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A People's History of Obama's Inauguration and MLK Day

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 2:06 PM EST

This morning, while taking the kids to school, I regaled them with tales of how they, too, could someday be president, since Obama was "taking the Oval Office" today. ("Oath of Office" got no traction with them.)

My 5-year-old daughter started to cry. "I don't wanna be president!"

Why?

"Cuz then I'd have to wear boy clothes. I'll look ugly! WAAAAAA!"

Yeah, feminism has outlived its usefulness.

My 7-year-old was crying because, during the morning shakedown, I busted him trying to smuggle a whole buncha Bionicles in his book bag. This has gotten him in much trouble before. (Why shouldn't he play with them during lectures since they're right there?)

Me: "Honey. This isn't a new rule. Mommy couldn't take toys to school when I was little either."

7-year-old: "But black people couldn't have toys back then. WAAAAAA!"

Later, I watched the inauguration ceremony with a friend. We spent quite a bit of time discussing Aretha Franklin's.....hat? Infected contusion? (My mom just called to offer that Aretha knew she wouldn't be taking that hat off without a hairdresser nearby, lest her wig come off with it. MEOW!) We sat trading bitchy quips (all at Bush and Cheney's expense). When the poet came on, as one, we rose, looked at each other and asked, "Cigarette?"

Out on the porch, I could see most of my neighbors heading for their cars. Chagrined, each admitted that the poet was their signal to finally get to work.

OK, here's my best quip from the ceremony. When Michelle Obama kissed W goodbye at the helicopter, my friend said, "Bet that's the first black woman he's ever kissed."

What else could I say?

"Probably. But not the first one he's ever fucked."

Happy inauguration!

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Auto Bailout Watch

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 1:39 PM EST

AUTO BAILOUT WATCH....The French government plans to bail out Renault and Peugeot-Citroen to the tune of $7-8 billion or so. By the time this is all over, will there be a car company in the world that hasn't hoovered up a few billion taxpayer dollars?

Quote of the Day - 01.20.09

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 1:06 PM EST

QUOTE OF THE DAY....From Barack Obama, signing the papers to put himself on the government payroll:

"I'm a lefty. Get used to it."

That's for my sister. Though, honestly, after 20 years of lefties in the past 28 years there's not much to get used to, is there?

Inauguration 6

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 12:58 PM EST

INAUGURATION 6....I know this isn't quite in keeping with our shiny new postpartisan spirit, but watching Marine Executive One take off almost brought tears to my eyes.

Inauguration 5

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 12:28 PM EST

INAUGURATION 5....Light glints off Barack Obama's lapel pin as he delivers his inaugural address.

The Renaming of Bush Street

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 12:28 PM EST

obamastreet.jpg
I've long fantasized about doing something like this to the street signs for Bush Street in downtown San Francisco. But apparently local artist Alex Zecca beat me to it. He escaped jail, according to the SF Bay Guardian's blog, but had to take all the stickers down—alas.

Flickr photo courtesy LaughingSquid.com

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Welcome, 44*

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 12:20 PM EST

It's official, we can all sigh a breath of relief and hope, and George Bush can go crawl back under his Texas rock and be forgotten, or prosecuted, or whatever. Here's the full text of President Obama's (how sweet the sound) inaugural address.

*One quibble, one that is trivial, but important for historical accuracy (and judging by my last post on this you are all going to rip into me for focusing on what doesn't matter in such trying times). Obama said this toward the beginning of his address:

"Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath...."

But, dear President, only 43 Americans have taken the presidential oath. In ordinal terms there have been 44 presidents, but as far as cardinal numbers go, how many presidents we've had in total, Obama is number 43. Why? Because Grover Cleveland was president in two non-consecutive terms.

Again, this is not a game-changer but at such a historic moment why not be totally true to what's transpired in our centuries of history? We've endured eight years of misinformation and misunderestimation, and more importantly, we've endured centuries of, let's call it like it is, white, male presidents. I concede that the time that this has been the case is the most important thing, that it took this long for a change is more significant than the number of men who shaped it, so moving forward what's matters is this day and this moment, but I'm still thankful that it only took 42 men before him, and that the real 43 is someone to be proud of.


Footnote: Here in San Francisco some clever cat went out and changed all the "Bush" street signs to read "Obama" this morning (pic). Maybe the city can make it official?

Onward and upward, 44.

MoJo Video: Goodbye, Bush

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 12:19 PM EST

I think it's now safe to show the Bush video featuring our Riff columnist and resident DJ, Party Ben. Below, his take on Bush's departure:

Welcome, 44!

Inauguration 3

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 11:50 AM EST

INAUGURATION 3....In Washington DC, Barack Obama takes the stage. In Irvine, California, I watch on my TV.

Inauguration 2

| Tue Jan. 20, 2009 11:42 AM EST

INAUGURATION 2....From Josh Marshall:

As some of you have seen, Vice President Cheney is getting pushed around today in a wheelchair. Thankfully, it's no serious medical issue. He hurt his back lugging books while moving out of the old digs. But it's iconic. There's no escaping the symbolism of the tired and enfeebled old guard hobbling off the stage. On so many fronts the stage setting, the unpredictable coincidences, perhaps just the fates seem to be conspiring to give us a dose of hyper-reality, not just the truth of the moment but a scaffolding of trappings and symbolic exclamation points to make sure we're paying attention.