02/18/2012 archive

Random Japan


 Brave new (digital) world

      “Silent camera” apps are being blamed for a rise in complaints from women about perverts snapping illegal upskirt photos. The National Police Agency says the number of such incidents increased from 1,068 in 2006 to 1,702 in 2010.

   An LDP lawmaker got a surprise when he discovered that someone hacked into his YouTube account and uploaded a Russian-language porn video.

   Meanwhile, a hacker disabled the website of the government committee investigating the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

   Two Japanese companies were fined a total of ¥17 million by the Intellectual Property High Court for broadcasting copyrighted TV programs over the internet.

   An Osaka man became the first person in Japan arrested for breaking a six-month-old law against creating computer viruses.

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.

Chicken Stews, to Savor or Store Away

Chicken Cacciatore

I wanted each of these stews to feature a nutritious vegetable along with the chicken and aromatics. In this way they are truly one-dish, nutrient-dense meals. Though I suggest serving them with rice, other grains or pasta, if carbs are an issue, know that these stews are very satisfying on their own.

Martha Rose Shulman

Chicken Cacciatore With Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Wine

This version of the classic Italian dish includes lots of mushrooms, both dried and fresh; you can add kale if you want to work in some leafy greens.

Greek Chicken Stew With Cauliflower and Olives

Cinnamon adds a subtle sweetness to this stew. If salt is an issue, omit the olives; the stew will still be delicious.

Chicken Stew With Sweet Potatoes, Almonds and Apricots

Loosely based on an Algerian recipe from “Real Stew” by Clifford A. Wright, this sweetly spiced dish, with beta-carotene-rich apricots and sweet potatoes, is also evocative of recipes from the Middle East and Iran.

Chicken and Pepper Stew

This is an adaptation of a classic French bistro dish, poulet Basquaise.

Veracruzana Chicken Stew With Winter Squash

This dish is loosely based on a chicken stew from the Mexican state of Veracruz, where Spanish influences still remain strong.

Rape Is No Laughing Matter

Keith Olbermann sets the record straight on the false accusations of rapist and rape apologists of Andrew Breitbart.

Keith Olbermann: Andrew Breitbart is ‘exploiting rape victims’ to smear Occupy movement


KEITH OLBERMANN: As I noted, we have had – and we will continue to have – as much fun at possible with the on-camera meltdown of Andrew Breitbart in front of a group of Occupy protesters at CPAC last weekend.

But, in our number one-story on the “Countdown” – the subject of rape is no laughing matter. The allegation that a political or cultural group condones or encourages rape and sexual assault, against anyone, is virtually as serious a charge as can be leveled. Yet nearly just as bad is to fabricate, twist, and alter facts, to make it seem like such a charge against such a group has any credence at all.

Mr. Breitbart and his websites have now promulgated a list of what his people boast are 17 rapes at Occupy protests between October 16th and November 19th of last year. Seventeen stories and links, listed “Rapes and Various Sexual Crimes,” and all of them attributed to Occupy.

It turns out Breitbart and his people have padded this list. They have listed some stories twice. In nearly every case, Breitbart’s crew has twisted nearly every one of the allegations in the stories. The idea seems to have been to make as long a list as possible, and assume that your supporters will never bother to link through to the actual stories, let alone follow up to find their true outcomes. Those who do will find Mr. Breitbart and his colleagues are lying.

Story number one – Madison, Wisconsin. Turns out this is the story of Occupy Madison losing its permit for a couple of days, in part because of a charge that somebody was masturbating in public. No charges, no names, no evidence, and even the head of the local business association which brought the complaint, one Mary Carbine, was emphatic that the behavior was, “not necessarily by the protesters themselves.”

Number two – Cleveland. Refers to an alleged assault of a member of Occupy Cleveland. No arrests and the police offer no indication the alleged assailant was a member of Occupy.

Number three – Seattle. Turns out to be the arrest of a man for indecent exposure in schoolyards and other parks, not at Occupy Seattle. Detectives say they were told the suspect had been seen at Occupy and, again, they make no claim he was associated with Occupy.

Number four – Cleveland. This is the same story as number two. Listed twice. This time, a Fox News video is linked as well.

Number five – Dallas. An alleged assault victim told police the sex in question was consensual. She would not press charges nor cooperate with authorities. The claim that there was an assault in the first place originated with one local TV station’s anonymous source in the Dallas police department.

Number six – Portland, Oregon. The registered address a sex offender gave authorities turned out to be the same address as the Occupy Portland camp. The police have no evidence he was ever there, nor do any witnesses place him there.

Number seven – Lawrence, Kansas. A local police captain named Jim Martin is quoted, in the Breitbart-linked story, as saying “someone who had been at the Occupy Lawrence camp reported on Monday morning a possible sexual assault. Martin said he did not believe the victim or any possible suspects were members of the group.”

Number eight – Glasgow. Breitbart assigns responsibility for an assault on an Occupy protester in Scotland to the American Occupy movement. He also does not note that the morning after the incident, Occupy organizers voluntarily began to disbanded the camp after police refused to provide security.

Number nine – Manchester, New Hampshire. A woman operating out of her own home is arrested in her own home there after she tries to turn an Occupy protester into a prostitute.

Number 10 – New York City. An Occupy protester is assaulted in her tent.

Number 11 – New York City. It’s the same story as number ten. They again listed it twice.

Number 12 – Chula Vista, California. On November 6th, a woman posts on the Occupy Los Angeles Facebook page, asking Occupy to help locate her daughter, a 16-year-old named Ashley Springer. The last the woman knew, Ashley Springer was at OccupyLA and then she disappeared. Breitbart does not note that by December 9th, Ashley Springer was home – safe, sound, and unharmed.

Number 13 – Philadelphia. The Breitbart list blares “Occupier Arrest for Rape.” The actual newspaper headline at the other end of the link says “Man arrested in Occupy Philly Sexual Assault.” The alleged victim was a member of Occupy, not the assailant, even though Breitbart implies it was the other way around.

Number 14 – Austin, Texas. A man in a sleeping bag near the Occupy encampment in a public square is arrested for allegedly masturbating in front of a 16-year-old. Again, despite the Breitbart headline, “Occupier Accused of Masturbating In Front of 16-Year-Old Girl,” in the actual story that Breitbart links to, police do not conclude that either the victim or perpetrator was involved with Occupy.

Number 15 – Chicago. A 21-year-old man named Robert Reitz, whom Occupy Chicago confirmed had attended some of its events, is arrested at his home, on child-porn charges. Breitbart does not bother to note that, in the second half of the very story he linked to, Occupy Chicago responded to the arrest by immediately banning this Reitz from its encampment.

Number 16 – St. Louis. Again, the victim in an assault is identified as a member of Occupy, not the alleged perpetrator.

Number 17 – New York City. Again, the victim in a fondling case is a member of Occupy, police identify the assailant as a neighborhood homeless person.

So, seventeen stories Breitbart claims are cases of rape by Occupy. Just reading the stories, just Googling the names of those identified, following up on these stories, that took me only about 70 minutes. The final result? Two cases of the stories on the list were duplicates, one story turns out to have been about consensual sex. One case, in Scotland, led the Occupy group to disband for the sake of safety. One case of an arrest for child porn, with Occupy immediately banning the alleged perpetrator. One case of a girl disappearing, ignoring the fact that she was home and unharmed a month later. Four cases in which police said neither the victim nor the assailant were apparently even associated with Occupy.

That leaves seven stories, all of which show police identifying Occupy participants as the victims, six of which show police identifying the alleged assailants as not being Occupy participants. That is the evidence that Andrew Breitbart has submitted to rationalize his irrational attempt to smear the Occupy movement, and Occupy members, as rapists, and to brand anybody who points out his dishonesty, his twisting of the facts – and who bothers to actually read the stories that disprove his own contention – to paint then as a rape denier or rape apologist.

What Mr. Breitbart and his fellow propagandists have done, in fact, is to take at least eight women – eight members of Occupy, who were raped or otherwise assaulted – and blamed them for being raped. He is not just perpetrating the classic fabrication con of the dishonest man, for whom facts are malleable and can be ignored when they are inconvenient.

More importantly, Breitbart is exploiting rape victims, blaming rape victims. And no woman, no man – conservative, liberal, or indifferent – can abide this despicable attempt to take individual human suffering and, by lying at the top of his voice, try to score cheap political points with it.

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: Europe’s Failed Course

Struggling euro-zone economies like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy cannot cut their way back to growth. Demanding rigid austerity from them as the price of European support has lengthened and deepened their recessions. It has made their debts harder, not easier, to pay off.

As The Times’s Landon Thomas Jr. reported this week, Portugal has met every demand from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. It has cut wages and pensions, slashed public spending and raised taxes. Those steps have deepened its recession, making it even less able to repay its debts. When it received a bailout last May, Portugal’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product was 107 percent. By next year, it is expected to rise to 118 percent. That ratio will continue to rise so long as the economy shrinks. That is, indeed, the very definition of a vicious circle.

William Greider: Still No End to ‘Too Big to Fail’

When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill in the summer of 2010, the Obama administration made happy talk about putting an end to “too big to fail” banks. Hold the champagne. The Federal Reserve Board has just created the fifth-largest bank in the country, despite a flood of warnings from community advocates and smaller banks.

Skeptics in financial markets are entitled to their skepticism. Capital One has been rapidly assembling this new behemoth, acquiring local deposits and credit card operations in a series of mergers. Federal Reserve governors reviewed the complaints and rejected them. In banking regulation, the “new normal” so far looks a lot like the “old normal.”

Of course, it is impossible to say this marks an end to reform. But it’s a real downer for the reform advocates. They have pleaded for a different perspective from the Fed regulators-weighing the “public benefits” of bank consolidations against the “adverse effects,” as Dodd-Frank requires. But the Fed made this calculation on very narrow grounds.The governors concluded that one more very large bank will not by itself bring down the system. True enough. But each decision the Fed makes now on applying the new rules sets a precedent for its future decisions. How big is too big? The Capital One decision seems to say size is not an issue.

Hugh Espey: Bold Action Needed to Hold Big Banks Accountable

Fourteen months ago, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members and our allies from National People’s Action and the New Bottom Line campaign met with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller in Des Moines to discuss the national foreclosure investigation that he was leading.

Miller vowed to pursue a fundamental transformation of the mortgage servicing industry. He spoke like a people’s champion, like someone who would “knock it out of the ballpark” and bring the banks to justice.

But after he announced the details of his settlement with the banks last week, we felt Miller had struck out. [..]

Bold action in the face of grave injustice is not counterproductive – it is required.

If Obama and Schneiderman take these “people first” actions to deliver justice for millions of homeowners and everyday people, then maybe we’ll have something to celebrate.

John Nichols: A Politics That Says: The People Shall Rule

After she organized Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 Democratic primary challenge to Lyndon Johnson, around the time she joined Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm in forming the National Women’s Political Caucus, Midge Miller got herself elected to the Wisconsin Assembly. [..]

The point of progressive public service, argued Midge Miller, was not to be a cog in the machine run by corporate and political elites. It was to make the machine work for the people.

So when Midge Miller’s stepson, Wisconsin Senate minority leader Mark Miller, found himself leading a legislative caucus that was being asked to rubber-stamp Governor Scott Walker’s attacks on collective-bargaining rights, civil-service protections and local democracy, he thought of Midge. “She believed that it was the first responsibility of legislators to protect the rights of the people,” said Miller. “She would never have been a part of anything that rammed changes like these down the throats of the people.”

George Zornick: Obama’s Plan to Save the Military From Cuts-at the Expense of Domestic Programs

As budget wonks comb over President Obama’s outline for fiscal year 2013, a startling White House plan has become clear: the administration is seeking to undo some mandatory cuts to the Pentagon at the expense of critical domestic programs. It does so by basically undoing the defense sequester that kicked in as a result of the Congressional supercommittee on debt. This wasn’t a featured part of the White House budget rollout, and for good reason-it undercuts the administration’s carefully crafted message of benevolent government action and economic fairness.

The process for this shift is complicated, and has been flagged by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Essentially, Obama wants to eliminate individual spending caps for both military and non-military spending, and institute one single discretionary spending cap instead. Here’s the basic rundown.

Ari Berman: Howard Dean Predicts Obama Re-Election, Democrats Retake House

No incumbent president since FDR has been re-elected with an unemployment rate above 8 percent. Despite that daunting precedent, an increasing number of political analysts and prominent Democratic Party figures are now bullish about President Obama’s re-election prospects. “Obama’s chances have definitely improved,” former Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean recently told me. “If Mitt Romney’s the Republican nominee, I would say it’s a one- or two-point win for Obama.”

Dean also likes his party’s chances at the Congressional level. “I’m predicting flat-out that if Obama wins, Democrats take back the House,” he says. Other analysts have recently raised that possibility, even though GOP domination of the redistricting process gives Republicans a major edge in 2012.

Ladies and Gentlemen- Victoria Jackson

A True Conservative Has to Be Christian

Voted on Slavery

Is Drinking Alcohol a Sin?

PolitiChicks (& Dudes) Drop in on “Occupy CPAC” Protest


Are Liberals Anti-Christian and Pro-Muslim? With Morgan Brittany (Ep 21)

Victoria Jackson Is Really This Dumb

On This Day In History February 18

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

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous, and famously controversial, novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Considered as one of the Great American Novels, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective).

The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

The work has been popular with readers since its publication and is taken as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur “nigger”, despite that the main protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is anti-racist. According to the January 20, 2011 Chase Cook/The Daily article, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn novel will be released in a new edition. Two words will be changed throughout the whole book, “injun” and “nigger” to “indian” and “slave”. The book is being changed as quoted in the article, “only to make it viable to the 21st century”.

Popular Culture (Music) 20120217: A Brief History of The Who. 1978

Those of you who have been reading this series know that this will be the last installment about the history of The Who.  Although The Who continued to record new material and tour after 1978, to me the band really ended then and what was left was sort of what we now call a tribute band.

For 1978 to be such a disaster, it started off well enough, actually really well.  The Who were at the top of their game insofar as business interests went, Townshend, after being burnt by Kit Lambert, with whom he never reconciled, developed a high degree of business acumen, and The Who as a band were never strapped for cash again, although Moon and Entwistle had chronic money woes because of their lifestyles.  Daltrey was pretty conservative and also had a fairly successful acting career post 1978.

Although it pains me greatly to write this last installment, we might as well get on with it.  There are a number of ironies in 1978, and I shall point them out as we encounter them.  Please follow after the fold.