10/23/2010 archive

Random Japan


Officials in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, were beaming after Hikonyan, a “samurai cat” that serves as the city’s mascot, was chosen as the favorite character at the Japan Expo in France.

A Japanese woman was one of six people selected to become a temporary panda keeper in China’s Sichuan province.

A Toyama-based NPO called Dream of the Earth has embarked on an 18-month project to teach fishermen in southern Sri Lanka “a traditional Japanese fishing method using fixed nets.”

In an unusually poetic turn of phrase, a Fuji TV newscaster described the scene at last week’s rescue of miners in Copiapo, Chile, as kisu no arashi-“a storm of kisses.”

Meanwhile, Japan’s space agency revealed it had sent the miners a care package that included “antibacterial underwear” and brown-sugar candies that are used for “space food.”

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness 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.

Scrambled Eggs: Not Just for Breakfast


These perfect protein packages (each large egg has six grams of complete protein and just 71 calories) take minutes to prepare. Like omelets and frittatas, scrambled eggs make a great setting for vegetables. Generally, the vegetables are cooked first, then the eggs are added to the hot pan and stirred until scrambled. Mexican cooks add eggs to a seared tomato salsa for the iconic huevos a la Mexicana, while Tunisians make a spicy scrambled egg dish with onions, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Simpler, milder scrambled egg dishes can be made with whatever produce lingers in your refrigerator, like mushrooms, zucchini or greens.

Scrambled Eggs With Peppers, Tomatoes and Potatoes

These Tunisian-inspired eggs make a satisfying one-dish meal. The eggs are spiced with cayenne or harissa, ground caraway and coriander.

Scrambled Eggs With Mushrooms

Use regular white or brown button mushrooms, or splurge on wild mushrooms.

Mexican Scrambled Eggs

Serve the eggs with warm corn tortillas.

Scrambled Eggs With Grated Zucchini

These scrambled eggs, flecked with squash, take just a few more minutes to throw together than plain scrambled eggs, and it’s an excellent way to use that zucchini lingering in your vegetable drawer. If you want a richer dish, serve this with avocado.

Scrambled Eggs With Peppers

This dish, a classic piperade from southwestern France, is a great way to use those vitamin-rich peppers still abundant in farmers’ markets. You can mix and match peppers here. Just be sure to cook them for a long time so that their juices infuse the eggs.

Punting the Pundits

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.

William K. Black and L. Randall Wray: Foreclose on the Foreclosure Fraudsters, Part 1: Put Bank of America in Receivership

After a quick review of its procedures, Bank of America this week announced that it will resume its foreclosures in 23 lucky states next Monday. While the evidence is overwhelming that the entire foreclosure process is riddled with fraud, President Obama refuses to support a national moratorium. Indeed, his spokesmen on the issue told reporters three key things. As the Los Angeles Times reported:


A government review of botched foreclosure paperwork so far has found that the problems do not pose a “systemic” threat to the financial system, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday.

Yes, that’s right. HUD reviewed the “paperwork” problem to see whether it threatened the banks — not the homeowners who were the victims of foreclosure fraud. But it got worse, for the second point was how the government would respond to the epidemic of foreclosure fraud.    

The Justice Department is leading an investigation of possible crimes involving mortgage fraud.

That language was carefully chosen to sound reassuring. But the fact is that despite our pleas the FBI has continued its “partnership” with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The MBA is the trade association of the “perps.” It created a ridiculous on its face definition of “mortgage fraud.” Under that definition the lenders — who led the mortgage frauds — are the victims. The FBI still parrots this long discredited “definition.” That is one of the primary reasons why — in complete contrast to prior financial crises — the Justice Department has not convicted a single senior officer of the large nonprime lenders who directed, committed, and profited enormously from the frauds.

Glenn Greenwald The real danger from NPR’s firing of Juan Williams

I’m still not quite over the most disgusting part of the Juan Williams spectacle yesterday:  watching the very same people (on the Right and in the media) who remained silent about or vocally cheered on the viewpoint-based firings of Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, Eason Jordan, Peter Arnett, Phil Donahue, Ashleigh Banfield, Bill Maher, Ward Churchill, Chas Freeman, Van Jones and so many others, spend all day yesterday wrapping themselves in the flag of “free expression!!!” and screeching about the perils and evils of firing journalists for expressing certain viewpoints.  Even for someone who expects huge doses of principle-free hypocrisy — as I do — that behavior is really something to behold. And anyone doubting that there is a double standard when it comes to anti-Muslim speech should just compare the wailing backlash from most quarters over Williams’ firing to the muted acquiescence or widespread approval of those other firings.

But there’s one point from all of this I really want to highlight. The principal reason the Williams firing resonated so much and provoked so much fury is that it threatens the preservation of one of the most important American mythologies:  that Muslims are a Serious Threat to America and Americans.  That fact is illustrated by a Washington Post Op-Ed today from Reuel Marc Gerecht, who is as standard and pure a neocon as exists:  an Israel-centric, Iran-threatening, Weekly Standard and TNR writer, former CIA Middle East analyst, former American Enterprise Institute and current Defense of Democracies “scholar,” torture advocate, etc. etc.

David Sirota: The Tea Party Test Case

What is the tea party? Many have tried to answer that question ever since CNBC’s Rick Santelli first launched the backlash with his trading-floor rant against the poor.

Democratic operatives, for instance, say the tea party is merely a Republican Party facade. As proof, they point to GOP-linked corporate groups’ involvement in tea party events, and cite the absence of tea party deficit and bailout protests during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Social scientists, meanwhile, suggest that the tea party is not the entire Republican apparatus, but specifically the extreme conservative edge of the GOP. The data add credence to that argument: As the Public Religion Research Institute and the University of Washington report, tea party followers are disproportionately part of the Christian right and are more racially resentful than the general public.

On This Day in History: October 23

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

October 23 is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 69 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1921, in the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, an American officer selects the body of the first “Unknown Soldier” to be honored among the approximately 77,000 United States servicemen killed on the Western Front during World War I.

According to the official records of the Army Graves Registration Service deposited in the U.S. National Archives in Washington, four bodies were transported to Chalons from the cemeteries of Aisne-Marne, Somme, Meuse-Argonne and Saint-Mihiel. All were great battlegrounds, and the latter two regions were the sites of two offensive operations in which American troops took a leading role in the decisive summer and fall of 1918. As the service records stated, the identity of the bodies was completely unknown: “The original records showing the internment of these bodies were searched and the four bodies selected represented the remains of soldiers of which there was absolutely no indication as to name, rank, organization or date of death.”

The four bodies arrived at the Hotel de Ville in Chalons-sur-Marne on October 23, 1921. At 10 o’clock the next morning, French and American officials entered a hall where the four caskets were displayed, each draped with an American flag. Sergeant Edward Younger, the man given the task of making the selection, carried a spray of white roses with which to mark the chosen casket. According to the official account, Younger “entered the chamber in which the bodies of the four Unknown Soldiers lay, circled the caskets three times, then silently placed the flowers on the third casket from the left. He faced the body, stood at attention and saluted.”

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

The World War I Unknown lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda from his arrival in the United States until Armistice Day, 1921. On November 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. During the ceremony, the World War I Unknown was awarded the Victoria Cross by Admiral of the Fleet Lord Beatty, on behalf of King George V of the United Kingdom. (The Victoria Cross being the highest award for valour issued in the UK, on par with the Medal of Honor. Earlier, on March 4, 1921, the British Unknown Warrior was conferred the U.S. Medal of Honor by General of the Armies John Pershing.) In 1928, the Unknown Soldier was presented the Silver Buffalo Award for distinguished service to America’s youth by the Boy Scouts of America.

Morning Shinbun Saturday October 23

Saturday’s Headlines:

Shakespeare & Company: The bookshop that thinks it’s a hotel


Curing the Ills of America’s Top Foreign Aid Agency

In Arizona, a candidate faces a boycott backlash


Swedish police hunt for gunmen targeting immigrants

Senate approves controversial pension changes

Middle East

It was the Gaza assault’s worst atrocity. Now the truth may finally be told

A Day in Hell: Iraq, Nov. 23, 2006


China detonates regional goodwill

Japan’s middle school girls devour novels using their phones


AU seeks air, naval blockade of Somalia

Africa sees lag in funds for UN peacekeeping

News organizations look at leak with different eyes

Times handles WikiLeaks disclosures more cautiously than Guardian, Al-Jazeera

By Alex Johnson


WikiLeaks.org tried to coordinate coverage of its highly anticipated release of secret U.S. documents from the war in Iraq by sharing the material with a select group of news organizations weeks in advance, but it couldn’t coordinate what they actually said.

In the end, the shadowy, decentralized organization couldn’t even coordinate the release of its own documents.

Al-Jazeera, one of the news organizations that it had given the documents weeks ago, broke WikiLeaks’ embargo by publishing a six-minute video on its website late Friday afternoon. The New York Times, The Guardian of Britain and Le Monde, which also received the material under the embargo, followed swiftly with their extensive prepared reports.

TGIF – Which is Your Favorite War Movie?

Crossposted at Daily Kos

A scene from For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

:: ::

War Films often acknowledge the horror and heartbreak of war, letting the actual combat fighting or conflict provide the primary plot or background for the action of the film.  Typical elements in the action-oriented war plots include POW camp experiences and escapes, espionage, personal heroism, “war is hell” brutalities… tough trench/infantry experiences, or male-bonding buddy adventures during wartime.  Themes explored in war films include combat, survivor and escape stories, tales of gallant sacrifice and struggle, studies of the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and intelligent and profound explorations of the moral and human issues.


F1: Yeongam Qualifying

I’ll admit that 2 weeks ago I didn’t think they’d run this.  As it is, the place is raw.

That green stuff?  Spray painted dirt.

It’s marshland they’re building an industrial/residential development on around the racetrack (like condos around a golf course) which is eventually going to integrate with the street grid so it becomes a true street circuit like Monaco.  Artifacts of this include the non-existent elevation change and the high walls at 16 & 17.

They literally laid down the surface 2 weeks ago and had to use a fast curing asphalt.  The track is really bumpy, especially in Turn 16 and in some sections they have *ahem* “low curbs”, which are essentially paved ditches where you can drop straight off the road.

Some fun eh?

There may be some logic to it that escapes the analysts, it’s 3.5 miles with just 3 straights none of which seems long.  The rest is twisty bits.  It’s very tight without a lot of obvious passing opportunities.  Some drivers are complaining about the tightness of the pit entrance and pit lane.  F-Ducts are reported to confer an advantage, but it’s not clear which teams will be running them.

In competitive news Mercedes is blaming its non-competitiveness on the inherited Brawn chassis and McLaren is not giving up and came with all kinds of fiddly new aero bits that all had to be replaced on Button’s car when it caught fire near the end of practice.

There’s a chance of rain which would wipe away all the rubbering in they’ve done.  The track seems to be hard on tires, particularly the right front, so people won’t want to be out on Softs for long.

Observations and surprises below.

Tiger, Tiger: The Year of the Tiger


TIGER, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

h/t watertiger @ Dependable Renegade

Yaaaay . . . um, Putin?

Leaders to Convene on Tiger Rescue

By John Rudolph Collins

With just 3,200 tigers thought to remain in the wild, time is growing short to save the species. Poaching and habitat destruction continue to imperil the tiger, which has undergone an estimated 40 percent drop in its wild population over the last decade and is now perched on the brink of extinction throughout much of its range.

Next month, however, officials from the remaining countries with wild tigers will gather in St. Petersburg, Russia, for a major conference on how to reverse the decline of the species. A draft declaration for the summit sets a goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022, and conservationists and biologists have high hopes for the gathering.

The summit conference “promises to be the most significant meeting ever held to discuss the fate of a single non-human species,” a group of tiger experts declared in September, in the preface of a major new report charting the tiger’s perilous condition.

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has already agreed to attend the event and has been a critical force behind its development. His presence is expected to draw numerous heads of state and high-level delegations from the 13 “tiger range” nations.

Look at the size of these paws


Bringing the Tiger Back from the Brink-The Six Percent Solution

The Tiger Summit, to be hosted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Russia in November 2010-the Chinese Year of the Tiger and the International Year of Biodiversity-promises to be the most significant meeting ever held to discuss the fate of a single non-human species. The Summit will culminate efforts by the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), launched in 2008 by Robert Zoellick, World Bank President. Leaders of 13 tiger range states, supported by international donors and conservationists attending the summit, are being asked to commit to substantive measures to prevent the unthinkable: extinction of the world’s last wild tiger populations.

Wild tiger numbers are at an historic low. There is no evidence of breeding populations of tigers in Cambodia, China, Vietnam, and DPR Korea. Current approaches to tiger conservation are not slowing the decline in tiger numbers, which has continued unabated over the last two decades. While the scale of the challenge is enormous, we submit that the complexity of effective implementation is not: commitments should shift to focus on protecting tigers at spatially well-defined priority sites, supported by proven best practices of law enforcement, wildlife management, and scientific monitoring. Conflict with local people needs to be mitigated. We argue that such a shift in emphasis would reverse the decline of wild tigers and do so in a rapid and cost-efficient manner.


Save the Tiger

Popular Culture 20101022. Really Bad TeeVee Adverts

Most of you know that I try to keep in touch with popular culture.  Also, many of you know that I appreciate a good advert.  I also really dislike what I perceive to be bad ones, that this week there were a lot of them.

Now, I recognize that adverts are essential to keep the cost of mass communication low, so I welcome any and all of them.  Welcoming them does not mean that I have to LIKE all of them.  Tonight we shall take a look of some of the worst that are currently circulating.

Note:  I would have covered the brilliant King Crimson tonight, but as I researched that band, it became obvious that more time would be required.  I think that I can be ready to do it next time.

Prime Time

The Phillies hang on by the skin of their teeth which is good for Atrios (and my brackets) I suppose, me I’m all in favor of extended Baseball no matter how boring it is because compared to regular TV it’s a thrill a minute.

Maybe a minute and a half.

Junior Leaguers back at it tonight.  Phil Hughes has something to prove, but that’s usually not a predictor.  The key as always is going to be the Yankee offense which, when they hit, hit big for many runs.  That’s why they get the bling after all.  Still, even Mom (who’s a fan) was saying how old the Yankees looked this series.

1 am Qualifying @ Yeongam.


Dave?  9/22.

Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid.

Take what you can, give nothing back.

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