One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.
The group’s [the Forbe's 400] average income in 2009 was $202 million — which works out to a “wage” of $97,000 per hour, based on a 40-hour workweek. (I’m assuming they’re paid during lunch hours.) Yet more than a quarter of these ultrawealthy paid less than 15 percent of their take in combined federal income and payroll taxes. Half of this crew paid less than 20 percent. And — brace yourself — a few actually paid nothing.
This outrage points to the necessity for more than a simple revision in upper-end tax rates, though that’s the place to start. I support President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers. However, I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000 — maybe $500,000 or so.
Obama’s ‘Runway To Win’ Fashion Line Rakes In Over $40 Million:
Conservatives mocked Vogue’s Ann Wintour and the campaign of President Barack Obama for a “ritzy” fashion initiative called ‘Runway To Win,” conceived by Wintour to raise money for the president’s re-election efforts.
Well, it appears as if the joke is on them.
According to campaign manager Jim Messina, the eclectic fashion palette raked in over $40 million dollars, reports Bloomberg Businessweek…
Fashion designers Tracey Reese, Marc Jacobs, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Tina Knowles, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Narcisco Rodriguez, Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra and Derek Lam also designed collector’s items for the initiative.
Though the clothes and accessories can no longer be viewed at the Store.BarackObama.com, interested fashionistas can still catch a glimpse on several sites, including Vogue.com.
Runway to Win: 23 Designers Create Exclusive Pieces to Support President Obama’s 2012 Reelection Campaign:
The participating designers drew upon considerable inspiration. “The flag is one of my favorite images to design with because of everything that it stands for, everything that it represents, and everything that it reminds you to believe and dream in,” said designer Rachel Roy, who created an American flag T-shirt to show her support. “If you don’t dream, and if you don’t have the freedom of speech to express those dreams, then what are we here for?”
“Love on the March” Alex Ross, The New Yorker:
Like most gay men, I have been called a faggot a few times. I’ve seen friends talk back to homophobes. But I’d never witnessed anything like this: it had a weird theatrical intensity, as if the young man were being goaded by an offstage director.
“How dare you?” he yelled. “Our forefathers came to this country to escape from their religions and be free. How dare you, asshole! Don’t you know this is the land of equal opportunity? Go back to fucking Connecticut with your two cars and a garage!”
The beefy guy wilted in the face of this semi-coherent invective. He shrugged at his friend, and they started to walk off.
The blond guy stumbled after them for a minute or two, bellowing, “In this country, I can marry ANYONE I WANT! Because there’s CHANGE in this country now!”
Even after his opponents had disappeared, he continued ranting, his face lit with euphoric rage. He had become a little scary, this one-man Stonewall riot. Eventually, his friends calmed him down, and they left.
Miami Herald: Why Obama Wins Florida:
Though votes are still being tallied, President Obama is all but assured a victory in Florida because the lion’s share of the outstanding ballots come from Democratic-heavy counties.
Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 55,825 votes — or 49.9 percent to 49.24 — but there just aren’t enough votes from Republican areas to allow the challenger to catch up.
Romney’s Florida campaign has acknowledged he lost in Florida as well. Romney already conceded the national race after he lost the other battleground states….
Even if the above-listed estimates from South Florida were reversed and Obama’s extra projected votes were handed to Romney, the Republican would still lose by about 32,000 votes.
A wild card: Provisional ballots. These are cast by voters whose status is in doubt. Often, they’re rejected, in part because people vote in the wrong precinct. Most studies show, however, that provisional ballots are more likely to be cast by Democrats than Republicans.
† Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.
Editors note: Next week we will be back on task -discussing the always on-going work of dismantling the PIC, made more possible now, by yesterday’s result. Today , we will celebrate the larger Victory!
Yes You Did!
Thank you to OFA for creating the most relentlessly people-powered machine in the history of politics — you made it possible for us to get it done. Thanks also to President Bill Clinton and 538 Nate for #Arithmetic, for keeping it real. And of course much love and so many thanks to Give “Em Hell Harry Reid – he told the truth and shamed the devil while his Nevada operation put the state out of reach before the polls even opened on Tuesday.
More breathing room.
A special thank you too to Seeta Persaud for this inspiring space and to Kay Whitlock for her steady call to the bolder vision. I am indebted.
Thanks to all of you who regularly read CI and to those whose tireless work for justice is sometimes featured here. You know who you are..
There is always so much work to do and yes we will do it. Today, just a reminder of what we have achieved, in the form a piece i wrote last September, willing it all to be so. And it was.. Of course. much more happened between then and now — forces of nature, more enemy obfuscation, but the central theme holds nonetheless.
We were Called and We Delivered..
More Power to Us.
commentary by nancy a heitzeg
For reasons unclear to me at the time, I re-read the 2009 Inauguration poem,
And there it was.
Not just a poem for one day, but everyday. A poem for now. A poem for tomorrow.
Not just a poem, a prophecy.
Inauguration 2013 is on January 21 – on the National Holiday that is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
We have always said here — with Leader Pelosi – “everything is at stake.”
And so it is — that legacy too.
But We Decide and so we have – “what if the mightiest word is love?”
Dreamers Prevail .
Go Vote tomorrow with Great Joy — We still walk “forward in that light.“
“Praise Song for the Day”
written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander, for the Inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama, January 20, 2009. Published by as provided by Graywolf Press.
Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.
Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.
We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.
I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.
Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.
In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.