Watering Hole: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 – And So It Begins

Monday, January 21, 2013 was a historic day.  It was the 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous “I got a dream” speech and it was the second Inauguration of America’s first African American President.  If someone would have suggested that history would merge on that date 12 years ago, I would have laughed at the idea.

Anyhow, I hope that you got to hear President Obama’s second Inauguration speech.

Congratulations to President Obama and Vice President Biden.  America is fortunate to have such strong and intelligent leaders.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!  It’s your First Amendment right.

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Helen Thomas on the Inauguration speech

44 Takes Office with Blunt Rejection of 43

Looking westward into the sun and speaking to more than 1 million people on the Mall in front of him and to millions more around the world, President Barack Obama delivered a tough inaugural speech that must have made members of the outgoing Bush administration squirm in their chairs.

After thanking President George W. Bush for his service to the nation and for helping during the presidential transition, Obama veered sharply, offering no attempt at sugar-coating, no deeper genuflection toward the Bushes, who left the Capitol by helicopter soon after Obama’s blunt speech and headed for Texas.

Instead, Obama hit his theme early and often in his 18-minute address: The presidential inaugural oath is sometimes taken “amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.” Now is one of those times, he said.

Obama declared “we are in the midst of crisis” and recounted wars, a badly weakened economy that he blamed on greed on the part of some and “also on our collective failure to make hard choices.”

Homes have been lost, jobs shed, business shuttered, he recounted. Health care is too costly, schools fail too many students and we waste our energy.

There was no affable reference to Bush’s eight years in office or mention of the wonders of the Bush legacy, nothing warm and fuzzy. It was a putdown, a repudiation of the Bush years.

Obama was just warming up.

Aside from these “indicators of crisis,” the nation is on an emotional downer. Our national confidence has been sapped, Obama said, and there is a nagging fear “that America’s decline is inevitable and that the next generation must lower its sights.”

OK, having painted the gathering gloom, the new president told what was needed to get out of it. Citing past sacrifices by Americans, Obama declared: “This is the journey we continue today.”

While the challenges facing us are serious and many and will not be met easily or quickly, Obama defiantly proclaimed: “But know this, America — they will be met.”

Read the rest of her piece here.

Obama inauguration speech a homerun

CommonDreams, by Naomi Wolf

President Obama is a class act.  He told Americans the truth — that things will be difficult, but they are well worth doing — and we cheered.  He stood right in front of George W. Bush, and in no uncertain terms declared, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” — and then he moved into his house.

Here’s Naomi Wolf’s take on the speech:

I know that Barack Obama is incredibly smart, and it’s not that I’m surprised that he gave a fantastic speech. But I’ve been following American politics for a long time, and sometimes you see something that works on so many levels that you kind of have to gasp at its sophistication.

This speech marked a sharp line in the sand, breaking overtly with the past administration. That message was clear and intentional. It is a much more confrontational approach than ­inauguration speeches have typically been in America. I am overjoyed.

I thought Obama did three things impressively. Firstly, he sounded a note of our dire circumstances that was in line with a reality that many have been in denial about. That is technically ­brilliant, because he’s inheriting a mess, and he’s telling people, “We’re not going to dig ourselves out of this easily.” But also, “Don’t blame me for it all.”

The second was that he reasserted the primacy of the constitution and the rule of law. With Bush sitting behind him, that was like showtime at the OK Corral. I have written in the past that it is going to take a grassroots movement to support him in reasserting the rule of law, because there are so many vested interests that stand opposed to it. But that was a shot across the bows.

Thirdly, most amazingly, I feel that he dialled down the threat level of the US with just a few sentences. He reached out a hand to the Muslim world. For Obama to say, “I’m not going to demonise you” – that is extraordinarily stabilising.

Reality — it’s a good thing.

Read the rest of Wolf’s article here.

Inaugural Freak Show

OMFG, Max Blumenthal posted this video over at The Daily Beast, showing Rep Paul Broun (R-GA), Rev Patrick Mahoney and Rev Rob Schenck praying over and annointing with oil crosses, the doorway through which President-Elect Barack Obama will pass on his way to being sworn in as President.

Here’s a tidbit about each of our players prayers:

“Mr. Speaker,” [Rep] Broun announced from the House floor in 2007, “if we take our dishes and try to wash ‘em in our clothes washers we’re going to have problems, and that’s what we’re doing in our society, Mr. Speaker. We’re trying to do things against God’s inerrant word… So I rise today to support the Bible as the basis of our nation.”

[Rev] Mahoney appeared at Obama’s Capitol Hill office in June 2008 to present his aides with a poster depicting the senator as Uncle Sam, declaring, “I Want YOU To Pay For Abortions.” Mahoney plans to hold an anti-abortion vigil along Obama’s parade route this January 20. “Sadly, President-elect Obama is on the wrong side of history and human rights by embracing the most radical abortion policies of any President in American history,” Mahoney said in announcing the vigil.

[Rev] Schenck spent several months in 1992 picketing the Buffalo, New York, home of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an obscure area abortion doctor that he personally targeted for scorn. Six years later, while cooking dinner for his wife and four children, Slepian was shot to death through his kitchen window by James Kopp, a volunteer at Operation Rescue’s Binghamton, N.Y., office. Though Schenck denied knowing Kopp, the two had been arrested together at several clinic blockades.

Ok, I’ve had my daily dose of weird-assed shit.  Watch the whole video — I did!

I hope the Secret Service is keeping a close eye on all three of these yahoos.

Go here to read the rest of Max Blumenthal’s article.

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