Daily Archive: 08/02/2014

Aug 02 2014

Random Japan

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Digital-age robber epically owned by analog granny at convenience store in Fukuoka

  Krista Rogers  

What started off as a basic robbery attempt turned into a mortifying experience for one wannabe robber in Fukuoka Prefecture. Seriously, either the konbini gods were conspiring against him or he met his ultimate match in an old woman, but either way, his attempt at crime was completely foiled thanks to an unusual series of events.

According to AOL New Japan and other reports, on July 29 at a little past 4pm, an approximately 170-cm-tall man (that’s 5’10” for those of you in the US) wearing a black knitted hat and white face mask walked into an undisclosed convenience store in Kawasaki, Fukuoka Prefecture. He went up to the register and held out his smartphone to the nearest staff member, on which was written, “I am a robber,” along with several other lines of small text.

Aug 02 2014

Health and 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

Fresh and Fruity Salsas

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Cooking Up Change is a national healthy cooking competition that challenges teams of students to create menus that meet the national nutrition standards and budgetary restraints for school lunches. Mendez and Sanchez, both from Manual Arts High School, beat out students from other Los Angeles high schools for the chance to compete in Washington. They placed second over all.

Mendez and Sanchez’s recipe is served as a fruit cup and will be on the menu at Los Angeles schools during the next academic year. The reason it inspired me to make some fruit salsas is because they season their fruit with a little bit of chili powder and cayenne. I love the juiciness and sweetness of fruit against heat and pungency, so I decided to make some salsas with fruit and chiles. I worked with watermelon and with pineapple this week, as well as with mangoes.

~Martha Rose Shulman

Pineapple Avocado Salsa

A sweet, fruity flavor and a mix of textures set this salsa apart. It goes great with salmon or just about any other fish.

Roasted Corn and Tomato Salsa

Grilling tomatoes, jalapeños and corn makes for a nice mix of flavors. The sweetness of the corn contrasts well with the charred and picante flavors of the salsa.

Salsa Fresca with Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, with its crisp texture, is a pleasant surprise diced into this tomato salsa. It goes well with chips, nachos, tacos and quesadillas, or with fish and chicken.

Grilled Mango Salsa

A mango’s rich flavor is deepened through grilling in this salsa full of contrasts. It also works if you do not want to grill the mango.

Watermelon and Tomato Salsa

Sweet, juicy watermelon and spicy chiles combine to create a surprising summer salsa with a kick. It goes especially well with grilled fish.

Aug 02 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

John Nichols: With Confirmation of CIA Spying on Senate, It Is Time for Serious Oversight

With due respect to congressional Republicans who want to hold President Obama to account for supposedly exceeding his executive authority, and to congressional Democrats who want to hold House Republicans to account for failing to live up to their legislative responsibilities, members of both parties should be focusing now on the question of how to hold the Central Intelligence Agency to account.

CIA officials on Thursday acknowledged that agency operatives spied on computers that were being used by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staffers who were using to prepare report on an investigation of “enhanced interrogation” techniques and related detention issues. An inquiry by CIA Inspector General David Buckley determined that five CIA employees, two lawyers and three information technology specialists obtained access to what was supposed to be a secure network for the Senate staffers.

The CIA says agency employees “acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” of how the agency and the Senate are supposed to communicate.

The translation from Colorado Senator Mark Udall adds clarity: “The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers.”

Michelle Chen: This Ruling Just Gave Workers a Big Boost in Their Fight Against McDonald’s

Around the world, the ubiquitous Golden Arches are often paired with the barely fathomable proclamation: “Billions and Billions Served.” But that boast may now be a bit of a liability, thanks to this week’s ruling by the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel.

General Counsel Richard Griffin Jr., prosecutor for unfair labor practice claims at the NLRB, ruled on Tuesday that McDonald’s is a joint employer of its vast workforce, sharing liability alongside its thousands of franchisees nationwide. This is very unwelcome news for the fast-food giant, because even though the corporation proudly takes credit as the purveyor of an astronomical volume of Big Macs, it has always sloughed off responsibility as an employer of an equally enormous number of impoverished and exploited workers.

The ruling authorizes dozens of complaints under the National Labor Relations Act that have been brought by McDonald’s workers. If the joint-employer designation is upheld, it would enable workers to hold the company to account for violating workers’ right to take collective action, and parallel allegations against McDonald’s as an employer in other pending lawsuits. This could ultimately advance the workers’ efforts to forge a union contract across many McDonald’s branches.

David Sirota: Clinton vs. Warren: Big Differences, Despite Claims to the Contrary

Hillary Clinton’s political allies want Democratic primary voters to believe that the former secretary of state is just like populist Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, and they’ve been claiming that there are no differences between the two possible presidential contenders. There’s just one problem: That’s not true. [..]

For example, in her book, “The Two Income Trap,” Warren slammed Clinton for casting a Senate vote in 2001 for a bankruptcy bill that ultimately passed in 2005. That legislation makes it more difficult for credit card customers to renegotiate their debts, even as it allows the wealthy to protect their second homes and yachts from creditors. According to a 2009 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the bankruptcy bill’s provisions changing debt payback provisions played a central role in the foreclosure crisis, as the new law forced homeowners to pay off credit card debts before paying their mortgage.

“As first lady, Mrs. Clinton had been persuaded that the bill was bad for families, and she was willing to fight for her beliefs,” Warren wrote. “As New York’s newest senator, however, it seems that Hillary Clinton could not afford such a principled position. … The bill was essentially the same, but Hillary Rodham Clinton was not.”

Heather Digby Parton: What Happened When an Extremist, Christian Fundamentalist Got to Run a Whole State

Hint: nothing good.

Liberals throughout the land breathed a sigh of relief when Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas stepped down in 2008 and later decided to run for governor. Yes, the nation’s gain was a loss for the good people of Kansas, but Brownback’s special brand of right-wing fundamentalism was so extreme that many felt it was better to try to contain him in a single state rather than inflict him on the whole of the country. Judging from the four years he’s been in charge of that unfortunate state, their concerns were well-founded.

This should come as no surprise. His tenure in the Senate was characterized by his righteous absolutism and entirely predictable ultra-conservative vote. There was no tax cut he did not back or military adventure he wasn’t in favor of. He voted to impeach President Clinton and even took  the unusual step of decrying the immorality of the American public for failing to be properly outraged. But it was in the realm of culture and religion where he made his mark.

Katha Pollitt; Why It’s Time to Repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The law, passed in 1993 with near-unanimous support, has become an excuse for bigotry, superstition and sectarianism.

In the not-too-distant future, it’s entirely possible that religious freedom will be the only freedom we have left-a condition for which we can blame the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Passed practically unanimously, with support from Ted Kennedy to Orrin Hatch, the ACLU to Concerned Women for America, the bill was a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith. This case involved two Oregon members of the Native American Church who were denied unemployment compensation after being fired for using peyote, an illegal drug, in a religious ceremony. Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion, which held that a law that applied to everyone and was not directed at religion specifically was not a violation of religious freedom, made a lot of sense to me, then and now. Why should I have to obey a law and my religious neighbor not? [..]

What were progressives thinking? Maybe in 1993, religion looked like a stronger progressive force than it turned out to be, or maybe freedom of religion looked like a politically neutral good thing. Two decades later, it’s clear that the main beneficiaries of RFRA are the Christian right and other religious conservatives. RFRA has given us the Hobby Lobby decision permitting religious employers to decide what kind of birth control, if any, their insurance plans will provide. It’s given us “conscience clauses,” in which medical personnel can refuse to provide women with legal medical services-culminating in the truly absurd case of Sara Hellwege, an anti-choice nurse-midwife who is suing a federally funded family planning clinic in Tampa for religious discrimination because it declined to hire her after she said she would refuse to prescribe “abortifacient contraceptives,” i.e., birth control pills. (That the pill does not cause abortion is irrelevant-this is religion we’re talking about; facts don’t matter.)

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: The GOP’s Impeachment Two-Step

If you attack the president repeatedly for law-breaking, executive overreach and deceiving the public and Congress, do you have an obligation to impeach him? This is the logical question Republicans are now trying to duck.

There is a reason why impeachment is a big deal in Washington this week. It’s not just because a call to defend President Obama motivates the Democrats’ base, although it surely does. John Boehner is having trouble countering fears that House Republicans will eventually try to oust the president because the speaker’s colleagues have spent years tossing around impeachment threats as a matter of routine.

At issue are not merely the open demands for throwing Obama out from Sarah Palin, Rep. Steve Stockman and many others on the right wing. The deeper problem lies in the proliferation of loose impeachment talk linked with one overheated anti-Obama charge after another.

Aug 02 2014

The Breakfast Club (Out on the Sea Alone)

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

“Cool Change”

If there’s one thing

In my life that’s missing

It’s the time that I spend alone

Sailing on the cool

And bright clear water

Lots of those friendly people

They’re showing me ways to go

And I never want to

Lose their inspiration

Time for a cool change

I know that it’s time for a cool change

Now that my life is so prearranged

I know that it’s time for a cool change

Well, I was born in the sign of water

And it’s there that I feel my best

The albatross and the whales

They are my brothers

It’s kind of a special feeling

When you’re out on the sea alone

Staring at the full moon like a lover

Time for a cool change

I know that it’s time for a cool change

Now that my life is so prearranged

I know that it’s time for a cool change

I’ve never been romantic

And sometimes, I don’t care

I know it may sound selfish

But let me breathe the air

Yeah, yeah

Let me breathe the air

If there’s one thing

In my life that’s missing

It’s the time that I spend alone

Sailing on the cool

And bright clear water

It’s kind of a special feeling

Out on the sea alone

Staring at the full moon

Like a lover

Time for a cool change

I know that it’s time for a cool change

Now that my life is so prearranged

I know that it’s time for a cool change

(Time for a cool change)

It’s time, it’s time

It’s time, it’s time

For a cool, cool change

(Time for a cool change)

I know it’s time for a cool change

(Time for a cool change)

Now that my life is so prearranged

Well, I know, I know

I know, I know

(Time for a cool change)

It’s time for a cool change

Yes, it is, yes, it is yes, it is

You know it’s time for a cool change

Aug 02 2014

On This Day In History August 2

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

August 2 is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 151 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, members of Congress affix their signatures to an enlarged copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Fifty-six congressional delegates in total signed the document, including some who were not present at the vote approving the declaration. The delegates signed by state from North to South, beginning with Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire and ending with George Walton of Georgia. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and James Duane, Robert Livingston and John Jay of New York refused to sign. Carter Braxton of Virginia; Robert Morris of Pennsylvania; George Reed of Delaware; and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina opposed the document but signed in order to give the impression of a unanimous Congress. Five delegates were absent: Generals George Washington, John Sullivan, James Clinton and Christopher Gadsden and Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.

The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America-Independence Day-is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III, and by asserting certain natural rights, including a right of revolution. Having served its original purpose in announcing independence, the text of the Declaration was initially ignored after the American Revolution. Its stature grew over the years, particularly the second sentence, a sweeping statement of individual human rights:

   We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This sentence has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language” and “the most potent and consequential words in American history”.

After finalizing the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as a printed broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is usually regarded as the Declaration of Independence, is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Although the wording of the Declaration was approved on July 4, the date of its signing has been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry.

The famous wording of the Declaration has often been invoked to protect the rights of individuals and marginalized groups, and has come to represent for many people a moral standard for which the United States should strive. This view was greatly influenced by Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy, and who promoted the idea that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.