A picture is worth 100 days

Did you know there’s an official White House Flickr page? THERE IS! I’ve been checking it out and thought I’d share some of my favorites.

One of my favorite blogs during the campaign was Yes We Can Hold Babies. Maybe they shoulda kept it up because of great material like this:

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, via Flickr.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, via Flickr.

This is perhaps the most high-powered and stylish chat I’ve ever seen.  Wish I could hang out with both of them!

Seriously, this could be an outtake from Vogue.  Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, via Flickr
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, via Flickr.

Seriously, that could be an outtake from Vogue.

I know this is mushy and silly and not all that intelligent, but I love that we have a First Family that clearly loves the crap outta each other.  It’s adorable that the President and First Lady can’t get enough of each other, and I hope that Jon and I are the same way, even after two kids and a decade or more.

Even the people around them cant stop smiling! Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, via Flickr.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, via Flickr.

And how adorable is this?

Looks like the tables are turned!  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, via Flickr.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, via Flickr.

There’s about a bajillion more photos in the stream.  Check them out!

Today’s Reads

  • I have no idea how the Republican Party can misunderstand the fact that the founders set up our system such that parties would HAVE to embrace moderates in order to win majorities. And yet apparently there is debate about whether the party should be more purely conservative or more of a proverbial big tent. I’m all for them being more purely conservative in the sense that they stick to their fiscal principals and give up social conservatism, though. (And I must say, I actually agree with Lindsay Graham as he is quoted in the article- way to not embarrass me on this one, Sen. Graham!)
  • Nicholas Kristof continues to be my favorite New York Times columnist (yes, I know how pretentious it must be to even have a favorite NYT columnist), and today’s column about the appalling backlog of rape kits in this country is a great example of why I love his writing.
  • I really recommend this well-written essay by a surgeon pondering how he has become habituated to cutting humans open and wondering if those who justified torture, as well as those of us reading and seeing about it in the news, have become habituated to these atrocities. He writes,

    While our current president speaks of moving forward, and not looking back at this chapter of our history, can we afford to turn away? In doing so, we accept how we have become habituated. We risk seeing the brutality not as an atrocity but as part of who we are. We become the surgeon who might have shook when first taking the knife in hand but who now dares to cut with eyes closed.

  • Yglesias writes that we might be wrong in repeating the mantra that “torture doesn’t work.” He notes that it works just fine for what it’s intended: generally producing false confessions for show trials and propaganda under dictatorships, and little else.
  • Until I read this article, I had no idea that any educated woman would be able to bring herself to defend female genital mutilation. I still don’t agree with her, but now I have a greater appreciation for the nuance of an argument that seems to many of us extremely straightforward.
  • And, finally,Ezra Klein explains what Jon’s been saying to me the last few days as I wondered why we’re flipping out about a flu that’s way less deadly, so far, than the regular flu. Jon keeps telling me, “It’s because it is spreading so fast.”

Klein writes:

It’s true that the flu is, as of now, not especially deadly. Survival rates are quite high. That’s a very good thing. And there’s some evidence that this flu will prove mild. Possibly even more mild than a bad flu season. But it’s not the end of the story. Influenzas mutate. The question is whether it mutates out of existence or towards lethality. ‘Towards lethality’ becomes more likely if more people catch the flu and thus more mutations emerge. So being aggressive in stopping the spread of the largely non-lethal variant is important if we want to avert the development of a more lethal strain. It’s not about stopping this flu. It’s about stopping what this flu can become.

So, wash your hands, cover your mouths when you cough or sneeze, call your doctor if you’re running a fever, take this thing seriously, but don’t panic.

I’m so pedestrian

When I started a new job in January, I also started riding the bus for the first time ever. I wanted to ride the bus largely because of my environmental convictions– it’s hard to be a tree hugging hippie with a bus stop a block from home and still choose to drive my car, four banger though it is, because I’m sure Al Gore would haunt me in my dreams, shaking his finger at me and telling me about all the baby polar bears I was killing just to drive myself 5 miles to work each day.   I also wanted to ride the bus because my job provides me with a free bus pass but charges for parking. So between saving money and saving the earth, getting familiar with the public transit system was pretty much my only option.

City bus, 1953 via Seattle Municipal Archives @ flickr
City bus, 1953 via Seattle Municipal Archives @ flickr

Before I go any further, I should mention that aside from field trips, I had never even so much as ridden a school bus. Seasoned “car rider” here. My mom didn’t want to miss that decompression conversation with us every day after school, plus she was convinced kids would try to sell us drugs on the bus or something. Perhaps as a result of my bus-free experience up until now, I was quite scared my first day of bus-riding, afraid I’d miss the bus, afraid I wouldn’t get off at the right stop, afraid I’d miss the bus after work, afraid I didn’t know where the stop closest to my house on the other side of the road was, afraid of the kind of people I’d see on the bus, afraid of what I’d do if it was pouring rain and I had to walk two blocks from the bus stop to my office…

Continue reading “I’m so pedestrian”

Today’s Reads

I hope to make this a daily place to share links I’ve found interesting as I’ve browsed the net throughout my day. Perhaps this will make me less annoying to my Facebook friends who become weary of my constant shared links.

  • My love for Olympia Snowe grows as she discusses the Arlon Specter defection. I agree we need two strong parties in this country, and the future of the GOP is in moderation, not increasing white-wing radicalism.
  • Glenn Greenwald makes clear why Democrats should be wary of getting too excited about Arlen Specter defecting to their side. Sure, he gives us 60 votes to prevent filibusters. But other than that, he’s still a conservative (in the traditional sense of the word), and his defection only underscores both the fact that the Republican party has moved too far to the right for even some of it’s normal, conservative members, and that Democrats are willing to sacrifice electing a real Democrat from that district in 2010 in exchange for some fili-busting now.

On being unplugged, but not nearly as cool as Eric Clapton

I wrote this post about a week ago, when I was still kicking this idea around in my mind.  Heck, I’m still not sure about it.

I am thinking of starting a blog.  Thinking seems to be all I do, because I’m scared to pull the trigger in case the thing turns into a pit of narcissism and monotony.  No one wants to read my diary.  Not even me.  And yet, I write so little now that I’m a liar when I call myself a writer.  Can’t remember the last time I wrote anything, let alone something worth reading.

But we’re in the middle of this recession/depression/whateveritis and I think I’m going to want to tell stories some day about how we lived through it.  It’s not like, Dorthea Lange portrait-worthy, but it seems more and more that the world is crumbling down and skies are falling and yet, in many ways I’m happier, we’re happier than ever.

Continue reading “On being unplugged, but not nearly as cool as Eric Clapton”