Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ Category

Rules for a Happy Life

June 20, 2010
  • Learn to live with the incongruities in life.
  • Do not easily get piqued at obnoxious statements.
  • Preserve friends as you equally add more.
  • Be neighbor-friendly.
  • Remember important occasions of people close to you.
  • Lift people up than put them down.
  • Never treasure anger at anyone.
  • Save for rainy days.
  • Be simple in your needs.
  • Exercise regularly.Learn at least,one sport you love doing.
  • Have a  Positive Mental Attitude (PMA).
  • Learn something everyday.
  • Be honest and trustworthy.
  • Do not step on other’s toes.
  • Pay your dept, don’t get mad when collection notice comes.
  • Visit sick people.
  • Believe that there is dignity in giving than in receiving.
  • Spend within your means.
  • Get rid of petty talks. As an old saying goes, poor minds talk about people, average minds talk about events and bright minds talk of ideas.
  • Do not panic during emergency.
  • Take days off from work.
  • Be yourself.
  • Do not violate laws.
  • Keep abreast of current events.
  • Learn to accept that sufferings and death are part and parcel life.
  • Abhor greed.
  • When cheated, smile.
  • Be careful with your choice of words so as not to offend others.
  • In a contest, be humble in winning and be gracious in defeat.
  • Lead a Christian life in your family.
  • Never go on spending-spree with affluent people. You are a sure loser.

Above all, love God when before any heart-breaking problem hits you.

Advertisements

Lessons from the death of Michael Jackson

June 28, 2009
  • Don’t take drugs. Go to God. Hi prescription painkillers (tranquilizers) may have been a big factor in the heart attack.

  • Don’t owe more than you can pay. His more than half a billion in debt and the lawsuits he was facing crushed his mind and created so much internal stress that if helped trigger his heart attack.

  • Never go into severe physical activities without prior prolonged conditioning. Remeber MJ did nit have a concert for decades now, and his heart was overworked due to the sudden preparations, plus the stress. He wasn’t young anymore and the things he was able to do in his youth, his aging heart couldn’t take anymore. Too much, too soon dancing and stress thinking about all the debt he had choking him.

  • Control you inner desires. He who conquers his inner demons is greater than one who subdues a city. All the bad decisions lead to ruin along life’s path and MJ had a cascade of these. From the two boys he molested, and all the odd choices that led to his destruction due to lack of discipline and self-control.

Farrah Fawcett dead at 62

June 26, 2009

‘Charlie’s Angel’ Farrah Fawcett dies at 62

By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer Lynn Elber, Ap Television Writer 14 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – A winsome smile, tousled hair and unfettered sensuality were Farrah Fawcett‘s trademarks as a sex symbol and 1970s TV star in “Charlie’s Angels.” But as her life drew to a close, she captivated the public in a far different way: as a cancer patient who fought for, then surrendered, her treasured privacy to document her struggle with the disease and inspire others.

Fawcett, 62, died Thursday morning at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, nearly three years after being diagnosed with anal cancer. Ryan O’Neal, the longtime companion who returned to her side when she became ill, was with her.

“After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away,” O’Neal said. “Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world.”

In the end, Fawcett sought to offer more than that, re-emerging in the spotlight with a new gravitas.

In “Farrah’s Story,” which aired last month, she made public her painful treatments and dispiriting setbacks — from shaving her golden locks before chemotherapy could claim them to undergoing experimental treatments in Germany.

“Her big message to people is don’t give up. No matter what they say to you, keep fighting,” Alana Stewart, who filmed Fawcett as she underwent treatment, said last month. NBC estimated the May 15, 2009, broadcast drew nearly 9 million viewers.

In the documentary, she also recounted her efforts to unmask the source of leaks from her UCLA Medical Center records, which led a hospital employee to plead guilty to violating a federal privacy law for selling celebrities’ information to the National Enquirer.

“There are no words to express the deep sense of loss that I feel,” Stewart said Thursday. “For 30 years, Farrah was much more than a friend. She was my sister, and although I will miss her terribly, I know in my heart that she will always be there as that angel on the shoulder of everyone who loved her.”

Other “Charlie’s Angels” stars also paid tribute.

“Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels,” Jaclyn Smith said.

Said Cheryl Ladd: “She was incredibly brave, and God will be welcoming her with open arms.”

Kate Jackson said she would remember Fawcett’s “kindness, her cutting, dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile. Today when you think of Farrah remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered, smiling.”

Fawcett became a sensation in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in “Charlie’s Angels.” A poster of her in a clingy, red swimsuit sold in the millions and her full, layered hairstyle became all the rage, with girls and women across America mimicking the look.

She left the show after one season but had a flop on the big screen with “Somebody Killed Her Husband.” She turned to more serious roles in the 1980s and 1990s, winning praise playing an abused wife in “The Burning Bed.”

Born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, she was named Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett by her mother, who said she added the Farrah because it sounded good with Fawcett. As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, she was voted one of the 10 most beautiful people on the campus and her photos were eventually spotted by movie publicist David Mirisch, who suggested she pursue a film career.

She appeared in a string of commercials, including one where she shaved quarterback Joe Namath, and in such TV shows as “That Girl,” “The Flying Nun,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Partridge Family.”

She was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. According to the American Cancer Society Web site, an estimated 5,290 Americans, most of them adults over 35, will be diagnosed with that type of cancer this year, and there will be 710 deaths.

As she underwent treatment, she enlisted the help of O’Neal, who was the father of her now 24-year-old son, Redmond.

This month, O’Neal said he asked Fawcett to marry him and she agreed. They would wed “as soon as she can say yes,” he said, but it never happened.

Fawcett, Jackson and Smith made up the original “Angels,” the sexy, police-trained trio of martial arts experts who took their assignments from a rich, mysterious boss named Charlie (John Forsythe, who was never seen on camera but whose distinctive voice was heard on speaker phone.)

The program debuted in September 1976, the height of what some critics derisively referred to as television’s “jiggle show” era, and it gave each of the actresses ample opportunity to show off their figures as they disguised themselves as hookers and strippers to solve crimes.

Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett — then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to “The Six Million Dollar Man” star Lee Majors — quickly became the most popular Angel of all.

Her face helped sell T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah’s faucet. Her flowing blond hair, pearly white smile and trim, shapely body made her a favorite with male viewers in particular.

The public and the show’s producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series’ first season that she was leaving television’s No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Ladd became the new “Angel” on the series.)

But film turned out to be a platform where Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery “Somebody Killed Her Husband,” flopped and Hollywood cynics cracked that it should have been titled “Somebody Killed Her Career.”

The actress had also been in line to star in “Foul Play” for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. Fawcett told The Associated Press in 1979 that Spelling-Goldberg sabotaged her, warning “all the studios that that they would be sued for damages if they employed me.”

She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of “Charlie’s Angels” a season, an experience she called “painful.”

After a short string of unsuccessful movies, Fawcett found critical success in the 1984 television movie “The Burning Bed,” which earned her an Emmy nomination.

As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in “Extremities,” playing a woman who seeks revenge against her attacker after being raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.

Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type to take on roles as a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story “Small Sacrifices” and a tough lawyer on the trail of a thief in 1992’s “Criminal Behavior.”

She also starred in biographies of Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld and photographer Margaret Bourke-White.

In 1995, at age 50, Fawcett stirred controversy posing partly nude for Playboy magazine. The following year, she starred in a Playboy video, “All of Me,” in which she was equally unclothed while she sculpted and painted.

Fawcett’s most unfortunate career moment may have been a 1997 appearance on David Letterman’s show, when her disjointed, rambling answers led many to speculate that she was on drugs. She denied that, blaming her strange behavior on questionable advice from her mother to be playful and have a good time.

In September 2006, Fawcett, who at 59 still maintained a strict regimen of tennis and paddleball, began to feel strangely exhausted. She underwent two weeks of tests that revealed the cancer.

“I do not want to die of this disease. So I say to God, `It is seriously time for a miracle,'” she said in “Farrah’s Story.”

Michael Jackson dead at 50

June 26, 2009

AP Source: Michael Jackson dies in LA hospital By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY and DERRIK J. LANG, Associated Press Writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody And Derrik J. Lang, Associated Press Writers 1 min ago LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the “King of Pop” and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. He was 50. The person said Jackson died in a Los Angeles hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper. Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage. His 1982 album “Thriller” — which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies. He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance. By some measures, he ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. In fact, he united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie. As years went by, he became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grownup life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions. In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him. The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble. Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats. Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson’s rented home, was roped off with police tape. “Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died,” a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was annunced. Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones. In New York’s Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone. “No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow,” Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. “It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died.”

Michael Jackson dead at 50

June 26, 2009

AP Source: Michael Jackson dies in LA hospital By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY and DERRIK J. LANG, Associated Press Writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody And Derrik J. Lang, Associated Press Writers 1 min ago LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the “King of Pop” and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. He was 50. The person said Jackson died in a Los Angeles hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper. Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage. His 1982 album “Thriller” — which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies. He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance. By some measures, he ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. In fact, he united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie. As years went by, he became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grownup life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions. In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him. The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble. Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats. Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson’s rented home, was roped off with police tape. “Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died,” a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was annunced. Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones. In New York’s Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone. “No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow,” Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. “It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died.”

Nestor Sulpico April 24, 2008

December 8, 2008

Honest Filipino cabbie inspires, even after death

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: May 05, 2008

ILOILO CITY – Thrust into international fame four years ago, Nestor Sulpico then said: “I could not ask for more. And even if I die, I feel that I have become a role model for the younger generations.”The Filipino migrant, who was hailed as “New York’s most honest taxi driver,” was laid to rest on Saturday at the Iloilo Memorial Park in Jaro District with tributes coming from family and friends both here and in the Big Apple.

In July 2004, the unassuming cabbie made headlines and was even featured on the widely popular “Oprah” television show after he returned $75,000 worth of black pearls left by a passenger in his taxi.

Sulpico, 51, died of cancer of the colon on April 24, four months after returning quietly to the Philippines and four months away from finishing his studies at the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing in New York.

Elder sister Eva Sulpico-Navarro said her brother remained “an inspiring example” of the values taught them by their parents. She recalled that Nestor had always explained his noble deed in NYC by simply saying: “I was raised to be honest.”

Eva said she hoped that her brother’s “guiding words” would somehow touch many others, “especially [those] in public service.”

Sulpico’s friends and classmates at Phillips Beth sent flowers and words of comfort to the grieving family.

In an e-mail to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net), Luanne Kwon, one of Sulpico’s closest friends at the school, said:

“We are in a highly competitive nursing program, and tensions always run high. But Nestor was one of the few who could lighten up any situation. He could make you laugh at a drop of a hat, and he was wise when you least expected it.”

Humble hero

His fame never went to his head, Kwon noted. “Nestor was so humble about being a hero. He didn’t broadcast it for everyone to know.

“He was given a special certificate by [New York City] Mayor Michael Bloomberg and even guest-starred on Oprah-that doesn’t happen to just anyone! But Nestor was so low-key about it. I think he thought of himself as just an ordinary guy who did the right thing.”

For another classmate, Mario Alvarado, “[Nestor] may not have been the youngest in school but he had a young-at-heart way of living his life.”

“Nestor in my eyes was a young man with the experiences, ethics and caring of an adult we can all look up to. He will be missed and will be remembered for a lifetime,” Alvarado said.

Sulpico enrolled in the nursing school shortly after gaining fame for his honesty. He received a scholarship but continued to drive a taxi courtesy of a franchise given to him by Mayor Bloomberg.

Known for being quite secretive, Sulpico apparently kept his affliction from most of his family, friends and classmates. Eva said only their 88-year-old mother Elena was aware of the gravity of his condition.

“He always kept silent about his problems because he didn’t want to be a bother to anyone,” Eva said.

Childhood friend Larry Ang said Sulpico had always given him a call from the United States to announce his homecoming. But this time around, Ang said, he and their other friends were unaware that Nestor arrived in December last year and were therefore shocked to learn about his death.

Another close buddy, Jing Espinosa, said he later found out that Sulpico had asked his family not to tell his friends about his return.

Separated from his wife, Sulpico had plans to take his 20-year-old daughter Angel with him to the United States once he became a nurse, the Inquirer learned.

“He knew the seriousness of his condition and he came home to die beside his family and especially his daughter,” Ang said.

“He always talked and worried about his daughter and wanted a bright future for her.”

Kwon said that just before Sulpico went home, the latter was behaving differently but those close to him could not figure out why.

“To know that he was burdened by the knowledge that he had cancer, and that he kept it to himself, telling no one, deeply saddens me to the core,” Kwon further wrote, adding:

“I don’t care what anyone says, he was not ready to go. It wasn’t his time to go, period.

“We studied a lot together, and I know how damn hard he worked. Being a nurse was his dream. So, I can’t be consoled by telling myself he’s in a better place, because he will never see the achievement of all his hard work.”

Leganes native

Sulpico’s family originally hailed from Cagamutan village in Leganes town, 11 kilometers north of Iloilo City. His late father Loreto Sr. was a former municipal councilor.

The sixth of seven siblings, Nestor finished his elementary education at the Cagamutan Elementary School in Leganes and his high school at the Central Philippine University.

He took up Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and later transferred to the Western Institute of Technology in Iloilo City where he earned a degree in business administration.

He left for the United States in 1990, and initially took on various contractual jobs from installing computer networks to hauling boxes at United Parcel Service.

Sulpico had barely logged in a month driving an NYC taxicab when fate took him on an unexpected ride: On July 15, 2004, he found a backpack containing black pearls left in the vehicle by hedge-fund manager Lawrence Policastro.

Integrity award

The driver was able to contact Policastro on the mobile phone that was also found in the backpack.

In deep gratitude, the business executive raised at least $5,000 to help the Filipino driver finish his nursing studies. Mayor Bloomberg also gave Sulpico an “integrity award” and a symbolic key to the city.

In August 2004, Sulpico returned to a hero’s welcome in Iloilo. The Senate passed a resolution commending his honesty, while Malacañang awarded him P100,000 in cash and a citation from President Macapagal-Arroyo.

In an interview then, Sulpico said returning the pearls was one of the easiest decisions he had ever made in his life. “I believe that honesty is the most important virtue which serves as a foundation of all other virtues.”

Sulpico admitted, though, that he entertained thoughts of how his life could easily change had he kept the precious find to himself, considering that he started out in New York “roaming [the city], shivering in the snow, desperately looking for a job.”

In seeing her beloved son buried on Saturday, Elena was certain Nestor had no regrets whatsoever.

“He lived and died with the virtues that I taught them since they were children. Nothing changed him even after he became famous,” Elena said.

US teens lie, steal at ‘alarming’ rates

December 2, 2008

STUDY OF H.S. STUDENTS
STUDY OF H.S. STUDENTS :

Agence France-Presse

Posted date: December 02, 2008

LOS ANGELES — American teenagers lie, steal and cheat more at “alarming rates,” a study of nearly 30,000 high school students concluded Monday.The attitudes and conduct of some 29,760 high school students across the United States “doesn’t bode well for the future when these youngsters become the next generation’s politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals,” the non-profit Josephson Institute said.

In its 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, the Los Angeles-based organization said the teenagers’ responses to questions about lying, stealing and cheating “reveals entrenched habits of dishonesty for the workforce of the future.”

Boys were found to lie and steal more than girls.

Overall, 30 percent of students admitted to stealing from a store within the past year, a two percent rise from 2006. More than one third of boys (35 percent) said they had stolen goods, compared to 26 percent of girls.

An overwhelming majority, 83 percent, of public school and private religious school students admitted to lying to their parents about something significant, compared to 78 percent for those attending independent non-religious schools.

“Cheating in school continues to be rampant and it’s getting worse,” the study found. Amongst those surveyed, 64 percent said they had cheated on a test, compared to 60 percent in 2006. And 38 percent said they had done so two or more times.

Despite no significant gender differences on exam cheating, students from non-religious independent schools had the lowest cheating rate, 47 percent, compared to 63 percent of students attending religious schools.

“As bad as these numbers are, it appears they understate the level of dishonesty exhibited by America’s youth,” the study warned, noting than more than a fourth of the students (26 percent) admitted they had lied on at least one or two of the survey questions.

“Despite these high levels of dishonesty, these same kids have a high self-image when it comes to ethics.”

Some 93 percent of students indicated satisfaction with their own character and ethics, with 77 percent saying that “when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.”

Transcript: Obama’s acceptance speech

November 5, 2008

Transcript: Obama’s acceptance speech

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, Hispanic, 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.

Prosperity Preachers – Don’t believe all that you read

October 13, 2008
What’s God Got to Do With It?

Her relationship advice is retrograde dross. Submit to your man, or at least pretend, and then do what you want.

Lisa Miller
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Oct 20, 2008

In her new book, “Love Your Life,” Victoria Osteen tells the following story. When she and her husband, Joel, were courting, he came over to her house for dinner. She knew he was the son of a prominent Houston pastor and she, a nice Christian girl, was hoping they could talk about Scripture while she prepared the meal. “Joel began flipping through the pages, but before long, he put the Bible down,” she wrote. Victoria was disappointed and complained, “I thought you’d be a spiritual giant.”

“Joel said nothing and just grinned at me as we carried on with the evening.” Later, he joked with friends that she’d called him a “spiritual midget.”

With that story, Victoria unconsciously articulates the problem so many outsiders have with Joel and, by extension, with her. Joel Osteen is one of the most popular pastors in the country, but both he and Victoria seem, from the outside at least, to be spiritual midgets. More than 40,000 people come to hear them preach each week in a sanctuary that used to be the home of the Houston Rockets. Millions more watch them on television. Joel’s books are best sellers, and Victoria’s new one, though arriving in stores this week, is already high on Amazon’s spiritual book list. But the theology driving all this success is thin. Over and over, in sermons, books and television interviews, the Osteens repeat their most firmly held beliefs. If you pray to Jesus, you’ll get what you want. In a conversation with NEWSWEEK, Victoria defines her Christian belief this way. Religion “is about appreciating what God’s given us. He’s given us this life, and he wants us to live it to the fullest.” (I interviewed her early one morning when the stock market had already plunged 200 points, and she referred to a recent sermon of Joel’s in which he said people were like palm trees: “We have a bounce back on the inside of us.” That seemed an inane sort of comfort.)

Prosperity preachers are neither new nor unique in America, but the Osteens’ version seems especially self-serving. Victoria’s book betrays her interest in the kind of small gratifications that rarely extend to other people, let alone to the larger world. She recommends that women take “me time” every day, and indulge occasionally in a (fat-free!) ice cream. She writes repeatedly about her love for the gym. Her relationship advice is retrograde dross: submit to your man, or at least pretend you’re submitting, and then do what you want anyway. “I know if I just wait long enough,” she writes, “eventually my idea will become Joel’s idea, and it will come to pass.” When I asked her how she kept her two children interested in church, she answered that even though they were a broccoli and lean-meats household, she gave them doughnuts as a special treat on Sundays. All this is fine, in the pages of a women’s magazine or a self-help book. But what has God got to do with it?

Perhaps this discomfort with the Osteens’ message is what drove all the media attention over the summer. In August, Victoria was the defendant in a lawsuit alleging that she struck a Continental Airlines flight attendant after that flight attendant refused to mop up a spill on Victoria’s first-class seat. (Osteen had already paid a $3,000 fine to the FAA.) Osteen was acquitted, and some members of the jury said they thought the suit was frivolous, but on the Internet, at least, the story played badly. Secular observers call her a “diva,” and conservative Christian detractors call her (and her husband) “heretics.” (“You know what?” Victoria says, “I don’t read that stuff, I truly don’t.”) Victoria says she’s happy and relieved the suit is behind her. And in fairness to her, the anecdote in her book concludes by saying that Joel was, in fact, the furthest thing from a spiritual midget. “He had read his Bible every day since he was a little boy and knew more about Scripture than I ever imagined,” she wrote.

Dalai Lama Gallstone

October 10, 2008

Dalai Lama surgery ‘successful’

Dalai Lama arrives at Indian hospital, 28 Aug 2008

The Dalai Lama has been advised to cut down on travel

The Dalai Lama has undergone surgery in the Indian capital, Delhi, to remove a gallstone, a spokesman says.

The surgery was “a routine procedure” and was “successful”, he said. The 73-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader was admitted to hospital on Thursday.

In August he was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai (Bombay) after he complained of stomach pains.

The Dalai Lama has lived in Dharamsala, in northern India, since fleeing Tibet after an abortive uprising in 1959.

His aide Chhime Chhoekyapa was quoted by news agency Reuters as saying that “otherwise, the Dalai Lama’s health is fine”.

Doctors had earlier advised him to cut down on long travel and to rest more.

Last month, he cancelled two trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic as he was suffering fatigue, according to his advisers.

China has stepped up its verbal attacks on the Nobel peace prize-winner since violence broke out against Chinese rule in Tibet in March.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of stirring up unrest, a charge he denies.