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Gatherer… 10 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, UK, WAR!.

London, UK: A jay gathers twigs in Downing Street [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/Guardian]


Holy Shit… Is this a cartoon gone bad?

[R]esidents reached by telephone in the town of Xarardheere, a pirate haven in central Somalia, said that the pirates were sending small boats with supplies, weapons and more pirates to the hostage scene. The Associated Press reported that the pirates were sending larger ships — including previously hijacked ships with hostages still aboard — to serve as shields for the drifting lifeboat that now holds four Somali pirates and their American captive, Capt. Richard Phillips.

Then again…

[A] Somali resident of Eyl, the pirate stronghold in the Northern Puntland region of Somalia, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that two pirate ships had left Eyl on Wednesday afternoon. He said a third — the hijacked German cargo ship Hansa Stavanger — had sailed from Xarardheere, some 230 miles to the south along the Somali coastline, and a fourth — a Taiwanese fishing vessel seized Monday that was only 30 miles from the lifeboat — was also on its way. The man said there were a total of 52 hostages aboard the pirate-controlled ships floating toward the scene.

Residents of Xarardheere reached by The New York Times, however, said that the pirates had only sent small speedboats out to the scene. …snip…

Not to ignore the desperation of the scene, but it does make me think of a Disney ride gone haywire..


Tapper documents the Oblings carrying on, like the Bushiters.  Oh… and such a critical issue as well.  Ooops.

On ‘State Secrets,’ Meet Barack W. Obama

April 10, 2009 9:20 AM

In February, President Obama’s Justice Department quietly argued in a San Francisco court that it was maintaining the same position as President Bush’s Justice Department on a case involving detainees trying to sue a private company for its role in their (allegedly) extraordinary renditions.

The Obama administration pushed the status quo administration argument by invoking the “state secrets” argument, also a Bush-era fave.

“It is the policy of this administration to invoke the state secrets privilege only when necessary and in the most appropriate cases,” said DOJ spox Matt Miller.

Last week, Team Obama did it again.

And why wouldn’t they?

Attorney General Eric Holder recently said he was reviewing the way the Bush administration used the “state secrets” argument, but “on the basis of the two, three cases that we’ve had to review so far — I think that the invocation of the doctrine was correct.”


That seems a little different from the Obama-Biden campaign website where “The Problem” is described in part as the Bush administration having “invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.”

Because that’s just what the Obama administration tried to do…snip…

Tapper documents a series of earlier conflicting comments from Ob and Oblings on this very issue.  Oh that is a recurring theme.  So hard being pretzel.

And this from GG:

But there’s a new wrinkle to the Obama DOJ argument, critics say.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote in Salon earlier this week, “beyond even the outrageously broad ‘state secrets’ privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and — even if what they’re doing is blatantly illegal and they know it’s illegal — you are barred from suing them unless they ‘willfully disclose’ to the public what they have learned…

“Everything for which Bush critics excoriated the Bush DOJ — using an absurdly broad rendition of ‘state secrets’ to block entire lawsuits from proceeding even where they allege radical lawbreaking by the President and inventing new claims of absolute legal immunity — are now things the Obama DOJ has left no doubt it intends to embrace itself,” Greenwald writes.

I say we are seeing a plan come together.

Just remember to laugh every time one of the pushers of this regime lobs that hoary old diversion:  what a good listener Ob is. Electronically… wink wink


Elsewhere, 5 US mil dead in Iraq… and, we admit we have killed civilians in Afghanistan and wounded a pregnant mother. Killed an infant.   Obviously an in utero we do not value.

US Attack Kills 5 Afghan Civilians, Wounds Pregnant Mother

The US military has admitted to killing five Afghan civilians and wounding several others in an attack it initially said targeted militants. The shootings took place in the southeastern Khost province earlier this week. The dead included an infant boy. A nine-month pregnant woman was wounded and lost her baby.



1. NYCO - 10 April 2009

It’s the time of the season… for more student protests! This one is a second occupation at the New School. At least these students are (or should I say were, since apparently the cops moved in with force) protesting something vaguely coherent (they wanted Bob Kerrey out of there).

Meanwhile, this 10-minute video of the NYU protest from February has surfaced and it is the funniest thing I have seen for a long time.

The Painful Last Minutes of the NYU Kimmel Occupation

It’s a sad world when people guilty of “walking while black” are beaten by the cops, and meanwhile, the ones who really deserve to get smacked upside the head (for the crime of being insufferably stupid and a waste of resources) just get an 10 extra minutes to “reach a consensus” and sort out their confiscatables.

2. marisacat - 10 April 2009

So not a shock:

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Signs of Life Detected Beneath Rubble Four Days After Italy’s Quake [12:44 p.m. ET]


Right after the event, a local news channel interviewed an EMT guy who works earthquakes – a lot.. and had just returned from that area of Italy. His take, based on time of the guake, that so many, if not all, at home, in bed or maybe (thinking of the Nonna here with her friend in the kitchen, the one who crocheted) near by, that many would be trapped in those odd protected areas that occur in quakes and several days after the event, still rescues. I thought Berlusconi (or whoever) tried a bit too early to cut off rescue. Think he tried at the two day point. kinda early, no matter what.

NYCO - 10 April 2009

Wow, I hadn’t even been following the rescue efforts closely, I’m stunned they called it off after only 2 days?!? Hope Nonna jams those crochet hooks into Berlusconi’s leg at the photo op.

marisacat - 10 April 2009

well they tried, very quickly early Wednesday (and the quake occured early hours of Monday, around 3 am) there were rumbles… but then they found iirc a student.. and Nonna. I mean, Nonna was in good shape too.. she stood as soon as they set her on the ground, with just a little reliance on a couple hands on her elbows.. and she laughed at her desheveled hair.. asked for a comb. Still in her ‘grandmother in the kitchen in Italy’ outfit.. too.

98 years old too…

3. marisacat - 10 April 2009

Froomkin on the State Secret overreach….

Obama’s State Secrets Overreach

There are two things you really need to know about the “state secrets” privilege.

The first is that the government lied in the 1953 Supreme Court case that established the government’s right not to disclose to the judicial branch information that would compromise national security. The widows of three civilian engineers who died in a military airplane crash sued the government for negligence. The government refused to turn over records, citing national security. But some 50 years later, when the records in question were made public, there were no national security secrets in them, just embarrassing information establishing the government’s negligence [of course! — Mcat]. (More about the case here.)

The second thing is that the way the state secrets privilege has typically worked since then is that the government can refuse to publicly disclose a specific item of information if it explains why to the judge.

The idea is not that government officials get to tell a judge to dismiss an entire case because they don’t want to answer any questions at all. [oh but it is! –Mcat]

But it is precisely such a sweeping assertion that the Justice Department — the Obama Justice Department — is making in three cases that relate to torture and warrantless wiretapping.

And look where and on what Ob is hiding…. TORTURE and WARRANTLESS evesdropping.

There is something utterly un-American about saying that the executive branch can simply tell the judicial branch to butt out of a matter for national security reasons — and there’s no recourse. …snip…

Might be well on its way to being fully American.

Frankly I think Obster and W should have lunch once a month. To laugh their asses off at us. Invite the dames too. They can ALL laugh their asses off at us.

4. NYCO - 10 April 2009

U.S. Food Safety No Longer Improving

This story is completely Tainteresque (I refer to Joseph Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies, sort of a proto-Kunstlerian scholarly work that has become fashionable to read lately). Specifically, this quote:

Dr. Tim Jones, the state epidemiologist in Tennessee, said many of the easy improvements in the nation’s food-safety system had already been made. “You can only tell people so much to wash their cutting boards and wash their hands,” Dr. Jones said. “I think we’re running out of things to do to make dramatic improvements.”/b>

This is a key finding of Tainter’s archaeological research and subsequent collapse theories: that most (or perhaps even all) of the dramatic, efficient advances have already been discovered and implemented. In food safety, agriculture, medicine, field after field. That is to say, most of the advances that result in a net benefit to society (most bang for the buck) have been tried and put into use already. Here, you have a food safety expert coming out and saying so (and I’m sure he’s never read Tainter).

The other Tainterian aspect of the food safety story, of course, is the acknowledgement that our food gathering and processing systems have become too complex for us to manage well to even maintain the safety level we previously enjoyed.

marisacat - 10 April 2009

well we also went, so I read, from 50,000 inspectors to around 5,000. That makes a huge difference as well…

5. diane - 10 April 2009

3, 4 ….open the door

..oh fuckin priceless you two,…yeah I do have the day offffffff,…lucked out…..

brought to my mind Crichton’s book Next and the line about making soap out of berlusconi’s lipo-suctioned fat………

6. diane - 10 April 2009

oooh and doesn’t dana FISA houle have a ton of combs he no longer needs?

7. diane - 10 April 2009


:making soap out of berlusconi’s lipo-suctioned fat…

NASA/GOOGLE/Singularity are about to one up that one …urinated drinking water……………..Villlainrosa (phonetically spelled) of soucali did a tester of that recently…to apparent crickets..

zno wunder empty carton of plastic bottled water containers…recently discovered in newsums…..SUV/HUMMER/LIMO/PRIUS………..musn’t drink that shit, when one is preggers with the messiah…..

8. marisacat - 10 April 2009

Riding at the top of The Page…. http://thepage.time.com/

Hijackers holding American captain Richard Phillips are demanding a $2 million ransom, a fellow pirate says.

Defense officials say one pirate fired an automatic weapon when the hostage made his escape attempt.

Plus: A Navy ship resembling a small aircraft carrier is approaching the scene of the standoff.

9. diane - 10 April 2009

11 Marisa

thanks….Miss Devore did a brave piece on that issue:

Consider what one pirate told The New York Times after he and his men seized a Ukrainian freighter “loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition” last year. “We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits,” said Sugule Ali:. “We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard.” Now, that “coast guard” analogy is a stretch, but his point is an important and widely omitted part of this story. Indeed the Times article was titled, “Somali Pirates Tell Their Side: They Want Only Money.” Yet, The New York Times acknowledged, “the piracy industry started about 10 to 15 years ago… as a response to illegal fishing.”

Take this fact: Over $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are “being stolen every year by illegal trawlers” off Somalia’s coast, forcing the fishing industry there into a state of virtual non-existence.

But it isn’t just the theft of seafood. Nuclear dumping has polluted the environment. “In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed,” wrote Johann Hari in The Independent. “Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.” “

marisacat - 10 April 2009

That is the whole point.. it has been advantageous to the general international community that ply those waters, to leave Somalia a “failed state”. When they got a little stability, albeit under a local Islamic Court system, a couple of years ago, we toppled it lickety split.

10. diane - 10 April 2009

13 Marisa

yeah…what else could a decent human being, …nay, …..even a somewhat scoundrel, say to that, …..but

…yes, that did happen…..

at the very least, if the powers that be resembled anything close to decency, ….they might blush……

11. marisacat - 10 April 2009


Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Federal Judge Deals Blow to SEC, Says Investors Can Force Madoff Into Bankruptcy Cases [3:47 p.m. ET]

12. marisacat - 10 April 2009

hmm a quick look I did not see anything, but a news radio update said the French took back a hijacked ship, by force. One hostage died (out of 5, one was a child) and 2 “pirates” or however one terms it, died..

13. diane - 10 April 2009

Sucks Enormous fake bot Moby/mo’ be????? Cock

14. diane - 10 April 2009

16 Marisa

…ohhh jeez mere babes…and the powers that be …..have quite insiduously demolished concern for babes re their ever malevolent snarling at the heels of those who bear those babes into a depraved, inhumane POVERTY……

15. catnip - 10 April 2009

Why does Jake Tapper hate America?

marisacat - 10 April 2009

… and Froomkin and Greenwald .. and and. There are a few interesting posts around on this mess. I imagine as it is so blatant.

16. marisacat - 10 April 2009

Trust us. We are the adults and you are the children.. Oh, and all that “stuff” we prattled about Bush in the election? Forget about it.

Holder told Couric that the privilege is “at certain times” appropriate to be invoked, “but I want to make that we do so where it’s absolutely necessary. I would only apply the doctrine where – national security was at stake, where the lives of the American people were at stake,” he said.

Couric asked Holder whether he thought the doctrine was abused by the Bush administration.

“Well, I don’t know. On the basis of the two, three cases we’ve had to review so far, I think that the invocation of the doctrine was correct. We – reversed – are in the process of looking at one case. But I think we’re very likely to reverse it.” …

Gotta love this one:

Elsewhere in the interview, Couric asked Holder whether the Obama administration would seek to renew several controversial provisions of the PATRIOT Act, scheduled to sunset by the end of this year.

“I think we’re gonna look and see how those policies have been used,” Holder said. And then, make a decisions– based on experience. Talk to agents, talk to civil liberties advocates. See what the results of these policies that were contained in– the patriot act, whether they’ve been useful, whether or not they need to be reformed in some way. And then, make a determination as to whether or not we’ll support their– renewal.” …


Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

I wish I could say that I’m surprised.

17. marisacat - 10 April 2009

Meet the Press: NPR’s Norris, Washington Examiner’s York, Atlantic’s Goldberg, public policy scholar Wright, NPR’s Davidson and Blumberg.

Face the Nation: Mexican Ambassador to U.S. Sarukhan. Roundtable with NY Times’ Sanger, WashPost’s Parker and Chandrasekaran.

This Week: Rick Warren. Roundtable with George Will, Krugman, Gingrich, WashPost’s Marcus.

Fox News Sunday: Sens. Coburn, McCaskill.

State of the Union: Gen. Ray Odierno, Iraqi NSA Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

18. diane - 10 April 2009

“I think we’re gonna look and see how those policies have been used,” Holder said. And then, make a decision……..based on experience.

Wonder what holder means by that…whose experience? …since we have yet to hear the full horrors of the muzzled victims of the “patriots”/scoundrel’s “act,”….since the presumption we are always taught to hold dear,…is that our elite in the US…have absolutely no experience…with violating the very laws that the US uses to justify cold blooded murder

[I’m nuts? Good luck when you see that rather rounded kind of cute..off-white drone hovering over your very own blood…there are no humans aboard that thing to change their minds and sacrifise themselves (after all they are mere machines) for your babies who just got here and have shed no blood yet]

Oh, silly me,……I see now:

…talk to agents…..

Care to elaborate on agents holder? “Twitter” a bit for us sad sacks in the house?

19. diane - 10 April 2009


I mean really…do you really think it is such a wise idea (despite their impeccable degrees) to ask those so debase as to matter of factly subject folks into the want to die sensation of drowning alive, as to whether they think any “moral” boundaries have been destroyed in all of “our” rightjustnUS?

20. diane - 10 April 2009


yeah…didn’t think so you fucking bot.

21. diane - 10 April 2009

And no Mother Fuckers….and I do mean your Mothers, I don’t quite feel like meetin the Press today, although I do hope to see the little people employed by the press, with their mouths unwillfully muzzled shut upon their employment,, employed in the near future.


22. diane - 10 April 2009


and sit the fuck down kos…no ones talkin to you……………you are no fuckin journalist…

23. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009


One has to love the sequence of events here. Back in 2004, then-Goldman chief Hank Paulson goes to then-SEC-chief William Donaldson and petitions to have lending restrictions relaxed for the top-five investment banks. Donaldson rolls over, the restrictions are relaxed, and it’s a disaster, as the top five banks immediately overleverage themselves — two of the five, Bear and Lehman,would actually collapse, at least partially as a result of being insanely overleveraged. In this midst of this disaster, Paulson is named Treasury Secretary. He does nothing about the worsening financial crisis until it is far too late, then allows one of Goldman’s biggest competitors, Lehman, to fail while at the same time intervening on a huge scale to save AIG, which just happens to owe Goldman a ton of money. When AIG is bailed out, its government regulator is not in the room, but the new chief of Goldman, Lloyd Blankfein, is. In fact, Goldman Sachs ultimately receives about $13 billion of the money paid to AIG by the government in the bailout, reportedly getting paid 100 cents on the dollar for its AIG exposure, despite the fact that the bank claimed it wasn’t going to suffer severe losses if AIG collapsed. Later, another former Goldman executive, Ed Liddy, is installed as head of AIG — which just happens to get bailed out twice more, the last time to the tune of an additional $30 billion.

The last two bailouts of AIG take place after a former Goldman chief, Robert Rubin (who incidentally helped start this mess by ramming through a series of i-banker wet dream deregulatory moves as Treasury Secretary for Clinton in the 90s), is named to the Obama transition team, joining Summers (who has already taken $135K from Goldman that year) and Timothy Geithner (a protege of another Goldman alum, former president and COO and notorious scumbag John Thain). When it comes time for new Treasury Secretary Geithner to name a chief of staff, he chooses Mark Patterson, who is less than a year removed from working as a lobbyist for… Goldman, Sachs. Patterson’s great contribution to society as a Goldman lobbyist was opposing a 2007 measure introduced in the Senate by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama to rein in executive compensation.

I remember watching Obama the presidential candidate give a speech in Mason City, Iowa back in 2007. Obama had made a big show of not having registered lobbyists working for his campaign and he promised that lobbyists “won’t work in my White House.” The line was a hit and became part of Obama’s stump speech. I must have heard it two dozen times. A little over a year later, he put a registered lobbyist of a bailed-out investment bank in a job whose primary responsibility is adminstering bailout money.

It gets worse. According to a Glenn Greenwald piece I just read, even Gary Gensler is a former Goldman employee. That absolutely blows my mind. Genlser is Obama’s choice to head the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, whose purview is the derivatives market. The CFTC was the battleground where ages ago Rubin, Summers, and then-Rubin-aide Gensler teamed up to whack then CFTC chief Brooksley Born, who had serious concerns about the burgeoning derivatives market, in particular the credit-default swap market. Rubin overturned Born’s recommendations and derivatives were freed from most regulation. That economic Alamo led almost directly to the AIG disaster.

24. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

Taibbi ends the piece with this poll:

If you looked out your window and saw Larry Summers being dragged into an alley by junkyard dogs, what would you do?

– Wait a half-hour, then go outside to make sure the dogs are okay (41.0%, 93 Votes)

– Take a “laissez-faire” approach to the assistance question (40.0%, 92 Votes)

– Run downstairs, giggling, with a video camera (11.0%, 26 Votes)

– Call the Harvard University operator and hold the phone out the window (6.0%, 13 Votes)

– Reheat some Chinese and watch another episode of “Manswers” (2.0%, 5 Votes)

25. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009
26. diane - 10 April 2009

forked tounge indeed, some bot likely tried to shove a trident through it : Panetta Vows to Resist Congressional Investigations and Prosecutions of CIA Torturers

In Panetta’s view, a simple recitation of the Bush-era torture techniques employed by sadists within The Agency should suffice in restoring The Agency’s formerly sterling reputation.

27. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009
28. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

Lambda Legal’s Cathcart Sees Equality in Bloom

While we celebrate these immensely important breakthroughs in Iowa and Vermont, we also anxiously await the California Supreme Court’s decision in Strauss v. Horton, our challenge to last fall’s antigay ballot measure about marriage, Proposition 8. Strauss seeks to protect our 2008 victory that recognized the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry in that state. Four state high courts — those in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California and now Iowa — have made it clear that upholding the constitution means upholding the right of every adult to love the person he or she chooses and to enter into the “important civil institution” of marriage. We believe that Proposition 8 failed to follow the rules Californians long ago adopted for making changes to that state’s constitution. We also believe that California’s democratic government was designed from the outset – as in all other states and our federal system– to protect the fundamental rights of minorities from attack by the majority. Now we wait to see if California’s high court will uphold these principles and retain meaningful constitutional protections against majoritarian abuses. If the court does not, we will keep fighting for equality in the Golden State – as we are doing coast to coast – for as long as it takes.

But for now, we celebrate the inspiring fact that our nation has turned a critical corner. And each time there’s a big step forward, it makes it easier for others to follow. Marriage–equality laws may soon be enacted in New Jersey, New York, Maine and New Hampshire. After a string of Lambda Legal victories, marriage recognition is a reality in New York — and the political momentum is building toward marriage recognition in the nation’s capital. Marriage equality will be restored in California, by legal or political action, because each of our successes sows seeds of more progress. As the Iowa Supreme Court’s unequivocal conclusion last week showed, with time we will win in every corner of this country because we have the power of truth, love, fairness and decency on our side.

They say, “As goes Iowa, so goes the nation.” Indeed, one of the ultimate swing states, Iowa often selects our presidents. On issues of civil rights, however, this Heartland state has been remarkably consistent, honoring its own traditions of fairness and decency and leading the way. Iowa foretold the demise of slavery and, later, of racial segregation. The state validated women’s right to retain basic freedoms, notwithstanding marriage, including practicing law. Again and again, Iowa has had an accurate constitutional, and moral, compass. As the Heartland now speaks to our nation about this matter of the heart, we appreciate that we are watching a transformative moment. We’ve turned a corner and we won’t be turning back.

29. diane - 10 April 2009

29 Madman

well yeah…and then Obama brought on Martin Feldstein, an AIG Director, on board for the Tax Advisory Team.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — One of the people named this week to President Obama’s new Task Force on Tax Reform is a member of the AIG board of directors.

Martin Feldstein, a professor of economics at Harvard University, has been on the board of American International Group since 1988. He also was a prominent economic adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Asked about the AIG connection, a senior administration official said Friday that the White House declined to comment on the story.

What’s wrong with that?


We’re the Big BOYOS & GIRLZ…yooool learn

or maybe commit suicide they hope? like their own children so often do……..

30. diane - 10 April 2009


…well I kinda fucked up that link..but hey, it still works

marisacat - 10 April 2009

fixed it… 😆

31. Lucid - 10 April 2009

I just gave in and got an iPhone… I must admit it’s kinda cool. I hope this doesn’t make me an evil materialist.

catnip - 10 April 2009

And you got a capital “L” as a bonus, too? 😉

lucid - 10 April 2009

yeah – typed that from the phone… 🙂

catnip - 10 April 2009

Ooooo…getting all fancy schmancy on us. 😉

NYCO - 11 April 2009

Nah… as long as you don’t go on and on about how the iPhone will change the course of the history of mankind, we won’t kill ya.

Let us know how it works as a PHONE. I’ve heard some complaints about that.

32. marisacat - 10 April 2009


Let one of yours out of moderation…


33. diane - 10 April 2009


Thanks Marisa! I really botched that code….communicating used to be so simple ;0(


well some clarity hard to term it good news, but it’s not bad news:

The Emerging Secrets of Guatemala’s Disappeared

GUATEMALA CITY — For years the national police dumped millions of old files in a onetime munitions depot inhabited by bats.

About two weeks ago, authorities opened the door to the warehouse, stacked floor to ceiling with musty papers. Now Guatemalans are using the documents to search for information about loved ones murdered or disappeared in the long dirty war against critics of security forces.

34. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

Bill Maher – “What do you think of Sarah Palin?”

Gore Vidal – “I don’t think about her at all. And I get no impression that she’s thinking, either.”

lucid - 10 April 2009

Just watched that too. I always enjoy him even if I think he is a bit on the aristocratic side of things.

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

I’m a sucker for acidic bon mots.

lucid - 10 April 2009

Like a fine wine… was a bit miffed when he said of Gonzalez ‘he thought he was in Tijuana’ [seemed a bit racist to me] and then proceeded to claim he was the only voice in the media that decried the shredding of the constitution…

35. diane - 10 April 2009

Peachy, there goes another couple occupations in the near future, Landscaper, Gardener, let alone millions and millions of farmworkers:

I, robot – and gardener: MIT droids tend plants

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — These gardeners would have green thumbs – if they had thumbs.

A class of undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a set of robots that can water, harvest and pollinate cherry tomato plants.

The small, $3,000 robots, which move through the garden on a base similar to a Roomba vacuum, are networked to the plants. When the plants indicate they need water, the robots can sprinkle them from a water pump. When the plants have a ripe tomato, the machines use their arms to pluck the fruit.


Let alone the absolutely joyous relationship that humans mostly have when they slow down and tend to living plants……(and no, certainly not saying those millions of farmworkers have anything but a possibly hideously backbreaking job, but at least they have something when doors are so rapidly closing to machinery).

Yup, all beneficent connections that keep us sane being torn apart………….

(hope I didn’t botch that code by attempting to bold the title)

marisacat - 10 April 2009

The small, $3,000 robots, which move through the garden on a base similar to a Roomba vacuum, are networked to the plants. When the plants indicate they need water, the robots can sprinkle them from a water pump. When the plants have a ripe tomato, the machines use their arms to pluck the fruit.

oh ffs. The plants and flowers will never never never look the same. They will not. I hope some riotous Morning Glory slither of vine and flowers reaches up and strangles the robot. Or a beautifully sculptured tree of lilacs (even tho I prefer them as is) just heaves over and smashes a robot.

AND pollinate… so bees need not show up? Humming birds? All the others?

catnip - 10 April 2009

Huan Liu, a 21-year-old computer science major, said designing the robot to pick the delicate tomatoes was made more difficult because the fruit would grow in unreachable places, such as behind stems or above where the robot’s arm could reach.

“The tomatoes, they come out of nowhere, or just in weird places,” Liu said.

Well, holy fuck! Call the Nature Police. There’s been a violation!

marisacat - 10 April 2009

I wonder if young Ms Liu has figured out that as a robot maker and enabler (find that tomatoe that is hiding from the pluck police!) she is herself a robot. Sorry to be rude to some promising young MIT student. But you know. Thems the breaks.

lucid - 10 April 2009

Yeah it sucks when nature isn’t symetrical.

lucid - 10 April 2009

2 words… slow foods

36. lucid - 10 April 2009

OK – so now I’m in the process of ituning my cd collection so this new iphone thingy I bought will serve a functional purpose in my life…

oh sorry – thought this was twitter for a second 🙂

catnip - 10 April 2009


lucid - 10 April 2009

Have I ever claimed not to be? Alas, most of my best music is on vinyl [which I will never give up – and I hate mp2’s anyways…]

But hey, I finally decided I needed to have music on the go without lugging around cd’s and a player – why not combine it with a phone so I only need to carry around one thing.

lucid - 10 April 2009

sorry mp3’s…

catnip - 10 April 2009

Okay. I’ll forgive you since you have vinyl too.

why not combine it with a phone so I only need to carry around one thing.

Yeah, I know how much it sucks to carry around a cordless phone and a record player.

lucid - 10 April 2009

Not to mention it’s really hard to carry a record player and keep it stable enough to actually play the record…

catnip - 10 April 2009

There’s that fact…and the speakers…and the amp…

lucid - 10 April 2009

They now make pocket sized phono preamps that have a headphone out… alas, then the problem would be the power supply.

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

welcome to the darkside, my friend. I’ve listened to music I haven’t pulled out in YEARS thanks to my iPod. Shuffle reveals both “wow, that’s awesome” and “omg, what was I thinking?!?!” moments all the time. OH, and of course you can always convert that old vinyl to mp3 w/ the right … you got got it folks! … additional GADGET!

lucid - 10 April 2009

Well I could do that because I have a recording studio… but that would take a few years. Instead I’m just going to Limewire any record I actually own and want on my iphone [because I actually paid for the album, any reasonable view of copyright law should recognize my right to have that content in any media – well lets just hope the RIAA doesn’t come after me].

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 April 2009

well, you’re assuming that “reasonable” and “copyright” still can coexist in the same sentence … the industry is doing everything it can to beg to differ, despite the fact that their luddism has caused the industry itself to fall apart. Don’t even get me started on the heirs of geniuses.

Gail Zappa is going after cover bands she accuses of “identity theft.” Her lawyers have sent scores of cease-and-desist letters. But many of the people who continue to perform Frank Zappa’s music say they don’t need permission.

“You or I cannot record that material and sell it for money. But we can perform it,” says guitarist Andre Cholmondeley, who plays in a long-running Zappa cover band called Project/Object. “I’m not a lawyer, but that is the opinion and direction I’ve been given by probably a dozen lawyers at this point.”

Cholmondeley maintains that as long as the venues he plays have paid for a blanket license from the performance-rights organization ASCAP, he is not doing anything illegal. Music lawyers consulted for this story agreed. It seems that Gail Zappa has never actually sued a cover band, but she has sued a 20-year-old festival in Germany called the Zappanale for trademark infringement. She lost but plans to appeal.

catnip - 10 April 2009

Wow. What’s up with that?

lucid - 10 April 2009

We sell them at a business I manage. Most integrated amps these days don’t have a phono preamp because they assume no one listens to vinly anymore. So there is now a market for separate phono preamps that can plug into integrated amps and allow one to have a turntable. And they tend to be pretty small… they even make tube driven one’s for about $250.

marisacat - 10 April 2009

she must love to spend money on attys. 😆 Not a worthy adventure in life.

catnip - 10 April 2009

Well, lawyers have to eat too.


lucid - 10 April 2009

Good lord. Frank is rolling in his grave… his own wife no less. I thought this crap was limited to idiots like Lars Ulrich. I’ve never remotely seen that argument. Venues pay for a freaking license!

marisacat - 10 April 2009

a long time ago JJB put up a story on Frank Zappa that was a bit of mind blower… I don’t know if I can find it. Some really clear and rather nasty cheat he performed on other artists. Let me see if search will bring it up….

marisacat - 10 April 2009

It would not come up… “JJB+Zappa”.. the search here is rather quixotic.

37. lucid - 10 April 2009

That really surprises me, given his ardent defense of free speech rights… hmm – while in my mind reasonable copyright laws and first amendment defense would seem to go hand in hand, hmmm.

Madman in the Marketplace - 11 April 2009

iirc, he could be a bit of an asshole if people didn’t play things as he heard them in his head. As for his wife, she’s plainly full of shit. Lots of this going around, though. Frank Herbert’s estate threatened to sue Second Life’s proprietors b/c a group of fans had set up a Fremen area in Second LIfe.

38. diane - 10 April 2009

Just went to get somethin to eat and came back to this:

Marisa at comment 49 saiz:

The plants and flowers will never never never look the same. They will not. I hope some riotous Morning Glory slither of vine and flowers reaches up and strangles the robot. Or a beautifully sculptured tree of lilacs (even tho I prefer them as is) just heaves over and smashes a robot.

catnip at comment 50 responds to:

“The tomatoes, they come out of nowhere, or just in weird places,” Liu said.

Well, holy fuck! Call the Nature Police. There’s been a violation


realllly call the frikken MIT wahhhambulance…

ohh jeez I love laughing….

;0) ;0);0) ;0);0) ;0);0) ;0);0) ;0);0) ;0);0) ;0)

39. diane - 10 April 2009

ooooh and I love morning glories, if you have a spot, and like purple, get some Star of Yelta seeds. I initially got them through Thompson Morgan, and none of their seeds appeared to be sterile, as I used to collect and plant them from the spent flowers (at least when I was buying from them). They sell veggie seeds too.

catnip - 10 April 2009

Wow. Those are pretty.

40. catnip - 10 April 2009

AARP to Kos et al: SYFPH (basically).

41. diane - 10 April 2009

75 catnip

oooohh that’s funny

Speaking of AARP does anyone no if they ever really cleaned house after that 2003 expose re that putrid Medicare Bill? The one at least nine Dems signed onto?

42. catnip - 10 April 2009

More Quickly Than It Began, The Banking Crisis Is Over (Time)

When people look back on the near-collapse of the banking system they may say that the Congress and Henry Paulson threw enough money into the path of the oncoming failure of the credit system to slow it down so that the government could properly go through the process of guaranteeing parts of the balance sheets of firms including Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC). The initial TARP may also have provided time for the new Administration to put together its widely hailed bank “stress test” program meant to determine which of the big financial institutions have dysentery and which do not. Finally, the hundreds of billions of dollars that went into the largest banks late last year allowed Secretary Geithner to produce his public/private partnership to buy toxic assets off of bank balance sheets.

All of those plans, no matter how well-intentioned they may seem, are unnecessary now. Wells Fargo (WFC) indicated that it made about $3 billion in the first quarter of the year and declared its buyout of the deeply troubled Wachovia to be a success. Wells Fargo (WFC) said that the low cost of money from the government combined with a surging demand for mortgages was all the medicine that it required.

Banks stocks reacted to the news, which took the markets completely by surprise, by driving up Wells Fargo’s stock by 32%. Bank of America (BAC) shares jumped 35%.

Oddly absent from the discussion of how well Wells Fargo did is why the government was in the midst of testing bank balance sheets at all. The experts at the Treasury had been thrown off the scent and consequently had missed the fact that there was not need to test what is already working well. The same holds true for the Geithner plan to take toxic assets off bank balance sheets. It is academic now. What banks are earning from the difference between the cost of capital and the income from lending is now great enough for the banking system to be self-sustaining again.

So, there you go. I guess (??)

And, apparently, The Housing Crisis Isn’t A Crisis (Forbes).

Happy days are here again! (Or ARE they?)

It isn’t even Sunday yet and the economy seems to have resurrected.

43. diane - 10 April 2009


oh catnip plant them if you can, they’re far more beautiful in person where you can see the light through the shimmering transclucent petals …really stunning……….

catnip - 10 April 2009

I’ll have to see if they’ll grow up here. They look like petunias so I think they should. I’m REALLY limited in what I can grow this spring because I live in a shared townhouse with a postage-stamp sized backyard with a shared walkway. I think I’ll basically have to stick with hanging planters on the fence.

44. marisacat - 10 April 2009

land of the free home of the brave…

I sort of watched a ABC program on access to weapons… but at the end they had a brother of a woman killed at VA Tech assist with a segment.

The “gun show loophole” which VA legislators promised to close after VTEch. Although that shooter bought his in gun stores and registered them, showing ID for background check that failed to turn up his 24 or 48 hour holds in a mental facility. (As I recall there was a technicality, had he been held for 3 days it would have shown up, but no matter, it also came out then that VA does not fund nor much enforce the laws ont he books)…

They gave the guy 5K and he went off to a gun show in VA. No problem, bought his first gun while waiting in line for the show to open. A Glock, the same gun that killed the sister at VTech. Bought 10 or 12 more inside at the gun show. Was asked once for ID to show that he was a VA resident, demurred and the seller backed off, asked for an extra 100 bucks to cover the “risk”.

All legal. The individual, this brother… has twice gone before the VA leg to campaign for closing the loophole (and I imagine other safeguards).

The very legisaltor representing the area where VTech is votes against it..

They shoulda asked KAINE.. you know.. and should update at the end iwth the recent comments I posted from Holder.

45. diane - 10 April 2009

78 catnip


do I smell Happy Days again or has the toilet backed up.

catnip - 10 April 2009
catnip - 10 April 2009

Oops. Posted that in the wrong place although it does go along with the smell of a backed up toilet.

46. catnip - 10 April 2009

‘Deadliest’ suicide bomb kills five US soldiers

A suicide bomber killed five US soldiers and two Iraqi policemen when he rammed his explosives-laden truck into a sandbagged wall surrounding a police headquarters in Mosul.

A sixth US soldier and 17 Iraqi policemen were wounded in the blast near the national headquarters in the country’s north. Mosul is Iraq’s third-largest city and al-Qai’da’s last urban stronghold. Suicide bombings continue to threaten the city, which US troops must leave by 30 June under an agreement with the Iraqis.

The approaching deadline has raised fears about what will happen after the soldiers depart. Lt-Col Michael Stuart, the chief of US operations in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, said the US patrol happened to be outside the headquarters when the truck rammed the wall. “It was just bad timing,” he told the Associated Press. It was the deadliest single bombing attack on US forces in more than a year.

47. catnip - 10 April 2009

Frenchman dies in Somalia rescue

One French hostage has died and four others have been freed in a rescue operation by French troops on a yacht off Somalia, French officials say.

Two pirates were killed in the operation and three were captured, the French presidency said.

Officials said the rescue was launched when talks with the pirates broke down and threats became “more specific”.

Two French couples had been seized with a child, who was among those freed from the yacht, Tanit, seized last week.

News of the operation came after a US captain made an unsuccessful overnight bid to escape from another seized vessel off Somalia.

Captain Richard Phillips managed to jump overboard off the lifeboat on which he was being held by pirates, US media reported.

But his attempt to reach a nearby US military ship was thwarted before it could come to his aid.

Maybe it’s just me but sending 3 US warships to rescue that guy seems like overkill. Don’t those ships have anything better to do?

48. lucid - 10 April 2009

We’re a global octopus… and can’t begin to support our limbs… thank fucking god.

49. catnip - 10 April 2009

From the “Oh, really?” department: American victims of Hezbollah rockets sue North Korea

50. diane - 10 April 2009

80 Marisa

Speaking of which, this seems to have been really stifled Friday :Henry Ford Community College goes on lockdown after murder-suicide

And while it may seem like a stretch, I don’t think near so much violence would’ve been going on recently if DC hadn’t sold the country to a bunch of predators, and not only did not stop the unprecedented unproclaimed wars but decided to amp them up. Not that Obama is worse than Bush, but that many knew what was coming with Bush, while they had no clue that Obama would give us the finger too.

And anyone that wants to ignore what he did with FISA and all of the corrupt advisors he brought on board , and say folks should give him more of a chance before they’re so critical, is an idiot, not a calm logical and rational pacifist, but an idiot, and a passve aggresive bullying one at that.

51. diane - 10 April 2009

80 catnip

I think they should grow up there if you plant them in early June, or whenever frost danger is over, they grow pretty quicly, and actually, you can put the seeds in the planter and they’ll do fine wrapping around themselves.

52. diane - 10 April 2009

I love our warped language useage

Deadly Iraqui Suicide Bombs

(Freindly Smiley Faced US Drones)

Say Assholes They are Bombs After All, and we Provoked Them by un Unprecedented Unprovoked Out & Out Slaughter and sacrifise of primarily non-ivy league, US youngins in the process

Had “WE” (actually a small elite group of well fed oil & war whores) really just wanted to take out Saddam we wouldn’t be reading about Deadly Suicide Bombs.

marisacat - 10 April 2009

well “clear and hold” is all about eradication.

53. catnip - 10 April 2009

Peeps Show

There’s even a Peeptanamo Bay diorama with a Peep being waterboarded.

54. diane - 10 April 2009


I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the “US” give that moronic, yet insidius, “Deadly” moniker, to one of “OUR” bombs

and the word Drone, heh, as if no human is responsible…yeah ….the banality of evil…..

55. diane - 10 April 2009

92 catnip

I thought Night Peeps was cool ,,,,,glad no one will have to eat all those…though

56. diane - 10 April 2009

Say…there should have been a

Mariscat – Opera Glasses and Peepcorn entry

57. diane - 10 April 2009

oooh jeez, i thought I smelled sewage…Unrelenting pilfering to back drop of DC crickets who aided and abetted a virtual online marketplace where folks have no option but to pay via credit, which of course is far easier to lose track of spending with, in addition to allowing the non online marketplace to increasingly discourage cash and check transactions, especially via merchandise return policies. Glad I no longer use credit cards.

BofA to Boost Rates on Cards With Balances
Bank’s Move Follows Rivals, Affecting Millions Who Don’t Pay Bill in Full Every Month

Bank of America Corp. is raising interest rates on as many as four million U.S. credit-card customers who carry a balance, becoming the latest bank to crack down on people who don’t pay off their bill every month.

Starting with June account statements, any credit-card customer who carries a balance and has an interest rate below 10% will see his or her rate jump into double-digit territory. A company spokeswoman declined to provide an exact number, saying the changes would affect less than 10% of the bank’s card customers in the U.S. [if that’s true, it’s likely because they’re charging the bulk of customers 20 some percent already – diane] The bank has 70 million card customers world-wide, but doesn’t break out the number of customers who are in the U.S. “It impacts a small portion of our cardholders,” said Betty Reiss, the spokeswoman.

marisacat - 10 April 2009

All of the cards are doing exactly what they wish to do… the credit card reform act that congress passed (some limitations on interest and some limitations on their ability to shaft people, but not a lot as I recall) was put forward, when passed, to 18 months down the line… So some limited reform (after months to kill people) in about 12, 13 months. It was passed a few months ago…

58. marisacat - 11 April 2009

Somebody call Shinseki… yeah right. The VA has never changed, a few hosptials and departments are better than others, but it has not hcanged and will not change.

Last Tuesday night, [public radio reporter David Schultz] was covering a public event at the VA Hospital in Washington, D.C. While interviewing one of the veterans about the poor treatment he was receiving at the hands of the VA, [Gloria Hairston, an internal communications specialist with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs] demanded that Schultz stop recording the interview and hand over his recording equipment.

“She said I wouldn’t be allowed to leave,” Schultz tells WTOP.

At first he refused. But after being surrounded by armed police officers who stood between him and the exit, he looked for a compromise.

“I became worried that I was going to get arrested,” Schultz says. …snip…

Like any good reporter, Schultz stood his ground and called his boss for direction. Longtime newsman Jim Asendio is the news director for WAMU.

“I told him to give them the flash card and get out of there,” Asendio says. “I didn’t want this to get out of hand.”

Schultz reluctantly handed over the memory card from his recorder.

Obviously Asendio did not want the story. That is my take anyway.

59. marisacat - 11 April 2009

LOL (I am laughing at the “I told you so…”)

I told you so, damn it

“The Obama administration formally adopted the Bush administration’s position that the courts cannot judge the legality of the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) warrantless wiretapping program, filing a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA late Friday.”

Posted by As’ad at 6:58 AM

60. marisacat - 11 April 2009

neue thread…


…….. 😯 ……….

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