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VP debate tonight and stray thought from 2008

Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate between Joe “the cop between my brain and my mouth is at the donut shop” Biden and Paul “Ayn Rand is my goddess” Ryan.  We should do another live blog but since the body language thing has become chic this year, maybe we should watch and listen this time.  OR, we could turn off the visuals and just listen.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that maybe one of the reasons Barack Obama did so poorly in his first debate appearance this year is because in 2008, he was actually running against Sarah Palin.  Oh sure he was.  That’s all the general campaign was about, how much smarter and more qualified Barack Obama was compared to Sarah Palin.  John McCain hardly entered the picture at all.  I think I noticed it back then too but it didn’t occur to me that this might be why his debate performances in 2008 were not a fiasco.  He was all confident and cocky about beating Sarah, that was the real race that his campaign had set up in everyone’s mind.

Plus, he was running a game of “whack a racist”.  ANY criticism of Obama was twisted to be a racial slur.  It was quite effective.  Combined with his race against Sarah, how was a liberal supposed to effectively evaluate Obama?  Any legitimate criticism of him was muted and he was running against a woman who the left had dehumanized and characterized as the stupidest person on the planet.

This year, it’s different.  Visually, Mitt is very presidential.  He’s a big, tall man with presidential hair and an engaging vital manner.  He’s also a Republican, which in my humble opinion, is unforgivable.  But that’s not the point.  As Obama supposedly believes, debates are sideshows.  From a policy perspective, they’re meaningless.  But I think they serve a purpose that can’t be underrated.  In the modern debate, we get as close as we can to hand to hand combat between chieftains of competing clans.  It *is* physical.  That’s why it was important that Michael Dukakis looked short, that Richard Nixon sweat and that Barack Obama looked like he didn’t want to be there.

It might have also done in Hillary because at 5’7″, she had to look feisty to compete with his taller frame and longer limbs. He took up more space and with a female opponent, he strut his macho stuff and acted dismissively when she talked. It might not have been enough that she was the smartest person in the room who had done her homework and could whip up a policy in 30 seconds flat.  To the liberals and progressives who were afraid of losing again, she had to look more like Boudicca than Hermione Granger.

Boudicca, ass-kicking queen of the Britons
(bears striking resemblance to Julia Gillard)

Nevertheless, she took him on and won her debates with him to such an extent that he refused to debate her again during the primaries after she beat him in Pennsylvania. He sought out a friendlier crowd in NC the next day to lick his wounds, flip her the bird and brush the dirt off his shoulders.  It has often been said that he doesn’t like confrontation and that NC appearance showed that he was much better at acting like the mean BMOC when he was with his adoring fans than taking her on and losing to her again.

It’s been awhile since I read MoDo but I dropped into her column yesterday and she seems to have matured ever so slightly.  She’s not so flip these days, probably because her mancrush in 2008 turned out to be far worse for women that the woman she mocked for two decades.  Maybe she’s learned her lesson.  She also seems more than a little alarmed.  Oh sure, Obama will do better next time.  Someone will have figured out how he’s supposed to debate a real general campaign opponent.  But MoDo suggests it’s more serious than that:

Just as Poppy Bush didn’t try as hard as he should have because he assumed voters would reject Slick Willie, Obama lapsed into not trying because he assumed voters would reject Cayman Mitt.

The president averted his eyes as glittering opportunities passed, even when Romney sent a lob his way with a reference to his accountant.

Obama has been coddled by Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who sat next to Michelle at the debate, instead of the more politically strategic choice of local pols and their spouses. Jarrett believes that everyone must woo the prodigy who deigns to guide us, not the other way around.

At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying “what was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.

The debate was an uncomfortable window into Obama’s style in all things presidential.  What is urgent to you is not an emergency to him.  He’s smaller than we thought, less secure, confident and sure of his experience.  He doesn’t look like the alpha male commanding his clan.  He’s the guy who seeks assistance from the moderator with ingratiating comments.  That Obama doesn’t stand a chance against a real presidential candidate and not the carefully crafted illusions his campaign spun for him to do battle with four years ago.  And that is the weak prince we have had in office for four years while the barbarians knocked down the gates.

In a way, a strong showing by Joe Biden this evening might just do Obama in.

*********************************
And here’s another quote from that MoDo column that I find deeply disturbing:

Once during the 2008 campaign, reading about all the cataclysms jolting the economy and the world, Obama joked to an adviser: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

Can someone confirm whether he really said that?
Unbelievable.

Friday: Found in the spam filter

In case there is any doubt that the left has a serious problem with women, I thought I would share this stinky piece of spam I found in our spam filter this morning.

The person who wrote this is too stupid to even think of a clever username.  He (it has to be a he) is coming from domain Hush.ai*.  Here’s the text of the spam:

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

RiverDaughter
RiverDaughter@Hush.ai
208.53.157.117

Yo, wasssup?! I just got done watching Game Change on HBO. Reminded me of when me and my bros pwned your site in the summer of 08 (we were doing the whole tag team faux-hacker thing via various proxy servers because your admin kept banning us/me, and you thought it was Team Obama trying to rile your silly site with all of 100 readers) because the PUMAs wanted to vote for McCain because Hillary didn’t get the nomination.

Seriously, can you now agree that your vote for McCain was wasted and would have put a dumb-ass cunt-a-zoid one heartbeat away from the office of POTUS?

We still have 9 months left until election day. Do you still want to make that bet? Really, you would want Palin to be your leader? Really? Really?!

Answer truthfully, or we will come back and pwn the shit of your site, silly-ass, angry old-ass beatches… Hollaaaaa….

We will pwn your site at will and cause serious dissension in your ranks. So you better answer honestly.

Where to start?

Yes, we do remember your silly games.  You didn’t upset us nearly as much as you think.

By the way, PUMA stands for Party Unity My Ass.  It was a response to the nauseating pressure on us to check our brains at the door of the voting booth and do as the party told us or be called racist, un-educated old ladies.  Well, we weren’t racist, uneducated old ladies but we were definitely right about Obama.  He’s an inexperienced, over his head, overly ambitious, mediocre at best, politician who was catastrophically miscast as president when our nation needed a more prepared leader.  And he doesn’t really work for us, so there’s that.  Don’t believe me?  Just try to get him to act like a Democrat.  We’ll wait.

We also weren’t pro McCain, although there were some people here who immediately decided to support him after the Democratic national convention.  Have you seen the pictures I took of Denver that week?  The police presence made an Occupy event look like a field day.  The Democrats brought in the fricking National Guard.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which party is engaged in a full-on suppression of Occupy Wall Street.  But whatever, some people supported McCain outright.  Some voted for him as a protest vote against the primary vote manipulation tactics of the Democrats and sat in their cars and cried afterwards.  Maybe YOU are willing to let your primary votes be given away to a candidate you didn’t vote for without a fight, but we weren’t.  And now, the parties might as well do away with the primary system.  It’s all rigged.  The answer is already known in advance and you the voter have no say in the matter.  I assume that’s ok with you.

As for Sarah Palin, there’s a difference between treating female politicians with respect and admiring them for their political views.  We tried very hard to do the respect thing, until she teamed up with Glenn Beck and put a target on Gabby Giffords home district.  I would call that foolish.  We never admired her for her political views but we don’t think it’s particularly helpful for the left to indulge in misogynistic attacks on her.  These attacks would include calling her stupid, even before it had any proof, or calling her a cunt, which I have trouble typing, much less saying.  That’s one of the words that even I, foul mouthed as I can be, find unacceptable.  It goes right up there with the word nigger, which I also don’t say and haven’t since I was 4 years old and had my mouth washed out with soap before I even knew what it meant.  I don’t know how YOU were brought up but there are certain things you aren’t even allowed to think much less say and one of those things is you never should call any woman a cunt.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.

I haven’t seen the HBO series, because having been laid off in the biggest decimation of the science industry in history during the Obama administration, I have been forced to cut the cord to save money. But knowing as I do that Obama has a well known problem attracting independent women who previously voted for Hillary Clinton, I’m not surprised this film was produced and aired.  The only problem is that Palin is not running this year.  Obama is.  I have to ask myself why the president of the United States and his party are still running against the has-been female governor of a rural state.  Confident and competent political leaders don’t need to pile on a former female politician who poses absolutely no electoral threat to them.  What’s the point unless bashing Palin gives them a smug sense of superiority and machismo.  Does the Obama administration thinks it is scoring points by humiliating and shaming the women who still admire Palin?  If that’s their best attempt at winning over the wimminfolk, it’s a complete waste of money and makes me wonder what the hell twisted ideas they are thinking about the independent women who are sooooo not impressed with Barack Obama.

So, it doesn’t matter how many shows are rolled out to make Palin look like the biggest idiot that side of the Yukon.  She isn’t relevant.  We’ve got our eyes on Obama and Romney.  And Obama’s campaign is in the habit of ignoring the fact that there are two versions of the independent female voter: the kind that went over to the Tea Party and the kind that stayed liberal.  We are in the latter camp and have NEVER been Tea Party voters.  And I think that with this movie, he has just insulted our intelligence.  Again.  There’s also the famously insulting touting of the Lilly Ledbetter act as being some equivalent to the Paycheck Fairness Bill that never made it out of committee.  Like we can’t look at our paychecks, assuming we still get them, and figure out if we are any better off under Obama.  We aren’t.  In fact, we’re going backwards.  But the Obama administration still acts like women have the mental capacity of eight year olds and can’t tell the difference and that constant repetition of this deception is going to convince us otherwise.

I don’t come from a family where women are treated like dirt and their lack of mental gifts exaggerated or where african americans are treated like second class citizens.  That kind of crap wasn’t tolerated in my house.  But if you do, then that tells me all I need to know about the kind of people the Democrats are attracting these days. It doesn’t speak well of their fan base.  It’s not that we’re grabbing the smelling salts.  We’re just very, very angry. Or is it the kind of people the Republicans are attracting these days?  For all I know, your purpose in coming here and spewing this drivel is to try to drive people away from the Democratic party.

As far as I’m concerned, neither party should be playing games with women or using push-pull marketing techniques to get them to commit to one side or the other.

All that counts is the data.  What have you done for us lately?  Neither party should feel comfortable with its upcoming performance review by the women they are hoping to attract to their side.

So, to sum it all up: we’re not Palin supporters here, you ‘git.  We don’t like your misogynism, no matter which party you support.  And we will hold both parties accountable for being cynical political monsters who have done nothing to improve our lives in the past four years.  Keep playing these games and you might find yourself on the losing end of the biggest political protest vote in history.

*Rather unusual name, don’t you think?  Perhaps this is completely coincidental but Hushai was the name of King David’s counselor in the bible.  Hushai went to David’s son, Absalom, and pretended he was defecting.  In reality, he was spying for David.  Anyway, the whole rebellion didn’t end well for Absalom.

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

In other news, Hell has officially frozen over and pigs are now flying somewhere in the world.  Maureen Dowd is trying desperately to not show a tinge of regret that women were stuck with Barack Obama and maybe he is an inadequate advocate for women’s rights.  She even quotes Hillary Clinton’s speech from a couple of days ago.  (See below)  Of course, she also rolls out the idea that Hillary will run in 2016 but I think that’s nonsense.  Who knows what Hillary will do?

One thing is for sure.  With 8 years of Obama under our belt, by the time 2016 rolls around, it will be waaaaay too late for women.  He will have set us back by 50 years.  The time to elect a woman was 2008, Maureen.  If only you had taken two seconds to think about it instead of gleefully and gratuitously bashing Hillary.

Violet Socks posted one of the comments from Modo’s thread on her post that merits reprinting here:

Who would have thought that Hillary Clinton would have to fight for women’s rights at home? Oh, I don’t know — maybe anyone who read your columns between 1992 and the present? The ones that simpered and snickered over her husband’s infidelities, called her “the most degraded wife in history,” repeatedly compared her to a sadistic dominatrix during the 2008 campaign, speculated without any basis whatsoever that she would hijack the Democratic convention, and then, when you turned out to be wrong about that, that she would secretly connive with John McCain to defeat Obama? And how like you to keep bringing up the ludicrous notion that Obama might replace Biden with Clinton on the 2012 ticket, even if you know it’s absurd. When will women finally be liberated? Well, for starters, when we learn to stop kneecapping each other.

Pretty much sums up MoDo’s shortsighted attacks on Hillary going back over the past two decades.  Let me add that given the number of elected delegates Hillary had going into the convention, she would have had every right to “highjack” it, if that means insisting on a legitimate roll call.  The blame for Hillary’s ritual humiliation at the convention can partially be laid at Dowd’s feet.   It’s no surprise that women should be feeling some regret now after the vicious attacks we’ve been subjected to in the past couple of months.  Let this be a lesson to Maureen, who is one of only two female columnists on the NYTimes Opinion page.  Let’s see, what is the Plum Line Metric for the NYTimes opinion page?  2 females / 10 males = 0.2. That’s pretty far from gender parity at our nation’s “paper of record”. Given that number, doesn’t it make sense, Maureen, that when women write about women political leaders that they try to put women in the best possible light so that women writers are treated with the same respect and authority as men?  Writing snippy, nasty little digs on Hillary Clinton over the past 20 years was the equivalent of carrying the water for the assholes who are attacking us now.  It would have also contributed greatly to your job security.  When it comes time to add another female columnist, it is much more likely that you will be replaced instead of supplemented.  Just sayin’.

Charles Pierce wonders if there are women who really feel that Barack Obama wouldn’t be a better alternative than Romney.  Um, Barack is certainly no better than Romney, Charles.  I know you don’t have ladyparts so your perspective on this is somewhat stunted but, no, Barack Obama is not our savior from the mean old Republicans.  It goes beyond birth control.  When both parties have been able to get away with sexism and misogyny virtually non-stop since the 2008 election, the fallout goes beyond the bedroom.  It starts to infiltrate the workplace and public sphere as well.  It becomes a free-for-all to undermine women in all aspects of life.  I have seen it up close and personally in the industry I worked in.  Men get carte blanche to undermine women because they know that no one in power is going to stick up for them.

I’m sure that I am not the only professional woman to have noticed this fallout effect from Barack Obama’s election, Charles.  Ask Christina Romer, Elizabeth Warren, Sheila Bair and Nancy Pelosi.  He was about the worst thing that could have happened to us.

Here’s the segment of Hillary’s speech that MoDo quoted:

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.

Tuesday: Jumping the Shark

Ok, I promised myself I wouldn’t go over this subject again but it seems we have lost perspective.

It pains me to point this out, but here goes.

In the past two decades, those of us on the left have watched with increasing alarm at the rise of the right wing noise machine.  I forgot who called it the Wurlitzer but it’s an accurate description.  The Wurlitzer is loud, rude and everywhere.  You can’t get away from it.  I don’t know how many times we have wrung our hands in frustration that we can’t trust the news, can’t find any reliable news and can’t seem to get on the airwaves.  When there is something important the left wants to say, the right puts us on mute.  When there’s an issue that deserves debate, the right rolls out slogans like “cut and run” and “weapons of mass destruction” and “congenital liar” (that last one was from William Safire to describe Hillary Clinton).

Two weeks ago, it seemed like the sentiment on most lefty blogs, including this one, was that the news was a waste of time, that cable news, in particular, was chock full of conservative voices.  Atrios frequently points out the number of conservatives vs liberal voices on the talking head programs and asks us to “document the atrocities”.  We all agreed that the right was abrasive, aggressive, dehumanizing, and was out to shut us down.  We despaired that if Obama got the nomination, the right would draw and quarter him in the general election campaign in 2008.  (They didn’t, which should have been a sign that they were up to something)

We think Glenn Beck is appalling, Rush Limbaugh an arrogant, bigoted, asshole with a suspected taste for sex tourism.  We couldn’t stand Fox News and its ubiquity in doctor’s waiting rooms and liquor stores.  We glommed onto any tiny slivver of hope of an alternative voice, includeing Keith Olbermann’s, at least for awhile.

The right owns just about every TV network in some capacity, makes all of the editorial decisions, floods talk radio and used to dominate the internet.  In fact, just about the ONLY outlet that the left has with a major presence is The Huffington Post.  That tells you how bad it is.

The right can make or break you.  Give you 15 minutes of fame or 15 years of infamy.  Put your relatives into a trance like state and ruin your Thanksgiving Dinner.  Turn your friends into walking, talking right wing zombies.  Make state legislatures into non functioning entities.

And yet, in spite of all of the intolerance, intimidation, screaming and yelling, lies, misleading nonsense we have had to put up with for almost 20 years, we have now come to the point where we are defending the right to say any stupid, dangerous thing it wants and we will applaud it.

We see Sarah Palin give an “in your face”, “go on and make me”, shameless, defiant video that pretty much is saying, “go on, make our day, we can say and do whatever the f^&* we want and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it” and we …

applaud it?

They have managed to make most of us here say, “don’t pick on the right wing noise machine.  That’s *Political* and it isn’t faaaairre.”

???

I’m not the least bit surprised that this has happened.  I suspected their guys were on it the minute I heard the term “politicize”.  Oh, man, Karl Rove couldn’t have crafted a better meme to shut the left blogosphere up.  The fact that the right is everywhere a contributing factor.  When that is the message that is broadcast for several days in a row non-stop, it starts to almost seem reasonable.  Before you know it, it’s unthinkable that anyone would ask the right to tone down their rhetoric.  It would be rude, unAmerican.  The right would NEVER politicize a tragedy.  NEVER.

Hello, Terry Schiavo.  Remember her?  Remember how the Republicans rushed back to Washington to pass a bill to override a court in Florida to prevent Terry Schiavo to die with dignity?

How about the Iraq War?  Wasn’t 9/11 invoked relentlessly by right wing media and Republicans to get us into a war we didn’t need?

We seem to have forgotten how ruthless and unsentimental the right can be about politicizing personal tragedies when their agenda can benefit from it.  No one here should be under any illusions about what the right is capable of when it comes to turning on the histronics to 11.

If it had been a Republican legislator gunned down, the right would be on the air right now screaming for the rescission of the first amendment from the Constitution and some Republican extremist in Congress would be drafting legislation to make sure that Fox was the official news channel and the Roberts’ court would be standing by, ready to not only invoke the amendment but retroactively remove all of the speeches it finds offensive in elementary school text books.  Goodbye, “I have a Dream”.

And now we are made to feel sorry for Sarah?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t BLAME her for the shootings.  But for being a careless, opportunistic, participant of the dehumanization of the left, yeah, I blame her for that.  It’s regrettable that the left has lost its moral authority to call her on it because they’ve gone batshit crazy on Sarah since August 2008.  But that doesn’t mean that Sarah is a nice guy.

So, here I sit, from my perch, unsullied by the media madness, watching as my friends and fellow bloggers jump the shark, abandon all sense of self preservation and defend the right’s right to inflame, shut up, and shout down the left.  We hand them the mallet and say, “Here you go.  We’re sorry we questioned your right to trample us without limitations.  Please beat us some more and do it harder this time.  Harder, Harder!”

Guys, I’m not into S&M.  If you want to beat yourselves up for failing to speak softly to the right and making them cry, go right ahead but I’m not going to do it.  I now expect that commenters will scream that I want to take away our right to free speech, and I have said nothing of the sort.  Or that I am connecting the shooter with the insane political atmosphere in Arizona.  I think the jury is still out on that one and anyone who says there is NO connection is just as wrong as anyone who says that there is.  Or that I am denying the misogyny directed towards Sarah Palin, to which I say that even a target of misogyny can turn out to be a person with questionable motives and no scruples.  Just because they’re picking on you, doesn’t make you innocent of everything you’ve ever done.  But I am not going to do the right’s work for them by blaming everything on the patriarchy.

When we start pulling our punches with the right and feel that we don’t have the right to question their virtual monopoly on the media or the way they have damaged discourse and debate in this country in the past 20 years, then we have truly jumped the shark.

Well, some of YOU have anyways.

failure to discriminate

In case anyone has forgotten, there are still people out of work

Tucson.  I hope this is the last day we beat this dead horse.

In the past week, I have stayed away from TV and radio and most blog sites.  At first it was because I was tied up with something else that needed my full attention.  But as a the week wore on, I deliberately stayed away and only read an occasional piece in the NYTimes regarding the progress of Giffords’ recovery.  And here is the result of my deliberate isolation from the media frenzy:

  • We will probably never know the true extent of the poisonous atmosphere of Arizona politics on the shooter’s state of mind.
  • Regardless of what anyone says to the contrary, the poisonous atmosphere of Arizona politics and general right wing media craziness can not be ruled out as a contributing factor.  The little I know about the shooter’s word salad indicates that *something* had seeped in.
  • Gabrielle Giffords is a politician and she is a Democrat.  To suggest that politics had NOTHING to do with it is absurd.
  • Regardless of whether or not the infamous Palin map had anything at all to do with the shooting, vandalism, red faced furious constituents getting in Giffords’ face during meetups or the general fear of being labeled a liberal or a Democrat in Arizona, the fact that the map was connected with her website as part of a campaign to “target” supporters of the healthcare reform bill is unbecoming and irresponsible for any politician on either side of the aisle.  There is no excuse for that map.  Oh, I can see a lot of people twisting themselves into pretzels trying to come up with one but give it up already.  Have some standards.
  • I don’t care if the left is going nuts on TV.  I don’t watch TV news specifically because there’s too much histrionics.  I don’t want my emotions to be manipulated.  I advise readers here to turn the gasbags off.
  • I’ve been critical of the way Obama’s campaign organization treated half his party during the 2008 campaign.  I hated the way the media and DNC went along with it.  It wasn’t enough that I was a liberal.  No, I had to be called old, uneducated, a racist and then treated as if my vote didn’t count because I was a woman and I’d get with the program in the end anyway.  His campaign tactics were an indication of the way he was to govern.  He doesn’t care what voters really think and he feels comfortable ignoring us.  That’s why I will NEVER vote for Barack Obama.  I advise others to reject him as well.  If you feel you have no other option, you don’t have a very high opinion of yourself.
  • Sarah Palin doesn’t need our protection or support.  She made that perfectly clear in her video.  She has thrown her lot in with Glenn Beck.  GLENN BECK, people.  That’s who she gets her spiritual and  political advice from these days.  In case some of you have forgotten, it was Glenn and Rush and the whole Fox News establishment who has been pounding on liberals for the past 20 years to make sure we are afraid to say what we believe.  The right is going to continue to pound on us because that is what they do.  They hate us and want to make sure we don’t ever have a voice.  I’m not going to hand Sarah a mallet.  She is not our friend.  She is what she is.  That doesn’t make her a monster.

If the left wants to make it worse for itself, there’s not a whole lot I can do to stop it.  I can’t control other people’s behavior, I can only control my own.  I’m not joining on either bandwagon.  I’ve had enough.  I’m sick of being treated like an outcast by both parties.

If the right is so determined to exonerate Palin or the right wing media from the vitriol, they owe it to the rest of us to present evidence and a detailed study proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that their over the top, angry, irrational demonization of liberalism is not now or ever has been responsible for the intimidation of a group they have been trained to hate.  Otherwise, I’m going to look at the fact that the right has cornered the media market in many states, including Arizona, and conclude that the hatred of liberals is correlated to that market share.

I’ve never seen so much denial in my life.  The right was happy as all get out to stomp all over us before this shooting.  If it really had nothing to do with it, and I’m not saying it did, why not just admit that it was fun while it lasted?  Sarah and Glenn aren’t apologizing.  Take credit for the poison.  You deserve it!

But if you’re tired of it, like I am, turn off the TV and the radio.  Step away from the fight.  If you are an FDR type Democrat in Exile like me, this doesn’t have anything to do with you anyway.  It’s just two anachronistic, legacy parties going at each other.  It has very little to do with how people are living today.  It won’t get more people employed, fix our crumbling infrastructure, punish the bankers or end a war.  It is a major distraction.

Enough.

Standard Disclaimer

This blog was founded by a liberal Democrat who was a supporter of Hillary Clinton. It is not an auxiliary of the Tea Party Movement. It does not espouse the beliefs of the Tea Party, which was funded and created by movement conservative Republicans. The founder does not support Sarah Palin and in general, would discourage her friends from voting Republican. The founder is an FDR style Democrat in Exile. That does not mean that the founder thinks that demonizing anyone is acceptable behavior. But it does mean that the idea that the left is just as bad as the right is a beautiful theory that has been destroyed by almost 20 years of ugly facts. (Vince Foster killed by lesbian Hillary? Sound familiar?).

In general, if you watch TV news or listen to media pundits on any broadcasting media device on a regular basis, you will probably not feel comfortable here. If you are of a conservative political nature, you will not feel comfortable here. It is not my responsibility to make you feel comfortable. There are other places on the web where you will feel comfortable and you are encouraged to seek them out where you can express yourself without limitations. If that sounds like an ominous warning to some of you who have set up camp here, that because it is intentional.

Carry on.

Football vs. Politics


I was ruminating on some of the comments we typically get when we don’t join in the latest Palinpalooza Wankfestivus. Then a football analogy occurred to me.

Both football and politics are popular spectator sports. The actual players make lots of money and have little in common with their loyal fans. They both use violent imagery, but football has far more actual violence.

Both football and politics are team sports, but football fans are allowed to be objective without having their loyalty questioned. If you say that the other team’s quarterback is a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame nobody accuses you of wanting the other team to win.

Now let’s say the other team has a great quarterback and two great wide receivers but no running game. But your team decides to commit to stopping the run, daring their quarterback to throw the ball. So you scream at your team’s coach, “Are you insane? You’re playing to their strength!

Do you think the other fans would consider you a traitor? Not likely.

Not only that, but if the instant replay clearly shows that the other team’s wide receiver caught the ball with both feet in bounds, nobody expects you to insist otherwise. When your team’s players screw up you’re allowed to curse and boo them.

Politics is different. You are expected to insist that your team’s players and strategies are better than the other team’s, whether they really are or not. You are required to claim the other team’s players are all talentless losers. You’re also obligated to protest every call that goes against your team, no matter what really happened. And you never, ever admit that your team deserved to lose.

Worst of all, you’re supposed to keep buying season tickets even if your team keeps losing, year after year.


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