Friday, January 23, 2009

I witnessed Something Extraordinary.

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths."
- President Barack Hussein Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20th, 2009

The sun was just peeking around the Washington Monument to warm me up a little as the proceedings Officially began. Throngs of people milled about, moving their legs to keep the circulation going, up on their tip toes to get a better view (mostly of the screen). Kids were up on shoulders, crowds parting slightly behind them. The level of excitement was high and unanimous. There were smiles everywhere. Volunteers greeted us as we crossed the Memorial bridge from Virginia with "Good Morning"s and "Welcome to DC"s. There's always something to see in DC for a political junkie like me. As we made Our way in, we passed peaceful, somber Arlington Cemetery, the strong, proud Iwo Jima Memorial, and the pensive and classic Lincoln Memorial, the steps of which an all star cast sang and spoke from two days prior. People were standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to watch President Barack Obama be sworn in and speak, 1.9 miles away. And speak he did. He spoke to Christians, to Muslims, to Jews, to Hindus and to Non-believers. He spoke of feeding "hungry minds" and of science. He spoke of responsibility and service, curiosity and imagination, of respect and of a willingness to "extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." He spoke of tolerance.

At times i felt like I finally understood church, not in the "religious" way that warren had thrust upon the crowd with one religion's "Our Father". I found myself bowing my head, while The President was speaking, Listening to every word. It brought me to tears more than once. The crowd was unlike anything I have been a part of or have seen, gathered together as One, to see a New President and feel the flood of emotions that came with him. From tears to laughter. From hope to reassurance. The crowd's diversity and inclusiveness was on display throughout. From a child in a shirt that read "The Future Starts Now" to an eldery African American man crying, perhaps further understanding what he has seen in his lifetime, alongside a young white woman crying for, not wholey, different reasons. 1.8 million people were there, and not one arrest. It was Truly Something.

More than anything else, it felt as if the clouds had parted, like the first sign of Spring, like something had shifted. It wasn't just Obama's words that "We are ready to lead ONCE MORE." or his thoughts on how "false the choice between our safety and our ideals" that signalled the end of the bush error. It was more than just his speech against "worn-out dogma"s. It was more than his rebuke of arguments about government being "too big or too small". My "mate" said it best, immediately following the Inauguration, "For the first time I feel like we're all Americans" Yep, and I'm a damn proud one at that.

Now, if we could just get rid of the tax evading accountant that's holding up the full sweep of appointments to the cabinet, we'll have a first hundred days like President Barack Obama's "Day One". Day two hasn't been that bad either actually.

That being said... What a Day! What a Speech! What a Crowd! What a Moment!

There are some pictures up from my adventure of a weekend here, if you care to take a gander.

This Land is Your Land!

GObama Go!!!

Other favorite quotes:
"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works"

"The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good."

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders"

"We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Aaaahhhhhh..

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

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

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barack Obama IS the President of the United States!!!!!

Truly an unbelievable, inspiring, and incredible feeling to be enveloped in such a moment. Two million people gathered to hear and cheer one hell of a speech by the New President of the United States Barack Obama.

Congratulations America!

Congratulations!

Amazing!

Historic!

I am in Awe. It's going to take a little while for it all to sink in. I'll let you know when it does.

To Progress!
David Calamoneri
Hoboken, NJ
USA!!!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Opening Ceremony (part two)

Simply Amazing! So many people!!! High points? Obama's speech, This Land is Your Land by Springsteen and Seeger, Stevie Wonder, and Herbie Hancock!!! I have never experienced a crowd like that before. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like on Tuesday!!!

GObama!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Opening Ceremony

After checking out Bruce and U2's sound check at Lincoln's feet yesterday, I am psyched to be bundled up and on my way to "the mall" for today's speed round concert/opening ceremony. This is really something. And it hasn't even really started yet.

GObama!!

Yesterday while hitting Georgetown for a couple pints, I saw Obama golf balls and "Audacity of Soap" among the thousands of shirts and buttons.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm Going! That's all there is to it!

So I'm getting on a bus this evening (1/16) headed for Washington DC, staying at a
friend of a friend's for the weekend to be a part of, and embedded in, what should be
an unprecedented and historic event, the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President
of the United States of America. I'm going to try to "live blog" here at the Squid's Ink
via the Ol' iPhone. We'll see how that goes.

I'm not sure whether I'm more excited, nervous, or quite simply in disbelief that this is
actually happening and that I'll be there for it. I am sure that I couldn't stop saying "bush's
farewell address" last night. I still want him held accountable, but at least he is out of
Our White House for good!

If you are watching the Inauguration (or the opening ceremony/concert), look for the guy
yelling GObama!! and flashing a peace sign. Can you believe that it actually happened?
And that it's finally here??

To Progress!!
GObama!!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Setting bush's watch.

There's still plenty of time to fine tooth comb every move , appointment, and nomination made by the incoming President-Elect Barack Obama. Here he is on the economy, and his stimulus package, Thursday. I will say this. I am disappointed that Governor Richardson will not be the Commerce Secretary. I was also surprised by the news stories (no official announcement yet) of former Clinton Chief of Staff Panetta heading the CIA. It would be nice to have someone at the CIA who is an outspoken opponent of torture.

All that being said, let's talk about the "legacy" left behind by the current "president", who is such a Lame Duck that he continues to sit idly by as the economy continues to tank and the Israelis continue to kill hundreds (imagine if there was an actual count) of Palestinians, because Palestinian shoulder launched rockets killed two people in the the country that has 65 United Nations resolutions against it (and 29 more that We, alone, vetoed). More on that disgusting mess later. First, let's think back to the fear-mongering, "with us or against" bush watch. Lists of incompetence, illegality, and scandal are popping up all over the "internets". There is a very thorough one here.

Here's one from me (In no particular order):
1. Eight months after bush took office and After warnings from Intelligence officials, including National Security Council counterterrorism director Richard Clarke, the Twin Towers were destroyed and the Pentagon attacked, killing 3,000 Americans . The World Trade Center site is still not redeveloped.

2. Before capturing or killing 9/11 "mastermind", osama bin laden, or completely eradicating al qaeda where they lived and trained in afghanistan, the neo-cons, through their figure head cheerleader in chief rushed the US out of Afghanistan (for the most part) and into Iraq, based on intel that was questionable to many and debunked by some At the Time. The argument that everyone had the same intelligence can be answered with "Why did no one else think it actionable?" By the way, there were no WMDs found, no mobile labs, no ties or real connection at all between bin laden and saddam, Iraqi oil hasn't paid for the war, and we were not greeted with showers of sweets and flowers.

3. Troops were sent into the field of combat without proper training, body armor or up-armed humvees.

4. It took four days for the Federal government to respond to a hurricane it was certainly warned about. As US citizens were drowning in the worst natural disaster to hit in my lifetime, junior celebrated mccain's birthday.

5. Severely unqualified bush crony, harriet miers, was nominated for the supreme court.

6. Working for no major publication, male prostitute jeff gannon/guckert is given daily press badge after daily press badge to ask the president softball questions at the White House.

7. Oil Baron and bush friend, "kenny boy" lay, and a couple of his minions are arrested for fraud at enron. Tapes are released of gleeful employees laughing at the 2001 California crisis created by enron producing unneccesary shortages and then profitting on them.

8. Pictures and video evidence of torture and abuse happening at United States detention centers at abu ghraib and guatanamo bay, where prisoners are held without charges for years, were made public. (P.S. Of course they're going to close gitmo. The biggest US embassy in the world has just been completed in Iraq, and I'm sure it has holding cells along with it's swimming pool).

9. Reports of prisoner rendition by the United States to countries, like Syria, to be tortured.

10. The Federal government/US military lied to the public about the killing of Pat Tillman and the rescue of Jessica Lynch.

11. In response to Joe Wilson's report that Iraq did not try and procure "yellow cake" uranium from Niger (documents used by the president were found to be Obvious forgeries), officials from bush's executive branch reveal wilson's wife's CIA operative status, which is a crime against US National Security.

12. The multi billion dollar Department of Homeland Security is created and comes up with a color code of terror.

13. Department of Justice Attorneys are fired on a political basis, which isn't a surprise from an administration who appointed a horse "expert" to head of FEMA.

14. On May 1, 2003 the president announced "Major Combat operations [in Iraq] have ended" in front of a banner that reads "Mission Accomplished". The war continued.

15. Unemployment rose from 4.2 to 7.2. 2.6 million Americans lost their job during junior's final year in office.

16. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped from 11,722.98 to 8,721.52.

17. A $230,000,000,000.00 surplus turned into a $482,000,000,000.00 deficit.

18. Of the $700 Billion Wall Street bank bailout spearheaded by bush, $350 Billion has been spent with no oversight.

19. The Walter Reed Hospital scandal saw rats running by the beds of veterans.

20. The Federal Government illegally wiretapped phones and read through the mail and email of US citizens, domestic and abroad.

21. Dick's former company, Halliburton, inadaquately provided food to troops, some food was actually tainted with human bodily fluids. They continue to receive no bid contracts.

22. 879 vacation days were taken by the 43rd president of the United States (as of March 4, 2008). If he hadn't taken a vacation day since, that would equal 30% of his presidency. It is more than any President in history. Only urgent matters like Terri Shiavo have taken the "president" away from his off time.

23. The bush administration lied to Congress about the cost of the Medicare Drug bill.

24. The 2000 Election, especially in Florida where bush's brother was governor and his state campaign chair doubled as the Florida Secretary of State who gleefully stopped counting votes after a 5-4 supreme court decision, was sketchy at best.

25. The failure and chief fought an independent 9/11 commission, then created his own, then refused to testify without dick, only to manipulate it's findings, and leave its recommendations unfulfilled. Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Robert Byrd.

26. The internationally illegal pre-emptive war / bush doctrine. Most refer to such a thing as an invasion.

27. 159 signing statements (as of October 14, 2008) to allow the president to be above the laws he signs.

28. The Jack Abramoff scandal (see bush and his Department of Interior)

29. The paid propaganda program (see Armstrong Williams and the Department of Education or the Department of Defense)

30. World Trade Center air and the air in the immediate area was deemed safe long before it was by bush's EPA.

31. Junior calls violence in Darfur "genocide" but does little to nothing to stop it.

32. North Korea may have actually started enriching uranium.

33. Millions of emails "lost" from the White House server.

34. The Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

35. Scientists and reports were censored by the administration for political reasons

36. After 6 years, 5,000+ american lives and $550 Billion dollars, the Iraq War has been so mismanaged that journalists are throwing shoes at the president, who is still arriving under cover of night. The only marginal success... two years ago, dicktator and uber-bluffer saddam hussein was found and hung for crimes he committed from before Gulf War I.

Did I miss anything?

To Progress! To a Change! To January 20th!!