Friday, March 28, 2008

Kindness to others. Are you up for it?

It's been a very long week at Jello House, and I'm looking forward to hanging out with a dear friend, watching Best in Show for about the one thousandth time, and following my Lady Terps in the NCAA West. In other words, no politics this weekend, hon.

Before I take off to de-stress, I want to share with you a really heartwarming story that I heard on NPR's StoryCorps this morning. It is the story of a man who treated a stranger with compassion and kindess, nothing more, nothing less. Enjoy!
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Please, read the rest of his story here.

And then have a wonderful weekend, friends.

Celebrate Women's History Month by recognizing your favorite lady blogger!

Even though somehow my name was left off the ballot, you have a chance to vote for your other favorite woman blogger at Women's Voices Making History.

Ah well, there's always next year ....

Voting for McCain? It is not a wise decision

Both Clinton and Obama are on the right track, but it's a message that will need to be repeated over and over again:
"Every time we have a vigorous contest like we're having this primary election, people get intense. Senator Obama has intense support. I have intense support. It's exciting because people want to be involved. But, the differences ... pale in comparison to the differences between us and Senator McCain." -- Hillary Clinton
"There are going to be some bruised feelings, whoever the nominee is. We are going to have to come together and remind ourselves that there is a heck of a lot bigger difference between either Senator Clinton or myself, and John McCain." -- Barack Obama
In other words, if you are a supporter of either of these candidates, don't get so caught up in your loyalty that you decide to vote for John McCain out of some misguided protest vote. When asked what she would say to any Democratic voter considering doing this, Clinton said:
"Please think through this decision. It is not a wise decision."
Let's keep our eyes on the prize, my fellow JelloHeads. In the end it's about getting a Democrat back in the White House, remember?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Did Sinbad Save America From Nuclear Annihilation?

Posted at the Wonkette, reported as only they can ....
Funnyman "Sinbad" was once simply known as "America's Entertainer," but after his heroic unmasking of the monster Hillary Clinton's "foreign policy experience" claims about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, historians may well have another title for the beloved comic: The Funnyman Who Saved America.

It was a story seared into the memories of all Americans: Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Crow, Chelsea Clinton and Sinbad went to Bosnia to bring peace this one time, probably during the 1990s. But only Sinbad had the courage to tell the real story: That these women really went to Bosnia to hatch a terrible lie that could've very well put the senile lunatic John McCain in the White House, which would've led to Total Nuclear Devastation.
Read more about how Sinbad saved America here.

Hillary Clinton ahead in Pennsylvania, and why she will win there

This is from Greg Palmer's blog at Keystone Politics as well as MyDD, and I think he's got a point. What do you think?
Let's face it - Barack Obama has run a great campaign, inspired a lot of people, and will probably win the nomination. So why is Hillary Clinton doing so well in Pennsylvania?

In short, it's the economy, stupid. Much of Pennsylvania was once supported by enormous manufacturing operations who supported entire regions of workers. Pennsylvanians still haven't fully recovered economically from the effects globalization had on manufacturing hubs.

In my hometown, some estimate that Bethlehem Steel once employed 40,000 people, and Pittsburgh has a similar history with US Steel. Those companies closed years ago, but the economic and emotional wounds run deep in Pennsylvania. As those large companies faded away, new businesses failed to take their place, and workers were left worrying about their pensions and the lifetime of health benefits they were promised.

Pennsylvania has been hurt further by NAFTA and other trade deals that are unfavorable to workers. Since 2000, we've lost over 200,000 manufacturing jobs. Walking downtown in many parts of our state can be a sobering experience - where mom and pop stores once thrived and profits were recycled back into small businesses, big box stores now suck dollars out of the local economy.

Barack Obama has been talking about "his story" and what it means for America, but that's not the sort of thing that resonates with Pennsylvanians. We're a pragmatic state because we've seen all too closely how the whims of so-called "visionaries" affect real workers, and how plans from self-professed Smart Guys can wreak havoc on entire regions.

Honestly, I don't have anything against Barack, and I'm kind of disappointed that Hillary hasn't gracefully bowed out since the numbers are so clearly against her. But I'd like to see the Senator from Illinois stop telling me his story and start telling me about how he's going to change the story for people in places like Pennsylvania.

Say what you will about her, but Hillary has done that and she's done it well. She's told us she recognizes that we got the shaft with NAFTA, and that to stay competitive we need universal healthcare.

Rather than show up in Philadelphia to give a big speech that most Philadelphians will never hear, Hillary walks around our towns and sees what has happened to places like Ohio and Pennsylvania. She's told us that she's learning the lessons along with the rest of us, and here in PA, that's something we can respect.

When it comes down to it, I know they have just about the same positions on everything. I just wish Senator Obama would take some time out from talking about himself to let us know.

Happy Birthday Sassy!

Today is the birthday of the late, great, Sarah Vaughn. I guarantee this video will make you smile and tap your foot. Turn it up and enjoy!

This is not my beautiful wife! How did I get here?

Well, it's getting close to the end of the month, so let's take a look at the wacky world of key word searches. This month's most interesting search words were:
  • whitest white man
  • what do you do with a drunken sailor tanker
  • jello heiress (which I am not, by the way)
  • Robin Roberts
  • lesbian gang fights back (oh yeah, the old 'lesbian gang' stories ... me an' my peeps!)
  • jello high fructose corn syrup (oh no — am I subconsciously endorsing HFCS?)
  • strike at Kos

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If it's 8:01 a.m., the news is all happy-like

There's an awful lot going on with our families at the Jello manse right now, and the Unnamed Partner and I are kinda tired. So I decided this morning to sleep in a little bit. And that's why I witnessed the horror that is the "Morning Shows."

On a normal workday, I'm gone long before any of these things come on. I might watch the local news for weather and traffic but that's about it. Every once in a while I see a replay later in the day of Matt Lauer interviewing a senator, Robin Roberts interviewing a cabinet head, or the guy on the CBS Early Show interviewing some economist (and why can't I ever remember the CBS guy's name?).

And then suddenly at 8 o'clock a.m., it's as if they turn a switch and become mindless morons who happily begin gossiping about Britney Spears' appearance on a sitcom, or grilling steaks -- Cajun style! -- or, and this is definitely my favorite story of the day:
Diane, Robin, Chris and Sam tasted several interesting chip flavors this morning.
To quote Ellen DeGeneres, "my point, and I do have one," is this: Are we really depending on these people for our news?! How can they go from hard-hitting interviews at 7:45 and then be "tasting chips" at 8:00?

It makes me shudder, but it also makes me understand some of the level of political discussion I see and hear lately.

Yes: chips, presidential candidates -- we do it all at GMA!

O.K., Sen. Obama, how about that 4000 ... and ONE?

Some folks think I gave Barack Obama too much grief for the quote below, that indeed ending the war in Iraq should priority number one for our nation. So, I ask the Senator from Illinois, who has apparently been running for president since he reached the U.S. Capitol, what are you doing to end the war in Iraq?

We have reached a grim statistic: 4001 military personnel have died in this war. What are any of us doing to end it?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Does he get extra credit just for saying the word "gay"?

Barack Obama in Oregon:
"We argue about gay marriage. You know, in the meantime the planet is, you know, potentially being destroyed. We've got a war that is bankrupting us. And we're going to argue about gay marriage? I mean, that doesn't make any sense."
Um, actually, I think gay marriage is kinda worth arguing about. I mean, I understand that it is a divisive issue, but there are a lot of problems in the world that need our attention on which there is not universal agreement: the war in Iraq, poverty, hunger, the environment — so why single out the discussion on gay marriage as the one that "doesn't make any sense"?

I promised earlier that I would never again use the phrase "throw them under the bus" but it sure would be appropriate here ... My civil rights seem to be wearing tire treads ....

ht/to PageOneQ

"Find something to make you smile"

Wonderful advice from my dear friend, Cootamundra W. And my boy does make me smile!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Remembering what's at stake here ....

If we Democrats don't get our act together, this could be our future:

If the image isn't scary enough on its own, see Tengrain's take on it over at Mock, Paper, Scissors. Warning: snorting coffee through nose alert on this one!

DNC inaction shouldn't penalize Michigan and Florida voters

I've read a lot of comments recently from people who think the voters of Florida and Michigan should just accept their fate, blame their state democratic party, and get over it. I disagree. The inequities of the state primary schedule is a storm that's been brewing for a long, long time. States have been trying to get a more fair and equitable primary schedule in place for decades, and the Democratic National Committee has chosen to ignore the issue.

In July of 2006, USA Today reported:
Mich., N.H. spar over primary schedule change

For decades, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary has played an unusually influential role in choosing which presidential candidates win their parties' nomination.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan thinks it's time to change that. He wants to give other states — such as his own — an earlier voice in the presidential selection process.

Levin and others who favor change say small, largely white New Hampshire isn't representative enough of the Democratic Party or the nation as a whole to rate the enormous attention it gets from candidates. For example, blacks make up 12.3% of the nation's population but only 0.8% of New Hampshire's population, Census Bureau data show.

Levin's crusade, a source of deep irritation for New Hampshire Democrats, is gaining traction this year as the Democratic National Committee mulls a proposal to add a state caucus between Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus in mid-January 2008 and the New Hampshire primary in late January.

Last May, the Washington Post had this quote:
"The parties have lost control of the calendar" said John Weaver, the chief strategist for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "And not necessarily to the benefit of the American people."
And it's true. Why should certain states always be the ones that "matter"? Look at how much attention is payed to the voters of Iowa and Hampshire. I mean no disrespect to them, but do these states represent the diversity of the American people? Other states have cried out for attention from presidential candidates for years, but if the those states' primaries are not one of the first, what incentive do the candidates have to spend their precious time and money traveling across the country to spend time there?

This is an issue that Howard Dean and the DNC knew about. It is unconscionable that they now penalize the voters of Michigan and Florida for the national party's lack of action to fix a broken system. In 1998, the New York Times ran an editorial entitled "A Primary Political Problem," and closed with this statement:
[I]t is obvious that only a guarantee that all states will get a decent chance to influence the nominating process is going to end the present destructive trend.
But instead the trend continues ....

photo CNN

US military passes 4,000 death toll in Iraq

From the Guardian:

The number of US troops killed in Iraq has reached 4,000 with the deaths of four soldiers in southern Baghdad.

The four soldiers were on patrol when their vehicle was struck yesterday at around 10pm local time (7pm GMT) by a roadside bomb.

"You regret every casualty, every loss," US vice president Dick Cheney told reporters during a visit to Jerusalem after the 4,000 death toll was passed.

"It may have a psychological effect on the public, but it's a tragedy that we live in a kind of world where that happens."

901 American troops died in Iraq last year - the deadliest year for the US army in Iraq since 2004 when 850 were killed. Most of the fatalities in 2007 were incurred in the first part of the year as the US "surge", in which 30,000 additional US troops arrived in the country, got underway.

Calculations by the Associated Press show that for every fatality in Iraq there had been 15 soldiers wounded. The news agency compared this with 2.6 wounded for every death in the Vietnam war, although the total 58,200 US troop deaths in that eleven year war is over ten times the current toll.

From the Washington Post:
Also Sunday, the commander of U.S. prisons in Iraq defended the military's incarceration policies as the detainee population has swelled to 23,000, nearly 45 percent higher than a year ago.

Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone said the military is detaining 50 to 60 Iraqis a day, compared with 20 to 30 a day in April 2007. The growing prison population "is clearly a consequence of the surge," he said, referring to the troop buildup that began last year.

Iraqi politicians from different sectarian backgrounds have complained that many detainees have languished for months or years without charges and that many are wrongfully accused. The United Nations has also been critical of the procedures.

A U.N. human rights report in April expressed concern about the U.S. military's "indefinite internment of detainees," noting that people are "held for prolonged periods effectively without charge or trial." The U.S. Embassy was harshly critical of the report.

"My answer is that it's looking pretty good," Stone said.

AP photo