NEWSSTAND

The Presidents’ Most Famous Pets

Many First Families have enjoyed the love and companionship that animals bring. Though most modern presidents have had dogs or cats, earlier presidents sometimes lived with unusual creatures. Martha Washington and Dolley Madison, for example, each had a parrot! Theodore Roosevelt owned 5 bears, not to mention the hyena, lion, and zebra that also lived on the White House grounds. Do you remember these Presidential Pets?

Checkers

Perhaps the most famous dog in politics, Checkers was gifted to President Nixon during his campaign as Vice President. Nixon’s infamous “Checkers Speech” is nicknamed after the cocker spaniel. After critics accused Nixon of misusing campaign donations, he addressed the nation on television. Nixon made an emotional appeal and said he planned to keep one donation: Checkers, the dog his daughters loved.

“One other thing I probably should tell you…We did get something, a gift, after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore, saying they had a package for us…You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog, in a crate that he had sent all the way from Texas, black and white, spotted, and our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.” – Richard Nixon, the Checkers speech

India, Barney, and Miss Beazley

LB. Halloween Portraits of the Pets.

George W. Bush is a well-known animal lover, and his time in the White House was shared with several furry friends. From left to right, here are India, Barney, and Miss Beazley. The two Scottish terriers became fixtures at White House events. Here, Barney tries running the White House Press Briefing:

White House photo by Alex Cooney

Rebecca the Raccoon

(Photo by Harris & Ewing/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

 

Not to be outdone by his predecessor in the White House, Calvin Coolidge owned a menagerie of pets. The whole family loved dogs, and Grace Coolidge doted on her beloved raccoon, Rebecca.

 

A Flock of Sheep

 

When the U.S. officially entered World War I, Woodrow Wilson wanted to set an example of pitching in to support the war effort. To that end, he brought in a flock of sheep. This unusual strategy saved money on labor and gas used to maintain the lawn; the sheep would graze the grounds themselves! The flock is pictured here, busy at work grazing the South Lawn. Wilson also sold the wool to raise money for the American Red Cross.

One Lucky Dog

(Photo by Diana Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Ronald and Nancy Reagan doted on their scruffy Bouvier des Flandres, whom they named Lucky. Though they moved into the White House without any pets, a little girl gave the nine-week-old puppy to Nancy Reagan at a White House ceremony. The little girl, Kristen Ellis, was the poster child for the March of Dimes. The Reagans took quickly to the new addition to their family. Lucky was known to sit on Ronald Reagan’s lap on Marine One.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Nike Picks Colin Kaepernick for New Ads

Major athletic retailer Nike caused a stir with its new ad campaign featuring former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The ad shows a black and white image of Kaepernick looking straight into the camera. The copy reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick and Sacrifice

The striking image left many people wondering what, exactly, Kaepernick sacrificed. He had the chance to keep playing in the NFL, but instead opted out of his contract with the 49ers. After becoming a free agent, he turned down a contract with the Denver Broncos.

Kaepernick made headlines by kneeling on the sidelines during the playing of the national anthem. He says he wanted to protest police brutality. Following President Trump’s inauguration, the kneeling protests expanded to dozens of football players. The controversy drew the ire of President Trump and others, who found the protest unpatriotic and disrespectful of law enforcement officers.

Public Fallout

While fans of the new campaign are eager to buy Nike apparel, others say Nike could have picked a better spokesperson for its message. Many compared the star to Pat Tillman, who gave up a promising NFL career to serve in the military. Tillman lost his life to friendly fire in Afghanistan. Despite his example of service and sacrifice, his widow has asked that he not be used in divisive political debates.

Other fans praised Nike for standing up for athletes who they see as victims of unfair sports leagues. A set of similar Nike ads show Serena Williams and read, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.” This references the French Open’s refusal to let Serena Williams wear a suit designed to help her with a medical condition.

Nike stock has fallen 2.8% so far today.

 

Entitled Bride Cancels Wedding When Guests Won’t Pay Up

The modern wedding guest spends a lot of money to share in a friend or relative’s joyful occasion.  Guests often end up spending hundreds on the gift, transportation to the event, hotel rooms, and attire. One bride, identified only as Susan, took the wedding spending spree a step further by demanding her guests pay $1,500 for the privilege of attending!

In a 17-paragraph rant on Facebook, the bride said “asked people to donate what they could. I mean seriously people, what is $1,000? What is $1500? Clearly, not a lot.” When hardly anyone paid up, the groom offered a Las Vegas elopement. Susan called Las Vegas weddings “cheap, raggedy, filthy” and wanted her groom to apologize for the mere suggestion.

A Psychic, and a Psycho?

With $15,000 saved up for their wedding, the couple had more than enough to afford a lovely celebration. This entitled bride demanded better. She wrote, “We started touring venues and were torn between two. A local psychic told us to go with the more expensive option, and we thought why the hell not?”

The pair decided on a $60,000 bash in Aruba. When they couldn’t afford it, Susan and her groom argued to the point of calling off the wedding. Now, with no fiancee and no Caribbean wedding, Susan blames her nearest and dearest for “ruin[ing] my marriage and life.”

Susan’s stunning display of narcissism continued. “How could we have OUR wedding that WE dreamed of without proper funding? We’d sacrificed so much and only asked each guest for around $1,500.” Susan called off the wedding 4 days before she was set to walk down the aisle. She never mentioned the money her friends and family lost on flight tickets and hotel rooms for a wedding that never happened.

Food Truck Feeds Stranded Travelers After Crash

When a tanker truck fatally crashed on the 105 Freeway near Los Angeles, drivers sat in gridlock for hours. The fiery crash killed two people and caused a shutdown on the major highway. One of the vehicles stuck in the traffic jam was a food truck belonging to AC Catering. As all the travelers grew frustrated with the long delay, the catering staff realized they could do something to help.

Taking Action

The caterers realized their food truck had everything needed to feed hungry, tired drivers. They opened up the truck right there on the highway. As people walked through stopped traffic with delicious tacos and burritos, they spread the word to other drivers, and a line formed outside the truck.

The AC Catering employees could have marked up their food to exorbitant prices to squeeze cash from desperate drivers. Instead, they sold their food at half price as a way to help the community.

Leadership

The owner of AC Catering, Carlos Chaves, says he feels proud of the decision his employees made. The food truck was en route to LAX Airport, where the staff planned for a busy and profitable day of serving airport employees. Instead, they dished out breakfast burritos to make a terrible traffic jam a bit more bearable. Chaves told L.A. Taco, “People had to eat.”

WATCH: Samantha Bee Plants Crashers at Sean Spicer’s Book Tour

Political comedian Samantha Bee sent her staff members to protest Sean Spicer at events along his book tour. Spicer is traveling both coasts this summer to promote his new book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President.”

Bee’s show, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” pokes fun at the news from a very left-leaning angle. Her protesters first arrived at a Barnes & Noble, where one asked Spicer, “How do you feel about profiting off of lying to the American people?”

The room fell silent. The woman continued, “I mean, you’re making a lot of money. I’m just wondering how you feel about that.” Undeterred from the first event, the Samantha Bee’s show sent planted disruptors to events at Barrington Books and the Rhode Island Country Club. One asked, “Any advice for the young people who want to make a profit from corroding the truth?”

Though the attendees didn’t laugh, Spicer took it all in stride. He even signed a book and took a photo with one of Bee’s staffers.

The Unicorn Suit

At one point in Spicer’s book, he describes Trump as “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow.” Samantha Bee wanted to call him out on that hyperbole. As a result, she had two staffers dress in a Trump-riding-a-unicorn-over-a-rainbow suit and trot up to a private event at the Rhode Island Country Club. A police officer intercepted the spectacle before they could come inside. Attendees at the swanky event looked equal parts curious and confused.

Spicer’s Reaction

Video footage of Spicer responding the protesters’ questions did not make it past the TBS editors. If you want to see what Spicer really has to say, check out this interview with The Political Insider!

 

Remembering Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has passed away surrounded by family and friends at the age of 76 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. In a statement, her family said, “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hears. We have lost the matriarch and the rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

The daughter of a minister and a music instructor, Franklin grew up surrounded by music. Franklin’s musical career began in church, where she sang Gospel music as a teen in Detroit, Michigan. People noticed her extraordinary talent from a young age.

An American Icon

At age 16, Franklin toured with Martin Luther King, Jr., and even sang the hymn “Precious Lord” at his funeral in 1968. Decades afterward, in 2011, Franklin sang at the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in our nation’s capital.

Initially, Franklin signed to Atlantic Records but achieved her greatest commercial success with Columbia House. Franklin became a mainstay in popular culture with hits like “RESPECT” and “Say a Little Prayer for You.” As her star rose, she won silver screen roles in “Blues Brothers” and “Moonlight.”

It is certainly no hyperbole to call Franklin a national treasure: President George W. Bush bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Aretha Franklin in recognition for her unique contributions to the world of music. She performed our national anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

With 18 Grammy awards and 75 million records sold, Aretha Franklin left an indelible mark on the world of music. We remember her unique talent, in gratitude for her sharing her voice with the world.

In memory of an American icon, NBC News shares scenes from Aretha Franklin’s remarkable life.

RSVP to an Exclusive Interview with Sean Spicer

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will join The Political Insider for an exclusive interview this Friday at 3:00 pm ET. Spicer will share what the White House is like from the inside of some of its biggest media moments.

His new book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President,” tells the story of Trump’s tumultuous first months in the White House. Spicer takes us behind the podium and deep into the West Wing to learn how the Trump administration really operates.

Spicer’s spirited responses to press questions kept reporters on their toes. Questions swirled around Trump’s most famous representative. How does he handle a tidal wave of fake news? Why does he feud with Dippin’ Dots? And what, if anything, should Trump do about Omarosa?

You can be the first to know by joining The Political Insider this Friday. Sign up here to be part of this event!

RSVP to The Political Insider's Exclusive Interview with Sean Spicer

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Can’t make it to the live broadcast? You can watch afterwards on The Political Insider’s YouTube channel.

Actor Jack Whitehall Faces Backlash for Role as Disney’s First Major Gay Character

Earlier this week, news broke that actor Jack Whitehall will be portraying Disney’s first major openly gay character in the movie ‘Jungle Cruise.’ Whitehall is now facing major backlash for his casting.

The movie is based on Disneyland’s theme park ride of the same name. It also stars actors Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Emily Blunt. Whitehall’s role is to play the brother of Blunt’s character. His character is ‘a gay man – one who is hugely effete, very camp and very funny.’

After announcing it on Instagram, Whitehall received major criticism for playing a gay man despite the fact that he is straight.

Many people were not happy with this decision and immediately took to social media about it. One user wrote on twitter,

“Really @Disney #JungleCruise? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink.”

Actors Face Criticism for Casting

The casting of LGBTQ roles has been a sensitive topic lately. Last month, actress Scarlett Johansson faced even more backlash than Whitehall after announcing her casting in the movie, Rub & Tug.

People were outraged of Johansson’s role of a transgender man because the actress is cisgender. They believe that the role should go to a transgender actor. In fact, it sparked so much controversy that Johansson ended up withdrawing from the film.

Also, this week, it was revealed that actress Ruby Rose is set to play superhero Batwoman, who has been reintroduced by DC comics as a gay woman of Jewish descent.

Rose received double criticism for this casting. The first being that she’s a non-Jewish actor in the role, and the second that she shouldn’t play a lesbian character, because she isn’t ‘lesbian enough,’ despite having come out at the age of 12.

Rose deleted her Twitter account amid the backlash of her casting.

YouTube Censors Conservative PragerU Videos

YouTube is the latest social media platform to ramp up its censorship of conservative voices. Their latest target? Dennis Prager’s popular conservative YouTube channel, PragerU.

PragerU is a nonprofit that creates videos about current issues from a conservative perspective. Following a successful career as a conservative radio host, Dennis Prager founded the organization in 2011. Over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers watch these videos, with a reach of over 100 million people each year.

PragerU deliberately makes short videos that appeal to a wide range of people. YouTube has marked over 10% of the channel’s videos as containing adult content, even though the videos are suitable for all ages. In response, PragerU says that the video-sharing platform is attempting to censor the channel’s conservative views. Many of their fans agree.

In 2017, YouTube placed over 80 PragerU videos on restricted mode. This setting makes videos harder to watch and less likely to appear in search engine results.

YouTube’s restricted mode also prevents young children from seeing adult content. PragerU videos do not fit that category, though. Rather, they expose viewers to conservative thought, historical concepts, and philosophy. In fact, plenty of parents use them to give their kids the education they don’t get in school.

Despite the fact that the videos are kid-friendly, YouTube insists on pretending they’re not. In a statement, Dennis Prager called the censorship “entirely ideologically driven.”

Social Media Censors Conservatives

Last year, PragerU filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing YouTube of infringing on its free speech rights by censoring its political content. A judge dismissed the lawsuit in March of 2018.

After Prager filed the lawsuit, YouTube tried to defend itself. “Giving viewers the choice to opt in to a more restricted experience is not censorship,” the company said.

YouTube is not the only social media website that seems to be biased against conservatives. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has faced intense criticism for censoring right-leaning content. Lately, Facebook has been restricting the content shared by prominent conservative pundits and organizations. In addition, Twitter is also accused of allegedly “shadowbanning” prominent voices on the political right.

Social media censorship has caught the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, Sen. Ted Cruz grilled Zuckerberg over Facebook’s pattern of censorship at a Senate hearing. Just this week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Breitbart about the dangers posed by censorship.

“When only one side is doing the talking, you don’t call it a dialogue. You call it a lecture.”

 

 

Presidential Fun Facts

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George Washington

Apart from running the country, George Washington operated and owned a whiskey distillery at Mount Vernon.

 

 

 

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