Runaway Spoon

National Children's Center Crowdfunding Drive Launched

November 15, 2015

Beasley Vice President Anne Marie Drechsler and Beasley Real Estate launched a crowdfunding fundraiser Thursday to help support the National Children’s Center

For decades, Drechsler has been an avid supporter of the NCC and its purpose.   The goal of the fundraiser is to raise $50,000 in donations made online using Crowdrise, the #1 fundraising website for personal causes and charity.

The Early Learning Center’s mission is to provide high-quality early childhood education and early intervention for children (ages 6 weeks to 5 years) in their inclusive setting located in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast Washington, DC. The center focuses on early identification and intervention to address developmental concerns during the critical first five years of life, in order to provide the maximum impact and outcomes possible.

With the help of Patricia Browne, COO of NCC; Doreen McGarrah, VP of Education & Employment Services for NCC, Jesse Chancellor, President and CEO of NCC and James Brown, videographer, a video was created to help add a visual representation to the crowdfunding initiative.

“The center has done such an outstanding job helping children and families.  I want to help the NCC raise funds for their programs and especially their interactive playground for children with disabilities.” said Drechsler. The NCC currently serves 50 families and would like to expand their services to 450 as a resource to assist and provide the needs of the community.


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Don't Sink Your Teeth Into This ... It's Eye Candy

November 10, 2015

The Qatar Embassy unveiled Tuesday night a lovely piece of wrapped candy.  Flag candy sculpture, that is. And it’s big.

So now, on M Street going into Georgetown from the West End, the burgundy-and-white polyester sculpture -- at 5 meters tall -- greets the eye on Qatar property at the main entrance.  The colors represent the national flag of Qatar.

Qatar's Ambassador (left) & artist Laurence Jenkell (Photo by: Embassy of Qatar) Qatar's Ambassador (left) & artist Laurence Jenkell

It’s the work of self-taught French artist Laurence Jenkell, who was at the embassy for the unveiling with Qatar Ambassador Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari and some 100 invited guests.

Jenkell, who lives and works in Vallauris, Alpes-Maritimes, has mastered her own novel technique of manipulating Plexiglass.  The work is rooted in Pop Art and New Realism. Her sculpture have been displayed around the world in various venues, including at the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Paris. Her candy-inspired sculptures are internationally recognized.

Underscoring the international flair, the ceremony was attended by several members of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, including chair Kay Kendall and members Rhona Wolfe Friedman, Gretchen B. Wharton and Jose Alberto Ucles.  Also attending was the new commission executive director, Arthur Espinoza Jr.

Elvi Moore, former Washington Ballet general director and founder/president at the Laurel Fund for the Performing Arts, was among the guests.

Real candy was given out at the reception area, along with an array of cuisine.

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Ex DIA Chief Rebukes US Foreign Policy; Woolsey Named Chancellor of World Politics Institute

October 15, 2015

In a fire and brimstone talk at The Institute of World Politics’ silver anniversary gala and chancellor's dinner, retired (Army) Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), lambasted the Obama Administration for a “floundering … no one is in charge” foreign policy.

Entertainer Keni Thomas (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) Entertainer Keni Thomas

“Mr. President, a few drone strikes do not constitute a strategy,” Flynn said of the U.S. policy in the troubled Middle East. “Let’s win for a change, instead of simply participating in this perpetual conflict.  Develop a winning strategy and put a winner in charge of it. Take the fight to the enemy on every single level that exists.

“Let’s face it, right now, we’re floundering and we’re losing…..Taking our deflated ball and going home won’t work.” But on difficult international issues, he said, “don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting on this administration to make a decision.”

The next administration, he said, will face enormous global policy challenges; “we [must] ask potential presidents for their long-term vision for our country.”

Currently, said Flynn, “no one is in charge; our interagency process is lethargic and slow -- and that is being kind.

“Let’s face it: the Russians have stolen the march on us. They identified a seam, and in their very short decision-making cycle, moved fast to close it.  We have done a terrible job of identifying their unstated red lines and the imminent fall of Assad is obviously one of them. Another was the near eradication of their eastern Ukrainian enclaves, leading to direct…military intervention.”

KT McFarland (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) KT McFarland

His pointed criticism of the current administration came in the keynote speech at IWP’s dinner, which drew more than 420 ambassadors and diplomats, intelligence personnel, defense and foreign policy experts, students, and educators to The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City on Wednesday night.

The occasion coincided with the announcement that former CIA director R. James Woolsey Jr. has been elected by the board to serve as the first chancellor of the Institute, a preeminent graduate school in Washington.

 Woolsey headed the CIA from Feb. 5, 1993 until Jan. 10, 1995. He held a variety of government positions in the 1970s and 1980s, including Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979.  In the 1980s, he was involved in treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Stanford University, he has an M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a law degree from Yale.

Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland, who held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, was master of ceremonies.  She introduced performer Keni Thomas, a Nashville country singer and former U.S. Army Ranger.  As a member of the Bravo Company of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, Sgt. Thomas was part of the military operation recounted in the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Thomas sang his song “Hold the Line,” which was featured in the 2014 documentary, The Hornet’s Nest, which tells the story of an elite group of U.S. troops sent on a dangerous mission into Afghanistan.

Flynn with IWP backers Mary and Terry Kohler (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) Flynn with IWP backers Mary and Terry Kohler

In her remarks, McFarland said, “Today’s world is a confusing and complicated place and that’s where the IWP continues to fill the vacuum of leadership….It’s the only academic institution dedicated to teaching all the arts of statecraft including military strategy, the art of diplomacy, public diplomacy, opinion formation, strategic influence, intelligence, counterintelligence, economic strategy and moral leadership.”

Since its beginning, the IWP has grown into a premier graduate school dedicated to developing new generations of American leaders. Key supporters are political activists Mary and Terry Kohler of Brule, Wisconsin, who were co-chairs of the gala.

John Lenczowski, IWP founder and president, said its mission is to “teach our students to see the world as it really is rather than the way they wish it to be…. What makes us even more unique is our focus on moral leadership and applied ethics. Since we teach the instruments of power, and since power can be abused, we want our graduates to exercise it responsibly, prudently, and ethically.”

IWP chair & president John Lenczowski (left), Flynn & James Woolsey Jr. (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) IWP chair & president John Lenczowski (left), Flynn & James Woolsey Jr.

Among notables at the dinner was former FBI and CIA director William Webster.

IWP’s campus is in downtown Washington, DC. IWP has launched a campaign to raise $10,250,000  -- of which $4.5 million has been secured -- for expansion of the student body and curriculum.  The goal is to raise the balance by July 30, 2016.

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