Daily Archives: April 23, 2010

President Obama and First Lady Michelle in Asheville, NC ~ Day One

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama and the First Lady made a surprise visit to 12 Bones smokehouse in Asheville, North Carolina this afternoon, which had seen another surprise visit from then-candidate Obama in October 2008. (12 Bones appears to be well-liked by most.)

The Obama mingled with customers and staff, posed for photos and eventually ordered two rib plates, and given order number 99. From the pool report, the precise order per Bill Burton was:

Ribs, greens, baked beans, corn pudding, mac & cheese and corn bread. All washed down with a couple of sweet teas.

About those ribs…deputy press sescretary Bill Burton tweeted during the meal:

Plates of ribs here at 12 Bones Smokehouse give new meaning to ‘too big to fail’

When the Obamas left 12 Bones, a crowd had gathered on the corner, a few with “Welcome” signs, and a couple that read: “We love Sasha” and “Howdy Malia.”

Next the Obamas went for a post-BBQ hike, to work off some of that great food.

From the pool report:

After a more than hour-long hike that your pooler didn’t get to (or have to, depending on your view of hikes) go on, the president and the first lady emerged from the trail off of Blue Ridge Parkway at 4:34 p.m.

A string of sweaty USSS agents and support staff emerged first. POTUS and FLOTUS, each carrying a bottle of water, exchanged a few words with a couple of rangers at the top of the trail. Marvin Nicholson was also at there waiting.

Neither of the first hikers seemed winded, and FLOTUS, who had on a tank top and her shirt around her waist, even did a light jog to their SUV.

Bill Burton sends along this anecdote from POTUS and FLOTUS’s hike:

Quote from chance encounter with an elderly woman on the hiking trail. They stopped briefly to say hi.

“Are you who I think you are?
You just made my day. You just made my year!”

Burton says the first couple encountered about 4 other hikers.

The White House says the Obamas have no public plans while in North Carolina, although the president will speak at Sunday’s memorial in Beckley, W.Va., for the victims of the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in 40 years. The April 5 explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine took 29 lives.

The Obamas plan to return to Washington on Sunday evening.

You can learn more about Ashville, NC @

Photos from the first day…

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have a chance encounter with other hikers while walking along a trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, N.C., April 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, North Carolina, Pres. Barack Obama, Travel, Uncategorized

Judge Denny Chin Confirmed: Will Be Only Asian-American Judge Serving On US Court Of Appeals

Posted by: Audiegrl

Judge Denny Chin

In October 2009, President Obama nominated Judge Denny Chin for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Today the Senate voted 98-0 to confirm Judge Chin to fill an opening on a New York-based appeals court. He will be the only Asian-American currently serving on a U.S. Court of Appeals.

Judge Denny Chin was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong. His family moved to the United States when he was 2 years old. Judge Chin was raised in New York City, attending Stuyvesant High School, a New York public school specializing in math and science, before attending Princeton University. He graduated from Princeton magna cum laude in 1975 and from Fordham Law School in 1978 where he was the managing editor of the Fordham Law Review.

After graduation, Judge Chin clerked on the Southern District of New York for Judge Henry F. Werker. He then spent two years at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell before becoming an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1982. When he left the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1986, Judge Chin started a law firm with two colleagues: Campbell, Patrick & Chin. Four years later, he joined the law firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law.

In 1994, Judge Chin was nominated and confirmed to the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York, where he currently serves. He is most famous for presiding over the Bernard Madoff case. He was the first Asian-American appointed as a U.S. District Court Judge outside of the Ninth Circuit.

Judge Chin has served as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law teaching legal research and writing since 1986. He is currently the Treasurer for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Judicial Council, and he has served as the President of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court and the President of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He also currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the Fordham Law School Alumni Association and the Fordham Law School Law Review Association and as the Co-Chair for the Fordham Law School Minority Mentorship Program. Judge Chin is a member of the Federal Bar Council Public Service Committee, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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Filed under Asian/Pacific Islander, Change, Courts, Law, Pres. Barack Obama

President Obama Holds Naturalization Ceremony for U.S. Service Members

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama salutes Sgt. Ledum Ndaanee, recipient of the Outstanding American by Choice Recognition award, following a ceremony for the administration of a military naturalization oath in the Rose Garden of the White House April 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama also delivered remarks touching on immigration issues following the ceremony. (Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

President Obama speaks at a naturalization ceremony for 24 members of the United States Armed Forces. The ceremony recognizes the contributions made by immigrant members of the U.S. armed forces who have earned their American citizenship through service to our country, and the contributions immigrants from all walks of life have made to our country throughout its history. Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) presents the home countries of the candidates for citizenship, and DHS Secy. Janet Napolitano administers the oath of citizenship. President Obama also presents Sgt. Ledum Ndaanee, USMC (E-5) with the Outstanding American by Choice recognition, which highlights the outstanding achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens.

Background on Naturalization Ceremony for Service Members

Remarks by the President at Naturalization Ceremony for Active-Duty Service Members

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Filed under Immigration, Janet Napolitano (Sec of Homeland Security), Military, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

West Wing Week ~ Competing the Old-Fashioned Way ~ April 16-22, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

Tourists take pictures from the South Lawn during the White House Gardens and Grounds Tour which is open to the public, April 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Thanks so much for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to all things 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This installment takes you step-by-step with the President as he hosts the Great Outdoors Conference, holds a meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, meets with his Special Envoy to the Sudan, discusses Supreme Court nominations with congressional leadership, travels to New York City to talk Wall Street Reform, and celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day in the White House Rose Garden.

We also pulled out a clip from a Martin Luther King Jr. Day discussion that President Obama held in the Roosevelt Room. One of those present was Dr. Dorothy Height who passed away last week at the age of 98, a hero of the civil rights movement and an inspiration to all Americans.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Change, First Lady Michelle Obama, Government, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden, West Wing Week

The First Couple Head to Asheville, North Carolina for A Week-end Getaway

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama and the First Lady head to Asheville, North Carolina this weekend for a week-end getaway.

The historic city of Asheville, on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains features a funky and eclectic downtown, more than 30 art galleries, a large culinary scene and one of the most spectacular estates ever constructed in this country.

Its location just off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the Shenandoah National Park, makes it a great launching point for tourists looking to hike, bike or go rafting.

Look for more posts, photos and videos of the trip over the weekend.

You can learn more about Ashville, NC @

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama


Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, Pres. Barack Obama, Travel, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

First Lady Michelle Obama To Receive Honorary Degree and Speak at George Washington University

Posted by: Audiegrl

GW Community Completes More Than 100,000 Hours of Service Ahead of May 1 Deadline

First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker at George Washington University Commencement on Sunday, May 16 on the National Mall. The University community matched Mrs. Obama’s 100,000 service hour challenge set forth at the beginning of this year.

A. James Clark, a business executive for one of the United States’ largest construction companies and Dave Brubeck, a renowned pianist and composer, will join First Lady Michelle Obama in receiving honorary degrees this spring during Commencement Weekend, a University spokeswoman said Wednesday. University President Steven Knapp said he believes each of the recipients will inspire graduates.

“All three of these distinguished individuals exemplify the University’s ideals of achievement, leadership and service,” Knapp said in a news release.

“Congratulations to The George Washington University on meeting the 100,000-hour service challenge,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “GW has demonstrated an amazing and ongoing commitment to public service. I look forward to addressing graduates on May 16. You’ve earned it!”

Michelle Obama will be the third First Lady in the history of the University to speak at GW’s Commencement and will address a crowd of approximately 25,000.

Over the last seven months, more than 3,800 GW students, faculty, staff and members of the Board of Trustees have tracked their time as they have helped many individuals through various community service projects throughout the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.

“When we received the challenge from the First Lady, we knew there was no question that George Washington University students, faculty and staff would rise to that very exciting opportunity. But we had no idea we would reach the goal so far in advance of the May 1st deadline,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “Thanks to Mrs. Obama, service became the focus of school spirit for the entire academic year, pulling together the entire university community in a unique way.”

Students, faculty and staff completed a variety of service projects, including painting Habitat for Humanity homes with the First Lady in September; giving a make-over to a Washington, D.C. high school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; and spent winter and spring breaks to rebuild homes in New Orleans, comfort the sick in Ecuador, and provide educational assistance to Sudanese refugees in Nashville, just to name a few. Other students and members of faculty, staff and Board of Trustees donated their time on such activities as tackling rural and urban poverty, working with a local Brownie Troop and organizing a walk-a-thon to raise funds for the homeless.

“I am extremely proud of our student body and the rest of the GW community for their contributions towards meeting Mrs. Obama’s service challenge,” said GW Student Association President Julie Bindelglass. “As a representative of GW students, I know that many of us have committed ourselves to making public service part of our daily lives. We are thrilled to host the First Lady at our Commencement!”

While the GW community has completed the challenge, students, staff and faculty will continue participating in various service activities. Community service hours will be collected until the official service challenge deadline, May 1, 2010. The total hours achieved during the service challenge will be announced at the commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16.

(Photos: GW senior Shakir Cannon-Moye and Student Association president Julie Bindelglass joined Mrs. Obama at a Habitat for Humanity
community service project on September 11, 2009)

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Filed under Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Volunteerism

Title IX: Giving Girls a Sporting Chance

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by: Valarie Jarrett

Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Title IX at George Washington University in Washington DC, April 20, 2010. Also present are Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and former intern Joy Cheek. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

As Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, I was honored and excited to join world-class women athletes, the Vice President, and the Secretary of Education in a Title IX Announcement event Tuesday afternoon at George Washington University.

Title IX was enacted in 1972 and mandates that all educational institutions receiving federal funding create equal opportunities, for both boys and girls, in both academics and all other school activities. The announcement by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan enhances and strengthens the standards for Title IX compliance.

In the 38 years since enactment, we have seen how Title IX has helped women compete at all levels, producing real benefits for them later in life. For example, Title IX has been critical in improving the health of women and girls. New economic research has found that the increase in girls’ athletic participation caused by Title IX was associated with a seven percent lower risk of obesity for those girls 20 to 25 years later. No other public health program can claim similar success. Title IX has also contributed to improving the economic well-being of women and girls. A recent study by the Wharton Business School shows that being a high school athlete is associated with 14 percent higher wages for women. Learn more about Title IX and the strengthened standards by reading Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights
Russlynn Ali’s blog post

At the event highlighting Title IX and women's athletics, girls participate in sports clinics with collegiate and professional athletes. (Photo by Joshua Hoover, U.S. Department of Education)

But there is perhaps no better evidence of the benefits of Title IX than seeing young girls interact with the WNBA players, the members of the Silver Medal-winning USA Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and the many skilled collegiate athletes who participated in Tuesday’s event. These all-star women shot hoops and practiced their volleyball serves in clinics during the program, and in doing so, may have inspired the next great WNBA player or Olympian.

This event was not only a reminder as to why Title IX is important, but more broadly, it was a reminder as to why the Council’s work through the agencies remains relevant and continues to make a difference in the lives of women and girls.

Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls

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Filed under Children, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Secretary Arne Duncan (Sec of Education), Vice-President Joe Biden