Friday, July 30, 2004

Comrades in Blogs

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Having spent the last five days angling for ways to get into the Fleet Center in Boston while getting lost in the amusement park inside her brain, your blogstress is only now catching up with the brilliant work done by her fellow bloggers during the Democratic National Convention.

For unabashed fun, you'll need to visit Tom Burka's Opinions You Should Have, where a raft of laugh-out-loud satirical news items reside. My favorite? "Hope Delayed At Security Kiosk Outside Fleet Center" (July 28).

Our favorite librarian, Jessamyn Charity West, informs us that, yes, Virgina, there are real roots on that grass. Check out her item, "Who Says There's No Grass Roots?" (July 29), and note the listing for the Democratic Swingers. (Smoking jackets, anyone?)

Nathan Paxon is a brainy, and for the most part, sober fellow, but he had the good sense to post on his blog, NateKnowsNada, this delightful item from a "glances" personals column. Scroll down to item "Missed Connection with Teresa?", 7/28/04. For stuff not covered elsewhere, check out Nate's items on the "People of Faith" lunch that took place during the convention.

More to come...

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Thursday, July 29, 2004


BOSTON--Your blogstress should have known better. She had, after all, just gotten a call from her colleague, Lou Chibbaro, Jr., staff reporter for the Washington Blade, from the convention floor, who said, "We're in some kind of lockdown here. They won't let me off the floor." She figured he just meant the convention floor, closed for the customary sweep. But no.

Being bad girls, blogstresses occassionally need a smoke, and yours made the fatal error of stepping outside the building to inhale. Delegates were being held back by barriers at the foot of the stairways and escalators, but no cue was taken. It's just crowd control, n'est-ce pas? It was still early, and the candidate wasn't scheduled to begin droning until 10:00.

Upon returning to the building, your intrepid muse was met by phalanxes of police officers or some sort of law enforcement in black hats, as well as regular Boston cops, everywhere, and nobody, not even your blogstress--who had purloined by now an even more impressive credential than the one passed through the gate to her earlier in the evening--was permitted back up. By your cyberscribe's estimation, at least 1,000 credentialed people were turned out of the building because of overcrowding, according to the Boston Fire Department. No amount of whining or cajoling won your blogstress the right to return to the media center, nor did the fabulous, formfitting black spandex and leather outfit that had won her the aforementioned more impressive credential.

In order to avoid being completely thrown out of the building, your vision in black made a sly turn onto radio row, a corridor off the ground-floor entrance to the Fleet Center where the political talk shows had set up shop. Alan Colmes, foil to Sean Hannity on that fair and balanced network, was there, stranded with mere mortals, his show about to start within minutes from a skybox he could not get to.

On radio row, your netette hung about with two very hip members of the North Carolina delegation, Zack Hawkins and former state legislator Sharon Thompson. She told her tale of woe to a radio guy, who said, "See, smoking will kill you."

Also got a whole riff from one Emanuel Gardiner on a documentary he's working on for the founder of Qwest Communications, who also produced a feature called "Fade to Black". Emanuel's film is about the involvement of black youth in this year's election. (More about this in later posts.)

This dispossessed group hung around, gabbing in front of a TV set, when Kerry's traveling press corps--the folks to whom your cybertrix had lost her internet connection earlier in the evening--were whisked by, then stopped in front of an elevator. Sidling up to them, your Webwench almost made into the elevator, with a newly purloined backstage pass, no less, when a sharp-eyed aide gave her the third degree and took away the beautiful, blue backstage tag. Pleading for them to at least let her reunite with her computer in the filing center got your electronic goddess nowhere. (Unfortunately, the aide was a straight girl, the one order of humankind immune to your blogstress's magical charms.)

Some time later, a group of journos were being escorted to the restrooms by men with big guns (no sh*t), so your blogstress decided this was an excellent time to powder her Persian nose. The ruse worked, and she got to walk back with these media folks to their workspace, which turned out to be no closer to the press filing center than she had been before. The area to which she was escorted was a big outdoor tentspace for something called CBS Newspath. Being Princess of the Blogosphere, your écrivaine had no cause to understand what on earth these people were doing, other than watching television on two-screened gadgets that folded up into suitcase-type carriers. So she stole the bottle of water that someone had left beside his computer, and parked herself for the speech, on which she could not concentrate.

Whining eventually paid off with a soft-hearted policeman, who agreed to escortez-t-elle to the press filing center, until the two found themselves foiled by a group of officious-looking people guarding the stairwell. They would not budge.

In front of the stairwell sat two unguarded escalators that would have led to the holy grail that was the third-floor filing center, if only both had not been running downwards. So your blogstress walked up one of them, and paid dearly when she stumbled at the top, banging herself up pretty badly. A kindly young man threw his hand down to her as she was drifting away with the sinking stairs, pulling her up to safety. She now sits before you, noting a wet spot on her spandex-infused pants that is sticking to her knee. One imagines this is something icky, like blood, so one prefers to ignore it. After all, there are parties to hit.

Needless to say, your blogstress has little of merit to say about Kerry's speech, most of which she missed. But for an excellent run-down, check out the comments of her excellent new friend, Patrick Belton of OxBlog.

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BOSTON--This could well be the last AddieStan post of the evening. Though your blogstress did manage to get herself into the Fleet Center tonight in an extralegal manner (which involved, literally, a credential being passed through a fence), it seems that a good chunk of the press filing center is being turned over to the press corps that travels with Kerry.

This is my fourth national political convention, and I've never seen this done. The candidate's traveling press corps is composed of reporters who work for the well-heeled outfits that have their own workrooms here.

But considering the fact that, at least according to the DNC, your blogstress has no business being here at all, one supposes she should be grateful for the printed texts of speeches, the internet access enjoyed thus far, and the company of journalists.

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Kerry's speech

BOSTON--Well, they've just passed out excerpts from the text of Kerry's acceptance speech. I wish I could say that it looks like a knock-out, but if these are any indication, we can expect the same sort of buzz-word loaded stuff we hear on the campaign trail. Here's the acceptance part:

So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation--here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom--on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion, and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot --for the brave mmen and women in uniform who risk their lives every day and the families who pray for their return--for all those who believe that our best days are ahead of us--for all of you--with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

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More than out

BOSTON--After a week of nary a queer word from the convention podium, tonight is sounding like gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered night, at least until the networks tune in during primetime.

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank just gave a real rip-roaring speech, in which he took to task his colleagues in the House who set aside the nation's business--funding homeland security and countless other vital national programs--to take up the unconscionable federal marriage amendment to the Constitution. The GOP amendemtn effort becomes especially cynical when you add in the fact that the Republicans knew they couldn't win the three-quarters victory they needed in the Senate, but they wasted the people's time on it anyway in order to have a flag to wave before their charming base.

Buzz is that Barney Frank may go for Kerry's vacated Senate seat should the latter Massachusettan (dig that word!) wind up in the White House. Said Frank to a gathering of gay Democratic delegates earlier today: "I'll get back to you on that."

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The tyranny of the post

BOSTON--The swell thing about blogging is that you can do whatever you want, with no pesky editor telling you that your ideas are cockamamie.

The frustrating thing about blogging is that all the decisions are up to you, and there's no pesky editor there to tell you when your ideas really are cockamamie, or when your prose has run off the rails.

In an environment such as this convention, the pressure to post is extremely high.
Blogs are, after all, said to be the running commentary on this event. Combine the tyranny of the post with the tedium of relentless self-promotion (tune up those violins) and what was always a narcissistic medium becomes a cult of one--one's own personality that is, or at the very least, of the persona in which one blogs.

Exhausted from e-mailing each little gem from her blog to tout le monde, sick of her self-consciously arch blogstress persona, unsure that there was really anything left to say about this confab, Addie actually went out today to do some reporting (go figure), and has hence fallen down on her blogger duties of perpetual musing.

And so, we have this post about not much of anything, which has been constructed for the purpose of having posted.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Love fest

BOSTON--After last night's levitational address by Barack Obama, John Edwards' performance tonight seemed merely able. That said, Edwards' "able" is better than what most politicians deliver in the guise of their strongest speeches.

The most effective part of his speech was when he had us conjuring the image of a loney wife, scraping together the money to support her family while her husband, in the National Guard, serves in Iraq.

Edwards seemed to go out of his way to cast most of his imaginary Americans as women; it's nice to see he's paying attention to demographics.

The "hope is on the way" line was a fun bit of political jabbing, co-opting Cheney's 2000 line, "help is on the way." It's an insider punch; it's doubtful that viewers at home have much memory of Cheney's speech at the last Republican National Convention.

The Edwards family is certainly impressive: A handsome wife, fellow attorney Elizabeth, who conveys a sense of quiet assurance; an intelligent and exquisite eldest daughter, who deftly invoked the style of Jacqueline Kennedy tonight; and two cute little kids who actually appeared to be having fun on the stage after Daddy's speech.

As I write, Aaron Brown is interviewing Al Franken, who seems not to have one funny thing to say.

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One more thing about Dukakis & Kerry

BOSTON--Speaking of lessons from '88, I hope the Kerry campaign remembers not how great Dukakis did in the polls after the convention, but how absolutely wonderful he looked in the final days of the campaign, when he started rolling up his shirtsleeves and really mixing with people--unfortunately, after all was lost. He looked so good, in fact, that even as every poll spelled doom for the Democrats, I was half believing that another feat of metaphysics from Miracle Mike would make itself apparent.

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Mike & Kitty at Friends of Dukakis gathering.
photo © 2004 Adele M. Stan

Snoopy-in-a-Tank on the Big, Blue Teletubbie

BOSTON--So I’m walking by this Greek restaurant near the dock where the water taxi dumps you off, and I hear, amplified, a familiar voice, but one I can’t immediately place. Then it all comes into focus.

“I’m happy to see that the Democrats have learned some lessons from 1988,” he says.

It’s a good voice, with a bit of a sardonic edge, and that swell Massachusetts accent. “I know you’ve all seen that boy-in-the-bubble picture,” he goes on, referring to Kerry’s fabulous photo flub.

Why, it’s former Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis, whose failed presidential bid in 1988 is often summed up visually in a goofy-looking picture of him sitting in a tank wearing a too-big helmet with built-in-ear muffs. Given the candidate’s small build and not-so-small nose, the effect was said to resemble Snoopy in Red Baron-chasing mode.

This time, he explains, no sooner did that silly picture of Kerry appear than a bit of tape showing the president engaging in undignified behavior finds its way onto television. “Did you guys see this? [A video has turned up] in which George Bush picks his nose for at least 60 seconds. That’s the honest-to-God truth, which suggests to me that we’ve all learned lessons...And, incidentally, it’s true that I got in that tank; on the other hand, folks, I have never, ever performed that [nasal] act in front of the cameras."

The event at which Dukakis was speaking today, it turned out, was sponsored by a group called Friends of Dukakis, a group of people who supported many of his political campaigns.

I get in the receiving line, where he stands with his wife Kitty, who took quite a beating on the campaign trail for her struggle with substance abuse. They still seem like two people in love.

When my turns come for the handshake, he nearly crushes my hand. I tell him I was here as a blogger.

“I won’t hold that against you, “ he replies.

I remind him of a photo I have of him from the 2000 convention, in which he sits at a laptop in the CNN skybox, taking questions from e-mailers in an interactive interview.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says. “I’m not great with the techonology.”

Pretty ironic, considering all the references to him as a technocrat in ‘88. His claim to fame was the “Massachusetts miracle,” whereby an ailing, industrial state found prosperity in the tech sector--if only for a moment.

I move onto Kitty. It being the day after Teresa Heinz Kerry’s big convention speech, it’s only natural to ask her how it feels to watch another candidate for First Lady endure such scrutiny. After all, I say, you endured that scrutiny; you weren’t exactly conventional. Her back stiffens, and she guides my away from her by a touch on my arm.

“I think she’s terrific,” says Mrs. Dukakis.

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White, black or whatever??

A reader e-mails:

Obama was amazing. It's interesting that he's seen by all as a black man who has a shot at being the first black pres., but his mother was white and his father black. Why is he not a white man? or ???  Anyway, he's the most refreshing person I've heard in years.

I have my own thoughts on the question the writer asks (legacy of racial categories from the old days; America's unspoken obsession with skin color), but would rather hear from you, dear reader. E-mail me, and I'll post your comments.

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A good night

BOSTON--There’s no getting around the fact that last night was a very good one for the Dems at their convention. With Howard Dean and Barack Obama, they got a good tap into the mojo.

Dean delivers

The reception that Dean continues to get from Democrats calls a question: why was this guy deemed “not electable”? I saw the same thing happen at the aforementioned fundraising dinner in Washington--on a night that was to be Kerry’s, the very mention of Dean’s name from the main stage evoked a prolonged ovation. (At that event, Dean was relegated to the small stage from the side of the room, speaking during the cocktail hour with the other also-rans.)

Conventional wisdom conspires to tell us that a firebrand is a danger in an election year where the future of the nation is at stake. I say that a tepid candidate is every bit as much of a danger.

Obama lives up to hype

And it was quite a lot of hype to live up to. The youngster from Illinois--and the Land of Lincoln's next new senator--raised convention rhetoric to nothing short of soaring; his may just be the best convention speech I’ve heard since Mario Cuomo’s in--was that 84?

By the time Obama got to his red-state, blue-state riff, he had your blogstress in full trance. My favorite line:

We worship an awesome God in the blue states...>

‘Twas also gratifying to hear that...

...we have gay friends in the red states

--especially gratifying since that was the first mention of the word “gay” heard during prime-time from the convention podium.

Smart and well-informed

Teresa was, as always, fascinating, especially in her take on what a woman should be: a person of beliefs expressed aloud, a person free to pursue her goals.

I hope the Kerry campaign is listening. I’ve yet to be impressed with its regard for women voters: we are clearly the part of the base that the campaign takes most for granted.

Where ya gonna go?

Our old friend, conventional wisdom, says of women voters--or voters from any group struggling against discrimination, for that matter: Where ya gonna go?

Sure, few of these voters will vote for Bush. But the question should not be, “where ya gonna go?” but rather, one that could come from these voters on November 2nd: “Why go out at all?”

In Election 2004, the Democrats need every single member of their base groups to get to those polls. In swing states, little more than a few hundred voters could determine whether a state goes red or blue. It’s time to order up the roses and the chocolates. I’m ready for some wooing.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Important newspaper discovers which your blogstress finds herself quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

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This blog s#cks!*
(Just ask the DNC)

NOTE: Brackets [such as these] denote words that were not actually spoken, but perhaps should have been.

BOSTON--As promised, your intrepid blogger paid a little visit on the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) Press Gallery on the matter of her revoked blogger credentials. You’ll recall that a very small handful of bloggers who received letters granting them credentials to cover the Democratic National Convention experienced the misfortune of having those credentials mysteriously revoked for reasons that seem dubious, at best. (E.g., the convention folks suddenly realized that they didn’t have enough space for us.) The others I know of who were so disrespected are righties; what liberal, feminist moi did to be similarly decommissioned was a mystery to me. So I went to find out.

The party giveth, and the party taketh away

At the press gallery, I presented the letter I had initially received, the one I was to bring to the gallery in exchange for my credentials--the one that came before a second letter claimed that the first had “not been properly authorized."(Since both letters were signed by the same person, one Francesca Gage, I decided that I could choose which one to accept.)

Now, after the initial mishap, I had gone through channels, both back and proper, to get the matter cleared up, but to no avail. Not even a congressperson who was an official of the convention could put poor Humpty together again. (If you think that’s bad, Alexis Simendinger of National Journal reports that former Clinton administration officials had a mighty hard time getting credentials to see their former bosses address the convention last night.)

Whatever happened to affirmative action?

After I confounded the gallery staff with my credentialing letter, one of the press gallery directors, an earnest young man named Michael Hurlbut, was sent out to contend with me. “Believe me, that was not a good day--the day we had to send out those letters," he explained, speaking of the decredentialling missives. “This is about the worst thing that could have happened to us."

At first he seemed to attribute the problem to a red flag from the convention’s IT people regarding how many bloggers they could accomodate. Then he chalked it up to a glitch with an Exel spreadsheet.

"So, you actually meant to credential only seven women out of the 33 bloggers you invited?" I asked. "I throught this was the party of affirmative action."

He stood silent, with a pained look on his face.

The blog itself

Whatever. What I really wanted to know was, what were the criteria for those who got to keep their blogger credentials? He seemed flummoxed by the question. So I offered a little help.

Whipping out a copy of a 1996 issue of Mother Jones with a picture of a cross-adorned White House on the cover and the headline, “House of God?", I asked, “So was it that I went too easy on the religious right in this one [which I wrote when you were at your junior prom]?"

(Yeah, I know I’ve about flogged that piece to death.)

Next came an issue of Working Woman from the 2000 campaign that featured the former first lady on its cover. “Maybe you didn’t like this picture of Hillary for my piece on the women’s vote? Or perhaps you didn’t like the [puff] piece I just did for The Advocate on Congresswoman Tammy Balwin [which she richly deserves, honestly, because she’s the most fabulous lesbian congresswoman--ever]"

He was looking rather pale.

“I mean, really," I said, “I’ve been at this for 20 years [since you were taking nappy time with your Barney doll]. I would like to think I’ve paid my freight."

“Unfortunately," he replied, “none of that could be taken into consideration." (I had sent “that" as part of a package of requested “supporting materials" for my application.) “It was based on the blog itself," he explained.

So, there you have it. This blog s#cks. Just ask the very apologetic Master Hulbut.

*Why does Addie use wingdings in curse words instead of spelling them out? Is she some kind of a prude?

No, actually, those unfamiliar with her native dialect have accused Addie of having the mouth of a sailor when, in fact, she simply has the mouth of the Jersey girl that she is. The reason for the bad-word obfuscation has to do with blocking mechanisms for sites with questionable content. Addie wants everybody to be able to steal time from their employers to read, without hindrance,

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(Enhancing the script)

Ron Reagan (r) on the MSNBC set outside Fanueil Hall for a live airing of "Hardball".
photo © 2004 Adele M. Stan

BOSTON--As predictable as flung mud, every four years the grousing about the scriptedness of the conventions rains down upon us--so much so that it's become part of the metascript itself.

One recalls that in 1996, Ted Koppel packed up early at the Republican National Convention, leaving San Diego in a huff over the banal non-newsiness of it. (Yesterday, however, saw Mr. Koppel briskly walking the halls of the Fleet Center during the prime-time hours.)

But there's scripted, and there's scripted. On Sunday night, while foraging for food in the area of Quincy Market, I stumbled upon the outdoor set for Chris Matthews's MSNBC show "Hardball." Standing around the open-sided, tented set were a few hundred people, mostly young men, holding "Kerry/Edwards" signs. As I approached the gathering, I heard a mix of noises, and then a sudden burst of cheering that rose even louder as I stopped to watch. Standing at the edge of the platform on which the set was staged were a videographer and a producer, both motioning directions to the sign-holders as to when to raise and lower their voices in chant.

It was like the outdoor segments for the "Today" show, where Al Roker goes out to Rockefeller Plaza to soak up the adoration of the tourists who travel hundreds of miles just to get their faces, and perhaps an old bedsheet imbued with a Magic-Marker message, on camera. But here, the signs were provided by the Kerry campaign, and the choreographed crowd was attempting to approximate a spontaneous political demonstration. (About as spontaneous as a "reality" show.)

All the world's a stage, I suppose...or a television studio.

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BOSTON--Since he left office, when Bill Clinton speaks, I feel myself start to smile at the same time that I experience a profound sense of sadness. For after all that was the Clinton presidency, how did it come to this? (This being complete marginalization of the Democratic Party after yielding eight pretty prosperous during its last turn in the White House.)

Clinton remains a maddening figure to me; much like a family member with a major character defect whom you just can't help loving too much. (Yeah, I'm already feeling the results of missing this week's therapy appointment.)

Bill gave a good speech last night; he always does. (I had already seen the preview of the "Send me" riff in his post-primary address to a Democratic fundraising dinner in Washington last March.) His best line: "Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values..."

He also did a great job explaining the US economic relationship with China and Japan, asking how can the US hope to enforce fair trade laws with these competitors, when they're now the bankers who finance our deficit.

Was also nice to hear him give a nod to the candidates' "wonderful wives": Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards.

Yet, when it was all over, I felt a bit underwhelmed, even after Patti LaBelle's stunning rendition of "A Change is Gonna Come". The energy just isn't here. It all feels a little flat.

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Monday, July 26, 2004



BOSTON--I sure hope that John Kerry understands that he owes Hillary Clinton big for the extraordinary grace with which she performed a task that rated as a diss*: the introduction of her husband, the keynote speaker.

It's said there were worries that, given the full-fledged, prime-time speech she rightfully deserved, she would have, once again, proved too polarizing a figure. Yeah, right. Worries were that she might prove presidential.

I don't mean to suggest that the junior senator from New York is not a controversial personality; indeed, women of her own generation are not always comfortable with all they see in her iconic qualities. She's made the compromises that so many brilliant women have had to make, only to come through with real power.

But younger women are nuts about Hillary, perhaps because she offers a glimmer of hope for their own actualization. The Lifetime poll I mentioned in yesterday's post found that while four in 10 young men said that a teacher or other adult in their lives had suggested that they run for office some day, only one in 10 young women said the same. Even sadder, a great majority of women in the 18-to-34 cohort said they did not expect to see a woman president in their lifetime.

When the pope last visted America, he landed at Newark airport, near where I was living at the time. Hillary and Bill walked toward the papal plane, up a tarmac lined along one side with Catholic schoolchildren, set off by a chain-link fence. As Hillary approached, the little girls went wild, calling her name--little girls in kilts climbing a fence in order to get a better look. The nuns could not contain them.

Today, those little girls are of voting age, and the Democratic party is ignoring them--or worse yet, allowing its allies to demean them by vying for their vote with panties imprinted with political slogans--and seeing no greater role in this convention for a senator from the most powerful state in the union than to introduce her spouse.

She played the good soldier to Kerry's war hero. She praised him, made his case, and made Bill's case, as well. I couldn't help but notice, though, that she made a subtle point about being made to play wife: she never refered to Bill as her husband; he was the 42nd president of the United States and she, the senator from the Empire State.

You go, girl.

*Kit Seelye called it right in this "Morning Notebook" that reads deliciously like a blog.

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Mr. Ex-President

BOSTON--If I make it to 81, I should look so good--my first thought upon seeing the man who made the ex-presidency a career of on its own.

We're talking Jimmy Carter, of course. Now, he may not be the most scintillating speaker, but he sure serves up a mighty platter of gravitas, and loveable gravitas, at that. (As opposed to, say, the f-u grumpiness of our current vice president, a trait too often mistaken for gravitas.)

And Carter's speech had some dashes of poetry, even if they seemed a bit derivative of the Book of Revelations.

The phrase I've been chewing on: "with...the Middle East ablaze..." Trouble is, this ain't hyperbole.

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Thrown out of the best places

BOSTON--After all that, I cannot vouch for the accuracy upon delivery of Mr. Gore's quotes, since I missed his speech while busy being thrown out of the blogger stand in the convention hall. You see, your blogstress is here in what might be termed an "extralegal" manner, and her press tags are apparently the wrong color for entry into the elite, but otherwise delightful, group that occupies the stand.

So, like you, dear reader, I shall cool my heels in front of a television set, and report on Mr. Carter's speech shortly.

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Gore to Nader Voters: Don't Do It!
Asks crowd to remember anger & disappointment
of 2000 outcome;
patches up with Clinton

BOSTON--We've just received the advance copies of Gore's imminent speech to the convention. In the running for the most interesting moment of the speech is his direct appeal to those who voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in the last presidential election--votes that were said to have cost Gore victory in the 2000 election.

"I...ask tonight for the help of those who supported a third party candidate in 2000. I urge you to ask yourselves this question: do you still believe that there was no difference betweeen the candidates? Are you troubled by the erosion of some of America's most basic civil liberties? Are you worried that our environmental laws are being weakened and dismanteld to allow vast increases in pollution that are contributing to a global climate crisis? No matter how you voted in the last election, these are profound problems that all voters must take into account this November 2nd."

While argument ensues among the pundits on whether the Dems should avoid bashing Bush, Gore appeals to the party faithful to summon their experience of the loss of 2000:

"To those of you who felt disappointed or angry with the outcome in 2000, I want you to remember all of those feelings. But then I want you to do with them what I have done: focus them fully and completely on putting John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House."

Then, referring to his friends, Gore finally offers the kiss that might have saved him had he made it four years ago:

"There's someone else I'd like to thank, and that's the man who asked me to join him on the ticket at our convention 12 years ago, my friend--and my partner for eight years--President Bill Clinton. I'll never forget that convention or that campaign--the way we b arnstromed the country, carrying a message of hope and change, believing with our whole hearts that America could be made new again."

I'll never forget that convention either, the image of those four young, smart, smart people bopping around to the strains of "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow". Did it really happen--or were we all just trippin'?

BTW, in the current context of wars over gay marriage, your blogstress notes Gore's use of the word "partner".

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

The numbers: Dems in mainstream on trade & health care,
but fail to reach young women

AMTRAK 166 (SOMEWHERE AROUND MYSTIC, CONN)--Having spent the last nine hours on a train, I fear I am painfully unaware of what is going on in real time, and have been, sadly, unable to read my comrades in blogs. All of which conspired to soil my delicate hands with actual newsprint.

Trees ’n’ trade

Today’s New York Times is chock full of interesting factoids, the grey lady having apparenly gone on a polling bender in recent days. Robin Toner’s A1 piece on the “great political divide” offers interesting graphs on the hardening of ideology along party lines, though the text of the piece notes that common ground exists on the need for health care reform. Trade and environmental protection, surprisingly, show up as potentially winning issues for Democrats in a poll the Times did with CBS News that was really intended to compare the postions taken by delegates to the Democratic National Convention with those embraced by rank-and-file Democratic voters. (Delegates generally show themselves to be well to the left of Dem voters.) But because the poll also takes the policy temperature of “all voters” in each category measured, it’s possible to see where the Dems find a common demoninator across the board.

On trade protection, the Democrats sit squarely in the mainstream, with 67 percent of Dem delegates saying “trade restrictions are necessary to protect domestic industries,” seconded by 68 percent of Democratic voters and 69 percent of all voters. Yet most voters show themselves willing to suffer job losses for the sake of protecting the environment. Among all voters, 52 percent agree that “we must protect the environment even if it means jobs are lost because of it. That opinion is shared by 62 percent of Democratic voters and delegates.

Chicks ’n’ broads

For the last two presidential elections, the most interesting polling, by far, has been either sponsored or conducted by Lifetime Television, the women’s cable network, through its Every Woman Counts effort. Lifetime’s most recent survey should serve as a warning shot to the Democrats if they think they can take women’s votes for granted. (More on this point later in the week.) As cited in Lifetime’s release, the Center for Media Research credits women with deciding every election since 1980, and comprising the majority of undecided voters. (Women’s prerogative, y’know.)

The good news for Dems: More than half (51 percent) of women said that President Bush understands them “not too well,” or “not at all”.

The not-so-good news for Dems: 39 percent of those same women said the same of Sen. Kerry.

The ominous news for Dems shows up in the 18-34 cohort, where 12 percent of women said that Kerry understands “women like me”. Even worse, Bush beats Kerry in this category with his own pitiful 16-percent showing. Without turning out the youth vote, it’s doubtful the Dems can win the electoral college.

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Just got by...

AMTRAK 166 (AROUND EDISON, NJ)--Looks like we made it out of D.C. by a whisker. The conductor tells me that every other train scheduled after ours has been held up on account of the crime scene.

Only moments out of Union Station on the 5:25 AM Northeast Regional, our train petered to a halt. There was some excitement among the crew, who were galloping up the center aisle of the head car, where I was the only passenger. “Holy sh*t!” someone exclaimed. Transmitted over a conductor’s walkie-talkie came the words, “We haven’t found any identification.”

Too sleepy to do much worrying, I remained disinterested until the train started moving slowly, passing by a smashed-up car that had landed, improbably, by the side of the tracks, despite the lack of an intersecting road, or the fact that the tracks were lined by fences on either side. The vehicle had apparently gone airborne, tearing through a parking lot on the other side of the fence. Its doors were akimbo, its windsheild smashed.

After we passed the awful scene, I looked up to find two conductors, a man and a woman, both young and white, standing by my seat. “They say it was a gunshot victim,” the woman said. “That’s why the car went out of control.”

After we were waved through, that section of track apparently got taped off as a crime scene. Hence, some luck in being on a budget: had I sprung for the Acela, I’d still be in Washington.

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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Blogstresses rule!

Many thanks to my sisters in blogstress solidarity, Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft and Jessamyn Charity West of, convention bloggers have linked to this site. Jeralyn sent a shout-out, too.

From what I'm reading of yas, it's all gettin' good.

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Bean Town Bound

WASHINGTON, DC--The great thing about political conventions is that, however hyperscripted they are, if you're there to do your thing, you never know exactly they're going to turn out for you.

This time is particularly true for me. In past years, I've gone to conventions under the aegis of whatever print publication I was currently gigging for, but this time I applied for my tags as a blogger.

And I got a nice letter that said they were mine.

Then I got one saying it had all been a terrible mistake. (Scroll to page 2 of the "nice letter" PDF.)

The way I see it, I have two letters, both signed by the same person--one of which says I'm in, one of which says I'm not. So I'm choosing to believe the former, which I will present when I go to pick up my imaginary tags.

I mean, they really couldn't have wanted to shut out a liberal feminist who's been dogging the right for--let's not say how many years. Especially when only seven of the 33 bloggers the party credentialed are female, right? (Count 'em, girls, that's nearly 80-percent testosterone.) I mean, surely, they couldn't have meant to treat a friend this way.

So, I'm heading to Boston with my iBook. From whence I'll blog, who knows?

You see, the great thing about blogging is, you don't need no stinking badges. Whatever happens to you, wherever you wind up, whomever you meet, that's what you write about. So, I'll be writing the story that presents itself, as it happens. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

For today's posts, redirect to AddieStan's new URL:

Casino to Ronstadt:
Baby, you're no good...

When I was a little girl, my daddy taught me to shoot craps against the curb. Considering the fact that we had just moved to a tidy, suburban neighborhood, my mother was not amused. But, hey, you can take the paisano out of Jersey City, and you know the rest...

In the case of Linda Ronstadt, it seems you can take the lefty out of Sacramento (remember her Jerry Brown days?) and put her in Nevada, but it's a schtick that doesn't play well in Vegas. Ms. Ronstadt (whom I idolized during the short-shorts & roller-skate years) apparently got the boot at the Aladdin last night when she rolled off a riff of praise for Michael Moore, director, producer, etc., of the anti-Bush film, Farenheit 911.

It was apparently quite a scene. According to the piece on Billboard's Web site, audience members tossed cocktails and tore down posters.

Jeez, what was the family values crowd doing lushin' it up at a gambling hall in the first place? Must've read The Book of Virtues one too many times. (Is there a high-rolling moralizer in the hall--tossing cocktails?)

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Monday, July 19, 2004

Free and fair?

How heartening to see that the Dems are gearing up to play hardball this year in order to see that everybody’s votes get counted.

On the smart side of things is the Kerry campaign’s legion of lawyers versed in election law
. On the silly side is the
call by some congressional Dems for U.N. monitoring. I’m all for international monitoring of this year’s U.S. presidential contest, but this is simply bad rhetorical strategy. Who on the right would ever accept the word of the United Nations?

Why not engage some neutral, U.S.-based, multi-lateral outfit, such as the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), to do the umping? It was founded by Republicans, after all—back in the days before party membership required that Republicans hate everybody who wasn’t born in the good ol’ U.S.A. 

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