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    • 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 [...]
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Thursday: Here it comes

UpdateII: If you’re an ex-pharma scientist who has been laid off recently (and who in central NJ isn’t?) you really have to read this post on In the Pipeline about what Pharmaceutical CEOs really think of you.  It’s about Chris Viehbacher of Sanofi (waving “Hi!” to all the ex-sanofi people).  I’m past the stage where this kind of thing strikes me as anything but unintentional humor.  But people who actually care about preserving what’s left of research in this country and how long and hard researchers work only to be misused and discarded by the bonus class, should take note.  Pretty soon, all you’re going to be able to buy are overpriced generics.  No new drug entities will be coming out of drug discovery because there won’t *be* any drug discovery.  No one will want to work under these conditions.  This is the clearest explanation of how the bonus class wants to turn professionals into precariats that I’ve ever read and it’s coming to a workplace near you.

Update: Andrew Breitbart is dead.  He was 43.  Fox News is reporting that he died of natural causes but there’s nothing natural about dying at 43.  I’m going with apoplexy.  This must be very unexpected and sad for his family.  Or maybe not.  Rageaholics tend to be difficult.  Maybe his blood vessels just refused to cooperate any longer.  Let this be a lesson to Glenn Beck.

The Republicans have us in a vise and now they’re going to start turning the screws.  The NY Times reports today that speculators are going to push gas prices to over $5/gallon this summer. That’s going to wreck further havoc on the economy:

HOUSTON — Gasoline for $5 a gallon? The possibility is hardly far-fetched.

With no clear end to tensions withIran and Syria and rising demand from countries like China, gas prices are already at record highs for the winter months — averaging $4.32 in California and $3.73 a gallon nationally on Wednesday, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. As summer approaches, demand for gasoline rises, typically pushing prices up around 20 cents a gallon.

And gas prices could rise another 50 cents a gallon or more, analysts say, if the diplomatic and economic standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions escalates into military conflict or there is some other major supply disruption.

“If we get some kind of explosion — like an Israeli attack or some local Iranian revolutionary guard decides to take matters in his own hands and attacks a tanker — than we’d see oil prices push up 20 to 25 percent higher and another 50 cents a gallon at the pump,” said Michael C. Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research.

For the typical driver who pumps 60 gallons a month of regular unleaded gasoline, a 50-cent increase in price means an extra expense of $30 a month.

Ooo, can’t you just feel Michael Lynch squirming with delicious anticipation at the prospect of explosions in the Strait of Hormuz?  Hey, kiddies, do you remember the first oil crisis in the 70s when people were stealing gas from each others cars and gas was rationed?  Remember the line of cars around the block to the gas station early in the morning?  Remember when Daylight Savings Time was extended into the winter and we trudged to school in the snow in the dark?  Were those good times or what?

Now, before people go off half cocked about Iran, understand that this has absolutely nothing to do with Iran.  Iran is just an excuse to push up gas prices.  The oilmen need some kind of cover for the politically motivated cruelty they’re about to impose.  They’re probably counting on the left to take the bait and have a shit fit over Iran, because lefties don’t think this out any better than average Americans who just want to get to work without spending half of the grocery budget.  The average American doesn’t have time to investigate all of the causes of the spike in gas prices that is severely impacting their lives.  Who are they going to believe anyway?  You can’t trust the NY Times.  Remember what they did on the Iraq War.  No, it’s just going to look bad for Obama.  Why can’t he *do* something?

But gas is just part of it.  There are all of the downstream industries that rely on transportation.  The price of everything is going to go up, particularly food.  And since the Lesser Depression started, there are a lot more people struggling on smaller incomes and significantly smaller salaries.  It’s going to hurt.

What *is* Obama going to do?  He wasn’t particularly good at dealing with the bankers when they threatened domestic terrorism.  They pretty much got everything they wanted.  We footed the bill to bail them out.  And Obama’s going to be dealing with a Congress that’s going to be campaigning during the summer.  A hostile House isn’t going to want to cooperate by punishing the speculators.  They’ll just point to Iran and Obama when their constituents start screaming about gas prices.  And it will work.

It doesn’t matter who is in charge when the pain is inflicted, it’s going to look bad for them.  Gas prices are just the tip of the iceberg.  You can bet the Republicans have a lot more up their sleeves.  And in a way, you can’t really blame voters for reacting as they will.  Obama is in charge and he’s shown over and over again that he’s completely useless in alleviating misery.  Maybe another president would have handled this differently but we’re stuck with Obama.  And voters are bound to feel like they were betrayed.  They went to the polls in 2008 to elect a Democrat and instead got a guy who’s not really comfortable with party labels.  He’s into conciliation and negotiation with the interested parties in private conference rooms away from the public.  Let’s not get the legislative process involved here.  It’s too messy and real people will get involved.

Just because I can see what the Republicans are up to doesn’t mean I approve of Republicans.  But politics has devolved from public service to a vicious “winner takes all” game.  And in this kind of environment, it doesn’t help that your champion is a guy who has no idea how to play.

As Olympia Snowe suggested yesterday about her retirement, these kinds of maneuvers are meant to corner the opposition:

“Everybody’s got to rethink how we approach legislating and governance in the United States Senate,” Ms. Snowe said in an interview on Wednesday. She shook her head at how “we’ve miniaturized the process in the United States Senate,” no longer allowing lawmakers to shape or change legislation and turning every vote into a take-it-or-leave-it showdown intended to embarrass the opposition.

The target is Obama, the rest of us are collateral damage.  I’m sick of this game and ready to take my ball and go home.

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

Speaking of that Times article on Olympia Snowe’s retirement, we have the writers lamenting the demise of the centrists in the Senate:

Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the senator often considered the most conservative Democrat, and Ms. Snowe, seen as the most liberal Republican, will both be gone next year, as will Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who left a Democratic Party that would not tolerate his pro-Iraq war stand. They follow a parade of centrists out the Senate doors in recent years, including the Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh; a Republican-turned-Democrat, Arlen Specter; and two Republicans-turned-independents, James M. Jeffords and Mr. Chafee.

You know, none of us Democrats or Democrats in Exile are wasting any sleep on the imminent departure of Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson or recent departure of Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh.  They were part of the problem, always trotted out to broker a deal just before some vote where Democrats were expected by their constituency to take a principled stand.  And for years now, Democratic voters have been fighting with their party leadership about what direction the party is going to go.  Arlen Specter is a perfect example of this.  The Democrats would rather back a former Republican than put all of their resources backing the guy who actually won the primary.  A similar thing happened with Hillary in 2008 where she was constantly undermined by her own party apparatus who very clearly had its thumb on the scales for Obama.  The party leadership has a bad habit of punishing the voters who insist on actually, you know, voting. As the years roll on, they’re giving us fewer and fewer reasons to go to the polls.

This health care amendment of Blunts should be an interesting one to watch.  How many Democrats are going to defect to pass it, allowing religious employers to start making exemptions for things they don’t like?  Will the Jehovah’s Witnesses stop covering life saving blood transfusions?  Will Christian Scientists stop covering everything?  What about Scientology’s conscience when it comes to psychology?  Will bipolar, schizophrenic and depressed patients now have to get their engrams expunged in place of prescription drugs?

Blunt’s bill is just another wedge issue.  It’s a way to test the Democrats and separate them from one of their constituent bases.  Will they cave to the religious and screw women or will they uphold the principle of separation of church and state in favor of the hussies?  Stay tuned.

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

Jay Ackroyd praises Amanda Marcotte’s defense of women’s sexuality even though it is inconsistent with Amanda’s well known toadying for Barack Obama, a man who thinks women should have their menfolk and pastors weigh in on whether or not to have an abortion.  Let’s remember that Amanda passed on the woman in 2008 who was the staunchest defender of women’s rights and sexuality.  Delusions of hipness and loyalty to a party tends to override Amanda’s loyalty to her own sex no matter how much lip service she gives.  If Barack Obama and the Democrats think they can win this election by appealing to the religious and limiting women’s sexuality, they’ll do it in a heartbeat.  If you want progress on defending women’s sexuality from unwanted intrusion, it’s not the Republicans you have to warn people against.  They already know THAT enemy.  It’s the wishy washy, compromising pols of the Democratic party who are our worst enemies.

How much do you want to bet that if Obama signs a bill that includes Blunt’s amendment, Amanda will think up some excuse to deflect anger over Obama’s capitulation to the religionists at the expense of women’s sexuality?  It’s only meaningful if Amanda turns her back on Obama and Democrats like him, which she will never do.  She’s just a cowardly apologist whose actions do not match the power of her prose.

Jay, don’t be a Doormat Democrat like Amanda.

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

This new Trustus Pharmaceuticals episode would be funnier if job counselors weren’t advising laid off scientists to get certification in all of this trendy MBA nonsense. This is the wave of the future:

Domo ariegato, Bitch!

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

It has come to my attention that the forces of evil are spreading rumors that this site originated the birther movement.  I don’t particularly care for having to climb the water tower with a bucket of paint in order to defend our honor but nothing could be farther from the truth where birtherism is concerned.  We have always said that birtherism had no basis in reality and that people who insisted that it did were not welcome here.  It’s true.  You can comb through our archives.  We’ve told birthers that they’re wasting their time and that it doesn’t matter if your father was Osama bin Laden himself, if you were born in the US, you have a shot at the Oval Office.  Anyone who says otherwise is cracked.  And anyone who refuses to believe that the birth certificate that Obama produced was sufficient evidence of his natural citizenship without having a similar shit fit about any other politician they don’t like, is a hypocrite.  We asked PUMAs to focus on policies and behaviors that we could actually measure because there was plenty of material to work with in that regard that didn’t require an elaborate conspiracy theory.  Sorry, that’s the way I see it and have always seen it.

By the way, PUMA just means Party Unity My Ass.  It was an expression of disgust with the way the 2008 primaries were conducted to eliminate more than half of the Democratic base from participation.   It wasn’t ultra leftist at this site.  We’ve always said we’re FDR style Democrats in Exile.  I’m not sure there are any ultra leftists left in politics these days. I mean, what is that?  Pol Pot?

I’m betting that there are a lot of Democrats who have watched the last four years of anemic “leadership” from Obama who regret getting on our case in 2008, though they will never admit it in a zillion years.  As the saying goes, “One step ahead makes you a leader, two steps ahead makes you a martyr”.

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