• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Sweet Sue on Scary things 2014
    riverdaughter on Scary things 2014
    r u reddy on Scary things 2014
    r u reddy on Scary things 2014
    katiebird on Scary things 2014
    Sweet Sue on Scary things 2014
    katiebird on Scary things 2014
    bigolpuma on Scary things 2014
    bigolpuma on Scary things 2014
    riverdaughter on Scary things 2014
    Sweet Sue on Scary things 2014
    riverdaughter on Scary things 2014
    S. Wright on Scary things 2014
    r u reddy on I smell a (plague) rat
    r u reddy on I smell a (plague) rat
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean Joe Biden John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Keith Olbermann Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    January 2012
    S M T W T F S
    « Dec   Feb »
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • What Toronto’s Election Means for Progressive Viability
      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
  • Top Posts

Occupy Congress Continued

Thanks to all of you who contacted your Congresspersons and Senators about SOPA and PIPA.  What these bills seem to be attempting to do is two things: promote private ownership of internet content and to sharply censor the non-conformists under the pretense of protecting property. SOPA looks quiescent for now but it’s going to take constant vigilance to make sure it stays that way.  PIPA is still in play, as far as I can tell.

One thing I learned when I was on the board of ed is that politicians will back down and even do a 180 if opposition is noisy and persistent.  This is probably why our political class is quite content to cast the Occupations in a negative light.  They’re noisy and persistent but if they can be made to look dirty and violent, their message doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

I had some connection problems in our room in Washington and on the train on the way back so I wasn’t able to upload my pics or process my video yet.  Then I found out from the insurance claims adjuster that all of the siding on one side of my house needs to be replaced including vapor barrier, weather stripping around the windows and the shutters as well.  The claims adjuster said her own house had suffered some structural damage from the wind storm as well, although nothing this extensive.  We both think the wind came from a different direction since neither of us had ever seen anything like it before.  Anyway, it’s been an interesting week in a Chinese proverb way.  So, I am uploading a few pics tonight to try to catch up.

Some interesting tidbits: we met a ragtag triplet with the letters “SD” on their shirts.  They reminded me of the stereotypical fife and drums trio from the Revolutionary War.  It turned out that they were three of the contingent from San Diego who were thrown off the Greyhound bus in Amarillo, Texas.  That’s not quite accurate.  What *really* happened is that the bus driver pulled over, got out of the bus – and locked them in.  Then he unloaded their baggage and forced them off the bus leaving them stranded in Amarillo.  But here’s the great thing about the Occupation.  The deserted in the desert contacted Occupy Amarillo and Amarillo came to their rescue, picked them up, gave them a place to stay, fed them and sent them on their way to Washington.  That’s a heart tugging story with a happy ending.

Then there was a contingent from Walla Walla, Washington.  They were senior citizens who had become very active in the Occupy movement and had canvassed their neighborhood advocating the protection of Medicare.  They struck some kind of deal with their city officials so that their site remained intact and free of harrassment from the local constabulary.  They say they are getting an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone they have talked to about Medicare.  Another success story of people sticking up for each other.

Then there was the not-so-good stories.  One woman from Portland told horror stories about the Portland police.  It sounds like the whole Portland police force is made up of sadistic automatons.  Their attitude seems to be “crack heads first, ask questions later if they’re conscious”.  She said that she had a concussion from one of her unfortunate encounters and she hadn’t done anything to provoke it except be present.  The police attack without warning and in as brutal a fashion as they can get away with.

We spent much of the afternoon in conversation between the four of us, Lambert, Marsha (CoyoteCreek), DCBlogger and me, and went back to the Capitol lawn at about 6:00pm.  There was a festive mood and music playing.  It was hard to tell how many people were there because there was no lighting except flashlights.  We sat on the muddy ground on plastic rain ponchos and took it all in.  It’s a different mood in Washington than it is in Manhattan.  The police are a lot less menacing and they don’t seem to outnumber protestors.  They ride around the city on bikes in colorful jackets and blue helmets.  They’re, dare I say it?  Friendly.  Really weird.  And also a nice change.  You would have really had to get up into their grill to get your ass hauled away.  In fact, early in the day, one occupier got righteously indignant about all of the fencing around the lawn so he started to tear it all down.  They let him.  The occupiers either rolled up the fencing neatly and moved it out of the way or used it as ground cover over the muddy ground so they could erect their makeshift structures.  There was a staging area, a kitchen and a medic area.  The kitchen served oatmeal, bottled water and fresh fruit for breakfast.

The GA took awhile to get started.  I blame the location.  It’s a wide open space with no natural acoustical advantages.  The voice dissipates quickly.  We tried a double mic and it took several attempts to get it to propagate.  The GA read the agenda and the plan to visit representatives.  Each congressional office building was assigned a color.  To visit your rep, all you needed to do was find the color of his/her building.  We decided to go have lunch at this point since Marsha hadn’t eaten anything all day, so we didn’t participate.  Later, we heard that the occupiers found the offices deserted for the most part.  Maybe they were busy, I don’t know.  But the vast majority of occupiers are old enough to vote.  They are constituents.  They deserve some respect.  I can only imagine what those nice elderly gentlemen from Walla Squared are going to tell their neighbors about their visit to their congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rogers.  From what they told me about her, they were not impressed with her or the fact that she always seems to be standing behind John Boehner when it’s picture time at the Capitol.

Here are some pictures from our day.  Be sure to check out updates from Lambert, CoyoteCreek and DCBlogger at Corrente.  Also, Lambert hosted Virtually Speaking during the pajama party in our room last night.  Check it out.

Setting up:

Occupy Applique:

The GA tries the double mic:

{Ok, I started to video this with my iPhone and thought I stopped recording when I put my phone in my pocket.  Ha-Ha.  Always double check.  Yes, that is my voice.  I couldn’t always hear what was being said and mostly just caught the tail end of each statement.  Still, this gives you an idea of the challenges of doing a GA on the lawn.  If I were the occupiers, I’d walk down the mall and look for a circular concrete plaza on the right side a couple blocks up.  I think it’s the Naval Heritage Center. It’s a much better space for a GA.  Don’t know what the rules are for occupying it for that purpose but it didn’t look like anyone was using it.  hint-hint}

The Agenda:

Night on the Capitol lawn:

Occupy Congress

Lambert is making fun of me for being a geek and posting on my iPad. Marsha is here as well. beeyoutiful and has eyes the color of purple pansies.
So far, we have been interviewed by Agence France Press, met the guys from San Diego who got thrown off the Greyhound bus in Amarillo, Texas and some nice seniors from Wallace Wallace Washington who are stirring up other seniors over medicare. This is a mixed age group.

We’re just now starting the GA. They’re going over the finger signals right now. I’m attaching some pics to the bottom of this post. We will have a lot more stuff to share a little later.

Weather here is gray and lightly rainy. The ground is a mud pit. We are having fun.

Occupy Appliqué

20120117-125541.jpg

20120117-125717.jpg

#J17- Happy Birthday OWS. Let’s Occupy Congress!

In Chaplin’s speech, he quoted the Gospel of Luke, which I think is so much better than John 3:16.

“The kingdom of God is in your midst”

I’ve got a ticket to ride.  Gettin’ up at 4:00am to be there when Congress opens tomorrow.  I’ll be meeting with Marsha, Lambert and some of the other Correntians.  If I’m not mistaken, Lambert is also planning a Virtually Speaking broadcast with Avedon Carol tomorrow night at 9:00 EST so be sure to check that out.

If you would like to help defray the cost of the trip, please see the donate button to the upper left side of the screen.  We should have just enough in the PayPal account to cover it but it never hurts to plan for unexpected incarcerations and bail.  Recommended donation is $10.17.  I’d like to say thank you to all of you who have contributed.  It means a lot to me.

So, I will be packing my chargers tonight and turning in early to get up even earlier.

For those of you who want to hear more Charlie Chaplin, here is the entirety of his speech from The Dictator.  He wrote this himself.  Enjoy!

Monday: Colbert’s brilliant ad

I have a post knocking around in my head about the after effects of the 2008 election season on women but it’s not quite there yet.  In the meantime, add me to the growing list of admirers of Stephan Colbert’s, sorry, JON STEWART’S SuperPAC ad.  For those of you who missed it last week, Colbert gave up his PAC to his business partner, Stewart, when he decided to form an exploratory committee to run for the President of South Carolina.  As the owner of a SuperPAC, legally he can’t coordinate it with his campaign committee or even know what it’s up to but he can transfer ownership of the PAC to his business partner and if they chat now and again about stuff and it looks like the two entities share the same vision, that’s merely coincidental.

Anyway, here’s the ad:

So, let’s talk briefly about the pros of this ad.  What I like the most about this ad was that it expresses in 30 seconds what I have been trying to say less successfully for a couple of years now.  There is a place for corporations in the American business landscape and we don’t need to always be hostile to them.  Those corporations are not people but they are made up of people.  Those people make the widgets or build the cars or design the airbuses or discover the drugs.  To do and build on this scale requires teams of people, working together, and sometimes, this just works more efficiently when they work in a corporate environment.  It’s like a department store where everyone needs what’s in the everyone else’s department.  For example, you can’t do drug discovery very easily outside of a corporation.  Those of us who are out of corporate settings realize that the level of coordination and high start up costs, coupled with the reluctance of banks to lend and vulture capitalists to invest, make new drug discovery companies very risky propositions.

Colbert doesn’t take any shots at those people who work for corporations.  The left could take a lesson from that.  He is not offending anyone who due to the circumstances of where they live or what their talents are, end up working for corporations.  Those people are not evil and they shouldn’t feel any shame for not being able to build a car or develop a drug all by themselves or with a couple of friends in a garage.  The “you ought to be ashamed for working for {{insert nasty corporation here}}” attitude is thick in the left blogosphere.  It is very offensive.  Yes, I think that most of the lefties who have this attitude, especially those who want desperately to fit in, have no idea how incredibly offensive they can be.  And insulting.  Did I mention that?  Failure to discriminate the portions of a corporation that are responsible for all the pain and suffering from the people who are suffering, including some of the corporation’s workers, leads to a lot of resentment towards the left from people who should be its allies.  Over and over again, the left’s insistence on moral purity alienates it from the very people they say they want to help.  It’s not helping, guys.  So, stop doing it.  It’s insulting to condemn people who work for corporations -who are in the rank and file.

It’s quite another thing to be critical of the people who run corporations and seem to be in it only to enrich themselves or gain some kind of social status.  THOSE people really do have a problem.  But the average assembler, engineer, CADD designer or labrat?  No, these people deserve your respect.  Stephan Colbert gives it to them and puts the blame where it belongs- at the top of the corporate ladder.

Now, Colbert is taking well deserved pot shots at Romney.  But I think we can see that down the road, he’s going to have a problem.  Because Barack Obama is indistinguishable from the corporate overlords who yank his junk.  In fact, this is the primary reason why I couldn’t support him.  He is their creature.  He is a schmoozer who rose to the presidency because he embraced the corporate executive culture.  He adopted their values and their tactics.  Do you think Obama is the first dude who rose to the top of an organization who had absolutely no idea what the business does for a living or how it operates?  Heck no, the country’s corporations are stuffed to the gills with guys like that.  Their prestigious Wharton B. School MBAs, Harvard law degrees, personal connections and ability to kiss ass, while cold bloodedly, unscrupulously and ruthlessly stabbing their competition, are their tickets to success.  The fact that they run companies or governments where thousands or millions of people are dependent on good decision making is tangential to their personal goals and aspirations.  Their success story doesn’t involve making a brilliant new product or turning around a struggling enterprise in a changing economy.  It involves their own personal struggle and self actualization.  They write books about the ascent of man told from their own intimate experience.  They are testaments to rugged individualism in the boardroom and fortitude on the back nine.  This is Obama’s reality.  It has nothing to do with YOU.  Why are you making unreasonable demands on him?  Hasn’t he shown you the way to accomplishing your own dream?  That’s what he was born to do: to make his own personal experience something that you can aspire to.  That was the secret to his electoral success in 2008.  He convinced a whole generation of Whole Foods shoppers that they were special people who could be the ambitious, intrepid masters of their own personal universes.  Yes, You Can!  Yes, You Can!  {{rolling eyes}}.

There are other reasons to not want him for four more years as president, like, he’s not a good politician and he’s lousy at making policy.  If you wanted someone who would have come to the White House prepared to make good policy and stick with core Democratic values, Hillary Clinton was your guy.  According to Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, Obama had no idea how to actually do policy.  He has some kind of vision and then says to his minions, “Go do it!”.  He gives them very little guidance beyond that.  And that’s because he either doesn’t believe what his corporate overlords tell him not to believe or because he just doesn’t have the experience or interest to buckle down and concentrate on the task at hand.

Unfortunately, this is the person the Democrats keep saying (at this time) that they want in the White House for four more years.  I am of the opinion that until the Democratic party is willing to sit down and negotiate with its voters, those voters would be well advised to go on strike.  After all, we have zero influence over the Republicans.  There’s nothing we can do or say that will ever have any effect on them.  But we might be able to persuade Democrats that they will be in the political wilderness for a generation if they don’t get their shit together.  And then, we should find a third party candidate to the left of the Democrats, it doesn’t matter who it is, and vote for that person.  If Romney wins in November, I guarantee that you will not know the difference when it comes to who is occupying the White House, ask any of the thousands and thousands of laid off scientists who Obama ignored in the past 3 years while their corporate overlords slashed their way through the payrolls and pension funds to “enhance shareholder value” and their own bottom lines.  Obama was an accomplice to the serial killing of the American scientific infrastructure.  He was golf buddy to those homocidal maniacs.  So, why reward the Democrats by voting for him?  Congress is a different thing.  I’d primary every incumbent congresscritter of either party with few exceptions.

Now, can Citizens for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow craft an ad that takes on the Democrats?  That remains to be seen.  If the PAC is to be successful, it has to motivate Democrats to take action, it can’t simply be content to trash Republicans.  Because when November rolls around, the Republicans will once again rile up its Christian conservative base to go to the polls.  To go to the polls, you need motivation and Republicans seem to be highlighting “religious freedom” this year, as in, anything the Democrats propose will be an infringement on the rights of fundamentalist Christians with Fox induced Acquired Stupidity Syndrome to push their Old Testament tribalism on the rest of us who don’t give a damn.  But right now, what is motivating Democrats to go to the polls?  Having new, more vigorous blood in the party would motivate many of us Democrats in Exile.

Sunday shorty on SOPA

Update: This has probably occurred to others but just hit me that SOPA is really just an election year shakedown.  The Republicans are raking in money from the media congloms while the Democrats are raking in money from, er, everyone.  It’s no lose legislation, or so they think.  It’s like playing with fire and the average American is going to get burned.

Can we get rid of all of them?

**************************

Politico reports (or reimagines) that Obama is walking a thin line on SOPA.

I know, I know, stop laughing.  When has Obama ever walked a thin line on  any legislation that the major media conglomerates want so badly they are nearly peeing themselves with anticipation?  AND it’s an election year.  Can’t you just see him weighing his options?  Should he piss off Google, Wikipedia and Mark Zuckerberg who are trying to keep the internet relatively free of interference so it can continue to grow and flourish, or Disney, Sony and the other media conglomerates who refuse to evolve?  The bottom line is the thin line he’s looking at. Donations, donations, donations.

Says Politico:

The administration did not take a definitive position on SOPA or PIPA on Saturday. But it was clear that the White House — while calling pirated movies and knockoff pharmaceuticals on the Web “a real problem” in need of a legislative solution — isn’t enamored of either bill.

“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” the administration officials said. “Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. “

Yeah, just like NDAA should not include innocent US citizens who are mischaracterized as terrorists just because they protest.

Ok, I’m just not following the pharmaceutical industry’s angle on this.  But that may be because the industry’s lobbying group is listening to its IT departments’ recommendations on how to keep proprietary information proprietary.  From a scientist’s point of view, this could be a big mistake- for the scientists while providing a useless placebo to the MBA class who think they finally have it all nailed down.

For one thing, Big Pharma’s IT departments are bloated organisms that do one thing extremely well: service the MBAs at the expense of R&D.  Everyone must have the same stupid image of Windows on their desktops, while scientific applications, which is what you might *think* are business critical, are treated like redheaded stepchildren.  “Linux?  How do you spell that?”  No, seriously, I actually had that question from the Helpless Desk one time.  When we point out that it might behoove them to get a separate system admin to service the in silico sciences people, they always scream that it’s going to cost too much and they give us a part time contractor without a system password.  Then, they turn around and hire some flunky who will maintain a version of Internet Explorer that died sometime during the Jurrasic.  In other words, the people the MBAs have been laying off have been the wrong people but since IT keeps Excel and the email services functioning, they were more than happy to pour obscene gobs of cash into the Microsoft money pit.  The system is not secure, it’s out of date, and IT takes forever to update and secure anything.  SOPA is not going to help keep the bad guys out of the corporate intranet.  Everyone knows this but the guys in the executive suites.

Secondly, the corporate lawyers who are supposed to be keeping up with technology so they can tailor contracts accordingly, can’t handle anything outside of a Windows environment.  I heard about this problem last year when I went to a conference on Proteins in San Diego last year.  There were several sessions on computational environments and everyone had the same complaints.  The legal eagles in the R&D departments understood that Amazon’s cloud service hired much better security experts than the Big Pharma folks could ever hope to find.  The R&D legal eagles had no problem signing off on cloud service contracts and new technologies.  It was the corporate legal team that stumbled, again and again, because they were used to Microsoft contracts and anything new looked like Martian to them.  How does SOPA address either of these issues?

Then there is the issue of outsourcing your work to China.  Ahhhh, maybe THIS is the problem.  Well, yes, this is a problem.  This is what you get when you *think* you can keep a few “stellar” {{snort!}} designers and intellectual property here in the US, kill off the careers of all of the other people who once did the design and lab work and ship the hands on work off to China.  For some strange reason, the MBA class appears to believe that people who work in laboratories are mindless drones who assemble drug molecules like a factory worker assembles widgets.  What they neglect to understand is that people who go into science because they actually like it are probably not going to be happy as widget assemblers.  Their minds are too active for that.  Not only are their minds too active, they tend to start wondering why they’re living like slaves and doing this very hard work for some rich asshole MBA in Connecticut.  Are they going to be content to just look at the structure of the molecule they are supposed to make and never wonder what it’s for?  Or let’s say they know what the target is.  Are they supposed to just sit on that information and not try do some scaffold hopping and lead optimization?  What’s to prevent them from doing that?  The contract?  And that’s going to be enforceable by whom?  China?  Riiiighht.  It’s almost as if the MBAs cannot possibly imagine that anyone other than themselves would be any good at exploiting loopholes and outright theft. They might speak a different language but it would be foolish to assume that they don’t know opportunity when they see it.

As it turns out, you can’t ship your lab work off to India and China for a quick profit the way the MBAs thought they could.  We tried to tell them this but they wouldn’t listen.  It takes a long time and lots of hard work to get a new drug.  You can hire cheaply there but you will have to hire more people to get the economy of scale in research you were hoping for and *still*, you will be at the mercy of the fricking organism.  Cells just do not cooperate the way you think they should and there’s no performance incentive scheme you can chain them to in order to make them docile and compliant.  Threatening to starve cells if they don’t produce doesn’t usually work.  In the meantime, you have completely dismantled your US research infrastructure, poured billions into new facilities in Asia and your pay off may still be decades away.  Congratulations.  You may have to go into hiding in a few years when the stockholders come after your heads.  Heads up, Congresscritters, you really need to address this NOW. Novartis just laid off a bunch more this week and it’s not over yet.  There are hundreds of thousands of researchers out there who can’t find work and we are just going over the patent cliff.  Wheeeee!

So, what does this have to do with SOPA?  Damned if I know.  Whatever it is the management of Big Pharma is trying to accomplish will probably just backfire on them.  They haven’t had a very good track record in the last 15 or so years.  And now that they’ve fired us all, there won’t be anyone else to blame.

In the meantime, what can we expect of Obama?  I imagine it will go something like his recent signature on the NDAA.  He will express reluctance and regret and deep reservations.  He’ll be torn.

And then he’ll sign it.

Unless it doesn’t pass at all.  I hear that Jan. 18 is an internet blackout day.  Hmmm…

Friends, has this ever happened to you?

I started hearing a thumping noise last night. Didn’t think much of it. Probably just a piece of loose soffit. It’s come undone before about 10 years ago and if I recall correctly, took about 10 minutes for the handyman who had a long ladder to pin back up. Except for the nasty, anonymous note one of my neighbors put up, demanding that I “fix it immediately, some of us like to sleep!”, it was no biggy. The damage to the house was minor. The damage to my relationship to this neighbor was irreparable. I know who left the note and did not offer to help me fix it. But I digress.

The sound got more insistent this morning when I woke up. “Oooo, that sounds expensive”, thought I. But my imagination is always much worse than I think. So, I fired up the coffee pot, jumped into my clogs and checked it out.

This is what I found:
20120114-140544.jpg

Needless to say, my imagination completely did not keep up this time around. Not only is the siding gone, so is the vapor barrier. I can almost hear the heat escaping from the house singing, “I’m free! I’m, free!”. If only that we’re true. Sadly, PSEG does not discount the natural gas for “The wind ate my siding” excuses.

In the annals of unemployment during the worst recession/depression since the 1930’s, this is one of those unexpected expenses that people like me dread. Insurance will probably cover this, but I have a hefty deductible and the bit of padding I built into the reserve fund has just taken a big hit.

It goes without saying that politicians are out of touch.

Thursday: Jim DeMint makes my ears bleed

Last night, Jon Stewart took apart Jim Demint’s worldview piece by piece.  It’s a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately, you have to listen to Jim Demint’s irritatingly folksy South Carolina drawl speaking nonsense right wing talking points during the segment.  By the way, why is it that Stephen Colbert, a South Carolina native, does not speak in the same drawl?  I lived in SC as a kid, in Charleston, and EVERYONE down there had a southern accent.  So, what gives, Stephen?  And is it possible that Fox type viewers respond to the drawl in a hypnotic sense? My natural speech pattern is more like Stewart’s.  It’s rapid, a bit throaty, punctuated.  Demint’s is slower, more musical, even a bit soothing and against it, Stewart sounds harsh, like a splash of uncomfortably cold water on the upper arms.  When you listen to these two go at it, you can’t help but pick a side.  I’m on Stewart’s side but I imagine that Demint’s southern siren call is hard to resist.

***********************************

I love Craig Crawford.  He’s one of the more honest pundits on TV (that I don’t watch anymore).  Check out his blog Craig Crawford’s Trail Mix for interesting observations on the campaign.

However, I did find his recent post on the effect Ron Paul will have on the Republican primary and nomination to be a little weird.  It’s a short post, here’s a lengthy excerpt:

GOP bosses talking about winnowing the field so that Mitt Romney doesn’t face a lengthy nomination battle against multiple foes ought to consider the alternative: Ron Paul goes to the convention with 40 percent of the delegates. That could happen if he’s the last rival standing sooner, rather than later.

With fewer winner-take-all primaries and caucuses, and Paul already proving an ability to garner up to 25 percent of the votes in a crowded field, it’s not a tough mathematical challenge to conclude that he would capture even more of the anti-Romney vote and roll into Tampa next summer as a trouble maker.

It’s not that Paul could threaten Romney’s nomination, but he could steal the coverage, much as Jesse Jackson did to Michael Dukakis, and Pat Buchanan to George H.W. Bush. (Reminder: Both nominees lost the election).

At the very least Paul would want a prime-time speech, and probably a whole lot more. Chairman of the Federal Reserve, perhaps? Just kidding, but …

Ok, here’s the weird part.  Obama and Hillary Clinton went to the convention in Denver in 2008 in a dead heat.  Actually, if the DNC hadn’t busted Florida and Michigan to half votes and reapportioned Michigan votes by giving 4 delegates from Hillary and all uncommitted delegates to Obama, Hillary would have been ahead.  According to Crawford, Ron Paul would deserve a lot more than a prime time speech if he only had 40% of the vote, not even a dead heat.  So, why is it that Hillary only got a prime time speech, no floor debate, and not even a legitimate roll call?  How come Jesse Jackson and every other candidate from the Democratic primary system prior to 2008 got treated as legitimate politicians and their delegates accorded a voice but not Hillary’s?  How do we explain a discrepancy like this?  We should all be asking ourselves this question until we get an answer that makes sense. Oh, sure, the superdelegates all moved like osmosis to Obama’s column, pulled no doubt by a hypertonic money solution.  But the elected delegates should have counted for something.  And they didn’t.

So, either the Republicans are going to be a lot more honest about their convention than the Democrats or they will adopt the Democrats’ model from 2008 and negate the primaries altogether so that they don’t have to accommodate Ron Paul’s constituency.  And if that’s the way the parties are going to go, why go through this expensive and painful process every 4 years?  If the money guys are going to pick the male party nominee anyway, why bother with the façade of electoral legitimacy?  We all know what our preisdential campaigns have boiled down to in the past 12 years.  The preferred candidates get the nod.  It will either be a money wing candidate with social conservative tendencies or a money wing candidate with socially moderate tendencies.  Them’s the choices.  Pick one.

If you don’t like your choices, and that’s all you’re going to get, you HAVE to go outside the parties and pick a different flavor of politician.  Yes, it takes effort to find them on a ballot.  No, there’s no guarantee your candidate is going to win, although it will be easier if as many people as possible show up to vote for the same person.  That’s usually how it’s done.  But at some point in time, enough of us have to decide that we have no other alternative and decide to pick someone else.  It can be done.  Just say no to both parties this year unless they give you a choice you can live with.

******************

For a different take on the 2-party system, check out Virtually Speaking Susie’s interview with Mike Patterson from Occupy DC.  Mike spells it out for the occupy doubters: the Occupy movement is not interested in becoming an arm of the Obama campaign.  It doesn’t like Democrats any more than it likes Republicans right now.  Both parties have let the American people down.  What Occupy will turn into is a different question but it’s not there to support Obama, that’s for damn sure.

By the way, tune your bat channels for Virtually Speaking tonight when one of my favorite bloggers, Lenore Skenazy of FreeRangeKids is on to talk about what happened to American childhood.  I’m convinced that there is a connection between fearmongering and strict behavioral controls of both parents and children and the goals of the right wing.  I hope Jay Ackroyd and Lenore explore this connection.  The one thing you can count on is that Lenore will bring her horror stories from modern day parenting.  The fact that she is not exaggerating makes it all the more frightening.  That’s tonight at 8:00pm EST.  Virtually Speaking A-Z with Stuart Zechman and Virtually Speaking with Lenore Skenazy.

Here’s a little taste of Lenore:

**************************************

This headline says it all: “SOPA Sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith to SOPA opponents: You don’t matter.

Ok, good to know.  I hope he’s not doing anything important when the internet giants decide to pull the plug temporarily for system maintenance.

*************************************

For those of you who have made a resolution to be less of a slob this year (moi!), check out ApartmentTherapy’s homekeeping tips.  Think of it as housecleaning for people who have better things to do with their time and less “impeccably fresh” Martha Stewart-esque attention to obsessive detail.  Like, is it ok to clean your jeans in the freezer.  Or, if your house is really messy, where do you start?  It’s so overwhelming.  Start with the bedroom.  Here’s the list for deep cleaning your bedroom, step-by-step.  You can do this.  Er, *I* can do this.

Just do it.

*************************************

Another one bites the dust: Sanofi closes its Bridgewater, NJ site.  This happened faster than my former colleagues anticipated.  I’m very sorry to hear this and hope that they’ve all been preparing for their Plan B’s.  I’ve been getting a recent flood of LinkedIn invitations in the last week.  It’s nervewracking, guys.  All I can say is get out of NJ if you can.  The money has dried up.  You need to decide to not to live a precarious existence.  Pack up the family and head west or at least mid-west.  Scale down, regroup, renew and reclaim your dignity.  To those of you who didn’t get an invitation to Cambridge, don’t beat yourselves up.  I know how good you are.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s mostly politics and, unfortunately for Cambridge, it will *not* be getting all of the “best of the best”.  One final thing, you will feel so much better once the shoe drops.  I sleep a lot better these days.  Good luck to all.

***********************************

And now, a thing of beauty to relieve you of combat fatigue.  This is a ballet of the seasons from a new version of Cinderella.  The company is Belle Etudes in Arizona and the dancers are pretty young.  The choreography is exquisite:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 467 other followers