01/17/2015 archive

Random Japan

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 Fan parody of Ghostbusters set in Tokyo is totally “crossing the streams”【Video】

 KK Miller

Genre streams that is! There isn’t an ’80s movie that is more perfectly matched for an anime makeover than Ghostbusters. The story is flawless, the ghosts would feel right at home, plus all the crazy special effects could be easily accomplished through animation. The fact that they were able to do all of that in a live-action movie is part of what makes it such a classic.

This parody simply nails the movie, but you don’t have to take our word for it, you can see for yourself after the jump.

The YouTube channel Nacho Punch is no stranger to 1980s-style anime parodies, but this one feels just right. Set in Tokyo and drawn in a style of animation perfect for the era in which the movie and original animated series were born, the Tokyo Ghostbusters really shine in their one-minute debut.

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

Soup Well

Giant White Beans and Winter Squash photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zpsab9676d4.jpg

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Whether big minestrones, noodle bowls with broth and vegetables, or less hearty soups like purées, all of this week’s potages make fine, easy winter meals and great vehicles for whatever vegetables you can get your hands on. I froze what we didn’t eat, and I am reassured knowing there are good soups on hand in the freezer.

~ Martha Rose Shulman ~

Chard Stalk, Celeriac and Leek Soup

A light soup that is still incredibly satisfying.

Minestrone With Giant White Beans and Winter Squash

A substantial minestrone, even without pasta.

Noodle Bowl With Soba, Enoki Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas and Tofu

A noodle bowl makes for a comforting, filling winter meal and is easily put together.

Orange-Scented Winter Squash and Carrot Soup

Winter squash with the essence of orange makes for a delicious soup.

Tortilla Soup With Roasted Cauliflower “Rice”

A new twist on a Mexican classic makes a delicious dinner in a bowl.

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: The Supreme Court and Gay Marriage

For the second time in three terms, the Supreme Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. The last time around, the justices declined to take up the broad question. This time, there is every reason for them to follow the logic of their own rulings over the past 12 years and end the debate once and for all. [..]

In the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Kennedy wrote that the Constitution protects “adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.” The opinion said it was not deciding the question of same-sex marriage, but Mr. Scalia begged to differ. If states may not use laws to express moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, he wrote in dissent, “what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising the liberty protected by the Constitution?”


Eugene Robinson: MLK’s Call for Economic Justice

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s economic message was fiery and radical. To our society’s great shame, it has also proved timeless.

As we celebrate King’s great achievement and sacrifice, it is wrong to round off the sharp edges of his legacy. He saw inequality as a fundamental and tragic flaw in this society, and he made clear in the weeks leading up to his assassination that economic issues were becoming the central focus of his advocacy.

Nearly five decades later, King’s words on the subject still ring true. On March 10, 1968, just weeks before his death, he gave a speech to a union group in New York about what he called “the other America.” He was preparing to launch a Poor People’s Campaign whose premise was that issues of jobs and issues of justice were inextricably intertwined.

Steven W. Thrasher: The police rely on fear and lobbying to defeat reforms. Protestors can’t let them do so again

For the first time in a long time, American police departments are on the defensive. They’re on the defense in New York, where, after the NYPD’s open insurrection against the mayor, 69% of New York “voters, black, white and Hispanic” disapprove “of police officers turning their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at funerals for two police officers” according to a Quinnipiac poll – and now, even some cops have started openly airing their disgust with their own union leadership. They’re on the defense in Washington, where they’re “on the hot seat” at President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. And they continue to be on the defense in municipalities across the country, as every new police shooting sparks intense national scrutiny on social and in traditional media.

Police departments usually rely on fear and lobbying to beat reforms back; police reformers can’t let them this time.

Police state apologists will try to sell fear, even though “20 years of falling crime and aggressive policing means that police violence – justified or otherwise – now appears to be a much larger share of all violence,” as Harry Siegel wrote in the New York Daily News. But while fear of crime has fallen as fear of police violence has risen, it’s still hard to argue with the good ol’ fear of terrorism.

Norman Solomon: Race, Leaks and Prosecution at the CIA

Condoleezza Rice made headlines when she testified Thursday at the leak trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling – underscoring that powerful people in the Bush administration went to great lengths a dozen years ago to prevent disclosure of a classified operation. But as The Associated Press noted, “While Rice’s testimony helped establish the importance of the classified program in question, her testimony did not implicate Sterling in any way as the leaker.”

Few pixels and little ink went to the witness just before Rice – former CIA spokesman William Harlow – whose testimony stumbled into indicating why he thought of Sterling early on in connection with the leak, which ultimately resulted in a ten-count indictment. [..]

As a prosecution witness, Harlow volunteered some information that may come back to haunt the prosecutors. With alarm spreading among CIA officials, Harlow testified, someone at the agency mentioned to him that Sterling had worked on the Operation Merlin program. In his testimony, Harlow went on to say that Sterling’s name was familiar to him because Sterling, who is African American, had filed a race discrimination lawsuit against the CIA.

Left dangling in the air was the indication that Harlow thought of Sterling as a possible leaker because he’d gone through channels to claim that he had been a victim of racial bias at the CIA.  Sterling’s complaint had received substantial coverage in several major news outlets. (The CIA eventually got the suit thrown out of court on the grounds of state secrets.)

Joe Conason: Why Violent Extremists Welcome Attacks on Islam

Whenever an act of horrific terror enrages the West, a predictable second act ensues. Furious commentators and activists on the right erupt with blanket denunciations of Islam, Muslims and their supposed plots to enslave us all under Shariah, urging that we ban the religion, stigmatize its faithful and restore the Judeo-Christian exclusivity of America. Sometimes a few even seek retribution in attacks on mosques, individual Muslims and anyone unfortunate enough to “look Muslim.”

Violent or merely loud, these are the useful idiots whose divisive blundering underscores the propaganda of al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and imitators around the world. They represent precisely the opposite of what we must do and say if we are to defeat Islamist extremism in all its manifestations.

David Sirota: The Windy City’s New Gift to Big Campaign Donors

On its face, Chicago’s municipal pension system is an integral part of the Chicago city government. The system is included in the city’s budget, it is directly funded by the city, and its various boards of trustees include city officials and mayoral appointees. Yet, when it comes to enforcing the city’s anti-corruption laws in advance of the Chicago’s closely watched 2015 municipal election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is suddenly arguing that the pension funds are not part of the city government at all.

The counterintuitive declaration came last month from the mayor-appointed ethics commission, responding to Chicago aldermen’s request for an investigation of campaign contributions to Emanuel from the financial industry. The request followed disclosures that executives at firms managing Chicago pension money have made more than $600,000 worth of donations to Emanuel. The contributions flowed to the mayor despite a city ordinance-and an executive order by Emanuel himself-restricting mayoral campaign contributions from city contractors.

The Breakfast Club (Don’t Diss Your Homeys)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgLowell P. Weicker is about the last Republican I respected and voted for.  While Wikipedia labels him a “radical centrist” he’s a flat out Liberal Republican of the Northeast Nelson Rockefeller type that used to be common but now seems as extinct as the Passenger Pigeon.

Readers of a certain age will remember him best from the Senate Watergate Hearings way back when the Neoliberal consensus didn’t rule D.C. and rape and pillage our country for Oligarchs and Billionaires while setting up a Stasi State to repress democracy and dissent.

But the story of Lowell is instructive in how such a situation developed.

Weicker was the First Selectman (Mayor equivalent) of the Town of Greenwich and was absolutely as beholden as you might think to the Hedge Funds and WWE of Connecticut’s Gold Coast.

He replaced Thomas Dodd who was censured in 1967 for pocketing campaign funds and was by almost all accounts a vain and vapid fool who let himself get beat by Prescott Bush and then re-elected to the other seat.  Yes, he is Chris Dodd’s father Luke.

Lowell won in a 3 way with Tom as an independent and Joe Duffey as the endorsed Democrat.  What eventually got him booted from the Senate was only partly his participation in Watergate (Nixon endorsed him) but mostly the fact that Republican Conservatives viewed him (correctly) as a Liberal (Americans for Democratic Action rated Weicker 20 percentage points more liberal than his fellow Connecticut senator, “Democratic” Chris Dodd) and were unhappy that he wanted to make the State Party more inclusive.  He was defeated in 1988 when conservatives including William and James Buckley and the Bushes defected en masse to Joe LIEberman who is much more a conservative Republican than a Democrat and is the single slimiest most unctuous politician it’s ever been my displeasure to meet.

In 1990 Weicker ran for Governor as an Independent in another 3 way against John Rowland (who eventually spent a year and a day in Danbury, as we in Connecticut like to say even though he served his time in Loretto PA where John Kiriakou is currently the only CIA Officer imprisoned in the CIA Torture Scandal and for whistleblowing not for actually torturing people or authorising torture) and Bruce Morrison.

Now nationally the narrative is that Lowell paid the price for implementing a State Income Tax which lowered our incredibly regressive Sales Tax but also eliminated a Commuter Tax, a State Capital Gains Tax, and substantially reduced an Unearned Income Tax (told you he was close to his Hedge Fund backers).  It was no doubt incredibly unpopular with some, but as a native Nutmegger let me tell you that’s not what people were talking about on Election Day.

Auto Inspection Contract Has Hartford in Uproar; Weicker and ExMotor Vehicles Commissioner Trade Ethics Charges Over Bids

By KIRK JOHNSON, The New York Times

Published: December 21, 1993

Both the Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, and the Legislature’s Transportation Committee — exercising its rarely used powers to issue subpoenas and compel testimony under oath — have begun investigations into the charges and counter-charges between the Governor and his former protege.

If the investigations bear out Mr. Goldberg’s charges that the administration circumvented its own established procedures in awarding the contract, legislators say, the implications would shake Connecticut’s government and could lead to an overhaul of the contract laws and a legal challenge by the losing company, at the very least.

Mr. Goldberg and a contract committee in his department both recommended a Connecticut company for the seven-and-a-half-year emissions testing contract. Besides being a local business, the Connecticut company, Environmental Systems Products Inc. of East Granby, was also the low bidder. Mr. Weicker overruled Mr. Goldberg and chose a vendor from Arizona, Envirotest Systems Corporation, which had already being doing emissions testing for Connecticut and which the Governor said had greater financial stability than the home-grown competitor.

Lowell chose not to run again leaving the field open to Rowland about whom the major surprise was that he was so cheap to bribe, but the moral of the story is-

Don’t Diss Your Homeys

So you want to buy some Nutmeg?

Which (finally) brings us to the point- our State Composer, Charles Ives.

Ives was an insurance salesman born in Danbury, an actuary who invented creative ways to structure life insurance for estate planning and wrote a book, Life Insurance with Relation to Inheritance Tax, that made him world famous in Poland and Hartford.

You’re not Polish or from Hartford?  That’s OK, he was mostly thoroughly ignored throughout his lifetime except by his industry peers who found his musical avocation both amusing and confusing because it was cutting edge avant garde.

His Dad was a Band Leader, much like John Philip Sousa whom we discussed last week.  When Charles was a child he’d frequently march behind the band but near enough the next one hear the tunes from each.  Carried over in his compsitional style, his signature was having different parts of his orchestra play completely diferent melodies, harmonies, and time signatures which sometimes synced but frequently didn’t and resolve it all at the end of the piece.  His works are ferociously difficult to play and challenging to listen to.

Ives frequently chose patriotic themes and popular marches, tunes, and hymns as his source material, seeking like most late Romantics to evoke a mood or a memory rather than simply displaying technique thought his compositions are technically demanding and utilize “polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric elements, and quarter tones.”

Now this made him world famous in Poland (only a different one) and his compositions highly regarded by academics and fellow composers, but most musicians would look at them and say- “what the heck is this rubbish?”.  Independently wealthy he funded the works of others and when awarded a Pulitzer in 1946 for his 3rd Symphony (The Camp Meeting) he gave it all away saying- “prizes are for boys, and I’m all grown up.”

While he lived until 1954 he stopped writing in 1927 and it took nearly 50 years for his works to gain acceptance after being championed by people like Gustav Mahler, Aaron Copland, Bernard Herrmann, Leonard Bernstein, and Arnold Schoenberg who said-

There is a great Man living in this Country – a composer. He has solved the problem how to preserve one’s self-esteem and to learn. He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame. His name is Ives.

Speaking of Leonard Bernstein, in 1951 he gave Charles Ives’ Symphony #2 its debut with the New York Philharmonic.  Here’s a performance of that which, while complete, is visually uninteresting.

Ives heard it on his cook’s radio (he was a FIRE guy, independently wealthy, I told you).

Later Bernstein performed it again with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and gave a little chat about Ives-

That full performance, in three parts, which is visually interesting if you like that sort of thing, is available below along with the Obligatories, News, and Blogs.

On This Day In History January 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.

January 17 is the 17th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 348 days remaining until the end of the year (349 in leap years).

On this day in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his farewell address to the nation warning the American people to keep a careful eye on what he calls the “military-industrial complex” that has developed in the post-World War II years.

A fiscal conservative, Eisenhower had been concerned about the growing size and cost of the American defense establishment since he became president in 1953. In his last presidential address to the American people, he expressed those concerns in terms that frankly shocked some of his listeners.

Eisenhower began by describing the changing nature of the American defense establishment since World War II. No longer could the U.S. afford the “emergency improvisation” that characterized its preparations for war against Germany and Japan. Instead, the United States was “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry” and a huge military force. He admitted that the Cold War made clear the “imperative need for this development,” but he was gravely concerned about “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” In particular, he asked the American people to guard against the “danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Military-industrial complex (MIC) is a concept commonly used to refer to policy relationships between governments, national armed forces, and the industrial sector that supports them. These relationships include political approval for research, development, production, use, and support for military training, weapons, equipment, and facilities within the national defense and security policy. It is a type of iron triangle.

The term is most often played in reference to the military of the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address speech of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, though the term is applicable to any country with a similarly developed infrastructure.

It is sometimes used more broadly to include the entire network of contracts and flows of money and resources among individuals as well as institutions of the defense contractors, The Pentagon, and the Congress and executive branch. This sector is intrinsically prone to principal-agent problem, moral hazard, and rent seeking. Cases of political corruption have also surfaced with regularity.

A similar thesis was originally expressed by Daniel Guerin, in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business, about the fascist government support to heavy industry. It can be defined as, “an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs”.