Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's speech

The New York Times, which endorsed Hillary Clinton in the primary, published this editorial today. That phrase at the very end is what has me turning, slowly, towards Obama. I really want to see this country, and politics, raised from the very deep hole we have been dug into the past few decades.

March 19, 2008
Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage
There are moments — increasingly rare in risk-abhorrent modern campaigns — when politicians are called upon to bare their fundamental beliefs. In the best of these moments, the speaker does not just salve the current political wound, but also illuminates larger, troubling issues that the nation is wrestling with.
Inaugural addresses by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt come to mind, as does John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on religion, with its enduring vision of the separation between church and state. Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better.
Mr. Obama had to address race and religion, the two most toxic subjects in politics. He was as powerful and frank as Mitt Romney was weak and calculating earlier this year in his attempt to persuade the religious right that his Mormonism is Christian enough for them.
It was not a moment to which Mr. Obama came easily. He hesitated uncomfortably long in dealing with the controversial remarks of his spiritual mentor and former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., who denounced the United States as endemically racist, murderous and corrupt.
On Tuesday, Mr. Obama drew a bright line between his religious connection with Mr. Wright, which should be none of the voters’ business, and having a political connection, which would be very much their business. The distinction seems especially urgent after seven years of a president who has worked to blur the line between church and state.
Mr. Obama acknowledged his strong ties to Mr. Wright. He embraced him as the man “who helped introduce me to my Christian faith,” and said that “as imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me.”
Wisely, he did not claim to be unaware of Mr. Wright’s radicalism or bitterness, disarming the speculation about whether he personally heard the longtime pastor of his church speak the words being played and replayed on YouTube. Mr. Obama said Mr. Wright’s comments were not just potentially offensive, as politicians are apt to do, but “rightly offend white and black alike” and are wrong in their analysis of America. But, he said, many Americans “have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagree.”
Mr. Obama’s eloquent speech should end the debate over his ties to Mr. Wright since there is nothing to suggest that he would carry religion into government. But he did not stop there. He put Mr. Wright, his beliefs and the reaction to them into the larger context of race relations with an honesty seldom heard in public life.
Mr. Obama spoke of the nation’s ugly racial history, which started with slavery and Jim Crow, and continues today in racial segregation, the school achievement gap and discrimination in everything from banking services to law enforcement.
He did not hide from the often-unspoken reality that people on both sides of the color line are angry. “For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation,” he said, “the memories of humiliation and fear have not gone away, nor the anger and the bitterness of those years.”
At the same time, many white Americans, Mr. Obama noted, do not feel privileged by their race. “In an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero-sum game,” he said, adding that both sides must acknowledge that the other’s grievances are not imaginary.
He made the powerful point that while these feelings are not always voiced publicly, they are used in politics. “Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan coalition,” he said.
Against this backdrop, he said, he could not repudiate his pastor. “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community,” he said. “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.” That woman whom he loves deeply, he said, “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street” and more than once “uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
There have been times when we wondered what Mr. Obama meant when he talked about rising above traditional divides. This was not such a moment.
We can’t know how effective Mr. Obama’s words will be with those who will not draw the distinctions between faith and politics that he drew, or who will reject his frank talk about race. What is evident, though, is that he not only cleared the air over a particular controversy — he raised the discussion to a higher plane.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dooce Rules!

My favorite blogger, Dooce, won big time at the 2008 Bloggies in Austin!
And now I have to check out all those other winners with really cool names.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wedding, eating, drinking, and more....

We had a busy weekend in New York. Mark and I flew up on Friday, dropped off our stuff at Val & Tony's and hit the streets of the Slope, eating pizza, of course, shopping, relaxing in Ozzie's, a third place for many in Park Slope. Then we got dressed up, took the train into the city, and wandered Tribeca a bit in the rain until we found the right building. While a wet crowd gathered in the lobby, waiters circulated with champagne, people began to chat, and a good time began. We went up to the top floor, alas, no view in the pouring rain and heavy fog, but it was pretty none the less. After a brief and sweet ceremony, our niece Beth and her Rondell were married. Great food, drink, plenty of dancing and so much fun followed.
Saturday Jesse & Thom picked us up -- lots more rain. We headed into Chinatown for a post wedding lunch, and then spent some shopping time getting drenched on the streets of the Lower East Side. Soon we gave it up, headed back to Brooklyn to Jesse & Thom's house, to get dry and to play with their new Wii. After recovering from a hard game of tennis we were dry and ready to go out for the evening -- first stop, a new and wonderful place in the Slope --
Beer Table. Owners Justin and Tricia welcomed Jesse and Thom back and were happy to meet Mark and me. They settled us at a table where two young men were sitting and we ordered our first beers. And began talking to the guys, Shane and Ian. When we found out that they had actually crafted the beer I was drinking, Righteous Rye, and that they are the guys behind Sixpoint, a great beer (and dog) conversation followed, and before we knew it, Shane was heading out to their brewery and bringing back some beers they are working on for a fabulous private tasting. By the time Shane got back we had more people at our table, every one friendly and interesting. It made us wish we could move to the city now.
Soon Thom's friend John showed up too, and in a while our little party was ready to move on to food so we headed right across the street for Italian home cooking, more good pizza. It was a magical evening, the kind that makes you say "only in New York."
Sunday Mark and I headed back into the city with my mother, Helen, for a great organic brunch at Josie's on the upper West Side. Then we met Jesse and Thom and saw a matinee of a new musical based on an old play,
Spring Awakening.
In spite of a way too long journey home due to repeated flight delays, it was a wonderful weekend in the city.
See for yourself.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Off to the city!

Very early tomorrow Mark and I will take off for NY. We are going to see, and party at, the wedding of our niece, Beth. She is marrying her longtime partner, Rondell, at the Tribeca Rooftop, how romantic! We are very excited.
We'll be staying in Park Slope at Val & Tony's apartment again (thanks V&T!) and if we have the energy we may get the chance to spend some time in the Slope tomorrow afternoon. And eat pizza.
After that it's going to be nonstop busy -- wedding, wedding luncheon, doing a whole bunch of stuff the rest of Saturday with Jesse and Thom, we are really looking forward to spending time with them, Sunday brunch in the city with Helen followed by a matinee of
Spring Awakening which Jesse and Thom will meet us for.
I hope to really learn my new camera this weekend.
I hope to read the manual on the plane.
We will not get home until about 2 am Monday morning so we will both take the day off to recover, hang with our animals who we will miss so much, go to yoga, and maybe blog.

Jack and Hill

I love Jack.
I like Hillary.
I have hope (whether it's Hillary or Barack...or both)!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Be Sensible by Martin Scorsese

One of the reasons we don't go to the movies very often is the people who do. Maybe this will help. Wonderful commercial, thanks Jesse.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

We don't go there for the pizza

Although the pizza at Mellow Mushroom is tasty, it has little in common with real NY pizza. But the beer, well that's another story. They have an excellent selection of unusual beers and there are always some interesting local ones. You can do a tasting, too, if you aren't sure what you want. That's what Mark and I both did last week. My favorite was a coffee beer from Dunedin Brewery, no kidding, it had a strong coffee flavor and it was delicious.

Mark looks cool

After much urging from me, and from Jesse via me, Mark went shopping in a real clothing store! And bought clothes that fit and have some style! Really I should say that I went shopping, put myself in the very capable hands of a Nordstrom's salesperson (they do know about customer service in that store) and Mark went along, allowing us to use him as a model. Not only will Mark look good at the upcoming weddings and associated events, but he looks pretty good just hanging in the driveway, or going to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota with Jen and Leigh.

I write in Brooklyn, get over it.

This essay by Colson Whitehead was in today's NY Times Book Review.

I won't be writing in Brooklyn, oh, maybe a little blogging, but no books.

But I will be reading in Brooklyn, a lot, like I used to, one of these years.