Daily Archive: 12/17/2014

Dec 17 2014

Dispatches From Hellpeckersville-While We Were Sleeping

While we were sleeping there was a murder up the block. You probably all saw it, it made national news. Another used up marine with PTSD went from place to place killing folks. One of those places was a block from me. One of those people was a fourteen year old girl who went to my son’s school, her mom and dad too. Her brother was shot, stabbed and lost three fingers, but he survived. I can remember asking during the long day of the neighborhood being shut down, “What if he’s not in there? What if there’s somebody alive in there, hurt?” Turns out that was the situation. That marine was long gone from both places they thought he had barricaded himself in, went into the woods and fell on his sword, or maybe not, the details are unclear at this time, but he’s dead.

I could try to paint you a picture of a small town losing it’s innocence, and I guess more people will lock their doors now, but this is a town that forgets. This is far from our first murder. I can think of several right off the top of my head. Just within the past few years there was a little girl taken, messed with and killed, and an old man who killed his equally old wife because he thought she was cheating. A few years further back there was the kid from the next town over who killed his parents and drove all the way to Florida and was found with their blood still under his fingernails. We never had a mass murder before this, but we’ve never had so many Vets with PTSD roaming around before either.

After every one of these incidents I heard the same kind of talk. Here? Did that really happen here? What is happening to our town? You’re not safe anywhere! And this time– I’ll bet it wasn’t even PTSD! Hmm, what was it then? The truth is nothing is happening to our town. The hardware store will ring up a few more sales today, back lights will burn, but most people still know their neighbors here. People still come out on the porch when an ambulance goes up their street to see who’s in trouble, who may need help. And funds have been started for the survivors, it’s what we do. What else can we do?

So, we go on about our business. We keep sending men to war to come home broken, with no way to repair them. There’s no way to know how many other small towns will go through what mine did or what they will chalk it up to. I know what I think. I know it kills me to think of the hours that boy spent, trapped in that house surrounded by SWAT, severely wounded by a man who had snapped, and killed that boy’s entire family. I know that man claimed PTSD, I’m disinclined to doubt that, and I’m at a loss as to why anyone who goes to war for his country and makes that claim fails to find help.

Dec 17 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.

Wednesday is Ladies’s Say.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel: The Criminal Justice System Is Broken. Here’s How to Start Fixing It.

When a grand jury decided not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Brooklyn resident Jon Robinson declined to join the public protests. Two weeks later, when a Staten Island grand jury failed to indict the New York police officer who was filmed choking Eric Garner to death, Robinson marched through the night, though he remained uncertain of what the protests would accomplish. “I’ve got this rage and hunger for change,” he told a reporter. “But I also don’t know how you really cause change when you’ve got a system so broken.”

That sense of despair is understandable, given the recent spate of incidents in which black lives have been stolen without any justification or justice. But there are signs that the passion in the streets, which was on display this past weekend as tens of thousands of protesters marched through New York, the District and other cities across the country, could translate into meaningful policy changes. Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to give his office the power to investigate and prosecute cases in which police officers kill unarmed citizens, a possible model for national reform that could help restore the public’s trust. [..]

Indeed, we are now seeing a crisis of confidence in our justice system, which has left black communities in particular fearing that police can torment them with impunity. “This type of independent oversight is a critical first step in making sure officers who brutalize or kill Black New Yorkers are held accountable,” the civil rights group ColorofChange.org said in a statement praising Schneiderman’s request. “The relationship between police and district attorneys is far too close and AG Schneiderman’s request would go a long way to avoid the systemic corruption, cronyism, and failed justice that often results when local prosecutors investigate police abuse involving Black victims.”

Heather Digby Parton: Torture report’s hidden fiasco: How Mark Udall revealed a little-noticed smoking gun

Buried in the “Panetta Review” is proof that the CIA repeatedly lied to the top levels of government. Here’s why

After Sen. Mark Udall lost his seat last November a number of Americans, including yours truly, tried to persuade him to release the Torture Report on his own if it looked like the Intelligence Committee was going to lose its nerve. As we all know, the Executive Summary was released yesterday and was as explosive as many of us who’ve been following this story closely have known for a long time that it would be. Many of these details were known, of course, although some of them, like “rectal feedings” are uniquely awful. (Truthfully, some of that had been hinted at before as well.) Still, it’s an official document and that does make a difference.

So Sen. Udall was spared the risk of having to go to the floor to release a classified document that, in this environment, could have easily bought him some very unpleasant legal trouble.  Yes, the Senate speech and debate clause is supposed to protect him. But anyone who counts on such things should have a chat with some of the whistle-blowers and reporters who’ve been harassed and persecuted by the government these last few years. These things are hardly clear-cut.

However, despite the risk, Udall did reveal some very important classified information anyway. And for inexplicable reasons, nobody seems to have noticed. I’m talking about information contained in the classified  “Panetta Review,” which was the document the CIA was allegedly looking for when it infiltrated the computers of the Senate staffers doing the investigation.

Joan Walsh: Make this monster pay a price: Why we needed to hear from Dick Cheney one last time

He’s the horrible face of American torture. Here’s why Cheney’s defense of his war crimes was important to record

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s time is about up, in many senses. For a Republican Party trying to look forward, he shouldn’t be a go-to voice for the media on national security policy. His sneering attacks on President Obama aren’t news anymore. The man who famously said, “It’s my new heart, not someone else’s old heart,” about the donor to his taxpayer-funded heart transplant should have lost the power to shock us by now. Unless he has a sudden attack of conscience, and apologizes for his career, he has nothing to say worth hearing. [..]

Except on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. There’s been some anger on the leftthat Cheney took his seat yet again on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, but I think he belonged there, one last time. Let the American people hear from the man who claims that interrogation methods we prosecuted after World War II, as well as others even more depraved, aren’t actually torture.

Cheney is such a monster that he couldn’t even keep himself from defending “rectal feeding.” While he acknowledged that it “was not one of the techniques that was approved,” he sanctioned it nonetheless. “I believe it was done for medical reasons. … It wasn’t torture in terms of it wasn’t part of the program.”

That would seem to imply that anything that was “part of the program” was torture, which of course Cheney denies.

Alice Slater: Time to Ban the Bomb

Global Momentum is building for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. While the world has banned chemical and biological weapons, there is no explicit legal prohibition of nuclear weapons, although the International Court of Justice ruled unanimously that there is an obligation to bring to a conclusion negotiations for their total elimination.   The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), negotiated in 1970 required the five existing nuclear weapons states, the US, Russia, UK, France and China (P-5) to make “good faith efforts” to eliminate their nuclear weapons, while the rest of the world promised not to acquire them (except for India, Pakistan, Israel, who never signed the NPT).  North Korea relied on the NPT Faustian bargain for “peaceful” nuclear power to build its own bomb, and then walked out of the treaty. [..]

One way to slow down this process to negotiate a legal ban on nuclear weapons would be for the NPT nuclear weapons states to promise at this five year NPT review conference to set a reasonable date to bring to a conclusion time-bound negotiations and effective and verifiable measures to implement the total elimination of nuclear weapons.   Otherwise the rest of the world will start without them to create an explicit legal prohibition of nuclear weapons which will be a powerful taboo to be used for pressuring the countries cowering under the nuclear umbrella of the nuclear weapons states, in NATO and in the Pacific, to take a stand for Mother Earth, and urge that negotiations begin for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

Suzanne Goldenberg: Jeb Bush may be ‘the smart brother’ – but he’s as much of a climate denier as any conservative

The first Republican presidential candidate for 2016 is ‘not a scientist’ – and you can bet Democrats won’t back off the environment

In Bush family lore, Jeb was always supposed to be the smarter, more level-headed one.

As with many media constructs, of course, that’s just not true. When it comes to climate change, Jeb Bush is a lot more radical than his brother.

Jeb doesn’t just want to keep burning fossil fuels while the planet burns. He’s an out-and-out flat-earther – just like the other Republicans seen as leading contenders in the 2016 presidential race – and he’s been on the record denying climate science for years.

“I think global warming may be real,” Jeb Bush said in 2011, in what seemed like a promising start to the subject in a Fox interview. But he followed it up with the false statement that there is some kind of dispute among scientists about the causes of climate change – which there is not [..]

Those comments put Jeb Bush in lock-step with the other climate deniers in the Republican party – and now that has become the party’s first (almost) declared candidate, they should help set early battle lines for climate change as a major campaign issue.

Dec 17 2014

What’s Cooking: Potato Latkes

Hanukkah starts at sundown this Tuesday evening, along with the lighting of the first candle and spinning dreidels, Potato Latkes are a must. Here is my favorite recipe Reposted from December 4, 2010

It isn’t Hanukkah without Potato Latkes, those wonderful, crispy pancakes of shredded potato and onion served with apple sauce. It’s lot easier than when I was growing up in the 50’s. Back then we had to shred them with a metal grater that often resulted in some shredded knuckles, too. Food processors have saved a lot of knuckles and teary eye from shredding the onion.

This recipe is really simple. The trick to getting latkes that hold together and aren’t “oily” is the  potato. Idaho’s win, hands down.

Traditionally, according to kosher law, when latkes are served with a fish meal they are fried in oil and served with sour cream. If they are served with meat, they are fried in chicken fat and served with apple sauce. Since, I haven’t kept a kosher kitchen in over 40 years, I fry the latkes in oil and serve both apple sauce and sour cream.

Because this recipe has no flour or egg, the latkes are more delicate and lacy. These are best served when they are fresh from the pan, so, we take turns making them all during the meal. It can actually be fun.

Pure Potato Latkes

  • 4 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 1/4 lbs.
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

In a food processor with a coarse shredding disc or o the large shredding hole of a hand grater, shred the potatoes. Squeeze them well to rid them of as much water as possible and place them in a bowl. I use a cotton dish towel to squeeze the water out. it gets them really dry. Shred the onion and add to the bowl. Add the salt and pepper. Mix well. More water will be exuded and should be squeezed and drained thoroughly.

In a large heavy frying pan (a 12 inch iron pan works best), over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons until a slight haze appears on the surace of the oil. Drop about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the oil, flattening slightly with the back of a spoon Leave a little pace between the pancakes for ease in turning. They should be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and will flatten as they cook.

Cook about 7 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Flip and cook another 5 to 7 minutes or until the other side is golden brown. If the oil starts smoking or the latkes brown too quickly, reduce the heat and briefly remove the pan from the heat. Remove the latkes and drain on layers of paper towels Continue with remaining mixture adding 2 tablespoons of oil with each batch.

Serve with apple sauce and sour cream.

Bon Appetite and Happy Hanukkah!

Dec 17 2014

What’s Cooking: Sugarplum Bread

Republished from 12/11/2011 from the What’s Cooking Archives at The Stars Hollow Gazette

In Autumn, the appearance in grocery stores of stacks of candied fruit and mountains of nuts in all their wonderful variety is a sure sign of the approach of the holidays. As the days grow short and the nights grow cool preparations for a joyous time of baking begins.

My daughter is the bread baker but Sugarplum Bread is the one I enjoy making, too. This sweet bread studded with candied fruit is not as heavy as fruit cake. It is topped with a white icing glaze and decorated with red and green cherries to look like clusters of berries. It is a treat for breakfast or in the afternoon with tea. I make small ones baked in large muffin tins, decorated and wrapped in colored plastic wrap tied with ribbon as gifts for guests.

The following recipe is a rich dough flavored with nutmeg, candied fruit and peel, and raisins

Candied fruit would have melted in the summer heat and its sweetness would attract ants but it keeps well in the freezer. After the holidays, when the price is reduced for clearance, if you have space in your freezer buy a supply. It assures that you’ll have candied fruit on hand in the months when it can’t be found in the market.

Dec 17 2014

The Breakfast Club (Tripping Through the Tulips)

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

Wright brothers conduct the first successful manned, powered flight of the airplane. U.S. test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile; Simon Bolivar dies in Colombia; television’s Tiny Tim marries his fiancee, Miss Vicky.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Assholes

I don’t think most of us are torturers, but the great number of people who delight in simply being assholes is still disturbing.

Try being excellent to each other. Takes a bit of work, I know, but it isn’t that hard.

Atrios

Dec 17 2014

On This Day In History December 17

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.

December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 14 days remaining until the end of the year

On this day on 1865, the first two movements of Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”, Symphony No. 8 in B minor, is performed in Vienna, Austria.

(The symphony) was started in 1822 but left with only two movements known to be complete, even though Schubert would live for another six years. A scherzo, nearly completed in piano score but with only two pages orchestrated, also survives. It has long been theorized that Schubert may have sketched a finale which instead became the big B minor entr’acte from his incidental music to Rosamunde, but all the evidence for this is circumstantial.[1] One possible reason for Schubert’s leaving the symphony incomplete is the predominance of the same meter (three-in-a-bar). The first movement is in 3/4, the second in 3/8 and the third (an incomplete scherzo) also in 3/4. Three consecutive movements in exactly the same meter rarely occur in the symphonies, sonatas or chamber works of the great Viennese composers (one notable exception being Haydn’s Farewell Symphony).

Dec 17 2014

TDS/TCR (Red Bull)

TDS TCR

See the løveli lakes. The wøndërful telephøne system. And mäni interesting furry animals.

Symbolic, actually

The real news and this week’s guests below.