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Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 10:28 am
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With weeks to go before her job as secretary of state comes to an end, Condoleezza Rice said Monday she is looking for a new home near Stanford University in northern California, reports the AFP.      

       “I have a place to live temporarily,” said Rice who will resume her academic career at Stanford after Barack Obama becomes the U.S. president on Jan. 20.      

       “I have not really had time to look and so when I get out to California, I will start looking for a place to live,” she said. “But I know I will not live too far from where I work, because I am not a commuter by nature.”      

       For eight years under President George W. Bush, first as national security adviser and then secretary of state, she lived at the Watergate complex in Washington, just a few hundred yards (meters) from her State Department office.      

       Rice is due to take up her new post at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a research center specializing in international relations. She was teaching at Stanford when the Bush administration brought her aboard in 2001.      

       She also plans to write two books, one a tribute to her African American parents at the time of the racially-segregated south and the other on international affairs.      

       “I will write a book on foreign policy as every secretary of state is obliged to do,” she said. But the second one might have to simmer for a while because it “has been such a turbulent time and such a consequential time that it may take a little reflection,” she added.      

       “I want to write a book about my parents who were incredible people and emblematic really of a whole generation of black parents who just were not going to let their children be held hostages to segregation,” Rice said.       

       “And so they just invested and invested and invested. And so I want to write about that,” said Rice, the only child of a couple from Alabama and the first African-American female secretary of state.



Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 9:42 am
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Washington officials have released a list of items that will not be allowed at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration for security reasons.


      Among them, no strollers near the U.S. Capitol, no tents on the National Mall and no Silly String along the parade route, according to the Associated Press. Also, thermoses, coolers and backpacks are out at both the Capitol and the parade route.


       “The tightest rules are reserved for the lucky 240,000 ticket-holders, who get to sit closest to the swearing-in ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol,” reports the AP. “There are understandable prohibitions on weapons and pepper spray. But you also can’t carry an umbrella. And don’t think about holding up any “Yes We Did” signs — posters also are not allowed.      

       “The rules aren’t so strict on the National Mall, where most people will end up because tickets aren’t required. Officials have said everyone will be checked, but they haven’t said what that will entail.      

       “People won’t be able to see much, except what’s on Jumbotrons, but they can bring all sorts of stuff. Besides the obvious no-nos — firearms, explosives, fireworks — the only bans are on alcohol, tents and glass bottles.”

How about some Obama Extra? No prob. Here’s the Prez-elect enjoying some down-time on vacation in Hawaii. We won’t mention the obvious. We’ll leave that to you. 🙂  What we really want to know is how did the pap get the shot?



Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 10:06 am


Barack Obama and his family arrived in Oahu over the weekend for a 12-day vacation before he takes the oath of office next month.


       According to the Associated Press, the president-elect plans to keep a low profile during the break, with no formal events of his schedule. Aides said Obama will continue to have business meetings and intelligence briefings as he prepares for Inauguration in January.      

       Obama has spent recent weeks at a breakneck pace, barreling through appointments. During the last week, Obama met reporters every day to announce his picks for Cabinet posts, rounding out the bulk of his top economic, national security and domestic policy officials in his forthcoming administration.      

       Still unfilled are his picks for CIA director and national intelligence director, along with other sub-Cabinet appointments. Aides say the president-elect would continue working on those as he left behind his home in Chicago.      

       Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two young daughters spent most of the 10-hour, nonstop flight from Chicago in the front cabin of the United Airlines plane, according to the AP.  Younger daughter Sasha wandered back to visit with Secret Service agents in the back of the plane, within view of the roughly two dozen journalists making the 4,200-mile flight to the Pacific islands.      

       The family during past years spent the December holidays visiting Obama’s maternal grandmother, who died Nov. 2, before Obama’s historic Nov. 4 victory. The Obamas are expected to have a private memorial service for Madelyn Payne Dunham, who helped raise him, early this week.



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 9:47 am
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Rihanna will be in Washington D.C. next month with hundreds of other celebrities who are taking part in various inaugural balls following the swearing in of Barack Obama.


       The pop star will headline the Recording Industry Association of America’s Presidential Inauguration Charity Ball, to benefit Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.


       Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, tells People.com: “We could not be happier that Rihanna will be performing at the Inauguration charity ball to benefit Feeding America.       

       “Rihanna’s involvement will help raise awareness about the prevalence of hunger in America and help bring more aid to the 36 million Americans who do not always know where they will find their next meal.”       

       Elsewhere on the night of Jan 20, Sting will be performing at the Creative Coalition ball, while Kanye West is said to be in talks to perform for the Impact Film Fund, according to People.com.



Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 9:44 am
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The epic election that made Barack Obama the first African-American president was the top news story of 2008 — followed closely by the economic meltdown that will test his leadership, according to U.S. editors and news directors voting in The Associated Press’ annual poll.


     The campaign, with subplots emerging throughout the year, received 100 first-place votes out of 155 ballots cast for the top 10 stories.

     Two other political sagas — the history-making candidacies of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin — also made the list.


     The vast economic crisis, plunging the U.S. into recession and ravaging many business sectors worldwide, was the No. 2 story, receiving 49 first-place votes. The precipitous rise and fall of oil prices was No. 3.


     The top story of 2007 was the massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech University by a mentally disturbed student gunman.


Here are 2008’s top 10 stories, as voted by AP members:


_1. U.S. ELECTION: Obama emerged from Election Night as a decisive victor and a symbol for the world of America’s democratic promise. But he reached that point only after a grueling battle with Clinton for the Democratic nomination and then an often-nasty showdown with the McCain/Palin ticket in the run-up to the election.


_2. ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The bad news kept coming — collapses of Wall Street giants; huge stock market losses; plummeting home prices and a surge of foreclosures; desperate times for U.S. automakers. It added up to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and will cost the federal government well over $1 trillion in various rescue and stimulus packages.


_3. OIL PRICES: The global economic angst produced hyper-volatile energy markets. The price of crude soared as high as $150 a barrel in July before crashing to $33 this month. In the U.S., the average price for a gallon of regular gas peaked at $4.11, then plunged below $1.70.


_4. IRAQ: The much-debated “surge” of U.S. troops helped reduce violence after more than five years of war, but Iraq is still buffeted daily by bombings, ambushes, kidnappings and political uncertainty. A newly ratified U.S.-Iraqi security agreement sets a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal by 2012.


_5. BEIJING OLYMPICS: China hosted the Olympics for first time, drawing praise for logistical mastery and condemnation for heavy-handed security measures. The games themselves were rated a success, highlighted by the record-shattering performances of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt.


OBAMA BITS December 18, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 10:33 am
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Time magazine has announced that President-elect Barack Obama is its 2008 Person of the Year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. “In one of the craziest elections in American history, he overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions and the racial divide to become the 44th president of the United States,” the magazine said. Click here to see never-before-seen photos of Obama in Time’s pictorial: “Obama: The College Years.”

      *By the way, one of the photos (below) from Time’s pictorial of Obama’s days at Occidental College in LA’s Eagle Rock district, would lead you to believe that the prez-elect was snapped smoking a blunt. Even though he’s admitted to doing a doobie or two back in the day, this photo of a young, cool, hip Obama is really showing him puff puffing on a plain ol’ cigarette, according Time magazine’s Rick Stengel. So, no Rush Limbaugh, it’s not what you’re thinking or hoping.

       *Meanwhile, Obama said Wednesday he wants very badly to discuss the investigation into charges that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich schemed to sell his Senate seat to the highest bidder, but has been told by the U.S. attorney to keep quiet for another week. “There’s been a lot of speculation in the press that I would love to correct immediately,” Obama told reporters. He said his team is “abiding by the request of the U.S. attorney” to not release the results of his internal investigation, already compiled, until next week. “It’s not going to be that long,” Obama said. (Related article: Some Pundits Not Buying Obama’s Protests on Scandal)


       *Barack Obama announced Wednesday his choices of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to lead the Interior Department. “It is time for a new kind of leadership in Washington that’s committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all of our families,” Obama said in a news conference, his third in as many days to announce Cabinet choices.


       *It was reported late yesterday that Obama plans to choose a second Republican for his Cabinet in a press conference scheduled for later today. Illinois congressman Ray LaHood will reportedly be named transportation secretary. He’ll join defense secretary Robert Gates (a holdover from the Bush administration) as the lone Republicans in Obama’s Cabinet – so far.      

       *Comedians Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook and Paul Rodriguez were reportedly invited to perform at various inauguration events in Washington. The New York Post reports: “We’re told they’ve been practicing their punch lines at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. Chappelle said: ‘The economy is so bad, terrorists are bombing their own countries because they can’t afford to come here.'”       

       *Patti Austin says she will definitely be performing at the Inauguration, although “she can not announce exactly where or what event she will be performing at,” according to an email from her camp. She says she’ll sing “We the People,” a tune penned specifically for Austin by the songwriting team of Marilyn and Alan Bergman. “[It] is the perfect tune to celebrate this new chapter in all of our lives,” says Austin.


       *Jailbreak Toys is offering a Barack Obama doll in time for Christmas. The six-inch action figure is priced at $12.95 and, according to gossip blogger Janet Charlton, “are flying off the shelves at stores in New York.” Click here to order.  



Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 11:14 am
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U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will travel to their historic swearing-in ceremony by train to kick off a series of events for inauguration week.      

       Organizers said Obama and his family will begin the day-long journey on Jan. 17 with an event in Philadelphia. He’ll then board a train and travel to Wilmington, Delaware, where he’ll pick up the vice president-elect and his family, before they head to Baltimore, and finally Washington D.C.      

       Organizers say the rail trip is the “final leg” of Obama’s journey that began on the steps of the Old State Capitol in his home state of Illinois, to end on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where he will be sworn in Jan. 20.      

       Event planners also say the trip will help make the inauguration more accessible for those who cannot travel to the nation’s capital, where large crowds are expected to attend the event.