06/15/2013 archive

Random Japan

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Japanese researchers have discovered that people with diabetes are 1.2 times more likely to develop cancer than non-diabetics.

The internal affairs ministry says the number of workers aged 60 or over has hit a record high for the sixth straight year. The figure stands at 11.92 million.

A museum in Meguro-ku has put on display 10 notebooks containing the schoolboy scribblings of acclaimed writer Osamu Dazai (1909-1948).

Meanwhile, a trove of nine unpublished drawings by famed manga-ka Osamu Tezuka was discovered by Space Battleship Yamato illustrator Leiji Matsumoto.

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

Lots of Nutrition in Tiny Packages: Itty-Bitty Grains and Seeds

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This week I worked with tiny grains and seeds: millet and teff, amaranth and chia seeds. These can be challenging, and I had a few starts and stops along the way until I came up with a collection of recipes I was pleased with, including some delicious, moist savory pancakes made with beet greens and cooked amaranth. I continued working with chia seeds; this time I didn’t soak them, and added them to whole-grain muffins and pancakes. That’s how I used to use chia seeds way back when, before they disappeared for a few decades from the whole-foods scene. You can raise the nutritional content of your whole-grain pastries and breads just by adding 3 or 4 tablespoons; along with their considerable nutrients, the seeds contribute interesting texture like that of poppy seeds.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Amaranth, Ricotta and Greens Pancakes

Cooked amaranth works well in baked goods and griddled cakes because it’s so moist.

Bran and Chia Muffins

These moist, hearty muffins have great texture because of the slight crunch that the chia seeds contribute.

Millet and Greens Gratin

Millet can be dry, but here there’s lots of custard to moisten it, and it works really nicely to hold this gratin together.

Teff Pancakes With Chia, Millet and Blueberries

If you’re trying to work more grains and seeds into your diet, a pancake can be a good home for them.

Oven-Baked Millet

Serving millet as you would a polenta makes perfect sense.

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”.

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Glenn Greenwald: On PRISM, Partisanship and Propaganda

Addressing many of the issues arising from last week’s NSA stories

How can anyone think that it’s remotely healthy in a democracy to have the NSA building a massive spying apparatus about which even members of Congress, including Senators on the Homeland Security Committee, are totally ignorant and find “astounding” when they learn of them? How can anyone claim with a straight face that there is robust oversight when even members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are so constrained in their ability to act that they are reduced to issuing vague, impotent warnings to the public about what they call radical “secret law” enabling domestic spying that would “stun” Americans to learn about it, but are barred to disclose what it is they’re so alarmed by? Put another way, how can anyone contest the value and justifiability of the stories that we were able to publish as a result of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing: stories that informed the American public – including even the US Congress – about these incredibly consequential programs? What kind of person would think that it would be preferable to remain in the dark – totally ignorant – about them?

Gail Collins: The Other Side of the Story

The feds have said that surveillance programs have thwarted potential attacks. But is rummaging through little girls’ bedrooms really necessary?

The deck is always stacked when we debate keeping the nation safe.

Recently, we discovered that the National Security Agency is keeping an enormous file of our phone calls. In the N.S.A.’s defense, its chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, said “dozens” of potential terrorist attacks had been thwarted by that kind of effort. The director of the F.B.I., Robert Mueller, suggested it might prevent “the next Boston.”

How do you argue with that? True, the N.S.A. program had been up and running for years without being able to prevent the first Boston. And Alexander declined to identify the thwarted attacks, arguing that might aid potential terrorists.

But most Americans were sold. The words “terrorist attack” conjured up terrible, vivid pictures. On the other side was just a humongous computer bank full of numbers. If you didn’t do anything wrong, what was the problem?

Today, let’s try putting a face on it in the form of Brandon Mayfield.

New York Times Editorial Board: After Arming the Rebels, Then What?

Mr. Obama has also come under increasing attack from a small number of American politicians, including former President Bill Clinton, who this week said Mr. Obama risks looking “lame” for not doing more to help the rebels. It was a cheap shot leveled at an event hosted by Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona, a leading advocate of aggressive action in Syria. It is irresponsible for critics like Mr. McCain and Mr. Clinton to fault Mr. Obama without explaining how the United States can change the course of that brutal civil war without being dragged too far into it.

Like most Americans, we are deeply uneasy about getting pulled into yet another war in the Middle East. Those urging stronger action seemed to have learned nothing from the past decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has sapped the United States and has produced results that are ambiguous at best.

John Nichols: Peter King Goes All 1798 on the Bill of Rights

New York Congressman Peter King, with his call for the prosecution of journalist Glenn Greenwald, recalls a long and dishonorable American tradition. [..]

Growling that “legal action should be taken against (Greenwald),” the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security dismissed First Amendment concerns declares that: “No right is absolute!” — and that includes the First Amendment right of the people to be served by a free press.

So King is calling for the “very targeted, very selective” prosecution of journalists for informing the American people about what their government is doing — and why it might be wrong.

How very 1798 of him.

Joe Nocera: This Isn’t How to Stop Hacking

I don’t know whether Prism and the other programs truly stop terrorists. I have my doubts. What I do know is that if you are going to lecture the world about right and wrong – and if you’re trying to stop bad behavior – perhaps you shouldn’t be engaging in a version of that behavior yourself.

Instead, this has become one of the trademarks of the Obama administration: decry human rights abuses abroad, but hold men in prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who have never been accused of a crime. Say all the right things about freedom of the press – even as you’re subpoenaing reporters’ phone records. And express outrage over Chinese hacking while carrying on a sophisticated spying operation of your own citizens. It may seem to us a false equivalence, but the existence of Prism will make it far more difficult to force the Chinese to get serious about stopping their own hacking.

Maybe America’s new motto should be: Do As We Say, Not As We Do.

Peter Dörrie: Ready for More Interventions in Africa? Obama is

While most of the coverage of the recent reshuffle of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team has been focused on how it will (or won’t) change his administration’s approach to Syria, the continent most affected by it could turn out to be Africa. President Obama designated U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his new national security advisor – a post with influence on foreign policy potentially on par with the secretary of state – and nominated Samantha Power, a former journalist and longtime member of his administration, as Rice’s successor at the United Nations. [..]

There are currently a whole range of conflicts that could warrant military intervention: Most prominently, the civil wars in Darfur, Somalia, Eastern Congo and Mali – but also low-intensity or developing conflicts in South Sudan, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, the Katanga province of Congo and Zimbabwe. It is likely that Power and Rice will try to use their new positions (as they have used their old ones) to push for greater U.S. engagement in resolving these conflicts, by military means if necessary.

On This Day In History June 15

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

June 15 is the 166th day of the year (167th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 199 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day 1215, Magna Carta sealed.

Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws. Although more a reactionary than a progressive document in its day, the Magna Carta was seen as a cornerstone in the development of democratic England by later generations.

John was enthroned as king of England following the death of his brother, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, in 1199. King John’s reign was characterized by failure. He lost the duchy of Normandy to the French king and taxed the English nobility heavily to pay for his foreign misadventures. He quarreled with Pope Innocent III and sold church offices to build up the depleted royal coffers. Following the defeat of a campaign to regain Normandy in 1214, Stephen Langton, the archbishop of Canterbury, called on the disgruntled barons to demand a charter of liberties from the king.

Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch’s authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225. The 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest, still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.

The 1215 Charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties, and accept that his will was not arbitrary, for example by explicitly accepting that no “freeman” (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today.

Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded and directly influenced by the Charter of Liberties in 1100, in which King Henry I had specified particular areas wherein his powers would be limited.

Despite its recognised importance, by the second half of the 19th century nearly all of its clauses had been repealed in their original form. Three clauses remain part of the law of England and Wales, however, and it is generally considered part of the uncodified constitution. Lord Denning described it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despo In a 2005 speech, Lord Woolf described it as “first of a series of instruments that now are recognised as having a special constitutional status”, the others being the Habeas Corpus Act, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement.

The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world, although it was “far from unique, either in content or form”. In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not in general limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law. It influenced the early settlers in New England and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.

American As Apple Spy

Rep. Alan Grayson on the NSA: American As Apple Spy

I haven’t said this in awhile, what digby said:

It’s astonishing that this is necessary, but apparently it is:

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Click on image to enlarge.

Quite simple and to the point. Now you can support The Mind Your Own Business act by signing the petition, here.