The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Open Thread’ Category

Honestly guys, I can’t keep up. So, here’s some Randy Rainbow and a fresh thread.

Enjoy!

 

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What a difference a week makes, eh? The common wisdom on Brett Kavanaugh, just a little while ago, was that the fix was in. Or as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer put it, “The fix is on.”

The nomination to life appointment on the high court is being rushed through, by the same Senate Republicans who refused even to hold a hearing on President Obama’s 2016 nomination of fellow appellate judge Merrick Garland to the high court.

The Senate Republicans are using Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is using acquiescent members of his party.

The GOP gets to lock in a Supreme Court majority that will rule for its interests and uphold rule by the privileged.

With Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the politicized Roberts Court will have a solid majority to uphold gerrymandering of political boundaries and the rights of states to restrict voting rights. The lock-step majority will rule for business and further restrict legal rights of employees.

The person who wrote that was a man, by the way. Little did we know last week that there was a woman whose bravery in the face of unimaginable public scrutiny, much of it unhinged and hostile, would halt Republicans in their tracks. And now, stories like this are being written.

Unless Ford’s allegations are discredited, it seems virtually unthinkable that the two moderate Republican women who hold the balance of power in the chamber—Susan Collins, of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska—would vote to approve Kavanaugh. As Collins walked through the airport in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, a reporter asked her if she believed the accusations against Kavanaugh. “I don’t know enough to make a judgment at this point,” she replied. Later on Monday, Collins issued a statement that said, “Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee.” Murkowski was less definitive. But, on Sunday night, she did say that the committee might have to consider delaying its vote.

Even the White House appears to have given up any hope of silencing Ford or dismissing her claims entirely. “This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to Trump, told Fox News. “I think the Senate is headed to a reasonable approach in that it seems to be allowing this woman to be heard in sworn testimony, allowing Judge Kavanaugh to be heard in sworn testimony.” Later on Monday, Donald Trump chimed in, saying, “I wish the Democrats could have done this a lot sooner. But, with all of that being said, we want to go through the process.” He also said that Kavanaugh was “somebody very special” who “never even had a little blemish on his record.”

Now, I’ve certainly had my share of incorrect predictions (some of which you’ve read here!), and I agree that at the time, it didn’t seem likely that any Republican Senator would find the courage to deny Drumpf his puppet judge. I completely understand the tendency to assume that the Kavanaugh train was unstoppable. But the problem with that tendency is that, taken too far, it leads to despair, and despair leads to inaction.

I am optimistic by nature, and feel that there are very few problems we humans can’t solve. Collectively, we have endless creativity, intelligence and energy, so really, is anything impossible? Sometimes my position is vindicated; sometimes my optimism gets me into trouble. 😉 A dear friend of mine at work once gave me this excellent piece of advice: “Just because you see a problem, doesn’t mean you have to fix it.” Wise words indeed, but hard for me to live by, especially in the time of #theResistance. I want to join everything, march every day, scream at the top of my lungs, rend my garments, tear my hair. Instead, I try to make my moves wisely. I march sometimes, I tweet, I blog, and I speak up.

What I really think this means is, we women are starting to flex our muscles in unprecedented ways. As DYB wrote last week, #MeToo is still cascading through our society, taking down the vilest and most powerful men in the world. And we’re not done yet! We don’t always know what to do with our new voices, and we are sometimes effective when we use them, and sometimes not. But no matter what, we won’t be silent. And in 2018, there are a lot of men on our side! (Thank you so much, o wonderful Widdershin men and the millions of other good men out there!)

So don’t despair. The conclusion is not foregone. If bad things seem likely to happen, find a small act of bravery to perform.

Who knows what will happen as a consequence?

This is an open thread.

 

Today is September 11, the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. that had such a devastating impact on our country and our world. (Of course our petty f*cktard-in-chief is going to Pennsylvania – because it’s the state that *allegedly* voted for him in 2016 – instead of New York or DC, because he is despised in both locations.) This day is always one of remembrance of those that were lost, sharing our personal stories, and talking about how our friends and families were affected by the tragedy.

But in 2018, there is never just one dramatic event in 24 hours. Today, we have a second-rate reality TeeVee star in the White House, and the thrills, chills and roars of outrage never stop. Today, besides the attacks by Al Qaeda on that fateful day, there is another disaster to consider: the possible co-opting of the Supreme Court by an illegitimate, traitorous President and his complicit Congressional enablers.

Based on his history and record, there is no doubt that Kavanaugh is in line with the typical racist, sexist Republican judicial appointee. In addition, the guy appears to be an operative from wayyyyyy back, in like Flynn with today’s high-profile right-wing politicians and pundits. As former wingnut David Brock wrote for NBC:

Call it Kavanaugh’s cabal: There was his colleague on the Starr investigation, Alex Azar, now the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Mark Paoletta is now chief counsel to Vice President Mike Pence; House anti-Clinton gumshoe Barbara Comstock is now a Republican member of Congress. Future Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson were there with Ann Coulter, now a best-selling author, and internet provocateur Matt Drudge.

At one time or another, each of them partied at my Georgetown townhouse amid much booze and a thick air of cigar smoke.

This massive conflict of interest and obvious partisan agenda should immediately disqualify any jurist from ascension to the highest court in the land. (Remember conservative fauxrage about “activist judges”?) But what we have seen from this appalling travesty of a Republican government is a commitment to covering their asses at all costs. And Kavanaugh is just the guy to do it.

I agreed with DYB that it is very likely that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. That was, until Senator Cory Booker released just a few of the records George W. Bush and his partisan enablers were hiding from the American public. No help from Russia needed!

There are many ways in which the emails could be a problem for Kavanaugh. First of all, they confirm that dear soccer dad Brett is, in fact, in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. (Sorry girls, Daddy doesn’t trust you to control your own body!) This means that Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, Republican Senators who take pro-choice positions to protect their credibility as moderates, cannot vote for him without that credibility. Will they take the hit, and if they do, why?

Kavanaugh’s racism is so virulent that it presents another, possibly even more urgent, quandary for Murkowski.

Alaska Natives were a key to Murkowski’s re-election, when she ran a successful write-in campaign against Joe Miller. There is little evidence that they encountered problems voting when they helped Murkowski become the first U.S. senator in more than 50 years to win an election with a write-in campaign. In fact, with Alaska’s absentee ballots, Permanent Fund automatic registration, and early voting locations, Alaska is a “no excuse” voting state.

Tlingit-Haida Central Council President Richard Peterson wrote to Murkowski and said that the 30,000 tribal members his organization represents would be endangered by Kavanaugh’s confirmation, “because of his erroneous views on indigenous rights and tribal sovereignty.

“We are concerned moving his nomination forward due to his unsound views and the potential injury that his misperceptions would wreak upon your Native Alaskan constituents, our Native Hawaiian friends and fellow indigenous peoples. I write to you, asking you to vote no, and oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination,” Peterson’s letter stated.

Who knows what motivates these ladies…they may still decide to vote yes. In particular, there is more to Collins, Kavanaugh and Russia than the media is reporting.

Even if all these red flags are ignored by the #complicit Republican Congress, the real reason the emails were hidden is the most damning: Kavanaugh participated in the theft of Democratic strategy emails when he worked for our last horrific illegitimate Rethug President, George W. Bush. Then, he lied about it. UNDER OATH. This may be beyond the pale even for today’s morally bankrupt GOP.

And with the latest poll numbers showing worse and worse news for Drumpf and his political influence, what is their motivation for sticking with him? Aren’t there any who are free from NRA Russian influence?

17 years after a devastating Al Qaeda attack on our country during a Republican administration, all we need is two Republican Senators to stop this devastating Russian attack on American democracy.

Call your Senators.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

Happy Sunday everyone. Are we having a good weekend? I thought we’d do a ‘cities and towns’ theme today. I don’t have any real commentary, so let’s get started. Band name, song about a city/town or song title.

John Mellencamp – Small Town

Journey – City By The Bay

Petula Clark – Downtown

Atlanta Rhythm Section – Imaginary Lover

Glen Campbell – Galveston

Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia

Okay, there are quite a few obvious choices out there. Let’s see ’em!

Open Thread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:

“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake,” McCain said in a statement. “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”

Time Magazine, July 16, 2018

On August 25th, 2018, Senator John McCain passed away at the age of 81. Not only did he handle his fatal illness with characteristic bravery and flair, but he also survived long enough to ensure that his legacy was exactly what he wanted it to be. He helped save the ACA, along with Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, and as noted in the quote above, was quite vocal after the #TreasonSummit in Helsinki.

I have only voted for two Republicans in my life: Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. (I am sure you are all surprised that I voted for Giuliani…but you have no idea what a terrible mayor David Dinkins was, he had issues with Jewish people, and Giuliani was a lot more moderate back then. Sigh.) I regret my vote for one, but not for the other – I think McCain would have been a decent President, and Obama truly didn’t earn my vote in 2008, although he certainly got it in 2012 (after the 2010 wave swept all the moderates out of the GOP).

I do think that McCain is benefiting from a bit of wishful thinking in terms of his record. He did vote with Republicans quite a bit, supporting Drumpf about 83% of the time. However, the chart below shows that he truly was more independent than most.

While the nation mourns, we also wonder what will happen now with Arizona’s Senate seat. This article in FiveThirtyEight breaks the options down, and unfortunately, it looks like the Governor of Arizona is likely to pick someone a lot more Trumpy.

A new occupant of McCain’s seat is good news for McConnell, Trump and Republicans who want the party to largely follow the edicts of those two GOP leaders. McCain was largely absent from public life while he was receiving treatment for brain cancer, and during that time, the Senate was split 50-49 in favor of the GOP. That meant one Republican defection could kill any bill. With 51 active Republicans, one defection still left room for Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of McConnell and the president. With 50, Pence’s vote isn’t enough as long as one Republican sides with the opposition.

With the addition of a reliable McConnell ally, the Senate’s partisan breakdown returns to 51-49, giving Republican leadership some breathing room. Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Trump critic who occasionally bucks party leadership, will have less power to stall Senate GOP initiatives. That could help the party get more federal judges appointed, a big priority for Trump and McConnell. (I don’t think the return to full strength in the Senate will mean much for other issues, because the Republicans aren’t really trying to push through major initiatives before the midterms.)

Ack, I really hate reading that…but, this of course assumes that Drumpf will keep being President till 2020. I think that is a rather risky assumption; like DYB, I believe something has changed, as so many of the Trump insiders are making plea deals and being convicted of felonies. I also refuse to assume the Rethugs will keep the Senate. Look at Doug Jones in Alabama…who expected that?! Who really knows how many people will vote blue in November? I think we have not yet begun to show our strength.

Whatever happens next, nothing can take away from the fact that Senator John McCain was a brave and honorable man, and he accomplished a great deal in his long life of public service. I thank you, Senator, for helping save ACA and being a strong voice against #TrumpRussia. My heart goes out to your family, friends and colleagues in the Senate…the Democratic ones, anyway.

This is an open thread.

Folks, there is just too much. I’m going to link to a bunch of news stories and let you all talk about whatever you want.

Fighting planned voter suppression in Georgia

Has McGahn flipped?

What will Manafort’s jury do? Remember that this is just the first trial

Is 2018 the Year of the Woman? (Oh hells yeah)

Republicans are lying about Ohio voters again

The Queen of Soul and the Presidents of the United States

McTurtle’s summer recess plan fails

This is an open thread.

 

Knowing about CRISPR-Cas9 may even turn out to be useful, unlike most of the news while we wait.

Okay, so what is that endless acronym? It’s used as shorthand to refer to a very accurate way of inserting a snippet of DNA into a chromosome. For instance, if someone has cystic fibrosis, there’s a very small mutation that causes the whole problem. You can, theoretically, use CRISPR-Cas9 to insert a corrected segment of DNA in the right place in the affected person’s cells and make the problem go away permanently. The cells incorporate the corrected DNA and when they make new cells, they pass on the corrected information.

 

CRISPR-Cas9 and DNA
CRISPR-Cas9 working on some DNA, image from NIH Director’s blog

 

Sounds like every genetic problem is solved, right? It would be if that’s all there was to it. For a while people thought so and optimism ran rampant. Wall St. bid up the prices of a new cohort of shaky biotech stocks and hung breathless on every snippet of gossip about new treatments in the works for FDA approval.

Plenty of non-scientists are still in that starry-eyed mood, but the research data has suddenly turned grim.

It appears that the process of inserting a bit of DNA using CRISPR-Cas9 causes multiple off-target mutations. The target (in my hypothetical example the cystic fibrosis gene) may be corrected, but there are other changes that appear all over the place. Most frighteningly, they can appear in regulatory segments of the DNA. Those are not the bits that code for something, such as mucus production. They regulate how active a gene that codes for something is, or they regulate when it activates.

Obviously, that’s rather important. Messing with regulatory activity can have disastrous and unforeseen consequences, even if the target gene did get fixed. It’s like changing the index and table of contents in a textbook on molecular biology. Changing a page number here and there is tiny compared to throwing out an entire chapter, but the whole book becomes useless.

There is a note of hope. These unwanted changes were found after using a type of CRISPR process (“single specificity targeting”) which has a much higher chance of error than the alternative (“double specificity targeting”). Researchers are looking at that less error-prone process now. If it solves the problem of unwanted changes, we can go back to ringing joy bells.

But until we know that for a fact, don’t let anyone talk you into taking a flier on some startup curing stupidity using CRISPR. And don’t let anyone you care about take a trip to Singapore for the cure to old age. Yes, I’m trying to be funny. In reality, even the CRISPR-based therapies closest to approval are still in the research phase. If you have a chance to have input on anything to do with regulation — a vote or a townhall meeting or anything like that — point out that there are massive unresolved issues that can’t be waved away by saying, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Now back to our regular programming of WAITING FOR THIS WHOLE GODDAMN CRIME FAMILY AND ALL ITS ACOLYTES TO GET TOSSED IN THE JUG. (I am not good at waiting.)


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Blog Archive

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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.3 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

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