Monday, February 25, 2008

A Day for Reflection and Rescue: MARCH FO(U)RTH!!!

Back in the 11th grade, an apple-cheeked slacker named Tom Pratt introduced Betty to the hidden joys of March 4th, "the only day of the year that's a complete sentence". Kind of like how Tom Waits is among musicians, only March 4th is also a command!!

Every year in the springtime, Tom Pratt would recruit his friends to spend March 4th walking from South Portland to their high school in Portland over the Casco Bay Bridge, which took about two hours total. So we commemorate March 4th through reflection, and by dedicating ourselves to soldiering on in the face of life's many challenges.

SO! In celebration of March 4th, Betty & Bimbo will sponsor a Blog-a-Thon for Waggytail Rescue, an organization Betty works with, so she can tell you the direct effect your blog post will have on the lives of little dogs sprung from the New York City shelters!

Here's the deal, then: For each blog post of the day written by a different blogger, Betty & Bimbo will donate $10 to Waggytail Rescue. Readers who'd like to participate can join in the fun here! So start thinking about what you might want to write about on March 4th! Save the Date! [Thanks to Nodine for the unforgettable image.]

We know we'll get a slew of great posts on all kinds of topics, and we just can't wait. Also, for those readers who have signed up as bloggers but might be a little timid to post, consider this a great opportunity to just go for it! Posts need not be lengthy but should be more than just a picture or a link.

We'll see how this goes. If we get a good response, I think this is something we could do again, maybe even with slightly higher amounts or even reader "pledges", for any of the other great organizations listed to your right under "Links of Love".

Now, onward!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yeah, This Pretty Much Sums It Up Right Here

The Most Stereotypical 60's Song... EVER!

Exhibit A: "Itchycoo Park" by the Small Faces! I think our blogger Speed McQueen will enjoy this, and will agree with me that this performance must be seen/heard/enjoyed to be believed!

Oasis might consider working up a cover version for their (fingers crossed) comeback tour. Thanks to Benhun for the heads-up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

Meet Hope, picked up as a sassy ribsy stray in Hamilton Heights on February 11th, picked up at the shelter by Waggytail Rescue on February 18th, housed at B&B's housse (Casa Cocoa) since that time, and adopted today, February 23rd! Hope is going to a very nice home in Queens with a backyard and homecooked meals, and Lorraine, her new mom, says she wants to change the little dumpling's name to Betty because of her "Betty Grable eyes"! We happen to think she looks more like a cartoon character than a movie starlet with her bug eyes and flop-over ears. But hey, we're not her forever home. Congratulations to Hope-Betty and Lorraine and may your lives together be full of sweetness.

Friday, February 22, 2008

John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama

Clips from three speeches on Tuesday night, compiled by TalkingPointsMemo. I think this says it all.

TPM also has the news on its website that Sen. Russ Feingold, who I believe is the conscience of the US Senate, said that he voted for Obama in the Wisconsin primary and is most likely to support him as a Superdelegate. Feingold had specifically declined to endorse before the primary.

Thanks to M.E.R., the superdelegate of my heart, for passing this along:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008



In the cold
Silent and red
The moon's face


springful thoughts on a marching season

In the back room, somebody claims for more political commentary.
Whither politics. Quo vadis?

In this country, politics is the realm of the couch potato, fitting nicely somewhere between Britney, human growth hormone, sartorial atrocity (includes the category "wardrobe malfunction") and blood sports. A couch activity, which we maybe can trace back to the tradition of the couch anthropologist, the type of 18th Century enlightened thinker (think think think! de Brosse, Kant) that would preach on the human condition based on hearsay reports from the logbooks of the American missions of the Great Age of Explorations.

But Venus deviates (quite often and in many ways--although in this case, it is just from the point).
In this country, politics (as an ethical commitment, an activity, an encounter-with-the-world) is something you seem to do with a beer on one hand, and the other one stuck down, deep, in the chips bag.

Again we ask ourselves "politics, but whither." To the extremely ugly ergonomic imitation black-leather articulated chair; or in its defect, a somewhere, a somehow (too unseemly to describe in detail)-- supporting a sweaty and sticky portable computer, Bacharach's rainy window of the world, the neighbor's fence, the blog, the youtube "debate".
"I see the future, and it looks like a blackberry but with less buttons!"

Something to say, then, for a return to a politics of the street.
Confession--what comes is a bit old. While Betty and Bimbo were watching Manon, Venus was doing face time at a progressive march. One thinks it must have been progressive, because we were moving forward.

In all honesty, Venus is much more prepared to politick while stationary, in silken black with a charming smile and armed with a good bourbon-soda (lately, the weapon of choice-- mint juleps being slightly too high on caloric content). But the street does hold its attraction, especially after oh so many lame art openings and insipid cocktail parties. But on invitation from our lovely budding politico, Venus decided to lend charm to the oftentimes demure and shabby politics of the street. Remind oneself of the grand past, the beauty of the engaged intellectual, of luminaries linked arm in arm (enter François Miterrand and the Rose Rouge in hand, the certainty of our dark suits imitating our struggle, or vice versa...)

Thus Venus encountered the power of the Masses: the future-seeing crowd, the multitude, the sway, the -- oh, how nice to see you again! What a beautiful red coat...! Yes, wait, I can't really hear what you are saying, the speaker's too loud... Entranced by the repetitive, mantra-like nature of the Chants, Venus repeats--No more Jobs and Education, We want War and Occupation... Or was it otherwise.

The politics of the street, there is, perhaps, something to say of them, for them, to them.
There was sweat and tears, and prayer, maybe, even, hope.

Well, I can only say that there is something to chants. Also to slogans: it's hard to keep pace with them. Change, for instance. It's so 2008. But can we believe in it? For real?

Venus has seen the future...

(image credit: Atelier Populaire, 1968)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro In Wisconsin

Once again, Castro annoys the whole universe, by just demonstrating the old fox that he really is.

Out-staging Bush' meet-and-greet trip to Africa (giving DC residents a few days of rest from over-flying and Beirut-like Copter One's), "stepping down/up" the same day as yet another US primary is taking place, and showing far greater tech elegance than Bush (remember the Budget on a "laptopPCnotebook"?) by submitting the letter on the InterNet(s), Castro rules (in so many ways).

Of course the over-worked pundits (is it just me, or are they all looking WAAAY older on TV as of late??) can't believe their un-happy star, but are mustering enough strength to over-hype the Castro demise. "IS A HUGE DEAL!" they will say, mentioning the embargo (yawn...), and exact difference's "on this issues" between the 2 cand's in Wis.

My take is that this IS NOT A HUGE DEAL. Not at all.

US grain and agri export to Cuba increases yearly (a + 15%) without all this hoopla. Exxon and friends have worked (in 2006 no less...) their way into some (possible) large petro reserves, competing -the way only oil companies can- with their Europeans friends that are already there, doing what they cannot do on Florida's shores. However, Oil is a long-term project, and like they say in the airline industry, 'on top doesn't matter as much as below'...Ergo, cargo.

So, it really doesn't matter what each of the candidates say...if they don't mention the oil.

One exciting thing though...Castro informed us all that he is -from now on- 'Comentarista En Jefe', this way elevating the guild of under-payed and abused writers to new heights.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Politics Takes a Vacation?

Where has the political commentary gone, o bloggers?

It's hardly over!

Or is it??

Your thoughts as another big Tuesday draws near?

I think HowDea is gonna have to call it, but who knows what he'll do? !

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Class Cancelled???

CNN Reports:
"EL PASO, Texas (CNN) – For the second election night in a row, Hillary Clinton failed to acknowledge or congratulate Barack Obama after he won the day in dominating fashion.
On Tuesday in El Paso, hours after Virginia had been called for Obama, she stuck to her “Texas campaign kickoff” message and did not stray from an energetic, Lone Star-themed stump speech. She did mention Obama by name, only to chide his health care plan.
On Saturday night in Richmond, Virginia, Clinton spoke to a crowd of thousands at the state’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, but she ignored Obama’s quartet of blowout primary and caucus wins that day as well (Obama also won the Maine caucuses the next day).
The courtesy of conceding a primary or caucus loss — and then congratulating your opponent — is by no means required. But it has become standard practice during campaign season.
Clinton congratulated Obama and John Edwards after their first and second place finishes in the Iowa caucuses. Obama returned the favor in New Hampshire, saying Clinton “did an outstanding job.” That courtesy continued through the early states.
But as the race has shifted to a delegate chase with dozens of states in play around the country, the notion of congratulating one’s opponent seems, for Clinton, to have fallen by the wayside."

Also, check out this youtube video, a few Betty&Bimbo bloggers can be spotted behind Barack at a speech in Bangor, ME.

A Dry Season for Sports and Russian Novels

Betty here. It's cold and she misses sports. The only news we are getting about sports these days involve Roger Clemens' butt and a syringe. Basketball is no football, which is no baseball. Come swift, spring.

To beat the no-sports blues, Betty wants to read. She wants to read a Russian novel, in particular. Dead Souls, The Brothers Karamazov, whatever. One problem: Betty can't follow Russian novels because often the characters' names all look the same and Betty isn't sophisticated enough to say the names out loud for clarity or to keep them straight in general. Any tips for coping with this problem? If you have advice, please send it soon --- the snow only sticks around for so long. Right now the reading weather is perfect.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Forget Westminster

This is what we are dealing with around here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Night at the Opera

Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini

Acts: 4
Arias: 9
Hours: 4
Intermissions: 3
Horses on stage: 2
Dogs on stage: 1
People on stage (max): 35
People in jeans: 1 (Betty)
Naps taken: 2
Binoculars shared: 1
Met Titles language offered: 4 (English, German, French, Spanish)
Hours after Puccini's ship had docked in New York harbor before he was present at the NY premiere of Manon Lescaut, his first time in the City: 3 (1903)
Fabulous times had by all: 1

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney drops out...

...and says this (Washington Post):

"I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney said. "If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win."

"And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," he said.

What a slime-ball.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Uh oh

Yikes, this isn't what I would call a quick start out of the gate after Super Tuesday.

Either her staff is really dedicated, or times are tight in Camp Clinton. I'm sure she will be hitting everyone up very soon. She recently took out 5 million from her own pocket...looks like shes going to take more.

What Foreign Tourists Think of the Election

Here's a short multimedia piece I did interviewing foreign tourists at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco about what they think of Super Tuesday.

Another Way to Put It

Clinton: 845, Obama: 765.

Of course we have plenty of primaries coming up that could tip this either way. But does anyone think that these mysterious superdelegates could become important? A NYT blog post from Monday said that they were leaning toward to Clinton, which isn't surprising.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

State Wins: 9-6 Obama

Oops, they just called Idaho...make that 10-6 Obama

Mass. up for Grabs?

Polls have been showing it for a few days, but Mike Barnicle just suggested that Obama might really win Massachusetts. I need not tell people how insane that would be. He was down 35% there two weeks ago. Thoughts?

Voting Tech

So what I want to know is, technologically speaking, HOW did people vote? I personally pulled a lever for the first time. It was crazy! The machine looks like someone from 1939's idea of scary expressionistic robot. And all the fonts seemed lifted from a 1952 high school yearbook (or jukebox!) on light blue paper. I was like, where do I vote for Truman, yo? Weird time travel experience!

Also, the curtains smelled like butt, and I cringed when I had to touch them. Where do they keep these things in the off-season? I hereby volunteer myself to give them a good tumble in the washing machine! Also, they were not red, white, and blue striped. What the fuck.

I know that in Maine we always voted with a thick black pen to make little arrows that were inevitably squiggly. And I know that in some states they use the DIE BOLD (could there be a better name for an unaccountable system?) machines. How was your time in the booth? Sights, sounds, smells, textures????

Live Blog!

Let the games begin. Georgia was called at 7pm for Barack. Looks like he could win by 20-30% there. Hoping this is a harbinger (learned that in SAT prep like 5 years ago) of things to come


Differences - #3 Health Care

As I've said before, I don't think these little differences between the candidates add up to that much or are the real reason anyone is voting for them. However, I do feel this one should at least be aired on the blog before Super Tuesday. This column by Paul Krugman pretty well sums it up, but in their model plans, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have rather different approaches to health care. Clinton's plan, which would require everyone to be covered, is closer to John Edwards' original plan. Universally mandated health care coverage is critical in making health care affordable because one reason that rates are so astronomical is because those who are healthy opt out of the system, rather than pay an already expensive monthly fee. The whole purpose of insurance is to spread out risk, so if you have an inordinate number of risky people in the pool, the system stops working. Getting everyone covered--along with assisting those who can't afford insurance and ending the exclusion of those with preexisting conditions--would start the process of bringing down rates and making coverage more affordable.

Now, I'm not sure this matters that much. We all know that none of these model plans will be enacted in their original forms. However, it's late Monday night and I couldn't resist adding this to the difference list.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Two Articles That Reflect How I am Thinking

Both are from Salon.

The first is a short, meat-and-potatoes one.

This one hits closer to home.

So if yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and tomorrow is Super Tuesday, what does that make today?? Mini-Monday??? Have a good one, everybody!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What Would Molly Do?

As some of you may know, I spent 6 months interning at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). During my first month there, Molly Ivins passed away. I will never forget how devastated the people at FAIR were: Molly was a close ally of FAIR--a daring populist and a wonderful, quick witted journalist. Unfortunately for me, I only became familiar with her work after her death.

In any event, I was reading a piece on DailyKos today about the election (I know, it's an illness), and the post referenced a Molly Ivins article on Hillary (written in 2006) that I thought some Betty and Bimbo readers may want to take a glance at. Of course, part of the reason I'm posting this is that I, too, have my doubts about Hillary, nor can I say for certain what Molly would have to say about Barack. Nevertheless, I do think I have a good sense of what Molly would do on February 5th--and frankly, that's good enough for me.

A Great Day

Betty is having a beautiful birthday. She woke up and got to talk to or hear from all her loved ones -- this is the best thing about birthdays -- including Tita in Barranquilla, who is in the middle of full-on dancing-in-the-streets carnival and couldn't talk for long! Then Cocoa and Betty went on a trip to Prospect Park in Brooklyn where they walked among the bikers and the cold wind and the leaves and scampered under the trees. They arrived too late to catch the "Bark Obama" doggie event, but they still loved the idea and felt the energy. Cocoa received many adoring points and smiles and compliments from park-dwellers and subway-riders, old and young, from all walks of life. Betty thinks that a chihuahua is even better than an iPod. She has enjoyed walking un-wired for a change, looking all around her and hearing the wind and the shouts of sports players and children and the rustling crunches of sticks and leaves and the contented grunts and sniffs of her friend.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Differences - #2 Immigrant Rights

I am continuing to take up Betty's challenge on differences between Obama and Clinton that make Obama more progressive - having already discussed foreign policy outlook in a comment below.

Today's Times article about last night's debate shows another difference that is very meaningful to me, given the work I've done on this in Rhode Island -- Obama supports allowing undocumented immigrants to have driver's licenses, which Clinton does not. Granted, she was for the proposal in New York State before she was against it, but now she is pretty clearly against it.

Not afraid of the inevitable right-wing tidal wave that will come his way on the issue, Obama simply stated last night that “People don’t come here to drive, they come here to work."

Driver's licenses are arguably less important than a path to citizenship, but they are still pretty damn important - how would you like yours taken away? The issue is also a symbol of how far one is willing to go to stand up for basic fairness towards undocumented immigrants, who, as every politician knows, are not able to vote.

Anyone is welcome to come forward with the (easy to anticipate) argument about how Democrats should go into hiding on what pundits are calling the "wedge issue" of immigrant rights so that they can win on other things. But I can already tell you I don't agree.