Friday, July 14, 2006

A light post (I won't pretend this is deep)

I really did hope to blog last night. But I got back Weds. and went to work Thursday. After the evening group, I was so tempted to take a nap before even going home. Please visit Mikey Likes It! to get Mike's thoughts for the day. We're toying with different ideas still on how we'll remain "blog twins" after we've decided to delink. Hopefully, by next Friday, we'll have it down.

"Iraq Snapshot" (The Common Ills):
The Operation Happy Talk goes on.
Sean McFarland becomes the biggest doofus outside the administration by delcaring, "I think we have turned a corner her in Ramadi." MacFarland is both an Army Col. and a Happy Talker.
In news that's a little harder to Happy Talk,
Antonio Castaneda (AP) reports that of the 1000 Sunni soldiers who made up the May 2006 graduating class "only about 300 of them have reported for duty".
In other news from the real world,
Reuters reports that the US Congressional Budget Office predicts: "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years".
These projections come at a time when, as
Martha Burk has pointed out (Ms.), the US government has cut "[d]omestic-violence prevention by $35 million, Medicaid by $17 billion over five years and child care programs by 1.03 billion over five years."
In other costs paid,
Reuters reports 12 corpses were discovered in Tal Afar. CBS and the AP note a corpse ("shot in the chest . . . signs of torture") discovered in Azizyah".
noted earlier this morning, seven people were killed ("after Friday prayers") when a Sunni mosque in Baghdad was bombed. Meanwhile Reuters reports that a mosque in Balad Ruz was hit by mortar rounds leaving at least two dead and four wounded while a car bomber in Mosul who killed himself and five others. The AFP covers a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one person dead and nine wounded.
Shooting deaths?
Reuters notes that two policeman were killed by a sniper in Tal Afar while a minibus near Kut was attacked "with machine gun fire" resulting in five dead ("including a wwoman and a child"). Meanwhile, the AFP reports attacks in two cities: a car was "ambushed" in Tikrit by assailants who shot the father dead and wounded the son; and, in Mosul, two different attacks left a police officer dead as well as the bodyguard of a judge. And the Associated Press reports a drive-by in Baghdad that killed a taxi driver.
BBC noted the death of several Iraqi soldiers (12 at that point) in Kirkuk when they were attacked with "rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns". AFX raised the number dead to 13 (citing "colonel Mahmud Abdulla").
following yesterday's kidnapping attempt that left wrestling coach Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib dead, the AP reports that: "Iraq's national wrestling team [has] pulled out of a tournament in the United Arab Emirates".
In the United States,
Saturday July 15th is a day of action calling for Suzanne Swift to receive an honorable discharge including a protest, "at the gates of Ft. Lewis (exit 119) beginning at 12 pm with a press converence at 3 pm" in Washington state -- while in Eugen, Oregon there will be a demonstration outside the Federal Building at noon.
In DC (and across the globe -- over 22 countries), the fast led by
CODEPINK and others continues. As Thursday's The KPFA Evening News reported some Congressional members, including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Lynne Woolsey took part in a one-day fast on Thursday. Ann Wright, who ressigned from the State Department on May 19, 2003 and is taking part in the actions stated: "The only reason we fast is to force us to remember what's going on here. That innocent Iraqis are dying every day, Americans are dying every day. We need to get this war ended. So, yeah, we're going to up the ante".
Wednesday July 19th, San Antonio, TX will be the location for a "public hearing held by the the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves" -- "in the Iberia Ballroom of the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, 112 College Street, San Antonio."
There will be two panels with the first lasting from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and focused on "
roles and missions to funding requirements" and the second, lasting from 2:00 pm to 4 pm, focusing on how reserves were "involuntarily mobilized after September 11, 2001".

On the above, there are numerous items that are important and I'm sure that something will stand out for everyone. I am tremendously bothered by the cuts in domestic abuse prevention.
You could argue, and you'd be right, that there's no way this administration wasn't going to do those cuts because they don't care about safety and they especially don't care about women's safety. However, look at that cut, $35 million. While we'll likely end up spending over $200 billion on the illegal war, we can't cough up $35 million for prevention? It proves, though it doesn't need proving at this late date, that there's always money for war.

I didn't know the new issue of Ms. was out. I'll be visiting my bookstore tomorrow and picking it up. I prefer to buy my magazines in person. I know some people enjoy the excitement of going to the mailbox and wondering, "Is this the day?" As I've explained here before, this was something my father did on Saturdays, took my brother and I to the bookstore to get us out of my mother's hair. Saturdays aren't Saturdays without a visit to a bookstore.

One of the worst parts of the vacation which had a store of some type on the resort but it was all travel, garden, sports and finances in terms of magazines and, in terms of books, a lot of right wing bios/'studies' and a lot of page turners. No Jackie Collins because I would've picked her up for a beach read. I ended up raiding the books Rebecca brought along that she'd snagged from C.I. One was nonfiction and I was so-so on it. The other one I read was Alentejo Blue and the author is Monica Ali. It was a . . . Involving. It reminded me of some of Anais Nin's short fiction and a great deal of her novel Collages. I'm speaking of the way it offered character studies. The locale and the characters were quite different. But if you enjoyed Collages, you would really enjoy this book. I had packed Mauguerite Young's Miss MacIntosh, My Darling and I read (and strongly enjoyed) that book. That is a book that I've meant to read for some time. It's a very long book and I lost a copy once on a trip mid-way through the book. I've had a difficult time finding it over the years (at one point it was out-of-print and may be still) but C.I. has a copy and was kind enough to send it to me.

I should note that C.I., in college, is the one who turned both Rebecca and myself onto Anais Nin. Her interest in the human psyche and her choices of illustrative words have always moved me. So if you're searching for some fiction to read, I'd recommend Alentejo Blue, anything by Anais Nin and Miss MacIntosh, My Darling.

When we were out on the beach, Rebecca would moan, "Not the big book!" It is a big book, Young's novel. I haven't even unpacked. I got back late Weds. and was too tired Thursday. But let me walk away from the computer and see if I can find the suitcase with that book.

Okay. This is the hardcover edition. It is 1,198 pages. That's why Rebecca called it "the big book." I was hoping to skim some of the book because I had been half-way through it when I lost my copy. But her style is part of the book's charm and I got caught up in it. So I'd read about 30 pages and look over at Rebecca and if she was at a stopping point in her book, we'd talk about what we were reading or what we were going to eat at dinner. Or who's turn it was to waive the guy over for more drinks. We were very lazy. The guys were more productive and went scuba diving. If it had been a longer vacation for me, I probably would have done that as well. However, I have had swimmer's ear before and with such a short time, I didn't want to risk getting it and then getting stuck with it on the flights back which would have been a painful nightmare.

We didn't just read. We walked a great deal. It was a little too . . . It wasn't my taste, the resort. It was beautiful. But . . . I enjoyed myself. I did. We did end up doing picnics in the evening because some of the other guests really got on my nerves.

Want a good read online? Read Betty's "The War Paint Council" which is very funny and it's nice to see the 'macho' War Hawks in a different light. I love how she takes a needles to their ballons and let's all the hot air out. Another good read is Trina's "Deviled Eggs in the Kitchen." That will touch you. But if you're looking funny, Sunny showed this to me today at the office. She said she read it three times and couldn't stop laughing each time. If the excerpt doesn't make you laugh and you enjoy humorous writing, just assume that I've chosen wrong for the excerpt because it is very funny.

"Bugging Hillary" (Susie Day, CounterPunch):
One morning, as Hillary Rodham Clinton was waking up from anxious dreams, she discovered that she had been changed into a monstrous verminous Republican.
She lay on her armor-hard back and saw, as she lifted her head up a little, her brown, arched abdomen divided into rigid bow-like sections. Her numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of her circumference, flickered helplessly before her eyes.
"Oh, great," she muttered. "I am 100% enjoying this. In fact, I'd really like to french kiss whoever did this to me."
Hillary Rodham Clinton was no stranger to sarcasm. Sarcasm had gotten her out of the house ­ where she had once loved to bake cookies in the shape of Tammy Wynette ­ and into the public fray, to fight the rightwing plots that assailed her and her husband.
There, in order to survive, she had learned to "triangulate." She had become highly skilled in moving to the center, between two opposing sides, ignoring the liberal losers and placating the neoconservative ascendancy ­ all the while remaining staunch and true to whatever it was she stood for that day. She was proud of her record in the Senate, proud that Pete Seeger had never written a song about voting for her.
Who could have done this? Was her loathsome new form the work of another rightwing conspiracy? But why would the Right do this to her now? Hadn't she just complimented the President on his "charm and charisma"? Hadn't she supported capital punishment and welfare reform? Sponsored anti-flag-burning legislation? Asked for 80,000 more troops in the army? Pounced on photo-ops with the likes of Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, and Bill Frist, and planned a fundraiser hosted by Rupert Murdoch? Hmm Maybe FBI higher-ups, seeking to upgrade surveillance, had told one of their inept agents to "bug" her room. Those imbeciles screwed up so much; no telling what they might do to a figure of speech.