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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….




1. diane - 27 February 2009

…why that rascal………

…cut off the lights….and call the lawwwwwwww………

James Brown from Funky Drummer

2. diane - 27 February 2009

she’s a beaut hon!

but where’s that rascaleous, anonymous, now in hiding bystander, who unleashed her?

3. diane - 27 February 2009

……safe, I hope………….

4. marisacat - 27 February 2009

London Telegraph picked up on the Miramar Beach killings that Madman linked to last thread. Gee… I think I can figure out what happened. the cops seem unable to guess, or unwilling to say… (full text)

Florida man shoots five Chilean students through house window

A man armed with a rifle shot and killed two Chilean students and wounded three others, firing through a window of their house in a Florida beachtown, police said Friday.

Last Updated: 11:49PM GMT 27 Feb 2009

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office was still trying to determine what prompted Dannie Baker, 60, to leave his house in Miramar Beach in northern Florida early Thursday and shoot the victims.

“We don’t know the motives of the attack, we are investigating,” said Tammy Godwin, executive assistant to the sheriff. “There were no indicators, no complaints of bad noise or something.”

She identified the two students who were killed as Nicolas Corp, 23, and Racine Balbontin, 22. The wounded were Sebastian Arizaga, Francisco Cofre and David Bilbao.

Bilbao has been released from the hospital, but the other two were still undergoing treatment Friday.

Godwin said the attack occurred at around 2am Thursday. She said Baker, who is in custody, did not enter the students house but shot at them through a window.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 February 2009

4 – not hard to make an educated guess.

Sure, we’re post racial here in the home of the “free”, land of the “brave” (which explains the creeping and the bathroom window).

The blood and bone this land is built on tells … it permeates everything. I haunts us, poisons us, drives us.

6. marisacat - 27 February 2009

god. headline at Times Online says Brown looks to Ob to lead us out of the recession. And plans to “bond” with him while visiting the US.

No leaders in view…………………

7. diane - 27 February 2009

Love this pic from fairleft’s current fsz diary…(re the diary, …..I sure wish Hillary would step out of the same ol same ol…won’t hold my breath……too wary of dynasties………..but sure would love it…..a female mole, in DC……………..)

Re the Miramar shootings…just my small take, but: just more fodder for the lockdown? Some bizzare things happening, beheadings and canibilism among them, as of late. Despite the fact that there’s always been angry murderous folk ready to pop off at the drop of a straw….things seem to be getting weirder and weirder on the violence front……..

8. marisacat - 27 February 2009

hmm I recall the beheading… the Righties were all bitching that it did not get appropriate screaming coverage… but I missed the cannibalism.

hmmm…. any key words so I can google..?

9. diane - 27 February 2009

…to my recollect a slaying by an immigrant, likely scared to insanity, to add to existant insanity after dealing with their HOMELAND DESPOTS, after arriving in the land of opportunity,…on a bus who started chewing on their victim for lack of a less frightening …oh what the fuck..TERM???? .it was very recent

10. diane - 27 February 2009

…well here’s a link

…bus beheading dined on victim

11. marisacat - 27 February 2009

omigod. I don’t remember THIS one. From the link from diane.

Chinese immigrant in bus beheading dined on victim

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 09:51:00 08/06/2008

Filed Under: Crime, Murder

OTTAWA — A Chinese immigrant who stabbed, gutted and beheaded a fellow passenger on a bus traveling across Canada last week also cannibalized the victim and pocketed his nose, lips and ear, a court heard Tuesday.

Vince Weiguang Li, 40, of Edmonton, faces a second-degree murder charge in the horrific case.

The victim has been identified by friends as Tim McLean, a young man of 22 years who was returning home to Winnipeg from a job as a carnival worker in Edmonton in Western Canada. …

They better check his past. That indicates some level of accomplishment at grisly work.

I’d say, be thankful:

“He doesn’t seem to want to engage in any discourse,” his interim defense lawyer Randy Janis told AFP after meeting with Li to try to convince him to accept legal counsel.

12. marisacat - 27 February 2009

I picked up this link at IOZ… The Cigarette Smoking BLog.

She refers to herself as a conservative but mostly seems (based on a quick perusal on my part, so far) to comment on the curious this or that of the day.. I like the way her mind works. She sort of clamps down and gives it a bit of a vicious or, at the least, off kilter twist

13. diane - 27 February 2009

Marisa (11)

Actually I read it in my hardcopy local press, but that was the first link that popped up…sorry to have brought it up..pretty depressing……….well I hope the conservative smoker’s blog holds some humor…..cause I’m gonna go check it out, as a diehard smoker…although I hope there’s not much “buck up” shit there….

14. marisacat - 27 February 2009

sorry to have brought it up..pretty depressing……

Oh noo … not a problme… I find murder fascinating. I had just thought it was some itinerant simple stab and run.

LOL that kill had CHAPTERS to it…

15. diane - 27 February 2009

well…I like the pic but I saw the word Thatcher……and took leave sans decoder ring purchase …………………perhaps I’ll try back in the daytime……………..

perhaps not

16. BooHooHooMan - 27 February 2009

Jesus, Di, from earlier….
LOL<—- THAT”s the only “superb” I do. And Brief!
It’s a Miracle!

I know I reach for the crude tool all too easily.

I find I am utterly incabable of metering outrage against the
Never Enough Money and Security Agenda with its requisite support for the MIC and Israel in furthering conjoined plans to dominate ALL. And it is just that. Global Domination and subjugation. It’s So very far beyond reasonable “security”, financial acumen justly deployed, or even the haughty exceptionalist talk of “containing” “threats”. The problem is not only that they want to Run the World but they feel they NEED TO, MUST…..The Precious Bodily Fluids Types of the MIC aligned with the Jews. Sorry for turning Fascism or Tyranny of the Majority on its head, yet…
92% approval of Gaza Bombings in Israel ,
ADL Poll: 79% of American Jews Overwhelmingly Back Gaza Operations

I can remember around Kent State, my folks reading us Niemoller’s poem “First They Came…”.

So many years gone by now, we might consider moving Kafka to Non Fiction.

17. marisacat - 27 February 2009

Moyers had an interesting economist.. Robert Johnson, who was an aide or advisor to Proxmire. (So poignant that he died in the middle of this…)


18. BooHooHooMan - 27 February 2009

I am sick of the “Empowerment” talk blabbered BOTH by Ob and that other nothing shit Bobby Jindahl . You are the Change! We want to empower YOU Same shit, really.

It is such an Elite-ass / ass-covering CON.

I have some family members and a few friends really pressed up against it now. I do a type of temp work that is likely to continue to help float the boat here…Between me and mine, we’re just lucky enough, young enough, healthy enough, never went in for “keeping up” only used debt to buy durable goods then pared it back……But as people continue down the official disinformation path: We Want to Empower You! It’s YOUR Money! The money will be there for You! while every money grubbing shyster is ripping the Public and Private Sector alike…. more are likely to come unglued as they recognize the sham and don’t have backup.

More will be inclined to shoot their neighbors to death rather than directing their outrage, if not appropriate rifle fire – at bullshit prattling- and scamming- Elites.

And then there is the domestic violence and muder aspect to this.
So many people hang their identity on their external x,y, or z. Money, Job, Stuff…And they can be crazy as a loon but the job or Gold Card holds them together…

We have entered the Age of Flamethrower Santa. Remember Him?
The Catholic whackjob Engineer? The “Good Catholic” who did in his family on Christmas Eve?


19. BooHooHooMan - 27 February 2009

My own , ORIGINAL backup plan was to rob banks.
Afterall, you can set your own schedule.
Hello!!???? Didn’t get the memo here in Jersey, People?!?

Economic downtown,
surge in Central Jersey bank robberies unrelated,
FBI says

20. marisacat - 27 February 2009

I am expecting a surge in robberies period… in Contra Costa Co, over in the East Bay, hard hit by foreclosure and I assume lay offs… They are laying off over 40 from the DAs office.

Lots of dire talk of only charging felonies.

This has GOT to make the non violent misdemeanor stuff go away. low level drug dealing and buying… adult sex workers.. etc.

21. marisacat - 28 February 2009

Well that assumption of growth was bound to be shot down. Just was. gah… NYT

[T]his is more than a matter of semantics. As the government determines its spending plans, readying another infusion of cash for troubled banks while contemplating an additional bailout for the auto industry, the magnitude of those needs will hinge on the extent of the damage.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com, now places the odds of “a mild depression” at 25 percent, up from 15 percent three months ago. In that view, the unemployment rate would reach 10.5 percent by the end of 2011 — up from 7.6 percent at the end of January — average home prices would fall 20 percent on top of the 27 percent they have plunged already, and losses in the financial system would more than triple, to $3.7 trillion.

Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics, sees a 20 percent chance of “a depressionlike possibility,” up from 15 percent a week ago.

“In the housing market, the financial system and the stock market, we’re already there,” Mr. Sinai said. “It is a depression.”

Yet, in drawing up the budget, the White House assumed the economy would expand by a robust 3.2 percent in 2010, with growth accelerating to 4 percent over the next three years. …

And this…

[E]conomists also criticized as unrealistically hopeful the assumptions by the Federal Reserve as it began so-called stress tests to gauge the health of the nation’s largest banks. In testimony, Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, said that the nation’s unemployment rate would most likely reach 8.8 percent next year.

“That forecast just doesn’t seem realistic,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, “and I don’t think it helps the Fed’s credibility to make these sorts of forecasts right now.” …

22. marisacat - 28 February 2009

From Robert Johnson, who was on with Moyers… link up at # 17

[B]ILL MOYERS: As you look around the world, and see what’s happening, the consequences of our own financial meltdown, what’s the worst case scenario?

ROBERT JOHNSON: The worst case scenario is that the Asians have built a world based on export led growth. Ever since World War II, the United States consumer has been the buyer of last resort. The American consumer is shut down. If the Asians don’t rebuild, based on the power of their own consumers, and they drop their exchange rate, what’s called beggar thy neighbor devaluation, it can put deflationary stress back on the United States and on the European countries.

BILL MOYERS: Deflationary stress meaning?

ROBERT JOHNSON: Lower prices. In other words, if the yen weakens tremendously, the US car companies have an even greater problem competing with Toyota and Nissan. But I think there’s even a more violent possibility.

We have a group of countries in central Europe and Russia. CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States that were in the transition, from the days of communism, and they haven’t become mature industrial market economies.

BILL MOYERS: You mean, the Berlin Wall is down, but they haven’t built up their own–

ROBERT JOHNSON: They were on their way. But this disruption is so violent that we could see their social systems disrupted and shattered as credit is cut off, as banks pull back, as foreign direct investment ceases. And they could go back into turmoil. And the, what you might call architecture of the integrated world, would be shattered. They have a system there. They have this European Union. I think, if it starts to disintegrate, the Germans and the French are going to have to step forward.

So the existing constellation of property rights means the Swiss banks or the Austrian banks experience the default. But if the whole system disintegrates, they’ll have to socialize those losses, just like the Americans are socializing the loss of its mega-banks.

BILL MOYERS: By socializing the losses you mean?

ROBERT JOHNSON: The taxpayers of the respective countries would pay those losses together. So that a German bank may not be the one that created the losses, but they may have to bail out the Austrian banks to keep the whole system functioning.

BILL MOYERS: And then what happens to us? The United States?

ROBERT JOHNSON: Well, if they don’t handle that resolution well, the further weakening of those countries feeds back to weakening in the United States. …

23. marisacat - 28 February 2009

I don’t know much about this sort of thing… but found a humane trap at Amazon, the “Mice Cube”… a three pack, reusable, for under 10.00… Glowing (gah) testimonials.

Not sure but think I have two… I saw a very small one tonight, not a baby, but small… and think what I saw earlier was a bit bigger. Not a mouse expert.. But that means I am outnumbered!

24. marisacat - 28 February 2009

Fisk contra Benedict

25. wu ming - 28 February 2009

i love how the discussion of post-communist eastern europe not having mature markets is totally divorced from the decade or two of neoliberal vultures utterly gutting those countries’ economies and social services.

and of course he also misses the scenario where the asian economies decide to transition out of their export-orientation, build up their domestic consumer bases, and allow the dollar to devalue against their currencies, and the US has problems importing oil because the dollar’s in weimar land.

26. wu ming - 28 February 2009

not that that’s assured, but it’s as scary as asia devaluing their currencies to export more stuff to bankrupt american consumers.

27. marisacat - 28 February 2009

LOL not to worry… Bob Johnson says he is more cheery this week as he thinks Obster has it in hand. Somethng in hand. I would nto venture to say what.

… we will always have Ob and HIS teachings…. left i on the news dissected very well this hideous passage.

Transparency man, full of hope and change, manages a full redressing of the Neocon and the Neo liberal. For which no doubt there was applause at Camp Lejeune. I think we should just live by presidential speech. So much easier. Contains all we need.

“I want to take a moment to speak directly to the people of Iraq.

Our nations have known difficult times together. But ours is a bond forged by shared bloodshed, and countless friendships among our people. We Americans have offered our most precious resource – our young men and women – to work with you to rebuild what was destroyed by despotism; to root out our common enemies; and to seek peace and prosperity for our children and grandchildren, and for yours.”

“We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

“We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military, and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars.”

28. marisacat - 28 February 2009

In other news seems the eight legged girl in Santa Monica had done it before. just never when the caretakers were not around.

29. NYCO - 28 February 2009

Octopi are charming creatures. Their Wikipedia article notes that they have been given “honorary vertebrate status” by some countries, which restricts their use in animal research (in some countries you can’t do experiments on them without giving them pain medication). Alas, the article also notes their very short natural lifespans. They die after breeding.

There is some thought that they are not “born intelligent” (ie, they are not more intelligent as a species) but that each one becomes more intelligent in its own way. I wonder if individual octopi have gained intelligence simply by virtue of having 8 appendages with which to investigate the world around them. If so, it gives you a new appreciation for how precious and unique every individual life can be.

And now…

(I’m trying to be good by combining two posts into one…)

NYT story on how economic reality bites.

The economy is spiraling down at an accelerating pace, threatening to undermine the Obama administration’s spending plans, which anticipate vigorous rates of growth in years to come. A sense of disconnect between the projections by the White House and the grim realities of everyday American life was enhanced on Friday, as the Commerce Department gave a harsher assessment for the last three months of 2008.

Hate to say “I told you so,” but… well… anyone with half a brain should have seen that Obama wasn’t going to be able to bring the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius without a whole hell of a lot of Bush-era status quo goin’ on. The zeitgeist of the campaign was triumphalist at heart, which is easy to do when you think you’ve got money. It was about changing the style and brand of our wealth and hegemony… not about the reality that we actually don’t have wealth and hegemony.

I suppose Obama’s success depends on how fast people can let go of those champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Or, if he can prevent those dreams and energy from flowing into other political activities, such as rioting. 😦

(OK, I’ll make this post about THREE subjects…)

The other day I linked to the NYT story about the reverse-gentrification of Eagle Rock (burb of LA). Here is an excellent response to that story that explains a lot:

Why Myths Fail: The Fairy Tale of Eagle Rock

Day after day more people started to realize that what they needed from Eagle Rock was not really Eagle Rock but what the myth of Eagle Rock stood for. It weren’t the stores with the wooden toys from Sweden, nor the imported Australian products. They didn’t need another handmade soap.

What they needed was authenticity. And day by day it became clearer that all these so called authentic products and services hadn’t made them happy after all. Oh, they’ve provided them with instant happiness, or happiness on occassion, but in times like these just buying another bar of soap or another toy wouldn’t do the trick.

What they were looking for wasn’t to be found in a town like Eagle Rock. It was to be found in their hearts, in their minds and in their day to day actions. It was to be found in their daily lives. All these products, all these surroundings were merely mirrors trying to reflect the things of life which they couldn’t see anymore.

Post goes on to coin a useful and evocative term for those funky little stores: mirrorshops.

This is a nice post and compassionate toward the dreams and desires of the “young creatives” – toward whom I sometimes sound harsh. But I’ve never liked the tendency that “young creatives” have to being dismissive or blind to the inner lives of the “dull old people” whose communities they thought were ripe for turning into mirrorshops. That’s just ignorance and arrogance. If you can’t look into the eyes of your “duller” neighbors and see life and imagination there in how they survive from day to day, – but instead need to create consumerism-based funky shops for your own fulfillment – how “creative” are you really?

30. BooHooHooMan - 28 February 2009

Thanks Mcat, for the link to Moyers interview with Robert Johnson.

I’d like to see a particular ruthlessness in following the Receivable trail OUT of CITI and other TBTF- Too Big to Fail®- “US” Banks.

People understand the concept of stocks and stockholders being wiped out and taxpayers getting fucked. Sympathetic or not, it’s understandable…as is the plain ole fashion bank stick up….

And while insider trading is well known with stocks, what is less commonly understood is self dealing/ circular trading in derivatives and credit swaps, we got a glimpse of this type of thing with Enron, but there is little light shown on these less than arms length transactions by “unassailable” [LOL] “clean” “good” institutions as they funnel the money away. Not even a basic understanding of the implications. Maybe because its A FUCKING DRAG. LOL. Anyways…

There is also the myth perpetuated that most regional banks are “okay”. I saw somebody on FSZ the other night parroting something to that effect. So Much of what we’ve heard so far is how money exited banks in general through bad loans. It is still the operative assumption WRT the failure of MegaBank Behemoths, too, i.e. that their failure is understood in terms of money lent OUT.

We really need to know what PAYABLES are legit. (Not holding my breath. )All we hear now are concerns about the MAJOR’s baaaad loans and the Stockholders of Citi or BoA taking the Hit. True.
But CRICKETS on the legitimacy of Citi Liabilities
or othet TBTF® Banks.

But it really is another, perhaps most powerful way to systemically rip off a Too Big to Fail® Bank via loan fraud when you know the government is ultimately on the hook, and your bought off Political Pals will seal the deal. This play is certainly one of the most liquid ways to loot. They got preferred creditor status when the Fed answered their call. And ended up in a better position than the stockholders. The stockholders lose their ass, and the bondholders will displace THEM.
Fuck those People and their Savings!
Fuck those Retirees and their Pensions!
Fuck those Municipal and State Funds in the Market!


If the DOJ really peeled the bark off this tree,
(they won’t -less people get a real clue),
there would be nothing to show but rot everywhere, reaching into every political hack’s fiefdom. ..The fruits of Disaster Capitalism, the Neocon Agenda and Donklephant Alliance in plain view. If THAT Cat gets out of the bag… the CIA can forget about Estonia. There would be a run on banks nationwide HERE, an unprecedented-in-scope collapse in consumer spending as hording food would take hold, all accompanied by what the CIA is saying:: Chaos.

President Happypants Inspiring Jive (for now) notwithstanding….
He better start handing out the Marshmallow Circus Peanuts quick.
You know “the usual” after Our War Crimes, Torture, Rape , Pillage, Murder and Plunder for Money… Some little givebacks while Dems are benchwarming a few years away for the Thugs..

What?! We’re all out?! We OUTDID our “usual” War Crimes, Torture, Rape , Pillage, Murder and Plunder for Money?!??
And The Money Grubbers don’t want to “give back” this time?!

Well. Let’s Rally our International Friends!

What?! We’re all out?! We OUTDID our “usual” War Crimes, Torture, Rape , Pillage, Murder and Plunder for Money?!??…………….

31. BooHooHooMan - 28 February 2009

{BHHM in Vatican Press Office. Again. 😯 }
{Il Papa and Shwangerbanger laid up in Bed…shhhh}
{…Saturday morning Cartoons…}

Pope Forbids Interest Bearing Loans;
Says “UnChristian”, Threatens Excommunication,
Orders Armored “Pope-Mobile”

32. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 February 2009

Sandia National Laboratories Test Exonerates Ivins

While government apologists are still trying to pretend there is a case that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer, tests by Sandia National Laboratories have exonerated him.

Ivans was the guy who the FBI drove to suicide.

33. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 February 2009
34. diane - 28 February 2009


Well at least they’re not the Kafkaesque 6 footers that BooHooHooMan conjured up…can you borrow a kitty? (Not to say that you wouldn’t end up with the rare one that loves meeses, remember the momma kitty that nursed squirrel babies?) And re size, most are pretty teeny. Years ago I had one in an apartment that got in my clothes drawer, I’m still not over having to kill it because I couldn’t afford a new clothes at the time, I hope the cubey thing works.

BooHooHooMan (16)

we might consider moving Kafka to Non Fiction.

high time….

and re First they came….…I guess we’re getting near, if not upon Last they came……and some still don’t get it………..

and (20)

…never went in for “keeping up”

seems a good path to follow…when I put some money in my retirement plan last year the young woman floated all of these investement options in front of me…I told her on a gut level, I have nothing but scorn for the bulk of the involved companies, just put it in an interest bearing account, I don’t even care if I make less money………….Just before the dotcom (such a silly fucking name) BOOM (funnel),.it used to really disgust me watching folks at work spending a good deal of the day slobbering over how their options in creepy companies were doing…don’t see much of that anymore…

Wu ming (25)

i love how the discussion of post-communist eastern europe not having mature markets is totally divorced from the decade or two of neoliberal vultures utterly gutting those countries’ economies and social services.

that was Global Philanthropy mind you!…….Indeed……….

NYCO (29)

I love this:

the tendency that “young creatives” have to being dismissive or blind to the inner lives of the “dull old people” whose communities they thought were ripe for turning into mirrorshops.….If you can’t look into the eyes of your “duller” neighbors and see life and imagination there in how they survive from day to day,….

Madman (32)

Re Ivins…yeah and so fucking unforunate that they literally drove him to suicide….

35. marisacat - 28 February 2009

–NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’: Defense Secretary Robert Gates; roundtable with former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., Mike Murphy, former Rep. Joe Scarborough and Dee Dee Myers

–ABC’s ‘This Week’: OMB Director Peter Orszag; Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.); roundtable with George Will, Karl Rove, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel

–CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel

–‘Fox News Sunday’: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff Adm. Mike Mullen; Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ); Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.); roundtable with the Fox News All Stars — Fox’s Brit Hume, NPR’s Mara Liaisson, The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and NPR’s Juan Williams

–CNN’s ‘State of the Nation’: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff Adm. Mike Mullen, personal finance expert Suze Orman, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii)

36. marisacat - 28 February 2009

Oh Uncle Buffy… Can’t you buck it up, suck it up for Barry?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc , Warren Buffett’s insurance and investment company, barely broke even in the fourth quarter because of losses on derivatives contracts tied to the stock market.

Profit fell 96 percent, the fifth straight quarterly decline, and Berkshire’s net worth tumbled $10.9 billion in the year’s final three months. Net worth per share fell 9.6 percent in 2008, only the second decline since Buffett began running Berkshire in 1965. It fell 6.2 percent in 2001.

In his eagerly anticipated annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett also offered a gloomy economic outlook, saying “the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 — and for that matter, probably well beyond.” …

LOL well we may exult in how cavalier he is…

In his letter, Buffett said he believed each contract that Berkshire owns was “mispriced” at the outset, and that the ups and downs “neither cheer nor bother” him.


WSJ has some more snips from the Buffet annual letter:

[M]r. Buffett conceded in his letter that he “did some dumb things” in the past year, such as boosting the company’s holdings of the oil giant ConocoPhillips when oil prices were near their peak. Since then, oil prices have tumbled and shares of ConocoPhillips and many other energy outfits are down sharply. Mr. Buffett said he believes “odds are good that oil sells far higher in the future than the current $40 to $50 price. But so far I have been dead wrong.”
[Berkshire Class A shares, year to date]

He also said he made a $244 million investment in two Irish banks “that appeared cheap.” At year-end, Berkshire wrote the holdings down to their market value of $27 million, an 89% loss on the investment.

The letter also provided new details on some moves Mr. Buffett made in late 2008 as the credit crisis worsened. Berkshire invested $14.5 billion in fixed-income securities from companies such as General Electric Co. and from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. To fund the purchases, the letter says, he sold part of his holdings in Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble Co.–“holdings I would have preferred to keep,” he said. …

Just don’t sell the Campbell’s soup stock…

37. marisacat - 28 February 2009

FFS. We may not make it thru (by which I mean 10 long dark years). Just my own stray dark opinion…

Failing Upward at the Fed

Published: February 26, 2009

Wall Street may be more comforted by an approach that gives banks bailouts with no strings, and that holds nobody accountable for their reckless decisions. But such an approach won’t solve the problem. – President Obama, Feb. 24, 2009

It’s not much fun to be a banker these days. One leading European banker says a poll showed that the only groups now held in lower regard are prostitutes and convicted felons. There are plenty of people who would be quite happy to see a few bankers join the latter group.

The opprobrium is well earned. The banks invented toxic securities and thought they were making lots of money from them. But the bosses seem to have been too busy flying around on their private jets to understand the risks they were taking. Now their banks are in business only because the government has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into them.

But it was not all their fault. These were regulated institutions, and the regulators failed.

Remarkably, the institution that had the most direct responsibility to prevent the debacle — the Federal Reserve — has taken little heat for its own failures. There has been no Congressional hearing where Fed officials were treated to anything like the grilling the division chiefs of the Securities and Exchange Commission received three weeks ago.

Instead, the Congress appears ready to increase the Fed’s powers.

Sometimes nothing succeeds like failure.

Witness Geithner (lately of the NY Fed and variously described as fully a part of the Paulson first tranche) the most uncharmed fair haired child (that is how he is treated) I have seen in a long time.

Whose dirty chubby hand appears… why Barney Frank.

In his speech to Congress, the president asked the legislators to quickly reform financial regulation. It appears Congress may act quickly, but not on an overall reform plan. Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told me after the speech that he expected to pass a bill this year to make the Fed into a “systemic regulator,” able to take jurisdiction over any financial institution if it threatens the financial system.
[Bring back Rubin! Let’s make our ruin complete!… Is Paulson available? …Mcat]

When I asked about other regulatory reform ideas, like giving the Securities and Exchange Commission powers similar to those of the Food and Drug Administration, so that a new financial product could not be sold widely without approval, Mr. Frank said those would be for a later round of legislation.

Books will be written on the failure of the Fed in the last cycle. It decided that it did not need to worry itself over rising asset prices. So it stood by, first in the technology stock bubble, then in the housing bubble. It saw credit getting excessively loose, and leverage piling up, but comforted us with assurances that if there was a bubble, the Fed knew how to clean up after it burst, principally by cutting interest rates….

38. marisacat - 28 February 2009

That 6.2 fall in the GDP for the last quarter?

Soon to be revised:

The final revision in output for the quarter will come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis next month.

39. diane - 28 February 2009

Good piece from deedogJonathan Krohn: Are Conservatives Really This Desperate

A 13 year old home schooled kid who got most of his political knowledge from listening to talk radio has authored the new book, that will serve as the basis for Conservative political thought for the next few decades. WTF?

and way too unfortunate that the Dem’s are soooooo likely to follow suit…………..am reminded of all the wise 18 year old (sons of whom the fuck ever) CEOS in Sly Con Valley….why I do believe after so many of those Son’s of Whomever, lost their shirts during the dcom BOOM was the first time in years that CALI brought it’s Unemployment Comp up to 19th Century Levels, from something like 250 per week (in a land with $1000 rents for studio apartments) to $400+

40. diane - 28 February 2009


re the $250 per week sorry for not clarifying, that was the MAX unemployment benefit, who knows how many have been put on the streets in the Golden State…but then I guess one could look at the State’s inception as to how Hard Core Cali really is……………

41. marisacat - 28 February 2009

I am pretty sure rents are being renegotiated all over the state… they were in the ‘dot com dot died’ (as I call it) and I am sure they are again…

42. diane - 28 February 2009

wellll someone very near…and very very dear to me…was just pretty much forced (a few months ago) to fork out $1,400 for a nasty (though nice lookin on the outside) studio, where he was told the first morning in his new estate when he woke up at 5AM to labor in a shipping dept. ..and the water was running cold..with a broken heater at about 40 degrees F (yes it do get quite cold in CALI, tis a desert after all………) that a lot of folks were up takin showers and it takes a while for the water to warm up…………… so I’m not that sure many rents are as yet being renogotiated?

43. marisacat - 28 February 2009

He has to look over the amount of vacancy in the bldg, then contact the agent or owner. the dot com was nowhere near this deep and rents were renegotiated, all over. Most that I knew about (from renters who were friends and a couple friends who owned Victorian flat bldgs and rented the flats out) came down close to a third, some one quarter.

A building near me, the large “studios” (lage “living” room with separate sleeping alcove and a small dining area along side the kitchen, they also allow cats and small dogs which makes it in demand) had ratcheted up to 2,400 in the dot boom… and came down to 1,400 t0 1,700.

44. diane - 28 February 2009

….and for all the Aholes out there snickerin…he do have a degree…and he did the buck up thing…got a job at Wally to keep payin the bills and when that was over…was offered parking lot jobs…………………

45. diane - 28 February 2009

…and by the fuckin way,…. to handful of lurkers,…….shove your fucking “Enlightenment THEORIES RIGHT UP YOUR FUCKING ASS WHERE THE SUN DON”T SHINE…or …”doesn’t”…as you like it……………………….

46. marisacat - 28 February 2009

I am pretty sure that another area is shared space… room mates. Depending on how far a person will commute (always an issue of time and money in my mind)…. time to look at sharing rental houses, I think… And I just heard a report on home owners with space they never considered renting out, taking in roomers.

This is a nightmare, but it is allowing some openings.

47. marisacat - 28 February 2009

44, 45

It’s a rough world, we all know. But maybe not that tough, right here in this little thread.

48. diane - 28 February 2009

well yeah hon fragile but FINE..and I DO APPRECIATE jus sayin…logic is all well and good but, those caught up in the smoke are choking to death …don’t have the time resources nor calm state of mind……to parlay their options,,,,,,,,,,,,.they feel frightfullty ALLLLOOOONNNNE dying as we speak……….

49. diane - 28 February 2009

Top Cat ….yes you are hon…I remember lovin that toon…..

50. diane - 28 February 2009

…ya give me fever in a cold sweat……..can I take it to the bridge?…….

from apparently “still born from a whore???????? James Brown…nice brit name…… howdy fuckin dooodyyyy

51. diane - 28 February 2009

….jus keep on singin that same ole money song…….

see where it will get ya………………….rather irrelevent at the end of the day………..kiss the one, the many,……………. you love……………. love is forever….indestructible……….say ……………I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…and don’t be afraid of the silence………….it’s just calm (originally spelled clam…..)…Don’t jump off that bridge…sit a spelll………………….

52. marisacat - 28 February 2009

Oh I think none of us should worry… The Economics blog at WSJ says Rahm is on it! The caped savior from the IDF will get the money flowing! None other than Christina Romer ( who appeared acting girlish on TNH a few weeks ago, I hung my head in some vague collective shame, god knows why) says so.

“The chief of staff is a scary person and we will get this money out,” the mild-mannered economist joked about Mr. Emanuel’s sense of urgency.

These people are so in over their heads.

53. diane - 28 February 2009

..tour jete….

watch out though….for that toxic dump where you last shit…don’t ya remember? hard to remember? must be all those sleepless nights…ahhhhhh wellll somethin to be said for simplicity…..ain’t there …….sweeety?……………..

54. diane - 28 February 2009

at least, kneeee fuckin deep, they are hon…………………………..

55. diane - 28 February 2009

…hot …pants…..smokinnnnnnnnnn……………………….

56. marisacat - 28 February 2009

Via Tapper. fwiw.

An administration official tells ABC News that this evening, President Obama asked Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to serve as his Secretary of Health and Human Services, and she accepted.

The President will formally announce the nomination on Monday afternoon at the White House.

Sebelius has been the leading contender for the job since the beginning of the month. The Kansas governor is the state’s former Insurance Commissioner and an early backer of then-Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign.

57. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 February 2009

56 – another minnow from the shallow donkle pool.

58. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 February 2009

Why the Dark Secrets of the First Gulf War Are Still Haunting Us

What We Missed and Need to Remember

Americans never saw images of even one of the 100,000 civilians killed in the aerial war, just coordinates of precision-guided strikes, the majority of which missed their marks.

We never learned that the government’s goals had changed from expelling Saddam’s forces from Kuwait to destroying Iraq’s infrastructure. Or what a country with a destroyed infrastructure looks like — with most of its electricity, telecommunications, sewage system, dams, railroads and bridges blown away.

There were no photos or stories of the start of the ground war on Feb. 24, 1991, after Iraq had agreed to a Russian-brokered withdrawal. We never saw the “bulldozer assault” of Feb. 24-26, when U.S. soldiers with plows mounted on tanks and bulldozers moved along 10 miles of trenches, burying alive some 1,000 Iraqi soldiers. Or the night of Feb. 26, when allied forces cordoned off a stretch of highway between Kuwait and Basra, Iraq, incinerating tens of thousands of retreating soldiers and civilians, in an incident come to be called the “Highway of Death.”

We saw no coverage of dead Kurds and Shiites who, at Bush’s instigation and expecting his support, rose up against Saddam. Nor in the months and years after, the news of the Iraqi epidemic of birth defects, cancers and systemic disease.

We heard little about the 20,000 troops occupying Saudi Arabia after the war, the growing regional resentment for the destruction and death, injuries and insults of invasion and occupation. We never heard of the Saudi Muslim radical Osama bin Laden, his outraged protests, for which he was banished, wandering the region, recruiting young followers to avenge the desecration of Islam’s sacred sites.

As for our own, there were no images of returning coffins filled with U.S. service members, nor, in the days and months after the war, coverage of the war’s aftermath: The 200,000 troops who returned profoundly ill from Gulf War illness; the trauma, addiction and/or brain damage that caused veterans to kill their wives, family, fellow citizens, and/or themselves; and, of course, on Sept. 11, 2001, the tragic event used by the George W. Bush administration to launch a second war against Iraq.

There was no mainstream media coverage of the roots, just of the proclamations of them versus us, hatemongers versus freedom lovers, barbaric cowards versus civilized heroes.

59. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 February 2009
60. marisacat - 28 February 2009

hmm GWI… antoher war we were lied into. I remember when St Petersburg Presse Democrat in FL broke the story of our lies (among so many) t the Saudis of the Iraqis massing on their (SA’s) border, we supplied falsified aerial maps… and it fell with a thud as a news story. I think I heard later on a panel on Cspan from a SPP-D that 3 papers picked it up and reported it. None of them the Wapo nor the NYT.

Onward to the new and improved wars.

61. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 February 2009

Americans love their wars, all the better if they can have the war sold to them as somehow heroic and necessary.

62. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Hey hey! Knew you’d be all over that Curious Octopus story!

Here’s the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium exhibits page – scroll down and click on Octopus Tank & Phylum Discovery Tank photo enlargements for pix of tank and ‘pus.

63. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Octopus studio apartment photos in the mod pod, I think.

They oughta give the octupi Rubik’s Cubes or other intellectual enrichment. Or rotate them around to each other’s tanks for a change of scenery now and then.

64. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Really, office toys would be perfect for zoos and aquaria. Just have to waterproof things a little.

Innovate! Keep the office toy manufacturers in business! Demand has fallen something fierce!

65. marisacat - 28 February 2009

oh thanks for that pic IB… because if you follow the Flickr link, up in the body of the text of the post… all they show is what is maybe a back side or different part of that larger thank. Looks like 6 stacked, 3 x 3, washer sized units, with portholes, like is shown in the pic I used at the top.

LOL… anyway she thew them a loop!

66. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Just recently came across an old watercolor dating from the (literal, daily, media-attended) countdown to Gulf War 1. Liberal use of Alizarin Crimson, with dripping and spattering effects.

67. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Yeah, I checked the washer view and went looking to see what was behind the portholes. Well, I guess a jail cell is better than a coffin, but tanks tend to give me the same heebee BeeGees as cages – even big ones – and that goes double for birds. But pshaw, hope they reward that little two-spot, Flo (good one!), with some engineering toys of her own. Get the MIT students on it – design her a line of recreational items, for off-season amusement.

Sounds like she enjoys her visitors, in the cabaret life. Maybe a road trip would do her good.


Further to the crimson:

Rose madder.

68. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

all the better if they can have the war sold to them as somehow heroic and necessary.

The bigger the better, the tighter the sweater.

69. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

OT but not really: Apparently movie box office is way up.

70. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

59 – OK, you made me click. E-mailing link to known bitter cynics as we speak.

71. marisacat - 28 February 2009


she def needs some toys… upthread somewhere i linked to a further little article on her… she has done it before… just never alone over night…

and apparently when you stop by at her display she comes over and looks at you… and will follow a trailing finger on the glass…

72. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

71 – just never alone over night…

That was one of the interesting bits about this, I thought.

Did she do it for the fun of the engineering dismantle? Or was she staging a live human exhibit for her own entertainment . . . or company? Or was it a two-fer?

The story noted she observed the clean-up efforts attentively!

73. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Ha ha ha – blogzeitgeist synchronicity. An octopus garden, apparently! Source unnamed, from Paradis Express.

74. marisacat - 28 February 2009

oh that is a wonderful p[icture… looks like a mix of some native grasses and some sort of low rise dense hedge material… very interesting…

75. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

I notice that SPQR – your item on soldiers’ “meat tag” tattoos, from March 08 – has often recurred among your Top Posts, in the sidebar.


NYT: Forced From Executive Pay to Hourly Wage

Working five days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mr. Cooper is not counted by traditional measures as among the recession’s casualties at this point. But his tumble down the economic ladder is among the more disquieting and often hidden aspects of the downturn.

It is not clear how many professionals like Mr. Cooper have taken on these types of lower-paying jobs, which are themselves in short supply. Many are doing their best to hold out as long as possible on unemployment benefits and savings while still looking for work in their fields.

76. lucid - 28 February 2009

I had to let everyone know at one of my offices that they were getting a pay cut on Thursday afternoon… haven’t recovered since.

btw Mcat, your beloved mayor was on Maher on Friday. He chummed around with PJ O’Rourke about the wonders of Catholicism… I’m sure he would have made you proud. 😉

77. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

74 – Some of the brighter greens on the rocks looked like Irish moss – perhaps a clue? No quick luck from Google, this time!

78. marisacat - 28 February 2009


Yeah not sure why SPQR stays on that list.. I assume from searches for “SPQR”, Rome and militarism, etc… and it just comes up as part of the long list or returns…

Thanks for the NYT link, so many tough stories. The local news last night chatted briefly with an older black man, loading his car with some groceries at a market parking lot. He had worked as a “psychiatric technician” til laid off in July… and has his 5 small grandchildren to care for… I heard years ago from a friend at work that as so many, often black, but all colors, grandparents take on the care of their grandchildren unless they are lucky they are pushed to full adoption, not knowing that they may insist they only take charge of the children as foster children, thus receiving additional funds per child. One reason I have always hated Cosby in his finger shaking, lecturing bullshit.



so sorry to hear that. I know the usual response is a pay cut is far better than a full on job loss, and it is… but it is all tough..

Oh Gavin. ugh. No words. Awful man. Real utter bullshitter.. and his father, a judge, was the classic political fixer.

79. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Bummer, lucid. But, yeah, could be (and hopefully won’t get) worse.

BTW, MCat – Your mouse anecdote was also ridiculously timely to me. Saw it the day I obtained a birthday card for youngest nephew (a bit of a daredevil) featuring this pic.

If I’m not mistaken, mice are quite resourceful in their own right, and happy to help selves to whatever’s exposed. (Pretty handy with peanuts and/or birdseed, par exemple.) Had one mouse (and only one, I think – notwithstanding occasional, vacationing, mostly blind and deaf aged cat) for a year or two, and only time it risked death was the night I discovered it (by odd sound) paddling in the toilet during middle-of-night pee. I’m not kidding, and my sister won’t let me live down my extraction of rodent and release in back yard, versus Flushing.

That was all probably TMI. Time to sleeep. G’night, all!

80. marisacat - 28 February 2009

well I am back to thinking i have just one… but am unsure. I did make a big tactical decision last night. There was some (to my eye) frantic running around. zip, zip zip… and back again. It occurred to me it was perhaps from frantic hunger. I am unsure there is much here mice can get to.. One of the few things would be unopened but plastic bags of hard pasta, but they are shelves up… tho doable, I imagine……

I did once have a closed, tied up garbage bag sitting on the back side porch (too wet or too cold the night before for me to walk it to the garbage bins at the edge of the outside) torn into once, a couple of years ago, when I still threw away unfinished cans of cat food. I don’t throw away food, or bones with meat, or chicken bones etc… so the garbage now is pretty dull for foragers.

Anyway I decided nto to have hungry mouse/mice… so left a small plate in the floor, in a place near a wall it walks along, with small bits of cut up Monterey Jack. Gone this am. And a quiet day. No running mouse/mice. Put down another plate in the afternoon.

I figure I will put the Mouse Cube box in the same spot when it comes. I am guessing several days of rain this past week forced the mouse in. Or mice.

81. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009

Perhaps a saucer of water would prevent hydro-seeking high-diving accidents.

That, and coughing loudly before entry to bathroom, post-midnight.

82. marisacat - 28 February 2009

Good idea…

83. Intermittent Bystander - 28 February 2009


Ha ha! Nothin’ beats cheese!

Crackers are a good bet, too! Stale oat-nut bread.

Never tried wine. But if you do, please take pictures!

The whole thing’s pretty funny in light of your recent mouse order. Looks like Underground Parcel Service delivered an extra, since it took that long for the Corporate Universe to provide!

84. marisacat - 1 March 2009

I know! It occurred to me last night that this is or was the Month of the Mouse for me. LOL… and the ordered peripheral mouse has been a headache too… in its own way. When I get clear of a few things will order a back up.. just incase…

Got the mouse water… it took the last bits of a third plate of cheese and had a water drink. I have some sprouted oats flourless bread that should work as well.

No point having the thing hungry… or that frantic running around…

penlan - 2 March 2009

They love peanut butter too.

85. Intermittent Bystander - 1 March 2009


86. Intermittent Bystander - 1 March 2009

FYI – Expect possibility of food storage, paper shredding, and nesting in obscure dometic spaces and in piles of unused bedding.

As long as you’re not too fussy – mind the pellets – mice are quite discreet, as roommates.

87. marisacat - 1 March 2009

gnu post


… 🙄 ………

88. marisacat - 1 March 2009

well… I am not really contemplating it long term… for one thing spring is coming and I don’t want a birth of any sort. If I were overrun I would be frantic, right now I am becoming convinced it is just one… I live in barely three rooms of the house and it seems kind of a given that with ”quiet”, uninhabited rooms, a couple of them packed with furniture and another one packed with discards for the day I manage to call a hawler to the dump and so on, that I could be overtaken…

There is more rain due in a couple of days… so will take some sort of action when that passes.

I am right across the street from a city park… not too hard for me to release the little thing in a grassy environment…

89. lucid - 1 March 2009

Posted a diary at FSZ… maybe will throw it up at the orange as well…

90. Intermittent Bystander - 1 March 2009

Big difference between a singleton and a colony, no question. And solo encampment was certainly seasonally contingent, in my experience.

91. marisacat - 1 March 2009

new post…


… 🙄 ………

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