Monday, October 16, 2006

Kat's Place (Betty)

Betty with you tonight and let me say from the start, I think Ruth does a wonderful job filling in here on Wednesdays and C.I. on Fridays. In fact, I think Mondays are your weakest nights while Kat's gone but she's built up a sizeable following and we don't want her to lose that.

I was asked about Kat's place and I'll share a little on that. My kids and I usually stay with her when we go to California because Kat's so great with kids and because I always think, "People are going to get tired of them." (That's just me. Everyone's always wonderful with them.) I had my own images of Kat's place before we visited and I had given my kids a lecture about not playing with things. (Kat had told me it probably wasn't child proof.) They love Kat's place and except for my daughter who has to pat the ivy, they were very well behaved. (It helped that Kat provided a wicker basket full of toys and things they could play with.)

Kat has so many plants. It's almost like you're at a florist shop. Her ivy is huge. She's basically running it around the living room. It snakes around three walls now and then hangs (because it's not yet long enough for the fourth wall but getting there). My daughter knows plants because my parents have a garden and house plants. I have some fake flowers around my home but I don't have time to water so that's it for me. All three of my kids just stared at the ivy when they saw it. For some reason, I think because she saw Kat mixing some stuff together with the water to feed the ivy, my daughter is convinced that it's not a plant but a pet. So she has to pat it whenever we visit and usually talk to it.

The other thing you notice right off is all the vinyl albums in plastic sleeves. Kat has shelves and shelves of vinyl. She also has this amazing sound system and that's more prominent than her TV which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone coming to this site. She has a TV in the living room and a little one in the kitchen but she's pretty much listening to the radio (KPFA) and only turns on the TV if something's mentioned on a news break that she wants to catch video of.

She did some music writing in high school and college which I knew but I didn't realize who she'd met during that and since. She has a lot of photos of herself with various rock stars. There's also a rock or pop star who she always says she's going to note here (she slept with him). I wish she would. She takes a lot of photographs herself and they're all over the place, framed. (Me? All my photos are in this large Target sack. I keep meaning to put them into photo albums. I have baby books on all three kids and I did keep those up to date. But I've never found the time to put the photos into albums.) (I do have framed photos of my kids and family around my house.)

What else? She has all the Beatles lunch boxes that came out a few years ago but she also has a huge collection of lunch boxes period. My kids flipped over those. And Kat was too kind and told them they could use one while they were down. I said, "Just metal." But my daughter, who always manages to get her way without whining, worked Kat around her finger and got a plastic one (I was afraid they'd rip a plastic one) that was Dawn. I don't know Dawn. Or didn't. But my daughter loved that lunch box. (I think it's pink with Dawn's face real large and then pictures of Dawn's friends on it -- smaller pictues.) Since I didn't know Dawn, Kat took me to her parents house and drug out the doll collection (not Kat's, she was older up in the chain and any of her dolls are long gone). Dawn's are like Barbies (but less stacked and shorter, about six or seven inches tall, I think). Kat's mother insisted I let my daughter take them with her. I said no but Kat insisted (noting all of her own dolls got passed down and if her sister wanted these to go to her children, they'd be with them now and not in their parents home). So she, my daughter, cleaned up.

I think she's going to be a nightmare later in life. She doesn't ask and she doesn't insist. She just compliments it in such a way that she usually ends up with it. She likes her baby dolls but she's not really into Barbies. She'll play with them but not that much. I wonder if it's their size? The Dawns, she loves them.

I love Kat's mother. She reminds me of mine, they've both seen it all. They're just really no nonsense and straight forward and funny. I can't believe she raised so many children. I've got three and sometimes feel like I should get an award (Nobel Peace Prize?) just because they haven't ripped each other apart.

She knows everyone who lives around her, Kat, and that was a surprise. I have some neighbors that I know but not all of them. There's a couple two houses over and the husband was two grades ahead of me (the wife is from out of the area), so I know them and if I have a problem that needs to be fixed right away (lighting the heater, for instance), I can and do call on them. But that and a friend of my brother's are really it for me and we've been in this house for about four or five years now. That's really sad. But I'm getting out of the car at the end of the day and trying to get them inside and out of the school clothes. Then I'm cooking dinner, then we're eating, then I'm cleaning the dishes, then it's homework time for my two boys and by the time it's all over, the sun's down . . .

But Kat knows all her neighbors.

She's got two bedrooms and that was good when her younger siblings were doing the in and out of the parents' home journey. But now, it's home and it's reasonable. (It's actually three bedrooms but she's turned one into her dark room.) She has a lot of art stuff and the kids loved her showing them how to use some of that. She grows her own herbs in her kitchen window. Her place is really warm with a lot of natural light.

Let me plug "Ruth's Report" which I loved. Trina's "Halloween in the Kitchen" is her latest and she blogs on Saturdays so I always worry she gets overlooked. I love her recipes and use many of them in my own kitchen. And let me plug myself, "The Queen Bee Gets Stung." Also let me plug Mike's "Informed Dissent, Iraq, elections, and more" and he's really trying to get the word out on Informed Dissent. I can't listen to it unless someone makes me a tape. I'm one of the community members with an old computer and a dial up connection. Reading Mike's "Informed Dissent, Iraq, elections, and more" makes me want to listen. (Kat tapes The Morning Show for me. I don't get it in Atlanta. And thanks to C.I. who's been taping it for me while Kat's in Ireland.)

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, October 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Lynndie England speaks, Iraq's health care system continues to 'collapse,' Iraqi school children offer their opinions, Bully Boy makes another pledge that others will have to back up and, related note, two more US troops die in Iraq as CNN reports that the death count for 'coalition' forces has reached 3,000.

Starting with some of the reported violence in the continued chaos that is the illegal war.


Ibon Villelabetia (Reuters) reports that tweny people died in Baghdad as a result of two car bombings. CBS and AP note two more bombs, in Baghdad, that took the life of one police officer. Reuters reports three roadside bombs left three dead in Baghdad, while two security guards were wounded elsewhere (in Basra by "rocket-propelled grenades" and in Najaf by a roadside bomb). AFP reports a car bomb in Suweira left 15 dead and 35 wounded.


AFP reports that four people were shot dead in Khalis "near a bus terminal". Al Jazeera reports that Emad al-Farron ("brother of Munqith al-Faroon, the chief prosecutor in the genocide trial of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein") was shot dead in Baghdad. CNN reports that three poeple were shot dead in Muqdadiya. Reuters reports that a police officer was shot dead in Madaen and "two bodyguards of former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari" were shot dead in Khalis.


Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Mosul. Al Jazeera notes that three corpses were discovered in Baquba. CNN reports that 26 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.

CNN noted, the death toll for those serving in the 'coalition' has now hit the 3,000 mark and that includes: "119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Holland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lativa, Romania, Salvador, Slovakia, and Thailand." US? Busy day for the US military as they issued three statements on deaths (all were announced today): two soldiers died Sunday in Salah Ad Din Province, two others also died Sunday in Kirkuk, and one died in Baghdad Sunday night. The toll for the month of October (US military fatalities) now stands at 58 with 2771 being the total since the start of the illegal war.

As the
Anchorage Daily News notes five soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team have died "since the unit's deployment was extended in August". AP reports that the fifth to die was Nicholas Sowinksi, a twenty-five year old from Tempe arizona who died Wednesday. As the AP notes: "Member of the Fort Wainwright-based brigade were told just days before they were preparing to return to Alaska that their one-year tour in Iraq would be extended. Some soldiers had already returned to Alaska and were sent back to Iraq." They died, to be clear, after they were backdoor drafted by completing their tour only to learn, at the last minute, that their tour was being extended. Also on the topic of Alaska, Charlie LeDuff (New York Times) reports on the burial of Billy Brown of North Slope, Alaska. Brown died during "training maneuvers at Camp Shelby in Missippi" so will not be included in the count of those who have died in Iraq -- he was fifty-four-years-old.

Despite all the above, Bully Boy apparently woke up this morning feeling groovy and wanted to share that "No April rain, No flowers bloom, No wedding Saturday within the month of June, But what it is, Is something true, Made up of these three words that I must say to you, I just called to say I love you . . ." And who better to share that with than the puppet of the occupation?
Daniela Deane (Washington Post) reports that Bully Boy called Nouri al-Maliki who'd heard rumors that he might be ditched in two months ("I put out for you!") and that Bully Boy explained he had no intention of leaving (while he leered at Iran and gave North Korea the once over). Deane reports the news came from Miss Rona -- Tony Snow who gushed over the call at today's press briefing.

Snow Job plays yenta while
Rick Jervis (USA Today) reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki "will not force militias to disarm until later this year" and that he explained the importance of patience from "his expansive, marble-and-gold-trimmed residence, a former palace of deposed leader Saddam Hussein located inside the tightly guarded Green Zone."

Outside the safety of the Green Zone,
Charles J. Hanley (AP) reports, the reality is that "reconstruction funds are drying up and they're [contractors] are pulling out" despite the fact that "[f]ewer than half the electricity and oil projects planned have been completed".

On the same issue,
David Wilson (CounterPunch) reports that that a little under a third of all Iraqis "live on less than $1 per day," that "[m]ore than 500,000 residents of Baghdad can only get water for a few hours a day due to leaking pipes and the inability of the city's water purifying plant to meet demand," "Iraq's power generation and supply grid is in a state of collapse," that a quarter of all Iraqi doctors have left the country since 2003, and that doctors practice at the risk of death squads, US snipers and more. [On the topic of fleeing, Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that the continued fighting in Balad, which has claimed at least 91 lives since Friday, has led "Sunni Muslims" to flee "across the Tigris River today."]

Reconstruction isn't the only thing being cancelled.
Michael Howard (Guardian of London) reports that the Iraqi reconciliation converence that was to have been held this coming Saturday has been cancelled and that "emergency reasons" are cited. If that seems strangely familiar, drop back to June 14th when the Arab League conference was yet again postponed because of 'instability.' The so-called 'crackdown' in Baghdad was about to start back then. It's been ongoing ever since with no real results.

Though the reconcialition conference is once again shoved back,
Stephen Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that a group calling itself the Mutayibeen Coalition is calling "for the creation of a separate Sunni Islamic state in the country."

As the illegal war continues,
Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report on the mood in Iraq among school children in Khaldiya. One tells them, "Americans are bad. They killed my family" and another states, "God will send all Americans to hellfire."

Mike noted Pacifica's new program Informed Dissent which is a thirty minute, weekly program covering the national election. The September 23rd broadcast focused on the Iraq war and featured many discussions and reports. On the war, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK) declared, "This issue is effecting every other" and listed concrete examples of what isn't being funded as the illegal war is. Evans also noted that, "It's baffling to look at the Democratic Party and see how spineless and lacking in leadership they are." Informed Dissent airs once a week, a half-hour show, looking at the 2006 US elections, hosted by Mitch Jeserich and featuring contributions from many Pacifica broadcasters.

On the topic of elections,
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) explains why No-Momentum may overtake Ned Lamont and urges Lamont to free himself of his handlers and find his own voice.

Tara McKelvey reports on Lynndie England who (a) has learned, via her lawyer, to say "I heard . . ." when speaking of incidents to avoid further charges, (b) is an animal lover who enjoyed, in Iraq, the corpses of goats and cats being used for 'fun,' (c) has not placed Charles Graner on the birth certificate or asked for a blood test because she does not want him to have any legal rights to her two-year-old son Carter. Janis Karpinsky offers that England chose to go along with Graner in abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib (as directed from above) because: "In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector -- a senior male, let's say, who's sitting in a vehicle with her. She says, 'I'm really afraid.' And he says, 'Don't worry.' A closeness develops. It's intentional on his part. And naive on hers. Graner is a big, hunky guy. He can probably put his arms around England and still touch his shoulders. Does she feel safe with him? Yes. And all she has to do is be sexually wild with him." McKelvey reports that for . . . Marie Claire. Let's repeat that, McKelvey reported it for Marie Claire. Translation, where is independent media? Good for Marie Claire, but where is independent media?

In peace news,
Ehren Watada is the first US military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is completing his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son:
Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San DiegoRoom 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

Teresa Watanabe (Los Angeles Times) reports Bob Watada explaining that his son "heard the father of an injured soldier lament on a radio show: 'Why can't anyone stand up and stop all of this?'" and decided he had to stand up.

More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and more information on him and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.