Tag Archives: barack obama

Hey, Mr. President. Sup?

Not all of us have our own personal physician.

Not all of us have our own personal physicians, chefs, and trainers. Just sayin.

Every few days or so I receive an e-mail from the Obama Administration. They put me on their mailing list after I registered to vote via one of their campaign drives. Most of the e-mails ask recipients to donate money for some cause or another, which I’m not exactly in the position to do. Today’s e-mail didn’t ask for donations (right away), it asked simply for a signature and a story.

The chance to finally reform our nation’s health care system is here. While Congress moves rapidly to produce a detailed plan, I have made it clear that real reform must uphold three core principles — it must reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality care for every American.

As we know, challenging the status quo will not be easy. Its defenders will claim our goals are too big, that we should once again settle for half measures and empty talk. Left unanswered, these voices of doubt might yet again derail the comprehensive reform we so badly need. That’s where you come in.

When our opponents spread fear and confusion about the changes we seek, your support for these core principles will show clarity and resolve. When the lobbyists for the status quo tell Congress to hold back, your personal story will give them the courage to press forward. 

So share my personal story I did, and boy oh boy was it cathartic!  Everyone loves to vent, but venting is so much more fun when there’s the (extremely) off chance that the President of the United States might read your ramblings:

 I will be personally reviewing many of these signatures and stories. If you speak up now, your voice will make a difference.

Perhaps Barack, over a cigarette one of these nights, will read my rant. It ended up having a sort of middle school essay competition feel to it, but gosh darnit I don’t care. I meant nearly every word:

I’ve been out of college for one year. One month after I graduated, as is the case with many, I was no longer eligible to be a benefactor of my parent’s health insurance. Today I attended my friends’ college graduation ceremony. There were inspirational words imparted, hollers of celebration, but sobering the atmosphere were the harsh economic realities each speaker acknowledged the graduates would face. And despite having a one year headstart of sorts on this year’s graduates, I couldn’t help feeling that my own career and financial situation is no better off. It’s not only been one year since I graduated, with high honors, from college–it’s been one year since I had my teeth cleaned; one year since visiting my doctor; one year with no pap smear or professional breast exam from my gynecologist.

I remember the day last year when I called my doctor’s office to cancel an upcoming appointment. It had been scheduled before my insurance ran out, but because the day of that appointment was less than a year since my previous one, I would have had to pay, regardless. I explained this to the receptionist who asked me when I wanted to reschedule the appointment for. But I’ve yet to reschedule that appointment. She asked, “What will you do?” And one year later, I still don’t know the answer.

It’s not as though I’m not working, not striving, not trying my hardest each and every day to build a strong future for myself. The summer after I graduated I interned at the Library of Congress. I was, for three months, an employee of the United States Government, and I’ve never felt so inspired.

When I finished the internship, though, the realities of the job market became clear. It took me months to secure the position I now hold. And while I’m lucky to be working, I’m also lucky if, after paying my rent, I can afford a few groceries–never mind a few prescriptions or a few cosign payments.

Still, I feel fortunate. My story is similar to countless recent college graduates and will be the story of ones to come. But my story doesn’t include battling a life-threatening illness or a condition that requires constant treatment. I’ve felt healthy this past year. But should something happen…I don’t know what I’ll do. And I have no way of knowing, despite feeling healthy, that I actually am healthy.

The speaker at the graduation ceremony I went to today was this guy. Yeah. The Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations. And while he was wildly interesting with stories about coups de tat, strapping dynomite to his chest, and dinner parties at Barbara Walters’ house…I couldn’t help thinking, doesn’t Heraldo Muñoz have something much more important to do?

Very First Post-Inauguration Post!

Kind of intimidating deciding what to write about in this new Obama climate.  I racked my brain and I racked my brain.  I thought maybe I’d write about Garth Brook’s performance at the We Are One shindig.  (There was this big chorus of super excited children behind him and it made me feel fuzzy.)  Thought I’d complain about how my dad kept yelling “Nobama!” during the inauguration ceremony.  (Decided not to even spread his negative energy.)  Anyway, in the end, I just decided to focus on late night television.

Despite ranting about Jay Leno one week ago, I caught the show last night and I’ve come to a new conclusion or two.  There were two Hooters waitresses featured.    They traveled from Denver to meet Mo Rocca in D.C. where they proceeded to reinforce popular stereotypes about attractive women with…the type of breasts and booties that fill out a Hooters uniform.  So that was kind of disappointing.  They compared the rotunda of the Capital Building to a big boob, which, okay, was kind of funny.  And one of them mistook the  Watergate scandal as somehow having to do with Julia Roberts and Erin Brockovich. 

Only reason I have trouble finding too much humor in the whole thing: I know there are some Hooters waitresses out there with more to contribute to the world than their bodies and their lack of knowledge.  So, rather than blame society and America and all of man and womankind…I’ll just blame Jay Leno. 

I <3 pornographic structures.

I ❤ pornographic structures.

That said, Jay Leno made me infinitely happy because in addition to the Hooters waitresses who broke my heart a little, he had the CUTEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD on the show, too!  I hadn’t heard of her, but she runs an antique business with her husband in Fresno and she discovered the oldest baseball card in a box. 

Bernice Gallego YAYYYYY!

Bernice Gallego YAYYYYY!

At the end of the show, the lead singer of Buckcherry gave Bernice a prolonged hug.  Which was this amazing combination of bizarre, awkward, and wonderfully adorable, because, you know….he looks likes this:

Plus he sings that whole, “Hey, you’re a crazy bitch, but you fuck so good I’m on top of it.  When I dream, I’m doin’ you all night…” 

Maybe it was just the overall beautiful feeling of inauguration day, but something about the elderly woman and tattooed man above embracing one another–it still makes me want to cry tears of joy.

Home Pages, Horoscopes, and Cookies

Lately I’ve been thinking about Home Pages. They say a lot about a person. I mean, it’s the website that you choose to see each and every time you double click on your browser icon. That’s a big deal! Home Pages are like the live-in boyfriends/girlfriends of the Internet. Always there when you come home at night. Sure you might only give them a half-hearted hello and a peck on the cheek and then go off to concentrating on something else, but there’s something about that website that keeps you coming back. There was something about that website that was appealing enough to want to see it multiple times a day.

And just like regular relationships, those between a user and his/her Home Page can get stagnant.  It’s not really exciting anymore, but it would be a hassle to break the routine now.  And you’ve been together for, like, four years, so that must mean something, right?

Okay, I’m done with that comparison.  My Home Page has been Yahoo! for ages.  And I’m thinking, maybe it’s time for a change.  This is just a thought.  More than likely I won’t change it.  Because I do like its enthusiasm(!).  I like its many categories of stuff on the sidebar.  But I never stay there very long.  Sometimes I check out what it thinks the temperature is in my zip code.  Sometimes I read the bizarre, cavity-inducing “news” stories it offers.  And more than sometimes I’ll read my horoscope.  But as of today it has been confirmed.  What used to be my favorite horoscope on the web is now my least favorite.  I don’t know if they’ve always been super vague and reeking of sinister ulterior motives, but check out mine for today:

You should feel comfortable trusting the people who are in power. They are capable.

Dear Mark Lerner at Astrology.com, That is quite possibly the worst advice/horoscope ever.  That’s not a horoscope.  That’s almost as maddening as opening up a fortune cookie and getting a proverb or some other obvious bit of wisdom that’s not quite as wise as a proverb instead of getting an actual fortune.  You know, the thing that you claim resides within the cookie?  I hate that!  When I open my fortune cookie I don’t want to read, Good deeds give you good karma.  I want to read something like, You will meet a mysterious woman in red or You will give birth to a money-making scheme this month.  (Maybe Bernie Madoff ran with that one.) 

But back to that horoscope.  (Aries, by the way.)  Not only is it not a good horoscope, but it’s a dangerous one!  Everyone knows you shouldn’t feel comfortable trusting the people in power.  The past eight years, if I’m not mistaken, have shown us that you should feel extremely UNCOMFORTABLE trusting the people in power.  That’s right, uncomfortable on a Caps Lock level.

So, I won’t be turning to Mark Lerner for any political advice à la the stars, but I would turn to Rob Brezsny.  He’s like the George Clooney of astrology.  Except that I’m not as smitten with George as I am with Rob.  So maybe he’s more like the…dammit, who am I smitten with…OH!  Okay.  Brezsny is the Barack Obama of astrology. 

Hes like the opposite of a ponzi scheme.

He's like the opposite of a ponzi scheme.

For more on psychics, check out this ABC Nightline bit on “Voodoo Economics.”  It’s about corporate psychics and the ridiculous businessmen who use them.  I really hate news correspondents sometimes.  Stop pandering to people who think angels and crystal balls are ridiculous notions.  Start pandering to crazy, head-in-the-cloud women like me.

Not To Get All Preachy, But…

The roommate and I decided to go to church today.  It seemed like a good idea–it will make the Mom happy, it’s a step towards better integrating into the community, and those hymns can be damn fun to sing along with. 

Those were the general thoughts, as opposed to ones like–I need to save my soul, or, I hear Father Kirkpatrick is a real fox in his ornate robe.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful church, but I don’t think I’ll go back.  Not for any one reason, but just because it didn’t feel right.  I felt like I was pretending, like whatever spiritual fulfillment I’m looking for would not be reached within those walls. 

The sermon was about an Air Force pilot that uses his talents to draw Jesus’ face out of exhaust smoke in the sky.  I had a little difficulty understanding the priest, but it was something along those lines.  So all I could think was, that’s great, but he better be doing it on his own time…  But not great!   Those Jesus faces are killing the planet, one greenhouse gaseous cheekbone, eyelid, nostril at a time. 

If you disagree with what Ive written so far, just relocate yourself to the site this came from.

"Thou shalt not steal" photos from bizarre religious websites...

Before mass ended an announcement was made by a young girl, probably in her mid-teens.  She informed us that 45 million fetuses had been “murdered” since 1973 with Roe vs. Wade.  And to send a message to “the new administration,” parishioners were urged to sign up for an upcoming trip to DC on a free shuttle bus to a pro-life march. 

I want very much to march in DC, but not at a pro-life rally.  A free shuttle bus to a protest comes along and of course it’s for a cause I disagree with.  So much for a generous God.  But you know, here’s the silver lining–there is a new administration on its way in.  So scary zealous pilots (like John McCain) can keep scrawling their crap in the sky.  But I have faith that decisions for the greater good will be scrawled where it counts.

I Feel A Manifesto Coming On…

Despite a $4 fine on my account, I picked up Dawn, Dusk or Night: A Year With Nicolas Sarkozy at the Queens Library earlier tonight.  I’m not particularly interested in politics, which is good since Yasmina Reza (the most celebrated playwright in France, I learn from the flap) writes, “I am not looking to write on power or on politics, but rather on politics as a way of being.  I’m more interested in watching a man who intends to trump time.”  She follows him for one year while he is running for the presidency.

Please note: I always do this.  I get really excited about books before I’m even at page 25, so I want other people to get excited, but then the more I read, the less I’m excited, and then I feel bad for plugging something that I returned to the library without bothering to finish. 

So far, though, it’s a refreshing read.  Reza’s writing is so…efficient and refined.  It was translated from French, so it’s fascinating to take in the style.  It’s not dumbed down like a lot of American non-fiction (or just plain writing) seems to be.  It wasn’t written in hopes of making it onto Oprah’s Book Club.  It was written by a woman with a sincere curiosity.  Maybe it’s appealing to me so much (so far) because it’s a little choppy, but in a good way, like poetry.  She jumps around and you’re greeted on the page by small passages, like the following one, before she returns to something else:

Later, I am talking with my friend Marc in a cafe. 

Anyway, you’ll reinvent him.  Writers, like tyrants, are capable of bending the world to their will.

Isn’t that beautiful?  And provocative.  Sometimes she doesn’t use quotation marks, but that just means you have to pay attention.  Or, she’ll start writing about Sarkozy in a new setting, talking to a new person, and Reza won’t tell you where or with who right away.  In one such passage she waits until the end to reveal that he’s in Barack Obama’s office.   

That’s the thing about the way we’re taught to write in America–we’re given these strict rules that are good, in the beginning, but there comes a point where you have to allow freedom.  More freedom than the 5-paragraph essay’s Introduction-Body Paragraph-Body Paragraph-Body Paragraph-Conclusion can give you.  An American would be instructed to start the paragraph with something like, “Nicolas Sarkozy meets with Senator Barack Obama in his office while they are both in the midst of presidential campaigns.”  But Reza stays vague, knowing the effect is so much stronger with this ending:

Looking up, one sees Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, J. F. Kennedy laughing with some black musicians.  In the office of the splendid Barack Obama, the idea of America itself is hanging on the walls.

Reza’s writing shows she is that breed of observant that few people are.  The kind where you pick up on the tiniest of tiniest details that most people would never consider warrant their attention.  Then you make connections between the tiniest of the tiniest to the biggest of the biggest: identity, religion, politics, love, sexuality, the universe, all that.  That’s the kind of writer I want to be.  Oh, and funny.  Because there’s humor in the profound.  There’s humor in everything.

The Smallness of Our Blips and the Largeness of Today’s Election

Apparently the Queens Library is pretty slow about delivering materials to one branch requested from another branch, so instead of taking out the book I’ve been waiting to arrive for a good 7-10 days, I took out a book called Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang. Intriguing, right? I’m not sure what caught my eye about it while walking through the stacks, but there’s a plug from Stephen Hawking on the front cover AND upon looking at the back flap you find photos of the authors who are two of the cutest bespectacled men this side of the Big Dipper. I even showed Kathleen their pictures, but she wasn’t as impressed as I was. A few minutes later I was still ridiculously excited, going on and on about this book and she said, “I can’t begin to deal with you right now.”

Books like this are great because they tell you things you kind of already had an idea about, but you hardly ever stop to think about. Like this:

The Milky Way’s cosmic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, lies 2.9 million light-years from the Earth; the light received from its stars today was emitted before the earliest humans roamed the Earth.

I just read that, say, 20 minutes ago on the train. It made me go, “Woah,” and I looked up at the guy across the aisle from me with huge awestruck eyes who looked back at me like, “I can’t begin to deal with you right now.” So then I looked up at the train ceiling trying to imagine just how far the universe would extend past where I was sitting, trying to fathom just how small of a blip of my existence really is. I’ve never understood why people aren’t more preoccupied with stuff like this. I mean, I know people turn to religion to answer silly questions like…where the hell are we right now and what the hell are we doing here…but still. Even during Sunday School when I was, like, nine years old it occurred to me to ask my teacher how God could have just always existed.

Anyway, enough about light-years and bespectacled men for now. The polls open in a few hours!! Maybe people aren’t stopping to contemplate time and space like me, but they’re definitely stopping to contemplate politics. The people across from me on the train were talking about baby daddys, baby mamas, and Barack’s grandmother. The woman with the 7 month old daughter whose baby daddy is doing time (1-3 years), said, “Maybe it’s a sign how she died right before the election and all.” And the man with the 16 year old daughter whose baby mama remarried, said, “I hope not.”

Seemed like the man took the woman to mean her death would have to be a bad sign, but I don’t think so. My grandmother died a couple weeks ago. She was in my dream last night, watching me while I read a passage from the New Testament at the funeral of my former bus driver who in real life is actually a crossing guard who wears a wig. I was completely fumbling over my words, but regardless, she was watching peacefully from the back row.

I wear a scarf she knitted years and years ago. Her photo is on my newly installed Ikea shelf. I keep thinking about how she told my cousin she never remarried because, “There are a lot of crumbs out there.” Guess what I’m trying to say is, death is sad, paralyzingly sad sometimes, but I don’t think it can ever be a bad sign. People are created, people travel through space for a short amount of time, and then who knows what happens? We leave this dimension? We cease to exist? We burn in hell for all eternity? I dunno. But I’m voting in a few hours and I’m infinitely glad I exist at this time and this place to be able to do it.