Friday, May 09, 2008

For Jenna Bush and Laura Bush

Tomorrow Jenna Bush will be married. This video is dedicated to her life and travels. As a mother whose child had not yet wed, I can just imagine the mixed emotions of Jenna's mother today.
Music by Harley West; video by my good friend "Woodrow" Williams.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Didn't Realize How Much Andrew Sullivan Personally Dislikes The Clintons

I don't share Andrew Sullivan's strong personal disliking for Hillary and Bill Clinton. The strong adjectives he uses to describe both Bill and Hillary Clinton as "frauds", quoting others who classify Hillary as "narcissistic" and "hungry for power" (as if every Presidential candidate isn't), and Hillary and Bill as "shameless" for competing.

His choice of what to blog about often sends jabs a-flying at New York's feisty Senator. His lending of any credence to any meaningful power behind the Limbaugh smoke-and-mirrors "Operation Chaos" leaves me scratching my head. Dream-scenarios about Obama grace his recent front page. His lending of the aura of any respect to a blogpost where Bill Clinton is substituted for Jeremiah Wright in a negative attack-analogy is one of the most pathetic tributes to Hillary-hate that I've seen.

I haven't read his blog in a while, but I liked his recent idea about a fusion-ticket, so I decided to read more of what he had to offer. As a person who's remained neutral since John Edwards suspended his campaign, I have to say that I'm bowled over by Mr. Sullivan's startling lack of objectivity.

But a blogger isn't required to be objective, is he?

Still, I think Andrew's all-too-happy report about African Americans sticking it to the Clintons is a major tribute to what ails the Democratic party right now. Here's the not-so-nice things Mr. Sullivan had to say on the subject:
"Here's what now seems obvious: African-American voters killed the Clinton candidacy. It is a fitting end to the Clintons' campaign and an almost Shakespearean coda to their career. The Clintons were exposed in their long-running exploitation and reliance on minority votes. No group was more loyal to them than African-Americans; and in the end, like everyone else, African-Americans realized that the Clintons are frauds, disloyal to the core, cynical to their finger-tips, and finally, finally, returned the favor."
To read this, one would think that any politician who eventually became a beloved leader has never exploited anyone or pandered to any group before in all of America's history. How much would it hurt Mr. Sullivan to admit that African Americans saw an African American who was becoming more and more inspiring and popular by the day and decided that they were going to support him because he reminded them of themselves and their own personal struggles? But, no-o-o-o. Framing their pride and joy in voting for an African American who has the potential to be a great leader has to involve sullying Obama's "narcissistic", "power-hungry", and "shameless" competition.

Please. About his theory on African Americans crushing Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sullivan gushes, "How wonderful. How poignant." (That's just creepy). Who's exploiting African Americans here?

What the perpetuation of this theory does, however, is to underscore Mr. Sullivan's own reasons for believing a fusion-ticket will be what carries the Democrats over the finish line as winners in November. If the voting public puts any stock in the race-issue as Mr. Sullivan himself is framing it, there will be natural race-based animosity. A brief review of our Anthropology 101 and Sociology 101 textbooks will show you it's true. I believe the last thing Mr. Obama would want is to have the Democratic voters who've supported Mrs. Clinton believe that it was African-Americans, as a group, who'd willfully denied her the nomination they'd so heartfully desired to see. Putting Mrs. Clinton on the ticket (if Obama gets the nomination) will bring Obama closer to his own stated bring all people together (begining with Democrats who he'll need to come out in as large numbers as possible) in a country where too many have bought into racial stereotypes and Hillary-hatred....the kind that started irrationally and has grown into a myth ... the very kind that I see Mr. Sullivan most unfortunately promoting in his analysis.

There's a lot of people who've looked up to Mr. Sullivan and his views. I think it's obvious that I'm disappointed in the way he's used his prominence to perpetuate this line of thought.

Obama and Hillary Unity Ticket Discussed

Here's my reply to a top-rated diary at Daily Kos this morning (title: "Yes to Unity. But Let's Not Go Overboard") :

Diarist wrote:

.... a "unity ticket"...doesn't help Obama or his supporters, nor does it help Clinton and her supporters, and frankly, it does little for the party when all is said and done..."

I replied:

I couldn't agree less.

A unity ticket with these two fantastic candidates, each with solid support within their own unique camps forming coalitions for common goals, encouraging a much more solid voting bloc in November...

I just can't see anything more positive.

I came from the Edwards camp and, like the Edwardses, I have remained neutral since John Edwards suspended his campaign. I have tried to keep a clear eye on this race since then.

I love what I believe this country should (and could) be. That is my priority. Second priority for me is party. Then only after those first two priorites do I concern myself with which candidate should represent the party.

I know that Daily Kos has become strong Obama territory and, while passion about a candidate is often commendable, too much passion can cause us to forget our nation's direction and our party's unity.
We don't want to give the other side an inch this time. I want the Democratic ticket to suck every bit of oxygen out of the room so the other side suffocates.

The road to beating the Republican this time must be paved with our ability to set emotion aside and realize just how excited the Democrats of this nation are about both of these candidates.

When one nominee's chosen, we want to maintain the level of excitement we've seen throughout this primary season!

The typical citizen doesn't care about so many of these internecine quarrels and attacks. They care about changing the direction in wich the Republicans have taken this country.

I'd be all for a Unity (the astute Andrew Sullivan calls it a "fusion") ticket.

There have been some responses to my comment and I have replied to each one. I hope you'll go to the link and read on. Maybe join in?

Burmese Political Prisoners Murdered After Cyclone Struck

Burmese prisoners 'executed after cyclone hit'
By Sebastien Berger, Graham Jenkins and Stephen Adams
Telegraph UK
In Rangoon, where monks and civilians were clearing the streets of debris, a man who refused to be identified added:
"Where are all those uniformed people who are always ready to beat civilians? They should come out in full force and help clean up the areas and restore electricity."

Insein Prison (pronounced like "insane") is located in Yangon Division, near Yangon (Rangoon), the old capital of Burma. It is run by the military junta of Burma, the State Peace and Development Council, and used largely to repress political dissidents.

The prison is notorious worldwide for its inhumane and dirty conditions, abusive techniques, and uses of mental and physical torture.

One of its most famous prisoners was the Nobel Peace prize winning human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi, who currently remains under house arrest.


How you can help the struggling cyclone survivors in Myanmar:
A number of charities have launched appeals to help the Burmese in the wake of this weekend's cyclone. You can donate online to the American Red Cross, or to Oxfam's emergency fund,; Save the Children, ; and for citizens in the UK, to Christian Aid,,

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Suicide Hotline for Veterans in Crisis

In 2007, suicides among active-duty soldiers reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006. Attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army have increased since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began.

Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Because I volunteer as a community counselor, I am well aware of the needs of many fellow citizens in my own community. I wanted to make my readers aware of a fairly new 24-hour national suicide/crisis hotline based here in Upstate New York (Canandaigua) and created specifically for veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan (all other veterans are welcome, also). It's staffed by mental health professionals who know how to assess and respond to crisis situations for veterans at risk of suicide, and incorporates the best practices and research findings in suicide prevention and intervention with the goal of reducing suicides among veterans nationwide.

The phone number is 1-800-273-TALK. It's the only national suicide prevention and intervention telephone resource that is funded by the federal government. In addition to the national hotline, the Department has established a website, at to provide information on suicide prevention awareness.

In yesterday's Times-Picayune there was a story about the increasing number of calls coming in to the Canandaigua-based hotline.

The warning signs of a potentially suicidal person can be seen here at the American Asssociation of Suicidology. On the same page you can also read how you can help someone in your life who may show the danger signs.

Don't hesitate to call or to give this number to a veteran if you know one who's struggling with life upon his or her return from war.

You may be the barrier between life and death for this person.


Soldier suicides could trump war tolls: US health official [AFP]

Family pushing for changes after soldier's suicide
By Patrick McCreless
The Cullman Times

WWII Vet Commits Suicide outside VA Clinic by Brandon Friedman

Talking Veterans Down From Despair

Being there for veterans - A VA suicide hotline set up last year is credited with saving 726 lives so far

Local priests heed calls to military chaplaincies

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hillary Used Badly in Eight Belles Comparison

Blogger Tom Watson rightly, in my opinion, points out the insulting, cruel and inappropriate nature of this comment that was posted underneath one of ABC News' Jake Tapper's blogposts comparing Hillary Clinton and her candidacy to the euthanization of the racehorse Eight Belles after she'd tragically broken her two front ankles during the Kentucky Derby race:

Tom Watson says: "...over at Jake Tapper's they're green-lighting comments like this one:"

Comment that was posted at ABC News website: "This race parallels the nomination race as the one HRC picked lost to Obama's the only question remaining - since HRC will finish second to Obama - should she be put down because she is broken down, lying old hag?"

It's an appalling comparision and comment that has since been deleted (probably because it was being pointed out as such by the public). Jake Tapper has updated his blogpost, defending his comparison and telling readers that he isn't making light of Eight Belles' death. I think he invited this kind of commentary from the public by perpetuating goofy superstition and using the death of a lovely, regal creature as a political stick for any idiot to poke in the eye of their political opponent. I think that anyone..especially Obama supporters.. who wish to make hay (pun intended) out of this unfortunate and tragic death at Clinton's expense will be judged according to how much the individual loves horses. If Obama dares to joke about it, he'll look like a horse's ass (pun intended, and I don't suspect that Obama would be so tactless even though many of his most-rabid online supporters have been).

My comment at Tom Watson's blog reads as follows:

I was heartsick over Eight Belles. As I watched the whole thing unfold before my eyes yesterday, I saw the one picture next to the other - one owner of the swift and lovely horse who'd won the race cheering joyously -- and the deep sorrow upon seing the other beautiful animal laid low..broken and dying... was a bit too much for me. I'm passionate for all horses. Once I'd learned Eight Belles had died, I could no longer join the others in sincerely cheering for the winner.

I am sad to see these comparisons being made to the Democratic candidates. It could, however, be a foretelling, that when one of them wins (bear in mind it's going to be inevitable) and we hear the cheering throng, there will be the other passionate half among many of whom will be turning the whole thing off as I turned off the overwhelming and strange emotional spectacle yesterday.

The only remedy to turning off the passionate supporters of either candidate that I can see is a situation where the losing Democrat gets the chance that poor Eight Belles will never be resurrected as a running mate for the winner.

If only Eight Belles had gotten the opportunity to rise once more to claim life once again...the fact of having lost the great race notwithstanding.

Posted by: Jude | May 04, 2008 at 12:53 PM

As much as the two Democratic candidates choose to avoid the topic and their respective impassioned supporters reel and rebel at the very thought of their candidate taking second spot, the beating of John McCain after such a divided season with the race being so consistently close is going to have to take a Unity ticket. I've never been more convinced than I am now. Whether a nominee is decided upon in June or August, it matters little now. When it came down to Superdelegates deciding the nominee for us, we Democrats passed the point where the party will be free from major damage without Democrat-Unity '08. I've been saying it for quite some time. Andrew Sullivan's talking about the practicality of what he calls a 'Fusion Ticket' today.

My cartoons from early March:


In fairness to Jake Tapper (whose comment can be seen below), my headline shouldn't have read Hillary Used Badly in ABC Eight Belles Comparison.

My focus on the sad analogy (which is, indeed, a comparison in nature, albeit not made by Jake directly) was more about the type of comments I was seeing underneath the blogpost rather than about the actual content of the post itself.

I have changed my headline and apologize for making it sound as if Jake was making the horrid analogy himself. He wasn't. He was providing facts about a sitution that I'm sure he and his editors knew was relevant to what may someday be looked back upon as a story that will have become political lore.

I'm sounding off about the people who support either Obama or McCain who'd use this to do intentional political harm to Hillary Clinton and walk over the dead body of a noble creature in order to complete the process. It's the side of politics (and people) that I surely wish would change, but there will always be ugliness. As much as people at Daily Kos passionately support Senator Obama in this race, I give them credit because even THEY heavily criticized anyone who tried to build upon this analogy with any seriousness yesterday.

While I'm here updating, as much as I love animals, I firmly believe that PETA's most recent politicization of the Eight Belles incident is just too opportunistic. Another political boot-mark on the body of the horse.

Once again, I didn't mean to mislead readers about Jake Tapper or about ABC.
I pride myself on fairness.
This season's been rough on this Democrat...and many other Democrats.
My apologies for an untentionally misleading headline.