Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank.

This book has a story of its own. When Aetna Insurance Company apologized to its shareholders in 2002 for having written insurance policies on slaves before the Civil War, three Connecticut journalists began to research the role of citizens and companies in their state in the promotion of slavery. Their work eventually expanded into the current book, which documents and describes how Northern shippers, factory owners, business magnates and even the makers of piano keys all depended on the slave system for their economic success.

Written in an easy-to-read newspaper style and generously illustrated with pictures and documents of the time, this book is as approachable as it is eye opening. ... If there is anyone who thinks that the division between the North and the South over the question of slavery was clean-cut and who is unaware that it was seriously proposed that New York City secede with the South, that person needs this book. Patricia Moore, Chestnut Hill, MA

View a discussion of Northern Slavery on the Atlanta Forum Network here.
Farai Chideya talks with Anne Farrow, co-author of the book Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, which reveals the history of the Northern slave market, and the stories of many of those who were bought, sold and survived. Listen to the program here.

"The Slaves' War"

The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves (Hardcover)by Andrew Ward

This is the first narrative of the Civil War told by the very people that it freed.

Groundbreaking, compelling, and poignant, The Slaves' War delivers an unprecedented vision of the nation's bloodiest conflict. An acclaimed historian of nineteenth-century and African American history, Andrew Ward gives us the first narrative of the Civil War told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided. Woven together from interviews, diaries, letters, and memoirs, here is the Civil War as seen not only from battlefields and camps but also from slave quarters, kitchens, roadsides, and fields. Speaking in a quintessentially American language of biblical power and intensity, body servants, army cooks and launderers, runaways, teamsters, and gravediggers bring the war to life. From slaves' theories about the war's causes to their frank assessments of such figures as Lincoln, Davis, Lee, and Grant; from their searing memories of the carnage of battle to their often startling attitudes toward masters and liberators alike; and from their initial jubilation at the Yankee invasion of the slave South to the crushing disappointment of freedom's promise unfulfilled, The Slaves' War is an engrossing vision of America.


Pilgrims and Abraham Lincoln

Take a listen to Sarah Vowell on St. Paul's NPR Thanksgiving edition of Midmorning. Ms. Vowell's discusses American history. She says the Puritans were not paragons of virtue, but were key to most Americans' views of themselves.

Sarah Vowell: Author and contributor to This American Life. Her new book is The Wordy Shipmates. Her other books include Assassination Vacation.


Countdown: Wal-Mart, The Republican Brand

Walmart Worker Dies In Stampeed


A 34-year-old man was trampled to death in a rush of Black Friday shoppers at a Long Island mall today, police said.

Long lines of shoppers thronged outside the Wal-Mart at the Green Acres mall in Valley Stream before it opened for post-Thanksgiving business at 5 a.m.
"When the doors opened, all hell broke loose," a law enforcement source told The Post.

Bargain-hungry shoppers stepped on a fallen Wal-Mart worker, who died Friday morning, after the crowd knocked down the store's front doors -- and the worker -- during the "utter chaos" of a Black Friday shopping melee, Nassau County police said.

"A throng of shoppers . . . physically broke down the doors" at around 5 a.m. Friday and knocked the 34-year-old part-time worker to the ground as the crowd pushed its way into the store at the Green Acres Mall, Nassau police said.

"This crowd was out of control," said Nassau Police Det. Lt. Michael Fleming, who is investigating the death. He characterized the melee as "utter chaos."

Fleming said an estimated 2,000 people had gathered in line around 5 a.m. as the store was preparing to open. Asked at a news conference whether the store had enough security given the crowds that Black Friday shopping typically attracts, Fleming said no. Four shoppers had minor injuries, police said.

People in the rear of the line began pushing, cascading the people in the front into the doors, which were knocked off their hinges, Fleming said.

Hundreds of shoppers who then streamed in literally stepped on the worker who later died, Fleming said.

Fleming said the worker, who has not been publicly identified, was a temporary worker sent by an employment agency. Fleming said criminal charges were possible in the case, though he said it would be nearly impossible to identify individual shoppers. But, he said, authorities were reviewing surveillance video.

Another police officer told Newsday the prelude to the death at the Green Acres Mall was "a mob scene."

Shoppers who surged past the fallen Wal-Mart worker into the store were asked to leave by other store workers, some of them crying and visibly upset, said one shopper, Kimberly Cribbs, of Far Rockaway.

Though rumors circulated among the shoppers that someone had been badly injured, people ignored the Wal-Mart workers' requests that they stop shopping, move to the front of the store and exit, Cribbs said.

"They kept shopping. It's not right. They're savages," Cribbs said.

Cribbs said she entered the store after the injured worker was already being attended to by emergency personnel. As people waited, then pushed into the store, she said, "It was chaos."

Another shopper said people were screaming and shoving in line before the opening.

The police got an emergency call at 5:03 a.m. reporting that the worker had been injured, and he was taken to Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m.

As of Friday morning the cause of death was described as "undetermined", police said. An exact cause of death will be determined by the county medical examiner's office, police said.

Shopper Camla Brown described a disorganized mob that was thirsting to get into the store before the trampling.

"There was no organization," said Brown, a 47-year-old restaurant manager from Valley Stream.

Four other Wal-Mart shoppers at the Valley Stream store were taken to hospitals Friday morning. A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital for observation, and three other shoppers suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospitals for treatment, and they were expected to be released.

Dan Fogelman, spokesman at Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., said Friday, "The safety and security of our customers and associates are our top priority."

Fogelman called the death "a tragic situation" and said the company was cooperating fully with the Nassau County police investigation. He declined to comment on whether the company would review its practice of heavily-discounted holiday sales events, or whether the company was reviewing its crowd control measures at such sales.

Fogelman said company management were saddened by the death of the worker and the injuries to customers, adding, "Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time."

In a pace considerably more subdued, shoppers by the hundreds streamed into the Wal-Mart the moment it reopened in the early afternoon.

Nassau County police officers standing near the entrance asked the shoppers to take it easy as they walked in.

The store's front doors, the ones broken down by the earlier mob, have not been replaced.

A handwritten sign, apparently from Friday morning, said, "Blitz line starts here" with an arrow telling shoppers where to line up.

The Nassau Police Fifth Squad is investigating.

Source: NY Post by Keiran Crowley.



Robert Gibbs, Obama's Press Secretary

From the AP Newswire: Two of the top qualities Robert Gibbs brings to the job of White House press secretary aren't found on his resume: He won't flinch at telling it like it is to the next president or telling it like he thinks it ought to be to the media.

Gibbs has been at the side of President-elect Barack Obama since his Senate campaign in 2004. A Southerner and tough fighter, Gibbs has been a passionate defender of Obama who can virtually channel the Illinois senator's thoughts.

"I look forward to serving both the president-elect as he works to get our economy moving again and the press to get what they need to cover that and other important stories," Gibbs told The Associated Press on Saturday.

During the presidential campaign, Gibbs, 37, served as communications director and was among the few who could frankly tell Obama what needed to improve.

He didn't hesitate to tell the media when he thought they got it wrong, either. He fiercely guarded Obama's image.

One critic called Gibbs "the bland face of brazenness" when he said Obama's decision to resign from his church amid the controversy over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was "a deeply personal decision, not a political decision."

Others were surprised when he called Fox News' Bill O'Reilly a "bully" and asked Sean Hannity, "Are you anti-Semitic?" in response to the TV commentator's questions about Obama's relationship to William Ayers, a 1960s radical.

Continue reading the AP article on Robert Gibbs here.


Talkin Turkey with Sister Sarah

A low-key PR exercise has turned into another embarrassing incident for Sarah Palin as turkeys were graphically slaughtered behind her during a TV interview.

Palin was attending a media opportunity to "pardon" a turkey ahead of Thanksgiving — a tradition that sees an invited guest select one bird to be spared the dinner table.

But after "saving" one bird, the Alaskan governor then completes a short interview while a farm employee slaughters another two turkeys just metres behind her.

Lowering the animal's heads into a metal chute, the Triple D Farms worker holds them buy the feet as their throats are cut.

He repeatedly looks over and appears to nervously smile at the camera as the birds violently shake and writhe.

Palin does not acknowledge the activities behind her during the three-minute interview, but reportedly told the crew she had no problems with her graphic backdrop.

"I was happy to get to be invited to participate in this," a smiling Palin told KTUU-TV on the video.

"Certainly we'll probably invite criticism for even doing this, too, but at least this was fun."


Hillary for Secretary of State

Let them eat carburetors

Ben Stein writes: We are in an economic tailspin. We cannot allow the roughly three million workers connected to the Big Three auto industry to fall into the ranks of the unemployed. It is possible that this nightmare could push the oncoming recession into being a Depression, something we definitely do not want to ever again experience.

Plus, we need a powerful domestic motor industry for defense purposes, to be able to convert to making tanks and military trucks if they had to.

Bankruptcy is not a good option. Who would buy a car made by a company in bankruptcy? After all, would the company even be there when you wanted your car serviced or repaired? And how could workers handle extended layoffs while it all got sorted out?

Read also "Let them eat carburetors" by Bill Gallagher.

GM's Flint, Michigan

American Capitalism: Rot in Peace

From Slate Magazine's article "Rot in Peace," a photo journalism piece on the urban decay and the death of capitalism in the inner cities across the USA.

Letting man-made structures decay to the point of disappearance is not an idea with a lot of popular or professional support, at least in America. In the mid-1990s, however, sociologist and photographer Camilo José Vergara proposed a "ruins park" for the mostly empty urban core of Detroit. In his "American Acropolis," the vacant buildings would become habitat for peregrine falcons and intrepid plants. The prairie would reseed the city streets. People would gather to witness a "memorial to a disappearing urban civilization." Detroit citizens did not welcome the proposal. It mattered little to them that Vergara found redemption and beauty, as well as regret, in their husk of a city.

In this slide, Vergara's photo of the derelict reading room of the Camden Free Library in New Jersey, a thicket of saplings reaches toward a tattered ceiling's filtered light. Historian Elizabeth Blackmar detects in Vergara's photos an "aesthetic pause," which leads us to wonder how we could have avoided the wasting away of these 20th-century landmarks—and to reflect on what we are to learn from their demise.

GOP to Detroit: "Drop Dead"

Pat Buchanan's article "As GM Goes, So Goes the GOP," states: "...Republicans are right to be enraged. They are victims of the biggest bait-and-switch in political history. But they are now about to do something terminally stupid. With GM, Ford and Chrysler teetering on the brink, they are turning a cold stone face to Detroit... "
Mr. Buchanan continues, "Are Republicans aware of what they are about to do? "

"When workers, execs, engineers, dealers, salesmen and suppliers are all factored in, the Big Three employ 3 million people who contribute $21 billion a year to Social Security and Medicare, and $25 billion in federal income taxes. Add in all the businesses that depend on the auto industry, and we are talking about one-tenth of the U.S. labor force."

"As columnist Tom Piatak of Chronicles and Takimag.com writes, 850,000 retirees, and their families, depend for pensions and health care on the Big Three. If they go under, the burden falls on us. "

"And to let the auto industry die is to write America out of much of the economic future of the planet."


The Homecoming Fight

Tickets Now On Sale For Lamon Brewster vs.Bruce Seldon on November 29, 2008 Homecoming Card in Indianapolis.

Who: "Relentless" Lamon Brewster's Homecoming fight in Indianapolis are now on sale and priced to move. The former WBO heavyweight champion, (34-4, 30 KO) will be competing in front of his home crowd for the first time since his amateur days. "The Homecoming", promoted by Relentless Events and C'Believe, will take place November 29 at the Conseco Fieldhouse.What:

The fight is scheduled for twelve rounds with the North American Boxing Association Heavyweight title at stake.


Saturday, November 29, 2008; Doors open at 7:00 PM and first bout begins at 7:30 PM.


Conseco Fieldhouse: One Conseco Court; 125 S. Pennsylvania Street; Indianapolis, IN 46204


$17 to $152, are available at Ticketmaster outlets, by phone 317-239-5151 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/. Tickets can be purchased at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Mon.-Sat., 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

VIP Tables are also available for purchase. For more information on this and other Relentless Events, visit http://www.relentlessevents.net/ .


Shelby Steele Wrong Again

Why do people keep paying Shelby Steele's crazy and outdated notions of race and caste.

Author and professional Republican sellout Shelby Steele wrote a book entitled, A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.
The whitest man in America, conservative columnist George Will wrote a review on Steele's book in the Washington Post last Novemeber. Will says that Steele's "argument is ultimately unconvincing because he fundamentally misreads Barack Obama. Nevertheless, so fecund is Steele's mind, he illuminates the racial landscape that Obama might transform."
George Will continues by stating, "Obama has chosen to resolve his ambiguous racial identity by embracing the social determinism and identity politics of post-'60s black dogmas. Hence he is a "bound man." He is "bound against himself" because he has fit himself into the world by often taking his experience out of account.'"

"...Steele radically misreads Obama, missing his emancipation from those perversities. Obama seems to understand America's race fatigue, the unbearable boredom occasioned by today's stale politics generally and by the perfunctory theatrics of race especially."

Mr. Will concludes by asserting, that "So far, Obama is the Fred Astaire of politics -- graceful and elegant, with a surface so pleasing to the eye that it seems mistaken, even greedy, to demand depth."

Here's a clip of Steele making an historic fool out of himself:

Obama's Body Man, Reggie Love with Delco Rowley

Delco Rowley, #50 of Michigan State, makes a strong defensive move against Obama's Body Man, Reggie Love, #30 of Duke.
The image is from the Huffington Post slide show of Obama's right-hand man, Reggie Love.

Freedom For the Stallion

The Hues Corporation derived its name from the eccentric billionaire, Howard Hughes. St. Clair Lee of the Hues Corporation stated in an interview with Gary James:

"When we first came out, we had a song called "Freedom For The Stallion". If you could get a copy of that and listen to that song, you would see that the group had a classic going there. Nobody knew The Hues Corporation. "Freedom For The Stallion" was the most beautiful song. The Black stations wouldn't play it because they said we were too white. I'm serious when I say this. The White stations wouldn't play it because they said they didn't understand what we were talking about. "

Freedom for the Stallion

Freedom for the stallion, freedom for the mare and her colt,

Freedom for the baby child who has not grown old enough to vote.

Lord, have mercy, what you gonna do about the people who are prayin' to you?

They got men makin' laws that destroy other men, made money, God, it's a doggonesin,

Oh, Lord, you got to help us find the way.

Big ship's a-sailin', slaves all chained and bound,

Headin' for a brand new land that someone said he up and found.

Lord, have mercy, what you gonna do about the people who are prayin' to you?

They got men makin' laws that destroy other men, they made money, God, it's adoggone sin.

Oh, Lord, you got to help us find the way.

Freedom for the stallion, freedom for the mare and her colt,

Freedom for the baby child who has not grown old enough to vote.

Lord, have mercy, what you gonna do about the people who are prayin' to you?

You know when I look inside my mind searchin' for the truth I find,

Oh, Lord, you got to help us find the way.

Hey, Lord!


Sarah's Media Blitz

Joe the Republican's irresponsible nomination of Governor Sarah Palin as the Vice President of the United States of America just screams a loud and cynical rebel yell of "Country First."
"Country First" indeed. After carefully viewing Mrs. Palin's current media blitz, it's absolutely scary that 57 million Americans voted for her to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency. The end of the Bush years has left the country embroiled in two-foreign wars, an economic meltdown, Republican led nationalization of the finance industry, joblessness rates rising, home values plumeting and an epic level of forclosures. With this in mind the Country Firsters voted to put Sarah Palin in the second highest office in the land.
From the Great State of Alabama that voted overwelmingly for the McCain Palin ticket, the Crimson White's article by Spencer White blasts McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.
In his article, Mr. White asserts: "The woman [Sarah Palin] who thought Africa was a country, who stated the bailout benefited health-care reform, couldn’t name the member nations of NAFTA or a Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade and who called Columbia University and pro-Palestinian Middle Eastern professor Rashid Khalidi a terrorist was not ready to be a clerk for a senator, much less a 72 year-old cancer survivor’s heartbeat away from holding the highest office in the most powerful country in the world." Your judgment, Sen. McCain, was seriously to be questioned, as well as the true motives of a man who, according to his campaign slogan, put 'Country First.'"


Inauguration Watch

DC Sluggers Trading Cards

Political Trading Cards? Who knew. Perhaps the DC Slugger Political All Stars trading cards include a piece of rock hard dusty pink bubble gum.

Barack Obama- Presidential Candidate Trading Card Barack Obama 2008 Presidential candidate card.
The one created for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver (be sure to look at his senator card, too).
This is a limited edition collector's card that is now being sold here. You may find one in All-Star Packs too.Photo on the front and great Obama information on the back.
Purchase this single card in a clear plastic collector's case.
PRICE: $5.50

Inauguration Platform History

  • The inaugural platform is constructed entirely from scratch for each inaugural ceremony.

  • The platform will be more than 10,000 square feet—the same size as the platform used for the 2005 inaugural, which was the largest platform ever built for an inauguration.

  • On inauguration day it will hold more than 1,600 people including:

  • The President and Vice-President-elects and their families

  • Members of U.S. Senate and House of Representatives

  • Cabinet members and nominees

  • Justices of the Supreme Court

  • The outgoing President and Vice President

  • Former presidents

  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff

  • Governors

  • The diplomatic corps

    1. In addition, bleachers built above the platform, on the Upper WestTerrace will hold another 1,000 people including choirs and guests.

    2. It is built entirely of lumber, to protect the surfaces of the Capitol.The platform is fully ADA compliant.

    3. It is a stadium design, which maximizes the sightlines for the guests on the platform.

    4. It is designed to blend architecturally with the U.S. Capitol.

    5. Planning and design of the platform began more than a year ago

    Avis Rent A Car Debit Card Policy

    Avis offers those big old 15 passenger vans for your Inaugural trip to Washington, D.C.

    Credit and Debit Card
    Avis accepts most major credit cards as credit identification at the time of rental. Click here for a full list of accepted Credit Cards. Some locations may not accept each of the referenced charge cards.

    Most US locations also accept bank debit cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo as credit identification at the time of rental if you are at least 25 years of age. Canada locations do not accept bank debit cards as a form of credit identification.

    Renting at an Airport location:A round trip airline ticket, e-ticket, or travel itinerary to or from the airport of rental, disclosing a return date and showing the renter's nameA valid U.S. passport or current U.S. military identification card. The name must match the name on the renter's U.S. issued driver's license A current vehicle insurance card. The name and address must match the name and address on the renter's driver license;OR a current copy (within the last 60 Days) of your cellular phone bill, home telephone bill, bank statement or utility bill which shows your name and current address. Your name and address must match the U.S. issued driver's license in order to provide the renting location with proof of an accurate address.

    Renting at an Off-Airport location:A current copy (within the last 60 days) of your cellular phone bill, home telephone bill, bank statement or utility bill which shows your name and current address. Your name and address must match your U.S. issues driver's license in order to provide the renting location with proof of an accurate address OR a valid U.S. passport or current U.S. military identification card. Your name must match the name on the your U.S. issued driver's license.

    Please note that some locations do not accept Debit cards. Currently, debit cards are not acceptable as credit identification at the time of rental at locations in the Metropolitan NY Tri-State area, Hartford, CT, Philadelphia area, Mississippi or Louisiana locations as well as other locations across the country. Click the website for a full list.

    Debit Card Policies

    Avis reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to seek a Debit Card authorization hold in excess of the estimated rental charges. When using a debit card at Avis there may be a minimum hold of $500 and a maximum hold of the estimated rental charges will be placed on your account. Upon returning the vehicle, Avis will process a release of the unused portion of the hold subject to your Bank's procedures. The hold may take up to 2 weeks to be released by your bank.

    If you fail to return the vehicle as agreed, Avis will obtain additional authorizations from your account to cover the rental charges.

    Avis is not responsible for any returned checks or over-drafts based on this policy.

    Positive identification in addition to your driver's license may be required.

    In the United States, Debit, Cash or Check cards can be used at the end for payment of rental charges. For acceptable credit identification and payment methods in countries outside of the United States, please consult the Renter's Guide and search for the specific location.

    Note: Prepaid Debit/Gift cards are not acceptable methods of credit identification to pick up a car at any location. One of the above mentioned cards must be presented. Prepaid Debit/Gift cards are accepted at time of return only.

    Thrifty Rental Cars/Vans Debit Card Policy

    A - As a general rule, a major credit card is required at the time of rental. However, when renting from many US locations, you may be allowed to use a debit or check card to rent. Debit cards may not be accepted in Canada except for payment at the end of rent. Some locations will perform a debit card check and credit inquiry screening on debit card holders. Please check our General Policies and the local policy of the location where you intend to rent for more specific information. A debit/check card is considered to be any non-credit card bearing the Visa or MasterCard logo. Any other non-credit card without the Visa or MasterCard logo is not accepted. Prepaid credit cards, gift cards and debit/check cards are accepted for payment at the end of the rental

    Washington, D.C., HOTELS

    The word on the street is that the hotels in and around the Washington, D.C. area are either overpriced or soldout for the Inaugural Weekend, which happens to conincide with the Martin Luther King Holiday.

    You can search online vitrual travel agencies like Expedia or Travelocity for hotel accomidations, car rentals or airline tickets. Click on the respective logos for a link to Washington, D.C. hotels.

    Frommer's Washington, D.C., With Kids

    From Frommer's website's section entitled the "Best Free Things to Do" in Washington, DC:
    • Peruse the Constitution: Only in Washington and only at the National Archives will you ever be able to read the original documents that so well grounded our nation in liberty. Here, you'll find the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights -- all on display behind glass.
    • People-Watch at Dupont Circle: This traffic circle is also a park, an all-weather hangout for mondo-bizarre biker-couriers, chess players, street musicians, and lovers. Sit on a bench and watch the scenes around you.
    • Attend a Millennium Stage Performance at the Kennedy Center: Every evening at 6pm, the Kennedy Center presents a free 1-hour concert performed by local, up-and-coming, national, or international musicians. This is a winner. After the performance, head through the glass doors to the terrace for a view of the Potomac River.
    • Groove to the Sounds of Live Jazz in the Sculpture Garden: On summer's Friday evenings at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, you can dip your toes in the fountain pool and chill, as live jazz groups serenade you from 5 to 8pm. The jazz is free; the tapas and wine and beer served in the garden's Pavilion Café are not.
    • Pick a Museum (Just About), Any Museum: That's the thing about Washington -- because this is the U.S. capital, many of its museums are federal institutions, which means admission is free. The National Gallery of Art, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian's 16 Washington museums, from National Air and Space to the Freer Gallery, are among the many spectacular free places to visit.
    Click here to visit the Frommer's website Washington, D.C. travel section

    Fodor's Travel: Washington, DC

    Fodor's website offers some of the best travel advice available. Although Fodor's does publish a book on travel to Washington, D.C., their website is a valuable resource to bookmark for destination travel. Best of all, it's absolutely FREE.

    One of the features from Fodor's website is the "Great Itineraries" section. For example Fodor's offers some choice places to visit in One Day in Washington:

    If you have a day or less (and even a dollar or less!) in D.C., your sightseeing strategy is simple: take the metro to the Smithsonian stop and explore the area around the Mall. You'll be at the undisputed heart of the city -- a beautiful setting in which you'll find America's greatest collection museums, with the city's spectacular monuments and the halls of government a stone's throw away.

    As you face the Capitol, to your left are the Museum of Natural History, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives. To your right are the Museum of African Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, and more. Head the other direction, toward the Washington Monument, and you're also on your way to the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and more monuments to America's presidents and its past. A lover of American history and culture could spend a thoroughly happy month, much less a day, wandering the Mall and its surroundings.

    If you're here first thing in the morning: You can hit monuments and memorials early. They're open 24 hours a day and staffed beginning at 8:00 AM. The outdoor sculpture garden at the Hirshhorn opens at 7:30, and the Smithsonian Institution Building (the "Castle") opens at 8:30. In the Castle you can grab a cup of coffee, watch an 18-minute film about D.C., and see examples of objects from many of the 18 Smithsonian museums.

    If you only have few hours in the evening: Experience the beauty of monuments at dusk and after dark. Many people think they're even more striking when the sun goes down. National Park Service rangers staff most monuments until midnight.

    Inaugural History

    For more than two hundred years America’s citizens have witnessed the Inauguration ceremonies of the President and Vice President of the United States. From the first Inauguration of George Washington, in New York City, in 1789, to today, as we prepare for the 56th quadrennial Presidential Inauguration, the swearing-in ceremony represents both national renewal and continuity of leadership. As each president has offered a vision for America’s future, we reflect on the heritage of Inaugurations past.

    Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

    The following text is from the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee site:

    The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC) coordinates military ceremonial support to inaugural activities. For more information about AFIC, please click here.
    Key Information
    Event Tickets AFIC does not provide tickets to any inaugural events. We cannot provide any assistance in obtaining inaugural event tickets.

    For information about tickets to the swearing-in ceremony please visit http://inaugural.senate.gov/.

    For information on other inaugural events and ticketing, to include the parade and balls, click here.

    AFIC does not use or employ volunteers (civilian or military). There may be volunteer opportunities with the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Once available, a link to the Presidential Inaugural Committee Web site will be provided here.

    Parade participationThe application submission deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. (EST) on November 18, 2008. For information on participating in the parade as a performing ensemble or marching unit, click here.

    Tickets for Swearing-in

    Tickets to the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony are distributed by both Senators and Represenatives of the 111th Congress. Click here to link to the official inaugural site.

    The tickets are provided free of charge. Click here to learn more.

    Tickets to the 56th Inaugural Ceremonies will be provided free of charge and distributed through Members of the 111th Congress. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies does not provide tickets to the public. Members of the public interested in attending the Inaugural Ceremonies should contact their Member of Congress or U.S. Senators to request tickets.

    The public should also be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. Tickets will not be distributed to Congressional offices until the week before the inauguration and will require in-person pick-up.

    “Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth,” said Howard Gantman, Staff Director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. “Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism.”

    Crowd of 1 million could attend Obama inauguration

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration is expected to draw 1 million-plus to the capital, and already some lawmakers have stopped taking ticket requests and hotels have booked up.

    The National Park Service, which is planning for an inaugural crowd of at least 1 million, will clear more viewing space along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. Jumbo TV screens will line the National Mall so people can watch the inauguration and parade...

    The District of Columbia's delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, is urging planners to use arenas and stadiums to help with overflow crowds wanting to view the ceremonies on big-screen TVs. She is also urging churches to hold viewing parties.

    "You can't judge by past inaugurations. It's going to break all the records," Norton said. "They're going to come with or without tickets. ... It's each man and woman for himself."

    The city's police chief, Cathy Lanier, said organizers brought in an additional 3,000 officers from forces around the country to help with the last inauguration. This time, the request probably will be for about 4,000 officers.

    Continue reading the article here.

    Inaugural Seating Chart


    Hotel rooms vanishing quickly for Inauguration

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Heading to the capital city to be part of history on Jan. 20? Good luck finding a room.

    You might be able to ante up $40,000 for a four-night stay at a fancy hotel, or you can crash on someone's couch or floor. Anything in between is just about gone for Barack Obama's Inauguration.

    With hotels nearly booked up, lots of out-of-towners are suddenly deciding it's time to pay a visit to friends or relatives here. Others are more imaginative.

    "Your apartment in Washington DC for a week ... for my apartment in Beverly Hills, CA," says one ad. "It's nothing large, just a smallish 1 bedroom, but it's smack dab in 90210!"

    "With this being such a historical event, people are truly making the most out of it," said Doug Camp, marketing director at the sold-out Hay-Adams Hotel on Lafayette Square across from the White House. "It's almost like another Millennium experience."

    Already, there is a waiting list at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., finished writing his "I Have a Dream Speech." Guests are paying a minimum of $949 a night with a four-night stay required, spokeswoman Barbara Bahny David said.

    "About 10 minutes after 11 on election night we had flurry of calls," she said. Most rooms at the hotel, located along the Inaugural parade route, were booked months ago.

    Also gone: The 221 rooms at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, including a royal suite that costs $15,000 a night. So, too, are rooms at more modest-priced hotels such as the Quality Inn on New York Avenue in northeast Washington.

    "There's a lot more interest this early than previous inaugurations," said William Hanbury, president of Destination DC, the city's tourism bureau. He said those serious about coming need to wrap up their plans in the next two weeks.

    There are 29,000 hotel rooms in Washington and about 95,000 across the region, according to Destination DC. Many hotels are requiring a minimum three- to four-night stay. Other properties report setting aside their remaining rooms for VIPs and repeat customers.

    Continue reading the AP article here.

    No-on-8's white bias

    From the Los Angeles Times Opinion, "No-on-8's white bias: The right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights," by Jasmyne A. Cannick posted on 8 November 2008:
    I am a perfect example of why the fight against Proposition 8, which amends the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, failed to win black support.

    I am black. I am a political activist who cares deeply about social justice issues. I am a lesbian. This year, I canvassed the streets of South Los Angeles and Compton, knocking on doors, talking politics to passers-by and working as I never had before to ensure a large voter turnout among African Americans. But even I wasn't inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition.

    Why? Because I don't see why the right to marry should be a priority for me or other black people. Gay marriage? Please. At a time when blacks are still more likely than whites to be pulled over for no reason, more likely to be unemployed than whites, more likely to live at or below the poverty line, I was too busy trying to get black people registered to vote, period; I wasn't about to focus my attention on what couldn't help but feel like a secondary issue.
    The first problem with Proposition 8 was the issue of marriage itself. The white gay community never successfully communicated to blacks why it should matter to us above everything else -- not just to me as a lesbian but to blacks generally. The way I see it, the white gay community is banging its head against the glass ceiling of a room called equality, believing that a breakthrough on marriage will bestow on it parity with heterosexuals. But the right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights. Does someone who is homeless or suffering from HIV but has no healthcare, or newly out of prison and unemployed, really benefit from the right to marry someone of the same sex?

    Maybe white gays could afford to be singularly focused, raising millions of dollars to fight for the luxury of same-sex marriage. But blacks were walking the streets of the projects and reaching out to small businesses, gang members, convicted felons and the spectrum of an entire community to ensure that we all were able to vote.

    Second is the issue of civil rights. White gays often wonder aloud why blacks, of all people, won't support their civil rights. There is a real misunderstanding by the white gay community about the term. Proponents of gay marriage fling it around as if it is a one-size-fits-all catchphrase for issues of fairness.

    But the black civil rights movement was essentially born out of and driven by the black church; social justice and religion are inextricably intertwined in the black community. To many blacks, civil rights are grounded in Christianity -- not something separate and apart from religion but synonymous with it. To the extent that the issue of gay marriage seemed to be pitted against the church, it was going to be a losing battle in my community.
    Continue reading "No-on-8's White Bias" here.

    NPR's Talk of the Nation, November 10, 2008 · Writer Jasmyne Cannick argues that black voters did not join the fight against California's same-sex marriage ban because the white community failed to effectively communicate with the black community. Click here to listen to the NPR program.

    Race Baiting Gays

    The line-up of negrophobic race-baiting gay activists and op-ed columnists disturbs my soul. In aftermath of the past election the white gay gatekeepers seem to have donned their jackboots and ironed their white sheets for the ritualistic collective lynching of voters in California. Waving the Rainbow Flag like the Confederate Stars and Bars protesting churches and racially assaulting fellow black gays at protest rallies with racially tinged epitaphs.

    Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.

    “It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple...me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

    Here are links to some articles that play the race card to villianize blacks as the boogyman scapegoat of the defeat of gay marriage:

    Dan Walters:"Surge for Obama sealed Prop. 8's victory" Sacremento Bee

    James Kirchick: "Where's the outrage?Blacks lifted Calif.’s anti-gay rights measure" USA Today

    "Scapegoats: Let's Blame the Blacks!" Queerty

    "Blacks vote largely in favour of banning same-sex marriage in California" The Canadian Press

    GOP Wipeout

    "We Blew It: A look back in remorse on the conservative opportunity that was squandered," by P.J. O'Rourke, published in the Weekly Standard on 17 November 2008:
    Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone--gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that's headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.

    An entire generation has been born, grown up, and had families of its own since Ronald Reagan was elected. And where is the world we promised these children of the Conservative Age? Where is this land of freedom and responsibility, knowledge, opportunity, accomplishment, honor, truth, trust, and one boring hour each week spent in itchy clothes at church, synagogue, or mosque? It lies in ruins at our feet, as well it might, since we ourselves kicked the shining city upon a hill into dust and rubble. The progeny of the Reagan Revolution will live instead in the universe that revolves around Hyde Park.

    Mind you, they won't live in Hyde Park. Those leafy precincts will be reserved for the micromanagers and macro-apparatchiks of liberalism--for Secretary of the Department of Peace Bill Ayers and Secretary of the Department of Fairness Bernardine Dohrn. The formerly independent citizens of our previously self-governed nation will live, as I said, around Hyde Park. They will make what homes they can in the physical, ethical, and intellectual slums of the South Side of Chicago.

    The South Side of Chicago is what everyplace in America will be once the Democratic administration and filibuster-resistant Democratic Congress have tackled global warming, sustainability, green alternatives to coal and oil, subprime mortgage foreclosures, consumer protection, business oversight, financial regulation, health care reform, taxes on the "rich," and urban sprawl. The Democrats will have plenty of time to do all this because conservatism, if it is ever reborn, will not come again in the lifetime of anyone old enough to be rounded up by ACORN and shipped to the polling booths.

    None of this is the fault of the left. After the events of the 20th century--national socialism, international socialism, inter-species socialism from Earth First--anyone who is still on the left is obviously insane and not responsible for his or her actions. No, we on the right did it. The financial crisis that is hoisting us on our own petard is only the latest (if the last) of the petard hoistings that have issued from the hindquarters of our movement. We've had nearly three decades to educate the electorate about freedom, responsibility, and the evils of collectivism, and we responded by creating a big-city-public-school-system of a learning environment.
    Continue reading "We Blew It" here.


    GOP's Southern Strategy

    The Philladelphia Inquirer's editorial "The Southern Strategy: Free at last" states, "Ding, dong, the wicked witch is dead!"

    At least, America should hope it's dead. The witch being the vaunted Southern Strategy of the Republican Party, which since 1968 has used racial fears to divide this country politically and reap the results in presidential elections.

    Following passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, white Southerners feared the impact of the growing black electorate. So, lifelong Democrats pledged allegiance to the GOP, which promised to protect them from the miscegenating throng.

    For 40 years, Republican strategists used code words about black criminals (remember Willie Horton?), welfare cheats, and con artists to suggest that any minority candidate might be susceptible to such behavior, to suggest that no black politician could be trusted.

    But the election Tuesday of Barack Obama to be the nation's first African American president should finally move the GOP to a new direction.

    Black bashing on Prop 8

    Sometimes you need to count to ten before you post a blog entry. Blogging while mad is a dangerous thing. But, hey Scared4America isn't the Daily Kos or the Drudge Report, so nobody is really reading anyway.
    With that disclaimer said, the scapegoating of blacks on California's Prop 8 is BULLSPIT (Peggy Noonan's barnyard talk).

    I just don't understand why gays are blaming blacks for the whole Prop 8 marriage ban. Obviously, we as black people don't hold marriage in high regards. We're the most "unmarried" people in America. Nearly 45% of us won't ever get married. Also 70% of our kids are born out-of-wedlock and over 58% of our kids live in poverty.

    Who really cares about gay marriage. Good grief, gays can get an attorney to sign over EVERYTHING that a married couple would receive. I mean EVERYTHING! There are legal instruments called wills, powers of attorney, living trusts, etc. There is absolutely NOTHING that gay folks can't get except citizenship and social security.
    So, is it about citizenship and social security? If not, then gay folks just need a good attorney and live as the Negroes do, unmarried and poor.


    Hawaii Prepares for the Inaugural Ball

    The Washington Post reports in an article "Aloha State Moves to the A-List: Obama's Birthplace Sees Rush for Tickets To Inaugural Ball" by Nikita Stewart:

    Forget the cowboy hat. Throw on a lei.

    The Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball -- the first one ever -- is suddenly the hottest ticket in town, replacing the Texas Black Tie and Boots ball that reigned for the past two inaugurations.

    And there are no more tickets. The Jan. 20 ball was sold out by 8 a.m. Friday.

    "It's amazing how an election outcome can change everything," said Micah Kohono Mossman, ball chairman. "Now, I'm one of the most hated people because everyone is upset that I can't get them tickets."

    The sellout represents a shift in Washington's A-list inaugural party scene. Texas had enjoyed that status as the adopted home state of President George W. Bush. Now, it's all about Hawaii, the birthplace of President-elect Barack Obama.

    The Illinois State Society, the country's oldest, is also seeing a run on tickets. Obama is a longtime resident and represents the state in the Senate.

    The Hawaii State Society is new to this and may not have been prepared for all the hoopla. When society members began planning earlier this year, they went with what they could afford: a $250,000 affair for 750 people at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Southwest Washington, a marked difference from Texas, where everything is bigger.

    With all due respect to Texas, which has presold 6,000 tickets for its ball to state society members, Mossman said, "Here, it's ohana, it's family."

    The society isn't even sure the native son will make an appearance. The group is trying to get designated as an official ball by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "Our fingers are crossed that even if we don't get that sanction, he'll still come by," Mossman said.

    New York Times article "Beyond the Fat Cats" by Bob Herbert:

    "We can find trillions for a foolish war and for pompous, self-righteous high-rollers who wrecked their companies and the economy. But what about the working poor and the young people who are being clobbered in this downturn, battered so badly that they’re all but destitute? Can we find any way to help them?"

    Inauguration mania

    Obama's Victory Discussed on Bill Moyers Journal

    Bill Moyers Journal interviewed two Columbia University professors Patricia Williams and Eric Foner regarding the election of President Elect Obama.
    BILL MOYERS: Well, what do you think accounts for that catharsis that seemed to occur on Tuesday night?

    ERIC FONER: You know there's a number of things that I think we would agree. I mean, particularly among young people, this sense that really change is in the air. And you know, the way both of us saw our students galvanized by-


    ERIC FONER: -by this campaign. And I think that feeling just is so widely shared around the country that we really need a new departure, given what's happened in the last eight years.

    PATRICIA WILLIAMS: And not to be ungracious, I do think it was the suspense of the last eight years. I think there was so much suspense around the conduct of the last two elections, the fear of voter fraud, the sense that this was very close, as it was really very close in the popular vote if not the Electoral College that the great suspense and the sense of two elections' worth of disappointment it was like uncapping all that champagne we were holding onto the last eight years.

    BILL MOYERS: But your students were just kids in 2000.What was it that so galvanized them about this particular outcome?

    ERIC FONER: You know, Obama's campaign is a 20th — 21st century campaign. And I think he represents something that is maybe more powerful to young people than even, you know, to our generation. The notion of a society that in which race is still an existent fact but is not the determinant of people's lives where people, you know, my daughter has friends of all different backgrounds and ethnicities, races. And it doesn't even matter anymore to them. And I think that, you know, that's a vision of the future of America. And I think young people really, really, you know, found that very appealing.

    Click here to watch the entire segment.


    The Vet Who Did NOT Vet



    Emptying Pandora's Box

    Richard Cohen's article "Emptying Pandora's Box" in the New York Times states:

    These are interesting times. Jobs are disappearing and General Motors is running out of cash. At the same time, America has assuaged some of its deepest wounds with the election of Barack Obama. We have less money in our pockets but more hope in our hearts.

    Hope won’t feed an empty stomach. But it’s potent. In Greek myth, when Pandora opened her box, she let out all the evils except one: hope. The Greeks considered hope dangerous; its bedfellow can be delusion. Nietzsche later saw hope as the evil that prolongs human torment.

    But in the end Pandora opened her box again and released hope because, without it, humanity was filled with despair.

    At least that’s one version of the myth. What is certain is that there’s a lot of hope about these days. It would be an exaggeration to say people are happier now that we have less money, but accurate to say there’s a surfacing of shame about the extent of our spend-spend-spend excesses.

    Continue reading the entire article, "Emptying Pandora's Box" by Richard Cohen


    $150,000+ Worth of Lipstick On A Pig

    Remember the whole "lipstick on a pig" over-reaction by the McCain campaign. Well now that Sarah Palin's $150,000 designer wardrobe, hair stylists and Emmy Award make-up artist (uh, that's lipstick folks)have been revealed, now I get what all of the fuss over the phrase "lipstick on a pig" was all about. I get it now. Sarah Palin was the Wasilla Hillbilly that was getting primped and pimped for the biggest con-job ever pulled on the American people. Dang. Just think, 57 million boneheads voted for her. No wonder I'm Scared4America!

    NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

    How Bush Destroyed the Republican Party

    "How Bush Destroyed the Republican Party" by Sean Wilentz of the Rolling Stone Magazine writes:

    A president driven by ideology. A Congress rife with corruption. A political party hellbent on a "permanent majority." A leading scholar examines the radicals who hijacked the GOP — and wrecked the longest conservative ascendancy in American history .

    Poor Wittle Weepublicans

    Fox News summoned a Priest to comfort and console the lost souls at Fox News. Click here to view the clip.


    Rachel Maddow deconstructs Sarah Palin's Interview

    GOP Death Match

    This is great! I just like to microwave some popcorn and watch the GOP Death Match.

    ALL of the "rumors" and "gossip" about Sarah Palin comes from WITHIN the GOP. ALL of it. The Dems and other assorted Obama supporters are just gleefully celebrating President Obama.

    We KNEW from the get-go that Sarah Palin was an intellectual fly-weight, so it's not news that the GOP is confirming her lack of knowledge beyond hunting moose and field dressing caribu. Like I've said before, the GOP seems to be in love with the stupidest person in the room to represent them. "C" students from Jr. Colleges and the bottom of the class at the Naval Academy and 57 million bone heads will pull the lever for the "Republican" regardless of their qualifications.....what a bunch of losers.

    Y'all overlooked Governor Bobby Jingal who is a Rhodes Scholar. For what! Caribu Barbie. You can dress her up, but you can't take her out.

    If Sarah were politically savvy, which I don't doubt (notice how I said savvy, not smart....cause old girl is as dumb as a box of rocks), but she'll lobby for Ted Stevens to "retire" and take over his seat in the Senate. There she can be a pain in the a$$ to Senator McCain.

    But, is she were smart (and boy isn't that a stretch), she'd forgo ANY political career and make friends with the Hollywood set to get $PAID$ with her own talk show. She'll get clothing allowances up the wazooo, free travel, 5-star hotels, limos, and all of the bling that a Wasilla Hillbilly can handle. She can garner $$$ for speaking engagements and make more money in one month than she'll EVER make as a mayor, governor, senator or vice president.

    If she decides to go the Hollywood route, then she can be just a quirky and dumb as she wants to be. She could make a fortune and stay real.
    Drop politics and go for the gold.