Category Archives: Cities

Five Years After Katrina: “New Orleans is Blossoming Again

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Jessie Lee

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the crowd at Xavier University during a ceremony on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans on August 29, 2010. Obama arrived in still-struggling New Orleans to join residents marking five years since flood waters driven by Hurricane Katrina inundated the famous jazz capital. (Photo credit JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)


Today the President and First Lady were down in New Orleans, joined by members of the Cabinet who have been working on recovery from Hurricane Katrina since they came into office.  The President spoke at Xavier University on the fifth anniversary of the disaster.

It’s been five years since Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.  There’s no need to dwell on what you experienced and what the world witnessed.  We all remember it keenly:  water pouring through broken levees; mothers holding their children above the waterline; people stranded on rooftops begging for help; bodies lying in the streets of a great American city.  It was a natural disaster but also a manmade catastrophe — a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men, and women, and children abandoned and alone.

And shortly after the storm, I came down to Houston to spend time with some of the folks who had taken shelter there.  And I’ll never forget what one woman told me.  She said, “We had nothing before the hurricane.  And now we’ve got less than nothing.”

In the years that followed, New Orleans could have remained a symbol of destruction and decay; of a storm that came and the inadequate response that followed.  It was not hard to imagine a day when we’d tell our children that a once vibrant and wonderful city had been laid low by indifference and neglect.  But that’s not what happened.  It’s not what happened at Ben Franklin.  It’s not what happened here at Xavier.  It’s not what happened across New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast.  (Applause.)  Instead this city has become a symbol of resilience and of community and of the fundamental responsibility that we have to one another.

And we see that here at Xavier.  Less than a month after the storm struck, amidst debris and flood-damaged buildings, President Francis promised that this university would reopen in a matter of months.  (Applause.)  Some said he was crazy.  Some said it couldn’t happen.  But they didn’t count on what happens when one force of nature meets another.  (Laughter.)  And by January — four months later — class was in session.  Less than a year after the storm, I had the privilege of delivering a commencement address to the largest graduating class in Xavier’s history.  That is a symbol of what New Orleans is all about.  (Applause.)

He told other stories of hope and inspiration, including that of his Surgeon General, “Xavier grad Dr. Regina Benjamin, who mortgaged her home, maxed out her credit cards so she could reopen her Bayou la Batre clinic to care for victims of the storm.”  But he also recognized that there’s more to do, and made clear that his Administration has been working on it:

Now, I don’t have to tell you that there are still too many vacant and overgrown lots.  There are still too many students attending classes in trailers.  There are still too many people unable to find work.  And there are still too many New Orleanians, folks who haven’t been able to come home.  So while an incredible amount of progress has been made, on this fifth anniversary, I wanted to come here and tell the people of this city directly:  My administration is going to stand with you — and fight alongside you — until the job is done.  (Applause.)  Until New Orleans is all the way back, all the way.  (Applause.)

When I took office, I directed my Cabinet to redouble our efforts, to put an end to the turf wars between agencies, to cut the red tape and cut the bureaucracy.  (Applause.)  I wanted to make sure that the federal government was a partner — not an obstacle — to recovery here in the Gulf Coast.  And members of my Cabinet — including EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, who grew up in Pontchartrain Park — (applause) — they have come down here dozens of times.  Shaun Donovan has come down here dozens of times.  This is not just to make appearances.  It’s not just to get photo ops.  They came down here to listen and to learn and make real the changes that were necessary so that government was actually working for you.

So for example, efforts to rebuild schools and hospitals, to repair damaged roads and bridges, to get people back to their homes — they were tied up for years in a tangle of disagreements and byzantine rules.  So when I took office, working with your outstanding delegation, particularly Senator Mary Landrieu, we put in place a new way of resolving disputes.  (Applause.)  We put in place a new way of resolving disputes so that funds set aside for rebuilding efforts actually went toward rebuilding efforts.  And as a result, more than 170 projects are getting underway — work on firehouses, and police stations, and roads, and sewer systems, and health clinics, and libraries, and universities.

We’re tackling the corruption and inefficiency that has long plagued the New Orleans Housing Authority.  We’re helping homeowners rebuild and making it easier for renters to find affordable options.  And we’re helping people to move out of temporary homes.  You know, when I took office, more than three years after the storm, tens of thousands of families were still stuck in disaster housing — many still living in small trailers that had been provided by FEMA.  We were spending huge sums of money on temporary shelters when we knew it would be better for families, and less costly for taxpayers, to help people get into affordable, stable, and more permanent housing.  So we’ve helped make it possible for people to find those homes, and we’ve dramatically reduced the number of families in emergency housing.

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He discussed how his prioritizing health care and education will benefit New Orleans, noting in particular that, “Just this Friday, my administration announced a final agreement on $1.8 billion dollars for Orleans Parish schools.”  And of course there is the matter of ensuring such a disaster never occurs again, which meant restoring accountability and competency at FEMA as well as restoring stability locally:

Now, even as we continue our recovery efforts, we’re also focusing on preparing for future threats so that there is never another disaster like Katrina.  The largest civil works project in American history is underway to build a fortified levee system.  And as I — just as I pledged as a candidate, we’re going to finish this system by next year so that this city is protected against a 100-year storm.  We should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season.  (Applause.)  And we’re also working to restore protective wetlands and natural barriers that were not only damaged by Katrina — were not just damaged by Katrina but had been rapidly disappearing for decades.

In closing, having touched on the more recent tragedy of the BP oil spill that befell the Gulf Coast, the President spoke on perhaps the most well known story of perseverence of all:

And when I came here four years ago, one thing I found striking was all the greenery that had begun to come back.  And I was reminded of a passage from the book of Job.  “There is hope for a tree if it be cut down that it will sprout again, and that its tender branch will not cease.”  The work ahead will not be easy, and there will be setbacks.  There will be challenges along the way.  But thanks to you, thanks to the great people of this great city, New Orleans is blossoming again.

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President Barack Obama speaks at Xavier University on August 29, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Today marks the five year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast and the storm took over 1,800 lives and devastated the region. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

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The Obama’s Leave Martha’s Vineyard and Arrive In New Orleans for 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama, his wife first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia Obama, and daughter Sasha Obama board Marine One helicopter on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The First Family completed their 10-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and flew to Cape Cod to board Air Force One to head to New Orleans where the President is giving a speech today on the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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President Obama And Family Return To Chicago For Memorial Day Weekend

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Special thanks to Nesa Kovacs aka Princess Hype for creating this wonderful Michelle Obama Memorial Day tribute video.
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Jon Stewart Realizes Glenn Beck Is More Reasonable Than John McCain

Posted by: BuellBoy

TPM~Jon Stewart was upset last night when he heard that John McCain is opposed to reading Miranda rights to the man who allegedly attempted to bomb Times Square.

He choked up a little bit as he addressed McCain: “This next clip’s gonna hurt me as much as it’s gonna hurt you,” before showing Glenn Beck saying he supports reading the man his Miranda rights.

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Sandra Bullock and Son Louie: It Was Important To Adopt From The U.S

Posted by: Audiegrl

In public, Sandra Bullock has been through the best and worst of times this year – from winning her first Oscar to enduring the breakup of her marriage. In private, she was quietly keeping a joyful secret – his name is Louis, and he is her newborn son.

He’s just perfect, I can’t even describe him any other way,” Bullock reveals exclusively in the new issue of People, announcing that she is the proud mother of Louis Bardo Bullock, a 3½-month-old boy, born in New Orleans. “It’s like he’s always been a part of our lives.”

In her interview with People magazine, Bullock said she is savoring her new maternal status with Louis, and is now finalizing the adoption as a single parent. “You wake up, you feed, you burp, you play, you do laundry,” she said. “I’m still in that stage where I’m just amazed with him and at life.”

Bullock talks about the adoption process in the interview, saying that it was important to her to adopt domestically, even though it meant a longer wait for a baby. After spending time in New Orleans after Katrina, the couple began the process four years ago.

We began the conversations and then all the paperwork, the background checks, the home visitations about four years ago,” she said. “We didn’t want to go at it any other way than the way everyone else would have to do it. There are hoops, but the hoops are there to protect the child. And worth every jump.

When asked why she chose to adopt from New Orleans, Sandra said adopting domestically was the priority.

I don’t know if it was important to adopt from New Orleans, but it was important to adopt from the U.S.,” she said. “New Orleans for both of us was a place that we loved, a place that had a lot of history for the both of us and a place I couldn’t let go of.

The baby, called Louie, was born in New Orleans and is named after jazz great Louis Armstrong, who had particularly touched Bullock with his signature song, “What a Wonderful World,” she said.

Fans and People readers immediately took to Facebook and Twitter to congratulate Bullock and comment on the news, with their reactions ranging from delight to declaring her an “inspiration.”

Sandra is a true role model for young women to learn how to handle themselves in good and bad times, class act, with style and grace abounding,” wrote someone who identified herself simply as Jacquelynn, while OnlyOneSher Tweeted: “How can you not think happy thoughts for Sandra Bullock? She deserves it and deserves to be happy! Congratulations!

Sandra Bullock’s Ties to New Orleans

Louisiana State Senator Ed Murray presents newly inducted Hall of Fame member Sandra Bullock with a proclamation thanking her for her support of Warren Easton Charter High School, the state’s oldest public high school. (Photo by Stanwycks Photography)

It’s a city synonymous with rebuilding, so New Orleans seems like the perfect place for Sandra Bullock to raise son Louis.

New Orleans is his city, and he is going to know it inside and out,” Bullock says. “Without the spirit of the people who live there and take care of the city and honor its traditions, its love for music, its love for life, take those people out and you don’t have why I love New Orleans so much.”

Even before deciding to “find our child in New Orleans,” Bullock was establishing significant ties to and a love for the Big Easy.

After Hurricane Katrina, Bullock became a major supporter of Warren Easton Charter High School, the first public high school for boys in Louisiana. The historical school sustained $4 million in damages, and the actress, who tells People she “felt such a profound need to do something for them,” has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for renovations, new band uniforms and a new health clinic.

She has also established a $10,000 college scholarship. Not to mention, before Bullock scored a Best Actress Oscar for starring in The Blind Side, which was written by New Orleans native Michael Lewis, she used the film’s New Orleans premiere as a fundraiser to benefit the school. Her generosity even earned her an induction into the school’s hall of fame last year.

She acts as if all 800-plus of these children are her own,” Warren Easton’s principal Alexina Medley tells People. Adds school board member Arthur Hardy: “She has been our angel. We love her.”

Sandra Bullock’s Baby News Brings Joy to New Orleans

The city of New Orleans is buzzing with the news that Sandra Bullock‘s new son Louis is from New Orleans – and the Oscar winner is getting a lot of love sent her way.

In September Bullock put down more permanent roots, purchasing a home in the Garden District of New Orleans. The mansion is reportedly near property owned by Treme star John Goodman and a home previously owned by writer Anne Rice, according to the Times-Picayune.

Personally, I’m thrilled for Sandra on the adoption of her child,” says Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who celebrated his Super Bowl MVP win on the David Letterman show with Bullock on Feb. 8. “Clearly she has embraced the city of New Orleans and appreciates what a wonderful and culturally rich city this is, and the fact that she has adopted a beautiful child with roots to our city makes it that much more special.

He adds: “It goes without saying that she is a talented actress, a true humanitarian and philanthropist. We are all very happy for her and the new addition to her family.”

Bullock’s love of the city is part of what makes her a resident, says New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who also sends his best wishes.

Congratulations to Sandra Bullock and her new son,” says Nagin. “Since Hurricane Katrina, Americans have prayed for us, given their time as volunteers in our community, and demanded that no other city ever go through what New Orleans experienced. Sandra Bullock has become one of us. We wish this new mother every success.”

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Filed under Adoption, Children, New Orleans, LA, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Make Surprise Visit Haiti

Posted by: Audiegrl


WhiteHouse.gov/Katie McCormick Lelyveld~Moments ago First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti – a visit to underscore to the Haitian people and the Haitian government the enduring U.S. commitment to help recover and rebuild, especially as we enter the rainy and hurricane seasons. Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden will thank the women and men across the whole of the U.S. government for their extraordinary efforts in Haiti during the past three months and reach out to the UN and international relief communities in recognition of the truly global effort underway to help Haiti.

Katie McCormick Lelyveld is Press Secretary to First Lady Michelle Obama

Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden at Thank You Event

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First Lady Michelle Obama Graces the Cover of Condé Nast Traveler

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama hits the cover of Conde Nast’s Traveler talking about living in Washington. Excerpt from Conde Nast Traveler story on Mrs. Obama’s Washington…

Mrs. Obama shares a few of the First Family’s favorite Washington spots:

The Newseum, is an interactive museum of news and journalism located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. The seven-level, 250,000 square foot museum features 15 theaters and 14 galleries. The Newseum’s Berlin Wall Gallery includes the largest display of sections of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany. The Today’s Front Pages Gallery presents daily front pages from more than 80 international newspapers.

First Lady: High recommendations (from the kids). They love the Newseum.”

Monticello is located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia. Monticello, along with the nearby University of Virginia, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

First Lady: It is just incredibly beautiful, and that beautiful garden that he planted that is three times the size of anything that you’d ever do. It brings it to life, not just for my kids but for me.”

Luray Caverns is a large, celebrated commercial cave just west of Luray, Virginia, USA, which has drawn many visitors since its discovery in 1878. The underground cavern system is generously adorned with speleothems (columns, mud flows, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, mirrored pools, etc). there are hundreds of basins, varying from 1 to 50 feet in diameter, and from 6 inches to 15 feet in depth. The water in them contains carbonate of lime, which often forms concretions, called pearls, eggs, and snowballs, according to their size.

First Lady:Yes! We saw the egg. Barack was very jealous — he’s a Tour Guy.”

Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States Government, most notable of which is paper currency for the Federal Reserve. In addition to paper currency, the B.E.P. produces Treasury securities; military commissions and award certificates; invitations and admission cards; and many different types of identification cards, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of Government agencies.

First Lady:We did the Bureau of Engraving (and Printing tour).”

The May 2010 issue of Condé Nast Traveler will be on newsstands April 14.

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White House Butler for 8 Presidents Dies

Posted by: Bluedog89

WP~Eugene Allen, who endured a harsh and segregated upbringing in his native Virginia and went on to work for eight presidents as a White House butler, died March 31 of renal failure at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. He was 90.

Mr. Allen and his wife, Helene, were profiled in a Washington Post story in 2008 that explored the history of blacks in the White House. The couple were excited about the possibility of Barack Obama’s historic election and their opportunity to vote for him. Helene, however, died on the eve of the election, and Mr. Allen went to vote alone. The couple had been married for 65 years.

Afterward, Mr. Allen, who had been living quietly in a simple house off Georgia Avenue NW in the District, experienced a fame that he had only witnessed beforehand. He received a VIP invitation to Obama’s swearing-in, where a Marine guard escorted him to his seat. Eyes watering, he watched the first black man take the oath of office of the presidency.

Mr. Allen was besieged with invitations to appear on national TV shows. There were book offers and dozens of speaking requests, all of which he declined. He also received hundreds of letters, some from as far away as Switzerland, from people amazed at the arc of his life and imploring him to hold on while thanking him for his service to the nation. People in his neighborhood would stop him and explain to their children the outlines of his life.

“He liked to think of himself as just a humble butler,” his only child, Charles, said Thursday. Aside from his son, Mr. Allen is survived by five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Mr. Allen was born July 14, 1919, in Scottsville, Va. He worked as a waiter at the Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Va., and later at a country club in Washington. In 1952, he heard of a job opening at the White House and was hired as a “pantry man,” washing dishes, stocking cabinets and shining silverware for $2,400 a year.

He became maitre d’, the most prestigious position among White House butlers, under Ronald Reagan. During Mr. Allen’s 34 years at the White House, some of the decisions that presidents made within earshot of him came to have a direct bearing on his life — and that of black America.

Allen, far right, while working for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Mr. Allen was in the White House when Dwight D. Eisenhower dealt with the Little Rock desegregation crisis. Eisenhower once asked him about the cancellation of Nat “King” Cole’s TV show, which the president enjoyed. Mr. Allen told him that the show had difficulty attracting advertisers, who were worried about white Southern audiences boycotting their products.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Mr. Allen was invited to the funeral. He declined for the most generous of reasons: “Somebody had to be at the White House to serve everyone after they came from the funeral,” he told The Post. When first lady Jackie Kennedy returned to the White House afterward, she gave him one of the president’s ties. Mr. Allen had it framed.

Mr. Allen served entertainers including Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey and Elvis Presley. He flew aboard Air Force One. He sipped root beer at Camp David with Jimmy Carter and visited Eisenhower in Gettysburg after he left the White House. There were always Christmas and birthday cards from the families of the presidents he had served.

He looked up one evening in the White House kitchen to see a lone figure standing in the doorway: It was Martin Luther King Jr., who had insisted on meeting the butlers and maids. Mr. Allen smiled when King complimented him on the cut of his tuxedo.

Allen, far right, with President Lyndon B. Johnson, Archbishop Humberto Medeiros of Boston, and President Richard M. Nixon.

Mr. Allen served cups and cups of milk and Scotch to help Lyndon B. Johnson settle his stomach when protesters were yelling outside the White House gates during the Vietnam War. He longed to say something to Johnson about his son, who was serving in Vietnam at the time but dared not — save for acknowledging that his son was alive when Johnson asked about him.

It pained Mr. Allen to hear vulgar words, sometimes racially charged, flowing from Johnson’s mouth; and it delighted him when Johnson signed the historic civil rights bills of 1964 and 1965.

Mr. Allen serves a party hosted by President Gerald Ford.

Sometimes Mr. Allen’s own life seemed to stop beneath the chandeliered light. First lady Nancy Reagan came looking for him one afternoon, and Mr. Allen wondered whether he or a member of his staff had done something wrong. She assured him that he had not but also told him that his services would not be needed at the upcoming state dinner for German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Mr. Allen tensed, wondering why.

Mr. Allen with President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.

“She said, ‘You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself,’ ” he recounted in the Post interview. Mr. Allen thought he was the first butler to receive an invitation to a state dinner. He and Helene — she was a beautiful dresser — looked resplendent that night. The butlers on duty seemed to pay special attention to the couple as they poured champagne for guests — champagne that Mr. Allen himself had stacked in the kitchen.

Mr. Allen was mindful that with the flowering of the black power movement, many young people questioned why he would keep working as a butler, with its connotations of subservience. But the job gave him great pride, and he endured the slights with a dignified posture.

“He was such a professional in everything he did,” said Wilson Jerman, 81, whom Mr. Allen hired to work at the White House in the early 1960s. “When my wife, Gladys, died in 1966, he told me not to worry about a thing. I didn’t think I could get through that period, and he just took me by the hand. I’ll never forget it.”

Mr. Allen retired in 1986, after having been promoted to maitre d’ five years earlier. He possessed a dazzling array of framed photographs with all of the presidents he had served, in addition to gifts and mementos from each of them.

The last item to be framed and placed on Eugene Allen’s basement wall was a condolence letter from George W. and Laura Bush. It arrived from the White House just after the death of Helene.

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Filed under African-Americans, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, History, Lyndon B. Johnson, Presidents, Richard M. Nixon, United States, US, Washington, DC

Violence Erupts Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

The Monroe County Democratic Committee in Rochester, New York, is vandalized by anti-health care legislation protesters. Photo courtesy WHEC.

CNN~Shots fired at a congressman’s campaign headquarters. Windows smashed at Democratic offices across the country. A coffin placed on a lawmaker’s lawn. Hate-filled voice mail messages left on members of Congress’ phone lines.

Those are just some of the incidents reported since the House passed historic health care reform legislation Sunday — a bill that became the law of the land.

The issue has unleashed a deep-seated anger from those worried about a government takeover of health care, and what they deem as the process being “rammed through” Congress.

James Leach, with the National Endowment for the Humanities, said that while many of the acts may be protected under First Amendment rights, “that doesn’t mean that they’re morally justified.”

“And we have to think of ourselves as, ‘what kind of people are we?’ ” Leach said. “Are we one people working together with rival thoughts, or are we enemies within? And I think there’s something that’s been let loose in American politics that has to be thought about.”

That anger was visible in unruly protests by health care activists at the Capitol over the weekend.

Republican House members encouraged protesters outside and inside the House gallery, some of whom carried messages like “Vote no or else” or “If Brown won’t stop it, a Browning will” — a reference to newly elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown accompanied by a silhouette of a pistol.

But the anger has boiled over into physical and verbal threats. Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents are investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman’s brother was related to the lawmaker’s yes vote.

Republicans have the right to be angry over the Democrat’s health care bill, but “resorting to violent measures is exactly the wrong way to send a message,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday night.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, confirmed Thursday that his district office in Queens received an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter.

Later Thursday, Weiner told CNN that initial tests indicated the powder was not a biological agent, but that he still was awaiting final word from the New York Police Department. Workers at the office turned over their clothes for testing and were given protective suits before being allowed to go home a few hours later, Weiner said.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are now looking into the threats, and at least 10 House Democrats have been given extra security.

The voice mail has been vicious toward Michigan’s Bart Stupak, who switched his vote to seal the deal for the bill. He has released one of the voice mails.

“Stupak, you are a lowlife, baby-murdering scumbag, pile of steaming crap. You’re a cowardly punk, Stupak, that’s what you are. You and your family are scum,” an unidentified caller said. “That’s what you are, Stupak. You are a piece of crap.”

“Go to hell, you piece of [expletive deleted]” another caller said.

On Sunday, Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri had a coffin placed on his lawn, said his spokeswoman, Sarah Howard. She said Tea Party protesters at his office in St. Louis had a coffin with them and later brought it to his house. The coffin was later removed, she said.

Democratic congressional leaders have demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday’s vote on the health care system overhaul.

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, condemned the threats and vandalism, telling reporters Thursday that it “should not be part of a political debate.”

“There are ways for people to channel their anger, and they should do it in a constructive way,” he said.

Liz Mair, a Republican consultant, said protesters “are unfortunately crossing a line.”

“When we’re talking about violence, vandalism, threats, that crosses a legal line, in addition to being in plain old bad taste,” Mair said. “And I think that there’s a lot that is in plain old bad taste that is going on.”

Democrats aren’t the only ones being targeted.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Thursday that a bullet had been fired through a window at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia.

A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at the congressman’s office. “We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it,” spokeswoman Karla Peters said.

Cantor also said that he had received threatening messages but that he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — a member of the Democratic House leadership — of “fanning the flames” of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members “as political weapons.”

“Enough is enough,” Cantor said. “It has to stop.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse hit back against Cantor’s claims.

“We disagree with the charge made by Rep. Cantor today that Democrats are using acts of violence for political gain,” he said. “Let’s be clear: Calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate.”

Another Republican — Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida — said in a news release Thursday that she received what appeared to be a death threat on her district office’s voice mail.

“Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b**** does not live to see her next term. Goodbye,” the voice mail said, according to the release.

Brown-Waite said she contacted both the Capitol Police and the Hernando County sheriff, and they are “looking into the matter and subpoenaing telephone records.”

At least one of the threats aimed at lawmakers appears to be racially based.

House Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn, who is African-American, said he has received a fax in his office with a picture of a noose drawn on it and had threatening telephone calls at his home.

“We’re giving aid and comfort to these people, and this stuff gets ratcheted up,” Clyburn told CNN. “We in this Congress have got to come together in a bipartisan way and tamp this foolishness down. It doesn’t make sense. That’s not what a democracy is all about.”

Democratic officials and liberal Web sites are also upset that Sarah Palin used an image of crosshairs in a Facebook post this week listing 20 vulnerable Democrats who voted for the legislation. She plans to target them this election year with money from her political action committee.

Palin’s political “hit list” includes: Which Democrats has she singled out?
The list includes: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Harry E. Mitchell (AZ), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), John Salazar (CO), Betsy Markey (CO). Allen Boyd (FL), Suzanne M. Kosmas (FL), Baron P. Hill (IN), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Charlie Wilson (OH), John Boccieri (OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Christopher Carney (PA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), Tom Perriello (VA), Alan B. Mollohan (WV), and Nick J. Rahall II (WV).

Palin’s team is fighting claims that she is encouraging threats of violence. One House member mentioned her Facebook posting during a Wednesday meeting on safety concerns, a Democratic source told CNN’s Dana Bash. Mention of the map brought audible groans to the room, the source said.

An adviser to Palin responded by pointing to several instances in which the former Alaska governor has urged supporters to focus their energies on civil debate and action at the ballot box, not extremist activities.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Malia & Sasha Tour NYC for Spring Break

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama enters Memphis performed March 21, 2010 at The Shubert Theater 225 West 44th Street, New York, NY.

It’s Spring Break!

First Lady Michelle Obama took daughters Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, mother Marian Robinson and some friends to New York for a spring break trip where they hit Broadway shows, toured the Empire State Building and visited Harlem and Brooklyn.

To borrow a phrase from Lynn Sweet, here’s the bite they have taken from the Big Apple…

Saturday, March 20, 2010
The First Lady and first daughters took in a performance of the Blue Man Group. All of the organization’s appearances star a trio of performers called Blue Men, who appear to have blue skin and no voice, hair, or ears. On the same day they stopped at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

Sunday, March 21, 2010
Cast of MemphisThe ladies went to Broadway for a performance of musical Memphis, which is about an interracial couple in segregation-era Tennessee. The entourage was whisked into the theater just before the show started and was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience. During intermission the girls went backstage for a quick glimpse of the scene change. Before that, brunch at the Mesa Grill. After the show, they got a private tour of the Empire State Building, devoured cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in the West Village and ate at the Russian Tea Room.

Monday, March 22, 2010
The group enjoyed a preview of a new musical, “The Addams Family,” which opens next month. The Addams Family is a musical with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The show is based upon the “Addams Family” characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams in his single-panel gag cartoons for The New Yorker beginning 1938, which depict a ghoulish American family with an affinity for all things macabre. The show is slated to open on Broadway in April 2010.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Obama group toured the Studio Theater and the famous Apollo Theater. The Apollo Theater in New York City is one of the most famous music halls in the United States, and the most famous club associated almost exclusively with African-American performers. They also ate at Aquavit, the restaurant owned by Marcus Samuelsson, who cooked the White House’s first state dinner. Dinosaur Bar-B-Q in Harlem was also on their culinary tour.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The group toured Kaufman Astoria studios and stopped by the studio to see Sesame Street in production. Mrs. Obama first visited Sesame Street at Kaufman Astoria Studios in 2009 when she taped a segment to promote Healthy Habits For Life.

Next, they hit Brooklyn, visiting the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and a well-known pizzeria, Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s history of coal-fired brick oven pizza cooking can be traced to the first pizzeria in America back in 1905. The New York Times quoted the waiter who served the entourage: “I think they said it was better than Chicago pizza.

For more photos and video of the trip, please check-out our friends at ObamaFoodorama’s coverage…~First Lady Does a Foodie Tour of New York~

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Filed under Entertainment, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Food, New York, NY, Uncategorized