Saturday Open Thread

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984), better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and musician with a four-octave vocal range.[2] Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla Records subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties.

Because of solo hits such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)“, “Ain’t That Peculiar“, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, he was crowned “The Prince of Motown”[3] and “The Prince of Soul”.[4]

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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37 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Yemen president arrives in Saudi Arabia

    SANAA, Yemen — Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in the Saudi capital of Riyadh for treatment for wounds, the Saudi royal court said on Sunday.

    “The Yemeni president has arrived along with officials and citizens who had received different injuries for treatment in Saudi Arabia,” the royal court said.

    The announcement followed a flurry of conflicting reports about the Yemeni president’s whereabouts after Saudi King Abdullah announced that he had mediated a cease-fire to end deadly street battles.

    Saleh was was wounded during an attack on the presidential palace Friday.

    Saleh’s abrupt departure threatened to deepen the crisis in his impoverished nation shaken by months of protests against his 33-year rule.

    Saleh’s Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took over as acting president and supreme commander of the armed forces, Al Jazeera reported Saturday, citing unspecified sources. However, Saleh’s son, Ahmed, being groomed as a successor, was believed to have stayed behind in an apparent bid to hold on to power.

  2. The Provocateur Behind WeinerGate Terrified He Will Be Exposed

    You know that guy who sent Andrew the should-be-in-chains Breitbart alleged screengrabs of Representative Anthony Weiner’s twitter account with the bulging apparatus? Well, this won’t surprise you much if you’ve been paying even the remotest of attention, but this guy is paranoid and refuses to speak to Breitbart on the phone. He’s afraid of being exposed and having secret recordings add to the legal trouble his already-recorded conversations are giving him. I kid you not.

    He’s scared of a recorded conversation being used against him by – get this – his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend who are working together to bring him down and causing him “trouble” at work. And if the ex-es don’t get him, he’s sure the Clintons will. His twitter profile tells us that he is fighting “Obamacare, socialism, sharia.” Ah, yes, the three evils of the right wing imagination. This guy isn’t well.

    This guy’s twitter handle is “Patriotusa76”. Yeah, I know. Orwell, etc. RealityTraitor76 is more fitting. But at any rate, this guy who calls himself “Dan Wolfe” was tweeting in advance of the photos that Weiner might have a photo scandal take him down. And then when he got Breitbart to take the bait (as if that were ever hard, oh dear, it’s difficult to avoid the puns), he ran away and hid in fear.

    Bretibart wanted to talk to “Patriot” in order to figure out how they could exploit WeinerGate, but “Patriot” was busy with “personal problems” which apparently involve an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend who may or may not ruin his work situation. “Patriot” also dodged Breitbart when Andrew wanted to talk to him after allegations of hacking Weiner’s twitter account dominated the WeinerGate narrative. No such luck.

    Wanna know what he’s so worried about? Well, it seems his exes secretly recorded him and these tapes are going to get him in a lot of trouble. Gee, what’s that about, “Patriot”? Maybe his family values are as real as Weiner gate.

    The Smoking Gun reports:

    He also noted that, “I am having major personal problems right now getting worse by the minute.” In a subsequent May 30 e-mail, Wolfe expounded on these troubles, explaining why he wanted to avoid speaking with his Twitter cronies. “I have ALOT of personal problems I didn’t want to go into–but as I become the focus of this I am more and more afraid this will all come out.”

    Wolfe then went on to state that his ex-wife was suing him for custody of their two children and “for lots of other stuff right now. Her attorneys are after everything I own.” Additionally, he reported that, “I have an ex girlfriend who has mental problems causing issues for me at work. My business is suffering as a result.”

    Explaining his hesitation to speak on the telephone, Wolfe wrote that his ex-wife (working in conjunction with a former girlfriend of his) had twice secretly recorded him and that the resulting tapes had “gotten me in a lot of legal trouble.” As a result, he contended that if his ex-wife’s attorney “got a hold of a call recorded with me on it they’d have a field day with that. I want to try to avoid.”

    So, he’s in legal trouble over secretly recorded phone conversations involving an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend and these legal troubles are impacting his work. Patriotusa76 is clearly incapable of seeing the irony of his own cowardice. This is a classic case of a very sick, desperate right-winger who is already in legal trouble for who knows what trying to bring down a political figure using less than ethical means; aka, your basic modern day right winger. Reagan would be proud.

    As tired as I am of the Breitbarts and O’Keefes of the Republican Clown Show, I have to say I’m fascinated by “patriot’s” obsession with the Clintons. See what happens when you buy into the lies of the paranoid right wing culture? Proof that right wing media isn’t healthy:

    Other Wolfe e-mails reveal that, despite a torrent of unrelenting Twitter vitriol directed at the New York congressman, he claimed to be “a little worried when it comes to Weiner.” In a May 25 e-mail, Wolfe cited the Democratic pol’s “Clinton connections–they have people everywhere.” Weiner’s wife is Huma Abedin, who has been a close aide to Hillary Clinton for more than a decade. Weiner and Abedin (pictured at right) were married last July in a ceremony presided over by former President Bill Clinton.

  3. Ametia says:

    Wildwood amusement park where 11-year-old girl died reopens; Ferris wheel still closed

    Updated: Saturday, June 04, 2011, 2:15 PM
    WILDWOOD — A Jersey shore boardwalk amusement park that closed after an 11-year-old girl tumbled from a moving Ferris wheel to her death reopened today while investigators tried to figure out what caused her fall.

    A spokeswoman for Morey’s Mariner’s Landing Pier in Wildwood said the park reopened at noon. It was closed Friday night, hours after the death of 11-year-old Abiah Jones.

    Jones was with her classmates from Pleasant Tech Academy when she plunged about 100 feet, from near the top of the ride, and landed in the passenger loading area, police and amusement park officials said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital about 45 minutes later

  4. Ametia says:

    hattip BWD. Thank you!

    June 4, 2011
    Obama Retools 2008 Machine for Tough RunBy JEFF ZELENY and JIM RUTENBERG

    CHICAGO — Saddled with a faltering economic recovery, President Obama is rebuilding the campaign machinery that vaulted him into office, hoping it can overcome the challenges of persistently high unemployment and a fractured coalition of supporters.

    Under the cover of an intensifying Republican nominating contest, the Obama campaign’s top fund-raisers gathered for their first meeting here last week. To galvanize them, they were shown a presentation of potential rivals, including Sarah Palin, and given access to senior advisers to the president, including the White House chief of staff, William M. Daley.

    They pledged to reach a fund-raising goal of $60 million before June 30 as a first installment to create a state-by-state organization. Their goals include reactivating the network of supporters, registering young and Latino voters and fighting restrictive new election laws in battleground states now led by Republicans.

    While Mr. Obama will not fully engage in campaign activity until next year, aides said, he is embarking on weekly economic-focused trips throughout the summer. Doing so will allow him to use his bully pulpit to show that he is focused on addressing joblessness, the issue that more than any other could shape his electoral prospects and that Republicans are using to assert that his policies have failed.

    He will also continue to be the main draw in a fund-raising campaign that has a goal of taking in at least $750 million by Election Day, which would match his 2008 figure even though he does not face the long primary battle that he did four years ago.

    “I’m confident that the things that we can control, we will do a good job on,” said David Axelrod, the president’s senior political strategist, who returned to Chicago to help with the re-election effort.

    The campaign is shaping up as a test of whether the much-vaunted organizing abilities of Mr. Obama and his team can offset the headwinds he faces. In battleground states, volunteers are fanning out by the thousands to reach out to neighbors who helped Mr. Obama in his first presidential campaign and persuade them to re-up.

    Campaign officials said they know that in some cases, 2008 supporters will have to be coached to overcome what they see as disappointment that Mr. Obama has not achieved as much as they hoped. Several thousand times a week, still-committed volunteers knock on the doors of potential new recruits and neighbors involved four years ago to see if they will join in. The idea is to get face-to-face, neighbor-to-neighbor commitments that will have more staying power than those collected by strangers over the phone.

    And in the re-election nerve center here, where a handmade calendar counts down the more than 520 days that remain before the election, campaign officials are sorting through census and polling data as they work to chart a variety of routes to the 270 electoral votes Mr. Obama will need to clinch a second term.

    The early focus is on the same collection of states that Mr. Obama carried in 2008, with the exception of Indiana, which advisers believe is out of reach. But among these, strategists are digging deeper into Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia — where new census figures show surging populations of Hispanics and blacks, two groups that supported Mr. Obama in 2008 by wide margins. The campaign sees possibilities for gains, for example, around Charlotte, N.C., which not coincidentally is where Mr. Obama chose to hold his party’s nominating convention next year, a decision that aides said signaled how serious they are about competing in North Carolina.

    So far, the regrouping of the campaign is a methodical, nuts-and-bolts operation. It is oriented toward rekindling a grass-roots movement that had been the envy of Republicans in 2008 but has shown severe signs of strain over two years of partisan rancor in Washington and economic struggle across the country.

    But for all of the planning, the biggest challenges of the election remain largely out of the organizers’ control, as the bleak jobs report on Friday showed.

    So uncertain are the economic indicators that Mr. Obama’s aides say they have not fully settled on an overarching campaign theme for next year.

    For now, the president faces a delicate task in arguing that things have improved under his watch when they remain so grim for so many — and that the programs he has put in place are working but need time to show their full benefits. With their hopes dashed at this point of substantial improvement in unemployment anytime soon, aides indicated that the theme was likely to be less “morning in America” and more “don’t change horses in midstream.”

    Mr. Axelrod said: “We’re not going to be putting up a ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign. Part of the message is going to be we have to see these things through.”

    In an interview at his Chicago consulting offices, Mr. Axelrod repeatedly said “stability” for the middle class would be central.

    Advisers said the president was just beginning to plug into the campaign, and even then, sporadically. While the campaign manager here, Jim Messina, briefs him on the organizational effort, aides said Mr. Obama was not focused or very interested in the nitty-gritty details, for now.

    “He’s doing his day job,” Mr. Messina said in an interview at his new office overlooking Millennium Park. “When he and I are talking about these things he wants to know, ‘What are we hearing on the ground?’ ”

    But at the White House and in Chicago, aides are also keeping a close eye on the Republican field.

    The president’s advisers are most closely watching the candidacies of Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, but they are mindful that the rise of the Tea Party movement makes the course of the race hard to predict and makes it difficult to determine the strength of potential populist candidates like Ms. Palin.

    “We’re doing our due diligence in terms of really understanding where this race is at and where people are at,” Mr. Axelrod said. “That’s the most important work we can do right now.”

    In several interviews, aides to Mr. Obama said they were impressed with the early campaign tactics of Mr. Romney and Mr. Pawlenty. They said Mr. Romney had been wise to remain out of the fray for as long as possible — giving rivals less time to attack him — and Mr. Pawlenty wise to barnstorm important states, early, to become better known. Mr. Romney’s previous experience as a candidate, they suggested, could help him deal with the problems he faces.

    They said they also viewed former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah, until a few weeks ago Mr. Obama’s ambassador to China, as a potentially formidable general election candidate if he did not have to modulate his policy stances to navigate the Republican primary.

    They said they would be ready to pounce on any candidate who switches positions in the hunt for the nomination as lacking core convictions, indicating that they were particularly keen on doing so against Mr. Romney, who is still facing such accusations from his 2008 campaign.

  5. Jesus, son of the living God, save us from this madness!

    Three arrested, accused of illegally feeding homeless
    Orlando police say they violated a city ordinance restricting the feedings.,0,7226362.story

    Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park.

    Jessica Cross, 24, Benjamin Markeson, 49, and Jonathan “Keith” McHenry, 54, were arrested at 6:10 p.m. on a charge of violating the ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks. McHenry is a co-founder of the international Food Not Bombs movement, which began in the early 1980s.

    The group lost a court battle in April, clearing the way for the city to enforce the ordinance. It requires groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall.

    Arrest papers state that Cross, Markeson and McHenry helped feed 40 people Wednesday night. The ordinance applies to feedings of more than 25 people.

    “They intentionally violated the statute,” said Lt. Barbara Jones, an Orlando police spokeswoman.

    Let me get this straight, folks….It’s alright to feed a starving stray animal but but not homeless people….who have NOTHING. So it’s end medicare, end healthcare, end feeding the hungry, end food stamps, end helping folks suffering from monumental disasters? WTF is wrong with picture?

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Let me get this straight, folks….It’s alright to feed a starving stray animal but but not homeless people….who have NOTHING. So it’s end medicare, end healthcare, end feeding the hungry, end food stamps, end helping folks suffering from monumental disasters? WTF is wrong with picture?”

      This is the result of the November 2010 elections in the GOP’s attempts to get that black man out of the White House and regain power. It’s their attempt to destroy America for corporate control.

      • Take note folks!

        It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, White, Red or Brown…if you’re poor, down on your luck, lost your home, lost your job, struggling with an illness, suffering from a disaster……..the GOP HATE YOU!

        Use your OWN brain and VOTE your interest!

  6. Lawrence Eagleburger Dead: Former Secretary Of State Dies

    WASHINGTON — Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the only career foreign service officer to rise to the position of secretary of state, died Saturday. He was 80.

    Eagleburger died in Charlottesville, Va., after a short illness, according to a family friend, Christy Reap. No further details were immediately available.

    Tributes poured in immediately, from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to two of his one-time bosses, former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. “As good as they come” was Baker’s description.

    A straightforward diplomat whose exuberant style masked a hard-driving commitment to solving tangled foreign policy problems, Eagleburger held the top post at the State Department for five months when Baker resigned in the summer of 1992 to help Bush in an unsuccessful bid for re-election.

  7. rikyrah says:

    if someone would consider putting this front page.

    for your consideration:

    District by District Impact of Republican Medicare Plan and Medicaid Cuts

    it’s a Congressional District map of how what the GOP is planning would affect each Congressional District.

    I think it’s a good start for the Dems.

    we gotta spread the word.

  8. rikyrah says:

    found this at another blog about Mittens and his great ‘ experience’ in business, and how much he cares for the American worker:

    Vote for the Romster. If you thought Bush knew how to bankrupt a company and destroy every business he touches you’ll love Romney.

    In 1992, the firm acquired American Pad & Paper. By
    1999, the year Romney left Bain, two American plants were closed, 385
    jobs had been cut and the company was $392 million in debt. The next year, Ampad was forced into bankruptcy.

    – Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs bought Dade International for about $450 million in 1994. The
    firm quickly fired or relocated at least 900 workers. Over the next
    several years, it sunk increasingly into debt and laid off 1,000
    workers. In 2002 — after Romney had left Bain — it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

    – A 1997 buyout of LIVE Entertainment for $150 million resulted in 40 layoffs, roughly one in four of the company’s 166 workers. The job cuts affected all aspects of the company, from production and acquisition to legal and public relations.

    – In 1997, Bain bought a stake in DDI Corp., a maker of electronic
    circuit boards. Three years later, Bain took the company public and
    collected a $36 million payout. But by August 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, laying off more than 2,100 workers.

    Vote Romster. If you thought Bush was the worst job creating president in history. Romney was doing the same thing for the state of MA.

    “A study by the independent think tank MassINC ranked the state 49th in job creation
    from 2001-2007, ahead of only Michigan. And according to the U.S.
    Department of Labor, Massachusetts ranked 47th, ahead of only Michigan,
    Ohio, and Louisiana. Michigan and Ohio, both located in the Rust Belt,
    faced heavy job losses due to the flight of manufacturing jobs from the
    Midwest. Louisiana, meanwhile, lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the
    aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    During Romney’s period as governor, Massachusetts’ job growth was just 0.9 percent,
    well behind other high-wage, high-skill economies in New York (2.7),
    California (4.7), and North Carolina (7.6). The national average,
    meanwhile, was better than 5 percent.

    Andrew Sum, an economist at Northeastern University, researched Romney’s job record and found that Massachusetts lagged on virtually every economic indicator during his time in office, as he told Reuters in 2008:

    “As a strict labor market economist looking at the record, Massachusetts did very poorly during the Romney years“, he said. “On every measure you’ve got, the state was a substantial under-performer.””

  9. Ametia says:

    JUNE 4, 2011, 6:47 A.M. ET.
    Gates Urges Focus on Outcome Despite Afghan War Cost .

    KABUL, Afghanistan—U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the nation should focus on winning the war in Afghanistan instead of on the conflict’s costs, arguing that “the most costly thing of all would be to fail.”

    Mr. Gates, due to leave office at the end of the month, arrived in Afghanistan Saturday afternoon for his 12th and final trip as Secretary of Defense. In a news conference before he arrived, he rejected the premise that the cost of war should be a factor in considering how many troops should be withdrawn.

    “I think that once you have committed, that success of the mission should override everything else because the most costly thing of all would be to fail,” Mr. Gates said.

    Some Obama administration officials are worried about the high cost of keeping large numbers of troops in Afghanistan for the next several years. Many military officers believe that the U.S. needs to keep a sizeable combat force in the country to continue to pressure the Taliban.

    While Mr. Gates said the success of the mission must be the military’s objective, the President could make “adjustments in the mission or in the strategy.” President Barack Obama has long promised that he would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July, and a White House decision on the speed and pace of that withdrawal is expected shortly.

    Mr. Gates said it would be helpful to go into discussions of the size of the drawdown “with the latest information from the field and some sense of ground truth.”

    Although he offered no hard clues as to the advice he will offer to the president, he did say the administration had to weigh multiple factors. Military officials worry that a drawdown plan could prompt allies within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to pull the bulk of their forces, concerns Mr. Gates echoed in his comments. “We do not want to precipitate a rush for the exit by our partners,” he said.

    But he also acknowledged that the public and congress are eager to see the withdrawal begin. “You can’t be oblivious to growing war weariness at home,” Mr. Gates said.

    At a Asian security summit in Singapore Saturday morning, Mr. Gates emphasized that the U.S. and Afghanistan must continue to apply pressure to the Taliban throughout this summer. If the U.S. could continue military attacks on the insurgency, then the Taliban might be forced to the negotiating table by the winter, Mr. Gates said.

    “The prospects for a political settlement do not become real until the Taliban and other adversaries…begin to conclude they cannot win militarily,” Mr. Gates said. “Perhaps this winter, the possibility of some talks or political reconciliation might be substantive enough to offer some hope of progress.”

    Separately, NATO said Saturday that a roadside bomb killed four NATO service members Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press. It was the deadliest day for NATO service members since May 26, when a total of nine U.S. troops were killed in three incidents.

    Earlier, the coalition said two service members were killed Friday in southern Afghanistan, where fighting has picked up since the Taliban launched a spring offensive against Afghan and international troops last month. It said both service members were killed in separate insurgent attacks in the south.

    The coalition didn’t disclose further details of the deaths, or the troops’ nationalities, from any of the attacks.

  10. Ametia says:

    Weekly Wrap Up
    A quick look at the week of May 30th on
    Joplin: President Obama visits Joplin, MO to meet with those in the community who lost so much in the tornados last week and participate in a Memorial Service at Missouri Southern University.

    Small School, Big Dreams: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis delivers the Commencement address at Bridgeport High School in Washington, one of the top three finalists in the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.

    West Wing Week: “One Step at a Time” takes you to Joplin, Poland, Arlington and inside the Situation Room with President Obama.

    LGBT Pride Month: Kicking off Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, the Office of Public Engagement has launches a new webpage. And here’s the Presidential Proclamation.

    What’s on Your Plate?: First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin unveil the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new food icon, MyPlate.
    Cutting Red Tape: The U.S. Department of Energy encourages cities to cut the red tape that can push up the price tags on solar energy projects.

    Youth Round Tables: The Office of Public Engagement wraps up the “100 Youth Round Tables” Initiative, ensuring that young people’s voice is heard in government.

    Memorial Day: The President honors our nations fallen, speaking at a Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery: “Honor the Sacrifice of Those We’ve Lost”.

    Get Prepared: The Federal Emergency Management Agency announces June 1st as the start of hurricane season, and gives tips on how to keep you and your family safe

  11. Ametia says:

  12. Ilyas Kashmiri Dead: Al Qaeda Commander Killed In Pakistan In U.S. Drone Strike, Official Says

    DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — A top al-Qaida commander and possible replacement for Osama bin Laden was killed in an American drone-fired missile strike close to the Afghan border, a fax from the militant group he heads and a Pakistani intelligence official said Saturday.

    Ilyas Kashmiri’s apparent death is another blow to al-Qaida just over a month after bin Laden was killed by American commandos in a northwest Pakistani army town. Described by U.S. officials as al-Qaida’s military operations chief in Pakistan, the 47-year-old Pakistani was one of five most-wanted militant leaders in the country, accused of a string of bloody attacks in South Asia, including the 2008 Mumbai massacre, as well as aiding plots in the West.

    His death was not confirmed publicly by the United States or Pakistani officials. Verifying who has been killed in the drone strikes is difficult. Initial reports have turned out to be wrong in the past, including one in September 2009 that said Kashmiri had been killed. Sometimes they are never formally denied or confirmed by authorities here or in the United States.

    • From a HP commenter:

      Harken back to the days when Cheney – that warm and fuzzy former Veep – was warning that Obama’s election would signal weakness on terrorism to Al Qaeda. Obama has caused more damage to AQ in his 2+ years than Dr. Strange love and W did in 8. He just doesn’t strut around in military garb taking photo ops to sell to the public. He gets the job done.

  13. A White Woman From Kansas

    LONDON — For a long time Barack Obama’s mother was little more than the “white woman from Wichita” mentioned in an early Los Angeles Times profile of the future president. She was the pale Kansan silhouette against whom Obama drew the vivid Kenyan figure of his absent Dad in his Bildungsroman of discovered black identity, “Dreams from My Father.”

    Now, thanks to Janny Scott’s remarkable “A Singular Woman,” absence has become presence. Stanley Ann Dunham, the parent who raised Obama, emerges from romanticized vagueness into contours as original as her name. Far from “floating through foreign things,” as one colleague in Indonesia observes, “She was as type A as anybody on the team.”

    That may seem a far-fetched description of a woman who was not good with money, had no fixed abode and did not see life through ambition’s narrow prism. It was the journey not the destination that mattered to Dunham. She was, in her daughter Maya Soetoro-Ng’s words, “fascinated with life’s gorgeous minutiae.” To her son the president, “idealism and naïveté” were “embedded” in her.

    Yet she was also a pioneering advocate of microcredit in the rural communities of the developing world, an unrivaled authority on Javanese blacksmithing, and a firm voice for female empowerment in an Indonesia “of ‘smiling’ or gentle oppression” toward women, as she wrote in one memo for the Ford Foundation

    Unbound by convention, Dunham the anthropologist was nonetheless the anti-hippie with her cache of can-do Kansan wisdom: “You’re not okay, I’m not okay, and I know how to fix it.”

    The fixing was not quick. Dunham knew that. “Well, life is what it is,” she would say: As in getting pregnant at 17 by the first African student to enroll at the University of Hawaii, the brilliant Barack Hussein Obama Sr., who loved her and left her — for Harvard. Adulthood was thrust on her early. One colleague recalls her saying: “Don’t conclude before you understand. After you understand, don’t judge.”

    Such forbearance is one of her many obvious influences on her son. Taken to Indonesia as a young child on Dunham’s second marriage, then dispatched aged nine back to Hawaii to become an American in his grandparents’ care, Obama emerges here as a product of his mother’s presence and absence.

    To an unusual degree, because of the absence and because he was half-black, he had to define his own identity — hence the almost feline coolness, the hermetic quality in the president.

    To an equally unusual degree, because Dunham loved him fiercely, he had the emotional grounding to survive such self-definition. “If you are going to grow into a human being,” she told him early, “you are going to need some values.”

    Hers were all about bridging, connecting. Doing field research in Javanese villages, she would complain that an interview had been “cut after 3 or 4 hours with poor results” — no zapper, she.

    Improving the lot of people was not about rapid industrialization, but about empowering. It was essential to dig. As she noted, “A Javanese woman may have agricultural skills in transplanting, weeding and harvesting rice, but she may also know how to make batik cloth, operate a roadside stall … deliver babies for her neighbor.” Her beliefs were summed up by one colleague: “Development, like democracy, is a learning process. People have to learn to have freedom, on one side, and also responsibility, the rule of law, social discipline.”

    Yes, fixing is not quick — and nor is it necessary to look much further to understand Obama’s bridging instinct or his response to the Arab Spring.

    I found myself liking Dunham — the nonjudgmental irreverence; the determination to live what she loved; the humor (after a stomach-turning surfeit of peanuts, she notes, “Yes, peanuts do have faces — smirky, nasty little faces, in fact”); the frankness with friends — “I don’t like you in your arrogant bitch mode.” Her 52 years were rich.

    She missed her son. The decision to send him to get educated in America was brave — and has changed the world in that Obama would not otherwise have become a black American. This is a central conundrum of a book that makes Obama’s white parent palpable for the first time.

    In an affecting passage one colleague, Don Johnston, describes how Dunham “felt a little bit wistful or sad that Barack had essentially moved to Chicago and chosen to take on a really strongly identified black identity” that had “not really been part of who he was when he was growing up.” She felt that “he was distancing himself from her” in a “professional choice.”

    Was it political calculation, love of Michelle Robinson, dreams of his father, or irritation with a dreamer-mother that made Obama black? After all, he was raised white. He chose black. Or perhaps he had no choice. Being biracial in the America Obama grew up in was not much of an option.

    I said “Bildungsroman” — in some essential sense “Dreams from My Father” was fictionalized. Obama’s ballast, the fact of his life, was his mother. This book reveals in a singular woman just why he had the wit and the heart to forge himself, as in those Indonesian blacksmithing villages where Dunham long listened to the “light counterpoint” of the master smith tapping instructions on the anvil.

    • Was it political calculation, love of Michelle Robinson, dreams of his father, or irritation with a dreamer-mother that made Obama black? After all, he was raised white. He chose black.

      Well well well, folks can’t get over the blackness thing. It has really fk’d up some folks mind. Or why did he choose Michelle Robinson? A black woman?

      • rikyrah says:

        Unless you look like the late head of the NAACP Walter White, you don’t ‘ choose Black’. America chooses Black FOR YOU…

        they still refuse to accept that.

        Now, you can fight it and spend YEARS dazed and confused and getting your fee -fees hurt trying to live a delusion something other than that (see Cablinasian Tiger Woods).

        Barack Obama is a smart man, and has always been a realist. He doesn’t live in fantasy-land like obviously the writer of this piece who thinks that anyone Black in America ‘ chooses Black’. How can you ‘ CHOOSE’ a FACT OF LIFE?

      • Ametia says:

        LOL Spot on rikyrah.

        Have y’all read the entire book? This woman does try to put Anne Dunhams’ life into context with PBO and his dad. It’s a white woman writing about another white woman afterall.

        Barack Obama has truly defined who he is at the CORE. He will not accept labels, thereby letting others define him. We’re all constatnly evolving and growing in awareness.

      • opulent says:

        Yeah, I found that passage a trip too.

        Folks like Janny Scott have the most awful time accepting that, being identified as black, was not a choice for Obama. After they frame it as a choice they they are agog that he would have ‘chosen’ not to be white.

        How can the Janny Scott’s of the world be in that deep of a denial?

        Like Paula Patton has said, I didn’t reject white folks, white people did not accept me as white, therefore I am black.

        White folks need to get over themselves with this utopian view that a person who looks black in America can somehow choose whatever they want for an identify.

        They is no choice. The world treats you black so unless you want to be a groveling sniveling hankyhead sucking up to whitefolks for acceptance all the time…they you proudly acknowledge you are black and let me think what ever they choose.

        Janny Scott is right as well about his mother viewing it as some kind of rejection vs. recognizing that it was not a choice for her son.

        Can you imagine the turmoil and identity crisis she had to create during those teen years as she assured her son repeatedly, he did not have to choose that he was both and the world would accept that, when the child knew that each and every single day his reality and confrontation with racism was anything other than accepting if he choose to claim he was both.

        Obama even mentions this in his book, where he says he stopped telling people his mother was white, because he recognized that meant he was somehow looking for acceptance from them.

        Janny Scott need to quit about this race thing!!

        Obama is BLACK, blackety, black, BLAAAAAaaaCK!!!

      • rikyrah says:

        thank you Opulent

    • Inspiration for today…

      So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

      Luke 11:9-10

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, SG2 & Everyone! :-)

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