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Great Googa Mooga

December 28, 2009

Took a few days off from the news but it looks like the world didn’t stay silent or holy or calm in the interim and the only brightness came from more bombs exploding and the twinkle in Holy Joe’s eye as he hoped to bring some righteous shock and awe to Yemen. All hell is breaking loose in Iran and some nutjob tried to blow up a plane by setting his pants on fire which likely means the rest of us will now have to drop ours and grab our ankles before being allowed anywhere near an airport.

We’re supposed to be scared shitless over it all but all we get from these “terrorists” lately are grainy videos of dubious origin and some photoshopped pictures of missile launches. You know back when it was the Soviets who were the existential threat we were all ducking and covering for, Leonid Breshnev used to get dressed in his best fur hat and muffs and throw a big winter parade complete with jackboots, aging tanks, and some missiles that looked somewhat real. At least he had the decency to spend a little coin and threaten us with some panache.

Seems like the only good news (which I heard about here first!) was that the Pope Benny got more action than he’s had in decades with anyone other than an altar boy when some woman threw the prunish pontiff on top of her at midnight mass. My prediction for the upcoming year – the first bulletproof Segway Popemobile.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    December 28, 2009 1:03 pm

    Chris Hedges reminds us who we really should be frightened of. Ourselves.

    Syed Fahad Hashmi can tell you about the dark heart of America. He knows that our First Amendment rights have become a joke, that habeas corpus no longer exists and that we torture, not only in black sites such as those at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or at Guantánamo Bay, but also at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan. Hashmi is a U.S. citizen of Muslim descent imprisoned on two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. As his case prepares for trial, his plight illustrates that the gravest threat we face is not from Islamic extremists, but the codification of draconian procedures that deny Americans basic civil liberties and due process. Hashmi would be a better person to tell you this, but he is not allowed to speak.

    This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements—who are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism—have discovered that his fate is their fate.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 29, 2009 8:14 am

      Sustainable agriculture too? They will have to pry my homegrown organic tomatoes from my cold dead hands.

      Wait, isn’t Michelle Obama all pro-organic gardening at the White House? To the stockades! Waterboard her!

      Sorry, this pisses me off so badly. This latest underoo bomber will be used only as another excuse to strip us of more of our rights and privacies.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 29, 2009 12:47 pm

        Speaking of sustainable agriculture, check out this article about corporate agriculture and the Copenhagen climate talks. Michelle Obama may have her tiny garden but her husband is not pursuing policies that would make that more widespread. Worth reading in full but here’s a snippet:

        U.S. agriculture is among the least efficient in the world, since it requires 10 calories of fossil fuel-derived inputs to produce just one calorie of food output. Ironically, this myth of “productivity” is now being used by corporate agribusiness and the White House to try to shoehorn agriculture back into the Copenhagen negotiation. The argument goes that intensive production will reduce development pressure on marginal lands. Left unsaid is that chemical-based biotech crops, agrofuel plantations, and livestock factory farms often displace those communities engaged in sustainable agricultural practices that are already doing the lion’s share of long-term carbon sequestration.

        Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in a COP 15 panel where he reiterated White House support for biotech crops and agrofuels as a “green” solution to climate change. Left out of the Obama administration’s policies is the fastest growing sector of U.S. agriculture: organics. The pattern is bipartisan and all too familiar. The USDA already provides subsidized crop insurance for biotech varieties under its expanded “risk management” program, which is not available to organic growers. Under the last farm bill, subsidies were also extended to new crops for agrofuel production, such as Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready sugar beets. Sustainable agriculture advocates are now worried that such carbon credits could compromise one of the most popular USDA funding programs that is available to organic producers: the Conservation Reserve Program, which actually does reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taking highly erodible land out of cultivation and putting it back into vegetation.


        Farmers can help fix the global climate crisis, but the solution is not found in catering to corporate agribusiness. The answer lies instead with promoting small-scale sustainable organic agriculture, a position best articulated at COP15 by Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for peasants, fishing folk, and indigenous people in the world. According to its principle of food sovereignty, farmers have the right to produce for their own communities without “forced trade” or subsidized dumping.

  2. cometman permalink*
    December 28, 2009 1:11 pm

    Great. Here’s another one the Obama administration tried to sneak by while nobody was looking. Dean Baker speculates that the cap on funds given to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which was lifted on Xmas eve may be some kind of back door TARP program.

    If 10% of Fannie and Freddie’s mortgages (held or insured) defaulted, this would amount to $550bn in bad mortgages. If they lost an average of 25% on these mortgages, this still only leads to losses of $163 billion, less than half of their $400 billion line of credit. And, this is before taking into account their prior reserves and profits on ongoing operations. As it stands, Fannie and Freddie had drawn just over $100bn of their line of credit, so it is difficult to understand the need for raising their borrowing limit from an amount almost four times this level.

    There is one possible reason that Fannie and Freddie could see much higher losses. Suppose that they deliberately buy up mortgages from banks at inflated prices. This was the initial purpose of the Tarp, but it quickly got sidetracked into lending capital to banks. This was the better policy, but it still left the banks with huge amounts of bad loans.

    Perhaps Fannie and Freddie are now acting as a “backdoor Tarp”. This could easily lead to losses in excess of $400bn. It also is the type of policy that you might want to announce on Christmas eve when no one is paying much attention.

  3. cometman permalink*
    December 28, 2009 1:25 pm

    Angry Hofstra guy sums up the Oughts – Good Riddance to the Devil’s Decade.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 29, 2009 9:37 am

      The comparison of the Republicans to Jimi Hendrix choking on his own vomit was something else. Hofstra man has the literary imagination of Tom Robbins and is equally amusing and revolting.

      I have to agree with him about the hellish decade we have passed through. Sadly the coming one doesn’t look to be lining up to be significantly better.

      • artemis54 permalink
        December 29, 2009 5:55 pm

        It will be the antechamber to hell. A little too interesting. Me, I can hide, insulate myself and have a decent enough life. But the kids, the twenty somethings now?

  4. cometman permalink*
    December 28, 2009 1:35 pm

    Looks like Max Baucus started hitting the holiday cheer a little early this year.

    He seems pretty mad at the republicans for not being cooperative. In his blathering he seems to realize that the repubs aren’t going to vote for anything the Dems propose no matter what. Maybe he was also drunk when he was so busy caving in to all their demands for no apparent reason over the last several months.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 29, 2009 5:56 pm

      He sounds like that much of the time. Of course it could be he’s drunk all the time.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 30, 2009 7:52 am

        Read some more about it and I guess he just gets like that when he’s excited. But that didn’t stop everyone’s favorite pederast Mark Foley from piping up about the incident. I thought for a moment after reading that that maybe I had woken up in bizarro world this morning but I checked and yes, these clowns are actually the people we’ve chosen to run this country.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    December 29, 2009 8:06 am

    Over at ZH there is a post of ten predictions about what to expect in 2010 from MF Global. There isn’t much that we haven’t read from others on economic trends — jobless recovery, massive deficits, more of the same that is in play right now. There was one section on politics that was interesting, that the health care legislation is the apex of US liberalism. That was it folks, no more soup for us.

    6.) Passage of the Democratic healthcare plan will mark an apex in U.S. liberalism. Government policy will shift toward the center into midterm elections.

    The recently passed Senate healthcare bill has displayed a high level of public disapproval highlighting anger over the intervention of government into healthcare. Rasmussen’s polling numbers on healthcare show most voters oppose the healthcare plan and just 25% believe they will be better off.

    The likely and soon to be passed healthcare bill has been passed on a totally partisan basis in the face of growing opposition to government policy. Recent Democratic losses of governorships in New Jersey and Virginia spotlight the tilt of support by the public toward the party out of power. Furthermore, Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith recently switched to the Republican Party from the Democratic Party. The “Blue Dog” feared losing his seat in 2010.

    The high level of discontent with politicians is occurring in the back drop of “Tea Parties” and grass root movements to stop the reach of government given excessive spending and a high tax burden. Unemployment is still elevated, and income growth is slow. The public is angry over the impact of a stimulus plan which may have saved the financial system from melt down, but did little to improve standards of living. Democrat leaders in Congress have fought for their agenda at all costs, and will now try to reverse their tactics in order to improve their public image.

    Politicians, at the core, are survivalists and thus policy is likely to move toward the center to attract discontented voters. The Democratic leadership is aware that history is not on their side for mid term election victories and power loss can be expected.

    Democratic leaders fought at all costs, eh? And now they are going to start moving to the center? I guess it all does depend on your perspective, because I thought they had already moved from center to right on this process. If MF Global is correct we can likely expect rightwing totalitarianism before the end of the year. ;)

    It does seem that Team Obama has fully thrown the quote unquote liberal progressive wing under a Mac Truck and run it over a few times, so I do agree that any expectation for furthering a liberal policy framework is zilch to zero.

    Well that was fun, eh? All those years trying to influence the government from a grassroots approach and all we got was a massive rectal shaft and a freaking insurance company bailout. Yay!

    • cometman permalink*
      December 29, 2009 8:54 am

      The author definitely seems to be coming at that analysis from a skewed perspective while making a lot of assumptions. There are a lot of people who don’t like the bill not because of government interference but because it doesn’t go nearly far enough. But since those people didn’t go to Fox-approved staged events and get on the TV to spew crazy all over the place, somehow they don’t really matter. And the only thing partisan about that legislation is the fact that the republicans wouldn’t vote for it even after Dems repeatedly caved to their demands in some ridiculous attempt at bipartisanship. But like you and the author of the article, I suspect this will be about the best liberals will get from this administration.

  6. Stemella permalink*
    December 29, 2009 8:42 am

    The Feds are finally getting around to looking at who in Congress was connected to the criminal formerly known as Sir Stanford.

    Feds investigating Stanford ties to lawmakers

    The Texans predominate, both Democrat and Republican.

    I’ll have to dig, but I remember finding some references when the scandal first broke, and I remember there being some Senators, including McCain.

    Ah yes, and Barack Obama. I found it.

    Donation list names the great and the good of US politics

    President Obama was the third-biggest individual recipient of donations from Stanford Financial Group and its employees, having received $31,750 during his presidential campaign, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, which monitors money in politics. The sum included a donation of $4,600 from Mr Stanford himself.

    The White House declined to comment on the case but it is understood that the president has given a sum which is the same value as Mr Stanford’s donation to a Chicago homeless charity.

    Mr McCain, the defeated Republican presidential nominee, was another big beneficiary, having received more than $28,000 from the group and its employees. He too has vowed to donate the cash to charity.


    The single biggest individual recipient was Bill Nelson, the Florida senator who was vice-chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2002, when Congress was considering tougher anti-fraud legislation.

    Mr Nelson has promised to return the $45,900 he received but his spokesman denied any impropriety, pointing out that the senator was not part of any of the committees that crafted the Financial Services Antifraud Network Act.

    Another favourite was John Cornyn, the Texas senator who chairs the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and received $19,700. He made a four-day “fact-finding trip” to Antigua with his wife in 2004, with the $7,411 bill paid for by Stanford, according to a congressional disclosure.

    A spokesman for Mr Cornyn told the Dallas Morning News that it was “strictly a fact-finding trip. They have offices in ­Houston, and they were doing a lot of business out of Antigua”.

    Other big beneficiaries included Tom DeLay, the former Republican House speaker, who received $20,100; Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate ($17,000); Chris Dodd, chairman of the ­Senate banking committee ($16,000); Harry Reid, Senate majority leader ($8,500); and Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and former congressman ($3,000).

    I wonder if Reid and Rahmbo gave their money back?

    There is a great interactive tool for looking at the political connections here Schumer and Dodd have some splaining to do, not to mention the DSCC and DCCC.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 29, 2009 9:04 am

      Looking at that chart it looks like Sir Allen was pretty sure the Dems would be back in charge. Wonder what he expects in return for the golden shower he gave? Was that enough to buy a dismissal or a pardon?

      My guess is that he along with Madoff will be used as scapegoats to make it look like something is being done while everyone else continues the fraud they’ve been practicing all along. If the oligarchs manage to prop up the house of cards long enough, Sir Allen and Madoff will get a quiet pardon or a release on good behavior once they feel nobody is paying attention anymore.

  7. cometman permalink*
    December 29, 2009 9:18 am


    • Stemella permalink*
      December 29, 2009 9:53 am

      They had better turn that into a series. Oh man, that was hilarious!

  8. cometman permalink*
    December 29, 2009 1:09 pm

    Pretty good article by Bob Herbert today calling bullshit on the Senate’s health care “reform”. He mentions that the proposed tax on expensive health care plans would actually start hitting middle class people very soon since the legislation does nothing to limit costs which are sure to rise. And the proposed savings of $150 billion are nothing but a pipe dream.

    Within three years of its implementation, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax would apply to nearly 20 percent of all workers with employer-provided health coverage in the country, affecting some 31 million people. Within six years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax would reach a fifth of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually. Those families can hardly be considered very wealthy.

    Proponents say the tax will raise nearly $150 billion over 10 years, but there’s a catch. It’s not expected to raise this money directly. The dirty little secret behind this onerous tax is that no one expects very many people to pay it. The idea is that rather than fork over 40 percent in taxes on the amount by which policies exceed the threshold, employers (and individuals who purchase health insurance on their own) will have little choice but to ratchet down the quality of their health plans.


    According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, less than 18 percent of the revenue will come from the tax itself. The rest of the $150 billion, more than 82 percent of it, will come from the income taxes paid by workers who have been given pay raises by employers who will have voluntarily handed over the money they saved by offering their employees less valuable health insurance plans.


    A survey of business executives by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, found that only 16 percent of respondents said they would convert the savings from a reduction in health benefits into higher wages for employees. Yet proponents of the tax are holding steadfast to the belief that nearly all would do so.

    “In the real world, companies cut costs and they pocket the money,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America and a leader of the opposition to the tax. “Executives tell the shareholders: ‘Hey, higher profits without any revenue growth. Great!’ ”

    All the figures he cites are nice but at this point they aren’t really necessary. It’s been clear Congress isn’t out to help any of us for quite some time now.

  9. artemis54 permalink
    December 29, 2009 6:09 pm

    Looking forward to Suzuki’s Legacy Lecture turning up somewhere. He’s evidently struggling to turn it into a “positive” docko. On Inconvenient Truth, etc:

    To me, at the end of [those] films you want to go out and slash your throat. . . So I thought there had to be a way to lift people up and inspire them rather than point out how hopeless it is.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    December 30, 2009 9:29 am

    McClatchy has some important articles up today, about how Obama may use the underoo bomber to keep Gitmo open indefinitely and another about the true nature of the clusterfuck in Afghanistan that makes a joke out of Obama’s supposed 18 month timeline.

    Likely casualty of air plot: Obama’s Guantanamo plans

    U.S. intelligence: ‘Time is running out’ in Afghanistan

    and related Afghan Army Rife With Corruption, Incompetence, U.S. Military Report Says

    • cometman permalink*
      December 30, 2009 11:28 am

      I’ve been assuming for a while that Obama was never really going to close Gitmo and this provides a very convenient excuse not to do so. But if it weren’t this they’d have come up with something else. Worth noting the disgusting words of Obama’s Senate mentor from that article:

      “I know the president made a promise that he’d close Guantánamo because of what it represented in world opinion,” U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, told Fox News Sunday.

      “But today it’s a first-class facility,” he said of the remote prison that holds captives from 28 nations in seven different camps. “It would be a mistake to send these 90 people back to Yemen, because based on the past of what’s happened when we’ve released people from Guantánamo, a certain number of them have gone back into the fight against us.”

      And isn’t it awfully convenient that the underoo guy from Nigeria has been linked to Yemen. Of course the US had started bombing Yemen before this guy was caught but I’m sure that won’t be mentioned by the serious people as they attempt to justify razing another country.

      Here are a few more worth reading about the latest country we just have to bomb. Chris Floyd – Instant Karma: New US War Target Gets Its Own Terror Icon. He even throws in a variation of this post’s title which I thought was a nice touch ;)

      Wow, that didn’t take long at all. Scant days after the American war machine took the cloaking device off its direct military involvement in Yemen, we have an alleged attempted terrorist attack by an alleged attempted terrorist who, just scant hours after his capture, has allegedly confessed to getting his alleged attempted terrorist material from … wait for it … Yemen!

      Yemen-trained terrorists on the loose in American airplanes! At Christmas! Great googily moogily!


      And it must be true, right? I mean, just look at how well-sourced the NYT story is. “A law enforcement official” — Police captain? State trooper? G-Man? Traffic cop? — said that the alleged attempted terrorist said he’d got his “explosive chemicals” from Yemen. (Elsewhere in the paper, other unnamed officials told NYT reporters that the alleged material strapped to the alleged attempted terrorist was “incendiary,” not explosive. But who cares? “Bomb, Terror, Yemen!”)

      Of course, the NYT noted that “authorities have not independently corroborated the Yemen connection claimed by the suspect” (nor, they could have added, have they independently corroborated that the claim was actually made), but still, the completely anonymous “law enforcement official” said that the suspect’s claim “was plausible,” and even added: “I see no reason to discount it.”

      Well, it doesn’t get more solid than that, does it? They nailed that story down so tight you couldn’t pry it open with God’s own crowbar. An anonymous source confirmed the plausibility of his own claim. Man, that’s ironclad. It’s certainly good enough to light up the media firmament with headlines linking “terror in the Heartland” with the empire’s newest killing field in a volatile foreign land.

      More from Floyd –Balance of Terror: From Detroit City to Ghazi Khan

      And from Glenn Greenwald – Cause and effect in the “Terror War”.

      Ultimately, we should ask ourselves: if we drop more bombs on more Muslim countries, will there be fewer or more Muslims who want to blow up our airplanes and are willing to end their lives to do so? That question really answers itself.

      But who do these guys think they are really? Everybody knows Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  11. Stemella permalink*
    December 30, 2009 10:05 am

    Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary and a complete fucking shill for the banksters

    Wall Street Waits as SEC Fails to Bring Madoff-Inspired Reforms

    In May, she proposed that almost 10,000 money managers undergo surprise inspections to make sure they weren’t ripping off clients.

    “Investors are looking to the SEC to assure the safekeeping of their assets,” Schapiro said at the time. “We cannot let them down.”

    On Dec. 16, she settled for something less sweeping. Schapiro joined four other commissioners in approving a rule that requires about 1,600 U.S. fund managers to submit to unannounced audits, 83 percent fewer than seven months ago. The revision came after lobbying by fund companies, including executives from T. Rowe Price Group Inc., who met with Schapiro, and Legg Mason Inc., who met with another commissioner, SEC records show.

    The diminished inspections rule is one of at least four Schapiro announced as a way to protect investors and boost confidence, then later scaled back or delayed. In August, she bought herself more time on a rule to rein in short-sellers, after lobbying by hedge funds. In October, Schapiro put off plans to give investors more power to decide who sits on corporate boards after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce questioned the SEC’s jurisdiction.


    “I’ve been driving people very, very hard in this building,” Schapiro said in a Dec. 22 interview. “We just don’t have the capacity to move any faster. We’re still at, I think, a very good pace.”


    • cometman permalink*
      December 30, 2009 12:04 pm

      Vomitous indeed. I think this part is key:

      “What’s being done now is to build credibility,” said Ferrara, a partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in Washington. “If the goal is to protect the agency, then what you do when the bear comes to the mouth of the cave is feed the bear.”

      There’s evidence that the strategy is working. In May, the Treasury Department was mulling a recommendation to Congress that the SEC relinquish oversight of the $10 trillion mutual- fund industry.

      Seven months later, the House approved legislation that would increase, not shrink, the SEC’s authority by adding regulation of derivatives to its plate and doubling its $1 billion budget.

      The SEC as it stands now is obviously very good for financial companies’ business since they don’t do jack shit. So the effort is afoot to make it seem like they’re actually doing something by making proposals which are later watered down so as to be practically meaningless. That way the SEC gets to stick around and keep enabling all the fraud.

      Seemed like a lot of people went out of their way in that article to give Schapiro credit for trying, likely because it serves their own interests to do so. So I think it’s worth mentioning again why she likely will never do a goddamned thing. Here’s the Pam Martens article again where she explains how Schapiro got her job at FINRA in part due to the lobbying efforts of Bernie fucking Madoff:

      Naturally, the Madoff money trail of special favors and exceptions leads straight to Washington. From 1998 through 2008, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities paid $590,000 lobbying Congress and the SEC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His lobby firm for most of those years was Lent, Scrivner & Roth, with Norman F. Lent III signing the disclosure documents in the House and Senate. One of Madoff’s hot button issues during those years according to the disclosure documents was getting a single regulator. That meant, for starters, merging those prying eyes over at the New York Stock Exchange into the clubby pool of self-regulators at the National Association of Securities Dealers where the Madoff family held numerous seats of power. That wish came true when NASD Regulation merged with the enforcement and arbitration units of the New York Stock Exchange in July 2007 to create the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). CEO of the consolidated body is Mary Schapiro, who formerly headed up NASD Regulation, one of the most conflicted bodies in the history of finance. Ms. Schapiro has just been nominated by President-Elect Barack Obama to be the new SEC Chair. Expect to hear more about killing off the SEC (instead of giving it some teeth) and giving Madoff and his fellow miscreants their ultimate dream of just one compromised regulator instead of three.

      No need to kill off the SEC now with Schapiro doing such a bang up job of non-enforcement.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 30, 2009 4:07 pm

        Dewey & LeBoeuf — should be Dewey, Screwem & Howe LLC

        Thanks for relinking the Martens article, now a little more than a year old. What a freaking year, eh? It’s been very lucrative for the pirates and their politicopuppets.

  12. cometman permalink*
    December 30, 2009 11:49 am

    Check out this one from Ray McGovern – Are Presidents afraid of the CIA? He talks about how The Justice Dept is dragging their feet on any investigation of the CIA’s torture activities and likely won’t ever do much at all, but we already knew that. More interesting is his discussion of the possible involvement of Alan Dulles and the CIA in the Kennedy assassination. These people are completely out of control and have been for a very long time.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 30, 2009 4:14 pm

      At this point I figure just about every “security” and “information” agency in this country is totally out of control.

  13. cometman permalink*
    December 30, 2009 12:35 pm

    A Congressional report is out verifying that ACORN didn’t do anything wrong at all. Normally I’m not a huge fan of government investigations since they often have pre-conceived conclusions but in this case there was ample evidence from the beginning just from reading the accounts that this was never anything but trumped-up teabagger horseshit. What is interesting about the report is that it concludes that a knee-jerk revocation of funding to ACORN based on a bunch of trumped-up teabagger horseshit may not be exactly legal.

    Among its findings, CRS also reported that recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The report said courts “may have a sufficient basis” to conclude that the legislation “violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.” Also, concerning recent “sting” operations related to ACORN, although state laws vary, two states, Maryland and California, “appear to ban private recording of face to face conversations absent the consent of all the participants,” the report said.

    Let’s see if the corporate media bothers to mention this at all.

  14. cometman permalink*
    December 30, 2009 12:43 pm

    Fascinating program from Nova on evolution that I caught last night.
    Definitely worth watching – What Darwin Never Knew.

    We’re getting closer to the type of stuff I wrote about in this post all the time.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 30, 2009 4:35 pm

      I watched it too. It was really well done. I had heard about the thumb distinguishing humans from chimpsters but hadn’t heard about the jaw, brain capacity theory.

      Yes, it won’t be long before we have the mutant races and the humanoid drones of a Brave New World. On the other hand there may soon be ways to cure muscular dystrophy and so many other genetic diseases. On the other hand, natural selection really has been a pretty good system and we are fucking it all up to no end. Clearly I need at least three hands. :)

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 30, 2009 5:56 pm

      A couple recent items you might find interesting:

      Top Chef West Africa: Chimps use assortment of kitchen tools

      Chimpanzees’ understanding of fire is on a level with humans.

      btw, it’s amazing what turns up in that Ethiopian Review.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 30, 2009 11:38 pm

        Very interesting. Percussive technology and pyrotechnics! Sounds so familiar and so destructive. First it will be fruit cutting, then maybe meat cutting, then perhaps rock on rock will lead to fabrication of blades and points. Percussion on wood means music and ultimately baseball bats.

        If they cut up the food the jaw doesn’t need to be so strong and rigid and perhaps too their brains will grow larger and in time they can play at world domination. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all that is wrong and the apes would instead evolve in a completely different direction than their hairless cousins? One can wish.

        Speaking of apes, I was given Jane Goodall’s latest book for xmas. It looks like a good one

  15. cometman permalink*
    December 30, 2009 12:52 pm

    Ha! The blood funnel doesn’t extend to the Far East just yet. Chinese company with derivatives losses tells Goldman to go screw.

  16. cometman permalink*
    December 30, 2009 1:15 pm

    Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu placed under house arrest in Israel supposedly for talking to foreigners. Just in case there was still anyone who didn’t realize Israel had hundreds of nukes in their arsenal, Vanunu blew the whistle again after his arrest. Ha!

    Speaking in court today, Vanunu – who refuses to speak Hebrew publicly in protest at his treatment – said: “This Jewish state has 200 atomic … hydrogen bombs, atomic weapons, neutron bomb. They are not able to say they have the bomb, they are not able to destroy anyone … instead they arrest Vanunu.”

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 30, 2009 4:41 pm

      Another one, the whistleblower for UBS is wondering why he’s going to jail after busting all the rich American tax dodgers using secret Swiss accounts.

      “I gave them the biggest tax fraud case in the world,” Birkenfeld says in the interview, portions of which were released by CBS on Wednesday.

      “I exposed 19,000 international criminals and I’m going to jail for that?” he asks.

      Birkenfeld pleaded guilty to a single fraud conspiracy count in June 2008, when he acknowledged helping his largest U.S. client hide assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

      The lesson: Don’t mess with the banksters and their best clients and don’t mess with Israeli weapons systems, and especially never look for any relationships between any of them.

  17. Stemella permalink*
    December 30, 2009 11:45 pm

    Late breaking news. Rush Limbaugh has been taken to a hospital in Honolulu for chest pains. He told the paramedics he was on painkillers for his back. Here’s a local link.

    I know this will seem crass, but I have to say, some kinds of silence really would be golden.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 31, 2009 9:08 am

      Doesn’t seem crass to me. Nothing will get better until the dinosaurs are extinct.

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