Daily Archive: 12/23/2012

Dec 23 2012

Rant of the Week: Lawrence O’Donnell

The NRA’s solution to the gun violence in this country is more guns.

NRA’s LaPierre A ‘Lobbyist For Mass Murderers’

   “So today, the NRA announced that it has a solution. Complete solution to gun violence in America, mass murders in America. Their solution is the national school shield program, a police officer with a gun in every school.

   Now, he didn`t announce a national movie theater shield program with a police officer in every movie theater in America. Wayne LaPierre has in fact never spoken one word about 6-year-old Veronica Moser Sullivan, who was murdered in that movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, along with 11 other people, and 58 wounded, 58.

   All of that, death and savagery was delivered from an ammunition delivery system so big it isn`t called a magazine. It`s called a drum. It holds 100 rounds.

   Wayne LaPierre is the lobbyist who made it possible for the mass murderer in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater to be able to shoot and kill and wound so many people without reloading even once.

   The law Senator Dianne Feinstein pushed through Congress in 1994 made large capacity ammunition delivery systems illegal. Wayne LaPierre made them legal 10 years ago. Wayne LaPierre made no public statement whatsoever after the movie theater mass murder.

   After that mass murder, so successfully used the weapon systems that Wayne LaPierre made available to him. Instead, Wayne LaPierre simply sent out a letter, a letter asking for money, asking for contributions to the NRA over and above dues. And as with every solicitation of money Wayne LaPierre has ever made, he lied to every poor fool who fell for it.

   He said in his letter asking for money, quote, “Nothing less than the future of our country and our freedom will be at stake.”

   Wayne LaPierre did not announce today a national shopping mall parking lot shield program, because Wayne LaPierre has no suggestion about how to prevent or even in some way inhibit, maybe just somehow reduce the possibility of what happened to 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was murdered because she chose to stand in a parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, and listen to her Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

   Wayne LaPierre is all for having a police officer protect 9-year-old girls in school, but anywhere else a 9-year-old goes in America, a movie theater, a shopping mall, she is on her own. And we know now, she is on her own against the best equipped mass murderers in the history of the human race.

   That`s right. We`re number one. USA, USA, we`re number one. No country in the world has better equipped mass murderers than the United States of America. And that is thanks to the lifetime work of Wayne LaPierre.

   Every day since 1977, Wayne LaPierre has been making sure that mad men in America can fire any gun they want, and any bullet they want, at any children they want, at any teachers, at police officers, at the president.

   The solution Wayne LaPierre suggested today to stop school shootings has already been tried in many places across America, including Columbine High School, where 13 years ago 12 students and one teacher were shot dead. Columbine High School had an armed sheriff`s deputy at the school that day and every day prior to that. But when the moment came, the deputy could do something to stop the mass murders.

   There was a good guy with a gun in the parking lot in Tucson when the madman there opened fire on Gabby Giffords and the men and women and children in the parking lot. But the good guy with the gun could do nothing to stop what was happening because he realized he could not get off a clean shot. A shot that he couldn`t be sure would not kill one of the innocent bystanders.

   Stuck in the middle of Wayne LaPierre`s speech today was his bottom line. He said that gun and ammunition control advocates, quote, “perpetuates the notion that one more gun ban and one more law imposed on peaceable, lawful people will protect us.”

   So there is Wayne LaPierre saying that he is opposed to anymore laws. Not one more law, not a law banning the 100-round ammunition drum that was used in the Colorado movie theater. Not a law banning the 30-round ammunition magazines used in Sandy Hook Elementary.

   Not a law banning assault weapons. Not a law tightening access to ammunition. Not any kind of law that would make it in any way even slightly more difficult for a mad man to obtain the very best tools in the world for up close mass murder. Not one more law.

   It is now impossible to count how many people Wayne LaPierre owes an apology to. There are all of those who have been killed by weapons that became available after he made sure the assault weapons ban would not be renewed. There are the parents of the dead, the brothers and sisters of the dead, the children of the dead.

   And then there are millions — truly, millions and millions more, because in his most vile fundraising letter before the last presidential election, Wayne LaPierre actually said this about what would happen if Barack Obama was reelected president of the United States. Quote, “The night of November 6th, 2012, you and I will lose more on the election battlefield than our nation has lost in any battle any time, anywhere.”

   There is Wayne LaPierre claiming on election night that he, who of course avoided service in the war of his era, the Vietnam War, that he lost more on election night this year than, quote, “on any battlefield in the history of our nation.” Wayne LaPierre lost more on election night than 1.3 million Americans who have lost their lives in war.

   He lost more than the relatives and the descendents of those 1.3 million Americans. He lost more than all the amputees, double amputees, brain-damaged amputees that our wars have produced.

   How could Wayne LaPierre ever, ever find the words to deliver an adequate apology for that filthy insult to the American war dead, and to those of us who have lost loved ones in war? Those of us who have lost loved ones in the war that Wayne LaPierre personally avoided service in.

   Of course, there are no words. No words. And the apology will never come, and we can now see through that psychotically self-centered statement that Wayne LaPierre made, quote, “I will lose more on the election battlefield than our nation has lost in any battle, any time, anywhere” — we now see that the mind that could shape that sentence is almost, almost as twisted, almost as damaged as the minds of the mass murderers Wayne LaPierre keeps supplied so well in America.”

h/t Diane Sweet at Crooks and Liars for the full transcript

Dec 23 2012

Thoroughly Modern Meatless Mince Pie

Republished from 11/6/2011 from the What’s Cooking Archives at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Mince pie is a old holiday tradition that can be traced back to 13th century when European crusaders returned from the Middle East with recipes for meats, fruits and spices. Mincing was a way of preserving meats without salting or smoking. The pie has been served at royal tables and, at one time, was banned by the Puritans since it was a symbol of the Pagan Christmas celebration.

Traditional mincemeat pie contains shredded meat and suet along with fruits and spices and cooks for hours. Mostly made with beef, there is a record of a recipe that used whale meat.  Today, most cooks buy mince in a jar, like Cross & Blackwell or None-Such, to make pies and small tarts. I use to do that as well, adding chopped apples, walnuts and extra brandy.

Several years ago, I came across recipe for a meatless mince full of apples, dried fruits and lots of spices. It cooks over low heat for about ninety minutes filling the house and the neighborhood with its spicy aroma. This recipe calls for pippin apples but MacIntosh, Granny Smith or any pie variety of apple is a fine substitute. I use a combination. It can be made a week or so ahead of time and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. The recipe will make one pie or about a dozen medium tarts. I like the tarts even though it’s more work making the crusts. For the top crust, I make decorative cutouts with small cookie cutters, shaped like leaves and acorns. I’ve also just made a few cutouts in the top crust and surrounded the pie edge with the dough cutouts.

Modern Mince Pie

Ingredients:

   3 1/2 pounds small pippin apples (about 7), peeled, cored, chopped

   1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes

   1/2 cup golden raisins

   1/2 cup dried currants

   1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

   1/4 cup unsulfured (light) molasses

   1/4 cup brandy

   1/4 cup orange juice

   1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

   2 tablespoons dark rum

   1 tablespoon grated orange peel

   1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

   1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

   1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

   1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

   Pinch of salt

Preparation:

Combine first 17 ingredients in heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until apples are very tender and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool filling completely. (Can be prepared up to 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out 1 pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch-diameter round (about 1/8 inch thick). Roll up dough on rolling pin and transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie plate. Gently press into place. Trim edges of crust, leaving 3/4-inch overhang. Fold overhang under crust so that crust is flush with edge of pie pan. Crimp edges with fork to make decorative border. Spoon filling into crustlined pan, gently pressing flat.

Roll out second disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut out about 28 three-inch leaves using cookie cutter. Press leaves lightly with tines of fork to form vein pattern. Brush bottom of 1 leaf with milk. Place leaf atop mince, overlapping crust slightly and pressing to adhere to crust. Continue placing leaves atop pie in concentric circles, overlapping edges slightly until top of pie is covered. Brush crust with milk. Bake until crust is golden brown and mince bubbles, about 40 minutes. Cool completely. Serve pie with rum raisin ice cream if desired.

(To make this recipe vegan substitute light olive oil for the butter.

Bon appétit!

Dec 23 2012

What’s Cooking: Sugarplum Bread

Republished from 12/11/2011 from the What’s Cooking Archives at The Stars Hollow Gazette

In Autumn, the appearance in grocery stores of stacks of candied fruit and mountains of nuts in all their wonderful variety is a sure sign of the approach of the holidays. As the days grow short and the nights grow cool preparations for a joyous time of baking begins.

My daughter is the bread baker but Sugarplum Bread is the one I enjoy making, too. This sweet bread studded with candied fruit is not as heavy as fruit cake. It is topped with a white icing glaze and decorated with red and green cherries to look like clusters of berries. It is a treat for breakfast or in the afternoon with tea. I make small ones baked in large muffin tins, decorated and wrapped in colored plastic wrap tied with ribbon as gifts for guests.

The following recipe is a rich dough flavored with nutmeg, candied fruit and peel, and raisins

Candied fruit would have melted in the summer heat and its sweetness would attract ants but it keeps well in the freezer. After the holidays, when the price is reduced for clearance, if you have space in your freezer buy a supply. It assures that you’ll have candied fruit on hand in the months when it can’t be found in the market.

Dec 23 2012

On This Day In History December 23

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.

December 23 is the 357th day of the year (358th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are eight days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1893, The opera Hansel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck is first performed.

The libretto was written by Adelheid Wette (Humperdinck’s sister), based on the Grimm brothers’ Hansel and Gretel. It is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being the Abendsegen (“Evening Benediction”) from Act 2.

The idea for the opera was proposed to Humperdinck by his sister, who approached him about writing music for songs that she had written for her children for Christmas based on “Hänsel und Gretel.” After several revisions, the musical sketches and the songs were turned into a full-scale opera.

Humperdinck composed Hansel and Gretel in Frankfurt am Main in 1891 and 1892. The opera was first performed in Weimar on 23 December 1893, conducted by Richard Strauss. It has been associated with Christmas since its earliest performances and today it is still most often performed at Christmas time.

Dec 23 2012

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting 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.

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

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris will be: Former Governor James Florio (D-NJ), Adjunct Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University; Mayor Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta, GA); Mayor Michael Nutter (D-Philadelpha, PA); Dylan Glenn, Senior Vice President of Guggenheim Advisors and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush; Heidi Moore, Finance and Economics Editor for The Guardian newspaper; Kevin Alexander Gray, Contributing Editor to Black News and Contributing Writer to CounterPunch and Black Agenda Report; Maya Wiley, Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion; Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; and Rebecca Peters, international arms control advocate who led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Guests on This Week” are former congressman and DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, the head of the NRA’s National School Shield Program;  Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

The  roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Americans for Tax Reform President and NRA board member Grover Norquist; political strategist and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan; and WashingtonPost.com columnist and Editor and Publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: On this weeks program guests are NRA President David Keene, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va; Senator-designate Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; and an interview with actor Ben Affleck about his work with the Eastern Congo Initiative.

The Chris Matthews Show: Tjis week’s guests are Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor; Helene Cooper, The New York Times White House Correspondent; and Sam Donaldson, ABC Reporter.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP guest are the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre; Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

On this week’s roundtable are Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), former Democratic congressman Harold Ford, Jr., and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are congressmen Steven LaTourette and Mick Mulvaney; former congressman and DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, the head of the NRA’s National School Shield Program; USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein, and Time‘s Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy

Dec 23 2012

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

History of gun control is cautionary tale for those seeking regulations after Conn. shooting

 By Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz, David S. Fallis and Joel Achenbach, Sunday, December 23, 6:44 AM

 At 3 a.m. on July 2, 1993, Steve Sposato sat down in his darkened living room to write, by hand, a letter to the president of the United States. His life had just been shattered.

Hours earlier, in the afternoon, a deranged man armed with semiautomatic weapons had gone on a rampage, slaughtering eight people at an office building in downtown San Francisco. The gunman’s motive would remain forever a mystery. Among the slain: Steve’s wife, 30-year-old Jody Jones Sposato, the mother of his 10-month-old daughter, Meghan.

His anguished letter to the president asked how it was possible for someone to possess rapid-fire weapons with 30-round magazines, seemingly designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. “Now I’m left to raise my 10-month-old daughter on my own,” he told the president. “How do I find the strength to carry on?”




Sunday’s Headlines:

Taliban preys on Afghanistan’s corrupt police force

Bethlehem Christians feel the squeeze as Israeli settlements spread

Tribal attack suspects arrested in Kenya

Deep emotions run beneath Russia’s adoption ban

Brazil settlers in land disputes over Amazon farming

Dec 23 2012

What We Now Know

On MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes, Host Chris Hayes and his guests discuss what they now know since the week began. Chris’ panel guests were Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald), columnist and blogger for The Guardian; Hina Shamsi, director of National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, former senior adviser to United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, and lecturer at Columbia Law School; Spencer Ackermann, writer and blogger for Wired.com; and Nancy Giles, analyst for CBSNews.com.

State of the Climate Global Analysis November 2012

Global Highlights

   The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for November 2012 was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (60.4°F). This is the fifth warmest November since records began in 1880. Including this November, the 10 warmest Novembers have occurred in the past 12 years.

   The globally-averaged land surface temperature for November 2012 was the sixth warmest November on record, at 1.13°C (2.03°F) above average. The globally-averaged ocean surface temperature was also sixth warmest on record, at 0.50°C (0.90°F) above average.

   ENSO-neutral conditions continued in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during November 2012. Neutral conditions are expected to last through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2012/13 and into spring 2013.

   The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September-November 2012 was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F), marking the second warmest September-November on record, behind 2005.

   The globally-averaged land surface temperature for September-November 2012 was the third warmest September-November on record, at 1.03°C (1.85°F) above average. The Southern Hemisphere land temperature was record warm for the period.

   The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January-November 2012 was the eighth warmest such period on record, at 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average.

Thieves Arrested After Stealing 6 Million Pounds of Canadian Maple Syrup

Talk about a sticky mess.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers believe several million cans of stolen maple syrup may be sitting on U.S. grocery shelves.

Quebec police arrested four men in connection with the robbery of 6 million pounds of maple syrup stolen from a Canadian warehouse in a heist spanning just under a year.

The thieves managed to steal the sticky substance from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford between August 2011 and July of this year. The stolen syrup tops out at $18 million in total market value.

“It’s one of the most important robberies in Quebec because of the quantity stolen and the value of the syrup,” said Sgt. Gregory Gomez Del Prado of Quebec police.