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Bona Fortuna… 1 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, France, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Moscow, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.


A man dressed as the Chinese God of Fortune, right, and a performer wearing a Chinese firecrackers costume handed out “red pockets” with small amounts of money to visitors outside a Hong Kong shopping mall. [Vincent Yu/Associated Press]

we’re gonna need it….

In other news… masses of entertainment will hit, all too likely, in a few years.  Weeks ago when Obama was arguing for access to email and the internet, it seemed conditioned on his engaging in non-substantive, non-government, non-Oval Office exchanges.

Hold on to the popcorn machine.  Exhort the cows to make butter, cull salt from the seas:

“No,” he [Anthony Lake] said when asked if he had it. “Did. Don’t.”

Neither does Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, nor Steny H. Hoyer, the majority leader, but they do not use e-mail much anyway. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is a BlackBerry fiend, but he does not have Mr. Obama’s address. Nor do many members of the cabinet, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has it, along with his own new super-secret BlackBerry and e-mail address. So do Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, his top advisers and some of his oldest friends from Chicago.

Senator Richard J. Durbin, a fellow Illinois Democrat, probably has it but refuses to say. “We’re not going to discuss it,” said a spokesman, Joe Shoemaker. Asked why, he said, “That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

It is now the ultimate status symbol in a town obsessed by status. Mr. Obama was spotted last week trying out his new BlackBerry — or actually a more sophisticated, encrypted variation — and aides say that he uses a computer in the study next to the Oval Office but that he has agreed to limit the number of people he would exchange e-mail with. In the process, he created a new measure for Washington to judge who really has the ear, or the thumb, of the president.

Those select few who have Mr. Obama’s e-mail address, say people informed about the matter, include Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, both senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, the press secretary. But cabinet members like the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, said they did not have it. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is a frequent BlackBerry user, but a spokesman said he did not know whether she had the president’s address.

Apparently Oprah played it cagey… does she or doesn’t she.  John Podesta, who does not have the email address, did say the number who do would grow.  Oh inevitably…………….

Top to bottom (this is the close) the report simply did not mention the legal implications.  Frankly, I think Bush had better legal advice.  Not for the nation, but for that wretched institution, the Unitary Executive.

The challenge for those privileged few with the address will be when to use it. What is the etiquette on sending e-mail to the president? Several friends and aides said they would hit the “reply” button but not the “new message” button — in other words, send messages only when messaged first.

“Rarely will I bother him for anything serious or nonserious,” said Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer of Illinois and a friend.

“I figure if he needs me or wants to talk to me on any social level, he can get me very, very quickly. His friends need to have a shift in mentality. He’s no longer Barack. He’s an institution.”

Carry on.


From the many protests…


Russian policemen arrested a man dressed as dustbin as he protested against a refuse disposal plant in Moscow. [BBC]




Demonstrators in Lyon carried a red banner calling for “Neither state nor bosses – revolution!”



1. marisacat - 1 February 2009

Last update – 00:06 01/01/2009

Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement

By Uri Blau

Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration.

One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite.

Not far away, at the settlement’s large and unkempt trailer site, which is also built on private land, a young newlywed couple is walking to the bus stop: 21-year-old Aharon and his 19-year-old wife, Elisheva. They speak nearly perfect Hebrew despite having grown up in the United States and having settled permanently in Israel just a few months ago, after Aharon completed his army service in the ultra-Orthodox Nahal unit. Now he is studying computers at Machon Lev in Jerusalem. Asked why they chose to live here of all places, they list three reasons: It’s close to Jerusalem, it’s cheap and it’s in the territories. In that order.

The couple pay their rent, NIS 550 a month, to the settlement secretariat. As new immigrants, they are still exempt from having to pay the arnona municipal tax. Aharon doesn’t look upset when he hears that his trailer sits on private land. It doesn’t really interest him. “I don’t care what the state says, the Torah says that the entire Land of Israel is ours.” …snip…

2. marisacat - 1 February 2009

On that stimulus thing…

Putting aside Bizarro economics, for now, and my wholesale rejection of same, there is one way we can stimulate the economy with a mighty injection of cash into the hands of one and all. No, not another government subsidy, but the cutting of the single largest federal expenditure down to a manageable size: the U.S. military budget.

Larger than all the other “defense” budgets in the world combined, this unimaginable sum is not even known, for sure, but of one thing we can be certain: the hidden costs are much more than anyone suspects. Covert “black operations” are run on an off-the-books budget that we peons are not entitled to see. …

Raimondo Anti War

3. marisacat - 1 February 2009

If ONLY someone would drain the swamp. Via Politico email:


‘I know Tom Daschle. I know his character. And I look forward to his confirmation.’

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

Barney Frank and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, are pretty effectively beating up on Jim DeMint on This Week.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

2- Frank tried to bring up the military strain on the budget, and Stephie slapped him right now … “no, that’s ANOTHER topic”.

6. marisacat - 1 February 2009

This Week just coming on here…………… first 5 mins.

7. marisacat - 1 February 2009

Well Stephie is all but wedded to Papa Obama. With the pure white mitre…

8. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

David E’s Fablog – Fait Diver: The Miracle of Birth

And apparently she didn’t want to have sex either. For not onl(y) is there no husband, there’s no boyfriend. Just anonymous sperm donors. It’s Brave New World on crack!

9. marisacat - 1 February 2009

There was a husband… but he is father to none. The g-mother says she used the same sperm donor for all 14 or however many guppies she has.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009
11. marisacat - 1 February 2009

They’ll just up the hidden money. No way they will cut the MIC.

12. ms_xeno - 1 February 2009

Mentioned earlier this week that I might be going to check out JWJ’s local “town meeting” about the economy. Well, two things I’ll say now that it’s over: Some of the speeches were pretty good, and I was relieved to find relatively few homages to His Lordship The Prez.

They were accepting canned food donations in lieu of monetary donations, and it looked like they picked up a decent amount of food.

I see a lot of well-meaning and thoughtful people at these things, and when they go on and on about lobbying Salem so some weasel like Wyden might go for single-payer rather than that shit plan they have Mass., well…

I still think all their eggs are in wrong basket. But at least it was an excuse to get out of the house without spending money for a few hours. (Apart from what I paid for the food donations.) Hell, maybe that’s the real reason turnout was so large. Who the hell can afford to do anything that costs money ?

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

In Some States, Fetuses Are Deemed More Important Than Women

Claims of the need for fetal protection have been and will continue to be used to control and punish pregnant women, not protect them. Fetus-centered homicide laws are, at root, fetal protection laws. They simply are not designed to protect and support the woman who carries the fetus. I return to Marguerite Driessen for help in explaining the nature of what is at stake. She writes:

That the mother and her unborn child are inseparably connected, that what affects the former affects the latter, and that access to the latter is accomplished only through the former, is obvious. These facts have led some to conclude that this creates an utter dependency of the unborn child upon its mother such that the mother has a duty to do all in her power to nourish and protect it. These same facts have led others to conclude that the unborn child is not a severable entity at all, but rather is a part of the mother, and thus she can have no externally imposed obligations to the unborn child.

Arrests and prosecutions of women for continuing their pregnancy to term despite their use of illicit drugs, court orders, and civil commitments are examples of state-sanctioned efforts to externally impose such obligations. These efforts are rooted in our beliefs about who is fit to reproduce and what a ‘good mother’ looks like (see chapters 7 and 8). These measures, purportedly undertaken in the interest of fetal and child health, result in ‘the normalization or standardization of motherhood. Only those who meet the state-enforced standard are permitted to reproduce without state interference.’

These cases also serve a larger political purpose by distracting attention from significant social problems such as our lack of universal health care, the dearth of policies to support pregnant and parenting women, an absence of social supports for children, and the overall failure of the drug war. Instead, we focus our attention on “bad” pregnant women who are poor and who use drugs. We expect them to provide their fetuses with the health care and safety that they themselves have not been guaranteed.

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009
15. marisacat - 1 February 2009

ms x… that reminds me of the conf calls I used to listen in on fro the Progressive States Network… if you get the emails they sometimes send along a number and you can dial in, just to listen. It convinced me that at the state level, they have long felt stifled. Strong opinions about the war, health care, other things. But Federal Government is largely disinterested.

In a sense, in a vague sense it gives me hope. Maybe no time soon… tho hard to say. The Feds just crush things at the state and city level, constantly elevate people in both parties that assist in the crushing.

But, who knows. We are some sort of greased rails here… perhaps something breaks.

16. catnip - 1 February 2009

Dolphins are capable sea chefs, scientists say

CANBERRA – Dolphins are the chefs of the seas, having been seen going through precise and elaborate preparations to rid cuttlefish of ink and bone to produce a soft meal of calamari, Australian scientists say.

A wild female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin was observed going through the same series of complicated steps to prepare cuttlefish prey for eating in the Spencer Gulf, in South Australia state.

“It’s a sign of how well their brains are developed. It’s a pretty clever way to get pure calamari without all the horrible bits,” Mark Norman, the curator of mollusks at Museum Victoria and a research team member, told the Canberra Times newspaper.

Stay tuned for the new dolphin cookbook coming out later this year.

A separate 2005 study provided the first sign dolphins may be capable of group learning and using tools, with a mother seen teaching her daughters to break off sea sponges and wear them as protection while scouring the seafloor in Western Australia.

Okay. Now it’s obvious that they’re plotting to take over the world – with the help of SpongeBob, no less. Next thing you know, they’ll be armed with chainsaws.

17. marisacat - 1 February 2009

they can prepare calamari for me any time….


18. catnip - 1 February 2009

Interesting forums on the teevee today. CNN had Christianne and various foreign ministers – France, Iran, Iraq, Kenya etc.

BBC has an economic forum with Roubini, Laura Tyler (? from Berkeley) who just got her butt kicked by the very hip looking Swedish finance minister, some AIG VP who’s claiming personal innocence, the prez of Guyana who basically said who’s the banana republic now?. BBC might have the video of that one on their site. I’m watching it now but heading out to a farmer’s market shortly.

19. catnip - 1 February 2009

Laura Tyson.

20. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009
21. marisacat - 1 February 2009

Laura d’Andrea Tyson. The actual real GF thru and before the Monica business.

22. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

Barney Frank: The largest spending bill in history is going to turn out to be the war in Iraq

Video from This Week today.

FRANK: Well, yes, I do want — I want highways. I want better medical care for people laid off. This notion — and the one thing I would most disagree with is you say we overregulated. It was the complete absence of regulation in the financial area that led to the crisis we’re in today.

DEMINT: It was bad policy.

FRANK: Jim, can I please?

DEMINT: OK, sure.

FRANK: The policy was, yes, to put no restrictions on people outside the banking system who are extending themselves in the financial area into instruments which they couldn’t back up. It was even within the banking system, letting people go with things that were off the balance sheet.

The complete absence of regulation in the financial area has, I think, been a disaster. And I think we’re back to where we were when Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson stepped in or Franklin Roosevelt.

But beyond that, the notion that everything is solved by a tax cut, of course there are sensible tax policies you could have. But there are public needs we have in this society…


FRANK: … that cannot be accomplished by a tax cut. No tax cut builds a road. No tax cut puts a cop on the street. No tax cut educates a child in — in the way that it ought to be done.

So this — only tax cuts, at a time when I think we have a deficiency in some areas that are important for the quality of our life is a big disagreement.

DEMINT: But, George, we — we have programs. I mean, we’re reauthorizing our highway bill this year.

FRANK: At too low a level.

DEMINT: And — well — well, let’s talk about making it a higher level, but let’s don’t say it’s a stimulus when it’s a government spending plan. And all of these things, the needs in our society, education, these are things we debate every year.

FRANK: Spending can be stimulus. I don’t understand what you think stimulus is.


DEMINT: But this is the largest spending bill in history, and we’re trying to call it a stimulus when it’s just doing the things that…

FRANK: Well, let me tell you what I think is the largest…

DEMINT: … you wanted to do anyway.

FRANK: The largest spending bill in history is going to turn out to be the war in Iraq. And one of the things, if we’re going to talk about spending, I don’t — I have a problem when we leave out that extraordinarily expensive, damaging war in Iraq, which has caused much more harm than good, in my judgment.

And I don’t understand why, from some of my conservative friends, building a road, building a school, helping somebody get health care, that’s — that’s wasteful spending, but that war in Iraq, which is going to cost us over $1 trillion before we’re through — yes, I wish we hadn’t have done that. We’d have been in a lot better shape fiscally.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is a whole another show, so I’m going to…


FRANK: That’s the problem. The problem is that we look at spending and say, “Oh, don’t spend on highways. Don’t spend on health care. But let’s build Cold War weapons to defeat the Soviet Union when we don’t need them. Let’s have hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars going to the military without a check.” Unless everything’s on the table, then you’re going to have a disproportionate hit in some places.

23. marisacat - 1 February 2009

well………………grateful as I am for any little thing…god forbid that Frank should speak of expansion of war. Or drones going operational under Elected Jesus. which is not to say Ob did not promise jsut as he has done.

We get smatterings… nothing more.

24. marisacat - 1 February 2009

well Evan Thomas just floated a nasty little wavelet. The stimulus bill is a bad bill (hard to disagree, even tho I don’t care) but there is a good chance ObRama is packing in all sorts of “stuff” for so called right and left to pick up chits for later. When he turns to SS and Medicare.

Vote now, lose later. Don’t vote now, still lose.

Mug’s game. No matter what we are shat upon.


25. CSTAR - 1 February 2009

Re # 14. That’s incorrectly attributed to Google StreetView. It was accidently released from a proprietary project; Google FutureView… which brings images from the future.

26. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

25 – CSTAR, is that from the time after the Robot Overlords attacked, or merely from the 2010 campaign season after the food riots?

27. marisacat - 1 February 2009

I am going with this one (jumping in here… 🙄 )

from the 2010 campaign season after the food riots?

28. marisacat - 1 February 2009

Emailer just popped me this.. Greenwald on The Daschles… (easy, one screen ad)

But there’s no need to withhold judgment on Daschle himself. He embodies everything that is sleazy, sickly, and soul-less about Washington. It’s probably impossible for Obama to fill his cabinet with individuals entirely free of Beltway filth — it’s extremely rare to get anywhere near that system without being infected by it — but Daschle oozes Beltway slime from every pore. …snip…

And like so many DC shits, FOB. Friend of Obster.

29. catnip - 1 February 2009

Laura d’Andrea Tyson. The actual real GF thru and before the Monica business.

Aha. I was wondering where I’d heard her name before.

Had a good time at the farmer’s market. I’ve been on the hunt for 30 years to find this certain type of cheese I used to buy as a teenager. For some reason, the name “norkolost” stuck in my head. I described to the cheese merchant there and he let me try some spiced gouda and Voila! that was it. That was one LONG search! 🙂

30. marisacat - 1 February 2009

yes and head of the Council of Economic Advisors.. iirc.

31. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

oh, that Clinton talent pool, so shallow, stagnant and full of scum.

32. marisacat - 1 February 2009

Somehow I fell into half time… and all I can say is, Are we electing the Steelers? (Springsteen is up)

33. bayprairie - 1 February 2009

wins the election

34. bayprairie - 1 February 2009

haha.. should read

the blackguard wins the election

35. CSTAR - 1 February 2009

From Haaretz

Israeli envoy to Australia: Gaza op a ‘pre-introduction’ to attack on Iran

Though the article itself is a little more ambiguous about the meaning of pre-introduction

The Gaza operation was merely a “pre-introduction” to the challenge Israel would face from Iran, which will become a nuclear power within a year, the Israeli ambassador to Australia said Sunday.

it is unsettling.

Should we expect some firm words from Mr Obama? Not likely, particularly if he’s hanging around the likes of Chuck “text-message-we’re-going-to-bomb-you” Schumer

36. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

within a year?!?!


37. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 February 2009

The headline on this is really odd:

SWAT teams deployed in 911 fraud

Doug Bates and his wife, Stacey, were in bed around 10 p.m., their 2-year-old daughters asleep in a nearby room. Suddenly they were shaken awake by the wail of police sirens and the rumble of a helicopter above their suburban Southern California home. A criminal must be on the loose, they thought.

Doug Bates got up to lock the doors and grabbed a knife. A beam from a flashlight hit him. He peeked into the backyard. A swarm of police, assault rifles drawn, ordered him out of the house. Bates emerged, frightened and with the knife in his hand, as his wife frantically dialed 911. They were handcuffed and ordered to the ground while officers stormed the house.

The scene of mayhem and carnage the officers expected was nowhere to be found. Neither the Bateses nor the officers knew that they were pawns in a dangerous game being played 1,200 miles away by a teenager bent on terrifying a random family of strangers.

They were victims of a new kind of telephone fraud that exploits a weakness in the way the 911 system handles calls from Internet-based phone services. The attacks — called “swatting” because armed police SWAT teams usually respond — are virtually unstoppable, and an Associated Press investigation found that budget-strapped 911 centers are essentially defenseless without an overhaul of their computer systems.

The AP examined hundreds of pages of court documents and law-enforcement transcripts, listened to audio of “swatting” calls, and interviewed two dozen security experts, investigators, defense lawyers, victims and perpetrators.

While Doug and Stacey Bates were cuffed on the ground that night in March 2007, 18-year-old Randal Ellis, living with his parents in Mukilteo, Wash., was nearly finished with the 27-minute yarn about a drug-fueled murder that brought the Orange County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team to the Bateses’ home.

In a grisly sounding call to 911, Ellis was putting an Internet-based phone service for the hearing-impaired to nefarious use. By entering bogus information about his location, Ellis was able to make it seem to the 911 operator as if he was calling from inside the Bateses’ home. He said he was high on drugs and had just shot his sister.

No one wants to bring up the idea that sending heavily-armed paramilitaries into private homes might be a bad idea?

38. CSTAR - 1 February 2009

The Israeli state apparatus is plunging into a vortex of delusion.

39. catnip - 1 February 2009
40. marisacat - 1 February 2009

madman out of moderation, sorry! 😳

Well for weeks I hear on the shows and from the various political talking heads that Iran will have The Bomb within a year.

Seems to be the mantra. Little push back, some.

I don’t see Obama being able to say no to much.

I heard a rather swift dissection of Lilly Ledbetter bill today as well. Political maneuvering so he can not bother with card check (about which I know little, but the meulings for months, the undertone was that it was not to be) and another bill about fair pay that I had nto heard about, that would require a governmental tier system for jobs, in the furtherance of equalising work/pay… Krauthammer today called it the “ultimate feminist ploy”… anyway, Ledbetter going thru gives ObRama political cover to not do anything about card check and the other (according to Krauthammer and Evan Thomas, Totenberg and Colbert King simply stayed silent), which did not have any easy nick name.

Not one Krauthammer would give up on TV broadcast anyone. I can guess tho.

41. marisacat - 1 February 2009


Along the the idea of that last thought, sending weaponised, over wrought, tactical response into homes… I heard today that Christopher Dickey, of all people, who writes on the Mid East and iirc lives in Paris… has a damn dumb book out (I don’t have to even see it, just their history kills it as a smart idea) that the NYC police are the Greatest Anti Terror Force on Earth.

So we are stuck with disproportionate response. Esp now that ICE, DEA Homeland Security and other entities are aligned.. and that even domestic abuse is classified as “domestic terror”… out here it is. I am not arguing with the seriousness of brutal homes, but frankly the cops don’t care about that.

42. catnip - 1 February 2009

I see Obamalama’s getting global blowback now about that protectionist clause in his stimulus bill. Major world blunder right out of the gates. Whoops.

43. marisacat - 1 February 2009

Yeah that (Buy American!) was destined to set off real bombs, of a sort.

Well Talley Ho! And they are off!

Popcorn! Butter! Salt!

44. wu ming - 1 February 2009

the gummint here in taiwan is just bribing people openly now with red envelopes full of “consumer vouchers” passed out for the new year holiday to citizens, in the name of economic stimulus. street vendors say that there’s some deflationary pressure on prices, but it doesn’t seem to have really hurt too many people here yet.

45. marisacat - 1 February 2009

well I suppose inevitably various countries will be hit differently. France is delighted to tell us they are less stressed as they have a better social safety net… and they are right, obviously……………………

I read in the UK papers that Brown wants to massively invest in building “council houses” the subsidised housing there, for all sorts of reasons, from stimulus via construction to sheer increase in cheap housing. Imagine if something like that were proposed here.

I have no idea where America will be in a year.

46. marisacat - 1 February 2009

NYT: Welfare Aid Not Growing as Economy Drops Off

They can always jigger the numbers to suit themselves.

[B]ut critics argue that years of pressure to cut the welfare rolls has left an obstacle-ridden program that chases off the poor, even when times are difficult.

Even some of the program’s staunchest defenders are alarmed.

“There is ample reason to be concerned here,” said Ron Haskins, a former Republican Congressional aide who helped write the 1996 law overhauling the welfare system. “The overall structure is not working the way it was designed to work. We would expect, just on the face it, that when a deep recession happens, people could go back on welfare.”

“When we started this, Democratic and Republican governors alike said, ‘We know what’s best for our state; we’re not going to let people starve,’ ” said Mr. Haskins, who is now a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “And now that the chips are down, and unemployment is going up, most states are not doing enough to help families get back on the rolls.” …snippedtodeath…

47. marisacat - 2 February 2009

And yet another telling of the loophole.

[I]n his first few days in office, Mr Obama was lauded for rejecting policies of the George W Bush era, but it has emerged the CIA still has the authority to carry out renditions in which suspects are picked up and often sent to a third country for questioning.

Section 2 (g) of the order, appears to allow the US authorities to continue detaining and interrogating terror suspects as long as it does not hold them for long periods. It reads: “The terms “detention facilities” and “detention facility” in section 4(a) of this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.”

The revelation will cause anger in Europe, where several cases of abuse or mistaken identity were revealed during the Bush administration. …snip…

AND it helpfully reminds it started under Bill C.

48. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Louisville Courier-Journal

[I]n Kentucky’s Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees. He said roads are littered with fallen trees and people shivering in bone-chilling cold are in need.

“We’ve got people out in some areas we haven’t even visited yet,” Smith said. “We don’t even know that they’re alive.”

Smith said FEMA was still a no-show days after the storm.

“I’m not saying we can’t handle it,” Smith said. “We’re handling it. But it sure would have made life a lot easier.”

FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said some agency workers had begun working Friday in Kentucky and more help was on the way. Hudak said FEMA also has shipped 50 to 100 generators to the state to supply electricity to such facilities as hospitals, nursing homes and water treatment plants.

“We have plenty of folks ready to go, but there are some limitations with roads closed and icy conditions,” she noted. …snip…

49. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

China’s labor unrest worse than suspected

[A] growing number of economists say the unrest proves that it is not the exchange rate but years of sweatshop wages and income inequality in China that have distorted global competition and stifled domestic demand. The influential Far Eastern Economic Review headlined its latest issue “The coming crack-up of the China Model”.

Yasheng Huang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said corruption and a deeply flawed model of economic reform had led to a collapse in personal income growth and a wealth gap that could leave China looking like a Latin American economy.

Richard Duncan, a partner at Blackhorse Asset Management in Singapore, has argued that the only way to create consumers is to raise wages to a legal minimum of $5 (£3.50) a day across Asia – a “trickle up” theory.

The instability may peak when millions of migrant workers flood back from celebrating the Chinese new year to find they no longer have jobs. That spells political trouble and there are already signs that the government’s $585 billion stimulus package will not be enough to achieve its goal of 8% growth this year…

A legal advocate for migrant workers, Xiao Qingshan, told a tale of violent intimidation by the state in collusion with unscrupulous businessmen.

On January 9, Xiao said, 14 security officers from the local labour bureau broke into his office, confiscated 600 legal case files, 160 law books, his computer, his photocopier, his television set and 100,000 yuan in cash.

50. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

Judges jailed for taking bribes from private juvie prisons to send kids to jail

First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.

Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.

In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.

One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left “both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized,” center lawyers said.

Have a good day everybody.

51. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Re-retread….and FOO

February 02, 2009
Categories: Transition

Froman to the White House

Michael Froman, a former aide to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and close friend of President Barack Obama from Harvard Law School, has begun work at the White House as a key hand on the international financial crisis.

Froman is a deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs; his White House office this morning said he’s already overseas.

Froman, along with incoming Federal Communication Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, was a law review editor with Obama who became a key behind-the-scenes advisor when the Illinois senator began assembling his campaign in 2006, and important both the fundraising and the policy operations.

Robert Rubin’s chief of staff in the Clinton years, Froman was until quite recently a managing director at Citigroup’s private equity and hedge fund arm, Citi Alternative Investments, where he was head of infrastructure and sustainable development.

52. marisacat - 2 February 2009

“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” – Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

Actually I am for thumb screws in the public square when it is electeds (if even once in the past, they all revolve back in somewhere) screwing the system.

53. CSTAR - 2 February 2009

52. Thomas, you are to go to the blackboard and write 1000 times

“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ”

54. CSTAR - 2 February 2009

Make that 100000 times.

55. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Via The Politico email:

AFP, ‘Obama’s stimulus plan heads for stormy Senate debate,’ By Jitendra Joshi:

‘Republican leaders in the 100-member Senate said they would use parliamentary tactics to stall the stimulus without a [fundamental] review of its mix of tax cuts and spending. ‘In the Senate, it routinely takes 60 votes to do almost everything. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re trying to slow a bill down,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on CBS program ‘Face the Nation.’ ‘But a super-majority is required for virtually everything in the Senate, and certainly for something that is close to a one trillion dollar spending bill, it will.’ … Jon Kyl, the Republicans’ second-ranking senator, called for Obama and his Senate allies to ‘start from scratch’ on the stimulus bill. ‘I think the more people around the country see of it, the angrier they get, because it’s very wasteful,’ the Arizonan said on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ warning that support in the Senate was ‘eroding.’

All they have to do is keep leaking, in whatever manner they wish, items from the stimulus bill. I gather Hasselbeck on The View is moaning over 500 mil for Smart cars for government. But I heard last night building a whole, new, additional Homeland Security bldg is in the package. And of course furnishings.


And i just read it is more and more sure that Gregg will be replaced with a R… so the D Governor of NH can burnish HIS “bi partisan cred”.

Good lord. Hand the thieving loons, only loonier than the thieving Democrats, a fillibuster reality.

56. CSTAR - 2 February 2009

They may need to hire Robert Mugabe as a consultant.

57. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

AP Reports Macy’s to Cut 7,000 Jobs — or 4 Percent of its Work Force [1:23 p.m. ET]

58. catnip - 2 February 2009

Daschle has apologized and Gibbs says “nobody’s perfect” so I expect all of you to drop this now.


59. CSTAR - 2 February 2009

Re 58, Catnip, do I have to apologize for my comments too?

60. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Think I read in Politco that Baucus is Daschle’s worst problem. Supposedly he is slowing things down…

Apparently they hate each other. The report used “hate”…

Screw them all!


61. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Should be entertaining, via Ambinder.

02 Feb 2009 02:09 pm

Obama To Roundrobin With Networks Tomorrow

The President’s about to enlist the public in the fight to pass the stimulus package.

He’s giving interviews tomorrow to network anchors.

62. catnip - 2 February 2009

60. Catnip, do I have to apologize for my comments too?

Not at all. In the true spirit of Obamaism, one must never look back (as in not prosecuting Bushco for war crimes), one must always look forward (and live happily ever after in denial).


63. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Gibbs (Nancy) in TIME. A pretty scary piece actually. I notice he looks fatigued as well (she calls him “passive”). Maybe make-up would help.

But I can’t help but wonder at the gap between the aggressively sensible things Obama is saying and the passive way that he is acting. And you get a sense that a lot of people in the audience, the experts and economists as well as the worried working classes, are starting to wonder as well.

64. catnip - 2 February 2009

63. If she’d been paying attention, she would have seen that Obama’s weakness was his biggest vulnerability. Of course, no one wanted to believe that Obama was anything but strength. The passivity comes from insecurity. Psychology 101 – when someone shows arrogant confidence it’s obvious they’re covering insecurity. (Either that or they’re borderline or a sociopath like Bush).

65. NYCO - 2 February 2009

I got an e-mail from the preznit telling me to host an Economic Recovery House Party Meeting so we can watch a video starring “Governor Tim Kaine” – who is not from my state – and apparently I’m supposed to know what state he’s governor of (I do, of course, but just in case I didn’t, I would have had no idea).

Now I have to buy chips and dip for all these houseguests. Some economic recovery.

66. marisacat - 2 February 2009

LOL via Hannity via the schauzers at the Corner… but hey a quote from ’97

“We have the lowest tax rate of any industrialized country in the world,” Daschle replied. “That tax rate has, in large measure, been the subject of a great deal of debate about fairness for a long period of time. We have a great disparity between the richest and poorest in this country. Our view is that we’ve got to make the tax system more fair. But certainly I don’t think that many people are overtaxed.”

67. marisacat - 2 February 2009


LOL has anyone ever put on a non alcoholic (and I do think politics 101, 201 and ed 2.0 goes better with ALCOHOL), smallish, get together for under 25 – 50 dollars? At the minimum…

Stimulate baby!

68. marisacat - 2 February 2009

Well she has a line in there (speaking of Gibbs in TIME) near the open that we “know the size of his head” now we learn the “size of his herd”.

I don’t think the media missed his “cockiness” was the word used quite a few times. Even as they ran interference for him, purposefully did not report his down sides… and still do… 8)

Not that it mattered. He was the face that got hired. For good and ill.

One reason I stayed 50 miles from the his election, except to bitch and moan at the whole thing.

Ugh. Double ugh.

69. marisacat - 2 February 2009

What is left! we are rent asunder!

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Kellogg Recalls Some Keebler Cookies and Special K Bars on Salmonella Fears [4:35 p.m. ET]

70. catnip - 2 February 2009

65. Now I have to buy chips and dip for all these houseguests. Some economic recovery.

Chips & dip? And what’s your address again? 😉

71. catnip - 2 February 2009

68. I guess I should actually read the article. 🙂

You mentioned The View. Did you catch the part today (the only part I saw) with Elizabeth shrieking in defence of Palin? I swear one of these days Joy Bahar is just going to smack her upside the head (speaking of how the media treats the politicos).

72. catnip - 2 February 2009

Before I forget – Happy Groundhog Day. 6 more weeks of winter. Stock up on toques.

73. Intermittent Bystander - 2 February 2009

Possibly Al-Qaeda-trained Rodent Bites Bloomberg!

Terrorist-coddling “cell” spokesperson attempts to defend inmate’s violent act:

He was probably nervous. There was a lot of activity outside, and he was probably nervous. He was basically concentrating on his food. The mayor’s fingers may have just been there. He wasn’t necessarily going for the mayor.

74. catnip - 2 February 2009

73. If Bloomberg woke me up, I’d probably bite him too.

75. Intermittent Bystander - 2 February 2009

74 – Kinda looks like workplace harrassment, too . . . that Bloomie’s got quite the Russian fingers and Roman hands!


The comments are 100% “Go Chuck!” so far.

76. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

51 – I wonder if he’s related to the Sausage King of Chicago?

77. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

69 – Kellogg Recalls Some Keebler Cookies

Damned elves taking shits in the batter again?

Speaking of shits:

Abuse Scandal Plagues Hasidic Jews In Brooklyn

“He motioned for me to get on his lap, and as soon as I got on the chair, he would swivel the chair from right to left, continuously,” Engelman says. “Then he would start touching me while talking to me. He would start at my shoulders and work his way down to my genitals.”

Engelman says this occurred twice a week for two months. He told no one for more than a decade. Reichman was, after all, a revered rabbi. Four years ago, he told his parents. And a year ago, when he heard that Reichman had allegedly abused several other boys, they confronted Reichman. When the school heard about it, they gave the rabbi a polygraph.

“He failed miserably,” Engelman says. “So they told me, ‘This guy is gone. This guy has to go.’ ”

But a few weeks later, a religious leader from the school approached Engelman’s mother, Pearl. He posed an astonishing question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad was the molestation?

She was speechless. Then she says, the man continued, ” ‘We found out there was no skin-to-skin contact, that it was through clothing.’ So he’s telling me, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, this was maybe a 2 or a 3, so what’s the big fuss?’ ”

The school hired Reichman back. That was in July 2008 — one week after Joel Engelmen turned 23 and could no longer bring a criminal or civil case against the rabbi.

78. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

Justice Rehires Attorney Fired Amid Gay Rumor

NPR first broke the story of Leslie Hagen’s dismissal last April, and the Justice Department’s inspector general later corroborated the report. Now, Hagen has returned to her post at the department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.

In 2006, Hagen was the liaison between the main Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys’ committee on Native American affairs. The chairman of that committee, Tom Heffelfinger, described Hagen to NPR last year as “the best qualified person in the nation to fill that job.” Hagen’s performance evaluations had the highest possible ratings — “outstanding” in each of five categories.

The job came up for renewal every year. After the first year, Hagen was surprised to hear that she would have to move on.

As NPR reported in April, a top aide to the attorney general had heard a rumor that Hagen was a lesbian. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is against Justice Department rules. But Monica Goodling, senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, had Hagen removed from her job anyway.

That was more than a year ago. The inspector general eventually confirmed the NPR report and added new details, saying Goodling not only ousted Hagen but also blocked Hagen from getting other Justice Department jobs she was qualified for.

Last year, the Justice Department posted Hagen’s old job again. The department conducted a national search. Applications came in from around the country. After several rounds of interviews, Hagen eventually won the job.

The paperwork makes it official as of Monday, Feb. 2. Hagen now has her old position back, but this time it’s a little different. Her contract no longer comes up for renewal every year. Now, the job is permanent.

It is not a perfectly happy ending for Hagen. Nobody official from the department ever apologized to her for what happened. She still owes thousands of dollars in attorney fees, and the Justice Department has refused to pay those bills.

79. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009
80. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009
81. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

RFLMAO: Why hasn’t President Obama used his huge email list for message control before the stimulus debate started?

oh my, could the little lap-blahgers be getting it?

Much was made of President Obama’s massive email/Internet list that he collected on the way to a huge presidential victory in November. Many said in the political world that this would be a great tool for him to use the grassroots and the WEB to help him continue his extraordinary run and to push through his policies after the disastrous Bush years. Well, Obama has based much of the success of his Presidency on the economic stimulus plan that he’s trying to get passed through Congress with his big bipartisan outreach plan to Republicans.

So far Republicans in the House have spit in his face as usual and not one member of the Republican HOUSE voted for Obama’s plan. Like rats running back to their sewers after making pit stops made of cheese on cable TV, I say again, Not One Republican in the House voted with him. And after he went to Capital Hill himself to reach out his hand to show a real commitment to his bipartisan stance during the campaign.

I have a question for the Obama staff. Why was the Democratic Party so miserable in trying to explain your stimulus plan to the American people when the mass media finally gave them some air time? Why did you let the messaging get away from you? Why wasn’t this LIST immediately implemented to take the lead on the messaging of his economic plan? Don’t you think it’s a little late to remember that this LIST existed?





82. marisacat - 2 February 2009

sorry Madman… two of yours made it to freedom… 😉

The Reichman story is awful!

83. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

Isn’t that horrible? And I never thought I would type this, but Dov Hikind actually came down on the right side of an issue, winger nutball that he is.

Just found this scary link: Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision

CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn’t convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Obama’s decision to override Petraeus’s recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however. There are indications that Petraeus and his allies in the military and the Pentagon, including Gen. Ray Odierno, now the top commander in Iraq, have already begun to try to pressure Obama to change his withdrawal policy.

A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, “Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama.”

Petraeus, Gates and Odierno had hoped to sell Obama on a plan that they formulated in the final months of the Bush administration that aimed at getting around a key provision of the U.S.-Iraqi withdrawal agreement signed envisioned re-categorising large numbers of combat troops as support troops. That subterfuge was by the United States last November while ostensibly allowing Obama to deliver on his campaign promise.

If this is true, he needs to fire at least one of them, very publically.

84. catnip - 2 February 2009

79. Camp Lei Nude Obama Unicorn Hawaiian Volcano Art Lacey

I find that painting disturbing.

85. catnip - 2 February 2009

ooops…html malfunction in aisle 83

86. catnip - 2 February 2009


Like rats running back to their sewers after making pit stops made of cheese on cable TV,

I find that writing disturbing too.

87. marisacat - 2 February 2009

One of yours out of Moderation Madman… 8)


Petraeus, Gates and Odierno had hoped to sell Obama on a plan that they formulated in the final months of the Bush administration that aimed at getting around a key provision of the U.S.-Iraqi withdrawal agreement signed envisioned re-categorising large numbers of combat troops as support troops.

IIRC, via reporting at BAR a year (or more) ago… that plan was not the last few months.

But agree, he needs to fire SOMEBODY. They ganged up on him, if the report is true… I’d go with BOTH Petraeus and Odierno. Sy Hersh basically called Odierno all but a crazed killer. Real relish for killing under him.

88. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

I find this whole country disturbing, and what passes for “debate”.

Inflamed crowds of Icelanders who lost everything in the economic crash helped bring that nation’s government down last week. There has been major civil unrest in Greece and Latvia, with the same expected in other recession-wracked European nations. There is serious talk now that Great Britain – Great Britain! – could go bankrupt.

And what of us?

Don’t sneer at or underestimate the anger of Blue Collar Guy. We in the news media rarely see him, much less sympathize with him. But he knows what’s going on. He knows he’s not too big to fail. He knows where he stands in the eyes of power elites – and he’s figuring out where he’s got to take his stand when the time comes.

Oh, yeah … he’s armed. Gun sales have gone through the roof since the election.

If Obama fails, the corruption of the institutions of government, finance and even of culture – conditions he inherited from predecessors in both parties – will call up a predictable and quite possibly furious response. History shows that convulsive change – from the Protestant Reformation to the Russian Revolution – often comes when power elites are oblivious to both the effects of their behavior on the masses and their own vulnerability.

Embrace it or fight it as you will, but only entitlement-crazed Wall Street financiers and bubble-headed Hollywood flower children should be surprised by it. I pledge not to need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

89. marisacat - 2 February 2009


that does sound more than a little pissed.

I think R put a mark on his presidency, meant to and did it early. Meanwhile he looks sleepy. And the campaign people, now his WH staff (too man of them) and liaison to OFA and DNC (whihc Ob and Oblings took over months ago) look very very sleepy.

And there is a report that Harkin has agreed to take out the anti smoking (ad) money. Oh! we are so graced with his favor!

Such fucking shits.

90. catnip - 2 February 2009

News: The senate confirmed Holder and Obamalama definitely wants Gregg as his commerce sec.

As for the Iraq war, O will just claim that he listened to his generals and gave them their way (cuz you just know he’ll cave on that issue too).

91. marisacat - 2 February 2009

vis The Page

The president is expected to formally nominate the GOP Senator for Commerce Secretary in the White House Grand Foyer at 11 am ET.

Politico: New Hampshire Gov. Lynch is expected to attend, ensuring Gregg’s seat won’t switch to the Democrats before the 2010 elections.

92. marisacat - 2 February 2009

hmm I see a report in the “test” obama ethics reform campaign rhetoric faces as he governs (or as Sully says “presides”) rides at the top at the NYT. http://www.nytimes.com/

We are so blessed. That scheisse came from his senate flacks as well. Kerry Biden and McCaskill. They all blabbed that this wunderkind came to DC and ”taught us all ethics”. they should choke on those soap bubbles.

Shove them all off the cliff.

93. marisacat - 2 February 2009

oh brother…

local “liberal” talk radio is advocating deporting US citizen children with their illegal parents… that their citizenship is of “lower status”… AND denying them services while they are here. Based on that lower status.

I keep saying that the undercurrent is to devalue US citizenship, make it conditional.

The rant on KGO is based on the cost of caring for those children, who are, again, citizens.

94. marisacat - 2 February 2009

ugh.. real pain in the ass to agree with a schnauzer from The Corner, other than that what a hoot! 🙄 :

The Scott McClellan Law [Victor Davis Hanson]

There is in Washington now the Scott McClellan Iron Law: no prior friendship, service, or connection with the president ever justifies putting a press secretary out there who is both evasive and inept, and who will not improve, no matter how many private assurances of confidence and loyalty for past service the president conveys.

I think Rahm Emanuel will have to intervene soon. Being a tough inside fighter is not the same as being an adept and direct press secretary. That a pleasant-sounding Robert Gibbs is a far better than Scott McClellan is not enough—especially when working for a hope and change immortal rather than a mere president.

02/02 07:28 AM

95. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 February 2009

Michael Phelps Has No Business Apologizing for Taking Bong Hits

Pot Use Doesn’t Discriminate, but Our Pot Laws Do

While society has made some progress on tolerating pot consumption, there are still many laws on the books that cause more harm than the smoking of marijuana. Close to 800,000 people were arrested for marijuana last year, and the vast majority for only possessing small amounts. Harry Levine and Deborah Small put out a report last year that found that between 1998 and 2007, New York City police arrested 374,900 people for low-level, misdemeanor marijuana offenses. That is more than eight times the number of arrests on the same charges for the previous 10-year period (between 1988 and 1997), when 45,300 people were picked up for having small amounts of marijuana.

Researchers also found stark racial disparities in who NYPD officers chose to arrest for marijuana offenses. The report found that 83 percent of those charged in these cases were black or Latino, despite equal marijuana use between whites and nonwhites. The discrepancy, the researchers asserted, is because NYPD officers stopped and frisked blacks and Latinos at a dramatically higher rate.

Once someone is convicted of a drug offense, they can lose college financial aid, food stamps, public housing and, in some cases, even voting rights. Money wasted and lives ruined … and for what?

Phelps Can Continue to be a Role Model

I like Phelps and don’t think his bong hit should hurt him. If he truly wants to be a role model, he can take his comments and platform to the next level. He can say simply, “Yes, that was me smoking marijuana, and the laws that ruin peoples’ lives for using marijuana should be debated and changed.”

96. catnip - 2 February 2009

So what’s the difference, ethically, between a governor trying to sell a senate seat and one who promises Obama that he won’t appoint a Dem if Gregg is commerce secretary? Both are a form of pay for play, afaic. One just involves money.

97. marisacat - 2 February 2009

oh the whole Gregg thing stinks. As does the deal Biden made in DE, too.

98. catnip - 2 February 2009

What happened in DE? I know you’ve mentioned it before but I can’t remember…

99. catnip - 2 February 2009

lol…on the Colbert Report: “How many lesbian prime ministers can the world handle? There’s already Canada’s Stephen Harper.”


100. marisacat - 3 February 2009

Oh sorry…

DE… Biden arranged with the governor to have one of his long time aides, Kaufman, put in the seat… and he is a “place holder”… he will vacate and allow Biden scion to run in 2010… and I would assume win.

I read references that Biden arranged for something similar when boy child wanted teh AG spot, some political finagle… forget now what it was.

The Dems have also kept very quiet that by nominating Napolitano, the hmmm think it is the SoS that ascended (rather than a LT Gov… is R and very conservative, think she is very pro life, woman.

101. marisacat - 3 February 2009


oh what a hoot!

102. catnip - 3 February 2009

100. Whole lot of deal making going on. Keeps the circle closed.

103. marisacat - 3 February 2009

gnu post…


………………. 8) ……………

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