Monthly Archives: December 2008

Times Square New Year’s Eve 2008


The new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is a 12 foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous Balls, and weighs 11,875 pounds.  Covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS, the new Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns producing a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.

The organizers also announced that the new Ball will become a year-round attraction above Times Square in full public view January through December.

The first New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square was in 1904.

For the 37th consecutive year, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009 will lead America into the New Year when Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest host specials starting at 10:00 p.m., ET, Wednesday, December 31 on the ABC Television Network.


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Florida Highwaymen ~ Legends in their own time

Florida Governor Charlie Crist chose image of a painting done by one of the original Highwaymen, James Gibson of Ft. Pierce, for the governor’s holiday greeting cards this year.

The Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee is home to 22 of James Gibson’s paintings. Gibson completed Nightscape I, the painting featured on the card, about a year ago for Crist. It depicts a palm tree on the bank of the Indian River.

In the early 1950’s through the 1980’s a group of twenty-six African-American artists painted beautiful landscapes that displayed the serene, undeveloped Florida landscape of their time.

During that time, they were sold around Florida for about $25.00 each, $35.00 tops. Today they could be worth thousands.  Many tourists as well as Florida residents purchased them.

These artists are known as the  Florida Highwaymen and because of the tranquil scenes and history involved, their original paintings are highly demanded by collectors and enthusiasts.

They used vivid and bright colors in their paintings, sometimes using house paint, I am told, to display the beautiful untouched Florida landscape. They painted wind-bent palm trees, serene sunsets, churning oceans and bright red Poinciana trees.

See another account Here.

The Highwaymen Winter Event will be held in Mt. Dora, Florida, on January 10, 2009, where some of the artists, including James Gibson, will be appearing.  Free admission.

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Obama lawyered up for interview with federal authorities

It’s Christmas and everybody’s busy and occupied with other things, but some pretty significant events have taken place in the past week.

For one, on last Thursday, the FBI – that’s right, the FBI – interiewed President-elect Obama, and close associates, Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel and each were represented by private counsel.

And then on Tuesday, December 23, a report by White House counsel Greg Craig was released more or less declaring no problem with respect to Obama, Jarrett, Emanuel, and the other two mentioned in the report, David Axelrod and Dr. Eric Whitaker.

But, as I said, on last Thursday, December 18, the President-elect was interiewed by federal authorities.  And it’s, oh, well, as if he coughed.     NBC New York says:

Obama was not under oath, but he was represented in the FBI interview — as well as throughout the internal review — by Bob Bauer, the shrewdly pugnacious Washington super lawyer who represented Obama’s campaign. Each of the four Obama associates referenced in the internal report also retained attorneys, although only Emanuel and Jarrett sat for interviews with U.S. attorneys and FBI agents.

Valerie Jarrett who was interviewed by federal authorities on Friday, December 19, was represented by Vince J. Connelly, a partner in the Chicago office of Mayer Brown and former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel, interviewed on December 20, hired W. Neil Eggleston to represent him.  Eggleston served as an associate White House counsel under President Bill Clinton. A Washington defense attorney at Debevois & Plimpton, Eggleston represented former White House Political Director Sara Taylor during the federal probe into the 2006 dismissals of federal prosecutors.

It is unclear who represented Axelrod and Whitaker.  The report does not say, and transition sources said they did not know.

According to Politico,  they tried to contact Obama’s lawyer, Bauer, the day the internal review was released but he hung up on the reporter and then forwarded all calls to voice mail.

Some are calling for an independant investigation since the report Craig made was only one side of the story.

I mentioned in a previous post, Obama, Jarrett, and Whitaker are together in Hawaii on an extended Christmas vacation, and Rahm Emanuel is in Africa.

Posted:  12.25.08

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Obama/Blago Report Released (Updated)

The Obama/Blago report of the internal review was released about 4:30 p.m., as promised.  It is in the form of a memo to President-elect Obama, from White House Counsel, Greg Craig, dated December 23, 2008.

The report contains accounts of President-elect Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, and Dr. Eric Whitaker.  Mr. Craig states that these accounts were communicated to the Office of the United States Attorney in interviews that were conducted last week and that the release of the report was delayed at the request of Mr. Fitzgerald.

The interviews with the federal prosecutors took place over a period of three days:  Thursday, December 18, 2008 (President-elect Obama); December 19. 2008 (Valerie Jarrett); and December 20, 2008 (Rahm Emanuel).

Dr. Eric Whitaker, a family friend, was asked for information by a member of the Governor’s circle and that account has been included in the report, even though Dr. Whitaker is not a member of the transition staff.

The complete report here.

Eric Whitaker is a new name to me.  Some interesting facts are reported by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times on October 28, 2008, in an article entitled “Obama’s pal Eric Whitaker, his Tony Rezko tie.”

Their friendship began when they were graduate students at Harvard University. Now, Whitaker is one of Obama’s closest advisers.

Whitaker, 43, of Chicago, often travels with the presidential hopeful on the campaign trail and has vacationed with him in Hawaii. There’s talk Whitaker could be in line for a federal appointment if Obama becomes president.

Five years ago, Obama, then an Illinois state senator, gave a “glowing” reference for Whitaker to Tony Rezko, the now-convicted political fixer who helped Gov. Blagojevich find people to run state agencies. Blagojevich hired Whitaker to be the state’s public health director.

For the rest of the story Click Here

Friends of Barack – The Inner Circle

Good synopsis and screen print of the report at The Smoking Gun.

UPDATE:  Just read that Rahm Emanuel is in Africa, perhaps on Safari and, of course, Barack Obama is in Hawaii.  Could they have gotten any further away from the mainland as this shoe drops?   They should both be here to answer any and all questions about this.  I don’t think this delay, dodge, and sidestep is the hope-n-change that was promised.  The President-elect and two of his closest advisers being questioned by federal investigators is big news and it will not go away.  This should be all over the news.  But I shouldn’t be surprised it is being played down, they will cover for them.

UPDATE 2:  Well, darn, how did I miss this.  Whitaker and Jarrett are in Hawaii with Obama.

A Hawaii vacation over Christmas and New Year’s Eve has become a tradition for the Obamas and the families of three of their closest friends, Martin Nesbitt and his wife, Anita Blanchard; Eric Whitaker, and Valerie Jarrett. Obama contemplated a run for the presidency in Oahu over the holidays in 2006, telling reporters at the time that he would reveal his decision after he returned.[More Here]
Posted:  12.23.08  Updated:  12.23.08   Update 2:  12.24.08


Filed under Barack Obama, crime, Human Interest, politics, President Elect Barack Obama, Rod Blagojevich, Uncategorized

Ooo Baby


Barack Ready for Swim in Hawaii Yesterday

See more pictures Here

Posted:  12.23.08

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Obama Blago Report to be Released at 4:30 Today

Okay. I am waiting for the long awaited report. Where is it? CBS is reporting it will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET today. Could we wait any later? Merry Christmas, America. Now, just go back to sleep. All is well. I’ll have two hot dogs and a couple orange sodas.

We now have a time for the release of today’s report from the Obama transition team on interactions with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. A Democratic official told CBS News’ Maria Gavrilovic that the report will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The timing is based on an agreement with the U.S. Attorney, who said they didn’t want the report released last week when the transition office said it was completed.

Posted: 12.23.08

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President-elect Plays Golf in Hawaii

Blow by blow and moment by moment.  President-elect Obama golfs in Hawaii.  All is well.

Meanwhile stateside – Bitter cold, snow, ice.  USA in recession.  Bankruptcy and bailouts abound.  Foreclosures and layoffs rise.

Flash back to Hawaii – Have a good day.  I’ll have a couple hotdogs and an orange soda.

Merry Christmas, America.

Pool Report – No. 3
Waimanalo, Hawaii
Dec. 21, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama finished his afternoon golf game about 5:30 p.m. local time, five hours after arriving at Olomana Golf Links.
There is no word on Mr. Obama’s score or any of the others in the foursome.
But half-way through his 18 holes, as he stopped by the snack bar, he unexpectedly bumped into the pool sitting outside the club house. Asked how his game was going, he smiled and conceded: “I’m not that good.”obamagolf
He chatted for a moment, telling the pool to have a beer and put it on his tab. No one took him up on the offer.
As for Mr. Obama and his group, a snack bar clerk later confirmed that he purchased two hot dogs, two spam musubi, two passion orange sodas, one Powerade and one coke, for a tab of $17.75. The spam musubi, a local luncheon specialty, consists of spam and a fried egg on a bed of rice, all held together with a dried seaweed wrap. (Visualize a very big sushi role, slightly larger than a Hostess Ho Ho.)
The golf course was located in the Windward community of Waimanalo, about 20 minutes from Waikiki. The 18-hole course, a par 72, is set against a backdrop of the Ko’olau Mountain Range. The public course, according to marketing materials, features challenging holes of water hazards, sand traps and undulating topographical conditions.
The pool held near the clubhouse for the duration and did not watch the president-elect play. The motorcade rolled out of the golf course at 5:42 p.m., with Mr. Obama seen on his cell phone, as he made his way back to the Kailua vacation house

Evening plans? Uncertain.

Jeff Zeleny
New York Times

Posted:  12.22.08

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