In a meeting with his senior staff today, President Barack Obama signed executive orders that re-opened the federal government to more transparency. In doing so, Obama reversed many of former President George W. Bush's edicts that cloaked federal agencies and himself in secrecy.
"The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but those who seek to make it known. "
Read the full transcript of the meeting, in which Obama also announces salary freezes for some senior staff. obamastaffaddress
Shouts of "O-ba-ma!" swept across the plain of the National Mall like a war cry, collecting in a wave that reached the U.S. Capitol, where Barack Hussein Obama was about to be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States in front of nearly 2 million jubilant constituents.
The sonic effect would have been frightening, if it weren't for the palpable sense of unity in welcoming Obama to office—and his well-received message of hope and change.
"He is just such a perfect leader, at this time," said Cheryl Atkinson, 50, in describing Obama's appearance onstage. "His message of unity, inclusiveness—it's really a message of love and responsibility—lets you know that it can happen. It did happen."
By Gerry Canavan
Nobody was tired; nobody was cold. By the time we'd gathered our group and walked the two miles from my friend's apartment in Virginia to the Lincoln Memorial—most of us wearing multiple layers of Obama T-shirts, I with my pajamas under my pants for extra warmth— it almost seemed warm.
We had woken up late, 7 a.m., and didn't leave Arlington before 8:30, which meant that by the time we reached the Mall the throng had already filled the prime spots by the reflecting pool. We settled in between the new World War II memorial and the Washington Monument in a comfy spot at the edge of the sidewalk, right in front of a screen. From where we were, we could barely make out the tip of the Capitol.
The cops were half-heartedly trying to keep 17th Street NW clear, which meant we were at one of the few places on the Mall where you could spread out without being sandwiched. So we sat down on the concrete and we waited.
Our Snowbama day has been fun, but the bad weather is ruining tonight's plans.
Durham for Obama's bash at Golden Belt has been canceled.
A nugget from today's inauguration sent by Indy staffer Matt Saldaña:
Norma Gabriel Taylor, 65, and Carolyn King Samoa, 50, are cousins who traveled from the Bay Area with members of three generations of their family, including Samoa’s 85-year-old father. “It’s just history. It’s so overwhelming. I thought to myself, ‘We’re coming here with pieces of people we lost,” Taylor said.
On the night of Obama’s nomination, at the Democratic National Convention in late August, Taylor said it was the first time she realized “all that I had been hoping for would come true. You just get a feeling within yourself, When is change going to happen? And that’s what he was talking about-real change. I think there will be change.”
Black ice, freezing temperatures and snow: Due to inclement weather, the Inaugural Ball that was originally scheduled for tonight has been canceled. The event will instead be held on Saturday, January 24, from 8-11:00 p.m. at the Siena Hotel.
Tickets are still available for event. If you have any questions, or to reserve space, please contact the Siena Hotel at
Beautiful day in America. Beautiful day in the North Carolina Piedmont, perfect for watching history unfold:
"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
"This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
"This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny."
-- President Barack Obama
The city is overflowing and in the grip of joy. Every thing is decorated, and Obamamania is jumpstarting the economy at street level. It is truly wonderful and amazing. Today I had my photo taken with Frederick Douglass. We walked in a MLK day parade to lay a wreath at the African-American Civil War Memorial, which is very near our apartment. The parade marshals were from the 54th Massachusetts—both re-enactors, and the newly re-formed regiment of the Mass National Guard. They were accompanied by a group of black women re-enactors, and the Douglass re-enactor was at the ceremony. It was kinda mind blowing; the 54th risen from its watery grave in vindication after all these years. The people were singing: “Before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave.” And then at the end, when we were doing one more time around on “We Shall Overcome,” someone started a verse: “No more Bushes ever, we have overcome tooooo-day!”
Follow the Indy's Matt Saldana at the inaug on Twitter: twitter.com/indyweek
In a report bashing a city-owned broadband utility, the conservative John Locke Foundation reveals a stunning level of ignorance about technology.
"Wilson's Fiber-Optic Boondoggle," written by research director Michael Sanera and intern Katie Bethune, criticizes Wilson, N.C.'s $28 million investment in a fiber-optic network that makes high-speed Internet, cable TV and phone service to every resident and business in the city. The utility project, called Greenlight, is funded by bonds which under the city's business plan are expected to be repaid through subscription revenue.
JLF leads with the critique that the technology "could be obsolete before it's paid for."
"WiMax wireless Internet technology is rapidly leapfrogging fiber-optic cable technology, making it obsolete."
To anyone who actually follows Internet technology, that statement is a howler.
Fiber is far and away the most advanced technology available for connecting to the Internet. It offers effectively unlimited capacity and speed. WiMax is the next generation of wireless technology, reaching further and moving data faster than the WiFi most of us use now -- but nowhere near as fast as fiber. And every wireless system has to connect up to some kind of backbone. WiMax works best if connected to a fiber network.
It's expensive to run fiber through city streets and connect every home and business. That's why most private companies aren't willing to do it unless they're assured of making a hefty profit on the investment, and a city must be more densely populated than Wilson for that profit to be high enough. Even in the Triangle, companies like AT&T, Embarq and Time Warner prefer to stick with the copper and coax lines they've already got in the ground.
The JLF report cites no sources for its embarrassing tech analysis, except a footnote to a brief article in the Washington Times that reads like a press release for Sprint's acquisition of wireless company Clearwire. That piece talks about WiMax surpassing the WiFi technology most of us use -- but it makes no mention of fiber.
I showed the JLF report to Jim Baller, a Washington, D.C., attorney who's widely respected as an expert on broadband technology. He recently convened a broad coalition of industry and public interest groups who hope to shape a national strategy for deploying broadband technology.
"The John Locke Foundation's suggestion that WiMax will render Wilson's fiber system obsolete is just absurd," Baller said by e-mail. "The Foundation should understand this -- and perhaps does. To be sure, WiMax offers mobility, and fiber does not. But as any expert will tell you, no wireless technology, including WiMax, has anywhere near the capacity of a fiber-to-the-home system. As applications become increasingly bandwidth-rich, fiber will be able to accommodate them, and wireless won't. At the same time, we will increasingly want to be as mobile as possible. In Japan, South Korea, and other leading broadband nations, fiber and wireless extend and complement each other. That's where we're heading too."
A friend suggests viewing Dr. King's 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech in its entirety if you haven't done so recently. It's about 17:00, just long enough to consider the arc of history and how it has, and hasn't, bent toward justice since King spoke. The speech is all over the internets, of course. Our friend found it on a nonprofit voting-rights group's website, Why Tuesday?, where they remind us of King's emphasis on the importance of "that short walk to the voting booth." Think what King would tell us now.