Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So happy together... With John Edwards as Attorney General and Dennis Kucinich as Head of the FCC!

My friend Gary envisioned Barry (Barack) and Hillary skating off together in a fantasy sequence. At one point, I thought they were going to kiss. What sweet-nothings were they whispering in each other's ears at the end of the California debate last night? One thing I loved is that they each sanctified John Edwards. He is now a saint. They both vowed to champion his cause: poverty in America. (Read more on the amazing John Edwards below.) After losing both of our favorite Progressive candidates, Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards, it was a relief to hear both Hillary and Obama speak so clearly and passionately about the issues. I am relieved and would be happy with either of them as president.


Barack Obama: "John Edwards has spent a lifetime giving a voice to the voiceless."

I had the honor of interviewing John Edwards, his courageous wife Elizabeth and their daughter Cate on three separate occasions for our radio show. You can hear these interviews in the archives at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk
I am very sad that he has decided to leave the campaign. His impassioned plea to help the poor deeply affected me. I think Edwards is one of the most committed public servants today, and I hope he becomes Attorney General—  or even head of the FCC — as my friend and fellow blogger Mike says.

At each stop on his camaign tour John Edwards describes the dismay he felt when visiting a homeless shelter that must turn away 70 families each month for lack of space.

"Children. Living on the street in America," he says, pausing to let the image sink in. "All while Exxon-Mobil makes $40 billion. Last year, 37 million people in this country, about the population of California, went hungry. In the richest nation on the planet."

The Associated Press via Yahoo:

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters’ sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.

John ran a good campaign and vowed to stay in it all the way to the convention, but apparently that’s not going to happen. John’s populist message scared the daylights out of the wealthy elite and the corporate media, which ultimately hurt his coverage. We wish him and his family all the best.

Edwards leaves the race having made a big impact on the two remaining candidates. His populist rhetoric forced his rivals to compete for union support, and he was the first out of the gate with detailed plans for universal healthcare and education, putting pressure on the field to match him. The former trial lawyer arguably won a majority of the debates, time and again challenging his opponents to refuse money from lobbyists and speed up their plans for withdrawing combat troops from Iraq.

What his exit will mean at the polls is less clear. On the one hand, it should help Obama consolidate the sizeable anti-Hillary contingency of the Democratic Party. At the same time, however, he drew more votes from Clinton than Obama in the first four contests — blue-collar white workers — so it could also help her fend off Obama, whose recent endorsement by Ted Kennedy should help with organized labor. Edwards announced no plans to endorse, but he has made his preference clear over the course of the campaign, dubbing himself and Obama candidates of change and Clinton the face of the "status quo." And if anyone should pay close attention to the race that Edwards has waged, it's Obama: if he doesn't win the nomination, four years from now he could be in John Edwards' shoes.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry." Audrey Hepburn is famous for the poem "Time Tested Beauty Tips", which she used to recite to her sons. The poem includes verses such as, "For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day." The poem is popularly attributed to her, but it was in fact written by Sam Levenson.

Friday, January 25, 2008


"For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry." Audrey Hepburn is famous for the poem "Time Tested Beauty Tips", which she used to recite to her sons. The poem includes verses such as, "For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day." The poem is popularly attributed to her, but it was in fact written by Sam Levenson.

Fear is "False Evidence Appearing Real." All that depresses us, all that we fear is really powerless to harm us. If we stay in wonder, humility and gratitude, fear loses its grip. There is a spark of the Divine in every one of us. Sooner or later, you have to find our soul, inner peace, God — whatever you want to call it. When materialism ceases to fill you up, and you've had enough sex, drugs, violence, war, gossip, food and TV — you have only one place left to go.

I wonder if Diablo Cody knew she was writing one of the most heroic pro-life movies ever. I loved JUNO the Oscar-nominated film starring the adorable Ellen Page and directed by Jason Reitman. Check out these opening credits:

WINNER OF THE SAG AWARDS: The Cohen Brothers' "NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN" is chilling depiction of a sociopath and "THERE WILL BE BLOOD" based on Upton Sinclair's book OIL, is an excruciating character study of greed, played by Daniel Day Lewis — who was mesmerizing. I was disturbed by this movie, but can't stop thinking about it. It was torture to watch, but you can't take your eyes off of Daniel Day Lewis and wonder what created a wretch like this.


Had you purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

Had you purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have $49.00 left.

But, had you purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to consume beer and recycle. Just kidding.
It's called the 401-Keg.

(Joke of the Day courtesy of my husband's email)


Iraqi Boy Sends Messages of Peace in a Bottle
Written by Graciela Sholander
Iraqi teen and his friends work towards peace by sending peace messages in bottles down the Euphrates River. The 14 year-old says he loves all the people of Iraq and hopes to encourage brotherhood among the sects with messages of peace. (CNN Video)

11-Year-Old's Idea May Become Law: Boy's Initiative May Be Passed as Law to Help Feed Homeless

Jack Davis, 11, says, "If you think there's a problem in the world, you don't wait for other people to fix it. You have to try to fix it yourself." (

Jack Davis is only 11, but he had a pretty grown-up idea: He was disturbed to learn that Florida restaurants throw out food that could be given to the hungry and the homeless -- because the restaurant owners could be sued if anyone who ate the food became ill or developed food poisoning.

"I thought it pretty disturbing to see pounds, pretty much, of food being thrown away every single day," the 11-year-old said. Jack had visited a homeless shelter on school field trips and he worried about people going hungry.

"I realized that I could make a difference by trying to change the law," Davis said.
Jack's idea was to pass a law that would give restaurant owners' some protection from lawsuits. He got his dad to float the idea to some Florida legislators.


The House [debated] the override of the President’s veto of the revised bipartisan SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) bill. The President’s veto on December 12 denied health care to children of hardworking families across America just as the country began experiencing an economic downturn, with families increasingly struggling with the costs of heat, food, gas and health care.

From CBS News: The vote was 260-152, at least 15 votes short of the two-thirds threshold needed to override a veto. The Democratic bill _ backed by 45 Republicans in the House _ would expand eligibility for SCHIP benefits to 10 million uninsured children. Republicans have rejected the measure because they believe it would allow illegal immigrants and middle income people to get government health coverage, even though there is explicit language in the bill to prevent such problems.

Unfortunately, the House Republicans sustained Bush’s veto, by narrowly denying the two-thirds necessary to override the veto: 260 in favor of passage versus 152 against, despite the veto-proof margin in the Senate, meaning 42 Republicans voted with the Democrats. Rep. Charlie Rangel:

“I stand in support of overriding the President’s veto, not for the reasons given by Chairman Dingell — that it’s the right and moral position — because that has existed all of the time and yet we’ve been unsuccessful. But I would say to the gentleman from Texas that since the last time this has come up, the President has admitted we are going toward a recession and that economy may be jeopardized unless the Congress supported a stimulus package. It would just seem to me that if it’s recognized that our states are going to go into deficit, our governors are going to have serious problems, and that it is very possible if not likely that services for our kids will be further cut under Medicaid, it would seem to me that a legitimate argument could be made that by providing care for these 11 million children it allows the parents to know that they’ll be able to be more productive knowing that their kids are covered by health insurance. It’s sad that the poor now have to be used merely as a vehicle to stimulate our economy but had we taken care of these people… perhaps we’d be not going through this struggle. So it occurs to me that this is another opportunity that the minority would have, not just to do the moral thing but to do the economic thing, and to be of some assistance to the governors who are screaming out for the continuation of this program, indeed the expansion of it.”

photo credit: Peyton Quinn "Freedom From Fear" How to Take Back Your Life and Dissolve Depression"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


"Barn burned down, but now I can see the moon."

Don't panic. Though trickle-down Reaganomics is clearly the cause of our economic woes, there is no need to panic over the so-called 'recession.' Everything that is happening is simply showing us that predatory lending and greed-based corporatism has got to end. Capitalism run amuck has run amuck. For many years I've seen this coming -- in the obsessive advertising products we don't need and creating industries out of our insecurities. The outsourcing and 'buy, buy, buy' mentality is what needs to be changed. We will create green industries at home. We will become more conscious of those in need. We all need to simplify and take care of each other. This morning I had a very calm feeling about the stock market and the sub-prime catastrophes. People who panicked, sold and lost. Those who were not ruled by false evidence appearing real (fear) were fine. I almost sold my stock, then meditated, and decided to sit still. My stock went up. Americans are powerfully resilient, industrious and innovative. Fearmongering will not take hold here. Obviously we cannot sustain a consumer society without bringing manufacturing jobs back here, but we should open our minds to embrace the train that has already left the station: globalization. There is no turning back, so we better love our neighbors as ourselves. Including some of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is an amazing place. Do not be in fear of "the other." Anyway, when you keep your heart on the spiritual values of life —— love, charity, truth, empathy, generosity — you really know what's important. My family could live in a one bedroom shack and still be happy because we finally have our values in the right place: love, friendships, family... and dogs.

Something Good Always Comes of Bad

Even the severed branch 
grows again.

And the sunken moon

Wise men who know this

Are not troubled in adversity.


Google Commits 25M Toward Global Warming, Poverty, and Disease

Google's philanthropic arm on Thursday said it is taking aim at global warming, poverty, and pandemics with millions in cash and the Internet giant's global resources. They chose five of the world's ills and crafted core initiatives to best match Google's strengths .

In Abu Dhabi Green Visionaries Unveil Plan for World’s First Carbon-Neutral, Waste-Free, Car-Free City
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is awash in profitable oil reserves yet pouring billions into renewable- and sustainable-energy technologies to build the world's first zero-emission city, "a metropolis that emits not a single extra molecule of carbon dioxide -- the cause of global warming". Abu Dhabi's green ambitions extend well beyond the construction of a city for 50,000 residents using no cars and lots of solar energy...

Johnny Depp Donates $2M to Children's Hospital
Talk about generous... Johnny Depp paid a secret visit to London's Great Ormond Street Children's hospital on Sunday - and donated $2 million of his own money. GOOD NEWS NETWORK.ORG

'Black Billy Elliot' Pirouettes Past South African Prejudices
His chosen vocation ridiculed by peers and elders alike, a South African teenager remains unwavering in his ambition to become a world-class ballet dancer.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. courtesy of TomCat at one of my favorite blogs POLITICS PLUS

Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read "Vietnam." It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that "America will be" are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1954.* And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances.

But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men-for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

The FBI began wiretapping King in 1961, fearing that Communists were trying to infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, but when no such evidence emerged, the bureau used the incidental details caught on tape over six years in attempts to force King out of the preeminent leadership position.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. He was assassinated in 1968.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Melba Pattillo Beals

When I first met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in fall of 1957, I was immediately struck by the deep stillness he projected. I will never forget his posture as he entered the room, slowly, majestically, with eyes that seemed to absorb everything. I had read about this great man, seen his picture in the newspaper, and had often heard the adults talking about him.

At the time, I was 15 years old, and was one of nine African-American teenagers whose safety was in jeopardy because we were on the front lines of a civil rights struggle Dr. King had helped to start. We nine Arkansas teenagers were stuck in the civil rights struggle to integrate schools. We were caught amid a firestorm of controversy among states’ rights advocates, gun-toting segregationists, and proponents of the supremacy of federal law.

Dr. King had come to this secret meeting of NAACP leaders gathered to discuss how to keep us—the “Little Rock Nine,” as we were called—alive in the face of mounting violence.

We were in the deep throes of learning what it means to take a nonviolent stand. We had become the instruments in a legal challenge to desegregate Little Rock Central High School. This was following the United States Supreme Court decision that “separate is not equal” (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954).

After a long silence, he began to speak.

During that meeting, as Dr. King continued to look at all of us with his probing gaze, he moved slowly, as though there was no rush. When he took his seat, he continued to look around with purpose, his laser-like eyes landing on each of our faces. During these long minutes, which to me seemed to collect into an hour, he said nothing. I could even hear him breathe softly. By virtue of his presence—so still, so silent—every one of the folks in the room, some 15 adults and teenagers, also fell silent. We were compelled to give him our undivided attention. Finally, after a long silence, he began to speak.

Dr. King’s words were slow and melodic. At the beginning, I was eager to speed him up, to have him give some advice that would somehow rescue me from the hard place in which I found myself. The daily physical and verbal barrage I faced as we tried to desegregate the high school had made me more frightened than I had ever been before. I had begun to realize the truth of my situation—the possibility that I could die at the hands of white segregationists who would rather see me dead than sitting beside their children in a classroom setting they had claimed exclusively as theirs for generations.

I had never before been forced to take stock of myself in this way. I’d always known that my only salvation was my faith in God. But now, the child in me wanted human rescue. I wanted Dr. King to say the words that would ease my pain and restore my innocence. Over and over again my grandmother India, and my mother, Lois, had always told me: “God is your only protection. God is your life.”

I felt I had no right to turn back.

During the course of this conversation with Dr. King, I mostly listened, hoping that somehow he had the words that would magically free me from my commitment to claim my civil rights. Yet, as he spoke, I felt his words and his presence thrusting me deeper into my commitment. He was so solidly grounded in the belief that all men, women, and children are equal and that they must demand to be treated as equals. In his presence, I couldn’t shrink into my personal fears. He was so totally unselfish, and exhibited such absolute faith in protection for those who do God’s will, I felt I had no right to turn back—to abandon my task.

“You are not doing this for yourself,” he said, “but for generations yet unborn.” Stunned by his words, I sat back in my chair and stopped my silent whining and complaining. I began to feel embarrassed that I had given in to my selfish feelings.

I wondered about this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of medium height, chocolate complexion like mine, and an almost ordinary appearance, except for his eyes and powerful carriage. What spiritual energy propelled him always forward? What did he know about God’s will that I had not yet learned?

I have survived, against all odds.

Now, 50 years after the Brown decision, and some 47 years after that meeting—just as I do at this time every year—I think more about Dr. King, about who he really was, and what he stood for. Just as he promised, I have survived, against all odds. I know it was the act of stopping to listen to God, as Dr. King also did, that sustained me. A line from the Bible—and one that Mary Baker Eddy also quotes in Science and Health—is that we must “pray without ceasing.” I know I am here today because of unceasing prayer, and from taking time to ponder God’s will for me.

In analyzing Dr. King’s journey, I remember the truism that action speaks louder than words. I cannot forget that he took so much time to look into my eyes, and into the eyes of everyone in that room. With that pause, he confirmed my value as a human being. He had taken time to acknowledge and value every human being in his presence. It made me feel so special for that moment. I wonder what the world would be like today if each of us took time to value other human beings as he did.

Dr. King’s manner compelled us all to stop and be reminded to listen for God’s direction, just as he was doing. The strength that enabled him to take action in support of his beliefs remains a universal stream from which others can draw so that they, too, can claim what has always been rightfully theirs—respect, equality, opportunity. It is a stream available to every human being.

Dr. King’s spirit lives on.

On January 15, 2004, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would have celebrated his 75th birthday. The human Dr. King has made his transition into a place beyond our limited understanding. And yet, more than 34 years after his departure, his prayers, thoughts, dreams, and philosophies, surround us. In this way, he is still with us. Dr. King’s spirit lives on with such vitality that it continues to churn and move and compel me to think about nonviolence, about giving personally, and achieving personal best. And above all else, about striving to be kind and loving no matter what the circumstance.

Dr. King lived a life that was a testimony to the uniqueness of God’s ideas. He grew up in a southern state where during his youth African-American people were not respected or listened to. In some cases, they were not even treated as human beings. Nevertheless, his father, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., embraced the written word, first in the Bible and then in great intellectual books. This love of learning would profoundly influence the development of his son.

As a young man, Dr. King, Jr., was already winning awards for his ability to influence others. It would be the spoken word, instead of violence, that he would use in his struggle for equal rights. His gift of words, prayer, and deep insight would help him chisel a mantle of nonviolence that would be the platform on which he built a movement. And this movement would change the course of American history and elevate the quality of the lives of millions of folks like me.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. I thank you.

(Reprinted from the January 19, 2004, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

TODAY ON BASHAM AND CORNELL: "Strength through peace" — not peace through strength. Presidential Contender Dennis Kucinich is our guest again today. Kucinich will discuss updates on the MSNBC debate exclusion fiasco. Also: Emmy Award Winning Actress & Edwards supporter Jean Smart.

If you're in Vegas for the Nevada caucus, you can listen live at 8 AM on KLAV 1230 AM or on the web at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

DAUGHTER DAY: CATE EDWARDS AND CHRISTINE PELOSI on our show today! If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives. The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

** NBC/GE WON THE RIGHT TO EXCLUDE KUCINICH FROM THE NEVADA DEBATE. The network won an emergency appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn the judge's decision to allow America to hear from Dennis Kucinich.

How can a network whose purpose is to serve the public interest have such power in destroying the democratic process?

WHY did NBC take such extreme measures to keep Kucinich from the debate? Does the network think it would be bad for the democratic process to have at least one candidate onstage who is against media monopolies, won the Gandhi Peace Award, never voted for the war, and is pro-environment? This is a travesty, an abomination and proves that network conglomerates do not have the public interest at heart.

Dennis Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977 on the promise to save the city’s municipally-owned electric system which offered customers significantly lower rates than the private utility. A year later, Cleveland’s banks demanded that he sell the city’s 70 year-old municipally-owned electric system to its private competitor (in which the banks had a financial interest) as a precondition of extending credit to the city.

The attempted political blackmail failed as did several assassination attempts. He remembered his parents counting out coins on the dresser and refused to sell the people’s power. In an incident unprecedented in modern American politics, the Cleveland banks plunged the city into default for a mere $15 million despite being offered triple collateral to protect the loan.

The principled stand destroyed his political career. He lost his reelection bid. He was demonized as the mayor who threw Cleveland into default. Fifteen years later, the citizens of Cleveland - recognizing he had saved them hundreds of millions of dollars in municipal power bills and also forced the private utility to keep bills low to compete – voted him into the Ohio Senate. His campaign signs featured a light bulb and the expression “Because he was right.” In 1998 the Cleveland City Council honored Dennis for “... having the courage and foresight to refuse to sell the city’s municipal electric system.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fear is 'false evidence appearing real.' Don't give "evil" any power by holding it in your thought. Do not worry or fear anything, no matter how bad things look.

We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality.

"As vapor melts before the sun, so evil would vanish before the reality of good. One must hide the other. How important, then, to choose good as the reality! God is love, infinity, freedom, harmony... This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness." - Mary Baker Eddy

I'm going to put up inspirational ideas every day from now on. Christine Pelosi is right: we need to inspire each other and stop spiraling down into so much fear about the economy, the war, the world.

We need to lift each other up and be the party of hope and inpsiration. We can be the party of light.


Arab Sitcom Becomes Surprise Hit in Israel

Every week in Israel, thousands of Jewish families open up their homes to an Arab family. The latter are only fictional characters — from the hit Israeli sitcom Arab Work — but still, many say this is a critical marker in (pop culture) history. (read more at: GOOD NEWS

Positive Radio Brings Calm to Tense Kenya Slum

Pamoja FM broadcasts African music, reggae, and hip-hop – as well as mellow encouragements to remain calm and nonviolent during the country's worst political crisis

Celebrating 800 Years of Rumi, Sufi Poet of Peace

"Rumi's poetry, originally written in Persian, has endured through the centuries, especially in the Islamic world. Christians, Muslims, and Jews gathered at a mausoleum to celebrate Rumi's poetry.

How The Bucket List Film May Change Your Life & Make You Happier

A corporate billionaire and a working class mechanic have nothing in common until they're forced to share a hospital room.

I am a big supporter of Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards and think they are the purest Progressives (although I love Obama, and think Hillary would be good too.) But outside of Kucinich, of the "Big Three" that were allowed to debate in Nevada this week, Edwards is David to Goliath. He represents the interests of American citizens with a carefully thought-out plan for restoring economic prosperity and handing it back to the middle class.

Items of Interest:

1. Fox News: We Report -- Even if We Know It's False
From Paul Begala at HuffPo: "After I told Fox yesterday that the story about me wasn't true -- and this is the surreal part -- they kept reporting it anyway. Fox's Garrett told me he'd "take it under advisement." Take it under advisement?"

2. Finally, Lee Iacocca, one of the most successful businessmen in the country, speaks with outrage and says what we have been saying all along. This essay is long overdue. Please scroll down and read it and then decide which candidate should be the next President of the United States and Leader of the Free World. But first these photos...

I was researching the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in southwest Cambodia, built by the vanished Khmer empire. I am obsessed with archaeology and the sacred sites of the world. The strange beauty of these pictures haunts me on several levels.

The roots of the iconic tree wrapped around the Temple of Ta Prohm, seem a fitting metaphor for the Bush Dynasty's parasitic grasp on our fragile democracy. (You know, elitism with its claws in our constitution.) All this came to mind because our guest on Friday's show was Jill Derby, the Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party. She had traveled to Cambodia in the early 70's when these temples were relatively untouched by tourism.

Below are the "Heads of Kings and Buddahs." The ancient Khmer regime mixed religion with politics as if they were one and the same. (Photo credit: Linkinn Angkor Wat)


Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.
I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out! - Lee Iacocca

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
By Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman? There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?

The Test of a Leader

I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine points—not ten (I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses). I call them the "Nine Cs of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely.

So, here's my C list:

A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the "Yes, sir" crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. "I just scan the headlines," he says. Am I hearing this right? He's the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter." Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he's ready to go.

If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn't put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he's right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don't care. Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn't listen to the polls. Yeah, that's what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a "thumping" on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn't listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right.

A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping. There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President—the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. "The President was serene," Joe recalled. "He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. 'Mr. President,' I finally said, 'how can you be so sure when you don't yet know all the facts?'" Bush then reached over and put a steadying hand on Joe's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts." Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." Joe Biden sure didn't think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn't.

Leadership is all about managing change—whether you're leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School.

A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I'm not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I'm talking about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current administration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I don't know if it's denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while. Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it's painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn't cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we've stopped listening to him.

A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths—for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he's tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy.

A leader must have COURAGE. I'm talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.

If you're a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. Bush can't even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized. He did a series of so-called town hall meetings last year, in auditoriums packed with his most devoted fans. The questions were all softballs.

To be a leader you've got to have CONVICTION—a fire in your belly. You've got to have passion. You've got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President—four hundred and counting. He'd rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake.

There's more in Iacocca's new book.

If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, Valerie Plame, Lou Dobbs, Helen Thomas, Christine Crier, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Patrick Henry wrote, "Give me liberty or give me death." New Hampshire's motto is "Live free or die." What could be more apt today? The Granite State can be very contrary. Today they surprised everyone, mainly the pollsters. Clinton ended her speech with my favorite line: Government must be of the People, by the People, for the People.

Was it the tears? In New Hampshire women came out to vote for Hillary: CLINTON WINS, OBAMA a close second, EDWARDS third.

Tomorrow, Wednesday January 9, Gail Sacco and Becky Isais will be our guests. Gail Sacco is a tireless advocate for the homeless, who faces a year and a half in jail and three thousand dollars in fines for sharing food with indigent people in a city "public" park without a permit that is unattainable. If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, Valerie Plame, Lou Dobbs, Helen Thomas, Christine Crier, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

MORE ON Gail Sacco and Becky Isais: Gail is a retired restaurant owner and has been a resident of Las Vegas since 1988. Almost everyday she shares hot vegetarian and vegan meals to homeless, the working poor, those in poverty, and anyone who is hungry at Frank Wright Plaza, Jaycee Park, Baker Park, side streets, empty lots, and wherever she is needed. She also helps them apply for jobs, birth certificates, identification, health cards, and housing.

Becky Isais is a mother first, wife second, and third, a person with an insanely loud conscious. She was born in 1975 to politically conscious parents, and has been fighting the good fight “Since I was a fetus.” She says, “I grew up in a politically/crazy family.”

Her last demonstration was with her Dad in 1993 protesting N.A.F.T.A. She is a political nerd as has worked on many campaigns - currently - Mike Gravel For President. She has always been involved in helping the homeless, and she shares food every Sunday at 4th & Stewart inside Frank Wright Plaza. Becky sees a huge need for justice and civil liberty in Las Vegas.

We also expect to be joined by a representative from “Circle of Friends for American Veterans,” an organization dedicated to influencing public opinion and affecting public policy in support of homeless veterans. Since 1993, they have worked with veterans and homeless groups, policymakers at the local, state and national levels, foundations and corporate partners, as well as individual supporters to address the plight of veterans left homeless and secure the help they need.

Between December 27th, 2007 and February 8th, 2008 the Circle of Friends for American Veterans will sponsor ten, rip-roaring city rallies to raise awareness of the problem of and solutions for veterans' homelessness and the urgent needs of our returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. They will be here in Las Vegas Wednesday January 9, and will be holding a rally at the American Legion, Post #8, it's located at 733 Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Las Vegas. The event starts at 7 p.m.

"LIVE FREE OR DIE" in light of Bush's "unitary executive" power grab, his undermining of the FISA law — which resulted in the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens?

Thursday, January 03, 2008



Obama's win is GREAT NEWS! It means we have embraced a more international candidate who has humility and substance. Obama is a U.S. constitutional scholar and a purist. He would be able to personally communicate with the most provocative nations in the middle east because he is a good listener, has sound principles and a name they can identify with. He would do more good for world peace by his open demeanor. Domestically, I think he'd carefully weigh each bill that came to him, untainted by special interests.

I am also happy that John Edwards came in second. But what happened to Kucinich, the other purist whom we love?

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED! ABC is cutting Kucinich from it's debate tonight in New Hampshire.

KUCINICH SUES By Kevin Tillman, AlterNet.

This is madness. Judging by what I'm reading today, the primaries are all wrapped up. Apparently, 300,000 mostly white, largely rural Iowans will decide our choices for president.

And Ron Paul, with $20 million bucks raised in a quarter, 10 percent of the Iowa vote and a legion of loyal fans, isn't being allowed to debate on Fox News in New Hampshire. ABC is cutting Kucinich, Gravel and Repub Duncan Hunter from it's debate. But this might be the most annoying bit of BS out of all of it.

AP: Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, along with supporter Willie Nelson, have filed a lawsuit to get Kucinich on the ballot in Texas after they say the Texas Democratic Party rejected his application.

The civil lawsuit was delivered late Wednesday afternoon to U.S. District Court for the Western District of the United States, Kucinich spokesman Andy Juniewicz said late Wednesday evening.

The lawsuit says that Kucinich was informed by the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday that his application was "defective" because he crossed out a loyalty oath in the application that said he would swear to support whoever the Democratic nominee for president might be.


EDWARDS RECONSIDERED By Norman Solomon, AlterNet

John Edwards was the most improved presidential candidate of 2007. He sharpened his attacks on corporate power and honed his calls for economic justice. He laid down a clear position against nuclear power. He explicitly challenged the power of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical giants.

And he improved his position on Iraq to the point that, in an interview with the New York Times a couple of days ago, he said: "The continued occupation of Iraq undermines everything America has to do to reestablish ourselves as a country that should be followed, that should be a leader." Later in the interview, Edwards added: "I would plan to have all combat troops out of Iraq at the end of nine to ten months, certainly within the first year."

Now, apparently, Edwards is one of three people with a chance to become the Democratic presidential nominee this year. If so, he would be the most progressive Democrat to top the national ticket in more than half a century.

The main causes of John Edwards' biggest problems with the media establishment have been tied in with his firm stands for economic justice instead of corporate power.

Weeks ago, when the Gannett-chain-owned Des Moines Register opted to endorse Hillary Clinton this time around, the newspaper's editorial threw down the corporate gauntlet: "Edwards was our pick for the 2004 nomination. But this is a different race, with different candidates. We too seldom saw the positive, optimistic campaign we found appealing in 2004. His harsh anti-corporate rhetoric would make it difficult to work with the business community to forge change."

Many in big media have soured on Edwards and his "harsh anti-corporate rhetoric." As a result, we're now in the midst of a classic conflict between corporate media sensibilities and grassroots left-leaning populism.

On Wednesday, Edwards launched a TV ad in New Hampshire with him saying at a rally: "Corporate greed has infiltrated everything that's happening in this democracy. It's time for us to say, 'We're not going to let our children's future be stolen by these people.' I have never taken a dime from a Washington lobbyist or a special interest PAC and I'm proud of that."

We will be doing an analysis on our show this morning. If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.


From Blogger Christopher:
Personally, what last night meant for me is the beginning of the end of the Bush nightmare and the beginning of a new America.

Think of it:
1. The first black president of the Harvard Law Review is poised to become the first black president of the United States
2. Barack Obama, defied the pundits and the polls who just last summer said Hillary Clinton was unstoppable
3. Barack Obama carried the youth vote (17 to 30) by 57%
4. the Iowa Caucus proves that retail politics are alive and well and vital in the USA
5. last night's Obama victory proved the desire for change -- real change, is greater than the desire for experience
7. the international media, from La Republicca, to the Sydney Morning Herald, to the Times of London, to the Times of India, is reporting the USA is again open for business as voters reject the path the Idiot Bush has taken us down these past 7 years

Now, onward to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina!

clif said...
Obama carried the under 30 womens vote, which means Shillery doesn't resonate as well with them as she thought. It might be the next generational passing of the torch, like 1960 and 1992 were.

A post boomer president.

My son's father is an Emmy Award-winning writer on the Late Show with David Letterman and we are so pleased that he is back at work. He is a brilliant comedy writer who wrote the Johnny Carson show, many films like the original "Bad Boys" and now writes Letterman's monologue, Top Ten List in collaboration with the other gifted scribes. Kudos to Letterman for standing up for the writers.

WALK THROUGH THE CAUCUS PROCESS: If you missed the Basham and Cornell show yesterday, check out our audio archives. Yesterday we had John Hunt, Chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party walking us through the caucus process. Nevada is third in line, on January 19, after New Hampshire. Hunt, a decorated veteran, has a son on his third tour of duty in Iraq.

Then at 8:30, we were joined by Jennifer Palmieri, the Senior Vice President for Communications at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining the Center, she was the National Press Secretary for the 2004 Edwards for President campaign. She was the National Press Secretary for the DNC during the 2002 election cycle, and she's an eight year veteran of the Clinton White House.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk