Saturday, April 28, 2007

Walnuts and Cranberry Rice in the Kitchen

Today's recipe is a rice recipe because Joanie e-mailed to say she's bored with rice and beans, bored with Spanish rice, bored with just about every rice mix she can find. Here's a recipe you can try that may add some variety.

Walnuts and Cranberry Rice
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) of walnut pieces
2.15 ounces of dried cranberries
2 cups of rice (long grain, regular white, or wild)
4 cups of water
butter or margarine

Use the rice of choice. In a pan add 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine. Turn the burner to low and add the rice. For two minutes, you're going to stir the rice in the pan, so that the butter coats the rice (most if not all). Then you will add the four cups of water, bring it to a boil, cover the pan and redcuse the heat so that the rice cooks for 15 minutes.

A concern that Leslie had the last time I offered a rice recipe was burning the rice. If you do have a problem with burning the rice, just try cooking it for 10-12 minutes. Everyone -- 10 to 12 minutes group and 15 minutes group -- will move to the pan to a cold burner. The 10 to 12 group can keep the pan covered for 15 minutes (the rice will continue to cook without burning). The 15 minute group will remove the cover for softer rice or leave it on for drier rice.

When the rice is done, move it to a large bowl. Add the walnuts and cranberries. You should have a rice dish that's easy to make and that has a different texture and taste simply due to adding the nuts and fruit.

Kat asked me if I could note something and I'm happy to do so for Kat and for CODEPINK:

Impeachment Day is tomorrow, Saturday April 28th- so join fellow New Yorkers at the Great Hill to spell out IMPEACH with our bodies! Their will be an aerial photo taken as well! Don't forget to wear your 'pink slip'. The weather report says that there will be sun, late afternoon showers (we will be done by then) and a high of 68 degrees. CODEPINK will be turning the "C" in IMPEACH pink. So JOIN US... RAIN OR SHINE!
When: Saturday, April 28th 11am.
Where: The Great Hill in Central Park (North End Quadrant of Central Park), 103rd Street or 110th Street stops of B/C (or with extra walk, 103rd or 110th Street stops of #1)
Enter park at West 106 Street (wheel chair accessible at West 110th)
CODEPINK Meet Up will be at the Great Hill, just look for the big pink sign!
What to bring: Wear your pink, a blanket, some sunscreen/sunglasses/hat, water and a snack.
For more information contact or call 202 422 8624. And visit our
Impeach page!
From "C" to shining "C",


That's today, one hour before noon. It may not be in your area and it may be too late for you if it is but there will be more impeachment activities and just be aware of that and use the link to check out CODEPINK's impeachment page. Earlier this week, Dennis Kucinich introduced impeachment articles against Dick Cheney. A smart move because the big argument (knee jerk) against impeaching the Bully Boy is always, "Then we'd get Cheney running the country!" But you didn't see Hillary or John, Joe or anyone rush to say, "I support that."

What do they support and what do they stand for? Other than themselves, is there anything?
At this week's debate, John Edwards pointed out that Hillary Clinton couldn't come out against the illegal war and she launched into another of her "If I'd known then what I know now" speeches. I keep waiting to hear that someone's gone on YouTube with a video where they impose her face on the woman in Beatle Juice who makes that same statement. ("If I'd known then what I know now, I never would have had my little 'accident'." I believe that's the line. My children loved that movie. They wore out several video cassettes of it and by the time the youngest were watching movies, we'd switched to the DVD format.)

Is this how the 2008 campaign's going to go, Hillary Clinton's going to keep tossing out the same soundbyte? Are people going to vote for that nonsense? Don't we currently have someone in the White House who refuses to admit mistakes? Don't we all see where that leads?

This is "Kucinich Challenges Obama Assertion during S.C. Debate that Iran is Developing Nuclear Weapon Technology" and it's from Dennis Kucinich's website:

Washington, DC - - Presidential candidate and US Congressman Dennis Kucinich Friday challenged Senator Barack Obama's assertion, made in an exchange with Kucinich in Thursday's Democratic Presidential Debate in Orangeburg, South Carolina, that Iran is in the process of developing nuclear weapons.
"In last night's debate, Senator Obama revealed that he has fallen into the same trap which wrongly took us into war against Iraq. In one breath he conjured Iran as a threat: ('But, have no doubt, Iran possessing nuclear weapons will be a major threat to us and to the region.')
"And in the next breath he asserted that according to experts, Iran is developing nuclear weapons. : ' . . . but they're in the process of developing it. And I don't think that's disputed by any expert.' "Where is Senator Obama's proof for such a provocative statement?" Kucinich asked.
Kucinich said that in the exchange with Senator Obama he tried to interject the fact that Mohammed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently asserted " . the difference between acquiring knowledge and having a bomb is at least five to ten years away. And that's why I said the intelligence, the British, intelligence, the American intelligence, is saying that Iran is still years, five to ten years away from developing a weapon. "
Senator Obama's assertion is eerily reminiscent of the statements of President George Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top ranking members of the Bush Administration, who, back in 2002 and 2003 falsely claimed Iraq was a threat to the United States and our allies, that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons capability.
Kucinich at the time wrote and circulated an analysis of all false claims made by the Bush Administration. "Clearly all other Senators running for President failed to read the easily accessible intelligence reports, hence their alleged 'mistaken' vote to invade Iraq," said Kucinich, the only Democratic Presidential candidate to vote against both the authorization for war and any funding of the war.
"While Iran has taken steps to develop nuclear power, which is the right of all signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever they are developing nuclear weapons," explained Kucinich.
"Senator Obama's doctrine with respect to Iran is 'All options are on the table,' which is unmistakably a euphemism for the consideration of a preemptive attack against Iran, including the use of nuclear weapons, which the Administration has shipped to the region. Senator Obama's rhetoric parrots speeches given by both President Bush and Vice President Cheney, as well as Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards regarding Iran."
"When you consider that last month the Congress took out of the Iraq Supplemental appropriation a provision that would have required congressional approval of a military attack on Iran, Senator Obama's faulty analysis and his mischaracterizations license an attack. This is the same kind of disastrous, faulty thinking that led us into war against Iraq and raises serious questions about Senator Obama's judgement on matters of national security."
Kucinich has long advocated reestablishing diplomatic ties with Iran as a means of deescalating tensions, opening up full diplomatic relations, resuming meaningful inspections of Iran's nuclear power program, and enlisting Iran's support in helping to end the war in Iraq.

I don't believe I have received so many e-mails in one week. Along with cooking, there were two other topics that were very popular: Kucinich and last week's post.

On Kucinich, his website was down last night. I don't run his website, so I'll assume the e-mails were to share frustration. The main points are that (a) BuzzFlash linked to something at his website but no one could read it because the site was down and (b) he was a guest Friday night on Bill Maher's show but anyone going to his website after the show wouldn't be able to find out where he stands on the issue because the website was down.

In the pre-internet days, we actually had to make a trip to a campaign headquarters to get materials. That is not my attempt to slam anyone who e-mailed. A site is going to have to go offline for upkeep from time to time. With regards to BuzzFlash's linking, that sort of thing probably can't be anticipated and the schedule was already set to take the site down. However, when you know the candidate is going to be on national television, even if you find out after you've scheduled the downtime for the site, you rework the schedule and keep the site up.

In the old days, a campaign office that needed to reduce hours could keep track of the visits and figure out which hours would be the easiest to drop based on foot traffic. That was back when they kept daytime hours. These days, people do expect websites to be available when ever they're ready to visit.

I would assume that the visits to his site are tracked and they could figure out the heaviest times of usage and plan not to go down during that period. But any planned outage should be put on hold if Dennis Kucinich will be appearing around that time on TV or radio because those appearances due drive traffic to the website and if someone is interested in you for the first time, and visits your website only to find it is down, they may not visit again. You really have to grab the newly interested as soon as they're interested.

On the other popular topic, thank you to Texas community members for the very nice e-mails this week. A lot of you that I was fortunate enough to meet were surprised that I remembered some of the radio call letters. That was because I heard those stories quite often. It wasn't just one group, a number of you were upset about the state of radio, what passes for local coverage, and media consolidation. I enjoyed hearing those issues and others and I was happy to note them here so "thank you" back to everyone. (I believed I've replied to everyone who wrote in an e-mail. If that's not the case, let me know because that was my intent.)

Betty's latest chapter is entitled "Tom-Tom goes to the public library" so be sure to read that.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Friday, April 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, another prisoner in Iraq dies in US custody, the death of 3 US service members are announced, Riverbend and her family decide it's time to leave Iraq, students continue their activism in the US, and more.

Starting with war resisters,
Richard Brown (KXLY) profiles war resister Ryan Johnson who self-checked out in 2005 and went to Canada with his wife Jenny to seek asylum. Johnson states, "I decided that I didn't want to participate in what I preceived to be an illegal war. I have no problem serving my country. I love the United States. That's where I grew up, that's my home, that's where my family is." Death of the party Lizzie Knudson shows up to puff out her chest and strut like any macho b.s. artist while expressing her hate and rage by declaring that she hopes he's thrown in prison for life and that she knows people who have died in Iraq. Pass that rage on over to the Bully Boy, Lizzie, Ryan Johnson didn't send anyone into an illegal war to die. Had Brown spent less time offering Lizzie's rants, he might have been able to provide some actual information (and it would have pleased War Hawk Liz). He could have, for instance, noted that the Johnsons share a home in Canada with
Kyle Snyder and Maleah Friesen. The latter are now married. Of course their planned February wedding got put on hold when Canadian police -- taking orders from the US military -- showed up at the home to drag Snyder away in handcuffs (and in his boxers -- wouldn't even let him get dressed) with the intent to start immediate deportation on Snyder. That's a story that would have tickled War Hawk Lizzie even if it has Canadians outraged (whether they support war resisters or not) because (a) war resistance is not a deportable offense and (b) the Canadian police is not supposed to take orders from a foreign government. The US media continues its silence on that event and also avoids noting that US military crossed over into Canada on a search for war resister Joshua Key. Brown does note, "In the last seven years, nearly 22,500 member of the United States military have gone AWOL or deserted and every year the numbers rise."

And as the numbers rise, more and more go public and speak out. As
Courage to Resist reports war resisters Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Agustin Aguayo and Robert Zabala will be speking out from May 9th through 17th in the San Francisco Bay Area. This will be Aguayo's first publicly speaking appearances since being released from the brig earlier this month (April 18th). The announced dates include:

Wednesday May 9 - Marin 7pm at College of Marin, Student Services Center, 835 College Ave, Kentfield. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Pablo Paredes and David Solnit. Sponsored by Courage to Resist and Students for Social Responsibility.

Thursday May 10 - Sacramento Details TBA
Friday May 11 - Stockton 6pm at the Mexican Community Center, 609 S Lincoln St, Stockton. Featuring Agustin Aguayo.
Saturday May 12 - Monterey 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Rd, Carmel. Featuring Agustin Aguayo and Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chp. 69, Hartnell Students for Peace, Salinas Action League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Courage to Resist. More info: Kurt Brux 831-424-6447
Sunday May 13 - San Francisco 7pm at the Veterans War Memorial Bldg. (Room 223) , 401 Van Ness St, San Francisco. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Paredes. Sponsored by Courage to Resist, Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69 and SF Codepink.
Monday May 14 - Watsonville 7pm at the United Presbyterian Church, 112 E. Beach, Watsonville. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and Robert Zabala. Sponsored by the GI Rights Hotline & Draft Alternatives program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Watsonville Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Watsonville Brown Berets, Courage to Resist and Santa Cruz Veterans for Peace Chp. 11. More info: Bob Fitch 831-722-3311
Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837
Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

The are all part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Dean Walcott, Camilo Mejia, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, 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 addition, the documentary Sir! No Sir! traces the war resistance within the military during Vietnam and it will air at 9:00 pm (EST) on The Sundance Channel followed at 10:30 p.m. by The Ground Truth which examines the Iraq war and features Jimmy Massey and Iraq Veterans Against the War's Kelly Dougherty among others.

From the topic of courage, we turn to craven -- taking us to the halls of Congress. As
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, "The Senate has voted provide nearly one hundred billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while setting a non-binding timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.". Non-bidning timetable remains one of the most left out aspects of the measure. Also usually left out is that Bully Boy can reclassify those serving in Iraq (as "military police," for example) and avoid the pleas for withdrawals. (Pleas because "calls" is too strong for what is now headed to the White House for a signature.) Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) reminds that "the Congressional Research Service said that nearly half the $94 billion earmarked in the supplemental for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would really be used for non-urgent items like sending an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, and funding a U.S.-established Arabic-language TV station. The CRS report also pointed out that the Pentagon has funds available to continue the war until June or July." The sense of urgency being pushed by both major parties is as much smoke and mirrors as what left Congress. Bill Van Auken (World Socialist Web) tackles the realities, noting, "While media reports on the Congressional legislation routinely refers to it as a plan for the withdrawal of US troops from occupied Iraq and ending the war, the language of the bill makes clear that what is involved is a tactical 'redeployment' that would leave tens of thousands of US soldiers and marines in Iraq for years to come. . . . The bill includes a provision for keeping US armed forces in Iraq for three purposes: 'protecting United States and coalition personnel and infrastructure; training and equipping Iraqi forces and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operation.' This language would essentially allow the occupation and war to continue indefinitely, with US troops deployed to protect a massive new embassy being constructed in Baghdad to house a virtual colonial government and to guard 'American citizens' sent by the oil companies to reap massive profits off of Iraq's oil fields."

Yes, the topic of oil. In the supposed illegal war that had nothing to do with oil. The New York Times editorial board pimped the privatization of oil this week as did
War Pornographer Michael Gordon today where he noted, "American officials" were "pressing" the passage of the law and that it's apparently so important that even General David H. Petraeus has to stick his nose in (apparently commanding the US military in Iraq allows him much free time) to share that "he considered passage of the oil law, which would distribute revenues from oil production among Iraq's regions, a priority among the so-called benchmark items that the Americans would like to see become law." It does redistribute the monies -- redistributes them right out of Iraq and into the pockets of Big Oil which, under the proposed legislation, would receive over 70% of the profits in some cases.

In Iraq,
Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) reports that her family has decided to leave Iraq which, despite the Operation Happy Talk operatives, never achieved 'liberation' or 'democracy' (but then those were never the Bully Boy's intended aims. Noting the issue of the very unpopular wall in Baghdad, Riverbend writes: "It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad - let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protects' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis. . . . The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently - Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacisiou and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer - like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of 'Shia areas' and Shia out of 'Sunni areas'."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded 2, a Baghdad roadside bomb that killed 1 and left 1 wounded, a Kirkuk bombing that killed 4 police officers and left 5 more wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bomb that killed 1 person and left 3 wounded,


Reuters reports three people were shot dead in Mussayab and a "human rights activist was shot dead by gunmen near his home, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses discovered in Baghdad. and 3 corpses discovered in Kirkuk.

In addition,
Reuters reports that a prisoner at the US military operated prison Camp Bucca died "after he was apparently assaulted by other prisoners." As Damien Cave (New York Times) noted this morning of the US military controlled Camp Cropper, "Several detainees there have died mysteriously in the past year, with the most recent death occurring April 4. The causes of death for these detainees are rarely divulged." The US military reports the figure of prisoners who have died in US custody in Iraq to be six "in the past year."

In other time lag news,
AP reports that the British helicopter crash in May of 2006 that resulted in the death of five British soldiers resulted from being "shot down by a surface-to-air missile, using a man-portable air defense system, fired from the ground." The US helicopters that crashed this year? Still under investigation.

Also today, the
US military announced: "Three Marines assigned to Multi National Force West died April 26 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." Al Anbar Province is the region that, as Anna Badkhen (San Francisco Chronicle) noted, Michael Gordon's man crush, General David Petraeus hailed as an area of progress, a "breathtaking" area of progress. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times), reporting on Petraeus' testimony to Congress Thursday, notes Petraues' claim to be "forthright" in September when it's time to evaluate the ongong escalation. The claim was all the more laughable considering that this was the week Congress took testimony on the lies the military spread about Pat Tilman's death in Afghanistan and Jessica Lynch testified to the lies told about her service in Iraq by the US military. The escalation is generally stated as having begun in February (the latest wave of the eternal crackdown), The idea that a judgement on it cannot be rendered until September goes unquestioned although few in the US are aware of jobs that come with an eight month probationary period.
On Wednesday, the
US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Corps, Iraq, died April 24, 2007 in a non-combat related incident." Today, (AP) reports that the soldier was Jeremy Maresh (24-years-old) and quotes Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver stating he "died from an apparent suicide." To be clear, there have been other deaths that were ruled suicides by the US military and families have strongly disagreed with the ruling.

US troops will leave Iraq. No matter how long Congress sits on its collective and ass and does nothing, US troops will leave. What happens then?
Phyllis Bennis and Robert Jensen (CounterPunch) address this issue: "The first step is, of course, crucial. When 78 percent of the Iraqi people oppose the presence of U.S. troops and 61 percent support attacks on those troops, it's clear that our presence in the country is causing -- not preventing -- much of the violence. Pulling out U.S. troops (including the 100,000-plus mercenaries who back the U.S. military) won't eliminate all Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence, but it will remove the reasons many Iraqis are fighting. The would take away the protective umbrella that the widely supported anti-occupation violence currently gives the real terrorists -- those engaged in killing civilians for
political or sectarian reasons. Once U.S. forces are gone and the reason for the legitmate resistance to foreign occupation is eliminated, the ugly terrorist violence will be exposed for what it is and it will be possible for Iraqis themselves to isolate the terrorists and eliminate them as a fighting force. But what comes after a U.S. withdrawal? We clearly owe the Iraqi people massive reparations for the devastation our illegal invasion has brought. Only in the United States is that illegality questioned; in the rest of the world it's understood. Equally obvious around the world is that the decision to launch an aggressive war was rooted in the desire to expand U.S. military power in the strategically crucial-oil-rich region, and that as a result the war fails every test of moral legitimacy."

In news of student activism in the US,
Justin Horwath (Minnesota Daily) reports on Monday's meeting at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union where students who had formed a new chapter of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) met with members gathered to organize and heard Dave Biking speak of what SDS had accomplished during the 60s (when Bicking was a member). Howarth notes that today's SDS "has 148 university chapters and 58 high school chapters nationwide." Kyle Johnson tells Howarth, "SDS gives us the legitimacy to work on other issues, but the war is the No. 1 issue nationally, period." Erika Zurawski states that the new chapter is about "the issues of the day" and that "[t]here's a lot of issues to work on."

Arnie Passman (Berkeley Daily Planet) traces the history and popularization of the peace symbol noting, "In its Golden Jubilee year (right behind last 9/11's 100th anniversary of Gandhi creating the pledge of satyagraha--soul force), the peace symbol has weathered numerous wars -- and the best marketing opportunities money can buy. Facing today's horrors of Asian wars, increased nuclear disfunction, global warming, racial injustice, the irreversible military-industrial complex?. . ., it still calls from great city protests and hamlets to all Earth's colors and creeds for nonviolent resistance (peace marches between the 7 or 8 Gandhi statues--from Boston to San Francisco?) and civil disobedience (sit-ins at the largest defense contracting congressional districts?). And all from the mind of one person that deep '50s, dead winter day in grimy ol' London Town--and the pioneering march through the English countryside to mad western science's Aldermaston." Gerlad Holtom was the designer of the peace symbol.

Finally, Wednesday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm in The Great Hall, Cooper Union (NYC),
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove will be presenting readings from their Voices of a People's History of the United States featuring music performed by Allison Moorer and Steve Earle and readings and vocal performances by Ally Sheedy, Brian Jones, Danny Glover, Deepa Fernandes, Erin Cherry, Harris Yulin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Opal Alladin, Staceyann Chin and Stanley Tucci. Zinn and Arnove will provide both the introduction and the narration.

joshua key

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Make your own kind of salad in the Kitchen

We're doing a different recipe this week. A woman named Heather wrote on Tuesday and we exchanged e-mails throughout the week. She has a son and a daughter, both early teens, one year apart. The kids are microwavers. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, ask any busy parent. But they tend to go with pizza and Hot Pockets.

Heather wanted to get more fruits and vegetables in their diet. Her answer wasn't working. On Sundays, she was making a big salad and putting it in the fridge with the instruction that they had to have some throughout the week. She expected the salad to be gone by the end of the week but, in the two weeks she had tried this, it had not happened. She gave up last Sunday and started seeking advice.

She turned to me on Tuesday so I'll assume she exhausted all possible lines before then.

Heather was chopping up some tomatoes and a head of lettuce, putting it into a bowl and calling that a salad. She noted that her daughter didn't care for tomatoes.

My first question to her was, "Do you have the money to waste on food that's going to be tossed out?"

I love tomatoes. They're a fruit I can eat by themselves or in any number of dishes and I love to drink tomato juice. But if you know someone's not going to eat it, you're only buying it if you've got money to burn.

For her daughter, the apparent expectation was that she would pick around the tomatoes, grab the iceberg lettuce and call that a salad.

It wasn't working.

There was a mini-Cass Elliot revival awhile back so, even if you're young, you may know Cass' song "Make Your Own Kind of Music." When it comes to salad, use the song as your cookbook and "Make Your Own Kind of Salad."

I don't hate iceberg lettuce but it's nothing I rush to have. For many, though not all, we now have various lettuces in our local grocery stores and/or fresh markets. It's also true that you can use spinach by itself or with a lettuce.

Your salad should be what you want it to be. My husband wasn't big on salad unless it was Chef's Salad -- which came with ham and boiled egg. He'll eat more than that today but if you have someone who has to have meat, then you need to consider ham, chicken and bacon. (I know a cooked Greek salad that uses beef but I'm talking about a salad that you just whip up.)

His big complaint, echoed by my second oldest child, was that he liked to eat "crunchy" things. (We haven't had a jar of smooth peanut butter in our home in years.) So radishes is something you might want to consider if you have a "crunchy" lover in your home.

You might also want to consider seeds and nuts. I make big salads on Sundays because most (sometimes all) of our children are over. In those salads, I have walnuts and sunflower seed kernals. Remember allergies and plan accordingly, but nuts and seeds are wonderful in salads.

Tomatoes are fruits. In Heather's case, her daughter wasn't going to touch them. There are many other fruits. I always toss in dried cranberries on Sunday. You can also consider using cherries or mandarin orange slices.

There are any number of ingredients you can use.

I would also recommend that you have a variety of salad dressings. There are times when I'll just squeeze a lemon or lime on my own bowl of salad. Sometimes I want Italian or French, Catalina or Blue Cheese. Elaine loves Green Goddess so we usually keep that in the house now. But let's say you're trying to get your kids or yourself (or both) to eat healthier. If you're thinking iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and Ranch or whatever dressing for the rest of the year, you're going to get sick of the idea of the salad long before you burn out on the taste.

Here's the recipe Heather's now using to great success:

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 bunch of spinach, chopped
4 ounces of dried cranberries
1 package of walnuts*
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 bunch of radishes sliced

*The package of walnuts are single serving size. You can buy a package on most candy aisles in the grocery store and on the baking aisle in the grocery store as well. They're basically the same size. If you're on the baking aisle, get pieces. If you get them from the candy aisle, smash them up (in the bag) before you put them in the salad.

Heather was thinking a vegetable (iceberg lettuce) and a fruit (tomato) was as much as she could hope for. What's happened instead is that they're getting several vegetables and cranberries for fruit.

She used a Mom trick she's used before (I wish I'd thought of it) which was: After fixing the salad Wednesday, she told her kids it was in the fridge and they could have "a little" but she really "made it for myself, so don't eat it all." I don't know if it's a get-back-at-Mom response or just the assumption that if Mom's making it for herself it must be better than what she makes for the rest of us, but it worked. They tried it. She didn't. She was busy and forgot all about the salad until late Friday night. She went to the fridge and took out the bowl. When she removed the cover, she saw a few pieces of lettuce and spinach and not much else.

Both of her kids have said they "could" eat that. Which means they will.

A salad is whatever you want it to be. It can also be whatever's on hand. I always have a head of some type of lettuce in the fridge and, if nothing else, some walnuts and/or almonds in the cabinet (for baking). When you're actually planning to make a salad, your own limitation is you.
I think we're all used to the "house salad" at most places and that's generally nothing but iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. Maybe that's where we get the idea that it and only it actually qualifies for a salad?

Do you like green onions? Red onions? White onions? Yellow onions? Any one of those or a combination can jazz up a salad.

If you don't normally make your own salad, you need to remember to wash the ingredients. That means running water over them at a minimum. (I generally stick to the minimum. I do have a friend who insists upon hot water and a food brush.) After that, you do not begin cutting.
If you do, you'll have a watery salad. You need to let them drain. I usually use the collander for lettuce.

So just have fun with it and remember that it can include whatever you want. Carrots, olives, mushrooms, cheese, etc. Make your own kind of salad.

Now let's talk about Dennis Kucinich. I'm going to highlight an issue. This, in full, is his discussing the issue of Media Reform and before we get to him, let's talk media reform. If your my age (or older) you can probably remember your city or town having its own unique character. Papers for your areas, radio stations and TV stations addressed concerns and interests that effected you. Then, one day, you travel and realize that it's not just McDonalds that's spread across the country. Junk food and junk media have taken over. Let's take Texas because I really did enjoy the week there. I heard over and over about the death of radio. It didn't matter if I was in Dallas or Smith County (where most, but not all, radio stations tend to come out of either Dallas or Tyler). Younger people were very descript about how there was nothing to listen to. People my age and older could remember when they actually had something worth listening to.

As late as the early 80s, for instance, people in Dallas felt that KZEW, Q102 and K104 were worth listening to. (I hope I got the call letters correct. The first two were album rock stations, the third was a soul station.) The first two vanished. Clear Channel bought up at least one. It became a "hits" station which Dallas already had. (The complaint about K104 was that the songs had gotten so trasy they couldn't listen. I would ask if it changed ownership and no one seemed to know.) KZEW and Q102 were around for years and years. People had grown up listening to album cuts (as opposed to singles). Today? They can grab classic rock but there's really nowhere to go for what they had learned to enjoy.

Did Dallas decide, "Hey, I don't want that anymore?" No. But when local radio goes out, corporations make the calls on the stations they own. They're programming isn't going to be geared to an area. The dee jays may not even be speaking from the area. (There's a right-winger the New York Times wrote about recently who hosts an Arizona talk show. He notes traffic and radio during his show which comes out of California.)

McDonalds isn't interesting in making the burgers a region grew up on, they're interested in making the exact same burger, regardless of where they are located. It's the same with media.

As local ownership falls away, you get less local voices and less representation of your community. I believe NBC owns Telemundo. If that's correct, Telemundo owns and/or broadcasts on stations around the country but they're now going to be dropping local news in many regions. They say it's too expensive. It's better to consolidate the news in certain regions. Better for whom?

Decisions are being made that effect what we hear and the information we get. Clear Channel is now trying desperately to get out of the radio business. I would too if I had their image. But they've managed to control what gets played and what doesn't nationally and, in the process, control what we can hear and what we can imagine. I don't blame children for thinking Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake is "neat" or whatever. But Clear Channel wanted to give listeners kiddie music long after the listeners were no longer kiddies.

Kat's called them the Disney Kids and that's a wonderful comparison. They existed before, the Bobby Darins, the Archies, the Monkees, etc. But kids would listen to them and benefit from them before moving on to stronger music. The lifespan of bubble gum music used to be much shorter because when the audiences grew up, it was dead. The Disney Kids have hung around for almost a decade now and not because they've matured but because they're easy to program. They're not going to challenge the way a Jackson Browne or a Joni Mitchell would. They're fun little acts, singing fun little songs, about fun little, tiny topics.

I look at Justin Timberlake and can understand why little kids (girls and boys) might have crushes on him. He's pretty. He can dance. It's the sort of thing that would have had me scribbling "Trina Timberlake" in the margins of my spiral during 7th grade English class. But adults? Look who he is ripping off or imitating -- Michael Jackson. Do you get more bubble gum than that? Prince, Bootsy Collins, any number of acts he could rip off and he's stuck trying to remake Thriller.

I'm not trying to trash Michael Jackson who sang little songs and danced well. I think it's great that society has advanced so much that Justin Timberlake doesn't have to face the questions about his sexuality because he's a dancer. I can remember what felt like a witch hunt over the disco acts. But at some point, don't they sugar out on all the candy? Don't they want something more than "P.Y.T."? Don't they cry for a "Sign of the Times" or something with a little more emotional backing?

So that's one way it effects your life. I will assume that most readers are aware that consolidating media allowed a silencing of dissent in the lead up to the war. But I wanted to bring it to an even more personal area because I think, if you listen to music, we take our music very personally.

So with all that said, here is Dennis Kucinich's statements on media reform:

I am working for serious media reform, including substantial free air time for candidates and parties. Given the high cost of campaigns, the power of corporate special interests, and the fact that the networks are given free use of the public's airwaves, I believe that the networks should be required to give something back other than "reality" shows.

Media conglomerates are currently among the most powerful lobbyists against media reform, but I believe that were the media to provide substantive coverage of politics it would actually boost both media ratings and voter turnout.

In addition to requiring free air time for political campaigns, we need to create a greater diversity of viewpoints in the media by breaking up the major media conglomerates, encouraging competition and quality as well as diversity. We should place new caps on media ownership and ban the granting of exceptions to those caps. We should limit the number of media outlets one corporation can own in a given medium, such as radio, print, or television. We should strictly prohibit cross-ownership and vertical integration.

I believe the people should be involved in the maintenance of their airwaves, creating public media outlets controlled by community boards similar to the model of Pacifica Radio. Funding for public broadcasting channels on television and radio should be greatly expanded, assuring the existence of media outlets free of the influence of advertisers.

I aim to promote knowledge of the public process through which citizens can challenge the licenses of local broadcast outlets failing to provide local coverage and coverage directed at the whole community, or outlets airing excessive violence.

Not-for-profit groups should be allowed to obtain low-power FM radio-station licenses. The development of new, community-based, noncommercial broadcasting outlets should be encouraged.

The United States must withdraw from the World Trade Organization; media companies are currently lobbying the WTO for the creation of trade sanctions against countries that fund public broadcasting, limit foreign ownership of media, or establish standards for local content. For similar reasons, we must block U.S. participation in the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

I have a strong record on media reform. I filed formal objections with the FCC to their deregulation of the media. I held hearings on Capitol Hill on what the media weren't telling people about the war.

I hold a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in speech and communications from Case Western Reserve University, and have been honored by Case Western Reserve as being one of the top 50 students in that program in the last 50 years.

My past experience includes working as a copy boy for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and a copyreader at the Wall Street Journal. I have hosted my own radio shows, done on-camera television reports for Channel 8 in Cleveland, and had my own TV production unit, and I carry a card as a member of the IATSE, the cameraman's union.

Another issue of media consolidation occurs to me as I read his credits. Though they always promise, during their buy ups, that the mergers will result in more news, more resources, the layoffs always follow. If you're a parent, grasp that consolidation means less jobs and think about the economic world your children are going to face.

Please read Betty's latest chapter, "Friedman takes a trip." Also, in light of the mockery the Supreme Court made of reproductive rights this week, please read Martha Mendoza's "Between a Woman and her Doctor" (Ms. magazine). Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, April 20, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces the death of another service member, "development" passes for an answer in Baghdad ("Time-shares" is next), Helga Aguayo explains the status of her husband (war resister Agustin Aguayo), and Bobby Gates finally gets to act out his long held dream to be Marisa Tomei.

"The investigating officer said that it was in the best interest of the military to discharge him and that he believed that Agustin was sincere. However, higher ups in the chain of command -- that never met with my husband -- decided that he wasn't sincere and just didn't really give a reason, just said that he didn't qualify as a conscienious objector,"
Helga Aguayo speaking to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today. Helga Aguayo sketched out
how her husband came to see the illegal war as immoral while serving in Iraq, how he attempted to receive CO status, the obstacles there and a great deal more including the the convictions of missing movement and desertion. On the latter, she noted that it "is unheard of for people that are gone less than thirty days -- soldiers that are gone less than thirty days." Aguayo was gone from
September 2nd through September 26th. The rule of thumb is that if you are gone less than 30 days, desertion isn't even a possible charge. Not only was Aguayo gone less than 30, he turned himself in. Helga Aguayo explained how the two felony convictions mean trigger an automatic appeal:

Helga Aguayo: And the other thing is that Agustin will not be discharged. I'm getting congratulations -- 'Oh, congratulations, he's coming home' -- we don't know when he's coming home, one. And, two, he actually will not be discharged from the military for twelve to twenty-four months from now, because he got a bad-conduct discharge and it's such a serious offense. He has two felonies. It goes onto an automatic appeal, and because of that, he will remain active-duty, which means he has to abide by the standards that is required of every soldier. He could potentially be charged with anything else during the time that he's on voluntary or involuntary leave or administrative leave. They'll give him of the three, if it's approved. And we won't know if it's approved.

Amy Goodman: Could he sent back to Iraq?

Helga Aguayo: I hope not. I don't think so. I think it would be -- I mean, Agustin's gotten a lot of support. And I, you know, would definitely just go to the press and go to the people. I don't think it would be in their best interest to do that.

Agustin Aguayo's repeated attempts to receive CO status demonstrate the need for the system to be fixed. As does the case of Robert Zabala who had to take the issue to the civilian courts to be awarded his status. The two, and many others, illustrate the problems with and arbitrary nature of the way the US military chooses to recognize (or not) CO status.
This is why the
Center on Conscience & War has declared May 14th the day to lobby Congress to pass a law that would "protect the rights of conscientious objectors".

Aguayo is part of a movement of war resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, 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.

Turning to news in Iraq, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates landed in Baghdad Thursday to provide war weary Iraqis and US service members with a bus and truck show of My Cousin Vinnie.
David S. Cloud, Alissa J. Rubin and Edward Wong (New York Times) report that he visited "to press Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to move faster on Sunni-Shiite reconciliation at a momment when Mr. Maliki's ability to deliver appears limited, at best." This allowed Bobby Gates to attack the part of Lisa with vigor as he stomped his feet in the safety of the Green Zone.

Bobby Gates: Well I hate to bring it up because I know you've got enough pressure on you already. But, we agreed to get an oil law passed as soon as we installed you. Meanwhile, ELEVEN MONTHS LATER, no oil law, Iran is making us nervous and our bully clock is TICKING and the way this war is going, I ain't never going to see the theft of Iraqi oil.

While Gates was telling/ordering al-Maliki to step it up,
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reported that it really doesn't make a great deal of difference: "Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces. Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, had dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said."

As most play mum on that revelation,
Mark Tran (Guardian of London) notes, "Washington today said it would take political reconciliation in Iraq into account when it decides this summer whether to reduce troop numbers." Translation? There will be no real reduction unless the people insist upon it. Just more stalling tactics on the part of the US installed puppet and more bluster from the bullies of the US administration. Meanwhile, the government of Turkey has set a deadline. KUNA reports that Turkey now has: "a 'specific timetable' for trans-borders operations including intrusions into northern Iraqi, Turkish NTV news website reported Friday. . . . The plan, envising the intrusion of thousands of Turkish troops into northern Iraqi areas to hunt rebel Kurds, is about to be a reality, according to the report."

Meanwhile in "New Listings" news, need a getaway? How about some place just east of a river, a gated community with rustic charm?
CBS and AP report that gated communities are coming to Baghdad in the form of "a three mile wall": "When the wall is finished, the minority Sunni community or Azamiyah, on the eastern side of the Tigris River, will be gated, and traffic control points manned by Iraqi soldiers will be the only entries, the military said."

Gated communities? And people think the US administration has no ideas in the tank.
While the US administration continues their attempts at stand up,
Tom Clifford (CounterPunch) notes the very real increase in Iraqi deaths including that last month was the deadliest in the last 12 months and that the escalation has claimed at least 7,400 reported deaths. And in some of the reported violence today in Iraq . . .


AFP reports a Nasiriyah bombing that killed 4 "including an 11-year-old girl". Reuters reports an eastern Baghdad mortar attack the killed 1 person and left 4 injured as well as a truck bombing in Falluja that killed 2 people and left 37 wounded. Lebanon's Daily Star reports that gunfire and helicopter fire were used around a mosque as US forces attacked what they hope are 'guilty' people since they killed four -- however, they originally denied the deaths and the attack only to correct that later on..


Reuters notes two police officers shot dead in Baquba and eight wounded, 1 person was shot dead in Falluja (2 more injured), and 1 person shot dead in Kufa. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Employees working for the North Oil Company were targeted in Kirkuk by gunmen yesterday evening. The gunmen attacked the employees' while they were coming to Baghdad, the incident took place on Karkuk-Baghdad motorway when the insurgents opened fire injuring 4 employees."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 19 corpses discovered in Baghdad on Friday.

In addition, the
US military announced today: "A Task Force Marne Soldier was killed and two were wounded when a rocket struck Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah Thursday night."

And in news of activism,
Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes the national Make Hip Hop, Not War tour which attempts to welcome important segments that have otherwise been overlooked. Ford writes: "The 'Make Hip Hop, Not War' movement finds only lip-service support from the white-dominated anti-war 'movement,' which finds itself unable to include the most anti-war segment of the American public: Black people. Rosa Clemente, of Pacifica's New York radio station WBAI and a founded of the National Hip Hop Political Convention, says, 'This is why the anti-war movement is not working. How are you going to have an anti-war movement that marginalizes Black people?'"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Macaroni Coleslaw in the Kitchen

Okay, today's recipe is something that Gina saw at

Macaroni Coleslaw
2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks, drained, 2 tablespoons of juice reserved
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup cherry-flavored yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut
8 maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, and rinse with cold water until chilled. Drain well.
Place the macaroni in a large bowl, and toss together with the bell pepper, onion, carrot, pineapple, reserved pineapple juice, and cabbage. Sprinkle with garlic powder, and toss to combine; set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, oil, white pepper, sugar, and yogurt; season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the macaroni salad with the dressing, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.
To serve, toss the salad again to mix, then pour into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with coconut, and garnish with maraschino cherries.

Gina is "Gina" of the gina & krista round-robin. She's a big fan of coleslaw. I'm not so much but the fact that it had fruit in it made me curious. It's a really tasty dish and if, like me, you're not that biga fan of most coleslaw, this recipe could change your mind.

Gina's question was whether the recipe was okay? There are a number of ingredients (but you're mixing, if anyone panics, you're not standing at the stove adding each one to a pot or skillet). But her concern was whether it was okay to highlight something from the web. I think so. I think if people have a site they find useful, they should note it and then we can all check it out. There are a lot of sites that just aren't worth it. So if you find one that offers you something worthwhile, please do note it. When I have time to ask for help, I'll go ahead and put a link in for AllRecipes on the blog list. I actually wanted to do that with one site that I learned of after I started this site. It was probably two or three weeks after. BuzzFlash had a link for a site with kids' recipes and I liked that site but didn't bookmark it. When I have time, I go to BuzzFlash and always hope to see that site listed but never do.

I'm rushing now because Rebecca just lied to C.I. on the phone and said, "Oh, yeah, Trina just posted." (Rebecca says C.I.'s headed out the door and won't check until later today. But in case, let me get my post up.)

This is from Glen Ford's "Dennis Kucinich: The Invisible Man, the Prohibited Message" (Black Agenda Report) which you can read or listen to online:

The corporate media boycott of Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign is in full swing. No, you can't hear the boycott - that's the whole point. The intention is to create a great silence, to pretend that something doesn't exist. The media boycott of Congressman Kucinich's campaign is very much like the banking practice of redlining, in which the captains of finance capital draw lines around whole neighborhoods, pretending they do not exist. This non-fact then becomes reality, as the neighborhoods are starved of investment and fall into inevitable decay.
The redlining of Dennis Kucinich by the gangsters of corporate media is designed to create a great wall of silence around the only candidate who is genuinely opposed to U.S. imperial policy - not just to the Iraq war and occupation, but to the imperial imperatives that created the war and will give birth to endless American aggressions in the future, if not stopped. Kucinich is also the only candidate who would halt the war on American standards of living, by repealing the trade policies that have sucked U.S. workers into a forced race to the bottom of a global wage scale, in order to serve the likes of Wal-Mart. That, too, is cause for imposing an organized silence on the Kucinich campaign by the corporate media. If they don't report something, it might as well not exist.
Dennis Kucinich is also the only presidential candidate who stands for real universal health care, rather than the phony schemes promulgated by the rest of the Democrats - con jobs that are in fact subsidies for huge health, insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. But you won't learn that from the corporate media. Silence is golden, and none of them are going to mess with the gold.

Glen Ford is correct about the silence on Kucinich. So I'm going to try to note things here from time to time (ideally every Saturday I post). This is from Dennis Kucinich's website:

AMES, Iowa, April 12 -- They'd better find labor peace in Denver, or at least one of the Democratic presidential contenders will skip the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is a long-shot in the race for the Democratic nomination, but he's already making contingency plans in case there are picket lines outside the Pepsi Center convention. "If there's a picket line, I'll accept the nomination at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO in Denver," Kucinich told the Rocky Mountain News after addressing a teachers group in Ames, Iowa. "If the AFL-CIO isn't available, any Teamsters hall will do, since my dad was a truck driver." Read the story and submit your comments at ScrippsNews.
David BrightNational Campaign ManagerDirector of Field OperationsKucinich for President

Now The Third Estate Sunday Review is always something I read on Sundays. Usually in the evening. I say, "Don't spoil it!" to my son and my husband all through the day. My daughter usually will but she mainly reads Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries. So I still have a surprise or two (unless one of my kids no longer living at home spoils it). Mike thought I would be upset by "Your Guide to the Horse Race." I wasn't. I think it's a very practical take on the realities of elections. I also firmly agree that Kucinich needs to grab and hug the outsider rail. That's the only way he'll register with the public. This is what they wrote about Kucinich:

What of Dennis Kucinich (whom many people working on this have endorsed)? Kucinich's campaign has to be built around "outsider" to get any kind of traction. He has to be out there doing radio, any radio, that will invite him on. It doesn't matter if the hosts make jokes. In fact, that probably helps. By staying firm and straight forward, he can tap into the outsider energy. It's very real and why, time and again, the ultimate insiders run campaigns claiming they are "outsiders." Some current press likes to slam Kunicinch (vegetarian, make fun of policies). If he rides that, if he embraces it, if he plays the oddball, but the straight forward oddball, he can tap into the same thing Perot did in 1992 (which didn't result in the presidency though, had Perot not dropped out of the race and then returned, who knows what would have happened). It's the sort of thing Bully Boy worked in 2000. "He makes no sense!" came the cry of many. "No, but he's genuine!" shouted the reply.
The popular narrative on Jimmy Carter is "peanut farmer becomes president." The realitiy is he was no outsider but he, like so many others, ran as such. The "little guy" who stands up can be embraced by the people -- no matter how stupid they come off (Bully Boy), no matter how emeshed they are as an insider (Perot wasn't turning down government contracts, he was actively courting them). Unlike Christopher Dodd, Kucinich isn't stiff and, of all the candidates declared, he could most realistically court the outsider vote. (The only real drama involving Dodd is will he drop out before Joe Biden.)
He also has a little noted sexual quality that plays well. (Watch the Democracy Now! interview and you'll see it flare up from time to time. Rebecca's been polling on that -- for her own interest, she's not part of the campaign.) A party that's failed to put forward principles for some time needs charisma in a candidate but, memories of the nineties still being fresh, a dollop not a 'rock star.' Jimmy Carter was considered an 'oddball' by some and he won the race, by posing as an outsider when he was no such thing.

I agree with all of that, including the sex appeal factor. I listened to an interview Lila Garrett (Connecting the Dots, KPFK) and was shocked by that. I'd never thought of him in that way. (I'm happily married, no one need worry.) But he does have a quality that came out in both interviews. I don't have time to insert links, so let me copy and paste:

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!

I believe that's everyone I mentioned. I didn't mention Betty, but her new chapter is up and very funny (with the promised twist).

And here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Friday, April 13, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war will reach 3300 shortly (3299 currently), tensions flare between northern Iraq and Turkey and the refugee crisis continues so the US Senate offers help to "up to 500" of the estimated 3 million Iraqis internally and externally displaced.

In war resister news, we'll focus on
KPFA and Brian Edwards-Tiekert. Responding to a commentary by Marc Sapir in The Berkeley Daily Planet last week, Edwards-Tiekert wanted to address the issue of war resisters. Edwards-Tiekert is an important part of KPFA's news staff and does strong work, but appears to think much more is being covered than actually is. Sapir, sharing his feelings and fears regarding KPFA, wrote (this was not the thrust of his commentary), "How could KPFA be a useful tool for the GI resisters' movement, the immigrants' rights and sanctuary movements, the prison reform and opposition movements, the new sds [SDS] (already at 160 chapters), . . . if such an edict is upheld?" Sapir is referring to the fact that KPFA can promote events; however, they can not say "Be there" (as Sasha Lilley explained on the Listeners' Report earlier this month). Edwards-Tiekert grabs the subsection of that sentence and responds (this was not the thrust of his response), "Clearly, he [Marc Sapir] wasn't listening the week Aaron Glantz traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington, to produce up-to-the minute rports on the failed court martial of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada." Was Edwards-Tiekert? Aaron Glantz' reports were largely filed for Free Speech Radio News and re-aired duing the KPFA Evening News and during Aileen Alfandary's newsbreaks during The Morning Show. Sandra Lupien and Alfandary each spoke with Glantz once during the court-martial on programs other than the Free Speech Radio News. But, as Edwards-Tiekert well knows, Free Speech Radio News is an independent program, it is not a KPFA program.

Aaron Glantz did a wonderful job reporting on the court-martial for
Free Speech Radio News, for IPS, for His voice gave out and, possibly, had that not happened he would have done more reporting on it for KPFA. But in terms of reporting (not interviews days after the mistrial was called), Edwards-Tiekert appears to believe that Glantz was reporting on KPFA programs more than he was. This could result from the fact that it was usually announced (by the news staff) that he would be reporting but, in the morning or evening, what instead aired was a rebroadcast (sometimes edited down) of a report Glantz had done for Free Speech Radio News.

Ehren Watada's court-martial is important. His upcoming court-martial (July 16th) will also be important and, hopefully, KPFA will do a better job covering it than they did with the February one. For that coverage, Aaron Glantz deserves praise. KPFA? Not so much. That was February. Since Watada's court-martial,
Agustin Aguayo and Mark Wilkerson have been court-martialed. Aguayo was court-martialed in Germany, possibly that's why it wasn't covered (reading wires doesn't really replace first person reporting)? Wilkerson was in Texas. Texas is much closer to California than DC (Edwards-Tiekert notes KPFA's DC coverage in his response) but it might as well be across the Atlantic. What of Robert Zabala's historic court case? Where was KPFA? Again, reading wire reports (or local press) on air doesn't really replace on the spot reporting.

Edwards-Tiekert muses, "Perhaps Sapir doesn't listen much to the radio station he maligns." As
Ruth pointed out regarded Sasha Lilley's declarations in the Listeners' Report, Lilley doesn't seem to listen a great deal. In the listners' report she maintained that KPFA news staff promoted, on air, the KPFA webpage of local events when, in fact, that wasn't the case. KPFA is an important radio station and a historic one. Edwards-Tiekert is a strong member of the news staff. His commentary (and recent call in on air to Larry Bensky) only fans simmering flames for many. I'm not interested in that. (Ruth may be. She can write whatever she wants in her space.) I am interested in war resisters.

Edwards-Tiekert may feel Watada was covered by the KPFA news. He really wasn't. (Off topic, but needs noting again, Philip Maldari, not part of the news staff, did a wonderful job last summer interviewing Bob Watada.) That false impression may come from on air announcements such as, "Tomorrow morning in the first half-hour of The Morning Show, Aileen Alfandary will speak with Aaron Glantz . . ." -- announcements that were made of coverage that never took place. (That's not a slam at Alfandary. Glantz' voice was giving out early on.) But announcements of intended coverage are not actual coverage. And re-airing reports done for a non-KPFA produced program (Free Speech Radio News) on KPFA news and news breaks does not indicate that KPFA itself provided coverage.

In February,
Kyle Snyder was hauled away in handcuffs (and in his boxers) by Canadian police. Joci Perri (Citizenship and Immigration) stated the arrest was requested by the US military and that deportation was supposed to follow. Did KPFA listeners hear about that on the news? Joshua Key is being 'shadowed.' Winnie Ng reported the incident that happened at her home. She was visited by three men, she was told they were Canadian police. They were looking for Key (Joshua, Brandi and their children stayed with Ng early on after moving to Canada). Ng's character was called into question (including by some 'friends' in Canada) and the police said it never happened. Turns out, it did happen. The Canadian police, WOOPS, did send out one officer . . . with two members of the US military. Has the KPFA news informed listeners about those developments? Dean Walcott self-checked out of the US military and went to Canada in December of 2006. How often has his name came up during news breaks or newscasts?

Here's where the real fault is, the real problem. Four years into the illegal war and
KPFA still has not created a program to focus on Iraq. Flashpoints started to cover the first Gulf War. KPFA can't spare one half-hour or hour a week for a program that focuses on Iraq? Of course they can. The fact that they haven't is more embarrassing than any of the back and forths or the old history (covered in both Edwards-Tiekert and Sapir's commentaries). Is KPFA frozen or paralyzed when it comes to new programming? No. In fact it did an election series for the 2006 elections. One would think that an illegal war was at least as important as a mid-term election.

Dean Walcott, the latest to go public, part of the growing movement of war resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, 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.

Yesterday in Iraq, the Green Zone was the target of an attack.
AFP notes today that the US military is now saying that the bombing in the parliament's cafeteria killed only one person (but "an Iraqi security officer" maintains "three people died"). Though Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) prefers to call it the "International Zone," as William M. Arkin (Washington Post) notes of the Green Zone, "The Zone is officially known as the international zone, a less inflammatory label that suggests non-U.S. control, but everyone knows the truth." Bushra Juhi (AP) reports that al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the bombing and that it was a suicide bombing and that the Iraqi parliament met today ("about 90 minutes") but turnout was low due to the traffic ban and to the fact that many were visiting the wounded from yesterday's bombing. While AP repeats that the culprit is thought to be a bodyguard to a Sunni lawmaker, The Australian reports that three cafeteria workers are being questioned as well as "some parliamentary guards". CNN notes that this is due to the suspicion that the bombing was an 'inside job'. Robert Burns (AP) reveals: "The U.S. military will not take over security of the Iraqi parliament building in the wake of the deadly suicide bombing in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, a top commander said Friday. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said "it is clear we still have a long way to go to provide stability and security to Iraq." Michael Howard (The Guardian of London) informs, "US officials admitted last night that the bombing of the Iraqi parliament shows that not even the heavily fortified Green Zone is safe any more, despite the security crackdown launched earlier this year in the Iraqi capital." Despite that reality, Robin Wright and Karin Brulliard (Washington Post) report that John McCain, "who this week spoke of 'the first glimmers' of progress in the new U.S. effort, said the attack on the parliament building does not change the 'larger picture'."

Or, as
William M. Arkin (Washington Post) observes, "For the past few weeks, we have been told by the administration and the military that the Baghdad Security Plan and the surge are working. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had his Snoopy in the tank moment walking through a marketplace in a well-oiled photo op, accompanied of course by American Humvees and soldiers and roof-top snipers. The Senator and his delegation then repaired to the 'relative safety' of the Green Zone, speaking of their safe drive to and from the airport to downtown, a trip by dignitaries that is usually made by helicopter. The boast itself spoke volumes about the truth of the Green Zone, and of Baghdad."

Security and refugess was a topic today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, where Andrea Lewis and Aaron Glantz spoke with guests including Dahr Jamail and Sarah Holewinski (Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict). (20 minutes in, Dahr speaks for the first time other than the normal greetings.)

Dahr: Well without a doubt, I think offering someone $2,500 when they've had a loved one killed by occupation forces is - is quite an insult especially now with the rate of inflation and the conditions in Iraq. I think the primary thing that I'd absolutely agree with her with is that the Iraqi people who are sufffering right now as we speak and all those who have lost loved ones certainly deserve and justifiably have earned compensation levels that are very, very fair and, in my opinion, I think that they should be compensation levels like we see in the United States when someone dies in a plane crash and there's a lawsuit or when someone dies in a car crash, typically millions of dollars are awarded to someone. How would people in the United States react if they lost a loved one and the government offered them $2,500?
[. . .]
I would start by amending the numbers that Nabil just said. I have updated numbers from meeting with Sybella Wilkes yesterday who is the UNHCR regional public information officer. And according to UNHCR, there are, there's 1.2 million is the minimum estimate they have in Syria alone. The governement of Syria, who UNHCR admitted probably has more accurate figures than they do, estimates there's between 1.4 and 1.5 million Iraqi refugees here [Syria], hundreds of thousands of those are Shia as well. I think people in the US are led to believe that it's only the Sunni population that's leaving and, while they are the majority, it's important to note that there's a giant number and growing number of Shia up here in Syria as well. But really the situation is really -- even just those numbers, as if they're not staggering enough by themselves -- the situation here is UNHCR has only actually registered approximately 70,000 of these people. So that means these are only the 70,000 that literally have so little of anything that they have to literally go there for food and in some way to find some housing. So the crisis is certainly going to grow exponentially as these other Iraqis here, and I have met with many of them, are living on their savings right now. What are they going to do when their savings run out? Syria right now has approximately a 20 to 25% unemployment rate. Add in another between 1.2 to 1.5 million Iraqis, so already that figure is too low. And as time persists, of course, the situation will worsen. And we have between 30 and 50,000 more Iraqis coming into Syria alone every single month.

Andrea Lewis: And Dahr what are some of the refugees telling you, other than concerns about their finances which obviously are important, what other things are you hearing from the people you're talking to?

Dahr: Well I'm actually sitting here right now with two friends who just came out yesterday from Baquba and they're telling me things like the US military has absolutely zero control of that city. There's only one street where one kilometer of that street is controlled by the US military and that's because that's primarily where their base is. The banks in Baquba have zero money whatsoever. It's a ghost town in the middle of the day. There's no marekts open. Of course, no one is working. And, as they described it, al Qaeda is in total control of that entire city and they state that the US military there is doing little to nothing to stop them.

Aaron Glantz: Well that's where Zarchawy was killed and we all remember Abu Musab al-Zarchawy. He was a big enemy and now he's dead and he was killed in Baquba.

Dahr: Right and clearly the situation has done nothing but degrade. As they said, it's like something out of a scene of a movie where literally it's a ghost town, nobody leaves their homes, nobody goes out. Even traveling from there to Baghdad, which is just barely 20 miles away, people just don't even make that trip. For them to even come up to Syria, they had to go, completely bypass Baghdad, and go to the north in order to come up here. Of course it was very far out of their way. But that just gives you an idea of how horrible the security situation is. There's literally no security and no regular life there to be found.

Turning to news from the US Senate,
Reuters reports that legislation passed allowing for the admission of a whopping (yes, that is sarcasm) "500 Iraqi and Afghan translators into the United States a year because their lives are in danger for helping U.S. forces during the wars."

Last month,
Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) noted that it was past time for US citizens to ask exactly who their tax dollars supported in Iraq. This month (at The Huffington Post), Hayden notes: "The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi'a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs." Hayden argues that the training of police fails to acknowledge who is being trained and for what -- as with El Salvador the 'blind eye' is a pretense upon the part of the US government. Tom Hayden proposes a series of recommendations including "peace advocates and critics must focus on the new reality that American blood and taxes are being spent on propping up a sectarian government that wants to carry out an ethnic cleansing of the Sunni population."

Keeping the above in mind and turning to the northern section of Iraq, yesterday
Umit Enginsoy (Turkish Daily News) reported on the conference in DC regarding the the upcoming, proposed referendum that would etermine the fate of Kirkuk (an Iraqi citiy that "sits on nearly 40 percent of Iraq's oil") which Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is pushing (Talabani fell ill as the latest wave of the crackdown began earlier this year, he was represented at the conference by his son Qubad Talabani who is also "the representative for the Kurdistan regional government"). The issues revolve around the oil, obviously, and also around the demographic makeup of Kirkuk and who gets a vote with Turcomen and Arabs concerned over what "hundreds of thousands of Kurds [who] have flocked into Kirkuk in recent years while the number of Kurds expelled under Saddam's regime could be measured by tens of thousands."

Laith al-Saud (CounterPunch) explores the issue of the resettling, "Since the 2003 invasion of the country myth has taken precedence over history and Kurdish politicians have adopted the methods of that other myth-based nation-state in the region-Israel, to establish claims . . . During the invasion, Kurdish peshmerga (militias) entered Kirkuk and established de facto control of the city. Since then, as has been reported by the Center for Research on Globalization, Kurdish militias have forcibly evicted people from their homes, engaged in Murder, assassination and a slow ethcnice cleansing. The first victims in this regard have been the Arabs. Since the Arabs there are largely associated with Baa'th policy they have seen little support from the regime in Baghdad. Less publicized has been the targeting of Assyrians and other smaller minorities in the region. But the largest group in the city -- and the one that promises to be the most resistant to Kurdish aggression -- is the Turcomen. Ethnically Turks, the Turcomen have lived in the area for over eight-hundred years and have strong ties to Turkey."

Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) notes of the referendum: "The Kurds expect that large areas of eastern, northern and western Ninevah province will join theKRG, not not Mosul city itself because it has an Arab majority. The Kurds are absolutely determined to get what they consider their rights after years or persecution, expulsion and genocide. They rightly think that they now have an historic opportuniy to create a powerful near independent state within Iraq: They are America's only effective allies in Iraq; they are powerful in Baghdad; The non-Kurdish parts of the Iraqi government are weak."

At the conference, the US appeared to waffle (we'll get back to the point).
Michael Kuser and Guy Dinmore (Financial Times of London) note that Turkey's concern is that "an independent Kurdish state" will be created. This stems from Turkey's own issues in the southern part of its country where a historical and ongoing battle by Kurdish inhabitants of the area to gain self-autonamy has been rejected.If Iraq is partitioned off into regions and/or Kirkuk and other northern areas become their own independent body, Turkey's concerns include how such a breaking up could effect their own country. Chris Toensing (Foreign Policy In Focus) summed up the recent conflict within Turkey: "Since the invasion [of Iraq], the Turkish military and security services -- known to Turks as the 'deep state' -- have reasserted themselves, to the detriment of Turkish democracy. They are resisting even the Justice and Development Party's modest efforts to reach out to the country's Kurdish population, and inveighing against any ceasfire with the renewed Kurdish insurgency in the southeast. Far-right social elements associated with the 'deep state' are rallying in favor of chauvinistic versions of Turkish nationalism; in January, one such militan murdered an Armenian-Turkish journalist who sought to reconcile Turks' and Armenians' understanding of the 1915 Aremian genocide."

Another concern on the part of Turkey
pointed out by Kuser and Dinmore is that their border is not respected by "combat rebels from the Kurdish Wokers party (PKK)". Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit has "asked the government" of Turkey "for approval to launch a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq, signaling growing frustration over a lack of action by Iraqi and US forces against Kurdish guerrillas. This follows, as Umit Enginsoy notes, that the head of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, stated last week if Turkey did not stop interfering in Iraq's northern region, Iraq would "retaliate by intervening in Turkey's Kurdish-related matters. The rising tensions come as Turkey's president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, prepares to step down (the parliament electes a new president in May). The Turkish Daily News presents a sample of Buyukanit's press conference where he touched on a number of issues, including political ones.

As the tensions rise and some commentators wonder what the US is doing -- signaling both ways is the answer. Fortunately, the issue is in questionable hands: Hoover Institute's Barbara Stephenson is now a 'diplomat' ("
deputy senior advisor and coordinator to the secretary of state"). In 1998, she was a "homemaker" and apparently $519,200 in donations is all it takes to buy a job at the State Department under US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice. (It's also a good little circle jerk since, Rice was "the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute"). Stephenson's main claim to fame/infamy may be her declaration of Iraqis, "They need to want this more than we do." Spoken by the person who some would argue bought her way into an administration.

From the north to the south,
Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports on the protests that took place Monday calling for foreign troops (all non-Iraqi troops) to leave the country. Historian Mahmood al-Lamy tells al-Fadhily, "Basra is the biggest southern city and the only Iraqi city that has a port near the Gulf. It is now controlled by various militias who fight each other from time to time over an oil smuggling business that is flourishing under the occupation."
Simon Assaf (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reminds that the protest on Monday (in Najaf) "was the biggest in Iraq since the massive unity demonstrations in the early days of the occupation" and that uniformed Iraqi soldiers joined in the protest.


Hussein Kadhmim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports one civilian dead from a roadside bombing in Baghdad, a Baghdad mortar attack that killed one person and left 15 wounded,
"a primary school was exploded in Instar village of Bani Saad," "a public clinic at (Tibtib) village" was bombed, and "LC Falih Hassan of the Iraqi national police was killed today after a road side bomb targeted his vehicle today after noon. Three of his body guards were killed."
CBS and AP note a Baghdad roadside bomb claimed the life of a police officer and left four other officers injured as well as one citizen injured. Reuters reports a second Baghdad mortar attack killed two people and left 8 more wounded, a Hilla bombing killed a police officer and left three others wounded, and a mortar attack in Iskandariya wounded 10 people.


Hussein Kadhmim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman wounded during an attack on a police patrol. Reuters reports that Mohammed Abd al-Hameed ("Mosque imam in the northern city of Mosul . . . well known figure in the Sunni Muslim Scholars' Association") was shot dead in Mosul, three guards of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party offices were wounded in an attack in Hilla, and an attack on a barber shop left two people "seriously wounded."


Hussein Kadhmim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports five corpses discovered in Baghdad,
Reporters Without Borders notes that two corpses were discovered in Mosul yesterday: Iman Yussef Abdallah ("journalist for a radio station operated by a group of Mosul trade unions") and her husband. She "was the second journalist to be murdered in Mosul this year and the 13th in Iraq."

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died April 12 due to a non-battle related cause." And they announced: "An MND-B Soldier died when a patrol was attacked with small arms fire north of the Iraqi capital. The unit was conducting a security patrol when the attack occurred." [Both were noted last night. They were announced Friday Iraq time.] And they announced: "An MND-B Soldier died and one other was wounded when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad April 12. The unit was conducting a security patrol in the area when the attack occurred." And they announced: "Two MND-B Soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded when their patrol base came under attack by anti-Iraqi forces south of Baghdad April 12. Two Iraqi interpreters were also killed in the attack." ICCC's total for the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 3299 and 52 is the total for the month thus far.

Finally, the
Austin American-Stateman weighs in with an editorial commenting on the decision by the White House to extend tours of duty to 15 months while, at the same time, searching for someone ( a war 'czar' -- "The first and most obvious is that a war szar already exists: the president of the United States is the commander in chief. The novelty of the idea doesn't make it viable.") to run the illegal war in Iraq and concludes, "It is especially troubling when you consider that the Bush administration is asking more and more from military personnel who can't appoint someone else to do their jobs for them."