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Archive for the ‘President-elect Obama’ Category

Countdown to Obama presidency as King remembered

Reuters

Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:45pm EST

By Matt Spetalnick and Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On the eve of his historic inauguration, Barack Obama joined on Monday in honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, underscoring racial barriers the Illinois Democrat overcame to be elected the first black U.S. president.

Taking time away from preparing for an address he will deliver when he is sworn in on Tuesday, Obama visited wounded troops at a military hospital and issued a call to Americans to remember King by recommitting themselves to public service.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors streamed into Washington for inaugural festivities but the celebration was tempered by the daunting challenges Obama will face — unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Obama’s inauguration, coming back-to-back with Monday’s federal holiday honoring King, has added to the deep symbolism of an African-American receiving the keys to the White House, which was built partly with the labor of black slaves.

“Today, we celebrate the life of a preacher who, more than 45 years ago, stood on our national mall in the shadow of Lincoln and shared his dream for our nation,” Obama said in a statement.

“Tomorrow, we will come together as one people on the same mall where Dr. King’s dream echoes still. As we do, we recognize that here in America, our destinies are inextricably linked. We resolve that as we walk, we must walk together.”

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VIDEO: Obama addresses the nation

RAW STORY
Published: Sunday January 18, 2009

Two days away from his swearing in, President-elect Obama addressed the nation at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday afternoon.

The Obamas, and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and his family, began the day on a somber note by placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, departing for Sunday church services.

Festivities commenced on the National Mall with musical performers and guest speakers. Musicians performing at the event included Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce Knowles, Mary J. Blige, Garth Brooks and U2’s Bono. The invocation was delivered by openly gay Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson.

President-elect Obama’s entire speech, as broadcast on CNN, is embedded below, followed by a full transcript.

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TRANSCRIPT:

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Your Inaugural Guide

Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:00:04 AM PST

With his “whistle stop” train journey from Philadelphia complete, today is the start of three days of celebration in Washington D.C., leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama this Tuesday. And whether you will be there in person, or watching from home or at work, here’s a guide on what’s happening, and how you can participate wherever you are, along with some handy information for those who will be braving the crowds and the cold.

Sunday, January 18th

In less than three hours, the We Are One celebration kicks off at the Lincoln Memorial, with President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden in attendance. Beginning at 2:30 (EST), there will be readings from Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington, and musical performances by Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder, among others.

  • While HBO owns the exlusive rights, they’ve made it available for free to television service providers across the country, so check your local listings, or watch it at HBO.com.
  • If you’d like to attend, the event is free and open to the public, with entrances at: Constitution Avenue at 19th Street, Constitution Avenue at Virginia Avenue, 17th Street at North Elm Walk, 17th Street at South Elm Walk, Independence Avenue at the DC War Memorial. Space will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Reflecting Pool area, JFK Hockey Fields and Constitution Gardens.

Also, beginning today and running throughout the next three days, the Presidential Inaugural Committee and The Trust for the National Mall, will run a public service announcement that “raises awareness about the current disrepair of the National Mall and urges Americans to help contribute to the restoration of this national treasure.”

“President-elect Obama believes that the National Mall belongs to every American, and that each of us can play a role in helping restore and preserve it for future generations … we are proud to broadcast the Trust for the National Mall’s PSA to help raise awareness of the needs of this iconic park.” said Josh Earnest, PIC Communications Director.

You can watch the video here.

Monday, January 19th

Monday marks the Renew America Together: National Day of Service, where the Obama and Biden families will participate in volunteer service, while asking you take part in events in your own community. There are already more than 10,000 service events scheduled across the country, and you can visit USAservice.org to find one in your area.

On Monday night, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will host the “Kids’ Inaugural: We Are The Future,” concert to honor military families. The event will be broadcast on the Disney Channel, simulcast on Radio Disney and streamed on Disney.com, beginning at 8:00 (EST). Performing will be the Jonas Brothers, and Miley Cyrus, among others.

Tuesday, January 20th

The day we’ve all been waiting for. Beginning at 11:30 (EST), the official inauguration ceremony will begin on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, with music, speakers, and the swearing in of Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden. And at 12:00, President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama will take the oath of office:

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

He will be sworn in by Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, Jr., using the same bible Abraham Lincoln used at his own inauguration in 1861.

President Obama will then deliver his inaugural address, after which he will escort George W. Bush to a departure ceremony (and a dark cloud will lift and slowly drift towards Texas).

Beginning at approximately 2:30 (EST), the 56th Inaugural Parade will begin from the Capitol, making its way down Pennsylvania Avenue before ending at the White House.

If you plan to attend the ceremony and/or parade, maps, locations of food and restrooms, and a list of prohibited items can be found here.

“The Neighborhood Ball: An Inauguration Celebration”

On Tuesday night, beginning at 8:00 (EST), and airing exclusively on ABC, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the first of their 10 inaugural balls, and this is one that you can take part in, no matter where you are:

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced interactive features using Internet and text technology to bring neighborhoods from across the country together in celebration during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball …

… There will also be live blogging from the Convention Center, so people can follow along online and get behind the scenes scoop.  Finally, neighborhood parties across America will be able to participate in the main event via both text message and online video.  People will be able to text in photos of their events and send video – both of which could appear in the television program.

Wednesday, January 21st

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. (EST), at the National Cathedral:

The newly-inaugurated President and Vice President of the United States will join with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths to celebrate the previous day’s events through prayer, readings, and musical performances. Reverend Dr. Sharon Watkins will be the first woman to deliver the sermon at this traditional Inaugural event. This event is by invitation only.

Helpful links for those attending inaugural events

  • Here’s all you’ll need to use Washington D.C.’s outstanding public transportation, the Metro: A map of the stations and lines, a schedule, and an easy how-to-use guide.
  • On Inauguration Day:

    Metrorail will operate rush hour service for 17 consecutive hours (4 a.m. to 9 p.m.), will stay open for two extra hours (until 2 a.m.), charge $4 for parking at its facilities…

    The U.S. Secret Service has deemed the Inauguration a special national security event and due to security measures, the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter station on Metro’s Green/Yellow Lines and the Smithsonian station on the Blue/Orange Lines, will be closed on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20. They will open after the parade, approximately at 6:30 p.m. Judiciary Square station on the Red Line will close at 4 p.m. and Mt Vernon Sq 7th St-Convention Center station on the Green/Yellow Lines will close at 7:30 a.m. due to their proximity to locations hosting Inaugural Balls. Both stations are scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21.

  • You can count on doing a lot of walking, and you can find printable maps with road closures and walking routes here.
  • The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be providing mobile updates for all events.
  • Courtesy of the District of Columbia, you can sign up for text alerts to receive information on traffic problems, scheduling delays or any emergency that may arise.
  • The Washington Post is offering “Survival Alerts,” to keep you up-to-date on the best routes out of the Mall and the city.
  • Twitter is offering its users live traffic alerts.
  • And it’s going to be a long day with limited food being available, so here’s a dining guide to the various city neighborhoods.

Odds and Ends

  • If you don’t have a T.V., you can watch the Inauguration ceremony here:

    >>>WATCH HERE<<<

      The countdown clock is just an added bonus.
  • If you want to check in now and then to see how the crowds are looking, check out this webcam for a cool view of the National Mall.
  • If you happen to take a great picture during the various events, submit it to the Presidential Inaugural Committee and your photo might make it into the Official Inaugural Book.
  • And what about the weather? Well, the bone-chilling cold of the past couple of days is over, but you’re still going to need to bundle up: Sunday, 39/27 with a chance of snow or rain showers; Monday, 31/21 and partly cloudy; and on Tuesday, 31/19 and mostly cloudy.

And finally, the bathroom situation. There will be somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 port-a-potties located throughout the Mall area, making this:

… the largest temporary restroom event in the history of the United States.

And you thought that watching Barack Obama being sworn in as President of the United States was going to be the historic event you witnessed.

[Note: Unless otherwise sourced, all information provided is from transition team press releases or found at Change.gov]

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Obama Express Whistle-Stop Tour Under Way

JENNIFER LOVEN and NANCY BENAC | January 17, 2009 06:30 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Invoking hope and history, President-elect Barack Obama rolled into the capital city Saturday night pledging to help bring the nation “a new Declaration of Independence” and promising to rise to the stern challenges of the times. He kicked off a four-day inaugural celebration with a daylong rail trip, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861.

Obama began his day in Philadelphia, where he said the young nation had faced its “first true test” as a fragile democracy. He ended it in Washington, where his own tests await after his inauguration on Tuesday.

The president-in-waiting drew on a grand heritage of American giants as he appealed “not to our easy instincts but to our better angels,” an echo of Lincoln’s first inaugural address. He took note of the enormous challenges that lie ahead and promised to act with “fierce urgency,” a phrase often used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Riding a vintage railcar on his whistle-stop trip to Washington, Obama carried with him the hopes of a nation weary of war, frightened of economic chaos and searching for better days. Vice President-elect Joe Biden joined the journey en route, from his home in Delaware, and spoke for many when he said he was excited and ready for Tuesday.

Then, sobered by the challenges of governing, Biden added: “I think it’s Wednesday we need to be ready.”

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Obama Has to Hold Bush Accountable for the Laws He Broke

By Elizabeth Holtzman, The Nation. Posted January 16, 2009.

Obama cannot let former Bush administration officials get away with breaking the law without violating his own oath of office.

President Obama, on his first day in office, can make a number of changes that will mark a clean break with the Bush presidency. He can, and should, issue an executive order revoking any prior order that permits detainee mistreatment by any government agency. He should begin the process of closing Guantánamo, and he should submit to Congress a bill to end the use of military commissions, at least as presently constituted. Over the coming months he can pursue other reforms to restore respect for the Constitution, such as revising the Patriot Act, abolishing secret prisons and “extraordinary rendition,” and ending practices, like signing statements, that seek to undo laws.

While these steps are all crucial, however, it is not enough merely to cease the abuses of power and apparent criminality that marked the highest levels of George W. Bush’s administration. We cannot simply shrug off the constitutional and criminal misbehavior of the administration, treat it as an aberration and hope it won’t happen again. The misbehavior was not an aberration — aspects of it, particularly the idea that the president is above the law, were present in Watergate and in the Iran/Contra scandal. To fully restore the rule of law and prevent any repetition of Bush’s misconduct, the abuses of his administration must be directly confronted. As Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen — recently tapped by Obama to head his Office of Legal Counsel–wrote in Slate last March, “We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation’s past transgressions and reject Bush’s corruption of our American ideals.”

What we need to do is conceptually simple. We need to launch investigations to get at the central unanswered questions of Bush’s abuse of power, commence criminal proceedings and undertake institutional, statutory and constitutional reforms. Perhaps all these things don’t need to be done at once, but over time–not too much time–they must take place. Otherwise, we establish a doctrine of presidential impunity, which has no place in a country that cherishes the rule of law or considers itself a democracy. Bush’s claim that the president enjoys virtually unlimited power as commander in chief at a time of war–which Vice President Dick Cheney defiantly reasserted just last month–brought us perilously close to military dictatorship.

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Conyers publishes massive report on ‘Imperial Presidency’

Raw Story- Stephen C. Webster
Published: Tuesday January 13, 2009

Report demands investigation of Bush administration’s abuses of power

Everyone wants to know: will Obama order investigations into the Bush administration’s abuses of power? But, perhaps a better question would be: if he doesn’t, who will?

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), it appears, will at least try.

Conyers published a 487-page report (PDF link) Tuesday titled, “Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the presidency of George W. Bush.”

Conyers’ report makes 47 recommendations “designed to restore the traditional checks and balances of our constitutional system,” reads the foreward. Recommendations include the establishment of a ‘blue ribbon’ commission to fully investigate the Bush administration, and the launch of criminal probes.

“Even after scores of hearings, investigations, and reports, we still do not have answers to some of the most fundamental questions left in the wake of Bush’s Imperial Presidency,” Conyers said in a release. “Investigations are not a matter of payback or political revenge – it is our responsibility to examine what has occurred and to set an appropriate baseline of conduct for future administrations.”

On Jan. 6, Conyers introduced a bill that, if passed, would create the “Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties,” which would seek to root out President Bush’s abuses.

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Osama Bin Laden Challenges Obama In Tape

LEE KEATH | January 14, 2009 10:18 AM EST | AP

CAIRO, Egypt — Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state in a new message aimed at harnessing anger in the Mideast over the Gaza offensive.

Bin Laden spoke in an audiotape posted Wednesday on Islamic militant Web sites where al-Qaida usually issues its messages. It was his first tape since May and came nearly three weeks after Israel started its campaign against Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.

The al-Qaida leader also vowed that the terror network would open “new fronts” against the United States and its allies beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. He said President-elect Barack Obama has received a “heavy inheritance” from George W. Bush _ two wars and “the collapse of the economy,” which he said will render the United States unable to sustain a long fight against the mujahedeen, or holy warriors.

“There is only one strong way to bring the return of Al-Aqsa and Palestine, and that is jihad in the path of God,” bin Laden said in the 22-minute audiotape, referring to the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “The duty is to urge people to jihad and to enlist the youth into jihad brigades.”

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