08/27/2011 archive

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.

Quick and Easy Cooking With Grains


Check your pantry, then check out these five delicious dishes made with a variety of grains and lentils.

Barley and Farro Risotto With Red Peppers

With a ready supply of grains on hand, you can throw together quick, easy combination meals like this one.

Lemon Risotto With Squash

Lemon risotto is a favorite of dinner guests.

Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf

Red lentils have a refreshing flavor and a sproutlike crunch.

Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad With Ginger Sesame Dressing

The fluffy, pale quinoa in this gingery salad contrasts nicely with the dark, chewy wild rice.

Simple Vegetable Paella

You don’t have to make this vegetable-rich dish in a paella pan, though if you do, you’ll get a nice layer of crusty rice on the bottom. Serve it as a main dish or as a side.

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”.

New York Times Editorial: Mr. Bernanke’s Warning

It’s what journalists call burying the lead. More than halfway through his speech on Friday to central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole, Ben Bernanke said the recession would not cause lasting damage to the economy “if – and I stress if – our country takes the necessary steps to secure that outcome.”

President Obama? Senator? Congressman? The chairman is talking to you. He is saying that wrong priorities and policy missteps are the biggest threat facing the economy today.

Mr. Bernanke said that the Federal Reserve would do “all it can” to promote the recovery and hinted that it would approve additional stimulus measures at its policy meeting in September, if the economy showed further signs of slowing. The signs are already grim.

David Sirota: Race and the Church of Denialism

Republican guru Karl Rove recently appeared on Fox News to dispute the idea that America is a “Christian nation.” And he was right to do so, but not because our country lacks an overarching canon. We certainly do have a national religion-it’s just not Christianity. It’s Denialism.

Some branches of this religion deny the science documenting humans’ role in climate change. Others deny tax cuts’ connection to deficits and deregulation’s role in the recession. But regardless of the issue, Denialists all share a basic hostility to facts.

As this know-nothing theology expands, none of its denominations claims a bigger membership than the one obsessed with race. Today, many reject the fact that black people typically face bigger obstacles to economic and political success than whites. Instead, they insist that whites are oppressed.

Jeff Biggers: On Eve of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Arizona Sues to Overturn Voting Rights Act

It took years for Arizona to recover from right-wing Governor Evan Mecham’s disgraceful act to rescind the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in 1989.

Now, on the eve of the unveiling of the national memorial to the civil rights leader in Washington, DC, Attorney General Tom Horne has joined a lone county in Alabama to make Arizona the first state to file a suit against the Obama administration to strike down parts of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 – spurred by the horrific violence encountered by King and civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama – as unconstitutional.

“President Lyndon Johnson’s high spirits were marked as he circulated among the many guests whom he had invited to witness an event he confidently felt to be historic, the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” King wrote. “The bill that lay on the polished mahogany desk was born in violence in Selma, Alabama, where a stubborn sheriff … had stumbled against the future.”

Claiming that sections of the Voting Rights Act are “either archaic, not based in fact,” Horne has indeed stumbled against his own future and Arizona’s unfinished history of voting rights violations.

George Zornick: State Department Issues Flawed Blessing of Keystone XL

The State Department released its final environmental impact assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, and it’s just as bad as some feared-perhaps worse. The report concludes, as did two prior versions, that there would be “no significant impact” on natural resources near the pipeline route, while also downplaying the potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions.

In a conference call with reporters, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones stressed that “this is not the rubberstamp for this project. The permit that is required for this process has not been approved or rejected at all.”

But the environmental concerns are clearly the main objection to Keystone XL, and the report is widely seen as removing one of the final roadblocks to the project. Environmental groups were quick to blast the results. “The U.S. State Department’s final report on the Keystone XL today is an insult to anyone who expects government to work for the interests of the American people,” the Sierra Club said in a statement.

Mark Engler: Dramatizing Obama’s Climate Dilemma

President Obama now has a clear choice on climate change. Major energy corporations are seeking to build a 1700-mile oil pipeline from Canada’s tar sands to refineries in Texas. The Keystone XL Pipeline would itself carry social and environmental costs: cutting through fragile ecosystems, creating risk of spills, and negatively affecting indigenous communities. But, most significantly, it would be a boon to efforts to exploit the tar sands.

The Canadian tar sands are a particularly dirty source of fossil fuels that could produce egregious carbon emissions. As Elizabeth Kolbert reported at the New Yorker:

   [B]ecause tar-sands oil is so heavy, it has to be very heavily processed, which requires tremendous amounts of energy, usually in the form of natural gas. It’s been estimated that, on what’s known as a well-to-tank basis, tar-sands oil is responsible for eighty percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than ordinary crude.

Prominent climate scientist James Hansen has argued (in a now oft-quoted statement) that “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over” for the climate.

Medea Benjamin: No Way to Honor Dr. King

The ceremonies for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC were kicked off on August 24 at an event billed as Honoring Global Leaders for Peace. But some of those honored are a far cry from King’s beloved community of the poor and oppressed. The tribute to peacemakers, organized by the MLK National Memorial Foundation, was mostly a night applauding warmakers, corporate profiteers and co-opted musicians.

The night started out with great promise when MC Andrea Mitchell mentioned Dr. King’s brilliant anti-war speech Beyond Vietnam as a key to understanding the real Dr. King. And sure, there were a few wonderful moments-a song by Stevie Wonder, a speech about nonviolence by the South African Ambassador and a quick appearance by Jesse Jackson in which he managed to spit out a call to “study war no more.”

But most of the evening’s speakers and guests of honor had little to do with peacemaking. One of the dignitaries thanked at the start of the program was Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, representing a country that uses $3 billion a year in precious U.S. tax dollars to commit war crimes against Palestinians.

Michelle Chen: To Stop Corruption, Fight the Power, Not the People

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and in a world where the gap between the powerful and powerless grows wider each day, corruption in political and economic institutions spreads much faster than shame.

Political power is abused wherever it exists-with scandals ranging from political graft in India to white collar crime on Wall Street to bribery of government regulators in China. Nonetheless, some communities seem especially vulnerable to the cycle of corruption, repression and impunity. And lately, we’ve seen many of them getting fed up with living under regimes that have lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Corruption has been one of the major issues driving the unrest across the Middle East and North Africa, and it has catalyzed a Gandhi-esque movement in the streets of New Delhi.

Indian activist Anna Hazare has inspired huge demonstrations in support of his hunger strike to promote a strict, controversial anti-corruption measure known as the Jan Lokpal bill. The government’s recent crackdown on Hazare only steeled protesters’ resolve under the slogan “India is Anna, Anna is India.”

On This Day In History August 27

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.

August 27 is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 126 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1883, The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurs on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia, on this day in 1883. Heard 3,000 miles away, the explosions threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people.

Krakatau exhibited its first stirrings in more than 200 years on May 20, 1883. A German warship passing by reported a seven-mile high cloud of ash and dust over Krakatau. For the next two months, similar explosions would be witnessed by commercial liners and natives on nearby Java and Sumatra. With little to no idea of the impending catastrophe, the local inhabitants greeted the volcanic activity with festive excitement.

On 27 August four enormous explosions took place at 05:30, 06:44, 10:02, and 10:41 local time. The explosions were so violent that they were heard 3,500 km (2,200 mi) away in Perth, Western Australia and the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, 4,800 km (3,000 mi) away, where they were thought to be cannonfire from a nearby ship. Each was accompanied by very large tsunamis, which are believed to have been over 30 meters (100 ft) high in places. A large area of the Sunda Strait and a number of places on the Sumatran coast were affected by pyroclastic flows from the volcano.

The pressure wave generated by the colossal final explosion radiated from Krakatoa at 1,086 km/h (675 mph). It was so powerful that it shattered the eardrums of sailors on ships in the Sunda Strait and caused a spike of more than two and half inches of mercury in pressure gauges attached to gasometers in the Jakarta gasworks, sending them off the scale. The pressure wave radiated across the globe and was recorded on barographs all over the world, which continued to register it up to 5 days after the explosion. Barograph recordings show that the shockwave from the final explosion reverberated around the globe 7 times in total. Ash was propelled to a height of 80 km (50 mi).

The eruptions diminished rapidly after that point, and by the morning of August 28 Krakatoa was silent. Small eruptions, mostly of mud, continued through October, though further reports continued through February 1884. These reports were discounted by (Rogier) Verbeek.

The combined effects of pyroclastic flows, volcanic ashes and tsunamis had disastrous results in the region. There were no survivors from 3,000 people located at the island of Sebesi, about 13 km (8.1 mi) from Krakatoa. Pyroclastic flows killed around 1,000 people at Ketimbang on the coast of Sumatra some 40 km (25 mi) north from Krakatoa. The official death toll recorded by the Dutch authorities was 36,417, although some sources put the estimate at 120,000 or more.

Ships as far away as South Africa  rocked as tsunamis hit them, and the bodies of victims were found floating in the ocean for weeks after the event. The tsunamis which accompanied the eruption are believed to have been caused by gigantic pyroclastic flows  entering the sea; each of the four great explosions was accompanied by a massive pyroclastic flow resulting from the gravitational collapse of the eruption column.

In the aftermath of the eruption, it was found that the island of Krakatoa had almost entirely disappeared, except for the southern half of Rakata cone cut off along a vertical cliff, leaving behind a 250-metre (820 ft) deep caldera.

In the year following the eruption, average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 C (2.2 F). Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years, and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.

The eruption darkened the sky worldwide for years afterwards, and produced spectacular sunsets throughout the world for many months. British artist William Ashcroft made thousands of colour sketches of the red sunsets half-way around the world from Krakatoa in the years after the eruption.

F1: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying

Well, during the break nothing much happens by mutual agreement and I found the practice session to be inconclusive since most of it was held in the rain and the last 20 minutes everyone sat in the garage, so I was poking around in Google when I came across the Gribkowsky Affair.

Who is Gerhard Gribkowsky you say?  He’s a German banker who’s been charged recently with corruption, tax evasion, and breach of trust (you’ll be pleased to know he’s actually in custody).  While this is only part of the case against him, in 2005 he helped organize the $1.7 Billion sale of the 100 year Formula One lease to the current holders CVC (headed by Bernie Ecclestone) and accepted $44 Million in payments from Bernie.

One of the former minority shareholders was a media group named Kirsh which put it’s shares up as collateral for a loan with the agreement that they would participate in the profits from any sale.  Constantine Medien, part of the Kirsh group, filed suit last month against Ecclestone, his lawyers, his family trust, and Gribkowsky contending that the $44 Million payment was in fact a bribe to reduce the price of the sale ensuring there were no profits to be shared.

It’s kind of like forcing a foreclosure instead of a principal reduction or a short sale.

German prosecutors are now investigating the deal and there’s definitely a very slim possibility Bernie might go to jail and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

In other suits Nick Heidfeld, the points leader of the Renault team, has been unceremoniously dumped in favor of Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton.  Heidfeld contends this was partly to grab the $3 Million bribe sponsorship Bruno brings.  Renault denies this of course and in turn accuses Heidfeld of being slow (did I mention he was points leader of the team?) and lacking leadership.

Last night’s Evening Edition noted this dispute in stories 10, 11, and 33 (other Formula One news in stories 9, 32, and 43).  It’s doubly difficult for Heidfeld because Renault is one of the few teams debuting substantial changes to it’s cars AND missing the race mathematically eliminates him from the Driver’s Championship (not that he had much chance anyway).

Mark Webber had a birthday and got a 1 year extension on his Red Bull contract.  Michael Schumacher is celebrating his 20th anniversary in Formula One.  Red Bull was quickest in the second practice session.  Teams are not allowed to use Down Force Reduction in Eau Rouge because of safety concerns.

The two teams claiming the Lotus name appear to be approaching a settlement of that dispute.  Robert Kubica who was badly injured racing Rally Cars has one more reconstructive surgery to go and is expected back in a simulator before the end of the season.  Heidfeld was Kubica’s replacement after the accident.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the longest (4.4 miles) and fastest.  In dry weather it’s said that you can drive 85% of it flat out.  Of course it’s also one of those tracks where you will get tired of hearing it’s always raining or threatening to rain.

Speed coverage begins at 8 am.  Surprising developments below.

Hello again, my Old Friend! Melancholia

I thought that I was done with it, I really did!  I was really better the past few days.  But depression has set in again.  I hate it!  I want to be normal, get a job (all of you know that I do have a brilliant side), and get back with my family.

Not likely.  My garden is ready to pick, and I have not the energy to do anything to make it so. Melancholia is a curse that I have lived with, off and on, for half a century now.  For a couple of weeks I was over it, but that was just because of a fantasy.

Now, never concern yourselves that I will do anything rash.  I will live until I die, and will not die from my own hand.

“We Ain’t Goin’ Study War No More”

“When I first took a stand against the war in Vietnam, the critics took me on and they had their say in the most negative and sometimes most vicious way. One day a newsman came to me and said, ‘Dr. King, don’t you think you’re going to have to stop, now, opposing the war and move more in line with the administration’s policy? As I understand it, it has hurt the budget of your organization, and people who once respected you have lost respect for you. Don’t you feel that you’ve really got to change your position?’ I looked at him and I had to say, ‘…I’m not a consensus leader. I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference…’ Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus… There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. I believe today that there is a need for all people of goodwill to come with a massive act of conscience and say in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “We ain’t goin’ study war no more.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – From “Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution ” (Sermon) March 31, 1968

Another reason to end these wars.

When Jon Tumilson, a member of a Navy Seal team, was killed in Afghanistan, his loyal dog, Hawkeye, lay near his coffin at the funeral.

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Popular Culture (TeeVee) 20110826: Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is one of the few TeeVee shows with a predominately child and adolescent that ever had much appeal to me.  Part of the appeal was that the program was masterfully written and directed, and another part is that the acting was really very good.  It ran only for one season, 1999 through 2000, and even then not all of the 18 taped episodes were aired.  It was an NBC show and was the precursor for later, more successful shows like That ’70s Show.

Even though it aired in 1999 and 2000, it was set in 1980 in a made up suburb of Detroit.  The production team did a really good job with getting the period right, in particular the cars that were often used as unifying devices in several episodes.  I have to tell you a personal reason that I immediately liked the show.  As a really big admirer of SCTV, the fact that Joe Flaherty was cast as the father of the protagonist made me watch faithfully.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Beleaguered Japan PM announces resignation

By David Watkins, AFP

21 hrs ago

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday stepped down as president of the ruling party, paving the way for the selection of the disaster-hit nation’s sixth new premier in five years.

Kan’s resignation comes after nearly 15 turbulent months in power during which his response to the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear plant accident drew fierce criticism and sent his approval ratings plummeting.

“I propose to you that I resign as the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan today,” Kan told party lawmakers on Friday.