Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Daily Photo: 5 Finger Insomnia Edition

Monday, May 10th, 2010


Look at those beautiful paws. Ford’s healing well after six months, and any scars will be ghosts by the time he gets big. I know I’m also healing well, and that any residual scars will join their ropey brethren, but right now I’m just doom-looped from lack of sleep. In between heavy fretting and unsettling dreams last night, I worked my way from the community service days in Chicago through the presidency of the Harvard Law Review in David Remnick’s new Obama bio. Tonight, I’m considering some prophylactic Xanax at around 10 and a march through the early Michelle years.

More tomorrow, when I’ve had a little rest. Sleep sweet, all…

The Revolution Will Not Be Chamomile

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

tea party

Know thine enemy, right?

Elastic Heart and I infiltrated Saturday’s Tea Party on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol building, where the don’t-tread-on-me crowd gathered under Abraham Lincoln’s pacific gaze to brandish signs, wave flags, and feel a little less lost and alone in our glorious socialist wilderness.

lincoln mall


What Land Is This, So Free?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

bullet through crayons

In honor of my 500th post (I do go on, don’t I?), here’s a reverie on our various selves, the multitudes contained within each of us:

I am a Hittite in love with a horse
I don’t know what blood’s
in me I feel like an African prince I am a girl walking downstairs
in a red pleated dress with heels I am a champion taking a fall
I am a jockey with a sprained ass-hole I am the light mist
in which a face appears
and it is another face of blonde I am a baboon eating a banana
I am a dictator looking at his wife I am a doctor eating a child
and the child’s mother smiling I am a Chinaman climbing a mountain
I am a child smelling his father’s underwear I am an Indian
sleeping on a scalp
and my pony is stamping in
the birches,
and I’ve just caught sight of the
Niña, the Pinta and the Santa
What land is this, so free?

-Frank O’Hara

I was reminded of this poem by Zadie Smith (herself no slouch at slipping on new skins), who included it in her essay on Obama’s many tongues. Reading that piece was like mental origami; I ended up with fresh folds in my brain, as though the paper cranes I made could take actual flight.

Amazing image by David Neff.

Worth A Thousand Words

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Here are the signing ceremonies for two of the most important women’s rights-related bills in recent history: the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003 and the Lillie Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009.

women's rights taken, given back

The bottom photo makes me think of sisterhood-is-powerful rainbows and sparkle Gobama ponies. The top photo makes me wonder where I stashed my dick-slicing knife.


A Blessing For Obama

Monday, January 19th, 2009

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears—tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger—anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.

And God, we give you thanks for your child, Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.

Give him stirring words; We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity, and peace.


-Bishop Eugene Robinson

Sigh. I loves me some openly gay episcopal bishops. “O god of our many understandings” sounds to me much larger than any sort of rinky-dink god-in-church-on-Sunday. Not even “god,” so much as that-which-we-invoke in times of large experience, where we put our hopes, our shared pleas.

It’s a container for all of us, whether we’re drawn to the inestimable or pulled to that which we can measure; whether we’re believers in this holy tradition with the singing and the soaring words; or that one over there with the funny hats; whether we’re radical non-believers who worship only trees or ideas; or we’re strictly wait-and-see spiritual sorts; whether we keep faith with the rational, the theoretical, the testable—hold the miracles, please; or we take our blessings where we find them, in the smell of our lover’s hair and the clean joy of strawberries.

It’s the recognition that millions of people coming together creates something larger than the sum of all those lives; a power greater than wars or hurricanes or bursting bubbles, bigger even than bungling leaders or bad intentions.

Yes we can.

Yes we did.

Yes we will.

obama teeshirts

Prayer via, image via.

Blah, blah, blah, Palin

Friday, November 14th, 2008

graffitti stag

My parents’ neighbors are lovely people. They bought a house with a clearly asian-modernist design perspective, but that’s not who they are, so it’s filled with country crafts and patchwork, with an XXL cabin cruiser in the driveway. There’s a ongoing exchange of goods and favors and family intel between the two households; we know about their grandkids and health issues, they know about ours. We always joke that they’re short people with Dobermanns and we’re tall people with chihuahuas. And really, someone should do a photo essay on people who do not look like their dogs, because I could arrange a killer photoshoot in the cul-de-sac between the two houses.

Now, the good people of Lincoln tend to be on the churchy side of conservative. God-and-country is an additive in the milk here, but it’s usually of the pretzel salad and neighborly deeds variety, not the spit-seething, gun-toting, fly the flag upside down when your side loses to a radical darkie sort. Which makes it easier for a left-coast lefty like me. I’m basically granted free passage; a sort of e-ticket for oddballs. Just as social conservatives weren’t overmuch concerned with Bristol Palin’s teen pregnancy (what family hasn’t faced that?), most families have a giraffe in their herd of buffalo, whether that person’s gay or mouthy or votes for democrats.


Think anew, and act anew

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” – Abraham Lincoln, Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

church door

These words have been taped to my monitor since 2004, and while the paper’s a little faded, they still cut through the air like a hatchet-blade, bending light like a prism, through which I can see the shock-and-loss of those darkest days, and the more vivid palette of this hopeful time.

The fulcrum for the passage is the word disenthrall; that’s what we’ve had to do over the past few years: let go of old ways, get smarter and slyer, no longer falling for the comfort of old lies we tell ourselves and each other. We’ve fought a wily enemy, and this feels like a win. But the campaign continues, we’re still battling on ground both old and new.

We’re in that moment where the roller coaster crests the hill after an endless climb. Thrilling. Terrifying. Full of risk and opportunity. And possibility is so much scarier than punishment.

I’m the original oh-oh-Obamalite (we’re like the Brides of Christ, only with gimlet grins and Emma Peel boots), but I’ve never seen him as our sole saviour; he’s a man who can lead us, can ask us for for more. And I hope he does. But we’ve all got to save ourselves, save each other.

As a nation, we’ve worshipped false profits. Markets have been free, while people have not. This can change. It must change.

Hope is a virus; let’s infect the enemy.

It’s time to strip ourselves bare, to lose the armor but watch our backs.

Keep poking the wound. Be open, be vulnerable, be willing to risk, to serve, to fuck it up, to be real with each other.

Talk to strangers, but don’t fall for bullshit. Love thy neighbor and kick a little ass, in appropriate measure.

Know our minds, speak our piece, keep trying to see through through others’ eyeballs.

It’s a highwire act of radical devotion, of knowing patriotism: Mainline the joy and hope, but pay attention. Make sacrifices. Stay involved. Expect more from everyone, including ourselves.

Thanks to Sully for posting the quote this morning—sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us.

The real threat

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

dear obama

Oh, Barack. You have no idea what you’re in for. 

“Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.”

The most disciplined, organized campaign this nation’s ever seen? Easy.

More votes than any candidate in history? No sweat.

A decent jumpshot? Cake.

A new puppy? There will be tears. And shit. And lots and lots of urine.

Oh, sure, the cuteness. There is that. But as someone who’s live through a puppy over the past year, I have some advice:

Consider a bitch. Although Stella is pretty butch and actually does a leg-lift tripod squat to mark, she’s not drawn to vertical surfaces like they’re shiny things. Archie, though? He sees a wall or an ottoman or a chairleg and he feels compelled to salute. With his back leg.

Learn to speak dog. When the puppy gnaws on you (and she will), yelp like another puppy. That’s how they talk to each other in the litter, and it’s the fastest path to unchewed hands.

Socialization matters. Get her out and about as much as possible during the first 16 weeks of her life. Introduce her to everyone and everything. I let Stella ride on the laps of people in wheelchairs. We walked next to noisy buses. She met kids and old people and other dogs. In fact, just take your pup to an Obama rally and pass her around—that should about cover all the angles.

Training is a good thing. And the girls can be in charge of that. (Although you may want the Secret Service to handle late night potty runs on the White House lawn.)

Breeds don’t matter. Temperment does. Might I recommend an adorable mixed-breed? Mutts are unique, vigorous, and change the lives of everyone around them.

Most of all, enjoy. And take lots of pictures for the rest of us.

Flashing the peace sign

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

obama sign

Some of my creative neighbors have this sign in their window. I tried to snap the shot without the sunlight, but then decided it was appropriate in a new day dawning sort of way. Look close, and you’ll see The Subtle Elbow.

Speaking of signage

Thursday, October 30th, 2008


Gotta love the diverse coalition Obama (and 8 years of living under the bootheel of the bankrupt BushRovians) has managed to pull together.