Archive for April, 2011

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All times EST, British time is four hours later…

5:30a – Carole Middleton – the mother of the bride – making her way to Westminster Abbey.

5:31a – Don’t think I can remember seeing British royals aristocrats taking shuttle buses before.

5:33a – Carole Middleton arrives at Westminster. She was accompanied by her son James Middleton.

5:37a – Several members of the British royal family entering Westminster Abbey.

5:40a – Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, heading over to Westminster Abbey.

5:42a – The Queen and Prince Philip leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey.

Prince Andrew and his daughters with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson have arrived. See this tweet from CNN’s Richard Greene:

“Uncontrollable laughter in newsroom as Princess Beatrice arrives “wearing a firework in her hair,” according to one of the kinder reviews.”

5:46a – The gang’s all here…  Now all eyes – and cameras – are on the Goring Hotel for Kate Middleton’s departure and glimpse of the dress.

5:49a – Another good catch from Richard Greene on Twitter.  Check out this royal typo:

BAHAHAHAHAHA. The sown/sewn typo in the @geoffhillcnn tweet about the Queen’s dress is @ClarenceHouse‘s, not his.

5:51a – Kate Middleton and her father are leaving the hotel for Westminster Abbey.

6:01a – Like clockwork, Kate Middleton and her father have arrived at Westminster Abbey. Bells ringing all over London.

6:02a – Clarence House spills the beans on Kate’s wedding dress via Twitter: designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.

6:05a – Game on… Kate Middleton being walked down the aisle by her father.

6:10a – Some context from CNN’s Piers Morgan: the hymn being sung now was the final hymn sung at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, which also took place at Westminster Abbey. According to CBS Radio, it is a Welsh hymn titled Cwn Rhondda.

6:11a – ABC’s Diane Sawyer reports:

Diane Sawyer: “In case you missed it we saw Prince William say ‘you look beautiful'” #royalwedding

6:16a – William and Kate taking their marriage vows.

6:19a – William has a little trouble getting the ring on Kate’s finger but finally manages.  William himself will not be wearing a wedding band.

6:21a – It’s official… Prince William and Kate are now married.

6:28a – More from Piers Morgan: a special choral anthem commissioned as wedding gift being performed now.

6:32a – Address delivered by the Bishop of London.

6:35a – Just found out that Westminster Abbey is on Twitter. A useful resource for following the ceremony.

6:43a – Seeing all this brings a Peter Gabriel lyric to mind (albeit in a different and happier context): “And the eyes of the world are watching you now.”

6:48a – From CNN’s Piers Morgan: The hymn “Jerusalem” by William Blake is being performed.  English rugby fans – including Prince William – will know this word for word.

6:52a – The British national anthem – “God Save the Queen” – now being performed inside the abbey. No, it’s not the Sex Pistols version, unfortunately.

6:54a – Multiple observers have pointed out that everyone inside the abbey was singing “God Save the Queen” except… the Queen herself.

6:55a – TIME Magazine reports:

William joked to his father-in-law at altar: “We were supposed to have just a small family affair”

6:59a – Canadian broadcaster CTV reports:

According to a colleague, when Harry looked back as Kate was walking down the aisle, he said to Will, “Wait ’til you see her.” Sweet

7:05a – The newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are filing out of the abbey.

7:09a – Crowds cheer and bells ringing all over London as William and Kate exit Westminster Abbey.

7:11a – William and Kate leave Westminster in an open-air carriage en route for Buckingham Palace. Carole Middleton, Camilla Parker-Bowles (William’s stepmother) and the Queen seen chatting outside Westminster Abbey.

7:15a – The Queen and Prince Philip follow, heading to Buckingham Palace in their own carriage.

7:22a – Carriage procession approaching Buckingham Palace.

7:38a – CNN’s Richard Quest points out that the bells will be ringing for the next three hours.

7:44a – CNN’s Piers Morgan said this earlier and he’s absolutely right: the Brits do pomp and pageantry better than anybody.

Nice Day for a White Wedding

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ll be live-blogging and live-tweeting the Royal Wedding throughout the morning.  For those of you without access to a TV, you can watch it streamed live on the Royal Family’s YouTube channel.

Would-be modern day saint Greg Mortenson got hit by a devastating one-two journalistic punch courtesy of Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes pointing out his nonexistent loose relationship with the truth as it relates to some anecdotes and details in his best-selling books.

In making the comparison between Mortenson and James Frey, Krakauer notes, “Frey, unlike Mortenson, didn’t use his phony memoir to solicit tens of millions of dollars in donations from unsuspecting readers.”

Beyond the literary embellishment or outright fabrication alleged in both reports, the charges that Mortenson has mismanaged or used CAI funds for personal use, or claimed credit for building nonexistant schools raise even more troubling questions.  The fact that President Obama gave $100,000 of his Nobel Peace Prize money to Mortenson’s charity will bring even more scrutiny to what he’s done with the millions of dollars he’s raised over the years.

Again, I quote the Beatles: “Sexy Sadie what have you done / You made a fool of everyone.”

When you’re Tim Pawlenty, apparently… Take a look at this exchange he had with CNN’s Piers Morgan:

Morgan: There was a poll out only today, a CNN poll which probably made quite the disturbing reading for you. Did you ever imagine in your wildest nightmares that you’d see a poll of potential Republican candidates which had you at 2 percent and Donald Trump at 19 percent?

Pawlenty: Well for me, I’m just getting known Piers. So our trajectory is kind of a tortoise and hare strategy and as we get better known particularly in the early states I think you’ll see those numbers change for me. But as to Donald Trump, the Donald I think he’s funny, I think he’s exciting. He’s obviously very successful. I think he brings a lot to the debate so I welcome him to it. If hair is going to be a factor in this race, Piers then I’m going to grow my mullet back out. I had a mullet when I played hockey in high school.

Morgan: In a hypothetical scenario governor, if someone like Donald Trump was to emerge as the Republican nominee and asked you to be vice president, would you accept that honor?

Pawlenty: I’m running for president. I’m not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president so I’m focused on running for president.

(Emphasis in the transcript is mine)

Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant had to walk back the remarks, telling CNN, “As the governor has said many times, he is not running to be anybody’s vice president. He will have a formal announcement about running for president later this spring.”

Conant has also taken to Twitter to push back against CNN:

@sanuzis have you seen full quote? he didn’t announce anything. @CNN took quote out of context.

As was the case with Mitt Romney’s announcement earlier this week, the fact that Tim Pawlenty is getting ready to run for president is not news to anybody who has been keeping an eye on him since 2008, and more so during the lead up to the 2010 elections as his gubernatorial term was winding down. However, the fact that he actually said the words “I’m running for president,” would automatically trigger alarm bells for any political journalist watching the interview. It may not have been a formal photo op event with a backdrop and a podium, but it is fair for CNN and other news organizations to quote him saying “I’m running for president.” It may not have been the intended message Pawlenty and Conant wanted out there, but it’s impossible to unring that bell, especially when it’s on video.

Regardless of semantics, the fact that Pawlenty was the first Republican candidate to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee was a pretty big indicator that he was running for president. All other subsequent announcements, no matter how official they may be declared, are really just formalities.

Anniversaries Galore Today

Posted: April 12, 2011 in History
Tags: , ,

Don’t know how or why, but lots of historical milestones today.

On this date in 1861, the battle of Fort Sumter began, kicking off the Civil War.  The Washington Post has special coverage for the anniversary which is worth reading.  The Post and the National Park Service are tweeting the Civil War in real time as it happened 150 years ago.

On this date in 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, making a 108-minute flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft in the middle of the Cold War. Gagarin got his own Google logo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his milestone voyage:

And finally, on this date in 1981, the first Space Shuttle mission was launched.

To the surprise of absolutely no one who has been keeping an eye on him since the 2008 elections. He made the announcement via Twitter:

I am announcing my Exploratory Committee for President of the United States. Join us at http://www.mittromney.com #Mitt2012

He rebooted his website, which contains the following video message:

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson pointed out on Twitter and on CNN’s “John King USA” that the R in the Romney logo looks like it was done with Aquafresh toothpaste. He may have a point. Have a look at this side-by-side comparisons of the logos from the two websites:

Romney is the second Republican to form an exploratory committee. The intent in announcing is the same reason the president announced a week ago: it allows the committee to start raising money for a presidential campaign. According to Roll Call, Romney will criss-cross the country on a fundraising blitz for the next six weeks, beginning with an event at New York’s Harbor Club today.

This Politico article is a good recap summing up Romney’s background and the challenges he will face the second time around. The key dynamic change from four years ago is the passage of Obama’s health care plan, which Obama and many Democrats have repeatedly and gleefully pointed out was based in part on the health care plan Romney signed into law as governor of Massachusetts. Romney is now stuck with the tricky political position of trying to defend his accomplishments as governor while at the same time distancing his health care plan from the Obama health care plan, which is politically radioactive in Republican circles. This could help sink his chances at winning the nomination. Obama and the Democrats know this, and that is why they complement him as much as they can.

Don’t know if Romney’s strategists and branding people did their homework before launching the website, but Ben Smith points out that Romney’s “Believe in America” slogan was previously used by Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry during his unsuccessful presidential run in 2004.

Another Kerry-Romney comparison comes from former DNC staffer Matt Ortega who recently launched the site Multiple Choice Mitt. It is essentially the Democrats using George W. Bush’s highly successful flip-flop attacks on Kerry, this time aimed squarely at Romney.