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markpkessinger

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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 6,951

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May I just say, as a Sanders supporter, to whomever is advising the Clinton campaign . . .

. . . KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Feb 7, 2016, 05:52 PM (3 replies)

The Affordable Care Act was a great accomplishment, but it is NOT a sacred cow!

Anybody who is at all honest with himself or herself will acknowledge that, while certainly better than what preceded it, the ACA is FAR from ideal or perfect. Yes, more people are insured. That's a good thing. Yes, pre-existing conditions are covered. Ditto. But the very high deductibles and skyrocketing drug prices are, quite literally, killers for those who, like me, live with chronic conditions (Type II diabetes in my case) that require continuous medical supervision and maintenance in order to keep them under control.

Hillary has falsely claimed that Bernie Sanders will be putting the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid and S-CHIP at risk by pursuing single-payer. Look, if he tries and fails, all that means is that we are left with whatever is currently in place. But this notion that we cannot and should not even attempt to TRY to come up with better system amounts to despicable fear-mongering based on a despicable lie, all borne of desperation -- it is truly pathetic.

To those engaging in the various lines of attack on Sanders, all based on the common theme of what he will not possibly be able to achieve, and pointing to the Republican obstruction faced by President Obama in support of that assertion, I would pose this question: What, exactly, is the basis for your belief that Hillary, for whom GOP enmity is just as deep as that directed towards President Obama and is of much longer standing, will be any more able to push through her agenda? Let's face it: the Republican strategy of obstructing virtually everything this President has tried to do has been, with a few notable exceptions, wildly successful. Does anybody honestly think they will suddenly be inspired to reach across the aisle under a Hillary presidency?

For 35 years, the Democratic Party has watched -- no it has permitted -- this country drift further and further to the right. The relative midpoint on the political spectrum has shifted, and markedly so. Given that there seems to be no limit on how far right the GOP is willing to pull this country, then absent some serious pushback in the opposite direction -- something that simply cannot be accomplished when your starting point is at, or in some cases already over, the center line -- that rightward drift will continue.

It could well be that a President Sanders will find himself unable to accomplish many of the things he would like to do. Then again, it could be that the enthusiasm his campaign is generating could result in some rather long coattails that could potentially change the political outlook in Congress. I really don't see the possibility of significant coattails in a Hillary victory.

One thing of which I am absolutely certain: if voters do not begin to push hard at the polls for the kind of change most of them want and know we need, it is virtually assured that change will never come to pass!
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Jan 29, 2016, 11:12 PM (5 replies)

NYT Editorial: Vindication for Planned Parenthood (and my comment posted to it)

Here is a comment I posted to the editorial (a link to and excerpt of the editorial follows after my comment):

Mark P. Kessinger New York, NY

It is certainly past time for politicians to back off their attacks on Planned Parenthood. But isn't it time also to ask why we continue to allow these scams involving videos that purport to show wrongdoing by some agency or official, videos produced by activists with a known agenda, to be perpetrated on the American public? Isn't it time to call out media outlets who run with these stories, at face value, without undertaking their own independent investigation of their veracity? And is it not time to demand accountability from politicians who opportunistically seize upon any video that surfaces, irrespective of its source and before knowing whether or not what is presented is accurate, in furtherance of a political agenda, wasting millions of taxpayers' dollars on pointless investigations that serve no public purpose, but merely provide a vehicle for political posturing?

The Planned Parenthood "baby parts" scam followed, play for play, the game plan that was used to falsely discredit ACORN and to slander Shirley Sherrod: (1) a person with a known, right-wing agenda comes forward with a selectively and misleadingly edited video; (2) one media outlet runs with it with no attempt to ascertain the truth of the story; and (3) Republican politicians immediately demand expensive investigations aimed not so much at discerning the truth of the video, but at smearing the person or organization targeted by the video. How many times must we go through this?


And here is the excerpt of the editorial itself:

Vindication for Planned Parenthood
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD - JAN. 26, 2016

One after the other, investigations of Planned Parenthood prompted by hidden-camera videos released last summer have found no evidence of wrongdoing. On Monday, a grand jury in Harris County, Tex., went a step further. Though it was convened to investigate Planned Parenthood, it indicted two members of the group that made the videos instead.

The Harris County prosecutor, Devon Anderson, a Republican who was asked by the lieutenant governor, a strident opponent of Planned Parenthood, to open the criminal investigation, said on Monday that the grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any misconduct.

Yet despite all the evidence, Texasí Republican governor, Greg Abbott, said on Monday that the state attorney generalís office and the State Health and Human Services Commission would continue investigating Planned Parenthood. This is a purely political campaign of intimidation and persecution meant to destroy an organization whose mission to serve womenís health care needs the governor abhors.

Fortunately, in the Harris County case, the jurors considered the facts. David Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress, which released the videos, and Sandra Merritt, an employee, were indicted on felony charges of tampering with governmental records, probably connected to their alleged use of fake driverís licenses to get into a Planned Parenthood office.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jan 27, 2016, 08:53 PM (4 replies)

Bernie responds to Chelsea . . . with far more grace and class than her scurrilous remarks deserved

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/01/13/bernie-sanders-sotu-and-gun-issue-bash-intv.cnn
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jan 13, 2016, 12:46 PM (32 replies)

An argument I wish the President had addressed last night

Just had a chance to watch the President's town hall on guns, which aired last night. All I can say is, if people watch this, and still think President Obama seeks to take away their guns, then they are believing that because they want to believe it, not because there is any rational basis whatsoever for that belief.

Personally, I wish the President had taken on the "protection" argument, although I understand why he didn't. One woman who questioned him recounted her story of having been raped in her home, and how she now wants a gun to protect herself. Here's the thing about that belief -- and this is a point the Australian comic, Jim Jeffries, makes so brilliantly in his Netflix special, "Bare" -- in order for a gun to be of any use for self-protection in such a circumstance, that gun would have to be both loaded, and be within reach of the person, AT ALL TIMES. I don't know anybody who carries a loaded gun with them 100% of the time, even as they go about the house. And if a person keeps a loaded gun lying around the house and readily accessible, then the risk that a child or someone else might get their hands on it rises exponentially, and that person has thus voided any claim to being a "responsible gun owner." It may be that the woman from the town hall who had been raped derives some sense of security from having a gun on hand, but as a practical matter, that sense of security is entirely illusory.
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Jan 8, 2016, 04:04 PM (31 replies)

Posted this to FB today, in response to accusations that the President's tears were "an act"

Posted after a distant relative (among many other folks) made a comment that "He should get an Oscar for that performance." (The context was a post of mine in which I shared an exchange with another NY Times reader. That reader commented: "Can you imagine a JFK or FDR with tears streaming down their faces during a press conference?" My response: "Some of us find it refreshing to have a President unconstrained by the emotional dysfunctions of the privileged class of a bygone era!")

Okay, I have to say this -- and not everyone will like it, but I'm saying it nonetheless. In the seven years of President Obama's term in office,I have listened to conservatives' endless barrage of false accusations and ridiculous conspiracy theories concerning this President. Most of them have been barely worth the energy required to roll one's eyes. But nothing -- and I do mean NOTHING -- has disgusted me more than the comments I've seen in the past 24 hours suggesting that the emotion displayed in the President's speech yesterday about gun control was just an act. You don't have to agree with anything the President said in that speech. But there is a line of fundamental decency here folks, and when you deny this President, even if you disagree with his politics, the humanity of his own emotion on an issue he cares passionately about, you have crossed it. This is simply a vile accusation.

Here is a video of the President's speech yesterday. If anybody can listen to it and still level an accusation that the President was "acting," then it says a whole lot more about the person making the accusation than it does about the President. And frankly, regardless of whether or not you agree with the President, if the thought of those 21 5- and 6-year-olds at Sandy Hook, along with the dozens and dozens of others whose live have been cut short in mass shooting after mass shooting, doesn't evoke a strong emotional response within you, then you seriously need to check your own humanity, or lack thereof!

Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jan 6, 2016, 04:42 PM (49 replies)

Why I don't buy Uretsky's story, and why that doesn't get the DNC off the hook

I have worked in IT for decades, in areas ranging from database design and management to IT security. When I initially heard Josh Uretsky's story that the queries against the Clinton campaign's proprietary data were performed as part of an effort to investigate the extent of exposure of the proprietary data of the Sanders, it sounded like a perfectly reasonable and even likely explanation. Then I read the specifics of the queries that were run. From CNN's reporting:

The Sanders team, which consisted of four people, ran multiple searches in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and about 10 March states, including Florida and Colorado. In Iowa and New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign has ranked voters on a scale of 1-100 for turnout, enthusiasm and support, the senior Democrats said. The Sanders campaign ran two searches: "Show me all the Clinton people rated higher than 60" and "Show me all the people rated less than 30." This would be a key way of knowing who Sanders should target in the final weeks before voting: Ignore those above 60, while focus on those below 30, because they are looking for a Clinton alternative and might be open to Sanders.


So, this index of turnout/enthusiasm/support, is a database field created by, and the property of, the Clinton campaign. If Uretsky's intent had been merely investigative, he could have included that field in a select query, with no particular selection criteria specified, in order to test whether proprietary fields were exposed. There would have been no need to place any particular selection criteria on that field in the query, much less to filter it in a way that would yield information that could be specifically useful to the Sanders campaign. As for not attempting to cover his tracks, I'm sure Uretsky was aware that it is EXTREMELY difficult to get around a database's audit logs (that is, it is extremely difficult if the designers of the database had even minimal competency), and thus knew better than to even try (as the attempt itself would have raised red flags). Instead, he figured that if the queries came to light, he could pass them off as having been investigative in nature. Uretsky knew the security vulnerability was there. I think he figured that since they had previously reported that vulnerability, and nothing had been done about it, he could get away with exploiting that vulnerability to the benefit of the Sanders campaign, and that if any question should arise, he could claim his intent was investigative, citing the fact that he didn't try to cover his tracks to support that claim.

In the end, it was a monumentally stupid move by a campaign staffer, and he deserved to be fired because of it. When it came to light, the Sanders campaign took immediate, appropriate and effective remedial action. And THAT fact -- i.e., that the Sanders campaign had already taken timely, appropriate and effective remedial action, is what made the DNC's attempt to 'punish' the Sanders campaign so outrageous. The DNC's and Wasserman Schultz's disingenuousness is revealed for exactly what it is by the fact that the DNC was notified of a major security flaw in October, and two months later, no corrective action had been taken. I work in legal IT for a major international law firm. In my world, if a flaw like that had come to light, the vendor relationship would be immediately terminated, because it demonstrates the vendor's rank incompetence in database design. So why had the DNC not compelled NGP VAN to fix the flaw? That's anybody's guess. Why did the DNC not terminate the vendor relationship with NGP Van? Gee, do you think it could possibly have something to do with the fact that Stu Trevelyan, the CEO of NGP VAN, was a '92 staffer in the Clinton-Gore campaign, and a White House staffer during the Clinton presidency?

Wasserman Shultz is correct that an "open door" does not provide cover for someone who exploits it in order to access something they would not otherwise have access to. But there's another part of that analogy that points a finger back at the management of the DNC under Wasserman Schultz. Think of a retail store whose manager one night forgot to lock the doors upon closing, and the store, as it happened, was robbed that night. The owner of the store will certainly want to press charges against the thieves; but that owner will also most certainly fire the person who left the door open in the first place!

Presented with evidence of wrongdoing by a few of its staffers, the Sanders campaign took immediate and effective remedial action. Notified of a major security vulnerability in the DNC's database, Debbie Wasserman Schultz sat with her thumbs up her ass for two months, and then had the gall to self-righteously expound about an "open door." What's her excujse?
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Dec 20, 2015, 04:53 PM (63 replies)

Is anybody else here taking Toujeo?

My doctor switched me to it (from Lantus) two weeks ago. Instead of 28 units twice a day, I'm taking 50 units once a day. Since I started on it, I have had only one reading above 110 (and that was only 141). The rest of my readings have been between 88 and 110. I couldn't be more pleased!
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Dec 14, 2015, 11:55 PM (3 replies)

Perspective (on San Bernardino, terror, and Trump)

(Posted this a little while ago to Facebook, after reading that fear of terrorism in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings is driving a rise in Trump's poll numbers.)

Perspective --

* Two disturbed, white American high school students shoot up Columbine High School, killing 13 and wounding 20; and Americans wring their hands, ask, "What ever shall we do," and then go about their business as if nothing had happened.

* A white, middle-aged stock trader in Atlanta shoots up a couple of office buildings in Atlanta, killing 12 and injuring 13, and Americans wring their hands, say, "Isn't that horrible," and then go about their business as if nothing had happened. as if nothing

* .A white, middle-aged guy shoots up an Amish school in Nickel Mines, PA, and American wring their hands, commend the Amish for their remarkable capacity to forgive, and go about their business as if nothing had happened.

* A young, white guy shoots up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 70, and Americans wring their hands, ask, "Oh, what shall we do," and then go about their business as if nothing had happened.

* A young, disturbed white guy shoots up an elementary school in Newtown, CT, killing 26, including 20 children, and Americans wring their hands -- a little longer this time -- then go about their business as if it had never happened.

THEN . . .

* A Muslim American man and his Pakistani wife, self-radicalized in 2013 before ISIS was even a thing, and acting entirely on their own, go on a shooting spree in San Bernardino, CA, killing 14 and injuring 20, and "OH, MY GOD, IT'S THE END OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT!"

Seriously, people -- GET A GRIP!
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Dec 11, 2015, 01:38 AM (14 replies)

The security illusion

Safety, security -- these are illusions. Always have been, and, short of each of us living in armored pods hermetically sealed off from our fellow human beings (including, I might add, from our own families, since most of us, statistically speaking, stand a far higher risk of being injured or killed at the hands of a family member than by terrorists), always will be. Neither the people of Paris, nor the rest of the world, are any less safe because of the Paris attacks than we were before. The only thing that has changed is that our precious illusion of safety has momentarily been shattered. The attacks amount to barely a microscopic upward blip in the statistical risk faced by anyone of bring injured or dying in a terrorist attack.

And frankly, the sheer hypocrisy surrounding the hysteria over Syrian refugees is astounding, particularly in a country where, with mind-numbing regularity, scores are killed in one mass shooting after another, and yet most of us are content to go about their lives as if nothing had happened every time. In case anybody has forgotten, neither you, nor your child nor any other loved one, will be any less dead having been killed by a crazed, young, white American male with a gun than having been killed by a terrorist. So, 'safety,' you say? I don't want to hear it!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Nov 19, 2015, 06:33 PM (3 replies)
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