Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Post No. 75: $150 Million Worth - On This Presidential Inauguration Day

Copyright 2009, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

First (in my memory) there was Ali... local (Louisville) kid with talent, eloquence, bravery, and a penchant for political incorrectness... who grew up to become the most admired man on the face of the planet. He was beautiful, and fearless.


Next was Richard Pryor... another kid with talent, eloquence, bravery, and a penchant for political incorrectness... who grew up to turn stand-up comedy (and political commentary) into something that attracted coliseum size audiences, and who had rock star-like appeal. He was beautiful, and also fearless.

Comes now President Obama... another kid with talent, eloquence, and bravery, standing on the shoulders of many who have gone before.... He, too, is beautiful... as is the extraordinary outpouring of joy and hope as we approach his inauguration. Based on what we've seen thus far, he also appears to be fearless.

We, as a Nation, are absolutely convinced we picked the best man for the job (and truth be told, even his detractors would confide that they are impressed)... albeit the worst job anybody has had in recent memory.

Our problems are overwhelming, and we can't wait for the chosen one to lead us out of the wilderness... unfortunately something that cannot be done with the snap of anyone's fingers.

In all probability, and through amazing technological vehicles, this will be the most watched speech in human history... it may even change the course of human events....

And despite the legitimate questions raised by my colleague, The Logistician, and others regarding the price tag for this event, money just can't buy this kind of advertising. Even at this point in economic time.

A generation of our young will grow up with President Obama's words resonating in their ears, hoping to accomplish some of what he has done.

We can only hope this massive demonstration of will, welcome, and affection doesn't lead him to lose his political incorrectness. I would hate to think that the ability to laugh at ourselves will be part of the historical baggage we must throw overboard in order to navigate the rocks ahead....

But for now and for today, Godspeed Barack Hussein Obama.

Copyright 2009, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

14 comments:

  1. Quick thoughts...

    How do you botch the Oath of Office? And, yes, he did.

    The poet, Elizabeth Alexander, was atrocious. She read the poem as if she was reading from a poorly managed teleprompter. No flow, no form, no emotion.

    Obama's speech seemed poorly understood. His pauses for audience reaction resulted all too often in silence. This was sad because he is a very good orator.

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  2. Correction: Obama did not botch it, Justice Roberts did and threw Obama off.

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  3. Thank you for correcting yourself. Obama knew his oath; Roberts flubbed it. As for the speech, immediately afterward a guy on Fox said "I didn't hear any memorable lines in that speech today." Be careful with snap judgments.

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  4. To Obama's credit, he followed Justice Roberts' lead. I would have said it correctly regardless of what Roberts said. But, then, I am often considered pedantic.

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  5. Douglas: I'd be curious to see how the media interprets this mis-communication on the oath tomorrow. While we admit that it first appeared that the President stumbled, the subsequent response of Chief Justice Roberts seemed to suggest that he might have misread his portion. President Obama's response then suggested that he was expecting something else in form, order, or substance from Roberts, and it did not flow as he anticipated. To the credit of both, they got beyond that and moved on.

    This is, of course, just the view of an old trial lawyer, accustomed to "flubbing the dub" during presentations to the court and jury, and seeing others, including the most storied trial lawyers, do the same with some degree of frequency.

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  6. As I have come to understand it, Chief Justice Roberts was speaking extemporaneously and not from any paper or cue card. It would appear he had not properly memorized the complex sentence which is the oath. (Trivia: it is the only oath specified for any office in the Constitution; Article 2, Section 1). The oath reads:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Chief Justice Roberts moved the word "faithfully" to the position after the words "States". The President started to recite it and realized it was not what he had memorized (or knew to be correct) and stopped. A bit of momentary confusion and then the President followed the Chief Justice's lead and recited it the incorrect way. (To the tin-foil crowd: He is still legally now the President of the United States.)

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  7. Douglas: We forgot to weigh in on the poetry reading. Roughly ten days ago, we saw a piece about the preparations for the inauguration, and they mentioned Ms. Alexander's anticipated reading.

    Interestingly, the author of the article suggested that it would probably go over like a dud, since that had apparently been the case in the past when it was tried. There was also mention of a really famous poet, either Robert Frost or Carl Sandberg, and his difficulties reading his notes for a new poem which he had written especially for the occasion, because of some weather or lighting issue, thus forcing him to recite an old poem from memory. According to the article, the entire reading was rather awkward.

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  8. This is the Logistician here. The following statement is a personal statement for a change, and has not been endorsed in any manner by the Institute for Applied Common Sense.

    For the last two days, C-Span2 Book TV has aired a program, where a panel of prominent women discussed gender issues, in a forum held at Howard University in Washington, D.C. On both days, I found myself glued to the television, and calling female friends of mine, recommending that they watch it.

    The panel consisted of women with all sorts of views and perspectives. There was a CNN consultant, a New York Times reporter, a high ranking official from the National Organization for Women, a Republican pollster, actress Rosario Dawson, a woman connected with a grass roots organization, a Republican strategist, and others. It was clear that some of the women were progressives and others conservatives. It was also clear that some of the women were pro-life and others pro-choice.

    During my first viewing on the first day, I left a message for one of my friends that I had viewed a really good discussion of gender issues. On the second day, my friend tried to touch base with me during the program, and while describing the program, I realized what was special about the panel, and why I so enjoyed the manner in which the issues were discussed.

    First of all, the exchange was civil. Very few of the statements consisted of personal attacks on individuals just because people had different views. Second, not one single woman was chained to any party line, and I did not observe any of the participants rigidly adhere to any particular ideology. They all struck me as “independent thinkers.” There was an abundance of intellectual honesty.

    Assuming that one’s position on, let’s say, 20 different issues might be categorized as progressive or conservative, upon watching the women, I got the sense that there were various combinations of positions. No one was 20-0 or 0-20, but rather 4-16, 9-11, 10-10, 7-13, and so on.

    All this evening, I’ve been listening to commentators evaluate the ceremony today. What has been amazing has been the inability of commentators, on both sides of the aisle, to objectively evaluate the events of today. Come on! Can’t a conservative appreciate some aspect of President Obama’s performance today, and can’t some liberals appreciate the fact his performance, or the event, was not stellar in every single respect.

    I don’t care what anyone says. You can talk all you want about politics having always been nasty. This crap that we have seen for the past year has just been re-damn-diculous. Unbelievable! And this is with purportedly intelligent people. Crap. Is fear that dominant a factor in our lives?

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  9. Log, Yes, fear is that dominant. And it has been exploited by all political parties since I can recall (and much longer than that, I am sure). It is not the province of one or the other party. Wehn one party says the other is using fear to divide then my immediate reactions: "Isn't that just what you are doing with that statement?"

    To the revelation that panels end up with varying consenses (there seems to be no plural for consensus) depending up on issue. Why are you so surprised? People are not monolithic in their thinking, they do not engage (hopefully) in "groupthink". NOW does not talk for all women nor does CWA. NAACP does not talk for all African-Americans nor does CORE. Even within the aforementioned groups there is, hopefully, dissent as well as accord.

    And there is no surprise that the media has a bias. There are a few conservative media outlets and there are many liberal outlets. Others may argue the reverse. Much of the argument on this stems from the perspective political ideology of the arguer.

    There is an old ethnic joke about Jewish people. Put 3 Jews in a room and provide a topic and you will get 5 opinions.

    That image applies to us all.

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  10. I post this here because my blog does not engage in any political discourse. However, I am a political animal and and interested (deeply) in politics.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/change_has_come_to_whitehouse-gov/

    This appears to bode well for this administration. Also, there is a form by which we citizens can offer suggestions and opinions.

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  11. Douglas: Perhaps I did not clearly state my concern. I thought that this panel discussion was a unusual discussion, in that each panelist thought through each issue, and did not simply recite a party line position. That's what I would expect out of thinking people. When virtually everything done by a progressive is supported by those on his or her side of the aisle, and virtually everything done by a conservative is supported by those supporting that individual, and the condemnation of the opposition follows the same pattern, the debate becomes disingenuous and a sham, and the public's faith in the system is diminished further.

    I switch back and forth throughout the day listening to all sorts of media programs. In this particular region of the country, there are typically 7 or 8 channels airing simultaneously with religious programming, essentially disseminating the conservative message, and a plethora of conservative Talk Radio show hosts calling the opposition unpatriotic, stupid, disillusioned, imbecile, morons, idiots, commie pinkie frauds, and various and sundry other animals. At times, I have to turn it off because of the yelling and screaming.

    On the other hand, presentations by the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and even the John Locke Foundation appear regularly on C-Span. George Will and Newt Gingrich are, and William F. Buckley was, exceptional, in terms of their analysis, and yet it is/was unnecessary for them to berate and denigrate others. They also appear/appeared regularly on C-Span.

    I do not have any difficulty finding the entire spectrum of idelogical views. Most recently, I've been listening to presentations by the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Systems, Univision (Hispanic), along with Korean networks, Indian networks, and most recently, a new, state run Chinese network. I simply do not find it that difficult to find content of any variety.

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  12. Now that the event is over, and we have had several days to think about it, was the event over done? Was it too extravagant?

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  13. Now that the event is over, and we have had several days to think about it, was the event over done? Was it too extravagant?

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  14. This is the Logistician here. The following statement is a personal statement for a change, and has not been endorsed in any manner by the Institute for Applied Common Sense.

    For the last two days, C-Span2 Book TV has aired a program, where a panel of prominent women discussed gender issues, in a forum held at Howard University in Washington, D.C. On both days, I found myself glued to the television, and calling female friends of mine, recommending that they watch it.

    The panel consisted of women with all sorts of views and perspectives. There was a CNN consultant, a New York Times reporter, a high ranking official from the National Organization for Women, a Republican pollster, actress Rosario Dawson, a woman connected with a grass roots organization, a Republican strategist, and others. It was clear that some of the women were progressives and others conservatives. It was also clear that some of the women were pro-life and others pro-choice.

    During my first viewing on the first day, I left a message for one of my friends that I had viewed a really good discussion of gender issues. On the second day, my friend tried to touch base with me during the program, and while describing the program, I realized what was special about the panel, and why I so enjoyed the manner in which the issues were discussed.

    First of all, the exchange was civil. Very few of the statements consisted of personal attacks on individuals just because people had different views. Second, not one single woman was chained to any party line, and I did not observe any of the participants rigidly adhere to any particular ideology. They all struck me as “independent thinkers.” There was an abundance of intellectual honesty.

    Assuming that one’s position on, let’s say, 20 different issues might be categorized as progressive or conservative, upon watching the women, I got the sense that there were various combinations of positions. No one was 20-0 or 0-20, but rather 4-16, 9-11, 10-10, 7-13, and so on.

    All this evening, I’ve been listening to commentators evaluate the ceremony today. What has been amazing has been the inability of commentators, on both sides of the aisle, to objectively evaluate the events of today. Come on! Can’t a conservative appreciate some aspect of President Obama’s performance today, and can’t some liberals appreciate the fact his performance, or the event, was not stellar in every single respect.

    I don’t care what anyone says. You can talk all you want about politics having always been nasty. This crap that we have seen for the past year has just been re-damn-diculous. Unbelievable! And this is with purportedly intelligent people. Crap. Is fear that dominant a factor in our lives?

    ReplyDelete

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