Daily Archive: 05/19/2012

May 19 2012

What We Now Know

Now We Know: ‘In politics, money cannot buy excitement’

Up host Chris Hayes outlines the prominent news stories of the week after Americans Elect’s third-party presidential candidate nomination process fell through despite the group’s $35 million budget.

Chris and his guests discussed a proposal created by Republican strategists, and commissioned by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, which calls for revived attacks on President Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Also, Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power talked about corporate power, and Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor (@sentaylor) discussed the Wisconsin recall vote of Gov. Scott Walker. Plus, Chris’s Story of the Week focused on JP Morgan Chase’s reported $3 billion loss this quarter and the single “London Whale” trade that caused it.

Chris was also joined by Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland), editor of Thomson Reuters Digital; Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein), Occupy Wall Street activist and former Wall Street information technologist; and Bhaskar Sunkara (@el_bhask), editor of Jacobin Magazine (@jacobinmag)

This is an Open Thread. Let us know what you now know.

May 19 2012

Triple Crown: The Middle Child

Next to the failure of last year’s rapture I have to say the discovery of a new Mayan calendar that doesn’t end December 21, 2012 is nearly the most disappointing development so far this year as I once again have to try and find something interesting to say about Pimlico.

Preakness Trivia

  • Actually 2 years older than the Kentucky Derby.
  • Shortest in distance (1/16th shorter than the Derby).
  • Only the Derby has a larger attendance.
  • No Black Eyed Susan has ever been used, currently it’s painted Chysthanthemums.

There have been 33 winners of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes including the 11 Triple Crown winners.

Preakness Traditions

Winners don’t get the real Woodlawn Cup to keep, but a half size replica (oh, and the Woodlawn Racing Club is defunct).  Black Eyed Susans don’t bloom until 2 months after the Preakness.  The Old Clubhouse was destroyed in a fire in 1966.  They paint the winner’s racing silks on the weathervane.  No one on the internet knows why it’s called the Alibi Breakfast.

Official Website

The shortness is one reason Bodemeister is the pick of some handicappers.

As so often happens in my coverage of the odd and bizarre world of sports there is some actual interaction with what I like to call reality to report.

2012 Preakness Stakes: I’ll Have Another trainer Doug O’Neill enjoying the spotlight

By Liz Clarke, Washington Post

Published: May 18

The forecast for the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes calls for clear, sunny skies. But there’s a cloud hanging over O’Neill that could result in a 180-day suspension and $15,000 fine as a result of a failed test for elevated levels of carbon dioxide in one of his horses.

It was O’Neill’s fourth such failed test since 2006, and a ruling could come next week, when the California Horse Racing Board meets behind closed doors (though no penalty would take effect until after June’s Belmont Stakes).

It’s difficult to imagine a more dissonant note – the apparent pattern of rules-breaking clashing sharply with O’Neill’s easy warmth and charisma.

O’Neill has professed his innocence and filed suit over the most recent failed test, which suggests the banned practice known as “milkshaking,” in which a mixture of bicarbonate of soda, sugar and electrolytes are pumped into a horse’s nostrils to delay the sensation of fatigue and, in turn, boost performance down the stretch.



“Milkshaking” – or bicarbonate loading, in more sophisticated terms – gives racehorses an extra buffer against the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, which causes the sensation of fatigue, according to Rick M. Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board.

It poses little, if any, danger to the horse, Arthur added – assuming the mixture doesn’t seep into a horse’s lungs or isn’t administered in exceedingly high dosages.

But it is banned because it creates an unfair advantage.

And besides, you can’t believe anything you read at the Daily Kaplan anyway.

I need a drink-

Black Eyed Susan Recipe

(Official, but without the brand names)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 oz. Bourbon (20% of Early Times is aged in used barrels)
  • 3/4 oz. Vodka
  • 3 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 2 oz. Orange Juice

Preparation:

Fill a highball glass with shaved ice, add the liquors first, then top off with orange juice and sweet and sour mix. Stir and garnish with an orange slice, cherry, and stirrer.

Post time 6:05 pm ET, coverage starts at 4:30 pm on NBC.

May 19 2012

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News 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.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Seasonal Charms of Green Garlic

Photobucket

   Green garlic has a window of about a month at farmers’ markets in Los Angeles, where I live, and I cannot resist buying it every time I go. At the beginning of the season the bulbs look more like leeks or spring onions than garlic, as they have not yet set cloves. To prepare them I just cut away the stalks as I would a spring onion, cut them in half and remove any tough stalk that might be running down the middle, remove the papery outer layers and chop like a scallion or leek.

   By now the green garlic I’m buying – actually, the bulbs are pink, but the stalks are green – has set cloves. The long green stalk must be cut away and the papery shells and the middle stalk removed. The cloves are juicy and mild, and I am using them in everything from stir-fries to omelets. Some farmers sell garlic scapes, the curly, green flowering end of the garlic plant. I have yet to find them at my market, but you can find recipes at several Web sites, including this one. They can be used in the same way you might use the green parts of scallions – in salads, omelets and pasta dishes, for example. Next year, when I’m ready to write my now-annual green garlic column, I’ll look hard for scapes so I can include some recipes.

~Martha Rose Schulman~

Soba With Green Garlic, Spinach, Edamame and Crispy Tofu

If you can’t find soba (buckwheat noodles), you can serve the stir-fry with brown rice or other grains.

Green Garlic, Chive and Red Pepper Frittata

This frittata has a fluffy texture and can be eaten cold or hot, and it’s easy to pack for lunch.

Pan-Cooked Brussels Sprouts With Green Garlic

Can be served as part of a rice bowl with brown rice, but they also make a nice side dish with just about anything.

Quinoa Pilaf With Sweet Peas and Green Garlic

Quinoa’s grassy flavor is beautifully complemented here by the sweet vegetables that are appearing in farmers’ markets.

Turkey Burgers With Green Garlic and Parsley

The grated onion and abundance of green garlic add moisture as well as flavor to these burgers.

May 19 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial: A New Attack on the Constitution

On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down a law allowing the indefinite detention of anyone suspected of terrorism on American soil as a violation of free speech and due process. Two days later, the House made it clear it considered those to be petty concerns, voting to keep the repellent practice of indefinite detention on the books.

On a 238-to-182 vote, it rejected a proposal for something so basic that it is hard to believe there was an argument about it: a formal charge and trial for anyone arrested in the United States. You might have thought that was guaranteed in the Constitution, but that right was stripped away in last year’s military policy bill, signed by President Obama, which made an exception for terror suspects. By giving the military the power to deal with domestic terrorists, the bill essentially allowed presidents to brand anyone a terrorist and lock them up for life without a trial.

Robert Reich: The Commencement Address That Won’t Be Given

Members of the Class of 2012,

As a former secretary of labor and current professor, I feel I owe it to you to tell you the truth about the pieces of parchment you’re picking up today.

You’re f*cked.

Well, not exactly. But you won’t have it easy. [..]

You see, a college education isn’t just a private investment. It’s also a public good. This nation can’t be competitive globally, nor can we have a vibrant and responsible democracy, without a large number of well-educated people.

So it’s not just you who are burdened by these trends. If they continue, we’re all f*cked.

Laura Flanders: Where Are the Missing 5 Million Workers?

Where have all the workers gone?” David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal wondered about the labor force this week:

   In the past two years, the number of people in the U.S. who are older than 16 (and not in the military or prison) has grown by 5.4 million. The number of people working or looking for work hasn’t grown at all.

So, where have all the workers gone? Have they retired, suspended their labors temporarily or are they languishing on public assistance? asks Wessel.

There are some other possibilities. Since the crash of 2008, there’s no question that millions of Americans have indeed stopped looking for a job. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not working. Look around, it’s much more likely that the officially “unemployed” are busy, doing their best to make ends meet in whatever ways they can. Sex work, drugs and crime spring to mind, but the underground or “shadow” economy includes all sorts of off-the-books toil. From baby-sitting, bartering, mending, kitchen-garden farming and selling goods in a yard sale, all sorts of people-from the tamale seller on your corner, to the dancer who teachers yoga-are all contributing to the underground economy along with the “employed” who pay them for their wares.

John Nichols: A New Politics That Rejects Austerity and Wars of Whim

There’s something sick about a politics that tells children to give up their lunch money so that billionaire speculators can avoid paying taxes. And that sickness will only be cured by a new politics.

That new politics begins this week in Chicago.

When National Nurses United and the union’s allies rally on May 18 in Chicago on behalf of a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street speculation, the lie of austerity will be exposed.

The proponents of austerity-from Madison to Washington to Berlin to Athens-would have us believe that nations, states and communities must sacrifice public education, public services and healthcare in order to balance budgets. Yet the same politicians who preach that there is no money for vaccinations and school lunches can always find the money for corporate tax breaks, payouts to defense contractors and wars of whim.

Politicians in both parties tell austerity lies.

Michelle Chen: Shame of the Nation: House ‘Violence Against Women Act’ Bill Ratchets Up Attacks on Domestic Violence Survivors

Women have been under economic assault in Washington for months. Deficit hawks have taken aim at social programs and civil rights protections that help keep women safe, healthy and able to participate in work and community life. To some lawmakers, none of that is more important than “saving” taxpayer dollars-which is often shorthand for robbing working women of both their earnings and their safety net.

The hostility toward women crested this week as conservative lawmakers pushed legislation that would gut the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). House Bill 4970 isn’t just oppressive to survivors; it attacks the civil and social rights of all women. By raising barriers to economic assistance and legal recourse, the legislation sends the message to countless women living in violent households that their place is still in the home.

Ari Berman: Democrats Counter GOP Voting Restrictions

Since the 2010 election, Republicans have approved laws in more than a dozen states to restrict the right to vote. These laws include requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, restricting voter registration drives, curtailing early voting, disenfranchising ex-felons and mandating government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot. The Brennan Center estimates that “these new laws could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012,” and notes that “these new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities.” States with restrictive voting laws now comprise 70 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency-including crucial swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The impact of such laws could be one of the sleeper issues that helps decides the 2012 election.

May 19 2012

On This Day In History May 19

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.

May 19 is the 139th day of the year (140th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 226 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1935, T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, dies from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident near his home in Dorset, England.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935) was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916-18. The extraordinary breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, a title popularised by the 1962 film based on his First World War activities.

Lawrence was born illegitimately in Tremadog, Wales in August 1888 to Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner, a governess, who was herself illegitimate. Chapman left his wife to live with Sarah Junner, and they called themselves Mr and Mrs Lawrence. In the summer of 1896 the Lawrences moved to Oxford, where from 1907 to 1910 young Lawrence studied history at Jesus College, graduating with First Class Honours. He became a practising archaeologist in the Middle East, working with David George Hogarth and Leonard Woolley on various excavations. In January 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War, Lawrence was co-opted by the British military to undertake a military survey of the Negev Desert while doing archaeological research.

Lawrence’s public image was due in part to American journalist Lowell Thomas‘ sensationalised reportage of the revolt as well as to Lawrence’s autobiographical account Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922).

Arab revolt

At the outbreak of the First World War Lawrence was a university post-graduate researcher who had for years travelled extensively within the Ottoman Empire provinces of the Levant (Transjordan  and Palestine) and Mesopotamia (Syria and Iraq) under his own name. As such he became known to the Turkish Interior Ministry authorities and their German technical advisors. Lawrence came into contact with the Ottoman-German technical advisers, travelling over the German-designed, built, and financed railways during the course of his researches.

Even if Lawrence had not volunteered, the British would probably have recruited him for his first-hand knowledge of Syria, the Levant, and Mesopotamia. He was eventually posted to Cairo on the Intelligence Staff of the GOC Middle East.

Contrary to later myth, it was neither Lawrence nor the Army that conceived a campaign of internal insurgency against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, but rather the Arab Bureau of Britain’s Foreign Office. The Arab Bureau had long felt it likely that a campaign instigated and financed by outside powers, supporting the breakaway-minded tribes and regional challengers to the Turkish government’s centralised rule of their empire, would pay great dividends in the diversion of effort that would be needed to meet such a challenge. The Arab Bureau had recognised the strategic value of what is today called the “asymmetry” of such conflict. The Ottoman authorities would have to devote from a hundred to a thousand times the resources to contain the threat of such an internal rebellion compared to the Allies’ cost of sponsoring it.

At that point in the Foreign Office’s thinking they were not considering the region as candidate territories for incorporation in the British Empire, but only as an extension of the range of British Imperial influence, and the weakening and destruction of a German ally, the Ottoman Empire.

During the war, Lawrence fought with Arab irregular troops under the command of Emir Faisal, a son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, in extended guerrilla operations against the armed forces of the Ottoman Empire. He persuaded the Arabs not to make a frontal assault on the Ottoman stronghold in Medina but allowed the Turkish army to tie up troops in the city garrison. The Arabs were then free to direct most of their attention to the Turks’ weak point, the Hejaz railway that supplied the garrison. This vastly expanded the battlefield and tied up even more Ottoman troops, who were then forced to protect the railway and repair the constant damage.

The capture of Aqaba

In 1917, Lawrence arranged a joint action with the Arab irregulars and forces under Auda Abu Tayi (until then in the employ of the Ottomans) against the strategically located but lightly defended town of Aqaba. On 6 July, after a surprise overland attack, Aqaba fell to Lawrence and the Arab forces. After Aqaba, Lawrence was promoted to major. Fortunately for Lawrence, the new commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, General Sir Edmund Allenby, agreed to his strategy for the revolt, stating after the war:

   “I gave him a free hand. His cooperation was marked by the utmost loyalty, and I never had anything but praise for his work, which, indeed, was invaluable throughout the campaign.”

Lawrence now held a powerful position, as an adviser to Faisal and a person who had Allenby’s confidence.

The Fall of Damascus

The following year, Lawrence was involved in the capture of Damascus in the final weeks of the war and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1918. In newly liberated Damascus-which he had envisioned as the capital of an Arab state-Lawrence was instrumental in establishing a provisional Arab government under Faisal. Faisal’s rule as king, however, came to an abrupt end in 1920, after the battle of Maysaloun, when the French Forces of General Gouraud under the command of General Mariano Goybet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M… entered Damascus, breaking Lawrence’s dream of an independent Arabia.

As was his habit when traveling before the war, Lawrence adopted many local customs and traditions (many photographs show him in the desert wearing white Arab dishdasha and riding camels).

During the closing years of the war he sought, with mixed success, to convince his superiors in the British government that Arab independence was in their interests. The secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Britain contradicted the promises of independence he had made to the Arabs and frustrated his work.

In 1918 he co-operated with war correspondent Lowell Thomas for a short period. During this time Thomas and his cameraman Harry Chase shot a great deal of film and many photographs, which Thomas used in a highly lucrative film that toured the world after the war.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Lawrence’s major work is Seven Pillars of Wisdom, an account of his war experiences. In 1919 he had been elected to a seven-year research fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, providing him with support while he worked on the book. In addition to being a memoir of his experiences during the war, certain parts also serve as essays on military strategy, Arabian culture and geography, and other topics. Lawrence re-wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom three times; once “blind” after he lost the manuscript while changing trains at Reading railway station.

The list of his alleged “embellishments” in Seven Pillars is long, though many such allegations have been disproved with time, most definitively in Jeremy Wilson‘s authorised biography. However Lawrence’s own notebooks refute his claim to have crossed the Sinai Peninsula from Aqaba to the Suez Canal in just 49 hours without any sleep. In reality this famous camel ride lasted for more than 70 hours and was interrupted by two long breaks for sleeping which Lawrence omitted when he wrote his book.

Lawrence acknowledged having been helped in the editing of the book by George Bernard Shaw. In the preface to Seven Pillars, Lawrence offered his “thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Shaw for countless suggestions of great value and diversity: and for all the present semicolons.”

The first public edition was published in 1926 as a high-priced private subscription edition, printed in London by Roy Manning Pike and Herbert John Hodgson, with illustrations by Eric Kennington, Augustus John, Paul Nash, Blair Hughes-Stanton and his wife Gertrude Hermes. Lawrence was afraid that the public would think that he would make a substantial income from the book, and he stated that it was written as a result of his war service. He vowed not to take any money from it, and indeed he did not, as the sale price was one third of the production costs. This left Lawrence in substantial debt.

Death

At the age of 46, two months after leaving the service, Lawrence was fatally injured in an accident on his Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle in Dorset, close to his cottage, Clouds Hill, near Wareham. A dip in the road obstructed his view of two boys on their bicycles; he swerved to avoid them, lost control and was thrown over the handlebars. He died six days later on 19 May 1935. The spot is marked by a small memorial at the side of the road.

The circumstances of Lawrence’s death had far-reaching consequences. One of the doctors attending him was the neurosurgeon Hugh Cairns. He was profoundly affected by the incident, and consequently began a long study of what he saw as the unnecessary loss of life by motorcycle dispatch riders through head injuries. His research led to the use of crash helmets by both military and civilian motorcyclists.

Moreton Estate, which borders Bovington Camp, was owned by family cousins, the Frampton family. Lawrence had rented and later bought Clouds Hill from the Framptons. He had been a frequent visitor to their home, Okers Wood House, and had for years corresponded with Louisa Frampton. On Lawrence’s death, his mother arranged with the Framptons for him to be buried in their family plot at Moreton Church. His coffin was transported on the Frampton estate’s bier. Mourners included Winston and Clementine Churchill and Lawrence’s youngest brother, Arnold.

A bust of Lawrence was placed in the crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral and a stone effigy by Eric Kennington remains in the Anglo-Saxon church of St Martin, Wareham

May 19 2012

Austerity?

Which European leader is serious about economic recovery?

Merkel gives self and ministers pay rise

Merkel, her ministers and their parliamentary secretaries of state will see their wages rise in three stages between now and August 2013, until they all get 5.7 percent more. It is the first pay raise that the German cabinet has taken in twelve years. [..]

She has been the chief advocate of austerity in the eurozone during the debt crisis, earning her criticism from some quarters, notably Greece and more recently France, whose new leader Francois Hollande wants to focus on growth.

As opposed to this:

France Hollande: Ayrault government takes pay cut

France’s new government has held its first cabinet meeting and announced a 30% pay cut for President François Hollande and all his ministers.

A campaign promise, the cut reduces Mr Hollande’s monthly salary from 21,300 euros to 14,910 (£12,000; $19,000).

The cut contrasts sharply with predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to increase his pay on entering office.

Austerity?

H/t Chris in Paris @ AMERICAblog

May 19 2012

Popular Culture (Music) 20120518: Yet More Moodies

Last week we discussed On the Threshold of a Dream, and this week the next album by The Moody Blues, To our Children’s Children’s Children.

The band were the same lineup as from their second record, and after being released on 19691121 charted at #2 in the UK and at #14 the next year in the US.  This is really a very nice album, although not my favorite Moodies one.

This album follows the trend that The Moody Blues were an album rather than a singles band because the only single from it failed to chart.  We discussed this last week and came to the conclusion that the ideas that they were expressing were simply too complex for one or two songs.