Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Great Day!

We started this great day at 6, making coffee for watching the inauguration. Now we're in the Fireside Lounge watching the pregame show on CNN. We'd started with CNBC but its commentators were annoying; CNN is much more straightforward.

Feinstein's Speech

"We come here every 4 years to bestow the power of the Presidency"

"The nonviolent struggle for justice & equality"

"The turning point ... this was the moment when the dream that once echoed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial finally reached the White House"
Feinstein knew the 1st rule of public speaking: don't go on too long. When it's not about you, it's really not about you.

Rick Warren

"Hingepoint in history"

"Bless and protect him"

"We are Americans, united"

"humility and civility even when we differ"

I found Rick Warren deeply humorous, although not in a way that would please him.
  • Does God *really* need to be told how big he is? I mean, doesn't God know that already?
  • Who really CARES if God changed Rick Warren? It's not like WARREN is supposed to be the center of attention today.
  • Rick, please ask Feinstein about the1st rule of public speaking.
  • Please, could someone give this guy the hook?

Aretha Franklin

"My Country Tis of Thee"
Aw, that's great!

I really think "My Country Tis of Thee" would be a better national anthem than The Star Spangled Banner; it's much more loving of our nation & far easier to sing.


Joe's a great guy.

Good backup, and he'll give good advice.

Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma etc.

Very nice!

Who's the guy on clarinet? I'll look it up.

Noon: Obama is president NOW!

Per constitution, at noon today, he became president. The Oath is just a ceremony

The Oath and the Speech

Very gracious beginning!

Lordy, I'll just link to the text. It's pretty good!

The Poem

"What if the mightiest word is Love?"
I'm sorry, but the poem left me unimpressed. The best poets of our era are songwriters: Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Dolly Parton,Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, Bernie Taupin, Carly Simon, even Madonna.


The poem leading off the benediction is pretty good. I gotta get the text for this one. It's pretty good.

The National Anthem

Our flag's still there!

Monday, January 19, 2009

America's Happy Again!

It looks like a huge majority of Americans are happy about Tuesday's Inauguration, including a lot of people who voted against Obama. According to CNN
"...Eighty-four percent of those surveyed say they approve of how Obama is handling the presidential transition. That's up 2 points from the middle of December and up 5 points from the beginning of December.
CNN polling director Keating Holland said. "You know the country is in the middle of a honeymoon when six in 10 Republicans have a positive view of Obama."

The poll also indicates that six in 10 Americans think Obama's inauguration will be a celebration in democracy. Only four in 10 felt that way when George W. Bush was inaugurated as president eight years ago.

The poll also suggests that those surveyed see Obama's inauguration as a chance for the country to come together, rather than a political celebration, Holland said.

Thirty-nine percent of those questioned feel that Obama's Inauguration is a celebration by supporters of the winning candidate, 33 percentage points lower than those who felt the same way about Bush's 2001 inauguration.

"The public saw both of Bush's inaugurations as celebrations just for his supporters," Holland said.

The poll also suggests that 68 percent of those questioned are personally "thrilled or happy" that Obama will soon be inaugurated as president, 18 points higher than the way people felt in the days before President Bush's second inauguration four years ago..."
--- "Poll: Obama's popularity grows as inauguration nears", CNN, January 18, 2009
This is good!
There's a lot of work to be done, and a lot to be dissatisfied about. But for today, let's be happy together!

Why not?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Work, Then Party, Then Work, Then Party ... Etc.

How many Americans are taking time off to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as President?

I don't know, but in addition to the millions going to DC, there are reports of HUGE numbers of private and civic celebrations. I have not seen ANYTHING like that in over 48 years of seeing presidents come into office.

In my apartment building, a few of us thought we were being innovative in suggesting a little potluck in the common room ("The Fireside Lounge"). We like potlucks, it's got a big TV, and we might meet some new people. We're rigorously nonpartian in our parties, all are welcome - so building management jumped on the idea, now there's signs all over the building and it's going to be a PARTY!

It's still a potluck. We'll be passing around voter registration forms, since politics have not come to a halt; we're having a special election in a few weeks so everyone needs to be sure their voter registration is o.k. Nonpartisan partying and civic responsibility are peanut butter and chocolate.

But that's in the evening. In the morning, to watch the inauguration realtime, a few of us are meeting for brunch (potluck again). So just in our own building, there are TWO parties. Meanwhile, I've gotten invitations to several OTHER private parties, not even counting the public parties all over Seattle - a partial list is here.

HOW MANY Americans are watching this inauguration? Who knows, but it's an historic opportunity we're not gonna miss!

And ON TOP OF THAT, you'll notice in that list that there is a large number of civic-service opportunities being pitched for Monday, the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday. Previously, I have always held that MLK Day is the best civic holiday, because it has no expectations: no mandatory meals, no required rituals or obligatory gift shopping. We're just free that day, free to be free, thank God almighty!

But it may be changing, and improving, to a day of civic service.
Wowser! What a genius concept! A holiday where we work together. As the motto goes: "Not a day off, but a day of service!"

Me, I'll be putting in my normal 3 hours of stocking books at the Mercer Island Thrift Store. It raises money for youth and family services, and it's fun to work together with a great group of people who, over the years, have become friends. And afterwards, my lovely wife & I just might hit a pub.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." ( John 13:34-35)

"Whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." ( Matthew 7:12)

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward in heaven will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men." ( Luke 6:35)

"Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many." ( Mark 10:43-45)

"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." ( John 13:14-15)