National Press Club

Pakistani calls drone policy 'wrong war with wrong methods against the wrong enemy'

March 29, 2013 | By Audrey E Hoffer | audrey@ahoffer.net

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, author, professor at American University and former Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland said at a March 28 Newsmaker that the US drone program hurts the societies it targets and is the wrong way to fight the war on terror.

Speaking on his book, "The Thistle and the Drone: How American’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam," Ahmed said the US policy of selectively targeting individuals for assassination is not successful and overlooks the fundamental tribal structure of the countries in which the US is fighting.

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African American entrepreneur urges swift action on black unemployment

March 26, 2013 | By Bob Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Billionaire entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson urged the nation to reduce the high unemployment of African Americans at a March 26 National Press Club luncheon.

Citing a Zogby poll on African American attitudes, he said "When polled on why African-Americans believe black unemployment is consistently double that of whites, responses include failure of the education system for minorities, lack of corporate commitment to hiring minorities and a failure of government policies for hiring practices."

"Afrcan-Americans have been the hardest hit" by the nation's economic downturn, he said.

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UN Foundation leader promotes empowering adolescent girls to combat global poverty

March 21, 2013 | By Mary David | marymdavid@gmail.com

Investing in adolescent girls is the key to alleviating global poverty, United Nations Foundation President and chief executive Kathy Calvin told a National Press Club luncheon on March 20.

She said that providing girls with access to education, family planning and technology improves economies as a whole.

"Change always starts with a girl," Calvin said. "We call this the 'girl effect.' It's not rhetoric; it's a fact."

Calvin, who was named one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Rocked the World, said “girl power” is among the “most potent weapons” available to raise living standards.

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Syrian opposition leaders outline plans to oust Assad

March 20, 2013 | By Peter Hickman | pjhickman@hotmail.com

Two members of the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad told a March 19 Newsmaker audience that Assad's enemies should "focus on his power and not his personality" in trying to remove him from office.

Rim Turkmani, an astrophysicist, and physician Haytham Manna said a common goal of Assad's opponents is "to take the power out of his hands and put it in the hands of the collective good."

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GOP chairman cites litany of party's 2012 failures, releases revitalization strategy

March 18, 2013 | By William Miller | williammiller512@aol.com

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, in a much-anticipated speech at a National Press Club breakfast March 18, released a searing 98-page report calling for massive changes in party strategy to recover from its 2012 election losses.

Terming the election setback “a wakeup call,” Priebus said the report, is a “frank, thorough and transparent assessment” of the defeat that paves the way for revitalization of the party for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

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NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake criticizes government 'secrecy regime'

March 16, 2013 | By Sean Lyngaas | sean.lyngaas@gmail.com

The government is going to great lengths to shut down leaks, according to Thomas Drake, a former senior executive turned whistleblower at the National Security Agency.

“In our post-9/11 world, the government is increasingly in the ‘First Un-amendment’ business, engaged in a direct assault on free speech and the very foundation of our democracy,” Drake told a National Press Club luncheon audience on March 15.

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Gun control expert advocates federal background checks

March 15, 2013 | By Lorna Aldrich | lorna2@verizon.net

Daniel Webster, professor and director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, told a March 15 National Press Club Newsmaker audience that federal universal background checks for gun purchasers would reduce deaths from firearms.

He asserted that the political climate may be right to push forward background-check legislation.

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TV role leads to real-life advocacy for Mariska Hargitay

March 13, 2013 | By Richard Lee | rf-lee@earthlink.net

For Mariska Hargitay, playing a detective on TV investigating sex crimes and acts of domestic violence led to something she couldn’t have predicted when she took on the role — becoming an advocate for addressing the repercussions of real-life crimes, the actress told a sold-out National Press Club luncheon audience on March 13.

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State approaches to implementing Obamacare vary, officials say

March 8, 2013 | By Stephenie Overman | saoverman@gmail.com

Individual states are taking divergent paths to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – i.e. Obamacare – a panel of state officials and outside experts reported at a National Press Club Newsmaker press conference March 8.

To comply with the act’s call for exchanges to serve as online marketplaces allowing people to easily compare insurance costs and benefits, 17 states have chosen to set up their own exchanges, the officials said.

In 26 other states, the federal government will run the exchanges, they said. States and the federal government will partner in seven more.

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Ex-ambassador urges broad review of State Dept. in wake of Benghazi attack

March 5, 2013 | By Lorna Aldrich | lorna2@verizon.net

Retired Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, in the wake of last year's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, advocated extensive review of the State Department's mission and operation at a March 5 National Press Club Newsmaker.

Bushnell was chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Kenya when it was bombed by Al Qaeda in 1998, wounding her and killing both Americans and Kenyans.

She urged adoption of the recommendations of the accountability board that reviewed the Benghazi bombing, which killed the U.S. ambassador, as a "turning point."

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