Daily Archive: 04/23/2011

Apr 23 2011

Random Japan

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MAKIN’ A BUCK

Police in Tokyo arrested two people for selling a drug called premium zeolite that they claimed “was effective for detoxification, including dealing with contamination from radioactive substances.” Apparently, the pair did not have proper licenses and those claims were unproven.

One good thing to come out of the quake: Japan Tobacco’s distribution bases were damaged, resulting in a “nationwide shortage of cigarettes” with only about 25 percent of the supply available compared to pre-quake levels.

Instead of the regularly scheduled Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, the scandal-plagued sport has decided instead to hold a test meet in Tokyo in May to figure out the rankings for the Nagoya basho in July.

As expected, the number of foreign visitors to Japan plummeted after the big earthquake/tsunami, with about 3,400 foreigners a day entering the country through Narita Airport from March 11-31-down 75 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau.

Kaichiro Saito, a sake brewer from Miyagi whose business has dried up in the wake of March 11, has called on folks to raise a glass or two. “I hope people buy more products from northern Japan rather than restrain themselves,” said Saito, who lost 80 percent of his customers. “That would be the best way to show support.”

Meanwhile, many of the traditional hanami cherry-blossom-viewing parties were scrapped this year with some people just not in the mood to party.

Apr 23 2011

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.

The Delectable Pairing of Bread and Soup

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   The simplest are made with thick, toasted slices of bread, sometimes rubbed with garlic, arranged in wide bowls and covered with soup. They can be topped with poached eggs for a satisfying meal.

   Other bread soups are thick, paplike dishes: chunks of bread are added to the soup and simmered until they break down, thickening the broth. The most famous Italian versions are pappa al pomodoro and ribollita, which is usually made with leftover bean and vegetable soup that is reheated and blended with bread.

   Portugal has an array of bread soups called açordas, too, but the Mediterranean region isn’t the only place to look for them. In Scandinavia, you’ll find soups made with dark bread and beer, as well as one of my favorites, a sweet apple spice soup thickened with whole-grain bread.

Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup

Majorcan Bread and Vegetable Soup

Apple-Spice Breakfast Soup

‘Bouillabaisse’ of Fresh Peas With Poached Eggs

Ribollita

Apr 23 2011

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”

Glen Greenwald: Nobel Peace Drones

A U.S. drone attack in Pakistan killed 23 people this morning, and this is how The New York Times described that event in it headline and first paragraph:

Drone Strikes Militants in Northwest Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – An American drone attack killed 23 people in North Waziristan on Friday, Pakistani military officials said, in a strike against militants that appeared to signify unyielding pressure by the United States on Pakistan’s military amid increasing opposition to such strikes.

When I saw that, I was going to ask how the NYT could possibly know that the people whose lives the U.S. just ended were “militants,” but then I read further in the article and it said this:  “A government official in North Waziristan told Pakistani reporters that five children and four women were among the 23 who were killed.” So at least 9 of the 23 people we killed — at least — were presumably not “militants” at all, but rather innocent civilians (contrast how the NYT characterizes Libya’s attacks in its headlines: “Qaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas”).

Can someone who defends these drone attacks please identify the purpose?  Is the idea that we’re going to keep dropping them until we kill all the “militants” in that area?  We’ve been killing people in that area at a rapid clip for many, many years now, and we don’t seem to be much closer to extinguishing them.  How many more do we have to kill before the eradication is complete?

Allison Kilkenny: Town Hall Meltdowns, Hundreds Protest Cuts

It appears the GOP plan for slashing budgets isn’t receiving the warmest of welcomes from its constituents. Earlier in the week, a town hall audience booed Representative Paul Ryan when he defended tax breaks for the rich.

That backlash was one of several town hall meeting eruptions that occurred across the country. Freshmen Representatives Robert Dold (R-IL) and Charlie Bass (R-NH) both received hostile greetings from citizens of their respective states. Dole caught flack for supporting corporate tax breaks and voting to end Medicare.

Glen Ford: Black Caucus Overwhelmingly Supports “People’s Budget”

When the enemy convinces us that his victory is inevitable, then he has already won the psychological war. Wall Street, which owns the White House, most of both Houses of Congress and, quite literally, the corporate media, is in a mad rush to save itself from its own contradictions by dismantling or privatizing much of the government, while cutting taxes for its own class to the bone. At the same time, under the canard of national defense, the U.S. military spends as much as the rest of the world combined to bring the entire planet under the Pentagon’s full spectrum dominance. The ever-expanding war budget is justified on national security grounds, while the destruction of the domestic social safety net is supposedly unavoidable because…well, because the government is broke.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Emperor Trump Has No Clothes

For a media that loves infotainment, the horse race and spectacle-and has trouble tackling real policy issues and digging deep-Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving: all spectacle, all the time.

Now he’s out there on his ugly birther trip, riding it to the top of the polls amidst a GOP presidential field in disarray. And other than a few notable exceptions, the media is largely playing the role of cheering spectator for Trump’s latest self-aggrandizing parade-none more so than Fox, which has treated his birtherism-based candidacy as a cause célèbre. Media Matters notes thirteen Trump appearances on the network since March 20.

Alexander Cockburn: The Bloody War That Millions of Americans Prefer to Overlook

For a nation that that loves anniversaries, the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the American Civil War — April 12, 1861 — crept by on tiptoe, like a burglar slipping through a darkened house. Yet the Civil War was, given the size of the population at the time, a fearful killer. All told, at least 630,000 died; at Gettysburg, the single bloodiest engagement of a war that ran from 1861 to 1865, around 50,000 fell across the three-day battle, nearly the entire body count of Americans in the Vietnam War. The Civil War defined American politics for the next hundred years and is still a

The reason for this eerie silence is not hard to find. The Civil War is contested political terrain, particularly in the racist backwash after the 1960s and the civil rights movement, which naturally looked back on the Civil War as one in which tens of thousands of Americans gave their lives for the principle that all are born free and slavery is a shameful blot on any society.

David Swanson: The Cure for Plutocracy: Strike!

How do you get politicians living off legalized bribery to criminalize bribery? How do you persuade the corporate media to report on the interests of flesh-and-blood, non-corporate people? How do you take over a political party when the only other one allowed to compete is worse? These are not koans, but actual problems with a single solution.

It might seem like there are a million solutions: pass state-level clean election laws, build independent media, build a new party, etc. But the fundamental answer is that when the deck is stacked against you, you insist on a new deck. Power, as Frederick Douglas told us, concedes nothing without a demand. We cannot legislate our way out of plutocracy. Instead, we the people must seize power.

Ari Berman: News for Obama: Public Cares About Jobs, Not Deficit

Two major new polls show that Americans are increasingly anxious about the direction of the US economy. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this week, 44 percent of Americans said the economy was getting worse, not better, while 57 percent disapproved of President Obama’s handling of the issue. Now comes a New York Times/CBS News poll indicating that “Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office.” A stunning 70 percent of Americans believe the country is headed on the wrong track. And only 29 percent of Americans think that a major reduction of the federal budget deficit-the stated top priority of leaders of both parties-will create jobs. Fifty-six percent of Americans say cutting the deficit will cost jobs or have no impact.

That stat alone provides what Greg Sargent calls “the clearest evidence yet that official Washington’s prioritization of the deficit over jobs is completely out of sync with public opinion.” It also lends credence to John Judis’s argument that “Obama has chosen the wrong economic message.”

Apr 23 2011

On This Day In History April 23

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.

April 23 is the 113th day of the year (114th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 252 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1564, William Shakespeare born.

According to tradition, the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564. It is impossible to be certain the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he was baptized on April 26, and three days was a customary amount of time to wait before baptizing a newborn. Shakespeare’s date of death is conclusively known, however: it was April 23, 1616. He was 52 years old and had retired to Stratford three years before.

Shakespeare’s father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on April 26, 1564. At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died 11 years later, and Anne Shakespeare outlived her husband, dying in 1623. Nothing is known of the period between the birth of the twins and Shakespeare’s emergence as a playwright in London in the early 1590s, but unfounded stories have him stealing deer, joining a group of traveling players, becoming a schoolteacher, or serving as a soldier in the Low Countries.

Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London’s theatrical world as both a performer and a playwright. The first reference to Shakespeare as a London playwright came in 1592, when a fellow dramatist, Robert Greene, wrote derogatorily of him on his deathbed. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

Shakespeare died in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1616. Today, nearly 400 years later, his plays are performed and read more often and in more nations than ever before. In a million words written over 20 years, he captured the full range of human emotions and conflicts with a precision that remains sharp today. As his great contemporary

   

Apr 23 2011

Six In The Morning

Powerful storm blows out windows at St. Louis airport

Some injuries reported from possible tornado; cars overturned, baseball fans evacuated

NBC, msnbc.com and news services

ST. LOUIS – A powerful storm packing heavy rain, hail and tornadoes pummeled the St. Louis area late Friday, blowing out glass at the airport and overturning cars in the garage, authorities said.

At least five people were treated for minor injuries at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, said airport spokesman Jerry Lea. Four were taken to the hospital.

Lea said the injuries were believed to be from shattered glass.

The storm lifted the roof and blew out glass on Concord C, airport officials said. Upper-level terminals were damaged and vehicles were reported overturned at the parking garage. An Air National Guard facility at the airport was also reportedly damaged.

Apr 23 2011

On This Day In History April 23

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.

April 23 is the 113th day of the year (114th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 252 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1564, William Shakespeare born.

According to tradition, the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564. It is impossible to be certain the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he was baptized on April 26, and three days was a customary amount of time to wait before baptizing a newborn. Shakespeare’s date of death is conclusively known, however: it was April 23, 1616. He was 52 years old and had retired to Stratford three years before.

Shakespeare’s father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on April 26, 1564. At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died 11 years later, and Anne Shakespeare outlived her husband, dying in 1623. Nothing is known of the period between the birth of the twins and Shakespeare’s emergence as a playwright in London in the early 1590s, but unfounded stories have him stealing deer, joining a group of traveling players, becoming a schoolteacher, or serving as a soldier in the Low Countries.

Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London’s theatrical world as both a performer and a playwright. The first reference to Shakespeare as a London playwright came in 1592, when a fellow dramatist, Robert Greene, wrote derogatorily of him on his deathbed. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

Shakespeare died in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1616. Today, nearly 400 years later, his plays are performed and read more often and in more nations than ever before. In a million words written over 20 years, he captured the full range of human emotions and conflicts with a precision that remains sharp today. As his great contemporary

   

Apr 23 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Featured Essays for April 22, 2011-

DocuDharma

Apr 23 2011

Popular Culture (Music) 20110422: The Who Sell Out

The Who Sell Out, the third album by The Who, was their finest to date and in my opinion is still one of their best works.  To be sure, it fell short hither and thither, but I think that it was great.  There are a number of reasons why it is so good, one of them being Kit Lambert once again producing.  As you recall from the previous installment, he was so much better than the hack Shel Talmy that there is really no comparison.

Another reason that it was so good was that it has a lot of energy for a studio album.  The third reason that I shall cite is that it was one of the very first concept albums, in that there was a unifying theme throughout the record.  Since it was on vinyl, it only runs around 37 minutes, so lots of material got scrapped when the final edit was done.  I shall include some of that material late in the piece.