The Friday Faxline (Issue 484, November 24, 2006)
Thanksgiving turkey receives Presidential pardon
Continuing a tradition dating back to Abraham Lincoln's time in the White House, President Bush this week issued a pardon to the National Thanksgiving Turkey and one alternate turkey. In a fun and lighthearted ceremony at the White House, the President saved the turkeys from becoming Thanksgiving dinner, and wished all Americans a happy and safe Thanksgiving with family and friends. The pardoned birds, Flyer and Fryer, were raised in Monett, Missouri. After their pardoning ceremony, they will travel from Washington to California where they will serve as honorary grand marshals in Disneyland's Thanksgiving parade.
Bush wraps up multinational trip
President Bush returned to Washington this week after a lengthy trip abroad that included stops in Russia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam and participation in the 14th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. During his stop in Moscow, Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Iran and the broader Middle East, as well as the importance of nuclear nonproliferation. During their stay in Vietnam, the President and First Lady attended an ecumenical service at a Catholic basilica in Hanoi. After the service, Bush stressed the importance of religious freedoms, saying, "It's our way of expressing our personal faith and at the same time urging societies to feel comfortable with and confident in saying to their people, `If you feel like praising God, you're allowed to do so in any way you see fit.'"
Martin Luther King Jr. memorial planned for National Mall
Roughly 5,000 people, including several celebrities and national leaders, gathered in Washington this month to break ground on a memorial for renowned civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The memorial will sit on a four-acre piece of land near the Tidal Basin, a body of water connected to the Potomac River that is also home to the Jefferson Memorial. It will be the only memorial on the National Mall commemorating a civilian, a tribute to the enormous impact King had on American life. President Clinton, who signed legislation in 1996 authorizing the memorial, was on hand for the groundbreaking, as were President Bush and Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL), among others. Obama told the crowd, "He never did live to see the promised land from that mountaintop, but he pointed the way for us." The memorial is expected to open in the spring of 2008.
Administration releases economic forecast
The Bush Administration this week released its updated economic forecast for the coming year. The report, a joint document produced by the Council of Economic Advisers, the Treasury Department, and the Office of Management and Budget, is issued twice a year and predicts healthy economic growth in the coming year. In a statement released today, the Administration said, "the forecast projects real gross domestic product (GDP) will grow 3.1 percent and 2.9 percent during the four quarters of 2006 and 2007, respectively. These growth rates are similar to the U.S. historical average. The forecast shows a strong labor market with both the unemployment rate and monthly payroll job growth slightly lower than previously projected. Last month the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest rate in over five years, and it currently stands at 4.4 percent. The lower-than-expected unemployment rate has reduced the projected annual average to just 4.6 percent in 2006 and 2007. The new forecast projects payroll growth to average 129,000 jobs per month next year."
Quote of the Week
"A reception like that is almost enough to make a guy want to run for office again."
-Vice President Dick Cheney, receiving a warm greeting during his address to the Federalist Society's National Convention.