Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Sheet Pan Fajita Shrimp in the Kitchen

Let's start with a good recipe, Sheet Pan Fajita Shrimp in the Kitchen: 


2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 2-inch strips

1 medium yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch strips

1 large onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced 

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1/3 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined


1 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder and salt. Set aside.

3 In a large bowl, toss together the bell peppers and onions.  Drizzle with 1 1/3 teaspoons of olive oil and half the chili powder mixture.  Toss to coat evenly.

4 Spread the seasoned peppers and onions on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

5 While the vegetables are baking, place the shrimp in the same large bowl you tossed the peppers and onions in.  Drizzle the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil over the shrimp and sprinkle with the remaining chili powder mixture. Mix well.

6 After the peppers and onions have been in the oven for 15 minutes, removed the baking sheet and add the shrimp in an even layer.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and tender.

That recipe is one of the many great recipes that you can find in Lisa Grant's Super Easy Cookbook for Beginners: 5-Ingredient Recipes and Essential Techniques To Get You Started.  The book is available for no additional charge to those who pay for the Kindle Unlimited service on Amazon.

Grant spends the first two chapters going over basics.  You're reading a recipe that calls for you to broil something.  I don't think twice.  I've been cooking forever.  And sometimes, it is easy to forget that broil is not something we have all learned.  She addresses the terms and what they mean. 

And then she provides recipes that are easy to follow.  The book more than achieves what it set out to do and I highly recommend it.

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

Monday, February 12, 2024.  Hate merchants Selma Blair, Michael Rapaport and Debra Messing take the masks off to go full KKK, a missing six-year-old girl is discovered in Gaza days after the IDF killed her, despite Joe Biden's begging the assault on Rafah has begun, and much more.


The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, today condemned anti-Muslim remarks made by actress Selma Blair and encouraged her to apologize and dialogue with the Muslim American community.

CAIR also called on film studios and talent agencies to stop punishing artists who express support for Palestinian human rights while ignoring hateful remarks by artists who support the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

In a comment on Instagram, Blair reportedly wrote: “Deport all these terrorist supporting goons. Islam has destroyed Muslim countries and then they come here and destroy minds. 

They know they are liars. Twisted justifications. May they meet their fate.”

According to allegations posted online, Blair has also allegedly liked other posts on social media that expressed anti-Muslim and anti-migrant sentiment.

In a statement, CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:

“No one is born a bigot, and we should never assume that someone is doomed to remain a bigot. 

“Based on the hateful and ignorant remarks that Ms. Blair made, we doubt that she has ever engaged in any meaningful interactions with her Muslim colleagues in Hollywood or other members of the American Muslim community. We encourage Ms. Blair to apologize, and we also invite her to dialogue with our community. 

“We also call on Hollywood studios and agencies to stop punishing artists who express support for Palestinian human rights while ignoring hateful comments by artists who support the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

CAIR recently released new civil rights data showing that it has received 3,578 complaints during the last three months of 2023 amid an ongoing wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate. Most recently, in Austin, Texas, a man screaming racist slurs attacked a group of Palestinian American Muslims who had just attend a pro-ceasefire protest.

On Monday, Feb. 12, (noon ET), CAIR plans to hold a news conference with the sons of Samaher Esmail, an American citizen and grandmother from New Orleans who was recently kidnapped, beaten, and denied access to medicine by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

Some may be saying "Who?" because, yes, she is a little nobody.  She's been wrongly billed, over the weekend, as a star of CRUEL INTENTIONS.  That film and the films before it and the novel have three main characters, she's not playing any of those three.  She's a supporting actress in that film.  She's a hacktress who got fired by Charlie Sheen (from the TV show ANGER MANAGEMENT).  She rode her illness to something akin to fame and did so while real disability activists were calling her into question.  She never had a career to speak of and now she probably never will because hate doesn't sell a lot of tickets.  In "The hateful people who destroy our world," Marcia gathered some of the responses on Twitter to Selma.  Speaking of Marcias, Marcia Cross of MELROSE PLACE and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES fame is in the news.  ALJAZEERA reports:

Marcia Cross, known for her role as Bree Van de Kamp on the popular TV series Desperate Housewives, has written on her Instagram page: “I’m struggling to comprehend how to live among people with eyes that don’t water, hearts that don’t flinch, and voices that remain silent.”

She ended her statement with emojis of a broken heart and the flag of Palestine.

“There are no words for the horror that has and is being unleashed. And the silence has me believing I am deaf,” she wrote in the post.

Back to the trash that is Selma Blair, THE NEW ARAB notes:

Blair was joined by controversial actors Michael Rapaport, who commented on Hamra's video "Love it", and Debra Messing, who posted: "THANK YOU".

Messing herself received backlash for ridiculing the exit of Palestinian Journalist Motaz Azaiza from Gaza on Instagram, going as far as to question Azaiza's journalistic credentials.

Michael Rapaport is human filth and the best that can be said about his "Love it" is that maybe typing that prevented him for a moment or two from again beating up a woman.  The most appalling thing is that hate merchant Debra Messing is making a 'documentary,' as Ava and I noted in "TV: The hate spreaders."  The mask is off, she's shown her true self -- she actually showed her true self on the set of the WILL & GRACE reboot so grasp what Megan Mullally had to work with and why Megan said, "No more."  But now she wants to be a documentary director and thinks she can show her hate online but still trick people into believing she's worth listening to.  She is not.  And anyone who participates in her garbage documentary -- I'm looking at you, Kirsten Gillibrand, especially --  should be ashamed of themselves.  And if you participate in it, you are signing off on the hate hate Debra herself has applauded.  You will own that look.

US President Joe Biden doesn't have a good look currently.   Yes, there have been multiple things in the last day.  I'm just focusing on the attack in southern Gaza, in Rafah.  Joe warned the world that Israel better have a plan for evacuation before the attack.  They didn't.  They don't.

The government of Israel just blew him off.  Just ignored him.  Just treated him like a powerless, doddering fool.  Is that the look he was going for?

Sunday?  ALJAZEERA notes, "Our Al Jazeera Arabic colleagues are reporting that at least 63 people were killed in strikes on two mosques in Rafah earlier tonight."  Yes, Israel is attacking Rafah -- home of an estimated 1.3 million people --  by ground and air. AP notes, "On Sunday, the White House said President Joe Biden had warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should not conduct a military operation against Hamas in Rafah without a 'credible and executable' plan to protect civilians."  They also point out that they witnessed a strike on a hospital.  They don't point out that that is a War Crime.  Chantal da Silva (NBC NEWS) reports, "In photos captured by NBC News’ crew, multiple children could be seen among with the injured, including a young boy with a bandaged head and blood on his face and sweater."

They just blew him off and ignored him.

Other governments haven't been as weak as Joe.  CNN’s Catherine Nicholls reports today:

The Netherlands must stop the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel within seven days, a Dutch court ruled on Monday, citing concerns that they could be used to violate international law as part of the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

“The court finds that there is a clear risk that Israel’s F-35 fighter jets might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law,” The Hague Court of Appeal said in a statement.

“This means that the export of F-35 parts from the Netherlands to Israel has to be stopped.”

Three non-governmental organizations — Oxfam Novib, Pax for Peace, and The Rights Forum — appealed a previous Dutch court decision that allowed the continued export of F-35 parts to Israel.

On Monday, The Hague Court of Appeal said that under several international regulations that the Netherlands is a party to, the country must prevent the export of military equipment if there is a “clear risk of serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

The court said that Israel does not take “take sufficient account of the consequences of its attacks for the civilian population,” adding that its attacks on Gaza have resulted in a “disproportionate number of civilian casualties.”

Lisa O'Carroll (THE GUARDIAN) reports, "The EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, has said he is 'extraordinarily concerned' about Benjamin Netanyahu’s threats to launch attacks on Rafah with no evacuation plan and no prospect of refugee camps in Egypt." 

Doctors Without Borders is also objecting:

Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity also known by its French initials MSF, has said that “Israel’s declared ground offensive on Rafah would be catastrophic and must not proceed”.

“As aerial bombardment of the area continues, more than a million people, many living in tents and makeshift shelters, now face a dramatic escalation in this ongoing massacre,” it said on X.

“Nowhere in Gaza is safe, and repeated forced displacements have pushed people to Rafah, where they are trapped in a tiny patch of land and have no options,” it added.

MSF also said that, since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza, the organisation’s medical teams and patients have been forced to evacuate nine different healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip.

It said the MSF facilities have come “under fire from tanks, artillery, fighter jets, snipers and ground troops, or being subject to an evacuation order”.

A top Biden administration aide privately admitted failures and "missteps" in the communication of US policy regarding Israel's ongoing war in Gaza in a closed-door meeting with Arab American and Muslim leaders in Michigan last week. 

"We have left a very damaging impression, based on what has been a wholly inadequate public accounting for how much the President, the administration, the country, values the lives of Palestinians," Deputy National Security adviser Jon Finer was heard telling community leaders in a recording obtained by CBS News. "We are very well aware that we have misstepped in the course of responding to this crisis." 

Finer also acknowledged that many in the Arab American community believe Mr. Biden doesn't empathize with Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

The audio recording was verified by a National Security Council official. 

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy responded to Finer's remarks Sunday during an interview on "Face the Nation With Margaret Brennan" and said the administration plans to make changes. He pointed to President Biden's Thursday statement that Israel has "gone too far" in Gaza, and a recent call by Secretary of State Antony Blinken for Israel not to dehumanize others as Israelis themselves had been dehumanized by Hamas during the brutal attacks on Oct. 7 that began the current conflict.

How do you respond to that?

Gaza remains under assault. Day 129 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  NBC NEWS notes, "The war in Gaza has killed 28,340 people and injured 67,984, health officials in the enclave said today."  Months ago,  AP has noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

The decomposing body of a missing young Palestinian girl was found Saturday in Gaza surrounded by her dead relatives in a bullet-ridden, tank-crushed car near a blasted ambulance and the bodies of two paramedics killed by Israeli troops while trying to save the child.

The plight of 6-year-old Hind Rajab drew worldwide attention after the Palestine Red Crescent Society published a recording of a desperate phone call made by her 15-year-old cousin Layan Hamadeh to the PRCS as her family came under Israeli tank attack while trying to flee to safety in their car in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of southern Gaza City at dusk on January 29. 

"They are shooting at us. The tank is right next to me. We're in the car, the tank is right next to us," Hamadeh said before screaming as gunfire erupts and the call goes silent. 

Along with Hamadeh, Rajab's aunt, uncle, and two other cousins were killed. But Rajab—who was wounded in the back and hand—initially survived.

"Come take me. Will you come and take me?" she begged PRCS dispatcher Rana al-Faqeh over the phone, telling her that she was afraid of the dark. "I'm so scared, please come!"

An ambulance was dispatched to rescue Rajab. But it, too, came under Israeli attack, and crew members Yusuf Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoun were killed.


The following sites updated: