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The Takeaway

Big Block of Cheese Day: From Andrew Jackson to 'West Wing' to Obama

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In the first season of "The West Wing," the White House hosts an open house for "Big Block of Cheese Day," a nod to President Jackson, who hosted a similar event for the American people. This year, the Obama Administration has adopted the tradition. Today the White House is hosting a virtual "Big Block of Cheese Day" over social media. Eli Attie, writer and producer for "The West Wing," discusses the tradition, from the Jacksonian Era to the fictional Bartlet Administration to the Obama White House today.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Supreme Court is No Longer Part of the Solution

Monday, June 25, 2012

The last decade began with the Court ordering a state to stop counting votes and ended with the Court repealing a century of precedent governing political contributions. Imagine where the next decade could go.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: George H.W. Bush Doc Puts Family, Not Politics, at the Fore for 41

Friday, June 15, 2012

A new documentary on George H.W. Bush shows a sense of civility – nobility, even – in his pride in and dedication to public service.

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Transportation Nation

The West Wing Walking Video: Not Really That Funny

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I got all excited when I learned from Streetsblog that the cast of the West Wing was getting together to promote walking.  I LOVED the West Wing, kind of like I love the Good Wife now.  One degree of separation, smart cast, great writing, plot twists.    Anything to see them together again.   Ah well.

It's still nice to see my fave Allison Janney, and Martin Sheen as President, but really, wouldn't have this been more effective it had lived up to its promise to be "funny or die"?

Instead, they tell us, walking is free, good for you, and decreases your chances of contracting nasty-sounding diseases.

Scripts welcome for a better West Wing.

 

 

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It's A Free Country ®

Video Club: Are Secret Committees as Good as they Sound on The West Wing?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sometimes political truth is stranger than political fiction, but the fiction is always more fun.

For that reason, It's A Free Country brings you Video Club with Brian Lehrer, in which our veteran analysts looks at the fun-house mirrors of our government's (in)action: television and the silver screen. What did the writers get right, and where did they flop? Why were the fictional characters more sympathetic, or more detestable? How did the political theater play out in real life? More often than not, it's the reality that looks funny.

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It's A Free Country ®

Video Club: The Impasse was More Fun on The West Wing

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sometimes political truth is stranger than political fiction, but the fiction is always more fun.

For that reason, It's A Free Country brings you Video Club with Brian Lehrer, in which our veteran analyst looks at the fun-house mirrors of our government's (in)action: television and the silver screen. What did the writers get right, and where did they flop? Why were the fictional characters more sympathetic, or more detestable? How did the political theater play out in real life? More often than not, it's the reality that looks funny.

To launch our new club, Brian watches the budget debacle unfold on The West Wing Season Five in an episode called "Shutdown." Then, Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of WNYC's On the Media,  gives her take. You'll get a chance to weigh in as well. 

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