Michael, Mike, and Bertis were in Washington, DC, earlier in the week to witness the historic inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama, and, along with the estimated 1.8 million people in attendance, they had an amazing time participating in the festivities. The guys were proud to be a part of such a momentous occasion in America’s storied presidential history and it’s an experience they’ll not soon forget. Reflecting on Tuesday’s ceremony, Bertis said, “I was amazed at the diversity and color of the inauguration–America at its melting-pot best–people of all ages and shapes and races and sizes. The common experience of jubilantly inaugurating a new leader was the tie that bound all together and went even without saying on elevator rides, sharing a crowded sidewalk–sort of a big and happy rolling summer camp of new experiences.”

Prior to Tuesday’s ceremony, Mike, Michael, and Bertis made the rounds at a host of celebrations, including the Moveon.org inauguration party at Manifest Hope: DC art gallery. The party, co-hosted by Michael, Rosario Dawson, and Heather Graham, included performances by Santogold, De La Soul, and Moby and featured the artwork of Shepard Fairey whose iconic “Hope” portrayal of Obama became the symbol of the campaign. Later on, they attended the Future of Music Coalition’s soirée at the Black Cat on U Street. The FOMC’s Big Shoulders Ball featured a great lineup with Andrew Bird, Ted Leo, Waco Brothers, Eleventh Dream Day, Jon Langford, and Sally Timms.

As usual, we’ve done our best to keep up with the coverage and found these three articles to be especially illuminating:

Bill Scher’s essay on Liberalism at Ourfuture.com

David Corn’s essay on Obama’s speech…

Ron Brownstein’s article at the National Journal, also on President Obama’s inaugural address…

Finally, we’ve rounded up a few odds and ends for you to read, mostly R.E.M.-related:

The first is a nice feature at rockcritics.comon photographer Laura Levine who took some great shots of the band in the early days.

Number two–isn’t it interesting how R.E.M. songs and lyrics can show up in the darndest places. This time Law.com draws a parallel between “Losing My Religion” and the legal implications of the President’s Blackberry fixation.

Also, have a look at this inspirational letter to the editor of the Athens’ paper from our friend Hugh Acheson who recently became an American citizen.

And, in our sports’ section, tennis champ/drummer Jim Courier describes some of his favorite bands and albums. Good hearing from Jim who has been really busy running Inside-Out Sports and calling matches for the BBC in addition to playing a full schedule on the Champions Tour. Click HERE to read and here for a photo of Jim.

Last but not least, check out this great review of the Murmur Deluxe Edition in Paste Magazine…