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20 January 2009

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Michael Torpey

President Obama's speech was sober, powerful, challenging and uplifting. I was surprised and happy the speech was directed to working men and women, people like my parents. Now let's see how this administration governs.

Nancy K

Dave of Maryland, I wouldn't worry too much about Obama's marriage if I were you. Not only do they look and act like a secure couple, but power is the greatest aphrodiasiac of all. My husband thinks there may be a baby in the White House in a year or so

FB Ali

An email I sent to an American friend today :

Congratulations, Terry, on your new President. He is someone whom the USA deserves as its President. Hopefully, he will enable the country to again live up to its ideals and its promise, and thus become once more a beacon of light and hope, not only for its own citizens but also for the rest of the world. And, even if fate and circumstance limit his success, his inauguration itself marks a great success for America. For it means that real Americans have taken back their country from the crooks and grifters, the bigots and fascists, who had managed to seize it 8 years ago. That is why congratulations are in order for you and the millions of others who roused themselves across the land and worked tirelessly to ensure that this day would dawn.

Cold War Zoomie

My children wanted to know why he was hugging George Bush, knowing how I feel about Bush.

Regardless of Bush's behavior in office, he was elected within the bounds of the Constitution - at least in 2004. To paraphrase an old saying; you don't have to respect the man, but you must respect the office. Maybe Obama is just showing that he respects the office no matter who occupies it.

Speaking of hailing, we should include the farewell. And is always the custom at any Hail & Farewell, where's the booze??

Will

Obama covered all population bases. Those that made the overseas trip here seeking adventure as well as those that that endured the lash. I, for one noted that when he thanked the veterans for their service, he also included those that served at Khe Sanh! (thus including those from that contentious war)

As Ormolov mentioned, George Mitchell reprising his role as a mideast facilitatorwould be a homerun pick. The symbolism- a heavyweigh creditiantialed Arab-American. A former Senate majority leader with success in the Northern Ireland theater.

What he said the last go round is instructive. Many people that don't want the problem solved make the excuse saying it's intractable because it's ancient. Mitchell replies that any problem created my men can be solved by men.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Perhaps Obama's speech was not that of a poet or an idealist. It was, though, the speech of a leader.

All day it's felt like the drapes have been pulled back, the window opened, and fresh air is spilling throughout.

frank durkee


since this was for me the somewhat unexpected, if delightgul, culmination of the efforts that consumed most of my active working days, ai was deeply moved. The seriousness, the calls for responsibility, for shared edeavor, for sacrifice, and above all to risk, Do not surprise. Every good community organizer I.ve ever known devlopes those awarenesses, simply as part of the being ina coummujity, getting to know it, and helping people within it to begin to shape their own lives and destiny. A ahaping which always comes about in the face of people and forces that reist and seek to crippleit. forces with real power and capabilities. Pragmatism and frequently profundity emerge for the good ones out of this matrix.
The challange is routinely significant and the odds of a decent outcome often not high. It takes real workmanship, discipline, seriousness, and a clear eyed view of human reality, of all concerned.
So far I am routinely less surprised by him than impressed. And I am clearly aware that the realities he in stepping into are seriousloy imposing and that one can hope but there are no sure things. I am hopeful, excited, and deeply aware of how difficult and dangerous the journey ahead is.

frank durkee


the best Organizers take the promise of america and the the rules of the game and train the poor and dispossed how they can utilize those to enhance their lives and communities. which is clearly the pattern of his approach. when it works it can be very powerful.

Larry Kart

Optimax -- Obama didn't really freeze up during the oath; rather, Justice Roberts garbled the oath a bit and Obama tried to get things back on track. Vide this report from the Christian Science Monitor:

"It was during the Oath of Office. There was a miscue between Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and the president-elect. Words got fumbled, there was an awkward pause, and the two men talked on top of each other....

Basically, it came down to the word “faithfully” and where it is mentioned during the oath.

Justice Roberts said, “”I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear [pause] that I will execute the Office of the President faithfully.”

The oath is supposed to read, “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President.”...

[Obama] followed Roberts’s lead for a few words before seeming to realize that Roberts botched it.... [T]he president-elect stopped and nodded as if to say, “try again.”

The justice gave it another shot. Obama voiced whatever he could to get Roberts back on track and the ceremony concluded."


mike

Reagan was a good communicator also, but he was a disaster for the country. I was not impressed by Obama's speech.

But I was very happy with his attendance and speech to young enlisted and junior officers at the Military Ball. For that one appearance with young wounded veterans and their families I will forgive him for all his trespasses. It may (or not) have been politically motivated, but it was a gesture that was long overdue in Washington.

patrick

This is from MSNBC:

Within days, Mr. Obama also is expected to issue executive orders to begin closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay, reversing Mr. Bush's restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and restoring funding for family-planning programs overseas.

Closing GTMO, ending torture, and a more realist foreign policy are things to be thankful for. However, Federal cash for embryonic stem cells and tax dollars for third world abortions are some of the reasons this Catholic union man did not vote for Obama (and unchecked illegal immigration that stagnates the wages of the blue collar worker).

Don't be too excited about our new President. He is a Chicago politician who latched onto some shady people to climb to the top in that sharp-elbowed city. Once at the top and those contacts that helped him rise became burdens, he dropped them. Very icy, very calculated.

These traits may serve him and the American people well during his Presidency. Then again, he may have to latch onto other undesirables to ensure and strengthen his reign (think Kristol, Bill and Perle, Richard).

Every time I get down thinking about Obama as President, I shudder as I think about a Pres. McCain or four more years of Bush. Best wishes Mr. President!

Abu Sinan

Interesting and ironic that we have both elected and executed a "Hussein" in the last few years.

Carole

Great comments. I am very delighted for a number of reasons:

1. having a president who can talk in complete, coherent sentences;
2. having a president who does not smirk at me like a fat cat who just ate the canary;
3. having a president who is able to allow himself to radiate pure joy (did you see him at the neighborhood ball dancing with Michelle?)
4. having a president who is able to talk about the duty of work and the quiet dignity that is sometimes the only thing that keeps one going (as opposed to the crass accumulation of resources).

This will no doubt be a wonderfully awful stretch for the Obama's. The astral and earthly playing fields are daunting. My prayers are with them.

mo

Colonel,

Obviously there was a section of the Presidents speech that is most pertinent to me. What is your take on his message to the Muslim world?

"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect"

Will that mutual respect extend to respecting the democratic choices of the "Muslim" World I wonder? By the Summer you have the prospect of the Palestinian people still having Hamas as their last elected leaders and the Lebanese, if all polls are correct, will have elected the Hizballah-led opposition in Lebanon. In Lebanon especially, the Russians are muscling in with the impending delivering of the 10 migs (yes totally symbolic but nevertheless...) Will Obama allow Lebanon going into the Russian sphere and if not how do you think he will stop it? By engagement or confrontation?

"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

A message to whom? Iran? Israel (conceivable?)?

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

All of the US's allies in the Middle East?

More empty rhetoric? Messages to the obvious candidates or a real change in American foreign policy?

If the George Mitchell story turns out to be true and its not Dennis "screw the Arabs" Ross, its an optimistic start - I believe Mitchell is half Lebanese - At least he'll appreciate the humus that Ross obviously did not.

Deborah Mefferd

Small point, but optimax thinks Obama "froze up" during the oath. Chief Justice Roberts is the one who got the wording wrong, and Obama was giving him a second to correct himself, which he started to do a split second too late, after Obama was already reciting back the incorrect words...If anyone has a cognitive dissonance it is Roberts. Or maybe he just instinctively won't split an infinitive.

jr786

Regarding George Mitchell. Recall how he made Sharon crazy the last time he was there - the zionists can't be that happy with his appointment.

Obama addressed 'the Muslim world'; apparently the idea that there is one has started to sink in in some places. Having one foot in both worlds, I believe that decent Americans and decent Muslims can not only co-exist but can thrive together. The most indecent one of all has headed back to Texas. Maybe now right minded people with good intentions can start to repair the damage that has been done.

The zionists must have fainted when they heard Obama say that.

David Habakkuk

Leila Abu-Saba,

As an ingrained pessimist about the chances of a more realistic U.S. approach to the Middle East, I have expected little as regards that area of policy. But the reports of the appointment of George Mitchell as Special Envoy give a glimmer of hope.

The American mediation in Northern Ireland, in which he was a major player, did a lot to prevent the situation there turning into a Lebanon-style catastrophe, as it could very easily have done.

Perhaps this at least indicates that Obama is looking seriously for ways of escaping the influence of the Zionist lobby, and turn Israel back from its current suicidal path.

I was also deeply heartened by Obama's hugging George Bush. With so much anger flying around, it is heartening to see him taking steps to soothe hurt feelings.

But then my wife, who was always much less sceptical about him than I, said from the first that Obama was a gentleman.

arbogast

Colonel Lang, you are absolutely right.

I would only add that the speech completely repudiated the man sitting with his little coterie of bullies and thieves on his left (Bush, Cheney, Scalia, etc.).

It was as if Obama had decided that the highest value was honesty, or as he quoted George Washington as having put it: "virtue and hope".

optimax

I was relieved to find out it was Roberts who fumbled the hand-off. Maybe Roberts was disappointed he didn't get to appoint a president. I thank God he didn't.

Michael Chevalier

I point out with some pride and hopefully not hubris that Mr. Mitchell is a Mainer. There is a sensibility that he brings to his efforts that I think embodies that Yankee practicality that tends to repell BS and considers indefagitable persistence to be a key virute.

MCC

WILL

the opponents are not the "zionists" b/ the "ziocons."

there are many responsible zionists such as uri avnery.

it is as important to make that distinction as to make the one b/n muslims in general as takfiri salafists.

there are many israelis that have co-opted humus and zhatr.

mitchell, although gentically half irish, culturally is all lebanese-american b/c his dad was an orphan adopted by an american-lebanese family.

Michael Chevalier

I wanted to add this and I'm irritated I forgot about it.

My wife and I attended an Eddie Izzard show at Radio City Music Hall. He pleaded with us to make Barak our president if only for the reason that if that happened, we wouldn't have to travel the world trying to convince everyone we were really Canadian!

Eh?

MCC

Crisis no excuse

Actions, not words- even if they be a "workman's words".

If tax-dodger/liar Geithner is named Secretary of the Treasury (remember Obama fully endorsed the criminal bailout swindle)
that will be all the work of this man I need to see.

zanzibar

I watched Bush FDIC chief and now Obama nominee Sheila Bair on CNBC claim that the banks are well capitalized and solvent.

I hope that while Obama still has the people's backing and the wind behind his sails he will stop this type of egregious and dishonest behavior. Sheila Bair and others on the Obama economic team should not be in the business of "pumping" up stocks with materially false information.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that our banks are not well capitalized and solvent - they would not be asking for taxpayer handouts (bankster welfare) if that was the case.

Then you have the fact that Tim Geithner - Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee and consequently the IRS overlord conveniently "forgets" to pay his income tax on wage income he received while at the IMF. He made no effort to pay his tax due even after he knew he was delinquent until he became the nominee. This is not a simple ethical lapse. Obama should be true to his words and hold high standards of behavior when it comes to high officials being accountable to the rule of law. The right message is for Obama to withdraw Geithner's nomination instead of giving him a pass. And the IRS should charge him a fine as it does all taxpayers that are delinquent.

Its acts like these that increase citizens cynicism - which Obama says he wants to change. He can start today in the most obvious way.

Hans Muller

As so many others I was deeply moved by this President's inaugural address.
Here is a man who sincerely believes that unification is our true and only God given goal - and has the courage to voice his belief without restraint or fear of sounding meek.
We should all of us be thankful for this opportunity to heal and be healed through his efforts.
Hail to the Chief!

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