Benny's World

Friday, July 18, 2008

JRE (John Edwards)Buzz: In Repugs' Face Edition

John Edwards continues to get in the news and gathers invites to events. Elizabeth Edwards does too. Here's a quick diary of what's to come.

EENR's "Lady" was on the hot seat on the Colbert Report last night. It was on the Comedy Channel at 11:30 ET, with a repeat at 1:30a ET and 8:30a ET on today. Stephen Colbert, the master of "Papa Bear" antics, tried to get into Elizabeth Edwards' face about health care and supporting Obama, but, she kicked his arse, as anyone would expect. (video to come)

Stephen Colbert and EE

(courtesy of NcDem and the Colbert Nation)

Meantime, John Edwards has accepted more invitations for speaking engagements. He will be in SF on Sunday at the Momentum Tides 08 convention (for progressive activists) as a part of a conversation with David Brancaccio of PBS NOW. (Link is to buy tickets for that event, substantially cheaper than going to Conference). One of the EENR diarists (not editors) is going to this keynote, and we hope she will report on it when she returns.

Of course, Edwards is likely to speak at the DNC Convention, but details haven't been released as to when.Marc Ambinder believes JRE may be vetted privately as VP for an Obama ticket.

Perhaps there's a good reason for it, although Ambinder doesn't say:

On the opening day of the Republican National Convention, the Service Employees International Union will sponsor a festival on St. Paul's Harriet Island to celebrate workers' achievements and "promote a New Vision for the 21st Century," organizers said.

The festival will run from noon to 7 p.m. on Sept. 1, Labor Day, at Harriet Island Regional Park in the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. The Republican National Convention, which runs from Sept. 1 to 4 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, is expected to draw 45,000 attendees and equal numbers of protesters.

The festival will feature musicians Steve Earle, Allison Moorer and Tom Morello and speakers will include former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, SEIU President Andy Stern and Change to Win Chair Anna Burger.

We didn't see Al Franken's name as one of the speakers for the event, but we do know that via Chris Cillizza's The Fix the Franken campaign hired Eric Schultz, JRE's spokesperson, to be Deputy Campaign manager.

If anyone thought Edwards was not an effective attack-dog in 2004, he has toughened up and he is definitely in the Republicans' face with this engagement. But again, Edwards would probably do this regardless of being a VP candidate or not.

I'm concluding with a great vlog by Refinish69 who is at Netroots Nation as we speak:

More buzz l8tr...

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards Will Be on The Colbert Report Tonight

This should be pretty funny. As soon as a video goes up, Benny's World readers will be amongst the first to see it!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Right from Wrong

A woman who noticed two bikes that were in her garage and knew they didn't belong to her family, called the police today. She turned in her son (an accomplice) and his friend, the main perp. They had seen the bikes, stole them from a garage, went on to commit arson or start fires in various places, then stashed the bikes in one of their mommas' garage.

Turns out they were the bikes stolen from our house that I mentioned in my last post.

I don't know the woman's name, nor would I want to print it as I'm certain she will be considered a rat, but she is teaching her children right from wrong..and to be accountable.

I know one person in our respective families once took something from a retail store, and the manager caught that person--age around 9. This was 45 years ago. Told his parents what he did, was marched back to the store to return the items, and apologize to the store manager. Since then, he has never stolen anything from a store. In fact, the person was mugged when catching someone stealing something from a Five and Dime, and had the perp by the collar, but his accomplice used an iron rod to knock him unconscious for awhile in order to enable the thief to run on and not get caught.

I hope whoever stole the bikes understands that "this is NOT OK." Meantime, our bikes are back, spouse feels fortunate, but I think the momma who did her duty must be feeling some pain tonight.

Thank you, whoever you are.

And we thank the Champaign police for catching this very quickly, despite a huge outbreak of crime. I'm pretty certain part of it is summer pranks, but also some desperate "acting out" for various reasons in a country of rising inflation, folks losing their homes, and worse, their jobs.

We don't get to know our neighbors very well, and I think it gets harder to meet folks as one gets older if one doesn't have children or cliques of friends in place. It's time the homeowners had a conversation about it.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Champaign Sucks on Domestic Crimes

My rant is about crime on my street on Devonshire in Champaign,IL. Four times my house has been either vandalized or things stolen. The police are worthless in doing anything, other than to take a report. They didn't even try to find the perps in the other instances, even at felony charges, which ruined a car on the street, knocked down our mailbox 3 times, or in this case, 3 very expensive road bikes were stolen at the tune of $5000 from our garage after someone had been watching my spouse ride in and out on a Monday night ride. We never heard them, and we admit we wished we had, but cars pass by more than 35 miles an hour; we've asked for stop signs or slow bumps, but can't obtain them from the city.

I might add we have yucky neighbors who don't give a damn about anyone but themselves. We pay homeowner fees each year, and for what? So that one part of the grass we don't own gets mowed a few times a year?

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Elizabeth Edwards' Thoughts on Tony Snow's Passing

Elizabeth penned a column for Newsweek that was published on its website this afternoon. Elizabeth shares her vulnerability with readers with this way (just as she did last week on Talk of the Nation:

And when he died, I cried. I know I cried not just for him, but-filled with fear-for myself as well. The diagnoses of our cancer recurrences ("recurrences" being one of those misnomers we simply endure) tumbled out upon one another by days, and I felt-and feel- connected to a man who loved what I loved, although we came to nearly every argument from opposite corners of the ring.

Last week-when Tony was still alive and I was not so afraid-I rode my bicycle in a small Fourth of July parade at the beach to which we have gone for close to two decades. When I got to the celebration and stepped off the bicycle, an older man approached me. I hope you are doing well, he said, and then he added-oddly, it is more often the case that people do feel obliged to confess the gap between us-"although we don't agree on much of anything." I thanked him for his good wishes and then I added-as I often do-"and I suspect we agree on more than you think.

In tying the piece together, about two very different people politically, Elizabeth finds the common ground:

Tony Snow has died. And lots of people who valued the same things Tony did-a family well-loved and work well-done-have died and will die of colon cancer, those who have preceded Tony and those who will follow him. Can't we start with something easy on which we can agree? That no one should die of a disease we can find and stop? And when we agree-and agree to do something about it-then we can move on toward those fault lines, like Tony, not taking no for an answer.

Elizabeth's transparency is something we all could use a little more of, and she was the perfect person to convey her thoughts about Snow's passing.

(h/t Oklahoma Voter)

RIP, Tony Snow.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Edwards Evening News Round-Up Revisited

Good evening, and welcome to a semi-retro version of the EENR: the Edwards Evening News Round-up.

My friends, family, and acquaintances have all thought John and Elizabeth disappeared into the sunset since they are not on the MSM nightly news or in national newspapers. Not so! John and Elizabeth have been traveling and speaking at venues this past week about the issues Democrats care about. Included are video clips from TV and radio appearances (courtesy of NCDem and other outlets).

Top stories:
1. John Edwards Interview in Rolling Stone
2. John Edwards Speaks at USW Conference
3. John Edwards Talks to Campus Progress and NPR in DC
4. Elizabeth Edwards Jumpstarts Healthcare for America Now
5. John Edwards Travels the Northeast for Half in Ten
6. Elizabeth Edwards Discusses about living with cancer on NPR
7. Is John Edwards on the Short List for VP?

Quick Interview of John Edwards in Rolling Stone magazine

In the June 26th edition of Rolling Stone, there is an appended interview piece to an article about John McCain. Without reading the hardcopy, or having a subscription, this interview is not freely available on the Net. Here are some excerpts:

You entered the 2008 race back in 2006 earlier than anybody in history. Why didn't that give you the edge? I was running against two historical candidacies, and it was extremely hard to be heard in that environment.

Were you pissed that the boldest parts of your agenda--providing UHC and capping carbon emissions--were co-opted by Clinton and Obama? I didn't like it when it happened. (laughs) But it put the Democrats in the place we need to be. If we don't have a visionary president at this moment in history, the risks are extraordinary.

After all your years on the campaign trail, is there one thing you would change about the way America picks a president? Is there any way to fix the mess we've made? That's democracy. I don't think there is a clean, efficient way to have democracy.

John Edwards Speaks at USW Conference

Week before last, Edwards was one of the keynote speakers at the United Steelworkers' conference in Las Vegas. EENR core supporters may recall that the USW initially endorsed Edwards last September on Labor Day. He thanked the USW for helping him during the campaign for all of their efforts. He spoke of "the wall around Washington", the special interests and what was at stake in the election this fall. I liked it when he talked about "unloading tractor-trailers" for a summer and encouraged to go back and study. Edwards was on fire and his speech stirred the union members to go to work for Barack Obama this fall. "Eight is enough."

The other keynote was Barack Obama, whom Edwards introduced via satellite as Obama was in Colorado Springs. USW endorsed Obama after Edwards endorsed Obama.

John Edwards at Campus Progress

On Tuesday, John Edwards talked at the Campus Progress 2008 Conference. Campus Progress, which is sponsored by the Center for American Progress (and where Elizabeth is a senior fellow) is comprised of college and graduate students across the country who are progressive activists (or wish to be). Edwards' keynote emphasized combating poverty and cutting it in half in the next decade, but he also answered a few questions, particularly about Senator Obama's political moves towards the center. He reminded the audience that the young people have created movements before and pushed the social/political agenda in the past and they can do it again.

The video is here.

Later that day, Edwards appeared on Talk of the Nation. He was asked about Half in Ten and whether or not he would consider being Obama's running mate. John's response was that he wasn't seeking the office, but he would "seriously consider anything Obama asked him to do" to serve his country. This comment set off speculation by most of the progressive blogosphere.

Healthcare for America Now Kickoff

A consortium of progressive groups, think tanks, trade unions and activists are set to launch a $40 million health care campaign to prepare the ground for the next president to sign expanded care early in 2009.

But the group, with Elizabeth Edwards as its leader, offered expanded insight into the details of its campaign during a meeting on Monday. In addition to spending $40 million — $1.5 million of which will be put behind an initial ad buy (cable, print, and online). Additionally, HCAN is going to take advantage of’s massive data files to reach out to like-minded supporters and officials promised to work in Blue Dog districts.

Their first ad is this one, entitled "The Magic 8 Ball":

With Elizabeth Edwards leading the charge, downtickets will need to win in pushing the party, their colleagues, and the White House occupant to move towards more affordable coverage for all Americans. Health care, in addition to rising energy costs, is the number one domestic priority issue. McCain won't be able to ignore it with a bigger Blue majority in the Senate and House.

Travels to the Northeast

On Wednesday, JRE was in NYC to be interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show. In one of the more substantial interviews since Edwards left the campaign, Edwards and Lehrer discussed the many facets of poverty and approaches in cutting the poverty rate in half in the next ten years (Half in Ten), such as child care for single parents, increasing the earned income tax credits, putting housing vouchers in different places and not clumping all of the poor together, rural vs urban poverty differences, family breakdown, property taxes, drop-out high school rates, global poverty related to food shortages etc.

Quite a few callers were those who supported Edwards in the past and/or still voted for him in the NY primary on Feb 5th.

JRE visited the Yorkville Pantry at noon. Joel Berg, NYCCAH Executive Director, and who joined Edwards to talk with a group to discuss emergency food initiatives at the Pantry gave Edwards kudos:

These initiatives would profoundly impact the 1.3 million New Yorkers living in food insecure households. "Poverty in the U.S. and New York are unacceptable, and Senator Edwards is absolutely correct in calling for it to be cut it in half in a decade. In a society with as much wealth as modern America, hunger should be doubly unacceptable. The Senator's visit not only highlights the growing domestic hunger problem, but enables us to begin a national discussion of the basic steps necessary to make sure that all Americans have access to the food they need to lead productive and healthy lives.”

The next day, Edwards visited Hartford to talk about Half in Ten at a Boys/Girls Club. Hartford has a high unemployment rate which is why it was on his poverty campaign stop. From the CT News Junkie blog:

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said “it’s great to have somebody with a national reputation talk about the critical issue of poverty.” He said most of Edwards 12-point plan involves things Hartford already is working on.

Hartford resident Urania Petit, who participated in the roundtable discussion as a member of the Working Families Party, said she’s “excited about the prospect we can do something in just 10 years.”

Edwards also said it was "wrong" of the governor to veto the minimium wage raise bill. He said in places that have increased the minimum wage the economy has actually improved.

Additionally, Edwards remarked that
things such as raising the minimum wage and organizing workers into unions doesn’t cost government any money.
Fortunately, the Legislature overrode the veto.

On Friday, JRE was on Good Morning America to talk about Half in Ten, but was asked more about Obama's positions and whether they had shifted. More about this later in the diary. Edwards also stopped in Newark to meet privately working families at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. At a press conference later, he said he was in favor of raising the minimum wage in NJ. According to the Star-Leger:

He joined the New Jersey Policy Perspective and the national Raise the Wage Campaign in urging New Jersey to raise its $7.15-per-hour minimum wage [to $8.50]. The rate ranks behind 13 other states and Washington, D.C., but matches New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Edwards on Talk of the Nation with Ted Koppel

EENR's "Lady" via WUNC affiliate and Leroy Sievers, who has a blog entitled "My Cancer" were guests on Talk of the Nation, with special guest host Ted Koppel. This was a reunion discussion of sorts, since Leroy and Elizabeth (along with Lance Armstrong, but not at present this time) were on Ted Koppel's "Living with Cancer" show in May 2007 on the Discovery Channel. Elizabeth told the listeners that she would be having a scan soon, and for her, the scan would present an opportunity to know good news or bad news, and move forward, or perhaps move backward. She also said that it was important that all people get universal health coverage, which includes pre-existing conditions. It was the only allusion to the HCAN initiative. Overall, the discussion was meaningful for those of us who aren't afflicted with cancer, but also for those who are. Good solid advice on how to talk with someone with cancer, especially in being transparent as much as possible. One bit of humor by Elizabeth: one woman wrote her, that her (the woman who wrote her)

chemotherapy made her look like Dick Cheney.

That drew a laugh from the live audience and from this blogger.

Is John Edwards on the VP Short List for Obama?

Paul Rosenberg at Open Left has reported many times that SUSA polls, and other analysis done by Chris Bowers, indicate that John Edwards would be an excellent running mate for a winning ticket with Obama.

On Talk of the Nation, Edwards seemed to have left himself open to the idea.

On Brian Lehrer's show, Edwards made it clear that he would have voted against the FISA bill, whereas Obama was expected to vote for it. Lehrer questioned Edwards as to whether or not he was seeking a position on Obama's cabinet or ticket if they vote for different things. JRE's view? "I think what I think."

On Good Morning America, Edwards did a very able job in defending Obama's change in position about getting the US troops out of Iraq and ending the war.

One will note that when JRE was asked if he had been requested to submit more information for the VP vetting process by the VP search committee, he evaded the question. Maybe he has...and maybe not.

cross-posted from EENR blog this evening

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This is Why I like David Cook

I can understand the words to many songs I've liked.

I'm glad the judges were wrong.

I'm looking forward to seeing the AI tour on August 30th in Kansas City, MO!

Oh--I'm a "Cookie" now.

Here's a link to all of DC's stuff, if you belong to this social network.

Here's another one:

"All Right Now" by Free.. Simon was wrong about him. And David was right.

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