Author Archives: rochelleaross

I Got My Mojo Back!

I’ve been sluggish for the past few weeks. I have not been motivated to work-out my body! Now-a-days, exercise is a constant part of my routine to maintain an optimal existence. So for the past few weeks, I’ve mediated and prayed to jump start my momentum! Well, today was that day – I woke-up inspired to go to the YMCA. As a result of my manifestation, I had a good work-out to get my rear in gear! I am so grateful! I feel so good when I work-out!

My motto is: Go hard or go home! Motto 2: Exercise does a body good!

On deck soonKickboxing and the Brooklyn Bridge Boot-camp!


Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,


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BMindful

Lately, I have been in a steady continuum of thoughts. Which is fine, I guess. However, I feel there is a lack of discipline with my relationship with my mind. When I am in engagement with other people, I am at my best of surrendering to the present moment. The challenge becomes, when in the quiet moments I retreat to my thoughts, which for me is a great place to be – however, I have to be mindful my mind is hungry for more stimulus, more food for thought, and because of that I am in constant thought. I know what I have to do (it’s just the discipline of doing it), I have to surrender my thoughts to the universe and be fully conscious of the present moment when I am “All by Myself“.


The mind is the aspect of intellect and consciousness experienced as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination, including all unconscious cognitive processes. The term is often used to refer, by implication, to the thought processes of reason. The Mind manifests itself subjectively as a stream of consciousness.

The mind is frequently synonymous with thought: the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on “inside our heads.” Thus we “make up our minds,” “change our minds” or are “of two minds” about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No one else can “know our mind.” They can only interpret what we consciously or unconsciously communicate.

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,


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Be Beautiful. Be Interesting. Be You.

The essence of being pretty isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being and feeling our most beautiful inside. Traveling to that Zen place of acceptance and inner harmony – The secret of doing that is to accept our imperfections. I prefer to think of them as character elements that make us interesting.

Today, we have more options than ever: We can go from looking casual to looking glamorous, from looking sophisticated to looking outrageous, from fitting in to making a statement. Beauty and style isn’t the only domain to define ourselves – Our splendor should radiant the truth of who we are. Instead of feeling inadequate “I have to live up to the standards of society” – See yourself as a creator of your beauty. The divine lies within us all – Give birth to the beauty within.

Be Beautiful. Be Interesting. Be You.

 


Disclaimer: The cover is a mock creation of Cameroonian photographer Mario Epanya. Vogue Africa does not currently exist.

 

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

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Confused Blogger

I have to admit, I am confused as to the direction I want to take this blog. I have so many thoughts, ideas, questions and conversations to share with the world which has crippled me from moving forward with my blog postings.  Secondly, I spend way too much time on Facebook and I need to reallocate my time to other vectors in my life (i.e., blog postings and reading).  With that, I have decided to just go with the flow.  My first goal will be to post weekly here.  The blog will be my relationship to my existence on earth from spirituality to beauty to wellness to politics to fashion to romance to family and any other rants and raves I will share with you for universal consumption.

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,


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Wondrous Wednesdays at the White House

Today is Wednesday and The Obama’s have the prescription for success when it comes to social engagement. I am looking forward to an invitation to participate in one of the Wednesday events!

 

Obama welcomed the Democratic chairmen of congressional committees and the ranking Republicans on those committees, along with their spouses, to a packed East Room for dinner. About 200 people joined Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives. Obama joked to his guests, that such events were among his only ways to lobby them, yeah I am sure to get that ‘ginormous’ budget passed! The new administration wants to increase agency spending by 8 percent, something fiscal conservatives including his own party caution is not prudent in the current times we are living in.

 

Obama’s approach adopts the Keynesian economic theory: Keynes argued that the solution to depression is to stimulate the economy (“inducement to invest”) through some combination of two approaches: a reduction in interest rates (We are near the bottom of the curve on interest rates), and government investment in infrastructure. Investment by government injects income, which results in more spending in the general economy, which in turn stimulates more production and investment involving still more income and spending and so forth. The initial stimulation starts a cascade of events, whose total increase in economic activity is a multiple of the original investment. I wonder what Obama’s father would advise if he were alive today, since he was an economist. I am still formulating my ideas around this proposed budget and will comment in future blog posts.
 

“It’s hard to move around out there sometimes so I’ve got to bring the world to me,” Obama said to laughter. They dined on mushroom crisps, steelhead salmon, and saffron couscous. What a great menu! As Obama took the soft-handed approach, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel laughingly warned nearby Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has been a critic of Obama’s spending plan: “Don’t be a jerk.” Rahm Emanuel is true ‘gansta’ with his comment!

 

Let’s turn to First Lady Fashion. My favorite segment of writing my blog posts. I adore her look at the Arlington Cemetery on Tuesday for the military women. The sweater, belt, blazer combination coupled with the striped blouse is a definite copy for me as I assemble my pieces together for work and church in the upcoming weeks. Who needs to buy a magazine or go to a fashion show for the latest trends, just look to First Lady Michelle Obama to know what’s HOT!!!

 

 

 

The fancy palazzo pants today inspire thoughts of a genie in a bottle. Work your magic First Lady! You are what the Fashion industry has been wishing for!

 

 

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Stevie Wonder in Performance at the White House

The Obamas honored Stevie Wonder on Wednesday night during a concert in the East Room of the White House held to celebrate the musician being awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

The president candidly discussed the importance role that Wonder played in his own romantic life with the First Lady, calling it “the essence of our courtship,” explaining that if he had not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle would never had dated him, let alone married him.

FLOTUS opened the event, and explained that she grew up listening to Stevie Wonder’s music with her grandfather. Years later, she said she “discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love. Barack and I chose the song, ‘You and I’ as our wedding song.” A chorus of “awws” from the crowd. FLOTUS continued, that Wonder’s music has been connecting with fellow artists and fans for 40 years, adding that he recently performed with the Jonas Brothers, “thrilling a new generation of young girls, including our own.”

He called Stevie Wonder’s music “the soundtrack of my youth,” saying he found in it “peace and inspiration, especially in difficult times.” He then mirrored his wife’s comments, saying: “I think it’s fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship.”

The award was presented, and after a long ovation, Wonder spoke. “President and Mrs. Obama, I’m so excited to know that I was a part of” – he said, pausing for some laughter from the audience. “I needn’t say more.” POTUS, standing to Wonder’s left, sported a broad smile, and then looked down to his wife in the front row.

You got to love our President…”Give it up for Stevie Wonder“! He did not say it once, but twice! I am so proud to be African American.

No long commentary today, the PBS special speaks volumes.

Stevie Wonder in Performance at the White House. If you missed it…Here it is! Enjoy! Watch the full broadcast of “In Performance at the White House – Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder.”

http://www.pbs.org/inperformanceatthewhitehouse/video.php



The second performance of the evening after the opening performance by Stevie Wonder is Esperanza Spalding. She is an upcoming jazz artist, she “kills” it! The girl has incredible vocal and bass/string skills. I am instant fan!


President Barack Obama “big-ups” First Lady Michelle Obama

“Though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” Obama declared to a thunderous round of applause from a packed House.

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Last night was pomp and circumstance for the State of the Nation address delivered by President Barak Obama. It was his first presentation to the joint branches of the Congress and the judicial arm of the government.

He began his speech: Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress and the First Lady of the United States….and then he began to look for First Lady Michelle Obama in the sea of spectators….and in response to his appreciation of her presence she blew him a kiss and said “I love you”. This is truly a love supreme.

stateofthenationmichelleWhy Government?

Obama’s response came Tuesday night: “I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves, that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.”

In contrast, when Ronald Regan took office in 1981, said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” My question to the opposing pundits is why not support the government’s involvement? When a child requires discipline do you as a parent let the child go astray or offer a corrective framework as a preventive action for future results?

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The bullet points are…

The president’s agenda as defined in his address to Congress may have been the most ambitious plan in a generation, can be summarized by four major bullet points:

  1. Restore financial stability by:
    1. stimulating consumer consumption
    2. offering tax breaks to the “middle”
    3. putting America back to work
    4. offering homeowner assistance
    5. cutting the budget in half by 2011
  2. Strengthen education
  3. Promote energy independence
  4. Health care reform

So what evidence of action does President Obama have to draw upon?

President Obama has signed into law a “ginormous”* $787 billion economic plan, an expansion of children’s health insurance coverage and pay equity legislation and it has been about 30 days since he has taken office. Folks it is time individually for us to step up our game! For those that say he is spewing out rhetoric, I say to them it is matched by unequal accomplishment. What contributions have I made to society today? (as I scratch my head) J

*As of this writing the word ginormous just missed the cut to making it into the latest edition of the lexicon! I will be pushing hard the next go round!!

stateofthenationobama_31The State of the Union

The State of the Union is an annual address presented before a joint session of Congress and held in the House of Representatives chamber at the U.S. Capitol.

In recent years, newly inaugurated presidents have delivered speeches to joint sessions of Congress only weeks into their respective terms, but these are not officially considered State of the Union addresses. The address is most frequently used to outline the president’s legislative proposals for the upcoming year.

Since the address is made in the Capitol and during a joint session of Congress, the President must first be invited by Congress to both enter the House of Representatives Chamber and then actually address the joint session. This invitation is customary in form as the speech is now a traditional part of the American political and national schedule.

Delivery of the Speech

A formal invitation is made for each State of the Union Address. The Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives ceremoniously announces the presence of the President, who then enters the chamber to a standing ovation.

Sitting near the front of the chamber are the Justices of the Supreme Court, the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and members of the President’s Cabinet. Customarily, one cabinet member (the designated survivor) does not attend, in order to provide continuity in the line of succession in the event that a catastrophe disables the President, the Vice President, and other succeeding officers gathered in the House chamber. Additionally, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a few members of Congress have been asked to relocate to undisclosed locations for the duration of the speech.

After greeting attendees, the President hands copies of the address to the Vice President of the United States, who is present in his capacity as President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, both of whom sit behind the President for the duration of the speech. Once the chamber settles down from the President’s arrival, the Speaker officially presents the President to the joint session of Congress. The President then delivers the speech from the podium at the front of the House Chamber. Since the 1982 address, it has also become common for the President to honor special guests sitting in the gallery, such as everyday Americans or visiting heads of state.

State of the Union speeches usually last a little over an hour, partly because of the large amounts of applause that occur from the audience throughout. The applause is often political in tone, with many portions of the speech being applauded only by members of the President’s own party. As non-political officeholders, members of the Supreme Court or the Joint Chiefs of Staff rarely applaud in order to retain the appearance of political impartiality.

Opposition Response

Since 1966, the speech has been followed on television by a response or rebuttal by a member of the political party opposing the President’s party. The response is typically broadcast from a studio with no audience. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana delivered the response last night. His delivery was juvenile in tone, lacked leadership confidence and weak on substance. At one point he inferred he was a pre-existing condition. You got to be kidding me? Who vetted his speech, his HMO? Yeah, you got it – the republican virus of the last 8 years….ooops, sorry your claim has been denied.

bobbyjindalWhen his Indian parents immigrated to the U.S. and arrived in Baton Rouge, La., Jindal’s mother was four-and-a-half months pregnant with him. “I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a ‘pre-existing condition,'” Jindal quipped. Unable to afford the delivery, his father worked out an installment plan to pay the doctor.

Desiree Rogers will be the Obama White House Social Secretary

What a fun job to have! I would consider myself the hostess with the “mostess.” I love to entertain. I get such great satisfaction of making certain everyone has a great time around me. It is such a thrill to accomplish this…your guest’s satisfaction with the experience you have helped to create. I also enjoy the details of crafting a memorable event. So in this role as the White House Social Secretary, I am definitely eyeing this position for the future. (*wink*) What is ironic, I attended my company’s Children Holiday party this past weekend and a co-worker asked if I coordinated the effort, passively I was insulted. I bring so much more to the table than coordinating events…I thought! Consequently, event planner is not my role at my company, but I do find myself volunteering for such efforts, because I demonstrate excellent project management skills and behaviors. My creativity is limitless and most often is only controlled by the dollar…I hate when that happens!!!…I had to wean myself away from raising my hand to add-value on cross-functional efforts, as many of these projects are vey time-intensive and compete with my “day job”. So whenever the house is 90-95% complete, I will be at it again, hosting functions at my home in da’ hood, for all to enjoy. I can’t wait!

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So what exactly is the White House Social Secretary? The White House Social Secretary is responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of official social events at the White House, the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States.

The Social Secretary is head of the White House Social Office, located in the East Wing of the White House Complex which is the domain of the First Lady. The Social Secretary plans events ranging from those as simple as a tea for the First Lady and a single official guest, to dinners for more than 200 guests. The Social Secretary works with the White House Chief Usher to coordinate domestic staff and with the Chief of Protocol of the United States, an official within the United States Department of State, to plan state visits and accompanying state dinners. The Social Secretary works with the White House Graphics and Calligraphy Office in the production of invitations to social events.

The Social Secretary works on both the non-political functions of the presidency and the political, coordinating events for the President, the First Lady, and senior political staff. The White House Social Secretary serves at the president’s pleasure and is appointed by each administration.

As reported in November 25, 2008 Chicago Tribune. For those clamoring for invitations to future White House functions—everything from Christmas parties to state dinners—there will be few people more important than Desiree Rogers. Desiree, please include me on the guest list!! I would hate to show up at the White House door….and the doorman tells me…There is no guest list tonight!!! (LOL)

Rogers was raised in New Orleans and arrived in Chicago after picking up an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and an MBA from Harvard. Rogers, is a former Illinois Lottery director, Peoples Energy chief and current president of Allstate Financial’s Internet play, who has been a major social and civic figure in Chicago for years. After a stint at AT&T, Rogers worked for Larry Levy, the restaurant and real estate developer. From there, former Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, appointed Rogers lottery chief. Rogers even attended the 1992 GOP convention as an alternate delegate. Rogers, 49, will be the first African-American to serve in the full-time position, one responsible for organizing and overseeing all White House functions and ceremonies. The Chicago businesswoman will have major clout for such events as the next White House social secretary, an appointment President-elect Barack Obama’s transition office announced Monday. “It will probably be overwhelming, initially, as people want to get into the White House and want to be a part of all this,” Rogers said. “We’re not going to be able to have everyone there in the first year. . . . People are going to have to be a little patient with us.” All I have is time…..8 years, so I am willing to wait for my invitation to be invited to a White House function. “If you do what you are supposed do” in the mortal words of First Lady Michelle Obama. Referring to Barack’s re-election bid in 4 years on the Barbara Walter’s special – Wednesday, 26 November 2008.

The White House’s State Dining Room, for example, can seat only 130 to 140. Despite the limited access to many events, Rogers said she wants to help Barack and Michelle Obama make the White House a welcoming and inspirational place. I admire this approach tremendously. She said she hopes the future Obama home will be a place to showcase the best the nation has to offer for arts and culture, but also be a place that highlights “great minds, great Americans and everyday Americans.”

The Obamas seem highly disciplined. Rogers was coy when asked whether they can also party. “We’ll see, won’t we,” she said. “I think the one thing that is very obvious is that they enjoy life and each other and their friends.” I’m sure they know how to party….but please do not play the Electric Slide music at any of these functions. (LOL)

Rogers was once married to millionaire Chicago financier John Rogers, the head of Ariel Capital Management and another close Obama friend and fundraiser. She has one daughter, Victoria, 18, a student at Yale University. “She just has this great ability to do things world class,” said her former husband, John Rogers, another close friend of the Obamas who will be one of the Inauguration co-chairs.

Rogers said she never imagined she would work in the White House. “I am giddy with excitement. As I look at my career and the work I have done, this is the perfect combination of some of the skill sets that I have,” she said. “I don’t think it can get much better than this.”

Preparing for the next big opportunity

She is wrapping up her duties at Allstate Insurance Co., where she was creating a financial social networking program (see my blog discussion on this topic in a future entry). But she is already studying the Kennedy White House, an administration renowned for its White House functions. “This is not just going to be about the culture and the arts,” she said. “Part of this is reaching out to all Americans.” Yes, please don’t forget to include all the Americans that walk among us everyday, the very people that helped to elevate the President Elect (PEOTUS) to his current assignment.

As reported in the December 1, 2008 Chicago Sun Times, Rogers was in Washington, dining at the home of former Clinton White House Social Secretary Ann Stock to learn more about the position. On Sunday night, the deal was sealed over a meal in the private dining room of the Mayflower Hotel here with Michelle. “During that discussion was when I started to have better understanding of what they had in mind for this post,” said Rogers. And what is that? “This whole idea of having people feel comfortable, and having people be able to, in the warmth of wonderful surroundings, be able to develop relationships that are really deep is really what this is about.” This is spot on!! This is what is all about relating to one another to create change within ourselves.

Another person Rogers turned to for advice is Ann Jordan, who, with husband Vernon are fixtures in Washington society — she is also Jarrett’s cousin as well as a trustee emeriti at the University of Chicago. “One of the things [Jordan] said is, ‘Desiree, you really have to make nice with the people that are working there. They’ve been there for many years.’ ”

This my America, This your America, This is everyone’s America

As reported in Monday, November 24, 2008 New York Times. “Wonderful picnics outside, tree decorating, inviting military families over,” Desirée Rogers, the White House social-secretary-in-waiting, said Monday in a telephone interview. “One of the things that is particularly important for this administration is that we continue along this vein of making it everyone’s America. We are inviting all of America and all of the world to share in that splendor.” In the announcement, Mr. Obama said Ms. Rogers shared his commitment to “bringing people together to achieve results for the American people at this time of great national challenge.”

Barack and Michelle Obama have said they want to be part of life in Washington, and Ms. Rogers will be responsible for helping accomplish that. She will oversee every social event on the White House grounds, from Easter egg hunts to lavish state dinners. Though her plans for the White House are just beginning to come together, Ms. Rogers made one promise. “You will definitely see some new things,” she said. “We’re not going to be super predictable, where everything looks the same.”

President of Social Networking

What a cushy job! Again, this is a role I would take to the next level. I have demonstrated success with the awards, recognition and plaques for my commitment of service as the Board Development chair at the YMCA and in my current role at my company. I enjoy bringing people together to create meaningful connections that add mutual value for all involved.

As reported in Rueters on June 26, 2008. Allstate Appoints Desiree Rogers to Create Social Networking in Growing Financial Services Division. Former President of Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas and Director of Illinois Lottery Well-Respected Civic and Community Leader in the Greater Chicago Region. Allstate Insurance Company today announced it has appointed. Chicago area business and civic leader Desiree Rogers to the newly created position of president of Social Networking for Allstate Financial, a business unit of The Allstate Corporation. She will also be a member of Allstate Financial’s Executive Committee.

Rogers will assume the new role starting in July and report to Jim Hohmann, president and CEO of Allstate Financial. In her role, Rogers will be responsible for building a social network that connects middle-market consumers–often alienated and confused by a myriad of financial products and services–with other like-minded Americans to share experiences, insights, and wisdom. Social networks are a new approach to harness the collective experience of consumers through interactive communities, affinity groups and new external relationships. “The ability to recruit exceptional leaders, like Desiree, demonstrates the strength of Allstate’s reputation, strategy and team,” said Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of The Allstate Corporation. “While sound strategies and great processes are important, it is talented people who will achieve our vision of reinventing protection and retirement for the consumer.” This new position builds on the continued expansion of the Allstate Financial business unit. Allstate Financial offers innovative products to middle-market consumers that simplify the investment process and address growing retirement needs.

Prior to joining Allstate, Rogers was president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, now divisions of Integrys Energy Group. In this role, she launched a range of strategic initiatives to improve customer service and integrate technology into company operations. Previously, she was director of the Illinois Lottery, where she led a reinvention effort that culminated in the launch of the Mega Millions multi-state game.

“Desiree’s strong business acumen and demonstrated leadership abilities combined with her deep civic engagement position her as an ideal leader to accelerate Allstate’s mission of helping working Americans address their growing financial needs,” said Jim Hohmann, president and CEO of Allstate Financial. “Our research shows that middle-market consumers need help planning for their retirement and are often overlooked by financial services companies.”

“I’m excited to join Allstate and look forward to my new role with Allstate Financial,” said Rogers. “The company’s emphasis on reinventing protection and retirement for the consumer is a smart strategy and its product innovation geared to hard-working Americans is inspiring.” A well-known and highly respected business leader in the Chicago area community, Rogers was the first female African-American president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. Rogers serves on two corporate boards: Equity Residential, a $15 billion residential REIT and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. She also sits on the boards of the Northwestern Memorial Foundation, Museum of Science and Industry and The Polk Foundation. She has been named one of the 50 most powerful African-American women in business by Black Enterprise. Throughout her career, she has been regularly featured as an industry spokesperson and business leader in national and local media including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Black Enterprise, Ebony, and Vogue.

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To throw a shoe or not to throw a shoe? – That is the question.

During President Bush surprise visit to Iraq this past weekend – in the middle of the news conference with Mr. Maliki, Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted “this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,” before hurling a shoe at President George W. Bush which narrowly missed him. Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture. Shoes are considered unclean – signifying the lowliest and dirtiest part of the body. The reality is: I do not care what culture you are from, throwing shoes at someone is not welcomed by anyone, this act of disrespect spans all cultural boundaries, not just Arabs. Just put yourself in their shoes – the person that is having the shoes thrown at them. I know Bush policies have not been popular, however he should have been shown some respect.


Let’s move on to the Secret Service. Where the deuces were they? And why didn’t they have his back? What kind of weak nonsense is this? It’s not cool that the President had to duck from danger. Just like the WTC terrorist attacks the second shoe should not have been thrown and someone should have taken Bush off of the stage when the first shoe was thrown! The attacks that are dressed in sheep’s clothing, Americans are never prepared for…shoes, planes…what is next….hamburgers? The guy was lucky that it was Bush and not Cheney standing at the podium, Old Quick Draw McGraw would have fired around that podium and blew his head off.


With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.” Mr Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was then wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away.


First Lady Laura Bush probably has been hurling stuff at him forever, that’s why he has able to do a Matrix move and dodge the shoes.


“If you want the facts, it’s a size 10 shoe that he threw,” Mr Bush joked afterwards. I am surprised Bush didn’t say: Na, Na, Na, Na, you missed me, you missed me, your momma drinks whiskey!!! Al-Baghdadiya’s bureau chief told the Associated Press that he had no idea what prompted Mr Zaidi to attack President Bush, although reports say he was once kidnapped by a militia and beaten up.


This was definitely a courageous act on the part of the correspondent; his convictions underscore our unfavorable standing in the world today.

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First Friends

I found a very interesting article in the Saturday, 13 December 2008 New York Times of how the Obama’s and their close friends plan to stay in touch while he is in office in Washington D.C. What I found very interesting is the support their friends have demonstrated to Barack Obama’s political aspirations. I know how important friendships are to personal development and growth of individuals, so it really warmed my heart to read the story.

Here is one of many friendship theories to consider. Stimulus-Value-Role Model. We select our friends and close partners through a three-stage model, filtering out those who do not fit at each stage. All elements may well be important throughout the relationship, but their relative importance changes. In the stimulus stage, we evaluate the other person in terms of physical attributes. We are generally attracted to people of a similar age, appearance and ethnicity. In the value stage, we compare their values with ours and decide whether we are sufficiently compatible to continue the relationship. In particular, we look at attitudes towards religion, sex, careers, families and gender differences. In the role stage, we share out the activities to build a working relationship. It helps if preferences for these are complementary (you do this and I’ll do that), although role attitudes need to be similar. – Murstein (1970)

I have been blessed with a group of great friends…I don’t know how? (smile)….when at times I can be aloof and tremendously focused at other times…but I’ve been successful at keeping my friends close to my heart for many over the years…We host a Girl’s Night Out in the Spring, Summer and Holiday seasons of each year and I do not miss our get-togethers for the world!….I look forward to expanding the commitment to family gatherings…That is of course, when I get married and have children. At one time we did host a vacation get-together every 5 years; however that has lost steam of over time.

Here is a look at the Obama’s close friends. Last Sunday night, President-elect Barack Obama’s three closest friends — Valerie Jarrett, Martin Nesbitt and Dr. Eric Whitaker — sat down in the study of Mr. Nesbitt’s house in Chicago for one of their increasingly frequent heart-to-hearts.


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They were puzzling over a new question: how the Obamas, who hope to remain close to their Chicago friends, will spend time with them while living in the isolation chamber of the White House. Over Diet Cokes, the three drafted the beginnings of an elaborate visiting schedule that will bring Hyde Park to Washington, so the nation’s new first family can have a little taste of home.

In the presidential campaign, the Obamas had a “no new friends” rule, surrounding themselves with a coterie of familiar faces. Even if the Obamas lift that rule in Washington, newcomers are unlikely to replicate the intensity of this group’s ties, formed over more than a decade by births and deaths, Scrabble games, barbecues and vacations, but also by shared beliefs about race, success and responsibility.

obamafirstfriends3Back when the Obamas were hardly the most prominent members of the group, the doctors, lawyers and businessmen from Chicago became not just one another’s friends but also one another’s supporters, forming a network that eventually helped the politician among them on his way to a Senate seat and then the presidency. Their bonds grew only tighter in the long slog of the campaign.

“We knew Barack running for president would be hard on him and Michelle, but we didn’t realize the impact it would have on us,” said Dr. Whitaker, speaking of the frenetic travel schedule he and other friends maintained to keep Mr. Obama company, the scrutiny they endured and the sometimes disconcerting way that proximity to the Obamas affected their own relationships and careers.

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Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
Abraham Lincoln