Friday, January 30, 2009

Blago Has Left the Building

Governor Rod Blagojevich offered a passionate closing defense yesterday to the Illinois Senate at his impeachment trial. But, the senate voted unanimously to removed him from office. He is also banned from any political Illinois office and will lose his gubernatorial pension.
Blagojevich declared again that he has done nothing wrong. That we all know how things get done in politics. That most of the official complaints against him happened during his first term, yet he was re-elected. That sometimes he may get over zealous in getting things done for the people and that he gets impatient with the slow wheels of the legislature. That most of the things he wanted to get done were "for the children" and "for the seniors". How can they impeach him for that.

Mr. Blagojevich made some valid points about the state senate impeachment process. The rules do seem vague and arbitrary and the burdon of proof is wherever they want it. Whether or not he deserves to be removed, I'm leery of the process. I was also when Bill Clinton was impeached.

The governor talked about his humble beginnings and his wanting to make things easier for people like his hard working parents. Wanting to make sure every child has good health insurance. He did that. Every child in Illinois has health insurance.
Actually, Rod Blagojevich was a champion of the people in many ways. When there wasn't money for some project, Blago made it happen anyway. To this guy the ends do justify the means. And it seemed usually those means include something in it for him. That's the problem with Blago. Personally, I doubt if this guy ever did one thing without weighing what's in it for him. He is a user. He knew how to pull off the big showy coups and be the champion and fill his coffers. He knew how to use a senior citizen or child as a shield to his shenanigans and for his benefit.

You ever been afraid to take a favor or a gift from someone? You know, you say ummmm thanks... while waiting or wondering what it's gonna cost you.
Quick example.
Blagojevich worked his magic and got free public transportation for seniors. Yayyy!! What a guy! Now this happened during a time when the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) was so strapped for money it was threatneing to shut down. The Illinois legislature worked hard to come up with the money to keep it going. When in the eleventh hour, Blago says he will only go along with their solution if seniors get to ride FREE. Huh? Some seniors even balked at this. But mostly the old folks loved him. It may cost between $8 and $16 a day to get to work for everybody else, but hey.
Beware Blago bearing gifts.

The whole selling of the president's senate seat didn't really enter into the offical impeachment. We will hear more about that during the Blagojevich criminal trial. I'm not sure I'd like to see him go to jail. He kind of worries me. I remember when he took office as such a haughty young man with a serious Elvis complex. Unusual for a governor, he didn't work or live in Springfield, the state capital. He lived in Chicago and rarely went in to his office, working mostly from his home. Perhaps a safe environment for making all those phone calls, or so he thought.
Many have said that he is delusional, that he has ideas of grandeur. Now, his new reality sets in. He's not only just another unemployed young man with a family, but he's also disgraced and a national joke.
But, people have turned worse situations around. I wish the same for Rod Blagojevich.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Beautiful Day!

January 20, 2009
It was snowing like crazy this morning. But, as sick of winter as we all are in Chicago, the snowfall today was the feathery fluffy billowy kind of snowflakes that makes everything sparkle. People were saying how beautiful it is.

It was reportedly freezing on the national mall today between the Lincoln and Washington Monuments, but that million plus crowd didn't let that deter them from coming together witnessing and celebrating.

I have to admit I cried buckets today watching the first African American become President of the United States of America. President Barack Hussein Obama. How 'bout that!
I always knew this could happen but I suppose right up to this morning, I didn't believe it ever would happen.

"We remain a young nation" the new president said to us today, but
"in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."
So enough with the silly partisan bickering and divisive prejudices. Time to get down to the business of restoring America as a world leader. Time to talk and act like a grown-up to friends and enemies. Time to think beyond ourselves personally and nationally. Time to step up like only Americans can.

Despite the problems we have going, isn't this an exciting time?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Eve

Tomorrow is so special on so many levels that it is overwhelming to me. Today I saw Americans celebrating Martin Luther King Day by doing community service. All over the nation the atmosphere seems electric with participation and patriotism and pride. How 'bout that? Amazing and wonderful. Today Americans were encouraged to make a pledge of service to bring about a nationwide change. Pledges of planting trees, of being better parents, or better friends or better listeners. All kinds of pledges by all ages.
Monica and I for years have talked of noticing a scary disconnection going on in America. We saw disconnections within families, at work, and as a society. One of the most important strengths we saw in Barack Obama's candidacy was that he recognized and addressed that disconnection. Today, I saw the promise of Americans reconnecting to each other. I can't wait until tomorrow.

An Ode to Tomorrow
Eugene Jarecki
Posted January 19, 2009 02:11 PM (EST)

Though the future is yet unknowable, let us for a moment imagine that when we wake tomorrow it will be a new day in America.

Let us appreciate the poetry that once upon a time, a one-term congressman from Illinois became President of the United States and freed four million African slaves and, 145 years later, an African American first-term senator from Illinois - borne not of the rapacious legacy of that compulsory migration but rather of a voluntary choice by two adults - should become President of that same land.

Let us imagine that a nation once built on the scarred backs of black Africans could, in arguably her darkest hour since, be rescued by the son of a Kenyan exchange student and a white American woman from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Let us imagine that that man and woman could have met and married amid the sweltering heat of Jim Crow America and, just two weeks before the courageous freedom rides of 1961, produced a child whose very birth would seem a hopeful reminder of America's long-deferred promises - of racial harmony, of social courage, and of the power of love to free us from the shackles of our self-annihilating prejudice.

Let us imagine still that that young child should, through hard work and self-acknowledged providence, have become the figure of serenity, fortitude, vision, and grace who has stood before us for 23 long months and kept his dignity.

Let us imagine that beside that graceful man has walked his true and intrepid partner, co-parent of two confident and glowing children, who likewise has conducted herself with poise, substance, and candor -- cognizant of yet unspoiled by the toxic air of Washington.

Let us imagine that, opposite them, an opportunistic campaign of division, viciousness and ideological bankruptcy was overcome by one of decency and depth -- that an effort to appeal to our lesser selves, to that in us which is divisible, was defeated by one that appealed to the best in us, to that which is indivisible.

Let us, though, not be fooled.

Let us not allow ourselves to be lulled into false comfort.

Let us go to sleep tonight and luxuriate, yes, in one night of hopeful rest.

And let us in those hours of sleep not plumb the darkness of the cynicism and doubt that have become a national affliction.

Let us sleep not with anger but in peace, secure in the hope that our hope shall endure and even prevail.

Yet let us wake tomorrow more vigilant than ever to ensure that the new day upon us shall not become the elusive phantom of a dream.

Let us commit ourselves - each of us individually and in concert -- to whatever it will take in time, energy, and resources to demand that promises made along the way will be kept and that compromises struck will be weighed against the greater gravity of the challenges we face and, if judged inappropriate to the moment, be replaced by enterprises of greater courage.

Let us not forget that today's triumph can become tomorrow's loss if the battle won dulls our resolve to fight the larger war - a war not of bombs, machines, hubris, corruption, and shortsightedness (we've done all that) but rather one of souls, humanity, decency, justice, and, longevity.

Let us recognize that no single man -- no matter how talented or well-intentioned -- can possibly be a substitute for the much-needed chorus of a democracy.

Let us recognize that for that man to fulfill his promise to realize the kind of change we seek -- in the care of our bodies, our minds, our children, our planet, our streets, our livelihoods, and our security -- that we ourselves must be the agents of such change, whose unrelenting commitment to fundamental reform will be needed to give him the fortitude to battle the disfiguring forces of Washington.

Let us not forget:

a government not of men but of laws,

a government of separated powers not arrogant ones,

a government of checks and balances honored not suspended,
and finally,
a nation that is ever a work-in-progress, at her best when she recognizes and seeks to mend her frailties and at her worst when she denies them.

Let us not forget that, without accountability for the trespasses of recent years -- the errors and wrongdoings that have cost tens of thousands of lives and shattered millions more -- there is insufficient motivation for real and systemic change.

But of course, there will be time for all this.

For now, let us join with those around us in jubilation, with family, friend, and stranger alike, and commit ourselves that we shall all meet again -- daily, weekly, in whatever ways our waking moments allow -- to build the community, nation, and world we seek.

A Long Way, Martin

But, we should never forget signs like these graced American roadways.

Martin L. King arrested for loitering, 1958.

Norman Rockwell- Bridges

Six year old Ruby Bridges on her first day of school accompanied by Federal Marshals, in New Orleans LA, 1960

James Meredith registers at "Ole Miss" U in 1962, escorted by U.S. Marshalls.

Civil rights marchers hosed down in Birmingham, 1963.

Civil Rights Act signed, 1964.

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
-MLK- April 3, 1968

Dr. King knew this would come. I believe he knew.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goodbye Mr. Bush. Let the door knob..... And, take yo mamma....

President George Walker Bush will soon be ex-prez Bush 43 and not a moment too soon. He's had his final press conference and he's given his farewll address.
My fellow Americans, this man still doesn't get it.
He never got it. He's still defending his war, expressing disappointment that weapons of mass destruction weren't found. Oopsie. Well, Saddam was a bad guy so what's the diff.
He still doesn't get that what happened with Katrina was horrific. We saved folks on the roof tops, he said. How very white of you. It took four days to respond and then dumped the citizens in a stadium with no water or food or medical care to say the least. That whole Katrina thing broke my heart and opened my eyes to a lot. Oh, and I hope we never have to see his old mamma ever again either because she is just plain igorant. Her many thoughtful responses over the years were proof of that. She is one mean, nasty piece of work. Good Bye! Good Bye! Good Bye!!!!!
Now it's time to celebrate the end of the Bush's.

Goodbye Mr. President
Mem Shannon performing
Everybody clap yo hands and sing along!
Yeah, take some time to clap your hands and snap your fingers and dance a little bit. Shake that thang yall! Bush is heading for the door. Hail To the Chief never sounded so good!

So get up offa that thang and dance,
cuz America's gonna be betta!
Just get up offa that thang....

There's nothing like the blues to bring it on home
So join America in singing this song
Goodbye Mr. Dubya, so glad you're gone

Feel free to sing your own verses. I have plenty. : )

Hat tip to Teddi Ayers

Monday, January 12, 2009

Award Season is Here

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented the 66th annual Golden Globes last night. The Globes, the biggest award leading up to the Oscars, also covers television shows.

I like to watch award shows because it keeps me in the know, ya know. There are new faces and old favorites too, what movies I need to catch before the Academy Awards, and which really good TV shows I've missed. Then try to find time to watch them.
I swear I've got to see HBO's John Adams, SOON! I love historical drama and with the brilliant Tom Wilkinson as Ben Franklin, this is a must see.

Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin won for best actors and 30 Rock won again for best TV comedy. Congrats to Tracey Morgan and the whole brilliant gang. (Btw, Alec Baldwin does a spot on impression of Tracey Morgan.)

The late Heath Ledger won for his brilliant Joker in The Dark Knight.

Mickey Rourke won for The Wrestler. How 'bout that!
I am so very happy for him! What an outfit, Mickey.

Kate Winslat wins two. Best Actress for Revolutianary Road and Best Supporting Actress for The Reader.

Slumdog Millionaire wins Best Picture with stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto and Danny Boyle directing the Indian drama. Gotta see this too.

For the complete dish of the Golden Globes from the champion disher, check out my girl Alex's take on the Globes.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mr. Obama goes to Washington

On Sunday, President-Elect Barack Obama arrived in our nation's capital and has temporarily moved into a hotel.
Malia and Sasha Obama start school today so they had to be in D.C., today.

Barack Obama is a neighborhood type guy. He likes walking around the hood, going to the barbershop and local restaurants and stores. It's the one thing he has said he dreads about being president. The isolation. He says he will gaurd against it, somehow. He dreads losing his Blackberry. He knows it's too easy to hack, but he hates losing that easy contact with people.

As he (Michelle and Sasha and Malia are already in D.C.) left his house for the airport, he was emotional. "I gotta say I choked up a little bit leaving my house today." I know he was thinking about going to order some Harold's Chicken or to Italian Fiesta Pizzaria for his favorite thin crust, spicy sauced pizza, or to Valois for breakfast and conversation. He said he'll hate having a barber come to him and will miss going to the barbershop. It's about more than just hair.

Obama talked about Malia's friend coming to the door on Saturday after his daughter had already left for Washington.
"Malia's friend had dropped off an album of the two of them together," Obama said Sunday. "They had been friends since pre-school, and I just looked through the pages, and the house was empty, and it was a little tough -- it got me."

I don't know if the Obama's are planning to keep their house here, but he says he plans to come back and visit Chicago often. I hope they do.

To Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia who are all leaving friends, schoolmates and family, I wish you a smooth adjustment.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year Everyone!

We had a pretty good Christmas this year. We all missed my mom and Monica's mom. We lost them both last year. But, we cling together and keeping some of their traditions help too. Although Moni and me and my nephew Nolen and his family have our own personal Christmas at home, the main events of gift opening and dinner are still at Jojo's house.

Monica's birthday is December 24th so of course she gets her day mixed in with Christmas. Our Santa Monica had two cakes this year. A small one from me and a big chocolate one my sister Marcia made for her.

While my mom Jojo was ill, she used a humongous amount of Kleenex. We should have had some stock in that company, anyway my sister started saving the Kleenex boxes. Last Christmas, from those boxes she built a fireplace, covered it with corrigated brick paper and made a wood grain contact paper mantle and voila a beautiful movable Christmas setting. Jojo would have loved it.
Note the gingerbread house Marcie made with Marcellus, 10 and NJ, 4. Tristan 9 months, was not involved because he is "the grabber". They would never have had enough materials to finish it with Tris around.

Me and Marcellus.

My nephew's beautiful wife, Aisha.

My wonderful nephew, Nolen.

We thought for sure "the grabber" Tristan would love tearing open gifts. But all the noise and paper tearing excitement especially from his brother and cousin only overwhelmed him and he climbed for the safety of mom's lap.

At my house, I love to decorate the bookshelves.

Moni's desk in our office becomes a winter wonderland.

Moni and I decorate the tree and windows with Jojo's hand made snowflakes.

Nolen and I have the same camera and being the confused people we are, a lot of the shots I thought I had are actually on his camera. But, here is NJ at school after his holiday program. Santa heard every word.

Moni found these adorable elves last year.

Happy New Year!