Benny's World

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh, if Obama were McCain

Would he be the nominee if...

he used his office to allow his wife to carry narcotics for her consumption on a diplomatic passport.

-he had a scandal where he traded campaign favors for political influence ala Keating 5.

-he picked a Veep with the same skill set and experience as Sarah Palin.

-he called his wife a trollop and c++t in public.

-he couldn't remember what border Afghanistan was on.

-he kept confusing Iraq with Iran.

-he involved himself in a regional conflict that has no strategic value to this country.

-he surrounded himself with a lobbyist operation of 150 people to manage his campaign.

-he dumped his 1st wife for a 24YO heiress to a beer fortune, committing adultery in the process.

-he had a lobbyist that got him to intercede with the FCC on broadcasting licensing with a potential sex angle involved.

-he was 72 years old with a medical history of numerous occurrences of cancer.

-he was celebrating his birthday with a cake while New Orleans was drowning.

-he was in a Party that has been a governing disaster for the past 8 years.

-he had falsely fingered Iraq for the 9/11 attack.

-he had fellow Senators of his Party publicly worried about his temper and temperament to be POTUS.

-he was caught on camera celebrating his birthday with a celebrity and indicted con artist in some exotic locale.

-he couldn't remember how many houses he owned.

-he violated campaign rules about flying in private aircraft, owned by his wife, at n/c to his campaign.

-he thought rich was making $5MM/year.

-he let Michelle show up for his nominating convention, wearing $280,000 worth of jewels.

-he continued to lie about his VP's accomplishments. particularly on earmarks and the bridge to nowhere.

-he stated that Joe Biden probably knew more about energy than any other person in the US.

-he graduated 894/895 in his class and crash 4 jets while in the military.

More guess it is OK to be rich and full of hypocrisy as long as you are a Republican. (h/t to OAITW at the DU)

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Just the Facts, Mam'm

Jake Tapper on Fact checking Sarah Palin's answers to Charlie Gibson this week:

Finally, Dick Cavett nails it in the NYT:

There is one good thing you can say about Sarah. She seems to have hit upon something that might bring relief to the hordes of suffering souls with the wolf at the door and their homes in jeopardy: Collect per diem for nights spent in your own house.

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Bill Maher: Don't You Wish Charlie Gibson Were the Vice President?

More l8tr...

Update: Nice parody here.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Interesting Political Cartoon of the Day


(h/t Taylor Marsh, one of my blogger friends)

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Charlie Gibson Schools Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin

Last night, I watched the first and second segments of Charlie Gibson's interview of Governor Palin. Gibson had bombed at one of the Democratic debates last year by asking questions of rumor and nothing of substance for the first 47 minutes before getting to the issues. My guess is that McCain's advisers totally underestimated Gibson, thinking he wouldn't probe her with as many questions on foreign policy as he did, or that she would be scrambling to think on her feet. Moreover, the McCain team underestimated that Gibson had something to prove to the viewers as well. Gibson reverted back to the Charlie Gibson I remembered over 20 years ago--a welcome change.

Here's a clip from TPM and the transcript to go with it:

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view.

Charlie is kind enough to give her a fishing pole and some line to go with it here:

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

It's crystal clear she's clueless about it. Gibson does her a favor, and gives her a fish in addition to the fishing pole with this:

GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

GIBSON: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?

PALIN: Now, as for our right to invade, we're going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new, also, in order to, Charlie, get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option.

GIBSON: But, Governor, I'm asking you: We have the right, in your mind, to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government.

PALIN: In order to stop Islamic extremists, those terrorists who would seek to destroy America and our allies, we must do whatever it takes and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.

GIBSON: And let me finish with this. I got lost in a blizzard of words there. Is that a yes? That you think we have the right to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government, to go after terrorists who are in the Waziristan area?

PALIN: I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table.

For an outdoorswoman, it appears Palin doesn't even know how to fish very well.

OK, by most accounts, including the New York Times today, she struck out especially when the segment started with whether or not she was ready for being Vice-President or President, should something happen to the President. It didn't help that she took a swipe at Joe Biden either with this comment:

“We’ve got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody’s big fat résumé that maybe shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state.”

Despite all of the advisers Palin had available at her disposal this week, it appeared that Charlie Gibson the seasoned journalist was much better than all of them. Team McCain should be paying Gibson instead of all of those gross consulting fees to a bunch of Bush hacks for preparing Palin for the upcoming debate on October 2nd or other upcoming interviews.

I'm reminded of Dan Quayle when I see Sarah Palin. Dan Quayle and his wife at the time were far more conservative than Bush 41 was at the time. Bush pandered to the right and won the election. If we want real change and not a repeat of 20 years ago, Obama's message team has quite a bit of work to do.

Calling Joe Biden.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

John Edwards: Walk With Me Through this Day

This is a speech JRE gave to his colleagues at the Congressional Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast a few years ago. It's still my favorite speech. It's appropriate as it is a somber reflection of 9/11.

Good morning. Today, on this day of remembrance and mourning, we have the Lord's word to get us through. "The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place."

And let me show you how we are building and putting cedars in those three hallowed `places-the` footprints of the Towers, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. Walk with me through this day and you will see that this is a season of hope.

For at this moment, just outside of New York, a mother laces up her daughter's shoes. And they are ready to start their long walk through this day. The daughter is two and a half. She can say his name, "Dad." She can point to his picture, but she does not know him.

On this day, they go to Central Park to remember with the other families. Then, they head downtown to place a flower where he `died-the` once tall tower where he left his first, last and only message addressed to her. And they return home still in their Sunday bests after a Saturday of sorrow.

So walk with me through this day.

Today, a town gathers in front of their church. It is a town where so `many-53`-were taken before their time. For a week after that September day, the Lord's doors were open. The Lord's doors were open for that hour of loneliness just before dawn. That night when the silence inside the house was too much to bear. And for that moment when just missing their wife, their husband and the love of their life was the greatest pain they'd ever known.

But today, they are there to ring a new church `bell-a` gift born out of their grief. They want it to ring from the bell tower to ensure that "sorrow and sighing shall flee away." That bell will toll for the souls gone home. It will toll for those who still weep. And it will toll for those who rejoice in life's great gifts.

Walk with me through this day.

And across our great river, the men and women who stood at their posts at the Pentagon; who helped rescue the wounded and carried the dying, and who still guard their post at this moment will pause in a sea of stone and valor. They will lay a wreath. They will pray onward soldier you answered your calling here but your work is not done in the Lord's house. And they will pray for those whose wounds have not `healed-the` burns that cause them great pain every time they reach out to hold their wife's hand until the stars rise and the night falls on this day in September.

Walk with me through this day.

To that field in Pennsylvania `where-the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors of that day's warriors- will stand in the middle of all things beautiful. They will read the names of those who charged. Those who fought back. Those who never gave up so that evil never had the chance to finish its plan.

They come together, as their loved ones did, to find hope in the middle of the Lord's green field.

They will sing. They will pray. And they will lay a wreath where Flight 93 fell. And in a place where smoke once rose, you and I we will see that cedar rising.

Walk with me through this day.

At this hour and all day long, strangers will follow the Lord's wish. In memory and in the hope that goodwill and grace will always triumph out of tragedy, they will give. In "a day's payment of service," New York City firefighters will give and fly to California to help rebuild homes destroyed in the fires. Businessmen from Long Island will give and take sick kids to a ball game. Men and women in Memphis will give and build wheelchair ramps for the disabled. And there are thousands standing in Afghanistan (news - web sites), standing in the very place where evil grew, giving their service to ensure that evil never rises again.

These Americans will give because so many were taken from us. And for `them-the` three strangers who came together to start this day of `service-a` mother who lost her son, a brother who lost a brother, and a friend who lost a `friend-for` them September 11th is never in the past; it is enduring. It is never just an anniversary; it is a time of renewal for each and every one of us to do God's work here on earth.

Walk with me through this day.

At this breakfast, our prayers will be heard and answered for those who still need comfort. They need a hand to hold as they try over and over again to forget the crashing windows, the fire, and the falling steel that took their coworkers but not them. They need the comfort of prayers as they sit in solitude. They have their head in their hands as they wonder like the other tens of thousands who walked `out-why` I lived and the others did not. And they need to know that we are with them even when it feels like we aren't as they try to rebuild their lives without.

Whether it's one year, two years, three years or until our short time on this earth comes to an end. Those who lost that day will always miss them. Those who worked night and day until the last cart was carried out of Ground Zero will always know they did their best. And those who unfurled their flags, gave blood, comforted a child who lost their Dad, and made that day the defining day for them to leave their mark on this `earth-we` will always remember that unity of purpose.

Walk with me through this day.

And you will see that while those bricks fell and the sycamores cut down, our people are making those cedars rise.

"And let us not grow weary in `well-doing` for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart."

And let us not grow weary of taking care of those families. Let us not grow weary of praying for those soldiers who defend us from that evil at this hour. Let us not grow weary for giving up a day in our lives for those who are gone. And let us not grow weary in our determination to never forget, to never grow indifferent to what occurred that dark day in September.

This season of hope does not have to end tomorrow. We do not have to wait for yet another anniversary to come and go. We know what we want in this country. We want that one America.

There have been few times when we saw the possibilities of one America more than on September 11, 2001. All Americans, black and white, young and old, rich and poor, were bound together in tragedy and resolve to ensure that once again good triumphed over evil.

Sitting here today, after so long in the desert, it may seem like a mirage. But we know it is real, and that it is possible because we have seen it. We want one America. We want that hope, that faith, and that purpose without the tears, the pain, and the sorrow.

You know, I have learned two lessons in my life. One is that there will always be heartache and struggle in our lives. We can't make it go away. And the other is that people of good will can make a difference.

One lesson is sad and the other is inspiring. And walking together through this day, we choose to be inspired because we know that we can fulfill the promise.

In times like these, if we can work together, comfort together, and help communities rebuild together, then let's do that for all of the challenges that exists right now and build one America.

For that child we see every day sitting on the front step, locked out and alone, let's work together to give him a safe place to go with friends and teachers while his mom works.

For that mother who works hard all `day-forty` hours plus a week- and she still has to sit at the kitchen table and divide her bills into pay now and pay later, let's work together to give her a country that honors work so she can get ahead.

For that whole town that's watched their factory lock its doors, let's work together to make sure that we bring opportunity and an equal chance to their front door.

For that young boy who always sits in the back of the classroom unable to read the basic instructions, but is too scared to ask for help, let's build him a school that's a palace for learning so no child is ever afraid to ask for help.

And for that family we know on every street. The mother and father are working hard. He takes the `late-bus` to work and she takes the early bus. They're doing what's right, what they're supposed to do to take care of their family. And yet later tonight, they might have to put their kids to bed hungry again because they can't afford dinner on a Saturday.

So let's work together to end poverty. Now some are going to say "end poverty" you can't do that. That's something we've been fighting for centuries. We just have to live with it. Says who?

Anything is possible in this country when you and I work together. If we put a man on the moon; if we conquered diseases like polio; if we can live through a terrible day like September 11th , then we can build the Lord's house in every heart and home across this land.

Some days sorrow just storms in doesn't it. You wake up one beautiful morning and the kingdom is at hand. You're on your way to work, to school, or to fly west to see your family. You're washing down the fire truck or walking the halls in the Pentagon. You're waving good bye to your young son on his first day at his new job. You're just talking on the phone with your child. And then sorrow hits.

It never asks if it can drop by. It doesn't knock. And it never asks if you're ready. It just hits and knocks everything down. And the next day, grief washes over thousands and sorrow surrounds us.

But we know how to beat it back. In America, we always rise up. Sometimes not on the first day or the second day, but we begin to rise up and build something new.

This is who we are, and this is the eternal spirit of America.

That is why that young girl who never knew her father, will feel the comfort of millions as we walk with her through this day and her life. That is why the men and women at the Pentagon will feel the prayers of millions as they salute their fallen. That is why the families in Pennsylvania will know that we weep with them. That is why the firefighters and police officers who miss their brothers will know that we miss them too. And that is why a new bell tolls in a church on the other side of the Hudson River.

You and I, we hear it. It tolls once for the dead. It tolls a second time for the mournful. And the third time, it tolls for us. It tolls for us to seek joy in our families, comfort in our children, and hope in our neighbors.

Each time that bell tolls, it calls us to a greater purpose. It calls us to never forget. It calls us to do the Lord's work here on earth. And it calls on us to always remember that when we walk through this day `together-the` cedars will rise, the stones will go up, and this season of hope will endure.

Thank you and God bless you, the families and friends who mourn, and our great United States of America.

Blessed be to all of the families affected and to BW readers.

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9/11 Should Not be Politicized

While I am still upset that our current Administration knew a terrorist attack was coming and did nothing to stop it, I do not think Ground Zero, the field in Pennsylvania, or the Pentagon should not be places of political photo-ops.

Both McCain and Obama shouldn't be going to Ground Zero; it is the President's place. It's also appropriate for the current mayor, the governor, the Senators, the Congressmen, and anyone elected (or appointed) from with York City.

9/11 was a tragedy and deserves somber reflection; it is not a political event. Why doesn't the media get it?

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards Back In the News

Elizabeth spoke at Planned Parenthood on reproductive rights and health care issues, especially those related to major diseases such as cancer. Apparently, one of her cousins died two weeks ago from ago from melanoma. According to the someone present at Elizabeth's talk, "he didn't seek diagnosis and treatment in the early stages (when it could have been "cured"), because he had no insurance as a self-employed person."

See Founding Father DAR's diary here for more details.

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Conversations We Should Be Having

Instead of worrying that Obama called John McCain a pig with lipstick, this is the conversation we should be having: what is John McCain's plan to get out us out of Iraq? What is his plan to win the war in Afghanistan and what to do with insurgents in Pakistan? What are we going to do about our abysmal economy?

Cue Tom Friedman:

If you as a politician connect with voters on a gut level, they will follow you anywhere and not fret about the details. If you don’t connect with them on a gut level, you can’t show them enough details. Obama early on, and particularly with young people, connected on a gut level like no other politician since Ronald Reagan.

But in recent weeks, I feel as though he has lost that gut connection. I thought his convention speech contained no memorable lines or uplifting visions. It never got me out of my seat. Forget trashing McCain’s ideas. If Obama wants to rally his base, he has to be more passionate about his own ideas. I have long felt that what propelled Obama early was the fact that many Americans understand in their guts that we need a change, but the change we need is to focus on nation-building at home. We’re in decline. We need to get back to work on our country. And that is going to require strong, smart government.

Friedman's right in this sense: if Obama keeps up with longer hypotheticals in the debates, he will lose indies who aren't certain about him, despite the lies to nowhere that the Rovians spewing daily. Moreover, those lies are putting the Dems on defense when the offense needs to be making a few more touchdowns. Just ask Chris Bowers.

Leah McElrath Renna offers some salient advice for Obama at HuffPo.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Led Zeppelin Turned 40 Today

You know you are old when one of your favorite bands that you heard when you were approaching 10 years old is now making one realize you are nearly at the half-century mark.

Eddie C is playing a fun game at EENR about this anniversary of the first gig by LZ.

I think this song was one of the ones they played in 1969-"Babe, I'm Going to Leave You"

Wow, how time flies.

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John McCain Gets Barack'd & Rolled

Fun video...(h/t Yalin at Brand X)

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JibJab: Time for Some Campaignin'

These guys are great...

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

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GOP Attacks the Thousand Points of Light: Community Organizations

On Wednesday night, George Pataki, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin claimed they didn't understand community organizers. All they communicated was that community organizers weren't authoritarian the signers of state and municipal budgets.

Peter Dreier & John Atlas
penned a cogent piece at Common Dreams yesterday about how the GOP Convention speakers spent a great deal of time attacking community organizers--the same ones who often lead movements for economic and social justice. A good point by the authors:

Palin, Giuliani and Pataki denigrated not only the tens of thousands of community organizers who help everyday citizens to participate in shaping their society and the millions of Americans who volunteer as community activists but also a long American tradition of collective self-help that goes back to the Boston Tea Party.
Giuliani must have had amnesia on Wednesday night when he mocked Barack Obama about his first job out of college as a community organizer. During his term as major, Giuliani was confronted by the East Brooklyn Congregation (EBC) to provide more city owned land so that its non-profit Nehermiah could provide an expansion of affordable public housing--more effectively than the city could develop and run such an enterprise. Guiliani agreed after much pressure, and at the groundbreaking ceremony, Drier and Atlas noted that he praised the EBC as "they do not pay homage to political figures.... They require you to answer their questions. They remind you that you are a public servant."

Here are some famous civil servants and community organizers during their times (courtesy of Paul Rosenberg, Open Left):

Pontius Pilate

Community Organizer:
Jesus Christ

George Wallace

Community Organizer:
Martin Luther King

Sarah Palin

Community Organizer:
Barack Obama

Now, the idea is not to buy into the GOP meme that the Democrats are running Obama vs Palin since Obama is running against McCain. But my point, along with Drier, Atlas, Rosenberg, and even Jim Wallis, who has demanded that Palin issue an apology, is about the importance of community organizers for all kinds of civic engagement. Why? Because many of these organizers are also part of faith based organizations--part of the "Thousand Points of Light" that President HW Bush spoke of in 1989 in his inaugural address. President HW Bush wouldn't likely put down Barack Obama for working for the Developing Communities Project, "a coalition of churches on the city's South Side. His job was to help empower residents to win improved playgrounds, after-school programs, job training, housing, and other concerns affecting a neighborhood hurt by large-scale layoffs from the nearby steel mills and neglect by banks, retail stores and the local government. He knocked on doors and talked to people in their kitchens, living rooms and churches about the problems they faced and why they needed to get involved to improve their communities." (Drier & Atlas)

The National Organizers Alliance says there are 20,000 paid organizers. Their jobs are to work with all kinds of community groups, and to identify people with leadership potential, recruit and train them and help them build grassroots organizations that can win victories that improve their communities and workplaces. It's no wonder NOA is also appalled at the GOP's attack on community organizers.

There is one other activist that was (in Bill Maher's words) airbrushed from the Dem Convention whose work is being attacked too: John Edwards. John tirelessly talked about poverty and went about for 2 years to seek solutions to the problems of it. He spoke many times on behalf of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) in raising the minimum wage in 6 states in 2006 ballot initiatives. He founded Half inTen, a coalition of many grassroots organizations to pressure Congress and the White House to work towards cutting the poverty rate in half in the next ten years. HIT's goal made the Democratic National Committee's platform.

And least we forget, John (and Elizabeth Edwards) started One Corps, probably the best legacy of One America Committee/John Edwards for President. One Corps got involved in all kinds of projects, especially for Earth Day and also collecting goods for the needy.

In 1992, President HW Bush was considered out of touch with America and was voted out. He must be feeling pretty awful about what his party did on Wednesday night in attacking something he believed in: a thousand points of light. Now his whole party is out of touch with the mainstream identity of community.

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McCain is Out of Touch with the AARP

One would think that McCain would understand retired persons. But in listening to him on C-SPAN in addressing members of the AARP, it's crystal clear that he's been living in too many houses. For crying out loud, in talking about health care and keeping their homes, he suggests getting 30 year mortgages at current values of their homes. What planet does he live on? Many of those folks can't afford to pay for the differences between what medicare pays and doctor bills, as well as prescriptions with the dumb donut rule even with their homes paid off.

I noticed the crowd was lukewarm to him, and most of them were not far from his age.

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