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    • Dogs used to rape prisoners at Bagram?
      I don’t know.  But Pinochet did the same (plus rats), it’s not without precedent. I hope not: The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account: Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber. “If [...] […]
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I see your problem

Over at No More Mister Nice Blog, the author comments on just how livid Democrats would be if Joe Lieberman was nominated to replace Janet Napolitano at the Department of Fatherland Homeland Security:

And though it’s a small step in the scale of things, it could also be the final straw, the act that finishes the job of alienating the liberal base that worked to elect Barack Obama twice.

Um, just out of curiosity, what was it the so-called “liberal base” saw in Obama in the first place that led them to believe he was one of them?  It’s like putting the first piece of a complicated piece of Ikea furniture together incorrectly and then, halfway through, looking at a badly constructed sideboard and a pile of wooden pegs and cam screws. (No particular reason for this metaphor, why do you ask?) Nothing fits and you have to take it all apart and start over.  It’s frustrating and maddening.  Obama didn’t fit from the very beginning.  But I suspect that only people who actually understood what “liberal” means realized that.

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

In other news, my basement walls are exposed after demolition of the damaged and mildewed paneling.  As expected, the previous construction was shoddy and the walls uninsulated.  Now that the concrete block is exposed, I get to spend the weekend cleaning, waterproofing and sealing the suckers up so the room can be rebuilt and finished next week.

It’s a lot more fun than I make it sound.  Really, it’s a field day.  I can’t think of anything I like more.  In fact, I would be completely selfish to keep all this DryLocking pleasure to myself, so if you’re in the Pittsburgh area, by all means, bring your nappy roller and masonry brush and join the fun!  No, no, don’t thank me.  It’s the least I can do.

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

And here’s a picture of my local mall:

IMG_2014

If you are a fan of horror movies, you might recognize this place as the location of one of George Romero’s zombie movies.  Yes, this is THAT mall.  Well, it’s been 40 odd years since the zombies moved to Pittsburgh and at first there was a lot of local prejudice.  It was hard to make friends with them, they seemed to have their own night culture and, ok, they smelled.  But gradually, over time, they started to assimilate.  There were a few human-zombie romances that ended tragically but teenagers are all about melodrama, am I right? These days, it’s not unusual to see glassy eyed couples together.  And while brains cuisine kind of didn’t catch on, zombies have gotten used to putting french fries on their sandwiches.  It’s like they’ve always been here.

 

Thursday: Stupid MBA Tricks

Who here is sick of all Palin all the time?  Raise your hand.  Yeah, me too.  Neither side of the aisle will ever convince me they’re right.  I’ve got my opinion, mercifully untainted by media spin.  And like I have always said, you can’t get anything of value from cable news gasbags on TV going after each other.  Turn them off.  Once you do, you can form your own opinion without all that crap cluttering up your analytical thought processes.  Let the right and left fight it out while you focus on more important things.

On to more important things:

Yesterday, Derek Lowe at In The Pipeline posted on the absurd number of meetings that those of us in the corporate world have to attend:

Here’s a problem that I’ve seen at every company I’ve worked at, and there are good reasons to believe that it afflicts every company out there. That’s because I think it’s grounded in human nature: dog-and-pony-itis.

That’s the phrase I use for what happens to meetings over time. Many readers will be familiar with the process: a company gradually accumulates regular meetings on its internal calendar – project team meetings, individual chemistry and biology meetings inside that, overall review meetings, resourcing, planning, interdisciplinary meetings. . .everyone who’s anyone, in some companies, has to be calling a meeting of their very own.

Eventually, someone says “Enough!” and purges the schedule, replacing the tangle of overlapping meetings with A Brand New Meeting or two. These will actually discuss issues, for once, and people are encouraged to actually say what’s really going on with their projects. For once. And who knows, maybe that’s the case (for once) – but it doesn’t last.

Because every time, in my experience, the Brand New Meeting itself starts to collect barnacles. Over time, it becomes less useful, and more of a show. The music starts up, the Pomeranian dogs start hopping around and barking, and the trained horses make their entrance from the wings. It becomes more expedient to just get up and tell people the broad strokes of a project, especially the broad strokes that are actually working, and leave the messy details out. And gradually, other meetings spring up to try to take up the slack, since nothing ever seems to get done at the Brand New. . .

You’ve been there, right?  If you have any suggestions, send them to Derek.  My pet peeve is borg like IT departments who seem determined to make you fit into their one-size-fits-all computer build, forcing you to do endless workarounds that  impact productivity, which the MBAs are always screaming about.  What I find really annoying about this is that MBAs are constantly reshuffling the deck chairs to (try to) make us more productive (without any real inkling of what their business is about or how it really works) but they weirdly seem to overlook the IT department.  Selective pressure is constantly applied to the rest of us in a sort of Malthusian catastrophe scenario, taking out the good with the bad and making us to (even) more with fewer people (than we had when it was just merely difficult but is now next to impossible) but the IT department is given some miraculous exemption so that they may continue on as the neanderthals they are without ever having to evolve.  I heard similar complaints from people from other pharmas at the conference I attended last week but in this case, misery did not add to a sense of comraderie but continued frustration and despair.  There is simply no getting around the IT mafia and they are making our work so hard to do that some R&D users at other companies have literally begged the sys admins to disconnect them from the corporate network.

I don’t know what the IT department has on the MBAs (take that back.  I *can* imagine what they have, actually) but the ongoing ability of the MBAs to overlook the IT mafia is baffling and counterproductive.  As one colleague of mine noted yesterday, we’re constantly under threat of being outsourced if we don’t perform but IT never is.  Why can’t we shop around for out own IT vendors, especially if our business unit performs a particular kind of function with our computers that is 95% different than the typical Microsoft Excel user?  Good question.  I’m going to bring it up at the next Town Hall meeting.  It sounds innocuous enough.  You can’t *possibly* be fired for asking something like that.  Right?  RIGHT??

What are your pet business bugaboos or latest MBA Bull from on high that has your knickers in a twist?

In other news:

Commence the Kabuki!  In a sign of things to come, the House has repealed the Health Care Reform Act passed last year annnnd the Senate refuses to put it on the agenda.  From the NYTimes:

Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Senate have said that they will not act on the repeal measure, effectively scuttling it.

While conceding that reality, House Republicans said they would press ahead with their “repeal and replace” strategy. But the next steps will be much more difficult, as they try to forge consensus on alternatives emphasizing “free market solutions” to control health costs and expand coverage.

{{snort!}} Republicans just kill me with their sense of humor.  The health care reform bill passed last year *was* a “free market solution”.  It was about as free market as you can get and still call it reform.  Once again, Democrats have failed to capitalize on this fact.  They should be playing up the free market aspects while everyone comes to hate, hate, HATE the bill.  That way they can say, “See?  This is what Republicans say they wanted.  It’s free market.  They didn’t want competition from a public option or anything that would actually make it less expensive and more efficient for you, the consumer.  Why are the Republicans whining about it now?  What do Republicans want??”  Anyway, the reality is that open enrollment is over for the year so we’re stuck with the increased costs of coverage without any significant increases in, er,  coverage.  Well, except for the coverage of kids until they’re 26, which will be great for Brooke but sucks for all of those kids who just aged out and who weren’t covered in the past several years.  No soup for you.  It’s particularly tough on girls whose cost for insurance on the free market is absurdly high for minimal coverage.  I suppose that goes with the risk of pregnancy, which could be avoided if the health insurance plan covers the cost of birth control and abortion.

Speaking of abortion, the recent discovery of the abortion clinic from hell in Philadelphia invalidates any argument the antiabortion crew can come up with.  An abortion clinic was closed down recently when a raid conducted for illegal drugs unintentionally uncovered aseptic conditions so horrific it makes the stomach churn.  This excerpt of the grand jury indictment from Jeralyn is not for the squeamish:

The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.

The people who ran this sham medical practice included no doctors other than Gosnell himself, and not even a single nurse. Two of his employees had been to medical school, but neither of them were licensed physicians….Among the rest of the staff, there was no one with any medical licensing or relevant certification at all. But that didn’t stop them from making diagnoses, performing procedures, administering drugs.

The AP story says that women from the NJ suburbs were ushered into slightly cleaner areas of the clinic for their late term abortions because they were wealthier and more likely to file a complaint.

It’s outrageous that women get treated like subhuman animals by these criminals and by the states themselves that force the more desperate and poor to wait until it’s too late before they have the money to undergo these unsafe and unsanitary procedures.  As the indictment says, “Pennsylvania is not a third world country” but this is where the antiabortion fanatics are taking us.  And it’s not like they don’t know better.  Many of the most fervent antiabortion foes are women my mom’s age who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and have no illusions about what they are forcing on younger, desperate women.  You have to wonder what is motivating them to force us back to the bad old days.  But abortions will never end no matter how illegal they are.  This clinic gives us living proof of what is to come.  It is inevitable and Roe v. Wade can not stand in its way.  Ironically, Roe may be exacerbating the situation because it is easy to chip away at the exercise of reproductive rights without actually taking Roe away.  Roe is an incredibly weak and polarizing law. Women have to stop relying on it and refight this battle all over again using stronger arguments, laws and even an equal rights amendment.  Until then, expect to find a lot more of these clinics showing up in the news.

Joe Lieberman is retiring.  yay.  This news is anticlimactic.  He’s done his bit for the insurance industry and now he can leave.  Great.  Don’t let the door hit ya':

Lieberman’s decision “enables him for the next two years to be an honest broker between Democrats and Republicans on issues that matter to him (stop laughing)— on national security, the debt issue and the environment,” said a Lieberman aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not been made.

Kent Conrad, a blue dog from North Dakota, is also retiring.  Stu Rothenberg says that this will make it harder for the Democrats to keep their majority in the Senate.

What majority?  Last session, they had a filibuster proof 60 seats and it *still* wasn’t enough.  To have a real majority, any party has to out number the Republicans by a ratio of roughly 2:1. (Sorry, Tea Party lurkers.  You can’t join with Republicans to make them listen to you.  They are not on your side and haven’t been in about a century.) So, the loss of Lieberman and Rothenberg doesn’t mean squat.  The Democrats and the country has to get really serious about tossing Republicans out if they want to get stuff done for average Americans.  Prophylactic:  If you don’t like Democrats that much in majority, there’s no law that says you can’t start another party that can form a coalition with the Democrats to make Republicans a minority party for generations to come.  It’s a given that there will be substantial push back from both parties but, realistically, what choice is there?  You can either whine about it or do something about it.  Don’t like to vote for either party?  Field your own candidates.

In more promising news, Roche and Plexxicon have developed a new melanoma drug that significantly prolongs life, at least temporarily.  Of course, the clinical trials come with a price.  Some of the most desperately ill patients were given placebo.  This is a harsh but necessary reality in the discovery of new drugs.  The good news is that the FDA asked the companies involved to expedite the analysis of the trials so that patients in the placebo arm of the trial could cross over and receive the therapy.  So, kudos to Plexxicon and Roche- for now.  Don’t look over your shoulders, guys. Oncology R&D is very competitive right now and we’re all very busy.  Bwahahahahahhhhhh!

The NYTimes has a photo essay on the unemployed of Rockford, Illinois and links it to a story on how the White House is right on that unemployment thing!  uh-huh.  Where have I been hearing that the SOTU address is going to emphasize the deficit and shock doctrine solutions?

LOTs of good stuff in science today:

Nanopolymers can twist themselves into braid like structures.  Tres cool.

A new paper in Nature uncovers the process of transcription from DNA to RNA in the cell:

The main way the genome is “read” in a cell is through its transcription into RNA, the researchers explained. Until now, scientists have been able to detect which RNAs were produced, but have had a limited view of how much of the genome was being decoded, or “transcribed,” or what controls how fast these RNAs are made. The new technique enables them to watch this process directly.

“This lets you capture the cell in the process of turning the DNA into RNA at unprecedented resolution,” said Jonathan S. Weissman, PhD, a professor in the UCSF Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and senior author on the paper. “Before, we were typically studying the end product. Now, we can directly watch how these RNA messages are produced in vivo.”

And astronomers are busily coloring the night sky.  Coming soon to an app near you!

And now for something musical to get your mind humming throughout the day:

Please note:  This is a Palin free post and thread.

Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

Barack Obama had an op-ed piece in yesterday’s WSJ. In it he says we need to balance regulation with businesses need to create jobs and, well, make lots of money. For example:

Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. At other times, we have failed to meet our basic responsibility to protect the public interest, leading to disastrous consequences. Such was the case in the run-up to the financial crisis from which we are still recovering. There, a lack of proper oversight and transparency nearly led to the collapse of the financial markets and a full-scale Depression.

Over the past two years, the goal of my administration has been to strike the right balance. And today, I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government.

This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth. And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. It’s a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades.

Note that this move is right as Republican’s take over the House and have increased numbers in the Senate, with momentum at their back. So as we see and have seen before, Obama is moving to compromise and move to the right even before debate begins on the topic. That is of course not surprising to us as we’ve noticed his right leanings from before the primaries. This problem is also noticed at Salon:

But on the day before House Republicans are expected to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, primarily on the specious grounds that it is a “job-killing” regulatory Frankenstein, the White House’s decision to suddenly be concerned about the right balance between public safety and commerce is strange and discomfiting. The big battles of the next two years are going to be all about defending the regulatory achievements of the Obama administration — healthcare reform and bank reform — in addition to ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency isn’t hamstrung by Republican opposition as it carries out its Supreme Court mandate to treat greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

The Salon article goes on to make the case that this is a terrible fumble by Obama:

The strategy is unfathomable, and the notion that we must now seek to strike the “proper” balance — as if the proponents of greater regulation had been carrying the day in recent years — is just plain nutty.

Here we go again. Why do they keep being deluded with example after example, with signal after signal, with appointment after appointment? Deluded that Obama is left leaning? That he’s even liberal? Other than a few speeches, just words, what in his past would lead them to think this? Haven’t they noticed who funded him, who basically created him? Why do we keep having these perfect examples, perfect demonstrations of who Obama really is only to have places like Salon or HuffPo or others gasp, act surprised, and shake their heads thinking he’s made a mistake or is getting bad advice.

No, it’s not a mistake. It’s not nutty. It’s not a fumble. This is who Obama is. It’s who he has always been. How many more examples do you people need? Have you bothered to read the health care bill or noticed who wrote it? Did you not notice the tax cut for the very wealthy. Did you not notice the lack of regulations or strings attached with the financial bailouts. This stuff has been from day 1 people.


In related news, we’re going to see a new tone as the Republicans make noises like they want to repeal the health insurance lobbies hard fought victory represented by the Obamacare bill:

Obama issued a statement late Tuesday said he is “willing and eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act. But we can’t go backward.”

Republicans largely ignored an attempt by Democrats to rename the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” to temper the language following the Arizona shooting this month that killed six and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

But Republicans now mainly refer to the “job-destroying” health care law.

“Obviously there are strong feelings on both sides of the bill and we expect the debate to ensue along policy lines,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader. “We are going to be about decency here and engage and promote an active debate on policy.”

Of course what they want to do is repeal any good parts of the bill. And there may even be a few good parts stuck in there against the wishes of the lobbyists who wrote most of the bill. Republicans don’t really have the numbers to do anything in this round of kabuki theater. So this show is about setting the stage for later “compromises” and possible defunding efforts. Which sadly Obama will likely to all to wiling to go along with.


Another front in the battle Republicans are waging against the working class should be of no surprise. Obama set up Elizabeth Warren in a pseudo position just for the purpose of giving the Republicans something to knock down. And that process looks to be starting soon:

The chairman of a financial services oversight panel sent a letter to Elizabeth Warren, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying he is skeptical of the new bureau’s very existence and demanded details about how it will operate.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who chairs an oversight panel of the Financial Services Committee, said in the letter sent Tuesday that he thinks Warren is “tasked with executing a fatally flawed plan.”

He then asked Warren to answer three pages worth of questions about the new bureau. Some of the queries are operational, including how Warren will staff and organize the agency. Others are more broad, inviting her to explain how Congress should best perform its oversight role, given the body is not funded through the traditional appropriations process.

Neugenbauer also wants details on meetings Warren has held with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, and other financial regulatory agencies.

“What policies are in place to avoid potential duplicative, conflicting or overlapping rulemaking that are currently underway, but will ultimately be under the regulatory authority of the CFPB?” he asked.

He concludes asking Warren to explain how she plans to “avoid the kind of over-regulation that might stifle innovation.”

And so it begins. The only hope we have of some sanity in consumer protection and financial regulations is about to be taken out. And it appears to have been planned this way from the beginning.


As mentioned last night, Joe Lieberman has announced he won’t run for a fifth term. Which means he’ll server two more years. Does that mean he’s planning on running for President? Does that mean he’ll join whoever the Republican party bosses select for their presidential candidate on the ticket as VP? Or maybe he’ll just head over to K-street and collect is rewards.

Also mentioned last night, Sargent Shriver died at age 95. And Don Kirshner died at age 77.


In strange political news, “Baby Doc” Duvalier decided to return to Haiti – never a good idea if you stole nearly 1B. And now he has been arrested and charged with corruption:

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was charged with corruption and the theft of his country’s meagre funds last night after the former Haitian dictator was hauled before a judge in Port-au-Prince

Two days after his return to the country he left following a brutal 15-year rule, a noisy crowd of his supporters protested outside the state prosecutor’s office while he was questioned over accusations that he stole public funds and committed human rights abuses after taking over as president from his father in 1971.

“His fate is now in the hands of the investigating judge. We have brought charges against him,” said Port-au-Prince’s chief prosecutor, Aristidas Auguste.

He said his office had filed charges against Duvalier, 59, of corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds and other alleged crimes committed during his period in power.

What was he thinking?


After Goldman Sachs invested gobs of money in Facebook with the intent to offer investment opportunities here and abroad, they’ve decided not here. Mostly to skirt around some SEC requirements. You know, being the upstanding corporate citizens that they are:

There was another question about the planned Facebook stock offering that went beyond whether the social media leader is a good investment now or if it’s overpriced. A more serious issue was how investment banker Goldman Sachs was structuring a “private placement” deal to skirt U.S. securities law.

Now it seems Goldman Sachs has decided that “intense media attention” no longer made it worthwhile to go forward with offering a piece of Facebook in the U.S.

Does that mean the deal is over? Does it mean that Facebook will do a deal in the U.S. with proper financial disclosure?

Unfortunately, neither. Instead, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Facebook will go ahead with its private stock sale but exclude U.S. investors from the deal.

“In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, Goldman said the move came after officials at the New York securities firm ‘concluded the level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a U.S. private placement under U.S. law,’ ” Aaron Lucchetti reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Under the planned offering, only wealthy clients of the investment firm would have been allowed to purchase a piece of Facebook. The arrangement sounded fairly complex; but basically, the idea was to put all the Goldman investors into a single fund and then count that fund as “one” investor. Why? By doing so, they would get around required public financial disclosures for any company with 500 or more investors. (There was more money coming in from another investment firm in Russia.)

Money for nothing and the clicks are free. Yea, I just made that up. TM by DT. So we the taxpayers make all this possible because they have our money backing them up allowing them to make riskier deals, and the deals they make are not just risky, but they’re fashioned only around the wealthiest clients. And the funny part here, it looks like it’s going to make suckers and losers out of these wealthy clients because they may be making yet another bubble with what they’re doing, that will just pop down the road. Time will tell.

And speaking of Facebook, they were planning on opening up users phone numbers and addresses to third parties, but have backed down, for now, after some complaints:

Just before the weekend, Facebook announced that it had expanded the information users are able to share with external websites and applications, to include home addresses and mobile phone numbers.

This enables developers of e.g. an ecommerce site to more easily fetch the address and phone number of a potential customer to streamline the checkout process.

For the record: users needed to explicitly opt to share this data before any application or website could access it, and they were evidently not able to share their friends’ addresses or mobile phone numbers with applications.

Sure enough, the dialog box (see below) wasn’t super clear about that, so Facebook was unequivocally opening itself up for a new sh*tshorm to hit the deck.

This morning, Facebook announced that it has temporarily disabled the sharing feature, looking to relaunch it in the next few weeks after making some changes.

Facebook dubs these future changes ‘improvements’ repeatedly, but of course the company is responding to the wave of criticism it has received for quietly releasing the new sharing feature, on a Friday evening no less.

I suspect they’ll enable it. But perhaps just add a bit more complexity to the privacy settings systems so there is an additional way to opt out. If you can figure it out of course.

That’s a bit of what’s in the news this morning. Chime in with what you’re reading.

Jane said Lieberman should have abided by the results of the CT primary

Yep. She was pretty steamed when Joe Lieberman decided not to abide by the results of the CT primary back in 2006. Jane was majorly pissed off. The woman just wouldn’t let up. It was an outrage when Joe Lieberman decided to substitute his judgment for the Democratic primary voters of CT in 2006. Jane was a woman on a rampage with missionary zeal. She would not stand for it. How dare Lieberman, Rape-Gurney Joe, ignore all of those Lamont voters and flip them the bird? How dare Chuck Shumer turn a blind eye to the innocent voters of CT?

Even before the primary, Jane was screaming for Joe Lieberman to do the right thing if he lost.  This is from Jane’s infamous blackface post:

E.J. Dionne repeats a piece of conventional wisdom that irks the hell out of me every time I hear it – if Lieberman loses the primary and runs as an independent it will distract everyone from the true villain, the GOP, and therefore we should just give him a pass.

Balderdash.  Lieberman has been an integral part of the GOP’s bully machine for the past six years, the Democrat useful for his willingness to dicipline his own kind.  Ned Lamont is running a legitimate primary contest and Joe is refusing to abide by the results of that primary.  As Lowell Weicker said the other day, when he became an independent he didn’t screw with the Republican primary first (my words not his) he just left.  Joe is mucking up the Democratic primary and then abandoning the party to attack it from the outside.  How this is the fault of Ned Lamont or his supporters I would very much like to know.

Tsk-tsk, Jane.  You sound bitter.  Odd, I remember defending your blackface post.  I thought it was a clever visual metaphor that perfectly illustrated the offensive nature of Lieberman’s pandering.  We all know now that not only is the definition of racism fluid but that it can also be used as a convenient cudgel to bludgeon your opponents into silence.

But wait!  There’s more.  Because Christy Hardin Smith, who I always liked, was practically joined at the hip with Jane back in 2006.  They tag teamed each other.  Christy was the legal, logical one while Jane lead from the gut.  What was Christy’s take on Joe’s Connecticut for Lieberman third party run for the Senate?

From Christy Hardin Smith in the post Lamont Wins:

Joe Lieberman is on C-Span right now thumbing his nose at the Democratic voters and the Democratic party, and announcing his run independent from the party. He’s saying he wants to “unite not divide.” This speech is right out of the Karl Rove playbook. Word on the street in Connecticut is that Lieberman will be running as an independent with Republican backing. Any doubts that his loyalty first and foremost is to Joe Lieberman, whatever it takes?

The question is: where will the DSCC and the party leadership be on this tomorrow? They had better be out in front and supporting the winner of the Democratic primary.

Jane called to say that Ned Lamont will be down to speak shortly. Here’s hoping that Democrats with some level of respect for their party, and with a healthy respect for the voters in the state of Connecticut, have a strong word with Joe Lieberman between now and tomorrow morning.

And here’s more from Christy from It’s a Win!:

Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary. And if he has so little respect for the voters in that primary that he will not abide by the results, then the party leadership must show him the door. To do otherwise would be to sanction cheating Democratic voters of their rightful say in the party process — and would render the party leadership moot.  That is true whether Ned Lamont won by one vote — or by several thousand.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Christy.

This is almost exactly the problem we faced in the 2008 primary.  Let’s do the math.

Hillary Clinton went to the convention in Denver in 2008 with 1730 delegates.  Barack Obama went there with 1747 delegates.  He had a lead of 17 delegates.  That’s a difference of .97%.

Why did it look like Obama had such a commanding lead before he got to the convention?  It’s because of the way MI was apportioned.  Obama got 55 uncommitted delegates from MI and 4 of Hillary’s delegates.  But they and Florida’s delegates were at half strength.  So, Hillary’s numbers and critical mass always looked less than Obama’s.

But the party knew that it couldn’t go to the convention with Florida and Michigan’s voters at half strength.  That could have been an electoral disaster in November.  So, the Sunday before the convention began, they quietly restored the delegates of those two states to full strength.  Voila!  Hillary and Obama are almost equal in elected delegates.  But by then, the media narrative was set, which was all the DNC really cared about.  Even though Hillary technically won the primaries because Obama should never have gotten the uncommitted delegates from MI in the first place, she lost momentum.  The media put everyone else on mute.  The convention steam rolled right over the Clinton primary voters.

Know how I know?  Because I voted for her in NJ, a state she won by 10 points.  And here’s what happened at the roll call at minute mark 49:00:

Our former governor, who no one showed up to vote for last November, gave all 127 delegates to Barack Obama.  I don’t remember giving up my vote to Barack Obama.  The voters of NJ were not consulted. Hillary didn’t get a single delegate from New Jersey or New York or many other states that voted overwhelmingly for her.  Out of the 1730 delegates she went to the convention with, she got  341 votes at the roll call.

341 out of 1730 delegates.

As Christy said, failure to abide by the results of a primary ” would be to sanction cheating Democratic voters of their rightful say in the party process — and would render the party leadership moot.”

Obama didn’t win MI.  He wasn’t even on the ballot.  Why didn’t Jane tell Obama to stop playing games with the voters and abide by the results of the Michigan primary?

He lost Florida by 17 points.  Why didn’t Jane insist that Obama abide by the results of the Florida primary?

Even Jane knows that what happened at the RBC meeting was shady at best and outright vote theft at worst.  But Jane was OK with it when it happened to Hillary.  The old Jane would have been on fire about what happened to Hillary’s voters.  The 2008 Jane?  Not so much.  Because if Hillary’s voters had been treated fairly and with respect, there’s a good possibility that Obama might have lost.  OMG!  We couldn’t have that.

What did that “class of women” know about politics?  It was Jane’s responsibility to take the burden of self-determination from their slender shoulders and relieve their feeble brains from all of that stuff.

Bullshit.

Jane  has lost all credibility with us now.  Nothing she says or emails or pleads to us will make a damn bit of difference.  She was willing to overlook the smarmy, unethical, nasty, cheating tactics of her party and its Lightbringer who never protested once any of the disgusting things that party did on his behalf.   And for that reason, Jane will continue to fail at moving the Democratic party to recognize her or listen to her complaints or do anything she wants.  She gave it permission to ignore her and any voter who inconveniently gets in its way.

Jane is a world class hypocrite.

Of course, if she threw her blog to Obama just to keep the money pouring in, that would be worse.

Matt Yglesias tells the rest of us to “Grow up”

Matt Yglesias and, I suspect, the rest of the Obama Movement “intelligentsia” are having a fit because some Americans have decided to sit out the elections next year.  He shakes his tiny fists and wails at Think Progress:

So it’s also worth sparing a few words for the potentially demoralized voters who are considering staying home. To wit: Grow up. Nobody ever accomplished anything in politics by not participating. Going to vote on Election Day is not a monumental demand on your time, and there is not a single problem in American public policy that will be made easier to solve if liberal stay home on Election Day. If you contribute money or time to political campaigns and you’re disappointed with people you’ve given to or volunteered for in the past, you should of course feel free to decline to offer your cash and services in the future. But you shouldn’t just get depressed and stay home, you should probably write a note and send it in the mail explaining exactly why you won’t be donating this time and laying out which other, more progressive member you’re choosing to support instead. And on Election Day you should go vote for the better candidate and hope he or she wins. Successful from-the-left primary challenges can do good, but letting the worse candidate win a general election isn’t going to make anything better.

I hope Matt and I never meet in a dark alley.

Let me take this on in a few crucial sections.

First, Matt tells us to “Grow Up”.  I’m not sure that he’s actually referring to me specifically because I may vote next year, though I will probably never vote for one of the two major parties ever again.  I am certainly not apathetic but I understand the people who are.  Matt and his friends forced Obama on us in spite of 18 million primary votes that showed we preferred someone else.  And it’s not like we didn’t desperately need a Democrat.  Presumably, those 18 million of us had to put up with eight f%^&ing years of George Bush and his vengeful, authoritarian, cold, heartless administration.  There is no love lost between Bush and us.  We hated the Republican bastards.  But Matt and his friends HAD to have their way.  And they weren’t nice about it.  The primaries were nasty, alienating and separated the party into two parts: the triumphant ones, of which Matt is a part, and the LOSERS, that would be us.  Then, the triumphant ones stomped all over us.  They called us racists.  Well, they still do.  And they think we’re old, female and stupid.  They took our votes and trashed them.  They humiliated our candidate at the convention and denied her a roll call vote.  What we witnessed at the convention looked like a hostage crisis not an exercise in democracy.  Then, just to put the cherry on the sundae, they had Jon Favreau pose with a cut out of Clinton where he’s grasping her breast.  I’d be naive if I believed that that photo wasn’t staged just so the rest of us women got the picture- literally.

And Matt is telling US to “Grow up”?  Do these actions sound like the behavior of adults?  And now Matt and his buddies are having a hissy fit because those of us with real jobs who are about to lose them and families whose kids need braces and houses that are about to go into arears look back on the past year and despair.  We were not Obama’s favored ones.  The bonus class is.  While we watch as our jobs are outsourced to India, Obama refuses to crack down on the bankers who are sitting on our money so we can create new businesses.  As we watch our 401K’s barely recover and tenuously stabilize, we anxiously await the next crisis that will wipe our savings out and yet we have to worry about some idiot commission removing the last barrier between poverty and social security.  We watch helplessly as our instructions on health care are ignored while Joe Lieberman threatens to filibuster anything that will decrease the profits of the insurance industry.  And the president is asking Harry Reid to give into Holy Joe?  What the hell is going on here?  What is Obama’s real motivation?  To have “health care” as his signature issue  even if it’s meaningless so it can’t be challenged by Hillary?  Is that what this is all about?  Stopping a Draft Hillary movement in its tracks?

Let’s talk about Joe Lieberman for a moment because Matt says that if we don’t like a politician that is getting in our way, we can always vote him out in the primary.

In 2006, I went to Connecticut at Jane Hamsher’s invitation.  I walked the streets of Meriden and all those little towns in the weekend before the primary for Ned Lamont.  Lamont won that primary, remember?  We were the little people who could,  We made a difference and changed the narrative of 2006.  Suddenly, the war was on everyone’s mind.  That was what helped anti-war Democrats get elected to Congress and changed the dynamic in DC.  Or so we hoped.  They let us down, but I digress.

But Joe Lieberman wasn’t done.  No, he had help from Chuck Schumer and others to mount a campaign as a third party candidate.  Joe Lieberman with the help of the Democratic party nullified the primary result.  Joe Lieberman took the party’s money in the primary and then did not abide by the primary results.  It was foreshadowing.  Because the party did a similar nullification of the party faithful’s votes in NJ, NY, PA, MA, CA, TX and a bunch of other states who voted for Hillary in 2008 by suppressing her victories in MI and FL.

Here’s the thing, Matt: you can’t tell people to spend their electoral and emotional capital on candidates who they like and then pull the rug out from under them without consequences.  You can’t insist on an empty suit for President and promise Change! and transformation and then not deliver for the electorate after you’ve made them abandon who they really want without some of those people giving up on you.  And you can’t tell a country that they have no choice and expect them to feel like they are still free.

The Democratic party has engaged in a process of teaching their constituents learned helplessness. It has over and over again raised expectations and then dashed them.  It has asked for our input as a formality and then ignored it.  It has belittled and demeaned and made inconsequential the lives of average voters and their families.  Now, those same voters, seeing no reason to expend any more energy on a pointless game they cannot participate in has decided to sit it out.

Your buddies are in deep trouble now by their own doing.  Don’t blame the electorate for not caring whether you stay in power or not.  They don’t exist for your wish fulfillment.  They’ve got more important things to do with their time, like figuring out how to make a living without your help.  Your party, which *used* to be my party, has a leadership vacuum.  You quashed the one leader you had and now, who among your ranks has the moral authority to lead us through this mess of a recession?  There is no one.  The electorate is just responding to the grim reality of the situation you and your childish enthusiasm have created for them.

Grow up, Matt.  You reap what you sow.

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Monday Midday: Zombietime News and Views

This is how I feel this morning

Hello Conflucians!! I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’ve been sitting here staring off into space like a zombie since I woke up at 7AM Eastern time. The only time I’ve gotten up was to make a cup of tea and go to the bathroom. I guess it’s the end-of-the-semester syndrome–nearly compete emotional, physical, and spiritual burnout.

Here are a few interesting stories for you to discuss when you finish reacting to myiq’s post–maybe seeing that headline about Obama’s grade for his first year that bumped me into zombieland. B+?! What is that guy on? We’re in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, real unemployment is around 20%, the banksters are being bolstered by Obama’s free hand with the U.S. Treasury, health care reform is dead for at least another decade, and Congress is pushing for cuts in Social Security and Medicare. In my gradebook, that would be grounds for an F.

Anyway…where was I? Oh yeah. Headlines…..


Developing nations walked out of the Copenhagen climate talks this morning:

A little more here

THE Copenhagen climate summit is in chaos after poor countries walked out of negotiations en masse today.

The G77, a group which represents 130 developing countries, walked out because it is concerned the existing Kyoto protocol will be abandoned.

Australia’s Climate Change Minister Penny Wong confirmed that organisers were trying to fix the problem and coax back the developing world.

Many countries at the UN climate summit want a brand new treaty to tackle climate change, but the developing world wants the Kyoto protocol to continue as well.

The protocol forces rich countries to reduce or limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

Senator Wong said the walkout was “most unfortunate”.

“It is regrettable that we appear to have reached a gridlock on process,” she said.

I was getting excited, but the developing nations have already walked back in:

Developing nations return to Copenhagen climate talks

Talks at the UN climate summit resumed on Monday afternoon after protests from developing nations forced a suspension.

But talks have been limited to informal consultations on procedural issues, notably developing countries’ demands for more time on the Kyoto Protocol.

The G77-China bloc, speaking for developing countries, said the Danish hosts had violated democratic process.

Some delegates talked forlornly of the vast amount of negotiating left to be done before the summit concludes.

The countries that suspended co-operation were those which make up the G77-China bloc of 130 nations. These range from wealthy countries such as South Korea, to some of the poorest states in the world.

Italy’s Berlusconi to stay in hospital after attack (with video)

Italian Prime Minister is in the hospital after having a statue thrown at his face.

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi will stay in hospital at least until Tuesday after having his nose broken by an attacker, doctors say.

A medical bulletin reported in the Italian media said Mr Berlusconi was able to eat, but only with difficulty.

Mr Berlusconi, 73, suffered a broken nose, two broken teeth and a cut lip after being hit with a model of Milan cathedral after a rally in the city.

A 42-year-old man was arrested and has been charged with aggravated assault.

The suspect, Massimo Tartaglia, was said by police to have had a history of mental illness, receiving treatment over a 10-year period.

Excuse me, I started laughing inappropriately and had to take a short break. {wiping tears away}


The Horrible Health Care Destruction Nightmare Continues unabated. Will it ever end?

Health Care Progress Report: December 14

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — one of the Democratic caucus members the plan was intended to appease — dropped a bombshell Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” when he said he would not vote for a bill that expands Medicare.

“From what I hear, I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did,” he said about the Medicare buy-in.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), another conservative who may or may not vote for the health care bill, said on “Face the Nation” that the Medicare buy-in is “the forerunner of single-payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option.”

WTF are Lieberman and Nelson doing in the Democratic party anyway?


Is Reid Cursed by the Lucky Number 60?

Sixty is the number of senators in the Democratic caucus, and the precise number needed to overcome Republican filibusters. It is the magic number of votes that Mr. Reid needs to pull together to advance major health care legislation.

In many ways, 60 is also a mirage – falsely raising Democratic hopes, particularly those of more liberal senators, that they have the muscle to push the health care bill without making painful concessions to centrists in both parties.

To be sure, controlling 60 votes has generally been advantageous to the Democrats. They have repeatedly cleared procedural obstacles that Republicans set in their path, even on routine bills that ultimately are approved by overwhelming majorities.

But on the health care bill, in particular, the notion of nominally controlling 60 votes has emboldened many Democrats, especially liberals, to make demands that they might otherwise have regarded as unreasonable if their party held even one less seat.

WTF?!! Wanting Americans to have reasonably priced health care like the civilized countries do is “unreasonable?” Maybe it’s reading assinine stories like this every day that is making me feel like a zombie.

ProPublica.org is running a series of stories on police misconduct after Hurricate Katrina–highly recommended.

<a href=”After Katrina, police shot first and asked few questions.“>After Katrina, NO police shot first and asked few questions

Matt McDonald left his native Connecticut and headed to New Orleans in the summer of 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck and floodwaters engulfed the city. McDonald was a troubled soul, a heavy drinker who had lived on the streets, but he kept in touch with his family, calling from time to time.

After the storm, his brother John, an auto-body technician who lives in Norwich, Conn., began working the phones, reaching out to anyone in Louisiana he thought might know something. “I heard so many different things,” John McDonald recalled.

John McDonald’s wife, Kerry, spent the next month making one phone call after another. “It was such a big runaround,” said Kerry McDonald, who recalled speaking to FEMA officials, American Red Cross staffers, New Orleans police officers and numerous others. “One person would say he was shot to death; the next would say he was found floating.”

Eventually, despite the conflicting stories, one thing became clear: Matt was dead at 41. His body was identified by several distinctive tattoos, including the name of his daughter, Crystal, and a pair of black bat wings.

His girlfriend, Martha Dziadul, paid to cremate the body.

Four years later, a reporter looking at the conduct of the Police Department in the aftermath of the hurricane called Dziadul to ask whether she had ever seen the official report on McDonald’s death. The document said a police officer armed with an AR-15 assault rifle had shot him to death on Sept. 3, 2005.

She was staggered. “They never, ever told me the police shot him. They told me it was a homicide,” she said. “They said: We don’t even know what day it happened because we weren’t there.”

Shot or Not, Dead or Alive? Two Men’s Fate Lost in Chaos

A motionless body lay on the pavement. Perhaps 20 riled-up police officers milled around. On the shoulder of the road, an RTA bus was parked at a crazy angle, like a dislocated elbow. Nearby was a long white limousine, crashed into a pole.

What had we stumbled upon?

Then there were guns aimed at us, and my face was pushed against a wall. I heard lots of shouting and cursing.

It was three days after the levees broke: Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 — in my limited view, the day things completely fell apart in New Orleans.

The desperation was mounting. The cavalry wasn’t coming, it seemed. We were in it alone.

The heat was brutal, punishing. Supplies were minimal, and shrinking.

Can any country that permits this kind of abuse and neglect of its people survive? I honestly don’t think so.

There are a couple of terrific opinion pieces at Truthdig today:

Scott Ritter on Afghanistan: Our Murderers in the Sky

The true test of a society and its leaders is the extent to which every effort is made to both properly define a problem as one worthy of military intervention and then exhaust every option other than the use of force. It is true that President Barack Obama inherited the war in Afghanistan from his predecessor and therefore cannot be held accountable for that which transpired beyond his ability to influence. But the president’s recent decision to “surge” 30,000 additional U.S. military troops into Afghanistan transfers ownership of the Afghan conflict to him and him alone. It is in this light that his decision must be ultimately judged.

In many ways, Obama’s presentation before the Long Gray Line at West Point, in which he explained his decision to conduct the Afghanistan surge, represented an insult to the collective intelligence of the American people. The most egregious contradiction in his speech was the notion that the people of Afghanistan, who, throughout their history, have resisted central authority whether emanating from Kabul or imposed by outside invaders, would somehow be compelled to embrace this new American plan.

Chris Hedges: Gravel’s Lament: Fighting Another Dumb War

I have spent enough time inside the American military to have tasted its dark brutality, frequent incompetence and profligate ability to waste human lives and taxpayer dollars. The deviousness and stupidity of generals, the absurdity of most war plans and the pathological addiction to violence—which is the only language most who command our armed forces are able to understand—make the American military the gravest threat to our anemic democracy, especially as we head toward economic collapse.

Barack Obama, who is as mesmerized by the red, white and blue bunting draped around our vast killing machine as the press, the two main political parties and our entertainment industry, will not halt our doomed imperial projects or renege on the $1 trillion in defense-related spending that is hollowing out the country from the inside. A plague of unchecked militarism has seeped outward from the Pentagon since the end of World War II and is now sucking our marrow dry. It is a familiar disease in imperial empires. We are in the terminal stage. We spend more on our military—half of all discretionary spending—than all of the other countries on Earth combined, although we face no explicit threat.

Mike Gravel, the former two-term senator from Alaska and 2008 presidential candidate, sat Saturday on a park bench in Lafayette Park facing the White House. Gravel and I were in the park, along with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and other anti-war activists, to denounce the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at a sparsely attended rally. Few voices in American politics have been as consistent, as reasoned and as moral as his, which is why Gravel, on a chilly December morning, is in front of the White House, not inside it.

Hedges is one powerful writer!

Please add more links in the comments. I’m sure I missed something big….

HAVE A MARVELOUS MONDAY!!!!!!!!!

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It Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

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Remember the good old days when the nutroots declared that Holy Joe Lieberman was a heretic who had to be excommunicated from the Democratic party?  Today at FullyDerangedLunatics:

Joe Lieberman’s 2006 primary campaign manager, Sean Smith, who accused Ned Lamont of hacking their website the day of the Connecticut primary in 2006, has been selected to be the new Administration’s spokesperson at the Department of Homeland Security.

These days it seems the Obamanationals are drinking more Kool-aid but enjoying it less.

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