Tag Archives: inauguration

WNYMedia.net’s Brian Zabka at the Inauguration

24 Jan

WNYMedia At The Inauguration

23 Jan

WNYMedia staff videographer Brian Zabka traveled to the Obama inauguration and captured some video for us.  We didn’t send him with a high quality camera due to his being in the throbbing sea of humanity, but he made it work with a handheld.

On JetBlue Yesterday

21 Jan

That whole live TV at your seat thing? Yeah, that’s an awesome selling point for a great carrier.

Via Jetblueflickr at Flickr

Not Just Another Tuesday

20 Jan

Last night, the sun set on the Bush Administration. It’s been a long time coming.

In 2000, I was a Republican living in Massachusetts. I had volunteered for, and voted for, McCain in the primary. I still vividly remember why. In late 1999, a Republican presidential debate was held in Iowa. The question was: “what ‘political philosopher or thinker’ he identified with most”.

Bush was the third to answer, and he said:

Christ, because he changed my heart.

Moderator John Bachman pressed for more and Bush added: “When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life. And that’s what happened to me.”

That was my WTF moment. Jesus Christ is a political philosopher? Or a philosopher of any kind? The problem was that every other candidate – a group that included the likes of Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer – practically tripped over themselves not to be out-Jesused by George Bush. It was a shockingly embarrassing display of phony piety, and it had a lot to do with my ultimate departure from a party that was eschewing policies of fiscal responsibility and intelligent foreign policy for something strangely exclusionary and filled with hatred masquerading as compassion or love. To his credit, the only candidate who answered the moderator’s question without invoking Jesus Christ was John McCain, who cited Teddy Roosevelt.

In November, I voted for Al Gore. If there was one politician whom I didn’t trust, who I thought could do real damage to this country, it was George W. Bush. In 2004, I voted for Wes Clark and then John Kerry, seeing that the war in Iraq was being prosecuted poorly, regardless of the rationale (ultimately faulty) for getting involved there in the first place.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which occurred within mere days after I moved to Buffalo, Bush suddenly had the virulent support of a vast majority of the population. The country suddenly had the support of the entire world. It took a special kind of wrongheaded hubris to squander all that. George W. Bush leaves office as the least popular President in recent American history, leaving us with an economic failure of epic proportions, a war that drags into its 6th year, and another than worsens into its 8th.

Barack Obama will be sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States. I voted for him, I volunteered for him, and I advocated for him on this site since January 2008. I wish him – and us – the best luck over the next four years.

While some Republicans scoff at his supporters’ allegiance to Obama, and try to be droll about not having to pay their mortgages anymore, thoughtful people understand that the crises that Bush leaves us with cannot be fixed overnight by magic. They will take hard work and tough decisions.

Hope and change were the winning themes of the 2008 election. Hope, because Bush didn’t inspire any in average people. Change, because the last eight years are perceived by most Americans in a negative light.

It’s time for America to behave like America again.

It’s time for America to again strive for excellence, for progress, for greatness.

We don’t have to agree on everything. But we can agree that everyone wants the best for America. We can debate and argue and disagree, but not accuse the other side of being unpatriotic. I believe, and I hope, that we will enjoy over the next 4 – 8 years a President and an Administration that listens, contemplates, and deliberates. Decisions can no longer be made by gut reaction, ideological purity, or pitting rivals against each other, but instead based on thought, data, and evidence.

Improving our standing abroad, ending the wars with political stability and viable nation-states, always being vigilant against the threats of terrorism at home and abroad, but not mortgaging our civil liberties and freedoms in aid of that vigilance. Lurching our aging, crumbling infrastructure into the 21st century, coming up with a rational urban policy that gives an inner city kid the same shot as a suburban kid to get ahead in life, improving schools and ensuring that kids stay there, guaranteeing that the United States is no longer the last remaining industrialized western democracy that fails to offer health care to any citizen who needs it. This is a fundamentally bourgeois country that has somehow operated lately on the assumption that it’s the superwealthy who power the economy, rather than the middle and working classes who actually do the work. Paris Hilton doesn’t need another tax cut. Entrepreneurs and businesses need to be treated fairly and competitively when it comes to taxation, but if the last few years have taught us anything, regulations to protect investors and consumers need to be investigated and enforced.

These are but some of the building blocks of getting the country back on the right track and fixing what ails us. I feel as if the country will lurch itself out of a period of being a tantrum-prone toddler or sullen, obnoxious teenager; a period where selfishness was king.

Obama will be inaugurated today, and the hard work finally can begin. I wish him – and us – good fortune and success.

Rick Warren & The Invocation

21 Dec

1. I haven’t opined at great length about Obama’s cabinet appointments because I frankly don’t have time to research each and every one and find out why they’d be a good or bad pick. There’s only so much time in the day and so many things to care about. Whether Bill Richardson goes to Commerce or Arne Duncan goes to Education, it is hardly something I feel qualified to write about. K? THX.

2. Rick Warren is some evangelical preacher who doesn’t like teh gays and is going to give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. Understandably, a lot of Obama supporters are up in arms about thisespecially gays. They can’t imagine why Obama would pick someone to participate in the inauguration who equates gay marriage with pedophilia. By all accounts, Rick Warren is a real jackass when it comes to that particular issue. I have no idea, and don’t care to learn, about what his views are on other political matters.

And so what?

Barack Obama doesn’t have to only invite people who share each and every one of his political views. He doesn’t have to meet with or include only people who support gay marriage – a position Obama himself hasn’t adopted. Anyone who demands doctrinal rigidity and complete obeisance to his own views is going to be sorely disappointed.

But even deeper than that is who Obama was as a candidate – what made him so appealing to so many people. He specifically said that this isn’t a red and blue America, but a United States of America. We can’t reject the help of people, or their support, or fail to include them just because we differ strongly on a position or three. Rick Warren reached out to Barack Obama and opened a dialogue with him that other evangelists wouldn’t have done. While John Hagee and other wealthy Southern tent revival preachers with Breitling watches all but called Obama a Muslim jihadi quisling-in-waiting, Warren and Obama discussed their differences and how they could reach common ground in spite of them.

Not just that, but by reaching out to the megachurch evangelicals, Obama undercuts the notion that never the twain shall meet or discuss or agree.

It’s like the idiotic and short-sighted failure of a policy whereby we’ve broken off diplomatic relations with Cuba – CUBA!? What the hell kind of threat is Cuba? What are they, going to rust us to death? Are their collective sugarcane farms going to forment socialist revolution among our own lumpenproletariat? Of course not. Cuba is no more or less offensive or unpalatable than any other authoritarian dictatorship with which we trade, exchange diplomatic missions, or to which we permit travel. By turning our backs on Cuba for so long, we’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. Cuba, on the other hand, gets to point its finger at the bad old US, which has a Bay of Pigs sequel up its sleeve any day now. Instead of destabilizing the Castro regime(s), we’ve emboldened and strengthened them.

We elected Obama partly to get away from the deep cleaves that have affected our society and our politics over the past 8 misbegotten Bush years. We elected him to try and end the culture wars and engage in dialogue. People can’t always be expected to agree on every single thing. But we can respect other people’s views and try to find common ground.

Think of it this way: it was less than a decade ago that then-governor Howard Dean legalized homosexual civil unions in Vermont. That was met with outrage and amazement. The right and the evangelicals were up in arms. Now? The same right wingers promote civil unions over gay marriage. Dean’s revolutionary decision is now the fallback, moderate position.

Obama’s decision to invite Warren is as appropriate as any pick would have been, in keeping with his promises of an inclusive, non-confrontational government, and politically brilliant.


16 Nov

1. The New York Times discovers Buffalo architecture.

Like the argument that our lack of traffic is a selling point,

ONE of the most cynical clichés in architecture is that poverty is good for preservation. The poor don’t bulldoze historic neighborhoods to make way for fancy new high-rises.

Also, Jon Stewart was at UB last night, and no I didn’t go. Grumble grumble. He did have these zingers, though:

Stewart began with some comedic jabs at Buffalo, referring to the city as “the gateway to Fort Erie” and discussing how much pride Buffalo takes in “inventing a bar food” – a reference to chicken wings, which are a Buffalo classic.

and I liked this:

One of the best lines of the night came when Stewart was discussing how we have the world’s best military but we are only 26th in education. (Note: That was his statistic. But all the surveys and rankings I have seen show us to be anywhere but first.) Stewart’s zinger in response to the fact we have a top-notch military but a not-so great education system? “Smart bombs. Stupid fucking children.”

2. If you want tickets to the Inauguration, like just about everyone, you can enter Senator Schumer’s lottery for 350 tickets here. Follow the instructions carefully.

3. If you gave money towards the passage of California Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage and very well may constitute divorce by plebiscite, expect to show up here. As TBogg says, blowback is a bitch.

4. Eliot Spitzer took time out from being disgraced to pen an opinion piece about how best to keep the markets in check.

5. Dick Cavett on the “Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla”:

Matt Lauer asked her about her daughter’s pregnancy and what went into the decision about how to handle it. Her “answer” did not contain the words “daughter,” “pregnancy,” “what to do about it” or, in fact, any two consecutive words related to Lauer’s query.