Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Food Maniac

OK, people, I know, I know…here are a few food favorites!

Truck Stop Potatoes Uptown
Preheat oven 350

2-2 1/2 lbs Red Potatoes, chopped
1 large Onion, peeled and chopped

8 oz Sour Cream
1 cup Cheddar, shredded
1 cup Fontinella, shredded
¼ cup Butter, melted
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp White Pepper
10 Basil leaves, chopped
1 14oz can Tomatoes, diced and drained

Simmer onions and potatoes in water until somewhat tender or about 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Spread onions and potatoes on bottom of buttered casserole. Blend rest of ingredients and cover potato and onion mixture in baking dish.

Bake 30 minutes

White Corn Quiche
Preheat oven 375

1 large Eggs
1 Onion, chopped, a Vidalia onion is best
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 1/3 cups Half & Half or Heavy Cream
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
2 ¼ cups White Corn kernels, fresh

1 pie shell

Combine all but ¼ cup of Corn kernels in food processor and pulse until just blended. Add ¼ cup Corn kernels and pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake approximately 50 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Raw Pear Cake
Preheat oven 350

Grease and flour two 9x1 ½” cake pans or 1 bundt pan

4 cups Pears, peeled and shredded, most varieties work
2 cups Sugar
½ cup Oil, Vegetable or Olive
2 Eggs, beaten
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Walnuts or Pecans, chopped

Combine pears and sugar. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to pear mixture. Stir until just combined. Add nuts. Pour into baking pans.
Bake 30-35 minutes for cake pans and 55-60 minutes for a bundt cake. Excellent unfrosted but always delicious with a butter cream or even a chocolate frosting.

Friday, October 17, 2003
Must link TV!

DNC ad, Justice!

As has been, again, so bitterly obvious, remnants of what used to be the mighty broadcasting industry have returned to a full kow-tow with the complete filtering of information that conflicts with what is sheepishly termed Bush administration policy.
Most important of the disappeared stories is, of course, The Plame Game.
According to the DNC press release:

Leaks like these put our national security at risk, and threaten the men and women who protect us. Even worse, a senior Bush administration official admitted to the Washington Post that the purpose of the leak was "purely and simply for revenge." [Washington Post, 9/28/03]

The Democratic National Committee today announced an aggressive online campaign calling for an independent investigation by a special council to unravel the traitorous revenge leak of a US government Non Official Cover operative to CNN pundit and newspaper columnist Bob Novak.

The DNC is streaming a television ad entitled Justice a speeds suitable for dialup and broadband connections and in Windows Media, Real Video and Quick Time media player formats.
The DNC would also like you to sign a petition and help contribute to the purchase of television time for the ad.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Photo: Jason Reed, Reuters
Is the filter on?
As I planned a menu, this morning, involving Turkey and white bean chili with white corn spoon bread courtesy of recipes in Martha Stewart’s fantastic new Everyday Food magazine, I was drawn to a familiar voice leaking from the toob.
The President.

Dwarfed under a gigantic Mussolini-esque flag and flattened by the cheesy one camera live shot that’s become standard fare for the on-the-cheap media conglomerates, the Blaminator met the Governator by trading gay quips about biceps and the inability to speak English before proving himself with a lackluster repetition of Carl’s shopworn Trifecta catchphrases.
Is the dreaded filter in place as the President’s unimpeded words flow, as they do most every weekday afternoon, from his lips through mics, cameras and cable systems to my ideologically obstructed ears?
If this filter is filtering I can’t hear the skimmer.
If the filter is filtering maybe it kicks subtly in during the endless daily replays of the President’s remarks or in the overabundant commentary of his surrogates or pet pundits?
Perhaps, like the boy who failed to see the Emperor’s new clothes, it is this evil filter that forces my mind to remember this President’s words and to compare them over time?
Quick, before I go all THX-1138, the soothing balm of happy talk from a sexualized array of young surgically prothagnatious cable news anchors!
Take careful notes, my dear Governator grasshopper, and study the Upsidedownist Master who spearheaded the Hollywood concept of multiple takes in the public arena.
Up is up only when appropriate to the situation, if live on television and until fixers can spin the opposite.
Print doesn’t matter.

And speaking of that, the Washington Post, this morning, reports, or filters as the President might say, the findings of a Stars and Stripes survey:

A broad survey of U.S. troops in Iraq by a Pentagon-funded newspaper found that half of those questioned described their unit's morale as low and their training as insufficient, and said they do not plan to reenlist…Fully 40 percent said the jobs they were doing had little or nothing to do with their training…The findings, drawn from 1,935 questionnaires presented to U.S. service members throughout Iraq, conflict with statements by military commanders and Bush administration officials that portray the deployed troops as high-spirited and generally well-prepared…Stars and Stripes said yesterday that it undertook the survey in August after receiving scores of letters from troops who were upset with one aspect or another of the Iraq operation.

Filtered completely off the front pages and Kobie'd from cable is news of the 911 Commission’s first subpoena to the FAA following the Commission’s discovery that a wide range of tape and documents highly material to our inquiry were withheld by the agency.
As the New York Times reports:

In a statement, the 10-member commission said…"It is clear that the F.A.A.'s delay has significantly impeded the progress of our investigation”… the panel and its staff were particularly alarmed by the discovery that they had not been provided with detailed transcripts and other information about communications on Sept. 11 between the F.A.A. and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or Norad, the unit of the Pentagon that is responsible for defending American air space…"I am deeply concerned to learn that the F.A.A. has apparently both misled and failed to adequately respond to the 9/11 commission's request for documents," said Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was a primary sponsor of the bill creating the commission last year.

Photos: AFP, Reuters
The Beeb on Bling!

The Regency, 140.50 carats, worn by Louis XV & Napoleon

Bling is the phrase for the prevailing fashion of our today's pervasive hip-hop culture, where cash is for flashing and wealth is for brandishing, diamonds are no longer merely a discreet confidante...Public Enemy rapper Chuck D is more forthright in his view. "Hip hop," he says, "is sucking the nipples of Uncle Sam harder than ever before."
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
The curious One Letter Many Soldiers story is currently attempting to seem neatly squared away with the timely arrival of an Army battalion commander to claim responsibility for creating 500 identical form letters and overseeing the signing and dispersal of those letters to a wide geographic range of American hometown print media.
The story, first reported Saturday by Ledyard King of the Gannett News Service and hyped by bloggers until major media noticed Monday, advances today with King reporting the person responsible for this masterful press offensive as a fairly obscure link in the military food chain, Lt. Col. Dominic Caraccilo, the commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, a reserve paratroop unit reactivated in January 2002 in Vicenza, Italy.

In the photograph, from the battalion’s reactivation ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Caraccilo (on the left) is shown handing off the battalion colors to a Command Sergeant Major.
The historic 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, known as The Rock from its involvement with the assault on Corregidor in 1945, has a rich history stretching from the first ever parachute assault in American military history on November 8, 1942, through the only combat parachute operation of the Vietnam conflict to their present duty in the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk restoring basic services.
This is a tough hardened unit that, I assume, finds itself fairly occupied with duties more humdrum than coordinating a mass mail campaign no matter Lt. Colonel Caraccilo’s desire to promote his unit’s work and 'share that pride with people back home.'
Lt. Col. Caraccilo is, I’m sure, a good soldier only executing orders.
The source of those orders, the coordination of the mass mailing and the mailing’s timing with the Bush administration’s latest Bad Filter/Good News Iraq push needs to be explored.
Various statements by the military regarding the signing of those individual form letters do not add up and Caraccilo seems curiously well suited to pen a heart-warming letter.
Monday in The Olympian, Ledyard King quoted Lt. Col. Bill MacDonald, who is with the 4th Infantry Division currently heading operations in north-central Iraq, as saying:

“Some soldiers wrote some letters independently. I guess that's what happened. Nobody I have spoken to in the chain of command knows where these letters came from”… Six soldiers reached by GNS directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. But none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it.

Tuesday, in a report credited to the Los Angeles Times and published on the website of the Mercury News, Air Force Col. Jay DeFrank, the Pentagon's director of media operations, said:

All we know here is that some unit's commander decided that what he wanted to do was write a letter to some of the Gannett newspapers . . . and a number of people in his unit decided that was a good idea and they wanted to do it, too.

According to an Associated Press report filed today at 7:08 am, EDT:

It turns out they were form letters written by the command staff of an Army battalion in Kirkuk, then signed by the soldiers.

This morning, Ledyard King reports in this morning’s Chicago Sun-Times a fresh quote from Lt. Col. MacDonald:

It sounded like a good idea at their level [but] it's just not the way to do business. They're not going to do that again…No one was forced to sign it, though most did.

Lt Col. Caraccilo’s hometown newspaper, The Finger Lakes Times, reported yesterday:

Caraccilo, who graduated from West Point in 1984, has been in the military nearly 20 years. He married his high school sweetheart, Karen Gleason, formerly of Waterloo, and they have three children.
Prior to his current deployment, Dominic Caraccilo served with the 82nd Airborne in Desert Storm and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was a member of the Army Rangers (special operations) when he served in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. He has also published three military books in the past several years, including a diary of his time in Desert Storm.

Clearly this curious story didn't just happen at this particular time though the New York Times has already rushed to judgement:

The Pentagon denies that there is any sanctioned propaganda drive...The Pentagon should nip the form-letter barrage and make sure it is not repeated, if only because it is so counterproductive. Fakery is the worst possible way to answer the public's rising demand for information about the true state of affairs in Iraq.

If young soldiers can be swayed, if not ordered, to sign letters then what is to stop some equally over eager officer to perhaps sway his troops execution of, say, an absentee ballot?

Photo: Spc. Michael Walkmeyer, USAREUR Public Affairs

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
The Bush Filter?

Though PoynterOnline's Romenesko, the Washington Post is not running a Condoleezza Rice-themed week’s worth of the comic strip Boondocks and has not given an explanation for this filtering behavior.
Boondocks creator Aaron MacGruder spoke yesterday to NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates:

NPR Did you hesitate at all before you decided to take swipes at Colon Powell and Condoleezza Rice?

MacGruder The only hesitation I had was particularly with Condoleezza Rice because she’s such a dangerous woman.

NPR Dangerous woman, how?

MacGruder Uh, well, she’s the National Security Advisor…

NPR (laugh) You don’t feel secure having, uh, Dr. Rice as your…

MacGruder As an enemy? No.

Takes One To Know One?

He was a lonely object of mass adulation, socially ill at ease, at least occasionally depressed and, for the past several years, living in a private hell of pain and compulsion.

Evan Thomas, Newsweek

Photo: ESPN
Monday, October 13, 2003

We've had a strategy from the beginning. Jerry Bremer is running the strategy and we are making very good progress about the establishment of a free Iraq. And the person who is in charge is (sic) me.
President Bush, as quoted by The Associated Press

Why does he keep saying Jerry Bremer?
How does one get Jerry out of L. Paul Bremer III???

Bloggers, today, (hesiod) were blogging about CNN’s use of an AP photo (middle photo left column) showing President Bush with a Raphaelite halo.
I first noticed photos of this type with an image (top photo left column) published November 7, 2002 on the website of the London Guardian.
I republished the image with the lyrics from a Sheryl Crow song.
The remaining two images are Reuters photographs that show the halo to be a stage prop of the presidential seal affixed to the right side wall of the President’s speaking area. Doubtless there are thousands of these images in the photo files of the wire services that have not been published.
The random halo images resulting from the staging of such a tantalizing foreground/background contrast for bored photographers speaks to the unique cleverness of certain people in this White House.

Sunday, October 12, 2003
Condoleezza, men have named you
You're so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only 'cause you're lonely they have blamed you?
For that Condoleezza strangeness in your smile?

A senior State Department official -- voicing an opinion that few in the government disputed -- said: "If you want a one-word description of the NSC since January 21, 2001: dysfunctional."

The Washington Post

Rice photo: Paul J. Richard, AFP

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