Monday, July 31

Why the silence? I'll tell you...

Obviously NOT Condi's and again,
we're not going there.

A number of commenters at C&L have asked, and indeed, so did On the Media from NPR yesterday, why the blogosphere is relatively silent on the current conflict. I think it has more to do with the state of the blogosphere than with our feelings on the matter.

By the way the On the Media story, "I Know You Are But What Am I?" is fascinating. You can give a listen at the link.

Many of us have seen a blog or two (I'm specifically thinking about the Sadly, No! fiasco) get shut down by obnoxious bullies with a siege mentality. It does not show a lack of moral bravery to avoid thugs. Ask the refugees from the country to the north of them. That is all.

Friday, July 28

You don't have to buy this...


I picked up a copy of Communication Arts at my library's free magazine exchange. It's an advertising trade mag and the images and artwork are nothing short of fantastic. Lots of great creativity going on there...

...but it's advertising.

Blue Gal, of course, "subscribes" to the vision of Adbusters and Common Dreams, etc.:

Advertising is bad...Bill Hicks recommended advertising people should just kill themselves...But we all are influenced by it every day. Especially in trying to feel pharma-fabulous, and especially in terms of our American kids, who are the most advertised-to people in the entire world.

Internet users were very quick to culture jam when it came to "helping" Chevy Tahoe create ads that highlighted how polluting they are. But how quickly they suck it up with a straw to create their own Converse sneaker on-line. Products conceived as "cool" to the internet are still products, people. Related article here.

Plenty of times I've heard myself say "that's a great ad." Is there anything wrong with that? The reason it's good art is so that I will remember and hopefully buy. Is the lesson merely to see its influence while appreciating its art? Feel free to discuss, and bring into the conversation political advertising and the blogosphere as well.

IN JUST HOW FAST CAN THE WORLD CHANGE DEPT.: Surfing around found this article on "imagining the day when the WSJ print edition folds." Whoa. But there are days we all wish just the editorial page would fold, and not into pornogami, either.

Taking the weekend off, kids. Have a good one. xoxo

Thursday, July 27

Thank GOD there's no panties.

The Museum of Sex in New York will be exhibiting a sculpture of Hillary Clinton to spark dialog about female sexuality and power in American culture.
[read all about it at Wired Blogs]

Dialog?...Oh honey, words fail me.

[But I like the guy who said it kinda looks like Jimmy Carter...]

Wednesday, July 26

I've been meaning to say...

air force panties

A number of things.

First, there's a possibility that the United States Air Force is reading this blog. Welcome, fly boys. I'm always here for your panties fix. Oh, and to tell you that your commander-in-chief is an asshole, but you knew that.

Next, have you heard that a prisoner at Guantanamo sent a letter to members of Congress and the Defense Department won't let Congress have their mail? As Senator Patrick Leahy asks at the bottom of this letter to Rumsfeld(PDF file), "Is this really happening!" Why, yeah,'s called fascism! Welcome to it! And I'm sure the Secretary of Defense filed your letter right next to those intelligence reports on how many troops it would really take to secure Iraqi borders.

Finally, we all need to laugh until it hurts. Because otherwise we'll have to think about what's happening to our Constitutional rights. Which hurts a little too much this morning, sorry. Well, how about some Republican Shower Curtains from the brilliant Attaturk? Works for me.

Tuesday, July 25

A most unprofessional post...

The precious start of life of a white born again Christian suburbanite Fox News viewer GOP voter. Oops, sorry, that's a purple sea urchin embryo.
Don't implant that one, Doctor Frist!

If you get me started on the whole embryo thang, I'm gonna hafta smack.

A little background: Blue Gal her own self has been through the infertility rollercoaster. I'm one of the lucky ones.


I did not have to go through IVF, so there are no little Blue Gal embryos waiting for my decision to dispose of them. It would be heartwrenching, but I hope if that were the case I would have the moral and emotional strength to donate them for stem cell research, just as if one of my sisters or parents needed a kidney, I would have the strength to donate that, too.

I repeat: I am a former infertility patient. I know.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)? Kiss my ass.

There are difficult decisions to be made in infertility, and they do not need to be made in the halls of Congress. They need to be made between a couple and their doctor, and when you try to tell a group of highly educated (and when you've followed your own reproductive cycle for 24 months IN A ROW believe me you are educated) people who have invested THOUSANDS of dollars and TENS OF THOUSANDS of tears in order to have any child at and when they "should" proceed so that "precious life" is perserved.

Fuck you. Just fuck you. YOU HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA, SIR. NONE AT ALL.

Great articles on what's really going on here and here.

BTW my opinion is everyone agreeing to create an embryo shall sign a waiver that if your embryo has sat on ice for over 2 years and no one can find you those stem cells can help an Alzheimer's patient. Starting right now.

Monday, July 24

Karl's distractor of the day is...

"Her posture has frustrated numerous allies." - AP

Do not talk to me about her panties; we are not going to go there. It's just that with Condi doing the honors for the decider distractor of the day, my readers need to keep their mouse buttons pointed to Princess Sparkle Pony, who does all my heavy lifting where the Condi is concerned. The blog's hairdo alert system (photo above would trigger an alert fer sure) is one of my favorite regular features.

I just can't wait to see what the princess her own self wears on the Koufax red carpet, too. Something tells me we'll have to find some Ferragamo's in a men's size 13, but it will be worth it.

Sunday, July 23

Blue Gal's Straight Face Follies!

straight face panties

For loads of fun this Sunday, look in the mirror and say the following quotes with a straight face. Click on the numbers for background, if you dare...

1. "I'm a fourteen year old girl. I blog about my cat."

"As a former Washington intern- yes, THAT kind of intern- I have often been accused of dating more than my share of men. So I'm writing a novel about my exploits, a Roman à Clef chronicling the sex lives and egos of the ubiquitous young political hacks (and those of us who love them!)"

3. "I believe Saddam Hussein's WMDs are now in the hands of Hezbollah."

Saturday, July 22

Book Review: Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace (1996)

This is cross-posted at the sister site.

I've often said that if I were ever to consider suicide, I would pause and remember that Margaret Atwood is writing another novel right now, and to end my life would likely mean I'd miss it. Nevertheless, I can hardly imagine an afterlife where her books were not on the shelves: I consider The Blind Assassin (2001, and winner of the Booker prize) one of the greatest novels ever written. I'd promised myself that this summer I was only going to read trashy romance or 19th century high trash, but Atwood's Alias Grace has a little of both, and gives me the added panache of reading literary historical fiction as well.

Grace Marks, the center of Atwood's novel, was a real person. She was convicted of the murder of her master and his housekeeper/mistress in 1843, when she was sixteen years old. The murders took place near Kingston, Ontario, and Atwood came across her story as a child in the Canadian school system. Grace's accomplice, James McDermott, was a manservant in the household, and their flight to the United States and subsequent arrest story was quickly taken up by the sensational press of the day: the class warfare angle, the sex angle, and the psychological angle (Grace claimed to have no memory of the murders) brought page after page of newspaper coverage, not all of it true or even verifiable.

Atwood weaves this story with her customary brilliance. We meet Grace Marks eight years after her arrest, and are told in detail the story of her life through interviews with a young psychiatrist, Simon Jordan, who is attempting to establish his career with some celebrated solution to Grace's amnesia. She has no idea, she claims, of the violent events that led to her arrest and conviction. As Simon becomes ensnared in Grace's story, he becomes ensnared in other, more pernicious ways, both inside and outside of the penitentiary.

In this review, I will talk about three aspects of Atwood's novel: Atwood is writing historical fiction and but at the same time delivering a sharp and excellent commentary on 19th century women's fiction. She is also making a clear and biting commentary, as she usually does in her writing, about gender politics in general. These three aspects make Alias Grace a fascinating work of art.

As historical fiction this is good stuff. Atwood, as one might expect, gets it right, from the changes in fashion as the novel progresses, to the story of Grace as celebrity defendant. Atwood was aware of her responsibility in this regard, and claims to have taken it almost too seriously. In a letter accompanying the "Readers Companion" to the novel, Atwood writes:

...the novel itself at times almost seemed too much for me; I found myself wondering where the parsnips would have been stored, wrestling through the details of Victorian domestic and prison life. But I finally made it to the end. And so now it's your turn. I invite you to meet ALIAS GRACE. May she stop wandering around in my head, and perhaps wander around in yours for a while.

Thanks, Margaret. While any novelist reaches a point where they are eager to let go of their characters and plots, Atwood seems particularly so. One of the reasons is no doubt that this is not only a novel, but a conscious and detailed meditation on what is known in Lit Crit circles as "the woman novel" of the nineteenth century. It came as no surprise to me whatever that Atwood lists Elaine Showalter among the source material for this book. Showalter is an expert in the woman novel, and Alias Grace is a woman novel looked at through the sharp-angled lense of Margaret Atwood.

Woman novels were the Harlequin romances of the nineteenth century: popular fiction, read primarily if not exclusively by women, and known for sentimentality, romantic visions, and primarily happy endings. These novels often shared a common overplot, where a young woman would lose her mother (and sometimes gain a Bible), be thrown out into "The Wide, Wide World" (one of the most popular titles of the genre), where she would meet up with two distinct female archetypes. The first, usually an aunt or older cousin, would be a gruff woman who would nevertheless take our young heroine into her house for some serious domestic tutelage. The heroine learns the proper way to sew, cook, preserve, and clean an agrarian house. The second woman in heroine's life would be usually a neighbor or daughter of the local Reverend (let's be obvious and call her Faith), who would teach the heroine Christianity and ladyhood, the two qualities intertwined beyond all separate recognition. The time at which our heroine stops weeping over her dead mother, finishes her quilt and prays for calm amidst life's storms, is when Faith's brother Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, walks in from finishing college just in time to marry her and live happily ever after.

There are a great many ways in which Alias Grace is a brilliantly distorted version of this story. Grace does lose her mother in their trans-Atlantic crossing from Ireland, leaving her bereft. She enters domestic service and learns the proper ways of domesticity, to a fault. Indeed, the fetish-ization of housework in Alias Grace is the most telling reflection of the woman novel Atwood provides. Sections of this novel are named after quilt blocks. We know from Grace where the parsnips are kept, how the chives are cut, when the beds are made, how a floor is scrubbed, when the kitchen is cleaned, how the tea is served, etc. etc. A reader of nineteenth century woman fiction would feel right at home.

Except, of course, that Grace is telling all of this from prison.

Imprisonment is the major theme of this novel, and its detailed presence here stamps Margaret Atwood's distinct feminism on Grace's story. But here the author becomes servant to her character, and it is easy to see why Atwood wanted Grace to stop "wandering around in her head." Atwood can show how domestic servitude trapped women, but she cannot deny Grace the power of who she is. She is a prisoner, and yet she continues to assert and celebrate her expertise in housekeeping through telling the minute domestic details of her life history.

This novel parts ways with the nineteenth century woman novel in its treatment of Christianity. Christian faith is an essential part of the ideal womanhood of the nineteenth century version of this story, but Atwood leaves that element firmly in the margins of her narrative. When we meet Grace she is twenty-four and knows her Bible quite well, tellingly not from a kind neighbor but, one assumes, from the daily readings-aloud at the prison. The only time Grace mentions communing with God is around the time of the murder, particularly during her escape with McDermott:

...I thought, I am riding through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, as it says in the Psalm; and I attempted to fear no evil, but it was very hard, for there was evil in the wagon with me [McDermott]...and I looked up at the sky...behind it was a cold blackness; and it was not Heaven or even Hell that I was looking at, but only emptiness. This was more frightening than anything I could think of, and I prayed silently to God to forgive my sins; but what if there was no God to forgive me?

No nineteenth century heroine would even think such an existential thing. Atwood may be avoiding the complex workings of nineteenth century piety, or making a strong statement about the absence of God's lovingkindness in Grace's life. It's hard to tell, because religion, apart from the over-pious minister who pleads for her clemency and the spiritualists who attempt to divine Grace's amnesia from her, is largely absent from this work. Grace goes to church only once in this novel, and it is with the housekeeper/mistress she later is accused of murdering. The church scene seems primarily to show the community as in judgment of the housekeeper's low morals, as they are stared at and speak to no one during or after the service.

spoiler alert

Atwood is loyal to the woman novel, however, in its happy ending, and again in her fetishizing of the domestic details of Grace's life. Rather than telling us in detail how Grace feels about her pardon and release from prison at age 45, we are instead treated to over four pages of detail about her new home: the bedrooms, the curtains, the rugs, the cross-stitch pictures (which of course Grace has done herself) and the quilts. Grace is working on a quilt in the end with literal scraps of fabric that are cut from garments in her past life. A little over-literary, but small complaint in a novel that both defines and transcends both the story of a real-life celebrity and an entire literary genre.

Your local library should have a copy of Alias Grace, if not, Abebooks has lots of used copies for sale cheap.

Friday, July 21

A gift for the GOP congressional delegation:

Get some for your GOP congressman. Not photoshopped...


If America is a great nation, and if the truths of its ideas and institutions are self-evidently obvious, then why the need for daily expressions of allegiance? The Pledge ritual seems better suited to an insecure nation worried about change and fearful of commitment of its young people and its newcomers. Backers of the Pledge are often cast as true patriots, but it is arguably those who would dispense with a daily Pledge who are the ones who harbor the greatest faith in the enduring power and strength of American institutions and American ideas.

from "To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance" by Richard Ellis. Emphasis mine.

[This book was the winner of the Langum Prize in Legal History 2005 btw]

Please read into the Congressional Record. And enjoy the boxers.

Thursday, July 20


brain-death-silence Georgia Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, for proving once and for all that the GOP has severed all contact with reality.

NYT 7/19/06 page A17

...Georgia Republican, Representative Phil Gingrey, said support for traditional marriage "is perhaps the best message we can give to the Middle East and all the trouble they're having over there right now."

Gingrey must be getting talking points from ...Caitlin Flanagan!!! Oh, and of course he's also disconnecting with any US responsibility for "the trouble they're having over there right now." Good one, Phil.

You've really gotta go to this guy's website. Opposes voting rights act, opposes stem cell research, anti-gay marriage, but protect the pledge.

He thinks the bricks people are mailing him are showing support for "strengthening our border." Yeah, Phil, I got yer brick right here.

Wednesday, July 19

Blue Gal at Carnival of the Liberals today...

Blue Gal is blogging, with a lot of other talented folks, over at Carnival of the Liberals 17 which this time is hosted at Brainshrub.

I've been wanting to do CotL for a long time and how nice that my first time is with a gentle, strong man like Brainshrub. Sigh.

Later this week I hope to have a review of the Margaret Atwood novel I'm going to finish reading today. Yes. I'm going to finish it. Today.

Tuesday, July 18

Like Cake on quaaludes...


That's my review of Flaming Lips's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

I bought the CD at Quimper Sound, whose website in addition to some pretty cool employee recommendations, also has a blog where you can leave comments. Nice touch.

I know lots of bloggers are talking today about Bush's smut-mouthed idiocy, but isn't that really old news?

And to think there are MSM's who call the blogosphere a "nightmare of populist crudity." Hm.

Monday, July 17

What are you going to watch today?


If we listened only to the information being broadcast by most media outlets, we would develop a very one-sided--and very bleak--view of our world. The never-ending barrage of disturbing, horrific images might lead us to believe that the world is made up only of destruction, suffering, and greed. What does being subjected to all this negative energy do to us?

There's a trend in knitting books to look at the "spiritual, meditative" side of the craft. The quote above is from Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. (Thanks for the book, Mr. BG.) Ellis's recommendation is to spend time knitting in a park or near a playground where children are playing, to refuel ones batteries away from the din of cable news programming.

Knitters in Lebanon and Israel have no such luxury.

Think about all the "negative energy" they and their children are living through right now. It's heartbreaking.

That said, I am so, so grateful at this time that I do not have a television. Please, if you do, take a break from it, especially this week. It's a radical concept, but it is oh so true:

Cable news does not exist to keep you informed. Cable news exists to keep you watching. Cultivating a mental state of fear and anxiety does not help anyone except the advertisers.

If you must watch cable news, I suggest you keep a notepad next to you and write down the names of all the advertisers you see. Ask yourself, do you need another pharma product? Do you need a new car? Do you need an investment advisor? Because that is why you are sitting there. You are being sold to, and in between the ads, your emotions are being sold out.

There are a great many other sources, better sources of information. You can keep informed at a lower threshold of emotional bombardment. We are living through yet another age of yellow journalism. It is time to turn it off. Stay out of the Situation Room. Stay away from the Crossfire. Be still, and avoid promises of 360 Degrees. Read the paper, or check the news online, say a prayer if that is your proclivity, and then do something positive today. Clean your kitchen, knit a little, or sure, take a walk in a park. Write a check to a children's charity. You will not forget the children of the Middle East. Are you thinking of them during the Lipitor ad? Really.

All of that spiritual knit talk aside, remember: just because you can knit a bag for your yoga mat, does not mean you should. Update: The yoga mat tote bag is knit with goddamn hemp. Enough.

Sunday, July 16

What (not) to get me for my birthday...


I turn 43 today. Thanks for another great year of blogging, folks.

I still can't believe there are people I don't know personally who feel it's worth a click to read what I write. I'm honored, humbled, and deeply gratified. I have the best readers in the blogosphere, and your visit today is the nicest birthday present I could have. Thank you.

One thing I love is great blogging. If you have a post you are particularly proud of, or a post from someone else's blog you think we should all read, tell us about it in comments. That's a nice gift. I appreciate it.

Saturday, July 15

Honoring Valerie Plame, doing the math on Madonna.

wear 'em to court, baby

Don't know if you'd noticed, but the NYFT lists the ticket price to Madonna at Madison Square Garden at $359.50 per ticket. Those aren't great seats either. Row 3 is, according to one website, going for $2200 a ticket.

Now for that, Blue Gal and twenty-two lucky readers (not that I'm offering, but still) could all go to a NYC Flaming Lips concert. While I've never heard their music, the lead singer is apparently handing out vibrating panties to fans at his concerts.

[Lead Singer Wayne] Coyne said he plans to give fans a climatic experience by activating the novelty knickers via remote control from onstage. Unlike other artists, Coyne says he doesn't just dream about giving thousands of women simultaneous pleasure — he does something about it.

Okay, but why are guys interested pleasuring multiple partners always named Wayne?

h/t qwerty

Friday, July 14

Fun and Games with BG


Summer means games and fun, so why not in the blogosphere, too?

Game #1.

Scold Blue Gal for not reading what's going on in the world today (Humph!) Then take a drink every time Bush says Israel has a right to defend itself. Doug, as of now I'm officially outta blueberry liqueur.

Game #2.

From Robert J. Elisberg, find a Republican and play 20 questions (h/t to the Cap'n). I especially like #10: Would you let Donald Rumsfeld plan your daughter's wedding?

And here's one I didn't see, with a posthumous h/t to Abbie Hoffman: How are your war stocks doing? As the June issue of Forbes put it:

Those "supplemental" defense appropiations are getting out of hand. You can get a piece of the action.

Yeah, just invest like the entire Bush cabinet!

Game #3.

This game is still in the invention stage. We need to take bets on which day in October (surprise) Exxon gas will drop below $2.50 a gallon. Just because the Hammer is gone, doesn't mean there aren't other friends on the Hill. Mark my words it's already in the profit projections.

Game #4.

It's the game that's sweeping the pre-midterm-election nation! Play fake foiled terrorist plot bingo! (scroll down comments here to see a sample card)

1) Create your card. Cards are 5x5 and each square is filled with a date between now and the election (11/7/06). No duplicate dates are allowed.
2) Post your card for all to see. You must post it before the first day you use on your card.
3) Mark off a square when the Administration first announces an implausible terror alert (even if the sting or bust happened months earlier).
4) The first one to complete a 5-box row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) wins.

Thursday, July 13

Let's be like Loretta the Libertarian...


In the past week, Loretta Nall, the Libertarian Candidate for Governor in Alabama, did the following:

    Held a public planning meeting to arrange for gay weddings in spite of the recently passed ballot item prohibiting same-sex marriage.

    Accompanied a medical marijuana patient to court on drug charges. The guy has cancer, diabetes, and neuropathy, and the State of Alabama is prosecuting him for smoking pot to ease his physical pain. Great use of my tax dollars, thanks.

    Acted as an escort at an reproductive services clinic, to shield women seeking reproductive services from protestors in Montgomery.

Can you imagine any Democrat (maybe Russ Feingold. Maybe.) growing a pair the size of this little blonde chick? (She knows I mean chick in the righteous way.) Why can't we Democrats find some candidates with the same ability to put it on the line? And by the way, I don't care that you and I don't agree with her on gun control. She's got guts, and she's shaking things up in Alabama. Splitting hairs is what we libs are great at, and this time it is uncalled for.

Oh, I see NARAL is endorsing Lie-berman. Guess that means he'll be acting as an escort at a Connecticut Planned Parenthood clinic. Joe? Um, Joe?

Cleaned up for cross-posting at Kos.

Wednesday, July 12

Panties from a friend...

As many of you know, in order to provide my readers with the best in novelty panties, I do plenty of Google and Dogpile image searches. Inevitably, I must scroll through untold numbers of porn images: wet panties, dirty panties, girls sucking on panties, hot Latino anal panty action, etc. Oh, I'm getting search engine hits already: thanks for the tip, Doug.

But there are two ways to avoid such smut. The trick is to include in the panties search, "sales" "order form" "discount" and "novelty". That filters out most of the unshaven (and yes, I do mean the girls' armpits and upper lip) internet porn sites. One time after buying some panties of my own (and believe me, the lingerie sales lady can tell a beige cotton brief customer at fifty paces) I tried searching for "panties" plus "pack of 3." That got me some appropriate images, but also one or two triple penetration sites. (I think that act, in practice, is not nice, as the poor girl should be allowed to catch her breath at least.)

The second way is to let satirical right wing Christian websites send you images of the panties they have for sale in support of their divine and sacred mission, which of course includes unwavering support for one Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

I am happy to pimp bring you the Conservatives for American Values thong:

order here and save your soul

The sacred image of Rev. Herman B. Hayes along with the words "Think Twice" is guaranteed to reduce sinful activity (sure would put me off my feed) and curb wanton motives. Their Cafepress store also features a really neato button "We do it Santorum style", as well as the "homo-insurgent" and "Guerrilla Sodomite" shirts.

A few of you know that I comment at CFAV frequently, and I have to tell you it is the most difficult writing I do. How hard it is to keep your tongue in your cheek while both swallowing conservative dogma and laughing until it really, really hurts. I almost feel like one of those triple penetration girls, except CFAV only has two contributors, not counting Rick Santorum. And they would never.

Tuesday, July 11

Memo to my lurkers...Thank you.

This is yet another blogging about blogging post. Blame it on summer and the slow and silly news cycle. Everyone will be linking to it, but if you missed Susan Madrak on HuffPo today, don't:

Personally, I'm embarrassed by all of us liberal blogofascists insisting on a place in the national discourse simply because we happened to be, um, right about George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, Iraq, the WMDs, the allegiances of the corporate media, the steady erosion of civil liberties, global warming, Republican incompetence, hypocrisy, greed and dishonesty, fiscal irresponsibility, the widening chasm between economic classes, and the evergrowing efforts to turn our country into a theocracy.

Not that we're big-headed about it or anything. Huh.

On topic, I've been very interested (and grateful) that a number of lurkers have come out to comment in the past few days. Thank you.

Bloggers tend to be hard on lurkers, and for certain, I would rather have three smart commenters here than three hundred hit-and-runs.

But the fact is, I am blessed with both, and then some. I was struck by OrganicGeorge's comment a couple days ago that a quarter of those attending YearlyKos were not bloggers, and did not even have Daily Kos diaries. At first, I thought, oh come on! Who are these hangers on? But then I realized, wow, they appreciate the blogosphere enough to pay money to meet the people they read. On the blogs. Wow. Just wow.

And at the Olympic Music Festival last Sunday, I got it. I'm sitting there with a few hundred other people listening to Beethoven string quartets. Yep, there were only four people playing instruments, and a few hundred listening. Would anyone rather it was the other way around? Or that everyone in the audience decided to hum along? Audiences are a good thing. If you're not getting enough comments for your egos, bloggers, just remember they're not lurking, they're listening.

So welcome, listening lurkers. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being an audience. We bloggers need you here, whether you comment or not.

Of course, if you decide to join the party, you can wear one of these:


Monday, July 10

Happy July Birthdays


Go wish a happy belated birthday (the 8th) to our dear friend Quaker Agitator.

Lots of July birthdays in the blogosphere...we Cancerians are so in tune with the infinite, blah blah.

Blue Gal is the 16th, Qwerty is, I think, the 24th?

If you have a recent or soon to come birthday, please leave a note in comments.

Blue Gal - The Makeover Edition

Yep, it's summertime, slow news month, and time for some topics of dubious import.

Lots of bloggers have raised the hue and cry about the Memphis so-called "Christians" who built an ersatz Statue of Liberty holding a giant cross. One more brick from the wall between Church and State.


Not too many bloggers have commented on just how tacky it is. But then again, it is in Memphis. Kinda explains that whole Jungle Room at Graceland thang.

The other thing is, the Memphis folks obviously have never met the actual Lady Liberty. Her people came from western Europe in the nineteenth century, and she lives in Manhattan. Born again megachurch Christian? Ya think?

If Lady (call me Stephanie) Liberty actually had the makeover of her choice, my bet is she'd look more like this:


Just saying.

Sunday, July 9

Relevance is relative...

random flikr blogging
screwed, screwer, or screwy, we'll blog about ya

Okay this is my last post ever about her. If a little known DJ can get more mileage out of hanging up on you than talking to you, it's time to retire. And please don't give a speech about the politics of personal destruction on your way out. Fuck you.

Now about David Brooks. How nice that you have found a way to become suddenly relevant.

Not that I don't agree with him this time. The Party Establishment has every reason to hate the netroots. They are not loyal to The Party. They pay attention, even in mid-year, non-election cycles. They like something called the truth, no ironic quotation marks around it, and when they smell bullshit they say so. How inconvenient they are to the party leadership.

Howard, tell your planning committees they're now on a 365 day a year calendar, and while it's unusual, this time they may actually have to stand for something, come up with some ideas (you have my sympathy here, it's a hell of a mess this country's in, but you claim to want to lead, so lead) and the policy wonks better back up their ideas with a plan because some smart people with computer skills are watching. For 60K a year and a social life in Washington, your entry-level lawyers may even have to keep a promise or two.

We'll write a check when we goddamn feel like it.

Saturday, July 8



Just wanna comment on Drifty's defense of Kos:

You could kiss Kos's ass all day long and that doesn't mean the community will rally behind you. Kos is not some kind of kingmaker, he basically serves as a community center for a lot of other people's ideas. His power is more like Steve Rubell's at the height of Studio 54 than some kind of powerbroker.

You go to Kos because that is the happening place to be seen, that's it. It's not because we are barons and he is our feudal lord.

When someone makes a better site, that's where people will go.

I have friends who dislike Kos and his site, but like me and mine. So, does that mean I am insufficiently loyal to him and his "cause".

Why do reporters persist in being lazy? Why?

I think we need to take a step back from how MSM reporters see Kos, the blogosphere, and us as individual bloggers (which, in the last case, they don't). I'm also disturbed, Drifty, about your comparison to Studio 54. If the blogosphere is 2006's answer to the hottest discotheque in New York, what does that make me, Donna Summer?

Love to love ya, bay-bee.

The blogosphere is very new, still, and there is always a danger that we will go the way of the Bee Gees, or a better analogy, the CB radio. And it's always changing, sometimes not for the better. I would never have predicted, when I started blogging in November of 2004, that weeks would go by without a post on Fafblog.

Even today, a steel cage match between Markos and Fafnir? Huh. My money's on the pie blogger.

Isn't it interesting that the blogosphere is dividing into groups similar to those found in the non-virtual political world?

There are activists and fundraisers, the so-called netroots, where Markos thrives.

There are journalists and pundits. Some beginners simply link to a wapo article, make a snarky comment about Bush, and they're done. You can tell when a "linker" becomes a "blogger" when they actually start writing. It's a beautiful thing to behold.

There are comedians. Boy, are there comedians. Some of them are so funny they hurt my stomach muscles, and I have to beg them to stop.

There are also some pundit comedians and I would argue this is where the blogosphere really shines.

It seems to me that Markos is doing two things in the blogosphere. First, he is attempting to rally a widespread group of left of center, young activists to participate in the political process. Those who say Yearly Kos smacked of a Democratic fundraising picnic, that we bloggers were being treated by the Dems just like the AFL-CIO, just a place to pick up the campaign check, are I think making a really good and scary point. As the blogosphere as represented by Kos becomes just another interest group, more and more young activists will become disillusioned again and drop out. The outsider status is part of the appeal. "Crashing the Gate" sounds really hip, but what happens once you're inside? You're an insider, that's what. Bush does not get away with "what's going on in Washington" as if he has nothing to do with that. We won't get away with that either, particularly if we are seen to be any kind of kingmaker within the Democratic Party.

Secondly, Markos is attempting to speak for the blogosphere, in order to sell his book and pimp his site. I would do EXACTLY the same thing in his position. I'm not too worried about that, though. The blogosphere is too widespread and disorganized to be herded by any pol, and yup, that's exactly what Markos is. Imagine the din to hear on network news that so-and-so is the chosen candidate of the blogosphere. The screams of "NOT FOR ME" would be louder than any "me too" given over to Maureen Dowd, ever.

Daily Kos, the website, is an amazing thing to behold. I'm with Drifty on this, Markos is not the king of Daily Kos, but he is its center, and hell, he and his team did all the work to get it going. He deserves his success. I guess I see Daily Kos posters as either too time-crunched to have their own blog or else pimping their own blog, as I do myself there from time to time. As we individual bloggers continue to shine with creativity, images, (something a lot of Kossacks don't bother with), open-mindedness, and maturity panties, the blogosphere will sort itself out.

The MSM can get the real story of the blogosphere or not. We will endure. Good writing gets readers, whether on Kos or some other blog. If Kossacks write well, Daily Kos will thrive. Those of us blogging on our own have that same exact standard. I'm not worried about a level playing field with Markos. I'm here, and someone can link to me just as easily as they link to a Kos diary.

But some of us are not interested in crashing the gate. Some of the best bloggers are not political activists, but are simply journalists, pundits, writers on the internet. To me, "blogger" is shorthand for "I write. I'm a writer. I write about politics, primarily, and I self-publish on the internet." I give the longhand version whenever someone will listen.

I will not endorse a Presidential candidate on this blog until he/she wins the Democratic nomination, and maybe not even then.

For the MSM, I fear, "blogger" is coming to mean "foul-mouthed Bush hating frat-boy who Googles for titties with one window and types the f-bomb emails to Fox News pundits on the other." Some bloggers do little to contradict this definition. The blogosphere, I fear, gives far too much attention to the television wingnuts. Look how many times Chris Matthews anticipates that the bloggers will be screaming at him. I would argue that without the blogosphere, jerks like Glenn Beck wouldn't have a career.

I'm not too worried about what the MSM thinks at this point. Remember, blogging is a new phenomenon, and it's only a 24 hour news cycle. Checking my watch, we're probably due for a new blogosphere kingpin right about now. (Not. Me.) The race will go to those who keep blogging and keep writing well. And it can go to both Kossacks and those outside the Daily Kos gates. (Markos. There is a Daily Kos gate. Did you ever imagine?)

Friday, July 7

Don't Sugarcoat It Award for July 7

broccoli panties

Usually, the Don't Sugarcoat It Award is reserved for anti-Bush rants. But Rob Helpy-Chalk's lovely post about a day in the life with two young children, "Jesus Fucking Christ, How Goddamn Hard Can It Be to Eat a Piece of Fucking Broccoli?!" struck a chord with Blue Gal and I'm sure, parents of toddlers everywhere.

We still have two more Don't Sugarcoat It Follies entries coming, so I'm told, and they'll be posted when they arrive in my inbox. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 6

New Rules (with apologies to Bill Maher)

I didn't help him write it, but I could have.
Mr. Maher? Call me.

[Greetings to the cool kids coming over from Crooks and Liars.

You know where your panties are. xoxo]

New Rule #1:

You are not allowed to put an "end the genocide in Darfur" bumper sticker on your late-model hybrid in order to "raise consciousness in the Bay Area." The consciousness of the Bay Area was raised up over the Santa Ana mountains in 1978. Those still lucky (?) enough to be alive in Darfur are interested in some peacekeeping troops, not a bunch of old long hairs who, admit it, are marching against genocide so they can meet some hippie pussy.

New Rule #2:

Do not get all huffy about Mother Theresa. Ever. I don't care if she supported the reactionary policies of the Pope or was a shill for the pro-life movement. She was an 80 something Catholic nun, you kneejerk fuckwads. She glorified suffering? Maybe that's because her God was nailed to a stick and left to die of asphyxiation. Unless you cleaned dysentery toilets in Calcutta and no one noticed you until you won the Nobel Peace Prize, shut the fuck up. And no, I don't give a shit if she only flew first class after that. If you want to attack the entire Catholic Church, or all the evils so-called Christians have unleashed in the Common Era, let me know when your boat sails and I'll be on it. But seriously, step away from the nun. By the way, if she's right and we're wrong, right now she's probably looking down at you from heaven and flipping you the bird, and mooning Ken Lay as he's turned away at the gate.

New Rule #3:

If you oppose a new building in your town, do not write to the city council, as someone in Port Townsend, Washington did, and say that the building should not be built because it is not in keeping with the teachings of feng shui. And if you publish the newspaper in that town, don't republish that comment on page 1. It makes opposition to development look like our brains are in our Birkenstocks. And the developers and the city council have a really good laugh and block your view of the mountain with their condo anyway.

New Rule #4:

If you found the love of your life and got married, I'm happy for you. If you and your groom are both environmentalists, I'm proud of you. If you had an organic wedding cake, good for you. All I'm saying is, if the man you married really used The Da Vinci Code as an inspiration for his marriage proposal, then you are in for a world of pain.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 5

Ooh I feel so much better

Thanks to the New York Times. Didja see Bill Keller's belated Valentine to the Bush Administration?


Adam Liptak's Week in Review article this past Sunday made the whole SCOTUS decision of last week seem like much more of an effective smackdown. I also talked with Mr. Blue Gal, a fine legal mind in his own right, and he pointed out this:

The point in requiring a court martial trial for the Guantanamo prisoners, is that appeals will have to be heard by the federal courts, up to the Supremes. That's how court martials are appealed now. And if Bushco goes to Congress and asks for some different court structure, they will have to ante up about where the appeals will go. Congress, even bending over to take it up the butt from Bush, is unlikely to have the creativity to come up with an entirely different appeals structure. The fascist legal eagles behind this were hoping no one would notice this whole appeals thing, and that they could let the prisoners rot, convict 'em whenever, and then let 'em rot some more. SCOTUS said, "not on our watch, and especially not on our turf." Mr. Blue Gal says that often times what's really going on in SCOTUS decisions is the court is simply reinforcing itself as that third branch of government. Not that between the jerks in Congress and the White House it's hard to see that branch as being number three sometimes.

Mr. Blue Gal says he is actually not surprised by this decision, because it defends the institutional integrity of the federal courts.

NYFT, quoting Bush's Guantanamo architect John C. Woo, said pretty much the same thing:

The court has just declared that it's going to be very intrusive in the war on terror. They're saying, 'We're going to treat this more like the way we supervise the criminal justice system.'

Well, gee. Welcome to the war, SCOTUS. Keep your eyes on that Constitution thingy, too.

One other thing that made me feel better is yesterday's oped by Kristof (who, I think, has a baby, but my aging ovaries are available anyway, Nick.)

...the one thing worse than a press that is 'out of control' is one that is under control. Anybody who has lived in a Communist country knows that. Just consider what would happen if the news media as a whole were as docile to the administration as Fox News or The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Woo hoo! Well, looks like Blue Gal will be usin' the image below plenty in the next few...


Tuesday, July 4

Happy Independence Day...


My friend Chap posted this as a comment over at HuffPo and said I could republish it here, for which I'm grateful. - BG

I have a few questions for Orrin Hatch and those other morons concerning their bill "protecting" our flag:

If I have a flag made of metal and it is thoroughly indestructible, can
I squirt gas on it and burn it, or does the flag have to be destroyed?

What if I burn a 48 star flag--are we only outlawing the official one?
Could I add a star and burn it so that it is a flag that has never been
a US flag? Or would the addition of the star be a desecration?

I always heard that if a flag touches the ground you were supposed to
burn it--out of respect. Can I respectfully burn a flag?

What if I were to get footage of a flag being burned and projected it
onto a building? In other words, do I have to be the destroyer or is the
disrespect enough?

Can I throw away an old flag? How can I be sure that it won't be
incinerated? For that matter--is it worse to let it rot in a landfill?
It could get coffee grounds all over it.

If I use a flag as a diaper, would that be a problem? flag diaper And if so, what if I made a fourth of July flag cake, slice it, eat it

and shit it with all my friends? It can't hold feces but it can become feces?

Can I still burn a copy of the Constitution? Could I burn just the First
Amendment? Or are Gonzales and Scalia handling that for me?


Monday, July 3

Don't Sugarcoat It Follies - Jurassic Pork

If there ever were a Don't Sugarcoat It Hall of Fame, certainly it would include Jurassic Pork. Formerly of Yep, Another Goddammed Blog, and now of Welcome to Pottersville, he and his writing are well-known to most of you. His Assclowns of the Week is one of the best written (and most thoroughly researched) series on the blogosphere. Jurassic won the Don't Sugarcoat It Award back on October 24 of last year, and had Don't Sugarcoat It mentions on November 9 and December 19. His post is typical of the quality of his intelligent yet biting prose. Enjoy.

Malkin, Hinderocket, Get Tinfoil Panties in Twist... a time when a tinfoil hat just ain't enough.

I'll be honest with you, boys and girls. As fun as it is to take apart wingnuts like Malkin, Coulter, John Assrocket and others, sometimes I tire of wasting my time and considerable energies and talents on glorified vegetables who, in a perfect world, would be hounded out of polite, rational society to push shopping carts full of soda and beer cans, doll heads, twenty year-old newspapers and other incongruous bits of detritus through the streets of Waltham, Massachusetts.

Alas, we don't live in a perfect world and instead these potential bag ladies and bottle redemption center fixtures make lucrative careers by not muttering non-sequiturs but shouting their Tourette's-inspired conspiracy theories from the sooty, pigeon shit-dappled rooftops of Right Blogostan. And since the proles on the dingy, rain-slicked streets of Sin City look up and hang on their every spittle-flecked word, that magnifies, if not wholly creates, their relevance and importance.

In a less than perfect but still reasonable world, we on the west side of town could afford to ignore these screaming mimes as they pretend to be trapped in little boxes that don't exist and moonwalk endlessly without actually making any forward progress. Alas, we live in a wholly imperfect and unreasonable world so we left wingers pick up the gauntlet to bitchslap the grease-painted faces of the deserving lest they metastasize unchallenged to the 100,000,000 hearts and minds that are up for grabs, the hundred million non-voters who with but a shrug can set things right again.

Malkin's panties are all a-bunch again, this time over this piece in the NY Times that's purported to be, according to Anal Dildo (aka Hinderocket) "A GPS For Assassins." This time, unlike the UC Santa Cruz incident, Malkin didn't entrust the ordinary rank-and-vile flying monkeys for swarm duty. No, this time, she's enlisted the aid of senior flying monkeys such as the aforementioned John Hinderaker, NewsMax (they of "the sneaky way to make money" ads) and Patterico's Pontifications, which had this to say: "Keller must have thought the article was available only through TimesSelect!"

Glenn Greenwald was among the first to pick up the gauntlet and to commence the bitchslapping over this most ridiculous of non-issues. Here's what's going on in a wingnut shell:

In a chatty, completely and utterly apolitical, non-partisan fluff piece in the Travel section of the NY Times, Malkin, Assrocket and others had discovered a vile, sneaky, despicable plot to lead terrorists straight to Rumsfeld's and Cheney's semi-glossed front doors in Maryland. What Malkin, once again, conveniently forgets is this little kerfuffle from the end of last year in which Cheney’s residence in the Naval Observatory was blurred out from Google Earth’s satellite images, a fact memorably brought to light by Maureen Dowd.

The Naval Observatory has been around since 1830. I think we can all agree by now on where it is, terrorists included.

I'd hardly think that Cheney's new private residence can be found on and it certainly hasn't been made public knowledge. Another thing that Malkin and Co. conveniently forget is that Secret Service protection while both men are at home will be so tight as to make exterminators redundant, since a gnat couldn't get through their security.

Yet, as proof that terrorists will soon be dropping into Rummy's and Edgar's homes in Maryland, Michelle cites this article as proof of how easy it is to terrorize the Secretary of Defense. Of course, all the information, as even the "reporter" from DC Indymedia was forced to admit, was compressed into two brief paragraphs. Here's what really happened, according to Code and Common Dreams. Apparently, Michelle is so used to launching rat hordes that she's forgotten how to use a mouse and a search engine.

Another damning story that added another knot in a sensitive area in Michelle's panties that proves a pattern of pernicious, liberal behavior can be found here! "Liberal thugs" terrorized Karl Rove's family and "Uh oh, false alarm." There's nothing there but a Town Hall announcement saying that their redesign will rock your world on July 4th.

Now, let's get past the patent absurdity of Malkin and company making a mountain out of an anthill by bringing the Cheney and Rumsfeld residence into more conspicuous relief and concentrate, instead, on how she's adroitly conflating this nonexistent terrorist threat with thuggish liberals who have nothing better to do with their time than to terrorize the most powerful yet most unprotected men on earth who have never benefited from Secret Service protection. Let's also focus on the extraordinary timing of this non-issue at a time when that pernicious liberal thinker Bill Keller is under fire for his paper blowing the lid on yet another story of the administration spying on its citizens.

Why not just stick to the first issue of how Keller is weakening national security with his reporters' "scoop" of the government mining the financial data of terrorist organizations, something that they'd known about years ago?

Michelle, Hinderaker, et al: I think that any terrorists who may actually be in this country have better things to do than to unsuccessfully harm heavily protected old farts who are older than God's uncle, especially since they're smart enough to know that, in the unlikely event of success, Cheney and Rummy would only be replaced and it would only redouble the administration's flagging resolve to fight terrorism over here so we don't have to fight them... Uh, wait a minute...

Finally, I leave you with this endearing video that says it all on behalf of everyone with two neurons to rub together.

Sunday, July 2

There's visiting, and then there's visiting...


I'm blogging over at Balls and Walnuts today, with a post I would never put over here. It involves the gayest moments in television. I wrote it a couple days ago, but then yesterday I was thinking of Merv and I didn't include any of his show in the rankings. Oh, well, Ryan Seacrest is kind of a Merv for our time, anyhow.

Doug is actually going to be visiting the Blue Gals in person today so excuse me while I change the sheets, shave my legs, wash the kitchen floor, and lay out the antipasto. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, July 1

Don't Sugarcoat It Follies - Sandy Underpants

Regular Blue Gal readers might think I started this whole don't sugarcoat it follies thang just so I could have Sandy Underpants, of the wonderful group blog The Aristocrats, back on the show. And how very Merv of me. Sandy won the Don't Sugarcoat It Award on March 28 of this year and guest blogged for me again on May 19. Welcome back Sandy. Tell us what you've been up to.

sunshine and rainbows
a common thread - no planning for the bad result

had an epiphany t'other day - the absence of planning for or acknowledgement of the bad result is a common thread throughout Republican governance.

and for a while I thought, -they've just willed 'bad results' away. that's why they don't plan for them, to cement the charade of continuous progress on all fronts. briefly: --to acknowledge the possibility of bad results gives them a reality we don't want them to have.

but now I think it's not that simple, it's not that the Rs consciously avoid planning for the bad result; they just don't have time for it. they are fully employed and then some with their ceaseless planning for the good result --because their baseline gets reset with every sunrise. they're planning for a good result as compared with riiiiight now. they have embraced continuous governmental born-againism, coupled with bullet-proof self-serving blind optimism and it's very hard work.

they are the party of the future alright, just never the party of the present