Tag Archives: west

Introducing West Wing Week ~ Future Planes of the Future ~ March 26 – April 1, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

Arun Chaudhary, the official White House videographer, debuted on Friday a new feature over at www.whitehouse.govWest Wing Week.”

With everything that President Obama does in a given week, it can be easy to miss important news and interesting events. West Wing Week sums up the past seven days at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or wherever the President may travel. It features highlights from last weeks events plus never seen behind-the-scenes footage of life in the White House.

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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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First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Kick Off Christmas at White House

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Receives 18½-foot Douglas fir tree from West Virginia


First lady Michelle Obama, with her daughters Sasha and Malia, as they stand with the White House Christmas tree as it is delivered to the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009.

First lady Michelle Obama, with her daughters Sasha and Malia, as they stand with the White House Christmas tree as it is delivered to the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009.

AP/—The White House is open for Christmas.

A day after celebrating Thanksgiving, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha received the official White House Christmas tree: an 18½-foot Douglas fir delivered from a farm in Shepherdstown, W.Va., by traditional horse-drawn carriage.

Growers Eric and Gloria Sundback officially presented the tree to the Obamas on Friday.

It’s the fourth time one of their trees has become the official White House tree.

Malia, Michelle, and Sasha Obama welcome Mark Steelhammer, left, and Eric and Gloria Sundback to the White House.

Malia, Michelle, and Sasha Obama welcome Mark Steelhammer, left, and Eric and Gloria Sundback to the White House.

It’s big enough for Sasha to climb in, I think,” Sundback joked after the Obamas walked from the North Portico of the White House to the driveway where the tree was tied up and lying in the carriage, pulled up the driveway from Pennsylvania Avenue by a pair of Belgian draft horses with red Christmas bows tied to their tails. A sign affixed to the side of the carriage said “White House Christmas Tree 2009.

We’re excited,” Mrs. Obama told the Sundbacks.

Asked by reporters whether the tree was the biggest she ever had, the first lady said: “Yeah, I think this wins.”

The 12-foot-wide tree is destined for the oval-shaped Blue Room on the State Floor of the White House, where scores of volunteers will decorate it. The tree is the star attraction of Christmas at the White House, and will be oohed and aahed over by the thousands of people who will stream through in December for holiday parties and public tours of the executive mansion.

The tree, which the Sundbacks planted in 1996, was hand-picked on Oct. 20 on a visit to the Sundback’s farm by retired Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon, the White House chief usher, and Dale Haney, superintendent of the White House grounds.

It was cut down on Wednesday. Besides the official tree, more than a dozen smaller trees from the Sundback farm will decorate other rooms in the White House, including the Oval Office.

The Sundbacks, both in their 80s, earned the honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association’s national contest this year for the fourth time. A tree from the winner’s farm is then chosen as the official White House tree, an annual tradition that dates to 1966.

Their trees were displayed twice when Ronald Reagan held office and once under Jimmy Carter.

The Sundbacks have grown Christmas trees since 1956 and were thrilled by the opportunity to meet their fourth first lady.

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Video Replay Pending: The First Lady Previews the Holidays at the White House

December 02, 2009 12:00 PM EST

The First Lady Receives the White House Christmas Tree

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Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Children, Christmas, Christmas at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama, History, Holidays, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, United States, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC, West Virginia

The Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later

The Legacy of 1989 Is Still Up for Debate

BERLIN-WALL-hugeNew York Times/Steven Erlanger—The historical legacy of 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war thawed, is as political as the upheavals of that decisive year.

The events of 1989 spurred a striking transformation of Europe, which is now whole and free, and a reunified Germany, milestones that are being observed with celebrations all over the continent, including a French-German extravaganza Monday evening on the Place de la Concorde.

But 1989 also created new divisions and fierce nationalisms that hobble the European Union today, between East and West, France and Germany, Europe and Russia.

From left, Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher next to a piece of the Berlin Wall.

From left, Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher next to a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Some of the intensity of those divisions is evident in the tug of war, in both Europe and the United States, over the achievements of 1989 — whether they owe more to the resolute anti-Communism of Ronald Reagan or its inverse, the white-glove embrace of the East by many in Western Europe.

And while many in the West saw the wheel of history spinning inevitably, causing the rise of democracy and banishing serious rivals to American power, China forestalled its own revolution in 1989 and catapulted itself to prominence through an authoritarian capitalism that the leaders of Russia are now studying.

The Chinese ended up with a Leninist capitalism, which none of us imagined in 1989, and which is now the main ideological competitor to Western liberal democracy,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a chronicler of 1989 in his book “The Magic Lantern.”

It is a tribute to 1989, not unlike the French Revolution 200 years before it, that its meaning is hotly contested. Different groups in different countries see the anniversary differently, usually from their own ideological points of view.

A group of Russian tourists gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Friday.

A group of Russian tourists gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Friday.

In general, said James M. Goldgeier of George Washington University, a historian of the period, “the big question out there for 20 years is who gets the credit.”

For many in the United States, he said, most of the credit now goes to President Ronald Reagan and his aggressive military spending and antagonism toward Communism. That view has largely eclipsed another American perspective, which was that globalization and democratization were so powerful that a Mikhail Gorbachev was inevitable, and that the cold war ended through “soft power” — propaganda, diplomacy and the Helsinki accords.

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Red Cross: Indonesia quake death toll reaches 450 Indonesia official: Quake death toll hits 777

Posted by Audiegrl

**44-Update** —Indonesia earthquake toll rises as survivors await relief

A second Indonesian earthquake struck near the city of Padang Thursday as the death toll rose to at least 529. Some residents, fearing aftershocks, sought safety outside despite monsoon rains. Read more here:

Wednesday's earthquake was centered in Indonesia's West Sumatra province.

Wednesday's earthquake was centered in Indonesia's West Sumatra province.

CNN—A major earthquake in Indonesia killed at least 75 people Wednesday, according to a Red Cross disaster report, citing an official report from the country’s vice president.

Earlier in the day an official said the quake toll was at least 21, with hundreds more injured.

Thousands may be trapped by collapsed buildings and houses, said Rustam Pakaya, the head of Ministry of Health’s crisis center.

He said 75 people were seriously injured.

The quake caused widespread power and phone outages, making it difficult to assess the scope of the damage.

It struck at around 5 p.m. local time, about 33 miles (53 kilometers) from Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra. Padang is home to more than 800,000 people.

The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.6, according to the U.S Geological Survey, caused widespread power and phone outages, making it difficult for authorities and aid organizations to evaluate damage.

“The situation is quite devastating,” said Amelia Merrick, the operations director for World Vision Indonesia.

“Bridges have gone down, phone lines are in total disrepair; it’s difficult for us to assess the situation,” she said. The organization had said it would send assessment teams to the area Thursday morning.

“We know there’s no electricity tonight… many of the families will be spending the night outdoors, in pitch black. I’m very afraid of what might happen next,” she said, referring to the possibility of aftershocks.

State-run Antara news agency cited Pakaya as saying he had received reports that part of a hospital had collapsed and that people were buried under the debris.
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President Carter was Right…Man Beats Black Woman At Cracker Barrel in Front of Her 7 Year Old Daughter

Posted by Audiegrl

This just makes me think about what President Carter said last night on NBC about racial hatred. I think that Troy West is a perfect example of that racial mindset, but also the fact that a group of people were willing to give information to the police afterwards, but none of them lifted a finger to help this poor woman and her child. It really makes you wonder… The video of her 7 year-old daughter crying and saying that she thought it was her fault, because she chose that restaurant…it was just heartbreaking…the fact that Tasha going in and out of consciousness trying to tell her assailant that she was with the United States Military, hoping that would stop his fists…to no avail…he didn’t stop beating her, and no one else tried to help stop the beating.

To coin a phrase from the rabid right, ‘this is not the country I grew up in, I want my country back!‘. In my America, people don’t beat down helpless women in front of their small children at local restaurants. In my America, if innocent bystanders or Cracker Barrel management see this atrocity happening, they try to stop it, and subdue the attacker until the police arrived. In my America, soldiers and reservists are held in high regard, regardless of the color of their skin, and should be defended against this sort of hate.

Read the story and watch the video. Then let me know what you think. Is this your America?

CBS/MORROW, Ga. — Morrow police said they arrested a man after he beat up a woman who asked him to “be careful” at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Morrow police were called to the Cracker Barrel restaurant on Southlake Plaza Drive in Morrow Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Upon arrival, officers said they located the female victim and called for EMTs and Fire Department officials to assist. At the same time, the alleged offender in the case, Troy Dale West, of Poulan, Ga. was detained at the scene, police said.

Troy West

Troy West


Police said an investigation revealed that the female victim, identified as Tasha Hill, was entering the Cracker Barrel with her 7-year-old daughter as West was leaving the restaurant. As West was leaving, the exit door came close to striking the 7-year-old daughter of the victim, police said. Hill, by all witness accounts, politely asked West to be careful, officials said.

“The man slung open the door pretty hard and fast and I had to push my daughter out of the way. I turned to the man and I just said, ‘Excuse me sir, you need to watch yourself you almost hit my daughter in the face.’ And from there it just went downhill,” said Hill.

At that point, West became enraged and began to beat the victim in front of her 7-year-old daughter, according to police. Hill said she told West she was an Army servicemember and she did not want any trouble.

West threw her to the ground and hit her in the head with his fists and feet, police said. During the exchange, witnesses said West could be heard screaming racial slurs towards the victim.
“He said, ‘You’re an f****** black (N-word) b****,’ is what he said,” said Hill. “Then he punched me in my face. And I fell to the ground and he proceeded to punch in my head and face.”

Many witnesses stepped up to assist police in the investigation by providing written statements as to the events that transpired. Cracker Barrel was also helpful to police in this investigation, Morrow police said.

This case has been referred to the FBI Civil Rights Division for a possible violation of Federal Hate Crime Laws.

Once officers obtained witness statements on the scene and looked at video surveillance from the Cracker Barrel, West was arrested and charged with battery, disorderly conduct, and cruelty to children in the first degree.

West has bonded out of jail.

Watch the video of Ms. Hill and her daughter Shiyenn, being interviewed.

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The President, a Rapper, a Reporter, and Twitter…Hi-Jinx Ensue

Kanye West

Kanye West

The drama over Kanye West’s stupidity at Sunday’s VMAs has reached the White House where it’s causing even more drama.

President Obama’s colorful off-the-record comment about the incident was Tweeted by a reporter:

“President Obama called musician Kanye West a ‘jackass’ during an interview Monday with CNBC, an ABC News anchor reported to his followers on Twitter. But the tweet caused some red faces at ABC, and the network soon apologized for publicizing what had apparently been an off-the-record comment,” Garance Franke-Ruta reported Monday for the Washington Post.

“Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential,” “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran wrote Monday evening. Moran has more than 1 million followers on the microblogging service.

Speaking of Obama and West, maybe the President saw the YouTube mashup of the rapper dissing him ala GOP Congressman Joe Wilson, and thought it was real.

Now if we could only get him to call a Republican a jackass. 😉

Anyway, if you haven’t seen the video yet, here it is:

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