Sauteed leeks and carrots

Nice little side dish that became a main dish tonight since I wasn’t hyperhungry. Some gouda and crackers and white wine to top it off.

1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 medium leeks, white and palest green parts only,
chopped and very well rinsed
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
Pinch of nutmeg, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil and wine in a wide skillet. Add the leeks and carrots,
cover, and cook over medium-low heat, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or
until tender-crisp.

2. Uncover and sauté, stirring frequently, until the leeks and carrots
begin to turn golden. Stir
in the nutmeg, if desired, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Why you should never forget Iraq, pt. 34243

Consider:

“With my brother in the mental state he’s in since Iraq, nothing would surprise me.”

That’s Matt Needham talking about his brother, a 25-year-old who reportedly served two Army tours in Iraq before coming home to a plush San Clemente condo and allegedly beating his 19-year-old girlfriend to death.

The Orange County Register reports that deputies fought with the unidentified suspect and used a stun gun to apprehend him before searching the home and finding the unconscious 19-year-old woman, who was taken to Mission Hospital where she died at 12:15 a.m., said Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino.

Amormino confirmed the victim was the suspect’s girlfriend. The suspect lived in the condo with his father and brother.

KTLA Morning News interviewed Matt Needham at the scene this morning.

“He’s been really mentally unstable for the past few months,” he said of his brother, who was taken to Orange County Jail. “He’s no good since he got back, I’ll be honest.”

Needham said he knew a breakup with the girlfriend could be bad, but he “never saw this coming.”

“He’s my brother, we grew up in the crib together, I love him like no other … and it’s sad to know the person closest to me to completely write them off because they are crazy is sad.”

The point is not about the validity of being in Iraq or not. The point is not about which candidate should be elected or not based on their feelings about Iraq.

The point, simply, is this:

From this report, the clear sense is that a veteran should have received some help. It is not clear where, what or how this help should have been given, or even if it was something that was noticed. Perhaps it couldn’t’ve been. This could all be sad, sorrowful chance that was unavoidable no matter what could have been seen, and what has happened cannot be undone.

This story has already repeated itself too many times. Murders, suicides at worst, sad slides into depression, destruction, more. The casualty count from Iraq only counts so much.

If the necessity is for better training, more help, more assistance, more awareness — anything, everything that can or should be done to help — then it must be done. We, as a nation, as citizens, must see to it. Veterans themselves should be aware of their options. The government must — as a matter of principle — help in all ways possible, to help those who cannot help themselves, to provide assistance to those who can. And so must we.

Said it before and say it again — if you support our presence in Iraq, you support what must be done to help men and women in tragic situations like this, you do not write them off and ignore them, you HELP — in whatever way you can.

And if you do not support our presence there — and for many different reasons I do not — then you support what must be done to help men and women in tragic situations like this, you do not write them off and ignore them, you HELP — in whatever way you can.

There are no ifs, ands or buts about this. It is obvious we must all deal with what must be done in our lives. But as appropriate, as the time is found, you help.

And you should not need reminders of broken bodies and minds, of tragedy and murder, to do so.

While there are many possible resources to investigate, I suggest the Veterans Affairs Advocate blog, run by a Maine blogger named Greg Marlett, for numerous articles, links to organizations there to assist veterans, and ways to contribute.

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Jerry Reed RIP

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t have the full time to really post much today but the news that Jerry Reed passed is a bummer:

Jerry Reed, country music’s howling virtuoso and a star of stage, studio and screen, has died. Born Jerry Reed Hubbard, Mr. Reed suffered from emphysema and was in hospice care. He was 71, and he leaves an unparalleled legacy of laughter and song.

By the time Mr. Reed came to popular attention as Burt Reynolds’ truck-driving sidekick “The Snowman” in the Hollywood trilogy Smokey and the Bandit, he was already a musical deity to the guitar players who admired the syncopated flurries he unleashed with a casual gleam. He was also a hit recording artist by that time, having topped the charts with “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “Lord, Mr. Ford,’ and having written songs for Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Brenda Lee and others. Then there was his work as session guitarist for Presley, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare and many others.

Mr. Reed enjoyed his comedic Hollywood roles (which included a part in the 1998 Adam Sandler film, The Waterboy), and he often smiled when movie fans would ask for an autograph without realizing that he was a singer and guitarist of significance. Music was most important to him, though. Asked by interviewer Frank Goodman which facet of music he preferred – songwriter, solo guitarist, session man or entertainer – Mr. Reed said, “Hey, that’s like trying to pick out your favorite leg.”

“There’s nothing on earth as powerful as music, period,” he told Goodman. “I mean, it’s pretty hard to fight and hate and be angry when you’re making music, isn’t it?”

My memories of him? Well, Smokey and the Bandit as mentioned — end of seventies idiot romps of the best kind (keep in mind I’m still a fan of The Cannonball Run), “She Got the Gold Mine (I Got the Shaft)” on eighties country radio my dad listened to, and appearing on Scooby-Doo:

Rest easy. I’ll be blasting the Squirrels remake of “Amos Moses” tonight when I get the chance.

So I’ve been asked to talk more about Sarah Palin

By, believe it or not, my mom. Hey, what’s wrong with a little nepotism among your reader base?

I actually talked a lot about Palin on the phone last night with Mackro, as per usual a fine conversation (though lord knows I made it a monologue at points). Partially due to that and partially due to work that needs doing, there’s actually not a lot I can and do want to say right now beyond thinking these points:

  • Given that the final selection seems to have been less than a week ago, I wonder how much — if at all — the fact that the Russian/Georgia war and the neo-Cold War rhetoric which McCain merrily encouraged fed into it. I think it’s a bit weirdly telling they want to push the ‘she has foreign policy experience, she deals with Russia!’ card so much at the present time.
  • I think her biggest impact as such is motivating a slew of extremely unnerving people to vote not just for the president but all the down-the-ticket stuff as well. Be interesting to see what if any impact this has on Congressional and state issue elections (eg, the gay marriage ban out here). Ultimately, she is not out to win wavering Democrats, but energize apathetic Republicans — and I don’t think that is enough for presidential success.
  • The whole kid thing and her daughter being pregnant and all — eh. What’s to say? In the end I think this will bite back harder on her instant boosters than they realize, because they sound utterly, completely breathless in yelping back about anything that might be seen in a less than straightforward light.
  • She’d be a perfect OC county supervisor. From what I can tell, she is motivated by similarly shallow, grotesquely plastic views on many issues, and is the kind of know-nothing busybody I happily despise.

Now, one big personal thing to note as well, given that last comment and my own employment, from a recent Time piece:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

Pardon my language, all. But, assuming this is true — and while I want to learn a lot more about it, right now I have no reason to think this doesn’t fairly describe the situation — I would not take this kind of petty, small-minded, ignorant SHIT from anyone who dared try to do this kind of disgusting example of powerplaying at work, over a matter like that.

Until I read that just a little while ago, my thoughts on Palin were negative but benign, in the sense that I thought she was her own worst enemy, and that all the joy she’s occasioned among a slew of the typical suspects online would be counteracted by the larger annoyance created. So far that seems to be the case.

Now, frankly, I want her humiliated and rejected. By the voters not the least. This is not the kind of person I want representing my country at that level, not at all.

John at Balloon Juice has been doing his usual yeoman’s job at keeping up on things — I strongly recommend his post questioning her reforming credentials, while he’s also linked to a pretty damning NY Times assessment of the whole vetting process that led to her selection, which reeks of desperation and ill-preparedness. (As a commenter said, “…a coworker of mine in college who I vaguely knew…applied for a government internship they interviewed half of his coworkers and all of his friends. Sounds like he was more thoroughly vetted than Palin.”)

But I’ll sign off by noting that the site to really track is Andrew Halcro’s blog — having been defeated by Palin in the GOP primary run for the governorship in 2006, he is frank about both his party beliefs (straight up Republican and proud of it, as well as being a proud Alaskan in general) and quite incensed over Palin and what he sees as her unfitness for the job. He’d been known for this for some time and is now by default one of the key news sources for anyone tracking Palin, in particularly hammering the troopergate questions hard.

I recommend his SWOT analysis of Palin, which acknowledges her strengths (as a communicator and public performer) and downsides (almost literally everything else), while he’s also posted about a new radio talk show he’s hosting that has its first broadcast later today — and as he says, “ohh what a week to start a new talk show.”

[EDIT: Okay, so I said Palin was chosen to energize apathetic Republicans? Well if you can't even do THAT right...:

Today, Palin's scheduled appearance in St. Paul, Minn., as guest of honor at an afternoon gathering by the Republican National Coalition for Life was canceled. And that didn't sit well with a leading social conservative.

Phyllis Schlafly, who in the mid-1970s almost single-handedly derailed what had been the expected ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, told ABC News that a McCain aide notified her late Monday that Palin would not be attending the event.

"I think this is clearly somebody in the McCain campaign who doesn't understand where the votes are coming from," Schlafly said. "They only told me this at 10 o'clock last night, and it was a call from somebody down the line in the McCain campaign."

She added: "The pro-lifers who paid $95 to come to this event because of Sarah Palin are going to be very unhappy."

Palin's appearance was set up before she was picked for the GOP's national ticket, McCain aides stressed. And her spokeswoman, Maria Comella, told ABC that Palin needed to pass on the antiabortion event to work on her speech to the Republican National Convention.

Yes, of course.]

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