Monthly Archives: January 2011

Easily the best science-spoof I’ve ever seen

Too good. There needs to be some sort of special award for this.

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Even more thoughts on the speech

Watching the TV and reading some of the blogs it is clear that some in the media think that the tone of the speech was too celebratory and that the applause from the audience was excessive. It shocks me that so many in the media are incapable of understanding that while we needed a memorial for what happened, we did not need a eulogy from the President (talk about needing to “sharpen our instincts for empathy”). We needed a reason for hope, a reason to find joy. The somewhat raucous nature of the applause in the arena last night reflected that. With each long applause we replaced our overwhelming grief with hope.

President Obama combined our grief and need for hope perfectly in his tribute to 9 year old Christina Taylor Green:

Here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she, too, might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council. She saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it.

President Obama’s visit to Tucson: Together We Thrive

Let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

President Obama
Tucson, Arizona
January 12, 2011

There is a special kind of guilt that overcomes you when you have the opportunity to hear the man who has inspired such a sense of hope in you for what is possible in this country when it is surrounded by such tragic circumstances. The entire experience was like a surreal dream. I have imagined what it must be like to be present for an Obama speech but never thought I would have the chance to be at one, and much less to be at one when the community in which I live is in desperate need of healing. The entire audience was fixated on his presence and message in a way that I have not experienced previously. Suddenly this seems like a much better place to live and I think about 10,000 people in that arena (and ~15,000 in the overflow venue) feel the same way.
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Tragedy in Tucson (about 5 miles from my house)

My first thought upon hearing the news was terror. One of my dearest friend’s wife (also a dear friend) is active in the local Democratic party and would be very likely to be at the event this morning. He would likely be there too. To make matters worse, the Safeway is across the street from their house. I called him, he’s home sick and she’s at a Democratic party meeting but not at the event. Great relief.

Back to the TV. They report Giffords is dead. I call my wife, who is in Mexico visiting her parents. We talk for 30 seconds. I break down not even realizing that the line has gone dead. I’m sitting there crying into the phone thinking I’m talking to my wife and the phone rings. I realize the line cut out and get a little laugh. I’ve got it back together and we’re talking. She works in the hospital and has experience with the trauma team. Her thoughts are on what’s happening in the hospital so we’re talking about that. TV reports that Gabby is alive… Continue reading