Daily Archives: February 26, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama Meets With Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama greets Mrs. Margarita Zavala de Calderon, the First Lady of Mexico, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The Mexican government says first lady Margarita Zavala has met with Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House on Thursday, February 25, 2010.

The President’s Office says the two women discussed obesity, diabetes, addictions and the situation of undocumented Mexican minors in the United States. It says they stressed the links between their countries in working on those issues.

Zavala was in Washington on Thursday for a conference on reducing demand for drugs. She returned home Thursday.

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexico, News

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers Steps Down

Posted by: Audiegrl

Chicago Sun Times/Lynn Sweet~White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers told me Friday she will step down next month, after presiding over 330 events in the White House in 14 months.

Rogers is departing after achieving a major goal of President Obama and First Lady Michelle — opening up the White House to make it the “peoples house.”

As we turn the corner on the first year,” Rogers told me, “this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world.”

Rogers told me it has been “an honor and a privilege to serve this president and First Lady, in what has certainly been a historic presidency.”

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Statement from the President and the First Lady on Desiree Rogers

We are enormously grateful to Desiree Rogers for the terrific job she’s done as the White House Social Secretary. When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People’s House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers. She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

ABC reports that Julianna Smoot is in the lead to take Desiree Rogers’ position as White House Social Secretary. Smoot worked as national finance director for Obama’s presidential campaign, and is currently U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s chief of staff.

Julianna Smoot joined the Office of the United States Trade Representative in February 2009 as the Chief of Staff.

Prior to joining the USTR, Ms. Smoot served as Senior Advisor to President Obama and served as Co-Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. In January 2007, Ms. Smoot joined President Obama’s Presidential Campaign as the National Finance Director. Prior to working for President Obama, Ms. Smoot served as National Finance Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, chaired by Senator Charles Schumer.

Previously, Ms. Smoot served as Senior Advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and as Finance Director for Senator John Edwards’ race for U.S. Senate. Ms. Smoot has also held positions with Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Chris Dodd.

Julianna Smoot, a North Carolina native, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Smith College in Northampton , MA .

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Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

President Obama Presents Medals in Arts and Humanities

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, for the 2009 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal ceremony. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The President presented the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal for 2009 in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in a ceremony Thursday evening.

The 12 winners for the National Medal of Arts were announced in the afternoon and awarded their medals by President and Mrs. Obama in an evening ceremony. Winners of the NMA include famous singer/musician/activist Bob Dylan, the designer Milton Glaser; the artist and architect Maya Lin; the singer and actor Rita Moreno; the soprano Jessye Norman; the artist Frank Stella; the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas; the composer and conductor John Williams; and Joseph P. Riley Jr., the mayor of Charleston, S.C. The actor and director Clint Eastwood was also named a medalist but not present at the ceremony. The Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the School of American Ballet were awarded medals as well.

The annual award is managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. In a statement, the endowment’s chairman, Rocco Landesman, said the winners represented “the breadth and depth of American architecture, design, film, music, performance, theater and visual art.”

First Lady Michelle Obama congratulates Elie Wiesel at a White House ceremony in which he received the National Humanities Medal.

President Obama also presented the 2009 National Humanities Medals to eight Americans for their outstanding achievements in history, literature, cultural philanthropy, and museum leadership. This years winners: prize-winning authors and historians Robert A. Caro (“The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power, Means of Ascent and Master of the Senate”), Annette Gordon-Reed (“The Hemingses of Monticello”), David Levering Lewis, (“W.E.B DuBois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919-1963″) and William H. McNeill (“Plagues and Peoples”). The list also includes speechwriter and lawyer Theodore Sorensen, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Philippe de Montebello, philanthropist Albert H. Small, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, founding chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the author of “Night.”

The official citations honoring each medalists can be found here.

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.

President Barack Obama, not pictured, acknowledges actress Sarah Jessica Parker, as first lady Michelle Obama looks on, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, before he presented the 2009 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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The President’s remarks can be read here.
Last photo credit: Image by MANDEL NGAN / Getty Images

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Filed under Art, Culture, Fashion, First Lady Michelle Obama, News, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

Gordon Brown Calls On America To Repeal DADT, Calls UK LGBT Soldiers ‘The Pride Of Our Country

Posted by: Betsm

Gordon Brown speaks at reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

ThinkProgress/Amanda Turkel~As conservatives in the United States try to argue that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) would lead to all sorts of horrors like an increase in “body art,” natural disasters, and a reinstatement of the draft, British citizens are serving comfortably alongside openly gay men and women. Yesterday at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate February’s LGBT History Month, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown underscored the country’s more progressive position. Brown singled out the lesbians, gays and bisexuals from the Army, Navy and Air Force who attended the event in uniform. He told them: “You are the pride of our country and we thank you very much. We know this debate continues in America today. I would say to people who still favour ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, look at our experience in Britain.”

Brown also hosted a reception for LGBT History Month last year, when he slammed California’s Prop. 8 as “unacceptable.”

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Gordon Brown hosts a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

Gordon Brown hosts a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

Gordon Brown promises gay people they ‘will not have to walk alone

Pink News/Jessica Green~Prime minister Gordon Brown paid tribute last night to gay and lesbian members of the armed forces at a reception to mark the contribution of the LGBT community for Britain.

He told guests at 10 Downing Street, including a number of gay servicemembers, that there was a “debt of gratitude we can never fully repay”.

He said that the pride they felt was “nothing compared to the pride we feel in them”.

Mr Brown cited the current struggle in the US to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, saying he knew debate on the issue continued.

In 2009, for the first LGBT reception at Downing Street, Mr Brown said that the ban on gay marriage in California was “unacceptable”.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the British military allowing out gay soldiers.

Mr Brown said: “I promise you that no one need walk the road to equality alone again.”

He also listed the achievements made for gay equality in the last ten years, such as gay adoption and fertility rights for lesbians, saying people had warned these things could not be done.
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Filed under DADT, England, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Military, Uncategorized