Special Election Open Thread

I am off to a memorial service for a friend’s mother so I am posting this early today.

I admit, I have not gotten involved in the Massachusetts race at all. I didn’t make calls or donate any money. In light of the healthcare fiasco and all the uncertainty around that issue, which is dear to my heart, I am afraid I am suffering from a bout of outrage fatigue and need to check out of politics for a while. I actually hung up on the Democratic National Committee today when they called to ask for money. Once again, I told them I would donate to MoveOn.org and to please remove me from their list.

I am just so upset at how little the Democrats have accomplished with super majorities in the house and senate. If the tables were turned, the Republicans would have passed so much (bad) legislation just because they could. We were so focused on bipartisanship and pleasing a small group of so-called moderates that we got nothing done. It’s time to challenge some of these Dems in the primaries and start over with a clean slate of candidates.

Okay, I am getting of my soapbox now and letting you all debate tonight’s senatorial election in Massachusetts amongst yourselves. Here is a Boston Globe article on the record turnout for this special election. The polls close at 8 p.m. ET.

Of course, if you are suffering from outrage fatigue, too, you can discuss other stuff. Enjoy!


Midday Coffee Break

As most of you I’m sure are aware, Senator Ted Kennedy has lost his battle with brain cancer, just a few days after his sister Eunice Shriver passed away. You can click the link to hear President Obama’s tribute to Senator Kennedy. My heart goes out to the Kennedy family.

I thought I would also share this sweet story – only because I thought it was so darn cute and I didn’t want to end this midday coffee break on such a depressing story. Six year old Sam Pointon landed his dream job as “Director of Fun” at the National Railway Museum in York. It just so happens that when little Sam read that the Director of the museum, Andrew Scott, was retiring, he wrote to the museum to apply for the position. When the museum received his letter, they were so “taken with enthusiasm” that they offered him the role of Director of Fun. I am sure they made little Sam Piston’s day!

What else is going on?


Senator Ted Kennedy Collapses at President Obama’s Inaugural Luncheon

According to media reports, Senator Ted Kennedy collapsed at an inauguration lunch honoring President Barack Obama. Senator Kennedy had to be removed on a stretcher for medical attention.

Other media reports said that both Kennedy and Sen. Robert Byrd were taken from the luncheon because of health problems.


Weekend Open Thread

I recently encountered a couple people who were reluctant to vote for the Democrats because of “welfare.” I made sure to point out that Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we know it” in the ’90s and that it is extremely hard to get it and those who do are not living large. I told them that the folks they should be angry with are the ones being supported by Republicans: Corporations and very wealthy individuals receiving tax breaks even when they outsource jobs overseas. (I am sorry, but when did corporate greed become a virtue?)

Anyhow, I came across this statistic in Common Ground magazine:

27.5 Million Number of Americans on food stamps (that’s 1 in 11, and 41 percent are from working families).

I am also reminded of a popular bumper sticker here in Berkeley: “(Paraphrased) 68 percent of poor people have jobs.” Feel free to pass the word to your Republican colleagues!

Sen. Ted Kennedy as Role Model: Someone who is not afraid to back down from the Republicans is Sen. Ted Kennedy, who despite undergoing brain surgery for cancer and chemotherapy, made a brief appearance to cast a critical vote for Medicare legislation. According to the Associated Press, Kennedy’s forceful vote was met with a lot of cheers by spectators in the Senate galleries, which is a violation of decorum.

Update on Aftermath of Chinese Earthquake: The Chinese government continues to crack down on parents who are protesting the deaths of their children after their shoddy school buildings collapsed following a massive earthquake in the region two months ago, according AP. I cannot imagine living this way:

Officials are now using a variety of tactics – threats, money, promises of justice, police muscle – to intimidate, appease or hush up the grieving mothers and fathers who believe that nearly 7,000 classrooms crumbled so easily because corrupt and incompetent officials didn’t build them properly….

“Police from Deyang came to our town and warned us not to gather,” said Pi Kaijian, a 43-year-old farmer who wore pointy Italian-style loafers and polyester pants rolled up past his calves as he endured the afternoon heat in the courtyard of his house.

“The police met with our parent leaders and said if we gathered, it would be a criminal act and we’d be arrested,” said the farmer, whose 11-year-old son died in the school.

Media News: Ladies’ Home Journal editor-in-chief, Diane Salvatore, has resigned from her position, according to media trade publication MinOnline. She will be replaced by Parents editor-in-chief Sally Lee.

I am in upstate New York attending a workshop by Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner of MomsRising. We will be discussing how to organize a “21st century women’s movement.” I look forward to the discussion and will fill you all in.  

Have a good weekend all!


Hump Day Open Thread

I loved Feministing’s response to yet another hideous Linda Hirshman column suggesting that the feminist movement should be about white bourgeois women.

Er, bullshit. First of all, demanding that someone make room for you is not the same as forcing them out of the way. And, if your social change only helps rich hetero (etc.) women, your definition of success needs a lot of work.

Hear, hear hermana!

Sen. Kennedy Recovering From Brain Surgery: Sen. Ted Kennedy is at his home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, recovering from brain surgery, according to the Associated Press. He will start chemotherapy and radiation shortly for a malignant brain tumor.

Kennedy’s son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) said his father planned to draft legislation for universal health care this year and help Sen. Barack Obama pass it if he is elected president this fall.

Celebrity Gossip Break: Actress Jessica Alba had a baby girl, Honor Marie Warren, on Saturday, according to People online…Rumor has it that Jennifer Lopez may write a song for Sen. Obama, according to The Hill online. She was spotted at Obama’s office a week ago, but kept mum as to the purpose of the meeting.  

What else is in the news? What else is on your minds?