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Sun Nov 30, 2014 at 08:55 AM PST

In Memoriam: Edger

by SpecialKinFlag

It is with a heavy heart that I bring the sad news that kossak Edger passed away on November 28 after a brief illness. As one friend noted Edger was caring, passionate and compassionate and with a strong sense of justice.

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Republished without any changes from the July 27, 2013 version.

An article about the current state of Democracy in the US - which is what I was concerned about when I originally wrote this:
Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/...
I have heard the argument that the US is not on the path to totalitarianism.  But what creates the environment that allows for the creation a totalitarian state?  Hitler held the belief that nationalism and socialism should be identical.  Other historical voices tell us how there was a need for Germans to feel a real sense of community during the period following World War I.  It seemed to some that solidarity and comradeship might create a feeling of community that could facilitate the rebuilding of Germany.  My experiences tell me that a shared sense of isolation and danger can also create an intense feeling of solidarity and comradeship between people who were once strangers.
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Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 06:05 AM PDT

The Breakfast Club *

by SpecialKinFlag

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. Everyone's welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

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.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg
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Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 06:05 AM PDT

The Breakfast Club *

by SpecialKinFlag

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. Everyone's welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

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.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg
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Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:05 AM PDT

The Breakfast Club *

by SpecialKinFlag

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. Everyone's welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

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.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg
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I have heard the argument that the US is not on the path to totalitarianism.  But what creates the environment that allows for the creation a totalitarian state?  Hitler held the belief that nationalism and socialism should be identical.  Other historical voices tell us how there was a need for Germans to feel a real sense of community during the period following World War I.  It seemed to some that solidarity and comradeship might create a feeling of community that could facilitate the rebuilding of Germany.  My experiences tell me that a shared sense of isolation and danger can also create an intense feeling of solidarity and comradeship between people who were once strangers.

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I saw some questions yesterday about where it was possible to donate funds for the hotshots who died this weekend.  This is one option.  All of the proceeds will be donated he 100 Club is giving the families cto the Wildlife Firefighter Foundation.  I have no connection to either of these organizations.

You can buy a Memorial Tshirt in honor of the The Granite Mountain Hotshots Crew here.

http://teespring.com/...

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation website is here.

http://www.wffoundation.org/

Update: This morning the 100 Club of Arizona will be in Prescott, AZ to deliver $15,000 checks to the families of the 19 firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team who perished yesterday in the Yarnell Fire.

http://phoenix.about.com/...

Sorry I don't have the time to write a proper diary but I wanted to make these links available to those who wanted them.  My agency plays a peripheral role in supporting first responders and victims of these fires so we are quite busy.

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM PST

"It's a home."

by SpecialKinFlag

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky

“We’ve known that veterans were particularly at risk to become homeless, but now we know that they’re more likely to stay homeless and face life-threatening conditions on the street,” the campaign’s director, Becky Kanis, said in a statement. “The data paint a picture of an extremely at-risk population that is unlikely to get off the streets without targeted help."
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What do Americans have in common with Afghan families?

Debt.

Unfortunately, though, in countries like Afghanistan, debt can force a whole family into “bonded labor.”  Can you imagine your 11-year old daughter leaving for work at 5 am and returning at 4 pm?

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Interesting news coming out of the Supreme Court. The timing of this case could play a role in the elections in the fall. Alabama and Utah have passes similar laws and I'm sure will be watching this case closely also.

Supreme Court justices strongly suggested Wednesday that they are ready to allow Arizona to enforce part of a controversial state law requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people they think are in the country illegally.

Liberal and conservative justices reacted skeptically to the Obama administration's argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check, and another provision allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without a warrant, part of Arizona law aimed at driving illegal immigrants elsewhere.

"You can see it's not selling very well," Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

http://azdailysun.com/...

The “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s tough immigration enforcement law is most familiar to the public. It is also likely to withstand judicial scrutiny.

But it is only one of four provisions at issue in one of the most watched Supreme Court immigration cases in at least 10 years. If the Court strikes down any of the other parts of Arizona’s law, like its identification requirements or warrantless arrests, it will be a clear signal to states frustrated by immigration problems that there are limits to their authority.

Arizona’s provision making it a crime for an illegal alien to seek employment was almost a side-note to the discussion, although it is more likely to be struck down by the justices than the other parts of the law. Verrilli was permitted to outline his argument against the provision without interruption, noting that Congress already had established the exclusive framework for employing illegal immigrants in its 1986 immigration law. That law makes it illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers, but it is silent on the criminality of the employees themselves.
http://news.yahoo.com/...

There was also a question of whether Arizona could address the issue of unauthorized workers with it's own law. Justcie Sotomayor vehemently opposed this idea.

Thanks to VClib for pointing to this link.

With Justice Antonin Scalia pushing the radical idea that the Constitution gives states clear authority to close their borders entirely to immigrants without a legal right to be in the U.S., seven other Justices on Wednesday went looking for a more reasonable way to judge states’ power in the immigration field.  If the Court accepts the word of Arizona’s lawyer that the state is seeking only very limited authority, the state has a real chance to begin enforcing key parts of its controversial law — S.B. 1070 — at least until further legal tests unfold in lower courts....

At the end of the argument in Arizona v. United States (11-182), though, the question remained how a final opinion might be written to enlarge states’ power to deal with some 12 million foreign nationals without basing that authority upon the Scalia view that states have a free hand under the Constitution to craft their own immigration policies....

The most important of those remaining challenges is the claim that at least two of the four sections give police authority to arrest and detain people just because they look like foreigners — in a phrase, “racial profiling.”  While some of the amici in this case did raise that in their briefs, the federal government has studiously avoided the claim.   And, the moment that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., took his place at the lectern to make the U.S. challenge, Chief Justice Roberts sought to make sure that he did not talk about “racial profiling.”
http://www.scotusblog.com/

Even if the Court did allow all four of the Arizona provisions to go into effect, the case would not be over. The case would still have challenges left in the lower courts. And, the Supreme Court didn't address all of the issues brought before them. In general, the court appeared favorable to this law except for the possibility that Arizona might have overreached and created a state law that covered the violation of a federal law.
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Several years ago, I started experiencing allergy symptoms. About 5 years ago, my allergies got bad enough that they began to impact my life. That's when I began to get serious about changing my diet to see if I could make my allergies better. I made my own yogurt. I ate local honey. While my allergies didn’t get worse, they didn’t get better either.

A year ago, I discovered kefir. I stopped making my own yogurt and began making kefir and drink or eat it almost every day. [By the way, I usually made low-fat healthy yogurt, but try making a Greek-style yogurt from cream or ½ and ½ sometime. That is decadent.]

I highly recommend adding kefir to your diet.  I can’t say that my allergies have gotten better from eating it, but I did experience my allergy symptoms later this year. Was it from the weather or the kefir? I don’t know, but they are better so far this year. Tthe bottom line is that drinking kefir has made me feel healthier. I found both short and long-term benefits to drinking it. It's easy to make and you will definitely feel the better for it!

When I came back from Desert Storm, one of the most immediate effects for me was that I experienced acid reflux almost every night. Maybe it was from the MREs I ate every day for almost a year, or maybe it was the stress that caused it. I don’t know. A couple months after I began eating kefir, my acid reflux got better. Now, it’s very rare that I have a problem with it.   

So, what is kefir?


Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your "inner ecosystem." More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins.
http://bodyecology.com/...
Our digestive system normally has what we would call "good" bacteria and "bad" bacteria. Maintaining the correct balance between the "good" bacteria and the "bad" bacteria is necessary for optimal health. Things like medications, diet, diseases, and your environment can upset that balance........

Within your gastrointestinal tract, there is intestinal microflora or microbiota. This complex ecosystem contains over 400 bacterial species. Small amounts can be found in your stomach and small intestines, but the majority is found in your colon. The intestinal microflora aid in digestion, synthesize vitamins and nutrients, metabolize some medications, support the development and functioning of the gut, and enhance the immune system.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. On the flip side, it takes in the things that our body needs (nutrients from food and water) and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.......

The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Some believe that this role is the most important. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn't function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders Our immune system can benefit anytime that balanced is restored, so it's never too late.
http://www.medicinenet.com/...

   
Here’s a great video on how to make kefir. Remember to make sure you never touch your grains with metal.

How to make Kefir

I use this strainer and this pitcher. Use whatever works for you.

How to get Kefir Grains

The best way is to get them from someone in your community who already has them. A lot of people in the kefir community believe that you shouldn't sell the grains because they are alive. If you must buy them, you can find them online. I found mine on eBay for the cost of shipping. That seller isn't active anymore.

Recipes

In the summer, I serve smoothies with dinner using the kefir. My kids love my strawberry kiwi smoothie. I was just able to get some excellent mangos recently, so here’s s recipe for mango lassi.

Mango Lassi

Ingredients:

    2 cups ripe mangoes peeled and chopped
    1 and 1/2 cup kefir
    2 tablespoons honey or sugar (Adjust to your taste and/or use whatever sweetener    
    you normally use)
    1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder (Adjust to your taste)
    1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (Optional)
    1 cups crushed ice or ice cubes, use as needed (Use up to 3 cups if you like)

Blend the mangoes, kefir and honey.  Adjust sugar according to taste.  Sugar amount will depend on the sweetness or sourness of the mango and yogurt

Add ice and cardamom powder and blend again.  Add water if you want to and adjust the consistency to your taste.  

Pour in tall glass and garnish with mint leaf. I grow mint in my yard so I use that.

I normally eat kefir with my cereal in the morning. By the way, I have always liked healthy cereals and I was given the nickname Special K when I was in the army stationed in Germany. Somehow it stuck with me throughout my years afterwards in the service.

I eat Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli for breakfast quite a bit now. It has Rolled Oats, Wheat, Rye, Triticale and Barley, Almonds, Date Crumbles, Raisins, Sunflower Seeds and Walnuts in it. I soak it overnight in kefir and that actually helps predigest the whole grains. Don’t worry, you can’t tell. I’ll also add some fruit like frozen blueberries. If you must have it sweeter, add a dash of vanilla syrup or orgeat [almond syrup, I have it on hand for Mai Tais.] if you throw in cherries.

I also make oatmeal using Bob's Red Mill Organic High Fiber Hot Cereal.  This is a ground oatmeal with Organic Whole Grain Oats, Organic Wheat Bran, Organic Flax Seed Meal, Organic Oat Bran, and Organic Wheat Germ. I also put it in the fridge overnight with milk and kefir and cook it the next morning. The longer you soak the oatmeal with the kefir, the smoother the oatmeal will be.

Here’s a link to a recipe for soaked oatmeal.
http://nourishedkitchen.com/...

Thanks for reading! I have had several requests to write this diary and I hope it makes you healthier.

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In this diary we’ll look at the concept of the child and how it fits into modern civic and economic society. When you think about what a child is today, think about how that concept varies by culture and how it has changed over time. I’m going to focus on the communitarian view of the child and family to discuss how and why the modern capitalistic society fails the family and child. We talk about how important family is, but we do we actually create policies that nurture the family and the children within it? As you read this diary, consider the issues in our current economic and political institutions and how our view of the child might evolve in the near future.

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