Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Happens When You Write the President

Obama opened the purple folder on Jan. 8 and pulled out a three-page letter written on lined notebook paper. He prefers handwritten letters to e-mails, believing them to be more thoughtful, with better stories. The writing consisted of bubbly block letters, sometimes traced twice for emphasis. Obama started to read.
"Dear Mr. President," the letter began.

Jennifer Cline, 27, did not typically write letters, but she was not usually this bored. "Jeopardy" had ended, and so had "Wheel of Fortune." She sat on the couch in her single-story duplex in Monroe, MI flipping through the channels until Obama's face appeared on the screen. It was a holiday special of some kind, featuring the first family, and Cline set down the remote. She had voted for Obama, and she liked him even more now on TV, glimpsing his life inside the White House. He had two young daughters; she had two young sons. He had a dog; she had a dog. It occurred to Cline that Obama seemed normal somehow, like the kind of person who might want to read a letter.

"I lost my job, my health benefits and my self worth in a matter of 5 days...In Michigan, Mr. President, jobs are very difficult to land....I then was diagnosed with both melonoma [sic] and basal cell skin cancer."

Cline had written three pages in less than 10 minutes, more a stream-of-consciousness journal entry than a formal note. She never considered that anyone might read it.

She walked to the porch, dropped the letter in an aluminum mailbox and pulled up the red flag. She had never been to Washington. One day, she wanted to take her boys. She wondered what the White House looked like up close. She wondered whether it had a mailbox.

More of this touching story - the kind you don't normally read about powerful politicans, particularly not about a sitting POTUS.

Sometimes Obama writes a short note back like this:

 And on more than occasion, the president has cut personal checks to struggling Americans who've written to the White House.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

869 Cities, 71 Countries - United for Global Change - October 15

On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares.

From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest.

The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end.

United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us.

On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen.

It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen.

Where to go

Among the 869 cities:
Seattle, which could be said to be the father of all this given the '99 WTO Protest

and little villages in Germany like Witzenhausen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Different Types of Marriages

Thought provoking:

If it were acceptable for people to wed for a variety of reasons, perhaps we would see contracts of 20 years for a parenting marriage,* five-year renewable contracts for a financial security marriage, and two-year renewable agreements for companionship marriages.

In all of the academic and media discussions about marriage and divorce, there has been no distinction between any of these groups or classes. The unspoken assumption is that everyone who marries at 25 is doing so in order to have kids, raise a family and live happily ever after. I suppose people don't think further ahead than that because divorce is not supposed to happen.

But divorce is happening and it is here to stay. In fact, I think one of the main reasons it is so common is that people have not asked themselves why, other than for love, they want to marry. And marriage, if it is to thrive, sorely needs an overhaul.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Here's to the Crazy Ones

This video was first run in 1997 to recapture something lost (in this case, Apple's purpose).

In light of Steve Jobs' passing, others modified the ending.

There are many versions, but these two (with different narrators) are the best.

Richard Dreyfuss's powerfully moving voice:

or with Steve Jobs' more personal touch:

The people in these videos appear in the following order:
Albert Einstein
Bob Dylan
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Richard Branson
John Lennon
R. Buckminster Fuller
Thomas Edison
Muhammad Ali
Ted Turner
Maria Callas
Mahatma Gandhi
Amelia Earhart
Alfred Hitchcock
Martha Graham
Jim Henson
(with Kermit)
Frank Lloyd Wright
Pablo Picasso
Shaan Sahota
(the little girl who only appears in the first video)
Steve Jobs

For more on the background of this videoclick here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bad Lip Reading

What do Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann and Michael Bublé have in common? They've been parodied by "Bad Lip Reading." Click here and enjoy a laugh.

The Soullessness of (most) of the Political Media

NYU's Professor of Journalism, Jay Rosen wrote:

In politics, it’s better to be savvy (shrewd, practical, well-informed, perceptive, ironic, “with it,” and unsentimental) than it is to be honest or correct on the facts. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere or humane.

Very disturbing. If you are a fan or detractor of Karl Rove, look beyond the article's depiction of him to the larger issue of the belief system of the mainstream political press:


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs - Different Perspective

Extremely rarely am I moved by the death of famous people. Steven Jobs was one of those, but not for the usual reasons.

I read this this article last month:

'I live in hope he will reach out to me before it's too late': Steve Jobs' biological father speaks of yearning to meet his son

There is also something I learned today:

Famously hostile to leaks, Apple's paranoid culture's new poster boy: a Chinese engineer who has killed himself after losing an iPhone prototype.

Also the photos I typically see today about him, remind me of something I can't quite surface yet. I think it has to do with my uncles.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Romney Rule - Mitt has 14% tax rate

Time magazine’s Michael Scherer weighed in with a great post reporting that one of the wealthy individuals who would be impacted by Obama’s push for the “Buffett Rule” is none other than Mitt Romney.

“He comes off, as Mike Huckabee famously said, like the guy who laid you off.” said Paul Begala.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a progressive-leaning group, estimated Romney’s 2010 tax rate at 14%. “Millionaire Mitt thinks he should pay a lower tax rate than maids and Master Sergeants,” Begala said.


Schrödinger's Candidate

This one is for geeks who also like politics...
If you are curious, and want to know what the famous Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment is, or weather Schrödingers cat is not dead, click here