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Adventures in home maintenance: what not to do

1.) If your bathroom has a popcorn ceiling, never tint your ceiling paint slightly blue because if you ever need to repaint, it will take three coats of paint to cover it up. And once you roll on that first swipe of white paint, there is no going back.

2.) You know those little decorative screws that attach the lighting fixture to the metal bracket behind it? Yeah, well those suckers are slippery and before you manage to climb down from the counter without breaking your neck to retrieve it, it will have rolled into some inaccessible space. They are the work of the devil.

3.) Don’t store your replacement vinyl plank flooring in your basement where it can be covered by 8 inches of sump pump backup water during a hurricane, rendering it unusable. This is especially painful when the basement floor is the thing that needs to be replaced.

4.) Buy a ladder that actually reaches. Conversely, don’t buy a house with a living room that has 14 foot ceilings. The roller extension isn’t long enough.

Your turn.

The Chemist’s Predicament

Yes, we really have conversations like this.  Before I was laid off, I thought I might open a Bobo Tea stand on a beach somewhere.  Just think of what I could do with a liquor license.

The other night, I had dinner with one of my application vendors.  They came to Philly to give courses on their new version and I like to keep fresh.  It helps that they lent me a license so I can practice at home.  Anyway, they told me that they have met with a lot of drug design chemists who are completely disgusted with the lay offs and are getting out. They’re getting out of pharma altogether.  None of them want to do the work anymore.  It’s a thankless job.  It’s very difficult to do the work, difficult to get medicinal chemists to follow up on designs, difficult to navigate the changing political landscape within the companies and difficult to have to keep selling yourself in order to keep your job. What really sucks are the multiple layoffs and the constant downgrading of your livelihood.  Some people have to leave their families behind in one state while they live like black diamond miners in Soweto for most of the week in another state.  And even those jobs are not stable.

At the dinner, I met a currently employed modeler/crystallographer who is living a day to day existence in a big pharma company that underwent a merger a couple of years ago.  He’s having the same experience I did.  The Shadow Man is stalking the corridors and it’s only a matter of time before he catches up with his group.  They’re all on pins and needles while the managers take away their resources one by one, leaving them to do the work of other departments so they can keep up productivity.  It’s just a matter of time.  When it comes, he tells me, he’s getting out of NJ and leaving pharma behind permanently.  It’s just not worth the constant anxiety and stress.  He’s going to downsize, move to a different state and do something that won’t require the brains of a small planet but gets all the respect of a burger flipper.  If that’s the way you’re going to get treated, you might as well flip burgers and enjoy life.

Too bad for all of us who need people like him to solve problems in drug discovery.  And it’s very curious that the Obama Administration has paid zero attention to the devastation of the American scientific infrastructure by finance people who equate scientists with swappable industrial workers on an as needed, just-in-time basis.  I think that’s going to come back to bite him in the ass in November because those of us in NJ who are being tossed out of our jobs in the middle of our careers were making decent middle class salaries.  Now, we’re not.  When was the last time Obama invited laid off scientists to the White House instead of their self-serving MBA class managers?  Has he ever heard what’s really going on in the labs from the people who used to work there and can clear the bullsh^&?  If anyone out there knows of any such meeting, I’d like to hear about it.  Because from where I sit, it looks like he just doesn’t give a f^&*.

Tuesday: Stupid Girls

The Obama 2008 campaign certainly brought out the best in Americans didn't it?

Update from Ugsome: “The way I look at it, the Democrats are so far to the right on women’s issues that the only way the GOP can differentiate itself is with witch burnings and scarlet letters.”

There’s more than a kernel of truth in that sentiment.

r u reddy pointed me to this article in the NYTimes that describes how Obama’s campaign was going to roll out it’s initiative to sweet talk women on March 23 but Rush Limbaugh’s timely little Slutgate rants made them move up their timetable.  Why waste this golden opportunity?  Obama and Jon Favreau must be peeing themselves over this.  They don’t have to do anything for women, not even make any particularly strong statements.  All they have to do is open their arms and say, “Come to papa, we understand.”

By the way, has anyone seen this video of the Obama Staff inaugural ball from January 21, 2009?  You know, the one where JZ and the staffers sang “I’ve got 99 problems but a bush ain’t one”?  Yeah, no double entendre there.  The bitch version used to be one of Obama’s traveling campaign theme songs during the primaries.  You know, the primaries against his opponent who happened to be a bitch or a sweetie or a honey or some other stupid word:

As Ugsome says, “Cynical. If he’d done squat for women’s rights he wouldn’t have to focus his tender attentions like this.”

Let’s put it this way, the Republicans wouldn’t have turned up the crazy like this if they didn’t sense some weakness in the Democrats on the issue of women.  And that weakness goes back to 2008.

All you’re going to get from the Democrats is cynical game playing in an election year.  Remember, these are the people who used misogynism against not one but two female politicians in 2008.  They know that if Obama has to make a choice, he will sacrifice women to get the evangelical vote.

Don’t think we’re not watching, Democrats. Democratic congresswoman, Chellie Pingree, in Maine wanted to run for Olympia Snowe’s Senate seat but decided against it when a former governor who is running as an independent got the backing of the Democrats.  If that slap in the face doesn’t get your attention, nothing will.  Even the excuse she was forced to give for the betrayal by the Democrats makes no damned sense because if Olympia Snowe had not decided to resign, she would have been a sure vote for the Republicans when it comes to Supreme Court nominations. So even if Pingree had lost, there would have been no net change in votes.  In other words, Chellie Pingree was guilted into leaving the Senate race because the whole responsibility for future Supreme Court nutcases was going to be on her head if she lost to a Republican.  Does anyone really believe this steaming pile of horsesh*$?  If Obama and the Democrats really wanted to reach out to women for their votes this year, the disaster in Maine was not a good start.

Well, I’m just a single voice in the wilderness and the rest of the women in the left blogosphere are too afraid to challenge their brethren about Obama.  The guys will pull the same guilt trip on them and they’ll hold back, the chickenshits.  But let me just tell them now that they are going to be responsible for what happens to women if they don’t speak out and demand something from Obama and the Democrats right now, *before* the election.  If you make it easy for him, he will owe you nothing.  This is a good time to test the commitment of your male blogger colleagues.  Either they are with women or they aren’t.  Demand that Obama come out and declare his unequivocal support for women to make their own choices without any patronizing language.  Demand that he risk pissing off the religious.  Demand that he tell extremists where to shove it.  Demand that he enthusiastically support women’s equality and reproductive rights.  Make him promise that he will put the full force of his office behind enforcement of those rights.  Make him get rid of the conscience rule right this minute.  And make him swear in public that he will never, ever again cut a deal with any politician to sacrifice women’s rights in order to pass a piece of legislation.

If you can’t make him do those things, then he doesn’t deserve your support.  He is either with 53% of the American public or he isn’t.  He either needs you and will do everything he can to get you or he’s no good, he’s no good, he’s no good, baby, he’s no good.

And he’s also down in the polls.  His approval rating has dropped steeply since last month from 50% to 41%.  It’s supposedly due to gas prices but there are also intimations that the public isn’t buying all the rah-rah over the economy.  They don’t believe it’s getting better.  I’m with them on that.  Women are also among the chronically unemployed and they are watching.  We are not amused to be the pawns in some political game that has been designed to get Obama votes. He’s on the ropes and he’s looking vulnerable.  Now’s the time to get him to commit.  Make him pay for every vote.  Make him grovel.  If you don’t, you’re just a bunch of stupid girls.

And that goes doubly for NARAL, the Feminist Majority and any other bunch of stupid girl activists who have pledged to work for Obama in 2012 without getting anything in return.  During Slutgate, I scrupulously avoided signing my name to any useless online petition for those organizations.  The last thing I want is to be ashamed of these organizations emailing me to support Obama after he’s used them.  He’s no better than Romney and Santorum and he doesn’t deserve your support until he’s willing to sacrifice himself for women.  He really needs our votes because he’s lost support among white men.  Now is the time to make him put up or shut up.  It’s either us or the fundies.   By their fruit you shall know them.