Benny's World

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Calif an ATM for Some Politicians

Ollieb at Edwards' blog is a part of a California group that is watching politicians who come to California mainly for fundraisers, then leave without talking to regular Joes and Janes about their concerns. He referenced a piece from Courage Campaign, in which the blogger wrote about JRE's various stops in California last week, mainly from news reports I had seen, but he placed them nicely to make his point.

John Edwards came to California last week and stayed through today when he appeared at UCLA for the latest stop on his college tour. In between fundraiswers, he spoke to Fresno farm workers, a Santa Monica Democratic club and Berkeley college students, none of which involved taking a withdrawal from the ATM that is California. The fact that John Edwards is speaking to California voters whose attendance doesn't depend on a 4-figure donation is significant. It says that sure, he's coming here for money but that he cares about the issues of Californians and he's staying to listen to regular voters.

Here are some samples of news coverage of his events to give a sense of how John Edwards is embodying how we'd like all candidates to treat California voters.

On Friday Edwards met with Fresno farm workers.

"These workers are at the heart of why I want to be president of the United States," Edwards said, flanked by UFW President Arturo Rodriguez. "We need comprehensive immigration reform in this country, and that includes the ability of people to earn citizenship."

He's saying this in the heart of red California. In fact, at a nearby fundraiser earlier in the day:

Some guests also said they might attend receptions for Republican presidential hopefuls including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain, both of whom are expected to tour the valley.

"Most of us are Republicans, conservative folks," said co-host Joe Uremovic, a Fresno agricultural attorney.

Edwards continued to demonstrate his tendency to speak fearlessly and put his money where his mouth is at his Berkeley rally on Sunday. Edwards doesn't just seek the support of labor, he earns it:

Edwards told the crowd that he appeared at the YWCA instead of on the UC Berkeley campus as a gesture of support for campus janitors in a labor dispute with the university. The janitors are members the powerful American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees.

He said:

“We are standing with these workers who are trying to get a decent wage and to be able to support their families,” Edwards said. “It is part of today’s march of justice and equality.”

And on the subject of the Democratic Party:

"I want to say something about my party," he said. "I'm so tired of incremental, careful caution. Where is our soul? Where is our soul? We are our most powerful when we speak from here" -- he touched his heart -- "and not from a poll."

Amen, Senator.

But the most moving testimony to the impact Edwards's simply taking a few hours out of his schedule to speak to regular California voters came from the mouths of voters themselves:

“Being able to come here to see someone who is running for president was an amazing opportunity,” said sophomore Caroline Szymanska, a group leader for Cal Lobby Day.


"He came to listen to us, the farmworkers," said Angelina Zabala, a mother of six from Porterville. "I didn't think the candidates were going to take what we have to say into account but I see he wants to help. I'm thinking about voting for him."

Truly, Edwards is a man of the people. Quite a contrast to another presidential candidate, as captured at Laguna Beach. In the clip, you will see war protesters near the house where a fundraiser is taking place.

Now there is an ATM watch. It's kind of interesting. Madam Clinton just rides away. Protesters feel ditched.

I'll check in with Courage Campaign occasionally and keep BW readers posted.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, March 08, 2007

JRE Buzz: Healthcare Plan on DVD Sent to Iowans

From Aaron Myers this evening on JRE blog:

Greetings from Chapel Hill HQ. During a staff meeting yesterday, our crew watched a DVD that the campaign is mailing to Iowa caucus-goers. Families around Iowa will be seeing the video this week -- and you can watch it online here. The video describes John Edwards' plan for true universal health care.

Our new DVD will arrive in 70,000 mailboxes bundled with details of the Edwards health care plan. It's a great package -- showing a real plan to guarantee health care to every American. (Right now, 47 million Americans have no health insurance at all -- 265,000 of them in Iowa alone.)

Unfortunately, we can't mail a DVD to all of you. We can certainly put the video on YouTube. Have a look.

We know that many of you are curious to see what happens here at HQ. I'll do my best to snap photos more often. And we'll introduce more of the staff (and our great local volunteers). Stay tuned on the blog. And thanks for the energy you put into the campaign.

My reaction to the YT?

My investment in this campaign is worth every penny of this video on YT and DVD. I hope Jackie and others in Iowa will invite others they meet tomorrow and Saturday to tell them to open this mail package, review the video, and really see this candidate with an open mind with a plan for one of the top 3 concerns they have.

The first of it almost sounded like a negative ad because of the music, but when the contrast came JRE explicating his plan for action on the problem, it clicked with me and kept me focused.

However, what resonated was the end, and I confess I got teary-eyed, is the man who remarked,

He keeps talking about the right and the truth, and uh while we haven't heard that in quite awhile.

And I think he would be the one that everyone could say, 'Hey, that's my President' and really mean it, and be proud of it."

Sounds like an Iowan and the rest of us. Iowa ground booters, get out there in this better weather to help get his message out.

JRE in Iowa tomorrow and Sat.

Different way to get message out as nearly 80% of Iowans have DVD players. I bet only a small fraction read the net. I wonder how this will work in light of teevee ads, and how the teevee stations will cover his town halls?

Stay tuned as there will be more buzz l8tr..

Labels: , , , ,

Conservative Newspapers Drop Coultergeist Column

According to Editor & Publisher, three four newspapers have discontinued Ann Coulter's column due to her incendiary comments about John Edwards and the gay community.

So far, the four are:

  • Lancaster (Pa.) New Era
  • Oakland Press of Michigan
  • The Mountain Press (TN)
  • The Times of Shreveport

Also mentioned in the article was the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization announced a campaign to get other Coulter newspaper clients to drop her column. Yesterday, E&P reported that HRC launched an effort that resulted "in what it said were more than 20,000 messages" to persuade Universal Press Syndicate to stop distributing the column.

Comment from the Times of Shreveport:

"Today we move past the rhetoric and unproductive dialogue offered by Ann Coulter. The Times is dropping her column effective immediately."It is her recent 'joke' about John Edwards being considered a 'faggot' that is the back-breaking straw for a decision we've openly discussed for some time. We had a dialogue with readers last year regarding whether Coulter was a responsible commentator and journalist.

Her repeated use of hyperbole in the call for the death of some journalists and politicians was beyond the pale. And while we all believe she was “just kidding,” her "shock-jock'' writing style is no different from Howard Stern's practical jokes and bathroom humor that aims to draw a school-yard snicker but falls well short of reasonable, thought-provoking journalism.

Unlike the work of a Thomas Sowell or a Kathleen Parker, two thoughtful
conservatives, does a Coulter column raise the level of discourse? The answer:

No doubt some conservatives will lament the loss of their beloved Coulter, someone who made the joke they are too polite to make. Objections are expected, but please do not miss the continuation of outstanding conservative commentary by Cal Thomas and Jonah Goldberg that continues on our pages. Sure Michelle Malkin sometimes approaches a Coulter-style rant, but we don't recall any homicidal zingers.

We are committed to providing a balance in commentary, so Coulter will be replaced by another conservative voice. Our many local conservative voices from the community also will continual to be welcome on our pages.

With Coulter's departure, we're not demanding commentary all dressed up in delicate finery. Forceful, direct, even bare-knuckled writers are welcome as long as they are tackling ideas or stances rather than making profane personal attacks.

Above all this isn't some liberal vendetta. If so, Coulter would have fallen off our pages years ago. Sure, The Times has supported what many perceive to be liberal ideas or politicians before, but we also have spoken for fiscal restraint and opposed certain taxes. In last governor's race, The Times endorsed the Republican candidate and since then we have supported conservative judicial candidates, city council contenders and state lawmakers. We like to think we take each issue and candidacy as it comes.

And we are one of the few institutions that sits down with newsmakers regularly to discuss and debate issues. Ask Caddo Parish school Superintendent Ollie Tyler and U.S. Congressman Jim McCrery about this, if you doubt.

We meet with every legitimate candidate or advocate who will keep an appointment. For those who find affirmation and validity in Coulter diatribes, God bless you and keep you. But since last summer's open-air discussion of our reservations about continuing her column, you had to know it was only a matter of time before she rubbed a hole in the welcome mat. It even seems as if she was pushing to find the limit. Well...

I’m sure we’ll engage in some debate over this decision, but we hope you are more interested in who will replace her. Send us your nominees for review.

Now, we move on."

Well said, Mr. English.

Five down, 95 to go. In case you didn't notice, as I didn't until now on the side bar, Media Matters reports that American Press of Lake Charles dropped Coulter's column on Monday.

Expensive nasty "joke" indeed. Definitely botched and now hitting her pocketbook, where it counts.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Howard Dean Speaks Out

This rocks along with Jim Webb's proposal, as Edwards supported yesterday:

"The threat of a nuclear Iran is one of the greatest threats to world peace today, but we must deal with this threat by being smart. It's impossible to trust President Bush to do that - his reckless Iraq policy has created a chaotic situation in Iraq and damaged America 's moral standing in the world.

"Congress has the power to stop this President from taking our country down another disastrous course in Iran , and they should use it now. President Bush long ago exceeded his authority in Iraq and needs to return to Congress for new authority to manage the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence.

"He certainly has not been granted Congressional authority to pursue military action in Iran and Congress should put him on notice that he must request authorization before doing so.

"I applaud Senator Webb for standing up to President Bush and introducing a bill that sets a clear standard and reflects the will of the American people.

"No President should ever take any option off the table, but instead of focusing on military action, we should focus on the many steps in front of us that have not been used -- negotiating directly with Iran, getting our European allies to join us in offering an economic package to assist Iran in meeting its energy needs peacefully, and isolating Iran's radical leader.

"America used to be the light that the rest of the world looked up to in times of crisis. We must stop this stubborn pursuit of foreign policy based on ideology, and return America to its place of moral leadership."

More buzz l8tr

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Edwards Chooses not to Hunt in the Foxhole

Edwards to skip Fox News debate

by kos
Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 07:15:30 PM PST

As I mentioned earlier today, I've been asking campaigns whether they plan on attending the Fox News debate.

Several of the campaigns I contacted are still trying to make a final determination, but the first to definitely say "no" is John Edwards. Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince emailed me the great news:

We will not be participating in the Fox debate. We're going to make lots of appearances in Nevada, including debates. By the end of March, we will have attended three presidential forums in Nevada - and there are already at least three proposed Nevada debates. We're definitely going to debate in Nevada, but we don't see why this needs to be one of them.

Great job by the Edwards campaign on this, showing real leadership on this issue. Hopefully others will soon follow.

I'm happy about this. I think it's a trap otherwise. Why would Edwards choose to attend a debate by a network who's darling smears Dem candidates and makes homophobic comments for cheap laughs? And worse, it's condoned by her ilk on that network. But as this article points out, some were critical of her comments too. They should be.

Link to Kos:

Update: Newshounds Site (We Watch Fox so You Don't Have to, lol) lauds Edwards' decision not to take the bait.

Edwards' withdrawal is the first in what we hope will be many

We News Hounds know that FOX News cannot be trusted to act in an
honorable way towards Democratic candidates.

Witness their overblown, inaccurate reports about Obama's childhood, Al Gore's energy use and John Edwards liberal bloggers. And who can forget the Chris Wallace ambush of former President Bill Clinton? Thankfully, it backfired. Clinton made mincemeat out of Mr. Wallace!

However, we all know that FOX News Channel's anchors, reporters and pundits will smirk, smear and slime their way through every word uttered at any Democratic debate, whether they sponsor it or not.

So the q's are: will Obama and Clinton accept? Stay tuned.

Labels: , , , , , ,

JRE Buzz: Statement on Scooter Libby's Verdict

Senator John Edwards released the following statement today about the recent verdict finding Vice President Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby guilty on multiple counts in the CIA leak case.

"Today's verdict in the Libby case is an important step in holding the Administration accountable for its consistent misuse and manipulation of intelligence to further its ideological agenda. But there are serious questions about whether the buck actually stopped with Scooter Libby. The American people deserve to know if Mr. Libby has been made a scapegoat in order to protect anyone else."

For another round-up of John Edwards' events, including videos and articles, go here.

Good news: 100 supporters of former 2008 candidate Tom Vilsack are getting on the Edwards train.

Don't forget to tune into MSNBC's "Hardball" this evening, where Edwards will be a guest.

Update: Here's the link to the video. It's about 8 min long.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 05, 2007

Edwards at Berkeley

A fellow blogger, Manoj, saw JRE at Berkeley yesterday and has suggested this article to post. And I will.

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina is neither his party's front-runner nor the fresh-faced new kid on the block of Democratic presidential politics.

But the candidate -- who was the target of a high-profile conservative pundit's anti-gay slur Friday -- is viewed as something more by many of the party's young and loyal activists: a presidential hopeful with strong potential for a surprise showing in the 2008 race.

The measure of Edwards' appeal came Sunday as members of an overflow crowd sat on fences, jammed sidewalks and even filled parking lots near the Berkeley YWCA where he addressed 1,000 activists and potential voters.

"I want to say something about my party," he said. "I'm so tired of incremental, careful caution. Where is our soul? Where is our soul? We are our most powerful when we speak from here" -- he touched his heart -- "and not from a poll."

Dressed in jeans and shirtsleeves, he issued a call to action for "transformational change" in America on issues like health care, the environment, education and even what he called "the bleeding sore that is Iraq."

In a news conference afterward, Edwards talked about the scathing attack last week by author Ann Coulter, who dismissed him as a "faggot" in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington -- whose members laughed and applauded the slur.

Edwards said Coulter's comment was "hateful, selfish, childish behavior."


Thanks to Berkeley Bubble blog.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Presidential Rhetoric

Yesterday I wrote about how Coultergeist reappeared and the Edwards' responses to her caustic, hateful words. There are some of the DU who think their responses were tepid at best and should have gotten into the mud pit or post stronger rhetoric.

If these same critics had read Saving Graces, they would know that Elizabeth was a target of hate herself in the last campaign. Here are a few excerpts worth sharing from Saving Graces, p 252-3, in which the setting is Grand Junction, CO:

On a bench outside the airport gates sat a man, perhaps in his 60's, his hair thinning, the color of his faded jacket and the color of his weathered skin nearly the same, and on his lap he held a handmade sign, maybe 12 by 18 inches, and on the sign a single word, plainly printed: FATSO.

skip a couple of paragraphs to page 253:

The sign I realized, was meant for me. It was a thrust of ugliness and meanness, designed to throw me off. The man had made the sign, driven to the airport, parked and sat on that bench for who knows how long, waiting for me to come by, so that I would read his sign, so I would see that someone, a plain old man, called me Fatso.

If you didn't understand John, or even grasp what Elizabeth said, read further here, again quoting from her book:

--there were 3 Secret Service agents and my little team, more than the usual load. "Did you see that guy?" I could tell 2 things from the way the Secret Service had responded: they had hoped I hadn't seen it, and they were mad."

I think I understand how John and Elizabeth operate. They have to "shrug" this off, but as Elizabeth and John say, this talk has no place in our society at large. But like any president or first lady, it is important to keep the message focused, then move on. The difference in the response here, and one I haven't seen in the past 6 years, is one of true empathy. I think empathy, a true Saving Grace, is what the Edwards as a family will bring to the White House in 2009.

Update: James S at JE08 reminded me of this PSA spot Elizabeth did at Thanksgiving last year. Here's the clip.

Decency costs nothing, as Elizabeth said.

Labels: , , , , , , ,