Thursday, April 14, 2005

John Edwards Visits Harvard

John Edwards Visits Harvard

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina speaks on “Restoring the American Dream” at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum yesterday.
photo credit: Matthew Conroy/Harvard Crimson

"Look at poverty with open eyes...knowing we can end it." - JR Edwards

John Edwards visited Harvard's Institute of Politics to speak about his work on poverty on April 13th. Click here to view video (Realplayer) of the event. It's about an hour and five minutes long.

Edwards began with a joke:

"I'll bet none of you knew I was the son of a mill worker, did you?
I knew that was news to every single one of you

He said that ending poverty is the biggest issue facing the country. He pointed out the fact that 36 million people live in poverty in America today, and that the content of our country's character is at stake in following necessary steps to alleviate poverty. According to Foster's Online, 'Edwards talked about a couple from North Carolina who started an institution that loans money to the poor to start their own businesses, which he called “the perfect example of what you can do if you have the heart and the backbone to do it.” They started in 1985 with $77 they raised in a bake sale, he said, and have provided $3.9 billion in financing to people living on the margins of society while also destroying the stereotype that lending to the poor is risky.'

Harvard Crimson staff writer Javier C. Hernandez has an interview with former Senator and VP candidate Edwards which appears in today's news. Edwards stressed, while he believes it's important to promote freedom around the world, that it’s also important to make sure that our American democracy is working the way it’s supposed to work. He believes that America would be headed in a different direction, had he (and Kerry) been elected last year. He stressed that the gap between people who are doing well in this country and people who are struggling gets wider and wider. He said, "The income gap, the asset gap continue to get worse under this president. It’s not an accident—it’s the direct result of the policies [the Bush administration] is pursuing. We would have fought with everything we had for an America where your family, where you live, the color of your skin has no influence on your opportunity. That’s the America we believe in. "

The Crimson's Hernandez has also written an article discussing how Edwards outlined his proposals for fighting poverty.

For more commentary, see Stirling Newberry's diary at Daily Kos.

Many people here will remember his stance on the war first, and not kindly. It can be safely said that I also differ with Senator Edwards' vote on Iraq - but let us not let differences become divides, because it is clear that Senator Edwards genuinely has committed himself to ending poverty, and not merely physical poverty, but moral and spiritual poverty, poverty of hope, poverty of generosity, poverty of participation, in America.--Stirling Newberry


Thanks to Saheli, I've learned that John Edwards was a guest blogger at Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo today. It takes a man of political courage and conviction to admit he has learned to see things in a different light:
"Like a lot of Democrats, I voted for a bankruptcy reform bill before. I can't say it more simply than this: I was wrong."


Michael Phillips says: "John Edwards is so hot right now. Yesterday he gave a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School, today he gave a speech at New School University's Social Research Conference on Fairness. And then he blogged, not on his One America Committee blog but on Josh Marshall's bankruptcy bill special." Michael linked to the text of Edwards' New School fairness speech.

April 14, 1865

April 14, 1865
April 14, 1865: Lincoln fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending play at Ford's Theater, Washington, D.C.

A southern sympathizer loyal to Virginia, Booth was a twenty-six-year-old struggling actor at the time of the assassination. Shortly thereafter, after escaping to Maryland and then Virginia, he was apprehended and shot to death during a struggle with federal agents in a barn in rural Virginia.


A 19th-Century poster

"He dreamed at night of his death by the hand
Of a bitter world and a faceless man

And he saw his body in a ghastly dream
Draped in black while his widow screamed

Two silver dollars on his eyelids lay
"Abraham Lincoln has died today."

- From the song "John Wilkes Booth" by Mary Chapin Carpenter


"About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible.

I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise.

Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.'

Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."

-- President Abraham Lincoln

Thursday News

Thursday News is now charging each Meet-Up group organizer a $19 service fee. The fee is per group, not per person. Organizers pay the group fee to and may ask their members to chip in. It's up to each organizer. MeetUp says they'll ship (mail, not email) materials to organizers, customized for their group, to help them attract more members. Groups will also receive new tools to pool their money to make better Meetups. I haven't heard many positive comments about this so far.

Harvard students belonging to a group called the Harvard Social Forum (HSF) are finding that they are not being allowed to protest against government recruiters (CIA and DHS) on-campus.

At Daily Kos, diarist Anonymoses announces that the morning radio show Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins (WFAE-FM) will do a show on Blogging, Podcasting & "Social Media" tomorrow, April 15th, at 9 am. It doesn't say who the "two young" guests will be. I suppose we'll have to tune in to find out. They ask you to join them by calling 704-926-WFAE (9323) or 1-800-603-WFAE (9323) or email

Surfette has anounced that the first BlogHercon is set for July 30th in Santa Clara, CA. Deciding that he'd enter the territory where the Bloghercon organizers dare not go, ("No-Man's Land", pun intended ) Nick Lewis provides related commentary at American Street.
Nick suggests:

Most of the female bloggers that I know will never become a-list bloggers for the following reasons:

a) They already have jobs that pay a lot better than even the most succesful full time blogging gig.

b) Have a tendency not to compromise their integrity and morality for the sake of appealing to a mass audience.

c) Recognize that in a many-to-many medium, a high quality audience is much more rewarding, both intellectually, and emotionally, than a large mediocre one (if you don’t believe me just read the comment threads at Wizbang).
Personally, I think Nick has hit the nail on its head. I don't aspire to be a testosterone and ego-fueled Powerline or to tackle the next big scoop which could make me CNN's Queen of the Bloggers. My own ego doesn't require it. On the average, I get about 140 readers a day. I enjoy connecting with a like-minded community. It brings me satisfaction to know I'm part of a team, regardless of size or popularity, of people who wish to bring about a healthier democracy and social justice; of people who wish to see a more united Democratic party; who share my values, hopes, and dreams for America and the world.

Welcome Alice (CultUre Peace) to the blogoshere.