Daily Archive: 11/23/2011

Nov 23 2011

Turkey Day TV (Part the First)

It’s Holiday TV time again and just as every year the networks are junking up your schedule with special events replacing your regular shows.

I provide these diaries as a public service so you can find some distraction from the friends and relatives that if you really liked you would see more often.

This particular edition covers the cooking overnight period on Wednesday through the start of the Throwball games Thursday.  Special holiday liveblogs tomorrow are the Big Balloon Parade and both games.  Saturday and Sunday are the final Formula One races at Interlagos.  Other than that we’ll continue to maintain our regular schedule as closely as we can out of consideration for our readers.

Marathons are 4 half hour episodes or 3 hour episodes in a row and noted at the start, for current TV Listings I recommend Zap2it.  As always the shows I highlight are the ones I would consider watching, your tastes are probably different.

Nov 23 2011

Turkey Day TV (Part the First)

It’s Holiday TV time again and just as every year the networks are junking up your schedule with special events replacing your regular shows.

I provide these diaries as a public service so you can find some distraction from the friends and relatives that if you really liked you would see more often.

This particular edition covers the cooking overnight period on Wednesday through the start of the Throwball games Thursday.  Special holiday liveblogs tomorrow are the Big Balloon Parade and both games.  Saturday and Sunday are the final Formula One races at Interlagos.  Other than that we’ll continue to maintain our regular schedule as closely as we can out of consideration for our readers.

Marathons are 4 half hour episodes or 3 hour episodes in a row and noted at the start, for current TV Listings I recommend Zap2it.  As always the shows I highlight are the ones I would consider watching, your tastes are probably different.

Nov 23 2011

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”.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day

Katrina vanden Heuvel: The occupy movement can’t be sprayed away

Pepper spray can’t be washed off with water. The intense burning it causes – the stinging, the redness, the swelling, the coughing and gagging and gasping – will only subside with time, usually several hours. It can cause tissue damage and respiratory attacks. A study of its most commonly prescribed remedies found that none of them really work. It has been prohibited in war by the Chemical Weapons Convention, so our enemies don’t have to experience it on the battlefield. If only our citizens were so lucky.

Over the past several weeks police have been using pepper spray with alarming frequency in the United States against peaceful protesters. The injured include an 84-year-old woman, a pregnant woman, a priest and an Iraq war veteran. Over the weekend, we had to add to that list a group of college students, gathered nonviolently on the campus of the University of California at Davis.

For refusing to leave an occupy encampment they had set up on campus, more than a dozen students received a point-blank hosing of military-grade pepper spray by a campus police officer dressed, inexplicably, in riot gear. Then they received another one. And another. According to reports, some were punished for trying to protect their faces by having pepper spray forced down their throats. One student was reported to have been coughing up blood 45 minutes after the occurrence. Several were taken to the hospital. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the chancellor of the university defended the actions of the police. She should resign immediately.

Dapne Eviatar; Detention without end, amen

In a time of austerity, and with the planned drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, you might expect congressional proposals to reduce the military’s footprint around the world. You’d be wrong.

Instead, the defense spending bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee and now heading for a vote in the full Senate would dramatically expand the U.S. military’s role in counterterrorism – potentially inciting more attacks on U.S. interests.

At the same time, it would very likely undermine the ability of our best-trained experts in counterterrorism to investigate, prosecute and bring to justice international terrorists from all over the world.

In addition, this defense authorization bill marks the first time since the McCarthy era that Congress has sought to create a system of military detention without charge or trial – including U.S. citizens arrested on U.S. soil.

The bill would do that by authorizing such military detention of anyone, captured anywhere, believed to be “part of or [who] substantially supported” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or undefined “associated forces.”

Karen Dolan: Thank You “Super Committee!” You Failed, Now The Rest Of Us Can Succeed

The undemocratic, appointed Joint Select committee of six Democrats and six Republicans, the “Super-Committee,” failed to reach an agreement that would have unnecessarily imposed untold hardship on the vast majority of those of us already struggling in a bad economy. If this inability to reach a terrible deal is “failure”, can you imagine what “success,” defined by this crowd would have looked like?

Here’s what success should look like, and thanks to the Super-Committee fail, we might just have the time and political space to achieve some of it:

My colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies have a newly released Report: America Is Not Broke: How to Fix the Crisis While Making the Country More Equitable, Green, and Secure.

The report asserts that the current economic crisis presents us all with the opportunity and challenge to use our nation’s vast wealth to create a sustainable economy which functions well for all of us.

Amy Goodman: Pulling Accounts From the Unaccountable

Less than a month after Occupy Wall Street began, a group was gathered in New York’s historical Washington Square Park, in the heart of Greenwich Village. This was a moment of critical growth for the movement, with increasing participation from the thousands of students attending the cluster of colleges and universities there. A decision was made to march on local branches of the too-big-to-fail banks, so participants could close their accounts, and others could hold “teach-ins” to discuss the problems created by these unaccountable institutions.

Heather Carpenter, according to the federal lawsuit filed this week in New York, is studying to be a certified nursing assistant, working to pay for school as a counselor for mentally disabled people at a group home on Long Island. Her fiance, Julio Jose Jimenez-Artunduaga, is a Colombian immigrant, pursuing the American Dream, working part time as a bartender. They marched from Washington Square Park to a nearby Citibank branch, where she went to the teller to close her account, explaining her frustration with the bank’s new monthly $17 fee for accounts with balances below $6,000.

Jane Mayer: The Pipeline Protests: Taking It to the Streets

Last spring, months before Wall Street was Occupied, civil disobedience of the kind sweeping the Arab world was hard to imagine happening here. But at Middlebury College, in Vermont, Bill McKibben, a scholar-in-residence, was leading a class discussion about Taylor Branch’s trilogy on Martin Luther King, Jr., and he began to wonder if the tactics that had won the civil-rights battle could work in this country again. McKibben, who is an author and an environmental activist (and a former New Yorker staff writer), had been alarmed by a conversation he had had about the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline with James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and one of the country’s foremost climate scientists. If the pipeline was built, it would hasten the extraction of exceptionally dirty crude oil, using huge amounts of water and heat, from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, which would then be piped across the United States, where it would be refined and burned as fuel, releasing a vast new volume of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. “What would the effect be on the climate?” McKibben asked. Hansen replied, “Essentially, it’s game over for the planet.”

It seemed a moment when, literally, a line had to be drawn in the sand. Crossing it, environmentalists believed, meant entering a more perilous phase of “extreme energy.” The tar sands’ oil deposits may be a treasure trove second in value only to Saudi Arabia’s, and the pipeline, as McKibben saw it, posed a powerful test of America’s resolve to develop cleaner sources of energy, as Barack Obama had promised to do in the 2008 campaign.

Allison Kilkenny: Occupy Wall Street and the Importance of Creative Protest

Perhaps the single biggest factor that helped lead to the Occupy movement’s success in capturing the media and public’s attention has been its creativity. Novel protest strategies have served as OWS’s foundation since its first days. The very idea of occupying, and sleeping in, a park twenty-four hours a day was new and exciting.

Up until Occupy, most protests had become exercises in futility. Protesters would show up with their sad, limp carboard signs, march around for a little while-maybe press would show up, but most likely not-and then everyone would go home. Hardly effective stuff.

Even when the protests were massive, say during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, media had learned to ignore protests as being the hallmark of a bygone era of granola-munching hippies. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the media helped hand protesters loss after loss, perhaps recognizing the fact that protest waged within the perimeters constructed by city officials is completely ineffective.

Rebecca Solnit: ‘You Can Crush the Flowers, But You Can’t Stop the Spring’

Dream big. Occupy your hopes. Talk to strangers. Live in public. Don’t stop now.

Last Tuesday, I awoke in lower Manhattan to the whirring of helicopters overhead, a war-zone sound that persisted all day and then started up again that Thursday morning, the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and a big day of demonstrations in New York City. It was one of the dozens of ways you could tell that the authorities take Occupy Wall Street seriously, even if they profoundly mistake what kind of danger it poses. If you ever doubted whether you were powerful or you mattered, just look at the reaction to people like you (or your children) camped out in parks from Oakland to Portland, Tucson to Manhattan.

Of course, “camped out” doesn’t quite catch the spirit of the moment, because those campsites are the way people have come together to bear witness to their hopes and fears, to begin to gather their power and discuss what is possible in our disturbingly unhinged world, to make clear how wrong our economic system is, how corrupt the powers that support it are, and to begin the search for a better way. Consider it an irony that the campsites are partly for sleeping, but symbols of the way we have awoken.

When civil society sleeps, we’re just a bunch of individuals absorbed in our private lives. When we awaken, on campgrounds or elsewhere, when we come together in public and find our power, the authorities are terrified. They often reveal their ugly side, their penchant for violence and for hypocrisy.

Rachel Signer: Students in Debt: “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay, Don’t Pay”

It seems like the right moment to initiate a nationwide campaign against the student lending industry. In a short time, Occupy Wall Street had reinvigorated the left and called the media’s attention back to the financial crisis of 2008. Young people everywhere are underemployed and struggling to repay debt, and many of these same people are now becoming inspired by the radicalism of Occupy.

It began with a teach-in. On Wednesday, October 16, New York University professor Andrew Ross led an open forum titled “Is Student Debt a Form of Indenture?” at the public atrium at 60 Wall Street, which had been transformed into an office of Occupy Wall Street. Each day, the atrium filled with activists who made their way from the park, dodging traders and tourists alike, for afternoon teach-ins and working group meetings.

Nov 23 2011

Congressional Game of Chicken: Deficit Deal Post Mortem

On the PBS News Hour, Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman and Martin Feldstein, a professor of economy at Harvard University and former chair of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, discussed the failure of the Deficit Super Committee (click here for the transcript) :

What stands out is what was not mentioned by either Krugman or Feldstein, the Bush tax cuts, which the Republicans insisted be made permanent in exchange for any tax revenues no matter how meager. In the light of the Republican objection to an extension of the 2% payroll tax cut because of the $250 billion dollar per year cost, it is laughable in the face of the fact that just extending the tax cuts another 10 years would cost $5.4 trillion in revenue losses., four times as much as the payroll tax cuts. But not a peep from either man or the interviewer.

Krugman was correct in stating that the Democrats were far too generous and, as John Aravosis has pointed out in the past, they are lousy negotiators, always starting from their bottom line. However, Dana Milbank in his the Washington Post opinion makes clear that this committee was doomed from the start by the mere presence of one man, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), an immovable object when it comes to tax increases, “doing Norquist’s bidding in killing any notion of higher taxes”:

The sabotage began on the very first day the supercommittee met. While other members from both parties spoke optimistically about the need to put everything on the table, Kyl gave a gloomy opening statement. “I think a dose of realism is called for here,” he said. That same day, he went to a luncheon organized by conservative think tanks and threatened to walk (“I’m off the committee”) if there were further defense cuts.

When Democrats floated their proposal combining tax increases and spending cuts, Kyl rejected it out of hand, citing Republicans’ pledge to activist Grover Norquist not to raise taxes. Kyl’s constant invocation of the Norquist pledge provoked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to snap at Kyl during a private meeting: “What is this, high school?” [..]

Norquist, who worked to defeat a compromise, brags about his control over Kyl. When Kyl made remarks in May that appeared to leave open the possibility of tax increases, Norquist called Kyl and adopted “the tone of a teacher scolding a second grader as he recalled the conversation,” Politico reported. Norquist boasted to the publication that, after he upbraided Kyl, the senator “went down on the floor and he gave a colloquy about how we’re against any tax increases of any sort. Boom!”

It is fairly obvious that the Senate Republicans under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell and Norqist’s Svengali-like control, are willing to risk the stabilization of the economy and kill any job creation bills to defeat President Obama and gain control of both houses. As Aravosis points out in his article today the best that Feldstein could do was blame both parties equally. Perhaps over the next year, the Democrats and President Obama should continue to put forth really bold bills, bolder than the President’s last job proposal, to further demonstrate the intransigence of the Republicans. It might go a long way to shed the image that Democrats are the party of capitulation.  

Nov 23 2011

On this Day In History November 23

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 23 is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 38 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.

In 1936 publisher Henry Luceaid $92,000 to the owners of Life magazine because he sought the name for Time Inc. Wanting only the old Life’s name in the sale, Time Inc. sold Life’s subscription list, features, and goodwill to Judge. Convinced that pictures could tell a story instead of just illustrating text, Luce launched Life on November 23, 1936. The third magazine published by Luce, after Time in 1923 and Fortune in 1930, Life gave birth to the photo magazine in the U.S., giving as much space and importance to pictures as to words. The first issue of Life, which sold for ten cents (approximately USD $1.48 in 2007, see Cost of Living Calculator) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s pictures.

When the first issue of Life magazine appeared on the newsstands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war. Adolf Hitler was firmly in power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s rebel army was at the gates of Madrid; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia. Luce ignored tense world affairs when the new Life was unveiled: the first issue depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.

Nov 23 2011

What’s Cooking: Don’t Throw That Turkey Carcass Out

Republished and edited from November 25, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.

I know by tomorrow tonight you will be sick if looking at the remnants of dinner, especially that turkey carcass but you aren’t done with it yet. I’m going to walk you through making turkey stock.

First you will need a big pot, I mean big like the one you use to cook spaghetti big, at least big enough to hold the turkey carcass and cover it wiht water. Mmmm, say about 8 quarts big. I know you have one somewhere.

Next your going to peel an onion, slicing off the top but leaving the stem part intact. Cut it in half through the stem. Gather some whole carrots and a few celery stalks (don’t cut off the leaves that’s where the most flavor is). Peel some garlic, as much as you’d like (we like a lot) but at least two cloves, leaving it whole. Take some of the herbs that you used to season the turkey with and three or four bay leaves and set it aside in a bowl for a minute.

Now, put the turkey in the empty pot to make sure it fits. If it doesn’t you have a couple of  choices the easiest of which is to cut the carcass into sections so it fits into the pot you have. Now that it fits, put it on the stove and fill it with cold water using a pitcher (this gets heavy that’s why you’re doing it this way), covering the turkey . Add all the veggies, cover and bring to a full boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 3 or 4 hours, stirring occasionally and scraping the loose meat off the bones.

With most of the meat off the bones, remove the bones with a large slotted spoon or scoop and discard the bones. If it’s cold enough out side where you are, put the pot outside to cool. If it’s cold enough the fat which will float to the top will solidify and can be easily removed with a spatula.

Now strain the stock through a sieve lined with cheese cloth. Discard all those vegetables, the flavor is now all in the stock. Add new vegetables; chopped carrots, cubed potatoes, thinly sliced celery, soup greens such as kale, collards, chopped savoy cabbage or escarole, sliced onions, fresh herbs, and last but not least, pasta.

If you have a lot of stock, it can be frozen. I save the pint and quart plastic containers from the Chinese take out. They are also useful to put chicken and meat bones so my talented cats can’t get into them.  Bones are not good for kitties.

The stock is also great for making Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. You’ll need

* about 8 cups of stock. If you don’t have enough turkey from your stock, College Inn makes a very good Turkey broth but it won’t be as good as yours.

* 2 cups of Risotto or Arborio Rice

* about 3 tbsp of Olive Oil

* 3 tablespoons of butter, unsalted

* 1 pound of fresh wild mushrooms such as portobella, crimini (baby portabella) or shiitake. I like shiitake best but usually use half and half. The mushrooms should be cleaned with a soft paper towel or soft brush.

(I have a soft brush just for mushrooms. I also have a truffle slicer. 😉 )

* 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, or 1 tbsp dried

* 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, the other parsley, curly, is very rarely used in cooking. Its mostly a garnish.

* 2 large shallots chopped or a small onion

* 2 cloves of garlic, chopped.

* 1/2 cup dry white wine, something you would drink with the risotto.

* 2 tablespoons of fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the broth in a sauce pan and keep it warm over low heat.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Fry until it just begins to color, then add the mushrooms and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons butter in a separate skillet. Soften the shallots in the butter. Add the rice and saute for a couple of minutes, stirring, so the rice becomes coated with the butter. Add the wine and bring to a boil. When it has evaporated, add one-half cup of the hot chicken stock.

Keep adding the hot broth, one-half cup at a time, to the rice. Continue until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid. The rice is done when it is creamy, but al dente.

Stir in the remaining butter, the mushrooms and the Parmigiano Reggiano. Mix gently, garnish with a few leaves of tarragon and serve.

Bon Appétit!

Nov 23 2011

Obama Gets Served By #OWS

Speaking at a high school in New Hampshire President Barack Obama got mic checked by a group from #OWS. His response satisfied his supporters in the audience but failed to condemn the outrageous brutality and abuse by police departments and university police or the over 4000 arrest of peaceful demonstrators and credential reporters while the people who caused the economic crisis are protected by his administration.

“Mr. President, over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested while bankers continue to destroy the American economy,” it said. “You must stop the assault on our 1st Amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”

Obama’s DOJ is falling down on its responsibility to put a check on attacks and violations of the right of peaceful assembly to redress grievances, as well as, freedom of speech and the press. Not only should the police officer who pepper sprayed the students be arrested but so should the officers who beat an Iraq veteran in Oakland, lacerating his spleen and any number of other officers for unnecessary use of force. Mayor Bloomberg should be charged with federal violations of Title 18 of Civil Rights Law for ordering the illegal evacuation of Zuccotti Park violating NY & NYC laws and regulations, and allowing the NYPD to use brutal force against peaceful demonstrators and the press.

DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW

   Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

   For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

   The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

   Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same). Unlike most conspiracy statutes, Section 241 does not require that one of the conspirators commit an overt act prior to the conspiracy becoming a crime.

         The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

“Countdown” guest host David Shuster and Jonathan Turley, constitutional law expert and professor at George Washington University – and a Countdown contributor – analyze Mayor Bloomberg’s claim that the NYPD are keeping the press from the story “so journalists can be safe.” Turley notes, “The problem is that we’re not getting any responsible public officials who are coming forward saying, ‘This is wrong,'” and as a result abuses against protesters often go without penalty: “They can really get away with this.”

We are waiting for you to condemn police brutality in this country and the bankers, Mr. President.