January 22, 2009

Innauguration quick takes

Stuff I noticed while watching endless hours of coverage of the Inauguration festivities, mostly on MSNBC.

- Chris Matthews is whacked. What's with his obsession with comparing EVERYTHING to some obscure movie plot? And they should never allow him to be on air longer than a half hour. Otherwise his ignorance and narrow view from the perspective of an elite white pundit who is paid millions and spends his entire life rubbing elbows with other media elite and those he's supposed to cover in D.C. is all too apparent.

Matthews kept saying, over and over and over and over again, over three days, that the huge crowds on the mall, many of, if not most, were black, represented the D.C. neighborhoods finally all emptying out and coming down to the mall. He kept referring to someone saying that D.C. was finally coming to Washington.

This was stunningly racist and plain stupid.

"Washington" evidently is the town of millionaire pundits, lobbyists, and polticians who all live the lives of princes and flit from townhouse to country house and dinner party to dinner party. "D.C." I guess is the blacks that inhabit the city and provide services to them all.

Matthews looked out at the sea of mostly black faces and wondered, "Gee, where did all these blacks come from?".

To Matthews' mind, they couldn't possibly have actually TRAVELLED there. Apparently he thinks blacks can't afford that or something. So to him, they HAD to be all the blacks in the neighborhoods of D.C. coming down to the mall.

Matthews would occasionally leave the toasty confines of the custom built MSNBC trailer and go to the fence around it and talk to the "little people". He'd ask their names and where they were from.

Over the course of three days, Matthews (and others) must have talked with scores of visitors, most of them black. Out of these dozens of people, perhaps one or two said they were from D.C. ALL the rest were from all across the country, north, south, east, and west, and an amazing number were from African and Carribean nations.

They were from Cameroon, from Ethiopia, from Burmuda and the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the Congo, just to name a few. All here giddy with delight and wanting to witness this history, even if it wasn't their country.

Surely Matthews would finally "get it" and drop this notion of his that the huge number of blacks were composed of far more than just the blacks who live in D.C. and provide household staff at the Georgetown parties he attends.

Nope, not a chance. He kept repeating what he apparently thought was a very interesting obvservation, all the way through, mentioning it again during the parade.

"Boy, it's really something.", Matthews seemed to be saying. Look at all those black people. They must all have come streaming out of the D.C. ghettos.

And I'll give him a pass for repeatedly mentioning how all he could see were all the "white teeth" shown by the sea of mostly black attendees, though he probably doesn't deserve it.

He seemed like he was drunk or on drugs or both much of the time, at one point getting into a contest with Keith Matthews, who himself was extremely annoying much of the time, over who could recall the most details about the movie "Advise and Consent".

During the parade, Olberman seemed fixated on acting annoyed that Obama didn't stick strictly to the schedule they had, at one point suggesting that Obama was displaying a "puckish nature" because.... well, because he got out of his limo when they didn't expect it, suggesting to Olberman that Obama was doing this just to screw up.... Olberman.

To be fair, they'd all been up nearly three days straight, and likely attending some of the toney parties themselves, and it showed. They were like a couple pre-teens who were punch-drunk after getting jacked up on Pepsi and staying up all night.

OK, enough of my "petty grievances".

Here's some other things I found notable.

The motorcade went INCREDIBLY S----L-----O-----W for 9/10ths of the parade route.
They were already at least a half hour behind schedule at that point.

The motorcade actually went twice as fast when Obama and Michelle were outside of the limo walking!!! At points, the Secret Service agents who were walking along side the limo had to walk as if they were a bride walking down the aisle, one small step, pause, another small step.....

I'm dying of curiosity as to why, with darkness approaching, and an incredibly long parade which would take hours to pass, which couldn't begin until the President was in the reviewing stand, and the fact that they'd then have to somehow eat dinner and change into their formal attire and put in appearances at each of the 10 official balls, that they appeared to be stalling for time, with the pace of the motorcade moving literally as slow as possible without coming to a complete stop.

A motivated snail could have left it in the dust.


I was also very annoyed at the fact that, once the Obama's arrived at the reviewing stand and the parade began to pass before them, that within MINUTES, about 95% of their guests, who had been given one of the most honored and exclusive tickets in town, had VANISHED.

They'd spent who knows how much to construct this elaborate stand with seating for a few hundred of Obamas closest friends. It was heated and the best seats in D.C. to watch the parade and show their support to the new President and First Lady.

But within a couple MINUTES, these ungrateful and selfish people started running out the door in order to make their way to their hotel rooms and begin changing for the balls.

THAT, in my opinion, took a lot of balls by itself.

So viewers around the world were left with a visual of the Obama's standing utterly abandoned in front of a sea of empty chairs, complete with the names of who was to sit in them attached to the back.

To her credit, Nancy Pelosi stayed for quite some time, as did Bill Daley. Hell, Biden's wife even flew the coop early.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if Obama had included me in the small number invited to join him in his reveiwing stand, I don't think I would have run out minutes after he arrived to make sure I got to some damn ball on time. I found it very disrespectful and rather tacky on a day where respect should have been given.


Sasha and Malia are incredibly unspoiled and well-adjusted (not to mention cute)kids, and this reflects very well on their parents. There is nothing about them to suggest that they've been overly coached or taught to be little manequins or props.
It will be interesting to see how the press and the Obamas handle what will inevitably be an incredibly strong media presure worldwide for anything and everything to do with the girls.

And to think that not long ago, when I published a couple shots of the Obamas with their girls here, taken before Obama made his campaign announcement in Springfield, that there was at least one person to vigorously attacked me and applied pressure both to suggest that I was doing a horrible thing to post the pictures, that I was some sort of pedophile, and to demand that I take them down.

I'm sure this total asshole is having a stroke today from the fact that everyone on the planet can see the girls any time they want. Either that or he was a gigantic blowhard trying to throw his weight around at the time. Think I'll go with the latter.


I'm grateful that the facts regarding Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts flubbing the Presidential Oath of Office have seemed to be accepted.

Obviously, it was inevitable that the goons on the right would leap to suggest that it was Obamas fault, and therefore proof that he can't get anything right, and that he's just as stupid as they are would emerge in an instant, and they did.

But to their credit, pundits and reporters were relatively quick to recognize that it was Roberts, not Obama, who had screwed up. (of course, to right wingers, facts are easily ignored and it's certain that they'll continue to believe that Obama messed it all up.)

After Justice Roberts got to, "I, Barack Hussein Obama..", Obama began to repeat the line, yet Justice Roberts continued, "do solemnly swear". This minor flub seemed to get things out of whack, but who did it right? Where were they supposed to pause?

I wondered if Justice Stevens had paused after saying, "I, Joseph Robinette Biden..." while delivering the Oath to the Vice President or not. After watching the clip, I see that he does not pause there, but repeats the entire phrase, "I, Joseph Robinette Biden do solemnly swear." before Biden repeats it back. ("Robinette" ??!! Yikes. Doesn't sound like your typical Joe Sixpack middle name.)

So it Obama flubbed by starting to repeat before Roberts had finished the entire phrase, "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.".

The actual 35 word Presidential Oath of Office reads,

"I (name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Roberts choked and made two mistakes in repeating the line, "That I will execute the Office of President to the United States faithfully."

Seemingly catching George Bush disease, Roberts inexplicably said, "...execute the Office of President TO the United States...".

He also misplaced the word "faithfully" the first time he repeated it, then, after Obama paused to give him a chance to get it right, actually got it right the second time before quickly messing it up again prior to Obama's repeating it with "faithfully" misplaced.

This fact was born out by repeated viewings which showed clearly that Roberts had screwed up the phrase in question, then, after Obama paused to let him get it right, repeated it correctly, but then amazingly, quickly repeated it incorrectly again. At that point Obama then repeated the line that Roberts had repeated last, which unfortunatly was incorrect.

Coverage of the luncheon in the Capitol after the event showed Obama going over to a seated Roberts and talking with him. At one point, by reading lips, you can clearly see Roberts saying, "It was my fault." It was also reported elsewhere that Roberts had apologized for his blunder to Obama at the event.

The constitution lays out the wording of the Presidential Oath, but it also stipulates that the president-elect becomes president at the hour of noon, as Olberman put it, "whether he's reciting the oath or taking a bath.". In other words, he becomes president at that hour, oath or no oath. But this assertion is still open for arguement.

Of course, right wing Republicans, addicted to whining and railing at any chance, no matter how irrelevant or petty, to attack Obama, raised a cry about it. And apparently, someone in the White House decided that "out of an abundance of caution", it might be worth it to have a do-over, and Roberts did the thing again, after heeding Obama's suggestion that they "take it slow this time", and all is well.

Of interest is that this incident is neither the first time the oath has been bungled, nor the fist time it's been retaken, though it's the first time a President has taken the oath in private after he'd taken it in public.

The Illinois float in the Inaugural Parade not only featured a rather goulish looking figure wearing an enormous paper mache Lincoln head, but also featured a John Deere children's riding tractor, as well as the skyline of Chicago, all set on the outline of the state. The float, as with others, was pulled by a John Deere tractor as well.

So there ya go. Illinois, noteworthy because of.... Chicago, Lincoln, and John Deere. And apparently, nothing else. Where was Capone? Well, there's Blagojevich, but.....


At 1/23/2009 5:56 PM, Blogger tacky said...

TID: Your coverage is so good. Hope you send it to CNN ( which I have long stopped watching--because of Matthews and Buchanan, Beck,Dobbs, --sho is gone--etc)I decided to watch MSNBC, which has Keith and Rachel ( who I prefer over Keith). These pundits should know what level headed people like you are saying about them.
My liberal friends thought Roberts flubbed deliberately. I think he had a difficult time looking Obama in the eyes.
Seemed to me the slow ride was because the SS kept waiting for a all clear signal from ahead. You know so many people are upset with the super security that caused them to miss the event.
Anyway, I think your insights are great! But let the pundits know. Peace

At 1/24/2009 3:26 AM, Anonymous nooncat said...

The VP was named after his father. He's Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. That makes two of them on the planet with that middle name (probably the maiden name of Joe Jr.'s paternal grandmother). Think about that.

At 1/25/2009 1:59 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for the kind words.

I too prefer MSNBC, but perhaps I'm getting jaded from watching it too much.

I loved Olberman, and still do appreciate his work very much, and I've liked Rachel Madow long before she ever appeared on TV, having listened to her show on Air America via XM sattelite radio for the last few years.

But now I find myself getting frustrated with Olberman as he seems to spend half the time figuring out ways to make his questions overly wordy and endless to the point where he tongue-ties himself. I find myself yelling, "Get on with it!"

But that said, I think he still has the best show on cable as far as actually reporting things that people should know. He's biased, sometimes over the line, but on balance, he's head and shoulders above the other dreck out there, and at least sticks to actual facts, unlike Fox.

Rachel I loved, but now find myeslf almost annoyed at the endless cutsieness, the constant snarky tone, and the sometimes overlong descriptions and narrations.

I'm glad it's more than a simple sound bite, and yes, sometimes these issues demand a lengthy explanation, so I can kind of understand that, but the cutsey-wootsie stuff is starting to grind on me. How many times can she use the word, "gi-normous", and exagerated tone of voice before it just gets grating?

I love them both, but I'm almost shocked to find that they both get annoying to me sometimes. Maybe I'm suffering from overkill. After all, no one can be great all the time.

But again, there's no doubt in my mind that a person watching MSNBC will be better informed overall than someone watching another network.

At 1/25/2009 2:01 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hmmm. Didn't know Joe was a Jr.

I figured a Robinette must have been one of the backup singers for Robin.

At 1/25/2009 7:40 PM, Blogger tiz said...

I remember hearing Roy Blount Jr. point out a while back that everyone except Palin in the race had their father's name.

At 1/25/2009 9:40 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

That's interesting trivia. Of course, it would have been more interesting if Palin actually WAS named after her Dad. Somehow, with what she named her kids, having a dad named Sarah wouldn't come as that great a shock somehow.

At 1/26/2009 7:35 PM, Blogger tiz said...

Palin was not (as far as I know), but President Obama's (I still love writing that) mother, Stanley Ann Dunham was named after her father. Having a girl's name myself I totally threatened this on my daughter.

The next Palin child should be named Maverick. Anything else would be a disappointment.

At 1/26/2009 7:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

But, but, but Tiz....
That would break the oh-so-clever "Tr....." trend they've established with Track and Trig.

I think it would have to be Tick, Tock, Tripod, Truck, Troop, Trick, Tram, Tron, Tri-tip, Trap, Trip, Trudge, Tripe, etc. Maybe even Truculent or Trimethicone.

At this point, nothing would surprise me.


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