Tag: Hope

Congress Redivivus

Washington’s Sleeping Giant is waking up.  The United States Congress is beginning to show signs of life.

I know this sounds premature, especially since I’m currently watching Jon Stewart rail against Congress.

But that’s Jon.  I’m feeling unapologetically optimistic.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi impresses me.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will catch up in time.  But the Senate is on task.  The House is on task.  Republicans are, well, Republicans.  They’re mired to a philosophy that failed.  They have no ideas.

But Congress, thanks to the Democrats, is starting to breathe again.  The economic stimulus about to pass.

This from our friends at the Huffington Post:

Congressional Republicans have been pressuring Democrats to give them 48 hours to review the stimulus package before a vote is called.

The bill has yet to be fully written and released, but a vote is still likely Friday.

The combined House and Senate packages weigh in at more than 1400 pages, a reporter pointed out to Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC).

“So what?” he said. “I’m not a speed-reader, but that’s why I have staff.” Clyburn said that comparing bills side-by-side to look for changes as the bill has evolved the last several days hasn’t taken him long.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she’s happy to sit down with House Republican leadership to talk about ways to move the bill forward. “Sure. Sure we’ll do that,” she said.

So Nancy Pelosi will have story time with the Republicans.  Maybe her staff can turn the stimulus bill into a pop-up book to make it easier for them to understand.

But the Democrats need to keep moving forward, whether the Republicans get it or not.

Tonight in Springfield, Illinois, President Barack Obama called America “the last, great hope for humanity.”  Today,  Congress breathes again, and that hope shines anew.

Brian Murdock and Quinton Buckner Are Dead

The sad news hit the Chicago Sun-Times today:

The deaths of Brian Murdock, 15, and Quinton Buckner, 17, brought the total number of people killed to at least 447, according to reports from the Sun-Times News Group wire. At the end of 2007, 443 homicides were recorded in the city.

The total was only 441 through October 31, a 16.4%  increase over last year at the same time, according to the Sun-Times.  A mere seven days into November, there were six more murders in Chicago.

Why?  Again from the Sun-Times:

But since then, a 21-year-old man was shot in the head in Marquette Park, two men were found in a burning car near Hegewisch with multiple gunshot wounds and a 22-year-old man was shot and killed in a dice game in Englewood. Then the two teens were killed Thursday.

Chicago Police are following tips that the shooting was somehow linked to an armed robbery. No one has been charged.

Brian Murdock was found slumped against a fence when his father got to the block where the shooting happened.

According to reports, James Murdock had adopted Brian when the boy was 8 or 9.  He was planning on transfering is son out of Robeson High School because dad was worried about gang fights.  Brian had recently been talking to his father about his fear of being attacked.

Quinton Buckner was planning on serving this country in the armed forces:

Quinton Buckner was a motivated kid who wanted to play football in college and later become a Marine, said his older brother, Dennis Buckner, 22.

Dennis Buckner described his brother as a “good kid” who didn’t have any gang connections. Buckner said Quinton had two brothers and two sisters.

There has been a tremendous amount of euphoria surrounding the recent presidential election.  Chicago shined election night as President-Elect Obama spoke about Ann Nixon Cooper, age 106, a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta.

Barack Obama spoke of the “heartache and hope” Cooper witnessed in the century-plus she’s been blessed to walk this earth:

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

He continued the refrain, “Yes we can,” throughout the rest of his speech, almost reflectively at times.

The night of November 4, 2008, was pure magic in Chicago.  The crowd was united in hope.  The crowd cheered. The crowd behaved.  There were no tragic acts of violence.  Instead, there was hope.

“Yes we can.”

Perhaps Brian Murdock and Quinton Buckner heard those words as well.  Perhaps they smiled.  Perhaps they cheered.  Perhaps they even wept with joy, as did I.

Now, we weep for them, two more murders on Chicago’s South Side.

Brian Murdock and Quinton Buckner are dead.

And we are all less for their loss.

Joe Biden is One of Us

From Senator Joe Biden:

A few hours ago, Barack Obama was officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

And just a few moments ago, I accepted our party’s nomination for vice president.

I made my case to everyone watching — Barack Obama will secure America at home and restore our reputation abroad. And John McCain will only extend the failed policies of George Bush.

But this isn’t my moment. It’s all of ours.

And the fight ahead will be like nothing you’ve ever seen.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, and Barack and I need your help right now.

Please make another donation of $25 or more now and support this campaign to bring the change we need:


Thank you for making this possible,



We stand on the shoulders of giants.  We are poised to make history.

I have never been so excited about an election.

Joe Biden grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He’s one of us.  Barack Obama is one of us.  Both of these men know how many kitchen sinks they have.

When Jay Leno offered McCain $1 million if he could answer the question of how many homes he has, what was the first thing out of his mouth? “I was a POW, so for 5 years I didn’t have a home, I didn’t have a kitchen table…” blah, blah, blah. Does he seriously have any other answer besides, “I was a POW?” Does John McCain even know how many homes he owns?

John McCain suffered once.  John McCain deserves praise for his service to our country.  But Vietnam was a long time ago.  We’re a long way from the famous “McCain-Feingold” efforts at election reform.  He has strayed far from his roots.  John McCain is not one of us.  John McCain is not “the maverick.”  John McCain is a man pampered, spoiled and aloof.  Yes, John McCain is an elitist.  John McCain is George W. Bush redux, George W. Bush redivivus, George W. Bush all over again.

I can’t take George W. Bush all over again.

Joe Biden, you helped us remember our roots in America.

I’m not doing as well as I would like, Joe.  Things are not going well financially these days.  The Bush years have been horrible for me.  Sometimes, I’ll admit, I’ve felt like giving up.  Sometimes, I’ve been truly frightened.

But I have not given up, and I will not.

I need Change desperately, not just the change I find under the couch cushions.

Joe, your talk tonight was incredible tonight.  I look forward to hearing Barack Obama tomorrow night.

I want to see Barack Obama in the White House.  I want to see you at his side.  Thank you for helping me to believe that our best days are, indeed, before us.

Thanks, Joe.  I’m starting to believe again.  I need to believe again.