Saturday, December 11, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards: "A Lighthouse to All of Us" (a classic example of a real woman with class but unfornately married below herself!)

Hundreds Remember With Affection the Activist and Political Wife Who Died After Long Battle With Cancer at Age 61

Saying Goodbye to Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards: 1949-2010

Estranged wife of John Edwards dies at 61 after a six-year battle with cancer

John Not a Speaker at Elizabeth Edwards Funeral

(AP) Hundreds of family and friends gathered Saturday to honor the life of Elizabeth Edwards, who has been praised for her strength amid a series of life tragedies that included the death of a son, a betrayal by her husband and a battle with cancer that eventually led to her death.

The funeral was held at Edenton Street United Methodist, a Raleigh church that Edwards turned to after her 16-year-old son Wade died in a car crash in 1996. She was to be buried later in the day alongside her son during a private ceremony.

Speakers recalled Edwards as a woman filled with energy, intellect and humor. They joked they had trouble coming up with what to say without the woman who used to leave notes of advice for those close to her.

"There aren't words that are good enough," said daughter Cate Edwards, whose eulogy contained a passage from a letter her mother spent years preparing to leave to her children after she was gone.

"I've loved you in the best ways I've known how," the letter said. "All I ever really needed was you, your love, your presence, to make my life complete."

John Edwards, her estranged husband, did not speak. The couple had four children together, including 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack.

John Edwards "Grieving Terribly" for Elizabeth
Anti-Gay Protesters at Edwards Funeral

Their oldest daughter, 28-year-old Cate, also talked of how her mother comforted those around her as she lay dying - at one point barely able to speak as she held her daughter and John's hands, looking back and forth to each, repeating, "I'm OK. I'm OK."

"She was way more worried about us than we were about her," Cate Edwards said.

She talked of her mother's strength and grace and also of her witty advice about everything from clothing (there are always fewer regrets wearing solids than patterns) to marriage (don't settle for the first boy you ever meet).

"She's been a lighthouse to all of us - a point of guidance when we all feel lost," she said.

The memorial brought several political figures, including Sen. John Kerry, who led the Democratic presidential ticket in 2004 that included John Edwards, and North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue.

Two of Elizabeth Edwards' longtime friends, Hargrave McElroy and Glenn Bergenfield, also gave eulogies.

McElroy spoke admiringly of the fiery woman who first became a close friend as the couple raised their young children, telling stories of Edwards' expertise at any pursuit that required intellect - from board games to sports trivia. She said Edwards was always an optimist.

"She knew who she was. She never held back. She was without pretense," McElroy said.

Bergenfield described a woman he first met in law school who challenged her professors with a vibrant mind and who possessed "big world, head-turning, walk-into-the-poll gorgeous" looks. He related anecdotes about how strong she was, but also how she was down-to-earth she was, seeming to care for each stranger she met, disarming campaign operatives with plain language or crawling under a dorm room bed to find clothing Cate had discarded.

"Nothing that she said publicly, as a mother, as an author or as a friend - none of it fed or was in any way fueled by ego," he said.

Bergenfield described Edwards as a close friend to him and his family - giving his children thoughtful advice and teaching people around her to "live like it's important."

One of the pallbearers, Tyler Highsmith, was in the car Wade Edwards was driving when he died. He and three other pallbearers - Michael Lewis, Ellis Roberts and Charles Scarantino - were pallbearers in Wade Edwards' funeral.

Jennifer Palmieri, who was a senior adviser during John Edwards' presidential campaigns, said the funeral was open to the public because Elizabeth Edwards always insisted on open campaign events - much to the consternation of staff who wanted to control access. She never wanted tickets issued, even free ones.

Among the people who gathered on a nearby street hours before the funeral was Barbara Fields, a 65-year-old Raleigh resident who never knew Edwards personally but was impressed by how she handled adversity.

Fields, a 10-year breast cancer survivor who wore a pink scarf with breast cancer logos, said she found comfort in books and speeches by Edwards about the fear and sleepless nights that come with fighting the illness.

"She just carried herself with a quiet dignity," Fields said.

Elizabeth Edwards was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004, a day after the Kerry-Edwards ticket lost to George W. Bush in that year's presidential election. Doctors declared her cancer-free after grueling treatments, but the disease returned in an incurable form in 2007. She died Tuesday.

Her last years were tumultuous ones, made difficult by her husband's affair and eventual admission that he'd fathered a child with the mistress. John and Elizabeth Edwards separated about a year ago.

Is Sexual Fidelity the Most Important Part of a Relationship?

Thoughts on Non-monogamy - Is Sexual Fidelity the Most Important Part of a Relationship?

Recently a new sex partner asked for my advice on how to deal with three women he was “seeing,” each of whom was interested in having a monogamous relationship with him. Being as how we had just had “no strings attached” sex, I asked him if he was really able to handle truly being monogamous. His reply was (as I expected) a sheepish “No.”

It came out that he was more interested in one of the women than he was in the other two, but that she also had commitment issues. So I suggested that he consider an open relationship, one in which he did all the “girlfriend” things with this woman, but which allowed for both of them to still have the option of sex with other people—provided that there was no emotional involvement.

This was an apparently novel idea for him, and he liked it. I explained that they would need to negotiate the ground rules of their relationship (for example, he was okay with her having sex with other men as long as she didn’t talk about it) and they would have to keep the lines of communication open. After he left, I wondered to myself: If we didn’t have the expectation that our “committed” partners would be able to fulfill all of our sexual needs, could we be free to simply enjoy the closeness and commitment of a relationship based on emotional instead of sexual fidelity?

For me, the most important part of a relationship is the emotional connection you have with your partner. You trust them, you talk openly with them, they know your quirks and flaws and still love you for them. When you have this connection, it usually makes for better sex. But there’s something to be said about having someone you can give your heart to and still remain free to engage in other sexual encounters. I’m talking about emotional monogamy. Sex is a pleasurable bonus in an emotionally monogamous relationship, and we can extricate sex from the relationship equation if we’re willing to accept that one can love someone deeply and still desire and pursue other sex partners, without loving the primary partner any less.

Some people take the next step and choose to practice polyamory—multiple full-fledged emotional and sexual relationships. Books like The Ethical Slut offer a guide on how to construct working polyamorous relationships, touching on topics such as having a primary partner with whom you have unprotected sex and “satellite” partners with whom you use protection—but in ANY type of non-monogamous relationship safer sex is extremely important. This type of relationship arrangement is not for those interested in emotional fidelity, because, by definition, polyamory is participation in multiple LOVING relationships. Meaning, you’re sharing your partner’s affections—so if you’re the jealous type, this probably won’t work for you. But many people can and do thrive in a polyamorous relationship. Me, I need that emotional exclusivity. To each her own.

Lately, some men have been approaching me looking for another, more familiar type of arrangement, optimistically called, “friends with benefits.” This is about one step up from “fuck buddy,” in my opinion, and will usually either end up with you in an awkward, forced relationship, or with you minus a friendship. Remaining “just friends” while being involved sexually takes a level of emotional detachment that many women (and men, actually) aren’t able to attain. As you become better friends, it’s natural that you become more involved with them. Add sex to the equation, and the fact that when you orgasm with a partner a hormone called oxytocin is released causing the creation of strong attachment, and you’ve got drama if your partner doesn’t get the same dosage. If you can pull this off, more power to you—but if you’re the type that becomes easily love-struck, I’d suggest staying clear of this arrangement.

Each of these non-monogamous relationship configurations—and I’m only touching on a few of the multiple possibilities—have their pros and cons. It is important to think carefully about what you need in order to feel comfortable. Do you want to “come home” to one person but have sex with many people, as in, an emotionally monogamous yet sexually open relationship? Can you handle knowing that your partner both loves and sleeps with more women than just you, as in, a polyamorous relationship? Do YOU want to love and sleep with more partners than just the one? Can you rein in your attachment and just be friends who fuck? Really, it’s up to you where the line is drawn.

But in any non-monogamous relationship, just as in monogamous relationships, communication is of the utmost importance. The minute that communication breaks down when one partner expects something that the other has no idea they want, things fall apart. I recently experienced a situation in which one of my sex partners had assumed that they were the only person I was having sex with. We had never talked about having any type of monogamous relationship, we had just hooked up and had fun. But because he wanted something from me that I didn’t know he desired, there was a bit of “reevaluation of the situation” on his part. Our “arrangement” didn’t end, but his ego may have taken a bruising.

Practicing non-monogamy doesn’t make you a “ho” or a “slut.” I know we are wary of the stereotype of the hypersexualized Black woman. I’m not suggesting that you pull on a pair of booty shorts and go hit up all the potential sex partners you see. What I am suggesting is that we shed the notion that there’s only one way to be in a relationship with someone, and embrace the spectrum of relationship configurations that include flavors of non-monogamy.

You might find ways to fulfill needs you didn’t even know that you had.

Tasha Fierce LAUNCH Magazine

Body Fell From Plane ( OOOOPS!)

BOSTON — A North Carolina teenager whose body was found in a Boston suburb last month had most likely stowed away inside a plane’s wheel well and fallen as it lowered its landing gear, the authorities said Friday.

The remains of the youth, Delvonte Tisdale, 16, were found in a quiet neighborhood in Milton, Mass., on Nov. 15, below a flight path to Logan Airport.

“It appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach airport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet airliner without being detected by airport security,” William R. Keating, Norfolk County district attorney, said at a news conference on Friday afternoon.

Mr. Keating said he had alerted federal authorities and the airport in Charlotte, N.C., where the teenager is believed to have gotten on the flight, about the events. While the case is a sad one, Mr. Keating said, it also underscores fears that someone with malicious intent could do the same thing.

“It’s a terrible tragedy what happened to this young man, but if that was someone with a different motive,” he said, “if that was a terrorist that could have been a bomb that was planted, undetected. This is very serious.”

Mr. Keating said the authorities had searched two airplanes that left Charlotte for Boston on Nov. 15, and found handprints in the left wheel well of a Boeing 737 that was scheduled to leave Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 7 p.m. that day.

“As they looked at the grease, they saw what I describe as lateral impressions that showed there was someone in there. There was a handprint in an area where it ordinarily wouldn’t be,” Mr. Keating said.

“I don’t pretend to tell you how he did it,” Mr. Keating said, noting that Delvonte was an Air Force R.O.T.C. student.

Clothing that matched a description that Delvonte’s family had given the authorities was found in Milton along the flight path, Mr. Keating said, and a plastic card — the type one uses to get into a hotel room — was found shattered.

“The altitudes were very high, and it gets very cold,” Mr. Keating said. “That card was shattered into such tiny pieces that it was consistent with something that had been frozen and shattered.”

The authorities initially believed that Delvonte had been murdered, and impounded two cars they thought to be suspicious. But in recent weeks, officials began investigating the possibility that the teenager had stowed away on an airplane.

“This was something that sounded quite remote, that someone could breach security aboard a commercial jet,” Mr. Keating said. “Again we look at every possibility.”

The authorities were at first flummoxed as to how the teenager had made it from North Carolina to Massachusetts so quickly. Delvonte was last seen around 1 a.m. Nov. 15 in Charlotte, and his body was found less than 24 hours later in Milton. A neighbor in the Milton neighborhood reported hearing a loud thump outside around 9 p.m.; the authorities said the plane landed minutes later.

Federal and state authorities continue to investigate the case, Mr. Keating said.

“I suspect,” he said, “that there will be a lot of scrutiny into this.”

In Tapes, Nixon Rails About Jews and Blacks (now we know HE WAS A CROOK & A RACIST!)

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Richard M. Nixon made disparaging remarks about Jews, blacks, Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans in a series of extended conversations with top aides and his personal secretary, recorded in the Oval Office 16 months before he resigned as president.

The remarks were contained in 265 hours of recordings, captured by the secret taping system Nixon had installed in the White House and released this week by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

While previous recordings have detailed Nixon’s animosity toward Jews, including those who served in his administration like Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser, these tapes suggest an added layer of complexity to Nixon’s feeling. He and his aides seem to make a distinction between Israeli Jews, whom Nixon admired, and American Jews.

In a conversation Feb. 13, 1973, with Charles W. Colson, a senior adviser who had just told Nixon that he had always had “a little prejudice,” Nixon said he was not prejudiced but continued: “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.”

“The Jews have certain traits,” he said. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”

Nixon continued: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,” and his voice trailed off.

A moment later, Nixon returned to Jews: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

At another point, in a long and wandering conversation with Rose Mary Woods, his personal secretary, that veered from whom to invite to a state dinner to whether Ms. Woods should get her hair done, Nixon offered sharp skepticism at the views of William P. Rogers, his secretary of state, about the future of black Africans.

“Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said. “He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on.

“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” he said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.”

These tapes, made in February and March 1973, reflect a critical period in Nixon’s presidency — the final months before it was “devoured by Watergate,” said Timothy Naftali, the executive director of the Nixon Library.

Mr. Naftali said that there were now only 400 hours of tapes left to released, and that those would cover the final months before the tape system was shut down in July 1973 after Alexander Butterfield, who was a deputy assistant to Nixon, confirmed its existence to the Watergate committee.

Mr. Naftali said he intended to have those tapes — actually, given changing technologies since Nixon’s time, CDs, and available for listening online at the library’s Web site — released by 2012.

An indication of Nixon’s complex relationship with Jews came the afternoon Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister, came to visit on March 1, 1973. The tapes capture Meir offering warm and effusive thanks to Nixon for the way he had treated her and Israel.

But moments after she left, Nixon and Mr. Kissinger were brutally dismissive in response to requests that the United States press the Soviet Union to permit Jews to emigrate and escape persecution there.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”

In his discussion with Ms. Woods, Nixon laid down clear rules about who would be permitted to attend the state dinner for Meir — he called it “the Jewish dinner” — after learning that the White House was being besieged with requests to attend.

“I don’t want any Jew at that dinner who didn’t support us in that campaign,” he said. “Is that clear? No Jew who did not support us.”

Nixon listed many of his top Jewish advisers — among them, Mr. Kissinger and William Safire, who went on to become a columnist at The New York Times — and argued that they shared a common trait, of needing to compensate for an inferiority complex.

“What it is, is it’s the insecurity,” he said. “It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”

Nixon also strongly hinted that his reluctance to even consider amnesty for young Americans who went to Canada to avoid being drafted during the Vietnam War was because, he told Mr. Colson, so many of them were Jewish.

“I didn’t notice many Jewish names coming back from Vietnam on any of those lists; I don’t know how the hell they avoid it,” he said, adding: “If you look at the Canadian-Swedish contingent, they were very disproportionately Jewish. The deserters.”

Bill Schools Barack ( I remember when WJC was Prez I could fill my tank with gas for less than $20!)

While stumping for Obama’s maligned tax deal at a White House presser Friday, the master triangulator taught his successor a lesson in the art of persuasion. Let’s hope the president was taking notes.

Once Barack Obama ceded the podium, there was no stopping him.

Bill Clinton, back in the building he called home for eight years, offered a tutorial in how to sell a legislative package in simple terms. Obama watched intently as his predecessor rambled on, perhaps convincing him there was no point in continuing, and that he’d better hustle off to a Christmas party.

You had to wonder what was going through 44’s mind as he handed off to 42, introducing him as having “presided over as good an economy as we’ve seen in our lifetime”—and undoubtedly wishing his economy was even close.

Perhaps the two men have healed the scars of the 2008 primaries, when the newcomer out of Chicago was the only thing standing in the way of the Man From Hope moving back into the White House, this time as first spouse. Obama has, after all, given Clinton’s wife a pretty good job as a consolation prize.

But it can’t have thrilled the president that he needed the former president to help get wavering Democrats in line on the compromise tax package he hammered out with the GOP. The master triangulator would show the kid how it was done. It was like the rookie basketball player, sidelined by a split lip, calling the wily veteran off the bench to sink a couple of crucial three-pointers.

Twitter was abuzz with ’90s talk, as folks wondered when the next Mike McCurry briefing would be, or whether the Republican House would have to impeach Clinton all over again. You could practically hear Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow in the background. About the only thing that stopped me from humming it is that Clinton looked gaunter than in the intern-chasing days.

The contrast wasn’t as great as I might have expected, because we got the wonky Clinton, who somehow wound up talking about wind turbines in Nevada, rather than the feel-your-pain Clinton. But the body language was instructive. Obama tends to stand straight, as if addressing a law school class; Clinton kept putting his hand over his heart, as if to signal he’s speaking with sincerity.

Clinton instantly personalized the debate, saying that as a rich guy, he would benefit from the GOP’s insistence on tax cuts for the wealthy. “You know how I feel,” he told reporters. “I think people who benefit the most should pay the most—not for class-warfare reasons, but for reasons of fairness and rebuilding the middle class in America.” He made the case right there, in one sentence.

Clinton thanked the Republican leaders for their concessions, appearing gracious rather than grudging. “There’s never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of a partisan,” he said.

As Clinton ticked off the provisions, he had a way of using everyday language: “A lot of people are heaving a sigh of relief that there’s finally been some agreement on something.” He said that on a recent trip to Asia he noticed that even Hong Kong “had a stimulus, although I guess we’re not supposed to use that word.” Democrats have avoided the S-word, which got a bad name with the trashing of last year’s economic package, so it’s taken the likes of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer to point out that the deal sneaks in nearly a trillion dollars’ worth of stimulus.

Before it was over, Clinton even worked in a heartfelt plug for the START treaty, recalling his days of negotiating with Boris Yeltsin. Cue Fleetwood Mac.

The comparison is a bit unfair, because as Clinton noted, “I’m not running for anything.” And it’s not true that Obama never shows Clintonesque emotion at his news conferences. He showed some passion at his last presser—unfortunately for the Democrats, it was aimed at them and their “sanctimonious” behavior.

But before the Dems get swept away by nostalgia, Clinton smiled in puncturing the myth that has grown up around his dealings with the GOP Congress in 1995 and 1996. “The story line is how well we worked with the Republicans and all that,” he said. “But, you know, we played kabuki for a year and had two government shutdowns—we can’t afford that now.”

Clinton offered a tutorial in how to sell a legislative package in simple terms. Obama watched intently as he rambled on, perhaps convincing him there was no point in continuing.

Then the grin got broader. “Oh, I had quite a good time governing,” he said. “I am happy to be here I suppose when the bullets that are fired are unlikely to hit me, unless they’re just ricocheted.”

And that’s when the distinction was sharpest. Clinton, whatever his flaws, exudes a deep love for the game of politics. Obama often seems exasperated by the grubby business of arm-twisting and horse-trading, as if the fact that he has made the right intellectual case ought to be enough. He deserves credit for bringing in Bubba. Maybe he made some mental notes.

Howard Kurtz is The Daily Beast's Washington bureau chief