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Gu Gu goes Ga Ga 8 January 2009

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements.


Gu Gu – who wasn’t amused to find an intruder had jumped over the 1.4m barrier surrounding the exercise area – bit into Mr Zhang’s legs and refused to let go [AP UK Independent]

I need a break from war and the murderous financials… tho Gu Gu seems more than a little … vengeful.  Step into his domain and you will not forget your mistake.  You will limp off… to the surgery!

I  did laugh reading this in the Independent, full text:

Panda puts a third victim in hospital after attack at zoo

Staff use tools to pry open animal’s jaws after it locks on to the legs of visitor

By Toby Green

Friday, 9 January 2009

They might seem cute and cuddly, but one Chinese panda is demonstrating that it is probably best to not get too close. Gu Gu, a 108kg male panda who is one of Beijing Zoo’s star attractions, has attacked his third tourist.

This week’s unfortunate victim, Zhang Jiao, was assaulted by the animal when he decided to venture into the panda enclosure to recover his five-year-old son’s toy.

Gu Gu – who was not amused to find an intruder had jumped over the 1.4m barrier surrounding the exercise area – bit into Mr Zhang’s legs and refused to let go. Staff from the zoo eventually managed to free the man by prying open Gu Gu’s jaws with tools.

Gu Gu’s first taste of human blood came in 2006, when a drunken tourist tried to hug the grumpy creature.

When Gu Gu responded by attacking him, Zhang Xinyan, 35 – who said he had travelled to Beijing “only to see the pandas” – decided to fight back.

“I bit the panda on its back but its fur was too thick,” said Mr Zhang. “No one ever said they would bite people. I just wanted to touch it.” The next year, Gu Gu also attacked a 15-year-old boy.

A zoo spokeswoman said yesterday that police were investigating the latest incident and that it was not yet apparent whether Mr Zhang would face any charges.

According to The Beijing News, the man from China’s Anhui province is recovering from surgery after suffering damage to his major ligaments.

Experts say that despite their sweet public image, pandas are capable of attacking humans, especially if they feel that they are coming under threat. There are believed to be fewer than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild in China.

Don’t cross Gu Gu.



1. BooHooHooMan - 9 January 2009

Well, I am the Eggman and Gu Gu’s a Joo.

2. marisacat - 9 January 2009

I think Gu Gu’s got a little blood on his teeth………….. 🙄

3. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Brrreaking nooz at Press TV… Gaza rockets have hit Tel Nof, a “major air base”.

Hamas has announced that its al-Qassam grad rockets have hit a major Israeli airbase near Tel Aviv, which is believed to house nuclear arms. …

The air base is situated just 27 kilometers away from Tel Aviv on the outskirts of Rehovot, an Israeli city to the south of the capital.

Tel Nof is home top a number of Israeli fighter and helicopter squadrons as well as several special military units.

4. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

Speaking of creatures great and small, I see Flocke got a Russian roomie. And the London Zoo did its annual critter count.

Dobbs had no trouble tallying three meerkats in a spacious enclosure Thursday, although they did seem nervous when he walked in carrying a clipboard. They hid in tunnels and behind bushes until they saw the scraps of food he was carrying. After 10 minutes, they were practically sitting in his lap.

Meanwhile, December unemployment figures raise the rate to 7.2% – highest since 1993 – and Biden and Graham are visiting Pakistan.

Although Biden’s office has stressed that he has come to the region in his capacity as a senator, the trip is likely to be seen as carrying more weight, given Obama’s plans to shift the focus in the “war on terror” to South Asia.

5. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

Obama Taps CIA Veteran As Adviser On Terror

Barack Obama has picked John O. Brennan as his top adviser on counterterrorism, a role that will give the CIA veteran a powerful voice on the government’s use of security contractors and on other sensitive issues in which he recently has played a private-sector role.

By appointing Brennan to a senior White House position not subject to Senate approval, Obama is also making him an influential adviser on the Middle East and on Iran, a topic on which Brennan has called for a sharp break with past U.S. policy.


The firm Brennan heads, the Analysis Corp., and its corporate parent have earned millions of dollars over the past decade assisting several federal agencies and private firms on counterterrorism. Those oil and telecommunications firms have worked in countries beset by violence, including Mozambique, Liberia, Colombia and Pakistan — all of which have been topics of intense policy debate in Washington.

The parent corporation, London-based Global Strategies, has been a target of critical news accounts about harsh actions by its hired soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama has criticized the actions of similar firms, such as Blackwater Worldwide, and co-sponsored legislation to ensure that such firms are subject to U.S. laws even when operating overseas.


Obama aides said the president-elect accepted Brennan’s assurances that he played no role in setting abusive interrogation practices at the CIA and that he had expressed some private dissent about the practices. They said Obama also accepted the judgment of transition team advisers that Brennan was separated from any questionable practices by Global Strategies, which formally purchased Brennan’s firm in 2007.

6. marisacat - 9 January 2009


Obama aides said the president-elect accepted Brennan’s assurances that he played no role in setting abusive interrogation practices at the CIA and that he had expressed some private dissent about the practices.

is exactly where Obster is going to get in trouble… from some corner. Nt necessarily on the Brennan corner. Love the “expressed some private dissent”.

Enough for Ob and off to the races. LOL convenient.

7. marisacat - 9 January 2009

oh jesus.. the ever relevant Cosby with his duenna Alan Poussaint will be on MTP this Sunday. Their last appearance with Timmeh was a tired side show.

8. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Real News TV: George Monbiot challenges the head of Shell Europe… camera into the office, greenwashing, ethics, energy, gas flaring.. and so on. Vid only no transcript.

We need some G Monbiots.

9. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

From page 2 of the WaPo article on Brennan:

Following his long experience with the Middle East, including a stint as the CIA’s station chief in Saudi Arabia, Brennan has expressed some potentially controversial opinions about how U.S. policy there must shift, particularly toward Iran. In an academic article published six months ago, for example, Brennan said President Bush and his aides had inappropriately publicly bashed Iran, and he urged that U.S. rhetoric toward the country be sharply toned down.

He also called for an increased role for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanese politics, an idea he acknowledged would be anathema to Israel.

Interesting collection of facts about Brennan. The unnamed “Obama aides” also float the notion of folding most Homeland Security Council staff into the NSC.

Since the election, Brennan — who retains all his top security clearances — has been conducting briefings for Obama on the CIA’s ongoing covert actions, and aides said he won Obama’s support in those meetings as a “straight shooter” whom agency officials trust. He has “unrivaled integrity” and a “great understanding of how all the parts of official Washington are affected by intelligence,” McDonough said.

Brennan serves on the board of Global Strategies’ North American subsidiary, along with a former director of the CIA’s counternarcotics center and a former assistant secretary of state. But Obama’s top aides concluded that he was “fully walled off from London,” one said.

Brennan, who has been on unpaid leave from the firm, plans to resign Jan. 19 and will have no further financial ties to it, according to a transition official. Two months ago, the firm won a large five-year contract to provide “intelligence expertise and support services” to the FBI.

BTW – According to TV Newser, John Conyers is trying to rally resistance to the Sanjay Gupta pick, citing “lack of experience.”

10. marisacat - 9 January 2009

The unnamed “Obama aides” also float the notion

They’ve been floating a lot, is all I can say.

11. marisacat - 9 January 2009

BTW, speaking of pandas… LOL… I landed on this at The Sun… not esp in favor of “breeding centers”, etc., but the panda baby beds with sleeping baby pandas does qualify for “damned cute”. Maybe even cute overload…


12. marisacat - 9 January 2009

I do believe they have been targetted… as a defensive act of war against the “Arab womb is a weapon of war” (which I think at some point was said by Arafat):

Press TV

UN: Women, children main victims in Gaza

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 16:56:35 GMT

A United Nations agency says nearly fifty percent of those killed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip are women and children.

So far Israeli aggression since December 27, has killed almost 700 Palestinians and wounded at least 3,100 others while many are feared to still be under the rubble.

Doctors in Gaza have also confirmed the report by The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), saying that the main victims of Israeli strikes are civilians, many of whom are women and children. Thus far, over 200 children have been killed in Gaza.

Human rights organizations also expressed their grave concern over the mounting civilian casualties in Gaza after Israeli troops attacked a UN school in Jabalya where civilians had taken shelter.

At least 45 people were killed and dozens others injured in the attack, which Israeli officials tried to justify as an assault on a militant stronghold. …snip…

I think more is going to come out about al Zeitoun and the massive killing there.

13. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

I blame the wannabe-hugger maulings on panda pron like that!

Wonder if these pandas are trying to flee the breeding compound? (Hurry, Juliet! The labcoats are coming!)

The upside-down bears are pretty cute too. Like they’re doing their best soccer ball impersonations.

14. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

100 Survivors Rescued in Gaza From Ruins Blocked by Israelis: Relief Agencies Fear More Are Trapped, Days After Neighborhood Was Shelled (WaPo this morning).

“There are still people under demolished houses — we are sure of it,” said Khaled Abuzaid, an ambulance driver for the Red Cross who treated survivors at the site Wednesday and Thursday. “But without water or electricity, we are sure they will die.”


B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, said residents of Zaytoun who had been trapped in other houses have given similar accounts of how Israeli soldiers were aware of their plight but refused to allow rescue workers into the neighborhood. “What these family members say consistently is that the IDF was close by,” said Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for the group, referring to the Israel Defense Forces. “This wasn’t some remote area. The soldiers certainly were about and were aware of their position.”

15. wu ming - 9 January 2009

panda babies are like holstein-colored naked rats. fugly IMO.

they just donated two of those fightin’ balls of fur to the taipei zoo, with names that if read in sequence mean “unify” (just in case the message wasn’t getting through).

i’ll be sure and keep my distance.

16. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

Oops, panda photo links clinked. (They were youthful photos of the Taiwan unifuzzifiers. . . .)

Up up and away!

Caption: In this photo released by Chiuna’s Xinhua News Agency, giant pandas Tuan Tuan, top, and Yuan Yuan play in a breeding base in Ya’an, southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Feb. 17, 2006. The pair of pandas left China Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008 on a long-awaited goodwill journey to their new home in Taiwan in the latest move symbolizing the warming ties between the rivals.
(AP Photo/Xinhua, Chen Xie)

Soccer ball impressions

17. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Thanks for that IB.. I wondered when I clicked thru … LOL to BOTH, first one then the next, if I the ptb have decided I have a little panda lust… and should be barred.

off to check new links… beats the down beat political news.

18. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Brrreaking nooz at Press TV

Israeli forces have targeted the office of Press TV and the Iranian Arab-language satellite channel al-Alam in the Gaza Strip.

19. bayprairie - 9 January 2009

IB. more information concerning the massacre of civilians by the IDF at Zaytun. From the Voice of America no less.

Stillhart :::International Committee of the Red Cross Deputy Director of Operations Dominique Stillhart::: says during the three-hour break in hostilities Wednesday, Israeli officials finally allowed a Red Cross-Red Crescent team to go into houses shelled four days earlier in the Zaytun neighborhood of Gaza City.

He says the rescuers found 15 dead and 18 wounded, including found four small children too weak to stand on their own next to their dead mothers.

“And, this only 80 meters away from an IDF, Israeli military post who were clearly aware what was happening in these houses and they did not allow the Palestinian Crescent and ICRC to access these places,” he said. “And, clearly failed … their own obligation under international humanitarian law to care for the wounded regardless of which side, be they Palestinian or Israeli wounded.”

20. jam.fuse - 9 January 2009

That’s the most vicious looking panda I’ve seen.

‘Gu Gu’ means ‘maternal aunt’ in putunghua (‘common people’s speech’, i.e., Mandarin). Thus endeth the Chinese lesson for the day.

21. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Beware Auntie. 😆

I had been trying to do a piece on the grand attempt that the IDF made to draft llamas as pack animals in the ground invasion of Lebanon in August of 2006, but I could not find a good pic of the event (most were taken in the dark). The llamas pretty much to a llama sat down and would nto advance. From what I read, it had to shelved.

So I went with Auntie… LOL on the loose. Interesting they did nto use a tranquilizer dart on her, when she was in tooth lock down and would nto let go. Tho the report is kinda short on real details.

22. mattes - 9 January 2009

MM, from last thread, I you captured it in a nutshell:

It’s bad news to combine a fucked up monotheism with a strong nationalism and paranoid militarism.

That is exactly what is happening.

And I just had an epiphany. For quite a while I have been thinking that all non-profits should be taxed. That money should be going into the central government, I can only imagine how many billions it is each year.

The creation of non-profits whether religious or not, has helped break the sense of community and one-on-one bonds people make when helping each other in crisis. It’s sterilized charity and compassion and separated it from any kind of true healing in society.

First off, non-profit entertaining is like a social feel good party for the rich, then their friends get all the high paying positions in said non-profits…and a shadow money stream gets created that becomes very powerful in influencing their causes, whether they discriminate against certain people or not.

And I speak as a person that sat on the board of a non-profit. The by-laws were forever being broken to benefit friends and family members. And it was a pet shelter.

Non-profits create a disconnect between the giver and the needy…it is securitized giving. I am sure I am not using that word correctly. But it makes my point.

Think how many millions go to support settlements in the West Bank. One thing any Christian non-profit I have know did not discriminate against non-Christians, can’t say the same for most Jewish organizations with Jewish “only” causes.

23. marisacat - 9 January 2009

leftover christmas fudge

and how! WIth some panda teeth marks on it…

24. mattes - 9 January 2009

Is this the first step to censorship??

Save Soapblox!
by Chris Bowers
Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:56:46 AM PST

[From the diaries – BarbinMD]

You know how some politicians are fond of saying “you can’t solve a problem by just throwing money at it.” Well, here is a problem you can solve by throwing money at it. Send in a contribution to save Soapblox now!.

25. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

I thought Gu Gu was a guy guy? 108kg and all.

Bay – Thanks for the VOA. One of the (unintended, I’m sure) results of not letting reporters into Gaza seems to be greater media reliance on eyewitness accounts from relief workers and survivors (as in the WaPo story).

OT – Apparently Blago was jogging while the Illinois House was impeaching his ass (114-1) this morning. He sez he’s gonna hold a presser later today.

26. mattes - 9 January 2009

Lets start calling it what it really is:

The Culling of Gaza.

UN: IDF bombed building in Gaza that housed civilians

A UN agency has said Israeli troops evacuated Palestinian civilians to a house in Gaza City, then shelled the building 24 hours later.


UN: IDF officers admitted there was no gunfire from Gaza school which was shelled

The United Nations is claiming Israeli military officers have admitted there was no Palestinian gunfire emanating from inside an UNRWA school in Gaza which was shelled by an IDF tank.

Dozens of Palestinians were killed in the shelling.

In addition, UNRWA Thursday announced it will cease activities in the Strip due to the death of an UNRWA staffer in an IDF shelling during Thursday morning’s humanitarian hiatus.


27. bayprairie - 9 January 2009

censorship via influence over the hosted site’s managment vai temper tantrum technique (DELETE DELETE!), in addition to an easy way to sit night watch on the herd lest they stampede.

but hey, if you aren’t a conspiracy theorist maybe something along the lines of:

“won’t you please fund our bar tabz?”


28. bayprairie - 9 January 2009

seems to be greater media reliance on eyewitness accounts from relief workers and survivors

and very believable accounts they are. i imagine myself sitting on a jury. i have come to the conclusion that the israeli adminstration/IDF are often liars, as well as war criminals.

29. mattes - 9 January 2009

Could get very interesting!

Petraeus vs. Ross?

but he has never been as explicit about common U.S. and Iranian interests in the region as he was today in a presentation to the U.S. Institute of Peace (sponsored, incidentally, by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, as well as McDonalds and Coca-Cola). Despite evidence that Tehran has provided some weapons to anti-NATO forces in Afghanistan, he noted, Iran doesn’t “want …to see Afghanistan in the grip of ultra-fundamentalist extremist Sunni forces. Nor do they want to see the narcotics problem get worse. In fact, they want to see it reduced; it’s a huge issue in Iran,” he said, noting again that Iran, like India, could be critical to stabilizing Afghanistan.

Petraeus’ appreciation for the importance of bringing Iran into a regional effort to stabilize Afghanistan — he spoke shortly after former UN Special Envoy on Afghanistan Ibrahim Brahimi told the same conference that Iran was “second perhaps in influence to Pakistan” in Afghanistan and would not hesitate to create problems if it felt its interests there were threatened — may, of course, lead him into conflict not only with the neo-conservatives (as I suggested back in July), but, more importantly, with Dennis Ross and his backers within the Obama administration. Ross, who, according to numerous reports now, appears certain to be made special envoy on all matters pertaining to Iran (and possibly the entire Middle East) has even less expertise on Afghanistan and Southwest Asia than he does on the Islamic Republic. Moreover, his Israel-centric worldview (in which Iran, rather than al Qaeda, represents the greatest regional threat to both the U.S. and Israel) is almost certain to clash with Petraeus’ (and the Pentagon’s) view that Iran’s cooperation — or at least acquiescence — is critical to stabilizing Afghanistan and ultimately Pakistan as well. In other words, a serious conflict is likely to develop between those, like Ross, who see Iran as the greatest threat to U.S. interests and Israel in the region defined as the “Middle East”) and those who believe that al Qaeda and its allies in “Southwest Asia” represent the greatest immediate threat to U.S. security.

30. marisacat - 9 January 2009

BTW, Ross is a favorite go to guy for FOX news. Has been for years.

31. marisacat - 9 January 2009

BTW, No 2

WRT to the three reports, from individuals, one the woman at In Gaza blog, 2, survivors of Zeitoun who managed to straggle out in the 4 days while ICRC and UN were denied access and 3, the account from Dr Attalah Tazari – that I have posted – versions of “lined up and shot”… i was careful to identify that ”anecdotal”.. However someone emailed me to remind that I had posted a report that among the IDF serving in the theatre are former settlers evicted from GAZA.

As well, from reports in WSJ and elsewhere (McClatchy I think) some of those coming to the bluffs to watch are former settlers.

Such a wonderful world.

Lenin has a post up on the spectators

AND a post up on entertainment, Gaza war films, being made available for your viewing pleasure. Via the IDF Spokesperson office..

32. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Somebody had to say it…

The time of the righteous

By Gideon Levy

This war, perhaps more than its predecessors, is exposing the true deep veins of Israeli society. Racism and hatred are rearing their heads, as is the impulse for revenge and the thirst for blood. The “inclination of the commander” in the Israel Defense Forces is now “to kill as many as possible,” as the military correspondents on television describe it. And even if the reference is to Hamas fighters, this inclination is still chilling.

The unbridled aggression and brutality are justified as “exercising caution”: the frightening balance of blood – about 100 Palestinian dead for every Israeli killed, isn’t raising any questions, as if we’ve decided that their blood is worth one hundred times less than ours, in acknowledgement of our inherent racism. …

We’ll drop bombs on residential buildings, and then we’ll treat the wounded at Ichilov; we’ll shell meager places of refuge in United Nations schools, and then we’ll rehabilitate the disabled at Beit Lewinstein. We’ll shoot and then we’ll cry, we’ll kill and then we’ll lament, we’ll cut down women and children like automatic killing machines, and we’ll also preserve our dignity. …snip…

that last is exactly what we have done with Iraq… bring a few here for medical treatment and champion ourselves for it. Over Chrstmas we were cynically treated to telling after retelling of how we brought a little boy here to SF for specialised surgery and care. Blasted to deafness from bombs in Iraq.

How about we don’t send the bombs.

33. marisacat - 9 January 2009


Anyone who justifies this war also justifies all its crimes. Anyone who sees it as a defensive war must bear the moral responsibility for its consequences. Anyone who now encourages the politicians and the army to continue will also have to bear the mark of Cain that will be branded on his forehead after the war. All those who support the war also support the horror.

34. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Ben Smith…

Can things get worse, LOL… what a hoot!

The new Alan Colmes-less Hannity premieres Monday with frequent Fox News guest Al Sharpton filling the liberal seat on Sean Hannity’s newly christened “Great American Panel.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will fill the seat on the right. (And she should have plenty to talk about given the Senate dispute in her state between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.)

The X-factor on the panel: Meatloaf.

35. mattes - 9 January 2009

Marc Rich was among Madoff’s victims

The one-time fugitive financier Marc Rich lost between $10 million and $15 million in the Bernard Madoff scheme, according to the New York Times.



36. mattes - 9 January 2009

google news pulled this story:
Federal building Broward Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Muslims rally against the Jewish state.


37. Ryan McGivern - 9 January 2009

Why would someone, anyone, launch rockets at a panda?!
Has the World Wildlife Foundation found out about this?
I must say that I have met pandas of all kinds of persuasions:
kindly ones (San Diego Zoo), sleepy ones (San Diego Zoo), and eating ones (San Diego Zoo), but all of them (they may have been the same one at different times. It was hard to tell since pandas look alike and I was drunk) never gave me a reason to launch a rocket at them.

(I must admit I did throw kisses and project feelings of adoration)

Pandas are most likely atheist and/or Confusionistic or quietly Buddhist. How they decide to live out their religious life is up to them.

I would never judge a panda by its fur. I just wouldn’t. That sounds really quite unkind. We need to put the past behind us and start giving pandas a chance.

Together we can do it! Si Se Panda!
Ryan McGivern

38. mattes - 9 January 2009

Mark Kirk (R-IL) on “Taking Out the Trash” in Gaza
by Brandon Friedman


39. marisacat - 9 January 2009

or quietly Buddhist.

I can see that easily… 😉

40. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Jonathan Cook in Electronic Intifada (full text) — everything in here has been linked to and snipped here at Mcat, except for this The PA revealed that it was planning to seek the prosecution of Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the international courts.:

Criticism by international watchdog groups over the increasing death toll in Gaza mounted this week as the first legal actions inside Israel were launched accusing the army of intentionally harming the enclave’s civilian population.

The petitions — over attacks on medical personnel and the shelling of United Nations schools in Gaza — follow statements by senior Israeli commanders that they have been using heavy firepower to protect soldiers during their advance on built-up areas. “We are very violent,” one told Israeli media.

There is also growing evidence that Israeli forces have been firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas in a move that risks violating international law by inflicting burns on civilians.

Appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, meanwhile, called the events in Gaza a “new Nakba,” referring to the catastrophe that dispossessed the Palestinians in 1948. The PA revealed that it was planning to seek the prosecution of Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the international courts.

The legal challenges follow a wave of Israeli attacks on schools, universities, mosques, hospitals and ambulances in the past few days. The army claims the attacks are justified because the sites are being used by Hamas fighters.

A petition to the Israeli courts was announced on Wednesday by Taleb al-Sanaa, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, over the shelling on Tuesday of a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp that killed at least 40 Palestinians sheltering there.

UN officials, noting that they had passed on the school’s GPS coordinates to Israel and that it was clearly marked with a UN flag, insisted that only civilians had sought refuge at the school. The UN has demanded an investigation.

Mr al-Sanaa said the petition would name the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, the foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Barak, the defense minister, as the responsible parties. “Israel needs to decide whether it wants to be a terrorist organization like Hamas or respect international law,” he said.

A further petition has been launched by eight Israeli human rights groups, demanding that Israel’s high court ban the army from targeting ambulances and medical personnel.

The petition cites a large number of cases in which Israel has fired on ambulances, arguing that as a result medics have been unable to treat the wounded or transport them to hospital.

Palestinian medics said 21 of their staff have been killed by Israeli fire and many more wounded, according to reports on Al Jazeera TV. The al-Durra hospital in Gaza City was hit on Tuesday, and a day later three mobile clinics run by a Danish charity, DanChurchAid, were destroyed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross dropped its usual diplomatic language this week in denouncing Israel’s refusal to allow medical teams to tend the wounded.

During a three-hour pause in the fighting on Wednesday rescuers managed to reach the Zaytoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza City, that was extensively bombed at the start of the week.

Four children were found close to starvation alongside 15 bodies, including those of their mothers. Many other civilians were found dead in the area, and others are believed still to be in hiding. Israeli tanks were stationed nearby the destroyed buildings during the whole period.

Pierre Wettach, a Red Cross spokesman, called Israel’s delay in allowing a medical evacuation “shocking” and “unacceptable.” He added: “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded.”

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel added its voice, criticizing the Israeli authorities for repeatedly ignoring requests to move seriously wounded civilians.

The UN suspended its aid operations on Thursday after two of its drivers were killed and others wounded by Israeli fire directed at one of its relief convoys during another three-hour ceasefire.

John Ging, head of the UN agency for Palestine refugees in Gaza, said: “They were coordinating their movements with the Israelis, as they always do, only to find themselves being fired at from the ground troops.”

Palestinian sources and international observers warned that the death toll among civilians is rising rapidly as Israel’s ground invasion pushes deeper into Gaza.

Al Haq, a Palestinian legal rights group, warned that 80 percent of more than 750 Palestinians killed in the fighting so far have been civilians. According to figures cited by the World Health Organization, at least 40 percent have been children. Another 3,000 Gazans have been wounded.

Israeli commanders were reported in the Israeli media to be unsurprised by the heavy toll on civilians of their latest actions, saying their priority was to protect soldiers.

“For us, being cautious means being aggressive,” one told the Haaretz newspaper. “From the minute we entered, we’ve acted like we’re at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground.”

The newspaper said the government had taken into account the likely high number of Palestinian civilian casualties when it approved the ground operation a week ago.

Another soldier, identified as Lt Col Amir, told Israeli TV on Wednesday: “We are very violent. We are not shying away from any method of preventing casualties among our troops.”

Among the dubious tactics the army appears to be resorting to is use of white phosphorus shells, which burn intensely on exposure to air creating the firework-type explosions characteristic of Israel’s shelling of Gaza.

Although the shells produce dense clouds of smoke to cover military operations, they also cause severe burns on contact with skin.

Photographs of pale blue artillery shells lined up by tanks stationed on the edge of Gaza have been identified as American-made phosphorus munitions. Neil Gibson, a missiles expert for Jane’s, told The London Times that the shells were an “improved model” that burned for up to 10 minutes.

Although such shells are allowed when used solely as a smoke screen, they are banned as a chemical weapon if used as an anti-personnel munition. Palestinian and international medics in Gaza have reported large numbers of burns victims with injuries difficult to treat.

Yesterday, Amnesty International also accused Israeli soldiers of using Palestinian civilians as human shields — a charge Israel has repeatedly leveled against Hamas.

Malcolm Smart, a spokesman, said: “Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground-floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position.”

41. marisacat - 9 January 2009


By Thalif Deen, The Electronic Intifada, 9 January 2009

UNITED NATIONS (IPS) – The devastating Israeli firepower,
unleashed largely on Palestinian civilians in Gaza during
two weeks of military siege, is the product of advanced US
military technology. The US weapons systems used by the
Israelis — including F-16 fighter planes, Apache
helicopters, tactical missiles and a wide array of
munitions — have been provided by Washington mostly as
outright military grants. …snip…


42. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Also from EIntifada (Press TV had a video up early AM today of the “razing of Rafah” as they called it, so I think it is clear the anecdotal can be confirmed):

TEL AVIV (IRIN) – Independent confirmation of the situation in Gaza, particularly in Rafah on the border with Egypt, is difficult as Israel’s ban on journalists entering the Strip remains in place. Telephone lines are overloaded and affected by power cuts.

Rafah residents told IRIN by phone that tens of thousands had fled heavy Israeli bombardments, with some seeking refuge at United Nations institutions or at homes of friends and relatives in areas further from the border but still in the south.

IRIN was told of the case of one woman from Rafah who said she and her children had to sleep on the street as she could not find any refuge and simply ran as far away from the border with Egypt as possible, as Israel was conducting air strikes in the area.

Max Gaylord, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories, said earlier in the week that Palestinians had nowhere to seek refuge from the fighting. …snip…

43. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

net news is reporting that Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel. Not seeing this confirmed elsewhere yet.

Ambassador Ali al-Ayed was summoned to Amman by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and was instructed by the government to remain in the Hashemite Kingdom.

The Jordanians have expressed great concern over the escalation in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave, and clashes were reported Friday between anti-Israel protestors and Jordanian police near the Israeli embassy in Amman.

From a Reuters story earlier today – Thousands protest at Israel’s assault on Gaza:

AMMAN, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Jordan deployed riot police to disperse protesters planning to march on the Israeli embassy in Amman on Friday, and tens of thousands rallied across the nation and in Egypt to protest against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Demonstrators near the embassy in Amman’s Rabia district hurled stones at the police, who were backed by armoured personnel carriers firing teargas, and chanted slogans demanding Jordan cut its diplomatic ties with Israel.

“Expel the ambassador. No Zionist embassy on Jordanian land,” they chanted.

Protesters also demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Egypt, which also has diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

44. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

BTW – Just in case this item got missed in yesterday’s reports . . .

Israel Condemns Vatican’s ‘Concentration Camp’ Remarks

ROME — Tensions rose between the Vatican and Israel on Thursday after Israel condemned a high-ranking Vatican official for comparing the Gaza Strip to “a concentration camp.”

“Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp,” Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Council for Justice and Peace, said in an interview published Wednesday in an online publication.

He defended his comments in the center-left daily newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday. While noting that Hamas rockets into Israel were “certainly not sugared almonds,” he called the situation in Gaza “horrific” and said conditions there went “against human dignity.”

Israel on Thursday harshly condemned the cardinal’s use of World War Two imagery. “We are astounded that a spiritual dignitary would have such words, that are so far removed from truth and dignity,” said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.


The Vatican sought to downplay the cardinal’s remarks. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, called Cardinal Martino’s choice of words “inopportune,” and said they created “irritation and confusion” more than illumination.

While calling the cardinal “an authoritative person,” Rev. Lombardi added that “The more authoritative voice and line would be that of the pope.”

More at the link.

::ducks volleys of flaming candelabra::

45. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Jordan might be under some internal pressure… PREss TV reported 60K were out in protest. I forget how many they have in the refugee camps there… a lot.

Think pics of “King PlayStation” (as Angry Arab calls him) giving blood days ago was NOT enough.. 🙄

46. BooHooHooMan - 9 January 2009

I would never judge a panda by its fur.

Oh quit panda-ing to the Panda Lobby.

They and their ilk – wait, I meant “Elk” – they’re prolly aligned with the Elk now too- they’re everywhere I tellz ya- why they and their Elk and their sinister wildlife agenda are just gonna…..:roll:.


Via IHT:

Stolen 2 years ago, lion returns to Gaza Zoo
Reuters, The Associated Press
Published: July 9, 2007

GAZA: Malnourished, de-clawed and missing some of her teeth and the tip of her tail, Sabrina the lion was returned to the Gaza Zoo on Monday after Hamas fighters rescued her from thieves who stole her two years ago.

Hamas militiamen stumbled upon the 2-year-old lion – as well as drugs and weapons – during a raid of a drug ring’s hideout, said Abu Hamam al-Deeb, a force commander.

Zoo officials said the animal’s captors had been using her as a prop, charging people 5 shekels, or about $1.20, to be photographed with her.

Saoud al-Shawa, the zoo veterinarian, said the thieves “had cut off the end of her tail, the black hair that is considered to be the symbol of pride of African lions.”

“I am very sad for her,” Shawa said. “She must have felt very humiliated.”

Sabrina had been stolen at gunpoint about two years ago, soon after she and her brother, Sakher, were brought to Gaza from Egypt as cubs.

Zoo officials said Sakher had roared inconsolably when his sister was stolen. Reunited on Monday, he nuzzled her neck and the two siblings began to play.

“Sabrina is very tired and very sick,” Shawa said. “I do not think her teeth will come in again, so we’ll have to feed her minced meat and give her medicine.”

The feline’s fate was brighter than that of other animals in Palestinian zoos. In 2004, several animals were killed when a zoo in the border town of Rafah was destroyed in an Israeli Army operation.

No word yet on panda population in Gaza.

And just like People and Pandas , not all the Lion Stories are alike.
{All from Same AP}:::

The IHT headeline read simply:

:”Stolen 2 years ago, lion returns to Gaza”

Haaretz? ::
Hamas returns stolen lion, minus claws and teeth, to Gaza zoo

So very skillful. Using the same AP story…
But Why not the simple Bloggers lede in the Orlando Sentine??l:
Lion rescued in Gaza

47. BooHooHooMan - 9 January 2009

The story above is a bit dated form 07.
.Surely things have changed for the better, no?

48. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

Also from Reuters, Few speak out for Palestinians in U.S. Congress

The House on Friday passed a resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” by 390-5. The measure noted that the humanitarian situation in Gaza “is becoming more acute” but did not rebuke Israel.

Apparently 22 reps voted “present.”

49. BooHooHooMan - 9 January 2009

{ HTML corrected quotes}

Overdosing on Irony here:
So much for having Bernie “Look Out for Number One”.
“Self” Magazine. Too Rich.LOL.

Alexandra Penney, Madoff Victim:
He “Is Not A Human Being,” He Is A “Sociopath”

Alexandra Penney, former editor of Self magazine who lost her life savings in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, lashed out against the scam artist in an interview with CNN’s Christine Romans:

Sitting in her artists’ studio in the SoHo area of New York, she recently told CNN she will start writing again to pay the bills. And she has a few choice words about Madoff, who remains under house arrest in his Manhattan penthouse apartment, where he lives with his wife while the case proceeds.

“Repulsive is mild. Loathsome. It’s a visceral feeling. This is not humanity; this is not a human being. This is, again, it’s a sociopath,” Penney says.

Translation: He Took My Moneeeey!

“I’m sincerely, and this is the understatement of the year, appalled that this man is not in prison.”

In the exclusive preview clip below, Penney also says that investing with Madoff made her the envy of her social circle.

“I have friends who were MBAs from Harvard, Wharton…I’d say ‘Madoff,’ they’d say, ‘How’d you get in?” Penney said. “They would say, ‘It’s great, and you’re golden, don’t worry.’ When the market started to go down, I talked to even more people, and they said, ‘Oh no, Bernie Madoff, he’s still okay. He’s fine.'”

“Victim”.- Enh Henh- Yep. Tragic.
We’re going to see these tales pathos trotted out one after the other..

Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds

Three federal agencies and a loose consortium of state attorneys general have for several years been gathering evidence of what appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year.

E-mail messages, taped phone conversations and other court documents suggest that companies did not engage in open competition for this lucrative business, but secretly divided it among themselves, imposing layers of excess cost on local governments, violating the federal rules for tax-exempt bonds and making questionable payments and campaign contributions to local officials who could steer them business. In some cases, they created exotic financial structures that blew up.

The possibility of a vast web of collusion would be sobering in any case, but the issue is of particular concern now, as Congress and the incoming Obama administration prepare a big fiscal stimulus package that may spawn infrastructure projects carried out and financed at the state and local level. States and cities issue bonds to raise money to pay for things like schools and road construction, and are supposed to follow strict rules on how the proceeds are handled for investors to receive a tax exemption on the interest.

Mr. Anderson estimated that as much as $4 billion a year was vanishing into the system, based on the volume of problems he saw before retirement.

50. marisacat - 9 January 2009

I don’t know if there was a delay on Moderation… I had computer problems.. gah. Reboot reboot, unplug, walkaway.. found out twice I was unplugging the computer (I thought) but had unplugged a radio. LOL anyway up again. (I am such a loser at this)

Should I delete one of thsoe? the first?

51. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Two years ago we had teh several stories of gay penguin pairs.. nwo there is a penguin TRIANGLE… out in the wild somewhere … film in a few mins.


52. NYCO - 9 January 2009

Actually, I kind of do wonder if Madoff might have some kind of psychological problem in addition to garden variety greed. You have to be kind of out of touch with reality to run a scam that big for so long, and then to keep trying to distribute spoils even when the entire world is watching you. He kind of reminds me of my sister’s elderly dog (now under treatment) who has Cushing’s disease, which causes a voracious appetite. Dog is constantly looking for food, I mean every waking second, like a robot. Anyhow, Madoff just seems weird to me, even beyond just being greedy.

53. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Here is the story on the penguin set…threesome… LOL… but they are in a Zoo, the Melbourne… and the article leaves out the best part, the female of the three, trying to horn in on the too close friendship of the males (they are all teenagers, so to speak) will walk up to them and hit them with her flipper, arm, wing… whatever. Follow them and hit them again…

54. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009
55. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009


Jennifer Rubin is also pissed that Glenn Greenwald is pissed, perhaps naïvely, that the Congress is declaring, once again, its eternal and unending support for Israel to do fuck-all whatever it pleases. Why why why? The answer is that the anti-Arab/Muslim forces in America have successfully deployed a curious American contradiction, which is our national Cult of the Holocaust, which has become the central fetish for our moral pornography, even as Jews become ever-more-thoroughly mainstreamed. Have you never wondered why, precisely, there is a Holocaust memorial in Washington, D.C.? An apology to the passengers of the St. Louis etched in stone would be more appropriate. America did not go to war because of the Holocaust, did not fight the war because of the Holocaust, and just as it was really Stalin’s Russia that won the war, it was Stalin’s Red Army that liberated the most infamous camps of the East. It was not until decades after the war that school curricula, for instance, began emphasizing the Holocaust in teaching the history of WWII.

But its new centrality plays well into our self-image, fraught as it is with virtuous pomposity, and while most of the rest of the world sees that Jews are integrated into Western European society, constitute one of the most powerful demographic groups in the United States, and oh, by the way, possess their own nuclear-armed nation with the most sophisticated and powerful conventional military between the Straits of Gibraltar and the Indian Subcontinent, Americans see only another Holocaust about to spring up, somewhere, anywhere. At any moment.

56. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

Phone the Israeli Army

The Israeli army has spread flyers in the air in Gaza that give a number for Palestinians to call to report on Hamas activities. Here is the number. Everyone is invited to call it to protest the war on Gaza instead. From the U.S. you dial: 011-972-2-5839749

57. marisacat - 9 January 2009

The righties all luv Jennifer Rubin… at Commentary magazine.

58. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009
59. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Here is a laugh:

Bargain Basement

I’m not entirely sure why Citigroup gets to bargain with senators[.]


Dear Atrios,

Really? You’re not?


60. mattes - 9 January 2009

AJCongress Crippled by Madoff Scandal


drip drip drip

61. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

Louie Freeh likes him?!?! Well then, Holder must be a GREAT pick!!


62. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

Governor Blagojevich Angers, Frightens Prop Townspeople

Everytime I see something about him I have to check to make sure it’s not the Onion website.

63. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

There ain’t no “just war”, there’s just war

Under Protocol 1, Article 57, a commander has three duties (explained very clearly in “Constraints on the Waging of War: An Introduction to International Humanitarian Law” by Frits Kalshoven and Liesbeth Zegveld):

1) to do everything feasible to verify that the chosen target is a military objective

2) to take all feasible precautions in the choices of means and methods to avoid, or in any event minimise harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects

3) to refrain from carrying out an attack if may be reasonably be expected to cause such harm or damage in a quantity which would be excessive relative to the concrete and definite military advantage anticipated.

So, under international law, for example, “minimising civilian casualties” is a basic primary requirement – it’s something you always have to do, not something you get extra brownie points for and certainly not something you can trade off against a slightly dodgy choice of target. Furthermore, “minimised” casualties could still be “excessive” relative to the concrete and definite military advantage anticipated. And international law’s clear on other topics that appear to vex Walzer too about the kind of objective that can be set against the civilian casualties; it has to be “concrete” (no messing around with intangibles like “avoiding the rocketing of New York”), “definite” (as in, with a clear chain of causation to the enemy’s ability to wage war) and “military” (no bombing objectives in order to gain political advantage).

International law’s also very clear on the subject of “negative reciprocity” – the question of whether one side’s failure to play fair releases the other side from its obligations. The answer is it doesn’t, and specifically, that even if the other side breaches its obligation to protect its civilians, by using them to surround a military objective, you don’t get to ignore the existence of the human shields; the calculation of whether the harm to noncombatants is excessive relative to the CDM advantage has to be made on the basis of the actual harm anticipated, not some wishful-thinking assessment of what it ought to be.

64. marisacat - 9 January 2009

“townspeople”.. sounds like a Pied Piper kind of place. Hilarious. I thought some of the legislators looked pretty funny calling him out.

Thre is a headline over at TPM that Durbin says Burris still will not be seated.

We are so blessed.

65. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

Change.gov against Obama

Ari Melber in The Nation.

A whopping 70,000 questions poured into Change.gov over the past week, in response to the Obama transition team’s call for citizen queries to the President-Elect. After votes from about 100,000 people, the top ranked question asks Obama whether he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture and illegal surveillance by the U.S. government. I’ve been working with activist Bob Fertik to organize support for the question, and several progressive bloggers urged readers and Obama supporters to vote for it last week.

See also (via Ari) the NYT

the number one submission on the popular “Open for Questions” portion of the site might seem more than a little impolitic to the current, and soon to be former, occupant of the White House. … Though the Obama team has promised to answer some of the top questions as early as this week, they have not said whether they will respond to Mr. Fertik’s, which has received more than 22,000 votes since the second round of the question-and-answer feature began on Dec. 30.

This goes to the heart of the contradictions that the Obama people successfully managed to straddle during the campaign, but are (I think) going to have increasing difficulty in dealing with going forward. The Obama people combined very tight top-down message control and campaign coordination with a fair degree of openness at the bottom to independent initiatives by volunteers. As long as everyone agreed on the same underlying goal (beating the Republicans), this worked. But as that overwhelming imperative recedes, people are going to start pursuing their own objectives – and the ‘open’ architecture that the Obama people have constructed provides them with plenty of opportunities to do this.

And this is a pretty significant problem for an administration that is likely to be obsessed with discipline and message control. People calling for investigations by an independent prosecutor into torture can’t be dismissed as trolls or cranks. They are articulating a set of values which is likely held by a substantial majority of Democrats and Obama supporters. But it’s politically inconvenient, for a variety of reasons, for the Obama people to acknowledge this, much less to do anything about it. Under normal politics, they might be able to sweep this under the rug – after all Obama and his team are supposed to be the public face of the Democratic party. But the creation of an open architecture, where others can bring inconvenient issues up – and very likely keep on bringing them up – makes it substantially more difficult for them to maintain control of the conversation.

There’s been a lot of talk about how the new architecture of MyBarackObama.com, Change.gov etc are going to enhance the agenda setting power of the president. This will likely happen in some instances, but in others, as here, the volunteer movement going to be more of a bully than a bully pulpit, setting the agenda rather than serving as a glorified force-multiplier for things that the president would like to see happen. Being a cynic, I suspect that the Obama people are going to discount and try to distance themselves from the bits of the architecture that they can’t control, but if I’m right, they may have some difficulty in so doing as these forums take on a life of their own.

Of course, everyone here knows they’ll go the dkos route and start banning inconvenient people.

66. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

btw, Moyers is showing an update on a great takedown of the donks’ fake earmark “reform”.

Interview w/ the Steelworker’s Union head, too.

67. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

David Byrne in Brazil:

At Caetano’s house C flips through a book of Pierre Verger’s photos of Bahia and Salvador from mid 20th century, and I am taken by a shot of this commercial district taken from Cidade Alta (the upper city). In this shot one can see the same grid of commercial buildings, but when the picture was taken they were all of moderate height, and all beautiful colonial edifices. “What a shame what has happened here,” I say.

Caetano agrees, and says that this legacy of incredible architecture — which existed in numerous places all over Latin America — should have been treated “like a European City”. I think he means that many European cities — London, Milano, Torino, Brussels, Lyon — also have what were once commercial centers that emerged during a historical era, but no one would have dreamt of razing those centers and replacing them with steel, glass and concrete office towers. But in the Americas, North and South, that’s what mostly happened — except in a few isolated spots.

I’ve been reading a book, “The Brazilian People”, by Darcy Ribeiro. He points out that while history may be written by the victors, and therefore what is often taught might contradict what he says, the fact is that most North American cities were slight and impermanent during the initial settlement, while Latin American colonial cities were substantial, grand, ostentatious, and built to last; for example, the churches that dot Salvador, its Pelorinho district, Old Cartajena in Columbia, the Zocalo and surroundings of Mexico City, Old San Juan, and Havana. Compare those with the clapboard houses, lean-to structures and log cabins of many of the early North American settlements. The Latins, though they may have claimed otherwise, were there to stay. They made mirrors of their European capitals in the New World while the Puritans were eking by in pathetic villages of wooden houses.

It would have appeared that the North Americans weren’t planning on putting down permanent roots. They didn’t build cities — not at first — but settlements. Except for a few exceptions — New York and Chicago come to mind — this impermanent way of building continued and continues in North America. There was apparently no need to build cities that announced “now, you are in it”, as Caetano put it. LA might be the apogee of that attitude, but all over North America you find cities and settlements so spaced out that you have little sense of being located — being in — anywhere.

68. marisacat - 9 January 2009

I’ve been working with activist Bob Fertik to organize support for the question, and several progressive bloggers urged readers and Obama supporters to vote for it last week.

hmm I am not especially a fan of Bob Fertik… but one thing, he will be relentless. Close to manic, esp if he gets teh idea Obster needs to ”move on”, so to speak.

69. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

I just appreciate that there is some discontent bubbling up so soon.

70. marisacat - 9 January 2009

I thnk there is certainly some, more than I expected, disagreement. Pushback, criticism, whatever is the accurate assessment…

High Holy He promised a lot. Soon the clock starts ticking and there is no guarantee that anything will work. Long term. We’ve been in an enforced boom and bust series for a long time ( I was sick to dealth of it, back a ways). Finally we hit a concrete wall. A high one.

I LOVE it that Rubin of Citibank resigned today. Woooooooheeeeeeee!


71. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

Moloch’s Altar: Child Sacrifice and the War on Terror

“Taking cover among civilians.” This is a curious locution. When you launch missiles to kill the democratically elected officials of a government — especially when you target their private homes — where else do you expect to find them? Gaza is a giant, open-air prison which no one can leave and where, as the story notes, 1.4 million people live in densely-packed urban areas and refugee camps. Where else are the “Hamas militants” supposed to exist in this seething sardine tin except “among civilians”? Naturally, it would be far more convenient if every member of Hamas — including, again, the democratically elected officials of the government — painted themselves bright red and gathered in, say, a soccer stadium, where Israel could then drop bombs on them with no muss, no fuss. But we are dealing with the real world, where human beings of every description, profession, ideology and belief must of necessity live and work in close proximity to one another — especially in the reconstruction of the Warsaw Ghetto that is Gaza today.

But of course, in order to smuggle the smallest nugget of truth about Gaza into the American media, it must first be larded with huge dollops of mitigating “context” to mask the horrific brutality and naked aggression of the Israeli campaign. And the “human shield” gambit is the probably the most frequently employed fig leaf by the apologists of oppression.

Curiously enough, I did see a shocking example of the use of human shields in Gaza just the other day, on BBC News. One of their reporters was “embedded” with a squadron of plucky Israeli soldiers as they made their way through a Gaza neighborhood. The report showed our heroes taking over the home of a Palestinian family, shunting the house’s large number of refugees — including several children and infants, crying from hunger — to a cramped space on the bottom floor, while the Israeli soldiers took up residence on the top floor, where they could rain sniper fire on any nearby “militants” and help coordinate air strikes and missile fire on “militant” hotbeds like schools, ambulances, UN relief trucks — and other houses packed with refugees who had been directed there by the Israelis themselves.

Naturally, if anyone fired back at the Israelis in the house commandeered in the BBC report, they would hit the civilians who were being held prisoner in their own home. This use of human shields seems like a highly criminal and deeply immoral act to me; but then, I’m not a “serious” person, not like the wise and savvy statesmen and stateswomen of the U.S. Senate, who this week declared their unflagging, uncritical, unquestioning support for Israel’s attack in tones so slavish they would have made Stalin’s Politburo blush.

72. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

oh, I missed the Rubin resignation. ❗

73. marisacat - 9 January 2009

If I come across his statement today will post it… it is a SCREAM — aside from being one more tragic fucked stupic display of what fucking idiots all of these “experts”, esp the ones carried supported protected etc., by governement, are.

74. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

I’m sure part of his statement is that it wasn’t his fault and no one could have anticipated blahblahblah.

75. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009
76. marisacat - 9 January 2009

LOL The photo at the Business Week article is a hoot. Rubin and Greespan


In a letter to Citi Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, Rubin said when he joined Citi the company

“had two CEOs and faced many strategic and structural challenges. From the beginning, my role, by being advisory, allowed me to act as a sounding board and advisor…The last 18 months have been very difficult throughout the financial system and this has had serious consequences for the employees and stockholders. My great regret is that I and so many of us who have been involved in this industry for so long did not recognize the serious possibility of the extreme circumstances that the financial system faces today.”

77. marisacat - 9 January 2009

The article got off on mentioning his compensation package, several times… 😆

The dual headlines have some investors convinced that their worst suspicions would be realized: that more bad news is in store for Citi shareholders. “When you look at the Rubin resignation in conjunction with rumors about this joint venture, it would lead me to believe more losses to come down the pipeline,” says Bill Fitzpatrick of Optique Capital Management. “There has to be some accountability in terms of their leadership and that includes the CEO and the board of directors. If Rubin had stuck it out, I’d say he was in for the long haul and maybe there was a turnaround in store. When I see this, it’s clearer that they’ll have to raise more capital and so on. There will be more dead bodies.”

Rubin has been criticized over the past several years for his silence as the embattled bank was hit with huge lawsuits, regulatory sanctions, and gargantuan losses. Few have been able to justify his outsize compensation package: For the duration of his tenure, Rubin earned some $115 million at Citi

78. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

76 – The last 18 months have been very difficult throughout the financial system and this has had serious consequences for the employees and stockholders.

Poor dear, not his fault.

disgusting people.

79. marisacat - 9 January 2009

yeah.. have a hankie honey.

80. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Gee. The Rainbow Room is being evicted. Just caught a report… by Monday. Think the order came from 30 Rock. will hunt for a report.

81. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

How can you close the Rainbow Room?

82. marisacat - 9 January 2009

two floors

83. marisacat - 9 January 2009

NYT, rent dispute for months…They got a 3 day quit notice from Tisch… Ciprianis say they will fight it.

The Ciprianis, Italian restaurateurs renowned for their elegance, Bellini cocktails and very expensive pasta, have lost their lease for the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center for failing to pay the rent. But in what is shaping up to be a very public fight, they are vowing to remain there.

The Ciprianis announced a few days ago that they would close the adjoining Rainbow Grill this weekend because of the economic crisis and a continuing lease dispute, but would still operate the main Art Deco space for catered affairs, dinner and dancing.

On Friday morning, however, Tishman Speyer Properties, the landlord at Rockefeller Center, told the Cipriani company that it was terminating the lease because the company had failed to pay millions of dollars in rent since September. Under the lease, the Ciprianis have three days to get out.

But as with all things Cipriani, they have their own version of events. The family — led by Giuseppe Cipriani, 43, whose grandfather founded Harry’s Bar in Venice — says that the termination notice is part of a continuing effort by Tishman Speyer “to drive them out of business” at the Rainbow Room, according to their lawyer, David Rozenholc.

84. marisacat - 9 January 2009
85. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

well, it is NYC … rent disputes can take months, if not years.

86. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Plus they are in possession. Unless Tisch padlocks the place or soem other measure…

87. marisacat - 9 January 2009

I read too fast.. it is Tishman Speyer.

88. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

Federal Judge Jails Alabama Sheriff Who Profited After Inmates Went Hungry

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon in Alabama took the extraordinary step this week of ordering Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett to be locked up in his own jail after testimony showed that he had deprived inmates of adequate food while profiting from the meager diet. Bartlett personally kept $212,000 in “surplus money” from the meal program.

Judge Clemon held the hearing to determine whether the sheriff was in violation of that agreement with some surprising testimony.

Bartlett is to remain the Morgan County jail until he comes up with an adequate plan for feeding the 300 inmates as required under the 2001 court order.

Clemon correctly questioned the legality of allowing sheriffs to keep the surplus money from such programs, noting “He makes money by failing to spend the allocated funds for food for inmates.”

89. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

In Search of Soul-Searching

Now I see that one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers has decided to see Mulshine on the Iraq War and raise him:

A reflexive abhorrence of violence of all kinds (war, torture, even the death penalty and abortion) is inherently conservative – part of any meaningful definition of conservatism.


Having spent the last couple of decades hearing conservatives grunt about liberals being a bunch of pacifist hippies, and the last few years being called all kinds of nasty things by drive-by wingers with “Whack Iraq” and “Kick Their Ass, Take Their Gas” bumper stickers, I can only laugh at this attempt to retrofit conservatism with dove’s wings, much less the notion that Bush has somehow degraded the Reagan legacy.

For the overwhelming majority of conservatives, and middle-of-the-roaders who never offered more than token objections, Bush’s invasion of Iraq was going to be Reagan’s invasion of Grenada writ large — a little dodgy in moral terms, sure, but hey it was all going to be over quickly and once the smoke cleared we’d have loads of oil to burn.

When it came to running up huge deficits, undermining public safety through deregulation, packing government positions with cynical operators and using American might to stomp on ninety-pound weaklings, Bush and Reagan were and are more alike than different.

Face it, wingers: When you got Bush, you got everything you’d ever dreamed of having, and the result was poison. Now be a bunch of dears and go play your word while the rest of us try to restore a measure of sanity and stability. Hey, why don’t you check in with Jonah Goldberg? He’s been redefining words in all kinds of interesting ways.

90. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

oops, should have closed off the first blockquote before the rolling-eyes smiley.

91. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Did I get it right?

92. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

That’s better, thanks.

Sorry about my sloppy html!

93. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2009

This is Gaza:

the comments by “Yonit” at the bottom are predictable. Depressing, but predictable.

94. marisacat - 9 January 2009

Madman, I moved the comment with link to mother-in-gaza forward to the new thread… 😉


…………… 8) ……………..

95. bayprairie - 10 January 2009

I LOVE it that Rubin of Citibank resigned today. Woooooooheeeeeeee!

yeah i wonder if he took his fucking pen with him.

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