"This is crack cocaine," Bush solemnly announced, holding up a plastic bag filled with a white chunky substance in his Sept. 5 speech on drug policy. It was "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP." In 1989 the White House came up with the idea of having George H.W. Bush hold up a bag of crack on national television in order to illustrate how bad the US drug problem had gotten. They decided to have a drug buy set up in Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White House, to obtain the props for his speech. They contacted a DEA agent who set up a drug buy with a Spingarn High School senior with no prior arrest record, but things didn't go as planned: [more inside]
Q: How many times was George H.W. Bush President? Once you say? Not so fast. On this day 25 years ago, as Ronald Reagan was about to go under anesthesia for surgery for colon cancer, he temporarily gave the V.P. the keys to the country for 7 hours and 50 minutes. It is the first and only time to date, that the Twenty Fifth Amendment has been invoked.
The Sunshine Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to government transparency & accountability, has obtained Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's emails from her time in the Clinton White House & made them available in a handy web application. Browse, read, search & mark those you find interesting for others to read.
One Nation Under Sex. Pornographer and free speech activist Larry Flynt is no stranger to politics, hypocritical politicians, or to writing books on same. But his latest project "One Nation Under Sex", co-written by Columbia lecturer David Eisenbach, and subtitled How the Private Lives of Presidents and First Ladies Shaped America, is nothing less than "a sweeping account of how the sex lives of American presidents have had a tangible effect on American policy and history." Gawker has posted the book's proposal online. [All links SFW.]
First Lieutenant Dan Choi has been arrested after chaining himself to the White House fence. [more inside]
Jane Hamsher is a former Hollywood producer who now heads the Firedoglake family of blogs. Grover Norquist is a long-time conservative activist who has had some influence in conservative politics. Together, they fight... Rahm Emanuel! [more inside]
Computer technicians have uncovered 22 million messages believed lost by the George W. Bush administration. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) and George Washington University's National Security Archive "...reached a final settlement of their long-running lawsuits challenging the failure of the Bush White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to take any action after confronted with evidence that millions of emails had gone missing from Bush White House servers over a two and one-half year period." "Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no emails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen."* "We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved." [more inside]
You like documents? We got documents:
Fox News's bent on the news is well known, but recently the White House has begun actively excluding the network, including skipping Fox's Chris Wallace on a recent round of Sunday morning news shows. “We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction ... that Fox is a traditional news organization.” says White House Depty Communications Director Pfeiffer (as has Press Secretary Gibbs and others). The responses range from concern about an attempt to control the media to a feeling that it's about time. Is it just about Fox's anti-Obama pundits, or is it also about Fox's consistent errors and misinformed viewership? Or is the White House attempting containment so that Fox's ratings-gold style and ideas don't take over the rest of the press?
The White House receives over 60,000 letters to the President every day. A new video from the White House briefly shows the process of selecting the ten of them that the President reads, three or four of which he writes responses to, every day.
It's on Facebook. It's also on MySpace. It even has a Twitter page. The White House is in the 21st century.
After one hundred days, the wait is over: Pete Souza's Gargantuan Presidential High-Definition Executive Flickrdump is here. Warning: If you put it on fullscreen you won't get anything else done for a while.
Open For Questions. Metafilter's Own™ box and klangklangston "skim the White House's Open For Questions, posting the best and brightest queries the American public can manage." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
The first female White House chef, a naturalized Philippina named Cristeta Comerford, was appointed by George W. Bush - who told Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, "I am reminded of the great talent of our Philippine Americans when I eat dinner at the White House." Despite the urging of American food icon Alice Waters, President Obama has left Comerford in charge of the White House kitchens - though he's keeping quiet about it. But on the basis of the wines served at Obama's Inauguration Day lunch, oenophiles are still hoping for change. (more First Food posts here and here )
Will the White House have its own farmer? Back in October, Michael Pollan called upon the president-elect to rip up a 5-acre section of the White House's south-facing lawns and hire a farmer to cultivate it. Over 55,000 Americans have nominated Claire Strader to be that farmer, if the Obamas decide to take up a new Victory Garden initiative. The question now is will they? [more inside]
If you're wondering why whitehouse.gov hasn't been updated since Wednesday, it's because they're still working on bringing the Whitehouse into 2009 technologically. Will it have WiFi? Hopefully they can catch up quickly to what they were used to during the campaign.
President Barack Obama The text of the Inaugural speech will be posted after it's completed. Change.gov is closing up shop; Change has come to Whitehouse.gov.
C. Brian Smith gets invited to dinner at a college friend's house. The father drinks "non beer" and scolds the dog for farting. Smith remembers that he has a joint in the cigarette box in his pocket. One of the sisters "severs the tension by asking her father how many words he screwed up" during a recent speech he gave. Just another family dinner at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Farewell to All That An illuminating and depressing Oral History of the Bush White House from Vanity Fair
NYT: "The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5." [more inside]
The White House Museum’s website offers a fascinating historical chronicle of the interior of the White House. Though the East and West wings are interesting in their own right, it is the evolution of the President’s Residence that offers the most intimate view of the tastes and lifestyles of the various first families. [more inside]
"In its long history, the White House -- just note the name -- has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans." An article that's not quite what you think it is. Read to the end. Just make sure you have a Kleenex handy.
Long discussed, searched for and even relocated, the White House Bowling Alley has been closed to league members since 9/11. The most avid (p)residential bowlers? Lady Bird Johnson and Richard Nixon. (his ball, previously) [more inside]
In a new article in the Washington Post: "The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects". These documents were requested by then CIA director George Tenet, who told 60 Minutes last year (in conjuction with the publication of his book, In the Center of the Storm), ""The image that's been portrayed is, we sat around the campfire and said, 'Oh, boy, now we go get to torture people.' Well, we don't torture people. Let me say that again to you. We don't torture people. Okay?"
In his new book, 'The Way of the World' "Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind claims that, after the Iraq war began, the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein, in an attempt to tie Hussein to the 9/11 attacks."* Suskind writes: "'It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq' and that Iraq bought yellowcake uranium from Niger with the help of al Qaeda. Suskind also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official "that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion." After the fake letter was released in late 2003, press outlets reported it as evidence of a Saddam/al Qaeda link. "Now, if this is true, that blows the lid off al Qaeda—Saddam," said Bill O’Reilly at the time. [more inside]
According to Aviation Today and Universe Week, the US President has been briefed on the discovery of "something more compelling [than the confirmation of water], completing another piece of the puzzle in the search for the correct conditions for life as we know it to survive on Mars". It's not life, or evidence of past life, but it's something. Via Jasohill.
Scott McClellan wrote a book. The former Press Secretary admits some of his answers to White House Press Corps questions were badly misguided. One section of his book accuses George W. Bush of deluding himself about his alleged cocaine use. Of course, part of the blame for the entire mess should fall on the liberal media for being "too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war...".
Tim Goeglein, director of the White House office of public liaison, is a plagiarist.
... and he actually admits it.
... and he actually admits it.
“It is true,” Tim Goeglein wrote to The Journal Gazette in an e-mail. “I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses."Found by Blogger (and MeFi lurker) Nancy Nall.
After recent promising results demonstrating the ability to change mouse skin cells into stem cells, researchers have replicated this change in human skin cells in papers published in Science and Cell (access to full articles requires subscription) . The White House, somehow, is trying to take credit for this. The potential of all this: huge.
"I want those two minutes of my life back." Musique concrète Fred Thompson-style -- a merciless videohack of the candidate's performance at the GOP debate on MSNBC, October 9, 2007. While almost anyone can be made to look foolish edited this way, not everyone was impressed by Thompson's unedited presence at the debate, his TV debut as a presidential contender. Some believe, however, that the former Law and Order D.A. is just the man to "restore the Republican Party to Reagan's default settings."
Clinton White House Spokesman Joe Lockhart does stand-up. Text, or if you prefer there is some audio at the 51min mark from This American Life.
Drowned out by boos, former White House Chief of Staff, Andy Card, receives an Honorary degree from UMass Amherst. (youtube)
Rich Little was selected (vid link on that page is dead) to headline the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, no doubt to avoid the kind of controversy created last year's headliner, Stephen Colbert. Seems like it was also a way to avoid any type of humor as well! Although no video of the event is yet available online (as far as I can see), an earlier YouTube video accurately predicted the result. An example: 5 minutes to set up this ancient, unfunny, joke. I wish I was kidding.
Speaking of the White House Egg Roll... The GLBT organization Family Pride plans to once again fill the annual event with hundreds of gay and lesbian families. What many welcome as a rare opportunity to be included as legitimate American families in a historic national tradition is seen by opponents as the crude politicizing of a children's event.
The dismissals took place after President Bush told Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in October that he had received complaints that some prosecutors had not energetically pursued voter-fraud investigations...White House Said to Prompt Firing of Prosecutors (NYTimes) - Firings Had Genesis in White House (WashPost) [via]
Sampson sent an e-mail to Miers in March 2005 that ranked all 93 U.S. attorneys. Strong performers "exhibited loyalty" to the administration; low performers were "weak U.S. attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc." A third group merited no opinion.
Blacked out text in your newspaper. The White House has attempted to heavily censor parts of a proposed op-ed about Iran. So tomorrow, the NYT will run the op-ed with black redaction marks, and provide a list of non-classified sources for the exact material the administration claims is sensitive.
Keep Bush away from the press. Joe Scarborough (in the news lately for asking rude questions about the President's intelligence) opines that "If George Bush has lost his ability to give a commanding presser, then stage manage him differently. Play to his strengths... Show him only in settings where he is in control." Curiously, while Bush's press conferences have become unsetllingly less coherent in recent days -- even for him -- the so-called liberal media and even the blogosphere have barely mentioned it (perhaps in the spirit of preserving the dignity of the office, like FDR's wheelchair?) Example: watch this video -- what happens at 1:34 or so, right before the President abruptly terminates the questioning? Will Bush in his twilight years, as Foxborough advises, become like Ronald Reagan, protected from public humiliation by his faithful staff?
Pull out a US $20 bill. Take a look at the picture of the White House. See that tree peeking in from the right, the 140 year old elm that's been there since Andrew Johnson? Well, it's gone. Yup. Fallen over, thanks to the soaker summer storms which have been hammering the Mid-Atlantic in recent days. Cleanup has started, but no word on whether the $20 bill will be needing another update.
The Case of the Disappearing Affirmative Action Letters In August 2005, letters written by future Chief Justice John Roberts, dealing with the Reagan Administration's policies on affirmative action, disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The National Archives and Record Administration was so concerned they conducted their own investigation, but their report on the investigation has so many redactions it raises more new questions than it answers about White House lawyers who had unguarded access to the papers.
Rollback. Media critic Jay Rosen rises above the McClellan/"shake-up" foofaraw to put several pieces of the puzzle together and show how the Bush administration has significantly altered the long-standing relationship of the press to the White House. (More from Rosen here.) Another piece that fits: Donald Rumsfeld's bold, frequent, and rarely-challenged assertions that the American press is being expertly "manipulated" by Al Qaeda "media committees" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Scott McClellan resigns; Karl Rove sidelined. (NYT) The promised "shakeup" of the White House begins.
Inside the White House.... brought to you by Something Awful. Elaborate SA put-on, or so insane it must be true? I can't decide. DailyKos summary. [morey]
Intrigues at the White House: Andrew Card, Bush's longtime chief of staff -- the guy who briefly interrupted the President's reading of The Pet Goat one rough morning in 2001 and took heat for the Katrina and Dubai debacles -- is out, replaced by budget director "Yosh" Bolten, the one-time founder of a club called "Bikers for Bush." Meanwhile, is Rove rolling over for Patrick Fitzgerald, and if so, what's the angle?
What is the cost of the war on Iraq? [more inside]
A Peek Under the PR Mask Once in a blue moon, we actually get a peek under the White House's public-relations mask, and this morning it comes courtesy of Peter Baker and Dan Balz , whose front-pager in The Washington Post suggests that Bush's unflagging public confidence about his Iraq policy reflects the work of public opinion researchers.
White House orders The Onion to stop using Presidential Seal. Via The Trademark Blog. see also 18 USC §713
Bush teleconference with troops staged. Nothing in the article says who is responsible for organizing the staged question and answer session, The White House, military officials, or others in the defense department. Just that it infact was staged, and that the troops were coached for 45 minutes prior to the actual teleconference. When Bush, in an unscripted move, asked an officer if he had anything to say, he stammered through a sentence, in stark contrast to the well put together responses to all the other questions, thanking the President and saying, "I like you." More PR from the Bush administration.