The Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama – A Political Odyssey January 21, 2009Posted by Robert in inauguration, Music, Not Political, Politics, Travel.
Tags: Barack, Barack Obama, inauguration, Joe Biden, Maryland, Metro DC, Michelle Obama, National Mall, Obama, Rick Warren, US Capital, Washington DC
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We woke well before dawn, determined to be on one of the first metro trains out of Silver Spring station. Our plan was to get to the National Mall before 5am so that we could have great placement for the swearing in ceremony of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. We were on a mission, one we were determined to complete no matter what stood in our way. And between the trains, people, gates, police, automobiles and the bitter cold, it was clear very early in the day that this wasn’t going to be a walk in a national park.
The snags started almost as soon as our train pulled out of the station. Our operator came over the PA system and pleaded with us to make sure that we didn’t block any of the doors on the DC Metro as the doors do not operate like elevator doors. That is, they do not re-open completely if something gets in their way while closing. They just open back up a tiny bit and then close again. If someone repeatedly stops them from closing, the train has to be completely shut down and all passengers have to be off loaded and get on the next train. Our operator informed us that the train directly before ours had to be off loaded because there were to many people holding the doors. After a few minutes stopped on the tracks, he came back on and said that another train in front of us had to be off loaded as well, and we were going to be receiving all the passengers from both these trains.
You can probably guess what happened next. When we arrived at our next stop, not one person got off. Instead about 3 times as many people as were already on the train attempted to board. We were quickly filled to capacity but more still attempted to enter and proceeded to, you guessed it, block the doors. This was the first time I realized that these strangers around us might actually be capable of getting a bit violent. When the people who were blocking the doors refused to get off and wait till the next train, a few people shouted at them angrily. One man said “If this train get shut down, i’m gonna knock you the (expletive deleted) out!”
Gladly, the doors did eventually close and the train began moving. We arrived in DC a few minutes later, greeted by the most crowded station i’ve ever seen at 5 in the morning. We made it through the throngs of people and up to the surface, greeted by the beautiful site of the Capital Building.
It never even seemed like we made a conscious decisions as to which side of the capital to walk. We just went to the right. I now realize that the day could have turned out completely differently if we had chosen the other path. In choosing the north side of The Mall as our entrance, we were told by several different police officers that they wouldn’t be opening the gates into the mall until 7am. We fount a large crowd of people waiting to walk through the tunnel onto the National Mall at 3rd and Indiana.
So there we waited, convinced that we were in the perfect spot to get on the mall in a good spot. Boy were we mistaken. After 7am rolled around and nothing happened, people started getting antsy. We should have been suspicious when we couldn’t get onto The Mall as soon as we arrived. Everything we read from the official inauguration webpages said that the mall was open at 4am.
We stayed at that entrance until about 7:45, when we were told that they were going to begin letting people in 50 at a time. By then there had to have been a crowd of at least 10,000 people and that might be a gross under-estimate. After doing the math and getting almost trampled by people trying to leave the giant group of people, we decided to adjust our strategy and make our way to the south side of the National Mall.
It was a long walk around The Capital made longer by the fact that so many streets were closed to pedestrian traffic. Then began the pattern of being told by the police that the entrance was only a few blocks away. First it was 4th and Independence, then 7th, then 10th, then 12th. When we got to 14th and Independence things got very tight. It’s a very unnerving feeling to be on a public street that would under normal circumstances be completely open and airy and have that street become so crowded with humanity that you can only move by shuffling your feet. Couple that with the collective desire of the entire crowd being only to get to a place where they can truly feel like they would bear witness to this historic event. People were getting frustrated because the lack of information coming from those in uniform was surprising. They began hoping over the barriers to the National Mall. Some guards tried to stop them, but when there are thousands of people trying to get somewhere, there’s little you can do without coming off as overbearing. It was clear that Washington DC wanted to present an atmosphere of tight security that didn’t cross-over into something resembling marital law.
The streets became so engorged with humanity that for a second I wondered if all this trouble was worth it if we were never even going to make it into The Mall. That’s when the crowds finally opened up and we were for the first time all day, able to see people actually being able to enter The Mall freely. People were literally running out of the crowded streets toward the Washington Monument. It was a moving and surreal sight.
We entered the mall over 5 hours after we had set foot in DC and immediately walked to the base of the Washington Monument. We hung around there for a bit taking photos and marveling at the sheer number of people gathered. It became clear that we weren’t going to get a great view of any of the large screens that had been set up, so we decided to move a little further towards the front of the World War 2 Memorial. There we stayed for the length of the inauguration ceremony.
Many moments of the swearing in were particularly moving or memorable for me.
Any time that Barack, Michelle or either of their girls were shown on screen, the crowd would go wild.
When President Bush was mentioned or shown on the screens, the crowd would break into choruses of “Nah Nah Nah Nah. Nah Nah Nah Nah. Hey Hey Hey. Goodbye!” or “Hit The Road Jack.” Perhaps a tad juvenile yes, but still an incredible thing to witness.
Rick Warren’s invocation was heartfelt and moving in my opinion. I was very curious to how the crowd would receive him as the decision to have him deliver the blessing was not met with overwhelming approval especially from the homosexual community. But the crowd seemed cordial if not genuinely appreciative of his blessing.
But the main event did not disappoint. President Obama’s oath of office was short, sweet and very moving. Even if the secretary choose not to read the oath but recite if from memory. The president paused several times because the secretary was incorrectly reciting the oath for him to repeat. But it felt like a touch of imperfect humanity, something that has permeated throughout this campaign, thankfully. It’s nice to know that for a town that likes to take itself so seriously, events can still show their beautiful imperfections.
Obama’s speech came in at about 18 minutes. It was very well received with the crowd, especially the parts about not sacrificing civil liberties for temporary safety or our standing as a world leader for I’m paraphrasing of course, but it was all in there and it was nice to hear the words coming out the mouth of the president for once and not just those whom some would label as defeatist or apologist. It really seemed like our leader’s ideals were in line with our own. At least it did for myself and those around me in The National Mall today.
McCain Campaign Muzzles Muslim McCain Supporter October 21, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Biden, Campaign Rally, Daniel Zubairi, elections, Islam, Joe Biden, John McCain, McCain, Muslim, Obama, Palin, Racism, Sarah Palin, Vote
Meet Daniel Zubairi, a grassroots organizer for the McCain/Palin Campaign. Above you’ll see Daniel bravely speak out against the hatred being spewed by one of a bunch of bad apples that have been making the McCain rallies sound a lot like some other rallies that you can find in old news reels.
Daniel confronts 2 people that are handing out stickers and spewing lies about Barack Obama being connected to radical Islam and Communism. As an Muslim and a McCain campaign organizer, Daniel really sticks it to them and says in no uncertain terms that they do not represent the views of the campaign and the campaign does not condone their actions.
Wonderful! This is just the kind of straight-talk that I would expect from the McCain campaign. The only problem is, the campaign is not allowing Daniel to speak to the press.
Wow. Just when they get a chance to allow an official representative of the campaign to speak out against hatred, fear and lies as a campaign tactic, they muzzle him.
I thought McCain said he was proud of the people at his rallies? I agree that it’s foolish to judge a candidate based on the lowest of his supporters. I’m sure that Obama has radical Islamic supporters just like McCain has White Supremacist supporters. But I’m positive that if the press wanted to interview an official member of the Obama campaign that confronted a group of radical Islamics at an Obama rally, they would be allowed. Why is the McCain campaign extending it’s theme of press black-outs? It hasn’t worked with Sarah Palin, and it’s certainly not going to work with a like-able character like Daniel.
Let Daniel Speak!
Debate #3 – A good day to be a plumber. October 16, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Joe, Joe Biden, Joe The Plumber, John McCain, Obama, Palin, Plumbers, Presidential Debates, Presidential Elections, Sarah Palin, Taxes
Well, the third and last Presidential Debate has come and gone. Only 20 short days till Americans across the country will file into tiny closets with curtains and little switches and decide the fate of the free world. We’re in the most trying economic time in our country since men with curly mustaches were jumping out of windows in the thirties. We continue to lose lives of our finest and bravest citizens in deserts half a world away. Osama Bin Laden is still breathing. We can’t seem to figure out how to provide fair and comprehensive healthcare to all our citizens.
But what subject seemed to be on the minds of the 2 candidates more than any other during the debates tonight?
That’s right. Joe is f’ng famous for asking Barack Obama about his tax policy about a week ago. He is now a household name. Well, a household first name and then a profession. But you really have to give it to Barack. Maybe Joe is not voting for him still, but Barack took 5 minutes and answered his question in a clear, concise manner that did not pander to him or insult his intelligence.
Here is a short impression of Joe when he first heard his name mentioned tonight.
Joe was mentioned by John McCain no less than 24 times and by Barack Obama 4 times. I really hope that’s enough. Because I really can’t make a decision about a candidates position until the 34th or 35th time they run something into the ground.
If you want to score this debate, I’d call it a clean sweep by Obama. Sure McCain got in a really good line about Barack tying him to Bush. Even I gave him style points when he said “If you wanted to run against Bush you should have ran 4 years ago”. But still, Obama remained his calm, cool and collected self. McCain still looked creepy when he smiled or laughed. And frankly Obama won the I look and act presidential contest.
Again, both candidates performances I’m sure really sat well with their bases. But the independents are simply not going to go for a guy they don’t want to look at for the next 4-8 years. It’s sad, but true. No matter what their stance on the issues, Barack looks like a president and John looks like that uncle you avoid at parties.
The Exact Moment That Decided This Election October 8, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Biden, Debate, Democrats, Healthcare, Iraq, Joe Biden, John McCain, McCain, Obama, Palin, Presidential Debate, Republicans, Sarah Palin, That One
There have been many gaffes during this campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats have put their feet in their collective mouths more times than one blog can cover.
But McCain managed, in 3 short seconds, to (at least in my humble estimation) loose his last remaining chance at winning this election and the last remaining shred of respect that I had for him.
Here’s what he did.
Oh. My. Rude. Senator.
I really can’t think of a time where I’ve had such an appalled reaction while watching television. Well, maybe season 2 of HEROES. But my wife, myself and I’m sure a great many American’s all shared a collective “WTF” moment when the Arizona senator referred to his opponent as “That One”.
I mean good Lord. Barack Obama has a title, sir. It is “Senator”. Just like yours is. You could have probably gotten away with “my opponent”, “Barack” or even “Barack-man Turner Overdrive”. But “That One”? Hell ta’ tha’ no.
I will now offer at no charge a retort for Senator Obama to use during the 3rd and final debate.
Who was it that voted with the Bush Administration over 90% of the time? Who was having cake with Bush while people drowned en masse in the wake of Katrina? Who can’t smile without it looking really, really creepy? You may not be able to guess, but it’s “Gramps” over there.
Use it in good health, Senator Obama and feel free to thank me later after your inauguration.
McCain wins debate, loses staring contest. September 27, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Biden, Debate, Debates, Democrats, Festooned, Joe Biden, John McCain, McCain, Obama, Palin, Presidential Debate, Presidential Elections, Republicans, Sarah Palin
Well, it wasn’t quite the slug-fest that I wanted it to be, especially from Obama, but we did gain some key insights as to how both sides have decided to play their hand in these debates.
Honestly, I do have to give a narrow win to McCain on this one, but very narrow and won solely based on sharp direct and often times, dare I say it, unsportsmanlike attacks on Obama. But in an age where the sound-bite rules, he definitely got in some good punches. The only problem is, he did it at the expense of looking very un-presidential.
I was absolutely amazed at McCain’s inability to make eye contact with his opponent. It was downright eerie. Even after being told several times to direct their retorts at each other, McCain refused to give his opponent the satisfaction of even acknowledging him with one fleeting glance. He did, however, manage to correctly use the word “Festooned”. But that is certainly not going to silence any of the people saying his age is an issue.
As a quick aside, this is my attempt to recreate a text message from one 7th grader to another that correctly uses the word “Festooned”.,
nce nu jckt. it’s 100% festooned w cul stf.
Ok, now that I got that out of my system…
McCain also made one of his strongest and most shrewd moves when he said that he thought that Obama “Didn’t possess the knowledge or experience” to serve as President. I’m really sorry, but I thought that one of the things that the Right keeps repeating is that Obama is too “Ivy League”. There are certainly things that someone looking to find fault with Obama could find, just read those chain emails from your weird aunt. But I haven’t seen one crazy email that has challenged Obama’s intelligence.
If you’re confused as to where I’m going with this, here’s a hint.
Obama is smart. Really smart. Possibly too smart for some who try to paint him as a sort of douche-bag valedictorian type. But personally, I want my president to have a higher SAT score than I did.
Now, I know that John McCain is smart as well, but even if he wasn’t I think Obama proved that he has the demeanor of a person who realizes that personal attacks like that don’t belong in the political discord. Obama may have not had as many sound bites as McCain, but he did have a few very good ones and more importantly than anything else, he continued to look Presidential as McCain continued to look sloppy.
Did I mention that the hardened Navy Pilot/POW who supposedly looks everyone in the eye wouldn’t look the skinny Harvard grad in the eye? Yeesh…
Now I certainly thought that Obama missed some chances and was being a bit too polite. Several times you could tell he really wanted to set something straight after McCain took a swing at him but either let McCain steamroll him or allowed the subject to be changed. This is something that he will most definitely need to correct in the future debates.
So if you’re keeping score, McCain squeaked by with a victory by taking the low road. The good news for Obama fans is that this was the debate where everyone said McCain would have the upper hand. So because he was able to stand up and not get completely crushed, it’s a moral victory. Now on to the VP debate and the second and third Presidential Debates.
If the McCain campaign want’s some advice for the coming debates, Number 23 has some.
Update: Well, it looks like I saw the debate differently than most uncommitted voters. That’s what this CBS poll says anyway.
CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.
Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw.
Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight. Thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better.
Sixty-six percent of uncommitted voters think Obama would make the right decisions about the economy. Forty-two percent think McCain would.
Forty-eight percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-six percent think McCain would.
We will have a full report on the poll later on. Uncommitted voters are those who don’t yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds.
The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.
The First Debate: It’s on like Donkey Kong! September 26, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
Tags: Bailout, Barack Obama, Biden, Debate, Democrats, Joe Biden, John McCain, McCain, Obama, Over The Top, Presidential Debate, Republicans, Robots, Sarah Palin, Vice-Presidential Debate
The McCain campaign confirmed that John McCain will in fact be at the debate tonight. There’s still no resolution about the proposed bailout, so I’m not sure what exactly has changed other than possibly coming to realization that having either Obama or McCain in Washington trying to help figure this out was a huge mistake, but either way the political junkies of the world are rejoicing.
This means that the VP debate that has everyone in the media and blogosphere salivating will in all likelihood occur, as the McCain campaign’s only excuse to do away with it is now gone.
Oh man, I’m so excited. I’m not sure what the tone of the debate tonight will take, but I am sure that you’ve probably will never hear so many foreign policy questions answered with domestic finance responses again in your life.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the debate will look something like this…
Letterman is Pissed, McCain is Scared September 25, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Biden, CBS, CBS Evening News, David Letterman, Joe Biden, John McCain, Katie Couric, Late Show, Letterman, McCain, New York, Obama, Palin, Presidential Debate, Presidential Elections, Sarah Palin
Something is amiss in the world of John McCain. I don’t know what he’s thinking, I honestly don’t. But what I do know, is that you do not cancel on David Letterman on the day of taping.
NO SENATOR!! BAD SENATOR!!
Lucky for us, someone at CBS leaked the as yet to air segments where Dave shows McCain what happens when you mess with a man who has a TV show with his name on it.
In the world of late night television, if you cancel your appearance the day of you better be dead or dying. It’s basically like standing up your bride on her wedding day. Of course this is a little different, because in this case John McCain decided to walk down Broadway and marry some other girl. Namely, Katie Couric.
I’m honestly not sure what I’m more upset at, the slap in the face to one of the greatest living broadcasters, or the fact that McCain doesn’t think it’s a good idea for the American People to see him in a debate in one of the most domestically, internationally and economically unstable times in the history of our country.
McCain says it’s because he thinks this is time to focus on fixing the economy and making sure that this bailout passes through congress. Great, that’s wonderful but I’d believe it more if it was his idea and if he was ahead in the polls. Unfortunately neither of those things are true. It was in fact Barack Obama who first approached the McCain campaign to suggest that in this instance they present a united front and release a joint statement about the importance of the bailout bill. But you might be confused because John McCain decided to go public before responding to the Obama Campaign and say that he would like Obama to join him in suspending campaigns and postponing the debate until this crisis has passed.
How very convinient. Let me ask you Senator McCain, what happens when things get tough if you become president? What happens if Russia pulls a couple Destroyers up to our coast at the same time oil is at $200 a barrel and the Dow is down 800 points in a day? Do you get to postpone being president? Because based on your actions now, that’s the impression that I get. I also don’t appreciate you insulting my intelligence by attempting to play this brand of “but seriously folks” politics. It comes off very disingenuous.
Sure, times are tough. But now is the time to really show us what you’re made of. You want to be president? Show us. Don’t retreat out of the public eye and away from the scrutiny of the press. Stay and show us what you would do if you were in charge. Debate your opponent. Because you owe it to us to stand next to the man you think you would be better than, and tell us why.
Also, this is fun…
McCain/Palin, you sit on a throne of lies. September 16, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
Tags: Attack Ads, Barack Obama, Biden, Democrats, Elections 08, FactCheck.org, Joe Biden, John McCain, Lies, McCain, Obama, Palin, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Shakira
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Well, it would seem that running roughshod over the campaign with the reckless abandon of an 11 year old boy who just had 3 Capri Sun’s would seem to be a fleeting strategy. The McCain/Palin campaign has certainly enjoyed quite a boost from the addition of the sexiest governor ever to strike fear in the heart of a moose. They’ve jumped in the polls, although they have seemed to settle down. They’ve even enjoyed some favorable press.
But then, they got greedy.
They decided to see how far they could push their luck. They released some ads that were, ironically, liberal in their definition of “truth”.
They attacked Obama for wanting to teach “comprehensive sex education to kindergartners”. In fact, they called it his only accomplishment on education. Laughable. First off, the bill was trying to protect young children from sexual predators. Second, it didn’t pass and Obama really had very little to do with it. Luckily, there are people who keep track of these things and this ad has been completely dismissed as false by several independent political fact checking organizations. Here’s one.
They continue to spew lies regarding Obama’s tax plan. Just for the record, Obama is NOT going to raise taxes on any American household who earns less than $250,000 a year. Check out this page to see how much you’ll save if Obama is elected. Here’s an interesting video that I found on a little cable news outlet that shares it’s name with animal that English nobleman hunt.
Wow, first Toby Kieth and now Fox News? I predict this isn’t the last time we see Fox be critical of the McCain campaign. Rupert Murdoch is a semi-closeted Obama fan and he owns the place. He also owns all this stuff.
And after they released an attack ad so unfounded that CBS News forced it to be removed from Youtube because of it’s use of Katie Couric. Today, John McCain admitted that Obama was not referring to Sarah Palin when he said “lipstick on a pig”. He did say that he believes Obama “chooses his words very carefully”. Maybe McCain should take a lesson from that.
But who am I to say that the McCain campaign has gone too far? I mean, I certainly don’t have any clout in the political world. Well, certainly not as much as this guy.
Now of course Rove is going to bash Obama and say he’s lying in his ads. But if you’re the Republican candidate and Karl Rove is saying you need to be more truthful, you’ve got a problem.
Maybe the pursuit of trivial issues in the campaign last week called down the gods of clarity because today the country got over 500 reasons to focus on the real issues like the sub-prime mortgage crisis and whether or not the government should be bailing out banks. This is unfortunate for McCain because he’s not in his element answering questions on the economy. He now says when he’s referring to the “fundamentals” of the economy, he’s referring to the American Worker.
Is this the kind of worker he was talking about? Because that’s the kind we’re going to see more and more of if we don’t get a leader who takes this issue seriously and knows the plight of the middle class working American.
Have we learned nothing from Shakira? If her hips continue to not lie a full 31 years after they were created, why can’t John McCain stay honest?