03/24/2012 archive

Random Japan



          Women’s World Cup titleholders Nadeshiko Japan beat the powerful Americans in soccer once again, this time 1-0 at the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal.

   Unfortunately, however, the Japanese women would go on to lose 4-3 to Germany in the Algarve Cup final.

   US pop singer and 1980s icon Cyndi Lauper was in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki to cheer up local elementary school students with a few songs. Lauper was also here a year earlier, arriving on March 11, 2011. Not the greatest timing for a girl who just wanted to have…

   A private detective agency in Japan revealed that 21.5 percent of married women with jobs that they were hired to track had been unfaithful.

   The number of Japanese students who committed suicide in 2011 was up to 1,029, a record and over 100 higher than the previous year, according to the National Police Agency.

   A 6m fishing boat, swept away by the March 11 tsunami from a town in Iwate Prefecture and later recovered off the coast of Hyogo Prefecture, was returned to the owner’s family. The man who owned the boat was killed by the tsunami.

   A Buddhist temple in Nagano has made wooden Jizo statues, which spiritually protect temples, out of fallen pine trees from disaster-hit Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture.

   US Navy Admiral Robert Willard, the man who coordinated the US military’s post-March 11 relief operations in Japan-Operation Tomodachi-stepped down from his post as commander of the US Pacific Command.

   An elderly man and woman were found dead in a Tokyo apartment. The pair apparently expired due to “illness,” according to the local police.

   Pieces of haniwa clay figures shaped in the form of humans dating from the 5th century were found at a burial site in Shimane Prefecture, the oldest artifacts of their type ever discovered in Japan.

2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Regional Finals Day 1

Bill Orange is upon the sidelines

With a megaphone and flag in hand.

He leads the crowd to cheer like demons,

All up and down the old grandstand;

And as the ball is moving goal-ward

Each yard that’s gained he’s marking well

It’s worth while to play for Old Bill Orange

For win or lose you’ll always hear him yell:


“Get in the game to win, boys,

Ev’ry blessed mother’s son of you;

Stand firm along the line,boys,

Watch the ball, this time it’s going through.

Last night the sun set orange,

Omen ever sure and true,

Get in the game and win , boys,

Old Syracuse, she calls to you!”

Last Night’s Results

Result Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
75-70 3 *Baylor 30-7 10 Xavier 23-13 South
73-65 1 *North Carolina 32-5 13 Ohio 29-8 Midwest
102-90 1 *Kentucky 35-2 4 Indiana 27-9 South
60-57 2 *Kansas 30-6 11 NC State 24-13 Midwest

Tonight’s Action-

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
4:30 pm CBS 4 Louisville 27-9 7 Florida 23-10 West
7 pm CBS 1 Syracuse 32-2 2 Ohio State 28-7 East

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.

Recipes From the Cabbage Patch

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

   Last week I couldn’t believe the size and beauty of the cabbages one farmer was selling by the piece. I bought one for $2, took it home and weighed it: five pounds on the dot. It made five terrific meals, all with ingredients I had on hand.

   I’ve been covering a lot of brassicas lately – those healthy phytochemical-rich cruciferous vegetables like kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and cabbage. That’s what we have plenty of at this time of year, and there’s no reason to be bored with them. I stuffed the tough outside leaves of my big cabbage, quartered the rest and made a pizza, a pie, a stir-fry and the most wonderful baked beans I’ve ever eaten.

Martha Rose Shulman

Stir-Fried Tofu With Cabbage, Carrots and Red Peppers

A variation of this colorful stir-fry substitutes thinly sliced chicken for the tofu.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

The tough outer leaves of a large cabbage are perfect for stuffing.

Cabbage and Onion Marmalade

The sweet mixture that comes from slowly cooking these vegetables is perfect on a pizza that conjures the South of France.

Cabbage, Onion and Sweet Pepper Tart

Think of this tart as a quiche that has traded in some of its eggs for an extra helping of vegetables.

Baked Giant White Beans With Cabbage

The cabbage almost melts into the velvety bean broth in this dish, which gets a flavor boost from Parmesan.

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”.

Eugene Robinson: To Be Black in America …

For every black man in America, from the millionaire in the corner office to the mechanic in the local garage, the Trayvon Martin tragedy is personal. It could have been me or one of my sons. It could have been any of us.

How many George Zimmermans are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy fingers on the triggers of loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians of the peace who say the words “black male” with a sneer?

We don’t yet know every detail of the incident between Martin and Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., that ended with an unarmed 17-year-old high-school student being shot dead. But we know enough to conclude that this is an old, familiar story.

Deborah James: Change is Gonna Come? Global Health Expert Nominated by US for World Bank Presidency

For the very first time, the U.S. government has nominated a qualified candidate to be the President of the World Bank. In order to maintain control of the institution by donors, rather than those impacted by its decisions, the U.S. and EU share a tacit agreement that the World Bank president has always been the American nomination – just as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is always a European (although one that Washington approves of). This job’s previous occupants included several top U.S. military brass (including Robert McNamara after the Vietnam War debacle, and most recently Paul Wolfowitz) as well as top bankers from Chase, Bank of America, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

On Friday, however, President Obama nominated Korea-born Jim Yong Kim as the US candidate for the position. Dr. Kim is a co-founder, with Paul Farmer, of Partners In Health. In an email to supporters, Farmer and another PIH co-founder, Ophelia Dahl, said that “Jim is an inspired choice to lead the World Bank. Having seen him work in settings from inner-city Boston to the slums of Peru, from Haiti to Rwanda to the prisons of Siberia, we know that for three decades Jim has committed himself to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease. This has been his goal as a physician, a teacher, a policy maker, and a university president; it was ever his goal as a founder and director of Partners In Health, which now operates in more than a dozen countries.”

How did this seismic shift occur?

Marian Wright Edelman: It’s Past Time to Protect Children Not Guns

Thousands of people across the country have poured into the streets — from New York to Sanford, Florida — to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. Hundreds of thousands more stepped up to protest online. In response to the public outcry, the Sanford chief of police has temporarily stepped down and the state prosecutor has stepped aside. But nearly one month after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was stopped, stalked, shot and killed while walking home from a convenience store, armed only with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea, his killer, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested. Today, the Children’s Defense Fund released its new report, Protect Children, Not Guns 2012, dedicated to the memory of Trayvon Martin and the thousands of children and teenagers killed by guns in America, including the 5,740 children killed in 2008 and 2009 according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Where is the outrage over every single one of the thousands of children and teens killed by guns — too many by gun slinging Americans unrestrained by common sense gun control laws. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, also known as the “shoot first, ask questions later” law, is now under national scrutiny. But will it and others be changed to protect children rather than gun owners and sellers?

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Dumbest ‘Bipartisan’ Move Since Repealing Glass-Steagall

Here we go again. Once again the ‘bipartisan’ consensus in Washington, fueled by an intoxicating brew of conventional wisdom laced with campaign cash, has repealed some of those ‘cumbersome regulations’ that do nothing of value — nothing, that is, except prevent catastrophes. There will be celebrating on both sides of the aisle when the President signs this bill.

And when disaster strikes a few years from now, as it inevitably will, they’ll all say “Nobody could have seen it coming.” Plus ça change, plus c’est la même crap. Creationism can’t disprove the theory of evolution – but a little time in Washington will make you think twice.

Here we are, surrounded by still-smoldering financial wreckage, and almost everyone in Washington is falling over themselves to repeat exactly the same kinds of actions that got us into this mess. Last time around it was the repeal of Glass-Steagall, introduced by Republican Sen. Phil Gramm and enthusiastically signed by President Clinton in the presence of Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Johns Nichols: Marco Rubio Stands His Ground for Deadly ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was not the only prominent Florida official to back Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, despite repeated warnings that it would be seen as a “license to kill” by gunmen like the Sanford, Florida, neighborhood watchman who stands accused of slaying teenager Trayvon Martin.

The rising Republican star of Florida legislature at the time, a young state representative from West Miami who in the next session would become the speaker of the state House, actively supported the “Stand Your Ground” proposal.

That legislator, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is now being boomed by Jeb Bush for a place on the Republican ticket as the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee.

Rubio served in the legislature as an ally of the National Rifle Association and a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the shadowy group funded by the Koch brothers to craft and promote passage of measures such as the “Stand Your Ground” law. In reviewing Rubio’s tenure, the Miami Herald noted: “Rubio had an ‘A’ rating by the National Rifle Association. Rubio voted for major NRA priorities such as a 2005 ‘castle doctrine’ law allowing people to use deadly force if attacked in their home or any place a person ‘has a right to be.’ Rubio also supported a 2008 law allowing most employees to bring guns to work, as long as they held a concealed weapons license and kept the gun in their cars.”

Greg Kaufman: This Week in Poverty: Paul Ryan’s Focus on Dignity

“Promoting the natural rights and the inherent dignity of the individual must be the central focus of all government.”

That’s what Congressman Paul Ryan wrote earlier this month in an exclusive commentary for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. This week, he revealed exactly where his laser-like focus on dignity would lead this nation. He released his budget proposal, as clear a statement of one’s principles and priorities as there is in politics.

Here are the results, and they’re not pretty. Nation readers with young children should probably ask them to leave the room before reading onward.

John F. Timoney: Florida’s Disastrous Self-Defense Law

THE very public controversy surrounding the killing on Feb. 26 of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, by a crime watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, was predictable.

In fact, I, along with other Florida chiefs of police, said so in a letter to the Legislature in 2005 when we opposed the passage of a law that not only enshrined the doctrine of “your home is your castle” but took this doctrine into the public square and added a new concept called “stand your ground.”

Use-of-force issues arose often during my 41-year policing career. In fact, officer-involved shootings were the No. 1 problem when I became Miami’s police chief in January 2003. But after we put in place new policies and training, officers went 20 months without discharging a single bullet at a person, while arrests increased over 30 percent.

2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Regional Semifinals Day 1 Afternoon

Today’s early games are on ESPN.  Due to far eastern Formula One blogging I think I’ll mostly nap.  Make your own fun.

I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, and a hell of an engineer-

A helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer.

Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear.

I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.

Oh! If I had a daughter, sir, I’d dress her in White and Gold,

And put her on the campus to cheer the brave and bold.

But if I had a son, sir, I’ll tell you what he’d do-

He would yell, ‘To hell with Georgia!’ like his daddy used to do.

Oh, I wish I had a barrel of rum and sugar three thousand pounds,

A college bell to put it in and a clapper to stir it round.

I’d drink to all the good fellows who come from far and near.

I’m a ramblin’, gamblin’, hell of an engineer!

Time Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
11 am 2 Tennessee 25-8 11 Kansas 20-12 Mid West
1 pm 1 Baylor 36-0 4 Georgia Tech 26-8 Mid West

On This Day In History March 24

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.

March 24 is the 83rd day of the year (84th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 282 days remaining until the end of the year.

March 24th is the 365th and last day of the year in many European implementations of the Julian calendar.

On this day in 1989, Exxon Valdez runs aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound‘s Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters. As significant as the Valdez spill was-the largest ever in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill-it ranks well down on the list of the world’s largest oil spills in terms of volume released. However, Prince William Sound’s remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane and boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The oil, originally extracted at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, eventually covered 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of coastline, and 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean. Then Exxon CEO, Lawrence G. Rawl, shaped the company’s response.

Timeline of events

Exxon Valdez left the Valdez oil terminal in Alaska at 9:12 pm on March 23, 1989, bound for Long Beach, California. The ship was under the control of Shipmaster Joseph Jeffrey Hazelwood. The outbound shipping lane was obstructed with small icebergs (possibly from the nearby Columbia Glacier), so Hazelwood got permission from the Coast Guard to go out through the inbound lane. Following the maneuver and sometime after 11 p.m., Hazelwood left Third Mate Gregory Cousins in charge of the wheel house and Able Seaman Robert Kagan at the helm. Neither man had been given his mandatory six hours off duty before beginning his 12-hour watch. The ship was on autopilot, using the navigation system installed by the company that constructed the ship. The ship struck Bligh Reef at around 12:04 a.m. March 24, 1989.

Beginning three days after the vessel grounded, a storm pushed large quantities of fresh oil on to the rocky shores of many of the beaches in the Knight Island chain. In this photograph, pooled oil is shown stranded in the rocks.

According to official reports, the ship was carrying approximately 55 million US gallons (210,000 m3) of oil, of which about 11 to 32 million US gallons (42,000 to 120,000 m3) were spilled into the Prince William Sound. A figure of 11 million US gallons (42,000 m3) was a commonly accepted estimate of the spill’s volume and has been used by the State of Alaska’s Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. Some groups, such as Defenders of Wildlife, dispute the official estimates, maintaining that the volume of the spill has been underreported. Alternative calculations, based on an assumption that the sea water rather than oil was drained from the damaged tanks, estimate the total to have been 25 to 32 million US gallons (95,000 to 120,000 m3).

Identified causes

Multiple factors have been identified as contributing to the incident:

   * Exxon Shipping Company failed to supervise the master and provide a rested and sufficient crew for Exxon Valdez. The NTSB found this was wide spread throughout industry, prompting a safety recommendation to Exxon and to the industry.

   * The third mate failed to properly maneuver the vessel, possibly due to fatigue or excessive workload.

   * Exxon Shipping Company failed to properly maintain the Raytheon Collision Avoidance System (RAYCAS) radar, which, if functional, would have indicated to the third mate an impending collision with the Bligh reef by detecting the “radar reflector”, placed on the next rock inland from Bligh Reef for the purpose of keeping boats on course via radar.

In light of the above and other findings, investigative reporter Greg Palast stated in 2008 “Forget the drunken skipper fable. As to Captain Joe Hazelwood, he was below decks, sleeping off his bender. At the helm, the third mate never would have collided with Bligh Reef had he looked at his RAYCAS radar. But the radar was not turned on. In fact, the tanker’s radar was left broken and disabled for more than a year before the disaster, and Exxon management knew it. It was (in Exxon’s view) just too expensive to fix and operate.” Exxon blamed Captain Hazelwood for the grounding of the tanker.

Economic and personal impact

In 1991, following the collapse of the local marine population (particularly clams, herring, and seals) the Chugach Alaska Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It has since recovered.

According to several studies funded by the state of Alaska, the spill had both short-term and long-term economic effects. These included the loss of recreational sports, fisheries, reduced tourism, and an estimate of what economists call “existence value”, which is the value to the public of a pristine Prince William Sound.

The economy of the city of Cordova, Alaska was adversely affected after the spill damaged stocks of salmon and herring in the area. Several residents, including one former mayor, committed suicide after the spill.

Formula One 2012: Sepang Qualifying

I hope I’ll be a little more coherent tomorrow but these far east starts on top of March Madness Hoops and the time change thing leave me a little wonky and disoriented.

The major competition story is that Scuderia Marlboro UPC has a slow car, severely lacking in downforce.  Maranello is distinctly disappointed and while Alonso is making the usual nothing to see here noises; Massa, who’s career at Big Red hangs by a thread, has asked for and gotten an entirely new chassis, tuned just for him, which is no better.

Mercedes seems poised to take over the third team spot and has some kind of fiddly aero bit reminiscent of the F-Duct that doubly reduces drag when activated in conjunction with the Drag Reduction System everyone uses and it has been ruled legal.  So far.

Red Bull really is handicapped by the changes to the blown diffuser rules and are not nearly as dominant though they are easily the second best team and are much better at race management than McLaren who still suck.

Sepang is hot and wet.  Even odds that they have to break out the Inters or Wets at some point, though with track temperatures in excess of 91 Farenheit the prescribed Pirellis are the Hards and Mediums with about 1.7 seconds a lap between them.  The Mediums have shown a tendency to lock up under heavy fuel in race start trim.  Sepang is rated a Medium to High speed track, flat with 15 turns, as opposed to Albert Park which is a bumpy road course rated Medium to Slow.

Bernie Ecclestone (aka CVC) is looking to cash out of Formula One via IPO, orchestrated by none other than those paragons of Wall Street virtue, Goldman Sachs.  The Formula One Team Association (everyone except Red Bull and Ferrari) is not altogether happy about this concept.

Tomorrow’s race starts at 2 am for GP2, 3:30 am for the start.

The Final This Week In The Dream Antilles

To be clear, your Bloguero is going nowhere. Really, he isn’t. It’s just that the format of “This Week In The Dream Antilles” has become obsolete. Outmoded. Not useful. Despite a mountain of his excellent intentions, your Bloguero hasn’t been keeping to the task. Yes, he’s put the headline up weekly, “The Week In The Dream Antilles,” but what does he do then? He doesn’t write a digest. No. He does something else.  Something else entirely. Whatever you may call it, one thing is clear: it’s not the digest of the week’s stories at The Dream Antilles.  And it’s been months since your Bloguero actually kept to the task and posted an actual digest. So, your Bloguero wonders solipsistically (you already know he talks to himself), “Ah, Bloguero, Sr. my friend, why are you keeping up this digestive kabuki? (Your Bloguero loves to punish himself). Why not instead just write a weekly essay for all of these wonderful group blogs. And drop the conceit of writing a digest of essays? Won’t that free up some of the neurons in your cranium?”

There you have it. But that’s not all. There’s this, repeated in its entirety:

Yet Another Broken Heart

President Obama got it entirely right when he said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” That captures it in a sentence.  A broken heart, and profound sadness and anger at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. And that’s why, today, students across South Florida, who understand from their own experiences how easy it is to be hassled, frisked, shot, or killed, walked out of school in protest. The death of Trayvon just is too much to bear. What else could they do?

And that’s why so many people are wearing hoodies today in solidarity with Trayvon and to symbolize their desire that justice be done.  I’m one of those. What else can I do?

And that’s why there are demonstrations in many cities that begin with the horror of the death of Trayvon Martin and go on to inevitable questions about the role of police, the constant frisking on the sidewalk. And the incessant of stopping of cars. And endemic surveillance and following and watching and stopping to ask questions.  Was it Justice Brandeis who wrote in dissent about the right of the people to be left alone?

It’s obvious. There’s something incredibly wrong going on. And it’s not new. No. It’s been going on in one dreadful form or another for more than half a millennium in this hemisphere and for more than 400 years in what is now the United States of America. And it continues.  In its simplest terms, it’s dehumanization. It has a long, horrible, degrading, exasperating history. And it continues.  It continues in many forms. Some are new, but others are age old. And it is persistent. And I have no idea how to stop it.  It has such deep roots and so much momentum. And despite all of the justified anger and all of the profound sadness, it continues.  Nobody seems to be able to stop it.

Here’s the heartbreak:  your teenager goes to the store to buy an iced tea and Skittles. Can he have two dollars? Sure. He doesn’t have any money. He says he’ll be right back. But he doesn’t come home alive.  He gets shot for no reason whatsoever. And he dies. Can you imagine this? And then the person who killed him isn’t even arrested.

And why isn’t he arrested? Is it because the police are stupid? Or incompetent? Or racists? Is it because the prosecutors are incompetent or racists? Or because the law of self defense has been so perverted that its been transformed by a state legislature in awe of the NRA into a shield for wanton killings of unarmed people by people with guns? Is it all of these things? Is it more than that? Is it something incomprehensible? Does it even matter why there’s been no arrest? Doesn’t the lack of an arrest speak volumes about the situation?

Here’s the heartbreak again: your teenager did nothing wrong and he’s dead. And nobody gets arrested, or charged, or indicted. And you and many other people suspect that your teenager has been murdered. But there’s no arrest. The police mumble on about the strange, new, self defense law and how somehow that ties their hands from making an arrest.  And they won’t make an arrest. And the person who should be arrested goes into hiding. And the police chief steps down temporarily. And now there’s a new state prosecutor and now there’s a federal, civil rights investigation. But there’s still no arrest. I wonder. Will there ever be an arrest? How long do I have to wait, and what exactly am I waiting for?

I wonder. How many thousands of parents have a version of this terrible event? How many parents have buried their children? How many children were lynched and killed before Emmett Till?  And how many killings of children have there been since? How many parents’ hearts have been broken when children have been killed? How many soul crushing, heartbreaking murders of children have there been? How many oceans of tears have been shed because of events just like this one?

My heart is again broken. The murder of Trayvon Martin is inexcusable. It’s yet another drop in the ocean of suffering filled with parents’ tears at the loss of their children. And the tears of the rest of us who feel their suffering. And it continues to grow.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles