Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Global Finance, Global Terrorism, Global Warming

The key term is global. America can't do it alone. That admission has to be the starting point for the building of a new architecture for the trillions in global finances that move around like data on the internet. The internet is global.

America is lucky to have Barack Obama for president. That is a global person. He is a Hawaii guy. He was 11 when he first got to see the continental US, and he saw it on a Greyhound bus. He was raised by a white mother, white grandparents. I have always thought of him as white.

The current crisis is a lesson in humility for America. Yes, we can. That is a call for humility. And a touch of boldness. Humility itself is a bold act.

The problem with American banking is not that the banks have not had enough money. That is why the bailout can not be the number one thing you do, the stimulus package can not be the number one thing you do.

The problem was the banks had too much outside money and did not know what to do with it, so they gave it out like it was nobody's business. It was not a case of demand and supply. Money did not go where the demand was the greatest. The demand is the greatest in the Global South, the demand is with poor women who need just a little bit of capital to start small businesses. But the warped global financial architecture sent the global money to inflate the prices on American houses. Instead.

The house is on fire. America and the world can not afford a meltdown of the American financial infrastructure. The bailout is water. The stimulus package is water. Putting out the fire is important. But the real task is going to be to build a new house, a new tower. The Twin Towers will be gone when the dust settles.

It is going to be a major challenge to draw the outlines of a new financial architecture. How do you institutionalize transparency, and accountability, and stay as close as possible to the fundamental market ethos? As in how do you not overreact and end up restraining the market forces? On the other hand, how do you make sure you don't sit back and hope things will take care of themselves? There is major work that needs to be done.

People, voters did not realize when he first started saying it, but Barack's bringing people together dictum is what is going to do the trick. You bring world leaders together. You bring together the titans of global finance. You bring together disagreeing politicians. You bring along the powerless and the neglected to the table, you bring them together with those who might always have excluded them, knowingly and unknowingly.

The stimulus package jacks up spending on education. That probably is my favorite part. That is the knowledge economy way. That is the 21st century way.

The last major tinkering with global finance was when the World Bank and the IMF were created. But this crisis is bigger. So minor tinkering with those two institutions will hardly do the trick. The Twin Towers are gone. It is not like they lost a few floors, so you are going to do repair work. They are gone.

A new tower is going to have to be built. A Freedom Tower. A Prosperity Tower.

No piecemeal approach will work. All three big challenges ask for holistic approaches. And because they all do, you can learn from one to the other. If you can make peace in the Middle East, perhaps you can also fix global finance, perhaps you can also tackle global warming.

That is why it is so important to work on Middle East peace. Permanent peace is possible. Has to be. Global warming can be reversed. Has to be. Global terrorism can be defeated. Has to be. Or we are doomed.

Barack's autobiography is Dreams From My Father. I have always thought of Barack as black. President Barack is black.

He has a sister with an Indian name, I have met and talked to one on one, no time pressure. That is how he is my cousin, distant, but still.

That sister is married to a Chinese Canadian. China will not go to war over Taiwan. I am not worried.

While he was running, some neocons tried to emphasize his middle name. Barack was Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

That he is. White, black, Indian, Chinese, Muslim. I am going to argue he gets along a little too well with Rahm Immanuel for my comfort. That makes him part Jewish too.

Barack Hussein Obama is global, yo.

Global Finance, Global Terrorism, Global Warming, Global President.

In The News

House Passes Obama’s Stimulus Package New York Times, United States
Obama welcomes passage of economic stimulus Reuters
House Approves Obama Stimulus Package Voice of America
Obama says tough decisions soon on Iraq, Afghan wars
'Difficult decisions' on Iraq, Afghanistan ahead: Obama AFP
Obama: Tough decisions on Iraq, Afghanistan loom The Associated Press
Editorial: Obama signals end of polluting with impunity
Dallas Morning News, TX
President Obama Meets the Press Huffington Post
Selected recent California newspaper editorials San Jose Mercury News
President Barack Obama reaches out to Muslim world
Chicago Tribune, United States
Barack Obama and Heshem Melhem: The Interview Huffington Post
Obama Gives First Interview on Arab TV MSNBC
Obama and the Wimps
Washington Post, United States
Obama to shivering Washingtonians: Toughen up Reuters
Obama gives chilly reception to canceled school The Associated Press
Rush Limbaugh Doesn't Need Me to Defend Him
Obama vs. Limbaugh, audacity vs. ideology Chicago Tribune
Democrats attack Rush Limbaugh, raise his profile
Rush Limbaugh joins nation’s enemies in hoping President Obama ... The
Barack Obama's initial approval rating is highest since JFK
Los Angeles Times, CA
Obama Starts Off With High Approval Ratings (subscription)
Poll: Two-thirds approve of Obama's job The Associated Press
Under fire for waving to Barack Obama, jake marches on
Boston Herald, United States
Ohio firefighter quits band over Obama nod The Associated Press
Drum major who waved at Barack Obama on inauguration day suspended
Drum major suspended for waving at Obama AFP
Russia ready to shelve missiles plan in conciliatory gesture to Obama, UK
Russia offers Obama olive branch on missiles: report Reuters
US Says It Would Welcome Russian Missile Restraint Voice of America
Russia drops plans to deploy missiles next to Poland after Barack ...
Ahmadinejad welcomes Obama's offer of change
Ahmadinejad Urges Obama to Apologize for ‘Crimes’ Bloomberg
Iran: Obama Must "Unclench" America's Fist CBS News
Iran rejects US demand to halt atom work Reuters
China Tells Obama What to Do With His Yuan Views
US Senators to await Obama lead on China currency Reuters
Geithner's Risky Remark Forbes
The Importance of US-China Relations Center For American Progress
Obama, Vatican Clash Over Abortion
Reflections on Obama, peace and abortion Suburban and Wayne Times
Obama sparks abortion dialog The Daily Evergreen
Abortion to be Obama’s ‘Nixon in China’ The Hill
Chicago White Sox invite President Barack Obama to throw out first ...
Chicago Tribune, United States
White Sox to release special Barack Obama hat Chicago Sun-Times
White Sox Plan Special Edition Obama Caps Chicagoist
Obama stimulus plan sparks questions over short-term impact, NC
Economic Stimulus and Other Outdated Quackery Town Hall
Cantor: Stimulus funds should go to sewers and not be squandered Long Island Business News
Analysis: Stimulus money to take longer to work The Associated Press
Morning Skim: Blagojevich Blitz, Davos Shift and Obama’s Message ...
New York Times, United States
To Combat Obama, Al-Qaeda Hurls Insults Washington Post
Clinton: Open international approach could benefit Iran
Newsday, NY
Clinton says world "exhaling" with Obama at top Reuters
Bill Clinton Speech Fees Topped $4.7 Million in '08 Wall Street Journal
Clinton urges broader China approach International Herald Tribune
Bank stocks surge on 'bad bank' plan, NC
Rally in Banking Stocks Lifts Market
US Stocks Close Up; 'Bad Bank' Talk Buoys Financials MarketWatch
Michelle Obama Gets the Wax Museum Treatment U.S. News & World Report, DC
Madame Tussauds to unveil wax figure of first lady The Associated Press
Michelle Obama Immortalized in Wax People Magazine
Tussauds creating Michelle Obama figure United Press International
What Will President Obama Do for Blacks? Wilmington Journal, NC
Outdoor recreation: At the National Mall for Obama's inauguration
Students experience Obama inauguration first-hand in DC St. Anselm Crier (subscription)
Obama: Washington's Man About Town ABC News

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bush Did Not Get Just The Geography Wrong On Iraq

There are reports Bush-Cheney started looking for excuses to declare war on Saddam as soon as Bush got into office. It has to be noted Saddam attempted an assassination on Bush Senior some time in the 1990s when Bush Senior went on a visit to Kuwait. It was a plot that went nowhere, but Clinton did send in a few missiles in retaliation. "Not enough," Bush Junior said while campaigning for president in 2000.

The direct and indirect costs of the Iraq War have been estimated at three trillion dollars by the likes of Joseph Stiglitz. That is a ton of money. I am going to argue that sum played a key role in sending the US economy into the tizzy that it is in right now.

The verbal assaults by the Al Qaeda on Barack, the US drone strikes inside of Pakistan, neither have surprised me. The war the Al Qaeda declared on America a long time ago was an ideological war. Two vibrant, opposing ideologies continue to be very much at loggerheads.

Barack immediately started doing what he said he will do. On Guantanamo and torture, on Pakistan. The biggest downside of the misadventure in Iraq has been the Al Qaeda got pretty much a free reign in the stateless parts of northwest Pakistan from where they continue to plot. In his latest tirade Bin Laden has talked of going into "new directions." As far as Bin Laden is concerned, the entire world is a stage. He does not have to strike inside America to prove the resiliency of his organization.

It is hard to fight an unconventional war with a conventional army, with conventional tactics. Iraq was Looking Tokyo Going London, but it was also conventional. You were in a hurry to bring down a state. The Al Qaeda is stateless.

Barack might end the war in Iraq, and he might close Guantanamo, and he might end torture as a tactic, and he is hugely popular in the Arab world, and he might get the geography right in terms of a renewed focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I fear he might get the details wrong.

A big chunk of the work in Pakistan is political. How do you bring the Pakistani army completely under the parliament? How do you bring the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, usually called a state within a state, completely under the Pakistani parliament? The ISI gave birth to the Taliban, but back then that is what the US wanted, the Soviets had gone amok in Afghanistan.

And it would be a mistake to think the Al Qaeda exists only in a particular, rugged province in Pakistan. It is stateless, it is global. It is an ideology seeking converts, seeking the disenchanted, the angry few. They don't even need direct communication half the time to do what they need to do, which is to stage "spectacular" attacks, like the one in Mumbai, London.

I have long maintained the only way to conclude the War On Terror is by bringing about a total spread of democracy in the Arab world. There is a progressive, proactive way to do that that is nothing to do with the Al Qaeda, an organization of a few thousand individuals in an ocean of a billion Arabs/Muslims.

As in, there is not a Bush way to build democracy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, just like there was not one in Iraq. There is a progressive alternative.

Spread Democracy

Harassing Arab Americans have been a bad idea. Talking disrespect of Islam as a religion is a bad idea. And the Palestinian plight is a permanent thorn. That has to be resolved. It is a good sign that the first foreign leader President Barack called up was Abbas.

Three major world religions clashing is not a pretty sight. There are complex emotional threads entangled. The situation is volatile, has been for decades. The task is tough. The communists claimed godlessness, the Islamists claim God. At some level that makes their ideology more challenging.

The idea remains to help make the mainstream Muslims feel their destiny is in their own hands. The hard work of peace, the hard work of state building, the hard work on education and health, the hard work of prosperity.

It is not going to be easy. It is not going to be swift. Moments might feel like reverse progress. But it is necessary work, the central challenge in global politics today.

If and when we start seeing more democracies in the Arab world, you can expect the largest political parties to be as steeped in Islam as you could argue the Republican Party in America is steeped in Christianity. Turkey is a case in point.

What the Palestinians are going through right now is worse than apartheid. It feels like a case of child abuse. The Germans abused the Jews so the Jews are going to abuse the Palestinians. Where is the logic in that?

In The News

'Slumdog Millionaire,' an Oscar Favorite, Is No Hit in India Time
Obama's Showdown Over Nuclear Weapons
Pakistan Poses a Growing Challenge for the Obama Administration
Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature
As Truce Teeters, Gaza's Tunnelers Dig Undeterred

President Obama 'orders Pakistan drone attacks' Times Online Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven "foreigners" - a term that usually means al-Qaeda - but locals also said that three children lost their lives. ....... Dozens of similar strikes since August on northwest Pakistan, a hotbed of Taleban and al-Qaeda militancy, have sparked angry government criticism of the US, which is targeting the area with missiles launched from unmanned CIA aircraft controlled from operation rooms inside the US. ........... Mr Obama has made Afghanistan his top foreign policy priority and said during his presidential campaign that he would consider military action inside Pakistan if the government there was unable or unwilling to take on the militants. ........ Since September, the US is estimated to have carried out about 30 such attacks, killing more than 220 people.
Maoists wreak havoc in Bihar The Statesman
India revels in acclaim for 'Slumdog Millionaire' Christian Science Monitor Dharavi, a grubby slum in Mumbai (Bombay) that is touted as Asia's largest ....... "Slumdog ... is Boyle's gift to Mumbai," Shobha De, a socialite and author ....... More than 60 percent of Mumbai's citizens are known to reside in slums. The most visible of them is Dharavi, a labyrinth that is home to more than 1 million people. ....... one toilet for every 1,500 people ...... Many of Mumbai's elite view Dharavi as a blight that must be purged if the city, India's financial and entertainment capital, is to achieve stature as a world-class city. Local politicians have long dreamed of transforming Mumbai into "India's Shanghai."
Windows 7 vs. Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Apple ups the ante Apple Insider
Jindal gets top GOP speaking slot
Politico Jindal will headline the National Republican Congressional Committee’s March fundraising dinner ....... will take the speaking slot that in years past belonged to President Bush. ..... Jindal has said he is only focused on running for re-election in Baton Rouge in 2011.
Obama's approval opens high, standard
The Swamp - Tribune's Washington Bureau
Barack Obama orders closure of Guantanamo Bay prison
The Australian
Clinton shines on first day as secretary of state
Newsday With a broad smile, Clinton won excited, almost giddy, applause and cheers from hundreds of diplomats, foreign service officers and staff as she worked a rope line in the department's packed main lobby yesterday morning. ....... Obama and Vice President Joe Biden paid an unusually early visit to Foggy Bottom ....... "I've given you an early gift: Hillary Clinton. ....... She then took an intelligence briefing and toured the building before holding a closed meeting with Obama, Biden and national security advisers.
Hillary Clinton Brings Change to the State Department U.S. News & World Report
Key appointments mark Clinton's first day at State Dept.
USA Today
Former NY Senate leader Joseph Bruno indicted The Associated Press
Obama to lift restrictions on abortion funding
India PM Singh to miss months of election campaign due to heart bypass speculation that Rahul Gandhi, the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and great- grandson of Nehru, will lead the Congress Party campaign. ........ The economist is 76 and this will be his second bypass and third heart operation. He also suffers from diabetes, which is expected to delay his recovery from surgery. ....... Sources close to the Gandhi family say they want Rahul to assume the party leadership as soon as possible. "It is his destiny" ...... he will also replace his father as India's youngest prime minister.
China's Economic Growth Slows Forbes
Feeling Lucky: All Things Google Washington Post
Google CEO Hints at Semantic, Contextual Search eWeek Arrives on Google-Powered Cellphones
Wired News
Google writes down Clearwire investment, confident about Android FierceWireless Google reported a net income of $382 million, down 68 percent from the $1.21 billion in the year-ago period, but that was primarily due to write downs of its investments in AOL and Clearwire by $726 million and $355 million, respectively. Google, along with Intel, Comcast, Time Warner, Brighthouse and others invested $3.2 billion in the new Clearwire.
Oscars not ultimate recognition, says Amitabh Bachchan Times of India Bachchan said he was very happy as Indian films were catering to amount 2.5 billion people ..... Describing cinema as a uniting medium, the actor said there was no better example of an integrated India than a cinema hall.
Bollywood's Bachchan apologises to 'Slumdog' director AFP Despite having a British director, producer, writer and studio, India has claimed the film as its own because of its Indian cast, crew and location and is eagerly anticipating next month's Oscars.
An open letter to Amitabh Bachchan Livemint
Filmmakers dogged pursuits earn Oscar's attention
Los Angeles Times
`Button' vs. `Slumdog': A study in contrasts MSNBC
Gillibrand Is a Centrist With a Tenacious Style New York Times

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kirsten Gillibrand Is A Good Choice

Because there are so few women in the US Senate.

I was rooting for Caroline Kennedy, but she chose to take her name out at the last minute for personal reasons, and I respect that. But Caroline would have been a great choice.

Paterson Needs Caroline To Get To Barack
Advice For Caroline
Caroline Kennedy Is No Sarah Palin, She Is No Airhead
I Like The Caroline Kennedy Name

I am glad I rooted for Caroline, because Caroline rooted for Barack when it was not obvious he will win. The primary fight was tougher than the general election fight.

I was scared the seat might go to some guy. I have nothing against Cuomo, I hear he has been a good Attorney General, but there are already too many guys on Capitol Hill.

Kirsten Gillibrand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paterson Picks Gillibrand for Senate - known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions ....... considered an up-and-coming and forceful lawmaker in her district and has gained considerable attention from Democratic leaders in Washington. ...... Mr. Paterson made his final decision shortly before 2 a.m. Friday after a marathon series of phone calls and deliberations with his top aides ...... One of Mr. Paterson’s preferences had been to select a woman to replace Mrs. Clinton. ..... The choice reflects Mr. Paterson’s thinking that his selection should be someone who can help him attract key demographics — in Ms. Gillibrand’s case upstate New Yorkers and women. ....... (Ms. Gillibrand received a standing ovation on the floor of the House from her colleagues for working right up to the day she gave birth to Henry.) ....... a day of anonymous and often bitter sniping over Caroline Kennedy’s mystifying departure from the Senate field ...... Paterson “never had any intention of picking Kennedy” because he had come to consider her unready for the job. ...... the governor told Ms. Kennedy last week that she was the choice but that he would use the next few days to do “a little misdirection to keep the suspense up.” ......... and released a statement by e-mail at 12:03 a.m. Thursday, saying, “I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate.” ..... several people who are longtime allies of the governor warned that he was unpredictable.

In The News

Obama lauds Gillibrand pick Boston Globe

Britannica Goes 2.0, Prez Slams Wikipedia/Google WebProNews Wikipedia, the fourth-most visited website in the world with 2.7 million articles in 250 languages.
Conflicting accounts offered on Caroline Kennedy's pullout Boston Globe
Aide: Kirsten Gillibrand picked as next NY senator USA Today 42-year-old Gillibrand
India celebrates 10 'Slumdog' Oscar nominations The Associated Press The movie got the second highest number of Oscar nominations Thursday, including best director for Danny Boyle, best picture and — generating the most buzz in India — three music nominations for Indian composer A.R. Rahman. ...... "I'm at the top of the world," Rahman told the Times of India. "Everything is a blur." ..... The gritty movie, which features prostitution, religious violence and maimed beggars, has sparked great debate over whether the film is a blow to India's international reputation. ..... Calling it "a piece of riveting cinema," the paper praised the movie as "a Cinderella-like fairy tale with the edge of a thriller and the vision of an artist." ...... The movie was being released both in English and in Hindi and many predicted it to be a monster hit. ..... The film was also nominated for best adapted screenplay, cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing and film editing.
Rahman nominated for three Oscars, Slumdog for 10 Indian Express, India
10 Oscar nominations for Slumdog Sify, India The film has got 10 nominations, of which three are for the film's music - one for best original score and two for the best original songs - “Jai ho” and “O saya”, for the 81st Annual Academy Awards. The lyrics of 'Jai ho' have been penned by noted lyricist Gulzar. ..... best motion picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best film editing, best sound editing, best sound mixing and best cinematography. ..... the movie has already raked in $43 million at the US box office and jumped itself back to the US Top 10. ...... “The Bollywood dance scene that explodes under the closing credits feels both incongruous and earned: Young India kicking up its heels. You may even feel like dancing in the aisles yourself ....... "Boyle brings down the curtain with a musical number that registers as a gift from movie heaven. He breaks your heart, then heels it - and sends you out with a song." ....... The movie triumphed at various awards across the globe. Screen Actors Guild Awards, London Critics Circle Award, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Satellite Awards, Toronto Film Festival, British Independent Film Award - to name a few. ........ Brad Pitt starrer reverse-ageing drama "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" leads the race with 13 nominations.

Slow Vista sales hit Microsoft revenues as netbooks gain ground Computerworld the "PC market weakness and a continued shift to lower priced netbooks." ...... If PCs aren't selling, Microsoft's not making money." ..... Windows was "collapsing" because of the operating system's increasingly bloated code base and inability to roll out upgrades in a timely fashion.
Apple's Cook Says No To Netbooks, But Then Again ...
ChannelWeb shot down rumors that Apple would be entering the sub-$500 netbook space ....... Apple simply doesn't know how to make a cheap netbook. ....... they tend not to enter a market unless they know they've created a product that seamlessly blends a user experience, interface, software and aesthetics. ...... But if the netbook market takes off in 2009 like some are predicting, the company may start to sign a different tune.
Double-Takes by the Governor in Casting a Senator New York Times
Mixed Reviews for Governor Jindal’s First Year
San Leandro India West
Bobby Jindal: A Desi Challenge to Barack Obama?
Desi Hits!
Obama to receive daily economic briefing
The Associated Press
Wayne Barrett: Is Gillibrand Too Republican to Replace Clinton?
Village Voice

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Speech

My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

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.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.

It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died in places Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.

The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.

We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its costs.

We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched.

But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

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

Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

And so, to all 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 we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.

And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

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.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.

It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.

These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. 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, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.

In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river.

The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.

At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"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."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you.

And God bless the United States of America.

In The News

Obama pledges 'era of openness'
BBC News telephoned four Middle Eastern leaders - President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. .... Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary and Steven Chu as energy secretary.
Geithner urges bailout reforms, apologizes on taxes
Obama Orders Halt to Prosecutions at Guantánamo
New York Times
Obama takes on daunting crises on Day One
AFP Obama made his first foreign leader call as US commander-in-chief to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas ..... The Obamas sat in a high-powered front pew alongside Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife Jill and former president Bill Clinton and soon-to-be secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Barack Obama: New US president wastes no time on first full day
Gov. Jindal addresses chamber
Slidell Sentry News Applause broke out several times during Jindal’s address, most notably when he announced his intention to continue pursuing the adoption of the toughest child predator laws in the nation. ....... “It’s easy to say this mess was created by Wall Street bankers, Washington lawmakers being asleep at the wheel or the big national banks,” he said. “While those things may all be partly to blame, the number one reason is our addiction to debt.”
Barack Obama: New US president wastes no time on first full day
EU welcomes Obama decision to suspend Guantanamo trials Hindustan Times
I-10 Jindal’s priority 2TheAdvocate The work will add one new lane in each direction and cost $86 million. ...... The state has submitted a $1.3 billion roads wish list for any federal stimulus package ..... widen I-12 from South Range Avenue to Walker. It would cost $120 million.
After a Day of Crowds and Celebration, Obama Turns to Sobering ... New York Times Tuesday saw him in the public eye for more than 15 hours, from a prayer service at St. John’s Church near the White House early in the morning to the inauguration and subsequent parade in blisteringly cold weather, and then his attendance at all 10 official inaugural balls. ...... the president vowed “his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term
India admits failed cruise missile test AFP
Obama Plunges into Middle East Affairs, Economy Washington Post expand releases of documents under the Freedom of Information Act and find new ways to tap into the knowledge and experience of ordinary Americans ....... "If our policy response is tentative and incrementalist . . . then we risk greater damage to living standards, to the economy's productive potential, and to the fabric of our financial system"
China Censors Part of Obama Speech New York Times China Central Television, or CCTV, the main state-run network, broadcast the speech live until the moment President Obama mentioned “communism” in a line about the defeat of ideologies considered anathema to Americans. After the off-screen translator said “communism” in Chinese, the audio faded out even as Mr. Obama’s lips continued to move. ....... “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.”
Transcript: Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
Michelle Obama wears it well Boston Globe
The Obama Effect: Google Says President Changed Search Activity Search Engine Land
The perils of plunging oil prices
Stocks re-ignite their rally
IBM Beats Street, Lifting Stocks Forbes
Dell: Can It Still Grow?
Barron's Blogs“Dell’s manufacturing and logistics advantages have largely been eliminated" ....... we see little that will separate it from competitors in new markets ....... the increased adoption of mobile Internet devices - netbooks - poses a serious threat to Dell. “These devices are simple and inexpensive to make by their nature, which could further commoditize the PC market and threaten Dell’s future profit growth ...... the company is “structurally challenged.”
Bill Gates, others pledge $630 million to beat polio Reuters
The Day Live Web Video Streaming Failed Us Washington Post
Like never before, inauguration experienced online The Associated Press
Inauguration Is Biggest Test for Online Video ABC News
Warming in Antarctica Now Looks Certain
New York Times