Archive for January, 2009

The President Embraces Technology

January 24th, 2009

I love a lot of things here. I love that the President of the Untied States embraces technology and posts his weekyl address on YouTube. I love that within this weeks address, he says “hold my administration accountable” for his plans. And I love there is a PDF download right under the video, outlining in more detail the plans proposed and benchmarks with which to measure success.

Kayla and Barack

January 20th, 2009

My beautiful and brilliant 9yr old niece Kayla had her story published today in the Daily Herald. She met him at his Chicago campaign headquarters over the summer, and the Daily Herald asked today for her story…

We asked you to tell us what Barack Obama’s inauguration as president means to you, and you responded with eloquent essays, poems and even paintings commemorating this moment in history.

‘Even when you’re important, you’re still like everybody else’

By Kayla Cook

When I met Barack Obama, he told me to work hard in school and dream big dreams.

I got to meet him because my Uncle Pete Dagher was running the Chicago Obama headquarters.

Me, my mom and my dad went there one night. I was really excited because he was a United States senator running for president.

That day at camp, we had an activity. We made bracelets out of a red, white or blue pipe cleaners and red, white and blue beads for the Fourth of July. I chose blue. And I did a pattern of blue, red and white beads.

We also made posters. Mine said, “Obama Rocks!” because I knew I was going to go to the headquarters.

When we went there that night, I was sitting comfortably in an orange chair. And then I heard his footsteps. Then I had to stand up. He walked in. I was standing between my mom and dad. He walked right past my mom, who was on my left, and he went straight to me.

All I could see was the bottom of his chin because he’s so tall.

I said, “Hi, I’m Kayla.” He shook my hand and said, “Hello, Kayla.” Then he shook my mom and dad’s hands.

I nervously gave him the bracelet and poster that I made. I wondered if he liked them. He studied them and held onto them.

Then he walked over to a desk, asked for a piece of scratch paper and a pen, and he wrote me a thank-you letter.

This taught me that, even when you’re important, you’re still like everybody else. It’s important to say, “thank you.”

My mom and dad couldn’t believe what they were seeing. My mom was totally caught up in the moment.

Then Sen. Obama said, “Kayla, I’m sure your mom would like to take a picture.” It was like he was cueing her for her lines in a play. My mom took out her camera and took one picture.

I am not surprised that he is going to be president because he was so kind and caring.

On the night of the election, when Barack Obama was proclaimed the new president, my dad told me that it’s an executive order – I have to work hard in school or I’m breaking the law.

• Kayla Cook, 9, is a third-grader at Madison Elementary School in Lombard and the daughter of Daily Herald Opinion Page Editor Anne Halston.

Kayla Cook with Barack Obama   Barack’s note to Kayla

White House website

January 20th, 2009

Shortly after the inauguration of President Barack Obama I visited the official White House website.  It sure didn’t take long for them to transition here…

Whitehouse.gov 1pm central today

CNN and Facebook Inauguration Webcast

January 20th, 2009

Watching a Presidential inauguration is always a fascinating experience for me. Watching a usually somber outgoing President and then looking with hope to the new President always makes me wonder what those individuals are thinking in that moment. 

 I like the pomp and circumstance, the protocol, the orchestrations of an inauguration. It really is remarkable to witness such a peaceful and orderly governmental transition. I watching it on a shaky internet feed from CNN.com through Facebook. Clearly CNN was not prepared to scale their feed to serve the likely millions of simulaneous web viewers. The Facebook side of the event seemed more stable and frankly pretty intrguing in watching my “friends” update their statuses in realtime, mimicing a chat. The CNN video feed was choppy at best, frozen and contanstanly buffering in spite of my T1 connection. The audience for this webcast was probably off the charts; unprecedented, so perhaps they did ok.  But in no way was it a smooth video experience.

Jerry Lewis to get Honorary Oscar

January 15th, 2009

Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review Journal reports…

Comedy giant Jerry Lewis is getting a ceremonial Oscar.

Lewis, 82, will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the 81st Academy Awards on Feb. 22.

He’ll be presented with an Oscar statuette to honor his decades of work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Lewis has been MDA’s national chairman since 1952 and has raised more than $2 billion through his Labor Day Telethon since 1966.

“Jerry is a legendary comedian who has not only brought laughter to millions around the world,” said Academy President Sid Ganis, “but has also helped thousands upon thousands by raising funds and awareness for those suffering from muscular dystrophy.”

The award is given periodically to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.

Lewis, who has made Las Vegas his home for much of his life, joins a list that includes Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Charlton Heston, Danny Kaye and Quincy Jones.

The award is named after Jean Hersholt, who served as president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund for 18 years.

Lewis, who has never been nominated for an Oscar, won a Golden Globe award in 1966 for his role in “Boeing (707) Boeing (707)” for Best Motion Picture Actor in Musical/Comedy.