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markpkessinger

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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 5,669

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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 Officer’s Message to Liberals on the Eve of the GOP’s 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 Officer’s Message to Liberals on the Eve of the GOP’s Big Mid-Term Win

Posted by Jim Wright

< . . . . >

Do you know what’s going to happen if Conservatives control both houses of Congress? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Literally nothing. That’s 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)

For any non-voting Russell Brand fans you may know . . .

Created this last night as part of my personal get-out-the-vote effort!



Click here to see a larger copy of the image.

Feel free to share!

Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Nov 3, 2014, 02:11 AM (6 replies)

Why is the Obama administration siding with meat packers over the rights of U.S. consumers . . .

. . . to know the country of origin of the meats they buy? And why on earth would President Obamas Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in the event of a conflict between the interests of the meat packing industry and the interests of consumers,.allow an unelected international body be the final arbiter of such a conflict?

Doesn't it just warm the cockles of your heart to know that your President and his team are working so hard to protect you from such dangerous knowledge?

And why should American consumers not be free to favor (or not) the products of any country they wish?

I'm not sure why the article refers to Vilsack as "then-Secretary of Agriculture." He is still serving in the post.

(This post refers to this thread, and to this article, excerpted below):

WTO Says U.S. Consumers Don’t Need to Know Where Meat Comes From

This week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) finally issued a decision in the challenge made by Mexico and Canada to the U.S.’s country-of-origin (COOL) labeling rules for meat. And environmental and food safety groups are hopping mad, as WTO upheld the contention made by those countries, supported by multi0national meat packers, that the rules unfairly impede global trade.

“The meatpacking lobby has lost the COOL debate from the court of public opinion to the Court of Appeals to the halls of Congress so they are taking their complaint to the faceless unelected bureaucrats in Geneva,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “When the meat cannot get its way here in America, it is trying to use the WTO to overturn the will of the American people.”

The current U.S. rules, which went into effect in 2013, require that meat sold in groceries be labeled to show separately where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. The WTO’s ruling agrees that those regulations unfairly discriminate against imported meat to give an unfair edge to domestic products. In the ongoing dispute, then-Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack suggested last November that WTO should resolve the dispute and that the U.S. would abide by what the WTO decided.

Meat packers insists that the labeling rules have cost them profits, and the Canadian government threatened to put a tariff on U.S. meats and other food products imported from the U.S. The North American Meat Association and the American Meat Institute hailed the decision. But Food & Water Watch said that consumers deserved to know where their meat came from.

< . . . . >


Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Oct 27, 2014, 12:36 AM (32 replies)

NY Times: As Ebola Spread in Dallas, New York Honed Protocol

There is a positively delicious irony at the heart of this story. Consider . . .

In Texas -- that hotbed for the 'libertarian' wing of the Republican Party, which holds as a core principal that the private sector will always do a better job than the public sector, a private hospital (Texas Presbyterian) spectacularly bungles its preparation for and response to its first Ebola patient; whereas in New York, the city's flagship public hospital, Bellevue, executes a near perfect response. Just sayin'.


As Ebola Spread in Dallas, New York Honed Protocol
By SABRINA TAVERNISE, ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS, SHARON LaFRANIERE and ABBY GOODNOUGH OCT. 25, 2014

This time was different.

When Craig Spencer, a young doctor just back from treating patients with Ebola in Guinea, fell ill with the virus in New York on Thursday, the paramedics who went to get him were dressed in protective suits. He entered Bellevue Hospital through a rear door, far from the busy emergency room, and was taken to a state-of-the-art isolation ward that was locked and guarded.

The carefully planned response was a world apart from the scene that unfolded in a Dallas hospital last month when a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, became the first person to test positive for Ebola in the United States.

It was Ebola’s first surprise encounter with a modern medical system, and it was, by all accounts, a bumpy one. Mr. Duncan lay in an emergency department room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for hours, with a fever and frequent diarrhea, while the same doctor and nurses treated patients in nearby rooms, medical workers said. A lab technician had to comb through his inbox to find an email from the government on procedures for Ebola blood samples, only to find that he had handled them improperly, the workers said.

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Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:56 AM (0 replies)
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