April Fools Day
We had almost forgotten it was April Fools’ Day, a.k.a. the worst day in the world to be a reporter. Or best. It really depends which of the two reporter categories you happen to be: The kind that hates spending all day trying to figure out if Kim Kardashian is really guest-editing Vogue, or the kind who loves making up stories about Allison Williams releasing an album composed entirely of Kanye West covers.
Well, no matter if you love a good goof or think goofs are lame and would like to see the world goof-free, we can all agree that the White House’s “Very Special Message” today was perfect. Kid president! Fart noises! Internet memes!
A Kennedy in Trouble
Conor Kennedy, the 18-year-old son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and second-most-recent ex-boyfriend of Taylor Swift (right behind Harry Styles from One Direction), was arrested yesterday for protesting at the White House.
Al Roker, who is a very famous weatherman (or so we’ve been told), admitted on Dateline last night that he pooped in his pants at the White House after his gastric bypass surgery in 2002.
“I probably went off and ate something I wasn’t supposed [to], and I was walking to the press room, and I thought I had to pass a little gas,” Mr. Roker told NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. “And I thought, ‘Whose going to know?’ Only, a little something extra came out.”
Dr. Snyderman took this in stride. “You pooped in your pants,” she shrugged, like a real doctor would.
“I pooped my pants,” he concurred.
Best Laid Plans
Friday was Adolfo Carrion’s last day working for the Obama administration. He had been ensconced for the past two years in a corner office on the 35th floor of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building downtown, serving as director of HUD Region 2, which is where The Observer met him a few weeks ago to discuss the president‘s flagging urban agenda.
Bronx paraphernalia filled the glass-line space. Near the doorway was a green highway sign, WELCOME TO THE BRONX. On a bookshelf behind his desk, beside family photos, books (Sonia Sotomayor’s biography, Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat) and hardhats of special significance, rested a miniature subway sign for the 161st Street-Yankees Stadium stop. Along the wall stood a T.V. tuned to CNBC, framed newspaper clippings, and not one but two Yankees groundbreaking shovels, one of which had a bat for a handle. Pinstriped paraphernalia was everywhere, declaring the Manhattan-born, Bronx-bred politician’s on-field allegiance.
Mr. Carrion left the Bronx to go work for the administration, first on the campaign trail, then as the inaugural director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. He left that position to come work at HUD, a move many saw as a demotion, though he insists it was always part of his plan.
Best Laid Plans
From his corner office on the 35th floor of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building downtown, Adolfo Carrion could once survey much of his domain. The regional administrator for HUD Region 2, Mr. Carrion was responsible for the federal government’s housing and urban development projects in New York and New Jersey. Stretching out before the floor-to-ceiling windows is lower Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are off to the left. Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty peek out from behind the towers of downtown. Out across the harbor to the right is Jersey City and, off in the distance, Newark. Glory and destitution in one vista.
Peering down, it is easy to see a century’s worth of transformational urban development. The redbrick monoliths of the New York Housing Authority, the brainchild of Robert Moses and the WPA, abound. Idyllic towers propagated by LaGuardia, Rockefeller, Lindsay and a thousand other urban dreamers, these are the projects that deteriorated into The Projects. Ringing the Battery and over the bridges to Long Island are the FDR, the West Side Highway, the BQE and the rest of Moses’s great interstate network. After four decades, Battery Park City is nearly complete, built on the landfill dredged up by the World Trade Center. More than $20 billion in Liberty bonds is at work rebuilding the Trade Center and other pieces of lower Manhattan, ravaged on 9/11.
Yet for all this work, it is hard to recognize a marquee project, a bright shining beacon of the Obama administration on the scale of those that came before.
In a blog post published Friday the Obama Administration signaled measured opposition to both the House-sponsored Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its kissing cousin in the Senate, the Protect IP Act of 2011 (PIPA). With fairly clear language (for government officials), impossibly-titled administration officials Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra and Howard Schmidt authored the response to two petitions directed at the legislation, stating:
Politics is a rough business. But every so often, amid all the partistan bickering, the parry and thrust of Beltway combat is briefly suspended and a little human emotion shines forth. Such is the case this morning with David Brooks’ extra-mushy paean to Rahm Emanuel, which is perhaps the most embarrassingly heartfelt eruption of Read More
Rahm Emanuel is officially leaving the White House, President Obama announced today in a press conference that was, at this point, a foregone conclusion. To commemorate the f-bomb-dropping Chief of Staff’s time in Washington, Austan Goolsbee, the new Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, got Rahm a little going-away present. This morning Emanuel held Read More
Update: The White House has now officially announced that Larry Summers is leaving his position as Director of the National Economic Council and will be returning to Harvard at the end of the year. Here’s a part of President Obama’s statement:
I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for Read More
Former White House budget director Peter Orzag will begin writing columns for The New York Times opinion page next week, the paper announced today.
Editor Andrew Rosenthal praised Mr. Orzag as “one of the most recognizable names in economics” in a release. His column will appear once or twice monthly.
Mr. Orzag left his job Read More