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Quote by William Shakespeare :)


I took this photo of my friend Dash, at my fraternity's spring semester recital! He is an INCREDIBLE pianist who just graduated from my school.


I'm going to Hawaii in THREE days! I'M SO EXCITED!

Today is my last day working at my dad's office, and tomorrow is my last day at my internship.

I can't believe it!


Tagged by Jennie!

--five things that make you happy: friends, boyfriend, traveling, good food, shopping

--four of your favorite foods: chocolate lava cake, potatoes, cheese, quesadillas, chicken tikka masala

--three of your favorite movies: The Proposal, Rush Hour 2, The Italian Job

--two places you would love to visit: Greece, Japan

--one of your favorite memories: Summer 2009. I travelled to 7 countries that summer!

Okay, so perhaps I should have waited for a day when it wasn't pouring rain to do this shot, I was drenched by the time I got home (not to mention I had to keep rewriting the words since the chalk kept washing off).


So my Otesha fundraising has hit a spike in the last week, I'm almost at the halfway mark (so far I'm hovering around $1000 which is unbelievable!) The counselling department at my school is buying 4 prints to display in their office and the photography teacher also bought some to display in her room. With just under 2 months until the big trip I'm starting to feel confident that I'll be able to fundraise close to the total amount! If you'd like to order a print (you can also request one from my stream if you'd like) just visit Joel Bikes and have a look :)


Happy Bike Wednesday!

TOTW: Leave Your Mark

for today's 365,

the quote is just a bit more important than the bokeh

(but the bokeh is so colourful!!!!!!!!) :D

the quote is from an American Pop Artist by the name of Andy Warhol.

i got exposed to this quote because of a huge mural in my school.

i think this quote is very inspiring and it definitely caught my attention the first time i saw it.


as a side note, these were colorful hanging lights on the first floor of an office building,

quite a nice decoration for an office building,eh? (yes, i'm canadian and proud of it)


hope you're all doing well, and remember, 'art is ANYTHING you can get away with!"



i am over the moon about this (wow i can't believe i said that haha), THANK YOU ♥

He restores my soul...


My church.





So I was vacuuming in the sanctuary and I saw this gorgeous light coming in from the windows landing on just a few of the pews. So I ran back to the office and grabbed my camera (that I was really thankful I brought with). I had to do a make shift tripod balancing my camera on the ancient vacuum we have and wound the cord around it. I was pretty pleased with quick set up, because I could see the light moving fast! Thats my little story today.


I hope everyones doing good. :)


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"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future." - Nelson Mandela




Another fairly busy day; at least this week is going by quickly though! I looked up this afternoon and realized it was time to leave work! It's been a long time since I've been that busy in the office and to be honest, I'm enjoying it. I like that my days are taken up and I'm not itching for things to do. Right now, I'm busy but it's all very manageable and still affords me time for lunch which is a great balance.


Hope everyone has had a good day. Friday tomorrow!


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"Anyway, so one of the things that I bought at the magic store was this: Tannen's Mystery Magic Box. The premise behind the mystery magic box was the following: 15 dollars buys you 50 dollars worth of magic. Which is a savings. Now, I bought this deades ago and I'm not kidding. Ifyou look at this, you'll see it's never been opened. But I've had this forever.


Now, I was looking at this, it was in my office, as it always is, on the shelf, and I was thinking, why have I not opened this? And why have I kept it? Because I'm not a pack rat. I don't keep everything but for some reason I haven't opened this box.


And I felt like there was a key to this, somehow, in talking about something at TED that I haven't discussed before, and bored people elsewhere. So I thought, maybe there's something with this. I started thinking about it. And there was this giant question mark. I love the design, for what it's worth, of this thing.


And I started thinking, why haven't I opened it?" -- J.J. Abrams, creator of Lost, speaking at the TED conference, March 2007


It's a long quote, but you should listen to the whole talk. It's pretty awesome, and it's something I refer back to occasionally when I'm seeking inspiration from a creative mind.


I feel the same way about boxes, mostly, in the sense that I love the mystery. Because I lean to the side of literature, a box to me can be more than physical packaging. For me, titles are often a huge mystery box. I love titles. When they're done correctly, they can give you a little insight into everything, but not enough that they give everything away.


That's one reason I love these little ? boxes so much. If you ever played any of the Mario games, you'll recognize the prop. But you never knew what was going to pop out of the box when Mario hit it. Would it be a coin, a power item . . . or something else?


Why, yes! I'd love to send you free images!






"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else." - John Burroughs




So, that's a strange quote for this photo, isn't it?


It's actually fairly suiting, because this shot took me way too much effort to get just right. My angle was a difficult one to shoot and I was trying to avoid sitting in the dirty snow so it was a bit of a struggle. In the end though, I got the shot and I'm pretty much happy with it. Not too bad for a Monday.


Throughout the year, when the flowers I keep in the house for rainy day macros have met their end, I throw them into the backyard to decompose, which is exactly where these came from. It must have months ago I threw them out there. They'd been buried under the snow and with the warmer weather this week they've resurfaced, surprisingly still full of colour! I walked past them on my way into the house this morning and knew that they would be my shot. I didn't anticipate what a struggle I would have with them, but that's okay. A challenge is good, once in a while.


Hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday, since I'm not at work today it's not a bad Monday at all! You have to love long weekends!


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For FGR: Stripey Saturday


Strobist info: SB-900 at 1/4 power camera right, fired by wire through umbrella.

In the latter half of the 18th century citizens of this continent rose up in armed revolt because they were unhappy with their government, specifically being oppressed by said government without any recourse. It wasn't that these citizens thought this was the best method for changing government; it was their only method for changing government.


Following the successful conclusion of the revolt, each of the former colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress to create a new government, a loose confederation with a weak, centralized government and strong state governments. It didn't take long to realize that this arrangement was not working, so the states sent representatives to Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress to attempt to make necessary changes to improve the government. What came of this was something completely unintended.


In 1787, members of this Congress voted to accept a new form of government, with strong, federal powers and a unique method for the people to select the head of this government. What they did was truly amazing because they realized that if the citizens of a country are unhappy with the current government, the best way of changing that government is not in armed revolt, but in the ballot booth.


Today, I did my part.


P.S. I am reminded of a quote from President Bill Clinton delivered in an Oval Office address to the nation on September 15,1994, following the first successful democratic election in Haiti's history. "[W]hen you start a democracy, the most important election is the second election." It refers to the fact that a democracy isn't a democracy until it is proven that there can be a successful, and peaceful, transition from one leader to the next. We don't get many things right in this country, but this we do, and have done 42 times in our past. Go us!

~ Buddha


I had the nicest birthday yesterday. From morning until night, I couldn't have asked for more. I feel so blessed. I took the day off work and my kids got up and ready for school with no prodding from me and I was able to sleep in for a while. I had a lovely breakfast with my mom and my older daughter. In the afternoon, I headed downtown and met a photographer friend of mine to shoot some street for a while.


I took this shot while we were out walking around. I had seen an image with a similar unfocused look that I really liked and I wondered how I could replicate that on my iPhone. I thought about my Olloclip and how the macro lens only focuses by moving the phone while you hold it really close to the subject. I tried a test shot and found that using that lens would work to make the image very unfocused. Since then, I've been looking for some place with light the way that I imagined in my head. While we were walking down State Street, we passed an office building with a very large lobby with this great back lighting. I asked Nima to wait for me and went inside. Luckily, there was no one around, so I could play. I really liked the ethereal quality and how this came out. Especially with my phone.


After Nima and I parted, I headed over the the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Plaza and walked around there while waiting for another friend to get off work. Pete and I walked over to the Millennium Park Ice Rink and then to the Bean where they are having carolers on Friday nights. After that, a fantastic Korean vegan dinner. That's where I got the quote from for today. It was hanging on the wall above our table.




New hope in 2009


"Barack" and "Obama" redirect here. For other uses, see Barack (disambiguation) and Obama (disambiguation).

Barack Obama




44th President of the United States


Assumed office

January 20, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden

Preceded by George W. Bush




United States Senator

from Illinois

In office

January 3, 2005 – November 16, 2008

Preceded by Peter Fitzgerald

Succeeded by Roland Burris




Member of the Illinois Senate

from the 13th district

In office

January 8, 1997 – November 4, 2004

Preceded by Alice Palmer

Succeeded by Kwame Raoul




Born August 4, 1961 (1961-08-04) (age 47)[1]

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States[2]

Birth name Barack Hussein Obama II[2]

Nationality American

Political party Democratic

Spouse Michelle Obama (m. 1992)

Children Malia Ann (b. 1998)

Natasha (a.k.a. Sasha) (b. 2001)

Residence Chicago, Illinois (private)

White House, Washington, D.C. (official)

Alma mater Occidental College

Columbia University (B.A.)

Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Profession Community organizer





Religion Protestant Christian[3]



This article is part of a series about

Barack Obama

Background · Illinois Senate · U.S. Senate

Political positions · Public image · Family

2008 primaries · Obama–Biden campaign

Transition · Inauguration · US Presidency


Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk hʊˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from 2005 until he resigned following his 2008 election to the presidency. He was inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009.


Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.


As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama helped create legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During the 110th Congress, he helped create legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for U.S. military personnel returning from combat assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan

Early life and career

Main article: Early life and career of Barack Obama

Barack Obama was born at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, Hawaii,[4][5] to Stanley Ann Dunham,[6] a White American from Wichita, Kansas,[7][8][9] and Barack Obama, Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya. Obama's parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship.[10][11] The couple married on February 2, 1961.[12] Obama's parents separated when Obama was two years old, and they divorced in 1964.[11] Obama's father returned to Kenya and saw his son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982.[13]


After her divorce, Dunham married Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro, who was attending college in Hawaii. When Soeharto, a military leader in Soetoro's home country, came to power in 1967, all students studying abroad were recalled and the family moved to Indonesia.[14] There Obama attended local schools in Jakarta, such as Besuki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi School, until he was ten years old.


He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Armour Dunham, while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade in 1971 until his graduation from high school in 1979.[15] Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 for five years, and then in 1977 went back to Indonesia, where she worked as an anthropological field worker. She stayed there most of the rest of her life, returning to Hawaii in 1994. She died of ovarian cancer in 1995.[16]


Right-to-left: Barack Obama and half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, with their mother Ann Dunham and grandfather Stanley Dunham, in Hawaii (early 1970s).Of his early childhood, Obama has recalled, "That my father looked nothing like the people around me — that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk — barely registered in my mind."[17] In his 1995 memoir, he described his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage.[18] He wrote that he used alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind."[19] At the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency, Obama identified his high-school drug use as his "greatest moral failure."[20]


Some of his fellow students at Punahou School later told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that Obama was mature for his age, and that he sometimes attended college parties and other events in order to associate with African American students and military service people. Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: "The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear."[21]


Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years.[22] He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations.[23] Obama graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983. He worked for a year at the Business International Corporation[24][25] and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.[26][27]


After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago, where he was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side. He worked there for three years from June 1985 to May 1988.[26][28] During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from one to thirteen and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000. His achievements included helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens.[29] Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute.[30] In mid-1988, he traveled for the first time to Europe for three weeks and then for five weeks in Kenya, where he met many of his paternal relatives for the first time.[31]


Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year,[32] and president of the journal in his second year.[33] During his summers, he returned to Chicago where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990.[34] After graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude[35][36] from Harvard in 1991, he returned to Chicago.[32]


Obama's election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review gained national media attention[33] and led to a publishing contract and advance for a book about race relations.[37] In an effort to recruit him to their faculty, the University of Chicago Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book.[37] He originally planned to finish the book in one year, but it took much longer as the book evolved into a personal memoir. In order to work without interruptions, Obama and his wife, Michelle, traveled to Bali where he wrote for several months. The manuscript was finally published in mid-1995 as Dreams from My Father.[37]


From April to October 1992, Obama directed Illinois's Project Vote, a voter registration drive with a staff of ten and seven hundred volunteers; it achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state, and led to Crain's Chicago Business naming Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be.[38][39]


For twelve years, Obama served as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School teaching Constitutional Law. He was first classified as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and then as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004.[40] He also joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.[26][41][42]


Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife, Michelle, became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago in early 1993.[26][43] He served from 1994 to 2002 on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund the Developing Communities Project, and also from 1994 to 2002 on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation.[26] Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995 to 1999.[26] He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.[26]


Political career


State legislator: 1997–2004

Main article: Illinois Senate career of Barack Obama

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois's 13th District, which then spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park-Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn.[44] Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws.[45] He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare.[46] In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.[47]


Obama was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, defeating Republican Yesse Yehudah in the General Election, and reelected again in 2002.[48] In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.[49][50]


In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority.[51] He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations.[46][52] During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms.[53] Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate.[54]


2004 U.S. Senate campaign

See also: United States Senate election in Illinois, 2004

In mid-2002, Obama began considering a run for the U.S. Senate; he enlisted political strategist David Axelrod that fall and formally announced his candidacy in January 2003.[55] Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun not to contest the race launched wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving fifteen candidates.[56] Obama's candidacy was boosted by Axelrod's advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and an endorsement by the daughter of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator for Illinois.[57] He received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival.[58]


In July 2004, Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.[59] After describing his maternal grandfather's experiences as a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the New Deal's FHA and G.I. Bill programs, Obama spoke about changing the U.S. government's economic and social priorities. He questioned the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War and highlighted America's obligations to its soldiers. Drawing examples from U.S. history, he criticized heavily partisan views of the electorate and asked Americans to find unity in diversity, saying, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America."[60] Though it was not televised by the three major broadcast news networks, a combined 9.1 million viewers watching on PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and C-SPAN saw Obama's speech, which was a highlight of the convention and confirmed his status as the Democratic Party's brightest new star.[61]


Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004.[62] Two months later and less than three months before Election Day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan.[63] A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination.[64] In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest victory margin for a statewide race in Illinois history.[65]


U.S. Senator: 2005–2008

Main article: United States Senate career of Barack Obama

Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005.[66] Obama was the fifth African-American Senator in U.S. history, and the third to have been popularly elected.[67] He was the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus.[68] CQ Weekly, a nonpartisan publication, characterized him as a "loyal Democrat" based on analysis of all Senate votes in 2005–2007. The National Journal ranked him as the "most liberal" senator based on an assessment of selected votes during 2007; in 2005 he was ranked sixteenth most liberal, and in 2006 he was ranked tenth.[69][70] In 2008, ranked him as the eleventh most powerful Senator.[71] Obama announced on November 13, 2008 that he would resign his senate seat on November 16, 2008, before the start of the lame-duck session, to focus on his transition period for the presidency.[72][73] This enabled him to avoid the conflict of dual roles as President-elect and Senator in the lame duck session of Congress, which no sitting member of Congress had faced since Warren Harding.[74]



See also: List of bills sponsored by Barack Obama in the United States Senate


Senate bill sponsors Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Obama discussing the Coburn–Obama Transparency Act.[75]Obama voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act.[76] In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act.[77] Obama introduced two initiatives bearing his name: Lugar–Obama, which expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons,[78] and the Coburn–Obama Transparency Act, which authorized the establishment of, a web search engine on federal spending.[79] On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama, along with Senators Thomas R. Carper, Tom Coburn, and John McCain, introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.[80]


Obama sponsored legislation that would have required nuclear plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks, but the bill failed to pass in the full Senate after being heavily modified in committee.[81] Obama is not hostile to Tort reform and voted for the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 which grants immunity from civil liability to telecommunications companies complicit with NSA warrantless wiretapping operations.[82]


In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor.[83] In January 2007, Obama and Senator Feingold introduced a corporate jet provision to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which was signed into law in September 2007.[84] Obama also introduced Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections[85] and the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007,[86] neither of which have been signed into law.


Obama and U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) visit a Russian mobile launch missile dismantling facility in August 2005.[87]Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges.[88] This amendment passed the full Senate in the spring of 2008.[89] He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, which has not passed committee, and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.[90][91] Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.[92]



Obama held assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works and Veterans' Affairs through December 2006.[93] In January 2007, he left the Environment and Public Works committee and took additional assignments with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.[94] He also became Chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on European Affairs.[95] As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He met with Mahmoud Abbas before he became President of the Palestinian Authority, and gave a speech at the University of Nairobi condemning corruption in the Kenyan government.[96][97][98][99]


2008 Presidential campaign

Main articles: Barack Obama presidential primary campaign, 2008 and Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008

Wikinews has related news: Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States

On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.[100][101] The choice of the announcement site was symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic "House Divided" speech in 1858.[102] Throughout the campaign, Obama emphasized the issues of rapidly ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence, and providing universal health care.[103]


Obama stands on stage with his wife and two daughters just before announcing his presidential candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, Feb. 10, 2007.During both the primary process and the general election, Obama's campaign set numerous fundraising records, particularly in the quantity of small donations.[104][105][106] On June 19, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1976.[107]


A large number of candidates initially entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries. After a few initial contests, the field narrowed to a contest between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, with each winning some states and the race remaining close throughout the primary process.[108][109][110][111] On May 31, the Democratic National Committee agreed to seat all of the disputed Michigan and Florida delegates at the national convention, each with a half-vote, narrowing Obama's delegate lead.[112] On June 3, with all states counted, Obama passed the threshold to become the presumptive nominee.[113][114] On that day, he gave a victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clinton suspended her campaign and endorsed him on June 7.[115] From that point on, he campaigned for the general election race against Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.


On August 23, 2008, Obama announced that he had selected Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate.[116]


Obama delivers his presidential election victory speech.At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Obama's former rival Hillary Clinton gave a speech in support of Obama's candidacy and later called for Obama to be nominated by acclamation as the Democratic presidential candidate.[117][118] On August 28, Obama delivered a speech to 84,000 supporters in Denver. During the speech, which was viewed by over 38 million people worldwide, he accepted his party's nomination and presented his policy goals.[119][120]


After McCain was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, there were three presidential debates between Obama and McCain in September and October 2008.[121][122] In November, Obama won the presidency with 53% of the popular vote and a wide electoral college margin. His election sparked street celebrations in numerous cities in the United States[123] and abroad.


Election victory

Main article: Presidential transition of Barack Obama


President-elect Obama meets with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office, November 10, 2008.On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the general election with 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173[124] and became the first African American to be elected President of the United States.[125][126][127][128] In his victory speech, delivered before a crowd of hundreds of thousands of his supporters in Chicago's Grant Park, Obama proclaimed that "change has come to America".[129]


On January 8, 2009, the joint session of the U.S. Congress met to certify the votes of the Electoral College for the 2008 presidential election. Based on the results of the electoral vote count, Barack Obama was declared to have been elected President of the United States and Joseph Biden was declared to have been elected Vice President of the United States.[130]



Main article: Presidency of Barack Obama

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth President, and Joe Biden as Vice President, took place on January 20, 2009. The theme of the inauguration was "A New Birth of Freedom," commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.[131]


In his first few days in office, Obama issued executive orders and presidential memoranda reversing President Bush's ban on federal funding to foreign establishments that allow abortions (known as the Global Gag Rule),[132] and changed procedures to promote disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act,[133] directing the U.S. military to develop plans to withdraw troops from Iraq,[134] and reducing the secrecy given to presidential records,[135] and closing Guantanamo Bay detention camp "as soon as practicable and no later than" January 2010, and "Immediate Review of All Guantánamo Detentions".


Political positions

Main article: Political positions of Barack Obama

A method that some political scientists use for gauging ideology is to compare the annual ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) with the ratings by the American Conservative Union (ACU).[136] Based on his years in Congress, Obama has a lifetime average conservative rating of 7.67% from the ACU,[137] and a lifetime average liberal rating of 90% from the ADA.[138]


Obama campaigning in Abington, Pennsylvania, October 2008.Obama was an early opponent of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq.[139] On October 2, 2002, the day President George W. Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War,[140] Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally in Federal Plaza,[141] speaking out against the war.[142][143] On March 16, 2003, the day Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. invasion of Iraq,[144] Obama addressed the largest Chicago anti-Iraq War rally to date in Daley Plaza and told the crowd that "it's not too late" to stop the war.[145] Although Obama had previously said he wanted all the U.S. troops out of Iraq within 16 months of becoming President, after he won the primary, he said he might "refine" that promise.[146]


Obama stated that if elected he would enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, stop investing in "unproven" missile defense systems, not "weaponize" space, "slow development of Future Combat Systems," and work towards eliminating all nuclear weapons. Obama favors ending development of new nuclear weapons, reducing the current U.S. nuclear stockpile, enacting a global ban on production of fissile material, and seeking negotiations with Russia in order to take ICBMs off high alert status.[147]


In November 2006, Obama called for a "phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq" and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Syria and Iran.[148] In a March 2007 speech to AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby, he said that the primary way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is through talks and diplomacy, although he did not rule out military action.[149] Obama has indicated that he would engage in "direct presidential diplomacy" with Iran without preconditions.[150][151][152] Detailing his strategy for fighting global terrorism in August 2007, Obama said "it was a terrible mistake to fail to act" against a 2005 meeting of al-Qaeda leaders that U.S. intelligence had confirmed to be taking place in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He said that as president he would not miss a similar opportunity, even without the support of the Pakistani government.[153]


In a December 2005, Washington Post opinion column, and at the Save Darfur rally in April 2006, Obama called for more assertive action to oppose genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.[154] He has divested $180,000 in personal holdings of Sudan-related stock, and has urged divestment from companies doing business in Iran.[155] In the July–August 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, Obama called for an outward looking post-Iraq War foreign policy and the renewal of American military, diplomatic, and moral leadership in the world. Saying that "we can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission," he called on Americans to "lead the world, by deed and by example."[156]


Obama speaking at a rally at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.In economic affairs, in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and opposed Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security.[157] In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Obama spoke out against government indifference to growing economic class divisions, calling on both political parties to take action to restore the social safety net for the poor.[158] Shortly before announcing his presidential campaign, Obama said he supports universal health care in the United States.[159] Obama proposes to reward teachers for performance from traditional merit pay systems, assuring unions that changes would be pursued through the collective bargaining process.[160]


In September 2007, he blamed special interests for distorting the U.S. tax code.[161] His plan would eliminate taxes for senior citizens with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, repeal income tax cuts for those making over $250,000 as well as the capital gains and dividends tax cut,[162] close corporate tax loopholes, lift the income cap on Social Security taxes, restrict offshore tax havens, and simplify filing of income tax returns by pre-filling wage and bank information already collected by the IRS.[163] Announcing his presidential campaign's energy plan in October 2007, Obama proposed a cap and trade auction system to restrict carbon emissions and a ten year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.[164] Obama proposed that all pollution credits must be auctioned, with no grandfathering of credits for oil and gas companies, and the spending of the revenue obtained on energy development and economic transition costs.[165]


Obama has encouraged Democrats to reach out to evangelicals and other religious groups.[166] In December 2006, he joined Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) at the "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" organized by church leaders Kay and Rick Warren.[167] Together with Warren and Brownback, Obama took an HIV test, as he had done in Kenya less than four months earlier.[168] He encouraged "others in public life to do the same" and not be ashamed of it.[169] Addressing over 8,000 United Church of Christ members in June 2007, Obama challenged "so-called leaders of the Christian Right" for being "all too eager to exploit what divides us."[170]


Family and personal life

Main articles: Early life and career of Barack Obama and Family of Barack Obama


Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama.In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson, who later became his wife, when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin.[171] Assigned for three months as Obama's adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial requests to date.[172] They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992.[173] The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998,[174] followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.[175] Because of Michelle Obama's employment with the University of Chicago, the Obama daughters attended the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When they moved to Washington, D.C., in January 2009, the girls started at the private Sidwell Friends School.[176]


Obama was known as "Barry" in his youth, but asked to be addressed with his given name during his college years.[177]


Applying the proceeds of a book deal, in 2005 the family moved from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6 million house in neighboring Kenwood.[178] The purchase of an adjacent lot and sale of part of it to Obama by the wife of developer and friend Tony Rezko attracted media attention because of Rezko's indictment and subsequent conviction on political corruption charges that were unrelated to Obama.[179][180]


In December 2007, Money magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million.[181] Their 2007 tax return showed a household income of $4.2 million—up from about $1 million in 2006 and $1.6 million in 2005—mostly from sales of his books.[182]


Obama playing basketball with U.S. military at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti in 2006.[183]In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family. "Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it's like a little mini-United Nations." he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher."[184] Obama has seven half-siblings from his Kenyan father's family, six of them living, and a half-sister with whom he was raised, Maya Soetoro-Ng, the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband.[185] Obama's mother was survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham[186] until her death on November 2, 2008, just before the presidential election.[187] In Dreams from My Father, Obama ties his mother's family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the southern Confederacy during the American Civil War.[188] Obama's maternal and paternal grandfathers fought in World War II. Obama's great-uncle served in the 89th Division that overran Ohrdruf,[189] the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops.[190]


Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team.[191] He is an avid sports fan. Obama follows the Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls and West Ham United F.C.[192][193][194][195] While he has never been a heavy smoker, Obama has tried to quit smoking several times, including a well-publicized and ongoing effort which he began before launching his presidential campaign.[196] Obama has said he will not smoke in the White House.[197]


Obama is a Protestant Christian whose religious views have evolved in his adult life. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents (whom Obama has specified elsewhere as "non-practicing Methodists and Baptists") to be detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his father as "raised a Muslim," but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." In the book, Obama explains how, through working with black churches as a community organizer while in his twenties, he came to understand "the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change."[198][199] He was baptized at the Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988 and was an active member there for two decades.[200][201]


Besides his native English, Obama speaks Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), at least on a colloquial level, which he learned during his four childhood years in Jakarta.[202] After the APEC summit in November 2008, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono related a telephone conversation with Obama in Indonesian to Indonesian media. Obama had told Yudhoyono that he missed Indonesian food like Nasi Goreng, Bakso or Rambutan.[203]


Cultural and political image

Main article: Public image of Barack Obama

With his black Kenyan father and white American mother, his upbringing in Honolulu and Jakarta, and his Ivy League education, Obama's early life experiences differ markedly from those of African-American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement.[204] Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is "black enough", Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that the debate is not about his physical appearance or his record on issues of concern to black voters. Obama said that "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong."[205]


Echoing the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, Obama acknowledged his youthful image in an October 2007 campaign speech, saying: "I wouldn't be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation."[206] A popular catch phrase distilled the concept: "Rosa sat so Martin could walk; Martin walked so Obama could run; Obama is running so our children can fly."[207]


From left: Presidents George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter meet in the Oval Office on January 7, 2009.Obama has been praised as a master of oratory on par with other renowned speakers in the past such as Martin Luther King, Jr.[208][209] His "Yes We Can" speech, which artists independently set to music in a video produced by, was viewed by 10 million people on YouTube in the first month,[210] and received an Emmy Award.[211] University of Virginia professor Jonathan Haidt researched the effectiveness of Obama's public speaking and concluded that part of his excellence is because the politician is adept at inspiring the emotion of elevation, the desire to act morally and do good for others.[212] Obama used these communication skills in a series of weekly internet video addresses during his pre-inauguration transition period;[213] he has suggested he will make a series of broadcast and internet addresses similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous fireside chats throughout his term as president to explain his policies and actions.[214]


Many commentators mentioned Obama's international appeal as a defining factor for his public image.[215] Not only did several polls show strong support for him in other countries,[216] but Obama also established close relationships with prominent foreign politicians and elected officials even before his presidential candidacy, notably with then incumbent British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom he met in London in 2005,[217] with Italy's Democratic Party leader and then Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, who visited Obama's Senate office in 2005,[218] and with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also visited him in Washington in 2006.[219]


Obama won Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards for abridged audiobook versions of both of his books; for Dreams from My Father in February 2006 and for The Audacity of Hope in February 2008.[220]


In December 2008, Time magazine named Barack Obama as its Person of the Year for his historic candidacy and election, which it described as "the steady march of seemingly impossible accomplishments."[221]



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^ "President Bush Signs Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.". White House (2006-09-26).

^ U.S. Senate, 109th Congress, 1st Session (2005-05-12). "S. 1033, Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act". Thomas. Retrieved on 2008-04-27.

^ "Latinos Upset Obama Voted for Border Fence", CBS 2 (Chicago) (2006-11-20). Retrieved on 27 April 2008. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.

^ "Lugar–Obama Nonproliferation Legislation Signed into Law by the President". Richard Lugar U.S. Senate Office (2007-01-11). Retrieved on 2008-04-27. See also: Lugar, Richard G; Barack Obama (2005-12-03). "Junkyard Dogs of War", Washington Post. Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ McCormack, John (2007-12-21). "Google Government Gone Viral", Weekly Standard. Retrieved on 27 April 2008. See also: "President Bush Signs Coburn–Obama Transparency Act". Tom Coburn U.S. Senate Office (2006-09-26). Retrieved on 2008-04-27. and

^ S. 3077: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008, 2007-2008 (110th Congress)

^ McIntire, Mike (2008-02-03). "Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate", The New York Times. Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Daniel Fisher (August 11, 2008). "November Election A Lawyer's Delight". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-01-11.

^ "Democratic Republic of the Congo". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (April 2006). Retrieved on 2008-04-27. "The IRC Welcomes New U.S. Law on Congo". International Rescue Committee (2007-01-05). Retrieved on 2008-04-27.

^ Weixel, Nathaniel (2007-11-15). "Feingold, Obama Go After Corporate Jet Travel", The Hill. Retrieved on 27 April 2008. Weixel, Nathaniel (2007-12-05). "Lawmakers Press FEC on Bundling Regulation", The Hill. Retrieved on 27 April 2008. See also: "Federal Election Commission Announces Plans to Issue New Regulations to Implement the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007", Federal Election Commission (2007-09-24). Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Stern, Seth (2007-01-31). "Obama–Schumer Bill Proposal Would Criminalize Voter Intimidation",, The New York Times. Retrieved on 27 April 2008. U.S. Senate, 110th Congress, 1st Session (2007-01-31). "S. 453, Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007". Thomas. Retrieved on 2008-04-27. See also: "Honesty in Elections" (editorial), The New York Times (2007-01-31). Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Krystin, E. Kasak (2007-02-07). "Obama Introduces Measure to Bring Troops Home", Medill News Service, The Times (Munster, Indiana). Retrieved on 27 April 2008. "Latest Major Action: 1/30/2007 Referred to Senate committee." U.S. Senate, 110th Congress, 1st Session (2007-01-30). "S. 433, Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007". Thomas. Retrieved on 2008-04-27.

^ "Nunn–Lugar Report" (PDF). Richard Lugar U.S. Senate Office (August 2005). Retrieved on 2008-04-30.

^ "Obama, Bond Hail New Safeguards on Military Personality Disorder Discharges, Urge Further Action". Kit Bond U.S. Senate Office (2007-10-01). Retrieved on 2008-04-27. See also: Dine, Philip (2007-12-23). "Bond Calls for Review of Military Discharges", St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ "Obama, Bond Applaud Senate Passage of Amendment to Expedite the Review of Personality Disorder Discharge Cases".

^ Graham-Silverman, Adam (2007-09-12). "Despite Flurry of Action in House, Congress Unlikely to Act Against Iran", CQ Today. Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ "Obama, Schiff Provision to Create Nuclear Threat Reduction Plan Approved". Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office (2007-12-20). Retrieved on 2008-04-27.

^ "Senate Passes Obama, McCaskill Legislation to Provide Safety Net for Families of Wounded Service Members". Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office (2007-08-02). Retrieved on 2008-04-27.

^ "Committee Assignments" (archive). Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office (2006-12-09). Retrieved on 2008-04-27.

^ "Obama Gets New Committee Assignments", Associated Press, Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office (2006-11-15). Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Baldwin, Tom (2007-12-21). "Stay-At-Home Barack Obama Comes Under Fire for a Lack of Foreign Experience", Sunday Times (UK). Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Larson, Christina (September 2006). "Hoosier Daddy: What Rising Democratic Star Barack Obama Can Learn from an Old Lion of the GOP", Washington Monthly. Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Goudie, Chuck (2006-01-12). "Obama Meets with Arafat's Successor", WLS-TV. Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ "Obama Slates Kenya for Fraud", (2006-08-28). Retrieved on 27 April 2008.

^ Wamalwa, Chris (2006-09-02). "Envoy Hits at Obama Over Graft Remark", The Standard (Nairobi). Retrieved on 27 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Moracha, Vincent; Mangoa Mosota (2006-09-04). "Leaders Support Obama on Graft Claims", The Standard (Nairobi). Retrieved on 27 April 2008. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007.

^ Pearson, Rick; Long, Ray (February 10, 2007). "Obama: I'm running for president", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 20 September 2008.

^ "Obama Launches Presidential Bid", BBC News (2007-02-10). Retrieved on 14 January 2008.

^ "Presidential Campaign Announcement" (video), Obama for America, Brightcove.TV (2007-02-10). Retrieved on 14 January 2008.

^ "Barack Obama on the Issues: What Would Be Your Top Three Overall Priorities If Elected?", Washington Post. Retrieved on 14 April 2008. See also: Falcone, Michael (2007-12-21). "Obama's 'One Thing'", The New York Times. Retrieved on 14 April 2008.

^ Malone, Jim (July 2, 2007). "Obama Fundraising Suggests Close Race for Party Nomination", Voice of America. Retrieved on 14 January 2008.

^ Cummings, Jeanne (September 26, 2007). "Small Donors Rewri

Hey guys!


I'm going to be blogging about my first day as a 10th grader! Oh, like Jenna's back to school outfit? She's a 12th grader now, along with most of her friends, FINAL YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL FOR HER! xD


Well, lemme tell you it didn't start off well at ALL. My bus missed me, and I had to run about 3 blocks in combat boots (in and out of my dad's truck). My heels have blisters from a previous shoe, and running in them almost made me cry because of the pain. Now, you guys never met me in person, but as soon as I wake up I'm very cranky. I'm not calm until I listen to my screamo music. Now, my first day of school I'm obviously not going to be too happy at first. My stupid bus driver goes "Oh, who are you? You don't have an official stop." O__e....I had my bus stop set official because I was unable to walk past this woody pass in the morning (lots of bad people creep and stuff ._.) soit as made official last year in 9th grade. So, I flipped on him. Yes, I could have handled it better than saying "Why not actually pay attention to the fucking road instead of blaring he radio and maybe you'll notice your damn kids running to the damn bus stop!!!" but I have a temper. And I'm not afraid to use it. For the rest of the bus ride everyone was making fun of me and some bitchy priss kept flicking my head. People REALLLYdon't unrtand my temper. I turned around, and told her to go blow one of her manwhore boyfriends. She shut up reaalll quick. >.>


As soon as I walked in a few of my friends were hiding away from the new freshie class xD But anywhore, I saw Blondie and ER MAI GERD. He said hi to me and hugged me. But, it gets better. Instead of just letting go, he put his arm around my shoulder and KEPT IT THERE. All I was thinking was "ehfberiufggeghefhew fergwehgferohgb ewhgowuhefgvej" xD But, he has a girlfriend so I can't think much of it...But hey, I'M ONE STEP CLOSER TO GETTING RID OF HER....MUAHAHHA AH HAHAHA ah ._.


My first class is Basic Geometry. EW. I hate it. My teacher is like, bipolar...No offence to bipolar people, but it was like, really scary...She was fine one minute and then the next she flipped shit on all of us. And, I'm stuck sitting next to this real prissy bitch. She treats me like shit all the freaking time! Gah, I hate that class -.-


Second period is Spanish. I was really expecting a horrible time, but my teacher is really yound and nice! She said she liked my shirt :D And, since a lot of us aren't good at Spanish she said she will take it nice and slow. Woo! It's only my third time taking Spanish, but the last time I took it was 8th grade o-o. I have two of my friends in that class, Megan #2 and Maddie :D


Third period is Concert Choir. THANK GOD. We have about 30 kids in our class, when last year we had about 12 xD I was really excited, because I have my friend Amber (not the one in the photo xD a different one), Marissa, Dephfane, Shannon, Jackie, and Arianna in my class. I'm only close to Arianna, but the rest are really nice to me and we do talk in choir alot. We did this intro game here we had to pick a song (from a bucket) and everyone would sing the 4 different songs at once. The only way to communicate was by song, and we had to find everybody singing it. Oh God, it was hectic xD But, after found my group, Marissa, Dephfane, and I all were rapping Row Row Row Your Boat xD!


Forth period is English. ER MAI GERD. I ALREADY LOVE MY TEACHER. He used to help direct movies (He helped make Avatar!) And he didn't like it anymore so he went to be a teacher, He also runs the creative writing club :3 We really didn't do much, just talked abut what to expect. He's really funny too ^-^ Oh, and I have Ange an Lexie in that class :33


Fifth is Contempt. Issues. It's prett much talking and debting on current events. It's really fun actually. I have my friend Aleigha in that class, and it was quit iteresting. We started to talking about the death penalty and abortion, and soon we will be ablke to have a little debate for a class :) Personally, I believe in- haha, not saying :) It's a really awesome class actually!


Sixth is stupid Gym. I hate it. If I don't play, I get a "monor offence. I won't really explain what that is, but two minors equala major, and that will give you an office detention, ISS (in schol suspension), or OSS (out of schol suspension). My teacher is a real bitch, and she already picked on me. I have Caitlin, Tiffani, and Aleigha (again) in that class. It's going to be Hell. I'm NOT althetic, and I get hurt easily. Because of my history of clumsiness, people pick on me n gym and PURPOSLY throw the ball at my face. I've had the wind knocked out of me 3 times last year, along with a black eye. And trus me,THE TEACHERS DON'T DO A DAMN THING. BWAH.


And finally seventh is Biology. I have a really awesome teacher that I already know, and we get to do experiments twice a week. YEAHHH BUDDY. We get to do a dinosaur prioject at the end of the year, and it's supposed to be awesome. I'll totally feel like a 1st grader xD But yeah....I only have Storm in that class, but he's a really cool kid to talk to.And plus this hot kid sits next to me. xD


And that's how my school day went. The bus ride was better, but my bus driver now hates me. OH WELL. I know, it ws out of whack to say something like that, but if you were running 3 blocks in combat boots, freaking in pain, you would understand...xD


This was a rREALLLLLYYY long blog...LOL xD Anywhore, I'll talk to you guys later! Oh yeah, if one more person asks me about the results I'll flip. No joke. I'M WORKING ON IT. >.< Kay byee! xD


Daily Quote: "Just. Derp."

The corner of my office corkboard...just a few fun things...

© Copyright Phoneography Pilgrim 2011 All Rights Reserved. My images are not to be used, copied, edited, or blogged without my written permission.


title quote by Paul Strand


208/365. My Daily Post


I was leaving an office building this morning and was struck by the sheer ordinariness of this stairs. Nothing pretentious. Strictly utilitarian. But it was the light flooding in that doorway that caused me to pause and simply ponder the beauty of how light can fill the most empty of spaces.

The western front of the United States Capitol in 2011.

General information

Architectural style American Neoclassicism

Town or city Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

Country United States of America

Construction started September 18, 1793


The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall. Though it has never been the geographic center of the federal district, the Capitol is the origin by which the quadrants of the District are divided and the city was planned.


Officially, both the east and west sides of the Capitol are referred to as fronts. Historically, however, only the east front of the building was intended for the arrival of visitors and dignitaries. Like the federal buildings for the executive and judicial branches, it is built in the distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior.




See also: History of Washington, D.C. and List of National Historic Landmarks in Washington, D.C.

The US Capitol dome at night (photo 2010)


Prior to establishing the nation's capital in Washington, D.C., the United States Congress and its predecessors had met in Philadelphia (Independence Hall and Congress Hall), New York City (Federal Hall), and a number of other locations (Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland, Nassau Hall in Princeton, New Jersey).[2] In September 1774, the First Continental Congress brought together delegates from the colonies in Philadelphia, followed by the Second Continental Congress, which met from May 1775 to March 1781.


After adopting the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was formed and convened in Philadelphia from March 1781 until June 1783, when a mob of angry soldiers converged upon Independence Hall, demanding payment for their service during the American Revolutionary War. Congress requested that John Dickinson, the governor of Pennsylvania, call up the militia to defend Congress from attacks by the protesters. In what became known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Dickinson sympathized with the protesters and refused to remove them from Philadelphia. As a result, Congress was forced to flee to Princeton, New Jersey, on June 21, 1783,[3] and met in Annapolis, Maryland and Trenton, New Jersey before ending up in New York City.


The United States Congress was established upon ratification of the United States Constitution and formally began on March 4, 1789. New York City remained home to Congress until July 1790,[4] when the Residence Act was passed to pave the way for a permanent capital. The decision to locate the capital was contentious, but Alexander Hamilton helped broker a compromise in which the federal government would take on war debt incurred during the American Revolutionary War, in exchange for support from northern states for locating the capital along the Potomac River. As part of the legislation, Philadelphia was chosen as a temporary capital for ten years (until December 1800), until the nation's capital in Washington, D.C. would be ready.[5]


Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant was given the task of creating the city plan for the new capital city.[6] L'Enfant chose Jenkins Hill as the site for the Capitol building, with a grand boulevard connecting it with the President's House, and a public space stretching westward to the Potomac River.[7] In reviewing L'Enfant's plan, Thomas Jefferson insisted the legislative building be called the "Capitol" rather than "Congress House". The word "Capitol" comes from Latin and is associated with the Roman temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill.[8] In addition to coming up with a city plan, L'Enfant had been tasked with designing the Capitol and President's House, however he was dismissed in February 1792 over disagreements with President George Washington and the commissioners, and there were no plans at that point for the Capitol.[9]

Design competition

Design for the U.S. Capitol, "An Elevation for a Capitol", by James Diamond was one of many submitted in the 1792 contest, but not selected.


In spring 1792, Thomas Jefferson proposed a design competition to solicit designs for the Capitol and the President's House, and set a four-month deadline. The prize for the competition was $500 and a lot in the federal city. At least ten individuals submitted designs for the Capitol; however the drawings were regarded as crude and amateurish, reflecting the level of architectural skill present in the United States at the time.[10] The most promising of the submissions was by Stephen Hallet, a trained French architect.[11] However, Hallet's designs were overly fancy, with too much French influence, and were deemed too costly.[12]


A late entry by amateur architect William Thornton was submitted on January 31, 1793, to much praise for its "Grandeur, Simplicity, and Beauty" by Washington, along with praise from Thomas Jefferson. Thornton was inspired by the east front of the Louvre, as well as the Paris Pantheon for the center portion of the design.[13][14] Thornton's design was officially approved in a letter, dated April 5, 1793, from Washington.[15] In an effort to console Hallet, the commissioners appointed him to review Thornton's plans, develop cost estimates, and serve as superintendent of construction. Hallet proceeded to pick apart and make drastic changes to Thornton's design, which he saw as costly to build and problematic.[16] In July 1793, Jefferson convened a five-member commission, bringing Hallet and Thornton together, along with James Hoban, to address problems with and revise Thornton's plan. Hallet suggested changes to the floor plan, which could be fitted within the exterior design by Thornton.[17][18] The revised plan was accepted, except that Jefferson and Washington insisted on an open recess in the center of the East front, which was part of Thornton's original plan.[19]


The original design by Thornton was later modified by Benjamin Henry Latrobe and then Charles Bulfinch.[20] The current dome and the House and Senate wings were designed by Thomas U. Walter and August Schoenborn,[21] a German immigrant, and were completed under the supervision of Edward Clark.[22]


The Capitol when first occupied by Congress (painting circa 1800 by William Russell Birch)


L'Enfant secured the lease of quarries at Wigginton Island and along Aquia Creek in Virginia for use in the foundations and outer walls of the Capitol in November 1791.[23] Surveying was underway soon after the Jefferson conference plan for the Capitol was accepted.[17] On September 18, 1793 George Washington, along with eight other Freemasons dressed in masonic regalia, laid the cornerstone, which was made by silversmith Caleb Bentley.[24][25]


Construction proceeded with Hallet working under supervision of James Hoban, who was also busy working on construction of the White House. Despite the wishes of Jefferson and the President, Hallet went ahead anyway and modified Thornton's design for the East front and created a square central court that projected from the center, with flanking wings which would house the legislative bodies. Hallet was dismissed by Jefferson on November 15, 1794.[26] George Hadfield was hired on October 15, 1795 as superintendent of construction, but resigned three years later in May 1798, due to dissatisfaction with Thornton's plan and quality of work done thus far.[27]


The Senate wing was completed in 1800, while the House wing was completed in 1811. However, the House of Representatives moved into the House wing in 1807. Though the building was incomplete, the Capitol held its first session of United States Congress on November 17, 1800. The legislature was moved to Washington prematurely, at the urging of President John Adams in hopes of securing enough Southern votes to be re-elected for a second term as president.[28]

Early religious usage


In its early days, the Capitol building was not only used for governmental functions. On Sundays, church services were regularly held there - a practice that continued until after the Civil War. According to the US Library of Congress exhibit "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" "It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809) and of James Madison (1809–1817) the state became a church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson's example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House—a practice that continued until after the Civil War—were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.)"[29]

War of 1812

The Capitol after the burning of Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812 (painting 1814 by George Munger)

See also: Burning of Washington


Not long after the completion of both wings, the Capitol was partially burned by the British on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812. George Bomford, and Joseph Gardner Swift, both military engineers, were called upon to help rebuild the Capitol. Reconstruction began in 1815 and was completed by 1819. Construction continued through to 1826, with the addition of the center Rotunda area and the first dome of the Capitol. Latrobe is principally connected with the original construction and many innovative interior features; his successor, Bulfinch, also played a major role, such as the design of the first dome.

The House and Senate Wings

Daguerreotype of east side of the Capitol (1846 by John Plumbe)


By 1850, it became clear that the Capitol could not accommodate the growing number of legislators arriving from newly admitted states. A new design competition was held, and President Millard Fillmore appointed Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter to carry out the expansion. Two new wings were added – a new chamber for the House of Representatives on the south side, and a new chamber for the Senate on the north.[30]


When the Capitol was expanded in the 1850s, some of the construction labor was carried out by slaves "who cut the logs, laid the stones and baked the bricks".[31] The original plan was to use workers brought in from Europe; however, there was a poor response to recruitment efforts, and African Americans—free and slave—comprised the majority of the work force.[32]

The Capitol Building with flowers in the foreground (photo 2010)

Capitol dome

Main article: United States Capitol dome


The 1850 expansion more than doubled the length of the Capitol, dwarfing the original, timber-framed 1818 dome. In 1855, the decision was made to tear it down and replace it with the "wedding-cake style" cast-iron dome that stands today. Also designed by Walter, the new dome stood three times the height of the original dome and 100 feet (30 m) in diameter, yet had to be supported on the existing masonry piers. Like Mansart's dome at Les Invalides (which he had visited in 1838), Walter's dome is double, with a large oculus in the inner dome, through which is seen The Apotheosis of Washington painted on a shell suspended from the supporting ribs, which also support the visible exterior structure and the tholos that supports Freedom, a colossal statue that was added to the top of the dome in 1863. This statue was cast by a slave named Philip Reid. The weight of the cast iron for the dome has been published as 8,909,200 pounds (4,041,100 kg).

Later expansion

US Senate chamber (photo circa 1873)


When the Capitol's new dome was finally completed, its massive visual weight, in turn, overpowered the proportions of the columns of the East Portico, built in 1828. The East Front of the Capitol building was rebuilt in 1904, following a design of the architects Carrère and Hastings, who also designed the Senate and House office buildings.


The next major expansion to the Capitol started in 1958, with a 33.5 feet (10.2 m) extension of the East Portico.[citation needed] During this project, the dome underwent its last restoration.[33] A marble duplicate of the sandstone East Front was built 33.5 feet (10.2 m) from the old Front. (In 1962, a connecting extension incorporated what formerly was an outside wall as an inside wall.) In the process, the Corinthian columns were removed. It was not until 1984 that landscape designer Russell Page created a suitable setting for them in a large meadow at the National Arboretum as the National Capitol Columns, where they are combined with a reflecting pool in an ensemble that reminds some visitors of Persepolis. Besides the columns, hundreds of blocks of the original stone were removed and are stored behind a National Park Service maintenance yard in Rock Creek Park.[34]


In 1960, the dome underwent its last restoration.[33]

National Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum (photo 2008)


On December 19, 1960, the Capitol was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.[35] The building was ranked #6 in a 2007 survey conducted for the American Institute of Architects' "America's Favorite Architecture" list.[36] The Capitol draws heavily from other notable buildings, especially churches and landmarks in Europe, including the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and St. Paul's Cathedral in London.[37] On the roofs of the Senate and House Chambers are flagpoles that fly the U.S. flag when either is in session. On September 18, 1993, to commemorate the Capitol's bicentennial, the Masonic ritual cornerstone laying with George Washington was reenacted. Strom Thurmond was one of the Freemason politicians who took part in the ceremony.


On June 20, 2000, ground was broken for the Capitol Visitor Center, which subsequently opened on December 2, 2008.[38] From 2001 through 2008, the East Front of the Capitol (site of most presidential inaugurations until Ronald Reagan began a new tradition in 1981) was the site of construction for this massive underground complex, designed to facilitate a more orderly entrance for visitors to the Capitol. Prior to the center being built, visitors to the Capitol had to queue on the parking lot and ascend the stairs, whereupon entry was made through the massive sculpted Columbus Doors, through a small narthex cramped with security, and thence directly into the Rotunda. The new underground facility provides a grand entrance hall, a visitors theater, room for exhibits, and dining and restroom facilities, in addition to space for building necessities such as an underground service tunnel.


$20 million in work around the base of the dome was done, and before the August 2012 recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to spend $61 million to repair the exterior of the dome, which has at least 1,300 cracks that have led to rusting inside. The House wants to spend less on government operations, making it unlikely the money will be approved.[33]


Main article: United States Capitol rotunda

See also: United States Capitol Subway System


The Capitol building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two wings, one for each chamber of Congress: the north wing is the Senate chamber and the south wing is the House of Representatives chamber. Above these chambers are galleries where visitors can watch the Senate and House of Representatives. It is an example of the neoclassical architecture style. The statue on top of the dome is the Statue of Freedom.[39]


Underground tunnels and a private subway connect the main Capitol building with each of the Congressional office buildings in the surrounding complex. All rooms in the Capitol are designated as either S (for Senate) or H (for House), depending on whether they are north (Senate) or south (House) of the Rotunda. Additionally, all addresses in Washington, D.C. are designated NE, NW, SE, or SW, in relation to the Rotunda. Since the Capitol Rotunda is not located in the center of the District—it is slightly farther east and south—the four D.C. quadrants are not the same shape and size.


The fresco painted on the interior of the Capitol's dome titled The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 (photo 2005)


The Capitol has a long history in art of the United States, beginning in 1856 with Italian/Greek American artist Constantino Brumidi and his murals in the hallways of the first floor of the Senate side of the Capitol. The murals, known as the Brumidi Corridors,[40] reflect great moments and people in United States history. Among the original works are those depicting Benjamin Franklin, John Fitch, Robert Fulton, and events such as the Cession of Louisiana. Also decorating the walls are animals, insects and natural flora indigenous to the United States. Brumidi's design left many spaces open so that future events in United States history could be added. Among those added are the Spirit of St. Louis, the Moon landing, and the Challenger shuttle crew.


Brumidi also worked within the Rotunda. He is responsible for the painting of The Apotheosis of Washington beneath the top of the dome, and also the famous Frieze of United States History.[41] The Apotheosis of Washington was completed in 11 months and painted by Brumidi while suspended nearly 180 feet (55 m) in the air. It is said to be the first attempt by the United States to deify a founding father. Washington is depicted surrounded by 13 maidens in an inner ring with many Greek and Roman gods and goddesses below him in a second ring. The frieze is located around the inside of the base of the dome and is a chronological, pictorial history of the United States from the landing of Christopher Columbus to the Wright Brothers's flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The frieze was started in 1878 and was not completed until 1953. The frieze was therefore painted by four different artists: Brumidi, Filippo Costaggini, Charles Ayer Whipple, and Allyn Cox. The final scenes depicted in the fresco had not yet occurred when Brumidi began his Frieze of the United States History.

Capitol Rotunda (photo 2005)


Within the Rotunda there are eight large paintings about the development of the United States as a nation. On the east side are four paintings depicting major events in the discovery of America. On the west are four paintings depicting the founding of the United States. The east side paintings include The Baptism of Pocahontas by John Gadsby Chapman, The Embarkation of the Pilgrims by Robert Walter Weir, The Discovery of the Mississippi by William Henry Powell, and The Landing of Columbus by John Vanderlyn. The paintings on the west side are by John Trumbull: Declaration of Independence, Surrender of General Burgoyne, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, and General George Washington Resigning His Commission. Trumbull was a contemporary of the United States' founding fathers and a participant in the American Revolutionary War; he painted a self-portrait into Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.


First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln hangs over the west staircase in the Senate wing.[42]

National Statuary Hall Collection viewed from the South (photo date unknown)[43]


The Capitol also houses the National Statuary Hall Collection, comprising two statues donated by each of the fifty states to honor persons notable in their histories. One of the most notable statues in the National Statuary Hall is a bronze statue of King Kamehameha donated by the state of Hawaii upon its accession to the union in 1959. The statue's extraordinary weight of 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) raised concerns that it might come crashing through the floor, so it was moved to Emancipation Hall of the new Capitol Visitor Center. The 100th, and last statue for the collection, that of Po'pay from the state of New Mexico, was added on September 22, 2005. It was the first statue moved into the Emancipation Hall.



Under the Rotunda there is an area known as the Crypt. It was designed to look down on the final resting place of George Washington in the tomb below. However, under the stipulations of his last will, Washington was buried at Mount Vernon, and as such the area remains open to visitors. The Crypt now houses exhibits on the history of the Capitol. A star inlaid in the floor marks the point at which Washington, D.C. is divided into its four quadrants; however, the exact center of the city lies near the White House. At one end of the room near the Old Supreme Court Chamber is a statue of John C. Calhoun. On the right leg of the statue, a mark from a bullet fired during the 1998 shooting incident is clearly visible. The bullet also left a mark on the cape, located on the back right side of the statue.


Eleven presidents have lain in state in the Rotunda for public viewing, most recently Gerald Ford. The tomb meant for Washington stored the catafalque which is used to support coffins lying in state or honor in the Capitol. The catafalque is now on display in the Capitol Visitors Center for the general public to see when not in use.


The Hall of Columns is located on the House side of the Capitol, home to twenty-eight fluted columns and statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection. In the basement of the Capitol building in a utility room are two marble bathtubs, which are all that remain of the once elaborate Senate baths. These baths were a spa-like facility designed for members of Congress and their guests before many buildings in the city had modern plumbing. The facilities included several bathtubs, a barbershop, and a massage parlor.


A steep, metal staircase, totaling 365 steps, leads from the basement to an outdoor walkway on top of the Capitol's dome.[44] The number of steps represents each day of the year.[45]


Main article: Heights of Buildings Act of 1910

See also: The Height of Buildings Act of 1899

See also: List of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C.


Contrary to a popular myth, D.C. building height laws have never referenced the height of the Capitol building, which rises to 289 feet (88 m).[46] Indeed, the Capitol is only the fifth-tallest structure in Washington.

House Chamber


The House of Representatives Chamber has 448 permanent seats. Unlike Senators, Representatives do not have assigned seats.[47] It is adorned with relief portraits of famous lawmakers and lawgivers throughout history. Of the twenty-three relief portraits only Moses is sculpted from a full front view and is located across from the dais where the Speaker of the House ceremonially sits.

President George W. Bush delivering the annual State of the Union address in the House chamber (photo 2003)


There is also a quote etched in the marble of the chamber, as stated by venerable statesman Daniel Webster: "Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered."[49]

Senate Chamber

Main article: United States Senate Chamber

Old Supreme Court Chamber (photo 2007)


The current Senate Chamber opened in 1859[50] and is adorned with white marble busts of the former Presidents of the Senate (Vice Presidents).[51]

Old Supreme Court Chamber

Main article: Old Supreme Court Chamber


From 1800 to 1806, this room served as the Senate Chamber and from 1806 until 1860, the room was used as the Supreme Court Chamber. In 1860, the Supreme Court began using the newly vacated Old Senate Chamber. Since 1935, the Supreme Court has met in the United States Supreme Court Building.



See also: United States Capitol Complex

Capitol Hill and its reflection pool.

Aerial view of the Capitol Grounds from the West (photo date unknown, pre-2001)[52]


The Capitol Grounds cover approximately 274 acres (1.11 km²), with the grounds proper consisting mostly of lawns, walkways, streets, drives, and planting areas. Formerly, a number of monumental sculptures were located on the east facade and lawn of the Capitol including The Rescue and George Washington. The current grounds were designed by noted American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who planned the expansion and landscaping performed from 1874 to 1892. In 1875, as one of his first recommendations, Olmsted proposed the construction of the marble terraces on the north, west, and south sides of the building that exist today.


Olmsted also designed the Summer House, the open-air brick building that sits just north of the Capitol. Three arches open into the hexagonal structure, which encloses a fountain and twenty-two brick chairs. A fourth wall holds a small window that looks onto an artificial grotto. Built between 1879 and 1881, the Summer House was intended to answer complaints that visitors to the Capitol had no place to sit and no place to obtain water for their horses and themselves. Modern drinking fountains have since replaced Olmsted's fountain for the latter purpose. Olmsted intended to build a second, matching Summer House on the southern side of the Capitol, but congressional objections led to the project's cancellation.



Up to four U.S. flags can be seen flying over the Capitol. Two flagpoles are located at the base of the dome on the East and West sides. These flagpoles have flown the flag day and night since World War I. The other two flagpoles are above the North (Senate) and South (House of Representatives) wings of the building, and fly only when the chamber below is in session. The flag above the House of Representatives is raised and lowered by House pages. The flag above the United States Senate is raised and lowered by Senate Doorkeepers. To raise the flag, Doorkeepers access the roof of the Capitol from the Senate Sergeant at Arms' office. Several auxiliary flagpoles, to the west of the dome and not visible from the ground, are used to meet congressional requests for flags flown over the Capitol.[citation needed] Constituents pay for U.S. flags flown over the Capitol to commemorate a variety of events such as the death of a veteran family member.

Major events

See also: State funerals in the United States and United States presidential inauguration

The body of former President Ronald Reagan lying in state (photo June 10, 2004)


The Capitol, as well as the grounds of Capitol Hill, have played host to major events, including presidential inaugurations held every four years. During an inauguration, the front of the Capitol is outfitted with a platform and a grand staircase. Annual events at the Capitol include Independence Day celebrations, and the National Memorial Day Concert.

In 1922 the US Post Office featured the US capitol on a US Postage stamp


The general public has paid respect to a number of individuals lying in state at the Capitol, including numerous former presidents, senators, and other officials. Other Americans lying in honor include Officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, the two officers killed in the 1998 shooting incident. Chestnut was the first African American ever to lie in honor in the Capitol. The public also paid respect to civil rights icon Rosa Parks at the Capitol in 2005. She was the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the Capitol.


See also: United States Capitol shooting incident (1954), 1983 United States Senate bombing, and United States Capitol shooting incident (1998)


On January 30, 1835, what is believed to be the first attempt to kill a sitting President of the United States occurred just outside the United States Capitol. When President Andrew Jackson was leaving the Capitol out of the East Portico after the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis, Richard Lawrence, an unemployed and deranged housepainter from England, either burst from a crowd or stepped out from hiding behind a column and aimed a pistol at Jackson which misfired. Lawrence then pulled out a second pistol which also misfired. It has since been postulated that the moisture from the humid weather of the day contributed to the double misfiring.[53] Lawrence was then restrained, with legend saying that Jackson attacked Lawrence with his cane, prompting his aides to restrain him. Others present, including David Crockett, restrained and disarmed Lawrence.


On July 2, 1915, prior to the United States' entry into World War I, Eric Muenter (aka Frank Holt), a German professor who wanted to stop American support of the Allies in World War I, exploded a bomb in the reception room of the U.S. Senate. The next morning he tried to assassinate J. P. Morgan, Jr., son of the financier, at his home on Long Island, New York. In a letter to the Washington Evening Star published after the explosion, Muenter writing under an assumed name, said he hoped that the detonation would "make enough noise to be heard above the voices that clamor for war." J.P. Morgan's company served as Great Britain's principal U.S. purchasing agent for munitions and other war supplies.

The Capitol at night (photo 2006)


In 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire on members of Congress from the visitors' gallery. On March 1, 1971, a bomb exploded on the ground floor of the Capitol, placed by the radical left domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground. They placed the bomb as a demonstration against U.S. involvement in Laos. On November 7, 1983, a group called the Armed Resistance Unit claimed responsibility for a bomb that detonated in the lobby outside the office of Senate Minority Leader Robert Byrd.[54] Six people associated with the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee were later found in contempt of court for refusing to testify about the bombing.[55] In 1990, three members of the Armed Resistance Unit were convicted of the bombing, which they claimed was in response to the invasion of Grenada.[56] On July 24, 1998, Russell Eugene Weston Jr. burst into the Capitol and opened fire, killing two Capitol Police officers. The Capitol is believed to have been the intended target of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, before it crashed near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers tried to take over control of the plane from hijackers.[57][58]


Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the roads and grounds around the Capitol have undergone dramatic changes. The United States Capitol Police have also installed checkpoints to inspect vehicles at specific locations around Capitol Hill,[59][60] and have closed a section of one street indefinitely.[60] The level of screening employed varies. On the main east-west thoroughfares of Constitution and Independence Avenues, barricades are implanted in the roads that can be raised in the event of an emergency. Trucks larger than pickups are interdicted by the Capitol Police and are instructed to use other routes. On the checkpoints at the shorter cross streets, the barriers are typically kept in a permanent "emergency" position, and only vehicles with special permits are allowed to pass. All Capitol visitors are screened by a magnetometer, and all items that visitors may bring inside the building are screened by an x-ray device. In both chambers, gas masks are located underneath the chairs in each chamber for members to use in case of emergency.[citation needed] Structures ranging from scores of Jersey barriers to hundreds of ornamental bollards have been erected to obstruct the path of any vehicles that might stray from the designated roadways.[61]

Capitol Visitor Center

Opening ceremony of the Capitol Visitor Center, December 2008. The plaster cast model of the Statue of Freedom is in the foreground.

Main article: United States Capitol Visitor Center


The underground, three-level, 580,000-square-foot (54,000 m2) United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) opened on December 2, 2008. The CVC is meant to bring all visitors in through one handicap accessible security checkpoint, yards away from the Capitol itself, increasing security and offering visitors educational exhibits, a food court, and restrooms. The estimated final cost of constructing the CVC was US$621 million.[62] The project had long been in the planning stages, but the 1998 killings of two Capitol Police officers provided the impetus to start work. Construction began in the fall of 2001.


Critics say that security improvements have been the least of the project's expense. Construction delays and added features by Congress added greatly to the cost. Citizens Against Government Waste have called the CVC a "Monument to Waste".[63] However many, including those who work in the Capitol, consider it a necessary and appropriate historical project. It is located completely underground, though skylights provide views of the Capitol dome.

There’s a quote from the TV Show The Office that I love, “I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them”. How true that is, and I think while sometimes we I intuitively and subconsciously have an idea when we’re having the time of our life and a time to always be remembered, we often don’t realize just how important the time and place is that we’re living in.


So also is it with helping people. So often we don’t realize how much of an impact we are having on someone, especially when we’re just being who we are- not trying to do something to get anything in return. When just being who we are touches the life of someone you know and helps them in some way, I cannot think of many things greater than that simplistic beauty in life: be who you are, and you will make peoples’ lives better. Wow.


I love helping people because that’s my nature. Whether it’s just listening or giving advice when asked- that’s just my nature, and I’m glad that I could help someone even if just in a small way. It’s a joy for me to get to help people, whether I know them a little or a lot- it is a joy to be able to give back, so thank YOU!!!


Theme: Musings And Ramblings

Year Seven Of My 365 Project

They Go Up!


Do you recognize that quote? It's from my favorite movie. These stairs are in my office building and I love the contrast of the black rails with the white steps.

365 Project * Etsy Shop * Blog * Facebook * Instagram


2014.06.11 - Styling for Menina Lisboa, my design business! I had this in mind for quite a while now and finally made it. Bough a few frames, framed the art prints and took a few pictures of them.


What do you think about these?

(3/365) This is where the magic happens. This is where I spend most of my days and nights of studying and what-not. I think a person's habitat can reveal a lot about them, so I thought I would share mine.



"I love to sleep. I'm an excellent, excellent sleeper." - Lauren Oliver




Another crazy hectic day; work, dental visit (cavity free, whoot), back to the office, home, dinner, a lot of shoveling and now to Flickr quickly and hopefully tackle some of the Christmas gift wrapping this evening!


Writing it all out, it doesn't seem like too much but living it, well I can hardly find time to sit down and read! And that's very unusual for me, especially since there's about 17 books just waiting to be read around the house and on my e-reader!


Luckily though, I put in for some time off between Christmas and New Years and hopefully from Boxing Day on I'll be able to find lots of time to sit and read... hopefully!


Hope everyone has had a good day.


Click "L" for a larger view!

At the end of each year, you usually look back...pause...reflect...and make stupid statements like:




"Well at least we have our home..."


Only that's not exactly the case for us this year.




Or, "Well at least I've got my health..."


But thanks to said-former-home, I don't even have that any longer. I'm a little better than where I was when we moved out (and I mean "little" in a very real sense, as in "not much" better). I'm still much worse than when we moved in. Take it half-empty or half-full. It's your pick!




Or, "At least I've still got my girlish figure..."


But, well, you take a year filled with stress-eating and being completely sedentary - add a lot of Coca Cola for much-needed energy - and stir. And let's just say I don't have anywhere near that going into 2011.




However, one thing this entire mess can't take away? We've still got each other! Todd and I have rolled with the punches for over 14 years and are still going strong. And now that we have two little mini-me's in tow, we're trying to teach them that same important life-lesson as we go along. This year Christmas wasn't in "our home", but to quote the great Dr. (as I have for years), "It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same!" And it was wonderful. Because we were together.




So to close I will leave you with the one thing that absolutely got me through the last year without the need for a straight-jacket. If you drove by this house really slow in the wee hours of the night, you would often hear it blaring out of my office and into the ether. Over. And over. And over again.


The Pixies

Where is my mind?


Try this trick and spin it:




Happy 2011! May the next 365 days take the previous 365 days out back, rough 'em up a bit with with a pair of pliers and a blow torch, and bury 'em 6-feet under where they belong!





(I do these New Year's photos annually on Flickr - link to previous ones.)

This is some 3D hand-lettering and figurative conceptual illustration I did illustrating the Great Sadness of 9/11. Quote is from George W. Bush from the Oval Office on 9/11/01

Let the light of history enable us to see that "enough of good there is in the lowest estate to sweeten life; enough of evil in the highest to check presumption; enough there is of both in all estates to bind us in compassionate brotherhood, to teach us impressively that we are of one dying and one immortal family." Let truth destroy the dividing prejudices of nationality and teach universal love without distinction of race, merit or rank. With the sublime enthusiasm and heavenly vision of the Great Teacher let us help men to rise above the race hate of this age unto the altruism of a rejuvenated universe.


Martin Luther King Jr.? No. Carter G. Woodson, speaking a generation earlier. This quote was taken from an address at the first observance of Negro History Week in 1926. It is a portion of a speech printed in The Journal of Negro History, a publication founded by Woodson in 1916, ten years prior to that first celebration.


The journal is now known as the Journal of African American History (JAAH), published by the similarly named Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH, formerly the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History).


Sad that this organization and its publication have been in existence for almost 100 years, and i never head of either before today. Sad, too, that the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and its impact on the journal's Dillard University home in particular, have forced the journal to process its submissions through the ASALH offices in Washington, DC. I do not know how much damage was done to their archives; i can only hope the history stored there survived.


And 100 years from now, i wonder how the light of history will shine upon this generation....



A week of perhaps-overlooked Black History.



"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love." - Washington Irving.


Have you ever known someone who always seems to have the worst luck? Any and all ailments and diseases seem to find their way to them, and they always seem to overcome them? The world lost a fighter this past Sunday, while it shouldn't have been unexpected, I for some reason didn't think it would be sickness to take her. She seemed unbeatable.


I hope she's finally at peace and causing trouble wherever she may be.


RIP Carol.


(I feel I should clarify, we weren't close but we spoke frequently, her passing has just come as a shock and has shaken the office atmosphere.)


So I've been MIA for a while now and obviously my 365 has taken a new direction. I'm not going to be able to do self portraits for a while. They may surface every once in a while but for about three months I'm going to be happy with just getting a picture during the day. I am helping my aunt out with babysitting because she broke her ankle pretty badly. So I am out the door before sunrise and back home around sunset and I hate taking pictures at night in our house. I end up with a gross yellow glow in the picture and i hate it. So you'll be getting whatever I can give you. Also I love this picture, I think I'm gonna make a big print and hang it in my office!

almost didn't do it tonight... couldn't give up just quite yet.


i don't know why my face looks grey, this flickr uploading really seems to mess with my photos....asraoirhdfljsdlf;


incase it's too hard to read, the quote says:

*sometimes we expect so much from others because we would be willing to do that much for them*


been feeling that a lot.

oh wells.


tomorrow is my birthday. i have to work in a tiny office all day by myself, and mark doesn't get off of work until like 9pm. sounds like it's going to be about on par with the last three years.... great.



At Michele Besso's funeral, Albert Einstein made his now famous quote: "Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."


Michele Angelo Besso (25 May 1873 Riesbach – 15 March 1955 Geneva) was a Swiss engineer of Jewish-Italian descent. He was a close friend of Albert Einstein during his years at the patent office in Bern. Besso is credited with introducing Einstein to the works of Ernst Mach, the sceptical critic of physics who influenced Einstein's approach to the discipline.


Quoth, Stephen Covey.


Down on the Sales and Marketing floor at Hyland Software, there are inspirational quotes hanging down from the ceiling. This particular one has often caught my attention on many occassions.


First, this message resonates with me: "Don't be locked into doing something just because it's something you've always done." Second, it's a very vibrant red. It's hard not to notice it. Third, it's the first one I see every time I walk over to the printer.

Sitting on a pebble by the river... not playing guitar.


This is the riverbank behind my office building.


I like the little cocktail umbrella that happened to be sitting there when I arrived.



"And this loneliness won't leave me alone

It's such a drag to be on your own

My baby left me and he didn't say why

Well, I guess I'll have to try"


There are many recordings of this Jimmy Cliff song. My favorite is by Linda Ronstadt. The lyrics quote above are as she sang them. Originally, it was "I guess I'll have to cry." But she didn't want to sing it that way because she felt she was too strong to cry over a man.


Below is a version performed by another favorite, Annie Lennox.


Many Rivers to Cross - Annie Lennox

Day 6; January 6, 2010


"There is no blue without yellow and without orange."

~Vincent Van Gogh


Today my personal theme was "Artisitc or Abstract".


A week or two ago,I noticed this crazy wall on the backside of a local museum.It's actually part of the museum offices and much of the wall is behind a locked gate. The wall is a large expanse of textured, bluish-gray concrete with a variety of rectangular holes in it. My first thought was, "Hey, I can use that wall in a photo!"


I knew the shot needed some color so this morning I stuffed some fruit in my coat pockets and headed out into the snow with my kit. As I placed my props and started shooting, one of the museum administrators drove up and yelled to me, "That's a great idea. Just beautiful!" After he went inside, I noticed that people from the office just happened to come out into the cold and walk by me. They all smiled when they saw their wall with fruit stuck in it. Hehe! They were all very nice though and it made me grin.


I shot about 20 frames, narrowed it down to 6 that I really like and then finally to this one. It made me think of the above quote so this one won out.

No strobes today, just ambient.


See you tomorrow.


Oh yeah, and this: View Large On Black

LOL that quote is by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. His quotes are so beautiful and i find this one very cute. Oh and that sheep is from Holland >:] I love it so much!


I downloaded a ton of Andrew Bird songs a few days ago !!! He rocks! His song Imitosis and Beware and amaaazing.


okokok! Funny story! This morning i go to my school office to hand in my volunteer hours. So i pull out the volunteer sheet from my folder and give it to the lady and she thanks me and I thank you her we go on with our day. Then lunch comes around and i'm looking in the folder from which i took out the volunteer sheet AND THE VOLUNTEER SHEET IS RIGHT THERE :|:|:|

I'm thinking 'wait...... if it's here... THEN WHAT THE HELL DID I HAND IN?! Seriously if she looks at it and it's my math homework she'll think i'm crazy..."


Turns out i handed in my volunteer HOUR (yeah it was only one -.-) from like last year so i have to go back there tomorrow morning and hand in my other 6. Seriously fml.


It was really funny though!



And another funny story!

I have this collection of mini dior perfumes and to put them on i tip them and a little bit of perfume comes out of the small opening on the top. APPARENTLY one bottle had an opening that was bigger than the rest so i tip it and i get freaking SHOWERED in perfume :| I was like a walking SCENT the whole day. And i felt woozy the whole day.


Alright! I have to start on my math (-.- math...)

Have a great day everyone!





"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." - Mark Twain




Another crazy day where I left the house very early and didn't get home until much later on in the evening. It's 20 to 8 right now and I'm really just walking in the door to sit down, write this up, process a picture from today and post it!


What a week! But the work week portion is over, so things are looking up.


Today I was busy proving to everyone that I am just that special. Things I managed to do today:


1. Get caught and stuck in an automatic revolving door.

2. Spill coffee all over myself

3. Step on a safety pin somewhere during my walk, which went through my shoe and into my foot.

4. Trip over my own two feet and almost land face first on the sidewalk.


Yup, one of those days. Luckily after I left the office I managed to put an end to the clutzy madness and stay upright.


Nard went for a haircut today, so afterwards I had him pose to show off his new style and to get a photo in for today. Didn't turn out too badly!


Hope you've all had a good day. I'll be playing catch up sometime tomorrow with all your streams and comments! It's just been one of those weeks and sadly I haven't had time to see what you've been posting!

At 11 O'Clock today I was a bit worried that I hadn't taken a photo for my 365, I Whipped out my camera on my way home only to discover that I had forgotten my memory card in my laptop in my office.


Luckily to quote Faramir from 300 "The gods saw fit to grant me with another" and I had a spare in my camera bag.


I've always thought that the university building is beautiful, but the way it's lit up combined with the barren trees makes it look really creepy.

What a long week it has been. Only three days in the office but they felt super long (even though they weren't) and with the snow (cabin fever) it was just a looooong week. So today I wanted to do something fun. Grabbed some of the Happiness Factory characters from around my desk, a can from Japan, and went to a room with a quote from Muhammad Ali: "I am the greatest!" on the wall and took this shot. I'm happy with it. Cool thing is it is SOOC and didn't play with the lighting in the room at all. And the ice is melting off the roads too so it's all good!:-)



Will take a bunch of pictures tomorrow but today I had to double post again...


Here I go again, posting my 365 photos out of order. And I realize this particular type of image has been done a million times before, but I couldn't resist photographing this old Underwood typewriter (which now sits on its case in my office), drawn as I was to those raised round keys that fit the tips of my fingers perfectly, and the patterns they made when viewed up close.


One of the things I love about my piano is the way the keys respond to my touch, the way they gently yield under pressure only to spring back once I've given them release. It's part of that symbiosis I mentioned earlier. And when I write, I pay as much attention to the sounds the words make as to what they mean. So this quote by Truman Capote resonates with me on so many levels.

Twitter | Facebook


Late entry to Our Daily Challenge - Through


There's two ways this is "Through". One, obviously its through a fence. Two, I'm hereby officially tossing in the towel on my 365. I'm through :((


I'm not going anywhere though so I'll still be posting. HUGE thanks to anyone and everyone who helped and commented along the way. Sorry I won't be seeing it through (this time).


So anyway, here I am….tagged by Daniel in a photo. I usually haven’t done anything in these, but I guess, since I admire his work, I’ll tag a few of my other folks as well and play flickr-nice. I ended up tagging the photogs here I know well or really respect for their work. Either way, each is worth checking out!


I don’t photograph well so don't go all h8r on me. Anywho, I’ll also follow suit on Daniel’s idea (that he stole from *karla) and add a non-truth to the mix. See if you can figure out where the lie is. USE THE FORCE.


1. I was in the Air Force as a medic

2. I was a police officer in the city of Niceville, Florida for 3 years

3. I am a Certified Flight Instructor with over 3000 hours

4. I have skydived once in my life

5. I have survived one plane crash and two traffic accidents without so much as a scratch

6. I can’t stand on a chair without my overwhelming fear of heights making my palms sweat and have been that way since birth

7. I count the cracks in the sidewalk to make sure that my feet land completely within each concrete block an equal number of times. Otherwise I feel internally off balance.

8. I do not accept apologies

9. I once accidently cut the end of my left thumb just passed the last knuckle (that was reattached)

10. My parents have 7 marriages between them

11. I once got a free night of drinking because a random stranger’s penis was larger than a *latex penis substitute* that was behind the bar, and he was willing to prove it

12. I’m a classically trained pianist

13. I play guitar, however poorly

14. I have run and completed a marathon in my lifetime

15. I have visited every continent except Antarctica and Australia / Oceana

16. If I could do anything, I’d do nothing (great Office Space quote)

17. I’m a hardcore video game junkie who currently owns his 14th xbox 360.

18. I secretly believe I’m a Jedi and a Ninja at the same time

19. I abhor tardiness above all things and will push an old man down a flight of stairs to get somewhere on time

20. I am the most difficult consumer to please of all time. My repeat business is a well deserved thing. Treasure it ;)


There you go. What a strange list.

This is a bandstand in the park near my office. I don't know why the edges of the steps are painted bright yellow. Probably for safety. I think it's overdone, but I thought it would add to the visual interest of this photo.




"I thank you for the music and your stories of the road

I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go

I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough

And, papa, I don't think I said 'I love you' near enough


The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old

But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul

My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man

I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band"




My father was not a musician, nor am I. (Actually, my father could sing... well enough to take to the bandstand at a couple of weddings and parties.) But the lyrics I quoted above have always rung true to me... about the kindness and toughness that it takes to raise a child... and about the child becoming the legacy to the parent.


I am the man that I am today because of the work and sacrifices of my parents. Humbly, I can say that I think they did a great job. And, I have been very fortunate.




Leader of the Band - Dan Fogelberg



By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — For the fourth consecutive summer, teen employment has stayed anchored around record lows, prompting experts to fear that a generation of youth is likely to be economically stunted with lower earnings and opportunities in years ahead.


The trend is all the more striking given that the overall unemployment rate has steadily dropped, to 7.4 percent in August. And employers in recent months have been collectively adding almost 200,000 new jobs a month. It led to hopes that this would be the summer when teen employment improved.


In 1999, slightly more than 52 percent of teens 16 to 19 worked a summer job. By this year, that number had plunged to about 32.25 percent over June and July. It means that slightly more than three in 10 teens actually worked a summer job, out of a universe of roughly 16.8 million U.S. teens.


“We have never had anything this low in our lives. This is a Great Depression for teens, and no time in history have we encountered anything like that,” said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “That’s why it’s such an important story.”


Summer is traditionally the peak period of employment for teens as they are off from school and get their first brush with employment and the responsibilities that come with it. Falling teen employment, however, is just as striking in the 12-month numbers over the past decade.


The picture these teen employment statistics provide looks even worse when viewed through the complex prism of race. Sum and colleagues did just that, comparing June and July 2000 and the same two months of 2013. In 2000, 61.28 percent of white teens 16 to 19 held a job, a number that fell to 39.25 percent this summer. For African-Americans, a number that was dismal in 2000, 33.91 percent of 16 to 19 year olds holding a job, fell to a staggering low of 19.25 percent this June and July.


It wasn’t terribly better for Hispanics, who saw the percentage of employed teens fall from 40.31 percent in the two-month period of 2000 to 26.7 percent in June and July 2013.


One of the more surprising findings of Sum’s research is that teens whose parents were wealthy were more likely to have a job than those whose parents had less income. Some 46 percent of white male teens whose parents earned between $100,000 and $149,000 held a job this summer, compared with just 9.1 percent of black male teens whose family income was below $20,000 and 15.2 percent for Hispanic teen males with that same low family income.


That finding is important because a plethora of research shows that teens who work do better in a wide range of social and economic indicators. The plunging teen employment rate is likely to mean trouble for this generation of young workers of all races.


“Kids that get work experience when they are 17 or 18 end up graduating from college at a higher rate,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board, which promotes job creation and teen employment in Louisville, Ky., and six surrounding counties. “There are economic returns to those young people because they get a chance to work. Almost every person you ask remembers their first job because they started to learn things from the world of work that they can’t learn in the classroom.”


The teen employment numbers are calculated from the Current Population Surveys, carried out by the Census Bureau for the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. This survey of households is used in determining estimates for the size of the civilian workforce, the number of employed nationally and the unemployment rate.


Unemployment data is calculated in a different fashion, and while it tells a similar story of hardship for teens, it is not considered by researchers to be as accurate as the employment data because it underestimates the severity of the slow economy.


The weak employment numbers sometimes prompt a mistaken narrative that younger workers are just staying in college longer rather than entering the workforce, or are going on to graduate school given the impaired jobs market.


“I think there is this myth out there that there is some silver lining for young people, that they are going on to college. . . . You don’t see an increase in enrollment rates over and above the long-term trend. You can’t see a Great Recession blip,” said Heidi Scheirholz, a labor economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, a research group. “They are not in school. There’s been a huge spike in the not-in-school, not employed. It’s just a huge missed opportunity.”


Even before the economic crisis exploded in the summer of 2008, workers ages 16 to 19 made up a declining share of the overall workforce, in part because of a decades-long climb in college enrollment, and in part because universities now place less importance on work and more on life experiences and community service.


But most of this decline in youth in the workforce is thought to be the result of the severe economic crisis and its aftermath, with older workers taking the jobs of teens.


“People entering into the labor force in their 20s, it looks like more and more now they’re not going to have any work experience as teens. Labor force participation is as low as it’s ever been,” said Keith Hall, who served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2012.


Hall points to a troubling trend within an already worrisome statistic. Because of the so-called Great Recession and the sluggish growth that’s followed, middle-age and older workers are not moving up the career ladder. The natural order of career progression has been stunted.


“I think that means that a lot of workers aren’t advancing through their careers,” he said. “Younger workers aren’t going to be progressing through their careers as they did before.”


Read more here:




A Lost Generation



An Ugly Secular Trend in Part-Time Work

The Emergence of a US Underclass

A Lost Generation


It is pretty well established that a tax increase, especially an income tax increase, will have an immediate negative effect on the economy, with a multiplier of between 1 and 3 depending upon whose research you accept. As far as I am aware, no peer-reviewed study exists that concludes there will be no negative effects. The US economy is soft; employment growth is weak – and yet we are about to see a significant middle-class tax increase, albeit a stealth one, passed by the current administration. I will acknowledge that dealing a blow to the economy was not the actual plan, but that is what is happening in the real world where you and I live. This week we will briefly look at why weak consumer spending is going to become an even greater problem in the coming years, and we will continue to look at some disturbing trends in employment.

Last week, I noted at the beginning of the letter that an unintended consequence of Obamacare is a rather dramatic rise in the number of temporary versus full-time jobs. This trend results from employers having to pay for the health insurance of employees who work more than 29 hours a week.

I quoted Mort Zuckerman, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

The jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling. In June, the government's Household Survey reported that since the start of the year, the number of people with jobs increased by 753,000 – but there are jobs and then there are "jobs." No fewer than 557,000 of these positions were only part-time. The June survey reported that in June full-time jobs declined by 240,000, while part-time jobs soared 360,000 and have now reached an all-time high of 28,059,000 – three million more part-time positions than when the recession began at the end of 2007.

That's just for starters. The survey includes part-time workers who want full-time work but can't get it, as well as those who want to work but have stopped looking. That puts the real unemployment rate for June at 14.3%, up from 13.8% in May.

As it turns out, the unintended consequences of Obamacare are not the only problem. Charles Gave wrote a withering indictment of quantitative easing this week (which we will look at in a few pages) and included the following chart, which caught my eye. Note that the relative increase in part-time jobs began prior to Obama's even assuming office. The redefinition of part-time as less than 29 hours a week and the new costs associated with full-time employment due to Obamacare simply accelerated a trend already set into motion



.There are three stories from the news over the past few days which perfectly encapsulate the Obama economy. There are no decent jobs for young workers, more children are living in poverty, and more workers are living paycheck to paycheck. It’s the progressive, utopian dream coming true.


The New York Times on the “young and isolated:”


These are people bouncing from one temporary job to the next; dropping out of college because they can’t figure out financial aid forms or fulfill their major requirements; relying on credit cards for medical emergencies; and avoiding romantic commitments because they can take care of only themselves. Increasingly disconnected from institutions of work, family and community, they grow up by learning that counting on others will only hurt them in the end. Adulthood is not simply being delayed but dramatically reimagined along lines of trust, dignity and connection and obligation to others.


CNN on Americans living paycheck to paycheck:


Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.


AP on children growing up in poverty:


It wasn’t so long ago that David Hutchinson spent a month sleeping under a bridge while his wife and young daughter spent their nights at a domestic violence shelter.


But this wasn’t a case of domestic violence. The couple simply had no choice. There were just no shelters in Phoenix with room for another homeless family, and their top priority was finding a safe place for their daughter.


The family is one of many in the U.S. that have been trying to raise children in the face of joblessness and homelessness. An annual survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the number of children living in poverty increased to 23 percent in 2011, after the recession.


Is this change we can believe in?




Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,


Here’s another depressing list to ruin your day. You can tell a lot about a society by what they value, what they build and what they do. The only new buildings we see being built are banks and medical facilities. That tells us a lot. We look around and see that we value fancy new leased or financed cars, financed McMansions, fastfood, and lots of shopping outlets. And now this list tells us a lot about where this country is headed. Among the ten fastest growing jobs in America, only one can be considered well paying. Only two of the jobs are in industries that produce something. Only one requires a non-liberal arts college degree. Most of the jobs barely pay a living wage. Most of these jobs are non-essential service jobs that add absolutely nothing to society. A society that does not produce is destined to decline. We’re doomed.


Based on the list below, we would describe the United States as a service based nation of aging, vain, obese, shallow, financially illiterate boobs with bad skin and muscle aches, who love sports and entertainment, but can’t understand each other, and are addicted to their oil based suburban sprawl debt financed lifestyles.


Welcome to Amurika.


The 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs in America


August 27, 2013 by Alexander E.M. Hess


business meeting

Source: Thinkstock

Over the past 10 years, the number of nonfarm workers rose by just 5%. But despite past decade’s painful recession and the slow job growth that has followed, several occupations have more than doubled the number of workers employed.


24/7 Wall St. compared employment figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for hundreds of occupations from 2002 and 2012. Service unit operator jobs in the energy industry quadrupled in that time. The nation’s aging population and changing energy needs played major roles in driving disproportionate job growth for many of the occupations listed. These are the 10 fastest-growing jobs in America.


Many occupations with extreme job growth in the past few years owe at least part of their growth to the changing demographics of the United States. As the baby boom generation ages, many more people need help planning for retirement. This has driven growth of personal financial advisors jobs. Similarly, the need for personal care aides has grown because more people require help in their daily lives


An aging population also has driven job growth in many occupations that are not directly related to retirement planning and care. According to BLS Chief Regional Economist Martin Kohli, “The aging of the population is one of the factors that is driving the demand for massage therapists.” An aging population “is also a factor in the demand for coaches,” Kohli said. Many coaches work as instructors for leisure sports that retirees enjoy.


The growing Hispanic population, in conjunction with expanding international trade, are also factors behind the rising number of interpreters and translators, according to the BLS and Kohli.


But not all job growth can be explained by demographic shifts. For both petroleum engineers and service unit operators in the resource industry, the nation’s two fastest-growing jobs, growth likely is due largely to changes in the energy sector. Both the rise in oil prices, as well as the need to produce from unconventional sources, such as shale oil, have been beneficial to workers in these occupations.


To determine the jobs with the highest percentage growth in employment, 24/7 Wall St. compared data from the BLS’s Occupational Employment Statistics program for both 2002 and 2012. Only jobs with an estimated 20,000 employees or more were included. The program is intended to be a sample of the overall workforce, and estimates are subject to sampling error. The program does not count self-employed workers. Data are collected by the program over the course of several years. Only occupations that existed in both 2002 and 2012 were considered, and any occupations split-up or consolidated between these periods were excluded. Further information on each occupation came from the BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.


These are the 10 fastest-growing jobs in America.


10. Skin Care Specialists > Pct. 10-year job growth:104% > 10-year job growth: 16,230 > Total employed: 31,810 > Median annual pay: $28,640


The number of employed skin care specialists doubled in the 10 years ending in 2012. Specialists typically work in salons and spas, although many are self-employed. Among the services they provide are skin cleanings, advice on proper skin care and removal of unwanted hair. Vocational schools usually offer cosmetology programs, which skin care specialists typically complete. States typically require a license to work in the field. New skin care services and products have driven demand for such specialists.


9. Personal Care Aides > Pct. 10-year job growth: 118% > 10-year job growth: 534,190 > Total employed: 985,230 > Median annual pay: $19,910


Personal care aides are in extremely high demand as the baby boom generation ages and the number of elderly Americans rises. But while the total number of such aides doubled between 2002 and 2012, with nearly a million working in the field as of 2012, it remains a high turnover job because of the typically low pay and the high emotional toll. Even the top 10% of home care workers earned just $27,580 last year, when the median wage for employees across all occupations was $34,750.


8. Personal Financial Advisors > Pct. 10-year job growth: 128% > 10-year job growth: 98,460 > Total employed: 175,470 > Median annual pay: $67,520


The increased number of aging baby boomers approaching retirement and looking to manage their savings and assets has been one of the main drivers behind the growth in personal financial advisor jobs. Another key driver has been the rise in private sector retirement planning as a result of pension shortfalls. The resulting cuts to retirees’ benefits mean ever more individuals turn to financial planners in order to better plan for later in life. Becoming a financial advisor usually requires a bachelor’s degree. Backgrounds in math, accounting, economics, finance and law are all considered useful. Pay for many financial planners is quite high, with the top 25% of professionals taking home at least $111,450.


7. Coaches and Scouts > Pct. 10-year job growth: 130% > 10-year job growth: 114,080 > Total employed: 201,800 > Median annual pay: $28,360


The number of coaches and scouts rose from less than 100,000 in 2002 to more than 200,000 in 2012. Several factors have driven job growth of coaches and scouts, and the same factors are expected to continue to drive further growth. A growing number of retirees with time to participate in sports such as golf and tennis is a major source of demand for coaches. But schools and universities are actually the largest source of jobs for coaches, according to the BLS. Job growth in college sports, especially women’s sports, is expected to be a key driver of employment growth in the field going forward.


6. Human Resources Specialists > Pct. 10-year job growth: 134% > 10-year job growth: 225,830 > Total employed: 394,380 > Median annual pay: $55,800


Human resources specialists’ duties involve recruiting, hiring and placing workers. The number of workers employed as human resources specialist rose by more than 225,000 between 2002 and 2012. One major factor contributing to job growth – and that is expected to continue to contribute — is the increase of firms in the employment services industry as companies outsource human resources tasks. Most human resources roles require a bachelor’s degree, and interpersonal skills are also very valuable.


5. Massage Therapists > Pct. 10-year job growth: 162% > 10-year job growth: 43,880 > Total employed: 71,040 > Median annual pay: $35,970


The reason for the growth in massage therapists jobs has been a rise in the number of spas and massage clinics, according to the BLS. The Bureau also cites an increase in the nation’s elderly population as contributing to demand for massage therapists. The median salary for employed massage therapists was just under $36,000 last year, but the majority are self-employed and most work only part time. The median hourly wage for a massage therapist was $17.29 in 2012.


4. Interpreters and Translators > Pct. 10-year job growth: 171% > 10-year job growth: 31,720 > Total employed: 50,320 > Median annual pay: $45,430


As international trade expands and globalization continues, the need for interpreters and translators should continue to rise, according to the BLS. Already, the number of employed translators has jumped from less than 20,000 in 2002 to more than 50,000 in 2012. As the nation’s Hispanic population grows, interpreters and translators also will be needed. Translation pay varies considerably. The top-paid 10% of translators earned more than $91,800 annually last year, while the bottom 10% earned less than $23,570.


3. Music Directors and Composers > Pct. 10-year job growth: 178% > 10-year job growth: 15,960 > Total employed: 24,940 > Median annual pay: $47,350


It seems that Americans’ thirst for music is on the rise. This should drive job growth of music directors and composers. Another factor driving job growth for this occupation is the expected greater need for original music scores or transcriptions used in commercials and movies. In addition to musical talent and mastery of a variety of instruments, those in this occupation, especially the ones writing and conducting classical music, usually have a bachelor’s degree. About 10% of music directors and composers earned less than $21,450 annually, while the top 10% made more than $86,110, a high annual income compared with the same top 10% of other occupations on this list.


2. Petroleum Engineers > Pct. 10-year job growth: 227% > 10-year job growth: 25,280 > Total employed: 36,410 > Median annual pay: $130,280


Petroleum engineers are some of the highest paid workers in the nation, with a median wage that exceeded $130,000 in 2012. Their work typically involves assessing and planning drilling operations, as well as determining the equipment and methods necessary to extract oil and natural gas in the most efficient way possible. Petroleum engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering and must pass a licensing exam and have four years of work experience to be licensed. Oil prices play a major role in determining job outlook for petroleum engineers, partially because higher prices improve incentives to explore and produce oil from newer, more challenging sources. In the past decade, oil prices have risen dramatically, possibly accounting for much of the profession’s estimated 227% job growth.


1. Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas and Mining > Pct. 10-year job growth: 365% > 10-year job growth: 44,870 > Total employed: 57,180 > Median annual pay: $41,970


No occupation has grown faster than service unit operators working in natural resources extraction, where the number of workers jumped from just over 12,000 in 2002 to more than 57,000 in 2012. Workers in these fields typically are responsible for overseeing and maintaining wells and other technology used in extracting natural resources. Workers are most often employed in oil and gas producing states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and North Dakota. There are several potential reasons for the profession’s explosive job growth, including rising energy prices and the increased extraction of non-conventional fuel sources.


I saw this magnet at B&N, fell in love and bought it. I think it's very inspiring :)


So, I'm pretty much all settled into my new apartment suite at school. I moved in yesterday and it was a big fiasco because ResLife was being stupid. Long story short, I didn't have card access to my building so I kept having to go back and forth between the ID office and my building, only to find out that it was a ResLife problem. And they were closed...(on the day they told all the returning abroad students to move in!) so I had to wait outside in the lobby until someone else could let me in. It was very tiring. But I'm very grateful to my parents for being patient and driving me back and forth <3


I took this picture in the middle of unpacking last night. I couldn't upload it last night because I don't have wireless in my building and I forgot to bring my ethernet cable. Hehe, oops..


Check it out on black

One more in the comments :)

275/365 - Candy - Paolo Nutini

(View Large on Black)

October, Monday 18th.

Woke up early to hit the road to Biarritz to join Bastien there.

We're going to work until thursday for a big congres of pharmaceutical industrial in the Casinon Bellevue in Biarritz.

Not the quite most exciting side of photography for me, but it's was finally interesting to be in charge of the pictures with Loic.

So we went there to meet the boss while they were finishing the installation of the stalls.

After that we went straight back to Capbreton to work at the office before hitting the road back to Hendaye with Damien for a Tribord surfwear photoshoot !

Not enough, in the evening we decided to go for a ride at the beach, there was a beautiful sun dropping down the horizon behind grey clouds, simply amazing.

Hope you'll like the mixing of today's quote and picture.

Link to Candy - Paolo Nutini original music video.


Light :

- Canon speedlite 540EZ through 24" square softbox on the right

- Canon speedlite 540EZ back-lighting on the left, fired by Cactus V4


Canon EOS 7D - EF 50mm f/1.4 USM


Sébastien Huruguen


Published on's Danger Room blog, 01/26/2010




War Is Peace

Freedom Is Slavery

Ignorance Is Strength


I'm a big fan of weekends.

The US Consitution was a clear and present danger to the PNAC-AIPAC-Wall Street corporate architects of 911.


Luckily for its billionaire holocaust survivors, for their multinational corporations, for their Supreme Mafia Court, their toy president and toy congress and for their terrorist military corporations aimed directly at the people of the United States....


...That dangerous constitution rag can never threaten multinational terrorist corporations and war profits again. As GOPDEM's describe their corporate 911 junta, they are the new American Citizens. That's why it is their corporate military NSA-CIA-CIA-Homeland spy and repress mission to war against the 99.99% of former Americans stripped of rights.


They pay themselves well to stay safe from the pre-911 former Americans. Their behemoth corporate spy and war machine endows itself with certain inalienable rights to terrorize whomever it profits the military corporations to do so. That's what Wall Street's toy congress and toy presidents are payed to do.


In order to outlaw challenges to post 911 crime corporation supremacy, their Supreme Mafia Court officially legislated that multinational corporations are replacement citizens that rule as law officially in 2010. They replace non-corporations meaning they replace people.


Constitutional "consent of the governed" is a relic. The 911 junta is Earth's multinational corporate law unto itself and permanent war against the governed.


Consent of the governed is corporate consent by The Supreme Mafia Court Corporation of common thugs: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy.




Shredding the Fourth Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

Four Ways It No Longer Applies

By Peter Van Buren


Here’s a bit of history from another America: the Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people from their government. If the First Amendment’s right to speak out publicly was the people's wall of security, then the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy was its buttress. It was once thought that the government should neither be able to stop citizens from speaking nor peer into their lives. Think of that as the essence of the Constitutional era that ended when those towers came down on September 11, 2001. Consider how privacy worked before 9/11 and how it works now in Post-Constitutional America.


The Fourth Amendment


A response to British King George’s excessive invasions of privacy in colonial America, the Fourth Amendment pulls no punches: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


In Post-Constitutional America, the government might as well have taken scissors to the original copy of the Constitution stored in the National Archives, then crumpled up the Fourth Amendment and tossed it in the garbage can. The NSA revelations of Edward Snowden are, in that sense, not just a shock to the conscience but to the Fourth Amendment itself: our government spies on us. All of us. Without suspicion. Without warrants. Without probable cause. Without restraint. This would qualify as “unreasonable” in our old constitutional world, but no more.


Here, then, are four ways that, in the name of American “security” and according to our government, the Fourth Amendment no longer really applies to our lives.


The Constitutional Borderline


Begin at America's borders. Most people believe they are “in” the United States as soon as they step off an international flight and are thus fully covered by the Bill of Rights. The truth has, in the twenty-first century, become infinitely more complicated as long-standing practices are manipulated to serve the expanding desires of the national security state. The mining of words and concepts for new, darker meanings is a hallmark of how things work in Post-Constitutional America.


Over the years, recognizing that certain situations could render Fourth Amendment requirements impractical or against the public interest, the Supreme Court crafted various exceptions to them. One was the “border search.” The idea was that the United States should be able to protect itself by stopping and examining people entering the country. As a result, routine border searches without warrants are constitutionally “reasonable” simply by virtue of where they take place. It’s a concept with a long history, enumerated by the First Congress in 1789.


Here’s the twist in the present era: the definition of “border” has been changed. Upon arriving in the United States from abroad, you are not legally present in the country until allowed to enter by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials. You know, the guys who look into your luggage and stamp your passport. Until that moment, you exist in a legal void where the protections of the Bill of Rights and the laws of the United States do not apply. This concept also predates Post-Constitutional America and the DHS. Remember the sorting process at Ellis Island in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? No lawyers allowed there.


Those modest exceptions were all part of constitutional America. Today, once reasonable searches at the border have morphed into a vast “Constitution-free zone.” The “border” is now a strip of land circling the country and extending 100 miles inland that includes two-thirds of the U.S. population. In this vast region, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can set up checkpoints and conduct warrantless searches. At airports, American citizens are now similarly subjected to search and seizure as filmmaker Laura Poitras -- whose work focuses on national security issues in general and Edward Snowden in the particular -- knows firsthand. Since 2006, almost every time Poitras has returned to the U.S., her plane has been met by government agents and her laptop and phone examined.


There are multiple similar high-profile cases (including those of a Wikileaks researcher and a Chelsea Manning supporter), but ordinary citizens are hardly exempt. Despite standing in an American airport, a pane of glass away from loved ones, you are not in the U.S. and have no Fourth Amendment rights. How many such airport searches are conducted in the aggregate is unknown. The best information we have comes from a FOIA request by the ACLU. It revealed that, in the 18-month period beginning in October 2008, more than 6,600 people, about half of them U.S. citizens, were subjected to electronic device searches at the border.


Still, reminding us that it’s possible to have a sense of humor on the road to hell, the CBP offers this undoubtedly inadvertent pun at its website: “It is not the intent of CBP to subject travelers to unwarranted scrutiny.” (emphasis added)


Making It All Constitutional In-House


Here’s another example of how definitions have been readjusted to serve the national security state's overriding needs: the Department of Justice (DOJ) created a Post-Constitutional interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that allows it to access millions of records of Americans using only subpoenas, not search warrants.


Some background: a warrant is court permission to search and seize something. As the Fourth Amendment makes clear, it must be specific: enter Thomas Anderson's home and look for hacked software. Warrants can only be issued on “probable cause.” The Supreme Court defined probable cause as requiring a high standard of proof, or to quote its words, “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.”


A subpoena on the other hand is nothing more than a government order issued to a citizen or organization to do something, most typically to produce a document. Standards for issuing a subpoena are flexible, as most executive agencies can issue them on their own without interaction with a court. In such cases, there is no independent oversight.


The Department of Justice now claims that, under the Fourth Amendment, it can simply subpoena an Internet company like Facebook and demand that they look for and turn over all the records they have on our Mr. Anderson. Their explanation: the DOJ isn't doing the searching, just demanding that another organization do it. As far as its lawyers are concerned, in such a situation, no warrant is needed. In addition, the Department of Justice believes it has the authority to subpoena multiple records, maybe even all the records Facebook has. Records on you? Some group of people including you? Everyone? We don't know, as sources of data like Facebook and Google are prohibited from disclosing much about the information they hand over to the NSA or other government outfits about you.


It’s easy enough to miss the gravity of this in-house interpretation when it comes to the Fourth Amendment. If the FBI today came to your home and demanded access to your emails, it would require a warrant obtained from a court after a show of probable cause to get them. If, however, the Department of Justice can simply issue a subpoena to Google to the same end, they can potentially vacuum up every Gmail message you’ve ever sent without a warrant and it won’t constitute a “search.” The DOJ has continued this practice even though in 2010 a federal appeals court ruled that bulk warrantless access to email violates the Fourth Amendment. An FBI field manual released under the Freedom of Information Act similarly makes it clear that the Bureau’s agents don’t need warrants to access email in bulk when it’s pulled directly from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or other service providers.


How far can the use of a subpoena go in bypassing the Fourth Amendment? Recently, the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a subpoena -- no court involved -- demanding that the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) turn over all information it has collected relating to abuses and mismanagement at VA medical facilities. POGO is a private, non-profit group, dedicated to assisting whistleblowers. The VA subpoena demands access to records sent via an encrypted website to POGO under a promise of anonymity, many from current or former VA employees.


Rather than seek to break the encryption surreptitiously and illegally to expose the whistleblowers, the government has taken a simpler, if unconstitutional route, by simply demanding the names and reports. POGO has refused to comply, setting up a legal confrontation. In the meantime, consider it just another sign of the direction the government is heading when it comes to the Fourth Amendment.


Technology and the Fourth Amendment


Some observers suggest that there is little new here. For example, the compiling of information on innocent Americans by J. Edgar Hoover's low-tech FBI back in the 1960s has been well documented. Paper reports on activities, recordings of conversations, and photos of meetings and trysts, all secretly obtained, exposed the lives of civil rights leaders, popular musicians, and antiwar protesters. From 1956 to at least 1971, the government also wiretapped the calls and conversations of Americans under the Bureau’s counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO).


But those who look to such history of government illegality for a strange kind of nothing-new-under-the-sun reassurance have not grasped the impact of fast-developing technology. In scale, scope, and sheer efficiency, the systems now being employed inside the U.S. by the NSA and other intelligence agencies are something quite new and historically significant. Size matters.


To avoid such encroaching digitization would essentially mean withdrawing from society, not exactly an option for most Americans. More of life is now online -- from banking to travel to social media. Where the NSA was once limited to traditional notions of communication -- the written and spoken word -- new possibilities for following you and intruding on your life in myriad ways are being created. The agency can, for instance, now collect images, photos, and video, and subject them to facial recognition technology that can increasingly put a name to a face. Such technology, employed today at casinos as well as in the secret world of the national security state, can pick out a face in a crowd and identify it, taking into account age, changes in facial hair, new glasses, hats, and the like.


An offshoot of facial recognition is the broader category of biometrics, the use of physical and biological traits unique to a person for identification. These can be anything from ordinary fingerprinting to cutting-edge DNA records and iris scans. (Biometrics is already big business and even has its own trade association in Washington.) One of the world's largest known collections of biometric data is held by the Department of State. As of December 2009, its Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) contained more than 75 million photographs of Americans and foreigners and is growing at a rate of approximately 35,000 records per day. CCD also collects and stores indefinitely the fingerprints of all foreigners issued visas.


With ever more data available, the NSA and other agencies are creating ever more robust ways to store it. Such storage is cheap and bounteous, with few limits other than the availability of electricity and water to cool the electronics. Emerging tech will surely bypass many of the existing constraints to make holding more data longer even easier and cheaper. The old days of file cabinets, or later, clunky disk drives, are over in an era of mega-data storage warehouses.


The way data is aggregated is also changing fast. Where data was once kept in cabinets in separate offices, later in bureaucratically isolated, agency-by-agency digital islands, post-9/11 sharing mandates coupled with new technology have led to fusion databases. In these, information from such disparate sources as license plate readers, wiretaps, and records of library book choices can be aggregated and easily shared. Basically everything about a person, gathered worldwide by various agencies and means, can now be put into a single “file.”


Once you have the whole haystack, there’s still the problem of how to locate the needle. For this, emerging technologies grow ever more capable of analyzing Big Data. Some simple ones are even available to the public, like IBM's Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness software (NORA). It can, for example, scan multiple databases, geolocation information, and social media friend lists and recognize relationships that may not be obvious at first glance. The software is fast and requires no human intervention. It runs 24/7/365/Forever.


Tools like NORA and its more sophisticated classified cousins are NSA's solution to one of the last hurdles to knowing nearly everything: the need for human analysts to “connect the dots.” Skilled analysts take time to train, are prone to human error, and -- given the quickly expanding supply of data -- will always be in demand. Automated analysis also offers the NSA other advantages. Software doesn't have a conscience and it can't blow the whistle.


What does all this mean in terms of the Fourth Amendment? It’s simple: the technological and human factors that constrained the gathering and processing of data in the past are fast disappearing. Prior to these “advances,” even the most ill-intentioned government urges to intrude on and do away with the privacy of citizens were held in check by the possible. The techno-gloves are now off and the possible is increasingly whatever an official or bureaucrat wants to do. That means violations of the Fourth Amendment are held in check only by the goodwill of the government, which might have qualified as the ultimate nightmare of those who wrote the Constitution.


On this front, however, there are signs of hope that the Supreme Court may return to its check-and-balance role of the Constitutional era. One sign, directly addressing the Fourth Amendment, is this week's unanimous decision that the police cannot search the contents of a cell phone without a warrant. (The court also recently issued a ruling determining that the procedures for challenging one's inclusion on the government’s no-fly list are unconstitutional, another hopeful sign.)


Prior to the cell phone decision, law enforcement held that if someone was arrested for, say, a traffic violation, the police had the right to examine the full contents of his or her cell phone -- call lists, photos, social media, contacts, whatever was on the device. Police traditionally have been able to search physical objects they find on an arrestee without a warrant on the grounds that such searches are for the protection of the officers.


In its new decision, however, the court acknowledged that cell phones represent far more than a "physical object." The information they hold is a portrait of someone's life like what’s in a closet at home or on a computer sitting on your desk. Searches of those locations almost always require a warrant.


Does this matter when talking about the NSA's technological dragnet? Maybe. While the Supreme Court's decision applies directly to street-level law enforcement, it does suggest an evolution within the court, a recognition of the way advances in technology have changed the Fourth Amendment. A cell phone is not an object anymore; it is now recognized as a portal to other information that a person has gathered in one place for convenience with, as of this decision, a reasonable expectation of privacy.


National Security Disclosures Under HIPPA


While the NSA’s electronic basket of violations of the Fourth Amendment were, pre-Snowden, meant to take place in utter secrecy, here’s a violation that sits in broad daylight: since 2002, my doctor can disclose my medical records to the NSA without my permission or knowledge. So can yours.


Congress passed the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) in 1996 “to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected.” You likely signed a HIPPA agreement at your doctor's office, granting access to your records. However, Congress quietly amended the HIPPA Act in 2002 to permit disclosure of those records for national security purposes. Specifically, the new version of this “privacy law” states: “We may also disclose your PHI [Personal Health Information] to authorized federal officials as necessary for national security and intelligence activities.” The text is embedded deep in your health care provider’s documentation. Look for it.


How does this work? We don’t know. Do the NSA or other agencies have ongoing access to the medical records of all Americans? Do they have to request specific ones? Do doctors have any choice in whose records to forward under what conditions? No one knows. My HMO, after much transferring of my calls, would ultimately only refer me back to the HIPPA text with a promise that they follow the law.


The Snowden revelations are often dismissed by people who wonder what they have to hide. (Who cares if the NSA sees my cute cat videos?) That's why health-care spying stands out. How much more invasive could it be than for your government to have unfettered access to such a potentially personal and private part of your life -- something, by the way, that couldn’t have less to do with American “security” or combating terrorism.


Our health-care providers, in direct confrontation with the Fourth Amendment, are now part of the metastasizing national security state. You’re right to be afraid, but for goodness sake, don't discuss your fears with your doctor.


How the Unreasonable Becomes Reasonable


At this point, when it comes to national security matters, the Fourth Amendment has by any practical definition been done away with as a part of Post-Constitutional America. Whole books have been written just about Edward Snowden and more information about government spying regularly becomes available. We don't lack for examples. Yet as the obviousness of what is being done becomes impossible to ignore and reassurances offered up by the president and others are shown to be lies, the government continues to spin the debate into false discussions about how to “balance” freedom versus security, to raise the specter of another 9/11 if spying is curtailed, and to fall back on that go-to “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” line.


In Post-Constitutional America, the old words that once defined our democracy are twisted in new ways, not discarded. Previously unreasonable searches become reasonable ones under new government interpretations of the Fourth Amendment. Traditional tools of law, like subpoenas and warrants, continue to exist even as they morph into monstrous new forms.


Americans are told (and often believe) that they retain rights they no longer have. Wait for the rhetoric that goes with the celebrations of our freedoms this July 4th. You won’t hear a lot about the NSA then, but you should. In pre-constitutional America the colonists knew that they were under the king's thumb. In totalitarian states of the last century like the Soviet Union, people dealt with their lack of rights and privacy with grim humor and subtle protest. However, in America, ever exceptional, citizens passively watch their rights disappear in the service of dark ends, largely without protest and often while still celebrating a land that no longer exists.


Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. A Tom Dispatch regular, he writes about current events at his blog, We Meant Well. His new book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now. This is the second in a three-part series on the shredding of the Bill of Rights.


Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook and Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me.


Anguish, Agony, Anxiety, Anger, Appalled, Affliction, Adversity, Ache, Aggravation, Alarm, Annoyance, Apprehension, Acrimoniousness, Asperity.....


“The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.”


~Virginia Woolf~ (1882-1941)



Today was a rough day for so many reasons...


I dream (good and bad ones) every night and they are 96% of the time, very vivid and recallable....


The bad ones never fail to shake me to my core. They shake me to the point where I am unable to function.


Intellectually, I understand that they are dreams....emotionally, no such luck, hence the depression inducement...


This morning was one of those mornings.


Last night/this morning, I had terrible dreams. They involved in part the following:

-the sale of assets (things with meaning were strewn about the yards of several homes in a neighborhood I vaugely recognized),

-being in a home that was not mine nor welcoming but filled with various family members.

-There was an overwhelming sense of pain and sadness permeating the rooms.

-I was then cooking in a frenzy in order to please someone who I belive represented my soon to be former mother-in-law (however it wasn't her likeness).

-I recall being told that I ruined the dinner I was helping to prepare because I had not poked the baking potatos the number of times I was directed to and did so in the wrong places. It was devastating.

-The next 'episode' of the dream involved a lot of violence and death, ending in a blaze of fire.....


I awoke this morning unable to function and sadder than normal. I made myself face the day and eventually headed out to the office.


It was later this afternoon that I received news that the church where I married T and where my parents got married almost 50 years ago was destroyed in a felony arson fire.


It hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart broke again.

LOLA Day 218


Ah-mazing day!!! Little duder went to daycare, I headed over the to the registry office to take care of a last name change. Had some breakfast, then headed over to the dentist. I am really good at brushing, but apparently make my dentist sad because I need to floss more, lol. No cavities!! They do need to replace a previous filling though, so no big deal. Then my lunch plans changed so I headed to the mall which quickly turned into me heading to the local tattoo and piercing shop!! You can see on my ear, the front helix or anti-helix is now pierced!! I also discussed my sweet 90s armband tattoo coverup/new tattoo. Then I had to head to Calgs for what might be the best massage of my life!! It's the same masseuse I went to last time, and OMG!! Seriously if you need a referral for the most amazing massage of your life, let me know. Then, I had a delicious peach tea and great convo with TB before heading to daycare to pick up my little dude. Then we meet our friends for dinner and a playdate. Our little guys have been friends since they were just babies. In this photo are some truly amazing friends. We don't see each other as much as we would like, but always enjoy the time we get together.


Quotes for today:


*We don't even have to try, it's always a good time -unknown


*Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step -unknown


*If you sense there must be more, there is more. -Alan Cohen


You daren't publish this but I'll take a rain check.

I needed John McCain to shakeup the WhiteHouse. Democrats are slow-on boot-on-the-ground but patriot Republicans as

Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who doesn’t need do get Tel-Aviv’s approval to oust Assad outta Syria. Assad Gassing Syrian Elders, Women & Children. It is getting harder and harder for Iran & Russia to maintain their military supplies lines. Russians, Iranians & Hezbollah mercenaries are butchered as boar allover Syria. Jordan king is happy to help to get more US-AID for his dying economy and please the Islamists at his end. Turks are mean. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will exploit stalemate to occupy Syrian lands he did in Iraq for Kurdish Homeland away from Turkey motherland where they belong. Tayyip Erdogan will fight to stop Obama have boot-on-the-ground in Syria. Turks cannot be trusted.


“When the world can seem very dark and confusing, presence of priest is presence of hope,” Rev. Richard Cannon is bluffing. Priest is for death and wedding unlike Imam who has to drop everything off hand, wash-out, head to mosque, call for prayer outloud and lead the prayers reciting memorized Quran 5397 times not only after bombing but five times a day, 365 days a year. Imam leads rain, eclipse, death & trarweeh prayers. Rev. Tom Carzon showed up for the bombing like any Truther or sympathizer on every blue moon. Back to priest ban: I vote. No. please let them pray.

Last week I said: watch your Tailgate. Vladimir! Especially when Kerry & Hagel at the Helm. Guys! Since Obama ditched Putin role as BMB Truther. Putin ain’t doing well. He lost control. Just now 30 Anti-Putin Protesters detained on Red Square and 140 people busted at Moscow mosque including more than 30 citizens of other countries. Putin used to be my hero when he weaned Caucuses away from Wahabi Mountaingoats and taken them as Proper Russians. BMB screwed up everything. He got greedy. He exploited BMB to silence Gorky Park Vodka Activists. That’s a wrong call. Syria’s sparks ain’t far away to ignite holy war in Chechnya. That’s Putin’s nightmare.

Russian state media quoted a Russian Federal Security Service statement as saying those detained Friday included more than 30 citizens of other countries. But the statement did not specify which nations.

Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais Mugshot with Geert Wilders Deputy Arnoud Van Doorn. What kind of stunt-show is this? Saudi Arabia fostered Geert Wilders campaign against Islam through FOXNEWS (a subsidiary of the Kingdom holdings run by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal). This is unorthodox and deciptive. Who are you trying to fool? Are you trying to deceive god as well? وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ‏ Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais is onto his second Stunt-Show somewhere in India next week without bothering to visit those 22 million devastated Kashmiris who crave to touch his feet. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais is just following the agenda of those Godless endangered species of House of al-Saud.

GOD, PLEASE DEFEAT AMERICA’S ALLIES ON MAY 11 is preposterous headline. This is a secular & Godless argument. I need those arguing losers in that room to answer one question. Are they Muslims or Pakistani? History proved that you can’t be both. Pakistani means the boring Zardari, Nawaz Sharief, Imran Khan, Musharaf Etc. and Muslims. Use your imagination. KABOOOM if you ever touch Booze or America. I don’t think those in the room ready for that.

This comment is awaiting moderation. This is the harvest of Foreign Office seeds sown. Watching Thugocracies around the Globe committing heinous crimes against their own. All that is necessary for triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke. Richard Branson devastated by ban on British tourists to Israel, Kenya, South Africa & Turkey due domestic unrest & al-Qaida and yet Thailand went unnoticed where conned British and sedated European tourists are butchered like wild boar in Phuket, Pattaya and those Schizophrenic Islands. Read Pattaya Daily & Phuket Gazette for body count. Ricardo. Mama Teresa killed more infants in her convents than al-Qaida.

Buddhist Monks beat Muslims to death in Burma watch video..Misinformation is act of crime. beforeitsnews contributors trying to draw attention gain mileage. That’s ain't right. Burmese Muslims are butchered while police watching.

Would you guys dumb down and Google how many millions been in Shanghai tower before getting into ranking Burj Khalifa. Bruno said: achievements build nations and ranks kill it.

Quit Googledjunk. What welfare? USA ain't afford foostamp them. They u hauled millions of petrodollars to America to survive in your hostile cities. They’re fooled by the American Dream Propaganda that deranged them to drop everything back home and rush to America and now headhunted as rabids. When Ann Coulter said on FOXNEWS Zubeidat Tsarnaeva must be arrested for wearing Hijab, Breitbart banned me for saying Ann Coulter must be arrested for being a woman.


+ a few in comments


I don't know why these say yesterday, I took them at 10 this morning.


These were taken at the Garden of Reflection in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Bucks County lost seventeen residents that day and Pennsylvania lost many more. This is one of the seventeen residents of Bucks County who died in the towers and a rose left on her name.


The following dedication is the same for each picture I have uploaded today, so you do not need to reread it for each photo as it is very lengthy.


Let me tell you a story about six people. Nine years ago tomorrow, six people set off to work, unaware of the events that would play out during the early hours of their work day. Three of these people got on a commuter train and headed up to their offices on the 32nd, 61st, and 80th floors of the South Tower. Of these three people, only one made it home that day. The men on the 80th and 61st floors never left the towers. The man on the 32nd ran down the stairs, carrying another man, on his way down. The man that made it out is the father of my brother’s friend; the other two who were never seen again were friends of my family and of my father. Another woman set off to Logan International Airport to catch United Airlines flight 175, a flight her boss had booked her so she could arrive a day early to get ready for a conference in Los Angeles. She never made it to the conference. She was stopped forever in New York City at 09:03.04 as her plane smashed in to the South Tower. She was also a friend of my father. Another man woke up late as his wife was on a business trip. He had to drop his children off at Elementary School at 9:00 am, forcing him to take a later train in to work. He never got on the train. He was told at the train station that all train service to Manhattan had been suspended. That planes had crashed into the World Trade Centers. That they impacted floors 93-99 in the North Tower. As realization dawned on him that he worked on floor 95, he broke down in tears at the knowledge that his sons and his wife had unknowingly saved his life. That because his wife was not there when he woke up that morning was the only reason that he would get to see his family again. That some of his friends weren’t quite as lucky. This man is a friend of my family. Another man was watching the news as he prepared to go to work at 7:58 am CST. This man lived in the suburbs of Chicago. The event that shook America and the world shook him to the very core. This man, my father’s best friend, decided to quit his job and become a fire fighter for the Chicago Fire Department. This man felt the need to honor the lost members of the brotherhood he would soon enter in to.

Along with the three people my family knew, 2,974 other people, and 19 hijackers, were killed. Along with the fear that spread through America was a strengthened since of nationalism. This terrible event caused Americans to come together as one for the first time in many decades. However, more than 3,000 people died that day. 4,421 US soldiers, 179 soldiers from the UK, 139 other warriors, and between 90,000 and 105,000 Iraqi civilians had their death certificates signed that day without knowing it. These brave soldiers and innocent Iraqi citizens were killed in the aftermath of an already dreadful event. However, hundreds of other Americans and people around the world died that day. People got in car crashes, cancer won the fight, people were killed by random acts of violence, but they are not remembered like those that died in the Twin Towers. Their families did not receive money, even though they suffered just the same. Their families also lost husbands and wives, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers.

But America was able to pull through and survive. We, as a people, were able to keep moving, To honor the men and women who perished that day, and as a result of that day, by continuing to work as a country. Our country was able to move on knowing that other countries were there to help us. That we were not alone. That there were still decent people in the world. Our northern friends in Canada never receive enough credit for all that they did that day, and in the ensuing weeks and months, in helping the United States and the American people rebuild our country and our spirits. When American air space closed the morning of September 11th, 2001, 39,000 people were diverted to the town of Gander, and many thousands of others were diverted elsewhere. The kindness of the Canadian people helped to heal the people diverted and assure them that there was still benevolence and compassion in the world. Canada, without being asked, rose to the call and helped us in our time of need. They assured not only the United States, but the world, that the world still had decent people and that we had someone to lean on.

I remember exactly where I was when I was told about the attacks, even though I was only seven years old. I also remember that I was wearing a light blue shirt coming home from soccer practice. I remember that even though I could not fully comprehend the magnitude of the tragedy that had occurred that morning, I could tell something was not right. For the first time in a few years, my parents did not let me watch the news. I did not see the footage of the attacks until months later. My parents did not want me to see the tragic events at such a young age, knowing that once I saw the video, I would never forget. Looking back now, their decision was very smart. It was enough for me to process as a six year old without seeing kids my age, and adults crying, all over the nation and all over the world.

I know this dedication is long, but it needs to be said. To all Canadians, as well as every other country and person that helped America in our time of need, we sincerely thank you.

“I did what I had to do because it was the right thing to do. That is all. You know, we are all ordinary people, but even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways,

turn on a small light in a dark room.”-Miep Gies (quote by her character in Freedom Writers)


“Again today we are a nation that mourns. Again today we take into our hearts and minds those who perished on this site one year ago, and also those who came to toil in the rubble to bring order out of chaos, and those who, throughout these 12 months, have struggled to help us make sense of our despair.” – Michael Bloomburg, September 11, 2002.


“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here” – Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863


If you want to understand the touching story of the people of Gander, here is a link to an amazing documentary that aired during the Vancouver Olympics on an American TV network. It’s almost 45 minutes long, but well worth watching:


Also, this is a song written about the heroes of 9/11:


Those that know me personally know that I am not a huge fan of the policies, and the presidency in general, of George W. Bush, but his address on September 20, 2001 to the American people and to the people of the world, is truly a wonderful speech and exactly what we needed to hear at a time like that. Here’s a link to the transcript of the speech:


So as you go about your days today and tomorrow, please try to keep in mind all of those that perished on 9/11, those that perished as a result, and the families of those victims who have suffered as well.

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Day 5 of the Nausea project.


Today's shot was a lot of fun. I again used my neutral density filters to slow the shutter speed way down. I then stood still for a second and then moved to five the image a ghost like feel. (On the bigger image you can see the peer and rock through parts of my transparent body.


The tough part is that my camera does not autofocus through the filters. So I am needing to try and focus when I am not actually in the show. I then put it on timer and move into position. (Sometimes I need an assistant for my Photo-a-day but not really in the budget.)


Each day the project get's tougher but more rewarding. I have about 10 more passaged marked in the book and I have been looks at them at night and trying to figure out the picture to fit each of them. I think this will be a longer than a week project. I am really happy with how they are coming out and think I want to get all the passages I have marked. I am thinking of getting them printed and framed when I am done and hang them in my office.

NetSuite SuiteWorld 2015 (#NSW15) has been a blast this week!


Great keynotes, fascinating customer success stories, insightful industry analysts, compelling partner solutions in the SUITEexpo, DJ Dojah on the turntables, the SUITEfest tonight at the Civic ... and you can even get a SUITEride back to your hotel in a NetSuite-branded rickshaw (pedicab).


Kudos to NetSuite for putting together such a first-class event! Here are few photo highlights from the conference so far. They've definitely paid attention to the details.


Hope you're having a great SuiteWorld 2015!


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