Saturday, July 26, 2008

R.I.P Valjean

Valerie Jean McLenighan, a friend from college
and later years, died from lung cancer and her
ashes were buried yesterday in Chicago. Among
many reasons I have to remember her, she was the first
person to tell me about Barack Obama. This photo
is from her last trip, to Mexico this spring. She
had a wonderful and devoted circle of friends in
Chicago who took good care of her since she was
diagnosed in December. She will live in many
memories. May she rest in peace. (More at Blue Voice.)Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama in Paris

With Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France. Obama
ends his overseas trip with meetings in London with
former Prime Minister and now Middle East envoy
Tony Blair, current PM Gordon Brown, and Conservative
leader and likely PM candidate, David Cameron. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama in Berlin

Posted by Picasa

A President of Peace

The hot air networks will isolate soundbites and applause lines, the wire services will emphasize Obama's call for a united front against terrorism, especially in Afghanistan. But Barack Obama's speech today before a quarter of a million Europeans--some who came from Poland and the Netherlands and across Europe to Berlin to hear him--was a call for a greater unity, for a world united to foster equality, freedom and peace.

He used the Berlin airlift of 1948 as his central metaphor--the moment, so soon after the horrific bombings that turned many cities in Europe and Japan into literal holocausts--that wave upon wave of American airplanes dropped not bombs but food, to sustain the people of West Berlin.

He used the partnership of the U.S. and Germany that began after World War II and has survived for 60 years as a symbol of the partnerships that has transformed the continent which plunged the world into war twice in the 20th century into a peaceful Union, the United States of Europe that dreamers like novelist James Joyce hoped for. He used this Union as a symbol for a partnership of peoples around the world, that dreamers like H. G. Wells advocated as the only means that humankind would survive and prosper on this planet. While Obama spoke of his pride in being an American, and of America ideals as a model for the world, he did not shrink from calling himself a citizen of the world.

He spoke of our planetary crises, that bind our fates together and therefore should bring us together in peaceful resolution: nuclear weapons proliferation, and the Climate Crisis.

And from across the Atlantic, we could hear the chants in Berlin: Yes, we can.

So in testimony to this wisdom and eloquence, here are parts of Obama's speech in Berlin today that you may not see highlighted anywhere else.

"Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more - not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations - including my own - will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust - not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here - what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time. "

Update: For further analysis of this speech and a link to video and transcript, hop over to American Dash.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama in Israel and Palestine

Barack Obama at the Holocaust Memorial in Israel.
Third photo is a Palestinian baker preparing a pastry to mark Obama's visit there later in the day.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

“To think at all about certain questions was an act of rebellion that sent one oscillating between the furtive and the defiant.”

H.G. Wells: "In the Days of the Comet"

Barack in Iraq

Barack Obama met with Iraqi officials (first photo) and Iraqi President Maliki (second photo) on Monday, where all agreed that the U.S. occupation should end in 2010.
Posted by Picasa

America Wants Government to Act

With 85% of Americans telling pollsters the country is going the wrong way, and only 21% in a poll released yesterday pleased with the particular kind of activist government the Bushites are running, perhaps it's time to pay attention to these big numbers, instead of the Big Lie, that all Americans really want from their elected government is as little as possible.

For according to a recent Rockerfeller Foundation/ Time Magazine poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans wants government to institute new programs to send the country in a new direction, in a big way. Specifically:

84% favor higher tax incentives for alternative energy, such as wind and solar power, and mandatory limits on pollution in the atmosphere.

82% want government to increase spending on programs such as FDR-style public works to create jobs.

77% want to increase government programs to provide health care insurance to those who can't afford it.

83% favor increasing the mandatory minimum wage to keep up with increases in the cost of living.

66% favor government-funded child care for working parents.

70% say more government programs--not fewer--should help those struggling in today's economy.

17% approve of the Bushite approach to the economy.

Sounds like change we can believe in.

Hat tip to Rachel Maddow for highlighting this poll on Countdown Monday.