Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama

Has a nice ring to it. A very nice ring. What a great day. I watched the inauguration on TV and attended a local party with about 500 people (I think) in Johnson City. The JC Press will likely report on it tomorrow.

Best line from the party:

God bless America.
God bless Barack Obama.
And God bless the airplane that took George W. Bush back to Texas.
My spirit was lifted today. Aretha Franklin. Wow. Yo Yo Ma and friends. Nice. The poem by Elizabeth Alexander, Praise song for the Day. Beautiful.

Rev. Lowry's prayer wrapped it all up well. It was good he was last. I have known for a long time that the benediction is the most important part of the worship service.

Rev. Warren's opening prayer was--well, loud--but better than expected.

It was 489 words including the Lord's Prayer if you would like to use that as a guide to make a pledge for LGBT rights.

Of course, it wasn't a worship service, but then again, two prayers, a poem, a sermon, and a Bible gets pretty close.

Speaking of the sermon, President Obama nailed it. He told us all to grow up. There is a new way of getting along and getting things done. We have work to do.


Excited to start a new day with some intelligence and class in the White House.




28 comments:

  1. I followed the link you gave to the Rev. Lowery's Benediction, and was surprised to see this, left by a commenter:
    "The final comments made by the Rev. were a racial slur based on race and should not be tolorated."

    Near as I could tell, the commenter was upset because the Rev. Lowery said "that White embrace what is right", which said commenter felt was a show of intolerance for the intolerant who have so long held power. Funny, huh?

    Thanks for all the links, John.

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  2. I'm in Orange Co. right now and have also heard some remarks about "embrace what is right". There is not the level of excitement that I am feeling from my friends in Albuquerque.

    I really enjoyed the benediction, I missed Rick Warren's prayer. My prayer is that we can unite to face the difficulties that are ahead. The last thing electing Barack Obama should do is racially divide us.

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  3. How can you be excited about a President who has said nothing about the atrocities being carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip with US made weapons and backing?

    Would it be so hard for Obama to make statements such as these:

    "Many innocent children are among the dead. While the shooting of rockets into Israel is inexcusable, the violent actions of some people in Gaza does not justify killing Palestinians on this scale,"

    or this,

    "At the very least, the U.S. Congress should not be loudly proclaiming its support for the Israeli government's actions in Gaza,"

    or this,

    "I am concerned that the weapons currently being used by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza are made in America and paid for by American taxpayers. "

    Source

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  4. Snad and Sara--

    Welcome back to the states, Sara! I wouldn't make too much of Lowery's rewording of an old joke, although I am sure many will. I honestly don't think Obama is about racially dividing at all, but including all (which is especially frustrating as this includes those folks we don't get along with too well).

    Rachel--welcome back! Haven't heard from you in a while. Hope all is well. Good points. Now it is time for us to voice concern so we can move ahead toward a just peace.

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  5. Rachel--Thanks for that link by the way. Good for Ron Paul!

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  6. I'm not worried at all about Lowery's rewording of an old joke. I'm intrigued by people who pule (from a position of comfortable power) any time criticism is lobbed at their group.

    You referenced King in your last sermon, when he said it was an unfortunate truth that those in power will never willingly give up any of that power to those they have oppressed. Now that a Black man is in the White House, many comfortable people feel threatened, even when no threat has been made. I find that funny, in a wry way.

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  7. A wonderful day, and a wonderful reason to celebrate!

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  8. I was there.

    I wasn't able to get tickets, but my dad and I went anyway. I booked the hotel a week before the election, and even then all I could find was at the Baltimore airport. I flew into New York and spent the weekend with my parents, and then my dad and I took Amtrak to BWI on Monday. We got up at 5AM Tuesday and took the hotel shuttle to the airport for the express bus to the Greenbelt Metro station. There were already about 700-1000 people in line. Fortunately, Metro was running the extra-big (110-person) buses and we got on after waiting 45 minutes. The Greenbelt station was packed, and the train passed L'Enfant Plaza due to crowding. We ended up walking about a mile. Already at 9, the Mall was packed to the Washington Monument. I settled on Plan B: watching on a jumbotron by the base of the Lincoln Memorial (tres appropriate IMO). This was around 10, about 4 hours after we left Baltimore.

    Yes, people booed when Bush and Cheney came out, and were silent when Poppy and Babs came out. The crowd went wild for Jimmy & Rosalyn and of course for Hillary & Bill. Ditto for Al & Tipper. Stony silence for Dan Quayle.

    Rock star reception for Sasha and Malia. And the whole place went wild when Barack and Michelle came out.

    Warren stunk (nothing says "unity" like an aggressively Christian prayer), but Aretha (and her hat) raised my spirits back up. Lots of cheering when Biden was sworn in, but apprehension as noon came and went while the quartet kept playing ("is Bush still President? At least Cheney is officially out now"). Then the big moment came. I thought John Roberts' flub (which should alone be grounds for impeachment) was an audio error on the feed (the video and audio were about 2 seconds off). Barack said "so help me God" and the place exploded with joy. People jumping up and down, hugging complete strangers, little American flags everywhere, wooly hats going into the air.

    I loved Lowery's prayer, though as I expected, people were already leaving by the time he got to the podium. Lowery's an old-school black prophetic preacher (did you catch all the prophecy references?), and one of the nice things about that style of preaching/praying is that it speaks to Jews and Muslims as well as Christians. Aside from the overt Biblical references, it was an ecumenical prayer.

    We decided to round off the day with a visit to the FDR Memorial (my favorite place in Washington) and the Jefferson Memorial, and while we got a great view of the crowds leaving the Mall, we got the full force of winds slicing across the Tidal Basin. On the way back, we ended up walking past two Metro stations to get to one less crowded.

    With all the millions of people and transit jams and everything, everyone was in a good mood and just generally friendly. We laughed at the inconveniences and the cold.

    America feels like a country where anything is possible again.

    So, I made it there and made it back.

    It was incredibly cold.

    It was unbelievably crowded.

    It was utterly exhausting.

    It was awesome!

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  9. Sounds like a great experience for ya, flycandler. Thanks for sharing. I'm happy for you for believing that "America feels like a country where anything is possible again."

    Wish I could feel the same, but I've watched too much Jon Stewart and listened too hard to Dr. Paul, Noam Chomsky, and other reports on DN! Look at Obama's economic and foreign advisors. Nothing is going to change. We will get more of the same in those all important areas.

    I'm glad the inauguration was a happy event for many, but it really bothered me that $170 million dollars was spent on it.

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  10. How awesome to have been there for the changing of the guard. A historic hinge point. Watching it on TV, it was like watching the landing on the moon.

    Obama is not the one who is going to change things.

    We are. We The People.

    You can watch it, or you can be a part of it.

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  11. Thanks for the report, Fly! Several church members were there as well and I am looking forward to hearing their reactions.

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  12. Yep, that Obama is showing real class, if that is what you mean by him ordering air strikes on villages in Pakistan and killing three children. source

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  13. Hey Rachel,

    Consider joining our peace march and vigil for Gaza and Palestine tomorrow.

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  14. Oy vey, Rachel.

    I hate to break it to ya, but in the extremely unlikely event that Ron Paul had been sworn in last week, I have the feeling that those bombs would still be falling on Pakistan.

    Guess what? Barack Obama is not perfect! (GASP) Neither is Ron Paul. Neither is John McCain, and Lord knows Sarah Palin ain't (you betcha boy howdy wink wink).

    My political heroes, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, were FAR from perfect. Yet, they were a transformative force in the way that Americans relate to OUR government. Dr. Paul may not like the New Deal, but it worked. Glass-Steagall was repealed and within a decade, the entire financial system melted down. Not all of the New Deal was good, and FDR died leaving a lot to answer for (particularly the internment of the Japanese and his silence on race relations). But he was still one of America's greatest Presidents. Roosevelt gave Americans faith in themselves the way that Herbert Hoover certainly didn't and Norman Thomas probably couldn't.

    It's a cliche, but in politics you cannot let the perfect become the enemy of the good. In a first-past-the-post system, that means the bad and the ugly (to stretch the metaphor) get in. Case in point: the libertarian opposition in the Republican party to Mitt Romney splintered between Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, and John McCain won the nomination.

    The solution is to get behind the leadership and PUSH. Already, President Obama (ah, that sounds great) has done a lot with Gitmo, civil liberties, and torture that Ron Paul had been speechifying about, and he hasn't been in office a week!

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  15. John: you looked great on the front page. The ET-Liberty guys sent me an e-mail about it last week. I should have went, but didn't...excuses, excuses, excuses.

    Oy vey, Flycandler! Still yet we have differences of opinion. Obama is of the old guard: overseas interventionism and big government/big spending. You support these ideals, I don't. I suppose it is as simple as that.

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  16. Flycandler, I give props to Obama for signing executive orders to close Guantanamo within a year, officially ban the use of torture, and closing the CIA-run secret prisons around the world. BUT will Obama's administration actually follow through on his executive orders and close Guantanamo, close the CIA prisons and truly end torture (and what will then happen to the detainees?)

    Furthermore, will he tackle the fundamental problems facing civil liberties and human rights in the USA, such as the damage inflicted from the PATRIOT ACT (which Obama voted to re-authorize), drug law enforcement, and restoring habeas corpus and due process? In these areas, I don't see much change. In fact, I see the police state becoming more militarized over the next four years.

    Hopefully I am wrong, and President Obama will reign in the peace and prosperity that all his supporters say he will. I mean the people are going to be the ones to bring about these changes, of course.

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  17. I guess Executive Orders nos. 13489, 13490, 13491, 13492, and 13493 escaped your attention.

    He signed these on his first two full days in office. As far as rescinding legislation, he does not have the power to do so (as Ron Paul would be the first to acknowledge).

    For a single week, I'm pretty impressed so far.

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  18. You are right, he cannot rescind legislation such as the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, the Real ID Act, or the Homegrown Terrorist Act, but he can choose not to enforce it.

    Are the Obama supporters jumping for joy that the House passed the Stimulus package. Some leading economists are predicting that toppled with the bailout and past debt will lead to the collpase of the dollar. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next four years.

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  19. but he can choose not to enforce it.

    Which would be unconstitutional.

    Are the Obama supporters jumping for joy that the House passed the Stimulus package.

    Yes, this one is, anyway. It's the closest thing we have to the early New Deal and the possibility of saving millions of Americans and their families from abject misery. It will help rebuild infrastructure and create jobs, which is a surefire way to stimulate the economy (the tax cuts should be stripped out, but such is the reality of modern American politics). Unemployed people do not buy as much as employed people. That simple.

    Some leading economists are predicting that toppled with the bailout and past debt will lead to the collpase of the dollar.

    I assume you mean "coupled". What we basically have is a repeat of the original First Hundred Days. Hoover pushed through a failed bank bailout, though unlike Bush, Hoover was paranoid about debt and his spending cuts proved disastrous. The situation we face now is not identical to the one FDR faced, but the parallels are eerily similar.

    The dollar was already dropping long before the 2008 election, and is helped now only by the fact that the Pound really has collapsed. Indeed, it looks like the best suited currency to weather the storm is that centrally-planned scary tool of global domination, the Euro.

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  20. It doesn't bother you at all that we are indebting our kids and grandkids into oblivion.

    The stimulus package is going to cost every American $6,700.

    I know over 100 billion will go to education. I work in education, and money ain't going to fix it.

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  21. Yes, Rachel, I do care. What bugs me about the Bush deficits is that they was used to pay for war. Aside from the obvious moral implications, it's bad economics. A bomb, once exploded, is worthless.

    Responsible deficit spending builds things that generate economic activity for years. When a highway is built, it continues to support commerce for years to come. Building a school now (which is a lot of what the "education" spending you complain about in this bill) will save money in the future, not to mention providing clean, durable spaces for learning. The high school next door to my parents' house now has over half of its classroom space in double-wide trailers that are expensive to rent, expensive to heat and cool, and frankly dangerous whenever Georgia's infamous tornado season rolls around every spring.

    It's not that I worry about future generations inheriting debt. For all the handwringing conservatives did in the 1930s, the New Deal created far less debt than the Star Wars program of Ronald "Government is not the solution, Government is the problem" Reagan. Remember, the multi-trillion dollar debts didn't exist til Ronnie.

    I am frankly more concerned that our children and grandchildren will have a COUNTRY to inherit that doesn't look like Yeltsin's Russia (which begat Putin's Russia)

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  22. First I want to be clear that you understand that Obama is continuing the Bush Policy of dropping bombs on Pakistan.

    I am glad they are going to build new schools. I would LOVE to teach in a twenty-first century classroom. So the money will help in that aspect. The problem is that money cannot buy caring teachers who have mastered their content area. We have too many teachers in the US school system who don't have degrees in what they teach and who flat out don't give a rat's ass about the future of the children they teach. For example, only 15% of the teacher in the US who teach physics actuaully have a physics degree. So my point was is that education is going to need alot more than just money. There are other factors like over-testing as well, etc...

    I'm not sure what you meant by your last statement,

    "I am frankly more concerned that our children and grandchildren will have a COUNTRY to inherit that doesn't look like Yeltsin's Russia (which begat Putin's Russia)"

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  23. What happened in Russia after the entire Soviet economic system collapsed?

    We as a country have not been this close to such a collapse since 1933. This is not hyperbole.

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  24. Ron Paul has been talking about our economy collapsing like the Soviet's economy did for years now. Here is a quote from his latest Texas Straight Talk column: "The cost of our empire is bringing us to our knees, just as the Soviets’ empire did to them."

    But, he doesn't believe that Obama's Stimulus package will cure our economic disease. He says, "The plans being bandied about Washington are just more of the same. As long as no one seriously considers the cure, we are unfortunately destined to prolong the disease."

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  25. Nothing Ron Paul is suggesting would help, either. Going back on the gold standard would cause massive deflation and is probably impossible at this point. Lord knows the Federal Reserve System is a monster, but putting that power back into the legislature could be even worse as politicians manipulate the currency to win votes (as happened in the Weimar Republic).

    I cannot emphasize enough the parallels between the current situation and the transition period between Hoover and Roosevelt. NOTHING is going to happen unless people get back to work, and get back to work NOW. If you don't have a job, you're not paying your mortgage. If you don't have a job, you're not spending money in the economy. If you don't have a job, you're not even paying off your credit card debt (you're probably at the point of using it to buy groceries for your children).

    "The nation is asking for action, and action now! Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously."

    "For everywhere we look, there is much work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act--not only to create new jobs, but to lay a foundation for growth."

    76 years and a couple of weeks separate those two messages.

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  26. My partner and I file taxes separately. He claims our son, and he made under $25,000, so we are getting back close to $6,000. That's $3,800 more than we actually paid in federal income taxes. I'm happy with that. We're having another kid, so he will get to claim two kids next year. Thanks to Obama and the Dems, we will probably get back close to $6000 more than we pay in next year. I guess I like the Dems after all....Bring on big government.

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  27. Flycandler,

    I was talking with somebody who knows their history a little better than I do. They also compare Bush to Hoover and Obama to Roosevelt, but they argue that Roosevelt made the Depression last a lot longer than what it would have lasted if he would have just let the market handle itself. He said that Hoover was anti-capitalism just like Bush and helped to bring on the Great Depression. Then Roosevelt came in and did the same thing that Hoover did except about ten times worse. He said that the worst part of the Depression was during Roosevelt's term. He also said we are headed for an inflationary crisis which is going to be a whole lot worse than the Great Depression. We are headed for hyper-inflation, like what happened in Zimbabwe or Germany in WWII if the Fed doesn't raise interest rates and cut spending.

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