RightWing nutballs get culture as wrong as they get history – Iranians mock Netanyahu

World Leaders Attend UN General Assembly

Iranians have used social media to mock Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after he suggested they were not allowed to wear jeans.

In an interview with BBC Persian TV Mr Netanyahu said that if Iranians were free they would wear blue jeans, and listen to Western music.

Hundreds of Iranians both in Iran and abroad reacted on social media sites…Many posts showed mainly young Iranians wearing jeans and listening to Western music, some in comic poses.

Others mocked up scenes from ancient Persian history with the protagonists wearing denim.

Jeans are not banned in Iran, where an Islamic dress code requires women to cover their hair and wear modest outer clothing. Some Western music or Western-style music is tolerated.

One picture on social media sites showed a young boy in jeans whispering into the ear of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Another is a doctored photograph of Mr Netanyahu’s address at the UN last year in which he drew a red line across a sketch of a bomb, to warn that Iran was moving closer to the metaphorical “red line” of gaining enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.

In the mocked-up picture, widely-shared on Twitter, the bomb has been replaced with a picture of a female figure wearing jeans, with the Israeli prime minister appearing to draw a red line across the thighs.

One Iranian response on a Facebook page that has attracted hundreds of followers read: “He thinks he saw our bomb but he hasn’t seen our jeans.”

Most Americans probably can legitimately claim to be ignorant of the role our nation played in suppressing democracy in Iran – laying the groundwork for an Islamic revolution. Israelis really can’t. They can’t avoid a certain amount of history and knowledge. Though, obviously, their right-wing prime minister tries hard to portray himself as the theocratic village idiot.

US invasion of Afghanistan began 12 years ago – today!

Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, began 12 years ago Monday…There are still 54,000 American troops in Afghanistan and the number of coalition bases has gone from a high of 800 to about 100, Stars and Stripes reported…

Discussion and media interest about Afghanistan have faded since President Obama ordered a troop surge three years ago, but a White House spokesman declined to discuss whether Obama is avoiding public discussion, Stars and Stripes said.

A. Trevor Thrall, a professor at George Mason University, said this isn’t the first time a president has tried to avoid news out of Afghanistan, the report said.

George W. Bush stopped talking about Afghanistan almost immediately after he shifted focus to Iraq,” Thrall said. “Afghanistan was truly a forgotten war [when] Obama took over and it became it again after the surge was over. The result is the public really has no idea what’s going on there.”

Troops still in Afghanistan told Stars and Stripes they have mixed feelings about the lack of attention.

“It’s kind of sad, because I think some people are a little more occupied with the latest TV show,” said Lt. Uriel Macias, a Navy reservist assigned to a stability operations team in Kabul. “But what is often forgotten is that we are still losing people all the time.”

Of course, we could have left a long time ago – just as we could have stayed out of Iraq altogether. But, that not only would have required reason and objectivity among our elected officials in the White House and Congress – it would have required courage in the face of right-wing chickenhawks, war-lovers and profiteers.

Not especially likely in the Land of Liberty.

Congress bans Chinese scientists from space telescope conference — scientists around the world start boycott

Cold War Congress in NASA

Nasa is facing an extraordinary backlash from US researchers after it emerged that the space agency has banned Chinese scientists, including those working at US institutions, from a conference on grounds of national security.

NASA officials rejected applications from Chinese nationals who hoped to attend the meeting at the agency’s Ames research centre in California next month citing a law, passed in March, which prohibits anyone from China setting foot in a NASA building.

The law is part of a broad and aggressive move initiated by congressman Frank Wolf, chair of the House appropriations committee, which has jurisdiction over NASA. It aims to restrict the foreign nationals’ access to NASA facilities, ostensibly to counter espionage.

But the ban has angered many US scientists who say Chinese students and researchers in their labs are being discriminated against. A growing number of US scientists have now decided to boycott the meeting in protest, with senior academics withdrawing individually, or pulling out their entire research groups.

The conference is being held for US and international teams who work on NASA’s Kepler space telescope programme, which has been searching the cosmos for signs of planets beyond our solar system. The meeting is the most important event in the academic calendar for scientists who specialise in the field…

Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has been tipped to win a Nobel prize for his pioneering work on exoplanets, or planets outside the solar system, called the ban “completely shameful and unethical”.

In an email sent to the conference organisers, Marcy said: “In good conscience, I cannot attend a meeting that discriminates in this way. The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications,” he wrote.

“It is completely unethical for the United States of America to exclude certain countries from pure science research,” Marcy told the Guardian. “It’s an ethical breach that is unacceptable. You have to draw the line…”

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We have lost Marcella Hazan

In his early days as a rising star chef, Mario Batali received a letter from Marcella Hazan after he had made risotto in a sauté pan on his television show, “Molto Mario.”

In it, the exacting and sometimes prickly Italian-born cook told Mr. Batali he was all wrong. In no uncertain terms, Mrs. Hazan told him the only proper way to make risotto was in a saucepan. He did not agree, but the two became friends anyway, sitting down over glasses of Jack Daniel’s whenever their paths crossed.

“I didn’t pay attention to Julia Child like everyone else said they did,” Mr. Batali recalled. “I paid attention to Marcella Hazan.”

Mrs. Hazan, a chain-smoking, determined former biology scholar who reluctantly moved to America and went on to teach a nation to cook Italian food, died Sunday at her home in Longboat Key, Fla. She was 89.

She had been suffering from emphysema for many years, and had severe circulation problems, her husband, Victor, said.

The impact Mrs. Hazan had on the way America cooks Italian food is impossible to overstate. Even people who have never heard of Marcella Hazan cook and shop differently because of her, and the six cookbooks she wrote, starting in 1973 with “The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating.”

“She was the first mother of Italian cooking in America,” said Lidia Bastianich, the New York restaurateur and television cooking personality.

Mrs. Hazan embraced simplicity, precision and balance in her cooking.

Plenty left to read in the rest of the article, her marriage to Victor, confronting supermarkets with dead chickens, strict allegiance to the regional styles that comprise all of Italian cooking.

The Scottish side of my family is understanding when I say I’m glad I learned to cook from the Italian half of the family. You need only enjoy one of the many Mediterranean-grounded restaurants throughout Scotland to see how my northern kin have learned to enjoy Europe’s southern fare.

Sometime soon, I hope someone gets to interview Mario Batali in detail about his friendship, the dialectic of their discussions about cooking. It should offer more about food and real cooking than a season of some of the let’s pretend shows on television.

Miley Cyrus, the government shutdown and Michele Bachmann

miley-taran-snl-400x300

Say what you want about Miley Cyrus, but she brought her A-game to Saturday Night Live this week.

Smiler or not, there are a few things to love about this music video about the government shutdown, set to the tune of “We Can’t Stop.”

That’s SNL’s Taran Killam as House Speaker John Boehner, and Miley as Michele Bachmann. And yes, Miley licks an Abraham Lincoln doll at one point.

The original video’s bears are replaced with the GOP elephants, but the fries remain. You’ll have to put up with a commercial, first; but, click through to the article and watch the full video at the bottom.