Archive for January, 2009

Heights of Dishonor

January 31, 2009

So this is the “scandal” that Bob Woodward intimated last week.  Tom Daschle owed $128,000 in back taxes.  He repaid $100,00 of the bill six days before his first Senate confirmation hearing.

The outrage!  The disgust! The gall of people, especially people in public service, to think that they are above the laws.  This incident is no different from the Geithner situation, except that the amount that Daschle owed was three times as much as Geithner was liable for.  My husband seems to think that this fact that Daschle’s back taxes were triple what Geithner’s were is the nail in the coffin.  I disagree:  the amount of money is meaningless.  Their illegal and dishonest intentions are one and of the same.  Murder is murder, theft is theft and fraud is fraud.  The amount of tax evasion dollars does not mitigate the degree of the crime.

If  I am not happy as to how the bailout funds are being spent and, as a result, decide to withhold about $1500 from the taxes I will owe, my rear end will be promptly and unceremoniously thrown in a federal penitentiary ( I refuse to pay lawyers’ fees).  So my daughter, Maribel, you better start composing that protest song NOW in defense of your mother’s civil disobedience and dissension.

Today, being the start of a weekend, I had plans to write an upbeat post about President Obama’s first ten days in office.  That article is tabled for now.  I am seething at the stupidity, entitlement and basic disregard for our laws that these politicians consistently demonstrate. In an email this morning, my cousin Roselie had these choice comments regarding Tom Daschle.  I quote them below precisely because they are visceral, and oh so true:

“WHAT is it with these guys … over 100 thousand bucks in back taxes?????  Man, Obama needs to be more scrupulous, much more scrupulous in whom he chooses.  This tax non-payment is awful.  Me, with my “farkakte” (check Yiddish dictionary) income pays every penny like clockwork.  I can not believe these guys: just as immoral as anything the Republicans do and maybe worse.  Republicans: at least part of their philosophy is to loathe taxes.  These Democrats don’t mind taxes AS LONG AS SOMEONE ELSE PAYS THEM.  These people are millionaires.  It drives me to furiosity (Is there such a word?).  The NERVE!

I am mad at Obama today for doing some things that he SAID he wouldn’t do.  But he’s done good too.  So ….. I am tempered a little by that.  But sheesh, Daschle wanted to be President at one time.  People like him and Edwards must have been delusional.”

Now I will go and pay all of my bills perfectly, without any rancor or subterfuge.  After all, if I do not fulfil the “good citizen” role, who will?  Obviously not our public servants who attest to the fact that our legal and societal regulations do not exist for their adherence.  Quite the contrary:  these icons of public service actually climb to new heights in their careers by denying, ignoring and mocking the basic framework of our land.

I, still and yet, remain Yo Mama For Obama.  But for how long, I can not say.

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A Veritable Vacuum

January 29, 2009

President Obama’s stimulus package passed in the House —– without even ONE Republican vote.  To me, this smacks of partisanship and a total lack of acknowledgement and consideration for the people who are in big trouble in our country.  The House Republicans, knowing full well that the Democrats have the majority to get any legislation passed with or without their nods, made this vote a “show” of their solidarity and loyalty to party principles at the expense of Americans who are in dire need of help.  There was not even a hint of them sublimating their political ideologies to delivering aid and solutions.  Their symbolic block voting appears to hold more importance for them than the requirements of everyday survival for ordinary Americans.  Tax breaks do have their economic benefits;  however, job creation trumps tax breaks at this point in time.  The Republicans want just the tax breaks now.  They prefer to can the spending or, at least, keep it to a bare minimum.

Republican policy has proven to be a failure over the last eight years.  Oh, wait!  Republican economic and thus, social, policy has been a disaster since the Reagan era.  Remember “trickle down” economics?  Nothing EVER trickled down to the middle and lower classes.  It has just taken us twenty years to notice and admit that.  Why, then, would the country ascribe to a continuation of those failed policies?  Those upper-class-specific policies certainly would have no good effect on those areas that so urgently need attention now in this deepening recession:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/opinion/27herbert.html?scp=1&sq=herbert%20op-ed&st=cse

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/29/rallying.gop/index.html

It is one thing to adhere to party lines to show political solidarity.  It is entirely another issue to stubbornly cling  to rhetoric just for the egocentric sake of holding ones ground when people are looking for some relief.

The people really DO need help despite the denials by the Republicans to that effect.  Expert economists, such as Paul Krugman, are calling for a much larger stimulus package than Obama has actually proposed.  Jobs creation, coupled with the need to rebuild our infrastructure, would have a double whammy, positive effect on our economy.  The effect of a tax break would be short-lived while the creation of new jobs would have a much longer lasting impact.  An infusion of cash to Americans as exemplified by the Bush stimulus package of $700 to each working American last year did not have any long term effect.  When the average American is $14,000 in debt to credit card companies, paying off $700 of that is not going to make a whole lot of difference.  Also, even if the average American spent that rebate, the amount of a stimulus to the general economic scenario was nil.

Providing opportunities to have a regular, full time job is much more sensible.  An unemployed or underemployed person will find that a new, steady job will afford him not only the earnings to pay his bills and get on his feet financially, but will also help him reclaim his confidence in himself as a productive person.  This would be the first building block in the process to reclaim our national standing and faith in ourselves and our government.

We most definitely need to recapture our national confidence.  President Obama understands this.  What I am not grasping is his insistence on breaking his own rules to fill various job positions, breaking this promise he made with us Americans to clean up Washington.  I have previously written about Obama ignoring his new rules on hiring recent lobbyists, such as William Lynn to be Deputy Head of Defense.  Obama has once again violated that rule by allowing Geithner to employ Mark Patterson, former advocate for Goldman Sachs, as Chief of Staff at Treasury, not to even mention that Geithner himself violated laws of the exact agency he has been chosen to lead.  This thumbing ones nose at rules is precisely what makes Americans so cynical about their government and their country:

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2009/01/28/cttb.campbell.brown.lobbyists.cnn

Certainly this hypocrisy must end if we are to forge a new confidence in ourselves and our government.  Do not insist that these appointees were such geniuses that no other able substitutes could have been found.  As  FDR once said, “The graveyard is full of indispensable people.”  Doggone it, Mr. President:  no matter if these candidates and appointees are actual whiz kids, their past questionable behavior will add nothing to our reclamation of confidence, and thus, our economic and international viability.

President Obama: trust yourself, heed your own ideas and follow through on your promises.  Otherwise, we will all end up like those empty-headed, irrelevant and delusional Republicans in Congress.  We will propigate our empty vacuum of a government.  So, like MY type of vacuum, suck it up and get it right.

TAX MUTINY: Our Only Alternative?

January 28, 2009

The news on bailout abuses keeps getting worse.  Now, not only are the CEO’s of companies who received bailout funds admitting their extravagant expenditures, they are also defending them.  They are proud of their entitlements.  Bonuses, corporate jets and gluttonous retirement/severance/golden umbrella packages are the order of the day.  Maureen Dowd in The New York Times today quotes a totally non-remorseful John Thain of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/opinion/28dowd.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Pre-existing contracts may have allowed these abuses to occur.  However, haven’t these giants of industry heard of the term “austerity”?  Regardless of the fact that they may have had in place certain contractual perqs tied to their jobs, this is not the time to accept those, especially by using  public, tax payer funds to fulfill those contracts.  Their companies were broke, or at best, headed that way, when the bailout funds came into their coffers.  No perqs should be taken because the new funds are a LOAN to their companies for the general well-being of the company, not for their and other employees’ personal enrichment.

Since I am one of those taxpayers providing such funds, I am formally calling for a TAX MUTINY.  What other alternatives do we have?  Here we are, hostage to the incompetent lawmakers who passed this $750 bailout last fall without any restrictions on how the corporations may spend it.  It seems, so far, that many financial institutions have squirreled away these funds, not making them available to the people for loans, and the only spending that is happening is for the executives’ own personal enhancement.  Not only were our lawmakers negligent, but they trusted our money to morally bankrupt captains of industry.  No Siree.  We all need to withhold some funds from our tax returns to show our common solidarity in not supporting this theft of our hard earned dollars.

Arianna Huffington echoes my anger at these flagrant abuses:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-era-of-not-getting-it_b_161037.html

We do need much more oversight on the bailout assets and hopefully, that is on the horizon.  However, wouldn’t it have been  prudent to initiate rules on their proper use BEFORE the funds were allocated?  Isn’t that just plain common sense?

Obama is on to this fraud.  With the public enraged, Congress eating crow for their lack of forethought and oversight last fall when they authorized the bailouts, I hope these abuses will be remedied immediately.

If not, come visit me in the federal penitentiary where I will be unceremoniously thrown after I refuse to pay my taxes as part of the bailout.  I like chocolate ice cream and Pepperidge Farm double chocolate Milano cookies.


Entitlement Abuse

January 27, 2009

The state of affairs in the United States today presents a dilemma.  On one hand, we have hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs.  Expectantly, they are coming up short on their mortgage payments and other monthly expenses.  On the other hand, we have, and this is not a new phenomenon, too  many people who simply consider themselves “entitled.”  Despite our current dire circumstances, these people, in good times as well as bad, have always placed themselves above the greater good and have manipulated the system for their own benefit.

Let me cite some examples.  There are many advertisements in our media for people who legitimately owe the IRS back taxes, penalties and interest.  Lawyers offer many come-ons that will allow the debtor to settle all claims for a very small portion of what is actually owed.  It appears the IRS settles for the lesser amount because they would rather have some money than none at all.

Likewise, many attorneys and credit mavens advertise that they will get a person’s credit card debt paid off for a fraction of its real worth.  How come, if a person spent so much money (obviously irresponsibly) to rack up a huge credit card balance, they have the option of paying back only about 10%?  How come they get to keep all the merchandise that they purchased with someone else’s money?  Perhaps I am too naive in believing that these scams actually come to fruition.  However, the credit card companies, like the IRS, are glad to have some revenues rather than none at all.

The “entitlement” that I take issue with most is when elderly folks and their offspring expect the government to pay for their nursing home care and/or round-the-clock care.  There are many advertisements and seminar invitations for people to learn about how to protect their own nest eggs, hide their assets and get public funds to pay for their long term care.  It is one thing to not have the financial capability to cover one’s needs.  It is entirely another thing to have the assets, yet seek coverage by public agencies.  Not only is this a cavalier misuse of public funds, but also it is an outright fraud.  No effort was made by the families to purchase long term care policies to head off these exact circumstances that they are experiencing.  Of course not; that would have required a personal capital outlay.  Not an option.  After all, they are entitled.  Yes, people get old and need varying levels of care.  But there are options available  that can be researched and planned in advance and to do otherwise is negligent.

I am equally ired by the practices of some of our seniors who overuse their Medicare benefits, or misuse them for social interaction.  Medicare is not a “free” service;  we all pay through our payroll taxes to cover this much needed benefit.  However, if our current beneficiaries deem themselves so entitled that they use the system flamboyantly and carelessly, then there will not be anything left for future generations.  Thus, this entitlement becomes an ugly, selfish con game, a Ponzi scheme, that is destructive to our society as a whole.

Furthermore, it is an outrage and affront to those of us who abide by the laws, pay out of our own pockets for the proper insurance and have real hardships. When people settle their credit card bills by paying only 10%, it is all the honest people who pay the price.  We have to pay higher credit rates so that the credit card companies can make a buck to make up for the loss of revenue they sacrificed by accepting only 10% from the entitled.  The same holds true for the nursing home patient.  Our parents may pay top dollar to compensate for the low, government disbursements that so many patients are receiving.  Our Medicare system  might not exist for us or our children in the future because current users are sometimes overusing and abusing the system.  On all of these fronts, there does not seem to be a consideration of the next person in line.  The only concern is for one’s own immediate entitlements.

This is the crossroads where we are at now: personal responsibility versus real need.  To those people who require unemployment benefits and disability, our safety net is there for them.  To all those takers, the self-anointed ones who consider themselves entitled to public funds so that they can preserve their own savings, I say “Enough.”  The discovery and determination of who should get what benefits is a thin line to tread.  We must, however, figure out what need is real and what need is bilking the system.  If we ignore this abuse of entitlement, the entire system may come crashing down.

POSTSCRIPT:

Do read David Brooks’ Op-Ed piece from The New york Times today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/opinion/27brooks.html?hp

No Assumptions, Please

January 25, 2009

President Obama hasn’t been in office for even a week, and we Americans are already assuming that all politicians, agency chiefs and public personalities are as competent, good and forward- thinking like Obama.  Wrong.

I absolutely disagree with Maureen Dowd in The New York Times today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/opinion/25dowd.html

Governor Paterson, while not a Blagojevich, is certainly no Obama.  Even if you agree that Paterson chose Kirsten Gillibrand as the state’s new junior senator out of purely selfish reasons to eventually bolster his re-elections hopes, Paterson is an intermediate level bureaucrat.  He is much more typical of our office holders than is Obama.  He is our average American.  Dowd is thus in error when she talks of Paterson making a stupid decision;  he is what he is and it is not, by any means, spectacular.

For us to believe that all government, all people working for the government, are now elevated to that same level of ability, work ethic, insight and personal commitment that Obama embodies, is just plain incorrect.  This is not pessimism; it is just reality.  A man like our President comes along maybe once in a lifetime.  However, that should not be an excuse for people to cease aspiring to emulate him.  It should act as a stimulus to make people try and duplicate his leadership.  Most of the time, simply because a person like Obama is so rare, this process will elevate people somewhat, but not to Obama’s levels.  If our general outlook, policies and moral standing are increased even somewhat, this “imitation process” will have been worth it.

Let me give you a few examples.  Former Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska held his office for decades, during which time he headed up important Senate committees.  To me, he was stupidity personified.  Instead of keeping his head down, immersed in facts and policies, he spent his time pushing for earmarks for his home state and finally, accepting measley gifts for his own personal enhancement, he was unceremoniously thrown out.  He thought, wrongly, that his years in the Senate would actually protect him.  He thought the trappings of power would disguise his mediocrity and self-importance.

George W. Bush was the epitome of of an American rising to his own level of incompetence.  The only job he held, pre-President, was the owner of a major league baseball team.  This job was purchased for him by his Daddy.  Oh, I forgot:  Bush also worked for the Carlyle Group, a conservative entrepreneur organization.  Their politics aside, they  made investments and turned those monies into even more lucrative returns.  The only company on which Carlyle ever lost money, before Bush ascended the Presidency in 2000, was a company that Bush was assigned to.

Bush’s Presidency consisted of using that office mainly for increasing the power of the executive branch at the expense of our citizens’ rights.  Just observing the whirlwind of activity during Obama’s first week, I can not help but wonder what Bush did every day as President.  To boot, his reign included the 9/11 catastrophe, Katrina and the meltdown of our national economy.  What was he thinking?  What was he doing?  The answer is: nothing much.  He was just being an average American.  Coasting. Resting on his mediocre laurels. This business of leadership is difficult, demanding some innovative thinking and then endless hours of implementing.

Being a bleeding heart and often inserting myself into the shoes of others, I could not help but wonder how Bush is feeling these days.  He is not an insightful, ponderous man.  Maybe that is a good thing now that he is out of office.  If he would ever have that “aha” experience about his Presidential tenure, he would surely resort to suicide.  But let us not trifle ourselves about this:  Bush will NEVER have that insightful moment about himself.

Republican philosophy or not, this is why a laissez-faire attitude to correcting our current situation will not work at this point.  Representative John Boehner, in response to Obama’s economic stimulus package, is calling for much larger tax cuts.  He is not supportive of the major programs, like infrastructure rebuilding, that Obama believes is necessary to put this country back on its feet.  Boehner feels the stimulus package is too big, too wide-reaching, too inclusive of all Americans.  Sure:  let’s just give the wealthy more tax breaks, ignore the hurting middle class, and call it a day.  Boehner just wants to reward the rich, his voting base.  Despite the fact that the Democrats can pass Obama’s plan without the Republican votes, Obama so wants this process to be bi-partisan, and is expending a huge effort to include the opposition.  This package will pass, with or without the nod of your average, run-of-the-mill, self-serving politician.

If nothing else, you all know me to be truthful.  Obama has two appointees that I take issue with.  Even though they may be very talented, their past behaviors are not suitable for a new administration who prides itself on integrity.  I can not stop believing that past performance DOES effect future actions, and I am leery of the appointment of Tim Geithner as Treasury head and William Lynn as Deputy Defense Secretary.

Geithner’s personal tax filings smell.  As much as he claims total responsibility for his mistakes, he should not be rewarded for them.  I do not care if he is the genius everyone says he is.  If he did this before, he will do it again, and this does not bode well for the Obama Administration.  Here is a solution:  let Geithner and Larry Summers trade jobs.  I am not crazy about Summers either, but he is a competent, experienced economist.  Geithner can take over Summers’ adviser position, and Summers can be Treasury head.  Basic premise: a person who has violated our federal tax code has no business leading that tax agency.

William Lynn, proposed appointee as Deputy Defense Secretary, has been a lobbyist for the Raytheon corporation.  This appointment, if approved, violates Obama’s new, strict rules on lobbyists:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/23/campbell.brown.lobbyists/index.html?iref=newssearch#cnnSTCText

Monkey see, monkey do.  It is imperative that Obama heed the rules established by his new administration.  No exceptions.

There is nothing wrong with being mediocre.  Heaven knows that the average American has a very full plate, working two or three jobs, parenting, trying to pay for a semblance of health care.  The crime here is that when the brass ring is offered, one must be ready to grab it, not ignore it.  One’s mind must always be open to that opportunity, despite the hardships of one’s current path.  This chance for betterment will include much more hard work and sacrifice.  The time for an easy way out, entitlements and the status quo is over.  Time to grab that brass ring:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/23/campbell.brown.lobbyists/index.html?iref=newssearch#cnnSTCText

POSTSCRIPT:

This has been my 200th posting.  Thank you for reading and listening.

photo

Comic Intermission

January 23, 2009

It is Friday.  It has been one busy week.  Let’s welcome the weekend (and sleep time) with some humor.

How did you like Chief Justice Robert’s flubbing of the oath during the Inauguration?  Roberts, a man so cocksure of his own abilities, refused to bring notes with him up to the podium to swear in our 44th President.  Best laid plans, etc.  So the next day, Obama taking absolutely NO chances, was sworn in again at the White House by Roberts.  All of this swearing in —–very funny:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-malanowski/swear-it-again_b_160032.html

My dear Seven-Striper friend from New Yawk has notified me of the following:

INTRODUCING THE NEW WHITE HOUSE STAFF

So far, we have:

Rahm Emanuel

Chief of Staff

Jewish *****

David Axelrod

Senior Adviser to President

Jewish *****

Ronald Klain

Chief of Staff to VP

Jewish *****

Larry Summers

Adviser to President

Jewish *****

Tim Geithner

Treasury Secretary

Jewish *****

Peter Orszag

Head of Budget

Jewish *****

Am I the only one noticing that Obama and Biden are not as much assembling a staff as gathering a minyan?  Perhaps the Obamas should name their new dog “Rabbi.”

Senator Diane Feinstein, or DiFi as my son has dubbed her, was the master of ceremonies at the swearing in.  That was because she headed up the entire Inaugural Committee.  If only she had done as good a job on the overall Inaugural planning as she had done at the podium.  To her falls the blame for all the purple and silver ticket holders not being admitted to the ceremony.  My son Chuck was very disappointed, being a purple ticket holder.  However, and of this I am so proud, he did not follow the herd of people told to descend into the Third Street tunnel, where they waited for a few more hours, with no law enforcement on the scene.  Oh no.  Chuck found a great sports bar, went inside, joined the festivities, and got to see Obama’s swearing in on the big screen TV.  Shoot:  Of course Chuck couldn’t get in to the ceremony —– Jesse Jackson couldn’t even gain admission.  Here is Jackson, not three feet away from Chuck and in the same predicament:

dsc084953

But the heck with DiFi;  it was a glorious week.  Wishing you a great weekend and maybe, a little rest.

Time Out

January 22, 2009

President Obama has called for a time out on petty, childish and progress-blocking tactics of governing.  First and foremost, as he said in his Inaugural speech, the nation’s security and ideals must be brought back into communion.  They must complement each other, rather than cancel out each other.

Senator John Cornyn from Texas was opposed to Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State due to Bill Clinton’s fund raising operations.   How hypocritical of Cornyn to hold that his opposition to Hillary was not partisan:  when the Senate held confirmation hearings for Cheney as VP, Cornyn NEVER once raised the possibility of conflict between Cheney and his close ties with Halliburton.  Impossible you say?  Go back and check the records:  not one word on the possible conflict of interest between Cheney and Halliburton.  So Senator Cornyn, get off of your high, divisive horse and come to the post-inaugural ball.  The time for change is here and you are so yesterday, so ineffectual, so transparent.  Your constituency voted you into office to get a job done, not to present irrelevant obstacles for the sake of party loyalty.  Party loyalty will not help Americans pay their mortgages, keep their jobs and afford health care.  Nor will partisan politics end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Mideast.  Shape up, Buster: if you think, speak and behave like a dinosaur, you are one.  Take a time out.  Adjust yourself.  We will get back to you on when you can come out of the corner.

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton.  I think this role of Secretary of State will be beneficial to us and to her.  Her ambition is tempered and her duty to public service and the greater good has the leading edge.  She is in a good place.  No time out necessary.  She is playing by the new rules.  She knows her place now as it is well-defined.  I think she will be a terrific match with her new office.

The lesson of the day for the remaining Cabinet appointees who still need to be confirmed is “humility.”  Geithner, Obama’s choice for Treasury, in his explanation and apology to the Senate for his past tax “oversights”, used the word “mistake” over 40 times.  Eric Holder, the candidate for chief of Justice, also has been very humble towards his Senate interrogators.  Obviously, Obama has sent the word down through his legions for his appointees to eat crow if that is what it takes to assume office.  President Obama has no patience with petty political battles now that our country is in such dire straits.  Obama wants to get the job done.  He has the appropriate tunnel vision to get his people in their assigned places.  Then the work can commence.  We will see a focused path to each and every problem that needs solving.

Obama was born a 45 year old.  He is old in his demeanor, his emotional maturity and his pragmatism.  Andrew Sullivan says it correctly:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/01/an-old-soul.html
Being an old soul, Obama has a clearer vision to accomplishing his goals.  He will be polite, but assertive.  We have elected so much more that just a new President.  This is our chance for sanity in government, sensibility in leadership and truth in progress.

No time out for Obama.  He needs all the time that is available to him.  He has miles to go before he sleeps.

The Cos For The Cause

January 21, 2009

I am still smiling.  How about you?

Here it is “Day One”, and we are all hard at work.  President Obama kinda knew what to do, didn’t he?   I have a feeling that should he ever get that 3 A.M. call, he would also know what to do.  Funny thing about that.  The trials at Guantanamo have been halted, all the unfinished policies of the Bush administration at different agencies have been tabled until our new President can have a long look at them and hopefully, by this afternoon, we will have a new Secretary of State and a new Secretary of the Treasury.  Personally, I am not crazy about Geithner.  However, if my Prez says Geithner’s the one, then let it be.

George Will in The Washington Post today had a great piece:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/20/AR2009012002612.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR

Obama will be a very strict President. While always offering hope, he will call the shots as he sees them.  We Americans must shape up; no more “childishness.”  The term “personal responsibility” will come to have new, much more serious, meaning.

Perhaps the person we need to thank for first bringing this need for personal accountability to the table is Bill Cosby.  For the last five years, he has spoken often and firmly about Americans’ lack of control in their own lives.  Mothers need to be mothers and fathers need to be fathers.  They must encompass all the decision making, firmness and responsibility that those roles demand.  Religion, God and Jesus are all great, although they can not replace the hands-on effort that each individual must make.  Too many people take umbrage in religion instead of arousing themselves to action.  Cosby said to those parents, whose child might have brought home a gun or two, that God was not going to help you.  These parents needed to help themselves by getting rid of the guns and setting their child straight.  Direct involvement, no nonsense actions and a take-charge program was necessary to invoke change.  No excuses, including the Almighty, accepted.

Ah.  So said our new President yesterday.  Yes, outside forces have put Americans in a tenuous position, both internationally and domestically.  However, we Americans, through childish wants and lack of attention to our own lives, have further reduced our lot. 

As George Will wrote today, as Cosby has been saying all along, and as Obama corroborated yesterday:  it is time for each and every one of us to step up to the plate and take back our lives.  Government can only do so much; President Obama will take care of business for us on those issues over which he has some power.  As for our own responsibilities, i.e. financial sensibility, parenting obligations and ethical conduct, it is time for us to play ball.

Our time HAS come.  This means that there is no free ride.  Each of us must grab the bull by the horns and make this journey for ourselves and our families.  By lifting ourselves up by our own bootstraps one by one, we will make progress and this momentum will be self-reinforcing.  In this way, our hope shall be translated into real change.

Batter up!

The Afterglow

January 21, 2009

What a day this was!

Aretha was so fine.  She did such a magnificent job with “My Country Tis Of Thee.”  You just knew that her delivery was restrained for this solemn occasion;  she could have belted out the song by a power of ten.  But her performance was perfect for this day.  I will never forget when she sang “Let freedom ring”.  Those words never meant as much as they did today.  And freedom rang!

My husband was on the Mall.  The sun came out and the wind was blowing the huge American flags to perfection.  He was by the Washington Monument.  The stone used to build that obelisk is two-toned.  They started to build it before the Civil War, but had to stop during the war.  They took up the task again after the war was over.  As a result, the stone they used to complete it is a different color than that which they used before the war.  When my husband looked up at the monument today, that color demarcation was so meaningful.  He was quite moved:

cimg1443

I am now watching the Neighborhood Ball and Michelle and Barack just had their first dance.  Michelle looks unbelievable;  she is wearing a beautiful white dress and presents an image of a bride on a cloud.  Beyonce is singing “At Last” and the First Couple are dreamlike on the dance floor.  I do not want this day to end.

But so it must.  We have big plans to fulfill.  Tomorrow we must get Hillary confirmed as Secretary of State and Teddy Kennedy back home.

Until tomorrow then,

cimg1497

With love and awe,

Yo Mama For Obama

LIVE WITH YO MAMA:Our Day Is Here

January 20, 2009

GOOD MORNING AMERICA! Let this day begin, let us awake with hope and change in our hearts and go to sleep with a quiet confidence that our time has finally come.  May Barack, Michelle and the girls have a wonderful day.  May all of America celebrate this historical time.  So come on!  Turn the beat around.  Let’s boogie:

6:15 A.M.:

I just got back from taking Chuck and Dr. No to the Vienna metro station.  It is still dark outside, but Vienna was humming.  Hundreds of people were walking to the station, all bundled up.  What a sight to behold!  People in the streets with purpose and happiness!  I have never seen anything like this in my whole life.  On my way home, I pulled along side a police car at a red light.  I motioned for him to put his window down and he did.  I told him he and his buddies were doing a great job and thanked him.  He was jolly and said “right back at ya’.”  There WILL be order and decorum today because Americans are thrilled to have the opportunity to watch this man Obama assume his hard-earned and deserved place in history and our hearts.  Just look at him now:

6:45 A.M.:

I am twirling again.  Even though my body is a bit shot from the weekend’s festivities, my will is strong.  The house is so quiet, with only me and Castine here.  But we are twirling.  Natalie Merchant provides the most superb twirling music.  Will you join me?

7:15 A.M.:

The sun is coming up.  Glory be!  I was so excited about this day that a few minutes ago when I was making some coffee, I spilled the kettle of water all over the gas stove top.  I now have this most annoying clicking that I can not get to stop.  Dr. No is not going to be pleased when he gets home.

Thanks to my very special friends.  Heather:  the cookies you brought me from Brooklyn are to die for, and I am trying my best to do just that.  I am eating them non-stop.  Chrisetta:  your pictures will always be treasured.  If I knew how to post them on this blog, I would do so.  Where is Chuck when I need him?  I promise you all I will do my best to get those pictures up later.

8:00 A.M.:

I have been totally removed from any newspapers, television, etc. for the past three days.  I had other responsibilities (Can you believe that???).  I hear that Vice Dickhead is showing up today in a wheelchair.  Seems he sprained his back.  My cuz Roselie believes that he is using the wheelchair as a sympathetic ploy:  he doesn’t want to be brought up on criminal war charges.  I do not think that Paul Krugman would have one ounce of sympathy for the Vice, wheelchair or not.

How beautiful does the National Mall look?  That Capitol building is gleaming today.  It is luminous.  Everything seems to be working.  This is the way it should be.  And so very many people on the Mall are wearing funky hats like my son Chuck has.  His hat is the most butt-ugly thing you ever saw.  Lo and behold, many other Americans are doing likewise.

It is still so early in the morning.  Yet everyone has a smile on their faces, the hope is palpable.  The temperature in D.C. is currently 19 degrees.  No matter.  The warmth generated by this day will propel us forward.

8:40 P.M.:

As I am watching the TV with everyone else, we are waiting for the Obama family to exit Blair House to start their day.  Time to get the show on the road.  Harriet Tubman’s been waiting, so too Nat Turner, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.

Whoa!  History must step aside: Michelle looks gorgeous!  I have just had to resort to twirling again.  Forgive me.  This is it.  This is our day and the world is celebrating along with us.

9:10 A.M.:

I am just bustin’ my ta-tas here!  Dr. No just called me from the National Mall and he said it is a veritable carnival down there.  Just wonderful.

For the last two days, I haven’t showered and have been in my pajamas.  I think I better see to myself and personal hygiene.  However, NOT BEFORE Mr. Obama gets sworn in.  First things first.  I will not move from my computer until my hero is sworn in and reclaims our country for us.  I promise.

10:00 A.M.:

How proud are all the mothers of America that Michelle brought Laura Bush a bread-and-butter gift?   Cookies?  Cake? A little tchochtka?  Oh yes.  Michelle is every-mother-in-the-world worthy.

I heard from the fellas.  Dr. No is on the Mall having a blast.  Chuck, the holder of an actual ticket to the swearing in, is and has been on line for hours.  It appears that the actual ticket holders might get the short end of the stick:  security is allowing only one person in at a time.  At that rate and with less than two hours to go until the oath is given, it does not look promising that the ticket holders will get in. But goodwill and cheer rules the day.  Remember:  It’s alright:

10:30 A.M.:

The scene in D.C. is majestic, filled with pomp and circumstance.  What astounds me, however, are the throngs of people, the accessibility to this event.  This is precisely what is so American about today.  The citizens have been allowed to show and offer their admiration and respect to President Obama.  It is truly a celebration of the people, by the people and for the people.  The individual who knows this intimately is Obama.  The day’s pride and exuberance goes beyond, gender, race and party lines.  Today our joy is universal.  I am so happy to be an American today.  This land IS my land and this land IS your land and we must never forget that.  We are the ones we have been waiting for:

11:10 A.M.:

I am watching all the dignitaries, past and present, entering the reviewing stands.  Man, does Walter Mondale look fantastic!  Teddy Kennedy is so dapper.  Gotta love him.  Here comes Bill Clinton, and whoa!  His zipper is actually zipped.  The Bushes senior are next.  George I looks old and feeble, having a hard time walking.

Here comes the Lincoln bible.  And the Bush twins.  The entire Mall area is jam packed.  Chuck just called me;  no luck, even with his ticket, getting into the ceremony.  People are furious.  It is as if they made all these people spend the day yesterday going into D.C. to pick up their tickets, and then today, there is no one in charge of seeing that these people get in.  What a shame.

Here come the Obama daughters.  They are just as cute as could be.  How exhilarating is it to have children living in the White House?  And now comes Grandma.  That’s even more thrilling; to have a G-Momma at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

11:40 A.M.:

I refuse to acknowledge him, GWB.  Period.

11:42 A.M.:

And now we have Smilin’ Joe.  May his bright smile last eight years.  Now come Nancy and Dianne.

I have to take a deep breath.  Wait until Obama sees the sight in front of him.  Here he is, President Barack Hussein Obama.  Just wait until he finds out that the ticket holders were not allowed in.  There will be hell to pay.

11:50 A.M.:

I thought Rick Warren would never finish.  He did, and now we have Aretha.  Some kinda hat!!!  Love it.  When Aretha sings “Let freedom ring”, you better believe freedom is gonna ring.

11:57 A.M.:

Smilin’ Joe is taking the oath of the Vice Presidency.  Thank heavens we have a competent person in the number two spot.  Could have been a whole lot different.  You betcha.

12:00 P.M.:

The classical musicians are playing my favorite song, “Tis a Gift to be Simple.”  Perfection.

Excuse me a moment:  Chuck just called.  Always let it be known that Yo Mama has instructed her children, when handed lemons, to always make lemonade.  He was not admitted to the ceremony but has landed in a sports bar, having a tall drink and watching the festivities on TV.

12:05 P.M.:

The Presidential oath has been taken.  HE IS IN.  HE IS OURS.  Thank the heavens and the stars.  I think we finally got it right.

12:25 P.M.:

His words are poetry and yet, truth.  Children are so often a focus of his and today is no exception.  So be it.

1:00 P.M.:

President Obama said to “pick yourself up. dust yourself off, and start all over again.”  I am going to do that.  I am hitting the showers.

I will be back later.

2:10 P.M.:

Day is done.  I had a great time and am so grateful this day finally arrived.  Thank you all for the best day:

WITH MUCH LOVE,

YO MAMA FOR OBAMA