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Jan 21, 2009

Beginners.

Today was a very special day here in the U.S. Do you know what the special occasion was? It was the inauguration of the 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. It is a time of excitement. Everybody wants to see changes. We all wonder what Obama will do. Will he change the politics in Washington? Will the economy improve? Who knows? Time will tell. The inaugural ceremony is an important tradition. It is a huge celebration; a time to welcome the new President and to say goodbye to the previous one. Do you think that George W. Bush is sad to leave the Oval office and to retire? Perhaps. I think that it must be a relief to retire after being in such an important position for eight years. Phew! It makes me feel tired just thinking about it!

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: inauguration, ceremony, celebration, to retire, the President, politics.

Questions: Do you know what the special occasion was? Exs: Do they know what the problem with the car was? Why don't you tell me what the problem is?

Do you think that he is sad? Do you think I look fat in this dress? Don't you think (that) it is time to go? * the word 'that' is optional.

Advanced.

Yesterday and today were auspicious and significant days for U.S. history. Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It is a national holiday to celebrate that great civil rights leader who forged a deeper, more equitable national conscience about civil justice. And today was the inauguration of Barack Obama. What a tremendous ceremony and celebration it was. Talk about expectation and hope becoming almost physical as the event took place. High hopes have been placed on the shoulders of the new President. But, does he represent more than racial progress in this country? One would hope so. The economy needs to turn around before too many become unemployed. Is this achievable in one term of office? Obama said throughout his presidential campaign that it would take years to correct the underlying errors of government that have led to this financial crisis. This seems to be the main concern; it is uppermost on people's minds. The health service and national security are also huge issues that will be dealt with. I cannot even begin to imagine how taxing and exhausting the job of President must be, especially if you are a person of conscience. How could you detatch yourself sufficiently from work to remain sane, yet remain in-touch and sensitive enough to be an effective change maker? There is no doubt that Obama faces huge challenges, but hopefully he has the strength of character needed to meet those challenges honestly.

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: auspicious, significant, equitable, conscience, achievable, underlying errors, uppermost, issue, sensitive, in-touch, exhausting.