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Result: Americans like Gridlock!

Have you seen that electoral map?  That is one scary sea of red.  In actuality, not many House seats changed hands and the ones that are still in dispute this morning are mostly leaning D.  This is what unlimited money will buy you – a lot of red.

And yet, this is a promising sign.  Demographically, the Republicans have seen their high water mark and are now looking at an ebb tide.  With all the money they threw at this election, this is the best they could do.  Even the most carefully crafted legislative districts and poorly educated electorate probably won’t help them next time.

The bright spots last night happened in the Senate with the election of Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin.  It looks like North Dakota will send Heidi Heitkamp to the Senate, bring the total number of women in the senate to 19%.  It’s a shame we couldn’t hit 20% but I’ll take what I can get.  Massachusetts has never had a female senator so this is a step in the right direction.  I wonder if the Democrats couldn’t have won other races if they had run more female candidates.

As for the top spot, well, we were going to get Pete or RePete.  It’s hard to tell which is which.  I didn’t have a dog in that fight.  But it looks like Obama lost a lot of popular support this year, about 10 million people’s worth of popular vote.

The Democrats will incorrectly assume that Americans want more Republican policies. I don’t think that’s what they want. I think they want more forceful Democrats who can cut through all the messaging money can buy. That’s going to be important going forward because the Republican base is going to start to die off in increasing numbers. Democrats and new parties must be ready to go on the attack.  Why not start now?  There is absolutely no reason for Democrats in the House or Senate to yield a nanometer on any kind of “reform” of the social safety net.  The Republicans are stuck.  This House can ram through any stupid thing it wants.  It doesn’t have to go anywhere.

Now would be a good time for the left to get the band back together for 2014.

An alternative to Green? Bring it on

Rocky Anderson, former 2 term mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, is running for president on the Justice Party ticket.  He’s also got endorsements from other states’ Independent parties and Peace and Justice parties.

Thank goodness.  I really don’t want to vote Green.  I will if I have to but I’d much rather go with someone whose leanings are a little less litigious.

If you want to vote for Rocky, you’ll probably have to search high and low for him on your ballot but given the alternatives, it could be worth it.  As with any political decision, do your homework and evaluate him against his competition.  In Rocky’s case, he has much more practical political experience than Obama had before he took office.  And he’s much less likely to get tons of money from the finance industry.  On the other side, he comes from a pretty conservative state and his economic policies need to be investigated thoroughly. Is he actually a Libertarian?  Still, unless Hillary Clinton jumps into the race from a sense of duty and morality…

So, there you go, folks.  This election will require a little effort on your part.  You can either go with the spoonfed option of the two major parties or you can think for yourself and reject the same old dismal performance.  Are you ready for something new and different?

Mike Check for President 2012

OFA on the way to a campaign rally!

President Obama got Mic Checked in New Hampshire last week and, well, this just about says it all:

Republicans who have been urging the Occupy movement to protest President Barack Obama finally got their wish Tuesday.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire, the president waited patiently as he was “mic checked” by a group of protesters.

“Mic check!” they shouted. “Mr. President, over 4,000 peaceful protesters have been arrested. While bankers continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our First Amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”  

But the rest of their message was quickly drowned out by Obama supporters chanting, “Fired up, ready to go!” and “Obama!”

Ahh, yes, the “Fired up! Ready to go!” crap from the Obama Fan Base.  Why am I not surprised that the milk bar droogs from the Obama campaign were just waiting to drown out the 99%?  How does this differ from Karl Rove’s response to a mic check when he asked the occupiers “Who gave you the right to occupy America?!”

Shall we see a return of Hope n’Change next?

What is it with those aggressive assholes anyway?  Do they drink berserker juice before they brutally dash the dreams of millions of Americans who are not frat boys from Ivy League schools?  I wouldn’t count on the OFA to get the upper hand for long. The occupiers are a clever lot.  They’ll think of something to even the score.  Besides, 99% is a lot of people and the OFA may be very loud but it’s also very tiny.

So, after the milk bar droogs for Obama (MBDfO) quashed the Occupation, Obama went on to tell them to listen to him because he understands that they are frustrated.  No, no, no.  The chant says nothing about frustration.  The one you’re thinking of goes like this:

“Furious?  Furious?  You’re goddamned right we’re furious!”

Big difference.  The head patting and dropping the rhetoric to the level of a fourth grader is not going to work this time around, Barry.  And the Fired up! thing just comes off like a bunch of bullies kicking the 99% in the nutz with the tips of their hobnailed shoes.

You know what I think would send a message?  If Obama loses the Iowa caucuses to Mike Check.  And maybe New Hampshire too.  That kind of election result tends to get people’s attention.  And we have precedent…

 

(name that tune)

Resolving drug shortages shouldn’t be a political “opportunity”

The cancer hourglass runs fast

Barack Obama is finally starting to notice that there is a shortage in the production of some older prescription drugs and is offering some carrots and sticks to resolve the problem:

WASHINGTON — President Obama will issue an executive order on Monday that the administration hopes will help resolve a growing number of critical shortages of vital medicines used to treat life-threatening illnesses, among them several forms of cancer and bacterial infections.

The order offers drug manufacturers and wholesalers both a helping hand and a gloved fist in efforts to prevent or resolve shortages that have worsened greatly in recent years, endangering thousands of lives.

It instructs the F.D.A. to do three things: broaden reporting of potential shortages of certain prescription drugs; speed reviews of applications to begin or alter production of these drugs; and provide more information to the Justice Department about possible instances of collusion or price gouging.

Such efforts are included in proposed legislation that has been pending in Congress since February despite bipartisan support for its provisions.

The order, the first since 1985 by a president to affect the functions of the Food and Drug Administration, is part of a series of recent executive orders involving such disparate issues as mortgage relief and jobs for veterans. They are intended to show that the president, plagued by low approval ratings, is working to resolve the nation’s problems despite a Congress largely paralyzed by partisan disagreements.

Yes, by all means, let’s wait until there is a chance to shore up low approval ratings before we do anything.  After all, that colon cancer isn’t going anywhere.

Do you ever get the feeling that the president is playing “whack-a-mole”?  “Drug problem?  Didn’t we go after medical marijuana and that Mexican drug cartel?  What do you mean people can’t get their chemo?  WTF??  I’ve got three, no, two wars to deal with and these bankers breathing down my neck and those pain-in-the-ass occupiers who ruined my fund-raising dinner in the Bay area last week.  How am I supposed to keep up with all of this?  Wait!  How many months are there until the election?”

Um, yes, Barry, there are people who aren’t getting their chemo.  The FDA has been a disfunctional agency for years.  Politicized?  You betcha!  We can’t decide whether to make a spectacle of Plan B and regulation when we’ve got a bunch of looney Republicans in charge or to grandstand about drug safety to scare the hysterical consumers to hyperbolic levels in order to demonize Big Pharma (which hasn’t done itself any favors lately in the PR department).

Let me tell you, Barry, my dad died of cancer 15 years ago, that mother works fast when there is nothing to keep it in check.  Patients do not have the luxury of months.  And this stuff just pisses me off:

The president’s order is a modest effort that, while possibly helpful, is unlikely to resolve the problem soon or entirely. Administration officials characterized it as one step in a long and complicated effort. Indeed, Mr. Obama eschewed more ambitious proposals — like government drug stockpiling or manufacturing — that would have injected the government more directly into the nation’s drug market and cost more but that might have been more effective. [yes, by all means, let's do as little as possible]

Still, Mr. Obama’s order and others he has issued recently reflect his belief in the power of government to improve people’s lives.  [which campaign operative dictated *that* line?] By contrast, top Republican legislators and presidential candidates have almost uniformly argued that resolving the nation’s economic and other problems depends mostly on scaling back or ending government regulations to allow the free market to function more effectively. No regulatory agency touches people’s lives more thoroughly than the F.D.A., which regulates 25 cents of every dollar spent by consumers.

I don’t need a political operative to tell me that Republicans are criminal.  No, really, they are.  The drug industry needs regulation.  It would be helpful if those regulations were updated to reflect changes in technology and the FDA is way past due for a modern overhaul of its data systems in general.  But if any Republican is out there beating a drum against regulations for pharma, they really should be in jail.  It’s not that the industry is deliberately bad or negligent, despite what the class action lawyer contingent would have you believe.  It’s not.  And I’d like to keep it that way.  Better to be safe than sorry.  But let’s get the damn agency working efficiently please.

But wait, there’s more!  I’ll bet that Obama isn’t even paying any attention on the thousands of R&D professionals that lost their jobs only last week.  Merck, Schering-Plough, Amgen and Novartis are only the lastest pharmas to toss their researchers to the curb adding to the hundreds of thousands of us already out there.  That means that there won’t be very many new drugs coming on the market in the forseeable future.  With Big Pharma falling off the “patent cliff” this year and next, the executives are throwing the labrats overboard at Wall Street’s behest in order to serve the shareholders and protect their compensation packages.  China and India are not ready to take on hardcore pharmamceutical research and many Asian companies are content to just make me-too drugs.  Expect a lost decade while we cool our geeky jets and seriously consider finding other professions instead of finding new cures.

Of course, it didn’t have to be this way.  Barry was so over his head when he came into office that looking out for the researchers was probably the last thing on his mind. Besides, who listens to the labrats?  They don’t make huge contributions to your campaign.  They never get invited to the White House to tell you exactly what’s going on.  No, why should the president listen to a bunch of disgruntled R&D workers who will only tell him how catastrophically their industry has been managed by the guys who hobnob over some “shrimp, cod and lentil soup” and creme pie with chocolate truffle shavings?   We just become part of clueless Jeffrey Immelt’s plan to outsource absolutely everything.  After all, if we had opinions and concerns what were important, we wouldn’t be laid off losers, would we?

And the patients and scientists pay the price.

So, what is Obama going to do to enforce his executive order?  He’s sending some sternly worded letters to make  sure manufacurers voluntarily comply.  {{rolling eyes}} Way to go, Barry.

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Damn, even in death, Steve Jobs never stopped inventing.  Best final words ever.

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On the Occupation front, Occupy Oakland is calling for a General Strike on November 2, 2011.  I think I will join this strike and urge the rest of my fellow recetnly unemployed researcher contingent to wear your labcoats on Wednesday in solidarity.  We’ve been screwed over by Wall Street too.

Love the solidarity orange.

Here’s a video of the California longshoreman’s union occupier throwing his support behind the strike (Copied shamelessly from Atrios’ page):

Ready to STRIKE: I’m not in … why would I be?

It’s no wonder Unions are failing in this country.  We just don’t get the idea of STRIKE anymore.

Faced with the question, “Are you in?” too many people are sighing agreement.  They’re terrified of the alternative.  And the only alternative they see is crazy-Republicans and Tea-Bagging-lunatics.

But, there MUST be someone (Hillary?) out there who is a Good Viable Alternative …. isn’t there?

What would happen if we signaled our determination to do as Riverdaughter said yesterday:

I’m voting Green or Socialist or Ladies Auxilliary or Player to be Named Later.

If we could find some way to show we MEAN IT (for once) — would the Democrats find a way to give us a candidate we could vote for?

Or could a decent 3rd Party candidate (Bernie Sanders?) pull off a win?

We’ll never know because we’re not willing to put the issue to a test and STRIKE.

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