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She’s rather pretty… 27 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements.

think of a tentacled, sucker adorned orchid maybe. Anyhoo… she did this a few days ago, at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium…

[T]he guest of honor in the aquarium’s Kids’ Corner octopus tank had swum to the top of the enclosure and disassembled the recycling system’s valve, flooding the place with some 200 gallons of seawater.

“It had grabbed the tube that pulls out the water and caused it to spray outside the tank,” said aquarium education specialist Nick Fash. Judging by the size of the flood, Fash estimated that the water flowed for about 10 hours before the first staff member, Aaron Kind, showed up for work.

The tiny octopus, which is about the size of a human forearm when its appendages are extended, floated lazily in the water that remained in its tank.

It watched intently through glass walls and portholes as workers struggled to dry the place out in time for the day’s first busload of schoolchildren to arrive on a 9:30 a.m. field trip.

hmmm.  The Chicago Trib had some additional bits, about an earlier incident… Octavia the octopus…

The incident was reminiscent of a 1994 incident at San Pedro’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in which an octopus named Octavia pulled a plastic pipe loose.

That giant Pacific octopus died when all of the water in her tank drained out.

Since octopuses are considered by many to be the most intelligent invertebrate — and to have good memories — Fash said he jury-rigged his octopus tank piping with clamps and tape in hopes of thwarting any further mischief by its occupant. “She would need tools,” he said of his octopus, which until now had no name.

“Some people are suggesting we call her ‘Flo,’ ” he said.

It reminded me of a very inventive octopus, Otto, in a German aquarium..  (I loved his sense of selfish chaos and posted on Nov 4 about him… he appeared more fun than some choices lying around):

I had assumed this got widespread coverage end of last week, but I am gathering it did not… There is an absence of good photos of Otto which may be one reason.  Or, perhaps, that juggling of the crabs in his tank is just too revealing a metaphor.

The short-circuit had baffled electricians as well as staff at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, who decided to take shifts sleeping on the floor to find out what caused the mysterious blackouts.

A spokesman said: “It was a serious matter because it shorted the electricity supply to the whole aquarium that threatened the lives of the other animals when water pumps ceased to work.

“It was on the third night that we found out that the octopus Otto was responsible for the chaos.

“We knew that he was bored as the aquarium is closed for winter, and at two feet, seven inches Otto had discovered he was big enough to swing onto the edge of his tank and shoot out the 2000 Watt spot light above him with a carefully directed jet of water.”

I’d vote for Otto, just to endorse his wanton and selfish chaos theory:

“Once we saw him juggling the hermit crabs in his tank, another time he threw stones against the glass damaging it. And from time to time he completely re-arranges his tank to make it suit his own taste better – much to the distress of his fellow tank inhabitants.”


Obviously I know nothing about the care and keeping of octopussi-usses… but I can imagine the Santa Monica captive got really bored… check out her living arrangements.  Looks like 6 washers, stacked three by three… unless those are just viewing windows, and the inhabitants get the full range inside….


If, by chance, you felt hot breath on your neck… 26 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


Nicknamed the Eye of God, the amazing object is actually a shell of gas and dust that has been blown off by a faint central star. [ESO via the Telegraph]

The bright blue pupil and the white of the eye are fringed by flesh-coloured eyelids – but this eye is so big that it light takes two and a half years to cross from one side to the other.

The object is actually a shell of gas and dust that has been blown off by a faint central star. Our own solar system will meet a similar fate five billion years in the future.

It lies around 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius, and can be dimly seen in small backyard telescopes by amateur astronomers who call it the Helix nebula. It covers an area of sky around a quarter the size of the full moon.

The photo was taken with a giant telescope at the European Southern Observatory, high on a mountaintop at La Silla in Chile. It is so detailed that a close-up reveals distant galaxies within the central eyeball.

I on the other hand… have picked up the very opposite of the ‘big eye in the sky’… a tiny mouse has moved in. A few nights ago I thought I heard a bit of a rustle in the bedroom… but then noticed I still had a big wad of cream colored tissue on the bed, from inside a gift box… so I thought, well that is it.   But tonight I saw a little mouse. Haven’t had one in years, and last time it was a much, much colder winter… that time, it moved from the bedroom to a storage / cooking pots and pans sort of area, part of a big old range I have in the kitchen (warm, as it is right along side the pilot light), and after a while, in the early spring, disappeared.  Saved me doing anything about it. Fingers crossed it goes that easy this time…


I volunteer my mouse to the Treasury!  Ask not what your country can do for you… 😉

TAPPER:  OK.  And second question, Paul Volcker today said about the staffing at the Treasury Department, “There’s an area that I think is shameful, the secretary of the treasury sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries responsive in substantive areas.  At a time of very stark crisis, you shouldn’t be sitting there alone.” He said, “Now, various things have contributed to this, I guess, include vetting procedures, but it’s really an unfortunate situation.” And he said that we can’t have a “weak” Treasury at a moment like this. Does the president agree with Mr. Volcker that this is a problem, his Treasury staff?

GIBBS:  Well, this president is committed — (clears throat) excuse me — to ensuring that we have as many people and as quickly as possible that we can get into this government. I think I would say a little — I wouldn’t quite agree with everything that our friend Mr. Volcker.  I don’t — I don’t think that the secretary is alone at the Treasury Department.  I think there are many able people assisting him. And I asked somewhat of this question yesterday, and I asked that they pull some numbers for me.  So, to figure out exactly the breakdown of this includes political appointees and Schedule C appointees, that by the end of February there were 279 that were staffed up in the first Bush administration, 286 in the Clinton administration, 200 and — this is for the whole government — 288 for the second Bush, and as of today, 483 in the Obama administration.

TAPPER:  In the Treasury Department?

GIBBS:  This is for — this is government wide.  I will find out.  I don’t have specific Treasury figures in front of me, but I’ll pull those.

TAPPER:  Because that was the point that he was making.

GIBBS:  These are — this is in relation partly to some questions that I got yesterday about that.  But no, I think the Treasury Department, I think what what we’ve asked the Treasury Department to do is certainly a lot, and I think what they’ve produced through a recovery and reinvestment plan, both working with a financial stability package, dealing with individual banks, insuring that we have a way forward that protects our manufacturing base in autos — we’ve asked a lot of Treasury and they’re doing a lot of great work.

I offer the mouse. I think they need the help…

LOL 24 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

I snagged it from Instapundit.. who gave Ob points for not freaking at what was in front of him……….

What a hoot!

Levitation? Flotation? 24 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Italy, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.


Pope Benedict XVI reacts as he loses his skullcap, blown off by a gust of wind, during his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. At right, the hand of the pontiff’s personal secretary Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, trying to catch it [AP]

Oh surely it’s  a miracle!


After the deepening global downturn dragged down the stocks of U.S. companies outside the financial sector Monday, the spreading nervousness then sent the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo 2.6 percent lower by late morning, nearing the 26-year low it had hit on Oct. 27.

The drop in Asian markets followed Monday’s steep decline in the Dow Jones industrial index, which ended the day 3.4 percent lower, while the broader S&P 500 fell 3.5 percent.

And don’t miss the description, “death spiral”…

“Why have emerging markets outperformed?” asked Michael Hartnett andMichael Penn, emerging markets strategists at Merrill Lynch in a note to clients on Tuesday. “Because excess positioning in emerging markets has vanished, emerging markets banks continue to outperform, policy ease has been big and Chinese growth expectations have stopped falling. But the death spiral in U.S. financials still threatens to take emerging markets back to the old lows.”

The Straits Times index in Singapore dropped 2.2 percent, and stocks in Australia fell 1.3 percent, both also falling near or below the lows of last autumn as the financial downturn accelerated.

The Kospi in South Korea dropped 3.7 percent, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed 3.5 percent and stocks in Shanghai eased 1.4 percent – though in all three cases, the markets are well above last October’s lows.


I dunno… looks to me Sir Allen can give lessons in that old bugaboo, bi-partisanship.  Clusterstock picked up on this in WSJ… just a tease as the bulk of the article is behind sub wall:

A fund of hedge funds run by two members of Vice President Joe Biden’s family was marketed exclusively by companies controlled by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is facing Securities and Exchange Commission accusations of engaging in an $8 billion fraud.

The $50 million fund was jointly branded between the Bidens’ Paradigm Global Advisors LLC and a Stanford Financial Group entity and was known as the Paradigm Stanford Capital Management Core Alternative Fund. Stanford-related companies marketed the fund to investors and also invested about $2.7 million of their own money in the fund, according to a lawyer for Paradigm. …

Clusterstock added this line from the text behind the wall.. In case you were wondering if “family” are Bidens far away and long ago.  Oh no.

Paradigm Global Advisors is owned through a holding company by the vice president’s son, Hunter, and Joe Biden’s brother, James.”

Just remember!  Joe is the poorest senator! Obama has never been to Chicago!  Soon he’ll say he’s never been to Washington DC!  Just watch.



Riding right at the top of Clusterstock is an article on the Monday Slide… with this opening line:

The Good News… We are all losing hope.

And then:

Other good news: We barely heard the term “bottoming process” at all on CNBC today, which means that, perhaps, the bulls have lost all hope. That may or may not be a sign of a bottom.

Charlie Rose has on John Mack of Morgan Stanley… Couple of N Carolina boys shoring each other up, is all I see.

I almost forgot… 22 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


how could I? Los Angeles is UP tonight… (Academy Awards)

The lights are still on… 21 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, France, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, NORCOM, WAR!.



Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship on earth, or an artist’s representation of her and the Aqua Theatre, one of many diversions. Oasis is due to hit the seas late this year.. and construction begins soon on a sister ship, Allure of the Seas. Timing, huh?

I’d say the wealthy will cruise no matter what, but word is around in San Francisco that the “2 – 3 million dollar” local house market is in trouble. Hankies abound.  And rentals on houses for the season in the Hamptons are coming down… Not a full crash, as the wealthy “have not canceled summer” but taking a deep hit.

Who knows what the sitch will be in a couple of months… worse is a good prediction.  Even Miss Cleo could manage that one………  8)

NYCO posted this near the end of the last thread… and it is a good fit for this thread…

I see Joseph Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies has finally reached mainstream consciousness… in the Canadian media, anyway.

Tainter is still alive and teaching. I wonder what he thinks of all these world economy developments. Especially since his final conclusion (in 1988) was that collapse could no longer happen to any society unless all of them collapsed at the same time. Which appears to be what is happening at present.

Snip from the news article linked above… I’d say we are at blast furnace level for complexity and interdependence…

[C]ompared to the Roman empire, the networks of interdependence in our present global systems are orders of magnitude more complicated — and comparably less resilient. Efficiency, the hallmark of modern economics, is precisely the fine tuning of higher levels of interdependence to minimize duplication and waste. Think of manufacturing with just-in-time delivery systems, or cities which typically store only a three-day supply of food, or hospitals which rely on the daily arrival of drugs, blood and oxygen — Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota reminds us that “most medical equipment and 85% of US pharmaceuticals are made abroad” (Ibid.).

Complexity Theory is an uncomfortable subject, particularly given the unsettling stresses we are measuring in food production, climate change, resource depletion, ecosystem damage, pollution and population growth. But the theory has its saving graces. It does make us more aware of our vulnerabilities. And it does argue for simplification and local self-sufficiency, particularly for essentials such as food supply and energy production. The incentive to begin thinking and acting with foresight should compensate for the need to be apologetic.

And… a snip from a related comment of NYCO (which I agree with, and just grit my teeth when I hear that Obama and “his belief in technology” will save us.  Quite popular out here, as you might imagine):

[P]ossibly the most unpopular part of Tainter’s theory, the one that would meet the most resistance, is his contention that while there may be technological magic bullets out there to discover and develop that will solve many of our current problems, we cannot possibly afford to discover and develop them: they cost much more than a complex society can afford to spend and still remain intact. In other words, investing more and more into green technology — the holy grail of most forward-thinking politicians and progressives today — will not save our civilization. Our complex civilization will collapse before we ever get near to realizing actual net benefits from our pursuit of these technologies.  […]


I am sure this, from the Daily Mail, which is linked at Instapundit, and thus soon to be picked up in the Right and Far Right slots… has the hierarchy girding their loins for battle.  And drooling –  where ever it is they drool from…..

[T]he first protests began a month ago when the left-wing union coalition, the Collective Against Exploitation, demanded a £180 a month pay increase for low-wage earners.

President Nicolas Sarkozy sent his minster for overseas departments to the island to meet with union leaders on response to the demands.

But the racial tensions which have been simmering for decades exploded into full-scale rioting, with colonial descendants who own 90 per cent of the wealth becoming the focus of the violence.

The unrest was further aggravated last week when wealthy white landowner Alain Huyghues-Despointes publicly criticised mixed-race marriages and said he preferred to ‘preserve his race’.

In Paris, the violence has provoked divisions in Mr Sarkozy’s cabinet with black minister Rachida Data acknowledging that Guadeloupe suffered from ‘a problem with the distribution of wealth’.  …

This comment of diane’s fits in here… her comment and snip from the  SF Gate link… and I am sure (tho I did nto bother to google) that the authors are coming at Obama from the right.. but no matter.  I don’t care anymore.  I have no clue where the Savior stands, not with me I am certain of that.

[M]eanwhile, plans for detention at home are being expanded under Democratic Party leadership. On Jan. 22, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., a former judge who was impeached and removed from the bench before being elected to Congress, introduced HR645, the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act. This bill calls for the establishment of six centers on military installations across the United States. Previous centers were for addressing an “emergency influx of immigrants” or to support “the rapid development of new programs.” These new FEMA centers are “to provide temporary housing, medical and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster.”   …

Stories and reports of Northern Command have been coming  out for years… 3 years, or so, that I am aware of… and iirc NORCOM went fully active around the time (fall, ’08)that AFRICOM did.

Surge on…..

They don’t all love us, it seems… 19 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Europe, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, Moscow, WAR!.


Kabul, Afghanistan: A man begs on a street [Ahmad Masood/Reuters]

Now we are begging for civilians

The US Defence Secretary pleaded with Nato allies to send more civilian personnel to Afghanistan yesterday, after proclaiming disappointment at their failure to meet his requests for troops.

Robert Gates made his request as Nato defence ministers convened in Poland, two days after President Obama committed 17,000 more US soldiers to the fight, making Afghanistan his foreign policy priority.

Washington had hoped to capitalise on the new President’s appeal by gaining further troop commitments from European allies, but so far no pledges have been forthcoming from Cracow.

Not the least of our problems… as we pursue war in the land that sinks empires…

The new US “surge” is smaller than commanders in Afghanistan had hoped and comes amid growing concern over the logistics of prosecuting the war with too few troops and too few supply routes into the country.

Russia has said it is willing to help with the movement of supplies but its help will probably come at the cost of Nato expansionism and the US missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

The first shipment of military goods will leave Latvia soon, going through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Afghanistan. Moscow remains opposed to any permanent Nato or US military presence, such as a base in an area it regards as its unique sphere of influence.

Surge on.

Meanwhile at home.. first on one foot then on the other… anything to stave off a DECISION that might be unpopular.  Get it over with chumps.  Go for it. (via Politico’s “44” page, no link)

Unsatisfied with the one week reprieve it got today, Justice Department is making a last-ditch plea to a federal appeals court for a full two weeks to negotiate a deal to head off the executive privilege dispute over Congress’s demands for testimony and documents from Bush White House officials Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and Josh Bolten. — Josh Gerstein (5:55 p.m.)

Surge on.


Pro Publica tracking The Change.

Introducing ChangeTracker: Tracking Change in Washington

by Brian Boyer, ProPublica – February 19, 2009 12:40 pm EST
We’re launching ChangeTracker, an experimental new tool that watches pages on whitehouse.gov [1], recovery.gov [2] and financialstability.gov [3] so you don’t have to. When the White House adds or deletes anything— say a blog post, or executive order—ChangeTracker will let you know.

The latest changes are below, or sign up on the right to get alerts sent to you.

Each change links to a page (courtesy of a service called Versionista [4]) that shows the different versions side-by-side. Text highlighted in red means it was removed, green means it was added. If you notice something interesting, let us know [5]. We’ll highlight the gems.

And in the hope that folks will track other important Web sites, we want you to steal our code: Here’s how to create your own tracker for any Web site [6].



Shuafat, West Bank: A Palestinian boy climbs through an opening in the West Bank barrier near Jerusalem [Guardian – 24 Hours in Pictures – February 19 2009 – Baz Ratner/Reuters]

New team please… Please?! 18 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.


Appropriately an old pic from The Onion, that I landed on and used back in the Palin era…. 😉

Catching Nouriel Roubini on some business / stock show on PBS, saying what too many, across the board, say, moves from pretzel are too small, too spread out, move too slow… and … etc.

In Cali, we languish with no budget… it almost is not news.  We have passed so many “deadlines”, been assured so many times that at 6PM, 10PM, tomorrow am, later in the afternoon, it will be achieved.  They, the Sacto gang, have been photographed with pillows, toothbrushes in hand, sleeping bags… all but a snuggle toy for the midnight snooze.

Latest word, another attempted vote at 10PM tonight, and the legislators are under lock down in the Capitol Bldg. unable to leave.  Worse, as of a few days ago… the damn thing is worded to require a voter ratification.  In May, now they say.

Mother of Gawdddddd.

Further, supposedly ‘no budget’ risks our varying amounts from the DC boondoggle handout.  Which might be 26 billion, 39.5 (I really want that big .5 added on!) OR 42 billion, depending on the hour of the day.

I doubt we can be trusted with the money.

Kansas yesterday got a state budget out… but we, sans Toto, languish.  I am voting Wicked Witch of the West to be governor.  Red Queen to be Speaker of the Assembly in Sacto.  This is not a feminist manifesto, anyone who can get it done.  Those mythic figures just popped into my head.

Anyone who can get it done.

The Bank of England is to start ‘printing’ new money for the first time in 30 years as it runs out of options to kick-start the economy. The Governor of the Bank of England will write to the Chancellor within days to get permission for the unprecedented action.

On the FP of the Independent… as we continue to live in “unprecedented” times.  So they tell us……….

Last from the Flasher Coast, they still might vote at 10PM tonight!  News at 11PM…


From the tag end of the last thread, a comment from Madman:

Blue Dogs: The Democrats Who Love Big Business

The Blue Dogs were founded in 1995 in the wake of the GOP takeover of the House, but they didn’t get much attention until the Democrats took it back in 2006. If you read any of the post-election coverage, it was the freshmen Blue Dogs like Pennsylvania’s Chris Carney and North Carolina’s Heath Shuler who had upset high-profile Republicans who were the MVPs of the cycle and the party’s new voice. Leaders of the House Pack? the Philadelphia Inquirer asked in a headline, Blue Dogs Could Point Way for Democrats.

Their star turn extended through much of the 110th Congress, as caucus members flexed their muscles on their signature issue: fiscal discipline. They pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to adopt “pay-go” rules, which required all new expenditures (except, notably, those for the war) to be offset by tax increases or corresponding spending cuts. Their outsize influence frustrated progressive activists who viewed their support for the Iraq occupation and expanded government surveillance powers and their opposition to “net neutrality” as obstacles to fulfilling the progressive promise of the new Congress. The website Open Left labeled the group “Bush Dogs” and began documenting the ways they enabled right-wing legislation.

“Remember, you don’t get to choose your politics,” Cooper told me when I visited his office one morning in December. “The voters choose you. All Blue Dogs and our predecessors were trying to do is reach people who don’t read The Nation…. Why have people been begging to be Blue Dogs? Because it’s a brand of Democrats people in the heartland can trust. It partly means fiscal conservatism and it partly means we’re not going to rubber-stamp the rest of the [party] agenda.”

In the 110th Congress, the Blue Dogs’ clout made a kind of sense. The caucus was larger than the Democrats’ margin, which meant they were the proverbial swing voter — and fawned over as a result. But in the 111th Congress, the Democrats’ margin is big enough to pass legislation without a single Republican or Blue Dog vote. On top of that, the severity of the economic crisis has moved the center of debate decidedly away from the Blue Dogs’ cardinal issue of fiscal austerity. There’s a broad consensus among economists that we need to run large short-term deficits to avoid levels of unemployment and misery we haven’t seen in seventy years. So you’d think the Blue Dogs would have as central a role in today’s debate as pacifists did in the months after 9/11.

But not so. The Blue Dogs continue to wield influence. Before the stimulus could be brought to the floor, the House had to approve emergency orders to expedite the process. The Blue Dogs balked and threatened to rebel until the White House sent a letter to several House committee chairs reaffirming its commitment to return to pay-go budgeting after the stimulus is passed. In the end, half the caucus voted against the leadership anyway. The week after the stimulus passed the House, Blue Dog co-chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin sent an open letter to Pelosi and House majority leader Steny Hoyer expressing the caucus’s support for efforts by Senate Republicans and conservative Democrats to cut approximately $100 billion from the package — including money for things like school construction, rural broadband and early childhood programs. “We believe that’s a highly worthwhile goal,” they wrote.

Meanwhile, the media remain obsessed. As Talking Points Memo’s Elana Schor recently noted, press mentions of the Blue Dogs outnumbered mentions of the Progressive Caucus by nearly ten to one between mid-October and mid-January. This despite the Progressive Caucus being larger and having far more members in the leadership.

… and the beat goes on… 17 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Italy.


A man wears a mask depicting US President Barack Obama during the Carnival of Viareggio in Italy [EPA]

Whew… what a dumb 7 days… mouseless.  Catching up, I dropped in at the main page of RCP… for today.  What a circus!  More floats than Carnevale!

Stu Rothenburg says the the only optimism about Obama IS the optimism.  Marie Cocco says workers still need a Pay Day Break (she is right!, the Stumble Bill allocates a tax cut to workers, from what I read, of about 13.00 per week.  A rebate check would be better, imo, and in CA that $25 or so every two weeks will be eaten up in tax raises…)

Shrum says the Stumble bill is “just right”.  Or that Ob played it just right.  Well…. that is Shrum, let’s remember.  Even when he wins (8 successful senate campaigns vs his losses for pretzeldent) we lose.

Meanwhile, we are dead or dying in Cali.  As I leaf thru the hyperbole over the past months… what I read in the tea leaves (aside from decades of idiocy) is a massive prick vs prick battle between Andy Stern (SEIU and enrolled state government workers) and Arnold.  Where is Lorena Bobbit when you need her.

Reading in the Wapo (they say the speech was bad as he retooled the night before!), is it too late to put Geithner in prison for unpaid taxes?  Or something?

Here is a sad little tidbit… I heard this week that 40,000 have applied for Section 8 Housing in Contra Costa Co… which is a pretty big county over in the East Bay, with quite a few communities hard hit by foreclosure…  There are 325 spaces available.  Amazed there are any… tho nowhere near enough.

Bittersweet… 10 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Australia, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC.


Animal rescue: Staff at animal hospitals have been offered counselling because of the traumatic injuries they have had to treat on animals like this Koala [Herald Sun]

From a gallery at the UK Times:

Link:  Animals caught up in the Australia bush fires.


This possum’s feet were scorched by the flames [Healesville Sanctuary]

Link to the FP of the Sydney Morning Herald

Apparently the death toll rises, near or over 300.  Saddest it seems some children died.. while their parents lived.  How very awful.


It seems Tzipi ascends, narrowly… Kadima with 30, but Likud with 28, followed by the ultra right, nationalist party.  Labour, I read, “collapses”.

Israeli elections tonight produced the tightest of races with early television exit polls putting Tzipi Livni, the centrist foreign minister, narrowly ahead of the rightwing opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

Polls from three main television stations, broadcast moments after voting closed, all put Livni’s Kadima party ahead by two seats, but they also predicted that rightwing parties had fared best overall. Livni was predicted as winning either 29 or 30 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right leader, came in third, ahead of Ehud Barak, the Labour leader and defence minister, whose party was headed for one of its worst election results.

If the exit polls are accurate, and in the past they have not always been reliable, it suggests a long, drawn-out period of negotiations to form a coalition. Even if Livni emerges with the largest party she may not become prime minister if the rightwing parties can together muster a larger coalition.  …

Someone will just have to bomb the Gaza, to consolidate power.