A "Bo" made from plastic garbage bags sits in front of the fireplace in the library. Mrs. Obama drew a laugh from the crowd when she said Bo, "the most famous member of the Obama family," has been a little confused walking around the house and seeing himself in "gigantic form."
"Shine, Give, Share" is the theme for the Obama family's third Christmas in the White House. This year, a total of 37 Christmas trees and a 400-pound White House made of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan decorate the mansion.
A group of more than 100 volunteers helped decorate the White House this year, covering the mansion in Christmas trees, cookie ornaments and several versions of the Obamas' dog, Bo. The real stars, however, were the military families who joined the celebration.
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Newt Gingrich is now the focus of the race to become the GOP presidential nominee — and with that comes the heat. His main opposition, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney went on the attack Friday, but Gingrich insists he'll stay positive. The big question is whether the former House Speaker can sustain his surge in the polls.
So many end-of-the year lists detail something trivial. But sometimes those lists can help us appreciate something obvious.
BabyCenter.com has just released their list of the most popular names for American babies in 2011.
The most popular girl's names: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, and Ava, which sound like they could be lifted, letter by letter, from 1960s movie marquees. The most popular boy's names: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam and Jacob, which could be the name of a Boston or Chicago law firm.
The U.S. unemployment rate took a big tumble in November, from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the government's monthly jobs data. Still, it's probably too soon pop the champagne corks. A combination of forces caused the big drop, some good and some bad.
Getting a big fall in the unemployment rate is always good news in the White House, but President Obama was careful not to gloat at an appearance Friday in Washington.
"This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate went down," he said.
"Robert Spiegel's passion for Russian literature, the New York Mets, ethnic cooking and beagles endeared him to generations of students and colleagues at Central Connecticut State University," The Associated Press says. "Now, through the power of social media, the 77-year-old former English professor's obituary is charming strangers, as well."
Originally published on Sun December 4, 2011 12:03 pm
Everybody knows that Ron Paul is a doctor from Texas. Born in Pittsburgh in 1935, he graduated from Gettysburg College and Duke University's medical school. He was a flight surgeon in the Air Force. His wife's name is Carol. He has served as a Republican congressman for years and years.
Everybody knows that Paul has made bids for the presidency three times — as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and this time around. And everybody knows he lost the first two.
If you're walking or biking around New York City this weekend you might look up at a busy intersection and see signs like these:
Traffic warning street signs written as haiku are appearing on poles around the five boroughs, posted by the New York City Department of Transportation. The poems and accompanying artwork were created by artist John Morse. There are 12 designs in all, 10 in English and two in Spanish.
Gary Oldman takes on the character of spymaster George Smiley, linchpin in John le Carre's 1974 novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The Cold War classic, made into a hit TV series starring Alec Guinness in the '70s, gets a big-screen adaptation that's in theaters Dec. 9
Credit Jeff Georgevich / Courtesy of Judith Lautner and the John Lautner Foundation
In The Big Lebowski, actor Jeff Bridges lounges on the built-in furniture Lautner designed for his Sheats-Goldstein House. Lautner also studded the ceiling with drinking glasses (upper right) in order to mimic the effect of sunlight shining through a forest canopy.
Credit Murray Grigor / Courtesy of Judith Lautner and the John Lautner Foundation
Built in 1968, Lautner's Elrod House is known for its domed concrete roof, skylights that provide indirect sunlight and the way the architect incorporated exposed rocks from the original hillside into the design.
An artist with an idyllic childhood might be as rare as a house with walls made of air, but both play a part in the story of architect John Lautner.
Lautner's homes have appeared in Hollywood movies, but the architect himself wasn't particularly well-known when he died in 1994. Still, in 2011 — the centennial year of Lautner's birth — his hometown of Marquette, Mich., has honored him with two exhibitions: one at Northern Michigan University's DeVos Art Museum and one at the Marquette Regional History Center.
As he prepares for the midday rush, Mustafa Baljan puts the finishing touches on the kebabs, salads and stews that make up many a working Turk's lunch. As the steam carries the scent of lamb and garlic into the street, the 37-year-old restaurant owner considers a popular question: With European economies on the ropes, should Turkey still be seeking to join the European Union?
"Are you kidding? Of course I don't want to join," Baljan says. "Countries are going bankrupt. Why would we want to join a union like that?"