09/22/2012 archive

This Vigil Needs Your Support



Martin Baumgold

In the wake of 9/11, on Saturday, September 22, 2001, eleven years ago today, my friend Martin Baumgold decided to stand at the Seventh Street Park in Hudson, New York to demonstrate for peace.  The world needed to find peace, and he saw that. He’s been at it since. Every week. Every Saturday. People have come to stand with him, and they have gone away. New ones have come and they too have gone away.  Usually, there are 3 or 4 or even 5 people standing at the South side of the Seventh Park on Warren Street. Martin is undeterred, he stands anyway.  He’s not the leader of a movement; he just hopes that others will stand with him. But even if they don’t, obviously he’s in it for the long haul.

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

Couscous Dinners, Ready When You Are


All of this week’s recipes are hearty vegetarian bean and vegetable stews to serve with couscous. They are make-ahead dishes using the vegetables of late summer and early fall that will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. If you’re looking for vegetarian dishes to break the fast, or just dishes for getting ahead on the week’s meals, they’re perfect.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Couscous With Tomatoes, White Beans, Summer Squash and Sweet and Hot Peppers

This late summer/early fall couscous can also be made in winter using canned tomatoes. The hot and the sweet peppers contribute great contrasting flavors.

Couscous With Chickpeas, Spinach and Mint

Spinach and chickpeas are a popular combination throughout the Mediterranean, but chard and other greens work as well.

Couscous With Tomatoes, Okra and Chickpeas

Don’t let okra’s slimy reputation put you off: Whole small pods add great texture, flavor and nutrition to this dish, without the slime.

Couscous With Tomatoes, Cauliflower, Red Peppers and Olives

Cruciferous vegetables make few appearances in North African tagines, but this dish is an appealing vehicle for nutritious cauliflower.

Israeli Couscous With Mixed Summer Vegetables

In this one-pot meal, the couscous pearls cook in the stew just before mealtime.

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

Gail Collins: The Polar Express

This is the season of Extreme Politics. Everything’s exciting. Mitt Romney paid taxes! Joe Biden just bought a 36-pound pumpkin! Paul Ryan is campaigning with his mom again!

Oh, and Congress is ready to go home to run for re-election. I know you were wondering. [..]

The good news is that our lawmakers spent their last pre-election days in Washington working to pass a bill that would keep the government running for the next six months. This is sometimes referred to as a “continuing resolution,” and sometimes as “kicking the can down the road.” Personally, I am pretty relieved to see evidence that this group has the capacity to kick a can. [..]

The majority leader, Harry Reid, pointed out repeatedly that he has had to struggle with 382 filibusters during his six years at the helm. “That’s 381 more filibusters than Lyndon Johnson faced,” he complained. Obviously, Robert Caro is never going to write a series of grand biographies about the life of Harry Reid.

It’s a wonder anything ever gets done. Although, actually, it generally doesn’t.

New York Times Editorial: Voter Harassment, Circa 2012

This is how [voter intimidation worked in 1966 v]: White teenagers in Americus, Ga., harassed black citizens in line to vote, and the police refused to intervene. Black plantation workers in Mississippi had to vote in plantation stores, overseen by their bosses. Black voters in Choctaw County, Ala., had to hand their ballots directly to white election officials for inspection.

This is how it works today: In an ostensible hunt for voter fraud, a Tea Party group, True the Vote, descends on a largely minority precinct and combs the registration records for the slightest misspelling or address error. It uses this information to challenge voters at the polls, and though almost every challenge is baseless, the arguments and delays frustrate those in line and reduce turnout.

Paul Krugman: In Britain and the US, Economic Mysticism Endures

In a lot of ways George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer (or finance minister) is Britain’s answer to Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president. True, he’s a toned-down version – no Ayn Rand, please, we’re British – but other aspects of the package are there in full force: Mr. Osborne is articulate, has a vision that’s completely at odds with everything we actually know about macroeconomics, and he was for a while the darling not just of the right but of self-proclaimed centrists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr. Osborne’s big idea in 2010 was that Britain should turn to fiscal austerity now now now, even though the economy remained deeply depressed; it would all work out, he insisted, because the confidence fairy would come to the rescue.

Never mind those whining Keynesians who said that premature austerity would send Britain into a double-dip recession.

Herman Schwartz: Imprisonment without End at Guantánamo

The Supreme Court ruled in a 2008 decision that Guantánamo detainees must have a “meaningful opportunity” to challenge their detention at a habeas corpus hearing.

This decision, Boumediene v. Bush, has repeatedly been subverted, however, by right-wing judges on the federal Court of Appeals in Washington. Yet the justices don’t seem to care – for they have declined to review any of the D.C. circuit’s rulings undermining the Boumediene decision.

Their indifference was most recently demonstrated in June, when the Supreme Court refused to review a decision, Latif v. Obama, that granted government intelligence reports a presumption of accuracy – regardless of how they were prepared. As a result of the court’s action, many Guantanamo detainees face what could be many years of indefinite detention.

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif was one of these detainees. Until last week, when he was found dead in his cell on Sept. 9. Yet the military had twice recommended that Latif be released, as Wikileaks disclosed last year. An interagency national security task force had approved this in 2009, and his release was ordered in 2010 by the district court.

Robert Reich: Four Reasons Why Romney Still Might Win

Can Romney possibly recover? A survey conducted between Sept. 12 and Sept. 16 by the Pew Research Center – before the “47 percent victim” video came to light – showed Obama ahead of Romney 51% to 43% among likely voters.

That’s the biggest margin in the September survey prior to a presidential election since Bill Clinton led Bob Dole, 50% to 38% in 1996.

And, remember, this recent poll was done before America watched Romney belittle almost half the nation.

For the last several days I’ve been deluged with calls from my inside-the-beltway friends telling me “Romney’s dead.”

Hold it. Rumors of Romney’s demise are premature for at least four reasons [..]

David Sirota: Drug Dealers Protecting Their Turf

If you heard a drug dealer denigrate his competitor’s product as unsafe, would you trust his criticism? Or would you think he’s a hypocrite with ulterior motives? Last week, thanks to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO), these became the central political questions in the fight over whether to continue America’s destructive War on Marijuana.

The frontline in that war is Colorado, where the federal government has interfered with its system of state-regulated medical marijuana businesses, despite President Obama’s promise to refrain from doing so. Countering that crackdown is a 2012 ballot initiative that would make Colorado the first state to fully legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol.

Enter Hickenlooper. In the same month a poll showed majority support for the marijuana legalization initiative, the governor blasted the measure for allegedly “detract(ing) from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state” and for “send(ing) the wrong message to kids.”

F1 2012: Marina Bay Qualifying

Next June 9th to 20th might be a good time to stay away from northern New Jersey and New York City as Bernie’s traveling circus comes to fat boy bully Chris Christie’s bond degraded New Jersey.  Bad news for Spain which faces secession by Catalonia AND the loss of the Valencia race.

Singapore next year is a provisional start as track officials argue that the expense of lighting the only night race and setting up the street circuit should merit a further reduction in the participation fee.  This is not good news for Ecclestone as the Formula One IPO has been postponed indefinitely while his company CVC has sold 50% of its once 65% share privately.

In another sign that the air is leaving the Formula One bubble, Speed’s Formula One Debrief is reporting that teams are moving away from schemes attempting to reduce costs through racing regulations in favor of flat expenditure caps.  I think this would actually be good as it would penalize diversity less and allow junior teams the track development time they so desperately need to be competitive.

Of course one of the problems is the expansion plans.  The inclusion of so many Asian events is driving up the costs of logistics and transportation, the question is whether the perceived value of name recognition and client relations from association with Formula One will be sufficient to continue to fund the lavish excesses of greedy parasites like Bernie.

Mercedes has a new exhaust.  Lotus a new wing.  We’ll be running Softs and Super Softs, the track won’t be helping them much as it will be hot and bumpy though it is a slow track, just slightly faster than Monaco.

How will the artificial lighting effect them?  Probably not much but if you’ve ever been night skiing you know it has a tendency to flatten out irregularities so what seems a minor mogul can suck your knees to your chest with compression or launch you unexpectedly.  More to the point is that the customary early evening showers are likely to wash off any ‘rubbering in’ and make the pavement slippery.  There’s not a lot of room for error on a street course, Caterham has already busted a suspension on the Jersey barriers bringing out a red flag that interrupted Friday’s second Practice.

Renault is having a real problem with their alternators in every engine they ship.  They made some modifications to give it a little more grunt that have proven disastrous from a reliability standpoint and unfortunately the defective AE35 unit in failure mode is little more than a chunk of twisted metal so post mortem diagnostics have so far been ineffective.

Race time tomorrow 7:30 am.  Any surprises below.

On This Day In History September 22

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.

September 22 is the 265th day of the year (266th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 100 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million black slaves in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure.

In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union. His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free.

The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America  that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.

The proclamation did not name the slave-holding border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, which had never declared a secession, and so it did not free any slaves there. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it also was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties that were in the process of forming West Virginia, as well as seven other named counties and two cities. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and thirteen named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation.

The Emancipation Proclamation was criticized at the time for freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. Although most slaves were not freed immediately, the Proclamation did free thousands of slaves the day it went into effect in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception). In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves[2][3] were freed at once on January 1, 1863.

Additionally, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies advanced through the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 census) were freed by July 1865.

Near the end of the war, abolitionists were concerned that while the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Several former slave states had already passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, in a few states, slavery continued to be legal, and to exist, until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was enacted.

Autumnal Equinox 2012

Autumn 2012At 10:49 AM EDT, the Northern Hemisphere passes from Summer into Autumn as the sun passes over the equator heading south to give the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere its turn at Summer. The Autumnal Equinox is also known as: Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Fall Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Witch’s Thanksgiving, and the first day of autumn.

It is the second harvest, a time for gathering the Summer’s last fruits, giving thanks for the harvest and marking a celebration in gratitude as the soil and plants die away. This year’s Harvest Moon reaches its peak on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 11:19 PM EDT . The “Harvest Moon” is another name for the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, which marks the change of seasons. The moon gets its name from the amount of light it emits, allowing farmers to continue harvesting the summer’s crops through the evening. The Harvest Moon usually appears before or after the equinox.

The equinox actually lasts just a moment when the sun passes over the Equator and rises due east, setting due west along the horizon, everywhere except the poles.

A scientific myth is that day and night are equal around the entire world, not really:

   Most Northern Hemisphere locations, however, do not see an exact 12-hour day until a few days after the fall equinox (and a few days before the spring equinox).

   The main reason is atmospheric refraction: This bending of the sun’s light allows us to see the entire sun before and after it crosses the horizon. (By definition, actual sunrise occurs as soon as the upper edge of the solar disk appears above the horizon, while sunset occurs the moment the sun’s trailing edge disappears below it – though that’s not how our eyes see it.)

   This helps explain why the day is slightly more than 12 hours long on the equinox. It also explains why places on the equator always see just over 12 hours of daylight year-round: It’s because of the angle from which they observe the sun.

The seasons change and the world continues on it coarse through time and space. Take some time to notice our home, Earth.

My Autumn Leaves

~ Bruce Weigl

I watch the woods for deer as if I’m armed.

I watch the woods for deer who never come.

I know the hes and shes in autumn

rendezvous in orchards stained with fallen

apples’ scent. I drive my car this way to work

so I may let the crows in corn believe

it’s me their caws are meant to warn,

and snakes who turn in warm and secret caves

they know me too. They know the boy

who lives inside me still won’t go away.

The deer are ghosts who slip between the light

through trees, so you may only hear the snap

of branches in the thicket beyond hope.

I watch the woods for deer, as if I’m armed.

from The Unraveling Strangeness: Poems

h/t Hecatedemeter

Popular Culture 20120921: Jethro Tull — Thick as a Brick Side One

Last time we sort of did the history about this record, and tonight we shall deal with the first side of the album.  It is quite complex, and is just one long song called “Thick as a Brick Part I”.  Obviously, the second side, to be covered next time, is called “Thick as a Brick Part II”.  Here is how I suggest that you read this blog.

Open a second entry of this in a new tab (if you are using Firefox or other browsers that support multiple tabs).  If not, just open a second browser window.  Use the second one to play the music, and I will give you prompts when to go back the the first one for discussion.  I believe that will be the most efficient way to cover one long (22 minutes, forty seconds) bit of music.  I am going to break it into chunks at what I deem to be different songs.