barack obama, in the news

Nine years, seven months, and twenty days since nine-eleven

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.

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I’ve been following the news since about 7 pm while I was taking a break from writing one of my last undergrads paper by watching The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon and looking through my twitterfeed that the President was planning to announce… something. And that something turns out to be a something that caused me to stop everything I was doing (like getting my paper done on time, which is a first in my entire education) to sit and read and reflect. My emotions have been on a rollercoaster trying to sort through my overwhelmed state.

I can’t celebrate a death. Not even of someone who is responsible for thousands of deaths. I don’t think that’s where wisdom and truth comes from, so I refrain from it. But I’m relieved and proud of my country and everyone involved in this event. I’m just overwhelmed. It took almost a decade, but we did it. The details are continuing to leak out, and I’m taking a break from looking at them to jot this for posterity sake.
What happens now and what does this mean? I’m not sure anyone can predict. We’ll still fight bad guys, try to stay true to our values, make friends and enemies. What does this change? I’m trying to answer, at least partially, and I can’t come up with anything. Not that I should, but it would make it feel a little better. American Embassies received a warning about possible retaliation attacks. When does it end?
But really, what a ride this weekend. The jubilant party of last night’s Correspondents’ Dinner to the capture today of the number one most wanted for almost ten years. I don’t think he can beat this weekend for the rest of his life if he tried.
It also reminds me how difficult this job is. That you do so much and can’t talk about most of it. That a lot of it doesn’t pan out so you can’t talk about it. But when it works, it works.
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in the news, music

A brief pause

The past few weeks has been a big blur. I went from rushing to get the first draft of my thesis done while studying for midterms (last ones for a while!) to rushing around New York City and having the most amazing time with my friend. Now I’m back to the grind of university and wishing I was still in New York. Look for a recap of my delightful trip later this week.
Today I wanted to express my gratitude for my life. My dad was talking about his upbringing at dinner this weekend. I knew he came from a poor farming family in Vietnam, but he doesn’t talk about it much. He talked about not going to school because he was hungry, not wearing shoes except to go to the market or a celebration because they couldn’t afford it, and taking a chance to leave his country with only the clothes on his back into an unknown destination. It’s inspiring to see how far he’s come and only a little bit of pressure to make my own leaps in life.
This leads me to thoughts of those fighting for their voices in the Middle East and North Africa, and the cruel lessons that even in a wealthy country disaster can strike at any moment.
I’ve also been impressed with all the lovely aesthic projects online whose proceeds go to the Red Cross and other relief organizations. This Colossal has a great archive post of some of them if you want a little something extra to show your support. The poster above is by Linda Yuki Nakaniski.
In this time of job searches between research papers and trying to enjoy the last few weeks with the people I’ve met in the last three years, it’s easy to forget about where I’ve come from and what that means. It’s easy to forget how blesssed a life I lead and it’s important to take a few moments to recognize the sacrifices that created this journey for me to enjoy.
And some gifts for you, highly recommended new music from Seattle-area bands!
The Head and the Heart, “Cats and Dogs” and “Coeur D’Alene”
The Lonely Forest, “Live There” (new album out today!)
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in the news, style, television, tv: Friday Night Lights, tv: Parks and Rec

February 2011: New Month, New Favorites.

TV

I haven’t shared this before, so I will say: I love Parks and Recreation. It’s cute, it’s funny, and it’s a love letter to local government. A delightful little show that had a really rocky start, but grew into itself in its second season and is blooming in its third season [which started up in January]. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it! If Amy Poehler is not enough to make you watch, I am now in love with Adam Scott [not the first time] and Aziz brings a necessary kick – but let’s face it, this is an ensemble show that makes great use of all its characters. It’s beat Community as my favorite comedy this season. [Bored to Death is now my number two.]

As an ode to my favorite drama for the past five years – Friday Night Lights will be a beacon to me for network drama. It gets a lot of flack for being “a show about football”, but as a non-sports fan, I still love this show to pieces. It’s about family, growing up, and making the right choices. Brilliant acting, brilliant writing, brilliant cinematography. This show is my heart. It also might be an unpopular opinion, but I like the new cast better than the old.
Style

GAP Winter 2010 ; striped sweater GAP Winter 2010 ; men's wool stretch sweater GAP Winter 2010 ; grey sweater (l)
Ann Taylor Loft winter 2009 ; plaid cape Ann Taylor Loft ; wool skinny pants Ann Taylor Loft Winter 2009 ; green poncho sweater
My go-to winter wear has been oversized sweaters and wool in general. Especially Ann Taylor Loft cape. The cape I bought last winter at a ridiculous sale price. It was the last one in the store and it was in my size [and an extra 50% off because it was in the sale section!]. I was wanting it the entire winter, and found it. I went off to Vietnam a few weeks after I bought it, so it has only this year gotten a lot of wear.
Thanks to their half of sale sales, Ann Taylor Loft and GAP have made a nice home in my wardrobe as of late, and growing.
Blog

The Coveted [edited: it is now The Coveteur] is my favorite January find. Click on a post, scroll to the bottom, click on a picture, and you have a wonderful slideshow of a fashion industry-er’s favorite items and some stories behind them. An absolute thrill, and great photography! It deserves a post of its own, but because I am a horrible blogger, it gets this mention. Not only does it have amazing photography and fashion, the design of the site is unique and fresh. The front page is a collection of posts, in each post is a blurb about a fashion insider, some of their favorite inspiration from the web. Scroll down and there’s a series of pictures of their things in their home. Hover over a photo and you get a blurb about the image. Click on the image and you have a sildeshow with the blurbs and images that you can control with your keyboard or by clicking! I’m in love.

Event


Uprisings in MENA [Middle East, Northern Africa] has made me glued to my twitter and grown my instaread by leaps and bounds. I’m pretty flexible about government styles, but I do believe in a responsive government. Historic moment right now. Let’s let their voices heard.
This was fun! New plan: favorites post about whatever tickles my fancy. Hopefully I will be posting again soon!
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in the news, politics, tragedy

Tragedy in AZ

There are no words to truly express the tragedy that occurred in Tucson earlier today/yesterday. I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with the victims and their families. It’s still shocking, even after all the poisonous words in our public discourse the past few years, that something like that would happen. It strikes at the core of our values as a democratic nation, that something as earnest and routine as meeting with your representative can end so horrifically. That a Federal Judge can be stopping by after church to say hello and a nine year old girl, recently elected to her student council body and invited by her neighbor for a learning experience in democracy can suddenly not be with us anymore. One of the most important aspects of a republic like ours is trust, and I feel like that is rapidly dissolving.

We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Please let someone good come out of this tragedy. Please let us learn that we cannot replace civil political debate with violent rhetoric. Please let us learn.
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in the news, reading list

Reading list: July/August 2010

First. Happy Belated 49th Birthday to my President.
Second. A little relief in the overturning of proposition 8 in California for now. Longer thoughts later. (A little bit from me here.)

And third, my pile of books and other readings:
From left to right. You Shall Know Our Velocity by David Eggers. I’m almost done with this one and it’s brilliant, as Eggers is to me. A fictional travel memoir about two lost boys in their twenties. Pretty great.

The Mars Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This is not your light and fluffy read, though it is short (268 pages, big font and small pages). Series of vingettes (are they that?) during the time Earth starts expeditions to Mars. As Ray says, it’s not really a sci-fi novel, it’s a human novel that takes place on another planet.
Livability by Jon Raymond. Short stories about middle-class living in America to cleanse the palate.

So, I call myself a geek, but I’m not a comic book reader, as much as I’ve wanted to be. I’m starting now. I did read a few Scott Pilgrim graphic novels a couple summers ago, and soon I will start with Watchmen.
I don’t know why this photo is vertical like this because the file certainly is not. I like fashion magazines. Pictured are Vanity Fairs and Elles and a New Yorker. I also enjoy Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Lucky, The Atlantic, etc.
Now it’s bedtime because I have to wake up in eight hours to get to work. (I was able to get my work study job a few weeks early!)

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in the news, thoughts

Thoughts: Living an external life

Let me just say first, that since using Chrome on my lovely little netbook for five months (let’s call him Quintin – Quinn for short), it’s been hard getting back to Firefox. I now use Chrome on my bigger laptop (Herbert, I think – Herbie for short) most of the time, and sometimes use Firefox. When I do use Firefox, I realize that I miss it, but really, Chrome is faster. Sigh. And thus ends my #firstworldproblem of the day.

I was reading an article from the New York Times (“I Tweet Therefore I Am” by Peggy Orenstein) that at first I disregarded, but have been pondering for a few days. Her take that she was so focused on writing the best tweet, or to distilling her everyday activities into concise, shareable sentences, that she was losing some part of living. Me, I try not to tweet too many “personal” notations – I try not to narrate my life on my twitter and share other things, but I’m also on many other “social networks” that I deliberately edit my interests and myself accordingly. I feel too edited now.

I saw someone mention on Tumblr that the thing they like most about John Mayer is that he’s honest. And it’s true. He says things you don’t agree with – he seems to have the most mish-mash of interests – but he’s honest about them. I have a hard time with that sometimes. I will turn off my audio scrobbler if I am listening to an artist deemed uncool for various reasons for a long amount of time. This whole judgmental atmosphere disheartens me, but I buy into it too. Vicious cycle. Being me feels harder now than a few years ago for some reason.
I should just throw caution to the wind and let the judgments fall as they will.
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