Friday, March 23, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere


So, despite earlier reports, Edwards will not suspend his campaign. Good for him. The diagnosis is not as dire as it seemed only a little time ago, it seems. And if anyone did not know of Elizabeth Edwards' extraordinary character before, they do now. What I saw in this press conference was the reality of family values - not the rhetoric, not the divisiveness, not the politics, just the reality of an actual family dealing with real issues. We all face such issues. Cancer survivors and their families know it all too well. So do those of us who live with HIV, diabetes, Parkinsons and many other diseases that patients can now live with, rather than die from. In this, John Edwards is doing a public service. He was admirably candid about his wife's cancer being treatable, if not curable. That paradigm is increasingly common - and it's affirming to see someone in public life live through it so positively, so admirably and so passionately. She shouldn't give in to it. One key to surviving serious illness is to live positively and candidly while you treat it. With HIV, I learned to repeat to myself a triad that was essential to surviving any serious medical condition: Own it, face it, beat it. That's what the Edwardses did today, and they will help a lot of people through their example.

The campaign should go on, as life goes on. The cancer should neither help nor hurt it. But I will say this: Elizabeth Edwards is a truly remarkable human being. And her marriage is an inspiration.


As an American Jew, I've long felt fundamentally alienated by the apparently hawkish majority. What I'm finding is that the hawkish majority is no majority at all, but a loud, bullying minority. That the majority position -- negotiations, peaceful foreign policy, etc -- has been painted as borderline heterodox is upsetting, and it's time more attention was paid to widening the perceptions of Jewish public opinion in order to match the reality.

The current House Democratic angst over Iraq seems to have been scripted by Aaron Sorkin. One can almost hear his zippy dialogue, straight out of West Wing, transported this time to Capitol Hill, where the Democratic lawmakers no doubt would be speed-walking down the cavernous corridors, all the while debating in Tracy-Hepburn fashion the tradeoffs of purity versus pragmatism, ends versus means, ideals versus compromise.

But it would appear that the House Democrats are not in the mood for cheeky wit, given the fact that they have already spent most of this week acting the way Democrats tend to act when forced to make a national security decision. They have been speaking with a multiplicity of voices about Iraq ever since President Bush launched his fact-challenged push for war nearly five years ago, and they’re still doing it today – even as they are preparing for their first substantive war vote since taking control of Congress.

Unable to get even 50 votes to pass its anti-Iraq war bill through the Democratically-controlled Senate, the Democratically-controlled House has been holding a fires ale of pork. (Mmmmm, roast pork.) Whether you are pro- or con- on the bill itself, this should rankle.

-- VON

If people in New Orleans and environs are feeling depressed at the pace of reconstruction they should take heart from Iraq. Unlike New Orleans, Iraq has not dropped off George Bush’s radar screen and nonetheless things continue to go badly on the reconstruction front.

According to the most recent quarterly report by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, there is precious little to show for the $21 billion Congress put into the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction fund created in 2003. Eighty percent of the money has been paid out. Seventy five million has been spent to rebuild the pipelines crossing the Tigris River at the Fatah pipeline crossing and not one pipeline has made it across. Parsons Corporation was paid $243 million for construction of 150 medical clinics. It completed 20 of the clinics. It received $72 million for construction of a police college in Baghdad that had to be closed because of sewage leaking from the ceiling.

. . . What’s striking in reading through the Justice Department e-mail messages is that senior people in that agency seem never to have thought about the proper role of politics in their decision-making. They reacted like chickens with their heads cut off when this scandal broke because they could not articulate the differences between a proper political firing and an improper one.

Moreover, they had no coherent sense of honor. Alberto Gonzales apparently never communicated a code of conduct to guide them as they wrestled with various political pressures. That’s a grievous failure of leadership.


By all means let us work diligently toward a society where greenhouse emissions are limited as much as possible. Let’s get the nuclear power industry up and running full bore. Let’s fully fund research into hydrogen alternatives to the internal combustion engine. Where possible, let’s encourage solar, wind, geo-thermal, and other alternative forms of energy (fat lot of good it will do since the savings in emissions would be minimal in the United States). And let’s start a massive educational campaign to inform the public of what each American can be doing to limit their “carbon signature” on the planet.

But at the same time, let’s tell Al Gore and his hysterical friends to put a sock in it. Their moralizing and politicizing the issue not to mention their filthy smears of not only skeptics but anyone who doesn’t buy in to their end of the world scenarios (some of them contradictory) is making the rest of us sick to our stomachs. Dismissing skeptics as shills for the oil and gas industry is outrageous demagoguery and indicates that, like religious zealots, it is impossible to challenge their beliefs in a rational, reasonable manner.


[Chris] Matthews grilled [Tom] DeLay about passages in his book where he apparently ripped into fellow corrupt Texan Dick Armey, eventually asking the Hammer about describing Armey as “drunk with ambition.” DeLay denied writing that. "I wrote that he was ‘blinded by his ambition." Matthews starts flipping though the book and finds the "drunk with ambition" quote and reads it to Bug Man. And DeLay keeps denying it. Finally, Chris hands the book to Tom and tells him to read it himself. DeLay looks down, pauses, and says "I don’t have my glasses." What a clown. That’s beyond lying. It’s delusional.

The Emmy-winning sitcom “Maude” would never even make it onto broadcast TV now. Its bold storylines about race, abortion, feminism and drugs would have the typical 2007 network executive balled up in a corner, cradling old “Touched by an Angel” tapes.

Photograph by Jason Tucker for The New York Times

No comments: