Daily Archive: 04/13/2013

Apr 13 2013

Random Japan

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A high school baseball coach in Chiba was suspended for breaking one of his players’ arms after the kid missed a fly ball in practice.

It was later revealed that the same coach had “hit another first-year [player] in the face with a bat, knocking out his front teeth and splitting his lip.”

The NPA said it dealt with a record number of cases of child pornography in 2012. Officials said that underage smut “is spreading via the internet.” Gee, ya think?

A Tokyo-based bicycle importer was ordered to pay ¥189 million in damages to a man who was paralyzed in an accident involving his Italian-brand Bianchi bike.

Apr 13 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

Cracking the Walnut

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I routinely throw them into salads of all kinds, and finely chopped walnuts can go into everything from omelets to pungent Mediterranean nut-based sauces to soups, pasta dishes and of course desserts. I consider them a pantry staple and keep a bag of shelled walnuts in the freezer at all times. When unshelled walnuts are available at my farmers’ market I keep them on hand as well. I use them up so quickly that I probably don’t need to keep the shelled walnuts in the freezer, but that’s where I always keep my nuts, because the oils in nuts are volatile and they can become rancid if they are not kept in a cool environment. I toast walnuts occasionally, but most often I prefer the sweeter flavor of fresh untoasted walnuts.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Walnut Fougasse or Focaccia

Mediterranean flatbread where walnuts and their oil stand in for olives.

Leek and Turnip Soup With Kale and Walnut Garnish

The crunchy walnuts contrast beautifully with the smooth, sweet-tasting soup.

Green Bean and Fava Bean Salad With Walnuts

Two seasonal beans make a beautiful salad for spring.

Mache and Endive Salad With Clementines and Walnuts

A salad with two high-omega-3 ingredients.

Iranian Herb and Walnut Frittata

A classic Persian herb frittata with yogurt and walnuts.

Apr 13 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

Katrina vanden Heuvel: ‘There Are Now States Where It’s Not Safe to Be a Woman’

Chalk another one up for the extremists. Three weeks after Arkansas’ legislature overrode a veto and prohibited most second trimester abortions, North Dakota’s Governor signed into law a ban that kicks in just six weeks after conception. As the Associated Press noted, both sides recognize the laws for what they are: “an unprecedented frontal assault” on the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.

“The thing that’s incredible to me – North Dakota being case in point – is the thought that women’s rights in this country depend on their ZIP code,” the inimitable Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told the Huffington Post late last month. “There are now states where it’s not safe to be a woman.”

Cecile Richards: States Should Not Curb Health Care for Women

Every woman, no matter what her zip code is, should have access to affordable, quality health care. It seems like a simple enough proposition, but for far too many women, it is far from true – and for some, it is becoming less so every day.

Across the country, bills are moving through state legislatures that limit women’s access to health care. Legislation has been introduced in 42 states that would ban or severely restrict access to abortion, make it harder for women to get birth control, cut women off from cancer screenings, or prohibit sex education programs that help prevent teen pregnancy.

What is most concerning for Planned Parenthood as a health care provider is that these bills are passing in states where there already is very little access to health care for women.

Tracy Dudzinski: Women’s work: The unfinished business of Frances Perkins

The president must close the loophole left in the Fair Labor Standards Act for home care workers.

Eighty years ago Frances Perkins broke a glass ceiling in government when President Franklin D. Roosevelt named her Secretary of Labor, the first female cabinet member in U.S. history. But her legacy extends far beyond the appointment itself. In her twelve years at the helm of the Department of Labor, Perkins played a key role in helping Roosevelt enact the critical legislation that comprised the New Deal.

One of Perkins’s signature accomplishments, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), turns 75 this year. It established the 40-hour work week, placed restrictions on child labor, set the first-ever federal minimum wage, and required overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a given work week. By any measure, the FLSA improved working life for most Americans.

But not for all Americans.

Jeff Cohen: The Elephant in the Room: Militarism

I spent years as a political pundit on mainstream TV — at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. I was outnumbered, outshouted, red-baited and finally terminated. Inside mainstream media, I saw that major issues were not only dodged, but sometimes not even acknowledged to exist.

Today there’s an elephant in the room: a huge, yet ignored, issue that largely explains why Social Security is now on the chopping block. And why other industrialized countries have free college education and universal healthcare, but we don’t. It’s arguably our country’s biggest problem — a problem that Martin Luther King Jr. focused on before he was assassinated 45 years ago, and has only worsened since then (which was the height of the Vietnam War).

That problem is U.S. militarism and perpetual war.

William Greider: Will Voters Forgive Obama for Cutting Social Security? (No. And They Shouldn’t.)

President Obama has riled loyal Democrats by tossing Social Security onto the table in his poker game with Republicans. Not to worry. I think I know how this story ends. A year from now, when the 2014 congressional campaigns are hot underway, Republicans will be running against Obama-the-slasher and promising to protect Social Security from the bloodthirsty Democrats.

By then, having lost on his too-cute strategy, the president will be reduced to lamely reassuring old folks. Really, he didn’t actually intend to cut their benefits, really he didn’t. It was just a ploy to get tightwad conservatives to give in a little on tax increases. Republicans can pull out the videotapes in which Obama and team explain their high-minded purpose-sacrificing the Democratic party’s sacred honor in order to get Republicans to play nice.

Dylan Ratigan: Ending Our Incarceration Nation


In life there are some clear paths that we can walk down today to reach a better place, while others are less clear, dangerous even, yet no less important for us to travel.

When it comes to creating jobs for veterans, it’s clear we can act now to feed people using the modern technology of hydroponic, organic farming. As you know, an increasingly large group of us are acting to do just that by taking Archi’s Acres to the national level.

Other problems are more intractable, seemingly insurmountable. Beyond jobs, food and our vets, few things keep me up more than the disastrous functionality of our prison system.

Apr 13 2013

On This Day In History April 13

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.

April 13 is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 262 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1742, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah premieres in Dublin, Ireland.

Nowadays, the performance of George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah oratorio at Christmas time is a tradition almost as deeply entrenched as decorating trees and hanging stockings. In churches and concert halls around the world, the most famous piece of sacred music in the English language is performed both full and abridged, both with and without audience participation, but almost always and exclusively during the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas. It would surprise many, then, to learn that Messiah was not originally intended as a piece of Christmas music. Messiah received its world premiere on this day in 1742, during the Christian season of Lent, and in the decidedly secular context of a concert hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel, and is one of the most popular works in the Western choral literature. The libretto by Charles Jennens is drawn entirely from the King James and Great Bibles, and interprets the Christian doctrine of the Messiah. Messiah (often but incorrectly called The Messiah) is one of Handel’s most famous works. The Messiah sing-alongs now common at the Christmas season usually consist of only the first of the oratorio’s three parts, with “Hallelujah” (originally concluding the second part) replacing His Yoke is Easy in the first part.

Composed in London during the summer of 1741 and premiered in Dublin, Ireland on 13 April 1742, it was repeatedly revised by Handel, reaching its most familiar version in the performance to benefit the Foundling Hospital in 1754. In 1789 Mozart orchestrated a German version of the work; his added woodwind parts, and the edition by Ebenezer Prout, were commonly heard until the mid-20th century and the rise of historically informed performance.

Apr 13 2013

Frances Perkins, the Woman Behind Social Security

“Out in the wilderness with a vision”

Frances Perkins was Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, the first woman to hold a cabinet position and she got there on her own merits. She served from 1933 to 1945 and was instrumental in getting many of the New Deal laws and programs off the ground and working. Her two biggest achievements were the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act.

With cuts to Social Security being threatened by a Democratic president, Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “Last Word,” paid tribute to Sec. Perkins, the architect of Social Security, on her 133rd birthday, the same day that Pres. Barack Obama proposed cuts and changes in these benefits.

The most important liberal you’ve never heard of: Frances Perkins

by Lynn Malka, The Last Word Blog

“The man gets all the credit in popular history, but the woman did all the work,” O’Donnell said. “Social Security was her idea. It would never have become law without her.” As the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Perkins had immense influence on his policy decisions.

A chance meeting at a tea party with then-Supreme Court Justice Harlan Stone provided Perkins with the legal framework for her initiative, setting into place certain present day laws of the same nature.

“The Constitutionality of Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act are all based on Frances Perkins’ novel use of the power to tax 78 years ago,” O’Donnell explained.

“Frances Perkins was a self-made woman,” O’Donnell said. “She did not advance her career by marriage. She didn’t flinch at challenges that everyone else considered impossible. Frances Perkins changed the world the old fashioned way-with hard work, persistence and passion. Tonight, this country owes a happy birthday nod to a uniquely American hero.”

In the second segment, Mr. O’Donnell imagines what Sec. Perkins would think about the current Social Security debate:

When the Social Security Act was passed in 1935, the highest concentration of poverty in America was among the elderly. At its signing, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “We can never insure 100% of the population against 100% of the hazards and vicissitudes of life but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen, and to his family, against the loss of a job and against poverty-stricken old-age.”[..]

In a speech in 1962, Perkins said of the Act, “Thousands and thousands of new problems arose in the administration which had not been foreseen by those who did the planning and the legal drafting. Of course, the Act had to be amended, and has been amended, and amended, and amended, and amended.”

It would not come as a shock to Perkins or Roosevelt that the benefits calculation formula would change as the years went on, but there were some principles that both Perkins and Roosevelt considered imperative in the design of Social Security. [..]

But despite the changes that the Act would no doubt be subjected to, Perkins remained adamant that Social Security would be everlasting: “One thing I know: it is so firmly embedded in the American psychology today that no politician, no political party, no political group could possibly destroy this Act and still maintain our democratic system. It is safe. It is safe forever, and for the everlasting benefit of the people of the United States.”

What would they think of the current debate on making cutbacks to the program now?

Apr 13 2013

Formula One 2013: Shanghai Qualifying

Well if a Lotus win was surprising, a Red Bull 1 – 2 is exactly what we’ve come to expect.  The only thing remotely interesting is that Vettel passed Webber against team orders and that’s all anyone can seem to talk about.

Wait- that’s boring too.

McLaren has decided to stick with their slow, new, and wastefully expensive chassis instead of unparking their 2012 car like every other team.  Money in the pot now I suppose, those development dollars are spent.  The major change seems to be they went with a push rod instead of a pull rod suspension and I guess they’ll spend the rest of the season proving to everyone that’s a really stupid idea.

Mercedes is running very low fuel loads to get their speed which is why they’ve been fading at the end.  The harder the compound the better for Red Bull and no one can figure out why.

Speaking of- Mediums and Softs.

The surface of all the tires has been scrubbing off more quickly this year which has been limiting the racing line.

Well, it’s been a busy, busy week for me, make that a month, and I’m just too tired and distracted to focus on Formula One so I’ll leave you with this for tonight-

The reason I cover sports is because it’s metaphor for politics, both a distraction and a way to make a point.  Sometimes, especially in the games of the super rich, they intersect.

Damon Hill challenges FIA president Jean Todt to clarify Bahrain stance

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Last year’s Bahrain race was a public relations disaster for both F1 and the country’s authorities. Almost everyone in the paddock did not want to be there, but the race still took place against a background of pro-democracy demonstrations, with stones and petrol bombs being thrown, while riot police fired teargas and birdshot and beat opposition activists. Hill, who now works as a Sky Sports F1 analyst, was one of the few people in the sport to question the wisdom of the race taking place a year ago.

And he voiced his concerns again when he said: “Jean Todt’s approach has been to say nothing, because otherwise you’re being critical, and I think that is a mistake. Because he’s being used, or the sport is being perceived as being used, by its engagement in the economy and the reputation of the country.”

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone said last week that he had no concerns about the race becoming a target for anti-government protesters.

MP Richard Burden, who chairs parliamentary groups on motorsport and who was outspoken against last year’s race taking place, says: “The messages I’m getting from various people in the opposition – and there have been pretty regular street protest over the past three weeks – is that the F1 race will be more of a focus than it was last year. That’s what they anticipate happening.

“The quotes [Ecclestone] came out with is that everything will be fine. I just do not buy that. It is not the same evidence that I am hearing. Opinion is not difficult to come by in Bahrain saying either that the race should not go ahead and, if it does, there will be trouble.

“If anything happens it will be a tragedy for all concerned. I hope in the next few days that people will understand that words do have an impact.”

But Formula One shows no signs of having learned anything from its painful lessons of last year. They will probably say something trite about keeping politics out of sport next week – even though, contrary to the FIA’s charter – the Bahrain government promoted last year’s race as a way of unifying its people.