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Inauguration 2009: Walnut Creek

This just in from Times reporter Elisabeth Nardi, who is at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek for the Obama inauguration.

“Hundreds gathered at Lesher Center in WC. CSPAN plays on large theater screen. A shot of Schwarzenegger on the screen draws jeers from the crowd. One woman in line said it’s weird to take the morning off from work and still get up early.”

Interesting about the jeers for Schwarzenegger. It happened in Richmond, too.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
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Ladies and gentlemen… Gov. Bill Lockyer!

Hat tip to the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert for noting that the East Bay’s own California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is governor-for-a-day, what with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and everyone else above Lockyer in the line of succession — Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Attorney General Jerry Brown — in Washington, D.C. today for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

I’ve e-mailed my congratulations to the “governor,” and asked whether he intends to sign a budget later today. No answer yet; I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE @ 8:48 A.M. TUESDAY: Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar says:

“the little five meeting will take a few minutes. we’ve got the legislature ready to go. just waiting for the inaugural speech to conclude.”

Hmmm. Joking? Dunno.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
Under: Bill Lockyer, Inauguration 2009 | No Comments »

‘This Land is Your Land’ restored

(Big hat tip to greendem @ Daily Kos…)

How amazing to see Pete Seeger — pushing 90 years of age and more than half a life past his McCarthyist blacklisting — joined by Bruce Springsteen to sing Woody Guthrie‘s anthemic (or anti-anthemic?) “This Land is Your Land” at the pre-inaugural “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday. And how fitting that they included verses that don’t usually get taught to schoolkids…

In the squares of the city, in the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Seems fitting, given our particular moment in American history. Guthrie said it best: “A folk song is what’s wrong and how to fix it, or it could be who’s hungry and where their mouth is, or who’s out of work and where the job is, or who’s broke and where the money is, or who’s carrying a gun and where the peace is.”

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
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Inauguration 2009: On assignment in D.C.

Times staff writer Meera Pal is currently living in Washington, D.C. and keeping an eye on Inauguration events. Saturday evening she attended a reception hosted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the company of California Professional Firefighters President Lou Paulson of Walnut Creek.

Click on link below for her blog entry and video:

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
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Courage Campaign renews Warren debate call

California’s progressive, grassroots Courage Campaign, still incensed that Barack Obama invited Rick Warren – a renowned author and the pastor of Orange County’s Saddleback Church, as well as a strong, public supporter of Proposition 8’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage – to deliver an invocation at tomorrow’s inauguration, renewed its challenge today to meet Warren for a debate in February or March about marriage equality.

“There should’ve been more thought placed in the choosing of Rev. Warren for the invocation,” Rev. Eric Lee, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, told reporters on a teleconference this morning, citing Warren’s comparison of gay and lesbian relationships with pedophilia and incest. “As clergy we need to be compassionate, we need to be tolerant, we need to be respectful of all things and all people, and the comments Rev. Warren made were not respectful, they were dehumanizing.”

“No faith or religion has the right to forcibly impose their theology,” said Lee, adding marriage shouldn’t be a theological discussion “but rather a civil, institutional discussion.”

But while Warren’s selection for the invocation was “a mistake,” it’s a done deal, Courage Campaign founder and director Rick Jacobs said. Given that, Warren should now follow Obama’s instruction that “we all talk to each other” about the issues that divide us.

The Courage Campaign delivered an invitation and 25,000 campaign members’ signatures to Warren’s church on Christmas eve, and Lee followed up with a Jan. 13 letter. According to an Orange County Register article published Friday, a “spokeswoman for Warren said that the Saddleback pastor is focused on President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, in which he will deliver the invocation, and is not making any comments prior to it.”

So Jacobs and Lee today demanded Warren answer their invitation as soon as Wednesday, right after the inauguration.

And if he doesn’t answer this call to debate, Jacobs said, he’ll then have to answer whether he’s “serious about dialogue or is he just interested in making his point.”

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
Under: Barack Obama, Inauguration 2009, same-sex marriage | No Comments »

‘We Are One’ inaugural concert preview

Can’t wait for today’s event, “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial?” See what some of the stars have had to say about our next president.

Bruce Springsteen:



Stevie Wonder:

Go watch it live at starting at 11:30 a.m. PST, with encores showing at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Posted on Sunday, January 18th, 2009
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Obama in Oakland, 22 months ago today

Remember? What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Posted on Saturday, January 17th, 2009
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What would you like to tell Obama?

What would you like to tell Barack Obama upon his inauguration?

Call 1-510-495-1442. Your audio recording may be posted on this web site or published in the newspaper. Give your name and hometown, but do not give your phone number, as published recordings are not edited. Please try to keep your comments under 30 seconds.

Or, write your comment on our message board.

Posted on Saturday, January 17th, 2009
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Kanye, Kid Rock, Fall Out Boy headline youth ball

Kanye West, Kid Rock and Fall Out Boy will headline the Youth Inaugural Ball, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Friday. MTV will anchor its Inauguration Night coverage from the ball and broadcast it on MTV channels around the world.

“This year, millions of young people got involved and worked to bring change to this country,” said PIC Executive Director Emmett Beliveau. “We wanted to make sure this Inauguration recognized the important role young Americans are playing in making our nation stronger, and we’re thrilled that MTV’s coverage will allow viewers across the country and around the world to come together as part of the inaugural celebration.”

MTV’s global network will carry the ball, held at the Hilton Washington, in 162 countries and 33 languages; it’ll air at 7 p.m. PST Tuesday.

Posted on Saturday, January 17th, 2009
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