Monday, August 22, 2005

John Edwards: Podcast #4

John Edwards - The Fourth Podcast

Cate Edwards is the special guest on John Edwards' fourth podcast. Edwards was in NYC for the podcast, along with his daughter Cate Edwards. He began with some updates on last month's progress:

Cate Edwards
This month's special guest

- Elizabeth and the children have moved back to North Carolina. Elizabeth is there with Jack and Emma Claire, and they're having a great summer together.

- Sen Edwards was in Chicago, speaking at a Rainbow Push meeting; he was speaking about Poverty, which he says is his life's cause, and about the need for the Democratic party to stand strong for their core beliefs.

- He was in New Hampshire raising money for Democratic candidates and had a Poverty meeting.

- He had a Poverty meeting in NYC on the day of this podcast.

- He's been very busy, in a good way, raising money for a State senator in New York and other state candidates.

Cate Edwards took the microphone to send a message about the organization she helped to start, which is called Generation Engage. It is a youth voter initiative of a different kind. The group would like to promote an increase voter turnout for youths aged 18-24 through community infrastructure - built from the ground-up. They are targeting 19-29 year olds - especially non-college youth (one half of those in the 18-29 age bracket are not attending college). This age group is harder to reach because they are not in typical college atmosphere. Generation Engage will be a sustained effort, even when it's not a campaign season. It's going well so far. Cate invites anyone interested to go to the Generation Engage website for more information.

Benjamin from Michigan asked Cate for the best piece of advice her parents have ever given her. Cate replied that she's had a lot of great advice, all different kinds, but the best is probably to never look down on anybody. A belief in equality is the best advice that Cate believes anyone could give.

Jasmine from Nashville asked about Sen Edwards' work on the minimum wage - how does she get involved? Sen Edwards replied that he's working to raise the minimum wage (now at an embarrassing $5.15 per hour) in Pheonix, AZ; Albequerque, NM; Lansing, MI; and Cleveland and Columbus, OH. In the next several months, Edwards will be concentrating on working with coalitions in various cities (including ACORN) to promote the program and get wage increases on the ballot and into law, along with an expansion of the Earned income tax credit.

Lane, a Cincinatti resident and a student at the University of Ohio, was extremely discouraged with the 2004 election in his state, after all the change he and his fellow activists had tried to effect. Some of the many problems were: long lines, poorly trained election offiicials, absentee ballot problems, race-related issues, and difficulties with registration and polling locations. Sen Edwards commented that a recent DNC report, which was a very thorough study, showed that, 40 years after the Voting Rights Act, we still have enormous work to do to in order to ensure equal access and to ensure that your vote is fairly counted. Sen Edwards believes that Republicans will likely ignore the result as they have in the past, and that the RNC will continue to do as little as possible, saying they'll register voters and make sure no voter fraud occurs - and we know what that means - it means that they'll engage in the same questionable tactics in which they've engaged in the past. There have been far too many obstacles to fair voting. Sen Edwards believes that there is no excuse for all these questions that need to be raised about the fairness of our voting system - the leading democracy on the planet should have the best election system in the world. It's absolutely ridiculous to have to wait 6 hours to vote and to have questions about your ability to vote once you get there. Much needs to be done. It's especially important that partisans are not in control of the election process. Knowing that Kenneth Blackwell was in charge of the Ohio election process and was, at the same time, the head of Bush's Ohio campaign was INSANE. It could not have possibly been seen as impartial. This system must be fixed. Bush talks about promoting democracy overseas, but for all the talking, we know he he has a heck of a lot of work to do about democracy right here at home. Democrats must lead the way - or no one will do it.

The next question is from Sharon - the country is clearly divided, the Supreme Court. If you were advising President Bush, what would you tell him to do? Tongue-in-cheek, Edwards procalimed that Bush is not likely to ask him for any advice anytime soon, but he offered some ideas for what he thinks Bush should do:
- Consensus is important - before nomination. Bush needs to consult with members of the Democratic party. It could avoid a fight. If he nominates someone out of the mainstream, the Democrats must be prepared for a fight - backbone and guts will be absolutely necessary.
- Nominating a Supreme Court justice who is out of the mainstream will effect everything that happens sunsequently. Look back on what has already occurred: we saw the results of Bush v Gore in 2000, where the US Supreme Court decided who president would be. We see what an impact a Supreme Court can have. Every justice has a huge impact on the fate of our nation. This will be a fight well worth having - if Bush refuses to do what is right. While serving in the Senate, Sen Edwards opposed a judicial nominee named Terry Boyle from North Carolina because he felt that Boyle didn't belong on the court. Later, Allison Duncan's name came of for Fourth Circuit nomination, there was consensus, Edwards felt she was a very capable Repulcan from North Carolina was a good, solid African-American justice sailed through the process.

*SEE FINDING A JUSTICE WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT by John Edwards [Raleigh News & Observer]

Ali from Pennsylvania asked Cate, since she's been working for Vanity Fair in NYC, if she'd heard anything about the Mark Felt story. (aka 'Deep Throat') Cate is an assistant to one the the editors (who edits Christopher Hitchens, James Wolcott, Amy Fine Collins). She loves the job and is very happy. She has three rommates, one she's known since she was a 6-year-old in Raleigh. North Carolina; and two friends from Princeton. She had no inside scoop on Mark Felt. The first she heard about it was in an e-mail from Mom (elizabeth), who had found the story while "scouring the internet." (In the background, John commented that Elizabeth is great at keeping on top of what's going on. He said, "Nothing gets by Mom!" He also mentioned that this podcast seemed a bit strange, since they were not podcasting into a microphone set up on Jack's blanket this time. ;)

Wilma from Phoenix had a question about Social Security. She asked "what do you think of the Republicans' new Social Security plan?" Sen Edwards replied, with a knowing laugh, "What do I think? I think it stinks. They don't believe in Social Security - they didn't believe in it to begin with." We know their aim is to privatize the Social Security system and remove the safety net. He said his view was uncomplicated.
We believe people who worked hard all their lives ought to be able to grow old without their having to depend on their children to support them. He assures us that we'll fight to the death to save it.

Tara from Sacramento asked Cate about Generation Engaged, what are the important issues for young people today and how can young people stay engaged and involved in between election cycles? How are we going to keep young people involved in the Democratic party? Cate recommended that all young people should stay informed - when the big issues come up rather than waiting until an election season. She raised the issues of Social Security and the minimum wage as examples of something which effects young Americans' lives and of which conversations should not be delayed until election time. She suggested having simple conversations with one another about all issues, and that political activism is important. Getting together in numbers to have these conversations will lend young people a greater voice in the issues that affect their country. Young people have an interest in the same basic issues as anyone else. Regarding the question about keeping young peopel involved in the Democratic party, Cate said that it isn't merely the issues that hook young people, they're also "good at telling whether or not someone really means what they're saying." The younger generation has a lot of passionate people, and young people look for passion, heart, and morals in their leaders. Cate mentioned poverty as an important issue. Young people in particular, have great compassion for all people around them, and the issue of poverty is appealing to passionate young people looking for a moral cause. They see it, simply, as the right thing to do.

Sen. Edwards thanked Cate for her participation and said that he and Mrs. Edwards were very proud of her.

The Podcast ended with an ethereal musical composition called "introspection" by Bob Alexander, an artist from North Carolina. See If you are interested in submitting music for future podcasts, you may write an e-mail to:

Iraq Updates

Army Recruitment Down; Iraq Updates
Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, the Army deputy chief of staff, said the Army can sustain 100,000 in Iraq for the next four years if needed without "breaking the force" but he said it would include three or four rotations for some troops. [Fox News]

Juan Cole has what I consider to be the best blogging today on the subject of Iraq.

Cole has a list of Ten Things Congress Could Demand From Bush on Iraq.

The attack on US vessels at the port of Aqaba in Jordan shows that the Iraqi war is spreading terrorism in the region.

Ledeen the Cur

Ledeen the Cur

James Wolcott rips Michael Ledeen to shreds.

Listen to: Prairie Chapel Road

Listen to: Prairie Chapel Road

Eric Folkerth has written a song about Camp Casey. You can listen to the song by clicking here.

Prairie Chapel Road
By Eric Folkerth

The grieving mother pitched her tent,
On Prairie Chapel Road...

With questions for the President
On Prairie Chapel Road...

A host of pilgrims came along
To Prairie Chapel Road...

Raised their voices, sang their songs
On Prairie Chapel Road...

You can mow down the crosses,
but you can’t mow down our hope,
‘Cause the truth will always greet
The light of day.
And we know what the cost is,
In this darkness, where we grope,
But we know that peace
Will be the better way...
On Prairie Chapel Road...

Around the nation, all eyes turned
To Prairie Chapel Road...

To mark the lessons we had learned
On Prairie Chapel Road...

People who had found their voice
On Prairie Chapel Road...

Millions more who joined their choice
On Prairie Chapel Road...

In every city, and small town,
There’s a Prairie Chapel Road

Where two sides of the road are found,
On Prairie Chapel Road...

And we may always disagree
On Prairie Chapel Road...

But the right to do keeps us free
On Prairie Chapel Road...

The grieving mother pitched her tent,
On Prairie Chapel Road...

With questions for the President
On Prairie Chapel Road...

Copyright © 2005