Saturday, November 02, 2019


HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER airs on ABC on Thursday nights.

This is about the latest episode.

But first, my opinion.  I don't think Annalise dies at the end of this season.  I think she fakes her death to get away from the Castillos and others.  I do believe the season will end with her death -- I just don't think it will be a real death.  My opinion and, of course, I love Annalise so I may feel that way just because I don't want the character to die.

So Michaela's father shows up.  Annalise gets her to his house for the father.  She doesn't want to see him.  She doesn't trust him.  Later, he shows up at her work.  He meets Asher.  She doesn't want him to meet Gabriel (which Asher gloats over). 

Tegan continues to fight with her wife (they've filed for divorce).  The wife went off with Nate trying to find out what he was up to.  She reports to Tegan that he thinks Tegan was involved in the murder of his father.  Tegan tells her to leave her alone.  She then fires Bonnie -- who has been defending Tegan to Frank.  She also wants to know what Annalise's part was in this.  Bonnie says she had no role.

Frank is recovering slowly.  He is in intense pain.  He wants to get together with Bonnie.  She explains she's still getting over her ex.  (The man she and Nate killed and got rid of.)

Annalise went to court to get a restraining order against the Castillos for herself and the students.  She wants it on the record that they are in danger (after Frank was attacked) and she's hoping it will get the FBI onto the Castillos and off them.

What else?  Asher tried to help his family but his mother is a vengeful drunk and there's really no point.  Asher needs to get on with his life.  His father was a crook and his family refuses to accept that and they choose instead to blame Asher.

My hope?  I would love Michaela and Asher to get back together this season.

I don't like Gabriel.  Wes always came off like an ESSENCE model -- a guy great to look at but with nothing inside.  Gabriel is that only more so.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, November 1, 2019.

Iraq is in turmoil as the needs of the people continue to go unmet.

Sharon Stone's paying attention.

The 1st gen after Saddam fight for democracy & to end corruption-a fight for their lives & future. “Iraq’s struggling economy & govt corruption sparked protests in which hundreds have died...the stability of the country is at stake.”

Are you?

Abbas Kadhim: In his address to the Iraqi people on October 31, President Barham Salih referred to Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s offer to resign if the two major parliamentary blocs (Sairoon and Fatah) that made a deal to nominate him for the post can agree on a replacement. Abdul-Mahdi was responding to a letter from Muqtada al-Sadr who had asked him on October 28 to “go to the Parliament and announce an early elections under UN supervision and soon.” Abdul-Mahdi’s response on the following day put the ball in the court of the political parties that nominated and confirmed him. These same political parties did not show true support for Abdul-Mahdi’s program of governance and instead continued to blackmail his ministers for corrupt favors.

President Salih seems to have given everyone a reasonable way out. If his plan is accepted, the protesters can go home having accomplished what they demanded, albeit not immediately, Abdul-Mahdi will avoid a vote of no-confidence, and Iraq will be saved from an unprecedented constitutional stalemate. Most importantly, there will be hope for significant reforms sponsored by the president and supported by a mandate from the protesters if the political elite honor their end of the deal. Iraq has great potential but is short on statesmen who can lead the country to reach that potential.

The Atlantic Council notes Abbas remarks and the remarks of others.  We'll note one more.

C. Anthony Pfaff: The resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) Adil Abdul-Mahdi should come as no surprise, but it should also come with a muted sense of relief. Mahdi’s security forces killed over a hundred protestors and wounded countless others. It is very difficult to come back from crossing that line and maintain the legitimacy required to make the reforms needed to address the protestors’ demands. However, that sense of relief should be muted as it is not clear who can take his place and do any better. The next Iraqi PM needs to direct government funds away from corrupt and inefficient agencies and towards recovery and reconstruction. He needs to invest in major infrastructure improvements, especially energy and transportation, so the economy can grow. Even trickier, he needs to promote development of a private sector without destabilizing the state-owned institutions that are Iraq’s biggest employers. While doing all this, he also needs to avoid the appearance of sectarian loyalties, and especially not appear under the influence of foreign powers, especially Iran and the United States.

None of that is going to be easy. Addressing any of those concerns attacks entrenched interests resulting in more protests. Having said that, the new Iraqi PM is not without resources. The Iraqi public is ready for change. Moreover, as these latest protests have demonstrated, this public is fed-up with sectarian politics and are looking for a leader who can unite them. If he can unite this public sentiment to push through the variety of measures described above, Iraq could finally be on a road to real recovery. The international community can help, but Iraq needs to demonstrate this commitment to reform first. While a real nationalist could emerge, the Iraqi parliament does not have a history of picking the best qualified candidate, but rather the least threatening to their interests. If they cannot do better this time, it will be business as usual and given the enduring nature of these protests, it is not clear how much longer that can go on.

What they don't note?  Another failure for the so-called intelligence agency, the CIA.  Since 2006, Adil Abdul Mahdi has been the choice of the CIA.  He had the gift, they insisted, he could rule.  But he couldn't.  The rules and laws around the elections in Iraq may be changed shortly.  But as they stood, Mahdi never should have become prime minister.

The country's Constitution had the process for how someone became prime minister.  The president of Iraq named them prime minister designate.  They then had 30 days to put together a cabinet.  If they could do this, they became prime minister.

This was never followed.  Nouri al-Maliki never managed to do it and no one else has either.

The whole point of the 30 days is that it is supposed to demonstrate that the leader can build coalitions, can show leadership.  If you can't put together a cabinet in 30 days (that's nominate people to head the posts and get these people approved by the Parliament), the argument was, you won't be able to govern.

al-Mahdi was made prime minister at the end of October of 2018 without putting together a full Cabinet.  It would be May of 2019 before he finally did what the Constitution required him to do.  He was inept.  He was meaningless.  He was so meaningless, in fact, that the President of Iraq, a purely symbolic office, began to get more attention from the western press than it ever had -- including some US outlets treating the post as though it were the post of the leader of Iraq.

Will Mahdi step down?  Who knows?  He's not exactly someone with a word you can trust.  REUTERS reports that Iran is working to keep Mahdi on as prime minister of Iraq -- reports based on anonymous sources.  BBC NEWS notes, "Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi will resign if political parties can agree on his replacement, the president has said, as mass protests continue."  So despite all the talk that hes out, note that it's still conditional.

Even in departing, Mahdi can't show leadership.

He's accomplished nothing as prime minister.  He is a disgrace which is really saying something -- post 2003 invasion Iraq is not known for great -- or even good -- prime ministers.

Amnesty International notes:

The Iraqi authorities must ensure anti-riot police and other security forces in Baghdad immediately stop using two previously unseen types of tear gas grenade to kill rather than disperse protesters, Amnesty International urged today after its investigation found they caused at least five protester deaths in as many days.

Amnesty International carried out telephone and email interviews with numerous eyewitnesses, reviewed medical records and consulted medical professionals in Baghdad as well as an independent forensic pathologist about the horrific injuries caused by these grenades since 25 October.

The organization’s Digital Verification Corps geolocated and analyzed video evidence from near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square documenting the fatalities and injuries – including charred flesh and “smoking” head wounds. Its military expert identified the types of tear gas grenades being used as two variants from Bulgaria and Serbia that are modelled on military grenades and are up to 10 times as heavy as standard tear gas canisters, resulting in horrific injuries and death when fired directly at protesters.

“All the evidence points to Iraqi security forces deploying these military-grade grenades against protesters in Baghdad, apparently aiming for their heads or bodies at point-blank range. This has had devastating results, in multiple cases piercing the victims’ skulls, resulting in gruesome wounds and death after the grenades embed inside their heads,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

“The lack of accountability for unlawful killings and injuries by security forces, responsible for the vast majority of casualties this past month, is sending the message that they can kill and maim with impunity. The authorities must rein in the police, ensure prompt, impartial, effective investigations, and prosecute those responsible.”

In Iraq's latest wave of protests, security forces used a previously unseen delivery mechanisms for showering crowds in clouds tear gas -- ten times heavier than a usual canister, says they have been fired to kill.

Clerics are speaking out including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

AT LAST: Grand Ayatollah Sistani breaks silence to warn that no foreign power should intervene in Iraq. Punctures talk of Gen. Soleimani coming to crush Iraqi revolt. Sistani must come out with statement supporting popular uprising for freedom, decent living & national dignity.

Iraq protests enter second month, defying pledges of reform
Iraq protests enter second month, defying pledges of reform
Iraq protests enter second month, defying pledges of reform
Protests in : we call on all to show restraint & allow health personnel to carry out their work unobstructed & in safety.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Science time.  Levert e-mailed regarding the science of our bodies.  He has an uncle with Alzheimer's and found this article very interesting.

It notes that some scientist believe there may be a connection between deep sleep and Alzheimer's -- that, in deep sleep, we may be able to flush out the toxins that make you a risk for Alzheimer's.  And the article notes his reality, "Studies show that people with Alzheimer's often have sleep problems. And there's growing evidence that people with sleep problems are more vulnerable to Alzheimer's."

Do you have deep sleep?

I've been having weird sleep lately.  I'd honestly assume my life was winding down to judge by my dreams.  For over a month and a half, I dream about people like my brother.  I have a great brother so it's not like I'm having nightmares.  But I'm dreaming about things we did when we were little.  Or I'll dream about something that happened in third grade.  For about six weeks, I've been reliving the first nine or so years of my life nightly in my dreams.

When my great grandmother passed away, she'd gone to the hospital.  And it got to the point where there was nothing more they could do.  So she came back to our home and lived two more days.  During that time, she was remembering her childhood.  She would look around the room and talk to people she'd known as a child, as though they were present.  She'd think she was eating at a picnic with her grandmother.

These dreams I'm having don't scare me and I'm not thinking it's a sign or I'm about to die.  But this sudden topic matter change did make me thing of my great-grandmother (which is good -- I love and miss her).  I don't usually dream like that.

Traditionally, I have two types of dreams.  The first is food.  I'm eating or I'm cooking.  The second is a fantasy (which might get scary) and I'm usually shrinking at some point in that or else I get the ability to fly.

Still with science, Stephanie Pappas (LIVE SCIENCE) reports:

A glacier in Patagonia that has lost half its length in 30 years may be the fastest-thinning glacier on the planet.

The glacier, known as Hielo Patagónico Sur 12 (HPS-12), is perched in the Andes mountains in Chile. Researchers reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience in September found that HPS-12 has been losing thickness and retreating inland. According to their analysis of satellite data, the glacier lost 98 feet (30 meters) of ice thickness each year, on average, between 2000 and 2008, near its terminal end. At its fastest, the thinning occurred at a rate of 144 feet (44 m) per year, according to study co-author Etienne Berthier, a glaciologist at the University of Toulouse in France. The section where that thinning was recorded melted away entirely in 2018.

Well that's awful news.  Especially since I wanted to visit the Andes mountains in Chile.  I've wanted to ever since I read Shirley MacLaine's OUT ON A LIMB.  The description of the water, especially, struck me.  It might have been some water flowing off the Mantaro River but it was a mineral bath, with the water bubbling ("like champagne," she wrote), soft and thick.  I wanted to be immersed in that water.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, October 31, 2019.  Another US service member dies in Iraq as protests continue.

Kyle Rempfer (ARMY TIMES) reports:

 A U.S. soldier supporting the Inherent Resolve coalition in Iraq died Sunday, Pentagon officials announced Wednesday morning.

Sgt. Nathan G. Irish died in a non-combat incident at Camp Taji, sometimes called Camp Cooke, in the Baghdad Governorate.

Ellen Mitchell (THE HILL) adds, "Irish was assigned to the 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska."

US soldier Sgt. Nathan G. Irish died in Camp Taji 3 days ago in a non-combat incident, as per US DoD.

Jean and I are praying for the Irish family during this difficult time. We are grateful for Nathan's service and will keep those close to him in our thoughts.

Nathan G. Irish was 23 years old -- seven years older than the Iraq War itself.  The ongoing war.  I can remember when a man was traveling around the United States in 2007 and 2008 and insisting that ,if he became president, all US troops would come home.  Speech after speech, he said that.  He did become president, President Barack Obama, and he had two terms in the White House but he left with US troops still in Iraq.  Steve Bullock would like to be president.  He's running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination currently.  Currently he's the Governor of Montana and he issued this statement:

Lisa and I are heartbroken over the loss of Sgt. Nathan Irish. As a state and nation, we ask our brave soldiers and their families to sacrifice so much to keep our nation and communities safe. We send our condolences to Sgt. Irish’s loved ones during this difficult time. 

MTN NEWS offers this video report.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, eyeglasses and outdoor

That photo's from his FACEBOOK page.

Nathan Irish updated his profile picture.
July 15

He noted in August, when he deployed to Iraq:

Getting on the C-130 to head to Iraq and I see “City of Missoula” stenciled on the side, a Montana license plate hanging in the cockpit, and a Montana flag hanging in the cargo bay. Halfway across the world and it feels like I’m 6 hours from home.

He should never have been sent over there.

If Steve Bullock wants to issue condolences and run for president, maybe Bullock should take some time to comment on US troops still in Iraq.  Or does he think the best candidate is the one who has no position on foreign wars?

The cat doesn't have Steve's tongue when it comes to talking about the other candidates.  He's been very vocal when it comes to Joe Biden's potential use of a SuperPac.  He's against that.  He just shrouds in mystery his position on never-ending wars.

On the topic of Joe Biden, Cameron Easley (MORNING CALL) crunches the numbers of various Democratic candidates in a face off with Donald Trump for the 2020 election and finds that Joe Biden has slipped.  Of the top three Cameron looks at -- Joe, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren -- only Elizabeth has increased her percentage since June which leads Easley to note:

But polling suggests that many primary voters are backing Biden because of his perceived general-election strength. Forty percent of Democratic primary voters said in September that they thought Biden has the best chance of beating Trump in 2020, more than twice the share who said the same of any other candidate. To that extent, declining returns in head-to-head matchups against Trump may pose a unique risk to his prospects for securing the nomination.

In Iraq, protests continue.  FRANCE 24 speaks with Feurat Alani (author of THE PERFUME OF IRAQ).

Alissa J. Rubin (NEW YORK TIMES) reports:

Under pressure from a growing number of protesters, Iraq’s prime minister appeared likely Wednesday to step down in the coming days, although exactly when is the subject of negotiations between two powerful Shiite Muslim leaders.
In a letter to one of the men, the cleric Moktada al-Sadr, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he would be willing to resign and call early elections. But Mr. Mahdi insisted that it be done according to the procedures in the Constitution.

That's hilarious.  If the Constitution had been followed, he wouldn't be prime minister.  Your named prime minister designate and from that day you have 30 days to put together a Cabinet.  But it was over six months later before he found a Minister of Interior and a Minster of Defense.  He never should have been prime minister per the Constitution so it's hilarious that now, to save his job, he's saying the Constitution must be followed.

Middle East|MENA this a.m. • Protests: Lebanon, IraqIraq Prez to speak • US Patrols in NE Syria • Turkey-Kurds ceasefire collapsing • UAE withdraws from Aden Yemen • Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia meeting in DC 11/6: Dam dispute • Pentagon releases vid clips from Baghdadi raid

: Iraq’s President Barham Salih to speak shortly amid deadly protests in the country — Iraqi TV.

protesters lose their fear Mass protests in are continuing despite a vicious crackdown()that has left 231 people dead. via

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The following sites updated: