Benny's World

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Strange Things in Texas

On Thursday, John Edwards was down in the Houston area for two events. The one that was publicly known from a press release was that he would be at the Houston airport to implore that Continental Airline workers would be allowed to vote as they wished to unionize (or not) and for the company to stay out of it. Yet, there was not one news story about it.

The second event, was not made public until Joe C on the OAC blog announced that JRE had made good on his word, based on votes submitted to OAC in early August, to do a fundraiser for Nick Lampson. Lampson's site doesn't mention it at all. I wrote the Houston Democrats on their site to see if anyone had been there and to inquire why Lampson's folks didn't mention at all. My comment was clipped as I have a TypeKey account and most sites allow the comment to stand unless the language is profane or offensive. The only thing I could figure out is that my question didn't pertain to the particular thread topic.

BW readers, this is not good. No media coverage on either one. And Mr. Lampson, while I hope you win, your campaign staff should be thanking Senator Edwards on your site for doing you a favor. Shame on them and you for not publicizing this event when hundreds, if not thousands of people, voted for other candidates in the One America Committee Votes contest, and they didn't get theirs selected.

Tags: John Edwards, Benny's World, Congressional Races 2008, Texas, Nick Lampson, One America Committee Votes Contest, One America Committee

Thursday, September 21, 2006

John Edwards Upcoming Event Buzzers

September 21, John Edwards speaks at GHW Bush airport, Houston, at 2:30. Reason: to address a rally of Continental Airlines ground workers trying to form a union. Voting began this week in an election at Continental in which 7,800 fleet service workers will decide if they want to be represented by the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU). More than 3,000 of these workers are based in Houston. Continental's ground workers have until Oct. 12 to vote by telephone."

Source: Yahoo, US Newswire

And from Daedalus (hat-tip for him):

Edwards Rally and Fundraisers for Jim Webb, Senatorial candidate, Virginia.

Another blogger whose blog I mentioned last night and I have been blogging his blog, just gave me a heads-up about the details of the JRE/Webb rally:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
WHAT: Rally with Jim Webb and Senator John Edwards
WHERE: University of Mary Washington
1700 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA
WHEN: 3:00 PM
Please RSVP here.

This just in...additional information about the rally from the Virginia Progressive blog.

It will be in front of Lee Hall, at 3pm, as reported, and it is sponsored by Mary Washington Legislative Action Committee and Young Democrats. Way cool. Hat-tip to James Martin for that tidbit. Lee Hall, situated near Ball Circle, is the center of the campus and easily identified by the many national flags flying from the balcony. (photo courtesy of UMW website)

According to the Fredricksburg Free-Lance Star,
Elizabeth attended Univ of Mary Washington for awhile in the 70's.

WHAT: Fundraiser with Senator John Edwards
WHERE: Oakton, VA
WHEN: 5:30 PM

For more information please contact Will Rosenthal at or 703.778.4080

Hat-tip to Daedalus.

More buzz l8tr...

Tags: John Edwards, JRE Buzz, Benny's World, Continental Airlines, unions, GWB Intercontinental Airport, Jim Webb, Senatorial Races 2006, Virginia Politics, Texas, University of Mary Washington

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

JRE Buzz (28): Saving Graces Edition

Greetings BW readers...

Elizabeth's new book, Saving Graces, is getting a lot of buzz. Here, we'll start with the most recent news, an article by Lukas Alpert, from the New York Post:

The Day His Campaign Ended, Her Fight Began
September 21, 2006 --

When Elizabeth Edwards told her husband just days before the 2004 presidential election that she had breast cancer, his first instinct was to stop campaigning.

(photo courtesy of NYP)

But with the neck-and-neck race John Edwards and John Kerry were fighting against President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Elizabeth insisted that "lump or no lump," he had to go on with his fight.


She said she received 65,000 e-mails and tens of thousands of letters of support and she continues to struggle to respond to each one. But the good news is her doctors believe her treatment has gone well, and her long-term prognosis is positive.

"I went into it thinking, 'I'll beat this thing!" she said. "A few times I fell apart. But John was always there by my side."

Read the rest here. Good article.

Elizbeth did send an e-mail this morning to the OAC community and invited them to read an excerpt from her first chapter, some which is already referenced in the article above.

She also has an audio clip here, about her moment in getting a test. To quip a few from that audiocast, Elizabeth says, "Hope is precious and there is no reason to give it up unless you have to."


In Elizabeth telling her spouse, VP candidate John Edwards, about the first news of her condition, she felt when she was first diagnosed, "I was alone in the dark... I have cancer." She wanted to talk to him most, but the least was this news. She waited for her spouse to come home.

When JRE came to meet Elizabeth at their house in Raleigh (already planned), she met him outside of the door and him outside of their gate. As Elizabeth recalled, "his eyes narrowed and focused, with filled with tears when we saw each other." "Nothing can happen to you," he whispered into her ear.

As for me...

I was afraid last year that I might have a lump and what could be for her. I was lucky, but still, hearing her talk about it on the podcasts last year was enough to encourage me to continue to get check-ups. I was OK, but will have another one next month or so.

And her story still fresh in the news..

Yesterday, Reuters News reported that Elizabeth Edwards gave an interview to People magazine that is out this week. I guess their definition is different from mine because I looked in both the 18th and 25th editions...and there is no interview of her in either one. I even used another way to search that was not on the net, and still didn't find it. But I'm going to take Reuters News word that she got interviewed and it will be out soon.

A couple of paragraphs from Reuters:

Elizabeth Edwards, 57, told People magazine in the issue out this week she wanted to share her experience with readers because they may not fully understand what fighting the disease can do to a person.

"People may not have the sense of what women juggling so many things go through when they have cancer," she told the magazine. "I wanted to open the door."

Should be interesting. Here's a recent photo at the beach in NC, courtesy of People.

All coincides with her forthcoming book, which will be out early next week. I ordered my copy last night.

Elizabeth has quite a tour ahead of her, according to the Broadway books website. Some of the events are being held at public libraries. How cool. Her mother was a librarian, in case some BW readers didn't know.

In other news..

JRE was in NYC on Monday, and was one of the panelists for a disappearing middle class symposium sponsored by the NYT and held at New School University. What is odd is that the NYT didn't bother to publish one piece about it; instead, the story was picked up by the New York Sun.

At New School Forum, Senator Edwards Warns of Middle Class Woes

By ERIC KRANGEL - Special to the Sun
September 19, 2006

A potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Senator Edwards, came to New York yesterday with a message about people in the middle class: They "are terrified they will fall into poverty."

Mr. Edwards spoke to a packed auditorium at the New School as part of a panel of academics and journalists titled "American Middle Class: At Risk?" His appearance at the New School followed one last week by a possible presidential contender for the Republican Party, Newt Gingrich.


Edwards was also the first guest on AAR (Air America Left on XM radio, channel 166)on the new weeknight show, Politically Direct, hosted by David Bender. I live blogged it on OAC blog, so rather than repeating it here, I'll provide a link to it and you can read it there! If you want to read listener comments on PD blog, go here.

The Anti-DU Quote of the Day:

From by Gary Singh, (Silicon Valley weekly newspaper) in the context of psychogeography (it's like JRE said at Gnomedex to Marc Canter about Red Diaper baby, "are you expecting me to know what that is?"):

"The next day, former United States vice-presidential candidate John Edwards rolled into San Jose and spoke at the United Healthcare Worker's conference and I was there. He gave a rousing speech and his Southern boyish charm was on overdrive. It was like seeing Bill Clinton in 1992 when he came to San Jose State. In fact, I still have the badge from that event. The speech covered the gamut: poverty, the middle class, health care, workers' rights and how America should lead the world instead of dominating the world. You came off with an impression that maybe, possibly, finally, there could be, perhaps, a shred of hope for the Democratic party. Without the hippies, of course."

The last sentence slays me as funny. I think quite a few DU'ers would be proud to say they were children of the 60's.

Derrick Z. Jackson's commentary in the Boston Globe about Deval Patrick's theme of hope for his governor's race in Massachusetts, mentions how JRE used good examples in his VP nomination acceptance speech, but alas he didn't get to be VP, but still hoping for a win presidential nom in 2008. Jackson writes: "It did not work for 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards, who punctuated the homestretch of his nomination acceptance speech with five rapid-fire examples of struggling people. He talked of a night-shift mother, a worker who cannot get anywhere, people who cannot afford medicines, college-bound youth, and families with soldiers in Iraq. He ended each example by telling supporters to fan out across the nation to tell those people, ``Hope is on the way." He is still hoping, most obviously for the 2008 nomination for president".

I'm reminded of a blog that yesterday that thought "Hope is on the Way" should be ditched in the future and it was dumb line made by a speechwriter.

Speaking of....


Today's snark, albeit not a terribly sharp one, is from one of Pam Spaudling's blogs, Pandagon. The thread was about politician's closets and in particular, former Gov. McGreevey of NJ, and how those closets can cause problems, and in this case, for GLBTers.

One commenter posted the following:

I absolutely agree, and of course this points to a common problem with the Dem’s image as a party. The lack of conviction.

One of the most painful moments in the 2004 election was watching John Edwards weasle his way out of answering the question posed to him by the moderator. Something to the effect of “You say you’re for civil unions but don’t want gay marrige, are you trying to have it both ways.” And then Edwards rambled and shimmyed and sounded incredibly dishonest and uncomfortable. Pointed to Mary Cheney and hid behind Kerry with the “one mand one woman” BS.

It was the one moment in the debate where Cheny looked like an actual human being, and has led me to fear an Edwards nomination in 2008.

A little conviction goes a long way, even if people dissagree with you they can still respect you.

Pam Spaulding was invited to a blogger's dinner with Senator Edwards a week ago tomorrow. Couldn't have she said something to stand up for the Senator, or does she by silence, agree with the poster?

Well, here's my take on what I saw at the debate based on the transcript:

FILL: The next question goes to you, Mr. Vice President.

I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks.

Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?

CHENEY: Gwen, you're right, four years ago in this debate, the subject came up. And I said then and I believe today that freedom does mean freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business.

That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships.

Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.

In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.

And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that's the wrong way to go, as far as he's concerned.

Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president.

IFILL: Senator Edwards, 90 seconds.

EDWARDS: Yes. Let me say first, on an issue that the vice president said in his last answer before we got to this question, talking about tax policy, the country needs to know that under what they have put in place and want to put in place, a millionaire sitting by their swimming pool, collecting their statements to see how much money they're making, make their money from dividends, pays a lower tax rate than the men and women who are receiving paychecks for serving on the ground in Iraq.

Now, they may think that's right. John Kerry and I do not.

We don't just value wealth, which they do. We value work in this country. And it is a fundamental value difference between them and us.

Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.

And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry.

I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships.

But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country.

No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage.

This is using the Constitution as a political tool, and it's wrong.

IFILL: New question, but same subject.

As the vice president mentioned, John Kerry comes from the state of Massachusetts, which has taken as big a step as any state in the union to legalize gay marriage. Yet both you and Senator Kerry say you oppose it.

Are you trying to have it both ways?

EDWARDS: No. I think we've both said the same thing all along.

We both believe that -- and this goes onto the end of what I just talked about -- we both believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.

But we also believe that gay and lesbians and gay and lesbian couples, those who have been in long-term relationships, deserve to be treated respectfully, they deserve to have benefits.

For example, a gay couple now has a very difficult time, one, visiting the other when they're in the hospital, or, for example, if, heaven forbid, one of them were to pass away, they have trouble even arranging the funeral.

I mean, those are not the kind of things that John Kerry and I believe in. I suspect the vice president himself does not believe in that.

But we don't -- we do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

And I want to go back, if I can, to the question you just asked, which is this constitutional amendment.

I want to make sure people understand that the president is proposing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that is completely unnecessary.

Under the law of this country for the last 200 years, no state has been required to recognize another state's marriage.

Let me just be simple about this. My state of North Carolina would not be required to recognize a marriage from Massachusetts, which you just asked about.

There is absolutely no purpose in the law and in reality for this amendment. It's nothing but a political tool. And it's being used in an effort to divide this country on an issue that we should not be dividing America on.

We ought to be talking about issues like health care and jobs and what's happening in Iraq, not using an issue to divide this country in a way that's solely for political purposes. It's wrong.

IFILL: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds.

CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter.

I appreciate that very much.

IFILL: That's it?

CHENEY: That's it.

Who weasled here? I believe it was Dick Cheney.

Upcoming Events

Update..this just in..

September 21, John Edwards speaks at GHW Bush airport, Houston, at 2:30. Reason: to address a rally of Continental Airlines ground workers trying to form a union. Voting began this week in an election at Continental in which 7,800 fleet service workers will decide if they want to be represented by the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU). More than 3,000 of these workers are based in Houston. Continental's ground workers have until Oct. 12 to vote by telephone." Source: Yahoo, US Newswire

September 23, Buffalo House Campground, outside of Duluth, MN, for more info, click here ; source, Duluth News Tribune

Sept 26 in DC, JRE stumps for Andrew Hurst, VA-11 Congressional candidate.

Sept 26th, Another blogger whose blog I mentioned last night and I have been blogging his blog, just gave me a heads-up about the details of the JRE/Webb rally (hat-tip to Daedalus):

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
WHAT: Rally with Jim Webb and Senator John Edwards
WHERE: University of Mary Washington
1700 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA
WHEN: 3:00 PM
Please RSVP here.

WHAT: Fundraiser with Senator John Edwards
WHERE: Oakton, VA
WHEN: 5:30 PM

For more information please contact Will Rosenthal at or 703.778.4080

October 14, University of Iowa Law School symposium about Welfare Reform, 10 years later

TBA, Fundraiser and Rally for Larry Kissell, NC-08 Congressional candidate. Check out the Daily Kos diary by Southern Dem from today.

More buzz l8tr...

Tags: Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards, JRE Buzz, Benny's World, Pandagon, Pam Spaulding, Saving Graces, Politically Direct, Air America, David Bender, New School, middle class, libraries, librarians, One America Committee, OAC blog,, hippies, Democratic, Larry Kissell, hope, Derrick Z. Jackson, Deval Patrick, Lukas Alpert

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ann Richards: Texas' Real Deal

Today was the official memorial day for the passing of Ann Richards, fmr. governor of Texas and one of the grandmothers of mentoring women in politics. I always thought Eleanor Roosevelt was the first lady/mother of political mentoring of women, especially those in the media.

I was introduced to Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic Convention, even though I voted for her as state treasurer, and knew she was good at balancing the books. But I didn't know how funny she was and the charisma until that magical night, in which two of her lines came along "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth," and "I thought you'd like to hear what a real Texas accent sounds like."

I was living in Massachusetts when she was elected governor. Even some of the stations around Boston carried one of the debates with her and her opponent, Clayton Williams. Clayton was more than just a good ol boy; he was downright insulting to all women. He was the same guy who said about rape that women "should relax and just enjoy the ride." So much did he feel threatened by them that he refused to shake Richards' hand after the debate when she extended hers.

I had friends who were prepared to vote for Williams until that happened. The handshake is the friendship motto of Texas and everyone expects to shake hands, especially opponents to show good sportsmanship. Thus, Williams' refusal to shake her hand showed that he was not going to be very friendly, and it was sign of deep disrespect. I'd like to think Ann won the election on her own, but his gaffe is truly what helped her to victory. She campaigned hard, and to this day, even freepers say she was a gutsy lady.

I loved it when she held up a t-shirt that read, "A woman's place is in the Dome." Sweet revenge.

Ann worked hard to solve what was handed to her a big mess of problems ranging from prison overcrowding to education. Unfortunately, a couple of oversights on her cabinet, in which one member didn't have the credentials as presented, and was forced to resign. Ann didn't favor concealed handguns to be legal; the NRA went after her by supporting her opponent, George W. Bush. And with Karl Rove at his side, she was smeared about her reforms. Little did Texans know that when he became governor later, he would convince the ledge to freeze or cut high education budgets, more executions would take place, and he would leave Texas in the worst fiscal shape that Rick Perry inherited, and now Perry is beginning to have to fight his career and not sit on Geo W. Bush's laurels as he did for the past 5 years.

I was not aware until today that Ann moved to New York City for a few years after 9/11. Sounds like she had a great time, and as Hillary Clinton said today, the future is what mattered to Ann, and she saw life as opportunity and adventure. I believe it.

Televised live on C-SPAN, the memorial service led by former Dallas mayor, Ron Kirk, was comical at times. Liz Smith, one of her dearest friends, and who could almost match Ann in her wit told a couple of stories about her today. One was that Liz and Ann got to meet with George Clooney for some event, and as a gift, they gave him a Tom DeLay Pinata. (the crowd applauded that one loudly and laughed heartily)

Liz Smith's second story was about going to a Christmas party and it was kind of dull, so she asked the pianist to play "The 12 days of Christmas" and by the total recitation, all of the folks, all women I think, were making gestures that mimicked what Ann was doing (such as squatting for nine geese a layin'). She was a hoot--and a hit.

Liz had a third, but it was a bit more complicated. :-)

My spouse and I hung our Texas flag outside yesterday. I don't know if anyone will know why or what the metaphor is, but we do. It's about the never ending spirit of Ann Richards, and as a Texan by birth, and one who had to struggle to get to where I am today--being an educator as Ann Richards was for nearly 40 something years--her life resonates. And I found a quote that seemed appropriate for me as a librarian:

"I have a real soft spot in my heart for librarians and people who care about books. "

I am saddened by her passing, but her legacy to never stop tryin', as Hillary said today, will live on.

May her family move through this difficult time with grace and laughter, as she looks in my favorite picture of her.

Listen here for other Texans' thoughts about Ann Richards, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle. Apparently the service was open to anyone, and I noticed the place was full, which means thousands were there.

Ann W. Richards, 1933-2006
Texas Patriot

Tags: Ann W. Richards, Texas politics, Texas governors, Texas patriots, women in government, women's leadership, Liz Smith, Ron Kirk

Sunday, September 17, 2006

New Photo From a JRE Event Last Week

Senator Edwards stumped for Tessa Hafen, who is running for Nevada's Third District--last Monday.

(photo credit): Tessa Hafen's website

She is Senator Reid's former senior advisor and lives in Henderson, which is a bedroom community of Las Vegas.

Best wishes to Tessa in her run.

Tags: John Edwards, JRE, Tessa Hafe, Nevada-03, Congressional Races 2006, Benny's World