Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government United States News Politics

Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US 1656

Posted by timothy
from the worst-job-in-the-whole-world-but-the-best-perks dept.
Just before noon today, Eastern time, Barack Obama was sworn in before the US Capitol building as the 44th President of the United States (Whitehouse.gov has already been updated to reflect the new President), and offered an inaugural address which outlined some of the challenges that the country currently faces, both within the country's borders and abroad. Obama's election has been called "a civil rights triumph," and his candidacy has inspired perhaps the most visible political involvement of young voters of any candidate since John Kennedy. Here's your chance to discuss the newest occupant of the White House and what you'd like to see happen over the course of his presidency.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US

Comments Filter:
  • by XanC (644172) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:12PM (#26531759)

    ...not going to happen, under this or any administration I fear.

  • So ... change ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DikSeaCup (767041) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:16PM (#26531841) Homepage
    How soon are you going to see it?

    What exactly do you think is going to change?

    For better or for worse?

    I don't know. I'm just suddenly very pessimistic about the whole thing. Guantanamo is probably a step in the right direction ... but when you're talking about a journey (of a committee, mind you, since it's not just the president running the country), it's going to be so easy for steps in the wrong direction to occur.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm an American. Proudly so. I voted for Obama. But I just wonder ... what, really, can he do? What will he do? And in the end, will most of us be happier about it?
  • As Spock once said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:17PM (#26531905)

    "After a time, you may find that 'having' is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as 'wanting.' It is not logical, but it is often true."

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:19PM (#26531943)

    Otherwise, he's a party to discarding the rule of law.

  • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:19PM (#26531945) Homepage

    You know, as a geek and an American who's concerned with his personal privacy, there was a single issue which I really took to heart during GWB's presidency and that was telecom immunity (a retroactive law mind you). When Obama went back and ended up supporting it and then continued to support it even into his presidency [wired.com], I really had to take the whole "Change" mantra with a big grain of salt.

    While I have been watching my Twitter log scroll by with people saying they are in tears over this historic moment and the supposed changing of the guard as President Bush left office, I just have to wonder how much really will "Change". And obviously, at least one very important issue, which should be a priority of all Americans, is being overlooked because someone is promising a whole bunch of shit which probably doesn't matter much.

    Yet, something which goes against the Constitution is going to be swept under the rug as not all that important because we have a great speaker who appeals to the masses with his great voice, speeches that blow the out-going fool's away, and his supposed "fit" chest as was shown round the world via the media's obsession with the man.

    I'm all for a new leader, God knows we needed someone better than GWB 4+ years ago. But man, "Change" is relative I guess. YMMV.

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:20PM (#26531995)
    A friend was posting on Facebook about how Obama is just another politician and nothing's going to change and that those who are getting caught up in the hype are just slaves to the American propaganda and prone to idealism and naivete.

    I disagree.

    Here's my response to him.

    "Let us believe the world just might become a better place. Let us believe that people can be better - that people _want_ to be better. The world will only become better if people believe. Once people stop believing then they stop trying. I know it sounds fortune-cookie naive pie-in-the-sky but the only way for things to get better is for people to want things to get better and believe they can. Obama is a lightning rod symbol of that desire for Americans (and many around the world). He may be just another politician but he's also a symbol. Like Kennedy, like King, like so many others - he's just a man who's human in all the same ways we're human but he's also a symbol of so much more."

    Yes, I know it's a bold thing to liken Obama to Kennedy and King but, I'm sorry, I get flashes of both great men when I watch Obama speak. He possesses an enormous amount of charisma and motivates people and fills them with hope. Yes, I know he's a politician. Yes, I know he's just another man - he's just human. Yes, I know he'll be a politician in every sense of the word. But I also know what he's done to people. He's filled people with hope at a time when hope is a very rare commodity. He's invigorated a nation. He's made everyone believe that the world will be a slightly better place and helped them look forward to the future rather than dread it.

    If you believe he's just another politician; if you believe he's going to be a big flop and disappoint and all that garbage, do yourself a favour and, more importantly, do everyone around you a favour and shut up. Keep your thoughts to yourself. You're allowed to have them and I won't take that away from you but, at a time when people are filled with hope and idealism, let them be. Don't try to shatter that hope. Don't try to wave away that idealism. Let the world be a slightly better place for those thoughts and emotions. It may be naive. Whatever. That's not a bad thing though. A bad thing is shitting on everyone else's parade.

    Today, the world becomes a slightly better place. Be happy. be hopeful. Or shut up and let the rest of us be happy and hopeful.
  • Fantastic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pz (113803) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532013) Journal

    He used the words "data" and "statistics" in his inaugural address in a positive tone, without being the slightest bit derisive. He said that he would, "restore science to its rightful place." There is hope for the US.

  • Already a victory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bemopolis (698691) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532017)
    He acknowledged that nonbelievers are American citizens, and reaffirmed the separation of church/state and science.
  • by Duradin (1261418) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532021)

    And don't forget he's a politician.

    Things won't change one bit until we stop electing professional politicians.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532023)

    Did you have something in particular in mind? I ask because a lot of "limit the government" types have curious ideas about what the constitution authorizes and forbids.

  • by StreetStealth (980200) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532031) Journal

    We can't have a perfect union. But we can still try to make it a more perfect one, right?

  • by Necroman (61604) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:22PM (#26532045)

    I did the the old fashion way, and went home for a bit and watched on my TV. It's times like this where the internet just isn't setup to handle. TV is great at distributing the same stream to million and millions of people. While the Internet is built around the concept of everyone having a unique connection to services.

  • Re:Well, I for one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bruiser80 (1179083) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:23PM (#26532067)
    Informative tag.... only on Slashdot... ;-)
  • Re:Fantastic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:24PM (#26532109) Homepage Journal
    Indeed. Plus its nice having a president who doesn't embarrass you when publicly speaking.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:26PM (#26532143)
    If you let the last eight years hold you back from being a real human being how much of a difference can the change of a president make?

    And, seriously, since what is essentially the same congress is in session under Obama as was under Bush do you really think there is going to be a heavy swing in policy? They had a chance to at least fight Bush but nothing was really done.

    I'll let the man do what he wants, I have no recourse in that matter anyhow, but I'm not going to blame everything in the last eight years on one man. Putting every failure in a nation of 300 million on the shoulders of one man isn't a very progressive way of thinking. And sadly enough to think that another single person is going to turn everything around isn't a very realistic way of thinking either.

    Maybe if "The People" (as in The Constitution) weren't so complacent as to wait for the government to hold our hands we wouldn't be facing what is really the build up of decades of neglect. Again, one man didn't make this mess and one man isn't going to turn it around. He can sure inspire some people but that's about as good as people holding to a new years resolution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:29PM (#26532237)

    Sounds like the Bush Doctrine applied to the new dissenters.

    Change we can believe in.

  • by Carl_Stawicki (1274996) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:29PM (#26532249)
    Most of We The People wouldn't know the Constitution from the holes in their asses, pick and choose the parts of it they want to pay attention to and modify the meaning of other parts to their liking, or simply don't care what it has to say in the first place.
  • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:29PM (#26532255) Journal

    I think one of the most amazing things about it all is how the replacement of one individual can really change the mood of so many people. Not just in the USA, but in the whole world. It's incredible how despite of all the bad decisions made over the previous administration, citizens of so many other countries are willing to give America the benefit of the doubt.

    I believe that we should show some gratitude for that willingness to forgive, and we can express that gratitude by tempering our cynicism, and giving the new administration a decent chance to try some things. I think that a large portion of the country is willing to do so, hopefully the obstructionists can be drowned out by people who still feel that it's worthwhile to be hopeful.

    But either way, if Obama tries to do even 5% of what he's said he wants to do, I'm having a hard time imagining how things could be run much worse than what we've survived through for the past eight years.

  • Re:And then,... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymusing (1450747) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:29PM (#26532261)
    The real question for Obama voters -- will he still respect us in the morning?
  • Re:Chanj (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmcraff (61718) <gmcraffNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:29PM (#26532265)
    <lol>Wud hav had it neway</lol>

    On November 3rd, 2004, one could predict that there would be change happening on January 20th, 2009. One could predict that the 44th president of the United States of America would be inaugurated.

    It is now the responsibility of the 44th President to ensure that there will be an orderly transition of power to the 45th President. It is also his responsibility to ensure that there will be an orderly transition to the 100th President, and the 200th President, and so on.

    So Help Barack H. Obama, God. So Help Us All.
  • by TDyl (862130) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:29PM (#26532267)
    Well said. This is a day the whole planet can celebrate.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:31PM (#26532311)

    Do you believe that there is any difference between the best Presidents we've had and the worst?

    If you say "yes", then change is possible.

    If you say "no", then change is not possible.

    I say that there is a HUGE difference between the best and the worst. But the problem is not just the Presidency. The best President can be hampered by the worst Congress. Obama may be a good President. He may even be a great President. But he's hampered by Congress. And I believe that this Congress is one of the worst.

  • by brez180 (832822) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:31PM (#26532313)
    Your response is to tell him to shut up? Brilliant.
  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:31PM (#26532325) Homepage Journal

    All right, now how about the separation of corporation and state?

  • Re:Fantastic (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:33PM (#26532357)

    He said that he would, "restore science to its rightful place." There is hope for the US.

    You're assuming that his "rightful place" and your "rightful place" is the same.

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:33PM (#26532359)

    "Having" Bush as ex-president is quite a pleasing thing.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:34PM (#26532385)

    Let's face it, none of us knows what he will do or if it will work. We looked at the choices available and made a decission, some with our minds and some with our hearts. Personally, I voted for Obama because his public stances agreed with mine on most issues while he also appeared intelligent and elequent.

    The decisions he's announced (and that have been leaked) so far seem to validate my decision. More money spent on infristructure (both digital and physical), closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison, and denouncing harsh interrogation practices are all good places to start.

    That being said, our nation and our world is in for a tough decade which will undoubtably involve countless difficult decissions. Like many difficult decisions, I fully expect some of them to have no 'right' answer, no easy solution, no quick fix. Undoubtably, I will be dissapointed with some of his choices, but I have no way of knowing how many or what the end result of those decisions will be.

  • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:35PM (#26532403) Homepage

    Be happy. be hopeful. Or shut up and let the rest of us be happy and hopeful.

    Sounds rather like "You're either with us or against us... "

    Meet the new boss.
    Same as the old boss.

  • Sucker. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:36PM (#26532423) Journal

    Obama voted for the bailout. He's bought and paid for, like anyone else who ever emerged from Chicago machine politics.

    -jcr

  • by coryking (104614) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:36PM (#26532427) Homepage Journal

    Removing "dont ask don't tell" and changing it to "tell, who cares". Obama is pro-gay, but he isn't beholden to just the gay community either. He is beholden to every citizen in the country, regardless if they voted for him. If he picked some openly gay pastor, you'd be happy but Obama would have pissed off another segment of our country.

    But seriously, I might not agree with Mr. Warren's views and I might not be of the same faith as he, but you have to admit he gave a hell of a prayer.

  • by Jonah Bomber (535788) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:38PM (#26532445)
    I think the thing I'd most like to see is a tempering of the utter insanity that is the TSA. We aren't safer because we have to take off our shoes to board an airplane. We aren't safer because we make pilots go through metal detectors. We aren't safer because we're now required to having a driver's license to fly. We aren't safer because we aren't allowed to take our toothpaste (except in teeny tiny tubes) with us. The TSA spends so much time and energy policing our shampoo container size that it can't help but detract from their ability to actually catch potential bombs. Obama has spoken about changing our foreign response to September 11th, but I'd like to see a change in our domestic response as well. I'd like to see more common sense.
  • by jdgeorge (18767) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:38PM (#26532449)

    Okay, I'm not a Roberts fan, but let's be real. The Roberts administered the oath, got nervous, Obama handled it gracefully, and the job is done. Roberts goes back to not having to speak in front of a ridiculously large number people.

    I expect that the abuse Roberts will get from Antonin Scalia alone will be more than enough punishment for getting nervous while administering the oath.

    Good job Obama for being cool and on task.

  • by Mashhaster (1396287) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:42PM (#26532571)

    That's what I want to see. Too long has the government attempted to fight the free market by throwing money at enforcement. We've spent too many billions on punishing otherwise nonviolent, law-abiding taxpayers. For all the time and treasure we've spent, is there any end in sight? Is there anyone who believes that drug enforcement is reducing the demand for drugs?

    In Mexico right now, we've got drug cartels fighting a paramilitary war with the police and Mexican army; that's ongoing. In California, we have national parks and public water supplies being polluted by unregulated growing operations.

    We have an out of control national debt, and an opportunity to create a domestic industry, tax it, and stop spending the billions on enforcing these out of date laws. Pretending what we're doing is working, or pretending the problem doesn't exist, doesn't change the facts of the situation. The longer we wait, the more powerful the organized crime syndicates get (just like the mob during alcohol prohibition).

    Tax it, regulate it, don't sell it to minors, and bust people for driving under the influence of it. Just stop pretending you can beat it by cracking down on suppliers or users; supply exists where demand exists, and demand will always exist, because people are human.

    Don't forget industrial hemp, too, because there's a lot that could be done with it. That would be a huge boon to the country, especially considering that we need new energy mediums and materials for various applications; hemp has one of the longest track records in human civilization as a useful industrial material, and prohibiting it because of marijuana is simply pointless.

    That's why I want to see Prohibition 2.0 (hemp/marijuana) ended. I'd also like to see a complete end to the War on Drugs, because like the War on Terror, it's not a war we can ever win. But, that's another post for another time.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:43PM (#26532579)

    However, I am not at all giving Obama any slack on his bigotry about gay marriage and his choice of Rick Warren as a pastor during the inauguration.

    So Obama picked a popular yet controversial minister to give the prayer at his inauguration. That does not necessarily mean that Obama shares his views. Part of new administration that Obama has said he would bring would be inclusion especially to opposing viewpoints. That is vastly different from the "you're with us or you're with the terrorists" and the "you're not a patriot if you disagree with the administration" view that we've had the last 8 years.

  • Unfortunately, the constitution is VAGUE.

    It doesn't even outline what the supreme court is supposed to do. What strict constitutionalists fail to realize is that the constitution is not a document written by a group of well meaning men with no political bias or agenda. Quite the opposite, it's the product of intense political bargaining. the 3/5ths Majority, the Missouri compromise, the commerce compromise... This document that we are governed by is meant to try to appease both federalists(with clauses stating that Congress has the power to provide for "general welfare" as well to do everything "necessary and proper" to do that. This is balanced by the 10th amendment placating antifederalists. The founding fathers did not have you in mind when they wrote the Constitution, they had their own interests and agendas in mind.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:43PM (#26532593)

    No offense, but you're posting about the wrong country if you expect people to shut up so that you can feel good.

    No President starts off on a bad foot, except perhaps the ones who were Vice-President before the resignation/assassination of their predecessor.

    Today there was an inauguration. I'll tell you in four years or so if the world actually became a better place. Be happy you have your opportunity, but bear in mind that he now has to really prove that he's not exactly what your friend has suggested (also prematurely).

  • Optionally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coryking (104614) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:44PM (#26532603) Homepage Journal

    We know what the constitution, read literally, says. We just disagree what it actually *means*.

    My interpretation? The constitution is the framework in which we have debates in this country. It defines *how* we deal things, not *what* those things we deal with should be.

    There is nothing in the constitution about stem cell research, but the constitution will tell us the proper way to resolve the controversies brought forward by its advances. The constitution tells us the president cannot write a law that bans it, the congress writes said law and passes it to the president for approval. The constitution doesn't say "no stem cell research". Same with gay marriage. Same with giving blacks and women the right to vote. The constitution only provides us a process to follow, not the solution.

  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:44PM (#26532613)
    I agree and find it odd that the media has gone on and on about it while invoking MLK at the same time. Personally I think MLK would be disappointed that minority voters only felt compelled to stand up and have their votes counted because the candidate was of a minority race. I think King's real dream was that people didn't let the race aspect hold them back from being a participant in the system. Just like I'm sure he'd frown on the idea that people used the excuse of finally having a minority in the White House be a reason they suddenly feel they could do anything. People who really get his message should have felt this way all along.

    I just don't see this as the milestone the media claims it is and I'd like to think if Dr. King was alive today he'd agree with me on this.
  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:45PM (#26532645)

    One might point out that Obama (for a very short peroid of time) and Biden (for a very long period of time) were both part of this Congress that you speak so lowly of. And, in fact, Biden seems to be a "typical" democrat in Congress.

    So, how much of this "change" is there if the VP pick for Obama (let alone most of his cabinet!) is the usual democrat politician?

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:46PM (#26532673)

    Yeah that'll work. Ask 10 people what they want for dinner and get 10 different answers.

    Try to do ANYTHING with your local home owners association and see. You can't agree to abolish the HOA, you can't agree on the speed limits, you can't agree on whether the rule against pink plastic flamingo's should be stricken. All of them think they're adults and have "reasons" for what they believe, however idiotic they may at times be. As a group, people are sheep, and we need a shepherd.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:47PM (#26532705)

    Did you have something in particular in mind? I ask because a lot of "limit the government" types have curious ideas about what the constitution authorizes and forbids.

    It really depends if you what view of the commerce and general welfare clauses, as well as the enumerated powers being exhaustive.

    "Curious" isn't the view. They limited-government types are interested in a limited government. Too often, when society changed to the point that some people view government powers need expansion, necessitating a Constitutional amendment, they opt instead to ignore/reinterpret the founding document. This has two effect: that part of the document is neutered by the rerouting and the document becomes more distant to current realities instead of being amended in a sufficient manner - so that once it's proposed to follow it, the old interpretation seems "quaint" and out-of-touch.

    I'm not sure about you, but I think government running a trillion dollar deficit, bailing out businesses/people left and right is hardly limited.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:47PM (#26532709) Homepage Journal

    I don't need a government telling me I should wear a seat belt

    But do you want a government who will make sure there's a hospital to fix your broken skull? And a government who will make sure there's quick transportation and trained EMTs?

  • by gmcraff (61718) <gmcraffNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:48PM (#26532721)
    I was told dissent is patriotic.

    I dissented with some things (rather vigorously) during the 43rd Presidency. I dissented with a lot of things during the 42nd Presidency.

    The 44th President is going to get my dissent as well.

    Welcome to the United States of America. I can see you just arrived.
  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:48PM (#26532737)
    Yes, I know it's a bold thing to liken Obama to Kennedy and King but, I'm sorry, I get flashes of both great men when I watch Obama speak. He possesses an enormous amount of charisma and motivates people and fills them with hope.

    If you believe he's just another politician; if you believe he's going to be a big flop and disappoint and all that garbage, do yourself a favour and, more importantly, do everyone around you a favour and shut up. Keep your thoughts to yourself. You're allowed to have them and I won't take that away from you but, at a time when people are filled with hope and idealism, let them be. Don't try to shatter that hope.

    Sure he inspires. Yes King inspired. Kennedy inspired. So did Mussolini and Jim Jones [wikipedia.org]. They also filled people with hope.

    The fact that he talks well doesn't imply good or evil. It merely makes him more capable of doing whichever he chooses to do. I hope you don't mind if I keep my eyes and mind open, and speak when I see things happening that disturb me. A failure to speak up can shatter hope too.
  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:49PM (#26532781)

    He possesses an enormous amount of charisma and motivates people and fills them with hope.

    So do faithhealers, used car salesmen, and other con artists. I purposely avoided listening to the speeches of Obama, McCain, and the man for whom I ultimately voted, Nader, so I was not swayed by their charisma. I read speeches the day after, and Obama's have just been vague ramblings about hope and change with absolutely no substance. When you remove his gazes, body language, and pauses-for-effect, there's just nothing left. There was even an article on here a while back about how researches measured "spin" (ie, lying) and found Obama to have the most in his speeches.

    I have instead looked at their actions, or lack thereof in Obama's case. He's done little to nothing of significance in his career besides be black and has consistently supported the rights and interests of corporations over the interests of the American people. For those of you who think he's to going to make great changes, please point to ONE thing he has done, not said.

  • Re:Time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:50PM (#26532805)

    Well worth the $150 million, right? It's not like we have an ailing economy that could have made better use of it.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NekSnappa (803141) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:50PM (#26532809)
    Man I had mod points a couple of days ago and couldn't find a thing worth modding either way. Then you come along and submit a comment that makes more sense than anything I've on here in months!
  • by eln (21727) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:51PM (#26532815) Homepage

    Most of We The People wouldn't know the Constitution from the holes in their asses, pick and choose the parts of it they want to pay attention to and modify the meaning of other parts to their liking, or simply don't care what it has to say in the first place.

    Coincidentally, you could say the exact same thing about the Bible. Of course, many people seem to think the Bible is also a governing document of this nation, so I suppose it's fitting that they would treat the two the same way.

  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:51PM (#26532827)
    He possesses an enormous amount of charisma and motivates people and fills them with hope

    So did Hitler.

    Being a great public speaker doesn't make someone automagically a great person.
  • by Experiment 626 (698257) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:52PM (#26532849)

    If you believe he's just another politician; if you believe he's going to be a big flop and disappoint and all that garbage, do yourself a favour and, more importantly, do everyone around you a favour and shut up. Keep your thoughts to yourself. You're allowed to have them and I won't take that away from you but, at a time when people are filled with hope and idealism, let them be.

    Yes, because last time we had a new president being inaugurated, that's exactly what people who had reservations about their new head of state did. Quietly keeping to themselves. No calling him an idiot or comparing him to a chimpanzee or disparaging the electoral process that led to his election or just outright claiming "he's not MY president".

    Not everyone likes Obama, agrees with his politics, or buys his "I am the personification of hope itself" message. I doubt everyone will suddenly waive their right to free speech just so you can have your illusion of unity and idealism. But you can take comfort that at least those not enamored with Obama will be more gracious and show more class about it than their counterparts from the last time around.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:54PM (#26532901) Homepage Journal

    The constitution tells us the president cannot write a law that bans it, the congress writes said law and passes it to the president for approval.

    Why do people hate the 10th amendment?

    If it isn't interstate commerce, then the federal government, according to the 10th amendment, lacks jurisdiction.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:55PM (#26532927)

    Whatever, this event had to be a blowout. There's an unprecidented turnout. Most of the costs are security, and port-o-potty rentals. You don't want everyone shitting all over the nation mall now do you?

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:55PM (#26532943)
    Republicans say that every Democratic candidate has "the most liberal voting record". They said the exact same quote about John Kerry. Even if it were true, being liberal isn't bad. Our country was founded by a bunch of radical liberals.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:56PM (#26532959)

    Be happy. be hopeful. Or shut up and let the rest of us be happy and hopeful.

    Sounds rather like "You're either with us or against us... "

    Meet the new boss.
    Same as the old boss.

    If you can see any similarity in the two phrases you have some rather serious language comprehension issues.

    The former says don't be a naysayer that kills positive momentum.

    The latter categorizes anyone with a difference of opinion as an enemy.

  • by rastilin (752802) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:56PM (#26532961)
    Sounds like. "If you're not willing to actually do something about your problems, then shut up and let US do something about your problems. Just don't sit there with your thumb up your ass complaining non-stop."
  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:58PM (#26533013)
    And if you think that it was just the last eight years that got us to this point in history than you have no idea how bad things can get.

    Our current sitution is the build up from decades worth of neglect, folks. And in most likeliness a lot of the Americans reading this post played some part in it. It sounds ugly because it is ugly. But it's still true.
  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:58PM (#26533021)
    You do realize that the inauguration parties are funded by donations, right? Still insanely over the top, but at least it's paid for by tax dollars. Having said that Obama could have scored some points early on by asking that donations be redirected to more important issues, but that would decrease the intensity of the spotlight on Big O, and we can't have that, can we?
  • Re:America, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schnikies79 (788746) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:59PM (#26533047)

    We elect a president, not a king.

    I would rather he go though proper channels than show a blatant abuse of power as you propose.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:01PM (#26533099) Journal

    I didn't catch that, where is the gun turn-in done?

    You know, that's one of the funny things I see when looking at America from some thousands of kilometres away.

    So supposedly, the sacred right to bear arms is there to keep the government in line, in case it oversteps its constitutional bounds. Lemme see, the Bushies did:

    - effectively suspending habeas corpus,

    - used torture,

    - starting a war of aggression, and justified it by

    - outright lying about the evidence, (plus, see two paragraphs above, it turns out that all the "witnesses" they had, had been waterboarded until they said what the Bushies wanted to hear,)

    - massive surveillace of its own citizens, down to data-mining grocery bills,

    - politicizing every branch of the government they could lay their hands on,

    - trying to keep official emails from the _legal_ mandated openness, by using private accounts for government business, or by just making excuses (apparently they didn't make backups, ya know)

    - saying out loud that the constitution is just a piece of paper and doesn't apply to them,

    Etc.

    Did I see the gun-loving right at least hinting about the possibility of a revolt over it? (Yes, at the end of the series of other boxes, but still.) Nah, they voted for him again.

    But here comes a president which at least promises to undo some of that evil, and restore at least _some_ of those constitutional rights. (Whether he'll keep that promise, remains to be seen.) What does the gun-loving right immediately fear? "OMG, he might take our guns away."

    It seems to me that the gun lovers care _only_ about exactly _one_ piece of the constitution: the second amendment. No more, no less. Wipe your ass with the rest constitution if you will, they sure won't mind it. So exactly how does that work as a constitutional safeguard, then?

  • by PHPNerd (1039992) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:02PM (#26533117) Homepage

    The hedonism in the gay community that leads to unsafe sex, rampant drug use and the like is exacerbated if not caused in part by denying them the right to unite as a family of their own choosing under the social contract.

    This statement is outright false. You are making excuses for the actions of individuals who make poor choices (not being gay, but rather in the words of the parent "unsafe sex, rampant drug use and the like"). If you think being able to sign a piece of paper and declare yourself "married" will solve these problems than you are sorely mistaken. For evidence, just look to the rate of divorce in the US, which is staggering. Marriage will not prevent these woes from affecting the gay community. The "unsafe sex, rampant drug use and the like" stems from an ideology that a person should be free to do whatever they want, any time they want, so long as it doesn't affect someone else's rights. If I want to have sex with someone, get into a relationship with that person, and then while in that relationship go have sex with someone else...why not? I'm free to do whatever I want. If I want to have sex with a different person every night...why not? I'm free to do whatever I want. If I want to go and do drugs...why not? I'm free to do what I want (so long as I don't get caught). This is what causes the "unsafe sex, rampant drug use and the like" that you speak of. (note: whether or not homosexuals should be allowed the right of marriage is not the subject of this post)

  • by AviLazar (741826) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:06PM (#26533259) Journal
    Why should he be denied what the previous guy in office, who helped get us to this mess, got?

    It's also paid for by private funds - not tax dollars.

    It also generates revenue (tourism dollars, media ad buys, etc)

    It also makes people happy to see the president they elect take the oath

    It also lets the world know there is a new sheriff in town.
  • by gslj (214011) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:07PM (#26533267)

    I noticed an odd fact in the prayer before the inaugurations. The qualities ascribed to God were that he is "one" and he is "compassionate." This seems to be a subtle reaching out to Muslims right there, since those are the qualities of God emphasized in Islam: "In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad), He is God, the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone." He could have mentioned salvation or the Trinity or other divisive attributes instead. When he does mention Jesus, he gives the name in several languages including, I think, Arabic. Probably to remind Americans that Jesus is not a property of the U.S. and remind Muslims that the prophet Jesus is honoured in Islam. Finally, he ends with the Lord's Prayer which, as well as being blessedly short, is something that no Christian denomination has trouble with.

    Just an observation: the reaching out to Muslims started before the Inaugural Speech.

    -Gareth

  • by coryking (104614) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:08PM (#26533307) Homepage Journal

    (and a healthy one too). My opinion? We simply cannot be competitive as a nation with a "weak" federal government in concert with "strong" state governments. There has to be a balance, yes. But one must realize that our competition doesn't want to negotiate with 50 little states, they want to negotiate with a single big one. I suppose, though cannot back it up, that this was the logic behind the formation of the EU--each country just couln't compete in a modern global market so they had to unite.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    The wording of this amendment is intentionally vague. If it was overly strict, the constitution would quickly become irrelevant as the times changed. For example, what if the constitution was formed when people thought radio was a novelty and they included "the federal government should not regulate radio". You and I might not agree with everything about the FCC, but you have to admit that it would be a mess if every state had it's one mini-FCC regulating our radio spectrum. And if the language in the constitution was as strong and strictly worded as "no radio", you'd need to re-amend the constitution to overturn such a ill-thought piece of legislation.

    Hell, what if that amendment said "The federal government should not create nor regulate the roads used by horseless carriages"? No highway system would have been built.

    The constitution is vague for a reason. Democrats vs Republicans vs Libertarians are not debates about "are you loyal to the constitution", but really debates carried out under the constitution about how to deal with modern issues. The constitution is what gives us the ability *to* debate the issues.

  • by tha_mink (518151) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:08PM (#26533309)

    Japan, for example, could have asked US troops to leave.

    That's kinda difficult when you're forced to accept a constitution that gives up your military power and puts the U.S. in charge of your defense.

    Yeah, pesky WWII.

  • Re:America, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:08PM (#26533315) Journal

    Yeah... Wow... Just, wow.

    You really don't know how the Presidency is supposed to work, do you? I'd give you the School House Rock version, but I think it'd fall on deaf ears. Any President powerful enough to, single handedly, do what you want, is no President, but a Tyrant.

  • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:11PM (#26533395) Journal

    I disagree. And that's historically been one of the big problems with really tackling the issue of racism, both in the USA and worldwide. We can't just magically jump to a point where race doesn't matter any more. And pretending that we can by trying to ignore the issue of race altogether is not going to work. There's just too many social and economic realities that are woven directly into race for the issue to just disappear and work itself out.

    There's been some interesting stories over the past couple months about how many European countries have always considered themselves far more progressive in terms of race than the US, but are now being forced to realize that a minority citizen would never be elected to their highest offices. They haven't solved racism any more than the USA has, they merely did a better job of pretending that it wasn't an issue.

    The demographics and particulars of American history have kept racism a bit more apparent in the US, and as a result, we've worked through it to the point where we now have a black man in the oval office. Things have often times been messy and ugly along the way, but that's how progress generally goes.

    Ideally, we want race to be a non-issue in our civilization. But race is a big deal. And it'll have to become a bigger deal before it can become an non-issue. That's just how it works.

  • by amRadioHed (463061) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:13PM (#26533441)

    ...and Mexico continues it's downward spiral.

    He keeps on saying how he will look at every government program and will work to end the ineffective ones. If he holds to that he can't possibly continue the war on drugs. But I'm not too optimistic, there's still way to many people who can't differentiate opposition to the war on drugs from support for drugs.

  • by yuriyg (926419) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:14PM (#26533469)

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    What's so vague about this? If it ain't in the Constitution, the government has no right to do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:14PM (#26533487)

    i thought we already were getting out of iraq. you know, the who 'handing over the green zone' thingie. sure glad obama made it in to oversee the end of a victorious war.

  • by coryking (104614) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:15PM (#26533511) Homepage Journal

    But the constitution did not explicitly say "whether you're a man or woman, black or white, gay or straight", did it? I mean, even read literally, it doesn't matter what the constitution says if you don't consider blacks to be humans.

    The fourteen amendment was only created after the civil war, don't forget. We fought a war with ourselves to resolve that issue.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:18PM (#26533593)

    Actually a constitution is supposed to provide a list of things that we can't vote on. Things that if we did vote on would be deal breakers telling us we should pick up our muskets and go back to fighting. Things like discriminating against blacks and gays for example.

  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:23PM (#26533705) Homepage Journal

    I wish I could feel good about this, I really do. I want a ray of sunshine as badly as everyone else.

    However:
    Obama has selected a Monsanto fanboy as head of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. If you don't know Monsanto's transgressions, check out "The World According to Monsanto", a great documentary, that only illuminates A SMALL FRACTION of why they are such an evil corporation.

    Obama's incoming Attorney General, Eric Holden, has already stated that the telcom immunity still stands, and I would assume that means warrant-less wire-tapping still stands.

    Obama has selected an RIAA lawyer to be a copy copyright and IP judge.

    Obama has selected THE SAME defense secretary as GW Bush.

    I don't think Obama represents Hope or Change in any way. He's corporate status quo, here to fuck the American people like every president since they shot JFK in the head.

    Who DID shoot JFK in the head, by the way? The mob? Aliens? I think the fact that we don't know STILL means it was obviously a government operation, and therefore our government has been TAKEN from the American people, and that was a coup, not an assassination, which means we don't live in a constitutional democracy, and that only violent revolution will restore any freedoms to the people.

    Sorry to ruin the parade on day one. But I don't believe in fairy tales or wishful thinking. Let's see what Obama does about "Free Speech Zones". I seriously doubt it will be anything more than the evil, corporate status quo.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:24PM (#26533749)
    General welfare has been stretched to encompass all action by an all-powerful government. Hell, we could move into outright Communism and state property with the current interpretation. It's outrageous.
  • by brkello (642429) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:25PM (#26533771)
    Still? It already happened. Already we have more credibility to the rest of the world. Already many wounds from slavery and abuse have been healed (still many more to go, but a big step). The guy doesn't have to do a thing and already there is change.

    But really, to fix everything that Bush has screwed up is going to take a lot of time. Most people are realistic about it. People who aren't realistic...do we really care about them? Hmm, that means I probably shouldn't even be responding to you.
  • Re:Time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bytethese (1372715) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:27PM (#26533849)
    Um no, the Constitution was amended (Twentieth Amendment [findlaw.com]) and changed accordingly:

    "Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin."

    So technically, his term started at noon no matter if he took the oath yet or not. :)
  • by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:28PM (#26533881) Homepage Journal

    My opinion? We simply cannot be competitive as a nation with a "weak" federal government in concert with "strong" state governments.

    In that case, then the 10th amendment should be changed, not ignored. It is bad to have laws, and especially parts of the constitution, that are ignored.

    Just saying that the 10th amendment doesn't really apply to the current world is a bad precidient. Does that mean that congress can start making laws abridging the freedom of speech, establish a state religion, since we can't be "competitive" with those restrictions on the federal government?

  • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:29PM (#26533925) Journal

    Very true. The past eight years were just a sort of pinnacle for the sense of entitlement that has become pervasive to American culture over the past few generations. The most frustrating part of it all was that although the events of Sept. 11, 2001 were undoubtedly horrible, they provided an amazing opportunity for the USA to reflect and make some serious decisions about itself. But fear caused us to as a whole to take in the wrong lessons, and instead of moving forward we stalled out and arguably took a few steps back.

    While it's a different type of crisis, the financial mess that we're in is providing another opportunity for america to reinvent itself. That combined with the historic nature of electing a minority president and the generosity of the world as a whole to give us a somewhat clean slate and another chance to prove ourselves, and I'm hopeful that enough of our citizens will take an honest look around them and think about improving the future.

    I believe that Obama is interested in setting the tone in that direction, and that's a good change and a good start.

  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:29PM (#26533933)

    I purposely avoided listening to the speeches of Obama, McCain, and the man for whom I ultimately voted, Nader, so I was not swayed by their charisma.

    Well then, you intentionally kept yourself ill-informed.

    As our head of government, being a persuasive communicator is just about the most important qualification Obama can bring to office; as our head of state, even more so.

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:29PM (#26533937) Journal

    I didn't catch that, where is the gun turn-in done?

    You know, that's one of the funny things I see when looking at America from some thousands of kilometres away.

    So supposedly, the sacred right to bear arms is there to keep the government in line, in case it oversteps its constitutional bounds. Lemme see, the Bushies did:

    - effectively suspending habeas corpus,

    - used torture,

    - starting a war of aggression, and justified it by

    - outright lying about the evidence, (plus, see two paragraphs above, it turns out that all the "witnesses" they had, had been waterboarded until they said what the Bushies wanted to hear,)

    - massive surveillace of its own citizens, down to data-mining grocery bills,

    - politicizing every branch of the government they could lay their hands on,

    - trying to keep official emails from the _legal_ mandated openness, by using private accounts for government business, or by just making excuses (apparently they didn't make backups, ya know)

    - saying out loud that the constitution is just a piece of paper and doesn't apply to them,

    Etc.

    Did I see the gun-loving right at least hinting about the possibility of a revolt over it? (Yes, at the end of the series of other boxes, but still.) Nah, they voted for him again.

    But here comes a president which at least promises to undo some of that evil, and restore at least _some_ of those constitutional rights. (Whether he'll keep that promise, remains to be seen.) What does the gun-loving right immediately fear? "OMG, he might take our guns away."

    It seems to me that the gun lovers care _only_ about exactly _one_ piece of the constitution: the second amendment. No more, no less. Wipe your ass with the rest constitution if you will, they sure won't mind it. So exactly how does that work as a constitutional safeguard, then?

    As long as they still have their guns, wave their bibles everything else is okay.

  • by plurgid (943247) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:31PM (#26533981)

    please point to ONE thing he has done, not said.

    Became your president.

  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:33PM (#26534037)

    It's well known for all his failings Bush has made this the smoothest presidential transition in US history.

    Wait, what? That's a wide net to throw. For instance, look at the transition from Washington to Adams. It was smooth as silk.

    and had an "enlightened" staff who vandalized their own offices -- the offices paid for with my tax money -- out of spite.

    Actually, Bush's own press secretary (Ari Flichter) discredited with those allegations in the briefing room and in his book.

  • Re:Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by _bug_ (112702) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:35PM (#26534091) Journal

    The real big question is, how long will Slashdot's daily 2-minutes of hate orgy be able to last now that Bush is gone?

    I think your post contributed quite nicely to the hate orgy. Looks like we will be able to maintain the hate orgy after all.

  • Re:Time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BCW2 (168187) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:38PM (#26534161) Journal
    Govt. wasteful spending is the biggest cause of inflation. That is what's wrong with the whole "stimulus" crapshoot.
  • by Jacques Chester (151652) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:39PM (#26534189)

    We missed you.

    Love,

    The Rest of The Modern World.

    ps. Any chance you could have a word with Australia about internet censorship? That'd be swell.

  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prgrmr (568806) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:43PM (#26534267) Journal
    FDR did not take us out of the Depression. Japan did that when they bombed Pearl Harbor and gave the nation motivation to start building tanks and planes and ships and bombs non-stop for the next three years.
  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv,vadiv&neverbox,com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:46PM (#26534359) Homepage

    It works as a constitutional safeguard against them taking the guns away.

    But, yeah. It's amazing how people who were convinced that FEMA had been given the power, under Clinton, to declare an emergency and detain people without habeas corpus sure started singing a different tune under Bush.

    What they were talking was it's ability to quarantine people, which is a perfectly reasonable function of the government, and has never, in the entire history of this country, been abused. The government has the right to detain various people outside the criminal justice system, like suicidal people and mentally incapacitated people and infectious people, but the right made out like this was some huge constitutional violation.

    That power has existed as an inherent power of the government so long that it's not even in the Constitution, and just sorta assumed. Just like the right of habeas corpus is assumed. Like I said, there's no documented cases of this power ever being abused. (There are documented cases of 'mentally ill' people being detained to shut them up, but not of people being being quarantined maliciously.)

    What has always been frowned on, however, and subject to strict regulation, is any attempt to lock 'lawbreakers' up outside of the criminal justice system. Which Bush just decided to do without any Congressional authorization. (Which they couldn't have give anyway, but whatever.)

    And the right, the 'you'll never take us alive because we have guns' right just bent over and took it.

  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:48PM (#26534441) Homepage

    You know why Congress is broken and ineffective? It's because the American people themselves are broken and ineffective, more concerned about getting theirs than looking to a higher goal. They elect representatives who share their views and like a disease it affects the functioning of congress. Once people start getting past their bitter partisan bickering Americas strength will return.

  • Re:Time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by I_want_information (1413105) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:51PM (#26534511)

    I'm definitely not a Bush supporter, but I admire how he's handled the transition, even if it was due to very low approval ratings and wanting the last presidential coverage of him to be positive.

  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by novakyu (636495) <novakyu@member.fsf.org> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:52PM (#26534547) Homepage

    Wait, what? That's a wide net to throw. For instance, look at the transition from Washington to Adams. It was smooth as silk.

    How does Washington to Adams even qualify as a "transition"? That's as much a transition as the "transition" from Reagan to Bush Sr. was, in every sense (Adams was Washington's vice president, for one).

    The first transition of power ever in the U.S. was in 1800, also known as "Revolution of 1800".

    Maybe casting this as the "smoothest transition ever" is a somewhat large claim to make, but compared to the liberal media claiming Cheney was the worst VP in history (never mind that there were a few before Cheney with actual criminal convictions) or Bush was the worst president in history, this is nothing but a fishing pole, not even a net.

  • by MikeURL (890801) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:07PM (#26534867) Journal
    I used to loathe the DMV as much as anyone. However, now, on the rare occasion that I need to go, I usually have a pretty nice experience.

    For starters everyone begins at an information desk so that you know what window to go to, what you'll need, etc. Gone are the days where you stood on a line for 1/2 hour only to find out it is the wrong line and then 1/2 on another line only to find out you're missing some critical document.

    You get a ticket so you know when your turn is and you can sit down while you wait. In fact, I WISH my doctor's office was this efficient. And, as a former volunteer for an ambulance company, I can tell you that an emergency room pales in comparison and makes the DMV look like a model of efficient and caring staff.

    I'm sure this varies by state but your blanket statement rings hollow to me in NY.
  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:08PM (#26534903)

    How is this informative? The Clinton staffers didn't do it at all. It was thoroughly debunked within a month of the allegations coming out. And former President George W Bush himself stated specifically that it did not happen.

    What do we need as evidence? A specific letter from Dick Cheney that it didn't happen? The not signed with the blood of former AG John Ashcroft? At some point it becomes paranoid delusion, and I think we've hit that point.

  • Re:LOL please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkWatson (189759) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:16PM (#26535043) Homepage

    No, republicans "borrow and spend". Democrats "tax and spend". The republican approach is even worse than the democratic approach.

    Bush ran up even higher relative deficits than Reagan, and that is saying something!

    BTW, I think that the time for dogmatic democrat vs. republican dogma is no longer appropriate.

  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bryanp (160522) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:19PM (#26535119)

    Well, that and the fact that much of the industrial capacity of the western world was demolished during the course of the war except for ours.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Carl_Stawicki (1274996) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:25PM (#26535259)
    Add let me add... The Constitution was designed to be *modified properly* through the amendment process, not ignored. If there's something deemed out-of-date or wrong by enough people, there are proper steps to be followed to change it. For instance, when enough knuckle heads thought it was right to outlaw alcohol, they knew they didn't have the authority to do it, so they modified the Constitution properly. Then they said "Oh crap, we f'ed up," and created another amendment to undo the previous. As bad as the idea of prohibition was, at least they followed the rules. If today's politicians wanted to outlaw alcohol, they would just do it without regard to Constitution like they did with drugs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:29PM (#26535343)

    time to put 2 more convicts to prison

  • by id10tppl (1457563) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:36PM (#26535489)
    Why should he be denied what the previous guy in office, who helped get us to this mess, got?

    Yeah Clinton's adminstration did start the credit crisses with the subprime lending in credit cards which opened the flood gates to subprime lending on houses, and then to our current situation

  • by ari_j (90255) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:36PM (#26535499)
    Except that "perfect" doesn't mean flawless, but rather it means complete. It's not about a union without flaws, it's about a union without state-by-state insurgence.
  • Re:Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:39PM (#26535589) Homepage Journal

    Not THAT insightful, mods. The stock market crashed in 1929, the depression's worst year was 1933. The economy got steadily better through the depression, although the war was a big bump out of the doldrums.

  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by $1uck (710826) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:39PM (#26535599)
    Someone mod parent up please. I hate it when people try to claim WWII got us out of the depression. I mean should we be thankful we have the Afghan and Iraq war? If it weren't for those two wars, would the economy really be in the shitter? I think not.
  • Re:Optionally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunascle (994197) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:45PM (#26535733)

    As long as a Gay man can do what a straight man can do (marry someone of the opposite sex) then they have the same rights. The blacks and so on were actually barred from marrying into interracial marriages at one time which is completely different then gay marriage.

    ... what?

    As long as a black man can do what a white man can do (marry someone of the same race) then they have the same rights.

    how is that completely different?

  • Re:Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:48PM (#26535781) Homepage

    Govt. wasteful spending is the biggest cause of inflation. That is what's wrong with the whole "stimulus" crapshoot.

    Unfortunately, it's also a sad fact that the only thing that has any chance of making the national debt manageable is that very same inflation. Government wants inflation (albeit preferably at a steady, predictable rate). Take a look at the debt we incurred (as a % of GDP) at the tail end of WW2 [marktaw.com]. The debt essentially faded into nothingness while GDP grew only gradually, the majority of its growth being largely as a result of inflation. What it comes down to is that if you can tread water long enough, floating your debt close to the rate of inflation, you (theoretically) can bank on paying it back when your revenues grow with GDP. This assumes GDP will grow forever in the long term, though, which is the same sort of thinking that resulted in overvalued real estate and overvalued stocks. Fortunately, if GDP crashes like the housing market did, we'll likely be reduced to burning our government bonds for heat in the winter and our W-2's as cleaning patches for the rifles we defend our survivalist bunkers with anyway, so who cares...

  • Re:Optionally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:14PM (#26536389) Homepage

    Also, pretty much every commerce decision is interstate commerce now-a-days. In fact, absent the Amish, I'm hard-pressed to think of a counterexample.

    Pot grown in California, dispensed in California-legal medical marijuana dispensaries, to California residents with prescriptions from doctors in California. There isn't a single bit of interstate commerce going on there, unless you gratuitously torture the definition to the point of irrelevance*. This has not, however, stopped the DEA from raiding said dispensaries in direct violation of the US Constitution. The fact is, the federal government likes to pretend that it's exercising these myriad powers under the heading of "interstate commerce", but the California medical marijuana vs the DEA issue demonstrates that the feds do not concern themselves with the constitution, but just do as they please, banking on blindly waving the interstate commerce clause as if it's carte blanche.

    * Sample arguments I've heard floated to justify the DEA's raids: The fertilizer used to grow the pot came from Indiana! The electricity for the grow light came from Washington state! The orange pill bottles used by the dispensary were ordered by mail from Nevada! A cancer patient drove to Arizona and got high there once! By any of these bullshit definitions, me paying my kid 50 cents to mow the lawn is interstate commerce because the lubricating oil in the mower came from a refinery in Alabama.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClassMyAss (976281) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:18PM (#26536455) Homepage

    Gays already have the same rights everyone else has, they can marry a person of the opposite sex. The blacks and so on were actually barred from marrying into interracial marriages at one time which is completely different then gay marriage. As long as a Gay man can do what a straight man can do (marry someone of the opposite sex) then they have the same rights. Lesbians are the same (marry a man). The fact that they don't want to or want to do something else. The 14th doesn't apply to that situation.

    By your exact same logic, banning interracial marriage is Just Fine, since black men have exactly the same rights as white men - they can marry someone of their own race.

    Lucky for us, it was quickly decided that the way that is phrased is ridiculous, as it's always possible to put some "separate but equal" bullshit spin on any sort of discrimination to make it sound like it's fair.

    In other words, you're arguing against your own point by making the connection to interracial marriage (which, by the way, is exactly the comparison we should be making, IMO, as the situations are depressingly similar). The question that we should be asking is "Can gay men do what straight women can do?", not "Can gay men do what straight men can do?"

    In any case, the government should get the hell out of the marriage business anyways, and only offer civil unions. And yes, these should be offered to any adult, regardless of sex or preference, and probably regardless of prior arrangements (in other words, yup, the government probably should allow polygamous civil unions, apart from religious objections there's really no reason the contractual engagements such a thing implies should be limited to one pairing per person). Leave marriage as a religious commitment, which is what it really should be. Then the religious aspect of the debate can be settled in its proper place, on a church-by-church basis, with no spillover into the rest of the country.

    Of course, since that will never happen, the only reasonable solution is to allow gays to marry. And yes, this would seem to imply that the next slide down the slope would be polygamy, but fear not - polygamists are so underrepresented in this country (plus they're too intimately related to child polygamists) that they'll never be able to kick up enough fuss to get their way. But trust me, even if gay marriage is not settled in favor of the gays within the next 10 years or so, it will happen within 20 or 30 - the generation coming up right now just doesn't hold the same anti-gay sentiment that their parents still do, much like their parents didn't hold the same level of anti-black sentiment that their parents did.

    There will be holdouts and they'll complain about their rights (um...the "right" not to be disgusted by seeing people doing things they think are immoral, I suppose?) being trampled, but they'll just have to learn to deal with it, and soon enough they'll die off and the rest of the people will never look back. Within a couple generations, people will look back with amusement on the fact that we even had to have this discussion.

  • Re:Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:22PM (#26536535) Homepage Journal

    Well, FDR actually began to put the US on a wartime economic footing well before Pearl Harbor. Perl Harbor, as everybody knows, was Dec 7, 1941. Lend-Lease started nine months earlier.

    Furthermore, real GDP growth had resumed by the end of FDR's first term.

    In 1929, GDP was at an all time high of 101.4 billion dollars. Subsequently, under the Hoover administration it fell each of the next four consecutive years to a low of 68.3 billion 1929 dollars in 1933. That was the first year of FDR's presidency, which of course took place largely under a Hoover budget and Hoover economic policies.

    From 1934 on, under Roosevelt budgets, GDP growth resumed, with the exception of 1938. The exception in 1938 was because 1937 was an outlier, with a GDP of 103.9 billion. Leaving that aside, growth through the first two terms of Roosevelt's administration was consistently on the order of 7.2 billion/yr, reaching 126.2 billion in 1941. This compares favorably to the 4.1 billion/yr of the roaring twenties. Note that ll this was before the war, given that Dec 7 was rather late to have any effect on economic figures for that year.

    Now the initial effect of WW2 was a reduction in GDP. GDP resumed growth the next year, and continued to grow throughout WW2, but soared after the conclusion of the war, from 130.2 billion dollars to 151.9 billion the following year (adjusted to 1929 dollars).

    So, yes, it was Roosevelt that turned around the Great Depression. Of course, GDP doesn't tell the whole story: WW2 certainly helped establish full employment.

    The idea that Roosevelt's economic reputation was due to the "luck" of WW2 happening during his administration is a Republican fairy tale. They hated him, because he fixed what they broke. They hated his pragmatism, which made him in their eyes a class traitor. Anything less than undiluted laissez faire capitalism they called "socialism". They didn't see that Roosevelt was a capitalist. By addressing the legitimate economic concerns of ordinary people, he saved American capitalism, and kept the myopic, brain dead plutocrats from being lined up against the wall and shot in an American Bolshevik revolution.

    Most of all, they hated him because he demonstrated that what G.K. Chesterton said about aristocracy applied to them:

    There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.

  • "to form a more perfect union" was a reference to the failure of the Articles of Confederation, and the need for the (at the time) new federal agreement. It's a great idea, and has become an enduring mandate, but I don't think it was meant that way.
  • by mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:40PM (#26536905)
    Indeed. This is a republic. We should elect representatives because we believe they have the wisdom to guide our nation to its best possible future. Instead we elect those whom we believe will slavishly follow our views of what is right and proper, disqualifying some with statements like "He does not believe x therefore I could never vote for him."
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:43PM (#26536955)
    I see where you are coming from, but I think to discount charisma is a bad idea. A lot of presidents get things done using it. It helps when talking to congress, it helps when talking to foreign governments, and it helps instill a feeling of hope and motivates people. It is a good quality in a president.
  • Re:Time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DocDJ (530740) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:45PM (#26537013)
    How about the state Bush left the fucking *world* in when he left office? Asshole.
  • by Jacques Chester (151652) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:59PM (#26537283)

    Ah I see. You only like us when we have the people YOU want in office. In other words, do what we tell you or we won't be your friend.

    Ever had a female friend in love with a total douchebag? Noticed how you drifted apart, how you couldn't understand what she saw in this total wanker? Isn't it great when she comes to her senses?

    You sir seem to be stuck at the "but he really looooves meeeeee, nobody understaaaaands, they should leave us aloooone and stop interfering!" stage of the relationship.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:09PM (#26537439)
    OK,

    1. I can't help but know he's charasmatic from all the media coverage. I don't need to listen to his speeches to know that.

    2. Sure, being charismatic is an important characteristic in a leader, but perhaps having some political experience would help. Or having stood his ground on a key issue, or having written key legislation. Or something. But frankly I'm not seeing anything of substance other than the aforementioned charisma and being black.
  • by Nigel Stepp (446) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:17PM (#26537547) Homepage

    That bit at the end, I think, were the words to an old civil rights anthem. To me it's a nice contrast.

    If effect, he was hinting that those slogans are coming true.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:20PM (#26537595)

    See, here's the thing. I really don't care how much it costs or how ridiculous we look, I really don't.

    America, the world's bastion of freedom, is holding dozens of people without a trial, without rights, without outside contact and it is destroying our reputation around the world. We were fools to put them there in the first place and if we can't prove that we were correct in arresting them then we deserve to look like fools.

    Human rights is more important than what the judicial system looks like or the costs to our government.

  • Best moment... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Landshark17 (807664) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:25PM (#26537679)
    Was watching NBC's coverage and hearing Brian Williams liken Dick Cheney in his wheelchair to Dr. Strangelove.
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @07:16PM (#26538423) Journal

    Actually, we're getting offtopic, but the 9/11 hysteria is another... interesting thing.

    See, the USA had _one_ such incident in _years_. If you look at the number of terrorist attacks in the USA, say, the year _before_ that, you'll notice there were exactly zero. In fact, I can't remember any major act of terrorism there before 9/11 all the way to the Unabomber.

    After that, also zero. Now you could justify the ones after that as being because of increased security (theatre), but it's hard not to notice that there were exactly zero without that security theatre too, and before giving up any liberties.

    So America agreed to have its liberties trampled over... a one-off (if spectacular) act of terrorism.

    By comparison, the Brits didn't suspend their liberties over _decades_ of shelling and bombing by the IRA. (And those guys knew how to bomb. There were attacks with batteries of improvised mortars mounted in a van even on the PM's residence.) Admittedly, recently they seem to have imported the USA idea that they can turn more totalitarian over even more ridiculous "bombing attempts", like some guy loading a sack of nails in his car and setting it on fire. (It just burned, btw.)

    Spain didn't suspend its liberties over some pretty spectacular bombings, some pretty recent. Japan didn't move towards totalitarianism after, say, the Tokyo poison gas attacks in the subway. Etc.

    Heck, Israel is bombed _daily_ by various radical Islamist groups. If they had moved towards authoritarianism for each major incident as much as the USA did for 9/11, they'd be a complete dictatorship by now. AFAIK, they aren't.

    But in the USA you (at least as in, "you the poster I answer to") seem to think that _one_ terror incident warrants re-electing a guy who's just about wiped his arse with the constitution in the name of that one attack. Interesting.

    So, no, I had not forgotten. I was genuinely surprised that _that_ lame excuse worked. Again.

  • Re:Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @07:19PM (#26538453) Homepage Journal

    That research dates from the era when John Maynard Keynes was still out of fashion. ;-)

    You can tell by the faith in the unerring, benevolent effectiveness of the market's "self-correcting forces". Which is not to say that markets don't self-correct, over a sufficiently long timescale, when every grain of human economic irrationality to the contrary has been ground into dust. Keynes, like Socrates, was not so much brilliant at being right was being brilliant at figuring out how wrong conventional wisdom is.

    2007 was probably the high water mark of the post Reagan anti-Keynes movement that believed that government intervention only slowed down the market's marvelous rapid self-correction powers. Somehow, though, those powers didn't work for Hoover, but nobody wants to talk about him.

  • Re:Optionally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @07:22PM (#26538509) Journal

    I prefer to err on the side of individual freedom as well. But still, it's your interpretation versus theirs, isn't it? You argue, "I think this part means what I think it means," and they say, "No, hundreds of years of jurisprudence say it means what WE say it means. That is how it was meant to be. That is why we have a Supreme Court. Our laws and our Constitution are meant to be interpreted, based on the interpretations that have come before, not just on their supposed original meaning."

    Tat being said, I kind of agree with you that the current interpretation does not serve us. Your ideals would be better served if you argued from that position, rather than arguing from what is essentially an appeal to authority. Simply admit that the Constitution is open to interpretation and then argue as to how you'd like it interpreted, how your interpretation will benefit us, and how the current interpretation fails. There is no need to invoke the supposed authority of the founding father's intent.

  • Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @07:49PM (#26538823) Homepage Journal

    Heterosexual people have the right to marry whoever they chose.

    Homosexual people don't.

    Homosexual people find themselves in exactly the same position "interracial" marriages found themselves decades ago: with state governments curtailing their freedoms to pursue happiness as they see fit.

    The time will come when people will not understand how such barbaric impositions were in place.

  • by Liselle (684663) <slashdot.liselle@net> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @08:00PM (#26538963) Journal
    Or that firing US Attorneys is something that only Bush did and it is unprecedented.

    Nice try, Karl Rove. The way that Bush did it is unprecedented, because only certain Attorneys were fired. Clinton, for example, fired ALL 90-something of them. There's a fine line between sweeping out everyone, and sweeping out just the ones that aren't "loyal Bushies". That phrase in quotes alone ought to make you throw up in your mouth a little bit, if you have any respect for what these people are supposed to do.
  • Re:free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joocemann (1273720) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @08:53PM (#26539719)

    also turned out to be the #1 discarded and ignored issue as well... wtf was the point of change.gov if the biggest issue that people have gets ignored?

  • Re:Optionally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:16PM (#26540567)

    Hell, we could move into outright Communism and state property with the current interpretation. It's outrageous.

    Communism is not the opposite of democracy: one is an economic system, one is a political system. In principle, one could have a fully democratic communist state, though in practice such a thing is not common.

    I'd say that the ability of the Constitution to function under a wide variety of economic systems -- and to maintain the right of the people to *choose* the economic system they prefer -- is a strength, not a weakness.

  • by plnix0 (807376) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:18PM (#26541181) Homepage
    The amendment doesn't give the President the power to act as President before he takes the oath or affirmation. "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation" still applies. While he is President at noon, he can't execute his office (i.e. do anything as President) until he takes the oath or affirmation.

    Might the President have "more pressing things to do"? It doesn't matter. Taking 5 seconds to take an oath or affirmation will in no way interfere with anything else he has to do. Nor does he need to "drop everything" to do so. Indeed, a President who proceeded with an elaborate inaugural ceremony during a military emergency, rather than quickly taking the oath/affirmation and dealing with the situation, should be immediately impeached.

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:35AM (#26541845)

    I'm a storyteller so I like to understand people's motivations. I have lots of trouble believing a story when I can't understand someone's motivation.

    1) Why would he lie about all of the change he wants to bring about? What's in it for him to lie? He's wealthy. He has as much power as can be attained. He has a reputation to keep if he wants more money and power.
    2) Why wouldn't he want to fix the economy? He does have a re-election coming up in ... 4 years. It's in his best interest to do whatever it takes to improve the economy.
    3) Nobody wants an end to the war on terror. We just want it to be fought pragmatically... by first up actually fighting terrorists instead of invading secular despot nations. Fighting terror means using American power to reduce the number of terrorists and increase security. You might not kill as many terrorists but sometimes the cost of killing a terrorist far outweighs the benefits. Isreal is fighting a war right now that might kill a lot of terrorists but have long term devastating consequences to their security.

    Bush really did think that he was helping the American people. Clinton really did think he was helping the American people. I am certain that Obama too wants to help the American people. It's a question of qualifications and political currency.

    The loving admiration for Obama means politicians want to be aligned with his camp. You want to vote Obama's agenda into law so that you get a little halo effect. Bush was able to direct Congress following 9/11 and pass the laws he felt were best for the nation. Obama can do the same. He might not be the legislative branch but he can ask the legislative branch to pass his agenda. The post 9/11 months are a magnificent example of how 'effective' a president can be in legislating when his opinion polls are in the stratosphere. You don't have to make as many concessions, you don't have to compromise as much... and I think people are most disappointed with Obama when he needs to compromise.

    It's 'technically' impossible for any leader to do anything. This is something people don't understand about most management and something that ties up bad managers/leaders/directors. You aren't actually able to do anything. You're an enabler. You are an encourager. You can only inspire others to do it for you.

    Obama won't build any roads. He won't shoot any terrorists. If we subscribe to his agenda we will be the agents of change. But without firm leadership our efforts will be largely wasteful.

    Obama can inspire, direct and lead. He's already succeeding at these 3 things. Forget the constitution. Forget legislation. This is his source of power.

    Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't even a politician and he brought enormous change to our nation through inspiration, motivation, political maneuvering and solid leadership. As far as I'm concerned Obama has been acting as president long before being sworn into office. He's already motivated and inspired millions of people to get involved with the country and actually get the job done.

    Martin Luther King Jr. didn't desegregate the country. We did it ourselves as a nation. We just needed to be reminded of our duty to the nation from time to time. We need someone giving us a plan of action. And then we need the legal protection to do what's right. The president has the world's largest Bully Pulpit. He's got our ear. The work of any government is done by the people with our blessing. When the people don't agree with the leadership they stop working. When we believe in the agenda of the leadership we work harder and for less because we see our own success tied to their goals. Obama can be successful because he's got at least 150 million volunteers at least willing to listen to his ideas. The government is of the people for the people. When you say you don't believe in Government you're really saying you aren't believing in the American people. We are capable of doing great things if we can be reminded how.

    *Obama wasn't my first choice but I voted for him.

    - Gavin Greenwalt

  • Thin hopes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:05AM (#26542537)

    I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I do find myself feeling increasingly dubious about Obama, based on his actions thus far.

    I'm a storyteller so I like to understand people's motivations. I have lots of trouble believing a story when I can't understand someone's motivation.

    Very sensible. The problem is that motivations are like sound waves. There are lots of them out there, but only some will resonate with a given receiver. We don't really know what kind of receiver Obama is. Not yet, anyway, but there are indications. We've seen in his choice of appointments some counter-intuitive, if not outright bad picks. We've seen his reaction to the Israeli conflict. Through his comments about Hugo Chavez, we've gotten a small taste of his foreign policy wrt South America. None of these things are unforgivable, and people are quick to create logical justifications on his behalf. There is always the chance he is simply playing his cards close to his chest while consolidating a position of power so that when the time comes, he will be able to make bold moves with assurance. Kennedy was in bed with the Mob before he was able to move more freely in government, for goodness sake. But still. . . It's been raising eyebrows.

    1) Why would he lie about all of the change he wants to bring about? What's in it for him to lie? He's wealthy. He has as much power as can be attained. He has a reputation to keep if he wants more money and power.

    There are so many reasons here which can be borrowed from to answer that. Everything from psychopathy and Manchurian Candidate stuff, to simple idealism rebuffed by too big a counter force and not enough courage on his part. Do you indict Bush and Co. for war crimes when you know that 4 - 8 years down the road the GOP could turn around like the bunch of school yard egoists we saw evidenced in the McCain camp and do the same thing? Safer to not rock the boat. Do you go head to head with the Zionists by avoiding conflict in Iran? Do you attempt to tackle the root of the money problem? Bill Hicks put it well when he said, "I think after a new president is sworn in, they take him and put him in a small room deep underground. Then a screen rolls down, and they play the Kennedy Assassination for him, but it's footage nobody has ever seen, from a completely new camera angle. Then the screen rolls up, and they say, 'Do we have an understanding?'" --Simple fear could make a liar out of him. But again, we'd need to know what kind of receiver we're dealing with. We don't yet.

    2) Why wouldn't he want to fix the economy? He does have a re-election coming up in ... 4 years. It's in his best interest to do whatever it takes to improve the economy.

    Fixing the economy can only be done in one way. Changing the source of money. Right now, all money in the U.S., and indeed, the entire industrialized world, is borrowed at interest from a small consortium of private bankers. Very simply, to pay back that money plus interest, you need more money than exists, because all money comes from the same source. When the world defaults, as it inevitably must every 100 years or so, the banks scoop up all the collateral; land and holdings. The current banking system is deliberately set up in this manner for one reason: Power. Barak is no fool. He knows this, as anybody with real brains in government does, but he's never mentioned it. Kennedy tried to deal with this problem through the issuance of real government dollars which were minted at zero interest. After he was killed, this policy was quietly snuffed. If Barak doesn't face down this same problem, then he is just playing along to the real powers that be, which makes him just the top slave. But it's too early to judge. Maybe he'll do something about it.

    3) Nobody wants an end to the war on terror. We just want it to be fought pragmatically... by first up actually fighting terrorists instead of invading secular despot nations. Fighting terror means u

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

Working...