Benny's World

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nice Thought: Rainbow Bridge

An Edwards supporter sent me a note about the Rainbow Bridge.

I'd like to think that's where Mattie is. As a UU, I don't know. I'm more into the journey than the destination, but comforting thoughts are always welcome.

While I'm at it, my condolences to Fred Baron's family. I've not mentioned him here before, but Fred was a gifted attorney of justice for the little people, just like JRE. He gave back to his friends, and in particular, JRE, in a renting a plane of his for less prices in order for JRE to conduct his campaign and stretch the dollars. I saw the plane once when I went to meet JRE in Bloomington, IL last year for a house party-fundraiser. Fred passed away yesterday in battling cancer, possibly about the same time of the passing our Mattie.

Thank you Fred Baron. You were good to many people, and especially the Democratic Party.

And thank you, Mattie. You gave more to us than we could have possibly asked. Hope you are running under that rainbow.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saying Adieu to Our Mattie

Mattie was one of our two Aussie Shepherds. She was a kind dog, and she was a speed demon at running in her younger years.

About 4 months ago, we noticed that Mattie was not herself. She wasn't as energetic nor as happy to see us. We also noticed that she was having bladder trouble.

In past month, we noticed that she could not walk very well, and was falling down frequently. She had scraped her nose. She had an infection, and it was discovered she had not only liver problems, she had hip dysplasia, a common disease amongst older dogs.

This week, we observed that Mattie wouldn't sleep in her crate, and when she did, she soiled the bedding. She couldn't turn around to her comfort in the crate, so she slept outside of it, and she was incontinent. We made an appointment for Friday morning. But this morning, I noticed she couldn't climb the steps of our patio deck; she would fall down, and she had too much trouble getting up. She also wouldn't eat.

So, we got an appointment with our vet this afternoon to confirm our thoughts of timing. Our vet was amazing. She hugged me and said that Mr. Benny and I were doing the loving thing by our Mattie as Mattie was ready to go. Our instincts were right. We said good bye to our Mattie at 5:05 this afternoon, and by 5:07, she was permanently asleep. We sat on a blanket with her and petted her while she went to sleep. It was the first time I had seen a pet be put down, and it was done with dignity, without pain.

I thank Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend for preparing me for the experience as she and her spouse had to put their dog down 3 weeks ago today. We chatted about it via IM in a social network, and she explained how the euthanization process is conducted. It was exactly the way it happened to our pet.

The picture shown here was taken a couple of weeks before Mattie's 12th birthday in May. She was a lovely dog. As we don't have human children, our pets are like kids to us.

Mattie's survivor family members are her sister, Sydney, who was from the same litter, two cats, Elmora and Benson, and of course, her humans.

Sometimes I wonder why humans aren't allowed to make similar decisions except life support devices, but that's another story.

Saturday I'm off to see my ma in Texas. I think it will be good therapy for her and me.

TIA for your moral support BW readers during our time of grief.

Update: Right now, Mr. Benny and I are listening to Dvorak's 9th Symphony, The New World, and the 2nd movement, "Going Home". Seems fitting for our Mattie.

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Faux News Humor

The last time this happened on "that one" was when FN labeled Mark Foley, D-Fl in 2006.

(h/t Pam Spaulding and Jed Lewison)

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Obama Channels John Edwards

Effective ad. Only thing missing is universal health care. But I like seeing the people who JRE has been talking about for years--the ones who tried to get ahead, but ended up getting close to the ditch. Bottom line: honoring work over wealth.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Double E's: Ezra Klein and Elizabeth Edwards

(pic courtesy of Pushback)

Last night, Elizabeth Edwards was in a discussion with another fellow health care policy wonk, Ezra Klein of the American Prospect, at GWU Medical School. The program was entitled, "Sick and Broke: A Conversation with Elizabeth Edwards." The program was sponsored by Campus Progress.

Rather than giving you all of the highlights, I am providing a link instead to two videos: one of highlights, and one of the full session. I will say that she is critical of most health care issue plans, including those of JRE, but she explains why JRE went the route he did, and it made sense.

Ezra met his match last night. While he said nothing little on his blog today, he must have been pleased as good punch he had this opportunity to be the moderator of something of not only his expertise, but to engage someone who is very knowledgeable (Elizabeth is truly an equal, but she doesn't claim to have all of her fingers on the facts--and has Erza confirming one of the facts) and has a passionate discourse to share with all of us due to her incurable disease.

Here's the link to the full and highlight videos:

Flowers and water for the Double E health care wonks: Elizabeth and Ezra. I respect their views on this matter more than anyone.

Health care is going to be the 21st century version of Social Security.

I'm going to go out on a limb for a moment.

While I think Social Security is important, I think many of us do believe (as we did with Clinton) we won't see it when we retire. It was designed for those of the depression for a small amount based on actuary data, and those of the "Greatest Generation" have been able to take advantage of it...some having a vacation home in Florida or Sun States. The Greatest Generation in general scrimped and saved to help the war effort. But not all did. I had an uncle who was not a participant in WWII, and benefitted more with receiving from the system until he died although he paid a lot less into the system. That's what gets the elephants' underwear in bunches, and I can understand that, except, they made stupid decisions on many things, and SS is the less of those big expenditures that is worthwhile. I have a friend who has SS and a pension, and lives OK with it due to Medicare, but it would difficult if she didn't have those combos. She's single and is an active civic person.

I think we will have to choose between UHC and SS, and to be honest, I would choose health care gladly. It's the best policy for prevention, as EE notes, and to save us all from more costs in the long run to our government and to our small businesses, the growth engine of our economy, always.

I doubt we can fund both SS and UHC well in the future.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Young Citizen Journalist Interviews Joe Biden

This is priceless.

This fifth grader, Damon Weaver, is more articulate than most politicians and certainly more than the wingnuts on hate talk radio. He has a promising future ahead of him.

And Joe Biden knows what a vice-president does, although Sarah Palin appears not to know.

(h/t Blue NC)

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Midwestern Newspapers Favor Obama over McCain

The Des Moines Register has endorsed Barack Obama today, joining the Charlotte Observer, the Baltimore Sun, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and the Hartford Courant, whose editorial board has endorsed a Democratic candidate only twice in 244 years.

The DMR endorsement is oddly enough based on something McCain's campaign has been touting for two years: being tested. Despite endorsing McCain last December as the Republican nominee, the DMR believes that Barack Obama has made it through many hoops in Iowa, such as winning the Iowa caucus.

From the DMR:
First test: winning the Iowa caucuses, perceived by many as an improbable feat for a black candidate in an overwhelmingly white state. But Obama believed in the power of his ideas and ideals, and the capacity of Americans to unite around them.

Eleven months later, after more than 80 days spent campaigning in the state, Iowans awarded him victory. They had heard his soaring oratory and sensed his uncommon intelligence, but they also witnessed much more: the consistency of his calls for unifying around common purpose, rather than pandering to age-old divisions, and the way he remained unflappable and his staff disciplined no matter what tumult the campaign trail delivered.

Those qualities have become even more pronounced this fall, during an increasingly negative general-election campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain and descent of the nation's economy into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It has been Obama, not the more experienced McCain, who kept his center as events tilted crazily.

Obama has earned the Register's endorsement for the presidency because of his steadfastness in the face of uncertainty, his clear-eyed vision for a more just America and his potential for rallying the country to do great things.

The DMR also liked Obama's approaches to shoring up the middle class by expanding health care coverage and the creation of green collar jobs. Not mentioned in the editorial, but is well known that McCain is against subsidies for ethanol, and that view doesn't sit well with midwesterners.

Like other newspapers, some whom endorsed Bush last time (the DMR did endorse Kerry in 2004), the DMR believes McCain has run an "erratic" campaign.
Worst of all, in grasping for political edge in his choice of a running mate, he burdened his ticket and potentially the country with an individual utterly unqualified to ascend to the presidency. Before choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain emphasized the importance of experience and sound judgment in fighting terrorism and confronting a restive Russia and a rising China. He has also questioned Obama's readiness to be commander in chief. Then he picked a running mate who clearly isn't ready.

Sarah Palin's unreadiness to be President is a common theme in why McCain isn't being endorsed.

he DMR concluded, "An Obama presidency presents the best hope for a unified America that aspires to greatness again."

The Bloomington Pentagraph (which leans Republican) also endorsed Obama, stating similar reasons to the DMR. The Chicago Tribune, a bastion for Republican endorsements, even went for Obama two weeks ago. So did the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, according to Editor and Publisher. Likewise the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star.

Then there is my town's newspaper, the News-Gazette, who thinks McCain can answer that 3am phone call quicker and wiser than Obama. But the News-Gazette doesn't say if Sarah Palin is ready if McCain can't answer that call.

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