As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: White House campus

White House Thanksgiving Fence Jumper Arrested

Well, on Thanksgiving, your White House correspondent was strolling by the White House and ran into this:

White House Secret Service
Photo by Keith Koffler

Someone had jumped the White House fence, I found out. The front of the White House – the north side – was on lockdown. Hazmat trucks were brought in. And these guys above had their fingers on the triggers of their weapons in case the kooky fence jumper was just the vanguard of a far more aggressive effort to ruin the Obamas’ Thanksgiving.

Turned out not.

fence jumper

According to the Washington Post, 22-year-old Joseph Caputo of Stamford, Connecticut, scaled the north fence on and gained access to the north grounds but was immediately arrested. Caputo was charged with unlawful entry.

Scolding the Joy Out of a Beautiful Moment

Something of wonder thing occurred at the White House recently. It may still be occurring, although I haven’t seen evidence of it recently.

A young red-tailed hawk arrived on the grounds. For city folk like me, it’s a glorious thing to see.

I witnessed it the other day on the North Lawn when some smaller birds were chasing the hawk around, perhaps defending their nests. It perched on some tree with a put-upon look, as if of course it had a right to those eggs and weren’t those other mean birds so rude to deny him – or her – a nutritious and tasty meal?

Hawks of course are large, beautiful birds of prey. I tried to take a couple of photos for you but wasn’t successful. The White House, however, was, and posted this exquisite shot.

white house hawk

I’ve seen hawks before during my years at the White House, what with the large number of well-fed, fattened-up squirrels bounding about the terrain. The White House squirrels have little fear, because nothing violent ever happens at the White House and they learn people won’t harm them. I remember having one climb up the pant leg of my suit looking to share a Peanut M&M or two with me.

There were times in the past when you knew a hawk was overhead because you saw the squirrels scatter as if one had signaled an air raid warning and the others understood it was time to run, duck and cover. Not always successfully, though, as I have at least once or twice seen a hawk calmly disemboweling a squirrel in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, oblivious to gawking tourists as it savored its meal.

The photo above was included in a White House blog post which naturally celebrated the presence of a splendid visit by the natural world to the urban park that is the White House grounds – actually, it’s part of the National Park system.

Celebrated for a sentence or two, that is. Because the Left can’t just appreciate beauty for it’s own sake. It has to create a “teaching moment,” so often one that instructs in the evil man does and the need for corrective, and hopefully coercive, action by the enlightened among us.

And so of course, the White House left it to one Tamara Dickinson, Principal Assistant Director for Environment & Energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to extoll the raptor’s presence. She admitted she was ” enjoying the company” of the bird then went right into finger-wagging mode:

But as we admire and appreciate the animals that have learned to live in our backyards, it’s important to remember that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for much of the world’s wildlife to adapt to the changes that humans are imposing on our shared planet. Consider, for example, the effects that climate change is having on birds. Rising average temperatures, more extreme weather events, and sea-level rise are all forcing bird populations out of their natural habitats and ranges. There’s also strong evidence that climate change induces behavioral changes in birds, altering migration and breeding patterns.

As a result, we’re seeing declines in the populations of many bird species, which will only continue unless something changes. One recent study notes that by the year 2080, around half of the bird species in the United States could lose more than 50 percent of their current range due largely to the effects of climate change.

Really? We know what will happen in 2080 to birds? Climate scientists in the 1990s already incorrectly predicted the weather that would occur over the following 20 years, when it has warmed not at all. And BTW, “extreme weather events” have not been shown to be related to climate change.

It’s our responsibility to do what we can to tackle climate change and take other actions to help protect and restore declining populations of birds and other animals in the U.S. and worldwide. President Obama’s Administration is leading on this front in a number of ways, including unveiling a comprehensive strategy to promote pollinator health and habitat, to supporting the National Climate Assessment to help us identify and respond to the most pressing effects of climate change, to implementing an ambitious series of executive actions under the Climate Action Plan.

Pollinator health? Do hawks pollinate things? What’s that got to do with it?

Can’t we just enjoy this sublime creature without beating ourselves over the head? Do we always have to “learn” from the experience? How about, instead, learning to experience.

Video || Girl Scouts Camp Out on South Lawn

Now this is really cute.

The Obamas hosted a group of Girl Scouts for a campout at the White House Tuesday night, singing songs, drinking bug juice, and promoting outdoor activity at the National Parks, of which the White House is one.

And the president was very funny and cuddly with them. He’s used to dealing with girls.

Unfortunately, it rained overnight in the Washington area as if the Chinese air force had arrived, and the girls were forced to run for their lives in the middle of the night, settling in a conference room in an office building near the White House.

White House Briefing Room Evacuated

Missed this. I was in town but having lunch with a friend. Could have had some fun video for you. I have this though, which gives you a pretty good idea of what went on.

I like Mark Knoller of CBS, the big guy in the white shirt, who chronicles the White House via Twitter. Looks he’s taking his time getting out while working on some tweets.

It appears a bomb threat targeting the briefing room had been phoned in to the Washington police. The all-clear was given about 20 minutes later and reporters filed back in.


Oh God. Get some people in the White House press office with at least a rudimentary understanding of English grammar.

The White House has now, at least three times that I’ve seen, sent out this announcement about President Obama’s event today at Georgetown University:

On Tuesday, May 12, President Obama will participate in a discussion with Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University.

I live in the DC area. I guarantee you folks, THERE IS NO POVERTY AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY. Quite the contrary.

You like that? Here’s another one I saw recently:

First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks at a White House convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

I’ve covered the White House for many years. I’ve been in that building, which is part of the White House campus, countless times. I can assure you, there are very few opportunities for young Native Americans in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Okay, yeah, I know, I make grammatical mistakes too. But I work alone. I’m the writer, and the editor, a dangerous combination for the well-being of the English language. And many of you are helpful enough to correct my mistakes. I mean that seriously.

And this is “White House Dossier.” Not “White House.” I’m not responsible for the nation’s nuclear stockpile. You’d expect those who are to at least be able to construct a sentence in their native language.

The White House Briefing Room Seating Chart

Here it is, the newly approved official 2015 White House briefing room seating chart!!

WH briefing room seating

But, unless it’s a briefing room presidential press conference, in which case every rump will be in its official seat, don’t use this as a cheat sheet.

During the daily briefings, only the first two or three rows are filled with people in their proper places. Beyond that, it varies, especially as you get toward the back.

Even when I worked for a company that had a seat – alas, ICYMI, White House Dossier does not – I would try to move up to the second or third row, as I do today. The rule is, if you’re not in your seat, anyone else can have it, except for the first row, where bohemians and gypsies must never wander.

Of course, this being Washington, the seating arrangement in the briefing room is a vicious turf war, connoting status. Probably a quarter the organizations with seats never use them and couldn’t Google Map their way to the White House. Another quarter are rarely seen. But oh boy, just try and take their seats away or move them back a row . . .

Note this statement given to Politico by Jeff Mason of the White House Correspondents’ Association, the Reuters reporter who ran the latest seating assignment review, which resulted in a few minor changes:

The review took months to complete and was approved unanimously by the WHCA board after careful consultation with and input from all of the affected organizations. We’re confident that we’ve made gentle adjustments that give designated spots to the reporters who use them most.

My God. Talk about walking on eggshells. You’d think they were negotiating to strip CBS of its nuclear weapons.

One of the great battles over the years involved Fox News vs. CNN. For ages, the Fox seat was behind CNN’s. Then, uh oh, a little thing happened with the ratings, and Fox could not be denied. Now, as you can see, Fox’s seat is just slightly better than CNN’s. It even eclipses NBC. MSNBC is a few rows back only because the NBC correspondent does double duty on the sister network.

UPI used to have a seat front and center – long after it had lost its war with the Associated Press and no one subscribed anymore – out of deference to Helen Thomas. When she left UPI, it became the Helen Thomas seat. And when she wasn’t present, nobody would sit there, until the guy who took over for UPI started doing it, making everyone cringe. I thought it was pretty funny.

Drone Lands at the White House

A drone landed within the gates of the White House this morning, making its way into a tree at around 3 am, according to reports. The White House sought to portray the incident as no big deal, saying what they termed “a device” did not pose a threat. Nevertheless, here’s a look at the response:… Continue Reading

Lights Briefly Out at the White House

Updated Tuesday, December 16, 7:12 pm ET The lights went out for a few seconds at the White House this morning, according to reporters on the scene who tweeted about the incident. Yahoo News White House reporter Olivier Knox tweeted that @DCPoliceDept tweeted and then deleted “Something about police at 1900 E St Office of Personnel Management for… Continue Reading

Video || Behind the Scenes with Obama in Asia

Okay, yeah, this is White House-produced propaganda. But I thought you might enjoy sharing some of the access given White House videographers and get a look at some intimate shots not afforded the press. Note, unfortunately, the nauseatingly fast cuts from scene to scene. This is of course consistent with the style expected of music videos… Continue Reading