Saturday, March 17, 2007

I Don't Buy Paglia's Line on Edwards and Fox

Giving benefit of doubt, I can only assume that Camille Paglia means what she says when when she asks
What is this morbid obsession that liberals have with Fox?
Rather than giving him credit for telling a right-wing news organization that blatantly seeks to destroy the credibility of Democrats each and every day - while blatantly boasting they're "fair and balanced" - to take a hike, she's jabbing at John Edwards for being the leader in pulling out of the Fox News debate in Nevada. She's pushing the notion that he's not a real man for having done so and I have to say that I think that that way of thinking is dead wrong.

I guess it all depends on your point of view. The way I see it, this is a free country. Fox News is free to be tilted so far right that its left end (if it ever had one) has long ago evaporated into the atmosphere. John Edwards is free (and really smart, in my opinion) to have told Fox News to take a hike.

It's a free country. Isn't it?

It's a free market. Isn't it?

Why should Edwards give Fox News any credibility - or why should he bring them any advertising by his presence on their network if he doesn't think they deserve it?

Paglia employs the meme "pampered and spoiled" about Edwards and other Democrats rather than saying what I see as what is much closer to the truth - John Edwards, like so many of us, is sick of Fox News saying they are something they are clearly not. They make the Fourth Estate look like stenographers for Dick Cheney. He knows that we are sick of it and he's leading by saying to Roger Ailes: "Enough of your lies!"

Paglia goes as far as to equate Edwards telling the propaganda-laden Fox News to shove their tilted debate to being afraid to someday stand up to China, North Korea or al-Qaida. Can you believe it? That's such crap that I don't know whether to laugh or to be insulted that Paglia would think any logical person would buy her line on this.

Paglia says she has ejoyed certain "solid" Fox segments. La di da. To imagine that these few and far between near-miracles outweigh the 24/7 whining Hannitys, the everyday filth-bearing Coulters, the belly-up-to-my-barstool loud-mouthed morality dictations by the O'Reillys, the fuggly goob jab-at-Democrats with the goofy look on your puss Doocys, and the leucous-rat-clawing-at-the-Democrats John Gibsons - is to be nothing less than delusional.

Any self-respecting Democrat should have told Fox News to take a hike long before now rather than waiting for John Edwards to do their dirty work for them.

Speaking of Coulter, Paglia throws around the word "tranny" - a name that she claims is often thrown wantonly at Coulter because of her "gender weirdness." The way I see it, two wrongs don't make a right. Why insult trannys? I know and love some real-life transvestites and I am disgusted by anyone who'd carelessly throw the term around to insult a political enemy - even if it is the Republican-she-idol/filthy-rich human garbage can of hate Coulter.

Edwards: Fighting Global Poverty Key to US Strength

"The reason I've given this post such a grandiose title is that global poverty is the biggest problem in the world."

- Neil

Neil the Ethical Werewolf (at Ezra Klein's website) has written a post about John Edwards' major policy addresss delivered by him in New Hampshire this week.

Excerpt from Neil's blogpost:

I hope what we're seeing here is the beginning of a distinctive Democratic approach to the problems posed by radical Islam, with its own grand story about how we're going to win. Being able to promise that you'll lead America to victory is very important in rallying people around your foreign policy, and one of the reasons why perceived Republican advantages on foreign policy lasted as long as they did, even in the face of wanton dishonesty and catastrophic blunders, was that Republicans kept making the promise of victory in Iraq. Democrats had to face up to the truth that Iraq was collapsing into disaster, and they were too conscientious to make any similarly grand and impossible promises. But plans like the one Edwards expresses here credibly promise victory in the larger struggle of which the Iraq War was supposed to be a part. It's how we triumphed over Communism, and it's how we're going to triumph over Islamic extremism too.
We must stop labeling the fight against global poverty as 'charity.' In this new age, the fight against global poverty is also a fight for our own way of life. None of us are completely self-sufficient, and to imagine ourselves as such is a sorry delusion. What happens to the child in Jakarta is going to have a ripple effect that stands to all too easily reach your child on the streets of your American town.

If we did not care for the way our nation approached the Iraq War, it's time to realize that, until we begin to think in a whole new way about exactly what fighting global poverty means to our own well-being, we are continuing to expose our children and the chiren of foreign nations to assured and pointless war and to the pointless and unnecessary destruction of others' lives and property in the future.

There truly is a change that can occur once we stop consciously agreeing with the frames set for us by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Cokie Roberts, Bill O'Reilly, George Will, and others who bang their ideology drums and move their dry lips to rote recitations heard a million times before. They haven't a clue as to how to change the course to Hell that America is currently on. These stale cookies have absolutely no ability to learn a new language. Someone ought to pull their political driver's licenses. They've gone blind.

With John Edwards to offer some new frames, let's teach these stale cookies something new. We can be leaders by creating and holding a vision of realistic and attainable change - then working to see that the change comes. I don't mean sitting around waiting for a miracle. I mean working with passion to effect the change that must happen if we care about our nation and its place in the world.

Remember the film "Field of Dreams?" We - simple people that we are - may be the key to the natural law of attraction. Let's build it - and trust that many will come.

St Patricks's Day: MacGowan & The Pogues Get a NY Times Tribute

I recently went into a Borders store and took advantage of their "Mix and Burn" feature that allows you to take various songs of your choice and transfer them onto a CD that they'll label and burn for you for a reasonable fee. I included songs by various artists - Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter, Death Cab For Cutie, Peter Ostroushko, Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Guy Davis, etc. I burned a song called Fairytale of New York by one of my all-time favorite groups - The Pogues (of whom I suspect was a chief inspiration for the Black 47 song 40 Shades of Blue.) Reading today's Opinion section of the New York Times, I couldn't help but notice that the song was also well-remembered by editorial writer Nicholas Kulish, who's written a tribute piece to Shane MacGowan.
To steep yourself in the Pogues requires you to read James Joyce and Brendan Behan, to listen to both the Clash and the Dubliners, and to take up some, but, I hope, not all, of the legendary bad habits of our latter-day Baudelaire, Shane.
On this St. Paddy's day, I plan to raise a glass to Shane for all the joys that he and the Pogues have brought to me down these many years. 'Tis many a party they've livened up for me in this lifetime.

Note: You can read Andy Webster's related column about MacGowan at the NYT website:
A Ramble Through the Mind of the Pogues’ Poet
It might be said that Mr. MacGowan speaks in a Joycean stream of consciousness, but a conversation with him is closer to a pinwheeling ramble with a very well-seasoned regular at the corner pub. He speaks in a flurry of digressions, uttered in a semi-slurred Irish-London accent that is tough to decipher at times. When, during one tangent, the term “British Isles” arose, Mr. Cashman was quick to correct it.

“Don’t use the phrase British Isles,” he said. “It’s England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.” He added, “If you say it any other way, he’d probably throw his glass at you.”

Music writer Alan K. Crandall on Shane Macgowan:
MacGowan's descent doesn't strike me funny at all. Maybe someday we'll be seeing his obituary. Or maybe not; he's stuck around this long... Or maybe he'll pull himself out of it. All I know is, he's a great talent and the price of living up to his shambling image has been a ton of brilliant music that he could have been making, and me, I think that's too high a price to pay. Way too high.

Seamus Walsh and the Mines of 'Comer

Since this is St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd let you know about a story of a miner and his friends and family who worked the Castlecomer coal mines of Leinster in Kilkenny, Ireland. Seamus Walsh is a wonderful storyteller whose book is being brought to life on Irish television.

Here is an example of Mr. Walsh's haunting yet poetic phrasing:

This is a true story about a mining family, trying to survive in Moneenroe nearly forty years ago. Why is there a yearning to go back, to what is long gone, is it perhaps because part of you, your family, your friends, men you worked with, laughed and cried with are permanently fossilised ' in the seam of your memory, a seam that is ancient and gone forever, as that which was plunged, from the depths of the Deerpark Mines.

An old fisherman looks out to the great mother ocean, not able anymore to cast his net, yet, those eyes know he has been in touch with life and death.

So the miner looks under the great devil earth, he too has been in touch and is unable to forget.

St Patrick's Day Birthdays

Happy Birthday wishes go out to two of my favorites ladies in this world - the bonny Kathleen and Socorro hermosa. I love you both.

Friday, March 16, 2007

May You Be Blessed

For Saint Patrick's Day, I wanted to share this short e-movie with you. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

May You Be Blessed
[Macromedia Flash Player is required for its viewing.]

Blessing another person or a situation is not difficult, in fact, it is the easiest thing to do. It takes only the time necessary to think a good thought, which is little time indeed.

Despite its simplicity, however, it has a ripple effect that will continue long after the initial blessing has been forgotten.

With enough of us
could be
immensely strengthened, building with each blessing until it becomes a quake of goodness strong enough to be felt across the universe.

May gladness wash away
every disappointment,
may joy dissolve every sorrow,
and may love ease every pain.
May every wound bring wisdom,
may every trial bring triumph
and with each passing day,
may you live more abundantly
than the day before

May love ease every pain..

My Picks For American Idol

I'm going to give you my favorite male and female "American Idol" contestants for this season:

Jordin Sparks

Chris Sligh, who happens to be a blogger!

ICOP - Edition 9

The 9th Edition .... of the International Carnival of the Pozitivities is hosted this month at Creampuff Revolution. [click Red Ribbon for link]

I'd like to feature Kristian's My Space blogpost. It's an open and poignant story about her own 20-year experience with living with HIV. It reminded me that those who look down upon or who fear people who struggle with this disease are in denial about the importance of keeping forgiveness and loving intention at the center of the fullness of our common humanity.
I couldn't make the father of my child leave my home dying from a disease and not care for him. His own relatives called me to say, make him leave, and I thought they were insane. All I knew was, he was sick, and he was my husband, and he was the father of my child. So he was staying, and we were going to learn whatever we needed to learn in order to deal with this.

But I had to be tested as well, and I tested positive. He looked as shocked as I was. I was a straight young mom having sex only within the confines of a marriage. That proved it was not hard to come in contact with someone who had been exposed for whatever reason. If it wasn't that he, himself, was in a high risk category, he could have been exposed to someone who was. It could have started anywhere. Being a member of this race, the human race, linked us all

To add more news about HIV/AIDS, I have to say that I was astounded to learn that 2008 POTUS candidate John McCain drew a complete blank when asked if he supported the distribution of taxpayer-subsidized condoms in Africa to fight the transmission of H.I.V.

Gene defect leads to an AIDS drug - In 1996, scientists solved a mystery surrounding certain gay men who were immune to AIDS. This year, Pfizer Inc. will sell the first drug based on that discovery. The US and European researchers, writing in several science journals, said a small group of Caucasian gay men carry a gene mutation that provides natural protection against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Last week, culminating an 11-year race among three drugmakers, Pfizer released successful studies of a new pill [called Maraviroc] specifically designed to mimic the gene defect.
[A tip o'the hat to Rah Bourbon for the heads-up on this one.]

2007 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference

"Social Enterprise brings together the nonprofit, private, and public sectors - and puts best practices from across industries and around the globe to work toward the common good."

- Harvard Social Enterprise Conference website

Celine Ruben-Salama has written a synopsis of the most recent Harvard Social Enterprise Conference.
"Open to the public, the conference draws roughly 1000 participants and provides a forum for exploring the synergies between for-profit, non-profit, and public sector approaches to addressing critical social issues. As usual, I left the conference inspired, with new ideas and contacts. Social Enterprise is a broad umbrella term that encompasses everything from microfinance to public health to environmental sustainability to corporate social responsibility and so on. These organizations trade in goods or services, and link that trade to a social mission. The need to deliver on financial, social and environmental performance targets is often referred to as having a triple bottom line.[..]

Catherine Laine of the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group [AIDG] offers a breakdown of the keynote presentation by Victoria Hale as well as a summary of other panel sessions. One panel session - Making People Care - was filled with a standing room only-capacity crowd. Ms. Laine commented that she hopes that corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship is going to start becoming more commonplace. She says that educational institutions such as the Harvard Business School are "starting to put more stock into it" and that the ripple effects will likely start being felt in boardrooms throughout the world over the next few years/decades.

Cornel West on the Political Left Today

"What I would like to see is radical reformism once more become fashionable among young people."

- Professor Cornel West

At the 2007 Left Forum in NYC, Princeton University Professor Cornel West answers the question:
What does it really mean to be a leftist in the early part of the 21st century? What are we really talking about?
It's clear that the Democratic Party remains clueless, visionless and spineless for the most part. Does that mean you give up on them? No, it doesn’t mean you give up on them, but you have to be honest with them. But it does allow one to, in some way -- and this is what I think Brother Rick Wolff was talking about in terms of the desegregation of the rightwing consensus, the unbelievable ways in which now rightwing fellow citizens are at each other's throats. The evangelical right wing can't stand the free marketeers, can’t stand the balanced-budgeters. That's fine. Let them fight. Let them fight. Let them go at each other. They're weakened in that way. But what kind of alternative do we have? [...]

leftist identity is not going to be the major means by which you get at people to wake up and come to terms with their social misery, be willing to stand up courageously, articulate vision, and most importantly, have a slice of people who are willing to live and die for a cause, you see, because they have other stories and other narratives that they use to do that.

So I would even argue, in some way, that Martin King and Fannie Lou Hamer were much more important than the Black Panther Party.
[Democracy Now]
Commenting on the same Left Forum, conservative John McWhorter writes as if Blacks should be resigned to struggling within and under a system that they cannot change, which, to me, sounds more like victim-mentality than an encouraging statement on the status of healthy and vibrant democracy in these United States. He says,
If Obama is elected, it is unlikely that he will spearhead a black agenda of the sort that the Left Forum panel would recognize. Nor is it likely that such a black agenda will ever come to be. However, there are ways of making people's lives better within the system that we are stuck with.

Failure on Iraq: Why the Hell Did We Vote Democratic in 2006?

Knowing how badly the American public wants us out of Iraq and knowing, at the same time, that the Democratic majority in the Senate could not even summon the influence to effect the passing of a toothless Resolution to set the the tone for getting our troops out of Iraq by 2008 is proof that our democracy is not working. By all that has brought us to this doorstep of failure on the Iraq situation today, the People obviously play no part in decisions being made by their elected Representatives. It is dismaying, after all we've been through for the last five years, to know that the vote on this Resolution was a totally partisan activity. (I do not depend on Senator Lieberman to vote as a Democrat anymore. He's an alien to the party - oddly clinging to it by an 'Independent' name.) For all their lip service, the Republicans, with their new comrade Joe Lieberman, are still acting as a rubber-stamp on this disaster of a war - obviously for political purposes. Why did we vote for Democrats in 2006? Our men and women are still moving targets in a useless and unjust war that was lost before it was so mistakenly and wantonly begun. Republicans are forgetting the constituents they serve in their race to politically manipulate their 'enemies' - the Democrats - into utilizing their funding clout to force redeployment and stop the insanity of a President who has made a string of so many dreadful errors. This is unacceptable - unforgiveable.

It's a given that I'm disgusted by the Republicans hating Democrats more than they love our troops and our nation.

Moreover, I'm saddened by and furious with our Democratic leadership in Congress.

They do not have the spirit nor do they possess the fortitude of conviction to stop what we all can see as utter insanity. What are they waiting for? Another draft? Another Vietnam?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

John Edwards Responds to DFA Participants on Iraq War

There were many responses - including my own - to Democracy For America's [DFA's] recent request for citizen-participants' ideas about the ways Congress can and should respond to the cry for bringing an end to the tragic Iraq War.

2008 presidential candidate John Edwards has offered his response, filled with gratitude for our particiption and clarity about his own ideas as to how he believes Congress should respond to the crisis at hand. His ideas include the Congressional use of funding authority in order to draw down troops levels and to force President Bush to steadily bring troops out of Iraq and to stop the escalation of this war.

"It is not enough to debate whether we're going to debate and give speeches. No more non-binding resolutions," says Senator Edwards. "The Congress needs to stop this President from making yet another in a long series of tragic mistakes and end this war in Iraq."

This is a sharply distinct statement on where Senator Edwards stands today - a testimony to his personal and political evolution since 2002 about which he's publicly admitted that he believes he was wrong when he'd voted for the Iraq Resolution.

For those who put any stock in long-failed political advisor Bob Shrum's intuition and judgment, the current Edwards position may be seen as nothing more than a finger-in-the-wind political position. It should be obvious that the opinion of Shrum is the opinion of a man who lives - who relies and can thrive only on the hope that he will be believed - even though most advice he's given over the past five years has amounted to disastrous political outcomes.

Those who understand that the future of America is about more than "horseraces and poker chips" [see Harvey Wasserman's quote below] will likely see that the bruised egos of past political advisor-losers who claim to be the voice Edwards depended upon to make decisions for him are the voices of the totally lost in a whole new wilderness of hopeful and conscientious political possibilities. Edwards has left the curiously confession-laden Shrum and other bruised egos of the "architects of defeat" far behind in their little wire-pulling backrooms as Edwards moves further by the day into the light of the America inhabited by everyday people outside the D.C. Beltway.

What's this?
A man who will actually not grovel at the "brilliant" feet of Karl Rove?
Good for Edwards!

On TV, "strategists" like James Carville, Robert Shrum and so many other slick operators grovelled shamelessly at the "brilliance" of Karl Rove while ignoring the miserable campaign they mis-handled right from the start. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the Democrats a bunch of losers, and this is exactly who he meant.

For these backroom wire pullers, issues are poker chips and the horserace is all that matters. Shrum has lost every campaign he's run

- Harvey Wasserman, 11-11-04

Senator Edwards' formal statement on Iraq can be viewed here.