Friday, July 31

A Facebook Story

I heard this story
last weekend and wanted to share, even though as a blog post it's from February. BernThis may not be your kind of blog, but I have to say as a panel speaker she's a hoot.

But her story really hit a nerve for me, when she recalled:

...a horrible experience I had in junior high, something which led me down a horrible path and from where I developed my sense of humor as it was the only "weapon" I had.

Just the other day, one of the girls who was especially cruel to me, wrote me on Facebook, asking to "be my friend." This from a person who thirty years ago, was gracious enough to show me that my head was too wide to fit into my locker and yet my initial instinct was, "of course, yeah, sure, whatever you want" Just seeing her name shook me to my core and in a nanosecond I was thirteen all over again. My breathing got shallow, I think I was even shaking a bit. Finally, after way too long the 43 year old me took the 13 year old me and said:

43 YEAR OLD ME: For the love of God, school isn't just out for Summer anymore babe. Move on!" ...and the next thing I know, I hit the "ignore" button and I swear I was giddy.

I too was bullied in junior high and high school. Life was miserable. I was a smart girl with college-educated parents. Definitely an outsider, definitely a social misfit. Without going into painful detail, going to school HURT in seventh and eighth grades.

I've pretty much accepted as "facebook friends" people from my high school class on the basis of Whatever. None of us are the same people we were at age thirteen, thank God. I know one of the reasons adults didn't come to my defense then as much as I would have liked is they saw a "this too shall pass" situation--my teachers clearly voted me "most likely to Evolve Her Way Out Of Town" early on, and my parents saw me as weird but resilient.

But one of the things I've finally learned in the past two years is how to spot a bully at seventy paces, and not let them in. And with that, I embrace that same giddiness BernThis found clicking on "ignore."

Thursday, July 30

Why Rush Limbaugh isn't toe-to-toe with live audiences

This, from 1990, subbing for Pat Sajak's talk show:

I had not seen this before. It's long, but wow.

It's a good reminder to all of us too to be wary of commenters who want to call every angry woman crazy. I know I appeared crazy to some last weekend. I wasn't crazy, I was angry.

"Crazy Eileen" is not crazy because she's an angry woman. She's crazy because her thoughts, sadly, are very divorced from reality. For those of you who haven't read about her, she's the birther "I want my country back" lady from Delaware, who, it turns out, has been banned from calling at least one conservative radio station because she claims there are aliens are coming to earth this October or some such. I wondered about her when in her town hall meeting tirade she said her Dad fought in the Pacific Theater and she didn't want the flag changed. I have a feeling based on listening to the words in her tirade, that statehood for Hawaii is actually one of the issues she is fighting against. Yeah.

I saw an "I want my country back" bumpersticker yesterday. On a Honda. And you just know she shops at WalMart.

Wednesday, July 29

The last BlogHer post...

Tengrain wrote me this great email and I asked him if I could share it:

I was really interested in your take on Blogher, I'm really glad you went and that you posted about your experience. I'm also sorry that it turned out not to be so empowering as much as a focus group.

When you and the ESC were talking about it a few months ago I went to the website to see what it was about. I did not get the sense of community about it, it struck me as being more of a trade show vibe (I've set up a few, participated in a few from both sides, so I kind of recognize trade shows when I see them). To me, the tell-tale phrase was "mommy blogger." It is not exactly that it is both sexist and condescending (though I suppose in some sense it is), but it smacked of the sort of micro-trends crap that marketing departments use to divide people up into personas that they can then create a narrative about and (allegedly) more accurately market to them. Soccer Moms comes to mind. (I have a sense of who a Mommy Blogger is, instinctively, but I wonder if there is a formal definition?)

I was frankly puzzled why you wanted to go, but I thought maybe you were being subversive, like infiltrating a Mary Kay show to set the bunnies free, like Opus the Penguin. Yes, you are a mother and a blogger, but you are not what I would think of as a "mommy blogger." But I digress.

The Tina Browns and Huffingtons of the world cannot see another perspective: it's about money. The web as a new distribution channel for advertising is extremely successful: low cost, distributed, scalable, green. In bad times, even the poor and broke still click on pages and that gives them money from their advertisers, just as it does in good times. You don't worry about union contracts, print costs, trucks, subscriptions, newsstand sales. The whole thing is simplified. And you know that if they could figure out a way to cut out the writers, they would. Oh, wait.***

Where Tina and Arianna fail is in the content realm. They know they need it to give readers compelling reasons to visit the sites and to see the ads. But they are not interested in content except as a means to an end. I think that the Daily Beast proves that point exceptionally well. What a load of crap. HuffPo is sliding into the sex sells route with pictures to titillate, inane quizzes, and so on; when it started it seemed editorially driven, but no more. The Beast has always been such a dog's dinner, just a mishmash of stuff of which something is always going to appeal so someone, but no coherent mission. Frankly, I'm amazed that it seems to be working.

The part that stands out to me in your post is the notion that mommy bloggers should band together and make demands of advertisers - yes, a self-selecting demographic should prove their existence to get an EndDust advertisement on each woman's blog, yes, that is the road to empowerment. I have a hard time believing that they actually told you this crap without bursting into laughter, and I have a hard time believing that you do not have at least one of their heads mounted on a plaque above the fireplace. I admire your control.

Anyway, as I said, I'm glad you went, and I wish it had turned out to be more of what you wanted.

I went in large part because it was a woman blogging convention in Chicago (reachable and because I have a friend there who can put me up, affordable) and it was held at a time when my children are with their dad. I applaud BlogHer for having on-site childcare available.

I won't be attending Netroots Nation because of the conflicts with childcare and scheduling and cost of travel.

It's important to remember what the fabulous Evil Slut Clique points out about BlogHer, that a:

stereotypical portrayal of both mothers and BlogHer members is offensive and sexist. Apparently there are only two categories of bloggers - mothers and 62-year-old men who write about the stock market. Apparently all Blogher attendees are women, all women are mothers, all mothers are strictly "mommybloggers", all mommy bloggers always have breastfeeding babies, and all breastfeeding mommybloggers want to bring their babies everywhere.

My friend Lisa wondered why women can't just blog on whatever we want? And she's right. Except that I spent two solid days hearing the message, and particularly and specifically in plenary session from the conference organizers, that blogging about certain mommy topics was valuable BECAUSE it attracted advertisers, which is what empowers women bloggers. That is a lie.

This statement from a BlogHer09 U of Chicago Magazine participant (last sentence) speaks volumes AND leaves me speechless:

This might not be the next sexual revolution, but I’m happy to be recognized for my purchase power, one free thumb drive at a time.


PS. Thanks to Rock and Roll Mama for her terrific post.

*** Dear Arianna Huffington -- Pay the writers, what Harlan Ellison says:

Tuesday, July 28

This Post Brought To You By Liberty Mutual Insurance

Full disclosure! Full disclosure! Liberty Mutual did not pay me to write this post, photoshop those panties, nor do I have any policy with them.

And they don't do health insurance. I checked. I would not cooperate with them if they did.

But they had a booth at BlogHer about responsibility and blogging and asked us bloggers what we thought responsible blogging meant to us.

Some women bloggers were too shy to go on camera and express their opinion. That's another post for another day, suffice it to say I could dope slap the whole lot of them.

You can see all the participants here and my video here. I'm not linking because I don't say anything particularly germane to this post, plus I'm yelling over the din of the exhibit hall, yet into the microphone-turn your speakers down, you've been warned. My comments are edited but they were very transparent about that and the edits to my own comments were fair and for time, in my opinion.

Anyhow, it always gets me when someone asks me about an issue and I have no idea what they're talking about. The nice interviewer, Brad, asked me about proposed FTC regulations of blogs. I really had a Sarah Palin deer-in-the-headlights moment, but since I wasn't running for Vice-President, I said as gracefully as I could that I didn't know enough about that issue to comment. The end.

And of course it drove me crazy not knowing so I looked it up as soon as I could, and then I understood WHY I was out of the loop.

The FTC is proposing regulating blogs that take free products from advertisers and then blog about them, particularly if it appears to be a quid pro quo arrangement. The thought is that bloggers who do that are actually engaged in advertising rather than protected free speech. Blog-ola, they're calling it at NPR, and it's creating a freak-out among some bloggers, particularly a subset of women bloggers, who would have nothing to say and no audience if they didn't do daily giveaways/reviews.

One mommy blog is promoting a "PR blackout challenge" for one week, to give busy mom bloggers a break from their giveaways to get back to what they really came to blogging of their child's new tooth. I wasn't surprised to see in their comment thread, a blogger state full-out that they did not blog about anything the week they forsook giveaways.

That's incredibly sad.

I took myself out to lunch yesterday after getting back from Chicago, and the waiter and I got into a conversation about where I'd been. He being a college student had much more of a theory-based framing to the issue, but it raised my eyebrows:

Feminism and Capitalism don't mix.

Marketing does not empower anyone but the owner of the product. That so many educated white women of a certain income with internet access and time to write (and most of them can spell and put a sentence together) don't get that is horribly sad.

And my sense is, all of this is about editing "don't tase me, bro" into "don't tax me, sis." If the blogger is soliciting products in exchange for promotional consideration, it's a BIZNESS. Another blogger at the PR blackout post said she wouldn't blog about her personal life much at her promo-giveaway blog because that would be mixing business and personal life. Wow. Just wow.

And having come out of a conference which was all about empowerment through harnessing internet marketing dollars with your blog-space, hearing the word "mom-preneur" to the point it didn't make me gag anymore, well...

No wonder I'd never heard of the FTC thing. No advertiser in their right mind would expose their product on purpose to this blog. I double-dog-dare you to send me swag, Estee Lauder:

(h/t Quaker Agitator for the NPR link.)

Monday, July 27

Blue Gal: Questions from the women's blogging conference

Updated with links. Sorry had to grab a train this morning.

Tina Brown was the headliner panel on "Traditional Media Chops meet a New Media Calling" which was billed as

how to marry traditional [media journalism] experience with new tools and incisive business savvy.[and] how new media is revolutionizing popular, for-profit media by placing online, social media front and center (and what that means for you).

Three other women were on the panel with Tina: one African American, one L word founder, and one blonde, oh wait that's two blondes on the panel. I guess they didn't know I was going to be there.

It's very important to remember that BlogHer is not just a conference, it's an advertising network for women bloggers, primarily what are called mommy bloggers. The strength in numbers model for selling advertising is well-proven, and more power to them. They're far more successful at selling ad space than the Liberal Prose network I belong to (as do Feministing, Susie Bright, and Bitch, PhD).

Also unlike Liberal Prose this BlogHer conference has WalMart as a Platinum Sponsor. Okay they're corporate whores, but they're very proud of how empowered their corporate whoredom makes them. Hey, I'm trying to be fair and balanced over here.

Anyway, Tina Brown said she "would never EVER go back to print because online media is so immediate and dynamic." And the rest of the HOUR most of the discussion was on how she handing her online advertising , and how she is excited that she can preview her templates with advertisers to get their input, and how her goal is to "wrap advertising around" the editorial content.

She responded to questions that she didn't like product placement, Starbucks on Morning Joe, though it's not really "harmful" she didn't want to do THAT, but but but....

...and she was so excited to be a Blogher and hear these amazing stories from women that just had to be shared by Daily Beast and there was no discussion of paying women to write for them, but lots of glad talk about how great it was that there are citizen journalists now. I hear that Daily Beast pays former journalists but I haven't heard whether or what they pay anyone else. Does anyone reading this know?

A colleague of mine pointed out in email:

Without meaning to upset you, Fran, I feel like this is a little bit like being shocked that the snake bit you after you helped her, because it is the nature of the snake to bite.

Tina Brown is not about blogging, or writing, for that matter. Tina Brown has always been about making money and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, preferably both. That is her nature. Have you looked at Daily Beast? It's really unimpressive, even with Barry Diller's money. But she quickly grabbed star names to blog for her, with little worry as to how well they wrote (I mean, Meghan McCain, c'mon....).

She did miserable things to the dead paper prints she worked on--both to the publications' credibility and the writing staff. I've no doubt that the most exciting thing about blogging for her is the idea of getting as much advertising clicks as she possibly could.

I don't want to project my hatred for Arianna Huff, who is notorious for not paying writers, on to Tina, but Tina Brown and the other panelists think us Mommy Bloggers (fuck you fuck you fuck you) need to form networks to show advertisers our clout. And apparently we can do this just fine without 12 million dollars of Daily Beast startup money from Barry Diller, of which there was also no mention by Tina.

And the audience seemed totally interested in tailoring content to please advertisers because "we" women have such amazing power in being the purchasing decision makers.

One of the panelists actually said the words "it's all about getting your content into the hands of advertisers." Blogging is just another way to whore product.

Contrast that with meeting four third-world women bloggers who were ghettoized into a Saturday afternoon slot and had fifteen people listening to them talk about how they are changing the world. To be fair BlogHer brought them to the conference on (sponsored!) scholarship but wasted them by not showing them off in front of the whole conference.

Their presentation made me really cry, tears running down my face, at the third world thing. If you can imagine fighting domestic violence (which is totally aided and abetted by the cops) in Nigeria, helping sex workers learn legitimate (and safer) work skills in Malawi, helping untouchable women who clean human waste with their hands in India (caste still exists despite being "illegal", and documenting the lives of indigenous (and otherwise totally invisible) people in Bolivia. And Tina Brown's blog is "important."

Each of these international bloggers is linked today in Mike's Blog Roundup at Crooks and Liars.

Yeah I'm not mad at all at Tina Brown, really, she is what she is.

I'm mad that a conference billed as designed to empower blogging women is really about Swiffer Jet. I've perused several of the mommy blogs of the Blogher network, and they are laid out professionally, have good spelling and grammar, and tell stories of suburban American women and their children, that are no less valid than stories of brutalized Malawi sex workers.

And frankly? I had a number of women at the conference come up and thank me for speaking the truth, as if it took guts or something. I'm so used to doing that I really don't feel the fear in the middle of doing the confronting. The shaking and mild depression and sighing hopelessness come later.

But I also sit there and think about a quote attributed to the Talmud:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

Note: Thanks to those bloggers who've told me about the Women's Action in Media Conference in Chicago April 1-4 next year. If I can get childcare I'm going to try to go. (Maybe Tina Brown would like to babysit for free? I promise my kids are great consumers and would give her plenty of eyeballs, since I did take that Mr. Potatohead toy in the BlogHer bling bag.)

Sunday, July 26

Sarah Palin's Last Day

So is it "Buh-Bye" or "How can we miss you if you won't go away?"

Saturday, July 25

Saturday Song

Dedicated to the women of BlogHer.

The Palin discussion was very good, most of us on the same page, that she was a disaster.

I got interrupted during my question to the panel. We were sitting there having a bit of a piefight over what is "pro-woman" versus what is "feminist." I was trying to point out that such piefights don't really contribute to the wider world of what matters.

"Yeah, but isn't that a put down against women, that we have piefights but the other side (?) doesn't have THEIR piefights?"


Yeah okay I was putting down women. Bad feminist, no Tim Gunn makeover for you!

Friday, July 24

Tweeting from BlogHer

I'm doing mostly tweets from BlogHer.

One of the nice things about this conference is that they've assigned the seminar rooms by type of blogger who might be most interested. I'm camped out in the "Leadership" room, ha.

Most of bloggers I've met here have some form of "mom/mommy/mother" in their blog title, or they're not really blogging, they're marketing a business which otherwise has no connection to blogging (ie. party planning. I've met four party planners. Today.) That said, the overall coolness factor of the people attending is higher than I expected.

A few bloggers/participants worth mentioning:

Jezebel and Lilith from Evil Slutopia: my posse at BlogHer. Warning: they are young, and that is impressive, because they are young women who have at this really young age (under 30, folks) found their totally original, authentic voice and more importantly, are not afraid to use it.

Gloria Feldt: I haven't had time to fully peruse her blog yet, but she's a reproductive health/rights blogger, and person to person she is very impressive.

: A Latina blog, and at the risk of seeming trite, a wise Latina blog. The editor of this blog is looking for Latina contributors. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass the info along....

More later...

Wednesday, July 22

Chris Matthews does NOT get to be my imaginary boyfriend.

Because seriously, my love/hate, hate thing with Chris Matthews feels like it's gone on for DECADES:

But yeah, hell, I did love him again yesterday when he turned away from the wingnut California congressman regarding the birthers and Obama's certificate of live birth canard.

If crazy Delaware lady wants her country back, she should start by not buying ugly made-in-China hair grabber clips at WalMart. And I want to know how many generations back her people came over on the boat. Betcha less than four.

None of that is important. The essential point that must be driven into the corporate media boardroom tabletops is this:

Matthews proved that going after the crazy GOP racism, fascism, and corporatism makes for good television.

A Dick Cheney trial could save the bacon of network news! It could be bigger than MJ, Chuck. Stephen Colbert is ready:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - A Perfect World
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

Why is it that the corporate masters of televised media never ever get it, that history will only judge them kindly when their news programming is on the side of real American values, like equality and the tenets of the Constitution?

Tuesday, July 21

Bl0gh3r Transformation!

Shhh. I'm going to a gender specific computer writing convention this coming weekend.

"Bloggers are invited to create their own unique looks (using your own photos) via the Virtual Makeover tool on***."

***I'm providing the link because I'm dying to see what Doctor Zaius does with this.

Whoops I can't wait.

Update: Zaius did it better than I could.

Monday, July 20

PUMA's do not drink Kool-Aid? Oh...

I had a lot of fun this weekend over at the comment thread at this post, which was linked at several blogs that don't need traffic from me, except for maybe Rumproast. (Oh smooches to ya, Duncan and Amato, but no tongue.)

I also wanted to thank everyone who made my birthday weekend such a happy occasion, with a kind comment, card, email, or more. You won't know this, but one of my birthdays, in 2002, I was afflicted with severe post-partum depression. It was the most downright awful birthday of my life. I contrast it to this year, which was one of the best birthday weekends I can remember. Thank you.

[Shout out to my blog buddy Betmo, who has opened her own Etsy shop. Good on you!]

Friday, July 17

Vibrating Mascara Wands...why, they're revolutionary! (VIDEO MASHUP)

Is this what we've come to, that we can't wiggle our own mascara wand?

And so I thought, gee, I wonder why the Republicans at the Sotomayor hearings didn't make sure she wiggles her own mascara wand, because, you know, if she doesn't, she is following in the footsteps of some pretty radical women:

Thursday, July 16

Happy Birthday to Mom (and me)

Mom's 70 today, and honestly she has never looked better.

I'm 46 and have never FELT better.

After a long haul, I'm in a genuinely happy place in my life, largely thanks to my blog buddies. Thank you for being there for me. (Picture shows my mother and I in approximately late 1966).

I'm taking myself today north to The Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival. Light blogging but probably a few knitting/fibergasms to report. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 15

Just a little don't sugarcoating, please.

I participated in a live chat at C&L with Nancy Pelosi this afternoon. The speaker has a learning curve to master on the art of typing and expressing on your feet and on the computer. The C&L commenters are fast and have lots to say, naturally. And she dropped the bomb that much of the public option will not be completely effectuve until 2013. She did a very poor job of explaining what would be implemented immediately and what would have to wait. Certain commenters, facing financial ruin and serious health problems, went batshit.

On the other hand, those commenters were only looking at the issue through the lens of their own physical and financial suffering and didn't take into account just how far we've come. That is totally forgivable; it's gotta be hard when you're not covered, and I know I pissed away my entire 403B, over 35 grand, on three years of health insurance for me and my kids. Anyone who thinks $926.00 a month for insurance (or more) is "affordable" can kiss my ass. I totally get their point, but freaking out because something we never had in this country and is a huge change might take 36 months to put in place?

And I am so fucking pissed at the tiny little agendas on our side. I saw an ad tonight about "call your congressman and make sure public option includes autism." Listen folks, I have been INTIMATELY affected by a family member or two with autism and I yelled a big FUCK YOU to my tee vee. ABA therapy now costs about ten grand a year per child. It's hugely expensive, but the autism lobby has Hollywood behind them and the biggest fundraisers of anybody, so their agenda gets a "call your congressman" ad? We're so selfish and narrowly focused on ME ME ME.

Let's all go ShamWOW: How much would YOU pay to keep a Terri Schiavo like case on life support forever for the sake of her Roman Catholic parents? Allow me to mention, the Pope is on vacation. NOW how much would you pay? Discuss amongst yourselves for the next nineteen election cycles (the length of time it took for a Supreme Court nominee to have the balls to announce that Roe v. Wade is legal precedent***) and let me know what kind of conclusion you come to.

And the feds have NEVER funded elective abortion. Making that an issue right now is totally shooting ourselves in the nose. I wouldn't be surprised if big Pharma/Insurance floated that just to gum up the works on purpose. Do we want change in HEALTH INSURANCE or not?

Don't think for a minute I've forgiven Pelosi for taking impeachment off the table, either. That's come back to bite her on the ass in more ways than one and good thing.

I see so much waste. We Americans are so spoiled. Really. There's all this talk about how industrialized nations have this and that and no talk at all about countries where a bowl of rice is a good day. Clean water? Did YOU take a SHOWER today? Fuck. Everything is relative. And I've got genuine sympathy for those who say if they have to wait three years for health care they'll be dead. But the truth is, if I die tomorrow, even at Nancy Pelosi's hand? The world will go on.

I'm not negating ANYONE'S SUFFERING. I'm also PMS and exhausted.

***That said I'm so glad Sotomayor FINALLY told those white male fucks, and the nation, that Roe v. Wade after almost forty fucking years is legal precedent. It's about time. Maybe if people start believing that we can all stop spending so much money on that argument. Hey, the pro-lifers can go to bed at night knowing their precious tax dollars (if they pay any) did not kill a baby today, except maybe in Afghanistan or Gaza, which doesn't count. And Planned Parenthood can open clinics funded by money that used to go to defending Roe and open free reproductive clinics with birth control as well as elective abortions, which don't get bombed and doctors don't get shot.

As if that's gonna happen.

/rant off

Why we [still] fight (VIDEO)

This whole Cheney as criminal thing will not go away. I made this video for any blogger who wants to use it.

I know a lot of us are disappointed in Obama, but at least we're working to push him to move further in the direction he's already pointed. That's something.

This is the last day of my quarterly fundraiser.

I only ask for five bucks per donor. (The button above only allows five dollar contributions. If you want to customize your contribution use the button on the sidebar). I'm deeply grateful to all of you who donated during these tough financial times, and a note to everyone: I love my readers.

Tuesday, July 14

With God on our side?

Sandy Underpants at The Aristocrats points to this article by a Liberty University professor, Stuart Schwartz, that has to be read (with the comments too) to be believed.

Sarah Palin has God on her side.

Why? Because she's a good mom, a good Christian, or a good conservative?

Because seriously, here I am, left-wing blog momma, and I, too, have a sense, a certainty that God is alive and well and a part of all that we do in this world. I've been attacked for my faith, and I don't worry about it.

I go to church. I pray. I take my three children to Sunday School. I've never had an abortion and at this stage of my life I can safely say I never will, ahem.

Unlike Sarah Palin and her daughter, I was never pregnant out of wedlock. I don't expect extra points for that, nor do I take any points away from either of those fellow Christian women for their pregnancies. Pregnancy happens. It doesn't happen nearly as often if you take precautions against it, but for the oldest boys of those two, nevermind that they're named Trapp and Tripp, it's just as well.

I doubt that Mister Schwartz would stand up for me on God grounds, though, because I am decidedly pro-choice. I don't like abortions, I'd much rather women and men take responsibility for their reproduction AND their orgasms (okay, I'm off of Stuart Schartz's list forever now) but I'm not about to let the staff of Liberty University decide for all of us what rights women have, reproductive or not.

And that casts me out of the garden. Which means that for Schwartz, the God he is worshipping has nothing to do with my "relationship with God" and everything to do with my political positions. Worshipping politics is idolatry.* I won't bother letting Schwartz and his commenters know what God thinks of idolaters. They can look it up.

*That's why Chris Matthews is going to Hell.

On topic, this wonderful Red State Update:

Day two of my three day fundraiser. I only ask for five bucks per donor. (The button below only allows five dollar contributions. If you want to customize your contribution use the button on the sidebar). And thanks.

Monday, July 13

Attacking the blogs, standing up for the bloggers. A review.

Wow, what a long strange ride it's been so far! I had fun this weekend reviewing the times I felt it necessary to address mainstream media pundits directly on the subject of being a blogger, and in one case (at least) just responding to a reporter's very stupid slanted question re reproductive rights. I hope you enjoy the stroll down memory lane...

Today is the first day of this blog's quarterly three day fundraiser. I only ask for five bucks per donor, for lots of reasons: times are tough, blog reading is optional, and I don't think people who are terrific enough to give money to a blogger should be asked for more than five dollars every three months. I ask for contributions four times a year not because it pays for anything more than toner and coffee for a week or so, but because it gives the writer in me and the reader in you a sense of mutual appreciation and exchange for value. If you have it to give, and appreciate what I do, kick five bucks in the hat. And thanks much for being here at my corner of the internet.

(The button below only allows five dollar contributions. If you want to customize your contribution use the button on the sidebar). And thanks.

Saturday, July 11

Friday, July 10

Why I oughtta....


Senator Ensign, someone's here to see your career....

What is it with these guys? Are they holding out a few extra weeks so they can earn their pension or something?

Burris won't get one, you have to serve five years in Congress, minimum.

After watching Rachel Maddow last night*, I blame brainwashing. More on this book, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power" here. It really explains the entire right wing Christianist power structure, especially Bush and his feeling of being God's chosen, in the creepiest way possible.

PS if Rachel Maddow ever endorses anything I do the way she did this book, the grim reaper can just come take me away to Jeebus, Hallelujah, The End.

*For those of you following me on Twitter and thus familiar with my favorite euphemism for sexytime, in this instance I was actually watching Rachel Maddow, not hiking the old Appalachian Trail or crossing the ultimate line. Just sayin'...

Thursday, July 9

Fear of Blogher? Not exactly....

I'll Be Liveblogging

BlogHer is in two weeks or so.

It's not that I'm nervous about going, not in the least. I'm meeting up with the Evil Slut Clique, after all, and who could wait for that kind of excitement?

The thing is, this is a conference for women bloggers. And while woman and blogger (and mother and knitter and homeowner and Democrat etc. etc.) are all words that describe me...

I have never allowed "woman blogger" to define me. And I don't expect anyone at Blogher wants to do that, least of all the organizers, who seem cool and very well organized and eager to make newbies like myself feel welcome and free to express whatever they feel about the conference and get the most out of it. There are technical forums, at least one truly political forum (on Sarah Palin, which should be a riot) and enough to keep me thinking and writing for the rest of the summer, at least.

What makes me a little nervous is, this:

There are at least fifty-five corporate sponsors at this convention. At the lower level of the Sheraton Chicago, I can test drive a Chevy. Pepsi, McDonalds, Hanes, Microsoft, all have booths. Estee Lauder wants to give me free wrinkle cream. Also, um, Tim Gunn wants to know what I'm wearing to the conference. So he can wash it in Tide (tm)? But Tim! The "My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All The Boys to the Yard" baseball shirt is already clean!

So is my "Keep your panties on, I'm blogging" shirt. And the evil sluts will have sumpin for me to wear too.

Conferences like this have to be paid for. Should the glee with which this particular conference has turned "blogging plus women" into outreach to a million woman free-stuff stuff! STUFF! marketing venue for us female internet entrepreneurs have me worried? I mean, marketers have always been such supporters of women's independence:

I'm not trying to be a troublemaker, but seriously, if someone at the WalMart booth decides to offer me free wrinkle cream, I might the encounter for my blog.

Wednesday, July 8

Great tip for Blogspot bloggers...

After I mention this...

An angry commenter at the big blog, deeply offended that I would insinuate anything about the sanity of one Christopher Hitchens, accused me of being... "admitted theist."

So true. Now I'm waiting for someone to come after me for being a "thespian," which I'm not, unless you count that one time in senior high.

If you use Blogspot to blog, post images to your blog, and you log in with your Google account, I discovered something cool this past weekend that might help you. Try this:

1. Log in to your blog.

2. Go to the Google main webpage. Make sure you are logged into google as your blogger name (the gmail address will appear at the top right)

3. At the top left, click 'more', 'photos'.

4. You should see, or be able to login/create, a Picasa web album showing every image you've posted to your blog. For those of you who photoshop regularly, this can be a great archival tool. Picasa lumps the images into folders of 500 each.

I hope you find that as helpful as I did. OMG the panties of my past....

Tuesday, July 7

The Occupation and Resistance of Sarah Palin

Cynthia Tucker with a little George Will on the side, says what needs to be said regarding Sarah Palin and the public stage. But there's an important subtext in this discussion that is being overlooked.

They are talking about Sarah Palin as a politician. Because that is what she is.

Of course she and a lot of other politicians resist that label, no more politics as usual, those politicians in Washington, you betcha, they are the problem. And yet, Sarah Palin's occupation, at least through the next three weeks or so, is politician. It's a dirty word, akin to used car salesman and prostitute, but the nation perishes that thinks themselves above electing politicians to public office.

You see that in the swearing in today of Al Franken, who also swears he's not going to be funny anymore. I'd like to start an ActBlue fund where we the citizens pay Al Franken five bucks for every joke he gets off on the Senate floor, and twenty bucks for every joke during the Sotomayor hearings. C'mon Al.

But no. He's got a new job. His occupation is now US Senator, and Harry Reid doesn't think fart jokes are funny.

I just listened to Franken take the oath of office, and I suspect Sarah Palin held a Bible and said "faithfully execute" just as he did. Ironic that the comedian seems to take it, um, seriously.

There are good politicians and bad and certainly these days the whole lot of them have a verifiable "corporate soft money whore" label attached to them. It's becoming more and more undeniable every day that Congress represents moneyed interests more than it does their constituents, all of Franken's talk about serving Minnesotans aside. It's going to get a whole lot worse before public financing and real reform happen. I doubt I'll see such in my lifetime, frankly.

But you work with the political system you've got, and it's made up of politicians. The job description of politician, Sarah Palin has taught us by her lack of example, includes basic knowledge of law and history and geography and English diction. It's not sexism to require those qualities in a woman politician, or racism to require them of a Black politician, or elitism to require them of a working-class politician. Those are occupational requirements, just as understanding allergies and blood type is required of a doctor, regardless of gender, race, or background.

But she resists. Palin rails against politicians and "business as usual in Washington" and her followers eat it up.

The thing is? So do we on the Left.


Leftists are waking up to the fact that our President is also a politician. Obama seems committed to maintaining his own power in Washington, at the expense of trailblazing the path towards single payer gay military peace-time weddings for all. I'm not denigrating the goals of the Left by putting it that way. Whether we like it or not, Obama sees the path to reaching any policy goal requires that he maintain political power. The power comes first, then the victory. We Lefties hate that, because we always put being on the right side of an issue higher than getting anywhere toward our political goals.

A fellow blogger had a fit last night via email, because that blogger heard a rumor that possibly abortions would not be covered under the Public Option. I. Just. Winced. All. The. Way. To. Bed. We don't HAVE a public option yet. It's not a sure thing. We have to wait for the insurance companies to fail before single payer is maybe possibly back on the table, but let's pour a heaping cup of the most divisive issue of the past fifty years into the pot right now, because it's so very critical.

Hey Lefty Bloggers, let's stroll over to the Rose Garden, interrupt this conversation below, and ask these two people if they think compromise is for sissies:

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch as President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (not pictured) speak at a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, June 16, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Hillary Clinton understood far better than some of her supporters just how tough her opposition would be. The Clintonites still fighting the primary battles insult her and her chosen career with every blog post.

Those waking up from Obama worship need transition time to find their sea-legs with this President. He's a politician. It surprises me not at all that Obama is not rolling back Presidential executive power. Why would he? Unless Bush or at least Alberto Gonzales goes to jail, unless some miracle happens and the public begins to realize that The United States of America is governed by this:

rather than a bunch of politicians....

We may hear pretty speeches on national holidays and campaign trails along those lines, but face it, no politician is ever going to vote for that. That's not in their job description.

Do Putins Dream of Elected Sheep?

Actually, his dreams are a bit weirder than that. I posted the big picture at The Aristocrats.

Monday, July 6

Women Bloggers for Sarah Palin Ad - FAIL (video mashup)

When I first saw the actual "I am Sarah Palin" ad I kept saying to myself, "Gosh, I wish they had invited me also too."

I realized this past weekend that not only could technology take me there, but that the shelf life on this project was very short.

Salon tonight.

Sunday, July 5

Early Draft

Sarah Palin has done nothing this week to move up, down, or off of this chart.

Saturday, July 4

Saturday Song (redux)

The album version of this song is on the post below. It's a lovely tune and a postcard to Sarah Palin, also too.

UPDATE: So I hit publish to this here post and what happens? Do you think she's going away? Gah!

Friday, July 3


THAT was an unusual day.

Wolfrum (genius): GodWink’s Law: As other stories capture the public interest, the probability of Sarah Palin thrusting herself into the news approaches 1.

If she had come forward to say her special needs child had grown into a toddler, and she was going to spend the next four years doing whatever she could including sacrificing her own promising career, to help him develop verbal language and age-appropriate social skills...

...If she had come forward to say that the toll of publicity was damaging her marriage and her relationship with her family, and she was sacrificing her personal ambition for the sake of her family...

...If she had come forward and said that her Presidential ambitions were interfering with her duties (they never do that) and she was sacrificing THIS job for a better one, and moving to, oh, Iowa.

...but I didn't hear anything about sacrificing, did you?

I heard self-congratulation, followed by a total lack of logic, infused with nervous embarrassment. The timing? After lunch on Friday, July 3? Positively Nixonian.

Maybe she just gave up. I've said it before, there's a bright future for her on the mega-church lecture circuit, and FOX will give her her own show tonight if she wants that, also too.

She'll land on her feet red high heels, you betcha.

Thursday, July 2

Talking Point for the Public Option

This debate over healthcare makes my brain hurt.

Here's the deal: anytime anyone brings up an argument against the public option, we should treat that argument as a direct attack on Medicare.

By 2050, 21% of the American public will have a "public option" in the form of this over-65 health care coverage. People who argue against a public option need to defend their position based on the public option so many Americans already have, and are violently opposed to losing.

By the way, at least half of the babies born in West Virginia, for instance, are born while on Medicaid, another "public option." The insurance/pharma concerns are sponsoring plain folks ads arguing for "affordable coverage for every American" without a public option. While I sit here and laugh, please-- I'd like to know what Blue Cross, the other big insurers, and Congress think a West Virginian single pregnant woman can "afford." Blue Cross thought I could afford over $900 a month for me and three kids. And three insurance companies rejected me for pre-existing conditions when I attempted to enter the "competitive" market and reduce my costs.

And shut the fuck up about how we'll pay for it. Costs will be reduced dramatically if we ban pharmaceutical advertising and reform executive compensation. Doctors and insurance company executives, bankers and investment analysts, can make 25 times what entry-level employees do. And CEOS can make 50 times what entry level employees do. NOT 821 TIMES.

In 2005, an average Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was paid 821 times as much as a minimum wage earner, who earns just $5.15 per hour. An average CEO earns more before lunchtime on the very first day of work in the year than a minimum wage worker earns all year.

Socialism? Populism? It's like the unregulated capitalism of the nineteenth century. It's like the unregulated capitalism of the 1920's. Once again, over and over, the ownership class is asking for a backlash from the average working person.

The public option in health care is just the beginning, and the corporate health care lobby knows it. They've milked the public by providing at highest possible cost and lowest possible payout, a product most people feel they MUST have. They have priced themselves out of the market unless they can use political corruption to buy Congress and the White House. My brain hurts.

PS. On topic, I've got a very special t-shirt to wear to Joe Lieberman's next "public" appearance:

Happy Birthday July Birthday Bloggers.

Good God, there's a lot of us.

July 16th is the birthday of both Blue Gal and her sainted mother. And for some possibly astrological reason, (are Cancers especially creative or is it our strong parenting instinct which keeps us feeding these babies?) lots and lots of bloggers celebrate birthdays this month.

My evil twin, AL of Threading Water.

Hahn at Home of Blue Ribbon Bloggers

Stephen of Stephen Views the News

Pam of Pam's House Blend

Chet of The Vanity Press

Happy Monkey
(Panties for Peace) mais bien sur...

Quaker Dave

Alicia Morgan of Last Left Turn before Hooterville

RevPhat of Unruly Mob/Les Enrages.

Qwerty of Qwerty's Qoncepts.

Uncommon Sense of the blog by the same name.

TODAY is the seventh birthday of my lovely, lovely middle child. So pretty and so smart and such an artist and such a blessing. I love you, sweetheart. Here she is a couple years ago, showing we Cancerian women are all that. I vote her my child most likely to knit AND blog, which should tell you something:

If you know of any other blogger July birthdays, let us know in comments. And happy birthday.

Wednesday, July 1

Memo to Balloon Juice

Juan! John*! Please! I’m stirrin’ the sauce over here!

As the reigning panties queen of Left Blogsylvania, must say I approve of your post. Just don’t make a habit out of posting disembodied panties, or I’ll hafta sue.

xoxo BG

About a gobzillion of my fans emailed me on this. Thanks you guys I GOT IT.

Dick Whisperer Panties?
Honestly. Dana Milbank is EPA tested as a permanent woodkill, isn't he?

*see comments

Fool Running

She says she can beat Obama in a marathon?

PS Oh you betcha, there's at least two years' worth of photoshoppin' goodness in that Palin gallery at Runner's World. Archive them all now, Boys.

I've seen her naked, TWICE!

This blog usually reserves music for Saturdays, but wow, I haven't laughed so much at a song since the B-52's heyday. Thanks to The General for the song, and Connecticut Man for finding the embeddable version, both via Twitter. xo