06/25/2011 archive

Random Japan



Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa from the London School of Economics’ management department took a lot of heat-as one might expect-for claiming in an article he wrote for Psychology Today that black women were “far less attractive” than women of other races. Guess he won’t be getting much action in Africa.

A disgruntled job-seeker in Nagoya was arrested after he hit the emergency button at a railway crossing. “My search for a job wasn’t going well, and I was irritated,” police quoted the 24-year-old as saying.

Former Yomiuri Giants pitcher Masumi Kuwata finished dead last in a low-level pro golf tournament he entered. His scorecard included a 93 and an 87. Ouch!

Despite ending up 36 over par for the tourney, Kuwata did not three-putt any holes. Go figure.

Another chucker, ex-MLB pitcher Chan-ho Park, was sent to the minor leagues by the Orix Buffaloes and was told to “stop fooling around” and get serious. The 37-year-old South Korean is in his first-and likely last-season here.

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.

Asparagus With an Italian Twist


   Italians have a way with this vegetable, both the pencil-thin stalks that grow wild in the countryside and the thicker cultivated varieties.

   Simply steamed or boiled, asparagus can be served with a range of condiments and sauces, from Parmesan and butter to anchovies and capers to gremolata – a mixture of finely chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Italian cooks also use asparagus in risottos and toss it with pastas; they scramble the thin variety with eggs and use it to fill frittatas.

Asparagus is an excellent, low-calorie source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A and nutrients like tryptophan, manganese and fiber.

Asparagus With Anchovies and Capers

Made with very thin asparagus, this dish is common in Italy and a neighboring region of Croatia, Istria.

Lasagna With Asparagus and Chives

Lasagna need not be assembled and baked. This version can be thrown together like any other pasta dish.

Asparagus With Gremolata, Lemon and Olive Oil

This dish is an Italian classic from the Lombardy region.

Asparagus Rolled in Herb Crepes

These crepes make a wonderful main course for a vegetarian dinner party.

Asparagus and Mushroom Salad

Italian cooks have found dozens of inventive ways to use asparagus, including this tasty salad.

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”.

Nancy Goldstein: Not Exactly a Profile in Courage: New York Finally Passes Gay Marriage

Hurrah! New York has, at long last, decided to join the twenty-first century and recognize the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage.

Make no mistake: this is a Big Deal. With the exception of Iowa, New York is the first state outside of the New England region to marry queers; it’s also the most populous. What a relief to end this embarrassing episode in history, when the Sodom and Gomorrah of the world lagged behind Catholic strongholds like Portugal, Mexico City, Spain, Argentina and Brazil in supporting marriage equality.

Gred Sargent: Marriage equality is set to become law in New York, and history marches on

In a big step forward for the human race, the marriage equality bill just passed the New York state senate, 33-29. New York is on the verge of becoming the sixth and most populous state to enshrine marriage equality into law, a huge victory for the national gay rights movement, and a huge victory for equality itself.

This is another major defeat for those self-described “conservatives” who hate government except when it’s enforcing a form of legalized discrimination that comports with their prejudices. But this isn’t about them. It’s about everyone but them.

John Nichols: House Refuses to Authorize Obama’s Libya War, but Agrees to Fund It

House Speaker John Boehner, whose incoherent approach to the constitutional mandate that Congress check and balance presidential war-making has so served the interests of the Obama administration’s Libya project, steered the House into conflict with itself Friday.

Boehner advanced two proposals (under the sponsorship of the speaker’s close allies) relating to the president’s decision to involve US forces in an ongoing, if largely dysfunctional, NATO led assault on Libya.

One proposal would have authorized the president’s war of whim.

The other would have cut funding for Obama’s latest war, thus bringing the initiative to a swift conclusion.

New York Times Editorial: An Unfair Burden

For all of the economic hardship of the last several years, there was reason to hope that the nation could avoid a crushing increase in the number of Americans living in poverty. That hope is fading fast.

In 2008, amid a deepening recession, a Census Bureau measure showed that the number of poor Americans rose by 1.7 million to nearly 47.5 million. In 2009, thanks in large part to the Obama stimulus, the rise in poverty was halted – a significant accomplishment at a time of worsening unemployment. When data for 2010 are released in the fall, poverty is expected to have stayed in check because the stimulus, including aid to states and bolstered unemployment benefits, was still in effect last year.

Charles M. Blow: Them That’s Not Shall Lose

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

James Baldwin penned that line more than 50 years ago, but it seems particularly prescient today, if in a different manner than its original intent.

Baldwin was referring to the poor being consistently overcharged for inferior goods. But I’ve always considered that sentence in the context of the extreme psychological toll of poverty, for it is in that way that I, too, know well how expensive it is to be poor.

Steve Rattner: The Great Corn Con

FEELING the need for an example of government policy run amok? Look no further than the box of cornflakes on your kitchen shelf. In its myriad corn-related interventions, Washington has managed simultaneously to help drive up food prices and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit, while arguably increasing energy use and harming the environment.

Even in a crowd of rising food and commodity costs, corn stands out, its price having doubled in less than a year to a record $7.87 per bushel in early June. Booming global demand has overtaken stagnant supply.

Ari Melber: Van Jones Returns, Launches Liberal Alternative to The Tea Partyn

Over one thousand liberal activists gathered in Manhattan on Thursday night, in a bid to counter the Tea Party and elevate a progressive who can tangle with the Becks and Bachmanns that dominate today’s outraged populism.  The event launched “Rebuild the Dream,” a MoveOn-backed effort to organize around economic issues.

The crowd that filed into Town Hall in midtown Manhattan was a mix of progressives old and young, in work clothes and casual attire. While they mingled and waited for music by The Roots, a second event was staged in a nearby press room. There reporters and bloggers heard from the would-be leader of a liberal Tea Party — the attorney, author and former Obama official Van Jones.  Bowing to the lexicon of today’s Left, however, it was clear that Jones was not announcing a “campaign,” (despite the flashy website, social media strategy and PR campaign). He was not launching a lobbying “coalition,” either, (even though the effort was backed by MoveOn, labor unions, USAction, TrueMajority and “many others to be announced”).   The event promised the beginning of a movement.

Japan Stupid Is As Stupid Does

With the resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the horizon the political idiots who run this country are maneuvering to further their political power while Northeast Japan is mired in a recovery so slow that only time-lapsed photography might notice any movement. People left homeless are forced to endure a lottery system to be placed in temporary housing. TEPCO continues to misinform and lie about the health risks posed by the disaster at the Daiichi-Fukushima power plant but what the real condition of the four damaged plants remains a mystery even though they keep insisting there will be completely transparent  

Taking a page from America’s Republican party the Liberal Democratic Party has decided to hold hostage the implementation of a third supplementary budget or an extension of the current Diet session needed to  pass funding for earthquake recovery.  

So, as these fools argue over when Kan will resign and who will fill the power vacuum people in the stricken area continue to suffer from a lack of recovery effort and a complete lack of leadership from any quarter.

On This Day In History June 25

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 25 is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 189 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1876, Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River.


In 1875, Sitting Bull created the Sun Dance alliance between the Lakota and the Cheyenne, a religious ceremony which celebrates the spiritual rebirth of participants. One had taken place around June 5, 1876, on the Rosebud River in Montana, involving Agency Native Americans who had slipped away from their reservations to join the hostiles. During the event, Sitting Bull reportedly had a vision of “soldiers falling into his camp like grasshoppers from the sky.” At the same time, military officials had a summer campaign underway to force the Lakota and Cheyenne back to their reservations, using infantry and cavalry in a three-pronged approach.

Col. John Gibbon’s column of six companies of the 7th Infantry and four companies of the 2nd Cavalry marched east from Fort Ellis in western Montana on March 30, to patrol the Yellowstone River. Brig. Gen. George Crook’s column of ten companies of the 3rd Cavalry, five of the 2nd Cavalry, two companies of the 4th Infantry, and three companies of the 9th Infantry, moved north from Fort Fetterman in the Wyoming Territory on May 29, marching toward the Powder River area. Brig. Gen. Alfred Terry’s column, including twelve companies of the 7th Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s immediate command, Companies C and G of the 17th U.S. Infantry, and the Gatling gun detachment of the 20th Infantry departed westward from Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory on May 17. They were accompanied by teamsters and packers with 150 wagons and a large contingent of pack mules that reinforced Custer. Companies C, D, and I of the 6th U.S. Infantry, moved along the Yellowstone River from Fort Buford on the Missouri River to set up a supply depot, and joined Terry on May 29 at the mouth of the Powder River.

The coordination and planning began to go awry on June 17, 1876, when Crook’s column was delayed after the Battle of the Rosebud. Surprised and, according to some accounts, astonished by the unusually large numbers of Native Americans in the battle, a defeated Crook was compelled to pull back, halt and regroup. Unaware of Crook’s battle, Gibbon and Terry proceeded, joining forces in early June near the mouth of the Rosebud River. They reviewed Terry’s plan calling for Custer’s regiment to proceed south along the Rosebud, while Terry and Gibbon’s united forces would move in a westerly direction toward the Bighorn and Little Bighorn rivers. As this was the likely location of Indian encampments, all Army elements were to converge around June 26 or 27, attempting to engulf the Native Americans. On June 22, Terry ordered the 7th Cavalry, composed of 31 officers and 566 enlisted men under Custer, to begin a reconnaissance and pursuit along the Rosebud, with the prerogative to “depart” from orders upon seeing “sufficient reason.” Custer had been offered the use of Gatling guns but declined, believing they would slow his command.

While the Terry/Gibbon column was marching toward the mouth of the Little Bighorn, on the evening of June 24, Custer’s scouts arrived at an overlook known as the Crow’s Nest, 14 miles (23 km) east of the Little Bighorn River. At sunrise on June 25, Custer’s scouts reported they could see a massive pony herd and signs of the Native American village roughly 15 miles (24 km) in the distance. After a night’s march, the tired officer sent with the scouts could see neither, and when Custer joined them, he was also unable to make the sighting. Custer’s scouts also spotted the regimental cooking fires that could be seen from 10 miles away, disclosing the regiment’s position.

Custer contemplated a surprise attack against the encampment the following morning of June 26, but he then received a report informing him several hostile Indians had discovered the trail left by his troops. Assuming his presence had been exposed, Custer decided to attack the village without further delay. On the morning of June 25, Custer divided his 12 companies into three battalions in anticipation of the forthcoming engagement. Three companies were placed under the command of Major Marcus Reno (A, G, and M); and three were placed under the command of Capt. Frederick Benteen. Five companies remained under Custer’s immediate command. The 12th, Company B, under Capt. Thomas McDougald, had been assigned to escort the slower pack train carrying provisions and additional ammunition.

Unbeknownst to Custer, the group of Native Americans seen on his trail were actually leaving the encampment on the Big Horn and did not alert the village. Custer’s scouts warned him about the size of the village, with scout Mitch Bouyer reportedly saying, “General, I have been with these Indians for 30 years, and this is the largest village I have ever heard of.” Custer’s overriding concern was that the Native American group would break up and scatter in different directions. The command began its approach to the Native American village at 12 noon and prepared to attack in full daylight.

Six In The Morning

Inside the secret world of the geeks with the power to unleash anarchy  

Jerome Taylor tracked down one of Britain’s most feared hackers to find out what motivates this new criminal underworld

Saturday, 25 June 2011

They move within a shadowy underworld using skills most of us could never acquire.

Some see themselves as crime fighters, battling injustice, corruption and oppression. Others are pranksters – the kind of people who set light to bridges just to watch them burn. Plenty more do it simply to steal and get rich.

Hacking is as old as computers, but the current wave of high-profile assaults across the globe has led to unprecedented interest in who hackers are and why they do what they do.

The Independent tracked down one prolific British hacker who is engaged in a personal cyber war against LulzSec, the collective behind a string of attacks on websites as diverse as the CIA’s homepage, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Fox TV and – most recently – the Arizona Police Department.

Saturday’s Headlines:

Gone West: How America ran out of champions

Syrians defy army and take to the streets again

The Humble Kingdom of the World’s Best Woman Soccer Player

Life in jail for woman behind Rwanda genocide

Survey shows disappointment, anger among Fukushima evacuees

Obama: Chump or Fraud?

Herr Doktor Professor

Republicans are deeply, deeply concerned about the budget deficit; they believe that our nation’s future is at stake.

But they’re willing to sacrifice that future, not to mention risk the good faith and credit of the federal government, rather than accept so much as a single penny of tax increases as part of a deal.

(T)he GOP never cared about the deficit – not a bit. It has always been nothing but a club with which to beat down opposition to an ideological goal, namely the dissolution of the welfare state. They’re not interested, at all, in a genuine deficit-reduction deal if it does not serve that goal.

And everyone who has preached bipartisanship, who has called for a meeting of minds on the subject, is either a fraud or a chump.

Breaking News: New York Gay Marriage Bill Passes

The New York State Senate has passed the Marriage Equality bill with a comfortable 36 33 votes in favor and only 26 29 nays. The bill includes protections for religious organizations to be exempt from performing ceremonies, if they choose. There is no residency requirement in NY for a marriage license. Well done, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Gay Marriage Bill Passes In New York: Senate Passes Bill Allowing Same Sex Marriage

Gay couples and proponents of gay rights have a reason to celebrate tonight, as the New York State Senate has passed a bill that allows same sex marriage.

New York will be the sixth, and largest, state in the union to adopt gay marriage. The bill will take effect 30 days after governor Andrew Cuomo signs it into law.

The decision, which passed 33-29, was the culmination of weeks of contentious debate and negotiations between Governor Cuomo and the GOP-controlled Senate. After the bill passed in the Assembly, it was unclear if the bill had secured enough votes to pass in the Senate. When a few notable undecideds joined the cause –including Republican Roy McDonald who famously defended his decision, saying “fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing” — the scale in favor of gay marriage seemed to tip.

Correction: The final vote for passage was 33 to 29. The amendment for the exemption for religious organizations was 36 to 26. h/t to Bruce McF for catching that.


Popular Culture (Humor) 20110624: The Firesign Theatre

Hello, all!  This installment was inspired by Kossack dsteffen who correctly identified a rather obtuse reference to the abovenamed comedy troupe in the comments at the big orange Wednesday past on My Little Town.  I gave him two honorable mentions in the comments there, but perhaps this more than honorable one will get him some notice.

The Firesign Theatre was, and continues to be still, a very bizarre and very funny comedy troupe.  This is going to be an extremely difficult piece, because most of their work was on vinyl, and around 45 minutes long.  In addition, everything sort of interlocked, so what is hilarious in context is likely to fall flat without the previous half hour or so of it.

I shall attempt to extract the ones that can sort of stand alone, and for the ones that do not shall attempt to include what might seem to be rather long pieces that do not make sense until the end.  Hey, that is what we do here sometimes.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

If you do not get Current TV you can watch Keith here:

Watch live video from CURRENT TV LIVE Countdown Olbermann on www.justin.tv

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