In all of last week’s inaugural flurry, I missed this snippet from The Daily Show, wherein Wyatt Cenac reports from the Youth Inaugural Ball on the excitement over our first cool president… and in the clip’s final few seconds, the coolness of California’s own U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer…
Archive for the 'Inauguration 2009' Category
Martinez resident and inveterate presidential politics junky Tim Farley (also the community and government affairs director for Saint Mary’s College in Moraga) sent these final words from Washington, D.C., where he took his teen-aged son, Vincent, and two of his son’s friends to the swearing-in ceremonies of Barack Obama:
We returned to D.C. on Wednesday. It was a different city. The Metro was easy, no lines and the pace was much slower. We were able to do some traditional tourist activities, the Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, The Smithsonian and so forth.
CLICK ON THE RIGHT FOR THE REST OF TIM’S MESSAGE: Read the rest of this entry »
Oakland resident, East Bay Municipal Utility District attorney and longtime Democratic Party activist Joel Freid was at the inauguration yesterday, and has been kind enough to share dozens (!) of photos he took during his trip to Washington, D.C. I’ve culled out a few (click on ‘em to enlarge) that seem to give a good flavor of the experience.
Here’s Freid’s view of Sunday’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial:
Visiting with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, during her pre-inaugural bash at the Rayburn Office Building on Monday:
See more of Freid’s photos after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
Check out CCT reporter Meera Pal’s interview with Martinez resident Tim Farley, his son and two friends who attended the inauguration in Washington, D.C. Pal outlined her visit with the Farley group at the CCT blog On Assignment.
In the course of interviewing East Bay folks out in Washington, D.C., for the swearing-in of Barack Obama, I obtained some fun details that didn’t make it into the main story:
Cell phones took a hit during the inauguration but not because the transmission system broke down. Someone stole Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover’s phone. Saint Mary’s College government affairs director Tim Farley lost his cell phone somewhere downtown in the mad crush. And Ken Kilday of Martinez left his phone at the San Francisco Airport. (But TSA found it so he’ll get it back.)
At least Tim Farley didn’t lose his phone a day earlier. He was staying in a hotel room offered to him by a reporter (not this newspaper) who couldn’t use it. Early Tuesday morning, a shopping center next door caught on fire, smoke poured into the hotel and the power went out. He had to evacuate using his cell phone as a flashlight.
There were some celebrity sightings, of course.
Veteran Contra Costa political consultant Tom Koch ate dinner at the the Blue Duck Tavern and sitting at the next table was actor Ben Affleck. He also saw CIA director nominee and former Clinton administration chief of staff Leon Panetta talking on the cell phone in Lafayette Square “just like any other tourist.”
Koch also made a very important observation: Standing on newsprint helps insulate your feet from the cold ground. This is yet another reason why newspapers cannot and must not die.
Lynda Kilday, advocacy coordinator for the Contra Costa Child Care Council, says Mariah Carey waved at her. Well, maybe she just waved in her direction but “she could have been waving at us.” The Kildays were standing at the front of the standing section and Carey was seated near the back of the seated section.
Lynda also offered some very interesting advice on the use of those chemical handwarmers: They are not just for pockets. She put them in her shoes, her gloves and under her hat. It’s good thing her husband bought them in bulk at Big 5.
The inauguration of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States is a transformative chapter in American history, signaling a dramatic shift in our nation’s politics and priorities. It is an extraordinary event that illustrates to our neighbors abroad that America has made tremendous progress in breaking down racial barriers that have historically paralyzed our nation.
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke a generation ago of the dream he held for America, he envisioned exactly this type of moment, where a man was judged by his character, his intellect and his hard work — and not by the color of his skin or his race or his ancestry. Now, children of color everywhere can truly dream without limitations and actualize the true promise of this great land. When a young child of color aspires to one day be the President of the United States, we can assure them, “Yes, you can!”
Let us celebrate this historic achievement, but understand that we have much work to do to bring about the change that this country so desperately needs. I pledge to do everything within my power to help President Obama reverse the damaging policies of the last eight years, and to positively move our nation into its remarkable third century – one that begins to unshackle the burdens of our past and is limited only by our capacity to dream a new future.
Last month, I wrote an article that included mention of “Mills On A Mission,” a contingent of a dozen Mills College students who banded together to raise funds for a week-long trip centered on the inauguration. The young women wanted to bring the event’s feelings of power and momentum back from the National Mall to Mills’ campus, and they decided a team effort was best.
Sadly, they didn’t make it onto the Mall today. Even having caught the first Metro train from Alexandria, Va., and making it into the city by 5 a.m. EST, they got caught in a massive crowd behind a Mall gate that never opened, organizer Tracy Peerson-Faye told me a few minutes ago.
“We basically got corralled down the street and had nowhere to go,” she said, describing a scene of thousands packed cheek to jowl, cheering and chanting Obama’s name but “as the hypothermia started to set in” growing more and more frustrated. Finally, as a police bus moving down the street forced the crowd into an even smaller space, “we had to leave because it was no longer physically safe for us to be there.”
They linked arms and fought their way out through the crowd – “We had to find a place to go and try to warm ourselves” – and resolved to head for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, where they knew the swearing-in would be viewable on a big screen. They could see the Capitol’s dome from there, a bittersweet reminder of how much closer they’d almost gotten.
“But even within the (museum) building, there was an atmosphere – this energy of the crowd, of excitement, I think almost a feeling of being overwhelmed by the significance of what today was,” she said.
As someone who lived through the civil rights movement and saw African-Americans shunted to the back of the bus, I cannot help today but think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who forty-seven years ago stood on steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke of his dream—that his four children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Today, that long-awaited, long-fought-for dream of equality has been realized.
And while we must celebrate this extraordinary, historic moment in our nation’s history, we also must heed the call of President Obama who told us that, “starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”
The challenges we face today are as difficult as any I can remember in my adult lifetime—but I am confident that we have elected a President who has the fortitude and wisdom to lead us to a better future.
In foreign policy, it’s a new day, as our President said America is willing to extend its hand to the world if people will unclench their fists.
I stand ready to help our new President every step of the way as we work to turn our economy around, bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq, and confront the many challenges facing us- from healthcare to education to protecting our environment.
I am ready to work for the change we all believe in.
Tim Evans, 32, of San Francisco just sent us these photos, where pranksters altered signs along San Francisco’s Bush Street with “Obama” signs (click to enlarge):
Signs all along Bush Street had been changed with paper printouts attached by double-faced tape. “I thought, ‘My God, that’s great. What a bunch of merry pranksters,”’ Evans said.
Andy Stone, head flak for Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, sent me these photos from the inauguration ceremony this morning.
Meanwhile, here is what McNerney said about Obama:
“Today, we celebrate an extraordinary moment in American history as Barack Obama becomes America’s 44th President and the first African-American to lead our nation. It is truly a historic day and this is a great new beginning for our country. President Obama’s inauguration renews faith in the power of ordinary Americans coming together to create monumental change”
“I look forward to working with President Obama to address our country’s urgent priorities: reversing the course of our economy, creating millions of new jobs, especially those through new energy technology, making health care more affordable and keeping America safe and secure.”