01/14/2012 archive

NFL 2012 Divisional Playoffs- Saints @ ‘9ers

First off I apologize for missing “Wild Card Weekend”, like the rest of the season I’m sure it was thrilling (yawn).  Actually I’m just as happy the Giants advanced though it does introduce rooting conflicts later.

In case you forgot this season started with a massive labor dispute which the players mostly won-

The players won $1 billion in additional benefits for retired players, an opportunity to stay in the players’ medical plan for life, increased minimum salaries, the continuation of a 16-game regular season schedule, improvements in player safety, increased injury protection, unrestricted free agency after four years, a true salary floor, and increased roster size. Some of the major player safety improvements included five fewer weeks of organized off-season practice, limited on-field practice time, limited full-contact practices, elimination of two-a-day practices in pads, and an increase in the number of days off of work. The players also prevented the owners from knocking them down to 42 percent of league revenues, with a decreasing percentage each year. Starting in 2012, the players also won 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent of all NFL Ventures revenue, and 40 percent of local club revenue.

if you can call that winning.

In today’s first contest it’s the Saints who pretty much crushed the unexpectedly good Lions like bugs last week.  The matchup of #3 v. the #2 ‘9ers is pretty much a pick ’em in my estimation though it hardly ever turns out that way.  The majority of sports analysts (the only class of establishment media even dumber and more corrupt than political pundits) point to the ‘9ers crushing, smothering defense ignoring the fact that the Saints have a pretty crushing, smothering defense of their own.

Since they are always wrong I confidently predict a high scoring shoot-out with the Saints ultimately prevailing.

Which would be nice I suppose, I admit some lingering affection for the Katrina Kids of 2009.

Feel free to disagree below.

Random Japan



Running shoes worn by competitors in a national ekiden relay race have been sent to underprivileged student-athletes at schools in Nagasaki, a move spearheaded by Nike Japan and a Nagasaki Prefecture track and field association.

Some frozen beef imported into Japan from the United States in July apparently contained spinal columns, “so-called risk materials feared to cause mad cow disease and barred from importation into Japan.”

Winter bonuses at major companies in Japan rose an average of 3.62 percent from the previous year, up to ¥802,701. It was the second consecutive rise and the first time the figure cracked the ¥800,000 barrier in three years, according to the Japan Business Federation.

A 77-year-old man, who was punched out and lost consciousness after telling two men not to cross the street on a red light outside Oimachi Station, has died from his injuries.

Two-time Olympic judo champion Masato Uchishiba was indicted for allegedly raping a member of a university judo team he was coaching after first plying the young woman with alcohol.

A 55-year-old air traffic controller who nodded off while on duty at Naha airport was docked 10 percent of his pay for a month by the transport ministry.

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.

An Apple a Day

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

There are many reasons an apple a day may keep the doctor away. Among popular fruits, apples rank second (after cranberries) in antioxidant power, according to the nutritionist Jonny Bowden. They are extremely high in phenolic compounds (polyphenols), particularly quercetin, and if the apple is red, anthocyanins. These phytochemicals carry many health benefits, both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Apples have been linked to lower rates of heart disease in several studies.

Apple-Walnut Drop Scones

Scones are easy to make and lend themselves to whole-grain flours. These are particularly moist because of the grated apples.

Applesauce Bread

Serve this easy, moist and spicy quick bread with tea, pack it in a lunchbox or eat it for dessert. Use homemade or commercial applesauce with no sugar added.

Red Cabbage and Apple Soup

This is a sweet and spicy winter soup, inspired by a classic red cabbage and apple braise. The yogurt is important here; it enriches the soup at the end. You could also use fat-free sour cream.

Sweet and Pungent Apple and Cabbage Slaw

This one is especially nice with a little feta sprinkled on top.

Noodle and Apple Kugel

This comforting kugel tastes much richer than it is, and it is certainly lighter than a traditional kugel (though it is not a low-calorie dessert).

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: A Long Bleak Winter

The European Central Bank’s cheap lending to euro-area banks may have briefly stabilized the financial markets. But the respite won’t last. The decision by Standard & Poor’s on Friday to downgrade the credit ratings of nine euro-zone countries, including France, Italy and Spain, should remind European leaders that their economic strategy based on austerity for all is just not working.

After umpteen rescue plans, Europe remains a long way from coming to grips with its mushrooming debt crisis. Greece, which negotiated a second $165 billion bailout plan with its European neighbors in October, is back on the brink of a financial collapse. Even the new technocratic Italian government, appointed in November with strong German backing to execute a policy of fiscal austerity, says it is an illusion to believe the crisis can be overcome through budget cuts alone.

Paul Krugman: Deliberate Deception in the US: Blaming Fannie and Freddie for Crisis

Joe Nocera gets mad. And it’s a beautiful thing to see.

In a Dec. 23 column in The New York Times, Joe once again went after the Big Lie – the claim that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis – and drove home the point that the people advancing this story aren’t just wrong but are acting with intent, engaging in deliberate deception. [..]

Basically, Joe is arriving where I’ve been since 2000: what’s going on in the discussion of economic affairs (and other matters, like justifications for war) isn’t just a case where different people look at the same facts but reach different conclusions. Instead, we’re looking at a situation in which one side of the debate just isn’t interested in the truth; in which alleged scholarship is actually just propaganda.

Donna Smith: Who Knew There Was So Much Poverty? The Poor, That’s Who

Last evening, Tavis Smiley hosted a program that was broadcast live on C-SPAN live and that focused for two-and-a-half hours on the issue of poverty in America.  It was terrific.  The energy and commitment of the experts assembled to investigate and help alleviate poverty made the conversation rich beyond anything I’ve seen in ages.  Each panelist came at the topic from a different perspective.  That added to the richness of the discussion about being poor in America. [..]

Even though I’ve been through the slide from middle-income to poor and now am fighting the unwinnable fight to climb back out, I still need the affirmation these sorts of discussions can give to remember that it still isn’t my fault.  The system crushed me, and the system will crush me again unless I stay intensely vigilant — and maybe it will crush me again even if I do.  But I do not want to stay vigilant about the wrong things.

John Nichols: Mitt Romney Abandons His Father’s Civil Rights Legacy

The Republican Party, founded by militant abolitionists and once the political home of civil rights champions such as George Romney, has since the late 1960s been degenerating toward the crude politics of “Southern strategies” and what former Republican National Committee chairman Lee Atwater referred to as the “coded” language of complaints about “forced busing,” legal-services programs, welfare and food stamps. But the 2012 campaign has seen this degeneration accelerate, as the candidates have repeatedly played on stereotypes about race, class and “entitlements.” [..]

If ever there was a time when the man who is likely to be party’s 2012 presidential nominee should be joining the NAACP in objecting to the racialized language being heard on this year’s GOP campaign trail, it is now.

But that’s not happening.

Instead of objecting to the excesses of the other contenders, the “adult” in the race, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, picked up on the themes developed by Santorum and Gingrich to gripe about “the ever-expanding payments of an entitlement society” as “a fundamental corruption of the American spirit.”

Romney is arguably the most disappointing of the current candidates, as he surely knows better.

Charles M Blow: Bitter Politics of Envy?

You’re just jealous. At least that’s how Mitt Romney sees it. The millionaire who posed for a picture with the boys at Bain Capital with the long green clinched between their teeth and poking out of their collars and jackets now says that people who question what he did there, and what rich people do now, are just green with envy.

In his New Hampshire victory speech on Tuesday, Romney lambasted his Republican opponents (who have raised real issues about his role at the private equity firm Bain Capital) for following the lead of President Obama, whom he described as a leader who divides us “with the bitter politics of envy.”

Gail Collins: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Back in the late-1950s there was a TV show called “The Millionaire” about a mysterious rich man, named John Beresford Tipton, who would anonymously give checks for $1 million to total strangers.

Usually, the recipient was a poor schlub who was over the top with joy until it turned out that the money didn’t buy happiness. Clearly, we were all better off in our humble homes, clustered around our 14-inch TVs.

I am bringing this up because the current presidential race has demonstrated that a million dollars is nothing – nothing – these days. Nothing! A million dollars is what they give you for designing the best pantsuit on a reality TV show.

On This Day In History January 14

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.

January 14 is the 14th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 351 days remaining until the end of the year (352 in leap years).

It is celebrated as New Year’s Day (at least in the 20th & 21st centuries) by countries still following the Julian calendar.

On this day in 1761, the Third Battle of Panipat is fought in India between the Afghans under Ahmad Shah Durrani and the Marhatas. The Afghan victory changes the course of Indian History.

The Third Battle of Panipat took place at Panipat (Haryana State, India), about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi. The battle pitted the French-supplied artillery and cavalry of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry and mounted artillery(zamburak and jizail) of the Afghans led by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali. The battle is considered one of the largest battles fought in the 18th century.

The decline of the Mughal Empire had led to territorial gains for the Maratha Confederacy. Ahmad Shah Abdali, amongst others, was unwilling to allow the Marathas’ gains to go unchecked. In 1759, he raised an army from the Pashtun tribes and made several gains against the smaller garrisons. The Marathas, under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau, responded by gathering an army of between 70,000-100,000 people with which they ransacked the Mughal capital of Delhi. There followed a series of skirmishes along the banks of the river Yamuna at Karnal and Kunjpura which eventually turned into a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas.

The specific site of the battle itself is disputed by historians but most consider it to have occurred somewhere near modern day Kaalaa Aamb and Sanauli Road. The battle lasted for several days and involved over 125,000 men. Protracted skirmishes occurred, with losses and gains on both sides. The forces led by Ahmad Shah Durrani came out victorious after destroying several Maratha flanks. The extent of the losses on both sides is heavily disputed by historians, but it is believed that between 60,000-70,000 were killed in fighting, while numbers of the injured and prisoners taken vary considerably. The result of the battle was the halting of the Maratha advances in the North.

The Legacy

The Third Battle of Panipat saw an enormous number of casualties and deaths in a single day of battle. It was the last major battle between indigenous South Asian military powers, until the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

To save their kingdom, the Mughals once again changed sides and welcomed the Afghans to Delhi. The Mughals remained in nominal control over small areas of India, but were never a force again. The empire officially ended in 1857 when its last emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was accused of being involved in the Sepoy Mutiny and exiled.

The Marathas’ expansion was stopped in the battle, and soon broke into infighting within their empire. They never regained any unity. They recovered their position under the next Peshwa Madhavrao I and by 1772 were back in control of the north, finally occupying Delhi. However, after the death of Madhavrao, due to infighting and increasing pressure from the British, their claims to empire only officially ended in 1818 after three wars with the British.

Meanwhile the Sikhs, the original reason Ahmad invaded, were left largely untouched by the battle. They soon retook Lahore. When Ahmad Shah returned in March 1764 he was forced to break off his siege after only two weeks due to rebellion in Afghanistan. He returned again in 1767, but was unable to win any decisive battle. With his own troops arguing over a lack of pay, he eventually abandoned the district to the Sikhs, who remained in control until 1849. . . . .

The battle proved the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling‘s poem “With Scindia to Delhi”.

The strength of Afghan military prowess was to both inspire hope in many orthodox Muslims, Mughal royalists and fear in the British. However the real truth of so many battle hardened Afghans killed in the struggle with the Marathas never allowed them to dream of controlling the Mughal Empire realistically again. On the other side, Marathas, possibly one of the only two real Indian military powers left capable of challenging the British were fatally weakened by the defeat and could not mount a serious challenge in the Anglo-Maratha wars 50 years later.

Popular Culture (Music) 20120113: A Brief History of The Who

Last time we looked at 1972, sort of a quiet year for my favorite band.  1973 would be anything but quiet.  Townshend’s opus, Quadrophenia, was released late in the year, and there was a lot of internal conflict with the band members for the way it was done.

In addition, Kit Lambert was shown to be little more than an embezzler, and that caused a lot of more problems.  Townshend counted on Lambert as a musical wizard, and Lambert, because of his affliction to drugs and alcohol, was anything but that.

There was still a struggle for control of the band, with a surprise hit by Daltrey that gave him some credibility.  By that time, The Who belonged to Townshend, but Daltrey would not go down without a fight.

Then there were the other problems.  1973 would prove to be a very bad year for them, but also one of their best years.  Let’s go!

This Week In The Dream Antilles



[Note: Your Bloguero has rendered the following dialogue into common English. Originally, it was in the local, mumbled dialect of Limestone County, Alabama.]

“Look, the first thing we do is drink this moonshine. See how clear it is?  This whole mason jar.  It’s a quart. Wonderfully clear. Nothing in the bottom.  No twigs. I got it from Mr. Toney. And it’s good. We drink it first. And then we get the lights out and we let the dogs go. The dogs know where to go. They know what they’re supposed to do. They look for the coons and they tell us where they are. Then they chase them.  When they have the scent, they call. And they will chase them up a tree. And they call when they’re up the tree. It’s a special barking. We just run after them, see? With the guns.  And the lights. It’s very dark out there already.

“Now the most important thing about this hunt – I know you never did this before, right? – the most important thing is when the dogs get the coon treed, we have to get there. In a hurry. To that tree. Because very soon, that coon is not going to stay up in that tree with the dogs barking at it. Nope. He’s coming down, and he’s going to be mad, and when he does come down, he’s going to fuck these dogs up. You understand what I’m telling you? We don’t want that to happen.  Look at Old Lester over there.  See that he has no left ear? See that he’s got a scar across the top of his head? He’s a great coon hound. That’s what we’re talking about. We don’t want that to happen to these dogs. So when the dogs are barking the special bark, telling us that the coon is up in the tree, there’s no time for fooling around. Got to run and get there in a big hurry before the coon changes his mind about staying up in the tree.  And then you have to shoot him out of the tree.  That’s what the lights are for. You shine them up in the tree so you can see the coon.  That and making sure you don’t trip and break your head while you’re running.”

“But,” says your Bloguero. “It’s really dark now. There’s no moon yet. And the paths in these woods aren’t clear.  And if we drink all of this shine, how the hell are we going to get to some tree that’s far away in time to shoot the coon before he comes down from the tree? I mean, it sounds like we could be stumbling around drunk in the woods and tripping on things and getting all scratched up. And we could easily shoot ourselves while we’re running. And not get to the tree so fast.  In other words, this could be a disaster.”

“Oh you a city boy, aren’t you? I know you never did this before. That’s not bad. Look. We’re going to show you how to do it. We’ll get there. We might get a little scratched up by the bush, and we might trip on some roots, and we might take a while to run to the tree.  We might get pretty drunk. But don’t you worry. We will get there. These dogs need us to get there, and we will.  Matter of fact, we almost always do. I’ve been doing this since I was 10, and I’m 70 now. And Obie over there, he’s 72 now. We’ve been hunting together for 60 years or so. So we know how to do this.”

“But what about Lester’s ear? And how the hell can 70 year old men who are completely drunk and carrying loaded guns run through the woods without getting hurt? Are you sure this is safe?”

“Look, I told you before, we’re not perfect. Sometimes we fuck up. We try not to, but sometimes it can’t be helped. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t try to do this any more, right? We are not retiring from this. I mean: this is all that can happen when you go coon hunting. There can be problems.  Of course.  Like anything else. And we try to make sure they don’t happen. But we’re not stopping until we can’t do it any more. Right now, thank God, we can still do it.  So we do.”

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Usually, it appears on Friday. It’s a digest of essays posted at The Dream Antilles in the previous week.  Sometimes, of course, like right now, it jumps the rails and doesn’t tell you anything about the past week.  Sometimes it gets all distracted and goes completely astray. To know what’s on the Dream Antilles you have to visit it.