Jul 23 2017

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Trump legal team member Jay Sekulow; White House press secretary Sarah “Huckleberry” Sanders; and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).

The roundtable guests are: Fox News co-host Eric Bolling; Bloomberg Businessweek senior national correspondent Joshua Green; Republican strategist Sara Fagen; New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman; and host and managing editor of “News One NowRoland Martin.

Face the Nation: Host John Dickerson’a guests are: Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME); and John Barrasso (R-WY); Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

His panel guests are: Cook Political Report‘s Amy Walter; the Washington Post Dan Balz; Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle; and Slate‘s Jamelle Bouie.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: MTP is pre-empted by the British Open golf tournament.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci; Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY); and Al Franken (D-MN).

His panel guests are: The Federalist Mary Katherine Ham; Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI); MoveON.org‘s Karine Jean-Pierre; and Republican strategist David Urban.

Jul 22 2017

“Free” Press

I read today that us Lefties really need to lighten up on the Neo Liberal apparatchiks because our reality based criticisms of them (that they are feckless, ineffectual, and stupid) hurts their pwecious fee-fees and we should all line up behind “A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages, Papa John’s.”

Well, that’s wrong. The last gasp of the Villager Consensus collapsing under the weight of history. There is a thing called “The Revolutionary Moment.”

In 1917, 100 years ago, Alexander Kerensky and a group of moderate democrats seized power from the effete, tyrannical, and corrupt Romanovs. Their bourgeois regime met every expectation of the “Liberal” elite except for the one big thing that meant the most to the Russian people.

They didn’t end the War against Germany which caused about 3 Million deaths. Indeed they promised to fight with renewed vigor to satisfy their international “Liberal” elite allies.

Not a single Rahm Emanuel “Blue Dog” remains in office and the Democratic Party continues to hemorrhage State Houses and Legislatures.

Perhaps it it is time to think outside the Beltway Pizza Box.

The media’s war on Trump is destined to fail. Why can’t it see that?
by Thomas Frank, The Guardian
Friday 21 July 2017

As it happens, the surviving press in this country is unanimous about all sorts of things.

There are their views on trade. Or their views on what they call “populism”. Or their views on what they call “bipartisanship”. Or their views on just about anything having to do with the decline of manufacturing (sad but inevitable) and the rise of the “creative” white-collar professions (the smart ones, so meritorious).

This is one of the factors that explains the many monstrous journalism failures of the last few decades: the dot-com bubble, which was actively cheered on by the business press; the Iraq war, which was abetted by journalism’s greatest sages; the almost complete failure to notice the epidemic of professional misconduct that made possible the 2008 financial crisis and the rise of Donald Trump, which (despite the media’s morbid fascination with the man) caught nearly everyone flatfooted.

Everything they do, they do as a herd – even when it’s running headlong over a cliff.

They still cannot suppress their admiration for bankers. Just the other week, for example, the New York Times’s Dealbook section could be found marveling at how one of the senior officers of Goldman Sachs (“possibly the most powerful investment bank in the world”) likes to DJ in his spare time.

They are endless suckers for credentialing, especially of the foreign policy variety. Last Friday, the Washington Post ran a profile of Hillary Clinton’s former foreign policy adviser, whom they caught up with giving a talk at Yale, his alma mater.

The paper told how the adviser “ran through a list of his early mentors”, including eminent personages from Brookings, the State Department and the Council on Foreign Relations, and then turned to the inevitable matter of Clinton’s loss, a subject so bittersweet you could almost see the tears streaming down readers’ faces as they were prompted to recall, yet again, the ingratitude of a nation that had rejected her team of brilliants for the buffoon Trump.

Similar examples could be piled up by the dozens, if not the thousands. The American news media’s respect for tech CEOs and foreign-policy experts are the photographic negative of their overwhelming contempt for Dumb Donald.

These things don’t happen because the journalists that remain are liberals. It happens because so many of them are part of the same class – an exalted and privileged class. They are professionals and they believe in the things that so many other professional groups believe in: consensus, “realism”, credentialing, the wisdom of their fellow professionals and (of course) the stupidity of the laity.

This is the key to understanding many of their biases – and also for understanding why they are so utterly oblivious to how they appear to the rest of America.

What do I mean? Consider Politico’s famous email tip-sheet, Playbook, which is read religiously every morning by countless members of the DC press corps, including myself. About two-thirds of the publication consists of useful summaries of the day’s news stories.

The rest, however, is a sort of People magazine for the Washington journalist community, in which the reader is invited to celebrate leading journalists’ (and politicians’) birthdays, congratulate leading journalists (and politicians) for their witty phrase-making, learn which leading journalist (and politician) was seen at which party and anticipate which leading journalist (and politician) is going to be on which Sunday program.

Nor is Playbook the only entry in this genre. Before there was Politico there was ABC News and The Note, a similar email newsletter that also celebrated what it called the Gang of 500, the happy and hard-partying political and journalistic insiders who supposedly made Washington tick.

These things seem innocent and fun, of course. But there is an unwritten purpose to these daily honor rolls of journo/political friendship and that is to define the limits of what is acceptable.

Like the guestlist at Lally Weymouth’s party in the Hamptons, which was described so salaciously in Playbook a little while ago, a tiny handful of people and publications and ideas are in; everyone else is out.

It’s about legitimacy, of course, and what’s left of the respectable press is utterly captivated by the theme. It completely defines their war on Trump, for example. They know what a politician is supposed to look like and act like and sound like; they know that Trump does not conform to those rules; and they react to him as a kind of foreign object jammed rudely into their creamy world, a Rodney Dangerfield defiling the fancy country club.

I believe that the news media needs to win its war with Trump, and urgently so. But as long as they understand that war as a crusade to reestablish the old rules of legitimacy, they are going to continue to fail. Until the day they get it right, the world will burn while the in-crowd parties obliviously on.

Jul 22 2017


So I had to go to Chattanooga for a meeting and because of my capo di tutti awesomeness I was not only sentenced to an extra week (I’ll note in passing that I’ve never had food delivered to the table as I ordered it in the State of Tennessee, they’re nice people and very polite but they can’t imagine you’d want Iced Tea without sugar for instance) but because of a booking mixup I got upgraded to The Presidential Suite.

It was actually kind of an awkward space that snaked around the central service shaft of the building and the room itself, not counting the hall, was barely big enough for 3 people to stand abreast which made hosting parties, one of my chief duties, fairly difficult.

It was only later that I found out it was supposed to be haunted. Couldn’t prove it by me, slept like a baby.

Jul 22 2017

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Scientists reverse brain damage in drowned US toddler

by Hannah Osborne, Posted with permission from Newsweek, July 19, 2017

In what is believed to be a world first, scientists have reversed brain damage in a toddler that drowned in a swimming pool. Using oxygen therapy, scientists were able to restore her ability to walk and talk just months after the accident, in which she spent 15 minutes submerged in a swimming pool and two hours where her heart did not beat on its own.

The accident took place in February 2016. Two-year-old Eden Carlson had managed to get through a baby gate and fall into the family swimming pool and was in the 5 degree Celsius water for up to 15 minutes before being discovered.

After being resuscitated and treated in hospital for just over a month, she was unresponsive to all stimuli. She was immobile and constantly squirmed and shook her head. MRI scans showed deep injury to the brain’s gray matter, as well as loss of white and gray matter.

In a bid to reverse the brain damage, researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine began treating her with two types of oxygen therapy.

This includes normobaric oxygen therapy, where levels of oxygen given are the same as at sea level, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), where they are given pure oxygen at pressures higher than that of the atmosphere within a special chamber.

Fifty five days after the drowning accident, doctors started giving Eden normobaric oxygen for 45 minutes twice per day. This appeared to make her more alert and awake, and she stopped squirming. She started laughing more and was able to move her arms and hands, and grasp with her left. Scientists also noted eye-tracking movements and some speech.

After 78 days, Eden began HBOT therapy, with 45 minute sessions five days per week for four weeks. After 10 sessions, her mother said she was almost back to normal other than motor function. After 39 sessions—coupled with physical therapy—Eden was able to walk and her speech had returned to normal. Her cognitive abilities had improved and motor function was almost restored to pre-drowning levels.

An MRI scan a month after the 40th HBOT session showed almost complete reversal of the brain damage initially recorded. Researchers believe the oxygen therapy, coupled with Eden having the developing brain of a child, had activated genes that promote cell survival and reduce inflammation—allowing the brain to recover. The case report is published in the journal Medical Gas Research.

Paul Harch, who treated Eden, said in a statement: “The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration. Although it’s impossible to conclude from this single case if the sequential application of normobaric oxygen then HBOT would be more effective than HBOT alone, in the absence of HBOT therapy, short duration, repetitive normobaric oxygen therapy may be an option until HBOT is available.”

Concluding, the researchers say that to their knowledge, this is the first reported case of gray matter loss and white matter atrophy (types of brain damage) reversal with any therapy and that treatment with oxygen should be considered in similar cases. “Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning.”

Eden has several things in her favor. First, this was a cold water drowning. The rule of thumb for emergency care is early CPR and transport to an ER. So long as the victim has no heartbeat, continued CPR until the victims core temperature is 96 F. Drug therapy to start the heart again is withheld until the core temperature in near normal. Drugs are ineffective until the patient has warmed.

The second factor in Eden’s recovery is her age. As the article notes, she was just two years old and her brain is still developing.

The final factor is the innovative care she received from the medical team while she was in the hospital. They weren’t going to give up and they didn’t.

As an emergency care provider, and as a parent, I cannot emphasize enough the need to be trained in CPR and teaching young children how to swim. The younger the better.

Health and Fitness News

Wider Access to Meds Cuts Global AIDS Deaths in Half

Travelers to Europe Need Measles Protection: CDC

Scans May Show Consciousness in ‘Comatose’ Patients

MRI Approved for Young Infants in Intensive Care

Laser Therapy Shows Promise Against Eye ‘Floaters’

Insured, But Still Barred From Top-Tier Cancer Centers

Good Diet, Exercise While Pregnant Could Cut C-section Risk

Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Increase in Autism

‘Nipple-Sparing’ Mastectomies Don’t Raise Odds of Cancer’s Return: Study

As Your Weight Creeps Up, So Does Your Risk of Heart Failure

Early Menopause May Be Tied to Type 2 Diabetes

Dozens of Potential Alzheimer’s Meds in the Pipeline

Easing Opioid Dose May Improve Pain and Quality of Life

High-Dose Vitamin D May Not Curb Kids’ Colds

Little Evidence That Vasectomy Raises Prostate Cancer Risk

More Evidence That Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health

Big Baby, Heavier Kid?

Some Medicines Boost Sensitivity to Sun

Teens Keep Building Bone After They Stop Growing: Study

Jul 22 2017

Alone In The Kitchen With An Old Frenchman

Recently French chef Jacques Pépin turned 80 and retired. Over the years, he educated viewers of Public Television on how to cook and, something that no other cooking show host has done, techniques in the kitchen with wisdom, humor and a smattering of French lessons. As Gilad Edelman wrote in a Slate article, this man will teach you how to cook

Autumn Leaves

Jacques Pépin and Julia Child banter about black vs white pepper in this tease for Autumn Leaves. In the full episode it’s easy to fall in love with Jacques’ seasonal menu, starting with a fresh, smooth Tomato Velvet soup — the name speaks for itself! Then, Sliced Tomato Gratin made with ripe, ruby-red tomatoes and coarse rustic bread, is Jacques’ go-to late-summer dish. He continues with a tender Grilled Lamb Shasklik that includes easy, make-ahead instructions and a colorful Red Cabbage, Pistachio and Cranberry Salad with Bleu Cheese. Jacques goes on to transform pizza dough into an Apple Galette, baked to crispy, perfection!

Sliced Tomato Gratin

“Thick slices of ripe tomato are baked with a topping of diced bread and seasonings in this gratin. Success depends on using the highest-quality ingredients.” —Jacques Pépin

Apple Galette

“I like apple tarts, apple galettes, or apple pies in any form. I recently found a new way of making the crust for apple galette using pizza dough that I buy at my market.” —Jacques Pépin

Jul 22 2017

The Breakfast Club (Burning Bridges)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Wiley Post completes first solo flight around the world; Robber John Dillinger shot dead; Saddam Hussein’s sons killed in Iraq; The September 11th Commission releases its report; Birth of the Frisbee.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.

Don Henley

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Jul 21 2017

The Russian Connection: Sessions Lied. No Kidding

It’s Friday night. It’s late July and really hot n Washington DC and the Trump administration is getting really desperate to find a way to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But, he has to fire Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. After Trump’s interview with the New York Times where he trashed Sessions, it looks like Sessions days are numbered clearing the way for a new Attorney General that can fire Mueller. The new front page story in the Washington Post is that Sessions did discuss the campaign with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and it may well have been leaked by the White House to push Sessions to resign.

Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show
By Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, The Washington Post

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.[..]

Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.

But U.S. officials with regular access to Russian intelligence reports say Kislyak — whose tenure as ambassador to the United States ended recently — has a reputation for accurately relaying details about his interactions with officials in Washington.

Don’t you just love Friday?

Jul 21 2017

Reshuffling the Deck Chairs: Three More Overboard

Well, folks it’s Friday and the news dump has started early. This morning Press Secretary Sean “Spicey” Spicer resigned his position in a pique over the appointment of former transition team official and Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as the new communication director. The office has been empty since the resignation of Mike Dubke in May after just three months in the position. Sarah “Huckleberry” Sanders takes over for Spicey as press secretary.

Trump said in the statement that his administration has “accomplished so much and…given credit for so little.” The “people get it even if the media doesn’t,” Trump said.

Scaramucci, who took the podium in the White House briefing room for the first time, thanked Spicer for deciding to leave so that Scaramucci could start his job with a clean slate and said he hopes that he goes on to “make a lot of money.”

One source with direct knowledge of the situation told NBC News that Spicer informed people last night he would resign if Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier, were hired.

According to the source, Spicer had doubts about Scaramucci’s ability to do the job. Another source said Spicer didn’t present an ultimatum, but that he was not happy about the president’s decision.

During Trump’s bid for office, Scaramucci helped with fundraising and often appeared on cable TV to defend the candidate. Scaramucci first supported Scott Walker and then Jeb Bush.

Trump’s legal team also took a hit:

President Donald Trump is reshuffling his legal team as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation moves full steam ahead.

The developments come one day after Trump suggested an aggressive pushback against his investigators, telling The New York Times that Mueller’s office had widespread conflicts of interest while warning investigators any examinations of his family’s finances would be improper. Sources told CNN, however, that these moves were well in the works before the Times interview took place.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney who has been the lead lawyer on the Russia investigation, will see his role recede, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

A third source said Kasowitz’s role is changing because the needs are more Washington-centric and Kasowitz has done his primary job of putting the team together

Instead, attorney John Dowd, along with Jay Sekulow, will now be the President’s primary personal attorneys for the investigation, according to the two sources with knowledge of the situation. Dowd will take the lead.

Attorney Ty Cobb will take the lead from inside the White House on the Russia investigation when he formally starts his job on July 31.

As CNN reported earlier this month, Cobb will help manage this crisis from a legal and communications perspective.

One source with knowledge disputed reports Thursday night in The New York Times and The Washington Post that the legal team is seeking to undermine the Mueller investigation and stressed the intention is to cooperate fully.

Meanwhile, Mark Corallo has resigned from his position as spokesman and communications strategist for Trump’s legal team.

Corallo told CNN Friday morning, “I resigned yesterday” and declined to comment further about his departure.

His resignation comes after weeks of simmering tension between the White House and the President’s legal team.

Jul 21 2017

The Russian Connection: Desperation

In his interview with New York Times reporters Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman Donald Trump said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigating his family’s finances would be a “red line.”

SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?

HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yeah. I would say yes.

Despite the implied threat, Mueller is expanding his investigation by looking into Trump’s and his family’s accounts and business dealings with Deutsche Bank.

After a string of bankruptcies in his casino and hotel businesses in the 1990s, Mr. Trump became somewhat of an outsider on Wall Street, leaving the giant German bank among the few major financial institutions willing to lend him money.

Now that two-decades-long relationship is coming under scrutiny.

Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks.

Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

It was not clear what information the bank might ultimately provide. Generally, the bank is seen as central to understanding Mr. Trump’s finances since it is the only major financial institution that continues to conduct sizable business with him. Deutsche Bank has also lent money to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and to his family real estate business.

Trump’s reaction to this news was to gather with his consiglieres to find ways to discredit Mueller and his team, investigate their backgrounds and explore his pardon options for his co-conspirators and himself.

The New York Times and the Washington Post both published stories Thursday evening detailing efforts by President Donald Trump’s legal team to cripple and de-fang Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia and possible collusion with that country in meddling with the 2016 election.

The Times piece, written by Michael S. Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Matt Apuzzo, detailed efforts by the White House legal team and Trump’s personal lawyers to dig up potential conflicts of interest to use as disqualifying factors and impugn Mueller’s objectivity in the case.

In the Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger said that not only are Trump’s attorneys looking for ways to undermine Mueller’s authority, but are also exploring the legal minutiae of presidential pardons.

The Trump administration is setting itself on course for a showdown with Mueller rather than quietly submitting to the investigation. Trump and his attorneys would clearly rather attack and sabotage the workings of the investigation rather than hope his arguments will survive on their merits. {..]

However, given what we know about investigations into former Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort’s connections to Russian money laundering and clues from intelligence services that Russia was pumping money into the 2016 election through elaborate shell companies and other entities, it is entirely possible that it is within Mueller’s purview to examine those records.

Trump’s last western creditor, Deutsche Bank agreed Thursday to hand over its financial records of Mr. Trump’s dealings with the bank, something it has previously declined to do citing privacy laws.

Jul 21 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Health Care in a Time of Sabotage

Is Trumpcare finally dead? Even now, it’s hard to be sure, especially given Republican moderates’ long track record of caving in to extremists at crucial moments. But it does look as if the frontal assault on the Affordable Care Act has failed.

And let’s be clear: The reason this assault failed wasn’t that Donald Trump did a poor selling job, or that Mitch McConnell mishandled the legislative strategy. Obamacare survived because it has worked — because it brought about a dramatic reduction in the number of Americans without health insurance, and voters didn’t and don’t want to lose those gains.

Unfortunately, some of those gains will probably be lost all the same: The number of uninsured Americans is likely to tick up over the next few years. So it’s important to say clearly, in advance, why this is about to happen. It won’t be because the Affordable Care Act is failing; it will be the result of Trump administration sabotage.

Eugene Robinson:Don’t get distracted: The GOP’s cruel health-care plan isn’t dead yet

Focus, America, focus. The most urgent task right now is to make sure a stake is driven through the heart of the Republican effort to gut Medicaid and balloon the ranks of the uninsured.

I know that the Russia investigations are charging ahead, with Capitol Hill appearances by members of President Trump’s inner circle scheduled for next week. I know that Trump gave an unhinged interview to the New York Times on Wednesday, bizarrely undermining his own attorney general. I know that one of the few remaining giants in Washington, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), has received a tough medical diagnosis.

There will be time to digest all of that. At present, however, health care is still the main event.

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