Monday, November 5, 2018

Some book thoughts

This seems like an apt time to remember that two-party division is a charade maintained by corporate media.


Okay, book news.  Ruth will be covering books this week.  She's a third of the way through a new book.  She loves it.  I feel like I'm reading it because every time we talk on the phone, she's telling me about it. 

C.I. passed it on to her.  I don't think it's been released yet -- I think it comes out this month.

Betty's "Books" is about our increased book coverage in the community.  That means basically that we're doing at least one book review at a community site each week.  Which is how we've ended up with 37 book reviews so far.

(We've had two more since Betty's column.)

Let me talk about Rebecca a little bit.

For years, Rebecca and I would do a book review each summer.  We'd pick a book and we'd both read and both review it.  And that was funy.  But we would also stress.  And we still do.

Saturday morning, Rebecca called early (I was up) and in a panic.  "Marcia, did we remember to do a book?"

I didn't know what she meant.

I said, "I just posted 'Alice Isn't Dead' last night."

It took me a second to realize that she'd just woken up and had the I-showed-up-naked-to-class-and-learned-it-was-final-exam-day dream.

That was the worst part about the old way.

I would have that dream.  And sometimes, we'd goof off and realize that summer only had three weeks and we hadn't started reading our book.

So this is more fun this way.  And I've covered nine books this year.  I never would have thought I'd write about nine books in one year.  And I love books.  But it's just a lot more than I would assume I'd do.

I hope we continue this next year because it's one thing I've really enjoyed -- reading what people think about whatever book they picked up. 

I do love my novels -- especially science fiction.  And I like to write about them.  But it's also true that there are books I would have missed completely if it weren't for the others doing book coverage.

Like I noted in "Alice Walker's The Chicken Chronicles," I wouldn't have read that book or even known about it if it weren't for Ruth's "THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES by Alice Walker."

 And I'm really glad that the author we've covered the most this year has been Alice Walker. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, November 5, 2018.  The latest bad news from Iraq is the dying fish.  That and an Agricultural Minister who doesn't attend an emergency Cabinet meeting.

'Liberated' Iraq.

"The collapse of sanitary facilities in 's schools has put more than 277,000 children in danger. Overcrowded classrooms make the situation even worse with immediate risk of diarrhoea and Cholera outbreaks," says 's

Children in schools have to worry.  So many have to worry.  Every day, the water crisis turns out to be much more than just Iraq's neighbors damning the rivers and preventing Iraq from access to them.  For example, in the last days, the issue of the fish -- specifically, the issue of them dying -- has been noticed.

Grotesque fish find fuels fears over Iraq water quality (VIDEO) — RT World News

Initial findings point to bacterial or fungal infections as the cause for massive fish deaths in Babylon province

Grotesque fish find fuels fears over Iraq water quality (VIDEO) — RT World News

Grotesque fish find fuels fears over Iraq water quality (VIDEO)

Even the fish can't seem to survive in Iraq!

Broken government agencies, corruption, pesticide use upriver, and massive pollution help contaminate the Tigris (and other) River(s) in Iraq, leading to events such as the large fish kill mentioned in the first post.

Thousands of fish die in province. WHO is deeply concerned. This could pose as a public health risk to communities. The agency is working with , local health authorities, traditional and religious leaders to ensure all potential health risks are minimized.

A joint mission with , local health authorities,& politicians traveled to assess the situation and mobilize immediate support required. Public health experts are deployed to collect water and fish samples for further tests &institute other public health measures.

For those trying to keep track . . .

The low levels of water (due to Iraq's neighbors cutting off the rivers) led to the government requiring most farmers to forgo crops this summer and it also led to some of the most grotesque photos of livestock as they too suffered from the lack of water.  Now the fish.  What exactly are the people of Iraq supposed to be eating?

And they can't drink the water in Basra -- unless they want to risk being hospitalized -- as has happened to over 100,000 already.  Ali Jabar (AP) notes, "Health officials said some 100,000 people were taken to hospital for stomach illnesses in the southern Basra province, where sludge and yellow water was recorded flowing out of the taps. Demonstrators rioted, demanding better services."

How big is the problem?

PM chairs meeting of the Ministerial Council for National Security in Baghdad. The Council discussed food security including protecting Iraq’s strategic fish reserves, measures to reduce water pollution, border security and regional developments

Yes, that serious.  The do-nothing government of the new prime minister has to hold a cabinet meeting to discuss the situation.

Despite it being that serious, the Iraqi government is denying speculation that there may be some form of poison in the water.  RUDAW reports:

Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture has ordered experts to take preventative measures to protect the fishing industry while refuting rumours that toxins had caused the mass fish die off.

“No poisonous material was found and this refutes any conspiracy theories as no case of fish death has been reported in the last 48 hours,” the ministry stated Saturday evening.

Thousands of fish died in Babylon province over the weekend. Fish farmers woke up to dead fish covering the surface of the Euphrates River and washing up on the banks.

The Ministry of Agriculture speaks very loudly for a ministry whose head did not attend the meeting that al-Mehdi called.  To be clear, many ministries have no heads currently -- about eight of them.  But that is not the case for Agriculture.  The Minister of Agriculture is Falah Hassan al-Zidan, confirmed by Parliament.  But while many managed to attend the Council's meeting earlier today,  al-Zidan did not attend and sent an undersecretary instead.  That's rather alarming.  Agriculture is front and center on this issue but the head of the ministry does not attend the Council meeting?

On Sunday, surveying the partial Cabinet al-Mehdi has put together, Salah Nasrawi (AHRAM ONLINE) wondered, "Has Iraq missed its chance?"  If we're to judge solely by the response (or non-response) of the Minister of Agriculture, then, yes, it has.

Sami Moubayed (GULF NEWS) offers:

Iraqi parliamentarians will vote Tuesday on the eight vacant posts in the cabinet of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi. If he fails to come up with an acceptable assortment, Abdul Mehdi runs a high risk of early failure. He would have to either step down or continue with a lopsided and incomplete government, one in which he has to personally assume all vacant portfolios himself.
A French-trained economist and former communist, Abdul Mehdi managed to secure approval for 14 out of 22 ministers on October 25, becoming the 49th prime minister of Iraq — until further notice. He got filled politically nonsensitive posts, like agriculture, youth affairs, and labour, and left vacant “sovereignty portfolios”, like interior, defence, and education.

We're in for more rain
I could sure use some sunshine on my apple trees
It seems such a shame
We start out so kind and end so heartlessly
I couldn't take them all on then
With a headful of questions and hypes
So when the hopes got so slim
I just resigned
But I'd still like to see you sometime
I'd sure like to see you 

-- "See You Sometime," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her FOR THE ROSES.

Upper low will continue to produce some rain from SE & to N , and NW through Monday. Scattered rains will persist in eastern and western Iran on Tuesday.

This is what happens when it rain in

Last week, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society noted:

A number of villages in Rawandoz district in Erbil governorate were swept by the water torrents and it has led to the drowning of 102 houses in Warti area in Rawandoz district that witnessed heavy rain during the last two days and created torrents which caused damages to the houses of the citizens and the public facilities .
“ more than 398 families in Rawandoz district have been forced to leave their houses because of the torrents that swept some of the villages and caused to a material damages without civilian casualties, said Mr. Hawri Ehsan the Head of Irbil branch of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

Lastly on Iraq, we'll note this:

Forty women peace activists participating in . program worked together to forge bonds across ethnosectarian divides and geographic boundaries to promote a vision of in . Check out the video:

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Barbra Streisand, the Ethel Merman of the 21st century" went up Sunday.

No comments: