Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by Red Cloak
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 by Red Cloak
President Barack Obama’s speech in Chicago after his re-election Tuesday night, as transcribed by Roll Call:
Thank you so much.
Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.
It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.
Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.
I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that. Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.
I just spoke with Gov. Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.
I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.
And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s first lady. Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you’re growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog’s probably enough.
To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics. The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you put in.
I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.
You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.
That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.
That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.
But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this — this world has ever known. But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.
We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president — that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go — forward. That’s where we need to go.
Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path.
By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.
Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.
Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.
But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.
I am hopeful tonight because I’ve seen the spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I’ve seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.
I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.
I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president.
And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.
I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.
Transcript via Wall Street Journal permalink: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/11/07/transcript-obamas-victory-speech/
by Red Cloak
Mr. Romney: Thank you.
I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory.
His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.
This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.
I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made. And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.
I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady. She’s _ she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.
I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.
I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led. They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.
And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country _ the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates _ I don’t believe that there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years. Thank you so very much.
Thanks for all the hours of work, for the calls, for the speeches and appearances, for the resources and for the prayers. You gave deeply from yourselves and performed magnificently. And you inspired us and you humbled us. You’ve been the very best we could have imagined.
The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.
We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.
I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.
Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.
I so wish _ I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.
Thank you, and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, guys.
Saturday, September 17, 2011 by Red Cloak
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson. By: Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK, N.Y. (REUTERS).- Curators are making hard choices at the museum memorializing the September 11, 2001 attacks at the site of the World Trade Center's toppled twin towers, aiming to convey the horror of the event without trespassing into ghoulishness. "We're not here to traumatize our visitors," said Alice Greenwald, director of New York's 9/11 Memorial Museum that is due to open in its underground home at the Ground Zero site next year on the 11th anniversary of the attacks. "Monumental artefacts are one thing, but we also have a human story to tell," Greenwald said. Some of the most potentially disturbing exhibits are being set aside from the main exhibition spaces in special alcoves to allow visitors a chance to decide whether or not to view it. It is here that museum curators have placed material such as images of people plummeting from the burning towers after the buildings were struck by airliners hijacked b ... More
Saturday, August 13, 2011 by Red Cloak
The Short Story was set up in 2011. It is designed to showcase the best short stories from around the world.
The idea is simple. Submit your story to us and you will automatically enter The Short Story competition.
Three cash prizes will be awarded.
First prize: £300
Second prize: £150
Third prize: £50
The winners will be published on our website.
Deadline for submissions is 15th September 2011.
Winners will be announced in December 2011.
Click on submission guidelines for more details.
Thursday, August 11, 2011 by Red Cloak
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Download this image to your phone, take it to Starbucks and scan it at the cash register: It'll get you a free coffee. It's part of a radical experiment in sharing that's teaching us something about mobile money in the process.
"It's been extremely uplifting," Jonathan Stark tells GOOD. About one month ago, Stark posted the barcode image for his personal Starbucks card online, for anyone to use. Surprisingly, it still has money on it.
Stark was researching broadcast mobile currency—how to transfer money or pay for goods with your phone. He wondered if he could share his Starbucks account just by sharing the image. "I thought, 'that's crazy that I can just show this online and everyone can use it.'"
On July 7th, he loaded $30 onto his card and posted the image for his friends to use. Within hours, the money turned into caffeine and prefab sandwiches. So Stark added another $50 and invited a few more friends to see if they liked paying for things with their phones, creating an informal user experience focus group.
But this time, the money didn't vanish. People started adding money as well as spending it.
And since then, it's become an experiment in anonymous collective sharing. Buying a cup of coffee on the card becomes a special act of participation, and giving back so a stranger can do the same just feels good, and certainly better than the average frappuccino. In that way, the technology Stark created is adding value to the coffee people purchase.
"Overall it's working," he says. Stark created a little program that would check the value on the card and post it to Twitter, so experimenters could see if there is enough for a cup o' joe before heading out to Starbucks. More and more people joined.
As of about 11 a.m. PST today, Stark said that about $3,664.24 had passed through the card. "That's all in the last two days," he cautions. But even with the spike in traffic, a few patterns stand out. The most inspiring is the split between donors and diners. At least 179 people have put money on the card, shelling out for 326 coffee drinkers.
"I would have thought the ratio would be more like 10 to 1," a pleasantly surprised Stark says. The card is open to the public with free money on it—restricted to use at one chain, but still no-strings-attached—and 50 percent of the people who use it give back. That doesn't quite mean that giving is half as popular as taking, but that when it's as easy as a few clicks, people will part with their mobile cash. That has philanthropy thinkers are taking notice.
"The pattern we're noticing is the balance will keep climbing... and then it drops," Stark says. He doesn't know exactly how or who makes the big buys. But he has noticed there's an equilibrium between generosity and mooching. "I expect it to level out at between $20 and $40," he says.
That's partly because of a few built in incentives that help this experiment along. The card value changes pretty rapidly, so gluttons who try to swipe $100 worth of Rwanda Gakenke Fair Trade Certified coffee grounds will look a little odd if the card can't cover the binge and they need to ditch some items and try again while holding up the line. And the card can't go below zero value, so nobody can run a deficit at anyone else's expense.
As Stark points out, it's "kind of silly to give people who can afford an iPhone a free $5 coffee," but this can lead to something better. "I would like to see something like this around a CVS pharmacy to share money ... [something that let's people] donate in an ad hoc way instead of going through large organizations" to help seniors or even fellow pet owners pay for necessities, he suggests. "There's something about it being more direct that feels better."
So far there's no word from Starbucks on what the company thinks of this little hack of their mobile app. "I haven't heard from them yet... but if they did shut off my card, 100 other people could just start [the project up again.]"
That concept really excites him. "If I had one goal it would be for more people to think like this and spawn more projects."
UPDATE: As this story spreads on the internet, there have been a few hitches and developments. The @jonathanscard Twitter account has more than tripled its followers to just about 6,000 since yesterday morning. His site has received over 125,000 page views so far. The card balance fluctuates even more wildly now, as some people people put $50 and $100 credits on it and others draw it down to zero. So, we'll see how smoothly this sharing system functions if growth continues apace.
More people are also tweeting their tales of using the card, like Emmanuel P., who said "just bought lunch for my barista!"
Two app developers have jumped in and made pro bono contributions of their own that may help. One, from Nick Quinlan, is a simple web page that tells you the balance and asks you to donate if it is at zero. The other is a mobile app version of the project called "StarksBucks" by Jason Kneen that he submitted to the Apple App Store for approval. The sharers are planning on making this last.
Photo via jonathanstark.com.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011 by Red Cloak
by Red Cloak
Tuesday, November 02, 2010 by Red Cloak
I'll begin writing regularly soon. In the meantime, here's a little something for you:
By Ashley McWaters
Fairy Tale Review Press
Her salt. Shed skin of her penultimate love.
Her best little black dress. White of her hunger,
bubble climbing to the top. How it began
with red. Her folded napkin, her careful lap.
Waxing forth of her fingers, pendulum slosh
of water legs. All the teeth. Astrolabe.
Trajectory of thread she left behind. Back
of a transparent material. Her little feet,
little iambs. Holy moment. Tinfoil afternoons
at origami. Her second language, French
for What if I can't say it? French for It glows.
Enough blue in the borders. Stitches to show
on the front as shadows. Cloth pelted to look
like the print of an exotic animal. Elaborate
dessert: tarte tatin. Evacuation plan. Her mothy
black beret. Mirror threads. Empty pockets
loud as news. How it began with red.
Excerpted from Whitework by Ashley McWaters, published by Fairy Tale Review Press.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Ashley McWaters. All rights reserved.
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