Archive: January, 2009

Obamaletter #1: Your Swearing In

Dear Mr. President:

Being a father, I know you can imagine what it’s like to get three grumpy little girls up at 6:00 a.m., make them put on tights they do not want to wear, swaddle them in three layers of clothing and snow suits, catch a Metro train without anybody falling down an escalator, march 20 blocks in the freezing cold like so many fat penguins, then stand like squashed sandwiches in a mob for 3 ½ hours for a once in a lifetime chance to see history made. That’s exactly what we did last Tuesday. But even though we had official tickets and had left our backpacks, pocketbooks, coolers and nail files behind, we never got past the security gates, or saw or heard the first African American become President of the United States, or even saw or heard the first white man from Delaware become Vice President of the United States. (More)

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Obama, Out of Egypt

Behold, the Raisin

by Ray Abernathy

Cairo. Everything is moving. Small, square Russian cars, junkers all, speeding down the broad boulevard next to the Nile, slowing neither for traffic circles nor for pedestrians dodging in and out of lanes. Young men riding cranky bicycles past crumbling French, Soviet and Italianate buildings, right hands gripping handlebars, left hands balancing wide wooden trays of precious flatbread. A bus careens wildly around a tiny girl riding side-saddle astride a donkey, the donkey piled 20 feet high with used tires, the girl furiously beating the slow-moving animal with a stick. Two black armored personnel carriers with no windows, only slits for rifles, lumber off the boulevard into the Garden City district, crawl up narrow streets and come to a stop at the back entrance to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia just as two identical vehicles leave. A boy of twelve skips down the walk of an apartment building, crosses the street, pulls himself up by the gun slits on one of the carriers, sticks his tongue out at the soldiers inside and greets them with the refrain from his favorite cartoon show: “Yabba-dabba-do.” The soldiers, most of them little older than children themselves laugh and reply, “da-da-da-da …. da-da-da-da ….dadadadadadadooo.” (More)

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John Dean, Ken Starr, Seymour Hersh: My First Inaugural Parade

For the past four years, I’ve lived with the fear that someday someone would ask, “Didn’t I see you at Bush’s Inaugural Parade?” I’ve always had my answer ready: “No, I have a long history of being mistaken for other people, so that was probably someone who just looked like me.” But now that Barack Obama is ushering in a new era of honesty and transparency, I’m compelled to confess that I was indeed there, from early morning until late afternoon. But I can explain, honest. (More)

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Bush: the End of an Error

Up front, let me acknowledge that I stole the phrase “The End of An Error” from our friends Joe and Marthena Cowart, and Myra MacPherson. They’re using it as the theme for a pre-inaugural party, and it was just too juicy a plum not to pick (high-hanging fruit, guys). Also, I want to confess that I missed President Bush’s farewell to harms address last Thursday night on network television. But I printed out a transcript, read it over several times, and I’ve concluded we didn’t make an error: we wanted another president we could look down on, and Bush was there for us, 24/7. (More)

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January 12, 2009

Defending the Decrepit AFL-CIO

I was encouraged to read in several newspaper stories last week that some of our biggest labor unions are meeting at the behest of the incoming administration to try and reunify the labor movement. Working families, who are being battered by our loser economy, certainly need a strong, singular voice if we are to stimulate, create and resuscitate on the scale prescribed by Dr. Obama. But it was sad to hear some of our labor leaders still peddling the fatuous shibboleth that the AFL-CIO needs to be revitalized, modernized, perhaps even replaced with a more “dynamic” group. (More)

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January 4, 2009

These things will happen in 2009.

For the past two weeks, I been doing rehab exercises for a couple of degenerative discs at the top of my spine, the price, my clever internist assures me, for walking erect all my life. One of the exercises requires me to nod my head several times like I’m answering “yes,” then do a “long neck stretch,” hold it for ten seconds, then repeat six times. The result of doing this over and over for 14 days has turned me into a sort of poor man’s Jim Carey cum Barack Obama, saying “yes” and “yes we can” to every challenge coming at us in 2009. In this positive frame of mind, I offer my New Year’s Predictions: (More)

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