Benny's World

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards on POTUS 08

Our lady Elizabeth Edwards appeared via phone on National Journal's On Aire, a Friday show on POTUS08 (which is on XM Satellite Radio channel 130) and I missed it! However, thanks to the marvels of the Internet, I have read the transcript and listened to the podcast. Tammy Haddock asks Elizabeth questions about Obama's campaign, McCain's health care plan, and the issue of sexist commentary in the MSM.

Q: Elizabeth, I have to ask you first, because I know you were overseas, because we saw these reports that Senator Edwards would not be interested in the vice presidential slot. Is that true?

Edwards: Um. Well, of course it's true if he said something (laughter). He was asked, wouldn't you make a good vice presidential candidate? And John demurred and said, I've done that, and I want to be as helpful as I possibly can to Senator Obama, but this is not something to which I aspire.

On McCain's non healthcare plan:

Q: Were you surprised after the vaunted -- all the vaunted coverage of the excellent Republican campaigns over the years -- that they stepped right in that and gave you a huge window to walk through?

Edwards: I've been absolutely floored that they did that. He has added a new portion -- Senator McCain's health care plan, which was already pretty disastrous -- he added, in response to me, added a new section which was to put people with pre-existing conditions in high-risk pools.

I was calculating what that would cost. And you sort of have to get ready for this -- so we already know it's $3 trillion for the $5,000 tax credit he is giving out. $3 trillion -- it's a lot more than anybody else is thinking about, talking about spending. But if my computer calculator is correct, if people with pre-existing conditions who are currently covered by employer health care -- and he wants to sort of end employer health care -- if those people have to go to high-risk pools, which is what it looks like they'll have to do, the cost would be $450 trillion.

This -- you know, it's not just that this is a budget-breaker, you know. We thought that President Bush could do a lot of damage, did a lot of economic damage, in his seven years so far, but he's going to put him to shame if he is really talking about doing something like this.

Q: And, as you know, Senator McCain has asked Senator Obama to join him in town hall meetings this summer. Maybe, let me ask you this question -- we have Doug Eakins, who is a senior policy adviser, economic adviser, to the McCain campaign -- maybe an issue challenge to them, on the health care side, to debate you on these issues?

Edwards: I would be happy to sit down with 'em. I think it's good for people to hear both sides of what's good and bad -- been talked about by people who speak their language, don't try to speak above them and who can sort of call the other guy when it's, you know, a bunch of malarkey.


You know, everybody knows some of what politicians say is malarkey, and having somebody there to call them on it is good. I'd be happy to do that any time and any place.

About sexism in the media:

Q: Well, it goes around my friends in the newsroom -- I have to ask you about a front-page story in The New York Times today all about the media coverage of Senator Clinton, including my old colleagues at MSNBC and other cable channels and networks. Do you think the coverage of Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign was sexist? Katie Couric says so.

Edwards: It was sexist. I thought that it was extraordinarily negative, particularly at one point later in the process when it almost seemed to be an insult to the commentators on television that she was continuing to press her case, I thought, instead of viewing it as it really was, which I think it was a moment of incredible strength. She was winning these late primaries. She had a perfect right to take the position she did until it was -- until the case was clearly decided. And yet they treated it as if it was insulting.

I suspect they would've given the same treatment to a man, but I'm not positive. They didn't -- I don't remember hearing the same clamor for Howard Dean to get out, but the process hadn't gone as long as it had, so I didn't think that it was fair. I think that if any one of those people had been in her shoes they would've continued to try to get the nomination. Had any single one of them changed places with her, they would've done it -- man, woman, green hair or not.

If you wish to read the rest, go here. I left out the more speculative parts, but they are interesting too. If you are like yours truly, and miss listening to Elizabeth, go here. I did both, of course!

Luckily Elizabeth is first on the show, so you don't have to listen to the drivel of McBush's economic advisor.

A big h/tip to NcDem Amy for bringing this to my attention.

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A David Cook Site that Rocks

I was surfing on the Net to see what DC had been up to, and I stumbled across this awesome fan BB, I will be adding it to my blogroll. It has the latest information on upcoming (and past) appearances and interviews in all media.

Apparently I missed DC at Mercedes Benz Summer Series appearance connected to Jay Leno's show. Here's the link.

He did a smashing job with "My Hero", as well as "Time of My Life" (his hit single).

Never occurred to me that DC's look would be mirroring after the Foo Foo Fighters after listening to "My Hero." May it is, maybe not.

Times like of JRE's theme songs.

David Cook performed an amazing version of our national anthem at the Lakers-Celtics game the other night.

He'll be on Jimmy Kimmel's show tomorrow night (late), then...well check out the site!

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Passing of a Legend: Tim Russert

Quick post, will embellish over the weekend. Here's a video clip of John Edwards being interviewed on Keith Olbermann (courtesy of NC Dem Amy):

Nice tribute, more about fathers and sons.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hope Has Two Daughters: Anger and Courage

This is from Montana Maven's place, and she has given me blanket permission to cross-post her work. Montana Maven devours ideas and consequently books (or articles) and when I want political philosophy or framing occasionally (she's irregular like me), I read her blog when my political soul wants to be rekindled or fed.

St. Augustine wrote, Hope has two beautiful daughters. They are anger and courage. Anger at the way things are and the courage to see they do not remain the way they are. We stand at the verge of a massive economic dislocation, one forcing millions of families from their homes and into severe financial distress, one that threatens to rend the fabric of our society. We are waging a war that devours lives and capital, and that cannot ultimately be won. We are told we need to give up our rights to be safe, to be protected. In short, we are made afraid. We are told to hand over all that is best about our nation to those like George Bush and Dick Cheney, who seek to destroy our nation.

A state of fear only engenders cruelty -- cruelty, fear, insanity, and then paralysis. In the center of Dante's circle, the damned remained motionless. If we do not become angry, if we do not muster within us the courage, indeed the militancy, to challenge those in the Democratic and Republican parties who herd us toward the corporate state, we will have squandered our courage and our integrity when we need it most.

I can be optimistic and angry at the same time, like John Edwards. Like him, I can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Tom P. points out in a diary the Furman Furor Obama appointing Jason Furman as economic policy director) that many of us are "angry at the way things are" and we hope we have the "courage to see they don't remain that way". That means keeping an eagle eye out for anything and anybody that advocates "The Shock Doctrine" or the Friedman/Rubin Feudalism Flim Flam. Without a powerful labor, socialist and communist movement in the 1930's, the moderate FDR would not have had to do battle with the friends of fascism in the U.S. Chris Hedges quotes FDR in his:

"Recommendations to the Congress to Curb Monopolies and the Concentration of Economic Power." In it, he wrote:

The first truth is that the liberty of democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism -- ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way to sustain an acceptable standard of living.

Chris Hedges warns us time and time again that we are seeing "America's Democratic Collapse". He agrees with John Ralston Saul that we are undergoing "a coup d'etat in slow motion." Workers' rights, voters rights, citizens privacy rights have eroded to the point that we are barely a republic let alone a democracy.

The economy, despite the official statistics, is not growing. It is shrinking. And as the nation crumbles, we are awash with the terrible simplicity of false statistics. We confuse our emotional responses, carefully manipulated by advertisers, pundits, spin doctors, television hosts, political consultants and focus groups, with knowledge. It is how we elect presidents and those we send to Congress, how we make decisions, even decisions to go to war. It is how we view the world. Four media giants -- AOL-Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch's NewsGroup -- control nearly everything we read, see and hear. This growing disconnect with reality is the hallmark of a totalitarian state.

What's the answer? Hedges says it's not enough to vote. We must "lobby, organize, and advocate for the dissolution of the World Trade Organization and NAFTA. And he says we need to repeal the regressive anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. This is the mission of David Bonior's group, Americans Rights at Work. They want to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

Seems that all roads lead to Rome. In this case, in order to avoid a fall like the Roman Empire, we need to flee Rome and set up shop out here at Democracy's edges and advocate for our rights to be called citizens and not treated like bulk items.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quick Hits for June 11, 2008

EENR launched a new series, Progressive Pages, which is talking to authors about their books. David Sirota, progressive activist and author of The Uprising, live blogged at EENR this evening. He wasn't able to answer as many questions as he was on the road and had to do a call into Rachel Maddow's show, but his answers were pithy.

Quantcast: a website that keeps up with demographics on blogs. Here's the one for the Big O. Tell me if this is what fits the other Big O's demographics in running for president and why he won the primaries.

Obama goofs in selecting Jason Furman as director of his economic policy group. I just hope he's not unwise enough not to invite Mark Penn either as part of the "many voices" group. I've heard in some quiet circles Obama is a closet libertarian in economic policy and it will be interesting how he will make the populist message work in rural areas when the two are mutually exclusive of one another. Mudcat, your phone will be ringing at 3am many times or he will throw you and David Bonior under the bus as Obama did Jim Johnson today.

White suburban women currently favor McCain over Obama. Not surprised. Maybe that will change.

Taylor Marsh has been savaged by her readers for getting on the Unity Bus. That's too bad. She's a smart lady and she started getting on this bus sometime ago when she saw it was better to do that then have the bus leave her behind. I hope Obama's Internet team will reach out to her, but they may not. She and I have had our differences about the Edwardses and their campaigns, but by the by, I think she's gutsy. She's a bit like Clinton in many ways, sometimes she just hears her own drummer, and sometimes she's playing like a full fledged band. I happen to like her and her radio show.

John Edwards to appear this Saturday at a Caregiver's conference near Kansas City.

Best snark video this year: "I'm Voting Republican."

My favorite line:
women just can't be trusted to make decisions about their bodies. Never. ever. ever.

I'm certain the Freepers will have one of their own soon, but at least the Dems were first.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

John Edwards Gets Harry Chapin Award from WHY

WHY stands for World Hunger Year, an organization that studies hunger and poverty issues. John Edwards along with 3 others (including Elvis Costello) spoke at the Chelsea Pier. Here's the podcast of his speech, courtesy of WCBS.


He thanked the workers there. Reminded me of when I saw him at a house party in Bloomington, IL and he personally shook hands individually with all of the catering staff. I've never seen a politician do that before or since.

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Happy Birthday, John Edwards

And here's his favorite pie recipe by his momma:

Bobbie Edwards' Pecan Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (pack down)
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons milk or cream
2 eggs
1 stick margarine or butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans
1 unbaked pie shell (9")

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix and pour ingredients into 9" unbaked pie shell.
3. Place on cookie sheet.
4. Put in oven and bake 20 mins.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 275.
6. Bake for approx. 20 mins. longer.
7. Center should be slightly soft - check pie during last 10 minutes of baking.

Pic below is the last one I had made with him. I'm to his right, but in the pic, it appears left.

My Left Wing is honoring John Edwards today as well.

Check out this cool website that also tells you about the days of the year and historic events.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Wondering Where the Lions Are

Seems fitting..

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Sign the Birthday Card for John Edwards!

L Wilcox has set up a beautiful e-card, and is collecting donations to send for John Edwards' poverty and learning programs here:

The card is 24 pages long...let's make it bigger, and show our love for the most progressive Presidential candidate in many moons. John's birthday is on Tuesday, June 10th.

To show your support, please sign the card: ;
It costs nothing unless you volunteer to make a donation, and it only takes a couple of minutes.

And watch for a special birthday bash here and at the EENR blog. John turns the double nickel this year (dang, he doesn't look it though).

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