Friday, January 23, 2009

Some inauguration week highlights (with dog blogging)

Will wonders never cease? The city was packed from last Sunday through Wednesday. My miracle story: on a packed train Sunday, a young boy and his mother were traveling, and the little guy offered me a seat--I could have fainted from the shock. So, I wasn't so surprised to hear that there were no arrests on the Mall Tuesday--meaning that there weren't incidents serious enough for the police to bother getting micro-bureaucratic with the public.

Later that Sunday, the 1st Baptist Church of Glenarden had a regular Sunday evening service, with a few songs from Kirk Franklin, so the place was packed. Of course, we all assumed that he would blow in, do a couple of songs, then blow out. Ha! It turned out to be a two-hour+ concert (I left before he was completely done!), and, of course, Kirk knows how to put on a show!

Other surprises included a white/multiracial "go-go" band (for want of a better term, as their musical skills sounded basic, but they were enthusiastic) playing on the sidewalk outside the Verizon Center Wednesday night.

I knew go-go music was popular with Washingtonians of all stripes, but never witnessed nonblack folk playing any. You go guys!

The New York Times reports that some social scientists (don't laugh just yet-perhaps bigger studies are in the pipeline) have noted an Obama effect on some black youngsters taking tests, showing that near the election showed less anxiety while taking tests, doing as well as whites. Let's hope the results can be replicated, and the effects are not temporary.

* * *
Woo hoo! Good to see that President Obama is serious about undoing some of Shrub's damage, by signing an Executive Order to shut down Guatanamo Bay and secret prisons on his first day in office.

The details of that decision, laudable as it is, will naturally take time, as will other policies. Trouble is rearing its ugly head in the form of opposition to the nominee for Secretary of Labor, Rep. Hilda Solis, and the continuing mess over the peanut butter recall (it's unclear what other type of federal action will need to take place to sort that out).

Meanwhile, you're unlikely to see many scenes like this at home in the near future, because of the peanut scare:

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