Sunday, December 31, 2006

3,000 US troops dead in Bully Boy's illegal war

My son Mike just called to pass on that the 3,000 mark had been passed in the number of US troops who have died in Iraq. We've got a small party here but I wanted to get online and note this. The mood's shifted as my husband has passed on the news but, that's life. That was what I writing about when the silly ninny for the New York Times was telling people they shouldn't discuss anything 'controversial' at Thanksgiving.

Did it spoil the party? Well too bad. There are now at least 3,000 US troops who will not celebrate another New Year's Eve and there are over 655,000 Iraqis who will not. It's time to end the illegal war. Mike told me everyone was probably using the illustration from The Third Estate Sunday Review's editorial today so I will as well.

The war needs to end. People need to get serious about making it end. Want a happy new year? Start working to end the war. You can find news of rallies and demonstrations to honor the 3,000 lives lost in an illegal war at the American Friends Service Committee.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ham and Potato Casserole in the Kitchen

Hilary and her husband Jack e-mailed me to note that, although they know I don't like leftovers, they have a large amount of ham left over from their Christmas dinner. Actually, I love leftovers. We didn't often have them in my kitchen because I have so many children and we never had turkey leftovers on any holiday. But I do like leftovers and ham is one of my favorites. When the children would grab a bit here and a bit there, I'd have to remind them that if they didn't leave at least a little, I couldn't make the casserole we all love.

Ham and Potato Casserole
4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
left over ham (about two cups worth, dice it)
1 white onion chopped
1 1/4 cup of milk
1 cup of grated chees
Salt and pepper

Grease a casserole dish and you're going to use the ingredients to build layers. Start with potatoes, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, add a layer of ham, then a layer of onion, then a layer of potatoes and salt and pepper them . . . You want to end with a top layer of potatoes. Salt and pepper the top layer of potatoes as you have with all potato layers. Once you've done that and used up the ingredients, pour the milk over the casserole. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

I love this casserole. So much so, that I'm worried I've probably given the recipe to it before but I'm not seeing it. If I have, it's good enough to note twice.

C.I.'s "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)" was wonderful and I'd urge you tread it but I know most of you have. Kyle e-mailed to say he hadn't checked out my site because he really wasn't interested in cooking but when he saw me quoted in it, he had to read that entry. That was very nice of C.I. to quote me. Totally unexpected because C.I. had said the year-in-review this year would be brief (C.I.'s been sick all week). I knew Cedric was being included because I'd heard about that from Mike (Cedric's point was made in a feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review but got removed when Dona and Jim were attempting to edit the feature and couldn't figure out how to include the point). My husband and I were reading it together, crowded around the computer here (in the kitchen) and drinking our morning coffee. We were laughing and nodding along and it was a pleasant surprise to get the section about the "Mommy Manifesto" or whatever that nonsense was called. That really was an insulting article because it was written as though the second wave of feminism never happened.

Later that day, during dinner, my husband asked how many e-mails I'd gotten today and I hadn't thought to check. When I did, there were many e-mails like Kyle's. I just post on Saturday and there's no real reason to 'visit' the Kitchen if you're not interested in recipes (and I don't take offense if anyone's not). So let me say thank you to C.I. for noting me in the year in review.

Now that I've taken care of that, let me say that was my favorite piece all year. I loved the piece on Dexy as sob sister but I don't think I even laughed as much at that as I did with the year in review. It perfectly captured 2006.

I was also trying to figure out, all week, what I could say about 2006 myself? Dona and Jim visited on Tuesday after they'd gone to see Rebecca with Mike and Dona and I were talking about C.I.'s "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today" and how Democracy Now needs to think before broadcasting a speech with errors. Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and
GreenStone Media got slammed by Ehrenreich who didn't seem to know the first thing about
GreenStone Media. They do discuss and debate and I can remember the discussion on abortion
The Radio Ritas to give just one example. Ehrenreich was getting chuckles and applause until she went off on the media project (that she wrongly called a "radio station"). There was just silence when she thought she was being funny there. That should have told Goodman something but Amy Goodman felt it was 'funny,' I guess. Which shows that intelligence and humor don't necessarily come as a package.

But I started thinking about that and thought that, to me, 2006 was about women. Women voted in greater numbers than did men. Women voted for Democrats more than men in the November elections. Women were real leaders in 2006. Ray McGovern pointed that out in a speech he gave that got noted in one of the snapshots this year and it's true. Cindy Sheehan, Media Benjamin, Diane Wilson, Ann Wright, and many more were fasting for peace, speaking out, making their voices heard for peace and doing so all year. Medea was challenging War Hawk Hillary Clinton. Which was why I still hate Katha Pollitt's piece where she went after CODEPINK for bird dogging Hillary Clinton -- I like Pollitt but that piece was disappointing as was her defense of it to a reader who complained.

I don't have the memory C.I. does -- I swear it's photographic. So I just called C.I. to ask what issue that was in because I do want to write about that. It's the December 4, 2006 issue of The Nation and a woman named Zillah Eisenstein wrote in to complain about Pollitt's piece. Pollitt's response is one long dance with comments that are supposed to defend Hillary Clinton but really don't. Example: "Clinton voted against a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning (unfortunately she supported an anti-flag-burning bill." So she was against flag burning, Pollitt. Clinton just grasped, as any former lawyer should, that a Constitutional amendment is a near impossible thing. (She's old enough to remember attempts to pass the ERA as am I.) So she was against free speech, she was just crafty enough to grasp that it wouldn't fly as a Consitutional amendment. Example: "On gay marriage, she has said she isn't for it, but she wasn't in office to vote on DOMA (1996)." Eisenstein wrote Clinton says "no to gay marriage." Pollitt writes "she has said she isn't for it". That proves Eisenstein's point.

And I'll go further on that because Hillary was one of the main reasons I supported Bill in 1992.
They were the two-for-one and Pollitt can pretend otherwise all she wants but Hillary had a lot more power as First Lady than Pollitt conceeds. Bill Clinton supported DOMA, Hillary didn't speak out. That was shameful and that goes down for both of them. (Bill Clinton wasn't in Congress before Pollitt wants to say "Bill didn't vote for DOMA!") On abortion, Clinton has repeatedly signaled in speeches a weakening of abortion rights. I lost all respect for NARAL when they tried to defend her on that in January 2005 (when her shift really begins) and considering what Pollitt's written about NARAL (as well as a comment she left at their blog that NARAL deleted), I think Pollitt's quite aware of the shift that's going on for many.

But my biggest problem with the column was the going after CODEPINK who, unlike Katha Pollitt, were addressing Iraq in 2006. What did Pollitt do? Seriously, she did nothing. She never wrote about Abeer. She never wrote about the ever worsening conditions for women in Iraq. She didn't write about any war resisters.

She didn't even include anything on her charity list that indicated the nation was at war. And quite honestly, she needs to kill that yearly column. It comes out too late for anyone who's thinking, "It's almost Christmas, I need to make a charitable donation" but, more importantly, it's not worth reading. You know she's going to pick X number of charities (as she does every year) and since the charities don't even have to reflect what's going on in the country or in the world, what's the point? The women in Iraq are losing -- no, have lost their rights. And Pollitt's telling you to subscribe to In These Times? What does that awful magazine (which doesn't know the first thing about free speech as evidenced by the way they treated David Lindorff at the end of 2005) have to do with anything?

It has nothing to do with anything and it's why that column irritates me more and more each year. It's Katha standing outside a store with a kettle ringing a bell. I don't give to the Salvation Army because they're anti-gay and I'll no longer read Katha's Ho-Ho columns because when she included In These Times she demonstrated that free speech doesn't matter. If you don't know how that trashy magazine attacked Dave Lindorff and free speech, read "R.I.P. In These Times" (CounterPunch). I'd say the magazine deserves to die but I've noticed it already has -- few stores that used to carry it do so anymore. It had been a fairly good magazine up until their publisher died (and my father read each and every issue) but now it's just a joke. Christopher Hayes is an awful writer who seems challenged by facts (AND THE NATION HAS STILL NOT CORRECTED HIS LIE THAT JOHN KERRY SAID SOMETHING IN HIS DNC CONVENTION SPEECH THAT HE JOHN KERRY, IN FACT, DID NOT SAY IN THAT SPEECH). Hayes and others at In These Times are just a joke and the magazine is now as well. It used to read like a socialist magazine and now it reads like faxes from the DNC (as my father repeatedly points out).

So when I saw Pollitt giving it a shout out, asking people to donate money to that piece of fluff, I thought, "She's really lost it this year." She needs to drop that nonsense. No one needs her showing up at the end of the year ringing a bell especially when her idea of 'causes' have little to do with the year that's passing.

When I was reading the year in review and came across the reference to Robin Morgan's wonderful article on Abeer it just reminded that Pollitt never wrote about her. A fourteen-year-old girl is raped and murded by US soldiers, in her own living room, her sister and her parents are murdered and Pollitt can't even write about it? That's disgusting and wasting your space in the magazine.

She was AWOL most of 2006 (working on her book collection and who knows what personally) and what she owed readers was a real column not let-me-string-together-ten-charities-that-demonstrate-how-little-I've-paid-attention-this-year. I wasn't that crazy about the book, a collection of past columns, because of the one, as Betty pointed out, where Pollitt goes after the NAACP for addressing the very real harm from TV portrayals (and the absence of people of color). That was the column where White Katha Pollitt lectured the NAACP about what African-Americans should be concerned with. That really ticked me off. I don't think it's a White person's role to tell the NAACP what the concerns of African-Americans are. It's the same sort of I-Know-Everything attitude that I saw in both her column on Hillary and her laughable 'rebuttal' to Zillah Eisenstein.

2006 wasn't a good writing year for Pollitt or for The Nation for that matter.

But it was a good year for women who used their power and I'll note the following women who did just that: Medea Benjamin, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Diane Wilson, Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Missy Comley Beattie, Leslie Cagan, Eleanor Smeal, Kim Gandy, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, all the women working on Ms. Magazine and Off Our Backs, NOW, CODEPINK, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolesy and Cynthia McKinney who may have lost her Congressional seat but didn't lose her self-respect. (And McKinney would have been a better topic to write about than Clinton but The Nation didn't seem interested in McKinney -- anyone there other than Alexander Cockburn.)

Right now, I'm reading Alice Walker's We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light In A Time Of Darkness and I strongly recommend this book. It's a really beautiful book (I'm up to the speech she gives on grief). I didn't vote for in the poll Martha and Shirley ran because I hadn't read it but I'm glad enough community members had that it made the top ten. You can read the community's picks for the ten best of the year in "2006 in books (Martha & Shirley)."

In terms of music, Kat's picks in "Kat's Korner: 2006 in music" were strong ones and I think she did capture the year in music both with her selections as well as with her commentary.

On a personal note, two pregnancies. My daughter-in-law is pregnant and this will be our first grandchild so I'm very excited about that. I'm also very happy for Rebecca. I called her this morning to make sure everything was still fine (she's almost through the three critical weeks) and she sounded very happy. I'm still nervous because that's my way but she says she's not worrying so I won't either.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, December 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Decemeber is now the deadliest month this year for US troops, Ehren Watada finally appears in print in The Nation, is Sabrina Tavernise angling to be the new joke of the New York Times, and the US military reveals how little heart and compassion they have as they move to court-martial a soldier suffering from PTSD -- one they did nothing to help.
Starting with fatality news. Today the
US military announced: "Three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Thursday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Watch for the New York Times to ignore that or Little Man Marcs to report "One marine died" if the pattern this month holds true. The Times can't say they weren't warned when they decided to ignore fatalities and minimize the few that they covered but readers of the paper who depend on it to provide reality (no chuckles) may end up shocked when they discover that today December became the deadliest month for US troops. The three deaths up the total for the month to 107. Prior to this announcement, October had been the deadliest month with 106.
Some outlets report 105 and that has to do with the fact that the US military tends to hold the deaths a bit, and has the since the start of the war, waiting for those first of the month look back press accounts to be published and then noting a death or two afterwards.
106 is the number ICCC uses, 106 is the one we'll go with here. 107 is now the total number of US troops who have died in Iraq this month. The total number of US troops who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 2996 -- four shy of the 3,000 mark.
US troops have not been the only military fatalities and England's
Ministry of Defense notes:"It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a UK serviceman was killed yesterday, Thursday 28 December 2006, in Basrah, southern Iraq. The soldier, from 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City when the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle he was travelling in was targeted by a roadside bomb. He was very seriously injured and airlifted to the Field Hospital at Shaibah Logistics Base, but unfortunately died later as a result of his injuries." That death brought the total number of British troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 127.
Turning to the issue of war resistance and starting with The Nation magazine. On page 14 of the January 8/15 2007 issue (a double issue) Marc Cooper has an article entitled "Lt. Ehren Watada: Resister." The Nation makes the article
availble online to subscribrs only for whatever reasons but seems unaware that they've published it for all (subscribers and non-subscribers) on Yahoo -- click here. Cooper describes Ehren Watada as "the lighning rod case of resistance" (Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq); and notes the speech he gave in August at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle (click here for text at CounterPunch and here at Truthout which offers both text and video of the speech) where Watada declared, "The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."; and notes that, in January, "a 'Citizen's Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq,' featuring Daniel Ellsberg and Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk will be convened in Tacoma, Washinginton, in support of Watada".
January 4th is the date scheduled for the military's pre-trial hearing and Feb. 5th is when the court-martial is scheduled to begin. The US military is attempting to force journalists to testify at the pre-trial hearing (see
yesterday's snapshot).
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing (who was released from the military brig on Satuday) Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, 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. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
Resistance takes many forms in the peace movement. As noted in yesterday's snapshot,
Cindy Sheehan was arrested in Crawford, Texas outside Bully Boy's ranchette along with four other activists. Sheehan called the action a "peace surge" to combat Bully Boy's notions of escalating the number of US troops in Iraq. The AP reports that Sheehan's attorney Robert Gottlieb believes the arrest will have no impact on the conditional verdict the judge issued this month in Manhattan. The Smoking Gun reports that, were Sheehan convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in prison and the maximum fine is $2,000.
In another mother for peace news,
Theresa Hogue (Corvallis Gazette-Times) reported last week on Michelle Darr, a mother of six, who was arrested December 12th for attempting to get US Senator Gordon Smith to sign the Declaration of Peace (her third arrest this year for attempting to lobby Smith, she was arrested twice in September) and will face a tril in January. Darr told Hogue, "What they (her children) see me doing is as important as what they don't see me doing. If Im not using my voice and efforts in the cause of the common good, how can I expect them to take initiative when the need arises? I don’t want them to ever think oppression and genocide are acceptable, or that war is a way to solve problems."
Along with courageous acts of resistance like Sheehan's and Darr's, demonstrations will take part around the United States to note the 3,000 mark for US fatalities in Iraq.
United for Peace and Justice notes:
Another Grim Milestone -- 3,000 Deaths Too Many
More than 2,990 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. By the time you read this, the death toll may have reached 3,000. We must bear witness to this tragic milestone, even though many people are already beginning their celebrations of the new year. And when we do take action on this occasion, we must remind others that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, women and men have also died in this outrageous war and occupation. Our call to end this war and to bring all the troops home now must be heard in every corner of the country! The killing must stop. Click here for some suggested ways to bear witness.
Military Families Speak Out notes:
MILITARY FAMILIES MOURN 3,000TH TROOP DEATH, PARTICIPATE IN NATIONWIDE VIGILS AND CALL ON CONGRESS TO END THE IRAQ WAR Family Members of Fallen Soldiers and Families of Troops Currently Deployed in Iraq Available for Interview Dec 29, 06 On the eve of the 3,000th troop death, the next horrific milestone in the Iraq war, Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), an organization of over 3,100 military families opposed to the war in Iraq, calls on the 110th Congress to honor the fallen and prevent further deaths by taking action to end the Iraq war. read more »
3000 Deaths Too Many As Bush considers sending thousands of additional troops to Iraq to control the violence, our troop death toll nears the 3,000 mark. It is crucial that we commemorate this grim milestone in Bush's disastrous war by pressuring Congress to bring the troops home NOW, and to stop this insanity NOW! Click here for CODEPINK suggested actions you can take.
Also refer to
World Can't Wait's Protests & Vigils Planned the Day After the Number of US Troops Killed in Iraq Reaches 3,000
As the press continues to note that Bully Boy is seriously considering escalating the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq,
Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) note: "Two attempts last summer to stabilize Baghdad by sending in more troops failed. The increased U.S. presence led to a brief drop in violence, but as soon as the troops left the neighborhoods where they'd deployed, the violence skyrocketed." That was the crackdown that cracked up and accomplished nothing. It began in June and by August, the US military was noting that, in July, attacks on US forces were up (double the January amount) and bombing attacks on civilians were up 10%. And last week Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the US Pentagon's findings "that the violence in Iraq soared this fall to its highest level on record" and this during the continued increase of US troops in Iraq. But like a greedy tele-evangilist, Bully Boy can just cry out, "Send more! Send more!"
CNN reports a bomber "waited near the house of Sheik Kadhim Hameed Qassim" in northern Bagdad and then detonated the bomb "when the clearic, his security and family members arrived after Friday prayers" leaving the Shi'ite cleric dead and also killing "his brother and severn others" and leaving 15 wounded.
Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Jurf al-Sakhar and seven more wounded. AFP reports a police officer and "a bystander" were shot dead in Hindiya while, in Mussayib, a police officer was shot dead and five more wounded. KUNA reports four Iraqi soldiers were shot dead "southwest of Kirkuk" and a fifth Iraqi soldier was injured while, in nothern Iraq, "two employees who . . . worked for the Petroleum State Company" were shot dead.
KUNA reports that the corpse of a kidnapped police officer was discovered in Kirkuk.
AFP reports on the increasing demise of communal baths in Baghdad from violence and financial costs: "In its glory days when Iraq was one of the most developed Arab countries in the Middle East, the hammam used to employ 16 people. Today only four permanent staff remains on the payroll as massive inflation takes hold." and quotes the owner of the bathhouse explaining, "The electricity is often down. Gas for heating has become too expensive. We pay 20,000 dinars ($14) for a bottle compared to 1,000 just two or three years ago. How do you expect me to carry on? There are days when it costs me more to open than doing nothing. I love my profession but it's disappearing."
In I-Schilled-for-the-U.S.-military-and-all-I-got-was-a-red-face news,
Sabrina Tavernise's 'scoop' in the New York Times had holes blown through it earlier this week and has now fallen apart completely. The US military announced (to her and James Glanz of the New York Times) that they had been holding Iranian 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' since the 12th of December. In the latest development to rip the story of Iranian 'terrorists' to shreds, the BBC reports that the two diplomats who were held by US forces but in the country of Iraq at the invitation of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, were released. On the detention of the two diplomats, AFP quotes the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hasan Kazemi Qomi, stating: "Fortunately with the effort exerted by the Iraqi officials, the US forces who firstly denied their arrest were obliged to admit it and under pressure from the Iraqi government to release them. The arrest of these diplomats was carried out contrary to international laws and the Geneva convention."
In the US, the
AP reports: "Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, 24, of Mont Alto, died Wednesday afternoon at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas" after being injured in November 13th bombing in Ramadi and quotes his grandfather, Edward Shaffer, stating that "All they could do was try to keep him comfortable. They couldn't do any more for him." 24 year-old Shaffer is among many troops who die from physical injuries recieved in Iraq but, due to dying after they are shipped out of Iraq, do not get included in the official body count.
Another war related death not included in the count is
covered by Megan Greenwell (Washington Post), 29-year-old James E. Dean, who had served in Afghanistan and recently recieved orders to deploy to Iraq, barricaded himself in his father's house on Christmas day, and was killed in an exchange with police officers.
NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported that the US army's crappy record on addressing PTSD within the ranks just got worse: the army is moving to court-martial Tyler Jennings who suffers from PTSD and was diagnosed with "Crying spells... hopelessness... helplessness... worthlessness" five months ago and received no assistance.
ehren watada

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Traditions in the Kitchen?

I do try to pick the e-mails I can be helpful with. A woman wanted a recipe for sugar cookies. She's never made them before but she just knows that this is the Christmas to make them. I replied and noted that I would suggest anything in the world other than sugar cookies.

She tried it out on her kids Friday. They hated it. I wasn't surprised. My kids never enjoyed sugar cookies and they're older than her kids. When I was a kid, it was something to do. Today, you've got so many kinds of cookies -- and you can buy them in degrees of softness -- that sugar cookies really doesn't cut it unless you're kids already have a taste for them.

The woman had dreams of this becoming a Christmas Eve tradition. They'd gather in the kitchen, make the sugar cookies -- with some for Santa, and then reality intruded.

I'm all for cooking from scratch when you can and have the time. I just don't believe that you wait until the last minute and grab a recipe that your kids aren't going to enjoy (even if it turns out well) and tell yourself "This will be our new tradition."

Traditions usually don't come with planning, they just sort of happen. Yesterday, Mike, my youngest daughter (who doesn't want her name mentioned -- I had an e-mail asking why Mike is the only child named here and that's because the other seven say, "Mother, don't you dare mention my name!") and my husband were bringing the ornaments down from the attic. Our tradition is to put up the tree on the 22nd, no sooner.

How did that become a tradition? Being lazy. And when it was noted, we used as our excuse that one of the children has a birthday on December 21st so, we said, we don't put up the tree until after that birthday. I was talking to my friend Annie about that yesterday and their tradition is that they have gravy and dressing but no mashed potatoes. Why? One year, Annie burned the mashed potatoes. No one griped that there weren't any, so the next year, she didn't even bother to go through the trouble of peeling potatoes. Ten years on down the line, her oldest son has his girlfriend over who asks why there aren't any mashed potatoes and Annie's son says it's just their tradition.

Now if you want to go see The Nutcracker each year (we went through that phase about three years in a row and then it passed) or something like that, you might need to do some planning. But most traditions just happen and aren't imposed. Reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas happened because my brother had a little too much egg nog one Christmas Eve and the children were a little too hyper so he grabbed the book and got them to circle around.

What I suggested to the woman was that, if she wanted a snack, she try it out each Christmas Eve until something sticks. But use things she's comfortable with and that everyone will enjoy. If everyone hates sugar cookies, you really don't want your tradition to be baking sugar cookies.
So she's going to the grocery store today and getting some of the presliced cookie dough.

My younger sister just called and said if I didn't mention her name I could use her story. She tried to make a tradition with chocolate chip cookies, which her kids did love. But, my sister will tell you this, she somehow missed the cooking gene in the family. It didn't matter how many batches she made or how closely she watched, she always burned the bottoms. She stuck with that tradition for five years until her daughter was explaining to a friend that the trick was you got a knife and scraped off the bottom of the cookies. At which point, my sister asked herself, "Do I want to be known as the woman who always burned the cookies?"

No. So their Christmas Eve tradition became hot cider and each one making a Christmas wish. Which is a really good tradition and one I always meant to borrow but never had the time. When you've got eight kids, you learn real quick that by the time you get them all at the table, you're exhausted.

If you're looking for an outing, caroling is good or going through the neighborhood and looking at Christmas lights. If you're a parent of a young child, before you get your heart set on any musical, think a moment about the videos your child is watching over and over and ask yourself if you're really ready to sign on to seeing one play over and over for the rest of your life?

Now, I did try turkey recipes. I have none to recommend. Left over turkey tastes like left over turkey. You can make an alfredo sauce, you can bake a casserole, you can toss it in a soup, it all tastes to me like left over turkey. If you're having turkey on Monday and you don't want sandwiches, send it home with guests is my advice.

This Christmas, US war resister Ricky Clousing will spend it with friends and family. Others won't be so lucky. Some troops will be in Iraq, some will be in Canada, some will be AWOL in America and 2964 are dead. That number is only going to increase each month that the illegal war continues. Bully Boy does not have the bravery to end the war he started. Next Christmas, are we still going to be wondering when this war is going to end or are we going to be demanding that it end?

I am very happy for Ricky Clousing. It is very hard to stand up and say, "The war is illegal and I won't serve in it." I think it's going to take even more service members doing that to end the war. I also think it's going to take us demanding that our Congressional representatives represent us and end the war. If you've not made your voice heard in 2006, I hope you will in 2007. If you've done something in 2006, contact your Congress person, march, demonstrate, I hope you will increase your activism this year.

The war started with lies. The lies are being exposed every day. This is from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" Tuesday:

Starting in England where Tony Blair is coming under renewed criticism. Chatham House is a London based think tank that was created in 1920 which has just released a [PDF format] report grading the British prime minister's performance. Sophie Walker (Reuters) reports that Britian's Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, has termed the report "ridiculously wrong." Which indicates how correct it is. Victor Bulmer-Thomas ("OBE . . . Director at Chatham House since April 2001") is the author of the report.
Tracing the emergence of Blair as Poodle to Bully Boy, the report examines the post 9-11 period and notes that the prisoners held in the gulag of Guantanamo Bay "barely raised an eyebrow in British government circles" nor did Bully Boy's State of the Union address (January 2002) prompt a reaction from Blair despite Bully Boy labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea as part of the so-called 'axis of evil' when "the United Kingdom had diplomatic relations with the last two and there was no link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the atrocities of 9/11." The report notes that "by mid-2002 Tony Blair had concluded that President Bush was determined to invade Iraq and that Britain needed to be a partner in this excercise. The British role was therefore to provide diplomatic cover and to enrol allies in Europe and elsewhere as far as possible. This was without a shadow of doubt the defining moment of Blair's foreign policy -- indeed the defining moment of his whole premiership. It will shape his legacy -- for better or for worse -- for many years to come."
The report further notes: "The problem Blair faced was not how to maintain European unity in the face of a threatened US pre-emptive war. . . . . Instead, the problem was how to obtain United Nations approval for a war of choice when NATO intervention was ruled out by French and German opposition. A case for human intervention could have been made, but that was unlikely to command support in the UN Security Council and could have provked a Russian or even Chinese veto. Instead, in close cooperation with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the decision was made to emphasize the need to eliminate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."
The report offers that, "in hindsight," the illegal war "was a terrible mistake" and that "the jury is still out" whether or not that call could have been made in real time because that depends upon how much Tony Blair "knew the claims about WMD were overblown or even fabricated." But diplomatic means were ignored ("Hans Blix was calling for more time for the UN weapons inspectors") and there was no threat to England ("even if Saddam Hussein had WMD, they were not directed at the United Kingdom"). Reviewing other areas, the Middle East in general and Afghanistan, Chatam House's report concludes that there has been no 'reward' to England for Blair's decision to throw his lot in with the Bully Boy: "The root failure, however, has been the inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice -- military, political and financial - the the United Kingdom has made. . . . Tony Blair has learnt the hard way that loyalty in international politics counts for very little."
The BBC reports that Tony Blair has rejected the conclusions of the report; however, his comments demonstrate that he's not read it (it's only six pages) -- Blair says that the US needs to be a partner and the report doesn't question that. The report does note the importance of the European Union, the need to respect allies and the fact that Iraq ("disaster") resulted, for the British, from a failure to question (publicly) baseless claims and that working with the US did not require (and the report concludes will not in the future) "unconditional support for US initiatives." Blair, who will be out of office shortly, makes some self-serving claims about the Middle East and the report's already addressed that.
The report's release comes four days after Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) broke the news on the recently disclosed 2004 testimony of Carne Ross to the Butler Inquiry which stated that Hussein being "effectively contained" was a common view "among British officials" all the way up to the illegal war and that an invasion would result in "chaos" for Iraq (". . . Iraq would collapse into chaos") and that there was no threat "of CW [chemical warfare], BW [biological warfare] or nuclear material". All was known and all was ignored by Tony Blair who wanted the same illegal war of choice that the Bully Boy did.

I'm about to put in Friday's snapshot but I want to be sure everyone is aware of the Chatham Report and the news of Carne Ross' testimony. It does matter. Now here's Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for yesterday:

Friday, December 22, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; American military fatalities in Iraq hit 2964 -- 36 shy of the 3,000 mark and Condi Rice is pleased with that figure and want to see it go higher, HIGHER, HIGHER; a US war resister will be released from the military brig tomorrow; Carolyn Marshall demonstrates you don't have to serve in the US administration to be useless; and a remedial walk-through for confused visitors from yesterday.

Starting with news of US war resister
Ricky Clousing. Joe Miller (Jacksonville's The Daily News) reports that Clousing "will be released from the Camp Lejeune brig on Saturday." As Bob Geary (Raleigh-Durham Indpendent Weekly) reported yesterday, there is a rally scheduled in Fayetteville (North Carolina) "midday Saturday to be greeted by human rights supporters at the Raleigh Friends Meeting House, 625 Tower St. (the street behind the Cameron Village Post Office). His reception is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., before he catches a flight from RDU back to his hometown of Seattle Wash." Once arriving in Seattle, as Courage to Resist notes, there will be a welcoming at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 10:15 p.m. Saturday night -- "Concourse B., Baggage Claim 11."

Clousing self-checked out of the US military in June 2005 and,
on August 11, 2006, announced he would be turning himself in. Following an attempt at turning himself in at Fort Lewis, Clousing was told to go to Fort Bragg. On October 12th, Ricky Clousing was court-martialed and has been in the brig since then. Like Ehren Watada, Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, and Agustin Aguayo, Clousin is a part of resistance within the military that includes Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, 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. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month. Information on past and present war resistance can also be found in David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! which tells the story of war resistance during the Vietnam era and, in the new director's edition, also includes bonus material on Camilo Mejia's court-martial, interviews with Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda about today's war resistance, and more. The director's cut is availabe for $23.95 and the original version is currently available for $12.95.

Resistance within the military was the story of 2006 but too few were interested in reporting it or, let's face it, in reporting at all. Chatting on some charges, don't call it reporting,
Carolyn Marshall (New York Times) continued to flaunt ignorance today, as well as what may very well be xenophobia, as she chirped away about 8 US marines charged in the November 2005 Haditha slaughter without ever noting a reaction on the part of Iraqis -- even a previously reported reaction. (Marshall does have a co-writer. Her past bylines indicate she grabs all the blame for the latest.)

On today's
Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez rebroadcast an interview they did with Time magazine's Aparisim Ghosh about the Haditha massacre explaning (pay attention, Carolyn Marshall), "The more we dug, the more we thought something didn't quite add up." How so? The Iraqis "were killed in their homes, in their night clothes. The night clothes were significant because . . . women and children especially, are unlikely to go out in their night clothes, it is a very conservative society." "The victims," yes, Carolyn Marshall, Aparism Ghosh spoke with victims and eyewitnesses, "told us that the Marines came in and they killed everyone in sight." One young girl told of how the Marines killed everyone in her home except for her and her young brother. Click here for the full report from May 30th's Democracy Now! and we'll note what Dahr Jamail said in that discussion: "And the other really aspect of that, I think is important to note on this, is the media coverage, again, surrounding what has happened around Haditha simply because Time magazine covered it, and thank heavens that they did, but this has gotten so much media coverage, and in comparison, so many of these types of incidents are happening every single week in Iraq. And I think that's astounding and important for people to remember, as well."

If Carolyn Marshall needs futher examples of what real reporters do, she might also
check out Majid Hameed (Reuters) who spoke with people in Haditha today. Khaled Salman declares, "Those soldiers killed 24 people. They killed women and children, isn't that enough for them to be excuted? Just so that the family can have peace." Her sister was killed in the slaughter. Hameed also notes a local judge, Talal Saed, who states, "They should be tried in Iraq and under the Iraqi law. . . . This is a show trial just to show that the Americans are doing something to be fair with Iraqis but it's nothing more than that."

Equally oblivious is the US Secretary of State. Yes, Condi Rice continues to flaunt her loose grip on reality. Her failure as US National Security Advisor (remember, 9-11 was on her watch) trails her as US Secretary of State.
Mark Tran (Guardian of London) reports that Condoleezza Rice "said Iraq was worth the cost in US lives and dollars". Today, the US military announced: "Three Marines and one Sailor assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Also today, the US military announced: "An attack against a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol killed a Soldier west of the Iraqi capital Dec. 22. The Soldiers came under sporadic small arms and indirect fire during a patrol. One Soldier was killed and another wounded." Five deaths and Condi says it's worth it. The total number of US troops killed in the Iraq war is 2965 and Condi says 'It's worth it.'

As for the financial costs, the
National Priorities Project has released their summary of the US federal government's budget for 2006 which notes ". . . the total cost of the Iraq War rose to nearly $380 billion. . . . Broken down another way, on average, the federal government spends about $11 million every hour on the Iraq War, $256 million each day, or around $8 billion per month."

Condi's statements about things going swimmingly come as the
BBC reports that at least seven Iraqi police officers were arrested by British troops in Basra due to suspicions of "corruption and leading a death squad in Basra."

While Condi proves she's useless in every position,
Bully Boy hopes and prays that Santa Clause will bring him a way out of the illegal war he started so that he can announce some new 'plan' in 2007. 75 US troops, who lost their lives this month so far, won't be able to wait for that news. It is the deadliest December for US troops since the start of the illegal war and December isn't over.

And in Iraq?


AP notes that two people died and four were wounded in a car bombing in Samarra while two police officers were wounded in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. Reuters identifies the two dead in Samarra from the car bomb as Ahmed al-Yaseen and his wife (name not given) and the four wounded were their children while also noting that two police officers were killed in Samarra from a roadside bomb and, in Suwayra, a bombing left five people wounded. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that an explosion in Baghad "targeting police patrol in Al Saadon street, central Baghdad" left eight citizens wounded.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that Hiba Abdullah was shot dead while in her car in Baquba and her two-year-old son Mohammed Ahmed was injured.


Reuters notes that the corpse of a "hospital employee" who was kidnapped Thursday was discovered today in Kut. Christopher Torchia (AP) reports that 21 corpses were found in Baghdad, Baquba and Kut today.

CNN reports that iman Emad al-Shimari was kidnapped "at a Sunni mosque in northern Baghdad after Friday prayers."

In peace news,
Veterans For Peace announces that they, CODEPINK, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Working Assets were able to purchase 24,000 phone cards which "were distributed to 149 VA hospitals nationwide."

Also in peace news,
Guy Smallman (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports that England's House of Lords has determined, three years after, that the police response to a March 2003 demonstartion against the war was "illegal and the protesters' human rights were violated. Lord Bingham has described the police's actions as 'wholly disproportionate' and said that the right to protest is 'an essential foundation of a democratic society'."

In let's-walk-the-vistors-through-real-slowly news (for visitors lost
yesterday), the US government wants to sideline Muqtada al-Sadr. Iraqis want foreign troops to stop occupying their country. This week US troops ceded control of Najaf to Iraqis. As the BBC reported yesterday, an attempted end run around al-Sadr took place yesterday when Shia leaders met with Ayatollah ali al-Sistani in Najaf. For visitors who got lost in the basic yesterday, note this from Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP): "In Najaf, Shiite delegates were meeting the country's top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to ask for his blessing for the new coalition. The deal would excluse al-Sadr, but participants sought to reassure him that it would not sideline his influence". Today, Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that following the meeting with al-Sistani, the same group of leaders will meet with al-Sadr and discuss with him the possibility of a one month truce/cease fire. Already one part of the plan has been enacted, al-Sadr's followers announced yesterday they would return to their cabinet and parliamentary functions. If it's still too hard to put together, the AFP reports: "US officials have made it clear that they favour a realignment in Iraq's unity government, which would exclude Sadr and his Shiite militia". Despite that desire and the Pentagon report blaming al-Sadr, Nouri al-Maliki refuses (thus far) to heed the US call. And, as AFP reports, "this week Iraqi politiicans trampled down to the Shiite holy city of Najaf to talk to Sadr's allies and encourage him back into the coalition." To review, in an attempt to win the favor of al-Sistani and his followers, US forces handed control of Najaf over to Iraqi forces. The US government's hope was that al-Sadr would then be shut out in the talks that took place on Thursday, that a new coalition would be formed which would sideline him. That, however, did not happen. Another bet Condi made that someone else will have to pay off. For visitors still confused, Sam Dagher (CNN) reports: "'President Bush is being misled,' senior Shiite parliament member Ali al-Adeeb said in response to Bush's statement Wednesday that an emerging 'moderate coalition' would marginalize those who 'use violence to achieve political objectives'."

ricky clousing

juan gonzalez

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Oven Roasted Chicken in the Kitchen

I enjoy reading all the e-mails but I'm usually running fairly behind in them. I try to go in order and read from the oldest to the newest. If you do have an emergency, please do something with the title so that stands out. Tina titled her's "Christmas emergency" so her e-mail caught my eye and jumped ahead of some older ones. Tina and her husband have four kids and two cars. They'd planned to spend the holidays with family which was gone to require nearly a day of driving. Their minivan just sprouted a series of problems. When we first exchanging e-mails at the start of the week, it was just a transmission leak and now it's sensors and several other issues as well.

At the start of the week, Tina was thinking they were going to have to call off the trip and as new problems have sprung up, that's the decision they've had to stick with. This time of year, money is usually tight for most of us and the second car is really too small to be on the road for nearly eighteen hours with two adults and four kids. Now Tina and her husband's big concern is getting the car fixed as soon as possible after Christmas. Tuesday, she went ahead and shipped gifts to their family that they were going to take with them and to make sure they arrived in time, she ended up paying a great deal more than she'd expected.

Since I'm not a mechanic, Tina's problem she wanted help with was about the Christmas dinner she's now going to be cooking. Tina's really just needed an ear and I was happy to listen. Her question basically boiled down to, "Do I fix a huge feast for the six of us or is this an area?"

No, there's no need for that. There's no rule that says you have to serve a turkey, big or small.
There's also no rule that you have to fix a feast all by yourself and knock yourself out. The oldest child is twelve and the youngest is five. After she got confirmation that she didn't have to serve a turkey and provide four pies, mutiple side dishes, etc. And that's why Tina and I thought her story was especially worth sharing.

She can cook a turkey and has done so before. She wrote back before Thanksgiving to express her surprise that the silly New York Times could scare so many about a cooking a turkey. (She thought the power of the paper was silly, not the reactions of people.) So when she and her husband were attempting to figure out what to cut back on to save the money to pay for repairing the mini-van, her thought was a nice Christmas dinner but not the usual spread. Her second thought was, "Oh, I can't do that."

So that's our point today, Tina and mine. Some people do not like to eat turkey, some people do not want to cook it. If for any reason, you're thinking about not serving turkey, there's no 'rule' that says you have to.

This is what Tina's going to be serving instead and it's a recipe a friend passed onto her at work last year (she's a school teacher) that her family enjoys.

Oven Roasted Chicken
3 pounds chicken, breasts and thighs
2 medium onions sliced, not diced (round circles)
3 large potatoes diced
2 stalks of chopped celery
1 green bell pepper diced
1 red bell pepper diced
4 large carrots, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes
butter (1 and a half tablespoons melted)

Line a pan with foil to avoid a messy clean up after. Place the chicken down first, on the foil, then add the onion, potatoes, celery, bell pepper and carrots. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes with a dash of pepper and a dash of paprkia. Pour the contents of the bowl over the chicken and vergtables. Add a dash of salt and pepper, lightly, over the contents of the pan and then cover the pan with foil. Put the pan in a 375 degree oven for one hour. Remove the pan from the oven to lift the foil covering so you can spoon the juices over the chicken and vegetables. Do the same with the butter (Tina notes the recipe calls for you to brush with the butter but she just pours it) and then sprinkle with paprika. Without covering the pan with foil, stick it back into the oven for an additional 45 minutes. And then you're done.

This is not just a tasty dinner, it also allows you very little cleanup. You have a meat and vegetables that have cooked in one pan and you have the bowl you've mixed the tomatoes in and a bowl you've melted the buttered in. Both the bowls can be cleaned during the last 45 minutes and you'll just have the pan to clean (the foil will make the pan much easier to clean).
She's going to be serving that with some corn on the cob, a green salad and one pie that she intends to buy from the freezer section of the store.

That sounds like a wonderful Christmas dinner to me. Vegetarians are already aware that the only rule for a meal is that it's something that taste goods. Brandy's main dish is going to be a baked acorn squash. There are no rules that say you must have a turkey or that, if you don't have a turkey, you must have a ham or cornish hen or anything else.

The rule is that it tastes good to you. There is also no rule that everyone must be stuffed so if you're responsible for the meal don't fall into a trap of attempting to fix huge quantities that will either be tossed aside or left overs. The woman who wrote last week is hoping her son will eat more than pizza on Christmas but she'll be serving a small pizza to avoid any problems and to cut down on stress.

Stress isn't an ingredient we should stock in our kitchens.

So give yourself the freedom you need and you'll find that you enjoy the day much more.

Today, I read this story by the Associated Press:

After one of the deadliest months yet for American troops in Iraq, the U.S. military could be preparing for a short-term surge of forces to stabilize the violence.
The 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division is expected in Kuwait shortly after the new year, a senior Defense Department official told The Associated Press on Friday. The official requested anonymity because the plans had not yet been announced.
The 2nd Brigade, made up of roughly 3,500 troops, is based at Fort Bragg, N.C., and would be deployed in Iraq early next year if needed, the official said. The move would be part of an effort to boost the number of U.S. troops in Iraq for a short time, the official said. The plan was first reported by CBS News.

The numbers aren't going down. And as C.I.'s pointed out, the increase for the so-called crackdown in August have not gone down either. John McCain, Joe Lieberman and others are calling for an increase. Bully Boy's not interested in bringing the troops home. I don't see support in Congress for cutting off the funding. No one seems to have the strength to do the obvious, bring the troops home. When you realize how many were tricked and/or went along to get along when the illegal war was first started, that's not a surprise.

A surprise is reading a columnist I enjoy this week attempting (I believe) to call for the war to end but, in doing so, pushing the myth that the laughable ink-stained-finger photo-op was a democratic election with open participation. Even in the cheerleading of that moment, I do remember the cautionary notes about how some areas of Iraq were not safe for people to go to the polls and I remember Seymour Hersh either writing of speaking to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) about the fact that there was some ballot stuffing in some areas.

I think when we promote half-truths to end the war, such as in treating a shameful election as something to be proud of, we prolong the war. I do not think anyone rooting for the war reads such a column and thinks, "Hey, they're admitting that the elections were wonderful so I can find some middle ground and get on board with the notion of troop withdrawal." I think they read such a column and end up thinking, "Well, even that lefty is admitting the election was a shining moment. We can make more! We have to stay!"

On a happier note, I want to say congratulations to Rebecca and Flyboy on Rebecca's pregnancy. I know some people say congratulations on "your pregnancy" and include the father-to-be in the "you." That may be the nicer way but, take it from a mother of eight, that's not reality. My husband's a pretty good guy and was very helpful in all of my pregnancies but they were my pregnancies. I was one hauling around all the weight, I was the one with the back pain, the morning sickness, and the one giving birth. Our children are our children but I don't believe pregnancy is 'shared.'

I always enjoy Rebecca's site but, since she's blogged about this and we've also talked about it on the phone, let me add that this reader hasn't been bored with the talk of her pregnancy.

And on Iraq, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, December 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's been attacked repeatedly by the US military, the US military announces that three troops have died, the US media attempts to ignore the big Iraq story of the day, Kyle Snyder continues speaking out and Donald the Rumsfled leaves an appointed office but he does not complete a 'tour of duty.'

Starting in England, with the big story.
Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) report that Carne Ross ("Britain's key negotiator at the UN") statement in the Butler inquiry (2004) that's only now been revealed and it exposes the lies behind the 'case' for war in England. AFP reports that Ross declared "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." Ross also declared that: "It was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained" (Al Jazeera).

Though Carne Ross' statements have been kept secret (swept under the 'national security' rug), Last month,
he did speak to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee and note that the intel offered to the public was "manipulated." As Brown and McSmith note, the Commons Select Committee is the body that's brought the information public while an unidentified member of the Foreign Affairs committee states: "There was blood on the carpet over this. I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles ovre Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff." The Irish Times declares: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for attacking Iraq has been dealt a new blow with the release of once-secret evidence from a former British diplomat who dismissed the threat of weapons of mass destruction."

As the mainstream media in the US bends over backwards to note Ross' statements, many may be reminded of the Downsing Street Memos and how they were greeted with silence and then derision. AP was the excuse many hid behind with DSM -- claiming they would have run a story if AP had covered it -- if only a wire story . . . Well
AP has covered it.

Turning to peace news,
Alex Zdan (Trenton Times) notes Tuesday speech Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, gave to the Nassau Presbyterian Church where she described how her son became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq ("In studying all the literature, he was stunned by what he saw") which included refusing to accept a "desk job" in Iraq. On last Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho explained that the refusal was for himself as well as those serving under him, "He felt the best thing he could do for his men was to remain behind and speak truth." She is asking for everyone to contact their members of Congress and put pressure on Congress to carry out their oversight role. Monday, Carolyn Ho appeared on Democracy Now! and discussed her own progress when meeting with members of Congress. Outside of Maxine Waters, not much. So those who haven't contacted their Congress members should considering doing so.

Ehren Watada, as Aaron Glantz (IPS) reported, is also the subject of subpoenaes -- the US military is attempting to compell three journalists to testify in court: Sarah Olson, Dahr Jamail, and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin). Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that Olson is "one of few reporters covering the anti-war movement and the voices of dissent" and that she has not decided yet how to respond to the subpoena -- Sarah Olson: "Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."

Another US war resister continues speaking out:
Kyle Snyder Washington's Bellingham Herald notes an appearence at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. Last weekend, at a speaking appearance, police showed up. Snyder continues speaking out.

Watada and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.
Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.


As Aileen Alfandary noted on
KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), two car bombs went off outside US bases in Ramadi.


Qais al-Bashir (AP) reports that Muhsin al-Kanan, a cleric who was tight with British forces, was shot dead in Basra and that a civilian was shot dead in Kut. Reuters reports that "a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency" was shot dead in Diwaniya as was an oil company guard.


Reuters cites hospital sources in Mosul having received 13 bodies today.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's the target of US forces.
Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) reports that that the IRC states there has been "a spate of attacks on its offices over the last three years" and in the most recently, according the the IRC's vice president (Jamal Al Karbouli), about a week ago, "US forces had occupied and nearly destroyed its Falluja office, held staff for hours, and burned two cars clearly marked with its neutral symbol." CBS and AP report: "'We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times,' Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left.'"
Today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from woundssustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team,1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of enemy fire while conducting operationsin Ninewa Province. Two other Soldiers were wounded and transported to a Coalition Forces’ medical treatment facility."

Tomorrow is the first of two 'big meets' for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki.
KUNA reports that he "will convene another National Reconciliation Conference for political leaders from across Iraq." While he gears up for his conference, Jawad al-Bolani is in Syria apparently not overly concerned with the opinions of US Secretary of State Condi Rice. KUNA reports the Interior Minister of Iraq is there "to discuss security issues as the first Iraqi official to visit Damascus since diplomatic relations were resumed between the two neighboring countries." This comes at a time when Tareg al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's vice-presidents, is in the US and criticizing Bully Boy's 'plan' Al Jazeera quotes him saying: "Imagine one day waking up and finding out that your nation's leaders had completely dismantled all police and military. As a result, there is no one policeman, or state, or federal law enforcement agent, or even one national guard or any soldier to protect you from criminal elements, or terrorists. It will be total chaos. Then imagine that instead of calling back the army and security forces, the authorities in this imaginary scenario decided to form a new army and police from racist militias, some mercenaries and organized crime gangs. . . . This is exactly what has happened in Iraq."

In a
lengthy talk/performance with the Washington Post editorial board, Condi Rice attempted to buff her image a bit but mainly demonstrated (yet again) that even her fabled 'expertise' in Russia/the Soviet Union is inflated. The take away should be Rice's declaration, "I find Prime Minister Maliki a strong man." A statement so laughable it begs for a remix and one that will come back to haunt her.

In other things that should haunt, Donald the Rumsfled began a three-day farewell while most Americans wonder, "I thought he'd left already." Today it was time to 'salute' him and watch for the media that makes (at best) an idiot of itself or (at worst) spits on democracy by referring to the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense's 'tour of duty.' The Rumsfled was a civilian. Civilians are in charge of the military in the US. He did not complete a 'tour of duty' but fools and those with no respect for democracy will repeat the nonsense.
Roger Runningen and Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) note this remark by the Bully Boy: "He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." File it away from the future War Crimes Tribunal should Bully Boy attempt to say he was confused about what was being discussed.


kyle snyder


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Baked Bananas in the Kitchen

I recieved an e-mail from a woman who was very upset this week. She stated she wasn't trying to be rude (and I didn't take it as such) but the recipes weren't helping her. Her problem is a ten-year-old son who refuses to eat anything for dinner other than a frozen pizza.

She said any recipe I proposed wasn't helping her at all.

With eight kids, I've had my share of picky eaters.

So before anything else, I know what it's like to be a mother near the end of her rope, I want to share what I passed on to her because maybe someone else can use it as well?

One of my older children went through a frozen pizza phase when he was either thirteen or about to hit that age. I have no idea why. Possibly it was the changes his body was going through? The changes meant he needed consistancy on the outside?

Back then, frozen pizza didn't mean what it does today. You basically had little bits of red meat (supposedly pepporoni). He would eat other things with it but he had to have to have the pizza and this went on for almost five months.

Not serving it meant he wouldn't eat anything. My husband's attitude was ignore it and he'll start eating dinner. Which I did try for two weeks. After that, I figured he could have his pizza because he was eating other items as well.

I'm sharing that because the woman wrote that she was sure I would think she was a bad mother and spoiling her child or "refusing to be an adult and a parent."

I didn't think that at all. There are very few times when you don't enter into a power struggle with a child at some point. My own rule of thumb was: If it's not going to hurt, let's go through this phase. Which means, if this was a safety issue, I wasn't budging. Anything else, I was willing to adapt to.

This is what I did and what she's attempting now. It may work for you if you ever need it, or need it now, or it may not. And you may never have a child who is bound and determined not to eat. If so, consider youself lucky.

But I went through that and I did understand. For me, I started wondering if this meant everything I had ever done as a parent was the cause? Was I a lousy parent? Was I too soft?
Did I spoil?

Like I said before, for two weeks, my husband's advice was followed.

During that time, my husband took away this and that, but it had no effect on our son.

Whatever it was, it was deeper than a whim.

So what I did (and what I recommend) was add to the pizza. It might be mushrooms, it might be olives, onions or bell peppers. (And I recommend that today even if you're buying a "supreme" pizza.)

The woman who e-mailed has it worse than I did. Her son will not eat anything in addition to frozen pizza. So I really do think adding some vegetables of some form to the topping is necessary. I also think this is a phase her son will pass through. I think we would have passed through it sooner if we hadn't tried two weeks of nothing first.

My son had never done anything like that before and it really was a surprise. Since he was one of the oldest, I spent those two weeks questioning everything not just with him, but with all my children, everything I'd done and was doing?

After he got his pizza, I didn't worry anymore. He was eating. And when this worked for the woman who wrote, she felt so much relief.

This was more than a picky eater and it's just one of those things that you deal with.

It may have been a control issue. Not in the sense of "I will take control of this family!" but in the sense of something is going on (which may seem minor on the outside) that is just so much, too much to handle, that there's a need to excerpt control on one area?

I do know his voice was changing and he was having the hardest time any of our sons would with that. It was cracking constantly.

Obviously, I went through puberty. I have children, after all. And though my youngest daughter is convinced the last two weeks that I know nothing about being a teenager or a host of other issues, I did start out as a baby and I did grow up.

I can remember being both thrilled and embarrassed when I finally started developing breasts.
I wasn't that keen on the period and was only embarrassed about it, to be honest. I think that was due to the time -- we had all those horseback riding commercials and any woman can tell you, it's nothing like riding a horse. I think my daughters had less of an issue with that.

I also know they never had the embarrassment of getting their period with no warning of what was to come and no hiding in the bathroom at school as a result. (I skipped a classs because I couldn't go out into the hall for obvious reasons.)

But even with what I went through, I have no idea what it's like for a boy. The most obvious outside change for me was I got little breasts and then they grew. I know my son was practically not talking at one point due to the long period it took his voice to change over. If I was embarrassed about my new breasts, I could walk down the hall with a book blocking my chest. How do you conceal a voice that cracks every other sentence? (Other than by refusing to speak?)

So who knows what all was going on?

But when that issue arose with my son, it was actually a positive thing. After all the worrying and guilt, what I was left with was you pick and choose your battles and, if nothing else, he'd obviously been raised to express himself.

It may not be pizza for anyone going through something similar. It may be something else. In terms of food, I've had children who got obsessed with mac and cheese, with potatoes, and, in Mike's case, with a glass of water. We never could figure out, my husband and I, whether that came from eating out or what, but he had to have a glass of tea and a glass of water by his plate. Mike being Mike, he really was our low maintanence child, he would get his own glass of ice water if it wasn't set on the table for him. It wasn't an issue.

But who knows what's going on when they start leaving childhood. It's probably much rougher than it was when I did.

The woman wrote that maybe she hadn't streesed vegetables enough or maybe she hadn't done this or that.

I firmly believe her son is in a phase and he'll come through it. When he does, then she can start introducing other items. There's no point in feeling guilty about what came before, nothing's going to change while he's in this phase and it's not about the parent, it's about maintaining some sense of order when things feel chaotic on the inside.

When I wrote her about my son, she wrote back that her son's voice was changing. She hadn't connected the two before.

But we're not Gourmet magazine here. If you've got a problem, let me know. I may not be able to give you the right answer, but I can probably offer something.

I did not take offense at her first e-mail and I've told her that but want to stress it because I've been there and I know you feel like you're losing it. The minute he ate the pizza, she said she just felt relief. I discussed this with my mother and she reminded me of one of my brothers who fought day and night with our father about his (my brother's) hair length.

We've never had that problem with our own kids. In fact, I always with Mike would grow his hair out a bit. The first time he started going to the barber on his own, he came back with a crew cut and I thought, "Oh the curls are gone." I still miss them. But that's his hair and hair's not a battle we ever wanted to get into. We even lived through our oldest daughter's intentionally pink hair. We all survived.

If it's safety, I will be a hard nose. (Chores were never a problem because the kids policed one another on that.)

But the pizza issue that she's going through and that I went through, I'd rather have that problem than some of the problems that are out there. A child with a drug problem or a child that's only going to eat pizza, I'll take the pizza issue. A child who is thinking of suicide or demanding pizza for every dinner, same choice.

And besides the raging hormones of puberty, who knows what else is going on school? If you're lucky, you'll hear about the "big things." Problems or things like that. But I know my biggest problem in grade school wasn't a test or a grade. When I was in third grade, a group of us were speaking about who knows what. But for some reason, I was mentioning the washing machine but said the dish washing machine. This really mean boy went around taunting me that my clothes were washed in a dishwasher for the rest of the school year. I never took that problem home but it humilitated me. Every time I thought it had died, he'd bring it back up.

So it could be something where he said he ate whatever and one of the other kids said, "I only eat pizza." Or maybe some personal hero made that claim. Who knows?

But it's not worth a power struggle unless your child is asking for something you can't afford. If your child is saying they will only eat caviar at dinner and you can't afford to put that on the table, then it's time to address that.

I asked Wally's mother about this wondering if he'd gone through anything like that. She said he just zeroed in on broccoli. He didn't demand it or tell her he had to have it but they just ended up having every day for a period of time. She also said, "If he'd demanded it, he would have gotten it. After the car accident, I was never going to be 'strict.' (Wally's father died in a car accident and Wally, who was a small child at the time, was in the hospital for months due to his own injuries.) She said he could have pushed any button he wanted but she got lucky because he didn't end up being that sort of child. (I would agree with that. I love Wally very much but would love to see him cut loose more. He's very mature for his age.) (He's also a very wonderful young man.) When she was talking about that, it just drove home how some things we get so worked up over just aren't worth it. I mean, what's pizza at dinner each evening compared to losing your husband and nearly losing your child?

After we spoke, I started thinking about how some were worried about the perfect turkey not that long ago and with Christmas coming up for some, there may be some grabbing of worrying. Life's too short. No adding stress in the kitchen. If your kitchen is anything like mine, stress comes in on its own two feet and you don't need to be inviting it to drop by regularly.

So, with that in mind, a very easy recipe today. You will need to use your oven. My mother made this when we were growing up and I called her to find out where the recipe came from? The New Goodhousekeeping Cookbook. Edited by Dorthy B. Marsh and published in 1963.

Baked Bananas
4 firm bananas
2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine

Start heating oven to 450 degrees. Peel bananas; place in a well-greased baking dish. Brush well with butter; sprinkle ligthtly with salt. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or untill bananas are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Serve hot, as vegetable, with hame, hamburgers, poultry, etc.
Makes 4 servings

Use slightly green-tipped or all-yellow ones. P.S. For a golden-brown tint, broil backed bananas about 1 minute.

I never broil. When I make this dish, there's always impatience and questions of whether it's almost done or not. My mother said the recipe also suggest that you can "Pour 3/4 cup canned whole cranberry sauce over bananas before baking." We either eat them as is from the oven or with a chocolate sauce on top (poured on after they've cooked) or with a scoop of ice cream.

It's a very easy dish to make and you can serve it for the holidays. Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and I think it covers everything:

Friday, December 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Kyle Snyder continues speaking out against the illegal war; Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter Peggy Poop demonstrates that not everyone ages well; over 200 protest the war in San Francisco;
you know it's ugly when the US military dubs children 'insurgents'; and the Rumsfled has one more persona to test before he bows off the public stage.

Starting with peace news within the United States.
Kyle Snyder is currently traveling the West coast speaking out against the illegal war. Snyder was heavily and repeatedly targeted by a recruiter who promised the moon and delivered nothing. Because verbal agreements can be broken . . . on their end. On leave from Iraq, Snyder self-checked out and went to Canada in April of 2005. Happy there, speaking out, a job he enjoyed working with disabled children that paid well. Snyder began to consider returning to the United States. As October drew to a close, he did just that and on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering that the military that lied to him before had lied yet again.

KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Snyder. Barrows-Friedman noted his Army Corps of Engineers training and Snyder explained that he thought he'd be in Iraq doing construction "asphalt and concrete, laying foundations for schools, hospitals, roads." Instead, they made him a gunner and "an escort for high ranking officials." He saw a number of things in Iraq, reconstruction wasn't one of them.

Kyle Snyder: The things that I saw there for instance, you know, when we're told that we're liberating the people of Iraq and we're doing positive things you know I expect to at least see the civilians and stuff, you know, accepting us more. And basically accepting what we're doing. But children were flipping us off, they were begging for food and water almost all the time when I was out. I had seen people killed, I had seen people injured and it's just basically what led me to leave the war in the first place were the policies that drove the war. You know, when the Bush administration in 2004 and 2005 were saying 'We're liberating the people of Iraq' like I said I expect to see some of that happening. You know, no matter what rank you are, I think that we deserve to know why we're fighting. And basically it felt like a lie. It felt like a lie. And mainly because we couldn't explain what the mission was.

Despite a warrant for his arrest, Snyder's "going around speaking to povertized areas, mainly African-American and Latino communities, around the country because they're targeted by recruiters and I think that recruiters should tell people the truth." He didn't have that himself. No one was warning him. The mood of the country then was still Rah-Rah, he was targeted heavily in high school (recruiter evern came to his graduation) and he grew up in foster homes. Snyder knows what it's like to think some adult's really interested in you, really concerned about you, only to realize after they were just trying to hit their month's target goal.

Nora Barrows-Friedman: And Kyle, if you were speaking with a young person who was considering joining the military right now, they were weighing their options, what advice would you have for them and what would you talk about with their families?

Kyle Snyder: . . When a recruiter comes up and talks to you, it's not because you're a special kind of person. It's not because you have any type of thing that some other human being doesn't. And a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds assume that, you know? 'Oh a recruiters talking to me because I have some kind of special ability that no other person has.' And they over-glorify it making you know basically the Army into Rambo-like figures and things that you know are in action movies when that's not the case. They really need to look at what they'll be doing. . . . You're a gunner, medic, driver or, you know, an escort. Those are the only four jobs that are in Iraq regardless of what you sign up to do. I'd say, you know, if somebody signed up no matter what branch of service, I'd say it's about an 80% chance you're going to Iraq as long as the Bush administration is in power. So they really need to look at that and understand that, yes, they're going to Iraq as long as, like I say, the Bush administration has their say, the war's going to last. So they just need to understand that. And I can understand people that do join the military and that believe in what they're doing but they need to understand people like me as well --that are lied to to get into the military. And, you know . . . I don't know. That's basically all I can say.

Kyle Snyder is a public US war resister. He is part of a resistance movement within the military that also includes Darrell Anderson,
Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are some of the war resisters who have gone public and over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.

When asked to speak about this movement, Kyle Snyder noted, "There's over 8,000 AWOL soldiers in the United States right now, 200 in Canada, 38 have applied for refugee status in Canada and I'm hoping, you know, that they start coming out. And I know that some of them are going to be coming out in the next few months. . . . I could use Bush's words, 'Are we going to solve this problem now or are we going to wait for the next president 5 years from now, 10 years from now when 8,000 Iraq veterans are homeless or hiding in a corner because it wasn't taken care of like it could have been?'"

Rebecca wrote about Snyder's interview here.]

Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.

Tina Kim (WorldNow) reports on Appeal for Redress and notes that Jonathan Hutto and others involved with the appeal will be holding a news conference next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to raise awareness on the project which is gathering signatures of active duty service members calling for the US troops to be brought home. The appeal will be presented to Congress in January. Jonathan Hutto was a guest last week on WBAI's Law and Disorder. [Mike noted it here.]

Today begins the National Days of Action to Support GI Resistance, called for by
Courage to Resist, which run through Sunday the 10th. Indybay IMC notes: "Other Bay Area Events: On Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film 'Ground Truth' will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film 'The Ground Truth' will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."

Sunday, the 10th, is also Impeachment Day and click
here for David Swanson's overview of the goals and list of events. Action is needed to end the illegal war. And each day it drags on, more and more are wounded, more and more die.

They Kill Civilians, Don't They?

CBS and AP report that, on Friday, "20 insurgents, including two women," were killed in a US airstrike (in the Salahaddin Province). The US military has a breathless press release on it that's all blah, blah, blah until this line: "Coalition Forces also found that two of the terrorists killed were women. Al-Qaida in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately." And children too, right?

CBS and AP note that the area's mayor, Amir Fayadh, says that "seven women and eight children" were killed. AFP reporters "found and photographed relatives weeping over several mangled bodies, including those of at least two children, near the ruined homes." AFP also notes that the US military's flack Christopher Garver denies children were killed, even when presented with photographic evidence by AFP. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that the "charred and bloody blodies laid out" were covered with blankets and "An AP photo showed an Iraqi man who had pulled back one of the blankets and uncovered the face of one of the dead, who appeared to be a boy about 10 years old". Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports that "grieving relatives showed the bodies of five children wrapped in blankets to journalists."


CNN reports a bombing in Tal Afar that left three dead and a mortar attack in Baghdad that claimed four lives and left eight more wounded. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports: "On the outskirts of Baghdad, three mortar rounds hit a Shiite residential area, killing 25 men, women and children, and wounding 22" according to police.


Reuters reports that Human Nuri ("head of customs in the city of Najaf) and his brother were shot dead in Baghdad while in another Baghdad incident an unidentified person was shot dead and three more wounded.


Reuters reports 18 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division -- Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 7. The Soldiers were conducting a dismounted patrol responding to a possible IED, south of the city, when a roadside bomb detonated, killing two Soldiers and wounding two others." And earlier today, the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in the Iraqi capital Thursday. The combat patrol was conducting joint operations with the Iraqi Army to prevent sectarian violence in a western neighborhood of the city when the bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."

And the
US military boasted of entering Falluja General, a civilian hospital, on a whim. Blood donors were needed . .. maybe 'insurgents' were present! Screw the rules guiding civilian institutions in warfare, lock and load, baby, lock and load. And it's those incidents and many others that explain why the war is lost.

In legal news, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Patti Ackerman and Missy Comley Beattie are on trial for excercising their right to free speech. To summarize the case so far, a dramatic recreation
based upon the reporting of Samuel Maull (AP).



Typical municipal courtroom. Well, maybe not 'typical,' it is Manhattan.

We see the DEFENSE TABLE where FOUR WOMEN listen: PATTI ACKERMAN, MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE, MEDEA BENJAMIN and CINDY SHEEHAN -- attracitve women all. They stare ahead intently

FOUR WOMEN'S P.O.V. -- a gnome-like woman, in a faded, tattered Kerry-Edwards: 2004 t-shirt, BITTER PEGGY KERRY, sputters on the witness stand in front of D.A. HAN who smiles and nods in sympathy.

I was on my way to meet the group, to take their
petition -- then I saw --

Bitter Peggy begins sobbing. Han hands her a tissue. Bitter Peggy looks over at the defense table and glares.

Then I saw -- Peace Mom!

Bitter Peggy points a menacing finger. Cindy waves and grins sheepishly.


Free speech, peace doves, compassion
Peace Mom
Passion, peace sign, bravery
Is Peace Mom
She's tinsel on a tree . . .
She's everything an American should be!
If you find one to emulate
Only one to emulate
Let it be Peace Mom . . .
Peace Mom!*

Han smirks to the defense table as DEFENCE attorney rises and walks to the witness stand.

Bitter Peggy Kerry, you agree that you were
notified that a petition would be dropped off?

Yeah, so?

And you agreed to accept the petition?

What of it?

You were on your way to accept the petition and
then something stopped you.

Peace Mom.

Just the sight of Cindy Sheehan was enough to
make you break your agreement?

Damn right. "Peace"? Please. I'm bitter
and angry and mad at the world. Keep Peace Mom
away from me. Every where she travels, there's always
a chance that, at any minute, peace could break
out! I hate her. I hate her! I hate her!

Bitter Peggy goes into spastic convulsions while Defense looks on. Alarmed, D.A. Han leaps to her feet.

Your honor, a recess?

I'll get that Peace Mom. I'll get her. I hate
her. I hate her like I hate kittens and puppies.
And Christmas! And peace! I hate peace!
War! I must have war! I do want war, I do!
Screw Peace Mom, find me Kill Mom! I want
Kill Mom. Kill mommy! Kill mommy!


So ends the docu-drama recreation. [*Earle Hagen and Sam Denoff wrote the theme to the TV program That Girl starring Marlo Thomas -- who also was the executive producer of the show.]

In other news of courage,
Steve Rubenstein (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the 200 plus people march yesterday from Grace Cathedral to the federal building downtown which was led by Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to protest the Iraq war. The Bishop was among those arrested and he stated, "God is with all who have suffered in Iraq. This war needs to be opposed. Even though there is widespread sentiment against the war, we need to continue to push for peace. There is good reason to believe this is an unjust war." Zach notes that Wendell Harper reported, from the protest, on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.

And finally, he's been the White Queen, the Scold, the Nag and, on his way out the door, the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld decided he wanted to try on one more persona: Axel Rose.
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports that the Rumsfled thinks what the world . . . needs . . . now . . . is just a little patience. Just a little patience.
The tragically unhinged Rumsfled declared that Iraq was still 'winnable' "if we have the patience and only if we have the staying power." Rumsfled's "staying power" -- obviously in question now -- can surely take credit for the 655,000 estimated Iraqis killed during the illegal war. To the would-be-Axel-Rose, the world responds, "There's no room for you here, go away, girl, there's no room for you here" (White Stripes).

kyle snyder