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Just a thread… ;) 27 January 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, WAR!.


… this will probably defy the automated links… 😉

Whoops!  I forgot!  I DID have something to add… just taken ‘as is’ from the Greg Sargent blog at Wapo:

The Plum Line Greg Sargent’s blog

Source: Obama Asks House Dems To Drop Second Liberal Priority To Make GOP Happy

It appears that President Obama has asked House Dem leaders to jettison another provision sought by liberals from the stimulus bill as a way of placating Republicans.

As I noted below, anonymous House Dem staffers told Politico that Nancy Pelosi and the House Dem leadership were dropping from the bill the so-called “cram downs,” which give judges the power to renegotiate mortgages on terms that are better suited to homeowners who are in trouble. House liberals wanted this, and it was unclear why the leadership had done this.

I’ve just confirmed from a senior House Dem aide that the House leadership did this at the behest of Obama aides, who asked the leadership to chuck the provision. This is the second such move: It comes after the news this morning that Obama had personally appealed to Pelosi to drop family planning funds for low-income people from stim package — also to placate Republicans.

“The Obama camp said, `Don’t do it in the stimulus, we’ll do it in another bill,’” the aide told me, referring to the cram downs. “He thinks it’s controversial with Republicans.”

“Now Obama can say he’s trying to show a good faith effort with Republicans,” the aide continued. “He’s reaching out a hand to them, they keep slapping at it.”

Asked for confirmation, Pelosi spokesperson Brendan Daly would only say: “The Speaker has said that [the cram down measure] is a priority for her and for the caucus. We will work to pass it soon, whether in another vehicle or in a stand alone bill.”

One quick question about the politics here: Do Obama aides actually believe such gestures will win over Republicans? Perhaps, but it’s also possible that such measures are all about laying the groundwork in advance to blame GOPers and paint them as partisan obstructionists if and when most of them vote against the stim package, which they appear likely to do, no matter how many concessions Obama grants.

Posted by Greg Sargent | 01/27/2009, 04:10 PM EST | Categories: House Dem leadership, economy, stimulus package

Oh sorry! I find that last to be salesmanship. Laying the groundwork to blame the R.  Woo hoo Sure!

Yeah right. I am very mindful that Obster, at the Harvard Law Review, elevated the baby Federalists.

Go for it pretzel.



1. NYCO - 27 January 2009

It’s interesting how the high and mighty frame stuff when they’re flat on their asses…


Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community’s top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call — including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG — were urged to persuade their clients to send “large contributions” to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.

“This is the demise of a civilization,” said Marcus. “This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I’m watching this happen and I don’t believe it.”

Elder statesman of civilization as we know it? I don’t even know who the fuck this guy is.

2. marisacat - 27 January 2009

Good lord. Marcus, what a blow hard. Interesting, as I think some people around netteries blahgeries used to tout Home Depot as Blue. As opposed to Wal Mart as surely Red.

It’s all such a joke.

3. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 January 2009

Thanks for the comment and link, NYCO. So much sad history to learn.

“This is the demise of a civilization,”

If you can call mindless consumption, a country where culture is now “intellectual property”, a “civilization”, then sure … demise etc.

4. marisacat - 27 January 2009

Saw this at Greg Sargent/Plum Line… on Solis and Free Choice and the hold and and and…

Why hasn’t Hilda Solis been confirmed as Labor Secretary yet, and why haven’t we heard from the unions or from the Obama administration about it?

Some top operatives in the labor movement are frustrated with the Obama administration for not giving them the go-ahead to publicly target Republicans who appear to be stalling Solis’ confirmation, people in the labor movement familiar with the situation tell me.

The silence from Obama aides on Solis is ominous to some labor officials, because they view the Republican efforts to hold up Solis as a first shot in the larger coming war over the Employee Free Choice Act, a top labor priority. Some labor officials worry that the Obama administration’s refusal to make an issue of the hold-up on Solis is a sign that the Obama team won’t act aggressively on Employee Free Choice.

“The anonymous hold on Solis is a clear proxy fight for Employee Free Choice,” says a top operative at a prominent union. “And from the Obama Adminisitration … crickets.”…snip…

Anyone asked me.. I could be persuaded Obama was willing to drop Solis when he named her. AND The Page first showed a pic of Ob wlking into conf with R with La Hood at his side then changed it to one with Gibbs behind him.

Everybody should get over themselves. There were rumbles weeks ago that it was unlikely Ob would go to bat for Free Choice… just as it was clear, despite promises promises there was no energy in congress for the Freedom of Choice act to codify Roe as law.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 January 2009

Some top operatives in the labor movement are frustrated with the Obama administration for not giving them the go-ahead to publicly target Republicans who appear to be stalling Solis’ confirmation


Jeeebus, we are well and truly fucked. Oh, and speaking of that:

Sen. Specter Backs Holder, But What Did Holder Promise?

Last Thursday, Holder met with Specter briefly in the senator’s office, and later in his Capitol hideaway. Specter said he and Holder discussed the interrogation issue and the possibility of prosecutions related to the CIA program.

“I got a satisfactory answer. The gist of it is that if you have an authoritative legal opinion, that that is a defense in terms of mens rea or in terms of intent. That’s a very broad generalization, and I don’t think you can go any further than that until you examine the specific facts of the case and then the conduct is determinative,” Specter said.

He went on, “You may have an opinion which allows an interrogator to go so far and perhaps the conduct vastly exceeds that, so that it wouldn’t be reasonable to think that was comprehended within the opinion. But I think you had a Department of Justice memorandum in 2002 which was in effect for a time and then later repudiated, so that it’s really going to be fact-specific.”

So IF you think butt-raping and beating to death a baby, then slow-roasting it over a fire, is okay, and IF you can find a lawyer to write up an opinion that butt-raping-killing-roasting ISN’T a crime under your current circumstances, say maybe a doctor says you need to stick to eating really lean meat and a compliant recepticle for sexual release, then NO CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED.

These people have fucking LAW DEGREES from major universities (Spector from Yale Law). Really, the fucking Roman Senate dealing with Caesar had more fucking integrity and intellectual honesty.

6. catnip - 27 January 2009

ICH has the video of the interview that I saw on CBC yesterday with the UN guy on torture.

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 January 2009
8. marisacat - 27 January 2009

Maybe the obsters, tall version, could just bring home a Hill denizen.. or a congress critter for the girls. No pillage no spillage. High levels of response to training. Already paper trained, etc.

no searching for the odd shelter snooperdoodledacklesnackle. what ever it was they said they wanted.

9. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 January 2009

UK court has held that more Downing Street minutes have to be released:

The Information Tribunal upheld a decision that details of the March 13 and 17 sessions should be disclosed.

The sessions covered whether invasion was allowed under international law. Ministers failed to block the Freedom of Information bid to release minutes.

Downing Street said it was considering its response. The Lib Dems and Tories repeated calls for an Iraq war inquiry.

The Cabinet Office now has 28 days to decide whether to appeal to the High Court against the ruling.

Alternatively, the government could decide to veto the request under Section 53 of the Freedom of Information Act within 20 working days of the tribunal’s ruling.

‘Public interest’

Cabinet minutes are not normally released until at least 30 years after the event – but the Tribunal stressed that disclosure of the Iraq material would not necessarily set a precedent.

The Tribunal said: “The decision to commit the nation’s armed forces to the invasion of another country is momentous in its own right, and … its seriousness is increased by the criticisms that have been made (particularly in the Butler Report) of the general decision-making processes in the cabinet at the time.

“There has also been criticism of the attorney general’s legal advice and of the particular way in which the March 17 opinion was made available to the cabinet only at the last moment and the March 7 opinion was not disclosed to it at all.”

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said he was “pleased” the Tribunal had upheld the decision he made in February last year that “the public interest in disclosing the official cabinet minutes in this particular case outweighs the public interest in withholding the information”.

He added: “Disclosing the minutes will allow the public to more fully understand this particular decision.”

10. catnip - 27 January 2009

6. Oops. That was on CNN. No wonder I couldn’t find the clip before. And his name is Manfred Nowak. For some reason, I didn’t think CNN would waste its time on actual serious issues like that.

11. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 January 2009
12. catnip - 27 January 2009

kitty cam

Awwww! Thanks.

13. catnip - 27 January 2009

That’s obviously an Al Kittya training camp.

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 January 2009
15. marisacat - 27 January 2009

No colonial history. LOL

January 28, 2009

President Obama leads US drive to topple Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

President Obama wants a fresh approach to toppling Robert Mugabe and is discussing with aides an unprecedented, US-led diplomatic push to get tough new UN sanctions imposed against the Zimbabwe regime, The Times has learned.

During talks Mr Obama has had with his top Africa advisers in recent weeks, the central idea they focused on was taking the issue of Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council, but for the first time to combine such a move with an intense diplomatic effort to persuade Russia and China not to block the initiative. …snip…

Farther down it blithely says we have leverage over Russia and China.

16. marisacat - 27 January 2009

hmmm the report in 15 indicates that Obama and Susan Rice depend on Tsvangirai not making a deal with Mugabe.

Ooops Telegraph says he did…

The move comes despite fears that Mr Mugabe will use the arrangement to draw in and marginalise the MDC, as he has done to other opposition groups in the past.

Mr Tsvangirai has consistently refused to join a coalition with Mr Mugabe, who retains strong powers as president under the power-sharing agreement, unless MDC figures are given key cabinet posts, especially the home affairs ministry, which brings control over the police.

But Mr Tsvangirai is under immense pressure from regional leaders to join the government after almost 3,000 Zimbabweans have died of cholera, millions need food aid, and the economy is in a spiral of collapse. Earlier this week a regional summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Pretoria said that he should be sworn in as prime minister within a fortnight. …snip..

17. marisacat - 27 January 2009

B-b-b-b-b-but.. surely we are too big to fail………..wahhhh…
via Tapper:

Tax Refunds Now on Hold in California

January 27, 2009 6:23 PM

ABC News has learned that tax refunds are now on hold in California for the first time in state history, according to the state controller’s office.

“Unfortunately, we have asked the California Franchise Tax Board not to send over tax refund claims beginning today because we will not be able to process them and have them out the door by Feb. 1 when a 30-day delay in tax refunds goes into effect,” Hallye Jordan, spokeswoman to California State Controller John Chiang, tells ABC News.

During the 30-day delay, the controller’s office estimates that a combined 2.74 million California individuals and businesses will have their tax refund delayed.

The controller’s office estimates that the delay in tax refunds will free up $1.99 billion over the next month to pay for education, debt service, and other payments that legally have first claim to state funds.

California has had no money in its general fund for the past 17 months, and has been paying its bills by borrowing from Wall Street and special internal funds.

18. marisacat - 27 January 2009

Israel’s Netanyahu says he’ll let existing West Bank settlements grow, despite US opposition

AP News

Jan 26, 2009 09:43 EST

The front-runner in Israel’s election next month said he would allow existing West Bank settlements to expand for “natural growth” — a policy likely to face opposition from the Palestinians and the new U.S. administration.

Polls show Netanyahu’s Likud Party handily winning the Feb. 10 elections, a victory that would allow him to reclaim the premiership he held between 1996 and 1999. Netanyahu has said he would try to refocus peace talks on building the Palestinian economy and governing institutions.

19. diane - 27 January 2009

Hmmm why should a company pay many of their employees in these rough times when folks should be lucky they have a job…….or a roof?

buying their kids a foot in the door.

Faced with a dismal market for college summer internships, a growing number of anxious parents are pitching in to help — by buying their kids a foot in the door.

Some are paying for-profit companies to place their college students in internships that are mostly unpaid. Others are hiring marketing consultants to create direct-mail campaigns promoting their children’s workplace potential. Still other parents are buying internships outright in online charity auctions.


Critics of the programs say they deepen the divide between the haves and have-nots by giving students from more affluent families an advantage. [Can’t imagine whythey would say that]


The whole idea of paying cash so your kid can work is sometimes jarring at first to parents accustomed to finding jobs the old-fashioned way — by pounding the pavement. Susan and Raymond Sommer of tiny St. Libory, Ill., were dismayed when their daughter Megan, then a junior at a Kentucky university, asked them to spend $8,000 so she could get an unpaid sports-marketing internship last summer in New York City.


The program they used, University of Dreams [please pass the vomit bag..real quick like…], Los Gatos, Calif., is one of a handful of for-profit internship companies that have sprung up in the past few years. After screening out some applicants — the company won’t say how many — University of Dreams helps students polish their résumés, arranges interviews with employers that offer internships, such as fashion house Donna Karan International or public-relations shop Ruder Finn, and also provides on-campus housing and after-hours social and educational programming for the students during their eight-week internships.


Guess this must be what is meant by National Service.


This is the demise of a civilization,” said Marcus. “This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I’m watching this happen and I don’t believe it.”

What fucking civilization Marcus? People of your ilk have been doing everything they can to destroy civilization for as long as I can remember. You won’t be happy till everyone is paying you to work for you. Y’all just can’t get enough, you suck the joy and humanity out of any room you inhabit, and likely out of your own children’s lives.


gnight all…………..

20. diane - 27 January 2009

oops sorry, messed up the bolding, meant to cut it off after the second “civil”

21. marisacat - 27 January 2009

No we’re not Latin America.. no no no no… No, We just TRAINED them.

[S]pecter added he also met with Holder privately and discussed the concern of some of his Republican colleagues that Holder should publicly address whether he would prosecute military or intelligence officials who had engaged in enhanced interrogation practices against detainees.

“I do think that President Obama has the right approach when he said that it is preferable not to look backwards but to look forwards,” Specter said. “If every administration started to re-examine what every prior administration did, there would be no end to it. This is not Latin America.”

22. marisacat - 27 January 2009


think I got it diane………….. 8)

23. marisacat - 27 January 2009

hmm If the WH is putting the Gibbs press briefings up as transcripts at whitehouse.gov I am not finding it. What comes up from “gibbs press briefings” is HIGHLIGHTS… 😆



24. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Sheer at TruthDig… way too forgiving in my tart opinion… 🙄

[O]bama is in these early weeks making trillion-dollar decisions that will cast the die for the rest of his promising agenda. Unfortunately, while the new president has already proved to be a brilliant and super-competent agent of change in so many ways, in matters of economic policy he has relied excessively on the financial “experts” who helped get America into this mess.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers are retreads from the Clinton years who sided with congressional Republicans in unraveling the regulatory regime created by Franklin Roosevelt that had served the nation so well. Perhaps they have now come to their senses, given the financial horrors that their deregulatory mania unleashed, but it gives one pause to see these folks back on center stage performing with the same arrogant aplomb as they did when they had it all wrong.

We can only hope they are now prepared to make amends, although Geithner and Summers often seem to be pushing for more of the same: bankers first, women and children later. The good news is that the message coming from the mouth of the new president is that he intends to make a significant departure from the Bush bailout, by placing emphasis on preventing foreclosures, curtailing bank lobbying and holding the recipients of federal funds responsible for opening the tap of loans to the public. ….

Geesh. Why should Sheer feign such gullibility and naivete? Why does he think the same damned schlumps are in charge again? Maybe because the same people are running our lives? Again?

It gets better…

We certainly should give Obama the benefit of the doubt. In every other area his early performance has been stellar. Certainly so with respect to human rights and protection of civil liberties; in his first week in office, he reversed many of the atrocious Bush-era policies. With an urgency unmatched by any other modern president, Obama has sharply countered America’s tainted image by acting to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, ban the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation tactics and restore the power of the Freedom of Information Act to ensure public access to the information required for an informed democracy. …snip…

Don’t worry. Be happy!

25. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Sheer gets worse. May they all choke on the Kool aid.

Why, in the management of the economy, do we hear so little from the Chicago community organizer concerned with the pain of the average person and instead perceive so much of the sensibility of the Harvard business and law school elite, preoccupied with the well-being of the denizens of Wall Street?

26. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

25 – because he was a “community organizer” only long enough to add it to his resume, like that ambitious high school kid who volunteers for everything b/c it looks good on his transcript.

27. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Obama lawyers set to defend Yoo

By JOSH GERSTEIN | 1/28/09 4:18 AM EST

In Democratic legal circles, no attorney has been more pilloried than former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo, chief author of the so-called torture memos that Barack Obama last week sought to nullify.

But now President Obama’s incoming crew of lawyers has a new and somewhat awkward job: defending Yoo in federal court.

Next week, Justice Department lawyers are set to ask a San Francisco federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought against Yoo by Jose Padilla, a New York man held without charges on suspicion of being an Al Qaeda operative plotting to set off a “dirty bomb.”

The suit contends that Yoo’s legal opinions authorized Bush to order Padilla’s detention in a Navy brig in South Carolina and encouraged military officials to subject Padilla to aggressive interrogation techniques, including death threats and long-term sensory deprivation.

That’s not all. On Thursday, Justice Department lawyers are slated to be in Charleston, S.C., to ask a federal magistrate there to dismiss another lawsuit charging about a dozen current and former government officials with violating Padilla’s rights in connection with his unusual detention on U.S. soil, without charges or a trial.

The defendants in that case are like a who’s who of Bush administration boogeymen to Obama’s liberal followers — former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and former Attorney General John Ashcroft. …snip…

28. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009
29. NYCO - 28 January 2009

The whole idea of paying cash so your kid can work is sometimes jarring at first to parents accustomed to finding jobs the old-fashioned way

What? That’s the entire principle of modern American higher education. How is this anything new?

30. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Why be surprised.

POLITICO’S Jeanne Cummings: ‘Newly installed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued new rules Tuesday restricting contacts with lobbyists – and then hired one to be his top aide. Mark Patterson, a former advocate for Goldman Sachs, will serve as chief of staff to Geithner as the Treasury Department revamps the Wall Street bailout program that sent an infusion of cash to his former employer.’

31. NYCO - 28 January 2009

Coincidental to the talk about Native American issues on the last thread. Big news in Syracuse this week is that bald eagles have returned to Onondaga Lake in force:


Just the latest development in the ongoing saga hereabouts.

32. catnip - 28 January 2009

30. Another Goldman Sachs retread? IMHO, someone really needs to look into the feds’ (both parties’) relationships with that company.

33. marisacat - 28 January 2009


US and global stocks are still likely to fall because the corporate and economic news will be worse than expected, Nouriel Roubini, RGE Monitor Chairman, told CNBC.

Investors will be hit by the realization that many banks are bankrupt, that companies will have to rein in debt and sell assets and that emerging markets may get into trouble, Roubini said. …

And… yeah, financial bellicosity toward China was just about the first thing out of Geithner’s mouth yesterday…

Protectionism is the next danger, as history shows that it prolonged the 1930s depression, he said, regarding remarks by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that China was “manipulating” its currency to help its exports.

“Certainly starting a war with China on the issue of the currency is very, very dangerous,” he said. “The US is relying on the kindness of strangers — Russia, China, the Gulf States … to finance a huge, and growing, twin current account and fiscal deficit,” Roubini said.

“If China were to pull the plug on financing the US dollar, then we’d have a freefall of the dollar,” he added.

“I think that there’s a 20 percent downside risk to US and global equities,” Roubini told “Squawk Box Europe.”

34. marisacat - 28 January 2009

hmmm Pool report via The Page

[A]t 10:34 a.m., pool was ushered into the Roosevelt Room for what was expected to be simply a photo op. POTUS sat at the long wood table with 13 business leaders such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jet Blue’s David Barger (full list below). Behind POTUS: Browner, Rahm, Jarrett, Summers, in that order.

POTUS said he wanted to talk about something unrelated to the economy: “Can I make a comment unrelated to the economy?” — and launched into weather remarks (please check transcript): “My children’s school was canceled today, because of what? Some ice,” he said, and all at the table started laughing.

“As my children pointed out, in Chicago school is never canceled,” he said, joking about how kids go out for recess on snow days. More laughter.

POTUS said he would have to instill “some flinty Chicago toughness” into Washingtonians.

“When it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things,” POTUS said. Fighting words!

Pool then began to file out only to hear Potus begin speaking in response to a question. He thanked leaders for coming and said they are “on the front lines” of the economy and have helped shape the stimulus.

“im confident were going to get it passed,” he said.

Attendees as released by the White House: …snip…

35. marisacat - 28 January 2009

His prepared remarks following the meeting.

[I]n the end, the answer to our economic troubles rests less in my hands, or in the hands of our legislators, than it does with America’s workers and the businesses that employ them. They are the ones whose efforts and ideas will determine our economic destiny, just as they always have. For in the end, it’s businesses – large and small – that generate the jobs, provide the salaries, and serve as the foundation on which the American people’s lives and dreams depend. All we can do, those of us in Washington, is help create a favorable climate in which workers can prosper, businesses can thrive, and our economy can grow. And that is exactly what the recovery plan I’ve proposed is intended to do. Thank you.

Short version: We in Washington can’t do much, we follow where business leads.

We are blessed.

36. catnip - 28 January 2009

23. hmm If the WH is putting the Gibbs press briefings up as transcripts at whitehouse.gov I am not finding it.

Gibbs’ voice puts me to sleep. I need transcripts. 🙂

37. catnip - 28 January 2009

Gibbs’ forced to answer Ed Henry’s question about yet another Goldman Sachs hack being on the gov’t payroll. Answers: Hey, we instituted a strong policy about lobbyists. It’s not perfect, as Obamalama said. And yes, there will be waivers.

IOW, all smoke and mirrors.

Rumblings from Ed Henry about George Mitchell’s lobbying ties…mentioned a Bloomberg story. I’ll see if I can find it.

Gibbs: Mitchell isn’t a “registered” lobbyist ergo he can’t lobby the government. (lol…right)

38. marisacat - 28 January 2009

LOL every corp VP charged with “governmental affairs” is a lobbyist. Daschle ws at a big lobbyist law firm. On the board at Mayo. Never signed as a “lobbyist” on the dotted line, but he was.

LOL Multitongued lying.

39. catnip - 28 January 2009

Here it is: Mitchell’s Firm Worked for Dubai Ruler in Jockey Case

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) — George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special Middle East troubleshooter, was chairman of a law firm that was paid about $8 million representing Dubai’s ruler in connection with a child-trafficking lawsuit.

The DLA Piper law firm did legal and lobbying work on the case, which alleged that Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum and another official used children kidnapped from other countries to ride as jockeys in camel races. The firm lobbied federal agencies, members of the U.S. House and about two dozen Senate offices, including those of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2006 and 2007, according to Justice Department foreign-agent disclosures.

Mitchell, 75, who isn’t a registered lobbyist, didn’t lobby either on this issue or for Dubai generally. DLA Piper partner Bill Minor said in an e-mail that Mitchell, a former Democratic senator from Maine, mainly focused on growth and management at the firm of almost 4,000 attorneys and 65 offices worldwide, and high-profile projects such as an investigation of steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Mitchell’s firm had extensive lobbying clients and offices in the Middle East ranging from the leader of Dubai to a Kuwait construction firm contracting in Iraq. The firm also has offices in Egypt, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi and has an affiliation with a law firm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Mitchell traveled to Dubai and spoke to the press there about the issue.

Suit Thrown Out

The camel-jockey suit was thrown out after the U.S. Justice Department notified a Miami federal judge that it planned to intervene and argue that al-Maktoum was immune from the suit as a foreign leader.


(The article has many embedded links.)

Nasty business.

40. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Ben Smith… in case anyone had nto figured it out… 🙄

January 28, 2009
Categories: White House

Not prosecuting torture

Obama and his aides have hinted that they’d be looking forward, and not back,on torture, and Eric Holder just made it official, Eli Lake reports:

Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, a Republican from Missouri and the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview with The Washington Times that he will support Eric H. Holder Jr.’s nomination for Attorney General because Mr. Holder assured him privately that Mr. Obama’s Justice Department will not prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program.

By Ben Smith 01:04 PM

41. catnip - 28 January 2009

40. More change you can believe in. I do want to see what Manfred Nowak (the UN guy on torture) has to say about that refusal. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Obama’s gov’t was taken to court for refusing to investigate torture?

42. Intermittent Bystander - 28 January 2009
43. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

Anyone catch the recent healthcare piece in The New Yorker ? The one where Single-Payer is likened to Mao’s Great Leap Forward ?

Written by a physician, who A) Did not until the very end disclose that s/he was a physician, B) Seemingly could not find one single bingle reason to blame physicians for any part of all this bullshit and C) Never ever until very briefly in passing managed a word about Canada’s system.

I about puked on my shoes. Who the fuck reads that piece of shit rag, anyway ?

44. catnip - 28 January 2009

42. Is she cute or what?? 🙂

45. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

My old buddies at Jobs With Justice called yesterday to invite me to some meeting this weekend. Can of food for the Food Bank as donation. I might go. The caller was about to launch into the spiel about Obama’s oh-so-unpredictable cold feet for Labor (now that he’s already got what he wants from them) but I cut him off by telling him that nobody was less surprised by any of that than me– which is why I wouldn’t have voted Obama any more than I would have voted McCain.

Unrelated but interesting: A good recent Wilder link about DC and Statehood.

46. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

catnipland = bloodthirsty Maoists. I hear they eat otters. With biscuits.

47. catnip - 28 January 2009

I just started reading The Shock Doctrine last nite but this sounds an awful lot like Friedman’s disaster capitalism model:


“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November,

48. catnip - 28 January 2009

46. You seem quite obsessed with my biscuits. 😀

49. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

Hey, if I were YOU, “Comrade,” I’d watch my step.

We all know that your abrupt and unprincipled transition away from for-profit medicine killed MILLIONS ! You just hid the bodies under all that snow. When climate change finally melts away the Yukon, everyone will at last see you for the no-good Marxists that you really are.

And keep your filthy paws off our cheese !!

50. catnip - 28 January 2009

Max Boot: 20 or 30 years ago?

“America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that. And that I think is going to be an important task.”

So said our new president in his interview Tuesday with Al Arabiya, the Arabic-language satellite news channel. At first the words washed over me. Then I did some simple math. Let’s see… 20 or 30 years ago… that would be 1989 or 1979.

What was happening in relations between America and the Muslim world back then? Not relying on memory alone, I consulted Bernard Grun’s reference book, The Timetables of History.

It turns out that in 1989 U.S. fighters shot down two Libyan jets over the Gulf of Sidra. The last Soviet troops left Afghanistan, creating a vacuum that would eventually be filled by the Taliban. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie’s death for “blasphemy.” Hundreds died in Lebanon’s long-running civil war while Hezbollah militants were torturing to death U.S. Marine Colonel William “Rich” Higgins, who had been kidnapped the previous year while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Lebanon.

And 1979? That was an even darker year-in many ways a turning point for the worse in the Middle East. That was, after all, the year that the shah of Iran was overthrown. He was replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who launched a war against the West that is still unfolding. One of the first actions of this long struggle was the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran and all of its personnel as hostages. The same year saw the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which led to the growth of the mujahideen, some of whom would later morph into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This was also the year that Islamic militants temporarily seized control of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, an event that drove the Saudi royal family to become ever more fundamentalist.

In other news in 1979, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, was hanged by General Zia al-Hak, inaugurating a long period when Pakistan would be under the effective control of the army in alliance with Islamic militants. That year mobs also attacked U.S. embassies throughout the Muslim world from Kabul and Islamabad to Tripoli. The one bright spot in 1979 was the signing of the Camp David Accord between the US, Egypt, and Israel, which did not, unfortunately, auger a “new” Middle East as many optimists hoped.

So this is the sort of “partnership” between the U.S. and the Middle East that President Obama would like to see? If his predecessor had suggested any such thing he would by now be a subject of ridicule for late-night comedians and daytime talk show hosts, and rightly so.


51. catnip - 28 January 2009

49. And keep your filthy paws off our cheese !!

Is that an obscure reference to Madman?


52. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Welcome to Washington, President Obama

January 28, 2009 6:15 PM

The stimulus package passes the House of Representatives, 244-188.

Not a single House Republican voted for it.

— jpt

53. catnip - 28 January 2009

CNN just showed an LA school that needs major repairs in a bit they did on the stimulus bill – noting that some of the windows are in such bad shape that they’re nailed shut. Ummm…fire trap, anyone? Maybe someone should tell the school district not to wait for federal money to fix that problem? Just a thought.

54. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

#51: Only if you can prove that Madman is Dennis Leary. :p

55. catnip - 28 January 2009

52. Not a single House Republican voted for it.

Now there’s that infamous Obamalama bipartisanship for you!

56. catnip - 28 January 2009

54. Have you ever seen them at the same place at the same time? I’m just sayin’.

57. marisacat - 28 January 2009

LOL ABC calls it “pushback”….

House Approves $825 Billion Economic Stimulus Package Despite GOP Pushback [6:12 p.m. ET]

58. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

Icelandic Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, Would Be World’s First Gay PM

This small North Atlantic nation was the first to elect a female head of state when Vigdis Finnbogadottir became its 4th president in 1980. Although that event was widely publicized at the time, Ms. Sigurdardottir’s appointment has been met with general apathy both inside and outside the country.

I guess I still have the attitude of most Icelanders when it comes to matters of sexual issues, because I failed to pick up on the newsworthiness of Sigurdardottir’s sexual orientation. “Oh, vow,” said an American friend of mine, “that’s really something! First openly gay world leader!”

Huh? Why, who cares? Even after living in America all these years, where hounding politicians into surrealistic hell about their private lives is the norm, it didn’t really ring bells for me. “I don’t see what her sexual orientation has to do with anything,” my mother told me yesterday. “It’s no one’s business but her own.”

My usually taciturn father agreed strongly. “She is the most trusted and respected politician in the country,” he said, “and she is simply the best person available for the job. Ja, that is just twisted thinking,” he replied when I told him that her sexual orientation would probably be more newsworthy in America than anything else surrounding her appointment.

Sigurdardottir, 66, has a long background in Icelandic liberal politics. She has been a member of Althingi (the Parliament) since 1978, was Minister of Social Affairs in 1987 until 1994, and again in 2007. She is one of the most popular politicians in the country; in a recent Gallup poll 73 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with her work. She is also the only minister whose popularity had increased compared to a similar poll undertaken in December 2007.

Sigurdardottir is the mother of two grown sons and is married to Icelandic writer and playwright Jonina Leosdottir. She is often described by many of her countrymen as the only politician who really cares about the “little guy.” She has devoted her career to fighting for the welfare and equality of minority groups – women, the elderly, the poor, disabled, and immigrants. She holds no fancy foreign diplomas – she has a Commercial degree from the Commercial College of Iceland – nor extensive family or wealth connections like many Icelandic politicians but has diligently worked her way up the political ladder through hard work and determination. Her professional career includes working in the 60s and 70s as a flight attendant for Icelandair (the old Loftleidir Airlines) and an office worker in Reykjavik.

59. Intermittent Bystander - 28 January 2009

44 – By the time those soppy Scots are through with her, Orla will be wearing a pink tiara, to go along with all that salmon.

I think they should find Orla a nice pipe major, next. She could tuck up under the bearskin hat to stay warm. He could keep herring in his sporran for snacks!

60. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

54 – So, you finally figured out who I am.

61. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

Speaking of assholes and the food they like: Bacon Explosion

1. Using 10 slices of bacon, weave a square lattice like that on top of a pie: first, place 5 bacon slices side by side on a large sheet of aluminum foil, parallel to one another, sides touching. Place another strip of bacon on one end, perpendicular to the other strips. Fold first, third and fifth bacon strips back over this new strip, then place another strip next to it, parallel to it. Unfold first, third and fifth strips; fold back second and fourth strips. Repeat with remaining bacon until all 10 strips are tightly woven.

2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees or light a fire in an outdoor smoker. Place remaining bacon in a frying pan and cook until crisp. As it cooks, sprinkle bacon weave with 1 tablespoon barbecue rub. Evenly spread sausage on top of bacon lattice, pressing to outer edges.

3. Crumble fried bacon into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle on top of sausage. Drizzle with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce and sprinkle with another tablespoon barbecue rub.

4. Very carefully separate front edge of sausage layer from bacon weave and begin rolling sausage away from you. Bacon weave should stay where it was, flat. Press sausage roll to remove any air pockets and pinch together seams and ends.

5. Roll sausage toward you, this time with bacon weave, until it is completely wrapped. Turn it so seam faces down. Roll should be about 2 to 3 inches thick. Sprinkle with remaining barbecue rub.

6. Place roll on a baking sheet in oven or in smoker. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 1 hour for each inch of thickness. When done, glaze roll with more sauce.

62. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

Putin slaps down Michael Dell at Davos

At the official opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Putin, now Russian Prime Minister, delivered a 40-minute speech touching on everything from why the dollar should not be the sole reserve currency to how the world needed to enter into a smart energy partnership with Russia. Then it was time for questions. First up: Dell. He praised Russia’s technical and scientific prowess, and then asked: “How can we help” you to expand IT in Russia.

Putin’s withering reply to Dell: “We don’t need help. We are not invalids. We don’t have limited mental capacity.” … And, in a final dig at Dell, he talked about how Russian scientists were rightly respected not for their hardware, but for their software. The implication: Any old fool can build a PC outfit.

63. Intermittent Bystander - 28 January 2009

Correction – pipe majors wear feathered headdresses, not bearskins (like the English guards).

Still cozy for otters, I bet!

64. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

Attenborough reveals creationist hate mail for not crediting God

Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week’s Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: “They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance.”

Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give “credit” to God, Attenborough added: “They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”

Attenborough went further in his opposition to creationism, saying it was “terrible” when it was taught alongside evolution as an alternative perspective. “It’s like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five … Evolution is not a theory; it is a fact, every bit as much as the historical fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066.”

65. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

Paved Paradise: Cemeteries in Parking Lots

Seeing how Americans worship cars, this makes complete sense to me.

66. Intermittent Bystander - 28 January 2009

Go Attenborough.

67. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

#58– Somehow I think that in this country, the progs would be the ones shocked over a prole like that presuming that she was fit to represent the other proles.


68. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

New York City fears return to 1970s

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While many U.S. cities worry that their economies are deteriorating to the level of the 1930s Great Depression, New York City fears reliving a more recent decade that features strongly in city lore.

The 1970s were a low point in city history as a fiscal crisis almost pushed it into bankruptcy, crime rates soared, and homeless people crowded sidewalks as public services crumbled.

Almost a million people fled New York’s Mean Streets during the decade for the safer, more stable suburbs, a population decline that took more than 20 years to reverse.

When discussing the current crisis, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now seeking a third term, promises that he will not allow the city to return to the darkness of those days, although he stresses that it faces “giant financial problems.”

“I know some are concerned that city services will erode,” he recently told reporters. “Let me remind you that the city went down that road in the 1970s … I can just tell you that we are not going to make that mistake again.”

But behind the rhetoric, there are signs of a city under growing stress, including a rise in homelessness that’s driving more families to shelters and last year’s 57 percent spike in bank robberies.

There were 444 bank robberies in 2008 compared with 283 in 2007, according to the city Police Department.

A Bank of America branch in Manhattan near Rockefeller Center said it has posted a sign asking its customers to remove sunglasses, hoods and hats before entering, one of the anti-crime measures the police department recommended.

As city revenues slide with the demise of Wall Street firms, the mayor, an independent, has slashed spending by all agencies and there’s more to come.

69. ms_xeno - 28 January 2009

#60 — The crowning irony of that should-be-legendary Leary vid is how much he looks like Bryan Adams in the middle part.

Speaking of vids, catnip, I’ll have an early valentine up in my corner for you in about ten minutes. So don’t forget to drop by. 😉

70. NYCO - 28 January 2009

68. During the 70s, the rest of the state was asked to help NYC out.

Which it did.

Now, the rest of the state is not in any position to help. The rest of the New York State economy has been shit ever since the ’70s. (Not because of helping NYC, of course, but because of globalization trends… which were… um… eh… spearheaded by Reaganites who got donations from Gordon Gecko. Greed is good, remember?)


71. marisacat - 28 January 2009

Maybe a little bump and grind intro music here… I’ll say one thing for Tapper…detail oriented. And provides a partial transcript at least. Unlike the WH

Tapper has a vid up as well.

TAPPER: Robert, on the stimulus package, the president yesterday told a closed-door meeting of House Republicans that there was spending in the bill that he didn’t like. And, obviously, he took action calling Congressman Waxman to remove the part having to do with the birth control. Now, there is a $335 million provision about education for sexually transmitted diseases. There still is in the bill $50 million funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. And that’s the House, and I understand your emphasis is in the Senate, but in the Senate there are earmarked projects as well: $70 million for a supercomputer for NOAA, $75 million for education for smoking cessation. President Obama can tell these Democratic senators and members of the House, “Take this stuff out of the bill.” He obviously did so with Congressman Waxman. Why doesn’t he do it for all these earmarks?

GIBBS: Well, let me — let me talk a little bit about what he said yesterday at — at these meetings, because he said that there’s — there’s no doubt this will produce a process whereby every person does not like 100 percent of every part of the bill, that that would be true whether Democrats were writing the bill or Republicans were writing the bill. And he said that to two rooms full of Republicans, of which I think there was pretty broad agreement.This is a process based on a series of principles and framework that — that our economic team and the president sent to Capitol Hill to create a plan that we believe will move this economy along. I — I know there is a tendency — and there always will be — to focus on, as I mentioned yesterday, 0.02 percent of a piece of legislation. I have a hard time believing that the 0.98 percent of the other 99 percent aren’t the large focus of members of Congress that are going to vote both today and over the course of the next few weeks.

TAPPER: President Obama had no problem calling for Chairman Waxman and telling him to remove a 0.02 percent from the bill when he saw that it was a hurdle.

GIBBS: But, again, let’s focus on the larger picture. ….snip….

It goes on…….. and then Salazar joined the presser.

72. Intermittent Bystander - 28 January 2009


73. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

Homeless Man Steals a $100 Bill From Bank, Turns Himself in the Next Day and Apologizes — and Is Given 15 Years By Louisiana Judge

Roy Brown, 54, is a homeless man who said that he was hungry and needed a place to live when he walked the Capitol One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007 and stole a single $100 bill. The next day, he turned himself into police, apologized, and said that he was not raised to do such things. After he pleaded guilty, the Shreveport judge then sentenced him to 15 years in prison. In the meantime, former AIG executive Christian Milton defrauded customers of more tha $500 million and was just sentenced to 4 years.

74. NYCO - 28 January 2009

Well, I suppose we have to try and look on the bright side. If no one can save NYC from going back to the ’70s, maybe at least SNL will become funny again. Maybe.

75. catnip - 28 January 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Army will report Thursday the highest level of suicides among its soldiers since it began tracking the rate 28 years ago, CNN has learned.

76. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 January 2009

For Decades, Right-Wingers Have Pushed Paranoia and Xenophobic Politics and Called It ‘Moral Clarity’

This was brought home to me over the holidays, when I devoured J. Peter Scoblic’s U.S. Vs. Them as part of my vacation reading. Scoblic’s book looks at the way the conservative penchant for “othering” (a word I coined to describe their perpetual need for someone to project their own demons onto, and then hate on) has shaped U.S. foreign policy from the beginning of the Cold War through the Bush administration.

Throughout the book, Scoblic traces the roots of this recurring phrase — “moral clarity” — and discusses the very specific and narrowly defined meaning it has to conservatives.

The phrase first appeared in describing the Manichean worldview of the anti-communist right in the 1950s. To William F. Buckley, Frank Meyer, Whittaker Chambers and other National Review writers, “moral clarity” meant fully understanding and accepting the essential good-versus-evil nature of foreign affairs.

People with “moral clarity” recognized the ultimate existential evil of Communism and were constantly on guard against its unceasing efforts to bring down the capitalist world by any means necessary.

To these early movement conservatives, having “moral clarity” meant that you weren’t the kind of weakling who would be deceived into negotiation with the Commies, or consent to arms control, or be duped into merely containing their relentless march across the globe. It meant that you had the intestinal fortitude (or pure enough vital bodily fluids, as you wish) to do whatever had to be done to permanently exterminate America’s implacable enemies — whether it was to send in the Marines or drop the bomb.

This definition of “moral clarity” has been a major factor in U.S. foreign policy ever since. From that day unto this, the conservative movement has never been without a demonized Other to focus its vaunted “moral clarity” on.

“Moral clarity” is why conservatives hate summit meetings; why they’ve scuttled every attempt at arms control and nonproliferation; why every problem in the world can only yield to a military solution; and why defense is the only valid government expense.

To people with “moral clarity,” these choices are obvious. Those who disagree (like those progressive pantywaists who refuse to acknowledge the threat or are willing and eager to coddle Pure Evil by parleying with it) are, perforce, inherently weaker and less morally serious. If you’ve ever marveled at the depths of conservative moral self-righteousness, now you know the deep well from which it springs.

77. marisacat - 28 January 2009

since it began tracking the rate 28 years ago, CNN has learned.

hmm only from 1980 onward. They missed a lot. And that is limited to currently serving.

78. catnip - 28 January 2009

Nothing like having your prez hosting a cocktail party while the rest of the country goes down the sewer. I’ll bet they’re not drinking cheap wine out of a paper bag.

79. catnip - 28 January 2009
80. marisacat - 29 January 2009

new thread…………………


…………. 😆 …………….

81. bayprairie - 29 January 2009


you ought to be ticketed and fined for posting that recipe.

the only thing i can think of that’s possibly worse would be a bacon wrapped, deep fried, wiener with the chili on top from the recipe that evidently finished mattes off.

82. marisacat - 29 January 2009

I love bacon.

83. bayprairie - 29 January 2009

so do i. and i dont mind italian sausage either. but more as condiments used sparingly to flavor.

or on a BLT with mayo!

84. marisacat - 29 January 2009

LOL I like to leave off the LT part…

My mother who “could not cook” did cook bacon, with eggs, for sandwiches… and I got hungry for the taste of it a few months ago. But what a shock, my little bacon sandwiches were not the same.

85. bayprairie - 29 January 2009

my grandmother would lightly fry an egg, sunny side up, in bacon drippings. she would take a spoon and drizzle drippings over the top of the egg and then serve them with the bacon and also toasted bread, cut into quarters. we called them speckled eggs as they had little flecks of bacon on them. i like runny yolks and i’d eat the egg with toast using the yolk as a sauce and push the toast points into it.

i could easily see putting all that together as a sandwich!

86. marisacat - 29 January 2009

LOL yeah my mother, still could not cook, but did save bacon drippings for cooking eggs.

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