Daily Archive: 06/02/2012

Jun 02 2012

The Drone Wars: Obama’s “Kill List”

On Up with Chris Hayes, Chris and his guests exam the drone war and President Barack Obama’s ‘kill list’ that was revealed in a much read and discussed article in the New York Times. In the following three segments Chris along with Colonel Jack Jacobs, MSNBC military analyst; Hina Shamsi from the ACLU’s National Security Project; Jeremy Scahill of The Nation magazine; and Josh Treviño of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, discuss new revelations about the Obama administration’s drone program, including a reported “kill list” overseen directly by President Obama. They also examine the possibility that the Obama administration has been classifying civilian casualties as combatant deaths, as well as, the Obama administration’s contention that its targeted killing program is constitutional, and asks whether Congress is failing to hold the president accountable.

Jun 02 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.

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Layers of Flavor: Lasagna With Roasted Vegetables

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Roasting brings a rich dimension to all sorts of vegetables. I’d never thought of roasting broccoli, for instance, but now I’ll be roasting that vegetable as often as I steam it, for sure.  [..]

You can get ahead on lasagna by making up big batches of marinara sauce and freezing it, or in a pinch use a good commercial brand. The noodles are no-boil, which really makes these lasagnas easy to assemble. They make great one-dish meals, and I think they’re very kid-friendly. They can be made ahead and reheated (I’m pulling the leftovers of this week’s recipe tests out of my refrigerator and feeding them to a group of hungry teenagers after a school concert tonight), or frozen.

~Martha Rose Schulman~

Lasagna With Steamed Spinach and Roasted Zucchini

This is adapted from a much richer Italian vegetable lasagna recipe. Roasting the zucchini adds a welcome layer of flavor.

Lasagna With Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Now that I’ve discovered how delicious roasted cauliflower is and how easy it is to do it, that’s the only way I want to cook it. It might be difficult to abstain from eating the cauliflower before you’ve gotten it into your lasagna.

Lasagna With Roasted Eggplant, Mushrooms and Carrots

This is like a combination of eggplant Parmesan and lasagna, with the added texture and flavor provided by savory mushrooms and sweet roasted carrots.

Lasagna With Roasted Broccoli

The broccoli part of this recipe is adapted from Molly Stevens’ Blasted Broccoli in her wonderful book “All About Roasting.”

Lasagna With Roasted Beets and Herb Béchamel

I also call this “pink lasagna,” as the beets will bleed into the béchamel and onto the pasta when it bakes. Roast the beets ahead so that they will be cool enough to handle easily when you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.

Jun 02 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”.

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Marcy Wheeler: The “Kill List” Is a Shiny Object

I recognize the term “Kill List” has some political advantages. It’s a concise way to convey the cold brutality of our use of drones. Launching a petition for a Do Not Kill list-on the White House’s own website!-is a clever use of social media.

That’s because it propagates the myth that everyone we’re killing is a known terrorist. It propagates the myth that the outdated vetting process John Brennan wants to publicize to convince the American public we use a very deliberative process before killing people with drones covers all drone killings. It propagates the myth that the government plans out each and every drone strike so thoroughly as to have the President sign off on it.

   Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war.

It propagates the myth that the only innocents killed in drone strikes – 19 year old Yemeni farmer Nasser Salim killed in the Fahd al-Quso drone strike, the girl Baitullah Mehsud had just married, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki had the poor judgment to stand next to one of the named people on one of America’s Kill Lists.

The reference to and focus on a Kill List hides precisely the most controversial use of drones outside of Afghanistan: the targeting of patterns, not people.

But the “Kill List” is a shiny object.

Gabor Rona and Daphne Eviatar: Kill the ‘Kill List’: Obama’s Assassination Program is Illegal and Immoral

The Obama administration is grossly misreading international law when it comes to targeting terrorists.

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a stunning front-page article by Jo Becker and Scott Shane that portrays U.S. President Barack Obama as so genuinely concerned about the ethics of U.S. warfare that he’s taken to personally reviewing the government’s “kill list” to make the ultimate moral calculation of who gets to live or die, based on secret U.S. intelligence. The Times described the president as poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies — their “baseball cards,” as one unnamed official put it — and making the final determination of whether and when a suspected terrorist leader, and sometimes his family, will be killed.

But if the president’s personal involvement is laudable, the killings themselves are no less controversial. And, if the Times’s reporting is accurate, the program itself is illegal.

Becker and Shane confirm what we could only guess from remarks made by Obama’s advisors in the past: that the United States is targeting to kill individuals overseas who do not pose an imminent threat to the United States and who are not directly participating in hostilities against Americans. That’s a violation of international law.

Robert Reich: The Job Stall

The White House must be telling itself there are still five months between now and Election Day, so the jobs picture could brighten. After all, we went through a similar mid-year slump in 2011 but came out fine.

But however you look at today’s jobs report, it’s a stunning reminder of how anemic the recovery has been – and how perilously close the nation is to falling into another recession. [..]

Republicans will have a field day with today’s jobs report, taking it as a sign that Obama’s economic policies have failed and we need instead their brand of fiscal austerity combined with more tax cuts for the wealthy.

But that’s precisely the reverse of what’s needed.

Robert Alverez: Nuclear Tuna and NPR’s Trivialization

NPR shouldn’t trivialize the risk of radioactive tuna from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Yesterday, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story asserting that cesium-137 from the Fukushima nuclear accident found in Bluefish tuna on the west coast of the U.S. is harmless.

It’s not harmless. The Fukushima nuclear accident released about as much cesium-137 as a thermonuclear weapon with the explosive force of 11 million tons of TNT. In the spring of 1954, after the United States exploded nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, the Japanese government had to confiscate about 4 million pounds of contaminated fish.

Radiation from Fukushima spread far and wide. Like American hydrogen bomb testing, the Fukushima nuclear accident deposited cesium-137 over 600,000 square-miles of the Pacific, as well as the Northern Hemisphere and Europe. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 is taken up in the meat of the tuna as if it were potassium, indicating that the metabolism holds on to it.

Jessica Valenti: What Would George Tiller Do?

The late doctor trusted women. It was his philosophy and practice.

Today is the third anniversary of Dr. George Tiller’s assassination. On May 31, 2009, Tiller was shot and killed by Scott Roeder while he served as an usher in his Wichita church. Tiller was one of the only abortion providers in the country to provide late-term abortions. He often wore a button that said “Trust Women.”

I wonder, if Dr. Tiller were alive today, what he would think about the unwavering attack against women’s reproductive freedom and bodily integrity-if he could ever of imagined that American women would still not just be fighting for the right to abortion but for birth control. Or that there would be a national debate on whether or not it’s appropriate to call a woman who wants contraception coverage a “prostitute.” I imagine that even for a man who had seen a lot of misogyny in his life, the current climate against women would be shocking.

Since Tiller’s murder, the legislative agenda against reproductive justice-and common-sense decency-has been staggering.

Robert Weissman: The Transparently Secretive Chamber of Commerce

Well, the Big Business guys are transparent about one thing: They can’t stand the idea of the public holding them to account for their attempts to buy elections and influence policy, or even that they be prevented from corrupting the government contracting process through campaign spending.

The latest: They are so terrified of having their political spending disclosed that they are pushing in Congress legislation that would prohibit the government from requiring contractors to disclose their campaign-related spending.

Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, is carrying their water, with the Orwellian “Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act,” a bill that recently passed the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs and may well become law unless the public demands otherwise. To take action to stop this abomination, go here.

Jun 02 2012

Are You Too Dumb To Vote?

Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg thinks some people are too dumb to vote:

   Personally, I think the voting age should be much higher, not lower.  I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest.

   (…)

   It is a simple fact of science, that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity than youth.

In some cases he may be right except that he wouldn’t agree. 46% of Americans believe the creationist view of human existence:

The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.

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Hmmm, why would that be? Could it be a failure of our schools? Scarecrow at FDL says:

assume these numbers reflect the effects of private religious schooling and the growing trend of devising various schemes to use public dollars to subsidize private/religious schools, as reported in the New York Times.

Every time I hear Arne Duncan go on about NCLB or his Race to the Top and how we ought to be promoting clever ways to give parents more choices outside the public school system in how they teach their children, so as to improve their children’s math and engineering scores, I have to wonder why he just doesn’t make moving the numbers on this chart in a more enlightened direction as a measure of what “success means.” That chart shouts “failure” when I look at.

Or could it be more that our country’s “youths”, as Chris Mooney points out in his new book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Realityyou’re too misinformed to vote if you get your news from Fox News:

In June of last year, Jon Stewart went on air with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and started a major media controversy over the channel’s misinforming of its viewers. “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart asked Wallace. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”

Stewart’s statement was factually accurate, as we’ll see. The next day, however, the fact-checking site PolitiFact [weighed in http://www.politifact.com/trut… and rated it “false.” In claiming to check Stewart’s “facts,” PolitiFact ironically committed a serious error and later, doubly ironically, failed to correct it. How’s that for the power of fact checking?

There probably is a small group of media consumers out there somewhere in the world who are more misinformed, overall, than Fox News viewers. But if you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences (e.g., numbering in the millions), it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence-especially in areas of political controversy. This will come as little surprise to liberals, perhaps, but the evidence for it-evidence in Stewart’s favor-is pretty overwhelming.

I am fairly certain Jonah wasn’t pointing his pudgy conservative finger at the religious right or Fox News but if the shoe fits

Jun 02 2012

On This Day In History June 2

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.

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June 2 is the 153rd day of the year (154th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 212 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1962, Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts.

Ray Charles was one of the founding fathers of soul music-a style he helped create and popularize with a string of early 1950s hits on Atlantic Records like “I Got A Woman” and “What’d I Say.” This fact is well known to almost anyone who has ever heard of the man they called “the Genius,” but what is less well known-to younger fans especially-is the pivotal role that Charles played in shaping the course of a seemingly very different genre of popular music. In the words of his good friend and sometime collaborator, Willie Nelson, speaking before Charles’ death in 2004, Ray Charles the R&B legend “did more for country music than any other living human being.” The landmark album that earned Ray Charles that praise was Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, which gave him his third #1 hit in “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” which topped the U.S. pop charts on this day in 1962

Executives at ABC Records-the label that wooed Ray Charles from Atlantic with one of the richest deals of the era-were adamantly opposed to the idea that Charles brought to them in 1962: to re-record some of the best country songs of the previous 20 years in new arrangements that suited his style. As Charles told Rolling Stone magazine a decade later, ABC executives said, “You can’t do no country-western things….You’re gonna lose all your fans!” But Charles recognized the quality of songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Don Gibson and “You Don’t Know Me,” by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker, and the fact that his version of both of those country songs landed in the Top 5 on both the pop and R&B charts was vindication of Charles’s long-held belief that “There’s only two kinds of music as far as I’m concerned: good and bad.”

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra called Charles “the only true genius in show business.”

Rolling Stone ranked Charles number 10 on their list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2004, and number two on their November 2008 list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. In honoring Charles, Billy Joel noted: “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley. I don’t know if Ray was the architect of rock & roll, but he was certainly the first guy to do a lot of things . . . Who the hell ever put so many styles together and made it work?”

Jun 02 2012

Popular Culture (Music) 20120601: More Moodies – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Last time we discussed A Question of Balance, and tonight we discuss their next album.  Released on 19710723, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was the seventh album by The Moody Blues, and the sixth one with the Edge, Hayward, Lodge, Pinder, and Thomas lineup.  As we shall see next time, by then they had pretty much determined that the original lineup were really quite a different band than the one that was created when Hayward and Lodge joined.

Although not my favorite album by them, it has some really high parts (punintentional).  It charted at #1 in the UK and at #2 in the US, not a trivial accomplishment considering the great music of the period.  Once again Tony Clarke produced it and Phil Travers supplied the cover art for the record.

The album is unusual in several respects.  First of all, the title itself, according to Wikipedia, is a mnemonic memory aide for the treble clef:  E, G, B, D, F.  Secondly, the cut “Emily’s Song” was written by Lodge for his new daughter.  Finally, it is contains the only work written by all five band members.