02/15/2014 archive

Random Japan

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You’ve got tail: Write any message with an alphabet of cat tails!

   Oona McGee

There’s something about cats. Whether they’re leaping through the air in cute GIF form or popping up in edible delights, the feline species have got us well and truly eating out of the palm of their spongy little paws. In Japan, one cat lover has paid homage to their cute ways with an alphabet made up entirely of cat tails! Now you can mesmerize your friends from A to Z with messages cute enough to print out and paste on your wall.

Created by Twitter user @Honki_Honki , this alphabet is so cute it’s got people using the word nyan (the Japanese word for meow) at the end of their sentences. The popular consensus is that these little letters are “too cute nyan” but “a little difficult to read nyan”. To test out your cat-tail-readability level, try reading the word below:

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

One Pot of Beans, Four Dinners

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This year I found a bag of pintos that I had bought on a whim more than a year ago. I simmered them with onion and garlic, and they softened beautifully. Not only did I enjoy the beans with their broth on their own but I used them for several other filling and satisfying main dishes. With pinto beans you can go Mexican or Mediterranean. They resemble borlottis, so in addition to the vegetarian chili and the tostadas I made, I used them in a few Italian dishes that normally call for borlottis or cannellini, all comforting, sustaining dishes for cold winter nights.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

A Big Pot of Simmered Pintos

A simple pot of savory beans can be a meal or the first step in another dish.

Pasta e Fagiole

A classic Italian bean and pasta soup makes a delicious meal.

Vegetarian Chili With Winter Vegetables

A thick satisfying dish with sweet flavors and a comforting texture.

Bruschetta With Smashed Beans, Sage and Kale

Seasoned greens and a bit of cheese turns bruschetta into a meal.

Tostadas With Beans, Cabbage and Avocado

A great buffet dish that skips frying the beans in lard.

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

Heidi Moore: The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is not a marriage made to last

Two troubled giants, loathed by the public and facing plummeting profits, are heralding a brighter future. Don’t believe the hype

In mergers, as in marriage, the couple may be running toward each other – or away from something else.

The latest escapees from reality: widely loathed US cable providers Comcast and Time Warner Cable and their proposed $52bn merger. It would be the third-largest media merger of all time, and in its size and scope it sounds like a decisive and confident move between two powerful companies looking to grow even larger.

Don’t be fooled. The deal is a desperation move: a combination of Time Warner Cable’s eagerness to escape an ugly takeover offer from rival Charter Communications; a classic double-crossing manoeuvre by an acquisitive Comcast; and the nation’s two largest cable companies looking to preserve profits after spending years squandering every competitive advantage given to them.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: 10 Reasons to Call for More Than $10.10 as a Minimum Wage

Yesterday President Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for some federally contracted workers to $10.10. This move illustrates the fact that we need a higher minimum wage for all workers. It also promotes the bill by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015.

Make no mistake: The president’s gesture was a good one, and the Harkin/Miller bill is very important. But, as is so often the case nowadays, strategists on the left run the risk of prematurely accepting preconceptions about what is “politically possible.” If economic debate becomes strictly a defensive game on the left, the “Overton window” of acceptable debate will keep shifting toward the right.

The minimum wage is an excellent case in point. There are strong arguments for raising it even more — perhaps considerably more — than is currently being discussed, and the independent left should be making them.

Daniel Denvir: Governors won’t save the Republican Party

Last year the Republican National Committee conducted an official autopsy after the defeat of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. It came to the somewhat comfortable conclusion that the party’s biggest problem was its image. “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes,” it wrote, while “many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.” The solution touted by the RNC? Practical Republican governors – “America’s reformers in chief” – who would save a party dominated by right-wing crazies in Washington.

According to the RNC, such Republican governors are successful because they “deliver on conservative promises of reducing the size of government while making people’s lives better.” But this lesson – that business-minded conservatives can overcome the ideological divide – is not quite reflected in reality. In Democratic-leaning but Republican-governed states, government got smaller, and some people’s lives got appreciably worse: Slashed education budgets prompted a widespread outcry in Pennsylvania, and anti-union laws polarized voters in Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. Indeed, the purple-state governors elected during the 2010 tea party surge – Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, Florida’s Rick Scott, Maine’s Paul LePage, Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett – are among those most likely to face defeat in 2014.

This indicates that the Republican Party’s problems run deeper than Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster or Rep. Michele Bachmann’s contention that “The Lion King” might be gay-rights propaganda. People subjected to the small-government austerity at the heart of the contemporary conservative consensus sometimes simply do not like it.

Dave Johnson: No Fast Track to TPP: Fix NAFTA First

The big corporations and the Obama administration are trying to push through a giant new trade treaty that gives corporations even more power, and which will send even more jobs, factories, industries and money out of the country. This is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and they are pushing something called “fast track” in Congress to help push it through.

We have to stop this, and we should take the momentum we have generated in our push-back on this to demand Congress and President Obama instead fix NAFTA first. Then fix all of our trade relationships to help working people on all sides of our borders.

David Sirota: PBS Becoming the Plutocrats Broadcasting Service

In a world of screaming cable television hosts and partisan media outlets, PBS is supposed to be the last refuge for honest news. This is ostensibly why taxpayers still contribute money to the public broadcasting system. That money is appropriated to try to guarantee that there remains at least one forum for unvarnished facts, even if such facts offend those with money and power.

The problem, though, is that because our government spends so little on public media as compared to many other industrialized countries, our most prominent public media outlets are becoming instruments for special interests to launder their ideological agenda through a seemingly objective brand. Starved for public resources, these outlets are increasingly trying to get their programming funded with money from corporations and wealthy political activists-and that kind of cash comes with ideological expectations.

Joe Conason: : The Imminent Return of the ‘Clinton Scandals’

Hillary Clinton may well run for president in 2016. Or she may not. But while the nation awaits her decision, both jittery Republican politicians and titillated political journalists-often in concert-will seize upon any excuse to recycle those old “Clinton scandals.”

The latest trip around this endless loop began when Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican of extremist pedigree and nebulous appeal, deflected a question about his party’s “war on women” by yapping about Monica Lewinsky, the former “inappropriate” playmate of Bill Clinton. Then the Free Beacon, a right-wing Washington tabloid, published some old papers about the “ruthless” Hillary and the “loony toon Monica” from the archives of the late Diane Blair, a longtime and intimate Arkansas friend of the Clintons.

Suddenly, the media frenzy of the ’90s resumed, as if there had never even been a pause.


US Olympian Bringing Home a Family of Sochi Dogs

US Olympian and silver medalist in Slope Style Free Skiiing, Gus Kenworthy, is not only bringing home a medal but a family of stray dogs from Sochi, four puppies and their mother.

He’s getting a lot of support from friends and family who have stepped up to adopt the little family and assist with getting them back to the US. Gus’ act of kindness has sparked even more Olympians and visitors to adopt one of the strays and animal activists are smuggling the dogs out of Sochi to safety.

The problem with the dogs started when hundreds of families in Sochi lost their homes to build the Olympic village and center. The city hired a contractor to kill the dogs when a Russian billionaire stepped up to build a shelter and find homes for the homeless canines. The problem became prominent when the New York Times published an article in early February front paging the plight of the dogs that has now sparked a worldwide rescue effort.

You can find out how to adopt one of these dogs by going to the Humane Society International web page that has specific direction on adopting a Sochi dog

Gus Kenworthy’s twitter picks and obvious big heart gets him our Hero Of the Olympics and a Gold Medal for Puppy Love.

On This Day In History February 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.

February 15 is the 46th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 319 days remaining until the end of the year (320 in leap years).

On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution.

The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy”. The name originated from an incident on a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, to which Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. There were several other hunters competing, and most of them had already killed an animal. A suite of Roosevelt’s attendants, led by Holt Collier, cornered, clubbed, and tied an American Black Bear to a willow tree after a long exhausting chase with hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery, and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. While the initial cartoon of an adult black bear lassoed by a white handler and a disgusted Roosevelt had symbolic overtones, later issues of that and other Berryman cartoons made the bear smaller and cuter.

Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read “Teddy’s bear,” after sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co.

At the same time in Germany, the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom’s bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff‘s designs. They exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903 and exported 3,000 to the United States.

By 1906 manufacturers other than Michtom and Steiff had joined in and the craze for “Roosevelt Bears” was such that ladies carried them everywhere, children were photographed with them, and Roosevelt used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election.

American educator Seymour Eaton wrote the children’s book series The Roosevelt Bears, while composer John Bratton wrote “The Teddy Bear Two Step” which, with the addition of Jimmy Kennedy‘s lyrics, became the song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”.

Early teddy bears were made to look like real bears, with extended snouts and beady eyes. Today’s teddy bears tend to have larger eyes and foreheads and smaller noses, babylike features that make them more attractive to buyers because they enhance the toy’s cuteness, and may even be pre-dressed.