Friday, March 07, 2008

A Song For Orbis' Oliver Foot

Thanks to Orbis' Geoffrey Holland for sharing with me this song by young Declan Galbraith.

In my dreams, Children sing
A song of love for every boy and girl
The sky is blue, the fields are green
And laughter is the language of the world
Then I wake and all I see is a world full of people in need

Tell me why does it have to be like this
Tell me why .. is there something I have missed?
Tell me why 'cause I don't understand
When so many need somebody
We don't give a helping hand
Tell me why

Every day I ask myself
What will I have to do to be a man
Do I have, to stand and fight
To prove to everybody who I am
Is that what my life is for?
To waste in a world full of war?

This is dedicated to the memory of the Honorable Oliver Foot, president and member of the board of directors of Orbis International, a global humanitarian sight-saving organization. Mr. Foot died in February at the age of 61 years.
"Oliver's dedication to reduce human suffering caused by blindness was reflected in his work with Orbis of which he described as being "at the heart of what life is all about - promoting cooperation and understanding through serving others. What better way could there be to help heal our divided world?

A memorial slide show dedication to Mr. Foot can be seen here.

1946 - 2008

Did Kerry Want McCain B4 Edwards?

I don't know what the truth is here....and neither does Elisabeth Bumiller. According to Raw Story, John McCain lost his cool when he veered from straight talk and crashed into Bumiller's guardrail of truth!

Was John Edwards the consolation prize for John Kerry in 2004?

On Clinton Being 'Nice' to McCain

One participant at what presently [and unfortunately for the party] seems to have become, for the major part, the Hillary-hating Daily Kos, provides constructive food-for-thought about the angst that so many Obama-leaning Democrats are experiencing over their perception that Senator Clinton is including John McCain in a circle of threshhold-reaching experience while leaving Obama out in the cold:

Bill Clinton 'killed' Bush, Dole with kindness

It's actually a tricky and nuanced strategy (read: doesn't lend itself to thoughtful analysis in the blogosphere :) but the Clintons' M.O. has ALWAYS been to flatter an opponent's strengths, and be absolutely merciless when it comes to exposing their weaknesses.

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down... :)


Making "Monsters" of Our Leaders

Making monsters of our leaders, whether in truth or in fiction, is something of which I'd like to see much less.


A blogger at Denver's alternative newspaper Westworld [online] talks about the March 3 episode of the NBC show "The Medium" [titled "Aftertaste"] in which a former war hero who became an Arizona Senator is revealed to have been a cannibal. Three guesses as to who they were "ripping from the headlines" [to quote another popular TV show] and demonizing.


I was sad to hear that Samantha Power, a top foreign-policy adviser to the Obama campaign and someone I'd always thought [and still think] to be very intelligent, had to resign from the campaign because her emotion and impulsivity seemed to have gotten the better of her. Her loss is a most unfortunate one for the Obama campaign, in my opinion. She'd apologized after having told the Scotsman newspaper that she thought Hillary Clinton “is a monster, too — that is off the record— she is stooping to anything.” See Slate for story, where Trailhead blogger Christopher Beam says:
"...we see how Obama’s talk about a 'new kind of politics” opens him up to charges of “same old, same old.'.."

WaPo Blogs About Democratic Unity Ticket

"Six more weeks of winter between these two candidates will kill the unity-ground hog."

- Iddybud

Peter Baker raises some excellent points in "The Trail" blog today [WaPo]. Baker writes about the idea of a unity-Dem ticket in November and how it's an appealing idea for Democratic voters and, more importantly, how it is currently not too late in the day to start on a healing, unifying path for the two candidates. What doesn't help, in my opinion, is hearing Obama hounding Clinton on tax records and Clinton's campaign responding by comparing Obama's campaign tactics to those of Ken Starr.

Six more weeks of winter between these two candidates will kill the unity-ground hog.

When will we Democrats learn to win while we have the chance to maximize our chances for a win?

Baker says,

"The appeal of [unity] .. is obvious. The two have not waged an ideological struggle that would make it hard to reconcile in a single campaign. Democratic voters largely seem to like both candidates, according to polling and conversations in various primary states. They may feel more strongly about one than the other, but they seem open to either. As our assistant polling director, Jennifer Agiesta, reported after our pre-primary polls in Ohio and Texas, more than seven in 10 likely voters there said they would be satisfied with either Obama or Clinton as the party's nominee. Having them both on the ticket would in theory capture the enthusiasm each has generated among women and African Americans eager for a historic breakthrough.

Mr. Baker then cautions the two campaigns not to make the unfortunate mistake of the 2004 Kerry campaign:

Clinton need only turn to her own campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, if she wants to know how it works to team up with a primary rival. He detailed in his book, "What a Party," last year just how dysfunctional the Kerry-Edwards team was.

McAuliffe wrote that he asked Edwards after the election why he was not out attacking President Bush more. "Terry, they wouldn't let me," an exasperated Edwards answered. "I wanted to go after the Swift Boat guys. I wanted to go after Bush. They wouldn't let me." The Kerry people exiled the North Carolina senator to smaller, secondary markets and would not even share polling data with him, Edwards told McAuliffe.

I'm hoping to have this period in time go down in history as the time that Democrats took the bull by the horns and branded themselves as the historic and progressive party that would not lose again for decades to come.

I believe that unity's the only way to get there.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Rolling Stone / Time: Dueling Magazine Endorsements

............."Will fight."...................."Can unite.".....


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hillary Rising Toward Dem Unity

In a guest-posting at Catherine Morgan's Political Voices of Women, the lovely Pamela Lyn Kemp shares her thoughts about the latest developments in the Clinton-Obama Democratic primary contest and how the media pundits just can't seem to find the way to accurately explain Hillary's most recent rise.

The post: Hillary Clinton - They Just Can't Explain It

Pam posts a Maya Angelou poem that was originally printed in the Guardian/Observer [UK] about a month ago:

State Package for Hillary Clinton
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.
Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.
She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.
Rise, Hillary.

I'll be darned. Hillary has risen once again.

For all the sterile numbers-discussions going on in the media today by journalists with no time for imagination and no particular caring or interest for our Democratic party other than all the ads that the delegate numbers controversy can buy, we see a dismal picture being painted.

It doesn't have to be that way for the party who, for every reason under the sun, should have the wind at their back today. I've been waiting for one of the candidates to talk, with common sense and true leadership, about the brightest future for our Democratic party in this year's Presidential election.

What I'm seeing and hearing today is a brilliant woman who surprised us on Tuesday night and then went beyond ego on the morning after her wins to give us a taste of what it might be like to have a Democratic-unity ticket in November.

It reminded me of the wisdom of King Solomon in that you don't offer to split the live baby in half and then pretend that you've got it in your best interests. We need our Democratic party as healthy, alive, and kicking come August...September....October...November.

I don't want super-delegates in August giving the perception of a take-over of the voters' will.

I want Florida and Michigan to be given their full rights to participate in this historic choice, in as fair a manner a possible.

After the voting plays out [and it must..neither candidate has closed the deal], the way we go forward should be a unity-Democratic ticket. If we're serious about "meaningful" progress and that progress involves a woman and a black man being our nation's top leaders for the next 16 years, then it should be:

Clinton/Obama 2008 or Obama/Clinton 2008.

A voluntary agreement.
Meaningful progress with every Democrat feeling they're part of the process.
I'm liking the sound of it.

Leave it to the so-called experts, intellectuals and know-it-all pundits to say it can't happen.

As Martina McBride sang in her song, "Believe it anyway; Dream it anyway; Build it anyway; Do it anyway."
We can win this time.

Gore to TED: Integrate Poverty/Climate Change Responses

"We have a planetary emergency, and we have to find a way to create in the generation of those alive today a sense of generational mission."

- Al Gore
, speaking at the closing session of the Technology, Entertainment and Design [TED] conference in Monterey, California last Saturday afternoon.

[Gore] asked investors in the [TED] audience to change their portfolios to focus on technologies that solve the climate crisis. He also wants the U.S. to ratify the Kyoto Treaty limiting greenhouse gas emissions and he wants a global movement that's aimed at achieving renewable energy, conservation, and efficiency not only in the developed world but in the developing one. The latter is important, he said, because "in our day and time, increased global warming pollution anywhere is a threat to the human future everywhere," and "we have given to the developing countries the technologies and the thinking that are creating the crisis."

He noted that issues of poverty are intimately tied to the environmental crisis, and therefore responses to poverty in developing nations would need to be integrated with responses to the climate crisis. He added that the struggle against poverty and the challenge of cutting emissions in wealthy countries both had "a single, very simple solution": A CO2 tax -- revenue-neutral -- to replace taxations on employment.

- from Al Gore Makes Impassioned Plea to TEDsters by Kim Zetter, []

For the how and why, see:

Poverty and Climate Change: Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor through Adaptation
by the Poverty-Environment Partnership
June 2003 [pdf]

A beauty of a tune by Jill Sobule from the 2006 TED con (with a cameo performance by TED curator Chris Anderson:

An additional note on the Gore family:
Al Gore's daughter Karenna Gore Schiff, who has penned a new book about inspiring women leaders in politics, "Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America." was asked, while speaking at an all-girls' school on March 4th, whether she planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. Her reply:
"I have not publicly come out supporting anyone," Schiff answered, adding that women should not vote for a presidential candidate simply because she is a woman. "I've been excited about both candidates." - LINK

The New York Times DealBook blog points us to a Bloomberg News article revealing that:
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore left the White House seven years ago with less than $2 million in assets, including a Virginia home and the family farm in Tennessee. Now he's making enough to put $35 million in hedge funds and other private partnerships.

Tipper Gore will be among the speakers this Saturday in Washington D.C. at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) 16th annual national dinner. The event will honor Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, an openly gay medic featured on the December 16th edition of the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes, with the group's Barry Winchell Courage Award.

Monday, March 03, 2008

To Elizabeth Edwards on Her Father's Passing

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

My condolences go out to Elizabeth Edwards and her family. Elizabeth's father Vince Anania passed away this past weekend. [NY Times]

My heart especially goes out to Mrs. Edwards' mother Elizabeth Thweatt Anania, who has lost her beloved husband of 60 years.

In her book "Saving Graces", Mrs.Edwards gave her father credit for teaching her to be like him in his natural ability and desire to reach out to others and make the kind of connections that too many others, most unfortunately, never learn how to make in their lives. We miss so much in life when we don't know how..or can't summon the spiritual strength to reach out to others in the extraordinary way that Elizabeth's father and mother did. In her words....

"...My father was doing something most of us do or want to do -- reaching for connections. Now, he was, and still is, an extreme example. And, probably as a consequence, so am I. I'm not likely to change either, because the connections I have made have enriched and sustained me; they have strengthened me by holding me up when I needed it, and they have strengthened me by letting me hold up my end when it was needed. My life is immeasurably better because I know that although we may say grace differently
[* This is a reference to an earlier story about how the Anania family took in a little girl for a week while her mother recovered after hearing the news of the little girl's father's death while serving our country], or not know how to say it at all, we still need one another."

"Because of the way I grew up, because time and again I had to walk into a classroom where everyone else knew one another [*A "Navy brat", young Elizabeth was always moving from base to base], I had to find a way to make enough connections to make my life work. I understood early in life that I needed them. So I thrust my hand out. Like my father had taught me. And I found out what they liked and talked about that. Like my mother had taught me. We just had to recognize the sameness among us and build on that for our community. We didn't have to be the same; we just had to recognize what a great blessing we could be to one another."

I'd like to give back some of the blessings that Elizabeth and her family have given me by their kindness, warmth, and their great example of leadership. At DailyKos yesterday, Elizabeth reached out to all who cared to send her their thoughts and prayers:

My father will be missed by all of us, and in particular by John, who stayed with Dad the night before he died, talking to him all night and alerting the rest of us that the end was near. They had a special bond.

It was wonderful to be able to tell him that we loved him, to sing his favorite songs and tell stories about the moments we remembered, about the splendid and silly pieces of his life. And it was a reminder that none of us should wait until the hours are numbered to tell those around us how much they mean to us.

Our hours are numbered, as much as we'd like to think otherwise (or avoid thinking about it altogether). Many of us believe, despite the darkness we sometimes experience here on Earth, because of the great and unconditional love of which we're capable of having for one another, that we can experience a bit of Heaven right here. And many of us believe, after we can no longer be seen by those who love us, that we become a new creation. There's a new creation today .. I imagine a new angel walking 'round Heaven reaching out his hand to all of the others.

Anita lives alone in a paper mill town
In a one room apartment at Sixth and Brown
She's got a steady job well its all right for now
She has plans for moving on if she can make it some how

Her brown hands are folded as she bows her head to pray
Over doughnuts and some coffee she made up yesterday
Her mind begins to travel, she gives thanks to the lord
And an angel stands beside her, points out to the door

And says, "Today you're going to soar like a eagle
You will run and never grow tired
You've become a new creation
For you have kept the faith of a child."

Lyrics from "Faith of a Child" by Bill Miller

Benny has a lovely posting and tribute at Benny's World.