Tag Archives: President Obama

Picture of the Day

obama

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Watching and Listening to Your Leader

I was listening to the news around the G20 on the radio yesterday and I thought, as I have several times in the last month, about how I have an urge for news these days–not just news–but the voice of our President.  I thought about my parents’ stories of their parents sitting by the radio listening to FDR, and them sitting by the radio as teenagers listening to JFK, and I couldn’t believe that I was finally experiencing something akin to that–the urge to hear a leader’s voice, just because of who he is. 

It doesn’t matter to me that the news media and citizens are already critical of him, his appointments, or his policies on foreign diplomacy.  BHO has leap frogged all that because of what he symbolizes to me and so many others.  

I love this video.  Not sure why–the absence of sound?  (here’s the link–I can’t get it to embed arg!) 

I know Clinton is known as the charismatic one, but frankly his voice always sounds a little lecherous.  

Looking forward to eight years sitting by the fire and the radio listening intently.

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White House Council on Women and Girls

President Obama’s creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls is an extraordinary and symbolic move.

Similar to many other civil rights causes, our populace seems to think the Women’s Movement was a static period in history that came, saw, conquered and left to safely reside in history books.  People often cite the number of women who graduate from college to support their claims that nothing more needs to be done to address the issue of women’s rights.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Without economic equality and independence, suffrage and the right to go braless means little.  As even opponents of women’s rights will concede, women simply make less money.  But why?

An anecdote:

revroad

In a conversation with a friend last weekend about “Revolutionary Road,” the issue of the “Lady Macbeth effect” came up, and we agreed that the Shakespearean stereotype still haunts many a loving marriage (ironically Michelle Obama has been compared to Lady Macbeth recently too, both by her supporters and detractors).  Our conversation turned to the state of our respective marriages (from my perspective as a wife, and his as a husband) and those of our same-age friends.  The issues of economic inequality, or lack thereof, were impossible to ignore.  We could not pinpoint males and females who worked the same job and earned different pay, but we did notice many male and female peers in the same industry, in similar “level” positions, and wondered whether their pay was actually equal, or at least equitable, regardless of their gender.  Through a Google search, I found this interesting aggregation of various statistics and data, that might present a somewhat balanced view of the matter.  It also defines the different  and useful ways salary inequalities can be analyzed. 

Salary isn’t the only issue.  And with tabloid news swirling around Rihanna and Chris Brown, it is time more now than ever to ensure that our children are explicitly taught the importance of gender equality.  Might is not right. 

An executive order is not enough.  I like Sarah Granger’s perspective at the Huffington Post.  A council is a good start, but to make change we need an action plan.  What issues will the Council take on, and how will it take action on these issues? 

Here’s to a good start.

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What I’ve been reading at nytimes.com this week

I can’t wait to read the Vena Cava blog.

I love Brussels sprouts.

The more I think about it, the more upset I am about this.

I’m so glad this is not my life.

The achievement gap is even wider between high-income high-achieving whites and high-income high-achieving blacks.

Let’s get more in-depth about how the stimulus will help schools that serve low-income students.  This is a start.

The sketchy 7-5 keeping another innocent man behind bars.  Justice is a joke. 

evertonwagstaffe1

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Flowering Fruit Trees

I’ve been reveling in the warmth of the past two weeks.  So too have our fruit trees apparently.  SF Citizen reports on the early flowering of our fruit trees due to the unseasonable weather.  More evidence is available all over Rockridge.  Here’s one early bloomer on Lawton en route to College Avenue:

cherry

It’s hard to know whether to be happy or terrified by the onslaught of pink blossoms.  

Perhaps in Obama’s high profile first 100 days he could ratify the Kyoto Protocols.  I didn’t see this speech, but the rest of the world took note.    

Here’s to a summer of serious water rationing in California.  Plant some lavender.  

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Thoughts On Civil Rights

As you’ve noticed, MLK Day and President Obama’s inauguration have given me pause to reflect on the state of civil rights in our country.  Today I heard an interesting perspective and some disturbing facts regarding the subprime mortgage market crash and the affects it has had on black homeowners.  The report comes from commentator Amelia Tyagi on American Public Media’s Marketplace:

 

Amid hope, black homeowners struggle

As African Americans celebrate President Obama’s inauguration, a disproportionate number of them are struggling to avoid foreclosures on their homes. Commentator Amelia Tyagi says we should examine the practices that led many of them into this situation.

 

Listen to the January 20, 2009 Marketplace here or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.  Tyagi’s piece appears at approximately the 14:42 mark.  

African Americans are two and a half times more likely to be in foreclosure than their white counterparts.  

Early in the 2008 race for the presidency, prior to Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s speeches on race, I was very concerned that we would have a popular black leader who only wanted everyone to forget that he is black.  My fears were in error.  Yet I don’t expect President Obama to be a civil rights leader.  I expect him to support a fight for expanded civil rights, I expect him to facilitate the movement, but not to lead it.  President Obama, a popularly elected executive of a democratic republic must unite.  Like he has said, his task is diplomacy, and appropriately so.

Now, as the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King urged us in “A Realistic Look at the Question of Progress in the Area of Race Relations,” we must celebrate our progress, but we must also never be satisfied with less than the total equality that we all share in God’s eyes.  

We need leaders to lead this fight; a fight that must take place in order for true equality to be achieved.  To fuel our mission we need writers to write these stories.  We need people to talk about the fight for civil rights that is happening now.  We need take the issue of civil rights out of history books (as if it were some static era that sprang up and then disappeared)  and put it back where it belongs–in 2009.

President Obama, will you help us?  

Let’s take the responsibility, let’s do our part.  We have a president who’ll support us if we make this our issue.  Let’s take this opportunity.

“…nobody thinks of [the foreclosures on black homeowners] as a civil rights issue, but maybe they should.”

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