Daily Archive: 07/04/2015

Jul 04 2015

Women’s World Cup 2015: Consolation Game

We know what we’re getting.

On the German side, they’re angry, though they have no reason to be.  Team USA outplayed them, it was their first really good game of the Tournament.  Germany did not break down, they played with discipline and heart.  Bad luck?  They rarely miss Penalty Kicks and Hope Solo was totally going the other way.  Team USA made their kick and you could argue that they wouldn’t have scored from the field if they were down or tied but they did score from the field and that is not a fluke, it is a fact.

England?  This is a game that was so headed to an extra period and a Shootout that I had TMC on the phone and had moved on to other projects.  Own Goal?  Well that’s embarrassing.

England is the epicenter of English speaking football and Trefor Lloyd-Hughes has done more to damage the Women’s game than 20 Laura Bassetts.

Today the odds are that Germany crushes England like a bug.  Germany is playing for redemption and is the #1 team in the World.  Lowly England is a bunch of Gals trying their best to hang on to a dream.  Root accordingly.

Jul 04 2015

The Declaration of Political Independence

(My apologies to Thomas Jefferson)

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the citizen long guaranteed by our Constitution, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to that separation.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all humans are created equal, and that the People of the United States of America are endowed not only with certain unalienable rights, but also with certain rights and liberties given to them by the Founding Fathers via the Constitution of the country adopted at the birth of these United States, as well as via laws passed throughout the past 239 years. That to secure these rights and liberties, the Government has been instituted among people, deriving their power from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it.

Jul 04 2015

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 Koehler: The Torture of Absolute Power

“The existence of the approximately 14,000 photographs will probably cause yet another delay in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as attorneys for the defendants demand that all the images be turned over and the government wades through the material to decide what it thinks is relevant to the proceedings.”

This was the Washington Post a few days ago, informing us wearily that the torture thing isn’t dead yet. The bureaucracy convulses, the wheels of justice grind. So much moral relativism to evaluate.

“They did what they were asked to do in the service of our nation,” CIA director John Brennan said at a news conference in December, defending CIA interrogators after a portion of the 6,700-page Senate Intelligence Committee report was made public.

Serving the nation means no more than doing what you’re told.

God bless America. Flags wave, fireworks burst on the horizon. Aren’t we terrific? But this idea we celebrate – this nation, this principled union of humanity – is just a military bureaucracy, full of dark secrets. The darkest, most highly classified secret of all is that we’re always at war and we always will be. And war is an end in itself. It has no purpose beyond its own perpetuation.

This is the context of torture.

Heather Digby Parton: GOP austerity is a disaster of Greek proportions: Sam Brownback, Bobby Jindal & the economic scam of the century

The nation of Greece may be the cradle of democracy but these days it’s getting a harsh lesson in its limitations. Right now, streets are filled with protesters but there are no lines at ATMs because the banks are all closed. Everyone is waiting to see what’s going to happen when the people vote this week-end on a referendum that will decide, essentially, if the country is going to remain in the Euro and accept the ongoing edicts of “the troika” or if it’s going to “Grexit. [..]

All the GOP presidential candidates are running on some version of the austerity platform even as they promise tax cuts for rich and a growing economy that will result in everyone who votes Republican becoming millionaires. They will expect sacrifice, of course. That goes without saying. We have all these “strategic deficits” that will have to be taken care of first. But just as soon as we cut all that fat everything’s going to be just great.

We’ll find out this week-end if the Greek people will decide to absorb more pain in the hopes that the troika will finally be appeased or if they are finally done being Europe’s chosen sin-eaters.  Unfortunately, no matter what happens Greece is unlikely to be the last victim of austerity. Stay tuned for the next major debt crisis unfolding much closer to home: [Puerto Rico All the GOP presidential candidates are running on some version of the austerity platform even as they promise tax cuts for rich and a growing economy that will result in everyone who votes Republican becoming millionaires. They will expect sacrifice, of course. That goes without saying. We have all these “strategic deficits” that will have to be taken care of first. But just as soon as we cut all that fat everything’s going to be just great.

We’ll find out this week-end if the Greek people will decide to absorb more pain in the hopes that the troika will finally be appeased or if they are finally done being Europe’s chosen sin-eaters.  Unfortunately, no matter what happens Greece is unlikely to be the last victim of austerity. Stay tuned for the next major debt crisis unfolding much closer to home: Puerto Rico, where the people in the crosshairs are our fellow American citizens.], where the people in the crosshairs are our fellow American citizens.

Harvey Kaye: Social Democracy Is 100% American

Appearing late last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri insisted that Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont “is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president.” Indeed, responding to the fact that candidate Sanders is not only drawing big, enthusiastic crowds to campaign events in Iowa and New Hampshire, but also pulling within 10 points of frontrunner and party favorite Hillary Clinton in certain state polls, McCaskill said: “It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.” [..]

Clearly, McCaskill’s attack – which, to me, smacked of red baiting – was intended as a dismissal of Bernie Sanders’s candidacy based on the fact that Sanders, who has repeatedly won elections in Vermont as an independent and then caucused with the Senate Democrats, is a self-described “democratic socialist” or “social democrat.” And of course, we all know that social democracy is not just unpopular in the United States, it is un-American.

Well, think again. Social democracy is 100 percent American. We may be latecomers to recognizing a universal right to health care (indeed, we are not quite there yet). But we were first in creating a universal right to public education, in endowing ourselves with ownership of national parks, and, for that matter, in conferring voting rights on males without property and abolishing religious tests for holding national office.

David Dayen: The end of Europe as we know it: Why Greece is poised to change everything this weekend

Greece will cast its most important vote in a generation on Sunday: Euro or Drachma. In or out.

Every campaign season, self-interested politicians tell Americans that we face “the most important election of our lifetimes.” Only rarely is that literally true, but Sunday’s snap referendum in Greece certainly qualifies. The question before voters, whether to accept a deal that creditors have already taken off the table, is less about text than subtext: This is a vote on the future of the European monetary union, and whether elites will be allowed to continue their reign of bullying and immiseration. In this sense, the Greek people are taking a proxy vote for the rest of the continent. [..]

A No vote, therefore, reveals to European citizens an escape hatch, a way out of a terribly misbegotten currency union. The euro would no longer be irreversible. Maybe elites will try to make the aftermath so painful for Greece that nobody else would follow their path. But they seemingly don’t want to risk the possibility. When one Eurozone member, no matter how small, ends the stranglehold the institutional leadership has in setting their absurdly misguided policies, it sends a beacon to the rest of the continent, indeed the rest of the world, that a consensus which doesn’t work for ordinary people can be abandoned.

Best of all, the people can strike this blow with their ballots. The days of technocrats inserting their judgment for diverse groups of citizens can end. But only if Greece, standing in for their global compatriots, chooses hope over fear.

Eugene Robinson: Trump: A Farce to Be Reckoned With

Anxiety-ridden GOP masterminds will eventually find a way to solve the Trump Problem. Until they do, however, the Republican Party threatens to become as much of a laughingstock as what David Letterman used to call “that thing on Donald Trump’s head.”

Suddenly, according to recent polls, the iconically coiffed mogul has to be taken … how, exactly? Obviously it’s not possible to take Trump seriously, since there’s nothing remotely serious about him or his “campaign,” which is nothing more than a reality-show version of an actual campaign. But if his poll numbers are going to place him in the top tier of Republican candidates, he can’t be ignored.

Let’s call him a farce to be reckoned with.

Jul 04 2015

The Breakfast Club (To Anacreon in Heaven)

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour forth a stream, a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

To Anacreon in Heav’n, where he sat in full Glee,

A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,

That he their Inspirer and Patron would be;

When this answer arriv’d from the Jolly Old Grecian

Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,

no longer be mute,

I’ll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,

And, besides I’ll instruct you, like me, to intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

The news through Olympus immediately flew;

When Old Thunder pretended to give himself Airs.

If these Mortals are suffer’d their Scheme to persue,

The Devil a Goddess will stay above Stairs.

Hark! already they cry,

In transports of Joy,

A fig for Parnassus! To Rowley’s we’ll fly.

And there, with good Fellows, we’ll learn to intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

The Yellow-Hair’d God and his nine fusty Maids,

To the hill of old Lud will incontinent flee,

Idalia will boast but of tenantless Shades,

And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be

My Thunder no fear on’t,

Shall soon do it’s Errand,

And dam’me! I’ll swinge the Ringleaders, I warrant.

I’ll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

Apollo rose up, and said, “Pry’thee ne’er quarrel,

Good King of the Gods, with my Vot’ries below:

Your Thunder is useless” – then shewing his Laurel,

Cry’d “Sic evitabile fulmen”, you know!

Then over each head

My Laurels I’ll spread;

So my Sons from your Crackers no Mischief shall dread,

Whilst snug in their Club-Room, they jovially twine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

Next Momus got up with his risible Phiz,

And swore with Apollo he’d chearfully join –

The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,

But the Song, and the Catch, and the Laugh shall be mine.

Then, Jove, be not jealous

Of these honest fellows.”

Cry’d Jove, “We relent, since the Truth you now tell us”;

And swear by Old Styx, that they long shall intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

Ye Sons of Anacreon, then join Hand in Hand;

Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!

‘Tis your’s to support what’s so happily plann’d;

You’ve the sanction of Gods, and the Fiat of Jove.

While thus we agree,

Our Toast let it be.

May our Club flourish happy, united, and free!

And long may the Sons of Anacreon intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

What?  You think I’m showing insufficient piety, deference, and patriotism towards the Defence of Fort McHenry?  Might I point out that it only became the National Anthem in 1931 succeeding Hail Columbia and My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (which doesn’t really count because it’s a cheap knockoff of God Save the Queen).  Oh, and I can still easily handle the one and a fifth octaves provided you start in the right key (I also do White Rabbit, blows them away away at the Karaoke Bar).

I am cursed with a rememberance of history.  I remember that our founders were a motley collection of smugglers, slavers, genocidal murderers, tax cheats, frauds, and rabble.  That we were conceived in Rebellion, violent armed struggle, against tyrany and corporate oligarchy.

We waz thugz, yo.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgI remember Lafayette, which is a good thing because I got pigeonholed for an on camera interview with TV France 3 while visiting the Hermione at South Street Seaport Thursday and while the reporter no doubt expected a typically “exceptionally” dumb response (duh, he was French and served in the Civil War or something like that) I gave him 10 solid minutes of his (and France’s) importance to the Revolution, his relationship with Washington, his bravery at Brandywine, his lobbying the French Court for intervention (downplayed Ben a little for the audience), the strategic French thinking that went into Yorktown rather than New York (Washington’s choice and probably a big bloody mistake if it had happened), and his participation in the French Revolution of 1789.

I have more material but I sense you are sleeping already by the snores.  What about History Major is so hard to understand?  Do I get to talk to Farkle about Belgian Independence or is it Maya and Riley day (silly question, it’s always Maya and Riley day).

Since I’m not quite recovered from the trauma of 12 hours on the road in addition to the week and a half of travel since June 20th and 3 more confronting me (what about busy are we not understanding?) it’s another sucky blogging day!

You’re welcome.

Besides it’s July 4th and nobody will read this except those who are truly desperate to escape the meat, heat, beer, fireworks, and family.  There is no news.  Fortunately my audience shrinks by the day and those who are left don’t expect much.  I’ve been invited to participate in an off Broadway talent revue (in the sense that 400 miles is off Broadway) which I don’t think will come off actually but I can always favor them with Grandfather’s Old Ram.

Obligatories

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.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

This Day in History

News and Blogs

Jul 04 2015

On This Day In History July 4

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 180 days remaining until the end of the year. The Aphelion, the point in the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun, occurs around this date.

On this day in 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, die on this day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Adams was elected vice president to George Washington, and Jefferson was appointed secretary of state. During Washington’s administration, Jefferson, with his democratic ideals and concept of states’ rights, often came into conflict with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who supported a strong federal government and conservative property rights. Adams often arbitrated between Hamilton and his old friend Jefferson, though in politics he was generally allied with Hamilton.

In 1796, Adams defeated Jefferson in the presidential election, but the latter became vice president, because at that time the office was still filled by the candidate who finished second. As president, Adams’ main concern was America’s deteriorating relationship with France, and war was only averted because of his considerable diplomatic talents. In 1800, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans (the forerunner of the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist party of Adams and Hamilton, and Adams retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts.

As president, Jefferson reduced the power and expenditures of the central government but advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which more than doubled the size of the United States. During his second administration, Jefferson faced renewed conflict with Great Britain, but he left office before the War of 1812 began. Jefferson retired to his estate in Monticello, Virginia, but he often advised his presidential successors and helped establish the University of Virginia. Jefferson also corresponded with John Adams to discuss politics, and these famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment.

John Adams’ Death

Less than a month before his death, John Adams issued a statement about the destiny of the United States, which historians such as Joy Hakim have characterized as a “warning” for his fellow citizens. Adams said:

   My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

On July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Adams died at his home in Quincy. Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” His last words have been reported as “Thomas Jefferson survives”. His death left Charles Carroll of Carrollton as the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams died while his son John Quincy Adams was president.

His crypt lies at United First Parish Church (also known as the Church of the Presidents) in Quincy. Originally, he was buried in Hancock Cemetery, across the road from the Church. Until his record was broken by Ronald Reagan in 2001, he was the nation’s longest-living President (90 years, 247 days) maintaining that record for 175 years.

Thomas Jefferson’s Death

Jefferson’ health began to deteriorate by July 1825, and by June 1826 he was confined to bed. He likely died from uremia, severe diarrhea, and pneumonia (?). Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and a few hours before John Adams.

Though born into a wealthy slave-owning family, Jefferson had many financial problems, and died deeply in debt. After his death, his possessions, including his slaves, were sold, as was Monticello in 1831. Thomas Jefferson is buried in the family cemetery at Monticello. The cemetery only is now owned and operated by the Monticello Association, a separate lineage society that is not affiliated with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation that runs the estate.

Jefferson wrote his own epitaph, which reads:

   HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON

   AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

   OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

   AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.

John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States (1825-1829), was at his father’s bed side when he died. He was 7 days short of his 59th birthday

Jul 04 2015

Le Tour 2015: Le Grand Départ, Utrecht / Utrecht

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

You know, if you end up in the same place you started from, does that count as a departure or what?  You did leave, but it’s kind of like going back to your house because you forgot your wallet or left the stove on or something.  Does it really count against your travel time?

Well, it sort of does in this year’s Le Tour.  Today is the only individual time trial stage and it’s very short, only a little over 8 and a half miles which, given a Tour of about 2088 miles is hardly a blip.

Why is it the only Individual Time Trial?  Could it be because the French contenders (and surprisingly they have a few this year) suck at it?

What?!  You impugn the integrity of Professional Bicycle Racing?!  You can hardly do that because it has none and doesn’t pretend otherwise.

Anyway, today will hardly prove anything unless someone falls off their bike and even so it’s not going to cut down huge chunks of the field as sometimes happens.  Competition-wise the race shapes up like this-

TV coverage on continuous loop at Vs (NBC Sports) forever and ever and ever and ever…  Well at least until Stage 21 on July 26th.

Jul 04 2015

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

Fried Chicken Stars in This Make-Ahead Meal

The usual strategy for a make-ahead summer meal is a spread of salads and poached fish, which is fine in June but grows wearisome by August.

Instead I suggest taking another path entirely: fried chicken.

A longtime picnic staple, chicken is one of the few fried foods that tastes as good at room temperature as it does warm. And with a few minor tweaks to the classic recipe, this version holds up particularly well, remaining crisp and well seasoned for hours out of the fryer.

~ Melissa Clark ~

Make-Ahead Fried Chicken

This recipe has been specially engineered to be made in advance. It’s seasoned assertively, so the flavors won’t dull as it cools.

Panzanella With Mozzarella and Herbs

At the height of tomato season, for every perfectly ripe, taut and juicy specimen, there’s an overripe, oozing counterpart not far away.

Pickleback Slaw

Those artisanal pickles from the farmers’ market sure are expensive, so don’t throw out the juice in which they’re pickled.

Coconut Cream Cake With Peaches

In this trifle-like dessert, a tender coconut macaroon cake is layered with whipped cream and juicy ripe peaches.