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Sometimes it’s a Great Notion…

August 11, 2010

…to say “Fuck it all, I’m outta here”.

I really wanted to show the clip from the end of that movie where Newman chugs down the river giving the finger to the world with the sawed off arm of his dead father, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to locate a video I could embed. For those of among our vast readership who have never seen what is one of the greatest cinematic denouements of all time, you can watch it here.

Which brings me to the actual subject of today’s post, the glorious severing of employment served up by Steven Slater to Jet Blue a couple days ago. After dealing with one too many insufferable passengers, Slater told the offending woman to go screw over the plane’s PA, grabbed some brews from galley, deployed the escape chute, and slid down to make his escape from a job that had become intolerable. According to Stephen Colbert’s report last night, Slater was arrested at his home shortly afterward, but not before being required to perform a little coitus interruptus so the cops could take him away without the person he’d been attached to when they arrived. Priceless.

There are those with no sense of humor who feel that Slater’s escapades merit the stiffest penalties allowed by law (just think of how it affects the poor corporation he worked for, now they’ll have to pay for new employee screening procedures, the horror….). But to most, in two short days he has become a hero of sorts.

I concur. A hearty “Huzzah” to Steven Slater from all the underpaid, overworked, and all-around disgruntled employees everywhere.

If you’re going to go out anyway, do it with panache.

47 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2010 12:35 pm

    Good one from The Nation on the latest Robert Gibbs kerfuffle – Left Owes a Very Big Thank You to Robert Gibbs . Gibbs took a crack at Dennis Kucinich in his stupid diatribe and John Nichols reminds us that it was Kucinich who has come to Obama’s aid on more than one occasion.

    What Gibbs forgot, of course, was that Kucinich played a pivotal role in advancing Obama’s candidacy for the presidency. On the day of the 2008 Democratic caucuses in Iowa, Kucinich told his supporters that if they did not have a critical mass of backers at individual caucuses, they should throw in with Obama as the most viable progressive. That was a critical decision, since Obama only narrowly beat former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who was making a big play for liberal backing.

    I saw the impact in downtown Dubuque, at the public library, where a group of Kucinich backers, recognizing that they were outnumbered, aligned with the Obama group and gave them the numbers they needed to dramatically overwhelm supporters of Edwards and Hillary Clinton. This happened at caucuses across Iowa. It is true that the Kucinich camp amounted to only two, three or perhaps four percent of the Democratic caucusgoers; but they played a critical role — and that role benefited Obama.


    This bit of history may be lost on Gibbs, as it may be on many in the administration. But they certainly ought to remember that Kucinich cast a critical vote this year for the health-care reform bill. The president needed that vote enough to call Kucinich and plead for it. And when Kucinich and I appeared on Ed Schultz’s MSNBC show to discuss the congressman’s choice, it was clear that he , and that he made a difficult choice because he wanted the Obama administration to maintain a measure of authority for future fights with the right.

    So screw you too Robert Gibbs.

  2. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2010 12:44 pm

    Thought this might be of interest to you melvin. Amazon and others facing even more competition for ebooks – 100,000’s of FREE eBooks from the Public Library.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 11, 2010 5:37 pm

      Actually there are an incredible number of books free on kindle.

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

        Don’t know much about kindle except that you can read books on it – I’ve only even surreptitiously glanced at one once. Still don’t have a cell phone although the cometwoman does. I had figured out how to dial a phone # directly on the keypad on the rare occasion I needed to use it and I was nearing the capability of drawing up a saved # without having to scroll through the entire list she had stored on it. Then yesterday she got one of the newer touch screen ones. Back to the drawing board ;)

        One of these days I will get one of these devices. I do kind of like them but I’m waiting until they make one that does everything I want so I don’t have to keep getting new stuff all the time. In the meantime, I’ll have to stick to analog books. Thought this article on the old fashioned kind was pretty good – The world’s most perfect product.

  3. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2010 12:57 pm

    Some links.

    We wont have the former Senator from Alaska to kick around anymore as Ted Stevens is off to meet his maker. Still unclear whether he’ll get there on a bridge to nowhere or through a series of tubes.

    Some more outrages from BP that I hadn’t heard about before. They are getting some pretty substantial tax right offs for their clean up efforts and using prison labor to do some of the cleaning. When called on the latter by pissed off citizens, instead of removing the prisoners, they just removed the “Inmate Labor” labels from their uniforms.

    Guess who’s blaming the republicans for ruining the economy now? None other than the trickle down king who brought us Reaganomics, David Stockman.

    And another huzzah to the Italian activists who stomped a crop of Frankencorn into the ground before it could be harvested.

  4. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2010 2:04 pm

    In the better late than never department,Wells fargo gets smacked down for jacking its customers with bogus overdraft fees.

    A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Wells Fargo to pay California customers $203 million in restitution for claims that it had manipulated transactions to maximize the overdraft fees it charged.

    Instead of processing transactions in the order in which they were received, Wells Fargo put through the largest to smallest, a judge in San Francisco found. In a stinging 90-page opinion, United States District Judge William Alsup wrote that the practice was unfair and deceptive.

    “The bank’s dominant, indeed sole, motive was to maximize the number of overdrafts and squeeze as much as possible” out of customers who spent more than they had in their accounts, the judge wrote. The ruling comes after a two-week trial in the spring heard by the judge.

    Wells Fargo, which collected nearly $1.8 billion in overdraft fees in California alone from 2005 to 2007, said it would appeal.

    Not sure why it took so long as a whole lot of banks have been doing this for quite some time. This little bit was of particular interest:

    According to the judge’s ruling, Wells Fargo changed the way that it processed transactions in 2001.

    Funny, since in 2001 I was working for WAMU and that’s the same year that they changed the way they processed overdrafts too. Employees were told it was for the customer’s benefit but somehow it just so happened that the bank began to generate a lot more overdrafts. Even more funny, in 2001 I was told in a meeting with a WAMU VP that employee wages were being cut at WAMU because at the last year’s industry meeting among executives from various banks, it was determined that WAMU paid its low level workers more than the industry average. Wish I had brought a tape recorder to that meeting because that bit in italics sure sounds like collusion to me, which I understand to be illegal. At least it was when baseball owners did it.

    Wonder if this judge has any interest in looking into how many other banks changed their overdraft practices, for the customer’s own good of course, back in 2001 ?

  5. artemis54 permalink
    August 11, 2010 4:18 pm

    More than one surprise in this article about Slater (assuming the NY Post got anything right). His – ahem – exwife’s grandfather had this to say:

    That passenger must a bitch, just a pure bitch, because nobody else could get him wound up like that. [sic – seems lie there’s a verb missing there. Probably the Post and not grandpa]

  6. artemis54 permalink
    August 11, 2010 4:53 pm

    To the Pavlovsk Station

    As expected, a Russian court ruled today that cheesy real estate development can proceed as soon as one of the world’s premier agricultural gene banks is bulldozed out of the way. Apparently they bought the argument that it did not legally exist due to some failure to register a piece of paper somewhere in the tortured Soviet past.

    All hail the triumph of capitalism.

    It seems to me that the easiest way to proceed is to buy it. I saw a figure floating around of I think 3 million euros.

    Bill? Melinda?


    • artemis54 permalink
      August 11, 2010 5:02 pm

      btw, the ruling was appealed within minutes, but no one expects that to succeed.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2010 12:11 pm

      Sigh. Not a huge fan of these big philanthropic funds but this would definitely be one where I’d like to see one of those types of institutions step in and do the right thing. But the Gates are probably wondering how doing so would allow them to hook anybody on Windows.

  7. artemis54 permalink
    August 11, 2010 6:26 pm

    Maddow is blasting away with both barrels tonight at DADT. Just now she basically told Gibbs to bring it on. I would really love to see her take him apart.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    August 12, 2010 9:49 am

    Be sure to watch til the end:

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2010 12:13 pm

      Ha! Wonder if this clown thinks Mexican drug cartels come from New Mexico. Otherwise I don’t know how he figures Mexican cartels are the responsibility of the US. Last I checked they had existed through quite a few republican administrations as well.

  9. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2010 1:18 pm

    So even the corporate media is beginning to admit that the economy is not “fixed” at all and that another downturn is likely. This shouldn’t be surprising to anybody who has looked at what happened circa 1930 – the market collapsed and government threw tons of money at the banks then. It didn’t work the first time back then. It didn’t work the second time over the last few years. So what’s the government going to do? Sure looks like they are going to try to prove Einstein wrong and hope for a different result the third time around, because signs are pointing to another round of “quantitative easing” which basically means printing more money, throwing it at the banks, and hoping we all get unicorns.

    Mike Whitney tells us why it won’t work – Back in the Soup.

    On Tuesday, the Fed announced that it will reinvest the proceeds from maturing mortgage-backed securities into US Treasuries. The process is called Quantitative Easing. In theory, Q.E. increases inflation expectations so that consumers spend more before their money loses value and thus rev up the economy. That’s the theory. But adding to bank reserves when the banks are already loaded to the gills, achieves nothing. It doesn’t put money in the hands of people who will spend it, generate more economic activity or increase growth. It’s a big zero. Oddly enough, the Fed even admits this. According to an article in Bloomberg News, “The Central Bank posted a paper co-written by Seth Carpenter, associate director of the Fed’s monetary-affairs division, finding that the “quantity of reserve balances itself is not likely to trigger a rapid increase in lending.” No “increase in lending” means no credit expansion and no rebound. Thus, QE will have no real impact.

    And so does Yves Smith – The Fed’s Fallacious “QE Lite” Logic.

    Can you see why this won’t work? The Fed’s implicit reasoning is that the BoJ [Bank of Japan] didn’t shove money into the banking system in a way that would lead businesses to borrow, but the Fed has a better mousetrap. Huh? This is the loanable funds fallacy, that if you make money cheap enough, firms will borrow and invest.

    But the cost of money is only one factor in a business’s decision to expand, and outside of financial firms, it’s typically a constraint, not a spur. If you run a dry cleaner, are you going to say, “Gee, my borrowing rate went down a point, I think I’ll open that new store”? The fall in the cost of money would change your action only if it was a critical factor, at the margin, and had restricted you. And for the vast majority of enterprises, the decision of whether to grow or not is based first and foremost on their reading of the environment, which includes the strength of the market for their services, the likelihood of competitor response, whether there are steps they can take to alleviate risk, like securing commitments from prospective customers or tying up critical technology or vendors.


    The underlying problem is overreliance on monetary policy, when what is needed is more aggressive measures to force resolution and restructuring of private sector debt, with stimulus to offset the downdraft of the resulting losses (note the losses really are there, but in a reverse Tinker Bell syndrome, if we all quit clapping, the economy might die).

    Both call for more stimulus money aimed at people who need it and will spend it. But of course the <O administration is moving in exactly the opposite direction and looking to actually cut social programs because the wingnuts have suddenly become oh so concerned about the deficits that their own policies caused in the first place.

    Get ready for Hooverville redux.

  10. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2010 1:23 pm

    Here’s something I missed about the financial “reform” legislation. most of the actual “reforms” weren’t even in the legislation and have yet to be written.

    Now, the legislation hands off to 10 regulatory agencies the discretion to write hundreds of new rules governing finance. Rather than the bill itself, it will be this process—accompanied by a lobbying blitz from banks—that will determine the precise contours of this new landscape, how strict the new regulations will be and whether they succeed in their purpose. The decisions will be made by officials from new agencies, obscure agencies and, in some cases, agencies like the Federal Reserve that faced criticism in the run-up to the crisis.

    So rather than telling the financial industry (and the American people) what will and will not be allowed, they’re going to let regulatory agencies that have already been largely captured by the industries they regulate write the new regulation in Beltway back rooms with the assistance of industry lobbyists. What could possibly go wrong?!?!?!?!?!?!

    • cometman permalink*
      August 13, 2010 9:02 am

      A little more on this from The Baseline Scenario:

      In the rule-writing phase, the banks still have a huge advantage in money, lobbyists, and lawyers–and are hiring as many ex-regulators as they can to press their case. As our friend Jennifer Taub writes at The Pareto Commons:

      “What lies ahead, over the next year and beyond, will require far larger armies of lawyers, economists, finance experts and just plain able bodies and minds to monitor and influence the rulemaking process. Rumor has it that one bank alone plans to set up 100 teams of employees, tasked with particular rule makings. And that is just one bank.”

      Unfortunately, however, the pressure of the public spotlight is largely off, tilting the battlefield in favor of industry.

      Our best hope is that the people in the regulatory agencies really do want to do the right thing, which is quite possible for people like Gary Gensler and Sheila Bair, and soon we’ll have John Dugan out of the OCC.

      Sorry, but hoping that people in the regulatory agencies want to do the right thing when they have shown so many times that they don’t want to simply isn’t going to cut it. Fuck hope. Send in a hatchet man to clean out the dead weight and replace them with people who aren’t tied to the industries they are tasked to regulate and who will do the right thing. Anything less, and it will be pretty clear there is no real intention of “reform”.

  11. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2010 1:24 pm

    I was hoping to go maybe one day without getting pissed off by BP. Today was not that day – BP Is Hiding Dead Animals to Avoid Fine of $50,000 Per Dead Animal (and the Bad Publicity).

  12. cometman permalink*
    August 13, 2010 8:13 am

    Watched Rachel Maddow on the actual TV last night – first time in a while I had watched any TV news – and damn, she is good. The story about the AZ prison system and how private prison companies stand to benefit enormously from the new immigration laws was top notch. Somebody did some actual investigating! All of a sudden the “concerns” of Brewer about illegals look very financially motivated, especially considering that two of her top aides were/are lobbyists for the prison company that stands to make a lot of $$$$.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 13, 2010 8:51 am

      That is something seldom remarked about RM: instead of the endless whirl of opinions from the usual beltway and media clowns, she often has on local investiative reporters like the guy last night and lets them tell the story. That’s because her ego hasn’t swollen to the size of Kansas like most of her “colleagues.”

  13. cometman permalink*
    August 13, 2010 12:35 pm

    I was reading another article on how the economy isn’t really recovering when I came across this tidbit:

    What’s worse is the tea leaves offer few signs of a turnaround any time soon even if General Motors is selling more cars-many, may we be reminded, in China. (The GM CEO who last week took a nasty ingrate smack at GM being perceived as “Government Motors,” demanding the government sell all of its shares, has just announced he is leaving! I wonder why?)

    The Carlyle Group is taking over while the automaker launches a new program of subprime lending, the very predatory dealmaking that got them in trouble in the first place.

    So our “socialist” government which has “taken over” GM is letting the Carlyle Group, an affiliate of the Bush crime family with its tentacles in just about everything, call the shots.

    Schechter may have been a little loose when he said the Carlyle group was taking over, but only a little. Here’s more:

    General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre, who led the largest U.S. automaker from bankruptcy to two straight profitable quarters, will step down as CEO on Sept. 1 and be replaced by director Dan Akerson.

    Akerson, 61, also will take over the 68-year-old Whitacre’s role as chairman at the end of the year, Detroit-based GM said today.


    Akerson, a managing director of the Carlyle Group, will take over GM as it works toward freeing itself from the U.S. government’s 61 percent ownership after last year’s $50 billion taxpayer bailout.

    Note that Akerson isn’t a former director, but a current one. But Akerson doesn’t just have ties to Carlyle. Here are some of the other bad actors Akerson is affiliated with:

    Whitacre’s successor will be Carlyle Group Managing Director Daniel Akerson, currently a GM board member as well as a board member of American Express and Booz Allen Hamilton. Akerson has a pretty solid resume: he was formerly the CFO, COO and president of MCI; worked as a partner at private equity firm Forstmann Little; and served as CEO for General Instrument, Nextel Communications and XO Communications.

    Close ties to one of the largest financial firms with AMEX, as well as one of the biggest consulting firms for defense contractors with Booz Allen. Not exactly the scion of Karl Marx who’s going to be running the show.

    And then there was the part about GM failing to heed the lessons that should have been learned with GMAC and purchasing another subprime lender to assist in financing its cars. From the NYT:

    Two weeks ago, the company agreed to buy AmeriCredit, a subprime lender, for $3.5 billion. At the time, industry insiders whispered, not so quietly, that it was meant to dress up G.M.’s sales numbers before an I.P.O.


    So here we go again, three years later, and G.M. is buying a subprime company to finance cars for people who may not be able to afford them, and given high unemployment levels, may not even have jobs to start saving for one. And yes, we, the taxpayers, still own 61 percent of the automaker.

    Not sure how the upcoming IPO will affect the percentage of shares owned by taxpayers, but regardless, doing the same asinine thing a second time is sheer lunacy. And I sincerely doubt GM will be allowed to fail when it becomes clear that people can’t pay back the car loans they took out.

    Economists would like the rest of us to consider their wretched craft a “science”. If so, then I’m a “science” denier and to paraphrase the words of another denier, it sure looks like bailouts all the way down.

  14. cometman permalink*
    August 13, 2010 1:00 pm

    Some interesting links-

    Amateur astronomers involved with the Einstein@Home project have made their first big discovery – a rotating pulsar.

    Idle computers are the astronomers’ playground: Three citizen scientists–an American couple and a German–have discovered a new radio pulsar hidden in data gathered by the Arecibo Observatory. This is the first deep-space discovery by Einstein@Home, which uses donated time from the home and office computers of 250,000 volunteers from 192 different countries. This is the first genuine astronomical discovery by a public volunteer distributed computing project.

    This one sounds like somebody may be pulling someone else’s leg a little bit, and maybe being a cat owner I shouldn’t have laughed, but I couldn’t help it – Traffic stop saves cat from owner’s plate.

    When Ferry-Fillmore District officers pulled over a car driven by Gary L. Korkuc on Sunday night during a traffic stop, they said they heard a cat crying from inside the trunk and investigated.

    What they found has left animal lovers at the SPCA Serving Erie County in shock.

    The cat, according to police, was in a cage “marinating” in a mixture of crushed red peppers, chili pepper, salt and oil.

    If you were really going to eat your cat, would you really marinate it while it was still alive with its fur on? I’m sure this story would have some humorous uses at Klub Kumquat….

    And I really enjoyed this article about the potential technological singularity we may get whether we like it or not. Lots of food for thought, with discussion involving Ray Kurzweil, Vernor Vinge, Bill McKibben, and others. Well worth reading in full – The Intelligent Universe.

    For those who are apprehensive about developing post-human intelligences, you will not be relived to find out that one of those funding the movement to bring the Singularity upon us was also a funder of rightwing nutjob “journalist” Adam O’Keefe.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 13, 2010 2:54 pm

      I wonder about a cultural singularity. There’s an old scific tale, I could never find it, about the discovery of an advanced civ that seems to have simply disappeared. Finally it’s uncovered that they simply became so bored and disgusted with themselves that they just chose to die without reproducing.

  15. artemis54 permalink
    August 14, 2010 1:27 am

    America: Land of Loners?

    We make this mistake in part because we’ve allowed our wildly inflated view of matrimony to subsume much of the territory once occupied by friendship. Your BFF nowadays – at least until the divorce – is supposed to be your spouse, a plausible idea in this age of assortative mating, except that spouses and friends fill different needs, and cultivating some close extramarital friendships might even take some of the pressure off at home. Yet the married men I know seem overwhelmingly dependent on their wives for emotional connection, even as their wives take pleasure in friends to whom they don’t happen to be wed. The Beatles’ immortal lonely heart Eleanor Rigby and novelist Anita Brookner’s socially isolated heroines notwithstanding, the fact is that all the women I know are better at friendships – spend more time on them, take more pleasure in them, and value them more highly – than any of the straight men.

    Forgive me, guys, but we are lousy at this . . . .

    I still grieve for the great friend of my life. His death almost four years ago left me without a compass. The people who understand that our relationship was not sexual seem to find it odd that this has changed my life. But it does not seem odd to me. It just is, and there is no other way.

    You Want a Social Life, with Friends
    — Kenneth Koch

    You want a social life, with friends.
    A passionate love life and as well
    To work hard every day. What’s true
    Is of these three you may have two
    And two can pay you dividends
    But never may have three.

    There isn’t time enough, my friends–
    Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends–
    To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
    Michelangelo had feeling
    For Vittoria and the Ceiling
    But did he go to parties at day’s end?

    Homer nightly went to banquets
    Wrote all day but had no lockets
    Bright with pictures of his Girl.
    I know one who loves and parties
    And has done so since his thirties
    But writes hardly anything at all.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 16, 2010 7:38 am

      That was a really good article. Very timely to read right now for me personally. I’ve been lamenting the loss of any number of male friends lately, not through death but through distance. My high school friends scattered when we all went to college, my college friends scattered when we all graduated, and then I moved around a fair amount over the next ten years leaving friends behind with every move. I often imagine building a small community and inviting all the friends I’ve made and lost touch with to come live there.

      I have been surrounded by women quite a bit in recent years and for many of the reasons enumerated in the article have had a much more difficult time in the stage in my life of making new male friends than I used to and I really do miss it. The squidlette and the missus went to visit (female) relatives over the weekend and I declined to attend, stayed home and had a poker game with some buddies instead. Guy I knew from Seattle called me up out of the blue since he was in town and came over too. Grilled a pile of meat with potato chips as the only side dish, put the Red Sox game on the TV with the volume off, put on some music I can’t listen too when the wife is home, played cards, drank a lot of High Life and generally had a very good time. First time in about two years that I’d done that.

      I do think that in general, this phenomenon comes mostly from the disintegration that our corporate way of life causes. People move around a lot looking for a school often far away that will get them the right job, and then move to wherever the job opportunities lie since often people can’t find the jobs they might want near where they grew up anymore due to so many industries being consolidated. Even getting married causes people to relocate – start thinking about kids and maybe the school system 45 minutes away would be more attractive for your child’s future job prospects. That 45 minute drive can really put a damper on friendships. Everything seems to be geared towards being able to support yourself sometime in the indeterminate future rather than trying to enjoy what you’ve got in front of you right now. As friends move away from each other and there’s nobody you can just drop by and hang out with, something’s got to fill the void. This bit gets to the crux of it I think:

      …too many of us are locked in what social critic Barbara Ehrenreich has called “the cult of conspicuous busyness,” from which we seem to derive status and a certain perverse comfort even as it alienates us from one another.

      I know a lot of people who keep their appointment calendars full and I could never understand that mentality. It almost becomes an excuse for why you don’t have that many real close friends.

      I can’t really imagine what it’s like to permanently lose such a good friend – thankfully that hasn’t happened to me yet. But I can relate to an extent – my best friend lives 3000 miles away now and although we keep in touch on the phone, it isn’t the same as going on for a beer every night like we used to. Anyhoo, I could go on for a while on this topic but that was probably enough for now.

      Side note – although I haven’t read the Bowling Alone book mentioned in the article personally, my wife did and she said it was quite good.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 16, 2010 8:01 am

        I have seen any number of marriages fail, and others just go on in misery. The most successful ones seem to have one thing in common: hubs and wife don’t try to live in each other’s back pocket. Formalized or not, they have “time off” from each other and pursue interests on their own.

        For instance, my cousin attends church every Sunday and is active in its volunteer efforts; she also pursues her lifelong interest in all things horse, including judging 4H horse stuff, screwing around with her own horses, horseback trips in the mountains, etc etc. I knew her husband had little interest in most of this and did his own things, but was recently surprised to hear that he’s never even set foot in her church.

        They have one of the most successful marriages I know of.

        • cometman permalink*
          August 16, 2010 8:42 am

          Coincidentally, one of my buddies who came over informed me he was going through a divorce with his wife citing his “not being around enough” as the reason. Of course the reason he isn’t around is because his wife moreso than him wanted a big family and he already had three kids and she would have liked more if the marriage continued, so he quit he less demanding job and went to law school so he could make more money to support his wife and growing family. Now he’s in practice and the first few years of legal work are when you have to put in a lot of time to get established in the field. But she couldn’t wait until he finished up the first few years and gave him the boot. On the rare occasions he did try to go out with friends during his marriage, she was very possessive and generally not in favor of it. I think he appreciated the support he got from us this weekend.

          My wife’s friends haven’t scattered nearly as much as my own and she goes out with them for girl’s night pretty often or has them over to visit. She goes to church without me since I’m not interested and I stay home and have “Cat Church” where I listen to organ music on the stereo and commune with the Reverend Achilles and his acolyte Ajax (my cats) while reading something of interest. Time with her friends does her a lot of good and I welcome her doing so. She welcomes me doing the same although I just don’t have as many friends around these days, so while I do have the time I just don’t have as many opportunities. I think that will change as time goes on though and I get more settled into my neighborhood.

          • artemis54 permalink
            August 16, 2010 8:52 am

            Cat church

            My cats are more like hell demons. I lock them in the house so I can enjoy the yard without their constant troublemaking. They are halfway through their project of destroying my furniture, but it keeps them from even worse occupations.

  16. artemis54 permalink
    August 14, 2010 2:33 am

    The International League of Conservation Photographers declares war on Enbridge’s death pipeline to Kitimat

    If the tanker moratorium is left in place the pipeline cannot be built and the tar sands cannot be expanded. To do this iLCP will document the Great Bear Rainforest in photos, video, audio, and words with a special focus on the marine world. iLCP will use the collected media to generate outreach initiatives and to flood major media organizations with stories of BC’s intent to lift the moratorium on tanker traffic.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 16, 2010 8:21 am

      On a note related note, there is a battle going on in Maine right now trying to keep an LNG terminal out of coastal waters. I probably don’t have the story quite straight as it’s taken many turns over the last few years, but there was a proposal to build an LNG terminal in one of the mid-coast fishing towns and the local voters rejected it. So since the white people didn’t want it, the next step was to try to exploit the poverty of the remaining native tribes. In the beginning IIRC, the tribe voted to support it because they needed the $$$ it would bring (although not all tribal members were in favor). Here’s a little background. Note that the link which is from last year says the project is dead. Not exactly.

      Somehow there is still a push to have it built, but it isn’t going very well right now. For one, the Canadian government is opposed to it, citing environmental concerns among other factors. A cyncial person such as myself might think that the main factor wasn’t so much environmental concerns as this:

      Some supporters of the Maine projects have accused Canadian officials of trying to block LNG in Maine in order to protect the financial interests of a relatively new LNG terminal in Saint John. The Canaport, which is co-operated by New Brunswick-based Irving Oil, was built largely to supply U.S. energy markets.

      But the major problem right now is financing, namely that the project doesn’t currently have any.

      A lawyer representing Calais LNG (up heah, that town is pronounced as “callous” – cman) had sent a letter earlier this week to the board, saying it needed until Sept. 11 to line up a financial backer. Last month, the company abruptly pulled out of a long-planned hearing on its permit application for the project. A week later, the company said its lead investor, GS Power Holdings LLC, was selling its share and it was looking for another investor.

      Not sure if Calais LNG is the entity that took over after the contract with Quoddy Bay LNG was terminated, but regardless, somebody really wants to get this thing built and won’t let it die. Who is this GS Power Holdings LLC, you might ask? The “GS” stands for Goldman Sachs. Pulling funding is about the only (inadvertently) good thing I can think of they’ve done with their money in years. but the state gave the project another month to come up with funding. We’ll see what happens if the project doesn’t get it. I’m thinking it’s going to be more extensions until somebody comes up with the cash to build this piece of shit we don’t really need. But the tribes seemed to have turned to strongly opposing the project now, along with just about everybody else not involved with the fossil fuel industry. we’ll see if that matters for anything at all next month.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    August 14, 2010 2:59 am

    At the 11th hour, the Guardian lays it on the line: Talk has not halted biodiversity loss – now it’s time for action

    It is refreshing at last to hear some honesty – from of all places Europe, home of highminded empty verbiage:

    It’s on course to make the farcical climate talks in Copenhagen look like a roaring success. The big international meeting in October which is meant to protect the world’s biodiversity is destined to be an even greater failure than last year’s attempt to protect the world’s atmosphere. Already the UN has conceded that the targets for safeguarding wild species and wild places in 2010 have been missed: comprehensively and tragically.

    In 2002, 188 countries launched a global initiative, usually referred to as the 2010 biodiversity target, to achieve by this year a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss. The plan was widely reported as the beginning of the end of the biodiversity crisis. But in May this year, the Convention on Biological Diversity admitted that it had failed. It appears to have had no appreciable effect on the rate of loss of animals, plants and wild places.

    In a few weeks, the same countries will meet in Nagoya, Japan and make a similarly meaningless set of promises.

    This is the most honest statement of the case since BirdLife observed that Europe was on track to meet its stated 2010 biodiversity goals – in 2110.

    All the international meetings have done so far is to diffuse responsibility for the crisis, allowing member states to hide behind each other’s failures. They create a false impression of action, insulating governments from public pressure.

    . . . . .

    So today we are launching a new campaign, hosted by the Guardian, to put pressure on dithering governments. Rather than allowing them to hide behind generalities, with help from you and many of the world’s top ecologists, we are compiling a list of 100 specific tasks that will demonstrate whether they are serious about defending the wonders of the natural world. Each will be targeted at a particular government, and they will be asked to sign up to it before the meeting in Nagoya.

    There is no time left.

  18. artemis54 permalink
    August 15, 2010 1:36 pm

    This just in: in a surprise move, the North Korean leadership has named Kim Novak as the successor to Dear Leader.

  19. cometman permalink*
    August 16, 2010 5:46 am

    RIP Bruno S.

  20. cometman permalink*
    August 16, 2010 8:53 am

    Found an excellent cephalopod website over the weekend called Cephalove.

    Some very nice photography there and good scientific articles on cephalopods. I also found out through a link at that site that Marky Mark’s spawn was recently attacked by a giant octopus. Another where I probably shouldn’t laugh, but I am anyway.

  21. artemis54 permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:13 am

    The besotted slobbering sow eats another of her young: Chris Rodda hounded out of DK.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 16, 2010 9:59 am

      Checked in there yesterday for a couple minutes and noticed a diary which I think was on the wreck list at the time decrying the use of the word “whore” to describe craven politicians because it was mean to sex workers or some such nonsense. One guy tried to explain that a lot of words do have nuanced definitions but the diarist wasn’t having it. Thus ended my two minute foray into Klub Kumquat. Just too much stupid and censorship. Pretty soon all they’ll have left are diarists on the <O payroll writing pieces on whether Barry is a great president or the greatest president. And to think that at one point I thought the site had a lot of promise.

      I’ll take the likes of David Michael Green over the Kumquateers any day. He evidently shares my thoughts on Gibbs’ recent comments in his most recent piece,Our Professional Failure, which he begins thusly –

      Hey, Robert Gibbs: Screw you, and the president you rode in on.

      then throws in some of this –

      As for me – and I think I speak for many others here – I’d rather eat metal than vote for Obama in 2012. I’d rather shit bricks. Big, rough, rocky ones. I’m not sure if I’ll ever vote for another Democrat again for the rest of my life, but if I do it sure won’t be this pathetic punk.

      and includes a nice whore reference later on –

      Anyone who thinks that he or his pals in the Democratic Party are any less whores of the corporate oligarchy in this country than are the Reptilicans is living in the 1930s.

      Wonder if he has an account at the Tangerine Dream? :P

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 16, 2010 10:16 am


        So typical to hare off on the alleged pc implications of a word rather than discuss the subject at hand. The site is like a sandbox for the slow kids at this point. I wish the few decent people left – some of the enviro crowd – would leave and just let it die a natural death like it needs to.

        And whores – well, how much of the in crowd there is anything but whores?

        My only complaint would be that real whores practice a relatively honest profession, unlike mamz & co.

  22. artemis54 permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:46 am

    Unanimous oppostion from African environmentalists be damned, Tanzania is hellbent on destroying the Serengeti.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 16, 2010 10:45 am

      Sigh. The road would ‘help the tourism industry’. That’s about the only kind of economic development on offer these days – promoting tourism everywhere. Build more roads, more casinos, more stadiums. More circuses since the bread is getting to be in short supply for so many.

      In Maine we have to build ever bigger highways so more tourists can get in because gawd forbid they have to wait at a toll booth for twenty minutes. Whatever’s good for tourism is supposedly good for the state because nobody has anything else to do anymore. Maybe one of these days it will sink in that when everywhere is a “tourist destination”, then really nowhere is.

      Looks like they could easily build a road around the National Park pretty easily if such a road was really necessary. But that would probably delay a potential tourist.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 16, 2010 4:43 pm

        I suppose it will help the quick buck tourist industry in the short term.

        Eventually there will be Disneyland Serengeti: please move through the dioramas as quickly as possible. On your right, early man, on your left, the hypothetical Great Migrations that some scientists think once roamed the earth.

  23. cometman permalink*
    August 16, 2010 1:05 pm

    Some links.

    I was thinking about Tom Delay the other day wondering why we hadn’t heard much about him in recent years. Turns out he was laying low until Barry’s DOJ could figure out how to not charge the crooked bastard for one damn thing.

    Something I’d like to see a lot more of – prominent Senator walloped with a pie.

    Barry rattles some sabers at Turkey, or perhaps more accurately threatens not to give them any sabers, for not being team players after refusing US requests to sanction Iran and failing to keep their mouths shut about the Turks slaughtered by Israel recently.

    “They need to show that they take seriously American national security interests,” said the administration official, adding that Washington was looking at Turkish conduct and would then assess if there were “sufficient efforts that we can go forward with their request”.

    Funny, sounds to me like they were refusing to take Israeli national security interests seriously, but hey, what’s the difference these days?

    A some levity – a cartoon on the ‘mosque at ground zero’ controversy.

  24. cometman permalink*
    August 16, 2010 2:01 pm

    Today isn’t the day that BP fails to piss me off either. Check out this article talking to fisherman and other eyewitnesses from the Gulf Coast about what they see with their own eyes. BP is using the locals to spot oil but not to clean it up. Lots of reports of out of state boats and planes coming in at night to spray more fucking dispersant so nobody can see the oil and BP can claim it’s gone. All done with the complicity of the US government. Bullshit bullshit and more bullshit.

    Truthout spoke with another man, who was recently laid off from the VOO program. He also spoke on condition of anonymity. “Just the other day one of the Carolina Skiffs passed us spraying something,” he said. “We went west instead of east as we turned and a group of Carolina Skiffs was spraying something over the water.”

    A Carolina Skiff is a type of boat, usually between 13′ and 30′ long, very versatile and can function well in shallow or deep waters. They are known for having a large payload capacity and a lot of interior space.

    Alarmed by what he saw, the former VOO worker called the Coast Guard to report what he believed was a private contractor company spraying dispersants. “We were later told by the Coast Guard they’d investigated the incident and told us what we saw were vacuum boats sucking oil, and they were rinsing their tanks,” he said. “But we know this is a lie and that BP is using these out of state contractors to come in and spray the dispersant at night and they are using planes to drop it as well.”

    He worked in the VOO program looking for oil. When his team would find oil, upon reporting it, they would consistently be sent away without explanation or the opportunity to clean it. “They made us abort these missions,” he said. “Two days ago I put out boom in a bunch of oil for five minutes, they told me to abort the mission, so I pulled up boom soaked in oil. What the hell are we doing out there if they won’t let us work to clean up the oil?”

    He told Truthout that as his and other VOO teams would be going out to work on the water in the morning, they would pass the out-of-state contractors in Carolina Skiffs coming in from what he believed to be a covert spraying of the oil with dispersant in order to sink it. He believes this was done to deliberately prevent the VOO teams from finding and collecting oil. By doing so, BP’s liability would be lessened since the oil giant will be fined for the amount of oil collected.


    • artemis54 permalink
      August 16, 2010 4:52 pm

      Did we think prolefeed was just a GOP brand?

      It seems to be a pretty simple to construct alternate histories and substitute them for objective reality. Fox led the way, Bush and Cheney were quick to notice, why should Obama be any different?

      I get emails asserting that “everyone knows” congressmen draw 100% of their salaries for life after leaving office.

      47% of the public think Obama signed the TARP, not Bush who actually did. Only 34% recognize that as fact.

      Look at this mosque mess and the constant reference to the polls and what the public thinks. It doesn’t fucking matter what they think. At the time of Loving v Virginia, over 60% disapproved of interracial marriage.

      What percentage of them think they’ve been abducted by aliens? If it hits 50, does that mean it’s true? It certainly would following the prevailing media narrative.

  25. sisdevore permalink
    August 16, 2010 5:18 pm

    Harry Reid. What a fucking disgrace.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 16, 2010 6:18 pm

      You almost have to prefer the honest lunatic Angle to the craven whore Reid. Drunk as she is on her own bathwater, at least her horseshit is heartfelt. He’d sell his mother down the river for a nickel; everything is negotiable, including those quaint principles like the first amendment.

    • sisdevore permalink
      August 16, 2010 6:38 pm

      did not mean to rec myself.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 17, 2010 10:07 am

      How did anybody ever think that Harry was capable of giving anybody hell? I thought he might when I wasn’t all that familiar with him a few years back. All just posturing.

  26. cometman permalink*
    August 17, 2010 10:08 am

    New post coming shortly if I can get it together!

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