Saturday, December 21, 2019

Vegan Mac & Cheese and Creamy Vegan Thai Mac

Serves 6

What you need:

4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup vegan butter
2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup  raw cashews
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika

What you do:

1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.

4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.

5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

Our youngest will eat anything but the older one is getting picky.  This dish worked for him.  I was talking to Trina and she said, "Post it! I'll link because I'm always getting asked about good vegan recipes."  That's one of two that I recommend.  The other is Creamy Vegan Thai Mac:

For the mac:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups water, divided
¾ cup unsalted raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes and drained
16 ounces gemelli or other small pasta
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

For garnish:
½ cup chopped roasted peanuts
¼ cup Thai basil, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Lime wedges, for serving

What you do:

1. In a skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in curry paste, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Stir in 1 cup water and remove from heat.
  2. In a high-speed blender, combine cashews and remaining water, and blend until smooth. Add curry  mixture and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot.
4. Into pot with pasta, add curry sauce and coconut milk and stir. Place pot over low heat and  cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes to heat and thicken sauce. Transfer to a large serving dish and serve hot, sprinkled with peanuts, basil, cilantro, and red pepper flakes, with lime  wedges on the side for squeezing.

That one's even better to me (though not to my child).  I like the spicy taste.  You can find plenty of  vegan recipes at VegNews.  

I'm not vegan.  I do love vegetables and I am more than comfortable having a meal without meat.  

My intake is probably 89% fruit and vegetables.  If I don't eat that much, I feel sluggish, like when I haven't consumed enough water in a day.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, December 20, 2019.  A look at the hideous debate.

Last night, Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination gathered for a debate -- if they were lucky enough to be invited.  Or if they showed.  Did US House Rep and Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard carry out her threat to boycott or was she not invited?  It's all so confusing.  She says she won't be at a debate and then retracts it.  Now its a debate or two later and she's announced she wouldn't be there but was she even invited?  Who knows, who cares, she can't stand up to War Hawk Joe Biden to begin with.

Tiny Pete showed up -- with all his usual lies and a new spin.

Uh, Miss Amy Kobulcher, what you don't know about me, about this "gay dude," is that I was re-elected in Mike Pence's Indiana.

Really, Tiny Pete, the state is Mike's?  Wow.  He owns a whole state.

More to the point, "gay dude" Pete, the bro bottom of the neolib movement -- excuse me, the bro power-bottom of the neolib movement -- wants to ignore reality.

The most powerful thing any candidate has in an election is being an incumbent.

Pete wasn't elected as "a gay dude" in Indiana.  He was in the closet for his first two terms.  He did come out in 2015 and was re-elected in 2016.  He'd already been elected twice.  That does shine a different light on his boast.

And he knows the power of incumbency -- after all, he used it to install his White friend as his replacement and to keep anyone else from advancing in the Democratic Party primary.  Typical Tiny Pete.  South Bend's never had a mayor of color or a female mayor so, naturally, Tiny Pete endorses the White man in the race.

Another fun fact that Tiny Pete misrepresented?

He was elected in South Bend.  After two terms, he came out and, yes, he was re-elected mayor.  He was the incumbent and he had no real challenger that year on the Democratic Party side.  So, of course, he was re-elected.

Some pictures of Pete Buttigieg struggling to endure in “Mike Pence’s Indiana”

And his "Mike Pence's Indiana" is really a lie.

It was South Bend.

South Bend that has elected a Democrat as their mayor every year since 1972.

For forty-six continuous years, South Bend has elected a Democrat as mayor.

Tiny Pete's big boasts shrink like a scared turtle when examined.

He was loud -- if not proud -- on the stage.  Curiously, Tiny Pete has been seizing -- bit by bit -- on his sexuality in the debates.  But it's as though he sprung from the head of Zeus like Athena.  He has no history to cite.  Barack Obama would invoke Selma, for example.  Barack would invoke the names of Civil Rights leaders.  Tiny Pete is apparently the first gay man on the face of the planet.

He doesn't even give lip service to Stonewall -- and this is the fiftieth anniversary of that historic moment.

Moderators: Judy Woodruff, Yamiche Alcindor and Amna Nawaz of PBS; Tim Alberta of Politico. That's from THE WASHINGTON POST transcript and all debate excerpts are from that transcript as well.

When not lying in the debate, Tiny Pete was flashing his substantial ignorance.

At one point, when he wanted to insist he valued the First Amendment more than anyone else, he hid behind his service in the military -- truly a cowardly move.

But as he was attacking Senator Amy Klobuchar and trying to use his military service to shut her down, he only flashed his ignorance.

I took an oath to defend the Constitution!

Did you, Tiny Pete?

I think if you're going to float that you then have to follow up with how you view defending the US because nothing you did says you're defending the US -- you have no accomplishments there.  Maybe White America?  You could claim your service as mayor was an attempt to defend White America while tearing down people of color?

But here's the thing that no one in the press after -- or at the debate -- thought to mention.

Amy Klobuchar's taken an oath as well.

In fact, she's taken one oath three times already because she's been elected to the US Senate three times.  Does Tiny Pete not know this?

Let's explain it to him via the US Senate's website:

Upon taking office, senators-elect must swear or affirm that they will "support and defend the Constitution." The president of the Senate or a surrogate administers the oath to newly elected or re-elected senators. The oath is required by the Constitution; the wording is prescribed by law.

I hear Tiny Pete howling but, like a true power-bottom, begging for more swats, so let's give him what he wants.

Here's the oath Amy -- like every other member of the US Senate -- has sworn/affirmed:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Tiny Pete's exhausted himself across my lap.  While he composes himself, let's talk about his oath.  I believe he was in the Reserves.  That would mean he took this oath:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.

Not all that different is it?

Tiny Pete can't answer.  True power-bottom, he's taken it upon himself to stand in the corner with his hands on his head.

But, here's the thing, this was Amy Klobuchar's entire point.  Pete was ignorant of the reality of what others do and had done on the stage because he'd never done it himself.

It was Mike Seaver skipping school on GROWING PAINS all over again.  Mike was shocked to learn that life would go on at school without him. ["Career Decisions," written by Neal Marlens, Bob Brush and Tom Walla.]

Tiny Pete wanted to snarl at Amy that he took an oath.  Yeah, he did.  I don't know that he followed it but he took it.  So did Amy.  So has Joe Biden.  So has Elizbeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Tiny Pete is one of those average people who has been told too many times that he's special and started to believe it -- despite all evidence to the contrary.

Grasp what a self-entitled tool he is, lecturing Amy about how he -- HE -- took an oath while he's so stupid -- don't they have a course in government at South Bend high schools? -- he doesn't grasp that Amy took that same basic oath.

Pete's ignorance of that -- intentional or not -- goes to the point Amy was making about how Pete denigrated the experience of those on stage.

But, hey, when you really don't have any experience, attack those who do, right?

It's hard to get high, Pete, when you're living on the bottom -- didn't you hear Kelly Clarkson?

Tiny Pete was awful and the biggest winner there?  His all grown up self Joe Biden.  War Hawk Joe spoke less -- always a gift.

Doesn't mean he didn't make crazy statements.

 ALBERTA: Just to follow up, Vice President Biden, if elected, if elected you would turn 82 at the end of your first term. You'd be the oldest president in American history.

BIDEN: More like Winston Churchill.

ALBERTA: Are you willing -- are you willing to commit -- American history.

BIDEN: Oh, American history.

ALBERTA: Yes. Are you...

BIDEN: I was joking. That was a joke.


No, it wasn't a joke.  You couldn't hear the question or were spacing and wanted to liken yourself to Winston Churchill (well, we all needed a laugh).  Winston wasn't a president.  Forget that you didn't hear "American history," Joe, Winston was a prime minister.  You honestly don't understand the difference?

When not providing laughter (unintentional laughter), Joe played weasel.

ALCINDOR: Thank you. Thank you, Senator Warren.
Vice President Biden, why couldn't you close Guantanamo Bay? Why couldn't the Obama administration close Guantanamo Bay?

BIDEN: We attempted to close Guantanamo Bay, but you have to have congressional authority to do it. They've kept it open. And the fact is that we, in fact, think it's greatest -- it is an advertisement for creating terror.
Look, what we have done around the world in terms of keeping Guantanamo open or what Trump has done by no longer being an honest broker in Israel, [. . .]
Joe was on the ticket that, in 2008, promised Guantanamo would be closed.  
It has not been closed.  Two terms in office and the promise was not kept.  
A clear promise on that was made to the American people and it was not kept.  Where did Joe take any accountability for that?  
Joe Biden doesn't do accountability, never forget that.
He demonstrated that again -- and his hearing problems -- in the exchange below.
NAWAZ: Vice President Biden, let's turn now to Afghanistan. Confidential documents published last week by the Washington Post revealed that for years senior U.S. officials misled the public about the war in Afghanistan. As vice president...

BIDEN: Afghanistan, you said?

NAWAZ: Yes, sir, Afghanistan. As vice president, what did you know about the state of the war? And do you believe that you were honest with the American people about it?

BIDEN: The reason I can speak to this -- it's well-known, if any of you followed it, my view on Afghanistan -- I was sent by the president before we got sworn in to Afghanistan to come back with a report. I said there was no comprehensive policy available. And then I got in a big fight for a long time with the Pentagon because I strongly opposed the nation-building notion we set about.
Rebuilding that country as a whole nation is beyond our capacity. I argued from the very beginning that we should have a policy that was based on an antiterrorism policy with a very small footprint that, in fact, only had special forces to deal with potential threats from that territory to the United States of America.
The first thing I would do as president of the United States of America is to make sure that we brought all combat troops home, entered into a negotiation with the Taliban. But I would leave behind special forces in small numbers to be able to deal with the potential threat unless we got a real good negotiation accomplished to deal with terrorism.
That's been my position from the beginning. That's why I think Secretary Gates and some members of the Pentagon weren't happy with me.

NAWAZ: Mr. Biden, the question was about your time in the White House, though.

BIDEN: I'm talking about the White House.

NAWAZ: In that Washington Post report, there's a senior national security official who said that there was constant pressure from the Obama White House to produce figures showing the troop surge was working, and I'm quoting from the report here, "despite hard evidence to the contrary." What do you say to that?

BIDEN: Since 2009, go back and look. I was on the opposite side of that with the Pentagon. The only reason I can speak to it now is because it's been published. It's been published thoroughly. I'm the guy from the beginning who argued that it was a big, big mistake to surge forces to Afghanistan, period. We should not have done it. And I argued against it constantly.

NAWAZ: Senator Sanders, you had your hand up.

SANDERS: Well, in all due respect to my -- Joe, Joe, you're also the guy who helped lead us into the disastrous war in Iraq. What we need to do is, I think, rethink -- and the Washington Post piece was very educational -- what we need to rethink is the entire war on terror.
We have lost thousands of our own men and women, brave soldiers. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have been killed abroad or forced to leave their countries. It is time right now that we bring this world together to try to end these endless wars and address the root  causes which are causing these wars.

NAWAZ: Senator Sanders, you do often point to your vote against the war in Iraq as evidence of your judgment on foreign policy, but you did vote for the war in Afghanistan. And as recently as 2015, you said you supported a continued U.S. troop presence there. Was that support a mistake?

SANDERS: Well, only one person, my good friend, Barbara Lee, was right on that issue. She was the only person in the House to vote against the war in Afghanistan. She was right. I was wrong. So was everybody else in the House.
That, Joe Biden, Bernie's last comments quoted above, is how you take accountability.  Learn it.

Please note that was also the only time Iraq was raised in the debate.

The moderators ignored it.

This was a lousy debate -- the only thing worse was the commentary PBS provided -- anti-Elizabeth Warren, pro-Tiny Pete (until he flamed out finally) and pure corporate nonsense.  They should all be ashamed.  It wasn't commentary, it was fan club clippings.

I loathe Amy Klobuchar.  That's not a secret.  Did I not defend her above.  Did I not note how she was right and do so in ways that even she missed?  Is this a fan post of Bernie and Elizabeth?  No.  They're barely noted.  They did a fine job.  The ones who failed -- Joe and his mini-me Tiny Pete -- are the focus.  They're awful and note that Joe wants to say I-was-against-it-on-Afghanistan (he was) but wants to pretend like he wasn't vp for 8 years and lying to the American people because that's what he was doing.

He's standing right by Barack . . . except when he isn't.

Over 500 protesters in Iraq have been killed in the last months and that's not an issue to PBS or their airhead moderators.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Tiny Pete is trash and a little bitch

  • Those are the TV posts where we graded the shows we cover.  Good job and I enjoyed reading them all.

    Are you watching the debate?  I'm married to a Democrat so I'm stuck with the debate.

    Tiny Pete is trash.  He's on the debate stage trashing Elizabeth Warren and he's gotten

    Pete's such a little bitch.  At one point point he said to Elizabeth that she might be "feeling the holiday spirit, I know this isn't likely."

    He's such trash.

    Get that racist off the stage.

    I'm sick of the lip service of 'vote like a Black woman' when no Black woman I know -- including me -- would ever vote for a little racist like Tiny Pete. 

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, December 19, 2019.  A sexist appeal to Elizabeth Warren to take one for the boys should go over with a thud and the writer -- David Swanson -- should be loudly rebuked, Human Rights Watch's Belkis Wille sees more bloodshed in the future for Iraq as the government continues to crackdown on protesters, and much more.

    The ingrained sexism in society is also deeply woven into the left.  We can never forget that because the world we live in won't let us.  Say you listen to, for example, KPFK.  How would you listen to that station (Patty, I'm looking at you -- you who pretends to be a warrior for women) and never notice that show after show is male, male, male?  They're progressives -- on every issue but diversity and gender.

    It shouldn't require you, me or us together having to point out the nonsense.  But it has.  Ava and I documented COUNTERSPIN's sexism in 2006.  This is the radio program from 'media watchdog' FAIR.  It's supposed to be our friend, right?  But when Ava and I asked "Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?," the answer was: Probably not if you're a woman.  From October of 2005 to March of 2006, 36 men were guests while only 13 women were.

    Why in the world did we chose that time span -- October to March?

    Because FAIR was slamming THE NEWSHOUR (PBS) for it's lack of female guests in that same period.  While featuring roughly one woman to every three men, they were calling out THE NEWSHOUR for featuring roughly one woman to every four men.  Yes, COUNTERSPIN was a tiny bit better.  But the lack of awareness, the inability to self-check is a hallmark of the left when it comes to gender.

    At least they took their lumps and shut up.  THE NATION is another story.  In 2007, Ava and I began studying the bylines in THE NATION (print issues).  As we noted a tally each issue, half-way through -- following the publication of "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," a desperate e-mail comes in from THE NATION.  Could we please kill this feature?  Pretty please?  They insisted they were aware of the problem and they would be addressing it.  "On the subject of women and the magazine; you should also know that the magazine is more than aware of the imbalance, and has taken steps in the last several months to recruit and bring in more women writers," Ben Wyskida wrote.


    Because they didn't address it.  We continued the study for another half year and, when the last new issue of THE NATION for 2007 went to print, we offered "The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?"

    Want to take a guess on the number?

    491 by men, 149 by women.

    Ben Wyskida, in his e-mail imploring us to kill the feature, wanted us to know -- apparently, we were too stupid in his mind to have known this -- "Its worth noting, I think, the extent to which women ARE the leadership of the magazine -- from the editorial side (print, web, and almost all of our senior and executive editors) to the business side (President and the heads of advertising and fundraising) -- but there is an ongoing effort to bring in more women in to the magazine and the website."

    Oh thank goodness Ben and his mighty penis came along to share that because, as women, Ava and I had no idea what a woman was, right?

    The whole reason we were calling out THE NATION was because of the women making the key decisions -- a point we noted when the feature started.  Katrina vanden Heuvel was the definition of what we would later dub the Deanna Durbin syndrome -- 100 guys and a girl.

    Thank you, Ben, for all the hard work you did lifting your mighty penis to state the obvious -- to tell us not only what we already knew but, in fact, what we'd already written about.

    And women are part of the problem -- a fact we've never denied.  With Ann, we studied NPR's Terry Gross and her not-so-fresh-air that featured 399 guests in 2010.  How many were women?  74.  And we're the only ones calling it out.

    We could talk 2008 and the sexist trashing of women (Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente) and we certainly documented that but let's leave it at the above and get to the point of why I have to note the above today.  "Six Reasons Elizabeth Warren Should Volunteer to Be Bernie Sanders' Running Mate."

    You know a man wrote it, right?  It had to be.

    It shows up yesterday in the public e-mail account (  Martha calls to tell me about it.

    It's by David Swanson who's not all bad.  When not passing Rebecca's private e-mail response to him with his editorial statements  -- when not passing that around -- and not being smart enough to realize he included Rebecca on it -- David can do a good thing or two.  I mean, he does remember the Iraq War every three months or so, right?

    So Bernie Sanders supporter David Swanson felt his mighty penis needed to weigh in.

    Now David is part of the left problem and look at what he's constantly sharing and you grasp that.  You grasp that there is no effort to present equal numbers of female guests and female writers.  Some on the left complain about the lack of equal pay in the US -- when will they complain about the lack of equal representation?

    Until that day comes, I guess I just have to be the bitch online who always points out the problem.

    Elizabeth Warren has a shot at being the second woman in the nation to be the presidential nominee for one of the duopoly parties.  That is not a minor thing.  Unlike Hillary, Elizabeth didn't 'inherit' her public stature.  She made it herself.  Most women in politics have had their stature bestowed on them -- by marriage, by parents, whatever.

    So Elizabeth would be a game changer.

    That doesn't mean I embrace her as the candidate.  I think either she or Bernie Sanders would be a worthy nominee.

    I'm not taking sides.

    Awhile back, Bernie supporter Norman Solomon tried to take sides.  We ignored the column and he moved on realizing it wasn't the time.

    It's still not the time.

    Who the f**k is penis waving David Swanson to tell Elizabeth Warren she would be a good vice president.

    Why doesn't he just ask her to stay home and take care of the babies?

    She'd be good at that, right, David?

    This is sexism plain and simple and it's appalling that I'm having to write about it.

    He's on the left.  But gender means so little to him that he doesn't grasp the various tropes he's trafficking in, the various ways he is reinforcing sexism.

    David just wags his mighty penis and says, "Girls, I'm upgrading you, I'm saying a woman can be vice president."

    David needs to sit his tired ass down and start composing an apology for what he wrote.  I'm not joking.  It demands an apology.  Maybe he'll have the guts to write it.  No one else that we've called out ever has.  (And don't get me started on the lists of excuses various NPR omsbudpersons -- hey, Alicia, you were always the snarkiest -- have shared privately to justify the sexism on NPR airwaves.)

    It demands an apology.

    Women do not need David Swanson telling them what to do.  It's amazing how little he bothers to note women or issues that directly impact the lives of women but he's so full of himself that he can still take it upon himself to tell a candidate who is basically in a three-way tie that she -- emphasis on the "she" -- should step aside and be a vice presidential nominee.

    C'mon, Lizzie, step aside for the big balled boys.

    David needs to apologize.

    Unlike his bitch ass, I do remember 2008.  Like many women, I have the scars from 2008.  David's b.s. right now was done to Hillary as well.  It did not 'bring the party together.'  His sexist b.s. not only makes him look stupid, it harms Bernie's support.

    He crossed a line that does not need to be crossed.

    And if he'd written "Corey Booker" and not "Elizabeth Warren"?  That's the whole point.  Men on the left know not to write that about race.  They grasp that is offensive.  But when it's a woman, they think it's a-okay.

    It's disgusting and he needs to retract it and apologize for it.

    Yes, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.

    Until Iowa, it will be a three-way race -- Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  After Iowa, things will change based on the results.  There might be a surprise new name due to the results, the three-way may expand to a four-way or shrink to one nominee only.

    But currently, it is a three-way race.  Far from the winner's circle currently is Mike Bloomberg.  But that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to campaign.

    Carl Campanile (NEW YORK POST) reports:

    Michael Bloomberg dumped on Democratic rival Joe Biden, saying the former vice president is not qualified to be president because he’s never run anything.
    “He’s never been a manager of an organization. He’s never run a school system,” Bloomberg said during an MSNBC interview, excerpts of which were released Wednesday night.
    The former three-term New York City mayor and billionaire media mogul thought no better of the rest of the Democratic competitors running for president.

    “But no, I don’t think any of them — you know, the presidency shouldn’t be a training job,” he said.

    Bloomberg knows he needs press attention -- not just ad buys (ad buys that have not helped him) -- and he knows the press will cover attacks on his competitors.  It's a shame others don't grasp that basic reality.  Instead, real and fundamental policy differences are glossed over in the name of 'togetherness.'

    On the topic of Joe Biden, Kimberly Leonard and Joseph Simonson (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) report:

    Former President Barack Obama’s once-longtime doctor said the medical records Joe Biden’s campaign disclosed are concerning and incomplete.
    “He’s not a healthy guy,” Dr. David Scheiner, who was Obama's personal physician for the 22 years before he became president, concluded after reading the records. “He’s not in bad shape for his age, but I wouldn't say he’s in outstanding health. Could I guarantee he won't have issues for the next four years? He has a lot of issues that are just sort of sitting there.”
    A three-page letter from Biden’s physician concluded the former vice president is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old” that is fit to be president. But the letter also revealed Biden receives treatment for an irregular heartbeat and high cholesterol and that he deals with acid reflux and seasonal allergies. It noted his already known history of aneurysms and that he took blood thinners.

    The details from the letter made Scheiner, 81, concerned about Biden’s potential for strokes, and he said he would want to see results from an MRI or CT scan. Because Biden also used to have sleep apnea before getting surgery on his sinus and nasal passages, Scheiner said he would also like to review the results of a sleep study. 

    Turning to Iraq where the protests continue.  Sunday, Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reported:

    The constitutional deadline for nominating a new prime minister arrived Dec. 15 with no consensus candidate in view, even though a spokesman for Iraqi President Barham Salih said Dec. 12 that the president was committed to coming up with a candidate within the constitutional time frame.
    Former Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani threw his hat in the ring Dec. 13, announcing on his Twitter account that he has resigned from the Islamic Dawa party to become a candidate for the premiership. Sudani has not been nominated by any bloc in the parliament, although he is believed to be backed by Fatah bloc, which is the political front of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition, which together could form the largest bloc in parliament. However, the president sent a request on Dec. 15 to the parliament, asking to determine the largest bloc, in order to nominate a candidate for the premiership position, which indicates that Fatah was not able to form the largest bloc and Sudani candidacy was not successful. In fact, one of the main criticism against the parliament and government formed after the 2018 election is that the whole process of forming the government had not followed the constitution guideline which obliged the parliament to determine the largest bloc officially, which did not happen. 
    Moreover, the protesters had rejected Sudani previously. His photo, among those of other five possible candidates, can be seen in Tahrir Square with a big red X across it, indicating that the protesters do not accept any of the names. The other names are Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Qusai al-Suhail, Basra Gov. Asaad al-Eidani, former Minister of Youth and Sports Abdul-Hussein Abtan, former Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum and veteran politician Izzat al-Shahbandar.
    The protesters had previously said that they want a new face without any affiliation with the current political class to lead the caretaker government and prepare for fair early elections, on the condition that the caretaker prime minister not run for office in the upcoming contest. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has the largest parliamentary bloc with 54 seats, also has rejected Sudani. Sadr has said the protesters must nominate the new prime minister. 

    The deadlock continues today.  This morning, REUTERS reports, "Iraqi lawmakers said on Thursday that deadlock in parliament was holding up the selection of an interim prime minister, meaning leaders would miss a deadline to name a replacement for Adel Abdul Mahdi and prolong nationwide unrest."  The protests have been going on for months.  The refusal of the lawmakers to act on declaring a replacement prime minister is outrageous.

    The deadlock takes place as the protesters are under attack.  As Eleanor Hall (Australia's ABC's THE WORLD TODAY) noted this morning, "the targeting of activists is the latest attempt to shut down the movement."  This led into a story on the killing of activist leaders.  "They really are putting their lives at risk,"  Belkis Wille notes.

    As they continue to put their lives at risk, the lawmakers do nothing.  Human Rights Watch Belkis Wille offered this on THE WORLD TODAY I think that the government or the powers that somehow remain in power will do everything that they can to get the people off the streets. So I think the movement is going to dwindle and it's going to be extremely bloody in coming weeks.  I think it's going to get much worse."

    In other news, XINHUA reports:

    The U.S. forces on Thursday conducted an operation and captured a leader of a paramilitary Sunni tribal fighters over participating in rocket attack on an air base housing U.S. troops in Iraq's western province of Anbar, an official and a security sources said.
    The U.S. troops conducted an airdrop operation before dawn on a house in Jubba area at the town of al-Baghdadi, some 190 km northwest of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and arrested Naseer al-Obeidi, a leader of local tribal fighters affiliated with the Hashd Shaabi forces, a local official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

    The source said that al-Obeidi was arrested over intelligence reports which said that he had participated earlier in the month in a rocket attack on the nearby Ain al-Asad air base, where hundreds of U.S. troops are stationed, the official said.

    The following sites updated: