The State of the Union

28 January, 2010 at 11:13 am (Civil Rights, Historical Figure, Politics, President Obama)

Okay, while I would love to write all about this – I actually do need to work. Terrible, right? But I wanted to just mention one thing…

I have become frustrated with how President Obama has handled “the gay issues” (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act). I, along with many, feel he hasn’t done all he could (and should!) for equality. And last night, many felt he should have said more on this issue. His full quote in his speech about DADT:

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.

No, that’s not a lot. And it’s also not a promise, or him issuing an executive order. However, his saying that he’s going to work to end the repeal – and that he said so in front of a joint session of Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Supreme Court Justices – is promising.

But I started thinking… The first time a president ever mentioned advocating for gay rights in a SOTU was President Clinton (the one who signed DADT and DOMA into law, let’s remember), back in 1999. And all he said was:

Discrimination or violence because of race or religion, ancestry or gender, disability or sexual orientation is wrong and it ought to be illegal. Therefore, I ask Congress to make the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act the law of the land.

Talk about vague, eh? And let’s remember he was on his way out of office; Obama still has three years on this term.

And so it helped to remind myself what President Bush (#43) said about gay equality. Oh, he talked about gay rights during his SOTU – about how there shouldn’t be any. From 2004:

A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization. Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects marriage under federal law as a union of a man and a woman, and declares that one state may not redefine marriage for other states.

Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people’s voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.

I won’t go into all of Bush’s points – thankfully, he’s out of office and can’t do any more damage. But he certainly did dedicate a large chunk of his speech to that, huh?

So all I am saying is, when we’re frustrated with Obama’s ‘lack of action’, it’s important to remind ourselves where we’re coming from, and what we’re trying to correct from the past. I hope (and trust) that he’ll do more before he leaves office; in the meantime, I am just happy we no longer have a bigoted man in the White House who uses anti-gay rhetoric to ‘motivate the base’.

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What to Do?

3 November, 2009 at 11:37 am (Books, Historical Figure, Politics, President Obama)

So it’s a Tuesday afternoon, and three things are happening tonight in the city. Well, technically there are more than three things happening – but these would be on my list:

1. Cast of Glee signing copies of the new Glee Soundtrack at Borders in Columbus Circle

2. Jen Somethingorother, who does the Cake Wrecks blog, signing copies of her Cake Wrecks book at the Barnes & Noble in Lincoln Triangle. I don’t really want a copy of the book, but this book signing has free cake…

3. David Plouffe speaking about and signing copies of his new book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory at the B&N at Union Square.

So which one am I going with? Obviously the Plouffe reading/signing. I’ve been looking forward to this book anyway – regardless of what happens with his Presidency, Obama’s campaign and win were game-changing and historic, and I think reading Plouffe’s inside take will be interesting. However, it’s also gotten good reviews – and Arianna Huffington at HuffPo had a great take on it this morning: What would Candidate Obama think of President Obama? What indeed. I really recommend reading the piece – and I think that the book will serve as a great reminder of why we all got on board with Obama to begin with – and what he could be doing differently in his presidency.

But I’ll let you know after I’m finished reading it 🙂

UPDATE: David Plouffe responds on HuffPo: “No Difference Between President Obama and Candidate Obama

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Guess Who I’m Seeing Tonight?

18 July, 2009 at 1:59 pm (Concert, Historical Figure, Music, The Beatles, The British Are Coming!)

Can’t wait!!

Hey Jude (with Elton John, Sting, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton – most of the legends of music in the UK)

Note: Not sure when this is from, but it’s awesome

A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance

Note: This is just from last year. I blame his age for him forgetting the words

Live and Let Die

Note: This is from before I was born, back in the era when my mom most loved Paul McCartney

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Paul McCartney’s US Tour

9 July, 2009 at 10:53 am (Concert, Historical Figure, Music, The Beatles, The British Are Coming!)

Totally the cute Beatle

Totally the cute Beatle


Seemingly out of nowhere, Paul McCartney is doing a “tour”. I say “tour” because there are very few shows, and it seems he’s just doing them as he wants to. Which, frankly, if you’re nearing 70 and you’re a Beatle, you’ve pretty much earned the right to do. Anyway, the tour, in its entirety, is:

July 17 – New York, Citi Field
July 18 – New York, Citi Field
July 21 – New York, Citi Field
August 1 – Washington, FedExField
August 5 – Boston, Fenway Park
August 6 – Boston, Fenway Park
August 15 – Atlanta, Piedmont Park
August 17 – Tulsa, BOK Center
August 19 – Dallas, Cowboys Stadium

More of a mini-tour, really. And yes, you read that right: he’s doing a show in Tulsa-freaking-Oklahoma. Kudos to Tulsa for opening the BOK Center; that place has done them well. The tickets for the NYC shows are all sold out (they sold out basically as soon as they went on sale). The tickets for his Tulsa show go on sale July 20th…if I were in Oklahoma, you know I’d be on top of that. Because, let’s be frank: how many tours can he have in front of him?

Paul's Aged Just a Wee Bit...

Paul's Aged Just a Wee Bit...

And yes, I’m going to see Paul at Citi Field. July 18th. I cannot wait!!!

Now, in honor of the recently departed Michael Jackson: his and Paul’s better collaboration (I don’t really dig “The Girl is Mine”). This video features:
– Michael Jackson, before he was creepy and before he stole all of Paul’s Beatles’ songs
– Paul’s less-than-stellar 1980s work
– Linda needlessly lurking around, Yoko Ono-style
– LaToya (I think…) playing the object of MJ’s affections. If that’s true: ewwwww

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41 Years Ago Today Martin Luther King, Jr. Was Assassinated…

3 April, 2009 at 11:19 pm (Historical Figure)

…and these photos are only just being published for the first time. For some reason, LIFE Magazine had them in their archives, and only now is making them available. They were taking shortly after Dr. King was murdered, and they offer an interesting view to the immediate effect it had on his inner-circle.

This also reminds me to share LIFE’s website – an extensive, free, online archive of photos (both published and not) from their magazine and Getty archives. There are millions of photos available from the 20th and 21st centuries (and they apparently add 3,000 new photos everyday). Which can seem overwhelming, but the website is totally easy to maneuver through. Really, when you have time, check it out!

( note: I really wanted to post at least one interesting photo from their site here, but they seem to have strict rules about these things, and I don’t want to get myself in trouble!)

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The Queen and The First Lady

2 April, 2009 at 9:32 pm (Funny Stuff, Historical Figure, Michelle Obama, President Obama, The British Are Coming!)

Okay, so here’s the deal. Anyone that knows me well, or who has known me since my high school days (i.e., 90% of the people taking the time to read this), knows that I am a total anglophile. Before I was obsessed with our current head of state, I was all about Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith. So how do you think I felt when I saw this?
obamasroyals
Well, thrilled, of course! (though who knew Prince Philip was such a tiny man?)
But then…Huggate happened:
michellequeenhug
The hug felt ’round the world.
So for those of you who aren’t all up on Royal Protocol…well, this ain’t it. One does not touch the Queen! But The Queen remarked on how tall Mrs. Obama is, and put her hand on Michelle’s back…the First Lady responded in kind, rubbing the Queen’s back…and, well – the rest is history:
michellequeenhug2
Apparently, the Queen even reportedly asking Michelle Obama, “Now we’ve met, will you please keep in touch?” Too cute!
Yes, to we Americans, this is hardly a blip on the radar. But to the British, this is Big News. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s getting more coverage than the G-20 Protests! (Protests are a dime a dozen in London, but getting touchy-feely with Her Majesty? Not so much!)

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Happy Presidents’ Day!

16 February, 2009 at 1:33 pm (Historical Figure, Music, Politics)


This was obviously made well over a decade ago…but gee, I forgot how much I loved “Animaniacs”

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It was 40 years ago today…

30 January, 2009 at 12:52 pm (Historical Figure, Movie to Watch, Music)

rooftop
…that The Beatles played their very last live performance. The band was in a bad place – infighting, on the verge of breaking up. (All this can be seen in the film “Let It Be“, which I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch – too depressing.) But in the midst of all this turmoil was this last live performance. It was on the rooftop of the Apple Corps offices, completely to the surprise of everyone on the street below. It was broken up by the police, which sounds dramatic, but was actually fairly anticlimactic. (And for those tragic cases out there that have seen “Across the Universe” but know nothing of The Beatles – this is where the last scene in the film comes from)

So, in honor of the anniversary of this impromptu concert, I’m posting it, of course. I’ve found it in three parts on YouTube…

Part 1: “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down”

Part 2: “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “One After 909”

Part 3: “Dig a Pony” and “Get Back” (again)

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So I finally had the moment

22 January, 2009 at 4:15 pm (Barack Obama, Historical Figure, Music, TV to Watch)

I didn’t watch the televised Neighborhood Ball on Tuesday, and I finally just watched it – and yes, I cried during the first dance. The Obamas are such a wonderful couple! And Beyonce’s rendition of “At Last” was so beautiful! Yeah, yeah, I know. Anyway, for the two or three people that haven’t seen this yet…

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The Inauguration

21 January, 2009 at 5:50 pm (Barack Obama, Historical Figure)

obama1

There’s not much that I can say about the inauguration that hasn’t already been said. I (surprisingly) didn’t get choked up. Maybe I cried too much on election night? Because I was a mess that night!

But Tuesday was still HUGELY exciting! We hosted an inaugural watch party…I say we, because I planned on hosting at my place. Nothing big: have a few friends come over for brunch, turn on the cable, and let it play. However, over the weekend, I discovered that my building would be having boiler maintenance on the 20th, and there would be no heat or hot water. So much for the party. Then, Robert and Kevin offered to have it at their place. So that’s what we did! It was nice, and Robert’s quiche was much better than mine would have been. But the main thing was to watch Obama be sworn in.

Like I said, I didn’t cry. However, I thought it was great…slightly mortified for him when the oath was flubbed, of course, but it didn’t really put a damper on things [Update: Chief Justice Roberts administered a do-over for President Obama on Wednesday evening]. And I thought his speech was good. It wasn’t the big, sweeping speeches of his campaign – but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that it set exactly the right tone for the presidency…and I appreciated that he got a couple of digs in at Bush 🙂

And now he is president! I won’t lie, I still get a little giddy when I hear or say “President Obama”. I’m sure I’ll get used to it…eventually!

And below, of course, I’m posting a video of the big moment.

obama2

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