Daily Archive: 09/07/2013

Sep 07 2013

Random Japan

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Move over latte art, it’s all about toast art now!

The newest food decorating trend to come out of Japan since latte art is, surprisingly, toast art. But this isn’t just any plain old toast with butter and maybe a swirl of jam that vaguely resembles a smiley face (but I still appreciate all those years of happy toast, mom!). No, the toast decorations created by Twitter user ginkei_18 are embellished with popular anime characters from Free!, Uta no Prince-sama, Gin Tama and Attack on Titan. Even if you don’t recognize any of the characters, ginkei_18′s ability to skillfully draw directly onto a piece of bread is amazing.

First up, characters from Free!, an anime television series that follows the members of a high school swimming club:

Sep 07 2013

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness NewsWelcome 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 Cool Classic, Sliced and Diced

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Cucumbers are high in three types of phytonutrients – cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids – that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and manganese, and an excellent source of vitamin K. They also contain the mineral silica. They’re hydrating and great for the skin, a perfect food for hot end-of-summer days. Try to find unwaxed organic cucumbers so you don’t have to peel them.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Cucumber and Radish Salad With Yogurt and Cumin

Based on a recipe from Mark Peel’s “New Classic Family Dinners.”

Salmon and Cucumber Tartare With Wasabi Sauce

A delicious fish dish that can be either an appetizer or a light supper.

Cucumber, Melon and Watermelon Salad

This dish provides a sweet and savory mix of crunchy, thirst-quenching fruits and vegetables.

Cucumber Salad With Asian Flavors

This pungent Asian salad goes very nicely with fish and stir-fries.

Cucumber Raita

This side dish is spicy and cooling at the same time.

Sep 07 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

Alan Grayson; On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify

THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.” [..]

My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.

New York Times Editorial Board: Can Mr. Obama Avoid Mission Creep?

President Obama is scheduled to address the nation Tuesday on his plans for using military force in Syria. He will have a hard time persuading a skeptical Congress and an equally skeptical American public.

There are numerous reasons that so many Americans are opposed to or ambivalent about bombing Syria, even when they can agree that the provocation – a poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that killed more than 1,400 people last month – was a barbarous act that violated international treaties. At the top of the list: the concern that the United States will inevitably become mired in another costly Middle East war.

There are good reasons to worry, particularly with Pentagon planners possibly moving to broaden military options and targets.

Jeff Jarvis: Welcome to the end of secrecy

The real lesson of the Snowden leaks is not the threat to privacy. It is the NSA’s losing battle against the new agents of openness

It has been said that privacy is dead. Not so. It’s secrecy that is dying. Openness will kill it.

American and British spies undermined the secrecy and security of everyone using the internet with their efforts to foil encryption. Then, Edward Snowden foiled them by revealing what is perhaps – though we may never know – their greatest secret. [..]

Openness is the more powerful weapon. Openness is the principle that guides, for example, Guardian journalism. Openness is all that can restore trust in government and technology companies. And openness – in standards, governance, and ethics – must be the basis of technologists’ efforts to take back the the net.

Dean Baker: The media’s disgraceful acquiescence to Larry Summers’ White House boosters

Summers’ record should bar him from the Fed chair. Why is the press letting anonymous administration officials promote him?

Selling Larry Summers as the successor to Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve Board is a tough job. The basic problem is that Summers has a dismal track record to overcome, while his main competitor, Janet Yellen, the current vice-chair, has an outstanding record.

Summers was a big supporter of financial deregulation in the 1990s and 2000s. He pooh-poohed concerns over the stock and housing bubbles. He thought the over-valued dollar and resulting trade deficit (and loss of millions of jobs) was great. He was a protector of the Wall Street banks when they were flat on their backs, and he thought the economy could get back to full employment without additional stimulus. And he has the distinction of being effectively fired as president of Harvard.

David Sirota: What Happened to the Anti-War Movement?

A mere 72 hours after President Obama delivered an encomium honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, he announced his intention to pound yet another country with bombs. The oxymoron last week was noteworthy for how little attention it received. Yes, a president memorialized an anti-war activist who derided the U.S. government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Then that same president quickly proposed yet more violence-this time in Syria.

Among a political press corps that rarely challenges the Washington principle of “kill foreigners first, ask questions later,” almost nobody mentioned the contradiction. Even worse, as Congress now debates whether to launch yet another military campaign in the Middle East, the anti-war movement that Dr. King represented-and that so vigorously opposed the last war-is largely silent. Sure, there have been a few perfunctory emails from liberal groups, but there seems to be little prospect for mass protest, raising questions about whether an anti-war movement even exists anymore.

So what happened to that movement? The shorter answer is: It was a victim of partisanship.

George Lakoff: Obama Reframes Syria: Metaphor and War Revisitednm

President Obama has reframed his position on Syria, adjusting the Red Line metaphor: It wasn’t his Red Line, not his responsibility for drawing it. It was the Red Line drawn by the world, by the international community – both legally by international treaty, and morally by universal revulsion against the use of poison gas by Assad. It was also America’s Red Line, imposed by America’s commitment to live up to such treaties. [..]

The new version of the metaphorical policy has broad consequences, what I have called systemic causation (that goes beyond the immediate local situation) as opposed to direct causation (in this case applying just to the immediate case of Assad’s use of sarin).

Some will call the reframing cynical, a way to avoid responsibility for his first use of the Red Line metaphor. But President Obama’s reframing makes excellent sense from the perspective of his consistent policy of treaties and international norms, which he has said was the basis for the Red Line metaphor in the first place.

Jim Goodman: Passage of Trans Pacific Partnership Would Be Win for Corporations, Loss for the 99%

In the early years of the United States we had, and enforced, strong trade tariffs, it was necessary to protect farmers and businesses from unfair foreign competition.

Now, that we are an Empire, we demand free access to foreign markets for our small businesses and farmers. No, we demand market access for our corporations. Trade agreements are written with the financial interests of corporations in mind.

This is not new, trade policy, when imposed by an Empire, is not for the benefit of the people, but rather the Empire or those who control it.

Sep 07 2013

On This Day In History September 7

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.

September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 115 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam.

The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today.

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On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam. The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today.

Sep 07 2013

Why 6 Liters of Salt Water is $546

The cost of health care in the US is four times what it is in other countries that have universal health care polices. In the US hospitals the cost are often buried in red tape and layers of bureaucracy. As an example of items that jack up the hospital bill for a stay in an American hospital take something as simple and life saving as a liter bag of normal saline, salt water.

How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater

by Nina Bernstein, New York Times

It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater.

Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1.

Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as I learned when I tried to trace the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York.

Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.

Salt in the wound, the cost of healthcare

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s All In

Just keep all of this in mind when people talk about Obamacare implementation and scream about Socialism and a government takeover. We are trying to move-slowly, incrementally-toward a system that’s sane. But as long as the price in the American health care system is $546.00 for six of these, the system is still broken.

And you know the reason they can’t just charge those kinds of exorbitant rates in places like Belgium? The government simply prohibits it.

As Obamacare implementation rolls out, it won’t take long for it become clear that the problem isn’t that it’s a government takeover of healthcare.

It’s that it’s not enough of one.