Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Welcome to DC, Mr. and Mrs. Obama
So, I had a "thing" yesterday. My good friend Jenn, my new friend Ted, and I braved the crowds and the cold to catch the Inauguration. It was inspiring to join with a million or more people to celebrate the dawn of a new era. We welcomed the Obamas and Bidens to the White House with open arms. We also gave Bush and Co. the boot.
Happy as I am, there is this hollow feeling in my gut. We won't have W. and Cheney to kick around any more. It is also worth noting that Cheney was in a wheelchair yesterday. Supposedly, he pulled a muscle moving a box. He should have called me. I would have been happy to move him out. Incidentally, Cheney will be drawing an annual pension of $132,451. I hope that is enough to keep him out of politics.
As for the Inauguration, the crowds were really as large as the media tell you, but we encountered very few problems other than the First Street crowd. There were no major arrests or incidents. Some people with standing room only tickets (the Purple Tickets) did not get in. After an initial bad decision, we headed down toward the Washington Monument and caught the ceremony on one of the giant screens. After the ceremony, we took in the sights and snapped a few pictures for some folks on the Mall. It was an incredible experience.
The people were all all happy and positive. We met people from Belarus, Montreal, Vermont, Indiana and Utah. That's just the ones I remember off hand. We also ran into two gentlemen who know an administrator from my tiny undergraduate school in Pennsylvania. We even got on to Indian Television after walking behind a news crew.
Today, President Obama signed executive orders freezing salaries for senior staffers, making the federal government more open (documents are presumed to be open to the public rather than closed as they were under W.), and placing more restrictions on former staffers lobbying the government. Change has even come to the White House website.
Just one more rant: always tip your server. We got talking to a waiter/bartender at a great bar downtown. This guy worked almost non-stop between Sunday and Tuesday and was getting tips of a few bucks on bills of $100 or more. Don't do that to your server.
Rants over. On to the pictures:
That's Jenn, Ted and me. Thanks for the picture, Jenn.
The unions seem to be happy. This is the headquarters of the Teamsters.
Have you ever wondered how MSNBC got those crowd shots behind the talking heads? Now you know. I have not a clue who was in there, but this was a live shot and we were probably on MSNBC, too.
Bono! This was from Sunday's concert. We didn't get down to the actual concert, but it was shown on the big screens on the Mall. Then President elect Obama spoke during the show. On the Mall, almost everyone stopped and paid attention to his words.
The Boss! He'll be at the Super Bowl, too. Not a bad way to start the year.
The Washington Monument, Jan. 18. The end of an error.
The Washington Monument, Jan. 20. The beginning of an era.
Some wrong turns are worse than others. This was First Street on Tuesday. It took an hour and a half to get through this crowd. Happily, there were very few rude or uncooperative people in this mass of humanity.
This was a better crowd to be in. Yes, the crowds go back many blocks. This shot is looking north on 18th Street.
Really. There were a lot of people. This is a shot on the Mall after the ceremony.
Baby, it was cold outside.
The Inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States...Brought to you by Best Buy. The profiteers were out in force. Some dude tried to sell me a Barack Obama air freshener.
Moving Day! There was an unique protest this year. Send a box to the White House to help W. move out. This was the result. These people tried to get me to help load the boxes, but I had a previous appointment.
It's not the best angle, but this is Biden getting sworn in. BTW: did you catch Chief Justice John Roberts screwing up the oath for Obama? How about Biden's dig at Roberts today?
But there is plenty of errors to be undone. These people are calling for the closure of Gitmo. The new Administration is off to a good start on that one.
Speaking of a good start, that is Bush's helicopter leaving town. Don't let the door hit ya where evolution split ya.
Just one more. Here's the big moment, screw up and all.
Yes, we did.
Update: I forgot about this one. We had record ridership on the Metro today, with only one major mishap. A lady fell onto the tracks. A volunteer from the Houston transit authority helped rescue her. That's what it was all about this weekend.