Daily Archive: 05/25/2013

May 25 2013

Random Japan

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Who says crime doesn’t pay? Officials at the NPA estimate that about 70 percent of websites providing “illegal or harmful content” are also receiving advertising revenue.

A Saitama man was handed a suspended sentence for defrauding 15 people out of ¥11 million, which he said would be used for “developing and selling items to be used in a virtual city on the internet.”

Officials in Kamakura are combining three local beaches-including the popular Yuigahama-into a single entity and selling the naming rights for a cool million yen.

Meanwhile, authorities in Akita are looking for someone to “assume control” of a hot-spring hotel complex in the resort town of Yuzawa-for free.

May 25 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

Bulking Up Smoothies With Chia Seeds

Banana Muesli Smoothie photo 20recipehealth-articleLarge_zpsaf499863.jpg

When you soak the seeds in water, they expand and become gelatinous, a property that aids digestion and contributes to their low glycemic index. When I use the seeds in smoothies, dressings and juices, I scoop up a tablespoon of the gelatinous mixture of seeds suspended in water – which is the equivalent of a teaspoon of unsoaked chia seeds – and add it to the drink or dressing. It adds substance to a drink, and I felt incredibly well nourished by this week’s chia-enriched fruit smoothies. I made five of them, adding other soaked nuts, seeds or muesli along with the chia. They made energy-rich breakfasts, perfect food for a morning workout.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Banana Muesli Smoothie

If you want a delicious smoothie that will see you through a morning workout, this is it.

Banana Wild Blueberry Smoothie With Chia Seeds

Using frozen berries eliminates the need for ice.

Blackberry Lime Smoothie With Chia Seeds and Cashews

This colorful and tangy mixture gets an herbal note from geranium syrup or rose water.

Pineapple Chia Smoothie With Herbs

Carrot juice and sunflower seeds add flavor and texture to this drink.

Strawberry Muesli Chia Smoothie

A drink similar to a Trader Joe’s bottled strawberry/lime/chia drink.

May 25 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

Joe Nocera: Obama’s Gitmo Problem

It isn’t Congress’s fault that the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, hasn’t closed. It’s the president’s.

It is my belief, shared by many lawyers who have followed the legal battles over Guantánamo, that the president could have shut down the prison if he had really been determined to do so. One reason innocent detainees can’t get out is that the courts have essentially ruled that a president has an absolute right to imprison anyone he wants during a time of war – with no second-guessing from either of the other two branches of government. By the same legal logic, a president can also free any prisoner in a time of war. Had the president taken that stance, there would undoubtedly have been a court fight. But so what? Aren’t some things worth fighting for?

Whenever he talks about Guantánamo, the president gives the impression that that’s what he believes. The shame – his shame – is that, for all his soaring rhetoric, he has yet to show that he is willing to act on that belief.

New York Times Editorial Board: Scouting’s Move Toward Equality

The Boy Scouts of America voted on Thursday to discard part of its discriminatory policies about gay Americans and to allow openly gay boys to participate in its activities. The decision was made by about 1,400 delegates attending a national convention in Grapevine, Tex. It was a major step for one of the country’s oldest and most influential youth organizations that as recently as a year ago rejected any change in its membership policies.

But, at the same time, the Boy Scouts did not take the next and necessary step to end the exclusion of openly gay and lesbian adults as troop leaders. There is reason to celebrate the first turn toward inclusion, but the message to young people will still be: if you’re gay, keep quiet because there is something wrong with you. And gay boys and teenagers who love scouting and are courageous enough to be open about their sexual identity know that when they turn 18 and want to serve as a pack or troop leader, they will be forced out of the organization.

Medea Benjanib: Why I Spoke Out at Obama’s Foreign Policy Speech

On why Obama’s policies themselves, not those who speak out against them, are rude

Having worked for years on the issues of drones and Guantanamo, I was delighted to get a pass (the source will remain anonymous) to attend President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University. I had read many press reports anticipating what the President might say. There was much talk about major policy shifts that would include transparency with the public, new guidelines for the use of drones, taking lethal drones out of the purview of the CIA, and in the case of Guantanamo, invoking the “waiver system” to begin the transfer of prisoners already cleared for release.

Sitting at the back of the auditorium, I hung on every word the President said. I kept waiting to hear an announcement about changes that would represent a significant shift in policy. Unfortunately, I heard nice words, not the resetting of failed policies.

Gail Collins: The Women Versus the Ted

The Senate seems a bit less polarized and more productive this session. Is that because there are more women in power or is it thanks to Ted Cruz?

Let’s discuss how much better Congress would work if most of the members were women.

The Senate seems to be a tad less polarized since the female population rose from 17 to 20 this year. It’s also possible that there’s been more productivity since women got more power. For instance, the Budget Committee has a new chair, Patty Murray of Washington, and it has produced a budget for the first time in four years.

Bill Blum: Three Questions Left Unanswered by Obama’s Counterterrorism Speech

In the midst of his carefully scripted counterterrorism address Thursday at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., President Obama encountered an unexpected speed bump in the form of Medea Benjamin, the highly animated 60-year-old co-founder of anti-war group Code Pink whose track record for crashing high-profile political events and heckling speakers has earned her the reputation of being the country’s most disruptive protester.  [..]

Although the major media thus far have treated Benjamin’s antics as an amusing sideshow, the questions she raised about the legal basis for the administration’s policies are anything but funny or anywhere close to being resolved. Indeed, far from succeeding as a reassuring second-term milestone, the president’s speech left at least three core issues in the war on terror entirely unsettled: [..]

Robert Reich: Why Democrats Can’t Be Trusted to Control Wall Street

Who needs Republicans when Wall Street has the Democrats? With the help of congressional Democrats, the Street is rolling back financial reforms enacted after its near meltdown.

According to the New York Times, a bill that’s already moved through the House Financial Services Committee, allowing more of the very kind of derivatives trading (bets on bets) that got the Street into trouble, was drafted by Citigroup — whose recommended language was copied nearly word for word in 70 lines of the 85-line bill.

Where were House Democrats? Right behind it. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, a major recipient of the Street’s political largesse, co-sponsored it. Most of the Democrats on the Committee, also receiving generous donations from the big banks, voted for it. Rep. Jim Himes, another proponent of the bill and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, now leads the Democrat’s fund-raising effort in the House.

May 25 2013

Saturday May 25, 2013: Up with Steve Kornacki Tweets

Man, I was pissed off this morning. more about that meaningless BS speech from the President that was just bluster because the word is getting out about the forced feedings in Gitmo. This speech seems to give all MSNBC hosts orgasms as if it's the DNC in 2008 again. It was a rather sickening display all week, until today. Michael Hastings called out everyone's BS and showed how like Bush/Cheney this speech was even with some of the more loftier meaningless rhetoric which will have 0 action. There was also a lot of fear mongering about how we need drones or we're all going to die. That made #Uppers better.

Thank you for reading.

May 25 2013

Kinky Boots

Saturday Morning.  10 am.  No content.  Brain fried from petrol.  Time for Video that makes you think.

Cyndi Lauper lost her voice and was told by at least 3 doctors (that would be Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee) she would never sing again.  In all her original work she has been a great champion of LGBT causes though she’s relentlessly ‘tro.

I invite you to populate the comments with your favorite performances, I always liked her more than Louise Ciccone (whom I have developed a certain grudging respect for).  Her current artistic effort is the Broadway Musical Kinky Boots, nominated for 13 Tonys (named after a woman) and summarized thusly-

(A) struggling, family-owned English shoe factory … avoids bankruptcy when its young boss, Charlie, develops a plan to produce custom fetish-type footwear for drag artists rather than the men’s dress shoes that his firm is known for.

May 25 2013

On This Day In History May 25

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.

May 25 is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 220 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1977, Stars Wars opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the six-film saga. It is the fourth film in terms of the series’ internal chronology. Ground-breaking in its use of special effects, unconventional editing, and science fiction/fantasy storytelling, the original Star Wars is one of the most successful and influential films of all time.

Set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, the film follows a group of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance as they plot to destroy the powerful Death Star space station, a devastating weapon created by the evil Galactic Empire. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmboy Luke Skywalker when he inadvertently acquires the droids carrying the stolen plans to the Death Star. After the Empire begins a cruel and destructive search for the droids, Skywalker decides to accompany Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi on a daring mission to rescue the owner of the droids, rebel leader Princess Leia Organa, and save the galaxy.

Produced with a budget of $11 million and released on May 25, 1977, the film went on to earn $460 million in the United States and $337 million overseas, surpassing Jaws as the highest-grossing film of all time at the time. Among the many awards the film received, it gained ten Academy Award nominations, winning six; the nominations included Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness and Best Picture. Lucas has re-released the film on several occasions, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions are the 1997 Special Edition and the 2004 DVD release, which have modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, and added scenes.

May 25 2013

Formula One 2013: Circuit de Monaco Qualifying

Is this the end of Formula One?

Hmm… not quite the headline I thought I’d be posting on Monaco weekend.  Like the Kentucky Derby it’s one of those gluttonous celebrations of the glitterati and ultra rich that appall through mere excessive display at what is an otherwise minor and uninteresting event.

I thought that would be the lede.

Instead there is decay and rot from the top down and the bottom up.

Bottom feeding first- There are only 10 Teams competing in Formula One (Red Bull sponsors 4 cars, 2 Renault Powered Red Bulls and 2 Ferrari Powered Toro Rossos).  What would it be like if there were only 3?

Seven F1 teams face crisis over looming bill for extra £1.32bn

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Friday 24 May 2013 17.30 EDT

The warning has come from one of the sport’s biggest players, Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren team principal who is also chairman of the Formula One Teams’ Association, on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The teams, who are absorbing the terms of the next Concorde Agreement, are already angry that the private equity firm CVC Capital, who hold a controlling stake in F1, take out more than half of the sport’s $1.5bn income.

These seven teams are already incensed that most of the money goes to the four biggest operations, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren. CVC are scheduled to increase payments to the teams from 47.5% to 60% of the sport’s income – but the extra money will go to the big four. Fernley said: “There should be a more equitable distribution. It’s quite right that Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes get recognition. I would like to see Red Bull recognised in 20 years’ time but not after five years of pumping money into the sport.”

(I)t is the spiralling costs which have focused the teams’ attention. Between them, them will have to find $2bn over the seven years of the three-cornered Concorde Agreement, which will tie them to Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and the international racing authority, the FIA. The biggest bill is for engines, as Formula One moves from the 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre V6 units in 2014. It is understood that each team will have to find an extra $15m per season.

Whitmarsh said: “In addition, under the new agreement, the teams will to pay Pirelli $105m over the seven years.” Fernley added: “Everything we’re doing at the moment is about increasing costs. There is no initiative at all about reducing costs. If we don’t sit down and address it very carefully we’re going to lose teams.

“I think all teams are struggling. You would be surprised by how high up they are. We should never underestimate the resolve of Formula One teams. But it will be tougher and tougher.

“If we do in-season testing that will be a massive increase. But look at our basic operations. Do we really need to be running wind tunnels 24/7?” He reserved his most scathing remarks for CVC. “I think CVC have done an absolutely awful job. In my view they are the worst thing that has ever happened to Formula One.”

The article keeps referring to 11 teams, but they’re just being lazy and dividing 22 by 2.  There is no indication that Red Bull is scaling back its commitment (click the damn link already would you?).

So- Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren (60%, they have no other business) or Mercedes (40%, they actually make cars).  Eight cars in total.  Feel the excitement!  It will be just like watching a winter testing session at Circuit de Catalunya (yawn).

BUT WAIT!  There’s more.

Pirelli still does not have a contract for 2014.  As they put it

“Apparently on September 1 we are meant to tell them (the teams) everything that they need to know for the tires for next season. We are now mid-May so you can imagine how ludicrous that is when we haven’t even got contracts in place,” he said.

“So maybe we won’t be here anyway…”

Asked how much of a maybe that was, and how seriously Pirelli were considering walking away, the Briton added: “At a certain point somebody has got to make a decision.

This is a big deal, in fairness to Pirelli the challenges next year with the engine switch are already immense-

Formula One is switching to a new 1.6 liter V6 turbocharged engine with energy recovery systems next season and the tires will also have to change to cope with the new unit’s characteristics.

Hembery said the indications were that the power delivery and top speed would be very different, the aerodynamic loads would change and even the size of the tires was to be decided.

Wider tires could be necessary to create grip, due to reduced aero downforce, and there was the risk of having excessive wheelspin.

“It’s not a case of maybe putting a harder compound onto this year’s tires,” he said. “The changes are so dramatic that we probably need to do a thorough re-engineering of the tire and that takes time.

“So the longer this goes on, it makes our job impossible and there comes a point where probably you say ‘Well, we don’t have time to do the job anymore.”

So, what about Formula One with only 8 cars racing on rims?

If Pirelli were to pull out, any other supplier – should one be found – would struggle to provide tires from scratch in the time available.

Asked whether there was therefore a danger of no Formula One next year, Hembery replied: “You’d have to ask the teams that. We’ve been trying to say that something needs to happen and quick.”

Exciting huh?  Myself, I like Figure 8 Bus Racing- there’s some excitement, you betcha.


Let’s get to the Fish Head-

Bernie Ecclestone F1 future under cloud as bribery charges are prepared

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Wednesday 15 May 2013 09.15 EDT

According to the Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ecclestone faces charges in Germany relating to the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery case. Investigations into the case are complete, according to the newspaper, and a Munich court is preparing to file charges in the case within a month, although there may be a delay as the details need to be translated into English before being delivered to Ecclestone’s lawyers.

Ecclestone has maintained his innocence throughout, but has already admitted that he would be forced to resign if charged. He said earlier this year that the sport’s owners, CVC Capital Partners, “will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It’s pretty obvious, if I’m locked up”.

op. cite

To make matters worse, teams complain that there is a lack of leadership from the FIA while Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s chief executive and commercial rights holder, faces the possibility of prosecution over allegations that he paid a $44m (£29m) bribe to a German banker. Ecclestone, who will be 83 in October, already faced an uncertain future and CVC are believed to have drawn up a short list of names to succeed him. If he is charged, it could potentially jeopardise the planned $12bn (£7.9bn) flotation on the Singapore stock exchange later this year.

Yah think?  Pobrecito Bernie, his constant cheating and stealing may cost him his Billion dollar payoff.

The only reason Ecclestone is perhaps not the biggest and most corrupt asshole in sports is that the competition is so fierce.

Nineteen hours of coverage, most of which has already happened (except for the ones that got crushed like bugs with NHL Playoffs).  8 am Qualifying (now) NBCSports– no repeats.  7 am tomorrow NBCSports Pre-race.  7:30 am NBC Live.  10:30 am NBCSports Monaco repeat (also 11:30 pm Monday).

GP2 Live @ Midnight on NBCSports, repeat @ 1:30 pm Sunday- if you care.

Enjoy Qualifying.