Monday Open Thread

Anita Baker (born January 26, 1958) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter. To date, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards, and has four platinum albums and two gold albums to her credit.

Baker released her debut album, The Songstress, in 1983. Produced by the late Patrick Moten and Otis Smith, the album was released on a small label, Beverly Glen Records. The album helped launch Baker’s career as it found minor success on the R&B chart. Baker herself co-wrote the album’s opening track, “Angel”.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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53 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Obama Secures ‘Man Most Admired’ Honor For Third Straight Year: Poll

    WASHINGTON — For the third straight year, President Barack Obama ranks as the man most admired by people living in the U.S., according to an annual USA Today-Gallup poll.

    Hey Now!

  2. Ametia says:

    GO SAINTS! :-)

  3. Ametia says:

    The cable stations are all reporting on the middle class and how jobs where abundant in the 1950’s. We know that era there was discrimination against black pepele. The Republican took our jobs out of the country.

    Now white folks are screaming because it’s affecting them.

    That tax cut bill is bigger than the first stimulus, now will those Rethugs and other folks filter it back into the economy? Time will tell.

  4. Ametia says:

    Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 12/27/2010
    Things the chattering class got wrong
    By Jennifer Rubin

    As 2010 draws to a close, the list of items going down the memory hole — the place reserved for mistakes by liberal elites — is long. Before they are gone for good, let’s recount a few.

    “The public will learn to love ObamaCare.” The voters never have, and it remains more than a policy nightmare, with soaring costs and unintended consequences strewn about, a rallying cry for fiscal conservatives. It was a unifying force, but unfortunately for Democrats, it was the independents and conservatives who were bound together in common dislike of a massive new entitlement program.

    “Republicans can’t win because they are unpopular.” In myriad formulations, liberal pundits and activists trotted out that line. It turns out what matters in a midterm election is how popular — and successful — the incumbent party is.

    “The Bush administration erred in being too close to Israel.” This, and a host of other ill-conceived notions, drove the Obama administration and its spinners to argue for a tougher-line against our democratic ally and to raise expectations for a Middle East peace deal. Instead of peace, Obama “achieved” strained relations with Israel and the frustration of the Arab states (who preferred he go after Iran rather than apartment buildings in East Jerusalem). Worse still, he embarrassed himself and delivered a blow to American prestige at a time a robust U.S. presence in the region is most needed.

    “George W. Bush betrayed our values in the war on terror.” That was before Obama largely gave up on the ACLU wish list. Guantanamo remains open. The Obama team vouches for “indefinite detention.” The administration has stepped up the use of drones to kill the enemy and, regrettably, must explain why civilian casualties are a necessary consequence of battling an enemy that hides among women and children. In the reality of war, Obama and his advisers have shed a great deal of sanctimony. Yes, they remain tied up in knots by their own desire to criminalize the war on Islamic terror (a phrase they shrink from using), but in the main they have learned that Bush betrayed nothing — other than utter disdain for those who thought springing a caterpillar on a terrorist or slapping him across the face amounted to “torture.”

    “Obama is [fill in the blank].” The smartest, the coolest, and the best communicator ever — the list was long. But as Ross Douthat writes today:

    The fantasy was the idea that Barack Obama, a one-term senator with an appealing biography and a silver tongue, would turn out to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy and Mahatma Gandhi all rolled into one. This fantasy inspired a wave of 1960s-style enthusiasm, an unsettling personality cult (that “Yes We Can” video full of harmonizing celebrities only gets creepier in hindsight) and a lot of over-the-top promises from Obama himself. It persuaded Democrats that the laws of politics had been suspended, and that every legislative goal they’d ever dreamed about was now within reach. It was even powerful enough to win President Obama a Nobel Peace Prize, just for being his amazing self.

    It turns out he was an inexperienced administrator and a garden-variety liberal, slow to learn that the public was having none of his left-leaning agenda.

    “Iran is more isolated than ever.” How many times has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered that one? In fact Iran has many allies these days — Turkey, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, to name a few. Jordan, the most pro-American of the moderate Arab states (with the possible exception of Morocco) is cozying up to Tehran as well. The Russians built Iran a nuclear enrichment plant. Iran is on the rise,a sure-fire formula for gathering friends in a region that praises the strong horse.

    “Sanctions are working.” Well, if the point of sanctions was to slow the pace of Iran’s nuclear program or to deter its terrorist activities (maybe even to dislodge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from power) sanctions are a bust. (A magnificently clever computer virus and the mysterious likelihood of auto accidents involving Iranian nuclear scientists’ have done far more good.) The purpose of sanctions is not to make the Iranian economy limp, but to make the regime crumble or fear that it will if it does not dump its dreams of nuclear powerdom. The grim dilemma facing the West in 2011 is what to do now that we know (many of us knew this before, but others are catching up) that the regimen is not deterred by banking or oil sanctions any more than was Saddam Hussein. Tyrants rarely are.

    You would think the liberal intelligentsia would, with a record of so many misses on so many consequential matters, become chastened. But no. They are filled with certainty: Obama is back, the recovery is around the corner, Russian “reset” is a success, ObamaCare can’t be repealed, there are no electable Republican 2012 contenders, and more, they tell us. We’ll see if the left’s crystal ball is any more accurate in 2011. But for now, let’s not forget all the things they told as that simply weren’t so.

  5. Ametia says:

    Ed Schultz Explains Why He Doesn’t Have Republican Guests: “I’m Sick Of ‘Em!”
    by Matt Schneider | 3:32 pm, December 26th, 2010

    MSNBC’s tough-talking Ed Schultz discussed on his radio show this past week why his television show never features any Republican guests. Yet whether it’s because Schultz is sick of them, or they were never fond of him to begin with is unclear, since Schultz offers up both possibilities as explanations for his show being dominated by only liberal guests.

    Schultz claimed:

    You do not see Republican senators on The Ed Show on MSNBC. I don’t want ‘em! I don’t want ‘em and I’m getting sick of righties on my show anyway. I’m getting sick, I mean, we might have 2011, there might not be any freakin’ righties. I’m sick of ‘em!

  6. Ametia says:

    This is Michelle Bachman’s district.
    Some Minnesota schools target synthetic marijuana

    December 27, 2010 – AP
    St. Cloud Times

    ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — It can be made to look like tobacco, herbal incense or a typical baking spice.

    But it packs twice as much of the active ingredient in marijuana, and the side effects can be life-threatening. Synthetic marijuana is legal for all ages and typically sold as an incense. Officials are seeing more of it in St. Cloud-area schools.

    Several Minnesota cities have banned the substance, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to temporarily control five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana.

    But St. Cloud school district chemical health counselor Dan Becker said that isn’t enough, because people who make synthetic marijuana can just create a new chemical recipe to get around a ban.

    Becker has become the area’s expert on synthetic marijuana. In his small office at McKinley Area Learning Center, he has dozens of packages of synthetic marijuana that have been taken from students.

    “A year ago you couldn’t find it anywhere,” Becker said.

    But now synthetic marijuana can be purchased in local shops and online. Becker said the use of the substance has expanded quickly because it’s so easy to buy on the Internet.

    Users describe switching from marijuana to synthetic marijuana as like switching from Coke to Diet Coke. The first time they use it, they can get sick or just dislike it.

    “It’s an acquired taste,” Becker said.

    But once users get used to it, they never go back to marijuana, he said. The buzz is stronger, it’s cheaper, and it’s more accessible.

    It’s also difficult for parents to detect. The substance doesn’t have a scent; some manufacturers mix it with fragrances such as strawberry or cookies and cream.

    “How can marijuana compete with that?” Becker said.

    Every maker is his or her own chemist, mixing different chemicals to get the effects they want, Becker said. Then those combined chemicals are mixed with an organic substance so it can be smoked.

    Becker said that makes the drug unpredictable, just like making chocolate chip cookies: Just as there’s no way to guarantee how many chips are in each cookie, there’s no way to know how much of any chemical is in a batch of synthetic marijuana.

  7. Sarah Palin Accuses Conservationists Of Hypocrisy (VIDEO)

    While touring a logging camp with her family on Sunday’s episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” Palin took the opportunity to skewer conservationists who use pencils and paper as a medium to complain about her stance on the environment.

    “Conservationists write me these nasty letters because I support an industry like this,” the former vice presidential candidate said, after taking a chainsaw to an Evergreen Timber tree. “They write me these nasty letters using their pretty little pencils on their pretty little stationary not realizing. Where do you think your pencil and your piece of paper came from, people? It came from a tree that was harvested.”

    On last week’s episode of the show, Palin targeted Michelle Obama for supposedly crusading against desserts with her anti-obesity campaign.

    How dare she call anyone on hypocrisy! Look at her own state of the state address but yet she attacks Michelle Obama. Bitch ain’t the word for Palin!

    We have alarming levels of heart disease, diabetes, childhood obesity – and all of these maladies are on the rise. Now, I won’t stand here and lecture – for very long – but health care reform on an individual basis is often just this simple: we could save a lot of money, and a lot of grief, by making smarter choices.

    It starts by ending destructive habits, and beginning healthy habits in eating and exercise. In my case, it’s hard to slack when you have the ever-present example of an Iron Dogger nearby. But many of us could use a little more time in our great outdoors – and when you live in the Great Land, there’s no excuse.

    Protecting good health is largely a matter of personal responsibility, but government policy can help. Our new Alaska Health Care Commission will recommend changes that affect the well-being of Alaskans far into the future.

  8. Ametia says:

    No time to work out? Donna Richardson Joyner disagrees

    By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
    Next Monday, USA TODAY will launch its eighth annual Weight-Loss Challenge. The theme of this year’s challenge: No excuses. As a warm-up to the series, USA TODAY talks to Donna Richardson Joyner about overcoming excuses and making fitness resolutions.
    When it comes to excuses for why people don’t exercise, fitness fireball Donna Richardson Joyner, 48, has heard them all: People say they do not have the time or money. They feel too old. Too heavy. Too out of shape. It will mess up their hair.

    Say what? Ruin their hair?

    “Some African-American women do not work out because they do not want to sweat or mess up their hair,” she says. “I understand — they were in the salon for three hours. They paid their money.”

    MORE: Exercise is a struggle, even for Jane Fonda

    But she tells women that they may need to get a lower-maintenance hairstyle that is conducive to working out, such as braids, weaves or natural style.

    “Healthy hair comes from having a healthy body,” she says. “What good is it to have your hair looking fantastic and people have to visit you in the hospital because you are not taking care of your body?”

    Richardson Joyner is a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and does a lot of motivational speaking to fire people up about exercise.

  9. Ametia says:

    Julian Assange Signs $1.3 Million Book Deal
    WikiLeaks Founder’s Deal Will Cover Legal Costs for Himself and Website
    Dec. 26, 2010 founder Julian Assange has inked a $1.3 million book deal to cover legal costs relating to his arrest and any lawsuits aimed at his controversial whistle-blowing website.

    The book is to be published in the U.S. by the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group at Random House, and British publisher Canongate.

    In an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times, Assange, 39, said he is writing the book in order to cover his mounting legal fees.

  10. Ametia says:

    Oh please run, Newt, run!

    Daughter says Newt Gingrich’s ‘serious’ about 2012

    By JENNIFER EPSTEIN | 12/27/10 9:31 AM EST
    Newt Gingrich’s daughter says her father may be doing more than just flirting with a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

    “He’s very serious,” said Jackie Gingrich Cushman, an author and syndicated columnist, in an interview with Human Events posted Monday. “Much more serious than he ever has been. And I can tell that because we actually sat down the two of us, for two hours recently — and I don’t think that’s happened since I had children.”

    Read more:

  11. Ametia says:

    Really,is this is supposed to be true, now that Tiem’s Joe Klein has declared it so?

    Joe Klein: Glenn Beck Is A “Telecharlatan” With A “Phony, Professorial Air”
    By Matt Schneider | 3:11 pm, December 26th, 2010

    During a segment on this morning’s The Chris Matthews Show, host Chris Matthews asked his panel to hand out year-end awards. Most of the broadcast was a fun discussion with good-natured praise and jabs for the year’s most notorious political celebrities. However, for the category of who demonstrated the biggest “Chutzpah” of the year, one nominee had guest Joe Klein nearly foaming at the mouth with anger.

    With Matthews’ suggestion of Fox News host Glenn Beck and his decision to host his Restoring Honor rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, Klein let loose on Beck more generally:

    There has to be a word for Glenn Beck. Who is a telecharlatan. And who really, I mean he retires the cup. Not just for that rally, but for this phony, professorial air that he has when he is broadcasting in which he promotes these ridiculous conspiracy theories by John Birch Society nutcakes. I mean it’s outrageous.

  12. Ametia says:

    Future Tea Party Leader? Kid Sticks Tongue Out At President Obama
    » 4 commentsby Matt Schneider | 10:47 am, December 27th, 2010
    President Obama, while vacationing in Hawaii, made a Christmas Day visit to soldiers at a Marine Corps base. Although all the men in uniform were happy to see the President and greeted him warmly, the son of one soldier let Obama know his true feelings. It’s unclear whether the kid was upset about Obama’s willingness to make a tax compromise, his repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or if he was just auditioning for a position as a Fox News Channel commentator.

  13. Ametia says:

    The Year in Gibbs: Top Ten Robert Gibbs Moments of 2010
    by Tommy Christopher | 12:18 pm, December 27th, 2010

    As 2010 draws to a close, it’s time to take stock of the year that was, and since we in the White House press corps might not have him around much longer, I think it’s important to look back on Year Two of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs‘ tenure. While it was a bumpy year for the Obama administration, Gibbs was out there every day, taking the heat and giving some back. As a fourth-row witness to Gibbs’ tumultuous year, here are my selections for the Top Ten Robert Gibbs Moments of 2010.
    Next: #10 – Don’t Make Gibbs Angry. You Wouldn’t Like Him When He’s Angry.

    #9 – Gibbs Holds First-Ever Daily Briefing in the Rose Garden

    #8 – Giving Sarah Palin a Hand

    #7 – A Bet is a Bet

    #6 – Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart, Settle Down

    #5 – Gibbs Passes on Chance to Apologize to BP’s Tony Hayward

    #4 – Nobody Puts the Press Pool in the Corner

    #3 – Taming the Twitterverse

    #2 – Landing in Hot Water for Giving Democrats a Midterm Reality Check

    #1 – Taking on “The Professional Left”



    As if Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) didn’t have enough trouble explaining his affinity for white supremacists in the 1950s and 1960s, his national ambitions suffered another major setback this morning. When it comes to travel accommodations, it appears the right-wing lobbyist-turned-politician isn’t exactly a man of the people.

    The Mississippi state plane, a zippy Cessna Citation with a capacity of 12, is a favorite of corporate executives and the wealthy, and its principal passenger, Gov. Haley Barbour, might easily be mistaken for one of them when he arrives with a small entourage at airports in Washington, Las Vegas or New York, a car and driver waiting there at their disposal.

    Barbour has traveled extensively on the jet, brushing off suggestions from Mississippi Democrats that he give it up in favor of a more modest propeller plane for his travel. The trips, according to a POLITICO review of the Cessna’s flight manifest since 2007, have mixed state business with both pleasure and national politics.

    Some of Barbour’s travel may well have been worth it to Mississippi, a state that is heavily dependent on federal funds. But much of the time, he has used the plane to go to fundraisers for himself and other Republican candidates and committees, to football games and to at least one boxing match — travel that has a less obvious connection to what Barbour, a former top lobbyist in Washington, has cast as his lobbying on behalf of his state.

    In fairness to Barbour, it appears the governor has reimbursed state taxpayers for some of the flights, but only a handful. The result is a picture of a poor state’s chief executive, gallivanting around the country at his constituents’ expense, to the tune of over $500,000, living like the high-priced corporate lobbyist he was for many years — all while slashing funding for services low-income families in Mississippi rely on.

    I suppose it’s one of those “austerity for thee, but not for me” kind of moments.

    It especially won’t help if/when Barbour tries to seek national office.

    Indeed, other governors eying a run for president have been careful to limit their use of state aircraft. As Alaska governor, Sarah Palin famously bragged about selling the Alaska state jet on eBay. Daniels himself has scaled back out-of-state travel for all Indiana state employees. And Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, active on the presidential circuit and vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, typically flies commercial, an aide said.

    I’m fairly comfortable characterizing Boss Hogg’s presidential ambitions as being over before they start.

    Barbour is living high off the hog but slashes funding for Mississippi’s poor. Dirty mofo.

    • Ametia says:

      No surprises here. Another greedy, fat, GOPer, living high on the HOG, and would deny his constituents the rights to affordable housing, clean water, food, and healthcare, all life’s basic necessities…

  15. Ametia says:

    Source: USA TODAY

    Obama is USA’s most-admired man, Clinton most-admired woman

    By Susan Page, USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON — His party may have suffered a shellacking in November’s elections, but President Barack Obama remains the unchallenged champion on another front: For the third year in a row, he is by far the most admired man in America.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues an even longer run, ranked in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll as the most admired woman for the ninth straight year.

  16. Ametia says:

    Straight from Austin, MN!!!

    How the US cemented its worldwide influence with SpamBy Kevin Connolly
    BBC News, Austin, Minnesota
    26 December 2010 Last updated at 02:57 ET
    After all, even when you’re watching a Chinese flat-screen TV and driving an Indian car powered with Brazilian biofuels you almost certainly won’t be wearing Indian-style clothing or humming Chinese pop songs as you go. Or watching Brazilian movies either.

    Next time you see television pictures of an anti-American demonstration anywhere on earth look closely at the crowd. Among the flag-burners you’ll almost certainly see someone wearing an LA Lakers shirt or a Yankees baseball cap.

    My first exposure to American culture came back in the Doris Days of the early 1960s, growing up in a Britain that was still shaking off the lingering effects of rationing and the costs of post-war reconstruction.

    We had Elvis, of course, and Hollywood but the world was a lot less global then. It was still possible, for example, for British recording artists to have hit records by simply recording their own versions of songs that were already hits for American stars on the far side of the Atlantic.

    Spam Central

    But the flagship of American influence in my own life was Spam, the bright-pink pork luncheon meat that was a staple of the British working-class diet for several decades.

    It’s still going strong in many markets around the world – including the United States – and although the odd concession has been made to changing times (it’s less fatty and salty than it used to be) it’s still essentially the same as it always was.

    I had bought a bootleg CD of The Beach Boys’ surfing songs in the remote north-eastern Russian republic of Sakha and had my photograph taken with a goat herder in Djibouti who was wearing a Six Million Dollar Man T-shirt.

    It is an extraordinary form of soft power which will endure even if the looming powerhouses of China, India and Brazil come to overshadow America’s global economic dominance.

  17. dannie22 says:

    Hello all!!

  18. President and family attend church services at Marine base

    President Barack Obama, his family and friends went to church at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the Sunday after Christmas.

    The first family arrived at a chapel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii mid-morning for a multi-denominational service. The Obamas were greeted by clapping parishioners and a band playing “Joy to the World” as they were led to their seats in the front row.

    In his sermon, chaplain Steve Moses asked worshippers to recommit to God in the new year. He also joked that the reason God put him through a recent heart surgery was so he wouldn’t suffer a heart attack while preaching before the president.

    Obama was the first worshipper to take communion, dipping the wafer in wine before placing it in his mouth.

    During the hourlong service, Obama and the other churchgoers sang along to a youth band playing Christmas carols such as “Silent Night” and “Oh Holy Night.”

    Though Obama speaks frequently about his Christian faith, his family rarely attends church services in Washington. The White House says the president hasn’t joined a parish because his appearances would be disruptive to the rest of the congregation, though he does attend private services when he spends weekends at Camp David, the presidential retreat.

  19. Juan Williams: Palin Not On Same ‘Intellectual Stage’ As Obama (VIDEO)

    Juan Williams hit out at Sarah Palin on “Fox News Sunday,” saying she could not match President Obama intellectually.

    Williams was speaking about the potential Republican presidential candidates for the 2012 elections, and decrying them as “weak.” He mocked the idea that someone like Indiana Congressman Mike Pence could go head to head with Obama.

    “There is nobody out there except for Sarah Palin who could absolutely dominate the stage and she can’t stand on the intellectual stage with Obama,” Williams concluded.

    This prompted a chorus of “oooohhhs” from the rest of the panel.

    Why the oooohhh’s? They know damn well Juan is speaking the truth.

  20. Ametia says:

    MEDIA & MARKETINGDECEMBER 27, 2010.As Oprah Network Readies, Team Tries to Keep It Real

    Oprah Winfrey’s new cable-television network will face a stiff challenge when it launches Saturday: meeting high expectations.

    After nearly three years of planning and delays, and start-up costs in excess of $107 million, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is set to air at noon Saturday, replacing cable channel Discovery Health, which is available in about 80 million homes.The network said it expects by the end of its first year on the air to double its predecessor’s target audience in prime-time.

    OWN–a 50-50 venture between Ms. Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc.—is pumping out at least 22 original series next year to …

  21. Obama Praises Eagles For Giving Vick 2nd Chance

    Peter King of NBC reported on Sunday that President Barack Obama recently called Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, to praise the organization for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance.

    According to ProFootballTalk, Obama told Lurie that “a level playing field rarely exists for prisoners who have completed their sentences.”

    King also tweeted that Obama “said too many prisoners never get fair 2d chance.”

    The Eagles signed Vick after he spent 18 months in prison and two months of home confinement for being convicted of running a dogfighting operation.

    Vick earned the Eagles starting quarterback job early this season and is now a candidate for MVP.

    The 30-year-old has thrown 20 touchdown passes, rushed for eight and has a passer rating of 103.6

    • Ametia says:

      Well deserved congratulations. Vick’s done his time, and I don’t want to hear no shit about the poor dogs any more, while that Sno’ Ho’ palin is being glorified for shooting wolves while flying in a plane, and clubbing fish for sport.


  22. Ametia says:

    Hat tip BuelahMan

    Where The White Man Went Wrong?
    Posted by BuelahMan on December 27, 2010
    Indian Chief ‘Two Eagles’ was asked by a white government official, ‘You have observed the white man for 90 years. You’ve seen his wars and his technological advances. You’ve seen his progress, and the damage he’s done.’

    The Chief nodded in agreement.

    The official continued, ‘Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?’

    The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied. ‘When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water.

    Women did all the work, Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex.’

    Then the chief leaned back and smiled. ‘Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.’

    • Ametia says:

      I know, right! I was LMBAO this morning. BuelahMan ROCKS!

    • Ametia says:

      Hitting the lanes
      Obama tries bowling again
      By CAROL E. LEE | 12/27/10 7:44 PM Updated: 12/27/10 7:51 PM

      HONOLULU – On a rainy day in Hawaii, President Obama opted for an indoor sport that made him instant fodder for late-night comedians during the 2008 campaign: Bowling.

      The president left his beachfront vacation compound Monday afternoon and headed to a bowling alley on a nearby military base, where he’ll play a few games with his daughters.

      It’s the fifth day in a row that Obama has gone to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii for activities outside his vacation rental in Kailua. He took his daughters to the beach on the base last week and has played golf on the course there. He also attended church service at the base’s chapel on Sunday and greeted troops in a mess hall on Christmas Day. And he works out on the base’s gym in the morning.

      It’s the first time Obama has been bowling outside of the White House since taking office. The sport hasn’t been the best platform for him over the years.

      His bowling in Pennsylvania during the 2008 campaign brought him plenty of ridicule, some of it from himself. The cameras showed Obama rolling balls into the gutter as he racked up a paltry score of 37.

      Last year in an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Obama recalled his bowling fiasco, saying “it was like Special Olympics, or something.” The offhanded comment was followed by a swift clarification from the White House that it “was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics.”

      Obama also told Leno that he’d been practicing and gotten better.

      “I bowled a 129,” he said.

  23. Ametia says:

    Don’t spin the Civil War
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.
    Monday, December 27, 2010; 8:00 PM

    The Civil War is about to loom very large in the popular memory. We would do well to be candid about its causes and not allow the distortions of contemporary politics or long-standing myths to cloud our understanding of why the nation fell apart.

    The coming year will mark the 150th anniversary of the onset of the conflict, which is usually dated to April 12, 1861, when Confederate batteries opened fire at 4:30 a.m. on federal troops occupying Fort Sumter. Union forces surrendered the next day, after 34 hours of shelling.

    The Civil War has forever captured the American imagination (witness the popularity of reenactments) for the gallantry and heroism of those who fought and died, but also for the sheer carnage and destruction it left in its wake. Anniversaries heighten that engagement, and I still recall the centennial of the war in 1961 as a time when kids with no previous interest in American history were exchanging Civil War trading cards along with baseball cards.

    My neighborhood friend Jon Udis got a subscription to Civil War Times Illustrated, and our regular discussions of sports heroes Bill Russell, Johnny Unitas and Carl Yastrzemski were briefly interrupted by talk about Grant and Lee, Sherman and “Stonewall” Jackson.

  24. Ametia says:

    How did obesity become a partisan fight?
    By Fred Hiatt
    Sunday, December 26, 2010; 8:00 PM

    Is Elmo a Kenyan, too? Or maybe a Socialist? He is awfully red, after all.

    I ask because the Sesame Street puppet recently visited the White House to support “Let’s Move,” first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity. And that campaign has become, in one of the more striking political stories of the past year, the latest battleground in the left-right culture wars.

    It’s never easy for the spouse of a president, who so far has always been a wife, to settle on a signature issue. Choose something trivial, and she’ll be accused of frothiness unworthy of strong and independent womanhood. Choose something more controversial, and people immediately demand, “Who elected you?”

    In that context, the first lady’s campaign would seem to have struck Goldilocks perfection. The obesity epidemic is a genuine public health emergency, with vast implications for the nation’s well-being, economy and even national security. And yet, could anyone really be against children eating healthier food and getting more exercise? Could anyone really object to White House assistant chef Sam Kass trying to interest Elmo in a vegetable-laden burrito?

  25. Ametia says:

    Good Morning Everbody! Happy MUN-dane.

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