Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Classic Onion Satire

Some great stories from The Onion


Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress
November 5, 2008 | Issue 44•45

WASHINGTON—After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome.
Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.

"Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, 'Things are finally as terrible as we're willing to tolerate," said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. "To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you."
more at:

Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job
November 5, 2008 | Issue 44•45

WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."


From 2001. Let's hope these days are over:
Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'
January 17, 2001 | Issue 37•01

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

President-elect Bush vows that "together, we can put the triumphs of the recent past behind us."
"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.

Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an 18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply, losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell.

Asked for comment about the cooling technology sector, Bush said: "That's hardly my area of expertise."

Turning to the subject of the environment, Bush said he will do whatever it takes to undo the tremendous damage not done by the Clinton Administration to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He assured citizens that he will follow through on his campaign promise to open the 1.5 million acre refuge's coastal plain to oil drilling. As a sign of his commitment to bringing about a change in the environment, he pointed to his choice of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior. Norton, Bush noted, has "extensive experience" fighting environmental causes, working as a lobbyist for lead-paint manufacturers and as an attorney for loggers and miners, in addition to suing the EPA to overturn clean-air standards.

Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as "a tireless champion in the battle to protect a woman's right to give birth."

"Soon, with John Ashcroft's help, we will move out of the Dark Ages and into a more enlightened time when a woman will be free to think long and hard before trying to fight her way past throngs of protesters blocking her entrance to an abortion clinic," Bush said. "We as a nation can look forward to lots and lots of babies."

Soldiers at Ft. Bragg march lockstep in preparation for America's return to aggression.
Continued Bush: "John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."

The speech was met with overwhelming approval from Republican leaders.

"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."

"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."

An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.

"After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012," Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. "That's not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in."

"You have no idea what it's like to be black and enfranchised," said Marlon Hastings, one of thousands of Miami-Dade County residents whose votes were not counted in the 2000 presidential election. "George W. Bush understands the pain of enfranchisement, and ever since Election Day, he has fought tirelessly to make sure it never happens to my people again."

Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.

"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."


I Think I See The Light At The End of The Tunnel Now

This is a letter my good friend Jerry penned regarding the president elect. It really touched me, so I have decided to republish it.

Good job Jerry ol' Boy!


PS More of his stuff at http://greater-apes.blogspot.com/

"Not in my lifetime."

For the entirety of my life, that was the answer I gave to the question “Do you ever think there will be a black President.” Call me cynical, I’m only 40 years old, but I never thought it would happen. That is, until four years ago.

I remember the moment. The Democratic Convention was on the television and as I passed through the dining room, I heard someone introduce the Keynote Speaker, some guy I’d never heard of named Barack Obama. Now, I stopped to give him a bit of attention, well, because he was black, truthfully, and I figured I’d give a brother a little respect. Moments passed and I found myself standing flat-footed and stock-still in the middle of the room.

Oh. Shit.

What the hell was going on? Who the hell was this? Why haven’t I moved? And, seriously, why am I holding my breath? There was something happening at that moment, a “rumbling”, a “shift”, if you will, and it brought up something in me that I had to give voice to. Standing in my dining room, speaking to no one in particular, I said, “I think I just saw the first black President.”

I had no sense of when he would get there. I was still of the mindset that Kerry would defeat Bush and hopefully get two terms. I figured in eight or twelve years, he’d get his shot. But Bush was able to steal Ohio and, still drunk and high from his reelection party, drove this country into the ditch then climbed out and danced on top of it like Michael Jackson at a courthouse. Things got a lot worse, our nation’s mood got darker and Barack saw the unique opportunity to make a difference.

Like many, when Barack got in the race I thought it may have been too soon for him. I was in the John Edwards camp [cough!utterdisappointment!cough!] for most of the run-up to Iowa, but Barack’s debate performances pulled me into his camp by the time the primaries started. I was still skeptical though. Not of Barack, not at all. I was skeptical of Us. I believe the US is a great country that regrettably has very racist tendencies, so I in no way thought it would be an easy road.

But Barack knew how to play the game. While I repeatedly heard television pundits say that Barack needed to get “passionate” and “show some anger,” I knew what was going on. I knew that Barack had been a black man his entire life and understood that there was a fine line between “showing some anger” and being an “angry black man.” He played it cool and got it done.

I’m not a crying kind of guy. I tend to keep things pretty level and close to the vest, but sometimes moments resonate with me on a primal level and I have no control over that. The first time I heard my son sing a lullaby back to me that I had sung to him his entire life, for example. Tears flowed. Ten minutes after the election was called for Barack, I reached for the phone to call my mother and it hit me. I walked away from the phone and went to find my son. I held him and I cried. At three years old he doesn’t understand the difference between tears of joy and tears of sadness. He doesn’t understand what this moment means to someone like me.

I’ve always considered myself patriotic. But there has always been an enthusiasm gap. I haven’t said the Pledge of Allegiance since elementary school. I stand for but don’t sing the National Anthem. I believe in the promise of America but have always felt America had only given the promise lip-service. That black people’s citizenship was, to an extent, only provisional. Minorities’ in general to be honest.

No longer. A threshold has been crossed. America has shown that it’s willing to start embracing all of its people. For the first time in my life, I feel fully American. When promoting the American Dream, I’ll no longer feel like I’m lying.

Unfortunately, it took a disastrous Presidency to get us here. Citizen’s had to get to the point where the road ahead was so dire that they were forced to set aside their bigotry.

Now we’ve got a lot of work to do. Our economic troubles aren’t suddenly fixed. Our standing in the world isn’t healed. Racism and bigotry aren’t gone now (just ask your gay neighbors). We’re not out of this yet.

But at least we can see the end of the tunnel now.

Barack Hussein Obama is the next President of the United States.


-Jerry Williams!

November 5, 2008

Oakland, California

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Into the "normal" times

Well, I have been a bit hesitant to post anything in the past few weeks because of all the adjustments that have been taking place. I'll say that it was a very rough start for us. I now know why they say that having 2 is much more than double the work. When you have one, you can pour all of your attention into that one child. In many ways they begin to act like little adults as they mimic your behavior. Add a second and all of a sudden you have 2 *children*. Every second of your day is occupied by managing their interactions (at least until they learn to do it themselves). So, these past weeks I have been tied up trying to teach Anh and Tam how to live together. Finally, finally, they are starting to PLAY TOGETHER! Yes, yesterday morning they were having so much fun together that I actually had time to wash the dishes. Sure wish I had gotten pictures of that! Here is a cutie to show how they sometimes get along....

And if you follow the link on the right -------> I am trying to keep all my newest photos there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Further thoughts

Parenting two toddlers is challenging in an of itself. But, when one of the toddlers is a new addition, coming with her own complete personality, things get a little crazy. Tam has been waking every night screaming in a way only she can scream. Eventually, Tam will share a room with Anh, but until we can quiet this screaming a bit, we have been sleeping with her in our bed. I swear, the scream could wake the dead. Until last night, she would wake up and then thrash around not letting us get close to her. For the first time last night, she let me comfort her during her nighttime scream. I feel like it was a little miracle and a step forward.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Back home

It has been a week since we touched back down in the U.S. and it has taken me this long to get around to typing on our blog! Yes, things have been crazy and challenging and exciting and fun. Anh and Tam are starting to work out their differences, which has been helped along by having two parents who are not as stressed and tired as we were in the beginning. Getting back into our normal routine has also helped as well as having the most amazing preschool teachers/friends who always manage to be the calm within life's craziness. Deb and Chris have really helped me regain my sanity this week, when I thought that the sky was falling (and they probably don't even know it).
But, I am getting ahead of myself.....

Our trip back to the U.S. was a bit better than we expected. The kids slept most of the way with just a couple of minor melt-downs in the middle of the ride. The staff on China Airlines was fantastic - so helpful and friendly - I was really impressed with the service on this flight. One thing I noticed was that the only person on the flight who were put off by having children on board was the boorish American in front of us. It was just our luck that Tam lets out a scream that could wake the dead anytime she wakes, even for a second. Not much we could do about it and it was always very short lived (like less than 30 seconds at most and usually just for a split second). Anyhow, this guy kept turning around and staring at us like somehow that was going to make it stop. Let me tell you, I definitely felt his pain, since it was my ear she was yelling in each time!
It took us more than an hour to get through the new immigrant line in San Francisco, so by the time we picked up our luggage, rented a car, and drove over to Oakland, it was about 11 pm. That night sleep came easily for all of us! Our flight back to Eugene was sort of a comedy of errors.
We left Oakland at 1:30pm, 30 minutes later than we had intended, for a 4:20pm flight. Of course, traffic leading up to the toll was horrendous and it took us an hour to get to the rental return. The rental return is a bit off of the airport, although there is a tram that takes you to the airport in about 15 minutes. So, we end up at the ticket counter at close to 2:45pm. We were holding paper tickets, requiring us to see a ticket agent. Just our luck, there is only a single ticket agent and the electronic ticket booths aren't working properly, so many people are waiting to see the agent. By the time we actually see the agent it is now 3:30. No sweat, the security line is short, but we are picked for *extra* screening. This of course takes time, because they have to hand search our luggage and make us go into the "air puff" chamber. Luckily, the TSA at SFO is good at getting people through quickly and we were off again. We managed to get to our gate 5 minutes before boarding, phew. Anh had been sleeping this whole time in his carseat on wheels, so he was none too pleased about being woken up to board the plane on foot. He refused to let me change his diaper, so we board without. The carseat didn't fit in our assigned seats, so the flight attendant moved us to the back just before the plane was due to push back from the gate. It was at this point that Anh tells me he has to use the potty and in the split second when I am deciding that we will have to go before the plane takes off, he has an accident in the isle. Poor Anh! So I run forward to get a new diaper and some wipes and as I return the flight attendant asks me if there is any way I can do this in my seat! Uh, no. So here we were, holding up the flight and I was working as quick as I could to strip Anh, clean him with the only thing I could find - a dry face cloth - and rediaper him. I must say that I did it in record time and everyone on the plane around me was very supportive (thankfully). Anh fell back asleep as I put him back in his car seat - phew, we made it by the skin of our teeth!

I will say that coming home early was really good for our family. We are finally getting our clocks reset and feeling like normal people again. That is not to say that we are getting enough sleep yet! Tam wakes up a lot during the night and to keep her from waking up Anh, she is sleeping in our bed instead of the room that they share. This means that Patrick and I are waking up a lot (remember, she screams when she wakes up). But, at least we are in our own home, sleeping in our own beds, with our friends around us and some semblance of a normal life to live every day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I guess I have not been nearly as diligent with blogging during our adoption experience this time. Is it because this is our second time around, or is it just that life has suddenly become so much more complex? Maybe a little of both.
Yesterday we got Tam's U.S. visa in what was a pretty anti-climactic experience at the consulate. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad there was nothing exciting about obtaining a U.S. visa for our daughter. When we adopted Anh, the U.S. was still requiring 2 interviews here in Vietnam, the first for a I-600 approval and the second to apply for the visa. At that time, it was very nerve wracking because the interviewer at the consulate seemed to try to give all families a really hard time. Your appointment might be at 1:30 and you would arrive at 1:00, only to find out that he was on a break. Then you might sit around for a couple hours before he was ready to grill you. The torture would commence and you would begin to wonder what you had done wrong and why your country was treating you like a criminal.
This time, we arrived at our appointed time, paid for our visa, and then 15 minutes later signed some paperwork and were approved. Amazing! And, we had Tam's visa in our hand 2 hours later. They have definitely streamlined the process on this end of things. I had been concerned about someone questioning Tam's age, since on paper she is 10 months old, but in reality she is more like 14 months old. Pretty obvious when you see her, but they didn't even blink an eye.

Today was our last full day in Vietnam and Patrick and I spent the day trying to finish up last minute shopping. We have determined that prices of goods and food have gone up between 30-50% since we were here 2 years ago. Still quite inexpensive compared to U.S. standards, but growing ever closer to our prices. It is also interesting to note that you still see the same exact wares in shops here that were available 2 years ago. The more thing change.....

Well, we are on a plane tomorrow night and will be back in the U.S. on Saturday evening, West coast time. Hopefully, when we are home, the internet will be a bit better and we can start to post some more of our pictures!