Monthly Archive: March 2012

Mar 31 2012

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow 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 and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Tasty Burgers, Without the Meat

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It was just a coincidence that I had decided to broaden my repertory of vegetarian burgers for this week’s column and was busily testing recipes on the same day that a new Harvard School of Public Health study linking red meat consumption and early death was released. Then there was the news about pink slime in ground beef used in school lunches. The timing couldn’t have been better.

Martha Rose Shulman

Quinoa and Greens Burger

These can be put together and shaped up to 3 days before browning. They can also be cooked ahead and reheated in a low oven or in a pan on the stove. Keep them well wrapped in the refrigerator.

Beet, Rice and Goat Cheese Burgers

You can make these up to 3 days ahead, either through Step 3 or 4, and keep in the refrigerator. They can also be cooked ahead and reheated in a low oven or in a pan on top of the stove.

Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers With Asian Flavors

This vibrant burger is made with both cooked and uncooked vegetables. The egg is optional; if you don’t use it, be careful when flipping the patty so that it doesn’t fall apart.

Curried Lentil, Rice and Carrot Burgers

The turmeric offers bonus antioxidant health benefits, but even without it, they’re in abundance in this recipe, with all the carrots and ginger.

Mushroom and Grain Cheeseburgers

Barley is a traditional hearty partner for mushrooms, but brown rice is just as tasty in this burger.

Mar 31 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting 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 “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: Broccoli and Bad Faith

Nobody knows what the Supreme Court will decide with regard to the Affordable Care Act. But, after this week’s hearings, it seems quite possible that the court will strike down the “mandate” – the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance – and maybe the whole law. Removing the mandate would make the law much less workable, while striking down the whole thing would mean denying health coverage to 30 million or more Americans.

Given the stakes, one might have expected all the court’s members to be very careful in speaking about both health care realities and legal precedents. In reality, however, the second day of hearings suggested that the justices most hostile to the law don’t understand, or choose not to understand, how insurance works. And the third day was, in a way, even worse, as antireform justices appeared to embrace any argument, no matter how flimsy, that they could use to kill reform.

New York Times Editorial: Big Oil’s Bogus Campaign

President Obama and the Senate Democrats have again fallen short in their quest to eliminate billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks for an oil industry that is rolling in enormous profits. A big reason for that failure is that some of those profits are being continuously recycled to win the support of pliable legislators, underwrite misleading advertising campaigns and advance an energy policy defined solely by more oil and gas production.

Despite pleading by Mr. Obama, the Senate on Thursday could not produce the 60 votes necessary to pass a bill eliminating $2.5 billion a year of these subsidies. This is a minuscule amount for an industry whose top three companies in the United States alone earned more than $80 billion in profits last year. Nevertheless, in the days leading up to the vote, the American Petroleum Institute spent several million dollars on an ad campaign calling the bill “another bad idea from Washington – higher taxes that could lead to higher prices.”

Rep. Keith Ellison: The Crisis Congress Continues

On March 31 the current funding for the nation’s authority to spend money on our transportation needs will run out. This means major roadway and transit improvement projects will be stalled for the foreseeable future and billions of dollars in potential job-creation will be jeopardized, according to transportation officials. Republicans, obsessed with their anti-government ideology, can’t even agree among themselves, and it is costing everyone else. Sadly, it ain’t the first time.

The Republican leadership could have decided to take up Senate legislation which would extend transportation funding for two years. Instead, the House had planned to consider a three-month extension that transportation advocates say could endanger capital improvement programs because transportation agencies won’t be able to plan lo ng-term budgets. As of Wednesday morning they were no closer to a solution.

Andrew Rosenthal: Liberty and Justice for Non-Muslims

Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, genuine concerns about national security as well as politicking and fear have led to a shift in the balance between civil liberties and law enforcement. That much is indisputable, and widely discussed. Yet it’s rarely acknowledged that the attacks have also led to what’s essentially a separate justice system for Muslims.

In this system, the principle of due process is twisted and selectively applied, if it is applied at all.

Examples of the Muslims-only legal system abound, even though politicians and the press shy away from calling it that: Special detention centers for Muslims (Guantanamo Bay and the network of secret C.I.A. lockups, now said to be closed, where prisoners were almost routinely tortured); special trial procedures for Muslim prisoners (military tribunals); special allowances for agents dealing with Muslim suspects (extraordinary rendition, i.e. officially sanctioned kidnapping of foreigners).

John Nichols: Renewed Civil Rights Coalition Targets ‘Ghostwriters’ of ‘License to Kill’ Laws

The killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has raised old concerns about everything from racial profiling to gun violence. That’s frustrating, as so many Americans had hoped that their country might have bent the arc of history a bit more toward progress.

But the shooting in Sanford, Florida, has done something else. It has focused new attention on the structural supports for legislating on behalf of special-interest, and on the way in which the American Legislative Exchange Council turns bad ideas into bad law.

That has created a new clarity with regard to the need for a pushback against ALEC and its corporate sponsors. And that clarity has renewed a civil rights coalition that will be needed if there is to be any hope for breaking the grip of one-size-fits-all lawmaking and renewing small “d” democracy and sound governance in the states.

Eugene Robison: Health Care: Conservatives Are Their Own Worst Enemies

In arguments before the Supreme Court this week, the Obama administration might have done just enough to keep the Affordable Care Act from being ruled unconstitutional. Those who believe in limited government had better hope so, at least.

If Obamacare is struck down, the short-term implications are uncertain. Conservatives may be buoyed by an election-year victory; progressives may be energized by a ruling that looks more political than substantive. The long-term consequences, however, are obvious: Sooner or later, a much more far-reaching overhaul of the health care system will be inevitable.

Mar 31 2012

2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Semifinals

I find myself otherwise engaged tonight as does TheMomCat.  I’ve asked BobbyK to check in from time to time, please be nice to him and make your own fun.

My predictions so you can point and hoot are Louisville over Kentucky and Ohio State over Kansas.  I like Louisville because of their Big East connections, Ohio State I don’t like at all but I like Kansas less.

Joe Nocera wrote a piece that everyone is talking about-

Orwell and March Madness

By JOE NOCERA, The New York Times

Published: March 30, 2012

Athletes are “student-athletes,” a phrase coined by Walter Byers, the man who turned the N.C.A.A. into a modern powerhouse, because he feared that some states might try to classify football and basketball players as employees. College sports follows “the collegiate model,” a term coined in 2006 by one of Byers’ successors, Myles Brand. Realizing that amateurism was becoming outmoded, he needed a new concept that would allow athletic departments to continue exploiting athletes while denying that is what they were doing.

The essence of “the collegiate model” is that college athletes are students first, and that college athletics is secondary to academics. One can then ignore the fact that during this three-week tournament, the N.C.A.A. will reap around $800 million, while the players who make that possible will get nothing. They’re students, after all.



Calipari, complained Emmert, was “throwing away the collegiate model.” But, he’s not, because in the big-money sports of football and men’s basketball, the collegiate model is a fiction. Rather, Calipari is dispensing with the hypocrisy that everyone else goes along with, including our basketball-mad president, who allows himself to be interviewed while filling out his March Madness brackets, but can’t bring himself to utter a word on behalf of the athletes that college sports so ruthlessly exploits.

Regional Final Results-

Result Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
70-77 1 Syracuse 32-2 2 *Ohio State 28-7 East
72-68 4 *Louisville 27-9 7 Florida 23-10 West
82-70 1 *Kentucky 36-2 3 Baylor 30-8 South
67-80 1 North Carolina 32-6 2 *Kansas 31-6 Mid West

Tonight’s Action-

Time Seed Team Record Region Seed Team Record Region
6 pm 1 Kentucky 36-2 South 4 Louisville 27-9 West
8:30 2 Ohio State 28-7 East 2 Kansas 31-6 Mid West

Mar 31 2012

Mega Zillions Fraud!!

   

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Yesterday, I wrote (in the third person) to tell you with certainty that I had won the Mega Zillions jackport, more than $500 million.  Some of you greeted this news with your usual skepticism. I didn’t mind. You were clearly mistaken. And anyway, I was on my way to the bank.

I awoke this morning to discover to my shock and anger that nobody, that’s right, nobody was camped at my kitchen door waiting for the nouveau nouveau riche (me) to arise and to begin to dispense money in accord with my vaunted, self declared philanthropic inclinations.  No. That did not happen. Nobody was there.

Why was nobody there, you have the nerve to ask? Because a vast conspiracy had emerged over night and through connivance had deprived me of my winnings. In fact, of all of my winnings. Not only that. They gave my money to their minions in other states far from here.

This shall not stand. I demand a full investigation of this fraud. And I want my $5 back.

Mar 31 2012

On This Day In History March 31

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 31 is the 90th day of the year (91st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, future first lady Abigail Adams writes to her husband urging him to “remember the ladies” when drafting a new “code of laws” for the fledgling nation.

While John Adams participated in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Abigail remained at their home in Braintree, Massachusetts, managing their daily affairs in his absence. At the same time that Adams was preparing to publish his “Thoughts on Government” essay, which outlined proposed political philosophy and structures for the new nation, Abigail pondered if and how the rights of women would be addressed in an American constitution.

Women’s rights

Adams was an advocate of married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. She is known for her March 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

John declined Abigail’s “extraordinary code of laws,” but acknowledged to Abigail, “We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.”

Braintree March 31, 1776

   Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it. I long to hear that you have declared an independancy and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

   That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

Mar 31 2012

Random Japan

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GETTING THE LARD OUT

   A government survey revealed that 25 percent of people who receive medical consultations for “metabolic syndrome” are able to overcome the condition.

Metabolic syndrome is better-known in the West as “being a fat-ass.”

   A 500kg bull in Kagoshima gored a 56-year-old farmer as he tried to shield his three grandkids from the rampaging animal. The man is in serious condition.

   Pasmo halted an online service that provided details about the train-riding history of its cardholders to anyone who entered basic information about the user. Apparently, wives and husbands were using the site to check if their partners were cheating on them.

   The health ministry says Nagano has the lowest death rate of any prefecture in Japan, while Aomori is the spot most frequently visited by the Grim Reaper.

Mar 31 2012

Popular Culture (Music). Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show were sort of a strange band.  Whilst they were not nearly as profound as bands that I prefer, they were also not annoying.  They did not pretend to be profound, and some of their early material was actually pretty good.

They are best remembered for “The Cover of the Rolling Stone“, a piece that I found to be quite witty and clever.  They did an excellent job of self parody on this number, and it paid off for them in that they did indeed make it there after it charted.

I intend to concentrate on the years from 1968 to 1976, although they in various reincarnations continued for a long time thereafter.  Most of their good material is from that era.

Mar 30 2012

Winning At Mega Zillions

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Your Bloguero has been busy. He went to town and secured not only his own financial future, but his membership in the (almost) 1%. Yes, your Bloguero joined the teaming, unwashed masses at the Mega Zillions machine. But there is one pertinent exception relevant to your Bloguero. It’s this. Your Bloguero is going to win the prize. It is a done deal. No equivocation. No doubt. Done. Your Bloguero has already won the prize. You and he have to wait a bit for confirmation, but as your Bloguero is so often told, the check, in this case a huge one, is in the mail. And your Bloguero’s belated career as a philanthropist is about to begin. Nobody knows this yet, except for you. But your Bloguero is fully expecting crushing crowds of people seeking his largesse and advice to assemble early tomorrow at his kitchen door right after they find out he won.

How did your Bloguero accomplish this feat? How did he escape the teaming, faceless masses and enter the uberrich?  Well, you might ask. Very well, your Bloguero will tell you. First, your Bloguero donned his clown nose because winning zillions isn’t serious business. Nope. It’s all clowning around. It’s light, it’s easy, it’s joyful. It took a little work for your Bloguero to ferret out the nose from where it was hiding, but voila! He donned his classic, red clown nose. Ready to win. Listo! Second, your Bloguero donned his lucky, fuzzy Elmer Fudd hat. The hat that could be worn only by Ignatius Riley or Elmer Fudd. Or your soon to be Zillionaire Bloguero. Why? Because winning all of the cash is outrageous in the most delightful way. Millions of suckers people think erroneously that they have won, but there will be only one winner. All of those people realize this on some level. What they don’t realize it that the winner is your Bloguero. Your Bloguero is filled with gratitude to all of those who funded his success, especially all of those who will be eating Value Meals and Ramen noodles for the month of April because of their vain efforts to win money destined only for your Bloguero.

Your Bloguero gave his lottery ticket seller a few dollars and explained he wanted the winning ticket. It was that easy. Your Bloguero wondered, “Why am I wasting money? If I put a single, crumpled dollar bill, one I found under a couch cushion, into this event, I would win Zillions with that crumpled dollar.  My pizza change would transform my life. But this isn’t about saving the unnecessary dollars I spent on the extra tickets. No. That $4 is going to be lost in an impending, vast sea of moolah, an ocean of green so wide that the other side has vanished.”

Your Bloguero loves the impending excitement, the breathless excitement that comes just before it is revealed to almost everyone’s complete surprise that your Bloguero is now ridiculously rich.

Your Bloguero is going to give away 90 percent or more of the winnings. He will tithe himself. The rest, the remaining $55million or so, is as good as gone. Your Bloguero is really looking forward to the giveaway. Your Bloguero wishes we could all win, but there you have it.

———-

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Mar 30 2012

The Generals Strike Back

It would seem the Republican Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) thinks that that he knows more about what the Defense Department needs to spend than the Generals that run the Pentagon:

   House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) expressed skepticism Thursday that U.S. military leaders were being honest in their budget requests to Congress.

   “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said during a forum on the budget sponsored by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe their budget is really the right budget….

   He went on to say that while there were certainly inefficiencies that could be reduced in the Pentagon’s budget, fighting wars in the Middle East and a “dangerous world” necessitated keeping defense spending level.

   The comments were in response to a question from National Journal managing editor Kristin Roberts, who asked Ryan why the committee chose “to go against the advice of the generals” in rolling back $487 billion in proposed cuts to the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade.

Ed Kilgore at The Washington Monthly must have been smiling when he noted that the interview got even better:

   After Ryan’s initial remarks, Roberts noted that the budget was something that came from the Defense Department itself, not the Obama administration.

   “You don’t believe the generals?” Roberts asked.

   “What I believe is this budget does hollow out defense,” Ryan responded. “I believe this budget goes beyond where we should go to keep people safe.”

So this “genius” budgeter, whose party is always happy to defer to the generals when the generals say what they want to hear, is putting a couple of stars on his shoulder and dictating what the Pentagon needs to “keep people safe.” That’s particularly amazing since General Ryan is under fire from every direction for failing to offer a credible plan to reach his own arbitrary deficit reduction targets.

The Generals apparently did not take too kindly to Ryan calling them liars. This was Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey response:

“There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.”

Dempsey added that the budget “was a collaborative effort” among top military officers and combat leaders.

The military faces $487 billion in cuts in the next decade as part of a budget deal reached last summer. The cuts reflect ongoing drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rest, unfortunately, is behind the Wall Street Journal‘s firewall.

David Dayen had a good summery of the “spat” and just how much of a “hawk” Ryan is:

Now, keep in mind that the Obama Administration’s “cuts” to the military budget aren’t cuts. They just slow growth over time. And the Pentagon doesn’t even contemplate the mandated trigger cuts that are coming at the end of the year, which fall in large part on the defense budget. [..]

The proof that the military budgeting represented a collaborative effort, of course, is that it doesn’t cut the military budget all that much.

But it’s worth re-emphasizing that Paul Ryan called the entire military brass a bunch of liars who gave false testimony to Congress. And he will not listen to their calls for even modest trims to their funding. This makes him the very serious budget hawk in Washington.

Man the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! And damn the consequences.

 

Mar 30 2012

Different from a Republican how? Part 3

The Eight Big Mistakes Democrats Made Regarding the Constitutionality of ObamaCare

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Friday March 30, 2012 7:48 am

In the end, the decision about the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the entire Affordable Care Act will come down to the nine members of the Supreme Court. It is ultimately their call, and they will be fully responsible for what they decide. That said, the Democrats had many chances to take steps to prevent the health care law from ever getting to the point where there is even the possibility the Supreme Court could throw it out. The issue only got to this point because Democrats, on multiple occasions, horribly mishandled their job and totally failed to prepare for what was an entirely foreseeable eventuality.

  1. Lack of severability clause in the law
  2. Ignoring Republican promises to challenge the mandate
  3. Ignoring public hatred of the mandate
  4. Dropping the Public Option
  5. Congress refusing to call it a tax
  6. Obama team refusing call it a straight tax
  7. Obama administration’s bizarre severability argument
  8. Failed to articulate a clear limiting principle

Still, overturning the ACA might be the best thing that could happen from a policy standpoint.

Individual Mandates and Unraveling the Great Society

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Thursday March 29, 2012 9:26 am

There are are two main ways for the government to provide universal public goods. The first and normally best way is to have the government raise money through taxes and then use that money to directly provide the service to everyone. The other option is to create an individual mandate forcing everyone to buy the service from private corporations while having the government subsidize some of the cost. These needless middlemen mostly just increase costs for regular people and the government. This is why corporations love this setup and push hard for it.



If the Supreme Court rules against this individual mandate in a way that basically makes it legally impossible to replace most of our current public insurance systems with mandated private systems, that should be seen as a big silver lining for progressives.

A stronger prescription for what ails health care

By Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

Published: March 29

Eventually, however, our health-care system will be restructured. It has to be. The current fee-for-service paradigm, with doctors and hospitals being paid through for-profit insurance companies, is needlessly inefficient and ruinously expensive.

When people talk about out-of-control government spending, they’re really talking about rising medical costs that far outpace any conceivable rate of economic growth. The conservative solution – shift those costs to the consumer – is no solution at all.

Our only choice is to try to hold the costs down. President Obama tried to make a start with a modest approach that works through the current system. If this doesn’t pass constitutional muster, the obvious alternative is to emulate other industrialized nations that deliver equal or better health-care outcomes for half the cost.

I’m talking about a single-payer health-care system. If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, a single-payer system will go from being politically impossible to being, in the long run, fiscally inevitable.

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