Benny's World

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mrs. Edwards, the Net Searchers are Looking for You

I was looking at the hits from the Sitemeter, which keeps track of the latest 100 hits BW gets. This is the picture that seems to resonate with them.

In case BW readers don't remember, it's from Glamour magazine when she was voted one of the Role Models for Women last fall.

She still is a role model. She's human, but discrete, a great mother, wife, and public servant.

And she is also grace under fire. John Edwards and his family need her. She is their rock.

And she is BW's pillar of strength. Thanks to go to Elizabeth for making us stay strong for ourselves, our causes, and for her. I still will be talking about healthcare more than I will be about illicit affairs told by indiscrete women (and men).

Her next upcoming appearance will be on the Stand Up for Cancer telethon on September 5th.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Today by Elizabeth Edwards

Reposted from the Daily Kos. I'm certain EE wouldn't mind if I posted it here, considering her house is under so much press at the moment. This diary was read on Keith Olbermann's show and on Campbell's show on CNN. It tells me that Elizabeth is still a blogger true and true, and preferred to make her own statement on a prominent blog rather than traditional PR outlets.


Our family has been through a lot. Some caused by nature, some caused by human weakness, and some – most recently – caused by the desire for sensationalism and profit without any regard for the human consequences. None of these has been easy. But we have stood with one another through them all. Although John believes he should stand alone and take the consequences of his action now, when the door closes behind him, he has his family waiting for him.

John made a terrible mistake in 2006. The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007. This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private because as painful as it was I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well. Because of a recent string of hurtful and absurd lies in a tabloid publication, because of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage, our private matter could no longer be wholly private.

The pain of the long journey since 2006 was about to be renewed.

John has spoken in a long on-camera interview I hope you watch. Admitting one’s mistakes is a hard thing for anyone to do, and I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame. The toll on our family of news helicopters over our house and reporters in our driveway is yet unknown. But now the truth is out, and the repair work that began in 2006 will continue. I ask that the public, who expressed concern about the harm John’s conduct has done to us, think also about the real harm that the present voyeurism does and give me and my family the privacy we need at this time.

Update with another comment by EE on that diary:

Each of us has a day we wish we could take back. We are all imperfect beings, Denny. Here's what I know, looking back: poverty, a truly aggressive and progressive environmental platform, universal health care would not have been part of the discussion if someone of force and vision had not been there to make them part of the conversation.

An imperfect man with a truly progressive vision who spoke to and for those whom others ignored? Yes, that is who I supported.

An imperfect man who had come to face his own imperfections and was seeking to redeem himself to those closest to him? Yes, that is who I supported.

In all of the ballots of all of the men who have ever run for this office, only a handful might have thought themselves perfect. Most knew better.

This is not to excuse the conduct in any way. I do not and maybe more importantly he does not.

Well said, Elizabeth. Hugs to you and your family.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Too Comical

Today's most famous tabloid, the NE, posted "spy pics" of John Edwards holding a baby allegedly in the Beverly Hills Hilton on July 21st. The picture posted on their website was so blurry and bad, considering it was taken in close proximity.

Today, TheBlaz at the Daily Kos posted a similar photo that looks a lot like the one by the NE.

That's better than the one the NE posted actually. Now let's see where the NE got their images, since they are being aided and abetted by the Huffington Post. I'm not posting links because anyone can find them via

Here's one:

Notice the T-shirt color and the length of the sleeve.

Also look at the top layer of Edwards' hair. It's not been long for years. He's kept that shorter upper layer for the past 4 years. Note: JRE has 2 cowlicks which is why he requires a very skilled stylist to cut his hair.

Now for some other noticeable characteristics, absent from the NE pics:

JRE has always worn his wedding ring. It is absent in both pics.

Why he is sweating equally in both photographs when some claim it is baby drool. Babies don't drool in inverse V-necks. Go figure.

Why is it he wears half sleeves almost to the elbow in one pic (in which he is running on a treadmill), then tight ones of big muscles in the other when he is holding the baby? He's not a big muscled guy...more of a long distance runner, which means the muscles are leaner, not bulky.

Why is the NE's bad look-alike's chin so receding and weak, when JRE has a strong chin with a slight chisel in it and more refined jaw line?

Why are the furniture colors that different from what the hotel site posts? The NE's are "rose" whereas the Hotel's are sand dollar, browns, etc, to match the curtains.

If this is a spy photo, then how in the hades did the NE get it, considering they claim to have cornered JRE in a floor men's bathroom and didn't submit a single photo from that encounter? And they claimed they saw him initially with rolled up Oxford shirt sleeves?

Why is it the Beverly Hills police do not list JRE's name on any report, especially when the NE filed a report against them for a criminal suit that was thrown out. A political figure is part of a civil suit. We don't know whom it is.

And most of all, what does Arianna Hoffington and her staff have against John Edwards. Why HuffPo only published a few comments today and when innodated, backed off in publishing all of the comments? Smear campaign against JRE in being VP for Obama, which the site supports? No, I think it is more than that, but I have to think further what it wants other than ad revenues which it may need to break a profit this year.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

More about the Knoxville UU Shooting

From the Gist (h/t to Jose Cheung at Street Prophets):

This is a clip from my interview with Carla Lewis, who was inside the Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church when a gunman opened fire little over a week ago. She came on the program last week to take us through the tragic event, talk about the gunman's motives of hatred against gays and liberals and tell us a bit about hero Greg McKendry. The 60-year-old church volunteer was killed in the shooting, jumping in front of the gunman to protect others. He and his wife had recently taken in a transgender foster child.

The Gist Interview with Carla. Worth listening to.

Blessed be.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tennessee Valley UU Has Its First Service Since Shooting

The Tennessee Valley UU will have its first service to reclaim the church and to reinterate its principles of peace and love. Two stations are carrying the service live and (live stream via Net) at 9CT: WBIR (Windows Player)--this looks to be the best option. WATE (looks like Bright Cove)

Nice to see support for the church and its community to heal and celebrate an re-birth.

More l8tr as I will be watching...

Update: I just finished watching the service. It was totally amazing in many ways, but perhaps it's because I haven't been to UU service in awhile. Definitely very UU.

The order of service is here, and hopefully, I can embellish it by recounting my own experience watching it.

The service began with two songs, "Spirit of Life" and "May Nothing Evil Cross this Door." (Luckily, I have a UU hymnal to follow along on most of the readings and songs). Both very appropriate to the theme of forgiveness but reminding each other that we guard the sacredness of not only space but of spirits we carry in hearts and minds.

The Children's Story Moment was just that--not with a story today, but as the Lifespan Education director said, "The Children are the Story", an allusion to last Sunday's performance of Annie when the terrorist came in. Minister Chris Buice gave a personal homily. He said that when his children were scared of storms and they were seeking safety in the basement, often they wanted a toy of comfort, but it was upstairs in their rooms. He said to his children that if any of them wanted to go upstairs and bring down the toy, he would give them each a medal of bravery. He made them out of paper and crayons.

While Rev Buice's own children (now grown) handed out the medals of bravery to all of the children and their parents, 8 members of the congregation were acknowledged--I call them the "Let's Roll" team. I wrote their names down really fast, thus there will be misspellings for now (podcast to be posted later by the church, so you can hear them there when it becomes available):

John Bohstedt (who was the initial person who led the counter attack on the assailant and a precinct chair for the Democratic Party in Knoxville), Arthur Boddles, Michael Wilson, Robert Birdwell, Jamie Parkey, Terry Ulzleton, Amar Assef, and Jennifer Knowles. They were all given a celebratory standing "O". Then the minister asked for anyone in the Congregation to stand to keep the children safe. Everyone stood up---and were going to receive "medals of bravery".

A former congregation member who grew up in that church, attended Sunday School and services in his youth, and is now an associate pastor in a midtown Manhattan parish, read from I Corinthians 13: about love. (same one read at my wedding 7 years ago).

Reverend John Buehrens who was TVUUC's paster from 1973-81, and who later became a president of the UUA, talked about the meaning of "sanctuary". He quoted from a holocaust survivor, in which "sanctuary is often a small human gesture, not grandiose, but small towards alleviating human suffering".

In continuing his theme of sanctuary, Buehrens revealed some history of the TVUCC I was unaware of. Its congregation was the first in the area to set up racially integrated summer camps, long before Knoxville's schools were forced to do so. The camps had to be moved many times over the years because of harassment by the KKK. The Klan also blew up mailboxes at many of the congregations' homes, especially those who sat at lunch counters in solidarity for allowing blacks to be served with whites. In the 1970's, the church was one of the first to be a welcoming congregation to share its space with LGBT's who wanted a spiritual place to gather. Shortly after the first service, all of the church's sanctary's windows were shot out, while children and teens were downstairs. Thus, the latest terrorist who had problems with gays and liberals, was not the first to invoke violence in order to try to intimidate the UU's while children were in the building, and this congregation had set examples to rest of the UUA.

Annette Marquis of the District Office, read a letter from the UUA president, and said that a fund was available for any parish member who needed financial resources for extra counseling if needed. 300 contributions had come in the first 24 hours of the tragedy. Many congregations had been this week and would be doing special services today and many of those were taking up special collections for them. I noticed that some were continuing on after Labor Day to do benefit concerts for the Relief Fund.

Reve Lynn Thomas Strauss, minister of this parish from 1991-2000 during the time a new sanctuary was planned and built, used the theme of "Many Names" to express her love and solace. In 1998, the dedication and the blessing of the building took place. Following the meditation, the hymn, "Bring Many Names" was sung.

Building on Rev Strauss's theme of "Many names for healing", Rev Biuce gave a very rousing sermon, often times sprinkled with tears and his own emotions. He said a man came into their sanctuary:

"..believing that liberals were soft on terror. He had a rude discovery." (loud applause)

"A man came in to invoke violence and hate; he unleashed unspeakable amounts of love."

"A man tried to strike a blow and to divide the community; instead he brought people together."

Rev Buice was wearing a stole that some woman had given him that week. It was white with a gold Celtic cross, in which the foreground represents the sunrise of tomorrow. He explained the young woman's father wore it and was a good man; she wanted to give it to another good man. He removed the stole from around his neck and placed it on the pulpit to represent the goodness of the congregation, including Greg McKendry, who took a fatal bullet in keeping the children safe. The former minister who wore it was Presbyterian. This symbolism was not lost on the congregation because their neighbor Church, the Second Presbyterian Church, held a candlelight vigil for them that past Monday night.

Buice went on to say, "We are all Baptists [referring to an ecumenical service the First Baptist had to pray for peace on Tuesday], Jewish; we are young people of the Church of Christ who painted a rock at the UT campus." With a rising pitch reminiscent of MLK, "we are all liberals, we are conservatives".

He flashed a cap someone else had given him that read "Knoxville, TN" on it, and declared, "This cap reminds us that all its citizens are members of the cast of "Annie" and the sun will come out tomorrow."

He concluded his sermon with this powerful message:
We are all God's children, yellow, red, black, white, gay and straight. We are woven together. We are one.

The last hymn sung was "Circle of Song." Buice, in his final action, resanctified the space for peace, love and justice.

"Love is the spirit of this church," Rev. Buice said in unison with others in the congregation. "And service is its law. To dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another – this is our great covenant."

The cast members of Annie led the congregation in singing "Tomorrow."

Indeed, justice, peace, and love have many names, faces, and symbols of hope. I will close my post with U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" video from The Joshua Tree.

Solidarity. Amen and Blessed Be.

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