April 2014 archive
Apr 26 2014
Apr 26 2014
Toilet paper featuring Miffy the bunny promises to be far cuter before you use it than after
Dutch children’s book author and artist Dick Bruna has created a number of characters, but his most popular of all is the good-natured rabbit named Miffy. Japan has embraced the character wholeheartedly, and at stores across the country you can find Miffy stuffed animals, stationary, and bento boxes.
And starting next month, you’ll be able to get your hands on Miffy toilet paper as well.
Like Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, Miffy has a blank expression, which easily allows the person looking at her to project whatever emotion they’re feeling onto the bunny. As a matter of fact, Bruna has grumbled that he feels Kitty-chan’s ripped off Miffy’s design, since the Dutch rabbit predates the Japanese cat by nearly 20 years.
Apr 26 2014
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.
The Hass avocados I’ve been working with lately are nutty and rich, and I’ve been doing a lot more than slicing them up for sandwiches and mashing them for guacamole. I’ve been blending them with tomatillos and chiles into creamy salsas, and making surprising salads. One of them is a Chilean cabbage slaw that the chef Iliana de la Vega made at the recent “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” conference at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. That was a revelation – coleslaw meets guacamole, two of my favorite dishes rolled into one.
Although we are now seeing studies showing that saturated fats might not be so bad after all, I hesitate to say that avocados are filled with “good fats.” But the fact is, they are. The fats in avocados, which include a generous amount of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, aid in the absorption not only of their own many fat-soluble phytonutrients, including antioxidants such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein, but also the nutrients in the foods you combine avocados with.
~Martha Rose Shulman~
A chunky guacamole that shows how Indian and Mexican flavors overlap.
This is a simple yet addictive mix of salted cabbage and puréed avocado.
A salsa with a balance of char, heat, acid and creamy, based on a recipe by Kim Sunée.
This salsa is closer to a salad, with a fusion of Thai and Mexican flavors.
Roasting the tomatillos produces a salsa with a deliciously charred flavor.
Apr 26 2014
Anais Celini, 18, attends Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, NY. She is a senior and was planning to go to the prom with her boyfriend, Nathaniel Baez. Not so fast says the private Christian high school. Nathaniel is transgender. The school says that this is “unconventional,” so Nathaniel attending would not be “beneficial” to the proceedings.
Celini says the school views them as a same-sex couple.
Rather than engage the school in a knock-down/drag-out, the couple has decided to create their own prom.
I’m not going to fight them, that wasn’t the point. It’s a big night for everybody and I don’t want to cause a scene.
Apr 25 2014
Our regular featured content-
- On This Day In History April 25 by TheMomCat
- The Breakfast Club: 4-25-2014 by urallmyminions
- Punting the Pundits by TheMomCat
These featured articles-
Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt
Write more and often. This is an Open Thread.
Apr 25 2014
In an article posted here by our friend and editor, Edger, reported that a federal court panel ruled on Monday the U.S. government must publicly disclose secret papers describing its legal justification for using drones to kill citizens suspected of terrorism overseas, because President Barack Obama and senior government officials have publicly commented on the subject.
The 2nd US circuit court of appeals in New York ruled in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and two reporters for the New York Times. In 2011, they sought any documents in which Department of Justice lawyers had discussed the highly classified “targeted-killing” program.
The requests came after a September 2011 drone strike in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader who had been born in the United States, and another US citizen, Samir Khan, and after an October 2011 strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Awlaki’s teenage son and also a US citizen. Some legal scholars and human rights activists complained that it was illegal for the US to kill American citizens away from the battlefield without a trial. [..]
In January 2013, US district court judge Colleen McMahon ruled that she had no authority to order the documents disclosed, although she chided the Obama administration for refusing to release them.
In an opinion written by 2nd circuit judge Jon Newman, a three-judge panel noted that after McMahon ruled, senior government officials spoke about the subject. The panel rejected the government’s claim that the court could not consider official disclosures made after McMahon’s ruling, including a 16-page Justice Department white paper on the subject and public comments by Obama in May in which he acknowledged his role in the Awlaki killing, saying he had “authorized the strike that took him out”.
Most certainly, the Obama administration will appeal this ruling.
Earlier this month, Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein addressed a panel discussion on government secrecy and overreach at Yale Law School that was arranged by activist and former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader. He spoke directly about President Barack Obama’s dangerous level of executive power and the lack of congressional oversight.
“And what about Congress? That’s not an impeachable offense, to lie under oath and mislead the American people?!” he asked, referring to testimony by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. “No. He’s still serving. We have as our Director of National Intelligence, who’s entrusted with secrets about us, a known perjurer, remains in office, untarnished, public reputation there. Where’s all the newspapers calling for his resignation? Silence.”
Clapper confirmed in a letter sent last week to Senator Wyden that U.S. persons have been targeted by the surveillance program – something he had earlier and categorically denied.
Fein, who also worked under the acting attorney general in the early 1970s to write a paper outlining a rationale for impeachment of President Richard Nixon, says Obama is exercising a dangerous level of executive power without adequate checks. “This president has authority to kill anyone on the planet, to play prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, if he decides, in secret, that the target of the Predator drone – could be another instrument of death, doesn’t have to be a Predator drone – is an imminent threat to U.S. national security.” Fein added the process “is not subject to review by Congress, it’s not subject to review by courts, it’s not subject to review by the American people. It is limitless.”
We apparently still have judges and courts that are willing to rein in the administration, now if we only had the congress we had in the 1970’s.
Apr 25 2014
Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when
we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
This Day in History
Apr 25 2014
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.
April 25 is the 115th day of the year (116th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 250 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1859, ground broken is for Suez Canal
At Port Said, Egypt, ground is broken for the Suez Canal, an artificial waterway intended to stretch 101 miles across the isthmus of Suez and connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French diplomat who organized the colossal undertaking, delivered the pickax blow that inaugurated construction.
Artificial canals have been built on the Suez region, which connects the continents of Asia and Africa, since ancient times. Under the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, a channel connected the Bitter Lakes to the Red Sea, and a canal reached northward from Lake Timsah as far as the Nile River. These canals fell into disrepair or were intentionally destroyed for military reasons. As early as the 15th century, Europeans speculated about building a canal across the Suez, which would allow traders to sail from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, rather than having to sail the great distance around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
The Suez Canal, when first built, was 164 km (102 mi) long and 8 m (26 ft) deep. After multiple enlargements, the canal is 193.30 km (120.11 mi) long, 24 m (79 ft) deep, and 205 metres (673 ft) wide as of 2010. It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km/14 mi, the canal itself of 162.25 km/100.82 mi and of the southern access channel of 9 km/5.6 mi.
It is single-lane with passing places in Ballah By-Pass and in the Great Bitter Lake. It contains no locks; seawater flows freely through the canal. In general, the Canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez.
The canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Under international treaty, it may be used “in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag.”
In 1854 and 1856 Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained a concession from Sa’id Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, to create a company to construct a canal open to ships of all nations. The company was to operate the canal for 99 years from its opening. De Lesseps had used his friendly relationship with Sa’id, which he had developed while he was a French diplomat during the 1830s. As stipulated in the concessions, Lesseps convened the International Commission for the piercing of the isthmus of Suez (Commission Internationale pour le percement de l’isthme des Suez) consisting of thirteen experts from seven countries, among them McClean, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, and again Negrelli, to examine the plans of Linant de Bellefonds and to advise on the feasibility of and on the best route for the canal. After surveys and analyses in Egypt and discussions in Paris on various aspects of the canal, where many of Negrelli’s ideas prevailed, the commission produced a final unanimous report in December 1856 containing a detailed description of the canal complete with plans and profiles. The Suez Canal Company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez) came into being on 15 December 1858 and work started on the shore of the future Port Said on April 25, 1859.
The excavation took some 10 years using forced labour (Corvée) of Egyptian workers during a certain period. Some sources estimate that over 30,000 people were working on the canal at any given period, that altogether more than 1.5 million people from various countries were employed, and that thousands of laborers died on the project.
The British government had opposed the project of the canal from the outset to its completion. As one of the diplomatic moves against the canal, it disapproved the use the slave labor of forced workers on the canal. The British Empire was the major global naval force and officially condemned the forced work and sent armed bedouins to start a revolt among workers. Involuntary labour on the project ceased, and the viceroy condemned the Corvée, halting the project.
Angered by the British opportunism, de Lesseps sent a letter to the British government remarking on the British lack of remorse a few years earlier when forced workers died in similar conditions building the British railway in Egypt.
Initially international opinion was skeptical and Suez Canal Company shares did not sell well overseas. Britain, the United States, Austria, and Russia did not buy any significant number of shares. All French shares were quickly sold in France