Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He Says Things I Can't

As I mention in the sidebar to the right, He Says Things I Can't. This actually isn't as ... full of invective as some ... but is nicely done. Meet my friend at DeRosaWorld, please, one beautiful example of an east coast Italian lapsed Catholic brilliant mind reads everything connects the dots, makes sense and calls it as he sees it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

President Obama's First Address

Should have put this in the post below! (and sure wish all youtube videos looked so good)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama’s First Week as President

After the frantic pace of the election, the thankful peace of the win, the build up to the inauguration and that final day of coming together President Obama and his team have gotten to work. While I am sure there is a fair amount going on behind closed doors, the transparency we were promised seems to be evident.

And yes, it hasn’t been quite a full week, but I am going to try to do this on Sunday evenings so here’s a bit of what we know:

The economy sucks. Obama is taking daily briefings on what is happening, amending his plan for what to do about it, and bringing together Congress to get quick approval. No matter what he does, Obama will be criticized by the likes of John Boehner (R- Ohio) and vanquished candidate John McCain.

The largest banks were discussed as being nationalized and Wall Street faces, hopefully, some real oversight.

Governmental transparency and limits on lobbyists
were given greater credence in two executive orders and three presidential memorandums.

Obama froze pay for any of his staff making over $100k per year.

Guantanamo Bay (and other secret prisons) will be closed within a year. In a show of partisan politics the GOP crowd decries this as an order without a plan of what to do with the detainees there. Did they not hear that those in charge of such things have a year to figure that out, or do they not like to move so quickly when doing something they don’t like? A sizable group of retired admirals and generals, probably real Republicans among them, supported these actions.

Mr. Obama spoke by telephone to President Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. A Middle East Envoy was appointed, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, who is as well prepared as anyone for this position.

The move from Iraq to Afghanistan, worthy in the real fight against terrorism, is being prepared.

Obama affirmed his support for Roe v. Wade and repealed rules that restricted federal money for international organizations that promote or provide abortions overseas.

In what may prove to be an error, China was criticized for manipulating the value of it’s currency. Of course they do, but we are in no position to complain about it.

Auto emission standards are addressed, with states likely to get the right to say how polluting cars can be in their environs.

Stem cell research will move forward in America, giving us the opportunity to catch up with the rest of the world.

Bipartisanship is impossible but must be sought after. Even with appointees like Case Sunstein as a regulatory czar, a man who values life by how many years are left and regulations by how much they will cost business, a man disliked by the left, isn’t liked by the GOP.

But for the most part, Obama moved well, with a plan in place and the ability to work that plan.

I only caught a bit of new White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ first meeting with the press, but I like him. That might be because he says things clearly, says things I like, and has a relaxed nature as compared to other press secretaries of late. Let’s hope he has stamina for the more trying times ahead.

I know I missed a bunch of other happenings that were reported but I applaud the new administration for letting us know what they are up to. Refreshing, isn't it, to know what your government is doing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Thoughts

It is a thrilling day, full of hope, a change in America long sought and finally fulfilled, and the spectacle is impressive. I wish it were less troubling times.

I look up at the TV and see the various presidents and vice presidents make their entrance. I still love Jimmy Carter, as indecisive as he was, for all he has done since his presidency. Is there another president that has done as much for the people of the world since their tenure?

I gag as the camera cuts to Newt Gingrich. I know I’m supposed to forgive, but he was fully outside of any understanding of the faith he proclaims when leading the charge against Bill Clinton while in a tryst of his own. Sorry, can’t let that go unspoken.

I would love to know what Barack and W. spoke of while in that fancy Cadillac. The pundits were saying it was likely chatty but I doubt that. I wager the weight of what is ahead is fully settling into Obama’s mind and any attempt at niceties with the idiot next to him are recognized as unimportant. We’ll never know.

Bush 41 is looking frail, and that is a bit saddening. I think he meant well if not exactly in line with my thinking. They haven’t shown Cheney in his wheelchair yet, or I missed it, but I welcome him in that position. He is all the evil of the outgoing administration personified. May all efforts at war profiteering be so weakened for all time. The idea that he pulled a muscle lifting boxes is ludicrous. Yet another obfuscation of the Bush 43 Whitehouse.

We must not forget the wrongs done by the Republicans over the past … twenty plus years, actually. We must remember how important we felt it was to talk the campaign this past year, to change minds towards this new possibility of an America that was for all the people rather than for the corporations, an America that could again hold it’s head high on the world stage, and an America that leads the world by worthy example.

We must move on, and that begins today.

They just showed Barack and spoke of his “internal and external calm.” I’ll go back to the weight of the times ahead. The crowd is huge, orderly, excited, waving banners but also a bit reserved. They, too, know the weight of the moment and the work ahead. This is a great scene but strongly diminished by the uncertainty of the times inherited.

Rick Warren lead a fine prayer. Sure wish the crowd had joined him more at the end, it seemed the camera had to search for those mouthing the words Christ gave us. This is a secular society we live in. Share faith people!

Aretha! I’m smiling before she even starts singing. Hearing her now I realize she’s getting older, too, but every note was good, her persona filling each word while letting the words themselves tell their story again. “Let Freedom Ring!”

Joe Biden takes the oath of office and speaks it clearly, neither proudly nor humbly. May God be with him.

More music. As much as I enjoy the players, I hope it’s brief. Now, listening, I should have paid closer attention – is it “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Bernstein, I think? Appropriate and yes, nicely brief.

John Roberts giving the oath of office to a man who voted against his seat on the Supreme Court. How must that feel? A bit of flubs on both sides. I wish that went better!

And now the president’s speech.

Saying healthcare is too costly, our schools failing too many and our energy policies funding our enemies, he spoke of hope over fear, equality and the greatness of our nation earned and to be earned. The crowd cheered his call to remake America. For the rest, I just had to watch, listen and consider, not wanting to be distracted by writing.

May peace be with us all, may the desire to work hard and sacrifice as needed be with us all, may God’s grace inspire us to fellowship as we move forward.

Time to get to work.