Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Tuscon, Arizona: A Moment of Silence

Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Tuscon, Arizona: A Moment of Silence

At 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time on Monday, Americans are called upon to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless acts of violence in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives.  It will be a time to come together as a nation in prayer or thoughtful reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.

Further, as a mark of respect for the victims of the tragic violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, President Obama has ordered that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 14, 2011.

President Obama Leads Moment of Silence for Arizona Shooting Victims

Photo-Gallery: A Moment of Silence to Honor the Victims of the Tragedy in Arizona

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The Vitriol of Sarah Palin and Her Tea Party Followers: For Shame!!

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords with Senior Citizens

Sarah Palin’s PAC: “Targeting” Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot today outside a Tucson Safeway supermarket; fourteen other people were wounded and six killed, including federal judge John Roll, during the assassination attempt on Giffords.  Representative Giffords was featured on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” map, which targeted legislators who voted for President Obama’s health care bill.  This was the map that was roundly criticized as an incitement to violence.

Giffords, a third-term legislator, supported President Obama’s health care reform bill. This earned her a place on the map, posted by Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committe, that literally put Democrats in the cross-hairs of guns last spring after the bill passed.  “Don’t retreat, instead-RELOAD!” was how Palin introduced the map to her Tea Party followers on Twitter.  Days later, a vandal smashed the glass door of Rep. Giffords’ Tucson office.  Giffords’ father stated that members of the Tea Party “always threatened” his daughter.

Giffords’ Tea Party opponent in the 2010 election, Jesse Kelly, went even further with the violent rhetoric.  Kelly’s campaign held an event called “Get on Target for Victory in November.”  Description of the event: “Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office.  Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

President Obama has called for a nationwide moment of silence at 11 a.m. on Monday, the White House announced Sunday.  “Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives,” the president said in a statement.  “It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”

President Obama: The Arizona Shooting Attack and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Breaking News: Piecing Together the Giffords Shooting

Keith Olbermann Special Commentary: “Violence Has No Place in Democracy”

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A Souvenir: Inside Obama’s Victory Rally in Chicago’s Grant Park

Inside Obama’s Victory Rally in Chicago’s Grant Park

Senator Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America. In an amazing moment in American history, the ultimate color line has been broken. The last few days had challenged Obama’s sense of calm like never before, his election-day stress amplified by the fatigue of an 18-month campaign and the death of his grandmother just yesterday. A sense of history stalked Obama everywhere during election day. A huge crowd of more than a hundred thousand people celebrated Obama’s victory in Chicago’s Grant Park, where President-elect Obama appeared to make his victory speech.

Inside Obama’s Chicago Rally

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Journey: Don’t Stop Believing

Audio Music: Yes We Can:

Inside Obama’s Victory Rally in Chicago’s Grant Park

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A Critical Moment: Barack Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

A Critical Moment: Barack Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

An Overview of the 2008 Democratic Convention’s Concluding Session

On Thursday, the 2008 Democratic National Convention moved into Denver’s Invesco Field so that more Americans could be a part of the fourth and final night of the Convention, where Barack Obama accepted the historic Democratic nomination for President. A crowd of almost 85,000 people attended the convention’s assembly at Invesco to hear Senator Obama’s acceptance speech.

Oscar-winning singer and Broadway actress Jennifer Hudson sang the National Anthem, and there were a number of other live live musical performances, including appearances by will.i.am (accompanied by John Legend, Agape choir, and band), the singer Sheryl Crowe and the legendary Stevie Wonder.

Before Senator Obama’s acceptance speech, Former Vice-President Al Gore spoke in support of Obama. Gore expressed heated criticisms about a number of public policy positions held by both Senator McCain and President Bush. His criticisms pointed to a number of specific issues in areas that included the environment, the economy and foreign affairs. Following Al Gore’s remarks, a biographic video of Obama was shown, which was directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning Director of An Inconvenient Truth.

Dave Stewart’s All-Star Music Video: My American Prayer

Replay: A Live Blogging of the Entire Acceptance Speech Event

A Biographic Tribute Video: The Search for Self

All Across the Nation, Something is Stirring

Barack Obama addressed a crowd of almost 85,000 supporters at the concluding session of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver Thursday evening, accepting the historic Democratic nomination for President of the United States. By Friday morning, a true avalanche of reviews had appeared, articles by so-called political-pundits representing both the mainstream media and new media bloggers. Many of the reviewers were enthralled by Senator Obama’s speech, but others were left with mixed feelings. Of the latter, some felt that his address failed to display the soaring, inspirational oratory that was characteristic of Obama’s earlier speeches, while others naively complained that his speech was just a repeat of his high-minded oratory that lacked any substance or specifics.

The pundits who were critical tended to churn out reviews that reflected a tenuous ability to grasp deeper or complex meanings, reviews that were highly superficial. These political-pundits are often the media’s more well-known public voices, but voices whose body of writings generally reflects a narcissistic conviction of entitlement. In fact, the dangerously alarming truth of the matter is that they view political events that are crucial to all Americans as their own personal sparkling merry-go-round, where their last political love affair is simply an entrée to their next encounter.

In sharply defined contrast, Barack Obama is a deeply thoughtful man, a characteristic once again revealed in his talk with supporters in the Invesco stadium on Thursday evening, many of whom during various parts of his address listened quietly in personal contemplative concentration. Not only was Obama addressing in detail the specifics of his positions during the acceptance speech, but far beyond that he was teaching and thus sharing with his supporters an understanding of the logic of his positions, as well as the logic supporting his reasons for repudiating Senator McCain’s political beliefs. In this context, Senator Obama clarified for all of America the fundamental motivation underlying the choice to embark upon his improbable and difficult run for the presidency: that neither Senator McCain, nor President Bush, nor the Republican administration will own up to their failures and to the devastating, often tragic results of those failures.

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With Profound Gratitude and Great Humility, I Accept

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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The 2008 Democratic Convention: Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

The Democratic Convention: Obama Accepts the Historic Presidential Nomination

On Thursday, the 2008 Democratic National Convention moved to Denver’s Invesco Field so that more Americans could be a part of the fourth and final night of the Convention, where Barack Obama would accept the Democratic nomination for President. Invesco’s doors were opened at around 4:00 p.m. (local time-Denver, MST), and the event was scheduled to end at 10:00 p.m. (local time). A crowd that is now estimated to be almost 85,000 people attended the final convention assembly to hear Senator Obama’s acceptance speech.

Oscar-winning singer and Broadway actress Jennifer Hudson (from Chicago) sang the National Anthem near the conclusion of the first segment of the event (4:00-6:00 p.m. local time). Between 6:00-7:00 p.m., there were live performances by will.i.am (accompanied by John Legend, Agape choir, and band) and Sheryl Crowe. Stevie Wonder appeared in a live performance toward the end of the 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. part of the evening. Jon Bon Jovi was reported to be flying in to perform two acoustic songs before Senator Obama gives his acceptance speech, and some preliminary accounts of the event speculated that after Obama’s speech, Bruce Springsteen would close out the night.

Former Vice-President Al Gore spoke in support of Obama at 8:00 p.m. (local time). Gore directed heated criticisms at the public policy positions of both Senator McCain and President Bush with regard to a number of issues, which included the environment, the economy and foreign affairs. U. S. Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois then presented a biographical video of Obama, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, and afterwards Durbin introduced Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee. Barack Obama gave his groundbreaking presidential nomination acceptance speech at 9:00 p.m. (local time).

Senator Obama’s acceptance speech was given on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. It was on August 28th, 1963, that King, the most revered civil rights leader in the nation’s history, proclaimed on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “

Dave Stewart’s All-Star Music Video: My Prayer

Live-Blogging: Obama Nomination Acceptance Speech Event

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With Profound Gratitude and Deep Humility, I Accept

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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Live-Blogging 2008 Democratic Convention: Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Barack Obama was officially named the Presidential Nominee of the Democratic Party, crowning his historic meteoric rise from a little-known Illinois state senator to becoming the first African-American ever to win a major-party’s presidential nomination.

Initially, there had been an element of dramatic suspense about just how the nomination process actually would unfold. However, before the roll call was taken Senator Clinton had released her delegates to vote for Mr. Obama and announced that she was voting for Obama and his running mate, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. The roll call proceeded alphabetically, and when New Mexico’s turn came, it yielded the floor to the state of Illinois, Obama’s home state; Illinois, in turn, ceded its position to New York.

At the urging of Senator Clinton, the New York delegation cast all of its votes for Senator Obama, and at 4:48 p.m. local time, Clinton made a motion to end the roll call and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation. Her motion was passed unanimously by the convention delegates; Nancy Pelosi, Permanent Chair of the Democratic National Convention, then named Barack Obama the official Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

On Thursday night, the National Democratic Convention is moving to Invesco Field so that more Americans can take part in of the fourth night of the Convention, where Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President. Invesco Field’s doors will open at around 5:00 p.m. (local time), and the event will end at 9:00 p.m. (local time). A crowd that is now estimated to be larger than 80,000 people is expected to attend the final convention assembly to hear Obama’s acceptance speech.

A number of acclaimed musicians are scheduled to perform during the event. Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will be performing. Jon Bon Jovi is flying in to perform two acoustic songs before Sen. Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech, and the Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (from Chicago) will sing the National Anthem near speech time. After Obama’s acceptance speech, Bruce Springsteen will perform to close out the evening.

Al Gore is scheduled to be the first speaker of the evening. Then at 8:00 p.m. (local time) Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois will present a biographical video of Obama, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth and afterwards Durbin will introduce Senator Obama.

Obama’s acceptance speech is being held on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. It was on August 28th, 1963, that King, the most revered civil rights leader in the nation’s history, proclaimed on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “

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Marking a Historic Day: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging: Obama Wins Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins the Democratic Presidential Nomination

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Comments On Michelle Obama’s Speech Last Night: So That’s What Brave Looks Like….

A reader wrote to Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Magazine:

“I am a 36 year old African American woman. I have two girls ages 10 and 8. The country does not get the full import of this moment. My daughters and I sat together along with my husband to watch Michelle Obama tonight. Mr. Sullivan, we were all in tears. This is a day that cannot be fully described. This country has systematically oppressed Black women for centuries. My ancestors were slaves and my great, great, great, grandmothers raped and treated as property. My daughters have very few Black women to look up to in popular culture as role models. They do not feel seen, they are not held up as the standards of American beauty. We shed tears tonight as a family because Michelle (with her elegance and grace) is holding all of us up with her. You don’t understand the burden that she bears.”

And Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Salon:

“I loved best about Michelle Obama’s speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn’t do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned “hope” and “change” for coughing up hairballs of outrage. Every Democrat in America seems to be of the view that optimism is so totally last February; that now’s the time to hunker down and panic real hard. Good for Michelle for reminding us that to “strive for the world as it should be” is still cool, and for being so passionate about that fact that she looked to be near tears. Good for her for speaking from the heart when everyone else seems to be speaking from the root cellar. And if that doesn’t persuade you the woman is a warrior, let me just add that true bravery is letting your 7-year-old turn the first night of the Democratic Convention into open-mic night with the big screen and the party frock. Think any man alive would have done that? Me neither.”

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Celebrity Music Video: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Hillary Clinton: To Damn Obama with Faint Praise

The Clintons are masters in the dramatic art of pointing at themselves and saying “attention must be paid to us!” Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton put on a good show of supporting Obama, but it was expressed as having been left with little recourse but to convey support for him, or else having to deal with something even worse, McCain and the Republicans. Watching her gave me the freaky chills, made feel glad that I’m still free enough from any obsession with the Clintons to still be able to peek under their rocks and see what kind of bugs are creeping around underneath.

In Hillary’s speech at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night, she gave the appearance of momentarily overcoming the narcissistic conviction of personal and political entitlement that has been a long-time congenital characteristic of both Clintons. Feigning to say the right things, Clinton made an “intellectual” case for supporting Obama. Strategically aware that her own short-term political future is inextricably bound to his, she explained in somewhat clinical terms why she supports him, and indicated to her diehard supporters that they should also do so (for the time being).

But Clinton obviously still wants to be president. Hillary’s speech hardly concealed the clear subtext that it is really she who should be giving the major convention speech on Thursday night. Clinton’s performance on the podium Tuesday evening was a calculated theatrical work that directed America to look at what has been lost by her not being the Democratic nominee.

Further, it continues to be clear that Hillary obviously doesn’t like Barack Obama, and that she’s plainly not eager about the prospect of him being elected president. After all the time that she spent during her speech tracing the course of women’s suffrage and talking about what a world-historical figure she was, she failed to make any mention about Obama being a similarly important figure of history.

As a plausible, but much less noteworthy approach, she might have attempted to say something, just anything, about a specifically admirable individual characteristic that Obama might display. Even here, Clinton’s reservations were obvious. While she had open personal praise for Joe Biden and John McCain, she could not bring herself to say anything positive about Obama as a person.

The reasons that Hillary gave for supporting Obama were all ways of saying that Obama is a Democrat. She managed to say some nice “words” about Obama in her speech (she was proud to support him), but subsequently she immediately launched into a litany of the many important issues for which she’d fought and sang out with a paean to all the people who had placed their faith in her.

In the end, it came down to being all about her.

Hillary Clinton: Well, It’s Mostly About Me

Music Audio: Josh Groban/You Lift Me Up


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