You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 22, 2009.

Obama inaugural speech

Obama inaugural speech

Those who’ve feared that President Obama will be a soft touch for tyrants and terrorists can take comfort in his Inaugural Address, in which he declared:

      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 non-believers. 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.

Here is George W. Bush, four years ago today:

      From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.
      So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
      This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.

To be sure, there are differences of emphasis. But Obama’s “new era of peace” is not all that different from Bush’s “ultimate goal of ending tyranny in this world.” Both presidents proclaimed the universality of America’s ideals: Just as Bush said that “every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value,” so Obama asserts that “we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve”–as they have in America, a nation that once enslaved blacks and has now inaugurated a black president.

There were differences of substance, too. Obama included the requisite sops to hair-shirt liberalism: “roll back the specter of a warming planet . . . nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.” He also said, in what was surely meant as a rebuke to his predecessor, “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” But our guess is that George W. Bush, too, rejects that choice as false, and that Obama will find many Bush national-security policies are consistent with our ideals after all.

This is not to suggest that there will be no changes in foreign policy under President Obama. The rap against Bush has been that he is too eager to use military force, and Obama opposed the use of force to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime. But in his Inaugural Address today, the president said, “We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.” Without the Bush-led intervention in these nations, this is a promise President Obama would be in no position to make.

President Bush’s opponents on the Angry Left often succumbed to a blind hatred for the man and ended up mocking America’s ideals because they loathed the man who was speaking up for them. The Angry Right is susceptible to the same error now. An inauguration is a good opportunity to remember that those ideals belong to all of us, and that they endure regardless of party and personnel.

Source: WSJ

Advertisements

Some inauguration viewers were fascinated by the historical tidbit that President Barack Obama took the oath of office on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible.

hp1-20-09xx

Others were more interested in the J. Crew sage green leather gloves that Michelle Obama wore to hold the Bible for her husband — not to mention the pale pink and royal blue wool coats the Obamas’ daughters wore, also from J. Crew.

Indeed, a lot of viewers apparently decided that they must own the gloves and coats themselves. In an interview with my colleague Liz Robbins at The Caucus blog, Jenna Lyons of J. Crew said, “It’s an incredible validation to have the First Family like what you’re doing.”

Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Michelle Obama. (Credit: Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Maybe too much of a validation.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Web page on J. Crew’s site that features women’s gloves had crashed. By Wednesday morning, the whole women’s section of the site had crashed. Later in the day, the entire site was down, with a note that said, “Stay tuned…Sorry, we’re experiencing some technical difficulties right now (even the best sites aren’t perfect). Check back with us in a little while.”

J. Crew’s Web site joins the many media sites that could not keep up with the surge of inauguration Web traffic. Many of the sites that promised to stream live video of the inauguration struggled or failed to provide a steady stream because of the influx of traffic.

Early Tuesday, J. Crew, which designed the children’s coats and velvet ribbon belts especially for the Obama girls, posted a note — “Congratulations to the first family” — on its home page.

Jim Young/Reuters)

Malia and Sasha Obama. (Credit: Jim Young/Reuters)

Later, the company added another note — “Yes, they wore Crewcuts” — with a link to shop the brand’s Crewcuts children’s collection.

The outfits were designed exclusively for the Obamas and are not available from J. Crew, though “highlights” from the inaugural outfits may appear in the fall 2009 collection, the company said. Still, all that promotion apparently swamped the site.

“It’s just the sheer number of users coming on,” said Matthew Poepsel, vice president of performance strategy at Gomez, a firm that tracks Web site performance. “It can swamp an application’s infrastructure and lead to poor user experience at exactly the wrong time.”

If a Web company expects a surge in traffic, it can prepare by building up capacity, Mr. Poepsel said. If the traffic is unexpected, though, it can be hard to fix the problem after the fact. More and more often, “with the pace of the Web and how information gets out, no one can predict when this will happen,” he said.

Of all the brands the Obamas wore, J. Crew’s site showed the most impact. But other brands also got some benefit.

Michelle Obama’s day and evening dresses were the talk of the town, and on Tuesday, the names of the designers of those dresses, Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu, were the 70th- and 11th-most-searched terms on Google, according to Google Trends. On Wednesday, though, Isabel Toledo fell off the list and Jason Wu had sunk to 55, while J. Crew came in at 33. (Mr. Wu’s Web site and the site of Ikram, the Chicago boutique where Mrs. Obama shops, appear to be having no troubles.)

Perhaps fans of the Obamas’ style are seeking a more affordable way to imitate the new first family. “Michelle Obama has proved that high fashion can be affordable,” J. Crew said in a statement.

caucus-inauguration1

All eyes were on Michelle last night (see the slideshow), but Jill Biden may well have won ‘best-dressed.’ The vice-president’s wife was radiant in a red gown by Lebanese designer Reem Acra.

slide_873_15220_large

slide_873_15220_largelnk

slide_873_15221_large

slide_873_15222_large

From Reem Acra’s website:

    Influenced by her mother’s impeccable style and love of fashion, Reem was always fascinated by design. As a little girl, she accompanied her mother to fabric stores to learn about the finest fabrics, textures and design details such as hand-embroidery that would later become signature elements of her iconic style. As Reem grew up, her passion for design continued to evolve and she began designing dresses for herself, which were brought to life by her personal couturier. 

    After graduating high school, Reem studied business at the American University of Beirut, where she was discovered at a party by a fashion editor who was captivated by Reem’s dress – an ornate gown of silk organza and museum quality embroidery that was made from her mother’s dining room tablecloth. The woman instantly offered to host a fashion show of Reem’s designs which took place ten days following the chance encounter, and weeks later Reem was off to study in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology and later its Paris counterpart at Esmond.

    Following her studies, Reem traveled the world, drawing inspiration from the diverse countries she visited. After working as an interior designer for a few years, Reem continued to develop her craft in Hong Kong and New York where she returned to her fashion roots. In less than 10 years her atelier gained international recognition, sparked by a high society friend wearing Reem’s first bridal design, a simple yet embellished creation, to her society wedding. Soon after, Reem launched her first collection, Reem Acra Bridal, which elevated classic bridal designs through the use of the finest silks and intricate beading and embroidery.