Tag Archives: tour

You’re Invited “Inside The White House

Posted by: Audiegrl
Posted by Kori Schulman


Thousands of visitors tour the White House each day. It’s been a long time in the making and today, we’re pleased to invite you on our new interactive White House tour.

With some incredible behind-the-scenes photos from the Photo Office and our best “Inside the White House” videos, you’re invited to do everything from cook with the New Orleans Saints in the White House kitchen, to peek inside the Situation Room, to watch the Jonas Brothers perform in the East Room and tour the first ever beehive on White House grounds with beekeeper Charlie Brandt — plus a lot more. What are you waiting for? Welcome to the White House.

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

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Bon Jovi Takes United We Serve on Tour

Posted by: TheLCster

President Obama’s United We Serve initiative is about to go on tour alongside Bon Jovi on the band’s “The Circle World Tour.” In collaboration with the Corporation for National and Community Service, rocker Jon Bon Jovi will be the first person to engage mass audiences in the President’s call to service at concert venues. The United We Serve initiative encourages Americans to get involved in community service to help the nation move forward.

Bon Jovi, a longtime service advocate and philanthropist, calls on Americans in the concert video and PSA to use their energy and passion to help tackle our nation’s challenges. As an individual who focuses his efforts on issues surrounding homelessness, Bon Jovi highlights what he calls the “power of we.”

President Obama has made service a central cause of his administration. Since calling on Americans to serve in his inaugural address, the momentum for service has soared and support for the Corporation for National and Community Service programs have skyrocketed. More than five million Americans volunteered with the Corporation in 2009, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. The United We Serve initiative challenges all Americans to help lay a new foundation for growth by engaging in sustained, meaningful community service to help meet our national priorities. The initiative has successfully bolstered civic engagement nationwide, helped to better our communities in priority issue areas, and leveraged partnerships with non-profits, U.S. corporations, and celebrities to foster a greater sense of purpose among Americans through service.

Watch Bon Jovi explain the importance of civic engagement, and find out what you can do to get involved and make a difference at Serve.gov.

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President Obama’s White House to Main Street Tour: Savannah, Georgia

Posted by: Audiegrl

Helping Homeowners Invest in Energy-Efficient Homes

President Barack Obama speaks at Savannah Technical College in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama speaks at Savannah Technical College in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Earlier today, after touring Savannah Tech, President Obama announced the initiatives for HOMESTAR, a program that offers incentives for people to make their homes more energy-efficient.

The President explained that the new program will save families several hundred of dollars on utilities, make the economy less dependent on fossil fuels, create work for small businesses and contractors, and bring back construction jobs.

Here’s one of the best things about energy efficiency – it turns out that energy-efficient windows or insulation, those things are products that are almost exclusively manufactured right here in the United States of America. It’s very hard to ship windows from China. So a lot of these materials are made right here in America.

Through the HOMESTAR Program, homeowners who make investments for energy-efficiency in their homes will be eligible to receive:

  • Direct rebates for energy-saving investments
  • 50 percent rebates for the cost of each upgrade up to $1500
  • Rebates up to $3000 for those who choose to retrofit their whole homes
  • Guaranteed quality installations through quality assurance providers who would conduct field audits after work is completed
  • Support for financing through State and local governments

President Obama explained that these short-term investments will lead to long-term savings for homeowners and consumers.

Just like a responsible homeowner will invest in their homes in the near term to fortify their economic security in the long term, we’ve got to do the same as a country. It will have some costs on the front end — you buy a new boiler, or you get some insulation, or you get some new windows, that’s going to have an initial cost, and the same is true from a government perspective. And it’s going to be politically difficult to do some of this, but it’s what’s right to plan for our future.
Vodpod videos no longer available.President Obama speaks with students in alternative energy programs at Savannah Technical College on today’s White House to Main Street tour. Vodpod videos no longer available.

President Barack Obama stops to greet workers as he tours the Chatham Steel Company in Savannah, Ga., March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Just before giving a speech in Savannah, GA, President Obama chats with building manufacturers and local contractors about the importance of retrofitting. Around the circle are Mark Andrews of Knauf Insulation, Michael Lawrence of Insulation Systems, Howard Feldman of Coastal Green Building Solutions, Patrick Shay of Green Sweep, and Larry Laseter of MASCO Home Services.
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President Barack Obama sits down for lunch with other customers during a stop at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room in Savannah, Ga. March 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

During his “White House to Main Street” tour today in Savannah Georgia, President Obama made a surprise lunch stop. If there’s one thing better than meeting new folks on the road, it’s meeting new folks out on the road and having them cook you up some of the best food in the country. So it was when the President sat down with some of the regulars at the famous Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House restaurant in Savannah, Georgia today. They were polite enough to offer not to ask him any questions so he could relax, an offer he jokingly declined: “How often you gonna have lunch with the President? Might as well ask some questions.”

Please visit our friends at Obama Foodorama for details on the lunch menu and more info about this historic restaurant.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Surprises White House Tour Visitors

Posted by: Audiegrl

One year ago on January 20th, after President Obama was inaugurated, he and the First Lady decided to surprise visitors who were on White House tours to reinforce the message of the White House being the People’s House. Mrs. Obama is marking the first year by continuing this tradition – taking some time to greet visitors of the People’s House. Even first dog Bo gets in on the act. 🙂
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It’s In Our Hands: Census Kicks Off 2010 Portrait of America Road Tour

posted by: Audiegrl

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke can be followed on Twitter at @SecLocke

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke can be followed on Twitter at @SecLocke

Secretary Gary Locke~~Yesterday, I started my new year in Rockefeller Center on the Today Show to kick off our huge push to get people to take part in the 2010 Census.

One of my resolutions is to help make this the best, most accurate Census count ever.

The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau spends 10 years planning how to best count everyone living in America and then New Years comes – and the rubber hits the road! Which is literally what’s happening this year.

Today, we’re sending out a small fleet of 13 vehicles – which we’re calling the Portrait of America Road Tour – that will drive across the United States and Puerto Rico to get the word out about the 2010 Census.

We’re doing this for the oldest of reasons – because our Constitution tells us to. Every 10 years, since 1790, we’ve counted ourselves – every single person living in America. This count determines how we divvy up about $400 billion in federal aid to states to help pay for things like schools, roads, hospitals and police and firemen.

For the 2010 Census, we’ve added some high tech twists to the traditional Census process. Everyone is still going to receive a Census questionnaire in the mailbox, so please – FILL IT OUT, and mail it back. The form is very simple, and has only 10 questions that should take about 10 minutes to complete, and the questionnaire comes in numerous languages.

I’m counting on the Road Tour to get the word out and encourage people to participate. Our little armada of vehicles will drive more than 150,000 miles, be seen by an estimated 18 million people and stop at more than 800 community gatherings, celebrations and sporting events.

Anybody who wants to can learn about the Census and how to fill out a Census form. If you want, you can explain why you’re taking part in the Census, and then you can upload your story onto an interactive website. And you can follow the tour and see other people’s stories by tracking the Road Tour on Twitter, Facebook or through the Road Tour blog. Happy New Years and make sure to follow the Portrait of America Road Tour on the web at:

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The Pit Bull in the China Shop by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich—At last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praisedGoing Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

Equally revealing is the one boldfaced name conspicuously left unmentioned in the book: Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandchild. Though Palin and McCain milked him for photo ops at the Republican convention, he is persona non grata now that he’s taking off his campaign wardrobe. Is Johnston’s fledgling porn career the problem, or is it his public threats to strip bare Palin family secrets as well? “She knows what I got on her” is how he put it. In Palin’s interview with Oprah last week, it was questioning about Johnston, not Katie Couric, that made her nervous.

The book’s most frequently dropped names, predictably enough, are the Lord and Ronald Reagan (though not necessarily in that order). Easily the most startling passage in “Going Rogue,” running more than two pages, collates extended excerpts from a prayerful letter Palin wrote to mark the birth of Trig, her child with Down syndrome. This missive’s understandable goal was to reassert Palin’s faith and trust in God. But Palin did not write her letter to God; she wrote the letter from God, assuming His role and voice herself and signing it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.” If I may say so — Oy!

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AP FACT CHECK: Palin’s book goes rogue on some facts

Posted by Audiegrl

PALIN-hugesAP/Calvin Woodward—Sarah Palin’s new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven’t become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in “Going Rogue,” obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking “only” for reasonably priced rooms and not “often” going for the “high-end, robe-and-slippers” hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City’s Central Park for a five-hour women’s leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.

PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC. Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees. She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife and $30 from a state representative in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers’ offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she gave a comparative sum to charity.

PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, “you’ll have to be brave enough to fail.

THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama’s stimulus plan — a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts — and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.

Palin’s views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain’s vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said “taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.” A week later, she said “ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.”

During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being “instrumental in bringing folks together” to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said “it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.”

PALIN: Writes about a city councilman in Wasilla, Alaska, who owned a garbage truck company and tried to push through an ordinance requiring residents of new subdivisions to pay for trash removal instead of taking it to the dump for free — this to illustrate conflicts of interest she stood against as a public servant.

THE FACTS: As Wasilla mayor, Palin pressed for a special zoning exception so she could sell her family’s $327,000 house, then did not keep a promise to remove a potential fire hazard on the property.

She asked the city council to loosen rules for snow machine races when she and her husband owned a snow machine store, and cast a tie-breaking vote to exempt taxes on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one. But she stepped away from the table in 1997 when the council considered a grant for the Iron Dog snow machine race in which her husband competes.

PALIN: Says she tried to talk about national security and energy independence in her interview with Vogue magazine but the interviewer wanted her to pivot from hydropower to high fashion.

THE FACTS are somewhat in dispute. Vogue contributing editor Rebecca Johnson said Palin did not go on about hydropower. “She just kept talking about drilling for oil.

___

PALIN: “Was it ambition? I didn’t think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons.” Throughout the book, Palin cites altruistic reasons for running for office, and for leaving early as Alaska governor.

THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But “Going Rogue” has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.

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Go pop some popcorn folks, because there’s more…lots more @ Associated Press

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Haunted Salem! Your Guide to the Witch City

witch-header
Salem, Massachusetts is home to a world of haunting enchantments. Walk the narrow streets of our “Witch City” and you will pass unusual shops, strange museums, and travel through time as you read the epitaphs of history on one of our many colonial graves. Meet real Salem Witches who are waiting to guide you through our city’s mysteries. Shop mystical emporiums that will entice you with treasures found nowhere else. Scare yourself with one of our several family oriented haunted attractions. Take a tour of the Witch City’s streets with a guide who can introduce you to real local haunts.

The infamous Witch Trials of 1692 gave birth to a heritage that Salem cannot deny. Today, we in Salem embrace our past and strive to present it to our guests in a way that gives respect to those who lost their lives to intolerance. Listen closely to the whispers on the winds and you will hear the cry of these innocent victims of the Witchcraft hysteria. Experience the Witch trials firsthand by visiting one of our many museums that are dedication to them.

The Curse of Giles Corey

One of Salem’s most famous Witch Trial victims of 1692 was Giles Corey, who, along with his wife Martha, died during the hysteria that swept our city over three hundred years ago.

The Accusation of Giles Corey. From Another Drawing of the Salem Witchcraft Trials

The Accusation of Giles Corey. From Another Drawing of the Salem Witchcraft Trials

Giles initially supported the claims against his wife (was it her cooking?), offering “evidence” that his wife had been “muttering” through her chores. He soon recanted, however, when he became aware of the severity of the prosecution and what lay in store for those accused.

According to the laws of the time—which were the source of much confusion, given that Salem had been operating without a charter for many months—the wealth and property of the accused could be confiscated if he were found guilty of the crime of Witchcraft. This would leave the heirs of those accused without inheritance. However, a person could not be found guilty or innocent if he refused to enter a plea, thereby protecting his possessions for his family.

Such a tactic, though, came with a terrible price. In order to extract a plea, authorities would place boards across the silent “criminal,” piling the boards with heavy stones until the accused made a plea of guilty or innocent.

It was this very tactic that Giles Corey used. Knowing that he would be found guilty no matter what his plea, Giles made the difficult choice to endure this Puritan form of torture that his children would inherit the fruits of his hard labor.

Sheriff George Corwin, much reviled son of Witch Trials magistrate Jonathan Corwin, profited greatly from the trials, confiscating property and dividing the spoils. It was he who presided over the crushing of Giles Corey, which took place at a field that is now Howard Cemetery, overlooked by the old Salem Jail.

gilecory

Old Drawing of the Death of Giles Corey by Being Pressed With Heavy Stones After Conviction as a Witch During the Salem Witchcraft Delusion

It was later said that, as stones continued to be places atop the wooden door covering Giles Corey, that all he would say is “more weight.” While this is more likely the results of folklore, what is reputed by witnesses of the time to have been said is far more damning in retrospect. With his dying breath, Giles Corey addressed Sheriff Corwin “Damn you Sheriff I curse you and Salem!”

Local Salem historian and former High Sheriff of Essex County Robert Ellis Cahill discovered some years ago that the curse of Giles Corey may have come to bear. He notes that each and every Sheriff down from George Corwin to himself, each headquartered at the Salem Jail overlooking the the place where Corey was killed, had died while in office or had been forced out of his post as the result of a heart or blood ailment. Corwin himself died in 1696, not long after the trials, of a heart attack. Thankfully, Cahill’s heart attack and subsequent blood ailment forced him into retirement and not into an early grave, for he later went on to chronicle many strange stories of New England’s past.

gilescorytombstone

Tombstone of Giles Corey

The Curse of Giles Corey was not just leveled at the Sheriff but at “all of Salem.” It is said that each time Salem has undergone a major tragedy (such as the great fire that nearly destroyed the town), it was not long after a claimed sighting of the ghost of Giles Corey. Coincidence? Perhaps. Still, could the words spoken by this tragic victim of hysteria have left an imprint that is still at work in Salem today?

Sources: HauntedSalem.com, Haunted Happenings by Robert Ellis Cahill, A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill

Museums and Historic Sites

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Quicktime VR Panorama of the Old Burying Point
Salem’s Old Burying Point is where 1692 Witch Trials Judge John Hathorne, ancestor of famed Salem author Nathaniel Hawthorne, is buried. It is also one of New England’s oldest graveyards!

The Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Museum brings you back to Salem 1692, a time of hysteria and fear that ended with the deaths of twenty innocent people. Using life size figures, stage sets, a sound track narration and lighting, the museum recreates the accusers and accused, the court proceedings and finally the execution of the victims of this terrifying wave of persecution. The thought-provoking narration invites visitors to ponder questions of human rights and tolerance that affect contemporary life and determine for themselves how a witch hunt can occur.

The Witch Dungeon Museum
An award-winning live reenactment of a witch trial from the original transcript of 1692 followed by a guided tour through the dungeon.

Witch History Museum
Experience the characters and untold stories of the 1692 witch hysteria. Learn the fate of the victims as a guide brings you back in time in Old Salem Village where you will view 15 life-size scenes.

The Burying Point
The Burying Point is the oldest cemetery in Salem. If you love roaming through old graveyards, make sure you stop here. Among the buried is Judge John Hawthorne, the most malevolent of the Witch Trial judges. Also located within the Burying Point is the Witch Trials Memorial, erected in 1992.

Gallows Hill Park
In 1692, at what is now a baseball field and children’s park, twenty innocent people were condemned to die. Nineteen were hanged while one was crushed under heavy stones. Each year at Halloween, Salem Witches hold a public circle to commemorate those who died as part of the hysteria. They also honor all those who died for freedom, including great leaders of recent past. Following the ritual, the Witches hold a candlelight procession to the center of town.

The Witch House
This historic house, built in 1642, earned its name because it was once the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, who helped preside over the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The accused were often brought here to be examined for supposed “Witches’ marks“.

Hex: Old World Witchery
Cast your own spell at Salem’s newest Witch shop. Located across from the Samantha statue, Hex honors the old ways of Witchcraft and Hoodoo with ritual tools, jewelry, incense, candles, oils, statues, charms, roots, and herbs! Also get readings from Salem Witches (and proprietors) Christian Day and Leanne Marrama.

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Mad as Hell Doctors: Will be in Washington Today

Posted by Audiegrl

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Press Release—Frustrated with the health care ‘options’ coming out of Washington, D.C., six “Mad as Hell” Oregon physicians are taking an unprecedented road trip across America to lobby Congress for a single-payer health care system. A big part of their plan is to take the entire country with them.

Called a “Care-A-Van,” these road-tripping Oregon physicians will leave in a used motor home from Portland, Oregon on September 8th, inviting doctors and ordinary citizens from other states to join them on their twenty-city tour across the country. Their journey will culminate in a D.C.-based event on September 30th, scheduled to take place on the
steps of Congress. Demonstrating with the doctors will be thousands of fellow ‘Mad as Hell’ single-payer advocates, all adorned with the movement’s new symbol – the white ribbon. Their demand: Single-Payer Now!

Coming to a city near you!

Coming to a city near you!


“We’re mad as hell because our health care system is run by people who profit from illness” says Dr. Paul Hochfeld, lead Mad As Hell Doctor and producer of the documentary Health, Money and Fear. “The rest of the civilized world has test driven single payer and it works. But elected officials in America won’t even allow a discussion.”

“The public option is a trap.” Hochfeld continues. “It sounds very reasonable, but the problem with it, no matter what the final bill looks like, is that it will continue to allow private medical insurance companies to dictate America’s public health policies. And that’s just plain wrong.”

Several national, single-payer advocacy organizations including Physicians for a National Health Program, Health Care Now, Single Payer Action, and even groups like Progressive Democrats of America and Jobs with Justice are supporting the Oregon physicians by setting up Mad as Hell Town Halls across the country in anticipation of their arrival.

“People need to understand what single-payer is–and isn’t,” says Dr. Mike Huntington, a radiologist from Corvallis, Oregon and fellow Mad As Hell Doctor. “It isn’t Socialism, any more than police and fire are Socialism. And it doesn’t require any more money.

Simply put, single-payer is a way to take the current premium payments that go to a thousand different private insurance companies, and redirect them into a single, public fund that insures everyone. That’s all it is. But when we do this, lots of wonderful things happen, not the least of which is to save Americans 500 billion dollars a year starting day one. That’s billion – with a ‘b.’ America needs this information. That’s why we’re taking the tour.”

Click here for their website.

Check out a Mad As Hell Doctor on MSNBC’s The Ed Show

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