Sunday, October 25, 2009

Girls Got Game With Obama

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Stop the press: Barack Obama played golf with a woman. It’s apparently not enough for Obama to be surrounded two daughters, a wife and a mother-in-law at home, have Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State or appoint Sonia Sotomayor as Supreme Court Justice. No, he must play golf with them as well.

Yesterday the front page of the Sunday NY Times led with an article dissecting the Obama administration “boys club”, where “some high-profile sectors of the White House — economics and national security, for instance — are filled with men and exude an unmistakable male vibe”. It complained that ladies weren’t allowed to join in and shoot hoops at a famed presidential b-ball game. Plus, no women have played golf with Obama since he became president, but that a senior White House aide, Melody Barnes, was due to play this weekend.

Now whether it was the NY Times article that prompted the tokenism or not, Barnes teed off with the president in surely the most widely reported act of presidential social togetherness since the beer summit.

Journalist Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times deemed it worthy of three separate pool reports , almost like a live-blog of the golf game. It lead with the wonderful headline ‘Obama golfs with Melody Barnes, first female in presidential foursome’:

“It’s a crisp, beautiful fall day with the leaves changing colors along the drive from Washington to the base, in Virginia. Obama was observed walking out of the White House at 12:18 p.m. wearing a black short sleeve shirt. Barnes was wearing a baseball cap, dark long sleeve shirt and beige pants. Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director, was seen loading golf clubs.”

The NY Times reported that “Melody C. Barnes, a White House aide, broke through President Obama’s green ceiling Sunday afternoon”.

“Another crack in the gender glass ceiling” said the LA Times, with their article entitled ‘A first! President Obama actually golfs with a woman!’

As Politico noted, “Who says newspapers don’t have any influence anymore?” Now if only that influence was used for focusing on issues that actually matter. Amber Jamieson

Obama golfing now with Melody Barnes. Pool report 1

Lynn Sweet on October 25, 2009 12:55 PM

From Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times/Politics Daily


President Obama's motorcade pulled in the gate at the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir at 1:04 p.m. eastern after rolling out of the White House at 12:23 p.m.

Melody Barnes, President Obama's chief domestic policy advisor is among those golfing with President Obama at the Fort Belvoir golf course. This is noteworthy because of the spat of stories--the latest on the front page of the Sunday New York Times--about Obama playing basketball recently with men and no females. I just e-mailed White House Deputy Press Secretary William Burton asking him if Barnes was the first woman to play golf with Obama since taking office and Burton's reply was "not true."

It's a crisp, beautiful fall day with the leaves changing colors along the drive from Washington to the base, in Virginia.

Obama was observed walking out of the White House at 12:18 p.m. wearing a black short sleeve shirt. Barnes was wearing a baseball cap, dark long sleeve shirt and beige pants. Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director, was seen loading golf clubs.

The motorcade stopped for lights leaving D.C. along New York Avenue before hitting the highway.

At 1:06 p.m. the motorcade with the president pulled up to the club house at Fort Belvoir and the van with the pool peeled off. The pool arrived a few minutes later at a Fort Belvoir food court, where we are holding.

Lynn Sweet

Obama gets grief for male-only basketball games
By Jimmy Orr | 10.25.09

President Obama’s in hot water again. And it’s that same old nemesis.
No, not Rush Limbaugh. The other really round culprit. You know, the basketball. Some critics are upset because he’s not more inclusive when he participates in the sport.
It’s not the first time the president has received criticism for his interest in basketball. Or his preference for men’s basketball, that is. Last March, a columnist for USA Today roundly criticizedthe president for not filling out a NCAA women’s basketball bracket — like he did for their male counterparts.

No girls allowed

Now the kerfuffle is over a game the president hosted at the White House last week. Although he reached out to Members of Congress and his Cabinet to play, all of the invitees had one thing in common — they were guys.

It’s certainly understandable why the president loves the game. After all, he’s from Indonesia Chicago where the greatest player ever to play the game graced the court. And if you don’t remember that, Michael Jordan will remind you of that (and then he’ll criticize you and everyone else for, well,everything).

But, shouldn’t the president extend invites to both sexes?

Old boys club?

NBC White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie asked him that earlier this week. She asked him if his preference for all-male hoops sends the wrong signal. Or as she put it, “Some people might look at it and say, ‘Gosh, there’s the old boys club again.’”
That’s something the president dismisses.

“I gotta say, I think this is bunk,” Obama told Guthrie. “Basically, the House of Representatives has a basketball game and they had wanted to play here at the White House court and we invited them.”

“I don’t know if there are women who— were Members of Congress who play basketball on a regular basis,” Obama continued. “I don’t think there are. You know, I don’t think sends any kind of message or signal whatsoever.”

Male vs. Female

That’s where there’s plenty of disagreement. A conversation on MSNBC’s “Cup of Joe” last week might provide some insight as to how people are viewing the issue.
The host of the show, Joe Scarborough, agrees with the president. Holding his head in his hands at one point during Wednesday’s program, the former Republican congressman seemed genuinely pained that his colleague — Guthrie — spent any portion of her one-on-one with the president on the issue.

Comparing the topic to flaky “balloon boy” coverage, Scarborough told Guthrie, “Speaking for all men — that was bunk. That question was bunk. What were you thinking?”

“This is a really interesting issue,” Guthrie began.

“No, it’s not,” Scarborough interrupted.

Guthrie explained that the disagreement over the issue seemed to break down across gender lines.

“Most men I talk to say, ‘What’s the big deal? So a guy can’t play basketball?’” she said. “But many, many serious thinking women say, ‘Let’s call this for it is: This is a networking opportunity. This is a political event.”

The Round Mound of Mikulski?

No matter what Guthrie could say, Scarborough wouldn’t buy it (see video below). At one point, he sounded like the terminally politically incorrect Michael Scott from the popular TV show “The Office.”

“Come on, what are you going to do? Invite Barbara Mikulski over to play basketball with you?” he asked.

Fans of the TV show might remember when Michael was putting together an office basketball team to match up against the warehouse workers. When his rotund middle-aged colleague Phyllis asked to play, Michael — like Scarborough — scoffed.
Of course, Michael changed his mind when Phyllis then volunteered to be a cheerleader.

“Oh yuck. That’s worse than you playing,” Michael said to stunned silence. Then he backtracked and promised Phyllis a spot on the team as an alternate.

As goes Scranton, so goes the White House

No one is suggesting that Obama is a presidential version of the regional manager for Dunder-Mifflin. But, judging how his press secretary responded to a question about the game, we’re guessing that the president, like Michael, will eventually come around.

“The President obviously is someone who, as the father of two young daughters, has an avid interest in their competing against anybody on the playing field. The President has certainly played basketball and other sports with women in the past, and I anticipate he’ll do so in the future.”

Yes, she can: Obama's golfers a men's club no more
(AP) WASHINGTON — The White House scored a stroke for gender equality in sports on Sunday.

President Barack Obama's chief domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes, became the first woman to play in the president's golf foursome. She joined the president, Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director, and Dr. Eric Whitaker, the executive vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center, for a round on the Army's Fort Belvoir golf course.

Obama has been criticized for playing basketball with men and no women, most recently in Sunday's New York Times.

White House deputy press secretary William Burton confirmed the first. "He golfed with women on the campaign trail but not until Melody this year," Burton said.

Obama and woman go golfing (just like Adam Sandler and Bob Barker)

By Jimmy Orr

This should take some sting out of the earlier criticism.

President Obama went golfing this afternoon. No, he wasn’t being criticized for not golfing enough. He was getting some flak for not including women in his White House basketball games.

So what’s he do this afternoon? Asks a female staffer to join him for 18 holes. A big deal? Maybe, but only because since becoming president his golfing partners have all been men.

But that all changed today as the president’s chief domestic policy advisor — Melody Barnes — joined him.

As for the game itself, there’s no play-by-play. The pool reporters aren’t like that tall Frankenstein-like guy in the movie “Happy Gilmore.” They can’t follow the president on every hole.

So, therefore we don’t know if Obama and Barnes got into it like Bob Barker and Adam Sandler in said movie. Although it’s safe to say that probably didn’t happen. News would probably leak out.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a bit of controversy about the game — although it’s really, really minor. The pool reporter, Lynn Sweet from the Chicago Sun Times, asked the White House if Barnes was the first woman to play golf with Obama since he became president.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said that was “not true.”
But when asked who the other women were, Burton did a 180.”

I was wrong about this — all apologies,” he told Sweet. “He golfed with women on the campaign trail but not until Melody this year. Sorry to all the people who were unwittingly misled by what I gave the pooler.”

Hey, we’ll always invite you to golf with us (even if you three-putt every hole)

New York Magazine

Barack Golfs With Pretty Lady

President Obama has played a lot of golf since moving into the White House in January, but it wasn't until yesterday that a woman played with him. Obama's chief domestic policy adviser andknown hottie Melody Barnes joined him on the links today, where she carried a golf bag that was exactly the same size that she is.

The timing of Obama's invitation is a tad suspect. The Washington press corps has criticized him over the past week for his frattiness, from the all-dudes golf outings to the all-bros basketball games. Then the Times ran an article today titled "Man’s World at White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say," that called Obama a "First Guy's Guy."

"Since being elected, he has demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of college hoops on ESPN, indulged a craving for weekend golf, expressed a preference for adopting a 'big rambunctious dog' over a 'girlie dog' and hoisted beer in a peacemaking effort."

So yeah, maybe Barack is kind of the Bro-in-Chief. But today is about Melody Barnes, who accomplished an unprecedented feat—she broke through the grass ceiling.

Woman joins Obama on the links [Washington Post]

By: Adam K. Raymond

Thursday, October 22, 2009

12 Yr. old Mark Benevento, Jr. Out-Hits Tiger

Boy, 12, Out-Drives Tiger Woods

by Tom Henderson

Categories: In The News, Weird But True,Amazing Kids, Sports|main|dl3|link2|

It doesn't matter if you're the fastest gun or the greatest brain surgeon. Someday, some kid is going to come along and show you up.

That day came for golf legend Tiger Woods on Oct. 4. He was out-driven by a 12-year-old kid.

A video from NBC Philadelphia tells the tale. Woods was in North Carolina to open a new golf course and hit a few tee-shots down the fairway. Two of them landed in the trees. Then he asked if anyone in the crowd thought they could do better.

Mark Benevento Jr. of New Jersey stepped forward. The pre-teen shot the ball 200 yards, right down the middle. Woods was stunned. "Do that again," he said. "We've got to see that again."

So the lad did it again.

"I was surprised because I thought I was going to top it or something," the middle schooler told the NBC affiliate. "[Woods] was clapping. He was really surprised that I could actually hit it."

More than surprised, he was duly impressed. "Well done, bud. Well done," he told Mark. "I'm proud of you."

Mark's father, Mark Benevento Sr., owns the Great Bay Country Club in Somers Point, N.J. He told NBC his son usually shoots in the high 70s. The father and son traveled to North Carolina to hear Woods speak at the first-ever Tiger Woods-designed golf course, still under development at The Cliffs at High Carolina.

"He [Woods] called me from a crowd of, like, 100 people," Mark told NBC. "I wasn't really nervous, but I got nervous when I stepped up."

You couldn't tell from his performance.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

JFK's Private Course at Glen Ora

After the election, the President-elect leased a 400 acre horse farm called Glen Ora, which was near Middleburg, Virginia, a two hour drive or twenty minute helicopter ride from the White House.

They liked it there, and they purchased some land nearby and lived at Glen Ora during the construction of their own home, which they called Wexford, named after the town of Kennedy’s Irish roots.

While at Glen Ora, they tried to enjoy life outside of the Washington limelight. As Sally B. Smith wrote "…For Jack’s forty-fourth birthday on May 29, Jackie conspired with Paul Fout to create a three-hold golf course at Glen Ora – ‘rather long & difficult ones – so it will be a challenge to play and not just so easy that one gets tired of it.’"

"To further amuse Jack, she asked that the holes have Confederate flags that would ‘not be visible from the road.’ The Bradlees visited Glen Ora on May 20 for a birthday celebration, and Ben and JFK inaugurated the course, which had grown to four holes ‘9,000 square yards of pasture, filled with small hills, big rocks, and even a swamp,’ Bradlee recalled. JFK ‘shot the course record, a thirty-seven for four holes.’"

From Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House By Sally Bedell Smith. (P. 201)