National Press Club

Religious Beliefs Are "Totally Arbitrary," Author Dawkins Tells Club

October 2, 2013 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver |

Most people believe the religion of their parents and that is “totally arbitrary,” Richard Dawkins told a Club Book Rap Sept. 30.

Dawkins was at the Press Club promoting his new book, ``An Appetite for Wonder.'' The book is part one of his autobiography. Part two should be available in a couple of years, he said.

Sally Quinn, editor-in-chief of the Washington Post’s “On Faith” Blog, interviewed Dawkins. Quinn said she decided she was an atheist at age 5. It took Dawkins a bit longer, until the age of 17 to reach the same conclusion, she said.

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Club's Delbert and Equinox's Grays Team Up for Fourth Estate Dinner

October 1, 2013 | By Cary Pollak |

Equinox restaurant co-owners Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray teamed up with Club Executive Chef Susan Delbert to host a sold-out dinner featuring dishes from the Grays’ latest cookbook, The New Jewish Table, in the Fourth Estate Restaurant on Sept. 25.

After the dinner, Kassoff Gray called it “one of the best dinners we have ever done - and we have done close to 1,000.”

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Duncan Calls Education a "Critical Investment" for Future

October 1, 2013 | By Robert Webb |

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged Congress to "see education as a critical investment for our nation winning the race for the future" at a Sept. 30 Club Luncheon.

"Right now, I believe our country faces stark choices," he said. "We can continue to play politics with the budget and the debt ceiling, or we can fund a federal government that Americans can count on.'' He said ``other countries get this, they're greatly expanding preschool and strengthening teacher preparation."

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Pulitzer Winners Reveal How They Got Their Big Stories

October 1, 2013 | By Peggy Orchowski |

Recent winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the biggest awards in journalism, shared their stories with Club members Sept. 23 at a forum sponsored by the Professional Development Committee.

The winners said hat their Pulitzer Prize-winning stories started with a germ of an idea, a piece of a story that they followed and just felt was bigger than it seemed at first.

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Mayors Decry Silence Surrounding Murder Epidemic in Cities

September 26, 2013 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver |

Americans need to stop being silent about the hundreds of murders each year, the majority of which are African-American young men killing other African-Americans, two urban Democratic mayors told a National Press Club Luncheon Sept. 26.

Civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Representative John Lewis, D-Ga., ``did not take a beating for this drumbeat of death and violence to become a way of life,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

In Philadelphia, 236 African-American males were murdered in 2012, said the mayor of that city, Michael Nutter.

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EPA administrator unveils power plant emission curbs at National Press Club breakfast

September 20, 2013 | By Bill Miller |

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in a breakfast speech at the National Press Club Sept. 20, released the agency’s much-anticipated proposed standards for limiting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in new power plants.

A key step in President Barack Obama’s climate-action policy announced in June, the proposed standards will affect only power plants yet to be built, stressed McCarthy. But they are a prelude, she said, to regulations governing existing power plants that will be proposed in June of 2014.

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Lawmaker wins Press Club spelling bee of the century

September 19, 2013 | By Gil Klein |

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., won the coveted title of “Best Speller in the United States” at a spirited spelling bee Sept. 18 pitting lawmakers against journalists that drew more than 350 people to the National Press Club's Ballroom.

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NPC American Legion Post told U.S. diplomacy needs overhaul

September 19, 2013 | By Ken Dalecki |

Recent administrations have given the U.S. military "unachievable objectives" in trying to install democratic regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan," John Lenzowski, president and founder of the Institute of World Politics, told a luncheon meeting of the National Press Club's American Legion Post 20 on Sept. 18. He noted that both countries lack the basic social institutions needed to support a modern democracy.

The U.S. cannot defeat radical Islam militarily because it is a political problem that requires the kind of public diplomacy that has been lacking since the 1980s, Lenzowski said.

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Jindal calls DOJ lawsuit 'cynical, immoral and hypocritical' at NPC Newsmaker

September 18, 2013 | By Lorna Aldrich |

Bobby Jindal, Republican governor of Louisiana, called a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit to block Louisiana’s school-voucher system "cynical, immoral and hypocritical" at a National Press Club Newsmaker Sept. 18.

The lawsuit would block the program, which provides vouchers that parents can use to pay for schools of their choice in Louisiana parishes that operate under federal desegregation orders.

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Oklahoma governor calls for more rigorous educational standards at NPC Luncheon

September 17, 2013 | By Audrey Hoffer |

The United States needs more academic rigor, higher educational standards and should demand more of its students, said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), chair of the National Governors Association, before a full-house at a National Press Club Luncheon Sept. 17.

“The bottom line is that we’re just falling behind and many people won’t reach the middle class,” Fallin said, “so it’s up to governors to build new pathways to the middle class, which must be flexible, efficient and meet both students' and employers' needs.”

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