01/22/2011 archive

Random Japan


Surprising absolutely no one, the DPJ has indicated that it will retool its election manifesto and “scale back” popular programs like the “monthly child allowance and the elimination of expressway tolls.”

It was reported that Kota Matsuda of Your Party was the richest of the 121 legislators who won a seat in the July upper house elections. Matsuda, the founder of the Tully’s Coffee Japan chain, claims ¥486 million in assets.

Television stations around the country decided to extend the deadline for eliminating their analog broadcasts until late July. Which begs the questions: what’s analog TV?

The media flurry surrounding the successful Hayabusa mission wasn’t enough to save JAXAi, the Japan Space Agency’s information center, which shut its doors last month due to budget cuts.

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.

Winter Root Vegetables


Root vegetables in the brassica family – like turnips, kohlrabi and rutabaga – contain many of the same antioxidants as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Kohlrabi and rutabaga also are excellent sources of potassium and good sources of vitamin C. Parsnips provide folate, calcium, potassium and fiber, while carrots offer beta carotene. All of these vegetables are high in fiber.

Root vegetables can seem daunting. I had not worked with kohlrabi until putting together these recipes, but I found it enjoyable raw as well as cooked. Remember that for many of this week’s dishes, especially those calling for turnips, kohlrabi or rutabagas, the vegetables are interchangeable.

Polenta With Braised Root Vegetables

Root Vegetable Gratin

Purée of Winter Vegetable Soup

Grated Carrot, Kohlrabi and Radish Salad

Celery Root, Potato and Apple Purée

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”.

Dana Milbank: Republican spending plan signals a new culture war

The morning after the House voted to repeal the health-care law, Speaker John Boehner walked into a TV studio in the Capitol complex to announce his next act: “a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions across all federal programs.”

It “reflects the will of the people,” Boehner proclaimed. “It’s one of our highest legislative priorities.”

Actually, Mr. Speaker, 63 percent of voters said the economy was the most important issue, according to exit polls for the November election. Voters asked for jobs – and you’re giving them a culture war.

Dean Baker: Who Can Fight Off the Social Security Pillagers?

That is the question that supporters of Social Security should be asking as we brace for President Obama’s State of the Union address next week. Specifically, the question is whether Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid will keep up his spirited defense of Social Security or whether he will buckle to the pressure from the financial industry and the Washington insiders.

For those who missed it, Senator Reid distinguished himself by saying the obvious on one of the Sunday talk shows two weeks ago. He said that Social Security is not contributing to the deficit and that the shortfall it faces is still distant and relatively minor. He said he was tired of people picking on this program, which is vital to the financial security of tens of millions of retirees and disabled workers and their families.

Truth is rare in Washington, so Senator Reid’s comments really stood out. If the Senator is prepared to hold his ground, he can save the program.

John Nichols & Robert McChesney: Comcast/NBC Merger Takes Media Consolidation to the ‘Disaster’ Level

Senator Al Franken, the former media personality who has emerged as one of the savviest analysts of media policy in Washington, got it exactly right when he termed the anticipated merger of Comcast and NBC Universal a “disaster.”

Like many critics of the deal the Federal Communications Commission approved by a 4-to-1 vote on January 17 (and that the Justice Department’s anti-trust division OK’d the same day), the Minnesota Democrat focused on immediate concerns about America’s largest cable and Internet company merging with one of the country’s oldest and largest news and entertainment producers. “When the same company owns the content and the pipes that deliver that content, consumers lose,” explained the senator. That complaint parallels objections raised by Stop Big Media, a coalition of consumer, labor and community groups that objected to the deal, which studies suggest will cost cable viewers as much as $2.4 billion over the coming decade.

But a second objection voiced by Franken, echoing other critics of the merger, is even more unsettling: “Allowing this merger to proceed could lead to subsequent deals, leaving Americans at the mercy of a few powerful media conglomerates.”

On This Day in History January 22

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.

January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 343 days remaining until the end of the year (344 in leap years).

On this day in 1968, the NBC-TV show, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, debuted “from beautiful downtown Burbank” on this night. The weekly show, produced by George Schlatter and Ed Friendly, then Paul Keyes, used 260 pages of jokes in each hour-long episode. The first 14 shows earned “Laugh-In” (as it was commonly called) 4 Emmys. And “you bet your bippy”, Nielsen rated it #1 for two seasons. Thanks to an ever-changing cast of regulars including the likes of Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, Arte Johnson, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, JoAnne Worley, Gary Owens, Alan Sues, Henry Gibson, Lily Tomlin, Richard Dawson, Judy Carne, President Richard Nixon (“Go ahead, sock it to me!”), the show became the highest-rated comedy series in TV history.

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to May 14, 1973. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and was broadcast over NBC. It originally aired as a one-time special on September 9, 1967 and was such a success that it was brought back as a series, replacing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on Mondays at 8 pm (EST).

The title, Laugh-In, came out of events of the 1960s hippie culture, such as “love-ins” or “be-ins.” These were terms that were, in turn, derived from “sit-ins”, common in protests associated with civil rights and anti-war demonstrations of the time.

The show was characterized by a rapid-fire series of gags and sketches, many of which conveyed sexual innuendo or were politically charged. The co-hosts continued the exasperated straight man (Rowan) and “dumb” guy (Martin) act which they had established as nightclub comics. This was a continuation of the “dumb Dora” acts of vaudeville, best popularized by Burns and Allen. Rowan and Martin had a similar tag line, “Say goodnight, Dick”.

Laugh-In had its roots in the humor of vaudeville and burlesque, but its most direct influences were from the comedy of Olsen and Johnson (specifically, their free-form Broadway revue Hellzapoppin’), the innovative television works of Ernie Kovacs, and the topical satire of That Was The Week That Was.

Six In The Morning

Blackwater Invades Somalia Hoping To Bring The Same Tragedy And Destruction They Gave Iraq      

Blackwater founder sets up new force to tackle piracy

‘Prince of Mercenaries’ who wreaked havoc in Iraq turns up in Somalia

Erik Prince, the American founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, has cropped up at the centre of a controversial scheme to establish a new mercenary force to crack down on piracy and terrorism in the war-torn East African country of Somalia.

The project, which emerged yesterday when an intelligence report was leaked to media in the United States, requires Mr Prince to help train a private army of 2,000 Somali troops that will be loyal to the country’s United Nations-backed government. Several neighbouring states, including the United Arab Emirates, will pay the bills.

Popular Culture (Music) 20110121: Donovan

One of the most popular, and in my opinion, most talented of the British Invasion solo acts was Donovan Philips Leitch, known simply as Donovan.  He had several monster hits both in the UK and in the US in the mid 1960s, and many people recognize the music but not necessarily the artist.

His style was more folk than rock, and I personally believe that if it had not been for Bob Dylan Donovan would be remembered as the greatest folk singer of the 1960s.  Fortunately, he is still with us and has a talented progeny as well.  

Breaking! No more Keith! with Up Dates

Consider this a working thread.

My father, Richard, who is a devoted fan and TheMomCat have both informed me that Keith is fired.

Comcast coincidence?

I don’t have any more information.  Developments below.

Keith’s Sudden Farewell!

From Josh Marshall @ TPM, Keith’s first guest has left and arrived home to hear the news! He had no inkling of what was about to happen.

I was just on in the opening segment of Olbermann tonight. And I get home and get this press release from NBC saying this was the last episode of Countdown. At first I figured it had to be a spoof email because, jeez, I was on and I didn’t have any sense that any other than a regular Friday evening show was on. But sure enough I pulled up the recording and now I’m watching his final sign off.

MSNBC released the following statement on their new programming order:

Starting Monday, January 24, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” will move to 8 p.m. ET/PT and “The Ed Show,” hosted by Ed Schultz, will move to 10 p.m. ET/PT on MSNBC. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. “The Rachel Maddow Show” will continue to air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

   Also starting Monday, Cenk Uygur, MSNBC contributor and host of the popular web show “The Young Turks,” will be filling in as host of the 6 p.m ET hour.

The New York Times

9:24 p.m. | Updated Keith Olbermann, the highest-rated host on MSNBC, announced abruptly on the air Friday night that he is leaving “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” immediately.

The host, who has had a stormy relationship with the management of the network for some time, especially since he was suspended for two days last November, came to an agreement with NBC’s corporate management late this week to settle his contract and step down.

In a closing statement on his show, Mr. Olbermann said simply that it would be the last edition of the program. He offered no explanation other than on occasion, the show had become too much for him.

Mr. Olbermann thanked his viewers for their enthusiastic support of a show that had “gradually established its position as anti-establishment.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders

The mega-merger of Comcast-NBC will lead to less local news coverage, fewer points of view, & reduced competition for viewers & ads.

Twitter is going wild! Rachel Maddow is on with Bill Maher.

John Arivosis at AMERICAblog has a petition

I Stand with Keith

Prime Time

Some premiers.  No LoDo, which is a good thing, but you pay for it with no Keith and Rachel repeats and no Jon and Stephen.  No Conan either.

No matter what they say, it’s all about money. So let’s imagine, ladies, that you’re a savings and loan officer. Watch – one, two, three; see, you’ve got it all, and we’ve got nothing. You’ve got all four, take a look.


Dave hosts Nathan Lane, Mike Palascak (get a wiki page!), and Esperanza Spalding.

A staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Blair ‘profoundly’ regrets lives lost in Iraq war

by Alice Ritchie, AFP

1 hr 10 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – Former prime minister Tony Blair told Britain’s Iraq war inquiry Friday that he profoundly regretted the loss of life in the conflict, sparking angry shouts of “too late” from dead soldiers’ families.

During a four-and-a-half hour hearing, he also criticised US President Barack Obama’s soft approach to Iran and urged the West to use force if necessary to curb the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions.

Making his second appearance before the inquiry, an emotional Blair addressed the condemnation he faced following his first hearing last January when he said he had “no regret” about removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Anthony Blair-

  • Liar
  • Murderer
  • War Criminal

May he end his long, long life of suffering locked in a dank cell at Spandau, despised and forgotten.