Happy Birthday to President Barack Obama!
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.
And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
And you know, I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.
The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
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.