November 2013 archive

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

Turning Leftovers Into Latkes

Turning Left overs into Latkes photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zpsfcc823a5.jpg

Planning ahead, I was all set to devote this week’s recipes to potatoes, which I have always defended against the anti-carb brigade because potatoes are a wholesome food, high in B vitamins and vitamin C, potassium and fiber, with some protein and lots of complex carbohydrates. A plain, seven-ounce baked potato eaten with the skin contains half the daily amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 recommended for adults. I had Thanksgiving in mind, the most popular time of the year for this tuber; or is Hanukkah the most popular time?

As it turns out both holidays fell at the same time this year. All the more reason for five new latke and potato pancake recipes that combine potatoes and other vegetables. If you made mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving you can use the leftovers for the mashed potato and broccoli raab pancakes and for the mashed potato and cabbage pancakes, or just steam up some potatoes.

Spicy Carrot, Parsnip and Potato Latkes:I

Indian flavors add a new dimension to potato latkes.

Butternut Squash and Purple Potato Latkes

Purple potatoes add a bit of color and some extra nutrients but regular white potatoes work, too.

Mashed Potato and Broccoli Raab Pancakes

A delicious way to use mashed potatoes, whether they be leftovers or freshly mashed.

Mashed Potato and Cabbage Pancakes

Vegetable pancakes with a sweet and comforting flavor.

Leek, Kale and Potato Latkes

Delicious cumin-scented latkes laced with crispy kale.

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

Eugene Robinson: A Pope’s Pointed Message

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

That passage is not from some Occupy Wall Street manifesto. It was written by Pope Francis in a stunning new treatise on the Catholic Church and its role in society-and it is a powerful reminder that however tiresome the

New York Times Editorial Board: What You Don’t Know About Mortgages

Thanks largely to new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, taking out a mortgage is not the risky business it was during the bubble. But it is still the largest and most complex financial transaction in the lives of most people. And it still involves inherent imbalances in expertise between lenders and borrowers, including the use of intermediaries who may or may not be trustworthy. In short, conditions for abuse still exist.

That is why the bureau’s new and long-awaited mortgage disclosure forms are important. It is also why they are disappointing. Required by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the new forms use an easy-to-read format to disclose complex terms; in addition to clear entries of principal, interest and closing costs, there is information on prepayment penalties and other complicated loan features. But the forms fall short in the crucial task of helping consumers assess and compare the total cost of various loans. Without that information, it is difficult for borrowers to know whether they are getting the best deal.

Senator Tom Harkin: The Framers Never Envisioned a 60 Vote Supermajority

In the wake of Senate action last week to restore the Senate practice that nominees receive an up or down vote, there has been a great deal of hyperventilating about whether the rules change is consistent with the intent of the Founders and what it means for the future of the Senate.

Some have called it “tyranny.” Others, a “naked power grab.” In reality, the action taken by the Senate last week is consistent with both the Constitution and the Senate rules and two centuries of Senate tradition, and is fully aligned with the intent of the Founders as well. [..]

That is exactly what the Senate did. In fact, the original Senate rules placed no time limit on debate, but also allowed any Senator to make a motion “for the previous question,” which permitted a simple majority to halt debate on the pending question and bring the matter to an immediate vote. This motion for the previous question was eliminated in 1806 at the suggestion of Vice President Aaron Burr, largely because it was deemed superfluous.

Sadhbh Walshe: Walmart and Downton Abbey: Rampant Inequality and Detachment from Reality

We’re enthralled by the TV series and its ‘simpler time’. But the Walton family’s modern day aristocracy is anything but charming

I’m not exactly sure what it is about the hit British TV series, Downton Abbey, that has enthralled so many of us. The scenery is great, Lady Mary’s wardrobe is just fabulous, but there are plot holes so huge one could drive Lady Edith’s car through them. I suspect the fascination it provokes has something to do with nostalgia – a hankering for a simpler time, when everyone knew their place and where the classes, though separate and unequal, were at least able to be polite to one other. Whatever it is that we find so charming about the series, however, we should try to keep in mind that the rampant inequality it celebrates is not something we should be hankering after.

America has its own real-life upstairs/downstairs thing going on at the moment, best embodied by the Walton clan, who own the lion’s share of Walmart Stores, Inc. Walmart is the single largest private employer in America with a work force of some 1.3 million. Each of the four Walton’s who have an interest in the stores increased their net worth by $7bn last year alone. Meanwhile, the company’s sales associates, who make up the bulk of the work-force, earn an average of $8.81 per hour – less than the federal poverty level for a family of four.

Bob Burnett: Polarization: Worse Than You Think

Recent polls made it clear that Americans are fed up with acrimony and gridlock in Washington. Voters may blame Republicans more than Democrats but they’re not happy with either Party. Some political observers believe that if we only had competitive elections throughout the country — if most congressional districts weren’t gerrymandered — then we would have more moderates in Congress and, therefore, less polarization. Think again. Polarization is the new normal. [..]

So, what’s the problem?

If you’re a Republican, you’re likely to contend it’s the fault of Barack Obama — he’s very unpopular with the GOP rank-and-file, the majority of whom routinely blame him for everything that goes wrong.

If you’re a Democrat, you’re likely to argue it’s the fault of a small political group, Tea Party activists, who have taken control of the Republican Party and moved it savagely to the right. You blame the people who stand behind the Tea Party, a cabal of rich Republicans.

Both these stances are wrong.

Saturday Night Movie

On This Day In History November 30

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.

November 30 is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 31 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1886, the Folies Bergère in Paris introduces an elaborate revue featuring women in sensational costumes. The highly popular “Place aux Jeunes” established the Folies as the premier nightspot in Paris. In the 1890s, the Folies followed the Parisian taste for striptease and quickly gained a reputation for its spectacular nude shows. The theater spared no expense, staging revues that featured as many as 40 sets, 1,000 costumes, and an off-stage crew of some 200 people.

In 1886, the Folies Bergère went under new management, which, on November 30, staged the first revue-style music hall show. The “Place aux Jeunes,” featuring scantily clad chorus girls, was a tremendous success. The Folies women gradually wore less and less as the 20th century approached, and the show’s costumes and sets became more and more outrageous. Among the performers who got their start at the Folies Bergère were Yvette Guilbert, Maurice Chevalier, and Mistinguett. The African American dancer and singer Joséphine Baker made her Folies debut in 1926, lowered from the ceiling in a flower-covered sphere that opened onstage to reveal her wearing a G-string ornamented with bananas.

The Folies Bergère remained a success throughout the 20th century and still can be seen in Paris today, although the theater now features many mainstream concerts and performances. Among other traditions that date back more than a century, the show’s title always contains 13 letters and includes the word “Folie.”

Located at 32 rue Richer in the 9th Arrondissement, it was built as an opera house by the architect Plumeret. It was patterned after the Alhambra music hall in London. The closest métro stations are Cadet and Grands Boulevards.

It opened on 2 May 1869 as the Folies Trévise, with fare including operettas, comic opera, popular songs, and gymnastics. It became the Folies Bergère on 13 September 1872, named after a nearby street, the rue Bergère (the feminine form of “shepherd”).

Édouard Manet‘s 1882 well-known painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère depicts a bar-girl, one of the demimondaines, standing before a mirror.

The painting is filled with contemporaneous details specific to the Folies-Bergère. The distant pair of green feet in the upper left-hand corner belong to a trapeze artist, who is performing above the restaurant’s patrons.

The beer which is depicted, Bass Pale Ale (noted by the red triangle on the label), would have catered not to the tastes of Parisians, but to those of English tourists, suggesting a British clientèle. Manet has signed his name on the label of the bottle at the bottom left, combining the centuries-old practice of self-promotion in art with something more modern, bordering on the product placement concept of the late twentieth century. One interpretation of the painting has been that far from only being a seller of the wares shown on the counter, the woman is herself one of the wares for sale; conveying undertones of prostitution. The man in the background may be a potential client.

But for all its specificity to time and place, it is worth noting that, should the background of this painting indeed be a reflection in a mirror on the wall behind the bar as suggested by some critics, the woman in the reflection would appear directly behind the image of the woman facing forward. Neither are the bottles reflected accurately or in like quantity for it to be a reflection. These details were criticized in the French press when the painting was shown. The assumption is faulty when one considers that the postures of the two women, however, are quite different and the presence of the man to whom the second woman speaks marks the depth of the subject area. Indeed many critics view the faults in the reflection to be fundamental to the painting as they show a double reality and meaning to the work. One interpretation is that the reflection is an interaction earlier in time that results in the subject’s expression in the painting’s present.

WYFP- 2 Memorials and a Thanksgiving

So it’s Thanksgiving and if you still have relatives around it’s a problem.  I wish I had one of mine around.

His name was Fred and he hated it. I met him when he married my Aunt and the first thing I remember about him is he used to tickle me and say “Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Ice Cream”.

That was not his most objectionable trait.

He was also a writer and as I look at my life it’s just amazing how much I have modeled his very worst habits.  I’m a solitary recluse except when I’m practicing politics (in real life folks, takes a heart of stone to cut someone who delivered their votes to me, and I have one).

Fred always respected my space because he understood that being a writer meant spending large quantities of time reading and staring at the ceiling waiting for a muse and then turning out a piece of crap on deadline.

You know, like this one.

He was a public relations professional, an educator, and a Longshoreman (very proud of his Union memberships which he maintained throughout his life).  He lived in New York City and on a commune with a goat and dirt floors.  He spent several years picking rocks (I’m going to stop right here and explain.  This is a pretty common seasonal agricultural occupation in New England where the frost heaves up stones during the winter and you have to pick them out of the soil before you plant).  He never had to work in a chicken factory though except when he taught there.  He wrote for newspapers and magazines pretty continuously, but he also did screenplays and plays, many of them for children.

In fact I’d say the bulk of his work by piece was children’s plays which he wrote for my Aunt to produce with her theater students.  You see if you use commercial material you pay an arm and a leg for it.  She says the worst thing for her is that he was around to see everything she ever produced.

And now, he’s not.

He was a terrible poet who’s efforts mostly reflected his twisted sense of humor which was formed by his admiration of Soupy Sales, the Marx Brothers, and the Three Stooges.  He wrote some short stories and novels, most unpublished, but his magnum opus is his collection of B-Movie quotes which is far more extensive and accurate than IMDB.  He has a collection of over 2000 tapes and DVDs and about twice that in books which will need to be cataloged.

I’ll probably end up his literary executor, not because his daughter (my cousin) is incapable of the task, she’s a book editor, but because she’s busy with two kids and a Masters degree in Special Education and I have the computer skills to detangle his drive which I expect is a mess.

He died unexpectedly after a short illness.  I had not seen him for several years nor was I able to get there before he passed.  I suppose it’s for the best, it was quite debilitating and I suspect that was not the way he wished to be remembered.  I hope he knew how much I admired and respected him.

And so, instead of being with you this evening as I originally intended, I am serving a Thanksgiving feast I and my immediate family and friends have prepared at his memorial.  Sorry I’m not here to interact as is my usual custom.


As it turns out this is not even my first this week.  My political ally and partner lost his mother.  He is a good friend and was the candidate until he lost.  He decided to go in a different direction with his life, I persisted and became Capo di Tutti instead of Consigliere.

I hope you’ve all had a happy, healthy, and safe holiday, so what’s your fucking problem?

The Butterball Hot Line

(h/t John Aravosis @ Americablog)

Friday Night at the Movies

“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”

WKRP “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” Thanksgiving

Mr. Carlson decides to take a more hands-on managerial approach by doing the greatest Thanksgiving promotion in radio history — dropping live turkeys from a helicopter.

Note– In 1997 TV Guide ranked this episode number 40 on its ‘100 Greatest Episodes of All Time’ list. It is based on a real event that happened at WQXI, the station many of the WKRP characters were based on

We hope everyone is having a health, happy and safe holiday weekend.

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: Government in Slow Motion

Last week, in a fit of fury after they lost the ability to filibuster President Obama’s nominees, several Congressional Republicans threatened to retaliate by slowing things down on Capitol Hill. Democrats “will have trouble in a lot of areas because there’s going to be a lot of anger,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, specifically warning that a United Nations disability treaty was now in danger of being rejected for the second time. [..]

The most immediate priority for Congress is to reach a budget agreement by mid-December, to relieve the sequester cuts that have decimated so many important programs and now threaten the Pentagon’s readiness beginning next year. Negotiators from both chambers have had more than a month to come up with a solution, but Representative Paul Ryan, the House budget chairman, has resisted the most obvious one: ending a group of tax loopholes for the very rich and using the money to replace the worst aspects of the sequester. Instead, he simply wants to make other cuts, or raise fees on purchases like airline tickets and duck stamps that affect many people of modest means, thereby protecting high-end tax shelters.

Paul Krugman: Obamacare’s Secret Success

The law establishing Obamacare was officially titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And the “affordable” bit wasn’t just about subsidizing premiums. It was also supposed to be about “bending the curve” – slowing the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs.

Much of the Beltway establishment scoffed at the promise of cost savings. The prevalent attitude in Washington is that reform isn’t real unless the little people suffer; serious savings are supposed to come from things like raising the Medicare age (which the Congressional Budget Office recently concluded would, in fact, hardly save any money) and throwing millions of Americans off Medicaid. True, a 2011 letter signed by hundreds of health and labor economists (pdf) pointed out that “the Affordable Care Act contains essentially every cost-containment provision policy analysts have considered effective in reducing the rate of medical spending.” But such expert views were largely ignored.

So, how’s it going? The health exchanges are off to a famously rocky start, but many, though by no means all, of the cost-control measures have already kicked in. Has the curve been bent?

The answer, amazingly, is yes. In fact, the slowdown in health costs (pdf) has been dramatic.

Richard Kirsch: We’re Not Broke – We’ve Been Robbed

Slashing government spending now is just going to make our nation poorer

With the Friday the 13th December deadline for a federal budget deal, the cries of “we’re broke,” and “we can’t afford to keep spending,” are ringing again. But we’re not broke and acting like we are is making us poorer.

One of the biggest common misunderstandings is that governments are like households, which need to tighten their spending when times are tough. Actually, governments and households work in opposite ways.

Governments can and should spend more when times are tough. Government spending makes up for lack of spending by families and businesses, and it helps get the economy moving by getting people back to work, putting money in their pockets, and contracting with businesses.

Harold A. McDougall: The Democrats Need a Tea Party

The Tea Party pushes the Republicans to the right. The Democrats need a party to push them to the left. Not the old left of big government and high taxes on the middle class, but a new left of participatory democracy, economic cooperatives, and diversity, not just of race and lifestyle, but of income, class and culture as well. This new party would be based in neighborhoods and workplaces, and steer clear of fat-cat funding.

By “the Democrats,” I mean people who vote Democratic, not the Democratic Party establishment. Beginning with DNC Chair Tony Coelho’s “Right Turn” in the 1980s, executed to bring in more campaign dollars, the Democratic Party establishment has moved further to the right, into an unholy alliance with big business–banks, multinationals, military contractors, insurance and drug companies–enabling these interests to feed on the middle class and the working class, while the rich get richer.

Dave Johnson: Corporations Owe Hundreds of Billions of Taxes But GOP Goes After Federal Employees

Congress is again fighting over the budget with Republicans now demanding cuts in federal employee benefits. Is this really about the budget? Or is it about destroying government? Meanwhile hundreds of billions of taxes owed by corporations remain uncollected.

The recent Republican shutdown of the government ended with the can being kicked down the road, and the budget still in sequester and unresolved. The temporary funding runs out mid-January, and negotiators are trying to come up with a compromise. But Republicans insist that only cuts will be allowed, and that the sequester spending levels are the new normal.

Robert C. Koehler: Trivializing Peace

What goes around comes around . . . and around, and around.

Last month, the day after I left Santa Rosa, Calif., a 13-year-old boy carrying a toy replica of an AK-47 was shot and killed on the outskirts of that town by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff with a reputation for being trigger-happy. The officer had ordered the boy to drop the “gun,” then in a matter of two or three seconds opened fire, giving him no chance to comply.

This is not an isolated incident, which is why it’s yet one more tragedy I can’t get out of my mind – one more logical consequence of the simplistic militarism and mission creep that’s eating us alive. This is gun culture running unchecked from boyhood to manhood, permeating national policy both geopolitically and domestically. This is the trivialization of peace. It results in the ongoing murder of the innocent, both at home and abroad, at the hands of government as well as criminals and terrorists.

On This Day In History November 29

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.

November 29 is the 333rd day of the year (334th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 32 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1963, one week after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, President Lyndon Johnson establishes a special commission, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, to investigate the assassination.

After 10 months of gathering evidence and questioning witnesses in public hearings, the Warren Commission report was released, concluding that there was no conspiracy, either domestic or international, in the assassination and that Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, acted alone. The presidential commission also found that Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who murdered Oswald on live national television, had no prior contact with Oswald.

According to the report, the bullets that killed President Kennedy and injured Texas Governor John Connally were fired by Oswald in three shots from a rifle pointed out of a sixth-floor window in the Texas School Book Depository. Oswald’s life, including his visit to the Soviet Union, was described in detail, but the report made no attempt to analyze his motives.

Load more