11/27/2010 archive

In Memoriam: Kris Froland (exmearden)

It was announced at Daily Kos on Friday that a good blog friend and a courageous spirit, exmearden, has died of complications from cardiac angiosarcoma in a Seattle hospital at age 52. Her daughters were at her bedside.

Through the veil of tears, the Wheel turns

May the Goddess guide her on her journey to the Summerlands. May her family and her many friends find Peace.

Blessed Be

There are two beautiful tributes to her posted at Daily Kos where she was a front page contributor, one from Meteor Blades and today’s from Laurence Lewis (Turkana) a fellow Portlaner.

Random Japan


A kids’ book written by a 34-year-old Tokyo housewife about the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture has become an internet hit, being downloaded approximately 2,600 times since late September. Sounds positively uplifting.

Kenya’s Daily Nation reported that a former ambassador to Japan was questioned by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) over dubious dealings regarding the purchase of land in Tokyo. Not a terribly interesting story, but we just had to get that acronym in there.

Virgin Atlantic Airways and Mori Building City Air Services have started free helicopter shuttles from Ark Hills in Akasaka to Narita Airport for high-end travelers from Tokyo to London.

A few weeks after getting busted in Chiba with cocaine in his pocket, Aussie pro golfer Wayne Perske was banned for the rest of the season by the Japan Golf Tour Organization.

Perske’s problems came on the heels of Kiwi golf pro David Smail’s sex scandal, when his former Japanese girlfriend sent compromising photos and videos to the media after the married Smail tried to break up with her. Man, talk about putting it in the wrong hole!

A female desk clerk at a hotel in Aichi held a press conference to draw light to her situation after a male guest called her to his room to “apologize” over some issue with an escort service. The horny old dude then tried to jump her, “unbuttoning her clothing and touching her lower body.”

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.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Pumpkin: The Flavor of Late Fall


Thanksgiving may be over but these recipes for pumpkin can be used throughout the winter. Like all winter squash, pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene, and a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese.

Greek Pumpkin and Leek Pie

Indian Pumpkin Pudding

Pumpkin Cornbread

Pumpkin Gelato

Pumpkin and Ginger Scones

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”.

Glenn Greenwald: The US of A breaks the Soviet Record

Even for the humble among us who try to avoid jingoistic outbursts, some national achievements are so grand that they merit a moment of pride and celebration:

US presence in Afghanistan as long as Soviet slog

   The Soviet Union couldn’t win in Afghanistan, and now the United States is about to have something in common with that futile campaign: nine years, 50 days.

   On Friday, the U.S.-led coalition will have been fighting in this South Asian country for as long as the Soviets did in their humbling attempt to build up a socialist state.

It seems clear that a similar — or even grander — prize awaits us as the one with which the Soviets were rewarded.  I hope nobody thinks that just because we can’t identify who the Taliban leaders are after almost a decade over there that this somehow calls into doubt our ability to magically re-make that nation.  Even if it did, it’s vital that we stop the threat of Terrorism, and nothing helps to do that like spending a full decade — and counting — invading, occupying, and bombing Muslim countries.

Johann Hari: There Won’t Be a Bailout for the Earth

Why are the world’s governments bothering? Why are they jetting to Cancun next week to discuss what to do now about global warming? The vogue has passed. The fad has faded. Global warming is yesterday’s apocalypse. Didn’t somebody leak an email that showed it was all made up? Doesn’t it sometimes snow in the winter? Didn’t Al Gore get fat, or something?

Alas, the biosphere doesn’t read Vogue. Nobody thought to tell it that global warming is so 2007. All it knows is three facts. 2010 is globally the hottest year since records began. 2010 is the year humanity’s emissions of planet-warming gases reached its highest level ever. And exactly as the climate scientists predicted, we are seeing a rapid increase in catastrophic weather events, from the choking of Moscow by gigantic unprecedented forest fires to the drowning of one quarter of Pakistan.

Before the Great Crash of 2008, the people who warned about the injection of huge destabilizing risk into our financial system seemed like arcane, anal bores. Now we all sit in the rubble and wish we had listened. The great ecological crash will be worse, because nature doesn’t do bailouts.

Bruce Fein: Congresswoman Harman’s Afghan Delusions

To paraphrase British sage Samuel Johnson, Congresswoman Jane Harman’s generalship over the Afghanistan war is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.

Harman’s November 17, 2010, column for Politico (“Take the Lisbon deal, Mr. President”) is exemplary, but not exhaustive. There, the Congresswoman applauds a NATO timetable to exit Afghanistan militarily by 2014, a wretched idea which she egotistically attributes to herself. But why claim an authorship no more promising than General George C. Custer’s strategy at the Battle of the Little Bighorn? The deadline guarantees victory by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They will temporarily scale back their attacks and then return in full force in 2014 to overrun the incorrigibly inept, corrupt, and popularly reviled Karzai administration.

Shattering Records: Afghanistan

I started writing this diary on July 20, put it in draft. It was based on Richard Haass’ cover story in Newsweek on July 18 of this year. It is still very relevant in that the war in Afghanistan has taken on a different aspect than when it start over nine tears ago. As pointed out by Glenn Greenwald at Salon, the US of A Breaks the Soviet Record this past week and still has not recognized waste and the futility of the effort.

It seems clear that a similar — or even grander — prize awaits us as the one with which the Soviets were rewarded.  I hope nobody thinks that just because we can’t identify who the Taliban leaders are after almost a decade over there that this somehow calls into doubt our ability to magically re-make that nation.  Even if it did, it’s vital that we stop the threat of Terrorism, and nothing helps to do that like spending a full decade — and counting — invading, occupying, and bombing Muslim countries.

This is Mr. Haass’s appearance on “Morning Joe” on July 19, 2010. It is still very pertinent

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

While I strongly disagree with Mr.Haass on the use of drone and missile attacks, as well as air strikes, what he says about the ground troops is very true. There are far better ways to make the US safe from terrorist attacks than invading a country, destroying property and infrastructure as the US did in Iraq and killing innocent civilians. The actions of the US and her allies  steeled the resolve of the terrorists and given them recruits and support. It is fairly obvious that the Obama administration is not thinking and has learned nothing from the 20th century Russian adventures or from the English in the 19th century.

How’s That Austerity Thing Working Out Again?

Krugman’s piece yesterday was widely quoted and most people chose to focus on this section of it-

Before the bank bust, Ireland had little public debt. But with taxpayers suddenly on the hook for gigantic bank losses, even as revenues plunged, the nation’s creditworthiness was put in doubt. So Ireland tried to reassure the markets with a harsh program of spending cuts.

Step back for a minute and think about that. These debts were incurred, not to pay for public programs, but by private wheeler-dealers seeking nothing but their own profit. Yet ordinary Irish citizens are now bearing the burden of those debts.

Which is kind of appalling from a morality standpoint, but it’s also not working on a practical level.

Thanks to Atrios I was able to give you the rest of the story yesterday, but I think it’s instructive to reflect on Krugman’s reporting of the actual factual results-

Strange to say, … confidence is not improving. On the contrary: investors have noticed that all those austerity measures are depressing the Irish economy – and are fleeing Irish debt because of that economic weakness.

Last weekend Ireland and its neighbors put together what has been widely described as a “bailout.” But what really happened was that the Irish government promised to impose even more pain, in return for a credit line – a credit line that would presumably give Ireland more time to, um, restore confidence. Markets, understandably, were not impressed: interest rates on Irish bonds have risen even further.

(A)t this point Iceland seems, if anything, to be doing better than its near-namesake. Its economic slump was no deeper than Ireland’s, its job losses were less severe and it seems better positioned for recovery. In fact, investors now appear to consider Iceland’s debt safer than Ireland’s. How is that possible?

Part of the answer is that Iceland let foreign lenders to its runaway banks pay the price of their poor judgment, rather than putting its own taxpayers on the line to guarantee bad private debts. As the International Monetary Fund notes – approvingly! – “private sector bankruptcies have led to a marked decline in external debt.” Meanwhile, Iceland helped avoid a financial panic in part by imposing temporary capital controls – that is, by limiting the ability of residents to pull funds out of the country.

And Iceland has also benefited from the fact that, unlike Ireland, it still has its own currency; devaluation of the krona, which has made Iceland’s exports more competitive, has been an important factor in limiting the depth of Iceland’s slump.

Ireland is now in its third year of austerity, and confidence just keeps draining away. And you have to wonder what it will take for serious people to realize that punishing the populace for the bankers’ sins is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake.

He did win a Nobel Prize in Economics and stuff.

On This Day in History: November 27

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.

November 27 is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 34 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1703, a freak storm over England, that had begun around November 14, peaks.

The unusual weather began on November 14 as strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean battered the south of Britain and Wales. Many homes and other buildings were damaged by the pounding winds, but the hurricane-like storm only began doing serious damage on November 26. With winds estimated at over 80 miles per hour, bricks were blown from some buildings and embedded in others. Wood beams, separated from buildings, flew through the air and killed hundreds across the south of the country. Towns such as Plymouth, Hull, Cowes, Portsmouth and Bristol were devastated.

However, the death toll really mounted when 300 Royal Navy ships anchored off the country’s southern coast-with 8,000 sailors on board-were lost. The Eddystone Lighthouse, built on a rock outcropping 14 miles from Plymouth, was felled by the storm. All of its residents, including its designer, Henry Winstanley, were killed. Huge waves on the Thames River sent water six feet higher than ever before recorded near London. More than 5,000 homes along the river were destroyed.

Eddystone Lighthouse is on the treacherous Eddystone Rocks, 9 statute miles (14 kilometres) south west of Rame Head, United Kingdom. While Rame Head is in Cornwall, the rocks are in Devon.

The current structure is the fourth lighthouse to be built on the site. The first and second were destroyed. The third, also known as Smeaton’s Tower, is the best known because of its influence on lighthouse design and its importance in the development of concrete for building. Its upper portions have been re-erected in Plymouth as a monument.

The first lighthouse on Eddystone Rocks (first picture above) was an octagonal wooden structure built by Henry Winstanley. Construction started in 1696 and the light was lit on 14 November 1698. During construction, a French privateer took Winstanley prisoner, causing Louis XIV to order his release with the words “France is at war with England, not with humanity”.

The lighthouse survived its first winter but was in need of repair, and was subsequently changed to a dodecagonal (12 sided) stone clad exterior on a timber framed construction with an Octagonal top section as can be clearly seen in the later drawings or paintings, one of which is to the left. This gives rise to the claims that there have been five lighthouses on Eddystone Rock. Winstanley’s tower lasted until the Great Storm of 1703 erased almost all trace on 27 November. Winstanley was on the lighthouse, completing additions to the structure. No trace was found of him.

Holiday TV Saturday

Well, it’s that holiday time of year again when all you want is some mindless entertainment to spare you from dealing with your relatives and TV programmers screw with you by replacing all your familiar favorites with sappy specials and marathons of your least liked shows made more inpenetrable by the one line crawl of uselessness that TV Guide channel has become.

Thank goodness kindly uncle ek is here to highlight a few moments of blessed distraction as well as some of the potential pitfalls to be avoided.

I look on it as a public service.

My job is made a little easier because of a neat little network ‘day at a glance’ feature of Zap2it TV Listings.  Click on the channel name.  I’m going from my last diary to Paid Programming.  I’m putting the main meat below the fold because the table is too long for the Front Page.  It’s arranged by time and marathons (4 half hour episodes, 3 hour episodes, double features, themes, and Instapeats) may be noted earlier than you expect, but they do also include the running time so you know when they end.

Nothing like watching A Christmas Story 25 times in a row.

I’m rolling publishing again because it’s much easier.  Right now this covers until 10 am and I’m missing 10 channels.  Expect an update.

Update: Now good to 7 am with all 41 channels and you didn’t miss anything.  Tomorrow is the last edition of extended Thanksgiving coverage.

Morning Shinbun Saturday November 27

Saturday’s Headlines:

‘The Fight Is Not Hopeless’


U.S. strips intelligence analyst of security clearance and job but won’t say why

Somali-born teen arrested in car bomb plot


Sinn Fein signals big trouble for Cowen

Polish politicians welcome admission on Katyn massacre

Middle East

WikiLeaks may show US has helped terrorist group

Iraq’s Troubles Drive Out Refugees Who Came Back


As Seoul dithers and US ships circle, an island tries to live with its grief

Son of ex-Taiwanese vice-president shot during election rally


Egypt Facebook pages vanish before vote

Latin America

Rio de Janeiro gun battle sees toddler and photographer among casualties

U.S. now in Afghanistan as long as Soviets were

The last Red Army troops left in 1989, driven out after nine years and 50 days by U.S.-backed fighters known as mujahedin. Despite contrasts, the U.S. and Soviet wars have common narrative elements.

By Laura King and Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times

November 27, 2010

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Moscow – As wartime days go, Friday was a fairly quiet one in Afghanistan. Helicopters skittered across the sky; convoys rumbled along desert roads; soldiers in mountain outposts scanned the jagged peaks around them.

But one thing set the day apart: With its passing, the length of the U.S. military’s campaign in Afghanistan matched that of the Soviet Union’s long and demoralizing sojourn in the nation.ion.

Popular Culture 20101126: The Who, Entwistle’s Contributions

Most everyone who is aware of The Who as a major British band realize that the three instrumentalists were very good at their crafts, and some say that Keith Moon may have been the best rock and roll drummer who ever lived.  However, the bass player, John Entwistle, did much more than play bass.

John Alec Enwistle, born 19441009 and died 20029627, was one of the original members of the band.  He and Pete Townshend formed a band in the late 1950s, and he left to join Roger Daltrey’s band in the early 1906s.  He convinced Daltrey to have Townshend join, and with the admission of Keith Moon The Who were formed.

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