February 25, 2009 |
Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters spent the evening of Feb. 6 in the presidential box at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., applauding the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Evidently, it was the first family's idea of a fun Friday night out. But in a capital where every presidential inflection and turn of phrase is parsed for glimmers of meaning, that front-and-center display of enthusiasm for one of the "high" or "classic" arts boomed like a 21-gun salute.
October 17, 2009 |
In his early days, Ed Ruscha painted single words that packed a punch: "oof," "slam," "smash," "honk." In the '80s, he took a subtler approach, floating equivocal phrases in painted skies. Consider "I Think I'll . . .," a 1983 piece that has moved into the first family's living quarters at the White House, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The longer you look at the painting, the more words emerge from a streaky red sunset. The phrase "I think maybe I'll . . .," in large block letters, descends from the top left to lower right of the 53 3/4 -by-63 3/4 -inch canvas.
November 6, 2010 |
President Obama's trip to Asia and South Asia has drawn unusual and apparently erroneous criticism that the visit will cost taxpayers $200 million a day. The apparent source of the figure is a Nov. 2 report by the Press Trust of India, a news agency that quoted a single, unnamed Indian official in Maharashtra state. No other news organization appears to have corroborated the figure. The White House does not discuss costs or security measures for presidential trips but said the numbers "have no basis in reality" and were "wildly inflated.
November 28, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- “Joy to All” is the theme of the Obamas' fourth Christmas in the White House, which threw open its festive, fir-draped doors today to the first guests of the season: U.S. troops and their children. Fifty-four live Christmas trees lend color and sparkle to the executive mansion. The largest of the trees is an 18-foot-6-inch Fraser fir from North Carolina that is festooned with ornaments crafted by children on U.S. military bases around the world. Amid the greenery and garlands, another highlight: a gingerbread house, weighing almost 300 pounds, featuring lighted chandeliers and a replica of First Lady Michelle Obama's garden.
April 15, 2009
Re "Obamas' puppy is out of the bag early," April 12 The Obamas have taken "limousine liberal" to a new level. They promised their daughters a puppy if they moved to the White House and, while they discussed rescuing a mutt, they in fact received a purebred Portuguese water dog from the Kennedy family, pledging instead to make a financial donation to the D.C. Humane Society. The dog is absolutely adorable and has received worldwide media coverage, which will probably drive up demand for the breed exponentially.
May 10, 2009
Janis Cooke Newman's essay on Mary Todd Lincoln ["In Mary's Footsteps," May 3] contains the kind of sloppy journalism that makes one question her entire piece. She writes that the "Buchanans were slow to move out of their presidential quarters, so, like the Obamas, the Lincolns spent the weeks before the inauguration at a Washington hotel." The new president does not move into the White House until after the inauguration; the outgoing family leaves the morning of the ceremony. The Obamas stayed in a hotel before the inauguration because the outgoing Bush administration had scheduled a series of going-away parties and tributes at Blair House, where the incoming president and family have traditionally stayed before the swearing-in.
April 25, 2010 |
Do you have a charitable giving plan? President Obama placed a spotlight on charity when he published his tax return information recently, showing a vast array of causes supported by the First Family. While that strategy may be wise for the Obamas, who have the means to donate generously and can use their high-profile giving to highlight the many causes that need money, it's not a good approach for most ordinary folks, experts say. In fact, when ordinary people give small gifts to dozens of different groups, it may be a tell-tale sign that their giving is off the cuff, rather than strategic.