Malia and Sasha, eight years ago on a cold November day, we greeted you on the steps of the White House. We saw both the light and wariness in your eyes as you gazed at your new home. We left our jobs in Baltimore and New York early and traveled to Washington to show you around. To show you the Lincoln Bedroom, and the bedrooms that were once ours, to introduce you to all the people—the florists, the grounds-keepers and the butlers—who dedicate themselves to making this historic house a home.George W. Bush's daughters Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush-Hager write an open letter to the Obama sisters.
The Obama's final celebration of American music, Love & Happiness, has been posted to the White House Youtube channel. The 82-minute concert features Jill Scott, Regina Hall, Terrence J., Yolanda Adams, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., BBD, Michelle Williams, The Roots, De La Soul, Usher, and Samuel L. Jackson.
"We’re the Only Plane in the Sky"
Where was the president in the eight hours after the Sept. 11 attacks? The strange, harrowing journey of Air Force One, as told by the people who were on board.
"“A lot of our audiences are kids and teens, and they want to be in on the joke. And they’ll listen again. We’re just a little looser with this stuff than most traditional first ladies.”" -- Michelle Obama, interviewed by Variety.
John McLaughlin, TV Host Who Made Combat of Punditry, Dies at 89 [The New York Times] John McLaughlin, a former Roman Catholic priest who became an aide to Richard M. Nixon in the White House and parlayed his fierce defense of the president into a television career as host of “The McLaughlin Group,” the long-running Sunday morning program of combative political punditry, died on Tuesday at his home in Washington. He was 89. [more inside]
On Monday, the cast of Broadway's Hamilton will be going to the White House today to test a pilot version of its educational program as well as perform a concert of “Hamiltunes” for the kids and the First Family. [more inside]
"For 3 year old Clark Reynolds, Thursday began like most others." Janell Ross on Pete Souza's photograph of Obama and his "little visitor." [more inside]
Jimmy Carter watched a lot of movies when he was President -- more than 400, in fact, ranging from Midnight Cowboy (the first known X-rated movie screened at the White House) to The Bad News Bears. [more inside]
The White House released two Spotify playlists of songs on Friday morning, one for day and one for night, that were hand-picked by President Barack Obama. [more inside]
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced Monday that the White House will take advantage of a loophole in the 1994 law that banned incarcerated Americans from using Pell Grants to pay for college, "developing experimental sites that will make Pell grants available" to prisoners. [more inside]
A never-before-released set of photos show the anxiety of the Bush administration as it reacted to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The documentarian Colette Neirouz Hanna, whose work with PBS has focused on the Bush administration, received the photos in response to a freedom of information request. They were taken by the vice-president’s staff photographer. The full set is on Flickr: 1, 2, 3, 4
Jennicet Gutiérrez writes for the Washington Blade on being removed from the White House last night after interrupting President Obama's speech during an LGBT Pride celebration. [more inside]
The Seven Minutes In 2000 When The Clinton White House Considered Endorsing Marriage Equality (SL Longform Buzzfeed)
"For the sake of argument, here are the best and most reasonable ways to improve [the White House Correspondent's Dinner]." [more inside]
How the deaths of two women who mistakenly drove into high-security checkpoints reveal an intersection of racial and trans bias with fears about terrorism.
Some of the photographs are historic because of what is taking place, but others hopefully give people a more personal sense of who the President and First Lady are
The Department of Justice issued a memo today (pdf) stating that the litigation concerning gender identity employment discrimination regarding transgender Americans working in the federal government will be covered under the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [more inside]
Tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation on steps he will be taking by executive action in an attempt to fix the immigration laws. [more inside]
Obama just came out endorsing net neutrality, and going even further, saying the FCC should reclassify the Internet as a utility. Here's the full plan.
The United States Secret Service finds itself deep in turmoil, with Director Julia Pierson resigning this week after an increasingly alarming series of security failures and oversights in the agency's role protecting the President of the United States. Pierson had been widely criticized for scaling back security around the White House, during international summits, and a recent visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She startled supervisors with her view that the Secret Service needed "to be more like Disney World. We need to be more friendly, inviting." (multiple WaPo links) [more inside]
The Complex City Guide has a bit of information on 15 possible headquarters for the Illuminati, but it's a slideshow with limited information, and there's a lot of information out there, so let's get into it. [more inside]
This indignant map exposes the seamy underbelly of 1890s Washington, D.C., naming and locating “saloons” and “bawdy-houses” in the so-called Murder Bay neighborhood, located east of the White House. The Library of Congress, which holds the map, tells us that it’s a newspaper clipping from the 1890s, without a known author or publisher. (Slate.com)
The William Jefferson Clinton Library has been releasing, in batches, thousands of pages of previously classified documents.
Live, from Washington, D.C., out of 2500 submissions, it's the 16 official selections of the first ever 2014 White House Student Film Festival [more inside]
Mark Danner has been writing a series in the New York Review Of Books: Rumsfeld's War And Its Consequences Now
A bare two weeks after the attacks of September 11, at the end of a long and emotional day at the White House, a sixty-nine-year-old politician and businessman—a midwesterner, born of modest means but grown wealthy and prominent and powerful—returned to his enormous suite of offices on the seventh floor of the flood-lit and wounded Pentagon and, as was his habit, scrawled out a memorandum on his calendar:[more inside]Interesting day— NSC mtg. with President— As [it] ended he asked to see me alone… After the meeting ended I went to Oval Office—He was alone He was at his desk— He talked about the meet Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]
Fans of "The West Wing" will recall the season one episode where Leo McGarry forces his staff to participate in "Big Block of Cheese Day" by listening to the complaints of everyday people who visit the White House. Well, it looks like that fiction is becoming a reality.
In 1978 President Jimmy Carter invited Vladimir Horowitz to play at the White House for his guests and the Public Television viewing audience, here it is in its entirety. (1:07:55) [more inside]
The President turns 52 on Sunday, and the White House has compiled 52 photos to celebrate (slideshow). There's a good combination of serious, familial, and funny. My favourite: Obama and gymnast McKayla Maroney not being impressed.
Helen Thomas (Previously and Previously and Previously), who covered ten different administrations in her 49 years in the White House Press Corps (and maintained her rabble rouser image with both Republican and Democratic administrations), has died at age 92.
"In the early 1800s, a hammer was kept near Plymouth Rock for the pilgrim who had forgotten to bring one. By the end of the 19th century, what was left of the rock was fenced off within a memorial." "The United States, it turns out, was a nation of casual plunderers from the start. Visitors to Mount Vernon snapped splinters from the moldings; beachgoers in Massachusetts chiseled off chunks of Plymouth Rock; tourists snipped fabric from the White House curtains. By the early 19th century, newspapers were referring to illicit souvenir hunting as a “national mania.” " [more inside]
First Ladies: Influence and Image is a C-Span series covering the entire history of the US through the eyes of the First Ladies that have occupied the White House.
As the NYT reported in 1948: The ceiling of the East Room, elaborately done in the frescoes of fruits and reclining women and weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging six inches on Oct. 26, and now is being held in place by scaffolding and supports.... But it took the $50,000 survey authorized by Congress to disclose the fact that the marble grand staircase is in imminent danger. Supporting bricks, bought second hand in 1880, are disintegrating. So in 1950 a renovation began: this is what the White House looks like completely gutted. [more inside]
"In a long-awaited leap forward for open access, the US government said today that publications from taxpayer-funded research should be made free to read after a year’s delay – expanding a policy which until now has only applied to biomedical science." [more inside]
Obama, DC Press Corps Locked In Mutual Loathing Pact. Mike Allen, of Politico, in his article Obama, The Puppet Master, said that Obama " has shut down interviews with many of the White House reporters who know the most and ask the toughest questions." John Cook (Gawker) replies: I will now tweet every question Politico's Mike Allen asked President George W. Bush during a May 2008 interview" (Screenshot) [more inside]
US citizens petitioned the White House to "secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016" (previously). The White House (or, more specifically, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget) responded.
We know the Obamas planted a vegetable garden in 2009, bringing back the tradition of a White House Vegetable Garden (7:44 YT video), and Barack has home-brewed beer. The White House then released the recipes for their honey ale and honey porter, but what of the other White House recipes? Here are some modern Thanksgiving recipes, but what about the rest of the year? Our White House provides a glimpse into past White House kitchens, menus, and recipes, but that's still too thin. More than 50 White House recipes? Still not enough! OK, how about the complete White House Cookbook from 1887 (on Archive.org, also on Project Gutenberg and Google books). Vintage Recipes has kindly provided a tidied up table of contents and recipes for quicker browsing, but be warned, the techniques are dated, and some of the household tips are a bit questionable. More on presidential gastronomy, previously.
After much online fervor, speculation, and FOIA requests, the White House has released the recipe for its home-brewed honey ale and honey porter.
Revealed: The president [or someone affiliated with him] brews his own beer, and brings it with him on the road. [more inside]
Baked salmon, oyster rolls, codfish cakes, Baptist cakes, cream of corn soup, green turtle soup, scootin-long-the-shore, Plymouth succotash, Indian pudding, beggar’s pudding, flummery, syllabubs...
The NYT reports on how a Secret 'Kill List' tests Obama's principles and will [more inside]
One of only two American players on the 2010/2011 Boston Bruins team, goaltender Tim Thomas skipped a White House event to honor the team's Stanley Cup championship victory for political reasons. Reactions have been numerous and mixed.
The Obama White House formally speaks out against SOPA, PIPA. The Obama White House has come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The move has -- unsurprisingly -- drawn responses from the MPAA, RIAA, and other interested parties.
You asked, The White House answered: "The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race"
"If it hadn't been for you guys, I might not be here..." On November 14, 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges walked by a mob surrounding William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, becoming the first African-American child to integrate a white elementary school in the South. [more inside]
Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).