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Out of the fray… 3 March 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Sex / Reproductive Health, WAR!.
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Sparrows huddle on a building ledge to stay out of the wind in Washington [Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty]

NYT reports on a new Pew study on the costs of the US prison system:

[C]riminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which quadrupled in the past two decades, according to the report Monday by the Pew Center on the States, the first breakdown of spending in confinement and supervision in the past seven years.

The increases in the number of people in some form of correctional control occurred as crime rates declined by about 25 percent in the past two decades. …

And a bit more:

[P]eter Greenwood, the executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Evidence Based Practice, a group that favors rehabilitative approaches, said states started spending more on prisons in the 1980s during the last big crime wave.

“Basically, when we made these investments, public safety and crime was the No. 1 concern of voters, so politicians were passing all kinds of laws to increase sentences,” Mr. Greenwood said.

President Bill Clinton signed legislation to increase federal sentences, he said.

“Now, crime is down,” Mr. Greenwood said, “but we’re living with that legacy: the bricks and mortar and the politicians who feel like they have to talk tough every time they talk about crime.”

Mr. Greenwood said prisons and jails, along with their powerful prison guard unions, service contracts, and high-profile sheriffs and police chiefs, were in a much better position to protect their interests than were parole and probation officers.  …

It’s the story of California, that is certain, quite aside from our Three Strikes law.

***

DADT

[T]he move enables Obama to say he’s making good on his campaign promise to reverse the law, but doesn’t lock him into doing so anytime soon. The carefully calculated statement, released this week by White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, leaves enough wiggle room to prevent the hot-button issue from consuming Obama’s foreign policy agenda, which is dominated by ending the Iraq war and salvaging operations in Afghanistan.

“The president supports changing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Vietor said in the e-mailed statement.

“As part of a long-standing pledge,” Obama has begun consulting closely with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen “so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security,” Vietor said.

The statement was released in response to legislation reintroduced on Monday by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., that would repeal the ban. Tauscher’s bill attracted 148 co-sponsors last year, but House leadership never pushed for a floor vote.  …

Oh just more ‘situation normal, still fucked up’.

hmmm… meanwhile in Mass… restless natives…

Married gays in Mass. sue US for federal benefits

BOSTON (AP) — Mary Ritchie, a Massachusetts State Police trooper, has been married for almost five years and has two children. But when she files her federal income tax return, she’s not allowed to check the “married filing jointly” box.

That’s because Ritchie and her spouse, Kathleen Bush, are a gay couple, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act makes them ineligible to file joint tax returns.

Now Ritchie, Bush and more than a dozen others are suing the federal government, claiming the act discriminates against gay couples and is unconstitutional because it denies them access to federal benefits that other married couples receive, such as pensions and health insurance. Plaintiffs also include Dean Hara, the widower of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives.

In Ritchie’s case, she and her spouse say they have paid nearly $15,000 more in taxes than they would have if they had been able to file joint returns.

“It saddens us because we love our country,” Ritchie said. “We are taxpayers. We live just like anyone else in our community. We do everything just like every other family, like every other married couple, and we are treated like less than that.”  …

This should not be a problem! (Aside from the fact that it really should not be… )

Especially as Obster is losing, has lost,… count ’em… Brooks, Clive Crook  AND (be still my heart) the son of WFB.  That sometimes funny, not all that talented, prep school level forever sly boots, Christopher.

Brooks:  “Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice.

mama mia!  betrayed.. but!  he shilled good for ob in the old campaign days…

Clive Crook in the FT:  [The Obama budget] “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

When I read CC in the FT the other day, why, he just seemed so angry!

Check their DNA, I think they are all children of Judd Gregg.

Traveling seriously down market here… to  CB in The Daily Beast:  The Wall Street Journal notes that federal outlays in fiscal 2009 will rise to almost 30 percent of the gross national product. In language that even an innumerate English major such as myself can understand: The US government is now spending annually about one-third of what the entire US economy produces. As George Will would say, ‘Well.'”

Threw in GW for good measure.  (And they all shilled for Obby, they did!)

They, basically, declare Obster a lying liberal (the budget did it! And the issue is sealed as Krugman loved it!  Hertzberg loved it that Krugman loved it!).  Such news, such a dastardly claim! The left, in hiding, is mortally wounded.

I am sorry to be blunt but it was all very predictable.

So, on the Good News side, no problem for the gays.  Ob is going to be liberated from his conservative shill class…. and it appears the WH luvs to do verbal battle with Limbaugh, Hannity and whoever else has a national mic… So the big tough boys in the WH will fight the mega megaphone.

The big tough boys in the WH plan to win on the issues, for the people…

Yes?

Right?

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1. marisacat - 3 March 2009

Additionally, we learned that Vice President Joe Biden well serve as waste, fraud, and abuse “sheriff” in overseeing how the dollars are spent: at today’s press conference, Obama said,”as part of his duty, Joe will keep an eye on how precious tax dollars are being spent. To you, he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the sheriff — because if you’re misusing taxpayer money, you’ll have to answer to him.”

All I hear in that is “kickbacks”… to a POB in DE. Listed in the name of some family member or long time staffer.

Madman in the Marketplace - 3 March 2009

I found some video of Sheriff Biden in action.

2. marisacat - 3 March 2009

Gosh. I even (pretty much) agree with Silly Sully (it’s on Geithner, tho I don’t waste time, as Sully does, on Ob’s balls. Or lack thereof.)

3. marisacat - 3 March 2009

New Tom Dispatch.. looking at “mass layoffs”… and issues of job insecurity.

[M]eanwhile, throughout the global marketplace, mass firings have become an acceptable knee-jerk reaction to whatever bad news comes along. Indeed, the layoff has become the default management mechanism for employers of every shape, size, and financial condition. To take just one prominent example, in its restructuring plan, which General Motors recently submitted to the Treasury Department, the company requested as much as $30 billion in bailout funds while promising, in return, to cut 47,000 employees worldwide. How much more would it cost to save those jobs? Unfortunately, that kind of bailout isn’t going to be on anybody’s table.

Perhaps AP-GfK should have polled people about whether or not they expected mass layoffs at their places of employment. As defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a mass layoff occurs whenever at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance are filed by the former employees of any single establishment during a five-week period. During December 2008 alone, there were, by those standards, 2,275 mass layoff “events” nationwide, down slightly from November’s record high of 2,333. As a point of comparison, there were “just” 1,352 mass layoffs in November 2007 and 1,469 the following month. …

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 3 March 2009

Predictably, that shitty MA “reform” demanding that EVERYBODY buy health insurance had unintended consequences: New Mass. Health Insurance Law Breeds Fraud

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 3 March 2009

Pink dolphin appears in US lake

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: “I have never seen a dolphin coloured in this way in all my career.

“It is a truly beautiful dolphin but people should be careful, as with any dolphins, to respect it – observe from a distance, limit their time watching, don’t chase or harass it

“While this animal looks pink, it is an albino which you can notice in the pink eyes.

“Albinism is a genetic trait and it unclear as to the type of albinism this animal inherited.”

A close relation of dolphins, the Amazon River Botos, called pink dolphins, live in South America in the Amazon.

6. marisacat - 3 March 2009

😆 Maybe a pink pacifier would help. O some gin in the formula in the bottle.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer declared Tuesday that Congress, not President Obama, will decide whether to put more limits on earmarks in upcoming spending bills.

Asked about White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ statement Monday that the Obama administration was formulating guidelines for earmark reform, Hoyer said flatly, “I don’t think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do.”

He paused deliberately and quipped to reporters in the room, “I hope you all got that down.” …

BooHooHooMan - 3 March 2009

Hoyer. Ugh.

The guy with the [ 😉 ]
900 million dollar /DARPA researched /heat-shielding ceramic teeth.
Polished between every take.

I say scour all chopper budgets! Any budget– and Steny Babe
always has a tooth comin’ in…..

BooHooHooMan - 3 March 2009

….after I saw that blip about the Vatican Hosting a Darwin Conference…Mcat, for some reason- oh maniacal authoritarian regime maybe- I was thinking about the police state and the prison industrial complex today, too,

…One following the other, etc…The Devolution all around: the predatory economics and police state evolved from the dominant tenets of faith…Here’s where I ended up via MS Paint – one following the other…

1

and

2

[Done with 100% recycled cliche]

7. lucid - 3 March 2009

mass firings have become an acceptable knee-jerk reaction to whatever bad news comes along. Indeed, the layoff has become the default management mechanism for employers of every shape, size, and financial condition.

Tell me about it… I’ve been doing everything I can to prevent knee jerk layoffs at a very small company. Owner in emergency mode! Without a thought as to how particular layoffs would affect both the current and future ability of the company to be competitive. Measured response… what do I have to caress the inner wrist?

Fuck, today was a bad day…

marisacat - 3 March 2009

lucid…

the woamn who wrote the piece has a blog…

Jill Andresky Fraser is the creator of, and “Whiner-in-Chief” at, EconoWhiner.com, a website where people share their experiences, emotions, strategies, and attitudes about life during the economic downturn.

http://www.econowhiner.com

Also part of her article took issue with a recent AP poll that indicated a third of those polled do not believe the lay offs will reach them… and she wonders why on earth they feel that way.

I made it thru all the contractions, recessions, whatever they were, but I could see last year, I would nto make it thru this one. Pretty clearly. It may take longer to hit some parts of SF (I don’t track lay offs inside the city or search for blogs springing up about it) but as it hits Silicon Valley and so on, it will grow here… more than just retail or food service industry.

8. lucid - 3 March 2009

To be fair, when I announced last week to everyone in the company that they were getting the 4.5% CPI increases from last year rescinded, everyone was relieved. – particularly in the jewelry industry, there is no work. So I was surprised, and thankful they didn’t hate me… Today of course, ‘owner in emergency mode!’, I was asked to gestapo style spy on everyone with a computer and report if they ‘had enough work’, else we let someone else go… I mean really… Everyone in the office is responsible, they were hired to do their job and the reason we pay them decently is because we’re not hiring automatons.

So I convened a meeting of office staff after the owner left and said, ‘be mindful of internet usage’. Among other things. Owner has gone nuts. I need to keep the staff together through this – the staff is what makes the business competitive – knowledge, doing their job, a great benefits package and a friendly work environment that keeps people who could make more money elsewhere from leaving. Owner does not see this. 8 figure estate owner… whines to me, ‘Well in this climate, I’m just going to have to work until I die…at age 61’ With your $200,000/year pension from this company and your $60,000 a year pension from your dead husband, and any reciprocal payments you’ll get turning over the business to us… and your 10 million dollar estate… When I hear shit like that, 3 days a week, it really takes a lot for me to not say ‘fuck off and die’.

9. lucid - 3 March 2009

not to mention, she wrote me into her will last year as executor of her estate…

how’s that for guilt.

marisacat - 3 March 2009

well make sure you get good fees as executor. all I can say… and that she secretly does not write you out.

10. lucid - 3 March 2009

How do I know… I’m just angry that she’s fucking up a business that a lot of people depend on. And I’m the doorstop, and I don’t really want to deal with the insanity of her friends from the Hamptons. Or her friends from the jewelry business. We’re doing OK. We’ll make it. We don’t need to sack everybody. If we do, I’ll be the first to tell you, because it means we can’t make payroll. I recommended the pay cut – a week before we were even going to discuss it again as a management group. I have to live with that. But I don’t have to live with her destroying the office.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do on this.

BooHooHooMan - 3 March 2009

Lucid Do shey/they/the owner have a succession plan? If not, you will hit that crossroad eventually…Can you propose an LBO/ ESOP?

lucid - 4 March 2009

she’s giving the company to my colleague, who doesn’t want it and will work out a management deal with me, assuming I’m still there. But she amended the agreement this year, because she doesn’t feel her estate will sustain her [said in the most god awful voice of the emperor from Star Wars]… because she’ll have to work ‘forever’ now….

But I’m still the executor of her will…

11. BooHooHooMan - 3 March 2009

I fucked up above and I didn’t cancel the “Reply” mode and placing what is now #9 in the wrong spot. It is OT on Hoyer , my .02 today though on “faith”, the police state, and predatory economics…

12. marisacat - 4 March 2009

LAT:

The hearing will be televised; demonstrations are planned statewide. The justices will rule on whether to uphold the gay-marriage ban and the marriages of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples.

By Maura Dolan March 4, 2009

Reporting from San Francisco — The California Supreme Court may reveal Thursday whether it intends to uphold Proposition 8, and if so, whether an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages will remain valid, during a high-stakes televised session that has sparked plans for demonstrations throughout the state.

By now, the court already has drafted a decision on the case, with an author and at least three other justices willing to sign it. Oral arguments sometimes result in changes to the draft, but rarely do they change the majority position. The ruling is due in 90 days. …

13. marisacat - 4 March 2009

Oh.. I’d say jewelry will make the reluctant one come ’round… 😆

Third date, and the fumbling couple fail to reach first base

By Leonard Doyle in Washington

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The clear blue skies and the snow on the White House lawn would have been a perfect backdrop for a Rose Garden press conference. That would have set off Gordon Brown’s budding relationship with the world’s favourite president and scotched the ugly rumours that the “special relationship” was experiencing a rough patch. …

In a way it is hysterically funny…

[S]taying carefully on message Mr Obama added that “Great Britain is one of our closest and strongest allies and there is a link and bond there that will not break.”

The tactile US President stopped himself just short of touching Mr Brown on the arm at one point, and instead let his fingers hover an inch or two above the PM’s sleeve. An evidently relieved Prime Minister responded by thanking “Barack” for his warm words.

It may, as Mr Obama noted, have been their third meeting, but the President addressed his remarks throughout to “Prime Minister Brown” until close to the end of the “spray” when it was briefly “Gordon”.

Mr Brown later offered to take on the younger man at tennis, rather than basketball but if that was meant to be a cue for an invitation to Camp David, it did not happen, although the President had evidently heard of Mr Brown’s skills with the racket. …

14. marisacat - 4 March 2009

From the 26th but still balm to my ears… hateful company, led by shits. Quite aside from fostering Reagan.

[I]f an American owns just one share, chances are it will be General Electric. It is the only member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to have been a member of that index for all its 113 years. Millions rely on its stock for its dividend income; the company’s bonds are the bedrock of any conservative pension plan; its chief executive – Jeff Immelt now, like Jack Welch before him – is a kind of business guru for the nation. [could someone stnd up and call that a huge mistake? Please? -Mcat]

And yet there is a cancer at the company’s heart. From beginnings in the Great Depression, when GE started offering loans to customers so they could afford its appliances, its finance arm has grown to the point that it accounted for more than half its bottom-line profit in 2007. Thanks to the solidity of the rest of the business, GE was able to raise cheap debt that it lent out to businesses, property speculators, homeowners and credit card borrowers the world over.

There was nothing inventive about that particular money-go-round. Sadly, there is nothing surprising about the pain that GE is currently suffering, now the credit bubble has burst. As GE Capital undergoes an intensive dose of chemotherapy to bring it back under control, GE is sicker than ever.

Mr Immelt is struggling to hold together the competing interests of bondholders, shareholders and GE’s own businesses, which had hoped to make big investments in profitable new areas such as wind turbines and other renewable energy projects. It looks like something is going to have to give. …

15. marisacat - 4 March 2009

oh FFS… either the president is in charge or he is not. What a wuss fucking nation. They (Sheer) vote for him then excuse him.

[S]o Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke huddled late into the night last weekend and decided to reward AIG for its startling failure with 30 billion more of our dollars. Plus, they sweetened the deal by letting AIG off the hook for interest it had been obligated to pay on the money we previously gave the company.

AIG doesn’t have to pay the 10 percent interest due on the preferred stock the U.S. government got for the earlier bailout funds because that interest will now be paid out only at AIG’s discretion, which means never. The preferred stock, which got watered down, carried a cumulative interest, meaning we taxpayers would have recaptured some money if the company ever got going again, but that interest obligation was waived in the new deal.

We’ve already given AIG a total of $170 billion—an amount that dwarfs the $75 billion allocated to helping those millions of homeowners facing foreclosures. And more will be thrown down the AIG rat hole because President Barack Obama is blindly following the misguided advice of his top economic advisers, who insist that AIG is too big to fail.

Jesus. CLUE: we have failed. FAILED.

Did anyone catch Orszag today? Invoking some C and W singer to make a point? When I heard him, heard him squeaking, all I could think is, I could send the house mouse to do that job. Squeaking. OMB SQUEAKED.

We are so skrewed.

16. marisacat - 4 March 2009

At least Hedges holds him responsible. Treats him like a fully functioning adult, rather than some pulpy mess… batted about.

It’s Obama’s War Now

17. NYCO - 4 March 2009

Lucid, sorry you have to deal with the boss from hell. I work in an industry (higher ed) that’s only a hair short of the self-satisfied inefficiency of the health care industry – “protected from downturns,” and all that – and already I’m detecting a whiff of crazed (and crazymaking) activity. (Though, just for some perspective, a 1% reduction in the work force at a college/university is considered a “mass layoff.”)

18. marisacat - 4 March 2009

hmmm

“The Israeli reality can no longer hide what it has kept hidden up to now—that today no sentient mother can honestly say to her child: ‘ Next year things will be better here,’” says philosophy of education professor, Ilan Gur-Ze’ev. “The young people are replacing hope for a better future with a myth of a heroic end. For a heroic end, Lieberman fits the bill.”

19. marisacat - 4 March 2009

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: March 4, 2009 Filed at 6:10 a.m. ET

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets rebounded Wednesday as hopes China would expand measures to revive its economy countered growing signs of economic decay in the U.S. and other major countries. European shares also gained.

The upward move followed heavy selling over the last two days and bucked a fifth-straight day of declines on Wall Street.

Chinese shares led the region’s advance, with Shanghai’s index jumping more than 6 percent on speculation the country’s leaders would unveil new initiatives to bolster the world’s third-largest economy, its growth now sputtering, at a legislative meeting that opens Thursday. That gave a boost to other Asian markets, including Japan and Hong Kong. …

20. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 March 2009
CSTAR - 4 March 2009

Is there a market for atheist salt?

marisacat - 4 March 2009

I can see Mediterranean Sea Salt as largely atheist. I am going iwth the idea, anyway.. 😉

21. marisacat - 4 March 2009

What a shock Not… via CBS

A group called Wall Street Watch is out with a report that finds that “Wall Street investment firms, commercial banks, hedge funds, real estate companies and insurance conglomerates made $1.7 billion in political contributions and spent another $3.4 billion on lobbyists” between 1998 and 2008.

The report, “Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America,” concludes that the contributions were “aimed at undercutting federal regulation” and ultimately “led directly to the current financial collapse.”

The two men behind the report are California lawyer Harvey Rosenfield of the nonprofit Consumer Education Foundation and Robert Weissman of Essential Information, a Washington nonprofit “that seeks to curb excessive corporate power.”

The report argues that the lobbying and contributions kept financial derivatives from being regulated, led to the repeal of regulatory barriers between commercial banks and investment banks and kept the government from stepping into halt predatory subprime lending. (The authors list “12 Key Policy Decisions Led to Cataclysm” here.)

“Depression-era programs that would have prevented the financial meltdown that began last year were dismantled, and the warnings of those who foresaw disaster were drowned in an ocean of political money,” Rosenfield said in a release.

22. Madman in the Marketplace - 4 March 2009
23. Intermittent Bystander - 4 March 2009

Nice and tidy little clip on The Daily Show tonight, regarding CNBC biz reporting, during/fueling recent boomandbusts. Don’t miss it!

24. marisacat - 4 March 2009

CNBC… argh.

The mere fact they emerged unscathed after the predatory games they played in the dot com before it dot died… geesh. And any earlier malfeasance. There really si NO fiduciary responsibility left in this country.

The only worst thing, for those with strong stomachs, is the Sat morning Wall St stock pick round table on FOX News. I used to watch it as I blearily made coffee Sat am… all I could think is what robbery. And how can people fall for that. But they do.

25. marisacat - 4 March 2009

LOL The daily fray. Rather different from the daily bread.

[G]IBBS: Let me try again. What we’ve talked about before, this is the culmination of the legislative business from the previous fiscal year and the previous Congress. The president is greatly concerned, and I think that shows in the efforts that he’s taken to illuminate through transparency and accountability wasteful spending and earmarks in legislation. That’s why he put his on the Internet. That’s why he hasn’t asked for any in the past few years. And the president believes that we can work with Congress to reduce wasteful spending in the future.

TAPPER: But why not now?

GIBBS: Well, we are…

TAPPER: I guess — you make it sound as if the legislation is written and it’s just waiting for him to sign, and it’s not. It’s being worked on right now on Capitol Hill. It’s in the progress of being assembled. So it’s not that he comes to office and this is outstanding business.

GIBBS: Well — well, it is outstanding business in the sense that typically appropriations bills are done before half the fiscal year is over.

TAPPER: Right. But it’s not too late to, like, tell Harry Reid: If you send this to me…… with this $18 billion — this $8 billion…

GIBBS: I think, as I said before, that the president will lay out some very clear objectives on how we move forward. There will be, over the course of the next several years, dozens and dozens of appropriations bills that cross his desk. And we’ll change the rules going forward, understanding that we have to deal with last year’s business.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow … is only a day away! Tra la!

26. marisacat - 4 March 2009

hmm it centers a bit too much on the currently long time occupants of the unit profiled (they are nto boring, just it is only part of the story), but an interesting look at the old Apthorp in Manhattan…

[M]s. O’Neal and her husband, Michael, first came to the building, a Renaissance Revival landmark modeled on the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy, in 1971. The couple, who met at Mr. O’Neal’s first restaurant, the Ginger Man, and married four months later, on St. Patrick’s Day of 1967, had been squeezed into a two-bedroom on West 69th Street, Ms. O’Neal said, with their year-old daughter, Georgia, and Coke, who had just been born. Ms. O’Neal was not thrilled with the $675 rent at the Apthorp (when she had moved to New York from Michigan in 1956, she said, “apartments were $80”), but she was immediately taken with architectural details like the intricate Venetian plasterwork and bronze light fixtures, with the extraordinary views to the north and east, and with the apartment’s ample size….

I wish there was a little more on the money mechanics of the new owners (as of 2007) of 160 + old time UWS units… it sounds like buy outs worked a lot better than a system of canvassing the tenants to sell them their units…. and now the Big Fancy New Owners… may face FORECLOSURE.

27. marisacat - 4 March 2009

oh FFS… I decided I did want to know more. .. so I googled. Guess who is involved. Lev Leviev, the Israeli.

NY Mag from June of 2008:

Last September, Michael Idov chronicled the changes going on at the Apthorp, the giant, glamorous block-through apartment building on Broadway and West 79th Street.

Israeli multibillionaire Lev Leviev had just purchased the structure through his Africa Israel investment group and was struggling to take it condo.

Last week, according to the Times, the state attorney general’s office finally approved the conversion. But when the tenants get their offers this week, with the prices they will be asked to pay to own the apartments where many of them have lived for decades, the paper reports that the bills will be up to 20 percent more than the expected. …

28. marisacat - 5 March 2009

hmm i caught this author on KGO here… Ellen Hodgson Brown… the book is Web of Debt… extremely interesting. Something of a blockbuster on the banking system. She also has a website

29. marisacat - 5 March 2009

gah. What happens when, as here, zero (or,as I have read, less than zero) does nt work.

The Bank of England cuts UK interest rates from 1% to 0.5%.

For more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

30. marisacat - 5 March 2009

I have to hand it to them, the CA court today has a big screen set up outside the court. They will close circuit run the day to the assembled outside. Who are massing already.

31. marisacat - 5 March 2009

Yum. Rev Irene at Black Commentator.

[W]hile Bishop Jakes is tight-lipped on the topic of his son’s homosexuality, the African American LGBTQ community isn’t. As a matter of fact, the son’s arrest has the African American LGBTQ community abuzz about Bishop Jake’s sexuality.

In September 2005 activists Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick kicked off a five-part series, “Outing Black Pastors,” on their respective websites querying publicly whether prominent pastors in the black community, like Bishops T.D. Jakes and Eddie Long, who constantly rail against LGBTQ people, were actually struggling with their own sexual orientation. ….

J.L. King who became the country’s poster boy by exposing the behavior in his best-seller, On The Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of “Straight” Black Men Who Sleep with Men stated, not surprisingly, that many of his partners were churchmen. “There are gospel conventions throughout the nation for churches. There is one for ushers, Sunday school departments, music departments and ministers . . . These events allow men to meet men and to have sex while away from their hometowns. Many midnight concerts turn into affairs where brothers are cruising each other. I’ve been there, seen it and done it,” King states in his book. …

32. marisacat - 5 March 2009

FWIW… think this is called bobbing.

But the broad sell-off dragged all sectors of the market lower. Producers of basic materials like metals and chemicals, whose shares rose Wednesday on speculation about China’s stimulus spending, fell back, as did transportation companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 6,594.44, down 281.40, or 4.1 percent — its lowest close since April 15, 1997. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 4.25 percent, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq index was off 4 percent.

Stocks in Europe also closed sharply lower.

33. marisacat - 5 March 2009

Roubini… from the close.

[N]ews and banks analysts’ reports suggested that Goldman Sachs got about $25 billion of the government bailout of AIG and that Merrill Lynch was the second largest benefactor of the government largesse. These are educated guesses, as the government is hiding the counter-party benefactors of the AIG bailout. (Maybe Bloomberg should sue the Fed and Treasury again to have them disclose this information.)

But some things are known: Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein was the only CEO of a Wall Street firm who was present at the New York Fed meeting when the AIG bailout was discussed. So let us not kid each other: The $162 billion bailout of AIG is a nontransparent, opaque and shady bailout of the AIG counter-parties: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and other domestic and foreign financial institutions.

So for the Treasury to hide behind the “systemic risk” excuse to fork out another $30 billion to AIG is a polite way to say that without such a bailout (and another half-dozen government bailout programs such as TAF, TSLF, PDCF, TARP, TALF and a program that allowed $170 billion of additional debt borrowing by banks and other broker-dealers, with a full government guarantee), Goldman Sachs and every other broker-dealer and major U.S. bank would already be fully insolvent today.

And even with the $2 trillion of government support, most of these financial institutions are insolvent, as delinquency and charge-off rates are now rising at a rate–given the macro outlook–that means expected credit losses for U.S. financial firms will peak at $3.6 trillion.

So, in simple words, the U.S. financial system is effectively insolvent.

34. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 March 2009

for those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s Jon Stewart on Santelli and CNBC. VERY funny.

lucid - 6 March 2009

extremely hilarious… showed it to a bunch of people today.

35. Madman in the Marketplace - 5 March 2009
36. lucid - 6 March 2009

Something I wrote:

Our pittance to speak
Thoughtful quips,
Rewards us with flattery.

Our pittance to play
Salacious jigs,
Salivates the brasserie.

We ask a pittance to live,
And the piety of the pious
Springs the latch on the door.

So our handfires kindle
A piety without –
Reverence for the forgotten lore
That you are me and he is she.

And our quips and jigs
Are a mindful prelude
To more precious ore.

37. lucid - 6 March 2009

As an addendum… my smart tuxedo kitty has figured out how to get into the cabinet with the dry food, that I only feed them when I’m leaving for a day or more. And so I’ve had to barricade it with the shell of my old computer… only thing he isn’t strong enough to move.

marisacat - 6 March 2009

… some cats just live to tell us off…

🙄

38. NYCO - 6 March 2009

Slum kids asked to star in movie, whisked off to Hollywood for Academy Awards gala, then dumped back into the slums, where one is beaten and the other refuses to take off her Oscar gown.

Sounds like a great plot for a movie…

marisacat - 6 March 2009

I think the whole thing has been an horrific travesty… there has been a pic at the Telegraph for days that I resisted putting up as it is just so sad: In a small ramshackle room, one of the small boys is smacked around by his father for wanting to sleep, worn out from the whle thing and the plane trip back.

I assume the father, whose face was nt shown in in the photo tho the small huddled weeping child holding his face was shown, wanted the child to “perform” for the international media cameras.

I got a stench off Danny Boyle that I did nto care for either. With his slobber for St Mary’s Social Club back in his Manchester (as it?) stomping grounds. One more hyper idiot.

I read that some of the Oscar hoopla was to forge a strong bond with Bollywood and non union work/workers. makes as much sense as anything in our rigged world.

39. Intermittent Bystander - 6 March 2009

Today’s featured celebrity octopus is Truman, from Boston.

His name is Truman. But you can just call him Houdini.

Truman, a 7-foot-long, 30-pound octopus at the New England Aquarium squeezed his body into a 14-inch square acrylic box today in pursuit of food, aquarium officials said. The 30-minute performance drew a crowd of staff and guests.

The caretakers for the octopi at the aquarium place food inside locked boxes as an enrichment activity. The idea is that the animals, who are very intelligent, must figure out how to unlatch the boxes and get the food, aquarium officials said in a news release.

::snip splash::

The idea was for Truman to release the latch on the larger box then release the latch of the smaller one to get his food. And staff expected Truman not to get to work until after the aquarium closed and it was dark, because octopi typically prey on other animals at night.

But Truman was impatient. He got to work right away. And rather than undoing the latch on the larger box, he squeezed his legs and large head through a two-inch hole in the larger box.

Photo and more details at the link!

marisacat - 6 March 2009

thanks for that IB, I just caught a quick glimpse of him on the early news, inside the box, looking like ‘smashed to the glass suckers and tentacle crimp’…

What a hoot!

Intermittent Bystander - 6 March 2009

[Aquarium spokesperson] LaCasse said the octopi are known among the staff as “absolutely remarkably intelligent animals” who like to interact with people.

“Believe it or not,” he said, “that octopus likes to be petted.”

What’s next?!

“An octopus walked into a bar this evening, and. . . .”

40. Intermittent Bystander - 6 March 2009

U.S. unemployment rate goes to 8.1% today, according to NPR.

41. Intermittent Bystander - 6 March 2009

catnip will enjoy this: Icelanders knit crafty response to global crisis

Icelanders are hardly sitting idle as their country is slammed by the global financial hurricane. In cutting-edge Reykjavik, many are turning to arts and crafts, both to save money and to make it.

“Those who can’t afford to buy presents are making them on their own, and those who can afford them are mostly buying handmade Icelandic items because of the import limitations,” says Nalin’s owner, Helga Jona.

42. BooHooHooMan - 6 March 2009

Ouch. From a rec listed,
660+ comment strong ToquDeVille diary on kos.

Jim Cramer is a crook. Wall Street is full of crooks. The next time you see CNBC, keep that in mind. They are not reporting. They are trying to sell you something and, quite possibly, trying to manipulate the market.

I LIKE that guy, ToqueDeVille. LOL.
Surely the lightweights concerned about “controversy” will show up in the thread…always the concern over how it sounds first and foremost – always – rather than making a freaking dent…

Anyways….TDV begins with a tid on the on priceless Jon Stewart clip above re CNBC “Expert$”…
Then proceeds through Mark Mitchell, an editor of the Columbia Journalism Review…and Mitchells expose on the scam-world of Jim Cramer and the cadre of television’s financial “Journalists”…

marisacat - 6 March 2009

well one good thing is that a few quotes from that nut Cramer over the past year are getting some ventilation in the press. Like saying Bear Stearns was safe, a few months ago, not too long before it crashed. But, what else is new.

Not sure that it matters tho…

Obama and Gibbs need, imo, get over whatever this is, the artificial call out game with name personalities. I think it is all about no one should oppose them, least of all loudly or nastily. ”Grow up” is my idea, and I never say that.

43. NYCO - 6 March 2009

50. There were several child actors in the film but only 2 were from the slums (the others were more middle-class Mumbai schoolchildren with acting aspirations). One questions whether the film needed child actors from the slums at all. The problem is that you can’t separate the children from their parents, so promises of a trust fund and education aren’t enough; the adults want to see upfront money, and a steady stream of it.

44. BooHooHooMan - 6 March 2009

Gaza homes destruction ‘wanton’

Amnesty said the way houses had fallen suggested they had been blown up from under walls and pillars

Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in “wanton destruction” of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza.

Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes.

Israel’s military said buildings were destroyed because of military “operational needs”.

The Israeli Defense Forces said they operated in accordance with international law during the conflict.

However, the use of mines to destroy homes contradicted this claim, the head of the Amnesty International fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, Donatella Rovera, has argued.

Israeli troops had to leave their vehicles to plant the mines, indicating that they faced no danger and that there was no military or operational justification, she said.

marisacat - 6 March 2009

Have to hand it to the IDF. Genuinely mean spirited. No stone left unturned.

BooHooHooMan - 6 March 2009

And we do…hand it to the IDF….they’ll be back in Gaza…with resources for war backed by the sheeple in the US…

It’s hideous.

45. BooHooHooMan - 6 March 2009

Krugman today….

The Big Dither

Last month, in his big speech to Congress, President Obama argued for bold steps to fix America’s dysfunctional banks. “While the cost of action will be great,” he declared, “I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.”

Many analysts agree. But among people I talk to there’s a growing sense of frustration, even panic, over Mr. Obama’s failure to match his words with deeds. The reality is that when it comes to dealing with the banks, the Obama administration is dithering. Policy is stuck in a holding pattern.

Here’s how the pattern works: first, administration officials, usually speaking off the record, float a plan for rescuing the banks in the press. This trial balloon is quickly shot down by informed commentators.

Then, a few weeks later, the administration floats a new plan. This plan is, however, just a thinly disguised version of the previous plan, a fact quickly realized by all concerned. And the cycle starts again.

Why do officials keep offering plans that nobody else finds credible?

So where do the Obasmics go with that?
Claim Krugman is a dittohead, too?

marisacat - 6 March 2009

Well Rahm had a few sharp comments for Krugman in the profile in The New Yorker, last week I guess.

The administration is very obsessed with media that dare speak against them. In any way. I am guessing they are wondering when to take on MoDo. She msut be getting under their skin.

So the FOX creeps and Rush and whoever else just bait Obama. It’s sport.

And so we drift…………….

eh.

BooHooHooMan - 6 March 2009

I’d venture to guess MoDo would mop up the floor with damn near any of ’em….

And Gibbs? Oh lawd have mercy. The ref would be waving the mic down from the ceiling, before the smelling salts kicked in and Gibbs knew what hit him…

Frankly that whole “No Drama Obama” gestalt?
“Gravitas-helper” found in the condiment aisle…
Hell they kept Gates the Bush US Attorneys so far —Why don’t they just dig up Tony Snow? You know, pep things up in the Press Room “Center”.

A Quick aside– to the DOJ US Attorneys non-sequitor– LOL –
, the wusses are dragging their feet because the haven’t QUITE worked out a convenient time for KARL ROVE to “testify”..In Private. Fluffers.

46. marisacat - 6 March 2009

new post…

LINK

………… 🙄 ……………


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