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December 21, 2008

2008 – An Unforgettable Year!

michael-phelps-8-medals Recently our 2008 eight-medal winning Olympic swimming champion smoked pot for the first time at a Michigan hotel.  His reaction was a bit boisterous – the stoned Phelps broke all the televisions in his room, but later bought exact replicas so he could replace them before anybody at the hotel was the wiser.  But we have to forgive Mr. Phelps since he’s been in training for most of his 23 years and this is the first time he has let loose.

Not too long ago we learned that Martha Stewart used a hand model for close-up shots in her latest book since she deemed her own hands too wrinkled. 

susan-sarandon-and-daughter Last week the still very, very sexy Susan Sarandon had her first face-lift. Susan is the mother of the statuesque and stunning 23 year old Eva Amurri.

We can’t speak of 2008 without talking politics, politics and more politics.  This year was filled with characters, clichés and catchphrases!

governor-eliot-spitzer-and-prostitute-kristen It started early when Governor Spitzer of New York was identified as ‘Client # 9’ and ended in November when Jesse Jackson Jr. was identified as ‘Candidate # 5’ in the Governor Blagojevich investigation – you can’t make this stuff up!

rahm-emanuel-fist The year also started with a no drama Obama campaign and came full circle with an all drama Rahm Emanuel for Obama’s White House Chief-of-Staff.  Rahm gets the job done and that’s huge. It will be good to have a little ‘safe’ drama in the White House.  It’s only fair since Obama doesn’t give the late shows and comedians food for fodder – Rahm will.

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December 14, 2008

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! The Obamas Picked A Christmas Tree Today…

President-elect Barack Obama has made yet another pick, but this time it’s not for his Cabinet.

Obama President-elect Obama, Sasha and Malia went to a Christmas tree lot Sunday on Chicago’s South Side.

The trio and a friend of the girls hunted for the perfect tree as people gathered across the street to watch. After making their pick, all four headed back to an awaiting sport-utility vehicle.

Obama Obama turned to the crowd and said, “Merry Christmas, everybody!” Then he waved and disappeared inside the vehicle.

The tree will be delivered later on Sunday to the Obama’s home.

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Happy Holiday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama’s Inner Circle – Their Plan To Remain Close

obama-friends-martin-nesbitt-valerie-jarrett-dr-eric-whitaker Obama’s Inner Circle: Left to right – Martin Nesbitt, Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Eric Whitaker

Last Sunday night, President-elect Barack Obama’s three closest friends — Valerie Jarrett, Martin Nesbitt and Dr. Eric Whitaker — sat down in the study of Mr. Nesbitt’s house in Chicago for one of their increasingly frequent heart-to-hearts.

They were puzzling over a new question: how the Obamas, who hope to remain close to their Chicago friends, will spend time with them while living in the isolation chamber of the White House. Over Diet Cokes, the three drafted the beginnings of an elaborate visiting schedule that will bring Hyde Park to Washington, so the nation’s new first family can have a little taste of home.

“O.K, Eric, you need to plan to be in D.C. the first six weekends of the presidency,” Ms. Jarrett, soon to be a senior White House adviser, instructed Dr. Whitaker, he recalled.

In the presidential campaign, the Obamas had a “no new friends” rule, surrounding themselves with a coterie of familiar faces. Even if the Obamas lift that rule in Washington, newcomers are unlikely to replicate the intensity of this group’s ties, formed over more than a decade by births and deaths, Scrabble games, barbecues and vacations, but also by shared beliefs about race, success and responsibility.

Back when the Obamas were hardly the most prominent members of the group, the doctors, lawyers and businessmen from Chicago became not just one another’s friends but also one another’s supporters, forming a network that eventually helped the politician among them on his way to a Senate seat and then the presidency. Their bonds grew only tighter in the long slog of the campaign.

“We knew Barack running for president would be hard on him and Michelle, but we didn’t realize the impact it would have on us,” said Dr. Whitaker, speaking of the frenetic travel schedule he and other friends maintained to keep Mr. Obama company, the scrutiny they endured and the sometimes disconcerting way that proximity to the Obamas affected their own relationships and careers.

“Marty and Eric and I will get together just to talk through experiences we’ve been through,” Ms. Jarrett said. “People are far more interested in us than any of us have ever experienced in our lives.”

And Mr. Obama is not even president yet. Soon they will no longer be the best friends of a newly successful politician but of the most powerful man in the world. Though Mr. Obama’s friends vow their friendships will not change, they all sound a bit worried: that others will try to take advantage, that they will no longer be regarded on their own terms but in relation to Mr. Obama, or that they will say something that will reflect badly on him. For all of their immense pride in the Obamas, for all the dazzle of the campaign and the White House, being a first friend “is not all fun and games,” Dr. Whitaker said.

The Obama social universe is large, multiracial and far-flung, spanning law school buddies, political allies and friends who kept Mrs. Obama company during her husband’s long absences. But the Obamas’ closest friends are the tight bunch from the South Side of Chicago, who never expected to find themselves in this situation.

Like Mrs. Obama, whose father worked for the city water department, most are from modest backgrounds. (When Mrs. Obama directed a student-volunteerism program at the University of Chicago in the mid-1990s, she was employed by the same office for which her mother had once worked as a secretary.) Mr. Nesbitt, now a real estate executive, is the son of a steel mill worker and a nurse; Mr. Whitaker’s mother was also a nurse, his father a bus driver. Like Mr. Obama, they attended private schools on scholarship.

When they arrived at elite universities, they often found they were among the only blacks in their classrooms. In medical school in Chicago, Dr. Whitaker and Mr. Nesbitt’s wife were taken under the wing of Dr. James Bowman, Ms. Jarrett’s father and the first black tenured professor in his department. (Dr. Whitaker also earned a public health degree at Harvard, where he played basketball with a certain lanky law review president with a funny last name.)

“How many African-Americans are there going to be at the University of Chicago?” Mr. Nesbitt said, explaining how he and Craig Robinson, Mrs. Obama’s brother, now a college basketball coach, became close at business school there, years after meeting on a basketball recruiting trip.

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December 6, 2008

President-elect Obama Will Create Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs!

In his weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama said he would invest record amounts of money in a vast infrastructure program, which also includes work on schools, sewer systems, mass transit, electric grids, dams and other public utilities.

Jobs will also include infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, while also pushing a federal effort to bring in new-era jobs in technology and green jobs.

Obama also promises to upgrade computers in schools, expand broadband Internet access, make government buildings more energy efficient and improve information technology at hospitals and doctors’ offices.

“We need action — and action now,” Obama, said in his weekly address to the nation.

 

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November 30, 2008

Dr. Susan Rice To Be Nominated As US Ambassador To The United Nations

susan-rice Susan Rice, a Barack Obama confidant is reportedly the president-elect’s leading candidate for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

ABC News reports that an announcement on Rice will come this week.

The network appears to have an inside track on the story – Rice’s husband, a former Canadian journalist – Ian Cameron, is the executive producer of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Rice, 44, was a member of President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and the former assistant secretary of state for African affairs under Madeleine Albright.

She was, in fact, an Albright protégé and in 1997, advanced ahead of several more senior officials to become one of the youngest assistant secretaries of state ever.

Rice served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama during his presidential campaign. She’s been a vocal critic of the current administration’s stance on Darfur, describing it as a policy of “bluster and retreat.”

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2007, Rice said the U.S. should take military against Sudan if the genocide in Darfur continued.

“Some might argue that it’s unthinkable in the current context,” she testified. “Yet to allow another state to deter the U.S. by threatening terrorism would set a terrible precedent. It would also be cowardly and, in the face of genocide, immoral.”

Rice’s acumen on African affairs would be an obvious asset for the UN position. Roughly two-thirds of all discussions at the UN Security Council regard situations in Africa.

“She was one of the few people to live in the foreign-policy world who understood global issues, transnational issues like human rights, climate change and terrorism,” Tim Wirth, head of the United Nations Foundation, said recently of Rice.

Wirth worked with Rice when she was at the National Security Council.

Rice and her husband married in Washington in 1992 after meeting at Stanford University. They have two children.

Rice worked in Toronto in the early 1990s as an international management consultant at McKinsey and Company while Cameron was employed by the CBC in the same city as a producer.

A Rhodes Scholar, Rice received the National Security Council’s Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, co-operative relationships between countries, and to U.S. security policy for global peace.

The Washington, D.C. born Rice has said that as a young girl, she “dreamed of becoming the first U.S. senator from the District of Columbia.”

Like all U.S. ambassadors, Rice must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The current UN ambassador is Zalmay Khalilzad, who succeeded acting ambassador Alejandro Daniel Wolff.

Wolff temporarily replaced John Bolton, who resigned in the face of poor confirmation prospects after the 2006 mid-term elections returned a Democratic majority.

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November 29, 2008

290,000 Apply For Obama Jobs

pres-elect-conf-first-1 If you want a job in the Obama Administration join the very long line! Approximately 290,000 people have submitted resumes for a job in the President-elect’s administration. Interest in Obama Administration jobs is way higher than in previous administrations.  There are only 8,000 non-career positions available according to the Plum Book – the official list of jobs in a president’s administration.

By comparison, President Bush received 44,000 requests for jobs in 2001 and President Clinton received 125,000 applications for jobs in 1993.

 “You cannot predict what results will come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

Mahatma Gandhi

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Poverty Growing In The Suburbs – No Longer Isolated To Inner Cities and Rural America

Poverty in the United States is no longer predisposed to rural American and the inner city.  Poverty is spreading all across the nation and into the suburbs according to a study by the Federal Reserve’s Community Affairs department and the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

“It shows that concentrated poverty is still very much with us, and that it can be found among a much more diverse set of communities and families than previous research has emphasized,” said Bruce Katz, a director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

“Poverty is spreading and may be re-clustering in suburbs, where a majority of America’s metropolitan poor now live.”

The study was released ahead of next week’s conference on concentrated poverty. The study, by design, did not give an explanation for the causes of poverty but in the past research have linked the growth in poverty to loss of jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

The collapse of the US housing market has produced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and poverty could get worse.

“Not only does concentrated poverty affect the big, older inner cities in the North, but it also exists within smaller cities in the South and West,” said Katz.

The case study shows that poverty is growing in all communities amongst all people – black, white, Latino and Native Americans.

http://www.brookings.edu/

http://www.federalreserve.gov/

http://www.conferencealerts.com/poverty.htm

http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/news.aspx?id=461f4e17-6307-474e-8c8f-f35c79954578

 

 

 

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”

Mahatma Gandhi

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