Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obama watch

Pic of the week

Photo by John Weaver

Belgium was buzzing this week with the visit of Barack Obama, his first visit to the E.U. capital since becoming President. 

I woke up early on Wednesday, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Prez outside his hotel on my way to work. Tough chance – you couldn’t get within 100 yards of the place. Roads were blocked and the police were out in full force. I didn’t even realize Brussels had they many police officers. I lived there for five years and the whereabouts of the police was always a mystery to me. Maybe they’ve been hiding on roof tops the whole time…

Photo by John Weaver

The President of America does not travel light. He arrived on Tuesday night with an entourage of 900 people, 45 vehicles (mostly black vans), 3 cargo planes, and 9 US Army helicopters.

One of the 45 vehicles is known as the Beast, Obama’s executive limousine. Why is it called “the Beast”? A recent New Yorker article put it best:
“Obama’s limousine, a Cadillac said to weigh as much as fifteen thousand pounds, is known as the Beast. It is armored with ceramic, titanium, aluminum, and steel in case of biochemical attack. The doors are as heavy as those on a Boeing 757. The tires are gigantic ‘run-flats,’ reinforced with Kevlar. A supply of blood matching the President’s type is kept in the trunk.”
This is the Beast. The picture comes thanks to my sister-in-law who works on the Schuman roundabout.

Photo by Iris Voet

Even with a car like that, security was extra tight. In fact, security for the two-day visit reportedly cost the city of Brussels 10 million euro. 

On Wednesday evening Obama gave a speech to a crowd of dignitaries and 2,000 people invited by the US Embassy. Security must not have been that tight because they let my friend Russell in who managed to get this great picture.

Photo by Russell Darke
Word on the street is that Obama is coming back in June so I need to start lobbying now for my ticket. For now, the last words go to the President who spoke for many of us when he said:
“It’s easy to love a country famous for chocolate and beer.” 

Gangsta’s Paradise Lost

“In New York, detectives monitor rap videos on YouTube to study the pecking order on the streets and beefs between gangs that might have spurred crimes. Most rappers charged in recent cases have been amateur performers who aspire to fame, even though gansta rap is no longer as popular as it was, having been supplanted by more mainstream party music.”

- The New York Times

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