Saturday, January 26, 2019

Ham Tetrazzin in the Kitchen

Brent found a recipe at All Recipes that he loves.  It's for ham tetrazzini:

  • Prep

    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain (or use leftover pasta; see Cook's Note).
    2. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup water, and shredded cheese. Heat mixture until cheese melts, stirring often.
    4. Mix in the ham, cooked and drained pasta, chopped pimento, and chopped parsley to saucepan; stir to combine. Cook until mixture is heated through, then serve.

    That's a fairly straightforward recipe.

    There's nothing fairly straightforward when money enters the picture, sadly.

    Alan Gilman
    25 January 2019

    The betrayal Wednesday of Los Angles teachers by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) epitomizes the anti-working class character of unions and the depths these organizations will go to suppress social opposition.
    Teachers returned to their classrooms Thursday still shocked and outraged over how the UTLA pushed through a contract that ignored their most critical demands to increase wages and school funding, reduce class sizes and stop the expansion of charter schools. One teacher described feeling like there was “a hole in her heart” and reported seeing teachers crying because nothing they went on strike for was realized.
    In particular, teachers were angered over how the union rammed through the deal without giving teachers sufficient time to study and discuss it, along with the undemocratic voting process. As of this writing, the UTLA has still not completed counting the ballots.
    How was this done?
    From the very beginning, the UTLA did everything to prevent a strike, dragging the negotiating process over 20 months, ignoring the 98 percent mandate to strike, and submitting to endless state mediation and fact-finding.
    Facing increasing pressure from rank-and-file teachers, the UTLA was ultimately compelled to call a strike for January 10. Three days before, however, UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl announced the union was dropping the teachers’ most critical demands opposing the expansion of charter schools, unlimited standardized testing and other schemes used to privatize education. Caputo-Pearl tried to justify this capitulation by claiming the union had no choice but to accept LAUSD’s position that such issues were outside of collective bargaining.

    A announced it was postponing the January 10 strike date to January 14. When it became clear the teachers’ commitment to fight had become even stronger, the UTLA called the walkout on January 14. Although there was widespread public support, it was clear the UTLA had no intention to wage the type of battle that teachers were demanding. Although it had not struck in 30 years, the union provided no benefits from its multi-million-dollar strike fund.

    That's from the WSWS and I can't put a link in above -- something's wrong with this post -- so here's the link.

    The really important detail from the above is "the union provided no benefits from its multi-million-dollar strike fund."  That's one of the reasons you join a union.  That alone was a betrayal.  In fact, you can argue it was the first betrayal.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

    Friday, January 25, 2019.  The Iraq War continues -- with oh, so little attention from the media.

    This morning at NYT's AT WAR blog, Melissa Thomas shares:

    When the doorbell rang on New Year’s Eve four years ago, I knew something was wrong. It was 9 p.m. I was alone. I opened the door to three men in uniform. This was something I had imagined many times before, although in my visions they wore Army dress blues instead of the grays worn by the El Paso County sheriff’s deputies.
    My husband, Maj. Christopher Thomas, left in the morning to go snowshoeing in the mountains west of Denver. When he did not return after dark I started to expect the worst. He was trained as an outdoor guide and had been to the summits of Mount McKinley, Mount Rainier and too many of Colorado’s tallest peaks to count. Yet the sun was down, and he hadn’t answered my phone calls or text messages all day.
    Chris and I were both in the military. Between us we had six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. We met in 2000 as cadets at West Point. He had previously served in the Army and was two years ahead of me in school. We went on our first date a few days before the Sept. 11 attacks: a picnic at a Labor Day concert by the academy’s band. He brought a blanket, sandwiches and a gorgeous smile over a sophisticated cleft chin. After Chris graduated that December, we kept up a long-distance relationship, including writing letters in 2003 during the invasion and early occupation of Iraq. Chris sent a marriage proposal in one of those letters, writing, “We don’t need a lavish affair, just a ceremony that lets us tell the world how we feel about each other, and that our family can come together to celebrate with us.” Then he jokingly offered to trade vows at home plate at Fenway Park in Massachusetts, where I grew up. He didn’t often show his emotions; I treasured his loving words.

    Melissa Thomas and her late husband served in Iraq at the start.  All this time later -- the Iraq War turns 16 years old in March -- US troops are still being sent to Iraq.  Indiana's TIMES-HERALD reports:

    Private First Class Kyle Montgomery, Bravo Company, 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion deployed, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Jan. 5 to Iraq. He will be clearing IEDs and will be a primary gunner. In March of 2018 he graduated IAIT combat engineering at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and in June he completed 40 hours of combat lifesaver course.

    He served as the primary gunner for the platoon sergeant during rotation 18-10 at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana. On Aug.3 he graduated from the Sabalauski Air Assault School 101st Air Borne Division (Air Assault) and earned the Army Achievement Medal as a machine gunner in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

    The Iraq War doesn't end, it just goes on and on.

    My name is Penny Evans and I've just gone twenty-one
    A young widow in the war that's being fought in Vietnam
    And I have two infant daughters, I thank God I have no sons
    Now they say the war is over but I think it's just begun

    The Vietnam War dragged on for years and years.  One difference?  Each year the American people grew more and more vocal about calling for an end to it.  Of course, back then, the network news was the only televised news outlet.  You didn't have idiots like Rachel Maddow posing as reporters -- MSNBC presents her as a 'reporter.'  She's not.  She's a talk show host and she does not do "in depth reporting" -- or any reporting at all -- for that matter, no matter how many press releases MSNBC issues.  With all these hours to fill, the cable channels do not do reporting.  They'll do an interview and pass that off as reporting or news but it's not. 

    And it's always about a 'hot' topic that's 'trending.'  It's not about issues that actually matter.  I doubt anyone watching an evening newscast in the US in, say, 1967, would have thought the day would come where the US could be at war (multiple wars today, actually) and the war wouldn't be a nightly staple on the news.  

    But we don't have news.  We have feel good clips.  We have interviews.  We have opinions.  And the opinions aren't even on things that matter.  

    The American people are shaped by their media.  I don't deny that.  But let's get honest about how willfully stupid so many are -- especially over here on the left.  The Iraq War continues but they'd rather bore you with any number of other topics.

    NEWSWEEK proclaims that the only winner in the Iraq War, per the US military, is Iran.  And they do it on the 22nd of this week.  It's the report we covered on the 18th.  That day, NEWSWEEK was too busy with Jason Leopold's latest implosion.  It hadn't imploded yet, so they spent forever running with it.  But it did implode, didn't it?  Maybe the next time the US military releases a report that they've refused to release for years, NEWSWEEK focuses on that and not the conjecture of a reporter who has had one scoop after another explode in his face?

    There are real issues at play here.  But the media is too busy playing to notice.  There are exceptions.  For example, the editorial board of THE TOLEDO BLADE observes:

    Toxic smoke from open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan may be responsible for sickening countless Americans who served there.
    Just how many veterans may have suffered cancer and other illness caused by the burn pits remains unclear because military doctors are not even examining service members and veterans during regular medical exams to discover whether those who worked near the burn pits may have been affected by the toxic smoke.

    A bill that would have required such screening died in Congress last year. Then, earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in a lawsuit filed by service members who claim their illnesses were caused by burn pit exposure.
    [. . .]
    In the case of Agent Orange the government dragged its feet for decades before acknowledging its responsibility and compensating victims for birth defects and other health issues related to the chemical. The U.S. must not repeat this mistake.

    Supposedly, the answer is Congress.  Again.  And again and again.  They're noting one overruling by the Supreme Court.  But this issue has been going on forever.  What's going to change this?  Maybe some real attention.  Maybe the Court would feel more vested in doing the right thing if the American people actually paid attention to these issue and the media fully covered them?

    Last week, Burn Pits 360 noted:

    We're heartbroken right now...

    Dear friend,

    Today we got some very upsetting news. The U.S. Supreme Court made the decision to not take up the case involving a class-action lawsuit from many veterans against KBR, the corporate military contractor that was negligent in their burn-pits operations. This is absolutely a kick to many of our already suffering veterans, including myself.

    I'll be honest -- we are coming across roadblocks at the judicial level, and a lot of it has to do with the lack of understanding and education on how burn-pits affect our veterans post-deployment. I saw it when recent local judges ruled against me when I sued to get my job back with a state law enforcement agency. Just because we suffered a setback, that doesn't mean we stop fighting.

    I need your help -- I'm looking for 100 donors tonight to pitch in $10 right now so we can continue to put funding towards educating our legislators in D.C. If we can't win at the judicial level, then we will succeed at the legislative level, but we can only do it with your help. Please chip in $10 right now to help us pass meaningful legislation for our veterans this year. 
    Thank you for your continued support.
    CPT Le Roy Torres, U.S. Army, Retired
    Texas Highway Patrol, Retired
    Founder of Burn Pits 360

    The useless cable talk shows have hours to waste.  A real shame they can't highlight issues that actually matter instead of the conjecture and gossip they specialize in.

    Equally true, the evening news broadcasts have no reporters stationed in Iraq.  They don't cover the war (or the other wars).  Even though US troops remain there.  You'd think they'd at least manage to cover these wars until the troops came home.  Apparently, that's expecting too much -- despite all the profits ABC, CBS and NBC generate.  Once upon a time, they were expected to meet certain public needs.  Not anymore, clearly.

    The media rushed to declare ISIS defeated and vanquished in Iraq (December 2017).  Maybe so they'd be able to stop talking about Iraq?  It seemed to tax them so, didn't it?  As we noted repeatedly, ISIS was not gone.  This morning, XINHUA reports:

     Iraq's security forces' increasing dependence on thermal cameras is now met by a new tactic from the Islamic State (IS) militants, who tried tinfoil cloaks to evade detection by the cameras.
    "Thermal cameras played a major role in monitoring IS militants' movements in rugged areas in northern Diyala, such as Himreen mountainous area," Abu Ahmed al-Shammari, leader of Hashd Shaabi, told Xinhua.

    According to Shammari, Hashd Shaabi foiled an infiltration attempt by IS militants four days ago in al-Safra area, some 90 km north of Diyala's provincial capital Baquba despite tinfoil cloaks worn by some of the extremist militants.

    Other news?

    ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reports:

    The Iraqi Parliament failed on Thursday to vote on Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s new candidates for the education and justice ministries, respectively Safana al-Hamdani and Rakan Qader Wali.

    Parliament voted Wednesday on the country’s general budget for 2019. On Thursday, it was set to approve the PM’s proposal for the two cabinet posts. However, Abdul Mahdi, who should have attended the session to present some clarifications about a decision by the cabinet secretariat general to restrict the powers of deputies, failed to show up. He did not give any reasons for his absence.

    And he still hasn't been able to select a Minister of Defense or Interior despite the war continuing in Iraq.  He's a failure and US troops have to remain on the ground to prop him up.  It's the 'strategy,' US troops must repeatedly prop up these puppets until one finally takes.

    No wonder the war never ends.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Wately and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: