Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Substituting for Elaine

Iraq snapshot.
Violence and chaos continue. Monday on
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dahr Jamail told Nora Barrows-Friedman, "It really is horrible to try to keep in context the level of violence . . . Here we are doing it again with no end in sight and I wonder just how long we'll continue doing it? . . . Things are not just staying the same in Iraq, it's getting exponentially worse."
How long before the mainstream press admits that?
In kidnapping news, Raad al-Harith and his body guards have been released. al-Harith is the deputy electricity minister in Iraq who
was kidnapped Tuesday. The AFP reports that, "after being held for 10 hour," the bodyguards and al-Hareth were released but that is not the case with regards to Taiseer Najeh Awad al-Mashhadni who was kidnapped Saturday. al-Mashhadani's kidnappers, the AFP reports, "issued demands including special protection for Shiite places" and "called for the release of detainees in US custody and a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops".
Both al-Harith and al-Mashhadni were kidnapped in Baghdad. Remember Baghdad? The "crackdown"? The press seems to have largely forgotten it. As the
AFP notes regarding the continued bombings in Baghdad: "The series of blasts come despite an ongoing security plan that has put some 50,000 Iraqi soldiers and police, backed by US forces on the streets."
Basra, which was also placed under a state of emergency also appears largely forgotten.
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The state of emergency ended Saturday, but residents said that little had changed: Shiite militias and tribes still control the city's streets, political factions still fight for control of the city, and Shiite Muslim militias still threaten Sunni Muslims with death. Morgue officials report that the number of people killed in sectarian violence remains unchanged."
Baghdad? The
BBC reports that a car bomb near a mosque resulted in at least six dead and at least 17 wounded. AFP notes a bomb "outside a restaurant . . . noteworthy for the massive banners praising Shiite martyrs it displayed" that killed at least one and wounded at least seven as well as another bomb that went off in a market and wounded at least ten peopole. Reuters notes a car bomb in Kirkuk that left three wounded and a roadside bomb that left two wounded. In Mosul, AFP reports, a police officer and a civilian lost their lives when a car bomb exploded (at least four other people were wounded).
Near Kirkuk,
AFP reports, "a headless male corpse" was discovered. Reuters reports the discovery of two corpses in Kerbala. AP notes the discovery of a corpse ("shot in the head) in Baghdad.
Shooting deaths?
AFP reports a Kurd was killed while driving his car in Kirkuk. In Mosul, Reuters counts four dead from gun shots. In Baghdad, AP reports that a drive by targeted a Shi-ite family, "killing a 12-year-old boy and wounding his brother and two other relatives."
Reuters reports that the central morgue in Baghdad places the body count for June at 1,595. Abdul Razzaq al-Obaidi states: "June is the highest month in terms of receiving cases of violence since" the Februrary 22nd bombing of the Golden Mosque.
To underscore, the waves of Operation Happy Talk that the peace plan/scam was a 'turning point,' that the death of Zarqawi/"Zarqawi" was a 'turning point,' go down the list -- there has been no 'turning point.'
On Tuesday, Iraq's justice minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli made a call for an independent investigation into the alleged rape of an under-age Iraqi female as well as her alleged murder and that of three of her family members. Today, the Associated Press reports, Nouri al-Maliki (Iraq prime minister and puppet of the illegal occupation) is following al-Shebi's call for an independent investigation. Canada's CBC notes that today was the first time he spoke publicly on the matter . This despite the fact that Green was arrested Friday (news broke on Monday) and the US announced the investigation on Friday. Though various reports mention the alleged involvement of others, thus far only Steven D. Green has been charged. Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Sandra Lupien noted that the military has gone from referring to Green having an alleged "personality disorder" to his having an "anti-social personality disorder." Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that Safiyya al-Suhail and Ayda al-Sharif (both serve in Iraq's parliament, both are women) are asserting that al-Maliki needs to appear before parliament "to give assurances the US troops would be punished."

The thing at the top is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday. My nickname is Sunny and my grandfather gave me that nickname. It's what everyone calls me. I work for Elaine and, for three days, she called me by my given name. Then my mother, who was dying for three days, dying to come up and see my new job, shows up (she'd promised to wait one week but didn't make it) and it's all Sunny this & Sunny that. Elaine asks about my name and my mother says, "Everyone calls her Sunny, you call her Sunny, everyone calls her Sunny, it's because of her smile." Though that reads like several sentence, I didn't make them several sentences. If you knew my mother (who is very sweet), you'd know why.

I want to give a big shout out to Mike who Elaine told me to call if I had any questions. I called him. With a big question - "How do I start?" He said put C.I.'s snapshot up and then I'll have something and won't be staring at a blank screen. That helps. Mike blogs at Mikey Likes It! and if you come here and don't know that already, let me see when Elaine has an opening and pencil you in for a session. :)

I asked Elaine if it was okay to write about her and she said yes. Then I asked if I could write about C.I. and she said yes. So if I add Rebecca to the list, I have three posts. Elaine's back on Wednesday so that means I have three posts that I think I can do.

This is just my intro post. I'll talk a little about me so you'll know somethings. I'll talk about myself tomorrow when I'm talking about Elaine too. Heck, I'll probably talk about myself all week.

I'm 26 years old as of last month. I'm single but steady-dating a guy named Ramon who is very wonderful, too wonderful. I keep waiting for the shoe to drop and for him to explain that he's on parole or married. I've had other jobs before but they didn't pay that well. They paid crap. I had just gotten my first apartment when I was fired from my job. They had cut backs and called it a lay off but it was fired in my book. I was in a panic and started applying for everything, including dental hygenist, whether I was qualified or not. Elaine took a chance on me, she'd disagree, but she did. I'll talk about that some more tomorrow but what you need to know right now, if you didn't already, is that she's a really cool person. We have a lot of fun.

In high school, my best friend Joyce and I were working fast food. That was a lot of fun because we'd always be able to laugh. That's the only job I've enjoyed before this. And I didn't enjoy that work. I do enjoy the work I do now.

Joyce. Joyce has a two kids, both little girls. She got married three years ago and I kid her that she'll have a third baby any day now. Her girls are so pretty, sweet and precious. I see them and think, "I want babies!" Then I see how much she and her husband, both work, struggle and I think, "I should wait." Those girls are wonderful but they better appreciate all their parents are sacrificing for them. My parents did as well but, like my mother says, a dollar went further back then. Ramon and I babysit every other Friday for them because they need a night out.

Joyce said it was okay to write about their money situation and that she really wished I would because she turns on TV and sees all these women who don't work or give up working and feels like no one knows what her life is like.

She works a forty-hour week and so does her husband. Her mother watches the girls during the day. With two full time jobs, meaning two full time paychecks, they still struggle. Her sister works at a clothing store so when the girls are older, if her sister's still there, clothes shouldn't be a problem but right now, everything is.

They have no cable. When there's a game or a concert, I always invite them over. Ramon follows sports so he's better at it than I am. (Ramon and I do not live together, in case you're wondering. We've only been dating a few months.) Their bills are down to rent and utilities. Everything else goes to taking care of the kids. Baby food is not cheap. Nothing is.

I think it's disgusting that two people work so hard and they still have to struggle. Joyce was really worried when their second daughter was born because she stayed home on family leave and her husband started talking about quitting his job and going somewhere else. It would be great if he could get a better paying job but her concern was that, with the economy, he might end up without any job. So he agreed to stay because it was really stressing her out, to the point of high blood pressure. Joyce and I are the same age, there's no reason in the world she should end up with high blood pressure but that's the sort of story you never hear about in the news that just focuses on "Oh, I've got my new house and my new baby."

When I was growing up, I watched Roseanne. There doesn't seem to be any show like that today. Everyone has money. Sometimes they'll whine about not having it, but they don't have to do much, it just shows up. Dan and Roseanne were always struggling and that was reality in my family. That's still reality for a lot of families. But you turn on TV and there's Deborah Barone, stay at home Mom. There's one after another all over TV. I know of two women from my high school graduating class who stay home with their kids. No one else can afford it. But you don't see that on TV.

When I was growing up, it seemed like being a woman was a good thing. Nothing to be ashamed of. But if I watch TV today, I always get the impression that it's a bad thing to be a woman. I really wonder where the Roseannes and Murphy Browns are today? I thought Murphy Brown was funny. It was nothing like my life, but I loved how she didn't take any crap and had this life that was so not like mine. Not in a "unreal" way the way the stay at home moms are. But more like, "Maybe when I grow up . . ."

So that's my problem with TV today.

My other problems? Oh, don't get me started. I should be one of Elaine's patients!

Iraq is a big issue with me. I'm a member of The Common Ills community. I'm a lazy member because I mainly read, but if you look around, you'll find me weighing in with a suggested link or a favorite thing every now and then.

Why do I like The Common Ills? Because it's funny. It really is. I laugh so much. And it's funny while tackling serious subjects. One of the big subjects there is Iraq and I really can't believe how little attention the war gets elsewhere. The Iraq focus has only gotten beefed up and Joyce goes that's because C.I.'s carrying the weight for a lot of people. I agree with that.

But it's told or written in a way that you can relate. Maybe you'll get a laugh like "Dexy's back under the red light" or that hilarious one where C.I. had Dexy saying, "So soldier, you got a girl?" Ramon printed that one and posted it at work.

Ramon says that there are a million stories that never get told about Iraq from the big slaughters to the individual stories. Like the pregnant woman that was shot and killed at a checkpoint back in May. My mother watches the evening news, I think NBC, and she was talking about how there's no follow up and there's no connections being made. Each massacre or slaughter is treated as an exception.

I agree with that. There's so much going on and there's so little coverage. You really have to work to find it. That's why I love the "Iraq snapshot." In the gina & krista round-robin poll, I voted to keep it and lose the highlights because to me, it's the best thing you can get. I've seen the Reuter's Factbox each day and it's . . . okay. It doesn't provide many connections and it doesn't offer an opinion because it's news. All afternoon, I'm checking The Common Ills looking for the snapshot. I'll compare notes with my mother on the phone later and she'll say, "I didn't hear that on the news."

Jake Kovko was a story she never heard about except from me passing on bits from The Common Ills. At first, like the first three days, she didn't believe it because she kept saying, "That can't be true or it would be on the news." If you don't know the story, Kovko was a soldier in Iraq. He was Australian. He died. His body was sent home. But it wasn't. They sent the wrong body home. Then their equivalent of Secretary of Defense started telling their news that Kovko committed suicide and this other stuff that really upset the family. When his body finally made it home and they had his funeral, when I was reading about that, I was crying at work. I felt so sorry for that family, his parents, his wife Shelley. They were for the war and that really doesn't matter to me. They lost someone really important to them and that shouldn't have happened. The war should never have happened. I remember that one of the songs they played at his funeral was by James Blunt, but I'm forgetting which one. I'll try to look that up.
But no one should have died but people keep dying and that's because we won't rise up and say "End the war!"

One CD I will mention is The Complete Cass Ellioot Solo Collection 1968-1971. You can get it at Elaine mentioned it last week, I do read her blog, and meant to note the title. I got it at amazon. It's a two disc set. "Darling Be Home Soon" is my favorite song.

Okay, I just called Mike, read this to him and he was so nice to listen. He says it's great but I bet he's being very generous. I'll see you tomorrow night.