toward a diplomatic initiative that would begin to connect us with leaders in Iran. We need to do this. This idea of the United States trying to separate communities from integrating with the international community is wrong. So I raised objections to taking out from the supplemental language that would have mandated the president to come back to Congress for any action that he may intend to take against Iran.
Why is this significant? Because the administration has had a whole series of initiatives that would lead a prudent person to believe that it intends to attack Iran. Let's look at the administration's conduct with respect to Iran: declaring Iran part of an "axis of evil"; sending a fleet out to the Gulf region with the idea of sending a message to Iran; sending nuclear bunker busters and patriot missiles to the region; intercepting Iranian diplomats in the Kurdish area of Iraq who were there legally and lawfully; freezing Iran’s financial assets; pushing for sanctions at the UN.
This administration has been on the war path and they're on the war path not only against Iraq but against Iran as well. They want a war. We need to take a different direction. If we really believe in diplomacy we've got to start practicing it with Iran. And taking out of the budget a provision that said that the president has to come back to Congress if he wants to take action against Iran essentially gives him a green light. Congress has the authority to determine whether or not the president takes action.
The president has been trying to build a phony case blaming Iran for improvised explosive device technology and using that as a reason to call upon the authority of the War Powers Act to initiate an attack against Iran and to circumvent Article 1, Section 8 requirements of the U.S. constitution. I reject that approach. I think the war talk alone brings the president and the vice president within the orbit of a justifiable discussion of impeachment. According to the UN charter, a nation cannot even threaten aggressive war against another nation. And Article 6 of the U.S. constitution states that treaties constitute the law of our land. So the president is violating not only the UN charter but the U.S. constitution.
These individuals occupying the White House need to be held accountable to international law. There must not be an attack on Iran. It would destabilize the region and the international community, it would jeopardize our troops in Iraq, and it could lead to a cataclysm.

I like a candidate who assumes they're talking to adults. I don't need to be talked down to or told 'cute' stories about your family. If I agree to stipulate that, for instance, Barack Obama has a wonderful family, can he please stop campaigning on them? Can he stop telling us all how one-man-can-make-it (emphasis on "one" and on "man") and start talking about the business of our nation? In a crisis, do we all need to hear about his wife taking their daughters upstairs for a bath while he did the dishes? Will that solve health care problems? Will that end the war? It may make a few people smile with delight, but it's nothing that convinces me he's someone who can do a good job as president.

As the Democrats spent the last two weeks with their bills that do not end the war, it was as though they'd waited (and waited and . . .) to even think about Iraq. Maybe they were too busy talking about the children and their parents and their spouses. Kucinich talks like a serious candidate. He probably has a wealth of personal stories, wonderful ones, to share and, when it is appropriate to the discussion, will do so. But he's campaigning on issues and, since the election cycle has been rushed and pushed by the likes of The Nation among others, how about we use the additional time to familiarize ourselves with the issues and not the candidates personal lives?

Outside of Rudy, I'll assume that every presidential candidate I know of, regardless of party, has a wonderful family if they'll agree to stop campaigning on them and grasp that, in these serious times, we need serious discussions.

"If it makes me happy, why the hell is Friedman so sad?" is Betty's latest chapter. Be sure to check it out. I'm told there's an upcoming twist in April, so watch for that. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

March 30, 2007. Chaos and violence continues in Iraq, war resister Corey Glass appears before a supposed independent body, and the puppet of the occupation plays catch & release while the 'crackdown' again cracks up.

Starting with war resisters. In Canada, a US war resister appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board today.
Matthew Chung (Toronto Star) reports that Corey Glass and his attorney, Jeffrey House, will attempt to argue that the Iraq war is illegal. Chung notes: "Glass joined the National Guard in Indiana four years ago to, so he says, fill sand bags and help guard U.S. soil. Instead he was sent to Iraq, a war he said he doesn't believe in. He fled during a two-week leave." So he says, Chung? He's maintained that repeatedly including when he spoke at Tilley Hall Auditorium in October of last year "filling sand bags to stop a flood on American soil". After self-checking out, Glass was underground for seven months before going to Canada and, during that time, the Army (which supposedly just waits for traffic violations to catch self-check outs) was visiting his parents, calling phone numbers trying to track him down. As October started last year, Corey Glass, Justin Colby, Ryan Johnson and other war resisters in Canada were considering returning to US as a result of the way Darrell Anderson's discharge was resolved. However, once the military attempted to screw over Kyle Snyder, that changed. Glass told Brett Barrouqere (AP) at the start of November, "After what they did to him, I don't see anybody going back." In September of last year, Glass stated, "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would." The supposed independent body of the Immigration and Review Board has refused to grant asylum thus far to every Iraq war resister who has come before it.

Staying on war resistance, Joshua Key, who is in Canada with his wife Brandi Key and their children, wrote, with Lawrence Hill, his story in the new book
The Deserter's Tale which has been receiving favorable reviews across the political spectrum. Karen Alego Krizman (Rocky Mountain News) is the latest to review the book and observes, "Key admits he believed the recruiter who promised he wouldn't have to go overseas or into combat if he joined the Army - mere months after 9/11. Couple this naivete with the steady dose of racism Key says the Army fed recruits and it's no wonder that abuses such as Abu Ghraib occur." Paul Gessel (Ottawa Citizen) notes the Ottawa International Writers Festival from April 15-22 will include Lawrence hill, David Suzuki, Tom Harpur, Roy MacGregor and Barbara Gowdy and reports: "Hill is riding high this year with two books, one a novel about the slave trade called The Book of Negroes and the other a non-fiction story called The Deserter's Tale, about an American soldier who went AWOL while home on leave from fighting in Iraq. That soldier, Joshua Key, is trying to obtain refugee status in Canada and will be joining Hill at the festival April 16."

On Monday, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees took a look at Kyle Snyder and other war resisters who were making a life in Nelson British Columbia. Cooper noted, "We all know the stories about Vietnam War-era deserters who fled to Canada. But less well-known are the members of today's armed forces who are refusing to serve in Iraq. Many have fled to the same town in Canada where they're being welcomed with open arms." Thelma Gutierrez was the reporter for the segment.

Kyle Snyder: I joined when I was 19. . . I sat back, I put my weapon down beside me, and then, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, real quick, very, very loud, I could just remember the look on the man's face. . . . I was a .50 cal. machine gunner and I was an escort for very high-ranking officials. What drew the line for me was one mission in particular where I had witnessed an innocent civilian shot in front of me. . . . I was first angry at that. And then I became angry at the fact that there were no repercussions. This -- there was nothing done to prevent this from happening again. . . . I made my decision off of the things that I personally witnessed in Iraq. I didn't just wake up one morning and say, 'I'm going to leave my country, I'm going to leave my friends behind, I'm going to leave everything that I know and everything that I love and built my entire life on,' nobody does that. . . . I can walk around shops here and, you know, I see "war resisters welcome here" signs. I see community getting involved and getting together. High schoolers come up and say, what can I do to support the anti-war movement?

Meanwhile, Canada's
Chronicle Herald reports, "Police have initiated an investigation into" Snyder's arrest "which will be conducted by the Abbotsford police". Snyder was pulled from the home he shares with Ryan and Jen Johnson, the day before his wedding, arrested in his boxers and carried to a jail where he was held (still in his boxers) for several hours as a result of some sort of 'special' and 'unofficial' deal between the police and the US military.

Glass, Key, Snyder and Johnson are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Dean Walcott, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake 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.

In the United States, the press continues to believe that claims of a withdrawal garner more interest than headlines of "Some Troops May Come Home . . . Someday." The realities were addressed on yesterday's

Meanwhile in Washington the Senate a sort time ago passed a long discussed resolution that ties military funding to non-specific suggestions that President Bush accept the goal but not the requirement of removing less than half of the 150,000 US occupation troops from Iraq by the unenforceable deadline of March 2008. Nevertheless, President Bush has promised a veto. Today's 51 to 47 vote was mostly along party lines and now the Senate and House must resolve their respective legislation neither of which require a full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq till well after the installation of the next American president. And that's some of the news this Thursday, March 29th, 2007. From exile, I'm Robert Knight.

Robert Knight has been one of the consistent voices throughout. (Also on yesterday's
Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein interviewed the Washington Post's Peter Eisner. Rebecca will be covering that late tonight.) This week's CounterSpin (which began airing today) featured a discussion on the issue of what the US House and Senate bills actually state as opposed to the way the press has portrayed them. Co-host Janine Jackson spoke with The Institute for Policy Studies Erik Leaver. Leaver noted that
the bills' "terms of reference only are for combat troops and if you look at the current number of troops deployed in Iraq only half of them would be considered as are combat troops." Jackson, noting reality versus coverage, asked, "Well then are some of the press characterizations or glosses of this as a withdrawal bill, it sounds as though that's not quite on the money?" To which Leaver responded, "That's exactly correct."

Janine Jackson: Well looking at that broader context and we don't have much time left, the majority of the population want an end to the occupation and the war and media acknowledge that, it's their polls that show that, but it doesn't seem somehow guide the questions that they ask or the sources that speak to and I wonder in this case were there not other pieces of legislation that maybe came closer to what the public was calling for? Was there no way for journalists to kind of put this in the context of: "Is this going to end the war sooner?"

Eric Leavler: I think that is the missing element in the story. Again, if the news media reported on: "This brings half the troops home" I think you would see a lot more public discontent about the bill and they would perhaps I think there would be a lot more dissatisfied with Democrats than they are.

Michael Shank (Foreign Policy in Focus) interviews US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich explains why he refused to vote 'yes' on the House bill, "It's very simple: the bill kept the war going. I want to see this war end. I have created, with the help of people who worked on security and peacekeeping missions for years, a plan to end the war. It's embodied in H.R. 1234. It would end the U.S. occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home, establisha parallel process creating a peacekeeping and security force, reach out to the nations of the region and the international community for help -- something we won't get as long as we continue to occupy Iraq. That plan is much more expansive and in the course of this interview I'd be happy to over it with you but in short, I oppose the resolution because it kept funding the war. And I say we need to the war now. Not a year from now, not two years from now, not five or ten years from now, but now."

Military Families Speak Out issued (PDF format) "Military Families Speak Out Responds to Senate Vote To Continue Funding For Iraq War" yesterday which notes:

"People across this nation voted in November for an end to the war, not for Congress to provide President Bush with the funds to continue it. Our loved ones were first betrayed when they were sent off to fight a war based on lies. Congress is now continuing that betrayal by failing [to] cut off funding for this unjustifiable war."Miliary Familes Speak Out renews our calls for Congress to use their 'power of the purse' to support our troops and de-fund the war. We call on Congres to fund our troops by funding a safe and orderly withdrawal from Iraq and by funding care for our troops when they return home. This is the 'funding for troops' that is desperately needed."Leadership and courage, two character traits that our loved ones rely on every day as they put their lives on the line, seem to be in short supply on Capitol Hill. We hope that as the Supplemental Appropriations bill goes through the House-Senate Conference Committee and then back to the floors of the House and Senate, we will see our elected officials stand up for our troops and for our nation by ending the funds that allow this unjustifiable war to continue and providing the funds for a safe and orderly withdrawal and the care they need when they get home."

Richard W. Behan (CounterPunch) zeroes in on one aspect of both the Senate and the House's measures, the privatization of Iraq's oil law, defined by the Bully Boy and both houses of Congress as a 'benchmark' Iraqis must meet, "If passed, the law will make available to Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell about 4/5's of the stupendous petroleum reserves in Iraq. That is the wretched goals of the Bush Administration, and in his speech setting the revenue-sharing 'benchmark' Mr. Bush conscisously avoided any hint of it. The legislation pending now in Washington requires the President to certify to Congress by next october that the benchmarks have been met -- specifically that the Iraqi hydrocarbon law has been passed. That's the land mine: he will certify the American and British oil companies have access to Iraqi oil. This is not likely what Congress intended, but it is precisely what Mr. Bush has sought for the better part of six years." Steve Kretzmann (Oil Change) notes that the Iraqi oil unions were locked out of the drafting process but they are quite clear where they stand on the law: "The British and American oil companies were the first to obtain the concession to extract and invest Iraqi oil, nearly 80 years ago. After Iraq got rid of this octopus network, these foreign oil companies have again attempted to dominate this important oil wealth, under numerous pretexts and invalid excuses."

The House and the Senate managed to endorse the privatization of Iraq's oil even if they didn't bother to address the malnutrition --
Cartias Internationalis reports "[o]ver 11 percent of newborn babies are born underweight in Iraq today," that one third of Iraqi children now suffer from malnutrition, and quotes President of Caritas Middle East North Africa Claudette Habesch stating, "Iraq has the second largest oil supplies in the world, but it has levels of poverty, hunger and underdevelopment comparble to sub-Saharan Africa. The last four years, but in particular 2006, we have seen life get worser rather than better for the ordinary Iraqi. And people are voting with their feet. Everday 5000 people leave Iraq. In 2007, one in ten Iraqis is expected to leave the country. We are seeing minority groups such as Christians completely disappear from the country or leave their homes for safer areas."

And when someone tries to return?
Edward Wong and Ashley Gilbertson (New York Times -- Wong text, Gilbertson photos) report on Suaada Saadoun, a 49-year-old Iraqi woman who made the mistake of believing a wave of Operation Happy Talk that the latest juiced up version of the eternal 'crackdown' would make Baghdad safe. Suaada returned to her home last month amidst the big talk of the protection and how things would be safer. She, her four daughters, her son-in-law, and grandchildren returned to her Baghdad home after fleeing Iraq for Syria when the Shia gangs and militias became too threatening. Upon returning, Suaada attempted to deal with the new threats by notificing the Kurdish and US military. When two thugs, Abbas Radhi and Zuhair Naama, showed up with papers from the Ministry of Finance (which, make the connection, they obviously worked for), she phoned the Kurdish and American military. The Kurdish military was able to stop the two men at a checkpoint. They and the US military arrested the two men. Suaada was shot dead the next morning in front of a bakery. Her family has now fled the home.

But it was safer, said US military flacks, things were better in Baghdad -- this version of the crackdown was really something, really accomplishing something . . . Really nothing but more of the same. Oh, there is a difference. More attacks. Attacks on the fortified Green Zone are up.
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports the US military is saying that car bombs have "soared 30 percent since the start of a security crackdown in Iraq last month" -- since the start of the latest version of the crackdown that's been ongoing since June of 2006 is ther reality. David Byers (Times of London) reports that "the death toll rose to nearly 400 in four days following a multitude of deadly bomb and shooting attacks." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that "violence is returning to previous levels throughout the country. The number of unidentified bodies found dumped on Baghdad streets, which had dropped to an average of 13 per day in the weeks just after the plan began, has averaged 19 a day for the past two weeks. The average numbers of people killed and of car bombs also have increased slightly, according to statistics that McClatchy compiled."

CNN reports that Moqtada al-Sadr "is calling for an anti-American protest in the Iraqi city of Najaf on April 9, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad." Sounds like Clear Channel needs to get off their asses and head on over to Iraq to stage some of their propaganda rallies they held in the US during 2003. CBS and AP note that al-Sadr's call comes as "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose backing is dropping even among fellow Shiites, issued an angry statement pledging to bring the bombers responsible for Thursday's attacks to justice." That apparently means al-Maliki will make a big show about detaining them and then release them hours later with no fanfare. Kirk Semple (New York Times) ["More Than 100 Are Killed in Iraq as a Wave of Sectarian Attacks Shows No Sign of Letting Up"] reports that the 18 police officers who went on a massacre in Tal Afar, dragging people from their homes, killing at least 70 people, the ones identified by survivors, the ones who were taken into custody with much, much fanfare -- "had been freed after being detained for only a few hours." CNN reports that they were arrested (re-arrested) today. No word yet on whether they've also already been released.


CNN reports: "A U.S. airstrike in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood about 2 a.m. Friday killed at least 16 people and wounded 14 others, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. He said all of those killed were guards who protect neighborhoods in Sadr City. The U.S. military said it is looking into the report."


Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Hilla.


CNN reports 25 corpses were discovered in Mosul.

Today, the
US military announced: "While conducting a combat security patrol, a MND-B Soldier died and another was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near the Soldiers in a southern section of the Iraqi capital March 29." AP notes this brought the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal to 3,245.

CBS and AP report that six weeks after the Washington Post (Dana Priest and Anne Hull) and ABC News Brian Woodruff put the scandals of veterans health 'care' front and center, Bully Boy mosied down to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to throw some empty words around about how "we're going to fix the problem" and that he toured an "empty" patient room. Hopefully, his prepared remarks weren't delivered there but with the Bully Boy who knows . . .

Finally, students in the US have been protesting and continue to protest the Iraq war. The latest indication that gas bags need to rethink is The Nation magazine which makes the new SDS (
Students for a Democratic Society) their latest cover and includes a sketch (no articles -- it's fastly becoming the Highlights of the political set). Been there, done that and never awarded a student, as The Nation did not that long ago, for writing an essay spitting on her peers, LeftTurn was there first and best with Doug Viehmeyer's article "Steppin It Up: The New SDS." From the article: "SDS has gone forward, with 250 chapters springing up nationwide (and internationally). The most surprising aspect of the growth of SDS has been the number of chapters established at high schools and community colleges. When compared with the initial years after the founding of the original SDS, we are ahead of the curve. The spring and summer of 2006 was the incubation period for SDS, with the initial chapters getting off the ground and spreading via word of mouth and the web, participating in joint actions with other groups, and beginning the slow development of organizational vision and strategy." Applause to Viehmeyer and LeftTurn for doing such an amazing article that The Nation (already suffering bad campus cred -- for good reason) had to rush to copy.