Ghosts of inauguration days past
Joseph R. Biden assumed the presidency at 11:00 Central Standard Time (12:00 EST) today. He becomes the 45th man to hold the office (Grover Cleveland was elected to two non-consecutive terms, and he is counted both 22nd and 24th; don’t ask me why), and oddly enough, the first from the nation’s first state, Delaware, which joined the union 7 December 1787, a few days before neighboring Pennsylvania.
He is the second Roman Catholic president after John F. Kennedy; coincidentally, Biden and several top-ranking governmental officials attended a prayer service at St. Matthew’s Cathedral this morning, the same cathedral where Kennedy’s requiem mass was conducted by Cardinal Richard Cushing 25 November 1963, approximately 70 hours after he was shot to death (supposedly by Lee Harvey Oswald) on Elm Street in Dallas.
I watched ZERO of Biden’s inauguration. I was somewhere between Hays and Russell when the oath was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. I had ZERO desire to watch, and I will not be searching the Internet to watch it.
I didn’t vote for Biden. I didn’t vote for his predecessor either. It’s so sad Biden was the best the Democratic Party could offer, but he was more palatable than the Democratic candidate of 2016. Had Biden said something before the Democratic National Convention, he could have saved the country from Hillary AND Trump. Too late.
As I cruised Interstate 70 towards Shawnee and then Leawood, I thought about where I have been for past inaugurations.
Since 1937, presidential inaugurations are held every four years on 20 January. Previously, 4 March was the date, but after a tortuous lame duck period following FDR’s election in 1932 and the end of Herbert Hoover’s presidency, Congress passed and the states ratified the 20th Amendment, moving the inauguration date ahead 42 days, while setting the meeting date of the new Congress to 3 January or thereabouts.
Why 20 January is used, I’ll never know. New Year’s Day sounds like a fine time to do it, but anyone and everyone involved with college football would raise hell. It would not be too hard to move back bowl games to 2 January every four years.
Better yet, why not inaugrate the new president as soon as possible? The 4 March date was designed to give newly elected House members and newly elected or appointed Senators enough time to get from their homes to Washington in the era before air travel.
The electoral votes can be counted by 1 December, and the new president can take office on 15 December. This way, you don’t have to go through the crap that Trump put the country through.
Kansas City reminds me I was in town four years ago when Trump was inaugurated. Larry and I were playing trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa, trying to avert our eyes from the big screen. We told Tori, the regular daytime bartender, to mute the sound and let me play the jukebox. She had no objections. Later that day, Robb and Dawn came in (they were still married and everything looked good for them), and they were despondent. Both of them were Bernie Sanders supporters in the primary and they absolutely loathed Trump. Three days after his election, I brought them some beer to help them drown their sorrows.
For both of Obama’s inaugurations (2009 and 2013), I was working at home. I recall being in my bathroom at 11:00 in 2009. I did not watch either ceremony.
I also did not watch either of George W. Bush’s inaugurals. In 2005, I was at work at Delgado Community College, and in 2001, I was at Lee High in Baton Rouge covering the annual Lee High (now Louisiana Classics) wrestling tournament for The Advocate.
I was in LSU’s sports information office the day of Bill Clinton’s second inaugural in 1997. Since it was Martin Luther King Jr. day, not everyone showed up; the only others there were Kent Lowe, Michael Bonnette and Jim Kleinpeter. Lowe and Bonnette were the media relatoins contacts for the men’ s and women’s basketball teams, respectively, at the time, and Kleinpeter was LSU’s beat writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. We went to lunch that day at Pizza Hut just south of the LSU campus.
Lowe is still in his position, Bonnette was promoted to the top spot in 2000 and still holds it, and Kleinpeter is now covering LSU’s women’s basketball for The Adovcate.
I was a junior at Brother Martin High the day of Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993. Since it was my lunch period, I did not have to watch, and I didn’t. Lucky for me, my social studies class was my first of the day and ended at 08:55.
I was in seventh grade at Arabi Park Middle when George H.W. Bush was inaugurated in 1989. It was cold and rainy that Friday. There was a “Mardi Gras Ball” that evening and a dance afterwards. A very awkward pre-teen evening for Foots, who was still three years away from receiving the nickname.
The next evening, I had to march with the band in the Krewe of Saturn parade in Kenner, which is on the opposite side of the New Orleans metro area from Arabi.
Super Bowl XXIII was that Sunday; I watched every play of the 49ers’ thrilling victory over the Bengals, which wasn’t cemented until Joe Montana hit John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining to cap a 92-yard drive. Cincinnati has yet to recover.
Four days after the elder Bush took the oath, serial killer Ted Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison just after 06:00 CST, ending his reign of terror for good. Bundy was officially executed for murdering 12-year old Kimberly Leach in Lake City in February 1978, but he also raped and murdered Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy in the Chi Omega house at Florida State hours before Super Bowl XII, and killed at least 40 women in the western United States from 1974-77.
I woke up in the dark the morning of Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration.
Reagan was officially inaugurated for a second term on 20 January 1985, but since 20 January was a Sunday that year (it was again in 2013), Dutch took the oath privately in the East Room of the White House at 11:00 CST, and the public ceremony was held the next day.
Super Bowl XIX was 20 January 1985. To celebrate Reagan’s second term, the man who played George Gipp on the silver screen was asked to toss the coin prior to the Dolphins meeting the 49ers at Stanford. There was a satellite hookup between the locales, and Reagan tossed the coin in the East Room when prompted by referee Pat Haggerty.
It was bitterly cold in most of the country that Super Sunday. It was chilly and foggy in Stanford, a fitting backdrop for the Dolphin defense, which was shredded for 537 yards by Joe Montana, Roger Craig, Dwight Clark and company. Dan Marino was pounded by a San Francisco defense spearheaded by future Hall of Famers Fred Dean and Ronnie Lott, and the 49ers rolled 38-16. Little did anyone know Marino would never return to gridiron football’s biggest stage.
Temperatures below minus-7 Celsius (20 F) are as rare in New Orleans as sightings of Haley’s Comet and four-leaf clovers, but lo and behold, it dipped to minus-10 C (14 F) in the early hours of 21 January 1985. The power at 224 Jaguar Drive went out, as it did for tens of thousands across south Louisiana.
The cold hit the Air Products and Chemicals plant at the northeast edge of New Orleans hard, and my dad had to go out there to check it out only a couple of hours after the Super Bowl ended.
Fortunately for my brother, mother and I, we had a way to keep warm.
My mother’s close friend, Wanda Pattison, had a gas furnace at her residence in Chalmettte, about 15 minutes from our house. We went there to keep warm, and the electricity came on just in time to see Reagan take the oath from Chief Justice Warren Burger.
It was so cold in Washington–minus-15 C (5 F)–the ceremony was moved from the West Front of the Captiol into the rotunda, the first time in memory the ceremony was held indoors. It should have been held indoors today.
U.S. Representative Gillis Long from Louisiana died the previous day, and Reagan asked for a moment of silence in his memory. Long represented the former Eighth District, which stretched from Alexandria south and east along the Mississippi River to St. John the Baptist Parish, from 1973-84, and previously in 1963 and ’64. Gillis was a cousin of legendary brothers Huey and Earl Long, and secured funding for an important Hansen’s Disesase research center in Iberville Parish about 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Baton Rouge; the center now bears his name.
Gillis ran for Governor of Louisiana in 1963 and again in 1971. He was third in the Democratic primary each time, with John McKeithen winning the former election and Edwin Edwards the latter.
I was not old enough to remember Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981, although I have watched it on YouTube. That day, the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran since 4 November 1979 were freed. Reagan announced it during his inaugural speech, and Jimmy Carter went to Germany to meet the freed men.
Speaking of Carter, of course I can’t remember his inauguration in 1977. It was my 99th day in this life.
If you have read to this point, I thank you. If not, I don’t blame you. I’m going full Porky Pig…THAT’S ALL FOLKS! (at least for now)
Peaceful protests? They don’t exist in the USA
Let me make one thing clear about my last post.
I do not, in any way, support violent protest, no matter what it is about, no matter who is protesting.
I am not a fan of protests, period. I believe most are pointless and a waste of time. There are far better things for me to do than to march for a cause. I think it would just drive my blood pressure even higher than it is now, which is way too high, and I don’t like crowds unless it’s at a sporting event.
However, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution—the document every lying politician, no matter what end of the spectrum, hides behind—guarnatees the right of assembly.
The First Amendment protected the rights of the 250,000 who descended upon the Washington Monument on 28 August 1963 to hear Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
That was a lawful, PEACEFUL, protest.
Same with Woodstock, where over 400,000 descended upon White Lake, New York in August 1969. The residents feared the worst from the hippies. Instead, the hippies only wanted to listen to Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and many other big-name musicians, and share peace and love.
The Million Man March, organized by noted racist anti-semite Louis Farrakhan in October 1995, had the potential for violence, but stayed peaceful.
Too bad most protests which receive publicity over the last 56 years have been far too violent and far too deadly. This is not an all-inclusive list, but some of the more infamous ones.
Summer 1964–Philadelphia race riots. Fortunately, nobody died, but hundreds of black-owned business were burned to the ground in North Philadelphia, never to return.
August 1965–Watts. The infamous Los Angeles riot began when a black woman was beaten by police, setting off four days and nights of
Jully 1967–Detroit race riots. Forty-three die and hundreds of millions of damages to black neighborhoods of the Motor City, and come perilously close to Tiger Stadium. Tigers left fielder Willie Horton, in full uniform, helps calm the situation.
April 1968–Riots in the wake of MLK assassination, notably in Baltimore, Washington, Louisville, Detroit (again) and Kansas City
August 1968–Anti-war protesters at Democratic National Convention in Chicago, led by the Chicago 7 and the Black Panthers under the direction of Bobby Seale
May 1970–Kent State, where four were killed by National Guard troops. Two (Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller) were participating in a violent protest, but two others (Sandy Schurer and William Schroeder) were not. Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel, future college football coaching legends, witnessed the riots.
January 7, 1973–Mark James Robert Essex, a dishonorably discharged Navy seaman, kills three police officers and four civilians in a racially-motivated spree at a New Orleans hotel. Essex, a black Kansas native, killed a black police cadet at the New Orleans jail seven days prior, and carjacked a black man outside his residence to get to the hotel. Essex tells black maids “We’re only shooting whites today”. As Essex shoots anything that moves while perched on the roof, black youths gather across Loyola Avenue and scream ‘RIGHT ON’ whenever a shot rings out. Essex is cut down when a Marine helicopter carrying policemen shoot during a nighttime sortie.
November 1979—Ku Klux Klan rally in Greensboro turns violent when five black counter-protesters are murdered by the racists. Less than 36 hours later, the Iran Hostage Crisis began (not that it was a riot, just mentioning it in passing.).
May 1980–The first of several riots in Miami occurs after four white police officers are acquitted in the December 1979 shooting death of black insurance salesman Arthur McDuffie. Over $!00 million in property damage occurs in Liberty City and Overtown. Eighteen die.
December 1982–Violence returns to Overtown after policeman Luis Alvarez shot and killed 20-year old Nevel Johnson Jr. outside an arcade. The violence forces the LSU and Nebraska football teams, in town for the Orange Bowl, to shelter in place at their hotels following morning practice. There are 24,000 empty seats at the game, won by Nebraska 21-20.
January 1989–In the days leading up to Super Bowl XXIII, Overtown decends into chaos yet again after Officer William Lozano shoots and kills Clement Lloyd, who was attempting to flee on a motorcyle. Lloyd’s passenger also dies when the two-wheeler crashes. The riots give the city a black eye as it prepares to host its first Super Bowl in 10 years. Fortunately, the Dolphins’ 1987 move to the Dade-Broward County line in what is now Miami Gardens keeps the rioters far away from more trouble for the NFL. Had the game been scheduled for the Orange Bowl, there would have been HUGE problems.
August 1991–Blacks attack Orthodox Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York after two immigrants from Guyana are struck by a motorcade led by a prominent rabbi.
April 1992—Los Angeles riots protesting acquittal of four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King in 1991. Trucker Reginald Denny beaten nearly to death. The area near the Los Angeles Coliseum and the University of Southern California is mostly burned to the ground, resulting in over $1 billion in damages.
The last 10 years has seen a proliferation of violent riots, from the Occupy Movement to those after police-related deaths (Eric Garner in NYC, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Freddie Gray in Baltimore), the Charlottesville riot involving white supremacists, Antifa, this summer’s riots following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (among others), and now this.
I shudder to think what will happen on Inauguration Day. Joe Biden should demand the ceremony take place inside the Capitol, either in the rotunda, or better yet, in the House chamber. The only people who should be present are the families of Biden and Kamala Harris, the House, the Senate and former presidents Carter, Bush and Obama (Trump should be banned). The rest of us can watch on TV.
Or maybe he should go to a secure location, take the oath, then go straight to the White House and deliver his inaugural address from the Oval Office.
The public must be banned from this ceremony. Sadly, a few psychotic assholes have ruined it for the rest of us.
Besides, this is a good year to ban the public. Something called COVID-19 still rampaging.
The United States of America is SICK. Both sides of the spectrum have a serious problem.
Compromise is the new “C” curse word, replacing the four-letter one which I will not repeat. There is no middle ground; it’s 100 percent good or 100 percent evil.
Biden was long considered a moderate when he represented Delaware in the Senate. Many left-wing groups hated him, never more so than when women’s groups felt he did not do enough to support Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991. They were outraged Biden basically twiddled his thumbs while Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican, tore into Hill.
Speaking of Specter, he was the last of the Rockefeller Republicans who often had the guts to vote against his party when it didn’t suit the interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was also a tough-on-crime prosecutor in Philadelphia who teamed with Mayor Frank Rizzo to make the city safe during the 1970s.
Specter, who grew up in my current town of Russell, is sorely missed in the Senate.
I left my 2020 presidential ballot blank. I voted for nobody. I also did not vote for Trump in 2016. Before that, I voted for Republican candidates in every major election in Louisiana and Kansas.
I regret many of those votes. Woody Jenkins (US Senate from Louisiana, 1996) is one of those Bible thumpers I can’t stand. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana Governor, 2003–although he lost) proved to be an incompetent boob who cut government services to the bone and decimated the state’s tax base. Jim Barnett (Kansas Governor, 2006) was grossly incompetent and had no business running for the state’s highest office. Kris Kobach (Kansas Secretary of State, 2010 and 2014) is a xenophobic piece of shit whose narcissism rivals Trump’s. Tim Huelskamp (US House from KS-01, 2010-16) was so far right John Boehner and Paul Ryan could not work with him. Roger Marshall (US House from KS-01, 2018; US Senate from Kansas, 2020) proved what a fraud he is by refusing to certify Biden’s election.
Jindal was such a fucking embarrassment that I was glad not to be living in my native state when he was governor. His three immediate predecessors—Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Mike Foster and Edwin Edwards—all won support from all ends of the spectrum by being pragmatic. Sure, Edwards went to federal prison for racketeering, but he didn’t screw the state the way Jindal did.
Marshall ensured I won’t be voting for him in 2026. Fucking turd.
I’ve had it with talking about this shit. Excuse me while I run to the toilet to vomit.
The inmates are running the Washington asylum
God I hate politics. I hate everything about it. I hate how it has divided Americans into “good” and “evil”. That’s why for the most part I don’t want to comment about elections.
I can’t stay silent today.
What’s going on in Washington is not acceptable in the United States of America.
Psychotic Trump supporters have stormed the Captiol and forced the building, the symbol of the Federal Republic (NOT a democracy), to be placed on lockdown. These irrational animals with human characteristics tore down FOUR layers of security and stormed up the steps, overwhelming the Capitol Police.
I never dreamed the United States of America would devolve into this. What is going on in Washington is something you see in a third-world dictatorship where elections are really rigged.
It has happened in Venezuela regularly since 1998, when the late Hugo Chavez seized power in a coup, then was routinely “re-elected” despite votes showing otherwise. The same continues to happen under his successor, Nicolas Maduro, an avowed enemy of the United States and its allies.
It happened in Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe, the black nationalist who led the country to independence from the United Kingdom then stole land from whites, had loyalists in parliament disavow the results of his last election, when the votes clearly showed him losing.
Donald John Trump LOST the 2020 presidential election. He lost it fair and square. Yet he is deluding himself into believing he “won”. challenging the votes of four states (Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), claiming “electoral fraud”.
You didn’t win those states, Donny. You know why you didn’t win those states, Donny? LOOK IN THE MIRROR YOU TURD.
The Democrats have themselves to blame for Trump becoming president in the first place. ANYONE but Hillary Rodham Clinton would have beaten Trump in 2016. Yet the Democrats felt they “owed” it to Hillary for her years of service as a Senator from New York and Secretary of State, as well as her husband for his eight years in the White House.
If Trump had moved to the center, been willing to compromise, spent more time governing than tweeting, he could have won a second term. His three predecessors were average candidates at best (George W. Bush was so far below average he’s buried under the Mariannas Trench), yet modified their positions to save their political hides.
Instead, Trump doubled and tripled down and did all he could to embarrass the United States of America.
Had Trump not been the most arrogant and narcissistic person to serve as president, he would have stepped aside for the good of his party,
Of course, Trump and humility might as well be Mercury and Pluto.
If the Republicans had run ANYONE with a sliver of ethics against Joe Biden, Biden would be back in Delaware negotiating a deal to write his memoirs. Kamala Harris would be stuck in the Senate.
By rights, Joe Biden should never have been allowed to run for president after his plagiarism admission forced him out of the 1988 race. Same as Trump should never have been allowed to run for his unethical conduct throughout his business career.
I knew Trump was a raging fraud early.
In the fall of 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League, the spring football league which began earlier that year. Trump immediately tried to hire Don Shula to coach the team, but he stayed with Miami after Trump refused Shula a penthouse in Trump Tower.
Shula, who passed away last May, saved himself a world of trouble.
It turns out Trump bought the Generals for one reason: to worm his way into the NFL.
First, Trump wanted the USFL to move from the spring to the fall to directly challenge the NFL. Then if the USFL were successful, he would force a merger, the same way the American Football League did in the 1960s.
Trump shamed most USFL owners into agreeing to move to the fall in 1986. ABC, which held the network television contract to the USFL, said it would not televise any fall games, citing its commitment to the NFL’s Monday Night Football. Of course, CBS and NBC weren’t going to bite; if neither would touch the league in the spring, there was no chance in hell they would do so in the fall.
Outraged by the networks shunning the USFL, Trump filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against the NFL in October 1984.
Trump felt if he won his case, the USFL would be absorbed into the NFL, and he would become an NFL owner for far less than Jerry Jones would pay for the Cowboys in 1989.
On the field, the Generals already had Herschel Walker when Trump purchased the team, but Donny wanted more He broke the bank to sign Browns quarterback Brian Sipe, the 1980 NFL MVP, but after the Generals failed to even reach the USFL championship game, Trump was angry.
He spited Sipe and signed Doug Flutie, who won the 1984 Heisman Trophy playing for. Boston College. Walker rushed for 2,148 yards in 1985, but the Generals failed again to reach the title game.
The USFL spent the spring of 1986 in the courtroom, hoping a six-person jury would see the NFL as a monopoly and richly reward them.
On 29 July 1986, the jury returned its verdict.
Yes, the NFL was a monopoly.
However, the USFL’s financial woes were all their own fault. Its award: $1, trebled to $3 under antitrust law.
Goodbye, Donny, Don’t let the door hit your butt cheeks on the way out.
The United States of America is supposedly a country of laws, not of men. What is going on in Washington is not lawful and should be punished to the fullest extent of that law. These lunatics are embarrassing hundreds of millions rational Americans with their antics and are doing irreparable harm to our Republic.
The election is over. It’s time to get on with the business of fighting COVID-19 and other issues big and small.