John Edwards Speaks To Press Today On Wife’s Health


We all get caught up in the rough and tumble of politics and can often forget that real human beings on the world stage are going through life confronting the same struggles and heartaches that each of us face.  Today we await the news conference of John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. 

On Wednesday Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards accompanied his wife, Elizabeth, who has been treated for breast cancer, on a doctor’s visit. His campaign said they would hold a news conference in their hometown Thursday to discuss her health.

I am most concerned about the gravity of this matter, and the fact it is taking place in their hometown.  Every American who knows the ravages of this disease understands the implications of a bad report from a doctor.  We have yet to learn the specifics, but as a nation should unite in prayer and faith for her health and well-being.  Also, we need to keep John and their entire family in our thoughts.

UPDATED….From The New York Times 

John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat, said today that his wife’s cancer had returned, but that his bid for the presidency “goes on strongly.”

“The campaign goes on, the campaign goes on strongly,” he said, with his wife, Elizabeth, at his side.

Mr. Edwards said he learned earlier this week that the cancer had reappeared in his wife’s rib cage. He said he and his wife recognized that it was no longer curable, though it could be managed with treatment.

Asked by a reporter whether recurrence of the cancer would cause him to suspend any campaign activities, such as fundraising or travel, Mr. Edwards said no. “We know from our previous experience that when this happens you have a choice, you can go cower in the corner and hide, or you can be tough and go out there and stand up for what you believe in,” he said.

“Both of us are committed to the cause and we’re committed to changing this country that we love so much and we have no intention of cowering in the corner,” Mr. Edwards said.

He said that after the news conference they would leave together for New York and Boston, and then to California on Friday.

Mrs. Edwards said she had the energy to continue the campaign. “I am absolutely ready for that,” she said.

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Newspapers Still Play Major Role In Our Democracy

Walter Cronkite, the former CBS News anchor, known affectionately as ‘Uncle Walter’, stated a couple decades ago that his news show only skimmed the headlines, and for the public to get a more complete view of the world they needed to read their morning newspaper.  His idea was sound when he first said it, and it is just as accurate today.  Newspapers should play an integral part of a citizen’s daily life.  But with the internet and  changes in how America spends its free time, newspapers are suffering in readership.

It seems every month that layoffs in newsrooms of some large paper are reported taking place in this country.  Classified ad sales have plummeted up to $100 million in the past three years, while some of those same metropolitan newspapers have lost 10% of their circulation in that same time period.  For folks like me who enjoy newspapers and understand the role they play in our democracy, these numbers are unsettling.

One of the reasons that I fear the decline in newspapers is because of the role they play in keeping our government accountable to the public.  When the Pentagon Papers became page one, above the fold material in the New York Times in 1971, the citizenry became better informed about the role of our government in defense and foreign affairs in Southeast Asia.  President Nixon was apoplectic in the White House (his tapes prove this) over newspapers printing this material.  But the NYT and other papers understood their role in our democracy, and fought in court for the right to report this story, finally winning in the United States Supreme Court, on behalf of the nation.

Newspapers alone had the ability to showcase the depth of the story with countless column inches, while TV and radio were left to short stories and broad brushstrokes.   Today the public is still best served by newspapers digging for the truth.  CBS’s Bob Schieffer recently paid special comments to Washington Post reporter, Dana Priest, for her dogged determination as an intrepid reporter by bringing the Walter Reed Army medical story to the nation’s consciousness.  It was again the case that the amount of time required to investigate a story of such magnitude, and the space needed to adequately report it, could only be found in a newspaper.

I understand that to a large segment of the public this post means nothing.  And yet it should. 

I have long thought that every child should have a newspaper at home to look at and understand.  Kids should be able to get their hands smudged from the ink, and smell the result of the printing press.  I think it essential to have our kids better educated about the faces and issues that make up our world.  I also think that a better understanding of the news process, which is visible every day through the pages of good newspapers, will allow them to be better news consumers as adults.  And with the world in their view those kids will become better citizens, and voters as a result.

I know of what I preach.  I grew up in a home without TV until the age of 13, but did have a daily newspaper to read.  (My siblings and I were early readers.) When my friends went home after school to watch re-runs on TV, I grabbed the paper and laid on the davenport (friends tell me to leave that term behind) to explore the world.  As a young child I was often more confused than entertained.  To counter that my parents bought a large atlas, and so when names like Pakistan and Russia were in a news story I would lay on the floor with the paper spread out, and the atlas open, and find the locations for the stories.

I know that sounds ‘geeky’ but it was my world.   As a result I know I am better person because of that newspaper and how it taught me to be interested in the world.

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Will Politicians Be Brighter Over Dubai Business Deal This Year?

It was an embarrassing spectacle to see politicians of all stripes running around the country last year in an effort to stir up dust over a plan to allow a Dubai based company to oversee port operations at several locations in the country.  Both political parties drew strength from the fact that many Americans seemed clueless about international companies already d0ing this port business for many years.  Everyone either saw a terrorist act in the making, or hoped to make others see it.  Whatever the motives or intent the end result was that the United States looked like ninnies to the world community.

I hope we do not again make the same mistake with a new deal that is in the making.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise is working on a deal to buy a series of aviation businesses from U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group.  As part of the agreement, the Dubai company would buy Landmark Aviation, an aircraft maintenance provider, and Standard Aero, which provides repair and overhaul services at airport terminals for small-jet aviation and some military transports.

It was a most remarkable sight to see both Democrats and Republicans simultaneously jumping to the most illogical thinking just because a very well-respected company located in the Middle East wanted to do business in the United States.  It was hard to get past all the lather that these politicians created as most of our nation seemed not to be aware how port authorities operated, and what a holding company actually was designed to do.  This is yet another example of why the public needs to be educated on the issues of the day so they can not be led astray by self-serving politicians.

It was bizarre to see politicians argue that a business bridge to the Middle East should not be created just so a few points could be scored for the latest polls here in America.  I trust that those who harbor Potomac fever (or others) do not create an embarrassment over this latest deal with Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.  And I trust that my fellow citizens are better informed about international economics.

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Doyle and Bush Should Remember ‘West Wing’ Jeb Bartlett

The news accounts about Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and his campaign funds should rightly concern us as citizens.  We like to think that our state government should reflect the honor and ethics of the people who live here.  Likewise, I strongly suspect that the citizens of this nation are unnerved about the firings of federal prosecutors around the country in an effort by the Bush Administration to place conservative political allies in these positions.

I am not pleased with the substance or tone from either the Wisconsin Democratic Governor in relation to campaign cash, or from the Republican President over using the justice department as a political tool. 

More than once I have thought about President Jeb Bartlett on NBC’s drama ‘West Wing’ while reading the morning newspaper.  When he offered to be censured by Congress for less than candid answers about his health and MS condition, he told his White House Chief Of Staff that no one in Washington takes the blame for anything anymore.  Therefore no one is ever held responsible for anything that goes wrong.  As such he stepped up to the front of the line and endured the political punches by doing the right thing on the award winning TV drama. 

If only real life at times mimicked television. More often than not when there are serious lapses in judgment in government much finger pointing and commission creating takes place, but little in true accountability ever surfaces.  We learn of the mistakes but rarely hear, as Bartlett said, anyone taking any self-blame.

I am so very tired of the drip, drip, drip of information about Governor Jim Doyle and his campaign cash. A full and honest disclosure of any and all-relevant material related to money obtained in a manner and fashion that is not consistent with the state election laws should just be put on the table.  Everyone knows that the political system is awash in money, and at times that cash is not amassed in appropriate ways.  Republican gubernatorial nominee Mark Green also faced similar problems.    Doyle and his team could use their honest approach with the public as a way to ramp up for a real, and tough campaign finance bill that is so very long over due in the state.  By turning the current mess of Doyle’s campaign cash (along with the whole system) into an honest debate, something very powerful could be created in Wisconsin’s electoral process.  The people are ready for honesty and a cleaner campaign system.

Meanwhile on the national level the President is hemorrhaging in the public polls, and his policy initiatives are flattened due to the blunders and missteps by his Administration.  Bush should fess up that ideological priorities took precedent at the Justice Department headed up by Attorney General Gonzales.  The President needs to rebuke and fire anyone with a mission of using the justice system in America as a political tool.  If that requires the dismissal of Gonzales, so be it.  The integrity of our government is vastly more important than the bonds of loyalty between the president and his cabinet.

Both Governor Doyle and President Bush need to be mindful that their mission is to provide leadership and policies that will benefit the people who they serve.  To achieve that, they might be mindful of the actions of a fictional politician on television. Someone has to accept the responsibility for the campaign cash mess in Wisconsin, and the political firing of prosecutors around the nation.

What would Jeb Bartlett do?

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Images From FAUX News Shows Extreme Bias

My friend Mary, at ‘Work Of The Poet’, has a link to perhaps the best evidence of the biased ‘journalism’ of FAUX News that I have yet seen.   I laughed at the absurdity of the visual images from that channel that passes as ‘fair and balanced’.  They say ‘We Report, You Decide’ and we have done just that.  We decide that it is indeed FAUX News!

You will read such nuggets as “Iraq Civil War: Made up By The Media?”

And they wonder why respectable politicans do not want to have a debate hosted by these folks?

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Four Years And A Few Words As The Body Count Rises

As I take note of the fourth year of President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq on a pretext of saving the world from weapons of mass destruction (gag), I am reminded by my past writings, both here on this blog and elsewhere. Most of my writings are filled with many emotions that have leaked all over my texts.  I am sure we all have felt many of the same thoughts as we witnessed our government’s effort to mislead our nation into a needless war.   

The loss of lives has been unforgivable.   A 2006 report published in Lancet stated “a team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.”  With seven more soldiers killed in Iraq this weekend there are now at least 3,217 Americans dead as the result of this foreign policy disaster. 

So what words would describe my view of how the Bush Administration sold the war to America?

untruthful, beguile, break promise, bull, con, concoct, deceive, delude, dissemble, dissimulate, distort, dupe*, equivocate, exaggerate, fabricate, fake, falsify, fib, forswear, frame, fudge, invent, jazz, jive, make believe, malign, misguide, misinform, misinstruct, mislead, misrepresent, misspeak, misstate, overdraw, palter, perjure, pervert, phony up, plant*, prevaricate, promote, put on, snow, soft-soap, string along, victimize

Since the disaster of the Iraq War has now become apparent to everyone with the proper amount of oxygen getting upstairs, how might the entire world sum up what is missing from the Bush Administration’s view of itself?

abashment, bad conscience, blot, chagrin, compunction, confusion, contempt, contrition, degradation, derision, discomposure, discredit, disesteem, dishonor, disrepute, embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, ignominy, ill repute, infamy, irritation, mortification, obloquy, odium, opprobrium, pang, pudency, remorse, reproach, scandal, self-disgust, self-reproach, self-reproof, shamefacedness, smear, stigma, stupefaction, treachery

Given Bush’s own intellectual shortcomings, what one characteristic do most Americans feel is the reason that Bush did not seek solid advice over the grave concerns about starting this dreadful war?

airs, aloofness, audacity, bluster, braggadocio, brass, cheek, chutzpah, conceit, conceitedness, contemptuousness, crust, disdain, disdainfulness, ego, egotism, gall, haughtiness, hauteur, high-handedness, hubris, imperiousness, insolence, loftiness, nerve, ostentation, overbearance, pomposity, pompousness, presumption, pretension, pretentiousness, pride, priggishness, scornfulness, self-importance, self-love, smugness, superciliousness, swagger, vanity

Feel free to add to my lists.

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Mark Green’s Words Bite Him

The Wisconsin State Elections Board ordered Republican Mark Green to dump $468,000 of PAC money during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.  The campaign cash Green funneled into his state campaign was from sources not eligible to contribute under Wisconsin election laws. Green’s campaign knew that.  But Green thought he was above the law, and refused to abide by the ruling.  His campaign also thought they could leap frog the court system and force the Supreme Court to hear their case on Green’s schedule.  Like a newspaper to the nose of a pesky dog, the Court did not allow Green to run the show. 

On September 25, 2006 I posted the following thought.  “It is now time for those Republicans who preach law-and-order to ante up with actions that match their rhetoric.  That means you, Mr. Green.  Covering up your guilt by running to a higher court is like Terri Schiavo’s family chasing after more legal rulings.  In the end both are brain dead ideas.”

On Friday it was finalized with an agreement between Green and the Wisconsin Elections Board.  The former Green Bay Congressman cannot use the funds for any other political race of his own.  He can however give it to other campaigns, or it can be given to charity.  Anyone care to suggest a few charities…..??

The part that galls me is that Green did not acknowledge that he did anything wrong.  The fact that he thought he could bring his Congressional war chest to Wisconsin and use those funds for a statewide race; shunning state law is most remarkable.  When confronted with the reasons why it ran counter to the law he worked to frustrate the political process and thereby taint the election.

After the Elections Board approved the agreement on Friday Green issued a release.  “The decision by the Elections Board last fall has now been exposed as nothing more than a crass manipulation of a governmental agency by Jim Doyle in his desperate effort to hold on to power,” he said.

Say again? 

In case the man who lost the race for Wisconsin Governor has not yet comprehended one of the reasons for his defeat, let me make it clear for him.  From an October 31, 2006 post I wrote the following.  “Why Mark Green would even have considered using this cash for his election, in light of Statehouse corruption such as from his fellow Republican Scott Jensen, still baffles me.”  The fact that Green was so tone deaf to the anger over the Statehouse scandals last year, and then perpetrated a scandal himself during the campaign, is stunning.   So we might turn Green’s words from yesterday around. 

Mark Green’s actions have now been exposed as nothing more than political manipulation by a Republican in his desperate bid to buy an election in Wisconsin.

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John McCain Needs Sex Education!


This is not a Jon Stewart joke.  Sadly, this is one of the leading GOP presidential candidates talking to the press on his bus.  After reading this should I laugh, cry, throw my hands up and do a Nancy Grace move…I just can’t fathom this. This is Sen. John McCain!  From the NYT’s story.

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

Old man McCain is as stupid on HIV matters as the leader of an African nation who also made news this week over the disease. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced he had discovered a cure for the disease that has wreaked havoc across Africa. (HIV)He made that announcement in front of a group of foreign diplomats, telling them the treatment was revealed to him by his ancestors in a dream.

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