Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chief Justice Robert's Messing the Oath

Most of the talking heads when commenting about the Chief Justice Roberts’s verbal stumble while administering the Presidential oath, focus on the adverb “faithfully.” Adverbs can be placed almost anywhere in the sentence and in most cases will not change the meaning.

On the other hand, not one of the pundits I've seen have talked about Robert's changing of “of” to “to” in the phrase 'President of the United States'. That slip is a much bigger deal. It changes the meaning and diminishes the Presidency.

Here's the way the Constitution says it should be administered:
"I 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."

But this is the transcript:
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama...
OBAMA: I, Barack...
ROBERTS: ... do solemnly swear...
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...
ROBERTS: ... that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...
OBAMA: ... that I will execute...
ROBERTS: ... faithfully the office of president of the United States...
OBAMA: ... the office of president of the United States faithfully...
ROBERTS: ... and will to the best of my ability...
OBAMA: ... and will to the best of my ability...
ROBERTS: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

The phrase President of the United States is not open to variation. In what context would we ever say “President to the United States?”

One can speak of “an ambassador to the United States” or “an ambassador of the United States.”

In the first instance, to makes it clear that the ambassador belongs somewhere else. He may be attached to the United States, but it’s as an outsider.

In the second instance, the of makes it clear that the ambassador is carrying on the work of the United States.

So why would Chief Justice Roberts come up with the unprecedented “President to the United States” while delivering the oath of office?

Freudian slip maybe?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

I don't do well in crowds. Even the pictures of the Mall area scare me and I'm 3000 miles away. I asked my boss for the day off to watch TV (he understood) but last night I decided I wanted to watch it with others. So I went to to see what was happening in my area. The local independent theater was hosting a showing of the Inauguration and it looked like 127 people had RSVP'd for a theater that can hold maybe 700. So I went. Over 1000 showed up! I was lucky and got a seat but folks were standing in the aisle, in the concession area, even on the street out front. It was packed. The theater manager made an announcement and said cameras and cell phones were OK which was good since everyone was using them. The crowd was great -- Boo's at appropriate places, and cheers and hugging whenever Obama was on the screen. It was great!


Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm Liking Obama More and More Every Day

The Obama team just announced that New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, a vocal gay rights leader, will open President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration with a prayer on Sunday's kick-off event at the Lincoln Memorial.

I LOVE the timing of this! After all the dismissing by the Right of our outrage over Warren, it will be very awkward for them to get outrageous over Robinson's role (although I'm sure the hypocrites will be happy to show themselves).

Was this delibrate? Or was this in response to the Left's outrage? Either way this was a smart move for Obama.

UPDATE 1-18-09
HBO cut the Robinson invocation from their broadcast today of the Lincoln Memorial concert. Chicken shit!

UPDATE 1-19-09
HBO must have heard our voices. They've promised to include it on future broadcasts.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Harry Reid Should Shut Up

From Politico:
The Majority Leader thinks former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens shouldn't face jail time for his seven-count federal conviction last year, telling our Manu Raju, who was also in the room, "My personal feeling, you guys, I don't know what good that [would do]... He was a real war hero too, you know. He's been punished enough."

Members of Congress, he added, had long been used to not disclosing gifts until the rules had been tightened. And he said the 85-year-old Stevens simply did not adapt to those changing rules.

"It's a different world we live in, and Stevens did not understand that," Reid said.

What kind of entitled class are these Senators? Harry Reid obviously has no respect for the laws. I guess laws and ethics are only for us little people not for those privileged few who live in the ivory tower of the Senate. Shut up, Harry. You are an embarrassment.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

My Dream Team

Obama is finalizing his cabinet. So far his choices don't entirely match what I would love to see:

I would have picked Al Gore for Energy, Linda Darling-Hammond for the Education, Noam Chomsky for State, Naomi Klein for Defense, Howard Zinn for UN Ambassador, Barry Scheck for Attorney General, Maxine Waters in HHS, Bill Fletcher for Labor, Patrick Fitzgerald for Justice, Paul Krugman for Treasury, Bunnatine Greenhouse as Inspector General, and Amy Goodman for press secretary. Then I want Russ Feingold to lead the Senate majority and Dennis Kucinich for Speaker of the House.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Senate Needs to STOP the Side Show

We are a nation of rules. The Senate MUST stop all this gamesmanship and posturing over Blagojevich. Blagojevich is still Governor, the Illinois constitution still calls for gubernatorial appointment to fill US Senate vacancies, and Roland Burris is constitutionally qualified to sit in the Senate. That should be enough to settle the matter. There’s no legal argument to avoid seating Burris, and not a lot in the way of ethical grounds, either.

Senate Democrats are wasting valuable political capital by engaging in this sideshow of trying to forcibly bar Burris from the chamber. We desperately need the first days of the new Democratic majority to be spent on the people's vital business, NOT on an unnecessary circus. (Especially one that seems likely to end up as egg on the faces of the Democratic leaders).

They can back bench Burris. They can avoid giving him any leadership in committees. But they need to seat him and let’s get on with it!