Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday, March 1st

March, I like the sound of that word.

Reuters: Nikkei rises 0.2 pct on Wall St; metal stocks up

Climate 101

A few notable links on climate -

NASA: Global Warming
Over the last five years, 600 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sifted through thousands of studies about global warming published in forums ranging from scientific journals to industry publications and distilled the world’s accumulated knowledge into this conclusion: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”
Real Climate: Beginner's Start Here

For those who need to understand the difference between weather and climate, like Senator Mitch McConnell, try this link -

Oxford University: The Basics Of Climate Prediction

'Alice In Wonderland'

trailer - it will be in 3D...

Playing Both Sides Of the Field

Lawmakers, mostly Republican lawmakers voted against the Obama stimulus yet got plenty of positive face time in their communities for that same money infusion and resulting economic activity. Obama has pointed this out with glee.

McClatchy has investigated.

We sit back and watch the hypocrisy bubble.

McClatchy: Some lawmakers said no to stimulus bill, but not its cash
So do Idaho's lawmakers think they're hypocrites?


Emphatically no, said Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, who along with Simpson trumpeted the millions of dollars in funding for the Idaho National Laboratory, money that's created jobs and helped keep eastern Idaho's economy afloat in an otherwise bleak period for the state.


"I said at the outset that spending $800 billion in the short term would generate some economic activity that would not have otherwise been generated," Crapo said. "But that long term, the drag of that debt. If you take the amount of benefit that's being calculated out there and then offset against the amount of debt that's out there that each individual in America will pick up as well in the future, well, I'm not sure that the balance is justifiable. In fact, I'm quite confident that it is not."

Capers

We are making puttanesca sauce tonight. Its so good.

Very salty dish but one of those tastes that's hard to stop eating.

Home Cooking: Capers
Capers are the unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, a prickly, perennial plant which is native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Their use dates back to more than 3000 B.C...
Nutrition Data: Capers, canned
The good: This food is very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Niacin, Calcium and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Copper.


The bad: This food is very high in Sodium.
Puttanesca Sauce
1 large (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, halved
5 anchovy filets, chopped
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can chopped black olives; or better chopped jarred black olives
3 Tablespoons capers, drained
2 Tablespoons dried parsley, chopped
1/2 to 1 small red chili pepper, chopped
salt, to taste
1 lb spaghetti or any pasta you prefer
As is, this recipe provides 4 portions.


Set the pasta water to boil. Then follow package instructions to boil your pasta;
of course, allow less boiling time for 'al dente'
Make sure you have olives, parsley and capers left for the end to be used for presentation.
In a deep saucepan lightly cook the garlic until brown, in hot oil. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes
Add all the anchovies, crush well with a fork.
Mix in the tomatoes, olives, capers and the chili, cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the parsley and cook the sauce a little more.
Put the ready and drained pasta in the pan, top with the sauce and toss pasta to coat.
Now, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley. source

'The Heart Of The World'

Short by outstanding film director Guy Maddin. Also see his film - 'The Saddest Music In The World'

Fact Ors

Up to this point we have had a very light winter in this area. Its presently snowing again. We are getting all of the season's snowfall in one week. Its been a mess.

Spring can't come fast enough -
A single share of Coca-Cola stock, purchased in 1919, when the company went public, would have been worth $92,500 in 1997.

Americans consume 42 tons of Aspirin per day.

Americans spend more than $5 billion a year on cosmetics, toiletries, beauty parlors and barber shops.

Bayer was advertising cough medicine containing Heroin in 1898.

Carbonated soda water was invented in 1767 by Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen.

Cheerios cereal was originally called Cheerioats.

Chewing gum was patented in 1869 by William Semple.

Coca-Cola was so named back in 1885 for its two medicinal ingredients: extract of coca leaves and kola nuts. As for how much cocaine was originally in the formula, it's hard to know.

Cocaine used to be sold to cure sore throat, neuralgia, nervousness, headache, colds and sleeplessness in the 1880s.

During the Prohibition, at least 1565 Americans died from drinking bad liquor, hundreds were blinded, and many were killed in bootlegger wars. Federal agents and the Coast Guard made 75,000 arrests per year.

False eyelashes were invented by film director D.W. Griffith while he was making the 1916 epic, "Intolerance." He wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes that brushed her cheeks.

For two years, during the 1970s, Mattel marketed a doll called "Growing Up Skipper". Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.

Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators, where it was first developed.

Hershey's Kisses are called that, because the machine that makes them looks like its kissing the conveyor belt.

The ball-point pen was invented by two hungarian brothers: Georgo and Lazlo Biro.

If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom, over and over again.

In 1965, LBJ enacted a law requiring cigarette manufacturers to put health warnings on their packages.

In 1984, a Canadian farmer began renting out advertising space on his cows.

In 4000 BC Egypt, men and women wore glitter eye shadow made from the crushed shells of beetles. Men and women walked around topless, and marriages between brothers and sisters were not uncommon in the Royal families. Cleopatra was married to her older brother, until he drowned in the Nile. Then she married her 11-year-old younger brother.

In the 1700s, European women achieved a pale complexion by eating "Arsenic Complexion Wafers", which contained the actual poison.
source

On Rest

“Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest” - Ashleigh Brilliant


“It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.” - Dorothy Canfield Fisher


“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” - Ovid


“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time” - John Lubbock

Unemployment D Day

The figures are deep, millions are unemployed, allegedly its 9.7% unemployment but the real percent has to be higher. As we know, people are staying unemployed longer and the job market is very weak.

On Monday March 1st, benefits run out for over 1 million as the Senate's vote to extend unemployment money was stopped by Bunning, hell of a good pitcher and also possibly one of the very worst Senators in US history siding perfectly in defense of the the elite and against entitlements.

Jim Bunning's "tough shit" moment flies into the eye of needed deficit spending.

Some point out that Bunning's one man filibuster will affect the larger obstructionism in the senate.
Senate reform, however, could have no better friend than Bunning. Last year, ending the filibuster was a quixotic blogger obsession. Now it's the subject of a petition by the Senate majority whip. Former Republican majority leader Bill Frist says his colleagues are "overdoing" the filibuster. This is how change begins, and without Bunning making clear exactly what the problem is, it would be impossible. source
Here is some of Bunning's Senate voting record and yes, he did vote for the Bush tax cuts.
* 2005 -- Voted WITH the credit-card industry on the bankruptcy bill.

* 2005 -- Voted WITH oil companies by giving them more tax breaks.

* 2006 -- Voted FOR higher deficits by extending the Bush Tax Cuts.

* 2007 -- Voted AGAINST children by opposing S-CHIP.

* 2008 -- Voted AGAINST helping people facing foreclosure.

* 2009 -- Voted AGAINST women by opposing the Ledbetter Act.

* 2009 -- Voted AGAINST children again by opposing S-CHIP.

* 2010 -- Voted AGAINST reducing the debt by opposing the Debt Commission source
CNN: Jobless benefits start ending on Sunday
Starting Monday, the jobless will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.


...the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.


...Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., prevented the $10 billion measure from passing, saying it needs to be paid for first.


...1.2 million workers who will lose benefits in March...

'Four Three'

All Radio India 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

All Male Single Ladies

Life is grand...

Tsunami Footage

From 2004 -

Recession Guide

Z Net has a very important article on the causes of the recession.

In the article Professor Robin Hahnel argues very strongly for a major stimulus package in spite of the deficit spending and huge national debt that it accumulates.

Please read this article.

Z Net: A Guide through the Economic Crisis
The principal causes of the “perfect economic storm” that broke in the fall of 2008 were (1) the dramatic increases in economic inequality which made the system less stable as well as less fair, and (2) the reckless deregulation of the financial sector. Both trends began in earnest with President Reagan in 1980, continued under Bush I and Clinton, and accelerated during Bush II. These trends were the result of a steady increase in corporate power, and the power of mega financial corporations in particular, and a dramatic decrease in the countervailing power of workers, consumers, and governments.


1. Large inequalities of income and wealth are not only unfair, they also increase the likelihood of economic crises for the simple reason that more of the income of the wealthy is not automatically turned into consumption demand. The poorer you are the more likely you are to spend what little income you have relatively quickly, and thereby provide adequate demand for all that was produced. The richer you are the more likely you are not to consume all your income. Unless the savings of the wealthy are successfully channeled into spending on goods and services by someone else, the demand for goods in general will fall short of the supply. When this happens businesses unable to sell all they are producing cut back on production and lay off workers, which of course, further aggravates the problem. This self-reinforcing, downward spiral is what we are now experiencing, more strongly than at any time since the Great Depression eighty years ago.


For now the only way to stem the downward recessionary spiral is for government to spend more than it collects in taxes – a lot more!


Yes, this means we need a big government budget deficit right now. Bigger deficit now…. Good. Smaller deficit now…. Bad.


Republicans raise concerns about fiscal deficits for opportunistic reasons. They showed no concern over massive deficits caused by tax cuts for the wealthy and increases in military spending and corporate welfare during the Bush Presidency—even when the economy was not in dire need of fiscal stimulus. Clearly they are hypocrites to raise deficits as a reason we cannot afford a massive fiscal stimulus now when the economy desperately needs one.


The many Liberals and ordinary people who express and support concern over budget deficits badly mistake their own as well as the national interest and fall into the Republican trap by doing so.

Ion Barladeanu


Interesting story, the man was homeless in 2008, now he is on the road towards major artist status at age 64. His medium is collage.

Guardian UK: Ion Barladeanu

Live In Hawaii

I've taken down the live feed from Hawaii as they appear to have "dodged the bullet." They have missed a tsunami resulting from the earthquake in Chile.

'Severe Clear'

Film trailer - a documentary on the US Marines, from the inside and in the Middle East.

Deniers

From a deep operative -

Bill McKibben who works at Middlebury College and is involved with 350.org has written a fine and detailed article on the why's and how comes of the global warming deniers and their power of persuasion.

He points out that they use the tactic of attacking the process not the evidence, and the evidence is so abundant that within those millions of pages of documents, a single paper can be taken and used by the deniers to amazing effect.

I've quoted liberally from the article and I suspect Mr. McKibben will forgive me.

Alternet: How the Mountain of Climate Change Evidence Is Being Used to Undermine the Cause
...no GOP presidential contender would now dream of acknowledging that human beings are warming the planet.


...you could fill the Superdome with climate-change research data...


Every major scientific body in the world has produced reports confirming the peril. All 15 of the warmest years on record have come in the two decades that have passed since 1989.


...virtually every glacier on the planet is, in fact, busily melting.


The climate deniers come with a few built-in advantages. Thanks to Exxon Mobil and others with a vested interest in debunking climate-change research, their “think tanks” have plenty of money, none of which gets wasted doing actual research to disprove climate change. It’s also useful for a movement to have its own TV network, Fox, though even more crucial to the denial movement are a few rightwing British tabloids which validate each new “scandal” and put it into media play.


Their (climate change deniers) success can be credited significantly to the way they tap into the main currents of our politics of the moment with far more savvy and power than most environmentalists can muster. They’ve understood the popular rage at elites. They’ve grasped the widespread feelings of powerlessness in the U.S., and the widespread suspicion that we’re being ripped off by mysterious forces beyond our control.


Anyone who works seriously on the science soon realizes that we know more than enough to start taking action, but less than we someday will.


By the way, if you think there’s a scam underway, you’re right -- and to figure it out just track the money going in campaign contributions to the politicians doing the bidding of the energy companies. Inhofe, the igloo guy? Over a million dollars from energy and utility companies and executives in the last two election cycles. You think Al Gore is going to make money from green energy? Check out what you get for running an oil company.

8.8 Earthquake

Your Weekly Report

Coming Up

February's non farm payroll data will be a key influencing part of next week's market activity. We are not entirely sure why as the distinction between a Wall Street recovery and a Main Street recovery is already apparent.

We call it a jobless recovery for good reasons. Perhaps there is a crucial threshold. What would it be, unemployment at 15%, 20%.

The consumer is at the center of the Main Street economy, and the US is still at the center of that world economy. On the other hand Goldman Sachs is at the center of the corporate economy, and multinationals are at the center of the world corporate economy. If I'm choosing who is more powerful, I'm going corporate. That's just the way it is. But clearly there are thresholds, and there is only so much taxpayer money that can get channeled into corporate lifelines.

This is our task. We need to understand some distinctions here, and recognize that the terms are used freely and loosely in the media, by politicians, and by partisans of all types.

Reuters: Payrolls, ISM may steer stocks
...February's non-farm payrolls report from the U.S. Labor Department will be the main event as job losses continue to give investors reason to question the sustainability of the economy's recovery.

"If that number (February's non-farm payrolls) comes in weak, it really confirms the strong unemployment claims data we've seen. If it comes a little bit better, it would indicate maybe we're creating jobs at a fast enough pace to offset the claims..."

On Change

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson


“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” - Flora Whittemore


“Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.” - anon.


“Change is the only constant” - anon.

Summit Residue

The sides are completely entrenched and the HCR summit didn't do anything.

The Democrats can pretty much pass whatever they want or can agree on. The precedents are already there to do just that, noticeably the Bush trillion dollar tax cuts which were passed using the 51 vote reconciliation method.

What's the problem?

McClatchy: Few signs that Obama summit moved needle on health care
The first came earlier this week when the House overwhelming approved stripping health insurance companies of their antitrust exemption. The next could permit children to remain on their parents' insurance policies through their mid to late 20s.


Passing any legislation, though, will be difficult; not only because of centrist hesitation, but also because it's unlikely that Senate Democrats can muster the 60 votes that are needed to cut off debate.

52 Big Ones

Upstate NY is seeing its share of snow this week, but 52 inches of the stuff and a foot more is coming.

Times Union: Greene County digs out from under 52 inches of snow

'Porcelain'

Moby

Friday, February 26, 2010

'Extra-Large Medium'

The Family Guy

This is the episode that caused the Palin hoopla.

February Best

I just popped my head up and its snowing like crazy. It could just be a flurry, I can't tell.

The stock market indexes keep gaining. February has been a reasonable month in that it has returned the DOW to the pre-January mini correction highs.

Recall that in March of '09 the DOW fell to approximately 6,600.What will this March bring.

Reuters: Best month since November in lackluster day for stocks
...data showed the economy grew a tad better than expected in the fourth quarter.

TPMtv - HCR Fact Checks

Reconciliation has been used and one of the items it was used on - Bush's trillion dollar tax cuts for the ultra rich. May I rhetorically ask which party was responsible for that.

The Coffee Party

An objection to the Tea Baggers is rising.

'Defendor'

Ever on the lookout for a good movie, here is the trailer for Woody Harrelson's 'Defendor.'

We like Woody but this looks flat and confused.

Summit

I watched a portion of yesterday's health care summit. Obama seems determined beyond the norm to get some kind of bipartisan agreement going on.

That is just not going to happen. Why does he continue to think that compromise is part of the authoritarian mindset. Its not, never has been, never will be.

Yes, use the 51 vote majority to pass reform.

McClatchy: Health summit leaves Obama, Democrats on their own
"I'd like the Republicans to do a little soul-searching and find out are there some things that you'd be willing to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance," Obama said at the conclusion...


"I don't know, frankly, whether we can close that gap," he added. "If we can't, then I think we've got to go ahead and some make decisions, and then that's what elections are for."


The country "will understand the president has done everything humanly possible to work this out," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii. "What the president has done is put himself in a position where even his harshest critics will say he's reached out to find cooperation."

On Fun

"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy." - Robert Louis Stevenson


"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." - Dale Carnegie


"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katherine Hepburn


"No, you never get any fun out of the things you haven't done." - Ogden Nash

The Market On Friday

At 7:45 a.m. DOW futures are up 26 points.

The articles are indicating that there will be a happy start to trading this morning.

Data on the fourth quarter GDP, January existing home sales, regional business activity, manufacturing activity in the Midwest, and consumer sentiment comes out today.

Correct me if I am wrong but this week each day of losses has been followed by a day of gains - up, down, up, down. The DOW has been in the low 10K area for a period now with the exception of its mini correction in January when it dipped into the 9K area. Its interesting to point out that the overall sentiment of the investment articles is also somewhat stable and even in tone. There are many articles out there advising people on how to pick up remaining bargain stocks.

CNN: Stocks set to rise
...investors sought to build on the optimism that started to emerge towards the end of the previous session.
Reuters: Futures slightly higher, economy in focus
The Commerce Dept will release its second estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m.

'Don't Touch Me'

Travis Barker Remixes Busta Rhymes

Travis is the drummer for the world's greatest band - Blink 182.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fracking

That has got to be a little weird. You turn on your kitchen sink water faucet, hold a match above the water, and blam, your eyebrows are singed.

Blame the flammable water on fracking.

Fracking is a deep mining technique that opens up fissures into the water table. Thank GWB and his administration for making it more common and not just a method of last resort.

Truthdig: Cracking Down on Fracking
His tap water catches fire.


Fracking is used to access natural gas and oil reserves buried thousands of feet below the ground. Companies like Halliburton drill down vertically, then send the shaft horizontally, crossing many small, trapped veins of gas and oil. Explosive charges are then set off at various points in the drill shaft, causing what Fox calls “mini-earthquakes.” These fractures spread underground, allowing the gas to flow back into the shaft to be extracted. To force open the fractures, millions of gallons of liquid are forced into the shaft at very high pressure.


The high-pressure liquids are a combination of water, sand and a secret mix of chemicals. Each well requires between 1 million and 7 million gallons of the fluid every time gas is extracted. Drillers do not have to reveal the chemical cocktail, thanks to a slew of exemptions given to the industry, most notably in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which actually granted the fracking industry a specific exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Q and A from the director of 'Gasland' which shows fracking -

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

Long live the Hummer.

Reuters: Nikkei edges up as Toyota gains, exporters mixed

'Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell'

Can it get worse, yes it can, it can get worse.

TPMtv - Obama On HCR

The Daily Show - Republican Health Care Reform

Fun Stuff

The humorous writings of Jeff Dutre...

Brief Scenes From Our Marriage
Scene 4: The Opposite of Feng Shui
My wife practices a discipline I call “The Opposite of Feng Shui.” It is the art of placing as many obstacles in my path as possible. It is a strict discipline, and she practices it religiously.


If I need to open a container, there will be heavy items stacked on top of it. If I need to walk through a narrow hallway, there will be a laundry basket or chair in my way.


She calls out “Are you OK?” if she hears a thump followed by my muffled cry of pain. “I’m fine,” I always reply. “I just bumped into something.”


Her discipline dictates that tables and chairs are to be arranged so that I must zigzag around them. Books, instead of standing upright in our bookcase, are to be stacked in tall, unsteady piles. Through the magic of The Opposite of Feng Shui, the book I seek will invariably be at the bottom of the pile.


There is an end table with three drawers where she keeps various essentials like checkbooks, batteries, and pencils. She keeps the top drawer stuffed with more items than can fit, and so it cannot close all the way. I can’t get to the second or third drawer without first removing the entire top drawer, as if I were appraising the table for Antiques Roadshow.


She leaves her shoes and boots against the wall behind our front door, so the door won’t open all the way, and I must edge sideways into my own house like a ghost crab. She also hangs coats back there. If I arrive home with an armful of packages and manage to open the door, it bounces softly against the coats and shoes, and closes back on me.


She recently attained the rank of Master of the Opposite of Feng Shui. This means I can barely make a move now without walking into something and bruising myself.


She has attained perfection.

Joannie Rochette

Gosh we love this person...

Bernanke's Predictions

Fed Head Bernanke is testifying before Congress on the state of the economy.

Right off the bat he set investors' little hearts all aflutter with promises of continued cheap money. Too bad you won't get any...

Bernanke gave predictions about the state of employment - the rate of unemployment goes down to roughly 7% in two to three years. He also said it may take till 2018 to reach full employment again. So, see you next decade.

In spite of this, he expects the US economy to grow at a rate of roughly 4%. Go figure.

Here is the message with unemployment and with economic growth, and this is simply my opinion, but he is saying the rich are going to get richer in these harder times, and the poor and middle class bumpkins O.O.W. or in foreclosure or on economic life support are crap out of luck. He is reiterating the theme that we have come to accept which is that the middle class is dissolving. But there is a carrot being dangled, all you have to do is wait till 2018. Think of it like this, just put on 'Lawrence of Arabia' for a few million times.

McClatchy: Fed chief sees positive signs, but long road to recovery
...anticipating high unemployment for years to come.


...anticipate a U.S. growth rate this year of 3 percent to 3.5 percent, and next year between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent.


...participants expect the unemployment rate to decline only slowly, to a range of roughly 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent by the end of 2012...

On Friendship

“What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.” - Goethe


“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” - anon.


“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.” - Winnie the Pooh


“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.” - Mark Twain

The Market On Thursday

At 7:25 a.m. futures are slightly down. Oil prices are slightly down as well now posting at $79.53 a barrel. Energy is so central to the markets and the sector tends to pull all kinds of equities around with them like a whale in a stream.

At least three things will influence the markets direction today. There's weekly jobless claims before Wall Street opens, the content of Bernanke's second and last day of testimony on the economy before Congress, and Greece's ongoing insolvency issues which oscillate in and out of the investor's terror radar.

CNN: Stocks set to tumble
A report on weekly jobless claims is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET.


...as investors refocused their attention on Greece's woes.
Reuters: Stock futures lower after Greece downgrade fears
...rating agencies said they may downgrade Greece's sovereign debt...


Bernanke resumes his testimony on Capitol Hill today.

'If I Had A Rocket Launcher'

Bruce Cockburn

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

No surprise here as Bernanke told Congress that with a weak jobs market and mild inflation, the Fed would keep ultra low interest rates.

Immediately after Bernanke spoke, banks and investors threw a party and paid each other billions in bonuses.

Reuters: Nikkei rises 0.6 pct on Fed rate comments, Toyota up

'Paradise Canyon'

1935 Western starring John Wayne -

Rapini

Rapini is an in house favorite.

We lightly saute it in olive oil and a pinch of salt often with some cooked beans mixed in. Its beans and greens.

Rapini has a slightly bitter and complex taste and its superb.

What's Cooking: Broccoli Raab/Rapini
Used extensively in Italian and Chinese cooking, it is not as popular in the United States but is gaining popularity. The stems are generally uniform in size (hence cook evenly) and need not be peeled. Clean it as you would other greens, removing the bottom portion of the stems which appear tough (sometimes the stems are tougher than other times depending on the age of the rapini). They stems can be removed up to where the leaves begin, and sautéed before adding the leaves to the pan. This vegetable is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium. Rapini is available all year long, but its peak season is from fall to spring.
Food Network: Braised Broccoli Rabe
* Salt
* 2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed and washed
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 ounces pancetta or mortadella, finely chopped
* 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 cup stock


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute for 4 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the broccoli rabe and stock, partially cover the pan and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, if necessary. Serve hot or warm, with some of the cooking liquid ladled over the top.

Rachel Maddow - Health Care Reform

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

CNN - Bernie Sanders On Credit Card Interest Rates

Confronting Joe Wilson On Health Care

This is the correct way to do it. Forget about a cooperative exchange and simply overwhelm your debate partner. I'm serious because the authoritarian party does not really know how to cooperate. Wilson is getting a taste of his own health care medicine.


Snow Day

We are in the midst of a snow event here in upstate NY.

The snow is wet, heavy, and apparently never ending.

I am surprised that we have power. We've lost power here about four times so far this winter. With the heavy snow, its just a matter of time before a limb wrecks the lines.

So if you don't hear from me later today, it would be because I am huddled around a candle wrapped in a blanket while attempting to get the fireplace and or generator happening.

Not complaining actually, I like the snow. Its nature's way of telling people to drop the rush for a little bit.

Up We Go

Apparently in an effort to salt the wound of health care reform, health care costs are going to go - up and go up real soon.

Call it unmitigated nose thumbing.

On might suspect that the ranks of the uninsured will grow or would that be grotesquely swell. But hey, according to the right and the ultra right, never quite sure what to call it these days, why mess with a good thing.

Sacramento Bee: Anthem Blue Cross executives grilled at state Capitol
...raise premiums by as much as 39 percent on hundreds of thousands of Californians.


"How much profit is enough?"


"Have you no shame?"


...about 15 percent of the company's more than 800,000 individual-policy subscribers to drop their coverage this year because of the premium hikes.


Since 2002, the cost of living has risen 23 percent, while health insurance premiums have increased 117 percent...

On Democracy

A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy. - Aldous Huxley


... the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy. - Alex Carey


The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through. - Alexis de Tocqueville


That's free enterprise, friends: freedom to gamble, freedom to lose. And the great thing -- the truly democratic thing about it -- is that you don't even have to be a player to lose. - Barbara Ehrenreich

The Market On Wednesday

At 7:45 a.m. futures are ever so slightly up. The price of oil is slightly down.

The main topic in today's US market pre-opening articles is Bernanke. The Fed chief will speak before Congress about the state of the economy.

Let's make a clear distinction here. He will be speaking about the state of the corporate economy not main street economy. We are not likely to hear words that will "rattle" the markets.

This is a two day event and it will be a decisive factor in not just the US market but in how world markets will perform in the next 36 to 48 hours.

CNN: Stocks set to edge up at open
Bernanke heads to Capitol Hill for the first of two days of testimony before lawmakers.


The Fed chief is expected to discuss economic and monetary policy.
Reuters: Futures edge higher as Bernanke awaited
...Bernanke was not likely to say anything that will alter the Fed's promise to keep interest rates low for an extended period, predicting the market would gain today as a result.

'Walk On The Wild Side'

Lou Reed

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'The Last Dark Step'

Hitchcock

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

Markets turned down today on news that consumer confidence is down. Is it any wonder considering the employment picture is at best, horrible.

Wednesday is Bernanke day and all the investment world is waiting with keen anticipation.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 1.4 pct on exporters; Toyota drops

CNN - Ted Haggard Has Advice For Tiger

Ted is reborn. He can confidently sit there and tell the world that "confrontational reality therapy" has shaken homosexuality from his soul. Ted is recovering from trauma.

What's next for Ted - offer heart advice for philandering Tiger Woods and Elin. I imagine Tiger Woods sitting there and wondering how his life has led him to this point where Ted Haggard is offering advice for him.

Eat Your Parsley

Italian parsley is my favorite. I rarely make scrambled eggs without a ton of parsley thrown in. Its a very important food and according to the article below it helps in fighting cancer and we know this is huge.

WH Foods: Health Benefits of Parsley
The first type is volatile oil components-including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The second type is flavonoids-including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.


Parsley's volatile oils-particularly myristicin-have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Myristicin has also been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke).
Food Network: Parsley Salad
* 4 ounces (about 2 quarts) Italian parsley
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons lemon zest
* 6 tablespoons walnut oil
* 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
* 1 teaspoon honey
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


Wash and dry the parsley. Pick the leaves, and set aside. Discard the stems.


In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, walnut oil, sesame oil, honey, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the parsley and sesame seeds and toss to combine. Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so that flavors meld.

TPMtv - Gingrich On Obama

Gingrich is working hard to earn his pay here.

One thing we can take away from this is the security of knowing at long last what Obama is. Recall that the right has labeled him virtually every conceivable misery that could possibly befall American mythology. He was initially a terrorist and the birthers keep that hope alive. Then he was a Nazi according to the teabaggers. Now the conservatives have settled on socialist. Gingrich of course would probably not be reaping the rewards of his mildly stilted partisan views if he did not partake in the vast "socialist" programs of the past that still haunt America to this very day. We are talking things like roads, libraries, state universities, public schools, and that massive and huge publicly funded and obviously socialist in nature entity which we mildly call the military.

This man is such an ass.

The Daily Show - Glenn Beck

African Americans Fairing Poorly In Recession

AARP has produced a survey on how African Americans over the age of 45 are fairing in the recession.

The findings are harsh. Everybody is feeling the pinch but the numbers and data for African Americans are harsher.

But there were some upsides for this segment of the population. For example African Americans are more likely to seek out job enhancement skills.

AARP: African American Experiences in the Economy: Recession Effects More Strongly Felt
The survey, found that over the last 12 months, a third (33%) of African Americans 45+ had problems paying rent or mortgage, and 44% had problems paying for essential items, such as food and utilities. Nearly twice as many African Americans 45+ lost a job than the general population (18% vs. 10%), and almost one in four (23%) lost their employer-sponsored health insurance.

On Deception

"We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.” - von Goethe


“I think there is a good reason why the propaganda system works that way. It recognizes that the public will not support the actual policies. Therefore it is important to prevent any knowledge or understanding of them.” - Noam Chomsky


“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.” - Thomas Jefferson

The Market On Tuesday

At 8:00 a.m. futures are slightly down and the price of oil is down about 90 cents.

Germany came up with some weal economic news and this has rattled the European markets. Germany is of course a leading producer on the world stage and so this news drags on the larger world economic recovery.

Data on housing and consumer confidence comes out this morning and this will excite or frustrate the equities markets.

Wednesday is the big day when Bernanke goes before Congress. This is where all investment ears will be tuned as Bernanke gives information on the health of the economy and how the Fed will handle its interest rate structure.

Hopefully investors will keep a lid on it today.

CNN: Stocks set to stumble
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index comes out at 9 a.m. ET. That's followed by a report on consumer confidence at 10 a.m. ET.
Reuters: Stock futures fall after German business index drops
...a key index of German business sentiment fell unexpectedly...


Home Depot swung to a fourth-quarter profit versus a loss a year ago.

'Venus In Furs'

Velvet Underground

Monday, February 22, 2010

Study Shows Milk Lightens Coffee

Are we really this dumb that we need studies to tell us this stuff.

Really.

Yahoo: Exercise Reduces Anxiety of Chronic Disease

Less Is More

How about this, an unemployment rate of 29% and the people are happy to be out of work.

Interesting twist to our ongoing plot, but there is a hitch. The security net in Spain is wide and deep.

NY Times: Persistent Unemployment, Without Lingering Pain
Joblessness has climbed to 19 percent in Spain, the highest in the euro zone, after the collapse of a housing bubble. But here in Cádiz, it is at a staggering 29 percent — and has been in double digits for decades.

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

The markets slipped just a tad today. The all the flutter news surrounds upcoming Congressional testimony from Bernanke on the state of the economy.

Reuters: Nikkei slips 0.7 pct after rally; Toyota down

'What's Eating Gilbert Grape'

Sardines

After seeing how poultry and cows are raised and slaughtered for food, I am dropping chicken and beef from my diet. I have been off beef for a while, poultry recently joins the ranks.

If you like beef and chicken, then do not investigate how cows and chickens are raised and processed. You will no longer want to consume this meat. I won't go into the details.

I've decided to regularly include in this blog fish and vegetarian recipes and related information.

I like sardines. I think they are tasty. Sardines do have the right omega oils. Its good food and its not pricey. I like them packed in olive oil.

EDF Sardines
These small fish swim in large schools and are related to shads, herrings and menhadens. Much of the world's sardine catch is used for baitfish, fishmeal and fish oil, although some is canned or sold fresh.
NOAA: Pacific Sardine
Sardines are very high in selenium and vitamin B12 and high in calcium, niacin, and phosphorus, but they are also high in cholesterol.


Sardines may live as long as 14 years, but 90% of the population consists of fish younger than six years of age.


Sardines eat plankton.
Epicurious: Spaghetti with Sardines, Dill and Fried Capers
* 1 pound spaghetti
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup drained capers, patted dry
* 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from a baguette)
* 1/2 cup chopped dill
* 2 to 3 (3 3/4-ounces) cans sardines in olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves


Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of well- salted boiling water until al dente.


Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Fry capers until they "bloom" and are just a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Toast bread crumbs in same skillet, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with capers, dill, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.


Add sardines to skillet with their oil (if using 3 cans sardines, discard oil from 1 can) over medium-high heat, then force garlic through a garlic press into skillet. Sauté until sardines are golden in spots around edges, about 2 minutes.


Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta. Add pasta to skillet with cooking water and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss until pasta is coated and sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve topped with seasoned crumbs.

TPMtv - Republican Crist Supports Obama's Stimulus

The Bloom Box

Virtual Iran Attack

The Brookings Institute recently held a virtual Iran war game. The scenario has Israel attacking Iran and blowing up nuclear facilities. We are familiar with this possibility.

Iran keeps popping its head up into the vast misery channel that occupies the course of American politics. Its important to remember that a large portion of the right would be more than pleased to push the US into an invasion of Iran.

Chris Matthews recently correctly identified Palin as an empty vessel, meaning she will do the bidding of her puppet masters. From the foreign policy point of view, that would be the neocons.

I would suggest that someone do the virtual war game again, but this time take it from the perspective of how the USA economy would fair. Would our present two war, fragile recovery, massive debt, and massive high unemployment improve with the addition of a major war or would it falter even more. More importantly would our limited democracy hold up or would the imposition of more totalitarian activity strangle the society further with another major war.

McClatchy: War game shows how attacking Iran could backfire
But what happens next isn't pretty.


The U.S. president and his National Security Council try to keep the crisis from escalating. That sours U.S.-Israeli relations, already stressed by the fact that Israel didn't inform Washington in advance of the strike. The White House tries to open a channel for talks with Iran, but is rejected.


Instead, Iran attacks Israel, both directly and through its proxies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. It misinterprets U.S. actions as weakness and mines the Straits of Hormuz, the world's chief oil artery. That sparks a clash and a massive U.S. military reinforcement in the Persian Gulf.

On Creativity

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Einstein


Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality. - Beatrix Potter


There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. - Buckminster Fuller


Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. - Franklin Roosevelt

The Market On Monday

At 7:45 futures are ever so slightly up. The price of oil is also slightly up and just short of $80 per barrel.

Today Obama releases a plan for keeping insurance rates in check. A merger between Schlumberger and Smith International has investors abuzz with the sound of an improving economic environment.

At the moment things look perky however the question is what unknown factor will sway investors off the path. This is not clear and although that's an understatement, we need to recognize that the indexes are close to their highest levels since super lows of March '09. In other words is that ceiling something that merits raising. Although there is positive economic news, the drag on it is still severe.

CNN: Stocks set for early gains
The latest survey from the National Association of Business Economics showed that leading economists believe the U.S. recovery will remain firmly on track.
Reuters: Stock futures edge up amid M&A; earnings awaited
Five former Treasury secretaries urged Congress on Sunday to bar banks that receive federal support from engaging in speculative activity unrelated to basic bank services.

'Matchbox'

Carl Perkins

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

Powell On Cheney's Assertions

Pee Wee Conserves

Five Rivers

Had a nice walk out at Five Rivers Conservancy on both Saturday and Today.


If was very crisp out, but the walk is worth its weight in gold.

 

Lots of trees down this year, the woodsy area has quite a few down.


One of the smartest things our state did was to secure areas like this for the public. There were only a handful of people out there. There were more deer than people.

'Diversity Hire'

Archer

I just wish the writers would or could raise their game just a bit or two more. I will hold out hope since I think Chris Parnell is very talented.

Saffron

I just splurged and bought four tiny thimbles of saffron for around $10, very pricey stuff.

Just read where the Buddhists use saffron rice in certain rituals. The idea here is that the saffron represents compassion and the rice represents reality. So its symbolically about compassion permeating reality. Nice idea, would you agree.

Gourmet Sleuth: Saffron
Crocus sativus...is the world's most expensive spice. Saffron are the stigmas from the crocus sativus flower.
Home Cooking: Saffron History
According to Greek mythology, handsome mortal Crocos fell in love with the beautiful nymph Smilax. But alas, his favors were rebuffed by Smilax, and he was turned into a beautiful purple crocus flower.


The word saffron derives from the Arab word zafaran, meaning yellow, and it was mentioned as far back as 1500 b.c. in many classical writings, as well as in the Bible. Further derivations come from the Old French safran, Medieval Latin safranum, and Middle English safroun.


Saffron is harvested from the fall-flowering plant Crocus sativus, a member of the Iris family. It is native to Asia Minor, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years to be used in medicines, perfumes, dyes, and as a wonderful flavoring for foods and beverages.


The red-gold threads were also highly prized by pharoahs and kings as an aphrodisiac, yet large amounts produce deathly narcotic effects.


Saffron has been used medicinally to reduce fevers, cramps and enlarged livers, and to calm nerves. It has also been used externally to for bruises, rheumatism, and neuralgia. (Warning! Do not use medicinally without consulting your physician.)


Although the majority of the world's saffron is produced in Iran, Spain is the world's largest exporter of saffron.
About.com: Mushroom and Leeks with Saffron Rice Recipe
# 3 teaspoons water (for saute)
# 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
# 2 cups leeks, thinly sliced, white and green parts
# 1-1/2 cups long grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
# 2 cups boiling water (2-1/4 cups for older style cookers)
# 1/2 pound button mushrooms, cut into 1/2-nch slices
# 1 carrot, diced
# 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
# 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
# 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
# 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
# 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley for garnish


In pressure cooker, saute garlic and leeks for 2 to 3 minutes.


Use this time to heat the water, on stove or nuke. Mix salt in water. Add water to cooker along with brown rice, mushrooms, carrots, fennel seeds, salt, saffron, and pepper.


Cover, lock, and immediately bring to high pressure. Keep there for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes, after which release/open cooker. Stir, garnish, and serve.


Yield: 4 servings


Nutrition (per serving): 320 calories Saturated fat 0 g Total Fat 3 g (7% of calories) Protein 8 g (10% of calories) Carbohydrates 66 g (83% of calories)

Notorious Confliction As Epidemic

Curious position to be in, famed director with a new award winning film while simultaneously being under house arrest for rape of a minor.

In truth although the crimes are different, this conflicted type of condition is part of a vast portion of the elite, think bankers and Wall Street executives.

WSJ: “The Ghost Writer” Director Roman Polanski, Turkish Film “Bal” (”Honey”) Win Big at the Berlin Film Festival
Roman Polanski was named Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival...


Polanski, of course, is still under house arrest in Switzerland in connection with his 1977 sex-charge case...