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      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
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We died, and no one even told us!

We’re dead. It’s all over, our time here on Earth is up. Chris “Creative Class” Bowers says so:

Only five years ago, the progressive political blogosphere was still predominately a gathering place for amateur (that is, unpaid or barely paid) journalists and activists unattached to existing media companies and advocacy organizations. Those days are almost completely over. Now, the progressive blogosphere is almost entirely professionalized, and inextricably linked to existing media companies and advocacy organizations.


That didn’t take very long. The progressive blogosphere really first emerged onto the political scene in late 2002 over fights like the run up to Iraq, the 2003 Democratic primaries, and Trent Lott’s comments at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. In less than eight years, it went from a loosely knit, rag-tag network of amateur outsiders into a fixture in the world of professional political advocacy and media.


It was, really, inevitable. Avant-garde, “outsider” developments which prove to have real support are invariably co-opted by any successful, institutional establishment. At the same time, these avant-garde movements are often willing to be co-opted, since established institutions usually have vastly greater resources than the independent, shoestring distribution networks of the avant-garde. Before I became a blogger, I was an ABD graduate student in English, and I was going to write my dissertation about this phenomenon in 20th century American poetry. I am quite thrilled that instead of writing that dissertation, I was able to participate in a real-life example of it.

Anyway, kudos to Nate Silver, and RIP to the amateur progressive blogosphere.

Poetry? He was going to write his dissertation in fucking POETRY??

That explains a lot.

Anyway, the big bloggers have all sold out, and the rest of us are wasting our time. Of course they don’t think we exist anyway.

Q: What did the English major say after graduation?

A: Do you want fries with that?

Television’s Last Sexy Lady: America Loses Rue McClanahan and Little Isis Loses a Childhood Hero

A TV heroine, Rue McClanahan, died today, and the world is a dimmer, sadder and more miserable place for it.

McClanahan, who played man-happy Blanche Devereaux on the still-popular ’80s sitcom Golden Girls, had suffered a minor stroke earlier this year while recovering from bypass surgery. Lawrence adds that at the time of her death Thursday, McClanahan “had her family with her. She went in peace.”

Words fail. Last summer, I read My First Five Husbands: And the Ones Who Got Away. Rue McClanahan was more than Blanche Deveruex from the Golden Girls, but she admitted that Blanche was a character she strongly related to.

Born in Healdton, Okla., Rue lived in six towns by the time she was 8. Her father was a road builder who moved from one project to another. She found solace in acting (“the only thing I ever wanted to do”) and after four years at the University of Tulsa moved to New York, where she worked as a part-time file clerk while trying to find jobs in the theater.

Rue went to Broadway with her parents when she was young, and knew instantly that this was where she belonged. She was one of the best actresses of our time but we all remember her as Blanche, one of television’s only truly sexy female characters. Not only confident and in touch with her sexuality but intelligent and optimistic, Blanche  was the last genuine man eater on TV who didn’t fit the bimbo stereotype that most proud sluts have to watch on cable today. Blanche was a feminist character, and growing up watching The Golden Girls in the midst of a broken home and a disorderly upbringing, I knew who I wanted to be when I was grown and middle aged and still fabulous: Blanche Devereaux.

RIP, Rue. May you find love in your journey to the Summerlands, and in the next life may you be rewarded for all the smiles and laughs you gave to so many young women and gay men.

Thursday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians!!! I haven’t been able to spend much time here at TC for the past few days, and I’ve really missed you all.

A close friend of my mom’s has been in the hospital in Indianapolis getting treatment for acute leukemia, so we have been driving in there to visit her and bring her things. The good news is that the treatment appears to have been successful (it was a 50/50 chance), and we will be bringing her back home in a few days. I’m really happy for my mom, because she won’t have to lose another important person in her life just yet.

My mom and I have also been doing a lot of yard work, which I really enjoy. We have planted flowers, tomatoes, and eggplants, pulled countless weeds, and dug out old bushes in front of the house.

Of course I’ve been doing my best to keep up on all the political news by reading the posts and comments here and watching TV a bit more than I usually do. I’ve been watching Anderson Cooper every night lately, and have followed CNN and MSNBC when possible. This morning I watched a little bit of Morning Joe, and learned that the oil spill is now impacting four states. Mississippi and Alabama are seeing the effects and Pensacola, Florida is now bracing for the environmental assault and the accompanying economic impact.

Reuters: Oil arrival puts Alabama island on spill frontline

The invading oil debris, heralding the arrival on Alabama’s coast of parts of the huge, fragmented oil slick spewing from BP’s blown-out undersea well, started coming ashore late on Tuesday on the inhabited barrier beach island.

Dauphin Island residents, who are used to hurricanes roaring out of the Gulf, were waking up to the reality that they would not escape the impact of the six-week-old spill which had so far mostly affected Louisiana to the southwest.

Christian Science Monitor: BP oil spill spreads toward Pensacola as wildlife toll rises

“There’s a lot of tactical movement of boom right now as the threat is shifting to Mississippi and Alabama,” says Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen.

Meanwhile, the National Wildlife Federation reported Wednesday that six to nine times more sea turtles are turning up dead than usual. Similarly, the 29 stranded dolphins found since the spill began represent two to six times the normal amount. So far, 444 birds and 222 sea turtles have been found dead in the area, according to a recent tally provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

WESH, Orlando: Tourism Drops As Oil Approaches Pensacola

The Convention and Visitors Bureau said rooms are staying empty at hotels throughout the county, and the situation will only get worse.

At one Marco Island Hotel, business is down by half since April 20 — the day of the oil rig explosion.

“We’re probably getting one call per day, two at most. And we should be getting 10 times that,” Marica Mandel of the Lakeside Inn said.

“Some people are just feeling like well, it’s all over the Gulf, let’s not go to Florida this year, aAnd that’s a crisis,” JoNell Modys of the Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

Meanwhile, last night President Obama partied with Paul McCartney and numerous other celebrities at a gala event at the White House. Obama honored McCartney with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

As the president looked on with first lady Michelle Obama, McCartney performed many of the hits he had with the Beatles and as a solo artist, including “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Michelle” — a song he said he’d been “itching to do at the White House.” [….]

During his remarks, Obama talked about the “difficult time” the Gulf Coast is going through because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, noting that music and “(p)art of what gets us through tough times.”

Big of him, huh? Kind of like during the Great Depression, I guess, when poor people supposedly got relief from their painful lives by going to see lush Hollywood musicals. The President allows the poor to watch him enjoy himself so they can get a little hint of what life could be like if they had any money or jobs or hope for the future.

The White House organ, the NYT, tries to make the case that the event demonstrated the Obamas’ sensitivity to the concerns of us regular folks.

It was not a lighthearted party. Mr. McCartney sang reflective songs like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Let It Be.” The president praised Mr. McCartney but also brought up the catastrophic Gulf Coast oil spill. Mr. Obama spoke about “part of the country this is so rich in musical heritage” and said he was committed to “see to it that their lives and their communities are made whole again.”

McCartney also took a swipe at former President George W. Bush:

A few minutes after the concert, Mr. McCartney returned to the microphone, thanking the Library of Congress and adding, “After the last eight years, it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is.”

Somehow I think Bush knew what a library was. But Obama is acting just like Bush in the wake of a terrible catastrophe down in the Gulf of Mexico and the adjoining states, and that seems quite a bit more important to me than whether Obama reads more books than Bush. Frankly, I’m not even convinced that is true. But what do I know? I’m not rich and I don’t live among the Villagers.

In more oil spill news, BP is finally going to pay for some sand barriers to protect fragile Louisiana wetlands–now that it’s probably too late.

The Obama administration was informed by a news organization of serious flaws in the supposed six-month ban on new oil drilling approvals.

the Interior Department ordered oil companies to overhaul and resubmit dozens of exploration plans that had already been approved but were virtually identical to BP’s and that called major spills and environmental damage “unlikely.”

The action came after McClatchy informed the White House and Interior officials that it had reviewed 31 deepwater exploration and development plans approved for the Gulf under the Obama administration and found that all of them downplayed the threat of spills to marine life and fisheries.

The language scarcely varied from company to company, suggesting that the plans were pumped out like boilerplate. Of the 31 plans McClatchy reviewed, 14 were approved since the April 20 explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig.


James Cameron comments on the oil spill response (by BP or Obama?), ‘Those morons don’t know what they’re doing’

‘Titanic’ director James Cameron has labelled those trying to clean up the BP oil spill ‘morons’ after revealed BP turned down his offer of help.
Mr Cameron also said he knew some ‘really, really, really smart people’ who could help with the spill. The director is considered an expert in undersea filming and who has extensive experience working with submersible robots,

‘Over the last few weeks I’ve watched, as we all have, with growing horror and heartache, watching what’s happening in the Gulf and thinking those morons don’t know what they’re doing,’ he said yesterday at the All Things Digital technology conference.

He did not say explicitly who he meant when he referred to ‘those morons’.
His comments came a day after he participated in the meeting at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington to ‘brainstorm’ solutions to the oil spill.

The New York Daily News calls BP CEO Tony Hayward “The most hated — and most clueless — man in America.”

Hayward admits: BP lacked the right tools to deal with crisis.

In an open letter to Hayward – who recently told the Guardian his job was on the line – Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Ron Wyden said it would be wrong for BP to pay investors a dividend until it knows the full cost of the disaster.

“We find it unfathomable that BP would pay out a dividend to shareholders before the total cost of BP’s oil spill clean-up is estimated,” they wrote.

The letter was written hours after it emerged that Hayward was telling BP’s major shareholders that it planned to maintain dividend payments despite the ongoing environmental catastrophe off the coast of Louisiana.

The Washington Post reports on BP’s efforts to keep the media from covering the catastrophe: As the oil spill spreads, BP battles to contain the media

NEW ORLEANS — At first, it seemed like a British company might be trying to keep an American journalist off an American beach. Ted Jackson, a staff photographer for the Times-Picayune, drove two hours to Port Fourchon, La., to shoot photos of tar balls on public property, but was stopped 100 yards from the surf by harbor police. After 30 minutes of phone calls to higher authorities, Jackson said, the police allowed him 15 minutes of obstructed photographing, out of view of workers who were taking samples from the beach.

Last week Jackson was also unable to book a flight over Grand Isle from a charter plane company in Belle Chasse, La., because the owner could not obtain permission from BP’s command center to enter restricted airspace. BP, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard were refusing access to planes carrying media, according to Southern Seaplane Inc.’s secretary-treasurer, Rhonda Panepinto, who fired off a three-page letter to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on May 25.

“We strongly feel that the reason for this massive [temporary flight restriction] is that BP wants to control their exposure to the press,” she wrote. “We are all at the mercy of BP, a British-owned company.”

Isn’t this something an engaged, concerned President could handle? I guess he’s too busy hanging around with Jerry Seinfeld, the Foo Fighters, and Paul McCartney, but couldn’t he name someone else to play the concerned President role for him then?

Gloria Borger kind of tries to defend Obama and in the process makes him look kind of like an uncaring, cold-hearted freak. Borger claims that:

He was elected because he is cool, calm and analytical. That’s what we wanted to see after George W. Bush, so we made him president. But now the disaster in the Gulf has made many of us want to see someone else — with plenty of anger, emotion and bravado. We want him to yell at BP. We want him to loudly tell us he’s whipping the cleanup effort into shape.

We can’t tell BP ourselves, so we want him to do it for us.

Fair enough. But that’s not the person we elected.

So we want him to morph into something he isn’t — which is exactly what we hate about our politicians. We want him to be another Barack Obama, an actor. Maybe we want him to be George Bush with the bullhorn after 9/11. Only he isn’t.

Funny, I thought Obama was elected because he offered hope and change. I thought people voted for him because they thought he would be completely different from George W. Bush. But what do I know? I’m not a Villager like Gloria B. I just think Obama is cold-hearted and completely out of sync with what real Americans want. And I think Gloria is a clueless twit.

I’ve filled up another morning post with oil spill news, but feel free to post links to all the news I probably missed. And have a terrific Thursday, everyone!