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Gone in a heart beat… 23 November 2008

Posted by marisacat in France, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Paris, WAR!.


Bar Tabac Brasserie du petit coin, Quai du Louvre, Paris [Flickr]

…in truth, they were going, bit by bit, in the 90s… the economic downturn is a big nail.. and I doubt the smoking ban helped

“Now there’s no one,” she said, standing in a somber room with a few sad holiday decorations, an idle pool table and one young man playing a video game.

“People fear the future, and now with the banking crisis, they are even more afraid,” she said, her eyes reddening. “They buy a bottle at the supermarket and they drink it at home.”

The plight of Ms. Guérin is being replicated all over France, as traditional cafes and bars suffer and even close, hit by changing attitudes, habits and now a poor economic climate. In 1960, France had 200,000 cafes, said Bernard Quartier, president of the National Federation of Cafes, Brasseries and Discotheques. Now it has fewer than 41,500, with an average of two closing every day.

cafe de la gare

Cafe de la Gare

People are drinking less, smoking less and spending less, and even those who drink are newly wary of the local police, who now hover near the bar, especially at night, to test the sobriety of drivers. President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked the police to crack down on drunken drivers.

“Workers don’t take taxis,” Mr. Perrey said, stroking his lavish mustache and laughing. He gleefully showed photos of a small police car wrapped around a tree in his parking lot after an accident, saying, “They had to call the firemen to get them out!”

The cafe, he said, is a kind of public living room, especially in small towns and cities, and it is suffering as habits and laws change.

“We need the cafe to have an equilibrium between the village and the world outside,” Mr. Perrey said. “Without the cafe, you lose the conviviality. You lose your mates. Business agreements are made behind the zinc” of the bar.

“We have to be very careful,” Mr. Perrey continued. “If we standardize everything in France, and we study everything, and forbid everything, we destroy respect for our culture. We need to preserve the cafe bar. What is a village but a cafe, a school, a pharmacy, a bakery and a city hall?”

Somehow I don’t think Sarko is too sad at the stress and loss of business put on shisha tearooms, serving the North African community

Paris, December 7, 2007 — L’Elies tearoom, one of a dozen thriving shisha bars tucked away off the trendy bar-lined Rue Oberkampf in eastern Paris, is contemplating a quiet death. At weekends the place is full of young Parisians and middle-aged men from the local north African community.

“Our customers come here especially for our white grape tobacco,” said the manager, Samy Boughida, as he rubbed some of the substance between his fingers to release a sweet, syrupy smell. “They sit and smoke for hours.”

and hookah bars, with their following.. Places for smokers and now restricted to building “smoking rooms” of small, legally restricted size, fully enclosed, one fifth of overall floor space and ventilated. Or restricting smoking, as the law permits, to outside terraces, not something small places on small side streets, in French towns and cities, have…  impossible in winter, in any case.

Le Figaro
Photo: Le Figaro

Ah well, plus ca change, plus ca change.



1. marisacat - 23 November 2008

Trade deals.. just the ticket! More “Free Trade”, More “just the ticket!” As they meet in Lima Peru in a specially fortified compound.

That’s sure to work!

2. marisacat - 23 November 2008

hmmm Just call this Depression Dispatch from the West… 2 biggish tech conventions have cancelled for SF for 2009, Cisco and one the name of which meant nothing to me, supposedly both worth 48 mil to the city…

and a big big deal up in Napa has suddenly, quietly (news of a small sign pinned to their door tonight) closed, Copia. SEVENTY EIGHT million dollars in debt. http://www.copia.org/ It opened in 2001 with backing from Robert Mondavi, whose German wife was big force for arts in the wine region.


prepare the ark, gather the animals two by two.

Of course the big question for years, decades has been the banks that carried failing or marginal (but showy and well known) businesses for ”friends”, constantly loaning money for whatever. Bingo. Investors don’t care, often, that their initial money never sees a profit, not why they invested.

Stock the ark.

3. marisacat - 23 November 2008

HA! Good for a laugh.. and, if true, juicy. Also, it’s running at the top of “most popular”at the Independent…

[B]efore Hillary Clinton has been formally offered the job as Secretary of State, a purge of Barack Obama’s top foreign policy team has begun.

The advisers who helped trash the former First Lady’s foreign policy credentials on the campaign trail are being brutally shunted aside, as the price of her accepting the job of being the public face of America to the world. In negotiations with Mr Obama this week before agreeing to take the job, she demanded and received assurances that she alone should appoint staff to the State Department. She also got assurances that she will have direct access to the President and will not have to go through his foreign policy advisers on the National Security Council, which is where many of her critics in the Obama team are expected to end up. [slap]

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 23 November 2008

66 – I saw B.B. and his band @ Irving Plaza 9 or 10 years ago. Awesome. He looked a little frail then (I can’t believe that he’s still touring) but as soon as they started playing you could see him fill up w/ life. What a show he and his band put on.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 23 November 2008

3 – gawd he’s dumb. Are saviors supposed to be that stupid?

6. Madman in the Marketplace - 23 November 2008

The Bush Pardons

How does the George W. Bush presidency most resemble that of his father, George H.W. Bush? It may be best to wait to the last, agonizing days of reign of Bush the Lesser before making any call. Recall that Bush 41 left office with a flurry of highly controversial pardons, affecting a large number of individuals who were caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal. In December 1992, while Americans focused on the incoming Clinton Administration, Bush 41 wielded the pardon power to free former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others who had been convicted for crimes committed in connection with the Iran-Contra affair. Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel handling the matter, had been gradually closing the circle on the affair, and increasingly the evidence was suggesting that Bush 41 himself had been at the center of it. He had, Walsh learned, withheld his personal diaries from investigators and made statements which were at least seriously misleading. By issuing the Iran-Contra pardons, Bush threw up a roadblock…on a road that headed straight to himself.

True to form, the Democrats hardly raised a serious objection to the pardons. They were focused on the incoming administration and eager to avoid anything that would distract from the coup with which Clinton hoped to launch his presidency: a major healthcare initiative.

Sixteen years later, history appears poised to repeat itself. A new Democratic administration is preparing to descend on Washington, and healthcare reform is already being signaled as its first major campaign. President Bush, who has up to this point been remarkably stingy in using his pardon (other than for adviser Scooter Libby, who outed a CIA agent and lied to a grand jury about it) is widely thought to be preparing to take some extraordinary actions. Of prime concern are the Administration footsoldiers and policy-makers who participated in two extralegal gambits: his signature interrogation program that introduced a host of torture techniques which were up to that point the preserve of brutal Latin American dictators and formerly Communist adversaries; and a vast spying program that included snooping on the communications of tens of millions of Americans. Both programs had the misfortune of being contrary to federal statutes and punishable as felonies. The Bush Justice Department itself participated in these criminal schemes, and therefore should be counted upon not to prosecuted them. But with time wearing short and the prospect of a new administration descending upon Washington, Bush may shortly act to issue a pre-emptive class-based pardon to insure that his helpers not be prosecuted. And if the pardon is class-based, one prominent beneficiary will be George W. Bush himself. So 2008 promises to be a near perfect replay of pardons farce of 1992.

7. marisacat - 23 November 2008

hmmm fwiw surprisingly tough opinion [iece in the NYT on the Holder nom

8. marisacat - 23 November 2008

hmmm related to #3… Crowley (or, rather and excerptd reader email) in TNR (full text):

With General Jim Jones looking a strong bet for National Security Advisor, Hillary Clinton slated for State, and Bob Gates staying on at DOD, it appears increasingly likely that the three senior foreign policy positions in the Obama Administration will be filled by people who were not active Obama supporters during the campaign. Moreover, these principals are likely to bring their own hanger-ons – Hillary alone is likely to absorb into State the foreign policy advisors from her primary campaign, not necessarily their Obama counterparts.

So how do you think that makes the “Gang of 300” who staffed Candidate Obama on foreign policy issues, wrote white papers, served as surrogates for him, etc. during the long campaign feel?

They have to be happy with installing Jesus, I guess. Esp Susan Rice, from Clinton admin, who did yeoman work for Kerry (bet that was thankless) and again for Ob, esp as a point person to attack Hillary.


larison (where I found it) ahs some thoughts.

Now Clinton herself returns with her entire entourage, and the people who risked being shut out all together in the event that Hillary had won the nomination are not repaid with much of anything. It seems to me that at some point this pattern of forgetting about the people who helped get him where he is, which Obama has tended to do quite a few times over the years, will blow up in his face.

Or, Ob just rolls off in his Jesus skates. With the likes of Andrea Mitchell and Doris Kearns Goodwin to bleat the cover story… LOL.

Either way, POPCORN.

9. marisacat - 23 November 2008

LOL Where will he stick Samantha P, wife to Sunstein..? She had to believe she might be an undersecretary at State, perhaps as a special envoy to our soft war allies.

10. aemd - 23 November 2008

#3 and #8

Hmmm is right. Maybe the press is being spun. Maybe the players are elbowing to fill the power vacuum. Maybe the Midwest machine can’t control, or never had, a strong grip.

Way too seat of the pants and way too early for leaks of this nature. Sloppy.

Something is going on. What? Hmmm.

As for Sammy P, she played her role, hit her mark. Where is her kibble? Hmmm. Again, something’s up.

Or, LOL, maybe I thought the fly over boys were hungrier. 🙂

11. marisacat - 23 November 2008

As dysfunctional as Famille Clinton is, I don’t think they can blame Hillary et alia for the leaks. Not all of them… it is broad and wide and on a range of personalities…

Supposedly Rahm is a big leaker… but this seems counterproductive, where ever it is coming from…

er… GOOD LUCK! Call when the administration is ready to go!

12. aemd - 23 November 2008

Yeah, agree, it ain’t all coming from the Clinton swamp. It’s just so fucking sloppy. Guess I bought the Chicago machine was tighter or at least more ruthless.

“Call when the administration is ready to go!”

LOL, wherever the hell their planning on goin’. 😎

13. marisacat - 23 November 2008

LOL, wherever the hell their planning on goin’. 😎 — aemd

that made me laugh! Yeah I did not expect drip city…

14. NYCO - 23 November 2008

Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’: the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US

The Soviet Union achieved a higher level of collapse-preparedness through sheer negligence and poor economic performance. So can we, if we (don’t) try.

Interesting comparison of the Soviet Union’s collapse-readiness in the 1980s versus America’s collapse-readiness in the 2000’s. Simply put, the Soviets had less far to fall. (of course, they’ll also be dragged down by the West’s economic collapse now…)

No doubt there are parts of the U.S. that have less far to fall. I read this article and the light bulb went off… when it comes to corrupt, dysfunctional, socialistic government with an emphasis on state-run inefficiency, one thing comes to my mind: ALBANY!

15. marisacat - 23 November 2008

corrupt, dysfunctional, socialistic government with an emphasis on state-run inefficiency, one thing comes to my mind: ALBANY!

Count in Sacramento CA, a curious smallish town (mit sprawl in all directions) on the sleepy Sacramento River in the infinitely interesting Delta region. But fucked? oh yeah…and even more so, if possible, with Teh Terminator…

16. marisacat - 23 November 2008

On and on it goes, where it ends……………………

Plan to Rescue Citigroup Begins to Emerge

Published: November 23, 2008

Federal regulators were considering a new rescue for Citigroup on Sunday, a step that could mark a third leg of the government’s broader efforts to bolster the nation’s financial industry, according to people briefed on the plan.

17. marisacat - 24 November 2008

pray no other banking institution or credit scheme biz loses 60% of their stock value this week:

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government agreed to protect $306 billion of loans and securities on Citigroup Inc.‘s books against losses, as it seeks to shore up investor confidence in the bank.

Citigroup will, as a fee for the guarantee, provide preferred shares to the Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the regulators said in a statement. The government will also inject $20 billion into the bank from the Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“We will continue to use all of our resources to preserve the strength of our banking institutions and promote the process of repair and recovery and to manage risks,” the regulators said in the statement. ::snip::

18. wu ming - 24 November 2008

when does CA get our bailout? after all, an 11 billion shortfall’s a pittance compared to these bailout deals.

as for sac, while it remains a weird combo of port town, cow town, and so cal transplant exurb, it’s not all that small. last i heard, it was about the same size as san jose, population-wise, around 2 million or so. of course i guess that includes the increasingly foreclosed sprawl…

19. marisacat - 24 November 2008

Everything but what hugs the river seems like sprawl to me. Its got a ton of the dirty little secret, masses of foreclosure of utterly tired 20, 30 + year old housing stock, low grade cheaper burbs (or neighborhoods, whatever one wants to call them) to begin with, poor schools – overcrowded neglected – and a lot of that now dying, in several different ways. Anything built the last few years, as they bought up farm land willy nilly for development is really badly built near badly built and badly planned levees…

I would imagine the pseudo wealthy developments, gated communities of the past couple decades are in trouble as well…

Even when I was a child Sacramento seemed like the South to me..

I suppose it is in better shape in some ways than the outer reaches of the Bay Area, the farther reaches, not near a city hub.

LOL The “Late Great State of California”, without sliding off into the ocean, we did, sorta.

20. marisacat - 24 November 2008

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn that is the sound of someone gumming pre=digested food. about the feeling I get off this Newsweek article on the early flap flap flap in camp Ob over torture. Amazing that Isikoff crafted a report out of so little.

The idea of such panels is not universally favored among Obama advisers. Some with ties to the intelligence community fear the demoralizing impact on intelligence officers, said one source who had discussions with Obama aides about the idea. But during the campaign, both Obama and Eric Holder, slated to be nominated as attorney general, sharply criticized the use of torture and the legal rulings that permitted them. Holder called some Bush counterterror policies “excessive and unlawful.”

Yes… well… Holder and Ob have said a lot of things.

21. NYCO - 24 November 2008

Why doesn’t the Office of the President-Elect (God, I hate that) just license all the Obama crap out there? We could have the national debt paid off in no time.


22. marisacat - 24 November 2008

LOL too busy devising presidential seals…………………..

23. Thelema - 24 November 2008

No one cried all these years when the healthy people, who didn’t want to gulp great clouds of secondhand-smoke-poison and risk cancer in order to patronize the cafes, had to turn and leave. But smokers are apparently so disloyal to the cafes they claim to love, they’d rather not go than to considerately step outside to smoke.


24. marisacat - 24 November 2008


You will be surprised, I am a non smoker. But I can name the cafes I was perfectly comfortable in, care to the name the ones you left?

25. marisacat - 24 November 2008

I am snickering, but I wonder how Lily Ledbetter feels. Wouldn’t Labor (and I don’t necessarily mean unions) be a big big big part of any recovery worth its salt? Or a [cough choke strangle] promised Green Revolution?

I hope Tasini was being sarcastic but I doubt it. He called Ob good for a labor a few months ago.

Supposedly Ob’s presser tomorrow is abut cuts and sacrifice.

26. marisacat - 24 November 2008

HA! An emailer suggested he should pick Rose DiMoro head of the Calif Nurses Association, a union… if he really meant business. CNA brought Arnold’s numbers down almost 20 pts … really softened him up IF the Democrats had cared to do anything about him in his reelection. Which they did not.

27. Madman in the Marketplace - 24 November 2008

But what about the CHILDREN!?!?!

Twelve years ago, when Wendy Whitaker was barely 17, she performed oral sex on a high school classmate who was about to turn 16. The state of Georgia convicted her of a sex crime and she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

As a registered sex offender, Whitaker’s freedom is severely restricted. She and her husband bought a house within 1000 feet of an unadvertised church daycare service, and a judge has decreed that she has to vacate by Thanksgiving.

Thank goodness the little dears will now be able to safely undergo indoctrination about how much god hates their bodies and how terribly dirty and sinful they are without a the threat of a married woman who was caught enjoying that her friend’s dirty, filthy body years and years ago.

Democracy uber alles!

28. Madman in the Marketplace - 24 November 2008
29. Madman in the Marketplace - 24 November 2008

The Economic Rapture: Chapter III — Give Citigroup Something For Nothing

On Friday, November 21st, Citigroup stock closed at less than $4 per share.

Today, the US government announced that it would effectively guarantee Citigroup a per share price of about $10.

Wow! The government won’t guarantee American workers a wage of $8 per hour. As of July 2009, if you have a job, you must be paid $7.25 per hour. If you work 40 hours per week, or 1080 hours per year, $7,830 per year.

But the government does not guarantee you a job! The government gives you a very modest amount for a limited time if and only if you qualify for unemployment. You may also qualify for food stamps and for housing. So the government may help you achieve mere survival if you qualify.

And for years now, the Official Dogma has been to tighten qualifications on the thesis that doing so — instituting a stick approach — will get people moving, will force us lazy-ass Americans to find work. (Never mind that they may just not be work.)

What is the qualification for a bloated financial institution getting federal assistance? Fucking up! The bigger Citigroup or Goldman Sachs or AIG fucked up, the more money the government gives them — exactly the opposite of the line they take with us.

What’s the difference? Well, friends of feds run those institutions. Buddies who went to Harvard, Yale, Chicago. Friends from college, business school. Friends who were colleagues at Goldman or Citi.

This past weekend, guru Robert Rubin was busy meeting with federal officials. Current Citi head was meeting.

When was the last time any Bush figure — or for that matter, any Obama figure — met with a labor leader?

For months I have been saying that this is an economic downturn with an essential difference — the wealthiest Americans, the creditors, the Rentier class — is at risk. In past downturns, when regular folks — you and me — were at risk, who cared? “Let us eat cake.”

30. Madman in the Marketplace - 24 November 2008

Starving for Change

So while our nation crumbles, physically and morally, while our empire implodes, while our economy tanks, the bankrupt elites who got us here play the merry-go-round game of power in Washington. They will continue to oversee our demise, including the obscene drain of our military and security budget, which now accounts for half of all discretionary spending. Pentagon officials have reportedly asked the Obama transition team for $581 billion, an increase of $67 billion. This increase does not, of course, include the $3 trillion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will pay these loans later.

Banks, automotive companies and investment firms, all sinking under the weight of their own incompetence and greed, head to Washington, usually in private jets, to engage in the largest looting of the treasury in American history. And Congress doles out our money without oversight in the greatest transference of wealth upwards in modern times.

As this pitiful march of folly rolls forward, children in Trenton and across America go to bed hungry.

31. NYCO - 24 November 2008

Speaking of starving…

A farmer in Colorado, having had a bumper crop with food (potatoes, onions, carrots) still in the ground unharvested as the season ended, invited the public to come and glean food from his fields.

He expected a couple hundred takers… 40,000 showed up and picked the farm clean within a few hours.


32. Madman in the Marketplace - 24 November 2008

NPR interviewed that farmer today. Sounds like a great idea.

33. marisacat - 24 November 2008

A farmer in Colorado, having had a bumper crop with food (potatoes, onions, carrots) still in the ground unharvested as the season ended, invited the public to come and glean food from his fields. — NYCO

what a great idea!

34. marisacat - 24 November 2008


Hannity and Colmes are splitting up… Colmes is moving on from FOX…

What a hoot!

35. marisacat - 24 November 2008


Wow! The government won’t guarantee American workers a wage of $8 per hour. As of July 2009, if you have a job, you must be paid $7.25 per hour. If you work 40 hours per week, or 1080 hours per year, $7,830 per year.

We still run on what I call the “plantation system”.

36. marisacat - 25 November 2008

gnu post


…………… 😯 ……………..

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