2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Friday, June 28, 2013

One dollar and one cent for every hour Sen. Davis filibustered


At Heidi Li’s Potpourri, Heidi Li is pointing out that both money and filibustering talk, and she’s urging each of us to follow her example and invest $11.11 in Sen. Davis’ future. Sounds like a worthwhile investment to me. If you want to donate, go to the Texas state senator’s website here.

Heidi Li explains:

I do not live in Texas.  I have never met State Senator Wendy Davis.  I just invested $11.11 in her political future. That donation is one dollar and one cent for every hour she stood filibustering a law proposed by the Republican, male governor of Texas, a bill that "would have shut down almost all the abortion clinics in the state, under the guise of expanded health and safety requirements"; a bill that also aims to ban abortion after 20 weeks with no exemption for women who are victims of rape or incest.

Davis is getting all sorts of media attention.  Now, we should make sure she gets all sorts of moolah.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

The disregard of women’s rights by Texans without uteruses

Sen. Davis' shoes.

Writing at the NY Times, Gail Collins pays appropriate tribute to the filibustering of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis:

There is an old saying that Texas is “heaven for men and dogs, but hell for women and oxen.” But the state’s history is chock-full of stories of female role models. Barbara Jordan. Ann Richards. In downtown Austin, there’s a statue of Angelina Eberly, heroine of the Texas Archives War of 1842, firing a cannon and looking about 7 feet tall.

I do not have nearly enough time to explain to you about the Archives War, although it’s an extremely interesting story. Right now we need to move on to State Senator Wendy Davis, whose 11-hour filibuster this week turned her into a national name brand.
“It was like a made-for-TV movie. I’ve been around the block, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood and the daughter of the former governor. 

Texas is a state with one of the nation’s highest teenage motherhood rates, where a majority of women who give birth are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. So, naturally, its political leaders have declared war against the right of women to choose whether or not they want to be pregnant. Funding for family planning has been slashed. This month, Gov. Rick Perry tried to pass a new law that would have shut down almost all the abortion clinics in the state, under the guise of expanded health and safety requirements.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shhh - Elizabeth Warren's birthday is this Saturday...

 
Happy birthday, Elizabeth.
Shhh  - I got this email yesterday from Roger Lau. He asks that we not mention who told us about Elizabeth's birthday coming up this Saturday, so you all please respect Roger's wishes, okay?

VB


Elizabeth's birthday
1 message

Roger Lau Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM
To: Virginia bergman


Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts

Virginia --

Don’t tell her I told you – but Saturday is Elizabeth’s birthday.
I can’t think of a better time to thank Elizabeth for all her hard work – and show her that when she’s fighting for all of us in the United States Senate, we’re fighting for her in Minnesota and across the country.
Will you sign Elizabeth’s birthday card? Add your name and we’ll surprise her on Saturday:
Click here to sign the card.
Elizabeth won’t be taking a break on her birthday. She’ll be back on the campaign trail, criss-crossing Massachusetts to Get Out the Vote for Ed Markey in the final few days before the election.

She knows that when something as important as a seat in the United States Senate is on the line, birthday parties can wait.

But we still want Elizabeth to know that we appreciate all that she’s doing to give us a voice in Washington. I can’t wait to see her face when we print out the names of thousands of people who have signed her card.

Will you wish Elizabeth a happy birthday? Sign her card now.

Thanks!
Roger

Donate Now



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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hillary's opening remarks at CGI America (video)

Hi Katalusis readers, I just received the email below from Bruce Lindsey at the Clinton Foundation and thought you'd like to hear Hillary's remarks at CGI America the other day. Enjoy!!


View this email as a web page.
 

Clinton Foundation

Virginia,

I hope you were able to see Secretary Clinton's opening remarks at CGI America on Thursday where she talked about her excitement to support the visionary work of the Clinton Foundation and outlined the work she will take on with the Foundation – promoting early childhood development, creating more opportunity for girls and women, and strengthening economic development in the U.S.

In case you missed it, you can watch her inspiring remarks here.
Clinton Foundation Secretary Clinton also announced a new project with Next Generation to help parents, businesses, and communities take meaningful action to provide our youngest generation with a strong foundation for success. Learn more about Too Small to Fail.

We are grateful to have Secretary Clinton's vision and expertise and Chelsea's continued passion and dedication at the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The entire Clinton family has always been dedicated to public service, and now through the Clinton Foundation, they will continue to work on creating lasting solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

And because we know you share their dedication to building a stronger, more inclusive world, we hope you will continue to be an integral part of our work. Please join our new Clinton Foundation community at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation and follow us on Twitter at @ClintonFdn for the latest news on our work and to learn how you can help improve even more lives and take action on global challenges.

We know that when we work together anything is possible.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

Bruce Lindsey

Chief Executive Officer
Clinton Foundation

 
 
 
Give Today Sign Up
 
 
Clinton Foundation
The Clinton Foundation works to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens.

CLINTONFOUNDATION.ORG

The Clinton Foundation | 1200 President Clinton Ave | Little Rock, AR 72201
 


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rescuing a Subway employee - one of those present moments, wonderful moments!



My experience at our local Subway was a little unusual from the start. It was around 5 p.m. yesterday when I stopped to pick up a sandwich on my way home - that would be a six-inch, sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich on flat bread. For some reason, though, I paused to review the restaurant’s hours posted outside the door.  My favorite Subway was scheduled to remain open that Saturday night until 11 p.m.

I was the only customer present when I ordered my sandwich. Chatting it up with the two fellows behind the counter, I learned they would be on duty until closing time. One fellow mentioned he broke his ankle the day before and hadn’t been able to find anyone to replace him that evening. When he revealed that he had no pain medication – none whatsoever - I flashbacked to a few months before when due to some serious misunderstandings with my health care team, I was unable to get the pain medication I needed. They were unaware that I was walking around on a fractured left femur (thigh bone). I finally had to go to the emergency room to get the care I needed.

I paid for my sandwich and said to the injured employee, “I know what that feels like. I’m going to get some pain medication for you. I’ll be right back.”

At the nearby Super America, I grabbed a 50-caplet bottle of generic Tylenol and explained to the young woman at the register that I was rescuing a young fellow with a broken ankle behind the counter at Subway. She was all for it. When I told her I didn’t need the receipt, she smiled and said, “Tell him to pay it forward.”

At the restaurant, I continued to think very clearly about how best to handle the situation. There were now several customers lined up at the counter, and I figured my patient would feel compelled to handle each of them before taking his medicine. More intervention was required. I got a glass of water from the soft drink dispenser and breaking into the line, I placed it and the Tylenol on the counter. “Hold on, folks,” I said to the waiting customers, “This man needs some medicine.”

I shall not soon forget the look of relief on the young man’s face as he reached out for the water and Tylenol. (I hope the Tylenol at least took the edge off the pain.) Nor shall I forget the comments I heard from the customers, e.g., a young woman exclaimed, “There are decent people in the world after all!”

When my patient offered to pay for the Tylenol, I told him to pay it forward, which added to his astonishment.

I witnessed a lot of astonishment at the Subway scene last night. Pleased astonishment. It was as if people could not believe anyone would take the 15 or 20 minutes it took to run the errand and spring for the cost of $2.99 for a bottle of generic Tylenol to bring aid and comfort to a suffering worker.

What I remember most about the incident, though, is the clarity with which I seemed to have been led by some unknown presence one step at a time in coming to the employee’s aid.

As I left the store and headed home, I felt buoyed up by all the goodwill from everyone with whom I connected that evening. And I looked forward to putting my feet up and enjoying my sweet onion, chicken teriyaki sandwich on flat bread and two of Subway’s always fresh chocolate chip cookies. 

Did I mention I also picked up a nice bottle of wine on my way home?


Friday, June 14, 2013

Get your fix PDQ



It’s the kind of topic families talk about while lingering at the dinner table waiting for dessert. “Whatever happened to that Tom Thumb store on our block?" Dad asks. “I wanted a pack of cigarettes the other day, and it was gone.”
                 
Dad’s words stopped Mom in her tracks on her way out to the kitchen. “You have to be kidding,” she says. That store’s been gone for months. Great Clips is there now. That’s where I get my hair cut. And what’s with the cigarettes? You haven’t smoked for at least six years?”

Confused, Dad looks down at his plate and confesses he felt a powerful nicotine craving the other day. When the neighborhood Tom Thumb came up missing, he recalled his instructions from Clean Break, his treatment provider. He listed all the positives from not smoking like health, safety, saving money, cleanliness, personal freedom, social acceptance, etc., and he reassured himself that he was an adult and could smoke if he was that stupid. With his intense nicotine craving relieved, he drove straight home.

But that leaves the question of what happened to Tom Thumb and other convenience stores in the area that we once frequented. Their prices were highway robbery, but it was handy to run in and pick up a half-gallon of milk and a loaf of bread when you were in a hurry. And clerks didn’t give you a pitying look when they handed you a pack of Marlboros.

Speaking of which, Star News reports, “Tom Thumb joins a growing number of regional convenience store chains falling victim to high fuel prices, dwindling tobacco money and intense competition from supermarkets, gas stations and discounters.”

So there you have it. But I notice PDQ, a relative newcomer in the convenience store market, seems to be doing okay with 11 Minnesota locations. Well, right. It’s gotta be the clever name for the stores, the acronym stands for Pretty Damn Quick. Means a lot of you’re having a nicotine fit.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sen. Gillibrand rises to the occasion(s)


 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talks with Fiore Di Mare owners Redzi Hadzim and Enver Pelinku over lunch Sunday, June 9, 2013 in Great Kills about their efforts to reopen their restaurant after it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy s.(Staten Island Advance/ Bill Lyons) Bill Lyons 
 
photos.silive.com/4499/gallery/senator_gillibrand_returns_to_staten_island_waterfront_businesses/index.html#/0

Kirsten Gillibrand was Hillary Clinton’s pick for her replacement as the junior senator from New York. The liberal left initially opposed her appointment as they preferred Caroline Kennedy, a member of the staunch Obama supporting Kennedy clan in the 2008 primary and general election. It must be admitted, however, that since her appointment by Gov. Patterson and her subsequent re-election, Senator Gillibrand has more than lived up to her responsibilities.

There’s not much the left – or anyone else for that matter - can criticize of Gillibrand’s outstanding performance from her proposed legislation to end the sexual abuse in the military to her recent appearance onStaten Island to encourage local business owners to reopen in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.







Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In the category of “Duh!”


My mindfulness practice encourages me to think about what I’m doing even when it’s a simple household task. And it happens now and then that I open my eyes and see something that’s definitely in the “duh!” category.

Such was the case some time ago when I was using my oven. After reaching across the stove to retrieve my hot pads several times, I suddenly realized that since I’m right-handed, they should be on the right side of the stove. Duh!

It happened again this morning. I often have several bouquets of cut flowers in my apartment. I freshen them up daily by snipping off the bottoms of the stems, so they can continue to draw up water. Usually, I retrieve one bouquet at a time, carry it to the sink, snip off the stems, and then return it to its place. Suddenly, I realized how much more efficient it would be to take my scissors and a small dish around to each bouquet, snip the stems, and then empty the dish into the trash. Duh!

Hey, it worked!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Barry's feeble excuses for peeping

Think agan: Barack Obama, not so Bush lite, after all. (Image courtesy of salon.com.)
Not overlooking the Orwellian connection, Maureen Dowd nailed Barry, the not so Bush Lite, yesterday for his recently exposed peeping policies in her NY Times op-ed:

 WASHINGTON — THE acid that corroded George W. Bush’s presidency was fear — spreading it and succumbing to it. 

You could see the fear in his eyes, the fear that froze him in place, after Andy Card whispered to W. in that Florida classroom that a second plane had crashed into the twin towers. 

The blood-dimmed tragedy of 9/11 was chilling. But instead of rising above the fear, W. let it overwhelm his better instincts. He and Dick Cheney crumpled the Constitution, manipulated intelligence to go to war against a country that hadn’t attacked us, and implemented warrantless eavesdropping — all in the name of keeping us safe from terrorists. 

Americans want to be protected, but not at the cost of vitiating the values that make us Americans. That is why Barack Obama was so stirring in 2007 with his spirited denunciations of W.’s toxic trade-offs. The up-and-coming senator and former constitutional law professor railed against the Bush administration’s “false choice, between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.” 

Now that we are envisioning some guy in a National Security Agency warehouse in Fort Meade, Md., going through billions of cat videos and drunk-dialing records of teenagers, can the Ministries of Love and Truth be far behind?

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment,” George Orwell wrote in “1984.” “How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.” 

It was quaint to think we had any privacy left, once Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram braided themselves into our days and nights.

As Gene Hackman, playing a disillusioned N.S.A. analyst in the 1998 movie “Enemy of the State” put it, the agency has been in bed with the telecommunications industry for decades, and “they can suck a salt grain off a beach.”

Still, it was a bit of a shock to find out that No Such Agency, as the N.S.A. is nicknamed, has been collecting information for seven years on every phone call, domestic and international, that Americans make. The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who first reported the collection of data from Verizon, called the N.S.A. “the crown jewel in government secrecy.”

The Washington Post and then Greenwald swiftly revealed another secret program started under Bush, code-named Prism, that lets the N.S.A. and the F.B.I. tap Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple, lifting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents in an effort to track foreign targets
.
The Post reported that the career intelligence officer who leaked the information was appalled and considered the program a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.

President Obama defended his classified programs even as Greenwald spilled one more bequeathed from W.: identifying targets overseas for potential cyberattacks. So much technological overreach, yet counterterrorism officials still couldn’t do basic police work and catch the Boston bombers before the marathon by following up on warnings from the Russians.

Read more:


Friday, June 7, 2013

Obama loses credibility over Verizon call data


The media failed in vetting the candidacy of Barack Obama in 08. In the process it banned racism while unleashing every sexist ploy in the book against Hillary Clinton in the primaries and effectively targeting John McCain with ageism in the general election. (You have to ask: why can't guys like David Axelrod understand that bigotry is bigotry, and every version of it is immoral?)

Held up by his campaign as the harbinger of the new politics, Barack Obama appeared to be destined to clear out all corruption and unite Washington. And oh, yes, he would bring complete transparency to our government.

Although the media is still somewhat sluggish in covering the Obama Administration, it has evidently begun to wake up. Sitting here with my Verizon cell phone at hand, you bet I’m annoyed at the latest revelation of the administration’s invasion of my privacy. And yours.

However, I am rather pleased to see the NY Times editorial board has chosen to voice its displeasure:

Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counter terrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. 

The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers. 



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Are you enjoying friends, neighbors, and acquaintances of all ages?



Shelley Emling’s 7 ways of impressing people in 60 seconds or less are helpful if, like me, you need to brush up a little on your relational skills. I did well on at least a couple of her 7 tips, however. For example, even thought I’m a senior, I delight in my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances of all ages.

Emling, the editor of Post 50, writes:

No matter what income level they've achieved, some people still don't have a clue as to how to draw others to them. They don't know what to say to put others at ease or how to act in order to electrify a room. But by the time you reach 50, you should know a thing or two about how to impress those around you. People can tell when you feel comfortable in your own skin. And when you feel comfortable in your own skin, you'll give others the confidence they need to be themselves as well. And that's pretty impressive.

Famous folks usually included on lists of the world's most impressive people include Hillary Clinton, Taylor Swift and Chris Christie. What do they have in common? All are smart and supremely self-confident.
After consulting with a few very impressive friends, here are seven ways to wow people in 60 seconds or less. Have your own ideas? Tell us about them in comments.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Military justice - an oxymoron for sexual assault victims in the armed forces

NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat (official portrait).

NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is right. Military justice is an oxymoron when it comes to sexual assault victims in the armed forces. And it’s way past time to take these decisions out of the hands of commanding officers.

The NY Times editorial board agrees with Sen. Gillibrand:

In his commencement address at the United States Military Academy late last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged the newest graduates of the two-centuries-old academy to help stamp out the “scourge” of sexual assaults in the military. His call had special resonance. It had been revealed just days before that a sergeant responsible for advising cadets had been charged with secretly videotaping female cadets in the shower — just one of an alarming cascade of incidents in recent weeks evidencing the depth, frequency and sheer brazenness of the military’s sexual misconduct problem.

Last Friday, allegations surfaced that three members of the United States Naval Academy football team had sexually assaulted a female midshipman in April 2012. When she reported the attack, her lawyer said, she was disciplined for drinking but the academy did not bring charges against the three and allowed them to keep playing football. 

A Pentagon report released in early May estimated that as many as 26,000 people in the military were sexually assaulted in 2012, up from an already unacceptable 19,000 in 2011. Only a small fraction of victims — 3,374 in all — reported their attacks, despite new assistance programs, with many fearing harm to their careers and that their complaints would not be taken seriously anyway. 

The issue will get an airing Tuesday at a hearing convened by Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, to consider possible changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, using the annual defense authorization bill as a vehicle. The question, however, is whether Congress will undertake the broad reforms necessary to encourage more victims to come forward and to show that legislators take seriously the pledge of zero tolerance for such crimes that military leaders and successive administrations have been making for decades. 

A bill offered by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and co-sponsored by four Republicans and 13 other Democrats aims to do just that. Under the current system, senior officers with no legal training but with lots of conflicts of interest get to decide whether court-martial charges can be brought against subordinates. They also pick the jury pool, and they can throw out a guilty finding even after a verdict is rendered. A recent series in The San Antonio Express-News detailed instances in which senior officers put pressure on victims to get them to drop charges. 

Ms. Gillibrand’s bill would mandate immediate referral of formal complaints of sexual misconduct to investigators, and would take charging decisions out of the hands of commanders and give them to senior military lawyers independent of the chain of command. While not the entire answer, this is a necessary step for bolstering the system’s credibility. The bill would also strip commanders of the power to toss out verdicts involving serious crimes. 


Sunday, June 2, 2013

My hoodie on a chilly day and a federal officer from the airport


I honestly didn't think of the possibility of a connection between my hoodie and the federal officer from the airport who helped me out Saturday, June 1 until I started writing this post. 

Reminding myself that I live in Minnesota, I grabbed a hoodie on my way out when I went grocery shopping. It was early evening and sure enough temps were in the 50s, and the wind was raw.

I paused long enough when exiting the supermarket to put my hood up and tie it under my chin. I anticipated scornful looks from fellow Minnesotans dressed in shorts and Tees and although turning blue, pretending not to notice the cold.

Surprise! On the way to my car in a nearby handicap slot, I got lots of smiles and even a couple of, “Can I borrow your hoodie when you’re done?”

I only recently acquired a handicap parking permit, and I’ve not yet become accustomed to the eagerness with which well meaning folks dash over to help me move my groceries from cart to car trunk - that’s a chore I’m capable of handling myself, especially when I’m dressed appropriately for the weather – with my hood up and all. 

Caught off guard, I’ve said something like, “Well, if you really want to?”

It happened again yesterday. And I didn’t notice until she had almost finished that my latest determined rescuer was wearing what looked like a police uniform. “Who are you with?” I blurted out.

“Oh, I’m a federal officer out at the airport,” she replied.

“What the heck are you doing here?”

Grabbing my empty cart and heading toward the store, she said, “I needed groceries. Have a nice day!”

“You, too!” I shouted into the wind.

Btw, it’s 53 degrees F in St. Paul this morning, and a thunderstorm is predicted. If you go out, you might want to wear a hoodie...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hillary haters and everyday sexism


Hillary Clinton’s rise as the favorite Democratic candidate in 2016 – even though she has not announced – has triggered an explosion of the usual sexist rants recycled from the 90s and most recently 2008. As you might expect, Huffington Post commenters continue to lead the pack with dedicated Hillary haters, well-described by Professor Stanley Fish on Feb. 3, 2008 in his NY Times column.

You recall that when Axelrod and Obama realized in 2008 they could not defeat Hillary on the issues, they agreed to assassinate her character; Several Huffpo users continue the strategy to this day, scouring the website for any mention of Hillary or a member of her family. One particular user has posted nearly 12,000 comments, the majority smearing the Clintons. Here’s a sample quote from a lengthy sexist rant: “Like mother, Chlesea has collected titles in positons Bill's power/wealth open without evidence of significant contribution/results.”

The same user has repeatedly argued at Huffpo that America has thus far not produced any worldclass women leaders comparable to Thatcher, Ghandi, etc.

With America’s female leaders subjected to such scorn on the prominent Huffington Post website with its increasingly global presence, “everyday sexism” described by Beth Gardiner in the NY Times should come as no surprise. In Charting the Impact of Everyday Sexism Across the World, Gardiner describes the impact of her Everyday Sexism Project:

The project’s Web site and Twitter feed have ballooned into a compendium of firsthand testimonials that range from angry descriptions of patronizing remarks to heart-wrenching accounts of rape and other assault. Women post about crude come-ons in the workplace, lewd comments on the street, groping on crowded public transportation and much more. Most, but not all, of the comments come from developed countries.

“Yesterday guy on packed Tube took opportunity to rub his crotch against me and stroke my bum when I couldn’t move,” wrote Naomi Phillips, using the Twitter handle @nayphillips and referring to the London subway. “Worst thing about it was that I didn’t say anything out loud. Concerned about making a scene & what if I was wrong? I wasn’t.” 

Working with supporters in other countries, Ms. Bates, who lives in north London, has created companion sites in 15 nations, including Brazil, France, Germany and the United States.