Saturday, December 26, 2009

A ‘present-day’ meaning for Christmas

While there are many views on the meaning of Christmas, mine relate with Abraham Maslow’s table of human needs, shown at the top of the quotations section below. For me, Christmas is a birth of the most noble of principles and values into our physical world. A treasured few include love, compassion, being of service, tolerance of differing views, cultures and beliefs.

These most principled of values, which for me also include artistry – the manifestation of our inner vision of truth and beauty within the physical world – are in fact, ‘self actualization’, as shown by Dr. Maslow. And Christmas is about birthing the most elevated ways of being, into our world… a world where humans too often live lives focused on fulfilling their more basic of needs, rather than seeking to manifest the higher ones.

With most people this is not by choice. Because of poverty and being on the receiving end of exploitation, there is little time or resources available to do anything other than survive and try to feel safe in the world. So, like the main character in Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, we would do well to reflect on any ways in which we may be, as individuals or as a society, like Mr. Scrooge… on the ‘dishing it out’ side of exploitation.

Once we are OK on that count, how may we give birth to our highest of aspirations, artistry and service or seek to be a more decent human beings, in our own corner of the planet?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Real Reason Why Healthcare Reform is Opposed

If, like most all of you, the hours you have heard politicians promise to reform healthcare were added up, it would amount to days and days of rhetoric. But now, we collectively have elected a president who is following through on that promise, and if this is not derailed by misinformation and emotional manipulation, we may finally have more certainty that we will not lose or health or our finances, should we or a family member have a serious health challenge.

For Bonnett and me, it is long past the time to treat an issue that affects our health and pocketbook in such a direct way, like a rematch of the election, and focus instead on the actual proposal itself, so all Americans can have the best healthcare possible, utilizing the best health practices now in use in our own country as well as other counties. We of course also need to do this with very close scrutiny of costs.

So please keep informed on the details of the proposals. Make sure your information is real, factual and about the healthcare proposal itself, and not misinformation put out with the intent of manipulating and scaring people in an effort to win a political battle that will surely cause all of us to continue losing to rapidly escalating healthcare costs and declining healthcare service.

This issue affects you and us very personally. If you were voting on the present healthcare system we have now, as if it were a proposed healthcare plan, the very plan we will continue to have if healthcare reform is derailed, would you vote for it?

- Richard Chandler & Bonnett Chandler

(Note: The major cause of bankruptcy in the USA is unfunded health expenses.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Micheal Jackson Memorial Service of July 7, 2009

When I went upstairs for lunch, the Michael Jackson Memorial service was on TV and I was immediately drawn in by the superb musical tributes. As a musician, this service reminded me of how much music is deeply appreciated… and in honoring Michael Jackson’s artistic contributions, the work of musicians and dancers in total is also honored. This reflection, sparked by the heartfelt singing of Jennifer Hudson and Stevie Wonder, uplifted me.

- Richard Chandler

I posted a video of Usher and a news link on my site:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Local Environmental Citizen, Harry Davis

Recently, I had the pleasure of having a meal and beer with my good friend, Harry Davis. Harry is very committed to working in a local way to mitigate the effects of environmental degradation and global warming. Earlier in the day, he did volunteer work by planting a community-based organic garden using heirloom seeds.

By growing a portion of our own food, we learn a great deal; including discovering first-hand appreciation for those who provide us with food. We also decrease the transportation costs and thereby of help to lesson global warming.

- Richard Chandler

Saturday, May 16, 2009

President's Weekly Video Address: Credit Card Reform

President's Weekly Video Address: Credit Card Reform

The new presidential initiative announced below takes away disincentives for workers who have lost jobs from seeking retraining and education and makes it more possible to immediately gain new educational skills to fill jobs that remain in demand. For me, it is exciting to witness bold action that helps people being put into practice at a time when it is needed.

- Richard Chandler

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Big Money Likes Tax Loopholes... Not Happy with President's Proposals

Supporting policy that makes better sense for middle class Americans, by closing down loopholes in our tax code that permit skimming what should stay here - for jobs and revenue - and exporting it elsewhere, makes sense to working people. I find it very interesting to note that actually doing this, as the President proposed, (see below), will be opposed by many in congress who will give lots of reasons, other than real ones having to do with big money supporters, for opposing what makes good sense to most Americans.

More from the administration proposal here...

- Richard Chandler

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The 'Armenian Holcaust' of 1915

Yesterday, I had the privilege to visit with a friend of Armenian descsent who brought my attention to another genocide tragedy. Like the Holocaust, this tragedy was horrific in how it occurred and in its scope, which included the murder of over 1,500,000 Armenian people in the early part of the 20th century. Below you will find our President’s complete statement calling for acknowledgement of the genocide, (the president instead used the Armenian word for the event, the ‘Meds Yeghern’.), although he had used our own word, “genocide,” to describe it in past statements and speeches, while still a US Senator.

April 24, 2009 Statement of President Barack Obama on Armenian Remembrance Day:

Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people.

History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible events of 1915 remind us of the dark prospect of man’s inhumanity to man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of reconciliation. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.

The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward. I strongly support efforts by the Turkish and Armenian people to work through this painful history in a way that is honest, open, and constructive. To that end, there has been courageous and important dialogue among Armenians and Turks, and within Turkey itself. I also strongly support the efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize their bilateral relations. Under Swiss auspices, the two governments have agreed on a framework and roadmap for normalization. I commend this progress, and urge them to fulfill its promise.

Together, Armenia and Turkey can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive and prosperous. And together, the Armenian and Turkish people will be stronger as they acknowledge their common history and recognize their common humanity.

Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern. But the contributions that Armenians have made over the last ninety-four years stand as a testament to the talent, dynamism and resilience of the Armenian people, and as the ultimate rebuke to those who tried to destroy them. The United States of America is a far richer country because of the many Americans of Armenian descent who have contributed to our society, many of whom immigrated to this country in the aftermath of 1915. Today, I stand with them and with Armenians everywhere with a sense of friendship, solidarity, and deep respect.

- Barack Obama (1961- )

Friday, April 24, 2009

The President's Statement of Halocaust Remembrance Ceremony of April 23, 2009

We gather today to mourn the loss of so many lives, and celebrate those who saved them; honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.

It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal used to kill; education that can enlighten used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life used as the machinery of mass death -- a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands.

"While the uniqueness of the Holocaust in scope and in method is truly astounding, the Holocaust was driven by many of the same forces that have fueled atrocities throughout history: the scapegoating that leads to hatred and blinds us to our common humanity; the justifications that replace conscience and allow cruelty to spread; the willingness of those who are neither perpetrators nor victims to accept the assigned role of bystander, believing the lie that good people are ever powerless or alone, the fiction that we do not have a choice."

- Barack Obama (1961- )

But while we are here today to bear witness to the human capacity to destroy, we are also here to pay tribute to the human impulse to save. In the moral accounting of the Holocaust, as we reckon with numbers like 6 million, as we recall the horror of numbers etched into arms, we also factor in numbers like these: 7,200 -- the number of Danish Jews ferried to safety, many of whom later returned home to find the neighbors who rescued them had also faithfully tended their homes and businesses and belongings while they were gone.

We remember the number five -- the five righteous men and women who join us today from Poland. We are awed by your acts of courage and conscience. And your presence today compels each of us to ask ourselves whether we would have done what you did. We can only hope that the answer is yes.

We also remember the number 5,000 -- the number of Jews rescued by the villagers of Le Chambon, France -- one life saved for each of its 5,000 residents. Not a single Jew who came there was turned away, or turned in. But it was not until decades later that the villagers spoke of what they had done -- and even then, only reluctantly. The author of a book on the rescue found that those he interviewed were baffled by his interest. "How could you call us 'good'?" they said. "We were doing what had to be done."

"That is the question of the righteous -- those who would do extraordinary good at extraordinary risk not for affirmation or acclaim or to advance their own interests, but because it is what must be done. They remind us that no one is born a savior or a murderer -- these are choices we each have the power to make. They teach us that no one can make us into bystanders without our consent, and that we are never truly alone -- that if we have the courage to heed that "still, small voice" within us, we can form a minyan for righteousness that can span a village, even a nation."

- Barack Obama (1961- )

Their legacy is our inheritance. And the question is, how do we honor and preserve it? How do we ensure that "never again" isn't an empty slogan, or merely an aspiration, but also a call to action?

I believe we start by doing what we are doing today -- by bearing witness, by fighting the silence that is evil's greatest co-conspirator.

In the face of horrors that defy comprehension, the impulse to silence is understandable. My own great uncle returned from his service in World War II in a state of shock, saying little, alone with painful memories that would not leave his head. He went up into the attic, according to the stories that I've heard, and wouldn't come down for six months. He was one of the liberators -- someone who at a very tender age had seen the unimaginable. And so some of the liberators who are here today honor us with their presence -- all of whom we honor for their extraordinary service. My great uncle was part of the 89th Infantry Division -- the first Americans to reach a Nazi concentration camp. And they liberated Ohrdruf, part of Buchenwald, where tens of thousands had perished.

The story goes that when the Americans marched in, they discovered the starving survivors and the piles of dead bodies. And General Eisenhower made a decision. He ordered Germans from the nearby town to tour the camp, so they could see what had been done in their name. And he ordered American troops to tour the camp, so they could see the evil they were fighting against. Then he invited congressmen and journalists to bear witness. And he ordered that photographs and films be made. Some of us have seen those same images, whether in the Holocaust Museum or when I visited Yad Vashem, and they never leave you. Eisenhower said that he wanted "to be in a position to give firsthand evidence of these things, if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda."

Eisenhower understood the danger of silence. He understood that if no one knew what had happened, that would be yet another atrocity -- and it would be the perpetrators' ultimate triumph.

What Eisenhower did to record these crimes for history is what we are doing here today. That's what Elie Wiesel and the survivors we honor here do by fighting to make their memories part of our collective memory. That's what the Holocaust Museum does every day on our National Mall, the place where we display for the world our triumphs and failures and the lessons we've learned from our history. It's the very opposite of silence.

But we must also remember that bearing witness is not the end of our obligation -- it's just the beginning. We know that evil has yet to run its course on Earth. We've seen it in this century in the mass graves and the ashes of villages burned to the ground, and children used as soldiers and rape used as a weapon of war. To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened; who perpetrate every form of intolerance -- racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and more -- hatred that degrades its victim and diminishes us all.

"Today, and every day, we have an opportunity, as well as an obligation, to confront these scourges -- to fight the impulse to turn the channel when we see images that disturb us, or wrap ourselves in the false comfort that others' sufferings are not our own. Instead we have the opportunity to make a habit of empathy; to recognize ourselves in each other; to commit ourselves to resisting injustice and intolerance and indifference in whatever forms they may take --"

- Barack Obama (1961- )

whether confronting those who tell lies about history, or doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities like those that took place in Rwanda, those taking place in Darfur. That is my commitment as President. I hope that is yours, as well.

It will not be easy. At times, fulfilling these obligations require self-reflection. But in the final analysis, I believe history gives us cause for hope rather than despair -- the hope of a chosen people who have overcome oppression since the days of Exodus; of the nation of Israel rising from the destruction of the Holocaust; of the strong and enduring bonds between our nations.

It is the hope, too, of those who not only survived, but chose to live, teaching us the meaning of courage and resilience and dignity. I'm thinking today of a study conducted after the war that found that Holocaust survivors living in America actually had a higher birthrate than American Jews. What a stunning act of faith -- to bring a child in a world that has shown you so much cruelty; to believe that no matter what you have endured, or how much you have lost, in the end, you have a duty to life.

We find cause for hope as well in Protestant and Catholic children attending school together in Northern Ireland; in Hutus and Tutsis living side by side, forgiving neighbors who have done the unforgivable; in a movement to save Darfur that has thousands of high school and college chapters in 25 countries, and brought 70,000 people to the Washington Mall -- people of every age and faith and background and race united in common cause with suffering brothers and sisters halfway around the world.

Those numbers can be our future -- our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance, and ultimately to reconciliation. That is what we mean when we say "never again."

"So today, during this season when we celebrate liberation, resurrection, and the possibility of redemption, may each of us renew our resolve to do what must be done. And may we strive each day, both individually and as a nation, to be among the righteous."

- Barack Obama (1961- )

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Broadband Access - The New Rural Electric Upgrade

There are several people that I know who live about 25 miles outside of St. Cloud, MN, and only have access to dial-up internet service. Their lives are hampered by this, as the internet is now geared towards much faster speeds, so pages take forever to load and online videos are virtually unavailable to them. Even when they can have something load overnight, it often crashes.

We as a country passed legislation years ago to require that everyone and anyone who lived in a rural area was served by electricity. This proved to be a very good idea for everyone, and not just those who were rural residents.

The time has come where the same benefit for our rural citizens to have broadband internet access has arrived. The beneficiaries again are not just those rural residents, but all of us. When the totality of our citizenry have this basic access that those of us who live in more populated areas have enjoyed for some time, commerce will increase, education of rural children will be updated and our ability to send a rural friend a video to watch will finally be possible.

Here is the link to our President and Vice President's agenda for farm, business and residential improvement for rural areas. Please support this agenda, even if you are not a rural resident. Time has proven that support for our rural areas benefits us all.

- Richard & Bonnett Chandler

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Use Social Network Sites with Discretion

Bonnett and I are getting having a blast using facebook to connect with old friends, family and our ever growing circle of new facebook friends. But as the article below states, we all need to be quite careful in putting out our personal lives in such a public way. So we implore all of you who use social network sites to be careful, and encourage your contacts to also be careful with their personal information as well as yours.

- Richard Chandler

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AIG... Were All Mad!

We’re all mad at AIG!!! But what can we do about it? Anger gives us the energy boost we need to really do something different. How about this… Take your anger and use it to do something that helps, even just a little bit, to improve your life, the lives of those whose life yours directly touches and your neighborhood or your workplace.

Simple things that cross your path will do just fine. You might pick up some trash next time you go for a walk. You could be more diligent in placing recyclable trash into the recycling container instead of the regular trash. Perhaps just extend a bit more warmth and presence to everyone with whom you have contact with today.

My hope for you, and for me, is to use the energy of the justifiable anger over the AIG bonuses to fuel more personal contribution to better our world. This helps break the tendency towards cynicism while making good use from all of that anger energy.

- Richard Chandler

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Commentary on Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems

I was inspired by reading Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems . When money is a little tighter for most all of us, and a lot tighter for a good many, it makes sense to have some fun with finding a better or lower cost way to get something done. Bonnett and I take delight in getting good deals on what we buy and sometimes being fortunate enough to find new less expensive ways to obtain what we need for our home or business. And in addition to your immediate savings, you get an added benefit... a good story to tell your children and grandchildren about 'the good old days' of 2009, when you discovered a novel way to keep things going, despite having less money to work with.

- Richard Chandler

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Aging Parents - Navigating Very Difficult Decisions

Commentary based on this article link: What I Wish I’d Done Differently Please read the Jane Gross New York Times article here first, then afterward please read my commentary. What I Wish I’d Done Differently


The article immediately below is ‘must reading’ for any of you that have a parent of retirement age or beyond. The writer, Jane Gross, lays out a summary of the progression of health decline of her own mother over a period of years, and what she would do differently with the wisdom of hindsight.
Ms Gross’s story reminds me of what my wife, Bonnett, and her family, have gone through as they increasingly had to manage the healthcare and the living situation of their parents, who are both now age 96. Thankfully, many of the decisions that Bonne and her brother Douglas made on behalf of their parents have proved to be very good ones.

The fact that her parents are still alive, and living a reasonably engaged and happy life together, is evidence of the wisdom of their decisions. This would not have been their fate had Douglas and Bonnett failed to be proactive in navigating through an often complex process without clear indicators of how to best proceed.

We are also thankful that the healthcare is very good in Minnesota. As you read this, I am happy to report that Bonne and Douglas’s parents are living together in a room in a first rate nursing home with an on-staff geriatric medical doctor. Prior to that, they were in a nursing home that was at a much different level of care than is the case in their present home, Country Manor in Sartell, Minnesota.

Before entering the nursing homes, Bonne and her brother moved them out of their apartment and into an assisted living facility, which had reasonably good resources. All of these moves were necessitated by a reduction in her parent’s capacity to keep living where they were. None of these moves were easy for her parents. But they were necessary. And Bonnett, her brother Douglas, his wife, his sons, their wives and children, (the parent’s great grand children) are all very engaged and visit Bonne’s parents frequently. I am very proud to be a part of this family.

- Richard Chandler

First Published on Famous Quotes Homepage

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Feel Patriotic! Go to the New Whitehouse Websites

After listening to our president’s weekly address, I went to the site which will give us as citizens the access to how our funds are being spent by showing these transactions on the website Since the act has not passed, the main thing on the site today was a link to The Whitehouse site.

I found the site to be extremely comprehensive and easy to navigate. The part that we found most helpful was the link called 'agenda', which has summaries of the proposals our president, with our help and cooperation from congress, intends to enact. This information, posted and updated for all to see, is an innovative departure from all that has gone before. We hope you too appreciate that even in the very first days of his term, we as ordinary citizens are already more informed and involved than ever before.

- Richard & Bonne Chandler

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our President's complete inaugural speech transcript with plenty of famous quotes...

My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

- Barack Obama (1961- )

The new piece of music written by composer John Williams was especilly moving to Bonne and me. Barack Obama became our president as we heard that piece, as he became president at noon, as the swearing in happened after noon. Here is the 'Gift to be Simple' Piece.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

January 18th 2009 'Lincoln Memorial' Concert

I was able to watch a live broadcast of the Sunday, January 18th Lincoln Memorial concert and was very entertained and moved by the extraordinary performances by a great many well known USA musicians, The musicians included the 'All Branches US Military Band, military and military academy choirs and the Irish Band 'U-2'. Interspersed with the music were quotations and readings from the speeches and writings of presidents Washington, Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Vice President-elect Joe Biden and President-elect Barack Obama both gave very short but heartfelt speeches.

What was evident for me as I watched the event is how important the arts and music are to our country socially, historically and as a way to bring us all closer to each other as we celebrate the smooth transition of power that our democracy so nobly demonstrates.

HBO is likely to rebroadcast the event over the next few weeks so you can have an opportunity to enjoy the concert for yourself.

- Richard Chandler
First Published on Famous Quotes Homepage

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 New Year's Resolutions Commentary:

So many New Year’s resolutions are framed as a guilt-oriented reaction to something we don’t want. The main example for this is the “weight loss resolution.” My own lack of success for the standard kind of New Year’s resolutions seems to be shared with most others too.

The standard New Year’s resolution seems to be made up of this kind of belief: ‘If I could only somehow become more disciplined and resolved to change some character flaw which stands in the way, then I would have a happier and more successful life’.

What hasn’t worked for me is this heavy handed approach where one part of me is put in charge of whipping the other part, that lazy sloth-ridden part, into submission. I have never been able to sustain an ongoing battle like this over a long period of time. So eventually, out of frustration, the resolution gets dropped, and usually long before the year is halfway through.
I’ll talk about what does actually work for me in a future commentary.

- Richard Chandler

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 New Year Thought

Just as our new president and his growing new team will be using the next three weeks to do the foundational organization work for taking charge of the administrative branch of our national government, all of us could do much the same... We can also dedicate this time to laying a foundation for moving our individual and collective lives in a new and more uplifted direction.

For me, despite the economy, this means staying very focussed and giving superior service for my massage therapy practice and my yoga practice.

The best in 2009,

Richard Chandler

- Richard Chandler