The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was first established in 1920 to ensure better communication between the president and the press. Initially—and given the patriarchal nature of American society “back then”—only men were invited to attend.
Thank goodness President John F. Kennedy refused to attend in 1962 unless women were invited. Otherwise, this would have been nothing more than another Washington sausage fest… in a city still full of them, no less.
These days, the “Beltway gala” (or “nerd prom”) is used to raise money for journalism scholarships. The press and the Prez are always in attendance, but today’s event includes celebrities from Hollywood, sports, music, current events… you name it.
And it is always very entertaining. Take the event this past Saturday, which was no different and showed just how humorous our sitting president can be.
Being President of the United States is hard enough, but doing so without a sense of humor is even harder—just ask Gerald Ford, even though he only endured it (and us him) for a limited time. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for President Barack Obama, whose own brand of humor resembles mine in that it tosses the appropriate zingers but focuses primarily on self-targeted joking and self-inflicted wounding.
Check out some of the things he had to say.
ON HIS APPEARANCE: “These days I look in the mirror and I gotta admit: I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”
ON THE SEQUESTER: “Republicans fell in love with this thing. And now they can’t stop talking about how much they hate it—it’s like we’re trapped in a Taylor Swift album.”
ON THE HISTORY CHANNEL BEING ABSENT FROM THE DINNER AFTER THE DEPICTION OF SATAN IN “THE BIBLE” WAS SAID TO RESEMBLE THE PRESIDENT: “That never kept Fox News from showing up—they actually thought the comparison was not fair to Satan.“
ON CNN: Obama said that he admired their “commitment to cover all sides of the story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate.”
ON HIS REMARK THAT KAMALA HARRIS WAS THE COUNTRY’S “BEST-LOOKING ATTORNEY GENERAL”: “As you might imagine, I got in trouble when I got back home. Who knew (Attorney General) Eric Holder was so sensitive?”
Of course, the President wasn’t the only person who got in on the act. Comedian Conan O’Brien reprised his 1995 role as host and promised guests “two minutes of jokes, then 40 minutes on public employee pension reform.” And actor Kevin Spacey delighted the crowd with a spoof clip of his show House of Cards, only this was called House of Nerds.
The clip claims to be “secret footage” of how the Correspondents’ Dinner is planned and includes Spacey as his Majority Whip character from the show, Frank Underwood. It is hilarious and I strongly urge you to view it HERE.
All in all, Saturday was a good night in Washington because people lightened up, forgot about their political agendas and power trips, and spent some time laughing at each other. Famous people abounded, including John Legend, Sofia Vergara, Psy (even though I hate that song and dance… you know the one), Katy Perry, Matthew Perry (no relation) and Claire Danes, who stars in one of President Obama’s favorite shows, Homeland. And during a difficult time in our nation’s history—one that includes terrorism, natural disasters and other tragedies—this event reminded us all of one very important thing:
Sometimes you just have to stop and laugh. And sometimes, that’s all you can do.
Mere days after writing about the release of Paul Kevin Curtis—the man originally thought to be responsible for the Ricin-filled letters sent to President Obama, Senator Wicker and Sadie Holland—and apologizing to him for thinking him guilty (“Sorry, Paulie!“), it now appears that the real poison pen pal has been caught.
Actually, Curtis deserves a lot of the credit since the person he identified to police as being capable of framing him turned out to be “the guy”: James Everett Dutschke of Tupelo, Mississippi.
The 41-year-old was arrested by federal authorities at his home on Saturday morning and gave up without a fight. Dutschke has been charged with possession and use of a biological agent as a weapon and is scheduled to appear before a judge on Monday.
And I’m no expert, but I suspect an assassination attempt against the President will more-or-less guarantee his conviction and subsequent long-as-Hell prison sentence. If he isn’t executed, I mean.
How Dutschke came to possess Ricin remains to be seen. And his motive is also unclear since his prior exposure to Curtis was so limited—Dutschke once worked for Curtis’ brother, but that was back in 2010.
Details about this bizarre case will undoubtedly continue to emerge—hopefully soon as I find this story quite interesting—but the important thing is that no one was hurt and Curtis was exonerated.
Sure, he believes the US government is involved in a conspiracy to trade human body parts on the black market, but when did that become a crime?
“Well, I don’t eat rice, and I don’t have any rice in the house.”
This was the response given by Paul Kevin Curtis when cops burst into his Corinth, Mississippi home on April 17th and asked him about Ricin, the poison derived from castor beans that was discovered in letters sent to President Obama, Senator Wicker of Mississippi and Sadie Holland, a Lee County judge in the same state.
In fact, Curtis didn’t even learn what Ricin was until Tuesday, when the charges against him were dropped, he was released from jail and returned home to research the toxin online.
New evidence came to light recently and whatever it was supported Curtis’ claim of innocence. Law enforcement officials suspect he was framed for the crime and are now investigating “persons of interest.”
The first is James Everett Dutschke, a Tupelo man Curtis identified as a possible culprit who once worked for his brother. The men have not interacted for several years, though, so I’m not sure why Curtis dropped his name so quickly.
I’m sure he has his reasons.
At the moment, Dutschke has not been identified as a suspect. And he did allow the FBI to search his former martial arts studio, so he seems to be complying with authorities. This is likely standard procedure—and others will undoubtedly be investigated soon—but stay tuned to your favorite news source. It’s only a matter of time before this case gets blown wide open. I can feel it.
I also feel something else, and that is sorry for jumping to the same conclusions as many Americans. Paul Kevin Curtis is innocent and not at all the monster the media—and even I—made him out to be. Damn media manipulation.
My bad, Paulie. Won’t happen again.
On Tuesday—only a day after the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon—two letters arrived at Washington postal facilities established after the Anthrax mail scare of 2001. One was addressed to President Obama, the other to Senator Roger Wicker, the conservative Republican from Mississippi.
Preliminary tests on the letter to Wicker indicated the presence of a deadly poison known as Ricin. This natural protein is derived from castor plant seeds and can kill anyone who ingests, inhales or injects it. In fact, an amount the size of a pin head is enough to prove fatal to any exposed person. And to date, there is no known cure.
In other words, if you are exposed to it, then you will probably die. Some patients who ingested the substance made full recoveries—since the poison essentially lodged itself in their digestive tracts and could be treated more effectively—but most are exposed through inhalation and have no chance. I’m sure that’s what the perpetrator of this crime was hoping would happen.
Around the time Wicker’s letter was discovered—which incidentally tested positive for Ricin at a lab in Maryland—mail handlers at the White House noticed a suspicious substance in a letter addressed to President Obama. They immediately sent the letter for testing, but results aren’t expected for a day or two.
We all know what those results will say, though: Ricin!
As if the Boston bombings weren’t enough, it now looks like even more havoc is being wreaked by unknown terrorists, either domestic or international. And it’s hard for me to believe these two acts aren’t connected in some way, which worries me even more. If this is true, then it seems as if the people behind them are “amping things up” in an effort to harm as many people as possible. Could there be even more attacks in the coming days?
God, I hope not.
This Ricin scare is especially worrisome not because of who was targeted—I’m sure the President and other politicians are threatened all the time—but because it intensifies the fear and doubt already present in our society following the tragedy in Boston. We’re fortunate that these letters were sent to such high-profile people because they were screened more effectively and discovered before they could hurt anyone. Could the same be said for letters sent to regular Americans, though?
I doubt it. And I certainly hope there aren’t any more Ricin-filled envelopes floating around out there. Please take extra care when you go to your own mailbox. And never, under any circumstances, should you open mail from an unknown sender. Better safe than sorry, after all.
Details about the letter sent to President Obama should be released soon, and I know they will confirm the presence of Ricin because let’s face it, whoever sent them was a coward. Instead of taking steps to affect positive change, this individual chose a different, much darker path. And when he, she or they are caught, I know the perfect punishment:
A last meal with a nice, frosty Ricin milkshake to wash everything down. Now that sounds like justice.
If the man in this photograph looks a little like a slightly aged President Obama doing a bad impression of Mister Spock‘s father on Star Trek, then imagine viewers’ shock when he appeared as Satan in The History Channel’s hit series The Bible last Sunday evening.
Incidentally, this is not President Obama. It’s a famous Moroccan actor named Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni. And believe it or not, but he has portrayed the master of all evil in numerous Biblical productions.
Too bad viewers weren’t aware of this before they started lighting up Twitter and other social networking sites with complaints and other general outrage. Even conservative Glenn Beck noticed the similarity when he tweeted his followers that night.
“Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?”
Producers of The Bible, which include Survivor creator Mark Burnett and his wife, former Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey, were quick to dispel Obama-as-Satan rumors and to label the controversy as “utter nonsense.” A short time later, the History Channel released the following statement:
“History Channel has the highest respect for President Obama. The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
If you also consider that Burnett donated to the Obama campaign in 2008 and the Democratic National Convention in 2009, then claims of Satan being cast to look like the President are even more far-fetched.
It’s simply a very strange coincidence.
Even Glenn Beck chimed in Monday to help calm the storm: “Media—relax. Actor has been in similar roles b4. Funny, nothing more. For different reasons, #TheBible is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching.”
The resemblance is uncanny, though. Don’t you think?
Last October, I wrote an article entitled “No Eagle Scout For You!” after hearing about Ryan Andresen, a young man who revealed his homosexuality and was quickly denied the Eagle Scout award he worked so hard to achieve.
This decision by the Boy Scouts of America illuminated a long-standing policy of excluding gays from joining, participating or providing leadership in this 100-year-old youth organization. It also sparked a national debate about gay rights that tapered off a little during the holidays, but has once again been thrust into the spotlight.
Today, the governing board of the BSA will vote on whether or not gay members should be allowed into their organization. And since many of the chapters are sponsored by religious organizations–more specifically Christian groups–it should be an interesting meeting with a lot of spirited debate.
The final decision, however, remains to be seen. I suppose we’ll all have to wait until later to see if anything will actually change. And I, for one, hope it does.
If you ask me, President Obama said it best during a recent interview with Scott Pelley from CBS News: “My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life.”
I couldn’t agree more. And although I’ve expressed this before, I can’t help but reiterate something that, to me, seems obvious and fundamental.
As Americans, we pride ourselves on being a diverse nation where everyone has access to the same opportunities (i.e. The American Dream). We also have a Declaration of Independence that states “all men are created equal” and share the same rights, including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Am I now supposed to believe that this applies only to heterosexual Americans?
After the recent shooting of all those poor schoolchildren in Connecticut, everyone started to focus on our Second Amendment rights and from what I can tell, no one ever suggested we alter our Constitution. Since I can only assume a change in our Declaration of Independence is “off the table” as well, then we need to find a way to treat all of our citizens fairly, don’t we?
I know a Boy Scouts of America decision to include gays won’t solve all our nation’s problems with regard to equality, but it would be a step in the right direction.
And who knows? Perhaps this will be the impetus for more inclusive laws and policies in the future.
We have to start somewhere…
On Monday, President Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term as America’s first black Commander-in-Chief. He also made history by being only the second president to be sworn in four times, the first being President Franklin Roosevelt, and the only second-term president to be sworn in four times.
Is there no end to what this man can accomplish?
Sweeter still was Obama’s inaugural address, which linked America’s past with its future and took hard lines on a number of important issues. In what was the best speech I’ve heard him give, Obama reminded us of America‘s founding principles as well as the responsibility we all have as citizens of this great nation.
“We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action,” he said. “We are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together.”
The word together was key since Obama’s first term was characterized by partisan division, bickering and a general unwillingness to support anything put forth by our Democratic president.
I was also impressed by some of the issues Obama touched on in his speech, which included gun control, women’s rights and climate change. Obama was also brave enough to mention gay rights, the first president ever to do so in his inaugural address. And what he said struck a chord with me and many others, to be sure.
The president made direct reference to “our gay brothers and sisters” and then did something I wish more people would consider before they judged those with different sexual orientations: he reminded us again of our founding principles. Obama said that gay Americans should be treated “like anyone else under the law–for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. And I have always believed that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” applied to all Americans, not just heterosexuals. It’s time we start holding everyone to the same standards that make our country great. And let’s face it: our founding fathers didn’t omit anyone, so why should we?
Personally, I am excited about the possibilities for the next four years because we have nowhere to go but up. And presidents always seem to get more accomplished during their second terms since re-election is off the table. All I ask is that instead of strengthening our divisions, we focus on banding together to accomplish all of our goals. It will take a team effort to get out of the mess we’re in, so let’s put politics aside and try something unprecedented: cooperation.
Lord knows, it’s been lacking for the past four years!
If a petition receives at least 25,000 signatures in 30 days, then the White House is obligated to review and respond to it.
Well, a petition inspired by Star Wars has reached this signature threshold and should hear from the White House soon. The petition asks the federal government to “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.”
Of course, the reasoning behind the petition is sound given the current state of the economy: “By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration and more, and strengthen our national defense.”
I’m not sure how the administration will respond, but it sounds like a good idea to me. After someone gives me my own Millennium Falcon, that is.
When you think of death, and trust me when I say this is something I try to avoid in most cases, it is often difficult to equate it with anything but morbidity and depression. However, the Grim Reaper obviously has a sense of humor and I personally feel it’s healthy to explore the lighter, more hilarious side of our ultimate demise. I am obviously not alone as people all over the internet have explored the lighter side of death in endless forums. Nevertheless, I would like to throw my hat into the ring and remind everyone that even in the most grim circumstances, there is some “funny” to be found.
Let’s start with that final announcement that comes when you push up daisies: the obituary. Here are some of my favorites from around the web:
“Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.”
“He was born in a log cabin… and was circumcised with his dad’s pocketknife.”
“Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.”
“Loren… passed away of complications from MS and heartbreaking disappointment caused by the Kansas City Chiefs football team.”
“He was a connoisseur of root beer and bacon, searching far and wide for varieties he had yet to try.”
“When his family was asked what they remembered about Fred, they fondly recalled how Fred never peed in the shower—on purpose. [He] sadly was deprived of his final wish, which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a double date to include his wife, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to crash an ACLU cocktail party.”
“Louis bought the farm, having lived more than twice as long as he had expected and probably three or four times as long as he deserved. Lou was a daredevil: his last words were ‘Watch this!’”
“Her regular emails to family were often unintentionally hilarious as her typing was spotty and her typos were legendary. She was a difficult mother and a horrendous mother-in-law. She will STILL be missed.”
“In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asked that donations be sent to the American Cancer Society or to the campaign of whoever is running against President Barack Obama in 2012.”
Even more entertaining are some of the gravestones people select to adorn their final resting places. Check out this gallery of some of the more strange, funny and bizarre ones to be found:
The video of his speech to wealthy donors included a comment where Romney basically accused 47% of Americans of being “victims” who expect the government to help because they “refuse to take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
As if losing the election weren’t punishment enough, it now seems that Romney will receive one final slap in the face. According to the non-partisan Cook Political Report, it appears that Mitt will end up with roughly 47% of the popular vote, compared to 51% collected by President Obama.
You don’t have to be a numerologist to realize that 47% will likely haunt poor Romney for the rest of his life. If only he had remembered that in the age of technology and global connecti0ns, everything you say is liable to hit the Internet faster than a bullet train…