Runaway Spoon

Attention Space Jam Fans

April 5, 2017

Patrick Ewing is Georgetown University’s men’s basketball coach, as announced Wednesday.  But for many kids, especially younger ones, that’s not the real attention-getter here.

Alert! Alert! Ewing is a film star, too.

He is one of the performers along with basketball super-great Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd (and other Looney Tunes characters) in the 1996 hit movie Space Jam.  The movie with its sequels is must-see fare on kids’ tablets and other video venues for those who value funny stuff on the courts.

Expect Ewing to get shout-outs from the parent and grandparent fans who have seen the film dozens of times on the insistence of the little people in the house.

For those kids around the area who now are, or soon will be, teenage basketball hotshots in their own right, there might even be a special bonus prize – an in-house visit from Ewing recruiting their services for the Hilltop.

It’s not every day you can get a film star, a three-time collegiate first team All-American, a No. 1 NBA draft pick, an 11-time NBA All-Star, an Olympic champion, and a basketball Hall of Fame inductee in your living room – and all in one guest.

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Hungary Seeks Center Stage

March 22, 2017

Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártò (Photo by: Hungarian Embassy) Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártò

Hungary strives to be a major leading diplomatic player on the world stage, especially in the new administration of President Trump.

So to that end, on Tuesday afternoon, Hungary’s Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi and Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártò, officially dedicated that country’s new embassy mansion almost in the center of DC, just blocks from the White House and Executive Offices.

“I believe that the history of this European Beaux-Arts architectural style building is a symbolic connection that binds the United States and Hungary together,” said Ambassador Szemerkényi. 

Watching the ribbon cutting outside (Photo by: Hungarian Embassy) Watching the ribbon cutting outside

 In the “new world order ... and a new start in the relationship between Hungary and the U.S,” Minister Szijjártò said,  “….we look forward to cooperation” with the Administration on all levels, including economic and in the fight against terrorism. “We cross our fingers for Donald Trump” to make the United States a safe place, a great place.” Such measures, he said, will make the whole world safer.  

“Let’s make the Hungarian and United States relationship great again, he said.

He also said that President Trump is right about fighting ISIS, and  pointed out that his country has sent troops to fight ISIS. 

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa., stressed that a strong bond must be forged and kept between the Hungary and the United States. Congratulatory letters on the new embassy came from, among others, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.   Sentiment among many is that previous U.S. administrations put Hungary on the back burner diplomatically.

Rep. Steve King (Photo by: Hungarian Embassy) Rep. Steve King

The old embassy -- referred to by many as the Hungarian bunker or Communist Bunker -- was set up during the Soviet Union’s domination of Eastern Europe.  The so-described bunker is a couple of miles away in a relatively hard-to-find wooded area near Rock Creek Park where deer and raccoons are plentiful.  The ex-embassy will be retained for office space.

The renovated mansion, built in 1879, at 1500 Rhode Island Ave., NW now serves as the main Hungarian headquarters. It is a masterful place for important meetings, seminars and cultural activities. Telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell once lived there.

As one knowledgeable guest put it: “Hungary wants to be in the major leagues,” and this move will help make that happen.  In the recent past, he said, Hungary was pretty much off the radar screen when it came to status in the nation’s capital.

The new  home of the Hungarian Embassy (Photo by: Hungarian Embassy) The new home of the Hungarian Embassy

Several hundred invited guests attended the ribbon-cutting ceremonies, including  Sebastian Gorka, of Hungarian ancestry and a counter-terrorism advisor to President Trump.  Also attending were ambassadors from Angola, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Luxemburg, Mali, Monaco, Montenegro, Peru and Serbia. Officials from Belarus, Cambodia, Georgia and Slovak Republic also attended.

D.C. interior designer Aniko Gaal Schott consulted in making the ballrooms culturally classy with soft hues, easy mingling spaces and comfortable seating. Christine Meyers restored a centerpiece – a ceiling mural in the midst of the mansion.

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Secretary Madeleine Albright Makes CARE Pitch for Refugees

March 19, 2017

Making the case for more refugees to be permitted into the USA, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she has driven across the nation “and it’s a very large country … we have a lot of room.”

Michelle Nunn (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Michelle Nunn

She was a key panelist at the Helene D. Gayle Global Development Symposium on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Gayle is the former CEO of CARE and is succeeded by Michelle Nunn.

Overall, Albright said she is “very disappointed” at some of the actions in the Trump Administration, including deep budget cuts in the State Department as well as slowness in accepting refugees from war-torn areas.

The purpose of the CARE-sponsored symposium was to raise awareness for the need for advancement of women and girls around the world to defeat poverty and achieve social justice.

“I am very worried about what is happening here,” said Albright about the cuts in the State Department programs that might affect aid programs as well as federal funding for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), which she said covers the plight of  economically disadvantaged people around the world.

“One ray of hope is Dina Powell,” in the new administration said Albright, who also is a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. 

Charlayne Hunter-Gault (left) & Helene D. Gayle (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Charlayne Hunter-Gault (left) & Helene D. Gayle

Powell has been promoted from advising first daughter Ivanka Trump on women’s empowerment issues, to the National Security Council, where she will become deputy national security adviser for strategy. She will keep her role advising the President on economic initiatives. Powell headed the White House Personnel Office under President George W. Bush.

Albright, who served as Secretary of State in the Bill Clinton Administration, urged top brass to do what she did when budget cuts loomed.  She called the President directly to plead her case. 

Echoing Albright’s concerns were news anchor/civil rights activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and CARE’s CEO Michelle Nunn. CARE, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.,  is an international humanitarian agency.  A portion of its budget for aid projects is federally funded.

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