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    Questions: The Inaugural Edition

    OK, so I didnt find a way to scrounge up an Inauguration ticket. I'm certainly not going to spend one of the most beautiful and meaningful weeks in recent memory being bitter. At least A-man and the Big O are making me feel like I'm there with their insanely comprehensive coverage (although how about a little more multimedia please!). In the meantime, as my own little contribution to the week's festivities, I hereby offer up a special Inauguration version of my Questions column. Now these are no fun without reader participation, so you need to contribute by answering!

    1) I've been to the mountaintop and I've seen the inevitable references.

    2) A well-stocked Cabinet?

    3) The over/under.

    4) In case Orlando has some free time in DC.

    5) For the love of god.

    6) First line of business.

    7) I still cannot believe his reign is over.

    8) The pundits.

    9) It's never too early to think ahead.

    10) What is the biggest miracle of the week: Black man become POTUS, Passenger plane crashes in river without any fatalities, Cardinals make the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.



    1) Isn't it awesome that America will officially inaugurate its first black president one day after the country celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? How much credit do you think Dr. King can take for making this inauguration a possibility? Do you think Obama will reference King's mountaintop speech, i have a dream speech, both or neither in his inaugural address?

    Yes, it's awesome. King and those who preceded him paved the way, as did the entertainment media: once people (and not just white folk) came to accept someone like Morgan Freeman or Jimmy Smits in the role, an eventual black president became inevitable.

    But it was the audacity and smarts of Barack Obama himself that short-circuited the slow plodding of history. Instead of two or three election cycles from now, it's happening tomorrow. That's the incredible part.

    If Obama refers to King, it is likely to be obliquely. Beginning now, and certainly by the end of his first term, he wants everyone to see him as the president -- not the first African-American president.

    No reference to Dr. King. A couple of subtle, appropriate references to the civil rights struggle to note the historical significance of the moment. I suppose the fact that Obama made several King references on Monday took away the necessity for any further mention of the man. But i think there's no doubt that the good Dr. did more than almost any man to make this dream a reality.

    2) Aside from the Clintonites, I'm not too familiar with much of Obama's cabinet. Which nomination are you most impressed with and why? What about the worst selection (Richardson not an option)?

    Vilsack and LaHood are in a race to see who is deeper in the pockets of the industry they're supposed to be regulating.

    I guess it's not technically a cabinet post, but Panetta as CIA director had me smiling -- especially since it pissed off Feinstein and Rockefeller, the incoming and outgoing Democratic intelligence committee chairs. The U.S. spy apparatus needs a serious shakeup, and Panetta with Obama's backing can deliver it. Feinstein and Rockefeller had way too cozy a relationship.

    Hilda Solis as labor secretary may have all the right instincts, but her apparent evasiveness on policy at her nomination hearing didn't bode well. I still don't know if Hillary can be the team player Obama needs her to be, but I'll give her the benefit of a doubt. 

    3) Give me a time estimate, down to the seconds, for the length of Obama's inauguration speech. Closest to the actual number wins the right to give me a topic for one of my next two question columns. (Edit: Length will be determined by timing speech on Tivo from moment Obama begins actual speech to the point when he says God Bless America, or similar ending, i.e. no thank yous, wife kissing time included)

    come on. any other guesses? it wont count if its after the fact!

    We know it'll be longer than Lincoln's second inaugural. I'll shoot high: 20 minutes.

    according to my tivo, it took 18 minutes and 28 seconds from the time he uttered 'Dear fellow citizens' to the time he said '...and god bless the United States of America.'

    So acanuck wins the prize - congrats, and feel free to reply here with a questions column topic if you are so inclined!!

    4) What's your favorite tourist attraction in Washington D.C.?

    Rock Creek bike paths

    I haven't been a real tourist in DC since I was a kid, but I loved the Washington Memorial and surrounding area, and the Smithsonian was awesome when i was a kid.

    5) Will Rev. Rick Warren utter the word Jesus or Jesus Christ in his inauguration invocation. If so, how many times will he say it? If not, what word or phrase will he utter that will be closest (i.e. savior, Holy Trinity, son of God, J.C., etc.)?

    Either Warren or Orlando will say, "Jesus F'ing Christ it's cold!"

    Hah! Good guess. But I didn't actually say that. Two weeks of sub-zero temperatures made DC almost balmy. I wasn't really cold at all except toward the end of the swearing in when we'd been standing still for a couple hours. And then, it was really only my feet. Otherwise, it was fine.

    No. He'll say God but keep the references generic and non-denominational. He also won't use the words abortion, gay or same-sex.

    6) What will be the first executive order signed by Obama? What about the first bill passed by Congress?

    Tomorrow, he'll quietly block or overturn a slew of last-minute Bush executive orders. Wednesday, he'll meet the top military brass, officially give them the mission of bringing the Iraq troops home. As he's announcing that, he'll also say he's ordered Gitmo closed and maybe for good measure that he's ending don't-ask-don't-tell.

    7) And George W: What do you think will be the first non-vacation(ranch)-related thing of significance he does after leaving office?

    He's planning something of significance?

    haha. good point acanuck. but i'd actually be surprised if he doesn't eventually work hard to rehabilitate his reputation with some good work and charitable activity. he's a young man, and while we know he likes his ranch and texas, i'm hoping he continues some of the important work he did for africa (one of the very few good things he did during his administration).

    if he ends up just trying to use his title as ex-president to make money by giving speeches, i'll be shocked.

    8) Which channel's television coverage of the Inauguration will you be watching the most? Whose opinion of Obama's inaugural address are you most interested in hearing?

    CBC is sending a team down to view things from a Canadian perspective. I'll give that a shot, along with CNN. And I'll tune in Dagblog for in-depth analysis.

    9) OK, let's keep thinking big: What will be the next minority to reach the highest office in the land? Hispanic, Jewish, Gay, Female, Asian (I know, I know, I've excluded a ton of others) ... List them in order of likelihood.

    given our whole debate about warren's invocation, i should have added non-believer to the mix of groups. That's probably the last thing we'll ever see, at least a non-believer who's out of the closet...

    10) I know it's an inauguration column, but I still have football on the mind right now. So please give me you Super Bowl Winner, Final Score and MVP Predictions. For those of you who don't care about the game or follow sports, please predict whether Springsteen's halftime act will suck ass or not.

    Steelers, 24-14, Polamalu

    Springsteen never sucks.

    Cardinals 24, Steelers 20. Warner. I hate halftime shows, tho i agree prince gave a rahter good one. Springsteen will be fine but not that memorable.

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