February 2, 2013 archive

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Return of Filibuster Reform????

TPM has an angry article on some new, now routine, hostage taking by Senate Republicans since the failure of filibuster reform:

This Is How Filibuster Reform Comes Back To Life


TPM forgot to specify the how but maybe they saved it for the secret discussion group:

Dig beneath the headlines and daily news stories to talk to some of the most knowledgable people in the country


They could have the most powerful and intelligent people on the planet in their secret society but secret societies just don’t do much for me.

There was a secret society that was a political party in the U.S. whose members were instructed to say, “I know nothing” to all questions.  Naturally they became known as the Know Nothing Party which didn’t enhance their grim prospects for survival.

I have had the highest security classification and know compartmented secrets that I won’t reveal even if I can still remember them in old age.  I think it is safe – hope so anyway – to refer you to a series of Al Capp’s comic strip.  The Feds offered to do anything possible for the residents of Dogpatch because a nuclear-tipped ICBM had targeted Dogpatch in error and would shortly exterminate the entire population.

The Dogpatchers couldn’t be told about impending doom that they might flee because that would reveal the military was composed of a bunch of idiots and that was Top Secret.

Outside of that I know nothing.

From the original article:

Reid could in theory revisit the filibuster reform fight.

Reid could in theory fly to Mars but I know of no theory that he could now cure his stupidity and culpability with medical treatment or other means.


Best,  Terry


How appropriate.

It’s the Mind


How appropriate.

It’s the Mind

Rise and shine campers!

Ned?  Ned Ryerson?!

You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in summer with your family up in the mountains. There’s a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You’re very generous. You’re kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.

How are you doing this?

I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

On This Day In History February 2

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.

February 2 is the 33rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 332 days remaining until the end of the year (333 in leap years).

On this day in 1925, dog sleds reach Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race.

During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the “Great Race of Mercy,” 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic. Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is a popular tourist attraction in New York City’s Central Park. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.

The sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in subarctic communities around the world, and the race became both the last great hurrah and the most famous event in the history of mushing, before first aircraft in the 1930s and then the snowmobile in the 1960s drove the dog sled almost into extinction. The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honors the history of dog mushing with many traditions that commemorate the serum run.


The only doctor in Nome and the surrounding communities was Curtis Welch, who was supported by four nurses at the 24-bed Maynard Columbus Hospital. In the summer of 1924, his supply of 80,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin (from 1918) expired, but the order he placed with the health commissioner in Juneau did not arrive before the port closed.

Shortly after the departure of the last ship of the year, the Alameda,[when?] a two-year-old Alaska Native from the nearby village of Holy Cross became the first to display symptoms of diphtheria. Welch diagnosed it as tonsillitis, dismissing diphtheria because no one else in the child’s family or village showed signs of the disease, which is extremely contagious and can survive for weeks outside the body. The child died the next morning, and an abnormally large number of cases of tonsillitis were diagnosed through December, including another fatality on December 28, which is rare. The child’s mother refused to allow an autopsy. Two more Alaska Native children died, and on January 20 the first case of diphtheria was diagnosed in three-year-old Bill Barnett, who had the characteristic grayish lesions on his throat and in his nasal membranes. Welch did not administer the antitoxin, because he was worried the expired batch might weaken the boy, who died the next day.

On January 21, seven-year-old Bessie Stanley was diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, and was injected with 6,000 units of antitoxin. She died later that day. The same evening, Welch called Mayor George Maynard, and arranged an emergency town council meeting. Welch announced he needed at least one million units to stave off an epidemic. The council immediately implemented a quarantine, and Emily Morgan was appointed Quarantine Nurse.

On January 22, 1925, Welch sent a radio telegram via the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System and alerted all major towns in Alaska including the governor in Juneau of the public health risk. A second to the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. read:

“An epidemic of diphtheria is almost inevitable here STOP I am in urgent need of one million units of diphtheria antitoxin STOP Mail is only form of transportation STOP I have made application to Commissioner of Health of the Territories for antitoxin already STOP There are about 3000 white natives in the district”

Wings versus paws

At the January 24 meeting of the board of health superintendent Mark Summers of the Hammon Consolidated Gold Fields proposed a dogsled relay, using two fast teams. One would start at Nenana and the other at Nome, and they would meet at Nulato. His employee, the Norwegian Leonhard Seppala, was the obvious and only choice for the 630-mile (1,014 km) round trip from Nome to Nulato and back. He had previously made the run from Nome to Nulato in a record-breaking four days, won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes three times, and had become something of a legend for his athletic ability and rapport with his Siberian huskies. His lead dog Togo was equally famous for his leadership, intelligence, and ability to sense danger.

Mayor Maynard proposed flying the antitoxin by aircraft. In February 1924, the first winter aircraft flight in Alaska had been conducted between Fairbanks and McGrath by Carl Eielson, who flew a reliable De Havilland DH-4 issued by the U.S. Post Office on 8 experimental trips. The longest flight was only 260 miles (420 km), the worst conditions were – 10 F (- 23 C) which required so much winter clothing that the plane was almost unflyable, and the plane made several crash landings.


The death toll is officially listed as either 5, 6, or 7, but Welch later estimated there were probably at least 100 additional cases among “the Eskimo camps outside the city. The Natives have a habit of burying their children without reporting the death.” Forty-three new cases were diagnosed in 1926, but they were easily managed with the fresh supply of serum. (Salisbury, 2003, footnotes on page 235 and 243)

All participants received letters of commendation from President Calvin Coolidge, and the Senate stopped work to recognize the event. Each musher during the first relay received a gold medal from the H. K. Mulford company, and the territory awarded them each USD $25. Poems and letters from children poured in, and spontaneous fund raising campaigns sprang up around the country.

Gunnar Kaasen and his team became celebrities and toured the West Coast from February 1925 to February 1926, and even starred in a 30-minute film entitled Balto’s Race to Nome. A statue of Balto by Frederick Roth was unveiled in New York City’s Central Park during a visit on December 15, 1925. Balto and the other dogs became part of a sideshow and lived in horrible conditions until they were rescued by George Kimble and fund raising campaign by the children of Cleveland, Ohio. On March 19, 1927, Balto received a hero’s welcome as they arrived at their permanent home at the Cleveland Zoo. Because of age, Balto was euthanised on March 14, 1933 at the age of 14. He was mounted and placed on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

What’s Cooking: Super Bowl Indoor Tailgate Party

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Bacon Wrapped Pig WingsIt’s the big game, the grand finale to the all the American version of football, Super Bowl XLVII which will determine the NFL champion. This year it’s  the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Ravens and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion San Francisco 49ers who will meet tomorrow in New Orleans  at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

But, you know all that. The big thing is what to feed those exuberant fans gathered around the TV. I have some new recipes and some old favorites.

For the new:

Bacon-Wrapped Pig Wings

To quote epicurious, where these recipes are from, “Who says pigs can’t fly? Take a few boneless pork chops, add some bacon and a little creativity, and Pig Wings are on the menu!”

If cooking indoors, start in a “slow” oven  235°F for 90 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked. Finish under the broiler to crisp the bacon.

Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp with Blue Cheese and Celery

This shrimp recipe is a close seafood version of Buffalo Chicken Wings. I reduced the salt to two teaspoons with excellent results and the blue cheese dip can be made two days ahead which enhances the flavor.

Garlic Roasted Potato Skins served with Onion and Spinach Dip.

Save the scooped out flesh for other uses. Potato skins can be scooped out and spread with garlic paste, but not baked, 1 day ahead and chilled, loosely covered with foil. Bring them to room temperature before baking.

Pretzel Bites with Quick Cheddar Dip

For a quick recipe, you can buy frozen pretzels in the snack section of the supermarket. Just cut them into bite size nuggets before cooking.

Meatball Sliders

You can substitute your favorite ready made meatballs and sauce but, trust me, if you have time, this recipe is well worth making from “scratch.”

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings

For the health conscious, baking yields really crispy wings without the mess and time watching. For the less healthy conscious these are our past favorites:

Buffalo Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese Dip and Spicy Laquered Chicken Wings

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Heavens forbid we should forget desert. Nummm

If you aren’t watching the game, eat your heart out.

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan

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The National Police Agency and the Japan Securities Dealers Association announced new measures intended to keep yakuza groups from… stock trading.

Leading online game operator Gree blamed a software glitch for overcharging the accounts of 733 minors-including 30 kids who were stuck with bills of more than ¥100,000 each.

Education officials in Saitama have developed a system that enables students to report bullying incidents via mobile phone.

It was reported that the Japanese are trying to save electricity this winter by “warmth sharing”-that is, “the communal use of warm and toasty places.”

The neuralyzer

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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.

Celery as the Main Event

Pan Cooked Celery with Tomato and Parsley

You always see celery listed as an ingredient in tonic juices and blender drinks. It has long been used in Chinese medicine to help control high blood pressure, which makes sense because it contains phytochemicals called phthalides that reduce stress hormones and work to relax the muscle walls in arteries, increasing blood flow. The vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamins K and C, and a very good source of potassium, folate, dietary fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and Vitamin B6. Another bonus attribute – it is very low in calories. However, it is on the high side as far as sodium goes.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Pan-Cooked Celery With Tomatoes and Parsley

A way to serve celery as a side dish, or as a topping for grains or pasta.

Lentil, Celery and Tomato Minestrone

With extra celery, traditional minestrone soup takes on a whole new layer of flavor.

Celery and Radish Salad With Gorgonzola

Use the delicate hearts of celery for this light and delicious salad.

Celery Risotto With Dandelion Greens or Kale

Celery contrasts nicely with the rice in this aromatic risott

Puréed Broccoli and Celery Soup

A broccoli soup with an added dimension of flavor.

A cancer patient with true grit

Sasha could surprise you.  She probably spent time in a hospital only for amputation of a leg from bone cancer:


In case you have trouble with the link, Sasha is claimed to be a twelve and a half-year-old American bulldog but she sure doesn’t look like any bulldog I am familiar with.

Three-legged Sasha runs, jumps, swims and catches frisbees which beats our two younger lunkheads who just watch a frisbie sail off, go to inspect it, chew it a bit and then wander off to fight and fool around.

Our 4-year-old, 106 lb. black German Shepherd only scares the wits out of people like the vet’s helpers [I would be frightened too BTW if I didn’t know him].   My wife promised to hold Coal tight while he was given a shot in the rump so he wouldn’t be muzzled.  She said the aide still seemed to be afraid Coal might kick or something.  Sure hope Coal doesn’t get none of that osteosarcoma.  Might be tough getting Coal into a study in an egghead university.

Truth be told Sasha’s prospects aren’t excellent.  One of four dogs in the clinical trial was sent off to dog heaven when the cancer metastasized to the lungs and other bones.  All got a low dose and aren’t eligible for Phase II [mean old investigators want the study to continue with the low dose] or Phase III or any Phase IV.  But inferior humans have done pretty well with low dose.

Be years yet before we will know if any such drug is good enough to be injected in cancer and other patients on an outpatient basis but it sure is pleasant to contemplate compared to the cutting, burning and poisoning of patients.

Obama has talked of shortening the gawdawfully long, expensive and torturous trial process and his appointees seem to be making some small progress in that. The primary enemies are mostly journalists and Nader-type liberals who sensationalize with reason to patients than help to afflicted rather than the usual suspects, Big Pharma.  

Coal, being the same breed as the top war dogs of all time – German Shepherds – should be used to the front lines but others are just collateral.  Veterinary medicine has a skeleton clinical trial system that tends to be much swifter to market than human trials.

Vast fortunes can be made with new and better drugs and for some that is all that matters.

But not for all.

In the hospital where I met my wife long ago, there were trials of a treatment for juvenile leukemia.  Diagnosis of juvenile leukemia was a certain death sentence for which there was no reprieve at the time.  “We are going to cure that sucker,”  a doctor told a callow youth.  Yeah, right, I thought.  

By golly, the doctor [and lots of other doctors and hospitals and researchers and scientists] dunnit.  At least for most little kids.

Sometimes life can be grand.  Even for dogs.

Best,  Terry

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