Category Archives: Media and Entertainment

President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner, Hosted by Jay Leno

Posted by: Audiegrl

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Red Carpet

The 2010 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner brought politicos, reporters and celebrities to the red carpet…and the sartorial theme of the night also seemed to be red! First Lady Michelle Obama led the way in a magnificent gown by up-and-coming designer Prabal Gurung, and also spotted sporting the hue of the evening were Mariska Hargitay, Katie Couric, Kathie Lee Gifford and Gayle King.

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President Obama Trades Jokes with Jay Leno

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. May 1, 2010. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

President Obama made his second appearance at the annual White House Press and Scholarship Dinner last night in Washington, D.C. He took the dais before the headliner Jay Leno, remarking, “I’m also glad to be speaking first. We’ve all seen what happens to the person in the time slot after Leno.”

But Leno was far from the only subject of the President’s jokes. Senators, Members of Congress and his own Administration were all fair game. Of the recently passed health reform legislation, he noted:

“You might have heard we passed a health care bill. And some Republicans have suggested that the bill contains a few “secret” provisions. That’s ridiculous. There aren’t a few secret provisions in the health care plan. There are like hundreds. And tonight, in the interest of transparency, I’d like to share a couple. Let’s see here. This provision is called the “Bay State of Denial.” It reads, “This bill shall cover short-term memory loss related to the passage of Massachusetts health care reform.” Good news, Mitt, your condition is covered! This next provision is called the “Jersey Shore-Up.” It reads, “The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill: Snooki, J-Woww, the Situation, and House Minority Leader John Boehner.” This provision ought to put a common misconception to rest. It says right here: “If you do not like the ruling of your death panel, you can appeal it.”

He concluded his remarks before Leno took the stage with a reminder of the necessary role of the fourth estate:

“Some of you are seasoned veterans who have been on the political beat for decades. Others here tonight began their careers as bloggers not long ago. But I think it’s fair to say that every single reporter in this room believes deeply in the enterprise of journalism. Every one of you, even the most cynical among you, understands and cherishes the function of a free press in the preservation of our system of government and our way of life. And I want you to know that for all the jokes and occasional gripes, I cherish that work as well. In fact, tonight, I wanted to present you all with a bipartisan, Congressional resolution that honors all those wonderful contributions that journalists have made to our country and our world. Unfortunately, I couldn’t break the filibuster.”

Full Transcript of the Remarks

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The Vanity Fair/Bloomberg White House Correspondents’ Dinner After-Party


Vanity Fair/Michael Hogan~Despite news of a sobering scare in Times Square and an unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the power elites of Washington, New York, and Hollywood managed to squeeze in an evening of revelry in the nation’s capital. The party, hosted by Vanity Fair and Bloomberg, was held at the French ambassador’s sprawling residence, just blocks from the Washington Hilton, where the White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place earlier in the evening.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly were not on hand, having flown back to Manhattan after a car full of explosives was discovered in Times Square, but there were plenty of other power brokers available to fill the vacuum. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser David Axelrod exerted their magnetic pull on “powerstruck” partygoers (to use a phrase coined during the party by guest Ryan Seacrest), while News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Google C.E.O. Eric Schmidt served as human reminders that clout comes in colors other than red and blue.

The mood had changed since last year, when the Obama administration’s newly minted stars easily outshone the Hollywood imports. After a year of bruising battles, Rahm, Axe, Orszag, and co. looked a bit paler in comparison with the impressive array of movie stars (Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Anna Kendrick, Rosario Dawson, Bradley Cooper, Gabourey Sidibe, Zach Galifianakis, Jeremy Renner, Michael Douglas, Ashley Judd, Jessica Alba), TV actors (Chace Crawford, Adrian Grenier, Chelsea Handler, Jimmy Fallon, Matthew Morrison, and The Wire’s Dominic West, Michael K. Williams, Sonja Sohn), directors (Kathryn Bigelow, J.J. Abrams), athletes (Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo), designers (Donatella Versace, Jason Wu), and musicians (Jon Bon Jovi, the Jonas Brothers, John Cougar Mellencamp, T-Bone Burnett).

Sex in the City actresses Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis

Still, this being Washington, there was a central role for political figures and the people who cover them. Senator Chris Dodd, the chief sponsor of the financial-reform bill now making its way through the upper chamber of Congress, chatted with Murdoch while Larry Summers, Colin Powell, Eric Holder, Jane Harman, Richard Holbrooke, and Austan Goolsbee circulated nearby. (Congressman John Dingell, the Dean of the House, parked his 83-year-old frame on a couch and let the people come to him.) Luke Russert of NBC News made nice with the movie people and GQ Washington correspondent Ana Marie Cox squired musician Rhett Miller around the porch, but most of the political press corps seemed content to stick to their beat. Politico savant Mike Allen collected tidbits from the parties he’d somehow missed, ABC News political director David Chalian congratulated Axelrod assistant Eric Lesser on a flatteringNew York Times Magazine profile, and Jon Meacham, Maureen Dowd, David Gregory, Katie Couric, Walter Isaacson, and Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn mingled with V.F.’s Christopher Hitchens, Dee Dee Myers, Todd S. Purdum, Maureen Orth, Bob Colacello, Cullen Murphy, and Graydon and Anna Carter.

More than one guest was overheard to remark on the French ambassador’s enviable living conditions. The generously apportioned rooms, hung with portraits of bygone aristocrats, were luxurious enough, but the spacious grounds took things to another level. It was warm enough to spend the whole night outdoors, in the shadow of tall trees that were lit up for the occasion in shifting patterns of orange, green, and pre-dawn blue. Those most determined to see and be seen clustered on the main terrace, but others gravitated to less crowded spaces. Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann set up camp on the stairs leading down to the pool, drawing in any funny people who happened to pass by. The veterans of The Wire, meanwhile, hung together on a side balcony, posing for group snapshots with grateful fans.

At 3 a.m., a crowd of about 100 partygoers remained, reluctant to call it a night. A host of intractable problems awaited them back in the real world, but for the moment it was enough to worry how they might wrangle one last drink.

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White House Correspondents’ Association is Distributing a Record $132,500 in Journalism Scholarships

Posted by: Audiegrl

The White House Correspondents’ Association is distributing a record $132,500 to eighteen (18) journalism student from five prestigious universities, and will honor the recipients at its annual scholarship luncheon on Friday, April 30th .

Since 1991, the WHCA has awarded nearly $360,000 in scholarship money to 42 graduating high school seniors and college-level students.   The success of this dinner allows members of the White House press corps to give back to the next generation of reporters.

This year, the students will be recognized at a noon-time luncheon at the Atlantic Media offices, 600 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., to be followed by a panel titled: “Press & the Presidency: A Front Row Seat to History.”

Former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry will moderate the discussion with five veterans of the White House press corps:

  • Christina Bellantoni, Talking Points Memo
  • Ron Brownstein, National Journal/ Atlantic Media
  • Major Garrett, Fox News Channel
  • Savannah Guthrie, NBC News
  • Jennifer Loven, Associated Press

“This on-the-record forum will give these students a first-hand perspective on covering the presidency,” said Edwin Chen of Bloomberg News & President of WHCA.   “The session will also allow these new journalists to discuss how the press corps does its job in an era with new challenges of access, and at a time when our business is undergoing profound changes.”

The scholarships are targeted in different ways. Columbia University’s grant allows a student from the Middle East to study here and return home to share the best standards of American journalism in that crucial region. At Northwestern, our scholars must demonstrate interest in reporting on government affairs. And at Missouri, the WHCA scholarship program enables up to 10 students to attend its semester-long program in Washington.

Full list of this year’s scholarship recipients

Additional information about past winners

All photos of the 2009 dinner by Brendan Smialowski

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Fox Used Footage of Celebrities Without Permission for Palin’s New Show

Posted by: Bluedog89

CNN~Rapper LL Cool J appears to be upset with Sarah Palin and Fox News for using footage of a 2008 interview in its promotion for the former Alaska governor’s upcoming television special.

“Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW,” the musician Tweeted on Tuesday night.

A promotion for the show – called “Real American Stories: Hosted by Sarah Palin” – features an announcer saying, “They’re famous faces. Now hear the real story behind their incredible lives.” In addition to LL Cool J, country music star Toby Keith and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch are pictured.

LL Cool J wasn’t the only one surprised to see that he was part of Sarah Palin’s upcoming Fox News program, “Real American Stories.”

A representative for country star Toby Keith told CNN that she too was unaware that Fox News was using an old interview of Keith’s, conducted sometime in early 2009.

Toby Keith also unknowing participant in Palin's show.

“I had no idea Toby’s interview was going to air on Sarah Palin’s special. I found out after the press release went out and was contacted by a reporter asking about the show,” Keith’s publicist said. “It is an old interview….I was never contacted by Fox requesting permission. I still have not heard from Fox.”

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Michelle On A Mission: First Lady Graces Cover of Newsweek Magazine

Posted by: Audiegrl

How we can empower parents, schools, and the community to battle childhood obesity

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Newsweek/First Lady Michelle Obama~For years, we’ve known about the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. We’ve heard the statistics—how one third of all kids in this country are either overweight or obese. We’ve seen the effects on how our kids feel, and how they feel about themselves. And we know the risks to their health and to our economy—the billions of dollars we spend each year treating obesity-related conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

But we also know that it wasn’t always like this. Back when many of us were growing up, we led lives that kept most of us at a pretty healthy weight. We walked to school every day, ran around at recess and gym and for hours before dinner, and ate home-cooked meals that always seemed to have a vegetable on the plate.

For many kids today, those walks to school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Afternoons playing outside have been replaced with afternoons inside with TV, video-games, and the Internet. And with many parents working longer hours, or multiple jobs, they don’t have time for family meals around the table anymore.

It’s now clear that between the pressures of today’s economy and the breakneck pace of modern life, the well-being of our kids has too often gotten lost in the shuffle.

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Pitts: That Tried and True Recipe for Success — Fear Itself

Posted by: BetsM
Written by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Fear again.

Not hope, nor patriotism, nor progress, nor any of the nobler emotions and impulses by which human beings are driven. Nope. None of those.

Instead, fear. Again.

We’ve seen this movie many times. So there is little that is surprising about the Republican National Committee fundraising document recently reported by Politico, the one that offers strategies to get donors to part with their money. Donors can, it says, be persuaded to give by appealing to their egos, by offering them tchotchkes, or by promising them access. And some, the small donors, the $5 and $10 Janes and Joes, can be persuaded if you play to their fears. The sole surprise is that someone actually wrote it down as a PowerPoint presentation and was absent-minded enough to leave a hard copy in a hotel.

Here, then, is the smoking gun, concrete validation for those of us who contend that since Sept. 11, 2001, fear has been the GOP’s leading export, that under the aegis of George W. Bush’s political guru Karl Rove, the party’s message boiled down to a single command: Be very afraid.

And some of us have eagerly complied, fearing Muslim terrorists, Muslim-Americans, Latino immigrants, gay people, black people, even “salespeople,” if they say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Some of us see socialists around every street corner.

The use of fear as a political expedient is neither new nor limited to the GOP. In the ’60s, Democrats ran an ad suggesting a nuclear holocaust would ensue if Americans elected Barry Goldwater. A GOP ad from the ’80s suggested Willie Horton would kill you if you voted for Michael Dukakis.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Celebrate International Women’s Day

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama (R) looks at his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama (L), as she speaks during a reception in honor of International Womens Day at the East Room of the White House March 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. The reception honored women from around the world and their achievements. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted a International Women’s Day reception in the East Room to honor women from around the world and their achievements.

The event was emceed by actress Kerry Washington and will include singer Katherine McPhee, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Afghan singer Mozdah Jamalzadah. Read the transcript.

This year marked the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Remarks by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters event marking International Women’s Day on March 3, 2010

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International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

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The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich~~No one knows what history will make of the present — least of all journalists, who can at best write history’s sloppy first draft. But if I were to place an incautious bet on which political event will prove the most significant of February 2010, I wouldn’t choose the kabuki health care summit that generated all the ink and 24/7 cable chatter in Washington. I’d put my money instead on the murder-suicide of Andrew Joseph Stack III, the tax protester who flew a plane into an office building housing Internal Revenue Service employees in Austin, Tex., on Feb. 18. It was a flare with the dark afterlife of an omen.

What made that kamikaze mission eventful was less the deranged act itself than the curious reaction of politicians on the right who gave it a pass — or, worse, flirted with condoning it. Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a “Tea Party terrorist.” But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner. That rant inspired like-minded Americans to create instant Facebook shrines to his martyrdom. Soon enough, some cowed politicians, including the newly minted Tea Party hero Scott Brown, were publicly empathizing with Stack’s credo — rather than risk crossing the most unforgiving brigade in their base.

Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, even rationalized Stack’s crime. “It’s sad the incident in Texas happened,” he said, “but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary. And when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the I.R.S., it’s going to be a happy day for America.” No one in King’s caucus condemned these remarks. Then again, what King euphemized as “the incident” took out just 1 of the 200 workers in the Austin building: Vernon Hunter, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran nearing his I.R.S. retirement. Had Stack the devastating weaponry and timing to match the death toll of 168 inflicted by Timothy McVeigh on a federal building in Oklahoma in 1995, maybe a few of the congressman’s peers would have cried foul.

It is not glib or inaccurate to invoke Oklahoma City in this context, because the acrid stench of 1995 is back in the air. Two days before Stack’s suicide mission, The Times published David Barstow’s chilling, months-long investigation of the Tea Party movement. Anyone who was cognizant during the McVeigh firestorm would recognize the old warning signs re-emerging from the mists of history. The Patriot movement. “The New World Order,” with its shadowy conspiracies hatched by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. Sandpoint, Idaho. White supremacists. Militias.

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