Tag Archives: Michelle Obama

The President smacks a solid double in speech. Two cute babies boppin’ to the beat. And an unlikely Cuba-America partnership in softball

And a happy Good News Friday to you all; I spent Thursday night wearing out my remote control, flipping between a scintillating U.S. Open match between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro (the last few games of the second set is as good as tennis gets) and the Democratic National Convention.

A few words on Barack Obama’s speech: I thought it was good. A solid double, a 7.5 on a scale of 10.

Not as good as Michelle’s, certainly not as good as Bill Clinton’s. There was a much more sober, clear-headed feel to this Obama speech, and I think that’s a good thing.

Not as much rhetorically beautiful imagery, not as many great one-liners (though his beautiful section about “citizenship” was moving, and he did get a good chuckle out of Mitt’s “borrow money from your parents” bit; truly, mocking Romney is just so easy), but all in all I think he made the case for  why he deserves four more years.
It was a terrific convention for the Dems, with even Joe Biden staying on message and giving a rousing talk.

Now, on to the debates, where I expect Obama to crush Mitt and seal the deal.

**OK, this is too cute for words. My father sent me this video; twin baby girls rocking out to music in their high-chairs. I love it when one looks over at the other one laughing.

**Finally, a story that shows that consensus can be found in sports, even among countries who don’t usually like each other. Four years ago a group of senior softball players from the U.S. went to Cuba to play against a team of senior Cuban stars, beginning what was called “The Friendship Games.”

Until this year, it was always the U.S. squad travelling. But thanks to some diplomatic intervention, this summer the Cubans came to America, playing the U.S. squad in Fenway Park. Listen to this beautiful story on NPR’s “Only A Game;”  in it you hear the joy in the voices of the Cubans, and the gratefulness that’s apparent in the voices of the Americans.

It’s truly a simple, inspiring tale of sports thawing relations just a tiny bit.

 

Michelle Obama, the First Hugger. Good ole’ Mitt offends yet more people. And Jonah Lehrer, fabricator.

Another great night at the Olympics Monday night. Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin, a few months removed from high school swimming season in Colorado, wins her first-ever gold. And to do it 15 minutes after swimming another race is just … mind-bogglingly difficult.
My man Ryan Lochte struggled again, coming in 4th in the 200 free. And did you see this craziness with the South Korean fencer who lost on a B.S. call when the clock froze, and then refused to leave the playing arena? She got totally and completely screwed, did Shin A. Lam. I feel awful for her. Just check out this picture (below):

On a happier note, the above video I saw Monday made me smile. After Team USA’s men’s basketball team won its game over France, each member walked over to where First Lady Michelle Obama was sitting and gave her a big hug.
Really cute stuff.

**Good to see that future presidential loser Mitt Romney continues to insult people all over Europe as he continues his disastrous tour. It’s a good thing people are paying attention to the Olympics, Mitt, and that Europeans don’t vote in our election.

The latest Mitt-saster (I’m trademarking that phrase right now) came in Israel, where Romney said in a speech that “cultural differences” were the reason Israelis were so much more economically successful than the Palestinians.
Sure Mitt, it’s that, AND also the fact that the Israeli government heavily controls the Palestinian economy with taxes and other restrictions.

Look, I don’t expect the Mittster to solve the Middle East problems or anything. But Jesus, this guy is so unprepared to talk about anything except for why Barack Obama is the devil.

**Finally, it kills me as a writer when stuff like this happens, but I think it’s important to publicize it, if only to show that the vast majority of us don’t do things like this.
Jonah Lehrer, an accomplished author and magazine writer for The New Yorker, and a man who until recently was considered one of the best journalists in his field, has been exposed for making up quotes.
Lehrer admitted in an interview that quotes he attributed to Bob Dylan in a recent book, that’s been on bestseller lists, were made up. He either added words to quotes or simply quoted Dylan when the great singer/songwriter said nothing of the sort.

Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker Monday, and his editor, David Remnick, called it a “terrifically sad situation.”

I ask the same question of Lehrer that I would ask Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, Mike Barnicle, and so many others: Why? Why would you do something this monumentally stupid, with so little upside and so much downside if you got caught?

Just another black mark on a wonderful profession.

The black man in the White House hosts a Seder. And a Twitter feed worth you time

Well, I knew there’d be all kinds of firsts in this White House. But this one, I never saw coming.

With it being Passover this week, there are seders being held around the world, as Jews celebrate their heritage, eat matzoh, and see relatives we haven’t seen in a long time.

And at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, home of the first African-American President, there was a seder, too.

Last I checked, Barack and Michelle Obama don’t go to synagogue, nor are they Jewish. But it’s a cool story about how they came to have a seder at the White House. (I wonder if Sasha or Malia found the hidden afikomen this year).

Check out the details from the New York Times here.

**So I’m not really into the whole Twitter thing. Frankly, I think Facebook updates, and this blog, are as far as my friends and family need to go with the minutiae of my life. What would I tweet? “Went to Walgreens tonite, noticed they had Tostitos on sale. Mmmm.” Thrilling.

Fact is, most Twitter feeds are boring. But I found a very useful and interesting one. It’s called Long Reads, and it links to some of the best long-form journalism in newspapers and magazines out there. Long stories are allegedly a dying art since no one has time to read them anymore, except in study after study it’s been shown that people on newspaper sites often click on the lengthiest stories the most.

Anyway, just in the last week on twitter.com/longreads I’ve found a funny Playboy interview with Sarah Silverman, a great Washington Post story about a Muslim-American soldier and his adventures in the wake of the Fort Hood shooting, and a cool GQ story about the CIA.

Check it out if you have time.

Who needs the Olympics, hockey’s back (yay!), and the Letterman shocker

chicagoolympics

So the President of the United States and his wife are in Copenhagen as I write this, desperately trying to persuade members of the International Olympic Committee to award the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago.

My first, second and third questions are, WHY?

Why do we need ANOTHER Olympics in the U.S., a mere 20 years after the last Summer Games (Atlanta), and 14 years after the last Winter Games (Salt Lake, 2002). There is no greater waste of money and taxpayer resources than the Olympics.

I don’t even know where to start with how bad of an idea this is. First, let me tell you that it will cost Chicago taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. Forget about the corporate donations that will fund much of the bid; just to get the Olympics the city council had to vote that any cost overruns (and there are always cost overruns) would be covered by the city.

Ask taxpayers in Sydney, Australia, and Athens, Greece how they feel about the Olympics now, as people in those cities are still paying the Olympics bill, years later.

Then there’s the incredible waste of money on stadiums and buildings that will be used for two weeks and then, pretty much, sit idly by.

There’s also the fact that half the people in Chicago, people who are struggling to hold on to every last cent in this economy, don’t want the Olympics, and don’t want their hard-earned money going into the fat-cat pockets of Mayor Richard Daley’s rich contracting cronies.

Add to that that the joy of dealing with the IOC, one of the most disgusting, corrupt organizations in the world this side of the Mafia, you know, an organization that took bribes from Sydney, and more recently, from Salt Lake City.

Now, I don’t want to make any baseless allegations, but you’re going to tell me a transaction and bid process between Chicago, notoriously one of the most corrupt cities in the world, and the IOC, one of the dirtiest organizations going, is going to be completely, 100 percent clean?

Then there’s the idea that we just had the Olympics here, and shouldn’t they be spread around? What’s wrong with Rio, or Tokyo, or Madrid hosting them? The United States doesn’t have to be at the center of everything, you know.

OK, you get my point. Just as it would’ve been terrible for New York to get the 2012 Games, it’s an equally bad notion for Chicago 2016.

For the first time since I’ve been aware of him, I hope Barack Obama loses something today.

***So, I don’t know how many of my readers are hockey fans, but if you’re nuts about pucks (yeah, that was bad) like I am, here’s a link to my NHL season preview I did for my newspaper. I’m a big New York Rangers fan, and even though they’re going to stink this year (I fear), I’m psyched about the NHL season.

I know a lot of people won’t give hockey a chance, say it’s boring, you can’t see the puck on TV, yada yada yada. I’ve pretty much given up trying to convince people how awesome the NHL is … except I showed a co-worker this video of Alex Ovechkin, the greatest player in the game today, and even he’s interested in hockey now. I have a total man-crush on The Great 8 (one of his nicknames), and I’m not ashamed of it. He’s the most exciting hockey player I’ve ever seen (of course Gretzky was better, I’m just saying exciting) and I try to never miss his highlights each night.

This is my favorite Ovechkin goal ever, though:

**So, shocking news about David Letterman and his sex life, huh? Who would’ve thunk it?  I commend Dave for coming out last night and telling his audience what they were about to read; celebrities always screw this up and forget: If you get out ahead of the story, damage control to your reputation is so much easier.

I’m sure people will be shocked (shocked!) to find out Dave was sleeping with members of his staff, apparently behind his wife’s back. I don’t know why people will be shocked; celebrities are just like you and me, with the same issues and problems, only they’re more talented and successful.

The list of famous athletes I’d be surprised to see involved in a sex scandal? Peyton Manning. Tom Brady. Derek Jeter. Tiger Woods. Roger Federer. That’s about it. Everyone else? Ho-hum.