09/03/2011 archive

Random Japan



An investigation was launched after it came to light that a man who claimed to be a doctor from a Canadian hospital treated some 250 people in quake-ravaged Miyagi Prefecture without a proper license.

A drug used to treat blood clots killed five people in Japan after causing some nasty side-effects in over 80 patients since March, the Health Ministry said.

Ryohei Yamanaka, 23, a flyhalf for Japan’s national rugby team, accepted a two-year doping ban from the sport’s governing body while continuing to claim his positive test was a result of a cream he used to try to grow a mustache. Yeah right, likely story …

It took 21 reprints, but a million copies were finally printed of an inspirational book by Japan soccer captain Makoto Hasebe called Kokoro o Totonoeru (Maintaining Peace of Mind).

Now this really is amazing. A transparent maze has been set up by Yoko Ono at Yokohama Triennale 2011, an international exhibition of modern art. At the center of the maze is a telephone, which sometimes rings. Lucky visitors who pick up the phone get to hear the voice of Yoko Ono. Hmmm … would that be considered reward or punishment?

A two-year-old boy escaped with a few minor scrapes after falling between a train platform and a stopped Nozomi bullet train onto the tracks at Nagoya Station. A quick-thinker hit the emergency switch and cut power before the train could leave.

Visually impaired people in Japan are apparently “suffering damage to their white canes … due to collisions with cyclists.”

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.

Making Vegetables the Meal


Greek Stuffed Tomatoes http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09…

Stuffed tomatoes are ubiquitous in Greece, and this recipe can be made with bulgur or, for a gluten-free dish, rice.

Barley and Herb-Stuffed Vegetables

This dish is based on a Turkish stuffing for vegetables, a delicate sweet-savory rice mixture seasoned with allspice, cinnamon, parsley, and dill or mint.

Stuffed Yellow Peppers With Israeli Couscous and Pesto

This recipe uses the large spherical couscous that we know as Israeli couscous.

Pattypan Squash Stuffed With Corn

Large dark green and yellow pattypan squash, available at farmers’ markets, are perfect for stuffing with this simple mixture of squash, corn, a little onion and a very light custard.

Eggplant Stuffed With Rice and Tomatoes

The filling for these irresistible stuffed eggplants are also good with peppers or squash.

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”.

Frances Beinecke: Obama Administration Delays Life-Saving Smog Standards

Today the Obama Administration made a decision that will endanger the health of tens of thousands of Americans. Its choice to delay stronger standards for smog lets polluters off the hook and leaves Americans with sicker family members and higher medical costs.

Smog standards exist because smog is dangerous to human health. It causes respiratory illness, cardiac disease, and premature death. Though we have made progress in reducing this harmful pollution in American skies, we haven’t licked the problem yet.

The stronger smog standards would have saved up to 4,300 lives and avoid as many as 2,200 heart attacks every year. They would have made breathing easier for the 24 million Americans living with asthma. And they also would have created up to $37 billion in health benefits annually.

By failing to deliver these health and economic benefits to the American people, President Obama has come down on the side of polluters and those extreme forces who deny the value of government safeguards.

Charles M. Blow: In Honor of Teachers

Since it’s back-to-school season across the country, I wanted to celebrate a group that is often maligned: teachers. Like so many others, it was a teacher who changed the direction of my life, and to whom I’m forever indebted.

A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll released this week found that 76 percent of Americans believed that high-achieving high school students should later be recruited to become teachers, and 67 percent of respondents said that they would like to have a child of their own take up teaching in the public schools as a career.

But how do we expect to entice the best and brightest to become teachers when we keep tearing the profession down? We take the people who so desperately want to make a difference that they enter a field where they know that they’ll be overworked and underpaid, and we scapegoat them as the cause of a societywide failure.

Desmond S. King and Roger M. Smith: On Race, the Silence Is Bipartisan

THE economic crisis in the United States is also a racial crisis. White Americans are hurting, but nonwhite Americans are hurting even more. Yet leaders in both political parties – for different reasons – continue to act as though race were anachronistic and irrelevant in a country where an African-American is the president.


Both parties should accept that the question of whether policies help narrow the racial divide must be part of the discussion. After all, it was the Republican-led search for racial progress in the 1860s and the Democratic-led fight for civil rights in the 1960s – buttressed, of course, by African-Americans’ own freedom struggle – that allowed the election of a black president in 2008.

Joe Conason: How to Honor the True Spirit of 9/11: First, Ignore Limbaugh

f volunteerism is suddenly unpatriotic and even “socialist,” that will come as a nasty surprise to many of the Republicans and conservatives who always have supported such efforts, notably including both presidents named Bush. And if stepping up to help our neighbors and community on 9/11 would somehow dishonor the Americans killed in those infamous attacks-as feverish critics of President Barack Obama now scream-then what do they think actually happened on that day 10 years ago?

The latest outbreak of phony outrage began when the president, following a tradition established by George W. Bush, announced that he and the first lady will mark the upcoming anniversary as a “National Day of Service and Remembrance” and urged Americans to “come together, in their communities and neighborhoods, to honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service and charity.”

To Rush Limbaugh and assorted lesser cogs in the right-wing noise machine, that was a deeply controversial statement and an attempt to “politicize” the event-as if the White House had ordered everybody to put on blue caps, join a local Obama for America chapter and then build a solar house for the poor.

Eugene Robinson: Always Some Bushie There to Remind Us

Thank you, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, for emerging from your secure, undisclosed locations to remind us how we got into this mess: It didn’t happen by accident.

The important thing isn’t what Bush says in his interview with National Geographic or what scores Cheney tries to settle in his memoir. What matters is that as they return to the public eye, they highlight their record of wrongheaded policy choices that helped bring the nation to a sour, penurious state.

David Sirota: The Lesson of the Chinese Invasion

Many economic Nostradamuses have long predicted that the epitaph on America’s tombstone will ultimately read, “Made in China.” But casual observers probably didn’t think the funeral procession would happen this fast. In the last year, though, most have wised up. Thanks to a spate of mind-blowing headlines, we are learning that the Chinese invasion isn’t just a distant possibility-it’s happening right now.

First, in February, ABC News reported that almost every Americana-themed trinket sold in the Smithsonian Institute is made in China. Then news hit that San Francisco is importing its new bay bridge from China. Then came the New York Times dispatch about the Big Apple awarding Chinese state-subsidized firms huge taxpayer-funded contracts to “renovate the subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium.”

Derek Lazzaro: American Officials Enjoy Lives Without Shame

Once upon a time, there was a specific word to describe the misdeed of an officeholder or custodian of trust who had betrayed his or her duties: malfeasance.

That word, originating from ancient Latin, can be translated into modern English to mean a “bad doing.”

If you believe the old tales, malfeasance once was an offense that carried stiff penalties: public humiliation, social ostracism, and civil or criminal sanctions.

And in traditional cultures with shame, a disgraced official would resign-or worse.

No longer, it seems.

On This Day In History September 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

On this day in 1783, the Treaty of Paris is signed ending the American Revolution

The treaty document was signed at the Hotel d’York – which is now 56 Rue Jacob – by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay (representing the United States) and David Hartley (a member of the British Parliament representing the British Monarch, King George III). Hartley was lodging at the hotel, which was therefore chosen in preference to the nearby British Embassy – 44 Rue Jacob – as “neutral” ground for the signing.

On September 3, Britain also signed separate agreements with France and Spain, and (provisionally) with the Netherlands. In the treaty with Spain, the colonies of East and West Florida were ceded to Spain (without any clearly defined northern boundary, resulting in disputed territory resolved with the Treaty of Madrid), as was the island of Minorca, while the Bahama Islands, Grenada and Montserrat, captured by the French and Spanish, were returned to Britain. The treaty with France was mostly about exchanges of captured territory (France’s only net gains were the island of Tobago, and Senegal in Africa), but also reinforced earlier treaties, guaranteeing fishing rights off Newfoundland. Dutch possessions in the East Indies, captured in 1781, were returned by Britain to the Netherlands in exchange for trading privileges in the Dutch East Indies.

The American Congress of the Confederation, which met temporarily in Annapolis, Maryland, ratified the treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784 (Ratification Day).[1] Copies were sent back to Europe for ratification by the other parties involved, the first reaching France in March. British ratification occurred on April 9, 1784, and the ratified versions were exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784. It was not for some time, though, that the Americans in the countryside received the news due to the lack of communication.

The ISS is screwed.

So I’m almost done with my ringleader gig at TDS/TCR.  I like those diaries (call me old school) because they are fast paced and interactive which is something I’ve never been able to duplicate in this platform, partly because I have so much work creating content and scheduling that I’m not often able to stick around.

In any event, Kyle the Mainer was unaware of the plight of the International Space Station and since the repeat Thursday included Stephen’s interview with the crew of STS-135 I made that the focus.

The plan was that going forward there would be a semi-permanent crew of 6 at the International Space Station supported by regular visits of Russian Progress unmanned supply capsules and the crew rotated 3 at a time by manned Soyuz capsules with 2 extra attached to the Station as ‘life boats’.

On August 24th, about 6 days after this interview was taped, a Russian Soyuz launch vehicle (as opposed to capsule) with a Progress supply payload crashed shortly after launch.

No big dead said people at the time, we’ll just stretch out supplies and launch another one soon.  They even made jokes about one of the Russians having to borrow flight suits from an American.

It turns out that it was much more serious.  You see, it was the second such failure in a row and the Soyuz launch program was suspended indefinitely a day later.

Not only that, the delay of the planned September crew rotation mission is a real problem which, as reported Monday the 29th could result in the complete evacuation of the ISS by November.

The problem you see is that the Hydrogen Peroxide component of the maneuvering thruster fuel on a Soyuz capsule degrades over time.  Quite quickly in fact, it only has a safe life of 210 days.  Both the ‘life boat’ re-entry vehicles are near their limit and must be replaced by units traveling with crew replacements.

So there is talk of evacuation and leaving the Station unmanned for the first time in over 10 years.  There are 2 problems with this- The first is component failure.  While the Station can be controlled from the ground, if there is a problem requiring maintenance the chances of having the entire platform de-orbit and burn up in the atmosphere start at 10% in the first 6 months and rise to 50% after a year.

The second problem is that there are already people questioning the utility of the ISS and the need for a crew at all.

So this is why the Space Station is screwed.


I may be unduly pessimistic, it’s entirely possible that the launch failures are due to procedural errors as the Russians insist and that they will be corrected in time for the next scheduled launch in late September.  On the other hand it’s not at all encouraging that one of the most prominent voices in favor of shutting down the ISS is the Director of the entire Russian program.

DocuDharma Digest

Featured Essays-


Popular Culture (Music) 20110902: The Who. Quadrophenia Part I

I apologize for posting late tonight, but a very rare event happened.  The International Space Station made a transit directly overhead at posting time, and I did not want to miss it.  Besides, my lovely friend wanted to watch it with me.  It was a spectacular sight, and the ISS was not bad, either, LOL!

Second, I was going to add a new crosspost site that is run by our friend ninkasi23, but never figured out how to make it so.  I trust that she will email or call me to help me over my stupidity.

I was going to write about the compilation album, Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy this time but we have already discussed every song on that record.  However, I will make a comment about the title.

Most people think that the title was just sort of a dirty joke, but it actually was a description of the band members.  I think that Lambert came up with it, but I am not really sure.  Here is the meaning:

At the time, and still, Daltrey was pretty fit, so he was Meaty, meaning all muscle and no fat.  Moon, of course, kept the beat, so he was Beaty.  Entwistle, aka The Ox, was a really big guy, and of course Townshend was always leaping about the stage, so he was Bouncy.  Now you know, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 9.1.2011

Find out why actor Steven Seagal and Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona are WORSE; Michele Bachmann is WORSER; and Mike Shaw, the acting chairman of the Republican Committee of Pima County, Arizona is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for September 1, 2011.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US job growth grinds to zero

By Veronica Smith, AFP

1 hr 37 mins ago

The stuttering US economy added no jobs in August amid political budget battles that have sapped the confidence of US business, bleak official data showed Friday.

Economist raised new worries of recession after the Labor Department said that private sector employment, previously the main engine for job growth as revenue-strapped governments shed workers, “changed little” in most major industries last month.

A meager 17,000 private-sector jobs were added, down from a revised 156,000 in July. But that was offset by 17,000 jobs shed by government.