Back to previous post: Reasons to be cheerful

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Not “the first president with a foreign father”

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

January 20, 2009

Fired up!
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:10 AM *


Flag on my house in Noord-Holland. The poster says “Obama wordt beëdigd als president”, meaning, “Obama is being sworn in as President.” Just in case my neighbors want to know why I have the flag out today.

Today is like a wedding.

Promises are made, as are speeches. Everyone gets together to compare notes about the years since the last time. With luck, old fights are resolved. Without it, they break out anew and spawn yet more grudges. Drunken uncles misbehave. Children run around shrieking from too much sugar.

Now, a wedding is not a marriage. You can have a beautiful wedding followed by years of emotional and physical abuse, or a hasty gathering consisting only of a couple of friends that leads to years of happiness. Of course we scrutinize the groom and wonder if he’s as good as he seems; we’ve been burned before. Of course we wonder whether he can keep all the promises he makes today.

But the marriage is for later. Today we rejoice. How are you celebrating?

Comments on Fired up!:
#1 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 03:19 AM:

First? Woohoo!

I think we're mostly just going to go about our business. Might get together with friends later in the evening. I do intend to watch at least some of the ceremony, for the same reason I wanted to watch the moon landing.

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 03:22 AM:

Yeah, I'm going to work. We have a big project on the go. I want to be home to watch the ceremony and the speech with my kids, so they remember.

#3 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:24 AM:

I'll be at work when he's sworn in. Fortunately this is the 21st century and about a gazillion places will be streaming the speech live.

I remember reading Clinton's inauguration speech (there's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what is right with America) during a lecture on American culture and history and being strangely touched by it even though it was so very recent. What with Obama's track record in speeches so far I expect even better tonight.

#4 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:26 AM:

12 noon in Washington is about 5pm here, which is too early to get home from work to see you all having fun in the TV. (I didn't manage to find the Seeger/Springsteen singalong on our TV either :() But we have a bar in College and we have some Americans - maybe they will be watching it.

And should I get in a celebratory bottle of Tusker as I did on your election night?

Ah, but the *really* important question of the day is "how do you say the words 'inaugurate' and 'inauguration'?" They aren't words I say aloud very often (if at all) and my gut feeling goes for the full four or five syllable version (with a schwa in that last syllable):


But my ear for the language tells me that I bet people who say it a lot and Americans say it faster:


Inquiring minds want to know!

#5 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:32 AM:

And no sooner did I write that than I realised that in the short version of "inauguration" the stress ought to shift to the next syllable:


Tusker starts to seem ever more desirable :-)

#6 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:46 AM:

"Inaugurate" of course comes from "augury", to predict the future by watching the flight of birds. (REALLY) Hence the custom of releasing doves at an inauguration and then pontificating learnedly on camera about The Challenges The New Administration Will Face (NO NOT REALLY)

#7 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:48 AM:

An alternative derivation relates to the Roman tradition of elaborately rehearsed military parades at the coronation of a new emperor: "inaugurate" comes from "auger", meaning "drill". (COMPLETE NONSENSE)

#8 ::: Sherwood Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:55 AM:

We had a BBQ, and thank goodness it wasn't too hot to sit out on the patio. Friends and family, with the spouse's decorations all over--pix of the outgoing with pieces of toast next to them, Cheney as Darth Vader, Obama as Luke. First time he's decorated for a party in twenty years. Though half those there have lost jobs, or been severely cut in pay, the atmosphere was one of celebration and hope.

#9 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:31 AM:

As luck would have it, I am in France for a conference this week. The American delegation is hosting an Inauguration party this evening, as it conveniently coincides with the usual cocktail hour anyway. :) We expect the turnout to be huge -- *everyone*, regardless of nationality is incredibly excited about today.

#10 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:39 AM:

I'm going to be lying on the sofa, probably topped by a fuzzy blanket, undoubtedly topped by a cat, hoping the dizziness caused by my quinine-based antibiotics allow me to at least be sitting up so I can watch.

But if not, I'm sure I can still listen.

Dunno what British coverage will be like - BBC1 is giving it two hours, but ITV has Jon Snow over there so may give him more air time.

#11 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:59 AM:

I had a new Hungarian teacher this morning. The first thing she asked was where I lived, and the second was what was happening there today.

Hátkor Barack Obama elnök lesz.

#12 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:04 AM:

Ken Brown @ 4: My American mouth says it in-AWG-er-ayt, fwiw. I don't drop the syllable between the "g" and the "r," though it is neutral.

#13 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:54 AM:

Anyone have any advice on where, on these glorious inter-tubes of ours, would be the best place to catch a live stream of the inauguration ceremony?

#14 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:59 AM:

I suppose it is appropriate that I'll be in early American Literature class during the bulk of the inauguration ceremony. Knowing my liberal lit department I wouldn't be shocked if we watched the ceremony in lieu of our reading assignments...

#15 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:08 AM:

I am pretending the fireworks outside are in celebration of what happens in under four hours on the other side of the world. (Really, of course, they're probably for the run-up to Chinese New Year. But you never know.)

#16 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:38 AM:

Hmm... in your analogy, why is Obama the groom? What if we were swearing in Hillary - would she be the bride? I think not.... but....

#17 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:40 AM:

I'm in abi's time zone. There is a knitting group meeting today around the same time as the inauguration, and I was a bit torn. I've just started going, and trying to meet more people is a big priority, but....I'm going to stay home and watch the ceremony with my son. (I just called the Starbucks where the group meets. No TV.)

#18 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:19 AM:

I was planning to get up early so I could take the dogs out for a bit before the President is sworn in. As physiology would have it I had to get up a couple of hours earlier*, so I'm eating an early breakfast, and the dogs have gone back to sleep (lucky dogs!).

There are a lot of reasons to celebrate the inauguration; I'd be listening to the inaugural speech if nothing else, because Obama has a very good speechwriter, and gives really fine oratory.** But beyond that, this is a historic day; the result of the hopes, dreams, work, and sacrifices of a lot of people over the last half century and more, and it deserves to be marked and celebrated as a major step in the road to making America a just and sane society. I put a little bit into that myself back in the day, and I want to watch and cheer as a black man becomes a member of the most exclusive club of all.

* Why can't I have some really romantic disease, that lets me slowly waste away in a garret while coughing discreetly into a lace handkerchief? The way people are designed seems to make aging more like being nibbled to death by ducks than falling off a cliff.
** Nice to again have a President who sounds literate; he's a lot more than that, but the last 8 years have lowered my expectations somewhat.

#19 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:43 AM:

Tracey #10

BBC News 24 and Sky both started at 8am GMT (as did I) and have been non-stop since. Lots of coverage from around the world of celebrations - Kenya has been partying for the last 24 hours apparently, and still going.

It's amazing how much this matters to the rest of the world - the shrub's real achievement has been to unite the world in hatred of him.

#20 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:45 AM:

I'm at school today, teaching. The entire student body and faculty will be assembling a little before noon to watch the inauguration together. They'll be projecting from, probably. Hulu's got a stream up, (I saw at Pandagon) but the last time I checked, it was Fox News.

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:52 AM:

advertisementMr. Leuchtag: Come sit down. Have a brandy with us.
Mrs. Leuchtag: To celebrate our leaving for America tomorrow.
Carl: Oh, thank you very much. I thought you would ask me, so I brought the good brandy. And - a third glass!
Mrs. Leuchtag: At last the day is came!
Mr. Leuchtag: Mareichtag and I are speaking nothing but English now.
Mrs. Leuchtag: So we should feel at home when we get to America.
Carl: Very nice idea, mm-hmm.
Mr. Leuchtag: [toasting] To America!
Mrs. Leuchtag: To America!
Carl: To America!
Mr. Leuchtag: Liebchen - sweetnessheart, what watch?
Mrs. Leuchtag: Ten watch.
Mr. Leuchtag: Such much?
Carl: Hm. You will get along beautiful in America, mm-hmm.

(From Casablanca)

To America!

#22 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:20 AM:

Abi, to me it feels like the Christmas mornings of my childhood. I am so fired up, so jazzed, so excited, I'm just a happy fool. I'm eating breakfast alone, and then walking over to the home of a friend, to watch the swearing-in and listen to Obama's speech on her television. At some point I expect to cry. My radio is on, I'm listening to the reports from Washington.

Yes we can. Yes we did. It feels ridiculously wonderful.

#23 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:41 AM:

At work, but with cake. I even brought the icing for the election cake.

The TV in the utility room is on; we can watch it when it's time.

(1 hour 20 minutes)

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:46 AM:

Lizzy L @ 22... My radio is on, I'm listening to the reports from Washington.

For the last 8 years, I never stopped celebrating the Fourth because there was no way I'd let the thugs steal my country away from me. This morning though, when the radio played "Star & Stripes Forever" as I was driving to work, I realized it was the first time in a long time where I could freely give in.

#25 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:50 AM:

Bush and Obama just walked out of the White House. Big cheer. Bush smirked and waved.

Seventy more minutes.

#26 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:52 AM:

I'm excited! If I had thought ahead I probably would have taken the day off (I hear there's a movie theater near my home that will be showing the inauguration live), but I didn't. Still, I can plausibly take a lunch break at the right time to watch the coverage online.

Ken Brown @ 4: I'm a midwestern American and I pronounce it in-AW-grr-ate, in-AW-grr-ation, etc; sometimes in-AW-guh-rate, etc. The third syllable is still there, just not given the same value I think you give it. (If I had a schwa, I'd use it in my representation of how I pronounce that third syllable.)

#27 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:57 AM:

I'm not out-and-out celebrating, but yesterday and today I've been feeling a happy glow. The excitement is rather infectious. This is the first election cycle that I've been involved with where I really feel like I made a difference.

Here's to the honeymoon.

#28 ::: Kat ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 10:59 AM:

I took the day off work, but didn't find any local expat events. So I'm sitting on my couch with teevee, radio, and Internet going, champagne at the ready.

A little over an hour to go.

#29 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:01 AM:

Episode XLIV: A New Hope

#30 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:02 AM:

I wasn't sure where to post this, but here goes:
What Historians will say about George W. Bush in the year 5209

#31 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:08 AM:

How I'm celebrating: I'm on Pacific time, so the oath will be at 9am my time. I'm taking a cake to work, and have another one ready for an in-AW-guh-ration party tonight. I had white star (OK, snowflake) and blue LED lights on the porch last night, and at 6am I added a spotlight and a flag. I've got the TV on (and Tivo recording), and it looks like I'll get to work late...

#32 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:12 AM:

It's New York, so there are bagels (from H&H, around the corner -- mmmm). Also Champagne. Also donuts, chocolate glazed, with red, white, and blue sprinkles.

Also much joy and a deep sense of relief.

And hey! There goes Dan Quayle! Remember when he was the worst thing to happen to American democracy? Oy.

#33 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:18 AM:

Here come Bill and Hillary Clinton! (I'm watching ABC News.)

Keith ended up not going to work. Snow day and Inauguration! Or as one of my friends texted me, "Snowbama!"

I say "in-aw-gyer-ate" or when speaking fast, "in-awg'y'rate."

#34 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:34 AM:

I'm lucky enough to be working from home today, and so watching while (trying to) work. President Bush just came out, and does he ever have an odd look on his face. Like he's not quite sure what expression was on the schedule for this particular moment.

#35 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:38 AM:

I'm watching on BBC. I guess they have the same announcer everywhere? The guy who said "Ladies and Gentlemen, the president of the united states" etc? Because man, does that guy ever have a cheesy voice. If I wanted to do a fake trailer in a Ben Stiller movie, I'd so use him.

#36 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:56 AM:

Jon @16:
Yes, I would have used the same analogy with Hillary as the bride.

As a woman—as a wife—I am not about to pretend that the groom is the only agent in a marriage.

'Zat a problem?

#37 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:06 PM:

The inadequate black male is President now! And it looks like Harriet Christian won't even get that Senate seat she asked for.

#38 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:16 PM:

Watching - and hearing - the oath of office being fluffed by both people involved ... a first for both of them?

(And seeing the people on the mall about to break out in tears.)

#39 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Marty Lederman from Balkinisation has been appointed Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

That's John Yoo's old job.

#40 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:32 PM:

After seeing and hearing that, I know it's real. Now I'm celebrating.

#41 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:34 PM:

NANOG members are reporting levels of downlink traffic 150% above normal, even on networks with 80% business customers.

#42 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:38 PM:

#41, Alex -

My BigCompany is streaming Fox's version on the corporate network and trying to stop everyone from streaming it from the internet. I know some people are doing that anyway. (I wish it hadn't been Fox but the part I really wanted to see was delivered without commentary, so I'm satisfied.)

#43 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 12:59 PM:

R.M. Koske (#42): Mine streamed CNN into the cafeteria/big conference room, after having sent email saying "please watch it there instead of at your computer".

Lots of us were there; at several points, there was laughter or applause. It was much better to watch together.

#44 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:01 PM:

Cinnamon buns and coffee and huge grins. The flag was put outside as soon as Barack stopped speaking (I didn't want to miss anything).

#45 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:02 PM:

And they did have it on TV upstairs in the college bar.

And the place was packed.

And people even clapped at some of the things he said.

Of course, being cynical Brits and having seen it all before, some of them also sniggered, giggled, or occasionally laughed out loud - at least one line got both a small clap and a laugh

#46 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:08 PM:

...and my sanctioned feed got cut off just as a Fox commentator was getting teary about the fact that we now have a black President.* I wanted to see that, dammit.

Christopher Davis - They played Fox in the cafeteria and said repeatedly not to stream it at our desks ("accessing external video via the internet is prohibited"), then provided a streaming feed from our corporate intranet. Not the best job of specifying what was allowed and what wasn't.

*Since it is Fox we're talking about, I feel the urge to specify - teary in a good way. He was moved.

#47 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:09 PM:

Liza, #26: From here, it looks as if the Unicode for schwa is #399. Testing it in HTML format: Ə To get that result, enter &_#399_; without the underscores.

#48 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:11 PM:

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes. Whose shade is smiling today.

#49 ::: abi's mom ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:16 PM:

Nice looking flag, Abi.

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:19 PM:

Thank you, Mom, for bringing it over.

Now I need to find a way to keep it from wrapping around the flagpole.

#52 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:33 PM:

We have been watching the entire thing since early this morning (6 AM EST), even though we're local and could have potentially gone down to the Mall. Everyone in the house -- human and non-human -- has been together in the same room, although not everyone was watching.

I was mildly disappointed that the helicopter did not pass over our house; I'd wanted to give Shrub one last "salute" on his way to Andrews.

Back to Inauguration (which I pronounce "in-AUWG-yr-AYshun"): that was a fun ceremony, for the first time in more than 8 years. The poet, though, overcompensated for the PA system.

Did anyone else see the two kids dancing as everyone left the platform? They were in the back of the seating area of the platform, so they were clearly children of VIPs. If I hadn't been supporting a sleeping cat, I would have been dancing too.

#53 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:38 PM:

Limelight Networks (major video CDN) is seeing triple its usual traffic volume.

#54 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:39 PM:

I am so happy, and hopeful. I missed the swearing-in (7am here) because we had trouble finding a video stream we could actually connect to, but we caught most of the inaugural (in-AWG-ur-ull) address before I had to take The Boy to school.

At work, the pie is a hit.

#55 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 01:58 PM:

Cute image seen right after the end of the inauguration on CBS: in a church in Chicago full of (mostly) black people, one little girl, maybe 4 or 5, trying to sleep leaning against the bench in front of her while everybody else is cheering.

#56 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:04 PM:

I was mildly disappointed that the helicopter did not pass over our house; I'd wanted to give Shrub one last "salute" on his way to Andrews.

As the helicopter flew away, I had a brief fantasy of Obama having given orders for an arrest squad to be awaiting Shrub at his destination, to carry him off to the Hague...

#57 ::: Laramie Sasseville ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:09 PM:

I left the day-job early so that I can watch the coverage with less-divided attention.

#58 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Tomorrow. Or maybe tonight, after the 'homecoming' wingding in Midland. (Has anyone there noticed that he's going to be living in Dallas?)

#59 ::: Henry Wessells ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:22 PM:

Getting ready to cut my hair -- unshorn since before the 2000 election -- and thinking of world peace

#60 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Distributed cakes to all three break rooms at work right after the speech. The two cakes in the one nearest me have been whittled down to one-half.

Wiped my butt with a picture of Bush before work. "Good day to you sir!" {flush}.

#61 ::: Arachne Jericho ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Apparently, seemingly non-stop crying.

Also am microwaving a pizza. And the usual worry/work cycle.

#62 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:47 PM:

From now on, I'm going to think and speak of this Inauguration Day as the true beginning of the 21st Century for the USA.

#63 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 02:54 PM:

My office set up a projector, streamed CNN's feed, and all of us grad students, and our professor, and some friends and SOs sat and watched, with popcorn.

I got misty-eyed, and knitted, but not something hard that I had to pay attention to.

I am wearing a pin with the Twin Towers on it, and an American flag, for the first time in 8 years. I wish I could have found my red, white, and blue ribbon, but this will have to do.

There I start bawling again.

Lizzy, thanks for that poem.

#64 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Keep trying to hang the flag, but the north-facing front deck is still covered with ice, and we're down to a quarter pound of Baleine salt. I went out to check the hooks and went all golly-wobbley, so am awaiting the thaw, and for the ibuprofen to kick in.

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 03:14 PM:

I'm going to suggest to my wife that we should celebrate tonight by watching "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

"There must be security for all, or no one is secure."
#66 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 03:51 PM:

I have been unexpectedly treated to live broadcasts on radio and TV at the cafes I've been biking between on this surprisingly warm and sunny day here in Boulder. (Really. In the '70s. In January! It was too nice a day to sit inside and watch TV - it is kind of outside to bring the TV to me.) And this evening I'm going to the monthly Community Knitting meeting at the local fiber crafts shop, and I have time 'twixt now and then to bake the Schadenfreude Pie (this time I will remember that melting the chocolate chips is Not Optional) and bring it and share with everyone. (Avedaggio, if you're reading, I can cycle past your place on the way home and bring you some!)

I am such a happy, happy person today.

#67 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 04:32 PM:

Ginger: Be realistic--there's no way you'd manage to hit one of those things with a shoe!

We listened to most of the (surprisingly short, quite good) speech by Obama on the radio. It struck me that his applause lines required a bit too much thought for a lot of the audience, and thus his timing was a little messed up. (Probably that was also because of sound propogation delay from the enormous crowd he was dealing with.) But it was a good speech, and I felt sorry for the ....poet with...the odd CAdence...that...FOLLowED...Obama's speech.... (We turned the radio off pretty early into her poem, so maybe she got better later.)

I'm not sure whether things will get better from here. The damage done these last eight years was immense, and we needed to be fixing existing problems (the demographics and medical inflation that make Medicare into an oncoming budget nightmare, global warming, nuclear proliferation) instead of creating new ones. But I have some real hope.

#68 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:00 PM:

albatross @ 67

so maybe she got better later

Unfortunately, not. I think the poem was reasonably good, but I also was thrown considerably off by her reading. It helped a little that I always leave close-captioning turned on, so I got to read the poem as well. To be fair, that was a fairly canonical use of a common style of reading, popular among academics IIRC*. I'm not sure where it got started, but I'm tempted to explain it as a practical joke played by e. e. cummings.

* I haven't had a lot to do with academia in recent decades.

#69 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:07 PM:

albatross @ 67: I can still try, can't I? At least waving a shoe at him would have been enough in this political climate.

It's amusing to me that I've been near EX-President Shrub three times, for two motorcades and one surprise! visit to a local high school that is across the street from the family's church. Each time I was in putative sight, I was polite and waved. Had I but known! I would have shown him my shoes, years ago.

One of the primary effects of Obama's administration is a return to hope. Finally, for the first time in years, I feel better about the job in front of us.

Punahou High School has marched past the reviewing stand.

#70 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Husband stayed home, we watched to the accompaniment of noises outside, as the gutter cleaner did his thing. During the speech, we alternated between ritual shouts of "Hear, hear!" and "Oh, look, he just reframed another discourse/question!"

The gutter guy got done halfway through the poetry; it was a reading which made full use of the rough and smooth qualities of words, which went along with what I was getting out of the poem before I had to stop listening.

The cleaner informed us that he was indeed recording the ceremony.

We went back inside to watch some more and admired the people that had somehow managed to get together into a large circle on the frozen-over reflecting pool and do a sort of dance.

Later in the afternoon, we went over to the credit union, and the part-time associate who helped us told us how her journalism class spent the first half of the period watching the ceremony over the campus network.

A great and glorious day.

#71 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Go read William Gibson's blog:

#72 ::: Gennis ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 05:51 PM:

I watched the inauguration with my six-year-old son. Since it was at 9am for us, we got to have breakfast while watching. We discussed the fact that the White House really is white and that it's not the same thing as the capitol building. We talked about why the people watching were bundled up but the famous people mostly weren't and why the cars had red and blue lights on them. He wanted to know why the vice-president was sworn in first. We admired the big tower for cameras in front of the balcony and talked about why the woman in the crowd started grinning and waving when she showed up on TV. The coverage kept his attention until Obama's speech, but the thing that he got most excited by was when I rewound the broadcast to show him the cannons he missed the first time through.

#73 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 06:26 PM:

The famous ones are probably wearing designer microthin bullet-resistant heater suits. This is the 21st century, after all.

#74 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:01 PM:

Posted this in full on my blog back in November. Time to celebrate again. <little dance;> Can't remember where I read Lennie's explanation of its inspiration back when “Democracy was coming to the Balkans”

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

     Sail on, sail on
     O mighty Ship of State!
     To the Shores of Need
     Past the Reefs of Greed
     Through the Squalls of Hate
     Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

… [end of last verse]
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
    — from ‘Democracy’, Leonard Cohen
A link (MP3) to The Burns Sisters singing it on their ‘Wild Bouquet’ album.

#75 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 07:28 PM:

I'm exhausted.

I hope I remember to set off the fireworks tonight.

#76 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:02 PM:

I was on the mall. It was colder than it looked. :)

We need to switch the inaugurations back to April.

#77 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:29 PM:

God, no. We need to move them to the Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November.

#78 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Mom and I thought we ought to switch Election Day to April and Inauguration Day to June. It'd be warmer.

#79 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Just watched the inaugural address on Google Video, I'm all sniffly now. My daughter wandered by while it was showing, and I said "That's our new President, Barack Obama". She replied "Obama". I'm a happy father of one smart little nearly 2 year old! My wife and her mother cheered when I told them. :-)

Mmm, FireBrick lager from the August Schell brewery in New Ulm, MN. I thought about breaking out the good whiskey, but figured a local brew would be more fitting. I stuck the bottlecap in my bag, it's going up on my shelf at work next to the little devil duckie and the bige plushie Peep. I've no Obama pins or signs or anything - the bottle cap will be enough for me. (And obscure, which I like.)

Haven't been posting for a while. Not posting from work, limiting my 'net usage at work to lunchtime only. Got sucked in too much due to all the political threadiness all over the place - not a good thing for someone who's an info junkie and is somewhat bored with his current project. A one hour lunch is barely enough time to skim the headlines and a comment thread or two on BoingBoing, much less keep up on ML, especially since I need to eat, too.

Hopeful for the new Presidency. Hope that health care gets sorted out - IMHO if health care wasn't so hog-tied to one's current employer, there'd be a ton more entrepreneurial endeavors. I've a ton and a half of ideas, a few of which may be winners, none of which will ever be businesses that can make jobs and make good things without readily available affordable health care that isn't tied to a big corporate job.

Having a new President is good. It'll take a while to shake off the FUD that I've been marinated in over the last 8 years, though...

Wish I could have a slice of the various pies and cakes y'all are mentioning. I'm just glad I finally got the bit of wall around the 3 month old new shower tile painted with a single coat of primer... projects go slow here.

Take care all, be safe, maybe I'll catch up a bit more some time.

#80 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 09:57 PM:

Linkmeister @78
No, don't move the inauguration to June. Washington DC is hot and sticky even in June. It was build on a malarial swamp.

I like Patrick's idea of moving the inauguration to just after the election. Maybe a week or two after, not the next day. For one thing, it would give the lame ducks far less time to shred evidence and screw things up.

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:31 PM:

Why again does the new President have to wait 2 months? There are historical reasons, no doubt, but if Canada can have its new Prime Minister move in basically the next day, provided the black squirrels hanging around his reisdence don't attack him, why can't the USA?

#82 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2009, 11:43 PM:

My three children and I were on the Mall. It was very good and emotional but scarily crowded.

Obama's speech was wonderful.

We protested the choice of Rick Warren as invocation giver by holding up rainbow flags during his prayer. I wouldn't say I disagreed with anything he said but I certainly disagree with his ideas of how it translates to real life action.

#83 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 12:46 AM:

Magenta @ #80, oh, how well I remember. I lived in Annandale in NoVa for six years. Okay, I'm up for March and May.

#84 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 01:58 AM:

I just saw this via Google News, and I quote:

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Hours after taking office on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases.

Military judges were expected to rule on the request on Wednesday at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an official involved in the trials said.

I'm assuming that the halt is the first step towards shutting down the tribunals and replacing them with either trying or freeing the prisoners under a proper legal system. But halting the sham trials at once, as one of his first acts in office? A very good sign.

#85 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 04:07 AM:

cajunfj40 (#79) My take-home lesson from The Insider was the "hog-tying" of someone with a sick child (Russell Crowe's character's daughter was asthmatic) who was dependent on his employer for her health care, with the hideous cost of the health care there.

#86 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 04:15 AM:

Serge @ 24:
Have been watching this all morning to celebrate.

#87 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 08:48 AM:


Two blogs I've found really helpful in understanding the screwed-up healthcare system in the US are The Covert Rationing Blog (but you have to enjoy sarcasm and irony to like the blog, I think), and Rural Doctoring, particularly the discussion of why she got out of normal family practice and her stuff on "me-conomics." I also enjoy reading a lot of other medical blogs, much more because of what I learn about people and this important part of the world I don't deal with much than for what I learn about medicine. (A lot of the discussion of specific medical stuff would probably make sense to Ginger or Jim, but not so much to me.)

I'm not at all connected to the healthcare system, so I may be misunderstanding how well these describe reality, but the parts I know anything about track quite well with these two. However, I'm curious whether others here who are involved in healthcare find that these blogs are describing something close to what they see, too.

#88 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:31 AM:

I watched things alone here, while the husband (too skeptical and/or Libertarian to thoroughly approve of Obama) went to get a haircut on his day off work. Though I would have liked to be part of a bigger celebration, all was forgiven later on when gallant husband said he'd pay the last and biggest of my hospital bills for last year's operation -- which came in a giant chunk[1] after they had been trickling in for the previous months. (See, the inaugural and medical parts of this thread *can* be combined!)

I loved the way Obama's speech lambasted the previous administration in a compact seven or eight minutes, without naming any names, and the rest was suitably eloquent without unneccessary fancy flourishes.

I also watched some of the "Neighborhood" inaugural ball where several decades of popular entertainers sang, and the president and first lady danced. That was another "never thought I'd see it in my lifetime!" moment, despite occasional cheesiness from the performers. Great fun.

Now, alas, it's back to grim reality, but with a much better man at the helm (and Dr. Strangelove has trundled off the stage).

[1] though nothing like it would have been if I didn't have insurance, again thanks to my marriage

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:49 AM:

Pendrift @ 86... I especially like the part about defending the country against weirdos. I bet you that none of the characters were born in America. Bunch of furr-iners!

#90 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Not sure which thread to post this in; we currently have a plethora of Obama-themed threads.

If you go to and scroll to the bottom, you'll find a screenful of links. The third column from the left lists "The Administration". The first four links, those above "The Cabinet" are:

  President Barack Obama
  Vice President Joe Biden
  First Lady Michelle Obama
  Dr. Jill Biden

It makes me very happy to see the First Lady and the Vice President's wife (should she be called the "Second Lady"?), whose jobs are usually deprecated even when they're acknowledged at all, given the honor of position they deserve.

#91 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:31 PM:

John Houghton, #29: I have shamelessly stolen this for the subject line of my LJ inauguration post. Also, you may be pleased to know that Scott Merritt of Pegasus Publishing apparently came up with the same quip independently and is going to be putting it on a T-shirt, with artwork showing Obama's face Photoshopped onto a picture of Luke in his Jedi hood. Dunno how quickly it'll be available, but keep an eye on the Pegasus website if you want one.

#92 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Faren @ #88:

I was amusing myself listening to the speech wondering if Bush was catching what Obama was saying about him and his adminstration or not. Either way is rather delightful to think about.

President Obama. That has such a nice ring to it right now.

#93 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Serge @81, I guess that's because it's the obly way to make it relatively sure that a) the inauguration is always on the same date and b) all counting disputes, lawsuits etc. that might theoretically arise are wrapped up in time before the inauguration.

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 05:00 PM:

Raphael @ 93... Thanks. Still, I wonder what it is that happened that had them decide on this date for the Elections, and that date for the Inauguration. I mean, they came from a British tradition, and I'm sure that it too had its share of disputes and such. Is it that the British system settles the disputes more quickly from having a top-down system?

#95 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 05:37 PM:

The Brits, like most countries, don't insist that changes of government must be on exactly the right date.

#96 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 07:07 PM:

Raphael... Good point, and I should have remembered that from my growing up in Canada. I also wonder if they chose those dates because, by then, the harvests were all in and, the food having been stashed away for the coming winter, the people could turn to the business of metaphorically tearing each other apart. The 3-month gap might be justified by the limited roads and the crappy weather, which would limit how fast it could be decided that THIS guy DID win, and togive him time to move in.

#97 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 07:29 PM:


Originally (or at least since Amendment 12 was ratified in 1804) the Presidential term began on March 4. After the Hoover-FDR transition there was apparently a consensus that this was too long a delay and an amendment was passed moving the start date to January 20.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 07:47 PM:

Michael I @ 97... an amendment was passed moving the start date to January 20

...and thus did yesterday also mark the 20th anniversary of my arriving in America and Bush Sr's Inauguration. (Strictly speaking, we left Toronto on Jan 16 and crossed the border later that day, but we arrived in California on Jan 20, after seeing many billboards across the country advertising the town of Winnemucca.)

#99 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2009, 11:14 PM:

Clifton, #84, one of the problems with shutting down Gitmo is that we have sufficiently mistreated men who definitely did bad things so we can't try them. There are a lot of people who will be very unhappy if we just let them go.

#100 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 12:42 AM:

Serge @ 96, Michael @ 97:

One major reason for the delay between election and inauguration is the two-stage Presidential election process. After the electors are chosen in early November (and any associated recounts or other squabbles settled), they still have to make that long journey to their respective state capitols, there to cast their votes for Pres and VP. Once the actual electoral votes are cast, it takes still longer for those votes to be forwarded (presumably by stagecoach or fast post-horse) to Congress at its seat in the Federal District, where they are opened and counted. When the accumulated suspense has thus been broken, there is also the small matter of formally notifying the victorious candidate, who has been pacing on his front porch awaiting the news . . .

(Even though the latest revision of this electoral timetable post-dates the addition of communication tools like those new-fangled radio waves, the traditionally deliberate nature of the process, like the agricultural rhythms upon which it was originally based, has been maintained.)

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 12:56 AM:

Leroy F. Berven @ 100... Thanks. That makes sense. Yes, with those intertubes that people keep talking about, the process could be changed or at least sped up, but it won't be because of all the traditions built around the known (and thus comfortable) Ways of Doing Things. Next thing you know though, the President will be going around in some contraption called Aeroplane One.

#102 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 01:05 AM:

For shorter trips, a First Ornithopter would be convenient. Although there would likely be a big flap about such a drastic change . . .

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 06:36 AM:

Leroy F Berven @ 102... Personally, I think that having the President switch to airships was too high-falutin' as it was.

#104 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 02:57 PM:

I didn't really celebrate per se, though I certainly did rejoice. I'm glad my father lived long enough to see Obama win, though I do wish he'd lived to see him take office.

I've been jeering at people with NØBAMA stickers, but only inside the car with the windows shut. The temptation to lean my head out and call "LOOO-ZERRRR!" at them is strong, but so far I've resisted it.

#105 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 05:55 PM:

#99: Well, that's as it's supposed to be -- if LEO doesn't follow the rules, they forfeit the case, and suffer the consequences thereof.

Personally, I want to see how many of the offenders' careers get destroyed over this....

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 07:14 PM:

David, I will count each one of those as a victory.

#107 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 09:08 PM:

We watched the inauguration at home in between trips out to shopping malls for my wife to walk around and try and jumpstart contractions.

Water broke in a store at 2:40, we made it to hospital parking garage at 3:10, baby arrived at 5:17pm.

Change happens fast, in many instances.

(8lbs 13 oz., no epidural. My wife is fearsome.)

#108 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 09:49 PM:

Bill Blum @#107: Congratulations!

#109 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 09:51 PM:

Congrats, Bill!

#110 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2009, 10:34 PM:

Congratulations, Bill Blum!

May your child grow up in the world we all hope for!

#111 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 12:53 AM:

Bill Blum, Congrats to you and your wife!

#112 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 03:16 AM:

Bill Blum @107:

How wonderful! Congratulations to all three of you! (Boy? Girl?)

#113 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 05:48 AM:

103: OK, that's it. A black president was bad enough, but a black president who rides around in a zeppelin? Now I know it's an alternate history.

#114 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 07:16 AM:

Leroy F Bevan @100 - Let's not forget that if the electoral college fails to return a majority Congress then has to elect a President from amongst the top 3 electoral vote winners. Yet more time needed.

#115 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 08:31 AM:

Leroy #100:

There's also some amount of lead time needed to put together a cabinet, right? I think this is a bit different in a parliamentary system, where (if I understand correctly) the ministers are already MPs who stay in parliament--they already live in London, don't have to quit their jobs as senators or governors or whatever and find replacements, etc.

Didn't the 9/11 commission put at least some of the blame of our vulerability to the attacks on the fact that the Bush administration was not real prepared to take power? The contested election was probably one major part of that, though I wouldn't want to rule out incompetence or malfeasance, given what happened later.

#116 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 08:42 AM:

Albatross #115: Pace the 9/11 commission, the Bush administration could have had years to prepare for power, and would still have made an almightly screwup of everything.

#117 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 09:04 AM:

115: not sure that should be a factor, to be honest. After all, it's not as though Hillary Clinton (to take one example) had to find a replacement before she could leave her post as senator. Any sensible presidential candidate should have warned off likely Cabinet members before the election, so they're ready to go shortly afterwards. Maybe not the morning after as in Britain, but two weeks' notice should surely be enough.

The confirmation process seems to be the big constraint. In the British system, the Cabinet is just named by the new prime minister and that's it - they start work that day. Even non-MP cabinet members don't need to be confirmed - they normally get a life peerage so they can sit in the Lords, which takes a few days to put through. In fact, I don't think even that's necessary - I think ministers don't have to be in either House, but I'm not sure about that. (The PM, however, does.)

#118 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 09:56 AM:

I don't see the parliamentary system where the entire government can fall due to a no confidence vote to be anything other than horribly chaotic, especially if it occurs at a time of national emergency. It seems much more comforting to know that major elections will be held at regularly scheduled intervals, with impeachment as an option in case an official gets really out of hand; although I admit that the impeachment option was severely underutilized during the Bush administration.

#119 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 10:09 AM:

Earl Cooley #118: Is there any provision for postponing a US election? I mean, what if 9/11 had been 11/20 instead? In which case I don't see it's much difference to a no-confidence in parliament. Which I'm not sure has ever happened so as to encumber the handling of a national emergency.

#120 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Ajay @117 I think ministers don't have to be in either House, but I'm not sure about that.

I'm pretty sure Cabinet Ministers need to be in either the commons or the lords, although that might be in the unwritten part of the constitution. This table on the parliament site seems to think that all the ministers are in one house or the other; on the other hand this might be because the official government is made up of MPs and Lords so anyone else doesn't count. It may be a definitional thing.

Earl Cooley @118 It seems much more comforting to know that major elections will be held at regularly scheduled intervals...

Comforting for who? In general I'd rather be a bit more uncomfortable if it kept politicians minds on the job in hand. Not that there aren't many, many flaws in this system. Nevertheless, if anyone tried to take adantage in a national emergency, they'd be promptly punished, probably by their own party, parliament in general, the monarch and the elctorate at the next election and following while it's in living memory. As an example of what actually happens, you might take a look at what happened in Parliament during May 1940; briefly Chamblain narrowly won the Norway Debate on 8 May, but the German invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands on 10 May made his position untenable, so he resigned; Churchill formed an all-party government (with ministers from all 3 major parties).

#121 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 11:40 AM:

#118, #119: I suspect the protection there is provided by crowd psychology -- that is, in an emergency situation, human behavior is such that they're not going to overturn the leadership unless the latter's handling of the problem is so bad as to be a comparable emergency in its own right.

#122 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 11:49 AM:

Congratulations, Bill!

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 11:56 AM:

ajay @ 113... Now I know it's an alternate history.

Meanwhile, this Reality feels as if the Master had thrown History off course in 2000, and 2008 feels as if the Doctor had finally managed to send things back down their proper path.

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 12:01 PM:

Neuil Willcox @ 120... if anyone tried to take adantage in a national emergency, they'd be promptly punished, probably by their own party, parliament in general, the monarch

"We are not amused."

#125 ::: martyn ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Ajay @117 - Non cabinet ministers get made life peers? That'll come as a great surprise to my former neighbour who recently resigned as a junior minister and returned to the back benches of the Commons, where peers of any description may not go for fear of getting the Sergeant at Arms' sword up their arras.

Nowadays, the PM has to be a member of the Commons. Other ministers do not have to be a member of either house, but by convention are because of their responsibility to Parliament.

#126 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Bill Blum, congratulations. I bet it feels really good to bring a child into our more hopeful world.

#127 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 01:16 PM:

125: "Non cabinet ministers get made life peers?"

No, cabinet ministers who aren't already MPs get made life peers. I guess I could have phrased that better...

#128 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 01:52 PM:

re Ajay #117 - in the US, we *need* the Senate confirmation hearings, because of the how hard it is to get rid of these people once they're in place.

If we could call for a vote of no-confidence mid-term, we'd have been rid of Bush (and his crooks in Justice, and completely useless SEC, and all of the political censors in sciency departments) by at least 2006.

#129 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Rosa #128:

But also we would have been rid of Bill Clinton sometime between 1994 and 1998. There are plusses and minuses here. And some parts of our government, such as the supreme court and the fed, are designed to be relatively insulated from day-to-day political pressures. That, again, has both plusses and minuses attached....

#130 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Jakob #119: Is there any provision for postponing a US election?

Congress could pass a law changing the election date; as far as I know, the only way the executive branch could do that would be by suspending the Constitution via executive order.

Of course, if you believe the apocalyptic whackjobs, the use of gold fringe on the US flag in federal courts symbolizes that the Constitution is already suspended, and has been for quite some time.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 05:48 PM:

I found the following on today:

House Minority Leader John Boehner, trying to make a serious point about the economic stimulus bill after meeting with President Obama today, quickly found himself in "that's what she said" territory:
You know, I'm concerned about the size of the package, and I'm concerned about some of the spending that's in there. How you can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives, how does that stimulate the economy?

I'm so glad I'm not the kind of person who'd stoop to making crude jokes about this.

#132 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 06:13 PM:

Earl, #130: Gold fringe = suspended Constitution? That's one I hadn't heard before; would you mind elaborating?

#133 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 06:25 PM:

Lee @ 132
There's an explanation (non-wingnut) here:

(Googled: fringe flag constitution)

#134 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 08:41 PM:

Lee, I have heard that one.

There are a whole pack of variously explained claims that a gold fringe denotes a military flag or an admiralty flag, and that therefore the presence of gold fringe on flags in government offices is a secret sign that the government is being run by the military, or the gold fringe on the flag in a court is a sign that it's an admiralty court and therefore has no lawful jurisdiction over Americans, hence this must mean that the Constitution has been suspended and (optionally) the government is run by Reptoids.

I have usually seen this group of arguments from the "there is no law requiring payment of income tax" tax evasion crowd or the "paper money is not real money and the only legal tender is gold or silver" crowd. If you fear your are facing jail for tax evasion, threatening and harassing IRS employees, or various forms of fraud, then perhaps it is comforting to believe that the court which is about to send you to prison has no legal authority and you're a hapless victim of the Vast Conspiracy.

#135 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 08:45 PM:

abi @#107: It's a boy-- Jeremy Malcolm Blum.

Wife was asking if I had thoughts on the middle name while we were in the hospital room pre-birth. I was watching Firefly on Hulu.

Specifically, I was watching the episode 'The Train Job':
Sheriff Bourne: But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours... well... then he has a choice.
Mal: I don't believe he does.

I believe strongly that even in the most dire circumstances, if it's the Right Thing to Do, you do it, without thinking twice-- and I sincerely hope to instill that in my son. Plus, I want to be able to call him Mal. :)

#136 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 134... the government is run by Reptoids

That's an improvement over the last 8 years of Graboid govt.

#137 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 11:28 PM:

I don't think I'll be visiting those websites again any time soon; I just wish I'd had some anonymous browsing protection in place when I did.

#138 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 137

Sterilize your keyboard and mouse in an autoclave, then wash your hands with the strongest antiseptic soap you can get. The brain scrub, however, will require OxyClean and a wire brush.

#139 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 09:35 AM:

I wasn't joking. CCleaner and other similar programs can help on my end, but they can't remove information from the sites' server logs. I don't like being creeped out by web sites.

#140 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 01:51 PM:

Earl, #139: How likely do you think it is that they're tracking ISP information from visitors? A lot of those groups have just enough tech savvy to set up a website, but not much more than that.

#141 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 01:51 PM:

Albatross @ 115:

In assembling his list of Cabinet selections, Obama seems to have moved much faster than most of his recent predecessors. To me, it was interesting to note that the Senate actually began hearings on several of the nominees before Obama was sworn in as President, so the confirmation votes could be held very shortly (within 24 hours, in some instances) thereafter.

Technically, this appears to have been a case of "Senatorial courtesy" toward a new President, even though he was not yet President (with the actual authority to make those appointments) at the time he announced those Cabinet selections. After all, it's not as if there was a whole lot of suspense remaining, about who would be sworn in at noon last Tuesday in DC . . .

The practical effect of this accelerated process is that formal policy guidance, emanating from the political appointee layers of the bureaucracy, begins to disseminate more quickly to the lower, implementing layers of each agency involved. Thus, any change in priorities or emphasis within an agency, as desired by the new administration, is likely to get accomplished both faster and more consistently, than if the agency were left on autopilot, being run by the senior non-political [1] career staff.

[1] In the sense that specific positions are officially career civil service slots, as distinct from overtly political appointments. One useful guideline is that a position subject to Presidential appointment [2] is probably political in nature, and any such position which requires Senate confirmation of an individual appointee is almost always political.

[2] Except those of commissioned officers in the uniformed services.

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Bill 135: Welcome to young Mal, and congratulations to you and your wife! May he have all the integrity of his (middle) namesake, but better fortune!

#143 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 04:54 PM:

Leroy F. Bervin, #141: The practical effect of this accelerated process is that formal policy guidance, emanating from the political appointee layers of the bureaucracy, begins to disseminate more quickly to the lower, implementing layers of each agency involved.

It looks like this might be starting to happen--Talking Points Memo has received emails from people in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Education who feel that the atmosphere in their departments has already improved.

#144 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2009, 10:57 PM:

#141, #143: Thus demonstrating how people want proper leadership, and respond immediately to it! I'm very happy that PrezO's wasting no time in supplying it.

#145 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 10:18 AM:

135: It's a boy-- Jeremy Malcolm Blum.
Wife was asking if I had thoughts on the middle name while we were in the hospital room pre-birth. I was watching Firefly on Hulu.

For the rest of his life, he'll be haunted by this thought: "My dad almost had me christened Jayne. Or Mingo. Or Badger."

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 10:31 AM:

>ajay @ 145... Mingo? Were you watching episodes of Daniel Boone?

#147 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 11:03 AM:

146: the identical twins who fence loot for the crew are called (I think) Fanty and Mingo.

#148 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2009, 06:48 PM:

Boy's Names: A quick mental skim through my SF & F bookshelf for names (with variants) not already given –
Alastair, Aldous/Aldus, Alfred, Anthony/Antony, Arthur, Blake, Brad/Brady, Bradley, Conan, Ellis, Frederic[k], George, Gibson, Harold/Harry/Harrison, Hugo, Isaac, Joseph, Jules, Kurt, Neal/Neil, Nikto, Philip, Ray/Raymond, Reynold, Roger, Roy, Tarrant, Travis, Tyrell (I pronounce this like Tirrell), William, Winston

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.