Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama--as prepared for delivery
Election Night
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

If you feel like our finances are out of control...

I don't like to be alarmist as it generally doesn't help. Much better to promptly recognize a problem and then take action to deal with it. However, in the midst of all the news of the financial meltdown, I'm concerned we aren't paying to an even bigger one: Exclusive: The methane time bomb - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent If this is real, then it may indeed be the case that the global warming train has left the station. Man made or not, once current ecological systems shut down or shift to another mode I don't believe we have the knowledge and power to shift them back.

At that point it becomes a new game of survival in a suddenly less hospitable world.

I only hope the predictions are wrong, and we can still take meaningful action.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

YouTube - Escape de Sof�a

I've seen kittens perform escapes like this, but very impressive for a dog: YouTube - Escape de Sof�a

Heck, forget about dogs, how many people would be able to figure that one out?

Really, why not?

The only response a rational mind can have to the new electoral fascination with celebrity. Clearly the best man for the job is Michael Palin for President.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Political Oddness

Ok, so I haven't generally done a lot of politics on this blog. But the whole Sarah Palin VP nomination is just .. so .. unusual, I feel compelled to try to find out what I'm missing. My conclusion, is probably not much. It really is the political decision it appears, and if folks voted based on rational reasons it would backfire. McCain is counting on people not to.

Still, I came across this great summary from someone in Alaska who gives a bit of context on how they see this playing out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Project

What does it mean to "keep in touch"? I've been blessed to have met hundreds of wonderful people in my lifetime. With almost all we've pledge to keep in touch. I'm fortunate that in this age of the internet I've used that tool to actually do so with many of them. That, plus my annual trips (like to the Gathering) also serve the purpose.

Still, there are even more good friends that I've allowed to simply fade out of my life. Recently, I've discovered that many of my high school classmates are beginning to create Facebook accounts. This tells me that Facebook is probably no longer the hip young cool place to be. But, that aside, it also is an opportunity to re-connect with many folks I'd lost track of and would almost certainly not have sat down and penned a traditional letter.

So, my new project is to go through all my 'friends' on Facebook and actually initiate a correspondence with each of them. We'll see how far it goes before it becomes completely overwhelming.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Slow News Year

Apologies to all those who followed my blog while I was at the Gathering this year. I never did update the last few days. A week playing games in the basement of some hotel sounds like a long time, but it is the sort of geek heaven that makes a commitment to regular blogging tough to keep. I'll try to keep a more even pace for future events.

Meanwhile, it has otherwise been a slow news year around here. But not for lack of interesting things to write about. I just need to hone my style and begin getting it out there.

So, again apologies to those who subscribed as a feed just looking for gaming info. The next few posts are likely to deviate again. I hope you find them interesting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gathering on

Still having trouble connecting to the 'geek, so again no hot links..

I walked into the hall around 11 and saw folks learning Breaking Away. This is a game I've wanted to try for years and I finally got the chance! I joined Paul, Chuck, Ray, Brian, Brian and Mark at the table for a couple laps around the Velodrome. Long and short, I really enjoyed it. I suspect the 21 riders in the race due to so many players upped the interest level.

Next I grabbed lunch and ran into Matthew. Earlier in the week I'd mentioned wanting to try 1960: Making of a President, and he reminded me and offered to teach. Now that's an offer I can't refuse. I played the bad guys and we went to work trying to influence states to win the election. I enjoyed the game, but it lacked the build up and tension of Twilight Struggle from my point of view. I'd gladly play again, but don't need to own it.

We had some more time, so I offered to teach a prototype I'd learned earlier in the week to Matt and Becky. Ron joined us and we had a blast. Suffice it to say there is still plenty of room in the civilization building genre for innovation and good new games.

Matthew had another obligation and Ron departed, so we got up to look for a next game. Ted and Travis were looking to play Toledo and asked if I knew it and could teach. I agreed, and after realizing they could fit two more sat down with Becky to play. Unfortunately, this time through the game dragged a bit, and I saw my concern with the players determining game ending condition resurface again. For the second game in a row I won when I was able to get my second pawn to the ending on the same turn that the apparent leader ended the game. I like the game in general, but the end game really detracts for me from the overall experience.

We went to dinner with Ted, Travis and a couple of the guys from Fantasy Flight. Upon returning Ted taught us Year of the Dragon, a game he really likes that none of the three of us had played. Doug also joined in and we embarked upon trying to survive the eight horrible months out of the twelve in front of us. It is a very clever game that I did quite poorly at. The play dragged a bit at our table, so I'd need to try again to really set my assessment, but my first impressions are quite good. Another Alea game that sits just a bit outside the mold, which to me is a good thing.

Next up I played the poker tournament. Around eighty players signed up for this no-cost, no limit hold-em format. As the starting time was 9:30 and they wanted it to end at a reasonable time the blinds shot upward at a startling rate. I was playing about even (nearly doubling my chips) at the first break an hour later and already about half the players had dropped. Still, it turned out my chip stack was only about 9x the big blind. After a poor play on the second hand after the break I was sitting on seven blinds. With a 10,A of hearts in the hole and two hearts showing on the board after the flop I raised 2 blinds and the player after me went all in. I decided to go for it, but the needed draw didn't come out. Still, I think it was the right decision due to both the pot odds and the need to have a big stack to keep going in a tournament like this.

As I wandered away from the poker tables Mark called on me to play Show Manager as the sixth they had sat down with ended up with another obligation. I gladly jumped in and joined Bob, Gary, Mark, Berna and Pat trying to put on the best shows. This whole group plays now, or has in the past played in their local game groups, so there was a lot of gabbing and storytelling through the game, Mark in particular being in fine form. Unusually, several of us ended up with the same final show, and the deck literally ran out of cards for some positions in that show, with not even wilds to grab to fill the slots. One player swept the board enough times in one turn to see every single card in order to prove it. Always a fun game, I like this version much better than Atlantic Star, and wish they'd reprint.

I wasn't quite ready to go to bed, but ran into Bryan who was checking out Pizza Box Baseball. I asked if I could sit down and we could learn the rules together. He agreed, and once we figured out the mis-collated rule book (another copy was there, we just picked up the wrong one) we were able to quickly begin playing the simplest level of the game. This game uses cards instead of dice, but in about half an hour we were able to play a full game. The outcomes look like real baseball scores (I won 5-4 with 12 hits and an error). My one disappointment would be that it doesn't seem to support having specific named players or pro-teams, instead opting for a more generic pitcher ranking and batter order approach. Still, probably a good light game for the baseball fan.

At that it was time for bed again.