How I wish I were in Ghana right now. There is so much excitement as Barack Obama begins his first trip (Correction: OMG it’s his second trip, i forgot Egypt) to Africa as President of the United States of America. He is due to deliver a speech at 1.pm South African local time. It will be broadcast live on CNN, Al Jazeera and BBC. Live stream: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
Live stream: https://townhall.connectsolutions.com/conx_obama
In the meantime read Bono on this Ghanian trip. This is what he says about why Ghana:
He’s made a different choice, and he’s been quite straight about the reason. Despite Kenya’s unspeakable beauty and its recent victories against the anopheles mosquito, the country’s still-stinging corruption and political unrest confirms too many of the headlines we in the West read about Africa. Ghana confounds them.
Not defiantly or angrily, but in that cool, offhand Ghanaian way. This is a country whose music of choice is jazz; a country that long ago invented a genre called highlife that spread across Africa — and, more recently, hiplife, which is what happens when hip-hop meets reggaetón meets rhythm and blues meets Ghanaian melody, if you’re keeping track (and you really should be). On a visit there, I met the minister for tourism and pitched the idea of marketing the country as the “birthplace of cool.” (Just think, the music of Miles, the conversation of Kofi.) He demurred … too cool, I guess.
Quietly, modestly — but also heroically — Ghana’s going about the business of rebranding a continent. New face of America, meet the new face of Africa.
Here is an AP image of the Obama family arriving in Accra last night:
After Michelle Obama complained about the dolls Marvelous Malia and Sweet Sasha the toy maker, Dollmaker Ty Inc, says it will change the names in deference to the Obama family. They will now be named Marvelous Mariah and Sweet Sydney. AP reports that the company had originally said the dolls were not modelled on the first daughters, but the names suited dolls they were already making. Really!
The dolls were part of the Ty Girlz Collection, and went on sale in January, joining others in the same range called Bubbly Britney, Lucky Lindsay and Precious Paris. But the company’s website now profiles the Marvelous Malia and Sweet Sasha dolls under a red banner that reads, “Retired.”
Malia and Sasha Obama didn’t go to school today. It was too cold in DC apparently.
Obama was in a meeting with business leaders this morning when he spoke about the weather.
‘As my children pointed out, in Chicago where it gets colder than in DC school was never canceled,’ said the President. He added that he’d have ‘to instil some flinty Chicago toughness into Washingtonians…When it comes to weather folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.’
AP Picture: Ice on a Holly bush in Washington DC today.
I read here that:
Michelle Obama is none too pleased with the Beanie Baby dolls that share the names of the first daughters…
… “Mom-in-chief” says the dolls are in bad taste.
“We believe it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes,” a first lady spokesman said.
The 12-inch dolls were released earlier this month and a company spokesman says the names were chosen because they are “beautiful,” not because they attached to the first daughters.
Which seems, well, a little hard to believe.
I phoned a friend in Washington DC this evening. As parents we’re both feeling a particular excitement. She has a 7 year-old son. I have 3 small ones. We spoke about Tuesday and how she will get to the Mall with her son to watch some of the inaugural procession. Me? I am curious, panicked and really want to be there.
We spoke and chatted. And finally both of us realised that we’re feeling a sense of relief - as parents. Soon, so soon, Americans will have a new president. The world will have a new leader. He will be a role model. Barack Obama is literate, civil, kind and tolerant. He is somebody, who as parents, we can describe easily and without ambiguity, and whose actions will hopefully not be difficult to justify.
And then there was the letter…A few days ago Obama wrote to his daugthers. The letter was published in the American magazine, Parade. In it, he tells his daughters, Malia and Sasha, why he strove to be president. The reasons are honourable. He ran for President “because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation”.
The man who is going to take global warming seriously, continued:
I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren’t rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.
I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you’ll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.
Ok, he is not going to be my president. Nevertheless, he will be the leader of the world. And his leadership will influence others.
I look forward to that. My children’s world already feels a safer, calmer and greener place.
Why did Barack Obama want to be President? In this letter to his daughters, Malia and Sasha he shares with us – the public – his reasons. The American magazine, Parade, asked the president-elect “to get personal and tell us what he wants for his children”.
Dear Malia and Sasha,
I know that you’ve both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn’t have let you have. But I also know that it hasn’t always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn’t make up for all the time we’ve been apart. I know how much I’ve missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.
When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me – about how I’d make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn’t seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that’s why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation. Read More…
Yesterday in the ABC interview, Barack Obama said that the decision about what dog to get for the White House will be made soon.
The New York Times reports that Obama’s daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, asked the host of ABC’s programme, This Week, George Stephanopoulos, to slip in this question: “What kind of a dog are we getting, and when are we getting it?”
When asked, Obama laughed “They seem to have narrowed it down to a Labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound,” he said, adding that the next step is to canvass shelters.
“We’re closing in on it,” he said. “This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary,” a reference to the recent withdrawal by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico as his original selection for that post.
Malia and Sasha Obama started school today at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington. All the Obama’s are now in Washington.
The Times reports that:
Sasha and Malia Obama will arrive at their new school today, protected from physical attack by the Secret Service but still being thrust into the global glare accorded to celebrities.
The girls — aged 7 and 10 — who are already being spoken about as role models for a generation of African-American children, will be educated on separate campuses at the private Sidwell Friends School.
Chelsea Clinton, the last presidential daughter to attend the Quaker school, which has long been a haven for the offspring of the Washington elite, is regarded as having emerged as a level-headed adult.
Security around the children of Barack Obama, however, is expected to be tighter because of the terror attacks on the US in 2001 and the racial threats made against the first black family to occupy the White House.
The Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna, gave the Obama girls a tour of their bedrooms in the White House this week. Apparently Sasha and Malia have been in Washington with their mother and grandmother since Sunday. They’ve been checking out the schools and went to see their new home on Tuesday.