Daily Archive: 02/23/2013

Feb 23 2013

What We Now Know

In this Saturday’s final segment of Up with Chris Hayes, host Chris Hayes and his panel guests share what they have learned this week. Chris’ guests are John McWhorter, professor of Linguistics and American Studies at Columbia University and New York Daily News columnist; Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer to Newsweek/Daily Beast; Avik Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, former member of Mitt Romney’s health care policy advisory group; and John Nichols, senior editor at The Nation.

Steinem’s Support for Quinn as Mayor Depends on Sick-Leave Bill

Gloria Steinem, the feminist author and activist, said this week that she would withdraw her support for Christine C. Quinn in the New York City mayor’s race if Ms. Quinn, speaker of the City Council, did not allow a vote on sick-leave legislation that is a cherished cause of liberal groups. [..]

Underscoring the depth of the disappointment with Ms. Quinn among some left-leaning activists, Ms. Steinem said in a statement that she viewed passage of the sick-leave legislation as more significant than electing the first female mayor of New York City.

China to introduce carbon tax: official

BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — China will proactively introduce a set of new taxation policies designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, according to a senior official with the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

The government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, wrote in an article published on the MOF’s website.

It will be the local taxation authority, rather than the environmental protection department, that will collect the taxes.

The government is also looking into the possibility of taxing energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods such as aircraft that are not used for public transportation, according to Jia.

Missouri City, Texas, To Impose ‘Crash Tax’ On Drivers

Missouri City, Texas, will impose what’s being called a “crash tax” on drivers that are at fault in accidents in order to pay for the cost of first responders, KHOU 11 reports. The fine will range from $500 to $2,000 depending on the severity of the crash.

Missouri City plans to bill insurance companies for the fine, according to KHOU 11, but some drivers are worried that insurance companies won’t pay for it.

Florida Atlantic Football Stadium Will Be Named For Private Prison Company

The public university on Tuesday announced an unconventional partner: the nation’s second-largest operator of for-profit prisons, the GEO Group Inc. The newly christened GEO Group Stadium came as part of a $6 million donation from the prison company’s charitable foundation, which will be paid out to Florida Atlantic over 12 years. [..]

“It appears to be a charitable gift that is trying to be a marketing vehicle, and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon’s business school. “To link themselves with an athletic department when their business is locking people up, it just doesn’t connect to me really well.”

Critics of the private prison industry said the donation to a public university in Florida falls in line with efforts to gain influence with state and local public officials who decide whether to hand out contracts.

Feb 23 2013

Random Japan

 photo DSC00089.jpg

OUCH!

A Fukuoka man in his 30s was hospitalized after being bitten by a redback spider while removing a can of coffee from a vending machine.

A special-ed teacher in Aichi was reprimanded for handcuffing a ten-year-old autistic student who wouldn’t follow her instructions.

A worker at a nursing home in western Tokyo is in hot water after taking a photo of a female resident and sending it to colleagues in an email that compared the woman to a cartoon character.

Headline of the Week: “80 Percent Approve of Being Cared for by Robots: Survey” (via Mainichi Japan)

Feb 23 2013

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 Life of Pie

Mixed Greens Galette With Onions and Chickpeas photo 19recipehealth-tmagArticle_zps4a653e1c.jpg

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This week I slowed down and made pies: savory ones filled with vegetables … I used a number of different crusts for my winter pies. My favorite remains the whole wheat yeasted olive oil crust that I have used before in this column, but I also worked with a simple Mediterranean crust made with a mix of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and olive oil. And for those of you who are gluten-free, I made another foray into gluten-free pastry and produced one I liked a lot, which was a mix of buckwheat flour, millet flour and potato starch. It had a strong nutty flavor that worked well with a very savory, very vegan, tofu and mushroom “quiche.” They are all simple to mix together and easy to roll or press out. And if you don’t feel like dealing with a crust, just use Greek phyllo. The important things, after all, are the savory vegetables inside.

!Martha Rose Shulman~

Whole Wheat Mediterranean Pie Crust

A simple Mediterranean crust made with a mix of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and olive oil.

Mixed Greens Galette With Onions and Chickpeas

A tasty way to use bagged greens in a dish with Middle Eastern overtones.

Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie in a Phyllo Crust

A garlicky mix of greens and your choice of herbs inside a crispy phyllo crust.

Tofu Mushroom ‘Quiche’

A vegan dish with a deep, rich flavor.

Winter Tomato Quiche

Canned tomatoes can be used in the off season for a delicious dinner

Feb 23 2013

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

John Nichols: Sequestration Sacrifices Jobs to Save Billionaire Tax Breaks

There is a great deal of talk about how Republican senators have gone off the rails in their opposition to the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense. And there have been some bizarre deviations, with senators making pronouncements based on internet rumors and unfounded speculation.

But none of the fantastical filibustering of the Hagel fight can compare with the delusional dialogue regarding the federal budget.

To hear the billionaire proponents of austerity tell it, America is teetering on the brink of economic ruin. America, we are told, is broke. And the only answer is to “Fix the Debt” with deep spending cuts followed by the radical reordering of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

But America is not broke.

America has broken priorities.

Tom Gallagher: What If the Chinese Killed the Dalai Lama with a Drone Strike?

On the same day we learned of the Obama Administration’s intent to dig in its heels and refuse to share its standards for drone strike targeting with the U.S. Senate, we also learned that China had considered becoming the second nation to launch a drone-based missile strike against one of its enemies on foreign soil. Had it happened as contemplated, the attack in Myanmar would certainly have made waves in Washington. The nature of the “target” would not have been very controversial though, in that Burmese national Naw Kham is a “drug lord” blamed for the killing of 13 Chinese sailors who refused to pay protection money while working on the Mekong River in 2011. (China decided against the strike and instead captured him in Laos last April and subsequently sentenced him to death.)

But what if China decided that the Dalai Lama were a legitimate “target”?

Mary Botari: Pete Peterson’s Puppet Populists

Fix the Debt is the most hypocritical corporate PR campaign in decades, an ambitious attempt to convince the country that another cataclysmic economic crisis is around the corner and that urgent action is needed. Its strategy is pure astroturf: assemble power players in business and government under an activist banner, then take the message outside the Beltway and give it the appearance of grassroots activism by manufacturing an emergency to infuse a sense of imminent crisis.

Behind this strategy are no fewer than 127 CEOs and even more “statesmen” pushing for a “grand bargain” to draw up an austerity budget by July 4. With many firms kicking in
$1 million each on top of Peterson’s $5 million in seed money, this latest incarnation of the Peterson message machine must be taken seriously.

Andrea Jones: The For-Profit Immigration Imprisonment Racket

Private companies with close ties to government agencies are standing in the way of progress

Immigration officials sought out undocumented immigrants to apprehend for minor crimes in order to boost deportation numbers, a trove of internal correspondence revealed last week. According to USA Today, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees were instructed to dig through DMV records for foreign-born license applicants, patrol traffic checkpoints and verify the immigration status of low-level offenders before their release from local jails – efforts that contradict the agency’s pledge to limit expulsion to “dangerous criminals,” and encourage racial profiling in order to meet what amount to quotas. “The only performance measure that will count this fiscal year is the criminal alien removal target,” advised ICE supervisor David Venturella in an email to field officers in April.

The dangerous intimacy between the immigration and criminal justice systems is fostered by executives with high stakes in the human consequences – people like Venturella, who, according to Grassroots Leadership, took a new job in July as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at the GEO Group, the second highest grossing private prison company in the country.

Ralph Nader: Perils of the Keystone XL Pipeline Confront Obama

Bill McKibben, a prolific writer and organizer on global warming and climate change, has had a busy year teaching environmentalists not to despair and will soon be learning some lessons himself.

In August 2011, he organized an unprecedented demonstration in front of the White House urging President Obama to deny a permit for the giant Keystone XL pipeline that would haul very dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to Texas refineries, largely to be exported. More than 1200 people were arrested over the course of the month to protest the construction of the pipeline. This could be the largest mass arrest before the White House in decades. Kudos to Bill and his associates.

Robert Borosage: Will Pete Peterson’s Half a Billion Bucks Buy a New Recession?

The “sequester” – mindless, across-the-board spending cuts designed purposefully to be abhorrent to both political parties – now seems likely to go into effect on March 1. If not reversed, we will see the degrading of all government services from food inspection to airport controls, as mass furloughs – 20-30 day forced absences without pay – shudder agencies.

The sequester cuts added to spending cuts and tax increases already scheduled will slow growth and cost jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office and most economic analysis. Government austerity has already contributed to the worst recovery in post-World War II history. In Europe, austerity has driven the economies back into recession, with the countries enforcing the harshest cuts suffering the most.

Jill Richardson: Lose Your Lawn

Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.

Have you taken your hounds fox hunting lately? You haven’t? Well, maybe you’ve gone to visit a friend’s estate in a horse and carriage? You haven’t done that either, have you? Most of the popular trends of 19th century British aristocracy are not the norm in 21st century America. Except for one: the lawn.

Centuries ago, most Europeans (and their descendants on our side of the pond) produced food on their land. Whether in the form of kitchen gardens, farm fields, or pastures for raising livestock, most folks relied on their land in order to eat. [..]

The usefulness of the lawn as a status symbol is a thing of the past. Today, if your lawn serves a function at all, it’s as a soccer field or play area for your family. For many Americans, lawns yield no benefit at all. You mow it, you water it, you weed it, you fertilize it. Why?

Feb 23 2013

On This Day In History February 23

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 23 is the 54th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 311 days remaining until the end of the year (312 in leap years).

On this day in 1954, a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Though not as devastating as the plague or influenza, poliomyelitis was a highly contagious disease that emerged in terrifying outbreaks and seemed impossible to stop. Attacking the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system, polio caused muscle deterioration, paralysis and even death. Even as medicine vastly improved in the first half of the 20th century in the Western world, polio still struck, affecting mostly children but sometimes adults as well. The most famous victim of a 1921 outbreak in America was future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a young politician. The disease spread quickly, leaving his legs permanently paralyzed.

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route The term derives from the Greek polios, meaning “grey”, myelos, referring to the “spinal cord”, and the suffix -itis, which denotes inflammation.

Although around 90% of polio infections cause no symptoms at all, affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the virus enters the blood stream. In about 1% of cases the virus enters the central nervous system, preferentially infecting and destroying motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis. Different types of paralysis may occur, depending on the nerves involved. Spinal polio is the most common form, characterized by asymmetric paralysis that most often involves the legs. Bulbar polio leads to weakness of muscles innervated by cranial nerves. Bulbospinal polio is a combination of bulbar and spinal paralysis.

Poliomyelitis was first recognized as a distinct condition by Jakob Heine in 1840. Its causative agent, poliovirus, was identified in 1908 by Karl Landsteiner. Although major polio epidemics were unknown before the late 19th century, polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. Polio epidemics have crippled thousands of people, mostly young children; the disease has caused paralysis and death for much of human history. Polio had existed for thousands of years quietly as an endemic pathogen until the 1880s, when major epidemics began to occur in Europe; soon after, widespread epidemics appeared in the United States.

By 1910, much of the world experienced a dramatic increase in polio cases and frequent epidemics became regular events, primarily in cities during the summer months. These epidemics-which left thousands of children and adults paralyzed-provided the impetus for a “Great Race” towards the development of a vaccine. Developed in the 1950s, polio vaccines are credited with reducing the global number of polio cases per year from many hundreds of thousands to around a thousand. Enhanced vaccination efforts led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Rotary International could result in global eradication of the disease.

Eradication

While now rare in the Western world, polio is still endemic to South Asia and Nigeria. Following the widespread use of poliovirus vaccine in the mid-1950s, the incidence of poliomyelitis declined dramatically in many industrialized countries. A global effort to eradicate polio began in 1988, led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The Rotary Foundation. These efforts have reduced the number of annual diagnosed cases by 99%; from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to a low of 483 cases in 2001, after which it has remained at a level of about 1,000 cases per year (1,606 in 2009). Polio is one of only two diseases currently the subject of a global eradication program, the other being Guinea worm disease. If the global Polio Eradication initiative is successful before that for Guinea worm or any other disease, it would be only the third time humankind has ever completely eradicated a disease, after smallpox in 1979 and rinderpest in 2010. A number of eradication milestones have already been reached, and several regions of the world have been certified polio-free. The Americas were declared polio-free in 1994. In 2000 polio was officially eliminated in 36 Western Pacific countries, including China and Australia. Europe was declared polio-free in 2002. As of 2006, polio remains endemic in only four countries: Nigeria, India (specifically Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), Pakistan, and Afghanistan, although it continues to cause epidemics in other nearby countries born of hidden or reestablished transmission.

Feb 23 2013

Your Invite to the 85th Academy Awards

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I need a break from all the yammering about sequester, austerity, cliff and whatever the topic du jour is, at least for a few hours. The chance to sit in front of the big tube with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or other finger food and watch the glitz and glamor as the stars walk down the red carpet and make fools of themselves bumbling the lines of acceptance speeches.

Tomorrow night at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I will be hosting a live blog of the 85th Academy Awards starting at 6:00 PM EST when the march of celebrities into the Dolby Theatre begins. Unlike past years, I have actually been inside a movie theater and watched four movies that have been nominated for awards, Best Movie nominee Les Miserables; Best Animated Feature nominee Brave; Best Costume Design nominee Mirror Mirror; and Best Visual Effects nominee The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

This year’s show will be hosted by actor, comedian, producer, etc, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame so be prepared for a lot of bleeping.

Once again I will be ensconced on the couch in my comfy sweats and sequined blue suede pumps with a pitcher of my favorite libation (vodka martinis and lots of olives) and plenty of popcorn sprinkled liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you prefer something more exotic to drink or an appetizer a bit more sophisticated than popcorn, you can check out my previous entries here and here (yes, I am being lazy but I’ve been busy).

These are this year’s winner predictions over the The New York Times Carpetbagger:

Best Picture: “Argo”

Best Director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”

Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Animated Feature: “Wreck-it Ralph,” Rich Moore

Best Documentary: “Searching For Sugar Man,” Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour,” Austria

Get ready for the party and live blog with us tomorrow night.

Oh, and the nominees are below the fold.

Feb 23 2013

Your Invite to the 85th Academy Awards

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I need a break from all the yammering about sequester, austerity, cliff and whatever the topic du jour is, at least for a few hours. The chance to sit in front of the big tube with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or other finger food and watch the glitz and glamor as the stars walk down the red carpet and make fools of themselves bumbling the lines of acceptance speeches.

Tomorrow night at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I will be hosting a live blog of the 85rd Academy Awards starting at 7:00 PM EST when the march of celebrities into the Dolby Theatre begins. Unlike past years, I have actually been inside a movie theater and watched three of the nominated movies, Best Movie nominee Les Miserables; Best Animated Feature nominee Brave and Best Visual Effects nominee The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey This year’s show will be hosted by actor, comedian, producer, etc,Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame so be prepared for a lot of bleeping.

Once again I will be ensconced on the couch in my comfy sweats and sequined blue suede pumps with a pitcher of my favorite libation (vodka martinis and lots of olives) and plenty of popcorn sprinkled liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you prefer something more exotic to drink or an appetizer a bit more sophisticated than popcorn, you can check out my previous entries here and here (yes, I am being lazy but I’ve been busy).

These are this year’s winner predictions over the The New York Times Carpetbagger:

Best Picture: “Argo”

Best Director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”

Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Animated Feature: “Wreck-it Ralph,” Rich Moore

Best Documentary: “Searching For Sugar Man,” Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour,” Austria

Get ready for the party and live blog with us tomorrow night.

Oh, and the nominees are below the fold.

Feb 23 2013

Friday Night at the Movies

Unfortunately Chuckles refused to disappear and all I have left at the moment is good stuff.

I’m putting it below the fold in hopes of confusing the ‘bots, but if you have any interest in large constrictors and what’s in Carol Merrill’s box or pacifist themes you’ll watch this while it’s still available and put it in your Netflix account for when it won’t be.

Here is a song about boxes-

And another one-

And of course, no boxed set would be complete without a heart shaped one-