Archive for February 24th, 2010
I just watched Ricky Gervais’s The Invention of Lying. The movie starts slow and gathers speed only gradually, but then, with the underbrush cleared, he hits his pace and I found it both enjoyable and thought-provoking. YMMV, of course.
Here is my current recipe:
1 can Wild Planet sardines in extra-virgin olive oil (free shipping)
1/2 ripe avocado
1-2 Tbsp grated onion
good dash Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
Mash that all together (including the olive oil in the can), then spread half on a slice of whole-wheat bread for an open-face sandwich. (My toaster’s put away, but toasting the bread would be nice.)
Next time try adding paprika, soy sauce.
The above is terrifically yummy.
As it happens, I have a couple of pounds of fresh asparagus, so I’ll be making this recipe by Martha Rose Shulman.
1 pound asparagus
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or sherry vinegar, or 1 tablespoon each fresh lemon juice and vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or a mixture of parsley, chives and tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus. Steam for five minutes. Refresh with ice-cold water, then drain and dry on paper towels. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
2. Cut the boiled eggs in half, mince the yolks and whites separately, and season with salt and pepper
3. In a salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar (or lemon juice and vinegar) and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the asparagus, capers and herbs, and toss together. Add the chopped egg yolks and whites, then toss together again and serve.
Yield: Serves four
Advance preparation: You can have all of the ingredients prepared hours before serving, but don’t toss them together until ready to serve.
UPDATE: Good, but WAY too much dressing. Cut it in half, at least.
House Representative Bob Marshall (R-Virginia), speaking at a press conference on February 18 to oppose funding for Planned Parenthood, said that disabled children are God’s punishment for women who have aborted their first pregnancy. Marshall said,
Looking at it from a cultural, historical perspective, this organization should be called “Planned Barrenhood” because they have nothing to do with families, they have nothing to do with responsibility … The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment, Christians would suggest.
But the following week, Marshall disputed the accuracy of his statements, claiming they were taken out of context and that the complete opposite was true: “I don’t believe that disabled kids are God’s punishments, period, end of discussion. I have defended disabled kids.” He also put out a press release insisting that he is a champion of disabled children, and saying he “regrets any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created.”
Private insurance must show a profit—and moreover, that profit must increase from year to year or the stock price suffers. Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress:
Today, during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) questioned WellPoint CEO Angela Braly about the company’s proposed rate increases in California’s individual health insurance market. The congressmen read from a series of internal company emails which revealed that WellPoint was rising premiums simply to increase its profits:
– “The average increase is 23 percent and is intended to return California to a target profits of 7 percent, versus 5 percent this year.” [WellPoint email, October 7, 2009]
– “We’re asking for premiums that would put us $40 million favorable…if we get the increases on time, we will see an opt gain upside of $30 million downgrades and rate cap.” [WellPoint email, November 2, 2009]
– “[W]e needed to reach agreement on filing strategy quickly — specifically in the area of do we file with a cushion allowed for negotiations.” [WellPoint email, 10/24/2009]
Watch a compilation:
WellPoint acknowledged setting its increases to keep up with medical costs and maintain a 2% profit, but justified the increases by arguing that the company lost money in the individual market in California. “I don’t mind you making a profit but at the end of the year, 2009 a horrible year, you still made 2 point something billion dollars, and that’s not enough,” Stupak remarked, noting that WellPoint’s high profit margin is the reason “many of us believe in a public option.”
The military, deep down, doesn’t care about the troops. It may be a psychological device for distancing those who are likely to die in combat. I don’t know. But I have observed over and over that the military puts the troop in dangers completely unrelated to combat. For example, this article by Barbara Barrett for McClatchy:
The Navy has agreed to pay $1.53 million for a mortality study that could show a linkage between toxic water at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and the deaths of Marines and their family members who lived there over a 30-year period.
Some estimates are that during that time, as many as 1 million people were exposed to well water at the base that contained trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride.
The chemicals were dumped into storm drains, leaked from fuel tanks or were buried in pits across the base. They seeped through the groundwater and into wells that fed the base areas of Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace.
The main contaminated well was shut down in November 1984.
Documents that McClatchy revealed Sunday indicate that a fuel storage farm at a central part of the base might have had far greater significance to the contamination than previously was known.
Some 800,000 gallons of fuel were thought to have been spilled over the years from the fuel farm, close to the main well serving Hadnot Point — the location of the base’s enlisted barracks, some officers’ quarters and the hospital.
Benzene is a component of fuel and a known carcinogen.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement this week that the new information changed the science behind the contamination…