Daily Archive: 08/10/2013

Aug 10 2013

Random Japan

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SIC TRANSIT

A woman was injured at Shin-Koiwa station when a suicidal man jumped in front of an approaching Narita Express train and was hurtled back onto the platform.

Hundreds of commuters-your correspondent included-were forced to evacuate their trains and walk down the tracks after the Toyoko line went FUBAR late last month during a violent rainstorm.

Officials in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, donated 64 bicycles to the people of Malawi, where, it is said, “locals often carry the sick on their backs to hospitals.”

The head of spacecraft development at JAXA says the Kounotori unmanned resupply vessel could help pave the way for “a Japanese crewed space flight.”

Aug 10 2013

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness NewsWelcome 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.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Gazpachos Minus the Bread

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For years I insisted that gazpacho can’t be gazpacho if it doesn’t have bread as one of its ingredients. After all, bread is what gives classic gazpacho its unique texture. But this week I decided to forget about the bread and focus in on the combination of tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, onion and garlic that is really behind the signature flavor of gazpacho. The new Spanish chefs have been reinterpreting this lively, low-calorie soup for over a decade now, so I felt free to experiment, too.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Gazpacho sans Bread

Keep this gazpacho in a pitcher in the refrigerator and enjoy all summer long.

Blender Gazpacho With Celery, Carrot, Cucumber and Red Pepper

A version of gazpacho that is essentially a tangy, pungent vegetable smoothie.

Chipotle Gazpacho

Chipotle contributes heat and smoke to this beautiful blender gazpacho.

Tomatillo, Tomato and Avocado Gazpacho

Avocados contribute a creamy texture to this spicy gazpacho.

Beet and Tomato Gazpacho

The color alone is reason enough to make this gorgeous gazpacho.

Aug 10 2013

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: A Weak Agenda on Spying Reform

President Obama, who seems to think the American people simply need some reassurance that their privacy rights are intact, proposed a series of measures on Friday that only tinker around the edges of the nation’s abusive surveillance programs. [..]

If all Mr. Obama is inclined to do is tweak these programs, then Congress will have to step in to curb these abuses, a path many lawmakers of both parties are already pursuing. There are bills pending that would stop the bulk collection of communications data, restricting it to those under suspicion of terrorism. Other measures would require the surveillance court to make public far more of its work. If the president is truly concerned about public anxiety, he can vocally support legislation to make meaningful changes, rather than urging people to trust him that the dishes are clean.

Dean Baker: Fiddling with Fannie and Freddie Only Sets Us Up for Another Crash

Best leave the mortgage market in government control or abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac entirely and let moral hazard rule

President Obama’s announcement of his plans for a restructured mortgage market was painful for those who remember the bubble and crash. It seems as though he learned nothing from this disaster.

he key problem in the bubble years was the ability of private actors to profit by taking huge risks in issuing and securitizing bad mortgages, while handing the downside risk to taxpayers. This was the story with Countrywide, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and the rest.

It was also the story with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their prior incarnation, before the collapse of the bubble sent them into conservatorship. The pre-conservatorship Fannie and Freddie were run as for-profit companies. Their top executives made Wall Street-type salaries, pocketing tens of millions of dollars a year.

Charles M. Blow: ‘A Town Without Pity’

America was once the land of Lady Liberty, beckoning the world: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

No more.

Today’s America – at least as measured by the actions and inactions of the pariahs who roam its halls of power and the people who put them there – is insular, cruel and uncaring.

David Sirota: The Creative Destruction of Misguided Ideology

Stripped down to its fundamentals, the insurance business is the business of assessing risk. Regardless of what is being insured, a successful insurer is one that analyzes the risk of having to pay out benefits, and then adjusts coverage rates to make sure more money is coming in than is going out. The more accurate the assessment of risk, the more financially successful an insurance company tends to be.

Because of this model, private insurance is the conservative ideologue’s favored method of assessing danger and managing risk, for it is a purely free-market instrument. Indeed, as a right-wing activist would readily admit, private insurance focuses exclusively on the dollars and cents of actuarial analyses, and it bases prices on data and empiricism, not on fact-free political ideology and poll-tested platitudes.

So, then, what happens when the insurance industry so touted by the conservative movement starts saying things that wholly contradict that movement’s talking points?

Gail Collins: Playing Post Office

Today, let’s tackle a big national problem. Something that’s been going on for so long that everybody’s exhausted and has lost all hope of resolution in their lifetimes. (Like the baseball career of Alex Rodriguez.)

The Postal Service. Yes! Let’s fix the Postal Service, which lost more than $15 billion last year. Lately, things have been going better, but we’re still talking about a problem that’s actually way worse than A-Rod. More like something between a plague of locusts and a small, localized zombie invasion.

And it’s not all the management’s fault. You would be losing money, too, if your core product had been totally undermined by the Internet and you were required to be a self-supporting business except for the part where each and every move required special Congressional approval.

Jim Horn: Who’s Lying to Whom? Duncan, Bloomberg, and the Rotted Common Core

Yesterday Mike Bloomberg called the new test score basement that all NY schools have rushed into “very good news,” and he blamed the media for noticing that it was happening.  With State and City schools-at least the ones with poor kids-once more crushed under the boot (Rochester had 5% of kids passing reading and math) of new tests and new cut scores, the Prince followed up with this: “We have to make sure that we give our kids constantly the opportunity to move towards the major leagues.”

Really?  Is that what you are making sure of, Mike? Or are you not really making sure that poor kids and poor schools that have been sawed and savaged for a dozen years at least stay right where they are?  That is at the bottom, where the racist and classist standardized tests place them, except that from here forward these poor kids, re-demoralized by yet another round of failure assurance, will be taken housed in the segregated corporate reform schools that the charter traders and hedge fund managers on Wall Street are so heady about.  Isn’t that what you know is really going on, Mayor?

Arne Duncan tried yesterday to swoop in to help rescue Bloomberg from those reporters reporting the news and finally asking questions, but all the  the lead lummox could manage was to parrot his own voice recording that, in the present context of the new Common Core testing-delivery system, sounded even more hollow from an even hollower man: “Too many school systems lied to children, families and communities. . . .Finally, we are holding ourselves accountable as educators.”

Aug 10 2013

Saturday Night Movie

Aug 10 2013

On This Day In History August 10

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.

Click on images to enlarge

August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 143 days remaining until the end of the year.

The term ‘the 10th of August’ is widely used by historians as a shorthand for the Storming of the Tuileries Palace on the 10th of August, 1792, the effective end of the French monarchy until it is restored in 1814.

On this day in  1846, Smithsonian Institution was created. After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.

In 1829, James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

After the nephew died without heirs in 1835, President Andrew Jackson informed Congress of the bequest, which amounted to 104,960 gold sovereigns, or US$500,000 ($10,100,997 in 2008 U.S. dollars after inflation). The money, however, was invested in shaky state bonds that quickly defaulted. After heated debate in Congress, former President John Quincy Adams successfully argued to restore the lost funds with interest.  Congress also debated whether the federal government had the authority to accept the gift. Congress ultimately accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust July 1, 1836.

Eight years later, Congress passed an act establishing the Smithsonian Institution, a hybrid public/private partnership, and the act was signed into law on August 10, 1846 by James Polk. (See 20 U.S.C. § 41 (Ch. 178, Sec. 1, 9 Stat. 102).) The bill was drafted by Indiana Democratic Congressman Robert Dale Owen, a Socialist and son of Robert Owen, the father of the cooperative movement.

Aug 10 2013

Sanjay’s Change of Mind on Medical Marijuana

In an amazing reversal, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta changed his position on marijuana’s health benefits and apologized.

Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not.

I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

Well, I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

Meet the little girl who changed his mind. Charlotte Figi is a 6 year old who suffers from Dravet Syndrome:

Dravet syndrome, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge. Development remains on track initially, with plateaus and a progressive decline typically beginning in the second year of life. Individuals with Dravet syndrome face a higher incidence of SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy) and have associated conditions, which also need to be properly treated and managed. [..]

Children with Dravet syndrome do not outgrow this condition and it affects every aspect of their daily lives.

Unless a cure or better treatments for Dravet syndrome and related epilepsies are found, individuals with these disorders face a diminished quality of life. Current treatment options are extremely limited and the prognosis for these children is poor. The constant care and supervision of an individual with such highly specialized needs is emotionally and financially draining on the family members who care for these individuals.

Long Search For 6-Year-Old’s Seizure Relief Ends With Medical Marijuana

Nicole Flatlow, Think Progress

Before she started using medical marijuana, Charlotte Figi was suffering from seizures lasting 2 to 4 hours that landed her in the hospital and several times stopped her heart. She lost the ability to walk, talk, and eat, and her parents said their goodbyes on several occasions. Doctors had her on seven different potent, addictive medications; they had her on a special diet. But each time, the benefits were only temporary, and the side effects were overwhelming.

Charlotte’s mother, Paige Figi, had voted against the Colorado medical marijuana ballot initiative that passed in 2000. But after doing some research, she and her husband Matt changed their minds. They found a video of a young boy in California who suffered dramatic seizures and whose life had been changed by a strain of medical marijuana. [..]

To find a steady supply of the substance, they turned to brothers known as the “Robin Hoods of marijuana” who ask patients to donate only what they can. Forty-one other patients with seizures and cancer are now using the strain that’s been named Charlotte’s Web for its first user.

Now Charlotte is feeding herself, walking, and riding her bike. She usually only has one seizure a day, and usually in her sleep. [..]

But the Figis are lucky enough to live in one of the 20 states where medical marijuana is legal, which largely insulates them even from federal criminal prosecution. Suppliers of medical marijuana in these states, however, are not immune from criminal crackdowns, even when they are seeming models for compliance with state law. A recent survey found that the overwhelming majority of U.S. doctors – 76 percent – would prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.

In all my 30 plus years in Emergency Medicine, I have never treated a patient for a marijuana overdose. Yet, I have treated patients whose only relief from pain of glaucoma, or the side effects of drug therapy for AIDS or cancer chemotherapy was marijuana.

Please support the legalization and fight for marijuana reform nation wide.

Just Say Now

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Aug 10 2013

Friday Night at the Movies

Earth Under Water- BBC