January 2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Rachel Maddow

The Rant of the Week is also an Open Thread.

Not so much a rant but an excellent summary of what has led up to the events in Egypt.

Egyptian Protests and the Bigger Picture

Rachel reviews the remarkable civil unrest in Egypt and examines the the broader context of popular uprisings in the region.

(Transcript will be posted when available)

On This Day in History January 30

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 30 is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 335 days remaining until the end of the year (336 in leap years).

On this day in 1969, The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.

A din erupted in the sky above London’s staid garment district. Gray-suited businessmen, their expressions ranging from amused curiosity to disgust, gathered alongside miniskirted teenagers to stare up at the roof of the Georgian building at 3 Savile Row. As camera crews swirled around, whispered conjecture solidified into confirmed fact: The Beatles, who hadn’t performed live since August 1966, were playing an unannounced concert on their office roof. Crowds gathered on scaffolding, behind windows, and on neighboring rooftops to watch the four men who had revolutionized pop culture play again. But what only the pessimistic among them could have guessed-what the Beatles themselves could not yet even decide for sure-was that this was to be their last public performance ever. . . . . .

When the world beyond London’s garment district finally got to see the Beatles’ last concert, it was with the knowledge, unshared by the original, live audience, that it was the band’s swan song. On Abbey Road Paul had sung grandly about “the end,” but it was John’s closing words on the roof that made the more fitting epitaph for the group that had struggled out of working-class Liverpool to rewrite pop history: “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.”

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Ms. Amanpour will be live from Cairo, Egypt. Her guest s will include, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Sameh Shoukry, and National Security Adviser to former President Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Al Jazeera Washington Bureau Chief Abderrahim Foukara, ABC News’ George Will, ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Martha Raddatz, and ABC News contributor Sam Donaldson join ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper for the roundtable discussion.

I think we can all guess the topic.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr Schieffer will have an exclusive interview with New White House Chief of Staff William Daley in his first television interview since joining the administration.

Plus the latest on the crisis in Egypt, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Rick Stengel, TIME Managing Editor, John Harris, Politico Editor-in-Chief and Helene Cooper, The New York Times White House Correspondent.

This weeks questions are:

In his quest for the center, is Barack Obama watching Ronald Reagan?

The politics of an Obama gun control Push

I bet those topics have changed

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be Mr. Gregory’s guest to discuss the protests in Egypt. Also joining him for insights and an analysis are former Mideast negotiator and Ambassador to Israel for President Clinton, Martin Indyk, and New York Times Columnist, Tom Friedman.

Also an exclusive guest: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). (heh, the Human Hybrid Turtle)

The roundtable: Longtime Republican strategist, Mike Murphy, former Tennessee congressman and Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, Harold Ford, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director, Chuck Todd and Washington Correspondent for the BBC, Katty Kay.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: As unrest in Egypt builds: Will anything besides President Mubarak’s resignation assuage the protesters? Is this a tipping point for unrest throughout the Middle East? And what’s the next move for the Obama Administration?

We’ll begin with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Hillary is going to need a throat lozenge or two)

Then, joining us with their insights will be the former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Edward S. Walker and former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte. (more war criminals)

And Arizona Sen. John McCain, who believes the protests are “a wake-up call” for the Mubarak-led government. (the real question: Will John be awake?)

On the domestic front, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer will argue that the GOP is playing a high stakes game of chicken over government spending. Who will blink first?

(I think we have the answer to that)

And finally a conversation with Alan Simpson, the Co-chair of the W.H. Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. His report laid out a path to fiscal discipline, but no one seems ready to follow it.

(Let’s hope they don’t change their minds)

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Site not up dated at the time of our publishing but I fairly certain the Middle East will be a big topic for discussion.

Six In The Morning

The U.S. Loves Those Middle East Dictators  

More Egyptian protesters demand that White House condemn Mubarak

 In a dusty alleyway in downtown Cairo, Gamal Mohammed Manshawi held out a dirty plastic bag Saturday afternoon. Inside were smashed gas canisters and the casings of rubber bullets that he said Egyptian police had fired at anti-government demonstrators.

“You see,” the 50-year-old lawyer said, displaying the items. On the bottom of each were the words “Made in the USA.”

“They are attacking us with American weapons,” he yelled as men gathered around him.

In the streets of Cairo, many protesters are now openly denouncing the United States for supporting President Hosni Mubarak, saying the price has been their freedom.

Reporting the Revolution: Protests in Egypt, Day 3, Up Date x 5

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute

This is actually the sixth day of protests in Egypt against the repressive, brutal regime of President Hosni Mubarak. As Mubarak struggles to maintain control, the Egyptian army is doing little to stop the protesters who have defied curfews to demonstrated against Mubarak’s 30 year rule. The appointment of former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his vice president and Ahmed Shafik, another general and Mubarak insider, prime minister, have only fueled the protesters’ fervor for Mubarak’s ouster. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Egypt on Thursday and has called for Mubarak to step down. He has also plead with the demonstrators and the army to use restraint and avoid violence.

The Guardian reports that Al Jazeera’s Cairo office has been shut down by the Mubarak regime. It’s license’s revoked early this morning:

“The information minister ordered … suspension of operations of al-Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement said.

Al Jazeera has released this statement:

Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people…

Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt

You can still follow Al Jazeera’s reports here and through Twitter. This is a list of their reporters that can be followed on Twitter. For now Evan Hill reports:

Yes, Al Jazeera is still broadcasting live despite apparent shutdown order. No one knows who would enforce it.

The team is working on a plan if the shutdown does occur. For obvious reasons, won’t be tweeting the details here

The Stars Hollow Gazette will be following this list.

President Obama has refrained calling for Mubarak to step down but has called for him to institute real reforms and not just shuffle the players.

This morning reports coming from the Guardian‘s live up dates are saying that the military will take harder line against the protesters but doubt they will carry it out. Even though the military is patrolling the streets, they are doing little to stop the looting. Due to the absence of the security police, residents are trying to maintain order and protect themselves and their property.

Already today there are several thousand protesters are in Tahrir square, chanting they will not leave until Mubarak quits and in the center of Alexandria chanting: “Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak”. Some also shouted slogans in support of the army and shook hands with soldiers.

From Reuters this morning:

• Thousands of protesters have gathered in Ishmalia, east of Cairo. Police have fired teargas and rubber bullets at the crowds.

• Dozens have gathered in the central areas of Suez chanting: “Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak”. About 100 people gathered outside the morgue in the city, saying it was holding the bodies of 12 protesters.

• Thousands have taken to the streets in the Nile Delta city of Damanhour, chanting anti-government slogans and calling on Mubarak to quit.

This is going to be a long day.

Up Dates are below the fold.

Prime Time

Figure Skating.  Austin City LimitsLyle Lovett and Bob Schneider.  Dreamgirls.

You and I are such similar creatures Vivian. We both screw people for money.

You know, when you wear this badge, you’re the law. And when somebody does something against the law, then you’re supposed to do something about it. I did nothing. And that’s what’s eating me. What kind of prescription do you got for that?


Vision? What do you know about my vision? My vision would turn your world upside-down, tear asunder your illusions and the sanctuary of your own ignorance crashing down around you. Ask yourself… are you really ready to see that vision?

SNLJesse Eisenberg and Nicki Minaj

BoondocksA Huey Freeman Christmas, Return of the King

GitS: SAC 2nd GigNuclear Power, This Side of Justice (Episodes 24 and 25 of 26)

Dr. King looked out at his people and saw they were in great need. So he did what all great leaders do: he told them the truth.

And now I’d like to talk about “Soul Plane“.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Egypt, Jordan, and Fear Based US Foreign Policy

So here I sit to face

That same old fire place

Gettin’ ready for the same old explosion

Goin’ through my mind

And soon enough time will tell,

About the circus in the wishing well

And someone who will buy and sell for me

Someone to toll my bell

Jimi Hendrix, Burning of the Midnight Lamp

In 1991 Sheldon L. Richman at The CATO Institute virtually gave away the US Foreign Policy game for anyone who hadn’t already seen through the long years of the “spreading freedom and democracy” smoke and mirror show emanating from every US administration since Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex, in a long and very detailed policy analysis article titled  “Ancient History”: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly of Intervention:

After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East.[3] The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, has been a frequent object of suspicion. Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region’s political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East.


If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades. Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait. During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.“[4]

Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region.[5] In Iran and Saudi Arabia, American gains were British (and French) losses.[6] Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement). In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided.[7] When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil. Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington’s claim to world leadership. The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to “moderate,” pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term “regional stability.“[8]

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 35 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Afghan suicide bomber kills Kandahar deputy governor


Sat Jan 29, 2:01 pm ET

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) – The deputy governor of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, the spiritual home of the Taliban, was killed by a suicide bomber on Saturday, the provincial chief said.

“Deputy governor Abdul Latif Ashna had just left his home and was on his way to his office when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up near his vehicle,” said Kandahar governor Tooryalai Wesa.

One of his bodyguards and his driver were wounded, as were two passers-by, he added. A fifth person was slightly hurt and did not need hospital treatment.

Reporting the Revolution: Protests in Egypt, Day 2, Up Date x 4

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

A second day of protests have taken to the streets across Egypt and conditions have deteriorated considerably. Protests, dissatisfied with a reshuffling of the “deck chairs”, have intensified calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak has appointed a Vice President for the first time and a new Prime Minister, both government insiders who are close to Mubarak. Omar Suleiman, 71 years old, head of intelligence and former spy, has been named Vice President. Mubarak had promised to do this some years ago but never did to Suleiman’s disappointment. He, however remained loyal to Mubarak. The new Prime Minister is another military man, Ahmad Shafiq.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the opposion party that has no seats in the current parliament, has called for Mubarak to step down and a unity government formed without the ruling party, NDP. Al Jazeera is now reporting that the head of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained by the Mubarak government.

In a statement this evening (Egyptain time), Mohamed Elbaradei has called once again for Mubarak to step down and the formation of a unity government that represents all the Egyptian people. The people will be satisfied with nothing less. (I will have the video with the simultaneous translation as soon as Al Jazeera makes it available on You Tube)(Up date #2: Video of Elbaradei’s statement with simultaneous translation by AL Jazeera)

The curfew, 6 PM to 7 AM local time, continues but is being ignored. There are reports of looting and vandalism of shops, the museums and hospitals. There are no signs of the security police from the Ministry of Interior. The army is unable to contain any of the protests and is calling for private citizens to protect themselves and their property. There are also reports that the “thugs” who are looting may be police from  police Egypt’s Central Security. Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin is reporting that thugs in one neighborhood were seized and found to have state security id and carrying state issued weapons.

7:38pm Ayman Mohyeldin reports that eyewitnesses have said “party thugs” associated with the Egyptian regime’s Central Security Services – in plainclothes but bearing government-issued weapons – have been looting in Cairo. Ayman says the reports started off as isolated accounts but are now growing in number.

Al-Masry Al-Youm has reported that protesters have been trying to organize to protect neighborhoods in the absence of the police.

Also a h/t to Siun at FDL for her fine reporting.

Up Date #1: Mubarak’s new Vice President, Omar Suleiman, ran the US secret rendition program in Egypt.

From Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War (pp113), Suleiman negotiated directly with top US officials and personally approved of the renditions. Edward S. Walker, former US Ambassador to Egypt, described Suleiman as “very bright, very realistic” and very aware of the  downside of the “negative things that Egyptians engaged in, torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way.”

Egyptian Americans protested outside the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC this today


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.

Sweet Potatoes: Nutrition Wrapped in Vivid Flavors



By sweet potatoes, I mean the orange-fleshed tubers with brownish skin that growers and supermarkets often mislabel as “yams.” The two varieties at my local farmers’ market are jewel yams and the darker-skinned garnet yams, both sweet and moist.

   In fact, actual yams have starchier, light yellow flesh and a rough, brown skin; they are native to Africa and Asia, and an important staple in the Caribbean and in parts of Africa. But they don’t have the impressive nutritional profile of real sweet potatoes.

Chili-Bathed Sweet Potatoes

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Soba Noodles in Broth With Sweet Potato, Cabbage and Spinach

Spicy Braised Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato, Carrot and Dried Fruit Casserole

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