Friday, July 30, 2004

Boston Herald v. Reality 

The Boston Herald has now published what they say is a transcript of Rep. Barney Frank's speech to the DNC tonight.  This must be his submitted speech, because it's not the one he gave. 

Compare their version to Boston.com's transcript, which is the text of what he actually said this evening.

He spoke boldly and honestly, and touched my heart.  Thank you, Congressman.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:28 AM

DNC Thursday: John Kerry 

John Kerry – And Kerry works his way through the adoring crowd, shaking hands and giving his Secret Service agents a run for their money.  The delegates and visitors go wild, as Bruce Springstein provides the soundtrack over the loudspeakers. 

“I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty!” 

“We have it in our power to change the world, but only if we’re true to our ideals.  And that starts by telling the truth to the American people.  That is my first pledge to you tonight.  As president, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House.” 

“For all those who believe that our best days are ahead of us, with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.” 
 
He thanked the other primary candidates very diplomatically – in alphabetical order. 

“Tonight we have an important message for those who question the patriotism of those who offer a better direction for our country.  Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes to the truth, and their ears, they should remember what America is really all about.  They should remember the great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives.  Our purpose now is to reclaim our democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say ‘America can do better,’ that is not a challenge to patriotism.  It is the heart and soul of patriotism.” 

“I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush.  In the weeks ahead, let’s be optimists, not just opponents.  Let’s build unity in the American family, not angry division.  Let’s honor this nation’s diversity.  Let’s respect one another.  And let’s never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.”
  And the crowd goes wild again. 

“It is time to reach for the next dream.  It is time to look to the next horizon.  For America, the hope is there, the sun is rising, and our best days are still to come!” 

Hear, hear.

 Wrap up with the carefully orchestrated photo setups.  First Kerry waves and thanks everyone, then add Edwards.  The two of them wave and thank everyone.  Then add the wives.  Group shots.  Enter offspring.  Drop balloons and confetti.  For the big finish, bring on everyone who spoke on his behalf onto the stage for a big lovefest.  My god – look at all the balloons they’ve got up in the ceiling.  This could go on forever.  I, however, cannot.  Today’s posts have already reached epic proportions, and I must go to sleep.

******
UPDATE:  Full text and video here.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:15 AM

DNC Thursday: Lieberman through Cleland 

NOTE: Transcripts and videos of speeches can be found at Boston.com.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (CT) – The band played “Coming To America” from The Jazz Singer remake (with Neil Diamond). I wonder how Sen. Lieberman feels about that? The main character in that movie struggles between his faith and his ambition, and for a time turns his back on both his religion and his family. I really enjoyed this movie, by the way. I also had the album (yes, vinyl).

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA), House Democratic Leader – Oh look – they’ve given the delegates “We Can Do It” signs with Rosie the Riveter. I have that mug and lunchbox! Rep. Pelosi emphasizes the importance of letting the public know who the Democratic Party is, what we stand for, how we plan to achieve our goals, and how those goals will benefit the country. She then explained a number of specific differences in the philosophies of the two parties. She vaguely referenced the FMA battle, mentioning that Democrats are against ALL forms of discrimination, and that the Democrats don’t use the politics of fear to divide and distract the country.

Willie Nelson – This is not a catchy tune. I challenge anyone out there to start whistling it. They were running the lyrics along on one of the display screens, like the delegates could just start singing along. It’s just not that kind of song.

Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State – Lots of statements about how John Kerry will conduct foreign policy, and how he will not. Coincidentally, the ways he will not are the ways the Bush administration currently does. As other naturalized citizen speakers, she discusses her arrival in the country at the age of 11. I’m guessing that party officials are hoping to stress how we are a country of immigrants, with some just more newly arrived, and hoping to discourage the periodic immigrant bashing trends that unfortunately arise. Good, solid speech. Standing ovation.

Alfre Woodward, Actress – Introduced a series of widely diverse groups of Americans: teachers, farmers, working mothers, college students, young Hispanic voters, firefighters, seniors, religious leaders [oh look – there’s Barack Obama shaking Joe Kennedy’s hand! Hi Barack! Hi Joe!], healthcare workers, veterans, and teamsters. She was great in Star Trek: First Contact. "It's my first ray gun."

Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend. Of course I love this song. She looks great! Love the outfit. She invites the delegates to join in on the last chorus, and the arena melts into a display of hugging, swaying, huggy bears singing along. But it works for me, because I’m such a sap.

Heinz and Kerry kids. Devoted, loving, heartfelt public speakers.

John Kerry Biographical Film – The film to introduce Kerry to the American public. The Kerry version of Clinton’s “The Man From Hope.” Narrated by Ossie Davis, I think. Did you know he played guitar in a high school band called “The Electras,” and they even made themselves a record? Well-made film, covers all the questions.

Max Cleland, Former United States Senator (GA) – Was that Rob Reiner sitting next to Hillary Clinton? Sen. Cleland gave a warm speech, reinforcing all that had been said throughout the night.

Amazon links:

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:03 AM
Thursday, July 29, 2004

DNC Thursday: Wesley Clark 

General Wesley Clark (Ret.) – Psych! Here’s the man I lobbied vigorously for during the primaries. Nice tie. Where are these guys getting all the great ties? Is there a special tie supplier to the DNC? He got the whole audience to give a rousing standing ovation to American soldiers and veterans, to show the world that the Democratic Party supports the military. Followed up with a moment of silence for soldiers killed in battle. And the arena fell completely silent. Great strategy, because when he resumed speaking, the crowd listened attentively, then burst into applause and a standing ovation for Clark. Now he’s praising the flag, believably – this guy is amazing. “John Kerry fought a war, and I respect him for that. And he came home to fight a peace. And I respect him for that too.” The crowd goes wild again. This is a high ranking former military officer, praising Kerry for both his wartime service and his wartime protests. Big, fabulous finish, and the delegates explode once more. Attention John Kerry: please appoint this man to a high office in your administration. Secretary of State would do nicely, thank you.

****************
UPDATE: Full text and video here.

Amazon links:

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:58 PM

DNC Thursday: Mfume through Biden 

NOTE: Transcripts and videos of speeches can be found at Boston.com.

Kweisi Mfume, President NAACP – The NAACP also requested that they be allowed to speak at the Republican National Convention, and like at the last RNC, they have not yet been invited to do so. He came out very strongly for all types of equality, particularly for freedom of choice. Made a vague jab at the Republicans for trying to hijack the Constitution. Spoke out against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, gay-bashing, and immigrant-bashing. Pointed out that bigots come in all colors. Fabulous speech.

The 42 Democratic Women of the U.S. House of Representatives – Hey, that’s a colorful assortment of outfits (except three on the left are in nearly identical blue), and a diverse group of women.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY) – The representative in peach standing behind Rep. Slaughter looks like she’s in pain. What an odd smile. The rep on the other side looks like she’s in shock. Kind of a bizarre statement about how women know how to balance a budget since we do it at home and we do it with our checkbooks. Is she trying to appeal to “middle America?” Do those voters actually still believe that women’s experience with budgets is solely from household budgets and personal checkbooks?

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) – Spoke eloquently about the lack of voting and other citizenship rights for the population of DC. Particularly stressed that no American should be subject to taxation without representation, or be serving the military in Iraq without having adequate representation in Congress.

Gov. Mark Warner (VA) – He may have defeated the odds by become a Democratic governor of Virginia, but he still couldn’t stop the state legislature from enacting the most extreme and discriminatory gay marriage ban in the country.

Ooo – Smackdown on the delegates. Take your seats or we can’t continue. Hey – they’re continuing anyway!

Rep. Edward Markey (MA) – He’s my Representative. He also needs a new hairstyle. This one reminds me of John Walton (Sr., not John-Boy). He’s also another one who apparently can’t address a crowd without shouting, regardless of the microphone technology.

John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO – This guy and his friends are so boring that the camera operator for some reason decided to show us some guy’s back in the stage wings.

America the Beautiful, Mavis Staples – My goodness, her voice is much deeper than I expected. The Girl is very excited, because she says Mavis Staples one of The Staple Singers, who she thinks are absolutely fabulous. Oh look! John Cusack and Ben Affleck! Hi John! Hi Ben! I prefer this song to the Star Spangled Banner, although I’ll admit that both can get to me when performed well, which this absolutely was. The crowd unanimously agrees.

Sen. Joseph Biden (DE) – Joe’s a smooth dresser. “...win the death struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism.” I hope he is including all forms of radical fundamentalism. It’s a bit harsh to call it a death struggle, though. We should try to win people over, not rub them out. He’s the ranking democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he uses a phrase like “liberate us from the suffocating grip of the Middle East”? Is that particularly conducive to good relations with our middle eastern neighbors?

Amazon links:

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:47 PM

Barney Frank Rocks My World 

He gets his own posting. 

Rep. Barney Frank (MA) comes on stage.  Yay!  All the Stonewall Democrats are waving their premade signs.  And he looks marvelous!  I wouldn’t have thought to combine the diagonal striped tie with the pinstripe suit, but it works.  Oh shit – he’s actually going to talk about marriage!  Yay!!!!!!!  He’s working from written comments, so I’m guessing that this kick-ass speech was not officially approved by the people doing the screening.  His voice is cracking, he’s on the edge of tears, and I’ve moved right past that edge.  He’s wrapping up now, and getting lots of audience love.  I have to rewind and replay. 

The part that really got the crowd (and me) going was this: 

"I’m gonna come clean.  You hear them talk about the gay agenda, and I’m going to be honest with you now: the fact is, we who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, we do have an agenda, and here it is.
-We think we should be able to fight for our country like John Kerry, and serve in the military.
-We believe, revolutionary as it may sound to Rick Santorum and Tom DeLay and Jerry Falwell, we believe people ought to be able to be hired for a job and be judged solely on how well they do the work, and not on what somebody else thinks about who they are.
-We go so far as to believe that a 15 year old who is different in a lot of ways sexually from others ought to be able to go to high school without getting beaten up. I admit it, we believe that.
-And we even believe, it’s true, that when two people are in love and are willing to be morally and legally committed to each other and financially responsible to each other, that if they are prepared to get married, it’s a good thing for the stability of society.  We believe that."
  (This is where his voice began breaking.)
 
He later said that although we don’t know why we are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, we just are, we do know why we are Democrats:  
"Because it is the Democratic party, as opposed to our very right wing Republican opponents, who support that agenda of allowing us to fight, of allowing us to marry, of allowing us to go forward as human beings with the rights of everyone else, and it is the Republican Party that opposes us…  When Ralph Nader tells us that there is no significant difference between the parties, he trivializes our lives.  Among the differences between the parties of overpowering significance are the differences that exist on the right of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered to be treated fairly, with the same rights as every other American."

This is just the best.  I'm so happy.
***********
UPDATE:  Full text and video here



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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:47 PM

DNC Thursday 4-6 

NOTE: Transcripts and videos of speeches can be found at Boston.com  (DNC is a little slow in posting Thursday's links).

As you may have noticed, I’m not doing a lot of in depth analysis of the text of the speeches.  You can get the text (or video) from the official convention site, and you can get analysis everywhere.  Think of me as your color commentator for this final day of the convention.

National Anthem, Sergeant Dan Clark, Massachusetts State Police – My goodness that was a dramatic rendition.  The audience seemed to dig it, but I kept having visions of Nelson Eddy and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or like he was trying to pump up the troops to take Iwo Jima.  Hey, whatever it takes to stir Democrats into action and retake the White House come November. 

As the color guard was marching off, I could here the guy calling the cadence, and the guy in back clearly was off.  He kept stuttering his step, trying to get in synch, but just couldn’t do it. 

James Socas, Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (VA) – This guy. Puts. Too. Much.  Emphasis.  On words.  And phrases.  And his hand gestures remind me of an infomercial pitchman.  Plus he repeats.  He repeats.  Opening phrases too much.  He also needs to figure out how to keep the mic in front of his mouth as he turns to address the various areas of the arena.  “This year, we will take back our country.”  Okay, I’m all for that.

Jack Ford, Mayor of Toledo, OH – When he greeted his “fellow Ohioans,” it sounded like he was greeting his fellow biones.  Has Mayor Ford had full face botox injections?  His expression is totally flat.  His point is that we all must fight with all we have to get Kerry-Edwards elected.  He went so far as to describe it as a “hand-to-hand” battle.  I’m not sure I want it to get to that level. 

Kwong Kow Chinese School Drum Ensemble, Boston – These kids look like they’re having a blast, particularly the one in the center who seemed to be the leader.  All but one of them are girls – The Girl would be so happy to see a stage full of girl drummers.  But she works until 5:00. 

Rep. Corrine Brown (FL) – “God is good.  All the time God is good.”  That’s an unusual opening.  She’s very proud of having spoken out on the House floor in protest of the handling of the 2000 Florida election.  Her comments were stripped from the Congressional Record, so apparently she’s going to repeat them here.  Why were they stripped from the Record?  Was it because she didn’t use proper grammar?  Because she’s flubbing it quite a bit here.  I like her analogy of the Democrats to Drive and the Republicans to Reverse, and that we need Kerry-Edwards to Drive us forward into the future.  Ooo – visual aids (pink slip).  “May God continue to bless America.”  At least she’s not repeating the same closings. 

Fernando Ferrer, Former Bronx Borough President, NY (1987-2001) – Continuing the themes of hope and opportunity.

Jean Carnahan, Former U.S. Senator (2001-2003, MO),  – She’s proud to have served in the Senate with Senators Kerry and Edwards.  They will fight for “those who have no voice.”  She seems like she could be a fiery speaker, but is holding back.  And she’s very beige.  Good closing though.  Quotes Carl Sandberg: “We are Americans.  Nothing like us ever was.” 

Francis Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, MO – He needs a new hairstyle.  “The home of the world’s largest brewery.”  Good thing temperance isn’t making a comeback at this convention.  “Yet children will continue to be left behind if the federal government fails to meet its obligations.”  Another slam at the inadequately funded No Child Left Behind program.  He wants a government whose priorities are children and strong, healthy families.  Does his vision include embracing gay families.  At least more than the convention has? 

C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President, New York – Nice suit and pearls.  She knows about struggle, but also about hope and how hope can lead to success.  She’s giving a good speech, with good delivery, but what’s with the two doofuses standing behind her, pointing and chuckling at something in the audience?  Can’t someone tell them they’re on camera?

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ) – He has a very distracting vocal habit of adding “heh-heh” or something like that at the end of a sentence when he’s going to take a pause.  Protect families, protect the country.  He’s the second one to compare the building of firehouses in Iraq with the closing of them in NYC (Fernando Ferrer was the first).  He pronounced “Kerry” like “Curry.”  Would that be the Curry-Masala ticket?  Blah, blah, blah.  Does he know there’s a microphone, and he doesn’t have to shout himself hoarse? 

Rep. Jim Davis (FL) – What an odd tie.  It’s red, with overlapping diagonal stripes, kind of like a plaid but not really.  Another slam at No Child Left Behind.  He ended rather abruptly, and didn’t get much of a response. 

Rep. Steve Israel (NY) – He seems like a nice guy.  I bet he’d be entertaining at a cookout.  He did an odd thing by saying “As Senator John Kerry has pledged, ‘If I am president…’” and then continued the quote, which included another iteration of “If I am president.”  It sounded like he’s running for president himself.  Lots of God blesses for everyone. 

Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA) – “We came here seeking a president who respects the primacy of the United States Constitution and its bedrock principles of liberty, justice and equality.”  His eyebrows are motionless. 

Sen. Jack Reed (RI) – Kerry will increase the size of the military and make sure they have body armor and armored vehicles, but will build coalitions.  Big focus on military and intelligence.  This guy was refreshing – he didn’t open with a long litany of his own accomplishments, and didn’t end by asking God to bless America, the people, the troops, the delegates, their families, their pets, the loading dock workers, or their pets. 

Winning entry of DNC’s American Made Convention Ad Contest (selected by public internet voting) – the opening reminds me of old Soviet propaganda film.  Nice catch line – “Not left, not right, but forward.” 

Rep. John Lewis (GA) – The politics of hope, the politics of the possible.  “It does not matter that our foremothers and our forefathers all came to this great land in different ships.  We all are in the same boat now.”  Very high level inspirational speech, not much substance.  I think he would have done better with a bigger audience. 

Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer SEIU and Teri Murphy, registered nurse and member SEIU Local 199 (Dubuque, Iowa) – Somebody needs to cut off Anna Burger from her caffeine supply.  Maybe it can be forwarded to Teri Murphy.  They said stuff about healthcare.  And asked us to stand with them.

They’ve picked up the transitional pace quite a bit this evening.  Speaker off, speaker on, speaker off, speaker on.  The previous evenings had much more down time during which they’d pan the crowd. 

Sen. Byron Dorgan (ND) – Is this the official hairstyle of middle aged legislators?  Nice suit, though.  Jobs, energy, farmers.  He’d like a rural version of urban renewal.  This guy defines vanilla.

Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer AFL-CIO – He talked about JOBS.  Seriously, he must have used the word a couple of dozen times, and each time pronounced it JOBS.

Sen. Carl Levin (MI) – What was the point of wearing reading glasses, especially perched way at the end of his nose, if he wasn’t going to use them?  They just make him look like Ben Franklin.  He’s the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Maybe he’s used to wearing them during hearings so he can look down at the witnesses through them and look intimidating.  Maybe he just forgot he had them on.  Military policy and wise restraint.  He tried to get people fired up, but I don’t think it’s in him.

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA) – Wow, that is one bright red, heavily accessorized jacket.  She’s on the House Armed Services Committee, so she pretty much repeated what Sen. Levin said.  Maybe they could have spread the two of them out a bit in the lineup.  The background crowd noise seemed to be a little louder while she was talking.  Perhaps it’s just that more delegates are arriving, though. 

Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) – The announcer is a Boxer fan, judging by the voiceover introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, give a hearty round of applause for United States Senator Barbara Boxer of California.”  And they did.  Now she looks relaxed in front of a large audience.  She looks like she’s talking to the people, instead of simply orating. 

Has “God bless ____” become a mandated part of each speaker’s text?

Gov. Gary Locke (WA) – With hard work and opportunity, anyone can succeed in America.  “America has the technology,” and we can rebuild it.  Okay, I paraphrased, but I think I captured the spirit. 

A number of distinguished speakers officially nominated John Edwards for Vice President.  What a surprise.  More of the same.  To be honest, I was a bit behind the live broadcast at this point, and Tivo’d through some of them once it was clear it would be more of the same.  He was then nominated by acclimation.  Call me a sentimental American sap, but I got kind of choked up when the delegate moved to nominate by acclimation, and when the crowd roared in response to the request for acclimation.  Yeah, I bitch and moan and pick and criticize, but at the core I’m just like most of the speakers.  I love what America can be, and I believe in the idea that is America. 

 Rep. Michael Michaud (ME) – He said some stuff.  He was boring.  I tuned him out.  My legs are stretched out on the ottoman, and my two cats are piled on my feet, keeping me warm and cozy.  How can this dull and uninspiring speaker hope to compete with that? 

It must be time for me to get away from the tv for a few minutes.  Thank you, Tivo!



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Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:51 PM

Sex Toys in Alabama: Own, Use, Give - But Don't Sell 

In a 64-page opinion, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Alabama's statute prohibiting "the sale—but not the use, possession, or gratuitous distribution—of sexual devices" which are "designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs," as reported on Earthlink.  You can view the Alabama code here.  Unfortunately, the site doesn't allow a direct link, so once you're on the page, just click through to Section 13A-12-200.2.  Opinion author Circuit Judge Birch, points out that the sale of lots of things are allowed under the statute: 
The law does not affect the distribution of a number of other sexual products such as ribbed condoms or virility drugs. Nor does it prohibit Alabama residents from purchasing sexual devices out of state and bringing them back into Alabama. Moreover, the statute permits the sale of ordinary vibrators and body massagers that, although useful as sexual aids, are not “designed or marketed . . . primarily” for that particular purpose. Id. Finally, the statute  exempts sales of sexual devices “for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose.”
This statute is from the Criminal Code Chapter on Offenses Against Public Health and Morals.  How is it that the possession, gift, use, or transportation into the state of these items isn't a problem, but the sale of them is a threat to public health and morals? 

The court rejected the ACLU's request that it recognize a constitutional right to sexual privacy.  The opinion does point out that: 
If the people of Alabama in time decide that a prohibition on sex toys is misguided, or ineffective, or just plain silly, they can repeal the law and be finished with the matter.
Circuit Judge Barkett dissents: 
The majority’s decision rests on the erroneous foundation that there is no substantive due process right to adult consensual sexual intimacy in the home and
erroneously assumes that the promotion of public morality provides a rational basis to criminally burden such private intimate activity. These premises directly conflict with the Supreme Court’s holding in Lawrence v. Texas, 123 S. Ct. 2472 (2003).


This case is not, as the majority’s demeaning and dismissive analysis suggests, about sex or about sexual devices. It is about the tradition of American citizens from the inception of our democracy to value the constitutionally protected right to be left alone in the privacy of their bedrooms and personal relationships.
 
A similar statute is being challenged in Texas.  Misdemeanor charges have recently been dropped against Joanne Webb, a consultant for Passion Parties, Inc.  The dismissal was requested by the Johnson County, as the case was seen as a waste of county resources.  The federal challenge is being handled by BeAnn Sisemore, who also handled Webb's case. 

UPDATE:  Check out the Dallas Observer's detailed article on Webb's arrest and events leading up to it, as well as a short history of the sex toy industry and related statutes.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:26 AM
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

DNC Wednesday Early Speakers 

First, a note I forgot to include with my impressions on the speakers I watched yesterday:

Ossie Davis - I love him! And he plays such a bastard on The L Word. Bette should have walked out on him and gone home with Tina. He's lost a bunch of weight lately. But his tie is fabulous. He introduced Peter, Paul and Mary with the same introduction he used when introducing them at the 1963 March on Washington on the day of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech.

Now, early speakers from today:

Gov. Stuwart Paisano (Sandia Pueblo, NM) - New Mexico has a governor for each of its 19 Pueblos, plus the governor of the state. Gov. Paisano seems intelligent and personable, but I get the impression that hetalksalotfasterthanusualwhenhe'snervous. Tribal sovereignty, health care, education, multiculturalism, diversity.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (Louisiana) - Look - it's Tammy Lynn Michaels!!! Okay, maybe it's just a distant relative. Again, intelligent and personable, but in this case I think she tends to slow her speech and overenunciate when in the spotlight. If not, they must hate it when she gets up to speak on the Senate floor. It could take forever. Sen. Landrieu wants you to know that Kerry and Edwards have southern values, despite what the divisive politicians might want you to think. Lots of people have handwritten signs supporting Sen. Landrieu. I guess the mass printed signs that get widely distributed are only for prime time speakers.

Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (TN) - He was the keynote speaker in 2000. Work hard, realize your dreams. Unify the nation. He must have worked on his speech up to the last minute, because he keeps looking down to check his hard copy instead of working from the teleprompter. Lots of energy, but he kept the energy level and vocal tone at the same high level throughout, which kind of takes away from the effect.

State Senator Diane Wilkerson (MA) - Go Diane! She was one of the most vocal opponents of the gay marriage ban being amended into the state constitution. Today she touched on healthcare, education, freedom of choice, civil rights, labor rights, wise decisions on national security.

Now, in the interest of relationship management, I've negotiated with The Girl that I'll turn off the convention for the rest of today in exchange for having total uninterrupted viewing of tomorrow's broadcast, when all the speakers I'm really looking forward to will be on. Have a good evening!

Amazon links:

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:53 PM

Kerry's Daughter Supports Gay Marriage 

365Gay.com reports that Vanessa Kerry, John Kerry's 27-year-old daughter and Harvard Medical School student, was asked at a Q&A session if she differed with any of her father's issue positions.  "Gay marriage," she responded.  She added that her father is supportive of gay rights, and that she is proud of his politics.  Boston.com has a more extensive article on the campaign efforts underway by the two sisters.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:14 PM

X Prize Attempt Scheduled 

SpaceShipOne, the vessel that recently became the first privately funded piloted vehicle to enter space, is now scheduled to commence its official attempt at the X Prize on September 29.  This flight will differ from the test flight in that in addition to the pilot it will have to carry cargo that simulates the mass of two passengers, and the flight will have to be repeated within two weeks of the first successful flight.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:53 PM

Barack Obama 

I just caught a video of Illinois State Senator Barak Obama's keynote address from last night's DNC. The official DNC website doesn't yet have his video posted, but his transcript is up now and his video will be added to the page soon, I'm sure. For now, NECN has a video of the speech up on their site.

I wasn't sure whether he'd be able to live up to the massive hype he's been getting of late, but in my opinion he exceeded it. He's being touted as one of the up and coming bright lights of the Democratic Party, and hopefully he'll be able to continue on that path. I'd like to see a lot more of him on the American political scene, starting with his bid this fall to become a U.S. Senator. His campaign site also has a blog.

Here's an excerpt from his speech:

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief—I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper—that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America—there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

The words themselves are great, but check out the video if you haven't yet already. He's an enthralling speaker, and he really pulled the crowd into the spirit with him. He also has an autobiography, published in 1995, called Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. I haven't read it, so if anyone out there has maybe you can let me know what you thought.

Amazon links:

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:27 AM

DNC and Academy Awards 

Ways the DNC and Academy Awards ceremony are similar events:

-Events are scheduled and produced for the tv audience.
-Many speakers do so in an effort to solidify their reputation and expand their future opportunities.
-Speakers are urged not to be blatantly critical of the present administration (by name, anyway).
-High security levels.
-The audience gets lots of airtime.
-Previous winners are always given mic time.
-Most of the current year's contenders are given mic time.
-Music to accompany the speaker walk-ons and walk-offs. 
-Fashion watch.  Elegant couture to crazy hats.
-The biggest audience draws are saved until the very end, when much of the at-home viewing  audience has fallen asleep.
-Most people pay attention to the event in some way, at least by checking the news the next day.
-Many people watch some but not nearly all of the coverage.
-Some people watch all of the prime time coverage.
-A few hard core viewers watch the whole thing, start to end, including the pre- and post-event events, and then discuss and analyze it endlessly with other like-minded individuals. 
-Breakfast parties, lunch parties, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and just plain party parties.
-Gift bags.
-It always goes long.
-You can't get inside without an invitation.
-Political protests are kept outside.  Preferably out of sight. 
-Glenn Close, Michael Moore.
-Expansive use of the phrases, "Thank you" and "God bless." 
-I want to attend at least one before I die.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:16 AM
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

DNC Tuesday Early Evening Speakers 

Sen. Jon Corzine (NJ) – The little descriptor says “R-New Jersey, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman.”  Is he a republican?  Am I missing something?  No, his Senate page lists him as a democrat.  Huh.  Good get out the vote, electrify the electorate speech, but he seemed to get bogged down reading the teleprompter occasionally.  The crowd seemed to respond well to him, and I don’t think they were ALL from New Jersey. 

Missouri State Treasurer and Senate candidate Nancy Farmer – “It is such an honor to represent the show me state today.”  Pause.  Too long of a pause.  What’s up with that?  Hoping to be the first woman elected to the Senate from Missouri.  She brought up the mystery of the missing funding for No Child Left Behind.  Score! 

Uh-oh – Memorial montage.  Where are the tissues?  Yup – here come the tears.  And they haven’t gotten to Paul Wellstone yet.  There he is – oh shit – they’re using his voice, too.  Okay, I’m a mess now.

Sen. Tom Carper (DE) – It cost him $35 to fill up his minivan the other day.  “I am troubled by the notion that, my friends, some of my $35 is going to end up in the hands of people who will use that money to harm us and our people.”  Isn’t that a little overly broad and divisive?  Oh good – we can burn coal cleaner than natural gas.  Let’s go strip mine more of the countryside.  “North Dakota is the Saudi Arabia of wind.”  I can’t even begin to go into the images that’s creating.  Rather than ignore the potential of nuclear energy, we should work on a way to safely dispose of nuclear waste.  How about figuring out how not to create so much waste?  He said some stuff about soybeans and diesel fuel, too.  Maybe it was just his presentation, but I found him a little scary.

Rep. Adam Smith (WA) – Dude, brown’s not your color.  At least it shouldn’t be.   Especially when one of your topics is “real strength.”  Oh wait – he worked his way through college by loading trucks for UPS.  I guess he never lost the loyalty to the UPS color.  He moved along, though, and was engaging enough.  I think he only had about a minute, though. 

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL) –Kerry, Edwards.  “They are the team to defeat the right wing.  They are the right team for new rights, so we may fulfill our nation’s single proposition that all men and women are created equal.”  Wow.  What a great speaker.  I was totally focused on him – took my fingers away from the keyboard entirely until he finished.  I hope he continues to be a featured speaker at high profile events (hopefully in a better time slot next time). 

Deb Callahan, President, League of Conservation Voters – Blah, blah, blah.  I rewound and watched Rep. Jackson again.

David Passafaro, President, Boston 2004 Host Committee – Blah, blah, blah.

Mayor Doug Palmer, Trenton, NJ – Nice smile, sparkly eyes, spiffy suit.  He compares Washington’s crossing the Delaware to Kerry’s Vietnam War boat duty.  I’ve been to one of the annual recreations of the crossing held upriver from Trenton, at the aptly named Washington’s Crossing.  Just thought you’d want to know.  He sounds like a real law and order kind of mayor. 

James Hoffa, Teamsters President – Did you know that Teamsters make up 25% of the delegates?  Me either.  Turns out John Kerry joined Teamsters Local 25 in Somerville during the summer of 1962.  He closed with calls for God to bless just about everyone.  Guess he’s really got connections. 

Joe Manchin, Candidate for Governor, WV – blah, blah, blah.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (KS) – I love how the entire podium moves up and down to accommodate the varying heights of the speakers.  She never faced front.  Left teleprompter, right teleprompter, left teleprompter, right teleprompter.  It’s like she’s watching a really slow game of tennis.  Or beginning level Pong.  And her energy level matches.  Zzzzz.

Denise Stokes, AIDS educational consultant – Love her suit, love her pendant.  Living with HIV for 22 years.  Very engaging speaker, very important topic.  And she included transgendered people.

Time to get dinner ready.  I’ll Tivo the rest and then zip through it later.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:24 PM

DNC Tuesday Afternoon Speakers 

The giant tv has gone to the hospital, and I wrestled the medium size one downstairs into the entertainment center.  All hooked up, and able to display most of the afternoon speakers.  Here are my impressions as they happened:

Betsy Cavendish – NARAL – seemed like she was delivering a standup routine.  Very odd energy.  Just walked away when she was done.  “The right way to protect our freedom, the right way to protect our future.”  Ended on a low energy tone and volume.  No “Thank you!”  Made it seem incomplete.  Maybe if there had been a larger number of delegates present, or if any of them had thought to cheer, it would have been better.  She definitely had supporters present – there was a little cluster of them in front, waving their signs.  Why didn’t any of them applaud, whistle or otherwise signal their support so she wouldn’t have to walk off the stage in silence?

Rep. John Tanner (TN) – Anyone? Anyone? Ferris?  But see?  If you say thank you and wave your hand when you’re done, it’s like an alarm clock that reminds everyone that it’s time to applaud.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA) – Good energy, appropriate emphasis.  Wow – she and her sister are both members of congress, the first sisters to be both elected?  Good plan – go into congress with a ready-made ally!  She’s also a “proud, dues-paying member of the IBEW union.”  Hope it’s not IBEW 103.  Probably not, since she’s from California.  Good bilingual, upbeat closing and exit.

Rep. Nita Lowey (NY) – Not a good idea to open your speech with images of death by diarrhea.  Work into it after a couple of paragraphs.  The blue on her jacket makes her blend right into the backdrop.  “More than a million billion people live on less than one dollar a day.”  Her delivery gave no indication that this was a correction from “million” to “billion.”  It sounded like 1,000,000,000,000,000 people are eking out life on $365/year.  I know the population’s been growing rapidly, but WOW!  Good thing she pointed out that Kerry-Edwards will put more funding into family planning.  “God bless America” with a hand wave works for a closing too.

Rep. Diana DeGette (CO) – Hey, she’s kind of cute and peppy.  Whoops – she lost the energy once she got to the podium.  Important topic (stem cell research), but dull delivery.  Good thing I was watching this on Tivo, as I kept drifting off. 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR) – Okay.  Black jacket, white shirt, blue grid-patterned bow tie and a large red bicycle lapel pin.  Is he the love child of Orville Redenbacher and C.W. Post?  Pretty good delivery of environmental concerns and energy policy, though.  For some reason the camera (C-SPAN) shifted to the back of his head during his closing.  Kind of diminished the impact.

Break time.

HEY – It’s delegate Rick, from the Orange Line yesterday!  He’s chatting up some other young woman delegate, not the one from yesterday!  Hi Rick!

T-shirt on random delegate – Go vote, Go run, Go lead, Go girl – where do I get one of those?  Looks like voterunleague.com.  Here's their store.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:14 PM

Thursday DNC Speakers 

I just took a look at Thursday's speaker preview - I'm psyched.  On the lineup (including the DNC description):

-Madeline Albright, Former Secretary of State
-Wesley Clark, Four Star General, 2004 Presidential Candidate
-Ed Markey, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
-Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Representative from the District of Columbia
-Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative from California, Democratic Leader

Oh yeah, and John Kerry.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:41 PM

DNC - Day Two 

I drove in this morning.  No problems for me, but I tend to stick to the back roads anyway.  Drives The Girl crazy, but she's glad to have my knowledge handy when she runs into traffic jams and needs an alternate route. 

I traversed an I-93 overpass quite early, however, and got a look at a nasty looking backup.  I was just a bit south of the I-93 / I-95 interchange, and 93 South looked like a full up parking lot.  Yikes.  Hopefully that wasn't the case all the way into town. 

The Girl says 128 traffic was lighter than usual.  Smooth sailing.  It was light last night also.

The Guyfriend took the T again (commuter rail, Orange Line, bus) and said that the volume was quite light and there was plenty of room to spread out.  On the Orange Line they announced that the train would be boarded by State Police at Community College and all bags would be checked at that time, but the boarding and searching never happened.  Every type of uniformed security officer (Boston Police, State Police, military personnel, Transit Police, etc.) was on hand at the stations, standing around chatting with each other.

I just took a look onto the DNC site, checking for video clips of the speeches.  They have an easy to find Video page which lists all the speakers by day, and you can click on each name to go to the related video page.  What you get, however, is a transcript of the speech - no video.  Oh well, transcripts are good also, but I'd like the video too.
*****
UPDATE (7/28): Okay, they've updated the video pages, and now the individual speaker pages include both transcript and video links. 



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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:03 AM

DNC 1 Evening Speakers 

I couldn't stay up to watch all of last night's speakers, but I managed to catch them through Tammy Baldwin. All in all, a good evening. The Girl and I even welled a little during the Carter tribute. Those montages always get us - it's as guaranteed as a Hallmark commercial.

Highlight for me - Carter's speech. Go, Jimmy Go! Here is the NY Times transcript.

Other notes:

-One of the random delegates they showed around 6:30 gave me the impression that he was Bela Lugosi attempting to do The Twist.

-Lots and lots and lots of mentioning diversity of the delegates, the Democratic party, and the country as a whole.

-Alice Huffman was great. She had just the right energy level and speaking style for her time slot and medium audience size. She hit all the right notes, touching on diversity, strength, love of peace, international respect, education and jobs.

-Gloria Feldt displayed an oddly expansive smile throughout her speech, even when she was touching on subjects more serious than celebratory. She reminded me of Uma Thurman's character Noelle in The Truth About Cats and Dogs when she was rehearsing for her tv news audition, smiling away while relating the gruesome details of a ferry sinking in the English Channel.

-Al Gore gave a great speech as well, and had me laughing several times. Here is the NY Times transcript.

-I didn't see them, but here is the link to the NY Times page with transcripts of Bill and Hillary's speeches. I heard a couple of sound bytes on NPR this morning, and Hillary reminded me of my favorite movie monologue, from The American President. Here's a comparison:

Andrew Shepard (fictitious president): "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them." Then later: "We've got serious problems, and we need serious people." And further: "This a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up."

Hillary Clinton: "You know, health care is a serious issue, and it requires serious solutions." Then later: "I've been saying for many months now John Kerry is a serious man for a serious job in a serious time in our country's history."

Amazon links:

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:33 AM
Monday, July 26, 2004

Early Convention Speakers 

I feel bad for the speakers who get stuck scheduled for late afternoon/early evening.  No one's there to listen or respond!  I just caught the later part of Roberta Achtenberg's address, followed by John Marks' entrance. 

Achtenberg was presenting many parts of the platform that address diversity and rights issues, and she was saying all kinds of great things, and she got cheers and applause in all the right places.  She would pause to acknowledge the cheers and applause but it wasn't really necessary, since there weren't that many people there.  It wasn't like they were drowning out the rest of her speech.  It just made her look like she had lost her place on the teleprompter.  Then again, maybe she had...

Then Mayor Marks came out on the stage, pumping his fist in the air in time with the music, and doing all the right things for getting the crowd worked up (although he should have unbuttoned that one button on his jacket for said fist pumping, as it just made him look silly), but again - not much you can do with a little group as was present. 

Then the picture disappeared and I had to relocate to the upstairs tv.  By the time I got set up, they were playing Johnny Be Good and segueing to the short break until 6:30.  It was rather amusing to see that they displayed the words to the chorus of Johnny Be Good so the "crowd" could sing along.  Come on - how hard is it?  "Go go.  Go Johnny go, go.  Go Johnny, go, go."  They didn't even bother with "Johnny be good," as that's where they display the Kerry-Edwards logo. 

Hopefully all the delegates will be on hand for the rest of the evening's speakers.  I'm getting tired of watching the five people the cameras keep showing, especially the really boring ones who happen to be standing next to the more photogenic.  Of course my eye is drawn to the boring or freakishly odd delegates.  In the long run, they provide much better material.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:01 PM

DNC Day One - The Return 

The Guyfriend and I exited work today around 3:00, and kept our eyes open for anything out of the ordinary happening on or around the T.  Not much at first.  We could still see a few Falung Gong members in Copley at the other end of the block.  There were a few extra cops in Back Bay Station.  No one checking bags or anything else. 

The first sign was that the train was sitting at each station for a few extra minutes, rather than just disgorging passengers, taking on more and whipping away down the tracks as those who didn't pay attention to the warning bells and therefore didn't get into a train car stand on the platform and make all kinds of disgusted faces and hand gestures.  When we pulled into Haymarket, the last stop before the now-bypassed North Station/Fleet Center, some passengers got off, others got on, and the announcement came that we would be boarded by transit police and all bags would be searched.  It went quite smoothly.  One officer boarded each car and worked up the aisle, poking into each bag.  Everyone had their bags ready, and it only took a minute for most cars.  We could see each officer emerging back onto the platform to give the thumbs up to the driver.  Apparently whoever was taking Car 5 was slower than the rest for some reason.  More bags, slower technique, stopping to chat - who knows?  But we were back on our way in short order.

Two of the passengers who detrained at Haymarket were DNC delegates.  They were a quite youthful (we guessed recent college grads) man and woman, and they looked quite excited at their upcoming role in national politics.  They had all their various passes, lanyards and shiny, shiny gold name tags in place for inspection at any and all security stations.  They also almost missed their stop.  But fear not, they realized it at the last minute and jumped off.  The DNC may commence!

TOMORROW: Because of the scheduled tv pickup tomorrow, I'll be driving in and driving home early, mostly on back roads.  Hopefully I won't have any horror road tales to tell as a result. 

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:16 PM

Don't Just Think It - Say It 

I was chatting with The Guyfriend at lunch about the increased number of apparent tai chi practitioners at Copley this morning.  He came in a little later than I did, and the numbers had apparently swollen by the time he went through there.  As we were comparing notes, I was thinking that many of them seemed to be wearing matching yellow t-shirts, and how it reminded me of the various Falun Gong events that used to pop up but which have seemed to disappear more recently.  But I didn't say anything.

Now I have only my word to go on when I say I was right!  Apparently the exercises we witnessed were going on as more and more members were gathering for a demonstration in protest of their suppression by the Chinese government. 

NOTE - As I was typing this, I think another military helicopter flew by my office building.  It was very loud, made the windows rattle, and moved so fast that it was gone by the time I turned my head and then went to the window to look down the street.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:56 PM

DNC Bloggers on NPR 

This hour's The Connection is taking a look at the impact of blogging on convention coverage.  The guests are three bloggers who will be reporting from events.  If you can't catch it in real time, you can listen to the audio at any time from here

The show site includes a link to ConventionBloggers, "a community site for bloggers participating in the DNC."  It includes a sidebar with direct links to the various participating blogs, plus it displays recent posts from the participants. 

Early on in the show one of the bloggers was talking about a blogger party he had attended yesterday, and how many of the bloggers seemed really uncomfortable being away from their computers, phones and high speed connections in order to socialize and mingle. 

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:18 AM

TV Ambulance 

The mystery illness plaguing the big tv has continued and gotten worse on occasion. Yesterday we couldn't get the picture to stay on for more than a minute, and on some attempts it wouldn't come on at all. I did some online research, and found that it's not uncommon for Sony Trinitrons to have a problem with the power supply that produces these symptoms. Or it could be the picture tube. General concensus is: power supply - fix it; picture tube - get a new tv.

We left a message with a repair service that makes house calls, and they called The Girl back this morning. She tried to conference me in but I was away from the phone. Fortunately she did manage to conference in my voicemail, so I was able to playback the whole conversation. They charge $95 just for the housecall. Then any actual repair costs are on top of that, plus there could be more if they can't fix it on site and have to take it back to the shop.

Needless to say, I called another place. This one will pick it up and deliver it, for $30 each way. I described the tv and the problem, and he guessed it would likely be $150-$200 for the repair. This is less than the cost of replacing it, so they're sending out the tv ambulance tomorrow afternoon to bring it in.

The DNC once more has an impact, however. It could be a week or two before it's done, because many of their repair staff are taking this week off to avoid the predicted DNC woes. So I'll be hauling one of the other tv's back downstairs and putting it into the massive entertainment center. It's going to look very, very small, but it will do for a couple of weeks. Underworld just arrived from Netflix, and it would have been so much more fun on the big screen. Oh well, such is life.

Amazon link:


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:52 AM

DNC - Day One 

Nothing very exciting as far as DNC impact this morning on the way to work.  I walked to the bus, which then brought me to the Orange Line.  Since I was nearing the end of the book I'm currently reading, I decided to bring another along.  I didn't want to carry a bag, since it's been widely publicized that there would be strict size limits (6 x 4 x 12 inches) on bags on the Orange Line and that ALL bags would be searched (vs. the random searching on other lines).  With a large book in each hand, I decided not to bring my lunch in, as that would be one too many things to carry with no bag. 

The bus wasn't overly crowded.  There were many police officers present at the stations, but no searches were conducted that I could see.  This included the many, many people carrying bags way over the size limit.  The train wasn't as full as on a usual business day, although the commuter rail was just pulling in as my train was pulling out, so the next one may have been more crowded with commuters who normally would ride the commuter rail all the way to North Station. 

Copley Square wasn't much busier than usual, although there were many more people with badges on lanyards and/or little flag pins on lapels.  The Boston Public Library is all cleaned up and all evidence of the repair crews that have been fixtures for months is gone.  One thing that caught my attention was the tai chi activity.  Most mornings there is a lone practitioner in the park (and she's there in all sorts of temperatures and weather).  Today there was a whole squadron of them - had to be at least two dozen, if not more.  My bus was already there, so I didn't have time to get an accurate count. 

We'll see if security is a little tighter on the way home later today, when actual events are going on (I doubt there was much scheduled for 6:00 this morning!). 

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:41 AM
Friday, July 23, 2004

Jodie Foster - Flight Plan 

Romeo San Vicente reports in his latest Deep Inside Hollywood column that Jodie Foster (!) has her next starring role lined up, in Flight Plan. Foster plays a woman whose daughter disappears from an airline flight, and it seems that no one remembers seeing her on the plane in the first place. Sounds very much like Frantic, Breakdown, and even The Disappearance, the third season episode of Big Valley where Audra disappears while travelling with Victoria (don't you just love Barbara Stanwyck?).

According to IMDB, filming begins this September in L.A. , with Imagine Entertainment producing and Touchstone handling distribution next year.

I should add that during a section of Maggie Cassella's show in P-Town, she asked members of the audience who is on their cheating excemption list. These are the people, usually celebrities of some sort, with whom you would never have a chance in hell of actually having an affair, but if the opportunity should arise for whatever reason, you would be allowed to have that affair without it being considered cheating. Among the women, Jodie Foster was by far the winner.

Amazon links: Frantic, Breakdown, Jodie Foster.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:11 AM
Thursday, July 22, 2004

Margaret Cho - Banned In Boston 

Unity 2004, an event being held by 10 gay organizations during the DNC next week, has decided to cancel Margaret Cho as the headliner. The reason given was that Cho's representatives informed the organizers that some of the material would be "brutal," and there was a concern that the result would be divisive. At least one of the original event sponsors, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has withdrawn as a result.

Did the people who originally scheduled have no idea who she was, or what her material is like? What were they thinking if they were afraid of harsh language or attacks on conservative and/or right-wing public figures? It's her thing, and she's great at it! She doesn't hold any punches, but her underlying message is about the importance of community and understanding.
*********
UPDATE: Here is Margaret Cho's posting on the dis-invitation.

Amazon links: Revolution, Notorious C.H.O., I'm the One That I Want


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:20 PM

Jerry Goldsmith Dies at 75 

Jerry Goldsmith passed away from cancer last night at home in Beverly Hills. Movie and sci-fi geeks like me have Goldsmith's work embedded in our souls - he wrote and conducted the soundtracks for scores (pun intended) of movies and tv shows, as well as the Oscar fanfare played at the Academy Awards ceremonies. He was the music of Star Trek (current aberration known as the Enterprise theme song was not his doing), including his work on (in reverse order from IMDB) ST: The Experience - Borg Invasion 4D, Nemesis, Insurrection, First Contact, Voyager, The Next Generation, The Final Frontier, and The Motion Picture.

He was also the music man for other favorites of mine, including Powder, First Knight, U.S. Marshals, Alien: Resurrection, L.A. Confidential, Bad Girls, Rudy, Forever Young, Sleeping With the Enemy, Alien Nation, Poltergeist, Alien, Logan's Run, Room 222, The Trouble With Angels, The Twilight Zone, Wanted: Dead or Alive, and many, many more.

He received 19 Academy Award nominations, and won for Best Original Score for The Omen. His main title theme song for Star Trek: Voyager garnered him one of his several Emmy Awards. His list of nominations and awards is long, and his enduring place in our hearts is guaranteed.

Amazon link: Jerry Goldsmith

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:27 AM
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Queer As Folk - Full Circle (Season 1 Finale) 

The Girl and I started watching Queer as Folk this season, since we were left with a big, gaping, pathetic, morose blank spot in our schedule once The L Word season finished. We enjoyed QAF, much to our surprise, and so have been utilizing our summer viewing time to watch the previous seasons, rented from Netflix. We made it through season one last night with our viewing of Full Circle. Sniff. Sob.

The dance? Beautiful, amazing, magical, romantic. One of the best dance scenes ever.

The garage scene? Ugly, wrenching, heartbreaking. Seeing arrogant, self-centered Brian keening in disbelief struck me silent (which isn't easy).

Big romantic chase scene - yay! No, wait. David's a controlling asshole. Michael needs to hold on to that new found spine and encourage its growth. But I love a big romantic chase scene! Then the unheard (to the audience) phone call cuts it short at the last minute, relaying news of the above tragic garage scene.

The entire ending montage? The soundtrack behind it? Brian crying? I'm welling right now, just thinking about it.

Wow. Just... wow.

Amazon links: QAF Season 1, L Word Season 1

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:21 AM
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

DNC Security Preview? 

A co-worker and I just walked out of a sandwich shop in Newton Corner (small BLT on white sub roll, with mayo and pickles, thank you very much), only to be met with a thundering cacophony from above, not-so-on-high.  We performed a synchronized duck down while looking up move, just in time to see three Coast Guard helicopters cruising westbound above Washington Street (parallels the Mass. Pike), just barely above the level of most of the buildings that line the street.  I think they may even have been below the top level of the large office building and hotel on one side. 
 
We're guessing that it was part of some preconvention training maneuvers.  If this continues, the week and a half ahead should be quite interesting.  The greater Boston area may turn into one big field training venue.  This morning there were some ropes dangling by one of the 7th floor office windows.  I assumed it was the window washers that periodically pop up and scare the shit out of office occupants, but perhaps it was some sort of rappelling maneuver in preparation of possible hostage response action. 


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:28 PM

Vacation Debriefing 

My sunburn is starting not to hurt as much. It's a bad idea to be lackadaisical about sunscreen application on the first beach day, as you end up with odd sunburn patches in spots where you missed.

Maggie Cassella is hysterical. Lawyer turned comedian. Catch her at Vixen in Provincetown.

Speaking of Vixen, why is it that a large percentage of the people dancing or playing pool at this women's bar and dance club in Provincetown is composed of straight couples? There are lots of other nightspots in P-Town with dance floors and pool tables, not to mention the entire rest of the Cape and Massachusetts as a whole. Why is it that we go there to hang out with other women and for a couple of hours not to deal with straight men - many of whom are perfectly nice, but many of whom do take up a lot of space physically and verbally, and some of whom don't hesitate to express their not-so-forward-thinking opinions to any and all in earshot - and end up playing pool with one of these loud and rather obnoxious individuals? The Girl had won the previous game, and his quarters were the next in line. Yes, yes, I know. Free country and all that. Hey - I'm not saying that straight men should be barred from patronizing women's bars. The game was played, hands were shaken - but the experience wasn't the pleasant one we expected. He at least could have left his boorish attitude at the door.

Ditto at the beach.

Fast-forward to my trek to work this morning. How can a person stand in line at Starbuck's for approximately 7 minutes, staring at the menu board, finally have their turn to order, and not yet know what beverage they want???? "Um.....I'll have.......a.....hmmmm.......graaaaaaaandeeeeeee......mmmmmmmm..........frappucino. What? Whipped cream? Oh.......ummmmmmmmm.........okay."

Amazon link: Because I Said So (Maggie Cassella CD)


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:09 AM
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Beach Time 

The Girl and I are off to Provincetown for a long weekend, so there won't be any new posts until Tuesday. I've packed up a bunch of sci-fi books for geeky beach reading, and have agreed to golf 9 holes at some point. Rest, relaxation, and plenty of snacks. Cheers!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:55 AM
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

FMA Dead (For Now) 

As anticipated, the Federal Marriage Amendment failed to garner enough votes on a procedural motion to continue on to a vote on the bill itself. The bill, which would require at least 67 votes to survive on its merits, required at least 60 in this vote to survive the procedural motion. It didn't even get a simple majority, with the final vote at 48-50. The two non-voting senators were John Kerry and John Edwards, who are on the presidential campaign trail and who have both stated their opposition to the FMA.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:20 PM

Charges Dismissed Against NY UU Ministers 

Like last month's dismissal of charges against New Paltz Mayor Jason West for performing marriages for unlicensed couples, similar charges have been dropped against the Unitarian Universalist ministers who stepped in and performed additional ceremonies.

The decision on this more recent case has not yet been posted, but the Town of New Paltz has published last month's decision in the West case.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:22 AM
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Dolls For the Rest of Us 

When you were a child, was your favorite doll Jane West, because she had a denim outfit molded right onto her and came with all kinds of gear? Unlike Barbie and company, Jane's joints were functional, and she could hold onto her lasso, rifle, campfire coffee pot or lockbox. If you had any Barbie-type dolls, were they only useful as clumsy tagalongs that Jane would have to ride off and rescue, using any number of bold and daring maneuvers? Or was that just me?

Well, it seems that Jane has come out and moved to the big city. New Yorker Stephanie Perdomo has launched her line of Dyke Dolls. These are no lipstick lesbians, no bi-questioning Barbies - these chicks are hardcore. Their outfits include leather biker jackets, mechanic's shirts with cutoff sleeves, cowboy hats, chained wallets and tatoos. They also have more intimate accessories available, so be wary if you're purchasing this for your young daughter or niece in an effort to expand her repertoire of dolls.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:13 AM

Alexander the Great - Go, No Go 

E! Online reports that Baz Luhrmann has put his Alexander the Great project on unspecified hold. The Universal Pictures/Dreamworks project was to have starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman, and was to have been released next year.

But fear not - Oliver Stone's Alexander is still on schedule for release this coming November. The Warner Bros. project stars Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie (!) and Anthony Hopkins.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:40 AM
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Selby Wall? Doesn't Exist. 

A number of people find their way to this blog each day by searching for pictures or information on Selby Wall, the character played by Christina Ricci in Monster. Stop searching - Selby Wall is not a real person. She is a fictionalized version of Wuornos' lover Tyria Moore.

For more information on Tyria Moore, see About.com's Tyria Jolene Moore, which includes a link to a news article that includes a photo of Moore.

For more information on the actual events of Aileen Wuornos' life, check out CourtTV.com's In-Depth: Aileen Wuornos page, which has photos and links to documents and other websites. One of the links is to CourtTV's Crime Library entry on Wuornos, The Myth and the Reality, which is a multiple page, detailed biography. I would also recommend Nick Broomfield's documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer.

For an interesting comparison of the movie with the actual events, see Reel Faces and Sue Russell's More of a Monster Than Hollywood Could Picture, although I disagree with Russell's conclusion that "Monster" fails to leave the audience with a sense of the dangerous volatility of Aileen Wuornos.

You can buy the following at Amazon.com: Monster, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, Aileen Wuornos - The Selling of a Serial Killer (Nick Broomfield's first documentary on Wuornos), and Sue Russell's book Lethal Intent.

UPDATE (8/5/04): Scheduled for publication on August 30, 2004 is Monster: My True Story, cowritten by Aileen Wuornos and Christopher Berry-Dee. You can pre-order it now and it will be shipped on publication in a few weeks.

Amazon links:


Aileen Wuornos - The Selling of a Serial Killer

Monster: My True Story


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:13 AM
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Maryland Marriage Case 

ACLU of Maryland is representing a number of gay and lesbian couples in a suit against Maryland county clerks in an effort to receive marriage licenses. The ACLU site provides links to plaintiff biographies and the complaint filed with the court.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:45 PM

Electronics Update 

Two of the four tv's are now cabled and mostly functional. I was watching the Boston Pops show on the fourth, waiting for the fireworks to start. The Girl promised that we would go watch the fireworks live this year, but then Eric Clapton scheduled a concert at the Tweeter Center for the night of the 4th. So two deals were struck. I really didn't want to sit in traffic in Mansfield on a holiday, so we took two cars to my sister's cookout. I stayed while she picked up a friend and went to the concert. In exchange for my not being pressured to go to that concert, The Girl was released from any obligation to see the Patsy Cline tribute show I'm taking my parents to see for their birthdays (Mom will be 83 this month, Dad 82 next month). That was deal number one. Deal number two was that she now has a double obligation to go to the Boston fireworks with me next year. I'm not sure what that really means in practical terms, but hey - it's out there.

So anyway, I'm watching the Pops on the huge screen tv, with the sound coming through the stereo. The 1812 Overture is in high gear, the cannons are firing, the bells are ringing... and at 9:59 Tivo pops in to let me know that it will be changing to Showtime in a moment to record Queer As Folk. Decision time. I decide that I don't want to wait another day for the new episode (and wasn't that a heart-breaking ending, with the usually full of himself Hunter crying to his dads because he thinks no one will ever love him?), so I literally run upstairs to finish the Boston show in the bedroom, on the large but not huge tv. Which I hadn't yet hooked up to the cable, or even plugged in to the power. A flurry of activity ensues, with me practically hurling myself over the back of the entertainment cabinet, pulling up cables, feeding them through to the lower shelves, and hooking everything up. But not soon enough to catch the end of the Overture. Turns out the big fireworks didn't come on for another 15 minutes, so that worked out okay.

What was that about the tv's being "mostly functional?" I think the picture tube is going on the huge tv. Once in a while the picture goes dark, but the sound comes through fine. Turn it off, wait, turn it on. Picture's back. It acts like this repeatedly every few days, then goes on fine for a few days. In retrospect, I think this had been going on with The Girl's mom as well, but I misdiagnosed the problem during the periodic phone calls. The Girl gets her electronics aversion from her mother, so whenever some new gadget needed to be installed, I would go over and hook everything up and explain how to use it. Then I would get occasional calls (more frequent after a new installation) for emergency instruction. "How do I turn the tv off? I left it on all night last night because I couldn't figure it out." One time the described symptom was that she could hear the tv but the screen was blank. I thought she was just hearing the sound through the stereo and didn't actually have the tv itself on. After having her play with the power button and the video1/video2/ant buttons a couple of times, the picture came on. I assumed she had simply turned it on, but in hindsight it seems likely that the tube had flicked out, and during the button activity she had turned the tv off for a minute and then on, thus giving the tube its needed rest period.

I need to find a tv repair shop that makes house calls, because there's no way we can move this hulking thing ourselves.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:13 AM