Benny's World

Saturday, June 10, 2006

JRE Buzz (3)

According to John Deeth Blog:

John Edwards in Iowa City with Chet MondayJohn Edwards. With Chet Culver. Iowa City. Monday. Noon. Jim Larew's law office (he was one of the leading local Culver folks) on Bloomington Street (right by Mercy Hospital).

Heard this rumor Wednesday but was bound by the oath of omerta.

UPDATE: Happy host Jim Larew stopped by and posted the release:

Johnson County Democratic Party Unity RallyWith Special GuestsChet CulverDemocratic Candidate for GovernorandSenator John Edwards
Monday, June 12, 2006Lunch on the Grounds – 11:15 A.M.Program Begins – 12:00 Noon SharpatLarew Law Office504 E. Bloomington St., Iowa City, IA

Deeth also has a great pic of himself and JRE. I love the "Reboot America" slogan on Deeth's laptop.

Other ones I found but so did Mbair can be found on the new JRE News Roundup Edition on OAC today. It's two minutes left Central time still: it's JRE's 53th birthday. Happy b-day, JRE!

BIG BUZZ: Edwards leads Democratic Poll in Iowa


Copyright 2006, Des Moines Register and Tribune Company

June 11, 2006

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina leads a list of potential Democratic presidential candidates while Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack holds fourth place, trailing Edwards by 20 points in an early test of support among likely Iowa caucus participants.A new Iowa Poll conducted for The Des Moines Register shows that Edwards, the runner-up in the Iowa Democratic caucuses two years ago and a frequent visitor to the state since then, is the choice of 30 percent of Iowans who say they are likely to take part in the January 2008 caucuses.


Although I cannot post the graphic at the moment, in the poll:

42% very favorable for JRE
41% mostly favorable for JRE

Only 8% unfavorable (2nd lowest)

More buzz l8ter..

Update: June 16, 2006:

Tons of buzz about the Iowa Poll. Most of it good, some of the MSM press not certain what to do with the information, so JRE is dismissed in some ways. I will post links l8tr, but wanted to get some very recent buzz...

I just found something on JRE's visit to Hawaii and SEIU rally there, as reported by the Star Bulletin:

Edwards' hotel-union push hits Waikiki

Former vice-presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John Edwards joined Honolulu's hotel workers yesterday to push for better benefits in the middle of the first round of union negotiations.

Contracts for approximately 6,500 Local 5 hotel workers employed in 10 of Waikiki's largest hotels expire this month. Unite Here, which represents about 11,000 service workers in Hawaii, encompasses about 90,000 full-service hotel workers in the United States and Canada.

Read the rest here.

I like the quotes at the end in particular by one of the workers.

My Iowa blogger buds say Elizabeth is going to be in DM on July 27th, place and time TBA.

More buzz l8tr...

Earlier: JRE Buzz (2)

Benny Does Baltimore, part 1

I have been in Baltimore for 30 hours. It's been a great pleasure so far.

My spouse found out there is a light rail from BWI to our area. It was not easy find information on schedules, but he did, and we took it to the Convention Center area for $1.60. We visited with some locals on the way. One passenger had warned us about staying in bigger hotels as she saw something on Dateline recently about "bed bugs" problems in NYC. I thanked for the info, but wondered if the workers were not taught properly to look for such things in hotels, and moreover, were not paid enough to do so.

Another rider concurred that hotel workers were not paid a "living wage" most places.

A nice man helped us find the proper entrance to our hotel..didn't want a tip, just helping a struggling traveller out. Everyone has been very nice here.

I had a great time being a tourist in Baltimore this morning. Will supply pics later, but will say the weather was fab today. Around 70, nice breezes, waterfront great. Went to Benny and Elmo's place they wanted me to see for them (and probably envious), the National Aquarium. Cat TV galore.

Now that Senator Sarbanes is stepping down, saw a few supporters, and I think the candidate himself, Allan Lichtman, today. They wanted to talk with me, but I reminded them I was not a resident. But I wished them well.

Got to the "13 colonies flag" at Fort McHenry. Will throw up pics when I get back home. But really cool. Reminds me of the Constitution and what we stand for, and not those who only read Article Two, as I read in US News & World Report. Lots of big sailers, such as the Chesapeake, the Clipper, etc, today. Great weather for sailing. Had lunch on the waterfront at 1:00--and it was so nice.

And did I mention that EAE was on the short list of considered keynotes for my conference next year? Still there, but we'll see; may not be on it eventually if JRE announces a run later this year or early next.

Bluegrass Cat was second in the Belmont Stakes. Benson's sister, Elmo, picked the horse to win as it was the favorite. She won only $3 as she doesn't have much money to bet.

I have a new cell phone that can search the text world of the Net. Got into the blog, but could not post very easily. I'm still thinking about a Treo or Blackberry. I don't text message very well, but it's easier than doin' it on my current cell. Luckily, my hotel has this puter for free, including printing, as a courtesy to their guests (and I'm not in a very expensive, folks...very convenient too!!). Last night I was in the OAC chat room for about 15-20 min with some old timers of OAC (Jill, Bora, Wee), and it was great to hear from them.

That's my first report from Benny does Baltimore.

Benny's 5th Birthday


Quick posts...Benson, the real Benny, celebrated with us his 5th anniversary (I call it adopted birthday) on Friday. On Thursday night, I gave him and his sis tuna juice (from the tuna packed in water can), then some Fancy Feast on the way out to travelling to Baltimore.

He's a "good boy"...but a rascal, just like litl' Jack Edwards...:-)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Marriage Amendment Debate will Continue (and no vote)

This morning, SJ Resolution 1, did not make it to the floor for a vote; cloture was not agreed to. I was glad to see some Republicans joined in for not to invoke cloture. I didn't hear what their thoughts were, but I hope they were similar to Joe Biden's the other day on MTP:

MR. RUSSERT: The president used his radio address yesterday, and tomorrow in the Rose Garden, to talk about a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

SEN. BIDEN: You know, think about this. The world’s going to Hades in a handbasket. We are desperately concerned about the circumstance relating to avian flu—we don’t have enough vaccines, we don’t have enough police officers—and we’re going to debate, the next three weeks, I’m told, gay marriage, a flag amendment, and God only knows what else.

I can’t believe the American people can’t see through this. We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act. We’ve all voted—not, where I’ve voted, and others have said, look, marriage is between a man and a woman and states must respect that. Nobody’s violated that law, there’s been no challenge to that law. Why do we need a constitutional amendment? Marriage is between a man and a woman. What’s the game going on here? And now we’re going to also vote, right after that, about desecration of the flag. If you can’t...

MR. RUSSERT: But aren’t these issues ones that the Republicans used successfully to demonstrate that the Democrats were out of sync on cultural and values, in that, in that degree?

SEN. BIDEN: I don’t know if they’ve used it successfully. A fascinating thing Katrina did. Katrina not only blew away the Gulf, it blew away the illusion that these guys were competently able to deal with the real problems that Americans face. And I think this just highlights the fact they have no intention, they have no plan, to deal with health care. They have no plan to deal with our national security. They have no plan to deal with the energy crisis. They have no—I mean, gasoline’s going up an incredible amount. I’ve got a bill, along with others, saying, look, make every single automobile company—by the year 2008 or 9, depending on which one you pick—have flex-fuel automobiles. Make every gas station in America have to have a flex-fuel pump. That would fundamentally begin to alter importation.

But no one wants to offend anybody. We don’t want to offend the oil companies. We don’t want to offend the auto workers. We don’t want to offend anybody. And what are we going to do? Because we don’t want to make any hard decisions, let’s go talk about gay marriage. I think it’s ridiculous.

Well said, Senator Biden. That's what the callers on C-SPAN, more than half, said too. But I would add that I don't comprehend why we need the constitution to be amended for this, in the respect of the following: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. What does this have to do with the structure of our government? Why would anyone allow an amendment that goes against the rights of people and their entitlement of property?

It's too bad ERA didn't make it. We wouldn't be in this mess of wedge issues constantly being brought up in the Courts, doctor's rooms, drug stores, education, and more importantly, people's living rooms because the poll numbers for the President are abysmal.

I'm also disappointed that our 4th estate doesn't have much to investigate and bring to the forefront either. I was silent on this issue because I saw so much of it on the 5th estate too, and I was weary of it.

'Nuff said. Let's get on with the business of the American people, like getting our soldiers home asap, and securing our borders better.

Congrats, Chet Culvert and Supporters

Voter casts ballot at a Auto body shoppe, in Des Moines area. Democracy in action!

(courtesy of DMR)

Yesterday was the Democratic primary for the Iowa governor's race. I don't live in Iowa. Why do I care?

First, it was important because there were 3 contenders, and one of them was making a last minute surge in the polls as of yesterday morning. Whoever did not win at least 35 or above percent, it would have to be decided at the Iowa Democratic convention later this month, and could have posed a problem for the contender against the Republican (who was already decided) in the general election. Iowa may go red again in the fall, which many of us don't want, and especially being neighbors.

Second, it was important for Iowa to pick someone a bit younger, who has energy and spunk.

Third, it was important because the campaign manager of one the contenders used to work for JRE.

Lastly, most of my Iowa OAC blogger friends were pulling for Chet Culvert.

The winner: Chet Culvert. His campaign manager used to work for JRE.

Now, here's the skinny from the Des Moines Register:

Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver claimed the 2006 Democratic nomination for governor late Tuesday, turning back a late challenge by former state economic development director Mike Blouin and outpacing state Rep. Ed Fallon.

Culver’s narrow victory marks a turn by the state’s party activists away from Gov. Tom Vilsack, the two-term Democrat who is not seeking re-election this year and for whom Blouin worked as chief economic officer.

Culver’s narrow victory marks a turn by the state’s party activists away from Gov. Tom Vilsack, the two-term Democrat who is not seeking re-election this year and for whom Blouin worked as chief economic officer.

Culver will face U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, an eight-term Republican congressman from Manchester in the fall general election.

The match-up pits the self-styled “progressive Democrat” and heir to a party icon against a member of the Republican congressional leadership. National analysts have identified Iowa as one of the best chances in the country for the GOP to pick up a governor’s seat this year.

With about 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Culver had more than 38 percent of the vote, compared to about 34.5 percent for Blouin and more than 26 percent for Fallon.


Have a butter burger, Culvert supporters. JRE likes them, I hear.

Update: THG of the OAC blog just posted her first hand account of the primary.

Monday, June 05, 2006

JRE Buzz (2)

"A Guided Tour of Class in America" --Mother Jones interview of Barbara Ehrenrich, the well-known author of Nicked and Dimed and Bait and Switch, mentions that she is kind of interested in JRE for President because of his poverty work and standing at the picket lines. I've admired her work for quite some time.

Did you know JRE was in Palm Beach last Thursday? According to today's Palm Beach Post:

" The latest potential 2008 White House seeker to come through Palm Beach County: 2004 Democratic Veep nominee and "Two Americas" riffmaster John Edwards, who visited about 50 party activists Thursday at the Gunster Yoakley law firm in West Palm Beach."

I don't know what a riffmaster means in this case but I've decided I don't care if it's a little uncomplementary. I'm just glad to know he's still busy meeting folks in Florida and getting more ideas.

Update: OAC Blogger NC Dem has posted a cool video entitled The Voiceless.
I like it as it is set to the music of Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' About a Revolution". Tracy C started her career on the streets of Harvard Sq, playing for money, when someone in the late 80's discovered her. I think she was a student at HU, but don't remember..quite.

I also appreciated the hat-tip by NC Dem today at OAC blog.

Update: From Truthout. org site :

Mon Jun 5th, 2006 at 08:11:11 PM EDT :
Tried to post this and lost it, so if it comes up twice, well, I'm sorry...

You heard it here first - Tom Vilsack for President, and Christie Vilsack for the (most refreshing breath of fresh air) first lady.

(my note: good luck in your prediction, considering the post below)

And from John Edwards, a campaign to hold the president accountable for CIA leakage - 30,000 signatures delivered to ... ooops... the attorney general. dang. you can visit Edwards' efforts at (yep, he's the one to stand up for all of us)

More buzz l8tr..

Update: JRE-TV ..clips of the Edwards-Kemp initiative of 401K automatic enrollments for workers and promote the "Savers Society" campaign. Takes place at Costco. Personal note: it's the first time I've ever seen JRE put on a pair of reading glasses in public. I hope he will wear them more often.

Previous JRE Buzz (1)

John Edwards in Israel This Week

As I noted on the JRE Buzz over the weekend, JRE is in Israel. This is what OAC Blog Staffer Jenni reported this morning:

I just wanted to let you know that Senator Edwards is in Israel this week meeting with Israeli leaders to discuss critical issues like the Israeli government's efforts to ensure Israel's security, its approach towards the Hamas-led Palestinian government, the threat of a nuclear Iran and other issues central to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Senator Edwards plans to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister and Chair of the Likud Party Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense and Chair of the Labor Party Amir Peretz, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, Minister of Public Security Avi Dichter, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and Knesset Member Ephraim Sneh.

If JRE is being invited to the table to talk with all of these heavy hitters, seems to me they think of him as someone who is an important representative of our country. JRE was mentioned in jspot, one of the Jewish Social Justice blogs, about 2 weeks ago.

With Hamas continuing to be contankerous in tone along with the Iranians, I hope JRE can lend some outside expertise and be an excellent broker of fostering more positive relationships. I also hope he will be safe in his journey.

Update: From a Charlotte News Station..Edwards talks security in Israel

6/6/2006 9:27 AM

By: Associated Press
Former Sen. John Edwards has said his decision on whether to run for president in 2008 depends on his wife's health.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Former North Carolina senator John Edwards is a long way from home this week.

The former Democratic vice presidential candidate is in Israel, where he plans to discuss security issues with Israeli leaders.


Hat-tip to NC Dem again.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Which Muppet Are You?

Coturnix posted the results of a cute test that looks at organizational, cognitive, and personality traits. It's sort of like a Myers-Briggs test. It was fun. The muppet I am most like:

You scored 72% Organization, 46% abstract, and 54% extroverted!
This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are very organized, both concrete and abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

Here is why are you Bert.

You are both very organized. You almost always know where your belongings are and you prefer things neat. You may even enjoy cleaning and find it therapeutic. Bert is a big neat freak and gets quite annoyed when Ernie makes a big mess.

You both are sometimes concrete and sometimes abstract thinkers. Bert is probably a bit more concrete in his bottlecap collecting addiction and his love of the weather. He does show his abstract side when he sings and performs his "Doin' The Pidgeon" song. You have a good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but you also aren't afraid to explore your dreams and desires... within limits of course.

You are both somewhat introverted. Bert is probably more introverted, because he spends most of his time either with Ernie or alone. Still he has no problem being around other people in his role as chairman of "The National Association of 'W' Lovers." Like Bert, you probably like to have some time to yourself, but you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren't scared of social situations.

The other possible characters are
Oscar the Grouch
Big Bird
Kermit the Frog
Cookie Monster
Guy Smiley
The Count

If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also if you want to tell me your favorite Sesame Street character, I can total them up and post them here. Perhaps your choice will win!

Link: The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test written by greencowsgomoo on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Investing in Our Public Servants

From today's Sioux City Journal:

War chests fill up in race for Iowa governor

By Charlotte Eby Journal Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES -- When Mason City Democrat Pat Steinfort mailed a $10 contribution to gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver in March, she wished she could have given more.


Steffen Schmidt, a professor of political science at Iowa State University, compares both big and small campaign donors to "investors" in the political process."Everybody is interested in having someone in office who will do something that improves their bottom line, whether it's teachers' unions, whether it's real estate developers, whether it is farmers," Schmidt said.

Mullin said he can't fathom the type of fundraising event Nussle sponsored, and contrasts it to a recent event featuring former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards that cost $20 per person to attend."We're trying to appeal to average homeowners, average working-class Iowans -neveryday people. And you don't throw $10,000-a-plate fundraisers for everyday people," Mullin said.

That's why I'm a JRE supporter. He appeals to me, just a middle class type, but watching the middle class being eroded every single day, which affects my bottom line too. I have made some modest donations to his PAC and will continue to do so as funds allow. His PAC permits me to invest in the engagement of the political process.

Related post: JRE Buzz (1) Check there for updates. I have added 3 more.

Al Gore and the Alternative Universe

This morning, Al Gore was supposed to be on at 10:00 on TV. I'm certain he was on TV, but our TV station chose to run a fundraising marathon, thus I am forced to turn back to the Net and read interviews of him.

There was one posted from Fresh Air. Terry Gross asked Gore if he was considering another run. Here was his answer:

GROSS: Is there any chance that you would run for the presidency again?

Vice Pres. GORE: I don't see any chance. I'm not thinking about that, not planning it, don't expect it. I have said that when pressed on this question as I'm sure you're about to press me, that I haven't reached a point in my life where I'm willing to say never again will I ever consider such a thing for the rest of my life. But that is more a function of internal gear shifting, not an effort to be coy and keep the door open to it.

Well, there you have it folks. I think Gore is likely to run, and he will be the main challenger to JRE, if he decides to run.

I had to agree with his comments regarding the Administration since he left office:

GROSS: Did you imagine that that much change would even be possible?

Vice Pres. GORE: No. No. I did not. And I'm not alone in that. You know, the premise of that "Saturday Night Live" skit was the existence of an alternate universe and there are people who sort of voluntarily say now it feels as if we've entered an alternative universe. I would not have imagined, for example, that Americans could be routinely torturing helpless captives in the name of the American people and to continue it day after day. It's going on right now without an ongoing outrage and the demand that it stop. I would not have imagined that the government could routinely eavesdrop on tens of millions of Americans without a warrant and not have an ongoing outrage. I would not have imagined that we, the American people, would tolerate the locking up by the executive branch of American citizens without right to trial, without right to inform their families, to be held in secret, without being charged. These are offenses against the Constitution and the rule of law that I would never have imagined could take place, much less be allowed to continue after they came to light. So, yeah, the degree of change is truly shocking to me.
And about George Bush:

GROSS: You got to see George W. Bush close-up when he was your opponent for the presidency. What surprises you most about how the Bush presidency has turned out?

Vice Pres. GORE: I guess what surprises me most is his incuriosity. That's a real mystery to me because he's clearly a smart man. He has a different kind of intelligence, as everybody does. There's so many varieties of intelligence. He's clearly a smart man, but it is a puzzle that he would ask no questions about important matters. When his first secretary of the Treasury came in for their first meeting and spoke for an hour about economic policies of the new administration, he asked not a single question. When he received the briefing in August of 2001 that Osama bin Laden was planning a major attack soon, you know, on the United States, he did not ask a single question. When he was briefed several days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the weather service people were saying it may mark a return to medieval conditions, he asked not a single question. And that same incuriosity seems to be a factor when he just accepts hook, line and sinker the ExxonMobil view that global warming is not a problem, in no way related to the massive volumes of pollution we're putting into the Earth's atmosphere every hour of every day.

When they tell him that the scientific community is wrong and that they're just lying because they're greedy for more research dollars, he doesn't apparently look under the rug. He doesn't ask questions. And in the American system, the president of the United States is the only person who is charged with representing all of the people in every state in every district and looking after the welfare of the people as a whole. And if the special interest has one view, at least you should ask questions about how the public interest is affected, and I really do not know why he is so incurious.

Well said, Al. Hope your movie is a success.

Update: a song called "Wish You Were Gore". Nice parody. However, you have to stay tuned or it breaks up.