nealogotaglinecolor.jpgThere is a movement to strip billions of dollars from the stimulus bill led by Ben Nelson of Omaha (whose Democratic status is debatable) and Susan Collins (Republican) of Maine. 

Included in the cuts are $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (of course), $14 million for cyber security research by the Homeland Security Department (that makes sense?), $1 billion for the National Science Foundation (are they kidding – when we’re this close to ground-breaking stem cell research, understanding the nature of viruses, struggling to keep our oceans alive, not to mention the catastrophic potential ozone depletion – the model’s still the same even though we’ve stopped emitting...), $400 million for research and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (hasn’t anyone thought about the amount we would be saving on health-care behind this initiative and how many jobs would be created by it?), $850 million for Amtrak (right, people should drive their own car to work and not take the train, or God forbid, carpool and coupled with the tax incentive to buy a new car, wonder who’s lobbying for this one – the only person this helps is GM and Exxon and the banking industry, God bless them), and $400 million for climate change research (oh, I forgot, we still don’t believe it exists and we haven’t signed the Kyoto Agreement...)  Really, are they kidding?!!!!

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washington-dc.jpgEvery four years, we inaugurate our presidents in what Parliament Funkadelic called Chocolate City. But there’s never a focus on the people, places and events of the District of Columbia.

America’s first city with a black majority has contributed dramatically to American history. Washington is full of extraordinary sites that document the rise of African American influence in the city — and the nation’s – history. With the inauguration of our first African American president, the White House is no longer segregated. History needs to shed its whites-only bias, too.

Federal City, as Washington was known, was established in 1800. The population included 10,066 whites; 3,244 slaves; and 793 free Negroes. Few people are aware that until 1850, when Congress shut down the slave trade, but kept slavery legal, Washington was a major hub for the slave trade. It’s where the largest slave auction in the nation operated, and slave pens, jails and auction blocks were common sights near the White House.

As slavery flourished, the African American scientist Benjamin Banneker was appointed by President George Washington to work with the Federal City architect and other officials to survey and help design the capitol. A school in the District of Columbia is named after him, and there is a park and museum dedicated to the scientist just outside Washington in Baltimore.

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From the L.A. Times

lincolnmenu.jpgBarack Obama will be sworn into office on Tuesday -- just weeks before the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Obama's inaugural theme, "A New Birth of Freedom," has, fittingly, been drawn from his fellow Illinoisan's Gettysburg Address, and he's supposed to be sworn in using Lincoln's own Bible. The inaugural menu is based on what supposedly were some of Lincoln's favorite foods, and even the inaugural china is a replica of that used in the Lincoln White House. Despite these connections, let's hope that Obama's inaugural meal does not duplicate Lincoln's first, which turned into a food fight.

Lincoln's inaugural committee had planned a lavish midnight buffet for the inaugural ball: terrapin stew, leg of veal, beef à l'anglais, foie gras, pâté, cream candies, fruit ices, tarts, cakes and more. The venue was the Patent Office, which had two spacious halls for dancing and dining. The buffet was set out in a corridor where patent models were displayed.

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little_rock_capitol.jpgMy husband Max and I are hosting an Inaugural Celebration at our home on January 20th.  It will be a reality party during real time with lots of role playing and surprises.  Guests will go through our homemade megatometer manned by uniformed security.  Their purses, etc. will be screened and upon presentation of photo ID will receive their "credentials".  They will be seated outdoors and given programs outlining our schedule.  Our state Attorney General will make opening remarks followed by a violinist and an invocation by Hillary's former minister.  

At that point, our flat screens will be activated in time for Rev. Warren's much anticipated prayer.  After President Obama's speech in Washington, our Bill Clinton impersonator in Little Rock will introduce an actor playing President Obama.  The Obama impersonator's remarks will be followed by Constitutional readings by a State Supreme Court Justice, musical performances and of course, our own Poet Laureate.

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lansingsnow.jpgIt’s so cold here in Michigan that school was cancelled today, lest small children freeze at the bus stop. Our hearts are warm, though, as we make plans to celebrate Tuesday’s inauguration. I’ve received invitations to parties of every flavor imaginable, and most people I talk to are so excited and hopeful that it’s difficult to worry about the lost jobs and arctic air that might otherwise result in collective depression.

My first invitation was to a neighborhood party given by Kenny (who looks like an Old Testament character with his long, gray-black hair and full beard) and his wife Val. It’s one of many parties organized at the request of Move On, the organization that kept us  motivated and informed as we worked on the election. There are other Move On parties here, one of which touchingly invites us to “come celebrate a new beginning with my friends, my dog, my cat, and myself, in my home. I'll provide some soft drinks and popcorn, napkins, paper plates, etc. Some friends will bring a snack to share; you're welcome to do the same if you wish.” If that invitation doesn’t say something good about Democrats, I don’t know what does.

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