National Press Club

Amnesty International calls Afghan refugee situation 'hidden but horrific' crisis

February 29, 2012 | By Peter Hickman | pjhickman@hotmail.com

Half a million Afghans displaced by war and struggling to survive in makeshift shelters have been let down by their government and international donors "that look the other way", according to a report released by Amnesty International at a February 24 Newsmaker.

T. Kumar, director for international advocacy for Amnesty International USA, said the Afghan government estimates that more than 40 people have frozen to deaths in camps across the country. He said at least 28 of these were children.

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ACLU and Heritage Foundation speakers clash over voter identification laws

February 23, 2012 | By Lorna Aldrich | Lorna2@verizon.net

Laura Murphy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation clashed repeatedly over the effects of state laws that require voters to show government-issued photo identification at a Feb. 23 National Press Club Newsmakers news conference.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 15 states now require voters to show photo IDs before voting. In 2012, 31 states have legislation pending that would add or strengthen voter-ID laws, according to the state legislatures conference.

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Eleanor Herman debuts her biography of 'King Peggy' at the National Press Club

February 23, 2012 | By Jan King | Jchutick2k@aol.com

The National Press Club experienced a unique treat on Feb. 22nd, with the world debut of best-selling author, Eleanor Herman's King Peggy at a NPC Book Rap and a fascinating talk given by the King, herself.

Peggielene Bartels, the Ghanian Embassy secretary who was enstooled in 2008 as "King Peggy" of Otuam, Ghana, was impressively drummed into the ballroom accompanied by 10 African kings.

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Danica Patrick tells NPC many can win Daytona 500, promises 'her best' in debut

February 21, 2012 | By William Miller | williammiller512@aol.com

Danica Patrick, America’s auto racing sweetheart, warned a National Press Club luncheon audience Feb. 21 not to “set expectations too high” as she prepares for her first appearance in the Daytona 500 stock car race Feb. 26 and debut in NASCAR’s top-level Sprint Cup series.

Patrick, the 5 ft., 2 in., 100 lb., driver, who parlayed her record as the most successful woman in the open-wheel IndyCar circuit into fame as a model and corporate spokeswoman, made clear that she is out to win.

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Thurston discusses 'How to be Black' at NPC Book Rap

February 15, 2012 | By Jeffrey King | JeffreyKing86@hotmail.com

Baratunde Thurston of Jack and Jill Politics and The Onion, discussed his satrical book, "How to be Black," at a National Press Club Book Rap, Feb. 13.

Before a very large multi-racial crowd, Thurston spoke about his 30-plus years of being black. He talked about his family background in a bad neighborhood in the District of Columbia. There was much laughter as he talked about "How to be the Black friend," "How to speak for all Black people," and "How to celebrate Black History Month."

However, not all of Thurston's youth was happy. His father was a murder victim.

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Lauder claims perception of lack of U.S. support for Israel at NPC Newsmaker event

February 15, 2012 | By Jamie Horowitz | jhdcpr@starpower.net

In his remarks at a National Press Club Newsmaker newsconference Feb.13, Ambassador Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, compared the United States' relationship with Israel to a big brother watching over a little brother on a rough playground. In Lauder’s scenario, the big brother goes inside to get a glass of water and whispers to the neighborhood bullies: “Don’t beat him up too much while I’m gone.”

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Ambassador of Nepal thanks Press Club for embassy night event

February 14, 2012 | By Shankar Prasad Sharma

Editors Note: The National Press Club held an Embassy Night at the Embassy of Nepal on Feb. 9. Two stories have appeared on line regarding the event and can be found at http://www.ekantipur.com/np/2068/10/29/full-story/342742.html (published in Nepal) and http://www.nepalhorizons.com/news/international-news/embassy_dc/ (published in DC). Additionally, Shankar Prasad Sharma, ambassador of Nepal, sent the National Press Club the following open letter:

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CSIS scholars say U.S. foreign policy shifting to Asia

February 13, 2012 | By Robert Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Three Scholars from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) agreed at a Feb. 13 National Press Club Newsmaker news conference that U.S. major foreign-policy concerns are now in Asia and focused on India and China rather than the Middle East.

"Defense policy has shifted to Asia with our existing alliances of strategic value," said Ernest Bower, senior advisor and director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program and Pacific Partners initiative.

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San Diego ballot could ignite shift in public employee pension plans

February 13, 2012 | By Terry Hill | terry@terryhillcommunications.com

If San Diego voters approve a June ballot initiative to end guaranteed pension benefits for newly-hired city employees and offer a 401(k) type retirement plan instead, other cities may soon begin adopting similar approaches, Mayor Jerry Sanders predicted Feb. 13 during a National Press Club newsmaker conference.

The initiative, expected to draw strong labor union opposition, is being managed as a citizen-run project and funded through private contributions.

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State AGs Coakley, Cuccinelli lay out opposing cases in Supreme Court health warmup

February 9, 2012 | By Bob Weiner | weinerpublic@comcast.net

In a vigorous NPC Newsmaker debate Thursday on the Affordable Health Care Act’s constitutionality, Republican Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli said the health bill’s mandate “crushes liberty.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, countered that “We don’t leave people at the ER door unless we change the slogan to ‘Live Free and Die.’”

The debate was a preamble to the Supreme Court’s upcoming March consideration of the Affordable Health Care Act case.

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