08/06/2011 archive

Random Japan



Barbecued beef restaurants in Japan found sales were down after reports surfaced that caesium-laced beef had been distributed across the country.

Bombastic Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said a new power plant will be built in Tokyo “with the electricity generation capacity of at least 1 million kilowatts,” but he refused to provide any details.

PM Naoto Kan came under fire from members of his own Cabinet for “advocating a society free of nuclear power in the aftermath of the crisis in Fukushima.” That’s news to us, claimed members of his cabinet.

South Korea voiced “strong regret and disappointment” over Japan’s month-long ban on its diplomats flying Korean Air. The ban was put in effect to protest a special flight by the airline above some disputed islets.

Yukari Miyamae, a 61-year-old Japanese-American female, has achieved a cult-like following after being arrested for grabbing the boob of an airport security agent in Phoenix and, according to the police report, “squeezing and twisting it with both hands without the victim’s permission.”

Meanwhile, a Facebook page dedicated to acquitting Miyamae of the sexual abuse charges apparently drew over 1,000 supporters, “with some calling her a hero.”

E*TRade Baby Dirties His Diaper

The E*Trade baby loses his “shirt” on the stock market and pukes on his keyboard.

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.

Fruit Smoothies Without the Dairy


Berry and Rose Geranium Smoothie

Fragrant rose geranium is very easy to grow in pots, and a little goes a long way.

Watermelon Mint Smoothie Watermelon Mint Smoothie

This smoothie tastes something like sweet mint tea blended with watermelon agua fresca. This smoothie tastes something like sweet mint tea blended with watermelon agua fresca.

Plum, Red Grape and Almond Smoothie

Red grapes and plums combine to make this smoothie delicious.

Fresh Fig and Date Shake

This thick, date-sweetened smoothie is a great source of energy.

Peach Vanilla Smoothie

This smoothie tastes a bit like peach ice cream, with a hint of vanilla.

LQD: The AA+ rating is valid, but the S&P case is intellectually dishonest ~ Mosler

Burning the Midnight Oil for a Brawny Recovery

“LQD” is an abbreviation I first encountered at EuroTrib: it means “Lazy Quote Diary”.

The quote from Warren Mosler:

Credit ratings are based on ability to pay and willingness to pay.

David Beers of S&P knows this and has discussed this in the past.

So why then did David T. Beers decide to downgrade the US on ability to pay, and not explicitly on willingness to pay?

Sure looks like a case of intellectual dishonesty.

And I have no idea why.

So much for his legacy.

Well, its a very short post, so fair use restricts it to an even shorter quote.

But this is the gist of it: no issuer of its own currency is ever forced to default on debt issued in its own currency.

Think about it: if your family’s IOU’s were accepted by the bank to repay debts … could you ever run short of the means to pay your debts?

What would an honest downgrade have said? Below the fold.

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”.

Click on images to enlarge

Michael Moore: 30 Years Ago: The Day the Middle Class Died

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.

Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they’ve succeeded.

Noam Chomsky: America in Decline

“It is a common theme” that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay,” Giacomo Chiozza writes in the current Political Science Quarterly.

The theme is indeed widely believed. And with some reason, though a number of qualifications are in order. To start with, the decline has proceeded since the high point of U.S. power after World War II, and the remarkable triumphalism of the post-Gulf War ’90s was mostly self-delusion.

Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country and bewilders the world, may have no analogue in the annals of parliamentary democracy.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Is Wisconsin Ground Zero for the “American Spring” or a Third Party?

People watching the news over the past week might have thought that Congress was the only place where battles for our future were being won and lost. That’s wrong. There are other battles, better battles, battles far from the glare of the Beltway spotlights. And more are on their way.

So forget Washington for a minute. (If you feel like I do right now, that’ll be a pleasure.) If you want to see where the next wave of corporate-sponsored political attacks is being launched, look to New Orleans. And if you want a shot of optimism, a ray of light, a sign that battles can be won against overwhelming odds, turn your eyes toward Wisconsin.

John Nichols: Wasn’t the Debt-Ceiling Deal Supposed to Avert a 512-Point Dow Collapse?

You see, President Obama had to surrender to the Tea Party Republicans on every major issue in order to get the debt ceiling deal.

If the president had not agrees to massive cuts, the establishment of a structure that could undermine Medicare and and an approach to future economic debates that virtually assure that the United States government will have neither the ability nor the will to stimulate job creation, he could not have gotten a deal.

And if Obama had not gotten the debt ceiling deal, the markets would have tanked. That was the calculus at the White House, and among the Democrats who made the mistake of backing Obama as he veered far to the right in the debt ceiling negotiations.

Unfortunately, it was wrong. Not just morally wrong. Not just politically wrong. Not just economically wrong. It was wrong with regard to the cherished markets.

Robert Naiman: A Historic Opportunity to Cut Military Spending

The agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts has made a lot of people very unhappy. But the agreement had one important positive aspect: it created a historic opportunity for significant cuts in projected military spending.

Under the agreement, a joint House-Senate committee is supposed to propose, by Thanksgiving, $1.5 trillion of debt reduction (expenditures less revenues) over ten years. Significant cuts in projected military spending are on the table. Indeed, if the joint committee doesn’t agree on a plan or Congress doesn’t enact it, $1.2 trillion in cuts in projected spending over 10 years will be triggered, of which half must come from the military.

If the military cuts in the trigger mechanism take place, when added to the projected military cuts announced by the White House as part of this week’s deal, total cuts in projected military spending would amount to $884 billion. This is very close to the $886 billion in military cuts agreed by the plan of the Senate’s “Gang of Six,” a plan endorsed by President Obama. It’s in the ballpark of – but less than – the $960 billion in proposed military cuts of the Frank-Paul Sustainable Defense Task Force, the trillion dollars in proposed military cuts of the report of President’s deficit commission, the $1.1 trillion reduction in projected military spending proposed by the Domenici-Rivlin task force, and the $1.2 trillion in military cuts recommended by the Cato Institute. Conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn says cutting the projected military budget by a trillion dollars over ten years is “not hard” and is “common sense.”

In other words: cutting projected military spending by a trillion dollars over the next ten years has become politically plausible.

Jill Richardson: ALEC Exposed: Protecting Factory Farms and Sewage Sludge?

As suburbs engulfed the rural landscape in the boom following World War II, many family farmers found themselves with new neighbors who were annoyed by the sound of crowing roosters, the smell of animal manure, or the rumble of farming equipment. In defense of family farming, Massachusetts passed the first “Right to Farm” law in 1979, to protect these farmers against their new suburban neighbors filing illegitimate nuisance lawsuits against them when, in fact, the farms were there first. Since then, every state has passed some kind of protection for family farms, which are pillars of our communities and the backbone of a sensible system of sustainable agriculture.

However, in the past few decades, intensive corporatization of farming has threatened both the future of family farming and the ability of neighbors to regulate the development of industrial agricultural operations that have transmogrified many farms into factories. Small-scale farms that resembled Old MacDonald’s farm (with an oink oink here and a moo moo there) have increasingly disappeared or been turned into enormous livestock confinements with literal lagoons of liquified manure and urine, super-concentrated smells that could make a skunk faint, or vast fields of monoculture crops grown with a myriad of chemicals and pesticides and sometimes even sewage sludge. For example, the decade before the first right to farm law was passed, it took one million family farms to raise nearly 60 million pigs but by 2001, less than ten percent (80,000 farms) were growing the same number of pigs.

Ray McGovern: Obama on the Backs of the Poor

What are we to make of the Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending? It was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); it was one of the few times I would have favored abortion.

I am reminded of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:

“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

In promoting and then signing the so-called “deficit reduction” legislation, President Barack Obama has definitively confirmed that he stands in the ranks of those spiritual-death-dealing, “soft-minded” men about whom Dr. King warned so ominously.

Charles M. Blow: The Decade of Lost Children

One of the greatest casualties of the great recession may well be a decade of lost children.

According to “The State of America’s Children 2011,” a report issued last month by the Children’s Defense Fund, the impact of the recession on children’s well-being has been catastrophic.


We risk the creation of an engorged generational underclass born of a culture that has less income equality and fewer prospects for mobility than the previous generation.

It’s hard to see how we emerge from this downturn and its tumult a stronger nation if we allow vast swatches of our children to be lost. My fear is that we may not.

August 6, 2001

An Annual Reminder.

Echo… echo… echo… Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota… Mota… Mota…

You may remember my brother the activist.  I keep trying to get him to post, but he’s shy and busy.  He sent me this yesterday and I thought I’d share it with you.

I need to add that he’s a great admirer of James Carville’s political savvy (though not his policies) and one story he likes to tell is how during the height of Monica-gate Carville was on one of the Talking Head shows and made a point about how important it is to stay on message.  Carville then proceeded to demonstrate his gift by working the phrase “Cigarette Lawyer Ken Starr” 27 times into the next 30 seconds.- ek

The date – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 needs to be as well known to Joe and Jane American as September 11, 2001.

Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001 PDB

Declassified and Approved for Release, 10 April 2004

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct foreign terrorist attacks on the U.S. Bin Ladin implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America.”

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted] service.

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [deleted] service at the same that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

So Vice President Dick, tell me again how the REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP US SAFE?

So Senator McSame, tell me again how invading and occupying IRAQ has helped the U.S. hunt down BIN LADEN?

I’m printing my own bumper stickers filled with images from 9-11 and this text-

August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S. – We Will Never Forget.

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center”- Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor

“All right. You’ve covered your ass now.”- George W. Bush

On This Day In History August 6

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

August 6 is the 218th day of the year (219th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 147 days remaining until the end of the year.

I wrote this one year ago. Today is the 10th Anniversary of George W. Bush dismissing the warning of an imminent terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden may be dead but his legacy continues with the US continued “war on terror”

On this day there have been many significant events. Certainly, one of the most memorable is that this is the anniversary of dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It is also the anniversary of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act.

Recent significant history that has been over looked by my usual sources is this: The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing better known as the August 6th PDB. It was handed to President George W. Bush, who was on one of his many vacations to his home in Crawford, TX, by Harriet Miers, who was the President’s WH Council, and promptly ignored. Whether Bush ignored the warning that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack the US because he was told to let it happen or, the darker theory, that the government made it happen will never be known, at least not in the lifetime of those reading this. Whatever Bush’s motive was, it set off a series of events in this country that has affected us all and divided us like no other incident since the Civil War. The US has now been in Afghanistan for almost 9 years 10 years and Iraq for over seven eight and, despite the Democrats holding the White House and the majority in both houses of Congress, there is no end in site to those two wars. Despite campaign promises to restore the rule of law and the Constitution, the Obama administration has continued the most heinous of the Bush policies that are violations of not just US law but International Law, ratified treaties and agreements. A sad anniversary, indeed.

Popular Culture (Music) 20110805. Lifehouse

I am very sorry, folks, but I was in a hurry to finish up the piece and there was a horrible traffic tie up before I could get home.  I got home late, and was finishing up the 21st song out of 24 when I fat fingered my keyboard, wiping out almost everything.

That teaches me, regardless of the venue, to save after EVERY paragraph.  It would not have made any difference if I had been writing in Word, or Works, or at any blog site.  If one does not save work, it gets lost.  However, there is a bit of a workaround.

Load up Lazarus for Firefox and it can help.  It is not perfect, but if I had been using it, I would lost only the two or three paragraphs before my keyboard mistake.  I still do not know what I did, but I now save after EVERY paragraph!  I use it now, although I am not sure how well it works.

It is disheartening to lose so much work, but there is a silver lining to that black cloud.  Next week the piece will be much better, because I had time to think about it and improve it.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for August 5, 2011-


DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for August 5, 2011-


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