Daily Archive: 05/18/2013

May 18 2013

Triple Crown: The Middle Child

I once again have to try and find something interesting to say about Pimlico.

Preakness Trivia

  • Actually 2 years older than the Kentucky Derby.
  • Shortest in distance (1/16th shorter than the Derby).
  • Only the Derby has a larger attendance.
  • No Black Eyed Susan has ever been used, currently it’s painted Chysthanthemums.

There have been 34 winners of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes including the 11 Triple Crown winners.

Preakness Traditions

Winners don’t get the real Woodlawn Cup to keep, but a half size replica (oh, and the Woodlawn Racing Club is defunct).  Black Eyed Susans don’t bloom until 2 months after the Preakness.  The Old Clubhouse was destroyed in a fire in 1966.  They paint the winner’s racing silks on the weathervane.  No one on the internet knows why it’s called the Alibi Breakfast.

Official Website

I need a drink-

Black Eyed Susan Recipe

(Official, but without the brand names)


  • 1 1/4 oz. Bourbon (20% of Early Times is aged in used barrels)
  • 3/4 oz. Vodka
  • 3 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 2 oz. Orange Juice


Fill a highball glass with shaved ice, add the liquors first, then top off with orange juice and sweet and sour mix. Stir and garnish with an orange slice, cherry, and stirrer.

Post time 6:20 pm ET, coverage starts at 4:30 pm on NBC.

I once saw a future Miss America almost eaten by a horse.

Ok, so she wasn’t a Miss America, but she was one of the 10 finalists.

We were on this band trip (she played French Horn, was the practice Piano player for Choir, and sang- rather badly as I recall which is why she got stuck playing Piano) and we went to this ski resort in Pennsylvania where I and my room mates mostly amused ourselves by doing a lot of superficial “damage” like draping our underwear over the lamps and taking the mattresses off the beds (they wouldn’t let us on the bus for the trip home until we “fixed” it which took like a whole 5 minutes).

For me it was notable for this big scar I got while skiing (I’m quite good by the way) when this football player plowed into me at full tilt and opened up a remarkably large wound on my shin with his edge through a teeny tiny little hole in my jeans.  Hardly even noticed it until my boot started filling up with blood.

So one of the other things you could do was horse riding which was a big thrill for me since I went to the boy’s camp with the lake and not the girl’s camp with the horses and the only other time I’d been on the back of one was this sad nag at the fair who was chained to a not very Merry-go-round and even though we didn’t get much past a stately amble at least we were going somewhere.

Future Miss America was two horses in front so I saw it all.  It had started to snow a little, the path was getting slippery and her horse’s hoof went out and kicked the horse behind.

Who got a little ticked, climbed up on the back of her horse and started biting her.

Well, she went the emergency room, I got the aid station at the slope where the patrol person took a look and said- “That’s nothing, just a scratch.  Are you sure you want a band aid?”

I dunno, does it have Spongebob on it?

Some Peakness coverage from The New York Times.

Witnesses to Horse Racing’s Two Sides

By WILLIAM C. RHODEN, The New York Times

Published: May 17, 2013

Joe Miller and Jimmy McCue work in different environments at the same racetrack. McCue, 66, has been a staff photographer at Pimlico Race Course since 1970. Miller, 50, has been the track’s equine ambulance driver since 1997, though he has worked there since 1981.

They represent the intriguing, underexposed dichotomy of a troubled industry. McCue records the light with his camera; Miller, more often than he would like, hauls away the darkness in his ambulance.

Miller does not see happy faces. He sees injured animals, distraught owners and shattered dreams.

He watches each race from the superintendent’s office, a shack a quarter-mile from the winner’s circle between the one-quarter and the three-sixteenths poles.

The cumulative effect of transporting injured horses has made Miller distance himself emotionally from the thoroughbreds for whom he once cared.

“It might be a horse I’ve hauled off for whatever reason,” he said. “A couple months later, or six months later, he comes back and runs and wins. I don’t pay attention to them. If he’s going to take the last ride, I don’t want to know who he is.”

At Preakness, Orb’s Challengers Include Childhood Friend

By JOE DRAPE, The New York Times

Published: May 17, 2013

BALTIMORE – They shared the same paddock and gamboled in the same Kentucky bluegrass as weanlings and yearlings. Orb hit the ground first at Claiborne Farm, with Departing tumbling out of his mother a month later. Now 3 years old, the two horses will be reunited Saturday in the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes.

Preakness Champion, and Mother, Toughs It Out

By MELISSA HOPPERT, The New York Times

Published: May 18, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. – On a sun-drenched May morning on the 460-acre Stonestreet Farm, Rachel Alexandra, a member of racing royalty, emerged from a 16-by-16 oak-paneled stall in a barn named Cabernet.

She showed no signs of distress as she did the day after giving birth to a 140-pound filly by Bernardini in February. Rachel Alexandra, who in 2009 became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes in 85 years, was nearly back to her old self as her hooves clip-clopped on the asphalt on the way to her paddock.


May 18 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

Focaccia: One Basic Bread, Endless Delicious Options

 photo FoccaciawithRosemaryandSage_zpsb21baf19.jpg

Focaccia is a flatbread, not unlike a very thick-crusted pizza. It’s an easy dough to put together, and it’s forgiving; if you don’t have time to go from start to finish in one session, you can chill the dough and come back to it later. I think it’s a great vehicle for all kinds of vegetables, just as pizza is. A square of focaccia topped with tomatoes or cauliflower makes a great lunch or snack, and it’s good lunchbox fare.

Another thing you can do with focaccia is split it laterally and fill it, to make a sandwich. I did that with a mix of goat cheese and spinach, which made a better filling inside a heated focaccia than a topping.

Whole-Wheat Focaccia

This is a very easy bread that welcomes any number of toppings or fillings.

Focaccia With Tomatoes and Rosemary

If you can get good tomatoes, this focaccia is a beautiful foretaste of summer.

Focaccia With Sweet Onion and Caper Topping

A focaccia inspired by a Provençal pizza.

Focaccia With Tomato Sauce and Green Garlic

A focaccia that resembles a pizza.

Focaccia With Cauliflower and Sage

A delicious home for roasted cauliflower.

May 18 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

New York Times Editorial Board: Angelina Jolie’s Disclosure

Angelina Jolie’s revelation on The Times’s Op-Ed page that she had a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer greatly raises public awareness of the genetic testing she used, as well as concerns about insurance coverage for this kind of testing. Ms. Jolie had a family history of cancer and tested positive for genetic flaws in the BRCA1 gene, which indicates an elevated risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Her doctor estimated that she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer. [..]

Even women who think their risk is high should take a cautious approach, said the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a group of independent experts who provide advice to the federal government on health screening measures. They should talk with their doctors to see if genetic counseling is needed, assess the pros and cons of BRCA testing, and consider options for treatment, which might include surgery, drugs that could reduce risk of breast cancer, and close monitoring with mammograms and M.R.I. scans. Women will need to check their policies to see what coverage is provided for preventive mastectomies and other preventive measures.

Jill Richardson: Superbugs: Those Uninvited Guests at Your Barbecue

With most samples of several common store-bought meats testing positive for antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” factory farming practices must change.

Planning a Memorial Day barbecue? When you buy meat for that festive meal, watch out for some uninvited guests. An alarming amount of American meat harbors not just pathogens, but “superbugs” – antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

For now, you’d better cook your meat well enough to kill the germs (165F is the magic temperature), but there might be hope for safer alternatives in the future. Consumer advocates and lawmakers are trying to push changes that make these superbugs a thing of the past. That’s never been so important because industrialized agriculture delivers efficiency, productivity, and profit at the expense of food safety.

John Nichols: The Peculiar Politics of Karl Rove’s ‘Outrage’ Over the IRS Flap

Karl Rove is offering America a super-sized serving of political cynicism.

Since the controversy over the targeting of grassroots tea party groups for extra scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service arose, Rove has engaged in the sort of political sleight of hand that could only be practiced in a country where elite media have no skepticism-and no memory.

Just a few months ago, after the 2012 election, Rove was widely portrayed as having declared war on grassroots conservatives in general and the Tea Party movement in particular. The former White House political czar was frustrated: During the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, Republicans had been positioned to win control of the US Senate. Yet, in each cycle, they fell short after the party’s grassroots activists upended the candidacies of relatively more moderate candidates in Republican primaries. The Tea Party favorites frequently proved to be weaker contenders and-in the cases of candidates such as Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell in 2010 and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock in 2012-were seen as having snatched defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

Ari Berman IRS Fallout: The Real Scandal Is Secret Money Influencing US Elections

The IRS is under siege for investigating conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status. But the real problem wasn’t that the IRS was too aggressive. It was that the agency focused on the wrong people-“none of those groups were big spenders on political advertising; most were local Tea Party organizations with shoestring budgets,” writes The New York Times-and wasn’t aggressive enough. The outrage that Washington should be talking about-what my colleague Chris Hayes calls “the scandal behind the scandal”-is how the Citizens United decision has unleashed a flood of secret spending in US elections that the IRS and other regulatory agencies in Washington, like the Federal Election Commission, have been unwilling or unable to stem.

Gail Collins: Hard of Hearings

Before Congress is finished with the Internal Revenue Service, there’s a serious danger some of us are going to wind up feeling sorry for the auditors.

And, honestly, that is not the way we were planning on spending the spring. Especially since it appears that there are people making decisions at the I.R.S. who have the intelligence of a wet Frisbee. [..]

If Congress wanted to help, the members could simplify the law so I.R.S. minions aren’t trying to figure out which groups spend only 49 percent of their resources on politics as opposed to 51 percent.

Or, they could give the I.R.S. more money to do the job it’s stuck with now. The budget has been cut almost $1 billion over the last few years, while its duties have expanded. Next Friday, I.R.S. workers will enjoy the first of a series of unpaid furloughs thanks to that sequester.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Bringing Justice to Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military

I was outraged by the news earlier this week that the coordinator of the Army’s program to prevent sexual assault at Fort Hood in Texas is under investigation for abusive sexual contact. This follows last week’s revelation that the officer tasked with preventing sexual assault in the Air Force had been arrested for assaulting a woman in a parking lot. It is hard to believe this was the second such incident in just over a week. All of this comes as the Pentagon released its own study showing a dramatic increase in sexual assaults and unwanted sexual contact in the military from 19,000 in 2011 to 26,000 in 2012. Even more concerning: only 3,374 of those cases were reported, and less than 10% of those were brought to trial.

While I appreciate Secretary Hagel’s taking positive steps to enact reform, we need more than just words or retraining. It’s increasingly clear that the military justice system is not working for its victims and the chain of command is incapable of policing itself when it comes to a zero tolerance reality for these serious crimes. Enough is enough. It is time for Congress to move forward now with bold reform that puts victims first.

May 18 2013

Saturday May 18, 2013: Up with Steve Kornacki Tweets

Today’s #Uppers was on the 3 scandals that the Obama administration is dealing with right now via the IRS, Benghazi, and the one that matters, the AP scandal where the DOJ ignored post Watergate regulations in seizing their phone records because of a leak they knew was going to be released. This problem with overzealousness over leaks from this administration has implications for everyone given what has happened to Bradley Manning and more whistle blowers than any other administration, especially one claiming to be the most transparent ever. The horrendous problem of rape in the military was also covered.

Now on #Uppers

Thank you for reading.

May 18 2013

On This Day In History May 18

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.

Click on image to enlarge

May 18 is the 138th day of the year (139th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 227 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1917, U.S. Congress passes Selective Service Act.

Some six weeks after the United States formally entered the First World War, the U.S Congress passes the Selective Service Act on May 18, 1917, giving the U.S. president the power to draft soldiers.

When he went before Congress on April 2, 1917, to deliver his war message, President Woodrow Wilson had pledged all of his nation’s considerable material resources to help the Allies-France, Britain, Russia and Italy-defeat the Central Powers. What the Allies desperately needed, however, were fresh troops to relieve their exhausted men on the battlefields of the Western Front, and these the U.S. was not immediately able to provide. Despite Wilson’s effort to improve military preparedness over the course of 1916, at the time of Congress’s war declaration the U.S. had only a small army of volunteers-some 100,000 men-that was in no way trained or equipped for the kind of fighting that was going on in Europe.

To remedy this situation, Wilson pushed the government to adopt military conscription, which he argued was the most democratic form of enlistment. To that end, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which Wilson signed into law on May 18, 1917. The act required all men in the U.S. between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for military service. Within a few months, some 10 million men across the country had registered in response to the military draft.

The World War I Draft

During World War I there were three registrations.

   The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31.

   The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917. A supplemental registration, included in the second registration, was held on August 24, 1918, for those becoming 21 years old after June 5, 1918.

   The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, for men age 18 through 45.

After the signing of the armistice of November 11, 1918, the activities of the Selective Service System were rapidly curtailed. On March 31, 1919, all local, district, and medical advisory boards were closed, and on May 21, 1919, the last state headquarters closed operations. The Provost Marshal General was relieved from duty on July 15, 1919, thereby finally terminating the activities of the Selective Service System of World War I.

May 18 2013

My father is no different than any powerful man.

Here’s that Sierra Club piece I promised.

It’s Not Easy Being Green: Are Some of the Biggest Enviro Groups Giant Sell-Outs?

Jason Mark, Alternet

May 15, 2013

About a year ago, on March 26, 2012, Sandra Steingraber, an environmental writer and activist against natural-gas fracking, wrote a public letter titled “Breaking Up with the Sierra Club.” Breakups are never easy, and the letter, published on the website of the nature magazine Orion, was brutal from the start: “I’m through with you,” Steingraber began.  

The proximate cause of the split was the revelation that between 2007 and 2010 the nation’s oldest environmental organization had clandestinely accepted $26 million from individuals or subsidiaries associated with Chesapeake Energy, a major gas firm that has been at the forefront of the fracking boom. “The largest, most venerable environmental organization in the United States secretly aligned with the very company that seeks to occupy our land, turn it inside out, blow it apart, fill it with poison,” Steingraber wrote. “It was as if, on the eve of D-day, the anti-Fascist partisans had discovered that Churchill was actually in cahoots with the Axis forces.”

The Sierra Club, under the leadership of its previous executive director, Carl Pope, wasn’t the only prominent environmentalist organization heralding natural gas as a bridge fuel that could take our energy system from carbon-intense coal to renewables like wind and solar. (When burned, gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal.) Among the most vocal proponents of natural gas today are Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, founders of the Oakland-based liberal think tank the Breakthrough Institute. Nordhaus and Shellenberger ticked off greens in the early aughts with the essay “The Death of Environmentalism,” which urged green groups to rethink the core assumptions of their political strategy. The pugnacious pair is often bashed for their rhetoric, but the two are genuine in their hawkishness on the climate and their commitment to global equity.

(S)ince the fracking boom began in earnest, a larger, anti-fracking grassroots has emerged. Small towns in the East that were unaccustomed to the thrum of the fossil-fuel industry have been shocked to find themselves surrounded by trucks and heavy machinery and with compressors in their back lots whirring all night long. Some homeowners had their wells contaminated with flammable methane. Places like Ohio and Arkansas that weren’t used to seismic activity started to experience earthquakes when underground wastewater injections stimulated geologic faults. Today, the movement against gas fracking has become a cause célèbre (Yoko Ono and Mark Ruffalo have an “Artists Against Fracking” group) and is one of the most invigorating issues among grassroots environmentalists. At February’s Forward on Climate rally near the White House, easily a fifth of the placards in the crowd of 35,000 had to do with gas drilling.

“Of all the forms of fossil-fuel extraction, fracking is the only one that is wrapped up in a green myth,” says Sandra Steingraber, who wrote the letter against the Sierra Club. “The demand for energy is not some inexorable thing like gravity. We control that. And it’s plain to me that we could reduce our energy use by half and entirely run our economy on renewables.”

Whether the question is shale-gas development, nuclear power, utility-scale solar and wind, or GMO crops, the core of the debate among environmentalists comes down to what’s realistic. That, of course, is the same dilemma that confronts any political movement, whether on the right or on the left. But environmentalists’ conundrum is especially complicated because it involves a system beyond our control: Earth.

Nordhaus and Shellenberger say their pragmatism is grounded in what is politically possible given a range of shitty options. In the other camp, Steffen, Steingraber, and Stephens also claim the mantle of pragmatism, one based on geophysical necessity. The existential threat of climate change has become a sort of projection screen: Either it confirms that we are locked into business as usual, or it’s proof that we need to make a societal 180-degree turn in how we relate to the planet.

“Those of us who are calling ourselves the latter-day abolitionists, our idea of what’s possible is grounded in physical and natural laws. How much water and land and resources do we need to feed ourselves?” Steingraber says. “My hope that is that we can help people imagine, have a vision of a future when blasting gas out of the ground to make our tea kettles whistle is just barbaric, which it is.” It’s a view Nordhaus and Shellenberger call naïve.

Of course The Sierra Club also sells out for access advocacy.

Who’s being naive now Kay?