Fashion’s Finest Head to the White House for Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama at the Ribbon Cutting and Press Preview for Anna Wintour Costume Center and Charles James: Beyond Fashion COSTUME INSTITUTE Exhibition. Photo by Joe Schildhorn /

Fashion’s finest headed to Washington yesterday as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” Initiative which invited 16 high school students–Parsons Scholars (a program that provides art, design, and fashion education to underprivileged youth) to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Gathered amongst many of the greatest successes in the industry: Anna Wintour introduced Michelle Obama. Eva Chen, Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg, Maria Cornejo, Jason Wu, and Jenna Lyons and more fashion figures were also in attendance. The students received career advice in the rare form of speeches from the First Lady of the U.S.A., and the First Lady of fashion, Ms. Wintour.

“Fashion is about so much more than just a pretty pair of pumps or the perfect hemline.  For so many people across the country, it is a calling, it is a career, and it’s a way they feed their families.  So that’s why we thought it was important to bring the industry to the White House, and to share it with all of you who are coming up in the next generation,” Ms. Obama said, in a speech excerpt that actually got me a little teary.

The young designers we’ll surely soon be clamoring for were set to task to decorate the East Room with 600 recycled books, which were transformed into table centerpieces, napkin rings, a backdrop for the speakers, and (my personal fave) a lectern specifically designed to never obstruct views of Mrs. Obama’s dress. Appropriately, the dress was an incredible student-designed piece by Natalya Koval of FIT, who clearly ran with the opportunity to show off those famous arms.

Sounds like it was a truly special occasion! #FOMO

Some of our favorite Reach Higher moments from Instagram:



Jackie, @prabalgurung, and me at the White House. #fashionedu

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Thank you for your lovely words @flotus @michelleobama today has been amazing. #fashionedu @reachhigher2020 @whitehouse Regram @bibicornejoborthwick View on Instagram


had to do it!- #whitehouse #31philliplim #fashionedu

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“We want you to see firsthand that a solid education and the willingness to work hard is really at the core of what it’s going to take to achieve your goals: education and hard work.” —The First Lady to #FashionEdu Thank you to all the leaders in the fashion industry who encouraged the students at today’s Fashion Education Workshop to #ReachHigher in their education. View on Instagram



Fashion group at the White House ! Zac , Vera, Edward, Naomi, Lazaro ! @edward_enninful @iamnaomicampbell @lazaro @zac_posen Wonderful evening ! Love Diane @michelleobama #fashionedu

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A very inspiring speech from our First Lady ! @MichelleObama #fashionedu @reachhigher2020 Love Diane

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It’s The Remix to Ignition, and It’s On A Petition

Now usually I don’t do this, and by “this,” I mean acknowledging those silly White House petitions that people use to troll the democratic process, but, uh, America could use a little bit of the remix. At least, the drafters of one particular petition and the more than 2,000 people who have signed it think so. Over the weekend, someone posted a petition to urge the White House to change the national anthem from “The Star-Spangled Banner” to R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”

As they write on the page:

“We, the undersigned, would like the Obama administration to recognize the need for a new national anthem, one that even a decade after its creation, is still hot and fresh out the kitchen. America has changed since Francis Scott Key penned our current anthem in 1814. Since then, we have realized that after the show, it’s the afterparty, and that after the party, it’s the hotel lobby, and–perhaps most importantly–that ’round about four, you’ve got to clear the lobby, at which point it’s strongly recommended that you take it to the room and freak somebody. President Obama: we ask you to recognize the evolution of this beautiful country and give us an anthem that better suits the glorious nation we have become.”

We’re guessing this is mostly in an effort to reach the minimum signatures (100,000) to where the White House is required to respond to the request, as occurred with the Death Star petition (man, you nerds really demand a lot from your Commander-In-Chief, don’t you?). Preferably a response that involves the POTUS performing said song at the next White House press conference or putting in a good word for R. Kelly for next year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

And yeah, it’s not gonna happen, but that doesn’t change the fact that “Ignition (Remix)” is one of the greatest songs of the past decade, and honestly, why not? Because everyone loves this song, regardless of background or political affiliation. It could bring about a unity America so desperately needs. And just think of the renditions at high school basketball games and NASCAR events! On the Olympic podiums! What a world that would be.

See America Right: Mountain Goats Fans Petition White House For John Darnielle As U.S. Poet Laureate

So we’re pretty sure everyone just figured out that petitioning the government is part of the First Amendment, thanks to the White House petition site and that whole Texas wanting to secede thing, because now there’s a petition for just about everything, from calling for the deportation of Piers Morgan for his comments about gun laws (88,000+ signatures, but we’re betting at least a third of those are from people who just want Piers Morgan deported in general) to one advocating the construction of a Death Star. But for all the trollish requests and bizarro displays of democracy, every once in a while, there’s a much simpler request America can get behind.

Today, some fans launched a petition at the White House site calling for John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats to be named the next Poet Laureate of the United States, succeeding the newly-announced Natasha Trethewey. The government may have some more important things to talk about right now, like this whole fiscal cliff fiasco thing that’s happening, but when they eventually have some time to go through the petitions, I’m sure a compelling case will be made. 
"John Darnielle is an American institution. An inspiration to poets, artists and sundry other human beings both in America and world-wide, Mr. Darnielle is a unique voice in modern word and music. For over twenty years, Mr. Darnielle has struggled on our behalf to come to terms with the base instincts of the human psyche. In literature, there is no man more worthy of recognition through the award of U.S. Poet Laureate than John Darnielle.
So do it, Mr. President. Do it!"
Darnielle is not responsible for the petition, but was quick to respond to it on Twitter, saying: "I did not do this, but if I didn’t point it out, they’d fail me in Social Media 201: Petitioning Governments for Lols." He goes on: "Do I get powers of clemency if I get this poet laureate gig or are those only for third-level clerics."
At time of writing, the petition has 1,255 signatures and needs 23,745 more before January 25th to ensure some sort of response from the White House. So get on it, because think about it—the U.S. Poet Laureate creates some kind of initiative over that year to bring poetry to the masses, and if anyone can come up with some crazy brilliant idea to get everyone into poetry, it’s Darnielle. Maybe a Twitter poetry Exquisite Corpse, given Darnielle’s social media presence? Nah, he’ll probably come up with something way more clever than that. Anyway.
And, because the greater works of the U.S. Poet Laureate often become part of high school poetry analysis curricula, think of all the high school English classes that will have way more fun dissecting homages to black metal and relationshisp gone explosively awry than some tired-ass dreck about lanyards and waterskiing across the top of poems (sorry I’m not sorry, Billy Collins). This is the way of the future. Get on it, America. 
Now, to pick the perfect song for the induction ceremony:

Gun, White House Petition Enthusiasts Want To Deport Piers Morgan For Gun Control Stance

British talking head and TV personality Piers Morgan is kind of annoying. So annoying that I don’t even bother to watch his show! (That’s right—sometimes people bother me so much that I don’t even hate-watch them. You should try it, people who hate Fox News but watch Fox News. I know it’s a revolutionary idea, but honestly? It keeps your blood pressure down.) I’m not the only one who finds Morgan to be a pest with access to TV cameras and an audience, as there’s currently a petition on the White House’s We The People site calling for Morgan to be deported because he’s in favor of gun control.

What’s more exciting? A couple thousand nuts have signed the thing, which reads:

British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.

Of course, nothing will happen to Piers Morgan, as I’m sure the folks over at the White House probably have bigger things to think about this week. Like Christmas! And also Morgan happens to have the correct opinion about gun control. YEAH, I SAID IT, GUN OWNERS. Go ahead: try to deport me. (Haha, you can’t, because of first amendment stuff, ya dummies.)

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Gaming Today’s Obama-Romney Lunch

You’re likely aware that this afternoon—perhaps even as you’re read this—President Obama and the vanquished fragment of corporate software that calls itself Mitt Romney are sitting down to lunch in the White House together. With the Tea Party’s plans to obstruct the Electoral College falling apart on, ahem, their divergence from what the Constitution actually says, this is Romney’s last, best chance to make a play for the Oval Office. What’s his strategy?

Of course he and his strategists will have come up with an ideal lunch order. The White House menu is very flexible: he could probably get just about anything on his plate by asking. The chef, Cristeta Comerford, hails from the Philippines, so this may be the time to meet Obama head-on with a spicy order that evokes his native Pacific Rim. Comerford has also spent time in Vienna, meaning Romney could catch Obama wrong-footed with a request for Topfenstrudel.

Then there’s the conversation. It’s no secret that Obama detests Romney personally and has better things to do than engage in wanton etiquette; he’ll keep his comments terse and practical. This gives Romney an opening to spin a few longer yarns, tell a shaggy-dog joke or three, really dominate the room’s airwaves. That’s the sort of tactic that might not play well with whoever’s waiting to clear the table, however. What’s certain is that both candidates will seek total control of the condiments, which most observers would agree is crucial. If either man comes out of it with mustard on his tie, well, there’s always 2016.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

The White House Shows You How To Brew Beer

Those effete liberal snobs in the White House just love rubbing it in our faces how snooty they are with their vegetable gardens and their home brewed beer. Here Sam Kass, White House assistant chef, and Tafari Campbell, White House sous chef, show how they the presiden’ts own honey porter and honey brown ale.

The White House not only brews its own beer, but bottles and labels it as well. Handy for a another "beer summit," I say! They’re careful to say in this video that President Obama pays for the materials himself, as I suppose its right to assume some Tea Party asshat would blow a gasket if he thought Americans’ tax money was paying for presidential booze.

For those of you who want to play along at home, the White House has also posted the recipes for their home brewed beer — so your kitchen can stink like hops just like the White House kitchen does.


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