October 11, 2013 archive

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.

Pasta Dishes With Vegetables as Stars

Perciatelli With Baby Broccoli, Tomatoes and Anchovies photo 30recipehealth-articleLarge_zps89eb58a7.jpg

It’s been a busy week for me and whenever my schedule is tight I veer toward pasta. In some of this week’s Recipes for Health you will be able to prepare the vegetable accompaniment in the time it takes to heat the water and cook the pasta: the same water is used to blanch vegetables in the dish. I made one dish with perciatelli, baby broccoli and tomatoes and blanched the baby broccoli in the water that I then used for the pasta, and when I made orecchiette with pesto and green and yellow string beans, I just threw the beans into the pot with the pasta halfway through the pasta’s cooking time.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Perciatelli With Baby Broccoli, Tomatoes and Anchovies

This Southern Italian pasta is inspired by a dish that calls for the light green cauliflower used in Sicily.

Orecchiette With Basil and Pistachio Pesto and Green and Yellow Beans

Cut the beans into small lengths so that everything is bite-size.

Farfalle With Roasted Peppers, Peas, Feta and Yogurt

This dish is inspired by Greek and Turkish ways with pasta and yogurt.

Whole Wheat Penne or Fusilli With Tomatoes, Shell Beans and Feta

Shell beans are a rare treat, soft and velvety, to be savored during their short season.

Lasagna With Pistou and Mushrooms

There will be a day when the weather suddenly cools and my basil plants and those at your farmers’ market stop thriving, but that day hasn’t come yet.

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What would Jugashvili do?

Now frankly I still think the appropriate historic parallels are Late Imperial Rome and Nazi Germany, but for some reason (I can’t quite figure out why) people object when you point out their irrational worship of all things Obama is nothing more than F├╝hrerprinzip and the United States an exceptional example of decadence.

Matt Taibbi gives a more contemporary perspective-

Democrats Must Stop Ted Cruz’s Hollywood Ending

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

POSTED: October 11, 11:28 AM ET

Having lived in the former Soviet Union for 10 years, I will forever have plastered to the back of my cerebellum the commemorative bumper sticker: “WWSD?”

What Would Stalin Do? It’s a useful question to ask sometimes, because it offers valuable perspective. What would Stalin have done with Britney Spears? Have her declared a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, with the Leningrad-Murmansk train line named after her. Dan Dierdorf would have been made Secretary of the Sverdlovsk Region. Shepard Smith would probably get to head up the Press Ministry to start, then maybe work his way up to Foreign Affairs. It’s hard not to look at the American cultural landscape and see all sorts of people the old seminarian would really have liked.

But the main reason I’m thinking of this now is the debt ceiling/government shutdown issue. How would Stalin have handled all of this? Reflexively, I can’t help but wonder.

I’m guessing he would have taken Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz’s caucus members, loaded them onto cattle cars, and relocated them to a piece of woodsy wilderness in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. Once there, guards would have handed saws and hammers to the esteemed legislators (still dressed in suits and heels – no wasteful government spending on parkas!) and instructed them to build new congressional “branch offices” out of the still-living trees surrounding them. Always conscious of cost, Stalin preferred, whenever possible, to relocate pesky populations to remote deserts and taigas rather than waste bullets liquidating them. Tea Party congresspersons would naturally be one of the first nationalities moved.

Leaders of movements were a different matter. Of those, one had to make very public examples. In this instance, with Cruz and company, Old Koba would likely go the “Kirov’s Assassins” route. First, he’d have someone like Ted Yoho bite an exploding apple during a live CNBC broadcast. Then he’d immediately send Eric Holder out for a massive impromptu press conference in which the White House, furious over the loss of so great a patriot, would announce a sweeping, coast-to-coast search for Yoho’s killers.

Eventually, the chief suspects would be arrested, and they would be everyone you would expect – the Koch Brothers, Rand Paul and of course Cruz himself, who, weeping and begging for forgiveness, would confess in lurid detail to the crime in a live televised trial. He got Michelle Bachmann to design the exploding apple! They conspired to have it delivered on-set by Maria Bartiromo! And they all removed Yoho out of jealousy (he was getting too much ink for out-dumbing the field, saying a default would “bring stability to world markets”)!

Not making any value judgments at all, but that’s what Stalin would do. What is Barack Obama doing? Well, something much less than that. Much, much less, to the point where it’s getting a little weird.  

The 2008 crash was triggered by the failure of one investment bank, Lehman Brothers, and when that bank collapsed, the world discovered that it was now so interconnected financially that one significant and unexpected failure could start a nuclear chain-reaction of losses. The Lehman impact stunned everyone. The average American family lost 18 percent of its wealth within months. The stock market lost half its value. The repo market collapsed, freezing economic activity and leading to massive declines in asset prices. Unemployment soared past 10 percent almost instantly.

And that was just one bank failure. Can one imagine the consequences of the failure of the United States? The $12 trillion in outstanding government debt is 23 times bigger than the $517 billion Lehman owed when it went under in September 2008. In every way that Lehman’s failure played havoc with the economy, the failure of U.S. debt would repeat the disaster, only it would do it on an almost inconceivably huger scale.

The entire world financial system revolves around the notion that the U.S. will never default, because under normal, rational circumstances, it can’t. (It can always print enough money to meet its obligations, as even Alan Greenspan conceded two years ago.) Before this latest political madness, no one could ever have conceived of a sovereign state intentionally defaulting. But we’re, like, a week away from this happening, and where’s the emergency mobilization?

I’m not saying that this is the case, but one wonders whether the Democrats have made a miscalculation here, based upon their own narrow, transactional, materialistic view of politics. The Democrats may be sitting back just a little bit, content to let this felicitous political situation develop just a little longer, perhaps (and I have no proof of this) convinced that the other party will come to its senses and stand down at the last minute.

But Cruz and his people are something we never see in Washington – believers.

Obama and his Neoliberals are believers too, and it’s not in democracy.


On This Day In History October 11

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.

October 11 is the 284th day of the year (285th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 81 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1982, The Mary Rose, a Tudor carrack which sank on July 19 1545, is salvaged from the sea bed of the Solent, off Portsmouth.

The Mary Rose was a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland, and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent, the straits north of the Isle of Wight. The wreck of the Mary Rose was rediscovered in 1971 and salvaged in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The surviving section of the ship and thousands of recovered artefacts are of immeasurable value as a Tudor-era time capsule.

The excavation and salvage of the Mary Rose was a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology, comparable in complexity and cost only to the raising of the Swedish 17th-century warship Vasa in 1961. The finds include weapons, sailing equipment, naval supplies and a wide array of objects used by the crew. Many of the artefacts are unique to the Mary Rose and have provided insights into topics ranging from naval warfare to the history of musical instruments. Since the mid-1980s, while undergoing conservation, the remains of the hull have been on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. An extensive collection of well-preserved artefacts is on display at the nearby Mary Rose Museum.

The Mary Rose had no known career as a merchant vessel. She was one of the largest ships in the English navy throughout more than three decades of intermittent war and was one of the earliest examples of a purpose-built sailing warship. She was armed with new types of heavy guns that could fire through the recently invented gun-ports. After being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she was also one of the earliest ships that could fire a broadside, although the line of battle tactics that employed it had not yet been developed. Several theories have sought to explain the demise of the Mary Rose, based on historical records, knowledge of 16th-century shipbuilding and modern experiments. However, the precise cause of her sinking is still unclear, because of conflicting testimonies and a lack of conclusive physical evidence.

Muse in the Morning

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Late Night Karaoke

Congressional Game of Chicken: The “Creators” of the “American Taliban” Losing Control

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The business community is worried that they no longer have any influence over the Republican Party and place the blame for this current crisis squarely on the Tea Party faction of the House.

As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.

Their frustration has grown so intense in recent days that several trade association officials warned in interviews on Wednesday that they were considering helping wage primary campaigns against Republican lawmakers who had worked to engineer the political standoff in Washington.

Such an effort would thrust Washington’s traditionally cautious and pragmatic business lobby into open warfare with the Tea Party faction, which has grown in influence since the 2010 election and won a series of skirmishes with the Republican establishment in the last two years. [..]

In the two previous battles over the debt limit, many chief executives were reluctant to take sides, banding together in groups like Fix the Debt, which spent millions of dollars on a campaign urging Democrats and Republicans to work toward a “grand bargain” on the budget. But with shutdown a reality, and the clock ticking toward default, some of those same executives now place the blame squarely on conservative Republicans in the House.

The handful of Tea Party extremists, who believe that it’s OK to crash the world’s economy for their ideology, are out of control and unreasonable, not that they ever weren’t. But now the creators of this American version of Al Qaeda are scared. Yeah, they are scared. When you have the Koch brothers writing letters (pdf) to the US Senate insisting that the company was not involved in any ploy to shut down the government in efforts to defund Obamacare and Heritage Action, an arm of the Koch bothers’ Heritage Foundation, telling the House to raise the debt ceiling, you know they’re rattled.

Michael Needham, CEO of the powerful group Heritage Action, said that he opposed conditioning a crucial vote to increase the government’s borrowing authority on the group’s main goal: defunding Obamacare.

Under questioning at a breakfast with reporters, hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Needham, a product of the Stanford Business School, conceded that failure to raise the debt ceiling would indeed disrupt the global economy. [..]

That could give Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) at least a smidgen of room to maneuver if and when they decide to strike an overall deal: the White House could get a “clean” debt ceiling vote (though of short duration) and the GOP could get a concession or two on the continuing resolution to fund the government’s annual spending.

Taking the cue, the reluctant leader of the pack, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA))and other members of the GOP leadership are meeting this afternoon at the White House to discuss a short term solution to raise the debt ceiling but not ending the government shutdown

Republican House leaders Thursday offered the president and Senate far less than they want in the ongoing financial standoff, presenting a six-week hike of the debt limit, but no deal to reopen the shuttered federal government.While the plan would grant six more weeks before the nation faces the chance of a default, it is contingent on the president agreeing to give up one of his key stances — that he will not sit down and negotiate until the government is reopened and the House stops using the $16.7 trillion debt limit as a lever to extract concessions. The limit is expected to be reached Oct. 17.

Nope, says the White House:

“The President has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills,” an administration official said in a statement.

“It is better for economic certainty for Congress to take the threat of default off the table for as long as possible, which is why we support the Senate Democrats’ efforts to raise the debt limit for a year with no extraneous political strings attached,” the official continued, adding that Obama still want a straight up-or-down vote on a measure that the Senate passed to reopen government.

“Once Republicans in Congress act to remove the threat of default and end this harmful government shutdown, the President will be willing to negotiate on a broader budget agreement to create jobs, grow the economy, and put our fiscal house in order,” the official said. “While we are willing to look at any proposal Congress puts forward to end these manufactured crises, we will not allow a faction of the Republicans in the House to hold the economy hostage to its extraneous and extreme political demands. Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government.”

This doesn’t sound very promising. Boehner’s problem is that unless he violates the Hastert Rule and goes the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Democrats for help, there is no way he can get a clean debt ceiling bill to the House floor. Boehner is betting the faith and credit of the US on Obama agreeing to his terms. The president is betting that Boehner will be forced to cave, abandon the Hastert Rule, and put a clean debt ceiling bill up for a vote.

Reid and Obama are also unsure whether Boehner can actually push his proposal through the House in the first place. They aren’t convinced hard-line conservatives and tea party aligned House Republicans won’t balk, forcing Boehner to turn to House Democrats for support. But any Democratic support would be tied to reopening the government.

Here’s the House GOP plan, and the thinking behind it: Republicans would vote to lift the debt ceiling until Nov. 22 – just before the Thanksgiving recess – while prohibiting the Treasury Department from using extraordinary measures to lift the borrowing limit. The legislation will also set up a negotiation over the borrowing cap and government funding. At this time, there are no spending cuts attached to the legislation. There is also no vote scheduled.

The game of chicken continues leaving not just the average American at great risk but putting the business community at loggerheads on who to fund to represent them in the long run. This game will have consequences. Question is for whom? And how dire?  

2013 Junior League Division Series: Detroit @ Oakland Game 5

Pretty much the last of the Division Series, Senior League Championship starts tomorrow @ 8:30 pm ET on TBS between the Cards and Dodgers.

Oddly enough both Detroit and Oakland have won away in a seesaw series with the largest margin of victory being 3 runs in the opening game at Comerica Park on Monday with the 3 score 5th being the decider.

Tonight Verlander (13 – 12, 3.46 ERA R), the losing Pitcher in Game 2 who got chased after 7 innings, is making a second appearance because despite his disappointing performance he is the Tiger’s ace.  Time to earn the big bucks because you can pay anyone to lose and for much less money.

He’ll be opposed by Sonny Gray (5 – 3, 2.67 ERA R) who is largely an unknown quantity.  He has a little better than 1 KO per inning in the regular season and closed out with a 9 – 0 victory over Seattle (nothing to brag about).

So it will be some exciting, you betcha.