02/16/2013 archive

Random Japan

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The NPA says 33 people around the country were arrested for voting improprieties in December’s general election-the lowest figure since current election laws were enacted in 1950.

An online survey by research group Macromill found that 75 percent of 20-year-olds “expect little from the country’s politics.”

In a breakthrough that could help endangered species, Japanese scientists have “artificially reproduce[ed] a kind of fish using surrogate parents from another related species.”

The Council for Cultural Affairs recommended two additions to Japan’s roster of important cultural assets: traditional hunting equipment from Akita and a tug-of-war event in Saga known as “Yobuko.”

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

The Fruits of Winter

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When I lived in Europe I got hooked on blood oranges, small oranges with dark ruby red pulp and mottled orange-red skins. Their flavor is deep and multidimensional, with nuances of berries and cherries. And like berries, cherries and other highly nutritious dark red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables, blood oranges have high levels of antioxidant-rich anthocyanins.

The same farmer I bought blood oranges from at my farmers’ market was selling over-ripe fuyu persimmons at a bargain price. I bought a few pounds for pureé, some of which I used for a sweet persimmon spice bread and some of which I froze. Persimmons are another fruit rich in phytonutrients like lutein and lycopene, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthi, which are all reported to be rich in antioxidants.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Blood Orange Compote

A delicious dessert, but it is also great at breakfast.

Lemon and Blood Orange Gelée Parfaits

A beautiful, layered gelatin dessert.

Pear Vanilla Sorbet

For maximum flavor, wait until the pears are nice and ripe before making this sorbet

Tangerine Sorbet

A light, refreshing sorbet that can be made with a number of different fruits.

Persimmon Spice Bread

A dense, sweet bread that can be home to over-ripe persimmons.

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

New York Times Editorial: Renew the Violence Against Women Act

This week’s 78-to-22 vote in the Senate to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act provided a refreshing demonstration of bipartisanship that the House would do well to emulate. Last year, the Republican-led House blocked the act’s renewal over objections to new protections for gay, immigrant and American Indian victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It falls to Speaker John Boehner to see that this does not happen again.  [..]

Seventeen Republican members have written to Mr. Boehner urging action on a Violence Against Women Act renewal that reaches “all victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.” This is a sign that the G.O.P.’s rejection by female voters in November is causing some rethinking. Mr. Boehner should allow a vote on the Senate bill.

Gail Collins: Senators Overboard!

We seem to be short one secretary of defense.

Well, there’s Leon Panetta, who has already had his farewell ceremony, given his farewell briefing and his farewell address, then flown home to California. But the Pentagon probably still has his cell number in case a war breaks out.

And there’s Chuck Hagel, nominated yet totally-still-not-confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A Senate that is beginning to resemble a bad Carnival cruise. They’re dead in the water, nothing’s working and the chief engineer is Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Jill Richardson: Thank the War on Drugs for your Valentine’s Day roses

Flower-selling was supposed to be an alternative to the cocaine industry. Instead, it’s a source of exploitation

When your love hands you a gorgeous bouquet of large, red, long-stemmed roses this Valentine’s Day, as any botanist will tell you, you’re getting a bunch of sex organs. Although the roses are more beautiful, fragrant and socially acceptable than other methods that might get the same point across (just ask former Congressman Anthony Weiner), there’s a lot more to those roses than meets the eye.

Unfortunately, the romancing of women in the United States often means the exploitation of women in countries like Colombia and Ecuador.

Joan Walsh: Expanding preschool is a no-brainer

Obama’s new proposal gets an A-minus

President Obama’s plan for universal preschool is as ambitious and crucial as his healthcare reform commitment, maybe more so. Citing research showing that investing a dollar in preschool saves $7 in the course of a child’s life, by improving their chances at finishing high school, avoiding early parenthood or prison, going to college and/or getting and holding a job, the president declared Tuesday night: “Let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.” [..]

Obama’s new crusade demands the question: If preschool is such a great value, why haven’t we made it a priority before?

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: Watchdog makes the SEC its chew toy

In a major new report, the Project on Government Oversight exposes the agency’s rampant cronyism

In our last episode of that ongoing Washington soap opera, “As the Door Revolves,” we introduced you to former Federal prosecutor Mary Jo White, pursuer of drug lords and terrorists, who left government to become a hot shot Wall Street lawyer defending such corporate giants as JPMorgan Chase, UBS, General Electric and Microsoft. Oh yes – and former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta, currently appealing his insider trading conviction. [..]

When George W. Bush was president and named Chris Cox to run the SEC, we screamed like bloody murder, because Cox had been a partner at a huge global law firm whose client list included Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. Now Obama’s pushing his choices through that same revolving door. It’s called “regulatory capture” – the takeover of government agencies by the very corporations they’re supposed to keep an eye on, to protect everyone’s investments and pensions against abuses of private power.

Robert Reich: Why isn’t raising the minimum wage considered a no-brainer?

For the health of our economy, we can’t afford to fall for the mindless assertion that “markets” know best

Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 should be a no-brainer. Republicans say it will cause employers to shed jobs, but that’s baloney. Employers won’t outsource the jobs abroad or substitute machines for them because jobs at this low level of pay are all in the local personal service sector (retail, restaurant, hotel and so on), where employers pass on any small wage hikes to customers as pennies more on their bills. States that have a minimum wage closer to $9 than the current federal minimum don’t have higher rates of unemployment than do states still at the federal minimum. [..]

Besides, the proposed increase would put more money into the hands of families that desperately need it, allowing them to buy a bit more and thereby keep others working.

A decent society should do no less.

On This Day In History February 16

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 16 is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 318 days remaining until the end of the year (319 in leap years).

On this day in 2006, the last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army. The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) refers to a United States Army medical unit serving as a fully functional hospital in a combat area of operations. The units were first established in August 1945, and were deployed during the Korean War and later conflicts.

The MASH unit was conceived by Michael E. DeBakey and other surgical consultants as the “mobile army surgical hospital.” Col. Harry A. Ferguson, the executive officer of the Tokyo Army Hospital, also aided in the establishment of the MASH program. It was an alternative to the system of portable surgical hospitals, field hospitals, and general hospitals used during World War II. It was designed to get experienced personnel closer to the front, so that the wounded could be treated sooner and with greater success. Casualties were first treated at the point of injury through buddy aid, then routed through a battalion aid station for emergency stabilizing surgery, and finally routed to the MASH for the most extensive treatment. This proved to be highly successful; it was noted that during the Korean War, a seriously wounded soldier that made it to a MASH unit alive had a 97% chance of survival once he received treatment.

The MASH unit made its way into popular culture through the 1968 novel M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker, the 1970 feature film based on the novel, and the long-running television sitcom (1972-1983) based on the movie. A 1953 film, Battle Circus, also took place at a MASH.

MASH units continued to serve in various conflicts including the Vietnam War. In October 1990 the 5th MASH, 44th Medical Brigade, XVIIIth AirBorne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, deployed to Saudi Arabia and was the first fully functional Army Hospital in country. This unit moved forward six times, always as the first up hospital for the region. In March 1991 the 5th MASH was operationally attached to the 24th Infantry Division to provide forward surgical care (often right on the front battle lines) to the combat units that attacked the western flank of Iraqi Army. In March 1991, the 159th MASH of the Louisiana Army National Guard operated in Iraq in support of the 3rd Armored Division during Operation Desert Storm.

In 1997, the last MASH unit in South Korea was deactivated. A deactivating ceremony was held in South Korea, which was attended by several members of the cast of the M*A*S*H television series, including Larry Linville (who played Frank Burns), and David Ogden Stiers, (who played Charles Winchester). MASH units have since been replaced by the U.S. Army’s Combat Support Hospitals.

Worldwide, the last MASH unit was deactivated on October 16, 2006. The 212th MASH – based in Miesau Ammo Depot, Germany – was the first U.S. Army hospital established in Iraq in 2003, supporting coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was the most decorated combat hospital in the U.S. Army, with 28 Campaign streamers on the organizational colors. The 212th MASH’s last deployment was to Pakistan to support the 2005 Kashmir earthquake relief operations. The U.S. State Department bought the MASH’s tents and medical equipment, owned by the DoD, and donated the entire hospital to the Pakistani military, a donation worth $4.5 million.

The 212th MASH’s unit sign now resides at the Army Medical Department’s Museum in San Antonio, Texas.


Out of necessity, the “4077th MASH” unit depicted in the television series was considerably smaller than many of the MASH units deployed by the United States in the Korean War. In the series, about four surgeons depicted as being assigned to the unit, the administrative staff consists of the C.O. and his assistant, and few soldiers were shown to be present. By comparison, the 8063rd Mobile Army Surgical Hospital had personnel including twelve nurses, eighty-nine enlisted soldiers of assorted medical and non-medical specialties, one Medical Service Corps (MSC) officer, one Warrant Officer and ten other commissioned officers of assorted specialties. On one occasion, the unit handled over 600 casualties in a 24 hour period.

When an Auction said Michael

The Beat Poetry stylings of Marco Rubio.

Unfortunately I can’t find the close captioning button anymore, but it appears that there were at least 2 versions of this famous work of art (much like the young Mona Lisa).  Here’s a sample captured by TheMomCat (Full Transcript below the fold).

When an auction said Michael — Mr. into in the field were severely dollar and authorities and its analysis thousands. Carefully to that a President Obama political — — assume among not.

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Seem fun in — sort of students. And the postal — Caledonia owns him but — and wonder what about the — democratic them psyche in the Palestinians. Have Christiane.

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We invited me out of marquis woke up one penny out I don’t know what absolutely that’s — percent of the sequels hopelessly — — — A you know what I concept but that a classmate — me by — — — under the bar man in in my — a headache MI data. — and editing it — they use better than they out of the home around the mosque and what can. Now hold on the — CME gotten swings.

(h/t TiaRachel and the crew at The Daily Show/The Colbert Report and of course Stephen and his writers)

Friday Night at the Movies

I have a sneaking suspicion my endorsement of films by featuring them here is resulting in difficulties.  Here’s one I won’t be sorry to see go.