Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Groovin' with Dick & Lynne

Sometimes your blogstress thinks that Larry King gets a bum rap. He's always accused of asking softball questions, but that's not really the case. He just asks hard questions in an extraordinarily annoying, mincing manner. Anybody who watched him last night interviewing Vice President and Mrs. Cheney will know what I mean.

During the interview, Cheney asserted that, as of Thursday, the Republicans had enough votes to pass the Bolton nomination in the Senate with an up-or-down floor vote. Fifty-seven, to be exact, which ain't exactly the 60 he'll need to end debate. He also took shots at the Dems for blocking a pre-Memorial Day vote:

There's been a lot of talk these last few days since they put together a sort of gang of 14 that negotiated an arrangement on the judges that somehow now we've entered a new era of bipartisan cooperation that lasted about 48-hours, and the Democrats filibuster Bolton. But I think we'll get him through. He's a good man. He'll do a great job at the United Nations. We got 57 votes yesterday. We just need three more and I think we'll get those when they come back.

The vice president also spoke of his role as the Administration's top lobbyist, noting that his major focus of late on that front is the highway bill.

But who knew that Cheney was the Administration's real vote-counter? You can bet there'll be some senators walking around with appendages in slings by the time Cheney's through with the arm-twisting on the Bolton nomination.

On another of your Webwench's favorite subjects, the vice president's gay daughter, it was revealed on the King shown that Mary Cheney is writing a book about her travels with her father:

KING: Mary's writing a book.

L. CHENEY: That's correct...

KING: A really tell-all kind of a theme? Is she going to get into...

L. CHENEY: Well, the parts of the book that I've seen -- you know, when you're a writer, it's always good to have an appreciative audience. So Mary has let me see some of what she's written, because she knew it would make me laugh. And she's just a very good writer, who has, you know, a fine eye for the absurdity of everyday life and of everyday political life in particular. So it will be a very good book.

KING: So many more parents in America have had to deal with what is now considered an almost everyday occurrence, of people having different opinions or sexual proclivities than other people. Was it hard for you?

D. CHENEY: When it first came up, sure. It's not anything you expect as a parent. But Mary was a remarkable young woman.

KING: Boy, is she?

D. CHENEY: And I was tremendously impressed with how she handled it, because it was difficult for her too. But, you know, we love her very much. She's an integral part of our family. Very proud of the work she did in both of our campaigns. And the book is very much a political story sort of...

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

D. CHENEY: Travels...

L. CHENEY: "Travels with my Father."

D. CHENEY: OK. I wasn't sure I was supposed to give it away.

L. CHENEY: Oh, maybe we weren't.

D. CHENEY: Talking about...

KING: Oh, we know something here.

D. CHENEY: Especially the 2000 campaign, the 2004 campaign, some of my congressional races.

KING: I'm sure she deals with her own life.

D. CHENEY: She will. But it's going to be a good book.


So, in spite of the fact that she will be writing of her life with her female partner, it will be a good book, anyway. Got it.

Brings to mind a superb series of photos, titled "Family Values," shot by Washington, D.C., photojournalist Patsy Lynch. Very telling shots of the Cheneys--including their married daughter, grandkids and son-in-law--minus Mary and her partner, on stage at the 2004 Republican National Convention, and another of Mary and her other half watching the spectacle from the convention floor.



NOTE: This interview was so rich with material that your cybertrix hopes to give it further treatment during the day, especially the part where the veep discusses the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Here come the judge(s)

More analysis of the filibuster. Michael Tomasky, on the Web site of The American Prospect (which he edits), explains why he thinks the compromise deal is acceptable.

Your blogstress still reserves judgment.

NOTE: Interestingly, a range of opinion on the filibuster deal is displayed on The Prospect site. Kuttner is not impressed.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Bolton's back

Let's give a little wave to the Dems for showing enough discipline in the ranks to delay an up-or-down vote on the nomination of the dreadful John Bolton to the post of U.N. Ambassador. Your blogstress asks for only un petit signe, since the Dems are holding out for some info on Bully-Boy that the Administration refuses to cough up [material on Bolton's requests for info on State Dept. employees gleaned through wiretaps by the National Security Agency (NSA)]. After the Administration gives the Dems the goods, says Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they'll allow the vote to take place. How come? The guy's a nightmare. Why not keep him out by any legal means necessary?

Liberal Oasis offers a thoughful break-down on why this maneuver is nothing over which to dance the Snoopy dance.

On his Washington Note blog, Steve Clemons fills in an interesting bit of the backstory. It seems that, as ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) has seen the material that Biden seeks, but under the rules of his committee, he can't talk about it.

Curiouser and curiouser...

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Grammography: the strike-thru

Herewith the first in an occasional series whereby your blogstress makes note of stylistic trends in punctuation, linguistic notation and latter-day usage. It will run as a companion series to the yet-to-be-introduced AddieStan occasional feature, Lexiconography, wherein terminology coined in the think shops of Our Nation's Capital will be scrutinized, often with suggestions for alternative appellations.

Today's observation centers on the clever use of a font feature usually reserved as an editing tool: the strike-thru.

Weary of plodding through the thicket of Orwellian terms employed by the right-wing, liberal writers--at least those in the outsider communities--have found a way to deflate such ridiculous terms so as to reveal their true meaning. First appears the actual meaning of the term in a strike-thru font, and then its rhetorical form as deployed by the right. (It is alternatively used as an implied subliminal subtext.)

Dig this, from Confined Space:

One of our favorite Congressmen, Charlie Norwood (R-GA), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, held a hearing last week on voluntary safety programs and contracting out OSHA third-party safety and health audits...

Here's an example, from the same piece, of the parenthetically mentioned technique:

Terrorism has been used as an excuse for a lot of crazy things like limiting civil liberties and even re electing George W. Bush. Now, according to some people in Cloud Cuckooland Congress, it's also an excuse for letting workers die....

Here's how do do it, for you bloggers out there: When composing a post, use the word "strike" in these kind of brackets < > on either side of the word or phrase you wish to appear in strike-thru, being sure to include the backslash in the after the first closing bracket. Click here to see how it should look.

Now go knock yuhselves out.

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Gas 'em!

Speaking of the Great Compromise, the writing of satirist Tom Burka on this subject is priceless:

Senate Republicans to Reject Nuclear Option in Favor of Biowarfare

Senate Republicans who feared that they would not get the 50 votes they needed to destroy the filibuster spoke of abandoning the so-called "nuclear option" in favor of biological or chemical warfare.

"We should just gas all of them," said Sen. Rick Santorum of the Democrats, almost immediately after he had called them Nazis. Sen. Santorum later told critics that he had meant "sedating all of the Democrats with a non-toxic inhalant."

Tom's work is found on his blog, Opinions You Should Have.

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The great compromise

Is this a good thing or a bad thing, this act of comity on the future of the filibuster?

On the one hand, the filibuster lives to see another day, and the traditions of the Senate are temporarily preserved. On the other hand, three truly frightening judges now ascend to the federal bench. Of these, Priscilla Owen of Texas has received the most attention for her exemplary judicial activism that is, at once (to steal an idea from Molly Ivins), both theocratic and plutocratic.

Far more troubling to your Webwench is the specter of Janice Rogers Brown of California occupying the D.C. circuit court, to which most cases regarding the operation of the federal government are brought. Here's Rogers Brown on the virtues of government:

"Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility; and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."

When questioned about this quote from her 2000 speech before the right-wing Federalist Society, Rogers Brown did not exactly retract it. She simply said that she had engaged in a bit of hyperbole before a group of young people, in order to get their attention.

Well, she sure got your écrivaine's attention. Imagine--a judge who hates government issuing rulings on the government. Get ready for a ride, mes amis.

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Constitution now; marriage later

What with her pesky day job, multiple social commitments and erstwhile singing career, your blogstress has had barely a bustier-clad moment to look up, never mind put words to her blog. Among her other endeavors is this recent piece for The American Prospect Web site on why one issue must trump all others right now: saving the United States Constitution.

Even for queer folk, your cybertrix places this burning issue ahead of gay marriage, a cause in which she deeply believes (for those who are the marrying kind, natch). Your thoughts, dear reader?

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Monday, May 02, 2005

The answer, at last


Your blogstress has said many a rosary awaiting the reply to the probing question posed by Swiss Watch. Here, at last, we display a carefully parsed reply--well, the only reply received. Our good friend, Marimba Man, writes:

I'm afraid that if I leave the Catholic Church I'll burn in hell.

Aren't you?

Well, actually, your cybertrix harbors a greater fear of being sentenced to loll about in Heaven, wearing something white and shapeless, plucking a lyre to a beatless tune.

Vive l'existentialism!

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