Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ah, morning television…


I caught the first half hour of Good Morning America today and…well, let me tell you it was a wild and crazy ride.

Sarah Palin is on a magical mystery bus tour to parts undisclosed.

Mmmhmm, Palin refuses to say where she’s going.

Reporters are left to either grab content of the tour from FOX (the only network with coverage of the tour and also Palin’s current employer)…or reporters can chase after the Palin bus as it darts to historic landmarks on it’s way to New Hampshire (allegedly and not confirmed…probably overheard at a Starbuck’s before or after the Memorial Day Harley ride).

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Almost a candidate, Palin says she owes nothing to the mainstream media…she wants to see them work for their coverage of her…so she’s waging a maverickish war on traditional politics by chugging across America in a Where’s Waldo revival.

If this shit is a glimpse into how she’d govern…well, I guess the masses will have to decide if they want the Executive Branch to be run like a trivia night fundraiser.

Mercy.

After covering Palin, Good Morning America moved on to Rep. Bachmann.  George asked Bachmann whether she’d support the Ryan budget…if she’d sign into law as President what she voted for in Congress. 

Bachmann attempted to do a political two-step, but it came across as more of an awkward rope a dope…and the rope won.

Or was it the dope?

Blink.

Bachmann supports the Ryan budget…but wouldn’t say if she’d sign it if she were President...but, heck yeah she voted for it!  She somehow thinks that America will be able to focus on cures for major illnesses…like how we did for Polio…but she offers no framework through which that kind of effort could be achieved.  Bachmann likes Palin…they’re friends…she wants to be compared to President Obama…has raised 28 children in her house…and will be making an announcement in Waterloo Iowa but won’t say what she’s gonna announce but trust that it’s gonna be a whopper!

Pause…sip more coffee…continue.

Lawd, have mercy – if this is a taste of the race for the GOP nomination to come, I’m going to make some popcorn and enjoy the show!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

On the end of the Oprah Show…


It’s raining in Missouri…again. 

My backyard is a damned pond. 

Shit.

Anyhoo…shall we?

Yesterday, as I sat huddled with co-workers in the basement of our building to wait out the tornado sirens, my thoughts turned to Oprah’s last show.

I remember when Oprah came on the air.  Our house was a Donahue home…but we added Oprah to our television menu to see what was what.  It was the era of the talk show wars…Oprah, Sally, Phil and so on and so forth.  One by one, they came and went…except for Oprah…Oprah kept on keeping on.

Over the years I’ve cheered and winced while watching Oprah. 

She’s made me proud, pissed me off, taught me new things, made me rethink some shit I already knew, disappointed the hell out of me, and made me wanna wrap my arms around her and hug her for hours.

I’ve cried…with her.

Yelled…at her.

Cheered…for her.

Looking back, it is amazing how much time I’ve shared with Oprah!

And now her show is over and she is moving on to the what’s next phase of her life.

Fare thee well, Oprah...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Behold, and EF-5 level asshole in action...

As most of you know, Joplin Missouri was hit by an EF-5 tornado Sunday… the most powerful tornado on the scale, with winds at 200 mph. 

Longtime readers know that I live in St. Louis Missouri… on the other side of the state.

Pause…collect thyself…continue.

When 122 people are dead…when a city has been leveled…when people are searching for over 1,500 missing loved ones…when disaster stretches out as far as the eye can see…when the storms keep coming and the warning sirens sound again…

Now is not the time to use massive devastation as leverage to negotiate spending cuts in the federal budget.

So far this week I’ve learned that my co-workers in Joplin are alive…that a board member lost his home…that friends are traveling to Joplin to help out with medical care.

I learned that over a thousand people are unaccounted for in Joplin…and, I hope beyond hope that they are just out of touch due to the overwhelming communication drama impacting the area.

And yesterday I learned that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is an EF-5 level asshole.


As expected, his ghoulish reflex triggered a sharp response from most but not all.

Think Progress reports that Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) had this response on MSNBC's The Ed Show Tuesday night:

"We have a long history in this country of backing up people when they're at their worst, when they've gone through natural disasters. ... But to have that debate in the face of the suffering we've seen in Joplin is just plain wrong." [...] 

As I said, by most...but not all.

Cantor’s homeboy, Missouri Senator Blunt, pulled his punch…um, well it was more like a tap.

In a statement to Politico, Blunt said, “We need to prioritize spending, and this needs to be a priority,” Blunt said. “I’m sure Eric will help find the necessary off-sets.”

Nice.

And that lame ass shit was from a man who used to represent Joplin in Congress!

Someone obviously reached out to Cantor with instructions on how humans usually react to natural disasters, because he eventually took to Twitter with this gem.

"Our hearts are w/ victims of #Joplin tragedy. House #GOP ready to help & has found offsets for emergency $$$."

Oh, thank the Goddess – the GOP leadership in the House found a way to get their budget cut on so now Joplin won’t be left to rot!!

Rumor has it that lawmakers had to offer up over a billion dollars in cuts to a program encouraging fuel-efficient vehicles to get Cantor’s heart redirected toward the victims of the tornado in Joplin.

Up next - Cantor and the “ready to help” after “offsets” GOP minions will unveil cuts to the tornado-forecasting program.

Blink.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Virtually gone…

Words cannot express my horror at the devastation in Joplin, Missouri after that city took a direct hit from a tornado Sunday.

Early reports are that 75% of Joplin is virtually gone.

To those who mourn and those who face the aftermath, my thoughts are with you.

To my friends who are traveling to Joplin to lend medical assistance…please let us know what we can do to help.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pondering the end of days…

Lawd, I am tired!

I’ve been watching the news about flooding along the Mississippi River and it made me wonder when the bullshit that’s been rising at an alarming rate will finally crest.

Sigh.

I can’t let this Friday May 20, 2011 go by without a brief pondering of the Rapture. Some folks have predicted that tomorrow May 21, 2011 will be the end of days and “real” Christians will be “raptured”. 

I think it’s supposed to start at 6pm in Australia, but I’m not sure.  It’s confusing and left up to interpretation and lots of folks don’t agree with it anymore than they agree with the fabillion trillion other interpretations of the end of days…not to mention the people who don’t buy into the end of days at all.

All this talk of folks being disappeared got me thinking about folks I’d like to see raptured tomorrow...like that wretched anti-choice fanatic who damned me to the fires of hell last month or those politicians who pontificate about “life” while voting against funding for programs that serve those in need…oh, and faux scientists who write about the unattractiveness of black women and their friends…people who abuse animals…Ann Coulter…the heifer who bullied me in 5th grade…shit, the list is endless.

But it occurred to me that the very people I’d like to see raptured tomorrow are not the kind of people who fit the criteria for rapturization.

My list is full of absolute assholes… the folks on my People I’d Like to See Raptured list is full of mean-spirited violent egotistical judgmental lying hypocritical bigots.

Pause…consider…continue.

Hold up.

If I don’t believe in the Rapture do I still have to keep my mental exploration of the happening with the parameters established by Rapturites?

That doesn’t seem right!

Fuck it.

I hereby proclaim that tomorrow’s regularly scheduled Rapture shall be a Reverse Rapture!

I plan to have several cocktails, watch some NHL hockey (love the playoffs, big time!), and monitor Twitter – tomorrow’s content should be fantabulous!

Wink.

Toodles till Doomsday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What they're not talking about…

I’m in such a foul mood, y’all.

I may need to schedule a day of happiness this week to try and shake this shit off!

Anyhoo, I’ve been sitting here watching Good Morning America chew on the Arnold “love child” bone and…well, I’m disappointed.

And the choir asked… “In Arnold?”

No, chil’ren.

I don’t know Arnold or his life!

For all I know he’s a serial asshole and everyone who knows him is completely unsurprised at this public display of assholia.

No, I’m disappointed that this opportunity to discuss safer sex is being lost.

Every time some politician reveals an affair the media digs into the inner workings of his or her marriage and who the other person is.

In the case of Arnold, the press is frenzied trying to out the other woman involved…find out the age of the child…and explore the length and width of Arnold’s betrayal.

But when these affairs are revealed my first thought is whether the individuals involved have been tested for sexually transmitted infections and whether they practiced safer sex like using a condom.

I’ve had friends come to me after finding out that their partner cheated and my first advice is always for them to get tested…always.  

Cheating on it’s own equals an automatic trip to a health care center.

Cheating that results in a pregnancy…well, that ups the urgency in my book.

Sexually transmitted infections don’t give a shit about fame or celebrity or money.

This is a teachable moment in a lot of ways...a teachable moment about safer sex and consequences and EC and testing and honesty between partners and trust within sexual relationships.

But here I am listening to reporters and contributors go on and on about pre-nups and tweets and careers and the emotional toil of infidelity…

…yet no one is talking about the fact that at some point sperm entered vagina and all parties involved should be tested.

Pause...consider...continue.

Oh well, now they're talking about how Maria was a tower of strength and dignity in a sassy blue dress at the Oprah spectacular last night.

Never mind.

Blink.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Untitled...


Y’all remember that song from TLC?

Unpretty?

Yeah, well the racism dressed up as science posted to Psychology Today yesterday had me humming that song all damned day.

Pause…stretch…continue.

Shall we?

Black women’s wombs are dangerous.

So, over the weekend I meant to mow the front lawn but I didn’t get to it.

Black women should barter their wombs for marriage.

I did, however, go to my brother’s open house on Friday.  It was great and a really nice way to end the week!

Black women need to stop dropping babies like rabbits.

I had a good weekend, too.  Caught up on some house-based cleaning and sorta-organized some paperwork.

Black women are money hungry whores.

I slept in…and Lawd, did I need to!  I feel like the last two weeks have been a non-stop whirlwind of work!

Sara Baartman becomes the Hottentot Venus once more, naked on a platform beneath glaring lights…standing before a gawking crowd…on display for inspection.

Oh, and I really need to catch up on Facebook.  Seriously, I have around 100 events I need to look at.  I’m betting I missed most of them already.

Step right up and see BLACK WOMAN! Exhibited and studied and…wait for it…found lacking, failing, ugly, stupid, promiscuous, irresponsible, violent, irrational…an angry swirling mass of brown flesh unworthy of respect, rights, trust, employment, or life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I should condition my hair this week.  It’s been awhile.

Can I touch your hair? I’ve just got to pet you!

I need to finish the three articles I started last week.  Gotta focus now that the Missouri State Legislative session is finally over!

Can you explain to me why you’re angry?

Hmmm, I should make an appointment with my doctor to check my blood pressure again.  I think I was supposed to do that last month.  Shit!

Defend yourself, girl! Why are your wombs so DANGEROUS?

Where did I put that freaking grocery list? 

Speak!  Oooh, why do they talk like that?

And I’m way over due for a trip to the Walgreens.

Dance!  Ooooh, why do they dance like that?

How the hell did I fall so far behind on all my basic to-dos?  The dawgs need their heartgard this morning.

Fuck. Oooh, I’ve always wanted to “try” a black girl!

Sigh.  One of these days I’ll get caught up on life.  LOL! Who am I kidding?

Now scream! 

But hey, at least I managed to watch Freedom Riders on PBS last night!  It was so worth it…the very definition of inspiring.

C-Money and I spent the night singing freedom songs and watching quality public television.

Throw us a tantrum, baby…and make it good.

And I really needed a Civil Rights night after reading that bullshit over at Psychology Today.  I know they think they solved that public display of editorial misconduct by taking the post down, but that shit should have never made it online in the first place!

Look at them…look at them…look at those black women…just look at them!

Not that it being published was anything new…it feels like that kind of rancidity attacking black women is the status quo.  And every time we point that shit out we’re told we’re too sensitive or are over-reacting or insecure.

Look at me.

Look at ME, damn it!

But they call it a struggle for a reason, right?

See me yet?

Respect me yet?

Trust me...yet?

Time to get another day started, y’all!

Blink.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Absolute Fubar Season 1…

 
Happy Monday, y’all!

The Missouri State Legislature ended the 2011 session at 6pmon Friday…and this bitch woke up this morning still disgusted.

I visited Jefferson City several times this year, walked the halls under the dome to advocate for a return of comprehensive sex education to Missouri schools and support of programs proven to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infect rates.  Like many Missourians who visited the Legislature, I met with a small number of dedicated lawmakers working on behalf of the common good…and I watched as those champions tried to hold back the tide of bullshit in the midst of the never-ending political theatre that took over Jefferson City this year.

The same GOP that gained an larger majority in the 2010 elections swiftly morphed into a herd of feral cats once they set up office.  In the Missouri Senate they indulged in childish infighting and pathetic posturing.  In the House the GOP majority stumbled about like toddlers struggling to learn how to walk.  Both chambers wasted the people’s time while on the people’s dime, managing to achieve statewide unity on the overwhelming conclusion that this session was the very definition of fubar.

On Friday I listened in to the House and Senate, wincing as conservative lawmakers blustered and blathered on while sort-of attempting to close out key legislation they spent months allowing to mold on the shelf.

Nearly all education bills died.

Legislative attacks on worker’s rights, which had taken up way too much time, thankfully sputtered out at the end.

Legislators failed to overhaul the state's economic development programs or add hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for a foreign airfreight hub in St. Louis.

Confession - having witnessed the legislation they actually managed to pass, I think we should all be grateful that they didn’t get ‘round to fucking that other stuff up too.

Their highest priority should have been the economy.  But legislators chose instead to pass more restrictions on abortion, overturn the will of the voters for puppy mill regulations, and indulge in filibusters based on the bizarre notion that refusing federal stimulus funds for unemployed people would emancipate working Missourians from the tyranny of slavery.

And as I ponder my disgust over the rancidity and bullshit, it occurs to me that these same underachievers will be back next session for the Jersey Shore-esque reality show that is the Missouri State Legislature...Absolute Fubar Season 2.

And the choir sang… “No mas, no mas…NO MAS!

Blink.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

On negativity as motivation…

I was going to write about how NBC’s Today Show spent an entire segment exploring the many marriages, affairs and divorces of the newly sanctified just in time for the 2012 campaign season Newt Gingrich…but then I saw this tweet.

@clairecmc I'm tired of looking and feeling fat. Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be more disciplined.Off to the gym.

That’s my Senator, Claire McCaskill.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Shall we?

We all, every one of us, need to stop doing this shit.

We need to stop seeking motivation through condemnation and negativity.

We need to stop feeding that monster and we need to stop doing it about 100 years ago.

I think Senator McCaskill is being honest and I think she thinks that publicly calling herself out for having a physical appearance she doesn’t like will somehow produce enough embarrassment and “now everyone is looking at me so I’d better shrink” accountability to inspire her to start working out.

She’s going to get a bunch of tweets back telling her that she’s lovely and looks great.

She’s going to get a ton of nasty tweets taunting her about her weight and all manner of other things that nasty people enjoy taunting other folks about.

This technique may work but it also feeds that monster…that sad belief that what we hate we change, that what we get shit for we address, that what we are bullied over we’ll stop.

I once participated in an exercise where I tracked how many times and ways I said negative things about myself for a day. 

It was well over 100.

Over 100 comments about the size of my ass…my math skills…my writing…my singing voice…my dawg mothering skills…and so on and so forth.

100 opportunities wasted on negativity.

100 chances to celebrate the fact that this ass is my ass and I’m healthy for the first time in over a year…to acknowledge the fact that I’ve never encountered a math problem I didn’t ultimately solve…to enjoy writing…to sing because I love to sing and it fills my soul…to find comfort in my two dawg companions who love me just as I am.

Pause...consider...continue.

How’s this?

I’d like to be as healthy as I can be so I’m recommitting to the things that make that possible.

I know that I’ve got the discipline to do this.

Off to carpe the diem.

Blink.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pondering ways to hustle Missouri’s prayerful ballot measure…

Missouri state legislators have approved a proposedconstitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to pray in public places andschools.  This measure will go on the ballot in November 2012 and supporters likely hope it will turn out conservative voters in droves.

As I read the measure something caught my eye…something that appeals to the student I used to be long ago when I was a wee bitch…and it occurred to me that this ballot measure could pay off BIG TIME for clever students looking to dodge a test or project.

What?

I can’t help where my mind goes…it just goes there, damn it!

Anyhoo…

Okay, so the proposed amendment guarantees rights that are already guaranteed. 

As reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “it prohibits government or school officials from adopting policies to prevent prayer in public places, as long as the prayer does not result in disturbance of the peace or disruption of a public meeting or assembly.”

I get why Missouri legislators approved this mess – they want to have a tool to recruit conservatives to the polls.

Got it!

Lawd knows they don't and won't have any real legislative accomplishments to campaign on.

But the proposed amendment also says students shall not be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate their religious beliefs.

Now that shit has potential.

Oh, I’m sure the GOP fools behind this measure are thinking students would decline to participate in discussions of evolution or sex education or the history of the world prior to President Reagan’s election.

But if I were a student I’d be all over this, thinking up religious objections to tests (they force teachers to judge and isn’t there something in the Bible about not judging lest yea be judged?) and grades (they inspire pride and isn’t pride a sin?) and group projects (group projects are socialist propaganda...okay, that’s not religious but give me time and I’m sure I can spin it there!)

My goodness, the class work and test dodging possibilities are endless!

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

The only downside would be that a clever student could religiously exempt herself out of basically all learning opportunities and end up as intellectually stunted as the craven assholes currently wasting the people’s time with constitutional amendments guaranteeing rights already constitutionally guaranteed because they know and you know that they know and I know that they haven’t a clue how to work on jobs or the economy or any legitimate legislation that would improve Missouri and thus...wait for it...inspire voter turnout.

What's next? 

A ballot measure to declare that the Bill of Rights is indeed the Bill of Rights?

Blink.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If Prop 8 were a minivan…

Here's the headline I would have written today - Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have announced their separation despite the passage of a marriage protection act in 2008…and after 25 years of marriage.

I'm more than a wee bit pissed that I listened to news stories about the split and didn’t hear anyone address the product failure angle.

And the choir said… “What the fuck are you talking about, Fu?”

And a bitch replied… “Oh c’mon, y’all!  I’m talking about the fact that the California Marriage Protection Act failed to protect the Schwarzenegger Shriver marriage!!”

Pause...sip coffee...continue.

If I lived in California I’d sue the hell out of Prop 8 backers and voters for false advertising and fraud.

I suspected the product integrity of Prop 8 when celebrity couples kept getting divorced after the measure passed…but lots of those folks lived elsewhere and for all I knew the power of Prop 8 diminished with physical distance from it’s state of origin.

But the former Governor and Maria…a high profile California dreamin’ couple who were featured in ads for the state, all tanned up and whitened smiles?

25 years of marriage…25 fucking years…and the California Marriage Protection Act couldn’t force field shield them through some job transition shit or infidelity or whatever the fuck challenge arose to their man-on-woman sanctified foundation of American society thus deserved of protection lest the heavens fall and dawgs start talking trash marriage?

Well, I’d sue…damn it.

I sure would!

Either the California Marriage Protection Act malfunctioned…

…or the California Marriage Protection Act never functioned…

…or the gays getting married ain’t what man-on-woman sanctified foundation of American society thus deserved of protection lest the heavens fall and dawgs start talking trash married people need to fucking worry about.

Shit, just look at the divorce rate in California!

If Prop 8 were a minivan it would have been recalled 3 years ago and lawyers would still be smiling.

Blink.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Eagerly anticipating the Freedom Riders documentary…

I’m sorry I’ve been absent of late.  I was swarmed with work and then I caught a mild case of the plague that I’m sorta recovered from.

Mercy.

Anyhoo, let’s jump right in.

I’m beyond excited about the upcoming PBS Freedom Riders documentary!  The story of the Civil Right’s freedom riders is one of my favorites for and a huge inspiration.

Lot’s a people look back at civil right’s activists as heroic…and they were and are.

But I also find inspiration in learning how normal…dare I say, average…many of the freedom riders were.

I look at their mug shots, pictures taken after they were arrested for attempting to exercise their constitutionally protected right to travel without being segregated in the South, and I see people I could know…students, sisters, brothers, fathers, athletes, musicians and so forth and so on.

I see you and me…doing the incredible, making history, and triggering a confrontation between bullshit and reality that ultimately made the world a better place.

Outstanding…amazing…unstoppable…and yes, do-able.

I see hope for the future in those faces from the past.

And I can’t wait to find out more about them just like I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish today.

One of the perks of being an organizer is being able to witness people waking up to their individual strength and power…finding their voice and putting on their walking shoes.

I owe a lot to those brave folks who participated in the Freedom Rides in the ‘60s…but I truly believe their greatest gift is that they demonstrated to power of the people and that the movement was of the people.

March on, y’all!

March on…

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Hold please!

I'm on deadline and about to head to Jefferson City for another lobby day, so bitchitude is on hold until tonight.

Oh, and thanks go out to several Canadian readers for sending updates on their election! I like to keep up with happenings in my flee-to country (wink).

Toodles for now!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Remarks by the President on Osama Bin Laden



THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.  The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory -- hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world.  The empty seat at the dinner table.  Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father.  Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.  Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together.  We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood.  We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country.  On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.  We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda -- an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe.  And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort.  We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense.  In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support.  And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan.  Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.  It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground.  I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan.  And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.  No Americans were harmed.  They took care to avoid civilian casualties.  After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.  The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.  There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.  I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.  Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.  Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.  So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was.  That is what we’ve done.  But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.  Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.  They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.  And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight.  It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.  After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.  These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war.  Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed.  We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.  We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror:  Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.  The American people do not see their work, nor know their names.  But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.  And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.  I know that it has, at times, frayed.  Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete.  But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.  That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are:  one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you.  May God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.

May 1, 2011