Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 10:39 PM
Number of posts: 65,969
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 10:39 PM
Number of posts: 65,969
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Leftfielder™ @DaleMoss2 1h1 hour ago
“We feel the difference now. See, now, we're feeling what not having hope feels like" - Michelle Obama
Posted by bigtree | Fri Jan 20, 2017, 01:24 PM (7 replies)
...that's where I believe we've come in this Obama presidency.
As we reflect-on, revel-in the final day of this presidency, many of us are coming to terms with the fact that most of the fights we waged along with President Obama will need to be fought and defended all over again in the Trump presidency. As resolute as ever on this important day, I take great pride in the successive elections of Barack Obama, and depart from this historic moment in time with much the same message I imparted when we began this enterprise.
In very much the same spirit as my 'flashback' posts this week, I want to express, one last time, perhaps, my appreciation for all the folks who worked so hard to make this possible in my lifetime, by sharing what I wrote in 2009.
Good luck, best regards, and best wishes to all of us.
A Leader in the White House
In electing Barack Obama, America advanced an authentic leader to the White House.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Jan 19, 2017, 09:37 AM (15 replies)
Raw Story @RawStory 26m26 minutes ago
US press corps fights back with open letter to Trump: You won’t set the rules for us http://ow.ly/DEEt3086dgc
Kyle Pope, the editor in chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review penned an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the U.S. Press Corps setting some clear ground rules moving forward:
Dear Mr. President Elect:
Posted by bigtree | Tue Jan 17, 2017, 09:22 PM (2 replies)
...third in a series, up to the inauguration, of some favorite President Obama posts of mine.
President Obama has a favorite photograph. It's a photo of Abraham Lincoln taken toward the end of his life. Here's what he wrote in Time magazine in 2005. about that face and why it inspires him . . .
What I See in Lincoln's Eyes
by, Barack Obama
Monday, July 04, 2005
My favorite portrait of Lincoln comes from the end of his life. In it, Lincoln's face is as finely lined as a pressed flower. He appears frail, almost broken; his eyes, averted from the camera's lens, seem to contain a heartbreaking melancholy, as if he sees before him what the nation had so recently endured.
It would be a sorrowful picture except for the fact that Lincoln's mouth is turned ever so slightly into a smile. The smile doesn't negate the sorrow. But it alters tragedy into grace. It's as if this rough-faced, aging man has cast his gaze toward eternity and yet still cherishes his memories--of an imperfect world and its fleeting, sometimes terrible beauty. On trying days, the portrait, a reproduction of which hangs in my office, soothes me; it always asks me questions.
What is it about this man that can move us so profoundly? Some of it has to do with Lincoln's humble beginnings, which often speak to our own. When I moved to Illinois 20 years ago to work as a community organizer, I had no money in my pockets and didn't know a single soul. During my first six years in the state legislature, Democrats were in the minority, and I couldn't get a bill heard, much less passed. In my first race for Congress, I had my head handed to me. So when I, a black man with a funny name, born in Hawaii of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, announced my candidacy for the U.S. Senate, it was hard to imagine a less likely scenario than that I would win--except, perhaps, for the one that allowed a child born in the backwoods of Kentucky with less than a year of formal education to end up as Illinois' greatest citizen and our nation's greatest President.
In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat--in all this, he reminded me not just of my own struggles. He also reminded me of a larger, fundamental element of American life--the enduring belief that we can constantly remake ourselves to fit our larger dreams.
A connected idea attracts us to Lincoln: as we remake ourselves, we remake our surroundings. He didn't just talk or write or theorize. He split rail, fired rifles, tried cases and pushed for new bridges and roads and waterways. In his sheer energy, Lincoln captures a hunger in us to build and to innovate. It's a quality that can get us in trouble; we may be blind at times to the costs of progress. And yet, when I travel to other parts of the world, I remember that it is precisely such energy that sets us apart, a sense that there are no limits to the heights our nation might reach.
Still, as I look at his picture, it is the man and not the icon that speaks to me. I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice. Scholars tell us too that Lincoln wasn't immune from political considerations and that his temperament could be indecisive and morose.
But it is precisely those imperfections--and the painful self-awareness of those failings etched in every crease of his face and reflected in those haunted eyes--that make him so compelling. For when the time came to confront the greatest moral challenge this nation has ever faced, this all too human man did not pass the challenge on to future generations. He neither demonized the fathers and sons who did battle on the other side nor sought to diminish the terrible costs of his war. In the midst of slavery's dark storm and the complexities of governing a house divided, he somehow kept his moral compass pointed firm and true.
What I marvel at, what gives me such hope, is that this man could overcome depression, self-doubt and the constraints of biography and not only act decisively but retain his humanity. Like a figure from the Old Testament, he wandered the earth, making mistakes, loving his family but causing them pain, despairing over the course of events, trying to divine God's will. He did not know how things would turn out, but he did his best.
A few weeks ago, I spoke at the commencement at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. I stood in view of the spot where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held one of their famous debates during their race for the U.S. Senate. The only way for Lincoln to get onto the podium was to squeeze his lanky frame through a window, whereupon he reportedly remarked, "At last I have finally gone through college." Waiting for the soon-to-be graduates to assemble, I thought that even as Lincoln lost that Senate race, his arguments that day would result, centuries later, in my occupying the same seat that he coveted. He may not have dreamed of that exact outcome. But I like to believe he would have appreciated the irony. Humor, ambiguity, complexity, compassion--all were part of his character. And as Lincoln called once upon the better angels of our nature, I believe that he is calling still, across the ages, to summon some measure of that character, the American character, in each of us today.
the essay: www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/28/obama.lincoln.tm/
How newspapers covered Abraham Lincoln’s assassination 150 years ago: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/04/14/how-newspapers-covered-abraham-lincolns-assassination-150-years-ago/?postshare=3721429009768815
Flashback Post #1
Flashback Post #2
Flashback Post #4
Posted by bigtree | Mon Jan 16, 2017, 09:47 AM (10 replies)
...second in a series, up to the inauguration, of some favorite President Obama posts of mine.
President and First Lady's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation
Kat 4 Obama @Kat4Obama 15m
MT @NerdyWonka Native American dancers from 20+ reservations prepare for arrival of POTUS & FLOTUS. #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/4lOywtClQC
Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
Native American children await the arrival of POTUS and FLOTUS to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/Qrsjz1oJV8
Chris Stearns @stearnsseattle
Native youth represent w/ pride at the President and First Lady's visit to Cannon Ball Pow Wow grounds. #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/ZsTVyV8tTW
@BarackObama & @MichelleObama received gift of "love and honor" given to leaders. Beautiful quilt. #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/I1Xo96fF9p
Team Barack Obama @TeamBarackObama
A Native American dancer takes a selfie with President Obama on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/W19txO1MT2
Ruth Hopkins @_RuthHopkins 37m
Check out FLOTUS Haha #ObamaSelfie pic.twitter.com/wGteJYZxTU
Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
Pres. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama thank Native American dancers at Cannon Ball Powwow Grounds #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/wGJm5dRvY9
President Obama smiling with Native American children on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/soU2xJeWJQ
Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
Historic: President Obama poses with Native American children at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. #PrezRezVisit pic.twitter.com/ydvRM9LSg3
Posted by bigtree | Sun Jan 15, 2017, 12:21 PM (4 replies)
...first in a daily series of some favorite posts of mine, up to the inauguration.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Josh Earnest @PressSec
AF1 landed in Denver where POTUS stopped for dinner at Wazee Supper Club with locals who wrote him a letter.
Doug Mills @dougmillsnyt 3m
President Obama has dinner at Wazee Supper Club with Alex Dooley, right, and her friends in Denver, CO.
Mark Knoller @markknoller 3m
"We're going to have some pizza," said POTUS at dinner with 5 letter writers.
Josh Earnest @PressSec 3m
Gorgeous evening for a stroll down 15th Street in Denver.
Sandy Phillips @MamaRedfield 33m
President looking great in Denver! Thanks @darrelrubin for the great photo
Josh Earnest @PressSec 5m
POTUS shoots pool with Gov Hickenlooper. Just another Tues night in Denver.
Julie Pace @jpaceDC 14m
In today's episode of "Obama On The Loose", he drinks a beer and plays pool...
petesouza @petesouza 7m
Whistling along to "Brown Eyed Girl", Pres Obama shoots pool w Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in Denver
Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller 54s
Pool: As the pool started to leave, Obama suddenly got hot, sinking multiple shots and winning the game. "Did you record that?" Obama asked
Mark Knoller @markknoller · 2h
#IllinoisSlim After sinking several balls, POTUS wanted to make sure press recorded his win.
Doug Mills @dougmillsnyt 3m
Obama has a beer with Gov. Hickenlooper at the Wynkook Brewing Company bar in Denver.
Jacquelyn Martin, AP
Neil Westergaard @NOWesteDenBiz 1h
Smiling Obama exits Wazee Supper Club . He looks satisfied. Good pie will do that.
Obama reacts as he is greeted by a man wearing a horse-head
Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller 16m
MT @dougmillsnyt: Obama reacts as he is greeted by a man wearing a horse-head as he walked the streets of Denver.
Flashback Post #2
Flashback Post #3
Flashback Post #4
Posted by bigtree | Sat Jan 14, 2017, 11:50 AM (7 replies)
...is they tend to stick if the subject or substance reinforces or serves to corroborate widely-held views or impressions about the person accused. It's even more consequential for politicians who are regularly judged on appearances.
In Trump's case, it's entirely believable that he engaged in perverted sex acts, because of his own words about groping women; his bragging of ability to sexually exploit women based on his position; as well as his intrusions into girls and women's locker rooms while they were in a state of undress.
The standard of proof for Trump's responses to issues of sexual misconduct is understandably high for many, and he will be judged on those impressions, even more than people will judge the accuracy of claims against him.
Whether or not that's fair or right, Trump is entirely responsible for the way the public perceives these salacious accusations. So far, nothing he's said or done, in response, has removed that cloud of disbelief over his denial of the latest (albeit, unproven) allegations contained in the Russian dossier.
Posted by bigtree | Wed Jan 11, 2017, 06:59 PM (5 replies)
I've read a few folks here who insist that we don't have any power or authority to compel a president Trump to do anything. While that notion may well be technically true, it doesn't account for the levers of our democracy which are still mostly in place, or take into account the expressed will of the majority of Americans to reject this presidency.
Politics isn't a static enterprise. It's nebulous and dynamic. Indeed, the political forces will often not bend to the will of the people without strong activism and advocacy.
That's why I would encourage each of us to embrace the authority inherent in our citizenship; in our votes and in our entreaties to our Senators and representatives; with confidence that we can positively influence the political process.
It's no secret that politicians are as politically afraid as they are politically craven. We haven't yet had our elections suspended and there are myriad opportunities to compel these politicians to listen to the voices of their constituents.
This notion that I've read here, that we're mere victims of the results of the election is hogwash. Of course, we have the courts to regulate behavior according to the law. However, it is the political class which is meant to preserve and defend Executive adherence to the law.
That check on the presidency can be switched on by a robust and challenging legislature, compelled into action by an energized and enthusiastic public. That's why it makes no sense to respond to political efforts like Eeyore, insisting that Trump is some immovable force, just because he threatens to be obstinate.
"Government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Lincoln's words at Gettysburg, affirming the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence, aren't just ephemeral ideals. They are immutable truths, no matter who chooses to disregard them. They are made self-evident by our participation in our democracy.
At Edwardsville, Illinois, on September 11, 1858, Abraham Lincoln said:
"If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail, by the judgment of this great tribunal, the American people. By the frame of the government under which we live, these same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief; and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years. "
I wrote about this over a decade ago, and I believe my words are still relevant:
____We must care enough to involve ourselves in every instigation of democracy which confronts us. Our government is a reflection of everything we choose to neglect and every cynical impulse we reflect. Bill Clinton once said that "cynicism is a luxury."
Those in power who are motivated by greed will show up every day to collect their share, and ours as well. Can we afford to turn away and let all of the negative influences have the floor to themselves?
We have to come to grips with our individual responsibility to vigilance. We have to show up every day to make certain the government is representing all of the people; not just the corporate few who show up every day to collect our money. They will always fill the halls of Congress with their favors, bribes, and obstruction.
As my old friend, Guy Washington used to say, "Good always leaves, but bad comes to stay."
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must continue to advocate and petition our government to work for peace - here in the United States and around the world - with our voices, with our written appeals and protests, and with our actions.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must keep ourselves informed about those issues and concerns which we entrust to the bidding of those in Congress; and we must thoroughly involve ourselves in the process of resolving those issues and concerns in tandem with our legislators by challenging ourselves to read, watch and listen; with a respect and a desire for understanding of differing views and opinions in our deliberation and debate.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must, in our respect for democracy, value and protect the right to vote. With our full participation in the voting process we promote respect for our nation and each other, and help ensure an equal chance for representation for all of our citizens in the deliberations of our government. Our vote is the instrument of our collective conscience and our warrant to the realization of our freedom, our liberty, and our well-being.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must challenge our government, ourselves, and one another, to act with more mercy and compassion as we marshal our resources to aid communities; to alleviate poverty, hunger, and want, here at home and around the world.
We must challenge ourselves to provide for the health needs of all of those who fall ill or injured in this country; to reach out to other countries to assist in the halting of the effects of deadly, infectious diseases and other illnesses; to provide full support and access for those with disabilities and handicaps.
We must challenge our government to make certain that there is adequate, safe, affordable housing for all; to provide emergency aid and assistance for our country; and when needed around the world, distributing these resources and this assistance in an equitable manner.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must demand that our government promote and practice respect for the environment in our own lands and with respect for the sovereignty of those lands which don't belong to us. We must maintain these values as we protect the ground, water, and the air against pollution and abuse, by government, from industry, or from individuals.
We must challenge our government and ourselves to advocate and enforce these values; through the regulation of industry and of individuals; through enactment and enforcement of environmental laws; by our stewardship and expansion of those lands we recognize and designate as vital to the preservation of our ecosystem, to wildlife, and to the safety of the citizens of our communities. We must foster in our government a respect for the preservation of the balance of all of nature and its right to coexist with humanity without risk of devastation, destruction, or disruption, or neglect.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must foster and nurture our respect for each other; in the sharing of our burdens; in our willingness to make reasonable compromises; in our awareness and responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the least fortunate among us. We must foster and nurture our respect for each other in the acceptance and appreciation of our differences- not merely to tolerate them- but to explore, celebrate and learn from our different backgrounds, our different abilities, our diverse heritages and nationalities, and our many different religions and beliefs.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must challenge our government, and ourselves, to be humble; in our words and in our actions; in our acceptance of our mistakes; to admit when we act wrongfully as nations and individuals; to bend ourselves to judgement and lend our support to justice; We must accept our limitations and learn to accept help when offered.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must instill in our lives and encourage in the acts of our government, a faithfulness to the values of honesty, integrity, and justice. We must challenge and demand from our government, a respect for the privacy of individuals; the rights of individuals to due process of law; protection from unlawful or unreasonable surveillance and searches; protection from any actions by governments, groups, or individuals to suppress protest, dissent or disagreement.
We must challenge and demand from our government, protection from unlawful or unreasonable arrest, detention, separation or deportation; and the rights of individuals to be informed and to inform others of actions by the government or its agents to restrict, degrade, or eviscerate our life, liberty, safety, or freedom. Through our virtue and our vigilance we expect and demand protection by our government from injury, abuse, exploitation, corruption, or enslavement.
We demand protection of our natural resources from theft, abuse, or neglect, as well as, insurance against the unforseen, sometimes destructive force of nature. We demand protection and defense against workplace abuse, accident, or neglect; defense against those who would do us harm, either as individuals or as a nation; and protection from the unreasonable and unlawful excesses and tyrannies of the majorities, in our government and wherever they threaten.
Never, never let ANYONE tell you that we are not in charge of our government. Never.
Posted by bigtree | Mon Jan 9, 2017, 12:59 PM (5 replies)
When you smile at the falling snow,
You're likely remembering joy and beauty,
Experienced over a lifetime.
From the very first time your parents,
Bundled you up with layers of long underwear;
Woolen trousers and several pairs of socks;
Oversized sweater over a turtleneck;
All crammed inside that impossibly small snowsuit.
You remember that first misshaped snowman,
Mixed with dirt and grass, and snot;
More brown than the white ground surrounding it,
Well-dressed in Mother's good scarf you borrowed
And perfectly natty in Father's old cap.
There's hastily erected snow fort on the front lawn,
Fully fortified with a neat pile of perfect snowballs,
Smoothed over by stiffening, soaked mittens,
Too precious, maybe too deadly to actually throw.
The fort is everything; only room for friends, and you.
Was there ever a truly safe hill for sledding?
One without the sharp drop into the half-frozen creek?
A sledding hill without that fence at the end,
Or that busy street with cars whizzing by past the curb,
Threatening to drown, decapitate, or drive over you?
Soaked to the bone, soaked through seven solid layers,
Stubbornly ignoring frostbitten feet and swollen hands,
Struggling with your sled back up to the top of the hill,
Standing in line behind the big kids, you spot your sister,
Shivering from the cold; you're suddenly shivering, too.
I was able to recreate all of that winter magic, as an adult;
My own sons, layered and stuffed into impossibly small snowsuits.
We made our own dirty snowmen; sturdy snow forts;
And sledded down unsafe hills; scraping swollen knuckles;
Stubbornly shivering as we stayed too long.
It's snowing, and there's a family of deer in my suburban yard,
Taking refuge on the softer land, ground deliberately layered
With the trees' insulating debris and evergreen ground cover.
There's spirit here; they know it's safe from predators,
A perfect place to digest their food and nibble a bit more.
They startle when I open the door to scatter birdseed,
Standing perfectly still, once more, when they hear my voice,
Softly reassuring them there's no reason to run away.
They're covered with snow, and one is trying to lick it off of the other.
The snow is falling fast, and I'm smiling again.
Posted by bigtree | Sat Jan 7, 2017, 04:58 PM (15 replies)
...don't be lulled into believing he's just some clown. Whatever he is, he's going to be in control of one of the most powerful offices in the world.
What I would say to those who are dismissing the importance of paying attention to the raving lunatic, is that we are challenged to respond forcefully to both Congress and the presidency. However, the Executive's potential to employ a Bush-era disregard for the Constitution, the law, or the will of the people, with impunity, is the biggest danger we face.
Think of all of our major military engagements initiated by the POTUS and rubberstamped by Congress, afterward. IMO, that power to war is one of the most dangerous prospects, recalling, as if it were yesterday, how consequential Bush as president turned out to be after 911, and how his decisions in office transformed the nation.
In addition, the President has control and responsibility over immigration, environmental concerns, health, finances... all of which he can exercise and enact almost unilaterally, to a degree which affects the nation.
Trump can also be easily manipulated in the exercise of that Executive power. That terrifies and concerns me more than the deliberations of Congress, which, quite frankly, at least affords our party a voice, albeit a less influential one in the minority.
Posted by bigtree | Sat Dec 31, 2016, 03:17 PM (5 replies)