• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on And now a word from High …
    Seagrl on And now a word from High …
    Seagrl on And now a word from High …
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on And now a word from High …
    Ga6thDem on John Dean is still right
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on John Dean is still right
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on John Dean is still right
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on John Dean is still right
    Propertius on John Dean is still right
    Catscatscats on John Dean is still right
    Kathleen A Wynne on John Dean is still right
    William on John Dean is still right
    riverdaughter on John Dean is still right
    William on John Dean is still right
    lililam on John Dean is still right
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Killing Herd Animals
      One of the great crimes and tragedies of our world is how we treat the animals we eat (or whose milk or eggs or other products we eat and use.) Factory farming keeps them in tiny enclosures, feeds them monotonous foods, and then when they’re slaughtered it’s a terrible experience: they’re terrified and die in […]
  • Top Posts

Monday: Does anyone in the Democratic party know how to play this game???

Pathological prions crack the whip

Let’s recap the last couple of days:

  • Republicans get just about everything they ever wanted in tax cuts and then some.  They managed to get the president and most of the rest of the Democratic caucus to agree to extend tax cuts for the rich and stick all future Social Security recipients with the bill.  Check!
  • The Republicans have put the repeal of DADT on Obama’s desk to approve or reject.  This is after two years of Obama doing his best to fuck over the gay community, avoid doing ANYTHING on their behalf and using the justice department to actively oppose the rulings of federal judges.  And his brave opposition in the ace of overwhelming odds- oh, sorry, for his passivity in the face of overwhelming pressure, we are supposed to praise him and treat him like a frickin’ hero.  By the way, how did that Paycheck Fairness thing go that he worked so diligently for last month? Oh, yes, the Republicans blocked it.  The cloture vote failed by 2 votes, meaning it is OK to screw women and their families out of the additional income they are entitled to instead of giving it to them during a prolonged recession where the extra money could have been used to stimulate the economy.
  • After negotiating so well on the “tax cuts for the wealthy; misery for everyone else bill”, Obama and the Democrats fail to hold Republican feet to the fire to get them to ratify the new START treaty.

Brilliant.  Just Brilliant.

This is just so bad I can’t believe it happened.  Why didn’t they try, “If you don’t ratify START now, you get no tax cuts later”?  Actually, this thing kinda flew under the radar, didn’t it?  Well. except for the fact that the Big Dawg brought it up during his press conference- er, Obama’s press conference that he couldn’t be bothered to finish.  Remember the press conference where Clinton said passing the new START treaty was important?

The first two paragraphs of the article on the START treaty in the NYTimes must have been fun to write:

WASHINGTON — The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session.

With some prominent Republicans angry over passage of legislation ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, the mood in the Senate turned increasingly divisive and Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers scrambled to hold together a coalition to approve the treaty.

So much Kabuki, so little face paint.

So, after the repeal of DADT passes the senate with a vote of 65-31, presumably with the aid of 8 Republican senators, the Republicans are going to throw a hissy fit.  Let’s be clear about this: if 5 Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats on DADT, it’s because the Republican leadership gave them permission to do it.  The repeal of DADT passed because REPUBLICANS wanted it to.

But what does their outrage over the passage really say?  That they are upholding the moral values of their segment of the country’s voters that objects to the possibility that gay soldiers *might* proposition straight soldiers and force them to take showers with them.  The remote possibility that someone straight might be hit on by someone gay while both are serving in the military was enough to deny gay men and women the right to serve their country and deprive them of any semblance of a normal family life.

It’s funny how the Republicans aren’t getting their knickers in a twist over the fact that female soldiers have to run a gauntlet of male gropers on their way to the latrine when they are deployed overseas.  This very real phenomenon is  just part of the package.  Women soldiers are expected to suck it up.  But straight guys have to have their feelings protected from fantasies of a phalanx of gay men gawking at them and feeling them up when they drop the soap.

In summary, Barry once again fails to make any argument to the American people as to why repeal of DADT is important.  He fails to fight for fairness for women as well.  He fails to get the best deal for the American people when it comes to our economic future, first by asking for too little in stimulus money last year and now by shafting them on their future Social Security benefits.  And finally, he fails to use whatever influence he has to get the new START treaty ratified.

You don’t have to be a Republican to be totally disgusted by Obama and the Congressional Democrats.  Their failure is going to become legendary.  Historians centuries from now will be puzzling over the ineptitude and passivity of the Democrats during this period of time.  This was a Congress and a party that had everything going for them in 2008 and they threw it all away for the $28,000 donations to the party apparatus from the wealthy and well connected during the 2008 election year.

I’m sorry but I am not going to praise incompetence.  What the Democrats have achieved by repealing DADT, which was the right thing to do, is that they have handed the Republicans a cudgel which will be used to bash them in the next election. They have failed to make the moral argument for fairness and equality.  Republicans thrive by using social issues to trick their voters to go to the polls to vote for their real agenda: making sure that the working class guy has no power to fight back against big business.  The Democrats have left us high and dry.

Podcast du jour: Digby and Susie Madrak got together last night and talked about the payroll tax cut and California libertarianism, among other things, on Virtually Speaking.  Try to ignore the references to “Teabaggers” and the gratuitous bashing of Sarah Palin.  They still don’t get it that they’re alienating the very voters they need to come over to our side.  Seriously, ladies, just stop.  You’re just digging a deeper hole.  Susie is pretty good on these shows.  Digby just talks too much.

In science, those of us interested in the mechanisms of protein folding have a new challenge.  It turns out that prions, those little bits of infectious protein that cause stuff like mad cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, are capable of adapting to their hosts by changing their folds.

Prions, which are composed solely of protein, are classified by distinct strains, characterized by their incubation time and the disease they cause. In addition to BSE/mad cow disease in cattle, diseases caused by prions include scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Prions have the ability to reproduce, despite the fact that they contain no nucleic acid genome.

Mammalian cells normally produce cellular prion protein or PrPC. During infection, abnormal or misfolded protein — known as PrPSc — converts the normal host prion protein into its toxic form by changing its conformation or shape. The end-stage consists of large sheets (polymers) of these misfolded proteins, which causes massive tissue and cell damage.

“The infectious prion protein can fold in different ways, and depending on the fold, a different prion strain results,” Weissmann said. “As long as prions are maintained in the same host, they retain their characteristic fold, so that strains breed true.”

When prions multiply, however, that fold is not always reproduced correctly, so a prion population contains many variants, albeit at low levels.

The new study found that when a prion population is transferred to a different host, one of the variants may replicate faster — an evolutionary advantage — and become the dominant strain. This new population also contains variants, one of which may be selected over others when transferred to a different host.

“The result is that prions, although devoid of genetic material, behave similarly to viruses and other pathogens, in that they can mutate and undergo evolutionary selection,” Weissmann said. “They do it by changing their fold, while viruses incur changes in their nucleic acid sequence.”

Cue the Twilight Zone music.  Seriously disturbing.  On the other hand, a Republican prion jumping species would explain a lot of the current Democratic party weirdness…

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for a prion infection, like Mad Cow disease.  Usually, you have to get rid of the whole herd.