The part of his speech which meant the most to me (link takes you to the specific clip):
We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -– but rather, how well we have loved — and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.
I realize I’m a bit late to the commentary party on President Obama’s speech earlier this week regarding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-ARIZ) but my post really isn’t a true commentary. If you’re looking for that, I suggest reading Andrew Sullivan’s recap of reactions, David Remnick’s take, James Fallows’ excellent remarks or my friend Darius Tahir’s perspective.
If you want to read the entire speech (or follow along with the above video), you can see the full text on the White House website here.
I share two things with you: first a joke and second a photo. Both are entertaining.
A joke, sent to me by a friend:
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below.
She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.”
She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”
“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “Everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”
The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”
“Well,” said the man. “You don’t know where you are or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”
A photo, bordering on the absurd, from one of my favorite news sources, “Pictures of the Day” by the Wall Street Journal:
You know that feeling you get each every week, when you’re at the shopping mall and it’s so huge that you can’t even find the information kiosk/map? Isn’t it annoying every time you get lost in a shopping mall so big that even the course/aGPS in the iPhone can still pinpoint you and give you directions to the nearest McDonald’s (see below)? Well, if you are, then you shop a lot in one big, American mall (thus the theme/title of this post), and you should probably download the Point Inside app on your iPhone (iTunes).
In other big, American news: McDonald’s is going to start offering free WiFi at all of its 14,000 US locations. Currently, they offer WiFi at 11,000 locations, but it costs $2.95 for 2 hours. This, along with the company’s forthcoming smoothies and shakes, could transform the way people use McDonald’s: more stay-and-eat, less grab-and-go?
Finally, Citi was just spared of billions of otherwise collectible tax revenue by the IRS, rounding out the final story I have for you in today’s installment of big, American things (in this case, a too-big-to-fail financial institution). The Obama Administration invoked the same change as the Bush Administration, which used it to encourage mergers such as Wells Fargo’s acquisition of Wachovia.
President Obama at the NAACP 100th anniversary on some of the “structural inequalities” in America:
Paul McCartney performing some of the classics for an impromptu concert on the Ed Sullivan Theatre marquee: