The Next Feminist Platform Revisited

Happy moms, happy babies…. Some friends on facebook commented on one of my earliest posts on this blog which dealt with orgasmic childbirth. Last week, ABC’s 20/20 finally ran their promised segment on it with a positive spin I’m happy to say.

If you have any questions on waterbirthing etc, see Judith’s website. Her photos are also featured on the orgasmic birth site.

On Reality-Based Fantasies

Basement sunflowers

I had lunch in the restaurant above this basement karaoke bar but it was pretty unremarkable. Empty restaurants are even more creepy when the staff wanders around doing nothing looking sad. Maybe I’ll go back for karaoke and do my Jim Morrison/Ian Curtis.

My pal Foot Foot was telling me about a reality TV show she was watching based around funny animal tricks. In this one, a dog was trying to steal a ball from an elephant. Very exciting. The other day, I saw an ad for a show called “Ice Road Truckers.” There are lots of reality shows but of course, the irony is that “reality show” is an oxymoron. It’s all stagecraft innit in the same way a baseball or football game is stagecraft. Somebody has really funny ideas of what a reality show really is because “Deal or No Deal” is listed on the wiki. That’s a game show, but we get the point.

The Republican candidates have turned politics into a reality show which is [not] funny because I’m pretty sure the left coined the “reality-based” meme. Oxymoron city. I don’t wanna talk about it in this reality anymore. How ’bout that Hadron Collider? I want some of that glue that holds the universe together. That’s some real shit right there.

Bartering with Satan’s Lattes

The Longshortsmen of South Street Seaport

The Bush administration has learned a creative accounting trick or two from The Smartest Guys in the Room™ [Enron]. Like Enron’s PR douchebags, we’ve got waterboys like Ben Stein and Phil Gramm telling us everything is fine. Recall that some of Enron’s shenanigans ultimately led to California’s rolling blackouts of 2001. Extrapolate as you will.

Via ThinkProgress and (in a rare fit of actual journalism) ABC:

ABC: Without ‘creative White House accounting,’ Bush’s deficit is actually $600 billion.»

Yesterday, the White House “increased its estimate for next year’s deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office.” But, on ABC News’s Good Morning America today, Claire Shipman reported that the deficit is actually much higher because “creative White House accounting” didn’t include the war, the unemployment costs, Medicare fees, or the housing bill in its calculations. If those numbers are included, it brings “the grand total to about $600 billion.” […]

To illustrate how big the deficit is, Shipman explained: “If every American were to pitch in 2,000 dollars, we could pay off this year’s deficit. Or if we handed over each of us 500 gallons gasoline. Or, in terms we can all really understand, if every American gave up 666 lattes for a year.”

666 lattes. A Hawaiian vacation with hotel for a week for every American! The contents of every 99¢ store across the land inside our homes! The mind reels and reels.

Nasty dirty embarrassing campaign tactics aside, If I Ran the Zoo invokes Cheney on why the aging McSame must be kept away from the Whitehouse:

Cheney is the epitome of the politician without a constituency, the indifferent technocrat and autocrat who owes his allegiance not to the people but to himself. Cheney went into the VP slot with the stated understanding that he would never run for President or compete with Bush in any way by appealing to the people or to the party. What did we get for it? An activist VP who never cared about either the fate of his party or the country after his stint in the White House is finished. He’s got no political future, and so his actions have been unconstrained by calculations of long term effects, popularity, legality, or morality. The lesson I take away from Cheney’s terms in office is–never elect a dead man walking. He’s got nothing to lose. McCain is similarly situated. This is the last stop, for him. What does he care about your kids education? the environment? America’s laws? the popularity of his political programs. None of these will affect him in a few years.

Now recall that Cheney pretty much set up the current administration’s energy policy in 2001. Now of course, McSame is in the pocket of the head-in-the-sand oil industry. Dead Men Walking Faster.

Throwing a Party? Fascist!

Fascists gather at Taxi Beach
Fascists gather at Taxi Beach

Pandagon and Digby confront the growing meme that Obama and his fans represent a rising onslaught of American fascism.

We have to recognize this and understand it. There is a very concerted and completely ahistorical effort to make “fascism” synonymous with “popularity.” As Jesse Taylor notes:

On the one hand, it’s an awful abuse of the concept of fascism, disrespecting the millions upon millions of people whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed because of the dream of nationalist identity and corporate power uber alles. On the other hand, it is remarkably entertaining to see them try to figure out how Barack Obama’s favorite ice cream flavor plays right into the hands of the fascist dream.

By this dumbing down of the word fascism, any concert, movie, speech, nice meal at a restaurant, disco dancing that a large group of people might pay money for becomes American fascism flexing its mighty fascist muscle. Give me a break.

Anchors Aweigh On That Magazine Cover

Peking ship, South Street Seaport
Somehow the Peking appears to be sinking

After hmm, 3 days of fallout from the New Yorker cover, Dowd today uses the opportunity to yet again call Obama an elitist for not having the required sense of humor to “get it.” Sure they could’ve reacted with a lighter touch but I’m mostly on the “what’s the big deal?” side. Yes, it’s remarkable the campaign has hired a Carbon Advisor to document and reduce the campaign’s carbon footprint but I would also call it spectacular. It’s refreshing to have the potential leader of the “free world” setting principled examples for behavior and this also includes taking the high road on a satirical attempt that ultimately failed. (For instance, cleverly incorporating the cover’s actual title, “The Politics of Fear” into the piece might have conveyed the intent better.)

Also, if you really think the Obamas are more elitist than the McCains, see this Sadly, No! post.

Turn Your TV and Your Computer Off

Bowling, Harlem Lanes
Bowling for basketball

Josh weighs in the Golly Ralphie Show. The media talking heads are becoming such an embarrassment. They have no problem either making shit up or regurgitating whatever pap the campaigns dish out. (Obama’s is not quite innocent either.) They’ll call a five-point lead in a poll a “statistical dead heat”.  Sigh.

Happy 4th of July! Do the patriotic thing and turn in any terrorists you may know to the authorities. Listen to some Louis Armstrong and throw a touchdown pass. Please don’t wave your hot dog in the face of your vegetarian sister and say “Meat is murder. Tasty murder.”

Standard Operating Procedure

Looking up at Grand Central

I used to take friends and tourists for walks up in the windows of Grand Central. Remember that?

I was kind of surprised there were only about 25 people in attendance at a 7 pm showing of Errol Morris’s new documentary, Standard Operating Procedure the other day. Walking by some of the lines for the Tribeca Film Festival where close to a hundred new documentaries are being screened might provide an answer or maybe it’s because no one really cares about intangibles like the recoverability of America’s standing in the world. As some would like to put it, what’s there to recover from [besides …]? As has been pointed out, the real horror of Abu Gharaib is what’s not pictured. How a dead body from the interrogation rooms would show up, (pictures taken, “look ma, a dead guy!”) and then how he was ghosted away the next day. No names of superiors are mentioned and CIA names are obviously on a “you don’t wanna know or we’d have to kill you” basis. Most of the soldiers interviewed were made scapegoats and part of a dog-and-pony show for anyone wanting to dig deeper. Punished mostly for taking pictures.

Clicking on mainstream reviews of movies like Rendition, The Kingdom, and Syriana, one finds a genuine bias against these pretty believable efforts to make some fictionalized sense of real events. Small wonder they flopped at the box office but seem to be doing alright in DVD incarnation with their 3-4 star ratings amongst Netflix subscribers. Typical crits include “morality is too black and white in these films,” “thin character development,” and “sheer Hollywood grandstanding.” Realism aside, the freeway car bombing scene and subsequent apartment house shoot-outs in The Kingdom are top-notch action filmmaking. These cry-me-a-river entertainment journalism clearinghouses are the same ones with news arms that rely on soundbite journalism, some even going out of their way to publish “we’re not about soundbites” stories. Thin character development, doncha think? Sheer no-spin-zone grandstanding. Stop pulling news out of your ass and report on the issues. Get out of bed with the War Pigs. [Sheer lazy MCHuge grandstanding finish.]