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Bruce Springsteen Tempts Fate – Rocks Democratic Vote

The Heart Attack Tour approaches…

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will bring the Wrecking Ball Tour to the swamps of New Jersey in September.

The New Jersey native added three dates at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford: Sept. 19th, 21st and 22nd. The tour’s title comes from a song that Springsteen and the group performed in 2009 before the old Giants Stadium was torn down.

Tickets go on sale next Friday.

There’s no sign Springsteen is answering Gov. Chris Christie’s request to help Atlantic City by performing at the new Revel casino on Labor Day weekend.

The tour is slated to play Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Sept. 2.


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MANBEARPIG: Keith Olbermann and Al Gore: the Secret Emails Revealed

LMFAO…Holy cow, this guy was almost President…


On March 30th, Current TV terminated its relationship with outspoken liberal anchor Keith Olbermann. The Daily Caller has exclusively obtained many of the emails between Olbermann and network founder Al Gore in the months leading up to the split. 

They are reprinted here for the first time, in their entirety, and without comment. 

FROM: Keith Olbermann
TO: Al Gore
DATE: June 18, 2011

Dear Albert,

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”

Those words come from Samuel Clemens, perhaps better known to you as literary colossus Mark Twain.

I need not tell you, Al, that I am that scarce man who refuses to remain silent when he sees injustice, that patriot who stands tall and strong and brave, even when hated and scorned. And I do see injustice – even here at Current TV.

I tried to remedy my current morass without coming to you, Al, but with no remedy forthcoming, I feel compelled to bring to your attention my roadblock, which you shall note is something far more severe than a mere speed bump.

In the new studio for my show, I find no golden scepter despite my explicit request to Joel Hyatt for one. This will be an indispensable part of my new show and I see no reason why I have to justify its expense.

Also, the Current proletariat seem to have no inhibitions about walking up to me and freely engaging me in conversation, as if I have time for their verbal meanderings. For all their faults, my employers at MSNBC made it explicitly clear that if someone wanted to communicate with me, they could do so — but only through letters written in calligraphy that were deposited in a receptacle outside my office between 2:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.

Why has this same policy not yet been communicated at Current?

In a letter written in his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama at a time of great tumult, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote prophetically: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Will you fix my injustices, Al?

Yours Truly,

Keith Theodore Olbermann
Cornell University, Class of 1979

p.s. We also have to replace stinky my car driver — pronto!!!

FROM: Al Gore
TO: Keith Olbermann
DATE: June 22, 2011

Hello Keith,

When do you think they will commodify the rain? Someday they will try and turn it to poison. You came onboard to this endeavor full of promise. Has that good tide soured?

You are a part of me. We are all one. My life force drives Current. I am its noble blood.

I intend to be the Defender of Nature. Will you join me? Gold from streams untapped is all the more sweet. Can you taste it on your tongue?

I am standing in an almond now. It stands inside me. My scepter is made from almond wood and laced with sage. It is powerful. Soon I will command the oceans. The fish listen already.

We are all one. Even Stinky.



Read the rest here.

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LMAO: BoA, $BAC, Sues Itself


“WASHINGTON — Bank of America is suing itself for foreclosure.

“It’s crazy,” housing data analyst Michael Olenick told HuffPost. “They shouldn’t be suing themselves.”

Over the past two years, the nation’s largest banks and the Obama administration have repeatedly vowed to clean up the foreclosure fraud mess. In February, banks agreed to pay $25 billion and overhaul their foreclosure processes as part of a 50-state investigation into bank wrongdoing, resulting from practices that included robo-signing.

But in Florida’s Palm Beach County alone, Bank of America has sued itself for foreclosure 11 times since late March, according to foreclosure fraud activist Lynn Szymoniak, who forwarded one such foreclosure filing, dated March 29, 2012, to The Huffington Post. (A white-collar crime expert, Szymoniak was recently awarded $18 million for her work helping the government recover $95 million as a result of bank foreclosure problems in North Carolina.)

In the March 29 filing, Bank of America is seeking to foreclose on a condominium and names the condo owner and Bank of America as defendants in the suit. The company is literally seeking damages from itself in order to foreclose on the condo owner.

“We are servicing the first mortgage on behalf of an investor and we own the second mortgage,” Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens told HuffPost. “Naming the second-lien holder in the suit is necessary to eliminate the junior interest,” Bauwens said.

“This just strikes me as classic robo foreclosure,” Professor Alan White of Valparaiso University Law School told HuffPost. White, a predatory lending expert who tracks and analyzes data on loan modifications and foreclosures, said that lawyers for the bank likely performed an electronic title search to see if any other liens on the property existed and simply wrote down the name of whatever bank came up in the search. Lawyers and paralegals who perform these tasks typically fill out dozens of such forms a day, White told HuffPost.

“I’m sure the paralegal who did this did 100 others that day,” he said.

Banks have been caught suing themselves before. In 2009, Dow Jones columnist Al Lewis uncovered a case in which Wells Fargo had sued itself in connection with a foreclosure in Florida’s Hillsborough County. The bank owned both the first and second liens on the property and ended up hiring two separate attorneys to deal with the snafu — one to bring the lawsuit and another to defend itself.

The Bank of America self-suits seems to have emerged from a scenario that investors have complained about for years involving home equity loans. Big banks like Bank of America service mortgages on behalf of other investors. Bank of America processes payments, negotiates with borrowers and operates the foreclosure process but does not actually own the loan. Many properties from the housing bubble had an additional home equity loan, or second lien. Banks could charge higher interest rates on these second liens because they were riskier loans — the second lien is supposed to eat losses before anything happens to the first lien.

When a bank brings a foreclosure case in court, it has to notify whoever owns the second lien that it is taking action. In this case, Bank of America owns the second lien.

But meticulous attorneys would not ordinarily let their clients sue themselves. “It is a little bit mindless on the part of the lawyer,” White said. “They don’t need to sue themselves.”

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Lunch Break: It’s Only $, It’s Only Au

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBvnxxigrIM 450 300] [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTPqPZzH-LA 450 300]

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Sex and the New York City Ladies Embrace the “Wet Workout”

via NYPOST.com

It’s 7:15 on Wednesday night in the Flatiron District, and Tracey McQuade is dressed in a leotard and sneakers while clutching a glass of red wine. Having just finished a grueling workout of squats, lunges and push-ups, the 31-year-old is now ready to retox.

“It’s awesome because of the whole saint-and-sinner thing — you work hard, you play hard,” says the Chelsea-based yoga instructor and writer, with sleek brown hair pulled back to reveal diamond earrings. “It’s really important to have balance.”

Welcome to the “wet workout” — a new concept started by the three female co-owners of Uplift, a fitness studio that officially opened Sunday. After nearly a year of hosting pop-up fitness classes all over the city that were followed by trips to nearby cocktail lounges, the women have launched this, the first workout space in NYC with its own bar.

Cheers! Tracey McQuade toasts the end of a calorie-killing workout at Uplift, a Flatiron District gym that mixes cardio power with happy hour.
“Guys can go shoot hoops and have a few beers after,” says Uplift co-founder Leanne Shear, a journalist turned personal trainer. “Until now, women didn’t have an outlet for that.”

Every Wednesday, women can sweat it out in a $40 cardio and strength-training class — all set to the pulsating rhythms of pop stars like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga — then indulge in all-you-can-drink red and white wine or, on some nights, whiskey. Healthy snacks of nuts, berries and raw veggies with dip are also provided. There are plenty of sober sessions, too, including 30-minute midday “express” classes with names like “Gams and Guns” and “Whittle Your Middle.”

The sunny second-floor mini-mecca, equipped with free WiFi, treadmills and weight benches, is decidedly female-friendly: No men are allowed. The shower area, lined with metal lockers, even has a primping station with essentials like dry shampoo and curling irons.

“Working out and socializing are two of the main ways women improve their lives,” says co-founder Helena Wolin, a perky redhead who ditched her job as a corporate lawyer to start Uplift. “People have never really put those two things together in the way we’re doing.”

But experts argue that post-workout tippling could negate all that hard work.

“Wine is certainly better for women than beer,” says nutritionist Esther Blum, author of the forthcoming “Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project,” “but the problem is that when you drink alcohol, your body is going to put all metabolic processes on hold until it metabolizes all the alcohol.”

But Wolin, Shear and co-founder Katie Currie, an ex-corporate events planner, shrug off medical criticism and point to other benefits.

The wet-workout idea came to them last year, when a downpour broke up their yoga class in Central Park. “Instead of everyone running in their own direction, we said, ‘Come on, guys,’ and went to the first bar we could find outside Central Park and said, ‘The first round’s on us,’ ” says Wolin. “We said, ‘Oh well, we tried to be healthy — now we’re going to socialize.’ And we wound up staying for hours.”

Soon, their “Raise the Bar” pop-up series — outdoor classes offering bevvies right after your barbells — was born.

It proved so popular, the trio opened Uplift on 23rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where fitness fanatics should find it easy to make friends.

“If I were to go to a bar, go up to another girl and say, ‘Hey, how are you, be my friend,’ you’d look at me like I’m crazy,” says Internet marketer Emi Melker after last week’s session. “It’s especially good for younger women who are new to the city.”

But do women want to booze after busting their behinds? “Some people won’t understand and say it’s counterintuitive,” Wolin concedes. “But really, you’re probably going to have that drink anyway.”
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/gym_tonic_CJyHHCT4k72jjeBG4FLkGP#ixzz1r03o2cB5

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[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjwTLa7uLN4 450 300]

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War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.

The New York City Department of Education is waging a war on words of sorts, and is seeking to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests.

Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

The word “dinosaur” made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. “Halloween” is targeted because it suggests paganism; a “birthday” might not be happy to all because it isn’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Julie Lewis’ family celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa, but she told CBS 2′s Emily Smith she wants her children to appreciate and learn about other holidays and celebrations.

“They’re going to meet people from all walks of life and they’re going to have to learn to adjust,” Lewis said.

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. “Poverty” is also on the forbidden list. That’s something Sy Fliegal with the Center for Educational Innovation calls ridiculous.

“The Petersons take a vacation for five days in their Mercedes … so what? You think our kids are going to be offended because they don’t have a Mercedes? You think our kids are going to say ‘I’m offended; how could they ask me a question about a Mercedes? I don’t have a Mercedes!’” Fliegal said.

In a throwback to “Footloose,” the word “dancing” is also taboo. However, there is good news for kids that like “ballet”: The city made an exception for this form of dance.

Also banned are references to “divorce” and “disease,” because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

Some students think banning these words from periodic assessment tests is ridiculous.

“If you don’t celebrate one thing you might have a friend that does it. So I don’t see why people would find it offensive,” Curtis High School Sophomore Jamella Lewis told Diamond.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE is simply giving guidance to the test developers.

“So we’re not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests,” Walcott said Monday.

To which Fliegal responded: “It’s all of life! I don’t know how they figure out what not to put on the list. Every aspect of life is on the list.”

There are banned words currently in school districts nationwide. Walcott said New York City’s list is longer because its student body is so diverse.

Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)

Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs

Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)

Bodily functions

Cancer (and other diseases)

Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)


Children dealing with serious issues

Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)

Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)


Death and disease



Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes

Gambling involving money



Homes with swimming pools


Junk food

In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge

Loss of employment

Nuclear weapons

Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)





Rap Music


Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)

Rock-and-Roll music

Running away




Television and video games (excessive use)

Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)

Vermin (rats and roaches)


War and bloodshed

Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)

Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.


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MUST READ–Another View: March Badness

via NYT DealBook

Another View: March Badness

The New York Times

As March comes to an end and the NCAA basketball tournament heads into the Final Four, most office pools are likely to be in tatters. But Joshua Brown — a financial adviser for Fusion Analytics Investment Partners who blogs and tweets as The Reformed Broker — is giving Wall Street fans another chance at bracket dominance.

With his first book, “Backstage Wall Street,” hitting shelves this month, Mr. Brown sketched out a new type of tournament, a face-off between 16 well-known financial scandals. He calls it “March Badness.”

His rules are simple: the biggest scandal wins. Will Jon Corzine take down Jimmy Cayne? Will John Thain pull out an upset over Greg Smith, like Lehigh did over Duke?

Mr. Brown has come up with his own matchups for the Sweet 16, winnowing it down to the Elite Eight. In the end, he believes Mr. Cayne will take home the glory. It’s “too much money involved and too many livelihoods at stake,” said Mr. Brown.

Leave your own match-ups in the comments below.

Dick Fuld (Lehman Brothers) vs. Jimmy Cayne (Bear Stearns)

In the battle to see who could blow up their firm faster, Jimmy Cayne had a slight edge on the timing, having fortuitously spent as much time as possible out of the office playing bridge and other extracurricular activities. Dick Fuld preferred a more hands-on approach in his firm’s implosion, turning away suitors and masking losses right up to the buzzer.

Winner: Jimmy Cayne.

Jon S. Corzine at a House panel last year on MF Global's collapse.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesJon S. Corzine at a House panel last year on MF Global’s collapse.

MF Global vs. the Rogue Trader All-Stars

How does one trump the world’s sneakiest rogue traders operating at firms like SocGen? How about getting the board of directors to allow you to put the entire firm on the line with a half-court Hail Mary of a European sovereign debt trade! Why skulk in the shadows, quietly losing the firm’s cash with unauthorized trades when you can actually do it all in broad daylight from a BlackBerry – and with increased leverage to boot! Sorry Jérôme Kerviel, Jon Corzine wiped the floor with you guys – he beat you so badly there’s still a billion dollars in the wind somewhere!

Winner: MF Global

Raj Rajaratnam vs. Martha Stewart

It’s the insider trading showdown of the century – the Domestic Doyenne put on quite a defensive show on the court, complete with horrible legal advice and the stonewalling of federal agents. But in the end, Raj was just too much for poor Martha – the man was getting assists from tipsters, company executives, expert networks and even rival players in the hedge fund game. Raj’s moves were unstoppable, and poor Martha had no answer to the flirtatious offensive moves of his point guard Danielle “the Refrigerator” Chiesi.

Winner: Raj Rajaratnam

Michael Milken at a health conference in 2009.Fred Prouser/ReutersMichael Milken at a health conference in 2009.

Long Term Capital Management vs. Michael Milken

L.T.C.M., led by the unsinkable John Meriwether, brought his A game out to the courts, leveraging every instrument he could get his hands on and wrapping them altogether into a wicked knot that only the entire Wall Street brain trust could unravel in time to prevent the world’s end. But Michael Milken would emerge victorious in terms of absolute damage across the entire economy. By the time he was done, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house nor was there an unleveraged balance sheet in the country – you name it, he indebted it, and sold the bonds off for a double-dip fee on the other side. A crossover dribble so vicious he ought to have been jailed. Oh, wait a minute…

Winner: Michael Milken

Dennis Kozlowski vs. John Thain

The Koz, C.E.O. and master of everything he surveyed at Tyco, got off to an extremely promising start. His raiding and spending of shareholder cash and his “versatility” with accounting seemed like an invincible combo – a $2 million Sardinian birthday party complete with seminude entertainers and a Jimmy Buffett concert, man that’s unbeatable! But Sir John Thain, the cybernetic new C.E.O. of credit crisis-era Merrill Lynch wasn’t backing down so easily. Did Thain let the fact that Merrill was facing losses of capital in the $39 billion range get him down? No, sir! An $87,000 area rug – bang! A $68,000 credenza and a $1,400 parchment waste can – boom! Thain looked Kozlowski dead in his eye and said “Watch me drop $35,000 on a toilet, Homeboy.” And he did. Thain’s $1.2 million office renovation at the bankrupt Merrill Lynch put him over the top in terms of sheer audacity. Better luck next time, Dennis.

Winner: John Thain

Greg Smith said that Goldman Sachs employees referred to clients as "Muppets."Fred Prouser/ReutersGreg Smith said that Goldman Sachs employees referred to clients as “Muppets.”

Abacus vs. Muppetgate

Two Goldman Sachs alums, but only one can advance to the next round! Fresh from the European League, “Fabulous” Fabrice Tourre came to win. Pecking out a half-French, half-English e-mail about the coming real estate collapse was one thing. But then turning around and producing a 65-page flipbook to sell the billion dollar Abacus portfolio of real estate loans? Transcendent! But then Greg Smith comes bounding up the court, fire in his eyes and an acute attack of conscience in his gut. Smith, a former Jewish Olympics bronze medalist in table tennis, is in peak condition as he resigns from Goldman Sachs via an opinion article in The New York Times. He head fakes Fab under the basket, then pivots with his revelation that Goldman MDs refer to their clients as Muppets. In the end, the eyeball-gouging Smith article is simply too viral to be defeated.

Winner: Muppetgate

Frank Quattrone, the founder of Qatalyst Partners, at a technology conference in 2010.Tony Avelar/Bloomberg NewsFrank Quattrone, the founder of Qatalyst Partners, at a technology conference in 2010.

Jack Grubman vs. Frank Quattrone

The Ranking for Banking Bowl is one of this tournament’s most anticipated matchups as two, shall we say, morally agile Wall Streeters face off for the title. Jack Grubman is the fan favorite (and at $20 million a year during the telecom bubble’s heyday, one of Wall Street’s highest paid analysts in history). His ability to guarantee Strong Buy ratings to secure lucrative I.P.O. business for Smith Barney put him squarely ahead of the field in the early going. ButFrank Quattrone goes hard in paint for Credit Suisse. He is based in Silicon Valley and runs the vaunted “Friends of Frank” offense — you play by Frank’s rules or you don’t exist. In the end, Grubman was simply no match for Quattrone, a banker who controlled the analysts with an iron fist.

Winner: Frank Quattrone

Stan O’Neal (Merrill Lynch) vs. Angelo Mozillo (Countrywide)

On paper, Angelo Mozillo is easily the more devastating in this head-to-head, and he’s certainly the more orange hued. Having steered his mortgage machine to a $200 billion monstrosity by the peak of the housing bubble, Mozillo walked off just in time to watch it blow up in someone else’s hands (BofA – who else?). Ol’ Angelo nailed the timing walking off the court at halftime with a mere $65 million in fines and disgorgement. But his rival, Stan O’Neal had driven Merrill into the ground in spectacular fashion, turning the old stalwart brokerage firm into a leveraged debt hedge fund almost by accident. O’Neal’s negligence was magnificent to behold, golfing while his firm went to 20, then 30, then 40-to-1 debt to equity all in the name of slathering their bank accounts with bigger and bigger bonuses. And the losses at Merrill were simply breathtaking. From July 2007 to July 2008, a total of $19.2 billion vaporized – or $52 million in losses per day! Reached for comment after the game, the oblivious O’Neal was quoted as saying, “Wait, what happened again?”

Winner: Stan O’Neal

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“BILL THE BUTCHER” Raw Meat is Back in Style in New York City Restaurants

Story via NYPOST.com

A good 20 minutes before the West Village Japanese restaurant Takashi opens its doors at 6 p.m. on a recent Monday, there is already a line of hungry customers forming out front.

Alex Raij, 43, is one such customer. “We’re super-excited,” says Raij, who had enlisted her mother to watch her two kids so that she and her husband, Eder Montero, 36, could dine out.

“We’ve been really keen to try it.”

What could have stoked such excitement in Raij — herself a busy chef at highly regarded tapas spots Txikito and El Quinto Pino?

Raw meat.

Takashi is one of a small but growing number of restaurants around the city catering to those who are rah-rah about consuming their animal flesh raw-raw.

The heart sashimi is a popular draw at Takashi in the West Village — but it’s not for the faint of (heh, heh) heart.

The first dish to come out is the yooke, ground chuck prepared like a Japanese version of steak tartare. Topped with a raw quail egg, it’s adorned with Japanese seaweed and an enormous shiso leaf.

It’s also by far the tamest uncooked dish at Takashi, which gets its meat from some of the better purveyors around, such as Dickson’s Farmstand and Pat LaFrieda.

There’s the heart sashimi — the organ thinly sliced and simply dressed with wasabi and soy. There’s the namagimo — slivers of liver with sesame oil and rock salt. And, perhaps wildest of all, there’s the nama-senmai, a white, chewy third stomach. (Cows have four stomachs — the third one is used to absorb nutrients.) Flash-boiled but essentially raw, it’s served with spicy miso sauce and scallions and somewhat resembles a bowl of discarded computer parts. “I like that snappiness,” says Raij of the stomach dish. But it’s not her favorite. That would have to be the niku-uni, beef tartare topped with sea urchin and wasabi. “That was delicious. It really contrasted [with seared beef] in temperature and flavor,” she says.

While New Yorkers have long embraced the concept of raw fish, our relationship with raw meat has been more complicated. “Raw meats or undercooked foods leave you at risk of infection [of parasites or a slew of other illnesses],” says Dr. Michael Mansour of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The health risks — including tapeworms — are not all that different than the ones you face eating sushi. “If you are a person who is elderly, pregnant or your immune system is compromised . . . you should think very carefully about exposing yourself to raw foods, whether sushi or raw meat,” he adds.

According to NYC’s Department of Health, restaurants must notify diners when food isn’t cooked to required temperatures — either verbally or by printing this on the menu. A diner may also request such a dish. Basically, it’s buyer beware — though the DOH says it will investigate complaints of people getting sick from eating raw food. But with so many New Yorkers obsessed with high-quality ingredients, meat so fresh it can be served raw is seen as a benchmark — not a danger.

“There’s no better way to sample quality than when all the other things are stripped away,” says “Bizarre Foods” TV host Andrew Zimmern. The appeal of eating raw is that one tastes the meat without the smoke or the char associated with the cooking process.

And then there’s the primal urge: “Since cavemen have been dragging a brontosaurus leg to the homestead [people enjoyed raw meat],” adds Zimmern.

At downtown’s Acme, you’ll find endive leaves stuffed with a mix of raw bison and sweet shrimp. At Manzo in Eataly, Piedmontese beef is hand-cut and ground to order. Hakata Tonton, just a couple of blocks from Takashi, offers veal liver sashimi on its menu, as does EN Japanese Brasserie on Hudson Street. Last fall, Hecho en Dumbo in the East Village offered venison tartare on the chef’s menu. (It plans to bring it back next fall, too.)

“This is basically dzik,” says Danny Mena, chef of Hecho en Dumbo, referring to the Yucatan specialty. Mena puts his own spin on the dish by soaking cubes of raw venison in sour orange juice, radishes, red onion and cilantro.

And then there’s raw chicken, a dish not for the squeamish. “There are a lot of places in the city that serve raw chicken,” says Dave Pasternack, chef-owner of Esca in Hell’s Kitchen. But you might have to ask, with a nudge and a wink, to go off the menu.

For some, raw meat is uncontroversial. “It’s my soul food,” says Takashi’s Inoue, who grew up in Osaka. “That’s how we eat in my home in Japan. The meat is very, very fresh.”

At First Oasis, out in Bay Ridge, Said Albahri serves raw kebbeh — minced raw lamb mixed with cracked wheat, onions and spices.

“Raw meat is very popular in Syria,” says Albahri, who grew up in Damascus. His customers include plenty of Middle Easterners and locals — but also the epicurious from as far away as Queens.

Still, some dishes haven’t crossed the cultural divide. At the original branch of Eataly in Turin, Italy, you’ll find a raw sausage sandwich — an item you can’t get in NYC.

And despite the popularity of places like Takashi, it can still be a struggle to get diners to try their meat raw. Mena only serves venison tartare on his tasting menu, where there are no substitutions. “I would never put it on the regular menu,” he says. But one can’t argue with the reaction. “It was very positive,” says Mena. “The customers might not have ordered [it if it was served à la carte], but 99 percent of people would finish it.”

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/food/they_like_it_raw_U1hn0eFWD4rCY2KlDQdm6L#ixzz1qRClL3TG

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European Leaders Pass the Hopium as They See an End to the Debt Crisis

“European leaders signaled rising confidence that their region’s crisis is near an end, while Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned that a U.S. recovery isn’t assured.

The euro area’s woes are “almost over” after a slow initial response by policy makers, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said in Tokyo today. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that the crisis is ebbing and her country’s borrowing costs will probably rise as its status as a haven wanes….”

Read more

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What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?

I took the SAT a grand total of one time when I was in dipshit prep school. This was 1993. Like any other kid, I wanted to do well on the test, primarily so that I would NEVER have to take it again, but also because kids at my school were real dicks about their SAT scores. You’d hear through the grapevine about other kids who aced the test, and all that test gossip resulted in an great deal of fear and paranoia about your own performance. It was horrible. If you can, avoid going to high school altogether.

They administered the test at a nearby public high school and herded us into the classrooms. Every classroom had a test monitor, a stack of test booklets, and a large box of sharpened No. 2 pencils. My friend Darren sat in front of me. Thirty minutes into the test, he had to go pee. The monitor denied him a trip to the bathroom. Darren ended up getting a 900 out of 1600. That monitor was a dick.

Shockingly, little about the SAT has changed since I set foot in that classroom. Most students still have to take the test using bubble sheets and a No. 2 pencil, which is insane to me. They’ve managed to digitize VOTING, for shit’s sake. And yet here’s the SAT, still feeding test sheets into the Scantron machine like it’s 1982. Maybe the only differences with today’s SAT are the essay question (barf), the higher maximum score (2400), and the hugely metastasized frenzy over the test. Wired reports that as recently as 2009, the test-preparation industry had earnings of over $4 billion. Private tutoring from a Kaplan expert to study for the test can cost you close to $5,000, an expense plenty of nutjob helicopter parents are happy to throw down.

There are many shitty things about being a grownup. You have to make money. You have to do taxes. You have to show up for your bail hearings. It’s all really fucking annoying. But one of the few upsides of being an adult is that you NEVER have to take the SAT again. You never have to worry about it. You don’t have to give a shit what’ll happen if have to pee during the test. You don’t have to look at another analogy ever again. It’s not bad tradeoff for all the other piddling crap you have to deal with. I know I was happy with the arrangement. But recently, I got this question from reader Brendan:

If you had to take one of the standardized college acceptance tests today, how do you think you’d fare? I did pretty well when I took it in high school, but I’m almost certain these days I’d score like, a 12 on the math section of the ACT. Me no make numbers good.

Me no make numbers good either, Brendan. But there was only one way to find out if I truly am dumber than I was 18 years ago. I had to take the SAT one more time, cold. With no preparation of any sort. And I had to do it under the exact same conditions as before: using bubble sheets, a No. 2 pencil, a standard calculator (I sold my TI-81 graphing calculator after I graduated. OOPS!). And I had to do it in the time allotted. So that’s exactly what I did. I went to the College Board and printed out a sample test, then sat down and took it from beginning to end. Here now is what transpired.

Read the rest here.

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