Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome to the White House

Join the club! Last Wednesday, the members of an elite group ate lunch at the White House. Barack Obama joined President George W. Bush and three former Presidents: George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. It was the first time all the living Presidents had gathered at the White House since 1981. The meeting was private. "All of us would love to be flies on the wall and listening to that conversation," said White House press secretary Dana Perino.

Obama will become a full-fledged member of the Presidents' Club on January 20. He will stand on the steps of the Capitol building and place his hand on the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used at his Inauguration. The Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., will administer the oath of office. The 44th President will promise to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

After President Obama gives his Inaugural Address, poet Elizabeth Alexander and the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery will speak. Then the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters will perform the national anthem.

First Days
On Wednesday, after the speeches, the parade and 10 formal parties (the Inaugural balls), Obama will begin the hard task of leading the nation. He told TIME magazine that he has a long list of goals: helping the economy recover, creating jobs, revitalizing public schools and working with other governments to solve problems. "Two years from now," said Obama, "I want the American people to be able to say, 'I feel like the government's working for me.' "

Obama isn't the only one facing challenges. The new First Family is moving into the White House. It's a big home with 132 rooms, including a movie theater and a bowling alley. Susan Ford, the daughter of President Gerald Ford, once said that living in the White House as a teenager was like a "fairy tale."

Like other Presidents' children and grandchildren (see "Family Life"), Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, will have plenty of opportunities for White House adventures. They might even invite new friends for sleepovers. On January 5, the girls started classes at their new school, Sidwell Friends.

Words to Live By
Every President since George Washington has given an Inaugural Address. David Axelrod, one of Obama's closest advisers, says the new President will try to give a speech that is both "sober and hopeful." Will he look to past Presidents for inspiration? In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office during tough times. He told Americans that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The message that hope can win over fear would ring just as true in 2009.

Family Life
In a letter to his son, Theodore Roosevelt wrote, "I don't think that any family has ever enjoyed the White House more than we have." Below, see how Presidents' families made their White House days special.





HARRY S TRUMAN 1945-1953


JOHN F. KENNEDY 1961-1963
RICHARD M. NIXON 1969-1974

GERALD R. FORD 1974-1977
JIMMY CARTER 1977-1981

GEORGE H.W. BUSH 1989-1993


GEORGE W. BUSH 2001-2009
BARACK OBAMA 2009-2010

Friday, November 14, 2008

TFK talks to Miranda Cosgrove

In the new TV movie “iGo to Japan,” iCarly is nominated for an iWeb Award for Best Comedy Web Show in the World. Carly, Sam, and Freddie take a wild plane ride to Japan to attend the awards ceremony. But other iWeb Award nominees try their best to prevent the trio from getting inside the ceremony. Will they make it? Will they win? The laugh-packed adventure premieres November 8 on Nickelodeon.

Can you tell me all about your movie iGo to Japan?

It was a lot of fun. In the movie, we go to the awards show and we’re up against this crazy guy that has a web show with a puppet, and these two other people that have a show that’s similar to iCarly. The whole time we’re trying to win, we’re getting into all this trouble in Japan along the way.

What do you think kids are going to like about "iGo to Japan"?

I think probably the coolest part in the movie is a scene where Jennette and I have to express ourselves while we're in Japan by doing hand signals. It took two days to film. It was really hard, but we had to kind of describe each word with these hand movements.

Who is your role model?

If I had to pick an actor, I really like Rachel McAdams and Anne Hathaway because I would like to have careers like them. But an all around role model? My mom.

What job would you like to have when you’re older?

I want to keep on acting and singing, but I really want to go to college. I wanted to be a marine biologist because I really like dolphins. I guess I could end up really being anything. Maybe a writer. I really like writing a lot.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I like to go see movies with my friends. But a hobby? I play tennis. I used to take fencing lessons because I thought "Pirate’s of the Caribbean" was cool. I wanted to be like Keira Knightly.

What is something about you that hardly anyone knows?

I’m a big night owl. I stay up super late and I play Rock Band and I watch movies. My mom is always getting mad at me because I always end up going to bed at midnight.

What was the last book you read?

I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" for school and it was really good. I’ve seen the movie before and everyone said the book and the movie were the same, but they’re actually really different. So it was fun to read the book.

What advice do you have for kids that are interested in working in TV?

When I was little I was in plays at school. I think that’s a good way to try acting and see if you like it.

Friday, July 25, 2008


The mass death of stingrays in an expensive exhibit in May is likely to remain a mystery, the Calgary Zoo says.

The zoo had hoped that extensive toxicology tests would provide an explanation as to why all but two of the 43 animals died, but the zoo said the samples yielded no clues.

Zoo conservation director Cathy Gaviller admitted Wednesday that it's frustrating that there will never be a definite answer as to what killed the cow-nosed rays.

An investigation has ruled out disease, bacteria or water quality as potential causes.

Gaviller says the possibility that someone knowingly poisoned the tank will lead to greater security measures in the future.

The zoo is trying to decide what to do with its almost-new, $250,000 exhibit and whether to restock the tank with rays or another species.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dylan & Cole Sprouse

If you want to take the quiz on Dylan & Cole Sprouse..... You can take it here on

1.Who is older and by how much?
A.Dylan is older by one minute.
B.Cole is younger by ten minutes
C.Cole is older by fifteen minutes
D.Dylan is older by fifteen minutes.

2.Which of the twins had a role in the movie Big Daddy?

3.Cole’s favorite musical instrument is:
A.The bass
B.The guitar
C.The piano
D.The flute

4.Dylan and Cole were born in Italy, but are not of Italian descent because:
A.Their American parents moved back to California when they were only four months old.
B.They weren’t born in Italy.
C.None of their family members were born in Italy or live there.
D.None of the above.

5.Which of the twins appeared regularly on episodes of Friends as Ross’ son Ben?
C.Both of them
D.None of them

6.Who has enjoyed snowboarding since he was four years old?
C.Neither of them
D.Both of them

7.Which of these school subjects is Cole's favorite?
D.Social Studies

8.In what year did Dylan and Cole began filming episodes of their hit show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody?

9.Dylan’s favorite color is:

10.Who is taller?
A.Cole is taller by an inch.
B.Dylan is taller by an inch.
C.Cole is taller by a half an inch.
D.Dylan is taller by half an inch.

Stranger donates kidney to Atlanta girl

ATLANTA - The picture of the smiling little girl on the flier was more than Laura Bolan could take.

The 8-year-old on the pamphlet needed a kidney transplant, and Bolan knew she could help. She did a quick Web search on the surgery and talked it over with her husband. Then she made a phone call to offer one of her kidneys to Sarah Dickman.

The suburban Atlanta girl was born with the genetic disease juvenile nephronophthisis, which slowly destroys the kidneys. Without treatment, it can kill a child before the age of 15.

Bolan, 34, had never met Sarah when she agreed to donate the organ.

"It breaks your heart to know there's a little girl sick out there who you could help," Bolan said earlier this week.

The pair underwent successful surgeries Thursday at hospitals across the street from each other in Atlanta. Surgeon Dr. Thomas Pearson said both patients were doing well on Friday, and initial tests of Sarah's new kidney showed it was working normally.

Sarah was expected to be in intensive care for at least a day and then spend up to a week at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. She said she was looking forward to being free from a dialysis machine so she can spend the night at her best friend's house.

And when doctors remove her catheter, she can take bubble baths again because there will no longer be the risk of infecting the skin around the tube.

Best of all, she can go to Kangaroo Bob's, a children's recreation center with inflatable slides, mazes and obstacle courses.

"I'll get to go there on my birthday because I won't have this anymore," she said, pointing to the catheter.

Bolan was expected to return home after a few days at Emory University Hospital. She first saw a flier about Sarah in September at the elementary school where two of her children are students. Sarah attends the same school.

Bolan knew she had the same blood type as the little girl, so she called the number on the flier that evening.

Sarah's parents, Lori and Joe Dickman, had added Sarah's name to a national waiting list for transplant recipients after learning that neither parent was a match to donate a kidney. The flier was just a shot in the dark.

The Dickmans received two calls from people interested in donating a kidney. Both were tested, and Bolan was the better match. The Dickmans were relieved because Sarah's condition was quickly deteriorating.

She was put on dialysis in September, the same month the flier went up. She often left school early because her failing kidneys made her exhausted and irritable.

"We definitely need more people like Laura in the world," Lori Dickman said.

Joe Dickman wants to add his name to living donor lists so that he can help someone else. It's the least he can do to repay Bolan for saving his daughter, he said.

"A thank-you doesn't fit for what she's doing," Joe Dickman said of Bolan. "She can call me at four in the morning for a gallon of milk. I don't care. I'm indebted to her for life."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Gray Wolves Make a Comeback

The gray wolf of Yellowstone National Park has come back! On February 21, the Department of the Interior announced a plan to remove the gray wolf population in the Northern Rockies from the endangered species list. They say its recovery from endangerment is complete.

A Close Call
In the 1930s, a government
program allowed widespread
poisoning of wolves,which
nearly wiped out the
species. .The animal was added to
the list in 1974 after
its population hit an
all-time low. The end-
angered status allows
wolves to be killed,
legally, if they have
attacked livestock.
By the late 1980s,
ranchers and wildlife
agents had legally
killed about 700 wolves.
In 1995, the animals were
facing extinction. That
year, in an effort to give
the population a boost,
officials introduced 66
gray wolves to the Yellowstone
National Park in Idaho, Montana
and Wyoming. Seven years later,
there were more than 600 gray
wolves in the area.. Today,
there are an estimated 1,545.

In the last 20 years, $24 million dollars in federal funds have been spent on bringing the wolf population back. Officials say the population increase is enough to warrant taking the animals off the list. "Gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains are thriving and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act," said Lyle Laverty, deputy secretary for the Department of the Interior. "The wolf's recovery in the Northern Rocky Mountains is a conservation success story."

Good News?
Not everyone agrees. Environmental groups believe that the gray wolf population should have reached at least 2,000 before it lost federal protection. Wildlife protection organizations plan to appeal the decision. But officials stand by their recommendation. "The more of something you have, the less valuable each individual piece becomes," said Ed Bangs, director of wolf recovery for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "If you have more wolves than you have now, it's really going to start causing a lot of problems."

Yellowstone area ranchers and farmer couldn't be happier. Many have lost hundreds of sheep and cattle to the wolves and are hoping the delisting will help them better handle the predators. The number of domestic animals killed by gray wolves has more than doubled since the wolves were reintroduced into the area. "I believe that any wolf on any given night, if there happens to be a calf there, they will kill it," said Randy Petrich, a rancher from Montana. "We need to be trapping them, shooting them--as many as possible." Hunting will be allowed as early as this fall.
Still ProtectedMontana, Idaho and Wyoming all plan to maintain their gray wolf population to be between 900 and 1,250. "The last thing any of the states want is for wolves to be re-listed by the federal government," said Daniel Pletscher, director of the University of Montana's wildlife biology program. The animals will also continue to be monitored by the federal government.

Still Protected
Montana, Idaho and Wyoming all plan to maintain their gray wolf population to be between 900 and 1,250. "The last thing any of the states want is for wolves to be re-listed by the federal government," said Daniel Pletscher, director of the University of Montana's wildlife biology program. The animals will also continue to be monitored by the federal government.