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Sustainability

June 25, 2010

The G20 meeting is taking place this weekend in Toronto. Many Canadians are all atwitter about the totalitarian police state that has descended upon their fair city to protect the world leaders from those pesky hockey loving Molsen swillers. Some of them may be seen organizing for protests here.

Some others who will be allowed inside the guarded gates of the festival of ruling classes without being tased are thinking about agitating for economic sustainability. Fold sustainability into economies, G20 urged

Consensus among sustainability experts at a Toronto conference this week was that world leaders in the Group of 20 nations face a fecund opportunity to make gains integrating environmental concerns with all other levels of economic development.

Economist Sylvia Ostry, former Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada and a member of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body the Group of Thirty says the best contribution the G20 could make to sustainable development is to strike a new institution with experts from a variety of backgrounds.
“The WTO has a number of ways of dealing with this integration,” she said, pointing to the Integrated Framework which is comprised of the WTO and the World Bank and other institutions. “So it’s perfectly possible in my view for the G8 and the G20 to … establish an eminent persons group of experts in this. Let them be invited, it would be easy, to the WTO and begin to do the basic research on this and then begin a policy debate.”

She says full integration is vital.

“This is much more than the environment. This is a whole range of economic and social policy issues and the only institution that I know of that covers it is the WTO. The IMF doesn’t, the World Bank yes, and the WTO and the NGOs, I think you need civil society. You’d have to set up the thing and have the experts and then produce the stuff for debate.”

They make a good point. I suspect they will be summarily ignored. What better time than now to think about sustainability as the oil volcano gushes forth into the Gulf of Mexico, the fogs of Iceland’s volcano still hover in the air, and the heat waves of yet another brutal summer shimmer above asphalt , I ask?

For more on macro thinking about sustainability, see these links
Yale University Environmental Sustainability Report 2005

Yale University Environmental Performance Index 2010
In this index the five top scoring countries are Iceland (93.5), Switzerland (89.1), Costa Rica (86.4), Sweden (86.0), and Norway (81.1), in case any of us are thinking about emigrating. I still think British Columbia has great potential too even if overall Canada scores 66.4. I blame Alberta. The US scores 63.5. I also have to wonder how Iceland can maintain that top position given its recent economic failure and the effects of the volcano.

This is what unsustainability looks like, a massive fucking tragedy of the commons

Gulf of Mexico May 18, 2010

Gulf of Mexico June 18, 2010

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78 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    June 25, 2010 6:47 am

    The unattainable ideal, given the stupidity and foolishness of humankind

    • cometman permalink*
      June 25, 2010 7:50 am

      Very nice post.

      From that second link:

      “Environmentalists cannot run the economy,” Strong said.

      I’m pretty sure environmentalists don’t want to run the economy, at least not in the same sense that greedy bankster capitalists do, where for every winner there has to be a loser. You don’t get sustainability when one part of the environment loses (generally the part where the less affluent live) so another part can “win” (generally the part where rich people like to go on vacation).

      One example I’m familiar with is Vermont, which overall is still a pretty nice place although a very small one. More and more every year the nice places in Vermont get filled up with second homes for the wealthy who are trying to escape the nasty cities where they conduct their business. Just visiting isn’t enough – they feel the need to own a several million dollar chunk of it which makes it ever more difficult for the full time residents to get by as their property values shoot through the roof. So they sell off another chunk they can’t afford anymore so some rich guy can build a McMansion in the woods. Seems to be the way all over right now – the unspoiled places become sanctuaries for the wealthy and the rest of us can go sunbathe on an oil soaked public beach.

      I’ve pretty much given up trying to deal with any politics at the national and state level any more but I’ve been trying to get more involved locally to make sure my town stays halfway decent. If anything, I think that is frustrating me even more since even in a relatively small community you wind up butting heads with the Sarah Palin types who can’t get off the teabagger talking points and don’t have a brain in their heads. And yet somehow they have a lot of influence, probably because of general apathy. The meetings I’ve gone to have been sparsely attended and pretty often city councilors run unopposed. Positions on town committees go unfilled since nobody is interested. Sometimes there isn’t even a candidate for open offices at all so if you get a handful of write-in votes you suddenly become a water commissioner whether you know anything about it or not. And the dummies of course don’t think they’re dummies at all and seem to be particularly tenacious, which makes them useful tools for those who have some money and need an ally in government. People who come forward with genuinely good ideas get shot down, they get discouraged, and the dummies win again.

      I was walking along the local greenway, a nice bike and walking path that runs along the ocean, and noticed bittersweet vines clinging to some of the trees. It’s a parasite and will eventually choke off the trees and kill them. Ran into one of the good councilpeople in the store and mentioned it and she said she’d noticed too but there was no money to do maintenance. I offered to volunteer to do some brush removal and suggested maybe we could get a group together to clean it up one weekend. Can’t just go in and start hacking away without permission so we’ll have to see if the town allows citizens to cut the parasites from the healthy growth for free or if it requires the formation of several committees to perform multi-year viability studies first.

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 25, 2010 8:06 am

        The point is that economists cannot run the environment – does anyone think there is a shortage of evidence there? – and that we can live as we have for the last few million years without Wall Street, CDO’s, MBA’s or IPO’s but it is doubtful that we can live with no fish in the ocean and no trees moderating the global climate.

        More to the point, how do we expect our children to thrive in this fresh minted hell that is unfit for any other form of life? This ain’t a holodeck.

  2. artemis54 permalink
    June 25, 2010 8:00 am

    Greece denies it is selling its islands to pay off debts.

    This is a mere technicality. The govt is not selling them, but they are being sold. And why any surprise? Greece has a tradition of being there first. Whether the govt sells them is not the point, the point is that they are for sale.

    Like the Gulf of Mexico, like the province of Alberta, like the Serengeti, Like everything else

    There is a notion gaining credence that the Free Market breaks down national barriers, and that Corporate Globalization’s ultimate destination is a hippie paradise where the heart is the only passport and we all live happily together inside a John Lennon song. (“Imagine there’s no country…”) But this is a canard.

    What the Free Market undermines is not national sovereignty, but democracy. As the disparity between the rich and poor grows, the hidden fist has its work cut out for it. Multinational corporations on the prowl for “sweetheart deals” that yield enormous profits cannot push through those deals and administer those projects in developing countries without the active connivance of State machinery – the police, the courts, sometimes even the army. Today Corporate Globalization needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, preferably authoritarian governments in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies. It needs a press that pretends to be free. It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice. It needs nuclear bombs, standing armies, sterner immigration laws, and watchful coastal patrols to make sure that it’s only money, goods, patents, and services that are being globalized – not the free movement of people, not a respect for human rights, not international treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear weapons, or greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, or god forbid, justice. It’s as though even a gesture towards international accountability would wreck the whole enterprise.

    Close to one year after the War against Terror was officially flagged off in the ruins of Afghanistan, in country after country freedoms are being curtailed in the name of protecting freedom, civil liberties are being suspended in the name of protecting democracy. All kinds of dissent are being defined as “terrorism”. All kinds of laws are being passed to deal with it. Osama bin Laden seems to have vanished into thin air. Mullah Omar is supposed to have made his escape on a motorbike. (They could have sent TinTin after him.) [Laughter] The Taliban may have disappeared but their spirit, and their system of summary justice is surfacing in the unlikeliest of places. In India, in Pakistan, in Nigeria, in America, in all the Central Asian republics run by all manner of despots, and of course in Afghanistan under the U.S.-backed, Northern Alliance.

    Meanwhile down at the mall there’s a mid-season sale. Everything’s discounted – oceans, rivers, oil, gene pools, fig wasps, flowers, childhoods, aluminum factories, phone companies, wisdom, wilderness, civil rights, eco-systems, air – all 4,600 million years of evolution. It’s packed, sealed, tagged, valued and available off the rack. (No returns). As for justice – I’m told it’s on offer too. You can get the best that money can buy.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 25, 2010 10:19 am

      Here’s another article on Greece and its islands from the Guardian. The WSJ one is firewalled for me.

      Greece starts putting island land up for sale to save economy

      and this story linked on the same page made me laugh. There is hope for Tready!

      Paws for thought: pioneering surgery puts cat back on his feet

      Ever wonder how a cat could meet with a combine and live? I hope it doesn’t have bionic claws to go with those paws. Nasty!

    • cometman permalink*
      June 25, 2010 10:24 am

      Thanks for that one. Written before the US invaded Iraq, Roy is particularly prescient with this part:

      But fortunately, power has a shelf life. When the time comes, maybe this mighty empire will, like others before it, overreach itself and implode from within. It looks as though structural cracks have already appeared. As the War Against Terror casts its net wider and wider, America’s corporate heart is hemorrhaging. For all the endless, empty chatter about democracy, today the world is run by three of the most secretive institutions in the world: The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, all three of which, in turn, are dominated by the U.S. Their decisions are made in secret. The people who head them are appointed behind closed doors. Nobody really knows anything about them, their politics, their beliefs, their intentions. Nobody elected them. Nobody said they could make decisions on our behalf. A world run by a handful of greedy bankers and C.E.O.’s whom nobody elected can’t possibly last.

      The fall can’t come soon enough.

  3. cometman permalink*
    June 25, 2010 8:40 am

    Evidently Congress has come to some king of agreement on financial reform which is expected to be signed into law by <O shortly. The articles from the mainstream press I've seen so far don't go into too many details but it sure seems like more deckchair/Titanic tweaking than anything substantive. There is nothing that will break up the too big to fail banks and I don't see that the banks are prohibited from any of the "risky" (others,like myself, might say criminal) practices that caused the problems, just some weak tea measures designed to make the next catastrophe less likely or easier to handle. But we'll still get the catastrophe nonetheless.

    Simon Johnson doesn't think much of it – Dead On Arrival: Financial Reform Fails.

    …at the end of the day, essentially nothing in the entire legislation will reduce the potential for massive system risk as we head into the next credit cycle.

    ~snip~

    This administration and this Congress had ample opportunity to confront this problem and at least wrestle hard with it. Some senators and representatives worked long and hard on precisely this issue. But the White House punted, repeatedly, and elected instead for a veneer of superficial tweaking. Welcome to the next global credit cycle – with too big to fail banks at center stage.

    Yves Smith discusses a fee added to the legislation which would be paid up front to fund any future bailouts – Mirabile Dictu: $19 Billion Fee Added to Financial Reform Bill – not sure if that’s $19 billion per bank or $19 billion in total but either way it should be obvious that it won’t be nearly enough considering the trillions that have already been spent bailing the assholes out this time.

    …even though the big banks will throw hissy fits over this fee, they are still getting away with murder. As Anthony Haldane of the Bank of England pointed out, explicit bailout costs are only a fraction of the true cost of economy-wrecking financial crises:

    ….these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and
    five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers “astronomical” would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. “Economical” might be a better description.

    It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

    ~snip~

    Per Haldane’s analysis, the industry as now constituted is a threat to the public. If it turned out that a peculiar shared defect meant that all cars manufactured would burst into flames every seven years, it would not be acceptable for car makers to argue, “Well, if you made us fix that problem, our ROE would stink.” That would be seen as a completely bizarre counterargument. Yet the same logic from the financial services industry gets a free pass.

    And given that capital markets operations, which is where the real risk taking occurs, historically has set aside 50% of revenues for compensation, it would seem the best way to deal with the problem of the need to put up reserves is to reduce compensation across all the capital-consuming businesses, ideally proportionate to their risk exposures. But no one yet has the guts to take on the looting by the major firms frontally.

    Meanwhile, its fine and dandy to add billions and trillions to the national debt to bail out bankers, but when it comes to helping out those who are unemployed as a result of the actions of those bankers, no can do.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 25, 2010 9:53 am

      After all the reading and discussing we’ve done on the banksters and the economy here, I couldn’t bear the nausea of following the final sell out that would be the so called reform legislation.

      I saw the headlines this morning and saw that the Banksters are already girding their greedy loins against any weak sauce consumer protections that may result.

      All the stock prices of the 2Big2Failers are nicely up today, indicating their pleasure.

      I think I’ve given up.

  4. artemis54 permalink
    June 25, 2010 9:02 am

    Off to battle: the family reuinion, armed with my savory tarts (asparaus/walnut/gorgonzola and the tamer blue cheese/pesto), crib notes from The Gospel According to the Earth, breathing exercises, and all possible measures in place to moderate what is generally referred to as My Godawful Fucking Attitude without sacrificing the essentials or giving quarter to the ancient enemies lurking behind every bush and every half-smile.

    Why do we do these things? I genuinely like some of these people, and even have great respect and admiration for a couple and their – very very quiet – good works. Many I just don’t know at this point, and a couple I actually hate. Kind of like the immediate neighborhood, so why go to such lengths to get together for a few hours? I don’t get it. I will however be staying with an old ally; she and I will drink into the wee hours, cook some more, gird our loins for future battles, and most importantly laugh about it all. The best part; we share the goal of dying of laughter at fate.

    As always, I expect all the problems discussed here to be resolved by the time I get back.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 25, 2010 9:26 am

      As a person who has also had to put up with being referred to as somebody with a godawful fucking attitude, I am envious. I could really use a bout of late night drinking with an old ally right about now, it would probably do me a world of good. This oil disaster has really been getting to me, moreso than the usual disasters we witness fairly regularly these days. My best old ally who shares my “bad attitude” still lives in the Emerald City though. Chat with them every week but it’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to visit.

      Have fun and we’ll do our best to fix things in your absence.

      • Stemella permalink*
        June 25, 2010 9:47 am

        About the oil. Me too c-man. This one has me floored and more despondent than any other corporate crime we’ve witnessed in quite a long time. The impact seems never ending into the distant future in a most terrible way.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 25, 2010 9:43 am

      Those tarts sound incredibly delicious. Maybe they will put those you care less for in a trance of gourmet bliss and open mindedness? hah!

      Good thing you will have a partner in crime to compare notes and laughs.

      If we all weren’t scattered all across this entire freaking country, it would be a lovely thing to share food and drink in a common location, perhaps a grungy bar in Seattle, where we could all fling our godawful fucking attitudes to the prevailing winds.

      Fare thee well in the meantime.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 25, 2010 10:27 am

        It would be nice to break a little bread sometime. Not sure when I’ll make it out west again, but when I do I’ll let you all know. I do like those grungy bars.

  5. cometman permalink*
    June 25, 2010 11:45 am

    Dammit I am cranky today. I’m going to find some weekend levity before signing off today if it kills me, but in the meantime…

    Just walked down the street on a beautiful summer day and the good weather has people out doing a little sprucing up, trimming trees, cleaning windows, etc. But evidently the ladder has become obsolete and all this work is being done using those huge hydraulic lifts which use a big tractor chassis just to lift one guy in the air in a bucket so they can reach the second story. Just saw four of them within about four or five blocks.

    There may be a better symbol for the overall laziness and wastefulness of our culture, but if so I’m hard pressed to think of it right now.

  6. cometman permalink*
    June 25, 2010 11:52 am

    Here’s a little more on the police crackdown on protesters in Toronto for the G20.

    This sort of mentality from one of the police sergeants is very disturbing –

    “We’re bound by duty to protect the people that are going be within that fence line,” said Burrows. “If you refuse to tell us [why you’re there], then we have to assume that your purposes are not of a peaceful nature.”

    Riiiiight. They must protect the oligarchs from being squirted with a rubber flower by one of the protesters in a clown costume.

    But who is protecting the rest of us from those within the protected confines carrying out dangerous plans which tend to devastate the entire world in their implementation?

    But evidently a cop’s salary of a few tens of thousands per annum is enough to make them not ask too many questions about who really needs the protection.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 25, 2010 12:09 pm

      A more sardonic take on the G20 police state – Shock and Awe from Ottawa.

      The militarization of the downtown core is past paranoid into the full-blown ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning’ delusional state that is likely to precipitate the very violence it is pretending to thwart, unless everyone is numbed into dreamy compliance first. Citizens have quickly accustomed themselves to the loss of freedoms they had taken for granted just last week. Cops grab cameras from anyone they feel like and erase pictures on the spot. If anyone even pretends to take a picture of the millions of dollars of fences designed to keep the leaders safe from the angry citizens who keep them in dogchow, they are surrounded by a gaggle of uniforms.

      With Special Ops Griffons hovering overhead, and cops of every nationality loitering, it is not even clear with which nation-station you’d lodge a complaint if you were afraid your rights were being violated. Best to bend over and enjoy your democracy.

  7. cometman permalink*
    June 25, 2010 1:14 pm

    In lieu of levity which is scarce today, this was very nice –

    Have a nice weekend everybody!

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 26, 2010 6:26 am

      You too c-man. That was tranquil and beautiful. If you can’t find levity at least find a little rest and relaxation to give some peace of mind, if only fleeting, it helps.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    June 26, 2010 6:23 am

    Here’s another good source for following the G20 this weekend from a local perspective

    Torontoist Lots of good photos and reports from their journalists.

    Here is a good recap of events in Toronto yesterday

    G20 Live: Friday

    and the page for today’s events
    G20 Live: Saturday

  9. Stemella permalink*
    June 26, 2010 10:45 am

    G20

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 8:24 am

      Nice pic. Was that one of your photoshops?

      I thought this pic that I pulled from one of the links you left above says quite a lot about the overall attitude of the oligarchs v the rest of us.

      • Stemella permalink*
        June 28, 2010 8:32 am

        Yes, that was a quicky. I saw that photo on the Torontoist site and thought it needed the Abbey Road treatment.

        I have a few more links on the G20 I’ll post below.

  10. sisdevore permalink
    June 27, 2010 10:40 am

    Can it be called “squidsdom”?

    http://www.feastoffun.com/topics/animals/2010/06/25/paul-the-octopus-predicts-results-of-world-cup-matches/

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 28, 2010 8:31 am

      Why yes, squidsdom it is. Thanks Ms D. :)

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 8:36 am

      Hmmmm. I wonder if it was the same Paul the octopus who was making the predictions in 2008. Your average octopus doesn’t live much more than 2 or 3 years. I’m thinking Paul the octopus may have more than one incarnation a la Lassie :)

      Haven’t been paying much attention to the World Cup, so can somebody tell me is it my imagination or is the media trying to portray the colored plastic vuvuzela as some kind of African tribal instrument? There seems to be some weird fascination with these things as if they were a recently discovered phenomenon among the the natives of the Dark Continent. But they’ve been around for years at various sporting events and celebrations, although maybe not in the quantities seen at the current World Cup.

  11. Stemella permalink*
    June 28, 2010 8:42 am

    On the G20. Here is the full text of their summation paper

    Summit Declaration

    Regarding sustainability these were some of their points,

    41. We reiterate our commitment to a green recovery and to sustainable global growth. Those of us who have associated with the Copenhagen Accord reaffirm our support for it and its implementation and call on others to associate with it. We are committed to engage in negotiations under the UNFCCC on the basis of its objective provisions and principles including common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and are determined to ensure a successful outcome through an inclusive process at the Cancun Conferences. We thank Mexico for undertaking to host the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Cancun from November 29 to December 20, 2010 and express our appreciation for its efforts to facilitate negotiations.

    42. We note with appreciation the report on energy subsidies from the IEA, OPEC, OECD and World Bank. We welcome the work of Finance and Energy Ministers in delivering implementation strategies and time frames, based on national circumstances, for the rationalization and phase out over the medium term of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, taking into account vulnerable groups and their development needs. We also encourage continued and full implementation of country-specific strategies and will continue to review progress toward this commitment at upcoming summits.

    43. Following the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico we recognize the need to share best practices to protect the marine environment, prevent accidents related to offshore exploration and development, as well as transportation, and deal with their consequences.

    Note that those fuel subsidies will not be eliminated, but still slowly phased out.

    Here is Naomi Klein on Democracy Now with her assessment of the meeting. Seems to be all about the austerity, The Great 21st Century Austeria. Likewise, the banksters, oilsters and warmongers still get away unscathed etc etc. The ruling class has ruled in favor of the ruling class and the shock doctrine lives strong.

    Naomi Klein, The Real Crime Scene

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 9:07 am

      Hmmm. They reaffirm support for the Copenhagen accord?!?! Correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t they decide in Copenhagen to do pretty much nothing? Somehow a reaffirmation of that isn’t all that encouraging.

      Turned out pretty much as I expected – crack down on the protesters to paint them in a bad light while deciding that the wealthy aren’t really responsible for any of the world’s problems so they must be fixed on the backs of the poor. Guess that’s the plan for sustainability – make sure the less wealthy don’t have any money to buy anything anymore and that will stop pollution, depletion of resources, etc. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      Looks like there were a few cop cars torched and windows smashed by the “anarchists”. One thing that really bugs me about this whole story line – the huge police presence is supposed to make sure this kind of violence doesn’t happen. With so many cops in riot gear around, and the “anarchist” types pretty visible, how in the hell do they even get close enough to a cop car to torch it in the first place? And yet peaceful protesters get rounded up and hauled off often for just being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. We’ve seen many instances of authorities infiltrating peaceful groups in recent years and I’ve seen reports that at least some of these “anarchists” are plants designed to make other protesters look bad. Who knows if it’s true or not, but even if they aren’t plants, it seems to serve a useful purpose to make sure these guys bust a few windows at every protest in order to discredit everyone else involved. If these “anarchists” are so dangerous that they warrant such a huge crackdown, why is it that they rarely seem to get arrested and when they do we never actually hear about any of these people when they go to trial and/or get convicted? You’d think the authorities would want us to know about these oh so very dangerous people so they could prove just how safe they’re keeping all of us.

      Another good one from Klein here were she mentions that the G20 was a creation of none other than Cane Toad Larry, scribbling on the back of an old envelope a few years back – Sticking the public with the bill for the bankers’ crisis.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 28, 2010 9:14 am

        On a somewhat related note, when people finally do get pissed off enough and the revolution comes, the Supremes want to make sure everybody has access to a gun.

        This really makes no sense to me at all. Over the years we’ve seen continuing concentration of power into the hands of a few with more and more people marginalized. And yet the oligarchy in this nation at least continues to fight to make sure everybody has access to a deadly weapon. If I were trying to institute a new world order, I think I’d probably do exactly the opposite.

  12. cometman permalink*
    June 28, 2010 8:50 am

    Not content with farming Atlantic salmon in the Pacific, the industry now wants to grow and market genetically modified giant Atlantic salmon. And if the past history of the rubberstamp FDA is any guide, they will be coming soon to a grocery store near you.

    Usually Atlantic salmon do not grow during the winter and take three years to fully mature.

    But by implanting genetic material from an eel-like species called ocean pout that grows all year round, US scientists have managed to make the fish grow to full size in 18 months.

    They hope that the sterile GM salmon can offer an efficient and safe way to breed salmon in fish farms, so that the wild fish can be left in the oceans.

    US watchdog the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering whether the GM Atlantic salmon, called AquAdvantage, is safe to eat. The fish could be on supermarket shelves within a year.

    Seems to me like there ought to be some long term studies done to insure that these things are actually safe and efficient before unleashing them on their fellow ocean denizens and the general public , but evidently in Barryworld, “hoping” for it is good enough.

  13. Stemella permalink*
    June 28, 2010 8:51 am

    I watched a couple of good flicks this weekend. One, Gasland, the HBO documentary discussed here last week. Infuriating. Just another facet of the disaster we see happening more openly on the Gulf. The film was very well done.

    The other was Greenzone with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear about the early stages of the Iraq War and the quest for WMD. It’s a story that needed to be told outside the scope of the MSM, which so botched the truth during the actual events. It is an indictment of sorts and an important reminder of what US foreign policy is now about.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 10:33 am

      I plan to watch Gasland and that other one looks interesting too – thanks for the review.

      Here’s another one that looks pretty interesting and entertaining called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. Sounds like it might be in the same vein as that Knee Deep documentary I mentioned a while back. Here’s a review – Hillbilly Rebel Women v. Corporate Murderers .

      Also I finished reading Nomi Prins’ book It Takes a Pillage over the weekend. Not too much new in there for those who have been following the economic collapse closely, but it does make a very nice reference with all of the bad actors and dirty deeds together in one concise, easy to read volume. She details the history of the deregulation that led to this mess and documents all the history of the past few years. There was some deregulation legislation that she discusses from the 90s and early 2000s that I hadn’t heard of before and also a good run down of the blatant rule changes that allowed some of these banks to be eligible for bailout $$$ they wouldn’t otherwise have gotten. One company bought a small bank with three employees and assets in the single digit millions in order to qualify as a bank holding company or a thrift (can’t remember which off the top of my head) which is a pretty blatant flouting of the spirit of the law.

  14. Stemella permalink*
    June 28, 2010 8:57 am

    The issue of Israel conducting a pre-emptive strike on Iran has again bubbled up

    From Rawstory: Italian PM – Israel will React

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 1:05 pm

      Seen a few reports lately of a big Israeli and US naval build up in the Persian Gulf. Here’s one which suggests the build up may be to intimidate Pakistan rather than Iran, but whatever the reason, they’re there – U.S. ships and Israeli nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf .

  15. Stemella permalink*
    June 28, 2010 9:08 am

    Here’s another installment in the ongoing research project on the Humboldt.

    Squid Studies: Hope and Disappointment

  16. Stemella permalink*
    June 28, 2010 12:12 pm

    Interesting article about the politics of funding marine science research related to the Gulf catastrophe

    Politics embroil gulf research grants

    shaking head

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 28, 2010 12:51 pm

      Ridiculous. If the governors want research done at specific places, they can fund a chair or a department.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 1:09 pm

      Hmmm.

      …the White House ordered BP to consult with Gulf Coast governors before awarding research grants.

      Sounds like Barry wants to make sure no $$$ goes to an institution that might find that what BP does is not safe at all. Better to let Haley Barbour decide who gets the money so he can fund a study to show that letting people know that the beaches are covered with oil keeps tourists from visiting the beaches.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    June 28, 2010 12:48 pm

    This is making the rounds, but will repost here anyway. From Hurricane Creekkeeper:

    (And yes, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” It can be a pleasant place to visit, . . . . )

    • cometman permalink*
      June 28, 2010 1:23 pm

      Thanks for that one, hadn’t seen it yet. Heartbreaking.

      Strikes me that this disaster may wind up being used as an excuse to continue business as usual. I can already see the oil execs arguing that since the place is already trashed and everything is already dead, what more harm can come from continuing to drill?

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 28, 2010 1:44 pm

        bingo

        That is not some wild cynical fantasy. It is precisely the argument used under Bush to limit habitat designations for endangered species, for instance: they wanted to ignore historical range and only consider the status in the tiny current fragmented range, in other words keep ratcheting down. Famously the marbled murrelet: Bush FWS argued that there was no need for protection as they were doing just fine in Canada. (Except that proved to be a bald lie as soon as anyone looked – the Canadian population had already crashed by 80%. Same with the jaguar and a dozen other examples.)

  18. cometman permalink*
    June 28, 2010 12:55 pm

    A few links of interest.

    The recent Supremes decision that helped convicted asshole Jeffrey Skilling may not help Don Siegelman who was jailed on similar charges – Supreme Court ruling may not help Democrats targeted by Bush US Attorneys.

    Ironically enough, if the Supremes hear Siegelman’s appeal, he will need the assistance of Scalia and Thomas if he wants to see the light of day anytime soon. Good luck with that – somehow I imagine that these clowns won’t find it too difficult to suddenly reverse their previous logic if it keeps Siegelman in jail and keeps people from asking too many questions of Karl Rove.

    Lest we forget what’s happening in Honduras, Bill Quigley reminds us – One Year Later: Honduras Resistance Strong Despite US-Supported Coup.

    Another account from David Ker Thompson of his experience with the G20 in Toronto – Still Free, Barely Holding On .

    And not surprisingly at all, Barry has met with his counterpart across the pond and they are insinuating that BP is also among the ranks of those corporate campaign contributors who are too big too fail.

    The US President and British Prime Minister said that the stricken oil giant should “remain a strong and stable company” after meeting to discuss the environmental disaster on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Toronto. The discussions come amid growing worries that the company could never recover from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which has left BP facing unquantifiable costs and damaged its strategic ambitions.

    The two leaders said that the company should “meet its obligations to cap the leak, clean up the damage and meet legitimate compensation claims,” but added that “it was to both countries’ advantage for BP to remain a strong and stable company.”

    Reading between the lines, that would seem to mean that if BP is not able to meet its obligations to do all those things and faces insolvency, they will be propped up with taxpayer dollars, which means taxpayers would again wind up funding the cleanup for damage caused by out of control corporations.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 28, 2010 2:20 pm

      Here’s another pisser from the SCOTUS

      Court strikes down part of Sarbanes-Oxley law

  19. artemis54 permalink
    June 28, 2010 4:40 pm

    In Australia, calls for deportation of a French tourist who made a strip tease video atop Uluru.

    If you read the comments – which I wouldn’t recommend – note that the Australian mouthbreathing contingent is unable to even distinguish France from the UK. This kind of ignorance outside the US is more common than we think. I know that in Italy, for instance, it is commonly believed that America’s antigay nuts are all in the Catholic church.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 29, 2010 6:47 am

      Also take note of this link from the same site

      New Species Found In Indonesia

      There’s a frog with a pinocchio nose, a wee miniature wallaby and a giant wooly ratus eeek!

    • cometman permalink*
      June 29, 2010 11:50 am

      You’d think that this article prominently displayed on the sidebar about an aboriginal man being roasted alive in the back of a police van might have given some of those commenters pause before trashing the native peoples.

      And speaking of ignorance, I got a kick out of this article also from the same site about Greek protesters blocking the tourist boats from leaving Pireaus.

      The authorities, fearing fresh unrest, earlier sent scores of police in riot gear and the coastguard to seal and shield Piraeus, allowing only passengers with tickets to enter the port’s sprawling premises.

      “But that apparently agitated them,” coastguard official Sofia Natsios told Sky News Online.

      Ha!

      And check out the pic of the American tourist woman “remonstrating” against the protesters. Who knows what she’s saying (perhaps she’s expressing her solidarity but I doubt it) but I’ve witnessed the Americans and other tourists in Greece bitching about strikes that inconvenienced their vacations before. She sure looks like one of those privileged post college types who’s using their parents money to go on a backpacking/partying tour in an attempt to “broaden their horizons” and “find themselves”. If she stopped remonstrating for a minute she might actually broaden her horizons by realizing that they aren’t going to stop protesting and sacrifice their future just so she can get to her party on Mykonos.

  20. Stemella permalink*
    June 29, 2010 6:33 am

    Klub Kumquat is voted one of the top 5 most overrated blogs again this year by Time. Yes, Time itself is an overrated rag, so kettle is calling pot, but it still makes me laugh.

    The Five Most Overrated Blogs of 2010

    The Daily Kos: There was a time when Daily Kos used to be the source of cutting-edge and, well, cutting political commentary online. Not so much anymore. Markos Moulitsas and crew were called out on our Overrated list from the 25 Best Blogs of 2009 but nothing, not even the oil spill or the faltering war in Afghanistan, has really catapulted anything on the Daily Kos into the national consciousness. We’re putting them on notice again for another year, in the hopes this once-great blog can find its voice anew.

    And here’s a story of performance art activism in London where protesters splashed a Tate Gallery gala for its association with BP money.

    Art activists take on the Tate crowd over BP

    And with that I wish all a good day. I’m out on the road today.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 29, 2010 9:58 am

      !

      I will say no more; my manifold and various disputes with the site bore even me.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 29, 2010 12:05 pm

      Really wish I knew how to change this kind of attitude from the Tate link:

      “I’m not particularly pro BP,” says Wendy Baron OBE (sometimes known as Mrs Sickert for her expert views on the artist), “but I am pro BP’s art sponsorship. I think it’s an excellent use of their money.”

      Do we really want to become so dependent on corporate charity? I get really sick of people who tout these huge monstrous corporations who rob from us all just because they have some nice charitable contributions. Xrist almighty, if these bastards didn’t take so much from everybody else there would be a lot less need for charity in the first place.

      But of course thousands and thousands and thousands of people work for these huge companies and to paraphrase the old saw, its exceedingly difficult to get somebody to understand something when their livelihood depends on their not understanding it.

    • triv33 permalink
      June 30, 2010 2:20 pm

      PMPL!

  21. artemis54 permalink
    June 29, 2010 9:21 am

    Gee, here’s a big surprise: More Fraud Within the Clean Development Mechanism

    The groups are demanding an investigation to determine whether a number of coolant firms have manipulated the marketplace since 2005 by deliberately increasing their greenhouse gas emissions in order to obtain offsets by reducing them to normal levels.

    You can hardly blame the firms for taking advantage of an open invitation to game the system.

    Corruption, incompetence, waste, fraud, and abuse were built into the CDM from the start and are its hallmarks.

    That, combined with the insane definition of “forest” foisted off on everyone by the FAO, is what led to, for just one instance of many, BP – yes, BP! – piling up carbon credits in exchange for planting monoculture eucalyptus plantations in Minas Gerais that destroyed the native ecosystem and way of life (sounds familiar somehow).

    (Until 2012, all these international agreements on forests use the FAO definition, which is half a hectare with trees on it whose canopy covers 10% of the area and are five meters high. Adopting that definition miraculously increased the world’s forests by 300 million hectares – why not, when any city park or apple orchard, not to mention palm oil plantation, suddenly became a “forest”?)

    • cometman permalink*
      June 29, 2010 12:29 pm

      Sigh.

      On a related note, check out how justice is administered when one of these energy companies gets caught in a massive fraud – Congressman wants Attorney General to explain $12 million settlement for $100 million energy fraud.

      National Grid subsidiary Keyspan Energy has been accused of using Enron-style tactics to manipulate the New York State energy market between 2006 and 2008, a scheme which withdrew power capacity from the market, raising prices and increasing profits for the power distributor.

      But now Congressman Dennis Kucinich has joined consumer groups and regulatory agencies to urge the Justice Department to reconsider the settlement that requires the company to pay $12 million penalty to the government while not refunding a single dime of the $100 million the market manipulation cost consumers.

      Get caught stealing $100 mil, pay out $12 mil to somebody other than who you stole from, pocket the rest, probably get a tax break for the fine you had to pay when it comes out of the profits, and continue business as usual. And for a company which may not even produce energy at all but just manipulates delivery of it across the grid. Nice work if you can get it.

      Thanks again for at least trying Dennis, which is more than the majority of your colleagues can be bothered to do.

  22. cometman permalink*
    June 29, 2010 12:34 pm

    Looks like I was wrong yesterday. Don Siegelman gets a little justice. He isn’t out of the woods yet but it’s a start. Still wondering why it’s taking so damn long especially considering the quickness with which the verdict against Ted Stevens was overturned.

  23. cometman permalink*
    June 29, 2010 1:30 pm

    Some interesting links.

    Some idiot at the Richmond Fed opened their mouth and got about a dozen fists slammed down it. Check out the series of links starting at “Slugfest!” near the bottom of today’s links from Yves Smith. Ha!

    On a related note regarding economists who think a little too highly of themselves, Dean Baker asks Is Advice From the IMF Better Than Advice From a Drunk on the Street? .

    Matt Taibbi weighs in on the Rolling Stone/McChrystal controversy with Lara Logan, You Suck.

    And finally some encouraging news about activists who fought the corporate world to preserve salmon habitat and actually won. My favorite part –

    But they refused to give up. Instead, Pete and his coworkers systematically enlisted the region’s major environmental groups to campaign against the initiative. They’d built up longstanding working relationships, so getting them involved was easy. They also brought in the Native American tribes, with whom they’d also painstakingly built coalitions and with whom they were now accustomed to working with.

    Equally important, they enlisted some unexpected allies. When a local affiliate of the fundamentalist Trinity Broadcasting Network broadcast a segment supporting Initiative 640, a fisherman who was a member of the highly conservative Assembly of God churches and who Pete had helped get engaged, called the reporter. “Do you know who Jesus’s disciples were? he asked. “They were fishermen. What do you think Jesus is going to do when he comes back and finds out you’ve stopped people from making a living by fishing? He’s going to rip your head off.”

  24. cometman permalink*
    June 29, 2010 5:32 pm

    Ms. Graham gets fresh with Elena –

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 29, 2010 7:04 pm

      Ha! Foghorn Leghorn Sessions got all butt hurt when she didn’t go along with his bizarro world version of the recruiters on campus thing.

  25. Stemella permalink*
    June 30, 2010 9:08 am

    The Cephalopod Oracle Paul has chosen the Germans over the Argentinians in the world cup for Saturday’s game. We shall see.

    I’ve also been enjoying checking in on the octocam from time to time. I worked there one summer and know the place well. One time I checked, the octopus had one tentacle right in front of the camera, providing a suckery close up. :)

    In other news, EPA Quietly Approves New Mountaintop Removal Permit in Appalachia I thought they weren’t going to be doing that? Typical <O gang underhanded bullshit.

    And here's a good op-ed from Bob Herbert that pretty well describes my thoughts about where we are with the <O Administration.

    Wrong Track Distress

    • cometman permalink*
      June 30, 2010 9:49 am

      I’ve been checking the Octocam! pretty frequently too – I’m surprised at how often the octopus is out and about. Very nice.

      I was reading another article on the latest coal permit approval – Where’s the Outrage? EPA Betrays Coalfields (Again) With New Mountaintop Removal Permit. Maybe <O thinks everyone is too distracted with the BP debacle to notice. Right now US Fish and Wildlife is leading a last ditch effort to rescue tens of thousands of sea turtle eggs before they hatch and head into the deadly waters but those efforts may not be successful as Hurrican Alex bears down on the region (and is it just me or is this a little early for hurricane season to be starting?). Absolutely disgusting that they quietly try to sneak these mining plans through while so many are distracted.

      That Herbert article was spot on. Instead of actually doing something like Herbert suggested to create jobs, Barry went with the same old trickle down policies instead and refuses to change course even when it is abundantly clear that it hasn’t worked at all.

      I did notice that Conyers and Grayson are trying to at least limit the amount of $$$ Barry can spend on the illegal wars he’s intent on continuing – Conyers throws in with Grayson, co-sponsors ‘War is Making You Poor Act’. I’m sure Barry will twist as many arms as possible to make sure it doesn’t come close to passing.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 30, 2010 11:33 am

      Obama has played this rope-a-dope with the environment from the beginning. His whole schtick is to seem to be all things to all people – the usual Dem affliction.

  26. cometman permalink*
    June 30, 2010 10:25 am

    Anybody noticed that Manuel Noriega is on trial? I’m thinking not too many and that’s probably just as the oligarchs would like it.

    His trial a couple decades ago in the US sure didn’t get much publicity and the details of his new one in France are hard to come by. From what I can tell it looks set up to be a whitewash and is only supposed to last three days which would seem to be not nearly enough time for Noriega to present a decent defense. Saw one brief article yesterday from the mainstream press (I think it was the AP but don’t quote me on it) which said that Noriega had offered testimony in his defense but completely neglected to mention what that defense was.

    Here are a few more detailed articles from Agence France-Presse, from The Globe and Mail, and from Aljazeera.

    Noriega is claiming innocence of laundering drug money through France. I’d be pretty surprised if he didn’t launder money through France and other countries too, but I’d also be surprised if it weren’t done at the behest of or in conjunction with the US government and the CIA, since it’s quite clear that the CIA was involved and their track record with obeying pesky international laws isn’t exactly pristine.

    If you read through the articles, you’ll see that Noriega’s case also involves the BCCI banking scandal which was uncovered about 20 years ago by John Kerry and then quickly brushed under the rug by Bubba so nobody asked too many questions. I’d imagine that Noriega if given the chance could shed some light on what happened there, but there are a lot of current and former US government officials who’d like to keep that info in the dark, which is probably why Noriega’s trial is only going to last three days. Wouldn’t be surprised if Noriega could also shed some light on the story broken by Gary Webb about the CIA funneling cocaine into LA back in the late 80’s. That story was also brushed under the rug before anybody faced consequences and Webb eventually committed suicide.

    It’s exactly stories like this one that causes anybody who has the temerity to ask too many questions to be labeled a “conspiracy theorist” by those who definitely have something to hide.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 30, 2010 12:40 pm

      And in the years ahead it will be Karzai who holds all the secrets of the bad acting from two US Administrations if not more. It’s what the Empire does, fluff our puppet dictators and then hang them or hide them, depending how they play the game.

  27. artemis54 permalink
    June 30, 2010 10:58 am

    CBD files suit to stop turtles being burned alive in the Gulf. They want observers and rescuers at the scene of any oil burns.

    (I’m reminded of their April 1 newsletter headline: CBD goes full day without filing suit)

    • cometman permalink*
      June 30, 2010 11:34 am

      Good to see they continue to lead the charge. File a dozen suits a day against the bastards if that’s what it takes.

  28. cometman permalink*
    June 30, 2010 11:11 am

    McClatchy has another excellent article about the ratfuckers at Goldman Sachs. Surprise surprise! – Goldman admits it had bigger role in AIG deals .

    Reversing its oft-repeated position that it was acting only on behalf of its clients in its exotic dealings with the American International Group, Goldman Sachs now says that it also used its own money to make secret wagers against the U.S. housing market.

    A senior Goldman executive disclosed the “bilateral” wagers on subprime mortgages in an interview with McClatchy, marking the first time that the Wall Street titan has conceded that its dealings with troubled insurer AIG went far beyond acting as an “intermediary” responding to its clients’ demands.

    While Goldman gets the goldmine, Ellen Brown explains how we may get the VAT. Seen this terrible idea floated a few times recently. Sounds like it may be on the way along with other “austerity” measures that the oligarchs at the G20 feel are necessary for the little people, like gutting Social Security.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 30, 2010 12:44 pm

      One of the Goldie Suckers is being interrrogated right now on the role of derivatives in the crash on C-Span III

      More about the FCIC hearings at the link with transcripts of earlier inquiries

      p.s. I hear lies. A squidlickingratfucker is speaking

      • cometman permalink*
        June 30, 2010 1:28 pm

        Just read the prepared remarks of Joe Cassano at that link. What a bunch of weasel words. He goes on and on about how all transactions were reviewed by numerous experts with years and tears of experience and how they even used “sophisticated actuarial models” (perhaps that was the problem) . How they prudently got out of insuring subprime CDOs after 2005 because of increasing risk but reviewed their existing portfolio and found it sound. Don’t see anywhere where he admits that they were wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG. Really hoped somebody called him on bullshit like the following which he also repeated a few times in his remarks:

        Often repeated are my words during an earnings call in August 2007 that I did not expect any realized, economic losses (as opposed to unrealized accounting losses) on this portfolio.

        So we’re supposed to believe that “unrealized accounting losses” have no basis in reality and don’t represent actual money!?!?!?!?!?! Well, now that Timmeh and the rest have told the bankers they don’t have to mark-to-market but can mark-to-whatever-the-hell-number-they-feel-like-marking-to, perhaps he is technically correct, post facto at least, since I don’t believe those were the prevailing conditions when the deals were made.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 30, 2010 12:56 pm

      More financial news –

      Yves Smith has some more questions about the AIG bailout deal after seeing this tidbit in the NYT:

      When the government began rescuing it from collapse in the fall of 2008 with what has become a $182 billion lifeline, A.I.G. was required to forfeit its right to sue several banks — including Goldman, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch — over any irregularities with most of the mortgage securities it insured in the precrisis years.

      You’d have to be born under a rock trapped under a volcano on a Saturnian moon to fail to see that those banks were trying to protect themselves from lawsuits against fraud because they knew they had committed fraud. And yet Timmeh gave the bailout the go ahead anyway. Rrrrrrrr.

      Martin Wolfe opines that the bailouts and austerity measures are grossly insufficient – This global game of ‘pass the parcel’ cannot end well.

      So here are four such games. The first is played within the financial sector: the aim of each player is to ensure that bad loans end up somewhere else, while collecting a fee for each sheet unwrapped along the way. The second game is played between finance and the rest of the private sector, the aim being to sell the latter as much service as possible, while ensuring that the losses end up with the customers. The third game is played between the financial sector and the state: its aim is to ensure that, if all else fails, the state ends up with these losses. Then, when the state has bailed it out, finance can win by shorting the states it has bankrupted. The fourth game is played among states. The aim is to ensure that other countries end up with any excess supply. Surplus countries win by serially bankrupting the private and then public sectors of trading partners. It might be called: “beggaring your neighbours, while feeling moral about it”. It is the game Germany is playing so well in the eurozone.

      Here’s another one taking that Fed pipsqueak who badmouthed economic bloggers to task – Time to shut down the US Federal Reserve? .

  29. artemis54 permalink
    June 30, 2010 11:25 am

    Public campaign launched in support of C-518, Fin Donnelly’s bill to force all fish farms into closed containment facilities within five years.

  30. artemis54 permalink
    June 30, 2010 12:13 pm

    Looks like Sen Cornyn has finally realized that publicly trashing Thurgood Marshall for three or four days might not be such a winner for the GOP. He’s trying to walk it all back to just disagreeing with one or two cases.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 30, 2010 12:24 pm

      Saw that when I found the Ms. Graham video. Unclear why the GOP troglodytes seemed to forget what century we’re in and thought that would be a good talking point to spread. It would be nice if this smear job cost Sen. KKKornyn his job, but he is from Texas after all.

  31. cometman permalink*
    June 30, 2010 1:11 pm

    A few unrelated items to note –

    Good account here of what the “nonpartisan” “town meetings” funded by Pete Peterson and aimed at slashing social security are like.

    Robert Scheer explains why there is now even less justification for the US’ gargantuan military expenditures now that China and Taiwan have made nice – The Chinese Aren’t Coming.

    On Tuesday, the Cold War finally ended with a historic trade agreement between China and Taiwan that will dramatically integrate the mainland’s economy with that of its claimed breakaway province. Peace has descended on the most contentious point of conflict between East and West for the past six decades—but don’t expect the folks at the Pentagon or their military contractors to celebrate. The remaining raison d’être for much of their $700 billion budget has suddenly collapsed, and with it the claim on huge profits and high-flying careers.

    And Dan Savage comes out swinging against an experimental drug being given to pregnant women in the hopes of preventing the gay.

    So no more Elena Kagans, no more Donna Shalalas, no more Martina Navratilovas, no more k.d. langs, no more Constance McMillens—because all women must grow up to suck dick, crank out babies, and do women’s work. And the existence of adult women who are not interested in “becoming someone’s wife” and “making babies” constitutes a medical emergency that requires women who are currently pregnant to be treated with an experimental hormone. Otherwise their daughters could grow up to, um, be nominated to sit on the Supreme Court, serve as cabinet secretaries, take 18 Grand Slam singles titles, win Grammies, or take their girlfriends to prom.

    And we can’t have that.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 30, 2010 1:21 pm

      Good for Savage – Seattle’s finest. That is a mess. You know it is illegal to use regulated pesticides for “off label” purposes. How in the hell can it be legal to use drugs off label on pregnant women in the first place.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 30, 2010 1:31 pm

        Reading his column while having lunch at the bar is one of the things I really miss about Seattle. I waited on him once at a restaurant I worked at. He was really tall. Must have scared the crap out of the local republicans when he showed up at their meetings dressed in drag and high heels several years back :)

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 30, 2010 5:27 pm

      Reunion:

      A relative (whom I actually like): Well you know, _______ was really mixed up, confused about her sexuality.

      (This about my cousin, who shot herself to death at 25. No fuckups, we have guns and know how to use them.)

      Me: Bullshit. She was fine (believe me, she wasn’t mixed up at all). It’s your fucked up little town that is all mixed up and confused. her mistake was trying to live here, as she had every right to do.

      Maybe that will give you a little flavor of the thing.

      • cometman permalink*
        July 1, 2010 7:50 am

        Sounds like it was good that you had your ally there for back up!

  32. cometman permalink*
    June 30, 2010 2:28 pm

    Evidently handing the Nobel peace prize to a man currently conducting 2 or 3 wars wasn’t a big enough joke so now US poodle Tony Blair gets a Liberty Medal. The Trilateral types must be really yukking it up now.

  33. artemis54 permalink
    July 1, 2010 4:05 am

    Mahalo nui loa

    • cometman permalink*
      July 1, 2010 7:56 am

      That’s encouraging news.

      Also, I’ll be throwing up a new post here shortly too since this one is getting pretty crowded with comments.

  34. artemis54 permalink
    July 1, 2010 7:09 am

    Isn’t today the deadline predicted by Obama for 90% control of the oil leak? Perhaps the stupidest and most maladroit thing ever from this admin. Of course we could go ask the pom pom girls – who could have possibly predicted that there might be summer storms in the Gulf?

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