Thursday, September 30, 2004

Kerry won. Is the nation listening?

While the president managed to hang on, it's clear that John Kerry won this debate. The question is, will it matter?

Are people ready to admit that things are a mess, or are a majority psychologically dependent on their "I'm pretty much okay; you're basically okay" vision of America. (The answer should give us a read on just how traumatized a nation we are.)

One thing's certain, though: the dogs will be out tomorrow. Rove's sure to go nuclear on Kerry. Can he be baited to go too far?

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Afghanistan's back

If nothing else comes of this debate, your Webwench will be forever grateful to John Kerry for putting Afghanistan back on the map, and hopefully back in front of the eyes of the American people.

Long distressed by the fact that no one seems to question our nation's half-assed commitment to calming that steaming cauldron of jihad, your blogstress has found herself turning to the South Asian press to learn what's up in the land where the final battle of the cold war was won by people who were left to starve for their trouble.

Kerry was right to point out that 75 percent of Afghanistan's economy is today still based on opium, that we've committed one-tenth of the number of troops committed to snagging bin Laden as we do making a mess of Iraq.

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Character issues?

Yuck. The character question was just asked. Lehrer asked Bush if Kerry had the character for the office.

Your blogstress loathes this sort of thing; at worst baiting, at best leaving the opening for the candidates to enter into an ugly personal game.

Bush was clever enough not to take the bait, and came off looking magnanimous with a string of attributes for which he says he admires his opponent: service to his country, great dad, great daughters who have been kind to the Bush girls. Then he tried to soft-pedal his message of the evening: "My concerns about the senator is (sic) that he changes his positions on the war in Iraq," Bush asserted. "In the councils of nations there must be certainty." (Excellent line, actually.)

Kerry's rejoinder was strong: "It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong...What I worry about with the president is that he's not acknowledging the reality on the ground...[in Iraq, Korea, etc.]" He then made a good case for changing one's position when faced with new information.

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Bush hanging on

Bush is hanging on, but frequently seems to find himself backing toward the ropes. Kerry is doing an outstanding job explaining the president's mistakes in war and diplomacy, and doing so in understandable terms. In a risky move, Kerry invoked his Viet Nam experience in riposte to Bush's attempt to paint Kerry as somehow demeaning the sacrifice of troops in Iraq by criticizing the war. Don't confuse the warrior with the war, Kerry asserted, reminding the audience that he'd had a little experience with that phenomenon.

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Wow! Something real!

Kerry comes out swinging

Holy cannoli! Watching tonight's presidential debate, your blogstress finds herself spellbound by the contest: it's about real issues. And the candidates are displaying their real stuff. After those awful, lockdown poltical conventions, your cybertrix never thought she'd live to see the day.

Democratic hopeful John Kerry has come out swinging, and President George W. Bush is looking a little befuddled. As Kerry knocks him about on the decision to go to Iraq, all Bush seems to have to say is that criticism of that decision sends a bad message to the troops and allies.

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Someone in the House gets it

In their relentless push for votes on issues that prove thorny to Dems running in conservative districts, the House Republican leadership today called a vote on the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, another expression of contempt from the GOP for the Constitution of the United States. (The amendment would supercede the rights of the states and circumscribe the parameters of marriage to that of the hetero kind.)

Because of the novelty of being the first openly lesbian congresswoman, the keen intelligence of Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is often overlooked. Here's an excerpt from her floor speech today during debate on the marriage amendment measure:

Mr. Speaker, amending the Constitution is a radical action that should only be undertaken when absolutely necessary. Preemptively amending the Constitution to prevent something that has not yet happened is a dangerous principle that this Congress should not endorse. We must always remember that, as President Calvin Coolidge put it, “the Constitution is the sole source and guaranty of national freedom.”

For the full text, click here.

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The humanity

Waking yesterday afternoon from her ick-induced nap, your blogstress spied a most unusual sight through her boudoir window. Against a sky so thick with clouds it was nearly white lurked a dirigible of the same hue. No cheery zeppelin of commerce was this--neither Goodyear nor Fuji had sent their blimp out in celebration of the return of baseball to Our Nation's Capital. No, this was an unmarked blimp, sent to clock the movements of creatures in her Capitol Hill nabe.

Thus wrote the Washington Post:

Yes, there was a strange blimpy object flying over some government buildings in Washington before dawn this morning.

But no, it's nothing to worry about. It's on our side.

And whose side might that be? Since when were the Post and the Pentagon, under whose purview the blimp surveilled, on the same side? One would hope not to see Len Downie and Don Rumsfeld skipping through Rock Creek Park holding hands.

In its cuteness, its oh-so-blithe tone, this little news piece reveals all that has gone wrong with the media since 9-11. Here we find complete the buy-in to the government line. And because it is presented as such an adorable trifle, it is doubly dangerous and insulting.

To be fair to the Post, it must be said that the paper still gives government pooh-bahs more than a little ogida from time to time. But that such a poisonous little confection could show up in a venerable institution of journalism should give us all pause. How 'bout leaving the cuteness to your blogstress, and the buy-in to the righties in the blogosphere?

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Where's the blogstress?

Your negligent cybertrix, lost in tawdry work of Operation Regime Change (compounded by a crisis in romance), knows she has left her devoted public bereft in her unexplained absence from the blogosphere.

Alas, she has now acquired some manner of stomach flu or synonymous ick, and finds herself too retchedly wretched to commit witicism. Please, dear reader, bear with. You know she'll be back.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Calling Issac Newton

As Professor Soundman and I discussed last night, the reason the U.S. Constitution works so beautifully has less to do with its content than its Newtonian structure (checks, balances, weights, measures, triangulation and Classical proportions applied to the structure of government).

As noted here last week, the sages of the U.S. House of Representatives think they have a better idea: two branches of government, not three, with the legislature determining the outcome of law suits that would, under the unrevised document, have been in the jurisdiction of the federal courts. In other words, the House has declared the Congress to be the determinant of whether the laws Congress itself makes are Constitutional. Kind of revolutionary, don't you think? (Not to mention unconstitutional.)

At issue is a bill that passed the House last night: the Pledge of Allegiance Protection bill, which according to its summary (scroll to bottom) on, "amends the Federal judicial code to deny jurisdiction to any court established by Act of Congress to hear or determine any claim that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violates the first amendment of the Constitution."

Since the bill is not expected to pass the Senate, it is being treated as no big deal. But the fact that one chamber of Congress went for the dismantling of our structure of government should send a chill down the spine of every freedom-loving person in the nation.

This legislation was brought to your cyberscribe's attention by National Journal's Earlybird alert service. Here's the Associated Press report.

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Hadn't thought of that

The back-and-forth continues on the merit, or lack thereof, of stating one's belief that Bush is going to win the presidential election. (Your blogstress must admit, however, that since her pronouncement, she now thinks Kerry has something of a shot with the Clinton team running the show.)

And so, after an exchange based around this e-mail from Michael Moore sent to your Webwench from Karen, Executrix of Jersey, your cyberscribe was brought up short by this, also from Karen:

I'm not sure we're going to win. I think we need to act like it,
though. If one of my kids winds up on a plane to Iraq, which I think is likely if Bush wins, I'm going to need to be able to tell myself that I did everything humanly possible to prevent it. I also don't want the Republicans to claim some bogus mandate for four more years of evil, which makes it important to claw for every non-Bush vote.

Your blogstress, having foregone motherhood for a life of minor debaucheries, had failed to factor in the possibility of many of the babies in her life, now grown to various stages of young adulthood, shipping out for Najaf.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

All about George

In her relentless pursuit of knowledge and divination, your blogstress got to wondering just what the heavens might have to say about the president of the United States. So, like any well-informed 21st century occultist, she went to and ordered up one of those free reports for 43.

Birth Data for George:

Birth Date and Time..... July 6, 1946 7:26 AM

Birth Location............. New Haven, CT

Sun Sign.................... Cancer

Your Sample Report

Section 1: How You Approach Life and How You Appear To Others

Ferociously proud and somewhat vain, you like to be impressive and to be seen as Somebody Special. You are not timid, meek, or self-effacing, and are rarely content being in the background or in the subordinate position. You are a natural leader, and do not take orders from others very well. You must have something of your own, something creative - be it a business, a project, a home or whatever - that you can develop and manage according to your own will and vision. Whatever you do, you do it in a unique, dramatic, individual way. You like to put your own personal stamp on it.

Section 2: The Inner You: Your Real Motivation

You have powerful emotional attachments to the past, your family, your childhood, those places you associate with safety and security and your beginnings. Maintaining a connection with your roots and heritage and keeping family bonds strong are very important to you. Loyal, devoted, and sentimental, you tend to cling to whatever is dear to you, be it person, familiar place, or cherished possession.

Find out more with your full-length report...

Your Webwench may just have to do that. (If 10 AddieStan readers send in $1.00, we can swing this baby.)

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Welcome to the club, Mr. Lyman

Reading Rick Lyman's piece about stalking Vice President Cheney in yesterday's New York Times Week in Review, your blogstress knew not whether to laugh or cry.

To his credit, Mr. Lyman has not let the vice president's refusal to allow him (or any other New York Times reporter) to travel with the rest of the press corps on Air Force Two get in the way of covering Mr. Cheney on the campaign trail. Flying commercial, renting cars to drive to Podunk, wedging himself between Secret Service agents and adoring fans, Mr. Lyman has logged countless miles in pursuit of the elusive Number Two.

He writes an entertainingly disjointed tail about the whole experience, which deftly reflects the disjointedness of the life the undeterred but dispossessed reporter must lead in search of his quarry. And Mr. Lyman certainly performs a public service by pulling the curtain to reveal just how pack journalism and left-out-of-the-pack journalism work.

Minus the expense account Mr. Lyman calls "a splendid thing", your cybertrix found the Timesman's tale of stalking the veep terribly familiar. This is how the most effective journalism, as practiced by your humble blogstress, gets done.

Who needs credentials when moxie will do? Your blogstress has tailed evangelists in a Rent-a-Wreck, attended political conventions with no passes, made herself invisible in order to transgress rope lines, grazed off the pizza boxes left behind by expense-account journos and crashed the hotel bed of at least one well-heeled media type, all for the love of the story. And yes, Mr. Lyman, you're right: one does end up with a different story when one is left out of the pack. One in which real people actually appear.

Welcome to the world of outsider journalism, Times guy. Lose the expense account, and we'll show you the secret handshake.

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To hope, or not to hope?

In our ever-flowing stream of reader mail regarding the wisdom of believing in the possibility of a Democratic victory in November's presidential race, we find this from our good pal, Breaker from the Beltway, who taught your Webwench all she knows about HTML.

(Perhaps because Breaker breathes the rarified Washington air, this reader is less sanguine than your blogstress's other amis chers.)

There is much to discuss, including my burning issue these days of [when] the Kerry camp is going to start putting out consistent talking points that get a clear and decisive message across.

The Republicans have been very successful at relentless and consistent messaging (some would call it propaganda or manipulation... but hey, it is working). Where is the passion in the Democratic platform?

What is the Democratic platform? Bush gave them so many talking points, [but] I fail to see how any of the response is on-target or meaningful.

So much to ponder, and so little time, as your blogstress needs to spend this evening handwashing all of her black spandex.

Breaker directs us to this depressing little thread from the site for the "Randi Rhodes Show": We Can't Win

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What's the frequency?

Just when you think that the Dan Rather bad memo story can't get any weirder, here comes the tale of Buckhead, the Blogging Oppo Dog.

It was Buckhead who broke the story of the fake memos (that happen to tell the truth, according to the secretary who didn't type them), and within hours of breaking it, released a treatise on 1970s models of IBM Selectric typewriters.

To our collective surprise, we now learn that Buckhead is a long-time Republican political operative--a veteran of the Bring Down Clinton team. Keith Olbermann, the sexiest man in journalism, according to Playgirl, offers a feisty and funny backgrounder on MSNBC's Hardblogger.

Your blogstress actually once found Dan Rather to be the sexiest man in journalism, since you never really knew just when he might twink out, or some stranger twink out on him. And your Webwench found that ever-present threat of spontaneity oddly alluring.

Plus, the guy is just handsome.

And how can one not dig an anchorman who once dropped acid? (What a long, strange trip it's been.)

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Disappearing stupid president link

For those who missed the very narrow window of opportunity to view George W. Bush's latest malapropism via a link posted on AddieStan (from which the aforementioned video clip has mysteriously disappeared), your blogstress has scoured the Web to provide you with the offending sound bite. Alas, she found it only available in print.

Click here and scroll down to item labeled, "You get what you pay for".

Other coverage available from Reuters and AP.

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Sunday, September 19, 2004

When's the revolution?

In the line of AddieStan readers who seek to convince your blogstress that reality is no substitute for wishful thinking, your cybertrix's dear friend, Nancy the New York Artist, writes:

I think that of all times we need to keep on having some sort of faith that good will win over evil, and that responding to the display with fear is exactly what they want. It's propaganda, and there are those who will buy into it, and there are others who have to fight to keep their faith in the intelligence of our neighbors...

Jaded though she be, your Webwench truly does appreciate the sentiment expressed by the Artist. She does not necessarily find her own defeatism to be a good thing; it's just her thing--for your cybertrix lives to fight another day by getting her mind beyond November 2nd, a day she contemplates with a deep sense of foreboding.

And so your blogstress asks her readers to consider this question above all else: What kind of art should we be making?

Art? Whattaya mean, Stan-o-trix, art? We got the Constitution to save, lives to save in the Middle East, jobs to get made, an economy to fix...

Step back, people. Look at the landscape. Ain't no tinkering under the hood gonna fix this mess. We need a revolution. (Or, in this case, a counter-revolution to the one currently underway.) And revolutions always begin with art.

What kind of art will you be making, reader dear?

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You get what you pay for

You'll recall that your blogstress's dear White Dragon (yes, dragons can be dear), provided AddieStan with a link to a remarkable clip (which has mysteriously disappeared from its Web location) of the president of the United States before an audience of women, discussing the problem of those pesky frivilous law suits that prevent ob/gyns from "practicing their love".

Here's the president's riff, lifted from the transcript of Keith Olbermann's September 6th "Countdown" show on MSNBC:

OLBERMANN: And one last political item in our No. 3 story. We mentioned last week that President Bush struck an odd tone in his acceptance speech by referencing the plight of doctors, specifically, OB-GYNs, who had to give up their practices due to legal and insurance costs. Not that it wasn‘t a valid point necessarily, just that it rang so oddly in a president‘s acceptance of his renomination, making the world safe for gynecology.

Well, tonight at a campaign stop in Poplar Bluffs, Missouri, Mr. Bush brought up the same topic and it rang odder still.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Too many good docs are getting out of business.


BUSH: Too many OB-GYNs aren‘t able to practice their love with women all across this country. [Emphasis added by blogstress.]



OLBERMANN: All righty then. As Adlai Stevenson once told a similar audience, these rights are being circumcised—circumscribed.

Your Webwench had wondered aloud in private why this delightful bit of presidential turpitude has not gotten more, ahem, play--to which the Dragon replied, breathing fire:

No surprise that as shockingly "compassionately conservative" as the Bushism clip was, it didn't receive [much] air play. Money talks and W's campaign is keeping the lights on at many media outlets. I guess it's bad luck for a station to piss off a paying customer, so mum's the word.

The press ain't free--pay up or shut up (or in this case get paid to shut up).

To clarify the part about keeping the lights on: though the actual Bush advertising budget may not be doing as much for the media coffers as, say, Procter & Gamble, our Dragon does have a point when one considers that big media's very best friend is a guy named Michael Powell, Bush's chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (Jeez, think that's why his dad, late of the yellow cake theory, still has a job?)

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Cheese log

It is with great pride that your blogstress cites AddieStan's listing on a charming site, The Toon Show presented by one Harry Claude Cat, in the category of "cheese log". (Hey, the cat has Al Franken there, too.)

Today our feline friend treats us to Don Imus's interview with John Kerry, plus a delicious bit of Texas Air National Guard propaganda.

As for cheese, your cybertrix imagines herself as an inventive blend of Velveeta and Camenbert: inescapably American and creamy-smooth, but with a bit of a bite.

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Major arcana, no. 15

The correspondence keeps rolling in regarding your blogstress's prediction of a Republican win in the presidential contest. Karen, Executrix from Jersey, sent us this Wall Street Journal piece on the ostensibly tightening race, as seen by the Harris poll people.

The Harris poll, conducted by telephone Sept. 9-13, shows Sen. Kerry leading Mr. Bush 48% to 47% among likely voters nationwide. The poll also found that a slender 51% to 45% majority doesn't believe that Mr. Bush deserves to be re-elected.

Another reader points us to this Pew poll:

Sept 16 - Pew: Bush 47 percent, Kerry 46, Nader 1 (likely voters). Margin of error 4 percentage points.

Your cybertrix does indeed hope they're right, but she has ceased to believe the polls, since to do so would require a level of gymnastics in the mental and psychological departments of which she is capable only in the realm of good lovin'. Why? Because it is impossible to simultaneously accept the results of the Harris poll, which shows a dead heat, and the Gallup poll on which USA Today reports, which shows a double-digit lead for the president.

President Bush has surged to a 13-point lead over Sen. John Kerry among likely voters, a new Gallup Poll shows. The 55%-42% match-up is the first statistically significant edge either candidate has held this year.

So your blogstress prefers to go with her gut and the tarot cards, which come up with El Diablo (major arcana, no. 15) in the final spot.

Note that in the tarot deck, "The Devil" stands for something more than simple evil. He represents the seeds of chaos sown through the use of coagulation: melding together existing material in ways that achieve his malevolent ends. Among the attributes awarded this card by the infamous Aleister Crowley are these: "Irresistibly strong and unscrupulous person...Secret plan about to be executed." (How 'bout them disappearin' votin' machines, huh?)

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Friday, September 17, 2004

The quick and dirty

How your blogstress hates to overdo her occassional "Sentence of the Week" and "Graf of Every Other (or So) Day" features, but this week has seen some excellent writing from some of your Webwench's favorite fellas.

To wit, the very witty William Powers, whose editors at National Journal have seen the wisdom of expanding his porfolio from media-mavening to theorizing everything.

For the maiden voyage of his new column, Off Message, Powers offers this gem:

At every turn, strategy defeats candor. Superficiality trumps depth. Lincoln, schminkin. This is the 21st century, and it's all about winning, baby. Watch the political shows for a while, listen carefully to the operatives' patter, and Iraq doesn't feel like a war any more. It feels like a poker chip.

And it gets better once he ties in some scary trends from Teenland.

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Thanks to the inimitable Wonkette, your blogstress has discovered a fascinating blog called The Turnspit Daily, which appears to be the brainchild and house organ of one Josh Rhoderick.

"The Turnspit Daily is a freethinking, progressive weblog focusing on American politics, religion, and their confluence," explains Mr. Rhoderick on his "About" page. Indeed it is, and indeed a great need for such a blog exists.

In case you missed it, yesterday's Washington Post carried a sharp analysis of President Bush's religiosity by Alan Cooperman, who implies that the president's use of religious language does little to illuminate his actual beliefs, and "much about his faith remains opaque or open to interpretation." A must-read.

Cooperman leaves open the possibility of shrewdness in the president's use of faith talk (a probability of which your blogstress wrote during the last election).

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Who needs three branches
when two will do?

Perhaps your blogstress missed that day in civics class when they explained how Congress could trump the Constitution by creating laws that prohibit federal courts from arriving at a particular decision. But that's exactly what the Republican-led House of Representatives has decided to do.

Reuters reports that on a party-line vote of 17-10, the House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday "to prevent federal courts from declaring as unconstitutional the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance."

Your Webwench is confused. She has somehow gotten through life worshipping at the altar of our nation's civic religion--praying rosaries to Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson--in the mistaken belief that the Constitution was to be intepreted by the federal courts, that Congress was to make the laws, and the courts were to determine their constituionality.

Did some kind of constitutional Vatican II happen while your cybertrix went shopping for pants that go stretch in the night?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Recovery from what?

Our most excellent friend, Phillip Coons of, calls our attention to this item on that brand of missionary that deems the missionary position mandatory for all humanity (within the bonds of holy matrimony, of course).

Note that Mr. Coons has redesigned his informative Web site and given it a new name. The duck part, okay, your blogstress is down with: the guy lives in the wild and obviously identifies with that tasty creature. (Fits in nicely with his Navy background, too.) But your Webwench begs to differ on the "delusional" part. If only our leaders were as delusional as Mr. Coons, our nation would be in quite good shape right now.

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Flubbo op of love

The White Dragon, a reader very dear to your blogstress, sends us the following clip, c/o of the Dragon's friend, Murph, from MSNBC, whereby the president of the United States lauds the talents of gynos:

Love docs

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Okay, so maybe they won't win

Having been roundly admonished by readers for writing from the convention floor that the Republicans were going to win the presidential election, your blogstress wishes to reconsider her prediction, however certain she is of her supernatual powers.

"It's just not productive," said your cybertix's lifelong friend, Karen from Jersey, of your Webwench's oracle of doom. (Karen spoke as her daughter protested something at the U.N. and her son returned from playing football on what Karen described as "a normal day in heterosexual suburbia.")

Yeah, but if it scares the cr*p out of people, maybe it is productive. Witness the windfall the other side is getting out of fear-mongering.

Along similar lines, Michael Tomasky has a more nuanced piece appearing on The American Prospect Web site today. Since we already offered a sentence of the week several days ago, let us today serve up, from Tomasky, the graf of the day:

But the world is the world. Republicans understand the world, and Democrats do not. Republicans know that voters will respond emotionally to character questions, and they know that the media will lap them up like a thirsty dog. Democrats keep thinking that voters will do something as improbably nutritional as study a health care plan (as, surely, a scattered few do), and that the media will show themselves eager to write articles and broadcast discussion segments about health care plans. Both assumptions are folly.

If there is any hope for a Democratic victory, your blogstress thinks, it will come from the young people whose potential votes go uncounted by pollsters since they do not fall in a category called "likely". Nor do many have listings in phone books, since they tend to eschew land-lines for wireless phones.

What their elders fail to do, perhaps the activists of the League of Pissed-Off Voters, the Stonewall Student Network, the National Hip-Hop Political Action Committee, and the Young Voter Alliance will pull off.

Having lost faith in her own generation, your blogstress looks to the young for redemption.

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McCarthy's ghost

She comes to this late, your blogstress admits, but a peculiar development is worth noting. Last month, it seems, a phase of the USA Patriot Act kicked in that all but demands a loyalty oath from the non-profit organizations to which federal government employees can donate via payroll deduction, a program known as the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Under the USA Patriot Act (an Orwellian bit of nomenclature if there ever was one), organizations participating in the CFC must provide employee rosters to be matched against so-called terrorist watch lists. Any matches between names disqualifies the organzation's participation unless it fires the branded employee.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asserts that most such watch lists employed so far in other homeland security endeavors have been riddled with errors, and so it has withdrawn from the CFC program rather than comply with government vetting of its personnel rolls. The ACLU stands to lose some $500,000 in annual contributions from the payroll deduction program.

There's an ill wind blowing through the land, brothers and sisters, when one's name may appear on a watch list with no means of recourse, when the FBI is deployed to "interview" elderly black voters in Florida and student protesters in New York, when Capitol Hill, where your blogstress dwells, is kept in virtual lockdown for no other reason, she suspects, than to keep congressional staffers on both sides of the aisle toiling in the sort of fear so useful to those who loathe our way of life--no, not the jihadists (though they no doubt qualify); your Webwench speaks of the likes of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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Department of self-promotion

Just to demonstrate that she toils not entirely alone in her garrett, your blogstress offers proof of her live interaction with actual media people.

The occasion was the launch of TV Newser by TV Newser is the product of media wunderkind Brian Stelter, who created the famed CableNewser site from his dorm room. Kid is way too smart for the good of us age-before-beauty types.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Giving a tragedy its due

An extraordinary piece of writing appears today on the New York Times editorial page, a concise explanation of the tragedy after the tragedy that was the attacks of September 11, 2001.

It's been some time since we last conferred the "Sentence of the Week" title on the work of any particular writer, and since this comes from an unsigned editorial, we may never know the author of this elegantly rendered nugget of wisdom (Staples?):

The moment vanishes, and what we are left with are impressions, recreations and the solid residue of fact, which doesn't merely lie there waiting to be picked up but must be carefully elicited.

The tragedy after the tragedy, of course, is the simultaneous reluctance to truly look at the deeper meaning and precipitating events of the viciousness visited upon us while selected images of that day become appropriated as political symbols. The simplistic idea that our nation was hit because "they hate our way of life" may be appealing to both the public, which gropes for a comprehensible explanation, and the nation's leaders, who prefer a benighted populace to one with powers of discernment but, in the end, it leaves the American people more vulnerable than ever to another attack as they hold tight to the ignorance of their government's works in the world.

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A belated "by your leave"

Out among the denizens of Our Nation's Capital this morning, your blogstress took all manner of guff for having disappeared from the blogosphere for the last week without notice.

All she has to say for herself is that Blogstress does as Blogstress pleases, and for some reason, she has not wanted to blog. Perhaps it was the hangover of the hate vibe she ingested while covering the Republican National Convention. She's still not sure what to make of the whole deal, and she's certain that much has yet to be said about what actually transpired last week in the city so nice they named it twice--the hundreds of unnoticed arrests and detentions, the sight of the city where anything goes suddenly becoming the city where nothing went unless the authorities--often in possession of semi-automatic rifles--said it could. Then there was the reality of one's hometown occupied by an enemy that neither understood it nor cared about it, except for its symbolic representation of what the nation as a whole has to fear.

Which brings us to this day, the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. For those of us who endured as our cities were hit, who spent the day praying not to have lost a dear one, who saw towers fall and smoke rise over the Potomac, the crass manipulation of New York's grief during the GOP convention is personal. That's our grief being applied like a commodity to achieve a political end. That's our dread with which they hope to engulf the entire nation, and our dead whom they use as poster children for a war that has nothing to do with what happened on that cataclysmic day.

This writer will never know what it means to have lost a lover, friend, husband, wife, child, brother or sister on that day. This she writes today with the same sense of astonishment she felt when all of her dear ones were found to be alive, well and accounted for by the following day. It was touch and go for a while there regarding one so dear to your blogstress that she used to bring him supper while he banged up drywall in the stores that occupied the concourse of Tower One. By the gift of grace he was found not to have visited any World Trade Center clients that day, and instead watched his beloved towers fall as he sat in traffic on New Jersey's Route 3. But he has never been the same. None of us have.

And so, your cyberscribe cannot imagine how those who suffered those terrible losses experienced the Republican National Convention. One imagines their responses far from unilateral, as witnessed by the very moving tributes offered at the convention by three women who lost those closest to them on that bright, blue Tuesday. Yet it strikes your observer as incredibly callous to have used them to play the nation for an ill-deserved victory on November 2nd.

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Monday, September 06, 2004

Day of rest

WASHINGTON, DC--Wouldn't it be nice if a health care package came with every job, and if every job paid a living wage? Wouldn't it be cool if everybody got overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week?

Oh, well. Guess we should be happy for the 8 hours off that some of us get paid for today.

Your blogstress wishes all a Happy Labor Day. Now, rest up, dammit!

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Future shock

NEW YORK, NY--Favorite line from the president's speech:

We are on the path to the future and we are not turning back.

Nice to know we plan to keep the planet moving in its orbit. (And somebody got paid, probably rather well, to write that line.)

Speaking of Alvin Toffler, his biggest booster appeared in the dignitary stand along with the vice president and his family, and former New York Senator (and vice presidential candidate) Jack Kemp. The biggest booster of Toffler's Future Shock? Why, defrocked House Speaker Newt Gingrich, that's who--and he's obviously in some stage of rehabilitation. In fact, one might say that Newt is on the path to the future and he's not turning back.

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Grabbing the apple

NEW YORK, NY (Madison Square Garden)--A reporter colleague from a very reliable publication tells your blogstress that she witnessed a young woman dressed in a garment festooned with anti-Bush slogans roughed-up by security personnel before they knocked her down and dragged her off.

She appeared to be one of the Axis of Eve protesters. She was standing, watching the proceedings when she was attacked, says your blogstress's source.

Throughout the Garden during the course of the convention were security guys who looked like Secret Service, with the curly-cue wire coming out of their ears and everything, but who actually worked for the GOP operations team. Many of them applauded throughout Bush's speech tonight.

I saw one of them block Al Franken's path, apparently for the hell of it, on the first night of the convention as the comedian tried to report from the floor. After he turned Franken away, a colleague of his said, "I'm sorry sir, you can't--"

As Franken changed direction, the first guy said, "I'm not--sorry."

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Drop another bomb on your mosque

NEW YORK, NY--Noting with interest the song chosen to close the convention, your cybertrix thought the lyrics (above) to the piece selected were frighteningly appropriate to the ticket. What? Wait that's? You mean that's "love", not bomb? Are you sure?

No, I'm sure I heard "mosque". You say it's "heart"? But the rest is right, right? Just one word? Oh.

Let's try again. It's actually "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," which apparently has something to do with bombs, mosques and democracy in the Middle East.

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We are so screwed

NEW YORK, NY--Greetings from inside the hall where your president just spoke. With the hard energy of true believers piercing your blogstress's body armour (a rather arresting bustier that John Kerry, no doubt, would have declined to pay for), this your blogstress can virtually assure you: they're gonna win. (And we don't mean those guys nominated in Boston.)

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Help from the swing states

How disheartening to see yet another moderate carry giant buckets of water for the president. Tonight we witnessed pro-choice New York Gov. George Pataki laud President Bush just as the latter was to restate his regressive social agenda.

Particularly annoying to your blogstress was the show of bringing to their feet the delegations of the three swing states about which Pataki told 9-11 stories.

The stories were about truly touching displays of support: one thousand Oregonians coming to the city right after the attacks to take 1,000 hotel rooms in their bid to revive New York's economy; the young Pennsylvanians who gave up to a Brooklyn firehouse the $900 in savings they had set aside for a trip to Disneyworld; the Iowans who sent 100,000 quilts to rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero. The annoying part was in the fact that Republican state delegations were taking credit for the acts of thousands of people, a few of whom just might have been Democrats.

Oh, I forgot. Democrats are the people who caused 9-11 and will let it happen again, so those good folks were no doubt all Republicans.

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Vote Bush or Die

NEW YORK, NY--It took quite an effort for your cybertrix to get herself inside the convention hall this eveing. And it took her a while to figure it out--why she was dragging her handsome behind. Then it came to her: Tonight she would watch a speech delivered to rabidly admiring crowd by the man who will likely be president for another four years. And you know how she feels about that.

Yes, siree, remember you heard it here first: These guys are going to win.

In contrast with the Democrats, the Republicans' message is tight. As Roger Simon said tonight on Lou Dobbs, the message is, "Vote for Bush or die."

Simon boiled the message down to its essence: "[I]f you vote for John Kerry, a man who misunderstands terror, who's an appeaser, who will sell out our country, Al Qaida will come to your home and kill you."

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Well, the food was good

NEW YORK (Central Park)--Okay, so one person's evening is your blogstress's morning. There was this party to recover from, the one at Tavern on the Green sponsored by the scary California delegation. (Think Orange County, not Hollywood.)

Your blogstress, having a background in journalism, certainly saw the food as the draw, and what a spread there was. No mere morsels here, but piles of jumbo shrimp, and pieces of lobster and a carving board and the most delectable smoked salmon your cybertrix has ever tasted. Your Webwench was so lost in the ecstacy of gluttony that she left her iBook in the coatcheck, and had to turn back once she reached Broadway to fetch it. (And that was after she had left her Washington Blade press credentials in the Ladies Room, for all those Orange County beauties to admire.)

The rightful owner of the pass that got your blogstress into this fĂȘte, a friend with such a rarified position that his identity must remain secret, got lost wandering a corridor while your cyberscribe was throwing her credentials around, and left a message on her cell phone: Help! I'm surrounded by righties!

In short, it was a long night that ended well into the morning, despite the live country music, a sound your cybertrix never imagined she'd hear at Tavern on the Green. As she left the place for good, a man was singing about wishin' he was fishin' with his dad.

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Who's on first?

NEW YORK, NY--One of our favorite blogs is TVNewswer, so imagine your blogstress's dismay when, this morning, she found an item from Hotline posted there, as if they had broken the story, about the delegates to the Republican National Convention chanting "Watch Fox News!" on the convention floor.

The discerning readers of AddieStan, of course, were hip to the chant two--count 'em, two--days ago, thanks to your blogstress's powers of observation and aural fixation.

See postings from August 31st, item titled, "Fair and balanced".

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The anti-Obama

Alan Keyes talks to AddieStan

about Mary Cheney, sex organs and journalists

NEW YORK, NY--After Dick Cheney concluded his manly-man speech, your blogstress made for the door; a nicotine break was surely in order. And as she re-entered the building (after removing all her jewelry and her black leather jacket and opening her handbag and all but displaying her fillings), who should your cyberscribe run into but Alan Keyes, the erstwhile Senate candidate, late of Illinois. Earlier today, Mr. Keyes kicked up some dust when, during an interview with Sirius radio (see "Republican Party Imploding" on Daily Kos), he described the vice president's lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, as a "selfish hedonist", a charge that brought an immediate response from the Log Cabin Republicans, who "blasted" Mr. Keyes for condemning the child of a candidate. (See the Washington Blade).

"First of all, that is not what happened," Mr. Keyes told your Webwench as she followed him out of the building, tape recorder angled at her subject's face. So she asked him to set the record straight. "What happened is that I gave an exposition, which is quite accurate, as to the justification for the Republican [platform] plank that opposes gay marriage because gay sexual relations are about the self-gratification of the parties involved who are using the organs intended for procreation for pleasure. That is to say, selfish hedonism. That's a description, not a pejorative. And that kind of a foundation, that kind of understanding of sexual relations is incompatible with marriage which, in heterosexual relations, is pointed toward childbearing, child-rearing and family. And that involves not just pleasure and self-gratification, but sacrifice, pain--a life-long commitment--

"Does that--," your cybertrix tried to interject.

"Now let me finish," the ambassador continued, and then picked up exactly where he left off. "--and that includes all the ups and downs of life to the rearing and strengthening of the child and the family. So, if you can't procreate, then you cannot, in principle, marry. And two men, two women--they can't in principle procreate, therefore in principle they can't marry."

We had now crossed 33rd Street, making a turn to take us toward Seventh Avenue. Your blogstress tried once again to challenge this logic.
"Let me finish," he said. "Then, because you asked how it happened--then the journalists--so called--who were asking me the questions, they mentioned Mary Cheney, and they asked if that would apply to her. Of course, since I was giving a definition of homosexual relations, then homosexual relations would apply to her. I don't think we can exempt our own people--children, friends--from the logic that supports the party's platform. And to do so would be claiming special privileges for ourselves that are not justified. So it's really very simple. And it was not a pejorative; it was simply a description. But, of course, the way the media operates today--you know what happens."

So much for our gay friends in the red states.

"Well, the thing I'm wondering about the logic of your position," said your blogstress, "is, if two married people are found unable to have children, should they not be able to have sex?"

"What I said very carefully was--

"Yeah," your cyberscribe replied, "'in principle'--I got you--"

"--in principle cannot marry, Individual decisions, individual health situations, they do not change in principle the understanding of marriage. But if you take two people who cannot in principle procreate and you say that they are married, you have changed the meaning of marriage, and that is unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of Americans. Every time it is put to the people of this country, they say no to this change in the fundamental social institution because they understand how devastating it could be."

One would hope the party genius who recruited Keyes to run against Barack Obama is about to lose his job. Everything the party pooh-bahs had hoped to avoid talking about in public--abortion, queers, sex--has been thrust (if we may use such a vulgar term) back into the spotlight as schtick in the Alan Keyes sideshow.

Note the use of the word "schtick" as a description, not a pejorative.

Canine capers

Your blogstress turned back, once again subjecting herself to a near strip-search to get back into the Garden, whereupon she stumbled on Triumph the Insult Dog, encircled by members of numerous law-enforcement outfits, baiting one of the actual bomb-sniffing canines. At that, Triumph was quite effective, and everybody was quite jolly about it.

He then asked a Secret Service type to talk to him on camera, and the poor guy didn't get a word in edgewise. (Would love to see Triumph interview Alan Keyes.)

"I've got a pound of marijuana up my butt," said the puppet to the G-man, who didn't crack a smile. "Have you seen Robert Novak? I want him to point out all the undercover CIA agents to me."

Now your blogstress is off to Tavern on the Green. Will report in later this morning, after a few hours of delicate blogstress sleep.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Boogie on, Reppie women

Managing to make it into Madison Square Garden just as the vice president was arriving, your blogstress got herself positioned in front of a video monitor just in time to watch Republicans dancing to the strains of "Soul Man". There was much bouncing and bobbing, and hands-in-the-air waving, as well as some two-stepping by folks in cowboy hats. In short, not a proud moment for this white girl.

Now Zell Miller has taken the stage, looking like a man in the throes of demonic possession. Remember when he was happy and funny--and a Democrat--in '92?

Maybe it wasn't the same guy.

In the meantime, your cybertrix is performing a magic act of sorts in order to publish her blog. Just as the vice president began to speak, her publishing tool,, crashed. (An omen, perhaps?) And so your Webwench publishes by noodling around under the hood. And the last hood under which she noodled was that of a '78 T-bird.

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Bothersome tasks

NEW YORK, NY--Her readers are suffering, your blogstess knows, while she neglects them to commit (eek!) legitimate journalism.

Having spent the week, so far, slinking around after Log Cabin Republicans for the Washington Blade, your cybertrix is happy to report that she will return to full-time blogging this evening. Her public demands it!

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Visuals: Who's working now?

NEW YORK (46th St. between 6th & 7th Avenues)--A clean cut white man walking, holding a hand-lettered placard of white poster board:

Osama still has a job.

Do you?

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