12 5 / 2014

Last Friday, the president spoke in Mountain View, CA and while working the ropeline, gave a veteran one of his presidential coins. It was one of those moments that strikes you so I found out a little bit more about the man who was coined last week:

A 2009 photo of President Obama’s Challenge Coin. Courtesy: White House.

WASHINGTON — Charles F. Anderson has been working at the Wal-Mart that President Barack Obama visited today in Mountain View, CA for ten years. He had a front row seat to the president’s remarks about energy efficiency and was in an excellent position to shake hands with him as he worked the ropeline.

Anderson got his handshake and in his brief moment with the leader of the free world, he was coined. 

The practice of the president and other military leaders giving out their “challenge coins” is seen as an honor and receiving one from the president is an even rarer occurrence.  It was something Anderson wasn’t expecting.

“He was shaking hands and he came up to me and I shook his hand and I said thank you for supporting our veterans,” said the Wal-Mart sales associate.  At that point the video shows the president turning to one of his aides and asking for a coin, which he then placed in Charles Anderson’s hand as co-workers cheered around him.   Anderson, who served in Vietnam in the United States Army’s First Infantry Division and saw combat as a rifleman, looked absolutely stunned. He admitted afterwards that he was “shocked” by the move and that the president thanked him for serving the country. 

The coin will hang next to Anderson’s Bronze Star and Purple Hearts.

“It is special. To have the president shake your hand and award something like that.  I never thought about it in a million years.  But I’m very proud of it,” Anderson said. “Never forget it.  Believe me.”

Bita Ryan and Mark Knoller contributed to this report.

01 5 / 2014

"As one of the first openly gay teachers of the year, I am so pleased to be sending a message to our gay youth that there’s a future ahead of them . 30% of all teen suicides are by gay youth and these laws that we’re passing across the states that demean gay people and make our youth feel terrible about themselves need to stop. And I’m very pleased to be the person standing up here and asking for that to stop."

Brett Bigham, Oregon Teacher of the Year’s message to gay youth when speaking at the White House after an event with President Obama

28 4 / 2014


To generalize with abandon, if you had nothing but Harvard guys, the whole show would be commercial parodies about people wearing barrels after the 1929 stock market crash. “Flendersen’s Poverty Barrels, Replacing Clothes Despite Being More Expensive since… Right Now. Formerly known as Flendersen’s Pickles and Suspenders: A Semiotic Exegesis of Jazz Age Excess and the Failings of the Sherman Antitrust Act.”

If you had nothing but improvisers the whole show would be loud drag characters named VIcki and Staci screaming their catchphrase over and over, “YOU KISS YOUR MUTHA WITH THAT FACE?”


From Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I’ve finally gotten around to reading. This is a good thing because, as it turns out, everything in it makes me snort seltzer water out my nose.  

But nothing has made me laugh more than the above passage. I literally could not continue reading for multiple minutes. 

22 1 / 2014

iNews #itsatelevisionthing

  • 1: um so you got a sec for big sister advice...
  • 2: YUP
  • 2: ugh caps again
  • 1: haha someone's in inews

17 1 / 2014

"POTUS: 11:32:53 We know that the intelligence services of other countries - including some who feign surprise over the Snowden disclosures - are constantly probing our government and private sector networks and accelerating programs to listen to our conversations, intercept our emails, or compromise our systems. Meanwhile, a number of countries, including some who have loudly criticized the NSA, privately acknowledge that America has special responsibilities as the world’s only superpower; that our intelligence capabilities are critical to meeting these responsibilities; and that they themselves have relied on the information we obtain to protect their own people."

President Obama during his NSA speech on January 17, 2014

15 12 / 2013

""We teach girls shame. Close your legs, cover yourself! We make them feel as though by being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up-and this is the worst thing we do to girls-they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form." -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Thanks #Beyonce)"

10 12 / 2013

A few shots from inside the Mandela Memorial.  December 10, 2013

10 12 / 2013

President Obama arrives at Waterkloof Air Base for Mandela’s Memorial Service. 

December 10, 2013

09 12 / 2013

The trip begins in the rain. POTUS is motorcading to Andrews. #Mandela

The trip begins in the rain. POTUS is motorcading to Andrews. #Mandela

27 11 / 2013

I found myself in Terminal 3 of LAX Tuesday evening. It’s a strange terminal with a large restaurant and bar called Gladstone’s.

Gladstone’s appears to be the only alcoholic game in town.

I’d eaten before I got to the airport so I attempted to breeze past the hostess and make my way to the bar for one of those beers that you can upsize for ONLY $1.50. (The fine print, of course, is the original sized-beer costs a gajillion dollars but that’s NBC’s problem really.)

But back to the hostess stopping me mid-breeze-by. Yes. She stopped me and told me there was a wait for the bar.

I probably gave her my half-quizzical, half-skeptical face as I said, “For the (pause) bar?”

Yes. A wait for the bar.

I was torn, the purist in me wanted to walk away.

(Unless there was a capacity or fire code issue, I don’t understand discouraging people from spending money.  If I have to stand to exchange currency for a malt beverage, so be it.)

However, the alcoholic in me wanted that d*** upsized beer. So I allowed the woman to put Shawna-party-of-1, on the list.

A moment or two later she looked up at me and asked if a table was ok.

And that’s when I really almost did walk away.

Here’s the thing, the beauty of an airport bar is the ability to talk to people you’ll never see again about God-only-knows-what at any hour the airport is willing to serve you.

At an airport bar on a Wednesday at 8am, if you’re drinking a strong spicy bloody mary, you’re not an alcoholic. You’re in transit.

At 11pm on a Sunday night, if you’re slamming a beer as your flight is boarding just “to help you sleep,” you’re not an alcoholic.

You. Are. In. Transit. (Over-enunciate that line in your head. Olivia Pope-style.)

And as we found out with Edward Snowden, transit zones are no-judgment-wonderlands.

But I’m a firm believer that the magic only works if you’re sharing that wonderland, shoulder to shoulder with Pete from Boston who works in advanced beer distribution systems or Kevin from Chicago who works at the United States’ train system’s version of the FAA.

(Those names have been changed, but the occupations are literally what men I met in an airport bar and shared a drink or few with, did for a living. The names were changed because I don’t remember them. No. Neither of those stories end in a similar fashion to the first episode of Six Feet Under. Look it up.)

Sitting here at this table for one next to another person at a table for one who has obviously found himself in this same odd predicament, I’m sad for the people I may have met and subsequently forgotten.

When you’re all being lushes together, nobody is a lush.


It’s lonely at this table for one. Just me and my comically oversized beer writing this on my blackberry because I still don’t like typing on my iPhone.


And up until this point, I thought an airport bar and a beer and a credit card assured you friends until your flight took off.

Or until you missed it.

You know, due to the conversation and the need for just one more beverage before that crosscountry flight.