Chocolate

Most American chocolate now is terrible. (I remember a couple of years ago, when they allowed manufacturers to use not-chocolate as chocolate. Yuck.) And even if you find some real chocolate, keep checking the label because when candy companies get taken over, the new owners often replace the better ingredients.

The best chocolate I ever had was from Venezuela — all hail, the people’s republic!

We all know that many women love chocolate. But does chocolate, in effect, love them back? Well, a new study provides new evidence that eating chocolate can protect a woman’s heart.

Murray Middleman of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues studied 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women, examining how much chocolate the women ate compared with their risk for heart failure over a nine-year period.

Women who ate an average of one or two servings each week of what is considered high-quality chocolate because it contains a higher density of cocoa had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, which is published by the American Heart Association. Those who had one to three servings per month had a 26 percent lower risk.

But there appears to be a limit. Women who consumed at least one serving each day or more did not appear to benefit from a protective effect against heart failure, the researchers found. The researchers speculate that the reason for that may be that the additional calories of eating that much chocolate instead of more nutritious foods counteracts any beneficial effects.

Why Not Cut Everyone’s Salary By 10%?

If we were having an actual national emergency, rather than corporations happily sitting on piles of cash and handing out record bonuses and dividends, this might — might make sense. But since the only “emergency” here is corporate greed, I can only speculate as to why it only makes sense to take money from workers:

With 9.5 percent unemployment and millions more underemployed, it seems like a daunting, almost impossible, task to find jobs for everyone. But Ken Maryland, president of ClearView Economics, has an idea: Cut everyone’s pay by 10 percent.

“EVERYBODY — from the president down to the chambermaid — takes a 10% cut in compensation,” writes Marlyand for Marketwatch. “This freed-up compensation expense is then used to re-employ the 8% (12.3 million) of the unemployed. Net-net, the nation’s compensation bill has remained unchanged, and the unemployment rate is now 4.5%! Voila!”

The 4.5 percent Maryland refers to, is the optimal unemployment rate, which allows for employee turnover and doesn’t risk inflation. While his idea may seem crazy, companies have begun to do it in small fashion, as Maryland points out, by having furloughs and pay cuts.

Maryland says this has a chance because there’s an “inherent fairness” to the idea since everyone will be receiving the pay cut. But not really, since the employed would have to take the pay cut, while the unemployed will receive a significant increase in pay by suddenly having a paycheck.

Not to mention, the drop in pay doesn’t mean a mortgage that’s locked in will suddenly be cheaper or a car payment miraculously fall 10 percent. Maryland also says an issue with the idea would be making sure everyone falls in line, pointing out that unions would have a fit (although I’m not sure that CEO, whose pay increased more than anyone in business over the past 30 years, would be too happy with the idea as well).

Therapeutic

After fifteen months of grueling therapeutic massage, I am happy to announce that for the first time in almost three years, I can actually stand on my right foot. Just for ten seconds or so, but still.

You may take that for granted, but trust me: I feel like I scaled Mt. Everest. It was a particularly grueling session today (I did, in fact, scream a couple of times because the pain was so bad — breaking apart scar tissue is really tough, I’m not normally a screamer) but we continue to see progress every week, and that makes it worth it.

I often wonder why guys in general (not all men, but most) are such babies about this kind of helpful body work. Just try to talk to a man in pain about acupuncture – his eyes will practically roll back in their head. (It doesn’t hurt at all, in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, I can stand. I’m so happy.

P.S. This is the kind of work we’ve been doing:

Weather

Once again, it’s very humid and I’m afraid to wish it would rain. Okay, I wish it would rain — without killing anyone or smashing anyone’s home or car with falling trees. Or lightning. If it rains, I hope lightning doesn’t cause any harm to anyone or anything, and I hope no one gets washed away in a flood.

But other than that, I wish it would rain.

Meyer Hawthorne with “I Wish It Would Rain”:

The New Crusaders

From Think Progress:

On Morning Joe earlier today, a pair of leading Republicans — host Joe Scarborough and former Bush strategist Mark McKinnon — blasted the GOP for its xenophobic and unconstitutional stance against Muslims’ right to build a new Islamic center in lower Manhattan.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has claimed that the new Islamic center project “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.” Referencing that quote, Scarborough expressed angry disdain at Gingrich’s intolerance. “I don’t know where to begin,” Scarborough said. “To suggest that someone trying to build a tolerance center for moderate Muslims in New York is the equivalent of killing six million Jews is stunning to me.”

McKinnon then chimed in, arguing that the debate surrounding the Cordoba House project is contrary his party’s principles. “We may get our membership [by the GOP] revoked,” McKinnon joked. “Screw ‘em,” Scarborough responded. McKinnon then said that the GOP’s stance is “reinforcing al Qaeda’s message”:

McKINNON: Usually Republicans are forthright in defending the Constitution. And here we are, reinforcing al Qaeda’s message that we’re at war with Muslims. So we’ve got this issue; then we’ve got the 14th Amendment issue, where Republicans are saying you’re not welcome here, when we were the architects of the 14th Amendment. So, I see a bad pattern where we’re headed as a Republican Party.

McKinnon said he believed President Obama has “done the right thing in stepping forward at this time on this issue.” He added, “Tolerance means tolerating things you don’t like, especially when you don’t like them. … I respect the President for making this move.” Watch it:

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