Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blegging for Trans Protections

Listen up, kids. My typist has asked for the soapbox today. She has a very important message for you and something unusual for Roxie’s World: a request for action. Oh, and she’s got a tin cup in her hand, too. Have those credit cards ready! Take it away, Moose.

A Public Service Announcement from Moose

Thanks, Roxie, and thank you, legions of loyal fans, for listening.

As many of you know, Roxie’s World is physically located in Montgomery County, Maryland, a cobalt-blue paradise of lawyers, teachers, and government types just outside Washington DC. Last year, the Montgomery County Council passed a law banning discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of gender identity. Similar laws are on the books in 13 states, the District, Baltimore and 90 other local jurisdictions that have banned discrimination against transgender people, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Unfortunately, a group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government got 26,000 signatures on petitions in support of putting the law to a vote this November. Equality Maryland, our state’s wonderful LGBT civil rights organization, challenged the petitions in court, but a recent ruling has cleared the way for the question to go on the ballot.

Which means that now, in the midst of a presidential campaign and the battle to protect same-sex marriage in California, we’ve got one helluva fight on our hands right here in our own ridiculously large backyard. I am asking you to get involved in the fight.

Basic Rights Montgomery has been formed to educate voters on the issue and the importance of voting yes on Question C. (A “yes” vote affirms the anti-discrimination law; a “no” vote repeals it.) BRM will have to mobilize quickly to recruit volunteers and to raise the money needed to communicate with voters in the months, weeks, and days leading up to Election Day on November 4. The group is working with the blessing of Equality Maryland and with grants from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign. The goal is to identify and persuade 220,000+ Yes voters for Question C through canvassing, phone-banking, targeted mailings, and paid TV and radio spots.

All of that effort will of course require money, which is where you and I come in. For the first time in my life, I’ve agreed to help raise money (rather than just write a check) in support of a cause, because I appreciate the importance of winning this particular battle, here and now. No matter where you live (and I know Roxie has fans from sea to shining sea and around the world), you should appreciate that, too, and consider making a contribution. Why?
  • Because this is the first time a trans-specific anti-discrimination law has been put to a vote. If we lose in a place as liberal as Mo Co, the right will feel emboldened to challenge such protections all over the country. Citizens for Responsible Government has an endorsement from the Family Research Council on its web site. The right is clearly keeping a close eye on this fight – and probably helping to fund it.
  • Because even sophisticated, liberal voters need to be educated on the issue of gender identity and may be vulnerable to misleading information and scare tactics focused on, you guessed it, restrooms. CRG’s campaign to repeal the law is called “Not In My Shower,” and a scary bathroom scenario is featured on the masthead of its web site. Who knows how voters will react to efforts to whip up a gender panic?
  • Because Mo Co is in the backyard of the United States Congress, which is watching this fight to see if it is politically feasible to take transgender people out of federal employment non-discrimination legislation. (The House passed a bill last year that left protection on the basis of gender identity out of its scope, but the bill has not become law.) Again, a loss here would have important national implications.
Join the fight. Give a little. Give a lot. Give because you hate discrimination in any form against any group. Give because you live here and want to make sure that Montgomery County lives up to its progressive reputation. Give even if you don’t live here because you are delighted to support a queer political cause that doesn’t have anything to do with marriage. If you are a disappointed Clintonista, give to Basic Rights Montgomery rather than contributing to a Democratic party that disrespected your candidate. If you are an over-the-moon Obamaniac, give to BRM knowing that your contribution will have a bigger impact on a local issue of national significance.

Give soon, because I have a Friday fundraising deadline, and those of you who know me know what a stickler I am for deadlines. (Okay, maybe not so much, but this time it matters.) And do me a favor. If you give online, shoot an e-mail to me or to Roxie to let us know so that we can thank you and get credit for the contribution. If you don’t want to give online, you can send a check directly to Basic Rights Montgomery at this address (again, please be sure to let me know):

Basic Rights Montgomery
1418 Fenwick Lane
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Thanks for reading and for supporting this important cause in whatever way you can. This fight is our fight, and it’s one we have to win. Click to give, and please help spread the word to Montgomery County voters:


Friday, August 29, 2008

Cheering the Color Line

(Photo Credit: Preston Keres, Washington Post; Senator Barack Obama is joined on stage by his daughters Sasha and Malia and Michelle Obama after his speech accepting the Democratic party's nomination for president at Denver's Invesco Field, 8/28/08.)

Two questions that spring to mind upon hearing the news that John McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate: 1) Does anyone else think Palin sounds like the nasal-voiced character (whose name we can neither recall nor track down) on A Prairie Home Companion? We do, and now we can't stop laughing. 2) Does McCain really believe he can pick off disaffected Clinton supporters by running with a gun-toting, anti-choice Jesus freak who just happens to have a vagina? Oh, John, poor John, sweet, old, puffy-jawed John, this is not how the game of identity politics is played. Those of us who actually have vaginas are smart enough to know when some cynical pol is pandering to us. So what if Palin is a "hockey mom" with better than average hair and eyewear for a Republican? Dems offer vagina-equipped candidates whose policies and positions actually serve rather than undermine the interests of women, even if they are not, um, willing to put those candidates on the, um, ticket.

But still, watch your heads, kids -- If that glass ceiling gets any more cracks in it, it is bound to fall down pretty soon! I mean, think about it. With Palin in the mix, we are now assured of having either a woman or an African American in the executive branch for the first time in American history. And we haven't researched this, but I'm willing to bet this is also the first time we face the prospect of having either a Hawaiian or an Alaskan (though Palin was actually born in Idaho -- we did research that) in the executive branch. Finally, fellow citizens, we can smash the hegemony of the 48 contiguous states! If this election gets any more epochal and transformational, I am sure the nation's pundits will have to hospitalized. (Please, lord, let it be so.) New adjectives will have to be brought in to share the load with epochal, transformational, and post-(insert ancient relic of the bad old order here: race, gender, partisan, etc.). Are the nation's thesauruses up to the task? How many more cataclysmic changes in the zeitgeist can we be expected to endure before Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews simply (mercifully) explode?

And now back to what we intended to muse on before McCain's epochal, transformational announcement distracted us from our deep thoughts on yesterday's cataclysmic change in the zeitgeist:

Today's post title is brought to you by this book, a paradigm-shifting work of queer cultural analysis you should absolutely buy so that its author won't get mad at us for playing fast and loose with her brilliant title. And yet, she had to have known it was always a matter of when not if we would get around to making such a move, given our known fondness for parody as well as our fundamental laziness when it comes to coming up with titles. Besides, in this rare instance, the clever title actually has some bearing on the substance of what is on our minds as we reflect on yesterday's extraordinary events in Denver and the formal nomination of an African-American man on a major-party ticket for president of the United States.

Go back up and look at the picture at the top of this post. We could go all snarky on what transpired yesterday at Invesco Field, and we imagine some readers will be disappointed if we don't. (Sorry, Steve. Love you! Mean it!) We could join in the long line of those who are mocking the over-the-top setting and try to come up with something even more clever than "Barackopolis" or "Barackenon," but we know Dana Millbank probably couldn't get another job if we edged him out of the one he currently holds, so we'll pass on that. We could focus on the fact that we basically agreed with David Brooks' reading of the occasion, both in what he said last night on PBS and in the speech parody he published this morning. (Sorry, kids, but we do love us some parody.) Like Brooks, we thought the outdoor setting sacrificed a lot in terms of conveying the passionate intensity of an Obama speech and of his connection to his audiences. It was as if Bruce Springsteen had booked the Meadowlands and then decided to leave the E Street Band at home and do one of his somber acoustic shows. Speaker and audience seemed miles apart and on different emotional wavelengths. We could also follow Anglachel's lead and tear into the speech for its political and rhetorical incoherences.

But, gazing at this pretty picture, we don't feel moved to do any of those things, at least not right now. We want to drop the snark, put a hold on our heretofore relentless questioning of Obama's candidacy, and pause for a moment to take in the idea of this stunningly beautiful family moving into the White House. It is impossible to know what an Obama presidency might do to alter the material structures of racism in the United States, but it is easy -- and intoxicating -- to imagine how seeing this family comfortably settled into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would alter the social and cultural logics of race and racial privilege. Even if you deplore the mingling of church and state (which of course you must), close your eyes and imagine the White House Christmas cards and the Easter egg roll featuring the Obamas rather than the Bushes -- at long last! --, the Clintons, the Nixons, even the Kennedys. It's a simple substitution but one that looks and feels monumental in its import.

Roxie's World is sufficiently invested in a politics of visibility to want to cheer the multiple transgressions of the color line contained in this far from simple substitution in the tableau of the presidential family: the bi-racial man, the tall, strong, dark-skinned woman, and the proud little girls with the sparkling eyes and the names that are a delight to say. (The younger Obama daughter, Sasha, has become a favorite in our house this week. The moms have laughingly termed her "the rascal child" for her mischievous antics on the convention stage.) In their journey toward the White House, the Obama family and campaign are walking through the great American minefield of race, negotiating the impossible binary of sameness and difference. The candidate was excoriated a few weeks back for uttering the perfectly obvious truth that he doesn't "look like" previous occupants of the Oval Office, and so his nominating convention chose to emphasize sameness rather than difference. Michelle Obama's address to the convention used a rhetoric of resemblance clearly aimed at reassuring the audience that the change we contemplate is by no means a threatening one. She patiently explained that Barack's family, despite the "funny name" and its far-away home, was "so much like" her own family in Chicago, and that she and Barack both subscribe to the values of the "American Dream" (of course, of course) and want to pass those values along to their own children and "all children in this nation" (of course, of course). No one wants to hear the truth of difference, and so the campaign takes refuge in the comforting fiction of sameness. That, my friends, is the dream underneath the "American Dream," and that is why the "dream" so often turns into a nightmare.

Let's hope in this case it doesn't. Let's pause to wish the Obamas well on their treacherous, amazing journey under, over, and around the color line. In this respect, on this day and every day, without yet, quite endorsing his candidacy, Roxie's World is proud to declare itself Obamaniacal in its good wishes for the senator, his family, his campaign, and the country he aspires to lead.

Peace out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

With Malice Toward None

Honest Abe supplies the eye candy for this quick pre-Barack Festival post because he's the reason we missed last night's doings at the Dem convention and therefore did not post about them earlier today. The moms were out exercising one of the great privileges of living in the Washington area – taking visiting friends on a nighttime tour of the monuments downtown.

The national mall at night is a place of surpassing beauty. Everything looks and feels different. The daytime hordes long gone, you can hear the sound of your own footsteps on the marble stairs. The security folks make eye contact and smile at your pleasantries. The plainly expressed yet magisterial sorrow of the Gettysburg Address actually reaches you as you read the carvings on the walls, and you find yourself able to imagine the absent dead conjured by Lincoln's words. Moose spent several minutes with those few words last night, re-joined her friends on the stairs, and declared, "That was one helluva speech Hillary gave in Denver, but it was no Gettysburg Address." As the group made its way back to the car, Bill Clinton was launching into his own fine speech, which declared his unequivocal support for Barack Obama by reminding listeners that Republicans have a habit of arguing that Democrats are too young and inexperienced to be trusted with the keys to the Oval Office. Well done, Big Dawg. Nice tie, too.

Note to the schoolchildren who rely on Roxie's World for fine points of national history: The title to this post is a quotation not from the Gettysburg Address but from another of Lincoln's great addresses, also carved in the wall of his glorious memorial, the Second Inaugural Address, which he delivered just weeks before his assassination on April 14, 1865. We offer the allusion because it cleverly expresses our feelings in this interesting political moment as the Democratic party makes history by nominating the guy we didn't support in the primary race.

Note to the many visitors who have made their way here in the past couple of days through Google searches related to Hillary Clinton's invocation of Harriet Tubman in her (just about as good as the Gettysburg Address) speech on Tuesday: Welcome to Roxie's World. Come back and see us any time. And here's a link to a New York Times piece that consults with two Tubman scholars to try to pin down the allusion. (Turns out Clinton was kind of riffing on words that have traditionally been attributed to Tubman, but there isn't clear evidence that Tubman ever actually said them. Both scholars agree Clinton's reference was fair, though, and in keeping with the mediated histories we have of an illiterate person who left no direct account of herself.)

Note to anyone who is still mad at us for refusing, so far, to commit to voting for Obama: Melissa McEwan has a brief yet important announcement that nicely explains why we are not listening to you. It's a little civics lesson in how we elect presidents here in the United States -- i.e., not through direct popular vote but through that funny thing we all learned about in the 2000 election: the electoral college. As we noted in Comments the other day, we live in a cobalt-blue state that will vote for Obama no matter what the two cranky middle-aged broads who are the eligible voters in Roxie's World do, so go read Melissa, and, you know, take a breath. And, yes, if you live in a swing state, by all means: Vote early, vote often, and vote Democratic.

Note to the tough girls and the pretty boys who come here for little dollops of queer history and pride: Grandmother of lesbo activism, Del Martin, died yesterday at the age of 87. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who married Martin and her partner and co-conspirator of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, in June when California legalized same-sex marriage, ordered flags in the city to be lowered to half-staff in honor of her memory. We think that's a good idea. Flags in Roxie's World will fly at half-staff until, um, we remember to hoist them back up. Meantime, our gratitude to Del for fighting the good fight for so many years and our heart-felt condolences to Phyllis.

Okay, the Barack Festival is about to begin. We said we would listen, and we will -- and not just because Hillary told us to.

Peace out.

(With affection to June Star, the Man Formerly Known as Michael, and the Two Little Micks, who travel well.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Were Listening

Updated (again): Scroll down for speech vid and the wonderful tribute, narrated by Chelsea, that was the set-up for the senator's speech. Highlight: the music and the identification of the Big Dawg simply as "Hillary's Husband."

(Photo Credit: Stephen Crowley, The New York Times)

Transcript of Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention is here.

Talk amongst yourselves. We are speechless.

But, yes, we were listening when she said this:

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.

and we were listening when she said this:

Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.

Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

And we got Goose-bumps (and Moose-bumps and Roxie-bumps) when Clinton offered her eloquent tribute to the legacy of Harriet Tubman helping slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad:

And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they're shouting after you, keep going.

Don't ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military - you always keep going.

We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

She's a party animal, and she did what she had to do. We are party animals, too, and so we were listening. And now we are thinking. We will be listening tomorrow, too.

Peace out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Swing Voters

(Image Credit: Richard Crowson, The Wichita Eagle; H/T to Goose)

Read this, because Sean Wilentz is smarter than you are. His take-down of liberal intellectuals who "largely abdicated their responsibility to provide unblinking and rigorous analysis instead of paeans to Obama's image" should make you sit up straight no matter who you supported in the Dem primary.

Read this, because Melissa McEwan might help you understand why the selection of Joe Biden didn't exactly cause an outbreak of euphoria among Dems. Our favorite paragraph? This one, which we offer up to those who would drag us kicking and screaming to our unity ponies:
I also feel coming down the tracks more alienation from former allies because of it [the selection of Biden]. For months and months I have read rejections of Clinton because she supported the war, but I suspect that those making the argument will not now reject Obama because he put one of its cheerleaders on his ticket. For months and months I have read rejections of Clinton because she and/or her husband are racist, but I suspect those those making the argument will not now reject Obama because he put a man who says things like this or this or this or this, all within the last two years, on his ticket. For months and months I have read exhortations that I must vote for Obama because he will protect reproductive rights in a way McCain won't, but I suspect those who have beat me with that cudgel will not now reject Obama because he put on his ticket a man who does not support federal funding for abortion and supported the "partial-birth abortion" ban even without protections for the health/life of the mother.

And what of those who have chanted Obama's 100% NARAL rating like a mantra? Will they reject him now that he has asked to join his ticket a man with a 36% NARAL rating in 2003 and a 75% rating in 2007? Or will they come at last to their stubborn insistence that he's still better than McCain, even though that's not the debate...?
Read this, because it's important to ponder how Obama's candidacy and possible election might alter the politics of race in this country.

And then get back to work, you procrastinator! Don't you know Labor Day is one week from today? That syllabus is not going to write itself, for heaven's sake!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Snacks

Gold-Medal Homo

Hooray for Australian Matthew Mitcham, the openly gay diver who won the men's 10-meter platform event yesterday in Beijing! (Advocate cover story on Mitcham is here.)

Topic for Group Discussion: Will/should Mitcham replace Daniel Vosovic (finalist on Project Runway, season 2) as Candy Man's dream date? Please weigh in in Comments.

(Photo Credit: Phil Noble, Reuters, via NYT, 8/23/08)

A Dog, a Blogger, and a Bar

No, that is not me in the photo below, and the guy in the baseball cap is not Office of Persona Management Director Mark Twain, and the bar is not Ishmael's, the seedy place around the corner from Roxie's World's global headquarters. (We make all this stuff up, you know, precisely so that The New York Times will never find us.) It's NY state political blogger Phillip Anderson, with his non-blogging dog Molly, who is featured in a Times story on bloggers going to the upcoming political conventions. The story, which also features Pam Spaulding of the awesome LGBT group blog, Pam's House Blend, is here; Anderson's post on the story is here. No, Molly is not going to Denver with Anderson. Dogs apparently are not allowed, which is why Moose, Goose, and I will be staying right here in Roxie's World this week.

Topic(s) for Group Discussion: Will Dems win if they persist in discriminating against dogs, the loyalest, most political animals on the face of the earth? Also, is there a risk or a downside to the levels of access and legitimacy bloggers are suddenly gaining in this political season? Do they run the risk of losing their independence, of becoming more and more like the insider journalists they have so relentlessly and righteously critiqued? Does the mere fact of our asking such questions prove that Roxie's World is jealous of the bigger, more influential dogs in the growing pack of political bloggers? Please weigh in in Comments.

(Photo Credit: Jacob Silberberg, New York Times, 8/24/08)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Biden Our Time

David Brooks is happy with the Biden selection, and lord knows that is good news. I mean, hell, I'm sure hostesses all over Georgetown are breathing a big sigh of relief that they won't have to invite the Clintons over to dinner this fall. David Brooks is happy, so polish up the silver, kids, and let's have us a nice civilized village dinner like we used to in the good old days.

The PUMAs are happy as they head off to Denver, knowing they can protest to their heart's content without having to explain why they refuse to be satisfied with a ticket that might have put Hillary a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Tom Watson is satisfied for reasons that are similar to the ones we'd be offering if we could set conscience aside and just endorse Obama already -- i.e., Biden brings the gray hair, the foreign policy cred, and the experienced insider's knowledge of how stuff gets done in Washington that the hopey-changey crew desperately needs if it is actually going to realize any of its airy-fairy ideas, should the Lesser manage to secure a victory in November.

Mod Fab is feeling less enthusiastic than he wishes he felt, now that some of the scales have fallen from his eyes, but he's gearing up to blame those psychotically obsessed Clintonistas who might "throw a hissy fit" on national television next week and cost Dems the election.

Prediction #1:
Even if Hillary Clinton stands up at the convention and gives the most gracious speech in the history of language, even if she spends every single moment of every single day between now and November 4 tirelessly stumping for Obama-Biden, if the ticket loses, she and her deranged, disloyal, bitter supporters will be blamed for it. It won't be the fault of a candidate who ignored the several constituencies who supported Clinton in the primaries, dismissing them as part of an old, outmoded Democratic coalition. It will be the fault of voters who just didn't know what was good for them. That's right, guys. Blame the voters. That's a strategy that always works for Democrats.

Prediction #2: If blaming Hillary isn't enough (and if Obama manages to lose in a year so perfect for a tidal wave of Dem victories, even the all-powerful, super-wicked Hillary may not be enough of a scapegoat), the "blame racism" argument will be brought in as a reinforcement. Oh, wait -- Here it is already, wrapped up in a bright, shiny package, just waiting to be opened up and pressed into service.

For those of you who've been hitting your refresh buttons all day long, wondering what on earth Roxie's World would do now that Moses has descended from the mountain and announced His veep choice, well, darlings, you know we appreciate your devotion and your faith in our political wisdom. (Or is it the jokes that bring you back and back? The charmingly crude turns of phrase -- "poop on toast," for example?) Sorry to keep you waiting, but we are slow thinkers here in Roxie's World and need some time to sort through our options and our feelings. For the time being, the flag of Switzerland still flies, while the moms devote themselves to the pressing late-summer tasks of syllabus-writing and back-to-school meetings. We can tell you this isn't a ticket that will get much, if anything, from our political team in the way of time and money. As Goose disclosed in a comment on the previous post, we've recently decided to do some work on a significant local political battle over a Montgomery County, MD law that prohibits transgender discrimination. We'll be calling on my legions of loyal fans to support Basic Rights Montgomery as it gears up to win a referendum likely to be on the ballot in November on whether to keep or throw out a law that provides protections for transgender individuals in housing, employment and public accommodations. (Wa Po brief is here.) Stay tuned.

Sometimes, it's good to remember the old lefty adage: Think globally, act locally. This old dog has plenty of fight left in her, but she may just decide it's time to pick her battles carefully. And you can't blame her for that. Peace out.

We Got the 3 a.m. Part Right

(Photo Credit: Haraz N. Ghanbari, AP Photos, via Wa Po, 8/23/08)

Nice touch, don't you think? Sending the text message announcing that Hillary was not the veep selection just after 3 a.m.? Yeah, we figure it means some great and powerful Obamaniac has been lurking here in Roxie's World along with all the English profs and pretty boys. Whateve, dudes. Good luck to you.

We're not on board the love train yet, kids. Hell, some of us aren't even out of bed yet. Let us do some thinking, reading, caffeinating, and fulminating, and we'll get back to you later. Meantime, here's a little YouTube of one of the loquacious Senator Biden's finer moments. Note to Obama campaign: Take it from an old dog. You will want to have a muzzle and a short leash handy for this big (old) fella.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's 3 a.m.

(Image Credit: Random search of internets on "red telephone.")

Time to pick up the phone, Senator Obama. You may not want to and you may have to medicate your wife while you do it, but it's time to admit that the bitch you beat is the woman you'll need to help you get to the White House. If you're lucky, she'll agree to step in and do what women from time immemorial have done: Work her keister off to help a younger, less qualified guy get the job she deserved while she grabs, ahem, the booby prize of being the first woman vice president in American history. If not, well, maybe all that bluster about new voters will work out better for you in the general than it did in those big primaries you lost between March and June. Can you say, "Texas," Senator? "Ohio?" "Pennsylvania?"

Forget the bluster, Senator, and consider the current state of the race. Things aren't looking all that good for you right now, despite your fawning fans in the media and the "progressive" blogosphere. Just today, for example, we note:
  • A new Reuters/Zogby poll shows McCain with a 5-point lead over you nationally. Your support among Democrats is weakening (it's fallen by 9 points to 74%, according to this poll), while McCain's support among Republicans is solidifying (it's up to 81%). Incredibly, McCain now has a 9-point advantage 49 to 40%) on the crucial question of who would be the best manager of the economy. How boiled-over Bushanomics could have put McCain in that position is a mystery beyond the understanding of one in our lowly pay grade, but we think it might mean his ads focused on whether the world's biggest celebrity can understand the problems of ordinary folks might be hitting home with some voters.
  • You continue to lose ground in key battleground states. RCP averages have McCain leading in Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, and Florida and give you thin leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Our blog buddy Historiann had an excellent post the other day on the importance of OH, MI, and PA to the prospects of a Dem victory in the fall. We think you might want to take a look at it.
  • The advantage you've enjoyed in analyses focused on the electoral college has also suddenly vanished, according to Electoral Vote Predictor, which attributes your slide to McCain's negative ads over the past month. Eerily, EVP hears echoes of what happened to John Kerry in the Swift Boat summer of 2004: "If you compare the 2008 electoral college graph with the 2004 one, the parallels are striking. Kerry led throughout the summer until the Swift Boat ad kicked in, and it was downhill from there. Kerry never recovered."
Not pretty, Senator, not pretty at all. Things have gotten so tight that even arch Clinton haters -- Ralph Nader, for dog's sake, and John Nichols of The Nation! -- have started saying you will or should tap the former First Lady as your veep choice. You have to admit, the trial balloons you've floated recently -- Bayh, Biden, Kaine, Sibelius, and the monster whose name will not go away, Sam Nunn -- haven't generated a whole lot of excitement or done much for your poll numbers. By contrast, "a recent New York Times/CBS News poll of convention delegates found that 28 percent preferred Mrs. Clinton for vice president — by far the largest bloc supporting a candidate," according to the NYT blog, "Political Memo."

Pick up the phone, Senator. Make your convention delegates happy. Turn at least a few snarling PUMAs into purring kitty-cats ready to curl up at your -- or her -- feet. Most importantly, earn what you and some of your disgruntled followers have long sought: the coveted endorsement of America's most famous dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball. That's right, Senator. Roxie's World stands ready to offer you a Five-Paw Salute and our unstinting support of your candidacy if you have the good sense to call the junior senator from New York and get her to accept a place on your ticket. As we promised in the strat memo we sent you in June (you still have that in your briefcase, don't you?):
Do that, sir, and we’ll have an Obama-Clinton widget up on our sidebar so fast it’ll make your halo spin. We will set aside all our reservations and do everything within our power to assure that both you and Senator Clinton get to place your hands on the Bible come January 20, 2009. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss our Old Bitches for Obama-Clinton tee shirts as you stroll by in the inaugural parade. We’ll even give you a new blog name. Perhaps, instead of “the Lesser,” you might become known in these precincts as, um, “Good Enough.”
Are we predicting Senator Clinton will actually end up on the ticket? Nope, no way, no how. We gave up prognostication after the embarrassment of Moose's wildly incorrect (if deeply moving) predictions about Texas and Ohio. Do we think choosing Clinton will make everyone, including some of her strongest supporters, happy? No, and we're sure it will infuriate a good many of Obama's strongest supporters, since foaming-at-the-mouth Clinton hatred has been a powerful unifying and motivating force among many of his followers. We don't think Obama-Clinton would be a perfect ticket, but we think it's the ticket most likely to secure a Democratic victory in November, and that is really, finally all that matters.

Don't let an imagined perfection be the enemy of an attainable good, Senator Obama. Pick up the phone. Our hunch is there's a smart, hard-working woman prepared to answer your -- and the nation's -- call.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Phelps Phever

(Photo Credit: AP, via Baltimore Sun; Baltimore native Michael Phelps with each of the eight gold medals he won in the Beijing Olympics, 8/17/08.)

H/T to Baltimore Sun sports columnist Rick Maese for the phrase "Phelps Phever," which he offers in a column written with all the detachment of a high-school cheerleader shrieking praise for her boyfriend the starting quarterback. (That is not a criticism, Rick. You know we love you and are big fans of the Sun when it comes to Maryland sports. Besides, we are not exactly objective on the subject of Aquaman ourselves.) Check out the rest of the Sun's proud coverage of "the epic story of Michael Phelps' transcendent Olympics" here. Wa Po columnist Sally Jenkins offers her tribute here. We particularly like this paragraph, which nicely captures Phelps' rare combination of humility and ferocious discipline:
Phelps did not seem ambitious in any ordinary sense. He never seemed interested in becoming the all-time Olympic champion to revel in the celebrity of it. He competed less against others, than against some faint abstract outline of the possible. In fact, he seemed acutely isolated, a man with a distant stare and a heart made like a timepiece, executing perfectly aligned strokes with invariable precision, and a seemingly tactile sense of the ticking seconds.
Way to go, Michael Phelps. You got the eight gold medals. Seven new world records. The attention of the world -- presidents and NBA superstars, gossip columnists and the folks back home, many thousands of whom stayed late after a Baltimore Ravens' preseason game to watch your thrilling final swim on the giant screen at M&T Bank Stadium. We gathered 'round the plasma here in Roxie's World to see it for ourselves, and an anxious Moose pumped her fists and implored Brendan Hansen to kick it up a notch on his leg of the medley relay, as he fell into third place on the breaststroke before you dove in to churn up the water for your 100 meters of butterfly. We thank you, Michael, for letting us ride with you on what you referred to as the roller coaster of your Olympic quest. We enjoyed every move and every moment -- indeed, every one-hundredth of a moment, as your long, mighty arms gracefully yet miraculously propelled your fingertips to the wall a fraction of a second ahead of Milorad Cavic in the finals of the 100-meter fly. You delighted us, with your big ears and your goofy grins, your struggling to find words to convey the significance of your accomplishment before offering the eloquence of a modest man and a good son: "It's been such an unbelievable ride. All I want to do is go see my mom." You inspired us, as time after time we watched you thunder into overdrive to win a race in the last few meters. We were inspired by your teammates, too, of course, since three of your gold medals came in relay races that featured remarkable performances by other swimmers, including Jason Lezak's furious anchor leg of the 400-meter freestyle relay.

So, yeah, Michael, we're pretty darned impressed and have already voted you onto our very short list of Super Cool Dudes Who Momentarily Make Us Forget the Terrible Things Chlorine Does to Our Hair. (Also on the list: 41-year-old Dara Torres, who took silver in the women's 50-meter freestyle in her fifth Olympics.) We have to confess, though, that we've gotten fixated on an aspect of your story that doesn't seem to have gotten nearly enough attention in the midst of all the hoo-ha about world records and whether "greatness" in one sport is as great as greatness in another sport. We refer, of course, to the under-reported story of what fuels your greatness, literally -- i.e., to what you eat . . . and eat . . . and EAT!

Note to the Pretty Boys and Middle-Aged Girls Who Are Our Most Devoted Fans: What you are about to read may induce paroxysms of jealousy and dangerous fantasies of binge eating. Sorry, but it's our blogger's duty to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with stretchers thrown in when the truth is insufficiently entertaining. Just remember: Michael Phelps spends thirty hours a week working out. Before you stuff that Ho-Ho into your mouth, stop and think about how many calories you burned in any activity you performed for thirty hours in the past week. That's right, English profs and grad students. Step away from the Ho-Ho. Now. Read on. Think of it as calisthenics for the eyes.

Here is the amazing truth: Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories per day -- and still has a tough time keeping weight on his 6'4" frame. You read that right: 12,000 calories per day. His day begins with a 5-egg omelet, three fried-egg sandwiches, three chocolate chip pancakes, French toast with powdered sugar, and, to top it all off, a bowl of grits. Oh, yeah, and two cups of coffee. The rest of day includes a couple pounds of pasta, an entire pizza, and thousands of calories in energy drinks. My typist slumped in her big red chair when she read that.

"Moose," I said, because I am a curious animal, "what would you eat if you had to eat 12,000 calories a day just to maintain your weight?" Her eyes went all soft and dreamy.

"Oh, Rox," she said, "wouldn't that be lovely? And since it's a fantasy, can we pretend that I would have to do this without spending thirty hours a week in the pool or the gym?"

"Absolutely, Moose! So what you would you eat?"



"Yep. Dip. Lots and lots and lots of dip. I would fulfill my cherished dream of having a vat of that crab-and-cream-cheese dip they serve at receptions over at Queer the Turtle U. all to myself. I would eat tons of it every single day and I would never be embarrassed about anyone noticing me going back for more."

"Okay. That's maybe 3000 calories. What else would you eat?"

"I love the idea of pancakes and fried-egg sandwiches, so I'd borrow that from Phelps, but I think I'd add some fried chicken and cream gravy into the mix, and huge bowls of mashed potatoes, of course."

"Now I think your fantasy is encroaching on Goose's."

"True, but we have similar taste in high-calorie cuisine."

"Although her 12,000 calorie diet would differ from yours in some respects."

"I suppose. She would probably skip the dips and have boxes of Godiva truffles for mid-morning and late-afternoon snacks. Washed down with several beers, of course."

"What about dinners?"

"Oh, that's easy. If we were on 12,000 calorie diets, we would dine every night at Ben's Chili Bowl downtown. It's DC's high church of high-fat, low-down cuisine. I can see us tucking into their famous half-smokes and a big order of chili-cheese fries, with a big ole slice of cake (pineapple coconut for me, German chocolate for Goose) for dessert. We had food from Ben's last night when we went to see the Nationals get their butts kicked by the Colorado Rockies. The game sucked, but Goose declared the food 'nasty great.' Isn't that poetic? She has such a way with words. And wouldn't it be swell to be able to eat that way every day without gaining weight?"

"Moose! Hey, earth to Moose, come in please! Fantasy's over. Watch this video by our favorite chick reporter Wendy Reiger on what women over fifty need to do in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight."

"Shoot, Rox, do I have to? I mean, I'm guessing Wendy's plan doesn't include vast quantities of dip and spending thirty hours a week trolling the internets, does it? Besides, I'm not fifty yet!"

"Tick-tock, Moose. Fifty is right around the corner, and you've kind of slacked off on your commitment to the Tim Russert Memorial Lifestyle Adjustment Plan. Let the Olympics inspire you! Let Wendy motivate you! Let the prospect of not fitting into any of your clothes when school starts focus you!"

"Wait, Rox. You know, we could sign on with the cause of fat acceptance. There is a strong feminist argument to be made against the obsessive focus on physical perfection."

"Of course there is. You are not seeking a perfect body, Moose. You are seeking a healthy body and a reasonable balance of work and play."

"I hate the winding down of summer, Rox -- the end of Olympic swimming, the changing of the seasons, the gearing up for another school year, the inexorable passage of time as we make our sad, slow march to the grave."

"Is this about your body or your syllabus?"

"Both, maybe?"

"Uh-huh. Watch Wendy's vid, Moose, and then it's back to work."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Between Men

I want to hold your hand . . . .

(Photo Credit: Doug Mills, New York Times; Times caption: "Americans Chris Colwill and Jevon Tarantino nearly won the bronze medal in the men's synchronized three-meter springboard, but Tarantino botched his entry in the final dive, a reverse three-and-a-half somersault, and they slipped to fourth." Beijing Olympics, 8/13/08)

(Image Credit: Michelangelo, "The Creation of Adam")

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympian Observations

Here's what really matters about the Olympics, of course:

(Photo Credit: Doug Mills, New York Times; Michael Phelps takes his fourth gold medal of the Beijing Olympics in the 200-meter butterfly with a world-record time of 1 minute 52.03 seconds, 8/12/08, unless you are in China, where it is already 8/13/08.)

Roxie's World takes an extra jolt of pride in the accomplishments of the beyond phenomenal Phelps because he's a Baltimore boy with a hard-working mom. We won't mind at all if he breaks Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single Olympic games, even though Spitz was a hero of Moose's swimming-obsessed family in childhood.

[. . . .]

(Ellipses mark the pause in typing while Phelps picked up his fifth gold of the games in the men's 800-meter free relay. And his fifth world record! My typist is so easily distracted.)

[. . . .]

(How does the balance beam not do serious internal damage to the bodies of those tiny little girls? Oh, right -- It does!)

Anyway, watching the Olympics means watching commercials broadcast during the Olympics, which has made us wonder:
  • How can it be legal for McDonald's to be a major sponsor of the Olympics? Shouldn't someone have said, "No, really, guys, you've done more to undermine the cause of healthy eating world-wide than any other company. We just don't think this is the kind of product we want associated with the Games."
  • Is it us, or are those "Where does depression hurt?" commercials for Cymbalta the most depressing things you've ever seen? And do the marketing geniuses at Eli Lilly think viewers of the Olympics are the best target audience for Cymbalta? I mean, granted, a nation of couch potatoes glued to the spectacle of gravity-defying athleticism might be feeling a little down on itself, a little inadequate in comparison to the gods and goddesses on the screen, but viewers might also be reveling in the fantasy of their own god-like potentiality. "By golly," they might chirp from the couch, "I don't need an anti-depressant -- I need new running shoes! Or maybe a Big Mac . . . ."
(Eek, these little American girls are dropping like flies off the balance beam and onto the floor. Things are not looking good for the women's all-around. Quick -- Send in the Cymbalta!)
  • Flame us if you dare, but we think McCain's "celebrity" ads, which have been in heavy rotation in the DC media market during the Olympics (presumably because of the battle being waged for Virginia in November) are actually pretty effective on repeat viewing -- and there is something especially powerful about viewing them in the context of the Olympics. Caught up as we may be in the myth-making machinery of NBC's (actually pretty darn good) coverage of the games, McCain's message about whether a celebrity can be counted on to take care of your family has extra resonance within this context. Obama may be the political equivalent of Michael Phelps, but it's easy to imagine that Phelps would be, um, a fish out of water at something as mundane as a cabinet meeting. We can't imagine how the McCain campaign is affording all this air time, but we think it's a smart move.
  • On the other hand, and we swear we didn't make our minds up about this ahead of time, we are underwhelmed by the "hands" commercials Obama has been broadcasting during the Olympics. To us, they are about as moving as the corporate PR spots Archer Daniels Midland runs on The NewsHour. Strong production values, but a real snooze in the message department.
On a totally unrelated matter, you will note we haven't yapped, woofed, barked, or howled about the shocking news that Senator John Edwards was in fact schtupping Rielle Hunter, a woman hired by his campaign to make videos, as reported last October by The National Enquirer. We've kept quiet because it's so hard to find anything new or interesting to say on the tired subject of ambitious men with zipper problems. Two or three things we will say, though:
  • Go read Ruth Marcus's insightful column on the sordid affair. She reminded us of the snarky comments Edwards made about Bill Clinton's infidelity and pointed out how troubling it is that Elizabeth Edwards publicly promoted her husband's commitment to her during her illness as a reason to support his candidacy when, according to the timeline of events they have produced, she already knew about his infidelity.
  • Marcus doesn't make exactly this point, but we say that a candidate who uses parts of his private life as evidence of the kind of leader he would make can't cry foul when evidence of private misconduct is used against him. You don't get to say, "My virtues are a reason to vote for me, but my vices can't be held against me." Especially if you and your incurably ill wife have been publicly lying about your vices for nearly a year!
  • Finally, we couldn't help but raise an eyebrow this morning when photos of Edwards and Hunter together on his campaign announcement trip in late December 2006 turned up on Wa Po. This got our attention because Edwards has spoken of his "liaison" with Hunter as being over and acknowledged within his family in 2006. Now, of course, photos of the two together on a campaign trip say nothing about the private state of their relationship at that point in time, but public glimpses of the two looking chummy together just moments before the end of 2006 will fuel skepticism about the timing of events in relation to the recurrence of Elizabeth Edwards's cancer (in March of 2007) and the birth of Hunter's child (in February of 2008). Yeah, and we think it's super-convenient that Hunter is refusing a paternity test -- from the comfort of the Santa Barbara home that Edwards's top money guy is helping to pay for.
Gotta get off the soapbox, kids -- It's time for bed! The moms take off for a couple of days at the beach tomorrow, but if you're really, really good, maybe they'll post some pretty photos of the Jersey shore. Meantime, here's another piece of eye candy for Moose, qta, and other lovers of Aquaman:

(Photo Credit: Getty Images, via Baltimore Sun, 8/10/08)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Shrub Legacy Secured

Attention, Clio: U.S. President George W. Bush secured his place in history today by becoming the first American president to attend Olympic competition in women's beach volleyball. That's right. After a "really, really difficult" ride on the Olympic mountain bike course, the soon-to-be-former prez stopped in to watch gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh practice before they went on to win their 102nd straight match in their opening round match against Japan. In a sweat-soaked shirt, the president didn't look at all like a guy who needed to be worried about the Russian invasion of Georgia as he mugged for the cameras and tried a few bumps in the sand with May-Treanor. Wow, it's a pity Mount Rushmore is full, isn't it?

(Photo Credits: Mandel Ngan, Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Michael Phelps has won the first of his possible eight gold medals, setting a world record in the men's 400 individual medley. Sorry, kids, but the Summer Olympics make us all a little Goosebumpy, a little Moosebumpy, even a bit Roxie-bumpy. We just loves us them swimmers with their gorgeous bodies in their skimpy little suits slicing through the water with the greatest of ease. But, hey, we're not, like, the leaders of the free world or anything, so don't judge us for our profound superficiality, 'kay? Gotta go, kids -- The chicks are up on the starting blocks for the women's 400 IM!

On your marks, get set -- We're gone.

Friday, August 08, 2008

No, You Are Not Reading The Onion

This was in Paul Bedard's "Washington Whispers," a political blog on U.S. News and World Report (picked up by way of Tennessee Guerilla Women). Dear lord, I come to you on four achy bent knees, saying, please please PLEASE tell me this is a joke. Yea, verily, I say unto you, please say it ain't (S)Obama . . . .

Bedard reports:

George Bush had his three-fingered W salute that supporters flashed when greeting him at presidential campaign events in 2000. And now, if a Los Angeles creative agency gets its way, Sen. Barack Obama will see fans meet him with his own salute like the one above. "Our goal is to see a crowd of 75,000 people at Obama's nomination speech holding their hands above their heads, fingers laced together in support of a new direction for this country, a renewed hope, and acceptance of responsibility for our future," says Rick Husong, owner of The Loyalty Inc. Husong tells me that he got the idea after seeing the famous Obama-Progress poster by artist Shepherd Fairey. "We wanted to get involved some way," he says. So, the agency came up with their own a symbol of hope and progress that also plays off Obama's name. "We thought, 'Let's try and start a movement where even while walking down the street, people would hold up the O and you would know that they were for Obama,' " says Husong. Much thought went into the relatively simple idea. "You interlace your hands in a circle, the interlacing being a symbol of different types of people coming together and the circle a symbol of unity," he says. Their design, unlike Fairey's, is free, and Husong is urging people to download it and print it on posters and T-shirts. "We want to see it everywhere, but more importantly we want this sign to take the world by storm."

Dear Mr. Husong,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful suggestion of a neat hand signal Obamaniacs can use to be instantly recognizable to themselves and others on the street. Really, though, we think the glassy eyes and the well-worn copies of The Audacity of Hype -- oops! -- Hope are more than sufficient as public signs of devotion to the Great Leader. For the time being. Once the formalities of the election are behind us, we may wish to take up your idea on a somewhat larger scale. We are thinking a constitutional amendment mandating that the O salute take the place of that ridiculous hand-over-the-heart maneuver whenever the Pledge of Allegiance is spoken may be in order. The Pledge itself will be re-written, of course, because it seems pointless to have people pledging allegiance to a republic when no one but Pat Buchanan understands what a "republic" is anymore. We are sure citizens will be much happier pledging allegiance to President Obama with their hands pointing toward heaven in a circle of unity. Brilliant idea!

We will be in touch, Mr. Husong, and we thank you in the meantime for your dedication to the One. Er, the cause.

Yours Sincerely,
Obama For the Universe -- oops! -- America

Wake me when it's over, people. This old dog needs a long, deep nap. In the meantime, you may amuse yourselves by coming up with captions for the incredibly provocative salute poster or witty alternative designs that might involve other hand gestures. Just a thought. If you come up with something really clever, perhaps we'll steal the idea and market it through our new company, Disloyalty Inc. Have at it, kids.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Are We Having Fun Yet?

As a matter of fact, we are:

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

WTF, kids. Click and giggle. It will help the Clintonistas among you let go of the last remnants of bitterness. It will help the Obamaniacs fight off that sense of dread you have about which position your guy will abandon next and how incredibly boring his veep choice is likely to be. It will help the 48% of voters suffering from what our favorite pollster Andy Kohut has termed "Obama Fatigue," the weary, icky feeling that you've seen way too much of this guy, and the election is still three months and several trillion campaign commercials away! We feel your pain, fellow citizens. Please, senator. Go on vacation. Now.

Paris, a grateful nation thanks you for giving us a way to distract ourselves until the Olympics start on Friday. By the way, girlfriend, we may be an old dog with a shaky grasp of the issues, but we think your energy proposal makes a lot of sense. We predict Obama will be flacking it as his own idea by the end of the week. Love you. Mean it.

Update: Howard Fineman endorses Paris's energy proposal in Newsweek column! "We need Paris because her cheerful and sensible approach to the energy problem . . . is a lesson in leadership to the two 'real' presidential candidates," Fineman says. "Paris's message: don't stress, don't dis each other's ideas, let's just try everything! It doesn't get any smarter than that." You read that right, kids: Paris Hilton is a lesson in leadership. We are officially down the rabbit-hole or well on our way to Hell in a hand basket.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Does Your Mother Know?

ABBA-maniacs will appreciate today's Song of the Day here in Roxie's World, which goes out to Donna Brazile. Why? Well, it's not like you ever need an excuse for sending a song out to a hard-working tough girl like Donna, but sit down, take off your disco boots, and we'll tell you the back story.

Here's what Roxie's World was saying on May 30, 2008, on the eve of the meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee. The meeting was convened to resolve the problem of Michigan and Florida, which had held primaries earlier than the dates set by party rules and had thus been stripped of their delegates to the convention:

(Which, by the way, is pretty much what Hillary Clinton was saying, all the way back in January.)

And here's what RBC member, superdelegate, Obamaniac, and media whore Donna B. had to say at that meeting as she helped engineer a deal that would seat half of each state's delegates and award MI delegates to Barack Obama when his name did not even appear on the ballot in that state:
My momma taught me to play by the rules and respect those rules. My mother taught me, and I'm sure your mother taught you, that when you decide to change the rules, middle of the game, end of the game, that is referred to as cheatin.'
(Text of the quote is here. Vid is here, and Donna pulls out the Momma card about 2:50 into the clip.)

And now, in one of the biggest "Never Minds" the world has seen since Saturday Night Live's Emily Litella tragically disappeared from the cultural scene, Senator "Change You Can't Keep Up With" Obama has announced that Michigan and Florida should not get spanked by Momma after all. Here's the full report on the latest flip-flop from the Obama campaign from the New York Times' "The Caucus" blog:
It seems like another lifetime ago, but remember all the fuss about Michigan and Florida?

After those states held their primaries in violation of Democratic Party rules, the party cracked down on them and said their delegates would not have a voice at the national convention in Denver. Then in May, the rules committee agreed to let their delegates have half a vote each.

Now Senator Barack Obama, the party’s presumptive nominee, has asked the credentials committee to let the two states have full voting rights at the convention after all.

The request is likely to be granted since it comes from the all-but-certain nominee, who now controls the party apparatus.

The move was not unexpected. No nominee could afford to alienate the delegates, and voters, from two such important states.

Moreover, Mr. Obama had essentially promised the two states that he would seek to restore their full voting strength, as we wrote on June 2 after the rules committee restored only half a vote to each of the states’ delegates.

Why would their voting strength matter when it is clear who the nominee will be?

Because, as Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said at the time, party conventions do more than pick a nominee; they also begin to establish the framework for the primary calendar in the next presidential election. And Michigan, for one, has been trying for years to topple Iowa and New Hampshire from their first-in-the-nation voting perches. Having full votes at the convention will give Michigan more power to pursue that agenda.

At the same time, Mr. Obama’s “request” to restore full voting strength to Florida and Michigan is likely to cause heartburn for party officials, who have struggled to maintain some authority over the primary calendar.

By granting Mr. Obama’s request, the party will essentially be giving a green light to other states to ignore the calendar next time because there will be no consequences.

The credentials committee is to meet Aug. 24, the day before the convention begins in Denver, to determine who will be seated.

In a letter today to committee officials, Mr. Obama asked that a resolution be passed to entitle each delegate from Florida and Michigan to cast a full vote.

The party must be united in the fall, he said, adding, “To that end, Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction.”

The party sent back a noncommittal response noting that it had received Mr. Obama’s request.

“We deeply appreciate and value Senator Obama’s perspective on this important issue,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. “This matter will be the top priority for the credentials committee when we meet on August 24th. As always our goal is to ensure a fair process and a unified Democratic Party so that we can win in November.”

The status of the two states was an explosive issue throughout much of the primary season. Back then, the Obama camp was on the other side, arguing that the two states broke the rules by moving up their primaries and should be punished.

His chief rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, had received more votes in both states but Mr. Obama had taken his name off the ballot in Michigan, and neither campaigned in Florida.

Mrs. Clinton had campaigned fiercely for the delegates in Florida and Michigan to be given full voting status, hoping this would legitimize their primaries, which in turn might bolster her argument that she had won more popular votes than Mr. Obama. Still, she trailed him in delegates, which is the standard by which the nominee is chosen.

The whole subject remains a sore point with some Clinton supporters. But Mr. Obama’s letter today seems timed to try to minimize any damage, coming almost two months after Mrs. Clinton threw her support to him and after it appears unlikely that she will be his choice for vice president.

Later in the day, Mrs. Clinton urged the party to grant Mr. Obama’s request to restore full voting rights for Michigan and Florida. Here is her statement:

During the campaign, I strongly advocated for the Democratic Party to seat the Florida and Michigan delegation with their full votes. The Democratic Party has always stood up for the principle of counting every person’s vote. Today, Senator Obama has requested that the Credentials Committee give Florida and Michigan delegates their full votes. This is the right position for the Democratic Party and for the country and I urge the Credentials Committee to restore full votes to Florida and Michigan delegates.

No word from Donna today on what her momma thinks about this latest adjustment in the rules from the Obama camp. Should we call it Change That Suits His Interests? Change That Has Us Heaving? Change That Is Making It Harder With Each Passing Day for Us to Imagine We'll Be Able to Cast a Vote for This Slippery, Hypocritical, Not-Really-Pro-Choice, Not-Really-Anti-War Candidate? Yeah, we think we'll go with that, even if my typist will complain bitterly about its length.

Meantime, just in case Donna and her momma have both changed their tunes on the importance of sticking by agreed-upon rules, we offer up another classic pop tribute to maternal wisdom from the inimitable Captain and Tennille. This one, of course, emphasizes the importance of keeping your options open, of getting what you want, of sizing up and seizing good opportunities. Sing it with us, pretty boys and broad-shouldered girls. You know Momma hates it when you don't sing along:

Update: Momma orders you to go read Bob Somerby, immediately, on the subject of the self-destructive ludicrousness of the left's insistence last week that McCain's celebrity ad and the right's caricature of Obama as arrogant and presumptuous was "all about race" when, in fact, the right has been caricaturing white Democratic candidates in exactly the same terms for decades. It's a longer, smarter version of the case we were making here the other day. He even takes up Digby's notion of dog whistles. Go. Read it. Now. I'm sure your mother taught you to listen to Momma.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Without You, We're Nothing

Never let it be said that the loyal members of the pack here in Roxie's World don't have their own excellent noses for news. Today's mail bag brings us these tasty treats from dogged readers all over our vast empire -- Well, from MD and MA anyway.
  • Dog-Eared Book writes in from Maddow-landia (western Mass., home of Butch Goddess Rachel Maddow) to let us know that today is Swiss Independence Day. Why is that news in Roxie's World, you ask? Because the Swiss are famous for their neutrality, and Roxie's World, as careful readers know, is officially neutral on the question of whether to vote for Barack Obama for president or stay home and catch up on e-mail on election day. Let's put our paws in the air and send a big yodel out to the Swiss as they celebrate their national day. Yep, here's to the Grutil Pact of 1291!
  • Thanks to Facebook, we have an update from our favorite Obamaniac, Eitan, on a weird local story we've been following on reports of a cougar on the campus of our own Queer the Turtle U. That's right -- a cougar! Here's the story, with vid, from the Baltimore CBS affiliate. It hasn't been confirmed yet, but police are tracking the creature on the ground and from the air. Cougars, you may or may not know, are pretty scarce in these parts. Intriguingly, the species that used to be found in the eastern part of the U.S. is known as the Eastern Puma. We were wondering if there might be any significant political implications to reports of a PUMA prowling wooded areas of the national capital area. Gives you a goosebump or two, doesn't it?
  • Speaking of the Butch Goddess, the Official Prep School Teacher of Roxie's World sent in a YouTube of Dr. Maddow smacking down Pat Buchanan on MSNBC over a quote attributed to Obama (and cited yesterday on Roxie's World). It's fun to see Rache in full-on butch/bitch mode, but we don't think the quote has been fully discredited (though there is debate about Obama's intended meaning), and we still don't think it is always racist to call Obama presumptuous. And, no, we are not defending Pat Buchanan, though there are days when he sounds a whole lot less insane than he used to.
  • Aunt Katie phoned in yesterday before coffee to make sure we caught the day's installment of Doonesbury. It's had a hilarious series this week on Rick Redfern's coverage of Obama's international trip and Joanie Caucus's reaction to Obamania and Hillary Clinton's defeat. We'll offer yesterday's strip as the eye candy for this post and cross our paws that the copyright cops don't come calling. Sh-h-h-h.
Peace out, legions, and have a glorious weekend. Keep the tips and quips a-comin'.