• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    katiebird on We’re Royals and other…
    bernard jenkins on We’re Royals and other…
    churl on We’re Royals and other…
    r u reddy on We’re Royals and other…
    r u reddy on We’re Royals and other…
    mitzimuffin on We’re Royals and other…
    Sweet Sue on We’re Royals and other…
    Sweet Sue on We’re Royals and other…
    abc on We’re Royals and other…
    katiebird on We’re Royals and other…
    katiebird on We’re Royals and other…
    riverdaughter on We’re Royals and other…
    Monster from the Id on We’re Royals and other…
    cwaltz on Give Democrats a piece of your…
    Mr Mike on We’re Royals and other…
  • 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

    October 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • The Attack In Ottawa will be used to justify losing more rights
      Prime Minister Harper pretty much confirmed it: ‘Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened’ Yup.  Never let a crisis go to waste. I’m very sad that MPs and their staff were scared, and I’m sadder that a soldier lost his life.  But one attack does not justify increasing the police state.  However, if [...]
  • Top Posts

Bill Black on Bill Moyers: The problem starts at the top

See this latest episode of Bill Moyers Journal.  The guest is Bill Black, frequent contributor to Naked Capitalism (they’re having a fundraiser, you know.  Our friend Lambert Strether cross blogs there. I’m dirt poor but if you have the Do-Re-Mi, send some to them).

Bill and Bill talk about Eric Holder’s resignation and, specifically, why it was that Holder did not prosecute any bankers.  That’s right, not one.

Black gets right to the point about who is to blame:

BILL MOYERS: No, the, what you’re saying is that more than one administration cooperated in maintaining a system that is based upon deference to the banks and disrespect for the public.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and, but it’s also a component in the case of Obama of we’re humans and we are, everything we learn in research about humans is we’re reciprocal. And so the finance area is the reason he’s president of the United States. When he was in his hour of greatest need, when he had, was written off as a candidate against Hillary in the nomination battle the first time around, he had this miraculous survival. And that took money.

That took lots and lots of money. And who gave that money? It came overwhelmingly from finance at the critical moment when he needed it most. All of us as human beings, the people that helped us in, a friend in need is a friend indeed is the saying that we have as human beings.

THIS is what I have been saying all along.  The finance industry *knew* in advance that the crash was coming and they wanted an enabler in office, not someone who might send them to rehab.  But I’m a racist and Bill Black is not.

{{Sigh}}

 

Stupid and Irresponsible ZMapp Conspiracy Theories

I’ve written a couple of times about ZMapp, the monoclonal antibody treatment for ebola infection.  Short summary: ZMapp is a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies, in other words, human proteins, that were genetically engineered to grow in tobacco plants.  Yes, it sounds like FrankenPharma but it’s perfectly normal to do it this way.  ZMapp is produced by company in San Diego.  In it’s PR blurb from January of this year, the company producing it, known as Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, indicated that they had tested ZMapp in 7 primates, 4 of which died.  If you are assuming that all primates will die of ebola, that’s not too bad but in the current outbreak, the lethality is about 60% so this result is nothing to write home about. (note that the in the Business Insider article linked below, the company claims to have improved their success rate in primates but there’s still no proof that it works in humans.)  In other words, the public is grasping at this very early research as if it were the holy grail and it’s not.  The best thing about ZMapp is that it draws attention to the fact that our research for infectious diseases is woefully underfunded.

In any case, Mapp is all out of ZMapp.  Business Insider has some info about what’s going on, which gems nicely with what I’ve been saying:

And scientists acknowledge that despite the new efforts, they may not be able to produce more than a few hundred treatment courses by early next spring. That will be far behind the international demand and will confront officials with life-and-death challenges of rationing and priorities.

“The biology just doesn’t allow you to do it tomorrow,” Alan Magill, a programme director at the Gates Foundation which is helping to organise ZMapp development, told The New York Times .

[...]

The doses with which the US aid workers were treated were manufactured from biologically-engineered tobacco leaves grown at a facility in Kentucky, but it only has extremely limited production capacity.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services are now in advanced talks with a Texas company that could produce the drug in millions of tobacco plants.

The New York Times also reported that the US government and two of the world’s biggest charities — the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – are in talks to arrange for production of ZMapp in animal cells. That is a more conventional production method in the biotechnology industry and could allow for greater overall production, but the initial stages of development will take longer. “We’re going with multiple manufacturers,” a federal official said,

BusinessWeek has reported on the delays in federal bureaucracy that held up research of the drug for up to four years.

“That’s why we don’t have an Ebola countermeasure,” said Robert Kadlec, a consultant and public health physician who held high-level posts in biodefence in the Bush administration. “We failed to invest enough dollars to have it mature.”

Part of that failure to invest might have something to do with Republican assholes writing Op/Eds in the NYTimes claiming that you’re washed up as a scientist after the age of 36 , which is about 4 years after you finish your last starvation diet salaried post-doc.  After that age, you don’t deserve the limited funding from NIH grants as some young whippersnapper who has just started his career (and has about 4 years to make his name in the world before it’s all over).  Funny, I started feeling my mental cheerios about two years before I was laid off.  Whatever.  Ahhh, Republicans, always expecting to get some new major breakthrough from hard working intelligent people without spending any money at all.  Typical. I’m going to address that idiotic Op/Ed at a later time, once my blood pressure has returned to normal.

Like I said yesterday, if production of ZMapp is really that crucial, the government or the Gates Foundation can hire a couple thousand currently unemployed, laid off American pharma researchers who used to do protein production.  Or they can let us just sit on our asses while Rome burns.  Their choice.

In the meantime, I’ve read a post on another blog that suggests that there is a new conspiracy theory about the availability of Zmapp.  According to this theory, the Dallas ebola patient, Thomas Duncan, is not getting Zmapp not because Mapp ran out of supply.  No, he’s not getting it because he’s black.  In fact, there’s discrimination going on and that’s why black people won’t be getting it.

uh-huh

That’s ridiculous and stupid and anyone who thinks that or spreads that rumor has not been paying attention to the logistics of producing this cocktail of human proteins in tobacco plants.

To the contrary, I would go so far as to say that the only person in the United States who probably has a stash of ZMapp for his own personal use is a black man.   In fact, the White House physicians and Surgeon General wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t corner the market on whatever was left for the president’s exclusive use.  It only makes sense.  You don’t want your president dying on you from ebola.  (This possibility is extremely remote but he does shake a lot of hands)  It’s bad optics and it’s bad for the country, assuming he can actually get ahead of this crisis and be proactive on this one thing after six years of being constantly behind the curve, too cautious and deferential to the ultra wealthy on every other crisis.

So, you know there’s that.

In general though, Americans should continue to think of ebola as a disease without a cure.  If you get it, you will have to rely on your body’s own defenses to fight it off.  So, don’t get it.  Racism has nothing to do with it.  Racism *might* have something to do with poorer people having access to insurance or health care in Texas and several other states.  But when the ZMapp is gone, you can’t make tobacco plants grow any faster, no matter who you are or how much money you’ve got.

 

Conflict unavoidable

“Rash and inexperienced traveller, we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension”

The New York Times has an article today about the unavoidable conflict between Clinton and Obama.  They’re both on Martha’s Vineyard this week. For all I know, it’s manufactured by the flying monkeys in the media who seem to be salivating for a Krystle vs Alexis fight in The Pond.  But there are some encouraging utterances from the Clinton camp:

Mr. Obama is fast becoming the past, not the future, for donors, activists and Democratic strategists. Party leaders are increasingly turning toward Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as Democrats face difficult races this fall in states where the president is especially unpopular, and her aides are making plain that she has no intention of running for “Obama’s third term.”

Thank goodness for that.  I don’t think I can take another four years of careless conservatism spouting from the mouths of clueless young Ivy League males.  We have been waiting for six long years to hear what Clinton really thinks about Obama.  Yeah, it was great that she was able to swallow her pride and anger and play nice for the sake of “unity” but enough’s enough.  Even if she doesn’t run, I am looking forward to her informed critique.

I especially like the bit where Clinton says “ ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,”

Amen to that.

I am desperate to hear someone talk about their organizing principles.  No, I am not kidding.  That “put everything on the table and we’ll negotiate” crap has been an utter disaster.  And like Katiebird, I’d like the conversation to move away from foreign policy to economics.

On the other hand, this is probably not the best way to raise a lot of money from political donors who want to retain their iron grip on all the money in the universe.  Let’s hope Clinton can convince some of them that it’s in their best interests.

The Party, on the other hand, seems to think this is still 2008 before the crash:

Christine Pelosi, a longtime Democratic activist and daughter of the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said her phone and email “just exploded” after Mrs. Clinton’s remarks.

“Now is not the time to second guess the commander in chief, particularly when you’re a former member of his cabinet and national security team,” Ms. Pelosi said.

Oooo, really?  And when would the best time be, Christine?  I mean, he’s already opened up the tax payer safe to the finance industry, took a backseat to the foreclosure crisis and long term unemployment, presided over the dismantling of our research and development sector, and locked us into a two tier class system when it comes to health insurance.  When is any Democrat allowed to criticize him?  No one ever gave Bill Clinton that kind of deference.

Anyway, here’s to a little high tension.  It’s about fricking time.

Additional thoughts: We were the target of a troll attack yesterday.  It was wildly fun, by the way.  Katiebird and I are just warming up.  Bring it on.  But we did wonder what the heck triggered it.  It reminded both of us of the days in 2008 when the Obot trolls fired barrage after barrage from different IP addresses.  In fact, we both thought it was a good idea that we hadn’t gotten rid of those addresses in the banned list for the spam filter.  Now, we can go through the IPs at our leisure and figure out if there’s a common thread.

But it does make us wonder, why bother?  Obama isn’t running for another term, we don’t have nearly the readership that we had in 2008 when we peaked at something like 56000 hits/per day.  And the left has not sought to deign us with the pleasure of their revenue stream by adding us to their blog rolls.  In fact, I’d say we were true blue all the way through the last six years but hardly worth the effort and attention.

And yet, in spite of our anonymity compared to 2008, we still seem relevant enough to send a bunch of psych-out shock troops.  We can’t dismiss the possibility of a Republican attack but yesterday’s seemed so familiar.  It left that whiff of O-zone behind it.

Go figure.

Flattery gets you nowhere

tdraicer brought this post by Andrew O’Hehir at Salon to my attention.  Poor Andrew is just so disillusioned that Obama turned out to perpetuate George Bush’s policies.  It’s especially painful because the primary reason O’Hehir and his buddies voted for Obama was his position on the Iraq War.  Actually, did we even know what Obama’s position on the war was?  I mean, he said he was agin’ it but we don’t have him on the record voting for anything.  And from my recollection, there were plenty of Democrats willing to overlook John Edwards Iraq War vote but not Hillary’s.  Hmmmm, curiouser and curiouser. Well, anyway, let’s just say that I don’t believe that the vote on the Iraq War was the only reason they spat upon Hillary and hitched their wagons to Obama’s star.

Putting aside the latent sexism lurking in the Democratic party, I suspect one of the most influential factors in the primary campaign of 2008 was the degree to which the Obama campaign was willing to fluff the egos of people like Andrew O’Hehir.  Remember how they were called the “creative class”?  They shopped at Whole Foods?  They drank PBR?  They were smarter, more attractive, funnier, moraler and just better people?  I used to call them the “swimsuit models with PhDs in architecture” while we were “the stupid, uneducated, menopausal, working class, sino-peruvian lesbians”.

Well, we might have been the losers but at least we knew the devil when we looked in his eyes.

Why is this man struggling??

Correct Dope Slap administration

Jesus Christ on a Cracker, Obama is angsting over whether to sign an executive order to make sure that the LBGT community is not discriminated against in federal contracts.  The religious leaders involved, RELIGIOUS leaders who you would expect to be above petty shit like this, are demanding to be excluded from working next to people who do “unnatural” things with each other in bed.  That would include almost everyone, gay or straight, married or un, over the age of consent.  Yes, Rick Warren, married heterosexual couples engage in sodomy of one kind or another.  You might even be one of them.

Obama might not be in this predicament if he hadn’t made use of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives to give taxpayer money to churches like Warren’s in exchange for favorable sermons to the parishioners before election day.  The rest of us were very skeptical when Obama made an alliance with evangelical leaders in 2008.  Remember how women were supposed to consult with their clergy before getting an abortion?  Remember how we all were concerned with the signals that Rick Warren’s inaugural presence would send to the LGBT community?

Ok, nevermind all that now.  We’re dealing with a crisis situation.  We can’t go back and dope slap Obama and his short- sighted campaign droogs, although I did mention back in 2008 that the scorched earth policy against women was going to come back to bite us.

Here’s the correct response to these so-called “Christians”, and I do use that term very loosely.  Sign the damn order for the following reasons:

1.) It’s the right thing to do.  Treating people like dirt and unequally to make people in your tribe feel superior is the signature hallmark of narcissists.  It’s just wrong morally and ethically.  It’s very strange for an agnostic panentheist non-Christian like myself to be pointing this out but, what can I say, the country is in the grip of some weird juju right now and the people who should be upholding the rights of others, I’m looking at you Rick Warren, have lost their fricking minds.

2.) It’s for their own good.  Slight digression: Alan Turing was a code breaker extraordinaire and computational genius.  He was also gay.  Without Turing, it would have been very difficult for England to triumph over the Nazi’s.  That guy should have been a national hero until he died.  Instead, Alan Turing’s life was destroyed by some very nasty anti-gay laws.  He was barred from serving his country and his security clearance was denied.  He committed suicide.  Congratulations, Britain.  If Obama doesn’t sign the order because the Rick Warren’s among us stamp their little feets and threaten to hold their breaths, he will be denying the rest of us the talents and gifts of American gays and lesbians. It’s just not a very smart, long term move.  But then, when have we ever seen Obama and his campaign guys look to the long term?  Amaze us for once.

3.) It’s none of their G-d damned business.  Seriously, these evangelical so-called “Christians” need to learn to respect other people’s boundaries.  Or at least be consistent.  If it’s sodomy they object to, they need to find out what their married employees are doing too.  If they don’t like to contemplate what other people are doing in bed, they need to demonstrate some self-control and STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.  Get a life.  I guarantee you that the liberal side of the spectrum does not drive itself crazy thinking about all of the permutations of what body part goes into what orifice.  We drive ourselves crazy thinking about the melting point of the earth and whether we have passed the point of no return.  We stay up nights worrying about more important things we can, you know, actually do something about.  Ending gay sex forever does not rank up there among our insomnia inducing scenarios.

4.) Ignore the evangelical so-called “Christians”.  Obama doesn’t have to run again.  And the people who are really freaked out by the fact that might have to work cheek by jowl with people whose cheeks and jowls might have been touching the cheeks and jowls of a same sex person the night before are never going to vote for you anyway.  In any case, they will never respect you if you give in to them.  That’s because they have been encouraged to become narcissistic and any ground you give will just encourage them to exceed their boundaries in other areas.  Today it’s gays, tomorrow they’ll threaten not to vote for you if you don’t eliminate evolution from the school curriculum everywhere. Trust me, they don’t know there is a line.  You need to make them see that there is one or the establishment clause will become meaningless.

Like you’ll listen to me.  You’re the one who gave us the ACA and how did that turn out?  I don’t mean, “how is the propaganda spinning the ACA?”.  I mean, how did the ACA actually turn out for the little people who have to deal with it.  (Don’t even get me started.  It’s a disaster.  Someday, the brain trusts are going to correlate the falling GDP with that piece of crap legislation.  Mark my words.)

But signing this executive order to protect gays and lesbians is a no-brainer.  It’s the right thing to do.

Therefore, I predict Obama will screw it up somehow.  He’ll qualify it just enough that he will plant the seeds for further evangelical so-called “Christian” mischief down the road.

 

You’re so cute when your angry

James Buchanan

Gail Collins has an editorial in the NYTimes this morning about how those of us who see the Obama years as a colossal failure are wrong.  Apparently, there was some poll commissioned that revealed that many people think Obama is the worst president since WWII.  I personally don’t think this is true.  No, I think he might rank right up there with Buchanan. So, that predates the Civil War.  And the reason I think this is because under Obama, the plutocrats have gained so much ground that we average working people will have to replay the entire twentieth century to gain it back.

I’m getting pretty tired of hearing from serious and semi-serious people (I’m looking at you Paul Krugman), that those of us who desperately wanted a true Democrat in 2008 are now closet Republicans and racists because we aren’t sufficiently supportive of Obama’s many subtle “achievements”.  I guess you just have to be a poor schlub to really

Warren Harding, he’s so dreamy

understand what has been lost.  It does not help their cause when they tell us we have no right to be angry at the positively shitty job Obama has done since he was elected.  He’s made stupid excuses for his fecklessness ever since he took office and his chorus line has been saying “It’s not his fauuuuult.  He inherited all this crap from the Bushies!” since before the inauguration.  If he didn’t think he could handle the job, he shouldn’t have run.  He should have stepped aside for more qualified candidates.

The NYTimes also has a short article on internal and instrumental motivations.  It turns out that internal motivations, like liking what you are doing, having an interest in it and striving to be the best, are more important to success than instrumental motivations like fame, fortune and promotions.  In Obama, we see a perfect example of internal versus instrumental motivations.  He may have gotten the fame and renown, but as a president interested in using politics to govern well and carry out his vision, he sucks.

Please stop trying to tell us he’s not that bad.  He is.  The fact that we are even debating whether his legacy is in the same league as Warren Harding is telling and if the ACA gets cemented in place, there will be many future generations who will curse his name for hooking them up like cash cows to the insurance industry.

Thank god it will all be over by 2016 and we can look at the smoking ruins and start to rebuild.

Well, of course he’s going to meet with the suits

I’ve read posts by Charles Pierce, Digby and Atrios lamenting how Obama has decided to hold a “leadership” meeting with the big bank ceos who got us into this mess to discuss the details of the Grand Bargain.

It sounds a lot like crocodile tears.

Look, you guys KNEW when you were cheering for him (or cheering against Mitt Romney) last year that he kisses the bankers’ collective asses.

What I can’t understand is how it is that such a bunch of smart people could only see two possible options last year.  You didn’t even try to challenge Obama and put the fear of God into him.  So, stop your “shock!” and righteous indignation or pointless navel gazing about why the “culture of smartness” does what it does and cuts ordinary people out of directing their own fates. You’re either useful idiots doing the party’s work or you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are.

There are always multiple solutions to the problem.  You need to think outside the box, possibly take the long view and stop being such whiny ass titty baby cowards about what is happening to your formerly safe spot in the Democratic party.

They moved your fucking cheese.  Get on with it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 468 other followers