Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can we please, finally, forgive Ted Kennedy?

May it be said of our Party in 1980 that we found our faith again.
And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:
"I am a part of all that I have met
To [Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.
For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
Senator Edward Kennedy, August 12, 1980
 ________________________________________________________________________

I woke up this morning to the news I've been dreading for weeks now.  Ted Kennedy, the Good Man of the Senate, has died.  He has been on my mind a lot lately, as we wage this battle for the common good, because what I fear most now is that our progress will suffer badly without his counsel, without his presence.

For more than 40 years he has consistently been on the side of the people without power.  As former senator Bob Kerrey said on "Morning Joe" today, "If you're getting the shaft, you ought to be weeping today because Ted Kennedy was your best friend."

The list of his accomplishments, the bills he worked so tirelessly to get passed, the people whose personal stories tell the tale of a man of high privilege coming to understand his role in the negation of human misery--are a part of our history we will never forget.

But no matter how much we would prefer to concentrate on the triumphs of his life, on the undeniable good he has done for his country, the specter of Chappaquiddick will never stop casting a long shadow over it all.

Already, this early in the morning, it comes up in the remembrances of those who knew him and are now before the cameras talking about his life.  It happened--we know it happened.  The facts are that Mary Jo Kopechne's life ended on July 18, 1969, after  drowning in a river on Chappaquiddick Island.  It was late at night and she was a passenger in a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy.  They were heading toward the ferry to the mainland after a victory party when the car skidded off a bridge and crashed into the water. Kennedy survived, but Mary Jo didn't. She was just days away from her 29th birthday.

There is no question that Ted Kennedy panicked and swam across to the mainland, leaving Mary Jo in that car in that river.  Did he try to save her?  He says he did.  He says he was going for help, but it was hours before anyone found the car with Mary Jo's body inside.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, and there were a lot of us--maybe most of us--who wanted to see him, at the very least, serve time in jail.  His sentence was eventually suspended, a seemingly contemptuous judicial act that stunned us all.  No punishment for running like a coward, allowing a young woman to die?  Why?  Because the rich and famous are exempt from having to pay for their sins?

For years I didn't want to ever hear the name Ted Kennedy again.  For years I heard the stories of his drinking, his carousing, and I wondered how the good people of Massachusetts could go on electing him.

He ran for president against Jimmy Carter and campaigned badly.  Again, we counted him out.  Then he gave his concession speech, his "the dream shall never die" speech, on the night of Jimmy Carter's primary victory.  There were a number of us in the room that night watching the returns, but I can still remember how quiet it was as we listened to the final moments of his speech..  I remember that none of us expected much from him by that time so when he started we were barely listening.  When it ended, we all looked at one another and someone said, "Why in God's name did he have to wait until now to give that speech?"

I've heard people say that he campaigned badly because, after Chappaquiddick, he felt deep down that he didn't deserve the presidency.  I can't begin to look into Ted Kennedy's soul at the time, but after that defeat he was a different man.  He went to work to fight for the causes his liberal heart told him were the most important, and he never looked back.
 
Already I'm seeing the hatred toward the Liberal Lion, the greatest senator of our times, bombarding the boards.  I won't repeat them here because I choose to celebrate Ted Kennedy's life.  It's a life that is ultimately deserving of praise.  Many of the people who are without a doubt going to go on the Hate Kennedy rampage today will laugh at the idea of a plea for forgiveness,  so I'll say this in words that most of them can understand:


Luke 17:3 - Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.


To forgive is not to forget.  I'm not alone in wondering where Mary Jo's life would have taken her.  From all accounts, she was good, decent, smart, loving.  She was on Robert Kennedy's staff, even helping to write a speech he gave against the Vietnam War.  Who knows what kind of career she would have chosen?  Where she would be today?

I've always wondered if it's possible that Ted Kennedy chose to give his life over to helping people who couldn't help themselves because the one time he might have actually saved a life, he failed.

It was the greatest act of repentance any of one of us has ever seen, and if I weep for Ted Kennedy today, it is not for all the things that might have been, it is for all the things that were and now will be no more.

Ramona


(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Calling All Dems: Time for an Intervention

Here's the least surprising news of the week: Americans are souring on the Democratic Party. The wonder is that it's taken so long for public opinion to curdle. There's nothing agreeable about watching a determined attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

It is an axiom of American politics that the Democratic Party will negotiate from a position of weakness and the Republican Party will proceed from strength. The number of seats they hold in Congress is irrelevant to this paradigm. The Republicans could be down to five senators and they would still charge into battle. And the Democrats would, from the outset, assume that the Republicans are right (and mainstream) and that since their own position is too extreme they must concede as soon as possible to remain politically viable. There is no Republican talking point that won't scare the bejesus out of the Democratic Party. - Cenk Uygur, Huffington Post

_________________________________________________________

The above-quoted pieces aren't necessarily eye-openers. They're not saying anything we haven't all been talking about for months now. They're just saying it better. In fact, dazzlingly better. In fact, they're making so much sense I'm getting ready for the final smackdown. I've been patient long enough.

This year marks my 50th Anniversary as a card carrying Democrat. Long enough so that they're almost like family to me, and as families go, we've had our ups and downs. But it's clear to me, finally, that I've been far more loyal to them than they've been to me.

All I've ever asked of them is that they do the right thing. It doesn't take a decade's worth of committee meetings and forests full of red-taped paper to come up with a way to do the right thing. We need living-wage jobs. We need affordable health care. We need clean air, clean water and a leaning toward green. We need protection from the callous, the cruel, and the crazies. It's not too much to ask of the Party of the People. (Think Ted Kennedy, Paul Wellstone, Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers, Anthony Weiner, Russ Feingold. . .)

Still, I'm a charitable person. I'm willing to give them another chance. But I'm gonna need some help. So all of those interested in going the intervention route to save the Democratic Party leaders from themselves, holler "Aye"!

AYE!

Aye?

Waiting. . . .

Counting the minutes. . .

Gettin' hungry here. And lonely. . .

C'mon people. Remember how they used to be? Remember this?

"Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one!
- Matt Santos, The West Wing

And this?

Democrats have changed America in simple basic ways in the past fifty years that have benefited everyone. Race has become less and less an issue in people's lives and racism has ceased to be socially acceptable anywhere.
Women have moved into every realm of society and this is everywhere accepted without much comment, Equal opportunity in education, employment, housing. There is general agreement on the right to a dignified old age, guaranteed by the state. Democrats led the way in bringing these things about. It's one thing to get into power and do favors for your friends; it's quite another to touch the conscience of a nation. The last Republican to do that was Teddy Roosevelt.
and:
The fear of catastrophe could chill the soul but the social compact assures you that if the wasps come after you, if gruesome disease strikes down your child, if you find yourself hopelessly lost, incapable, drowning in despair, running through the rye toward the cliff, then the rest of us will catch you and tend to you and not only your friends but We the People in the form of public servants.
- Garrison Keillor, "Homegrown Democrat" 2004

And especially this:

The economic plank of this platform on its face concerns only material things, but it is also a moral issue that I raise tonight. It has taken many forms over many years. In this campaign and in this country that we seek to lead, the challenge in 1980 is to give our voice and our vote for these fundamental democratic principles.

Let us pledge that we will never misuse unemployment, high interest rates, and human misery as false weapons against inflation.

Let us pledge that employment will be the first priority of our economic policy.

Let us pledge that there will be security for all those who are now at work, and let us pledge that there will be jobs for all who are out of work; and we will not compromise on the issues of jobs.

These are not simplistic pledges. Simply put, they are the heart of our tradition, and they have been the soul of our Party across the generations. It is the glory and the greatness of our tradition to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfill the aspirations of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land.

We dare not forsake that tradition. We cannot let the great purposes of the Democratic Party become the bygone passages of history.

- Ted Kennedy, 1980 Democratic Convention,


We don't need a new party. We already have one of the historically great ones. This may cause some heads to snap, but we were the greatest when we were the most liberal. We lost whatever moral standing we had when we shut the door on being our brother's keeper and got in bed instead with the powermongers who would just as soon screw us as look at us.

That is not who we are. I remember a certain charismatic but maddeningly flawed presidential candidate saying over and over, "We're better than that". And for a while it looked like he was right. After eight years of cowardice that smelled a lot like treachery, we were on the way to Doing the Right Thing.

The candidate who became president
sounded like an old Democrat, too, and we screamed with joy when the votes were in and our man won. Politics As Usual went out the window, and--surprise!--flew right back in again.

After more than eight years of cowardice/treachery, they owe us. Millions of us are hurting because of their actions, or inaction. They have a lot of making up to do, a lot of promises to keep, yet to watch them these days you would think that winning elections was all there was to it.

Wrong.

You have a job to do, you masters of the universe, you servants of the people. We made you--we can break you. So listen up:

We need cheap equitable health care without the usual looting by the insurance pirates. Take care of it.

We need a jobs program like the WPA/CCC. Take care of it.

We need to send a Dear John letter to Republican Fat-Cat-enabling naysayers. Take care of it.

We need to get back to making products instead of creating serfs. Take care of it.

And you need to stop pretending that Business As Usual is going to save us. It's not.

And another thing: The majority of us don't run with the Blue Dogs. The Blue Dogs are dogs. Let them eat scraps.

Time's up. You're dismissed. Now get to work.

Ramona

(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Morality and the Reality of Public Health Care - Ed Schultz Hits it Out of the Park

Historically, all the great social movements that have been successful have had the faith community at the heart of it.

Right now fear is controlling this debate, and we have to start talking about truth-telling and what is the moral core? We can't lose the moral core, which is people. Our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones are hurting. The broken system has to be fixed. And the faith community is not going to settle for anything less than full accessible health care coverage for all of God's children

The Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners
____________________________

Tonight on "The Ed Show", Ed Schultz talked with the Rev. Jim Wallis about the President's unprecedented conference call to thousands of religious leaders asking for their input on the government's role in health care. Rev. Wallis, president of Sojourners, Christians for Justice and Peace, talked passionately about the role the church must play in this all-important debate. (Their website was down soon after the Ed Show. I got on once and then didn't hang onto the link so I've been trying again for over an hour and can't get on.)



What struck me about this entire event--these thousands of religious leaders conferring with the president about how best to use their community to do good works--is how little we've heard from these people, as opposed to those leaders on the Religious Right who use their names and their clout to fight any attempt to reign in insurance company profits and use taxpayer funds to give aid to the many millions of Americans who suffer because of non-existent or inadequate health, or worse--because the Insurers have had the freedom to play God with their lives.

How is it that we've rewarded those hateful charlatans with fame and fortune while effectively shunning those who actually minister to real people with real problems? Maybe now that change is in the air, now that unprecedented numbers of our citizens need an unprecedented amount of help, we'll look to the real churches for real help.

But from the sublime to the ridiculous:

Later Ed talked to former Republican congressman Ernest Istook, now with the Heritage Foundation and tried to get him to describe the Republican plan for Health Care. The upshot, after many uncomfortable moments, is that either there isn't a plan or Istook has taken an oath of silence. Whichever, the spokesman wasn't talking.




Later still, Ed talked to Dr. Howard Dean--good stuff, and I might have opted to concentrate on that part here, but Ed saved the best for last. His "discussion" with Jonathan "Liberals are driving themselves over the cliff" Alter looked a whole lot like a barroom brawl. Now THAT was fun! Watch Dean first, and then the Alter altercation:




That was one heck of an hour. Ed Schultz, my new hero of the week.

Ramona

(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cal Thomas, Humanitarian: An Oxymoron if Ever There Was One

The secular left claims we are evolutionary accidents who managed to crawl out of the slime and by “natural selection” stand erect and over millions of years outsmart our ancestors, the apes. If that is your belief, then you probably think health care should be rationed. Why spend lots of money to improve — or save — the life of someone who evolved from slime and has no special significance other than the “accident” of becoming human? Policies flow from such a philosophy, though the average secularist probably wouldn’t put it in such stark terms. Stark, or not, isn’t this the inevitable progression of seeing humanity as maybe complex, but nothing special?
- Cal Thomas, "What Lies Beneath the Health Care Debate"

___________________________________


If there is a line to be drawn between religion and government, you can count on Cal Thomas, believe-you-me-in-residence, to be there providing the crayon. Sometimes he has to reach far distances in order to make the connection, but by diatribe's end he's thumping his chest, feeling mighty satisfied as he puts down the crayon and harumphs his final harumph.

For that reason, I usually bypass his 800 words, ubiquitous as they are in every big and little newspaper across our fair land. But last Tuesday I was up in the northernmost north woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula without a computer or a cell phone signal, and the Great Northern mid-day sun was busy melting everything in sight. In the shaded, slightly-cooler cabin, the Daily Mining Gazette happened to be open to the Op-Ed page, and there he was--that evil, mustachioed grin; that high and mighty forehead; those lidded, serpentine eyes; the buttoned-up collar. He was claiming to know what lies beneath the health care debate.

Oh, my God. I couldn't resist.

To say that I don't always understand Cal Thomas is to say a mouthful, so when I read the paragraphs below I actually thought we were on the same wavelength:

The debate — OK, the shouting match — we are having over “health care reform” is about many things, including cost, who gets help and who does not and who, or what, gets to make that determination. Underlying it all is a larger question: Is human life something special? Is it to be valued more highly than, say, plants and pets? When someone is in a “persistent vegetative state” do we mean to say that person is equal in value to a carrot?

Are we now assigning worth to human life, or does it arrive with its own pre-determined value, irrespective of race, class, IQ, or disability?

The bottom line is not the bottom line. It is something far more profound. Our decisions regarding who will get help and who won’t are more than about bean-counting bureaucrats deciding if your drugs or operation will cost more than you are contributing to the U.S. Treasury.

I saw those words, "bean-counting bureaucrats" and I thought he was talking about those people we don't like--the rascals from the last administration who started this whole fiasco. Turns out he was talking about my government--and, lawsy. . .about ME! (Ed. Note: See highlighted quote under title)

I've been called the "Secular Left" before, though I've never really taken it as an insult. On the same morning that I happened to read Cal Thomas's column I also read another chapter of Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World". I'm reasonably sure that Cal Thomas was not a fan of Carl Sagan, so the contrast between the two points of view on the same day was more than just interesting--it was downright compelling. (Secular Left might have been Sagan's strong point.)

This connection Cal makes between the belief in so-called "evolutionary accidents" and a total disregard for human life is--can I say?--nutty. Where is the evidence that those who don't believe as Thomas does can't possibly understand that humans are special?

Of course we're special. We're so special, in fact, that a whole lot of us lefty heathens work doubly hard to ensure a quality of life for all. A far cry from what Thomas and his kind have been advocating. They're in the business of picking and choosing--who lives and who dies?--and a cynical business it is. They've chosen--proudly chosen--obscene, royal profits over needless suffering of the masses.

There is no anger in their hearts for the providers who spend millions of dollars and man-hours trying to figure out ways of maximizing profits at the expense of their clients.

They hold no grudges towards the Medicare and Medicaid cheaters who operate on such a large scale their profits are in the Billions and Billions. (Oops--another Carl Sagan title. A good read, too, by the way.)

Where was Cal Thomas and his bunch when the Bushies were giving health care providers free reign to charge whatever they wanted and to consistently deny humane aid to their paying, special, human customers?

Where is Thomas, even now, when millions of those special humans are jobless and homeless and without health care or even decent meals for themselves and their families?

Have you heard any shouting from Cal Thomas now that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is waging an all-out battle against the government (that's us) to maintain their rapacious strongholds? Those same destructive strongholds that have brought us to our very knees?

Much to ponder in his ponderous piece, what with references to people evolving from slime, and 100-year-olds with inoperable brain tumors, and "Bruce Almighty", but can you scratch your head and laugh out loud at the same time? Okay. How about this?

We are now witnessing some of the consequences of attempting to ban people with a God perspective from the public square. If there are no rules and no one to whom one might appeal when those rules are violated, we are on our own to set whatever rules we wish and to change them in a moment in response to opinion polls. Any appeals to a higher authority stop at the Supreme Court.

The GOD PERSPECTIVE?? The public square? And this has WHAT to do with What Lies Beneath the Health Care debate??

So, I know I'm dense when it comes to Cal and his super-Califragilisms, but is he saying we have no business fighting health care Big Business because we're not religious enough?

And is he saying that if we were religious enough, we would STOP fighting them?

I don't know. I'm so confused. But it seems to me if you were Cal Thomas and you saw humanity as something special, brought to you by the God of your choice, you would be working overtime to keep them well and away from the clutches of the so-called health care providers who have proven to be anything but special. And you might even want to cut yourself off, mid-harumph, to put that word "slime" in its proper place.

Ramona

(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Helen Thomas. Oh, and You, Too, MR. Prez

We in the press have a special role since there is no other institution in our society that can hold the President accountable. I do believe that our democracy can endure and prevail only if the American people are informed. - Helen Thomas
________________________________________________

I'm a day late with this, I know, but the well-wishing is just as genuine as it would have been yesterday. I caught the clip of President Obama presenting Helen Thomas with a plate full of cupcakes on their mutual birthday. Helen was 89 years old yesterday; Barack Obama turned 48. I thought it was a lovely gesture--so completely unlike anything the previous president would have done, but true to what every president before the last might have done if he had thought of it.




Except for a dry spell during the Bush years, when she was unceremoniously expelled from the front row of the White House press room in a not-so-subtle attempt to shut up the pushy broad when GWB was in the room, Helen has had the ear of every president since John F. Kennedy in 1961. (She claims that she was forced to give up the front row because she no longer worked for the wire services, but what law says the President or his press secretary couldn't have asked her to stay right there, where she had been for over four decades?)

During Kennedy's presidency she had the honor of starting each press conference with the first question and then ending the questioning with, "Thank you, Mr. President". I've watched a lot of press conferences since JFK was president and Helen, except for those three years, presided over every one. She became a fixture in that room, and while I don't doubt for a minute that she also seemed the interminable crotchety old woman to many of the young, wet-behind-the-ears reporters there, we, the public, were comforted by that continuity. (Or at least I, the public.) Her bulldog tenacity, her refusal to stop asking tough follow-up questions, were exactly what was needed during the Bush years.

Helen grew up in Detroit and attended Wayne State University, so, even though I grew up in and around Detroit but didn't attend WSU and didn't become a journalist and didn't quite grow up in her generation, I've always felt a kinship with her.

There's something about her that says "Tough REAL reporter who just happens to be a woman". I loved watching her rise up from her signature slouch, take a deep breath, and hammer away with a question that absolutely required an answer.

I loved watching, one by one, all of those powerful Leaders of the Western World trying to suppress a sigh, wishing they could make light of this little woman's questions, but having the decency to honor the long-held Helen Thomas protocol by answering thoughtfully-- like grown-ups.

Then George W. Bush took over the White House. Helen was moved to the rear of the bus, and my heart sank. To humiliate a venerable old reporter known for decades for her ethics and her integrity was bad enough, but after it happened, the entire White House Press Corps pretended it was business as usual. Not a single voice was raised in protest. No stampedes out the doors until Helen was plopped back into her proper place. Not a peep from the mainstream media about the indignity of it all.

The first sign of trouble in a democratic land--the press becomes willing sheep. The White House had the power and the audacity to silence Helen Thomas, and the press, her colleagues, not willing to give up the best seats in the house, went along. I've never trusted any of them since.

In March of 2006, after a long three-year silence, Helen finally got to ask George W. Bush a question.




This is a portion of the White House transcript as provided by Media Matters, along with a video of Bill O'Reilly, Tucker Carlson and assorted Right Wingers commenting back then on yesterday's lovable Birthday Gal.

O'Reilly: "I would have laid into that woman, and I don't care how old she is. I would have laid her out, saying, 'How dare you?'"

Tucker Carlson called her the "reporter turned propagandist Helen Thomas", saying "Whatever you think of her questionable skills as a journalist, she isn't shy."

On that same program, Carlson introduced the "Five Best Helen Thomas Bloviating in the Briefing Room moments",

Imus's take: "The old bag should shut up and get out. I'm sick of her."

This is Helen Thomas in 2006 grilling Scott McClellan on illegal wiretapping.

This is Helen being mean to Dana Perino over citizen casualties in Iraq

This is Helen being Helen on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" in 2006, before she was banished.

And this is Christiane Amanpour, the journalist's journalist, explaining to the veteran news reader why there's no need to worry about Helen going all goofy over Obama bringing her cupcakes. (Listen carefully to the way each of these women reacts to this story. Which of them do you trust to get the news right? If you answered "Christiane", I don't need to go on telling you why the Helen Thomases of the world are so vital and so cherished. If you didn't--well, okay. Goodbye.)



Happy Birthday, Helen.

Happy Birthday, President Obama.

May your lights always shine upon us.

Ramona

(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Words on Bill Moyers' Lips - I'm Speechless

I missed Bill Moyers Journal on Friday night, and I was away from home all day yesterday until about 8 PM, so I had no idea that the end paragraph of my lowly blog about Moyers' interview with Wendell Potter made it onto the top of his show. (The clip shows my blog at Talking Points Memo but the content is the same as the original post here.)



Rowan Wolf over at Talking Points Memo Cafe saw it, blogged about it and put it on YouTube. To say I'm pretty stunned by this is a total understatement, and normally I don't like to toot my own horn, but this may be my 15 seconds of fame, so you'll have to forgive me for this, please.

I really want to talk about how blogs and bloggers have come out of the shadows and onto the battlefield. It's becoming a powerful vehicle for change, but with that comes the same kind of responsibility that journalists advocate but don't always follow. There are thousands of political bloggers out there now, and picking and choosing is a daunting, time-consuming occupation. Our political views are often going to be different, but the one thing we should be able to agree on is that we've come to this new vehicle for change with the understanding that we have an obligation to tell the truth as we see it and understand it. We'll make mistakes--plenty of them. Most of us are not professionals, after all, and our passion is bound to get in the way of clear thinking and good judgment some of the time. But our voices are out there; we're growing stronger, and I believe this country will be the better for it.

I came late to blogging. I just didn't get it. So much of what I saw was superficial, shallow navel-gazing--a kind of helter-skelter motor-mouth. Every thought, worthy or not, was transported onto a personal page for everyone to read--even those just merely, superficially interested.

I think it was the blogs on The Daily Kos that first convinced me it could be used to pull whole communities of people with common interests together so that one voice became many, and many voices could ultimately gain the power to change things.

I started my own blog here on January 20, the day of Barack Obama's inauguration. I remember hesitating for a long time before I hit the "Publish Post" button. It seemed like such a conceited, ego-driven kind of thing to do, but after the past eight years, and after the heady jubilance of the Obama victory, the passion to do something was overwhelming.

All I can do, really, is write. I'm not good at organizing or speechifying or getting on the telephone to try and convince anybody of anything. Writing is re-writing, and since I never get my thoughts straight the first time, it's the perfect vehicle for me. But I wanted my blog to include more than just my voice. I wanted it to be an open outlet for the blogs, articles, columns and videos so many of us were sending to one another by email almost every day. I've created links to many of them, but there are so many good writers out there who have a voice and are working hard to get themselves heard. It's becoming a real movement now, and outlets like Talking Points Memo are right at the forefront.

Somewhere along the way, Iwas lucky enough to find Talking Points Memo and the TPM Cafe. A whole new world! Intimidating at first because, man, are they smart! But I started a blog there and they welcomed me with a generosity that actually kind of floored me. My comment section here on this blog remains forelorn and lonely, but at TPM the comments sections are lively and boisterous -- full of good talk and good information. You can always count on the commenters to make you get it right. That's the terrifying beauty of political blogging--we're all opinionators and we make our opinions known!

But this one blog about Moyers and Potter must have struck a tiny nerve. My Blogspot blog had 162 hits that day and the next, and it received 656 Diggs--all because it was posted on TPM.

We have the power to make change. On my last post, I was wallowing in Faithlessness, but today I'm energized. And all because Bill Moyers spoke my words for a few seconds on his show. Okay, I'm ready to get back to work. Health care, labor, education, voter fraud, congressional shenanigans, shameless fat cats--bring 'em on.

What can I say? I'm easy.

Ramona