Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sticks and Stones

Any of us with a younger sibling knows the best way to get under his skin is to ignore him (or her). So, it appears, it is true when it comes to mortal enemies in the War on Terror.

I read this article this morning from the Washington Post, which basically says that al Queda doesn't quite know what to make of our new president. Seems they miss their "perfect foil" (aka Geroge W. Bush) and are having trouble understanding a president who wants to end the war(s), close the prison at Guantanamo and focus on problems other than terrorism. It clearly is in al Queda's interests to keep ratcheting up the conflict, but what to do with a president who doesn't play the game with them?

Apparently you call him names and you keep hurling things (verbally, so far) in hopes that he'll react. Something tells me Obama has been called names before and considering how smoothly he performed during the campaign, I doubt whether he'll rattle so easily. We have to prepare ourselves for the reality that al Queda might try something bigger to get his attention, but hopefully all the security that has been in place over the past years will do its job and prevent anything major from occurring.

In related news, the Obama administration is finding that it's going to be difficult unraveling the issues related to the detainees at Gitmo:

President Obama's plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials -- barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees -- discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.

Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is "scattered throughout the executive branch," a senior administration official said. The executive order Obama signed Thursday orders the prison closed within one year, and a Cabinet-level panel named to review each case separately will have to spend its initial weeks and perhaps months scouring the corners of the federal government in search of relevant material.

Maybe Joe Biden will find all the information anyone would need in the attic of the Vice President's house that he just moved into. Something tells me Dick Cheney LIKED the confusion around these issues. Helped him keep people from nosing into things too deeply, I suspect.

Anyway, it's great to have the grown-ups in charge, no?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


President Obama. First Lady Michelle Obama.


I'm so freaking tired, I can't come up with a lot of magical reportage. All I can say is that I never thought this day would come. And now that it's here, I'm a little stunned.

Rock on, Mr. President.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Renewal: Can Spring Be Far Behind?

What a day! Everything today was just as I imagined it would be. The weather was fine, the seas of people seemingly behaved themselves and enjoyed Obama-stock with peace and love.

The speech was quite moving, and a bit more political than I had anticipated. If I was to predict, I would have said it would have more rhetorical flourishes than policy statements. But it seemed a great rebuke of previous presidents and the predicament we now find ourselves in. Several people seemed to find fault in the poem written for the occasion, but I liked it very much.

Everyone looked gorgeous, as expected. And we even had Sasha on a box, as my sister and I expected:

Seeing the Chimp leave town was one of the finer moments of today. Yes, I'm bitter. Sue me. And Cheney in a wheelchair? What a metaphor - the Bush administration couldn't even manage to limp out of town - they had to be rolled, by someone else.

More to come, but suffice to say the renewal has begun

Oh, Happy Day.

January 20, 2009.

It's here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Alive, Alive, Alive...and Happily So

Although I haven't posted for a while, the blog hasn't been far from my thoughts. In fact, every time, I saw the link to "Blogger" in my bookmarks it screamed: "WRITE SOMETHING, YOU DOPE!" And then, I clicked on Facebook and posted my ramblings and links to other people's thoughtful posts.

But today is such an auspicious day that I am called back. While it's Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, it's really Inauguration Eve. It's the day before the world changes forever. It's the day this country needs, even more than we ever, ever imagined.

Last night, we watched the "We are One" concert, and to no one's surprise I'm sure, I cried through most of it. It started with Bettye LaVette singing Sam Cooke's "Change Is Gonna Come," and these lyrics:

"I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me don't hang around
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

And while Bettye (and, unfortunately, Jon Bon Jovi) sang all I saw in my mind's eye was Selma and firehoses. James Meredith and Rosa Parks. And it hit me, for real, that this was REALLY going to happen.

Mostly, in advance of the 2008 election, my focus was on surviving beyond the current administration. This meant ending the war in Iraq, ending warrantless wiretapping, saving habeus corpus, ending extraordinary rendition and torture (TORTURE!). Other, equally troubling events enraged the actions of the religious right, who sought to make non-churchgoers like me lesser than themselves. It included limits on stem cell research, science and the whole Terry Schiavo incident.

And so I searched for a candidate that met my yearning for change. I never, ever supported Hillary and couldn't understand how she was annointed the front-runner before the primaries even started. To me, she was the epitome of status quo. I dabbled with John Edwards, whose "Two Americas" theme always rang true to me. But I didn't think he really could win. So, this left me with Barack. And when he won Iowa, I was sold. Completely and unalterably.

All through the primaries, I knew he could do it. Alone among many friends, I was the most positive. My African American friends were dubious, worried that something terrible was going to happen to snatch this victory away. And for a short time, it appeared that the Clinton campaign might do it.

And looking at the field of Republicans who were lining up against us, I could see that the opposition was going to be weak. Grandpa McCain? It would be a cakewalk. And so it was.

Tonight, I am optimistic and as I type, I am tearing up yet again. Watching the crowds in Washington, I really wish I was there. The joy is palpable. And yet, when I think about standing for hours on end, I KNOW I have a better seat here in my warm living room.

Tomorrow, I am going to wallow in it. We can turn on Wednesday to the important questions of the day. The economy? The wars? They can wait.

For now, I know a change is gonna come. Oh, yes it is.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Here Comes the Cavalry!

If anyone doubted there is a new day dawning, check this out:

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.