Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
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Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 57,863
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IT'S entirely possible I'll never recover from this. My world just cracked wide open and it's guts are oozing out into the universe, never to be repaired; never to be put back together again.
Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating (maybe not). I just now gathered up the strength to read the details behind the impending, announced exit from the stage of my wizard of the weekend; my Saturday evening/Sunday morning sage and muse; Garrison Keillor. It looks like he really means to retire this time and I'm just not ready for this. Wobegon is me.
Like everything good under the sun in my life which has faded out of being just as I come to it - things which existed for eons and eons and enjoyed by millions before I happened upon them, and then folded before I got my fair share - Prairie Home Companion will now go the way of the dodo; relegated to an archive or a crackly old recording someplace where sad, aging hipsters like me go to relive the glory days of our relative youth.
I'm 54 now, fast approaching 55. I'm just starting to feel old, mainly when I wake up and catch a glimpse of my gray, balding image in the bathroom mirror and glance downward to the sagging and wrinkled frame that still carries on like it's made of steel. I officially reached the outer limit of middle-age this week after an hour-long discussion over the phone with a childhood friend about his surgery for diverticulitis and the travails of his struggles and bout with his colostomy bag. That's it, it's all downhill from here.
I didn't catch up with Garrison Keillor until the late-eighties, well into his career. I was hiking around the woods, looking for a perfect spot to sit and smoke a bit of weed. I found a place by an opportunistic pond created by a rain-swollen little creek and pulled out my trusty transistor radio (yes, transistor radio), turned it on and scouted the stations toward the far left side of the FM dial which promised some natural musicality to mingle with the ambiance of my woodland refuge. I wasn't disappointed.
I came upon a faint, lilting country ballad of the likes I'd listened to the public radio DJ, Lee Michael Demsey, play for years on WAMU as I rode the world around noon atop Sugarloaf Mountain on the outskirts of my D.C. suburban town. I dutifully lit up a bowl and settled back to watch a frog unimpressed by my presence there hop around on the mucky bank, and stretched my gaze upward to gauge the reaction of the birds listening in the trees to the mandolin, banjo, and guitar compete with their orchestrated cacophony in the canopy above.
The music ended and a there came voice from the radio as familiar as it was unknown to me plying itself against the gentle applause from the live audience. The music, the audience, and then the gentle, but deep, baritone of Keillor was an instant source of joy to me which has never waned or grown stale. I listened to the rest of the show, ensconced there, crouched down in the trusty woods and was treated to my first introduction to Lake Wobegon; a magical, farcical town where the 'women were strong, the men good-looking, and the children were above average.'
An instant convert; a self-appointed resident; I never really left that mythical town of his. Through season after season; through repeats waiting it out with extreme anxiety through the days of his stroke in 2009; through every description of the changing seasons in that little town he narrated faithfully to us every weekend; I've wandered through the literary recesses of my own storied mind as I related every humorous and touching tale of the imaginary residents of Wobegone to the ideal of my life and times.
I can be found outside watching the sun set in the summer, listening in on my new transistor radio; watching the plants emerge in the spring; by the window in the glowing light of fall; or on a snowy winter's morning well before any of the sleepy household relinquishes their slumber; listening to the quiet, engaging sounds of Garrison Keillor's gift of a show and measuring my days until the next weekend's getaway into his familiar, comforting repertoire.
On one memorable show, he spoke at length about the day Buddy Holly and other musical greats went down in the plane crash and his spontaneous road-trip that day, after hearing the news, to the site of the plane crash. Interspersed with his singing a few verses of Holly's, he told of reaching the crash site and scouting through the woods and finding a broken piece of a guitar sticking up in the snow. It was an improbable tale (almost certainly a fantastical one) which ended in Keillor leading his audience in softly singing the refrain from American Pie...
They were singin'
That's Keillor - a compelling mix of the improbable and the believable - not to mention his faithfulness to the Democratic liberal ideal expressed with his wry outlook on the political scene and his faithful reinforcement of our progressive values of community and humanity as he gently prods the demagogues with his own tongue-in-cheek commentary; sometimes brutally direct, sometimes tellingly obtuse.
I have another year, I know. In July 2016, he will host his last show. I'll have one more Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer to measure my aging life against his aged radio show. So, good times...and then life carries on in its own interminable way.
Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
Posted by bigtree | Sat Jul 25, 2015, 12:18 PM (68 replies)
MartinOMalley: Sing, Iowa. https://martinomalley.com/iowa/ #IACaucus
Kristin Sosanie @ksosanie
@MartinOMalley leading a sing along in Iowa. Packed house joining in chorus. #iacaucus
"We want something more, not just hashtags and twitter!"
Pretty good crowd out for Martin O'Malley w/ fireworks going on downtown Iowa
Posted by bigtree | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 04:36 PM (20 replies)
High summer on the rebound
High summer got him low down
High summer on the rebound
High summer's got him low down
-Van Morrison, 'High Summer'
High summer's come early this year and my garden yard is blooming much faster than usual for this time of year. We're in a typical pattern of sweltering days and stormy nights and there's nothing in the garden that has wont of sun or rain. I put down 7 entire yards of compost for the very first time this year, spread out from front to back of my expansive yard. There's just a scant patch here and there of actual lawn left, and all of the plants I put in to replace the needy grass are steadily taking over those areas without seed or without fertilizer which ends up in our lakes, and, ultimately, in many of our other waterways.
All of our birds are back, except our hummingbirds haven't made an appearance yet; even though the dark red monarda they can't resist is already in full bloom. Soon, though, the red lobelia will send up some shoots of flowers and they're always reliable to our hummers for a few months of precious, life preserving nectar. Our sparkling green hummingbirds are so familiar and comfortable that I've had them actually drinking from my hose a couple of times as I watered the garden. They are graceful and elegant, both in flight and in rest high in the treetops as I watch them from our upstairs window; even beautiful as they fight furiously with each other for dominance over territory and resource.
Our successful garden yard is an outlier in our trim, suburban neighborhood where the finely clipped lawns and meticulously trimmed bushes make every day here look like a Sunday afternoon. Our plants and bushes grow wherever they can find sun underneath the oppressive canopy of trees, and their branches and stems stretch out languorously to touch, feel, and commune with their neighbors. Mischievous chipmunks dash around my feet as I referee between the foliage; catbirds, robins, and cardinals hop about foraging for food as they explore the dense underbrush. Even an occasional fox slinks in and among the high foliage at night hunting for mice and voles.
One of the most complex conflicts I have between fauna and flora are the almost nightly visits from deer who are discriminating in their foraging; waiting with great expectation, as I do, for choice buds to develop and snipping them off as a snack before I have the joy of experiencing the beauty of the flowers. This year, it's the heads of our black-eyed susans which have attracted their interest and palette. I was preemptive in covering most of them with netting this year, but, somehow, they found the few which didn't get the benefit of cover and made them into a meal.
Oh, the anguish this morning! Waking to find all of the flowers and remaining buds eaten and gone from my wife's speckled-orange Mother's Day asiatic lilies! Oh, the pain finding my prize red daylily buds I've been patiently waiting to bloom eaten and gone! Oh, deer, you're breaking this dedicated gardener's patient heart!
I try and interact and live compatibly with nature and its creatures; great and small. I want to help preserve and create, if possible, as much species habitat as I'm able. Heaven knows how much road and housing development has eliminated and reduced that habitat over the decades. The least we can do it to try and maintain as much as we can; helping to preserve the woodland's denizens as we work to preserve their macro and micro environments.
Once you've created your plant filled environment, however, you are bound to their success or demise. There's no questioning the beneficial effect of careful tending and nurturing of a yard full of plants. The wildlife which adopts the environment you've created becomes dependent on your beneficence -- as do the succeeding generations of fauna which are conceived and delivered into your garden home. Bees and other insects find spots nearby to winter over. Hummingbirds and other fowl will make your garden a regular stop on their essential feeding tours. And, yes, for some hapless gardeners, deer and rabbits make their garden paradises their own personal feeding stations and devastatingly devour the bounty to the ground.
There are consequences to the decision to establish a garden. Once adopted by our living counterparts, the future condition of that garden becomes almost essential. That's a bit like the way I view our community at Democratic Underground. We gather here, either deliberately compelled or bidden, and become reliant on the nourishment from the wellspring of activism, action, and advocacy that's been established here. I daresay that the community outside of DU can also become dependent on the diligence and effective management of the politics we intend to influence from our community of concerns.
So, high summer has come to my garden as early as our political season at DU, bringing with it an abundance of sunlight and nourishing rain to sustain the burgeoning abundance of life which both sustains us and challenges us for room to grow and prosper from the resources available. I daresay we can find space and resource to accommodate most of it all; even as we cringe at the prospect of our prize buds and offshoots serving as nourishment for other life before we can realize their bloom; none are more important than the other in this ecosystem; none are less vital than the other in our own survival.
That's what we establish gardens for; to sustain and enhance life on this planet. That's what I suppose this place is for.
Settled down to start anew
Posted by bigtree | Sun Jun 21, 2015, 01:59 PM (5 replies)
ONE of the things which disturbs me when tragic violence occurs which is clearly motivated by or associated with racial animus of a white individual toward black individuals is how some observers make calls for reconciliation or togetherness as a solution. While good relationships between racial and ethnic groups are important and essential to the preservation of the fabric of our democracy and society, what's often involved isn't a case of some mutual animosity, prejudice, or discrimination. What's far too often involved is an attitude of bigotry and hatred directed solely from one side of the racial fence toward the other.
As we can see this morning from news reports of the barbaric execution of black men and women in an S.C. church, the issue isn't about whether the black community, represented by members who welcomed the white killer into their prayer circle without reserve before he gunned them down, the issue is with his simmering hatred and fear of our nation's black minority which he reportedly felt was 'taking over' the country.
One of the questions which needs to be answered is where this young white man absorbed the notion that our black community was enough of a threat to him and his way of life that he felt a need to act out with violence against some of us. There's been a resurgence in the past few decades of old racial divisiveness - it's coming to the surface again in America. It is a product of the same fear many in the white majority experienced at the birth of our Union of the potential of black Americans to assume positions of power over them - fear that blacks would act out the same prejudices which had been so arrogantly and wantonly perpetrated against them.
I've expressed a few thoughts on this here, in the past...
There has been a fear of black advancement throughout our American history - fear that blacks would rise up and dish out the same injustice & violence many in the white-dominated had perpetrated against the race of people since slavery and through the years of segregation and state-sanctioned discrimination. Yet, despite our tragic history, blacks have shown great forbearance and benignity in the face of it all.
In the immediate wake of Reconstruction and the election of a handful of black lawyers, ministers, teachers, college presidents to the national legislature, there was a concerted campaign of character assassination by their white counterparts and other detractors in a successful effort to challenge their seats and to construct discriminatory barriers to the election of other blacks which persisted for generations and generations. The 'birther' movement is no stranger to those who recall that 'Jim Crow' past.
American politics has reached a historic milestone which most of my family and peers had been impatiently anticipating all of our lives, yet, would not have predicted it to happen so soon in our lifetimes. It's fair to say that many in the black community (and without) have been inspired to believe that a black man can be elected president, in this day and age, by the audacity and urgency of Barack Obama's bid for the highest office in the land. It's also fair to say that much of that inspiration and belief has come from the mere fact of Obama's success in convincing so many non-blacks to support and elevate his presidency.
However, the ultimate effect of the persistent racism directed against President Obama and his family by public officials and others visible public figures in the media and elsewhere has been a reversion by demagogues to that initial rallying and defensive mode that pushes critical judgements about his actual performance aside in favor of an atmosphere of hatred that envelopes much more than just the target in its wake.
In effect, the racist attacks by some on President Obama and his family reflect on the black community's own aspirations for achievement and advancement. On one hand, there is satisfaction in the realization that the barrier to the highest office in the land has been broken by Americans willing to elect this African-American president. On the other, there's a reflexive need by some in opposition to stand-up against this president with attempts to define him outside of the American mainstream based on the color of his skin. Yet, to allow this president to be diminished on the basis of race diminishes us all. The persistent racism directed against President Obama has not allowed folks to feel secure in this one advancement.
Racism certainly isn't chic anymore; not like it was in the days where slurs, slights, and outright discrimination were allowed to flourish under the umbrella of segregation and Jim Crow. But, it has still been used by some, over the years since the dismantling of that institutionalized racism, to manipulate and control the level of access and acceptability of blacks in a white-dominated political system.
Open racism hasn't been in fashion for decades, but the fear and insecurities which underlie discrimination and prejudice still compel some to draw lines of distinction between black and white aspirations and potential for success. What is often unspoken is the reluctance some Americans have in envisioning blacks in a position to make decisions for a white majority, resulting in attempt to set boundaries and define the roles blacks must assume to achieve success and approval.
The federal advancement of group rights was an important element in securing individual rights for blacks, before and after the abolition of slavery. Government's role has been expanded, mostly in response to needs which had gone unfulfilled by the states; either by lack of will or limited resources. After the passage of the 14th and 15th amendments, the federal government had to assert itself to defend these rights -- albeit with much reluctance and not without much prodding and instigation -- by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That effort, and others by the federal government were a direct acknowledgment of the burdens and obstacles facing an emerging class of blacks.
Indeed, the efforts in the '60's to bolster and nurture black Americans into the social, economic, and political mainstream of America has meshed perfectly with the needs of our expanding economy and the growing markets which have eagerly absorbed millions of black Americans who were advantaged by the educational opportunities and initiatives which were focused on lifting their communities out of the squalor of indifference and disrespect of the past.
It's a dwindling majority in the workplace, and a dwindling dominance in other institutions which is, ironically, producing a familiar insecurity in some. Overall, black Americans' reaction to a dominating majority has been remarkably gracious, patient, and forgiving over the decades. Some of these dominionists could learn from that as they reconsider their role in a more inclusive society.
In fact, the gains blacks have made in our political institutions have not kept pace with even the incremental gains which have occurred in the workplace. We may well have an abundance of black CEOs, military officers, business owners, doctors, lawyers and other professionals. However, Americans have yet to support and establish blacks in our political institutions with a regularity we could celebrate as 'colorblindness.' And, to be fair, not even many blacks would likely agree that we've moved past a point where race should be highlighted (if not overtly emphasized), in our political deliberations and considerations.
I'm fortunate to have a long line of outstanding family members and friends of the family to recall with great pride in the recounting of their lives and the review of their accomplishments; many in the face of intense and personal racial adversity. In many ways, their stories are as heroic and inspiring as the ones we've heard of their more notable counterparts. Their life struggles and triumphs provide valuable insights into how a people so oppressed and under siege from institutionalized and personalized racism and bigotry were, nonetheless, able to persevere and excel. Upon close examination of their lives we find a class of Americans who strove and struggled to stake a meaningful claim to their citizenship; not to merely prosper, but to make a determined and selfless contribution to the welfare and progress of their neighbors.
That's the beauty and the tragedy of the entire fight for equal rights, equal access, and for the acceptance among us which can't be legislated into being. It can make you cry to realize that the heart of what most black folks really wanted for themselves in the midst of the oppression they were subject to was to be an integral part of America; to stand, work, worship, fight, bleed, heal, build, repair, grow right alongside their non-black counterparts.
It can also floor you to see just how confident, capable, and determined many black folks were in that dark period in our history as they kept their heads well above the water; making leaps and bounds in their personal and professional lives, then, turning right around and giving it all back to their communities in the gift of their expertise and labor.
Catherine Meeks, Ph.D., wrote in HuffPo that, "The entire discussion is almost beyond comprehension for those of us who are not being blinded by bigotry and hatred."
"Magic Mulatto, Mrs. YoMama, Touching A Tar Baby, Your Boy, Orbameo, Watermelons on the White House Lawn, cartoons with the President Obama's head and a chimpanzee's body, references to monkeys who escaped the zoo being related to the First Lady, and the list goes on with the racial slurs that have been hurled at this President and his family," recalls Meeks. "Along with these is the recent attack of racial slurs against 11-year-old Malia, his youngest daughter."
The attacks in this generation are not to be taken lightly, even though we may assume that the nation is past all of that. The attacks need to be openly and loudly defended against by Democrats and Republicans alike. They can't just be brushed aside as some sort of acceptable standard of discourse. For the most part, they've been responded to with dispatch and sincerity. For the other, there's a glaring silence -- and even a rhetorical encouragement by some in the political arena who are leveraging age-old stereotypes to serve their cynical campaigns for office.
That's the backdrop for this resurgence of racial animosity toward black Americans; something which, for the most part, blacks have little control over. It remains for the white community to lead the way in setting the standard for discourse and relations in this nation. It's that backdrop of acquiescence to the which appears to me to have fueled this recent tragedy in S.C.. There's a cottage industry, driven in great part by petty legislative politics, of divisiveness and racial hatred which has spilled out into the public consciousness and legitimized/encouraged the pitting of groups of Americans against others.
The republican political class, in particular, benefits directly from racial and ethnic hatred and resentment that they fuel with their rhetoric at every opportunity. It's an old game, adopted from our tragic beginnings as a nation, practiced by people who should know better but don't give a damn about our humanity, as long as it provides red meat to throw to their rabid constituency.
It's going to take determination and resolve to fight all of that; resolve from folks like the good people in our internet community here who care about making a difference and changing our politics to include everyone in our progress and advancement. Let's pledge ourselves to reconcile around that determination to effect a change in our discourse and to put all of our deliberate and politically calculated, racist and bigoted divisiveness in the past.
Posted by bigtree | Fri Jun 19, 2015, 09:18 AM (19 replies)
...as a lifelong Democrat from a Democratic family, Martin O'Malley has repeatedly stepped up to challenging elections and has consistently won the support of Democrats through progressive stances and progressive policy achievements. His efforts in office have resulted in significant and concrete progressive changes and improvements in the lives of millions of citizens of my state. My pleasure and pride in seeing him step up to the challenge of running against a Democrat with not only national name recognition, but a built-in support base from a previous run for the presidency, is compounded by the decidedly progressive positions his campaign has put in front of his candidacy.
Whatever the outcome of this election, I think our party will owe Martin O'Malley a debt of gratitude for attempting to steer our party's presidential politics in an aggressively progressive direction - that effort matched, of course, by Bernie Sander's own progressive campaign - both of which have resulted in a national discussion of progressive ideals and initiatives which have already influenced the debate in our national legislature, as well as positively influenced the worthwhile campaign of our party's current front-runner in the polls.
I think O'Malley's bid is a heroic effort, typical of his political career in which he's repeatedly run against adversity and other daunting challenges to advance the causes he believes in. As we debate the issues these candidates present and advocate, let's not lose sight of the valuable and gratifying service our Democratic candidates honor us with in their pursuit of public office. Also, as we reflect on the presidential bids of Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the others, let's not diminish that effort by reducing our primary to a mere horse race. There's still a lot of time between now and when the actual voting starts to further the progressive causes these candidates represent in their campaigns. That should be our main focus, not the popularity contest.
Posted by bigtree | Wed Jun 17, 2015, 10:49 AM (14 replies)
Martin O’Malley made a low-key visit to Dover Saturday afternoon during his second stump in the Granite State. The hot afternoon provided the perfect excuse to meet with area Democrats at Orange Leaf on Central Avenue. While eating a blackberry-flavored frozen treat, O’Malley spoke with those interested in learning more about him.
O’Malley cited his successes during his 15 years of executive experience as a former governor and mayor, stating that the “only way to overcome big challenges is to look them in the eye.”
Labeling himself as having “progressive goals” and “progressive values,” O’Malley said America has strayed from its “true self.”
“An economy is not money,” he said. “It’s people. When we make the investments we can only make as a county…that’s what makes our economy grow.”
Earlier in the day, O’Malley was greeted by several hundred supporters at Market Square Day in Portsmouth and then 75 or so more at a house party that followed in New Castle. His last stump of the day was slated for Manchester, where he met and took questions from New Hampshire ServiceNation volunteers, alumni and board members.
read more: http://www.fosters.com/article/20150613/NEWS/150619628
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
@GovernorOMalley: "our economy is people" #nhpolitics
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
Great questions ranging from student debt to health care costs to creating jobs #newleadership #nhpolitics
Governor O'Malley in Dover --- shaking every hand
Lis Smith @Lis_Smith
"Earlier in the day, @GovernorMalley was greeted by several hundred supporters at Market Square Day in Portsmouth” http://www.fosters.com/article/20150613/NEWS/150619628 …
Matt Sheaff @MattSheaff https://twitter.com/MattSheaff/status/609832469530025985
Jay Surdukowski @Jay1043
@GovernorOMalley clearly enjoys meeting people & the press. Joyful and smart on the trail.
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
A little Celtic music at Portsmouth market square days #nhpolitics
Laurie McCray @McCrayLaurie
Martin O'Malley with Portsmouth Dems at Market Square Day #nhpolitics #fitn
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
Taking questions and meeting voters. The New Hampshire way. #nhpolitics
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
Great day in Portsmouth #newleadership
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
@GovernorOMalley stops by ServiceNation in Manchester to thank members for there service #nhpolitics
O'Malley for NH @omalleyfornh
In Manchester talking about the importance of service #nhpolitics
Shaun Adamec @shaunadamec
"We've got to go bigger, bolder" on #nationalservice - @GovernorOMalley commits to full funding of @americorps #FITN
A supporter snaps a photo on his iPhone while 2016 presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, of Maryland, greets state Rep. Timothy Horrigan. Crystal A. Weyers photo
ioanna raptis @ioannaraptis
from @GovernorOMalley's visit to #PortsmouthNH #MarketSquareDay #nhpolitics @seacoastonline
Posted by bigtree | Sat Jun 13, 2015, 10:14 PM (19 replies)
Jake Oeth @JakeOeth 4h4 hours ago
Great crowd in Marshalltown as @GovernorOMalley arrives! #iacaucus
Lauren Blanchard @LaurenBlanch12 4h4 hours ago
Greeting people who weren't able 2get a spot inside house @GovernorOMalley. Rain is pretty heavy. Living room packed
Martin O'Malley @GovernorOMalley 4h4 hours ago
Packed house in Marshalltown, IA for #OMalley2016—overflow conversation going on the porch! #iacaucus @omalleyforia
O'Malley for Iowa @omalleyforia 3h3 hours ago
Iowans talked w/ @GovernorOMalley about jobs, education & building up rural America in Marshalltown today #iacaucus
Eric Litmer @ericlitmer 4h4 hours ago Marshalltown, IA
Overflow crowd watching through the windows to hear @GovernorOMalley #OMalley2016 #iacaucus
O'Malley for Iowa @omalleyforia 3h3 hours ago
@governoromalley in Marshalltown spoke & took questions from more than 65 Iowans #iacaucus #newleadership
O'Malley for Iowa @omalleyforia 2h2 hours ago
Rep Nate Willems now introducing @GovernorOMalley in Mt Vernon at another packed house in Iowa! #iacaucus
Betsy Klein @betsy_klein 2h2 hours ago
Big crowds for @GovernorOMalley at house parties: ~65 in Marshalltown, ~80 here in Mt. Vernon. #iacaucus #cnnelection
Martin O'Malley @GovernorOMalley 1h1 hour ago
Taking questions in Mt. Vernon, IA at a packed house party! #NewLeadership #OMalley2016 #iacaucus
Jake Oeth @JakeOeth 2h2 hours ago
Was watching Full House re-runs last night & now @ a FULL HOUSE in Mt. Vernon for @GovernorOMalley #iacaucus thx Nate
O'Malley for Iowa @omalleyforia 3h3 hours ago
Thank you to Rep. Smith & his wife Karen for the warm welcome in Marshalltown today with @GovernorOMalley! #iacaucus
O'Malley for Iowa @omalleyforia 24m24 minutes ago
Thanks so much to the Willems Family for hosting @GovernorOMalley & 80+ Iowans in their home tonight! #iacaucus
Kristin Sosanie @ksosanie 31m31 minutes ago
Absolutely adorable-- host's daughter asks about @GovernorOMalley's family...so he pulls out his pics to show her
O'Malley for Iowa @omalleyforia 5h5 hours ago
While her Mom & Dad prepare to host @GovernorOMalley in Marshalltown, Fiona guards the snack table #iacaucus
Ben Kramer @BenKramer9 36m36 minutes ago
THIS is #MOMentum! Overflowing crowd waiting for @GovernorOMalley in IA City! #OMalley2016
Kristin Sosanie @ksosanie 6m6 minutes ago
Campaigning #iacaucus style. @GovernorOMalley standing on a chair to speak bc bar is so packed in Iowa City
O’Malley touts progressive values, experience, results
MOUNT VERNON | Selling himself as a progressive who gets things done, Martin O’Malley engaged in classic Iowa retail politics Thursday afternoon at a Mount Vernon house party.
O’Malley, who later had a campaign rally at Sanctuary Pub in Iowa City, emphasized his experience and record of getting things done as Baltimore mayor and two terms as Maryland governor.
“I am the only candidate in this race with 15 years of elected executive experience.” O’Malley said more than once during a 13-minute stump speech and about 20 minutes of question-and-answer...
“It matters not only for the accomplishment of the task at hand, it matters for restoring the public trust necessary to build the deeper and larger consensus so we can start acting like Americans again,” O’Malley said.
The 52-year-old O’Malley also drew a generational distinction between himself and the “very honorable and good people” – Hillary Clinton, 67, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 73, -- who also are seeking the democratic presidential nomination.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Jun 11, 2015, 09:11 PM (59 replies)
Most of us today properly think of war in terms of the conflicts that involve our own generation, and the ones closely preceding us. Those military conflicts - many of them wars of opportunity, expansionism, and patronage - have rightly soured many of us who opposed them on military observances and recognition. There are, nonetheless, many noble and heroic sacrifices by members of our armed forces made in defense of worthy ideals and understandable causes which deserve recognition and honor. Certainly, for those of us who have family members who have sacrificed life and limb in service in our nation's military, Memorial Day has profound significance and meaning. I would hope that even those who are solidly opposed to warring will recognize, and perhaps, appreciate that service this weekend.
One such cause worthy of enduring respect and admiration for those who served in our military is our nation's civil war. It was both a fight for freedom, for some, and a battle to preserve a fragile union of our United States. Those ideals and aspirations compelled our imperfect humanity to take up arms against each other in a devastating, but decisive manner which should always remind us of the perils of divisiveness and the promise of unity.
More than 140 years ago, Lincoln sought to reassure a gathered group of faithful that he would not take them to war to end the scourge of slavery in declaring that there would be "no bloodshed unless it be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self-defense. "Shortly thereafter, he would nonetheless, lead the country into war to, as he proclaimed, ". . . to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of the National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs (of slavery) already long enough endured."
Lincoln's justification for war did not require any rhetorical hedge. He insisted that in his opposition to slavery, an adherence to the principles of liberty and individual rights which are embodied in the Declaration of Independence, would more than provide for the preservation of the Union.
"In my hands," he spoke, "is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland," he said, "but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time."
"It was that," Lincoln continued, "which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men."
I have an old book called the Campfires of the Afro American which recounted the deeds of a black soldier named Sergeant William Carney.
____The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was recruited in the spring of 1863 by Governor John Andrew, who had secured the reluctant permission of the War Department to create a regiment of African-American soldiers. Like all Massachusetts Civil War soldiers, the 54th's men were enlisted in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. These Guardsmen would serve as a test case for many skeptical whites who believed that blacks could not be good soldiers. The battle that proved they could was fought on Morris Island, at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Following three days of skirmishes and forced marches with little rest, and 24 hours with no food, the regimental commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, requested the perilous honor of leading the attack of Fort Wagner, a sand and palmetto log bastion. As night fell, 600 men of the 54th advanced with bayonets fixed. Despite withering cannon and rifle fire, the men sustained their charge until they reached the top of the rampart. There, Colonel Shaw was mortally wounded.
There, also, Sergeant William Carney, who had earlier taken up the National Colors when the color sergeant had been shot, planted the flag and fought off numerous attempts by the Confederates to capture it. Without support, and faced with superior numbers and firepower, the 54th was forced to pull back. Despite two severe wounds, Sergeant Carney carried the colors to the rear. When praised for his bravery, he modestly replied, "I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground."
Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first African-American to receive the award. The 54th Massachusetts suffered 270 casualties in the failed assault, but the greater message was not lost: some 180,000 African-American soldiers followed in the footsteps of these gallant Guardsmen, and proved that African-American soldiers could, indeed, fight heroically if given the opportunity.
In 1870, he returned to New Bedford and became one of the four men employed as letter carriers. After 31 years in the postal service, he retired in 1901, then spend his last years as an employee at the state capitol in Boston.
Carney was in great demand as a leader of Memorial Day parades and as a speaker at patriotic events. In 1904, he was the Memorial Day orator at the Shaw Monument on Boston Common. (http://vc.bridgew.edu/hoba/36/ )
Included on the pages I've scanned below is a poem under the heading, Preface, A Colored Veteran's Reverie.
Again the fires of soldier-life are kindled to my view,
. . . and, so it goes.
I hope folks will take some time this Memorial weekend and read the poems, remembering the bravery and honor of the soldiers who served in our nation's past, and the soldiers who are serving and sacrificing today.
I hope you enjoy these poems from this fascinating book as much as I do.
Posted by bigtree | Sun May 24, 2015, 12:51 PM (9 replies)
...I've been reading this commencement speech delivered by First lady Michelle Obama at Tuskegee University on May 9, over and over...it's both devastating in what Mrs. Obama relates about the awful reception she and her family received from some quarters of the country, and gratifying in the courage and optimism she, nonetheless, imparts to the graduating students.
We may never be witness to anything so profoundly defining of the dearth of progress America has made along the lines of race, as a whole; or made witness to such grace and beneficence under pressure from the highest office in the land as we have been gifted by this remarkable couple's examples of forbearance and comity.
...an excerpt from this magnificent speech by Michelle Obama:
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
____ I’d like to begin today by reflecting on that history -- starting back at the time when the Army chose Tuskegee as the site of its airfield and flight school for black pilots.
Back then, black soldiers faced all kinds of obstacles. There were the so-called scientific studies that said that black men’s brains were smaller than white men’s. Official Army reports stated that black soldiers were “childlike,” “shiftless,” “unmoral and untruthful,” and as one quote stated, “if fed, loyal and compliant.”
So while the Airmen selected for this program were actually highly educated -- many already had college degrees and pilots licenses -- they were presumed to be inferior. During training, they were often assigned to menial tasks like housekeeping or landscaping. Many suffered verbal abuse at the hands of their instructors. When they ventured off base, the white sheriff here in town called them “boy” and ticketed them for the most minor offenses. And when they finally deployed overseas, white soldiers often wouldn’t even return their salutes.
Just think about what that must have been like for those young men. Here they were, trained to operate some of the most complicated, high-tech machines of their day -- flying at hundreds of miles an hour, with the tips of their wings just six inches apart. Yet when they hit the ground, folks treated them like they were nobody -- as if their very existence meant nothing.
Now, those Airmen could easily have let that experience clip their wings. But as you all know, instead of being defined by the discrimination and the doubts of those around them, they became one of the most successful pursuit squadrons in our military. They went on to show the world that if black folks and white folks could fight together, and fly together, then surely -- surely -- they could eat at a lunch counter together. Surely their kids could go to school together.
You see, those Airmen always understood that they had a “double duty” -- one to their country and another to all the black folks who were counting on them to pave the way forward. So for those Airmen, the act of flying itself was a symbol of liberation for themselves and for all African Americans.
One of those first pilots, a man named Charles DeBow, put it this way. He said that a takeoff was -- in his words -- “a never-failing miracle” where all “the bumps would smooth off… you’re in the air… out of this world… free.”
And when he was up in the sky, Charles sometimes looked down to see black folks out in the cotton fields not far from here -- the same fields where decades before, their ancestors as slaves. And he knew that he was taking to the skies for them -- to give them and their children something more to hope for, something to aspire to.
And in so many ways, that never-failing miracle -- the constant work to rise above the bumps in our path to greater freedom for our brothers and sisters -- that has always been the story of African Americans here at Tuskegee.
Just think about the arc of this university’s history. Back in the late 1800s, the school needed a new dormitory, but there was no money to pay for it. So Booker T. Washington pawned his pocket watch to buy a kiln, and students used their bare hands to make bricks to build that dorm -- and a few other buildings along the way.
A few years later, when George Washington Carver first came here for his research, there was no laboratory. So he dug through trash piles and collected old bottles, and tea cups, and fruit jars to use in his first experiments.
Generation after generation, students here have shown that same grit, that same resilience to soar past obstacles and outrages -- past the threat of countryside lynchings; past the humiliation of Jim Crow; past the turmoil of the Civil Rights era. And then they went on to become scientists, engineers, nurses and teachers in communities all across the country -- and continued to lift others up along the way.
And while the history of this campus isn’t perfect, the defining story of Tuskegee is the story of rising hopes and fortunes for all African Americans.
And now, graduates, it’s your turn to take up that cause. And let me tell you, you should feel so proud of making it to this day. And I hope that you’re excited to get started on that next chapter. But I also imagine that you might think about all that history, all those heroes who came before you -- you might also feel a little pressure, you know -- pressure to live up to the legacy of those who came before you; pressure to meet the expectations of others.
And believe me, I understand that kind of pressure. I’ve experienced a little bit of it myself. You see, graduates, I didn’t start out as the fully-formed First Lady who stands before you today. No, no, I had my share of bumps along the way.
Maybe it feels like you’re supposed to go to law school -- but what you really want to do is to teach little kids. Maybe your parents are expecting you to come back home after you graduate -- but you’re feeling a pull to travel the world. I want you to listen to those thoughts. I want you to act with both your mind, but also your heart. And no matter what path you choose, I want you to make sure it’s you choosing it, and not someone else.
Because here’s the thing -- the road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away. So there will be times, just like for those Airmen, when you feel like folks look right past you, or they see just a fraction of who you really are.
The world won’t always see you in those caps and gowns. They won’t know how hard you worked and how much you sacrificed to make it to this day -- the countless hours you spent studying to get this diploma, the multiple jobs you worked to pay for school, the times you had to drive home and take care of your grandma, the evenings you gave up to volunteer at a food bank or organize a campus fundraiser. They don't know that part of you.
Instead they will make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world. And my husband and I know how frustrating that experience can be. We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives -- the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the “help” -- and those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.
And I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day -- those nagging worries that you’re going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason; the fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds; the agony of sending your kids to schools that may no longer be separate, but are far from equal; the realization that no matter how far you rise in life, how hard you work to be a good person, a good parent, a good citizen -- for some folks, it will never be enough.
And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry. It can feel isolating. It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter -- that you’re like the invisible man that Tuskegee grad Ralph Ellison wrote about all those years ago. And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real. They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible. And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.
But, graduates, today, I want to be very clear that those feelings are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up. Not an excuse. They are not an excuse to lose hope. To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.
But here’s the thing -- our history provides us with a better story, a better blueprint for how we can win. It teaches us that when we pull ourselves out of those lowest emotional depths, and we channel our frustrations into studying and organizing and banding together -- then we can build ourselves and our communities up. We can take on those deep-rooted problems, and together -- together -- we can overcome anything that stands in our way...
read the full address: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/09/remarks-first-lady-tuskegee-university-commencement-address
watch (fixed link):
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 13, 2015, 08:28 AM (46 replies)
Martin O'Malley was taking action on behalf of immigrant children before Hillary thought it was cool
Lis Smith @Lis_Smith retweeted Fin Gomez
GovernorOMalley took heat from the left & right for standing up for #borderkids. But he stood up when it mattered
from July 11, 2014:
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley broke publicly with President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Friday, calling for a more humane policy toward the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have illegally crossed into the United States.
“It is contrary to everything we stand for to try to summarily send children back to death,” the Democratic lawmaker told reporters. O’Malley also criticized the “kennels” in which those who have been detained are being kept and calling for the children to be placed in “the least restrictive” locations, including foster homes or with family members in the U.S.
“Through all of the great world religions we are told that hospitality to strangers is an essential human dignity,” O’Malley said. “It is a belief that unites all of us. And I have watched the pictures of young kids who have traveled for thousands of miles. I can only imagine, as a father of four, the heartbreak that those parents must have felt in sending their children across a desert where they can be muled and trafficked or used or killed or tortured. But with the hope, the hope, that they would reach the United States and that their children would be protected from what they were facing at home, which was the likelihood of being recruited into gangs and dying a violent death.”
Hillary Clinton told CNN last month that most of those detained should be sent back. “They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are,” she said. President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the parents of the migrants need to know that “it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay.”
O’Malley went so far as to call the children “refugees,” a term with legal weight that would allow most of them to remain in the U.S. He called on Congress and the President to avoid modifying the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. That measure requires that children who are not from Canada or Mexico who have crossed the border to be given an opportunity to see an immigration judge to make their case for amnesty. Lawmakers on both sides, as well as the White House, are reviewing ways to amend that law to ease deportations of the tens of thousands of migrant children, who are largely from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
O’Malley said “the whole world is watching” how the U.S. responds to the humanitarian crisis.
CASA Applauds Gov O’Malley’s Unwaveringly Moral Response to the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border
statement released by CASA (MD. Immigrants Rights Org.) Executive Director, Gustavo Torres:
“I applaud Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for stressing that children fleeing violence and abandonment in Central America should be treated as children that deserve our support. In stark contrast to other public figures that have called for their quick deportation, Governor O’Malley has urged that arriving migrant children receive fair, humane treatment and, above all, a fair legal review of whether they should be allowed to stay. We have heard from our colleagues across the country that they are relieved to hear the Governor become an indispensable voice for the immigrant community. We have let these colleagues know that this is hardly the first time the Governor has served as a hero for immigrant communities. Across his governorship, he has been a true friend of New Marylanders and addressing the abominable treatment of children at the border is only the most recent example of his leadership.
CASA de Maryland and CASA de Virginia are their state’s largest immigrant rights organizations. Our almost 60,000 members work with CASA to create a more just society by building power and improving the quality of life in low-income immigrant communities.
CASA de Maryland, supported O'Malley's decision to question the Carroll County site (a position distorted and mischaracterized by CNN, Politico, and by WH leaks to selected news orgs.).
"When we heard about the proposed Westminster site, our immediate thought was that the only place in Maryland less hospitable to children fleeing violence in Central America would be inside the Frederick County Sheriff's Department building," said Kimberly Propeack, an attorney with the group.
Lis Smith @Lis_Smith (July 2014)
Good look at what @GovernorOMalley is doing to find housing for #borderchildren http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/maryland-solicits-foster-parents-for-migrant-youths-as-omalley-meets-with-faith-leaders/2014/07/28/6a489d5a-1672-11e4-9e3b-7f2f110c6265_story.html …
The state of Maryland stepped up its efforts Monday to recruit foster parents and solicit other assistance from the public to help with the flood of unaccompanied migrant children coming into the country from Central America.
An appeal for help was posted on the state Web site as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) met in Annapolis with a group of religious leaders for the second time in as many weeks to talk about ways to assist the federal government with the crisis.
O’Malley administration officials also indicated they had passed along several potential temporary housing sites to the federal government and that Montgomery County was among the possibilities for hosting a facility.
The action came as O’Malley has continued to speak out on the issue, urging the Obama administration to show compassion and resist sending the children back to dangerous situations in their home countries.
During a political stop in Nebraska on Saturday night, O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 White House bid, told a Democratic dinner audience that he believes “in American generosity and the compassion of our people.”
“We do not turn our back on innocent children who arrive at our doorstep fleeing death,” he said.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 2,000 children have been relocated to Maryland in the first six months of this year.
Martin O'Malley @GovernorOMalley
The greatest power we have is power of our principles. We're not a country that should send children away & send them back to certain death
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 6, 2015, 08:34 AM (10 replies)