Monthly Archive: August 2014

Aug 31 2014

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewar – ISIS Age

ISIS Age

Aug 31 2014

On This Day In History August 31

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 31 is the 243rd day of the year (244th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 122 days remaining until the end of the year.

I am very hesitant to make the death of Princess Diana the prominent story of the day but her death was a tragedy on so many levels that it is not surprising that the world nearly stood still for 6 days until her funeral. There are many things that we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when they happened, like 9/11 and, for those of us old enough, JFK’s assassination.

I was living in Paris then not far from the site of the accident. I had been out to dinner that evening with my then ex-husband, Dr. TMC, when we heard the crash, it was that loud, and shortly after the sirens of emergency vehicles. Not unusual in Paris, so, we continued on to our destinations. It wasn’t until very early that I heard that the Princess had died and where. Paris was stunned. The site became a instant memorial.

We all sat glued to the TV for days waiting for the Queen to say something. The Queen badly underestimated the admiration that was held her former daughter-in-law.  The day of her funeral Paris froze, the only time I have ever seen the city this quiet was on 9/11.

After being criticized for failing to satisfactorily match the grief of the British people, the royal family arranged for a state funeral to be held for Diana at Westminster Abbey on September 6. Diana’s coffin was taken from Kensington Palace to the Abbey on a horse-drawn gun carriage, and an estimated one million mourners lined the route. Diana’s sons, William, 15, and Harry, 12, joined their father, Prince Charles; grandfather Prince Philip; and uncle Charles, the Earl of Spencer, to walk the final stretch of the procession with the casket. The only sound was the clatter of the horses’ hooves and the peal of a church bell.

The service, watched by an estimated two billion people worldwide, sacrificed royal pomp for a more human touch. Workers associated with Diana’s various charities represented 500 of the 2,000 people invited to attend the funeral. Elton John, a friend of Diana, lent a popular touch to the ceremony when he sang “Candle in the Wind,” accompanying himself on piano. After the service, Diana’s body was taken by hearse to her family’s ancestral estate near Althorp, north of London. In a private ceremony, she was laid to rest on a tree-shaded island in a small lake, securely beyond the reach of the camera lens.

Since the death of Princess Diana, Althorp, which has been in the Spencer family for over 500 years, is now a popular tourist attraction that offers tours to the general public.

I still light a candle in her memory on this day.

Blessed Be.

Aug 31 2014

The Breakfast Club (Summer Days)

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

Britain’s Princess Diana killed in a Paris car crash; Poland’s Solidarity labor movement born; Jack the Ripper’s first victim found dead in London; Violinist Itzhak Perlman and singer Van Morrison born.

Breakfast Tunes

Aug 31 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK); ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guest are: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA); Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

His panel guests are: Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute and Michael Singh of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowely’s guests are: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD); Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ); and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Her panel guests are Lanhee Chen, Penny Lee, Marc Lamont Hill, and Kristen Soltis Anderson.

Aug 31 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

US jets target IS positions in Iraq

 Warplanes attack fighters in besieged northern town of Amerli and airdrop humanitarian aid to civilians trapped there.

 Last updated: 31 Aug 2014 06:34

The US military has attacked Islamic State positions in the besieged northern Iraqi town of Amerli and airdropped humanitarian aid to civilians trapped there, the Pentagon has said.

US aircraft delivered over a hundred bundles of emergency supplies and more aid was dropped from British, French and Australian planes, officials said on Saturday.

Iraqi army and Kurdish forces closed in on Islamic State fighters on Saturday in a push to break the Sunni fighters’ siege of Amerli, which has been surrounded by the fighters for more than two months.

US jets and drones have also attacked the Islamic State group’s positions near Iraq’s Mosul Dam.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Weary? In need of some sun? Relax and unwind with a trip to… Iraqi Kurdistan

Doubts over India’€™s ability to handle nuclear power expansion

African, Somali troops recapture town from al Shabaab

Bahrain arrests top human rights activist

Fukushima fallout: Resentment grows in nearby Japanese city

Aug 30 2014

Random Japan

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More than meets the eye, sushi in disguise! Check out these transforming sushi toys!

   KK Miller

Your mother probably scolded you for playing with your food at the dinner table, but here’s one of the few times you’ll be able to get away with it! Introducing transforming sushi toys from Takara Tomy. Now, instead of playing with a floppy piece of asparagus (how’s that supposed to stand up to the forces of evil anyway?), you can play with these pieces of super robot fighting sushi. Just don’t try to take a bite out of them!

Takara Tomy is well known for making the Transformer toys a reality. This time they are taking their transforming skills and applying them to everyone’s favorite Japanese food: sushi! There were images and first run prototypes of these bad boys (or good boys as it may be) back in June, but now we are getting a good look at the Schallyders and are pretty excited with the results!

Aug 30 2014

Health & Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s 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

I am on vacation so this week’s Health and Fitness News is abbreviated. The full edition will be back next week

Just Add Farro

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Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Wheat berries like farro, spelt and kamut are hearty, and I usually associate them with cool-weather dishes. But I’m working on a pantry cleanout, as I do every summer, and I found a number of half-filled bags that needed my attention. I cooked up big pots of farro and spelt after soaking the grains overnight. I usually soak wheat berries for only an hour, but I thought I’d see what an overnight soak yielded. Then I used them in several cool summer dishes. [..]

No matter what you call whole wheat berries, they’re all cooked the. Soak one part farro or spelt with three parts water for an hour or longer. Bring to a boil, add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 50 minutes, or until the grains begin to splay. Some brands of farro are softer than others and yield a softer, starchier grain. One cup raw farro or spelt yields three cups cooked.

Cold Tomato Soup with Farro

Wheat berries add texture and substance to this light summer soup, and provide a treat at the bottom of the bowl.

Long-Simmered Eggplant Stuffed with Farro or Spelt

This take on imam bayildi becomes more of a stuffed eggplant dish when cooked farro is added to the tomato-onion mix. Make it a day ahead of time for best results.

Chopped Herb Salad with Farro

This dish is modeled on a Middle Eastern tabouli. Add just one cup of cooked farro or spelt to a generous mix of chopped parsley, mint, arugula and other herbs like basil or dill.

Peppers Stuffed with Farro and Smoked Cheese

This dish combines smoky-flavored cheese and paprika with the crunch of the farro and walnuts. Simmer the farro or spelt until it splays.

Summer Big Bowl with Farro and Ratatouille

Turn ratatouille into a meal with farro at the base of a summer big bowl. Top with a poached egg or with cheese.

Aug 30 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

Robert L. Borosage: Labor Day Reality: A Broad Middle Class Requires Strong Unions

On Labor Day weekend, we bid the summer goodbye. Families picnic; children play hard, knowing the school year is upon them. Politicians pay tribute to workers and to the rewards of hard work.

But this Labor Day, workers are struggling to stay afloat. Incomes haven’t gone up in the 21st century. Inequality reaches new extremes. A record portion of our national income goes to corporate profits, while a record low goes into workers’ wages. Three-fourths of Americans fear their children will fare less well than they have. This Labor Day, we should do more than celebrate workers — we should understand how vital empowering workers and reviving worker unions is to rebuilding a broad middle class.

The raging debate on inequality and its remedies often omits discussion of unions and workers’ power. Our extreme inequality is attributed largely to globalization and technology that have transformed our economy. Remedies focus on better education and more training, with liberals supporting fair taxes to help pay the freight.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Looks Like The ‘Burger King’s’ Subjects Are Royally Pissed Off

Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace that “kings are the slaves of history.” And when the “king” in question depends on the patronage of happy customers for his well-being, his monarchy is also a slave to public opinion. Unfortunately for Burger King, which intends to renounce its American status for tax purposes, neither history nor public opinion is on its side.

In fact, if social media is any gauge, the Burger King’s American subjects are downright pissed. [..]

What’s more, the fast-food monarch isn’t just losing the serfs and rabble-rousers. Even reliable royalists like Sir Joe of Scarborough are whispering of rebellion. That’s right: Conservative talk show host Joe Scarborough endorsed the idea of a Burger King boycott on his morning talk show, saying “I think a lot of Americans are should not go Burger King again if they’re going cheat on their taxes.” [..]

That’s not the kind of commentary any corporation wants, especially a publicly-traded one. Soon its investors will be beseeching the King of Burgers: Turn back, Sire, before it is too late. Otherwise Burger King may be forced to learn the lesson England’s George III was taught in 1776: Americans bend the knee to no foreign monarch, even if he offers chicken fries on the side.

David Sirota: Should Companies Have to Pay Taxes?

Reading companies’ annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft’s filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.

According to the SEC documents, the company is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years.

To put this in perspective, the levies the company would owe amount to almost the entire two-year operating budget of the company’s home state of Washington.

Dave Johnson: Why Fight for Unions? So We Can Fight an Economy Rigged Against Us

The other day I wrote about how FedEx has been pretending that their employees are not employees, which gets around labor standards for things like overtime, family leave and the rest.

This misclassification game is just one way that big companies have been rigging the rules to give themselves an edge, getting around what We the People set down for our democracy.

The result, of course, is even more people paid even less with even worse working conditions. And the bad players get an advantage that drives out the good ones.

Like misclassification, this game-rigging, cheating, edge-seeking, rule-bypassing stuff is everywhere you look. (Rigged trade deals, corporate tax “deferral” and inversions, corporate campaign donations, too-big-to-fail banks, congressional obstruction, etc., etc…) This rigging of the game in favor of the ultra-wealthy gets worse and worse.

Richard Reeves: Labor Day-You Remember ‘Labor,’ Don’t You?

I woke up last Thursday morning to learn that my FedEx man does not work for FedEx. Voices on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” informed me that although FedEx controls just about every minute of its drivers’ days, the corporation regards them as “independent contractors.”

Thus, no benefits-they even have to pay for their own uniforms-and the workers can be kicked out anytime FedEx feels like it. [..]

 So, I would argue, Labor Day is a farce. Even public employees-read Wisconsin!-are losing what security America offers. At the minimum, the first Monday in September should be called “Reagan Day,” or the date should be changed to Aug. 3 and the holiday called “PATCO Day.” That was the day in 1981 that President Reagan stated that if members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization-the only union that endorsed him in the 1980 presidential election-did not return to work, they would be fired. They did not return and they were fired. Corporate America got the message, and private-sector unions were marked for death.

Now, that is what we celebrate on Labor Day: the rise of management and the death of organized labor.

Eugene Robinson: Have We Gone to War Again?

I’d like to know whether the United States is at war with the Islamic State. I’d like to know why-or why not. I’d like to know whether the goal of U.S. policy is to contain the jihadist militia or destroy it.

President Obama? Members of Congress? Please pay attention. I’m talking to you.

The barbarians who decapitated journalist James Foley-and who commit   atrocities on a daily basis-control territory in both Iraq and Syria. I’d like to know why it makes sense to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State fighters on one side of a border that no longer exists but makes no sense to do so on the other side.

Aug 30 2014

The Breakfast Club (Socialist Realism)

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Socialist Realism is not as easily quantified in music as it is in literature and representational art due perhaps to the sonic nature of it’s expression.  Don’t get me wrong, the commissars knew what they liked and what they liked was therefore good for the people.  That was kind of a Neoclassicism with heroic and noble themes easily grasped by the masses for propoganda purposes, other more ‘challenging’ expressions deemed bourgeois, ‘decadent, degenerate and pessimistic’.

Socialist Realism must follow these rules laid down by the Congress of 1934

  1. Proletarian: art relevant to the workers and understandable to them.
  2. Typical: scenes of every day life of the people.
  3. Realistic: in the representational sense.
  4. Partisan: supportive of the aims of the State and the Party.

Despite that it also (depending on the patronage and power of its State sponsors as well as their personal tolerance for difference) it also included avant garde elements like Jazz and 12 Tone, Dodecaphony, and serial techniques.

Perhaps the most popular Soviet composer in the Socialist Realism style was Isaak Dunayevsky who achieved notable success in collaboration with director Grigori Aleksandrov in creating the scores for many comedic films.

Among his favorite works was Circus

I’ll be back with news and links later.  You know, visiting.

Aug 30 2014

On This Day In History August 30

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 30 is the 242nd day of the year (243rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 123 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. He would remain on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring for health reasons, leaving a legacy of upholding the rights of the individual as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American jurist and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Before becoming a judge, he was a lawyer who was best remembered for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education. He was nominated to the court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967.

Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908, the great-grandson of a slave who was born in modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo.His original name was Thoroughgood, but he shortened it to Thurgood  in second grade because he disliked spelling it. His father, William Marshall, who was a railroad porter, instilled in him an appreciation for the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law.

Marshall graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore in 1925 and from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1930. Afterward, Marshall wanted to apply to his hometown law school, the University of Maryland School of Law, but the dean told him that he would not be accepted because of the school’s segregation policy. Later, as a civil rights litigator, he successfully sued the school for this policy in the case of Murray v. Pearson. As he could not attend the University of Maryland, Marshall sought admission and was accepted at Howard University School of Law.

Marshall received his law degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1933 where he graduated first in his class.

Marshall won his very first U.S. Supreme Court case, Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227 (1940), at the age of 32. That same year, he was appointed Chief Counsel for the NAACP. He argued many other cases before the Supreme Court, most of them successfully, including Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944); Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948); Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950); and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950). His most famous case as a lawyer was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” public education, as established by Plessy v. Ferguson, was not applicable to public education because it could never be truly equal. In total, Marshall won 29 out of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court.

Marshall served on the Court for the next twenty-four years, compiling a liberal record that included strong support for Constitutional protection of individual rights, especially the rights of criminal suspects against the government. His most frequent ally on the Court (indeed, the pair rarely voted at odds) was Justice William Brennan, who consistently joined him in supporting abortion rights and opposing the death penalty. Brennan and Marshall concluded in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty was, in all circumstances, unconstitutional, and never accepted the legitimacy of Gregg v. Georgia, which ruled four years later that the death penalty was constitutional in some circumstances. Thereafter, Brennan or Marshall dissented from every denial of certiorari in a capital case and from every decision upholding a sentence of death.[citation needed] In 1987, Marshall gave a controversial speech on the occasion of the bicentennial celebrations of the Constitution of the United States. Marshall stated,

   

“the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

In conclusion Marshall stated

   

“Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.”

He retired from the Supreme Court in 1991, and was reportedly unhappy that it would fall to President George H. W. Bush to name his replacement. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace Marshall.

Marshall died of heart failure at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, at 2:58 p.m. on January 24, 1993 at the age of 84. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His second wife and their two sons survived him

On November 30, 1993, Justice Marshall was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

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