April 6, 2011 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

Wednesday is mishima‘s well deserved day off

and these featured articles-

The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is an Open Thread

Sand Trap

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

As I’ve explained before I am not now nor have I ever been a member of any military service, my closest encounters being a notably unsuccessful stint in the Boy Scouts and a hazy night with two Navy recruiters.  But I am an avid war gamer (or as the more pacifistic among us prefer to be called- ‘gamer’) and am a particular fan of Larry Bond’s Harpoon.

Now in the game it’s easy to load up your nuclear powered supercarrier task force with all the planes it will carry (more than most country’s entire airforce) and with your Alderan slagging Deathstar power roll over your opposition as if they hardly even exist, but in fact that’s not how they’re deployed.  Most real life groups only have a fraction of their nominal order of battle on station and are ramped up in response to perceived threats and changes in mission.  Not only that, but combat and training stress the equipment and produce maintenance failures which is probably the reason we lost that F-15E over Benghazi.

Gamers and Washington Warmongers have a tendency to ignore these inconvenient truths which is why it’s interesting and instructive to read articles like this-

Nato lacking strike aircraft for Libya campaign

US withdrawal of attack planes puts pressure on European countries, especially France, to offer more strike capability

Ian Traynor in Brussels and Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian.co.uk

Tuesday 5 April 2011 16.49 BST

Nato is running short of attack aircraft for its bombing campaign against Muammar Gaddafi only days after taking command of the Libyan mission from a coalition led by the US, France and Britain.

Nato officials insisted the pace of the air operations was being maintained. But it has emerged that the US and the French, who have been the two biggest military players until now, are retaining national control over substantial military forces in the Mediterranean and refusing to submit them to Nato authority.

The French have the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, two escorting frigates and 16 fighter aircraft, none of which are under the Nato command and control which was announced last Thursday.

Until last week, President Nicolas Sarkozy was the loudest opponent of handing over the operations to Nato control. Nonetheless, the French are not only taking part in the Nato campaign, but are the biggest non-US contributors, with 33 aircraft, double Britain’s 17. Not all of these are strike aircraft.

Until Monday, the Americans had performed most of the attacks on ground targets, with the French executing around a quarter and the British around a 10th. Given the US retreat, Nato is seeking to fill the gap, but only the British have pledged more.

(h/t Chris in Paris @ Americablog)

And this-

Libyan Rebels Demanding More NATO, US Support

By: David Dayen Wednesday April 6, 2011 6:25 am

The Libyan opposition, feeling entitled to direct military operations despite assurances that the mission would not be used in that fashion, is angrily demanding more and better airstrikes on Gadhafi’s troops.

This is the danger of this kind of intervention. The opposition side of the civil war now relies on outside help and is demanding more and more of it. NATO actually did undertake airstrikes in the area of Brega yesterday, but the rebels still retreated under rocket fire. It won’t be too long before they say that NATO and the US must give them weapons, or provide trainers. Or maybe they’ll just want the West to enforce a partition for a binational state. Or maybe they will want special forces, and then, just ground troops. And blood will be on the hands of the international community if they hesitate.

“So what should I think about [the war in Libya]? If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted.”

Kevin Drum, Friday, in Mother Jones

Cutting the EPA Budget Runs the Risk of Health Issues

of a pumpkin

Budget proposals, spending, and cutting costs have always been a major issue on Capitol Hill. Recent techniques by the GOP have been guided at reducing the resources of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This includes budget cuts of over a third of the 2010 proposal. Unfortunately, lowering the resources and budgets of the EPA could be particularly harmful for the people of the country. With the likelihood of more pollution and greater health risks of problems like respiratory issues, mesothelioma, and asthma, the cuts could have awful consequences. With a full plate of resources the EPA is able to work every year in not only cutting down on pollution and smog, but also in improving a number of other environmental concerns.

One of the EPA’s major initiatives is the goal to keep public water safe and free of contamination. With the help of the Safe Water Drinking Act, the EPA works to set regulations and standards involving public water sources and supply. Through this act the EPA is able to overlook a number of local government representatives and water suppliers to make sure that people are provided the best water possible, free of contamination. Every year, through work with the SWDA, the EPA is able to cut down on contamination-related health risks such as Parkinson’s and Hodgkin’s disease

Every year the EPA also works all over the country to have the dangerous material known as asbestos to be removed from schools, mining areas, and buildings. This was a fiber used throughout the last century but now correlated with diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. When it was shown that mesothelioma life expectancy was extremely severe, use of this material was halted quickly. Yet, there is still some older buildings all around the country that still contain this material in their insulation. The EPA works as one of the main resources in the asbestos abatement process all over the United States. Just recently, the EPA ordered a major cleanup in Philadelphia. With lower resources, the EPA may not be able to carry out initiatives such as asbestos removal to their fullest capacity.

The Air Quality Modeling Group is a division of the EPA that works extremely hard every year to improve the overall air quality of the nation. This division works directly over top of local environmental agencies and helps to provide them with endless resources in the fight to keep air quality at a high level. Air quality stands to have the most significant effect in the wake of these proposed budget cuts and proposals, as greenhouse gas emissions could be increasing in the near future. Abused emissions and a jump in toxins could signal health problems such as respiratory issues such as asthma for many people.

Certainly the EPA has a number of goals and initiatives that not only look to improve our country’s environment, but also work extremely hard in cutting down on environmentally related health problems. In the end, a budget cut and resource reduction may not have a direct result on the health of the country, but given the scope of items the EPA works to improve every year, it’s certainly a possibility.

RIP American Dream


The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is 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.

A Versatile Vegetable for a Chilly Spring


Spring vegetables aren’t here quiet yet – and if the weather doesn’t improve soon, they may not arrive for a while. Until then, there’s a fine alternative: Swiss chard.

This leafy green, hearty enough to withstand the cold but more delicate in flavor than kale and collards, has been finding its way into all sorts of comforting dishes in my kitchen, from pastas to soups to stir-fries. It’s the most versatile of greens, and an excellent source of calcium and potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene.

Orecchiette With Swiss Chard, Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

Onion Pizza With Ricotta and Chard

Bruschetta With Swiss Chard and Smoked Trout

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Minestrone

Stir-Fried Swiss Chard and Red Peppers

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

turning into another person

we have the look

of living

of beginning again

in a new latitude

we have the look

of being complete.

–Joyce Carol Oates

Early Spring 3

Late Night Karaoke

Tarok Kolache, Before and After American “Assistance”

Tarok Kolache

A very small village in Afghanistan, near the Arghandab River…

I come to bury Caesar…

…not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones

Barack Obama’s mantra on Libya is that “Muammar Gaddafi must go”. Pentagon supremo Robert Gates, asked about the Yemeni Gaddafi, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, answered, with a straight face, that Washington had no opinion, because it does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries.

The evidence points otherwise. The first African-American president – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – now also holds the dubious distinction of being the only American president to launch a war on an African nation. He has also launched his re-election campaign, which is bound to gobble up a cool US$1 billion.

Meanwhile, Saleh kept killing his own people, and injuring hundreds – like in the southwestern city of Taizz this Monday. Obama had to do something, so he has “quietly shifted positions”, in the quaint words of the New York Times; the new mantra is “Saleh must go”. Contorted rhetoric suggests Washington now wants Saleh to go because it has come to the conclusion that his days in power are gone, even though for over two months, killing spree included, he enjoyed full US backing.