ThePoliticalCat

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Food


Recently we encouraged Bri to come visit armed with Chicago-style deep-dish pizza from our favourite pizza place. They have a number called "Teh Good Health Pizza" which is made with a whole-wheat crust, sauteed spinach, low-fat mozzarella, and all that.

Brian refuses to believe that anything vaguely resembling a pizza has anything to do with good health. This is what he sent us today:
"They call it "Chicago-style pizza" because it's like Al Capone is pumping cholesterol bullets into your heart." - Dean Moses
Humph. Home-made pizza at La Casa de Los Gatos this week, with sauteed chicken and spinach with garlic, pine nuts, onions, bell peppers, mozzarella, chillies (it's our weakness), and lots of home-grown tomatoes.

Also fish, chicken, Split Tummies (eggplant), seasonal greens sauteed in oil with garlic, ginger, chicken stock.

Here's the recipe for the fish.

Marinated Broiled Fish

2 fillets catfish
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1-2 tsp. red chilli powder
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 lemon
2-6 fresh green/red chillies
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger

Cook's Notes:This recipe removes the muddy taste that distinguishes catfish and leaves you with delicious, spicy, fragrant, delicate yet slightly crunchy fillets. This is a very simple yet deeply satisfying way of cooking fish. Total prep time is less than half an hour. Cooking time is approximately 15 minutes (at the most). If you like chillies as much as we do, let them broil right along with the fish. If you're not wild about the heat, seed the chillies before adding them to the fish. Serve with rice, white or brown, a sauteed green vegetable, and a simple dal (beans or lentils cooked with spices).

Slice the tops off the chillies and slice lengthwise into strips. Peel ginger and slice thin. Zest and juice lemon.

In a glass or ceramic (or other nonreactive) bowl, place the fish fillets, dust with ground spices, and gently rub the spices into the fish. Place sliced ginger and chillies under, on, and around the fish. Pour soy sauce and lemon juice over the fish. Sprinkle with half the lemon zest, cover with a plate or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

When ready to cook, preheat broiler (up to 20 minutes). Place fish on foil and broil 4-8 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the fish and the heat your broiler generates). Sprinkle with remaining lemon zest and serve.

Some people prefer to remove the ginger and chillies before broiling.

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Entertainment

Because, lookit, after reading our various diatribes on economics, the economy, politics, and how much shit we're in, you're probably stressed out enough to need some of these two BAD boys:

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart parody New Yorker's Obama cover

You can see why they totally deserved any fucking Emmys they won, right? The first decade of the 21st century - totally PWND by Colbert/Stewart! No, they'll never run for President, and they shouldn't, because they're entertainers, and mocking politicians and the power structure is what they do best. But they're certainly Pres/Vp of the comedy world, especially in the field of political satire. Read the interview here.

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Stroll Through The Blogroll

Graphics credit Skippy, concept credits Skippy and Jon Swift

A stroll through our blogroll takes lots of time and energy, as we usually try to read everything we plan to link to carefully. Lately, it's been difficult to be careful, as we're chock full of nice, dozy pain meds which make us see cats in hats climbing wires up to the balcony. (??) However, we did manage to get this long-awaited task done today, so join us for a stroll, won't you please?

  • Swanksalot at B12 Solipsism offers a few interesting bookmarks for your reading pleasure.

  • Buck Batard at Bad Attitudes notes the recent conservative reaction to Sarah Failin as exemplified by Kathleen Parker.

  • NEW The Saint at Blue Tidal Wave may temporarily disappoint us with the news that Gonezales is not facing a prison term for his shenanigans, but soon cheers us up with the heartening news that Karl Rove, at least, is looking at criminal charges.

  • NEW Brown Man at Brown Man Thinking Hard is a wonderful new discovery for our little corner of blogtopia, and we choose to announce his existence with this great post on racial comity.

  • Ron at CenterFace calls Oldy McMoldy on his "earmark" crap and eviscerates his debate performance. Yes!

  • Dyre42 over at Dyre Portents has an action item for those of you who feel strongly about giving medical care and training to those who need it.

  • The Station Agent over at Ice Station Tango rips Condi Rice a few needed apertures based on her lying weaselly performance over the past eight years and her long-delayed admission of this Misadministration's role in torture.

  • Man Eegee at Latino Politico speaks to voters in Arizona. Gracias, Manuel!

  • Miss Welby posts about Italian artists and art.

  • Nelson, over at NGBlog, has a few things to say about local legislation on gay rights.

  • NEW Patriot Missive has a few things to say about the Veep debate.

  • Seventh Sister over at Shimoda's Dream has some nice pictures on the anti-Palin rally in Alaska, and some biting commentary to boot. Check out the more recent post on fine al-fresco dining. Bitch wine? We're there.

  • Abel Pharmboy has a very nice post for the chemistry-oriented, chocolate-oriented, and plain old consumer-goods-contamination-worrywarts over at Terra Sigillata. Pls to read.

  • Pauline, over at West Africa Wins Always, announces the festivities that mark the end of Ramadan and posts her usual beautiful pictures for all to see.

  • Welcome back to our friend Jassalasca Jape, who disappeared as a result of Firefox updating itself and wiping out all our former bookmarks!

  • Judge Chief Charly Hoarse, over at Zippidy Doo Da, mocks the Republican solution to the financial problems created by the Republicans, and offers a far better option instead.

  • As always, we'd like to call attention to the sterling work done by Black and Missing but Not Forgotten;

  • We remind you that Pretty Bird Woman House offers sanctuary to Native American women victims of domestic violence and often has action items in which they could use your help;

  • And we'd like to remind you to visit School For The Girls, where Rebecca, always ingenious, has come up with a great new way to help further women's rights in Kenya. Someday, Rebecca will be a great and famous leader in her nation and in the world, and you'll be able to say you knew her when.
La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your kind attention. Come back soon, and if you have anything to tell us, you know where the comments are.

To all our Muslim friends, best wishes for the end of the fasting for Ramadan, and let the feasting begin! To all our Hindu friends, Diwali is around the corner. May you live in the blessed state of light, which banishes darkness and ignorance. Whatever your belief, faith, religion, may good things comfort you in these troubled times. Don't forget to check your voter registration and urge your family and friends to do the same. Come November 4, vote! And hopefully, your vote will be for Barack Obama.

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Economy: Milagrito's Analysis



The Miracle of Finance

My friend Icebox brought this quote, attributed to Fraser Tytler, to my attention:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
  1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
  2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
  3. From courage to liberty;
  4. From liberty to abundance;
  5. From abundance to complacency;
  6. From complacency to apathy;
  7. From apathy to dependence;
  8. From dependence back into bondage.
This quote is compelling (though it's not clear whether Tytler, an 18th century literary translation theorist, said it) as it seems to provide a clear explanation of why great nations fall: the growth of the welfare state. Of course, not every democracy is a great civilization and not every great civilization is a democracy. You would also need ignore other influences, such as war and natural disaster, as well as the fact that some people remain in poverty throughout the lifespan of a nation.

Nevertheless, you feel intuitively that this guy Tytler is on to something. You've seen this cycle in families, where the grandparents started with nothing, the parents worked hard to secure their place in society, and the kids are spoiled brats. However, the greatest appeal of this quote is to fiscal conservatives, as it seems to prove their point: the government should not help people. Only by letting people — or companies — sink or swim on their own can we avoid the fatal step of dependency, and the subsequent slide into bondage.

I do see our society bouncing around between complacency, apathy and dependence, though we are not quite the lotus eaters that the theory assumes. Society experiences waves of fear and anguish as well, our working class still has a foundation of ambition and determination, compassion and engagement are visible in the political activity of the young. The average person has their greedy, lazy moments, and also their inspired, committed, or just plain dogged years of work.

There are events that shake us out of complacency. Did you notice how patriotic and unselfish we all became after 9/11? Sometimes we want to make sacrifices and contribute to the common good. But in the long run, humans face a dilemma: rational economic behavior is not hard-wired in them. On the contrary, their circuitry induces them to act for short-term gain, which, when they were swinging from the trees, was what kept them alive.

People are stranger than cats. Back in the prehistoric days, they were capable of learning that if they ate the fruit and tossed the pit, they would survive for a day, but if they ate the fruit and planted the seed, they would do well in the future. But they had to learn this, and relearn it every generation; it’s not hard-wired. Achieving preservation and increase of resources requires cultural transmission. Once the hard-wired quick-score instinct gets loose, humans bite the hand that feeds them. Look at how farming turned out — somehow, humans have managed to turn agriculture from an exercise in husbandry to a form of rape.

Greed is a funny thing. It doesn't even work for the rapers half the time, and it surely doesn’t work for the rest of us. It creates structures (such as markets in ephemera like bundled mortgage securities) that any cat with an ounce of sense could tell were unstable and bound to crash. Then when the loud noise happens, everybody runs away at the same time, thereby making sure that the building and the people in it perish completely. Then come the scavengers. In the current scenario, these are the short-sellers, who make money from stocks going down and apparently, through their enthusiastic bets that the market is going down, can actually make the market go down.

So what happened to the idea that you could plant a seed and nurture it? When communities are so large that we cannot influence each other and promote this idea, and when there are a variety of opinions, cultural subgroups and emotional types throughout society, I can only think of one solution, one that causes a lot of pain to my independent and Republicat friends: you need law as the agent of cultural transmission. The only thing large and powerful enough to provide the needed regulation and control is the federal government.

As I get older, I get more frustrated and tired of human mistakes. Since my predecessor, Wilbur, lived in the 70s, there has been a steady decline in wise economic policy and respect for human rights by our government. However, I still think that we can promote a kind of government that provides the cultural transmission of ideas that would happen naturally in small communities. It’s our only alternative, or else we really are at Tytler’s seventh step. The government has to embrace principles that promote stability, different principles than it now represents. The government needs to focus on preserving and nurturing of our economic resources, making slow gains rather than providing scope for people to do anything at all for a short-term profit. The government needs to rein in the exploiters for the benefit of us all.

If this idea sounds like socialism, please refer to the Old Testament and the rules about fallowing land, leaving ears of corn for the gleaners, and not exploiting one’s neighbors economically. (Remember, before I was a presidential candidate, I was the Feline Pope-in-exile, so I’m never wrong about these things.) It would take several books to outline all the steps the government should take, so I’ll just mention a couple of things that I’m doing.

I’m communicating with my government. I meowed at Barney’ Frank’s congressional Banking Services Committee. They are very involved with the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and I feel strongly that these companies should not be targeted for destruction. The notion that you hear over and over, that the taxpayers would be paying the investors, is a false one. All the government needs to do is to lend these companies the money to tide them over, while suspending interest payments to bond holders and dividends to stockholders, and eventually the companies would find their feet.

There’s a reason why I feel the government has a moral obligation to help out Fannie and Freddie. We used to have banking rules created to prevent the kind of get-rich-quick schemes that got the country into so much trouble in 1929. Starting with Ronald Reagan and most prominently under George W. Bush, the government repealed the rules that would have prevented the subprime mortgage crisis. Now, the Bushies want to destroy Fannie and Freddie, not because they are badly managed or bad for the economy, but, I suspect, as a way of transferring wealth to their rich friends. The Bushies say that the private sector can do the job of providing mortgages to the working class better. Hello? It was the private sector, not Fannie and Freddie, that created the subprime mess.

I’m also proposing a rule change in what’s called disclosure law. I got this idea from Hattie, when she asked why anyone would sign up for a loan they could not afford. The answer is, because they didn’t know they couldn’t afford it. Most defaults leading to the current crisis happened because borrowers did not know how high their payments could go. Disclosure laws make banks tell borrowers the truth about their credit terms. You’ve probably sat on top of Visa bills that have all that verbiage on the back. That’s all disclosures.

A terrible gap in the law exists in mortgages. When you get an adjustable rate mortgage, one that can go up and down (mostly up), the bank or mortgage broker doesn’t have to tell you the maximum possible payment, even though they know it, only the initial payment. Lenders always say they can’t tell you what your payment will be after it adjusts, but that's an evasion. They may not know exactly what your payment will be in a year, but they can calculate the maximum payment and any payment in between your initial rate and the maximum, and they can tell you how soon you could be liable for the maximum payment. I saw a letter in the Times today complaining that Americans’ math skills led to the mortgage crisis (the writer was a physicist), but honestly, who can calculate a mortgage payment without special training?

Then I got a brilliant idea (all my ideas are brilliant, that's why you should vote for me) and started working on a modest proposal for Barney's committee. I downloaded a sample loan document from the Fannie Mae site and I'm reworking it so it shows a borrower what their loan payment might go up to. I ran my idea past several humans. I asked, “If you knew your loan could adjust up to $4000 a month, from $2000, would you still want the loan?” Everybody said “NO!” This is the sort of information the banks should have given borrowers in the first place. It would have prevented the mess. I am telling my government that I want a rule that makes the banks tell people honestly what they’re getting into.

I am also investing. Am I rich? Certainly not. I have an investment budget of around $34.17, so my investments are really symbolic, a way to put my money where my mouth is, not to mention doing the opposite of what the headless chickens on Wall Street are doing. I am looking at financial companies that are strong, with reasonable debt, earnings, and less risky positions, but whose stock price went down because of the overall panic.

I bought Goldman Sachs and American Express and Bank of America at sale prices. I'm looking at Wells Fargo. I should have scored with Fannie Mae, too, because they were a well-managed company with zillions of houses for collateral, who actually refused to get deep into the subprime market. But I am not wasting time feeling sorry for myself over that. I'm worrying about all the working people who won't be able to buy houses if the Bushies kill Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.



Note: ThePoliticalCat is currently posting Milagrito's pieces because Milagrito's Opposable-thumbed Slave has not yet had time to activate her keys to La Casa de Los Gatos. All Milagrito's posts are reflective of Milagrito's opinions alone, although these may or may not be shared, in whole or in part, by other residents of La Casa de Los Gatos.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Economy: Feedback

It's a good idea, actually. Longtime friend and commenter Bob has this to say about that bailout bill:
The bailout "consensus" has fallen apart. It seems that Congress actually wants to discuss the wisdom of a trillion dollar outlay before rushing it through. That's good. As long as we're going to discuss this, let's add something to the deal.

We can't afford to be engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if our economy is in grave danger. Whatever bailout is deemed necessary, we'll need to put our tax money into trying to save the economy, rather than fighting oil wars. What should we do?

We should stand firm on the requirement that, before any bailout money is dispersed, the Iraq war must end. The Iraq war can be ended in a few days; just bring the troops back home. Stop pouring money into a dumb oil-theft scheme. "We can't just leave"? That mantra is what kept us in Vietnam for years. In the end, we left. In Iraq, just leave now.

If the Iraq war isn't ended, then let's see what happens if there's no bailout at all. Maybe nothing will happen besides the bankruptcy of companies which richly deserve it.

Congress will need to develop a spine to do this.
Maybe the Chinese will be more willing to lend us money to shore up our crumbling economy if we're not destroying ourselves in Iraq?

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Economy: The $700 Billion-Dollar Bailout Bill

From Walt Handelsman at Newsday

People, La Casa de Los Gatos does not include any trained economists within its ranks. None of us has much of a clue about economics as a field of study. We know a little bit about the stock market and a little bit about money as it relates to the litte bit of money what we got, and that ain't much. So we beg your indulgence as we attempt to delve into this field and figure out just what the fuck is going on as Congress attempts to wrassle with this $700 billion piece of legislation that is supposed to save us — and, incidentally, the rest of the world, the financial markets having become globalized to a hitherto unprecedented extent.

First off, what the fuck is this bill?

It's called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. At present,it has failed to pass the House, which means we don't have a bill as such, just a piece of legislation that is being wrangled over by our Congresscritters. The text of the draft bill may be found here. La Casa de Los Gatos offers grateful thanks to commenter and fellow-blogger nunya of politickybitch for sending us the link.

Caveat: This document is approximately 110 pages long, and if you don't have any experience with legalese and the recondite world of financial systems, you might have a hard time reading and understanding it. We'll take a bash at it tomorrow. In the meantime, we fall back upon the abridged information.

Here we provide you with an analysis performed by the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill creates an entity known as TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program). It allows Paulson and his successors to appropriate the required amount of money (not to exceed $700 billion) over a period of as many years as they, with the oversight of various Congressional committees, deem necessary, to purchase or insure troubled assets and to cover all administrative expenses of purchasing, insuring, holding, and selling those assets. The assets to be purchased or insured are based on or related to residential or commercial mortgages issued prior to March 14, 2008. This might mean that the weasels who bought in expectation of being bailed out won't get anything for their efforts.

Caveat: Although the purchase price of all such assets outstanding at any one time cannot exceed $700 billion, cumulative gross purchases might well exceed $700 billion as previously purchased assets are sold. This amount ($700 billion) does not include the expense required to administer these "troubled assets."

Note: CBO estimates, based on costs incurred by private investment firms that acquire, manage, and sell similar assets, that the administrative costs of operating the program could amount to a few billion dollars per year, until the government manages to sell off all or most of the purchased assets.
This ought to explain clearly why Rudi Giuliani is already trying to weasel his way into the bailout scheme.

The good news is:
  • only (hah!) $250 billion worth of purchases can be made once the bill is enacted;

  • A further $100 billion will be made available to Paulson and his successors if the President submits to the Congress a written notification that Paulson or his successors have found a further $100 billion of assets needing rescue;

    This means that, as usual, authorization of that money will be in the hands of Congress and will need to be approved by the various committees involved. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. The good part: we the people can put pressure on our representatives. The bad part: This really is an honest-to-deity fucking economic crisis and, unfortunately, swift action might be required to nip it in the bud before we all lose our homes, savings, assets, businesses, and sources of loans.

  • The amount available can go up by another $350 billion (to total $700 billion, as provided by the bill) if the President submits a report detailing a plan to use the remaining $350 billion in purchase authority; that expansion would be subject to a 15-day Congressional review for potential disapproval of the plan.
Again, that leaves a little breathing space in between these gouts of bleeding. The point to take away so far is that the entire crisis MIGHT well cost under $350 billion — but only, unfortunately, if we come up with a solution now and implement it quickly.

This bill also lets the federal government insure troubled assets, including mortgage-backed securities. Terms and conditions for such insurance must be developed by the Secretary of the Treasury. What this means is, the federal government can collect premiums from the financial institutions that participate in this program. The total amount we're paying for this rescue is $700 billion or less, minus the insurance premiums paid. So the taxpayers will, hopefully, get some of their money back.

This bill expires on December 31, 2009. It can be extended through two years from the date of enactment if Paulson or his successors certify that such an extension is necessary.

Where is the money coming from to fund this bill?

We're borrowing it. The bill specifies that the federal debt limit be increased by $700 billion. *If, five years after enactment of the bill, OMB's director, in consultation with CBO's director, determines that the TARP has incurred a net loss, the President has to submit a legislative proposal to recoup the losses from those companies that benefited from TARP.

So what does this mean for us taxpayers?

This means that the ultimate cost of the TARP program equals the difference between whatever the government spends to purchase and earnings + sales proceeds if any from sale of all assets at future date, i.e., probably substantially less than $700 billion but likely greater than zero.

So, $700 billion + administrative costs (several billion per year x however many years the government has to hang on to this toxic shit) minus (earnings from assets, if any + sale prices of assets when we can finally junk them).

*Note: The proposal to recoup any costs requires a future Presidential submission and a future act of Congress to implement. Savings from such legislation would be estimated when the proposal is considered and would be credited to that legislation for Congressional scorekeeping purposes.

Based on what we know, this means that we'd better all familiarize ourselves with these arcane subjects and the workings of our Halls of Power and make sure that whoever is in those seats (OMB, CBO, WH, and Congress) do whatever is necessary to make sure that the companies that benefited from this bill return the money to the taxpayers when the time comes.

CBO's analysis goes on to state that other provisions in this bill would add to the budget deficit:
  • Change in the tax treatment of certain types of income, losses, or deductions of corporations or individuals;

    The bill contains provisions that would limit the amounts that certain firms selling assets can claim as tax-deductible executive compensation; allow losses incurred by certain taxpayers on preferred stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be treated as ordinary, not capital, losses; and not count as income the cancellation of mortgage debt of individuals in certain circumstances. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that, on net, these provisions would reduce federal revenues.

  • Certain financial institutions seeking to sell assets through TARP must meet appropriate standards for senior executive officers’ compensation, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury;

  • Secretary of the Treasury must maximize assistance for homeowners, including encouraging servicers of the underlying mortgages to take advantage of the Hope for Homeowners Program under section 257 of the National Housing Act;

  • FRS (Federal Resesrve System) might pay interest on certain reserves held on deposit at the Federal Reserve, starting on October 1, 2008;

    Under current law, the FRS doesn't need to start paying interest on these till October 1, 2011. This means the FRS payments of its profits to the Treasury, which are classified as revenue in the federal budget, would be reduced over the next three years.

  • Federal Housing Finance Agency, the FDIC, and FRB (Federal Resesrve Board) must implement measures to reduce foreclosures on properties they control, including modifying the terms of such loans; and

  • Establish Congressional oversight and reporting requirements related to implementation of the legislation, along with a Financial Stability Oversight Board with responsibility for overseeing operations of the program.
From the CBO:
The bill would require that the federal budget display the costs of purchasing or insuring troubled assets using procedures similar to those specified in the Federal Credit Reform Act, but adjusting for market risk (in a manner not reflected in that law). In particular, the federal budget would not record the gross cash disbursements for purchases of troubled assets (or cash receipts for their eventual sale), but instead would reflect the estimated net cost to the government of such purchases (broadly speaking, the purchase cost minus the present value, adjusted for market risk, of any estimated future earnings from holding those assets and the proceeds from the eventual sale of them).

Enacting the legislation could also affect other federal spending—including, for example, outlays from the operations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, federal housing programs, and deposit insurance. Some of those effects would be related to how TARP would be used to purchase assets (including what kinds of assets would be acquired and from what types of institutions), and how successful the program would be in restoring liquidity to the nation’s financial markets.
So there's no guarantee that this will work. On the plus side, at least some consumer and taxpayer protections appear to have found their way into the draft bill. On the minus side, it looks like the FDIC and other Federal institutions might suffer unexpected damage.

We wish there was time to think this thing out carefully, but at least the damn thing expires at the end of next year, at which time it could be resuscitated with additional provisions as we deem necessary. From CNBC:
Citing recent bank failures in the United States and Europe, Paulson said regulators and legislators need to act "as soon as possible" to ensure the health of credit markets that U.S. businesses depend on to meet payrolls and purchase inventory.
That's the important thing to remember. This has to be enacted soon because many organizations which are innocent of the shenanigans the financials market have engaged in must borrow money to meet their payroll. So you're pootling along working for Joe Goodhart Industries and suddenly credit has dried up and the CEO Mavis Goodhart can't make payroll. You're affected. Your wife/spouse/partner who works for BrilliantBrains, Inc. is also affected because those folks can't make payroll either.

Yeah, the bad guys will take it up the keister. Unfortunately, so will the rest of us. If your car breaks down irreparably tomorrow and you can't get credit to buy or rent a new one, you're gonna suffer much worse than Mr. Paulson, who is rumoured to be worth about half a billion and doesn't need to show up for work.

Here's the numbers on what's happening in the market. We hear the financial markets lost a trillion dollars today. They'll lose more in the coming days. This affects all of us, the smallest of us the worst. It's your retirement, your pension, your 401(k), your savings, and your credit that will be the hardest hit. When you have $100 million in the bank, like John McCain, you can lose $700K or even $70 million and still be OK. When your life savings are a measly $100,000, you lose $70,000 and you're as good as dead.

The Boston Globe is saying the bill needs to pass. Of course John "pass me a handkerchief, boys" Boner is too busy weeping because Nancy Pelosi spoke sternly to him to sign off on any bills.

Before you decide a position on this bill, please read this diary by RenaRF of DailyKos, who knows much more about economics than your humble blogger.

Finally, we offer Paul Krugman's perspective. We agree that this is not how this bill should have been constructed. We would have preferred his solution. But has anybody written legislation that would incorporate Krugman's solution? Would it have enough votes to pass? The House Republicans are crying so hard they can't find their pens (or other things that might look similar).

We agree with Nouriel Roubini that the attempt to purchase toxic instruments that the markets cannot accurately value is the worst possible response to the financial crisis. But we're not seeing anything else by way of a viable solution. If commercial paper is in serious trouble, the entire economy is on the verge of collapse. And to do nothing is worse, in this case, than to do something half-arsed that could keep collapse from happening. Note that Roubini is not saying we should do nothing, rather he is saying that he doesn't like what we're doing.

We know people out there are saying "The Federal Reserve system should be abolished," and "down with Wall Street," and all that. But you know what, we're in the middle of the crisis now. Dismantling various organizations might be needed and might be important, but you don't do that while the fire is burning down the house. An economic collapse right now will destroy us all. So first let's shore the system up then let's calmly and rationally examine it and decide what needs to go and what needs to stay.

Once again, we apologize for our lack of information and knowledge in this field. We welcome your comments and thoughts.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Politics: Have Something To Say About The Bailout?


Here is a comprehensive list of names, email addresses, and phone numbers for every single one of your Congresscritters in the Senate. Pick up the phone or keyboard and have at it!

Those slimy bastards need an earful from each and every one of us about this ridiculous giveaway of OUR MONEY!!!

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Entertainment

Okay, we're trying to stick to the issues here but Tina Fey just SO rocks, and SNL after years of being dreadfully unfunny, appears to have got its mojo back and this has GOT to be the funniest skit ever:



The SCARY part is, some of what she's saying is supposedly direct quotes. Shoo!

Also, she's way cuter and sexier than Governor Moose-o-lini. We do love looking at pretty women. Call us looksist.

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Ms. Manitoba is working on her Halloween cards, my pretties

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Caturday!

From the ICHC LOLcattery

We were supposed to let Cyrrie of 922 Cats host today's Caturday post. And as you can see from the photograph below, Cyrrie the avowed foodie is just as sweet as a kitty can be. No, he's not trying to nom Buddy, just bayve him.

Cyrrie Bayves Buddy

However, as Fate would have it, a sweet little white kitty named Pearl drifted by and we got distracted. So, apologies, Cyrrie, but when you hear of Pearl's adventures, you surely will not begrudge her the Hostess o'the Day position.

This is Pearl.


Thanks to Hurricane Gustav, poor Pearl became so terrified and discombobulated that she stopped eating for quite a while. As any cat person knows, if a cat doesn't eat for more than two or three days, it becomes a candidate for liver problems (specifically, hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease). Which is why you should NEVER EVER put a cat on a diet without a vet's recommendation and supervision.

Well, Pearl, who is the most beautiful adorable little blue-eyed white shorthair, was temporarily rehomed due to Hurricane Gustav, and became so terrified that she hid under the bed and refused to eat. Naturally, she began showing symptoms of hepatic lipidosis, including yellowing of her normally pristinely (dare one say Pearly?) white ears. She's spent the past week in a feline hospital on an IV.

Her hoomin brought her back from the vet just yesterday, and she appears to have regained some appetite, which is good news. We are very, very happy for Pearl and her hoomin. If you have some kind feelings, good thoughts, beneficial karma, food vibes, or just general "be-well-furry-one" feelings running around in your personal hoomin bubble, please direct as many of them as you can spare towards little Pearl, who can use them. Let's hope she's soon back to a shining state of health.

Pearl in happier days:


Be well, Pearl! Be fluffy and furry and purry and happy and hungry and well-fed and contented and all good things that kitties deserve to be!

Gustav Proclaims Innocence

La Casa de Los Gatos' own personal Hurricane Gustav the Cat insists on DNA tests to prove his innocence. We believe him. He's hardly moved out the door for over a month now.

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Politics: CA Prop 4 — The Parental Notification Act

Guest blogger and Fount of Wisdom (as well as Feline Pope-in-Exile) Milagrito opines on the fate of this doubtful legislation being supported by Mormons and homophobes who are trying to change California's political landscape.

Milagrito's Campaign slogan

No on Parental Notification

Fellow kitties, I must address a topic that may prove controversial and maybe even lose me a few votes. I would really like to hear your reactions, whether or not you agree with me. I am urging any of you whose humans are California voters to make them vote NO on Proposition 4 in the November election, and any non-California voters to reject similar measures in their states.

Prop 4 is what is called a “notification law” and it’s about abortion. Some states have passed similar laws, but California voters have twice defeated similar measures. The basic proposed law states that any teenager seeking an abortion is subject to a parental notification requirement, meaning that if a pregnant teenager wants an abortion, they have to be prepared to have a letter posted to their parents telling on them.

These laws, to be constitutional, generally have what is called a “judicial bypass” provision. A teenager can go to a court — an excruciatingly embarrassing and intrusive requirement — and explain to a judge why she doesn’t want to have her parents involved, and a judge can issue consent to the abortion. As a law cat, I’m appalled by the high level of proof a teen is expected to present to the courts under Prop 4, either of their ability to make their own decision or of a negative family situation. The burden of proof is only slightly less than that required to convict someone of murder, and higher than the burden of proof required to award someone millions of dollars in a damage suit.

The new California ballot proposal has a further, more toxic alternative. The teenager can inform the doctor that her parents would sexually, physically or emotionally abuse her if her pregnancy and desire for an abortion were known. The doctor can then notify an alternate adult relative, telling this relative of the accusations against the parents, and also forwarding the accusation to a government agency for investigation.

These laws supposedly force the teen to turn to her parents for their wisdom and support. These laws also recognize that parents aren’t always wise and supportive. But instead of offering the teen alternative adult support in the form of counseling and compassionate medical care, they instead require her to become her parents’ accuser in exchange for the desired abortion. Her choice is to face the wrath of the parents (who might well react emotionally and hurtfully even if they are not cruel people) or to smear their reputation by report to the government.

Some proponents say this law will prevent sexual predators from covering up their abuse by forcing teens to have abortions. However, even a teenager who has been abused or exploited is entitled to her privacy and dignity, and to lodge an accusation when she is emotionally ready to do so. To force her to choose between being dragged through the courts or social services bureaucracy or face possibly abusive reactions by parents, is to pile stress, confusion and pain on a vulnerable teen. It is atrociously cruel.

I fear that teens would have a hell of a time navigating this legal mess. Nothing in this coercive system helps teens make good decisions. I can even imagine that a desperate teen, afraid to face her parents and embarrassed to tell her story to judge, might report abuse that never happened, just to get the abortion she wants. A teen, especially a middle-class kid whose family has never tangled with the law or the social service system, might have no idea what legal nightmare might be unleashed on her family if she says that, yes, her parents would emotionally abuse her if she told them she was pregnant. The law also blithely supposes that there is another adult who can be notified instead of the now-vilified parents. What if the entire family belongs to the same strict religion? What will happen to the family when Mom finds out that her sister knew all along, and didn’t tell her because of her supposed failures as a parent? How will the aunt feel being asked to keep this secret? What happens to the teen’s privacy when the social worker arrives at the door to find out what’s wrong with the family?

Kids have different rates of maturity, and families have different degrees of dysfunction. My Mama knows lots of girls from normal families who had abortions as teenagers and never told their parents, not wanting to upset them and get grounded for life. They went on to college and professions, and married and had families and suffered no fallout whatever, because they didn’t believe that abortion was wrong, but having a baby you couldn’t care for was very wrong. If I was a parent of a teenage kitten, I would much rather they came to me, but if they didn’t, I would want them to have somewhere to turn for competent medical and psychological help.

But there are other kinds of families, too, where people love each other but where parents are from other countries and cultures, or are very conservative, and the kids sometimes have values that clash with their parents’. Where parents think that punishment is an appropriate response. Where a pregnancy can have a devastating effect on the relationship of a daughter with her parents and perhaps affect a girl’s future. I can’t help but feel that there are situations where it’s best the parents don’t know. Even an immature teenager may be able to better evaluate her own situation than a court or agency.

Finally, the proposed law attacks doctors. Doctors would be expected to file paperwork on each abortion performed. They would be susceptible to suit by parents who claimed they were not properly notified. The exposure to lawsuits is precisely the reason many doctors are leaving high-risk medicine, such as high-risk obstetrics. This proposition seems aimed at scaring doctors away from abortions. Its most outrageous provision is that the parents can sue a doctor who performs an abortion on their child any time up to four years after the child reaches the age of majority. That means if a doctor performed an abortion on a patient who was sixteen, the parents can sue him up until she turns 22 — and the daughter can’t stop them. Only major felonies have statutes of limitations this long, and the result will be that even more doctors will refuse to perform abortions.

I cannot find an ounce of compassion or sense in this proposal. It needs to lose.

ThePoliticalCat thanks Milagrito for his clear, rational post on this issue. This would also be a good place to point out that in some cultures, a girl who has lost her virginity (one who, for example, needs an abortion) has sullied her family's honor, which can only be recovered by killing said girl. For those who think this doesn't happen in Western countries in this day and age, may we kindly point them to the story of Banaz Mahmod, murdered in the UK. Alternatively, consider Samana Siddiqui's interesting juxtaposition of information about honor killings of women in the Islamic countries to murders of women in the US and Canada. Or read Faux News' bigoted but nevertheless essentially factually correct report on honor killings in the US.

La Casa de Los Gatos would like to take this opportunity to point out that honor killings are not a religious, but a cultural practice. Thus, so called honor killings are very rare in Islamic countries in most of East and South-east Asia, but common in Pakistan, for example, and, sadly more so these days, in Iraq.

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2008 Elections: You Were Wrong!

Jed Lewison does his usual bang-up job of skewering John McCain using his own words, just as Barack Obama did during the debates. Jed, you are a treasure. Watch:



Ah, teh YouTube! It puts into the hands of teh Peeple the ability to point out what a lying sack of shit John McCain is. He's been wrong about so much for so long, electing him now would be like throwing a little gasoline on the fire that's burning the country down.

Think wisely. Choose carefully. Vote Obama/Biden.

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Entertainment

Things have been so grim lately that we, as y'all might have noticed, have been doing a lot of posts on Entertainment. Hey, there's a reason they don't let people like us have sharp t'ings and shooty t'ings.

In teh event, Nunya (thepolitickybitch) sent us this, and we larfed. So we share it wit' y'all, and who cares if it's somewhat un-pc.



Robin's got Dumbya's worst flubs memorized, huh?

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Chris Rock and Bill Maher: Obama thinks ...

Folks, this is a time when we gotta laugh as much as possible. Here's Chris Rock and Bill Maher talking about yesterday's debate:

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LET THE YACHT SINK


Here's my thinking ... formulated while chatting with one of my friends ....


If Bush and company are so very eager to push through this bailout .... and lickety split mind you ... fast fast faster .... we must we must ... no time to analyze and think ... good golly, no no no ... no thinking ...

if they are that eager to pass this bailout ... then it must be extremely beneficial for themselves and their rich friends ...

My buddy was at an anti-bailout rally the other day and a guy was carrying this sign:

LET THE YACHT SINK

plus, all this makes me think of that old saying that I used to love to yell out, mumble, whisper ... whatever ...

EAT THE RICH

'Que ne mangent-ils de la croûte de pâté?'

Let them eat cake.

And thanks, PolCat, for posting that very funny Jon Stewart video! LOL!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Another short thought after watch'n the debates

McCain needs enemies. McCain wants enemies. He'll lie, cheat and steal to get enemies. He see's enemies behind every corner, and in and under every rock, nook and cranny. McCain has no reason to exist without enemies. And if he can't find 'em, he'll make 'em.

I did not like the aggressive stance Obama took with Iran and Russia in the debates. Maybe he was doing that to avoid being painted as weak on defense and security by a lying, cheating McCain. I hope Obama as president, will follow instead with diplomacy, not threats.

McCain and the repiglicans on the other hand simply cannot get along with anyone. If you have to fight a war, then you have to fight a war. McCain is looking for war. Any war.

Imagine for a moment, the Cuban Missle crisis of October 1962. I was ten years old then and I remember the fear I had at the time of potential nuclear war. If McCain had been President, I guarantee you we would have had nuclear war and we'd all be dead. Fortunately we had a cooler, thoughtful, intelligent man as president instead. I think Obama would be more like that thoughtful John F. Kennedy and far more likely to avoid needless war.

If McCain wins people, you might as well sign over your kids as canon fodder and probably yourselves too. We'll all be toast anyway.

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Entertainment

Today's LOLcat for your delectation:

From ICHC

Back to reeling from pain meds now. See y'all Caturday!

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Just a short thought

Grover Norquist is a god damn psychopath. Anyone disagree? He has always wanted to shrink government down to where he could drown it in a bathtub. He doesn't want any social spending at all. No money spent on welfare, education, health care, children, or even to rescue poor people stuck in attics and on rooftops during Katrina. He has no empathy for people at all and he doesn't care if people die as a result. He is a god damn psychopath and so are all the Repiglicans who agree with him. And if he gets his way with this bank bailout, you can expect the loss of more social programs and spending that protects the commons and promotes the social welfare of the American people.

And that is as anti-American as can be, at least in my view of America. And the coming months are going to be key. Is America America? Or is America a psychopath. I hope we are America and that in the coming election we will kick some psychopathic ass and get our country back and on track!

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Politics and Entertainment

Because y'all — like us — must be fucking screaming at the top of your lungs and ripping your hair out in handfuls after the last 24 hours of economic meltdown and the pandering of the Paiin/McCain't campaign and the torpedoing of the relief bill by the Congressional Republicans even as their Dear Leader and next-slated Dear Leader are desperately trying to hand the Treasury keys to their good bud, Henry Paulson.

C'mon. Let Jon Stewart make you laugh. Before we all start jumpin' out the windows, have a drink, it's fuckin' Friday for fuck's sake, and watch this:



Just the other day we said, this is the WMD/Iraq bullshit all over again. Jon's smart enough to have the clips played side-by-side. Proves our contention.

Bonus tidbit: Paulson's down on his knees begging Pelosi to give him the money. An old Republican ploy that we've seen exercised repeatedly over the past twelve or more years. Demand a solution, pressure the Democrats to agree to it, then refuse to support it. Blame the Democrats for crafting a solution "unacceptable to the American people." Get the sheeple to buy your bullshit. Win majority in House and Senate and shit all over the country once more.

Well, this is one of those times when we have a fleeting moment of admiration for Pelosi. Her response to the kneeling and groveling:
“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”
Okay Nance, you're back in our good books for a while. There's nothing we like better than unmitigated snark. Pity ya didn't put the boot in while you had the chance, but WTF. You're a better man than I am.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

2008 Elections: Finally!

We here at La Casa de Los Gatos have been pondering, verbally and otherwise, about the state of John McCain's health for a long time. Our ponderment got booted especially hard in the butt when we recently came across a photograph of the old fart looking especially ... odd:


Look at his left eye in the picture on the left. Doesn't it look like there's something wrong with it?

Well, today while tootling around the InnerTubes, we found that the Big Boys o'Blogging — John Aravosis of Americablog in particular — had noticed the same.

Note: It is not the policy of La Casa de Los Gatos to link to the mighty bloggers of Blogtopia, with the sole exception of Skippy and Jon Swift. It makes more sense to link to smaller blogs, who need the exposure, no? After all, probably less than 1 per cent of the readers of Americablog (which is a fine blog, incidentally) even know of our existence.

At any rate, John did some mighty fine work pointing out the droop in McCain's left eye and opining as how it looked different from the right. Check out the documentary evidence he posted.

Here's another, more recent photograph:



The droop is more clearly visible here. The right eyebrow is raised, but the left eyebrow is not, and the droop seems to extend all the way down the left side of the face.

Now, we've had to tend to aging parents over the past decade, and watch them suffer multiple strokes. Our first thought was Bell's palsy, a relatively trivial problem suffered by many. Symptoms include drooping of one side of the face and sometimes drooling on one side, or inability to close one eye, and watering of the eye on the affected side.

Our next thought was, he's had a minor stroke. That's a definite possibility for a man of his age. Although strokes can affect people at any stage of life, the older you get the greater your risk. John McCain is 72 years old. By the time his father and grandfather reached his age, they'd been dead for a couple of years, IIRC.

But as we wambled on through the comments at Americablog, we found that many of the commenters were thinking along the same or even more ominous lines. One physician raised the possibility that McCain is suffering from Horner's syndrome. Note that there is no cure for this disease.

The commenter pointed out that Horner's syndrome is often associated with a lung tumour known as Pancoast Tumour.

Today, fellow-blogger FoTPC sent us email, having heard on Thom Hartmann's show that McCain is apparently having odd symptoms in his left arm — twitching, clenched fist, and so on. A commenter on Americablog apparently listened to the same show.

Then there's his bizarre cognitive problems and memory problems, his sudden mood swings and abrupt changes of mind. Those things could be symptomatic of one or more strokes. Given how long he's been in the Legislature, he's always been fairly well-spoken and at least coherent, even if he does fly off the handle and call his fellow Senators foul names. He hasn't sounded so coherent lately, has he? Stumbling, multiple gaffes, not understanding or being able to repeat what people say to him.

A commenter who works with geriatric patients opined that McAncient might be suffering from sundowning syndrome; others thought it might be nerve damage due to removal of a large facial melanoma recently; and still others speculated as to whether the multiple melanomas he has suffered may have metastasized into his brain. These are all possibilities. Given his age and his medical history, they are possibilities that we must take seriously.

When is he going to release his medical records? Isn't it time we knew what kind of shape the man is in? Is President Palin closer to reality than some of us might be comfortable with?

Here's yet another photo in which the deterioration is clear.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Damn it, John, what the fuck are you hiding? No wonder he needs an expensive make-up artist.

If you think it's time he released his medical records for the American people to see, please check out this petition and sign.

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2008 Elections: Presidential Debates

From the ICHC Lolcattery

Well? Should they go on as scheduled?

Yahoo wants to know what you think. Go tell 'em.

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LGBTQ: An Award

Roy Cohn Award image "borrowed" from BlogActive

Hey, there, whadya know! Mark Buse, John McCain's Chief of ahem, Staff, is gay! AND he's so deep in the closet, he's pooping hangers! So our good friends over at Queers United have announced that gay activist Mike Rogers at Blog Active will be presenting the hypocritical schlump with the Roy Cohn Award.

So, Mark, how does it feel to be working for Sarah "Pray Away Teh Gay" Palin, dude? You do realize this woman was about to strip domestic partner benefits from LGBTQ Alaskans until her AG warned her that it was unconstitutional to do so? And she's now lying about her record on the issue, pretending she vetoed the effort out of the goodness of that shriveled dried little nugget she calls her heart. All the while supporting other anti-equality efforts.

In the event, Commenter cg4et on Digg has an action item for those of you who might feel, um, less than sanguine about Moose-o-lini:
TAKE ACTION!

Does the McCain campaign truly support LGBT Americans? Let's see when FOCUS ON THE FAMILY weighs in. TAKE ACTION and CALL FOCUS ON THE FAMILY and THANK THEM FOR SUPPORTING JOHN MCCAIN even though he has gay Americans in high places on his staff, including his Chief of Staff.

You can reach FOF at 1-800-A-FAMILY (1-800-232-6459)! Call and thank them today.
And if you'd rather not call those hypocritical scumbuckets, try reaching them here. While politeness is always to be preferred to venom, please, do feel free to give them a double earful on behalf of all those people who might be affected by this type of homophobic sleazoidity but unable to respond.

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2008 Elections: Inspiration

Just watch:



These are not Likudnik hawks or AIPAC bots. These are real genuine living breathing Israelis and Jews from different parts of the world who see that Obama represents a genuine hope for peace in the Middle-East. Something all sane people desire. They know that a vote for McCain is a vote for more war, horror, dissension, turmoil, death. They know that Barack (Baruch, in Hebrew, which means Blessed) has the calm demeanor, the rational, cool, collected temperament, the ability to see the goal and work towards it in logical, reasoned, incremental steps.

Remember that when you go into the booth to cast your vote. The fate of your nation, and many other nations, rests in your hands.

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2008 Elections: Why Did McCain "Suspend"?

Dave Letterman thinks it's because someone put something in his Metamucil. Like what, Dave, Bide-A-Wee NappTimes?



Whatever it was, it didn't prevent the Senator from getting his makeup done on Katie Couric's show. Maybe he just prefers bottle blondes to old dudes with white hair? Look at his track record: Cindy, Lady Lynn de Rothschild, Katie. Hey, Senator, you told us you suspended the campaign so you could rush back to Washington and save the nation with this big ol' bailout bill. What happened to that, guy? Is this like that dustup you had with John Cornyn, where he basically accused you of being a seagull? You know, fly in, make lots of noise, crap over everything and fly right out again? Oh, yeah, and take credit for stuff that you weren't even involved in.

Watertiger was right. This clip just can't be seen enough times.

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Sign Senator Bernie Sanders petition

America's senator, Bernie Sanders, has a petition to old Henry (hanky panky) Paulson that would pay for this stinking Wall Street bailout with a surtax on the rich, instead of taxing the middle class. The middle class did not cause this "crisis" so why in the hell should we pay for it? If we don't make enough noise we will. Make noise! And sign Bernie's petition!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2008 Elections: More Entertainment!

Ow, ow, ow. Daily Show's Jon Stewart takes it to the candidates:



Is there anyone else out there who thinks that Sarah Palin's voice sounds like the screeches most people would make if someone took an emery board covered in chilli sauce to their nip-nips?

Because we're, like, ready to pull out our eardrums and set them on fire just so we won't have to listen to that dreadful tinny voice. And what's with this "guys and gals" crap?

Incidentally, PBS is encouraging people to vote on what they think of Madame "Guys and Gals." Do, please, stop by and let them know.

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Animals: Chris Rock was Right

Milagrito's first post is on the tough issue of animal rights: specifically, the aerial hunting of wolves espoused by Sarah Palin:



Chris Rock said recently that Michael Vick must be wondering what the fuck is happening, when he goes to jail for dogfighting and this woman goes to the VP chair for doing worse (we paraphrase). In the event, Milagrito sent us this video. As an Animal of Great Wisdom, Milagrito feels keenly the injustice involved in the aerial hunting of wolves, where the creatures are chased until they are exhausted by people in helicopters, then shot down when they can run no more.

Why don't these people have the guts to take the animals on one-to-one, armed with knife and/or bow? Isn't hunting carnivores all about bragging on how macho you are? You know, "My balls are so big I need a wheelbarrow to carry 'em around" type thing?

Gracias, Milagrito, Feline Pope-in-Exile, for alerting us to this totally cool (if upsetting) clip.

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Economy: Baron von Moneypants

Everybody's already written about the current economic meltdown and we're so torn between rage and despair that we really have nothing constructive to add. So we turn to humour and who better than Master o'Satire Jon Stewart to actually let you laugh as the world around us turns to shit:



The CEO president. What a fuckin' joke that worthless proto-hominid is. And he looks like flop sweat right now, don't he?

As for Paulson, isn't it cute that after multi-billion dollar bailouts over the past few months, he has the unmitigated fucking GALL to ask for a blank check WITH ABSOLUTELY NO OVERSIGHT? Neither the representatives of the people designated by the legislative arm nor the protectors of the people's interest designated by the judicial arm have any right to question or review Baron von Moneypants' decisions?

This executive fiat shit has gone far enough. We the People say, "Go fuck yourself, Henry Paulson, and take Goldman Sachs with you."

Incidentally, guess who's at the top of the bailout list to be funded by the taxpayers' blank check? No, really, guess.

Would it help if we whispered the clue "Henry Paulson is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs"?

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Meta: New Blogger Joins La Casa de Los Gatos


Please welcome Milagrito and his charming friend and companion Sirenita Lake to our ranks. Milagrito, with the assistance of Sirenita Lake, writes on varied topics, from finance to health care to legislative issues affecting his state (of California, not of mind). Since he lacks opposable thumbs, Sirenita Lake is instrumental in conveying his thoughts to the masses.

Milagrito, already a powerful political figure as the Feline Pope in Exile, has also decided to toss his hat in the Presidential race ring, as it were. He is campaigning on a platform understood by cats (and their hoominz) everywhere:




Sirenita Lake is not pictured here, preferring to remain in teh background. She is working hard on Milagrito's campaign.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Entertainment

OK, we don't always approve of stuff from 236.com, but those of you who know us know that La Casa de Los Gatos denizens have a singularly dark sense of humour. C'mon, how many of you signed up for the World Suicide Club? The one that distributed black teeshirts with a yellow/orange mushroom cloud and the charming slogan "It's Gonna Happen"?

Yes? Anybody? Dr. Strangelove? Harold and Maude?

Anywho. Enjoy:

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2008 Elections: Don't Mess With Hill

From ICHC

We really didn't want Hillary Clinton for President — and we're not sure she did either. Not that she didn't give it her best shot, but between Bill's foot-in-mouth problems and the tension/conflict raging within the ranks of her campaign, we felt she herself was conflicted about the run for the White House. Setting aside the fact that she would be a million times better than Oldy McMoldy and his Caribou Barbie, she reminded us today why she is a truly formidable woman and worthy of our respect.

Watch her handle an interview with CNBC's Erin Burnett. Steely, determined, clear, on-point, and unflappable yet gracious. She gets her points across without bluster or hostility.

And the Republicans want us to believe that Sarah Paiin is fit to wash the feet of this woman!

If Hillary ever decides to kick the Governor Barbie's ass, she'll send it all the way to Tunguska with the first kick.

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An American Mantra (or something to think about)

I have said it before and I'll say it again.

I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.

Say it three times:

I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.
I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.
I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.

And then repeat:

I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.
I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.
I pay taxes so the rich don't have to.

There, with this massive bailout coming I can feel good about paying my share to bail out the fat cats. I hope you do too.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Science: Debunking Creationist Bullshit

La Casa de Los Gatos is not afraid to call caca de vaca when we see it. And if there's one thing we love more than reading about science in all its varied and delightful fields, it's mocking the idiots who believe a book of stories from some obscure tribe that's over 1,000 years old and translated, passed around, edited, and rewritten in large part, accreting more myths as it stumbles along. In any event, we delight in making fun of creationists, especially "young-earth" or "flat-earth" creationists.

And it is our unmitigated pleasure to share with you all this delightful YouTube snippet, found thanks to a brilliant Digger/friend:



Excoriate them in the politest of language, we say. Throw in Monty Python clips for further amusement. But get your shovels out, folks, because these people are buried in bullshit, and you'll need a spade to dig them out. Oh, and heavy-duty waders.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The cost of the bailout

I keep hearing that the ultimate cost of this latest bailout of our financial institutions may end up being a trillion dollars. Everyone knows that is a lot of money but I don't think people really have a good concept of how much money it is. So what does a trillion dollars look like?

Put one way it looks like this: $1,000,000,000,000.00

Thats kind of a lot of zeros but hard to comprehend. On the other hand everyone can comprehend a hundred dollars, $100.00, so let's convert that trillion dollars into one hundred dollar bills. That would take 10,000,000,000 (ten billion) one hundred dollar bills to equal one trillion dollars.

That helps to understand it a little but I still don't think people have a concept so lets stack all those one hundred dollar bills up into a perfect stack, laying one bill on top of another and see how high it is.

WIth a little googling, I found that the specification for the thickness of American currency is 0.0043 inches thick. OK, so let's do some math, and please check my numbers!

How tall is a stack of ten billion one hundred dollar bills?

10,000,000,000 x 0.0043 inches = 43,000,000 inches

Let's convert that to feet:

43,000,000 inches / 12 inches = 3,583,333.33 feet

Let's convert that to miles:

3,583,333.33 feet / 5280 ft/mile = 678.66 miles

Wow! 678 miles reaches into space! And driving at 60 miles an hour along this perfect stack of one hundred dollar bills would take you 11.3 hours just to drive the length of this stack of one hundred dollar bills. Hell, wouldn't you love to have just a couple of inches off that stack? I mean, who would miss it?

Let's see how much 2 inches of one hundred dollar bills would be:

2 inches / 0.0043 inches/bill = 465.1 bills

465 one hundred dollar bills would ony be a mere $46,500.00

Hell, that's just lunch money for the people walking away with the taxpayer suppllied trillion dollar bailout. And they are walking away with it. They gambled, we cover their losses, and they keep the loot. Talk about a redistribution of wealth, I'm sure a lot of billionaires are going to be a hell of lot richer after this bailout is over and a bunch of new ones will be made. Free money from the taxpayers so eager to hand over their hard earned dollars.

What I want to know is why Americans keep voting for the people who do this to us? Talk about stupid.

Oh, and by the way, doesn't privatizing social security sound like a great idea now? Wouldn't you love to have had your social security account privatized in Merril Lynch or Bear Stearns? I know their CEO's would!

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2008 Elections: Telling The Truth

Or not, as the case may be:



Hey, ya gotta go FTW! Or something. Actually, we are really glad that someone's pointing out what a lying liar McScum is. And Paiin? Unbelievable. Has that woman ever told the truth?

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2008 Elections: Calling A Lie A Lie



Where have all the student protesters gone? Well, some of them are alive and kicking ass out at the University of Iowa, apparently.

Take a look at the article, and if you support their actions, consider writing to the following pillars of the mass media. FTA:
Note from Stephen Fox: I think these students (Megan Felt, Hannah Rounds, Laura Kacere, Marni Steadham, Robin Berman, Dan Rathjen, David Goodner, Justin Feinstein, Brooke Bachelder, Lara Elborno, Naomi Prager, and Anthony Carter) deserve our commendation for their Gandhian courage and their intelligence to do what they did.

This could be in the form of letters to the editor of

1. Daily Iowan, the University Paper (diopletters@gmail.com)

2. Iowa City Press Citizen (opinion@press-citizen.com)

3. Des Moines Register (letters@dmreg.com)

4. Cedar Rapids Gazette (news@gazettecommunications.com)

plus five more listed here. (this is a "Live Blue" list of Newspapers in Iowa)
Thank you, students! May many more join your ranks and call these vile liars out at every opportunity.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008 Elections: Why We'd Better Not Vote For McCain

Oooo. Looks like McCain's repeated gaffes, confusing Sunni with Shi'a, talking about a country that hasn't existed for 15 years (Czechoslovakia), asserting that Vladimir Putin is the Prime Minister of Germany, not Russia, and, finally, not having the first clue about Jorge Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, are beginning to catch up with him.



It was embarrassing enough suffering through eight years of the other idiot. Don't give this idiot your vote. If you can't bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama, write in Ron Paul or vote for Bob Barr, but PLEASE don't vote for Brainless McBrainlesson.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

2008 Elections: Action Item and Entertainment

From ICHC, your source of all lolcattery

Diarist cloudwatcher over at DailyKos has this excellent idea. La Casa de Los Gatos reads DailyKos fairly regularly, but is not a member. Los Gatos, as you know, are not herd or pack animals. They prefer to be solitary in their pursuits. In the event, it's a simply brilliant idea, and for those of our visitors who are not DKos members here is the gist of it: Given that Palin is as anti-feminist as they come, those who disagree with her positions on women's right to choose and to their bodily autonomy ought to donate $10 (or more if you can afford it) to Planned Parenthood in Palin's name. PP has a policy of sending thank-you cards to the person being "honoured" by such donations. Cloudwatcher requests that you use this link, and adds:
You'll need to fill in the address to let PP know where to send the "in Sarah Palin's honor" card. I suggest you use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:

McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street
Arlington , VA 22202

PS - Make sure you use that link above or choose the pulldown of
Donate--Honorary or Memorial Donations, not the regular "Donate
Online"
And, of course, in the interest of sharing teh love, please — pass it on!


Gee, it looks as if Oldy McMoldy is one of those who is condemned to repeat history. Or at the very least a Nixon wannabe.

For those too young to get the Nixon reference, back in the old days when "freedom of speech" was not just an electioneering slogan for lying Rethuglicans, politically hip folks wore T-shirts with the slogan "Nixon is a Coxsacker" after the little humpling tried to fire Independent Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox who was tasked with investigating Li'l Richie's High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Same bullshit, different Cox. Someone needs to tell Oldy McMoldy that he can't fire this Cox.

Oh, dear. Emperor Jor Jee has issued an official statement in support of Cox.

In other really shitty news for Johnny McCan't (or should that be McCunt? We hear he's awfully fond of describing his wife as one):

  • One of our favouritest Republicans, Chuck Hagel, stated today that McCain's Veep pick is not experienced enough to be teh Prez;

  • Alert reporters (yes, yes, pretty much an oxymoron, lately) noticed that McDodoBird appears not to know who the Spanish Prime Minister is (ouch!);

  • McCain's Veep pick puts herself at the head of the ticket;

  • Veep-to-be outdraws Oldy McMoldy;

  • Those rallies aren't that well-attended anyway (that's gotta hurt, Johnny my man);

  • KKKarl "I blossomed from a Turd" Rove admits that McCain's Veep pick was purely politically motivated and not the most qualified candidate for the position (Karl, ya better get a food taster and a 24-hr bodyguard, dude);

  • An Alaskan blogger is calling teh Veep-to-be (or not; she might go the way of Carly Fiorina) out on her lies and slanders;

  • Veep-to-be, whose ties to bizarre Christian cults are already causing consternation among both Christians and atheists (not to mention, we're sure, adherents of other religions), is ascribing her successful run for Governor of Alaska to some weirdo who claims to hunt witches.

    Um, yeah, whatever. Sounds like she'd make a great running mate for Bobby Jindal, the exorcist governor of Louisiana, assuming that either of them survive the recent political ebb and flow.

  • More lies from the Veep-to-be uncovered.


Remember, folks, you're not allowed to elect more than one nutcase every decade So buh-bye, John.

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2008 Elections: Protect Your Vote!

From ICHC, purveyors of fine lolcattery to all

While tootling around HuffPo this morning, we found this gem from commenter SMP:
Every Vote Counts

PROTECT YOUR VOTE AGAINST VOTER FRAUD

  • Absentee Ballot Users

    Photocopy your ballot and send it receipt requested mail. The P. O. will send you a receipt with date and time of delivery.

  • In-person Voting

    Before going to the polls, on a piece of paper, write your vote, sign, date, and last 4 digits of your SS#. Take this with you to the polls. After voting, ask one of the men and women at the tables to sign your vote paper. These people are documented poll workers and will verify your vote. Demand this...it is your right.
This year, we MUST protect our vote!!!!

spread the word!!!
Well, that sounds like a decent call to action, and one that will certainly assist us in repelling the vote-stealing attempts of the Rebarflicans. So. Do like the commenter sez, y'all. Spread it.

See ICHC for more!

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