10/16/2014 archive

The Breakfast Club (Sit in the Lap of Baal)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgMussels.

I don’t know how you like them (steamed, melted herbed butter with fresh squeezed lemon juice) but for me the essential ingredient is the mussel which should be fresh and lightly cooked so that the fat orange flesh fills the shell.

Mmm… good eats.

Anyway TMC and I have been on kind of a serial mussel quest where at least one of us will order them as either a main course or an appetizer when we eat at a restaurant that serves them.  What?  It surprises you that living on the East Coast as we do we occasionally get together for a “working dinner” that we can write off against the vast profits our little bloggy empire generates?  Oh, it surprises you we have profits.  Well, I was lying about that.  I’m only interested in the art and I have the bloody earhole to prove it (I’ll need some more Orpiment Theo, the light is perfect).

You can’t take me anywhere though because outside of the vaguely disreputable and repellent air that I cultivate as seriously as any other poet, I like to play restaurant games.

 photo 1003141627_zpsc85f6252.jpgIn this particular case we were outside on the deck of our newly discovered mussel shack watching the summertime promenade of perfectly ordinary, unsuspecting individuals pass.  Besides the harbor we had a view of a pocket park the chief point of interest of which was an installation of unique chairs and benches that didn’t look like chairs and benches.  The statue of Baal being recently in the news I noted the chair pictured.

Soon enough the trap was set as a young mother and innocent child entered the park and the energetic not exasperated one started climbing around on the public art.

That was when I announced in my best (and loudest) ‘Joliet’ Jake impression-

“Come, come little girl.  Sit in the lap of Baal.”

So those were my favorite mussels this summer, served in the classic manner and done to perfection though if you insist on Haute cuisine we also had a perfectly acceptable dish served with a shallot, garlic, and wine broth.

Oh, you want Science and Tech with that whine.

Ancient Cult Complex Discovered In Israel Dates Back 3,300 Years, May Be Temple Of Baal

By Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPo

10/15/2014 12:59 pm EDT

Archaeologists working in Israel have discovered an “ancient cult complex,” where people who lived thousands of years ago might have worshipped a Canaanite “storm god” known as Baal.

The complex was unearthed at the archaeological site of Tel Burna, located near the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat. It’s believed to date back 3,300 years.

Researchers said the site has already yielded artifacts that seem to confirm the complex’s cultic past. These include enormous jars that may have been used to store tithes, masks that might have been used in ceremonial processions, and burnt animal bones that hint at sacrificial rituals.

Itzhaq Shai, director of the Tel Burna Excavation Project, told Live Science that it wasn’t entirely clear which god the complex was dedicated to. But he called Baal — which ancient Middle Eastern cultures worshipped as a fertility god — the “most likely candidate.”

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

-Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

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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”.

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New york Times Editorial Board: A Deadly Legacy in Iraq

Another chapter has been added to the dismal legacy of America’s involvement in Iraq. An investigation by C.J. Chivers, published in The Times on Wednesday, found that American and American-trained Iraqi troops discovered thousands of abandoned and highly dangerous chemical weapons left over from the rule of Saddam Hussein. These weapons, found from 2004 to 2011, wounded troops from both armies. There are now fears that some could fall into the hands of fighters for the Islamic State, which now controls much of the territory where the weapons were found. [..]

The investigation exposes shocking failings by the Pentagon, among them a callous disregard for the safety and care of American and Iraqi troops and a disturbing pattern of secrecy that can only erode public confidence in government. [..]

One big concern is the facility known as Al Muthanna State Establishment, the former center of Iraq’s chemical warfare program, near Samarra, where there are two bunkers still filled with chemicals and related equipment. The contents should have been disposed of by now under the a treaty called the Convention on Chemical Weapons. But the Pentagon apparently lost interest in the chemical weapons problem, left it to the Iraqis and the Iraqis have failed to do so. This poses an unacceptable risk to civilians and the armies trying to fight a new enemy in Iraq.

Trevor Trimm: James Risen is not going to let the US fear-mongering machine win in secret

The reporter who exposed the NSA before Snowden will go behind bars to protect his source. But he will not let Obama’s Bushian addiction to power take us back to endless war without a fight

For a man who could be forced into jail by the US government, possibly within “a few weeks”, after becoming the only journalist to be subpoenaed by both the Bush and Obama administrations, James Risen sure is busy.

In the past year alone, the New York Times investigative reporter who originally blew the lid on NSA wiretapping has interviewed with Edward Snowden, reported on multiple NSA revelations with Laura Poitras, and uncovered the incredible story of a Blackwater executive who threatened to kill a US state department employee who was investigating corruption – along with the government cover-up that followed. All while keeping mum as The Most Transparent Administration in American HistoryTM attempted to back him into a legal corner for doing his job as a reporter: protecting his sources.

“Maybe the Obama administration, at some point, is going to begin to back off, you would hope,” Risen told me on Monday afternoon. Until then, he’s speaking out upon the release of a new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, that takes us from the rise of the second Bush administration’s “homeland security-industrial complex” to an Obama administration that, in 2014, is more secret than ever, facing down yet another war in Iraq that could last years.

Amy Goodman: We Need Medical Boots on the Ground Now

The headlines shift hourly between Ebola and ISIS. The question is often asked, “Should we put boots on the ground?” The answer is yes-but not in the Middle East. We need tens of thousands of boots on the ground dealing with Ebola: boots of doctors, nurses, health professionals, dealing with this wholly preventable global health disaster.

Ebola is a small virus that is revealing very large problems with the world’s public health systems. The few known cases here in the United States have provoked a climate of fear and a growing awareness of just how vulnerable we are to a virulent illness let loose in our society. Imagine how people feel in the impoverished West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the number of cases is in the thousands, and the infrastructure is simply incapable of dealing with the burgeoning number of infected people. [..]

The small island nation of Cuba has sent more than 160 doctors to West Africa to treat patients and help stem the spread of this epidemic. We should learn from Cuba. Instead, President Barack Obama sent in the Marines. They will soon be building field hospitals. But who will staff these new facilities? United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has created an emergency task force to confront the Ebola crisis. The world must come together to save lives and stop this preventable catastrophe that threatens us all.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: When Government Was Good

Tom Wolf’s mood is sunny but his words are serious.

He’s answering teachers’ questions at an elementary school featured last year in a New York Times story about the costs of overcrowding and underinvestment. The Democratic nominee for governor, Wolf criticizes Pennsylvania incumbent Tom Corbett for education cuts, but he is not terribly partisan about it. Wolf is a businessman who also holds a Ph.D. in political science, and he offers a brief commentary on the importance of “public goods,” not a term typically invoked on the stump.

He ends a lengthy response about pensions with an apology. “Am I giving you more information than you want here?” he asks with a smile. [..]

Democrats may find solace in other governors’ races as well, but Wolf will stand out as an unusual politician who speaks to two of the main sources of popular discontent: unhappiness with the economic system over its failure to deliver for so many workers, and widespread alienation from government.

Dave Johnsom: Budget Cuts Don’t Save Money

Cutting federal spending doesn’t “save money” – certainly not the way conservatives in Congress and in the states have been doing it.

If you cut the Internal Revenue Service budget, that obviously increases the deficit because it lowers the government’s ability to collect tax revenue. If you cut the infrastructure budget, obviously after a while bridges start to fall down. That costs money. And lives.

And, of course, if you cut the health and research budgets, diseases can spread and cures are not found. An article in Scientific American magazine by an infectious disease specialist spells out the consequences as the United States deals with the threat of the Ebola virus; [..]

For all you Republicans out there, here’s the thing: When us “takers” get diseases, they can spread to you “makers.” We actually are all in this together.

Cutting Food For Seniors Puts Them In The Hospital

In last year’s “Here’s A Sequester Cut You’ll Feel In Your Gut,” I wrote about how Republican cuts in food aid for seniors actually causes the government to spend more, because of what happens to seniors when you stop giving them food.

Mairead Maguire: The Disturbing Expansion of the Military-Industrial Complex

How can we explain that in the 2lst century we are still training millions of men and women in our armed forces and sending them to war?

There are more choices than war or peace, there are multi-optional choices and a civilian-based non-military diplomatic-political policy has more chance of succeeding in solving a violent conflict.

In war, the cost in civilian lives is incalculable, not to mention the many military personnel whose lives are destroyed.  Then there is the cost to the environment and the cost to human potential as our scientists waste their lives planning and researching even more horrific weapons which increasingly, in modern war, kill more civilians than combatants. [..]

But, why are we surprised at this cruelty of military when they are doing what they are trained to do – kill, at the behest of their politicians and some people?

On This Day In History October 16

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.

October 16 is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 76 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1916, Margaret Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States.

It was raided 9 days later by the police. She served 30 days in prison. An initial appeal was rejected but in 1918 an opinion written by Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals allowed doctors to prescribe contraception.

This was the beginning of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921,  which changed its name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. in 1942. Since then, it has grown to 850 clinic locations in the United States, with a total budget of approximately US$1 billion, and provides an array of services to over three million people.

Dealing with sexuality, the organization is often a center of controversy in the United States. The organization’s status as the country’s leading provider of surgical abortions has put it in the forefront of national debate over the issue. Planned Parenthood has also been a party in numerous Supreme Court cases.

In scanning through the articles on Margaret Sanger, I found this bit of trivia quite amusing

In 1926, Sanger gave a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She described it as “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing,” and added that she had to use only “the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.” Sanger’s talk was well-received by the group and as a result “a dozen invitations to similar groups were proffered.”

TDS/TCR (Evil or Idiots?)


Evil or Idiot?

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