Friday, August 25, 2006

Mixed Greens with Honey and Oranges in the Kitchen

Lily e-mailed with a huge problem and wondered if it was just her? She just purchased Barbara Doyen's The Everything Quick Meal Cookbook. Lily wrote: "I know you said don't, but it was half-price and and it said 'quick' in the title. Now I feel like a fool."

Don't feel like a fool. You're not the author. Here's a new tip for those attempting to purchase a cookbook. Read the "advice" because these days, they all seem to need to open with some sort of self-help chapter. One of Doyen's tips is to shop for groceries only once a week. Say goodbye to fresh fruits and vegetables! She also doesn't understand large families (Lily is currently raising a large family and I have eight children).

I don't see a great deal of nutrition in her cookbook -- I see a lot of "canned" this and "canned" that. I have several recipe collections our church has put out and they usually contain several recipes where all you're doing is dumping cans of things into a pot and calling it a meal. For your home cooks and chefs, that may be okay. But I really question any cookbook (commercially published, as opposed to a charity fundraiser) that relies on recipe after recipe of canned items and discourages fresh fruits and vegetables. Doyen allows that iceberg lettuce isn't very nutrious -- it's not -- and her solution, in her self-help section, is for you to purchase 'leaf' lettuce -- which she never provides an example of in the self-help section -- and eat that first during the week and then you move to the iceberg lettuce. Under Doyen's guidance, you'll get some fresh, nutritous lettuce at the start of your week but iceberg at the end. Someone help the self-help set.

I couldn't find the book at my library so I put out a call to my friends and one of them had a copy. She's never used it. She said she read the opening, after purchasing, and never used the thing. The recipe's aren't all bad but I can't imagine ever needing a recipe for "Cheeseburger Soup." And that's sadly true of most of the book. At one point, page 249, Doyen offers a 'recipe' for guacamole which includes 'canned tomato.' That alone tells you that the recipes have a loose relationship with nutrition and taste. Anyone not using a fresh tomato in guacomole may as well admit that they have no business making the dip.

I'm not against canned fruits and vegetables. I do use them. I'm also aware of the high sodium count canned goods usually have. Once, my oldest daughter made salsa using canned tomatoes because the hour was late and she wanted it. In an emergency like that, maybe. But for anyone to recommend it, strikes me as rather silly. I do use canned tomatoes in sauces or any other dish I might cook because to get rid of that canned, stale taste, you have to cook it.

Lily shouldn't be embarrassed, she didn't write the book. I would advise everyone to avoid the pasta 'recipes.' In most cases, all you're doing is tossing some garlic in a skillet and then using a prepared sauce. If you're using a prepared sauce, don't try to mock it up. It's a prepared sauce, it will taste like one no matter what you do. (Some actually taste very well.) Instead of wasting your time with garnish, use the time to fix a nice salad, or other non-canned dish, to go with it.

The salad's sections actually contains some of the book's strongest recipes. If Lily paid $6.48 for the book (that would be half the cover price of the copy my friend had), then she can get her money's worth out of that section. Skip the Oriental Noodle Soup, not just because "Oriental" is offensive but also because anyone who's providing a "recipe" that depends on garnish being added to Ramen isn't really telling you anything about cooking. But Doyen, with most of the other salad recipes, really demonstrates a knack for quick and nutrious with these recipes (which we'll assume she prepares immediately after returning from her once-weekly shopping spree).

I'm going to offer two because I love cabbage but there's a fault line in my family on that with about half lining up on one side and the rest on the other. So I'll offer that and one other. And I'll recommend that if you have the book (like Lily and my friend Sharon), you look through the book's salad recipes because it is the strongest part of the book and if Doyen ever wrote a book just on salads (or if she has and someone tells me of that), it would obviously be one worth checking out.


1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 apple, peeled and shredded
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parley for garnish

Put the cabbage, onion, apple, vinegar, juice, water, sugar, salt, and papper into a large saucepan. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until cabbage is soft, stirring occasionally. Serve with parsley sprinkled on top.

I love cabbage and this was a dish I'd never found a recipe for that tasted as good as the version my grandmother fixed. This one does. If you like cabbage, I strongly recommend this recipe. Some of the ingredients may be more than many of you keep on hand so to determine whether to go out and purchase them for this recipe, ask yourself how much you enjoy cabbage?

It's a very easy recipe that produces wonderful results and with Labor Day coming up and summer get-togethers going on, I'd also recommend it if you're looking for something to take to a gathering. Chances are few will be bringing cabbage dishes so your dish will stand out and the recipe strikes me as fool proof.

For the cabbage haters, here's another strong recipe Doyen provides.

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 heads butter lettuce
2 heads radicchio
3 oranges
In a small saucepan, bring the water, honey, and vinegar to a boil; reduce the heat and let cool.
Arrange the butter lettuce and radicchio on 6 salad plates. Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all the bitter white membrance, then free the sections from the membranes by cutting along either side of each section. Remove any seeds and divide the orange sections among salad plates. Drizzle each salad with the cooled dressing and serve.

If you're considering taking this dish to a gathering (it's also fool proof), I would recommend that you bring it in three containers: one for the lettuce and radicchio, one for the orange slices and one for the dressing. Bring a salad bowl with you and, right before it's time for everyone to head for the buffet tables, quickly mix the three ingredients into the salad bowl.

The book is Barbara Doyen's The Everything Quick Meals Cookbook and if you can check it out at your local library or if you purchase it, the thing to focus is the salad recipes.

I'm having problems with the computer this morning so I'll wrap up quickly. Some items I found worth reading this week:

"And the war drags on"
"'British Leave Iraqi Base; Milita Supporters Jubilant' (Amit R. Paley)"
"On Our Vacation, Thomas Friedman Got Burned" (Betty's latest chapter)
"thoughts on the bully boy with the emphasis on 'boy'" (Rebecca's essay)
"Vets worry the draft's coming back, Zogby obsesses over Tom Cruise"
"Bob Herbert disappoints"
"NYT: Plays 'who matters?' (the same game J. M. Laughner played)"
"Other Items"
"house cleaning and preparing for the future "
"Abeer and who's trying to get the military into the Sudan?"
"Who thinks for you? (It should be you)"
"Bob Watada and more from the Snapshot"
"Crunch time for Bully Boy (humor)"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Bully Mama Babies Bully Boy'"
"Iraq: This is what failure looks like"
"TV: Kyle XY -- SEE!" (this is a review of my youngest daughter's favorite show)
"Whack-a-mole (Recipe for Disaster)"
"Iraq, the war independent media forgot"
"Recuriters struggle to meet lowered targets but gays and lesbians are still 'unfit'"
"Tricky Dick in the (White) House again (humor)"

And I'll close with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which, as usual, covers a bit more on Friday than made it into my Saturday paper:

Friday, August 25, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq despite the wave of Operation Happy Talk launched yesterday by US military boys John Abizaid and George Casey that things are looking up and corners will be turned, equally laughable was Brit military boy Charlie Burbridge claiming that a base in Amara hadn't been abandoned. He offers a new punch line today. The inquiry into the death of Jake Kovco continues and Soldier 14 testifies again. But we'll start with the latest on Ehren Watada -- the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Late Thursday" J.C.Matthews told the AP that a recommendation had been reached by Lt. Colonel Mark Keith in Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing. Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the recommendation is "Ehren Watada face a general court-martial for failing to join his unit in Iraq" and Keith "has endorsed two other charges: conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt toward officials." Translation, Keith has endorsed all three charges made on July 5th. As the AP notes, "Keith could have recommended anything from dismissal of the charges to a general court-martial" as he weighed the issues and the testimony given on August 17th. Gregg K. Kakesako notes that Keith did feel that Ehren Watada was "sincere in his beliefs" which "should mitigate any future punishment" and Kakesako outlines the next step: "Keith's decision now goes to Col. Cynthia Murphy, U.S. Army Garrison commander at Fort Lewis, who will review it and then submit her recommendations to Lt. Gen James Dubik".
AP quotes Ehren Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, stating: "We always believed that when they went so far as to convene an Article 32 hearing that they had alread made a decision to proceed." Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) notes Seitz was left "somewhat astounded" that the charges endorsed by Keith included anything other than "missing the troop movement" because of "important First Amendment issues" that surround the other two charges.
Sarah Olson (Truthout) reports this today (of the August 17th testimony of Denis Halliday: "Halliday was called to testify regarding the impace of war on the Iraqi people. 'The people of Iraq had become used to living under very difficult conditions after the destruction in the name of the United Nations by the United States of the civilian infrastructure, water supplies, sewer systems, electric power, use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs.' Halliday was prevented from providing complete testimony when the investigating officer presided over the Article 32 hearing ruled that the 'consequences of the war or the situation on the ground' were irrelevant to Lieutenant Watada's argument that the war was illegal and that he had an obligation to refuse to fight it." That is the most that's been written of Halliday's testimony to date (which, for the record, wasn't delivered via mime).
Bob Watada continues his speaking engagements in the San Francisco Bay Area to raise awareness of what his son, Ehren, is facing. The events include:

Fri. 8/25
No. Cal. Japanese Christian Theological Forum Berkeley Methodist United Church- chapel 1710 Carleton St/McGee in Berkeley Contact: Laura Takeuchi 510-848-3614

Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070

Sat. 8/26
Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239

Sun. 8/27
Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found
Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
Turning to the illegal occupation, violence and chaos continues.
euters reports one Iraqi soldier dead and two others wounded from a roadside bomb in Rashad and a "hand-grenade attack on a market in Hawija" left three people wounded. AFP notes the death, late Thursday, of "an Iraqi army officer" with four soldiers left wounded.
AFP notes that five were killed by gunfire in Baquba, two in Tirkit (bakery workers) with three other people wounded, Reuters notes that, in Nasiriya, gunfire claimed the lives of two and left two others wounded.
Reuters notes the discovery, in Qaim, of an Iraqi soldier ("signs of torture") while AFP notes that three corpses were discovered in Kirkuk ("tortured and bullet-riddled bodies").
In other violence, despite the British military flacks that were so eagerly allowed to
spin in this this morning's New York Times, Haidar Hani (AP) reports: "Looters ravaged a former British base Friday . . . taking everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes". As Ross Colvin (Reuters) reported yesterday, the base, which had come under nightly, heavy attacks, was abandoned. The AP story today notes: "Iraqi authories had complained that the British withdrawal had caught them by surprise" and allows flack Charlie Burbridge to holler Not-true-we-gave-them-24-hours-notice! Well, Charlie, on a rental, you usually have to give a minimum of 30 days notice. But it is good to know that as they packed up everything they could carry, someone did think to make a quick call saying, "Hey, we're about to split. If there's anything you want, better grab it quick, dude!"
Along with an adequate heads up, Iraqi politicians have other complaints they're sharing.
Aparism Ghosh (Time magazine) reports that Abdul-Azziz al-Hakim states that for over three years Iraqi politicians have persistently requested "and reliable evidence" that "Iran is interfering in Baghdad's affairs" only to be rebuffed. al-Hakim is quoted as saying, "[A]nd for three years we've told them, 'Show us proof.' But they never have." al-Hakim and others speaking to Ghosh make clear that they feel there is no proof and that Iran is being blamed to divert attention from the failure of the illegal war.
This as
Aaron Glantz reports for OneWorld that Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferenczz has declared that Bully Boy and Saddam Hussein "should be tried for war crimes."
In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st death of Baghdad of Jake Kovco continues.
Figuring into the most recent testimony were "
NSW Police scientific officer Stephanie Hales" and Soldier 14. Soldier 14 has made mutliple appearances in the hearing. On August 9th, his testimony rejected the so-called buddy system where a pair was responsible for checking one another's weapons at the end of a shift (he also testified that what he said and what the military wrote up in his official statement were quite different). Last Friday, a DNA witness, Michelle Franco, identified some of the DNA on Jake Kovco's gun as belonging to Soldier 14. [Again from last Friday: The Herald-Sun reports that only the DNA "on the pistol's slide" were ruled by expert Franco to be a direct match (DNA on the "trigger, hand grip and magazine" are believed, by Franco, to be Soldier 14's but are "not direct matches."] Soldier 14 has maintained that he did not touch Jake Kovco's pistol (and he's refused to be questioned by the NSW).
At the start of this week, Soldier 14 again testified to the hearing and maintained that the DNA must have gotten on the pistol some other way such as via other equipment he acknowledges that he and Jake Kovco both handled such as a megaphone, a radio or telephone. Also in that testimony, Soldier 14 declared that "people" had warned him that Jake Kovco's widow, Shelley Kovco, was 'out to get him.' That was his excuse for avodiging her. Belinda Tasker (The Daily Telegraph) noted, of that testimony, that Soldier 14's avoidance of Shelley Kovco -- out of fear of being accused of something,apparently -- translates as Soldier 14 aoviding contact with her for "more than three months" and notes that Soldier 14 said "people were telling me" that Shelley Kovco was out to get him. Who these 'people' were warning him of Shelley Kovco will apparently not be explored.
That was some of the previous testimony. Today Soldier 14 testified again (not via video-link and remember he has stated he wants to get back to the apparent calm of Baghdad).
Malcolm Brown (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that the issues today revolved around: "Did you silently cock Private Kovco's pistol?" which Soldier 14 asserted he did not. Soldier 14 has maintained that he saw Jake Kovco a few days prior to his death. Brown describes the process as "a silent cocking operation, where the weapon is stripped down, a round put in he chamber, then reassembled, leaving the round in the chamber." Soldier 14 will also be testifying Monday.
Stephanie Hales' testimony is
characterized by the AAP as asserting that residue tests can not determine "whether Private Jake Kovco shot himself in Iraq or if someone else pulled the trigger" for a variety of reasons including the fact that Jake Kovco's "clothes . . . were destroyed," "the barracks room where PTE Kovco was shot was cleaned before NSW Police arrived in Baghdad to carry out their forensic tests," Jake Kovco's body was washed in a Kuwait morgue, Jake Kovco's hands were not wrapped "in paper bags" and the two roommates were allowed to shower and wash their clothing with no forensic tests being performed.
Finally, in England, British soldier Jason Chelsea has been buried. The
BBC reports that the nineteen-year-old "killed himself because he feared . . . he might have to shoot children" as he asserted he had been told in his training. The BBC notes that: "Earlier this month the MoD released figures showing 1,541 soldiers who served in Iraq are suffering from psychiatric illness."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Easy Fudge in the Kitchen

Judging from the e-mails that have come in, there's a topic everyone's waiting to see my response to. I was on the phone with Wally's mother this morning and she suggested I start with it so that everyone can focus. I'll devote four paragraphs to the topic and then we'll do the recipe and some other things.

This week, my youngest son wrote "Ehren Watada, Iraq, Ma" and there has been interest in what effect that had or didn't have? Last Saturday, one of my daughters brought a new date over. As Mike recounts the events (based upon what his younger sister told him and what his father told him) the date tossed a glass (glass-glass, not plastic) into a sink as my youngest daughter was at the sink washing dishes, the glass landed on a plate she was rinsing off and broke the plate in half, the date and the daughter who had brought him wanted a different meal than what had been planned, they knew ingredients were needed and promised to get them but did not go to the store, and, finally, when the pizza they'd requested was served, the date refused to eat because he didn't 'like' bell peppers. Those are the events reported in Mike's "Ehren Watada, Iraq, Ma" and, yes, they are all correct and, yes, I was ticked off when I was posting last Saturday.

Mike wrote that after a long discussion with his father and although I didn't know it was being written of (I didn't talk about Saturday with him on the phone), I wasn't "shocked" as one e-mailer wondered. (The daughter who brought the date was also expecting me to be "shocked" by what Mike wrote.) Mike is the most like of his father of all eight children. Talk to my sons or daughters and they will all agree. My husband didn't use to see that (the rest of could see it by the time Mike was five) and it was probably around when Mike turned twelve that my husband began to notice the huge similarity and the shared interests. The reason for pointing that out is because, as Mike notes, he'd spoken at length to his father before posting and his father had agreed it needed to be said. As one of my older sons says of Mike and their father, they can be one voice on almost everything. So to the e-mailer and my daughter who were both shocked, your problem isn't just with Mike.

My problems are many and, to go beyond rudeness, I don't think you break a plate that my youngest daughter (who will cringe is she read this, but is still a child) is holding and shrug before changing the topics. It was very luck that the plate broke in half as opposed to shattering. Had it shattered, shards could have cut her hands, her eyes, who knows what? It was the sort of act that I believe requires an immediate apology to her.

I have eight children and come from a large family myself. I've never seen anyone toss an item into the sink from a distance and certainly not while someone was standing at the sink doing dishes. Possibly that happens quite often in other homes? If it does, hopefully, it's plastic items being tossed. Plates and other items break all the time. That's life. Someone drops a dish, there's no reason to get upset. It's life. A dish breaks because someone has thrown one strikes me as disrespectful. [My daughter who brought the man over has pointed out all week that the dish (glass) he threw did not break. No, it broke another dish. That's splitting hairs.] Since this was the first time any of us were meeting him it makes me wonder what happens when and if he feels more 'casual' around us.

I'll do one more paragraph (fifth) on this just to wrap up. After Mike's "Ehren Watada, Iraq, Ma" went up and after my daughter phoned to object to it, the date did come by and offer an apology to me. I'll leave that alone and note that my youngest daughter is owed and apology and still has not received one. This point was made, to the date, by my husband. That's where it stands now. Myself, I hadn't raised the issue here and hadn't planned on doing so. However, it did not surprise me that Mike would or that he would raise anything at his site. That's the way he runs it and why only one of his brothers and sisters will allow him to mention them by name.

Now for the recipe and a little commentary. Bully Boy's 'right' to usurp the laws and the Constitution were called into question this week by a federal judge and already you have the right-wing screaming and the New York Times rushing in today to inform on how supposedly questionable the decision is. Did the so called non-partisan frothers (or is it bi-partisan?) see everythign the judge saw? I doubt it with all the claims of "national security" on the part of the administration. Which is why the 'legal wisdom' of so many is surprising to me. I'm not a lawyer. I do know the Fourth Amendment. I did live through the exposures that led to FISA. Though the current premise is that FISA is acceptable that wasn't the rock solid consensus at the time. It appears that the right has screamed 'judicial activism' once again and the enablers come forward to question the basis of the decision and tsk-tsk over the Fourth Amendment citation and other issues. My opinion, what Bully Boy has done is wrong. It was struck down.
The Supreme Court exists to issue the final ruling. They can do so. A federal judge was confronted with an issue that goes against the fundamental beliefs the nation is supposed to stand for and we've got reporters covering bickering when they still refuse to address the issue of the spying itself. (But having sat on the story for more than a year before running it, we probably can't turn to the New York Times for an exploration of the issue itself. At least not this year. Maybe in two or more.) C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy" walks you through the history of abusive, illegal presidential spying. The only thing I would or could add to it is to note that when the abuses came out (the laws broken, the privacy invaded) there were a lot of useless people who stepped forward to defend the abuses. The current tsk-tsking strikes me as quite similar.

Those wanting to explore the decision in minute detail should do so and should have outlets for that (and, in fact, do). Those who scream "lay person" at my opinions would be better off wondering why the New York Times is offering the nonsense. That's what the article is. That paper is not a legal journal and it's shown an interest in sitting on the story and then dismissing it. This lay person is aware that a front page story on the paper of record serves to put the argument that the decision is questionable 'out there' and to popularize it. This lay person finds it quite interesting that the paper that has backed off their own scoop now wants to advance legal bickering to a largely non-legal audience. But it's a break from their breathless Jon-Benet coverage so maybe we should just be grateful for that?

Bully Boy's offended by the decision and Cedric's "Better call him 'King' (humor)" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! YOU BETTER CALL HIM 'KING'!" captures the probable root of the offense beautifully. Bully Boy was caught fudging (and hopefully the judge's decision will be addressed on Law and Disorder and other forms where people for and opposed to the decision can discuss their reasoning as opposed to being offered snippits from the front page of a general interest periodical which leaves reader with the impression of 'questionable' decision but no real knowledge).

He fudges everything. If you call him president, you'd should call him "President Fudge." Fugde the facts, fudge the truth, fudge reality. Fudge, fudge, fudge. My second oldest son came home from second grade one day (this was many, many years ago) and shocked us by wanting to know what the "f-word" was? He'd heard it at school that day. He knew it was a dirty word and it was called the f-word. What was the word? My husband told him it was "fudge." It's a funny story that probably loses a great deal here (imagine a young boy trying to appear tough by using "fudge" in place of the actual word) but President Fudge comes to mind because Kimberly wrote in to ask if there was an easy ("really easy") recipe for fudge?

My two youngest children swear by something you microwave but I don't know the name of it. You buy it at the store and it has a tray in the box that you cook and then cool it in. It's actually very good and I'll note it next time. When they make it (at family get togethers), that's how they make it. But, outside of a mix in a box, there are several easy fudge recipes. Kimberly wrote that most of the time when she asks for one, she ends getting someone writing down a brownie recipe or a recipe for a brownie with frosting. My guess is that's due to the fact that fudge, as it's been traditionally made, is a lot of work so people have 'fudged' the meaning of fudge over time.

Here's my recipe and it's one my friend Sharon passed on when I was making the same complaint that Kimberly is now: where are the easy recipes for fudge?

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You need a nine-inch baking pan for this. Line the pan with wax paper, then butter it and the areas of the pan not covered by the paper (especially those areas). In a sauce pan on the stove,
combine the chocolates morsels and the condensed milk. Turn the heat to low and begin stirring
until you have a smooth mixute like a thick, warm pudding.

Move the pan to another burner (one that's not been used so it's not warm) and add the wlanuts. Sharon also adds M&Ms from time to time (her grandson loves it when she adds those). My mother uses this recipe and has her own addition that she makes here. She chops up cherries from a jar and adds small pieces of them at this step (in place of the M&Ms). Whatever you are adding, you need to stir the mixture and then transfer it to the baking pan.

I know many who try to do it smoothly and spoon in a bit here, a bit there. I just pour it from the sauce pan into the baking pan. After that, I smooth the mixture (similiar to how you would ice a cake with frosting). The only cooking has been done on the stove top because the baking pan, although a baking pan, now goes in to the fridge for approximately two hours. To test the firmness and be sure the fudge has set, you can stick it with a tooth pick. If the tooth pick comes back with goo on it, the fudge isn't ready. (As I've stated before, do not think placing something into the freezer is the same thing only faster. You need the fridge on this.) Once a tooth pick comes out smoothly, grab a serving plate or large plate and place it over the baking pan. With one hand on the bottom of the plate and one on the bottom of the baking pan, flip it over and the fudge should come out face down on the plate. You can now cut into desired pieces which, for many, means cutting it into small squares.

Hopefully, that's a very easy recipe. I called Sharon and she said that you can use the microwave instead of the stove top. You'll need to do it in 15 seconds bursts and stir repeatedly between each burst. She suggests four bursts and then stirring for a full minute after to "blend the heated portions and get the right level of smoothness."

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which provides you with many details of what's quickly becoming the forgotten war:

Friday, August 18, 2006, the so-called 'crackdown' continues (and early childhood experts may note the engaged-in-a-power-struggle nature of it all as well as the increasing futility), Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing started and concluded Thursday, Ricky Clousing returned to North Carolina and DNA on Jake Kovco's pistol is thought to have been indentified.
Ehren Watada is the first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy in Bully Boy's illegal war. Yesterday, the military held an Article 32 hearing to determine whether there was reason/cause to take the matter to a court martial. Ehren Watada's attorneys were Eric Seitz and Cap. Mark Kim (of the US Army). While the prosecution called only one witness (to confirm that, as Watada had stated would be the case, Watada did not deploy) and spent the rest of its time showing excerpts o a speech Watada gave this weekend at the Veterans for Peace conference (click here at CounterPunch and here at Truthout and the latter offers video clips of the speech).
Watada's side called three witnesses Francis Boyle, Denis Halliday and retired Amry Colonel Ann Wight. Boyle testified as the nature of the war noting that the lie that Bully Boy pressed (for Congressional and public approval) of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11 "
constitutes . . . a conspiracy to defraud the United States government." Ann Wright testified: "I personally believe that the decision of the Bush administration to invade and occupy Iraq without getting the authority of the UN Security Council . . . falls into the category of a war of agrression, which is by international law a war crime. So by a persaon saying 'Yes, I'm gong to Iraq,' one could argue that just by doing that, that is participating in a war crime.'"
As Eric Seitz had expected/predicted, the hearing lasted one day. Watada could find that the hearing determined there were no grounds for proceeding to a court-martial or a court-martial could be the next step. That call will be made by
Lt. Colonel Mark Keith who presided over the hearing. A court-martial could mean as many as seven years imprisonment.
Ehren's father Bob Watada will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on a speaking tour that starts tomorrow and ends August 27th. A full list of scheduled appearances can be
found here. A sample of upcoming events includes:

Saturday 8/19
Vigil for Abeer Hamza (14-year old girl who was raped & killed with her family by 5 US troops) Willard Park (Telegraph & Derby), Berkeley Contact: Not in Our Name 510-601-8000 Sunday 8/20
American Muslim Voice Foundation Convention
12:45-1 pm Bob Watada speaks 5748 Mowry School Rd., Newark Contact: Samina F. Sundas 650-387-1994
Monday 8/21
Press Conference SF Japantown (Peace Plaza or NJAHS Gallery) Contact: Grace Morizawa
gmorizawa [at] 510-289-1285
Monday 8/21
Reception & Event in SF Japantown Japanese Community & Cultural Center of NC (JCCCNC) 1840 Sutter, San Francisco Contact: Pete Yamamoto 415/921-5007
Tuesday 8/22
1-3 pm
brown bag lunch & educational event Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa Contact: Elizabeth 707-575-8902
Wednesday 8/23
UC Berkeley gathering with students and campus organizers Heller Lounge, Student Union Building, UC Berkeley Contact: Nina Falleunbaum 510-812-8026 noon-1:30pm Event at UC Berkeley ­ Sproul Plaza Contact: Wesley Ueunten 510-579-2711
Thursday 8/24
World Can't Wait­Youth & Students Conference San Francisco (site TBA) Contact: Jessalyn Gagui 415-286-3408
Friday 8/25
7-10pm "
Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070
Again, a full list can be found by clicking
here (Indybay IMC).
Once again,
Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
In addition
Howie Hawkins (Green Party candidate for US Senate from NY) is urging "the peace movement to provide financial support to soldiers who are punished for refusing to participate in the war." And, as many community members have noted, while there's been a "How Can They!" attitude regarding Hillary Clinton's Democratic opponent not being invited to a TV debate, the Green Party candidate is shut out as well -- despite the lack of op-eds, news segments, et al. (The Green Party candidate would be Howie Hawkins.)
Another war resister, Ricky Clousing, is back at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The
AP reports that he arrived back this morning. Clousing self-checked out of the army in June of last year. Last week, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) had the scoop that the 24-year-old Clousing would be holding a news conference to announce he was turning himself in. Estes Thompson reports that after turning himself in at Fort Lewis in Washington, he was ordered "to report to a unit at Fort Bragg that handles absent soldiers."
Turning to diplomacy issues, as trade talks went on in Jordan this week, talks
which Petra noted were "co-chaired by Speaker of the Lower House of the [Jordan] Parliament Abdel Hadi Al Majali and his Iraqi counterpart Mahmoud Al Masshadani," Jordan's Ahmed al-Lozi became "the first fully accredited Arab ambassador in Iraq."
Meanwhile in the United States,
Free Speech Radio News reported Thursday that "twenty-one former generals and high ranking national security officials called on President Bush to reverse course . . . and embrace a new area of negotiation with Iraqn, Iraq and North Korea." Speaking with Andrea Lewis on KPFA's The Morning Show today, Medea Benjamin noted that while the US administration makes no efforts to reach out to the Iraqi parliament, "we at the grass roots [level] have." Benjamin was referring to the CODEPINK & Global Exchange sponsored trip to Amman, Jordan where she and others met with Iraqis including the "members of the largest Shia coalition, the largest Sunni block in their parliament, the largest secular coalition, torture victims from Abu Ghraib."
Benjamin observed, "It was quite an amazing coming together of people who, from all different perspectives, wanted to see an end to the US occupation, an end to the violence in Iraq, the reconstruction of their country and we came awy from there, Andrea, with a lot of ideas about how to get the voices of the Iraqi people out in the US so that when we hear that same old excuse here 'We can't leave the Iraqi people now!' we can hear the voice of Iraqis telling us precisely how they want to see an end to the occupation and a broader reconciliation plan."
This comes as
Robert Reid (AP) reports that: "Key U.S. senators complain it's time to tell Iraqis that American troops won't stay indefinitely and to make political compromises to avoid all-out civil war." This as a Dick Cheney stump speech/plea for cash turned into an event. Jesse Harlan Alderman (AP) reports that a Boise, Idaho fund raiser included protestors in "orange [hunting] vests handing out leaflets on hunter safety"; "[p]eace activists silently lining a major downtown arterial with tombstones to mark the mounting death toll in Iraq"; and a "Dick Cheney look-alike contest" with an award of "$22 in free gas and a box of shotgun shells" (and hopefully a list of qualified plastic surgeons).
In Iraq, the chaos and violence continue. Despite 'crackdown' 6.0 which now means that all vehicles are banned for two-days in the capital.
Reuters reports that this ban has been imposed due to the one-year anniversary of the stampeded that killed almost "1,000 Shi'ite pilgrims . . . in a stampede . . . when a crowd . . . was panicked by rumours of a suicide bomber." Al Jazeera notes that the ban is in place until Monday morning. The BBC reports that, in addition to the vehicle ban, there are "[c]heckpoints, [and] body searches". Exactly how vehicle bans, checkpoints or body searches will stop rumors (the stated cause of last year's stampeded) remains unclear.
CBS and the Associated Press report that in Balad Ruz, a roadside bomb claimed killed at least one person. KUNA reports that today it was announced that a "multi-national force (MNF) soldier" died in southern Baghdad on Thursday from a roadside bomb. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that the "British military base near Amarah" was under mortar attack "Friday morning." [In the United States, Amy Bartner (Indianapolis Star) reports on a "new 11-bed unit . . . at the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center where the most seriously wounded soldiers in the Iraq war will be able to recover" and notes that while body armor is credited with saving the lives of American troops, "that protection can't prevent potentially debilitating injuries to arms and legs".] Australia's notes that a mortar attack on a city council member in Baquba wounded "[f]our bodyguards."
Shootings?In Taji, a convoy ("civilian trucks") was attacked leaving one person wounded and a 'guard' dead
the AP reports. Australia's reports that the truck went up in flames and had been carrying "kerosene" while also noting that a grocer was shot dead in Yarmuk. (Other press outlets do not identify what the truck was carrying.) Australia's The Advertiser reports that seven Shi'ite pilgrmins were shot dead by "gunmen" in Baghdad. KUNA reports that "two civilians" were shot dead in Mosul.
AP reports five were discovered in Mahmoudiya ("gunshot wounds"). The Canadian Press notes the five and adds that six more were discovered "in the Tigris River" ("bullet-riddled and tortured").
CBS and AP report that journalist Saif Abdul-Jabbar al-Tamimi was kidnapped Wednesday and that "[t]here has been no claim of responibility". Reporters Without Borders notes that he was kidnapped in Baghdad as were journalists Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal who "have been hostages for more than six months" now while journalist Salah Jali al-Gharrawi has not been seen since his April 4th kidnapping. Reporters Without Borders notes: "A total of 49 journalists and media assistants have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. Instead of being afforded a degree of security by the fact that they work for the media, journalists have been singled out as targets."
AFP reports that Father Saad Syrop was kidnapped, also from Baghdad, Tuesday evening after he had finished Mass (at St. James Church) and was heading home.
In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st death in Baghdad of Jake Kovco resumed. Following Wednesday's hypnosis shocker, an unscheduled day-off was taken due to reported delays with DNA test that might reveal the 'owner' of the DNA found on Kovco's gun. As
Michael Edwards reports on PM (Australia's ABC) Michelle Franco ("DNA expert") testified that the DNA belongs to Soldier 14. Reporting on The World Today (ABC), Edwards noted that "Soldier's 14's DNA was found on the gun's slide, trigger, base plate, and magazine."
Soldier 14 previously testified to the hearing
on August 9th and dropped a bombshell when he testified that the (written) statements provided to the military investigation were not reflective of his (verbal) statements -- specifically, as Peter Charlton (Courier-Mail) noted this included the claim that there was a standard procedure (the so-called 'buddy system') in operation "where a pair of soldiers check each other's weapons to ensure they were unloaded."
Herald-Sun reports that only the DNA "on the pistol's slide" were ruled by expert Franco to be a direct match (DNA on the "trigger, hand grip and magazine" are believed, by Franco, to be Soldier 14's but are "not direct matches.") Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports that Soldier 14 testified, after the DNA results, that he had no memory of handling Jake Kovco's gun and that his attorney ("Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Green") cross-examined Franco who noted that skin celles "could be transferred through a handshake or carried in sweat."
AAP calls the DNA "[s]ensational new evidence," notes that "Soldier 14 has refused to be interviewed by police about the tests" and reports that "Monday . . . Soldier 14 will be cross-examined by lawyers representing Private Kovco's widow, Shelley, and his parents" Judy and Martin Kovco.
Daily Telegraph notes that Soldier 14 believes "that both he and Pte Kovco had probably used the same megaphone at the embassy on the day of the shooting" and that's where any DNA swap would have most likely taken place.
Finally, in peace news,
Camp Casey III is ongoing in Crawford, Texas until September 2nd -- on September 5th it switches locations and becomes Camp DC. AFP reports that it "will be located near the National Mall, the blocks-long expanse of lawn between the US Congress building and the White House". While it's still located in Crawford, upcoming events include the following: August 18th forum on peaceful solutions moderated by Carroll Boone and an August 21st War Crimes Tribunal. Actress and activist Mimi Kennedy, of Progressive Democrats of America, will be there on August 20th along with Carolyn Wonderland who will perform from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Squash Soup in the Kitchen

Saturday and I'm noting this at the start, C.I.'s "AP count says 2600 American troops have died in Iraq since the (illegal) war began." I think everyone needs to be aware of that.

The bodies pile up and, after awhile, it's not even noted. Iraq hasn't been seriously covered the last few weeks. That's corporate and non-corporate media. What we've gotten was bits and pieces (corporate) and silence (non-corporate). I was talking on the phone with my uncle earlier and he floored me when he cited The Common Ills. I have no idea how old he is. I know he's retired. But he's one of those people who doesn't want a "fuss" on his birthdays. He retired some time ago. But we were talking about Labor Day and he's the only relative I have that doesn't live close by. My husband's relatives are scattered around the country but my family's largely all stayed within 60 miles of one another. So I had phoned him up to plant a bug in his ear about Labor Day and how one of the kids could pick him up and take him home if he wanted. He's going to think about it and then the topic changed to other topics when he asked me if I was going to note the 2600? I said I'd planned to but I'd make it my first sentence for him. I hadn't seen any TV coverage of it so I asked where he saw it?

That's when he floored me by saying The Common Ills. I didn't know he had a computer (my cousin, his daughter, gave him one in June). He says he's "online" and "all hooked up" (which probably means my cousin's son tutored him). My cousin had told him about my site and Mike's so he's been visiting the different community sites.

He said he's never seen a war (Iraq) so quickly discarded and forgotten. And wanted me to tell everyone, "keep giving them hell" [media] for dropping the war.

The Iraq war has been dropped or crowded out -- but it hasn't stopped.

Beth passed on that yellow squash is the only thing her garden's produced this summer. (That's Beth who's the ombudsperson for The Common Ills.) She said the tomatoes died early, the beans "popped out of the ground with promise they never again had," and the bell peppers have been so-so. Yellow squash always does well for her but this year it's done "frighteningly well."
She said she'd be interested in the stew recipe but would really like a soup recipe because she prefers soup. "Being unable to shove the squash off on anyone, I'll take anything but an easy soup recipe would be great."

I think this recipe is easy. It's for squash soup. If you don't have a blender, we'll go over other options.

You need:

1/2 cup of yogurt
4 medium yellow squash sliced
4 medium onions sliced
3 cans of broth

In a pan, pour in the broth (chicken or vegetable) and heat over medium heat on the stove. Add the squash and onions and cook for approximately 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the yogurt and stir, season to taste with pepper.

Ideally, you should now transfer the contents into a blender and use the puree setting. (I use six quick bursts.) If you don't have a blender you've got a chunky soup. You can use a potato masher on it and stir repeatedly to give it a smoother texture. You can also chop the ingredients into tiny pieces before cooking them.

Whether you use a blender or not, the final step is deciding whether you want to eat it hot or cold. If hot, you can eat immediately. If you'd prefer it cold, you can chill it in the fridge.

Whether I eat it or hot or cold, I like to chop up two green onions and sprinkle that on top of each serving. My oldest daughter prefers to sprinkle dried chives on top.

Here are some recommended items I thought were important this week:

"NYT: Continuing render Abeer Qasim Hamza invisible"
"NYT: It takes a paper of Hazels to clean up the crimes against Abeer"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts The 'Strategy'"
"raped and murdered, 14 year old abeer can't defend herself, who's going to step up to the plate?"
"Death and destruction continues in Iraq even if silly fools don't cover it"
"Nobody pushes Thomas Friedman around!"
"Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey"
"In the wall to wall coverage of Israel, Iraq falls off the map again"
"Like Breslin said, "In Case We All Forgot, Americans Are Still Dying In Iraq"
""I love KPFA but I can't take any more of this "THE ONLY STORY IS ISRAEL!""
"abeer's story was the story of the illegal occupation""Iraq & Ehren Watada"
"amy goodman and democracy now forget that a war rages in iraq"
"Is NYT's Paul von Zielbauer's a pervert?"
"KPFA leaves me numb"
"Be a pest"
"Editorial: Don't let Lynne Stewart be isolated"
"TV: Grey Enemy"
"Thoughts on liberalism and realism"

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Jess' Summer Vegetable Blend in the Kitchen

Two Saturdays off. My husband and I went out to California the first Saturday and it was a vacation. That was planned. I had intended to write last Saturday, but when we got back here, Elaine and Wally were staying with us. We ended up telling them, Mike and our youngest daughter about the trip and then a couple my husband and I are very good friends with (we're the godparents of their son Tony who is our son Mike's best friend) came over to take us out to eat so Saturday just slipped passed me.

At C.I.'s there were hundreds of people (and thank you to C.I. again for having us as guests). In the evenings, guests are over and you also have Ava, Jess, Ty, Jim and Dona as houseguests for the rest of the summer. The house is alive with activity and commotion most hours and, this being the first vacation we'd ever taken without our children, we spent some time talking about how it's just our two youngest still at home and soon they'll be leaving. Mike's the seventh of our eight kids. We've never had a quiet home. It's quiet now compared to the way it used to be and, shortly, it will probably be quieter.

When the house was full, I used to think, "One day it will be quieter." Now that day's staring me in the face and I'm thinking, "Maybe we should have had one more." For the record, any child who wanted to move back in could. We've made that clear to everyone. That's not "and pay rent." This is their home. It's paid for. They'd be coming back as adults. But they won't and they have their own lives which is fine. But shortly, it will be just my husband and myself in the house which is probably too big for just the two of us.

The vacation was wonderful. We also went to Mexico for Rebecca's wedding which was a beautiful wedding. So we saw California and Mexico and with no children to watch or supervise. It was truly a vacation.

This week, Betty called because her children had been sick and, as soon as they were better, she did the Mom thing I've done many times myself which was panic. When it's going on, you don't have time to. You're dealing with each kid and spread so thin that you're focused only on what you can do, there's no time for contemplating. Then, when the moment passes, you suddenly start worrying about what could have happened or might have happened and then second guessing yourself.

I remember those days. They are tiring. But, looking back, they are also good moments too. I told Betty to just run with it. It's her body and mind coming down from the crisis, but remember that the kids are fine now. (She has three wonderful kids, by the way. We saw them again when we were all in Mexico and her boys have grown so much since last time. Her daughter should be in commercials. Betty says she looks just Betty's grandmother.)

So this week, we've had Wally who greets us with we were on vacation of he would've asked us before coming to stay. That is Wally. He's the most adult college student you'll ever know and his mother will tell you he was like that as a child. (His father passed away when Wally was very young -- in a car accident that Wally was also in -- and that probably effected his outlook and his sense of responsibility. We both, his mother and I, think he needs to do some kid things. He's got the adult down pat.)

Wally's a wonderful house guest except for one thing -- he won't stop doing. I tell myself that I'll do whatever the next day. The next day, Wally's done it. Mike's got his job in the morning's and school in the afternoon so Wally says it's something to do. It is appreciated (and there's no need to follow up because, to be honest, his cleaning standards are higher than my own). By all of us. My husband can't believe, for instance, that the garage he's been meaning to paint all summer and bought the paint for, was painted this week (painted by Wally). I asked his mother, "Does he ever sleep in?" And she told me she can't remember a day when Wally hasn't been the first one up.

Elaine's coming over on the weekends to attend the discussion group on Iraq and she's more than welcome. I see her as more than a friend. I do have to tell my husband, "One hour!" He loves it when she visits because she may be one of the few people who can talk music with him over and over, hour after hour. (Mike can as well and there have been several evenings where I've told Wally, "Come on, we'll go out and do something.")

I have to mention Kat's place because we went by it a few times when we were in California, went by with Ty to water plants. We weren't really doing that. Kat laughed when I told her how excited my husband was by her vinyl collection. He thinks so highly of Kat because, like him, she has all of her vinyl albums in plastic sleeves. (Kat was in Ireland during this time. If she hand't been, we might still be in California because if my husband and Kat had pulled out just their favorites to play, we'd probably be there until Labor Day.)

So let me do the recipe for this weekend. It's summer and I'm catching up on the e-mails. Cheryl voiced what a lot of people are saying: "I'm surrounded by vegetables!" That's summer for you.

Most people have either grown squash, picked it up at their local market or had family or friends drop some off. What I'm reading in the e-mails is "yellow squash." While we were in California, a friend of C.I.'s dropped off several paper grocery sacks of squash.

We were wondering what would be done with all that squash and then Jess saw them. His whole family is vegetarian and he knew several recipes including a stew that I'll be happy to share if people are interested in that right now. (I hestitate to go with that because I'm assuming, with the heat, most people don't want to do cooking, even when it's easy. If I'm wrong, let me know and I'll offer it next weekend.)

4 squash sliced in thin circles
4 zucchini's sliced the same
3 ripe tomatoes sliced lenghtwise then cut in half each slice
two 7 ounce cans of sliced mushrooms*

margarine to grease a casserole dish plus one teaspoon
a dash of oregeno (dried)
a dash of basil (dried)
a dash of pepper
chesse (of choice) to sprinkle with

Grease a casserole dish with butter. Add the squash, mushrooms, zucchini and one tea spoon of margarine to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with oregeno, basil and pepper. Cover the dish (if you don't have a cover for it, use a paper towel or wax paper) and microwave for eight minutes.
Remove the dish, add the tomatoes and mix well. Sprinkle with cheese on top. If you're using real cheese, Jess used mozarella because that's what C.I. had in the fridge, microwave for two minutes (or until the cheese is melted to your taste). If you're using parmesian cheese that's flakes from one of those cannisters, microwave no more than two minutes.

The dish is done. Jess used the canned mushrooms because they were already there in C.I.'s kitchen. You can use fresh mushrooms as well. If you do, you'll need to add at least a teaspoon of margarine before cooking in the microwave.

It's quick, it's nutrious and it tastes great. I'm calling it "Jess' Summer Vegetable Blend."

I'm running late, Elaine, my daughter and I are going to the bookstore so I'll end with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, August 4, 2006 and one of the locations is only a surprise to those not paying attention to yesterday's (US) Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. There was a key section that was apparently missed by several. Mosul's one of today's hot spots so let's draw back to this exchange from yesterday's hearing:
Senator John McCain: So, General Abizaid, we're moving 7,500 troops into Baghdad, is that correct?
General John Abizaid: The number is closer to 3,500.
[. . .]
McCain: And where are these troops coming from?
Abizaid: Uh, the troops, the Styker Brigade, is coming down from Mosul.
McCain: From Mosul? Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: Uh, the situation in Ramadi, is better than it was two months ago.
McCain: Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: I think the situation in Ramadi is workable.
McCain: And the troops from Ramadi came from Falluja, isn't that correct?
Abizaid: I can't say senator, I know that --
McCain: Well that's my information. What I' worry about is we're playing a game of
whack-a-mole here. We move troops from -- It flares up, we move troops there. Everybody knows we've got big problems in Ramadi and I said, "Where you gonna get the troops?" 'Well we're going to have to move them from Falluja.' Now we're going to have to move troops into Baghdad from someplace else. It's very disturbing.
transcript of this (Congressional Quarterly) can be found at the Washington Post. For audio of the above (most), check out Leigh Ann Caldwell's report which aired on Thursday's The KPFA Evening News and Free Speech Radio News.
Mosul? That's where the 172nd Stryker Brigade (scheduled to be back home before their year deployment got four additional months added to is) was pulled from, Abizaid testified.
Reuters is reporting: "Heavily armed insurgents battled U.S. and Iraqi troops in the restive northern city of Mosul on Friday where at least four policemen, including a top officer and four militants were reported killed."
That is the "strategy" (being generous) and it's the very point McCain was making yesterday. (McCain generally uses that type of observation to support adding more troops to the slaughter, I believe the troops themselves add to the conflict.) The exchange was not heavily stressed in most reporting but McCain was outlining what currently passes for "strategy" in Iraq -- a "strategy" that once again (always) blew up in the military geniuses' (and the administration's) faces.
BBC notes that the US announced last week the withdrawal of 5,000 troops "to re-deploy them in the capital, Baghdad". AP places the figure at 3,500. China's Xinhua notes that "Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, has been a bastion of insurgency against U.S. and Iraqi forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003." Reuters reports that, in Mosul, "authorities have ordered everyone off the streets until Saturday and closed the city's bridges across the Tigris river."
AFP notes that, today, "Mosul woke to a dawn blitz of six bombs and a hail of mortars which killed at least nine police officers and triggered a six-hour gunbattle in which an unknown number of insurgents were killed." One bomb, Reuters notes, resulted in the deaths of "police Colonel Jassim Muhammad Bilal and two bodyguards". The Times of London estimates that, in Mosul alone, 24 people died today from car bombs of various kind.
AFP reports a man was shot dead in Amara. The Associated Press reports that two police officers were shot dead in Falluja and describes one of the incidents: "armed men attacked several government buildings and police patrols in central Fallujah at about 8:30 s.m. (0430 GMT), leaving a policeman dead and two others wounded".
AFP notes that a couple enroute to a hospital in Baquba for the impending birth of their child were killed by a roadside bomb (cab driver and mother-to-be's sister were wounded) and that, in Baghdad, a civilian was killed by a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol. Reuters reports that a bombing in Hadhar, during a football game, resulted in 10 dead and 12 wounded. A police officer described the attack ("suicide car bomber") to the AFP: "He drove into the police guarding the pitch, and blew up." KUNA notes of the attack on the football game: "the football field was for the use of Hadhar policemen and police department staff only."
CBS and AP notes one corpse was discovered (in the country). AFP notes the interior ministry declared twelve corpses were discovered in Baghdad. The AP notes that six corpses were found in Kut with "four of them decapitated".
In court news,
prosecutor/Captain Joseph Mackey delivered his closing argument in the Article 32 hearing of Corey Clagett, William Hunsaker, Raymond Girouard and Juston Graber, who stand accused in the May 9th deaths of three Iraqis. Mackey argued that the three Iraqis were not killed while trying to escape but had, instead, been released by the four US troops and then killed by them, "For this they are not war heroes, they are war criminals. And justice states that they face trial." As Reuters notes, all four accused elected not to provide testimony to hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury).
In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco continues.
Eleanor Hall and Conor Duffy discussed the latest development's on The World Today (Australia's ABC) noting that "military standing orders" were not followed with the transportation of Jake Kovco's body (contractors with Kenyon International were used instead) and that, while the Australian government alleges this was for speed, Jake Kovco's roommates say it was due "to cost and they told the inquiry that they thought that if it had been a foreign dignitary or even a more senior officer, that military aircraft and US military morgue would have been used throughout the whole procedure."
For anyone arriving late to this story and wondering why Kovco's destination back to Australia matters, Kovco's body was somehow switched and the body of Bosnian Juso Sinanovic was sent to Australia while Kovco's body remained at the motuary.
AAP notes that Alastar Adams ("first secretary at the Australian Embassy in Kuwait") testified that "he had not checked the photo against the corpse of a Bosnian carpenter . . . he had taken a quick look . . . told the mortuary staff they could close the coffin and stamp it with the embassy's official seal."
AAP also notes the following which appears to back up Kovco's roommates' judgement: ". . . air force warrant officer Chris Hunter told the inquiry he believed the body mix-up could have been prevented if the civilian morgue had not been used. He said Pte Kovco's body was transferred from a professional and clean mortuary facility in Baghdad run by US troops to a rund-down morgue remsembling 'a third world country hospital'. WO Hunter stopped eight of PTE Kovco's soldier mates, who had accompanied the boday as a bearer party, from entering the morgue, fearing they might start a riot upon noticing its condition."
In court news in the United States, the
Justice Department is announcing that Faheem Mousa Salam "has pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by offering to bribe an Iraqi police official" at the start of this year by offering "approximately $60,000 in exchange for . . . [help] facilitating the sale of approximately 1,000 armored vests and a sophisticated map printer for approximately $1 million." Though the Justice Department fails to note it, he was then employed by Titan Corporation.
In peace news, Phil Runkel is in "a federal courtroom in Alexandria" today facing "a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $5,000 for his war protest last March"
reports Dennis Shook for Runkel and other peace activists (51 in total) were arrested March 20th in front of the Pentagon. Brian Huber (GM Today) notes that the activists were wanting to meet with Donald Rumsfeld and that some climbed or went "under a temporary fence that Runkel said was erected to stop them, resulting in their arrests."
Activists on the
CODEPINK and Global Exchange sponsored trip to Amman, Jordan --including Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin, Tom Hayden and Diane Wilson -- have arrived in Amman. Cindy Sheehan (Truth Out) reports: "The most horrifying testimony of the day was when we met with "Dr. Nada," an Iraqi doctor who stayed in Baghdad to help her people during the sanctions and the invasion. She didn't abandon her country, or sell it out like many privileged people who exited during the Baathist regime (like Iyad Allawi or Ahmed Chalabi) or the sanctions ... which she, as a supervisory physician at a major Baghdad hospital, said killed two million children. The children died of pollution and sicknesses from depleted uranium during the first gulf mistake of George the First. The babies died because of the war, but also because there is no medicine and very limited medical facilities to treat them. Dr. Nada brought the daughter of a friend, three-year-old Farrah, who had short brown hair and big brown eyes. There were so many young children playing in Queen airport yesterday when I got here and dozens running around the hotel. My heart almost bursts with sorrow when I think of all of the children in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan who have had such horrible lives and had many of their lives cut short by the evil war machine that seems to be running our world."
Troops Home Fast continues ("We will keep the fast going until September 21, International Peace Day, when there will be a week of mass actions against the war")
with at least
4,350 people participating from around the world on the 32nd day since the action began. Some are fasting long-term, some are grabbing a one-day, one-time fast, some are grabbing a one-day fast each week. More information can be found at Troops Home Fast.
Michelle Tan (Army Times) reports that Ehren Watada will likely face an Article 32 hearing August 17th because Eric Seitz's pretrial offer of a "reprimand, fine and reduction of rank" has not yet been accepted. As noted before, this offer was twice refused. Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."