Benny's World

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Healthy Debate about Elena Kagan's Nomination

I've been following Glenn Greenwald's opposition to the "blank slate" nominee, Elena Kagan, to the SCOTUS. Larry Lessig, Ms. Kagan's good friend, has her back.

BW readers probably can tell that I'm on Glenn's side on this issue (especially as I pointed out and Glenn has since done the same of problems pointed out by Jonathan Turley and Jeffrey Toobin), but as mcjoan at the Daily Kos pointed out this afternoon, this is a healthy debate. Like mcjoan, I hope progressives such as Bernie Sanders, Al Franken and Jeff Merkeley will pick up on these points in forcing Ms. Kagan to take some positions, whether we agree with them or not.

President Obama is squandering a golden opportunity when we have many Democrats who could carry a nominee forward without a single Republican vote. I would prefer a very progressive candidate to hold a candle to the many years Justice Stevens was on the court. If a nominee is too timid to say what's on her mind or fails to address her meager record, our POTUS should withdraw her nomination. Frankness and transparency, which candidate Obama promised, are at stake here and will mark his legacy to be characterized more like W's--more of a unitary executive--instead of a complement of three branches.

Stay tuned. I'm still looking for more opinions besides the ones I posted yesterday and today.

Update: as promised, I found some more opinions and facts via Alternet and Mother Jones. Very discouraging indeed.

Second update: Nate Silver at 538 has an angle regarding actuaries.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

About to be sick and have to beg for wellness care

Literally I have a part-time doctor (whom I've
not met) on my plan whose nurse has my medical history on the computer and insists I come in at their convenience instead of my needing the meds I and they know which have worked for years. I'm concerned about getting a sinus infection and my doctor's nurse didn't even callback today.

I have to call every day during M-F, 8-4. And yet, I'm paying big time for an HMO and little help. I guess the HMO hopes I will have to bleed out and need emergency care (during non M-F 8-4) in order to make more money. I'm unhappy when I know what meds work for me and all they care about is their schedules, not mine. I'm worried now that I'm like many of you readers.


HMOs do not promote wellness care as they say they do.

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Elizabeth Edwards Tells a Story in Carrboro

According to the News Observer, Elizabeth was back in the public eye, telling stories about her parents, as that was the theme of "The Monti" which is a group that hosts arts festival--and in this case storytelling-- in Carrboro.

Here's something I didn't know about Elizabeth's parents: they were on the show Match Game.

Good to see Elizabeth out again.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ugh --more Centrists for the SCOTUS

Most of the time, I am asleep at midnight. Tonight I have many issues I am trying to think through as I have too many details to attend to on a local basis.

One of the thoughts I wish I wasn't having was about Obama's second pick to the SCOTUS and that is Elena Kagan as the nominee. Ugh, another freakin' centrist. One can tell Larry Summers was at the top of the advisor list with this one. She is going to be for corporatists and not for the true theory of justice--Harvard Law dean or what. I don't care if she is a woman or not. That doesn't count as much as views, and all of this is politics--and who can get through. What happened to rulings? This woman has almost NONE.

I worked at Harvard. I respect Harvard. But I have little respect for cronyism, Mr. President. I guess you do.

Update: see Glen Greenwald's commentary about Kagan.
Second update: see Jeffrey Toobin's piece in the New Yorker today. His comment about Ms. Kagan & comparing her to her nominator:

But on the Court, Kagan will have to do something she’s not done before. Show her hand. Develop a clear ideology. Make tough votes. I have little doubt she’s up to the job, but am less clear on how she’ll do it.
H/t to Desmoinesdem at Bleeding Heartland

Another update: Jonathan Turley nailed it about why progressives like me find this pick very disheartening.

"Obama’s record on civil liberties has long been attributed to a rather cold calculus that liberals have no where to go and that he should continue to play to the middle and right of the political spectrum. I am not so certain. There is no evidence that Obama actually believes in some of the principles that Stevens fought for, particularly in the area of terrorism. What is clear is that he has selected someone who will honor that legacy by dismantling a significant part of it."

Personally, I'm tired of sellouts. But I knew this president would do it.

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Happy Mother's Day 2010

Dear Readers,

Many of you are mothers of sons and daughters. I happen to be a pet mom and not a human mom. Given my lack of patience for some weeks now, it's just as well that I only have pets to be concerned with at present since I have a big space and yard to oversee maintenance.

Today, I did do something special for Mother's Day (the rest was trying to get my lawn mowed, which is trickier than one realizes). A work friend and I got together and had a nice lunch to honor our mothers. She had lost hers last fall, whereas I lost mine the spring before that. We each brought one picture that we liked of our mothers and/or families. And it was nice to share a memory of two. So to BW readers who are living alone like me and this work friend, I highly recommend sharing a lunch today with a friend. Remember the good times of your mothers. Look for common ground.

This particular friend asked about Elizabeth Edwards, and I said I had not heard from her since I saw her last. This friend's younger brother has terminal cancer, except his is more advanced than Elizabeth's from what I understand. The friend's sister had been down to visit--and like Elizabeth and Nancy, she is very close with her family.

To my friends Amy, Bettync, Jackie, and to Elizabeth and Nancy, happy mother's day. Aloha Nell Smith and Ruth Zumalt--Mr. Benny and I miss you very much.

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