Two New Videos From Our President

7 February, 2009 at 5:09 pm (Barack Obama)

The first was posted last night, on the old Barack Obama YouTube channel. It’s geared more towards his supporters from the campaign, and has more of a Democrat spin…

And then, his weekly radio/internet address, from the official White House page:

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So I finally had the moment

22 January, 2009 at 4:15 pm (Barack Obama, Historical Figure, Music, TV to Watch)

I didn’t watch the televised Neighborhood Ball on Tuesday, and I finally just watched it – and yes, I cried during the first dance. The Obamas are such a wonderful couple! And Beyonce’s rendition of “At Last” was so beautiful! Yeah, yeah, I know. Anyway, for the two or three people that haven’t seen this yet…

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And so it begins

21 January, 2009 at 5:52 pm (Barack Obama, Politics)

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It’s Obama’s first full day on the job, and he’s already been busy at work. Moreover, there are already good things in the works; for starters, the transition website, change.gov, has given way to the revamped whitehouse.gov. It’s a definite change from the previous administrations’ websites, and not in that it has a new president listed! There’s a blog, and a list of this administration’s agenda. Most importantly, though, is the fact that Obama is working to make the work of the executive branch more transparent. From the whitehouse.gov blog

Communication — Americans are eager for information about the state of the economy, national security and a host of other issues. This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated. Check out the briefing room, keep tabs on the blog (RSS feed) and take a moment to sign up for e-mail updates from the President and his administration so you can be sure to know about major announcements and decisions.

Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.

Participation — President Obama started his career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where he saw firsthand what people can do when they come together for a common cause. Citizen participation will be a priority for the Administration, and the internet will play an important role in that. One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

Oh, and on a less important note (but still cool, nonetheless) – the White House has its own YouTube page
There is a LOT of work to be done, no doubt. But I’m feeling optimistic about where things are headed – and ready to do my part!

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The Inauguration

21 January, 2009 at 5:50 pm (Barack Obama, Historical Figure)

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There’s not much that I can say about the inauguration that hasn’t already been said. I (surprisingly) didn’t get choked up. Maybe I cried too much on election night? Because I was a mess that night!

But Tuesday was still HUGELY exciting! We hosted an inaugural watch party…I say we, because I planned on hosting at my place. Nothing big: have a few friends come over for brunch, turn on the cable, and let it play. However, over the weekend, I discovered that my building would be having boiler maintenance on the 20th, and there would be no heat or hot water. So much for the party. Then, Robert and Kevin offered to have it at their place. So that’s what we did! It was nice, and Robert’s quiche was much better than mine would have been. But the main thing was to watch Obama be sworn in.

Like I said, I didn’t cry. However, I thought it was great…slightly mortified for him when the oath was flubbed, of course, but it didn’t really put a damper on things [Update: Chief Justice Roberts administered a do-over for President Obama on Wednesday evening]. And I thought his speech was good. It wasn’t the big, sweeping speeches of his campaign – but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that it set exactly the right tone for the presidency…and I appreciated that he got a couple of digs in at Bush 🙂

And now he is president! I won’t lie, I still get a little giddy when I hear or say “President Obama”. I’m sure I’ll get used to it…eventually!

And below, of course, I’m posting a video of the big moment.

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Less Than 24 Hours to Go…

19 January, 2009 at 1:51 pm (2008 Election, Barack Obama, Historical Figure, Politics)

In less than a day, eight long years will FINALLY come to an end and Barack Obama will be president! I am so excited, I can hardly stand it.

In honor of this, and because I’m choosing to be optimistic today, I’m going to post one of the best speeches Obama did during the nearly two years he was campaigning. It, surprisingly, came on a night he lost (in the New Hampshire primaries). However, it’s a great speech, a testimony to what an amazing orator he is. (you may recognize this speech; it’s where Will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” song came from).

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We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration

18 January, 2009 at 5:27 pm (Barack Obama, Concert, Historical Figure, Music, Politics, TV to Watch)

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Update: HBO has made this available online; watch it here
Highlights:

– Malia taking her own pics with a digital camera from the presidential viewing booth
– Obama’s niece being passed out in the presidential viewing booth and sleeping through the whole show
– Mary J. Blige getting choked up after she was finished singing “Lean On Me”
– Jamie Foxx doing a pretty spot-on Barack Obama impersonation – and Barack cracking up at it
– Tom Hanks reading passages from the speeches of Lincoln. Though could anyone watch this part and not think of the part of “Forrest Gump” where Forrest speaks in front of the Vietnam war protesters at the Lincoln Memorial?
– The (seeming) contradiction of following up the quote from Reagan’s inaugural address with James Taylor’s “Shower the People You Love”. This isn’t the first song that comes to mind when I think of the Reagan years…
– Joe Biden apparently forgetting that they had a mic for him to use, and him figuring he had to shout for those at the end of the Mall to hear him. No so, Mr. Vice President-elect. The delivery was just awkward…I couldn’t even concentrate on what he was saying. On the flip side, he was less long-winded than usual!
– John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” actually being used appropriately. (see, THIS is what I think of when I think of Reagan’s administration!)
– A gay men’s chorus (?) backing Josh Groban and Heather Headley on “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”. (I need to check into this – but it was a choir of mostly white, middle aged men wearing red AIDS awareness ribbons. So I’m not really going out on a limb here.)
– Jack Black introducing Garth Brooks. Random!
– Garth Brooks singing “American Pie”. Awesome!
– Garth Brooks getting the thousands and thousands of people at the monument watching to join in singing and dancing to “Shout”
– Garth Brooks singing “We Shall Be Free”. (Though it was a shortened version, so the verse with the line about being able to love anyone you choose was cut. Darn.)
– Seriously, Garth Brooks was great. The man knows how to work a crowd. Why won’t he come out of retirement?
– The Obamas up and dancing to Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Shakira’s number
– U2 singing “Pride (In the Name of Love)”. That song just meant more on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, on the eve of MLKJ Day.
– U2 singing “City of Blinding Lights” – this was one of Obama’s campaign songs, so cool seeing them do it live for him right before he actually becomes president.
– Bono does love to work a crowd. And people may get sick of him being political – but the man seems to really believe everything he says. You have to give him credit for that.
– The bald eagle being presented was kind of odd, though it did make me appreciate that we didn’t end up with the turkey as the national bird
– Obama’s speech. It was great, and it wasn’t even the “big” one.
– A big group, including Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, singing “This Land is Your Land”. The whole thing. Oklahoma represent, ya’ll.
– The big finale, Beyonce leading everyone in singing “America the Beautiful”. I don’t know how you could hear that and not get chills.

Overall, it was a great show. It set the perfect tone for this new presidency…in fact, it almost seemed like the “people’s inauguration”. The real inauguration is important, and steeped in history – but this felt more modern, and more real. I’m curious to see how it measures up to today, and of course am anticipating Obama’s inauguration speech. I can’t wait!

Update:Here’s is Obama’s speech today:

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Optimism and Patience for Obama

18 January, 2009 at 1:28 pm (Barack Obama, Politics)

Yes, yes, I have had a lot of Obama-related posts lately…and frankly, they’ll probably go on until at least a day or two after the inauguration. (n.b.: we’re officially down to the 48-hour mark of time left with Bush. Wheeee!)

Anyway, today’s NY Times had an interesting article. It found that, not only do many people – Democrats and Republicans – want Obama to succeed as president, many are actually willing to have patience while he does the job. From the story:

Most Americans said they did not expect real progress in improving the economy, reforming the health care system or ending the war in Iraq — three of the central promises of Mr. Obama’s campaign — for at least two years. The poll found that two-thirds of respondents think the recession will last two years or longer.

Mr. Bush is leaving office with just 22 percent of Americans offering a favorable view of how he handled the eight years of his presidency, a record low, and firmly identified with the economic crisis Mr. Obama is inheriting. More than 80 percent of respondents said the nation was in worse shape today than it was five years ago.

By contrast, 79 percent were optimistic about the next four years under Mr. Obama, a level of good will for a new chief executive that exceeds that measured for any of the past five incoming presidents. And it cuts across party lines: 58 percent of the respondents who said they voted for Mr. Obama’s opponent in the general election, Senator John McCain of Arizona, said they were optimistic about the country in an Obama administration.

I think it is fascinating that people seem to be realistic about what lies ahead for the Obama administration, and for the nation. Granted, I’m young enough that I don’t really remember the general mood of the country during an inauguration pre-2000 (though I do remember watching Clinton being sworn in in ’93, but that’s another story), but it seems that the attitude during this transition is different. Could it be that Obama was realistic and truthful with the country during the campaign; that he actually talked to voters as adults, was honest with them, and ‘told it like it is’? And could it be that, in response, Americans are actually looking at the country’s situation at hand rationally; that despite the alleged “Messianic” way that Obama has been viewed, people do not expect immediate, miraculous results with the change of power?

Then again, it’s two days before the inauguration. I’m sure in six months, it will be business as usual and the patience will be wearing thin. But it’s nice to think that the American people are entering into this new administration with a realistic view of what is possible and what can be done. It’s a great way to start the next 4 (or 8!) years

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Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert

17 January, 2009 at 9:47 pm (2008 Election, Barack Obama, Concert, Historical Figure, TV to Watch)

I was bummed I was going to miss this, since it’s on HBO…and then I found out (via a text “from” Obama) that the show will be free! That’s right, HBO is making itself free while this concert is on. So watch it, at 2:30 or 7:00 ET on Sunday, January 18th!
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Dear Barack Obama,

12 January, 2009 at 3:06 pm (Barack Obama)

I’m so excited you’re going to be our next president – Only Eight More Days!!

Yes, he was “only” a community organizer. Riiiiiight.

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A National Call to Service

7 January, 2009 at 6:10 pm (Barack Obama)

On Inauguration Day, Barack Obama will be asking the country for “a renewed commitment to national service”. And of course, President Web-Savvy (excuse me, President-elect Web-Savvy) has a website: usaservice.org. To kick it off, they’re asking everyone to volunteer for a service event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 19th). Get involved!

And because Jeff knows it’s my favorite picture of him…Obama 2008

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