Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Good morning. It's 42 degrees at 7AM and that seems about as low as it will go today.  The temperatures did not reach the low 30's as was warned yesterday. 

THE OATH: The presidential oath of office, without the person's name,  is 37 words. We had two of our  most brilliant public servants standing there (both from Harvard Law School by the way, as I'm sure our favourite federal blogger knows)  and they blew it. Roberts couldn't get it right, and Obama knew it, but he still stumbled over the oath. We have memorized that oath since we were just a kid.  We surmise that Harvard Law school just doesn't cover diction. Perhaps a little refresher course in public speaking is in order?

Class will out. GeorgeH. W Bush (41) and Bill Clinton are the closest of friends. You could see it in the way the Bushes (George and Barbara) greeted the Clintons. This friendship, initiated by George Bush 41 with the man who beat him and denied him a second term, is a true indication of the class of this man. Meanwhile, nobody among that exclusive class (former presidents) apparently likes our most beloved ex-president: James Earl Carter. He was clearly snubbed by the Clintons, who didn't appear to even acknowledge his presence. Carter was quite critical of Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, and apparently neither of the Clintons have ever forgiven him. 

OUR TRIVIA QUESTION:  Yesterday we asked about a president who had 8 years between oaths. Many of you answered correctly that Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th President of the US. Cleveland was President in 1884 and 1892. In between, in 1888 he won the popular vote but lost to Republican Benjamin Harrison. And thus, in a strange coincidence, our trivia question provided the answer to Obama's biggest gaffe in his address. He started the address by noting (incorrectly) that he was the 44th American to take the oath. Because of the Cleveland quirk, he is the 43rd American to take the oath, because Cleveland is counted as both the 22nd and 24th president. Perhaps there is a job for us as fact checker in the West Wing? Or perhaps the speech writers should just take a gander as this blog now and then. 

 President Obama gave a speech for the moment. It was not a campaign speech. It was more reserved. However, as uncomfortable as it may have been with President Cheney and his lackey Bush sitting right there, Obama  made clear his break with past polices of the Cheney-Bush administration. 

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."...

"And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more."...

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."...

This and more represented a direct repudiation of the Cheney-Bush doctrines that have had such disasterous results. 

Our favourite line:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

This was a speech that will get better with time.   The measure of this inaugural address is not what the President said, but what he will do, starting today. 

SENATOR KENNEDY UPDATE: The Senator, who fell ill at the post inaugural luncheon, was released from the hospital this morning. 

As a nation,  we've put our money where our mouth is. A black man is now President of the United States. Not just any black man- but a man with the middle name of "Hussein".  A man with a Muslim-African  father. A man raised by a single white mother and white grandmother. A man from Illinois with humble beginnings. He descends from no dynasty- political or otherwise.  With a sharp and strong intellect, he managed to get educated at the finest (I'm not choking too much on this sentence) universities. Obama's Presidency is the living embodiment of the American myth- that any child of any origin and the humblest beginnings can rise to become the President. 

Obama as President means- if he can do this-  what can't be done by anyone with intelligence and desire? Intellect and character trump irrational prejudices.  And that's how it should be. 

Just in time for the Tuesday madness,  there was a new line-up of Judges.  Schlessinger became Sanchez-Llorens- and you needed to go to Areces old courtroom to find it. Areces became Pinero, and you needed to go to Schlessinger's old courtroom to find it.  Scola became Miller.  And so on. In time we will adjust.   

However, more disturbing were the re-appearance of the Tuesday lines. It took an hour for clients to get into the building between 8:30 am and 10:30. It seemed like there were the usual traffic calendars that added to the mess. Have Judges Slom and Blake, still woozy from their Gators national championship, forgot about the problems on Tuesday when we have a Monday off? 

See You In Court with our crib notes on where to go to find our cases. 


Anonymous said...

Your favorite line was George Washington's, not Obama's. Secondly, the benediction was a racist screed. Hideous. And Michelle's gold garb looked like a Hot Pocket.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment on Carter. Carter was a horrible President, but, for years, arguably was one of the most effective and greatest former Presidents. Sadly, I believe he destroyed that legacy over the past decade with his sanctimonious and often ill informed rants against Israel (some of his comments on Clinton also were beneath him). Carter's inability to see anything but good in people (other than Israelis, apparently) is his greatest stregth and greatest weakness. The modern day Neville Chamberlain who exacerbated the Iran hostage crisis and served as the Great Appeaser, still doesn't get it....Perhaps that why so many ex-Presidents shunned him.


Anonymous said...

Cheney in his wheelchair looked like John Barrymore ("Mr. Potter") in It's A Wonderful Life.

Anonymous said...

I loved Jill Biden's F*** me boots. Get you some, Joey.

Anonymous said...

The lines outside the courthouse weren't only yesterday. Since the beginning of the year there have been problems.

On 1/7 I forgot my bar card and there was no way in hell I was gonna wait in that line.

I had my secretary call the JA and tell them I was running late; went and got a cafecito at my favorite flagler st. place and went back 90 minutes later. (Still a line, but not that bad.)

South Florida Lawyers said...

Interesting, I didn't see Obama flub the oath at all -- from what I saw it looked like Roberts interrupted him before he could repeat what Roberts had just said, and then Roberts transposed "faithfully" from where it belongs to someplace that it didn't.

Obama looked to me like he was trying to help the Chief Justice out, who should have just sucked it up and brought a notecard for such a monumental occasion.

eyeonshumietime said...

I (state your name) do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the mission of Shumie Time and I will to the best of my ability leave my office as early as possible as often as possible. So help me Shumie doo.

fake weisman said...

I like a good Shumie time update. With real meat on it's bones.

Anonymous said...

Carter is a Jew hating bastard.

Anonymous said...

"Hideous racist screed"? Hardly.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Judge for yourself: