Daily Archive: 08/31/2013

Aug 31 2013

Random Japan

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Photos of the JoJo train are finally here and it’s not just the outside that looks cool

Earlier this week, we told you about the Yamanote Line train that will be decked out with the characters from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle (coming to PS3 on August 29). At the time, we could only provide you with a few artist renditions of what the train might look like. But now, may we proudly present to you 31 photos of the actual JoJo train, inside and out!

On August 26 at 5:57am, the first Yamanote Line train of the day pulled out of Osaki Station. This wasn’t the ordinary lime green-striped train that thousands of commuters have come to know, this one was special. The exterior, interior, monitors, and even the advertisements hanging from the carriage ceiling were covered in JoJo. On each side of the doors, the very same characters from the manga were proudly displayed for all to see.

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Aug 31 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

Dress Up Your Salad With Grains

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When a grain is not the main ingredient in a salad you appreciate it for its texture and for the nutty flavor it contributes to the dish. Authentic Middle Eastern tabouli, for example, is a parsley salad to which a small amount of fine bulgur adds a bit of substance. I made a tabouli of sorts this week with lots of parsley and a little bit of barley, and I made a kale salad with a little bit of quinoa added. Both of these I served as side dishes or starters.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Kale and Quinoa Salad With Plums and Herbs

The kale is the main ingredient here, with quinoa adding texture and bulk.

Brown Rice and Farro Salad With Roasted Pepper, Basil, Arugula and Feta

Roasted pepper and a vinaigrette dressing infuse a chewy, savory mix of rice and farro.

Parsley Salad With Barley, Dill and Hazelnuts

This lemony salad is enriched with a small amount of barley and toasted hazelnuts.

Raw and Cooked Tomato and Herb Salad With Couscous and Sorghum

In this salad, two types of couscous show off summer’s tomato bounty.

Bulgur Salad With Greens, Barberries and Yogurt

Barberries are a tart dried fruit that add an interesting flavor to this salad.

Aug 31 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: Absent on Syria

As President Obama moves toward unilateral military action in response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed more than 1,400 people, he is doing so without legal justification and without the backing of two key institutions, Congress and the United Nations Security Council. Both have abdicated their roles in dealing with this crisis.

Secretary of State John Kerry said forcefully on Friday that there was no doubt that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was behind the attack. Both he and President Obama made a largely moral case for a retaliatory response. The administration also argued that failure to respond could lead Mr. Assad, his Hezbollah allies, Iran and North Korea to believe they can violate international norms with impunity. But no administration official has formally asserted a legal basis – absent a vote of Congress or the Security Council – for military strikes.

Charles M. Blow: War-Weariness

America may have lost its stomach for military intervention. [..]

The president is out on a most precarious limb on this issue. It is an unenviable position, where the right moral move could be the wrong political one, where the to-what-end question has a lack-of-clarity answer. Would a “limited” bombing campaign be the military equivalent of slap on the wrist? How would it guarantee an end to the atrocities?

These are the moments – when the support flags and emotions flare – that try the character and constitution of a leader, particularly a leader who rose to prominence as an antiwar candidate.

The president said Friday that “a lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it.” Does he want to? Or must he? And must we? Always?

Mark Weisbrot: President Obama Should Listen to US and UK Public: Don’t Strike Syria

Obama has less legitimacy and popular support for the proposed bombing than almost any US military action in recent history

President Obama’s proposed “humanitarian” bombing of Syria, which seemed like a done deal just a few days ago, is now running into serious trouble both at home and abroad. This is a great thing for those who care about human life, and increases the chances that Washington and its allies may eventually be forced to support a negotiated solution to Syria’s bloody civil war.

In a major blow to both Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama, the UK parliament voted on Thursday to reject a military attack on Syria, and Cameron pledged to respect their decision.

Now we can see why the Obama administration has been in such a hurry to lob cruise missiles at Syria, that it didn’t want to wait even a couple of days for the UN inspectors to do their job. No one had put forth any military or security reason for the rush to attack; no one claimed that speed was essential or even relevant to saving any lives. Rather, it now seems, the urge to shoot first and ask questions later was driven by the need to carry out this illegal attack before the public, and their representatives in national and international bodies, could weigh in.

Dennis Kucinich: Inhumane War in the Name of Humanity

Dear Friend,

Eleven years ago I warned America we were about to get into a war based on lies. I led 125 members of Congress to oppose the Iraq War resolution. When I raised questions then, some of our leading Senators, such as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards voted yes. The media was squarely behind the war. I was attacked for questioning the cause of war. Everything I said in October of 2002 as to why we should not go to war turned out to be 100 percent true. Many of those who were 100 percent wrong have continued in Congress or gone on to greater influence in government. And America? America lost 4,488 sons and daughters, with 32,021 wounded, at a cost which is approaching $6 trillion.

Today we are poised to engage in war against Syria with such a flimsy case being made to attempt to justify an attack, it could only be the product of cynicism and willful misrepresentation in the cause of war and a callous disregard for our true national interest.

Norman Solomon; While Cameron Defers to Parliament, Obama Locks Into Warfare State of Mind

The British Parliament’s rejection of an attack on Syria is a direct contrast — and implicit challenge — to the political war system of the United States.

“It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the government will act accordingly,” Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday night. At least for now, Uncle Sam’s poodle is off the leash.

Now all eyes turn to Congress, where the bar has suddenly been raised. Can the House of Representatives measure up to the House of Commons?

It’s a crucial question — but President Obama intends to render it moot with unwavering contempt for the war authority of Congress. Like his predecessors.

Kevin Zeese: Obama May Be Walking Into an Impeachment Trap

The irony of the Obama presidency may hinge on whether he attacks Syria. He began his presidency prematurely winning the Nobel Peace Prize and could end it being impeached for starting an illegal war without congressional or UN approval – violating both domestic and international law. [..]

President Obama knows the limits of his powers.  In fact, if there is an impeachment proceeding his own words will be quoted. When he was running for president, Obama told the Boston Globe: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Vice President Biden, in a 2007 campaign event in Iowa, went further, not only stating clearly that the president does not have unilateral power to conduct military attacks but threatening impeachment of President Bush if he did so.

Aug 31 2013

On This Day In History August 31

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

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

August 31 is the 243rd day of the year (244th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 122 days remaining until the end of the year.

I am very hesitant to make the death of Princess Diana the prominent story of the day but her death was a tragedy on so many levels that it is not surprising that the world nearly stood still for 6 days until her funeral. There are many things that we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when they happened, like 9/11 and, for those of us old enough, JFK’s assassination.

I was living in Paris then not far from the site of the accident. I had been out to dinner that evening with my then ex-husband, Dr. TMC, when we heard the crash, it was that loud, and shortly after the sirens of emergency vehicles. Not unusual in Paris, so, we continued on to our destinations. It wasn’t until very early that I heard that the Princess had died and where. Paris was stunned. The site became a instant memorial.

We all sat glued to the TV for days waiting for the Queen to say something. The Queen badly underestimated the admiration that was held her former daughter-in-law.  The day of her funeral Paris froze, the only time I have ever seen the city this quiet was on 9/11.

After being criticized for failing to satisfactorily match the grief of the British people, the royal family arranged for a state funeral to be held for Diana at Westminster Abbey on September 6. Diana’s coffin was taken from Kensington Palace to the Abbey on a horse-drawn gun carriage, and an estimated one million mourners lined the route. Diana’s sons, William, 15, and Harry, 12, joined their father, Prince Charles; grandfather Prince Philip; and uncle Charles, the Earl of Spencer, to walk the final stretch of the procession with the casket. The only sound was the clatter of the horses’ hooves and the peal of a church bell.

The service, watched by an estimated two billion people worldwide, sacrificed royal pomp for a more human touch. Workers associated with Diana’s various charities represented 500 of the 2,000 people invited to attend the funeral. Elton John, a friend of Diana, lent a popular touch to the ceremony when he sang “Candle in the Wind,” accompanying himself on piano. After the service, Diana’s body was taken by hearse to her family’s ancestral estate near Althorp, north of London. In a private ceremony, she was laid to rest on a tree-shaded island in a small lake, securely beyond the reach of the camera lens.

Since the death of Princess Diana, Althorp, which has been in the Spencer family for over 500 years, is now a popular tourist attraction that offers tours to the general public.

I still light a candle in her memory on this day.

Blessed Be.

Aug 31 2013

Saturday Night Movie

Aug 31 2013

Friday Night at the Movies

Aug 31 2013

Who Can Live on Today’s Minimum Wage?

If you're stuck working minimum wage jobs like I am, you know what everyone else who earns the lowest pay allowed by law knows: You can't live on minimum wage, certainly not on the part-time hours employers give.

That's why it's heartening to see fast food workers across the nation going on strike to demand better pay.  I pull in $8.30 an hour at around twenty hours a week.  I can't afford even the cheapest of apartments on that.  As a single white male with no dependents, I am ineligible for most public assistance, including welfare, housing assistance, and medical assistance (Medicaid).  I get a pittance in food stamps every month, but it's not enough to keep me fed on a regular basis.  I'm lucky if I can eat once a day.

My entire paycheck is spent paying bills before I even get it deposited to my bank account, which is typically at or near empty.  That is the reality for me and for everyone else who works a minimum wage job.

Some stupid motherfucker was posting on a friend's Facebook page yesterday about how unfair it would be if fast food workers got an increase in wages to earn the same amount as he does in his construction job, because he doesn't expect that an increase in the minimum wage would necessarily bring an increase in his own pay.  According to him, we minimum wage monkeys don't do any real labor, and therefore don't deserve to make anywhere near the same amount of money as someone whose job involves backbreaking physical labor.  This same stupid asshole thinks that we can get higher paying jobs if we wanted to, and that we don't want to.  Bullshit.  If I could get a job working construction, I'd be working it right now.  I've applied for those jobs and they haven't even granted so much as one interview.  Most require that I have my own transportation, which I can't afford because I don't make enough to afford my own vehicle.  Those that don't haven't deigned to give me an interview either.

I can tell you right now that this ignoramus wouldn't last even one full shift working at McDonald's.  He couldn't keep up with the fast pace, and he certainly couldn't deal with impatient, often angry customers, standing on his feet for eight hours or more.  I've done that and it's exhausting.  My back is still screwed up from nearly three years of bending over a work table marinating, trussing, and spitting chicken carcasses for roasting, and I left that job in 2005 — eight years ago.  These days I grind lenses for an eyewear company for barely above my state's minimum wage.  I have to clock out for lunch if I work over six hours, costing me a half hour's pay, because the corporation for which I work doesn't want to pay me for a shift that's long enough to necessitate taking a few minutes to restore my energy levels.

News articles about the fast food strike state that the demand for fifteen dollars per hour would raise pay for full-time workers to thirty-one thousand annually, more than double the current annual average of fifteen thousand.  Some, however, quote workers pointing out that most minimum wage jobs don't provide full time hours.  They allow twenty or under, meaning someone like me might make $7,500 a year or less, and very often it's a lot less.

In an article on NBC Washington, it's revealed that financial woes actually have a negative impact on a person's IQ.  That is, the sheer stress of not being able to afford even the basics, like adequate food and drink, is literally making people dumber.  Starvation wages lead to actual starvation, so the body can't get the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy brain.  Financial worries force people to devote more of their mental power to worrying over how they'll afford to live, leaving much less time and energy for other matters.

Who the hell can live on the current minimum wage?  No one, not without public assistance, which is already slashed to the bone with Republicans and Democrats cutting the social safety net even further.  Many of us are either homeless or soon shall be (myself included).  No one is out there advocating for us.  No one is doing a damned thing to lighten our financial burden.  The vast majority of our tax dollars (yes, we poor folk do pay taxes) go to fund wars and Wall Street, with things like education, housing, food, and Social Security getting less and less.  Yet we're told by ignorant assholes to “suck it up”, stop asking for “handouts”, to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and make do or die.  If we could do that on what we get paid, we would.  But we can't, and even though we work and pay taxes (unlike the obscenely rich), we aren't allowed to have a say in how our tax dollars are spent.

So what's to be done?  Well, I don't know about you, but I for one have no intention of crossing any picket lines, and neither should you.  Don't let striking fast food workers do this all by themselves.  Support them in whatever way you can.  Join them, in fact.  If you know in your heart that everyone has the right to work “a useful and remunerative job” that pays enough to live on, then join them in solidarity and demand an increase in the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour.  Call and write members of Congress in both houses, call and write the White House, march on Washington in the millions and shut the place down, join striking workers on the picket line, donate whatever money and food you can afford to help people who are starving.

This country and this planet are going to hell in a hand basket, but only if We the people let them.  Don't let them.