In-gag-uration Day news:
Today a Jazz Funeral for Democracy will be held to coincide with the start of Bush's inauguration.
According to the website, "'While the rest of the country will be focused on the beginning of Bush’s second term, our objective is to show the world that we are not in support of a continued war in Iraq, record inflation, flagrant disregard for the constitutional rights of all citizens and four more years of rule by a small group of wealthy elite. This will be a time to remind the president that he has a sworn obligation to represent and respect the rights and wishes of ALL Americans, including the 56 million people who voted against him.'
A horse-drawn hearse will carry a mock coffin containing copies of the Patriot Act and the U.S. Constitution through the streets of New Orleans. The Treme Brass Band will lead the procession, followed by marchers wearing traditional mourning clothes and black armbands, symbolizing the tragedy of the Iraqi war effort. The march is hopeful of picking up support from workers in the CBD during their lunch hour, as well as other sympathizers along the route.
'We hope that this event will result in the establishment of a Southern front for resistance to the occupation of Iraq. We are staging this peaceful event for one simple reason . . . because we can. Because the Bill of Rights, at least for now, guarantees that we can. Ours will be a defiantly upbeat gathering of the tribes; an opportunity to prepare for many months of resistance to come.'"
Anti-war group sues for access to presidential inauguration:
"An anti-war group filed a lawsuit Friday challenging what it called "the unprecedented exclusion of the public" from President Bush's inaugural parade route.
The lawsuit in federal district court claims the National Park Service is illegally blocking the general public from access to vast portions of Pennsylvania Ave. reserved solely for guests screened by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Park Service officials say they have fulfilled their obligation to allow the public including demonstrators access to open areas along the parade route. The agency has offered A.N.S.W.E.R. space for up to 10,000 protesters to stand or sit in bleachers in a large plaza along the route, just a few blocks from the Capitol.
The park service also has issued A.N.S.W.E.R. permits for protesters to stand in nine other smaller locations along Pennsylvania Ave. But the group says most of those areas are tiny pockets behind bleachers or in fenced-in areas more than 100 feet from the parade route. "
And, finally, I leave you today with some words from the Reverend Desmond Bishop Tutu, as spoken to Newsweek magazine in their December 30th issue (thanks to Rex Wockner posting this):
"I still can't believe that it [George W. Bush's reelection] really could have happened. Just look at the facts on the table: He'd gone into a war having misled people -- whether deliberately or not -- about why he went to war. You would think that would have knocked him out [of the race.] It didn't. Look at the number of American soldiers who have died since he claimed that the war had ended. And yet it seems this doesn't make most Americans worry too much. I was teaching in Jacksonville, Fla., [during the election campaign] and I was shocked, because I had naively believed all these many years that Americans genuinely believed in freedom of speech. [But I] discovered there that when you made an utterance that was remotely contrary to what the White House was saying, then they attacked you. For a South African the déjà vu was frightening. They behaved exactly the same way that used to happen here [during apartheid] -- vilifying those who are putting forward a slightly different view."