July 24, 2015
IN THREATENING Congress once upon a time, President Obama said he had a pen and he had a phone. He vowed to use the phone to organize people to light a fire under Congress and use the pen to veto any bill it sent him that he didn't like. He can keep the pen, but maybe he ought to lay off the phone. There's a simmering controversy, mostly on the right, concerning who gets the phone calls - and who doesn't. Making a call to the president of Kenya in April to express condolences for the massacre of 147 people at a college by Islamist terrorists seemed to be OK, but it did open the door a crack for the loons who continue to insist he was born in Kenya.
July 7, 2015 |
There are now enough people officially running for president to qualify for a TLC show. But while the entrance of Donald Trump and New Jersey's Chris Christie could add a little punch to "18 Candidates and Counting," the 2016 election is still 17 months away. For now, I'd rather the men and women seeking our nation's highest office were spending a little less time on our TV sets and a little more in front of their own. Because, like it or not, television is the national pastime.
June 14, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - House Democrats delivered an embarrassing rebuke to President Obama on Friday, blocking a trade bill that he hopes can help solidify his legacy just hours after the president made a personal appeal for support on Capitol Hill. Using a legislative twist that seemed appropriate for the strange alliances that formed in the fight, the House stalled a plan to give Obama "fast track" authority - negotiating power that supporters say is critical to sealing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
April 29, 2015 |
DEESHA DYER has come a long way from her days of handing out free condoms at Fluid and other local nightclubs. These days, instead of trying to persuade partygoers to get themselves tested for HIV, she's in charge of all of the social functions at the White House. Yeah, you read that right. The White House as in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. As the new White House social secretary, her job is to work closely with first lady Michelle Obama to compile guest lists for opulent dinners honoring visiting dignitaries such as Chinese President Xi Jinping, who's coming in September.
April 18, 2015 |
Deesha Dyer, a 37-year-old Philadelphia native, has been named the new White House social secretary, Michelle Obama announced Thursday. She replaces Jeremy Bernard, the first male social secretary, who recently announced that he would leave the post. Dyer, who was Bernard's deputy, started working at the White House in 2009 as an intern in the Office of Scheduling and Advance. The social secretary helps to coordinate state dinners and official visits to the White House, among many duties.
April 3, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - You can sit down and talk basketball with Brett Brown 24/7 without hesitation. But the 76ers coach doesn't prefer to do that. Though basketball is his livelihood, he is a well-traveled man who graduated from Boston University and is very informed about all sorts of subjects. He feels a real importance to interact with his young team on other things besides the game they play for a living. It's why the team organized a trip to the White House on Tuesday. Before last night's game against the Wizards in the nation's capital, players and others from the organization on the tour showed off cellphone pictures of what they saw the day before.
March 10, 2015 |
D AN AYKROYD ducked out from under the cover of his security detail Friday to literally stop and smell the roses at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, his handlers told me over the weekend. The 62-year-old actor and screenwriter was in town Friday for the Flower Show and to promote his Crystal Head vodka, which enjoyed a booth next to the PA Wine & Spirits table inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center (1101 Arch St.). It was no surprise that a seemingly endless line of people snaked around the perimeter of the grand ballroom inside the convention center - each guest waiting patiently to meet Aykroyd and for him to sign a vodka bottle.
March 5, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - Philadelphia-area lawmakers gave a generally warm reception to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress Tuesday, though some Democrats were angered by the circumstances around it. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Pa.) said he entered skeptical about international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and found his view reinforced. "I'm deeply concerned with what I'm hearing," said Boyle, a freshman member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
March 2, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - Sen. Cory Booker has found a signature issue. The New Jersey Democrat has become one of the most vocal and visible advocates for reforming the way the criminal justice system hands out sentences and treats people after they leave prison. After keeping a low profile early in his Senate tenure, Booker has added his voice to a sprawling coalition that includes would-be presidential candidates on the right such as Sens. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R., Texas); two of the most senior liberal voices, Sens.
February 20, 2015 |
Bibi Netanyahu wants to make sure President Obama doesn't ink a nuclear deal with Tehran. Any nuclear deal. In an effort to prevent such a deal, the Israeli prime minister (known at home as "Bibi," not Benjamin) has used unprecedented means to do an end run around the White House. His ambassador to Washington (and right-hand man), Ron Dermer, schemed with Republican House Speaker John Boehner to have Netanyahu address a joint session of Congress - on March 3 - without first informing the White House.