Category Archives: Spectacular

US Embassy Ghana’s Errant Tweet Sparks Social Media Rumpus, Demo on July 25

– Domani Spero

 

 

Close to 300 Ghanians have now waded in on the US Embassy Accra’s FB page where there appears to be a competition between those who were offended (“It’s shameful to meddle in our domestic politics.”) and those who applauded the errant tweet.  One FB commenter writes, “I was very happy when I saw your reply to the president… Ghanaians support what you mistakenly posted on Twitter.” Another one added, “Why are [you] apologising? That question was legitimate and pls ask him again.”

SpyGhana.com reports that senior Ghanaian government officials including the National Youth Co-ordinator, Ras Mubarak and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hannah SerwaTetteh have reportedly demanded “an unqualified apology” from the Embassy. It also reports that on July 25, “hundreds of Ghanaians will stage a peaceful protest march on behalf of their government against the American Embassy in the country for launching an attack on a social media post by President John DramaniMahama.”

Apparently, some in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are now even calling for sanctions against Ambassador Gene A. Cretz and the embassy staff over that spectacular, albeit errant tweet containing 73 explosive characters:

“@JDMahama and what sacrifices are you making? Don’t tell me that pay cut.”

According to SpyGhana.com, the response was in reference to a much criticized decision by the Dramani administration of slashing the President and his ministers’ salaries by 10% to demonstrate their sacrifices as the country faces economic hardships while ignoring “other huge unconventional sources of funds.”

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Filed under Africa, Ambassadors, Digital Diplomacy, Facebook, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Service, Leaks|Controversies, Questions, Social Media, Spectacular, Technology and Work, U.S. Missions

The Cautionary Tale of Raymond Maxwell: When the Bureaucracy Bites, Who Gets The Blame?

– Domani Spero

 

Last week, we posted a Snapshot: State Dept Key Offices With Security and Related Admin Responsibilities and wondered why Raymond Maxwell’s former office as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the NEA Bureau did not get an organizational box. Our readers here may recall that Mr. Maxwell was one of the bureaucratic casualties of Benghazi.  Diplomatic Security officials Eric Boswell, Charlene Lamb, Steve Bultrowicz and NEA official, Raymond Maxwell were placed on paid administrative leave on December 19, 2012 following the release of the ARB Benghazi Report. On August 20, 2013, all four officials were ordered to return to duty. Mr. Maxwell officially retired from the State Department on November 30, 2013. Prior to his retirement he filed a grievance case with HR where it was denied and appealed the case to the Foreign Service Grievance Board where it was considered “moot and thus denied in its entirety.”

Our blog post last week, also received the following comment from Mr. Maxwell:

“[M]y grievance was found to have no merit by HR, and earlier this month, the FSGB found that the State Department made no errors in the way I was removed from my position, shamed and humiliated in the press, and placed on admin leave for nine months, Further, the FSGB found that I was not entitled to the public apology I sought in my grievance because I had retired. I have two options now. I can spend a great deal of money suing the Department in local courts, or I can let it go and move on with my life. My choice of the latter option neither erases the Department’s culpability in a poorly planned and shoddily executed damage control exercise, nor protects future foreign service officers from experiencing a similar fate. There is no expectation of due process for employees at State, no right to privacy, and no right to discovery.”

We spent the weekend hunting down Mr. Maxwell’s grievance case online; grievants’ names are redacted from the FSGB cases online. When we finally found it, we requested and was granted Mr. Maxwell’s permission to post it online.

The Maxwell case teaches us a few hard lessons from the bureaucracy and none of them any good. One, when you fight city hall, you eventually get the privilege to leave the premises. Two, when you’re run over by a truckload of crap, it’s best to play dead; when you don’t, a bigger truckload of crap is certain to run you over a second or third time to make sure you won’t know which crap to deal with first. But perhaps, the most disappointing lesson of all — all the good people involved in this shameful treatment of a public servant  — were just doing … just doing their jobs and playing their roles in the proper functioning of the service. No one stop and said, wait a minute …. They tell themselves this was such a  sad, sad case; they feel sorry for how “Ray” was treated. It’s like when stuff happens, or when it falls — se cayó. No one specific person made it happen; the Building made them do it. The deciding officials apparently thought, “This was not an easy matter with an easy and obvious resolution.” Here — have a drink, it’ll make you feel better about looking the other away.  See he was “fired” but he wasn’t really fired.  He was prevented from entering his old office, and then not really. Had he kept quiet and did not write those poems …who knows, ey …

We’re embedding two documents below –1) Maxwell’s FSGB case, also available online here (pdf); and 2) an excerpt from the Oversight Committee report that focused on Mr. Maxwell’s  alleged “fault” over Benghazi. Just pray that this never happens to you.

 

 

Below excerpted from the House Oversight Committee report on ARB Benghazi:

 

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Filed under FSOs, Govt Reports/Documents, Grievance, Hall of Shame, Hillary, John F. Kerry, Leadership and Management, Leaks|Controversies, Lessons, Org Culture, Org Life, Public Service, Realities of the FS, Retirement, Spectacular, State Department

Bureaucratic Pique: When an ambassador suggested an exhaustive anatomical examination

– Domani Spero

 

American Diplomacy is the Publication of Origin for this work. The author, David A. Langbart is a senior archivist in the Textual Archives Services Division at the National Archives.  He specializes in the records of the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies.  We have previously excerpted his work here and here in 2013 and most recently this year on the women in the Foreign Service. Excerpt from his piece, Bureaucratic Pique:

An essential aspect of the U.S. foreign policy program, especially since the 1930s, is the use of cultural representatives abroad.  Having major musicians perform overseas under the auspices of the U.S. government is a major component of the cultural program.  Planning for such events did not always proceed smoothly.  In June 1974, the attempt to arrange for one such event led to a unique bureaucratic response, if not the specific performance itself.

In late June 1974, the U.S. embassy in the Philippines informed the Department of State of the impending inauguration of a new folk art theater, part of a cultural complex on Manila Bay.  The embassy reported that while the Philippine Government had invited ministers of culture from a number of friendly countries, and the embassy expected several “significant” attendees, the U.S. had not received such an invitation because it had no cabinet level equivalent.

The embassy further reported that the noted pianist Van Cliburn had agreed to perform concerts on July 3 and 4, just a matter of days away.  In order to give Cliburn an official imprimatur, the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs requested that the U.S. designate the performer as a “special cultural representative” or similar title.  The ambassador, William Sullivan, noting that Cliburn was a “local favorite,” endorsed the idea, writing that “This strikes me as an easy and painless gesture for the U.S. Government to make in order to earn a useful return of Philippine appreciation.”  Given the timing, however, he noted that the issue needed to be resolved quickly. 1 

And because nothing is ever resolved quickly in a bureaucracy, stuff happens.  Ambassador Sullivan would have been spectacular on Twitter!

Screen Shot 2014-04-27

Read the whole thing here.

 

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State Dept Wants To Protect Labor Rights in the Global Market Place – Smart Power in Action, Really …

– By Domani Spero

 

To mark Labor Day, Barbara Shailor, the State Department’s Special Representative for International Labor Affairs blogged on September 2 over at DipNote about “Protecting Labor Rights in the Global Market Place.”  We also marked labor day with a blog post on the State Department’s refusal to talk about granting labor rights to its local embassy employees worldwide (see State Dept on Embassy Workers Unionization: Yo! Could Put U.S. National Security at Risk).

We should admit upfront that Ms. Sailor’s blog post is definitely the most worthwhile read of the two.  After all, who can argue against “protecting the dignity of workers everywhere” as “the right investment?” Or fault the “history of the labor movement in the United States — and of workers everywhere — [... ] the story of courageous men and women who persevered and risked their lives to bring dignity to their work?”  This American value is a laudable export to the  global market place. Last year, Ms. Shailor also had a labor day message for everyone.

This year, we again applaud the State Department’s commitment  “to doing everything we can to advance labor rights in the global economy.” We are republishing Ms. Shailor’s blog post in full in appreciation of smart-power pretense affectation.

For over a century, we’ve set aside a day to honor the contributions of workers. The cookouts, shopping sales, and parades are end of summer American rituals.  But the significance of Labor Day – advocating for the dignity of work — is, and always will be an American value.

Promoting labor rights and improving working conditions is a smart economic investment — essential to driving growth, ensuring its benefits are broadly shared, and delivering decent jobs for the American people.

Protecting the dignity of workers everywhere is also the right investment.  The goal is to create not just more growth, but better growth.  That means ensuring all workers enjoy certain universal labor rights, including the freedom to associate and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, and prohibitions against the worst forms of child labor and forced labor, and employment discrimination.

Much of the world is still experiencing high unemployment, a lack of opportunities for youths, discrimination towards women, disabled persons, and LGBT individuals, and the growth of disenfranchised migrant workers and refugees.  This exacerbates already volatile situations in many countries.

By combating the root causes of poverty and helping countries provide a prospect for decent work we can better hope to achieve our foreign policy goals: stability, security, democracy, and prosperity for all.  We cannot build a stable, global economy when hundreds of millions of workers and families find themselves on the wrong side of globalization.

Secretary Kerry captured the importance of protecting rights in the global market place in his address at the University of Virginia, where he said:

“I’m here because our lives as Americans are more intertwined than ever before with the lives of people in parts of the world that we may have never visited. In the global challenges of diplomacy, development, economic security, environmental security, you will feel our success or failure just as strongly as those people in those other countries that you’ll never meet…it also gives us many more rivals determined to create jobs and opportunities for their own people, a voracious marketplace that sometimes forgets morality and values.”

The history of the labor movement in the United States — and of workers everywhere — is the story of courageous men and women who persevered and risked their lives to bring dignity to their work.

Today, we celebrate the sacrifices and successes of workers everywhere, and commit to doing everything we can to advance labor rights in the global economy.

 

Excellent example of talking the walk but not walking the talk.  Brava! Can we have more, please? File under the “hypocrasy” tag. And no, that’s not a misspelling.

😳

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under DipNote, Foreign Service, Funnies, John F. Kerry, Leadership and Management, Locally Employed Staff, Special Envoys and Reps, Spectacular, State Department

US Embassy Bangkok’s Irrestibly Charming Happy 2013 Greeting

Below is US Embassy Thailand’s charming and totally cute video greeting for the new year. With Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, and her DCM Judith B. Cefkin joined by various sections of the embassy, other embassy officers (watch out for the embassy spokesperson), the U.S. Marines, the chauffeurs, the cafeteria staff (with their ladles), USCG Chiang Mai and USAID, the video notes that 2013 celebrates 180 years of friendship between the United States and the Kingdom of Thailand.  Don’t miss the bloopers!

Music: Ruen Rerng Ta-lerng Sok by Soontaraporn
[Lyrics below]

วันนี้วันดี ปีใหม่
Today is the New Year’s Day
(Wannee wan dee pee mai)

ท้องฟ้าแจ่มใสพาใจสุขสันต์
The blue sky makes us joyous
(Thong fah fam sai pah jai sook san)

ยิ้มให้กันในวันปีใหม่
Give each other a smile to welcome the New Year
(Yim hai gun nai wan pee mai)

โกรธเคืองเรื่องใดจงอภัยให้กัน
And forgive each other, don’t hold any grudges
(Grode kueng rueng dai chong ah pai hai gun)

หมดสิ้นกันที ปีเก่า
Enough with the old year
(Mode sin gun tee pee khao)

เรื่องทุกข์เรื่องเศร้าอย่าเขลาคิดมัน
Stop thinking about all the sadness and sorrow
(Rueng took rueng sao yah klao kid mun)

ตั้งต้นชีวิตกันใหม่
Let’s start anew together
(Tang ton chee wit gun mai)

ให้มันสดใสสุขไปทั่วกัน
With days full of happiness
(Hai mun sod sai sook pai tua gun)

เฮ เฮ เฮเฮ้เฮเฮเห่ สุขไปทั่วกัน
Hey hey hey hey…. Happiness is all around
(Hey hey hey… Sook pai tua gun)

รื่นเริง เถลิงศกใหม่
Let’s celebrate the New Year!
(Ruen rerng ta lerng sok mai)

ช่า รื่นเริง เถลิงศกใหม่
Cha! Let’s celebrate the New Year!
(Cha! Ruen rerng ta lerng sok mai)

รวมจิตร่วมใจ ทำบุญร่วมกัน
Put our minds together and do some good
(Ruam chit Ruam chai thum boon ruam gun)

ทำบุญกันตามประเพณี
Honor our tradition and make merits
(Tham boon gun tam pra pay nee)

กุศลราศรีบรรเจิดเฉิดฉัน
And the best will come our way
(Ku son ra see bun cherd ched chan)

พี่น้อง ร่วมชาติเดียวกัน
Our brothers and sisters
(Pee nong ruam chad diew gun)

พี่น้อง ร่วมชาติเดียวกัน
Our brothers and sisters
(Pee nong ruam chad diew gun)

ขอให้สุขสันต์ ทั่วกัน เอย
We wish you all a Happy New Year.
(Kor hai sook san tua gun ei)

นอย ทิงนองนอย น้อยหน่อยนอยน้อย หน่อยทิงนองนอย
La la la la la la ….
(Noi noi noi noi noi…)

You guys are spectacular! Cha! Ruen rerng ta lerng sok mai! And may 2013 be a better year for us all!

domani spero sig

 

 

 

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State Dept’s Blog Roll Fail: The Nipples Have Landed and They’re Not Shy

Yesterday, we blogged about this — Breaking News: State Dept Does Not/Not Like Nipples Nor Damn ACLU Letter.

We can’t find anyone willing to talk on or off the record on what went on behind the blog roll snafu over there. So, below is how we imagined it went down during the brainstorming of some unnamed characters, obviously too smart to handle (adapted from  Behind ‘Charlie’s Angels’ 2004 TV Movie):

The issue is nipples.

Nipples?

Actually breasts and nipples.  She’s writing about nipples. Nipples come with breasts.  

We’re reading nipples. We can’t put a blog with nipple blog posts in our blog roll. Too personal.

You think? We counted seven blog posts and nineteen instances in which nipples were mentioned. Also, word association? Nipples = Protrude. Not good.

We must stop nipple talk and protrusion on FS blogs. Godsakes, our readers are future diplomats!

Yeah, who cares about nipples in a Foreign Service blog, anyway?

Just to be clear, we were not hiding behind the desk eavesdropping, this is just imagination not hard at work.  But we’re wondering if something similar transpired over there, and if we can now use this incident as an example of “groupthink.

Today, WaPo picked up the story: Foreign Service spouse finds her blog no longer has a home on State Department Web site.  Here is an excerpt:

Yesterday she received an e-mail explanation from a recruiting and marketing consultant for the agency.

“Hopefully, you can understand that some topics covered in your blog are very personal in nature, e.g. nipple cozies,” the employee wrote, “and wouldn’t necessarily resonate with the majority of potential candidates who are interested in learning about the FS [Foreign Service] life overseas.”

“Through our years of recruitment experience, we found that FS prospects want to learn more about the work that’s conducted, the people and cultures with whom they will interact, the travel experiences, and the individual stories our employees have to share.”
[...]
“It really shook me to the core,” she said in an interview from her home in Annandale, where her husband, Peter, is getting ready to move to Afghanistan for a year on an unaccompanied tour.

A State Department spokesman said Wednesday night he is looking into the issue but did not have enough information yet to comment.

Read the whole thing here.

Pleaasssee! Somebody please bring this up in the Daily Press Briefing!

Because they’ve done it now.  They’ve put it in black and white — only happy talk blogs are welcome!  They’re looking for the mini-versions of State Magazine’s Happy Post of the Month and mini-versions of DipNote.

Perhaps they should hire Foreign Service spouses and pay them to blog about their happy lives overseas instead of using them as “bait” for free. Then, State at least, can improve the job opportunities of diplomatic spouses, and the spouses will be too preoccupied with happy write ups, they won’t have time to think or blog about their real lives.

Yes, you may post this suggestion to the Secretary’s Sounding Board.

As I was posting this, one of our regular readers saw that Jen’s WaPo story is now in the Drudge Report. And there it is with the N-word.

Also these:

Jezebel | U.S. State Dept. Takes Issue With ‘Nipple Cozies’

The Raw Story | State Dept. boots breast cancer survivor from blogroll over ‘nipple cozies’

Folks will be on strategery meetings for the rest of the day.

In the meantime — it turns out a lot cares about nipples and much more in the Foreign Service, most especially the bloggers.

Blog pal Kolbi of  A Daring Adventure writes Too Little and Too Much (Regarding Blogging, the ACLU, and NIPPLES). She deserves special mention; she is the only FS blogger who had been clubbed twice by the Serial Blog Killer and survived to tell about it:

Being on The Official Blog List actually painted an even bigger bulls eye on my back. And not just on my back, but on the backs of other State bloggers on The List. To date, to my knowledge, at least three State bloggers (and perhaps even up to five) on The List have since been shut down. And there were probably, oh, I don’t know, only about a dozen or so blogs on that List when it began. So, you know, not the best odds of bloggy survival.

So, basically, to recap: The pro-blogging side of State puts The Official List together and encourages bloggers to write tons and tons of State-themed blog posts, and then the anti-blogging side of State goes and… shuts those blogs down because they’re writing about State-themed stuff.

And here are some more of them –

Tuk & Tam | What the Nipple?

Wanderings of a Cheerful Stoic | Nipples, Censorship, and Other Matters

Cyberbones | Nipples! Boobs!

Spectrummy Mummy | N is also for Nipples

We Meant Well | Mrs. Clinton, you have a problem.

Noble Glomads | Don’t tell us who is relevant to us

The Wandering Drays | “Nipped” in the Blog

Mom2Nomads | Nipplegate 2012

Four Globetrotters | Nipples, Nipples, Everywhere

We Meant Well | State Department Does Not Care for Breast Cancer Talk

Whale Ears and Other Wonderings | Not FS Enough

Sadie Abroad | Nippletastic: A Rant For FS Bloggers

Well That Was Different | It’s the Little Things

dp’s Blog | I Guess I’m Not As Important As I Once Assumed

Mom2Nomads | You’re Just Not Quite FS Enough…

Life After Jerusalem | What Makes a Blog an FS Blog?

Dinoia Family | Wanted: Stories of the ‘Real’ Foreign Service

Dinoia Family | Did you know?

And we hear that somebody is now trying to organize a “kick me off your official list” movement … and if successful, there won’t be anyone for show and tell on State’s “inclusive atmosphere and collaborative environment,” except maybe …. well, one of our alert readers write with a simple enough question:

…. and yet it’s okay to blog about strip clubs and how your nickname on the consular line is Visa Molester? somehow this one is still linked to the official blog roll. go figure.

Oh dear!  There are official standards employed here, but obviously it’s hard to figure out.

Domani Spero

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Filed under Foreign Service, FS Blogs, Social Media, Spectacular, Spouses/Partners, State Department

A Tanka for Our Times: War Zone Rooftop Sexcapade

Most of us following the news presumably remember that the video footage now called  Collateral Murder by WikiLeaks was taken by a military helicopter. While we are not aware of a video footage of a particular rooftop escapade ((h/t to Publius) which occurred in one of our war zones, we would not be shocked out of our gray cells if one exist.

Anyway, April is also our National Poetry Month. So you’ll have to make do with this, our faithful contribution to war zone literature in honor of poetry month. Below in one of our favorite Japanese poetry forms,  is a tanka following the 5-7-5-7-7 pattern (well, almost); and our poor attempt at adhering to the form.

Painting from Manafi al-Hayawan (The Useful An...

Painting from Manafi al-Hayawan (The Useful Animals), depicting Adam and Eve. From Maragh in Mongolian Iran. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One spring day, in an
Ultra-sober, foreign space
Lone wolf Adam X
Was caught shagging Ms. Eve on
A rooftop in a war zone

Caught in broad daylight
On roof of Building Alpha
By an Apache
Damn military helo
Called it in to HQ Stop

Thus tryst disrupted
In rooftop heaven, get off
They were told, and back
To earth, word spread like wildfire
Licking hootches, offices

Adam X and Ms
Followed by weeks on fire
Should have been Breaking
News, except — that spring there was
Even Bigger Breaking News

In broad war zone light
Dying and shagging, excused
Why not, life is short!
In dark foreign spaces, men
In full waits, ready to pounce

It’s not our business what goes on inside the bedrooms, but by golly, on the rooftop?  As our favorite Captain Reynolds would say, “Holy testicle Tuesday!”

We do not consider ourselves prudish, but we’d feel more comfortable if our higher office candidates are better vetted, zippered up outside the bedrooms, and what is it they used to say in the old days? — do not dip their pens in the company’s inkwell.

Frankly, shagging a co-worker on the rooftop  of the “mothership” in broad daylight, in the middle of a shooting war,  where work is 24/7, with the helicopter’s camera possibly rolling does not really reflect good judgment, discretion or self-control.  Not even if/when it happens during coffee break — because you gotta be nuts!?!!  That coffee is boiling hot and the Ministry of Whatever in Planet Pluto will have your — well, some precious part of you in a wringer … sometime sooner, sometime later ….

Domani Spero

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Alec Ross on the “Dark Arts” of Social Media, and Yo! No Clearances!

Alec Ross, the Senior Advisor for Innovation at the Office of Secretary of State was featured last week in a piece over at The Next Web and has, of course, some innovative things to say about social media at the State Department:

“We set up the program overnight, with no meeting no clearances and no budget,” he explains. “We thought it was a good idea that might raise a few hundred thousand dollars but, after using the ‘dark arts’ of social media, we raised $35 million in just two weeks.”

Best of all, no clearances!

Alec Ross Photo by State Department

Then over at The Hill, they had a strange conception that social media is becoming ‘mainstream’ at the State Department.

Wu de tyen aaah!* Whoever gave them that idea?

Domani Spero

* Dear God in heaven

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Filed under Quotes, Social Media, Spectacular, State Department, Technology and Work

Nando’s "Last Dictator Standing" Pokes Fun at Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

About time, too! A cute reminder to a dictator who has been in power since February 1980.

Via: http://bouffant.tv/welcome/
“The brand new entertaining spot directed by Dean Blumberg hits a funny nerve by tapping into the spirit of our times. Dean delivers a spot that surprises the viewer with unexpected twists by cleverly capturing the world’s most notorious dictators and making the viewer want to watch the ad again and again to see if they have actually seen and heard right.”

The ad opens with a Robert Mugabe lookalike picking up a Muammar Gaddafi place card from an empty dinner table. In a dream sequence the Mugabe actor is seen sitting mournfully in a garden when the deceased Libyan dictator covered his eyes with white-gloved hands, then starts a waterfight with a golden AK-47. Next, he sings karaoke with the late Mao Tse-Tung of China, makes sand angels with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, pushes the swing with South African apartheid leader, Pieter Willem Botha, and in a scene parodying Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio from the Titanic film, he is seen riding on a tank with Uganda’s Idi Amin, also deceased. Then the tagline — “no one should ever have to eat alone so get a Nando 6-pack meal….”  The song in the video is “Those Were The Days” sung by Mary Hopkins.

As you can imagine, this was not received well in Zimbabwe.  BBC reports that Nando’s South Africa has pulled the ad due to threats to its staff. Excerpts:

“We’ve noted with concern the political reaction emanating out of Zimbabwe, including perceived threats against Nando’s Zimbabwe’s management, staff and customers,” Nando’s South Africa said in a statement.

“We feel strongly that this is the prudent step to take in a volatile climate and believe that no TV commercial is worth risking the safety of Nando’s staff and customers.”

Nando’s South Africa decided to axe its commercial after Mugabe loyalists from the Chipangano group had called for a boycott and other unspecified punitive action against the company.

“We condemn such adverts because it reduces our president to be someone without values,” Chipangano leader Jimmy Kunaka told the BBC’s Brian Hungwe earlier this week.

I learn something new everyday. Robert Mugabe has values. LOL!

Related posts:

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US Embassy Laos: Ambassador Karen Stewart Raps at StreetWave05, I dare you to look away

Video via The Vientiane Times:

See, it’s hard to look away; stuck in my head forever now.  A blog pal worried, “Imagine her corridor rap….I mean rep…. now.”  A longer and more more fuzzy clip from the US Embassy is here. Can’t tell what she is rapping about, unfortunately, as the video in the embassy’s YouTube channel contains no description of what this is about.

Ambassador Karen B. Stewart is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service.  In July, 2010, President Obama nominated her to be U.S. Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, she was confirmed by the Senate on September 29, and presented her credentials to the President of the Lao P.D.R. on November 16.


A native of Florida, Ambassador Stewart joined the Foreign Service as an economics officer in 1977. Her last overseas posting prior to  Vientiane  was as Ambassador to Belarus where she was apparently disliked by Europe’s last dictator, and had to return to the U.S. even before the mission in Minsk was shrunk to a skeleton crew.

No, I don’t think she performed this rap in Belarus.

And yes, I am extremely worried that some other American ambassador elsewhere is going to try and top this.

Update:
Thanks to Kelly (see comments) for posting the translation of Ambassador Stewart’s rap from the embassy’s FB page:

“I am really happy and excited. I love music and singing. I rap all the
time at the embassy. I’ve got a pen in my right hand, a mic in my left.
Who would believe the Ambassador can rap? I’m the Ambassador, my name is
Karen Stewart. My raps are all clean, so the police don’t have to
check. Who would believe I’m 59 years old? I’ve got mad rapping skills
like a 14 year old!”

I understand that the video uploaded to the QDDR site is actually titled “u-s-ambassador-to-laos-raps-to-teens-about-counterfeit-medicines.”

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