Why Was Suleimani Killed? Deep Dive By BBC World Services Adds Surprising Details In Only 23 Minutes

I highly recommend this short 23-minute radio documentary – it covers a lot of surprising details to round out the portrait of Lt. Gen Qasim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s QUDS force. His assassination via US drone-fired missiles at Teheran’s airport set off a cascade failure of tragedy: Iran fired missiles at US bases, and then  a passenger airliner was shot down in error by Iranian defense forces.

The BBC World Services pulls a lot of narrative threads together, including the surprising fact that just after the 9/11 attacks, the US and Iran were actually cooperating against a mutual enemy in Afghanistan…and Suleimani provided crucial tactical information. But this short respite in the two countries’ contentious relationship ended abruptly in 2003 when Pres. George W. Bush named Iran as a part of his “Axis of Evil” in a speech. No more cooperation. 

Imagine what might have been if we had left that door open instead of slamming it shut. Even all this time later, GWB’s disastrous presidency is still causing human misery.

There’s plenty more covered in the doc – it’s a very thorough look, up to and including the current US presidential campaign, and Trump’s likely motivation for strengthening his position ahead of next week’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

It’s so tragic. Now that Iran has admitted human error, families and governments in Canada, Ukraine, and many other countries will have to mourn, demand compensation, and try to move on. I’ve been trying to avoid news stories showing the aftermath of the crash; a short clip showing a burned stuffed animal absolutely devastated me.

It’s easier to listen than to see, in this case.

I’m better informed on the back story of Lt Gen Suleimani now – he was a very, very, very bad guy. But at one time, for a short year or two, his political aims aligned with ours; the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that sort of thing. But we Americans made the typical mistake of lacking nuance in how we viewed Iran, maybe filtered by the old dispute over the hostage crisis during the Carter presidency (which we now know was used to Reagan’s advantage). 

What a damn shame. We almost went to war over a stupid mixture of Trump’s ego, his impeachment woes, and posturing on both sides. And 176 innocent people died (plus more that were not so innocent).

Lt Gen Qasem Soleimani of Iran QUDS force

Lt Gen Qasim Suleimani

 

President Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani came as a shock to America’s foes and allies alike. He was Iran’s top general and has been described as one of the country’s most powerful figures, second only to the Supreme Leader Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. He was, effectively, head of Iran’s foreign policy. He’s been credited as being instrumental in the fight against ISIS but has also been accused of arming and supporting terror groups. But why did Donald Trump order his death?

— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csyth6

What’s For Dinner: Healthy Shepherd’s Pie {Cauliflower-Potato Topping!} from SimplyRecipes.com

Comfort more than nutrition usually comes to mind when you think of a meat-and-potatoes meal. This recipe qualifies as both. It has all the comfort of classic shepherd’s pie, but works in extra veggies, olive oil instead of butter, and leaner beef. Nobody will be the wiser, since it remains so flavorful and satisfying.
INGREDIENTS
For the potato-cauliflower topping:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for salting the cooking water
8 ounces cauliflower florets (2 heaping cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
For the filling:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine (substitute chicken broth, if desired)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
— Read on www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/healthy_shepherds_pie/

We have most of these ingredients on hand. But I have to substitute more cauliflower for potato, swap the dairy milk for nut milk, and swap the cheddar for Swiss, so my dear hubby can eat it. May add some parsley, garlic, and paprika to the cauliflower too. We’ve had good like making faux mash potataux that way.

I Need To Drop Some Pins

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This is an interactive bike-ped infrastructure map. I need to add some comments but can’t do it on the iPad or iPhone.

There is a special place in hell for suburban planners who create closed-loop developments and cross-streets that don’t line up for safe crossings. And an even more special place in hell for golf courses that block all access.

Want to Eat Healthier? Simply Recipes Wants to Help! | SimplyRecipes.com

It’s a brand new year, and one of our big projects on Simply Recipes is finding ways to help YOU eat healthier. No diet plans. No restrictions. Just good food. What exactly do we mean by that? Here’s everything you need to know.
— Read on www.simplyrecipes.com/want_to_eat_healthier_simply_recipes_wants_to_help/

Speeding Car Hits Police Car, Injures People In Dispensary Line

A speeding car hit an Elmwood Park police vehicle and nearly hit the police chief and people waiting in line on the first day of legal cannabis sales in Illinois.

Those waiting in line who were not injured…were remarkably determined to keep their appointments with legalized destiny.

“It’s kind of funny. It didn’t stop people from going into the dispensary,” he said.

— Read on www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elmwood-park/ct-elm-speeding-crash-tl-0109-20200103-g2rtag3nbjcp3hv4astgzmd74i-story.html