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Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness 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 enter site Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Cooking With Green Garlic


This was green garlic, freshly harvested. By now it should be available at most farmers’ markets. At some stands, the bulbs look a lot like spring onions, or even leeks, because they haven’t set cloves yet. Once the cloves appear, the garlic looks more familiar; still, the green stems will be attached, and you must remove several layers of moist skin to get to the cloves.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Green Garlic

Inspired by a classic pasta dish, this recipe includes chicory, a bitter green much loved in southern Italy.

Asparagus With Green Garlic

Serve this skillet dish with grains, pasta or eggs.

Green Garlic, Potato and Leek Soup

A very pale green springtime cousin of vichyssoise, this purée is comforting when served hot, refreshing when cold.

Beet Greens, Green Garlic and Barley Gratin

Use any kind of barley, brown rice or arborio rice in this Provençal gratin.

Rice Bowl With Spinach or Pea Tendrils

This easy skillet dish is filled with sweet spring vegetables.

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Presidential Elections French Style

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The arrest of IMF President Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York City on sexual assault charges puts on interesting twist on the French Presidential Elections. He is finished as head of the IMF and most certainly washed up with politics in France whether he is acquitted of these charges or not. The French like their sex but not necessarily on the front page of every newspaper around the world. This leaves a gaping hole for the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) of whom M. Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK in France,  was the leading candidate and was expected to defeat President Nicholas Sarkozy.

The French Presidential elections are held every 5 years in April, separately from the legislative election for the two chamber Parlement (Parliament). France does not have a two party system but a system where, though many political parties exist, only two parties have a chance of getting elected to major positions. Power, however, usually passes back and forth between the two stablest coalitions representing the left and the right.

Between now and next fall there will be primaries among the opposition parties where there are more than one declared candidate. The Front National’s (FN) primary was held January 11th, electing its president, Marine Le Pen, the youngest daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, former president of the FN, to be their candidate. The Parti Socialiste will hold their primary on June 28th with multiple candidates. Pres. Sarkozy, who is backed by Union Pour Un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), already has their endorsement.

Obama Misses the Point, Caves to Drill, Baby, Drill

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

President Obama in his Saturday address to the nation, announced another cave to the right

. . the administration would begin to hold annual auctions for oil and gas leases in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, a 23-million-acre tract on the North Slope of Alaska.

. . accelerate a review of the potential environmental impact of drilling off the southern and central Atlantic coast and will consider making some areas available for exploration. The move is a change from current policy, which puts the entire Atlantic Seaboard off limits to drilling until at least 2018.

. . provide incentives for oil companies to more quickly exploit leases they already hold. Tens of millions of acres onshore and offshore are under lease but have not been developed.

Not one of these actions will lower the price of gas at the pump or create jobs or cure our dependency on foreign oil, most of which comes from our northern neighbor, Canada. The cost of gas at the pumps is under direct control of the oil companies that are still being subsidized by tax payers even as they rake in billions in profits and use tax loop holes to pay no US taxes, instead they are receiving refunds. Crude oil prices are manipulated by speculation on the open market with little regulatory control by the government or the SEC. That so-called “revolutionary” Financial Regulation Bill is a sham. Just look at rising banking fees and your credit card bill, look at your shrinking pay check and the rise in cost of food, clothing and health care. I suggest you have a bucket handy.

Yes, tax payers are angry about the price of gas but we are also opposed to more drilling for limited resources that will not solve the immediate problem. Long term, we need to be investing in green energy, renewable solutions not investing in the oil companies. Short term, rein in the oil companies and speculators.

Americans are angry at the President for not regulating the speculators and oil companies. Americans are angry at for gouging at the pump.

Asked who is to blame, most Americans point to speculators and oil companies for the recent increase in gas prices, and three-quarters say that oil companies profits are too high.

Sixty-one percent of respondents say oil companies deserve a great deal of blame for prices, while 27% say they deserve some blame. Oil speculators also figure prominently in the blame game, with 59% saying they deserve a great deal of blame, while 31% say they deserve some blame.

Americans are angry with President Obama because again caves to the right and corporatists while ignoring what the American people are telling him and congress. Ignore us at your peril.

The Donald Fires Himself

Cross posted at The Stars Hollow Gazette

I know there were a few people who actually believed that Donald Trump was a legitimate candidate who will be disappointed by his decision to pull out before he was actually in the race. Most never took this ploy as anything but a publicity stunt by low class, wealthy charlatan. Lawrence O’Donnell was betting he would withdraw as the contract for his NBC show, “The Apprentice” was up for renewal. O’Donnell called it a fake campaign, he was absolutely right. It’s May 16th and The Donald is just fired himself as a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Trump Ditches Prez Race

Donald Trump Is Not Running For President

Donald Trump has announced that he is not running for president in 2012. “This decision does not come easily or without regret,” Trump said in a statement, “especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country.”

“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run,” he said, “I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.”

John McCain: Torture Doesn’t Work

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Torture is a war crime. Water boarding is torture. If you advocate, authorize or perform it on another person, you are breaking not just US law but international law. Period. The President and the DOJ are obligated by law to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Under the law if they do not, they, themselves are complicit. There are no excuses.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was tortured while a POW in Viet Nam, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post rejecting and chastising those who were making the claim that torture, specifically water boarding, was instrumental in finding Osama bin Laden. He then appeared on the Senate floor ans spoke for 20 minutes.

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed , who broke like dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included water boarding. He loosed a torrent of information – including the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.

I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was water boarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led to bin Laden, as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee who was held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were water boarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

Law professor Jonathan Turley appeared on MSNBC’s The Ed Show and addressed this on his blog

Last night on The Ed Show, I discussed the amazing speech and column by Senator John McCain on torture. One of the most notable aspects of the comments was McCain stating that the claim by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey that torture led to the location of Bin Laden is simply untrue and confirmed as false by CIA Director Leon Panetta.

As did Ron Paul in the recent Republican debate, John McCain confronted his colleagues over the effort to redeem torture by claiming that it was beneficial in this case. As he correctly notes, torture is a war crime not because it lacks any benefit in terms of intelligence but because it is immoral . . . . .

To the contrary, McCain points out that the torture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed resulted in demonstrably “false and misleading information.”

Where I part with McCain is his insistence that, despite it being torture (and thus a war crime), no one should ever be punished for the crimes. It is important to stand for principle but it is even more important to bear the responsibility that comes with principle. It may not be popular or convenient, but we are obligated to investigate and prosecute torture.

Glenn Greenwald is an absolute must read on the Nuremberg Principles:

Benjamin Ferencz is a 92-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, American combat soldier during World War II, and a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, where he prosecuted numerous Nazi war criminals, including some responsible for the deaths of upward of 100,000 innocent people.  He gave a fascinating (and shockingly articulate) 13-minute interview yesterday to the CBC in Canada about the bin Laden killing, the Nuremberg principles, and the U.S. role in the world.  Without endorsing everything he said, I hope as many people as possible will listen to it.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey then lamely attempted to rebut McCain through an op-ed by former Cheney speech writer, Marc A Thiessen. It does not change the fact that Mukasey, Gonzalez, Bybee, Yoo, et al and now, Holder, have excused, covered up and defended war crimes, thus making them all eligible for cells at the Hague.

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The Price of Ownership

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

When the Republicans voted lock step on the Ryan Budget plan that would decimate the safety nets of Medicaid ans Medicare, they were not prepared for the harsh criticism from their own supporters and organizations that had praised their agenda in the past. During the Spring recess, House members faced angry constituents and a harsh press. On Tuesday, 42 freshmen sent a letter to the president asking that the Democrats forget that they used Medicare scare tactics fighting the Health Care Reform bill and back off holding them responsible for their votes on the Ryan Budget bill. Sorry, guys, no do-overs. You own it now.

Republican Budget Would Cause Millions of Americans to Lose Medicaid

By Jon Walker @ FDL

The House Republican budget written by Paul Ryan has received a huge amount of criticism for its plan to replace Medicare with a poorly indexed private voucher program that could result in more and more seniors every year being unable to afford health care. Less focus has been put on how equally devastating the Ryan plan would be to people who rely on Medicaid because the plan would stop federal funding for the program from keeping up with the increasing cost of actually providing people with care.

A study from be the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid(PDF) lays out three likely scenarios of what would happen if the Republican plan were implemented.

Critics Fear G.O.P.’s Proposed Medicaid Changes Could Cut Coverage for the Aged

By Jennifer Steinhauer @ NYT

While the largest number of Medicaid recipients are low-income children and adults, who tend to be far less politically potent voices in battles over entitlement programs than older voters, the changes to Medicaid proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget chairman, could actually have a more direct impact on older Americans than the Medicare part of his plan.

The House plan would turn Medicaid, which provides health coverage for the poor through a combination of federal and state money, into a block grant program for states. The federal government would give lump sums to states, which in turn would be given more flexibility and independence over use of the money, though the plan does not spell out what the federal requirements would be.

Beginning in 2013, these grants would increase annually at the rate of inflation, with adjustments for population growth, a rate far below that of inflation for health care costs. As a result, states, which have said that they cannot afford to keep up with the program’s costs, are likely to scale back coverage. Such a reduction, critics fear, could have a disproportionate effect on Medicaid spending for nursing home care for the elderly or disabled.

Critical Letter by Catholics Cites Boehner on Policies

By Laurie Goodstein @ NYT

More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House will hurt the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable, and that he therefore has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teachings.

“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter says. “From the apostles to the present, the magisterium of the church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”

The letter writers criticize Mr. Boehner’s support for a budget that cut financing for Medicare, Medicaid and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, while granting tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. They call such policies “anti-life,” a particularly biting reference because the phrase is usually applied to politicians and others who support the right to abortion.

The shoe is once again on the other foot and it is up to the Democrats to make sure it causes permanent bunions, by making them own their votes and pay the price.

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If You Only Knew, George

George Carlin was prescient. He knew all along where this country was headed and the majority of Americans would be screwed. George would have been 74 on May 12th. He is so missed but he was so right.

The Right Wing Has Nothing Else?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The “kevetching” from the right wing over the invitation to rapper Common by Michele Obama for a poetry night went on for nearly two days, distracting from the really important news that former President Bush killed Osama bin Laden.

Tone Def Poetry Jam

Tone Def Poetry Jam – Lyrics Controversy

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