11/12/2011 archive

Random Japan



A burly American golfer at Tama Hills found himself part of a unique “hole-in-one” when he fell into an eight-foot deep sinkhole that opened up beneath him on the fairway. He climbed out and finished his round, as you do.

Mountain climber Nobukazu Kuriki was forced to abandon his climb up Mount Everest-the mountain with the biggest tits in the world, as the boys from Monty Python once pointed out-just 1,000 meters from the summit when crows ate his food supply.

It was reported that Princess Mako, the oldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, said on her 20th birthday that “she will try to act appropriately as an adult as she has come of age.” Where’s the fun in that? Time to party, we say.

Need proof that Japan has gone cat crazy? It may have all started with Hello Kitty, but now we have a couple who created a “cat town,” a mall operator who started a “cat idol group,” and a virtual town that elected a cat as mayor.

“Noda enjoyed loach soup in Seoul on Tuesday night,” proclaimed the headline on the Kyodo story, referring to Japan PM Yoshihiko Noda, who famously compared himself to a loach in an election speech.

A man was arrested for leaving the dead body of his dear old dad in a closet in Kanagawa. No relation to a rotting corpse found in a wooden box in a Kanagawa apartment, vacant since May. Is there a shortage of cemeteries in Kanagawa, by any chance?

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.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Part 2: Gluten-Free Stuffings

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Wild Rice and Brown Rice Stuffing With Apples, Pecans and Cranberries

Like many Thanksgiving dishes, this pilaf combines sweet and savory foods. Apples and cranberries are high in phenolic acids, which are believed to have antioxidant properties.

Black and White Quinoa Dressing With Butternut Squash and Pecans

The light-colored version of quinoa is a fluffier grain than the black version, so it’s almost as if there are two completely different grains in this colorful mixture.

Red and Black Rice Stuffing With Red Lentils, Almonds and Cranberries

This is particularly colorful because of the beautiful salmon-colored red lentils. They are soaked, not cooked, and contribute a fresh flavor and crunchy texture to the mix.

Red Rice and Quinoa Stuffing With Mushrooms and Kale

Mushrooms lend a meaty element to this savory mixture of red rice and quinoa, and kale adds color in addition to its many nutrients.

Black and Brown Rice Stuffing With Walnuts and Pears

Pears and walnuts complement dark black and pale brown rice in this sweet and savory mixture. Make sure you don’t overcook the pears; they need only a quick sear in the pan. The optional red lentils or cranberries add some color to the mix.

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”.

Paul Krugman: Legends of the Fail

This is the way the euro ends – not with a bang but with bunga bunga. Not long ago, European leaders were insisting that Greece could and should stay on the euro while paying its debts in full. Now, with Italy falling off a cliff, it’s hard to see how the euro can survive at all.

But what’s the meaning of the eurodebacle? As always happens when disaster strikes, there’s a rush by ideologues to claim that the disaster vindicates their views. So it’s time to start debunking.

First things first: The attempt to create a common European currency was one of those ideas that cut across the usual ideological lines. It was cheered on by American right-wingers, who saw it as the next best thing to a revived gold standard, and by Britain’s left, which saw it as a big step toward a social-democratic Europe. But it was opposed by British conservatives, who also saw it as a step toward a social-democratic Europe. And it was questioned by American liberals, who worried – rightly, I’d say (but then I would, wouldn’t I?) – about what would happen if countries couldn’t use monetary and fiscal policy to fight recessions.

Andew Feintein: Arms and the Corrupt Man

LAST week’s conviction of Viktor Bout, the so-called Merchant of Death, was a rare moment of triumph in the fight against the illicit arms trade.

But it points to the fundamental hypocrisy at the heart of the global trade in weapons: Governments protect corrupt and dangerous arms dealers as long as they need them and then throw them behind bars when they are no longer useful.

Arms deals stretch across a continuum of legality and ethics from the formal trade to the gray and black markets. In practice, the boundaries between the three markets are fuzzy.

Gail Collins: Guess What It’s Time For!

It’s the weekend. The air is brisk, the leaves are tumbling, so it’s time for – yes! – another Republican debate!

The Republicans meet again Saturday night in South Carolina, where the whole nation will get to see the effects of the long-awaited Newt Gingrich Surge.

Newt is up! CBS basically has Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in a dead heat. A McClatchy-Marist poll has Mitt at 23 percent, followed by Newt at 19 percent and Cain at 17 percent. Only 30 percent of Romney’s supporters said that they firmly back him, noted Lee Miringoff of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Gingrich’s number is 43.”

Eugene Robinson: The Nonsense Debate

Don’t laugh too hard at Rick Perry for his mortifying episode of brain-lock at Wednesday’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate. His opponents managed to remember their lines, but didn’t do any better at making sense.

OK, I understand, the Perry Meltdown is hard to resist. There are three reasons why the Texas governor needs to pack it up and head back to Austin: He’s embarrassing himself; his plunging poll numbers give him little chance of winning the nomination; and, um, let’s see, the third reason, wait a minute, it’ll come to me. …

David Sirota: Why Income Inequality Suddenly Matters

A few weeks ago, as the Occupy Wall Street protests were first spreading, something amazing happened: For 10 whole seconds, the local reporter on my TV screen actually talked about the realities of the recession. He even uttered the phrase “economic inequality.”

My guess is that you’ve seen something similar on your local affiliate-and that’s no minor event. When even the most local of television journalists are compelled to acknowledge this crushing emergency in a country whose media aggressively promotes American Dream agitprop, it means the Occupy protesters have scored a monumental victory. You can almost imagine a Wall Street CEO turning to an aide and muttering a slightly altered riff off LBJ: “If we’ve lost Ron Burgundy, we’ve lost Middle America.”

Paul Rogat Loeb: From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Neighborhoods

The Occupy movement has done something amazing, getting Americans to start questioning our economic divides. It’s created spaces for people to come together, voice their discontents and dreams, creatively challenge destructive greed. It’s created powerful political theater, engaged community, an alternative to silence and powerlessness.

But it also faces major challenges. I’m fine that this new public commons isn’t offering detailed platforms for change. We can find plenty in almost any Paul Krugman or Robert Kuttner column. Instead, the movement has highlighted the destructive polarization of wealth while voicing what one young woman called “a cry for something better.” And that’s a major contribution. The movement and its allies now need to keep spreading this message to that majority of Americans who are sympathetic, but have given up on the possibility of change. To reach those more resistant, who might respond if seriously engaged. To make the physical occupations not just ends in themselves, but bases where more and more people can participate and find ways to publicly act. To keep momentum building even in the winter cold and when media coverage fades. To find continuing ways for people to act without dissipating their energy in an array of fragmented efforts. And, although some participants would disagree, to become part of a broader movement that without muting its voice helps bring about a better electoral outcome in 2012 than the disaster of 2010, when corporate interests prevailed again and again because those who would have rejected their lies stayed home.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 57

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

Joan Baez @ Occupy Wall Street Foley Sq (11/11/11) Veteran’s Day “Where’s My Apple Pie?”

Joan Baez sings in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street “My Apple Pie” a song she wrote in the 70s changing lyrics to “Time To Occupy”

Occupy Wall Street Had A Big Concert Yesterday, And It Proved That Things Have Changed

On Veteran’s Day, we set out to write about Occupy Wall Street without any idea of what to expect. We had word that there were going to be demonstrations all over the city- one in Central Park, and a concert in Foley Square.

We devoted the most time to the concert, where around 300 people stood smiling in the cold. Joan Baez was headlining, and it seemed like a good opportunity for pictures.

Check out the pictures

But it ended up being much more- because it was there that we noticed something had happened to Occupy Wall Street without it trying, and perhaps without it knowing. The amorphous movement had become a structured thing.

In the early days, we would enter the park and ask questions. We would receive answers, but they were without authority. ‘Well, this is what you should know, but I am no one to tell you. We all speak for each other in this place.’

Now it’s different. Occupy Wall Street now has a structure and a culture all its own, developed rapidly though the use of technology, the confrontation of adversity, and self-imposed isolation. They do, after all, live in a park on their own.

On Veteran’s Day it all showed. [..]

On this Day In History November 12

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.

November 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 49 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, Upon hearing of England’s rejection of the so-called Olive Branch Petition on this day in 1775, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John:

The intelegance you will receive before this reaches you, will I should think make a plain path, tho a dangerous one for you. I could not join to day in the petitions of our worthy parson, for a reconciliation between our, no longer parent State, but tyrant State, and these Colonies. — Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices.

The previous July, Congress had adopted the Olive Branch Petition, written by John Dickinson, which appealed directly to King George III and expressed hope for reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain. Dickinson, who hoped desperately to avoid a final break with Britain, phrased colonial opposition to British policy as follows:

“Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.”

Abigail Adams’ response was a particularly articulate expression of many colonists’ thoughts: Patriots had hoped that Parliament had curtailed colonial rights without the king’s full knowledge, and that the petition would cause him to come to his subjects’ defense. When George III refused to read the petition, Patriots like Adams realized that Parliament was acting with royal knowledge and support. Americans’ patriotic rage was intensified with the January 1776 publication by English-born radical Thomas Paine of Common Sense, an influential pamphlet that attacked the monarchy, which Paine claimed had allowed “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”

F1: Yas Marina Qualifying

Well, there are a couple of different threads going on in the world of Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One (which Bernie works very hard to make the same thing).

Just two days ago Bernie was in Munich testifying in the Gribkowsky Case.  Bernie’s story is that his $44 Million payment wasn’t a bribe to ensure that Gribkowsky sold the interests of the Kirsh Group at a loss so that it wouldn’t trigger the profit sharing agreements, INSTEAD it was extortion money given Gribkowsky so he wouldn’t testify that Ecclestone’s (then) wife’s $8 Billion Trust Fund was in fact under Bernie’s control, allowing him to evade $3.2 Billion in taxes and penalties (here and here also).

You see, that makes it so much better.

Like James Murdoch however, Bernie still faces contradiction under oath from a lawyer associated with Bambino Trust and other Formula One related entities, Stephen Mullins; but we’ll get back to Jimmy-boy later.

2012 is the last year teams will be racing under the current extension of the Concorde Agreement between the Formula One Teams Association, CVC, and the FIA and Scuderia Marlboro UPC and McLaren at least (just the current 2nd and 3rd most powerful teams this season and 1st and 2nd historically).  Just as he did in 2005, Bernie seems poised to give Maranello an exclusive bribe to stay loyal, this time $100 Million in ‘chump change’.  FOTA canceled a scheduled meeting this weekend.

Still, Ecclestone is under increasing pressure, summarized in this extensive Bloomberg article

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and the Agnelli family’s Exor SpA want to buy the 63.4 percent of Formula One owned by London- based buyout firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. through its Jersey, Channel Islands-based holding company Delta Topco Ltd.

The would-be buyers are pushing ahead despite News Corp.’s run-ins with U.K. authorities over a phone-hacking scandal involving one of its newspapers, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Bernie’s continued control is complicated by the fact that he only owns a 5.3% direct stake while 15% is owned by his ex-wife’s Bambino Trust.

The Bloomberg piece also reports this incident-

It was 10 a.m. on a June day in 2005 as fans filed into their seats for the U.S. Grand Prix. Two days earlier, a Michelin & Cie.-made tire on Toyota team driver Ralf Schumacher’s car had burst on turn 13 and the auto smashed into a wall at 175 miles per hour, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue.

The tiremaker said it couldn’t rule out more accidents.

As the managers gathered around, Ecclestone called Max Mosley, president of Formula One’s ruling body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), at home in Monaco in a last-minute attempt to persuade him to alter the racetrack layout so the grand prix could proceed smoothly.

Mosley was unmoved, according to Paul Stoddart, then owner of the now-defunct Minardi team, who was in the trailer. He wouldn’t change the rules.

With the 1 p.m. start nearing, the crowd swelling toward 120,000 and a public relations disaster looming, Ecclestone lost his temper and swore at Mosley, by Stoddart’s account. As if on cue, irate fans hurled beer cans onto the racetrack after 14 of the 20 cars withdrew from the race.

For his part, Ecclestone now says Mosley was “probably right” to stop the race because the FIA president could have faced a murder charge if another crash on the same turn caused a fatality.

Nice guy eh?  Mosley’s intervention was probably the only thing that prevented a Dan Wheldon incident.

Max, for all his reported goose stepping sado-masochistic sex romps, had a relatively good week; winning a $51,000 verdict against News of the World and Nigel Thurlbeck for invasion of privacy, while James Murdoch sat before a Parliamentary inquiry again-

Murdoch’s Former Allies Deliver a Counterpunch

By RAVI SOMAIYA, The New York Times

Published: November 11, 2011

The two men had presented a united front with Mr. Murdoch through years of scrutiny since the scandal surfaced in 2006. But that cracked after Mr. Murdoch’s first round of testimony, in July, as the panel tried to determine how long he had known of potentially rampant hacking at The News of the World, now defunct.

Any remaining bonds between them shattered after Mr. Murdoch’s second round, on Thursday. In both appearances before the parliamentary committee, he was asked sharp questions about clear evidence of broader hacking that circulated among his executives in 2008. Mr. Murdoch sought to deflect the panel’s focus from himself and toward Mr. Myler and Mr. Crone.

After the first round, the two men released a statement rejecting Mr. Murdoch’s testimony that they had not informed him of evidence suggesting more widespread hacking: an e-mail that indicated more than one reporter at The News of the World had used information from hacked voicemail messages for stories. On Thursday, after Mr. Murdoch said their statements were “inconsistent and not right” and “misleading,” the rejoinder was swift.

“It is regrettable,” Mr. Crone counterpunched in a statement, “but I can perfectly understand why James Murdoch felt the need to discredit Colin Myler and myself. The simple truth is that he was told by us in 2008 about the damning e-mail and what it meant in terms of wider News of the World involvement.” He concluded: “At best, his evidence on this matter was disingenuous.” Mr. Myler, too, said he stood by his account.

Oh, you want to know about racing.  Why?  The Scuderia Marlboro fanboys won’t even tell you what compounds we are using this week so obsessed are they with the fascinating duel for 6th place in the Constructor’s Championship (the only position still contested) where a mere 10 points separate the 3 contenders.

Yas Marina is the penultimate race this season which is already over for all intents and purposes.

Developments, surprising or not, below.

Translator is Coming Back from Vacation 20111111

This might sound like a trivial entry, but it is not.  I have been sort of burnt out writing almost continuously for the past many months.  It would be different if I were paid for it, but I am not.  I do it as a labor of love, and also have the calling to be a teacher.  I just did not have the heart in me to write Popular Culture last Friday, and that carried over to Pique the Geek Sunday, and My Little Town Wednesday.

There are several reasons for that.  For one, the comments, tips, and recs just do not seem to be coming like they used to do.  That is probably my fault.  I believe that the quality of my pieces has sort of slipped here of late, and I sincerely apologize for that.  There is a reason, but it is personal.