Thursday, November 6, 2008

On a lighter note (sort of)

Celebrating the end of Laissez Scare:

But here's one last scare and some shopping news.

For all the saints

Mahalia Jackson "We Shall Overcome"

Birmingham Sunday September 15, 1963

Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963

Emmett Till July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's worth crying about

It's been difficult to come down to earth after last night's historic celebration in Grant Park. Tears have come to so many eyes, white and black. I still can hardly believe it. I've been hoping and praying that Obama would win for many months now, but it was largely in partisan terms. Although I never forgot that he was an African-American, I had come not to see him as such -- he was just Barack Obama. Then suddenly as he walked out on the stage in Grant Park, I suddenly saw the face of an African-American as President of the United States and I could scarcely believe it.

Images of the civil rights protests of the early 1960's came to mind, the killings and police brutality, the stories of friends and family about the segregation that continued in the South, and the racial tensions and divisions and de facto segregation in the North where I lived. I remember Martin Luther King Jr.; James Meredith being barred from the U. of Mississippi by Gov. Ross Barnett, Vivian Malone, James Hood from the U. of Alabama by Gov. George Wallace; the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham; the Bloody Sunday of the march on Selma -- these were the pictures I remember from my childhood as we watched the nightly news stories.

And Chicago - my adopted hometown. The bloody suppression of the protests at the Democratic Convention in 1968. Grant Park, where I so wanted to be among the crowds but obeyed my parents and stayed home. Two years later, every weekday one summer, walking across the entire length of the park to and from the Field Museum where I attended classes, thinking all the time about the turmoil and violence that had occurred there.

And all those years of Chicago politics - the best and the worst of times.

All ending on November 5, 2008, with another Mayor Richard Daley and his entire police force there to protect Obama and his supporters, and people in tears of jubilation the world over.

I cannot begin to explain how this has restored my faith, which has been so weak lately, how it filled a hole in my soul that somehow had been torn in 1968, one that I thought had been closed up long ago. It has given me hope and courage in a way nothing I can ever hear in church will ever do. It has made me believe, once again, that some things are worth fighting for.

It has made me cry, and I am glad for it.

Thank you God

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grizzly Bear DNA - Again?

photo Wikipedia, Chris Servheen/USFWS

O.K. I know it's long past time that I should turn off the t.v., radio, and internet news, but... I just heard McCain giving his stump speech in Franklin, Pennsylvania today, and he said it again: "I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money," scoffing at the research that collected grizzly bear DNA. The claim that this study was frivolous was debunked many months ago. See, for example, this March 2008 article in Scientific American and this February 2008 article in the Seattle Times.

Remember when "thoughtful" Republicans held out this hope:
Among the possibilities that John McCain offered to those Republicans and Democrats who were looking for someone who could change the direction of that party, one that was not widely discussed but which was nevertheless significant, was the opportunity to remove the unfortunate disconnect between the current administration and the scientific community.
Lawrence Krauss, "McCain Risks Becoming the Anti-Science Candidate" (Sept. 2, 1998).

After the Palin fruit fly debacle, one might have thought that McCain would back off on the grizzlies, but no.... it's trash science, education, and research all the way.

UPDATE: See "The New Know-Nothings"

How to tell a Muslim from an Episcopalian

New Rules from Bill Maher.

You have to wait for it, but it includes this gem:
We learned that Barack Obama sat in a pew every week at Trinity United Church of Christ for twenty years ...which proves he's a Muslim.

and that John McCain did not go to church at all, which proves he is a Christian.