The rumors are strong that President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, could be named the next US ambassador to Japan. According to reports, the vetting process is almost finished for the 55-year-old New Yorker, who was an early supporter of Barack Obama in his quest for the presidency. She played significant roles in his first and second campaigns.
While it could be days or even weeks before official confirmation of the appointment, we thought we’d look up some background facts in advance. For example, how many Kennedys have held diplomatic posts? Caroline Kennedy’s aunt, Jean Kennedy Smith, was ambassador to Ireland from 1993 to 1998. Her uncle, R. Sargent Shriver, was ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970. Her grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, was ambassador to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940.
If she is offered and takes the post, Kennedy will be the first woman to serve as ambassador to Japan. The list of predecessors is interesting and reflects the prestige of the job. It is a major “thank you” post for campaign “friends,” but has also gone to established politicians and diplomats. Apart from the decade after the attack on Pearl Harbor, there has been an American ambassador, or “resident minister,” dating back to the Civil War.
MAP OF THE STARS' ARRESTS
In "Ocean's Eleven," he was a master thief, but his protest against Sudan's humanitarian crisis was foiled by police last year. Or was it? It was later reported that it was delivered on the embassy lawn to ensure an arrest—and publicity.
Maybe having portrayed LBJ and other pols made him want to make a difference when he was arrested for protesting animal cruelty in 2001. Then again, he was the farmer in "Babe," so it probably had more to do with his pig costar.
In a clear message that he was in fact not too old for this shit, the "Lethal Weapon" star was arrested in 2010 with SEIU members for protesting the union-bashing policies of Sodexo, the French food-service conglomerate.
The '80s star and environmental advocate was arrested twice in DC for protesting the Keystone XL oil pipeline, in 2011 and again this February, after which Sean Hannity of Fox News promised to pay her bail money for some reason.
The actress who played Lois Lane in the 1970s Superman films joined "Legends of the Fall" actress Tantoo Cardinal in a 2011 environmental protest against TransCanada's Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The actress, who was Pocahontas in "The New World" and whose father is an indigenous Peruvian, tied herself to a White House fence and had paint poured over her in a 2010 protest against Peruvian president Alan Garcia.
He was a TV President known for civility, but offscreen it's civil disobedience, with 60-plus arrests. One was at a Metro station in '87, protesting WMATA's installation of a fence that prevented the homeless from sheltering there.
The rapping Princeton prof attended the 2011 dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial—and rounded out his trip by being arrested at the Supreme Court as part of a demonstration against corporate money in politics.
This actor clearly missed his old days playing a doctor on television's "ER" when he—along with 75 others, some in wheelchairs—was arrested last year at the Capitol for protesting Medicaid cuts.
- NEXT »
This article appears in the April 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.
Due to his activist involvement in the welfare of military service members, veterans, the wounded, and first responders, and his gig cohosting the annual Memorial Day concert on the Mall, actor Gary Sinise has a high profile in Washington. He’s here often, he’s well spoken, he’s effective, and he has connections. Could his activist résumé translate to a possible political career? “No,” he says. “I’m effective now. Politics is a whole other animal.” While he says he did support the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, “I’m not registered to any party. I don’t really play in the political world. I’m really more interested in getting things done.”
To him, getting things done means helping almost anyone who has served the country, in particular the wounded and the struggling. In keeping with his frequent visits to DC, his two-and-a-half-day visit is action-packed and singularly focused on his role as an advocate.
It was a big night for Washington at the Oscars. First Lady Michelle Obama announced the best picture winner was Argo, a film with a strong Washington connection; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was represented in the form of socks worn by documentary film winner Sean Fine; and George Stevens Jr. won a special Oscar for his work founding the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Mrs. Obama, however, was the big reveal.
Attention inventors: If you’ve got a new creation you’ve been keeping to yourself, you should file a patent application for it now. That’s the word that Washington research universities are trying to spread to their faculty and students.
A key provision of 2011 patent reform legislation goes into effect on March 16. On that date, the US changes from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” country. Under the old rules, people who invented something first, but were beaten to filing for US patents on their inventions had the ability to argue for the record to be corrected. After March 16, inventors who find themselves in that situation will be out of luck.
The nation’s roughly 250 research universities all have offices with the sole purpose of commercializing faculty- and student-produced inventions and making them available for the public’s benefit. Claudia Stewart, vice president of Georgetown University’s Office of Technology Commercialization, e-mailed a memo to students earlier this week advising them to be mindful of the looming “first to file” change.
“If you have—or expect to have soon—a new invention, it is most prudent for you to disclose it to the Office of Technology Commercialization immediately,” she wrote. She also advised that the weeks before the deadline “may be a very busy time for the office.”
Writer, commentator, and blogger Andrew Sullivan began the new year by announcing that he planned to leave his perch at the Daily Beast and face the largely uncharted waters of a subscription website. Clearly he’s on to something, and it begins with recognizing his obvious popularity. The site, Andrewsullivan.com, doesn’t even go live until February 4, and already he’s sold $480,000 in $19.99 annual subscriptions. Sullivan says half the subscribers “gave more money than we asked for.” The site is owned by Dish Publishing LLC, a new company he founded with two partners, Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner. When he announced the company to his Daily Beast readers, he said the trio “agreed to set out on our own with no safety net below us but you.” Sail on, Andrew.
Sometimes the guest list is what sets one party apart from all the others. That was certainly the case with the late-night inaugural soiree hosted Saturday at the Madison Hotel by six Washingtonians who have infinite connections and influence: Ann and Vernon Jordan, Buffy and Bill Cafritz, and Vicki and Roger Sant. The Jordans and Cafritzes hosted a similar party four years ago, and it was the first glimpse anyone in Washington got of the Obama inner circle, in particular presidential senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and then-Social Secretary Desirée Rogers.
With a second inauguration, that curiosity factor is gone. This time around, in a room where just about every guest was connected in one way or another, it was interesting to see actress Ashley Judd, who arrived with her friend Mark Ein. Attending this particular party was as much as saying that yes, she is serious about running for the Senate in Kentucky. So far she’s said she’s taking a look, but there were people at the party (not the least of them Jordan) who can help her get from a Hollywood acting career to a Washington political role.
Two very different inaugural brunches on Sunday, similar only in that they were hosted by media companies and attracted the A-list power in powertown. One was a sardine can and the other had room to breathe, but those facts did not detract from either. The supremely crowded brunch was the earlier of the two, held at Cafe Milano and hosted collectively by Tina Brown and the Daily Beast, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, actress Eva Longoria, political consultant Mark McKinnon, and Pamela Thomas-Graham of Credit Suisse. Tina Brown parties are required to be moshy and buzzy—and she pulls it off every time—and so no one seemed to mind the cheek-by-jowl coziness.
The Washington Performing Arts Society got out in front of the inaugural hoopla with an early event: a luxurious Saturday steak and eggs brunch on the sun-filled roof terrace of the Hay-Adams Hotel. The 150 guests, many of them from New York, paid $2,500 per person for the opportunity to enjoy the resplendent view of the White House and the city as well to mingle with Attorney General Eric Holder, Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, ten ambassadors, two members of Congress, and the city’s performing arts community. It was nothing but the best. The Champagne was from Pommery, the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from Cakebread Cellars, and the Pinot Noir from Steele.
The District’s US Attorney Ron Machen is leaving DC—but not his job, which includes his ongoing public corruption investigation into the campaign of Mayor Vincent Gray. Machen told the Washington Post that he is returning to his home in Silver Spring, where he lived before becoming DC’s top prosecutor. He did not renew the lease on his DC home, as its owners are returning. Machen said his family’s return to their Maryland home, which is underwater, is only temporary “while we look for a solution.”