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Things are bad

When even the NY Times knows it’s a shitty deal.

More fun with the FDA

I feel incredibly reassured to know that this process will be as untainted by bias, political influence and payoffs as the rest of their decisions:

A coalition of nearly 30 organizations in the animal agriculture industry sent a letter to the heads of the House and Senate on Tuesday, asking lawmakers not to intervene as the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to approve genetically engineered salmon as food.

The letter comes more than a month after the House approved an amendment, by voice acclamation, to an appropriations bill that would strip the FDA of funding to study the salmon. On July 15, members of the House and Senate sent letters to the FDA asking it to abandon its consideration of modified salmon as food, and threatened to propose legislation to bar further study of the fish if the agency does not comply.

Calling themselves the “Animal Agriculture Coalition,” the industry groups did not take a side in the debate over genetically modified food, but instead implored Congress to respect the principle of science-based regulation.

In the letter, the organizations wrote to Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as well as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), that the House legislation “would disrupt the FDA’s congressional mandate to base its assessments of human and animal drugs, devices, vaccines, and process applications on the best-available science underlying an application. Such a disruption would diminish the credibility of the FDA approval process at home and overseas. The global reputation of FDA’s science-based review procedure is based on the Agency’s objectivity.”

God I heart Matt Damon

He is my hero for this:

A reporter from libertarian rag Reason interviewed notorious Massachusetts liberal actor Matt Damon at this year’s Save Our Schools March and she tried to throw some business at him about teacher tenure and Ayn Randy incentive stuff and he wasn’t having it.

Watch as Damon, a multi, multi-millionaire, somehow comes across as in-touch with the needs of the working teacher. Observe with delight as not only is the reporter shamed, but so too is the cameraman! Behold Damon’s glorious bald head and adorable mom! It’s a fun video, is what I’m saying. [via Slog]

Of course, the main difference is, Obama wanted the showdown to rationalize his much-desired Grand Bargain on Social Security and Medicare! Jonathan Chait:

If you haven’t already read Kara Brandeisky’s story about how the Clinton administration handled the debt ceiling in 1995, you should definitely do it. As she notes, the circumstances were different in 1995. Republicans were somewhat less fixated on the debt ceiling, and also somewhat less destructive and crazy. But they weren’t that much less destructive and crazy:

“Nobody should assume we’re going to have a debt-limit extension,” John Boehner warned. “If the vote were held today, it would not pass.” Sound familiar? This was Boehner in November of 1995, when he was the House Republican Conference chairman and his party was refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless President Bill Clinton agreed to a package of sweeping spending cuts.

The biggest single difference is that the Clinton administration simply refused on principle to get jacked up on the debt ceiling:

Still, even though Clinton enjoyed political and economic advantages that Obama does not, his no-compromises strategy had some clear advantages. Unlike Obama, he refused to let the threat of default set the national agenda. Because he would not enter into negotiations over the debt ceiling, the issue barely roused the public consciousness. On November 9, 1995, a senior administration official told the Washington Post, “Our position is it does not matter what they put on this legislation, we are not going to accept anything but clean bills because we will not be blackmailed over default. Get it? No extortion. No blackmail. What you hear are their screams of complaint as they realize we are not, not, not budging on this.”

Kind of hard to imagine somebody from this administration talking like that.

Tonight

Want to be the liberal version of right-wing media “journalists”? Have fun and influence people?

On Virtually Speaking Susie tonight, my guest is the amazing Spocko, the man who organized campaigns that brought down several right-wing radio hosts. Learn how to do it yourself! Tune in at 9pm EST.

Please call in with your questions and comments to 646-200-3440.

The Clean Air Promise

As someone who’s suffered from allergies all my life (I also had what they call “cough variant asthma”), I sometimes have to struggle to breathe — not as much as I used to, but it’s still there. And one of my kids suffered from childhood asthma, although he’s since outgrown it.

Gasping for breath scares the hell out of me, so to me, clean air is a very serious issue. And that’s why I was hoping, when NJ Gov. Chris Christie was taken to the hospital last week with an asthma attack, that he would rethink refusing to sign onto the regional emissions control pact with other area states. (Since I live a stone’s throw across the river from New Jersey and all.)

I see that Environment New Jersey also took note of Christie’s hospitalization. Doug O’Malley, their field director, released this statement:

We offer our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Governor Christie. An asthma attack can be a life-threatening event and that is a fact of life for over 163,000 New Jersey children who live with this chronic disease. We hope that the Governor will be sympathetic to the concerns of those children when it comes to measures to protect our kids from dangerous air pollution.

We encourage Governor Christie to support the Clean Air Promise launched by the League of Women Voters this week and to promise that he will protect our kids from dangerous air pollution. The new LWV campaign ad and Promise can be found at http://www.peoplenotpolluters.org/

Everybody knows at least one person who has trouble breathing in polluted air. For them and everybody else, go sign that petition!

74-26

Well, it passed the Senate. Tough luck for the non-investor class!

3/50

For those of you who can afford it, I think this is a great idea:

Cindy Baxter began the 3/50 Project in March 2009 to help save the brick and mortars our nations was built on. She has put into practice a very simple idea. Pick three independently owned businesses and spend a total of $50 each month at these stores.

Consider these noteworthy statistics:

If half the employed population spent $50 each month in a locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.

For every $100 spend in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.

For every $100 you spend in a national chain, only $43 stays in the community.

For every $100 spend online, nothing comes home.

Can you think of three independently owned businesses in your community?

For additional information on the 3/50 Project visit http://www.the350project.net.

Mercury retro

Late tonight. This one’s especially harsh, be prepared!

Nuclear hootenany

So I’m talking to Kweder last night at the open mike, and he tells me he’s been running around even more than usual, because his sister’s in the hospital with esophageal cancer. “She doesn’t have a husband or kids, so you know, whattaya gonna do?” he says, and shrugs. “I have to go visit her.”

“Where is she?” I ask.

“She’s at Penn, 8th and Spruce,” he tells me. “Nice hospital. And really, I don’t mind going to see her, but it gets in the way of things. I mean, I do have this drinking problem…”

We both laugh. I love Kweder. He’s the only alcoholic in the world I can stand to be around.

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