Jueseppi B.:

“I love Italy in the winter. It is my favorite time. ”

Mine as well. Sicily in off season is even better. Thank you Ms. Cindy for this trip down memory lane.

Originally posted on :

1talia use

San Gimigiano

In winter-time a tourist in Italy is almost a rare sight! Yes it is quite cold, but one can have Palladio’s masterpieces, the canals of Venice, and the Uffizi without the massive crowds. Tourists who have traveled in spring and summer and even in fall, know how rare this is. In fall the Italians travel and things can be quite busy. Jim and I split up for a time in the Uffizi one winter day, and each of us marveled at walking through room after room of masterpieces with not a person in sight. I was greeted like a c-list celebrity by American college students in the Duomo who were studying abroad and were thrilled because, “Oh my God! It’s an American mom!”

I guess they were feeling a little homesick in late January and mom was looking better than when they left! :)

I love Italy in…

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Latest Happinngs From 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


By Jueseppi B.







Orlando Sentinel: ABC News has released photos of Robin Roberts’ interview with first lady Michelle Obama.

The chat was conducted Friday, but it won’t air until Tuesday on “Good Morning America”….

More here




Robin Roberts, left, is interviewing first lady Michelle Obama for ‘Good Morning America.’ Photo credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC








“Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts will interview First Lady Michelle Obama to discuss the third anniversary of Let’s Move! and a new partnership that makes finding healthy, reliable recipes easy for busy parents, among other topics.


This will be Mrs. Obama’s first morning show interview and will air on “Good Morning Americaon Tuesday, February 26.


“Good Morning America” is a two-hour, live program anchored by Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Josh Elliott is the news anchor, Lara Spencer is lifestyle anchor and Sam Champion is the weather anchor. Tom Cibrowski is the senior executive producer. The morning news program airsMONDAY-FRIDAY (7:00-9:00 a.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.






Tonight the First Lady visits Jimmy Fallon…….



Evolution Of Mom Dancing (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Michelle Obama)


Published on Feb 22, 2013

In honor of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Jimmy Fallon and Michelle Obama present the “Evolution of Mom Dancing.”



















From The White House Blog…….



Photos Of The Day:



President Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Feb 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)




Vice President Joe Biden receives a bracelet from Paige Baitinger, wife of fallen St. Petersburg, Fla., police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, following a Medal of Valor ceremony in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 20, 2013. The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder presented 18 recipients with the Medal of Valor, which is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm. Baitinger accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)




President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan as they stand in the West Wing Lobby of the White House, Feb. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)




Speeches and Remarks


February 22, 2013

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan After Bilateral Meeting





Statements and Releases



February 22, 2013

Joint Statement by the United States and Japan




February 22, 2013

Message — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Cuba




February 22, 2013

Notice — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Cuba




February 22, 2013

President Obama Signs Louisiana Disaster Declaration




February 22, 2013

Letter from the President — Concerning Niger




February 21, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama and Big Bird Team Up to Help Get Kids Healthy




Fulfilling our Commitment to Open Government


Lisa Ellman and Nick Sinai
February 22, 2013


Since taking office, President Obama has made clear that his Administration is committed to Open Government—that the Nation is made stronger by making the Federal Government accountable to citizens and by giving those citizens opportunities to participate in their government.


That’s why, in September 2011, President Obama, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and the leaders of six other governments launched the global Open Government Partnership– a global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance driven by citizens and civil society around the world.  Demonstrating the Nation’s domestic commitment to the Partnership, President Obama launched theU.S. National Action Plan on Open Government that same day, saying:

“We pledge to be more transparent at every level — because more information on government activity should be open, timely, and freely available to the people. We pledge to engage more of our citizens in decision-making — because it makes government more effective and responsive. We pledge to implement the highest standards of integrity — because those in power must serve the people, not themselves. And we pledge to increase access to technology — because in this digital century, access to information is a right that is universal.”


In just over a year, the Administration has made significant progress toward implementing the National Action Plan, working closely and in partnership with American citizens and organizations.


For example, with the launch of the White House’s “We the People” petition platform, citizens now have a more powerful voice in government. With the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, and President Obama’s landmark directive extending whistleblower protections to the intelligence and national security communities for the first time, Federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government will receive the protection they deserve.  And, through innovative, accessible platforms like data.gov, the government is unleashing more information than ever before to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship. But we’re not stopping there.


As part of our ongoing commitment to Open Government, the United States Government will publish a Self-Assessment Report this spring, that outlines our significant progress to date and highlights areas where there is more work to be done.  And, in the true spirit of Open Government—we want you to participate in the process.


Many of the best ideas that helped shape the National Action Plan on Open Government were suggested from citizens and outside groups. Starting today, for the next two weeks, we want to hear from you, as we work to develop our Open Government self-assessment report.


Here’s how: You can share your ideas and feedback through Q&A site Quora, or through a web form on WhiteHouse.gov. Specifically, we’d like to hear from you about:

  • What Open Government commitments need the most additional work in the near term?
  • How can we be more responsive to your feedback?
  • How can we work more closely with the public to enhance the Government’s effectiveness?


Your feedback will inform our upcoming Self-Assessment Report on Open Government and ensure that your voice is heard as we continue working together toward increased openness and transparency. We look forward to hearing from you.


Lisa Ellman is Chief Counselor for the Open Government Partnership and Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer and Nick Sinai is Deputy Chief Technology Officer.




What Is the Sequester?


Megan Slack
Megan Slack

February 22, 2013

In eight days, harmful automatic cuts — known as the sequester — take effect, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cutting vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.


To prevent a costly, self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families, President Obama put forward a plan to avoid these cuts and reduce the deficit by cutting spending and closing tax loopholes. Now it’s up to Congress to act. Learn more about President Obama’s plan here.


Still have questions about what the sequester is, and why American famillies and our national economy face this threat? We’ve put together the explainer below using some helpful background information President Obama laid out in a statement on Tuesday. Check it out:








“Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce our deficits by more than $2.5 trillion. More than two-thirds of that was through some pretty tough spending cuts. The rest of it was through raising taxes — tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. And together, when you take the spending cuts and the increased tax rates on the top 1 percent, it puts us more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.”









“Now, Congress, back in 2011, also passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach that $4 trillion goal, about a trillion dollars of additional, arbitrary budget cuts would start to take effect this year. And by the way, the whole design of these arbitrary cuts was to make them so unattractive and unappealing that Democrats and Republicans would actually get together and find a good compromise of sensible cuts as well as closing taxloopholes and so forth. And so this was all designed to say we can’t do these bad cuts; let’s do something smarter. That was the whole point of this so-called sequestration.”


“Unfortunately, Congress didn’t compromise. They haven’t come together and done their jobs, and so as a consequence, we’ve got these automatic, brutal spending cuts that are poised to happen next Friday.”


“Now, if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research. It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness, or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day. It doesn’t make those distinctions.”








“There is a smarter way to do this –- to reduce our deficits without harming our economy. But Congress has to act in order for that to happen.”


“Now, for two years, I’ve offered a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would prevent these harmful cuts…”


“I am willing to cut more spending that we don’t need, get rid of programs that aren’t working. I’ve laid out specific reforms to our entitlement programs that can achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that were proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.”






“I’m willing to save hundreds of billions of dollars by enacting comprehensive tax reform that gets rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well off and well connected, without raising tax rates.”









“I believe such a balanced approach that combines tax reform with some additional spending reforms, done in a smart, thoughtful way is the best way to finish the job of deficit reduction and avoid these cuts once and for all that could hurt our economy, slow our recovery, put people out of work. And most Americans agree with me.”






President Obama Meets with Prime Minister Abe of Japan


Megan Slack
Megan Slack

February 22, 2013
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan deliver press statements and take questions following their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. “The U.S.-Japan alliance is the central foundation for our regional security and so much of what we do in the Pacific region,” President Obama said.


In the meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of security issues in the Asia Pacific region, and over lunch, talked about the close economic cooperation between our two countries.


“I know that Prime Minister Abe and I both agree that our number-one priority has to be making sure that we are increasing growth and making sure that people have the opportunity to prosper if they’re willing to work hard in both our countries.”


Read the full remarks here.


















Jueseppi B.:

Voting RepubliCANT is like voting to slice America’s collective throats. With a grapefruit spoon. Thank you The Fifth Column.

Originally posted on The Fifth Column:

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Jueseppi B.:

Mr. Rhett has a brand new E-book. Check it out and support our blogger authors!!!

Originally posted on Black History 360*:

I am pleased to send you this private link for an advance preview reading of my new e-book, “Decoding Wade In The Water.”

In twenty pages, it tells a series of quick paced stories about how the idea of a code locks out a whole lot of other meanings and experiences. Slavery, modern dance, biblical stories, spirituals, and rare art are part of this modern fable about overcoming limits by being a code breaker.

A two year project and my 31th ebook, “Decoding Wade”  is a “mini-e,” a new format popular with the national media, including the New York Times.

The book contains selected rare, century-old print engravings of Africa, published for the first time in eformat. I suggest you read the penultimate (second to last) page first. Entitled “Writer’s Confessions,” (it is unnumbered!) it describes the art and tells why this new book is rare value.

My private documents have a…

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Jueseppi B.:

Is it just me, or has this deadline nail biting last second fiasco that happens time after time, while Congress is off on breaks & vacations….gotten real old very quickly?

Originally posted on The Fifth Column:

“Obama’s Sequester?” No Way

Speaker of the House, John Bohener, et al are making sure that they pin the “sequester” bill on President Obama.  The idea is to blame Obama for anything that goes wrong once the sequester is set in motion.

Economist and former Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden,  Jared Bernstein knows a thing or two about these things and wrote the following piece:


It’s time to defuse the latest fiscal time bomb

This originally appeared on Jared Bernstein’s blog, On the Economy.

For my sanity and yours, I rarely get into the silliest corners of politics, but this conservative talking point that the word “sequester” must actually be called “Obama’s sequester,” like they had nothing to do with it, is really beyond the pale.  I get that both sides are trying to position themselves to not get blamed for this totally preventable, self-inflicted wound…

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