President Barack Obama - A Grand Day In History

America's new First family includes President Barack Obama; Michelle Obama wearing a gold ensemble by fashion designer Isabel Toledo; and Obama daughters Malia and Sasha, both wearing J. Crew
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, two Chicago residents who've ascended to the White House
"At last," as Beyonce sang at the Neighborhood Ball. The Obamas are in there! President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha were a beautiful sight to behold at the swearing-in ceremony. What a handsome family, and so well-clad. The only sight rivaling their shimmering aura was the throngs of supporters -- the millions from around the country and world -- who descended on Washington for Obama's auspicious occasion.

So many memorable highlights today. Among them:

~ My thinking that Obama had flubbed that line while taking oath, only to learn that he'd been quite on point. It was Chief Justice John Roberts who was in err, giving Obama the line wrong.

~ George Bush emerging from the Capitol Building wearing an expression of controlled fear. Eyes suspciously jutting left and right as if on shoe-toss alert. "I gave it my all," an emotional former President Bush told the Midland, Texas, crowd that welcomed him back home today.

~ Michelle Obama wearing a stunning gold ensemble by former Anne Klein creative chief Isabel Toledo. Robin Givhan has dubbed Michelle Obama the First Lady of Style. (I would add "and Killer Eyelashes.")

~ Senator Ted Kennedy taking ill during the Congressional luncheon, lapsing into what's been reported as a "violent seizure." President Obama was among the first to rush to Kennedy's side, said CNN reporter Dana Bash. The revered senator was rushed to Washington Hospital and is said to be doing better now, thankfully.

~ A bevy of Hollywood and music industry stars in attendance and/or participating all day and into the night, from Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington and Aretha Franklin to Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce.

The Obamas enjoy their first official dance at the Neighborhood Ball, while Beyonce sang At Last from the movie Cadillac Records, a song made popular by Etta James. Mr. President wore Versace, the First Lady wore a white Narcisco Rodriguez ball gown
If this was our nation's wedding day to hope for the future with Obama, tomorrow begins what hopefully will be a nice, long honeymoon. Only time will tell.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Tribute on Obama Inauguration Eve

In 2006, I blogged about a troubling trend I discovered regarding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The essay, Martin Luther King: A Dream Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, tells how I was startled into awareness that there are childen who are clueless about why they have this day off from school, because of Dr. King.

The story centers on my being told by a blinged-out Chicago kid that Dr. King was a basketball player... that Dr. King's basketball skills had merited a nationwide tribute each year. So this blog post is dedicated to the childen of today and the future. If you are reading this in the year 2020 or 2050 or 3000, please imagine this...

Tomorrow, the United States will officially swear-in its first man of color as president: Barack Obama. It shouldn't matter, the color of his skin, but it has mattered greatly to many people for hundreds of years. And no one helped our nation understand this better than civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sadly, Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 for so effectively assuring the descendants of slaves of their God-given right to treatment and opportunities equal to any other hard-working American. For his non-violent approach to leading such a movement, Dr. King had even received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Countless people died and sacrificed to make tomorrow -- January 20, 2009 -- a noteworthy day on planet Earth. Had it not been for Dr. King's commitment to seeing fair treatment and opportunities for Americans of every ethnicity, it is highly unlikely that tomorrow we'd be seeing a handsome brown man named Barack Obama become President of the United States of America.

But Barack Obama is but one man of color who has achieved mightly. What Dr. King lived and died for was a dream of so much more for all people, for America.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute
In the Name of Love by U2 inauguration video remix

I Have a Dream by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Video)

Songs of Slavery (Video)

A More Perfect Union
Barack Obama Philadelphia Speech on Race & Rev. Wright (Video)

Yes We Can Can by Pointer Sister (Barack Obama slogan video montage)

America the Beautiful by Beyonce closing HBO Inauguration Concert (Video)

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Banks, TARP and An Electrifying Obama Option

It is past time for the banks who benefitted from the TARP (PDF of congress's update report) to come clean. Either pitch in or stop bleeding taxpayers dry. I've not seen this growing sentiment expressed with as much jolting juice as Thomas Friedman has here, in Time for (Self) Shock Therapy.

In his power piece, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggests that -- ASAP -- President Barack Obama call the top 300 bank CEOs to the White House for a tough talk. If Friedman had his way, Obama's words would go a little something like this:

..."Here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to unclog the arteries. My banking experts have analyzed each of your balance sheets. You will tell us if we’re right. Those of you who are insolvent, we will nationalize and shut down. We will auction off your viable assets and will hold the toxic ones in a government reconstruction fund and sell them later when the market rebounds. Those of you who are weak will be merged. And those of you who are strong will receive added capital for your balance sheets, after you write down all your remaining toxic waste. I am not going to continue rewarding the losers and dimwits amongst you with handouts.

Without this sort of come-to-Jesus strategy, we’re going to continue to just limp along...
Being that today is Sunday and I missed church, all I can say is, "AMEN, Reverend Friedman! Let us pray your electrifying words influence our new president."

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Barack Obama Inauguration News and Notes

Video - Barack Obama on the Inauguration, HBO Concert & King Day

There's so much excitement -- news, events and commentary -- surrounding the inauguration of Barack Obama as president that it's tough to grasp it all. But here are links to over a dozen reads and photography views I've appreciated or found thought-provoking. Hope you'll check some of them out!

  1. President-elect Barack Obama is asking all Americans to invest in a community service on Monday, the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visit the Obama-endorsed USAservice.org to find a local volunteer opportunity to give back and help Renew America Together.

  2. We Are One, the HBO sponsored concert celebration on Sunday. An HBO site says the action starts at 2:30 p.m. (ET). This USA Today article says it'll air at 7:00 p.m... Either way, President-elect Barack Obama will be joined by a constellation of Hollywood and music stars including Denzel Washington, U2, Jamie Foxx, Beyonce, Herbie Hancock, Springsteen, John Legend, Tom Hanks, Steve Carrell, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Tiger Woods and many others. Also, CTV.ca offers a roundup of other celebrities who'll participate in more official ways such as Oprah, Aretha Franklin and Yale professor Elizabeth Alexander, who's been chosen by Obama to pen and deliver an inaugural poem.

  3. Jesse Holland, author of Black Men Built the Capitol, blogs about the ironic context of the space in which America's first black president will be sworn-in. Most of the great government buildings in Washington, DC were constructed by slaves. In his book, Holland tells the stories in great detail.

  4. Meet "The Beast" -- the custom Cadillac debuting on January 20. It's sleek enough to allow a newly minted President Barack Obama a fresh gangsta lean. Yet, Obama's presidential 'Lac offers top-secret security features.

  5. Courtesy of Politico.com, this PDF of a long-lost essay written by the future president's Kenyan father, Barak H. Obama, on African socialism after studying economics at Harvard.

  6. NPR invited notable poets and writers to submit Inaugural Poetry, with Nikki Giovanni, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Calvin Trillin heartily responding.

  7. At New York Times, favorite humor columnist Gail Collins nailed it on Imagining the Inauguration, suggesting the many ways that we'll "miss-remember" Obama's big day.

  8. Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer Robin Givhan has penned First Lady as Fashion Leader at the Washington Post. About the tradition and psychical role Michelle Obama will have among first fashionistas Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, and other presidential honeys.

  9. At Democracy Now, Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson an journalist Glen Ford explore whether Barack Obama can address African American issues.

  10. Advertising columnist Stuart Elliott at New York Times offers This Is a Special Keepsake Inauguration Column, highlighting how major brand marketers from Pepsi-Cola to Ikea are marking (or marketing) the inauguration.

  11. Frontline provides wonderful preview video clips of its biographical DVD, Dreams of Obama. And at Time.com, you might like the Barack Obama in college photos taken by Lisa Jack.

  12. Considering an Obama themed menu for your inaugural celebration? Check out recipes for Kenyan Cabbage and Chicken Curry; popular Hawaiian Luau recipes at Aloha; Malaysian dishes such as Ginger and Soy Roast Chicken; and -- of course -- our beloved Chicago-style Italian Beef sandwiches!

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George Bush Legacy Videos and Links

Barack Obama joins every living American president in photograph at White House power lunch @ New York Times
At his last official press conference yesterday, a defensive President George Bush said that people had misunderestimated him. Deconstruct that statement and you might agree: Bush has never uttered a righter word.

For better or worse, America is forever married to the Bush mob's footprint. As his legacy, President Bush leaves America a lot wiser about who we as a nation aspire to be, and how vigilant we must remain about the integrity of America's promise. We should thank him for revealing to us the following, all of which somehow will make us better:

~ AIDS Burnishes Bush Legacy in Africa (Claire Null @ Associated Press)

~ Eight Years of Madeoff (Frank Rich @ New York Times)

~ Bush Would Leave Legacy He Never Imagined (NewsDay)

Video - George Bush Bloopers:

Video - Real War Images / Iraq and Afghanistan:

Video - Barack Obama The Empire Strikes Barack:

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Presidential Inauguration Honoring President Barack Obama

Did you know that President Barack Obama has chosen “Renewing America’s Promise" as his official 2009 inauguration theme? If you love it like I do, can I get a what-what for the official events that promise to launch getting the dirt off America's shoulders? If you're planning to take part in the inaugural festivities for our nation's restoration, here's a round-up of Barack Obama presidential inaugural news you might find interesting.

~ Want to attend the presidential inauguration, but have no clue where you can get a hotel at this late date? Well, Crash the Inauguration says it can deliver accommodations in Washington, D.C. and many other last-minute logistics you need such as car rental.

~ Search engines not turning up inauguration tickets to the various inaugural events? Get Tickets offers you access to a long list of event tickets including the Inaugural Parade, Swearing in Ceremony, and Inaugural Ball. In fact, if you want to see a good list of most of the key events scheduled, just go to Get Tickets for an overview.

~ Curious about who to thank for sponsoring many of the inaugural events you may be privvy to attend in Washington? The Wall Street Journal says many Wall Street bail-out executives and employees banned together as the largest Obama inaugural contributors. They've provided about $25 million of the nearly $28 million that Obama's organization has raised for the festivities. We, the common taxpayers, are only funding $10 million of what's estimated will be a $50 million inauguration for President-elect Obama.

~ What about concerts? Jay-Z, President of the Hip-hop Nation, has a don't-miss mega concert set for the Warner Theater on Jan. 19th -- live band and all! Can't you just imagine super-cool President Obama and the entire crowd going wild when Jay-Z performs Dirt Off Your Shoulders? Little did Jay-Z and producer Timbaland know back in 2006 that the hip-hop beat they collaborated on would have a role in inspiring the nation's first African American president to stay focused and get the job done. Yep!

~ Dionne Warwick is throwing an inauguration party at the Marriott Wardman featuring George Clinton and Chaka Khan. Sting, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Rihanna and Bruce Springsteen also are said to have music performances in the works celebrating President Barack Obama. Numerous smaller concerts at some of D.C.'s great jazz, blues, reggae, hip-hop and other clubs are listed here.

~ Just need to see just all the options and activities in one place? Check out Inauguration Central at the Washington Post. Here's an exhaustive number of links to every angle of Obama's big day you may be interested in.

~ And if you're in D.C. the day prior to the inauguration, join The Root in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Root is organizing a clean up of Marvin Gaye Park, asking students and adults with the holiday off to give some sorely-needed love to this overgrown space. Obama and Joe Biden are planning to attend many of the local MLK Day community events the day prior to Inauguration Day. Don't know if this is one of them, but it sounds like it should be. Let the uprooting begin!

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"Urban Islands" Photo Gallery | Viqi French