By way of MPR's Molly Bloom, Ari McKee-Sexton shares this story with us today.
Ruth Vernette Harper McKee was an early adopter.
In the '40s, she was the only woman in the only integrated student organization at the U of M -- the jazz society. In the '50s, as a white Georgia housewife, she had a tendency to have a drink or two and give impassioned and unpopular civil rights speeches at cocktail parties. In the '60s, she was watching history and introducing her two pre-teen girls to Dylan (they only wanted to listen to the Osmonds). In the '70s, she was alone and an entrepreneur, a single mother raising her youngest girl on a bookseller's salary. In the '80s, she was sticking out like a sore thumb at computer conventions amongst all the young geeky guys, looking for something new to play on her Commodore 64. By the '90s, she was selling books on Amazon. And in the early 2000s, she had discovered Barack Obama before anyone else I knew, listening to his books on CD and shyly displaying the signed photograph she'd received after sending him one of her few fan letters (he is in the illustrious company of Kurt Vonnegut and Marc Chagall).
Born in 1931 in Chicago to a violinist and a language major, she would never live in affluence or power, but she surrounded her three girls and herself with music, art, books, and a rich and sturdy philosophy of social justice, integrity, obsessive curiosity, and love. This is where we learned about family, including our family history, which she'd spent 40 years researching. Among other things, we were taught to speak truth to power, whatever the cost.
She died in December 2007, when it was starting to look like Obama could win Iowa. She did not live to see him win the state or the country, but she did live long enough to hear another truth. Long-suspected but unrevealed in all her research, she learned she was 9 percent sub-Saharan African according to a DNA test (the results of which we had to ask the lab to please rush). The news made her deeply happy, perhaps satisfying the most searching and curious part of her. Before Christmas she was gone.
I know my mom is only one of many people who should have lived to see this day. Like many families, we will watch with pride and sadness, knowing that we are able to spectate and participate in this fine history in no small part because of people like her and of her generation, who made brave choices. When the credits roll, her name will be there in the universe.
"This choice sends a great message to the fashion community. -- Nicole Phelps, Style.com
She could have gone with someone more obvious, like Ralph Lauren,
but this sends a message to the American designers who are
struggling. ... It also says that just because she's in the White
House, she'll support the under-the-radar designers she wore on the
way to the White House."
She's wearing that dress today for all of us. We're all -- editorial stylist Mary Alice Stephenson
wearing that dress with her. The dress is elegant, appropriate and
has the individual style stamp of Michelle Obama and is timely for
a woman in her 40s - and she wears embellishment during the day.
I don't really have anything to say, other than to suggest these two didn't take the words right out of these people's mouths.15 Comments)
The sun rises
This is nothing new
The top spinning marbled blue
Brings the light into view
As is has for eons and eons
The day begins
But today a new sensation
As the sun crosses the dateline
A ripple not quite a melody
Rings in the air
Curious, the sun seeks the source
Faint but growing as it crosses
The Mariana Trench
Carried by the winds off Mt. Fuji
Stirring the dust on the silk road
Yet it is not here
Further the sun searches
Picking up rhythms joyous in Africa
Swelling more with the
From tears and laughter
Mogidishu, Odessa, Barcelona, Paris, London
Yet still, it is not here
You've been president of the United States for 8 years, you can't do a thing without a million photographers following you, everything you say is scrutinized for deeper meaning, and there are plenty of people who'd like to kill you.
And then you're not president anymore.
The door of the helicopter closes and it's just you and your spouse.
You turn to her and say........ " xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ."(23 Comments)
Chesley Sullenberger III, the pilot of the jetliner that ditched in the Hudson River last week, put out a statement yesterday that basically told America's media to calm down and move on. He was to be at the inauguration today but, mercifully, no media seems to have spotted him yet.
Through not fault of his own, the attention to Sullenberger seems to be -- understandably -- bristling others in the "pilot community," who point out that more people than Sullenberger were involved in the successful ditching.
On his excellent blog, Blogging at FL250, the Minneapolis-based regional airline pilot known only as Sam makes the point.
Although we don't know much about what happened in the cockpit during the ditching yet, we do know that Sullenburger was a Captain's Captain in his conduct during the evacuation and afterwards.
That said, there were a lot of things going on here that go beyond Captain Sullenburger. First off, he wasn't the only crew in that airplane. Both the First Officer and the flight attendants were very experienced, and obviously very capable. The aft flight attendant, in particular, is known to have stopped panicking passengers from opening the rear doors, which would've sunk the airplane much more quickly. Luck played a pretty big role, too. If they'd hit those birds at 500 feet of altitude instead of 3000, this could've turned out very differently. If the 1/2 mile visibility in snow that prevailed earlier in the day had stuck around, I doubt the outcome would've been so positive. If you're going to have to ditch an airliner, you can't really beat a calm Hudson River just off midtown Manhattan.
I'm going to have to disagree with Dave in his assessment that only a handful of pilots could've pulled this off. I personally think that a majority of airline pilots, if put in this situation, would rise to the occasion. This outcome was no accident in the same way that the safety record of the last eight years hasn't been an accident. It is instead the product of a safety culture almost unique to the airlines, one which has the efforts of thousands of pilots like Captain Sullenburger at its core. The fact that the crew responded so well to a scenario nobody trained for isn't only a testament to the crew, it's also a testament to a system that has in recent years recognized that the most serious situations are usually those that are unforeseen and has responded by adjusting training to emphasize dealing with situations there's no checklist for. It's a system that recognizes that truly safe pilots are made, not born. It's a system that seeks out deficiencies and remedies them, that hunts down threats and reduces risks.
Another pilot blogger, known only as "Dave" on Flight Level 390 takes a different stance:
I may not have had the "right stuff" to pull this off. The passengers of this A320 are very lucky that this amazing crew kept their cool. I would hesitate to guess how many pilots flying the Line could have done this... Probably not more than a dozen.
I'm having dinner tonight with an acquaintance from Delta and his co-pilot. Both are making their first trip into the Twin Cities now that Delta has taken over Northwest. I think I'll leave the issue out of the conversation.
The next time I get on a plane, however, I'm going to go with Sam's version.(1 Comments)