National Press Club

Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls for Muslim reformation

April 7, 2015 | By Yasmine El-Sabawi

Political upheaval and terrorist violence in the Middle East and Africa signals the need for “reformation” of the Islamic faith, Somali-born author and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali said Tuesday at a National Press Club Speakers Luncheon.

Ali, a former Muslim who once urged Muslims to abandon their faith, said she now believes such an "exodus from Islam" is no longer viable. Instead, her latest book, "Heretic," describes how the religion’s teachings promote warfare, sectarianism, and oppression, and outlines a five-point plan to amend Islam.

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Budget cuts crimp IRS ability to respond to taxpayer calls, commissioner reports

April 1, 2015 | By Robert E. Webb | rewebb@aol.com

As if his listeners didn’t know, IRS Commissioner John A. Koskinen reminded a March 31 National Press Club luncheon audience that Tax Day – April 15 – will soon be here and it’s time to get their taxes done. But, he said, “if you can’t make the deadline, you can file for a six-month extension.”

Unfortunately, though, they may have trouble getting help from IRS in completing their returns. Funding cuts, he said, has cut the agency’s response rate to telephone calls from taxpayers.

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Outgoing FDA commissioner: Regulation, when done right, 'not a roadblock'

March 28, 2015 | By Varun Saxena | vsaxenaster@gmail.com

U.S. Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg forcefully defended food and drug regulations at a National Press Club luncheon March 27, in her last formal public remarks before her April 3 retirement as the head of the federal agency that oversees products accounting for one-fourth of all U.S. consumer spending.

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Class on how to use Facebook draws big crowd

March 25, 2015 | By Paul Merrion | pmerrion@gmail.com

Did you know that 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook these days? Are you using the social media giant to its full potential?

About 50 people, young and old, attended a lively 90-minute session in the National Press Club's First Amendment Lounge March 24 on the best ways to use Facebook to engage readers.

Don Seymour, Facebook's political and government outreach manager, explained that, in using Facebook, it pays to be authentic, to post frequently and to include video or large, unique images that tell about the story behind the story.

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Kalb Report: Journalism integrity not killed by digital technology

March 25, 2015 | By Gil Klein | gilbert.klein@yahoo.com

Digital journalism is maturing and reverting to the standards that have guided the profession since the days when Edward R. Murrow invented broadcast news, four top journalists told a skeptical host Marvin Kalb March 23.

“Gone are the days when you could get a job because you knew a social media platform that your editors thought was completely magic,” said Evan McMorris-Santoro, the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed.

“We are back to the era, now, where it’s professionalizing again. Good reporting and good content are what they want.”

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Stronger military action may be needed against ISIS, Book Rap audience hears

March 25, 2015 | By Jan King | Jan.king@live.com

The United States and allies can slow down the rise of ISIS, but the current level of military pressure on ISIS is likely not enough to destroy the Islamic terrorist organization, Jessica Stern, co-author of the new book,“ISIS: The State of Terror,” said at a National Press Club Book Rap March 24.

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Lack of dedicated funding is major cause of Metro’s woes, says stakeholder panel

March 24, 2015 | By Galen Tan | galentan@gmail.com

Major stakeholders of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, or Metro) agreed at a March 23 National Press Club Newsmaker that dedicated funding for the transit system is critical in light of its ongoing operational, budgetary and governance problems.

The panelists — representing labor unions, the Metro board, media and the public — also weighed in on other issues affecting the nation’s second-busiest system by daily passengers, notably safety and leadership succession.

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Author tells Club's Legion Post inside story of Predator drone's development

March 23, 2015 | By Ken Dalecki | kdalecki@hotmail.com

A little known agency in the Department of Defense, acting like the high-tech gadget shop in a James Bond movie, helped rush into operation the armed Predator drone that has revolutionized warfare, author Richard Whittle told a packed meeting of National Press Club's American Legion Post 20 and guests March 23.

Whittle, a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, said the story of the Predator's development "is as odd as the aircraft itself." He tells the story in detail in his latest book, "Predator, The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution."

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Former colleagues pay tribute to Richard Hottelet at Club memorial service

March 22, 2015 | By Connie Lawn | ConnieLawn@aol.com

Great men and women still exist in journalism, but many of the “greatest generation” of the profession are dying out. An reminder of this was the memorial service held at the National Press Club March 21 for the late, great CBS newsman Richard C. Hottelet.

Hottelet was the last of the "Murrow Boys," elite journalists chosen and trained by the legendary Edward R. Murrow. Hottelet died in December at the age of 97.

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Chinese dissident recounts human-rights fight, escape from house arrest

March 22, 2015 | By Joe Motheral | Joegm35@aol.com

Listening to foreign radio broadcasts about democracy gave him the inspiration to persevere over death threats, torture and imprisonment and later to escape house arrest in China, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng told a National Press Club Book Rap March 19.

Reading excerpts from his new book “The Barefoot Lawyer,” Chen recounted his remarkable life as a human-rights activist and its tribulations.

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