Inauguration Fever!

November 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Historical, Obama! | Leave a comment
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Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln - March 4, 1861

Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln - March 4, 1861

Although George Washington laid the cornerstone of the Capital Building in what would be Washington, DC on September 18, 1793, it was not until 1801 that the city became officially the capital of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson was the first to be sworn in as president there, although he did so in the Senate chamber rather than outside the building as we are used to with most presidents since Andrew Jackson.

By 1850 the Capitol Building, completed in 1824, was not large enough to contain the needs of the growing American democracy. Thomas Ustick Walter, a Philadelphia architect, was hired to design extensions for the Capitol Building, including a new, larger dome. The Capitol’s first dome was designed by Charles Bulfinch, considered to be America’s first native-born architect (Boston).

When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861, the new Capitol Building dome was still under construction.

The exterior of the new dome was complete when the bronze Statue of Freedom (below, right) by New York sculptor Thomas Crawford was set into its place of honor atop the Capital dome, in 1863.

The dome’s interior was not complete until 1866 when Italian/Greek-American historical painter Constantino Brumidi‘s massive fresco, the Apotheosis of Washington — 180 feet above the Rotunda floor and covering 4,664 square feet — was unveiled.

The oath that each president takes, mandated in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, is as follows:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Many would do well to note that God is not mentioned in the mandated oath, although every president, beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, have tacked the deity on at the end. The first 31 presidents abstained from mixing government and religion.

Inauguration Day was originally on March 4th. In the early years, without the benefit of planes, trains and automobiles, that much time was needed to complete the casting of votes by members of the Electoral College. It wasn’t until 1937, when FDR was sworn in for his second term, that Inauguration Day was moved to January 20th (except if that date is a Sunday and then, traditionally, it is moved to the following day).

Since 1953 the United States Congress has held a luncheon immediately following the inaugural ceremony at which the president and vice president are guests of honor. Other than at State of the Union addresses, Red Masses, and state funerals, it is the only time the president, vice president and both houses of Congress congregate in the same location.

In addition to the swearing-in ceremony, the Inaugural Address and the Inauguration Parade, ten days of festivities surround Inauguration Day. The theme for the 2009 presidential inauguration will be “A New Birth of Freedom,” in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Inaugural events are expected to draw record-breaking crowds.

Be on notice! You cannot buy tickets to the swearing-in ceremony. Each Senator and Representative receives a limited quantity of free tickets to the swearing-in to distribute at their discretion. The only place you can get a ticket is from your Senator or Representative. No website or other ticket outlet has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. Tickets are not needed to attend the parade.

If you go, have a great time, and remember that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who wish they could be there too. Be patient with your fellow Americans. Remember, you’re representing!

(Photograph of Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln courtesy of The Library of Congress)


Presidential Appointments.

November 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Miscellany | Leave a comment
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While grazing around the internet today, instead of doing my actual work, I came across an interesting post over at DemConWatch.

Most of the appointments for the positions not requiring Senate approval appear to have been made already. DemConWatch has that list as well as a link to the positions requiring confirmation.

Looking at the lists is instructive in better understanding your government.

(Lithograph “Abe linking with his significantly named cabinet” courtesy of The Library of Congress)

our own role

November 29, 2008 at 11:32 am | Posted in Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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...the National Security Guard provided cover fire as the commandos descended from the helicopters Picture: AP

“[D]iscussions of our own role in spawning anti-American sentiment around the world is still more or less off limits in mainstream discourse, ludicrously demonized as “Blame America First” pathology from anti-American fringes on the radical Left and the isolationist Right.”

Glenn Greenwald

A thought which we would do well to remember in light of the events in India.

(Photograph courtesy of the UK Telegraph and the AP)

Iraq Signs for its new sofa.

November 28, 2008 at 12:48 am | Posted in Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment
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Close view of circular sofa and fireplace in the Blue Room of the White House, Washington, D.C. (1910-1920)

Close view of circular sofa and fireplace in the Blue Room of the White House, Washington, D.C. (1910-1920)


Steve Benen over at Political Animal does the heavy lifting to bring us this report:

IRAQI PARLIAMENT APPROVES SOFA…. Just 10 days ago, Iraq’s cabinet overwhelmingly approved a security agreement with the U.S. that calls for a withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2011. The measure then went to the Iraqi Parliament for approval, but success was not a given.

As it turns out, it passed rather easily.

Read the rest.

(Photograph courtesy of The Library of Congress, Reproduction No. LC-USZ62-97362)

Your President (Elect) Speaks.

November 25, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Historical, Miscellany, Obama! | Leave a comment
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Dr. Common-Sense's Great Cure

"Dr. Common-Sense's Great Cure,"

“I think what the American people want more than anything is just common sense, smart government. They don’t want ideology, they don’t want bickering.”

(h/t Political Animal)

(Cartoon courtesy of The Library of Congress; reproduction no. LC-DIG-ppmsca-07525; Cartoon shows Uncle Sam comforting a shabbily-dressed man (labeled “American Business”) and pointing to a large sign reading “Dr. Common-Sense’s Great Cure,” featuring a medicine bottle labeled “Courage and Energy.” Drawn during the Great Depression, the cartoonist suggests that business woes reflect a failure of will. [Winsor] McCay is most famous for his comic strip Little Nemo, published from 1905 until 1914, but in later years he was an accomplished editorial cartoonist.

The Bailout & Offshoring Jobs.

November 25, 2008 at 11:08 am | Posted in Economy | Leave a comment
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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Steve Clemons asks, “Then, why isn’t anyone asking the question of the CEOs of these firms about what their new social contract with America and working Americans should be after having their companies literally “saved” during this economic crisis? What if we see the funds from the bailouts go to increasing the rapidity of off-shoring to India, China, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia?”

Good questions. Let’s hope American taxpayers and workers get good answers.

(Photograph courtesy of The Library of Congress, reproduction no. LC-USZ62-94171)

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

November 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Cathedral Spires - Garden of the Gods, Colorado

Cathedral Spires - Garden of the Gods, Colorado

“The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is … refuted.”

Gregory Paul, author of “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies,” published in the Journal of Religion and Society

(Photograph courtesy of The Library of Congress, reproduction no. LC-DIG-ppmsca-17841; thanks to Pharyngula and The (UK) Times)

Our Country Deserves Better PAC

November 24, 2008 at 11:37 am | Posted in Reality Bites | 1 Comment
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Our Country Deserves Better PAC has a video up on Youtube thanking Sarah Palin for “serving the people of America with a servant’s heart.”

You know things are whack when there’s so little difference between “real news” and what’s in The Onion.

Documenting Our Loss.

November 23, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Economy, Office of the President, Reality Bites | 1 Comment
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Hilzoy over at Political Animal points us to one man’s documentation of what we have lost.

Bush Water Carrier Stricken Down by God? (UPDATE)

November 21, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Office of the President, Reality Bites, torture | 1 Comment
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Statue representing Water at Department of Justice, circa 1920

Statue representing Water at Department of Justice, circa 1920

Could be, could be.

“Attorney General Mukasey was roughly twenty minutes into a speech defending the administration’s torture policies and particularly arguing against prosecutions of people who made decisions in the aftermath of 9/11 (essentially arguing against what he believed amounted to the criminalization of policy differences).” (Talking Points Memo)

UPDATED: Apparently he simply choked on his words.

(Photograph courtesy of The Library of Congress, Call Number: LC-H814- 2292-004)

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