Saturday, July 25, 2009

from martha

Obama después de visitar al doctor de Michael Jackson. (Get it?)

"the first in American history guilty of being p.w.b., president while black"

Stanley Fish's column in The New York Times on the Gates scandal ends like this:

Gates and Obama are not only friends; they are in the same position, suspected of occupying a majestic residence under false pretenses. And Obama is a double offender. Not only is he guilty of being Housed While Black; he is the first in American history guilty of being P.W.B., President While Black.

But you really need to read it all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

like I said, if it wasn't for jon stewart

Jon Stewart is America's most trusted newsman, according to a new Time Magazine poll.

The Huffington Post: Matched up against Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, Stewart prevailed with 44 percent of the vote.

the president is black (II)

LA Times today: The measured and cautious Obama that Americans have come to know might have demurred when, at the end of his prime-time press conference, he was asked about the arrest last week of Henry Louis Gates Jr., a prominent African American-studies scholar and friend of the president's.

But Obama was surprisingly emotive and unequivocal when answering the question and concluding that the Cambridge, Mass., police had "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates, who is black, after he tried to pry open a stuck door to gain entry to his own home.

Obama said he did not know what role if any race played in the matter. But he also seemed to welcome the opportunity to teach a larger racial lesson. Obama used the question to recall his sponsorship as an Illinois state legislator of legislation to crack down on racial profiling, noting that "there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped" disproportionately by police. (Read more.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

but where is john oliver?

For a bunch of different reasons I have a hard time listening to arguments against national health care. And as if that's not enough, in an attempt to take the edge of the president's efforts the right wing crazies have started up the Obama birth certificate issue again. There is a lot of yelling, and there is a lot of stupidity.

I am just saying. If it wasn't for Jon Stewart you'd think the world was mad.

from mayka

A woman's struggle with breast cancer:


Unfollowing John Cleese made me feel I live in the 21st century. Following Sarah Palin makes me feel like I just took a big step backwards again.


My friend Babs blogs about the senate hearings with Sonia Sotomayor last week. This is the part that got to me:

South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham suggested to Sotomayor that she had “a temperament problem” and advised that “maybe these hearings are a time for self-reflection.”

And Coburn not only lectured Sotomayor on the “proper role” of judges, but read her the oath of office.

It reminded me of a party I was at once, for someone who had just become an American citizen. There were balloons, apple pie, champagne, and little American flags. We each brought gifts: My friend and I gave the food snob new American a box of Twinkies.

Someone else gave him a pay stub, and said, "Now you'll have to start paying tax!".

It baffled me. He thought only citizens pay tax?

What kind of lives do they think other people have? Ones where judges don't know their own oaths? Where green card holders don't pay tax? Where Latina judges have attitude problems and need to calm down, and be lectured?

please explain

Someone had, in all seriousness, posted this quote on their Facebook status:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. - Proverbs 31:30


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

catie made me look this up


When Dan's aunt Gloria decided not to be helpful I realized I was on my own when it came to figuring out how to make a good salsa. Four batches later I can tell you this:

1. Roma tomatoes.
2. Use a variety of peppers.
3. Cut tomatoes and peppers in half. Seed peppers. Place everything skin side up in a roasting pan, and drizzle olive oil on top. Put under the broiler and burn the heck out of it.
4. When it's almost done (=black and bubbly), add cloves of garlic, and red onion. You don't want to burn the garlic and onion.
5. When it's done, put all veggies in the food processor, and pulse.
6. Add cumin, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
7. Pulse a tiny bit more.
8. Let cool.

Monday, July 20, 2009

you can put a man on the moon but you can't fix... this.

Prom Night In Mississippi: Nothing changes until you do.

boy, oh boy

Watch for the moment when Walter Cronkite is speechless, and takes off his glasses:

July 20, 1969. It was after 3 in the morning in Sweden and I was asleep at my grandparents' country house. My brother who had better stamina than I was awake with the grownups. He came to get me. It was a light Scandinavian summer night. We ran across the courtyard between the house where we slept and the main house, sharp stones hurting our feet.

And then, in my memory, it happened.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

hell is other people

Don't (I): Shop at Whole Foods in Los Gatos on the weekend. People just stand around and chat and you can't get to anything.
Don't (II): Hike the Los Gatos mountain trail on the weekend. People just stand around and chat and you can't get anywhere.

Friday, July 17, 2009

what we claim

I've taught a class that discusses media images of underrepresented groups this summer. To add perspective I've invited as guest graduates of the department, former students who a few years out of school are eager to come back and talk. They even admit to missing school...

Erika, one of the young women who came in last week, reminded me of something that had happened in one of her classes a couple of years ago.

I often ask students how they identify - how they choose to label themselves. There is a pattern: Very few white Americans identify as "American" when they're in the US. Instead they refer to their countries of origin, and may say that they are Irish and Italian, Irish and German, French, or Portuguese, even if they have never visited any of those countries and their families have been American citizens for generations. It's an interesting phenomenon, and often the focus of several class discussions. It is odd that white people, who in many ways feel the most ownership of the country, and who enjoy privilege and positions of symbolic power, do not talk about themselves as American.

Erika remembered that she had been the only one in her class of 30 or so students, a predominantly white group, to use the word "American". She referred to herself as Mexican-American. Her parents are both immigrants from Mexico, but, she says, "I was born here, I am American".

it's true

President Obama's pick for Surgeon General is a woman. A black woman. Her name is Dr. Regina Benjamin.

Some people think she is too fat to be top doc.

I am not even going to comment.


Whole bunch of new photos on my smugmug site. Current favorite: this one.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Around 10AM on Thursday I had an email from an old friend who is battling depression. She says she finds it hard to enjoy life.

Around 2PM on Thursday I was sitting in a room listening to a 24 year old soon-to-be ex US Marine talking about his seven years of service, including the one year tour in Iraq he finished this past March.

This guy doesn't find it hard to enjoy life. On the contrary: he said these past few months have been the best months of his life. He loves his country, he loves to be alive, and he is looking forward to the rest of his life.

I am not saying that my depressed friend should just snap out of it. It's not that simple. But I am saying that we would all do better service to the world if we woke up each morning with gratitude, where ever we are, and where ever we have been before.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

very funny, and sad

Maureen Dowd's Practical Guide to Help Spurned Political Wives Survive Old Problems in the Era of New Technology.

My favorite: When there’s an Associated Press bulletin quoting your husband saying that he has found his soul mate but he’s going to try to fall back in love with you, change the locks. (At your second home, too.)