Friday, August 31, 2007

Remembering Katrina

The American Prospect Online today offers a look at an arresting Web comic on the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

This explains everything (even Larry Craig)

Have you been tossing and turning at night, wondering the reason for the death of the portly religious-right front man, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, from cardiac arrest at the tender age of 73, or of former Southern Baptist Convention President Adrian Rogers, who died of colon cancer at the virtually adolescent age of 74?

And what about the revelation of yet another anti-gay darling of the Republican religious set having been revealed as a practitioner of homosexual-like tendencies? [Sen. Larry Craig denies that he is gay, despite having fluttered his hankie at an undercover cop in the stall next to his in a men's room in Minnesota.] Well, Pastor Rick Scarborough has the answer, according to Right-Wing Watch, a blog of People for the American Way:

In Isaiah 3, God pronounces nine things that happen to a nation that turns its back on God. Included in the list are such things as rampant homosexuality, (Is. 3:9); apathy among the citizenry, (vs. 6-7); crime (v.5); and immature leaders (v. 4). At the beginning of the list, and perhaps as a precursor to all that follows leading up to judgment, is the removal of the prophets and the judges …
Go to PFAW's excellent blog for more wing-nut follies.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where the Undead Meet the Unborn

American Prospect writing fellow Dana Goldstein has a fascinating post up at her personal blog on how Anne Rice -- she of Interview With a Vampire fame -- has endorsed Hillary Clinton, even though Rice herself has converted to Catholicism and become ardently anti-abortion.

Figures that the purveyor of tales of the undead should become the defender of the unborn.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Notice to Congress:
Save the Constitution...


Fredo footsoldiered its undoing; now it's time for Congress to seize back its constitutional powers from the executive branch -- by whatever means necessary.

Your blogstress offers a prescription at The American Prospect Online.

And while you're there, check out TAPPED to learn about the Fredo-Sanjaya connection.

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Inside, outside, good guy, bad guy

White House photo by Chris Greenberg
President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush sit with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his wife, Rebecca, during a visit Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007, at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Well, you can't say it's been a boring summer here in Our Nation's Capital, mes amis. New York may be empty while tout le monde vacays in the Hamptons, and the population of D.C. maybe reduced to the people who actually live here, but the White House keeps churnin' out the hits: the Libby pardon, the Rove resignation and, now, Fredo's farewell.

Over at his dashing, redesigned blog, the Media Consortium's Brian Beutler examines the irrelevance of the label "Washington insider" when assessing a bureaucrat's virtues. Alberto Gonzales, of course, was a Washington outsider, but too much of a parent-pleasing, White House insider to do his job properly.

Your blogstress, however, cautions her devotees not to fall for yet another often false dichotomy, the one that goes like this: He who contradicts the bad guy is a good guy.

It would have been hard not to take joy in the contradiction of Gonzales's testimony on the NSA warrantless wiretapping crimes of the Bush administration by FBI Director Robert Mueller. Mueller, you'll recall, remembered quite clearly Gonzales's attempt to get a feeble, befuddled John Ashcroft to sign off on the program from his hospital bed. Merci beaucoup, Bob.

But Bob ain't quite done. As Beutler reports, Mueller's been busy with a domestic spy program of his own. And maybe even a little voter suppression.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzo is gonzo
Adios, Fredo!

Is it just your blogstress, or is anybody else sensing a big-ass shoe about to drop?

On today's resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the New York Times has an early piece, posted here at MSNBC.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Whither goest Leahy?
Will contempt charges see light of day?

With Congress slated to return next week to the big, white building down the block from your blogstress's Oppo Factory, your cybertrix endeavors to suppress the the hope that Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont will actually make good on his to charge the president with contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a Senate subpoena for documents related to the illegal NSA wiretapping program that Congress so cravenly passed earlier this month.

The need for hope-suppression stems from the numerous disappointments your Webwench has suffered, longing for indignant Democrats to do more than express indignation at the flouting of the Constitution by the autocrats that inhabit the executive branch. But blogstress, they plead; we haven't the votes to save the Constitution! Saving the Constitution would divide the republic! (Note to Dems: absent a working Constitution, there is no republic.)

Here's a suggestion from one Harvey Silverglate, who represented Mike Gravel, the soon-to-be-erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate, back when he was a noble senator seeking to publish the Pentagon Papers in the Congressional Record: send the Capitol Police to the White House to arrest Mr. Bush. The Secret Service should have some fun with that one.


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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Burning down the supermarket

You may recall that your blogstress has a veritable herd of brothers, several of whom have appeared on this site under assumed names. Your Webwench can't possibly understand why they would wish to obscure their blood connection to your cybertrix. Be that as it may, one bold soul, Timothy C. Stan, steps into the light to discuss the phenomenon of soundtrack music for the retail environment.

The topic came up because of our common fondness for Talking Heads, and my horrified elation at finding myself serenaded, while shopping for canned goods (to have on hand in the event of an al Qaeda attack on Capitol Hill) at the local Giant Superstore, by David Byrne singing "Burning Down the House." Whatever happened to the Montivani Orchestra?

The elation was short-lived: David Byrne was next replaced by Reba McEntyre, who sang, "The Angel in Your Arms This Morning (Is Gonna Be the Devil in Someone Else's Arms Tonight)".

Tim, who has done serious career time in the retail trenches, observes:

"This hour of Retail Re-Education Radio is brought to you by Safeway, reminding you to "Conform, and drink the Kool-Aid; you'll feel better."

And by The Gap, who thinks "you're unique -- just like everyone else."

Reba, huh? Yikes. At least it wasn't Celine Dion.

Remember you're talking to someone who's endured a LOT of hours of retail music. Eventually, it either gives you super-powers or it drives you insane. That's how I got the ability to see through walls and read tree bark...

Hmmmmm. Need more Kool-Aid.
Tim asks that it be noted he is not the brother who was kept in the attic.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Graf of the day
How blogs are changing newswriting

Wonderful lede graf in today's Washington Post story by Peter Baker on the Bush administration's newly revealed manual for how to deal with protesters at presidential appearances:

Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.
While your blogstress concedes that even before the hole in the ozone layer permitted the blogosphere to hover closer to earth, newswriting had become more colloquial and casual in tone, there are syntactical qualities here that tend to be more peculiar to bloggers. As in, people who blog.

Oh, and the piece is a must-read. Not that I'm paranoid or anything.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

How can I miss you, Karl,
when you won't go away?

Last week, he promised to go all elusive on us and everything, inviting us to call him Moby (although the whale's last name may prove a more apt moniker), today, your average Sunday-morning couch potato just couldn't get away from Karl Rove, even if she wanted to. (Click here to read, at The American Prospect Online, your Webwench's morning-after piece about Rove and the rightie who may have done him in.)

There he was on "Meet the Press" telling David Gregory that he didn't have to testify before Congress because the nation's founders granted him executive privilege -- apparently through some sort of special dispensation:

KARL ROVE: We have a constitutional separation of powers. The founders talk about this. They, they understood this issue, and they wanted to insulate the judicial, the executive and the legislative from each other in this respect.
So, the founders are apparently talking to Karl Rove telling him that "separation of powers" means that, in the executive branch, you grab all the power you can, carefully separating the powers from the branches to which they previously belonged. (Of course, the current Congress is often all too happy simply to fork theirs over, as it did in the recent legislation on NSA wiretapping, thanks to the votes of 57 Democrats.)

But here's the real kicker from Rove's MTP appearance:
KARL ROVE: It should not—-the Constitution should not be weakened, and we should not weaken the prerogatives of the power of the presidency just because somebody wants to have kind of show hearing on the Hill.
Yeah, he's cuttin' out in order to save the Constitution. (BTW, Moby, the Constitution does not forbid members of the White House staff from testifying before Congress.)

Oh, and here's some blogging from ink19 about your écrivaine's take on the Rove exit.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Bush à la merde
(almost as good as impeachment)

From a reader who simply calls himself "the man," comes this photo statement, which is one among many on the same visual theme that devotees can find at the Web site, Made You Think.

Better yet, you can participate in the documentation of the turdification of the national discourse, mes amis. Write into the man, and he will send you little flags designed for adorning the scat of your choice. A sort of organic take on the Flat Stanley craze of some years ago.

Your blogstress, being a paradoxical creature of both refined tastes and low humor, is quite charmed by the man's project. Though, by her lights, not even Flat Stanley can equal the titillation of Ukulele Boogaloo's fabukelous Ukulele World project, a sort of uke-porn meets travelogue thing.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Left behind
(in Karl Rove's desk)

At Pottersville, they're offering the "Top Ten Likeliest Items Left in Karl Rove's Desk Drawers," only three of which can we print on this dysfunctional-family-friendly blog:

10) Letter opener still caked with human brain matter.

9) 14 pages of emails from Mel Martinez at the RNC filled with jokes about Jerry Falwell’s death.

8) Expired contract with Satan with loopholes circled in red ink.
Of course, we can't stop you from driving through Pottersville.

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Max Roach: May he rest in peace

From the New York Times obituary by Peter Keepnews:

Max Roach, a founder of modern jazz who rewrote the rules of drumming in the 1940’s and spent the rest of his career breaking musical barriers and defying listeners’ expectations, died early today in Manhattan. He was 83.


Mr. Roach was an innovator in other ways. In the late 1950s, he led a group that was among the first in jazz to regularly perform pieces in waltz time and other unusual meters in addition to the conventional 4/4. In the early 1960s, he was among the first to use jazz to address racial and political issues, with works like the album-length “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite.”
The "Freedom Now Suite" was a collaboration with, among others, his first wife, Abbey Lincoln, who has an extraordinary new record out. It's called "Abbey Sings Abbey," and it features fresh recordings of pieces penned by Lincoln herself. The instrumentation is acoustic, with a gypsy feel.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Imus redux?

It would be one thing if this nasty, racist old man took his show over to satellite radio, where people have to pay to hear his crap, but to have him return to public airwaves -- a public trust, owned by toi et moi, is truly a slap in the face to women and Americans of African descent.

At 12:30, Jennifer Pozner of Women in Media and News will appear on the Fox News Channel to argue against any deal that would return Imus to the airwaves.

And check out Maretta J. Short, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), who has been on the front lines of the Imus wars since the multimillionaire bully tried to demean the accomplishments of the women's basketball team at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I think I see him

Here's a snip from an interview Karl Rove gave to the McClatchy newspapers:

Rove also expects congressional Democrats to continue efforts to get him to testify in an inquiry into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

"They're going to keep coming after me," Rove told McClatchy. "They've got a bunch of guys auditioning for the role of Captain Ahab, and I'm Moby Dick."
Well, he is big and white.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Guess we won't have Karl Rove to kick around anymore

He'll be too busy collecting oodles of dough for a book advance and corporate governance deals -- not to mention answering the calls speed-dialed from the Oval Office.

From our long lost correspondent, The Internationalist, your blogstress received this fit of pique:

Damn, if I have to hear more about the "genius" of Karl Rove, I am going to hack up a fur ball. The tale of how he saw the potential in the blue-jean-wearing "W" who came to meet him at Union Station -- the "glow" Karl saw was probably W's Jack & coke buzz. I would go on about Rove having "the math," but it just gives me a headache, reminding me of trying to find the square root for imaginary numbers.
Watch out for fuzzy projectiles, mes amis.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Super-Nova Tuesday

Few are the pundits who find any virtue in the evolving 2008 schedule for the primaries and caucuses by which the presidential candidates of the two major political parties are chosen. Things were bad enough when, only recently, February 5, 2008, was dubbed "Tsunami Tuesday" or "Super Duper Tuesday," thanks to the scheduling of primaries by nearly all the powerhouse states on that day. Well, maybe not all. Today comes word from the great State of South Carolina that it will move its Republican primary up to January 19, which will likely to push Iowa to conduct its caucuses sometime around Christmas.

The most eloquent explanation of this extreme climate change (written before these latest developments) that you will ever read, mes amis, is this April piece, "Pileup," by The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg. After noting that the "Pileup" plan, however horrid, was born of a laudable impulse--that of wanting the contest in one's home state to actually count for something--Hertzberg wrote:

The purity of that motive, however, does not obviate the fact that a schedule that (a) locks up both parties’ nominations in one fell swoop and (b) requires the country to devote two out of every four years to Presidential politicking is completely insane. The closest anyone has come to cutting the Gordian knot of the primaries was a little-known effort in 2000. A group of Republican grandees led by Bill Brock, a former senator from Tennessee and national party chairman, spent months hammering out what was dubbed the Delaware Plan, which, beginning in 2004, would have mandated four sets of primaries, a month apart, beginning with the small states (twelve of them, including New Hampshire) and ending with the largest (which would pick a majority of the total delegates). Brock said recently that he had developed the plan in consultation with friends in the other party ("Such things were possible, once upon a time," he said), and was fairly sure that the Democrats would have followed suit. But, because the Republicans couldn’t have proceeded without a floor fight at their Convention, the Bush camp, determined to avoid any hint of discord, shot the whole thing down* at the last minute. Various other ideas—revolving regional primaries, for example, or randomly chosen primaries at two-week intervals—continue to float around. Eventually, though, Congress will probably have to take the lead in sorting out the mess.
Indeed, one such regional plan was promoted yesterday on the New York Times op-ed page by Democrat Bob Graham of Florida, who was to the 2004 presidential contest what, say, Chris Dodd is to the 2008 bid, or Richard Lugar was to the 1996 line-up (competent, well-informed, well-mannered, and highly unlikely to prevail).

After extolling the virtues of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary (and giving all the credit for derailing Edmund Muskie's 1972 candidacy to the people of New Hampshire while failing to mention Richard Nixon's famous dirty tricks), Graham declares those contests dead as the nation's front-line vettors:
A series of five regional primaries, spaced three weeks apart and rotated every four years, would give voters from Miami to Maui to Manchester opportunities to be first in the nation. Candidates could spend more time with citizens of neighboring states and less time on coast-to-coast flights. Because the primaries would be stretched out over three months rather than three weeks, reporters and other political scorekeepers could not rush to declare a national winner.
Frankly, your blogstress thinks this would lead to an acceleration of the entropic demise of our electoral system. Think about it: every four years, a particular region would get to choose the candidates, throwing the nation's politics into a ping-pong of coastal liberalism v. Southern and Western third-wayism on the Democratic side, and coastal moderation v. religious totalitarianism on the Republican side.

Your blogstress much prefers having the scene set by the quirky libertarians of New Hampshire and the meticulous civic leaders of Iowa.

*What a surprise that the Bushies would shoot down a plan that would have enhanced democracy in the homeland.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Beyond disappointment
57 Dems spit on the Constitution

It did not surprise your blogstress -- no, it truly did not -- that all of the Republicans on Capitol Hill, senators and House members alike, would vote to allow the president to wiretap (and otherwise unreasonably search and seize) anyone he damn well pleases. No, for those Republicans, your cybertrix offers her prayers to the Blessed Mother. But it will be a while before she can be quite so magnanimous toward the 57 Democrats who voted to do the same.

For the record, here they are:

U.S. Senate

Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Tom Carper (Delaware)
Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
Kent Conrad (North Dakota)
Dianne Feinstein (California)
Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i)
Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
Nancy Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas)
Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
Barbara Mikulski (Maryland)
Bill Nelson (Florida)
Ben Nelson (Nebraska)
Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
Ken Salazar (Colorado)
Jim Webb (Virginia)

U.S. House of Representatives

Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois)
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida)
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania)
Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky)
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee)
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana)
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota)
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana)
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas)
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia)
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah)
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina)
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana)
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota)
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota)
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas)
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas)
John Salazar (3rd Colorado)
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina)
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio)
John Tanner (8th Tennessee)
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi)
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio)

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Blogging the Yearly Kos Convention

CHICAGO--Your blogstress never meant to neglect her devotees; truly she did not, mes amis. It's just that, this time of year, there are so many conferences and so little time.

Consequently, your cybertrix finds herself blogging instead for Real Women, Real Voices, the blog of the National Women's Editorial Forum, which has sent your Webwench to observe the haps at the Yearly Kos convention, the confab that bears the name of the giant, multi-voice blog known as Daily Kos. There, you may find the recent musings of your écrivaine, but clicking the links below.

Prez Candidates Too Busy for Women Blogger Convention
Make it to Where the Boy Bloggers Are

Blogging While Female

Feminist Bloggers Poised to Combine Resources and Strength

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