44.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Official. Congratulations and good luck Mr. President. Consider this an open thread for your thoughts and reactions.

37 comments:

B Mac 1:24 PM  

A quick thought about the oath flub.

The Constitution specifies the text of the oath to be administered to the President. John Roberts screwed up that prescribed oath, and Obama picked up on that. Had he repeated the line Roberts used, the oath wouldn't have been "valid". And we would have had the joy of years of nutjobs and conspiracy theorists complaining that he "isn't really the president" because he hadn't taken the correct oath.

B Mac 1:31 PM  

Uh oh.

Upon further review, Obama didn't use the Constitutionally-mandated language.

Let the games begin...

Smitty 1:47 PM  

Actually B Mac, any President who has added the So Help Me God has not used the "official" language. Presidents since Washington, thus, have not been legitimate.

Great speech. It reflected all of my hopes as to its content and power.

Mrs. Smitty,  2:00 PM  

The historic piece of this is what makes me emotional today. That my kids will watch TV and see an articulate, intelligent, powerful black man and they won't consider those things, it will just be the President. And of course the President is articulate, intelligent and powerful, that's the way it should be. This is how racism will see an end in our country, through this huge step for the next generation. To them, he isn't a black President, he's just the President.

On another note, I'm just so excited our president is articulate. May Nu-ku-lar never be said again and no one ever again ask "Is our children learning?"

steves 3:24 PM  

Let the games begin...

I doubt it. This probably won't even make it as far as the "citizenship" challenge.

Good point, Mrs. Smitty.

I am looking forward to spirited discussions on Obama's policy.

Joel 3:26 PM  

Sorry, but the speech... SUCKED.

Didn't resonate with me at all.
All doom and gloom. The media made it sound like this speech was going to be etched in stone on some grand monument, but he's given better speeches at a rotary luncheon. I was expecting SO much more.

Every speech I've ever heard from Obama has been, at worst intelligent, and at best, inspiring and hopeful. This struck me as a guy who was trying to pull back the reigns of the "Hope Express" he created while stumping for the job.

And, while I'm no "W" fan, the mocking of Bush by the people in attendance was DEPLORABLE. Singing "Na, na, hey, hey, GOOD BYE!" to a leaving president, at an inaugeration? I'm sorry, that's completely foul.

Finally, we are also about to have the most expensive inaugeration party in history. Bush was criticized for spending 1/3 this amount, and that was when the economy was in decent shape. If this new president really wanted to put his money where his mouth is, this "I'm the new President!" party would have been TONED DOWN to refelct the times, not RAMPED UP, at tax payer expense.

Joel 3:35 PM  

and who the HELL let that guy give the prayer?!?! "Where the black doesn't have to get in the back, where the yello can be mellow and where the white will embrace what's right..." WHAT?!? This isn't 1969, and just because words rhyme doesn't mean you should rhyme them.

That was... UGH, JESUS... I'm already feeling let down. I thought Obama would put an end to this Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton crap.

Smitty 3:47 PM  

All doom and gloom

So you only listened to every other sentence? ;)

Singing "Na, na, hey, hey, GOOD BYE!" to a leaving president, at an inaugeration? I'm sorry, that's completely foul.

Indeed, vastly un-called for. Obama can expect the same from consevratives when his presidency in 4 or 8 years comes to an end, if that's what we've reduced ourselves to now.

not RAMPED UP, at tax payer expense

It was mostly privately-funded, as was W's. Not taxpayer expense. And the stuff that was taxpayer expense - cops, military, etc - isn't Obama's doing. He can't help 3 million people really really wanting to show up. "No everybody! Stay home! The economy's too bad for you all to trapse to washington in the freezing cold for my inaugural address!"

Again, I gotta say I got great themes in his speech, but recognize it for what it's worth: an inagural address. Not a State of the Union, not a policy briefing, but a speech designed to say "shit hurts right but we're Americans and we will make it through as usual." The same speech both FDR and JFK made, actually. It had great racial themes, great healing themes, typical platitudes for "hope" and blaggidy blah...typical inagural address using words and phrases that big people use.

So, I sort of see your point, Joel, but ultimately, I went into an inagural address expecting...an inagural address. Kinda like how I go to a slasher flick not expecting the best pic ever filmed in history, but expecting an entertaining slasher flick. I am thusly not disappointed. Here, I expected a "rah-rah America though times are tough," and that's pretty much what I got, save for a way better use of the English language and the whole emotional experience of "what this means."

Smitty 3:48 PM  

This isn't 1969, and just because words rhyme doesn't mean you should rhyme them.

Thank God by then most people started to filter out...

Rickey Henderson 4:11 PM  

Rickey found the Roberts/Obama swearing in flub to be brilliant. After all, this isn't the first or last time Roberts will misread the Constitution.

The speech itself was a bit of a downer--more of a grim challenge than a lofty call to action. But it did it's job. Rickey's favorite line was the one about American safety and it's principles not being conflicting principles. A very eloquent repudiation of the last eight years.

Joel 4:16 PM  

No, I listened to it all... but the doom and gloom resonated and the "hope" was consistently tempered... with more "gloom." That's how it came across to me. As far as the difference between an "inauguration speech" and any other kind of speech, well, I just want consistency in the message, and I feel that the message is starting to get inconsistent now that he actually has to DO something. Perhaps the new feel to his speeches is more accurate to reality, which only makes his campaign stuff seem less sincere now.

I gotta admit, the speech reads better than it was delivered, which is an odd thing to say with Obama. usually, with him, the delivery outstrips the message.

As for the inauguration party, it can be as big or small as HE wants it. Even if it is *mostly* privately funded, the message is clear "you people toil, we're going to hob knob."

All I see is a bunch of blue bloods flying in on their private jets and/or arriving in their limos, to party with a group of people who supposedly deplore global warming, fossil fuels and the wasting of natural resources. The press won't pick up on that (unless of course a republican were doing it.) I dunno, I consider this a lost chance for him to REALLY make a point about global warming, waste and the current state of the economy, privately funded or not.

Smitty 4:20 PM  

it can be as big or small as HE wants it.

He must have more friends than Bush.

TRexas is getting to you. You're listening to too much conservative talk radio.

Bob 5:07 PM  

"All I see is a bunch of blue bloods flying in on their private jets and/or arriving in their limos, to party with a group of people who supposedly deplore global warming, fossil fuels and the wasting of natural resources"

Dude. Clearly you don't know who goes to these things. People who attend these things are invited and PAY for a ticket, pay for their own transportation and scrape together the resources to have a once in a lifetime experience. Sure the lobbyists show up, but most people who attend are just schmucks like us who want to go.

Joel 5:10 PM  

Oh... I get it then.

During this time of "gathering clouds and raging storms" it's still totally cool to have every center-to-left millionaire come into D.C. in their fuel sucking Gulf Streams, to be hand delivered, two at a time, in front of the white house in 12 mpg Bentley Limos that could have delivered 20.

The economy is in the toilet, and he ran on a platform which emphasized waste and the poor choices of the past, but that's on hold for the time being... were going to blow the roof off this mutha 2 nite! Hope you enjoy the live coverage from that box you and your family are living in next to the Best Buy!

During this time where "the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet" YOU go drive the Prius, WE roll in the BENZO and invite ALL OUR FRIENDS to fly in for THE BIGGEST PARTY EVA, BEYOTCH! Bush spent 45 million on his? Pft. I'm hittin' 175 million BOYEE! Fuck the tough times! Times are only tough when we're talking about YOUR parties. I'm an OBAMANON!!

Joel 5:15 PM  

"Clearly you don't know who goes to these things. People who attend these things are invited and PAY for a ticket, pay for their own transportation and scrape together the resources to have a once in a lifetime experience. Sure the lobbyists show up, but most people who attend are just schmucks like us who want to go."

I'll be sure to look for myself during the live coverage standing next to Oprah.

Bob 5:15 PM  

Oh... I get it then.

Clearly not or you would immediately shut off your computer. Your use of electrons is damaging the environment.

Bob 5:18 PM  

Had my daughter been old enough to remember it, I would have taken her to the inauguration and maybe even bought her a fancy dress and taken her to a ball. Seems like a cool, once in a lifetime daddy-daughter event to me.

Since my Gulfstream is in the shop, I would have had to drive though.

Joel 5:38 PM  

You're missing my point completely. This "energy and waste" thing isn't MY view. This is what HIS campaign has been preaching... I'm just saying PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS. If times are hard, do something low key. SEND A MESSAGE. If your first 4 years are a success, have your blow out then.

And, this ISN'T your father's inauguration. The quaint little party of the past where the average joe mingles with senators is over. Which, again, is my point. This is an A-List affair. Bigger than the Super Bowl, Bigger than the Oscars. I'm sorry, it shouldn't be this way. Not right now.

I don't care if there are 1000 "average" people attending, this is a 175 MILLION dollar party that just seems to go against everything that's going on right now. It feels very wrong to me.

B Mac 5:46 PM  

Joel seems displeased.

Bottom line; the most powerful person in the world voluntarily and peacefully relinquished his power to the opposition party. And for the first time, he did so to a racial or ethnic minority who, three generations ago, may not have been able to vote.

God Bless America.

Bob 6:06 PM  

"This is an A-List affair."

That's my point. It is NOT an A-list affair. I received an invite to the second Clinton inaugural ball. Back then I was a college student making $7 an hour. I was a Clinton delegate to the convention that year, so I got an invite. Big whoop. I could have gone, but because I am stupid chose not to.

As far as the environmental impact goes, one night of parties won't destroy the environment. It's everything else every day that kills the environment.

Rickey Henderson 7:18 PM  

You folks appear to be in need of some stirring folk music.

steves 7:29 PM  

Perusing the blogosphere, much of the comments seem to be on one end or the other. Right-wingers are bemoaning the beginning of the End of Days and Lefty Kool-Aid drinkers think that even sandwiches will taste better now that Obama is president. I remain cautiously optimistic, but I thik Joel raises some good points.

I thought most of what he said was really good. Maybe not his best, but this is certainly the most powerful Inauguration in my lifetime.

It was mostly privately-funded, as was W's. Not taxpayer expense.

The estimates I have read say that he raised between 30 and 45 million in private funds, out of a total cost of around 150 million.

You're listening to too much conservative talk radio.

I am sure that Rush and Sean are having a fit, but they would no matter what. OTOH, I have heard some activists for the poor questioning the expense, but they have been pretty low key about it.

The press won't pick up on that (unless of course a republican were doing it.)

Good point, but it is more interesting that they have not been saying much that critical about the expense. Here is what they said about W's $40 million party in 2005:

“Many have wondered whether, given the war and all of our security challenges right now, it’s appropriate to have a lavish and expensive inaugural celebration?”
— ABC’s Claire Shipman to Laura Bush in a taped interview shown on the January 20 Good Morning America.


“President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?
■ 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.
■ Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.
“On World News Tonight/Sunday,President Bush prepares for his second inauguration. In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?”
— ABC’s Terry Moran on World News Tonight, January 16.


I know there are major differences between the historical significance of this event vs. W's second inauguration. I doubt that Obama could have scaled it back even if he really pushed for it. I am willing to cut him some slack on this because of this. The lack of an objective press is more disturbing. I can understand the excitement, but some of these reporters have been downright creepy in how excited they are.

Rickey found the Roberts/Obama swearing in flub to be brilliant. After all, this isn't the first or last time Roberts will misread the Constitution.

The same holds true for Obama, unfortunately. I am interested in what positions you think Roberts is wrong in regards to the Constitution.

Mrs. Smitty,  9:03 PM  

I was one of the schmucks at Clinton's 2nd inaugeration. Carpooled with a group of friends, crashed at another friends house. Scraped together my part-time wages to a nice dress to go to the ball and have memories I'll never forget. And that's for a second inaugeration of a white guy, nothing like this one.

While you see all the hotshots and millionaires on TV, those people filling the mall are the average person who just wanted to be there. And no one, even the president-elect is going to stop them, nor should he.

Unfortunately, the obnoxious press coverage by some of the talking heads takes away from the true interest and excitement of the average people.

B Mac 9:11 PM  

I am interested in what positions you think Roberts is wrong in regards to the Constitution.

Out of this week's decisions? I'd say his belief that the 4th Amendment is overrated.

I actually met John Roberts earlier this year, and got to chat with him briefly. I can tell you the following things about him:

1) He is intelligent on an intellectual level I can barely see from my current location.
2) He's shorter and balder than he looks on TV
3) His jurisprudential philosophy scares me.

steves 9:37 PM  

The exclusionary rule is a relatively recent construct, so I don't think that this case means that the court thinks the 4th Amendment is overrated. I can see both sides of the argument. On one hand, should a person that is truly guilty go free just because the police did something wrong? On the other, police are protected from lawsuits, so the victim of police misconduct has no other recourse. Personally, I lean towards keeping a strong exclusionary rule.

That being said, I haven't seen anything from Roberts that suggests he doesn't understand or know the Constituion. There is certainly room for reasonable debate. OTOH, reading the dissent from Heller shows me that some on the court (at least in regards to the 2nd Amendment) don't understand history, the intent, or the plain language of the Bill of Rights.

steves 9:42 PM  

There have been some good debates on the Exclusionary Rule. Randy Barnett has some good ideas as to what may be an effective alternative. Resolving the Dilemma of the Exclusionary Rule: An Application of Restitutive Principles of Justice, 32 Emory Law Journal 937 (1983).

B Mac 10:27 PM  

Interesting, thought-provoking article. I disagree with the dichotemy he sets up (he claims that you'd either encourage more police misconduct with the rule or encourage more crime without it... as if criminals choose to act criminally because of rules of evidence), But he raises some good points. I'm mostly troubled by the language of the majority (written by Roberts).

Don't get me started on Heller, because that'd be a 30-comment thread of its own. The one thing I will say is that from a textualist (aka Scalia) perspective, the 2nd amendment only allows an individual right to keep and bear if you remove some words and rearrange some others.

I don't have a specific problem with Heller because it only applies to the Federal government (it was a DC case). State governments, however, are a different story:

- The Constitution states that the government was not supposed to take away guns because well-regulated militias were necessary to the security of a free state.
- States would presumably be in charge of regulating a well-regulated militia (as it certainly wouldn't be the Feds, and no other levels of government were contemplated in the document).
- Regulating a militia involves deciding who can take up arms with the militia and and who can't.
- If the state decides that someone cannot/should not/does not participate in the militia, that person falls outside the stated purpose of the 2nd.
- If someone is not covered by the 2nd, his rights to keep and bear are up for grabs.

Besides, if you want to talk about history; when the 2nd amendment was adopted, it was only intended to apply to the Federal Gov't. From my understanding, it couldn't even apply to the states until 1865-ish (14th amendment).

See? You got me going.

Smitty 10:28 PM  

This is what HIS campaign has been preaching... I'm just saying PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS. If times are hard, do something low key. SEND A MESSAGE.

So we're going to trash the whole speech and decry a Presidency in its infancy because 2 million people got excited to go to DC to see this happen and be a part of it? "No, everyone! I don't want parties! Stay home! It looks bad! Or, at least, carpool and fly coach!" SHit, dude...it's day 1/2 and you're already pissed that a bunch of state delegations threw parties to celebrate an historic moment? You're in for a sore 4 years.

Also, the President doesn't get to decide what kind of blowout he wants. Most of these parties are thrown by other state delegations and organizations. Private companies can throw what ever sized party they damn well please, as can entities like the Michigan Delegation (open bar, $150 ticket).

and he ran on a platform which emphasized waste and the poor choices of the past, but that's on hold for the time being...

Really? SO all 60 Whitehouse workers who worked today to put a halt on last minute so-called "midnight executive orders" issued by Bush were "putting his themes on hold?" A 7:45 a.m. staff meeting to get the first weeks' priorities are "dawdling?" A mid-day meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff tomorrow is "putting ideals on hold?" We can't for one fucking day celebrate the peaceful transfer of power? I had no idea your criteria for acceptability were so stringent. Next time, I will make sure my house is a lot cleaner before you come over. I'd hate to put my ideals of "sweeping my kitchen floor" on hold, given the veracity of your critique.

I love blogging. This shit is fun.

and Lefty Kool-Aid drinkers think that even sandwiches will taste better now that Obama is president

Steves, that's the funniest thing you've said in weeks. That was laugh-out-loud funny, made even more funny by the fact that...umm...yeah. We think sammiches will taste better. But alas, my dinner salad was unremarkable.

Bob 10:30 AM  

Holy crap Steves is right.

I just decided to partake in my tuna fish sandwich early today and low and behold it is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. My wife packed me a kool-aid drink box too and damn if I never had better fruit punch.

B Mac 9:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
B Mac 9:49 PM  

So... According to CNN, we didn't have a President until this afternoon.

Rickey Henderson 8:11 AM  

Which, for the tinfoil hat contingent, renders any executive decisions he made prior to that, null and void.

Sopor 1:37 PM  

Bob... on Tuesday morning the heat was broken at my office. It was COLD.

By about noonish, it had been fixed! Coincidence? I think not ;-)

Thanks President Obama for fixing my heat!

steves 3:31 PM  

Don't get me started on Heller, because that'd be a 30-comment thread of its own. The one thing I will say is that from a textualist (aka Scalia) perspective, the 2nd amendment only allows an individual right to keep and bear if you remove some words and rearrange some others.

I blogged on Heller following the decision. I disagree. While the actual text of the 2nd is not the best, the only way to come up with a non-individual right is to ignore every bit of context around the ratification of the Constitution and ignore the word People. As much of a textualist Scalia is, he doesn't ignore intent or history.

The meaning of the word regulate, as it was used in regards to the 2nd, was "well trained" or "well ordered". Since the Founding Fathers distrusted standing armies, they wanted citizen militias to be able to be called up in times of emergency. They were to provide their own arms and, ideally, needed to be able to know how to use them.

Militias, at that time, were organized and unorganized. The statutory definition, from the US Code, says that militia consists of all able bodied men from the ages of 16 to 60. This point mostly moot, since membership in a state militia has never been held to be a requirement for exercising a right to bear arms. The 2nd does not state that, nor does any other writing or case from that time. While there isn't a great deal case law on the 2nd, most would indicate that the right to bear arms is an individual right.

Besides, if you want to talk about history; when the 2nd amendment was adopted, it was only intended to apply to the Federal Gov't. From my understanding, it couldn't even apply to the states until 1865-ish (14th amendment).


True, but this was also the case with all fundamental rights. Under Selective Incorporation, the BOR started to be applied to the states starting in the 20th century. The 2nd hasn't been included (nor have a few other provisions of the BOR).

There are some cases making their way through the courts that will hopefully allow the second to be applied to state action, since our own state supreme court seems unwilling to recognize an individual right, despite even stronger langiage in our own Constitution:

Every person has a right to bear arms for the defence of himself and the State.

Anonymous,  5:42 PM  

Guns don't kill people, bullets do.

B Mac 11:33 PM  

...the only way to come up with a non-individual right is to ignore every bit of context around the ratification of the Constitution and ignore the word People.

When I read that "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," I read it to mean that the government lacks the power to infringe on the rights of the People of the United States, not necessarily the People of the Several States.

There's a reason the 2nd has never been incorporated, and it isn't for lack of trying. Unlike the rest of the Bill of Rights, the regulation of weapons is something in which the states can claim a legitimate interest that the federal government cannot. If the Georgia militia was to protect Georgia, Georgia had an interest in the organization and arming of the people of the state. I don't know how strong their claim would be... but it has been made by smarter people than I.

Historically, the Supreme Court tends to agree with me (see U.S. v. Cruikshank 92 U.S. 542, Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, and Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535). The Court declared that "[the 2nd amendment] is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government".

In fact, in Heller, the court addressed these cases, and while it was in dicta and was not a specific holding in the case, they seemed to confirm their previous holding.

I think (and this is just a guess) that if the case was heard today, it would be 5-4 against incorporation (with Kennedy dropping out of the Heller majority.

steves 7:02 AM  

When I read that "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," I read it to mean that the government lacks the power to infringe on the rights of the People of the United States, not necessarily the People of the Several States.

Is this also your view on the use of the word "People" in the other BOR? Why would mean anything different for the 2nd? Thankfully, this is the minority opinion.

There's a reason the 2nd has never been incorporated, and it isn't for lack of trying.

Except for the 3rd Amendment, I can't find an amendment with fewer cases. For the most part, the Supreme Court hasn't been interested in hearing cases on this subject.

Unlike the rest of the Bill of Rights, the regulation of weapons is something in which the states can claim a legitimate interest that the federal government cannot.

Why? Up until the 20th Century, the Federal government had no legitimate interest in telling the states how to regulate other provisions of the BOR. There is plenty from the Supreme Ct. that says the right to bear arms is a fundamental right. Why should the states be able to prohibit that right and not others? How about marriage? This has always been something that states have had complete control over. Should they be able to do what they want with telling who can and cannot get married?

If the Georgia militia was to protect Georgia, Georgia had an interest in the organization and arming of the people of the state.

I suppose, but if we are talking about the National Guard, then the court has already said that the Feds have almost complete control. They can federalize the Georgia National Guard at any time they want and also have complete control over training standards, equipment, and the like.

Historically, the Supreme Court tends to agree with me (see U.S. v. Cruikshank 92 U.S. 542, Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, and Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535). The Court declared that "[the 2nd amendment] is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government".

At the time those cases were decided, they would have said the same thing about free speech, search and seizure, and any other part of the BOR.

I think (and this is just a guess) that if the case was heard today, it would be 5-4 against incorporation (with Kennedy dropping out of the Heller majority.

Possibly, though I will admit I don't have much of a feel for either way.

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