Docudharma Times Tuesday January 20

Inauguration Day

Tuesday’s Headlines:

In-flight confrontations can lead to terrorism charges

Human rights lawyer murdered in Moscow

Minister tells French carmakers the price of a bailout will be keeping jobs at home

Amid dust and death, a family’s story speaks for the terror of war

Tears and anger among wreckage of Gaza as families return home

Power talks close to collapse as Mugabe refuses to back down

In Obama’s rise, Kenyans see lessons for Africa

Police raid on squatters leaves five dead in building fire in Seoul

N. Korea strident as Obama takes reins

Despite Snarled Traffic and Cold, City Is Already Celebrating


By Paul Duggan and Lena H. Sun

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, January 20, 2009; Page A01

Tens of thousands of festive visitors crowded the Mall and the city yesterday, counting down the hours to today’s historic inauguration, while authorities prepared to welcome — and control — what could be the largest crowd in Washington’s history.

Today’s the day. The swearing-in of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president on the west steps of the Capitol at noon is expected to draw between 1 million and 3 million spectators. They’ll bundle themselves against below-freezing temperatures, ride crowded Metro trains and buses, and wait at security checkpoints for a chance to witness the inauguration of the nation’s first African American chief executive.

Pennsylvania Avenue paved with pain, progress

The Washington road has been the scene of hate, oppression, possibility and progress. Obama will make the trek past dramatic civil-rights landmarks en route to the White House.

By Faye Fiore

January 20, 2009

Reporting from Washington — When Barack Obama takes his triumphant ride up Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday, he will retrace the path of Ku Klux Klan marches and roll past the ghosts of hotels and movie theaters that used to turn away people like him.

This historic stretch, bookended by the Capitol on one end and the White House on the other, has witnessed many of the milestones that made an Obama presidency possible. The Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were signed here.

But it’s doubtful that even a Harvard-educated wonder can get his arms around the scope of the civil-rights drama that has played out on this 1.2-mile slice of real estate.

There are places more infamous for their scars — Selma, Birmingham — but none captures the sweep of the story the way Pennsylvania Avenue does, where laws were passed to enslave people and laws were passed to free them, and at least a dozen of Obama’s predecessors would sooner have considered him a piece of property than a peer.

Nearly every president has made this ceremonial trek since Thomas Jefferson did it on horseback. But never has the setting been as connected to the nation’s shame as much as its glory.



Magical spell that will open a new American era

Jonathan Freedland in Washington

The Guardian, Tuesday 20 January 2009

Today a magic spell will be performed. A man who 12 weeks ago was a mere political candidate will be transformed with the incantation of a few words, before a vast crowd and a television audience in the hundreds of millions if not billions, into the head of state, even the embodiment, of the most powerful nation on earth.

It is an act of political alchemy that happens every time a new president is inaugurated, but rarely has the moment been as anticipated as this one. Washington DC, usually a city of strait-laced, sober-suited types has acquired the atmosphere of a child’s bedroom in the first hours of Christmas morning. There are snow flurries outside, tacky decorations everywhere – and the resolve to wake up early, so as not to miss a moment of the great day.

In-flight confrontations can lead to terrorism charges

At least 200 passengers have been convicted of felonies under the Patriot Act, often for behavior involving raised voices and profanity. Some experts say airlines are misusing the law.

By Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae

January 20, 2009

Reporting from Los Angeles and Oklahoma City — Tamera Jo Freeman was on a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver in 2007 when her two children began to quarrel over the window shade and then spilled a Bloody Mary into her lap.

She spanked each of them on the thigh with three swats. It was a small incident, but one that in the heightened anxiety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would eventually have enormous ramifications for Freeman and her children.

A flight attendant confronted Freeman, who responded by hurling a few profanities and throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor.

The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman’s arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

“I had no idea I was breaking the law,” said Freeman, 40, who spent three months in jail before pleading guilty.


Human rights lawyer murdered in Moscow

• Victim worked for critics of Chechnya government

• Journalist who chased assassin also shot dead

Luke Harding in Moscow

The Guardian, Tuesday 20 January 2009

One of Russia’s top human rights lawyers was assassinated in the centre of Moscow yesterday in a killing apparently linked to his work defending opponents of the pro-Kremlin government in Chechnya.

Stanislav Markelov, 34, was shot in the head by a man using a pistol with a silencer in the middle of the afternoon on a busy Moscow street. Markelov worked as a lawyer for Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper whose special correspondent Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in Moscow in 2006. The paper’s co-owner Alexander Lebedev last night said Markelov had dealt with Politkovskaya’s case.

Minister tells French carmakers the price of a bailout will be keeping jobs at home

From The Times

January 20, 2009

Carl Mortished, World Business Editor

French car companies will have to keep jobs in France if they are to benefit from a government bailout.

Speaking on the eve of a summit convened by the Government to agree measures to support the country’s sputtering carmakers, Luc Chatel, the French Industry Minister, said that his Government was looking at a range of measures to support the industry, including subsidised loans, loan guarantees and convertible bonds.

“The big question is what is offered in exchange. This support will not be a gift. Manufacturers will above all be required to maintain their industrial sites in France. This Government will neither accept nor support factory closures,” Mr Chatel said in an interview with Le Figaro, the French newspaper.

Middle East

Amid dust and death, a family’s story speaks for the terror of war

48 members of the Samouni family were killed in one day when Israel’s battle with Hamas suddenly centred on their homes

Rory McCarthy in Zeitoun

Helmi Samouni knelt yesterday on the floor of the bedroom he once shared with his wife and their five-month old son, scraping his fingers through a thick layer of ash and broken glass looking for mementoes of their life together. “I found a ring. I might find more,” he said.

His wife Maha and their child Muhammad were killed in the second week of Israel’s 22-day war in Gaza when they were shelled by Israeli forces as they took shelter nearby along with dozens of relatives. In total 48 people from one family are now known to have died that Monday morning, 5 January, in Zeitoun, on the southern outskirts of Gaza City.

Of all the horrors visited on the civilians of Gaza in this war the fate of the Samounis, a family of farmers who lived close together in simple breeze-block homes, was perhaps the gravest.

Tears and anger among wreckage of Gaza as families return home

From The Times

January 20, 2009

Azmi Keshawi in Gaza City and Martin Fletcher in Sderot

Ibrahim Abu Amrin sat on the ruins of his house, dressed in ragged clothes, sheltered by a blanket stretched between poles. Nearby a few of his 13 children dug in the rubble, looking for possessions to salvage. Of the citrus and olive trees that once adorned his garden not a trace was left.

“I couldn’t save anything,” said the elderly teacher, with tears in his eyes. “We have nothing left – no money, no food. We have nowhere else to go.”

Mr Amrin and his family fled their home in the el-Sultan neighbourhood of Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza City, just after the Israeli offensive began and stayed in a garage until the fighting ended on Sunday. When they returned yesterday they were stunned by what they found – hundreds of houses bulldozed to the ground, others reduced to shrapnelblasted shells, a mosque flattened except, miraculously, for its minaret.


Power talks close to collapse as Mugabe refuses to back down

By Daniel Howden, Africa Correspondent

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Power-sharing talks in Zimbabwe appeared close to final collapse last night as the two sides remained “miles apart” on details of a unity government. After nine months without a legal government, the shattered country now faces further political uncertainty to add to a cholera epidemic, famine and economic meltdown.

Sources close to the talks said President Robert Mugabe was refusing to give way to any opposition demands for unity government, leaving the process “almost certain to fail.”

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was refusing to be bulldozed into a deal that would amount to “political suicide”, the source said.

In Obama’s rise, Kenyans see lessons for Africa>

For Kenyans, the election of a young black man with direct roots in Africa has a resonance that goes far beyond home-town pride.

By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the January 20, 2009 edition

NAIROBI, KENYA – When Barack Obama takes the oath of office, Dickens Odhiambo will be watching it on TV and dancing in the streets of Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum.

For Mr. Odhiambo, an accountant who belongs to the same Luo tribe that Obama’s father came from, the election of a Kenyan-American marks a turning point in the way he perceives the world.

“It is not only Luos, it is also Kenyans; it is not only Kenyans, but it is other Africans who are excited,” says Odhiambo, standing on a street corner in Kibera. “The change that Obama talked about, we believed in it, and finally there was change. Democracy worked. I would urge other African leaders, like Mugabe, to learn from this change, to emulate Obama.”


Police raid on squatters leaves five dead in building fire in Seoul

From Times Online

January 20, 2009

Leo Lewis in Tokyo

Police commandos today stormed a building in the heart of Seoul during a dramatic dawn raid which left at least five people dead and 20 injured after petrol-fuelled fire tore through the building.

Fighting between protesters and police escalated quickly, with demonstrators hurling petrol bombs, acid and bricks down towards the police lines.

The dead are thought to include residents of the apartment block who had been trapped inside as flames engulfed its roof and walls. The building is due for demolition but the redevelopment plans have met with fury and violence from many of its inhabitants.

At least one member of the police commando was reportedly killed on the roof, where the flames are thought to have ignited the protesters’ supplies of paint thinner and home-made explosives.

N. Korea strident as Obama takes reins

The North claimed to have weaponized plutonium and said its nuclear status would not change. But analysts see bid for attention

By Donald Kirk | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the January 20, 2009 edition

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Behind an outpouring of strident rhetoric from North Korea ahead of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration lies a crying need for attention – and recognition of the country’s status as a bargaining partner and nuclear power, say analysts here.

North Korea has chosen singularly harsh language to get its points across as a new US administration takes over.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman declared last weekend, “Our status as a nuclear weapons state will never founder as long as the US nuclear threat remains, even a bit” – appearing to reverse an agreement nearly two years ago to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

North Korean diplomats also told Selig Harrison, an American just back from North Korea who has a long record of criticizing US policy, that the North had “weaponized 30.8 kilograms of plutonium” – enough for five of the six to 12 warheads that US intelligence analysts suspect the North has already fabricated.


  1. Iraq Veterans Against the War

    Iraq Veterans Against the War’s “End the War Now” ad, will air once coast to coast on NBC during the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009

  2. We have a new curricula module ready for the historical inauguration of Barack Obama. Inauguration Speeches and Poetry offers activities that can be incorporated into the classroom but the material is for all our readers.

    Read selected excerpts from past speeches and all of the poems commissioned to be read at the inauguration of U.S. presidents. The poetry section of the module includes poems written in honor of Obama’s presidency by a number of U.S. writers including former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

    Here’s one from Derek Walcott:

    Forty Acres

    Out of the turmoil emerges one emblem, an engraving —

    a young Negro at dawn in straw hat and overalls,

    an emblem of impossible prophecy, a crowd

    dividing like the furrow which a mule has ploughed,

    parting for their president: a field of snow-flecked


    forty acres wide, of crows with predictable omens

    that the young ploughman ignores for his unforgotten

    cotton-haired ancestors, while lined on one branch, is

    a tense

    court of bespectacled owls and, on the field’s

    receding rim —

    a gesticulating scarecrow stamping with rage at him.

    The small plough continues on this lined page

    beyond the moaning ground, the lynching tree, the tornado’s

    black vengeance,

    and the young ploughman feels the change in his veins,

    heart, muscles, tendons,

    till the land lies open like a flag as dawn’s sure

    light streaks the field and furrows wait for the sower.

    Voices Education Project

    Voices in Wartime

  3. Michelle Obama, Cyrus entertain military kids

    WASHINGTON – Michelle Obama challenged the audience at Monday night’s teen- and tween-filled “Kids’ Inaugural: We Are the Future” concert to serve their country.

    She got a response from the audience at the Verizon Center that surpassed even the appearance of teen star Miley Cyrus.

    “You kids are the future of this great nation,” Obama said to the crowd largely made up of military families and their charged-up children.

    “We need every American to serve their community including our young people,” she added.

    What can kids do? she wondered aloud:


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