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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Hat or Mullet? You be the judge

Mullet or Hat?

Protective goggles on, Obama stomped around in a Highlandtown factory yesterday before announcing a $5000 payroll tax credit for businesses that hire new workers. He made his pitch for this plan at Chesapeake Machine, a factory that produces steel containers, machinery for steel plants in Sparrow’s Point.  According to rising Mayor Blake, the factory also makes equipment for solar panel construction and high speed rails.

Highlandtown, a working class neighborhood known for high rates of home ownership, Greek food, and crack cocaine, has historically been home to thriving breweries, butchers and shipping. Many factories have been abandoned; a few struggle on.

In this article, Baltimore Sun interviews the operations manager Joseph Sedlak, who explains that the company has been surviving on Department of Defense contracts. “We’re forced to follow the money,” said Sedlak. Sedlak then revealed to the Sun that Chesapeake was hiring. (more…)

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Alexandria City Hall, Courtesy Creative CommonsWe had a tiny blow up yesterday. It was uncouth and ill-timed, but heartfully meant. Some background:

Sometimes our existence in Baltimore (academia + overwhelming Democratic majority + progressive art scene + poor people everywhere) leads us to believe the world is full of socially concerned citizens who are nail-bitingly conscious of inequity, la la la. We fancy ourselves a speck in an excitedly-enfranchised populous who are, mentally at least, forging a future with our brave new leader to achieve a more leveled, rational society. Maybe we’re not as politically and community active as we should be but there is a feeling that, post January, we are soldiering along together to undo the Bush years, through a minefield of economic near-catastrophe. Popular support for the marred but promising young administration is strong, we hear on NPR, and we are hopeful that they’ll get us to the promised land, or at least the state of lower health care costs, in the next eight years. Holding hands and striding–

Not so, my friends! Some of us journeyed to red state-turned-purplishblue Virginia for a crash review course in political sensitivity.

Virginia went blue, features a democratic governor, and is in terms of ethnic diversity up north basically a mini UN. Beginning this December, tobacco’s homeland is outlawing smoking in many bars. It’s full of well educated professionals working in Washington. That don’t mean that the good ol’ boys have packed up their confederate flags–or their statues.

We are on King Street, Alexandria, a neighborhood with gentile colonial style brick shops and upscale restaurants that looks a lot like Federal Hill. The buildings are remarkably adherent to the 18th century style and all display white lights delicately arching across the street.

We observe folks smoking in a bar and say, isn’t it amazing people can still light up inside. A guy plops down at our table to have his say. He’s a bit scruffy, and wouldn’t look out of place at the Brewer’s Art on Charles street. Then he opened his mouth.

I’ll call him Chester cause he looks like he stepped out of Dude, Where’s My Car.

Chester: Ya’ll didn’t support him [Obama] did you

Us: Yes, isn’t it great…

Chester: He wants to turn this country into socialism.

Friends: Isn’t this basketball game fantastic? Did you see that play?

(more…)

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Obama’s Whistle Stop in Baltimore

News that Obama plans a whistle stop tour to Washington  must have Baltimore city planners in a tizzy. An expected 150,000 people will show up in Charm City to catch a glimpse as the Audaciously Hopeful President chugs his way towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Reporters point out the largest stadium holds just 77,000. Luckily, security threats should be minimal in this solidly pro-Obama city. The prez-to-be — he arrives here on January 17 — could hold court at Patterson Park, below the playful Victorian-style pagoda.

Ideal for a secret service lookout?

Ideal for a secret service lookout?

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Obama win in the news

On Wednesday, we scrounged every news vendor in Mount Vernon but to no avail–everyone wanted a copy of the day’s papers declaring the Obama victory. Even the free quasi-newspaper B was snatched up.

So I did the new school thing and saved home page screenshots from November 5. (this also prevents my apartment from becoming stacked with yellowed newspapers–I still have one from Clinton’s inauguration… why on earth would I not recycle this?). Here goes this week’s news.

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Summering in Fall

Baltimore, summering in fall

Baltimore, summering in fall

On the evening of the last debate in the 2008 election, Mother Nature has decided to cast a vote.

At least that’s how I am choosing to intepret the weird 80-degree weather Baltimore is experiencing in mid October.

She’s saying, Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain, don’t drill, baby, drill. 

“It’s not just the economy. It’s the warming planet, stupid!”

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Could this tee save lives?

Could this tee save lives?

I’ve been wearing my Obama tee from MoveOn.org a lot recently, for a few reasons. It’s a stylishly retro nod to past campaign memorabilia and I support the guy. But in Baltimore, backing Barack cuts across racial, class and other divides. So when I wear the tee I get hollared at, in a good way.

Interaction with strangers is normally limited to the classic greeting, “you got a quarter for the bus?”

But these days, I’ve gotten thumbs up, fist bumps, and grinning salutes from trash collectors, yoga teachers, liquor store cashiers and oldster hipsters in Joe Squared. I’m thinking, if Baltimore invested a few thou in a truckload of Obama tees, in sizes XS through XL, they might put Murder Ink , the City Paper’s weekly register of killings, out of business. I’m seeing rival drug gangs dropping weapons, robberies averted, and muggings abandoned. Herein lies the power of the hope that we all genuinely BELIEVE in, here in Baltimore.

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