Monday, January 21, 2013

With modern digital television, you see much more of the Inauguration if you don't go; Obama speech makes equality for LGBT people a civil rights issue

Given the crowds and the cold wave coming through, it’s a lot easier to watch everything indoors on a high definition television screen.  I watched NBC, ABC, and CNN; CNN had the least intrusion from its own trademarks. 

Around 11:45 AM there was a stirring, "soul, spiritual" version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", not the Fred Waring version from the 1950s.

Joseph Biden retook the oath of office, and expanded statement, from Justice Sotomayor, at 11:55 AM, and at high noon, President Barack Obama took the public oath, a shorter sentence, from Justice Roberts.

The weather was cloudy, breezy and cold, about 40 degrees, with a few melting snow grains in the air as an Arctic cold front comes through.

Mrs. Obama and the two daughters made a interesting visual palette based on “the color purple”. 
The White House has its own growing account here

But everyone is talking about the detail into which the president went during his Inaugural speech. The President seems to be monitoring the Blogosphere and got into areas about the dual nature of personal responsibility actually somewhat known in libertarian circles, but not that often articulated in political speeches.  He said that freedom may be a gift from God, but its “execution” is up to people. "Preserving freedom for all individuals may require collective action."  He said that social safety programs do not make us a “nation of takers” (see Books blog, Dec. 2), but enables Americans to take the risks necessary (economically) to innovate and  (personally) to raise families, given the fact that unpredictable hardship can happen to almost anyone, regardless of his or her level of “personal responsibility”.   He said that some things cannot be done without common effort.  No one person, he said, can train all the math and science teachers we need.  (Is he referring to Salman Khan and his entertaining videos for teaching math and so many other subjects?)  Even so, he backed away from a heavy hand on volunteerism and national service. 

Some commentators compared him to Ronald Reagan, who emphasized individualism, by adding the importance of unity and collective action together.

Obama emphasized the importance on acting on climate change, so that we do not steal the planet from future generations or the unborn (turning conservative arguments on themselves).  He said that the free market needs consistent rules (regulation) to ensure a fair (and "just") playing field. 

He also spoke about Stonewall and Selma (and Seneca Falls) in one sentence, and said that equality for gay Americans should be seen as a civil rights issue.

The Los Angeles Times has already published this speech, here.  

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Kelly Clarkson sang "God Bless America". Beyonce sang the National Anthem, with a little embellishment at the end. There has been some controversy over whether Beyonce pantomimed the anthem from a recording, and whether the Marine Corps band, which had little time to prepare, did the same.
Poet Richard Blanco read the text of his "One Day" (here). 

After the speech, Anderson Cooper,  on CNN, explained in detail the history of the Stonewall “rebellion” in New York City in 1969.  Don Lemon interviewed some say men (both black and white), apparently from NYC, on the Mall. 

Later, on his own AC360, Anderson would explain that in the 1960s gays were not allowed even to congregate in bars without being harassed, and this changed quickly after Stonewall.  (There were, however, police false arrests in Dallas gay bars as late as 1980, when I was living there.)

The coverage (on all networks) then moved to the inaugural luncheon in the Capitol Rotunda. Only about 230 people are on the invitation list.  The actual dinner service is not televised.  I hope they didn’t serve Cornish game hen (like SLDN did in 2004).  Bill Clinton probably will have his vegan Portobello mushroom.

One picture here comes from a party at the Stonewall in NYC in March 2012.    


The parade included the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA), in purple.

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