Sunday, February 28, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Yesterday a college friend with whom I had recently connected earlier on Facebook wrote words on my Wall that reminded me of a solemn reverential song that used to touch me in my deepest solar plexuses. I was pleasantly surprised that she still remembered one of my performances at the University of Michigan. She wrote:
Judith, I'm so glad you added me as a friend! I have a vivid memory of you singing "Dank sei dir, Herr!" on the fourth floor of amazing combination of honey and steel. I sat behind a two-year-old (maybe a niece of yours, or a young friend) who was rapt while you were singing and climbing like a maniac when you weren't! I bet she's in college now...
I have the recording of that performance at Michigan. Perhaps one day I will post it here. In the meantime, here is a truly amazing recording of "Dank sie dir, Herr" which is attributed to Georg F. Handel and sung by Dutch contralto Aafje Heynis. It's sublime.

Thanks be to Thee, Oh Lord

Thanks be to Thee,
Thanks be to Thee, O Lord,
Thou hast led Thy people
With Thee,
Thine is now the land.

Even before these enemies manaced us,
Thy hand protected us;
In Thy grace Thou gavest us salvation.

Thanks be to Thee,
Thanks be to Thee, O Lord,
Thou hast led Thy people
With Thee,
Thine is now the land.

Thanks be to Thee,
Thanks be to Thee, O Lord,
Thou hast led Thy people
With Thee,
In Thy grace Thou gavest us salvation.

(By the way, the niece that my college friend referred to is a sophomore at Michigan now.)

Being George Soros

On Fareed Zakaria GPS respected billionaire global financier George Soros said that although President Reagan is highly regarded "something went terribly wrong when Reagan and Thatcher" were in office. During the Reagan years deregulation was championed and continued under President Clinton which included unfair trade and globalization policies. With the major collapse of the global economy it is clear that Soros is well-respected for a reason. When asked if banking reform is necessary he said yes but it is most important to get it right.

It's not difficult to find Soros to be admirable. He gives $500 million dollars, which he noted is steadily increasing, annually to his foundation, Open Society Institute, to consider "issues confronting humanity such as climate change" and helping the "vulnerable" in the world. Like is contemporary Warren Buffett, Soros is deeply dedicated to global human causes. For this, both should be resoundingly praised. But Soros seems to not have lost his edge as it is believed Buffett may have.

George Soros' pulse on economic issues remains vibrant. I wonder if it has to do with positioning. How has he managed to be so accurate for so many years? His position as a hedge fund manager demands constant immediate attention that includes out of the box decisions and outlook. Unlike Buffett, Soros did not lose big with bogus alphabetical financial instruments such as CDOs, CDO squareds, CDSs, ABXs, CMBXs, etc that nearly brought the global economy to near collapse.

Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Buffett's company, invested in some of the aforementioned financial instruments and lost its coveted Triple A credit score. As the founder and chairman of the Soros Fund Management, LLC, Soros undoubtedly bet against the subprime housing market, recognizing it as a bubble. Wherever there is a bubble, Soros seems likely to capitalize on it. This should keep some on their toes, but it doesn't seem to matter largely. Boom and bust seems built into the system. The problem is that with technology the potential for global collapse is greater. I wonder how Soros sees his role as the chairman of a successful hedge fund which is often oppositional to government. Governments (international and local) often depend on the investment advice of others such as Goldman Sachs to do their bidding. How might Soros see this?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Being Honored

During this month that recognizes the struggles and victories of African Americans, I honor the named and nameless, the young and old, the beaten and bruised, the living and dead, the black and white, the wise and prudent, the enslaved and freed. It remains important to honor all of these.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being a Bridge

"I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madame C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge."

--Oprah Winfrey

Let's be a bridge for others. Others have been a bridge for us.

Being an Aunt

Moments ago my talented nephew, Roberto, who has been living in California for the last two years pursuing his dream of being an artist, texted me. The exchange went like this:

Roberto: Hey Auntie! I was just reading your blog and it's great! I definitely love "Being Delores Ellis." I hope all is well with you. I miss and love you!

Me: Oh, it's always so good to hear from you. I sooo love you and Grandma did too. Remember that "He who began a good work in you will complete it." Grandma believed this. She loved you so very much and I loved how you always took care of her.

Roberto: Thank you, Auntie Judith. Grandma was and still is very dear to me. I have dreams of her all the time. Usually she is doing something rare like driving. LOL!

Me: That's so very funny about Grandma driving. Thank you so very much for that image which we rarely got to see. LOL! You were her willing chauffeur.

Roberto: It was my pleasure, Auntie. As I get older my purpose in life becomes crystal clear. I have Grandma to thank for that.

Me: We all have her to thank for that. Do you need anything? I know how difficult it can be out there.

Roberto: Thanks, Auntie, but I don't need anything at the moment but prayer and support! So many great things are on the horizon. I can't believe it.
Well, I can believe it and he certainly has my support and prayer. As I read his last text this scripture came to mind: "Raise up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Believe me when I tell you that I have departed a great many times. Even today, I sometimes fail miserably. But I guess being old varies increasingly. Now, I need your support and prayer. :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Being Inquisitive

"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive."

--Albert Einstein

Talent development is not a negative but I think we put too much emphasis on it and perhaps not enough on discovery. We then wonder why businesses fail and relationships end. It's a matter of focus. Being inquisitive takes the focus outside of ourselves and our understanding. Talent development keeps the focus on ourselves and our limited knowledge on a specific topic, even if we are considered the expert. If we are constantly thinking about ourselves and what we know, how do we ever learn what is possible? Being inquisitive actually enables true talent development, the kind that doesn't end where our limited knowledge and understanding begins.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Being Neighborly

Where I am in Michigan we got nearly a foot of snow yesterday. Usually, the guys who plow our properties would drop by my place after they had completed the others. By early evening when I arrived home from the gym my snow had not been plowed. They were having mechanical problems. So, I wrapped up a bit tighter, having worked out for nearly two hours, and began shoveling. Soon as I began I noticed that the lot on the corner, where a middle-aged woman was horribly violated in a very unusual intrusion nearly a month or so ago, had not been shoveled. The thought came to me to do hers after I finished mine. I had been looking for a way to be helpful to her. After the incident I asked a police officer what I should do to help. He said that she was in a state of shock and thought it best that I do nothing. Oh, how my heart ached. But I reluctantly took his advice, instead riding by the house and wishing her the very best each and every time I passed.

As I stood there soaking wet in the night air chilled to the bone, I looked at her very large lot which is almost twice the size of mine and said aloud, mustering courage, "It won’t take long." If my guys were there I would have just sent them over. They weren't. But to my complete delight two young men jumped out of a truck to plow my neighbor's lot a few houses down. I went over and asked if they could go to the corner house when they were finished. They readily agreed, but said that because the lot was twice as large that the cost would be twice as much. No problem. I walked back to finish shoveling my lot nearly skipping. I was happy. As they finished and began walking to the corner lot, the thought came to me that if my neighbor came home and saw these men on her property it might evoke fear and horrible memories. I stopped shoveling and went directly over to stand watch to explain to my arriving neighbor if needed. It took them an hour with two blowers.

Standing there I became completely warm, sending good thoughts of healing to my neighbor and watching the guys do a good deed for someone who probably needed it. I really didn’t know how to best express my sorrow. Hers must have been so deep. I don’t know her well besides a general greeting. Usually, you can only get a glimpse of her blonde hair under a straw or wool hat. But she always speaks. Oh, how I wished that I could take that horrid memory away from her. She had lived there for nearly three decades when my brother first bought the house that I bought when he passed. I wondered if he knew her and what he might have done. He was so very neighborly and gallant. I wanted to remove the pain I knew she must have felt. While that was impossible, what was very possible is the small thing that I could do to show her that somebody out there cared. We can all do that whether at home or work. It has a snowball effect.

My neighbor has no idea that I sent the young men over to plow her snow or that I stood out there in the night air wet to the bone. This mattered not to me in the very least. But I cannot even begin to tell you how my sleep was so much sweeter. I cannot even begin to tell you how much better I felt. I don't know how it will be perceived by my neighbor, but for me that small thing was large indeed. Because these young men were so affable and did such a fine job, I told them that each time it snowed for the rest of the season that that they were to come see me first and then go to the corner lot and take care of my neighbor. They were happy about getting a new customer and so was I with the thought of being neighborly.

"Love thy neighbor as thyself." (Leviticus 19:18 and Mark 12:31)

Being Network News

Network news, inundated with intrigue and opinion, has become an opiate for the people.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Being the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

To You....

You're the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

I've had my share of life's ups and downs
But fate's been kind, the downs have been few
I guess you could say that I've been lucky
Well, I guess you could say that it's all because of you

If anyone should ever write my life story
For whatever reason there might be
Ooo, you'll be there between each line of pain and glory
'Cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me
Ah, you're the best thing that ever happened to me

Oh, there have been times when times were hard
But always somehow I made it, I made it through
'Cause for every moment that I've spent hurting
There was a moment that I spent, ah, just loving you

If anyone should ever write my life story
For whatever reason there might be
Oh, you'll be there between each line of pain and glory
'Cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me
Oh, you're the best thing that ever happened to me
I know, you're the best thing, oh, that ever happened to me

This is some kinda love, eh? Classic Gladys Knight and the Pips!

Being Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney have been blasting President Obama. Both have said that President Obama has made the country less safe. Here are two generals that I respect on the matter on the Sunday news programs: General Colin Powell and General David Petraus. Powell was on Face the Nation and Petraus was on Meet the Press.

General Colin Powell: "To suggest that somehow we have become much less safe because of the actions of the administration, I don't think that's borne out by the facts..." President Bush created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence "and it is still under President Obama, working hard," Powell continued. "Our counterterrorism authorities and forces are hard at work. Our law enforcement officials are hard at work. We have gone after the enemy in Afghanistan with 50,000 more troops, more predators are striking al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in Pakistan. We have continued the policies that President Bush put in place with respect to Iraq. And so I don't know where the claim comes that we are less safe."

Watch CBS News Videos Online

General David Petraus: "I have always been on the record, in fact, since 2003, with the concept of living our values. And I think that whenever we've perhaps taken expedient measures, they've turned around and bitten us in the backside. We decided early on, in the 101st airborne division, we just said, we decided to obey the Geneva Conventions. In the cases where that is not true [where torture takes place or international human rights groups aren't granted access to detention sites] we end up paying a price for it, ultimately," he added. "Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non biodegradable. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick.... Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of interrogation methods in the army field manual that was given the force of law by Congress, that that works... I've been on the record on that for well over a year, saying it (Gitmo) should be closed. But it should be done in a responsible matter. So I'm not seized with the issue that it won't be done by a certain date. In fact, I think it is prudent to insure that as we move forward with that, the remaining detainees are relocated and so forth... is really thought through and done in a very pragmatic and sensible manner."

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

My friend Sylvie Calvert has compiled beautiful photos of Provence in France to Beethoven's 6th Symphony, "Pastoral."

We had two brilliant sunny days here in Michigan and I thought of Spring! Click here for a beautiful slide show.

(Merci beaucoup Sylvie, mon ami. Belles photos! La musique de Beethoven est tre belle comme toujours.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Being Innovative

Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrates "augmented-reality mapping technology" by Microsoft at TED. This is really cool stuff!

Watching this did you wonder about privacy issues? I did.

Being an Obese Child

I'm currently listening to Michelle Obama address childhood obesity at the National Governors Association. Childhood obesity is so very important as it affects every area of our future national viability.

This cause, as the First Lady said, is not right or left and neither should addressing the problem include a one size fits all solution. What works in one state will not work in another.

The problem is intricate and intimate.

This is such an important issue. I trust that it will find broad support across the nation in every community. Let's Move!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Being for the Stimulus

Fast Company shows the success of the Stimulus in saving jobs with the "mess" President Obama "inherited." Can you imagine the disaster that cities all over the U.S would be in without the Stimulus? The lack of the Stimulus would have had a devastating affect throughout the country in safety, schools, hospitals and homes without the extension of unemployment benefits.

Many cities had lost big after investing with Goldman Sachs in instruments they thought secure. (Yeah, we know what happened there.) The Stimulus was absolutely necessary. Economist Paul Krugman has long said that it was not nearly big enough. Let's see. It's still being allocated. But it's working. Perhaps we need a wee bit more patience. Let's keep the faith and make it happen!

Being Given Grace

"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

Ephesians 4:7

In a conversation this morning with my brother Haywood he made this point about grace: "Each of us have been given grace according to our purpose." Grace is the ability to accomplish that purpose. But what happens when we assume the purpose of another? Do we then have the grace to fulfill it?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Being Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore

The irrational rationale of Joe Stack, the man who flew a plane into a building that housed many IRS workers in Austin today, is both very sad and alarming. Why does being "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore" often include an attempt to take the lives of others? Stack was obviously disturbed and it is reported that he set his own house on fire. You can read his full online manifesto here. Does the rhetoric of the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others inflame such irrationality? Or, is there simply no stopping such a one? Stack was mad as hell at everything and seemingly everyone.

Being Bill Gates

Here is a great speech by Bill Gates at TED. It's nearly 28 minutes long but well worth a listen. There is also an informative Q&A session thereafter. As the topic relates to carbon emission and energy, there will probably be "climate skeptics." Gates brilliantly addresses such skeptics through cost. The focus is three-fold: ecology, the world's poor, and viable markets.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Being Hypocritical

An article in The Wall Street Journal today addresses the hypocrisy of Republicans who have been berating the Stimulus Package in public but writing letters to the administration asking for funds for there states and districts in secret. Here is the article in its entirety. It's stunning in its hypocrisy.
WASHINGTON—Democrats, stung by criticism of their $787 billion economic-stimulus plan, are targeting Republicans who have attacked the program and then lobbied to get money for their districts. The article is so important that I have

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers supported stimulus-funding requests submitted to the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Forest Service, in letters obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

The stimulus package passed last February with no Republican votes in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, just three Republicans supported it: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who later switched to the Democratic Party.

Read the letters sent to the EPA by Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Cornyn, and Robert Bennett; to the Labor Department by Sue Myrick, Paul Ryan, Jean Schmidt; and to the Forest Service by the Alabama congressional delegation.

Lawmakers routinely send letters in support of federal funding for projects in their constituencies; some Republican lawmakers have deliberately avoided sending requests for stimulus dollars because of their opposition to the bill.

Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a "wasteful spending spree" that "misses the mark on all counts," wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, "intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs." A spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan said the congressman felt it was his job to provide "the basic constituent service of lending his assistance for federal grant requests."

Republican Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina and Jean Schmidt of Ohio sent letters in October asking for consideration of funding requests from local organizations training workers for energy-efficiency projects.

In November, Ms. Schmidt said in a statement, "It is time to recall the stimulus funds that have not been spent before the Chinese start charging us interest." Aides to the congresswomen said they had always supported local organizations in their requests for federal funding.

None of the projects requested by the three House members received awards in funding decisions announced in January.

The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston. Mr. Cornyn is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

One of the letters was signed jointly with Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, also of Texas. The letter said that the Port of Houston Authority "has informed me of the positive impact this grant will have in the region by serving as a foundation for PHA's Clean Air Strategy Plan, creating jobs, and significantly reducing diesel emissions." Houston received millions of dollars in diesel funding.

The agency also appeared to have received eight identical letters from Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah recommending infrastructure projects in his state, seven of which were sent before stimulus legislation was passed by Congress.

Spokespeople for Mr. Cornyn and Mr. Bennett said they were just making sure their states received part of the spending once it had been agreed upon. Ms. Hutchison's office didn't respond to a request for comment.

The entire congressional delegation of Alabama, including its two Republican senators, wrote to then-Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell asking for $15 million for cogongrass eradication and control programs in the state. The state ended up getting a $6.3 million grant.

Republican Richard Shelby, the state's senior senator, called the stimulus package "the socialist way" while it was being debated. A spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.

President Barack Obama and his party have been playing defense for much of the past year on the stimulus bill. But now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its allies are planning to use this week's anniversary of the passage of the stimulus package to tout its success, and to attack prominent Republicans whose states have benefited from stimulus grants.

Mr. Obama warned Republicans last month at their annual retreat that Democrats were ready to spotlight representatives who touted stimulus funds in their districts. "Let's face it, some of you have been at the ribbon-cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities," Mr. Obama said.

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said Democrats risked being perceived as "totally out of touch" by marking the achievements of the stimulus plan on its anniversary. "If the Democrats' answer is to highlight the few worthy projects within what has become regarded as a wasteful and bloated trillion-dollar failure then they are truly grasping at straws," said Ken Spain.

Republicans have seized on double-digit unemployment—the rate hit 10.2% in October before easing in January to 9.7%—to challenge the Obama administration's estimates for the number of jobs supported by stimulus spending.

About $180 billion of the funds allocated to various projects has been paid out. Tax cuts worth about $93 billion have also taken effect, according to agency records published on the government Web site An additional $320 billion in spending hasn't yet been handed out. A further $195 billion in tax cuts are due to flow through tax returns.

Most of the stimulus spending so far has gone to state and local governments to plug holes in their schools, Medicaid and unemployment-benefits budgets. Spending on infrastructure projects is expected to pick up in 2010.
All that we have heard lately has been that the Stimulus Package has been a failure. But without it, schools and safety would be in trouble and there would be little help for those who have contributed to society who are now out of work. There are so very few jobs in places like Michigan, my home state. Without an extension of unemployment many children would go hungry and be homeless.

Is your job secure?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Being Mozart

Enjoy the Queen of the Night's second aria, "Hell's Vengeance Boils in my Heart." It's from the opera The Magic Flute. This classic aria is sung by the forever brilliant flawlessly precise Lucia Pop. (The singer is not Cecelia Bartoli as noted in the tag.) Many opera singers have died onstage singing this aria. Well, not really but you'll probably hear the level of professionalism and talent needed for such a piece.

"Hell's Vengeance Boils in my Heart"

Hell's vengeance boils in my heart;
Death and despair, blaze around me!
If Sarastro does not feel death pains because of you,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned be forever,
Forsaken be forever,
Shattered be forever
All the bonds of nature
If Sarastro is not bleached because of you!
Hear, gods of vengeance, hear the mother's oath!

Being Naomi Shihab Nye

Here is my beautiful friend, the extraordinary poet,
songwriter and novelist, Naomi Shihab Nye on Kindness:


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

--Naomi Shihab Nye

Being the President of the U.S.

On this President's Day I honor our past and present presidents and hope that Sarah Palin will never enter the White House.

Got dope? Hope-fully never. This great country deserves more.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy Sade's "Soldier of Love."

Much love to each of you...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Being Parents

My other parents, Bishop and Elder V.G. Clarke of the Bahamas, will be burying their oldest daughter, Merilyn, tomorrow. Please say a prayer for them and their family.

"Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted."

--Matthew 5:4

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Being John Mayer

I love John Mayer's music, but his words in a recent interview with Playboy are quite disturbing. Here is a portion of it:
MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are "Your Body Is a Wonderland" and "Daughters." If you think those songs are pandering, then you'll think I'm a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I'm just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can't handle very, then I'm a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.

PLAYBOY: Because you’re very?

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a n****r pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, 'We’re full.'"

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

PLAYBOY: Let's put some names out there. Let's get specific.

MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She's superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, "Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever." And you’d be like, "What? We weren’t talking about that." That's what "Heartbreak Warfare" is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.
What precisely is Mayer trying to say here and for what purpose?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Being Me

It's been four years since I lost three loved ones consecutively. My beloved brother Peter passed one year, my dearest mother the next year, and my beautiful brother Tim the following year. Over these years I had not looked at myself in a full-length mirror or had not looked at myself for long periods of time in the mirror except to quickly apply makeup. I had been fit for years but was no longer.

Since I lost my loved ones I had gained weight. While I have basically been happy, I didn't altogether love the image that looked back at me. The other day I was in a department store and walked passed a full-length mirror. "Oh, hi," I said. The image smiled back at me. I bought the mirror and snapped these pictures the other day on my BlackBerry. Yeah, I remember her.

I've begun running again in preparation for a marathon this year. I'm up to 6 miles daily, 4 down from my usual 10 miles six days a week. But I feel great. I am not where I want to be, but I am thankful that I'm not where I used to be. It's amazing how we handle grief. I am grateful for God's goodness.

Being Bo

Where I am in Michigan we got over a foot of snow. The kids here have been given a snow day. It looks like Bo has been given one too.

How fun!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Being Funny

Here is the forever-witty Robert Gibbs during his press conference today at the White House answering Sarah Palin. She had mocked the voters of President Obama and the man himself by asking at the Tea Party gathering as if campaigning, "Now a year later, I got to ask the supporters of all that, how is that hope-y, change-y stuff working out for you?"

Gibbs replies with a grocery list:

Being Factual

"You are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts."

--Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Being Satirical

Sarah Palin recently excused Rush Limbaugh for repeatedly using the word "retard" but slammed Rahm Emmanuel after it was reported that he used the word, calling for his resignation. Palin has a mentally disabled son. She either feigned outage then or is covering up for Limbaugh now. Both are unacceptable responses.

Palin defended Limbaugh by saying that he used the term satirically. "Rush Limbaugh was using satire ...," said Palin on Fox News, as if she knew the meaning of the word. "I didn't hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with f---ing retards."

Here is what Stephen Colbert had to say: "Sarah Palin is a f---ing retard." Like Limbaugh, maybe Colbert was using satire too.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sarah Palin Uses a Hand-O-Prompter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Lest we forget, here is what Jack Cafferty thinks and the look on Katie Couric's face says it all:

Here's what I think sans satire: Sarah Palin most certainly has mental deficiencies.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Being a Pundit, Newscaster and Analyst

Sarah Palin, the newest analyst for Fox News, over the weekend in an interview with Chris Wallace of the same news station suggested that President Obama play the "war card" to boost his poll numbers to win the presidential election in 2012. Can somebody please affirm that war is actually about death and destruction, the loss of life of civilians and soldiers? My father was a veteran and I know first hand that coming home alive may for many be just as devastating as if they had died on the battlefield. What is wrong with this woman?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Let's do better about being there for each other.

"Just Don't Wanna Know"

I hurt so many nights. Cried so many hours. Trying to make it right. Just didn't have the power. You ignored all of my tears. In hopes they'd disappear. I tried to let it show.

But I guess... you just don't wanna know

I came to you in love. I came to you in earnest. Could you possibly explain? Why the flames, why the furnace? Just needing to get it clear. I was hoping you would hear. I tried to let it go.

But I guess... you just don't wanna know.

Now it's true that God is always there. He said He'd never leave. But at times the human touch is what I need. And if I had a dime for every time I tried to call your name. Some tell me, I'd be wealthy.

But I learned that I could cope. I discovered I could make it. In nights so long and cold. So cold, you don't know how cold. I learned that I could take it. Now I wouldn't change a thing. Not for the knowledge, not for the knowledge that I've gained.

I learned that I could grow. I really did, I tried to let it show. I did. I tried to let it go.

But I guess... you just don't wanna know.

Being Pathetic

Here is Sarah Palin at the teabaggers' convention reading cheat notes written on her hand like an elementary school student. How pathetic! It's extraordinary that she would be paid six figures to read anything to anybody written anywhere, let alone on the palm of her hand.

Who would elect this pathetic politician to the presidency?

Other pathetic people? I don't think Americans are largely pathetic.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Being Enthusiastic

A weatherman for loses it on television about
the impending snowstorm. This is so funny.

Being Humble

Practice humility. It both arms and disarms for the best results.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Being Republicans

Tom Tancredo, a former Republican Congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, addressed the Tea Party Convention evoking racist ideology of a discriminatory voting record past. (I wonder how much he was paid? Palin is reported to be receiving six figures for her keynote address.) Tancredo links the heinous discriminatory past that prohibited African Americans from voting to our recent election via the large African American turnout in support of President Obama. Please note the laughter in the audience. Does anybody wonder about the efficacy of this movement?

TANCREDO: And then, something really odd happened, mostly because I think that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country. People who could not even spell the word "vote," or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama.

Who can honorably justify the Tea Party?

Being Shakespeare

As I work on my novel this afternoon I'm watching Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh. I am completely in awe of Shakespeare, the power of his lines so beautifully and passionately rendered. I have paused from writing more than a few times to feel the lines as they are spoken. Here is Branagh delivering the Soliloquy:

Kenneth Branagh and the entire cast, including Kate Winslet in the role of Ophelia, are awesome. (It's about time Winslet won an Oscar for The Reader. She's a fine actor.) There are many captivating moments in this production of Hamlet. Watch this:

The cast delivers stunning performances. But, of course, Shakespeare had to first write stellar lines.

Being Al Green

This is some kind of love, eh? And how about Al?

Let's Stay Together

I'm so in love with you
Whatever you want to do
Is alright with me
'Cause you make me feel, so brand new
And I want to spend my life with you

Me sayin' since, baby, since we've been together
Ooo, loving you forever
Is what I need
Let me, be the one you come running to
I'll never be untrue
Ooo baby

Let's, let's stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad

Oooo oooo ooo ooo, yeah
Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

Why somebody, why people break up
Oh, and turn around and make up
I just can't see
You'd never do that to me
(Would you baby)
'Cause being around you is all I see
It's why I want us to

Let's, let's stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad

Let's, let's stay together
Loving you whether, whether

Ah, you gotta love old school!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Being Named

On his show today Glenn Beck accused President Obama of being a radical because when he transferred to Columbia he went back to using the name that his parents had given him at birth.

BECK: He chose to use his name, Barack, for a reason. To identify, not with America -- you don't take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical? Really? Searching for something to give him any kind of meaning, just as he was searching later in life for religion.

Media Mattersbreaks Beck's comment down perfectly:

OK, let's break down the problematic parts of this, just so there isn't any room for confusion. First, the suggestion that certain names, such as the African name Barack, are un-American. Second, the idea that Obama, in embracing his African name, was doing so at the expense of his American identity, as if the two are mutually exclusive (someone relevant to this discussion once talked about the 'the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too'). And third, the implication that Obama's father's Kenyan roots are linked to his 'radical'-ness.

That's the best I can do for you, Glenn. I can't break it down any further. If you don't see why some people would get upset that you accused the president of adopting his African name in order to repudiate his American identity and connect with his father's radical Kenyan heritage, then I'm afraid you might be a lost cause.
Here is how President Obama explained why he assumed his given name after transferring to Columbia University in Newsweek in 2008: "It was not some assertion of my African roots ... not a racial assertion. It was much more of an assertion that I was coming of age. An assertion of being comfortable with the fact that I was different and that I didn't need to try to fit in in a certain way."

It is no surprise that the poll taken by an independent pollster for the Daily Kos indicates that...

* 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States, 22 percent are not sure, 42 percent think he is a natural citizen.

* 31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a "Racist who hates White people" -- the description once adopted by Fox News's Glenn Beck.

What I find really amazing about this is that Beck and his followers think that Barack Hussein Obama has chosen his name as if their names were not given to them at birth. And, with regards to names, young people assume nick names all the time and as they grow up they go back to their given name. Do we have a country of radical would-be-presidential youths?

Being Apologetic

In recognition of Black History Month NBC served up a mean meal:

NBC later apologized. I guess I'm trying to understand why. This is a meal that could have been served at our house or any of my relatives' home on Sunday after church.

Is this the silly season so soon?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Being Republicans

According to a recent poll of 2,000 Republicans here are some standout figures:
* 39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached, 29 percent are not sure, 32 percent said he should not be voted out of office.

* 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States, 22 percent are not sure, 42 percent think he is a natural citizen.

* 31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a "Racist who hates White people" -- the description once adopted by Fox News's Glenn Beck. 33 percent were not sure, and 36 percent said he was not a racist.

* 63 percent of Republicans think Obama is a socialist, 16 percent are not sure, 21 percent say he is not

* 24 percent of Republicans believe Obama wants "the terrorists to win," 33 percent aren't sure, 43 percent said he did not want the terrorist to win.

* 21 percent of Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election, 55 percent are not sure, 24 percent said the community organizing group did not steal the election.

* 23 percent of Republicans believe that their state should secede from the United States, 19 percent aren't sure, 58 percent said no.

* 53 percent of Republicans said they believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama.
Are these views mainstream? If not, how can the Republican party ever win the presidency again?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Being Jimmy Scott

Here is the legendary Jazz singer Jimmy Scott singing "When Did You Leave Heaven."

Scott's voice is so passionate. I hope you enjoy this unique talent.

Being Non-News

Roger Ailes, president of Fox News, should be ashamed of himself for deliberately obfuscating and backing Fox News' misleading reporting on health care reform. See it for yourself. When Paul Krugman challenges Mr. Ailes he continues with more of the same.

How can Roger Ailes call Fox News news?

I defy anyone to show me any president of a news station agreeing with misleading news and/or whose news station has been caught repeatedly engaging in unethical behavior such as changing background scenes in order to favor a particular author as they did with Sarah Palin.

Fox news continuously repeat untruths spoken by the mouths of their analysts that go unchallenged in order to favor a particular side. This is not news. Mr. Ailes should be ashamed of himself. But he isn't. Later on he even defends Glenn Beck saying that his words were not directed at President Obama. Everyone knows this is a lie.