Daily Archive: 08/17/2013

Aug 17 2013

Random Japan

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ENTER THE TWITTERVERSE

A nursing student in Gifu was criticized for tweeting in-class photos of human organs along with a message that read, “We have a colon from a hospital patient.”

It was reported that prior to last month’s Upper House elections, 29 Twitter users set up accounts in which they posed as leaders of major political parties.

Archaeologists in Kyoto made a surprising discovery while examining the underside of a Kamakura-era piece of pottery: the oldest surviving example of a Japanese writing lesson.

A former employee of cosmetics company Kanebo reached a settlement with the firm over an incident in which she was forced to wear a fortune-teller costume at a training session “as punishment for not reaching a sales target.”

Aug 17 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

Hot Days, Cold Noodles

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Some people just don’t get hungry during a heat wave, but I’m not one of them. During the last run of hot weather I craved cold Asian noodles; I loved the way they were both cooling and filling, and the way they served as a vehicle for refreshing vegetables like cucumbers and crisp shredded cabbage. Asian noodles don’t need to be cooked al dente the way Italian pasta does, so they won’t suffer from being cooked ahead, tossed with a little sesame oil or dressing and refrigerated for a day or two. This is really helpful when the weather’s hot and you’re hungry. You reach into the refrigerator and grab a bowl of noodle salad that is no worse for wear from having been there for a day.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Soba and Herb Salad With Roasted Eggplant and Pluots

I love the contrast of the savory/spicy and fruity/sweet here.

Cold Sesame Noodles With Cucumber and Sweet Pepper

Both udon and soba noodles work in this mildly spicy salad.

Cellophane Noodle Salad With Cabbage

A refreshing Thai noodle salad.

Korean Buckwheat Noodles With Chilled Broth and Kimchi

Inspired by a signature Korean noodle dish, there are a variety of ways to make this recipe, depending on your preferences.

Chicken Noodle Salad With Creamy Sesame Dressing

A substantial salad that makes for a delicious summer meal.

Aug 17 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: GPS Tracking and Secret Policies

This week brought fresh revelations about the National Security Agency’s sloppy and invasive collection of phone data on Americans and others, as reported first by The Washington Post. In another realm of surveillance – the government’s broad use of location tracking devices – the Justice Department was in federal court on Thursday defending its refusal to release memos containing information about its policies governing the use of GPS and other potentially invasive technologies. [..]

The public has a right to know the government’s policies on these matters. There is very good reason to be concerned about the government’s interpretation of its police powers, especially given the Obama administration’s insensitivity to privacy in its mass collection of phone data in the national security sphere.

Jay Rosen: When You’re in a Fourth Estate Situation

As things stand today, the Fourth Estate is a state of mind. Some in the press have it, some don’t. Some who have it are part of the institutional press. Some, like Ladar Levison and Edward Snowden, are not.

“I think if the American public knew what our government was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore.”

Those are the poignant words of Ladar Levison, founder of Lavabit, a secure email service that he voluntarily shut down when faced with some sort of demand from the U.S. government to reveal user information. The precise nature of that demand he cannot talk about for fear of being thrown in jail, perhaps the best example we now have for how the surveillance state undoes the First Amendment. But we know that Lavabit was used by Edward Snowden to communicate with the outside world when he was stuck in the Moscow airport. So use your imagination!

Robert Reich: Why Congress’s Gridlock Doesn’t Paralyze Government but Gridlocks Democracy

Congress began its summer recess last week and won’t reconvene until after Labor Day. You’d be forgiven for not noticing a difference. With just 15 bills signed into law so far this year, the 113th Congress is on pace to be the most unproductive since at least the 1940s.

But just because the legislature has ceased to function doesn’t mean our government has. Political decision making has moved to peripheral public entities, where power is exercised less transparently and accountability to voters is less direct. What we’re losing in the process isn’t government – it’s democracy.

Ralph Nader: Time to Stop Undermining Homeownership

Here’s a startling fact — more than 10 million Americans have been evicted from their homes since 2007. That’s nearly the entire population of the state of Michigan. Just imagine if the people of an entire state were rendered homeless overnight — it would be quite a calamity. The news media would no doubt cover it 24/7, millions of dollars would be raised in aid, and thousands would volunteer to help shelter the displaced. Any companies responsible for such a massive displacement of people would be vilified — think of the public relations lashing BP received after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. While the housing crisis does not spur the same emotional response from the media and the general population as say, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack; perhaps it should. The housing crisis was not an inevitable glitch in the system, but rather a long-foreseen consequence of an industry running rampant in the name of profit.

The housing crisis is a multi-faceted issue with many moving parts, but here are some recent developments that warrant discussion.

Amy Goodman: Stop-and-Frisk: The World According to Questlove

Hip-hop hit a milestone this week, turning 40 years old. The same week, Federal District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, in a 195-page ruling, declared the New York Police Department’s practice of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional. Hip-hop and stop-and-frisk are central aspects of the lives of millions of people, especially black and Latino youths.

Ahmir Thompson was just 2 years old when hip-hop got its start in 1973, but already had shown his talent for music. Thompson is now known professionally as Questlove, an accomplished musician and producer, music director and drummer for the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop band The Roots, which is the house band on the NBC show “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” He and The Roots soon will move with Fallon to the even more popular “The Tonight Show.” Despite his success, Questlove confronts racism in his daily life. But he has built a platform, a following, which he uses to challenge the status quo, like stop-and-frisk.

David Sirota: A Civics Lesson From America’s Education Debate

Paradoxes come in all different forms, but here’s one that perfectly fits this Gilded Age: The most significant lesson from the ongoing debate about American education has little to do with schools and everything to do with money. This lesson comes from a series of recent scandals that expose the financial motives of the leaders of the so-called education “reform” movement-the one that is trying to privatize public schools.

Aug 17 2013

Editorializing

I don’t generally work without the buttress of other people’s research and observations because, as a pseudonymous author on the Internet, you have no more reason to trust my opinion than your own.

Less in fact.

As I look out on the developments of this summer I have a few observations and predictions that I’ll just share, naked, my bias should already be apparent in the things I’ve chosen to bring to your attention.

That’s called Editorial decision making.

The National Security State is just as pervasive as the worst imaginations of the most tin foil wearing conspiracy theorist.  My only surprise is that after 7 years of personal advocacy and stony indifference it has suddenly captured the public’s attention.  I believe Glenn Greenwald when he says this is the tip of the iceberg and I hope Ed Snowden stole enough secrets to keep him safe.

Nobody likes to be spied on.  We all have a private movie of the shameful things we have done, or did not do, that we wish to keep from the world.  “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”, is a crock and the hypocrites who parrot it deserve full exposure.  This will only happen if we maintain the pressure, if they didn’t know it was wrong they wouldn’t be scrambling like roaches to avoid the light.

Barack Obama is not as popular among African Americans as you think.  The erosion of his polling has as much to do with the decline of his favorables in that demographic from 98% to 70% as anything else.  The only group where his ratings have increased?  White college+ males making more than $70,000 annually.

Guess they know which side of the bread substitute the icky wax is on.  Obama has performed shamefully for the economic interests of the 99%.  Expect big battles over the budget and debt ceiling with Obama pushing his “Grand Bargain” of chained CPI earned benefit cuts at every opportunity.  Pray for the Tea Party to refuse to provide him a scant fig leaf of revenue.

I’d like to be optimistic about the environment.  It’s a good thing we’ve been able to keep the Alberta Tar Sands bottled up so far, but the sad fact of the matter is we have 50x the amount of carbon we need to produce a global extinction, Epoch changing, methane hydrate explosion in already proven reserves.

If we pump what we already got, we’re all dead.

There is absolutely no indication that any of the Very Serious People are taking that seriously at all, even though Solar and Wind technology are economically competitive with carbon fuels (one of the reasons Alberta might go bust economically and why they are so frantic), much less Nuclear which is just about the most expensive power there is.

I could go on, but I’ll save it.  I’m actually a cheerful guy and I’d hate for you to think I don’t have a plan to improve things when actually, I do.

Rebel.  Rebel in the small things.  Don’t watch the Idiots on TV, say mean things about them (they are notoriously thin skinned, vanity driven, narcissists).  Don’t give Politicians your time or money, you need them more than they do (unless they are worthy), bad mouth them vocally when they deserve it which is most of the time.  They are not your friend, they are your servant.  Punish bad corporations by refusing to patronize them, again they care about your money, not you.

These are but a few ephemeral examples, I’m sure you can think of more and better.  Above all stay informed and active.  No one can take your freedom away, you have to let them.

Aug 17 2013

On This Day In History August 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.

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

August 17 is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 136 days remaining until the end of the year.

The Dakota War of 1862 (also known as the Sioux Uprising, Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow’s War) was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux or Dakota which began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. It ended with a mass execution of 38 Dakota men on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota.

Throughout the late 1850s, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. Traders with the Dakota previously had demanded that the government give the annuity payments directly to them (introducing the possibility of unfair dealing between the agents and the traders to the exclusion of the Dakota). In mid-1862 the Dakota demanded the annuities directly from their agent, Thomas J. Galbraith. The traders refused to provide any more supplies on credit under those conditions, and negotiations reached an impasse.

On August 17, 1862, four Dakota killed five American settlers while on a hunting expedition. That night a council of Dakota decided to attack settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley to try to drive whites out of the area. There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, but estimates range from 400 to 800. It is said that until the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the civilian wartime toll from the Dakota conflict was the highest in U.S. history (excluding those of the Civil War).

Over the next several months, continued battles between the Dakota against settlers and later, the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands. By late December 1862, soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, who were interned in jails in Minnesota. After trials and sentencing, 38 Dakota were hanged on December 26, 1862, in the largest one-day execution in American history. In April 1863 the rest of the Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to Nebraska and South Dakota. The United States Congress abolished their reservations.

Aug 17 2013

Friday Night at the Movies

Aug 17 2013

Statement of U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Or.) and Mark Udall (D-Co.)

On Reports of Compliance Violations Made Under NSA Collection Programs

Friday, August 16, 2013

The executive branch has now confirmed that the ‘rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans’ have been violated thousands of times each year.  We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg.  

While Senate rules prohibit us from confirming or denying some of the details in today’s press reports, the American people have a right to know more details about of these violations. We hope that the executive branch will take steps to publicly provide more information as part of the honest, public debate of surveillance authorities that the Administration has said it is interested in having.

In particular, we believe the public deserves to know more about the violations of the secret court orders that have authorized the bulk collection of Americans’ phone and email records under the USA PATRIOT Act.  The public should also be told more about why the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has said that the executive branch’s implementation of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has circumvented the spirit of the law, particularly since the executive branch has declined to address this concern.  

We appreciate the candor of the Chief Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding the Court’s inability to independently verify statements made by the executive branch.  We believe that the Court is not currently structured in a way that makes it an effective check on the power of the executive branch.  This highlights the need for a robust and well-staffed public advocate who could participate in significant cases before the Court and evaluate and counter government assertions.  Without such an advocate on the court, and without greater transparency regarding the Court’s rulings, the checks and balances on executive branch authority enshrined in the Constitution cannot be adequately upheld.

Aug 17 2013

Statemen of U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Or.) and Mark Udall (D-Co.)

On Reports of Compliance Violations Made Under NSA Collection Programs

Friday, August 16, 2013

The executive branch has now confirmed that the ‘rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans’ have been violated thousands of times each year.  We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg.  

While Senate rules prohibit us from confirming or denying some of the details in today’s press reports, the American people have a right to know more details about of these violations. We hope that the executive branch will take steps to publicly provide more information as part of the honest, public debate of surveillance authorities that the Administration has said it is interested in having.

In particular, we believe the public deserves to know more about the violations of the secret court orders that have authorized the bulk collection of Americans’ phone and email records under the USA PATRIOT Act.  The public should also be told more about why the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has said that the executive branch’s implementation of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has circumvented the spirit of the law, particularly since the executive branch has declined to address this concern.  

We appreciate the candor of the Chief Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding the Court’s inability to independently verify statements made by the executive branch.  We believe that the Court is not currently structured in a way that makes it an effective check on the power of the executive branch.  This highlights the need for a robust and well-staffed public advocate who could participate in significant cases before the Court and evaluate and counter government assertions.  Without such an advocate on the court, and without greater transparency regarding the Court’s rulings, the checks and balances on executive branch authority enshrined in the Constitution cannot be adequately upheld.