12/01/2012 archive

Why do these people have a job?

I’m not talking about John “Wet Start” McCain and his bestest bud Lindsey Graham.  Clearly the voters of Arizona and South Carolina have spoken and they like having liars and hypocrites as representatives of their States.

That’s Democracy.

No, I’m talking about the Russerts and Gregorys and Stephanopouloses and Schieffers and their Producers who’s Rolodexes always seem to come up 22 Black.

I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

If only it were a gamble.

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

Salad Days (and Nights)

Turkey Cobb Salad

These salads are all substantial enough to eat as a meal and have enough calories to sustain you until the next. But you could serve smaller portions as a starter or side dish. I found that some, like the Asian chopped salad and the quinoa salad, had great staying power throughout the week. If you are vegetarian and want to include a high protein food in the salads that call for turkey or chicken, use the baked seasoned tofu in the Asian chopped salad. It would be a welcome addition to any of these salads.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Post Thanksgiving Cobb Salad

A lighter version of the classic California Cobb salad, which is a composed salad made with chicken breast, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, bacon and blue cheese.

Quinoa Salad With Avocado and Kalamata Olives

A delicious twist on a traditional Greek salad.

Spinach and Turkey Salad

Turn a classic spinach salad into a light main course with the addition of some low-fat protein.

Spinach and Turkey Salad

Turn a classic spinach salad into a light main course with the addition of some low-fat protein.

Asian Chopped Salad With Seasoned Tofu ‘Fingers’

Served with baked tofu “fingers,” this salad can hold any leftover vegetables you might have on hand.

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

Robert L. Borsage: On the Fiscal Extortion; Just Say No

Pressure for a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year is building. Even minor tremors in the stock market are treated as auguries of the panic that will attend a failure to act. A multi-million dollar campaign funded by Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson and Corporate CEOs demands action to “fix the debt.”

The president has put forth a comprehensive $4 trillion-dollar plan, including ending the Bush tax breaks for the top 2 percent, $400 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years, as well as extension of the payroll tax cut, and creation of an infrastructure bank to help sustain the economy. House Speaker John Boehner scorns this, arguing that the price of defusing the austerity bomb is a deal that combines far more significant cuts in “entitlements” — that is Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — with smaller amounts of revenue coming from lowering top rates and closing loopholes. As the end of the year approaches, the hysteria will build.

Easily lost in the tumult is simple common sense. No deal is a far better alternative than a bad deal — and the grand bargain now being discussed is a very bad deal. Here are the reasons citizens should be skeptical about the rush to agree.

Jill Filpovic: Justice Ginsburg’s distant dream of an all-female supreme court

Women graduate in law and enter legal practice in parity with men. But instead of getting on the bench, they end up benched

When will there be enough women on the United States supreme court?

Supreme court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says when all nine seats are filled by female judges: [..]

Ginsburg’s comments, which were made last month, ruffled some feathers – but she’s right. As she herself pointed out, for most of the supreme court’s history, all of the justices were men and no one “ever raised a question” about that. The court isn’t like Congress or a corporation where there are hundreds of people serving and female-only representation would suggest a serious (and probably intentional) imbalance. There are only nine justices on the supreme court. It’s not unreasonable to think that, at some point, nine of the finest legal minds in the country would belong to women.

Unfortunately, an all-female supreme court is a long ways off. And not because women aren’t just as smart as men, don’t achieve as highly or aren’t as ambitious. But because, socially, we set men up to succeed and set women up to fail.

Robert Reich: Organizing McDonald’s and Walmart, and Why Austerity Economics Hurts Low-Wage Workers the Most

What does the drama in Washington over the “fiscal cliff” have to do with strikes and work stoppages among America’s lowest-paid workers at Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Domino’s Pizza?


Jobs are slowly returning to America, but most of them pay lousy wages and low if non-existent benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that seven out of 10 growth occupations over the next decade will be low-wage — like serving customers at big-box retailers and fast-food chains. That’s why the median wage keeps dropping, especially for the 80 percent of the workforce that’s paid by the hour.

It also part of the reason why the percent of Americans living below the poverty line has been increasing even as the economy has started to recover — from 12.3 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2011. More than 46 million Americans now live below the poverty line.

Ralph Nader: The Gift of a Sustainable Economy

As the end of the year approaches, so does the biggest consumer rush of the year, as millions flock to the stores and online vendors for the latest TVs, gadgets, trendy toys, clothes and more. The Friday after Thanksgiving, now popularly known as “Black Friday” has, in recent years, been hyped beyond the bounds of decency by marketers hoping to motivate thousands of people across the country to line up outside of stores in the wee hours of the morning in hope of securing discounts on big ticket items. One could even make the case that Thanksgiving is now overshadowed by the next-day shopping extravaganza — in some communities, stores even opened on Thursday night, so intrepid shoppers could leave their holiday festivities and get right to it. And don’t forget about “Cyber Monday” just days later, for those inclined to get their deals online.

The holidays, once considered a sacred time for family and celebration, have been hijacked by big companies sending out a message to the American people, playing on an endless loop from as early as November 1st all the way to the New Year: “Buy, buy, buy!” Think of all of those products that millions of Americans are purchasing as gifts for their friends and family. Where were they manufactured? Who profits from their sale? What happens to them when they break or become obsolete?

George Zornick: Why Raising the Eligibility Age is the ‘Single Worst Idea’ for Medicare Reform

Most of what’s happening now in the fiscal cliff saga is just posturing-each side is trying to appear open to compromise while at the same time assuring its base that sacred principles will be respected.

But this morning, Politico reported what could be the early contours of an actual deal that’s taking shape behind the scenes. There’s a huge caveat to this story, written by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, because it couldn’t be any more vaguely sourced. Allen and VandeHei refer only to “top officials,” “veterans of this budget fight,” and so on, so it’s impossible to discern who is feeding them this information and why.

But assuming for a moment it’s true, there are some details sure to give progressives indigestion. In exchange for Republicans agreeing to tax increases-including rate hikes-on the top two percent of earners, this is what is allegedly being talked about for entitlement reform: [..]

John Nichols: Sorry, Erskine, America Rejected Simpson-Bowles

Erskine Bowles, who is sort of a Democrat, met Wednesday with House Speaker John Boehner to help Republicans promote proposals to cut entitlements, as part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

This is the right place for Bowles, who has long maintained a mutual-admiration society with House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. The former Clinton White House chief of staff has always been in the corporate conservative camp when it comes to debates about preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s good that he and Boehner have found one another. Let the Republicans advocate for the cuts proposed by Bowles and his former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, his Republican co-conductor on the train wreck that produced the so-called “Simpson-Bowles” deficit reduction plan.

After all, despite the media hype, Simposon-Bowles has always been a non-starter with the American people.

On This Day In History December 1

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.

December 1 is the 335th day of the year (336th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 30 days remaining until the end of the year


On this day in 1990, the Chunnel makes breakthrough. Shortly after 11 a.m. on December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English Channel, workers drill an opening the size of a car through a wall of rock. This was no ordinary hole–it connected the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8,000 years.

The Channel Tunnel, or “Chunnel,” was not a new idea. It had been suggested to Napoleon Bonaparte, in fact, as early as 1802. It wasn’t until the late 20th century, though, that the necessary technology was developed. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and Calais, France.

The Channel Tunnel (French: Le tunnel sous la Manche), (also informally known as the Chunnel) is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent near Dover in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is 75 metres (250 ft) deep. At 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi), the Channel Tunnel possesses the second longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world. The Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall at 53.85 kilometres (33.46 mi), and deeper at 240 metres (790 ft) below sea level.

The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, Eurotunnel Shuttle roll-on/roll-off vehicle transport-the largest in the world-and international rail freight trains. The tunnel connects end-to-end with the LGV Nord and High Speed 1 high-speed railway lines. In 1996 the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Ideas for a cross-Channel fixed link appeared as early as 1802, but British political and press pressure over compromised national security stalled attempts to construct a tunnel. However, the eventual successful project, organised by Eurotunnel, began construction in 1988 and opened in 1994. The project came in 80% over its predicted budget. Since its construction, the tunnel has faced several problems. Fires have disrupted operation of the tunnel. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers have attempted to use the tunnel to enter Britain, causing a minor diplomatic disagreement over the siting of the Sangatte refugee camp, which was eventually closed in 2002.

Life Models

You know, I do have other interests.

My comment at the moment was-

Fields have different expressions depending on how you interact with them.

Nothing so hard about that.

But the Standard Model is only as useful as Newtonian Mechanics.  Good for some things, not so much for others.

This is the kind of pithy insight that has some of my acquaintance begging me to get a crack habit twitter account.

Well, I have one and a few blogs that I frequent which leads me to gratefully accept affirmations of sanity.

Supersymmetry Fails Test, Forcing Physics to Seek New Ideas

By Natalie Wolchover, Scientific American

November 29, 2012

As a young theorist in Moscow in 1982, Mikhail Shifman became enthralled with an elegant new theory called supersymmetry that attempted to incorporate the known elementary particles into a more complete inventory of the universe.

“My papers from that time really radiate enthusiasm,” said Shifman, now a 63-year-old professor at the University of Minnesota. Over the decades, he and thousands of other physicists developed the supersymmetry hypothesis, confident that experiments would confirm it. “But nature apparently doesn’t want it,” he said. “At least not in its original simple form.”

“Supersymmetry is such a beautiful structure, and in physics, we allow that kind of beauty and aesthetic quality to guide where we think the truth may be,” said Brian Greene, a theoretical physicist at Columbia University.

“I think it is a mistake to focus on popular versions of supersymmetry,” said Matt Strassler, a particle physicist at Rutgers University. “Popularity contests are not reliable measures of truth.”