Daily Archive: 04/05/2014

Apr 05 2014

The Breakfast Club Template

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Stupid Shit by LaEscapee

Apr 05 2014

Random Japan

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So that’s what they mean! SWAT hand signals as explained by a working Japanese mother

 Preston Phro

If we had a 100 yen for every action movie that showed scenes of SWAT teams sneaking around waving hand signals at each other, we’d probably have, um, a lot of yen. At least enough to buy a Happy Meal or something. But have you ever looked closely at those hand signals? For most of us, they could be making it up on the spot and we’d probably never know! Fortunately, this is the Internet and everything you could ever want to learn about anything is probably available online.

And that includes hand signals! For a few years now, charts explaining the hand signals that sneaky tactical groups use to communicate silently have floated around on the web, though their explanations have always been a bit…straightforward. “Stop.” “Look over there.” “Holy crap, they’re shooting at us!” All pretty standard fare, we suppose. But standard fare is never good enough for the Internet, and thus “Hand signals commonly used by mothers with babies” was born!

Apr 05 2014

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 Up the Heat on Fruit

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Fruit compotes make great compromise desserts; they’re sweet, but not as sweet as sorbets, and like sorbets they don’t require flour, butter or pastry skills. [..]

Early spring is an in-between time for fruit. Stone fruits aren’t ready yet and it’s not really apple, pear or citrus season either, though all of those fall-winter fruits are still available.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Prunes Poached in Red Wine

Reducing the soaking time in this French bistro classic saves flavor.

Bananas Poached in Vanilla-Scented Chardonnay

Don’t overcook the bananas in this easy dish, and you’ll be rewarded with a fragrant, delicious dessert.

Pears Poached in Red Wine and Cassis

A classic French dessert with liqueur that adds a deep berry essence.

Dried Fruit Compote With Fresh Apple and Pear

An alcohol-free compote with a variety of dried fruit and a bright flavor.

Blood-Orange, Ruby-Red Grapefruit and Pomegranate Compote

A refreshing dessert that keeps well for a few days.

Apr 05 2014

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: No Spring Thaw in the Job Market

One of the many good things about the arrival of spring is that politicians, economists and other policy makers can no longer blame the winter weather for the slow economy and the grinding pace of job growth.

The employment report for March, released Friday, indicates that weather did not have as negative an impact in January and February as originally believed; job tallies for those months were revised upward. Accordingly, the springtime bounce in employment was not as great as anticipated. The 192,000 new jobs created in March fell short of the consensus forecast for stronger growth. Monthly job growth averaged 178,000 in the first quarter, compared with the monthly average of 194,000 in all of 2013.

That’s not progress. The sluggish job market is consistent with economic growth forecasts for the first quarter of 2014, which generally top out around 2.5 percent, and broader economic-growth data from the last quarter of 2013, which showed little momentum heading into 2014.

Andrea Gabor: Charter School Refugees

LAST week, the New York State Legislature struck a deal ensuring that charter schools in New York City would have access to space, either in already crowded public school buildings or in rented spaces largely paid for by the city. Over the next few years, charters are expected to serve an increasing proportion of city students – perhaps as much as 10 percent. Which brings up the question: Is there a point at which fostering charter schools undermines traditional public schools and the children they serve?

The experience of Harlem, where nearly a quarter of students are enrolled in charter schools, suggests that the answer is yes. High-quality charters can be very effective at improving test scores and graduation rates. However, they often serve fewer poorer students and children with special needs. [..]

We should not allow policy makers to enshrine a two-tier system in which the neediest children are left behind.

Joe Conason: On Our Highest Court, a Former Lobbyist Guts Campaign Finance Reform

For a large and bipartisan majority of Americans, the increasing power of money in politics is deeply troubling. But not for the conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court, whose members appear to regard the dollar’s domination of democracy as an inevitable consequence of constitutional freedom-and anyway, not a matter of grave concern. Expressed in their decisions on campaign finance, which continued last week to dismantle decades of reform in the McCutcheon case, the court’s right wing sees little risk of corruption and little need to regulate the flamboyant spending of billionaires. [..]

But if right-wingers like Scalia and Thomas are simply pursuing ideological objectives, what about Anthony Kennedy, the Ronald Reagan appointee from California who is sometimes viewed as a moderating influence and a “swing vote”? On the issue of campaign finance, Kennedy has marched along with the majority, seeming just as fervent in his urge to destroy every regulation and protection against the “malefactors of great wealth” erected since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

Joe Nocera: Michael Lewis’s Crusade

There is always something just a little frustrating about reading a Michael Lewis book. On the one hand, Lewis’s core point – whether it is that left tackle has become the second most important position in football (“The Blind Side”), or that the stock market has become rigged by high-frequency traders, as his new book, “Flash Boys,” claims – is almost always dead-on. His ability to find compelling characters and tell a great story through their eyes is unparalleled. He can untangle complex subjects like few others. His prose sparkles. [..]

Always before, discussions around high-frequency traders took place after events like the “Flash Crash” of 2010. Then the question was whether the computer technology used by high-frequency traders was destabilizing the market.

The arrival of “Flash Boys” has put a more important question on the table: whether high-frequency traders have been given an unfair advantage that needs to be dealt with. Lewis’s answer is clearly yes, and “Flash Boys” is both clear enough and persuasive enough that Lewis’s millions of readers are likely to agree with him.

A little literary license is a small price to pay.

Richard Reeves: Voting Laws: The Last Stand of the Old and the White

When the Constitution of the first modern democracy, the United States of America, was written, only about 10 percent of the population of the 13 states was granted the right to vote: white men who owned property.

Those were the days, my friend! And it often seems that if 21st-century Republicans had their way, those days would never have ended. Cut to The New York Times of last Sunday under the front-page headline: “GOP IS ENACTING NEW BALLOT CURBS IN PIVOTAL STATES … Rulings Paved Way-Fewer Places, Hours and Ways to Vote.”

“Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin,” began the third paragraph of the story, “this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.”

David Sirota: The Labor Market’s Double Standards

Technology, sports and politics are distinct worlds. They have their own junkies, their own vernaculars and their own peculiar customs. Yet, in recent weeks you may have noticed a common economic argument coming from those worlds’ respective leaders-an argument about who should have a right to engage in collective action and who should not.

In Silicon Valley, this argument was expressed in a flood of old emails from top executives at major companies such as Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe. As reported by my PandoDaily colleague Mark Ames, the correspondence released in court proceedings shows those executives agreeing to avoid hiring away employees from one another.

Apr 05 2014

The Breakfast Club (Spring)

 photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps646fca37.pngI told you to expect something completely different.

You know, I really am a rebel and as pyrrho once said I rouse my own rabble.  Allow me to demonstrate by dispensing with the format.

The first thing is- why include a date?  All your posts are date stamped anyway, what’s the point?

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

Perhaps you expected something newsy and grim from me.  Well, that’s not how I like to spend my Saturdays.  In fact I generally spend them resting up from the early morning cacaphony of sound that is Formula One Qualifying and refreshing my mind from the realities of another week of struggle.

Something I have mentioned before is that in my youth, before my DJ days, I was into long hair music.  No, not Twisted Sister- Mozart, Bach, and Brahms, which made my contemporaries instantly suspicious of me.  Good, they should have been, my Snape-like air of incipient menace is something I have carefully cultivated for many years.

What is hard for most people today to grasp is that these musicians were pop stars.  They think of them as dusty old relics. Let us talk then about ‘The Red Priest‘.

He was called that due to his red hair and the fact he was a priest.  The bulk of his work was written for Ospedale della Pietà an abandoned children’s home in Venice; though he had enourmous popularity in general for his Operas, a genre where he’s considered one of the major influences and wrote at least 40 of them (with all these composers periodically ‘missing’ pieces turn up of greater or lesser authenticity).

He was a violin prodigy a skill he learned from his father, a barber turned professional violinist and union organizer, and an instrument he was drawn to because of chronic ill health and breathing difficulties, so it’s not surprising that most of his compositions feature it including the one I wish to bring to your attention today.

The Four Seasons is a set of 4 concertos probably inspired by the scenery of Mantua where he worked for a time at the governor’s court.  They are actually part of a larger group of 12 concertos, Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention) published in 1725.

During his tenure in Mantua he struck up a relationship with Anna Tessieri Girò who was one of his favorite performers and while scholars speculate there’s no real proof that their collaboration was anything but professional and contemporary rumors were vehemently denied by Vivaldi himself.

Each concerto has 3 movements, a slow one between 2 faster ones.

Spring

The rest of The Seasons are below the fold.

Apr 05 2014

On This Day In History April 5

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.

April 5 is the 95th day of the year (96th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 270 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1774, Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”.

On this day in 1774, Benjamin Franklin writes an open letter to Great Britain’s prime minister, Frederick, Lord North, from the Smyrna Coffee House in London. It was published in The Public Advertiser, a British newspaper, on April 15, 1774.

Franklin’s tongue-in-cheek letter suggested that the British impose martial law upon the colonies and appoint a “King’s Viceroy of all North America.” Franklin satirically went on to suggest that such centralized power over “Yankee Doodles,” who had “degenerated to such a Degree” from their British ancestors, “that one born in Britain is equal to twenty Americans,” would allow the crown to collect its taxes, then sell their impoverished colonies and colonists to Spain.

Smyrna Coffee House on St. James Street in London had been a meeting place of Whigs, or political liberals, since the 17th century. For Franklin to sign a letter drafted at Smyrna’s “A Friend of Military Government” was an obvious use of irony. The details of his purported plan for a military government, including the exclusive use of military courts in colonies known for their commitment to trial by jury, and “One Hundred to a Thousand Lashes in a frosty Morning” for offenders made Franklin s disdain for Lord North and his heavy-handed tactics clear.

An Open Letter to Lord North

For The Public Advertiser.

To Lord North.

My LORD, All your small Politicians, who are very numerous in the English Nation, from the patriotic Barber to the patriotic Peer, when big with their Schemes for the Good of poor Old England, imagine they have a Right to give Advice to the Minister, and condemn Administration if they do not adopt their Plan. I, my Lord, who have no mean Opinion of my Abilities, which is justified by the Attention that is paid to me when I harangue at the Smyrna and Old Slaughter’s, am willing to contribute my Mite to the public Welfare; and have a Proposal to make to your Lordship, which I flatter myself will be approved of by the Ministry, and if carried into Execution, will quiet all the Disturbances in America, procure a decent Revenue from our Colonies, make our royal Master (at least there) a King de facto, as well as de jure; and finally, as it may be managed, procure a round Sum towards discharging the national Debt.

My Scheme is, without Delay to introduce into North America a Government absolutely and entirely Military. The Opposition which some People suspect would be made by the Colonies, is a mere Bugbear: The Sight of a few Regiments of bold Britons, appearing with Ensigns displayed, and in all the Pomp of War, a Specimen of which may be seen every Summer at the Grand Review on Wimbledon Common, with that great Commander G —— l G —— e at their Head, accompanied with a Detachment from the Artillery, and Half a Dozen short Sixes, would so intimidate the Americans, that the General might march through the whole Continent of North America, and would have little else to do but to accept of the Submission of the several Towns as he passed. But as the Honour would be too great for one Man to reduce to absolute Subjection so great an Extent of Territory, I would propose that a separate Command be given to L —— d G —- G —— e, who by his animated Speeches in the House, and coinciding so entirely with your Lordship’s Opinion on the proper Methods for humbling America, deserves a Share in the Fame of such a grand Exploit. Let him have one half of the Army under his Direction, and march from New York to South Carolina. No one can object to the Nomination, as his Military Prowess is upon Record. The Regiments that are in America, with those who are about to embark, will be amply sufficient, without being at the Expence of sending more Troops. Those who served in America the last War, know that the Colonists are a dastardly Set of Poltroons; and though they are descended from British Ancestors, they are degenerated to such a Degree, that one born in Britain is equal to twenty Americans. The Yankey Doodles have a Phrase when they are not in a Humour for fighting, which is become proverbial, I don’t feel bould To-day. When they make this Declaration, there is no prevailing on them to attack the Enemy or defend themselves. If contrary to Expectation they should attempt an Opposition, procure Intelligence when it happens not to be their fighting Day, attack them and they will fly like Sheep pursued by a Wolf. When all North America have thus bent their Neck to the Yoke designed for them, I would propose that the Method made use of by the Planters in the West Indies may be adopted, who appoint what they call a Negro Driver, who is chosen from among the Slaves. It is observed that the little Authority that is given him over his Fellow Slaves, attaches him to his Master’s Interest, and his Cruelty would be without Bounds were he not restrained; but the Master is certain, that the utmost Exertion of Strength will be exacted by this cruel Task-master for the Proprietor’s Emolument. Let all the Colonists be enrolled in the Militia, subject of course to Martial Law. Appoint a certain Number of Officers from among the conquered People, with good Pay, and other Military Emoluments; they will secure their Obedience in the District where they command. Let no other Courts be allowed through the whole Continent but Courts Martial. An Inhabitant, who disobeys an Order, may by a Court Martial be sentenced to receive from One Hundred to a Thousand Lashes in a frosty Morning, according to the Nature of his Offence. Where Punishment is thus secure, this Advantage will accrue, that there will not be the same Necessity of hanging up so many poor Devils as in this free Country; by which Means the Service of many an able Man is lost to the Community. I humbly propose that the General and Commander in Chief be vested with the Power, and called by the Name of the King’s Viceroy of all North America. This will serve to impress the Americans with greater Respect for the first Magistrate, and have a Tendency to secure their Submission. All Orders issuing from this supreme Authority to have the Force of Laws. After this happy Change of Government, how easy to collect what Taxes you please in North America. When the Colonists are drained of their last Shilling, suppose they should be sold to the best Bidder. As they lie convenient for France or Spain, it may be reasonably expected one of those little Powers would be a Purchaser. I think Spain is to be preferred, as their Power hath more of the Ready than France. I will venture a Conjecture, that the Ministry might get at least Two Millions for the Soil, and the People upon it. With such a Sum what glorious Things might he not atchieve! Suppose it should be applied towards the Payment of one hundredth Part of the National Debt, I would give him an Opportunity of drawing down upon him the Blessing of the Poor by making him to take off the Halfpenny Duty on Porter. Considering the probable Stability of the present Ministry, this Honour may be reserved for your Lordship.

My Lord, excuse the Crudity of these indigested Hints, which your Wisdom is so capable of improving; and believe me, with infinite Respect, Your Lordship’s Most obedient Humble Servant, A Friend to Military Government.

Smyrna Coffee-House, April 5.

The Public Advertiser, April 15, 1774