Daily Archive: 03/17/2013

Mar 17 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Did Chavez and Maduro Evict the U.S. From Its Own Backyard? by Justina

Following the ideals of his hero, Simon Bolivar, President Hugo Chávez Friás long had a grand vision of a Bolivarian unity among the countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.  His  long serving foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, now acting president of Venezuela, was the person who brought that vision to material reality.  In so doing, they may have walked off with some prime real estate — the U.S.’s own backyard.

As a reported two million people lined the streets to accompany the body of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez Friás, to the Military Academy in Caracas where likely millions more stood in line for hours, if not days, to view his face one last time. Fifty-four international delegations, political leaders and heads of state arrived in Venezuela to attend the official state ceremony for the deceased president, 15 of whose countries had declared official days of mourning for him at home.  They were greeted by then vice president and now Acting President Nicolas Maduro.

The South, Central American and Caribbean countries in attendance gave witness to the impact the Chavez Administration has had on forging unity among them.

Representatives of the more than 33 countries belonging to MERCOSUR, UNOSUR, ALBA and CELAC appeared and credited Chavez’s vision and energy with establishing the equivalent of a new regional union, modeled after the European Union, south of the U.S. border, in what the U.S. formerly regarded as virtually its own territory.

 photo chavezfuneral_zps594f098c.jpg

Mar 17 2013

Rant of the Week: Rachel Maddow

Warning: Contents of this video may be disturbing for many.

Gun Control and the Newtown Tragedy

Rachel Maddow reports on how much easier high capacity magazines made it for the Newtown shooter to maximize the slaughter he could commit, and shores the video from the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting today in which Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) dealt with the naivete of freshman Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) before the committee passed an assault weapons ban.

152 bullets, 4 magazines, less than 5 minutes

Adam Lanza Researched Mass Murderers, Sources Say

by Dave Altimari, Edmund H. Mahony and Jon Lender

Before carrying out the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Adam Lanza conducted research on several mass murders, sources close to the investigation into the shooting have told The Courant.

The Courant had previously reported that investigators found news articles about Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik at Lanza’s Newtown home. Sources now say that investigators found articles and other documents related to other mass murders in one of two bedrooms he used in the house that he shared with his mother, Nancy.

Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 first-graders, on the morning of Dec. 14 before taking his own life as police closed in. Lanza had first shot and killed his mother at their house.

State police gave the victims’ families, Sandy Hook teachers and first-responders an update on the investigation last week in which, sources said, they discussed the theory that Lanza was trying to outdo other killers.

Mar 17 2013

On This Day In History March 17

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 17 is the 76th day of the year (77th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 289 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 461, Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.

Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.

According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.

First St. Patrick’s Day parade

In New York City, the first parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is held by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.

Early Irish settlers to the American colonies, many of whom were indentured servants, brought the Irish tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day to America. The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City in 1762, and with the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread. Today, across the United States, millions of Americans of Irish ancestry celebrate their cultural identity and history by enjoying St. Patrick’s Day parades and engaging in general revelry.

Mar 17 2013

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 this morning are Zainab al Suwaij, co-founder and executive director of the American Islamic Congress; Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; Democratic Representative Kyrsten Sinema (@RepSinema) is serving her first term representing Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District; Basma Zaiber, Iraqi caseload coordinator and director of development and research for The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies; Koby Langley (@warrioradvocate), Iraq War veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Division and current senior advisor to Americor for Veteran Initiatives;   (@raedjarrar), communications director for Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, former Iraq specialist  to the American Friends Service Committee; Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler; Sam Seder (@SamSeder), host of The Majority Report, co-host of Ring of Fire; and Heidi Moore, economics and finance editor for The Guardian newspaper.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: On Sunday’s “This Week,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, goes one-on-one with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in a “This Week” Sunday exclusive.

A special foreign policy roundtable examines major challenges abroad, including the state of the war in Afghanistan and the growing cyber-security threat, with former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Bush National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chair Gen. James Cartwright (USMC, Ret.).  

The political roundtable debates all the week’s politics, from budget battles in Washington to the future of the Catholic Church, with ABC News’ George Will and Matthew Dowd; House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered Audie Cornish; and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, chair of Good360.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (R-MI).

The foreign policy panel with Richard Haass, The Council on Foreign Relations President; Danielle Pletka of American Enterprise Institute, David Rhode of The Atlantic and David Sanger from The New York Times.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Joe Klein, TIME Columnist; Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent; Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; and Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: On this week’s MTP, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George will discuss the election of Pope Francis.

MTP will host an exclusive debate between the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and the House Republican Whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).  

The roundtable guests are  MSNBC’s “Hardball” Chris Matthews; former two-term Republican Governor who, in 2002, was appointed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to investigate the sex abuse scandals in the Church, Frank Keating (R-OK); author and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; and Republican Ana Navarro.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guest are Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland;  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

Her panel guests are Al Cardenas of the American Conservative Union, Democratic Strategist KiKi McLean, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and a new face in the political world, Dr. Ben Carson.

Mar 17 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for renaissance

17 March 2013 Last updated at 04:57 GMT

The BBC

The new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has said he will fight for “the great renaissance of the Chinese nation,” in his first speech as head of state.

He was speaking at the end of the annual National People’s Congress.

At a rare news conference later, new Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing would “win the trust of the people”, pledging to cut government spending.

The comments come as the Communist government has completed a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

Mr Li, who already holds the number two spot in the Communist Party, is now taking over the day-to-day running of the country, succeeding Wen Jiabao.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Iraq war 10 years on: ‘We don’t stay out late because we’re still afraid’

The Antarctic is left defenceless to tourism

Cypriots rush to banks in wake of bailout levy

Top Syrian general ‘defects to rebels’

Count begins after candlelight vote in Zimbabwe

Mar 17 2013

What’s Cooking: Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. Specifically, New York style cheesecake made with cream cheese, eggs and sugar. It’s an art to get it right, believe me, I’ve been practicing making them for years. I even made a cheesecake wedding cake for a friend’s daughter’s wedding. Three tiers, apricot swirl with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting, festooned for butter cream daisies. I’m told there was none left after twenty minutes. I gave the bride the recipe and a spring form pan as a bridal shower gift so she could make one on her first wedding anniversary.

There are cheesecakes for all occasions, including St. Patrick’s Day laced with Baily’s Irish Cream. It has become a tradition in my house since 1991 when I found the recipe in a 1991 Bon Appétit magazine. It’s best made a day before serving with steaming mugs of hot Irish coffee.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

 photo 349df6c9-00d1-4095-a42c-397c796dacea_zpsc1deba11.jpgIngredients

Crust:

10 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces

1 1/4 cup pecans(5 oz)

1/4 cup sugar

6 T. unsalted butter

Filling:

1 1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur

1 t. vanilla extract

3 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt)

Topping:

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 ounces imported white chocolate, grated

24 pecan halves

Preparation

For Crust:

Preheat oven to 325. lightly butter 9 inch spring-form pan. Finely grind graham crackers, pecans and sugar in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns. Press crumbs onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

Filling:

Using mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. whisk eggs, baileys and vanilla in medium bowl until just blended. Beat egg mixture into cream cheese mixture. Finely chop white chocolate in processor. Add to cream cheese mixture. Transfer filling to crust lined pan. Bake until edges of filling are puffed and dry looking and center is just set, about 50 minutes. Cool on rack. Do not remove cake from pan.

Topping:

Mix sour cream and powdered sugar in small bowl. Spread topping onto cooled cake. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 6 hours. (can be prepared 1 day ahead)

Sprinkle grated chocolate over cake; place pecans around edge. Carefully loosen the rim of the spring-form pan; remove and place cake on a serving plate.

Serves 10, maybe.

Some tips to making the perfect cheesecake:

  • All ingredients should be at room temperature
  • Gently cream the cream cheese before the eggs are added until it is smooth and lump free
  • Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.
  • Before placing the cheesecake in the oven, place an oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven and fill it half way with boiling water. Let the oven return to the proper temperature, then place the cheesecake on a rack in the center of the oven directly over the steaming water. This eliminates having to wrap the outside of the spring-form pan with foil to prevent water from seeping in the cake if place directly in the water.
  • Don’t over-bake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a two to three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake; the texture will smooth out as it cools.
  • Bon appétit!

    Mar 17 2013

    The Wearing Of The Green

    So last year TheMomCat and my doggie friend and I went to an Irish Festival and I insisted on picking up this cheap tacky shamrock pin.

    This is why.

    The Wearing Of The Green
    O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?

    The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!

    No more Saint Patrick’s Day we’ll keep, his color can’t be seen

    For there’s a cruel law ag’in the Wearin’ o’ the Green.

    I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand

    And he said, “How’s poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?”

    “She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

    For they’re hanging men and women there for the Wearin’ o’ the Green.”

    So if the color we must wear be England’s cruel red

    Let it remind us of the blood that Irishmen have shed

    And pull the shamrock from your hat, and throw it on the sod

    But never fear, ’twill take root there, though underfoot ’tis trod.
    When laws can stop the blades of grass from growin’ as they grow

    And when the leaves in summer-time their color dare not show

    Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen

    But till that day, please God, I’ll stick to the Wearin’ o’ the Green.

    You can listen to it here.

    Mar 17 2013

    What We Now Know

    In this week’s segment of MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes “What We Now Know, Up host Chris Hayes discusses his new show week nights at 8 PM on MSNBC. He tells us the that “Up” will continue with a new host to be announced in the next few days. Congratulations, Chris, kick butt.

    What we have learned this week is discussed with guests Ben Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP; Nancy Huehnergarth, nutritional advocate and policy consultant, contributor to the Huffington Post; New York City Council Member Letitia James, a member of the Working Families Party representing parts of Brooklyn, and a candidate for public advocate; and Monifa Bandele, campaign director with MomsRising.org.

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    FDIC Secretly Settling Bank Cases For Years With ‘No Press Release’ Clause: Report

    from Huffington Post

    At the request of rule-breaking bankers, a top U.S. regulator has for years settled bank cases in secret, raising the bar on just how far regulators are willing to go to help the industry they regulate.

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures bank deposits in the U.S. and shuts down failing banks, has since 2007 repeatedly settled charges of banker wrongdoing by agreeing to “no press release” clauses that keep the settlements a secret, the Los Angeles Times reports.

    In one particularly glaring example, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $54 million to quietly settle charges that its New York mortgage-banking subsidiary, MortgageIT, sold bad loans to another mortgage bank, Independent National Mortgage Corporation, a/k/a “IndyMac.” IndyMac collapsed under the weight of bad mortgage loans in July 2008, a notable milestone in the financial crisis.

    In exchange for the settlement, the FDIC agreed not to announce the deal unless it was asked about it, the LAT writes. That was just one of “scores” of such settlements the LAT discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request that turned up 1,600 pages of documents.

    State Department report OK’ing Keystone XL linked to oil industry

    by Natasha Lennard, Salon

    Consulting firms with ties to oil giants provided the basis of government document

    The State Department study published last month OK’ing the Keystone XL pipeline was partly compiled by “oil-industry connected” firms, according to new reports.

    The Environmental Impact Statement, as Salon noted on its release, angered environmentalists for its assessment that the project was sound and would have limited negative consequences. As DeSmog Blog’s Steve Horn noted Tuesday, however, “Unmentioned by State: the study was contracted out to firms with tar sands extraction clientele, as revealed by InsideClimate News.”

    InsideClimate News reported that two firms, EnSys Energy and ICF International provided the State Department that basis for their claims:

       The State Department’s recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline “is unlikely to have a substantial impact” on the rate of Canada’s oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.

       EnSys Energy has worked with ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries, which own oil sands production facilities and refineries in the Midwest that process heavy Canadian crude oil. Imperial Oil, one of Canada’s largest oil sands producers, is a subsidiary of Exxon.

       ICF International works with pipeline and oil companies but doesn’t list specific clients on its website. It declined to comment on the Keystone, referring questions to the State Department.

    NFL’s Sexual Orientation Concern Must Be Addressed, Says NY AG Eric Schneiderman

    by Michael Gormley, Huffington Post

    ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged the NFL on Thursday to investigate whether possible draft picks were improperly asked about their sexual orientation during the league’s combine, which he said would be illegal in New York.

    “We ask that the league immediately issue a statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or players against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and, in some cases, contractor law and will not be tolerated,” Schneiderman said in a letter dated Thursday and released to news organizations.

    Schneiderman asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to call him by next Wednesday to schedule a meeting on the matter.

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league was already looking into the issue and would discuss it at its meeting next week in Phoenix.

    Mar 17 2013

    Formula One 2013: Albert Park

    Yawn.

    So here’s what’s happened so far.  Q3 was slippery and then the rain came and Qualifying was closed until 8 pm tonight which was not broadcast live.  It is being aired now and the track is wet and everyone is starting on Inters, but what it means for the race is that the track will hardly be rubbered in.

    The grid looks a little bit like this-

    Grid Driver Team Q-Time Q-Laps
    1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:27.407 27
    2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:27.827 26
    3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.087 29
    4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.490 23
    5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:28.493 26
    6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.523 28
    7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:28.738 27
    8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:29.013 25
    9 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:29.305 23
    10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.357 24
    11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.067 19
    12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:38.134 19
    13 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.778 19
    14 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:39.042 20
    15 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.900 18
    16 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:40.290 19
    17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:47.614 11
    18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:47.776 10
    19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:48.147 11
    20 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:48.909 11
    21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:49.519 11
    22 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:50.626 10

    Pic is racing at the sufferance of the stewards because he was outside the 107% rule, but the field is thin this year and I’d be surprised to see it enforced ever.

    Yawn.

    I’m surprised to see Mercedes so high, and McLaren is much worse off than I thought they would be, though they’ve “redesigned much of the car to have a larger margin for development throughout the season“.  Scuderia Marlboro looks exactly as bad as they did last year and Red Bull just as dominant.

    I was wrong about the compounds on offer, it’s Medium and Super Soft not Soft and Super Soft.  Don’t say I never acknowledge my mistakes.  There’s a second a lap beween the two.

    The NBC Sports site is hopeless and has nothing nearly as useful as the Speed Racecast.  I was reduced to using one of my blind mailboxes to register with Formula One so I can get Timing and Scoring for the race, we’ll have to see how that works out.

    So I apologize in advance.  First Race, New Network, we’ll see how it goes.