Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beware, the Party is Gathering

IF BARACK Obama's poll numbers don't plummet before the convention, the Establishment is in deep doo-doo.

Media outlets, big and small, will do everything in their power to take Barack down before Denver.

The Establishment wants this to be a race between the Establishment candidate and the Establishment candidate.

Y'all ain't see nothing yet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

AFL-CIO Fights the Smears, Brilliantly

THE JED REPORT is calling it the most effective anti-smear campaign of the election to date. It's hard to disagree.

Even though Barack's campaign launched Fight the Smears in the last month or so, the site has come under criticism for leading with the smears before debunking them. They argue that he could be reinforcing the lies by repeating them.

The designer of the AFL-CIO mailer does no such thing. Instead, it focuses on who Barack is instead of who he is not.

I much prefer that approach. Defending your identity is a lose-lose situation. Stating the affirmative is always a win-win.

See the life-size PDF of the mailer here. The union intends to circulate the mailers in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania later this week.

Here's hoping they add Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, the Dakotas and Virginia to that list.

Barack needs all the help he can get to win this war. The AFL-CIO is armed and ready for battle.

The View From Here

Trellis. Click to enlarge.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Bench Memorial for Slavery

At Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, S.C.: Toni Morrison, far left, led the procession during a ceremony dedicating her “bench by the road,” honoring the memory of slaves who arrived there. (NY Times photo and caption)

TONI MORRISON got her wish. Anyone who was mesmerized by her Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece Beloved knows that the novel commemorates the history of slavery. But there's literature and there's life. Back in 1989, the Nobel Laureate told a magazine, “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath or wall, or park or skyscraper lobby. There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road.”

As of this past weekend, there is now a small bench by the road. By a road on an island off the coast of South Carolina. An island where many, many slaves were dragged in shackles and chains into the New World.

Read all about it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday with Shirley

“A TIME For Love,” performance date and location unknown. A slow-as-molasses-in-January, talk-sing rendition with ivory tickling typical of the tremendous artistry of Shirley Horn.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

An American in Paris: A President's Welcome

TODAY, French President Nicolas Sarközy threw himself all over Barack as though he was his lover. And I'm not overstating. Not that he doesn't like Barack. Clearly he does. You can't fake chemistry. But I have to think he's playing politicsjavascript:void(0)
Publish Post with his own electorate, which really likes Barack. I wonder what Sarközy's approval ratings in France are right about now.

Whatever the case, Sarközy treating Barack as though he were the sitting President of the United States. Not only did they have a meeting, as Barack did with other heads of states, but he hosted a joint press conference outside the Élysée Palace before international media.

When John McCain visited, he spoke there alone.

Unprecedented. Aware of the atmospherics and protocol of it all, Barack demanded that no American flag stand behind him since onlyl sitting Presidents and military can represent the American flag abroad.

The press conference was stunning. My mouth agape from the first tough question to the last. And both men's answers were as tough as the questions.

Sarközy gave Barack a president's welcome. Barack took it and ran with it, but all the while remaining aware that one false step over a very thin line, and he'd fall flat on his face.

He danced on that line like Bill T. Jones.

Related Story

The World's Most Popular Politician

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barack to Berlin: ‘A World that Stands as One’

PEOPLE of Berlin. People of the world.

Today, I feel tremendous pride in my country.

200,000 people showed up to hear Barack deliver his major speech in Berlin today.

Many of them were waving American flags. Barack was not booed nor heckled. Nor was he worshiped.

The crowd listened, applauded, chanted a few O-BA-MA's. Often, the camera revealed pensive people, intent people, expressionless, not even applauding, pondering the weight of every single word.

There was little to indicate a throng of listeners caught up in the hysteria of watching a rock star, despite the chorus of corporate media shills and demoralized detractors.

As I just read from a commenter on Jack and Jill Politics,

The media here is saying at least 100,000 people came out...but German newspapers are saying 200,000 - whatever the case may be.....I watched a black man stand in Berlin and give a speech before people waving the US Flag and listening intently to his every word.....I have to keep looking out this window to make sure the four horsemen aren't coming thru the clouds - this is amazing.

Indeed it was.

Even as his walk of spine and confidence to the podium revealed his nerves, even as he stumbled over a few of his eloquent words, imperfect, as he admits, even as the windows to his soul displayed raw exhaustion, the sight of those waving American flags in the midst of all those German (and Spanish, Italian, Romanian, French, Czech, British, and lest we forget - American) people was breathtaking.

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, an event the so-called political analysts never even thought his speech might be about, Barack reminded Americans and Europeans that we must rebuild our alliances and tackle the world's biggest threats together.

Some are calling it the foreign policy speech by which all future foreign policy speeches will be measured.

I saw it as a natural extension of the speech he gave on the night of the Texas and Ohio primaries.

This was the speech I hoped he would give.

He gave it.

I think Barack is perfectly aware that he might not be elected and he's showing the world what a Black president from the States could look like, whether we allow him to lead us or not.

But we must allow him.

We must take the vision of the gift he gave and turn it into reality.


Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (as prepared for delivery)

A World that Stands as One

July 24th, 2008

Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning - his dream - required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I'm here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that's when the airlift began - when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city's mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. "There is only one possibility," he said. "For us to stand together united until this battle is won...The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty...People of the world, look at Berlin!"

People of the world - look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall - a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope - walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers - dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we're honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth - that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

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

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations - and all nations - must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

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

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century - in this city of all cities - we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom - indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people - everywhere - became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation - our generation - must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

(Photos source. More here.)

Barack in Berlin

SPIEGEL has a great photo gallery up. Check it out.

Barack at the Wailing Wall

THESE photos come to you from This Week With Barack Obama. Barack visited the Western Wall at daybreak before leaving Jerusalem and flying to Germany.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barack in Israel and Other Juicy Tidbets

LOOK, I'm in bed and breakfast high season, the fields and gardens need all my attention, I'm trying to watch and blog a big tennis event in Canada, and Barack is on his world tour. I don't have time to post my reflections about politics, so I'll continue to link the great diaries over at Daily Kos that provide spectacular updates with photos and video.

Today's come to you from Al Rodgers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Barack in Iraq

FOR MORE great photos, check out 10 Days That Shook the World - Obama in Iraq.

Meantime, thanks to a few-point drop in Barack's polling numbers in Maine (he's still ahead by 10 points), John McCain aka the Dangerous One gave a tired presentation in front of small crowd in Portland after meeting with President George H.W. Bush at the Bushie's posh estate in Kennebunkport.

McCain faced protests in Kennebunkport for the four-figure fundraiser President Bush hosted.

I told hubby when I saw the most recent poll to expect a campaign appearance in Maine from the Dangerous One sometime this week.

And so it was.

Good for him for trying. But McCain't ain't winning Maine in November.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday with Peggy

‘I ONLY Have Eyes For You,’ 1950.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Barack with U.S. Troops in Kuwait & Afghanistan

LOOK at all of those black and brown soldiers.

Despite having a brother-in-law who's been psychologically ravaged by tours in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait how is it possible that when I think of soldiers I see white people? Is it possible that those are the only ones the networks here care to show us? The only ones who are heroes?

Just asking.

AP has the following footage of Barack meeting with Afghan leaders.

If He Has Loved His Children

I LOVE the rawness of this quote:

"He's welcome to our war-torn city," said Habibullah Hamdard, a 42-year-old teacher. "If he has loved his children, he should love the Afghan children who are dying around the country every day. The white guy couldn't do anything, let's see what the black guy can do."

The View From Here

Cathedral of Pines.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

$52 Million in June

IF YOU'VE been listening to the punditocracy of late, you'd probably think that Barack was about to go bankrupt. Clearly, the corporate media will do anything to make this a horse race. Lying. Fabricating. Spreading rumors from un-named sources. Flashing graphics with misinformation.

Alas, Barack's supporters must remain vigilant, active, and generous.

From: David Plouffe, Date: Thu, Jul 17, 2008 Subject: June Numbers


Keep the Momentum Going We have some big news we want to share with you.

Because of your generosity and commitment, we're reporting to the press today that this campaign is in a very strong financial position.

In the month of June, supporters like you helped raise $52 million.

But more impressive than the number is how you did it. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people contributed to building our campaign for change. Many were first-time donors, giving only what they could afford -- and the average donation was just $68.

You continue to prove what ordinary Americans committed to change can accomplish, despite the Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs funding so much of our opponents' campaign.

But we can't stop now.

It's going to take everything we've got to defeat John McCain and the Republican National Committee in November. And we can't do it without your continued support.

Can you make a donation of $25 now to strengthen our movement for change?

I also wanted to share with you another promising piece of news.

The Obama campaign and the DNC ended June with a combined total of nearly $72 million in the bank. It's a healthy number. But McCain and the RNC together still have a huge cash advantage, and we need your help to close the gap.

As I mentioned in my video message to you earlier in the week, we're facing a Republican machine with unprecedented resources at its disposal. The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee finished June with nearly $100 million in the bank.

Our campaign does not accept donations from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs, and neither does the Democratic National Committee. But John McCain and the RNC have no such standards.

Along with the vast amounts of unregulated money being raised by shadowy outside groups, there's no telling how much they'll spend running attack ads.

We must work together and fight back against their efforts.

Please make a donation of $25 now:

I know this isn't the first time we've asked you for money, and it won't be the last.

We have developed a strategy -- a very aggressive strategy -- that will only work if our millions of supporters continue to contribute their time and their money.

We are now on the air with TV ads in 18 states -- including 14 that George W. Bush carried in the 2004 election. And in each one we're also building extensive grassroots field organizations.

It's all part of our strategy to spread Barack's positive message and compete in all 50 states.

That strategy will work, and it has to. The stakes are too high and the need for change too great. We are thrilled to be on this journey with you and thank you for all you have done so far. But victory is only possible with your continued help.

Please give $25 now:

We can't do this without you.



David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Know hope.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Barack on Foreign Policy & National Security

TWO BIG speeches in two days. This one, however, was pre-empted by President Bush's last-minute scheduling of a lame press conference on the economy and energy prices and was followed up by a John McCain rebuttal, if that's what you want to call it, that he moved up two days to disallow Barack from winning a news cycle with this comprehensive, detailed presentation of his foreign policy vision.

Politics is vicious.

Barack Address to the NAACP

IT IS ALWAYS humbling to speak before the NAACP. It is a powerful reminder of the debt we all owe to those who marched for us and fought for us and stood up on our behalf; of the sacrifices that were made for us by those we never knew; and of the giants whose shoulders I stand on here today.

They are the men and women we read about in history books and hear about in church; whose lives we honor with schools, and boulevards, and federal holidays that bear their names. But what I want to remind you tonight — on Youth Night — is that these giants, these icons of America’s past, were not much older than many of you when they took up freedom’s cause and made their mark on history.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was but a 26-year old pastor when he led a bus boycott in Montgomery that mobilized a movement. John Lewis was but a 25-year old activist when he faced down Billy clubs on the bridge in Selma and helped arouse the conscience of our nation. Diane Nash was even younger when she helped found SNCC and led Freedom Rides down south. And your chairman Julian Bond was but a 25-year old state legislator when he put his own shoulder to the wheel of history.

It is because of them; and all those whose names never made it into the history books - those men and women, young and old, black, brown and white, clear-eyed and straight-backed, who refused to settle for the world as it is; who had the courage to remake the world as it should be - that I stand before you tonight as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America.

And if I have the privilege of serving as your next President, I will stand up for you the same way that earlier generations of Americans stood up for me - by fighting to ensure that every single one of us has the chance to make it if we try. That means removing the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding that still exist in America. It means fighting to eliminate discrimination from every corner of our country. It means changing hearts, and changing minds, and making sure that every American is treated equally under the law.

But social justice is not enough. As Dr. King once said, “the inseparable twin of racial justice is economic justice.” That’s why Dr. King went to Memphis in his final days to stand with striking sanitation workers. That’s why the march that Roy Wilkins helped lead forty five years ago this summer wasn’t just named the March on Washington, and it wasn’t just named the March on Washington for Freedom; it was named the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

What Dr. King and Roy Wilkins understood is that it matters little if you have the right to sit at the front of the bus if you can’t afford the bus fare; it matters little if you have the right to sit at the lunch counter if you can’t afford the lunch. What they understood is that so long as Americans are denied the decent wages, and good benefits, and fair treatment they deserve, the dream for which so many gave so much will remain out of reach; that to live up to our founding promise of equality for all, we have to make sure that opportunity is open to all Americans.

That is what I’ve been fighting to do throughout my over 20 years in public service. That’s why I’ve fought in the Senate to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create good jobs here in America. That’s why I brought Democrats and Republicans together in Illinois to put $100 million in tax cuts into the pockets of hardworking families, to expand health care to 150,000 children and parents, and to end the outrage of black women making just 62 cents for every dollar that many of their male coworkers make.

And that’s why I moved to Chicago after college. As some of you know, I turned down more lucrative jobs because I was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and I wanted to do my part in the ongoing battle for opportunity in this country. So I went to work for a group of churches to help turn around neighborhoods that were devastated when the local steel plants closed. And I reached out to community leaders - black, brown, and white - and together, we gave job training to the jobless, set up afterschool programs to help keep kids off the streets, and block by block, we helped turn those neighborhoods around.

So I’ve been working my entire adult life to help build an America where social justice is being served and economic justice is being served; an America where we all have an equal chance to make it if we try. That’s the America I believe in. That’s the America you’ve been fighting for over the past 99 years. And that’s the America we have to keep marching towards today.

Our work is not over.

When so many of our nation’s schools are failing, especially those in our poorest rural and urban communities, denying millions of young Americans the chance to fulfill their potential and live out their dreams, we have more work to do.

When CEOs are making more in ten minutes than the average worker earns in a year, and millions of families lose their homes due to unscrupulous lending, checked neither by a sense of corporate ethics or a vigilant government; when the dream of entering the middle class and staying there is fading for young people in our community, we have more work to do.

When any human being is denied a life of dignity and respect, no matter whether they live in Anacostia or Appalachia or a village in Africa; when people are trapped in extreme poverty we know how to curb or suffering from diseases we know how to prevent; when they’re going without the medicines that they so desperately need - we have more work to do.

That’s what this election is all about. It’s about the responsibilities we all share for the future we hold in common. It’s about each and every one of us doing our part to build that more perfect union.

It’s about the responsibilities that corporate America has - responsibilities that start with ending a culture on Wall Street that says what’s good for me is good enough; that puts their bottom line ahead of what’s right for America. Because what we’ve learned in such a dramatic way in recent months is that pain in our economy trickles up; that Wall Street can’t thrive so long as Main Street is struggling; and that America is better off when the well-being of American business and the American people are aligned. Our CEOs have to recognize that they have a responsibility not just to grow their profit margins, but to be fair to their workers, and honest to their shareholders and to help strengthen our economy as a whole. That’s how we’ll ensure that economic justice is being served. And that’s what this election is about.

It’s about the responsibilities that Washington has - responsibilities that start with restoring fairness to our economy by making sure that the playing field isn’t tilted to benefit the special interests at the expense of ordinary Americans; and that we’re rewarding not just wealth, but the work and workers who create it. That’s why I’ll offer a middle class tax cut so we can lift up hardworking families, and give relief to struggling homeowners so we can end our housing crisis, and provide training to young people to work the green jobs of the future, and invest in our infrastructure so we can create millions of new jobs.

And that’s why I’ll end the outrage of one in five African Americans going without the health care they deserve. We’ll guarantee health care for anyone who needs it, make it affordable for anyone who wants it, and ensure that the quality of your health care does not depend on the color of your skin. And we’re not going to do it 20 years from now or 10 years from now, we’re going to do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States of America.

And here’s what else we’ll do - we’ll make sure that every child in this country gets a world-class education from the day they’re born until the day they graduate from college. Now, I understand that Senator McCain is going to be coming here in a couple of days and talking about education, and I’m glad to hear it. But the fact is, what he’s offering amounts to little more than the same tired rhetoric about vouchers. Well, I believe we need to move beyond the same debate we’ve been having for the past 30 years when we haven’t gotten anything done. We need to fix and improve our public schools, not throw our hands up and walk away from them. We need to uphold the ideal of public education, but we also need reform.

That’s why I’ve introduced a comprehensive strategy to recruit an army of new qualified teachers to our communities - and to pay them more and give them more support. And we’ll invest in early childhood education programs so that our kids don’t begin the race of life behind the starting line and offer a $4,000 tax credit to make college affordable for anyone who wants to go. Because as the NAACP knows better than anyone, the fight for social justice and economic justice begins in the classroom.

But it doesn’t end there. We have to fight for all those young men standing on street corners with little hope for the future besides ending up in jail. We have to break the cycle of poverty and violence that’s gripping too many neighborhoods in this country.

That’s why I’ll expand the Earned Income Tax Credit - because it’s one of the most successful anti-poverty measures we have. That’s why I’ll end the Bush policy of taking cops off the streets at the moment they’re needed most - because we need to give local law enforcement the support they need. That’s why we’ll provide job training for ex-offenders - because we need to make sure they don’t return to a life of crime. And that’s why I’ll build on the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York and launch an all-hands-on-deck effort to end poverty in this country - because that’s how we’ll put the dream that Dr. King and Roy Wilkins fought for within reach for the next generation of children.

And if people tell you that we cannot afford to invest in education or health care or fighting poverty, you just remind them that we are spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. And if we can spend that much money in Iraq, we can spend some of that money right here in Cincinnati, Ohio and in big cities and small towns in every corner of this country.

So yes, we have to demand more responsibility from Washington. And yes we have to demand more responsibility from Wall Street. But we also have to demand more from ourselves. Now, I know some say I’ve been too tough on folks about this responsibility stuff. But I’m not going to stop talking about it. Because I believe that in the end, it doesn’t matter how much money we invest in our communities, or how many 10-point plans we propose, or how many government programs we launch - none of it will make any difference if we don’t seize more responsibility in our own lives.

That’s how we’ll truly honor those who came before us. Because I know that Thurgood Marshall did not argue Brown versus Board of Education so that some of us could stop doing our jobs as parents. And I know that nine little children did not walk through a schoolhouse door in Little Rock so that we could stand by and let our children drop out of school and turn to gangs for the support they are not getting elsewhere. That’s not the freedom they fought so hard to achieve. That’s not the America they gave so much to build. That’s not the dream they had for our children.

That’s why if we’re serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives, our own families, and our own communities. That starts with providing the guidance our children need, turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; attending those parent-teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example. It starts with teaching our daughters to never allow images on television to tell them what they are worth; and teaching our sons to treat women with respect, and to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; that what makes them men is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one. It starts by being good neighbors and good citizens who are willing to volunteer in our communities - and to help our synagogues and churches and community centers feed the hungry and care for the elderly. We all have to do our part to lift up this country.

That’s where change begins. And that, after all, is the true genius of America - not that America is, but that America will be; not that we are perfect, but that we can make ourselves more perfect; that brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand, people who love this country can change it. And that’s our most enduring responsibility - the responsibility to future generations. We have to change this country for them. We have to leave them a planet that’s cleaner, a nation that’s safer, and a world that’s more equal and more just.

So I’m grateful to you for all you’ve done for this campaign, but we’ve got work to do and we cannot rest. And I know that if you put your shoulders to the wheel of history and take up the cause of perfecting our union just as earlier generations of Americans did before you; if you take up the fight for opportunity and equality and prosperity for all; if you march with me and fight with me, and get your friends registered to vote, and if you stand with me this fall - then not only will we help close the responsibility deficit in this country, and not only will we help achieve social justice and economic justice for all, but I will come back here next year on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, and I will stand before you as the President of the United States of America. And at that moment, you and I will truly know that a new day has come in this country we love. Thank you.

Monday, July 14, 2008


SOMETHING happened over the weekend in the political world that has enraged me so much, I can't even write about it here.

But my body feels wounded.

That's all.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday with Dinah

NEWPORT Jazz Festival, 1958

Friday, July 11, 2008

The View From Here

Bigelow Mountains from Flagstaff Lake, Eustis, Maine. Click to enlarge

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Beginning of an Era

Day 13. Lucking number thirteen. Four hours and forty-eight minutes. Third time the charm. Twice delayed by rain. Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 to claim his first Wimbledon crown.

The longest Wimbledon final in history. The first Spaniard to win Wimbledon in the Open Era. The first Spaniard to win Wimbledon since Manuel "Manolo" Martinez Santana in 1966. The first player to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon back-to-back since Bjorn Borg in 1980. The first Mallorcan to win Wimbledon in history.

The lefty dethrones the king.

1981 redux.

Rafa reigns.

Raja weeps.


Check the Open Thread for our often-times cryptic comments about the match as it happened.

Sunday with Ella

‘SUMMERTIME.’ A quiet, controlled and precise rendition from the First Lady of Song, performed live in Berlin, 1968, a perfect coda to Fourth of July weekend.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

House of Williams

VENUS WILLIAMS joins tennis greats Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova with her fifth Wimbledon championship in the Open Era.

And she finally beat Serena Williams again in a Slam final. After losing to Serena in five Slam finals, four of them in a row, it was clearly Venus' turn to get some revenge and take another title over Serena, her first since the 2001 US Open.

This is the third time in Venus' career that she defended a Slam title. She's now tied with recently "retired" Justine Henin with seven Slams, one shy of Serena, who remains the only active player to have won all four Slams.

You can read our takes on the match in the Open Thread.

Venus followed up her singles championship victory with a 6-2, 6-2 victory in doubles alongside sister Serena over Lisa Raymond of the United States and Samantha Stosur of Australia.

Virginia Wade, my favorite commentator, said that of all the doubles matches featuring Serena and Venus that she has seen, this was the first match where they played pure doubles as a team rather than scintillating singles tennis on a doubles court.

Quite a feat only hours after the grueling emotions of a Slam singles final against each other.

This is the third time, 2000 and 2002 previously, that they've won the doubles title. All three times, one of them has also won the singles title.

If theirs isn't among the greatest stories in the history of the sport - of all sports - I don't know what is.