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Pause for Jesus… 4 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Brazil - Lula, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
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Sinai – Icon of the Annunciation – 12th century

I don’t know about you but I am pretty tired of everyone on view.  However, Cockburn did have an offering that managed to be of interest.

“When the waters poured into Atlantis,
the rich men still screamed for their slaves.”

Bertolt Brecht, “Questions from a Worker Who Reads”

I never heard anyone speculate that Obama might, against all the odds, rally to the “No to Bailout” cause. His Yes was pure. He told reporters in Clearwater, Florida last Wednesday that “issues like bankruptcy reform, which are very important to Democrats, is probably something that we shouldn’t try to do in this piece of legislation.” In addition, he said that his own proposed economic stimulus program “is not necessarily something that we should have in this package.

The brief mutiny is over. The Democrats, who control Congress, have pushed through the outrageous Paulson swindle, giving an initial $700 billion or so to Wall Street. The Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, lobbied hard for the bankers’ bailout, according to reps and senators receiving his phone calls. Obama voted for the package of course, and so did the vice presidential Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.

With McCain one could at least speculate, as I did here last week, that he might have opposed the bailout in one last desperate throw to rescue his flagging campaign. In the event he disdained that lifebelt,  clicked his heels and saluted the big money, just like Obama and Biden.[…]

Quite a few slams at Biden mixed in… Two weeks, two debates, Masters of the Universe, of the WH and of the Congress have at us, relishing the feast.  I swear I hear the drool dripping down their chins.  A bit much….  And those chomping noises as they break down our bones… for the slide down the throat.

While I was at Counterpunch, Michael Whitney had a good one on The Great Rescue Bail Out Sucker Punch.  Reading it, I know I am swimming in the digestive juices of the Masters, with maids Nancy and Harry and Barney and Chris Dodd (those fleshy faced replicants) chiming in… what a feast they are having…  How soon til the next feast?  We shall be as Chinese food jokes, just an appetizer in the Great Feasting…

What a garage sale!

Rep Brad Sherman explained it Wednesday night to Larry Kudlow:

“It (The bill) provides hundreds of billions of dollars of bailouts to foreign investors. It provides no real control of Paulson’s power. There is a critique board but not really a board that can step in and change what he does. It’s a $700 billion program run by a part-time temporary employee and there is no limit on million dollar a month salaries……. It’s very clear. The Bank of Shanghai can transfer all of its toxic assets to the Bank of Shanghai of Los Angeles which can then sell them the next day to the Treasury. I had a provision to say if it wasn’t owned by an American entity even a subsidiary, but at least an entity in the US, the Treasury can’t buy it. It was rejected.

“The bill is very clear. Assets now held in China and London can be sold to US entities on Monday and then sold to the Treasury on Tuesday. Paulson has made it clear he will recommend a veto of any bill that contained a clear provision that said if Americans did not own the asset on September 20 that it can’t be sold to the Treasury. Hundreds of billions of dollars are going to bail out foreign investors. They know it, they demanded it and the bill has been carefully written to make sure it can happen.”

So, why hasn’t the Treasury Secretary explained the real purpose of the bailout to the American people? Could it be that he knows that his $700 billion bailout would end up like the Hindenburg, vanishing in sheets of flames?::snip::

Remembering Nancy from a few weeks ago, right here in libertine city, San Francisco, at a three tier fundraiser for Ob, saying “God has sent him to us”… well, I know what we shall be served, Religion.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

zz
Nadine´s babies, Blitzen and Dash, with penguin. They are supposed to winter in Brazil, so I guess this one is on a layover. [penguin out of season – La Barra – Uruguay 2007] *

In the meantime, as we await the Angel Gabriel, a sweet story of a real rescue, the penguins in S America, straying a long ways off course, more than usual.. and the Brazilian Air Force, who, it seems, have been regularly, annually, rescuing the lost penguins.  I say to the penguins, find a way to reconcile staying in Bahia:

It is an annual task for the Brazilian air force to help return penguins to their native territory but it seems this year they are coping with higher numbers of their unusual passengers.

Hundreds of penguins were flown this week in a Hercules plane down to the southern tip of Brazil, where they are being released into the ocean – while some are to return on a navy vessel.

Other birds that were exhausted by their long journey are for the time being staying behind to enjoy the hospitable climate of Bahia – a Brazilian state known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather.

What a sweet landing spot!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

* Hunting for S American penguin photos, out of season in their migrations, I landed on this rather charming light blog of a Turkish Uruguayan couple and their relocation from Kusadesi Turkey to coastal Uruquay.  We are so laden with worries and our massive crimes… it was a sweet diversion.

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1. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008
2. marisacat - 4 October 2008

How bizaare… by clicking on that link I discovered I am trapped in some “safe search mode” at Flickr… but when I got there I am guessing the censor was tripped by “fucking”… ?

what a hoot.

3. diane - 4 October 2008

reposting from the last thread, because my timing was bad and I posted while this thread was being posted:

Was just listening to BB King and Ray Charles, and Boo Hoo Hoo Man came to my thoughts……thinking about that last post he made, featuring BB King’s: The Thrill is Gone at pff,….does anyone know how he is doing?…………….I hope you and yours are safe from harm Boo Hoo Hoo Man!………….as I do anyone who is just trying to live a simple life…with no harm done……………..

not really much else to say, thinking about going on hiatus from the internet myself actually…..although, who knows what tomorrow might bring…………………for me, the internet is a chilling and suspect world……..nothing can ever replace the body language,…the timbre of a voice…the scent, ….. the eye contact….or not………………..and most profoundly…..the ability to say things meant for one specific individual….without the internet world (whomever that majority consists of) voyeuring in on it, and most likely, misconstruing the words……….deliberately,..or not………………………

so if I stick to my present urge…….be well all, just can’t hang where I never really feel at ease………………………

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008
5. marisacat - 4 October 2008

3

I found the nets rather a lot like RL, for good and ill. With some specific to the medium limitations of course..

take care diane, whether you stay or leave 😉

***********

So damned sick of fundies. Oddly I found this via The Corner, where it was put up as an exemplar of “grievance worlds colliding” into each other. Those schnauzers of the conservative persuasion at The Corner, they barely make sense. Or about as much as fundie pharmacists, finding their [supposedly] religiously based authoritarianism protected by the State..

6. mattes - 4 October 2008

Does anyone here believe that 50% of Americans have money in the stock market. That was the figure they were pushing. Where did they get a figure like that?

7. diane - 4 October 2008

5

Thank you Marisa, and thank you for allowing me a voice at your blog, hugs to ya…………………

8. marisacat - 4 October 2008

Not to worry! obama out there today selling the Bail Out… It is “not the end of what we must do to fix our economy, it is beginning of what we must do”.

Oh Thank you Jesus for the Annunciation.

9. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

3 – I share your best wishes for Boo Hoo Hoo Man, wherever he may be, and I’ve seen others here and at pff wonder about him too. For some reason I got the impression he left blogging in order to give a real-world hand to the Obama campaign during the primary, but I could be 100% wrong. He has a YouTube channel, I think, so maybe he’ll put up a videoblog at some point, with updates and observations.

Enjoyed his hilarity, as well as acuity!

Best wishes to you, too, diane. Blogging’s a typically odd human medium, no doubt. As with other pursuits, people put in and take away wide varieties of different things. I’m often amazed at the stamina of those who manage it full-time.

10. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Saw that penguin story the other day and almost posted it here. Pore birdies, what an ordeal. Love the photo with the dogs – great gestures!

The Edinburgh Zoo has a thriving gentoo, rockhopper, and king penguin population. (The zoo was given its first king penguin by Norway, on its opening in 1913, and a penguin by the name of Nils Olav – the second to be so named, I think – was recently knighted by the Norwegian King’s Guard. ) Every day the penguins go for a popularly attended stroll through the zoo in a walk-and-zoologist-talk called the Penguin Parade. They really are endearing, as well as beautiful creatures.

11. marisacat - 4 October 2008

BHHM popped up in August… link to this last comment.

12. marisacat - 4 October 2008

10

I remember the photos of the penquin being knighted, they were great!

13. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Speaking of fundies . . . it would beprobably be easier to tolerate if they weren’t all so wound up in the same way.

Jewish ‘modesty patrols’ sow fear in Israel.

JERUSALEM – In Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where the rule of law sometimes takes a back seat to the rule of God, zealots are on a campaign to stamp out behavior they consider unchaste. They hurl stones at women for such “sins” as wearing a red blouse, and attack stores selling devices that can access the Internet.

14. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

11 – Thanks for that. Good to know.

15. marisacat - 4 October 2008

yes I had photos squirreled away of religious extremists in Israel out on Friday evenings stoning people in secular neighborhoods, that want a warm Mediterranean evening and to be out and enjoy it… Israeli police trying to intervene while on horseback…

Sick to death of them all. Here there and bringing MORE fundamentalism to the west.

16. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008

13 – I had a good time today laughing along with a theater full of people at Religulous. It’s amazing how much alike fundies are, once you get under the dogma.

17. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Lunchtime!

I think those are gentoos. Love the vocalizations!

18. marisacat - 4 October 2008

A few years ago googling in my messy scrwed up way for something or other to do with reproductive rights… I landed on some extreme right wing israeli english language blog or posting site. I was horrified. Discussion of the rabbinical authority over declaring when a woman is pure enough or the menstruation has fully ended. A PRO discussion, some male politicos in there (no names I knew, I suppose local politicians) and so on.

I had read, in passing some years before that, there was a try in Israel to have womens’ panels that would work iwth the rabbis (a scam organistaion from kosher certification onward) to be an intermediary in this, so women were not turning their panties over to the rabbis for examination… but other than to register horror i kind of passed on it.

But landing on that site more recently.. ugh. You see where our government gets their ideas. An increasingly we have old tired sick twisted or all of the above and not old running the fucking country.

I mean, those rabbis in israel are simply sick invasive old men. Nothing else. Pity any woman complies.

19. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

16 – Laughing’s one of the best medicines for social health, I’m convinced.

20. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Bears repeating:
Pity any woman complies.

21. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008

18 – they have power because people keep kowtowing to them, in every society.

22. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008
23. bayprairie - 4 October 2008

I share your best wishes for Boo Hoo Hoo Man

last time i saw him he was walking a little old lady across the street from the beach at some undisclosed location in new jersey.

wasn’t that long ago though. he was safe and somewhat sound and seemed to be enjoyin’ life outside of the democratic party stable.

u can’t be that with a stick.

24. bayprairie - 4 October 2008

err ahhh get me rewrite.

u cant beAT that with a stick.

25. bayprairie - 4 October 2008

laughter is all that keeps me alive. would be nice if it was a little less cynical.

but hey who the heck cares? works 4 ME heehee!!!!

26. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008

Third Party VP Candidates Matt Gonzalez and Rosa Clemente Respond to Biden-Palin Debate

AMY GOODMAN: That is Senator Biden and Governor Palin debating the economy. Independent vice-presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez, your view of the bailout?

MATT GONZALEZ: Well, I think, first of all, it was one of the things about the debate that I thought was awkward. I think the Democrats successfully, during the debate, really placed the blame at the feet of the Republicans, but it’s not historically correct. The Glass-Steagall Act of the—you know, that came out of the first stock market crash of the twentieth century, has been slowly eroded, and that culminated, really, in 1999 under President Clinton’s administration with a law that essentially had, at the end, bipartisan support, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that allowed, you know, mortgage companies to buy up brokerage firms, to buy up insurance companies. And that’s how we have the problem that we have: the mortgages repackaged into financial instruments that were quite risky.

I also find it ironic—I didn’t hear Joe Biden ever respond to Governor Palin’s remark at one point in the debate, where she pointed out that, look, Biden himself had urged or spoken about possibly running with McCain and had urged, I think, John Kerry to select McCain as a vice-presidential—you know, as a running mate. So, I thought that that was ironic, and we never heard a response to that.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Rosa Clemente, your response to the economic portion of the debate and the issue of the bailout?

ROSA CLEMENTE: Well, I mean, I think both people up there last night were clear that they don’t have the majority of the American people’s interests at heart, including the majority of American people that have called, into the last week, telling the Democrats and the Republicans no bailout.

You know, I think we need to talk about the fact that six years ago, groups like Central Brooklyn Partnership or NEDAP or financial literacy groups in this country were right in front of this, talking about predatory lending, the idea that these lenders could come in, confuse people with mass amounts of paperwork and literally put them into debt for life.

But while we’re talking about the financial crisis, and particularly the subprime mortgage mess, I’m also thinking about affordable housing and how, in the same time period, there has been a major rent destabilization loss all through this country, rampant gentrification, and many people who don’t own houses, who don’t have mortgages, are literally being evicted every day from their homes, because they can no longer afford the rent.

So, in a recent essay called “Seize the Time” that Cynthia McKinney put out, she says we have to now seize the time. If they’re going to pay this $700 billion or maybe potentially $800 billion bailout with the tax people’s money, with our money, then we have every right to step into that space and create the policies that come from the people, that the government adheres to.

And one of the things that is not being talked about also is ending the war right now, not ending the war in sixteen months, not in twelve months. We’re spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. We need to stop the war immediately. And for me and for young people, that also includes the over-reliance of the war here at home, the drug war, and the continuing prison-building. We need to get a grip, and we need to—we need to force and hold these people accountable to put in programs that will keep people not only in their homes, will keep people in their rental apartments and will stop the war. I think everything is interconnected, and we can’t let one go—

27. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008

Strange Bedfellows in Colorado

In an alliance born in part of fear, corporate executives across Colorado pledged to contribute at least $3 million to help organized labor defeat ballot measures that many in the business community might normally support.

More than 75 chief executives — including the heads of major companies such as Xcel Energy Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc. — agreed to donate money and time to the union cause.

In return, the unions agreed to drop four ballot measures they had backed. Those measure would have, among other things, required companies with at least 20 employees to provide health insurance and allowed injured employees to sue for damages outside the workers’ compensation system.

The measures had broad populist appeal and some analysts said they were likely to pass, at enormous expense to businesses.

So fucked up.

28. marisacat - 4 October 2008

I cuaght that:

I also find it ironic—I didn’t hear Joe Biden ever respond to Governor Palin’s remark at one point in the debate, where she pointed out that, look, Biden himself had urged or spoken about possibly running with McCain and had urged, I think, John Kerry to select McCain as a vice-presidential—you know, as a running mate. So, I thought that that was ironic, and we never heard a response to that.

and it is very carefully not being mentioned, at least that i have run into, by either side.

Kind of like Biden’s sighs.

GOOD LUCK TO THEM ALL. May no one win.

29. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

to put in programs that will keep people not only in their homes, will keep people in their rental apartments

There’s been no useful national discussion whatsoever about creating rental housing out of all of these foreclosures. Stigma runs deep, and “owners” don’t want to hear politicians talking about assisting “renters” into the house next door.

It can be difficult to live in non-urban America without buying a home, even if buying means plunging into the roiling credit waves. Renters are hard-pressed to find affordable houses. And for people with a family or animals or any number of circumstances, the cost (not to mention availability) of rental alternatives is just as prohibitive, with no whisper of promise for equity.

30. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Further to 29 – Maybe Paulson will tap a leading Rent-To-Own syndicate to run that concession and keep the markets excited.

Light bulb!

Memo to Hank – put all the crap out on eBay!

31. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008

there is no useful national discussion about anything.

32. bayprairie - 4 October 2008

Andrés Segovia (Master Class 1965)


“you know its very difficult for me to explain that in english. but the nuances in the rhythm is a result of the lack of respect we have for the rhythm…”

33. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Mostly juvenile bailouts, with Joan Jett.

(Warning: Link for hard-core slapstick stalwarts only!)

34. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

32 – That was fantastic and gorgeous. Thank you!

35. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

31 – Yes, well . . . er . . . good point!

By the way, did you mention Dickens the other day?

From the Wapo’s review:

“An American Carol,” a flamingly right-wing comedy, calls to mind the kind of “satire” performed at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington. . . . .

::snip::

“Carol” (which opened yesterday but was not screened for critics in advance) roughly tracks the Dickens Christmas classic. A Twinkie-gorging documentary filmmaker obviously based on Michael Moore (in case you still don’t get it, the character is named Michael Malone) is visited by three famous ghosts who show him the error of his peace-loving, health-insurance-demanding, America-hating ways.

The ghosts — Gen. George S. Patton, George Washington and John F. Kennedy — literally slap and punch some sense into Malone (played by Kevin Farley, Chris’s brother) to make him understand what’s at stake in the fight against terrorism.

Apparently Kelsey Grammar, James Woods, Jon Voight, and Dennis Hopper all pitched in. Liberal Hollywood strikes again!

36. bayprairie - 4 October 2008

yes its lovely, at 4:30 the guitarist surprises him with her masterful unwinding meter.

its very very good. he wasn’t expecting it i don’t think. nor was i.

37. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

28 – It’s always just about twice as interesting what both parties fail to mention, after the fact.

Is there any way voters can dislodge the duopolistic debate commision, at this point? How many more decades will it take?

38. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

commishun, I mean. (misspelliicism alert!)

At one point, Miss Devore (among others) was rousing rabble about demanding the return of the League of Women Voters, by popular acclaim. There was an interesting interview at Democracy Now about the history of the secret debate rules agreements recently, too.

39. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

SNL with Latifah as Ifill is funnee, so far. All around.

40. marisacat - 4 October 2008

Meet the Press: Dem strategist Begala, GOP strategist Mike Murphy

Face the Nation: Sen. Feinstein, Gov. Granholm

Fox News Sunday: Karl Rove

This Week: Govs. Rendell, Pawlenty, Sens. Mel Martinez, Sherrod Brown

Late Edition: McCain aide Nancy Pfotenhauer, Obama aide Linda Douglass, Bloomberg, Reps. Emanuel, Blackburn

41. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

Here it is – interviewee is Open Debates founder and executive director George Farah: No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates.

42. Intermittent Bystander - 4 October 2008

From link above:

Senator McCain and Governor Palin have been sowing doubts about how fair Ifill will be because of a book she’s writing that’s called Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The McCain campaign and right-wing pundits allege that Ifill might be biased in favor of Senator Obama.

What’s missing, however, is any concern about the fairness of the very structure of the debate. The Obama and McCain campaigns jointly negotiated a detailed contract dictating the terms of all the 2008 debates. This includes who gets to participate, as well as the topics raised during the debates. But the contract remains a secret, and the Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation created by the two major parties, has refused to release the contract to the public.

AMY GOODMAN: Open Debates is a nonprofit committed to democratizing the presidential debate process. Last month, Open Debates and nine other pro-democracy groups called on the Commission to make the contract public.

George Farah is the founder and executive director of Open Debates, author of No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates, joining us from Washington, D.C.

So, George, well, what are these rules tonight? What will they abide by, and who is making them?

GEORGE FARAH: Unfortunately, Amy, we don’t know the extent of the rules, because, precisely because, the Obama and McCain campaigns have absolutely refused to release the detailed contract that dictates the terms of tonight’s debate. We only have limited knowledge.

With respect to the new rules that we do know about, because the campaigns are terrified that both Biden and Palin will make a major gaffe during tonight’s performance, they have severely restricted the response times, so each candidate only has ninety seconds to respond to a particular question and then, only two minutes afterwards, to have some sort of discussion. This is in sharp contrast to the amount of time that was given to Obama and McCain during their debate.

And, of course, Amy, you’re not going to see any third party voices in tonight’s debate. The Republican, Democratic parties, who exert near absolute control over these public forums, have determined and made sure that no third party voices are ever seen on the debate stage and can challenge their dominance of our political system.

43. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 October 2008

Joe Biden’s other female foe

Indeed, there’s scant evidence that Biden is simultaneously running for vice president and for a 7th term back home, leaving O’Donnell to feel a tad neglected.

“He doesn’t have any signs up, billboards up or stickers,” she bemoaned.

Perhaps nowhere else in America is a challenger wanting her incumbent opponent to campaign harder against her. But O’Donnell has played the role of disregarded politician before. In 2006, she lost in the GOP Senate primary race. She then ran as a write-in candidate in the general election against Delaware’s other senator, Tom Carper, and mustered less than 1 percent of the vote.

O’Donnell has, however, made enough noise to gain notice from Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, who has endorsed her, along with astronaut Buzz Aldrin and David Horowitz, the 1960s radical turned conservative activist. Preceding O’Donnell’s career in elected politics was a career in conservative-issue advocacy and a stint at the RNC.

Before this election got under way, O’Donnell was doing advocacy work on a Terri Schiavo-like right-to-life case in Delaware, involving a 23-year-old woman named Lauren Richardson.

O’Donnell dismisses the idea that her face-off with a VP candidate has given her a chance to elevate causes near and dear.

“I was doing national media almost on a daily basis before,” she said, “so I’m not doing this for the platform. I have had to step down as a pundit, so to speak, so I can campaign.”

That doesn’t mean the Senate race hasn’t brought her some opportunities. She weighed in on the Democratic vice presidential nominee’s acceptance speech on “Larry King Live” on CNN and was a go-to voice the day after the veep debate.

44. marisacat - 4 October 2008

well people saw and heard that Hillary and Edwards had no problem having a quiet little chit chat in passing, on the stage at the close of one of the primary debates… to get rid of Kuc and Gravel and whoever else. Presumably not the senators, as we know they hang together…

LOL.

And reporters are fine with it. All joined to gether and hooked into book deals as they are.

In a decent world, Ifill should have stepped aside. It is ridiculous! Her book would nto sell unless Ob wins. Everything is tied together in this stuff.

Not that it matters. A read thru of the dox agreed to by the two parties and the Commission on Debates, or whatever they call themselves in 88, makes it clear. The whole system is rigged.

45. wu ming - 4 October 2008

the book’s beside the point. ifill should never have been considered, just for being so utterly useless a moderator. having a mute stage manager hold up cue cards asking the questions would have done as much.

46. marisacat - 4 October 2008

LOL and Lehrer barely functions. One reason they are on PBS, a cemetary.

47. Intermittent Bystander - 5 October 2008

For anyone misguided enough to have clicked the skateboarding bail-out video upthread – unwittingly posted a few seconds after bay’s wonderful Segovia link at #32 – sincere apologies!

(Talk about sublime — > ridiculous!)

To rid my own self of the persistent Joan Jett headnoise this morning, I’m going to try the diabolical earworm antidote here: Maim that tune!

48. marisacat - 5 October 2008

Puhleeze! let it be true. “GOP fears Dems may get 60 seats int he senate”

Light candles, pray to Jesus.

49. marisacat - 5 October 2008

CNET has a round up piece on the Bail Out bill… with a list of pork and lobbyist sweeterners, I wish the 300 billion to the FHA meant real help for people. Not willing to trust it.

Don’t miss the privacy and IRS issues a ways down. Right after limp wristed small stuff for “green”. Not that that matters either. What a bill. Bankruptcy? Extension of Unemployment Ins? LIHEAP?? (Even Biden claimed to know what that is)

AND last week Dorgon said the cost per was over 12K, CNET put it over 17K. I know I can’t afford it. Even saving the cat food money lately.

50. marisacat - 5 October 2008

hmm via Politico email:

‘We expect 8,000 stores to close this year, which is probably a record,’ said Howard Davidowitz, head of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a New York retail consulting firm. ‘This will be the worst Christmas shopping season in a century,’ he predicted.’

A camera crew here in SF went downtown, several blocks of which for many years now rival a few blocks on Madison for lease cost per sq foot… and showed the closed, windows covered store fronts. hmm Lot more than I had expected.

51. NYCO - 5 October 2008

50. Um, did they HAVE a “Christmas shopping season” in 1908? Somehow I think not.

52. Intermittent Bystander - 5 October 2008

FYI – earworm cure was a very bad idea.

This worked better. Paco de Lucia, Callejón del Muro.

***

I noticed the IRS provision the other day and am trying to find an article from last April discussing the focus of IRS investigations in recent years. No luck so far, but here’s an October 2nd story from San Diego about two companies being permanently barred from tax preparation following undercover stings showing an estimated $18 million in revenues lost via “fabricated or inflated” deductions.

From the comments:

18 million is NOTHING compared to the absolute hatchet job perpetrated by the government against our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

53. Intermittent Bystander - 5 October 2008

Paco de Lucia and the IRS went undercover to moderation, I think.

54. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

A sign that it’s going to be a bad holiday is Walmart and other retailers are ALREADY putting up xmas displays. I was in retail a long time, and I remember when the day after Halloween felt ridiculously early. Starting the “season” so early is a sign of panic.

55. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

from the CNET link, more widening of the clampdown:

IRS undercover operations: Privacy invasion?

The bailout bill also gives the Internal Revenue Service new authority to conduct undercover operations. It would immunize the IRS from a passel of federal laws, including permitting IRS agents to run businesses for an extended sting operation, to open their own personal bank accounts with U.S. tax dollars, and so on. (Think IRS agents posing as accountants or tax preparers and saying, “I’m not sure if that deduction is entirely legal, but it’ll save you $1,000. Want to take it?”) That section had expired as of January 1, 2008, and would now be renewed.

Starting with the so-called Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1988, the IRS has possessed this authority temporarily, with occasional multiple-year lapses. A 1999 internal report said the IRS had 126 “trained undercover agents” working in field offices at the time. This is the first time that such undercover authority would be made permanent.

Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Chuck Grassley (R) have been pushing to make it permanent for a while, claiming (PDF) in April that: “Undercover operations are an integral part of IRS efforts to detect and prove noncompliance. The temporary status of this provision creates uncertainty, as the IRS plans its undercover efforts from year to year.”

There’s another section of the bailout bill worth noting. It lets the IRS give information from individual tax returns to any federal law enforcement agency investigating suspected “terrorist” activity, which can, in turn, share it with local and state police. Intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Agency can also receive that information.

The information that can be shared includes “a taxpayer’s identity, the nature, source, or amount of his income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability, tax withheld, deficiencies, overassessments, or tax payments, whether the taxpayer’s return was, is being, or will be examined or subject to other investigation or processing, or any other data received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the Secretary with respect to a return.”

56. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

Breaking: US Gov’t hires Frank & Jesse James to combat rash of bank robberies.

The U.S. plans to hire five to 10 asset-management firms as Secretary Henry Paulson establishes the government’s new office for handling the financial bailout, a Treasury official said.

The department will also add about two dozen new employees, a mix of bankers, lawyers, accountants and others, the official said today on condition of anonymity. The Treasury’s first attempt to hold an auction to buy troubled assets from financial firms will take at least four weeks to set up, said the official.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work getting ready for this,” Paulson told reporters after Congress passed the Bush administration’s $700 billion rescue package for financial institutions. “Once the legislation is signed, we’re going to be going out and lining up advisers from the private sector.”

Some of the Treasury’s new employees will be on the government payroll, while others will be contractors, the official said.

57. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008
58. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

Organic, No-Cal Sweeteners

After spending a year in France I returned to the U.S. to find that the ridiculousness of food-like substances sold here has reached unimaginable levels. A recent trip to the supermarket had me pondering a question I never thought I would ask: Can an edible substance be organic if it contains no calories?

Wholesome Sweeteners, a branch of industry behemoth Imperial Sugar Inc., certainly thinks so, and the brand’s Organic Zero sugar substitute bears the USDA Organic seal of approval. At my local Upper West Side grocery store, where I first spied the product, a box of 35 packets of Organic Zero goes for an astounding $9.99. (By contrast, a box of 50 packets of Splenda costs $3.09.)

Organic Zero’s packaging boasts, “Organic Erythritol is the only ingredient in Wholesome Sweeteners’ Organic Zero.” “Erythritol” wasn’t a word that I recognized, so I did some Googling and discovered that it’s also sold under the name brand Zsweet and used in some candy bars and other sugar-free products. I then moseyed over to the FDA website, which assured me that erithrytol is “generally recognized as safe” and provided this helpful information:

“Erythritol is manufactured using the fermentative conversion of glucose to erythritol by a non-toxicogenic and non-pathogenic organism, Moniliella pollinis. The fermented broth is heated to kill the microorganisms, crystallized, washed, redissolved and purified using an ion exchange resin. The erythritol solution is purified further by ultrafiltration and recrystallization.”

This, undoubtedly, is exactly the kind of thing farmers and consumers had in mind when they first pushed for governmental regulation of the term “organic” back in the 1970s.

It’s amazing how ANYTHING can be turned into a mere marketing strategy and robbed of all meaning.

59. marisacat - 5 October 2008

Madman and IB out of Moderation…

sorry!

********

58

Oh I just use sugar, of one sort or another, but SUGAR.

60. liberalcatnip - 5 October 2008

Most boring teevee show ever:

To mark the opening of the synod, Italian state television will be broadcasting a marathon reading of the whole Bible for the next six days and nights.

The Pope himself will start off the reading with the Book of Genesis.

He will be followed by hundreds of other readers, including Italian politicians, celebrities from the world of entertainment and sport, as well as ordinary Italians – who have never been such enthusiastic readers of the Bible as Christians in Protestant countries.

61. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

Never Mind the Bailout, Pentagon Wants Mega Cash

Last week, a key Congressman predicted that the mega-expensive Wall Street bailout would naturally force the government to cut back defense spending.

Well, not if the Pentagon has anything to do with it.

The Defense Department “wants an increase of $57 billion in fiscal 2010, about 13.5 percent more than this year’s budget of $514.3 billion,” according to Bloomberg News.

Military spending has skyrocketed since fiscal 2000 — up 43 percent, before the hundreds of billions for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are factored in. But even in these fat years for defense budgets, the proposal for 2010 (not yet approved by the White House) would be an anomaly. The typical increase has been a mere four percent.

62. marisacat - 5 October 2008

well we know Ob is down for more for the military, expanded operations and more numbers serving in uniform.

So pentagon should relax: high times coming.

63. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

in our latest instalment of “fundies are fucking nuts”, we have this:

Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan in Saudi Arabia is calling for women to wear a niqab, or full veil, that covers all but one eye. Currently, women wear head to toe coverings that show two eyes. However, al-Habadan says women are wearing eye make-up and flirting with their two eyes.

al-Habadan is considered quite influential in Saudi Arabia and made his announcement on Muslim satellite channel al-Majd.

64. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008

Yale Law Students, Dean on March Against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

But Yale University isn’t willing to risk it. This is reportedly the second year the school has relented and allowed military recruiters to avail themselves of the formal interview process Yale arranges for employers willing to sign a non-discriminatory hiring pledge. Military recruiters from the Navy and Air Force were the only personnel out of some 70 employers who failed to do this.

But there was indignation from at least one quarter of Yale’s student body. According to the New Haven Register, three dozen students, dressed in interview attire and gagged, marched from the law school to a nearby hotel Wednesday to protest the policy, which allows gays to join the military as long as they don’t make known their sexual orientation, a situation that has reportedly led to the dismissal of some 12,500 service members since 1994.

Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh came out at the beginning of the protest and read from the 2006 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, which allows for the financial penalties. Still, Koh made clear he didn’t like it. “On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ people have said gays serving next to straights disrupt unit cohesion,” Koh reportedly said. “In Europe they have served next to each other for years. Their units seem pretty cohesive. … In the U.N. forces, American soldiers serve next to openly gay soldiers — they have pretty good unit cohesion. There are ways we can test and challenge the empirical accuracy of these assertions.”

Craig Konnoth, a Yale law student who helped organize the protest, said, “At the end of the day, the rationale for this policy is supposed to be the morale of the military. But I just don’t think that you show solidarity through witchhunts of people’s sexuality.”

65. marisacat - 5 October 2008

well I ahd thought, as hunger for fodder appeaser work, ob might relax DADT… but lately (about two weeks ago, I posted it at the time) he now calls for the Nunn Warner era to start again (try not to gag if you can remember those two aging pusses huddled up in a mil bunk, indicating how close a straight man might have to be to poison disease and seduction). He calls for ”reaching consensus”.

LOL.

66. marisacat - 5 October 2008

LOL NYT on the internal battle within Catholism over the two parties. Can’t we issue them pitchforks and hot oil and tell them, “have at it!”

As the Roman Catholic Church observes its annual “respect life” Sunday in this heated presidential election season, the unusually pitched competition for Catholic voters is setting off a round of skirmishes over how to apply the church’s teachings not only on abortion but also on the war in Iraq, immigration and racism.

67. AlanSmithee - 5 October 2008

See how easy it is to get megabucks out of Congress? All you have to do is threaten martial law.

68. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 October 2008
69. marisacat - 5 October 2008

ooo Alan are you around?

Link failed………………… 😦

70. liberalcatnip - 5 October 2008
71. liberalcatnip - 5 October 2008
72. liberalcatnip - 5 October 2008

71. Whoops. My Ummm pic from the Paris Fashion show didn’t show up. Just as well. The hat looked like recycled barf.

73. liberalcatnip - 5 October 2008

Holy expensive towel, Batman!!

74. marisacat - 6 October 2008

woo hoo nu thred…………………….

LINK

………………… 8) …………………

75. Intermittent Bystander - 6 October 2008

72 – Anything like the oh-so-wearable headgear in the first link at 52? (Guarantees a free ride to your local psychiatric facility!)

73 – Hey, “dobby borders” (???) from Canada don’t come cheap!

76. Intermittent Bystander - 6 October 2008

MCat – A couple of IRS investigation links, as discussed upthread:

USA today report on downtrend in IRS investigations (from April 07).

Tax professor blog entry on increase in IRS audits (from January 2008).


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