Daily Archive: 02/11/2012

Feb 11 2012

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.

A Grain, a Vegetable, a Skillet: Meals for Winter Nights

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

   I made two great discoveries while coming up with these simple and delicious vegetarian skillet suppers. One is that a wok should not be limited to Asian stir-fries. A well-seasoned carbon steel wok makes a great natural nonstick pan that you can get hot enough to obtain a wonderful seared flavor when you cook vegetables, no matter what the seasonings.

   The other thing I discovered is that the cooking water drained off from cooked barley or brown rice can be added to cooked vegetables the way pasta cooking water is sometimes used to moisten and add texture to an accompaniment. The starch in the nutrient-dense water enriches the vegetables like a sauce. Just add more water than the usual proportion that you’d use – say a quart for a cup of brown rice or barley – and drain the grains through a strainer set over a bowl when they’re tender.

~ Martha Rose Shulman

Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Red Beans With Lemon and Mustard

You can cook this beautiful, lemony skillet dinner in a well-seasoned wok or a heavy nonstick pan. You’ll get the best seared flavor in a wok.

Simmered Beet Greens With Roasted Beets, Lemon and Yogurt

The Greeks serve this dish as a salad, but if you want to make a meal of this, serve the greens and beets with a whole grain, like barley or quinoa.

Skillet Mushrooms and Chard With Barley or Brown Rice

Mushrooms and barley are a classic combination, but brown rice is also very nice with this dish, and it cooks faster.

Sautéed Shredded Winter Squash and Cabbage and a Winter Vegetable Gratin

You can just cook these vegetables in a skillet and serve them with grains for a great vegan dinner, or turn them into a hearty vegetarian (but not vegan) Provençal-style gratin.

Skillet Collards and Winter Squash With Barley

Barley water is used to make nutritious beverages in many cuisines; it can also be useful as a sort of sauce, adding rich flavor and texture to vegetables.

Feb 11 2012

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: The Freedom to Choose Birth Control

In response to a phony crisis over “religious liberty” engendered by the right, President Obama seems to have stood his ground on an essential principle – free access to birth control for any woman. That access, along with the ability to receive family planning and preventive health services, was at the foundation of health care reform. [..]

Nonetheless, it was dismaying to see the president lend any credence to the misbegotten notion that providing access to contraceptives violated the freedom of any religious institution. Churches are given complete freedom by the Constitution to preach that birth control is immoral, but they have not been given the right to laws that would deprive their followers or employees of the right to disagree with that teaching.

Richard D. Wolff: This Is No Bailout for Main Street America

In reality, a $25bn mortgage deal with banks is a drop in the ocean – given US homeowners’ $700bn of negative equity.

Big announcements of breakthrough legislative deals during election campaigns should be taken with huge grains of salt. Generally more rhetoric than reality, they sometimes contain real concessions made by politicians seeking votes. So it is with Thursday’s Washington announcement of $25bn to help homeowners. Something significant is happening, but it lies below the surface of the headlines.

Typically, modern governments intervene in two ways when – as has been true since 2007 – free-enterprise capitalist economies produce particularly bad versions of their recurring economic “downturns”. One economic policy is aptly called “trickle down” economics. It involves throwing heaps of money at the top of the economic pyramid – to mammoth banks, insurance companies, and other corporations at or near economic collapse. Policy-makers hope that such help for these institutions will revive their activity and thereby trickle down – as credit and orders for medium-sized and small businesses, and then, finally, to jobs and maybe wage increases for the majority of workers.

Rachel Maddow: War on birth control

The right has picked a fight on this issue because religiosity is a convenient partisan cudgel to use against Democrats in an election year. Despite that, some Democrats and even some liberals have embraced their logic. The thinking inside the Beltway seems to be that religious voters will turn against Democrats unless the White House drops the basic idea that insurance should cover contraception.

Time will tell on the political impact of this fight, but the relevant political context here is more than just a 2012 measure of Catholic bishops’ influence on moral issues. It’s also this year’s mainstream Republican embrace of an antiabortion movement that no longer just marches on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to criminalize abortion; it now marches on the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, holding signs that say “The Pill Kills.”

William Rivers Pitt: When Clint Eastwood Mocks You, You’re Officially Screwed

I ain’t happy

I’m feeling glad

I got sunshine

In a bag

I’m useless

But not for long

The future

Is coming on…

– Gorillaz, “Clint Eastwood”

You know the wheels have come off the GOP wagon when the Republicans feel compelled to accuse Clint Eastwood of being a shill for the president, but that is precisely what has transpired. Eastwood, who is nobody’s Democrat by any stretch of the imagination, starred in a stirring Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler about the resurgence of Detroit’s auto industry that was, in essence, a gravel-voiced pep talk for all of America. Speaking personally, the commercial made me want to run full-tilt through a stone wall…and then buy a Chrysler, which is quite a confession, as I pride myself on being utterly immune to advertising.

Reaction from the Republican Right was both swift and hilarious. Apparently, and according to the GOP, Dirty Harry is a dirty liberal hippy socialist communist who hates America and is in the pocket of our birthplace-questionable president…but the GOP found itself struggling to be coherent in its critique.

Paul Krugman: The Whole Truth – and Nothing but

The criterion, according to Politifact, seems to be that a fact isn’t a fact if it helps a Democratic narrative. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 24, President Obama said: “In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.”

Which is just true. Period. But Politifact initially rated it as only “half true” because he was “essentially taking credit for job growth.” He didn’t actually take credit – and even if he had, a fact is still a fact.  I do not think that word means what Politifact thinks it means.

Robert Reich: The Sad Spectacle of Obama’s Super PAC

It has been said there is no high ground in American politics since any politician who claims it is likely to be gunned down by those firing from the trenches. That’s how the Obama team justifies its decision to endorse a super PAC that can raise and spend unlimited sums for his campaign.

Baloney. Good ends don’t justify corrupt means.

I understand the White House’s concerns. Obama is a proven fundraiser – he cobbled together an unprecedented $745 million for the 2008 election and has already raised $224 million for this one. But his aides figure Romney can raise almost as much, and they fear an additional $500 million or more will be funneled to Romney by a relative handful of rich individuals and corporations through right-wing super PACS like “American Crossroads.”

David Graeber: Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges

In response to “The Cancer in Occupy,” by Chris Hedges.

I am writing this on the premise that you are a well-meaning person who wishes Occupy Wall Street to succeed. I am also writing as someone who was deeply involved in the early stages of planning Occupy in New York.

I am also an anarchist who has participated in many Black Blocs. While I have never personally engaged in acts of property destruction, I have on more than one occasion taken part in Blocs where property damage has occurred. (I have taken part in even more Blocs that did not engage in such tactics. It is a common fallacy that this is what Black Blocs are all about. It isn’t.)

I was hardly the only Black Bloc veteran who took part in planning the initial strategy for Occupy Wall Street. In fact, anarchists like myself were the real core of the group that came up with the idea of occupying Zuccotti Park, the “99%” slogan, the General Assembly process, and, in fact, who collectively decided that we would adopt a strategy of Gandhian non-violence and eschew acts of property damage. Many of us had taken part in Black Blocs. We just didn’t feel that was an appropriate tactic for the situation we were in.

Feb 11 2012

On This Day In History February 11

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.

February 11 is the 42nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 323 days remaining until the end of the year (324 in leap years).

On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela is released from prison

Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990.

In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesburg’s youth wing of the ANC. In 1952, he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid–South Africa’s institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Nelson helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government.

In 1961, he was arrested for treason, and although acquitted he was arrested again in 1962 for illegally leaving the country. Convicted and sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial again in 1964 on charges of sabotage. In June 1964, he was convicted along with several other ANC leaders and sentenced to life in prison.

Imprisonment

Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island where he remained for the next eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison. While in jail, his reputation grew and he became widely known as the most significant black leader in South Africa. On the island, he and others performed hard labour in a lime quarry. Prison conditions were very basic. Prisoners were segregated by race, with black prisoners receiving the fewest rations. Political prisoners were kept separate from ordinary criminals and received fewer privileges. Mandela describes how, as a D-group prisoner (the lowest classification) he was allowed one visitor and one letter every six months. Letters, when they came, were often delayed for long periods and made unreadable by the prison censors.

Whilst in prison Mandela undertook study with the University of London by correspondence through its External Programme and received the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He was subsequently nominated for the position of Chancellor of the University of London in the 1981 election, but lost to Princess Anne.

In his 1981 memoir Inside BOSS secret agent Gordon Winter describes his involvement in a plot to rescue Mandela from prison in 1969: this plot was infiltrated by Winter on behalf of South African intelligence, who wanted Mandela to escape so they could shoot him during recapture. The plot was foiled by British Intelligence.

In March 1982 Mandela was transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison, along with other senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Raymond Mhlaba. It was speculated that this was to remove the influence of these senior leaders on the new generation of young black activists imprisoned on Robben Island, the so-called “Mandela University”. However, National Party minister Kobie Coetsee says that the move was to enable discreet contact between them and the South African government.

In February 1985 President P.W. Botha offered Mandela his freedom on condition that he ‘unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon’. Coetsee and other ministers had advised Botha against this, saying that Mandela would never commit his organisation to giving up the armed struggle in exchange for personal freedom. Mandela indeed spurned the offer, releasing a statement via his daughter Zindzi saying “What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”

The first meeting between Mandela and the National Party government came in November 1985 when Kobie Coetsee met Mandela in Volks Hospital in Cape Town where Mandela was recovering from prostate surgery. Over the next four years, a series of tentative meetings took place, laying the groundwork for further contact and future negotiations, but little real progress was made.

In 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison and would remain there until his release. Various restrictions were lifted and people such as Harry Schwarz were able to visit him. Schwarz, a friend of Mandela, had known him since university when they were in the same law class. He was also a defence barrister at the Rivonia Trial and would become Mandela’s ambassador to Washington during his presidency.

Throughout Mandela’s imprisonment, local and international pressure mounted on the South African government to release him, under the resounding slogan Free Nelson Mandela! In 1989, South Africa reached a crossroads when Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced as president by Frederik Willem de Klerk. De Klerk announced Mandela’s release in February 1990.

Mandela was visited several times by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, while at Robben Island and later at Pollsmoor prison. Mandela had this to say about the visits: “to me personally, and those who shared the experience of being political prisoners, the Red Cross was a beacon of humanity within the dark inhumane world of political imprisonment.”

Feb 11 2012

Popular Culture (Music) 20120210: A Brief History of The Who. 1977

Last time we looked at the extremely busy 1976, a year filled with touring in Europe, the UK, and especially in North America.  It turns out that 1977 would be relatively quiet from that perspective, but quite lively from some others.

Townshend was burnt out from touring, and, interestingly, Daltrey was as well.  He even turned down a lucrative set of North American opportunities, saying that he could not devote the emotion and energy to a solo tour that he should reserve for future tours with The Who.

On the other hand, Entwistle and Moon lived to tour, but did not.  Moon never really had the wherewithal to tour solo, and the last time that Entwistle did he lost lots of money.  So they pretty stayed put for 1977.