6 Jan

Ashley Judd is a woman to be reckoned with.

Rumored to be weighing a run for politics, as actress with years of movies and family bickering under her belt makes no difference what office she runs for, the public knows her. Or do they. They know the silver screen image. Then there is the humanitarian image. If your interest is in more than I want to say then go to her blog  I have photographed her often and much and annually over the years in DC advocating for AIDS in such. In fact I recall, remember and retell the night that ran into morning when I covered two events with little sleep, back to back.

Ashley Judd’s annual AIDS extravaganza was held in Tysons. An inflated elephant albeit traditionally decorated was outside the Ritz front door. The inflated egos were all over the Ritz inside the front door, in the ballroom decorated to the hilt with shear drapings and pillows and jewels and such looking like a harem, if you care to really known. There was the main or head pillow. There were satellite pillows and tables scattered around the room. Guests, the draw of the evening, Sharon Osborne and Bono, spoke. Two Brits who try as they can will never be American enough to run for office as it is often rumored Bono dreams of doing one day, anchored by his swagger he walks with inside of Capitol Hill as often as he visits. One would think he has a private office off the former Speaker’s suite.

As I recall the speeches were soliciting donations and American monies for AIDS. For some reason I recall the number $500 million dollars bandied about as the amount given or raised. There comes a time the real photogs leave the paparazzi behind to stalk guests for embarrassing moments now accepted as news- celebrity style.

I had less than three hours sleep before I was out at the World War II Memorial. I had a promise to keep, a promise that would change my POV on celebrities and American life.

A colleague had sent an email blast asking for volunteers to show up the same morning I had no sleep from Ashley’s AID blast the night before that turned into morning. He asked colleagues to donate time covering HONOR FLIGHT

Talk about rockstars. One man, a veteran, a former forever politician got my vote for life as a Giant amongst men, Bob Dole, was there bright eyed and bushy tailed. Bob is no youngster BUT to the veterans he greeted one by one, man, family, woman, child at a time, he was the UBER. Jumping on and off buses greeting the WWII vets that came to the Memorial the morning my eyes were propped open with toothpicks having worked late then early from the night before. It was only then I noticed the pen in Mr. Dole’s hand. It was then I paid attention to Mr. Dole’s hand. What a man. What a hero. What an amazing under promoted man. Politics and partisanship aside. Bob is the man of this dying generation. And then came the check presentation, a princely sum of $29,000. You would have thought Bob was accepting a check of, why, m’gosh, the $500 million Ashely thanked donors  and Congress for the night turned in to morning before.  Watch the trailer. AND think about it, the injustice of these men getting $29,000 while an actress with boxoffice invites guests trashing the Freedoms the generation of God and Country died and sacrificed limbs for got $500 million for people around the world. It was a night to forget, a morning to remember. And then, Ashley’s National Geographic moment came along. Larger, MUCH MUCH MOVIE SCREEN SIZED larger than life, Ashley was taking herself seriously putting a condom on a banana surrounded by truckers in India, the same India where men on a bus gang raped a woman before murdering her, the same India where a woman jumped from a moving train to escape rape. The same India…… that wonderful men like Mohammed Yunus passionate for uplifting women’s lives and financial independence come from that Celebritatas don’t appear with. Sad. Isnt it.

The Vanna White of Condoms, as Ashley says she is called…. Ashley is no Vanna White. Vanna only espouses when she is talked to

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