Mike here. Nina and Elaine took my younger sister to the bookstore. My folks got off to the airport first thing this morning. So I'm just kicking back and relaxing. There's a cloud blocking the sun right now at this minute and if it could do that all day, I'd be jumping for you. It is just too hot.
Check this out from Reuters:
Temperatures will average above normal in most of the United States in August, extending what has been the warmest year on record so far, the U.S. National Weather Service said on Thursday.
That is wack, as my sister would say. :D
So how can you beat the temperature?
How about Thom Yorke's The Eraser? To me, that CD just sounds like rain. Even if you're not a Radiohead fan, I'll bet you'll like. If you love Radiohead, you'll love it. My bicep is in tremors. :D
I wanted to get the attic cleaned out while my folks were on their vacation and after they were off on their flight, that's the first thing I tackled. Don't worry, Dad and me had been talking about what was staying and what was going. But some of that stuff was heavier than it looked. If I'm typing, no problem. But if I stop and bend my elbow, to scratch my nose or anything, my bicep starts shaking. Been a long time since I've been effected like that. (I'm big on working out with weights.)
So The Eraser. Booklet is a drawing (no lyrics included) and I'm trying to figure it out. A man's either, looks to me, trying to use his hand to make a board on a wave with a dog or a scorpion come to him or go away from him. There are storm clouds and the waves are surrounding buildings. One of the buildings may be Big Ben. The back of the fold out drawing is pretty similar except there are two boats with one person in each. Dude, when I hold the drawing with both hands, my right bicep is just going crazy and my whole arm on down starts shaking. That is too weird! :D
I think "Black Swan" and "Atoms For Peace" are my favorite songs right now. I like the notes in "Atoms for Peace." Here's what I think are some of the lyrics:
No more going to the dark side
For your flying saucer ride
No more falling down a worm hole
That I have to pull you out.
That was a gift from Elaine by the way. She's staying this weekend since we're the only ones on the East Coast participating in the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. She wanted to bring food but I told her we didn't any. She checked with the folks to be sure and they told her we were stocked. So she said it was her way of not showing up "empty handed." But I think it was just her way of being nice because she knew I wanted this CD.
Thom Yorke's voice goes so high. Especially on "Atoms for Peace." "And yea-aaa-lll be okay" or something like that he sings. It's a really cool CD.
So I'm fresh from the shower, with one bicep going crazy, got Thom Yorke on the speakers, drinking a Dr. Pepper and eating some kettle cooked potato chips that are sea salt and cracked pepper. Tony brought those yesterday for the group that gets together to talk about the war but we had so many chips we didn't open them all. The folks gave them back to people but Tony said he was going to be catting around last night (LOL, yeah trying anyway!) and didn't feel like cruising around with a bag of chips. They're pretty good. I'll eat one and think, "I hate this" when I bite in and then I'll chew it and the taste will grow on me. They're kind of sharp tasting.
I just put in what I was going to close with and I was thinking about what I'd put between but my arm is just shaking now -- bent or straight. I'm going to stop and doing some stretches. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq Snapshot" from Friday:
Chaos and violence continue. Or else just think of the decision of the extended curfew in Baghdad as the capital beginning to note ozone days. The BBC reports that the Friday daytime ban "now covers most of the day" and that it ends "just two hours before the daily night-time curfew begins." 'Liberation' by unofficial house arrest.
If the 'crackdown' is to cut off all attempts at daily life in Baghdad, how's that hearts & minds strategy going? AFP reports that in Baquba hearts and minds scatter to the wind when six people were killed and 23 wounded. Killed how? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Among the five dead were an infant and two women. The two adult males are being dubbed 'insurgents' by the US military. The women and the infant? AP trumpets one sentence into a condolence card: "The Americans expressed regret for the civilian deaths." Reuters, using sources other than the military's press release, reports that six, not five (as the AP reports -- the AFP was at the hospital and counted six corpses), were killed and that it came from an air raid bombing of three houses. (AP's iffy on what happened, AFP also calls it an air strike). Though the US dubs the two dead males 'insurgents,' reports indicate that the troops were seen as the 'insurgents.' AFP has an eye witness, Mohammed Omar, who states that the men on rooftop were guards (not an uncommon occurence in Iraq) and they fired at approaching troops believing they were 'insurgents'.
What happened? Probably no one involved, American or Iraqi, can tell you in full. For the military, that's what happens when the people you are supposedly 'liberating' are seen as the 'enemy.' The press release (which the New York Times will probably build from tomorrow -- though we can always hope that isn't the case) outlines (at length) a version of events. Those events aren't reflected in reporting by Reuters or AFP which actually spoke to people involved. And just to repeat, it's a lengthy press release. The AP treats the one 'regret' sentence as though it's prominent or lengthy. It's an afternote. The twenty-three wounded? Women and children in that number as well.
Elsewhere in Iraq today?
The AFP reports that, in Baghdad, clashes led to the shooting deaths of three Iraqi soldiers and three Iraqi police officers, as well as the shooting death of "a Christian government official". Reuters notes that "[t]wo Salvadoran[,] . . . four Polish soldiers and an Iraqi transloator were wounded when their convoy was attacked . . . not clear how the convoy was attacked." That was "near Numaniya." In addition, Reuters notes the shooting death of a police officer in Mosul. And, in an update, Reuters is noting that a police officer and a civilian were shot dead "in separate attacks in Muqdadiya."
AFP notes one in Baghdad, "outside a Sunni mosque" that killed one person. Reuters notes that another person died in a roadside bomb near a Sunni mosque in Khalis (two others were wounded).
Reuters reports that three corpses were found near Falluja ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture") and that they were wearing the uniforms of Iraqi soldiers while another corpse (headless) was discovered in Kirkuk. In addition to that corpse, KUNA notes that the corpse of a two-year-old child was also found in Kirkuk. AFP notes four corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("signs of torture"). And Reuters is now reporting the discovery, in Muqdadiya, of the corpses of five kidnapped victims.
The US military announced that a US marine died Friday in the Anbar province. This as Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports that "Col. Michael Shields, commander of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team operating primarily in the Mosul area" says that the target of the 'insurgency' is now Iraqi soldiers.
In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco continued as attorneys for Shelley Kovco (widow of Australian soldier Jake Kovco) and Judy & Martin Kovco (parents of Jake) sought to establish that yesterday's 'key witness' had less than impressive qualifications. Conor Duffy reported on PM (Australia's ABC) that Wayne Hoffman faced questions on the 12-point document he'd prepared with it being noted that his document went beyond his area (ballistics) into a "largely speculative" area. (The reference is into Hoffman's statement that the death was a suicide -- which led Judy Kovco to leave the courtroom yesterday.) Duffy notes a number of things the 'expert' was confronted with such as the fact that, although he'd weighed in with expertise and great authority on the matter, "he was unaware there was another pistol in the room at the time of the shooting, and . . . he hadn't read the statements from Private Kovco's room mates." Dan Box (The Australian) reports that 'expert' Wayne Hoffman testified that he hadn't been able "to find any prints on the gun" -- not Jake Kovco's, not anyone's. Box notes: "NSW detectives will now travel to Baghdad to take DNA samples from those soldiers in Kovco's unit after unidentified DNA was found on the gun, including on its trigger." However, although that's been reported previously, it appears the journey to Baghdad is on hold. Conor Duffy (Australia's ABC) reports that although the expectation was for the testimony of soldiers in Baghdad to be heard Monday (via "videolink" as noted earlier this week), that's not the case: ". . . a spokeswoman for Defence Public Affairs says this has been delayed while a request to conduct DNA on more soldiers in Iraq is considered." So to recap, not only will soldiers not testify Monday via videolink (on hold) but the trip to Baghdad to take DNA samples (which had previously been stated to be a go) is now on hold. As Dan Box notes, the original investigation in Baghdad was made "without any foresensic equipment. In fact, no forensic tests were carried out by the military police." Speaking to Eleanor Hall on The World Today (Australia's ABC), Conor Duffy noted that Frank Holles [attorney for Judy and Martin Kovco] raised the issue that Hoffman appeared unaware that "Private Kovco was reportedly dancing around to a Cranberries song and communicating with his wife at the time of his death. 'Have you ever seen a suicide like that before?' he asked."
Also covering the inquiry, Belinda Tasker (Perth Now) reports that Hoffman stated that his reasons for believing that Jake Kovco pulled the trigger "was the fact that the pistol was his own." Tasker also notes that his two former roomates reported that he was joking with them and "singing along to pop songs" but they claim they did not see anything when the gun went off. Finally, Tasker reports that Shelley Kovco "excused herself from hearing much of the cross-examination today."
In news from American courts, Kay Stewart (Courier-Journal) reports that Steven D. Green, the former Army solider charged with raping and murdering 14 year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza and then murdering three members of her family, "won't be indicted until at least mid-October, under a motion granted yesterday in U.S. District Court in Louisville' at the request of federal prosecutors who would like it rescheduled to November 8th. The other five charged in the incident, Paul E. Cortez, Anthony W. Yribe, James P. Barker, Jesse V. Spielman, and Bryan L. Howard -- Yribe is only charged with dereliction of duty for failure to report the incident, "are scheduled for a miliary hearing in Iraq beginning Aug. 6" and the federal prosecutors argue that "[t]he same evidence and witnesses are necesaary components in both prosecutions."
In peace news, Hannah Charry (Hartford Advocate) reports that John Woods passed on his 60th birthday to take part in CODEPINK's TROOPS HOME FAST! Woods is "striking one day a week" (Fridays) for two months and states that: "His anti-war stance is in part something that he attributes to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he developed upon returning from Vietnam where he served with U.S. forces as an interrogator in 1969." Charry notes that Kat West is following Woods example and "will be fasting five days a week."
And in Canada, Ken Eisner (Vancouver's Straight) reports: "Fact: Jane Fonda's biggest fans in her antiwar tours were American GIs. Fact: returning soldiers were the vanguard of the out-of-Vietnam movement by the end of the 1960s. Fact: far more veterans of the military now serving in Congress are Democrats than are Republicans. Fact: U.S. soldiers are deserting at a rate greater than at any time since Vietnam." Though truth is always welcome, why is Eisner reporting that? Because the documentary Sir! No! Sir! is opening at the Ridge. Eisner speaks with the film's director, David Zeiger, who says of the film: "This story has been so thoroughly buried, I knew it would take a lot of digging to get it out there. I thought it would be emotionally draining too, and that's one of the things that scared me off. But what I found as the process went along is that it became much more celebratory. This gave a lot of people a chance to tell their stories within a context that would inspire others. The conversations certainly did conjure up painful memories, but overwhelmingly it was a positive experience for everyone involved."
Sir! No! Sir! is currently playing at:
1133 KENSINGTON ROAD NW, CALGARY, ALBERTA, T2N 3P4283-2222
FIFTH AVENUE CINEMA
2110 BURRARD ST, VANCOUVER
10 SOUTH LEWIS AVENUE, TULSA OK, 74104
(benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace organized by the Queens Anti-War Commitee)
AUGUST 2 - CINECENTA
STUDENT UNION BUILDING, UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
(two nights only)
AUGUST 3 - THE PALACE THEATER
38 HAILI ST., HILO, HAWAII 96720
(one night only, benefit for World Peace Society)
AUGUST 10 - REGINA PUBLIC LIBRARY
2311 - 12 AVE., REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, S4P 3Z5
(minimum two days)
AUGUST 11 - NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
1515 12th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122
(minimum one week)
AUGUST 13 - OJAI FILM FESTIVAL
(one night only)
AUGUST 18 -BROADWAY THEATRE
15 BROADWAY AVE., SASKATOON
(minimum one week)
AUGUST 22 - HOPEDANCE PRESENTS: SEBASTOPOL, CA
TWO ACRE FOOD CO-HOUSING, 680 ROBINSON, SEBASTOPOL
(one night only)
SEPTEMBER 8 - GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE
900 East AvenueRochester, NY 14607