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Your 2nd Amendment is not more equal than our 15th and 19th Amendment

aco

Psychopaths for Trump

I am spitting angry this morning about this new and outrageous statement from Donald Trump:

“We’re going to watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” he said at a rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania. “If you do that, we’re not going to lose. The only way we can lose, in my opinion — I really mean this, Pennsylvania — is if cheating goes on.”

I’m a campaign volunteer for PA Democrats and Hillary for PA since March of this year. It irritates me to no end that all my efforts, sincere, honest, legal efforts to get people registered and get out the vote are now considered part of some great conspiracy to deny Donald Trump a win in Pennsylvania.

We are trying to deny Donald a win in Pennsylvania, no question about that but it’s not a conspiracy. It’s called campaigning. We are doing things the old-fashioned way. There are many, many boots on ground in this state. The Democrats are taking this election very seriously so they are active and mobilized to register as many people who are legally able to vote. We also do phone banking and in about a month, we’ll start canvassing. There are so many volunteers in PA right now that we are tripping over each other.

Ooooooo, out Machiavellian plans to deprive Donald of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are… wait, they’re just normal election activities. I’ve been involved in several campaigns over the years and there’s nothing unusual about this one except the high number of us volunteering. THAT’S why Hillary is leading in the polls. It’s easier to get people to vote for you when you try to meet their needs and ask them for votes than if you threaten to break their knees. Just my humble opinion.

Where is Donald Trump’s Get Out the Vote efforts?? Fuck if I know. I haven’t seen any. But let’s face it, would you rather talk to a friendly optimistic enthusiastic person about voting or an angry bloviating dickhead with a stupid red baseball cap on his head? Let’s not even start with the potential voters Trump is not registering.

But with this newest pronouncement from Trump, what’s going to happen to us when we go to the polls in November? Is THAT where Donald is going to spend all of his time and money, on poll watchers challenging any African American and married woman who tries to express their preferences?

If that’s the plan, Donald, how are you planning to guarantee our safety?  That is one of the responsibilities of the President of the United States. Do you have control of your droogs? How are you going to prevent them from beating the shit out of voters? Are your ammosexuals going to strut around polling places with their guns out in the open and ready for action? What’s going to happen next, Donald?

In the span of one week, Donald Trump has done a “Who will rid me of this meddlesome opponent?!” speech, inviting the attention of the Secret Service. Now, he’s siccing his menacing followers on voters in PA in an attempt to deprive us of our Constitional rights. Shouldn’t the Federal Elections Commission be scheduling an interview with him as well?

I live in a diverse neighborhood. I LIKE it. My poll attendants are African American and little old ladies. I do not want to have to worry that going to vote this fall is going to put any of us in danger.

But that is what you are advocating, Donald. You are trying to make us afraid because you and your supporters won’t take “No” for an answer.

You won’t win here in Pennsylvania. We’re going to legally beat your fat ass this fall in a landslide one person, one vote at a time.

Cheating won’t be necessary.

More Whineter, STEM and being a dick with peppers

It’s March already. Why is it still snowing? Why is it 15º outside?? The other day, it rained and melted some of the snow. The sump pump was going off every 90 seconds. I timed it. I started to see the ground. This morning, I woke up and there’s another layer of snow out there. WTF?? I have about a cup of rock salt left and there’s none to be had for miles. It’s too much. Make it stooooop.

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In other news, PA Governor Tom Wolf visited a school in Chester yesterday to find out about its STEM programs.

Ok, I know Wolf didn’t ask for my opinion but when has that ever stopped me from giving it? (There’s a proposal at the end of this little rant so stay with me.) Here it goes:

There’s no living wage in STEM jobs. Even the people who have good jobs are constantly worried about losing them. They’re forced to move to very expensive parts of the country and can never relax. The fear of losing a job just after they might have already lost one is not a good way to live. This happened recently to people I used to work with who were transferred to Massachusetts after the layoff, and then lost their jobs- again.

Jumping from job to job after a short period of time means people in pharma and biotech R&D will not achieve the degree of experience that they need to be really good at their jobs. It takes a long time for R&D professionals to gain enough experience to be really useful to their company. That means starting and staying with a project over a long period of time, like, 5-6 years. At that point in time, they will have just about enough seasoning to be useful to the company and laying them off is a tragic waste of talent. There is no cheap substitute, as this country will begin to realize (and may already realize, judging from the ads I’m seeing for computational chemists with at least 5 years of industrial experience).

Unfortunately, this is not what the finance industry had in mind. It thinks we can all work under their crazy employment rules like they do on Wall Street. That means flexibility at all costs. That’s a losing game for the R&D professional in terms of living standards, skills and passion for research.

If the R&D professional doesn’t get a good paying job in Cambridge or San Francisco, the alternatives can be grim. Academic research associates with PhDs and industrial experience make between $37-$54K/year. I know because I have the job postings to prove it. You can live on this in the midwest but academic research is subject to grant availability. If the grants don’t materialize, the jobs don’t either.

A potential place where a governor can productively intervene is at the small start up level. Pennsylvania would be a good place for startups, especially in the Pittsburgh area, which has a university/medical culture and a renaissance in the east end. There’s good mass transit, affordable real estate, and an educated population. BUT what every state of the country lacks at this point is access to affordable R&D resources. That is, there are some things that any start up is going to need access to but probably can’t afford. In my case, as a consultant, I can’t get access to a lot of scientific literature. I don’t have a license to Elsevier, ACS publications, etc, which can cost millions of dollars to a large university. I also can’t afford the vendor licenses to do my modeling work. I can ask vendors to give me demo licenses, for which I must sign an agreement to not use them for research. They’re only for evaluation purposes and to keep myself current. If I want a license so I can make money, well, I can’t afford the license.

So, verily I say unto Tom Wolf, if you want to attract STEM startups to Pennsylvania, (and why not? It’s a heck of a lot more affordable than Cambridge) you need to fund a license bank. Ok, I don’t know what else to call it. Make it more affordable for startups and consultants to access the licenses they need to get their work done. At this point in time, the only entities that can afford licenses for literature and proprietary software are large multinational companies and universities, leaving the rest of us to smuggle papers and cobble together software solutions from publicly available sources. That leaves us at a disadvantage in the beginning phases of research where the start up costs are already astronomical.

I don’t know if a license bank has ever been done or what a configuration might look like but here’s one possibility: Put the licenses on a PA server, start a consortium, and allow startups and consultants to ping the licenses for a fee based on number of papers downloaded or amount of time licenses are checked out. Or make us fork over a cut of anything we discover to the state. I could agree to that. Wouldn’t Tom Wolf like to be a partial recipient of the next antibiotic patent? Yes, this would be an investment for the state. It could cost several millions of dollars. No, Republicans won’t like it because… I don’t know why they wouldn’t like it. They’re always going on about helping small businesses but they want us to somehow use magic to afford the start up costs. I’m beginning to think that Republicans aren’t being honest with us about their love of entrepreneurs and small business people… Is that possible?

But the payoff could be substantial for the state if it attracts businesses and the patents generate money. That money could be used to fund education while some of it could be used to buy other things early discovery researchers might need. It could be self funding down the road because if you run for two consecutive terms, you could leave a nice little pile of patent shares for the state by the end of your them.

And since I need a real job, I will gladly work for the state setting up this system for a decent living wage. No, no, don’t thank me. See my LinkedIn profile.

So, there you have it. I have given you a possible solution to a pressing problem that doesn’t involve the governor making pointless visits to schools to encourage innocent children to go into professions in which they can’t make a living. As for teachers of STEM subjects, that’s where some of my former colleagues are going now that they can’t make a living in research. So, you know, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

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

Finally, Titli Nihaan has a recipe for a hot dip on a cold day. Pay attention. 😉

Hubris and Stampede

Making this short because I’m going to archery practice.  

So, there is a great gnashing of teeth beginning over The Upshot post this morning on Why Democrats Can’t Win the House, blah, blah, blah, woe is us, how dare they point this out for the world to see.  

Yes, the Republicans did blithely gerrymander through the gently (steeply) rolling hills of Pennsylvania, fa-la-la! And they didst separate the wheat from the chaff and packed the Democrats into vanishingly small districts (I’m District 14! Go, Doyle!

BUT, and this is a big but that the progressivey types ignore because, frankly, it’s embarrassing, the Republicans didn’t do that until they had won back the House in 2010.  That was a full two years after Obama and the Democrats had a clear, unobstructed path to do whatever their hearts desired.  And what they desired the most, apparently, was fluffing up the guy who campaigned in Pennsylvania and Appalachia as if the voters there didn’t matter a whit!  Nay, he even called them gun toting, churchie types who knit bitterly, or something to that effect.  That’s probably why Pennsylvania and Appalachia did not vote for him during the primaries.  

Yes, I was there.  I was at the Hillary campaign office in Harrisburg on three occasions during primary season and did much phone banking.  Most of the Democrats I spoke to had nothing against Obama.  They just didn’t think he was ready to be president.  Which just goes to show you how intelligent the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is.  But that didn’t stop Obama from treating this section of the country as if it was his enemy.  So, now, they hate his guts with a white hot passion.  And they’re none too trusting of the morons who forced him upon them.  If I were a Democrat in Pennsylvania, I wouldn’t be calling Obama my best buddy and pal and talking up all of his “accomplishments”.  

It was the hubris of the Netroots Nation type activists, skillfully played by the Wall Street backers of Obama that got us all into this mess.  I can remember the first YearlyKos where some nerdy Nate Cohn type stood up and declared writing off the south and the Clinton coalition as a pretty snazzy idea.  Who needs the south? It’s full of idiots and knuckle draggers and they all have déclassé gun racks on the back of their trucks.  {{sniff}}  No, they did not see that population as one that was the most likely to fall into a black pit of poverty once the Great Recession hit.  

Who were the stupid ones?  

So the country put its trust in Obama in 2008, hoping desperately for a true Democrat to set things right and arrest the bankers and save their jobs and houses and children’s future, all the while not knowing that he was the bankers’ secret weapon.  When he failed to make any progress and the economy fell into an abyss, the Democrats stayed home in 2010 and the Republicans were motivated to go to the polls, taking with them the population that Democrats had abandoned in 2008.  If Democrats had been smart and were really concerned about gerrymandering after the 2010 census, you’d think they would have been more careful about guarding their legacy.  

But not to fear.  There is a lot of pent up frustration about the state of the country.  I predict that there will be a stampede for Hillary Clinton in 2016, whether the progressive male contingent likes it or not and whether or not Hillary has been forced to sell her soul to the guys in the smoke filled rooms.  

If I were the progressive male contingent (and you know who you are, screaming “neoliberal”, whatever that actually means to you, at everything you don’t like), I would stand back.  Because the less resistance you offer, the less money she will have to get from the people you SHOULD have been watching out for back in 2008 when you got us into this mess.  

Your turn has come and gone.  You had your chance.  You blew it.  Shut up and sit down and, for god’s sakes, quit whining.  

 

Monday: Yeah! We did it!

Murphy says we exceeded our fundraising goals for the PUMA Headquarters and Media center by several thousand dollars.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated.  Thank you also for helping Gary and Mawm make it across the country to Denver.  They plan to drop in to visit some of you PUMAs on the way and they will be using the $900.00 we raised to put gas in their RV.  It’s going to be great!

This morning’s post is going to be short as I have to jump in the car and drive back to NJ from NY.  I just heard a segment of NPR’s The Takeaway, called Kettle Corn and Ambivalence.  Andrea Bernstain interviewed voters in Buck’s and Appalachia county Pennsylvania.  You get the sense that people feel they are being forced into voting for Obama and finding they just can’t do it.  One woman said she felt she didn’t have a choice.  Another called Obama a smooth operator.  Yep, we started out this year with an embarrassment of riches and ended with a gold plated trinket.  Congratulations, Karl.

An opportunity for PA and surrounding state Clintonistas

I got a message from Tucsonlynn, our intrepid Clinton volunteer in Arizona.  She passes along the following:

Thanks for the email.  We were thrilled to have your help in Texas, and we would love your help in Pennsylvania! Right now, we are still in the process of developing our program as more and more offices are opening up in Pennsylvania.

 

Generally, however, we are recruiting volunteers to join our efforts in Pennsylvania every weekend now until the April 22nd primary.  And we are having an especially big push for volunteers to help with GOTV from April 19-23. Those volunteers dates/weekends include:

 

Volunteer Dates:

March 14-16

March 21-23

March 28-30

April 4-6

April 11-13

April 19-22

 

Our Pennsylvania Hillstars program–with greater detail and travel information–should be up on our website either today or tomorrow.  You can visit it at www.hillaryclinton.com/pahillstars to sign up and learn more. Until then, please stay in close contact with me, and let me know if you have any questions.

 

Yours,

Mary

Mary McKenna
Hillary Clinton for President
Office: 703.875.1232 

There are a lot of dates on that list that I’m going to be attending.  My kinfolk live in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.  I’m thinking about a live cocktail party as well.  Maybe we can commandeer a bar for the volunteers.  More details on this as the idea solidifies…

The Keystone State

I got a call from my sister today. She rarely calls me. I’m not a phone person and she’s Miss Popularity. We’re different. Anyway, the first thing she said when I answered the phone was “Go Hillary!”. I found this a little strange for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not certain what party she belongs to but it wouldn’t surprise me if she had voted for Bush at least once. Second, she works for a big, nasty health insurance company who I will not mention by name but let’s put it this way, her company is so despised that she works in a building with no signs on it that say what it is. It’s just a big blocky, unidentifiable building deliberately kept as inconspicuous as possible to keep people from going postal. But *she’s* a really decent person and the company she works for isn’t very nice to its employees either, from what I hear. So, I hope she never had to deny any claims for you guys out there. Third, she lives in that section of Pennsylvania that is closer to Alabama culturally. Lots and lots of wingers. My mom was one, my brother still is one. My sister loved the ones she was with.

AAAAANNNNYWAY, she calls and tells me that all of her friends are voting for Hillary. And she seems pretty stoked too. She’s planning to attend a Hillary event. The only thing I can’t convince her of is to change her party affiliation for the primary or she won’t be able to push Hillary over the edge. My mom is voting for Hillary and so is my aunt. In fact many of my Pittsburgh family members are Hillary fans. But I’m amazed at how many people in central PA are ready to vote for her. This would have been unheard of a year ago. I think the only thing I can attribute it to is Hillary’s perserverence in the midst of really bad press and relentless attacks. She’s held up well and she’s done very well in debate. And now my sister says she is a politico this year, sucking up information from any place she can and really paying attention. (Guess where I’ll be every spare weekend in April? Maybe I can set up a liveblog Clinton Cocktail Party)

So, let’s hear it for the newly energized Hillary base in PA! Cheer them on and tell my sister why she should run, don’t walk, to her county board of elections to change her party affiliation to Democrat this year. She didn’t know this blog existed until today but I’m hoping she’ll post and tell us what’s going on.

Do I hear any, “Hell Yeah!?

One more thing: Kindly Freep this poll if you feel so inclined. http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/larry.king.live/ Barry is currently ahead.