Archive for September, 2008

September 4th 2008
Tuesday morning Barbie blogging: let them eat cake edition

Posted under Dolls & fluff

Today is Historiann’s brother’s birthday–happy birthday, Mark!  Since you never outgrow Barbie cake, here’s one that will give you truly man-sized slices, at man-sized prices.  ($60 for that?  Yegads, even *I* could do better than that with an ovenproof bowl, store-bought icing, and one of my vintage barbies!  Don’t dare me–I just might give it a try.) 

Nothing but the best for you, Markie!  Love ya!  (Cake once again catered by Cakewrecks.)


September 3rd 2008
Sarah Palin speech open thread

Posted under American history & women's history


What do you think?

Did she do well?

Do you think she won any votes or changed any minds?

8:37 MDT:  About special needs children:  “If you elect us, you’ll have a friend and advocate in the White House.”  Good move.

8:40 MDT:  Compares herself to Harry Truman?  Cheesy but effective.

8:42 MDT:  “The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?  Lipstick.”  She can deliver lines like this like Huckabee (a good thing.)

8:43 MDT:  About being mayor:  “Let me explain to [my opponents]  what the job involves…sort of like a community organizer execpt that you have actual responsibilities.”  A predictible invocation of the bitter/cling comments from last spring.

8:44 MDT:  Brings up her “outsider” cred, throws red media-hating meat.

8:46 MDT:  Ethic of public service–”with a servant’s heart,” good dogwhistle to the evangelicals.

8:47 MDT:  Reputation as a reformer:  Against the special interests, oil companies, and the good-old-boys.  “True reform is so hard to achieve.”  “We put the government in Alaska back on the side of the people.”  (Fired the Gov.’s personal chef?  What was she thinking???)

8:49 MDT:  How she uses vetoes and other executive perquisites.  Good use of specific examples of her leadership (however factually shaky!)  She’s building a good narrative about her being large & in charge.  $40 B natural gas pipeline “to lead America to energy independence!”  She makes good points here about dependence on “foreign oil.”  Paycheck issues–cost of gas and heating oil.  “We cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.”  Good laundry list of foreign places, suggesting that she knows what’s going on outside of the U.S.

8:53 MDT:  Re: energy policy:  “The fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse not to do anything at all.”  “We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.” 

8: 55 MDT:  On Obama:  “This is a man who has authored two memoirs, but not a single law…”  “This is a man who can give an entire speech about our wars…and not use the word victory except when talking about his own campaign.”  Funny line about the Greek columns being hauled back to a studio lot.

8:56 MDT:  Obama is for big government, tax increases–says “raise — taxes” many, many times.  Good connection with her sister’s new service station–”How are they going to be better off if taxes go up?”  Talks about people in Michigan and Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, etc.

8:59 MDT:  “There are those who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”  Gets in a dig about the “self-designed presidential seal.”

9:00 MDT:  “A leader who isn’t looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one either.”  Harsh.  You have to admit, she gets the (in the bag, desperately eager) crowd on their feet.

9:02  MDT:  Harry Reid “can’t stand John McCain?”  “Harry Reid can’t stand UP to John McCain!” 

9:03 MDT:  “The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery…not just a community and it doesn’t need an organizer.”  “There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you…and that man is John McCain.”  The line of the night–and not a bad one.

9:04 MDT:  back to the 6 x 4 cell in Hanoi…did I miss something?  Was John McCain a prisoner of war?  (/snark)  Recounts anecdotes of McCain’s captivity:  the optimism in adversity and the toughness of John McCain. 

9:07 MDT:  “John McCain has inspired with his deeds.”  “Join our cause and help America elect a great man…”

Overall, a good speech and very well-delivered.  No surprises–the Republicans are running the 2004 campaign all over again:  Republicans will fight for you, Democrats aren’t tough enough.  She’s a much more appealing messenger of this old message than is Giuliani, Romney, or any of the old guard–I think she could be an effective advocate for McCain on the campaign trail.  The crowd is pretty thrilled–I know it’s a captive audience and they’re desperate to be thrilled, but I think she acquitted herself very well and kept them on their feet.

The only major absence was no cultural issues, none of that kind of red meat tossed out to the base.  Abortion?  Never came up?  “Protecting marriage?”  Nope.  Interesting.

McCain climbed up on stage:  he actually looks diminished by her.  He looks really frail.  (I don’t see TV a lot and ordinarily only hear him on the radio–has he looked this way all through the campaign?)

UPDATE, 9/4/08:  New polling by Rasmussen shows a slight dip in Obama’s lead today, plus indications that Palin and the Republicans are holding their own on the Palin narrative and on her experience:

Last night’s polling shows that, by a ten-to-one margin, voters believe reporters are trying to hurt Palin’s campaign rather than help. Republicans and unaffiliated voters strongly believe that a double standard is being applied to Palin because she is a woman. Democrats disagree. Perhaps most stunning is that, among unaffiliated voters, just 42% believe Obama has better experience than Palin to be President. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say Palin has the edge on experience. Again, most of the interviews for this survey were completed before Palin’s well-received speech last night.

.     .    .    .    .    .    .   

Today is the second straight day that the results have inched very slightly in McCain’s direction as the GOP convention gets underway and seeks to overcome Obama’s convention bounce.

.     .    .    .    .    .    .   

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of Palin. A separate survey found that Obama is number one and Palin number two on the list of candidates people would like to meet.

Just one poll, so take it for what it’s worth, which ain’t much.  I was impressed with Rasmussen’s speed in getting this out this morning, so I thought I’d just pass it along.


September 3rd 2008
You are disturbed people.

Posted under American history & art & Dolls & fluff & the body

Seriously.  What are you googling out there that leads you to

  • disfigurement of Civil War soldiers
  • original barbie
  • Pocahontas
  • pretty 40 year old women
  • hot 40 year old women
  • Burger King crowns
  • full body-length posters of Cher
  • Thomas Cole
  • Captain Scarlet
  • Burning Man naked girls
  • hot women athletes
  • (censored)
  • cod piece/codpiece
  • knitwear
  • forties pinup

It’s times like these that I realize that the vast, vast majority of my fellow citizens use the internets very differently than I do, and to very different ends.  I don’t like the looks of it, but I have to admit that I’m pretty sure which posts those queries led to (except for the Cher query and codpiece.)  They’re not nearly as sick as these babies, which just came in over the transom last night.

  • In 1492, was it OK to beat a woman
  • was it legal to beat a woman in 1492

Yegads.  Is someone plotting domestic violence by time-travel?  But, my fave queries are of course, the philosophical,

  • what is america

And the political:

  • John Adams at his worst

Don’t look for Historiann to be lovin’ up Mr. Second-Worst!  Welcome, my fellow Adams haterz!  You have found a refuge here.


September 2nd 2008
Stand down, Dimmesdales

Posted under American history & book reviews & class & Gender & the body & women's history

I don’t like Sarah Palin’s policies, which are extremely right-wing and are not the direction we need to go.  I don’t want her to be the next Vice President of the United States.  However, speculation about and scrutiny of her body, pregnancy, and sex life, or her daughter’s body, pregnancy, and sex life, and all discussions of leaking amniotic fluid, lactation practices, medical records, or anything at all relating to the sexuality and reproductive history of anyone in the Palin family are disgusting, beside the point, and moreover, a really dumb path for so-called “liberals” and “progressives” to go down.  (Aren’t we the party of sexual and reproductive liberty?  Do we or do we not believe in medical privacy rights?  Or does that all depend on whether we’re sniffing Republican or Democratic panties?)  Besides–guess who else had a teenaged mom (h/t TalkLeft)?

Please see these posts at Roxie’s World and Anglachel on why it’s never appropriate to make any woman’s (or teenaged daughter’s!) sexuality or reproductive history a political talking point, and to ask yourself how you would react if Bristol Palin weren’t just a media image to most of you but rather a student of yours.   (Thanks to Roxie for the Scarlet Letter comparison, a concept that I’ve borrowed from her.  A also stands for Arrogance, friends.)  All of the Dimmesdales out there should remove the logs from their own eyes before scrutinizing others for splinters.  Big Tent Democrat–and Bob Herbert–also explain why the Dimmesdales need to lay off.

Historiann will warn you again:  there are an awful lot of families out there who have dealt with teenaged pregnancy and who are helping to raise their own grandchildren.  Are those families going to be more sympathetic to the Palin family, or to the people who are gossiping about and laughing at them like city slicker collegiates chuckling at the antics of the small-town rubes?  Figure it out.  Doing the right thing morally just might be the right thing politically.

Here endeth the lesson.


September 1st 2008
A real pregnancy, and a boneheaded Biden remark. Surprised?

Posted under American history & Gender & the body & women's history

Well, kids:  you gotta hand it to John McCain.  He’s made Democrats go totally crayzee with his choice of VP!

First of all, via Shakesville, the Palin family has announced that their eldest daughter Bristol is currently five months pregnant, which pretty much scotches the tacky rumormongering that Sarah Palin’s youngest son Trig is her grandson, and not her son.  The young lady and her baby’s father plan to marry and raise their child together.  Seems to me like there are a lot of families in this situation today–Dems will push unsourced rumors and nasty comments about other people’s sex lives at their peril.  (Hey–aren’t we also the party that stays out of people’s bedrooms?  Like we’re also the party of feminist values, I guess.)  D’ya still want to go after her for going after her wife-beating, stepson-tasing ex-brother in law?  Does anyone have some dirt on the kid who’s off to Iraq this fall?  Well, do ya, punks?

And secondly, also via Shakesville, Joe Biden steps in it this morning, at a rally in Historiann’s hometown, no less:

“There’s a gigantic difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent,” Biden said at an outdoor rally Sunday, getting ready to hit the GOP ticket for their economic policies.

“She’s good-looking,” he quipped.

Heh heh heh.  What’s the matter, honey?  Can’t you take a joke?  You should smile more, with such a pretty face.  And Gloria Steinem was just a slut from East Toledo!  Heh heh heh.

Keep it up, Dems!  Remember:  the people don’t think you’re laughing at Palin.  They think you’re laughing at them.


September 1st 2008
Palin, polls, and election follow-up

Posted under American history & women's history

NPR Sunday morning aired a brief interview with Kaylene Johnson, the author of a biography about Sarah Palin.  She was originally a skeptic who became an admirer.  Johnson’s number one piece of advice in dealing with Palin:  don’t underestimate her.  Zuzu at Shakesville smells a Rovian trap being set and baited with Palin.  That’s pretty muich what I think I was getting at in my posts Saturday cautioning Dems against the MILF, GILF, and VPILF jokes, although I disagree with Zuzu in that Karl Rove’s supposed supergenius is a bit tarnished these days.  (Remember that Permanent Republican Majority?  Kind of like the Tausendjähriges Reich, ain’t it?)

Still, this seems to me like a boneheaded move:  McCain/Palin effectively against equal pay.  Since the Dems made the Ledbetter decision such a big part of their convention, and even invited Lily Ledbetter to speak there, it would have been smart political judo for McCain to come out in support of equal pay.  But, as I have argued elsewhere, Palin is on the ticket because of her reputation as an ideologue.  Most pundits and bloggers are only talking about her XX chromosomes, as though that’s all she brings to the table.  (And who’s being patronizing and sexist with this line of analysis?  No sitting male governor of a small state like Delaware, Vermont, Rhode Island, Wyoming, or North Dakota would be subjected to this kind of derision.  With “friends” like these, feminists don’t need enemies.)  She’s playing well with Western Republicans, as I predicted.

The early polling is encouraging for McCain, although Obama is still ahead outside of the margins of error.  (The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll has Obama up 48% to McCain’s 42%, and Rasmussen pins them at 47-44, advantage Obama.)  McCain appears to have blunted Obama’s convention bump with his Friday VP announcement, and early polling on Palin (both for herself, and her potential effects on the McCain ticket) looks good:

There have been significant changes in perception of John McCain in the two days of polling since he named Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Since then, 49% of Republicans voice a Very Favorable opinion of McCain. That’s up six percentage points from 43% just before the announcement. Also, 64% of unaffiliated voters now give positive reviews to McCain, up ten points since naming his running mate.

There has been little change in perceptions of Obama since his Thursday night speech and the Palin announcement (see trends and other recent demographic observations).

Palin herself made a good first impression and is now viewed favorably by 53% of voters nationwide. Her counterpart, Joe Biden, is viewed favorably by 48%. While Palin has made a good first impression, the more significant numbers will come a week from now after the nation has a chance to learn more about her.

This election is still Obama’s to lose, and his bus trip this weekend is a good way to shore up support in a region that desperately needs Democratic policies and leadership in the White House.  It will be interesting to see which candidate will break the 50% threshhold–both candidiates have been dinking around in the 40s all summer long.  My guess is that it will be Obama, although I don’t know what he (or the electorate) are waiting for.  Will this election be decided only on election day?  Or will something happen to cause a break one way or the other, sooner rather than later?

Anyhoo, happy Labor Day.  It’s also Monocle Man’s birthday–here’s another Cakewrecks creation for you, MM.  At least there’s 10 more years to your next zero-birthday!


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