November 22, 2007 archive

Four at Four

Some news and Turkey Day open thread.

  1. The New York Time reports on Thoughts of family and football amid the Turkey in Afghanistan.

    The soldiers filed into the dining tent in the soft light before evening, carrying heaps of food for a Thanksgiving gathering as polyglot as anywhere.

    At one plywood table there was a Special Forces staff sergeant who was born in Turkey. “No names, please,” he said, as he stepped inside.

    At another there was Capt. Walter P. De La Vega of the Army, who trains and supervises the Afghan security forces in Wardak Province. He was born in Peru and reared in New Jersey. The acoustic guitar player in camouflage, Sgt. Kevin J. Quinones, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. When he strummed and sang “America the Beautiful” the soldiers set aside their food and stood.

    A cook who prepared the turkey, Specialist Yevgeny Goussev, was born in Moscow and received a work visa to the United States in 2002. He was a reserve artillery lieutenant in the Russian Army, although he said his commission was probably voided when he enlisted in the United States Army last year.

    Specialist Goussev became an American citizen this month. He says he understands what this American holiday means. “Thanksgiving is to share with other people, and not expecting anything in return,” he said.

  2. In another episode of the world is mad, the Los Angeles Times reports A green idea for saving lives in Iraq. “When a little-known agency of the U.S. Army asked Joe Amadee III to come up with an idea for saving lives in Iraq, it was probing for some kind of a contraption… he and a crew led by an Oklahoma roofing contractor were at this desert base east of Baghdad spraying foam onto tents. Their plan is to turn all of the Army’s hulking, heat-absorbing tent barracks into rigid shells of 2-inch insulation. The way that would improve soldiers’ lives may be self-evident. What is less obvious is how it also could save their lives. The key is fuel: The more of it a base uses, the more soldiers are exposed to deadly roadside bombs on fuel convoys.” We’d save a lot more energy if we just redeployed and invested our Iraq occupation money on renewable and alternative energy research too.

  3. The Guardian reports Howard election campaign hit by dirty tricks scandal. “The election strategy of the Australian prime minister, John Howard, was in turmoil today after members of his Liberal party were caught red-handed in an inept dirty tricks campaign. Bogus flyers from a fake organisation called the Islamic Australia Federation were distributed through the letterboxes of voters in a marginal seat, claiming the Labor opposition sympathised with Islamic terrorists. The leaflets referred to the men imprisoned for the 2002 nightclub bomb attacks in Bali, which left more than 200 people dead. The flyers also claimed Labor support for the building of new mosques in the area.” Hopefully, Bush’s ally John Howard will be voted out by the Australians. You should see the picture on the website of the Australian Liberal MP Jackie Kelly’s husband being caught red-handed distributing the fliers.

  4. The AP reports Parade rolls in NYC under balmy skies. “nseasonably balmy weather greeted cheering crowds as the giant balloons in the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floated through the streets of Manhattan… The parade, held on a sunny morning with a temperature nearing 60 degrees, offered a mix of new attractions and longtime favorites, solemn tributes and lighthearted spectacle.” Unseasonably warm or the new norm?

So, what else is happening?

Saudi Arabia and Libya provide 60% of Iraq’s foreign fighters

The New York Times reports Foreign fighters in Iraq are tied to allies of U.S. Saudi Arabia and Libya, two countries the Bush administrations considers allies, provided “about 60 percent” of suicide bombers, attack facilitators, or other foreign fighters in Iraq over the past year. According to the U.S. military sources of the NY Times:

The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in [a predawn September 11th raid], when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq. The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006.

Blank Canvas

thrill or threaten

blank canvas

invisible threads appear

reveal what it wants to be

ever changing

hand sweeps surface

too sensitive


lay flat


a mark

then others in random places

in case the first one was wrong

the hand moves ahead of the brain

time to slide behind the clock

they watch my back

and cock their heads

he doesn’t have to study

just make marks all day

hands caked in charcoal and white paint

the brush gets tossed

grabbing arms and legs to shape smooth

with tar and almond caulk

pure black ink

defines instantly

then the red


like Sandra

at Doc’s Pond

who said

I howled in my sleep

after we made love

it hangs in San Francisco

in a friend’s loft

i traded it for a print

of a man in the fetal position

holding a nuclear symbol

Some days… just aren’t like any others

cross-posted at orange


The day of. Going home. She’s there when I walk in, the oven door open. She’s bent over the big ball of a turkey there.

I have chocolate covered strawberries and think she will love this surprise. But she isn’t in the mood for them. Are you alright, I ask her. Suddenly, I take a good look. She looks like she’s lathered herself in stuff that makes you tan. But it doesn’t look quite right.

She tells me that she’s had some kind of strange flu for the last few days. Or maybe it was food poisoning. She’s not sure. She went to the doctor. He said it was the flu. We have Thanksgiving, but she’s tired and not herself.

Before I leave the next morning, we spend some time alone over a cup of coffee. Just chatting. Mother and daughter. When I leave, I grab her. Not just hug her.  But grab her and hold her. Then I leave.

I call when I get home and she says she’ll go back to the doctor. Okay. That makes me feel better.

I take Monday off. Get up and make coffee, put on music. Starting to enjoy the morning. Coffee done, so I call my mother to have a morning coffee chat. She picks up the phone and says she’s gotta go… my sister and the baby are waiting for her. They’re going to the mall. She hangs up and I don’t even know why, but my hand reaches out. She’s gone. I can’t explain my unease.

I start to notice the strangest pain on the left side of my neck. Like I pulled something. I don’t know where this is coming from. Then the phone rings. I don’t answer it because I figure it’s work and they might ask me for something or to come in. I’m not going into work today. The phone rings all day. I finally pick it up at around 2 ish, figuring it’s too late to go to work.

It was my stepmother. Your mother had a heart attack. Bam. She’s in a coma. Crack. They didn’t have my husband’s work number. I call him.  He comes home. I get in the car. We drive the two hours. Silent. It was safe there in that car because as far as I knew, my mother was alive and awake from her coma. I really expected that. When I got there.

She never woke up. And died the following Sunday. Funniest thing was walking into the hospital and there were signs every where: KNOW THE SIGNS OF A PERSON HAVING A HEART ATTACK. Yeah. I guess. If you’re a man. They know the signs.

Alot happened between my seeing her on a respirator that very first moment I walked into the hospital and not being able to see her body after she died.

But is all comes back to love. I’m thankful for that. The simple act of her rubbing my forehead and liking the little bit of roughness on the back of her fingers. I’m thankful for having somebody I could love like I love her… uncomplicated, there, free, full. I’m thankful for her laughter and her shyness and her strength. I’m thankful for the ways in which she surprised me and humbled me. I’m thankful to have somebody love me and I never ever needed instructions for my relationship with her.

Before we left for the memorial, we were sitting in my sister’s living room. She looked at my dad and said, you know dad, i always thought you’d go first. Our mouths fell open and my poor father didn’t know what to say. Then the laughter started and we all reached for each other cause it’s true… laughter can so easily turn to tears.

I love you mommy. I miss you. And for christ’s sake, give me a call, would ya? I really need to talk to you.

love… pf8

Every Thanksgiving, I am glad to be alive

Thanksgiving is always a very strange time, for me. Sixteen years ago, the day before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with cancer.

Several weeks later, after the chemo had eliminated the superficial symptoms, and before it had completely debilitated me, I wrote the following:

Giving Thanks for Progressive Activists

by Hillary Rettig and OPOL


Bleeding heart.

Tree hugger.


Commie sympathizer.


Going hungry on Thanksgiving

At a time of year when many families are traveling long distances to be with one another, as well as to have quite possibly the biggest meal of the year, it is easy to get caught up in packing, traveling and even giving thanks for whatever it is that people will be giving thanks for (for me it will be health and a safe birth of our son who is due in late March).

But what gets lost in this time of the year, and even the name “Thanksgiving” is the 2nd half of the word – the “giving” part. And unfortunately, in the mix of the class divide that this country has been experiencing, the issue of homelessness and hunger has dropped relatively below the radar, even though it is becoming more and more of an epidemic.


Pony Party…Cleanin’ my plate :)

Happy Thanksgiving

Kucinich: Impeachment, The Occupation, The Right to Revolution and New Hampshire! w/poll

Dennis Kucinich, continuing his campaign in New Hampshire and having received the endorsement of New Hampshire State Representative Betty Hall, has announced that he will include George W. Bush in his impeachment resolution!

I am thankful….

   Each year at Thanksgiving it is a tradition at our house, while the oyster stew is eaten, to tell what you are thankful for this year. We do this instead of saying grace. Usually either I or my husband will start, then whoever wants to goes next, until everyone (& the stew) is done.

   It is so easy to get caught up in what is wrong, what you’d like to change. This one day is the perfect time to count your blessings, reflect on what you have, & what you are truly thankful for.

This year, I am thankful that…

Docudharma Times Thanksgiving 2007

This is an Open Thread: Eat All That You Want!

Thanksgiving Headlines: Young Coach Aids Rebuilding at New Orleans :If Not First in Time, First in the Country’s Heart: Immigrant Paper Work Backs Up At DHS: Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S.


Young Coach Aids Rebuilding at New Orleans


Published: November 22, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 21 – On the morning of July 6, Buzz Williams resigned as the men’s basketball coach at the University of New Orleans after one season.

Skip to next paragraph

Hours later, the athletic director, Jim Miller, got a call from Joe Pasternack, who had been passed over when Williams was hired.

“What are you doing the next four years?” Miller asked.

Three days later, the 30-year-old Pasternack was hired, and he is now running the latest post-Katrina reclamation project in New Orleans.

The Privateers are playing for their third coach in three seasons. Their home court, Lakefront Arena, is still not restored, so the team will play another season in a glorified high school gym on campus. A makeshift dressing area has been fashioned in a hall intended for gymnastics, with blue drapes shielding the lockers and cardboard slats duct-taped over the windows for privacy.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

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