12/11/2010 archive

Random Japan


It was reported that NTT Communications and a consortium of other companies are developing a system in which users can get calorie counts of the food they’re about to eat by taking a picture of the dish with their keitai.

A 22-year-old Tokyo woman was arrested for terminating her pregnancy using the “abortion pill” mifepristone, which is illegal in Japan. The woman, who was five months pregnant, bought the drug over the internet at the urging of her boyfriend.

A 37-year-old anesthesiologist in Yokohama was busted for possessing and injecting himself with fentanyl, a narcotic “around 200 times stronger than morphine.”

It was reported that Japanese households consumed a record 21.25 billion kwh of power in October, thanks to the “lingering summer heat wave.”

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.

Quick and Easy Pastas


Pasta With Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

Spaghetti With Walnuts and Anchovies

Pasta With Fresh Herbs, Lemon and Peas

Pasta With Tomatoes and Beans

Pasta With Tomatoes, Capers, Olives and Breadcrumbs

Sympathy For The Devil

Steven Thomma at McClatchy Newspapers writes Friday December 10, 2010 of the depressing (and predictable?) results of a new public opinion poll conducted for McClatchy by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

The poll results indicate that “Americans overwhelmingly think that WikiLeaks is doing more harm than good by releasing classified U.S. diplomatic cables, and they want to see the people behind it prosecuted”

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”.

Bruce Fein: Slouching Towards Tyranny

The state of civil liberties and national security in the United States is alarming. . . . . .

The United States was founded on the idea that the individual was the center of the nation’s universe; and, that freedom was the rule and government restraints grudging exceptions. The right to be left alone was cherished above all others. The national purpose was not to build an Empire by projecting military force throughout the planet, but to revere due process and the blessings of liberty at home.

These ennobling ideas have been abandoned for the juvenile thrill of domination for the sake of domination and a quest for absolute safety that elevates vassalage to the summum bonum.

Where are the leaders to awaken America to its philosophical peril? Who has the courage to preach, “Better free than safe,” “As we would not be tyrannized, so we shall not be tyrants,” and, “due process is a higher life form than vigilante justice?”

If not us, who? If not now, when?

New York Times Editorial:  Civil Rights in California

However the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules in California’s pivotal same-sex marriage battle – and it should uphold the civil rights of Americans – the court has already set one standard that the Supreme Court should follow.

Lawyers on both sides of the struggle sparred over questions of legal procedure and civil rights for two intense hours on Monday – and the whole country had a chance to watch, thanks to the court’s decision to allow C-Span to televise the argument. The dignified proceeding only increased our regret over the moment that was lost in January when the Supreme Court abruptly intervened to block the planned broadcasting of the trial that led to the appeal. The court has persisted far too long in its refusal to allow unobtrusive camera coverage of its own oral arguments.

The central issue before the appellate court was whether Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, violates the United States Constitution. In August, in Federal District Court, Judge Vaughn Walker held that it did. After a nearly three-week trial, Judge Walker found no rational basis for the proposition’s inherent discrimination, which he said violated rights to equal protection and due process of law.

Gail Collins: My Favorite War

Well, here’s some good news for a change. The Holiday Parade of Lights in Tulsa, Okla., has been saved!

know you’ve been worried.

The Tulsa City Council has voted to allow the parade to go forward Saturday night, despite protests against the disappearance of the word “Christmas” from its name.

It’s not entirely clear that the council actually could have stopped it, or even whether the parade ever officially had Christmas in its name. But Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is outraged.

Inhofe was away from home last December, stuck in Washington trying to kill off health care reform. Now he’s back, and he’s noted a dwindling in the parade’s religious angle. “I just don’t like what’s going on in America today, all over the country, with the aversion some people seem to have toward Christ,” he said in one of his many interviews explaining that he will no longer ride his horse in any holiday event that isn’t named for Christmas.

Go to it, Senator Inhofe! I love this controversy, and only in part because it diverts Oklahoma’s senior senator from his normal day job of trying to convince the world that global warming doesn’t exist.

On This Day in History: December 11

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

December 11 is the 345th day of the year (346th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 20 days remaining until the end of the year.

December 10 is the 344th day of the year (345th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 21 days remaining until the end of the year.

After the food and medical crisis of the late 1940s passed, UNICEF continued its role as a relief organization for the children of troubled nations and during the 1970s grew into a vocal advocate of children’s rights. During the 1980s, UNICEF assisted the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. After its introduction to the U.N. General Assembly in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child became the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, and UNICEF played a key role in ensuring its enforcement.

Of the 184 member states of the United Nations, only two countries have failed to ratify the treaty–Somalia and the United States. Somalia does not currently have an internationally recognized government, so ratification is impossible, and the United States, which was one of the original signatories of the convention, has failed to ratify the treaty because of concerns about its potential impact on national sovereignty and the parent-child relationship.

On this day in 1946, In the aftermath of World War II, the General Assembly of the United Nations votes to establish the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an organization to help provide relief and support to children living in countries devastated by the war.

In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.

UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors and UNICEF’s total income for 2006 was $2,781,000,000. Governments contribute two thirds of the organization’s resources; private groups and some 6 million individuals contribute the rest through the National Committees. UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.

Most of UNICEF’s work is in the field, with staff in over 190 countries and territories. More than 200 country offices carry out UNICEF’s mission through a program developed with host governments. Seven regional offices provide technical assistance to country offices as needed.

Overall management and administration of the organization takes place at its headquarters in New York. UNICEF’s Supply Division is based in Copenhagen and serves as the primary point of distribution for such essential items as vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, educational supplies, among others. A 36-member Executive Board establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The Executive Board is made up of government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.

Following the reaching of term limits by Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy, former United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman became executive director of the organization in May 2005 with an agenda to increase the organization’s focus on the Millennium Development Goals. She was succeeded in May 2010 by Anthony Lake.

UNICEF is an inter-governmental organization and thus is accountable to governments.

Morning Shinbun Saturday December 11

Saturday’s Headlines:

Doctors shocked by spread of swine flu – and its severity


Bill Clinton takes the White House stage, again

U.S. still warning employees: Don’t read or discuss the WikiLeaks documents


Winter chill promises a snow business bonanza for Continental Europe

Sex, spies and ‘swallows’

Middle East

Hopes dashed for release of woman who faced stoning

US ‘regrets’ Middle East impasse


PM’s dictate drives Kazakhs iPad crazy

Floodwaters still washing away lives in Pakistan


Isolated Gbagbo courts defiant Côte d’Ivoire rivals

Gbagbo hints at Cote d’Ivoire talks

Latin America

Bolivia lowers retirement age

How I met Julian Assange and secured the American embassy cables

Philip Dorling

December 11, 2010

GETTING to WikiLeaks’s secret headquarters took quite some time and was not without complications.

This year a careful reading of statements by the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, led me to conclude his small organisation had landed what could be the biggest leak of classified information – a vast trove of US documents that, among other things, would provide deep insight into the realities of Australia’s relationship with our most important ally, the US.

NYC Gov going “Locavore” Big Time!

Posted earlier at La Vita Locavore and DailyKos.

Cross-posted at DailyKos.

Yesterday on The Leonard Lopate Show the lead story was called Feeding The Soul and for anyone seeking to restore their faith in good government, it did just that. Two guest in an interview to discuss Food Works in New York City that would have seemed an unlikely pair as recently as two days ago.

One was Chef Dan Barber who has been a great advocate in the New York area for the local food movement. The other was City Council speaker Christine Quinn. yesterday they were on the same page. It was amazing to hear Christine Quinn’s introduction sounding more like Marion Nestle in talks about what the government needs to do, hearing a powerful politician discussing things being done now and progressive plans for a sustainable future. I’ve never heard such a merger of bottom up activism and top down good government action before.

The city has already moved $4.5 million in public school food spending over to local farms and is trying to change the $300,000 spent on school lettuce to money being pumped into the Rockland County farm economy and processing facilities in the economically depressed Bronx. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Prime Time

No Larry tonight, just Prison Porn.

A true enough story- my brewing buddy started throwing massive Halloween parties to show off his incredible sound system long before he started brewing.  At the very first one we set up a bunch of stations with vintage computer and game systems and a projection TV.  The concept was that he’d do some music video mixing and people would dance, but we made the mistake of showing the first 10 minutes of Raiders to ‘demonstrate the capabilities’ (it really was the best 10 minutes in movies until it was recently supplanted by Saving Private Ryan’s 27 minute opening).

Needless to say what we ended up doing was planting everyone on couches for the entire evening in drooling worship to the Hypnotoad.

In later years we not only ditched the TV, but also started limiting the seating.

It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.


Dave hosts Reese Witherspoon and Colin Quinn.  

Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

Because I choose to.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Well, this is odd, AFP hasn’t updated their feed since yesterday.  No new News there.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Jailed Chinese dissident awarded Nobel

By Wojciech Moskwa and Walter Gibbs, Reuters

42 mins ago

OSLO (Reuters) – Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in a ceremony where he was represented by an empty chair and he dedicated it from prison to the “lost souls” of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

China called the award in Oslo a “political farce.”

President Barack Obama, a Peace Prize laureate last year, called for the prompt release of 54-year-old Liu, who was jailed last year for 11 years for subversion.