Daily Archive: 02/10/2013

Feb 10 2013

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word – It Gets Worse

Pro-DOMA lawyer Paul Clement thinks the struggle for gay rights has just been too successful, so it therefore must end in failure.

Feb 10 2013

On This Day In History February 10

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.

February 10 is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 324 days remaining until the end of the year (325 in leap years).

On this day in 1937, Roberta Flack is born in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and was raised in Arlington, Virginia.

During her early teens, Flack so excelled at classical piano that Howard University awarded her a full music scholarship. She entered Howard University at the age of 15, making her one of the youngest students ever to enroll there. She eventually changed her major from piano to voice, and became an assistant conductor of the university choir. Her direction of a production of Aida received a standing ovation from the Howard University faculty. Flack is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and was made an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma by the Eta Delta Chapter at Howard University for her outstanding work in promoting music education.

Flack became the first African-American student teacher at an all-Caucasian school near Chevy Chase, Maryland. She graduated from Howard University at 19 and began graduate studies in music, but the sudden death of her father forced her to take a job teaching music and English for $2800 a year in Farmville, North Carolina.

Flack then taught school for some years in Washington, DC at Browne Junior High and Rabaut Junior High. She also taught private piano lessons out of her home on Euclid St. NW. During this period, her music career began to take shape on evenings and weekends in Washington, D.C. area night spots. At the Tivoli Club, she accompanied opera singers at the piano. During intermissions, she would sing blues, folk, and pop standards in a back room, accompanying herself on the piano. Later, she performed several nights a week at the 1520 Club, again providing her own piano accompaniment. Around this time, her voice teacher, Frederick “Wilkie” Wilkerson, told her that he saw a brighter future for her in pop music than in the classics. She modified her repertoire accordingly and her reputation spread. Subsequently, a Capitol Hill night club called Mr. Henry’s built a performance area especially for her.

When Flack did a benefit concert for the Inner City Ghetto Children’s Library Fund, Les McCann happened to be in the audience. He later said on the liner notes of what would be her first album “First Take” noted below, “Her voice touched, tapped, trapped, and kicked every emotion I’ve ever known. I laughed, cried, and screamed for more…she alone had the voice.” Very quickly, he arranged an audition for her with Atlantic Records, during which she played 42 songs in 3 hours for producer Joel Dorn. In November 1968, she recorded 39 song demos in less than 10 hours. Three months later, Atlantic reportedly recorded Roberta’s debut album, First Take, in a mere 10 hours. Flack later spoke of those studio sessions as a “very naive and beautiful approach…I was comfortable with the music because I had worked on all these songs for all the years I had worked at Mr. Henry’s.”

Flack’s version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” hit number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

Flack’s Atlantic recordings did not sell particularly well, until Clint Eastwood chose a song from First Take, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, for the sound track of his directorial debut Play Misty for Me; it became the biggest hit of the year for 1972 – spending six consecutive weeks at #1 and earning Flack a million-selling gold disc. The First Take album also went to #1 and eventually sold 1.9 million copies in the United States. Eastwood, who paid $2,000 for the use of the song in the film, has remained an admirer and friend of Flack’s ever since. It was awarded the Grammy Award for Record Of The Year in 1973. In 1983, she recorded the end music to the Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact at Eastwood’s request.

Flack soon began recording regularly with Donny Hathaway, scoring hits such as the Grammy-winning “Where Is the Love” (1972) and later “The Closer I Get to You” (1978) – both million-selling gold singles. On her own, Flack scored her second #1 hit, “Killing Me Softly with His Song” written for Lori Lieberman in 1973. It was awarded both Record Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female at the 1974 Grammy Awards. Its parent album was Flack’s biggest-selling disc, eventually earning Double Platinum certification.

In 1999, a star with Flack’s name was placed on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. That same year, she gave a concert tour in South Africa, to which the final performance was attended by President Nelson Mandela.

In 2010, she appeared on the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, singing a duet of “Where Is The Love” with Maxwell.

Flack is also a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; her appearance in commercials for the ASPCA featured The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Feb 10 2013

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris MSNBC will be: Paul Krugman, (@NYTimeskrugman), New York Times Op-Ed columnist and blogger, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University. Krugman won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008 for his extensive work surrounding international trade and two-way trade theory; Jeremy Scahill (@jeremyscahill), national security correspondent for The Nation magazine, author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” and the upcoming “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield;” Richard Epstein (@RichardAEpstein), senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, professor of law at New York University Law School; Greg Johnsen, author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia;” Heather McGhee (@hmcghee), vice-president of Demos; Hina Shamsi (@HinaShamsi), director of the National Security Project for the ACLU; Dean Baker (@DeanBaker13), co-director Center for Economic & Policy Research, author of “The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive;”and Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein), a former vice president of information technology at Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, now an Occupy Wall Street activist

This Week with George Stephanopolis:Guest on “This Week” are Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.; Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Republican strategist and ABC News political analyst and contributor Nicolle Wallace; and Obama 2012 deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter debate all the week’s politics, with the latest reporting from ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz.

In  this week’s Sunday Spotlight, author George Saunders discusses his critically praised short story collection, “Tenth of December.”

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI); and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars President Jane Harman, Center for Strategic and International Studies expert Jim Lewis and CBS News’ Justice and Homeland Security Correspondent Bob Orr join Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., to discuss the threat of cyber attacks and drones outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said could be the “next Pearl Harbor.”

The Chris Matthews Show: Mr. Matthews’ guests this week are Joe Klein, TIME Columnist; David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist; Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times Pentagon Correspondent; and Gloria Borger. CNN Senior Political Analyst.

Meet the Press with David Gregory:This week on MTP the guests are House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); and Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Joining the roundtable discussion are NBC’s Michael Isikoff; Democratic Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed; former speechwriter for President George W. Bush now columnist for the Washington Post, Michael Gerson; GOP strategist Mike Murphy and the BBC’s Katty Kay.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and; former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Her guests for a roundtable discussion are  Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois; Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Former Republican Senator from Texas; Amy Walter, the National Editor of the Cook Political Report, and CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Feb 10 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

India’s Kumbh Mela festival holds most auspicious day

10 February 2013 Last updated at 06:48 GMT

 By Soutik Biswas

BBC News, Allahabad

The main day of bathing is taking place at India’s Kumbh Mela, with more than 30 million pilgrims expected to take a dip at the confluence of India’s Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

This is the most auspicious of six bathing days at the event, billed as the biggest human gathering on Earth.

More than eight million took to the waters on the opening day, 14 January.

Hindus believe a festival dip at Sangam – where the rivers meet – will cleanse sins and help bring salvation.

In all, up to 100 million pilgrims are expected to bathe in the holy waters in January and February at the 55-day Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Afghan children the victims

Violent tide of Salafism threatens the Arab spring

Spain’s Rajoy releases tax returns amid corruption scandal

Peru, Chile and Bolivia hit by floods after heavy rain

Experts weigh causes of US obesity epidemic

Feb 10 2013

What’s Cooking: Mardi Gras a Carnivale of Food

Republished from February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras, Carnivale, Shove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, what ever you call the day before the Christian Lent, it’s all about food, fatty food. Eat, drink and be merry for at midnight you must fast and give up your favorite vice, except on Sunday, for the next forty days, that is if you’re a Christian. We Pagans just raise an eye brow and enjoy the party and the FOOD!

Traditional foods are all rich, fatty and sweet. Gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, catfish, po’ boys to pancakes and beignets are all calorie laden delights that will need 40 days of fasting and exercise to shed the pounds. So to start the party off, here are a few recipes for a hearty gumbo, desert, something to drink and, of course, King Cake. Tradition is the person who discovers the tiny plastic or porcelain baby in his or her slice is branded as the provider of the next cake. In pre-Christian societies whoever found a coin or bean in a special cake was crowned King for the year; afterwards, he was sacrificed to ensure a good harvest – which makes having to pony up for the next cake seem like a mighty good deal.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

This recipe serves 10 but can be cut in half

Ingredients:

   12 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, diced

   1 1/2 pounds smoked fully cooked sausage (such as linguiça), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semi-circles

   1 pound andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes

   1/2 pound tasso or smoked ham (such as Black Forest), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

   1 1/2 pounds onions, chopped (4 to 5 cups)

   2 large celery stalks, chopped

   1 8-to 10-ounce red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

   1 8-to 10-ounce green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

   6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 11/2-inch pieces

   2 tablespoons paprika

   1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

   1 tablespoon chili powder

   1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper

   3 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles

   2 1/2 cups beef broth

   3 cups (19 to 20 ounces) long-grain white rice

   8 green onions, chopped (about 2 cups)

   Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preparation:

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook bacon in very large pot over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage, andouille, and tasso. Sauté until meats start to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix in chicken. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in paprika, thyme, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with chiles and broth; stir to blend well. Add more cayenne, if desired. Mix in rice.

Bring jambalaya to boil. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, 45 to 48 minutes. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve.

Buttermilk Beignets

This will make 48 beignets

Ingredients:

   3/4 cup whole milk

   1 1/2 cups buttermilk

   4 teaspoons active dry yeast

   2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

   3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface

   1/2 teaspoon baking soda

   1/4 teaspoon salt

   Peanut oil for frying

   Confectioners’ sugar for serving, as much as you think you’ll need-then double that!

Preparation:

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles form at the surface. Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk, and then pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.

Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot to fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375°F over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes). Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a rough-shaped round. Dust again and roll the dough out into a ½-inch- to ¹/³ inchthick circle. Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef’s knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48).

Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil. Add a few beignets (don’t overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown, turning them often with a slotted spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest. Serve while still warm, buried under a mound of confectioners’ sugar, with hot coffee on the side.

Make ahead:

The beignet dough can be made up to 8 hours in advance of frying. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. After cutting the dough, place the beignets on the paper and place another greased sheet of parchment paper, sprayed-side down, on top. Wrap the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The beignets can be fried straight from the refrigerator.

King Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

   1/3 cup milk

   1 package active dry yeast

   2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

   2 large egg yolks, plus 2 eggs

   3 tablespoons granulated sugar

   Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

   1 teaspoon salt

   1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

   1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the bowl

For the Filling and Glaze:

   1/2 cup golden raisins

   1/4 cup bourbon

   3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

   2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

   2 teaspoons grated orange zest

   1/4 teaspoon salt

   1 dry bean or plastic King Cake baby (available at party-supply stores or mardigrasday.com)

   1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

   Purple, green and gold sanding sugar, for decorating

Directions:

Make the cake: Heat the milk in a saucepan until scalding; transfer to a food processor, add the yeast and pulse to combine. Add 1/2 cup flour and the egg yolks; process to combine. Pour the remaining 2 cups flour evenly over the yeast mixture; do not process. Put the lid on; set aside for 90 minutes.

Add the 2 whole eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg to the food processor; process to make a slightly textured dough, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly add the butter to make a smooth, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place for 3 hours. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead briefly; form into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Make the filling:

Plump the raisins in the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, salt and the bean or plastic baby; mix until combined and set aside.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20-by-7-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spoon the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and bottom. Fold the bottom and then the top edge over the filling to make a tight roll; pinch to seal. Transfer the roll seam-side down to a parchment-lined baking sheet; tuck one end into the other to form a ring. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the roll doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Make the glaze:

Mix 3 tablespoons water with the confectioners’ sugar; brush 3 tablespoons glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with bands of colored sugar; drizzle with more glaze.

Hurricane

In the years since Katrina, the only welcome storms in New Orleans are the ones in a glass. Watch out for this fruity, gale-force rum concoction-more than one, and you’ll need to declare yourself a natural disaster.

Because the syrup is hard to come by (and artificially flavored) here is a substitute for it that was well received: a tablespoon of passion fruit sorbet (Häagen Dazs makes one) and a teaspoon of grenadine, per serving.

Ingredients:

   1 ounce light rum

   1 ounce dark rum

   1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup

   Juice of 1/2 lime

   1 teaspoon superfine sugar, or to taste

   Ice cubes

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients except ice in shaker. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add ice cubes, shake well, and strain mixture into a cocktail glass.

Feb 10 2013

What We Now Know

In this week’s segment of What We Know Now, Up host Chris Hayes gives his take on this winter’s infamous norovirus that was spread by restaurant workers who do not have, or did not know they had unpaid sick leave. to discuss what they have learned this week, he is joined by panel guests Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy), columnist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues; Rangina Hamidi, president of Kandahar Treasure, the first women-run business in Kandaha; Laura Flanders (@GRITlaura), founder of GRITtv.org, contributing writer to The Nation; and Mallika Dutt (@mallikaduttv), founder of Breakthrough India/Breakthrough U.S.

Norovirus spreads across nation.

by Branden Largent, Minnesota Daily

Typically called “stomach flu,” it has no relation to the flu.

A new strain of the norovirus  – typically misnamed the “stomach flu” – has been spreading throughout the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Symptoms for norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, and sometimes fever, headache and body aches that last up to three days. [..]

Norovirus is a food-borne illness, Kelley said, and can spread quickly through nursing homes, cruise ships, restaurants and residence halls.

Paul Allwood, University director of Occupational Health and Safety,  said statewide food industry regulations mandate that people with norovirus symptoms cannot come to work until they are symptom-free for 72 hours.

Food service workers are also restricted from handling kitchenware and ready-to-eat foods for an additional 72 hours.

Sick leave bill pressed by workers’ groups, citing flu

by Ramiro S. Funez, Queens Chronicle

Labor rights activists across the borough are pressing lawmakers for passage of the long-delayed sick leave bill, after a local deli worker who was sick with the flu was fired for taking a day off work to visit his doctor.

Members of Make the Road New York and the NYC Paid Sick Days Campaign rallied outside the former employer of Elmhurst resident Emilio Palaguachi on Jan. 31 to urge City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) to finally bring the Paid Sick Time Act to a vote. [..]

“No one knows when the bill will pass. It can be in a few days or in a few years,” Palaguachi said. “We’re trying, and I know it’s not easy, but we are continuing to try to get people to pass the bill.”

The proposed bill is supported by the Working Families Party, the state Paid Family Leave Coalition, Make the Road and A Better Balance, a family legal center.

Pennsylvania Medicaid Expansion Nixed By GOP Gov. Tom Corbett

by Jeffrey Young, The Huffington Post

Pennsylvania won’t make Medicaid available to more of its poor residents, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) told state legislators during his budget address Tuesday.

By rejecting the Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, Corbett becomes the 11th Republican governor to turn down federal funding to provide health benefits to low-income residents. Pennsylvania now joins Idaho, Maine and a swath of states from Georgia to Texas in refusing to add more people to Medicaid, which is jointly managed and financed by the federal and state governments. [..]

Corbett’s announcement comes a day after fellow Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio became the fifth GOP state executive to back the Medicaid expansion. In contrast to Corbett’s claims about the affordability of adding more people to Medicaid, Kasich, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and others have cited the high level of federal funding as a key reason to participate. The chief executives of 20 states and the District of Columbia now support the Medicaid expansion.