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At The Old Ebbit Grill in DC...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

By Ellen Horne

Here at the Old Ebbit Grill in DC, the crowd's loudest celebratory cheer was at the sight of G.W. Bush boarding a helicopter and leaving Washington. TVs and a large projection screen are all tuned to MSNBC.

This party, thrown by the Democratic Leadership Council, is only ...

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No More Sci-Fi or Comedy Folks!.....Introducing President Obama!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WNYC Guest Blogger: Afronerd

Well the fated day has finally arrived and beyond the pomp and circumstance, President Obama has his work cut out for him. We can all breath a sigh of relief as he has thus far turned out to be quite a classy (and politically moderate) fellow-not at all like the "socialist" brush my home team attempted to paint him with. But as much as a cineaste and comic book buff that I fancy myself as, one should never forget just how much the proposition of a Black president was perceived as fodder for entertainment and fantasy. So perhaps, we have to give thanks to Sammy Davis, Jr. (yes Sammy......as a child), Richard Pryor (clip, above) James Earl Jones, Dennis Haysbert and the inimitable Morgan Freeman for at least implanting the idea of a Black POTUS in our nation's consciousness.

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A Down-To-Earth Leader

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Robert George
Robert George

WNYC Guest Blogger: Robert George

1) Barack Obama played against type. He eschewed the high-soaring rhetoric that typified his campaign, choosing instead to stay down-to-earth, laying out a centrist (some would say 'middle-of-the-road') theme trying to paper over most partisan differences.

2) He had an appropriately hawkish tone to the enemies of America:

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

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A Spectacular Anti-Climax

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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

WNYC Guest Blogger: Young Jean Lee

I’m at an inauguration party hosted by singer/songwriter Mike Doughty. Almost everyone here is either a theater person or musician, so all of us are simultaneously judging the event as an entertainment. Rachel Murdy points out that Dick Cheney in his wheelchair looks like Dr. Strangelove, while Mike thinks he looks more like the evil Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.

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Voices From Harlem

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Amina Niass and Mbayang Kasse of Democracy Prep in Harlem celebrate at the inauguration of Barack Obama"

One of the 7,000 students invited to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama at the Armory in Harlem

One of the 7,000 students invited to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama at the Armory in Harlem

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Inaugural Poem

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Read by Elizabeth Alexander

On Inauguration morning, even a PETA activist and a woman in fur can make friends!

On Inauguration morning, even a PETA activist and a woman in fur can make friends!

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

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The Obama Conundrum

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watching the inauguration at the LGBT Center

Watching the inauguration at the LGBT Center

WNYC Guest Blogger: Michael Lavers

Outgoing President George W. Bush’s first inauguration in Jan. 20, 2001, seems a distant memory. I was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of New Hampshire. My parents still had their health and I drove a 1989 Mercury Topaz. Things have certainly changed in the last eight years—I order café con leche from the bodegas near my apartment in Bushwick. Employment insecurity and health care costs continue to burden my mother and father. And I am about to witness President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

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Does A Difficult Home Make A Great President?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WNYC Guest Blogger: Robert George

In today's New York Post, Richard Brookhiser notes this about Barack Obama:

We are inaugurating a man who has lived an unusually displaced life - an absent father, a roaming mother. These circumstances have made Obama used to calling his own tune. What tune that will be is something we - and perhaps he - will have to find out as his presidency unfolds.

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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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