Monday, January 26, 2009

This Week on Colbert Nation

Monday, January 26 -- Chris Mooney, Pastor Ed Young

Tuesday, January 27 -- Phillippe Petit

Wednesday, January 28 -- Denis Dutton

Thursday, January 29 -- John Podesta

This Week on the Daily Show

Monday, January 26 -- President Jimmy Carter -- Author, "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land"

Tuesday, January 27 -- Gwen Ifill -- Editor, Washington Week

Wednesday, January 28 -- Neil DeGrasse Tyson -- Author, "The Pluto Files"

Thursday, January 29 -- P.W. Singer -- Author, "Wired for War"

John Dean article found on Alternet

Are We Civilized Enough to Hold Our Leaders Accountable for War Crimes? The World Is Watching

By John W. Dean,

Philippe Sands, a Queen's Counsel at Matrix Chambers and Professor of International law at University College London, has assembled a powerful indictment of the key Bush Administration people involved in torture in his book Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values. He explains the legal exposure of people like former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, Dick Cheney's counsel and later chief of staff David Addington, former Office of Legal Counsel attorney John Yoo, the former Department of Defense general counsel Jim Haynes, and others for their involvement in the torture of detainees at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and CIA secret prisons.

After reading Sands's book and, more recently, listening to his comments on Terry Gross's NPR show "Fresh Air," on January 7, 2009 I realized how closely the rest of the world is following the actions of these former officials, and was reminded that these actions appear to constitute not merely violations of American law, but also, and very literally, crimes against humanity -- for which the world is ready to hold them responsible.

Here is what Professor Sands told Terry Gross on NPR: "In talking to prosecutors around the world, as I have done, they all recognize the very real political difficulties of taking on someone who has been Vice President of the United States, or President of the United States, or Secretary of Defense of the United States. But those arguments melt away as you go a little down the chain. And I don't think the same arguments would apply in relation to the man, for example, who was Vice President Cheney's general counsel, at the time the decisions were taken, David Addington ... I think he faces a very real risk of, you know, investigation for complicity in an act that amounts to torture ... " Later, referring to "international investigations," he added that Addington (and others) were at "serious risk of being investigated."

NPR interview of Sands

Friday, January 23, 2009

More inauguration adventures

We had to see this Obama painting, in the National Gallery of Art, as well as the many other fabulous paintings. We also visited the National Portrait Gallery, and found a photo of a supposed ancestor of mine, Chief Red Jacket.

What else did we do?

We looked at all the nation's newspapers outside the Newseum

We continued our visit through the National Portrait Gallery

We had tapas and sangria for lunch
We saw Stephen Colbert's picture in the Smithsonian
and we stopped by Dunkin Donuts

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Finally, Inauguration photos

Inauguration day was a clusterf&%k. We got on a train at 0600, it was crowded, but not bad. However, on the 3rd stop to DC, the train stopped due to a sick passenger, and they made us all get off the train. Then they opened the doors, for about 45 seconds and let some people board the train. That was my first experience with the shoving and pushing that would continue all day long. We knew we would get nowhere and not be able to board any other trains that were coming because they would be too crowded. So, we opted to cross over to the westbound tracks and go back west (the direction from which we had come) and ride to the end of the line. At the end of the line in Vienna, we got a seat on the empty train. Thus began a 3 1/2 hr saga of stopping and starting all along the train route into DC. I'll write more about this later, but suffice it to say, we did not get there in time to get to the "Silver Ticket" gate, so we watched the Inaguration from the Air and Space Museum food court with a family from Lancaster, PA, who had a small TV and a radio.

We ate our hardboiled eggs and had some McD's coffee.

Watching inauguration

The wait for a train after the inauguration ceremony was 3-6 hours, and we battled the crowds for one walk to the Metro station (train) and decided to head back to the Air and Space Museum to wait out the crowds.

At 4 pm, we went the opposite direction and went to the top of Capitol Hill, and on to a bar about 4 blocks north of the Capitol, where we waited out the crowd and watched part of the parade on TV at The Pour House.

Then we decided to think about heading home, and with the help of our waitress (who is from Sioux City, IA) we were advised to go to the Eastern Market metro stop, about 7 blocks away, which we did (in the brrr, cold!). We had a great time at another bar, which was showing Cspan, so we stayed to watch the remainder of the parade there. It was a gay bar, and everyone was very nice to us, and we had a great time.

For all our photos go here

The Capitol the day after.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

We hoped and prayed and worked for this day. It's now come and gone, and couldn't have been much better.

Obama's truly classic speech wasn't a barn-burnin' pep talk. It was a sobering look at the work ahead of us all. Of my many favorite lines from his speech...was this one:
"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."
This was a challenge to the entirety of Washington, letting them know that business as usual isn't good enough anymore. I hope his personal power and the will of the people behind him can cause the change that's so critically needed in Washington DC.

A toast to the new administration, in hopes that his next 4 years will reflect the successes of his 1st half day in office.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Week on the Daily Show

Monday, January 19 -- Abderrahim Foukara, Author

Tuesday, January 20 -- Gene Robinson, Bishop

Wednesday, January 21 -- David Sanger, Author

Thursday, January 22 -- Liam Neeson, Actor

This Week on the Colbert Nation

Monday, January 19 -- Frank Rich

Tuesday, January 20 -- Jabari Asim

Wednesday, January 21 -- Elizabeth Alexander

Thursday, January 22 -- Jon Meacham

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We have arrived in DC and we have run ourselves ragged

We arrived in McLean, VA from BWI airport on the 15th, after a delayed flight from Memphis. The plane that was to arrive in Memphis was over an hour late due to the plane landing in the river in NY. Then the bus at BWI that was to take us to Greenbelt station in MD, was 45 mins late. So, we spent lots of time in the bus shelter in 6 degree weather. I wished for my long johns, but was glad for my hat, gloves and scarf.

It is jut freaking cold here. Yesterday (Friday), our first day here, it was 6 degrees in the morning with wind and the afternoon high temp was 15 BRRRRR!!! We walked ALL day, including long distances outside, from the Metro station to the the Museum of the American Indian where we spent several hours (and the museum is excellent), then Congressman Lamar Smith's office in the Rayburn office building (for info), then the Capitol where we took pictures of the stand being built for the inauguration and then down Pennsylvania avenue in front of Fox News and C-Span offices, to The Irish Times pub for some beer and snacks, and a rest. Then we got back on the Metro, and on into Maryland where we had a long, walk, which included getting lost, for a party with some international students, from Turkey, Brazil, Venezuela, Japan, China, and our hosts from Mozambique and Senegal. Lots of fun, and our first taste of
Cacha├ža and a Caipirinha, see photo:

Today (Sat), we went to the Eastern Market for breakfast, and admired the wonderful foods for sale in the meat, cheese and other various stalls.

Then we took off on the Metro (again) for the Smithsonian castle and the Museum of Natural History, which just re-opened after a 2 year remodel. The remodel is fabulous! This is probably the most kid friendly museum ever. We had so much fun watching the little ones come into the area with the dinosaurs and fossils...they would squeal with delight and press their noses and hands on the glass cases (that were at a child's level) and point out various items to their parents. It was a joy to see how wonderful the exhbits were, and how interactive. If you have not been to DC, this trip is a must!

We also went to the National Archives and saw the Magna Carta (short line, guess people don't realize how important that document is, or how Bush robbed us of our habeus corpus rights), but we did not stand in the long line for the Constitution as we had seen it before. Then we took a 6 block walk to the pub, Elephant and Castle, we we knocked down a beer or two with our food. Ray and I traveled with an old political friend, Greg and a "couch surfer" who arrived at the party the night before, Adam. A great time was had by all, and at least even though it was only in the low 20's today, there was little wind so it was bearable.

Following this, we got on the Metro (having a one block detour due to Obamas' incipient arrival at Union Station) and went to Eastern Market where we bought food for dinner, came home and cooked Andre some food that he thoroughly enjoyed...a thank you for all his efforts to keep us comfy and for taking us to the Metro every day.

I would like to make one big observation: the mood in this town is so different from what we have experienced in our last 2 visits (over the past 8 yrs)....everyone here is happy. Not just those of us coming for the inauguration, but those we live and work here! They actually thank us for coming to see the inauguration, there are lots of smiles, and just good general conversation.

As for photos, I took photos of portapotties in giant double lines on the mall, the swearing in stand in front of the Capitol, and many more.

I have no card reader and no USB connection for my camera, but our cousin is going to get me fixed up tomorrow so that I can upload some pictures.

Suffice it to say, that we are ready and waiting for the heatwave of 39 degrees tomorrow! We won't know what to do, LOL. On the agenda tomorrow...Costco (food and pillows, as we are currently using folded wool Army blankets). Cousin Andre has been the most gracious host, and we love his greyhounds too, so it's a happy group here in VA.

More later....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ray and Sally are going to the Inauguration!

We will be posting pictures, etc. from DC staring Jan. 16th.
Here is what is on tap for the opening ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan 18th. So exciting! We can't wait!

Springsteen, Other Acts Confirmed for Inaugural Concert

The rumors were true: the Presidential Inaugural Committee has released the list of confirmed performers for what's being called We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, scheduled to air on HBO on Sunday, January 18 from 7-9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. There's no set start time for the concert itself yet, just a note that it will be taped on Sunday afternoon. (NB: We've updated this paragraph to clarify the concert schedule).

Confirmed musical performers include: Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor,, and Stevie Wonder.

That's a long list of performers for a 2-hour concert, so expect one or two songs tops from each artist.

Also announced was a list of speakers and individuals who will read historical passages: Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Additional performers will be announced as they are confirmed.

We're thrilled to see the Boss on the final lineup, and many others (Bono! Stevie Wonder! Beyonce! Mary J. Blige!) are also fantastically awesome. The likes of Garth Brooks and Josh Groban are apparently just par for the course when designing something aimed at appealing to the entire country, so we suppose we'll take what we can get.

Monday, January 05, 2009

This Week on the Daily Show

Monday, January 5 -- David Gregory -- Moderator, Meet the Press

Tuesday, January 6 -- Michael Wolff -- Author, "The Man Who Owns the News"

Wednesday, January 7 -- Actor, "Bride Wars"

This Week on the Colbert Nation

Monday, January 5 -- John King

Tuesday, January 6 -- Matt Miller

Wednesday, January 7 -- Benicio Del Toro

Thursday, January 8 -- Lawrence Lessig