ThePoliticalCat

A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Dinner At La Casa de Los Gatos

This week:

Chile Colorado
Pinto Beans and Black Beans with Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cumin
Mexican Rice

Roast Escolar with Asparagus

Plum-Sauce Roast Cod
Asparagus with Bean Sauce

Lamb Pizzetta with Chard and Pine Nuts

Pictures will follow.

Spring is finally here, and we're determined to enjoy all the good bounty of Mother Earth and Mother Nature that we've been missing out on. The gatos seem to like the proposed menu. They usually try to get away with a little people food.

Does anyone want recipes? We'll post them after we've cooked and photographed, if there's a demand.

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Friday is Maxx Memorial Day


The Lion Kitty of the InnerTubes.

Actually, that's not Maxx. Maxx was much to sweet to make that expression. But we saw that kittyface and thought about Maxx. So here's Maxx, for all his fans, and there's lots more Maxx over at 4LG's place.


Dr. Barmpot Shouty-Crackers said Maxx had France Nguyen eyes. We really really miss him still, even though it's been more than a year. We sure hope he saves us a seat on his comet when we're ready.

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Consumer Alert: Contaminated Food


If you bought crispy battered fish fillets in the 11.4 oz pack from Gorton's, be aware that there is a possibility the fish, or the batter used, is contaminated. Gorton's has issued a recall. Specifics: Gorton's 6 Crispy Battered Fish Fillets, 11.4 ounces; UPC Code No. 44400157770; date code 7289G1; use-by date April 2009.

So far, the fish has been distributed in:
  • Alabama
  • Delaware
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas.
If you bought the fish, contact Gorton's at 1-800-896-9479 or at http://www.gortons.com/. And, that Gorton's fisherman? He's an actor, dude. Real fisherman don't look half as good after spending most of their lives out in all kinds weather baking their skin to the approximate texture of scrap leather.

This is yet another reason why one should never ever buy prepackaged or processed foods.

Sure, it takes a little work to make your own, but which would you rather be, tired or poisoned?

Here's a recipe for fish that you can make and eat all week. Why? Because we can't write about politics or even read about it any more. We need a break. So do you.

So get yourself some fish and experiment.

Marinated broiled fish

4 fillets catfish
1 thumb ginger
1 lemon
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder or to taste

Wash the lemon, zest it (peel off the yellow portion of the skin) and juice it. Peel the ginger and slice very thinly lengthwise. Pour half the powdered turmeric and red chilli in a ceramic or glass (nonreactive) bowl, add fish, sprinkle with remaining spice powder.

Add soy sauce and lemon juice, ginger slices, and lemon zest over. Gently turn the fillets over. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Broil approximately 5 min per side till done. Serve garnished with green onions and/or cilantro.

Cook's notes:

1. This recipe is perfect for catfish because it removes the muddy smell like magic, leaving tender, flaky fish. Substitute any firm white fish. Very low fat. Adjust soy sauce to taste.

2. Do not use Mexican chile powder. Use Indian red chili powder available in most Asian or Indian stores or through spice purveyors (like Dean & Deluca or Penzey's) online.

3. If you don't own a zester, peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler and slice into shreds. Do not use white part of skin.

4. The marinated fish keeps two to three days. The broiled fish keeps about five. You can marinate the fish and cook individual portions for up to three days. The longer the fish sits in the marinade the more "cooked" it gets by the acid lemon juice.

5. Optional: you can discard the ginger before or after broiling the fish, or eat it. If you prefer, juice only half the lemon, and cut the remaining half into slices to be squeezed over the fish when served.

This recipe is hella betta for you than any crispy battered prepackaged gunk. It takes approximately 30 minutes to prep and 10-15 minutes to cook and serve. If you put a cup or two of brown rice to cook right before you start on the fish, the rice will be cooked a few minutes before the fish is done. Add some saucy asparagus in black beans, and you're set. Fast, tasty, healthy, and no chance of "pills" appearing in your dinner.

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Politics: Are They ALL

growing balls? Ovaries? Reproductive bits indicative of strength, fortitude and large-scale deweaselment?


Raw Story is telling us, this morning, that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has asked the (in)Justice Department to open a grand jury investigation into whether President Bush's chief of staff and former counsel should be prosecuted for contempt of Congress.

The idea of Harriet Myers and Josh Bolten in the hoosegow has us faint and trembling with delight.

A clarification: We don't necessarily want to inflict misery on other people per se. Seriously. We don't want people tortured or murdered or beaten up or jailed. We would prefer that people live peaceful happy lives as far as that is possible. What we do want is fairness and justice. If the law is going to drag some poor crack-smoker to the hoosegow, then it must also drag the rich coke-sniffer to the hoosegow.

Thus, if some of the people investigated during the baseless Whitewater scandal got to sit in the pokey, some of the people involved in the lies that led us to war in Iraq, the disappearance of billions from our treasury, the gifting of taxpayer dollars to companies like Halliburton and Blackwater, and the myriad crimes of this Misadministration must also be investigated, convicted as justified, and either spend their time in the pokey or start singing like canaries so we, the people, can find out exactly how, when, where, how often, and by whom we've been screwed. Because make no mistake about it, we have been screwed.

We want the rule of law. If it sweeps some of our idols and role models into its dragnet, well, we'll be unhappy but we'll live with it.

When Harriet Myers and Josh Bolten dared to tell the people that they would not be held accountable for their acts, that sent a very troubling message to the nation and the world. No one is, or should be, above the law. No one. Not kings, priests, presidents, businessmen, politicians, and certainly not the toadying shallow minions of a petty, egocentric sociopath who has treated the country like his personal poop-box for seven years. Because if any one person is above the law, then what incentive is there for any other person to obey it?

The article states, in part:
Pelosi, D-Calif., demanded that the department pursue misdemeanor charges against former White House counsel Harriet Miers for refusing to testify to Congress about the firings of federal prosecutors in 2006 and against chief of staff Josh Bolten for failing to turn over White House documents related to the dismissals.

She gave Attorney General Michael Mukasey one week to respond and said refusal to take the matter to a grand jury will result in the House's filing a civil lawsuit against the Bush administration.
So this is about the federal prosecutors that the Bush Maladministration fired in their effort to turn the Justice Department into their pathetic spineless tool. Finally.

Nancy Pelosi, if you can push this through, our admiration for you automatically rises ten notches, and we will back off on beating you about the head and shoulders verbally.

If you haven't been following the Justice Department scandal, you can find great detail about it here. Just search for justice department.

If you don't necessarily want that level of detail, we've blogged the issue here, here, here, here, and here.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food: Asparagus


It's in season now and we made some for dinner at La Casa de Los Gatos. It was so fabulous, we're putting aside our pain to send y'all the recipe.

Asparagus Stir-Fry

2 oz sausage (Aidell's jalapeno, or hot Italian, or substitute ground chicken or pork)
2 bunches asparagus
2 Tbsp fermented black beans
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
3 green onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2 thumb ginger
Crushed red chilli flakes to taste
Chilli garlic sauce
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Soak black beans in hot water for about ten minutes, then drain, rinse, and chop fine. If using sausage, dice small. Snap off woody end of asparagus and wash well, then slice diagonally into 1" pieces, keeping tender heads separate from stalks. Trim and tail green onions and thinly slice, keeping green and white parts separate. Peel ginger and slice into fine shreds. Mince garlic.

Heat wok till smoking, add oil, swirl around to coat. When oil starts smoking, toss in the white part of the green onions, stir, then add garlic and stir. When garlic releases its fragrance, add ginger and crushed red chilli flakes,and stir. Add black beans and stir about 1-2 minutes.

Add diced sausage and stir approximately 2-3 minutes till lightly browned. Mix cornstarch with about 2 Tbsp chicken stock to a smooth paste. Add asparagus stalks to wok and stir thoroughly till coated. Cover with a lid for approximately 2 minutes. Add chilli sauce, stir well to coat, add chicken stock, stir, cover again 4 minutes. Add asparagus tips and stir till thoroughly coated with sauces and condiments. Cover for about 1 minute.

Stir cornstarch till mixed, add to wok, stir well till vegetables take on a slight glaze, and turn off heat. Add green part of green onion, stir, and serve.

Cook's notes:

1. Substitute ground chicken, turkey, or pork for sausage. You might need to add a little more spice &mdash increase the chillies for instance &mdash or salt. Substitute lemon juice and zest for salt as needed. Stir till no longer pink.

2. Substitute broad bean sauce or yellow bean paste for fermented black beans, if you cannot find them. If using bean sauce or paste, add right before adding asparagus

3. This recipe uses low-fat low-sodium chicken stock. If you use water, you might need to increase spices and add lemon or lime juice and zest to add taste.

4. Any kind of chilli garlic sauce will do. Omit it altogether, if you prefer, in which case, add a little palm sugar or brown or turbinado sugar to the wok right before adding the asparagus.

5. Lee Kum Kee brand from Singapore is your best bet when buying bean paste or chilli garlic sauce.

6. If the cornstarch is too thick, thin it carefully and gently with small amounts of cold water or room-temperature chicken stock.

It was delicious, served over plain brown Basmati rice. Hopefully, there's enough left for tomorrow.

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Blogging Today

We don't keep our fangs in the condition to which they should be accustomed.

Funny Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

For example, we smoke. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know all about it, there's a cancer researcher on the premises fercrisake.) And although we eschew most sweets these days, we got some bad habits on that front, too.

So yesterday, as we gummed a banana, one of our teeth fell out. Okay, it was a crown. But it was in the area where we had an abscess a while ago that sent us to the ER three times and to two different dentists.

Long story short: Life sucks almost as bad as our teeth right now. So we're tanking up on painkillers and go sit in the garden where we can make faces at the neighbours' evil sprog and torment kitties without anyone taking us to task.

See ya later maybe.

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Crime: The Trial of Reginald Potts


To anyone who is visiting to find out what is going on with the trial of Reginald Potts in the matter of the murder of Nailah O. Franklin: the case has been postponed yet again, and we do not know for how long. As soon as we know more we will update this site.

Rest assured that we are keeping an eye on things. In the meantime, you can find information about Nailah Franklin and Reginald Potts by typing their names into the Search box at the top left corner of this page. Do not use quotes or honorifics such as Miss, Ms. or Mr.

Thank you.

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Iraq: Well, There Goes The Neighbourhood

Watch.

Photo from NorthernLights blog

The WaPoo tells us this morning that the Sunni forces that we created with large amounts of taxpayer money, are "losing patience" with us.

So we go to this country, right? And we bomb it and kill a bunch of people and all that. Then we decide that the Sunni, because they belong to the same faction, sect, whatever, of Islam as the leader of that country (Saddam Hussein) are the enemy, right? So we get most of them kicked out of their jobs, and we arrest lots of them, and we throw them into our jails, where we torture them. And this goes on for, oh, FOUR FUCKING YEARS.

Then we figure we've made a mistake, but it's kinda late in the game for that because, guess what, we've been pouring money into the pockets of the Shi'a leaders for FOUR FUCKING YEARS by now, and they're all busy fighting among themselves and with each other and really happy that the Sunni are gone, because that means more of the higher pie for them, right?

But some bright spark figures out that even though we kicked them out of their jobs and their homes and neighbourhoods, and forced them to flee across the country leaving everything behind and live like refugees in their own country, or even become honest-to-God refugees in some other country except ours, because we don't want them over here, and even though we raped some of their teenage daughters and killed them and stuff, they'll still be our friends if we GIVE! THEM! MONEY! Right?

And now they're "losing patience." Why for? Why for you so impatient, you stupid sandn*****s? So we fucked up your economy and killed your relatives, and the big pool of sewage we created in your capital city can be viewed via GoogleEarth. So what? So you lost your job and your cousin lost his leg and your sister lost her life and your uncle lost his house. So fucking what? We're giving you money, ain't we? So what if we're giving you cholera too?

Yesterday, we put up a post on this site complete with a map of Iraq, as we questioned whether our "leaders" had any kind of fucking plan for our friends, relatives, and neighbours that they've thrown into the meatgrinder of Iraq. Today, we ask you to examine that map closely &mdash reproducing it here for your convenience &mdash as we list the areas where Sunni fighters, now armed by us, are leaving whatever bogus organization we set up incorporating them in order to look good to American politicians and the people who believe their lies.



According to the article, since February 8th &mdash less than three weeks ago &mdash thousands of fighters in Diyala province have left their posts; their leaders have since warned that the fighters would disband completely unless their demands were met. Here's a snippet outlining some of their demands:
in Diyala, one of the major battlegrounds in the U.S. fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Awakening groups, also known here as Popular Committees, are demanding the resignation of the Shiite provincial police chief, Maj. Gen. Ghanem al-Qureishi. They accuse him of running death squads and torturing Sunnis, allegations that Qureishi denied in an interview.
It's practically a given that some Sunni during Saddam Hussein's time ran death squads and tortured Shi'a Iraqis. It's also a given, knowing human hearts, that some Shi'a, having taken power, are now revenging themselves on hapless Sunni. The U.S. military is not capable of dealing with this. A military is a tool designed to kill and break people. It is not designed to resolve conflict, only to make it not worthwhile for that conflict to be turned against itself or whatever it's protecting. So there is no plan and no group that is tasked with resolving these very serious issues. Therefore, things can only get worse.

Meanwhile, fighters in Babil province refuse to work for the U.S. after U.S. military fired on them, killing some 19 fighters and injuring approximately 12 others.

Because you have eyes and know how to use them, we don't even have to tell you that Diyala province and Babil province almost completely surround the city of Baghdad and effectually bar our escape route to the south, not to mention the supply lines that come up from the south.

The circumstances of the clash are in dispute. The article states, in part:
The predominantly Sunni Awakening forces, referred to by the U.S. military as the Sons of Iraq or Concerned Local Citizens, are made up mostly of former insurgents who have turned against extremists because of their harsh tactics and interpretation of Islam. The U.S. military pays many fighters roughly $10 a day to guard and patrol their areas. Thousands more unpaid volunteers have joined out of tribal and regional fealties.
This article is written in part by Sudarshan Raghavan, the same journalist who wrote a piece we quoted in a previous blog post. At that time, we were, to put it mildly, concerned that Mr. Raghavan, who has reported extensively on Iraq, did not seem to notice that we were arming people who had every reason in the world to hate us and want revenge on us.

Now we have to ask what the phrase "former insurgents who have turned against extremists because of their harsh tactics and interpretation of Islam" means. We know that the Sunni, for good reason, formed a large part of the insurgency (you would too if people were kicking you out of your house and job and occupying your country and raping your sister).

Given that these Sunni Sons of Whatever to whom we have now handed guns, ammo, and money are now using our ordinance against the supposed "al Qaeda in Iraq," we venture to opine that they're probably indulging in some pretty harsh tactics themselves. If they were part of the insurgency before, they were no stranger to harsh tactics. We really don't believe that they're inviting their erstwhile enemies over for tea, bikkies, and a civilized discourse on the benefits of laying down their arms. And what about this "interpretation of Islam" business? Are we talking about different sects here, or what?

And what about the al-Janabi, one of the largest and most powerful tribes of the Sunni? What about the fact that the Sunni formed most of Hussein's military and police?

The article goes on to say:
Some U.S. military officials say they are growing concerned that the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq has infiltrated Awakening forces in some areas.

"Now, there is no cooperation with the Americans," said Haider Mustafa al-Kaisy, an Awakening commander in Baqubah, the capital of Diyala province, an insurgent stronghold that U.S. and Iraqi forces are still struggling to control. "We have stopped fighting al-Qaeda."
Yah. I'd be worrying too.

Another Son in the oil-rich city of Baiji adds:
His men also have not received their salaries in two months, he said. "We'll all be patient for another two months. If nothing changes, then we'll suspend and quit," Kassim said. "Then we'll go back to fighting the Americans."
Is anybody in charge of this Keystone Kops operation? Does their right hand know in whose pants the left hand is currently residing? And look at the Father of our Sons in the south:
Sabah al-Janabi, who heads the Awakening in the area, publicly criticized the U.S. military, alleging it had killed 19 of his men in the past 45 days, which U.S. commanders deny.
We're not accusing Sabah al-Janabi of anything. He may well be the most loyal (to the U.S. or to our puppet regime) of Sunni fighters. We're just pointing out that this conflict is an impossible one. The people who like us and the people who hate us look alike, belong to the same tribe, possibly even the same religious faction. This was what drove men mad in Vietnam. They were sent there to fight an enemy, but unlike, say, Star Trek episodes, the bad guys didn't wear black hats. Sometimes little kids threw grenades at you. Sometimes sweet old grannies tried to kill you. And they looked just exactly like the little kids who were just sweet little kids caught up in a horrible war, or the sweet old grannies who might laugh and joke with you and do your laundry or fix your food.

So in the end you started killing people indiscriminately because you really didn't know if or when some of them were going to try to kill you.

Meanwhile, the Soldiers of Heaven have apparently not been inactive. They resurfaced recently in Dhi Qar and Basra provinces.

In the town of Iskandiriyah, in Babil province, a suicide bomber has killed some 63 members of Al-Sayyid Moqtada al-Sadr's followers who were on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala to commemorate the Iraqi holy day of Arbaeen.

In northern Iraq, the Turkish military is continuing to bomb suspected PKK hideouts, destroying bridges and killing Kurdish civilians with impunity thanks to intelligence provided by the Pentagon. The Kurds, who consider themselves pro-American and U.S. allies, have been begging the U.S. for help.
The prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, expressed concern that the Turkish operation had gone beyond targeting the PKK and was harming civilians and the economy of northern Iraq. He said he was particularly concerned that Turkey had destroyed at least three bridges near the border.
This is the son of President Massoud Barzani speaking. Hitherto the Northern Kurdish region has been the only stable one in Iraq.

Meanwhile, in our other clusterfuck over in Afghanistan, the AP tells us things are looking fairly grim.
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the resurgent Taliban controls 10 percent to 11 percent of the country and Karzai's government controls 30 percent to 31 percent. But more than six years after the U.S. invasion to oust the Taliban and establish a stable central government, the majority of Afghanistan's population remains under local tribal control, he said.
Let's translate this, shall we? The government of U.S. puppet Hamid Karzai, shored up with the military might of NATO and the U.S. armed forces, after six long years, controls only the cities. In the countryside, the Taliban roam freely, and the various tribal elders throw their allegiance to whichever side is not actively killing them this week.

Well, at least the British might be moving towards throwing that other toadying lickspittle and assistant junior bottlewashing war criminal, Tony Blair, into a well-deserved cell in some prison. Pity it can't be Abu Ghraib.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So you think you know who will win the election?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, when you think about it, this makes perfect sense.

Otherwise the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll I read about in the paper this morning wouldn't make sense. The poll says that McCain would beat either Senator Clinton or Obama if the election weere held now. But then I have heard that in loosing against Obama in some states, Hillary had more votes than all the Republican candidates put together, including McCain!

So how does that work? Unless that poll is intended to soften us up so we won't be surprised when McCain wins in November? I think The Onion is calling it again. Now how's democracy supposed to work again?

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B.A.D. Featured Bloggers Make Us Crazy

Graphics credits Skippy, concept credit Skippy and Jon Swift

Dammit, they're turning up in herds, flocks, and murders. Good bloggers all over the 'Toobs (thanks, Senator Ted "series of tubes" Stevens!), patiently working at crafting their little masterpieces of blogs. Sometimes it's just an exceptionally brilliant post. Sometimes it's a heart-wrenching story, told in a unique voice. Sometimes a work of art (like Diane's books at Much of a Muchness featured a few days ago), and sometimes a culinary masterpiece or an undiscovered musical work of genius.

Here we go again, strolling through Blogtopia (y,Sctp!), turning up little gems:
  • swanksalot over at B12 Solipsism is giving us second thoughts about attempting photography by presenting these masterpieces for our enjoyment. We can see the pepitas on that tamale, dammit;
  • BustedKnuckles has a good time putting the boot in Broder and his Comeback Kid;
  • Chuck's been in the heat of passion for a while, and he does enjoy a good rant! So did we, Chuck, thanks!
  • Over at ClarksPicks, The Man has posted clips of some great music (nice Smothers' Brothers clip in there too) and he knoweth whereof he speaketh. La Casa de Los Gatos says Two Opposable Thumbs Up!
  • Batocchio favours you with his hand-picked winners at the Eclectic Jukebox, and it's clearly time for us to invest in a new computer, because this one's going crazy, so could someone please tell us how the Otello pieces rate?
  • I Miss Fafblog, Spot really enjoys messing with our heads &mdash don't stop, y'all.
This has been our stroll around the B.A.D. blogroll, folks. La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your attention.

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Economy: It's About Bloody Well Time

Harry Reid apparently found these somewhere in Washington:


Because, according to Raw Story, he has decided
[...] to defy a threatened White House veto and try to win passage of a bill to curb rising home foreclosures by changing bankruptcy law.

"I have no expectation of reaching any agreement with the White House," said Reid a day after the administration warned the bill would need changes to get President George W. Bush's signature.

"I have tried for seven years" to reach agreements with Bush on a variety of issues, but have repeatedly failed, said Reid, a Nevada Democrat, at a news conference.

"So we are going to do what we think is best for the country," Reid said. "If we get 67 votes (in the 100-member Senate to override a possible Bush veto), that's great."
Now don't get your hopes up too high, peoples. We here at La Casa de Los Gatos are still saying, "Be still, my beating heart."

Is he really gonna do it? Are we gonna see sixty-seven of the idiots in the Senate stand behind him?

Now's the time to start pressuring your Senateschmuck to get the fuck in line and vote with Harry. Now, a caveat here: we're not saying the bill as it exists is just peachy-keen and we totally buy into it. We have not yet read the bill, and we don't know what's going on. We plan to get our eyeballs on a copy but we're no financial genius, so we can't promise to update this post with the latest and greatest.

We do refer you to Bonddad's blog, which has a fine analysis of the housing crisis. La Casa de Los Gatos is fiscally conservative. We don't believe in throwing money (assets, resources, whatever) away. That means we don't believe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have lost billions over the past quarter should be angling to lose even more by raising the cap on their investment portfolios.

We believe the "subprime mortgage crisis" was created by greedy lenders and greedy consumers working hand in glove with an inattentive and duplicitous government that relied on hocus-pocus as the mainstay of its economic policy. If financial idiots like ourselves who have to read Managing Your Money For Dummies can figure out that something's wrong with the mortgage industry, there is no way that the Misadministration's economists can pretend they didn't notice.

Thus, we say, let's all scrutinize this foreclosure bill. We think people who bought houses for investment, and speculators, lazy mortgage brokers and lenders who failed to do even the most rudimentary financial checks or even duplicitously tried to push on consumers loans they should have known said consumers could not afford, don't deserve a bailout, and certainly not at the expense of those of us who have carefully budgeted and saved and been responsible consumers and taxpayers. On the other hand, there are many people who were bamboozled into buying and failed &mdash or did not know enough &mdash to read the fine print.

Some people deserve rescue. But rescue doesn't have to equal bailout. A good rescue would be for the very banks who are found to have engaged in duplicitous practices to be forced to freeze homeowners' mortgages at a rate that allows such homeowners to pay off their loans. This would serve the dual purpose of punishing the greedy and duplicitous lenders and simultaneously temporarily staving off the impending collapse. However, we doubt that such a course of action will commend itself to the rich and powerful who rule the nation. Still, we can try to remove the most egregiously unfair provisions and add language that achieves the goal (staving off impending fiscal collapse) without overly burdening the taxpayer or letting lenders go scot-free.

The Dim Son will undoubtedly stamp his little feet and throw a hissy fit. That's fine. Mr. 19 Per Cent is not exactly a force to be reckoned with any more. And we well know that his desired "changes" to the language of any bill will serve only his wealthy and powerful friends, or as he has referred to them, his "base." While simultaneously screwing common working people.

Image from WhoHijackedOurCountry

We gotcher base right here, Chimpy. Vanculo, you worthless little putz.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Politics: What YOU Can Do To Change The Discourse


Over at Firedoglake, the beauteous and brilliant Jane Hamsher has created a little tool that you can use to push back against the dragging of the national political discourse into the pigshit where Nedra Pickler of AP and her mentor Karl Rove would like to see it. Go here.

Frankly, we here at La Casa de Los Gatos are sick and tired of our media behaving like shit-eating dogs. Everytime some bloated pig dribbles a little shit down their sweaty, Pink-Floydesque chin, the cringing little hounds of the media rush to lap it up and spread it joyously across the nation. Stop it, you revolting little wretches. Just fucking stop.

AP needs to second Nedra Pickler (was ever a woman born with a more unfortunate name?) to Republican Party headquarters where she can drool and dribble as a paid party hack. It's where her talent (and we use the word shudderingly) seems to lie. Yes, lie.

Let's get the nation's political discourse out of the damned gutter so we can begin repairing this damaged nation. It's bleeding from too many damned wounds to have the likes of Pickler pickling the political discourse yet again. Begone, foul beldam!

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B.A.D. Blogroll Stroll And Featured Bloggers

Graphics credits Skippy, concept credit Jon Swift and Skippy

Hello, Blogtopia (y,Sctp)!

As La Casa de Los Gatos labours to catch up with those eminent giants, Jon Swift and Skippy, in finally blogrolling all the celebrants of B.A.D., we come across new and exciting blogs everyday. Here's our featured list for the day:
  • Sweaterman, at Pygalgia, has some important news about banks &mdash go read it;
  • Dave, at The Galloping Beaver, has an earful for the proponents of a bill in Canada that could be described as creeping womb-control, at best;
  • Cangrejero, over at The Midpoint, finds, and suitably flays, the prat who decided to prove something stupid involving refuting Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. We have our own problems with Ehrenreich aspiring to voice the issues of the working class, but she's still light-years ahead of this schmuck, as Cangrejero shows;
  • At Wetmachine, John talks about the FCC and Net Neutrality, while Harold discusses the role of the InnerTubes (thanks, Senator Ted "Corruption is my Middle Name" Stevens!) in political campaigns today;
  • Israel, over at Woodshed Environment, talks about the life of an EHO doing vector control in the British Virgin Isles &mdash fascinating, if you're into human health issues, especially as they relate to the environment. His blog is available en Francais if you click the button on the right;
  • Over on World o'Crap, Scott urges you to Smell The Man Musk, complete with photographic evidence, and if this doesn't make you laugh, as we've said before, you're dead and don't know it yet, so please call an ambulance (don't try to drive)!
This has been your roundup of Blogtopia. La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your attention.

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Yes, It Came To That

i am waiting for the cheezburger man. do you have any money?
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

When we started blogging a little over a year ago, we didn't think we wanted ads. But we ended up getting them because blogging was taking more and more of our time, and we figured, hey, maybe we'll get a check or two to offset the computer time cost, and other little things like that that add up (like fixing the damn thing, and the DSL line, and that).

But we would never put up a PayPal button, we thought.

Then we got laid off our job, and to our great surprise no replacement job has carried us off to some corporate lair where we can grind out our days in peace (hah!) as a wage slave with benes. So now we got a PayPal button.

We still maintain that we're not going to do a begathon. Please don't disillusion us. We work hard for our illusions.

On the other hand, if you want to throw some change our way, we promise to use it for reasonable blog-related items like, oh, chocolate maybe? A better grade of books?

So if you're up to it, and have the shekels, we could use them. And if not, wotthehell, as Mehitabel said to Archy, toujours gai, folks. It is to enjoy, and your hosts here at La Casa de Los Gatos sincerely hope you do.

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Consumer Alert: Culling The Herd


Okay, WHAT??? How dumb - or "relationship-challenged" would you have to be to believe something like this?

The WaPoo is reporting that scammers are actually emailing people and purporting to be hired killers who will not kill them &mdash for a fee:
"The sender tells the receiver, 'I've been hired to kill you, it's one of your friends, I'm watching you. However . . . I don't believe you did what they said, and I'm going to give you a chance to pay me, and I won't kill you,' " Fairfax police spokeswoman Camille Neville said.
Yaknow, if someone tried that line on us, our first response would be to try and trace their IP address, ping them, find out what we could and take it to the local villaincatchers. And the FBI.

Plus, we'd want some proof. Okay, you're watching us? What's our address? How many people live in our house. Something like that.

Plus, if someone's trying to rip us off over the internet, aren't they opening themselves to charges of fraud, extortion, and deity only knows what else?

We grew up in the era of Godfather-style gangster movies. We expect to receive messages like the above attached to the dismembered horse's head in our bed. Not in our damn emailbox.

To our great amusement, one recipient had this response:
"You sit there and start racking your brain and thinking, 'Who would want to do it?' " Walker said. "Say that e-mail went to 10,000 people. Five percent of people probably responded to it, if for no other reason than to ask what was going on."
You're kidding us, right? There are people who wouldn't automatically hit delete? Or, better yet, set up spam filters? Hey, this is people's work eaddies we're talking about here! What's IT's policy on spam, anywho?

The article goes on to say:
The Internet Crime Complaint Center, which tracks e-mail scam trends, warned of an increase in such threats in December 2006.

[...]

Web crooks have impersonated FBI agents who have demanded bribes or made threats; claimed to be State Department officials who discovered recipients' inheritances abroad; and called themselves U.S. soldiers in need of help, usually involving banking information.
The State Department wants you to know that it is not about to contact your skeezy ass with information about money that it might have that might belong to you. Hahaha. As if we needed them to tell us that. You'd probably have to beat the entire department about the head and shoulders with various weapons to make them release a single red cent of your money.

So if you, or anyone you know, is a beneficiary of such scams, here's what to do:
[...Do] not reply but instead report them to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, at http://www.ic3.gov. Any e-mails that contain information such as the recipients' names or locations should be reported to police, authorities said.

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Politics: Maggot Denies Any Knowledge of Flies



Pasty gusano and Satan's hunchman (big thanks to Frank Zappa!) KKKarl Rove is now claiming to be an evil familiar of very little influence! Say what? Is this the same slimy spawn of a thousand demons who assured the American People right before the 2006 elections that, despite the polls showing Republicans polling lower than a worm's arsehole, they would win because he had "the math?" As opposed to, you know, "our," i.e., the rest of the universe's, math?

Now that longtime Republican activist Dana Jill Simpson has gone public with her allegations that Rove actively worked to arrest and convict Democratic Alabama Governor Don Siegelman for doing exactly what John McCain is doing, all of a sudden KKKarl's balls, which he used to need a wheelbarrow to trundle around, have shrunk to the size of lentils?

Things are, apparently, so bad out in the RoveMathWorld that MSNBC host Dan Abrams (huh?) is calling on our Attorney-General Mucousy to appoint a special investigator to dig to the bottom of the fecal pile surrounding the Turdblossom. Hey, ho, just another day in Bushiana now that the Rethuglicans no longer control both houses of the Legislature and the scheming, lying, scum-sucking moral reprobate Al-Butto GoneZales is no longer in a position to prevent the law from being carried out.

While KKKarl is loudly protesting his innocence and powerlessness in the same breath, Ms. Simpson, who apparently knows him well, has only one statement for him:
"I want him to swear in front of the United States Congress, and swear what he is saying is true," Dana Jill Simpson told MSNBC's Dan Abrams. Simpson has previously told news outlets, including RAW STORY, Harpers and 60 Minutes that Rove asked her to gather dirt on Siegelman.
We're not holding our breath, though we, just like the rest of the civilized world, long to see KKKarl in chains at the Hague, or workin' on a chain gang breaking big rocks into little rocks.


Dan Abrams sez:
"This is about politicizing our justice system and it just cannot go unchecked," he said.
Raw Story has the details.

Oh, pleez, pleez, pleez, pleez, pleez, Great Ctulhu, pleeeeez!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

LGBTQ: Is It Open Season

on the LGBTQ community, or something? Barely do we get done chronicling the sad death of Lawrence King of Oxnard than we find ourselves having to do the same for Simmie Williams, Jr.

And why is so little attention being paid to Simmie Williams' death? Is he too old? Too black? Too easily overlooked in "not so gay or gay-friendly" Florida?



Here's a picture of Simmie Williams, Jr., a 17-year-old openly gay Florida teenager who was shot and killed last Friday, February 23rd. He was wearing women's clothing at the time.

Unlike many of our prominent citizens who wear women's clothing (excepting, of course, women), Simmie was a young man from a loving, but not wealthy, family. Police suspect he may have worked as a prostitute, as he was found in an area frequented by transgender prostitutes.

The article reveals very little about Simmie except that he loved cooking, and was close to his mother, and had hoped to go to culinary school. His mother apparently knew he was gay but did not know that he wore women's clothing, or what he did when he went out in the evenings. Possibly, she didn't want to know. Which is not to blame her. It's easier to live with something of which your community disapproves if you don't really know about it.

Simmie was shot by two young men dressed in dark clothing, who might live in the neighbourhood where his body was found &mdash the 1000 block of Sistrunk Boulevard. The article about his murder in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel states, in part:
In January 2003, about a half mile from where Williams was shot, a transgender prostitute was killed in the 500 block of Northwest 21st Avenue.

Timothy Broadus, 21, who also went by "Cinnamon" and wore women's clothing and a blond wig, was shot several times by a driver he had approached, police said at the time.

The case remains unsolved.
Police appear to believe that Simmie Williams' murder was a hate crime. Apparently, his murderers exchanged some words with Simmie before they shot him. The police spokesperson refuses to say what they said.

If you know anything about Simmie's death, the police are asking that you contact Detective Mark Breen at 954-828-5708 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).

La Casa de Los Gatos appeals to bloggers, especially LGBTQ bloggers and bloggers of colour, to keep Simmie Williams' murder in the public eye until those responsible for his death have been arrested. This case is not getting the attention it deserves, although the media continue to flog the Natalee Holloway case for every column inch they can.

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LGBTQ: The Murder of Lawrence King

Lawrence King

Time magazine ran a piece this week about the murder of gay teenager Lawrence King of Oxnard, California that deserves an award of some sort. Possibly for being the most duplicitous piece of shit ever written on LGBTQ issues.
Police have charged a sweet-faced boy called Brandon McInerney, 14, with first-degree murder and with a hate crime [....]
says the writer, one John Cloud.

We here at La Casa de Los Gatos cannot question Mr. McCloud's bona fides because we don't really know a lot about him. We can, however, question that statement, and many others that Mr. Cloud makes throughout the article. What's McInerney's "sweet" face got to do with anything? Does it make the dead boy any less dead? Would Mr. Cloud prefer a "sweet-faced" killer to a regular-looking, or even, by gum, an ugly lad?

That "sweet-faced" fourteen-year old somehow managed to get his hands on a gun, took it to school, walked up to Lawrence King, and shot him in the head, killing him. All because he didn't like the fact that Lawrence King wore makeup, or girls' clothes, or boots, or some combination of the bleeding lot. Not a very "sweet" thing to do, is it? An execution-style shooting? It is, in fact, no doubt to Mr. Cloud's great surprise, murder. Premeditated, cold-blooded, malice aforethought murder.

This is the kind of killing that is most dangerous and unacceptable in a civilized society. Society accepts that people are not always in control of their feelings. Sometimes, their emotions overcome their good sense and reason, and they strike out, killing someone. Killing your spouse or partner, and even your children, often falls into this category of murder, and courts, judges, and juries are reluctant to punish spouses, parents, partners, or kin who act in the heat of passion.

McInerney did not act in the heat of passion. He had plenty of time to cool off before committing murder. And the dead boy had done nothing to incite the murder. Society tends to punish murder less harshly when the victim provokes the murderer. Had Lawrence King beaten up Brandon McInerney or raped McInerney's sister, or even shit on McInerney's lawn, the law would probably cut him a little slack.

But &mdash once again, we repeat &mdash without any provocation, and in a cold, calculating, manner, Brandon McInerney, together with a group of his friends, attacked Lawrence King because Lawrence dressed and acted in a manner that made McInerney and his little friends "uncomfortable." According to King's classmates, King had revealed (to whom?) that he had a crush on McInerney, shortly before McInerney murdered him.

And please don't tell us that the "uncomfortable" Brandon McInerney gets a free pass because of the "gay panic" defense. Because if that's the case, every single girl and woman who kills the next stupid motherfucker who makes her "uncomfortable" should get a free pass too. And that's gonna be a lot of girls and women.

Mr. Cloud states, in part, in his article:
[...] the task force is exaggerating the frequency of assaults on gay kids, the vast majority of whom make it through school safe and happy.
We have to wonder to which gay kids Mr. Cloud is referring. Only those who did not come out had a chance to make it through school safe and happy. We distinctly remember the savage attacks against those who failed to hide their differentness. Even those het kids who happened to "look gay" were targeted &mdash hell, het adults who, in the teeny warped and twisted minds of homophobes, appear insufficiently het are often targeted for violence verbal and physical. Mr. Cloud must be living in a parallel universe.

Mr. Cloud blithely goes on to assert:
[...] fully 78% of gay and transgender kids say they feel safe at school, according to a 2005 GLSEN report.
Let's see, does that mean that 22% of gay and transgender kids do not feel safe at school? Doesn't that work out to one out of every five LGBTQ kids feeling unsafe in an environment where they spend the better part of each day?

Mr. Cloud then adds to the asininity of his remarks:
According to another GLSEN survey released in 2006, only 18% of gay and transgender students said they had been assaulted in 2005 because of their sexual orientation
That's still nearly one out of every five LGBTQ kids getting their ass kicked by their homophobic little classmates, Mr. Cloud. We're guessing you were never the recipient of one of those asskickings, because we can assure you that one feels very differently about these things depending on whether one is the kicker, the kickee, or some random purportedly innocent bystander.

Mr. Cloud then opens his mouth again, swiftly changing feet:
True, 66% of gay and transgender kids said they had heard homophobic remarks. But roughly the same proportion — 62% — had heard sexist remarks.
So what are you saying, Mr. Cloud, that makes it OK? If not, why even bother mentioning it? Homophobia and misogyny are rife in our society, Mr. Cloud. Homophobia, in fact, owes a lot to misogyny. Gay men are targeted for being too much like women. Just look at the epithets thrown at them: sissy, pussy, girlie-man (courtesy of Ahnold "nonuts left 'cos I took steroids" Teh Terminator).

And lesbians are targeted for being insufficiently wussy, pussy, and sissy.

Relishing the peppermint flavour of his soles, Mr. Cloud quickly repeats the foot-changing feat:
Some 16% of gay and transgender kids said they had been harassed because of their sexual orientation, but 18% said they had been harassed because of "the way you look or your body size." (Teachers reported they heard sexist comments more often than homophobic ones, and they also saw more harassment based on appearance and weight than on sexual orientation.)
Mr. Cloud, you appear to be ignoring the fact that Lawrence King was being harrassed based on his appearance. The harrassment occurred because King was wearing "cute" boots and makeup. We would also like to point out to Mr. (Hedina) Cloud that the number of people who get killed for being overweight or unfashionably dressed is, to our knowledge, vanishingly small. However, violence against people of colour, women, and LGBTQ people is endemic.

But if you can control yourself long enough to complete reading the article, it becomes clear what Mr. Cloud is saying: he doesn't approve of hate-crime legislation because it "criminaliz[es] people's thoughts."

Pardon us while we call bullshit, Mr. Cloud. Hate-crime legislation does not address the thoughts of the person committing the crime, but their actions. By targeting an individual for murder because of their gender, sexuality, skin-color, race, ethnic group, language, you are not just murdering an individual; you are sending a message to every other individual who shares that common trait with your target that they, too, are in danger from lunatics like yourself. That is what hate-crime legislation is intended to fight, Mr. Cloud. Not the suppositions that you are pulling out of your rear end. Why are idiots like this paid good money to write for our media? And why is Time publishing such scurrilous opinion pieces and attempting to pass them off as journalism?

If you have the patience to read to the end of the cited article, you will find this disclaimer:
The original version of this story has been amended. It now makes clear that the conclusions of the two cited GLSEN reports are at variance with the writer's own conclusions from studying the same statistics. Also, the story originally described the second GLSEN report as "released the same year," that is, in 2005, but GLSEN says it was released in 2006. Lastly, the story originally reported that 22% of gay and transgender students who claimed that they had been assaulted because of their sexual orientation said the incident wasn't serious enough to report; the actual figure is 13%.
Another one of those things that makes us go Hmmm.

"Sweet-faced" Brandon McInerney

Frankly, the kid looks like a bully and a psychopath to us, but we're prejudiced. According to Pensito Review:
Brandon McInerney’s father has a police record that includes several run-ins with the law, including disturbing the peace, drunk driving and one count of domestic abuse.
Monkey see, monkey do. Ladies, if you're in a relationship with an abusive man, for the love of your children, dump the motherfucker but quick. Because if you don't, your kids are going to learn from his behaviours and, assuming he hasn't already killed you, you may be the sad mother who waits fifty years for her son to serve his term for a crime that has its roots in his father's sins.

A memorial was held for Lawrence King on Friday, February 23rd, at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Port Hueneme. Some 500 people attended. The L.A.Times is reporting that a march was held on Saturday, February 24th, and approximately 1,000 people attended that event.

A site has been created to memorialize Lawrence King. You can find information about other memorial events there.

La Casa de Los Gatos would like to take this opportunity to register our disgust at this murder, and at the disingenuous Cloud-like characters who profit off their puffery about such incidents.

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Politics: If It's Legal, They Don't Need Immunity

Image from DailyKos

Chimpy McTardibus, L33b3r Ov T3H |=R33 WUR7d, assures the American People today that the telcos' spying on the American People was legal:
[...] Bush said. "What we asked them to do was legal, and now they're getting sued for billions of dollars."

Telephone and Internet providers like AT&T, Verizon and SBC are facing about 40 lawsuits from customers who say their privacy was violated as part of Bush's "Terrorist Surveillance Program" he says began after 9/11. Only if they are found to have violated privacy laws would these companies face the "billions of dollars" in penalties Bush warned against.
Well, if it's legal, they have nothing to worry about, Mr. Bush. So sign the existing FISA law.

No retroactive immunity for telcos! They have way more money than John and Jane Q. Public, and can well afford a day in court. Besides, they'll win anyway. Because spying on every man, woman, and child in America is LEGAL, dammit, legal, legal, legal.

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Health: Stories That Make Us Go Hmmm

kitty scared
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Reuters has a story up today about people contracting acute urinary tract infections from their pets. (SOURCE: Journal of Infectious Diseases, January 15, 2008.)

La Casa de Los Gatos has had multiple cats, dogs, and other beasties in and around La Casa for some 25 years now, and cannot recall anyone in this sometimes multi-peopled household having any urinary tract infections, let alone "acute" ones.

What's the matter, peeples? Are somebodies not washing their hands regularly, or something? How do you contract urinary tract infections from your pets? We're simply stumped at this.

Most times, UTIs are contracted by people who have continence problems - sitting around in a diaper full of poop will do that to ya. (You hear that Senator Vitter? Senator Vitter, affectionately referred to as Shitty Vitty by various New Orleans bloggers, is alleged to have a fetish for both prostitutes and diapers; oddly, unlike his colleague Larry Craig, Senator Vitter has never been censured. I guess GAY is worse, to Republicans than pooping yourself.)

Women often contract UTIs when they fail to wipe from front to back. Wearing very tight pants and overenthusiastic humping are other causes, believe it or not. As for men, UTI rates tend to be low till age 50, and climb thereafter.

But the pet thing? We don't get it. Most bacterial infections can be avoided by simply exercising basic cleanliness - washing one's hands after using the toilet or cleaning the catbox, for example. And you don't even need antibacterial soap or cleaning products. In fact, you should avoid antibacterial soaps and cleaners. We're trying not to imagine how E. coli bacteria got from your pet's digestive tract to your urinary tract, OK? We really don't want to know.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

B.A.D. Blogstroll For Teh Blogroll

Graphics credits to Skippy, concept credit to Skippy and Jon Swift

Today's featured bloggers:
  • Sinfonian over at Blast Off! dissects a deserving Charlie Crist, Florida's governor, in case you forgot;
  • Over at Cannablog, Michael makes you wish you had some of what he's smoking. Damn, Michael, that's some good stuff!
  • Dyre Portents makes a funny (right? right??) over on Crap-o-matic and gives us an opinion on Nader too;
  • Kathy, over at If I Ran The Zoo, details the (sob!) financial woes of WingNutDaily, the news(?)paper &mdash oh, all right, birdcage liner and fishwrap, and don't think we don't see you smiling. Schadenfreude! How the masses indulge!
  • Alicia, over at Last Left Turn Before Hooterville, has a fine time comparing the right wing incarnation of the cult of personality, Saint Ronnie of Reagan, to the supposed left-wing incarnation, Barack Obama;
  • Monkeyfister has some questions regarding ClearChannel Communications - veddy interesting, Mf;
  • NG points out the murder of yet another gay teen, goddammit;
  • Jayhawk neatly fillets a NYT editorial, revealing the gasbaggery beneath;
  • One Fly over at Outa The Cornfield blows our socks off with some incredible African music and his terrific photos and political insights;
  • Over at Reno and its Discontents, Myrna the Minx skewers the Clark County Democrats for their failure to manage their convention. Check out her site to see what cat-lovers already know &mdash cats lower your risk of heart attacks.
  • Over at Sugarland is Dreaming, tas elegantly characterizes my sentiments on the whole Nader candidacy;
  • And finally, if you're a feminist or a parent or an educator or a disabled person or an Afrophile or someone who has any empathy for any of these groups, or just a human being who wants to make a difference, please go to Rebecca Alitsi's blog, School for the Girls, and see what this amazing young woman is doing. And maybe help her to help someone else, and make a difference.
This has been your roundup of blogtopia (y,Sctp!). La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your attention.

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2008 Elections: Nader Enters The Ring


Ralph Nader, once one of our Great American Heroes, has decided to run for election.

Words cannot express our deep disappointment in Mr. Nader. When he ran against George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, we were actually hopeful that he would win. But he lost, and worse, he siphoned away votes from Gore, handing the election to Bush.

Like Skippy, we don't believe that Nader could have handed the country to the Republicans if there weren't already a great deal wrong &mdash with American politics, the electoral process, the Democratic party, and, more importantly, the people who could look at George W. Bush and not realize what a disaster he would be for the nation.

We do not forbear to mention the dirty tricks of Karl Rove; the lapdog mainstream media which for over a decade has functioned only as a corporate mouthpiece, completely betraying its standing as the Fourth Estate; the systematic corruption of the voting process by introducing machines that create no paper trail so neither voters nor election officials can check on whether the vote has been stolen; and the suppliers of such machines who openly boasted of their ability to "deliver" votes of a particular type.

But after 12 years of Republicans in power without any activism on the part of the Green party or Ralph Nader, we have to question Nader's judgement and his aim. We don't believe he will succeed in stealing votes from the Democratic frontrunners this time. We're just really embarrassed and humiliated and sorry that this once-fine man, and the Green party, for which we had such high hopes, is turning into a blatant, paid whore of the Republican party &mdash which itself has deviated from the high ideals that once governed it.

We cannot in good conscience ever &mdash barring some drastic turnabout in their political stance &mdash espouse the Green party or the politicians that it chooses to be the peoples' representative. We cannot aid or assist them in any way, despite our deep and abiding commitment to environmentalism, human rights on the national and international level, workers' rights, women's rights, the rights of children, social justice, and the fight to save the beleaguered planet and all life-forms that abide thereupon.

For the Green Party to openly take money from the Republican Party, which has repeatedly espoused anti-environmental positions, laid to waste workers' rights, devastated the nation, its people, and even its currency &mdash is nothing short of despicable.

For Ralph Nader to say hardly a word in the past twelve years about the destructive policies of the Republican Senate and Congress and the brainless puppet and his puppetmaster whom they put in power by bamboozling the American people &mdash is nothing short of despicable.

Where were you, Ralph, when the white house was manufacturing excuses for a bloody immoral war that has killed and maimed and devastated so many, American, Iraqi, Afghani alike? Where were you when the coffins were coming home with the bodies of our dead, lied into a war, and cheated on their return?


Where were you when the white house sent their lawyers to argue that veterans were not entitled to mental health benefits, even as the number of suicides among the troops were skyrocketing? Where were you when we threw a bunch of poor peasants and taxi drivers and journalists and farmers into Guantanamo and held them there for years, incommunicado, in violation of every human rights treaty, every legal excuse, every clause in our own Constitution?

When the megacorporate media bought up America's radio and TV stations, newspapers and magazines, where were you? When good investigative journalists were laid off while rabid attack dogs were given the airwaves, which are public property, where were you? Did you speak out against the sale of our ports to Dubai? Did you say word one when our national infrastructure was privatized? When troops received inferior armor before being shoved in the meatgrinder of a war of occupation, while Blackwater received millions in taxpayer money, did you raise your voice? Did you speak out against the immunity Blackwater still uses to rape, injure, murder innocent people? When New Orleans was drowning while your financiers Bush and McCain were celebrating at a birthday party?


We heard not one word from you over the past decade. Shout yourself hoarse, now, Ralph. We don't believe anyone's listening to you. And if they are, they're even greater fools than the 19 per cent of the nation who think George W. Bush has anything worthwhile to say.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Before you go shopping ...

Remember how after after 9/11 Criminal Bush told us to go shopping? OK, you have to do some shopping just to live but before you go crazy doing it, you should spend 20 minutes and watch this. But who has 20 minutes to spend watching a video you ask? OK, yeah, time is precious I agree but I bet you spend a lot more than that watching TV everyday. And besides, this is so well presented that it feels more like 2 minutes of your time instead of 20. So watch it!

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Entertainment: For PoP

and all you other folks who just need a break.



Sorry to say we laughed out loud and scared the cats, who are snoozing through our terrible winter storm.

Apparently, some people complained that the skateboarding dog segment was "too long." There's a little "off" switch you can press. Also, if you don't care for music accompanying your amusement, keep the volume turned down or off.

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B.A.D. Featured Bloggers

Graphic credits to Skippy, concept credit to Jon Swift and Skippy

Today's stroll through Blogtopia yields more interesting discoveries:
  • Over at 13 Martyrs, Rob Wagner highlights some interesting questions about freedom of religion;
  • While Gordon at Alternate Brain makes an interesting observation about John "Senile and Insane! It's a TwoFer!" McPain;
  • Urk! Badtux tells us a little about why that B2 might have crashed in Guam. It is to mutter nervously.
  • ConnecticutMan1 has more to add on John "T3h Insane Pain" McCain, and it's all interesting. And in his spare time, he disassembles Bill O'Falafel, inspiring us to consider a possible action against the worthless misogynistic racist letch;
  • Over at Kiko's House, Shaun Mullen has us laughing our pants off at the saga of the Cedars;
  • Rez Dog over at Mockingbird's Medley has something he would like us to do, and we're happy to oblige;
  • and Miss Welby delights us with a truly bilingual blog - we post the English-only version here, but you can click to see the Italian-only version, or the bilingual version. Brilliant Miss Welby!
This has been your BAD roundup of Blogtopia (y,Sctp!). La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your attention.

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Environment: Poster Child

For birth control. Mandatory birth control.

Painting: Time by Sergey Tyukanov from the Sergey Tyukanov Museum of Art

Auntie Beeb is reporting that one Pamela, a 16-year-old Argentinian girl who is living on government assistance, just delivered her second set of triplets. She had her first child, a singleton son, at the age of fourteen. She delivered her first set of triplets a year later.

La Casa de Los Gatos, having adopted five rescue felines as a result of teenage (feline) pregnancy, opposes teenage pregnancy with all its might and main. Get real, girls! we say. At such a tender age, you are not capable of taking care of — physically, mentally, emotionally, financially — a young'un. The damage that early pregnancy does to your developing body and mind is not inconsequential.

Here, for example, is a short list of problems that might occur with any pregnancy but are especially harmful with a first, or early (under age 20), pregnancy:
When a women is too young pregnancy wanted or unwanted can be dangerous for both mother and infant. Complications of child birth and unsafe abortion are among the main causes of death for women under age 20. even under optimal conditions, young mothers, especially those under age 17, are more likely than women in their 20s to suffer pregnancy related complications and to die in childbirth.

[...]

The life-threatening complications of pregnancy that women under the age 20 face are the same risks that all other women face:
  • hemorrhage
  • sepsis
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • pre-eclampsia
  • eclampsia
  • permanent clitoral nerve damage
  • fistulas
  • gestational diabetes, resulting in a greater risk of diabetes for mother and infant
  • obstructed labour caused by cephalopelvic disproportion
  • iron deficiency anemia.
These risks are higher for young women not only because of their age but also because births to younger women often are first births, which are riskier than the second, third and [, deity forbid,] fourth birth. Socio-economic factors, including poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, and lack of access to prenatal care or emergency obstetrical care can further increase a young woman’s risk of pregnancy related complications.
[We deleted the risk of unsafe abortion because we assume the gravida, like our felinquents, carried to term. We also added the risk of gestational diabetes, which current scientific knowledge links to an increased risk of diabetes for mother and child, as well as complications during pregnancy, and a few other revolting things we found on the Internets, Ed.]

Of course, these risks assume a healthy infant and mother. A mother with health problems will find greatly increased problems after pregnancy and childbirth. Immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, lupus, are exacerbated by pregnancy.

And the number of defects that can afflict a fetus are legion. Add to that the greater likelihood of premature birth with multiple fetii, and you will understand why La Casa de Los Gatos is committed to high levels of reproductive health care for women. This includes the delivery of abortion and contraception services to all women. Women under the age of 20 really should not be reproducing.

But to return to our hapless Pamela: Auntie Beeb states that all her children were born prematurely. The earlier a child is born, the weaker it is, in general. It's at risk for all kinds of health problems up to a week before the expected delivery window of 37+ weeks. Ongoing risks include ADHD, a longer risk of SIDS, risk of cerebral palsy, hearing difficulties, vision deficiencies, and learning difficulties.

Needless to say, our Casa is not the only one holding forth. Auntie Beeb assures us:
[...] the case has sparked debate across Argentina.

In bars and cafes, as well as the letters pages of newspapers, there has been widespread criticism of Pamela's alleged promiscuity.
We note with some asperity that no accusations of promiscuity have been levelled at Pamela's partners. La Casa de Los Gatos is of the understanding that it usually takes two people to make children, and at least one of them must be male, barring the use of modern technology. We fervently hope that our Argentinian critics are not suggesting that Pamela was blessed, as was a certain Virgin, Church doctrine tells us, millenia ago, with an Immaculate Conception.

The article goes on to add:
Some Argentines are arguing that perhaps what Pamela needs is more advice on contraception.
Perhaps more stringent punishment for men who have sex with teenage girls, as well as imparting some knowledge of contraception to those yobs, might help.

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Health: Yellow Fever in Paraguay

Conquerors of Yellow Fever, from the Congressional Gold Medal site

Auntie Beeb is reporting a recent outbreak of yellow fever in Paraguay &mdash the first in 34 years. Seven people have died so far.

The World Health Organization is sending two million doses of vaccine. Paraguay's own stocks have apparently been used up, as have those sent by neighbouring countries in the region. Paraguay has declared a state of national emergency.

Meanwhile, desperate Paraguayans are anxious and upset, and riot police have been called in to protect buildings from which vaccine is being distributed. Brazil, which is also experiencing an epidemic of yellow fever, in which 16 people have died so far, is one of the countries providing assistance to Paraguay.

Yellow fever, like malaria and dengue fever, is spread through mosquito bites, and out of 200,000 cases worldwide every year, an estimated 30,000 people die. Unlike malaria, yellow fever is a viral disease. It is spread by Aedes mosquitoes &mdash Aedes simpsaloni, A. africanus, and A. aegypti in Africa, the Haemagogus genus in South America, and the Sasbethes genera in France.

The disease gets its name from the outbreak of jaundice in affected patients. Because initial symptoms are so similar to those of other diseases, such as malaria and dengue, and even some forms of poisoning, yellow fever may be difficult to diagnose.

There is no cure for yellow fever, and the medical approach is to treat the symptoms. The only existing vaccine has been known to cause severe reactions in people over the age of 60, up to and including massive organ failure. The vaccine provides an approximately ten-year immunity to the disease, and thus must be re-administered periodically.

Robert Shope of the Yale Arbovirus Research Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, writes in Environmental Health Perspectives at length on the effects of a rise in temperature and rainfall patterns on the epidemiology of pathogenic infections. We do not have permission to reproduce his article, originally published in 1991; suffice it to say that he named yellow fever and dengue fever as the vector-borne diseases that pose the greatest threat in North America as the world warms.

Aedes mosquitoes are rapidly killed at freezing temperatures, according to the article. However, Shope goes on to say:
The northernmost winter survival of Aedes aegypti is now about 35deg. N latitude, or the latitude of Memphis, Tennessee. This distribution is predicted with global warming to move northward and encompass additional large population centers, the numbers depending on how much warming occurs. In addition, the development of mosquito larvae is faster in warm climates than cold ones, and thus with global warming, the mosquito will become a transmitting adult earlier in the season.
As early as January of this year, researchers were warning of a resurgence of dengue fever in the U.S., and the Los Angeles Times carried an article that cited Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who helped lead the government's efforts against AIDS.
In an article this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Fauci and his science adviser, Dr. David Morens, said more than 760,000 cases were reported in the Americas last year, of which some 20,000 involved the virulent form, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. The disease [...] beginning to make its presence felt in the U.S., with cases popping up in Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Last week, top health officials warned that a "widespread appearance" in the continental U.S. is "a real possibility."

Thus far, cases of dengue fever in North America — where disease scientists thought they had conquered it 30 years ago — have tended to be scattered and affect relatively few people. But increased travel to and from South America, where a resurgence has made dengue widespread, is thought to be boosting the disease's spread northward. And some experts suspect climate change is aggravating the problem.
So, to those who scoff at the need for the U.N., or universal health care, here's your answer. Dengue fever, like yellow fever, has no cure. It too can kill. These diseases, and other like them, can be controlled with the help of vaccines and global cooperation. However, there are costs to such diseases.

Massive organ failure is not a great way to die. If you value your life, and the lives of your friends, neighbours, children, et cetera, you should support truly universal health care. Because the world is a small, round globe, and ultimately we are all interconnected through the very web of life that makes our lives possible.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

B.A.D. - Stroll Through Blogtopia

Graphics credits Skippy, concept credit Skippy and Jon Swift

It's been a rough week, on many of us, for many reasons. So pardon our dust as we belatedly rush, not stroll, through blogtopia(y,Sctp!), pausing only long enough to pick up an award that the lovely Brandy over at Moue has bestowed upon us.


The rules state that after receiving the Excellent Blog Award, you must pass it on to 10 more excellent bloggers. What a terrific idea! That's a good way to promote blog traffic, especially to small undiscovered treasures of blogtopia.
  • 922 Cats, where Lizzy does a fine job of recording many beautiful and elegant things complete with photographs, while bravely ignoring hairballs and their sound effects;

  • Wyan.blog, where Poe chronicles the efforts of some fine people who demonstrate what's best about a democracy;

  • Blogging Out Loud, where Alan does his best to kill! me! dead! with his adroit skewering of Republican politicians and godbotherers;

  • Zippidy Doo Da, where liquiddaddy and Chief Charley Hoarse have a fine time with Photoshop and politics;

  • The Inscription, where gargantua points out some scarring truths in clear prose;

  • wAitiNG foR doROthY makes me think, dammit, about some painful things &mdash and rewards me with some very weird video;

  • Ted's Soapbox 2.0, where Ted reminds me of all the other important things in life - the joys and sorrows of loving your family, your pets, and your fellow humans;

  • kittywampus talks to me about important concerns;

  • Casa de Charlotte della luna reminds me that as bad as things have been for New Orleans, there is a vital spark of life and beauty there that will not let grimness and decay win out;

  • Much of a Muchness gives me beauty that soothes my soul (confession: I do love paper).


Pass it on, you wonderful people, and perhaps this will help us discover more new treasures for the blogroll!

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