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President Obama's Inaugural Address

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Washington, D.C.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

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New York's School Kids Watch Obama Inauguration in Harlem

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem hosted thousands of school kids at the Armory in Harlem to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama. 11-year-old Kevin Lassiter of Democracy Prep says he hopes Barack Obama can end the war in Iraq and change the world.

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Tragic Four To Transformative Two

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WNYC Guest Blogger: Robert George

President-elect Barack Obama (R), wife Michelle (L) and daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia, pass out food at St. Columbanus Parrish and School. (Getty Images)

President-elect Barack Obama (R), wife Michelle (L) and daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia, pass out food at St. Columbanus Parrish and School. (Getty Images)

Trite song lyrics say, 'The children are our future.' For the civil rights movement, children were present-day symbols of hope for a people -- and, yes, a country.

Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world where, '[my] four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.' That was August of 1963.

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Musicians: Hopes and Fears for Obama

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As we anticipate the change that will come with our new president, everyone has ideas about what issues should make it to the top of the agenda, and concerns about what may become our country's most difficult challenges. This talk even crept into WNYC's Soundcheck studios, where many artists took a minute to share with us their own hopes and fears for the upcoming year.

Joyce DiDonato
Joyce DiDonato

Joyce DiDonato

On Soundcheck last week, Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato talked about her concerns for the country, especially amid the financial crisis:
'Like most people there’s a lot of question marks, and for me that’s one of the reasons it feels so frightening. Because even the people who are supposed to know what’s happening don’t seem to have many answers. And my hope is that the fear won’t paralyze us and that the people who are able to take action will and that we’ll all take a lot of deep breaths, and gather our forces and find a way to unite so that we’re working together in one direction.'

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What About Mt. Rushmore?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WNYC Guest Blogger: Afronerd

It's One Thing Not To Look Like The Other Presidents on US Currency But What About Mt. Rushmore?

It's a strange thing being the nation's first president of color. As much as I lament about Blackness being viewed as a peculiarity (as opposed to simply being a benign physical chracteristic), I still must concede to the unprecedented nature of this historical event. The African-American experience seems to be chock full of the spectacular and I wonder when will we stop celebrating Black Firsts. I suspect the hoopla may diminish if we are able to see another president of a different color (or dare I say a different gender) in the next few terms but Blackness still seems to elicit a great deal of dynamism. So the question remains-what about a new face on Mt. Rushmore?

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"I Need to Make a Gay Show Soon"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WNYC Guest Blogger: Young Jean Lee

I’m thinking I need to make a gay show soon. The double-whammy of Prop 8 and Rick Warren is starting to give me a really bad feeling. Obama’s defense of his choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation sounds as reasonable as everything else he says, but I’m not buying it. His whole “agree to disagree” stance sounds okay on the surface, but if we follow that logic to its conclusion, then where does that leave us?

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Gene Robinson's Exclusion from Lincoln Memorial Broadcast

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guest blogger: Michael K. Lavers

Bishop Gene Robinson
Bishop Gene Robinson

Activists, commentators and others have flooded my inbox with messages of disappointment and downright outrage over the decision not to broadcast openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson’s opening prayer at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday afternoon. HBO has indicated to a number of sources the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the ultimate decision to exclude the invocation, but this extremely unfortunate choice does precious little to ease concerns within LGBT and other progressive circles over Obama’s decision to ask the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver his inaugural invocation.

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Afronerd: No More Excuses!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guest blogger: Afronerd
The Afronerd blog

Who or dare we say what is an Afronerd? The short answer is a person of color with intellectual, artistic and perhaps 'geekish' interests. More specially, Afronerd is the brainchild of Desmond Burton (co-authored with long time friend and colleague, Robert Bishop--code named, Mr. Starks) that initially started out as web presence to vent about the lack of diverse imagery in current African-American culture.

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A New American Face

Monday, January 19, 2009

Robert George
Robert George

The CBS/New York Times poll released last week said that 58 percent of respondents who voted for John McCain have an optimistic feeling about Barack Obama -- and are hopeful that he will have a successful presidency. I share the sentiment myself as one of the so-called Obama-cons. In a previous life in the political world, I worked for the Republican National Committee and was also a staffer for former Speaker Newt Gingrich. For a variety of reasons, I became disaffected with the Bush administration.

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Engraving the Inaugural in Words

Monday, January 19, 2009

Elizabeth Alexander is the latest in a long line of commemorative poets that includes Homer and Virgil and W.H. Auden, but will be only the fourth poet to read at a presidential inauguration when she honors Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Robert Frost couldn’t read the playful “Dedication” he had composed for John F. Kennedy’s 1960 inauguration because of sun glare and high winds, and instead spoke these powerful lines from memory:

In 1993, at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou also personified the land:

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"Never in My Wildest Dreams"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Musicians Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen perform in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the We Are One concert January 18. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)



WNYC asked New Yorkers what the inauguration of Barack Obama meant to them. Here are some ...

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Can Obama Make a Post-Racial Society Reality?

Monday, January 19, 2009

WNYC Guest blogger: Young Jean Lee

Young Jean Lee, photo by Raul Vincent Enriquez
Young Jean Lee, photo by Raul Vincent Enriquez

I'm a Korean-American playwright/director, and I've spent the past two years working on a black identity-politics show called THE SHIPMENT (you can read the Times review here). Nothing excites me more than a masochistic challenge (my artistic mission is to make the last show in the world I've ever want to make), and the goal was to collaborate with a black cast to make a show that addressed racism against black Americans in a way that a jaded and defensive audience couldn't dismiss. Usually it takes me a year to make a show, but this one was so difficult that it took two. I worked on it for a year and ended up throwing out everything I'd worked on and starting over from scratch. (I documented this second process in a blog).

I mistakenly thought that the biggest challenge in making the show was going to be the fact that I'm not black. Bizarrely, that ended up being the least of my problems. As soon as the cast knew that the show was going to be collaborative and that that had full creative agency, they were on board and my race never came up as a problem. When we did the show (first at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH and now at The Kitchen in NYC) there wasn't a single audience member, black or white, who brought up the fact that I wasn't black. Maybe it's because the show never attempts to achieve any kind of cultural 'authenticity' (whatever that means).

The Shipment,  (c) 2009 Paula Court

The Shipment, (c) 2009 Paula Court

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A Collective Catharsis: Obama Inauguration Brings Hope to LGBT Americans

Monday, January 19, 2009

WNYC Guest blogger: Michael K. Lavers

Michael K. Lavers
Michael K. Lavers

Does President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday mark the merciful end of an abusive relationship that has lasted eight tortuous years? The majority of my LGBT brothers and sisters would arguably agree with this assessment.

George W. Bush’s decision to use marriage for same-sex couples as a wedge issue to drive his socially conservative base to the polls in the 2004 presidential election remains an unforgiveable act of political cynicism. The Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 almost certainly indicated this strategy backfired, but the Bush administration’s decision to use it proved yet again it was all too willing to throw gay and lesbian Americans under the bus in order to sustain its discriminatory and exclusionary ideology.

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Plane Debris Recovered

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photo by NYPD Sgt. Kevin Hayes, DCPI

Photo by NYPD Sgt. Kevin Hayes, DCPI

The stern of an NYPD Harbor vessel is filled with parts of US AIR Flight 1549 that police officers recovered from the Hudson River on Thursday January 15, ...

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Flight 1549 First 911 Calls

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rescue workers assist a New York City Fire Department boat. (Getty)

Rescue workers assist a New York City Fire Department boat. (Getty)

WNYC's Bob Hennelly received audio and transcripts for US Air Flight 1549 911 calls:

January 15, 2009. Time: 15:29

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Madoff: A Jewish Reckoning

Saturday, January 17, 2009

AP

Bernard Madoff walks out from Federal Court after a bail hearing in Manhattan January 5, 2009. (Getty)

On Thursday night, at the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, there was an overflow crowd for a talk entitled 'Madoff: A Jewish Reckoning'. For ...

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"Are You There, Barack? It's Me, Artist."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Studio 360 asked some of their favorite artists what they wanted from our president-to-be. Listen to voicemail messages of their answers - no holds barred.

Cintra Wilson

Cintra Wilson

In this installment: David Harrington of the Kronos ...

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NYPD Divers Rescue Crash Victims

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The NYPD press conference (Photo by Bob Hennelly)

The NYPD press conference (Photo by Bob Hennelly)

NYPD Spokesman Paul Browne gave the following account in an e-mail message to WNYC' s Bob Hennelly:

'Just after the plane hit the water, NYPD Harbor ...

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Plane Crashes in Hudson River

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A US Airways pilot ditched his disabled jetliner into the frigid Hudson River after a collision with a flock of birds apparently knocked out both engines. Rescuers pulled all 155 people on board into boats.
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William Duckworth and his wife Nora Farrell saw the plane go down ...

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