Witness History

We witnessed history tonight and it was truly inspiring. No matter what happens, America, as a country, took a giant step forward tonight. Let's hope it never looks back.

OBAMA: Thank you so much.


Thank you very much.


Thank you, everybody.

To -- to Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.


Let me -- let me express -- let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest, a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton.


To President Clinton, to President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it...


... to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service...


... and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you.


I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama...


... and to Malia and Sasha, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you.


Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that's always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women -- students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.


America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.


This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

We're a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he's worked on for 20 years and watch as it's shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty...


... that sits...


... that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.


Tonight, tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land: Enough. This moment...


This moment, this moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive.

Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.


And we are here -- we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight.


On November 4th, on November 4th, we must stand up and say: Eight is enough.


Now, now, let me -- let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect.


And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.

Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time?


I don't know about you, but I am not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.


The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives -- on health care, and education, and the economy -- Senator McCain has been anything but independent.

He said that our economy has made great progress under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a mental recession and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."


A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made.

Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of duty.
These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.


Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn't know.


Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans?

OBAMA: How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?


It's not because John McCain doesn't care; it's because John McCain doesn't get it.


For over two decades -- for over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy: Give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.

In Washington, they call this the "Ownership Society," but what it really means is that you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you're on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You're on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don't have boots. You are on your own.


Well, it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America. And that's why I'm running for president of the United States.


You see, you see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.
We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president...


... when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George Bush.


We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job, an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because, in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill.

In the face of that young student, who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.


When I -- when I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman.

She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight and that tonight is her night, as well.


Now, I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine.


These are my heroes; theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.


What -- what is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours -- ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.
That's the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now.


So -- so let me -- let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.


Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.


You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.


I'll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.


I will -- listen now -- I will cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.


And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.


We will do this. Washington -- Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them.


And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close.


As president, as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.


I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.

OBAMA: And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels -- an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.


America, now is not the time for small plans. Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.
You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance.


I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability.
And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.


Now -- now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American.


If you have health care -- if you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.


And -- and as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.


Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.


Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow.

But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.


And, Democrats, Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength.

Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.


Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents, that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that's the essence of America's promise. And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad.

If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.


For -- for while -- while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face.

When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.
You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives.


And today, today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need; that won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.


You don't defeat -- you don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances.

If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs.


We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe.

The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.


As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.


I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.
I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.

And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.


These -- these are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism.


The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America.


So I've got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.


America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.


The -- the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.


I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.


You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.

But this, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.

And that's to be expected, because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.


If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.

And you know what? It's worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's about you.


It's about you.


For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said, "Enough," to the politics of the past. You understand that, in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same, old politics with the same, old players and expect a different result.

You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.


Change happens -- change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that, as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming, because I've seen it, because I've lived it.

Because I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work.

I've seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans, and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
And I've seen it in this campaign, in the young people who voted for the first time and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time; in the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did.


I've seen it -- I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can't afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs; in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb; in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot.


And it is that promise that, 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.


The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead -- people of every creed and color, from every walk of life -- is that, in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
America, we cannot turn back...


... not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for; not with an economy to fix, and cities to rebuild, and farms to save; not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.

America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.
At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

from the NYTIMES.com

Yes you can...

if people believed eight years ago...

536 votes could have set us on a very different path 8 years ago. I hope all that feel their vote doesn't count, those who feel it doesn't matter, that they cannot make a difference with their one, small voice. I hope they know today, that "yes they can".

Let's Get Political!

United We Stand

(CNN) -- Former President Clinton spoke to the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night. Here is a transcript of that speech:

Former President Clinton thanks the crowd at the Democratic convention for a warm welcome.

CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen...


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. You all sit down. We've got to get on with the show here. Come on.


Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be here tonight.


Sit down.


Thank you. Thank you very much.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


I am honored to be here tonight. Please, stop.

AUDIENCE: Bill! Bill! Bill!

CLINTON: Please stop. Sit down. Sit down. Thank you.

AUDIENCE: Bill! Bill! Bill!

CLINTON: Please sit. Please sit.
You know, I -- I love this, and I thank you, but we have important work to do tonight. I am here first to support Barack Obama.


And, second -- and, second, I'm here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden...


... though, as you will soon see, he doesn't need any help from me.


I love Joe Biden, and America will, too.

What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star lineup. And it came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard-fought contest right to the very end. That campaign generated so much heat, it increased global warming.


Now, in the end, my candidate didn't win. But I'm really proud of the campaign she ran.


I am proud that she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wanted for all our children. And I'm grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to go all over America to tell people about the person we know and love. Now, I am not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of Hillary's magnificent speech last night.


But I'll do the best I can.


Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.


That makes two of us.


Actually, that makes 18 million of us...


... because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.


And here's why. And I have the privilege of speaking here, thanks to you, from a perspective that no other American Democrat, except President Carter, can offer.

Our -- our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation...


... by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.


Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world.


And here's what I have to say about that. Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.


Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives.


He has shown -- he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.


The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.


With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

And so, my fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world.


Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States.


As president, he will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which helped to share the cost of the world's problems and to leverage the power of our influence.

He will put us back in the forefront of the world's fight against global warming and the fight to reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.


He will continue and enhance our nation's commendable global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved: the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, including -- including -- and this is very important -- a renewal of the battle against HIV and AIDS here at home.


A President Obama will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort.


But, in a world troubled by terror, by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people, by human rights abuses of the most awful kind, by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.


Barack Obama also will not allow the world's problems to obscure its opportunities.

Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hard- working people need good jobs, secure, affordable health care, food and energy, quality education for their children and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming.
These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create wonderful new jobs for our own people.


Most important of all, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are first strong at home.


People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.




Look at the example the Republicans have set.


In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means, year after year, they work harder and produce more.

Now, what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s.


American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage.

I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other serious conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn't afford health care and couldn't qualify their children for Medicaid unless they quit work and starved or got a divorce.

Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of?

What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by multiple, multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well-connected?


And what about Katrina and cronyism?


My fellow Democrats, America can do better than that.


And Barack Obama will do better than that.


Wait a minute. But first...

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

CLINTON: Yes, he can, but, first, we have to elect him.


The choice is clear. The Republicans in a few days will nominate a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

But on the two great questions of this election -- how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America's leadership in the world -- he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.


And it is, to be fair to all the Americans who aren't as hard- core Democrats as we, it's a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades actually were implemented. And look what happened.
They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt; from over 22 million new jobs to just 5 million; from increasing working families' incomes to nearly $7,500 a year to a decline of more than $2,000 a year; from almost 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to more than 5.5 million driven into poverty; and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all this evidence, their candidate is actually promising more of the same.


Think about it: more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy; more Band-Aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families, and increase the number of uninsured; more going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.


CLINTON: Now, let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

In this case...


In this case, the third time is not the charm.


My fellow Democrats, 16 years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.

Together, we prevailed in a hard campaign in which Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.


Sound familiar?


CLINTON: It didn't work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.


Now, Senator Obama's life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.

The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans -- regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability -- their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation's future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.


She nailed it!

How awesome was Hillary? Say what you want about this woman. At the end of the day, she kicks a$$ and takes names. And she has inspired women and girls all around the world. I was a Hillary supporter from the beginning and secretly had wished that the ticket we'd be celebrating right now would have been Hillary-Obama. Me and eighteen million others. But alas, while we're ready for change, perhaps we're not ready for that much change. Maybe next time? I hope that Hillary will run again. Or be appointed Secretary of State.

And while I cangreatly appreciate this Hillary supporter's sentiment, at the end of the day, I hope she can move onward and upward. It's beyond ridiculous that people will cling so tightly to one candidate that they would ultimately sacrifice their vote because things didn't go their just their way:

Dare to dream

Last night, we got a glimpse of what could shortly become our reality. Not only a black president in our lifetime, but a black first lady too.

I am sure it is no secret who we are supporting in this campaign, but nonetheless, I am hesitant to "go there" on our blog. So I am taking the plunge...and if you're not interested in reading about politics, which I can totally respect, please just skip this post and tune back in next week when I am back to blogging about the weather and our new life here in Tulsa.

We are fired up and are watching the DNC on TV, uninterrupted by commentary on C-SPAN. This is a first for both of us. A first for us to be truly part of the political process. Until now, we've pretty much just voted along party lines. And we've been satisfied in the fact that at least we've even bothered to get out and vote, when so many of our friends and colleagues don't. And it's not because they are uneducated or ignorant about the issues. It's because they're apathetic and don't believe in the political process or that their one vote could ever make a difference.

I think that this change in us has also come about for many others in our age "demographic". Maybe that's because we're no longer in age bracket where the biggest concern is targeting our interests in things like new video games and music sales. But I think it's also because now, more than ever before in our lifetimes, we have so much on the line in this election.

Gas has more than quadrupled since we've gained our driver's licences. We've seen our friends with good educations unable to find decent paying jobs. We hear about the struggles that young families have to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads and we seriously wonder if we'll ever be able to own a home of our own, let alone raise a family. And we worry about our parents, as they enter their golden years, and whether they will be able to get the affordable medical care they'll need or if they'll have a decent retirement after working their entire lives to provide us with the opportunities that they never had.

Our generation has only ever had the chance to vote for a Clinton or Bush and have only known life with a Bush or Clinton in the White House. Well, technically, Jimmy Carter was in office when I was born, but the first presidential ticket that I remember is Reagan-Bush. That said, we are on the cusp of a huge paradigm shift in this country. In one generation we've gone from segregated schools in Selma, Alabama to a black presidential candidate in Denver, Colorado. That is incredible! And amazing! And scary for a lot of the folks who are used to keeping things as they've always been. I, for one, hope we're ready to embrace our hope rather than cling to our fears (as Michelle Obama so eloquently stated last night) and dare to dream for real change. Our lives as we know them and our futures as we wish them to be, depend upon it.

Baby makes three! We are godparents...



Two of our best friends in the world, Christopher and Sandra, became parents today...to a healthy, baby boy: Jean Elazar.


He is 6 lbs. 11 oz. and 20.5 inches born today at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, CA at 1:09 pm. We are to be his godparents and are so excited!

I am so excited to meet him next month! And J will get to meet him when we return to CA for the baptism. And we are now El Padrino and La Madrina. Pretty cool, eh?

San Francisco in Oklahoma?

I know that many of my posts have been about the weather here. How hot, rainy, windy and electric. But, I am happy to write that the weather here this past week has felt almost like home. And not my new home, but my lifelong home, San Francisco.

Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I could appreciate a perfectly misty-gray, not too hot nor too cold day! Alas, we have had overcast, somewhat foggy weather here the past few days that start out in the high 60's and never quite get past the mid-70's. I am loving it!
According to all reports it is totally unseasonable, but again, most locals aren't complaining. Especially since we were all running our air conditioners at max capacity last month! We had 8 days in a row over 100 degrees and now 12 in a row of under 80...

And Fall is definitely on the horizon...all of the kids are back to school now and the morning commute now includes lines of yellow school buses. And some of the trees in the parking lot at work have started to turn yellow and orange. I am looking forward to wearing boots and sweaters to work and to all of the lovely colors of Fall...rust, amber, plum and brown. And my favorite holiday is just around the corner....can you guess what it is? Labor Day. LOVE it and cannot wait for that three day weekend just around the bend!

UMbrella and INsurance

Here in Tulsa, we are getting used to a variety of accents. There's the long, southern drawl. The twang of our neighbors to our south and the unaccented and spread vowels of our neighbors to the north (midwest) makes for an interesting combo!

Also, they place the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble! Like UMbrella and INsurance.

And in addition to "y'all" and "ma'am" you hear things like "'n' course" or "o course" in lieu of "of course". And also "them thar", "new fangled", and "high falutin'".

Which brings me to my new southern catch-phrase for all thing troubling:
"hateful"! As in "Joan Rivers is just hateful to those celebrities on the red carpet." 'N' course you hafta enlongate and bend the "ae" in haaaeeetefuhl. I am gathering it that folks use it here instead of the B-word.

Now, to be fair...not every Tulsa speaks in this manner. Just like not ever California says "duuude!" or "for reals" or "like ya know" for every other word. But one does encouter it enough to take notice...especially when you hear it on the TV news.

Thursday night choir rehearsal

Yes, you read that correctly. Joseph and I just got home from choir rehearsal. And no, we're not paid "ringers". We actually volunteered for this! Let me explain...

Later this month, Tulsa opens its multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art,
brand new arena called the BOK Center. It is officially opened on September 1st with sold-out concert by The Eagles. But the week before that, they are having all kinds of celebrations, including One Song, Many Voices Multifaith celebration. They have a assembled a mass community choir of about 300 singers, made up of singers from local churches and choirs. A co-worker invite us to sign-up, so we did. And tonight was the first of five rehearsals leading up to our performance on the 31st.

Who's the headliner? Sam Harris! Remember him? The guy from Star Search who sang "Over the Rainbow" with that Patti LaBelle-esque wind-up to the high note at the end? Well, apparently his made a career as Broadway singer. And his is from Sand Springs, a nearby Tulsa suburb.

So, in a way, we will be a small part of Tulsa history. And we ran into some folks that J sang here with in the opera last season. And we made some new friends. And we sang. And it was actually fun. And that felt good. It's been a long while since either one of us could say that!

I'm goin' back to Cali, to Cali, to Cali...

I'm goin' back to Cali....but unlike L.L. Cool J....yeah, I think so!

I scored some cheapie tix from Tulsa to San Jose for $89.00 each way! WOOT! So I am going to be in the Bay Area from September 17-23. My FAVORITE time of year too! J won't be able to come, he's gonna hold it down here with the furbabies and his new, crack-o-dawn job.

I cannot wait to see the new Bengo Baby and visit my family. And eat Moroccan food! YUMMO! They don't have that here. And hit Trader Joe's and bring back a suitcase full of their stuff (or ship it back)! We don't have one here either. And maybe I'll be a tourist in SF or something. The sayings, "absence makes the heart grow fonder"and "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" is SO true. I definitely need to see the beach and feel my toes in the sand and possibly, even in the water. Speaking of which, I came across these nostalgic prints of my old SF childhood haunts:

How great are these? Sure, they are before "my time", but I like the vintage coloration to them. I was thinking of getting some and framing them up for our guest room. Anyway, if you're reading this and are in NorCal...drop me an email and let's get something on the calendar for when I am in town!

A blue state? Interesting...

According to an article in Tulsa World today, Oklahoma has more registered Democrats than Republicans! Interesting, I just assumed that this was a red state. At work, I know Democrats are in the minority. One thing I have noticed, people are less open about talking about it here. More than once, I have had a conversation that starts, "Now I don't know what your political leanings are, but..." Too funny. To me at least. I guess coming from the San Francisco, surely one of the most liberal political hotbeds in the country, if not the world, I have never been around people so cautious to voice their political views. I am definitely used to a more radical approach. That said, whenever someone starts a conversation with that phrase, I have realized they are saying it because they are Democrats or more liberal Independents and have something to say, but are testing the waters. Which, with that caution, is why I assumed this was definitely a red state. By numbers alone, 50% of the state's citizens register Democrat while 38% are Republican and the rest are Independent or unregistered.

But historically, it has been seen as a red state, at least when counted in the electoral votes on election night...but times are a-changin'. According to the Tulsa World article, there is great apathy among voters age 18-38. The trend used to be, in general, that young voters who register along the same party lines as their parents. But now, that's not the case. Even among young evangelical Christians, a typically tried and true Republican group, there is a wind of change. Many are no longer comfortable with the values of the Republican party. Interesting, to say the least. A paradigm shift is upon us, for sure.

Goodness knows we're in the middle of America, the belt buckle of the bible belt....Midwestern by locale and Southern by heritage. Needlesstosay, I let them know immediately that I am born and raised in San Francisco, which I am pretty sure, makes it nearly impossible to be a Republican. I mean, there may be a few, but I'd be surprised if there were a lot. Here, I guess I am seen as more liberal whereas back home I was definitely more moderate (in comparison to the far left liberals). Seems there's been a BIG change in just four years. Here's a map of the Presidential Election just four years ago. Notice, Oklahoma has not a drop of blue (neither does Alaska):

I have been listening to POTUS '08 on XMradio daily for the past couple of months and must admit, that this is the most involved in the political process I have ever been. Before now, I pretty much just voted along party lines. And in the time since I have had the right and privilege to vote, there has been two presidents: Clinton and Bush. So this time, I am doing my homework, exploring the issues and really figuring our where each candidate stands.

Frankly, I think both McCain and Obama have their strengths and their weaknesses. They are both aligned with some less than positive supporters and both also have very strong and reputable supporters too. Both have holes in their platforms....neither one is fool proof.

Oddly enough, I have said for many years, “If McCain ever runs for president, I might just vote for him.” I have never voted for a Republican President in my life! So that is saying a lot for me.

So…where does this leave me on November 4th? Well, for sure I will be in Hawaii (for work). And voting absentee, but that's not the question, really, was it?

Hopefully, by November 4th, I will be a well informed American, who has really done their homework in choosing their next president. I encourage each and everyone of you to do your own research too. Please don’t fall into the propaganda of either campaign or simply vote on party lines, because that’s what you always do. How many of you have listened to either candidate’s town meetings, unedited and in their entirety? Or are you simply relying on sound bites and 30 second smear ads that appear during the commercial breaks of your favorite reality show? How many of you have taken the time to research each candidate’s history as a state senator? If you’re hoping it will be wrapped up nicely in a glib, forwarded email, good luck.

To be truly prepared to vote, I hope that you’ll do your own homework and come to your own conclusions. Know what your priorities are and then figure out which candidate is best in line with those. For most it's the economy. For others it's the environment. A for a few more it's morality. Whatever IT is, know that and then do your research. Beyond the snippets on TV or the Internet. I hope that even if you've never voted, you will. Our country’s future depends upon each and every American taking personal responsibility and being truly informed about the issues at hand.

Mamma Mia! My, my...

Okay, so some of you might think this is weird, but eh, not me. Anyway...I went to lunch today with three girls that I have only "met" online. Yeah, virtual strangers from the internet! Sounds risky? Not really in this situation.
Let me explain...

When I was planning our wedding I became a regular on The Knot, a website for to-be-weds. I was mostly on the Hawaii Board and "met" all kinds of women from Hawaii and around the world who were also planning their weddings in Hawaii. Some of these gals I even met in real life, for lunches that "knotties" (the ladies who post on the website) call GTG (get togethers). There were several NorCal2HIKnotties, a couple I even helped with wedding planning. Anyway, one of these knotties was a make-up artist from LA but moved to Oklahoma to be closer to her man's family. Tulsa, Oklahoma! They're actually already married and have two small daughters, but they never had a real wedding, so they're renewing their vows in Maui in May. Another thing we have in common? Her hubby is African American and she's Caucasian. So she has been helpful in adressing my trepidation about being in a mixed-race marriage in the South.
Anyway, she and I have corresponded via email more and more, especially once I knew that we'd would be relocating here. When I came for my interview in May, she even left a little "Sooner" welcome gift in the hotel room for me. She has advised me on places to see, eat and play here in "T-town". But we've never met face-to-face. Until today.

The other two gals, I've gotten to know on The Nest. This is the site you are "kicked over" to by The Knot after you, well, tie the knot. It's for newlyweds. I mostly frequented the Northern California and Money Matters boards, but once I knew we were moving here, I started visiting the Oklahoma board too. That's where I met two locals (most of the other posters are in Oklahoma City) and where we got the ball rolling on a "nestie" GTG.

Fast forward to today....the four of us met up at Pei Wei, an Asian diner (owned by the same company as P.F. Changs) for lunch and then we went to see Mamma Mia! It was so nice to meet women who are not co-workers and just talk about married life. Two of the gals have small children and are stay at home moms. One is remodeling her home so they can sell it and move to a bigger place and think about starting a family. All lead fascinating lives. So it's a start to making new friends in this new town. At the very least, I'll know some ladies who like to take in lunch and a "chic flick" every once in a while.
By the way, Mamma Mia! was a funny and touching movie. Meryly Streep was awesome! She is a study in living the words, even if they are cheesy ABBA lyrics! And Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, her side kicks, were a freaking riot. I saw the stage show, many years ago, in San Francisco, and loved it. Today, I loved it even more. And it has made my need to see Greece all the greater. Go see it! You will dance in your seat and laugh out loud!

When it rains...it pours.

Where to begin on this day?

We headed to bed at 9:30 pm last night in anticipation of J's first day on the early shift, which starts at 5:30 am. Just about to hit the sheets and Luigi has an "accident" on our bed. UGH!

So we strip the bed, start the laundry and remake the bed with clean linens. Ah, finally in bed and it's 10:00 pm. But Luigi cannot get comfortable, he has a "squeezy" tummy so at 10:30 pm I take him to the living room. I try to get cozy with him on the couch so that J can get some rest. Lui and I doze off and at midnight I awake with a crick in my neck from sleeping on the couch, so I scoop Lui up and bring him back into the bed where J and Regina are fast asleep.

Luigi is uncomfortable again, can't settle down and is whimpering, so we head back to the living room. There are more displays of whatever is causing his upset stomach (at least these ended up on the strategically place puppy pads, thank goodness!) and after I clean that all up, we settle down together on the couch again (this time though, the cushions are rearranged to prevent any further neck stiffness). By 1:00 am we are sleeping again. Finally, some rest.

We are awoken at 5:15 am by J who is ranting and raving. He has overslept! Oh-no! I vaguely remember hearing his alarm going off but figured he was up, so I stayed asleep. But alas, he had missed it! Thankfully, he awoke before he was actually late for work. He flies into a frenzy....I collect his wallet, keys and phone, pour coffee in a travel mug and stash a fiber bar into his collection of things. Meanwhile, he shaves, puts in contacts, and gets dressed. 5:23 am and he's out the door. WHEW! He made it.

I stumbled back into our bed for another hour of sleep (I had thought that I would hit the treadmill, but after less than good sleep on the couch with a sick puppy, the bed was calling my name). Once I got up, I had a hard time really getting going....normally I try to leave by 7:40 am to be at work by 8:00 am. Today, I left at 8:23 am. That is, of course, after cleaning up after Lui's "issues in his tissues" one more time!

Work was fine for both of us. J had a good first day at the restaurant and I got a ton done too. The office was quiet, as many of our staff have chosen to take summer vacations this week and next. Around noon it rained. Thank goodness! We have a 20 degree break in this sweltering heat and some much needed rain for the lawns that were started to brown. I never thought I'd be happy to hear the roll of thunder!

I got home at 5:15 pm, just after J, who had taken Regina to the vet today. Turns out her lump was a backed up sebaceous gland! EWWW! No wonder it has gotten larger in the past year. Basically, and this is totally gross...it was a big, fat zit trapped under her skin! It was literally the size of our thumbs and large enough to be seen protruding from her side! The doctor aspirated it with a needle and J said the stuff that came out was seriously nasty! The great news? That's all it was. And now, it's virtually gone. The vet did give her an antibiotic shot, just to make sure nothing nastier festers there as it heals. And he cleaned her teeth and checked her eyes. All is well with Ms. Regina! And the bill for all of that was CHEAP! Even better! We love this new vet. Next up? The cat. She's overdue for a teeth cleaning.

J and I took a brief cat nap until our hunger pangs won over our need to sleep. He cooked up a yummy dinner of mustard crusted pork chops, steamed broccoli and Thai rice with white truffle oil. Yummy! And it only cost about $8 to make for the two of us! Even better.

We're going to take it easy and head to bed around 9:30 pm tonight. Let's hope there's no repeat of today's start. It's no fun to oversleep and miss the alarm! Tomorrow is TGIF for me, but it's just the beginning of J's work week. Hopefully in just a couple of days the 5:30 am start will start to feel a little easier for him.

Hump Day!

Today I only went to work for 4 hours since I worked 9 hours on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, I figured it'd be good to work until 12:30 pm and get home early.

Today is payday so we headed to the grocery store. We also made use of our $140 bonus credit at Home Decorators, where we got our rug in June. Today we bought this entertainment stand:

Isn't it cute? And with the $140 credit we got a great deal on it! YAY! Of course, we don't have the flat screen TV to go with it, but if J has anything to do with it, it won't be long before we do! My requirement? That we get a great deal on it from wherever we buy it!

Here's another reason why we're loving living here:
We've been wanting to take Regina in for a general exam, since she was really due for one in May. We called the vet today and we have an appointment for tomorrow! How great is that? I expected it to be at least a week or 10 days before we could get one. And they only charge $36 for an office visit. We are thrilled! They did a wonderful job on Luigi's neuter job last month and we're happy to have found a great vet right away. Regina's lump is much bigger than it was last year and we're going to have it looked at. If it's still nothing, fine. But if it's something, we want to take care of it immediately.

Regina and Luigi love their new big, backyard and watching the squirrels. They still instigate barking matches with the back neighbor's dogs, but they've gotten much better about it. And Luigi is learning that Bella is not one of his playthings. Her poor ears are missing some fur and it's because Luigi loves to tackle her. He's been getting squirted with the ol' spray bottle o' water whenever he's agressive with her. So far, he's learning. And he's a little cleaner too!

J officially starts his first shift tomorrow...he has to be there at 5:30 am! So we're heading to be between 9:30 - 10:00 pm. If you're going to call, please take into consideration the time difference and the fact that we're no longer night owls. That said, J will be home by 3:00 pm and I am usuall home between 4:30-5:00 pm, so if you have break in your day and want to chat, please do call. Otherwise, we'll have to make "phone dates" for the weekends.

How funny! In two short months, we've become "those people" who like to get to bed early, grocery shop together and make home furnishings a priority. Guess we're growing up. Some would probably say, "it's about time."

Gas...down $0.40 in about two weeks!

Driving home from work today I say a number that I haven't seen in a while...$3.43 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas! It was about $3.83 in the middle of July. Luckily, that's the highest we ever saw it get here. Still, I don't know about you, but I think even $3.43 is high. I'd love to see it get back down under $3.00/gal. Do you think that will happen?

Probably not. We'll try to enjoy this reprise while it lasts. Now, if we could get the temperatures to drop in the same fashion....please!?

Hot Sunday

We have had a week of 100+ degree temps! Even locals are complaining! It does get warm here in the summer, but even this is not normal.

Thankfully, everywhere you go is airconditioned! I had to work yesterday (another annual international commitee meeting) so today we took it easy. We did go see a few open houses and again were so suprised about what you can get for your money out here. Seeing open houses also helps us figure out which neighborhoods we like, where the good school districts are and what type of home we ultimately want to buy. One cool thing here is that neighborhoods have their own pool clubs that you can buy memberships too, if you like. So you can have all the fun of a pool, but none of the hassles. Still, we think we might prefer to have one in our backyard...especially since these summer temps are so high! It would be the only way to enjoy the outdoors in the heat!