03/15/2014 archive

Random Japan

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 Rilakkuma rims add 16 bearpower to your car

    Casey Baseel

Generally, customizing cars is a guy thing, and most guys are into power. When it comes to aftermarket wheels, the two biggest camps are those who want performance-boosting lightweight versions, or the largest, most blinged-out set available to advertise the driver’s financial status.

Now, though, there’s a third option beyond looking sporty or wealthy: cute wheels.

Going on sale next month are these Rilakkuma wheels, featuring the adorably lazy character of the same name.

Paraphrasing Prophecy

From Hunter S. Thompson, 2003

Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

Let’s face it, the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do, says what he is told to say, poses the way he is told to pose. He is a fool.

No. Nonsense. The president cannot be a Fool. Not at this moment in time, when the last living vestiges of the American Dream are on the line. This is not the time to have a bogus rich kid in charge of the White House.

Which is, after all, our house. That is our headquarters, it is where the heart of America lives. So, if the president lies and acts giddy about other people’s lives, if he wantonly and stupidly endorses mass murder by definition, he is a loud and meaningless animal with no functional intelligence and no balls.

To say this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon.

Whoops! Did I say that? Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age DemoPublican whore-beast of a false president could actually make Richard Nixon look like a Liberal?

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

Daphne Eviatar: The Trial of Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law and Why Not to Torture a Terrorist

Sniping between lawmakers and the CIA over a report on the U.S. torture of terror suspects reached a fever pitch this week, as Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on her intelligence committee as it was investigating the agency’s activities. But even as the infamous Senate torture report remains classified, a story unfolded in a U.S. federal court this week that provides a powerful example of why the Bush administration’s torture tactics were such a bad idea.

For the last two weeks, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti imam and alleged “spokesman” for al Qaeda, has been on trial in a New York courtroom. A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, Abu Ghaith is allegedly the most senior leader of al Qaeda ever to face charges in the United States. When he was arrested last year, administration critics such as Senator Mitch McConnell complained Abu Ghaith was “an enemy combatant and should be held in military custody,” where he could have been “fulsomely and continuously interrogated without having to overcome the objections of his civilian lawyers.”

This week, we heard testimony that demonstrates exactly why the Obama administration was absolutely right not to do that.

Robert C. Koehler: Poster City of Abandonment

White flight, corporate flight . .

I grew up just outside Detroit and have felt an ache in my heart for this bleeding city for so many years now. It’s long been one of the country’s designated loser cities, beginning in the 1960s, when change hit it hard. The phrase at the time was “urban blight,” a social cancer with unexamined causes that, in the ensuing years, has gotten progressively worse.

A year ago this week, the city, which is predominantly African-American, lost its self-governance when the Republican governor of Michigan appointed an emergency financial manager, an overboss with powers superseding that of all elected officials – including the ability to rewrite laws, break contracts, privatize services and much more – on the premise that only an autocrat could straighten out the city’s disastrous finances. Four months later, Detroit made headlines as the largest city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, but of course it wasn’t “the city” that did so; it was the emergency manager.

The city, in all its soul and complexity, had been reduced to a single voice: the voice of austerity and, of course, corporate interests.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Can a Divided Left Become a Populist Movement?

The echoes of Adolph Reed’s critique of the left in Harper’s magazine continue to reverberate. At its fringes, where the heat’s generated, it’s an argument about the relationship between the progressive movement and the Democratic Party. At its center, where there have been occasional glimpses of light, the talk is about building an independent populist movement that can affect real change.

That’s where the conversation should have been all along.

My initial assessment of Reed’s essay hasn’t changed. It started an important conversation — this one — and makes some telling points, but it’s diluted by score-settling and needless divisiveness. Unfortunately those flaws are also reflected in many of the responses to it.

There’s an element of vehement agreement in all this. Reed doesn’t dismiss electoral politics, and his left critics uniformly agree on the need for a strong independent left. So what are we really arguing about? People seem to have brought years of smoldering resentment to this conversation. It’s turning into a debate, not among people, but among peoples’ shadows.

Jill Richardson: Why California’s Drought Affects Us All

With so much of the nation’s food supply concentrated in the “Shake and Bake” state, its good weather is bad news for us all.

As a Californian, I have not gotten too much sympathy from friends and family about our rotten weather this winter. Yes, I said rotten weather. It’s been incredibly pleasant- except for a few times when the temperature crept up to 90 – but we’ve hardly had any rain.

Cry me a river, you might think. Especially if you live in a part of the country where the term “polar vortex” was added to your vocabulary in the past few months. Boo-hoo. It was too sunny and perfect every day.

California’s climate problems have nothing to do with human comfort – but they have everything to do with human food. And not just for California.

Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Californians provide a huge share of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. If we can’t grow crops because we have no water, everybody misses out.

Robert Reich: The ‘Paid-What-You’re-Worth’ Myth

It’s often assumed that people are paid what they’re worth. According to this logic, minimum wage workers aren’t worth more than the $7.25 an hour they now receive. If they were worth more, they’d earn more. Any attempt to force employers to pay them more will only kill jobs.

According to this same logic, CEOs of big companies are worth their giant compensation packages, now averaging 300 times pay of the typical American worker. They must be worth it or they wouldn’t be paid this much. Any attempt to limit their pay is fruitless because their pay will only take some other form.

“Paid-what-you’re-worth” is a dangerous myth. [..]

The “paid-what-you’re-worth” argument is fundamentally misleading because it ignores power, overlooks institutions, and disregards politics. As such, it lures the unsuspecting into thinking nothing whatever should be done to change what people are paid, because nothing can be done.

Don’t buy it.

Ralph Nader: What a Destructive Wall Street Owes Young Americans

Wall Street’s big banks and their financial networks that collapsed the U.S. economy in 2008-2009 were saved with huge bailouts by the taxpayers, but these Wall Street gamblers are still paid huge money, and are again creeping toward reckless misbehavior. Their corporate crime wave strip-mined the economy for young workers, threw them on the unemployment rolls and helped make possible a low-wage economy that is draining away their ability to afford basic housing, goods and services. Meanwhile, Wall Street is declaring huge bonuses for their executive plutocrats, none of whom have been prosecuted and sent to jail for these systemic devastations of other peoples’ money, the looting of pensions and destruction of jobs.

Just what did they do? Peter Eavis of the New York Times provided a partial summary:

   Money laundering, market rigging, tax dodging, selling faulty financial products, trampling homeowner rights and rampant risk-taking — these are some of the sins that big banks have committed in recent years.

Mr. Eavis then reported that “regulators are starting to ask: Is there something rotten in bank culture?”

How did I get here?

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

You may find yourself in another part of the world

You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife

You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

You may ask yourself, how do I work this?

You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile?

You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house

You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Water dissolving and water removing

There is water at the bottom of the ocean

Remove the water, carry the water

Remove the water from the bottom of the ocean

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, into silent water

Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground

Letting the days go by, into silent water

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?

You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?

You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?

You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, into silent water

Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground

Letting the days go by, into silent water

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Time isn’t holding us, time isn’t after us

Time isn’t holding us, time doesn’t hold you back

Time isn’t holding us, time isn’t after us

Time isn’t holding us…

Letting the days go by, letting the days go by, letting the days go by, once in a lifetime

Letting the days go by, letting the days go by, letting the days go by, once in a lifetime

Google News vs. Yahoo News

So I Googled ‘Liberal News’ and dK popped up and after a month or two of figuring out how to do it pseudonymously I joined.

Since my second diary it’s always had a ‘Vent Hole’ for you to express you negative opinions of me. and in my third I revealed all and taught you how to troll.

It doesn’t matter to me, after 9 years I’m still entirely fictional (fourth diary).  I like to think I’ve been Emotionally Honest.

I’ve founded and run too many franchises to count.  I’ve had an unexpected absence for which I’ve never apologized.  My only restriction (other than the ones everybody operates under) is that I not interact with a particular user which I have honored and they have not (no, not even a link). I have two sites that I’m very proud of The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma where my output is considerable.

So that’s how I got here.

Any Questions?

Fukushima, 3 Years After



Deadly Fukushima Crisis Further Corrodes Viability of Nuclear Energy

By H Patricia Hynes, Truthout

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:08

More than 35 percent of some 38,000 Fukushima children examined have cysts or nodules on their thyroids, as compared with 1 percent of a control group of Japanese children. In a callous move to keep schools open in Fukushima, the Japanese government raised the “permissible” level of radiation for children. Japanese children now can be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously allowed, a level comparable to the yearly limit for German workers.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive water from the site have emptied and continue to leak via groundwater into the Pacific Ocean at the rate of 400 tons per day. Radioactive cesium, a carcinogen that bioaccumulates in animal, fish and human tissue, has been found throughout mainland Japan, in fish off the coast of Fukushima (thus closing that industry) and in large migratory fish such as Bluefin tuna off the coast of California. A plume of radioactive water from Fukushima is expected to reach the West Coast of the United States in early 2014. Tragically, there is no solution in sight to trapping and treating the cesium-, tritium- and strontium-contaminated groundwater before it reaches the Pacific Ocean. “The situation at the reactor site is progressively deteriorating, not stabilizing,” stated an international group of experts in their urgent appeal for international action to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Radioactive waste is the nuclear industry’s nightmare, most currently so in Fukushima Dai’ichi, where intensely radioactive spent fuel rods lie in a warped and sinking structure and at risk of a catastrophic fire if another (and potentially likely) earthquake strikes the region. For this reason, the US State Department advised Americans soon after March 11 to evacuate to at least 50 miles from the plant.

Study: Nuclear Reactors Are Toxic to Surrounding Areas, Especially With Age

By Candice Bernd, Truthout

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:06

The United States currently has 100 operating nuclear reactors in 31 states. The last nuclear plant to be constructed was finished in 1996, and the oldest was built in 1969. The average age of all operating nuclear plants in the United States is about 30 years.

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is at a major risk of a Fukushima-style disaster because it sits atop an active fault line, and the plant’s age is a factor in its vulnerability to seismic activity.

But (David) Lochbaum (Director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists), who authored a report for UCS called, “Seismic Shift: Diablo Canyon Literally and Figuratively on Shaky Ground,” maintains the earthquake hazard in the 1970s, when the Diablo Canyon plant was proposed and constructed, led its designers to protect against seismic activity no greater than 0.4 g-forces. That was before two other major active fault lines in the region were discovered and estimated to cause a ground motion of around 0.75 g-forces. PG&E has not made any structural adjustments or modifications to account for this discrepancy.

On This Day In History March 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.

March 15 is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 291 days remaining until the end of the year.

In the Roman calendar, March 15 was known as the Ides of March.

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African-American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declared that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminded the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African-Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,” Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

The speech was delivered eight days after racial violence erupted in Selma, Alabama. Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King and over 500 supporters were attacked while planning a march to Montgomery to register African-Americans to vote. The police violence that erupted resulted in the death of a King supporter, a white Unitarian Minister from Boston named James J. Reeb. Television news coverage of the event galvanized voting rights supporters in Congress.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973 – 1973aa-6 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation, though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act’s primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate. Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots. Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.

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

Ancient Grains for Breakfast

Ancient Grains for Breakfast photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zps31ba0eac.jpg

I had already decided that this week I would play around with breakfast grains when I noticed that food manufacturers are also coming up with new ideas. I rarely look at the breakfast cereals on the shelves in the supermarket or at Trader Joe’s, as it’s easier and cheaper for me to put together my own combos. But this week, as I reached for a container of steel-cut oats, I noticed several prepared mixes of grains and seeds like oats, quinoa and flax, mostly for hot cereal, that I hadn’t seen before. [..]

When I’m planning on porridge for breakfast on a weekday morning I begin the process the night before. I pour boiling water over the grains and cover the bowl with a plate. The next morning all I need to do is heat the mixture in the microwave for two to four minutes. I might also grate in some apple, but basically, hot cereal made this way requires no more fuss than a bowl of cold cereal with milk.

Sweet Oven-Baked Grits and Millet With Pecans and Maple Syrup

This sweet and grainy polenta makes a delicious brunch dish.

Rolled Oats With Amaranth Seeds, Maple Syrup and Apple

Amaranth and apple contribute texture and sweetness to this morning bowl.

Steel-Cut Oats With Amaranth Seeds, Chia Seeds and Blueberries

Amaranth and chia seeds pump up the nutritional content of this sweet and hearty morning bowl.

Oatmeal and Teff With Cinnamon and Dried Fruit

Cinnamon and dried fruit sweeten this oatmeal/teff mix.

Breakfast Wheat Berries

These fragrant Middle Eastern wheat berries can be stirred into yogurt or eaten on their own.

Formula One 2014: Albert Park Qualifying

So what is different about Formula One this year?

Only everything.

New drive trains mean new cars from the ground up.

I’ll get more into it tomorrow.