Draftglass: "America is currently too fucking stupid, spoiled and hateful to make good, long-term decisions." (You MUST read this one.)
Ezra Klein, who used to be a cute progressive kid blogging at Pandagon, has joined the Borg.
Digby, as usual, says what I lack the time or discipline to say.
Skippy notes that for people like our own jurassicpork, the 13 month extension doesn't include any benefits for those who have already exhausted all tiers of unemployment. If you are about to become a casualty of the Stuff the Rich Nation, you will have a year and a half to find another job for when these rich people who have had eight years of these tax cuts and have not created jobs, decide to create some (despite the fact that no one can afford anything they make). If you are already one, not one person in our government other than the outgoing Congressman from Florida's eighth district and Sen. Bernie Sanders gives a shit about you.
Michael Stickings wonders whether "something is better than nothing" is our new standard of achievement.
Greg Sargent explains why we're angry.
E.D. Kain, the resident conservative over at Balloon Juice, thinks it was a pretty good deal on a page which features an ad by the Progressive Change Committee, about which Angry Black Lady has some interesting and cogent observations.
Yesterday the sad news came across that it seems Elizabeth Edwards is reaching the end of her cancer journey.
Every day, for 8, 10, 12, and sometimes more hours, I'm steeped in the conduct of cancer trials. For me it's about how to collect data, and once the data collection mechanism is done, I'm pretty much done until they either need a system change or there's a problem. In the latter case, I may have to take a cursory look at actual data. When I see what we call "The death form" completed, it means that an actual person that someone cared about has succumbed. When I see someone with liver cancer who's still alive after six, eight, twelve cycles of treatment, it's a sign of hope. That's what drives home for me that what I do, as removed from actual patients as it is, is about hope -- not the hope that's based on blind faith, but hope for small victories like time measured in days and months, if not years.
Yes, it's appalling that a half-century into serious cancer research we are still all about cut, irradiate, and poison. But for now that's what we've got. And if it gets someone through to his daughter's wedding, his son's graduation, just one more summer of watching the sun set over a Caribbean beach, it's a victory, however small. And for those who get that time, it FEELS like a victory, in the way getting relief for the hundreds of thousands of new unemployed in return for stuffing the pockets of the wealthy doesn't.
In 2007 and 2008, John and Elizabeth Edwards were the only ones on the campaign trail talking about the America in which people now find themselves -- people who thought it would never happen to them. Back then the rumblings of economic collapse were only starting. And those who had succumbed to trickle-down economics over the last thirty years were still forgotten.
Over fifty people showed up to schmooze with Elizabeth Edwards for a couple of hours. She was as kind and gracious in person as she seemed on television and that my house was not ready for prime time didn't seem to matter. When she left to go to a book signing, I said "This is the coolest thing I have ever done."
Of course we all know what happened next, and as more came out about exactly what Elizabeth knew even as she was taking donations for a campaign that we knew even then would go nowhere, and that would have been an utter disaster had it succeeded in making it through the primaries, I found myself utterly disgusted with her. She KNEW, and yet she carried on as if she and John were the couple we all thought they were. She continued to take the donations even as she must have known in her heart it was for naught. She took advantage of me, my friends, my neighbors, and the others who came and paid over a hundred dollars to schmooze with Elizabeth Edwards.
Later on, we read in the book written by those loathsome hacks John Heilemann and Mark Halperin that she was a harridan to John Edwards' staff, that she would get hysterical, that she was impossible.
Wouldn't you be? And if you were faced with a recurrence of breast cancer in the middle of a presidential campaign and found out that your husband had thrown away not just your marriage, but a cause you both had supposedly believed in -- for a fling with an aging New York party girl who was the inspiration for a character in a 1980's Jay McInerney novel? Wouldn't you try to Act As If everything was normal?
In the Showtime series The Big C, the protagonist played by Laura Linney explains her unwillingness to tell her family about her Stage IV cancer diagnosis, "I just wanted a little more time where it's not about me being sick." I think that's what motivated Elizabeth Edwards too -- that and kicking the can of deciding what to do down the road -- putting it off because it's just too painful to deal with now.
I still feel angry at how we were sold a bill of goods about John Edwards, but I do understand why she did it. I understand why she thought that the bigass North Carolina house that he built her would somehow compensate for SOMETHING. I understand why she felt the need, after probably hundreds of house fundraisers like mine, to get out into the media and punishing her no-good dog of a husband for what he squandered.
But at this point, all that is behind us. What we need to keep in mind about Elizabeth Edwards is how she stayed out there, looking marvelous for a long time, trying mightily to sound the alarm about health care in this country. While she was out in public, she was a living rebuke to the "I Got Mine and Fuck You" doctrine -- someone with pots of money who still remembered that there are people out there dying because their insurance will not cover the cancer treatments that allowed her to stay out there fighting long after others with recurrent breast cancer have succumbed.
I wish Elizabeth Edwards a peaceful passing with no pain. I wish her children well. I thank her for what she tried to do to call attention to the inequities in our health care system.
And I hope that the image of this brave woman's last battle tortures John Edwards every single fucking day of the rest of his life.
UPDATE: Elizabeth Edwards died this morning at the age of 61.