The Hon. Barack Obama President of the United States of America: Events at the White House in July 2016


President Barack Obama greets Armanii Chisholm, age 3, as his grandmother, Chief Religious Program Specialist Tameca Brown, looks on during a tour with wounded warriors and their families in the Cross Hall of the White House, July 25, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama meets with Amy Pope, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, who briefs him and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the potential cases of non-travel related Zika announced by the Florida Department of Health earlier today, in the Oval Office, July 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico walk through the Blue Room before a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House, July 22, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama smells a rose given to him by Sophia Ahmadi, 2, as her parents, Zainab Ahmadi and Mohammad Ahmadi, look on during the Eid al-Fitr reception in the East Room of the White House, July 21, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama takes the stage as he is introduced by Strive Masiyiwa during the White House Summit on Global Development at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


First Lady Michelle Obama and Tyler Oakley greet family pets Bo and Sunny in the Library of the White House, following the Beating the Odds Summit , July 19, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)


President Barack Obama talks with retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kettles, center, and his guests, former brothers-in-arms from Vietnam, in the Blue Room following the Medal of Honor ceremony for Kettles at the White House, July 18, 2016. Then-Major Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967, and is credited with saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his own crew members. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Salon Ran MY Confederate Flag Piece As Lead Story on their Web Zine Last Evening

Link to my story on Salon is here:

Confederate Flag Symbol of Racism Article on Salon

I was “gobsmacked” as the English say, to have had this happen and obviously very pleased since I worked on this for three weeks or more. I rarely do more than the minimum to get my writing “out there” since it is time consuming and I refuse to beg people to post or print something I have written.

At the same time, it is a terrible irony that such a bloody tragedy called forth some of my best writing. I wish it hadn’t. But I am selfish enough to be pleased that my story about the Confederate flag, prompted by the evil slaughter in Charleston, one of my favorite cities, got so much exposure.

Salon has 17 million subscribers, although I am hardly suggesting that many people read it my piece– probably more like ten thousand. I will ask them later.  I felt validated as a non-fiction writer. I have always thought my non-fiction was very good but if people who know me think of my writing at all, which I am not suggesting they do, they only think of fiction. So you might imagine how pleased I am to see a piece which took so long to write, and was personally very painful to write, get this kind of exposure.

Only a few hundred people read my blog each day although occasionally I get as many as 400 hits and that is always on posts I never think had a broad appeal. The post on the Panther tank got 400 or more hits in a day.

That the Confederate flag is a racist symbol, is a belief I came to accept after a number of years of thinking about it. Worse, has been the growing use of it by right-wing skinhead fascists in other countries. Nonetheless, I rarely mentioned my opinion on the flag since it almost never came up and I found it very difficult to discuss.

But when I read of the cold-blooded murder in Charleston of nine African-Americans in their own church engaged in Bible study, I was shocked me and I am hard to shock. Given that one of the slain was a South Carolina state senator was even more shocking. All I kept thinking was this is my state and for God’s sake, this group of people were at Bible study. President Obama’s eulogy in Charleston moved me greatly and after that I decided to set down my thoughts in words.


But how Salon came to run this piece is a story in itself and this is what happened. I posted the piece on my blog and my blog automatically posts to my Facebook. A friend of mine I used to work with by the name of Murray Attaway saw my piece on my Facebook and emailed me and said he thought it was great and could he cross-post it and I said ‘sure.’

Years ago, Murray used to be a rock star. He and his band never got the famed they deserved but they were well known in the music scene. I only found out about this after someone at the firm told me since Murray never told anyone. He is from Athens GA and that city, which is a beautiful leafy college town, has produced a number of famous bands including the B52s and REO Speedwagon.

Athens GA also produced another great band:  Murray was lead guitarist, song writer and singer. They toured for years and major labels released 4 CDs which have been remastered and are again available.

Turns out David Daley, the Editor in Chief of Salon used to be a rock music critic years and years ago and one of his favorite bands was Guadalcanal Diary. So that is how he knew Murray and they are Facebook friends. After Murray posted my piece on his Facebook, David Daley read it. He liked it a lot and emailed me and asked if Salon could run it.

His email went into my spam folder! By sheer happenstance, I checked my spam folder Wednesday mid-day and had my cursor on the delete all button but saw an email from Salon. Had to be spam. I don’t anyone at Salon. But I thought ‘what the hell,” and opened it. And there was the email from David Daley. I only googled the guy after two or three email exchanges and only then learned he was the editor-in-chief.

So thank you Murray.

Why is is that such sadness calls forth better writing than things in everyday life? I also must say that I felt trepidation when I posted the piece about the Confederate flag because I am certain that some of my friends in South Carolina will never speak to me again. Unquestionably that makes me feel low. But to me me, a good writer, an honest writer, has to write what is in his heart and gut. That’s what good writers do and I am self-confident enough to number myself in said group.



Katy Parry Sings at White House Someone Just Told Me

The Hon. Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

(Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta courtesy AP Photo and E!)


“We have just one of my favorite people performing tonight—Katy Perry,” Obama introduced the night’s musical entertainment. “We are so grateful to her.”  

“I love Katy Perry,” he added. “She is just a wonderful person. I’ve just met her mom and now I know why she is such a wonderful person, but I just want everybody to know she is on tour right now and so for her to take time out to do this is really special, and so we really want to say thank you to her for doing this.”


As my handful of regular readers know, I don’t follow popular culture very closely since I’m busy learning the popular culture of another society–in this case Great Britain in WW Two–so I don’t have time to do both.

I revealed my ignorance in a recent blog post in which I recounted talking to a nice young guy at Filter Coffee House in DC, my home away from home, and learned he was a side guitarist for someone named Katy Perry.

Since I had never heard of her he politely explained who she was. Later I learned from friends that Katy is one of the most famous singers like, ever! 

How the hell I am supposed to know all this? I don’t listen to the radio. I imagine this guy was amused since I must have been the only person he had meet in recent years who had no idea who he was talking about.


A dear friend from South Carolina who I have known since the 4th grade at Sheridan Elementary School in Orangeburg, SC, emailed me and said that President Obama knew who Katy was and that she had performed at the White House a few days back.

I had no idea since I don’t follow the social calender of the White House. As to the President knowing who she is, I told me friend that we both had to accept that President Obama was far more cool and more hip than I am. Or ever will be.

Regardless of His Political Party, A President Cannot Resist Kissing Babies or Talking to Children


Whichever way the political winds are blowing, you can be certain that every President loves having his photograph taken with children.







President Barack Obama high-fives a youngster at Coral Reef Senior High School, Fla., March 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



President Barack Obama plays with 5 month-old Vann Carroll during a visit with wounded warriors and their families who were touring the White House, in the East Room, March 31, 2014. Vann was visiting with mom Ryan Carroll and dad, Major Ben Carroll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama talks with a young girl while greeting audience members during an embassy meet and greet at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in The Hague, the Netherlands, March 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



A young student uses a stethoscope to hear President Barack Obama’s heartbeat during a classroom visit at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)