Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Goddess Appears In The Garden

This morning I re-read (for the umpty-umphth time) one of the favorite books of my childhood, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Here's one of my favorite scenes:

Colin was looking across the garden at something attracting his attention and his expression had become a startled one.

"Who is coming in here?" he said quickly. "Who is it?"

The door in the ivied wall had been pushed gently open and a woman had entered. She had come in with the last line of their song and she had stood still listening and looking at them. With the ivy behind her, the sunlight drifting through the trees and dappling her long blue cloak, and her nice fresh face smiling across the greenery she was rather like a softly colored illustration in one of Colin's books. She had wonderful affectionate eyes which seemed to take everything in—all of them, even Ben Weatherstaff and the "creatures" and every flower that was in bloom. Unexpectedly as she had appeared, not one of them felt that she was an intruder at all. Dickon's eyes lighted like lamps.

"It's mother—that's who it is!" he cried and went across the grass at a run.

Colin began to move toward her, too, and Mary went with him. They both felt their pulses beat faster.

"It's mother!" Dickon said again when they met halfway. "I knowed tha' wanted to see her an' I told her where th' door was hid."

Colin held out his hand with a sort of flushed royal shyness but his eyes quite devoured her face.

"Even when I was ill I wanted to see you," he said, "you and Dickon and the secret garden. I'd never wanted to see any one or anything before."

The sight of his uplifted face brought about a sudden change in her own. She flushed and the corners of her mouth shook and a mist seemed to sweep over her eyes.

"Eh! dear lad!" she broke out tremulously. "Eh! dear lad!" as if she had not known she were going to say it. She did not say, "Mester Colin," but just "dear lad" quite suddenly. She might have said it to Dickon in the same way if she had seen something in his face which touched her. Colin liked it.

"Are you surprised because I am so well?" he asked. She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled the mist out of her eyes. "Aye, that I am!" she said; "but tha'rt so like thy mother tha' made my heart jump."

"Do you think," said Colin a little awkwardly, "that will make my father like me?"

"Aye, for sure, dear lad," she answered and she gave his shoulder a soft quick pat. "He mun come home—he mun come home."

. . .

It was because she seemed such a wonderful woman in her nice moorland cottage way that at last she was told about the Magic.

"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin after he had explained about Indian fakirs. "I do hope you do."

"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee a well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million—worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it—an' call it what tha' likes. Tha' wert singin' to it when I come into th' garden."

"I felt so joyful," said Colin, opening his beautiful strange eyes at her. "Suddenly I felt how different I was—how strong my arms and legs were, you know—and how I could dig and stand—and I jumped up and wanted to shout out something to anything that would listen."

"Th' Magic listened when tha' sung th' Doxology. It would ha' listened to anything tha'd sung. It was th' joy that mattered. Eh! lad, lad—what's names to th' Joy Maker," and she gave his shoulders a quick soft pat again.

She had packed a basket which held a regular feast this morning, and when the hungry hour came and Dickon brought it out from its hiding place, she sat down with them under their tree and watched them devour their food, laughing and quite gloating over their appetites. She was full of fun and made them laugh at all sorts of odd things. She told them stories in broad Yorkshire and taught them new words. She laughed as if she could not help it when they told her of the increasing difficulty there was in pretending that Colin was still a fretful invalid.

"You see we can't help laughing nearly all the time when we are together," explained Colin. "And it doesn't sound ill at all. We try to choke it back but it will burst out and that sounds worse than ever."

. . .

One of the things they talked of was the visit they were to make to her cottage. They planned it all. They were to drive over the moor and lunch out of doors among the heather. They would see all the twelve children and Dickon's garden and would not come back until they were tired.

Susan Sowerby got up at last to return to the house and Mrs. Medlock. It was time for Colin to be wheeled back also. But before he got into his chair he stood quite close to Susan and fixed his eyes on her with a kind of bewildered adoration and he suddenly caught hold of the fold of her blue cloak and held it fast.

"You are just what I—what I wanted," he said. "I wish you were my mother—as well as Dickon's!"

All at once Susan Sowerby bent down and drew him with her warm arms close against the bosom under the blue cloak—as if he had been Dickon's brother. The quick mist swept over her eyes.

"Eh! dear lad!" she said. "Thy own mother's in this 'ere very garden, I do believe. She couldna' keep out of it."

Friday, August 29, 2008


WaPo says Greek Pagans plan to pray at the Acropolis:

A small group of pagans pledged Thursday to hold a protest prayer among the ruined Acropolis temples, more than 1,500 years after Christians stamped out worship of the ancient Greek gods.

Group spokeswoman Doretta Peppa said the worshippers would pray Sunday to Athena _ goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens _ to protect the 2,500-year-old site.

V cool.

McCain/Palin: A Bad Choice For Women

I've gotten quite a few e-mails asking what I think of John McCain's choice of Governor Palin for his VP. Here are my initial thoughts.

First, Barack Obama gave an historic speech last night. It was soaring, it was grounded, it was inspirational, it was lethal to the Bush junta, and I was feeling very honored to have lived long enough to get to hear it. And, second, no woman should vote for McCain/Palin. He and she are anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-polar bear, anti-Social Security, neo-cons. They'll give us 16 more years of Bush policies and we can't take even 16 more months.

That said, I disagree with the majority of liberal bloggers (whom I've been able to read so far) who think Palin was a dumb choice. I think she was a smart choice and one that points out that, as I've maintained all along, Biden was a dumb choice. (She was on my short list until she gave birth a few months ago to a child with Downs Syndrome, which I assumed meant that she wouldn't be interested in the job.)

Palin's young, attractive, middle class, a sympathetic figure as the new mother of a child with Downs Syndrome and the mother of an 18 year-old son about to be shipped to Iraq. She hunts and fishes and is married to her childhood sweetheart. She's going to suck up a huge amount of media attention and comparisons to Geraldine Ferraro are going to keep opening wounds in the Democratic Party and give Ferraro, who's had almost as big a problem running off her mouth as does Biden, more air time. Lots of rural, Southern, and working class voters -- the one group that has yet to really warm up to Obama -- are going to like her. I include men from those groups; the large population in the racist and sexist overlap of that Venn Diagram will pick the anti-woman pretty woman over the black man. She undoes some of the damage that being married to a millionairess with a jillion houses has done to McCain. Elections aren't won or lost based on the VP debate, but Biden's going to have a tough time debating her and, if he mistreats her or patronizes her, that could have larger ramifications. Let's hope he's learned something since the days when he treated Anita Hill like the dirt on the bottom of his shoes.

Will she attract some votes from women because she's a woman? As I said above, women should not vote for her. But consider this. If the situation were reversed and Clinton had won after a long and emotional primary battle against Obama and had then chosen Biden for her VP, indicating that she didn't see any need to give African Americans the VP slot, and then McCain had picked an African American VP, would you expect some African Americans to be tempted to vote against Clinton/Biden? I would.

Obama made this problem for himself. If he'd picked Clinton or Siebelius or McCaskill or any of a dozen other good Democratic women for VP, McCain would have picked Romney or Lieberman or some other man. So, once again, if I were advising the Obama campaign, and, Goddess knows, they never listen to me, I'd advise them to find some new and important ways to reach out to women. Endorse the ERA. Announce some early cabinet picks and make them women. Democrats always count on the "women's vote" -- they can't win without it. The difference this time is, they shouldn't continue to take it for granted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Dream

Forty-five years ago (how did that happen?) Dr. Martin Luther King came to my lovely city and gave his "I Have A Dream" Speech. Tonight, an African American man will lay out his plan for our country, having last night been nominated by acclimation (graciously, by a woman) to be the Democratic Party's nominee for president. I admit, I've been tearing up, on and off, all day.

Dr. King said:

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

I'd like to think that, tonight, a bit of that bad debt may be cancelled.

Dr. King explained his dream:

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!³

I'm not a xian, not a black man nor white man, not a Jew nor a Gentile, not a Protestant, not a Catholic. But I would be made of stone if that rhetoric and the hope behind it did not move me, every time, to tears.

I wish that Mrs. King had lived to see this evening.

May the Gods and Goddesses bless and protect Barack Obama and may he become the next president of the United States.

Picture found here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Brilliant Friend Talk. You Listen

My New Name For A Blog

What Digby Said.

I also think this campaign may have been a crucible for her in that she rediscovered her feminist roots. An awful lot of progressive women did. It wasn't so much because of a commitment or loyalty to Hillary Clinton herself but rather an unexpected and stunning realization that sexism still runs so close to the surface in our culture. Hillary didn't lose because of sexism but her campaign certainly exposed it. And it's had an effect on a lot of women. Certainly, last night, some of Michelle Obama's biggest applause lines had to do with women's equality (and it didn't just come from Hillary supporters.) Clinton's grandest achievement in this campaign may have been to raise that awareness --- and hopefully she will use her position as the most powerful woman in the US Senate to advance the cause.

I had a chance to chat a bit last night with E about how young feminists have perceived this election and the reaction some of us older feminists have had. She was taken aback by some blog commenters who essentially said, "We did our time. We're done. Now it's up to you."

And, of course, we all get fed up. I often cannot fucking believe that I'm having to debate a woman's right to choose or a woman's right to wear whatever clothing she wants to wear -- especially on purportedly liberal blogs. And yet, young feminists need us to, at the very least, be there for them, to let them know that we're behind them and not angry with them.

I was reminded, for reasons that aren't yet completely clear to me, of a poem by Adrienne Rich:

No one ever told us we had to study our lives,
make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history
music, that we should begin
with the simple exercises first
and slowly go on trying
the hard ones, practicing till strength
and accuracy became one with the daring
to leap into transcendence, take the chance
of breaking down the wild arpeggio
or faulting the full sentence of the fugue.
And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on
everything at once before we’ve even begun
to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hard movement,
the one already sounding as we are born.

At most we’re allowed a few months
of simply listening to the simple
line of a woman’s voice singing a child
against her heart. Everything else is too soon,
too sudden, the wrenching-apart, that woman’s heartbeat
heard ever after from a distance
the loss of that ground-note echoing
whenever we are happy, or in despair.

Everything else seems beyond us,
we aren’t ready for it, nothing that was said
is true for us, caught naked in the argument,
the counterpoint, trying to sightread
what our fingers can’t keep up with, learn by heart
what we can’t even read. And yet
it is this we were born to. We aren’t virtuosi
or child prdigies, there are no prodigies
in this realm, only a half-blind, stubborn
cleaving to the timbre, the tones of what we are,
even when all the texts describe it differently.

And we’re not performers, like Liszt, competing
against the world for speed and brilliance
(the 79-year-old pianist said, when I asked her
What makes a virtuoso?—Competitiveness.)
The longer I live the more I mistrust
theatricality, the false glamour cast
by performance, the more I know its poverty beside
the truths we are salvaging from
the splitting-open of our lives
The woman who sits watching, listening,
eyes moving in the darkness
is reheasing in her body, hearing-out in her blood
a score touched off in her perhaps
by some words, a few chords, from the stage,
a tale only she can tell.

But there come times—perhaps this is one of them
when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die;
we when have to pull back from the incantations,
rhythms we’ve moved to thoughtlessly,
and disenthrall ourselves, bestow
ourselves to silence, or a severer listening, cleansed
of oratory, formulas, choruses, laments, static
crowning the wires. We cut the wires,
find ourselves in free-fall, as if
our true home were the undimensional
solitudes, the rift
in the Great Nebula.
No one who survives to speak
new language, has avoided this:
the cutting-away of an old force that held her
rooted to an old ground
the pitch of utter loneliness
where she herself and all creation
seem equally dispersed, weightless, her being a cry
to which no echo comes or can ever come.

But in fact we were always like this,
rootless, dismembered: knowing it makes the difference.
Birth stripped our birthright from us,
tore us from a woman, from women, from ourselves
so early on
and the whole chorus throbbing at our ears
like midges, told us nothing, nothing
of origins, nothing we needed
to know, nothing that could re-member us.

Only: that it is unnatural,
the homesickness for a woman, for ourselves,
for that acute joy at the shadow her head and arms
cast on a wall, her heavy or slender
thighs on which we lay, flesh against flesh,
eyes steady on the face of love; smell of her milk, her sweat,
terror of her disappearance, all fused in this hunger
for the element they have called most dangerous, to be
lifted breathtaken on her breast, to rock within her—even if beaten back, stranded again, to apprehend
in a sudden brine-clear though
trembling like the tiny, orbed, endangered
egg-sac of a new world:
This is what she was to me, and this
is how I can love myself
as only a woman can love me.

Homesick for myself, for her—as, later the heatwave
breaks, the clear tones of the world
manifest: cloud, bough, wall, insect, the very soul of light,
homesick as the fluted vault of desire
articulates itself: I am the lover and the loved,
home and wanderer, she who splits
firewood and she who knocks, a strange
in the storm, two women, eye to eye
measuring each other’s spirits each others’
limitless desire,

a whole new poetry beginning here.

Vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow- colored shells
sent in cotton-wool from somewhere far away
and skeins of milkweed from the nearest meadow
original domestic silk, the finest findings
and the darkblue petal of the petunia,
and the dry darkbrown face of seaweed;
not forgotten either, the shed silver
whisker of the cat,
the spiral of paper-wasp-nest curling
beside the finch’s yellow feather.
Such a composition has nothing to do with eternity,
the striving for greatness, brilliance
only with the musing of a mind
one with her body, experienced fingers quietly pushing
dark against bright; silk against roughness,
putting the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care for the many-lived, unending
forms in which she finds herself,
becoming now the sherd of broken glass
slicing light in a corner, dangerous
to flesh, now the plentiful, soft leaf
that wrapped round the throbbing finger, soothes the wound;
and now the stone foundation, rockshelf further
forming underneath everything that grows.

Picture found here.

(1977) by Adrienne Rich

And, That, Ladies And Gentlemen, Is How You Wear An Orange Pantsuit

What class.

She got off some great lines.

No way, no how, no McCain.

Bush and McCain are going to be twins next week in the Twin Cities.

A Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock.

Green-collar jobs.

We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare. I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day.

In America there is . . . no ceiling too high.

A shout out to the women of Senaca Falls.

And -- yeah, she finally reduced me to tears -- a shout out to Harriet Tubman.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Nineteenth Amendment

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

In my tradition, we say, "Thou art Goddess."

Thank you, Hillary.

No way. No how. No McCain.

What Eric Said

by Eric Boehlert

Within the fast-forward world of campaign journalism, it's not considered cool to examine the recent past in order to provide context for today's events. (We know it's not cool because nobody does it.) Nonetheless, here's a very brief history lesson that the political press prefers to ignore.

At the Democratic National Convention in 1992, Jerry Brown, who finished a very distant second to the party's nominee, had his name placed into nomination and addressed the assembled convention. After seconding his own nomination (true story), Brown delivered a fiery speech that thrilled his unruly supporters inside Madison Square Garden. Brown's ill will toward nominee Bill Clinton was so legendary that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution considered it newsworthy that Brown's convention address "avoided a direct attack" on the nominee, while the Los Angeles Times noted Brown "did not specifically endorse presidential nominee Bill Clinton."

Indeed, for weeks leading up to the convention, Brown refused to back his party's nominee, complaining to The New York Times in June that supporting Clinton was like buying a ticket for the Titanic.

Four years earlier, the Democratic convention in Atlanta witnessed even more tumult from the second-place finisher when Jesse Jackson, furious at being passed over for the vice-presidential slot by the party's nominee, Michael Dukakis (who failed to call Jackson and tell him the VP news), threatened to withhold his delegates' support from the party's nominee. In fact, just hours before the convention began, Jackson's supporters threatened to place the candidate's name into nomination for the vice presidency, which would have created a massive floor fight between Jackson and Dukakis' pick, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.

Pre-convention tension grew so heated that the mild-mannered Dukakis was quoted as saying, "I don't care what Jesse Jackson does. I'm going to this convention and I'm going to win." During his convention keynote address, which lasted nearly an hour -- much longer than expected, Jackson did not specifically endorse Dukakis.

End of history lesson.

Now, take those historical nuggets from 1992 and 1988 and transport them to Denver this week, and try to imagine what the press reaction would be (not the political reaction, but the press reaction) if Hillary Clinton delivered her address Tuesday night and did not endorse the Democratic Party's nominee.

Honestly, I have trouble even picturing the response, mostly because there has already been such an unhinged media response (see Maureen Dowd, if you must) to Clinton's finishing second, speaking at the convention, and supporting the party's nominee. If she snubbed the nominee? We'd probably see a media-credentialed riot, with hordes of pundits and reporters roaming the late-night streets of Denver (Pitchforks? Probably) in search of Clinton and looking to inflict long-term pain.

Fact: Many in the press have portrayed Clinton's planned convention address, as well as the fact that her name is being placed into nomination, as an unprecedented, heavy-handed power grab.

Fact: It's not. In years past, Democratic candidates who won lots of primaries and accumulated hundreds of delegates (sorry, Howard Dean and Bill Bradley) have always been allowed to address the convention and very often place their name into nomination. It's the norm. It's expected. It's a formality.

This newly manufactured media attack on Clinton is just the latest in a long line of press grenades thrown her way this year. But this time, she's not the only victim, because the media's concocted story line is being used to unfairly skewer Barack Obama, too.

Consider New York magazine: "Obama Agrees to Roll-Call Vote for Clinton. Does That Make Him a Sissy?"

What's so startling in watching the coverage of the Clinton convention-speech story has been the complete ignorance displayed about how previous Democratic conventions have dealt with runners-up like Clinton. It's either complete ignorance or the media's strong desire to painstakingly avoid any historical context, which, in turn, allows the press to mislead news consumers into thinking Clinton's appearance (as well as the gracious invitation extended by Obama) represents something unique and unusual. Something newsworthy.

Based on previous conventions, if a candidate had accumulated as many delegates and votes as Clinton did during the primaries and then did not have her name placed into nomination, that would represent a radical departure from the convention norm.

But, boy, in 2008, an awful lot of media outlets have played dumb. When covering the August 14 announcement about Clinton's role in Denver, they miraculously forgot to make any historical reference to similar names-placed-in-nomination at previous conventions.

Instead, readers and viewers were left with the obvious impression that what was scheduled to happen in Denver was remarkable, an anomaly. And I suppose if you look at the events through a soda straw, it does look unusual. But if you include the slightest bit of context, the story changes into something normal and routine.

But that's not the story the press wants to tell (the Clintons are not normal!), so the press simply erased the context and stuck to its preferred story line that Clinton's appearance in Denver and the placing of her name in nomination are one for the record books.

Searching the recent news archives, it's hard to find many articles or television segments that reported on Clinton's symbolic nomination and also mentioned that runner-up Jerry Brown had been nominated in '92 or that Jesse Jackson had been nominated in '88 or that Gary Hart had been nominated in '84. (You get the idea.)

When The New York Times reported on Clinton's pending nomination, it made no reference to historical precedents. Neither did The Boston Globe, nor The Wall Street Journal, nor The Washington Post. And on and on and on.

On CNN, Jack Cafferty commented, "The Democratic National Convention is now shaping up to be quite a party for Hillary Clinton. Her name will be placed in nomination. She'll give a prime-time address." He made no mention that that's what previous runners-up had done at conventions.

Let's give credit to the Los Angeles Times, though. In the final two sentences in an article reporting the Clinton convention story, the Times miraculously found space to note that Brown, Jackson, and Hart all had their second-place names placed into nomination.

Actually, the real credit goes to CNN polling director Keating Holland (figures, he doesn't work in the newsroom), who posted a lengthy analysis at Holland's piece not only put Clinton's role in Denver into historical perspective ("Overall, between 1972 and 1992, 10 Democratic candidates who lost the nomination in the primaries went on to have their names formally placed in nomination at the convention."), it also pointed out that Clinton represents the only runner-up to speak at the convention who formally endorsed the party's nominee months before the convention; i.e., all the others grudgingly held out on endorsing their rivals.

But not Clinton. Yet she's the one slimed by media venom.

Even after all these months, I still don't completely understand why Clinton's essentially centrist campaign for the White House ginned up so much open contempt from the press corps, which has felt completely comfortable addressing her in an openly derogatory and condescending manner. The issue of her convention involvement simply allowed the press to whack her around like a piñata one more time, regardless of the facts.

Just take a look at a recent edition of ABC's CW-worshipping daily bulletin The Note as it mocked Clinton's convention role with barely containable contempt:

Maybe it was better for the Obama campaign to invite you inside, since you would have made an ugly scene outside. Surely Sen. Barack Obama can afford to be gracious, even to you, since he'll leave Denver with the only prize that counts.

"Even to you." That's a nice touch, coming from the same press corps that erupts with indignation whenever somebody suggests Clinton might have been tarred with sexist campaign coverage. (Y'think? National Review Online, August 15: "Sure, Hillary's fat and waddly and screechy and gives pantsuits a bad name.")

And this from Radar magazine:

Barack Obama has approved Hillary Clinton's dubious campaign to put herself up for nomination at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. We have to ask: Is it because she's a woman or just power-hungry?

Note that Clinton's convention campaign was "dubious," which was accurate if Radar, y'know, ignored facts and precedent and history and all that annoying stuff.

Meanwhile, what was The Note's proof that Clinton would have "made an ugly scene outside" the convention if not included? The Note had none. And that's what's been so amazing about watching the brazen, Clinton's-trying-to-steal-the-convention-with-a-speech coverage: The narrative is built on a swamp. The press has provided virtually no facts, not even anonymous quotes, to support its beloved narrative that Hillary Clinton's planned speech ignited some kind of civil war inside the Democratic Party.

What's curious is that journalists who have actually bothered to cite campaign sources about her speech and symbolic nomination came away with a very different picture of what was unfolding behind the scenes.

Writing at his Atlantic blog, Marc Ambinder, who seems to enjoy regular access to Obama sources, noted that "reports of strife between negotiators for Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are exaggerated" and that "multiple sources in both campaigns have described the negotiations as relatively free of acrimony."

The next day, Ambinder returned to the topic perplexed, wondering why so many members of the press were pushing the clearly inaccurate story line that the Obama and Clinton camps were practically at war over the convention schedule.

Ambinder was either being naïve or playing nice with his Beltway colleagues. (My guess is the latter.) Because it was obvious the press didn't care whether the rift about Clinton's speech was real or imagined. The story helped journalists advance their beloved narrative that Clinton is a political-party wrecking ball and that Obama is too weak to control her. So even if the evidence ran counter to that, the press was sticking with its story line.

Like Ambinder, another journalist who actually reported the story was Joan Walsh at, who wrote, "My sources say the Obama campaign was enthusiastic about the idea of putting Clinton's name in nomination, having independently reached the conclusion that it was the best way to honor her achievement and do more to win over her supporters."

She then included a quote from Obama spokesman Bill Burton:

"The conversations with her folks were very cordial and we've been able to work very closely with them as we unify this party. ... We couldn't be happier about how things are going with Senator Clinton and her team."

Burton made several public pronouncements like that regarding the Denver convention schedule, but New York Times columnist Gail Collins mocked the idea that the scheduling had been cordial and easy, instead comparing the convention task to negotiating a Middle East between "enemy forces."

And then there was Washington Post columnist Jeff Birnbaum who announced Obama never should have allowed Clinton to be nominated, suggesting it was a huge political mistake. How did Birnbaum know? He just knew. The fact that polling found Democrats by an almost 2-to-1 margin thought Clinton's nomination would be good for party unity was of no interest to Birnbaum or anyone else in the press spinning the event as a Democratic catastrophe.

FYI, Birnbaum told The Wall Street Journal he was "grateful" for "Hillary Clinton's attempt tacitly to take over the Obama victory" because it was a great story that the press could cover throughout the convention. (Oh, goody.) As one blogger wrote after reading Birnbaum's quote, "I thought journalists were supposed to uncover the facts and report the story, not decide on the story and then interpret the facts to accommodate their storyline."

Meanwhile, let's be clear: Clinton isn't the only injured party here. After the press constructed the phony premise abut Clinton's convention speech, critics then used it, unfairly, to tag Obama as a softie who can't even stand up to a woman. (Gasp.)

"Russia rolls over Georgia, Hillary Clinton does the same to Barack Obama. Now we know who's boss." (Michael Goodwin, New York Daily News)
"If Hillary Clinton can ride [roughshod] over this guy what do you think bin Laden will do?" (Dick Morris, on Fox News)
"Russia invades Georgia. Hillary invades Obama's convention. Obama does nothing constructive on either count." (Amanda Carpenter, at
Why were critics able to get off those cheap shots? Because the press, strenuously ignoring facts and recent history, was determined to paint Clinton as the ultimate party crasher.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Pagans At The DNC.

Rita Moran from Blue Pagan has a great post about an interfaith ceremony at the DNC that was actually, surprisingly enough, interfaith. It's such a drink of cool water for Pagans when that happens.

Now, if they'd just start answering Rita's e-mails.

Picture found here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My American Prayer

I live in a swing state. And, unless you live somewhere v safely blue, we're both going to vote for Mr. Called to Serve and Mr. Hate on Anita Hill. Because the Patriarchy doesn't give us nice, clean choices. It only gives us choices between crappy and less-than-crappy. And this old hedge witch will keep on choosing "less than crappy" over and over and over again.

Great Granddaughter, I wish for you: better choices.

I wanted to pray this American prayer too. I just didn't want to be excluded from it. Again. Again.

My American Prayer is to a deity with a womb. Who bleeds. With a vagina.

I think she understands.

Maybe The Nicest Thing Anyone's Ever Said About Me

Is this.

Although, really, I'm a blonde.

Cackle, Cackle, Cackle! We Are Everywhere! Bwhahahahah!

Here's an interesting blog being written by Pagans attending the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver. I'm delighted to see that there are out Pagans at the DNC and I'll be checking their blog frequently this week.

Rita (for more about her history, see the archives over at The Wild Hunt) discusses a situation that nearly all of us encounter from time to time -- doing magic in an unfamiliar location and environment:

This evening, after a great supper at the Mercury Cafe (witchy, hippy hangout, great food, well worth visiting when you're next in Denver), I had the privilege of attended a Circle for Peace in Downtown Denver.

As someone far more used to holding ritual surrounded by trees, I'll admit I had a few misgivings. How could we create the same feeling of closeness to Nature in a downtown parking lot? No problem. If the people involved truly believe in Peace, and in each other....if those in the circle connect with Nature as it exists in that parking lot, the circle just might work.

And so it did.

We were about twenty, young and old, men and women, and we joyfully joined minds and hearts in our hopes that peace and unity would come out of this convention.

We made and decorated prayer flags which will hang from a building for the duration of the convention . . . .

When a large part of your magical working comes from a relationship with the land, it can be difficult to do magic in an unfamiliar place. A witch friend recently remarked to me that she can feel the magical roots of my house, now that I've been doing magic here, alone and with my wonderful circle of women, for a number of years. And, it's true, any place where you repeatedly do magic develops a relationship with you and you come, almost unconsciously, to tap into and rely upon that relationship when you do magic.

But there are times when you're far from home and familiarity. In those situations, I find that paying additional attention to grounding (see Starhawk on Grounding for Activists) helps to make magic possible. Either as a separate step, or as part of the grounding, you can contact the new land, feel what it wants, seek its permission and assistance. For witches who ground with a tree visualization, this can happen when you spread the roots of your tree into the earth of the unfamiliar location.

How do you do magic away from home?

Art foung here.