Daily Archive: 12/03/2011

Dec 03 2011

Random Japan

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OK, IF YOU SAY SO

A Japanese aid worker who was rescued from the rubble following last month’s earthquake in Turkey said that the glow from her laptop “calmed me down and gave me hope to stay alive.”

The newly installed head of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, claims to spend “a lot of time thinking about North Korea.”

Officials at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries say that no national defense secrets were lost during a recent cyber-attack on its servers, although the company didn’t rule out the possibility that “important data, such as those related to nuclear power, have been leaked.”

An Air SDF pilot whose plane crashed into the East China Sea in July and whose body was never recovered is believed to have suffered from G-LOC, or g force-related loss of consciousness.

A poll conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Xinhua news agency found that 17 percent of Japanese have a positive view of relations with China, while 46 percent of Chinese have a positive view of Japan.

Dec 03 2011

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.

Flavorful and Sustainable Fish

Grilled or Pan-Cooked Albacore With Soy/Mirin Marinade

I didn’t break the bank buying fresh fish. I looked in the freezer department, where there is often a better selection (depending on where you shop), and was able to find moderately priced varieties. Among them were albacore steaks, one of the few types of tuna that we can still enjoy with a clear conscience, and a great fish to eat if you’re trying to get more omega-3s into your diet, and farmed Arctic char, another fatty fish full of omega-3s. It’s pink like salmon, but meatier, and the taste is not as strong.

Grilled or Pan-Cooked Albacore With Soy/Mirin Marinade

If you are concerned about the quantity of soy sauce, know that most of it stays behind in the bowl when you cook the fish. If you are using frozen albacore steaks, wait until they are partly thawed before marinating.

Pacific Cod Ceviche

The cod that gets the Environmental Defense Fund’s highest rating is Pacific cod.

Halibut, Chard and Potato Casserole

Make sure to cover this tightly so the fish doesn’t dry out. An hour seems like a long time to cook fish, but the fish is well insulated and won’t dry out.

Steamed Cod or Sea Bass Salad With Red Peppers, Cilantro and Mint

This refreshing combination has Middle Eastern overtones, though in the Middle East the fish would probably be fried or poached. Serve it as a first course or as a light main dish.

Albacore Steaks With Simmered Fennel

Sea bass is the fish I always associate with fennel, as the combination is a classic in Provence. But cross the border into Italy and you’ll find tuna cooked with this anise-flavored vegetable.

Dec 03 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”.

New York Times Editorial: Been Down So Long …

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November from 9 percent in October in the jobs report released Friday. The economy added 120,000 jobs and job growth was revised upward in September and October.

That’s better than rising unemployment and falling payrolls. Yet, properly understood, the new figures reveal more about the depth of distress in the job market than about real improvement in job prospects.

Most of the decline in November’s unemployment rate was not because jobless people found new work. Rather, it is because 315,000 people dropped out of the work force, a reflection of extraordinarily weak demand by employers for new workers. It is also a sign of socioeconomic decline, of wasted resources and untapped potential, the human equivalent of boarded-up Main Streets and shuttered factories.

Charles M. Blow: Newt’s War on Poor Children

Newt Gingrich has reached a new low, and that is hard for him to do.

Nearly two weeks after claiming that child labor laws are “truly stupid” and implying that poor children should be put to work as janitors in their schools, he now claims that poor children don’t understand work unless they’re doing something illegal.

On Thursday, at a campaign stop in Iowa, the former House speaker said, “Start with the following two facts: Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.” (His second “fact” was that every first generational person he knew started work early.)

This statement isn’t only cruel and, broadly speaking, incorrect, it’s mind-numbingly tone-deaf at a time when poverty is rising in this country. He comes across as a callous Dickensian character in his attitude toward America’s most vulnerable – our poor children. This is the kind of statement that shines light on the soul of a man and shows how dark it is.

Andy Worthington: Deranged Senate Votes for Military Detention of All Terror Suspects and a Permanent Guantánamo

Yesterday the shameful dinosaurs of the Senate – hopelessly out of touch with reality, for the most part, and haunted by specters of their own making – approved, by 93 votes to 7, the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (PDF), which contains a number of astonishingly alarming provisions – Sections 1031 and 1032, designed to make mandatory the indefinite military detention of terror suspects until the end of hostilities in a “war on terror” that seems to have no end (if they are identified as a member of al-Qaeda or an alleged affiliate, or have planned or carried out an attack on the United States), ending a long and entirely appropriate tradition of trying terror suspects in federal court for their alleged crimes, and Sections 1033 and 1034, which seek to prevent the closure of Guantánamo by imposing onerous restrictions on the release of prisoners, and banning the use of funds to purchase an alternative prison anywhere else. I have previously remarked on these depressing developments in articles in July and October, as they have had a horribly long period of gestation, in which no one with a grip on reality – and admiration for the law – has been able to wipe them out.

Dan Froomkin: Suskind’s ‘Confidence Men’ Raises Questions About Obama’s Credibility

Barack Obama is heading back onto the campaign trail, running as a champion of the middle class and even hoping to harness the Occupy movement’s public anger at Wall Street.

But the higher he soars with his populist rhetoric, the more he calls attention to the enormous gap between the promise of hope and change that he campaigned on in 2008 and the actions he has taken as president — especially regarding the economy, which is still stagnating, and Wall Street, which remains unpunished and unbowed even after causing the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

As a result, voters will inevitably be asking themselves: Who is this guy, really? Does he mean what he says? Will he do what he says? And would a second-term Obama be different?

Frida Berrigan: Ten Years of Guantanamo Demands Our Action and Our Outrage

In a world full of injustice-from battered women to clubbed seals to the Club of Europe, from neglected children to nuclear weapons to mountain top removal, from torture at Guantanamo to torture at Bagram to torture in Chicago’s prisons to the torture of the death penalty, from famine in Somalia to deforestation to families being broken by Arizona’s immigration laws-how do you choose what to work on?

Most people choose what affects them most personally, what they feel like they can change, what breaks their heart. Some people choose what seems most strategic: if this small thing changes here, it might move all these other things along in the right direction. Some people race from topic to topic to topic, needing to be everywhere and in the middle of everything. Some combo of the first and second stance seems like the right place to be, right?

David Sirota: Celebrating the End of Kids’ Wall Street Dreams

Amid fears of high youth unemployment creating a “lost generation,” there is suddenly a bright spot: Apparently, fewer young people are going to work in the industry that destroyed our economy.

That’s the word from The New York Times, which reports that since 2008, “the number of investment bank and brokerage firm employees between the ages 20 and 34 fell by 25 percent,” as banks have laid off young people and slowed college recruiting.

For young Wall Streeters, this is a bummer. But for society as a whole, it’s cause for celebration because it may finally allow America to counter the destructive Gordon Gekko-ization of youth culture.

Robert Naiman: War-Weary Republicans Rebuke Romney on Afghanistan

On Wednesday night, the Senate adopted by voice vote an amendment introduced by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley calling on President Obama to speed up U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This was a watershed event towards ending the war. The previous high water mark of Senators calling for expedited withdrawal was 27; the previous high water mark on a vote was 18. The vote is a green light from the Senate to the White House for a faster military withdrawal that would save many American and Afghan lives and (at least) many tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. [..]

The Senate vote – which saw John McCain standing alone in vocal opposition – is more evidence that on key issues of war and military spending, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Buck McKeon haven’t been speaking for Republicans generally. Big media should take note, and make more room on their playlists for Republicans like Rand Paul, Walter Jones, Justin Amash, Tim Johnson and Grover Norquist who want to turn a corner on a decade of endless war and unchecked military spending.

Dec 03 2011

On This Day In History December 3

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.

December 3 is the 337th day of the year (338th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 28 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1947,A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway.

Marlon Brando‘s famous cry of “STELLA!” first booms across a Broadway stage, electrifying the audience at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre during the first-ever performance of Tennessee Williams‘ play A Streetcar Named Desire.

The 23-year-old Brando played the rough, working-class Polish-American Stanley Kowalski, whose violent clash with Blanche DuBois (played on Broadway by Jessica Tandy), a Southern belle with a dark past, is at the center of Williams’ famous drama. Blanche comes to stay with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter), Stanley’s wife, at their home in the French Quarter of New Orleans; she and Stanley immediately despise each other. In the climactic scene, Stanley rapes Blanche, causing her to lose her fragile grip on sanity; the play ends with her being led away in a straitjacket.

Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two iconic characters, Blanche DuBois, a fading relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class.

The play presents Blanche DuBois, a fading but still-attractive Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask alcoholism and delusions of grandeur. Her poise is an illusion she presents to shield others (but most of all, herself) from her reality, and an attempt to make herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives at the apartment of her sister Stella Kowalski in the French Quarter of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to arrive there includes a streetcar route named “Desire.” The steamy, urban ambiance is a shock to Blanche’s nerves. Blanche is welcomed with some trepidation by Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. As Blanche explains that their ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Laurel, Mississippi, has been “lost” due to the “epic fornications” of their ancestors, her veneer of self-possession begins to slip drastically. Here “epic fornications” may be interpreted as the debauchery of her ancestors which in turn caused them financial losses. Blanche tells Stella that her supervisor allowed her to take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset nerves, when in fact, she has been fired for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. This turns out not to be the only seduction she has engaged in-and, along with other problems, has led her to escape Laurel. A brief marriage marred by the discovery that her spouse, Allan Grey, was having a homosexual affair and his subsequent suicide has led Blanche to withdraw into a world in which fantasies and illusions blend seamlessly with reality.

In contrast to both the self-effacing and deferential Stella and the pretentious refinement of Blanche, Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, is a force of nature: primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual. He dominates Stella in every way and is physically and emotionally abusive. Stella tolerates his primal behaviour as this is part of what attracted her in the first place; their love and relationship are heavily based on powerful-even animalistic-sexual chemistry, something that Blanche finds impossible to understand.

The arrival of Blanche upsets her sister and brother-in-law’s system of mutual dependence. Stella’s concern for her sister’s well-being emboldens Blanche to hold court in the Kowalski apartment, infuriating Stanley and leading to conflict in his relationship with his wife. Blanche and Stanley are on a collision course, and Stanley’s friend and Blanche’s would-be suitor Mitch, will get trampled in their path. Stanley discovers Blanche’s past through a co-worker who travels to Laurel frequently, and he confronts her with the things she has been trying to put behind her, partly out of concern that her character flaws may be damaging to the lives of those in her new home, just as they were in Laurel, and partly out of a distaste for pretense in general. However, his attempts to “unmask” her are predictably cruel and violent. In their final confrontation, Stanley rapes Blanche, which results in her nervous breakdown. Stanley has her committed to a mental institution, and in the closing moments, Blanche utters her signature line to the kindly doctor who leads her away: “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Dec 03 2011

Not Popular Culture 20111202: 90th

Normally on Friday evenings I write about popular culture, but no tonight.  I am very wistful for several reasons, on of which is that if she had lived, my mum would have turned 90 years old today.

Born to a dirt poor couple when her mum was only 18 years old (my grandmum and granddad married when my grandmum was only 16 years old), Geraldine Sandlin entered this vale of tears on 19211202.  It was cold, and in accordance with the custom of the time, she was born at home with relatives taking the place of physicians.