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We’re 55, balmy with a soft rain… 1 January 2010

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements.

Philadelphia, US: People walk across Broad Street through the snow    [Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP] 

from a gallery at the Guardian on snow in Eastern US and Europe….

My preference is slightly warmer, balmy, over cast with a light rain… but I won’t complain.



1. marisacat - 1 January 2010

Gah… via Bloomberg:

“The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.”

Happy New Year! Break a leg!

2. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 January 2010
marisacat - 1 January 2010

I saw little clips of it today… the word being used seemed to be “low key”.

I expect his approval numbers to go down, frankly. Disenchantment of all kinds seems loose upon the land.

KGO is canvassing for acceptance to full body cavity search. Second host today…. Should be interesting to watch…

3. marisacat - 1 January 2010

hmm SMBIVA picks up on a good post of Michael Dawson’s… and ms_xeno has a very good comment…

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 1 January 2010

roh roh … EXCLUSIVE: Obama Got Pre-Christmas Intelligence Briefing About Terror Threats to “Homeland”

President Barack Obama received a high-level briefing only three days before Christmas about possible holiday-period terrorist threats against the US, Newsweek has learned. The briefing was centered on a written report, produced by US intelligence agencies, entitled “Key Homeland Threats”, a senior US official said.

The senior Administration official, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that nowhere in this document was there any mention of Yemen, whose Al-Qaeda affiliate is now believed to have been behind the unsuccessful Christmas Day attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bring down a transatlantic airliner with a bomb hidden in his underpants. However, the official declined to disclose any other information about the substance of the briefing, including what kind of specific warnings, if any, the President was given about possibly holiday attacks and whether Yemen came up during oral discussions.

marisacat - 1 January 2010

oh such bad luck for The Foundling…

to be frank what frosted my non-existant cookies was the mad dash, full presidential motorcade to the rented abode to deliver his chicago bud [in charge of the marionette strings] to his bumped-chin-kid. just a few hours after his sleepy-eyed dumb first response…

catnip - 1 January 2010

The senior Administration official,

That’s a bizarre piece, especially since it then goes on to identify all of the “senior administration officials” who were in on that briefing. Looks like a CYA effort.

marisacat - 1 January 2010

I agree.. think the last graph says his aides or whatevers are worried he will be blamed.

Well I guess he can try now t be Reagan (since he is clearly not FDR nor Lincoln nor anyone else whose skin they tried to lay over him). Delegator-in-chief. In which case someone needs to take the fall. Tuesday is supposed to be be the big pow wow day…. and the phrase “heads will roll” has been used.

Frankly there needs to be some blood shedding imo. All th people named in that article are useless. IMO

catnip - 1 January 2010

but but but…Broder in the WaPo:

It came as no surprise to anyone who knows her that Napolitano handled the incident and its aftermath with aplomb. In the years I have known her, she has managed every challenge that has come her way with the same calm command that she showed in this instance. If there is anyone in the administration who embodies President Obama’s preference for quiet competence with “no drama,” it is Janet Napolitano.


marisacat - 1 January 2010

I think he is getting generally laughed at for that article… and also another this week. Creep that he is, he seems to have finally flipped his wig.

marisacat - 1 January 2010

Speaking of Janet Nap… Opinionator has a good post up on where she probably stands… the upshot that where the tear down will be is in the 2010 elections… I would add, her and the whole wretched shit sandwich.

marisacat - 1 January 2010

And hell, while I was there, saw this.

Why on earth should WE be put thru invasive imaging and pat down if they DON’T FUCKING LOOK AT THE GOD DAMNED LISTS?

The Homeland Security officials said they could not comment specifically on anything to do with Abdulmutallab or Northwest/Delta Flight 253, which he tried to blow up on Christmas Day as it began its descent toward Detroit. However, they did indicate that pre-takeoff checks of passenger names through the TIDE system were not at all routine, though they said they could not immediately provide statistics as to how often such checks occurred. As Newsweek reported last weekend, Dutch authorities said that the passenger list of Flight 253 was cleared by US authorities — believed to be the National Targeting Center — before it took off for Detroit on Christmas Day with Abdulmutallab on board.

Of course the whole thing has been a joke from minute one. A ruse to make everyone a suspect.

5. catnip - 1 January 2010

U.S. Loan Effort Is Seen as Adding to Housing Woes

The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good.

Since President Obama announced the program in February, it has lowered mortgage payments on a trial basis for hundreds of thousands of people but has largely failed to provide permanent relief. Critics increasingly argue that the program, Making Home Affordable, has raised false hopes among people who simply cannot afford their homes.

As a result, desperate homeowners have sent payments to banks in often-futile efforts to keep their homes, which some see as wasting dollars they could have saved in preparation for moving to cheaper rental residences. Some borrowers have seen their credit tarnished while falsely assuming that loan modifications involved no negative reports to credit agencies.

Some experts argue the program has impeded economic recovery by delaying a wrenching yet cleansing process through which borrowers give up unaffordable homes and banks fully reckon with their disastrous bets on real estate, enabling money to flow more freely through the financial system.

“The choice we appear to be making is trying to modify our way out of this, which has the effect of lengthening the crisis,” said Kevin Katari, managing member of Watershed Asset Management, a San Francisco-based hedge fund. “We have simply slowed the foreclosure pipeline, with people staying in houses they are ultimately not going to be able to afford anyway.”

Mr. Katari contends that banks have been using temporary loan modifications under the Obama plan as justification to avoid an honest accounting of the mortgage losses still on their books. Only after banks are forced to acknowledge losses and the real estate market absorbs a now pent-up surge of foreclosed properties will housing prices drop to levels at which enough Americans can afford to buy, he argues.

“Then the carpenters can go back to work,” Mr. Katari said. “The roofers can go back to work, and we start building housing again. If this drips out over the next few years, that whole sector of the economy isn’t going to recover.”

The Treasury Department publicly maintains that its program is on track. “The program is meeting its intended goal of providing immediate relief to homeowners across the country,” a department spokeswoman, Meg Reilly, wrote in an e-mail message.

But behind the scenes, Treasury officials appear to have concluded that growing numbers of delinquent borrowers simply lack enough income to afford their homes and must be eased out.

marisacat - 1 January 2010

It’s a nightmare…

6. marisacat - 1 January 2010


A UK cartoon on the Peace Prize


marisacat - 1 January 2010


The endless web:

From ‘goodness personified’ to deadly CIA attack suspect

By Guy Adams

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Was the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees in eastern Afghanistan this week, sending shock waves through the US spy agency, masterminded by a warlord who was once one of the CIA’s key allies?

Jalaluddin Haqqani, who visited the Reagan White House and was once described by Texas politician Charlie Wilson as “goodness personified”, is believed by some US officials to have ordered the attack from his hideout in neighbouring Pakistan. ….

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 January 2010

Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. economy, workers

For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism — there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

And the net worth of American households — the value of their houses, retirement funds and other assets minus debts — has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s.

marisacat - 2 January 2010

I wonder how many people realise we have been led to the “big turn in the road” as I call it.

The future is a mix of Chile (economic chaos thanks to the Chicago Boys) and Argentina… (police state horror with established institutions, including the Great Religions, operating in concert).


Madman in the Marketplace - 2 January 2010

people don’t want to face it.

8. marisacat - 2 January 2010

FWIW (very little):

–NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’: Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, roundtable with NBC’s Tom Brokaw, NY Times’s David Brooks, the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

–ABC’s ‘This Week’: Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I.D.-CT), and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), roundtable with ABC’s George Will, Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker, National Journal’s Ron Brownstein and NY Times’s David Sanger

–CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’: CBS correspondents Nancy Cordes, Jan Crawford, David Martin, Bob Orr and Chip Reid

‘Fox News Sunday’: Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), roundtable with Fox News’s Brit Hume, Fortune’s Nina Easton, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and NPR’s Juan Williams

–CNN’s ‘State of the Union’: Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, former Co-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission and former Governor Tom Kean (R-NJ), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), roundtable with former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend, CNN’s Jeanne Meserve and former 9/11 commission member Richard Ben-Veniste, roundtable with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Republican strategist Rich Galen, ‘Last Word’ segment with former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer

–C-SPAN’s Weekend Programming: ‘The Communicators’ (6:30pm ET Saturday): Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers President Rod Beckstrom, questioned by the Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Rhoads …

‘Q&A’ (8pm ET & 11pm ET Sunday): Documentary filmmakers Leslie and Alexander Cockburn, who will talk about their documentary ‘American Casino’ which tells the story of subprime mortgages and their impact on various people in Baltimore

catnip - 2 January 2010

Which channel is Q&A usually on?

marisacat - 2 January 2010

C-Span…. I stuck in a paragraph break… that was not there….

catnip - 2 January 2010


marisacat - 2 January 2010

gah. WP sent your “thanks” to Spam File.

I don’t know why WP is officially spanking EVERYBODY, but it is.


9. mattes - 2 January 2010

I have been waiting with bated breath, Bhadrakumar NEVER disappoints:

China resets terms of engagement in Central Asia

marisacat - 2 January 2010

hi mattes —- how are you……….?

marisacat - 2 January 2010

oh that is very interesting, thanks for posting that…………….

BooHooHooMan - 3 January 2010

Great article. mattes.
So.. During our Lost Decade, (don’t worry, there’s more)
While our best and brightest, among other things, were lining up to watch Borat on TV’s made in China, { yuck it up /love the hi-def) and Bill and his buds pulled a quick inside speculative deal on Kazakh uranium ore , China and Kazakstan hooked up a transcontinental energy pipeline quite happily without us… Hunh. Who’da thunk it?

Oh but our Western Imperialists are soo smart, soo smart.
TSTF even! – Too Smart to Fail -we are lead to believe.
And we are invited to congratulate ourselves too..
having elected Obie and all…

We heard it back in 1985 too, and of course with Clinton
But back in 1985- LOL – from Tom Friedman –

Published: July 22, 1985

Oh, DO INDULGE just a few celebratory “sell-em-the-rope” snippets:
(Fine by me)

The Chinese in the last seven months have shown an increasing appetite for Israeli skills in agriculture, solar energy, manufacturing, advanced technology, robotics, construction, road building and arms manufacturing, say Israeli officials familiar with the trade. Some deals have already been struck and many others are pending at one stage or another, according to recent Israeli press accounts.

Chinese Drive for Development

The Chinese interest in Israel – a country with which Peking has not had diplomatic relations and whose policies it regularly denounces in international forums –

is seen by Israeli experts as one more manifestation of China’s new economic policy, which is aimed at achieving rapid industrial development by adopting Western methods and technology from any country willing to sell it.

LOL. Stupid, blinded by greed motherfuckers.

So flash forward from Friedmans NYT ’85 piece ..Flash forward fifteen years, to the tail end of the Too Smart to Fail Clinton Era, with his Brain Trust lead by Robert Rubin , accompanied of course by so many other shills, goaders, sycophants, and propaganda peddlers, including then-shitling-busboy Rahm Emanuel…

Brilliant! Don’cha remember –
~Rope~~~ > for state of the art VCRs! With Cassettes!
So they don’t Nuke Taiwan! Cuz they will ya know!

Published: November 11, 1999

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10— Israel’s sale of a sophisticated $250 million airborne radar system to China has raised serious concerns at the Pentagon, and the Clinton administration has quietly urged Israeli officials to cancel delivery of additional radar planes and to curb other weapons sales to the Chinese military, administration and Defense Department officials said today.

Israel has long had a close, secretive military relationship with China that arms experts say has resulted in billions of dollars of weapons sales in recent years and raised a variety of concerns in the United States.

But senior Pentagon officials fear that the advanced radar system, in particular, will enhance China’s ability to extend its military might beyond its borders and threaten Taiwan. ”It is a significant capability,” a senior official said, ”and it will improve significantly China’s ability to conduct operations in and around the Taiwan Strait. That obviously is our major security interest in the region.”
The Israeli government has assured administration officials that the sale does not involve American technology. But a Pentagon official said that given the amount of weaponry that the United States shared with Israel, it was difficult to separate American military technology from Israel’s own.

”Given the very close relationship that we have, there is always the danger that some of this technology could pass from Israel to China,” the official said.

Of course we’ve knowingly used Israel for Weapons transfer –
still do – just another way to prop up Tel Aviv with cash –
further rationalized by hubris that maybe the Chinese never heard of the Trojan Horse and will just run with the tech shipped to them straight out of the box as it were…

It is all so Ollie North…..as is Obie.
Really a bad sign tho , not workin out fer us so well
a real erosion of Imperialist Principal , so to speak,
when Empires start paying the “locals” in military hardware …

It’s actually *understandable now ~ in a certain sense ~
that, Having failed out of Imperialism School so badly, that we just want to buy the opium to ship it HOME.

marisacat - 3 January 2010

At least I got this one out of Spam File quickly!

marisacat - 3 January 2010

BTW, just heard … Obster coming home a day early … Wants to “hit the ground running”.

Don’t laugh TOO hard.

BooHooHooMan - 3 January 2010

No need to Rush!

mattes - 3 January 2010

Your comments are priceless. Very on target.

And let’s not forget MR. Zion himself:

Sands says Singapore casino opening delayed

SINGAPORE — Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson said the opening of the company’s US$5.5 billion Singapore casino and resort has been delayed again, and now expects it to begin operations in April.


marisacat - 3 January 2010

I jsut finished the Asia Times you linked to yesterday. A stunner.

mattes - 3 January 2010

Is Goldman still pushing for higher oil?

Chevron Corp (CVX.N) could see its shares rise more than 20 percent in the next year because of the heavier emphasis it has put on oil exploration projects compared with rivals, Barron’s reported on Sunday.

The financial weekly said in its Jan. 4 edition that Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, would benefit from oil prices that are widely expected to continue rising in 2010 after jumping 75 percent in 2009, compared with a 6 percent increase in natural gas prices last year.


They should move to New York, let Wall Street breath their air:

Chevron Threatens To Leave Longtime Home

The biggest producer of greenhouse gases in California is the Chevron Corp.’s oil refinery in the Bay Area town of Richmond, just east of San Francisco
“Richmond has suffered, especially in the neighborhoods near the refinery,” McLaughlin says.

She points to high rates of asthma, cancer and heart disease in the neighborhoods affected by the refinery’s pollution.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 2 January 2010
lucid - 3 January 2010

LOL… I just ditched a card a month ago that raised my interest rate to 24% from 7% despite having perfect credit. When I was canceling it, they asked why, and I asked them why they raised the rate – they said it was dictate from on high… fuck ’em…

11. mattes - 2 January 2010

Kinda feeling out of place…..:P

Hope all’s well with you. I still read blogs, just not daily.

12. marisacat - 2 January 2010

Happy New Year!! It can only get better (or worse!):

The explosive device smuggled in the clothing of the Detroit bomb suspect would not have been detected by body-scanners set to be introduced in British airports, an expert on the technology warned last night.

The claim severely undermines Gordon Brown’s focus on hi-tech scanners for airline passengers as part of his review into airport security after the attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

The Independent on Sunday has also heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation. ….

marisacat - 2 January 2010

And this:

And experts in the US said airport “pat-downs” – a method used in hundreds of airports worldwide – were ineffective and would not have stopped the suspect boarding the plane.

13. lucid - 3 January 2010

btw – happy new year all… just watched ‘Revolutionary Road’. Not sure how I feel about it yet. My favorite actress of all time, my favorite film composer of all time, but I’m not sold on Mendes as a director. The way in which the movie unfolded, it was very clear what would happen – a tragedy in waiting. I think he tried to stay very close to his perception of ’50’s marital life, and alas, that comes out pretty canned. Anywho…

marisacat - 3 January 2010

I got htat from Netflix… while I was on enforced hiatus…. and while I knew from reviews and interviews it was about 50s marriage… I did not know the arc of the story at all.

BUT I did listen to a couple of interviews on the DVD… iin which Mendes and the script writer both referred t what the wife character did, with no specifics, as “terrible”… “She did terrible things”. No similar assessment fo rthe husband…. and as I said they gave no specifics.

Then after watching it, I wondered, what did they mean? What TERRIBLE thing(s) did she do?

Very unsettling movie, in a lot of ways.

So… did she die for her Big Sin?


14. marisacat - 3 January 2010

Lovely… War drums.

U.S. Closes Embassy in Yemen Over Qaeda Threats

Published: January 3, 2010
Filed at 6:33 a.m. ET

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — The U.S. closed its embassy in Yemen on Sunday, citing ongoing threats by the al-Qaida group that has been linked to the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas.

The confrontation with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has gained new urgency since the 23-year-old Nigerian accused in the attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told American investigators he received training and instructions from the group’s operatives in Yemen. President Barack Obama said Saturday that the al-Qaida offshoot was behind the attempt. …..

15. marisacat - 3 January 2010



………… 🙄 …..

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