June 16, 2012 archive

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What We Now Know

Now We Know: The behind-the-scenes lobby against the Affordable Care Act

This is an Open Thread.

Up host Chris Hayes wraps up the news of the week, including reports that the trade organization AHIP, representing America’s health insurance companies, spent more than $100 million in efforts to defeat the Affordable Care Act. He is joined by Jammila Bey, Voice of Russia Radio; Lawrence Lessig, professor at Harvard Law School; Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!; and David Weigel, political commentator at Slate.com.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a 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.

Going Nuts for Smoothies

Strawberry And Almond Smoothie

   When I make a smoothie I like to make a meal out of it, or at least make something substantial enough to get me through my morning swim…. Lately I’ve been adding substance to smoothies in the form of nuts, seeds and nut powders. I recently learned about the benefits of soaking seeds overnight in water.

   Soaking breaks down phytic acid and protease inhibitors, naturally occurring substances in nuts, seeds, grains and legumes that protect them until they germinate but can block enzyme function and reduce the absorption of important minerals in your body. Soaking seeds also breaks down complex starches.

   I found that soaking nuts – almonds and pistachios, in this week’s recipes – leached too much flavor from them, but I liked the results for the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds I used in this week’s blender drinks. Soak seeds overnight in the refrigerator and drain before using. I also recommend this method if you use seeds in your homemade breads: They won’t get hard and burn when you bake the bread, and they’ll help keep the crumb nice and moist.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Strawberry and Almond Smoothie

A traditional smoothie with a twist of nutty protein.

Coconut Pineapple Pumpkin Seed Smoothie

Ice cubes made with low-fat coconut milk give this blended drink extra flavor and texture.

Carrot, Papaya and Sesame Smoothie

Hazelnuts, pistachios and coconut milk add richness to this nutritious drink.

Seeded Banana Frappe

A simple banana smoothie gains complexity from almonds, a trio of seeds and a little spice.

Melon Pomegranate Almond Smoothie

You can get the ruby-colored pomegranate juice for this drink with a juicer or a citrus press.

On This Day In History June 16

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

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.

June 16 is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 198 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1933, The National Industrial Recovery Act is passed.

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), officially known as the Act of June 16, 1933 (Ch. 90, 48 Stat. 195, formerly codified at 15 U.S.C. sec. 703), was an American statute which authorized the President of the United States to regulate industry and permit cartels and monopolies in an attempt to stimulate economic recovery, and established a national public works program. The legislation was enacted in June 1933 during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislative program. Section 7(a) of the bill, which protected collective bargaining rights for unions, proved contentious (especially in the Senate), but both chambers eventually passed the legislation and President Roosevelt signed the bill into law on June 16, 1933. The Act had two main sections (or “titles”). Title I was devoted to industrial recovery, and authorized the promulgation of industrial codes of fair competition, guaranteed trade union rights, permitted the regulation of working standards, and regulated the price of certain refined petroleum products and their transportation. Title II established the Public Works Administration, outlined the projects and funding opportunities it could engage in, and funded the Act.

The Act was implemented by the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the Public Works Administration (PWA). Very large numbers of regulations were generated under the authority granted to the NRA by the Act, which led to a significant loss of political support for Roosevelt and the New Deal. The NIRA was set to expire in June 1935, but in a major constitutional ruling the U.S. Supreme Court held Title I of the Act unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495 (1935). The National Industrial Recovery Act is widely considered a policy failure, both in the 1930s and by historians today. Disputes over the reasons for this failure continue, however. Among the suggested causes are that the Act promoted economically harmful monopolies, that the Act lacked critical support from the business community, and that the Act was poorly administered. The Act encouraged union organizing, which led to significant labor unrest. The Act had no mechanisms for handling these problems, which led Congress to pass the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.


Carnival of the Animals

Some Undocumented Immigrants Get Their Dream

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well, almost. President Barack Obama, who has deported more undocumented immigrants than any president since 1892, will stop deporting hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children:

The policy, effective immediately, will apply to people who are currently under 30 years old, who arrived in the country before they turned 16 and have lived in the United States for five years. They must also have no criminal record, and have earned a high school diploma, remained in school or served in the military.

These qualifications resemble in some ways those of the so-called Dream Act, a measure blocked by Congress in 2010 that was geared to establish a path toward citizenship for certain young illegal immigrants. The administration’s action on Friday, which stops deportations but does not offer citizenship, is being undertaken by executive order and does not require legislation. It was announced by the Department of Homeland Security.

What the younger immigrants will obtain, officials said, is the ability to apply for a two-year “deferred action” that effectively removes the threat of deportation for up to two years, with repeated extensions. “This is not immunity, it is not amnesty,” said Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary. “It is an exercise of discretion.”

Why now? Political expediency. Obama needs the Latino vote:

The Obama administration has failed to deliver on its promise to lift the threat of deportation for law-abiding undocumented immigrants, according to an alliance of Hispanic and civil rights leaders who warn that disappointment among Latino voters could damage the president’s chances of being re-elected.

A new report from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (Firm) (pdf) criticises the department of homeland security for failing to implement its own policy that switched the target of deportations onto serious criminal offenders, or the “worst of the worst”.

Firm concludes that the lack of implementation could “undermine the credibility of President Obama’s standing with Latino and immigrant communities nationwide“.

Obama = Lying Hypocrite:

[C]onsider Obama’s 2008 campaign promise that he would tackle immigration reform his first year in office. He now has to explain why he failed to do this: “The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform,” Obama said in a Univision interview last month, “is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it. And I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it.”

That is a bold faced lie:

The DREAM Act would have passed if Democrats had shown unity on the measure.

But five Democrats voted against the legislation: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and both Montana Democrats, Jon Tester and Max Baucus. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition to the DREAM Act Saturday in a statement Saturday but missed the vote.

Three Republicans crossed party lines to vote for the bill: Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Utah Sen. Bob Bennett.

Maybe if Obama had put some pressure on those 5 “Democrats” the bill would have passed.

The Obama administration claims that the number are up because they are focused on deporting criminals is another lie: Most of the immigrants who were deported were Latinos and not criminals:

[L]ess than 50 percent of the people removed have a criminal conviction, according to the Homeland Security Department’s own statistics. For example, 387,000 people were deported in 2010, of which only 169,000 had committed a crime. The statistics also show that the large majority of deportations are Latinos. Roughly 73 percent are from Mexico, 8 percent from Guatemala, 6 percent from Honduras and 5 percent from El Salvador.

Remember, this is a president who talks indignantly about the immigration enforcement laws passed by GOP legislators in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – calling them “misdirected” and “bad law.” He has even instructed his Justice Department to challenge them in court.

This is good news for those undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children with their families. It is a step forward in solving a problem that Obama could have done three and half years ago without congressional approval but has chosen to do it now just to get the Latino community vote. The one thing it is not, a step towards citizenship. Hypocrite.

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan



   Officials in a small town in northern New Jersey were visited-twice-by delegations of Japanese diplomats urging them to remove a public monument commemorating “women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II.”

   Private railways and bus companies in Japan are beginning to grumble about the decades-long tradition of providing free rides to members of the Diet. They say it’s getting increasingly difficult “to secure understanding from [ordinary] users.”

   US President Barack Obama is said to have presented a birthday cake to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at last month’s G8 summit in Maryland. Noda turned 55 during the weekend of the meeting.

   Back in Japan, the PM held talks with the leaders of three Pacific island states. Micronesia’s president offered Noda “two palm ropes as a token of friendship.”

Popular Culture (Music) 20120615: The Moody Blues – Peak and Decline

Last time we discussed Seventh Sojourn, considered by many to the finest album made by the band.  Tonight we shall examine the time after that record.

After Seventh Sojourn was released, The Moody Blues were the top record selling band at the time, and had reached their zenith.  Their success brought a huge world tour.  As a matter of fact, the tour, although broken up into a couple of legs commenced in October 1972, in the US (with at least 13 dates played in late 1972).  They then took a break until the European leg started in September 1973, playing at least 33 dates (some were back in the US).  They played another 12 at least sets in Japan, Hawaii, and California in January and February of 1974.  

Historic first testimony of out transperson before Senate…Traditional Values Coalition responds

On Monday, I published a preview of Tuesday’s Senate HELP Committee hearing on ENDA.

People lose their careers. It’s over when people find out you’re transgender.

Kylar Broadus

Speaking from personal experience, I’ll declare that one’s career is not necessarily over, like Professor Broadus said, but a person is damn well going to have to fight to maintain that career and contain the damage done.