Earth Hour 2009

Did you remember Earth Hour on Saturday? It was the hour set aside to turn of your lights and save the environment from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

I did not observe Earth Hour 2009.

I know it's symbolic, but let's be real. 1 hour out of 8760 per year? It's a little lame and I think it insults those people around the world who don't actually have electricity. Ooh, look at me. I gave up power for a whole hour because I have so much. I'm saving the environment.

For example, many Kurds have spent years without sufficient power between Saddam and the insurgency in the south - not to mention rampant government corruption.

In 2006, I spent 6 months in Iraq. We had about 8 hours of electricity per day (and I'm being generous). That means that I spent over 2896 hours without electricity.

And, that doesn't count the hours spent in 2007 and 2008.

See you for Earth Hour 4905.

At the earliest.


About the Bailout

You must read this article.

I am not a fan of Rolling Stone's political pieces, but this article is the most informative one I've read about the collapse of AIG and what it means for the financial system.

It's eight pages, but I recommend reading it through.
The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

I should not that it's not for sensitive eyes; Rolling Stone is 'edgy' and we all know 'edgy' means fowl language.


2 Great New Sites

Angie and I have started a new blog.

I know, you're thinking something like "Why in the world would those two start another blog? Don't they have 15 already? I mean don't they have better things to do?"

Well, it was Angie's idea, it's only 12 or so, and no, no we don't.

Angie came up with the idea for Seven Simple Things about a week ago. I thought it was a pretty good idea; seven simple things, one each day. Click the link and have a look around.

Let us know what you think.

Kurdish lessons have their own site.

If you're a long-time reader, you know I've done some Kurdish lessons. They're pretty popular as far as Kurdish lessons go.

I don't have much competition on the internet, really.

The lessons are migrating over time. Check out the new site, I really like it.

The Kurdish Airforce


Stuffed Bunny

Angie's been making dresses, so I decided to make something too.

I made a stuffed animal; a bunny to be exact.

It was really easy, but as I was finishing the ears, I realized something: I don't want to be the type of person who makes his own stuffed animals.

Not that there's anything wrong with someone who does. It's just not for me.

So, see below for the one and only rdmeeker bunny.

Bunny relaxes in the sun.

Nila gives bunny a good shake.

Remembering Halabja

The following article was originally posted here in August, 2008. Because March 16 is the anniversary of the attack on Halabja, I decided to post it again. It's an important event to remember as we reconsider Iraq.

On March 16, 1988, the Iraqi government attacked the kurdish city of Halabja with chemical weapons killing 5,000 people and injuring 10,000 others. As of today, it's the worst chemical attack on a civilian population in history.

This image of a man shielding a young child has become an icon in Kurdistan.


The grinding Iran-Iraq war was coming to a close in 1988 and the border city of Halabja was caught in the middle. Claiming that the Irani army was in the city, the Iraqi air force attacked.

The air force began bombing the city with conventional weapons driving the people of Halabja into their cellars. The gas used in the chemical weapons were heavier than the air, so the cellars where perhaps the worst places to hide. This is one reason why the death toll was so high.

This attack on the Kurds can be considered as part of Iraq's Anfal campaign. Anfal was the systematic genocide of the Kurdish population of northern Iraq. From 1986 to 1999 up to 200,000 Kurds were murdered by the Ba'ath regime. 4,000 villages were destroyed and 250 towns and villages were exposed to chemical weapons (see wikipedia article).

Recommended Reading:

Obviously what I've written is only a brief summary. The US Department of State published an article on their website which I highly recommend.

The Lessons of Halabja

In truth, it was probably written as propaganda during the build up to the invasion. However, that doesn't make it any less true.


Now that Saddam is gone and the Kurdish region of Iraq has autonomy, the Kurds of Halabja are still dealing with the aftermath of the gas attack. The city was made virually unlivable following the attack, but many of the survivors stayed.

In 2003, the Kurdish government erected a memorial for the attack and in 2006 an angry mob burned it down.

This to me is one of the most interesting parts of the story. 18 years after the attack the city of Halabja still had yet to receive any significant government assistance - and since 1991, that means Kurdish government assistance. On the anniversary of the attack each year, Kurdish politicians would make the trip to Halabja and make promises to the people and use the events of 1988 as a rallying cry for unity behind the government in power.

In 2006, fed up with empty promises, the people of Halabja staged a protest on the anniversary and torched the monument reclaiming their tragedy from the hands of their ineffective leaders.

Ok, that's all I have. Be sure to read the article I referenced above.


Cheap Stuff is Good

I found this a site called NeverPayRetailAgain.net today.

She has a lot of great coupons and deals. You should check it out.

Like this deal. Two packs of Huggies diapers and wipes for $1. Seriously.

Nila wears a size 4 in Huggies. Hurry, sale ends Friday.

UPDATE: Nevermind on the diapers. Angie tells me we can't buy Huggies because they give Nila diaper rash. I didn't know.

The site still looks like a keeper, though. I don't think it causes diaper rash, but I'll let you know.



Hey, have you seen my baby lately? Look how cute she is!

Believe it or not, Angie made the dress in this picture. She's very crafty. Check out her blog for more of her craftiness.

I dont' know why Angie put stickers on her cheeks, but she does look cute.

It's all so cute.

Cute. Cute. Cute.


Headache Grey

I don't know that I've ever posted a full set of song lyrics on the blog before, but I haven't been able to get this song out of my head since I started my new job.

Which I misspelled as Job. Coincidence?

Daysleeper - REM

Receiving department, 3 a.m.
Staff cuts have socked up the overage
Directives are posted
No callbacks, complaints
Everywhere is calm

Hong Kong is present
Taipei awakes
All talk of circadian rhythm

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache grey
Daysleeper, daysleeper, daysleeper

The bull and the bear are marking
Their territories
They're leading the blind with
Their international glories

I'm the screen, the blinding light
I'm the screen, I work at night

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache grey
Don't wake me with so much

They cried the other night
I can't even say why
Fluorescent flat caffeine lights
Its furious balancing

I'm the screen, the blinding light
I'm the screen, I work at night

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache grey
Don't wake me with so much
Don't wake me with so much. The
Ocean machine is set to 9
I'll squeeze into heaven and valentine
My bed is pulling me,
Daysleeper, daysleeper
Daysleeper, daysleeper, daysleeper

*note: I will find the song and post it



Angie posted a recipe for scones and I don't want to be outdone.

Here's a recipe for peanut butter cookies. I found it today and made some this afternoon because they were so simple.

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla


Mix the sugar and peanut butter together.

Add the egg and vanilla. Mix it together.

Make balls from the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press them with a fork [I forgot this part and it was fine.]

Cook at 350 for 15 minutes.