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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn, R.I.P

Howard Zinn died of a heart attack today while he was in Santa Monica.

Condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

LOOTING: Warning to Business Owners in My Neighborhood

Let's get this straight: If there's a terrible earthquake and everything's destroyed and I can't get to my larder and the armed forces are too busy delivering food and water to the nicer neighborhoods and it's gone on for 4 -5 days now ...


As I said after Hurricane Katrina:


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Caturday! ... late but still Caturday in California!

once again, from our good friends at

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Monday, January 18, 2010

about Pakistan and Afghanistan

From commentary in The New Yorker, May 25, 2009 -- about Pakistan and Afghanistan:
The miscalculations across five Administrations are by now generally understood: near-unequivocal support for anti-American militias during the nineteen-eighties; averted eyes as Pakistan pursued its covert nuclear ambitions; the abandonment of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal; the failure to recognize the menace of Al Qaeda during the nineteen-nineties; erratic investments in Pakistan’s democracy, economy, and civil society; and, most recently, a war in Afghanistan after 9/11 which did not defeat Al Qaeda or the Taliban but chased them into Pakistan, where they regrouped and have proceeded to destabilize a country now endowed with atomic bombs.

For several months, the Obama Administration has been rethinking American policy, hoping to depart from this history of dysfunction. It has announced a formal strategy: an adaptive counterinsurgency doctrine that seeks to emphasize the security and the prosperity of the Afghan and Pakistani people above all; economic and development aid; vigorous diplomacy; and carefully targeted warfare, particularly aimed at Al Qaeda. Already, however, Obama and his advisers have had to confront the puzzle of which policies in their new portfolio will promote stability in the region, and which will promote instability.

Dear Readers -- how can we even hope that President Obama's administration can succeed in bringing stability?

But let's not go to doom and gloom. Try. Dynamic life. We all have it. Let's use it.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Is France doing enough for Haiti?

I've been googling for news of donations from France to Haiti and I'm not coming up with much. Some companies like Alcatel-Lucent ... but I hear nothing about the French government. Considering the history France has of plundering resources from Haiti and enslaving Haitian people, you'd think they would dig deep.

Some folks are calling for restitution from France. Read this article for more information.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Donate for Haiti

Confused about what organization you should donate to?

I donated today to Doctors Without Borders -- they're working furiously there already.

Here's a website that rates charity organizations:
Charity Watch

They also have a link to a web page that explains their process of rating organizations.

Please donate what you can. Thank you.

Our love goes out to all in Haiti -- keep safe.


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Friday, January 08, 2010

Environment: Global Warming

Photo from The Telegraph

No matter how many times you tell the yobbos that weather is just a subset of climate, they don't get it, of course. Loud and raucous is their laughter as they, for example, point to conditions in the UK today. Agence France Presse (AFP) is reporting that last night, temperatures in the UK fell to -22C, which is approximately -8F. Pretty fucking cold, says your friendly neighbourhood Cat. In case there's anyone out there who doesn't know, cats prefer warmth, at all times.

You can bet your hairy ass this Cat does not like temperatures below, oh, at very worst, let's say in the 50s, Fahrenheit. I remember standing right in Trafalgar Square, with my hand in that very same fountain, back when the fountain's contents were closer to liquid than the very solid appearance in that picture.

And another thing you can bet your hairy ass on: the day won't come when I go swimming like Jocko here.

Photo from The Telegraph

Srsly, why the fuck is this man not some cyan shade of fucking blue? Does anyone know? In case you hadn't guessed, the fool is chipping chunks of ice out of his swimming hole to make more room for other would-be swimmers. Fuckin' loon.

If you're wondering what these temperatures mean, suffice it to say that hundreds of flights from the UK have been scrapped, leaving some very angry passengers — or, perhaps, grateful, given the weather conditions — stranded. Hundreds of Eurostair trains scheduled between London and Paris have also been cancelled.

UK authorities are calling this the coldest winter in 30 years. Britain is rationing both LNG (for heating) and salt for keeping the roads clear, as more cold weather is expected.

Meanwhile, in Norway, temperatures are at -42C (that's approximately -43 Fahrenheit) in some places.

In Poland, some 139 people have died from the cold since November, mostly homeless alcoholics.

Germany is expecting 15 inches of fresh snow plus gale force winds over the weekend, giving rise to warnings about impassable roads.

Temperatures in France are below freezing in some cities, notably Aurillac, and Arles, in the south, has seen about a foot of snow take down power lines, leaving some 15,000 people without electricity — and, no doubt, very, very cold.

Spain is on alert for fresh snowfall, strong winds, and freezing temperatures, and in southern Andalusia, floods.

China is also bracing for additional freezing weather, with Beijing seeing the heaviest snowfall in six decades, and the lowest temperatures since 1971 (that's nearly four decades) this week, reports BusinessWeek. Temperatures in the city of Mohe, Heilongqiang province, are around -37F. Beijing is at a balmy 8F. Balmy for them, anyway. No cat would consider that a balmy temperature without an additional digit.

Meanwhile, three days ago, the Guardian reports, an earthquake and a tsunami combined to leave homeless one-third of the population of Rendova, part of the Solomon Islands. Two hundred homes were destroyed by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake, which was followed by waves up to 10 feet high. Relief efforts are under way. Terrible, really. Fortunately, they don't have freezing cold weather to deal with. Coastal dwellers, especially those living in earthquake country, expect more of these events as the globe continues to warm.

Five days ago, the Guardian reports, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake left 20,000 in Tajikistan homeless. Tajikistan is a very poor region of central Asia, and many houses have been damaged, and roads blocked. It is not clear whether relief operations are taking place.

In Brazil, also five days ago, floods killed some 76 people, and mudslides are occurring all over the southern states from heavy rain, also as reported in the Guardian.

USA Toady (no typo) is reporting that temperatures in the midwestern states of the U.S. are expected to drop to -50F. That is some fucking balls-climbing-back-into-your-abdomen cold weather, folks.

Snow and ice are expected in the south, too, from South Carolina to Louisiana. Even Florida is expecting near-freezing nighttime temperatures, although orange growers assure us that the nation's favourite juice crop isn't threatened. With lizards falling out of the trees, this sort of assurance simply makes us at La Casa de Los Gatos go "Humph." Airports in the Chicago area have canceled 500 flights due to the weather. The message seems to be, "Don't travel unless you fucking have to."

So? Whadya think, people? Global warming? Climate change? Or more evidence that there is a nasty old man in the sky who fucking hates us all and is making our holiday season as miserable as he can manage?

Throw another cat on the bed, Matilda, I'm freezing!


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Saturday, January 02, 2010



More science blogging tomorrow. For now, it is Caturday, and the felines have decreed Movie Night at La Casa. Firefly, no less. Why they like these wham-bang pseudo-Libertarian things is beyond us. Bad kittehs.

Gojira and Zingiber practice scorching the wall behind us wif Lazer Glares (tm)

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Politics: Vampire Banks Part 2,000,000

Surprise, surprise. Via Yahoo Finance comes a piece from Rupert Murdick's Wall St. Journal announcing that the same banks that taxpayers generously (albeit unwillingly) bailed out last year at the instigation of the Bushies — will be hitting you with new fees and new "products" in an attempt to suck $50 billion out of your pockets.

What, the first $X billion they sucked out of us wasn't enough? Motherfuckers.

They will institute new checking account and credit card fees for the same old shit we've been robbed for all these years. And, to add insult to injury, they will be trying to slip all kinds of charges into your existing account before they're forced to comply with the Credit Card Act of 2009, which limits interest rate increases and keeps banks from raising your credit card rates until and unless you're more than 60 days late on your payments. And, as if that weren't enough, here's what else they plan to do:
Issuers are closing accounts, switching cards with fixed interest rates to variable rates and introducing cards that have an annual fee.
Check your credit card bills, statements, in fact anything those fucking arse-bandits send you. Jesus! These pigfuckers would screw their own grandmothers without even the courtesy of lube.

If you have a Victoria's Secret credit card, you should know that the issuer Gander Mountain plans to charge you a $1.00 "processing fee" for every transaction in which you use that card. And what is their bollocking excuse for this added fee?
"One requirement of the Credit Card Act of 2009 is that monthly billing statements will now have to include significantly more information pertaining to the cardholder's terms and conditions, thus increasing the amount of paper, production and postal expenses as well as having a greater environmental impact," the company said in a written statement.
You fucking lying sacks of shit. We gave you a shitload of money because you told us the whole fucking international financial market would collapse because you assholes had been taking unseemly risks with our money. You created credit default swaps and sold them to god and China. You created toxic securities. You packaged the shit paper with the triple A paper and created a sliced-and-diced instrument that no one could put a value on, and all throughout the decade or so that you were doing this, you paid yourselves huge bonuses and CEO salaries even as you jerked off in masturbatory frenzies every time working stiffs lost their jobs.

You schlepped around on your private jets and you had the gall to use OUR FUCKING BAILOUT MONEY which was supposed to rescue your flabby pathetic saggy white asses from the fires of hell, to buy brand new jets and award yourselves even bigger bonuses, fueling the whole trip down the tubes to the toilet with hookers, champagne, and lavish spending that hasn't been seen since the days of the robber barons. And throughout this entire fiasco, you stuffed our money up your tight arseholes and shoved redwood trees up there to keep it secure and out of circulation so that small businesses cannot even get a fucking loan — which was the whole idea of handing that money over to you, you greedy fucking bloodthirsty sharks, to keep commercial paper moving.

And now you want us all to bend over and drop trou and hold our breaths in anticipation of your next arse-fucking? I think not, you motherfuckers.

Your not-so-friendly credit card company might well start instituting fees on your inactive accounts, so now would probably be a good time to close those, unless you want to keep paying these vampires to rape you on a regular basis.

On the plus side, the government will crack down on overdraft fees and the like. In the meantime, you might want to pay off as many of your high interest cards as you can, close any account you don't use, and keep a close eye on the industry over at LowCards. Remember that the Federal Reserve has now made it mandatory for banks to ask you before they can charge you an overdraft fee. So if they suddenly start charging you, call them up and give them hell, and don't sign anything until you're clear about what it means. Call your bank and demand to speak to a customer rep and write them a letter (keep a copy on file) memorializing exactly what the customer rep said to you.

It'll be helpful in resolving the inevitable disputes that will arise because these bloodsucking bandits will be trying to gouge you for all they can get. And don't start feeling all good about using debit cards instead of credit cards, unless you have no fiscal discipline whatsoever. Because when you use a credit card to make a purchase, you're essentially taking an interest-free loan, if you pay the card off at the end of the time period. You're using the issuer's money to make your purchase.

When you use a debit card, it's your own money you're using. Banks make a lot more money from debit cards than they do from credit cards. So if you plan to pay off everything when it comes due, use the credit card instead. If you have a low interest rate, figure out how much it'll cost you to pay off the purchase in a reasonable period if you need liquidity for other reasons. In the event, these days, using a credit card, or a bank at all, requires some money smarts and a little work.

In the meantime, if you're sick and tired of being screwed by the banks, here's an idea that's gaining a little momentum: Move Your Money.

The big banks — JP Morgan/Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, BofA — got bailed out. Local community banks are struggling. Well, you can make the difference. Pull your money out of those big banks and put it in your small local bank. Check out the link and decide for yourself. This is something we can do as consumers that will allow us some measure of control over our money and the nation's banking situation. Congress ain't doing shit for us. We have to do it ourselves.

Pass it on. The FDIC insures your money regardless of where it's deposited. So take the step now. Move Your Money has a search function that will let you find the closest community bank to your home/office. If enough of us move our money, we can change the banking industry in this nation to something useful that gives back to the community and encourages growth and development. Instead of this giant parasitic leech that is sucking the fucking life and soul out of us all.

Check out the video on YouTube.
Join the group on Facebook.
Pass the news along.

It's time.

Bonus cute kitteh pitcher:


Keeps teh blood pressure down.

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