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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Just a few thoughts about Tuesday's inauguration of President Barack Obama:

* Having been no fan of George W. Bush and having longed for change for so many years, I thought I would feel markedly different after Obama took office. But I didn't. Perhaps the stock market falling more than 300 points reminded me that even if "change has come to America," the change won't be realized overnight.

* When Obama finished his inaugural address, a colleague at the Freeman commented to me that it was nice to finally have a president who can string together a complete sentence. Too bad the same can't be said for Chief Justice John Roberts, who, by my count, made not one, not two, but three mistakes in administering the presidential oath. The president's name not included, the oath is all of 35 words long. A man who's supposed to be a brilliant lawyer can't memorize 35 words? Or isn't smart enough to have them in front of him on an index card? But then again, look who appointed Roberts. So I guess we shouldn't be suprised.

* Speaking of people not doing their jobs very well, a note to Rev. Rick Warren, the self-important blowhard who delivered the Invocation on Tuesday: The line from the Old Testament is "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one," not "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one." It's from the Hebrew, in Deuteronomy: Shema, Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) Adonai Elohenu (the Lord our God) Adonai ehad (the Lord is one)." If you're aiming to be the next Billy Graham, Rev. Rick - which, clearly, you are - it would behoove you to know biblical passages that any first-grade Sunday school student can quote.

* The best line of Obama's speech was, sadly, all but ignored by the TV talking heads: "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

* I was unpleasantly surprised to see that spectators were allowed to stand on rooftops and balconies and hang out of windows along the inaugural parade route, especially with the Secret Service knowing Obama was going to walk part of the way. Did Dallas teach us nothing?

* And speaking of Dallas, I'd like to close by thanking Sen. Ted Kennedy for not dying after suffering a seizure during the post-inaugural lunch in the Captiol on Tuesday. That would have been a bit too much for news editors like myself to handle on such an already-hectic day. Seriously, though, glad to hear Sen. Kennedy is doing better. I hope he's back at work sooner rather than later.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.



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