June 21, 2013 archive

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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.

Lots of Nutrition in Tiny Packages: Itty-Bitty Grains and Seeds

Amaranth Ricotta and Greens Pancakes photo 10recipehealth-articleLarge_zps976f53ce.jpg

This week I worked with tiny grains and seeds: millet and teff, amaranth and chia seeds. These can be challenging, and I had a few starts and stops along the way until I came up with a collection of recipes I was pleased with, including some delicious, moist savory pancakes made with beet greens and cooked amaranth. I continued working with chia seeds; this time I didn’t soak them, and added them to whole-grain muffins and pancakes. That’s how I used to use chia seeds way back when, before they disappeared for a few decades from the whole-foods scene. You can raise the nutritional content of your whole-grain pastries and breads just by adding 3 or 4 tablespoons; along with their considerable nutrients, the seeds contribute interesting texture like that of poppy seeds.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Amaranth, Ricotta and Greens Pancakes

Cooked amaranth works well in baked goods and griddled cakes because it’s so moist.

Bran and Chia Muffins

These moist, hearty muffins have great texture because of the slight crunch that the chia seeds contribute.

Millet and Greens Gratin

Millet can be dry, but here there’s lots of custard to moisten it, and it works really nicely to hold this gratin together.

Teff Pancakes With Chia, Millet and Blueberries

If you’re trying to work more grains and seeds into your diet, a pancake can be a good home for them.

Oven-Baked Millet

Serving millet as you would a polenta makes perfect sense.


Mrs. Smith’s Door Was Being Broken Down

She hid behind a couch.

“Good morning, Mrs. Smith,” said the head of Obama’s revitalized Peace Corps.  “Sure hope we got the right address this time.  You have nothing  to be afraid of.  We have the Attorney General with us to be sure everything is done in strict accordance with law. We are here to repossess your patented genes that belong to big corporations.”

“Did you have to break down my door?” quavered Mrs. Smith.

“You would be shocked to learn how many people flee from Peace officers and hurt themselves.  That fellow sharpening his scalpel in your yard is the Surgeon General.  He has had very few fatalities.”

“But aren’t gene patents outlawed?”

“Only for one small biotech so far.  Your President is a Harvard lawyer and knows all about that stuff.  We all know laws are different for big crooks than small ones.  You can ask the Attorney General, if you like, but he has testified to Congress about that and can be rather abrupt when he has to keep repeating himself.  Big Pharma has to take possession of its genes though in case some slick shyster objects to Big Pharma being left out.  Prudence is always called for in these cases.”

“But I thought people owned their own genes.”

“Humpty Dumpty and Alice have moved to D.C. from Kansas.  There was no work for them anymore in Kansas.  Kansas is much more of a Wonderland than Washington though Washington is improving. Conservatives are now liberals.  Insanity is principled conservatism.  I could go on but until Alice and Humpty Dumpty get around to changing patent law, ownership is ownership.  I see the Surgeon General has finished sharpening his scalpel.  He will just whip out those bad genes in no time.  Be happy, Mrs. Smith. I see you have blue eyes. Nobody has patented those mutated blue oncogenes that are associated with a great deal of cancer.  There are a lot of those genes.  I guess they are still making up lists.”

On This Day In History June 21

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 21 is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 193 days remaining until the end of the year.

On non-leap years (until 2039), this day marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, and this is the day of the year with the longest hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.

On this day in 1964, Civil rights workers disappear.

In Neshoba County in central Mississippi, three civil rights field workers disappear after investigating the burning of an African American church by the Ku Klux Klan. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men garnered national attention and led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”

The Mississippi civil rights workers murders involved the 1964 lynching of three political activists during the American Civil Rights Movement.

The murders of James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old white Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old white Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker also from New York, symbolized the risks of participating in the civil rights movement in the South during what became known as “Freedom Summer”, dedicated to voter registration.

The case also made salient the efforts of Jews in the civil rights movement.

The Lynching

The lynching of the three men occurred shortly after midnight on June 21, 1964, when they went to investigate the burning of a church that supported civil rights activity. James Chaney was a local Freedom Movement activist in Meridian, Michael Schwerner was a CORE organizer from New York, and Andrew Goodman, also from New York, was a Freedom Summer volunteer. The three men had just finished week-long training on the campus of Western College for Women (now part of Miami University), in Oxford, Ohio, regarding strategies on how to register blacks to vote.

After getting a haircut from a black barber in Meridian, the three men headed to Longdale, Mississippi, 50 miles away in Neshoba County, in order to inspect the ruins of Mount Zion United Methodist Church. The church, a meeting place for civil rights groups, had been burned just five days earlier.

Aware that their station wagon’s license number had been given to members of the notorious White Citizens’ Council and Ku Klux Klan, before leaving Meridian they informed other Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) workers of their plans and set check-in times in accordance with standard security procedures. Late that afternoon, Neshoba County deputy Cecil Price – himself a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – stopped the blue Ford carrying the trio. He arrested Chaney for allegedly driving 35 miles per hour over the speed limit. He also booked Goodman and Schwerner, “for investigation.”

Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were all denied telephone calls during their time at the jail. COFO workers made attempts to find the three men, but when they called the Neshoba County jail, the secretary followed her instructions to lie and told the workers the three young men were not there. During the hours they were held incommunicado in jail, Price notified his Klan associates who assembled and planned how to kill the three civil rights workers.

While awaiting their release, the men were given a dinner of spoonbread, green peas, potatoes and salad. When the Klan ambush was set up on the road back to Meridian, Chaney was fined $20, and the three men were ordered to leave the county. Price followed them to the edge of town, and then pulled them over with his police siren. He held them until the Klan murder squad arrived. They were taken to an isolated spot where James Chaney was beaten and all three were shot to death. Their car was driven into Bogue Chitto swamp and set on fire, and their bodies were buried in an earthen dam. In June 2000, the autopsy report that had been previously withheld from the 1967 trial was released. The report stated Chaney had a left arm broken in one place, a right arm broken in two places, “a marked disruption” of the left elbow joint and may also have suffered trauma to the groin area. A pathologist who examined the bodies at the families’ request following their autopsies noted Chaney also had a broken jaw and a crushed right shoulder which were not mentioned in the autopsy report. As the autopsy photographs and x-rays have been destroyed, the injuries could not be confirmed.

Late Night Karaoke

The Most Powerful Man You Never Heard Of

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Meet the most powerful man you’ve never heard of until recently, Gen. Keith B. Alexander,  Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA)and Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) since August 1, 2005 and Commander of the United States Cyber Command since  May 21, 2010. He is a four star general in the United States Army and, according to Wikipedia, plans to retire in 2014, which may not be soon enough for some. Did I mention that he is also a proven liar? So, when he says, as he did, without any evidence, before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that 50 terrorist attack were thwarted by the contested programs of the NSA take it with a large grain of salt.

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All In,” looks at Gen. Alexander’s tenure over the NSA with James Bamford and explains why he may be the most powerful man in Washington that you have yet to hear of.

Transcript can be read here

“We jokingly referred to him as Emperor Alexander, because whatever Keith wants, Keith gets.”

The Secret War

by James Bradford, Wired

Infiltration, sabotage, mayhem, for years, four star general Keith Alexander has been building a secret army capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. Now it;s rady to unleash hell.

Inside Fort Meade, Maryland, a top-secret city bustles. Tens of thousands of people move through more than 50 buildings-the city has its own post office, fire department, and police force. But as if designed by Kafka, it sits among a forest of trees, surrounded by electrified fences and heavily armed guards, protected by antitank barriers, monitored by sensitive motion detectors, and watched by rotating cameras. To block any telltale electromagnetic signals from escaping, the inner walls of the buildings are wrapped in protective copper shielding and the one-way windows are embedded with a fine copper mesh.

This is the undisputed domain of General Keith Alexander, a man few even in Washington would likely recognize. Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world’s largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.

Summer Solstice 2013

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

We are halfway through the year and are ready to celebrate the first harvest amidst climate disruption, natural disasters compounded by man’s foolish idea that he could harness the devil. I spent some time this morning weeding my herb garden, snipping the flower buds from the huge pot of sweet basil so the energy goes to the flavorful leaves and a short walk on the beach. Tomorrow morning I will watch the sun rise for the last few hours of Spring and later watch it set on the first few hours of Summer which ushers in at 1:04 AM EDT as the Earth tilts towards the sun at its Northern maximum, the Tropic of Cancer.

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Sunrise on the first day of Summer at Stonehenge in Salsbuty, England

It is a but a moment in time significant for so many cultures, religions and countries. Here in the US there are many cities that will light huge fires in public places to celebrate the longest day of the year, Midsummer. The fires will be lit in the stone fire pit in my yard. We’ll eat some of the newly harvested vegetable that are available at the local markets and eat food cooked with the herbs from my garden.

This year there is another treat for the first weekend of Summer, a Super Moon, on June 22 and 23. This is when the moon is closest to the earth (perigee), about 221,824 miles away, as compared to the 252,581 miles away that it is at its furthest distance from the Earth (apogee). The moon will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon.

Super Moon 2011 photo image42_zpscf2d1a66.jpg

“The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (right) compared to a more average moon of December 20, 2010 (left), as viewed from the Earth”

Image Credit: Supermoon Comparison via Wikimedia Commons

The weather here in the northeast is going to be near perfect for watching the sunrise on the longest day of the year and moonrise the brightest and biggest full moon of the year. Check out the awesome photos from last year’s celebrations from around the world, courtesy of Huffington Post Canada.

I will be on the beach as the sun peaks over the horizon tomorrow and at a cook out with friends on Saturday celebrating the glory of Summer and the moon. Tell us what you will be doing.

Happy Summer