Ex-Gov. Blagojevich: Still Crazy After All These Years!
Illinois State Senators stood up one by one in a hushed chamber in Springfield (IL) on Thursday, calling Gov. Rod Blagojevich a liar and a hypocrite who put his ego and his pocketbook ahead of the interests of Illinois. One senator called him “devious, cynical, crass and corrupt.” Another said the evidence of abuse of power was “overwhelming.” A third said he was “without a doubt unfit to govern.”
Subsequently, the Illinois Senate voted 59 to 0 to reject Blagojevich’s theatrical last-minute plea and to remove him from office. The vote to impeach him ended a stormy period of time that had left the nation’s fifth-largest state paralyzed by its governor’s alleged misdeeds and nationally ridiculed for its latest bout of corruption.
Throughout his last day, Mr. Blagojevich was, in turn, furious over the methods of the trial, morose as he said goodbye to staff members at the Governor’s Mansion and brimming with a bizarre gallows humor long before the lawmakers cast their votes. All the while, his office assistant packed his belongings into cardboard boxes, among them, family photographs, a bust of Lincoln and a statue of Elvis.
At another point, he pondered the more practical consequences of losing his job. “I wonder if we’ll have to hitchhike home,” he said. “Maybe we could take the bus.” In the end, he left the Capitol in Springfield through a secret basement corridor full of grunting, clanking pipes, bare walls and puddles.
Impeachment of Rod Blagojevich: The Illinois Senate Proceedings
Long Journey is Crowned: President Barack H. Obama, 44th President of the U.S
Witnessed by an elated, celebratory crowd of more than a million admirers, Barack Hussein Obama marked his place in history as America’s first African-American president. President Obama called for a disheartened country to unite in hope against the “gathering clouds and raging storms” of war and economic woe. At this extraordinary moment in the life of America, people of all colors and ages waited in freezing cold weather for hours on Tuesday to witness a young African-Americn man with a foreign-sounding name take command of a nation founded by slaveholders. It was a ceremonial event watched in fascination by many millions, perhaps even billions of people, around the world.
For the previous three days of pre-inaugural celebrations, President Obama had been cheerful and relaxed. But he was very solemn as he stood on the Capitol steps, placed his left hand on the Bible used by Abraham Lincoln and repeated the inaugural oath “to preserve, protect and defend” a Constitution that had originally defined blacks as only three-fifths of a person. At that moment, deafening cheers went up.
In his Inaugural Address, President Obama remarked that, “We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” But he stated that in our present discouraging economic and political climate, “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….This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”
President Barack H. Obama’s Inaugural Address
The Obamas Leave Their Limo and Walk the Inaugural Parade Route
Music Video: Yes We Can!
Music Audio/The Late Mahalia Jackson Sings Amazing Grace:
Obama Inaugural Concert: Josh Groban Sings with The Washington D. C. Gay Men’s Chorus
America’s first African-American president was serenaded by a large number of world-class performers at the nationally televised concert titled We Are One on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial two days before Obama’s inauguration. More than a few people at the National Mall on Sunday must have been reminiscing about the life of Marian Anderson, and just how amazed and proud she’d be. In 1939, Anderson, the famed American contralto, was banned from performing in the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall because of the color of her skin. So instead, she performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Just short of 70 years later, another huge concert on those very steps blended joy, remembrance and unabashed patriotism in celebration of Tuesday’s inauguration of Barack Obama before an integrated audience of hundreds of thousands, including Obama and his wife, Michelle; their daughters, Malia and Sasha; Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill; and their extended families.
Queen Latifah told the story of Marian Anderson, the renowned African-American opera singer who in 1939 had been barred from performing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Anderson was subsequently invited to perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by Eleanor Roosevelt, who resigned her D.A.R membership in protest. Anderson sang the American anthem “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” before an integrated audience of an estimated 75,000 people. Today’s crowd of more than 400,000 people watched a black-and-white film clip of Anderson’s stirring performance seven decades ago, when few would ever have imagined that the son of an African father and a mother from Kansas could be elected president of the United States.
Marian Anderson’s story was followed by a performance by Josh Groban and Heather Headley. They sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” in what was clearly meant to be a historic metaphor. In this groundbreaking symbolic moment, which was an open call of support for the freedom and rights of gay people, Groban and Headly were backed by members of the official Washington D. C. Gay Men’s Chorus, who were wearing the red AIDS ribbons pinned to their chests.
KING’S FINAL ADDRESS: “I’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP”
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING: BIOGRAPHIC NOTES
One of the most visible advocates of nonviolence and direct action as methods of social change, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929. As the grandson of the Rev. A.D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church and a founder of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, and the son of Martin Luther King, Sr., who succeeded Williams as Ebenezer’s pastor, King’s roots were in the African-American Baptist church. After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, King went on to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and Boston University, where he deepened his understanding of theological scholarship and explored Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent strategy for social change. King married Coretta Scott in 1953, and the following year he accepted the pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. King received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955. On December 5, 1955, after civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to comply with Montgomery’s segregation policy on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association. The boycott continued throughout 1956 and King gained national prominence for his role in the campaign. In December 1956 the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional, and Montgomery’s buses were desegregated.
In 1960, black college students initiated a wave of sit-in protests that led to the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). King supported the student movement and expressed an interest in creating a youth arm of the SCLC. Student activists admired King, but they were critical of his top-down leadership style and were determined to maintain their autonomy. As an adviser to SNCC, Ella Baker, who had previously served as associate director of SCLC, made clear to representatives from other civil rights organizations that SNCC was to remain a student-led organization. The 1961 “Freedom Rides” heightened tensions between King and younger activists, as he faced criticism for his decision not to participate in the rides. Conflicts between SCLC and SNCC continued during the Albany Movement of 1961 and 1962.
In the spring of 1963, King and SCLC led mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known for their violent opposition to integration. Clashes between unarmed black demonstrators and police armed with dogs and fire hoses generated newspaper headlines throughout the world. President Kennedy responded to the Birmingham protests by submitting broad civil rights legislation to Congress, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Subsequent mass demonstrations culminated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which more than 250,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D. C. It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
King’s renown continued to grow as he became Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1963 and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to Dr. King by President Jimmy Carter in 1964. However, along with the fame and accolades came conflict within the movement’s leadership. Malcolm X‘s message of self-defense and black nationalism resonated with northern, urban blacks more effectively than King’s call for nonviolence; King also faced public criticism from “Black Power” proponent, Stokely Carmichael.
King’s efficacy was not only hindered by divisions among black leadership, but also by the increasing resistance he encountered from national political leaders. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive efforts to undermine King’s leadership were intensified during 1967 as urban racial violence escalated, and King’s public criticism of the U. S. intervention in the Vietnam War led to strained relations with Lyndon Johnson’s administration.
To this day, King remains a controversial symbol of the African-American civil rights struggle, revered by many for his martyrdom on behalf of non-violence, but criticized by others for his militancy and insurgent views.
Clayborne Carson, Editor
“Martin Luther King Biographic Note”
CORETTA SCOTT KING
After her husband’s death in 1968, Coretta King emerged as an important activist in her own right. She founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and led the fight to make her husband’s birthday a national holiday. Yet she also was known as a loving mother who reared four children alone. She instilled in them a reverence for the ideals their father espoused, as well as an independence to chart their own courses, even if it challenged long-standing ideals of who or what they should be.
She became an international advocate for peace and human rights. She met with presidents and world leaders and was arrested fighting against apartheid. And well into her 70s, she traveled the globe to speak against racial and economic injustice, promote the rights of the powerless and poor, and advocate religious freedom, full employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and AIDS awareness.
Coretta Scott King, 78, of Atlanta, died on February 4, 2006, at a holistic hospital in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, about 17 miles south of San Diego. Despite her physical struggles, friends and family members said her last days were painful, she had made a surprise appearance the previous month during The Martin Luther King Center’s annual “Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner” in downtown Atlanta. She was wheeled into the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, triggering an admiring standing ovation. She smiled, waved and kissed family members, but she did not speak. It would be her last public appearance.
A Musical Tribute to Correta Scott King:
On January 31, 2006, National Public Radio broadcast “A Musical Tribute to Corretta Scott King.” To honor Mrs. King’s memory, the program drew upon music from a long-standing tradition in Atlanta. From the 2005 edition of the annual King Celebration concert, the tribute to Mrs. King included Lift Every Voice and Sing, performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges. The tribute also included a 1998 interview on National Public Radio, during which Mrs. King had reflected upon the importance of music to the Civil Rights Movement.
A Tribute to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement
Bush’s Farewell Address: Delusional From Beginning To End
Arianna Huffington Talks With Rachel Maddow About Bush’s Farewell Address: “Bush Was Delusional From The Beginning To The Very End!!“
Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow” show Thursday night to discuss President Bush’s farewell address to the nation, which took place earlier last evening. When asked by Maddow what the big headline from the speech was, Arianna suggested paraphrasing Paul Simon’s: “Still Delusional After All These Years!“