Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Come home safe, and soon

Our Fair State's National Guard 1150th Assault Helicopter Battalion is being deployed, first for training, then for Iraq. For many this is their second tour overseas.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I wonder what the aliens thought

Pictures of the Inauguration- from space- at Stephen Shankland's Underexposed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He spoke to me

In speaking about terrorism, President Obama* spoke about me. Didja hear him? Listen:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

Catch that one word? "Nonbelievers."

He included me.

I'm not used to that. For once, those of us who don't believe in religion were included when talking about Our Fair Country. I heard some pundit on the radio today saying it was the first time that nonbelievers had been mentioned in any major presidential address- I'm unsure of the accuracy of that statement, but it certainly is exceedingly rare.

I cried along with everyone else when I watch the inauguration. I shook with anticipation for where our country can, and will, go. I beamed with pride and made sure the children saw the speech. But I never expected to be included in it in any way; I expected the usual "With God's help" and "God Bless America" only. Of course that was there, because President Obama is a man of faith and most of Our Fair Country has some measure of belief or religious identification.- but he acknowledged that I'm part of America, too.

Our country is truly a more inclusive place today.

* I don't know if I'll ever tire of this phrase. President Obama, President Obama, President Barack Hussein Obama.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

CNN ran the film of Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech today at noon. The whole family sat down to watch it together. (One of those teaching moments that you can't miss when they come.) Youngest asked if there were white people there that day- apparently, even though the crowd shots clearly showed faces of all colors, it's hard to tell the difference in B&W.

I kinda hope that we can see past the color differences in other ways, too.

"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!""

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Flashback: January 17, 2001: The Onion

Remember the last time we got a new president? Let's walk down memory lane, Onion-style.

"Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Over"

... Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"
On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.
Continued Bush: "John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."
"After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012," Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. "That's not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in."

Last night, at a gathering of friends, someone remembered this Onion article and read it out loud for us. We definitely laughed, but by the end, we were silent, knowing how it all turned out. The foresight of the Onion's editorial staff- and many Americans, by the way- was pretty impressive.

It's so time for a new day in America.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Added a widget

I just added the Goodreads widget on the sidebar. If you're on Goodreads, let me know and we'll hook up there.

I'm also on Shelfari, but folks don't seem to be updating that one as much- however, drop me a note if you want to compare notes there, instead.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We need our libraries more than ever

Folks are flocking to the library, a cozy place to find a job:

A few years ago, public libraries were being written off as goners. The Internet had made them irrelevant, the argument went. But libraries across the country are reporting jumps in attendance of as much as 65% over the past year, as newly unemployed people flock to branches to fill out résumés and scan ads for job listings.
Other recession-weary patrons are turning to libraries for cheap entertainment -- killing time with the free computers, video rentals and, of course, books.

Free internet. Free/cheap DVD borrowing. Free book borrowing. Free help from librarians who really want to help. What's not to love?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

One step forward, one step back

In less than two weeks, the country- the whole world- will witness the inauguration of the first non-white president of these United States. This historic event is a huge step forward.

Here, in Our Fair State, we took one step back recently:
A Gloucester County mayor who reported death threats and racist vandalism during his two years in office has declined to serve another year.
Charles Tyson will remain on the South Harrison Township council, which chooses a mayor each year. But Tyson said he doesn't want to put his family through more threats.
The 66-year-old retired computer technician says he received a dozen threatening calls and several e-mails calling him a 'dead man' and using a racist epithet. His tires were also slashed and "KKK" was written on a campaign sign on his lawn.

We mentioned his story a while back. It's horrible that someone fears for his family because of their race. Especially in this day and age.

Especially on this day.