Obama's Inauguration: Congrats President Obama!

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Artist Shepard Fairey stands with his artwork titled, 'Barack Obama,' a mixed media collage, during its unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. Fairey's large-scale, mixed-media stenciled collage was the central portrait image for the Obama campaign and was previously distributed as a limited-edition print and as a free download
 

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This undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Secret Service shows the limousine that will make its debut at the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20



Barrack Obama may be getting a new set of wheels when he begins his term next year. No confirmation was given by Cadillac PR or the Secret Service, but spy photos showing a heavy-duty DTS-looking limo prototype rolling down the road have us thinking. After all, this has to be the most important part of the President-elect’s entourage.

Analysis of the spy shot reveals some interesting tidbits. The tires and wheels appear to have come from GM’s medium-duty trucks, and the bodywork -- especially around the A-pillars -- has been stretched to the extreme. The New York Times reasons that the car is actually based on GM’s 2500 series trucks.

It still has the Cadillac DTS appearance, but how much DNA remains is currently a mystery. And it will likely remain a mystery, given that construction priniciples of even retired presidential limousines are highly guarded, with the actual cars destroyed when their lifespan has come to an end. Considering the heavy-duty reinforcement and modification that goes into automobiles of the presidential flavor, we assume Obama's new ride will be nice, safe, and boring.

 

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'Anything possible,' Obama tells joyous crowd




WASHINGTON – Two days from the White House, President-elect Barack Obama joined a vast throng Sunday at a joyous pre-inauguration celebration staged among marble monuments to past heroes. "Anything is possible in America," declared the man who will confront economic crisis and two wars when he takes office.

"Despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead, I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure — that it will prevail, that the dream of our founders will live on in our time," the president-elect said at the conclusion of a musical extravaganza that featured U2, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and a host of other stars.

Obama and his family held the seats of honor at the event, and a crowd of tens of thousands spilled from the base of the Lincoln Memorial toward the Washington Monument several blocks away in the cold, gray afternoon of mid-January.

It was the high point of a full day of pre-inaugural events that included a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and a morning church service where children recalled the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama's motorcade drew ever-larger crowds as the day wore on and he and his wife, Michelle, and their children Sasha and Malia crisscrossed the city.

"Just another typical Sunday," deadpanned the Rev. Derrick Hawkins, pastor at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, where the soon-to-be first family prayed.

Of course it was anything but — a run-up, in fact, to the first inauguration of an African-American president in a nation founded by slave-owners.

Obama's aides said he was readying an inaugural address that would stress twin themes of responsibility and accountability, and they predicted he would devote his first week in office to economic recovery, setting in motion a 16-month troop withdrawal from Iraq and decreeing a code of ethics for his administration.

With the economy weak and growing weaker, banks in trouble and joblessness rising, Obama's team was careful to warn against any expectation that he would be a miracle worker once in office. "I think it's fair to say that it's going to take not months but years to really turn this around," said David Axelrod, a political strategist expected to have White House space mere paces from the Oval Office.

Obama said as much in his own brief remarks. "I won't pretend that meeting any one of these challenges will be easy. It will take more than a month or a year, and it will likely take many," he said.

He stood alone at the base of the steps before the statue of a seated Lincoln looking out at a crowd every bit as large as the one King addressed a generation earlier in his "I have a dream" speech that was a defining moment of the civil rights era.

An even larger audience is forecast for the inauguration outside the Capitol on Tuesday, with estimates running into the millions. Agencies in charge of logistics and security said they would enforce a ban on personal auto traffic across the Potomac River bridges from Virginia into Washington and seal off a large portion of the downtown area. Access to buildings along the Inaugural parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue was limited to those who gained Secret Service approval in advance.

Obama's day began at the Tomb of he Unknowns at Arlington National cemetery, where he and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden laid a wreath in memory of fallen heroes. The two men placed their hands over their hearts as a uniformed bugler played taps in a somber opening to a festive day.

The scene was quite different at the church a few miles away, where the congregation erupted in applause when Obama and his family walked to their seats.

"Understand that God has prepared you, and God has placed you, and God will not forsake you," Harkins told the incoming president.

Children sang and spoke selected readings that recalled King, killed in 1968.

"Martin Luther King walked so that Barack Obama could run," said one boy. "Barack Obama ran so that all children could fly," added another, standing a few feet away from the first African-American ever elected president.

At the Lincoln Memorial a few hours later, King's son, Martin Luther King III, had a brief speaking role.

For the most part, the program was a festival of music, the songs chosen to make their points. Mary J. Blige sang, "Lean on Me," Springsteen performed "The Rising," and Obama mouthed the words as 89-year-old Pete Seeger pitched in with "This Land is Your Land."

Many in the crowd sang along with Beyonce's soulful finale, "America the Beautiful."

In film clips at earlier moments, Obama was cast as heir to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and even Lincoln, who the president-elect said was "the man who in so many ways made this day possible."

As Obama moved around town in a pre-inaugural motorcade, his aides blanketed Sunday's interview programs.

With the nation facing the most difficult economic crisis since the Great Depression, they all agreed that recovery was the principal challenge facing the new president.

"What's important ... is ensuring that those that have had the short end of the stick for the last few years — make sure that they get the help that they need, that this administration begins to create the jobs and give some financial stability to families so that they can feel hopeful about going forward," said Robert Gibbs, who will serve as Obama's White House press secretary.

"Three million, 4 million jobs is going to make a very big difference," said Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser to the incoming president, referring to the goal Obama has set. "It all depends on psychology, but we are going to be leaning forward throughout this administration. The president's made it clear that our errors are not going to be of standing back."

The Democratic-controlled Congress has already made a quick start on the president's recovery program, clearing the way for use of the second $350 billion for the financial industry bailout created last fall, and launching an $825 billion stimulus measure. Democratic leaders have pledged to have the legislation ready for Obama's signature by mid-February.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also endorsed Obama's call for a summit meeting to begin controlling spending on huge government benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. She said even benefit cuts should be included as an option for discussion. "You put everything on the table. The only thing we didn't want to put on the table is eliminating" the programs, she added.

The Senate appears ready to confirm several of Obama's Cabinet appointees as soon as he signs the formal nomination paperwork on Tuesday, although not everything has been smooth for Obama and his transition team.

Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner's confirmation has been delayed for at least a few days because of his disclosure that he had failed to pay some federal taxes earlier in the decade. Bill Richardson withdrew as Obama's commerce secretary choice because of a grand jury investigation in New Mexico, where he is governor, and Obama himself was tripped up by controversy surrounding the appointment of his successor in the Senate.

Sen. Roland Burris D-Ill., was sworn in on Thursday — and swiftly voted with Obama to release the bailout funds. The president-elect and Senate Democrats had initially balked at allowing him to take the seat, saying his appointment was tainted because Gov. Rod Blagojevich faces criminal charges that he sought something in return for appointing Obama's successor.

Incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said in a televised interview that in his conversations with the governor, Blagojevich did not seek anything improper.

Pelosi and Gibbs appeared on Fox; Summers on CBS; Axelrod on ABC and Emanuel on NBC.
 

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Obama celebratory, solemn as he nears inauguration


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barack Obama approached his inauguration as the 44th U.S. president with a mix of solemnity and celebration on Sunday, laying a wreath at a military grave and then swaying along at a concert featuring Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce.

The events reflected popular excitement about his choice as the first black U.S. president tempered by anxiety about the fact that United States is fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and faces its worst economic crisis since the Depression.

Walking side by side, Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden placed a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns before braving a cold winter's day to take in a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the neoclassical temple that honors the 16th U.S. president.

The president-elect, an Illinois Democrat, often echoes Republican Abraham Lincoln, who led the country during the Civil War, ended slavery in the United States and who, Obama said on Sunday, "in so many ways made this day possible."

Accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha, Obama nodded, clapped and rocked along to the music at the concert, which included Stevie Wonder singing "Higher Ground" and U2 paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with "Pride (In the Name of Love)."

Obama sang along as folk singer Pete Seeger led the crowd in Woody Guthrie's patriotic anthem "This Land is Your Land."

Spliced between the songs, actors Denzel Washington, Laura Linney and Tom Hanks gave speeches that evoked past crises in U.S. history, including the Civil War, the Depression and the Cold War.

As Obama prepared to be sworn in on Tuesday he stressed the depth of the challenges that he faces, including the recession and the unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but said he was optimistic about the country's ability to face them.

'ENORMITY OF THE TASK'

"There is no doubt that our road will be long, that our climb will be steep. But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard," he said.

"Despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead, I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure, that it will prevail, that the dream of our founders will live on."

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in December, its highest level in nearly 16 years, and 2.6 million people in the United States have lost their jobs in the last year, the largest employment slump since 1945.

Obama has vowed to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to jolt the country out of a deepening recession. A New York Times/CBS News poll published on Saturday showed Americans were confident he could turn the economy around and were prepared to give him years to deal with the crush of problems he faces.

Obama has said he wants to bring U.S. combat forces out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office, but his ability to do so hinges on violence in the country continuing to decline and on the capabilities of Iraqi security forces.

He has also has committed to sending more U.S. forces to Afghanistan to tackle insurgent violence that has risen in recent years.

Becky Kusar, 29, a Democrat who voted for Obama and was visiting Washington with her husband and 3-year-old daughter, expressed both enthusiasm about Obama's election as well as anxiety about the economy and the war in Iraq.

"It's been scary," she said of the economic downturn as she stood in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. "I am really hoping that he has the actions to back up what he is saying."

Her husband, Carl, a Republican who did not vote for Obama was grudgingly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. "You've got to give everybody a chance, is what I say."
 

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Obama honors King on final pre-presidency day

WASHINGTON – Fresh off a rollicking celebration in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln, President-elect Barack Obama is shaping the final day of his pre-presidential life around another giant figure, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Even before Obama ventured from Blair House to join a community renovation project in honor of King, crowds started forming on the streets of the capital Monday morning. The attraction: remote broadcasts by television networks and local affiliates, and throngs of onlookers braved the cold to watch the live broadcasts.

Monday is the federal holiday commemorating the birthday of King, who advocated peaceful resistance and equality among all races. He blazed a trail for Obama, soon to be the nation's first black president.

The vice president-elect, Joe Biden, is also taking part in volunteer service. His wife, Jill, and Obama's wife, Michelle, are helping with a service project, too.

Transition aides declined to name the locations or details of the projects.

The run-up to Obama's inauguration on Tuesday has, like his election itself, been defined by enormous public enthusiasm, carefully choreographed events and a lofty spirit of unity. What awaits, as Obama often reminds the nation, is many months, if not years, of tough work.

The weekend celebrations began Saturday with Obama's whistle-stop tour, from Philadelphia to Washington, along the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861. Then came a roaring celebrity-filled concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, where several hundred thousand people flanked the reflecting pool, hearing actors, singers and then Obama himself rally for national renewal.

Now Obama is asking the nation to honor King's legacy by making a renewed commitment to service. That has long been the goal of the King holiday, even if many see it as a day off.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has launched a Web site, USAService.org, to help people find volunteer opportunities close to their homes.

"I am asking you to make a lasting commitment to make better the lives of your fellow Americans — a commitment that must endure beyond one day, or even one presidency," Obama said in a YouTube appeal last week. "At this moment of great challenge and great change, I am asking you to play your part; to roll up your sleeves and join in the work of remaking this nation."

The president-elect has a busy Monday evening, too.

He is to attend three private dinners to honor the public service of former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Biden, a longtime senator from Delaware; and Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. Those dinners will be held at the Hilton Washington, National Building Museum and Union Station.

Michelle Obama, the future first lady, is hosting a children's evening concert.

Meanwhile, with the nation's transition of power now just more than a day away, a new hero has been invited to join the inauguration.

US Airways Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, who safely crash-landed a failing jetliner in the Hudson River on Thursday, has been invited by the president-elect to attend Tuesday's inauguration. So has Sullenberger's crew and his family.

An aide to Obama said the inaugural committee is working on the details.
 

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural address is one of the most anticipated speeches in decades, with many expecting his words to be chiseled into marble some day.


Many expect Barack Obama's inauguration speech to compare to those given by Roosevelt and Kennedy.

Obama has said he has been studying previous inaugural addresses -- including President Abraham Lincoln's and the speeches President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave as he took office amid the Great Depression.

Given the nation's current economic crisis, Errol Lewis, a columnist for the New York Daily News, was looking for Obama to echo Roosevelt's famous 1933 inauguration address when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

"He's got to calm the nation. I think he's got to reassure the nation and let people know that we are in it for the long haul. If you look at that 1933 speech, that is pretty much what FDR did," Lewis said. Watch a preview of inauguration events »

"He wants to lift us up ... and all the aspirations we have, all the hope," Lewis said. "But at the same time, he has some very practical problems that start at 12:01 p.m., and he starts to own them at high noon. There are no easy answers."

Obama has already demonstrated his ability as a master orator, and many observers are looking for the new president's address to equal the great speeches by presidents Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

"He's got to give that great, soaring speech." CNN contributor David Gergen said. "I think the pressure is really on because of the historic nature of this presidency and also because of the extraordinary moment in which we find ourselves with this terrible recession." Watch what is expected from Obama's speech »

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"That is a lot to do in a single speech but, you know, because he has such a high reputation for giving excellent speeches ... the expectations for this one are just -- well, they're soaring," Gergen added.

But beyond the nation's immediate economic concerns, Obama's inauguration speech with also mark a national milestone: the inauguration of the first African-American president.

In his previous speeches, Obama has referred to another great African-American orator: the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who made a historic speech on the other end of the Mall. Obama is likely to refer to King and the dramatic struggles African-Americans have fought as they emerged from slavery and fought for full civil rights. Watch what Obama's presidency means to African-Americans »

"If you think about the journey that this country has made, then it can't help but stir your heart," Obama told CNN's John King during an interview Friday. "The notion that I now will be standing there and sworn in as the 44th president, I think, is something that, hopefully, our children take for granted, but our grandparents, I think, are still stunned by, and it's a remarkable moment."


The pressure on Obama to produce a speech for the ages not is limited to the public, Obama said.

After a family visit to the Lincoln Memorial, which has Lincoln's second inaugural address inscribed on its walls, Obama's 10-year-old daughter, Malia, turned her father and said, "First African-American president -- better be good."
 

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Obama cool and calm on eve of his presidency

WASHINGTON – If Barack Obama felt nervous about becoming president in a few hours, he didn't show it Monday, as he cracked jokes and breezed through a series of volunteerism events and bipartisan dinners. "I don't sweat," said the 47-year-old man about to inherit responsibility for two wars, an economy in crisis and the helm of the world's lone superpower. "You ever see me sweat?"

It was vintage no-drama Obama, who seemed determined to carry his not-too-high, not-too-low demeanor to the Capitol steps for his swearing-in Tuesday.

Aides said Obama felt fully prepared. He had practiced and polished his inaugural address, they said, and he was ready for a string of White House meetings Wednesday on the economy, Iraq and other issues that will dominate his first year in office.

Obama spent the day moving around Washington to celebrate public service and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, switching easily from self-deprecation to faux cockiness to calls for action.

"Make sure I do something simple," he told volunteers sprucing up Sasha Bruce House, a shelter for homeless teens in one of Washington's poorer neighborhoods. "Don't give me plumbing or electrical work."

He took a roller on an extension pole and began painting a dorm wall blue as reporters, photographers, volunteers and Secret Service agents jostled for space.

"That's a good stroke there, what do you think?" Obama said, admiring the smooth blue coat. "This is good practice because I'm moving to a new house tomorrow."

He quoted King as saying, "Everybody can be great because everybody can serve."

"Right?" he asked the late civil rights leader's eldest son, Martin Luther King III, who was almost overlooked while painting nearby.

"Right," King assured the president-elect.

Obama made a pitch for community service, his theme of the day.

"Given the crisis that we're in and the hardships that so many people are going through," he said, "we can't allow any idle hands."

But when onlookers pushed the earnestness too far, praising Obama's painting skills even more so than he had, he gently punctured the balloon.

"It's not rocket science," he said. "You take the pole and the roller, then you roll."

The day's most somber note came early, away from cameras. Obama spent about 80 minutes visiting 14 wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where journalists were kept away.

At lunchtime, he and his wife, Michelle, greeted several hundred people writing letters to U.S. troops and undertaking other volunteer tasks at a Washington high school. He kept his speech short, vowing to save "the best lines for tomorrow."

A few miles away, thousands of people streamed into downtown Washington and the National Mall, a prelude to the massive crowds expected Tuesday despite the cold, cloudy weather. They represented every age, race and region of the country, but Obama, celebrating King's birthday on the eve of becoming the first black president, spent much of Monday in some of Washington's most heavily black neighborhoods.

Hundreds of people who may be too young, too old or too wary of crushing crowds to brave Tuesday's ceremonies stood on their sidewalks and front porches Monday to wave and shout as his black limousine whizzed through streets north of the Capitol.

As he did throughout his campaign, Obama made little or no overt references to race, emphasizing instead the ties that bind all Americans.

"This country is great because of its people," he said at Sasha Bruce House. "Don't underestimate the power for people to pull together and to accomplish amazing things."

After an afternoon break at Blair House, the official residence where he is staying just across the street from the White House, Obama was to attend three private dinners honoring Vice President-elect Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican he defeated in November to win the White House.
 
B

bushman

Guest
In sandhill there was an up-side down american flag drapped over the balcony of a nice house.
 
M

mac g

Guest
Mellowman ......

In sandhill there was an up-side down american flag drapped over the balcony of a nice house.


Reply: Thanks for looking out bushman, feel free to send me the exact address of that house. We would certainly appreciate who these enemy among us are! THANKS IN ADVANCE.....
 

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A combination photograph shows U.S. President-elect Barack Obama (L) at a ceremony for his whistle stop train trip at the train station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania January 17, 2009 and Indonesian photographer Ilham Anas (R) chatting with his colleagues in his office in Jakarta January 17, 2009. Anas won't be at U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday. Instead he'll be starring as an Obama look-alike on Indonesian TV. Anas, 34, who from some angles bears a resemblance to the new U.S. president, shot to fame in Jakarta after Obama, 47, won the election in November, and is now earning income as an Obama double
 
M

Merciless

Guest
ra ss hole...me neva si dis kinda publicity from 'Belizean' of BELIZEANS.CUM fame fi di first black Prime Minister of Belize...Hon. Dean Barrow!...ra ss...u woulda think dat 'BELIZEAN'...yes BELIZEAN wuz di grandson ah Obama!...imagine...dis a belizean site and me not even si a belizean flag in di smiley section...oh yeah di american one di deh...and twice...:fyou
 

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Crowds pack frigid Mall for Obama's inauguration

Crowds pack frigid Mall for Obama's inauguration


WASHINGTON – Braving frigid temperatures, an exuberant crowd of hundreds of thousands packed the National Mall on Tuesday to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as America's first black president. He grasps the reins of power in a high-noon ceremony amid grave economic worries and high expectations.

It was the first change of administrations since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Crowds filled the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol for a glimpse of the proceedings and, in the words of many, simply "to be here."

Two years after beginning his improbable quest as a little-known, first-term Illinois senator with a foreign-sounding name, Obama moves into the Oval Office as the nation's fourth youngest president, at 47, and the first African-American, a barrier-breaking achievement believed impossible by generations of minorities.

Around the world, Obama's election electrified millions with the hope that America will be more embracing, more open to change.

The dawn of the new Democratic era — with Obama allies in charge of both houses of Congress — ends eight years of Republican control of the White House by George W. Bush. He leaves Washington as one of the nation's most unpopular and divisive presidents, the architect of two unfinished wars and the man in charge at a time of economic calamity that swept away many Americans' jobs, savings and homes.

Bush — following tradition — left a note for Obama in the top drawer of his desk in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the theme of the message — which Bush wrote on Monday — was similar to what he has said since election night: that Obama is about to begin a "fabulous new chapter" in the United States, and that he wishes him well.

The unfinished business of the Bush administration thrusts an enormous burden onto the new administration, though polls show Americans are confident Obama is on track to succeed. He has cautioned that improvements will take time and that things will get worse before they get better.

Culminating four days of celebration, the nation's 56th inauguration day began for Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden with a traditional morning worship service at St. John's Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House. Bells pealed from the historic church's tower as Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived five minutes behind schedule.

The festivities won't end until well after midnight, with dancing and partying at 10 inaugural balls.

By custom, Obama and his wife were invited to the White House for coffee with Bush and his wife, Laura, followed by a shared ride in a sleek, heavily armored Cadillac limousine to the U.S. Capitol for the transfer of power, an event flashed around the world in television and radio broadcasts, podcasts and Internet streaming. On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney pulled a muscle in his back, leaving him in a wheelchair for the inauguration.

Just before noon, Obama steps forward on the West Front of the Capitol to lay his left hand on the same Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration in 1861. The 35-word oath of office, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, has been uttered by every president since George Washington. Obama was one of 22 Democratic senators to vote against Roberts' confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2005.

The son of a Kansas-born mother and Kenya-born father, Obama decided to use his full name in the swearing-in ceremony.

The Constitution says the clock — not the pomp, ceremony and oaths — signals the transfer of the office from the old president to the new one.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution specifies that the terms of office of the president and vice president "shall end at noon on the 20th day of January ... and the terms of their successors shall then begin."

To the dismay of liberals, Obama invited conservative evangelical pastor Rick Warren — an opponent of gay rights — to give the inaugural invocation.

About a dozen members of Obama's Cabinet and top appointees — including Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton — were ready for Senate confirmation Tuesday, provided no objections were raised.

More than 10,000 people from all 50 states — including bands and military units — were assembled to follow Obama and Biden from the Capitol on the 1.5-mile inaugural parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue, concluding at a bulletproof reviewing stand in front of the White House. Security was unprecedented. Most bridges into Washington and about 3.5 square miles of downtown were closed.

Obama's inauguration represents a time of renewal and optimism for a nation gripped by fear and anxiety. Stark numbers tell the story of an economic debacle unrivaled since the 1930s:

_Eleven million people have lost their jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.2 percent, a 16-year high.

_One in 10 U.S. homeowners is delinquent on mortgage payments or in arrears.

_The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 33.8 percent in 2008, the worst decline since 1931, and stocks lost $10 trillion in value between October 2007 and November 2008.

Obama and congressional Democrats are working on an $825 billion economic recovery bill that would provide an enormous infusion of public spending and tax cuts. Obama also will have at his disposal the remaining $350 billion in the federal financial bailout fund. His goal is to save or create 3 million jobs and put banks back in the job of lending to customers.

In an appeal for bipartisanship, Obama honored defeated Republican presidential rival John McCain at a dinner Monday night. "There are few Americans who understand this need for common purpose and common effort better than John McCain," Obama said.

Young and untested, Obama is a man of enormous confidence and electrifying oratorical skills. Hopes for Obama are extremely high, suggesting that Americans are willing to give him a long honeymoon to strengthen the economy and lift the financial gloom.

On Wednesday, his first working day in office, Obama is expected to redeem his campaign promise to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq under a 16-month timetable. Aides said he would summon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Oval Office and order that the pullout commence.
 

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Inauguration security tight for festivities


WASHINGTON – Authorities monitored a rush of intelligence leads Tuesday at the largest security operation in presidential inauguration history, including a possible threat from an East Africa radical Islamic terrorist group.

Law enforcement and intelligence officials received information that people associated with a Somalia-based group, al-Shabaab, might try to travel to the U.S. with plans to disrupt the inauguration, according to a joint FBI/Homeland Security bulletin issued Monday night. The information had limited specificity and uncertain credibility, said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.

U.S. counter-terror officials have grown concerned in recent months about the threat posed by the militant al-Shabaab group and a cell of U.S.-based Somali sympathizers who have traveled to their homeland to "fight alongside Islamic insurgents," the alert reported.

Authorities stressed that the warning was posted as a precaution as part of the massive effort to monitor intelligence traffic and check out all leads in advance of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. Officials have warned that the inauguration poses an attractive target for terrorists because of the large crowds descending on the nation's capital and the historic significance of the country swearing in its first black president.

"As always, we remind the public to be both thoughtful and vigilant about their surroundings, and to notify authorities of any suspicious activity," Knocke said.

A senior law enforcement official familiar with the security effort said the Somali alert had been posted to make sure no effort was spared. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about security matters. The official said authorities have been monitoring suspicious chatter referring to the inauguration in recent days, but as of late Monday night, they felt comfortable with security preparations.

There was an unprecedented amount of security Tuesday, with thousands of law enforcement officers from 58 federal, state and local agencies working together. Sirens keening, squad cars and utility vehicles swept along downtown streets even before dawn, racing to cordoned checkpoints as crowds gathered.

Knocke said officials consistently monitor all threat information, as they always do.

"As always, we remind the public to be both thoughtful and vigilant about their surroundings, and to notify authorities of any suspicious activity," Knocke said.

There has been no change in the terrorist threat level, which remains at yellow — or elevated.

Just before 9 a.m. the U.S. Park Police closed the mall at 14th Street and were directing people to monument grounds due to the crowd size, Park Police spokesman Robert Lachance said.
 

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Ali salutes Obama at inaugural soiree

WASHINGTON – "The Greatest" saluted the nation's first black president at an inaugural soiree Monday night.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, celebrating his 67th birthday, was the guest of honor at a party for 1,400 that included other celebrities, lawmakers and native Kentuckians.

Ali will be sitting on the platform Tuesday when Barack Obama is sworn in as the nations first black president. And when that happens, Ali's wife predicts, a torch will have been passed.

"He wouldn't have missed this for the world," Lonnie Ali said after Monday night's Bluegrass Ball, a celebration of her husband's 67th birthday. Kentucky is the family's home state.

Muhammad Ali carried the dreams of a generation during his prime as an athlete, and later as a humanitarian.

"Whats interesting is that Muhammad had time to grow into his role as being a world humanitarian," Lonnie Ali said. Obama on the other hand "will inherit the world on his shoulders, not just the U.S. And it is a much heavier burden than I think Muhammad had to face.

"But I think (Obama's) his shoulders are broad," she added. "He and Muhammad are really made of the same fabric."

Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was the guest of honor at the Bluegrass ball, which hosted 1,400 people and was studded with other celebrities as well.

Native Kentuckian and actress Ashley Judd and artist Simon Bull unveiled a birthday gift to Ali — a pair of portraits of the boxer and Obama.

The two appear in the painting depicting a close-up of Obamas face looking off into the distance. Within the boundaries of the new presidents visage is a depiction of Ali as a boxer gazing over a fallen opponent — signifying a debt that Obama owes Ali and his fighting spirit, according to a release by the Muhammad Ali Center, which commissioned the portraits.

"You've got Barack Obama, whos the leader of the greatest nation on earth, and Muhammad Ali, who's the greatest of all time," mused Steve Buttleman, official bugler of Churchill Downs. "How appropriate is that? It's so fitting."

There was agreement from the mistress of ceremonies, former Kentucky first lady Phyllis George:

"The seriousness of what they've both done in their lives and how they've both brought people together, I'm just very proud to be a part of it," George said.

There's one thing that Obama holds over Ali, though, Lonnie Ali said. Obama's now probably more recognizable to more people around the world.

"I do believe you've been surpassed," Lonnie Ali said she told her husband.
 

dimple

Royal Cruffy
Reply: Thanks for looking out bushman, feel free to send me the exact address of that house. We would certainly appreciate who these enemy among us are! THANKS IN ADVANCE.....

Mac g are u recording the obama inaguration day speech and if you are can i please get a copy or sell me a copy . i would be much grateful thank you .:usflag:usflag:usflag
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
Obama takes office, saying choose 'hope over fear'

WASHINGTON – Stepping into history, Barack Hussein Obama grasped the reins of power as America's first black president on Tuesday, saying the nation must choose "hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord" to overcome the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

In frigid temperatures, an exuberant crowd of more than a million packed the National Mall and parade route to celebrate Obama's inauguration in a high-noon ceremony. They filled the National Mall, stretching from the inaugural platform at the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.

With 11 million Americans out of work and trillions of dollars lost in the stock market's tumble, Obama emphasized that his biggest challenge is to repair the tattered economy left behind by outgoing President George W. Bush.

"Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed," Obama said in an undisguised shot at Bush administration policies. "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America."

The dawn of the new Democratic era — with Obama allies in charge of both houses of Congress — ends eight years of Republican control of the White House by Bush, who leaves Washington as one of the nation's most unpopular and divisive presidents, the architect of two unfinished wars and the man in charge at a time of economic calamity that swept away many Americans' jobs, savings and homes.

Obama's election was cheered around the world as a sign that America will be more embracing, more open to change. "To the Muslim world," Obama said, "we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

Still, he bluntly warned, "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

Two years after beginning his improbable quest as a little-known, first-term Illinois senator with a foreign-sounding name, Obama moved into the Oval Office as the nation's fourth youngest president, at 47, and the first African-American, a barrier-breaking achievement believed impossible by generations of minorities.

He said it was a moment to recall "that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

Obama called for a political truce in Washington to end "the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

He said that all Americans have roles in rebuilding the nation by renewing the traditions of hard work, honesty and fair play, tolerance, loyalty and patriotism.

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

With the economy in a long and deepening recession, Obama said it was time for swift and bold action to create new jobs and lay a foundation for growth. Congressional Democrats have readied an $825 billion stimulus plan of tax cuts and spending for roads, bridges, schools, electric grids and other projects.

"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works," the new president said.

A mighty chorus of cheers erupted as Obama stepped to the inaugural platform, a midday sun warming the crowd that had waited for hours in the cold. There were some boos when Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney came onto the platform.

In his remarks, Obama took stock of the nation's sobering problems.

"That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood," he said.

"Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age," Obama said. "Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."

It was the first change of administrations since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Crowds filled the Mall for a distant glimpse of the proceedings or just, in the words of many, simply "to be here." Washington's subway system was jammed and two downtown stations were closed when a woman was struck by a subway train.

Bush — following tradition — left a note for Obama in the top drawer of his desk in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the theme of the message — which Bush wrote on Monday — was similar to what he has said since election night: that Obama is about to begin a "fabulous new chapter" in the United States, and that he wishes him well.

The unfinished business of the Bush administration thrusts an enormous burden onto the new administration, though polls show Americans are confident Obama is on track to succeed. He has cautioned that improvements will take time and that things will get worse before they get better.

Culminating four days of celebration, the nation's 56th inauguration day began for Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden with a traditional morning worship service at St. John's Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House. Bells pealed from the historic church's tower as Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived five minutes behind schedule.

The festivities won't end until well after midnight, with dancing and partying at 10 inaugural balls.

By custom, Obama and his wife, and Biden and his wife, Jill, went directly from church to the White House for coffee with Bush and his wife, Laura. Michelle Obama brought a gift for the outgoing first lady in a white box decorated with a red ribbon.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Obama and Bush climbed into a heavily armored Cadillac limousine to share a ride to the Capitol for the transfer of power, an event flashed around the world in television and radio broadcasts, podcasts and Internet streaming. On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney pulled a muscle in his back, leaving him in a wheelchair for the inauguration.

Just after noon, Obama stepped forward on the West Front of the Capitol to lay his left hand on the same Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration in 1861. The 35-word oath of office, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, has been uttered by every president since George Washington. Obama was one of 22 Democratic senators to vote against Roberts' confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2005.

The son of a white, Kansas-born mother and a black, Kenya-born father, Obama decided to use his full name in the swearing-in ceremony.

To the dismay of liberals, Obama invited conservative evangelical pastor Rick Warren — an opponent of gay rights — to give the inaugural invocation.

About a dozen members of Obama's Cabinet and top appointees were ready for Senate confirmation Tuesday, provided no objections were raised. But Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas indicated he would block a move to immediately confirm Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Still, she is expected to be approved in a roll call vote Wednesday.

More than 10,000 people from all 50 states — including bands and military units — were assembled to follow Obama and Biden from the Capitol on the 1.5-mile inaugural parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue, concluding at a bulletproof reviewing stand in front of the White House. Security was unprecedented. Most bridges into Washington and about 3.5 square miles of downtown were closed.

Among the VIPs at the Capitol was pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the hero of last week's US Airways crash into the Hudson River.

Obama's inauguration represents a time of renewal and optimism for a nation gripped by fear and anxiety. Stark numbers tell the story of an economic debacle unrivaled since the 1930s:

_Eleven million people have lost their jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.2 percent, a 16-year high.

_One in 10 U.S. homeowners is delinquent on mortgage payments or in arrears.

_The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 33.8 percent in 2008, the worst decline since 1931, and stocks lost $10 trillion in value between October 2007 and November 2008.

Obama and congressional Democrats are working on an $825 billion economic recovery bill that would provide an enormous infusion of public spending and tax cuts. Obama also will have at his disposal the remaining $350 billion in the federal financial bailout fund. His goal is to save or create 3 million jobs and put banks back in the job of lending to customers.

In an appeal for bipartisanship, Obama honored defeated Republican presidential rival John McCain at a dinner Monday night. "There are few Americans who understand this need for common purpose and common effort better than John McCain," Obama said.

Young and untested, Obama is a man of enormous confidence and electrifying oratorical skills. Hopes for Obama are extremely high, suggesting that Americans are willing to give him a long honeymoon to strengthen the economy and lift the financial gloom.

On Wednesday, his first working day in office, Obama is expected to redeem his campaign promise to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq under a 16-month timetable. Aides said he would summon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Oval Office and order that the pullout commence.
 
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Mellowvision

Every single Black person in this world is now free ! No longer can any other group justify hating us based on the color of our skin! They are now forced to look at us with respect and dignity... Or else!
 
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