12/15/2012 archive

More Hanukkah Jollity

It sucks to be a member of the 70% majority.

Self loathing.  Did I mention self loathing?

Day 14, the traditional gift is a pad of paper and a pen.

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

A New Twist on a Hanukkah Staple

Red Cabbage, Carrot and Broccoli Stem Latkes

For those of us who are celebrating Hanukkah this week that is both good news and bad. The frying in oil is not so bad, but the starchy potatoes that make the best latkes are not so great. So I decided to experiment with other vegetables for my latkes, combining carrots and spinach, cabbage and kale, sweet potatoes and apples. I even used up the broccoli stems that were lingering in my refrigerator bin in one batch, mixing them with red cabbage and carrots. I used exotic spices like nigella seeds, cumin, and caraway, as well sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. My vegetable latkes were not as crispy as potato latkes but nobody seemed to mind; they were still delicious.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Red Cabbage, Carrot and Broccoli Stem Latkes With Caraway and Sesame

A surprising use for broccoli stems in a favorite holiday dish.

Spicy Carrot and Spinach Latkes

I think it is the nutty flavor of the nigella seeds that makes these so addictive.

Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes With Ginger and Sweet Spices

A sweeter version of a Hanukkah staple.

Butternut Squash and Sage Latkes

A favorite flavor combination makes for a delicious latke.

Spicy Carrot and Spinach Latkes

I think it is the nutty flavor of the nigella seeds that makes these so addictive.

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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New York Times Editorial: Death in Connecticut

Each slaughter of innocents seems to get more appalling. A high school. A college campus. A movie theater. People meeting their congresswoman. A shopping mall in Oregon, just this Tuesday. On Friday, an elementary school classroom.  [..]

Mr. Obama said Friday that “we have been through this too many times” and that “we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

When will that day come? It did not come after the 1999 Columbine shooting, or the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, or the murders in Aurora last summer.

The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.

Joshua Holland: Yes, We Can Have Sane Gun Control Without Trampling Gun Owners’ Rights

The NRA is a problem for sane gun enthusiasts.

The United States is not the only country to experience the horrors of mass shootings. We are, however, the only society in which a serious discussion of tighter gun controls doesn’t follow incidents like the massacres we’ve seen at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday. In fact, in most countries these kinds of tragedies result in some kind of concrete legislative action.

The reason we can’t have a sane, adult discussion of how to cut down on random gun violence is simple: the NRA has hoodwinked a lot of reasonable gun owners into believing that there’s a debate in this country over banning firearms altogether. We’ll never be able to have a serious discussion about how to cut down on gun violence until that group accepts the actual terms of the debate. And the NRA has a vested interest in making sure they remain obscure because the organization represents gun manufacturers and a small, highly ideological minority of gun-nuts, rather than (typically responsible) gun  owners.

Sarah Anderson: EU’s Landslide Vote for ‘Robin Hood Tax’

Eleven countries in Europe hope to raise billions of Euros through a tiny tax on financial speculation. This week, a major vote in the European parliament brings that plan one step closer to becoming reality.

Under pressure to address a massive deficit, legislators voted overwhelmingly this week in favor of a tax on financial speculation. This really happened, I swear.

OK, it was in Europe, not the United States. But it could happen here-and it should.

The vote in the European Parliament on December 10 was the latest in a series of victories by international campaigners for a tax on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. Often called a “Robin Hood Tax,” the goal is to raise massive revenues for urgent needs, such as combating unemployment, global poverty, and climate change.

Robert Sheer: The Corporate Media’s Shameful Exploitation of Bradley Manning

Keep an American soldier locked up naked in a cage and driven half mad while deprived of all basic rights, and you will be instantly condemned as a barbaric terrorist. Unless the jailer is an authorized agent of the U.S. government, in which case even treatment approaching torture will go largely unnoticed. Certainly if a likable constitutional law professor happens to be president, all such assaults on human dignity will easily pass muster.

After being interned like some wild animal in that cage in Kuwait, Pfc. Bradley Manning was transferred to the Quantico, Va., Marine base and further subjected to conditions that his lawyer termed “criminal.” Not all that far from the White House, and yet our ever-enlightened president seems not to have noticed that this soldier, whose alleged criminal offense is that he attempted to inform the public of crimes committed in its name, has been held in an environment clearly designed to destroy his very sense of self.

Imara Jones: How Bernie Sanders’ Tax Plan Can Close the Huge Racial Wealth Gap

America needs a new tax policy that would get our financial house in order while fostering racial and economic fairness.

Last week I argued that the debate over taxes-a tussle at the heart of the current “fiscal cliff” discussions-is actually one about racial justice. Since questions of right and wrong must ultimately become about action, what America needs is a new tax policy that would get our financial house in order while fostering racial and economic fairness. The deficit reduction plan of independent United States Sen. Bernie Sanders would do just that.

The core inequity Sander’s plan tackles is that the United States taxes capital gains-income earned from wealth-less than income earned from work. This differential has had broad racial implications.

Sarah Sentilles: Why Are Conservatives Obsessed With Making Women Breed?

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is just a high-profile example of the people — including liberals — who judge women harshly for refusing to give birth.

Ross Douthat wants you to have more babies. And he wants you to be married when you have those babies. And not just any babies. He wants you to have American babies — though, if you’re an immigrant, he’ll take your babies, too, because that’s really the only reason to allow immigrants (who he thinks have been slacking off in the bedroom recently) to be here.

And he wants you to hurry up and have those American babies, because if you don’t, we’ll run out of workers, and if we run out of workers the United States will get “knocked off its global perch.” Because that’s what’s at stake, ladies and gentlemen — American domination.

Douthat seems nostalgic, sentimental over a time when fewer women earned college degrees, when husbands and wives believed children were the key to successful marriages, when gay marriage (which he condemns for “formally sever[ing] wedlock from sex differences and procreation”) was not a “no brainer,” and when women did the only thing they were good for — making more American babies.

Never mind the melting ice caps. Never mind mass extinction on a scale never seen before. Never mind the environment or pollution or climate change. Make more people! And if you don’t, shame on you. You’re selfish. You’re “decadent.”

On This Day In History December 15

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

How ironic that on this very day, Congress and President Barack Obama are about to approve a bill that will essentially violate at least 5 of these amendments and more.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 15 is the 349th day of the year (350th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 16 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day 1791, Virginia becomes the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights, making the first ten amendments to the Constitution law and completing the revolutionary reforms begun by the Declaration of Independence. Before the Massachusetts ratifying convention would accept the Constitution, which they finally did in February 1788, the document’s Federalist supporters had to promise to create a Bill of Rights to be amended to the Constitution immediately upon the creation of a new government under the document.

After the Constitution was ratified in 1789, the 1st United States Congress met in Federal Hall in New York City. Most of the delegates agreed that a “bill of rights” was needed and most of them agreed on the rights they believed should be enumerated.

Madison, at the head of the Virginia delegation of the 1st Congress, had originally opposed a Bill of Rights but hoped to pre-empt a second Constitutional Convention that might have undone the difficult compromises of 1787: a second convention would open the entire Constitution to reconsideration and could undermine the work he and so many others had done in establishing the structure of the United States Government. Writing to Jefferson, he stated, “The friends of the Constitution…wish the revisal to be carried no farther than to supply additional guards for liberty…and are fixed in opposition to the risk of another Convention….It is equally certain that there are others who urge a second Convention with the insidious hope of throwing all things into Confusion, and of subverting the fabric just established, if not the Union itself.”

Madison based much of the Bill of Rights on George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), which itself had been written with Madison’s input. He carefully considered the state amendment recommendations as well. He looked for recommendations shared by many states to avoid controversy and reduce opposition to the ratification of the future amendments. Additionally, Madison’s work on the Bill of Rights reflected centuries of English law and philosophy, further modified by the principles of the American Revolution.

The Stolen Child

The Stolen Child

   Where dips the rocky highland

   Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

   There lies a leafy island

   Where flapping herons wake

   The drowsy water rats;

   There we’ve hid our faery vats,

   Full of cherries

   And of reddest stolen berrys.

   Come away, O human child!

   To the waters and the wild

   With a faery, hand in hand.

   For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

   Where the wave of moonlight glosses

   The dim gray sands with light,

   Far off by furthest Rosses

   We foot it all the night,

   Weaving olden dances

   Mingling hands and mingling glances

   Till the moon has taken flight;

   To and fro we leap

   And chase the frothy bubbles,

   While the world is full of troubles

   And anxious in its sleep.

   Come away, O human child!

   To the waters and the wild

   With a faery, hand in hand,

   For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

   Where the wandering water gushes

   From the hills above Glen-Car,

   In pools among the rushes

   That scarce could bathe a star,

   We seek for slumbering trout

   And whispering in their ears

   Give them unquiet dreams;

   Leaning softly out

   From ferns that drop their tears

   Over the young streams.

   Come away, O human child!

   To the waters and the wild

   With a faery, hand in hand,

   For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

   Away with us he’s going,

   The solemn-eyed –

   He’ll hear no more the lowing

   Of the calves on the warm hillside

   Or the kettle on the hob

   Sing peace into his breast,

   Or see the brown mice bob

   Round and round the oatmeal chest

   For he comes the human child

   To the waters and the wild

   With a faery, hand in hand

   From a world more full of weeping than he can understand

What We Missed Yesterday

The country and the news media was frozen in its tracks yesterday by the tragic murder of 20 very young children and 6 of their teachers at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT. However, the world does not stop. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow paused to report just a couple of the top news stories we might have missed.

Obama Notifies Congress He Does Not Know ‘Precise Scope’ or ‘Duration’ of War on Terror Troop Deployments

by Hunter Walker, Politicker

This afternoon, the White House Press Office released a report sent from President Barack Obama to the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate notifying them “about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat.” In his report, the president said he “will direct additional measures against al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and associated forces,” but said, “it is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of U.S. Armed forces to counter this terrorist threat to the United States.”

This report indicates the White House may not be ready to make any solid commitments about withdrawing the troops that are still fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. On the campaign trail, President Obama had suggested American forces would depart Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

U.S. to Send 2 Missile Units to Turkey to Deter Syrians

by by Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon, New York Times

WASHINGTON – The United States plans to send two Patriot missile batteries and about 400 military personnel to Turkey to defend against a possible Syrian missile attack, two allied officials said Thursday.

The American batteries will be part of a broader push to beef up Turkey’s defenses that will also include the deployment of four other Patriot batteries – two from Germany and two from the Netherlands.

All six batteries will be under NATO’s command and control, scheduled to be operational by the end of January.

Turkey, which has been supporting the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, has been worried it is vulnerable to Syrian missiles, including Scuds that might be tipped with chemical weapons. Those concerns were heightened by reports of increased activity at some of Syria’s chemical sites, though Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said this week that intelligence about chemical weapons activity in Syria had “leveled off.”

CIA Torture Report Approved By Senate Intelligence Committee

by Matt Sledge and Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 9-6 on Thursday to approve a report on the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program that could shed light on the debate over torture. But for now, even as the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” stirs up public debate about the use of harsh interrogation tactics, declassifying the report to prepare for its release to the public could take months, if not longer.

“The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight,” Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement after the vote. “I strongly believe that the creation of long-term, clandestine ‘black sites’ and the use of so-called ‘enhanced-interrogation techniques’ were terrible mistakes. The majority of the Committee agrees.”

The 6,000-page report, which has been in the works since 2009, focuses on 6 million pages of documents about the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation tactics, including so-called enhanced interrogation, like waterboarding, which is torture. Republicans on Senate panel boycotted participation in the report’s preparation because, they said, it is based on CIA documents instead of interviews conducted directly with agents.

Dean Baker: The Fiscal Myth

The Biggest Myth in Obama-GOP Spending Showdown is the “Fiscal Cliff” Itself

As negotiations continue between the White House and House Speaker John Boehner, leading economist Dean Baker joins us to discuss the myths about the so-called fiscal cliff. With little more than two weeks before the deadline, President Obama insists on an immediate increase in the top two income-tax rates as a condition for further negotiations on changes to spending and entitlement programs. But Boehner said Washington’s “spending problem” is the biggest roadblock to reaching a deal and has urged the White House to identify more spending cuts. “This idea that, somehow, if we don’t get a deal by the end of the year we’re going to see the economy collapse, go into a recession, really that’s just totally dishonest,” says Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “The basis for this is that we don’t have a deal all year. And the fact that you don’t have a deal December 31st does not mean you don’t get a deal by December 31st, 2013.”

Transcript can be read here.