Desi wondered if I had a favorite Joan Armatrading song? I do. It's above. "It Could Have Been Better." I really enjoy, for example, "Love And Understanding," but "It Could Have Been Better" will always be my favorite song by Joan.
She wondered about Ani Di Franco?
I love Ani's "Half-Assed," "Napoleon," "Gravel," "Shameless," "Not A Pretty Girl," "32 Flavors," "Dilate," "Fuel," "Little Plastic Castle" and "Untouchable Face." But "Both Sides" is always my favorite of all of her songs.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot;"
Thursday, December 1, 2022. One scandal after another when it comes to the care that the US is supposed to be providing veterans, Iraq's oil returns are down, IRAQI OIL REPORT runs fluff for Bafel Talabani, and much more.
Starting in the US . . .
Former U.S. Army Sgt. Joel Gomez, 42, of Wheaton died Nov. 22 after developing pneumonia and kidney problems. Gomez, who had been living with quadriplegia since his wartime injury, was buried Tuesday at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
He becomes one of more than 4,400 U.S. military members who have died from injuries suffered during the Iraq war, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Gomez’s spine was broken in two places in 2004 when the armored vehicle he was riding in plunged into the Tigris River during a combat mission to capture enemy soldiers.
Gomez had been forced to move into a nursing home a little more than a month before his death because his longtime caretaker, Elva Cuahquentzi, was stuck in Mexico dealing with an immigration issue. He developed pneumonia within a few weeks of arriving at the facility and was so frightened by the level of care, he asked a friend to call 911 and have him taken to a nearby emergency room.
He was admitted to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park on Nov. 8 and diagnosed with pneumonia. He died in the hospital intensive care unit surrounded by his sister, niece, nephew and a close friend.
Equal parts heartbreaking and infuriating for his supporters, Gomez spent his last conscious days asking for Cuahquentzi and dreaming about returning to the accessible home built specifically for him by the Wheaton community.
Reporting on the funeral, St. Clair notes:
Mourners also paid tribute to Gomez’s longtime caretaker, Elva Cuahquentzi, who had returned home to Mexico to deal with an immigration issue and had not yet been permitted to return. Her departure forced Gomez to move into a nursing home last month, where he developed pneumonia within a few weeks of arriving at the facility and was so frightened by the level of care, he asked Masterson to call 911 and have him taken to a nearby emergency room.
Gomez spent his last conscious days asking for Cuahquentzi and dreaming about returning to the accessible home built specifically for him by the Wheaton community.
Cuahquentzi, 50, remains in Mexico awaiting word on her immigration application. Her son Emmanuel Perez, however, read a letter from her during the service. She described Gomez as her purpose in life and said she loved him as if he were one of her own children.
“Learning to love Joel was easy,” Cuahquentzi said in her letter. “Forgetting Joel will be impossible.”
Staying with poor care delivered to veterans, Ted Sherman and Susan K. Livio (STARS AND STRIPES) report:
New Jersey wants someone else to take charge of New Jersey’s troubled state-run veteran’s homes.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday ordered state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to seek an outside vendor “who can manage systemic changes and provide qualified, administrative staff to help lead these initiatives.”
The move comes after the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week cut off federal funding for new admissions at the Veteran’s Memorial Home at Menlo Park after major shortcomings in care and deficiencies in pandemic infection control led to a declaration that residents at the nursing home in Edison were in “immediate jeopardy.”
CMS said on Tuesday that the facility was “currently not in substantial compliance,” threatening fines and other penalties, and warned it could see permanent termination of all Medicaid and Medicare funding by March if the situation at Menlo Park is not corrected.
How do you get to that point? How much corruption and how much failed leadership have to exist before you get to that point?
Two weeks ago, Lindy Washburn and Scott Fallon (NEWJERSEY.COM) reported:
As COVID raced through the state-run veterans home in Paramus at the start of the pandemic in 2020, an administrator watched with growing alarm as residents died, staff members fell sick and the facility ran short of masks, gloves, gowns and tests. Panic spread as quickly as the virus itself.
When the death toll climbed to six or seven a day at an institution that typically saw three or four resident deaths a week, that administrator became the whistleblower who called himself “vetkeeper.”
On April 8, 2020, using his pseudonym and an encrypted email service based in Switzerland, he contacted NorthJersey.com to report what he was seeing.
“Nearly 40 resident deaths since March 25,” he wrote. “Ten more residents positive, 47 waiting test results ... The public needs to know. I am on the inside. I will keep you posted.”
The first story of the deaths at the New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home at Paramus, based on information from “vetkeeper” and other sources, broke that evening. “Vetkeeper” arrived at work the next morning to find two news trucks out front, a helicopter overhead and the National Guard on the way.
But in many respects, it was too late. Nearly a third of the residents at the Paramus veterans home would die of COVID or presumed COVID. In all, more than 200 residents died at New Jersey’s two hardest-hit veterans homes — 86 from confirmed COVID in Paramus and 72 in Menlo Park, with another 47 at the two homes presumed to have died from COVID.
Now “vetkeeper” has decided to reveal his identity and say more about the veterans home. He is Dave Ofshinsky, former business manager and, for a brief period, assistant CEO for non-clinical affairs at the Paramus home, where he worked for 5½ years.
He says he is doing so out of frustration at what has not happened since that initial COVID crisis.
“Nothing has happened from the administration [of Gov. Phil Murphy] on this,” Ofshinsky said in a recent interview at his home. “When it was happening, the governor said there was going to be a ‘post-mortem. We’ll get to the bottom of this.’”
Turning to Iraq, we're reminded that 'access journalism' is all about whoring. IRAQI OIL REPORT is an outlet that charges for its mediocre content. Despite charging for its content, it breaks no news, it produces nothing of value. So I generally ignore it.
But they decided to really whore this time. The interview Bafel Talabani with one soft ball question after another and pretend he's answering truthfully. They can't even get to truth in the 396 words of the preamble to the interview.
of words to pretend Bafel's not part of the problem. The issues with
Bafel go beyond he's PUK and the dominant party is KDP (PUK has still
not rebounded from the lies of Jalal and Hero Talabani when they spent
months defrauding the country and pretending that Jalal was healthy
enough to govern as president of Iraq when, in fact, he couldn't speak
and he couldn't move and, per the Constitution, he should have been
removed from office). Bafel can't even get along with other member of
the PUK -- and that includes his failure to get along with his own blood
At the start of November, Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) noted:
The difference today is that not only are the parties at odds with each other, they are also mired in internal rivalries. Lahur Talabany, former co-chair of the PUK who led the Sulaimaniyah region’s intelligence services and the US-trained Counter Terrorism Group, was ousted by his cousins Bafel and Qubad Talabani last summer in a Byzantine power grab. It was the most overt manifestation yet of the intra-family feuds simmering in the Talabani and Barzani dynasties.
According to a statement from the ministry, Iraq in November exported over 99 million barrels of crude oil at an average rate of 3.3 million barrels per day and an average price of $82.4 per barrel.
The country’s total revenue from oil exports in the month was over $8.2 billion, falling nearly a billion short of October’s $9.25 billion revenue.
The drop in the country’s oil revenue comes despite the country claiming to have taken advantage of OPEC+ production cuts by maintaining export levels and increasing revenue.
“Iraq did not reduce its exports according to this reduction, but rather reduced domestic production and invested in the rising prices by stabilizing the export rate, a strategy that succeeded in achieving high financial revenues," deputy general manager of the Iraqi National Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) Saadoun Mohsen told Iraqi state media late last month.