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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 6,339

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The notion that Landrieu would have retained her seat if Keystone XL had been approved is absurd

The suggestion that Senator Landrieu's electoral fate is tied to the outcome of the Keystone XL vote is preposterous. She is in a runoff in which, prior to the pipeline vote, she was slated to most likely lose. That remains the case afterwards. Her gambit in forcing a vote on the issue has never been anything more than a last-ditch effort -- a "hail Mary pass" if you will -- and the suggestion that she would have retained her seat had the pipeline been approved amounts to groundless speculation. Surely, even the pipeline's most ardent supporters would have to credit her for giving it her best shot. And if they weren't willing to so credit her, then there remains serious doubt as to whether there is anything she could have done to gain their support.
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Nov 18, 2014, 09:02 PM (43 replies)

Both the Congressional vote on Keystone XL, and the President's promised veto may be moot

From Bloomberg:

Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama

So youíre the Canadian oil industry and you do what you think is a great thing by developing a mother lode of heavy crude beneath the forests and muskeg of northern Alberta. The plan is to send it clear to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast via a pipeline called Keystone XL. Just a few years back, America desperately wanted that oil.

Then one day the politics get sticky. In Nebraska, farmers donít want the pipeline running through their fields or over their water source. U.S. environmentalists invoke global warming in protesting the project. President Barack Obama keeps siding with them, delaying and delaying approval. From the Canadian perspective, Keystone has become a tractor mired in an interminably muddy field.

In this period of national gloom comes an idea -- a crazy-sounding notion, or maybe, actually, an epiphany. How about an all-Canadian route to liberate that oil sands crude from Albertaís isolation and Americaís fickleness? Canadaís own environmental and aboriginal politics are holding up a shorter and cheaper pipeline to the Pacific that would supply a shipping portal to oil-thirsty Asia.

Instead, go east, all the way to the Atlantic.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Nov 16, 2014, 12:57 AM (1 replies)

NYT: Joan Riversís Treatment Had Numerous Violations, U.S. Inquiry Finds

If the medical errors in Ms. Rivers' treatment weren't bad enough, the then-medical director of the clinic, Dr. Lawrence Cohen, stopped by the operating room to snap unauthorized cell phone photos of her on the operating table and under anesthesia. A doctor at (what was supposed to be) a reputable clinic taking trophy photos of a celebrity patient -- just . . . .wow.

The article says Dr. Cohen no longer practices at the clinic, but I think the bigger question is, does he still have a license to practice medicine at all, and if so, why.

Joan Riversís Treatment Had Numerous Violations, U.S. Inquiry Finds

A Manhattan clinic treating Joan Rivers in August did not notice that her vital signs were deteriorating for at least 15 minutes before she went into cardiac arrest, leading to her death several days later, a federal investigation has found.

Released on Monday, a report said that Ms. Riversís blood pressure and pulse decreased precipitously while she was on the operating table on Aug. 28 between 9:12 and 9:26 a.m., yet cardiopulmonary resuscitation began at 9:28 at the earliest.

< . . . . >

Investigators also reported that Dr. Lawrence Cohen, then medical director of the clinic, took cellphone pictures of Ms. Rivers and Gwen Korovin, her ear, nose and throat doctor, while Ms. Rivers was lying on the operating table unconscious from anesthesia. Dr. Cohen told the others in the room that Ms. Rivers might want to see the pictures in the recovery room.

< . . . . >

As for the photographs, the report said, ďThere was no documentation of prior consent by Patient No. 1 authorizing her photographs to be obtained by the facilityís staff members during the procedure.Ē
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Nov 16, 2014, 12:45 AM (1 replies)

A Party that loses an election and blames voters for not showing up at the polls . . .

. . . is rather like a widget manufacturer who blames consumers when his product doesn't sell. Just sayin'.

(On edit, and as stated in #38 below: I don't mean to suggest that voter turnout isn't crucial to winning elections. Of course it is. But low voter turnout is a symptom; it is not the disease itself. And so long as we remain focused on the symptom instead of addressing the condition that caused the symptom, that symptom will recur time and time again.)
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 06:09 PM (181 replies)

Got a lovely surprise today!

An old friend called to say he had an extra ticket to Tuesday night's performance of the opera, "Death of Klinghoffer" at the Met -- the controversial work by composer John Adams the performance of which has been met with protests -- and asking if I would be interesting in joining him. You bet I would! Very much looking forward to this!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Nov 6, 2014, 11:34 PM (2 replies)

The Democratic Party faces an existential choice

After all the post-mortems, I think it comes down to something very basic: the Democratic Party must decide what it wants to be, and whose interests it will ultimately represent.

Since the mid '90s, the party has courted the big money donors to be found in the financial/corporate sector, while simultaneously purporting to continue to retain its historical identity as a populist party of common people. Those two sets of interests are fundamentally at odds with each other, and ultimately cannot coexist in the same party. Those big, corporate donors will always expect their pound of flesh in return, and as recent elections have been demonstrating, voters are no longer willing to buy into a faux populism that tries to serve two masters. Whatever set of interests the party is going to represent, if it expects to have any success at the polls, it must represent those interests authentically -- being inauthentically anything will simply no longer cut it. I think this is borne out by the fact that across the nation, even in states where Democrats fared poorly, progressive ballot initiatives did well. So long as we continue to try to have it both ways, we will continue to lose.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Nov 6, 2014, 08:14 PM (141 replies)

Several have raised the spectre of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement being fast-tracked . . .

. . . and given the President's repeated indications that he would sign such a pact, there is reason to worry.

But isn't it a rather sad irony that we have to be anxious about the possibility that a Democratic President might be willing to do the GOP's bidding?
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 01:20 PM (9 replies)

County Map of PA Governor's race -- mostly predictable, but . . .

The county-by-county electoral map of the Pennsylvania governor's race is mostly predictable, but there are a couple of surprises. One is that Corbett won Wolfe's home county (York). Then again, on second thought, that really isn't such a surprise. York County is where the town of Dover is located -- Dover was in the national news just a few years back when its local school board tried to require the teaching of 'intelligent design' alongside evolution in science classes (a bid that, thankfully, was quashed by Federal Judge John E. Jones, III). A second surprise -- and a rather pleasant one, in my view -- is that my native county, Clinton, went blue! Clinton is one of the two adjoining blue counties smack dab in the middle of the state amid a sea of red. Clinton is the one to the north, and Centre is the one to the south. That Centre would go blue isn't surprising, given that it is home to Penn State. But Clinton does surprise me -- I suspect it had something to do with Corbett's role in the whole Sandusky case, and the fact that one of Sandusky's victims, who figured prominently in Sandusky's trial, was from Clinton County. Also, residents of Clinton County have become deeply disillusioned with the fracking industry, and what it is doing to the local environment.

You can view an interactive version of that map here.
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 09:00 AM (0 replies)

Take heart -- A Retired Navy Officerís Message to Liberals on the Eve of the GOPís Big Mid-Term Win

Saw this the other day -- thought it might be good to share here now, lest we allow ourselves to get too morose over yesterdays results . . .

A Retired Navy Officerís Message to Liberals on the Eve of the GOPís Big Mid-Term Win

Posted by Jim Wright

< . . . . >

Do you know whatís going to happen if Conservatives control both houses of Congress? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Literally nothing. Thatís what will happen. For the next two years. Nothing.

So, if you think about it, in most regards, down here on the street, it'll look pretty much the same as the last two years where Congress has accomplished ... nothing. Oh, sure, the very first thing Republicans will do is attempt torepeal Obamacare. They have no choice. They'll have to - they've painted themselves into a corner on it.

And so, the first order of business, right after they all make a big showing of swearing in their new majority by reciting the Constitution, will be a rushed bill through both chambers to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act. It's already written.

Republicans willpass a repeal in the House. They might even pass a repeal in the Senate by a simple majority vote, especially if Democrats continue to cravenly run away from the ACA instead of standing their ground and fighting. Instead of reminding Americans why we needed it in the first place and why the majority of Americans, including one hell of a lot of Republicans, benefit from the ACA every day - which is what Democrats should have been doing during their campaigns instead of pissing their pants.

< . . . . >

Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 07:22 AM (23 replies)

Saw this comment on FB, which pretty well sums up yesterday . . .

"You have to stand for something to get your voters out in a midterm. The Republicans stand for craziness, and the crazies turn out. Who can say what the Democratic Party stands for?"
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 07:01 AM (66 replies)
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