Jul 08

Obama Addresses NAACP in Cincinnati

I was quite bummed to miss the rally tonight for Obama’s address to the NAACP (had family obligations). Local media broadcast the speech to a crowd in downtown Fountain Square, and local media reports a couple thousand people showed up.

Unfortunately I can’t embed the video directly here and it’s not yet up on YouTube, but you can click the image below to watch the speech.

Obama giving speech to NAACP

Given the audience, it’s not surprising that he addressed social justice issues (breaking down barriers and fighting oppression), but said that’s not enough alone, it’s also about economic justice.

He stressed corporate and government responsibility. “America is better off when the well being of American business and the American people are aligned. Our CEOs have to recognize that they have a responsibility, not just to grow their profit margins, but to be fair to their workers and honest to their shareholders and to help strengthen our economy as a whole. That’s how we’ll ensure that economic justice is being served, and that’s what this election is all about,” he said.

He also addressed public education, which given the abysmal state of the Cincinnati Public School district, should have been absolutely cutting to the administrators who have completely botched our local school system, and the need to educate and train those coming out of the prison systems.

But perhaps the most controversial part of his speech came at the end, when he stressed personal responsibility, directly addressing the firestorm over Jesse Jackson’s crude and critical comments caught on an open mic a few days ago. (For more on the response from the African American community, check out this NPR clip addressing, “..a growing disconnect between Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and several prominent African Americans, who argue that he is moving to the center and catering to white voters too much.”)

I have to quote from Obama’s speech in full because it’s just too good:

“If we’re serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives. There’s nothing wrong with saying that,” he said, “We can lead by example as we did during the civil rights movement, ’cause the problems that plague our communities are not unique to us, we just have it a little worse, but they’re not unique to us. Providing guidance for our children, turning off the TV set, putting away the video games, attending those parent teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, setting a good example, that’s what everybody’s got to do if we’re going to be moving this country forward. Teaching our daughters to never allow images on television that tell them what they’re worth, teaching our sons to treat women with respect, and to realize that responsibility does not end at conception, that what makes them a man is not the ability to have a child but to raise one, that’s a message we need to send!”

And this in a week when the New Yorker had the horribly bad taste to run a cover “satirizing” the misconceptions and stereotypes about the Obamas. I’m not going to embed the image here because I think it was totally irresponsible of the New Yorker to publish it and I don’t want to give it more eyeballs on my site, but it portrays Michelle Obama as a radical militant and Barack Obama as an anti-American, flag burning Muslim.

And that’s a shame because if the statements I quoted above are “militant” or “anti-American” then I guess you can put me in that category, too. I don’t care if it’s just election year rhetoric or not at this point, it’s the best damned rhetoric I’ve heard in a long time from any politician and I give credit to Obama for not ducking the issue as the fellow from EbonyJet.com on NPR advised him to do.

Take the bull by the horns and address the complex and difficult problems we face, that’s what our leaders are supposed to do.

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Apr 08

Ill Omens? Earthquake Confuses Fleep, Scares Kitties

So sometime before the crack of dawn this morning, I was startled out of a deep sleep to feel the earth moving and the house making very strange sounds. I sat up blinking and bewildered and looked at the kitties who looked back at me with wide-eyed “What the heck was THAT?” looks on their faces.

Beanie, Flip, Cleo

We continued to look at each other for a few seconds, the house creaked and settled, and I thought to myself, good thing we don’t have earthquakes in Cincinnati, and then I went back to sleep.

Of course it turns out there was actually an earthquake and I was so sleepy and confused I didn’t even realize it until @samharrelson told me on Twitter when I got up hours later.

Illinois Earthquake reported at 5:37AM EST

Local coverage from WLWT reports no damage in Cincinnati, USGS has a nifty map showing all the earthquakes reported in the last 7 days, and local blogger Joe Wessels has an interview with a University of Cincinnati prof who specializes in earthquake building design about an hour after this morning’s quake.

Me, I’m thinking it’s only April and so far we’ve had a blizzard and an earthquake, two pretty rare natural occurrences in my neck of the woods. I’m a little trepidatious about what the rest of 2008 might bring.

Blizzard 2008

Thankfully the plague of cicadas was in 2004, so we don’t have to worry about that one for another *gulp* 13 years.