New Year’s Baby MFS English Teacher Blessed With First Philly Baby of 2017

MFS English teacher Claire MacKenzie poses with Jamie MacKenzie, the first baby born in 2017 in Philadelphia.

Thinking about the New Year often brings images of change: new resolutions, new habits, and even new people. The elusive New Year’s Baby, born just in time to celebrate the changing of the date, is special indeed. And this year, that something special came to MFS.

On New Year’s Day, Jamie Mackenzie was annointed the Philadelphia region’s official 2017 New Year’s baby. While most of us were busy excitedly celebrating the new year, MFS English teacher Clare MacKenzie’s son was born at 12:12 AM. Born at Pennsylvania Hospital, Jamie Mackenzie was the first baby born in 2017 in Philadelphia.

“It was a complete surprise!”, exclaimed Ms. MacKenzie when asked whether she was expecting her son to be born at such a monumental time. “I had no idea what time it was at that point.” Perhaps Ms. MacKenzie’s sense of shock sprung from her expectation that Jamie would be born on his due date, December 26. “He needed a little extra time, but it’s exciting that he ended up being a New Year’s baby,” stated Ms. MacKenzie.

A common rumor has it that the family of a region’s  New Year’s baby receives a cash prize. Unfortunately, Ms. MacKenzie squashed these rumors, at least for the local area, stating that, “if there’s a gift, I haven’t seen it.”

To most of us who were ebulliently celebrating the New Year as midnight struck on the first of this month, being the mother of the 2017 New Year’s baby sounds like a perfect reason to amplify our usual New Year’s celebrations. However, upon being asked whether Jamie being ordained the 2017 New Year’s baby was of strong importance to her, Ms. MacKenzie happily denied. “It was cool, but nothing in comparison to how happy I was about Jamie being born,” she explained contentedly.

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What’s Changed? Teacher/Student Survey Yields Surprising Results

 

“Behind a Wells Fargo Bank.”

“This old abandoned factory.”

“I have no friends.”

The list above includes just a few of the eccentric responses received from students and teachers when asked where they like (or, in the case of the teachers, liked) to hang out as a high school student after school. Rest assured though, while some of the responses were indeed strange, common themes emerged: a popular response to that particular question was “Anywhere there’s food.”

WordsWorth conducted a survey on the school population, asking students and teachers a variety of questions, ranging from what their favorite subject was to what extracurricular activities they participated in, in order to see if anything had changed over the years. The teachers were also asked whether they went to a private or public school and what year they graduated. Some of the data collected was interesting; for example, nearly all the teachers who graduated from high school in the last twenty-five years attended private school themselves.

The increase of STEM programs within schools in the past few years as well as the popular fields for employment for today’s youth seem to have influenced the choice of favorite subject for students. The subject most favorited in high school by the teachers was English, followed by History and Math. However, with students, Math was in the lead, followed by Science and then English.

As far as sports go, soccer is far more popular with students than it was with the teachers, as the number of participants in the game from students to teachers has nearly doubled. Baseball has lost popularity somewhat, as has football, which saw a massive decrease, with some teachers to no students playing the sport. However, some new sports are on the rise. Fencing and Lacrosse are much more popular among students than they were with the teachers, likely due to the rising popularity of both sports in recent years. The amount of people who do not play a sport has remained relatively the same for both groups, showing that while the relative popularity of specific sports has changed over the last few decades, athleticism itself has not.

Participation in high school extracurriculars was high among both groups, although the data did show a slight drop in popularity of band, orchestra, and student government from the teacher’s time to ours.

 

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Experiencing an Alice Paul March

 

After the march, protestors crowded around the stage in front of the Art Museum to hear guest speakers.


Going into
Alice’s March for Equality last Thursday, I was expecting a small group of Friends school students walking along the sidewalk holding up some signs and pictures of Alice Paul.

I was way off.

As soon as we walked up to Philadelphia’s City Hall, I saw the scope of people who had come to the march. There were Friends schools, but in no way were their numbers tiny. A group of Girl Scouts from Moorestown had also shown up in support of Anna Holemens, the Friends Select student who had organized the march as part of her goal to earn the Girl Scout’s highest honor — a Girl Scout Gold Award.

Once at City Hall, we were greeted by a perky high school staff member from the march who taught us some cheers and gave us bracelets, buttons and posters. It was at that point I learned that we weren’t just marching to commemorate Alice Paul, but we were marching to gain support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Once the march began the TV cameras started rolling, darting in between the police officers on bikes, desperate to get the perfect shot. As we marched the student who had given us the bracelets began leading us in the cheers, such as “Build a bridge, not a wall” or “ERA means equal pay.”

The roads had been cleared for us to walk. The planning and organization needed to make this all happen must have been tremendous, especially for a high school student.

Along the way to the Art Museum, where the march would end, we were cheered on by some little kids who were too young to participate. The signs that most of the marchers chose to display were actually quite witty. One read, “Rain Drop, Drop Top, Wage Gap, Gotta Stop-Stop.”

Once we reached the stage located in front of the Art Museum, we were led in a few more cheers while we waited for the speakers to get situated. The ceremony began when the high school participants gathered on stage and gave the reasons they were here. For about an hour and a half after the opening speech, the stage was graced with the presence of multiple speakers from the Girl Scouts and school administrators, who spoke about equality for women. After all of this, Anna came back on stage and delivered a speech directed to President Trump. She asked for his help in giving women equal rights, but also detailed that the movement wouldn’t slow down or wait. It would continue with or without him. That line got lots of applause.

The march wasn’t at all what I was expecting. However, it was really inspirational to see high schoolers get together and organize a way to express themselves. The image of people of all ages and genders getting together to declare their beliefs is one I will never forget.

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Top 10 Movies of 2016

Out of all the crazy happenings in 2016, one was more controversial than any other—and no, we’re not talking about the election. With 2017 just beginning, now is a perfect time to look back on the best movies that you might have missed from the last year. So, without further ado, let’s get going!

 

10) La La Land

An aspiring actress tries to make her way in the big city- we’ve all heard that plot before, but La La Land takes this generic overused concept and give it a unique twist. Not your average, run-of-the-mill musical romance story, La La Land is sure to wow any type of movie goer. The film starts out seeming like a generic musical, but as the movie progresses it becomes more and more unique. With great dance numbers, acting, and cinematography, La La Land is truly unique.

 

9) 10 Cloverfield Lane

Described as a “spiritual successor” to Cloverfield, the hit 2008 monster movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a psychological thriller that is about a woman named Michelle who escapes an apocalyptic event by hunkering down in an underground bunker with doomsday planner Howard and his helper Emmet. While initially distrustful of Howard and his intentions, Michelle begins to accept her new life- that is until she notices some strange behavior…

 

8) Sing Street

Definitely the movie for all the musicians out there, Sing Street revolves around Conor Lawlor. In order to impress the beautiful model Raphina, Conor recruits several schoolmates to form the aptly named band Sing Street. This musical comedy is full of enough humor to keep you smiling, while simultaneously full of enough drama to keep you engaged.

 

7) Moana

Moana made its appearance into the world of cinema as one of 2016’s most popular movies, and for good reason. Once again, Disney rolls out its cold, hard method of printing money out of younger and older viewers alike in this fantasy adventure. Moana sets out on a journey to save her island from the evil consuming it, recruiting the help of demigod Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. What emerges is the adventure of a lifetime, taking Moana across the ocean and even doing battle with gods. Moana is a must-see for all Disney fans.

 

6) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Do you remember the beginning of Episode IV when Princess Leia had the plans to the Death Star, gave them to R2D2, and sent him off to Ben Kenobi for safekeeping shortly before getting captured by Darth Vader? Most of you probably don’t, and even less of you wondered how Leia got those plans in the first place. Well, since George Lucas and Disney just can’t seem to resist that sweet money train that is Star Wars, they made a movie out of that very topic. Seeing as the movie took place between Episodes III and IV, it was technically a prequel, and since Star Wars fans know that prequels are never a good idea, this movie was expected to either be amazing or flop terribly. Luckily, it was the former. Interesting characters, quippy dialogue, and a spectacular ending will be more than enough to sate the hunger of fanboys until the next installment.

 

5) Manchester by the Sea

After the fiasco that was Batman v Superman, it was though the Affleck name could never again appear in a well made movie. Luckily for Ben, his brother Casey is picking up the slack with Manchester by the Sea. Although not a major blockbuster like some entries on this list with a budget of only $8.5 million, Manchester by the Sea more than makes up for its lack of flashy effects with spectacular storytelling. Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, a janitor who is forced to care for his nephew when his brother is hospitalized. Anyone who needs a healthy dose of emotion should definitely watch this movie.

 

4) Dr. Strange

Taking most by surprise when it was announced, Dr. Strange quickly became one of the most anticipated movies of 2016. Being the first real introduction of magic in the Marvel cinematic universe, there was much concern as to whether Dr. Strange would be a complete disaster, similar to the situation Rogue One was in. Just like Rogue One, we were not disappointed. Dr. Strange was a strange psychedelic journey that told the tale of a surgeon turned sorcerer. The special effects alone would make this movie a must-see, but there’s much more than that in this flick that should be at the top of any superhero fan’s watchlist.

 

3) Moonlight

A somewhat different film on this list, Moonlight is widely considered by many to be the best movie of 2016 and for good reason. In this drama film you follow the story of Chiron, a young man who journeys through life while discovering his own sexuality. Although not an action-packed adventure like other films this year, Moonlight has a well earned spot at the top of the list for 2016’s best movies.

 

2) Captain America: Civil War

Easily one of the best superhero movies of 2016, Captain America: Civil War is a must-see film. Do not let the name fool you, because this movie has way more superheros than just Captain America in it. With Captain America saying that superheroes should be able to defend humanity without government restrictions and Iron Man disagreeing with him, the Avengers are forced to choose sides. Throughout the course of the movie friendships are broken and people get hurt. This movie also introduces some new faces into the Marvel cinematic universe. With good plot and interesting characters, Captain America: Civil War is a highlight for Marvel and will echo into many movies to come.

 

1) Deadpool

Our pick for top movie of 2016 is none other than the merc with a mouth himself, Deadpool. Easily one of the most popular movies of 2016, Deadpool is enjoyable to not just the hardcore comic book fan, but to the average movie goer as well. If somehow you have not seen this movie already, then it is about a mercenary who gets the power of invincibility due to the treatment he received for his terminal cancer, however this treatment also made him extremely deformed. Throughout the course of the film Deadpool must save his girlfriend from the man who gave him his powers, while meeting a few interesting characters along the way. Laced with non stop humor, action, and fourth wall breaks, this movie is great for anyone who can handle a lot, and we mean a lot, of profanity.

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NFL Super Bowl 2017

So, the Super Bowl has come and passed, and this year showed us one of the most impressive comebacks in perhaps all of sports history. Coming from behind after a tough first half to win it all in overtime, the New England Patriots became the most decorated franchise in NFL playoff history, and Tom Brady cemented his status as the greatest of all time, winning his fifth Super Bowl ring by scoring twenty-five unanswered points.

Before the game, however, we sent out a poll asking members of the MFS community how they thought the game would play out; and the results were truly interesting. As you can see in the pie charts below, the people of Moorestown Friends School truly do know their football—either that or they are fantastic guessers. MFS predicted the Patriots as the winner of the Super Bowl by a sizable majority, along with Tom Brady having a better game than opponent Matt Ryan. One area, however, that did not do well was the overall scoring – MFS was far from accurate on that front. A plurality of voters predicted the total scoring to be somewhere in the range of 30-45 points total, while the final score of 34-28 far exceeded that.

WordsWorth thanks everyone for their participation in the survey.

Poll Results
108 Responses

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Upper School Director Heading to the Windy City Justin Brandon will leave MFS for Francis W. Parker School In June

Justin Brandon addresses the Upper School during the final gathering last year. Photo by Andrew Rowan / Multimedia Editor

 

In an email to students and parents shortly after school ended Monday, Head of School Larry Van Meter announced that Upper School Director Justin Brandon will be leaving Moorestown Friends in June to be the Upper School Director at Francis W. Parker School.

 

“I am sorry to lose Justin, but I am excited for him and his wife, Angela, and their daughter, Jozi, as they move to a larger school and bigger metropolitan area,” Van Meter wrote in the email.

 

Brandon has been influential since he became the Upper School Director, taking over for now Academic Dean and Associate Head of School Chris Kimberley. Van Meter noted that Peer Leadership was created and the advisory program, Intensive Learning, and Capstone projects are significantly changed.

 

 

A search for a new Upper School Director will be launched “immediately,” Van Meter wrote. It is worth noting that Van Meter will be leaving his position as Head of School in June 2018.

 

Francis W. Parker School is independent and located in Chicago. It was founded in 1901 and has 932 students in Junior Kindergarten  through 12th grades as well as 200 faculty and staff.

 

Brandon thanked the Upper School body, and said he appreciated the conversations he’s had in the DHC, office, and senior benches. “I am proud of the thoughtful, fun and driven students that make the Upper School a very special place. I hope the students appreciate the community that we (faculty and staff) have worked to create and support. We are not perfect, but we will never stop trying to improve the student experience at MFS.” Read the full statement from Mr. Brandon below. 


This story has been updated to include Brandon’s quote. 



Full statement from Mr. Brandon:

“I would like to say thank you to the student body. Thank you for allowing me to be me. I appreciated the conversations had in the DHC, my office on the senior benches, etc… I am proud of the thoughtful, fun and driven students that make the Upper School a very special place. I hope the students appreciate the community that we (faculty and staff) have worked to create and support. We are not perfect, but we will never stop trying to improve the student experience at MFS. I will miss our weekly time together during Meeting for Worship, Soul Food Fest, Spirit Week and so many other events that highlight the student experience. I am looking forward to exploring a new city with my family and joining a similarly inclusive and supportive community at Francis W. Parker. I will try to visit whenever I return to the area. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity.”

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EDITORIAL: Being Catholic at MFS A Question of Religious Freedom

Photo courtesy of mfriends.org
Students and faculty sit in Meeting for Worship. Photo courtesy of mfriends.org.

Moorestown Friends is cherished and recognized for the encouragement and support it grants to groups of all colors, creeds, and other identities to fully express themselves. I have found, however, that many in our community have come to assume acceptance to be synonymous with “tolerance.” Whatever the cause may be, I believe (like many others do) that this acceptance, or tolerance, has occurred on a superficial level in many respects. In my experience, I have come to see our community’s tolerance, or lack thereof in certain cases, as a product of pure assumptions. The problematic nature of this tolerance is its capacity to describe who people are, before we even meet them, before we even know them. My point of discontent with the MFS community, perhaps ironic for a private, religious school, regards freedom of religious expression.

As a dominant religion in the United States, Christianity and Christians are often left out of discussions on diversity and inclusion, because people wrongly understand a diverse set of opinions to be one that includes all opinions except those of the perceived majority. A truly inclusive and comprehensive community necessitates that everyone’s viewpoint be considered. Further,  Catholics themselves, who are one sect of Christianity, are a minority in the United States, and have historically been persecuted as one. In colonial times, many colonies prohibited Catholics from settling, and until as recently as the early twentieth century, Irish and Italian settlers, most of them Catholic, faced severe discrimination.We only have to look to our recent past to see more examples of an anti-Catholic bias flowing through our society. Look to questions asked of President John F. Kennedy’s candidacy for President in the early ‘60s. Many questioned his fitness for the office based solely on his Catholicism: they were, unfoundedly, afraid he would be bossed around by the Pope. Today, backlash against abortion and the legalization of gay marriage, among other issues, continue to cause a great deal of tension  between non-Catholics and Catholics. Current discussions center around self-proclaimed “evangelical reformed Catholic” Mike Pence.  His personal views, not reflective of the creeds of the church, inform thousands of people on what they think Catholics believe. These stereotypes are propagated throughout popular culture with countless cases of movie characters cast as “crazy” or “raging” Catholics that portray one-dimensional people with singular, Catholic agendas. In between television and politics, and in between assumptions and false portrayals, the vast majority of Catholics, as non-monolithic individuals, are cast to the side.

Now, let’s place me at school. As a practicing Catholic I often feel uncomfortable and at odds with members of the community over disparaging comments, derogatory names, and other forms of bullying. Comments can range anywhere from calling me a “papist” to telling me that all Catholics are homophobes, and all priests are pedophiles. While often followed by an insincere, “Just kidding!” or “LOL” or “TBT,” the comments add up.

Assuring me that you didn’t mean me, but the broader religion because you “know I’m different” or that “you didn’t realize I was in the room” does not make up for what you have said. Your “jokes” are true expressions of your feelings, either trying to elicit a response from me or expressing a deep-seated anger towards the church.

Other comments follow a more unapologetic format. I have stood up all of two times in Meeting for Worship, and most recently was regarding a friend I lost in a drunk driving accident. I had asked for prayers for my friends and my friend’s family, who were in a dark place. I also asked for my classmates to consider the preciousness of life and to value their own because it’s a gift that most people do not control. I received condolences, but on that very same day, I was told that some people had felt angered that I stood up, and that I had gotten too political, and was insensitive by being so openly pro-life. Aside from the fact that these people completely missed the point of my message at Meeting, I was deeply hurt. I had never mentioned anything about abortion nor did I intend to make a statement. By utilizing the word “precious” and being Catholic, was I therefore automatically referencing abortion?

Generally, it’s bad to generalize. It’s bad to do it in essays, it’s bad to do it with people, friends family, etc. It sometimes works well when encountering situations; however, if you have learned anything from English class, it’s that generalizing is a bad thing to do. This said, if you look past some of the more conservative members of my religion, the “radicals” if you will, you find that people tend to be a lot more reasonable than you’d expect. Pope Francis in his new book, The Name of God is Mercy, paraphrases the Catechism of the Catholic Church by saying, “because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity . . .  God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.” There are different paths to heaven and my God, and none of them are off limits. This is why we’ve been given free will, to choose the paths we follow, but to remain conscious that some may put us farther away from our destination. Catholics believe that people do not choose their sexual orientation so it is not sinful to be homosexual. However, the Church believes it is sinful to commit homosexual acts because it is not in accord with the procreative design of our bodies. Bear in mind, however that in any group, especially one 1.2 billion people strong, there will be diversity of thought and opinion.

Theological and technical jargon aside, the most recent incident of the anti-Catholic sentiment is perhaps one that hit me the hardest. At a recent Meeting for Worship, a member of the community spoke in anger about the state of American society, and targeted a great deal of hate towards Catholics specifically. In that moment, I felt hurt and hated, but mostly shocked. I was shocked that in a tradition and practice meant to promote unity and self-reflection that someone could stand up and make such a broad, offensive, and general statement about a group of people. What shocked me more was that neither the student nor faculty bodies addressed it. In that moment, it seemed completely antithetical to me that at a Quaker school – Quakers who valued religious freedom as they were expelled from England in the 1600s – such narrow-minded thinking could be happening in a practice meant to promote oneness with the Spirit.

In that moment, Meeting for Worship validated everything I had experienced at four years at MFS. I had suspected that members of my community had looked at me with a certain ounce of distaste for my religious affiliation. With my community’s lack of a rebuttal – of saying to this member of the community “we are sorry that these things happened to you but labelling people like this is doing exactly what you hate”– silently confirmed my suspicions. I felt extremely alone.

I cannot say that I was without support. I met people who felt similarly to me, but were afraid to say something, knowing that they would be vilified. In the loneliness this experience created, I discovered others who felt marginalized, and labeled. Friends who have never felt open to expressing opinions or their beliefs at this school heard that I was writing this article and decided to voice their opinions as well. Senior Andrew Denittis expressed his feeling to me that “being Catholic in the MFS community feels like I get the cold shoulder because some of the Catholic beliefs aren’t accepted by left wing beliefs and other religions . . .  for some reason because Catholicism is different and has more traditional beliefs, we come across as radical or extra–which we really aren’t–and get hammered with criticism and hate. Catholics are peaceful and rejoice in the name of God. If a religion or person does not believe in Catholicism, they can politely move on and dismiss what they don’t believe without arguing about who’s right and wrong.” It is specifically this lack of discussion that leads to non-progress in our community and society.

I extend an apology, an olive branch, to any of my classmates and peers who feel that my religion has harmed them. I am not denying the anger that anyone feels, nor the hurt that they have experienced; Catholics are just as capable of making mistakes as any other people. Yet laying the blame on an entire group of people is not just unfair, but counterproductive. Blaming all Catholics, or even blaming Catholicism as a doctrine, will not solve any of our problems, and hurt a lot of good people. Facing others with hatred will only fuel misunderstanding. Rather than making generalizations about others, we need to try to understand where others are coming from. This, however, necessitates an actual desire in our community to not just pay lip service to the Quaker values of  SPICES (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship), but to try and live by the values for which they stand. To name a few: peace, comes from communicating through conflict, and creating a foundation for personal development and community growth; community, as interculturalism and religious pluralism creates a space for students to feel secure in interacting and expressing their authentic selves; and equality, as respect and diversity of thought fosters an environment for sharing and learning. This all, however, necessitates an actual desire in our community to integrate SPICES, and the responsibility of our institution to act upon the SPICES they’ve fed us.

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Experiencing an Alice Paul March MFS Student Participates in Alice's March for Equality

Photo courtesy of Anna Holemans

Going into Alice’s March for Equality last Thursday, I was expecting a small group of Friends school students walking along the sidewalk holding up some signs and pictures of Alice Paul.

I was way off.

As soon as we walked up to Philadelphia’s City Hall, I saw the scope of people who had come to the march. There were Friends schools, but in no way were their numbers tiny. A group of Girl Scouts from Moorestown had also shown up in support of Anna Holemens, the Friends Select student who organized the march as part of her goal to earn the Girl Scout’s highest honor — a Girl Scout Gold Award.

Once at City Hall, we were greeted by a perky high school staff member from the march who taught us some cheers and gave us bracelets, buttons and posters. It was at that point I learned that we weren’t just marching to commemorate Alice Paul, but we were marching to gain support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Once the march began the TV cameras started rolling, darting in between the police officers on bikes, desperate to get the perfect shot. As we marched the student who had given us the bracelets began leading us in the cheers, such as “Build a bridge, not a wall” or “ERA means equal pay.”

The roads had been cleared for us to walk. The planning and organization needed to make this all happen must have been tremendous, especially for a high school student.

Along the way to the Art Museum, where the march would end, we were cheered on by some little kids who were too young to participate. The signs that most of the marchers chose to display were actually quite witty. One read “Rain Drop, Drop Top, Wage Gap, Gotta Stop-Stop.”

Once we reached the stage located in front of the Art Museum we were led in a few more cheers while we waited for the speakers to get situated. The ceremony began when the high school participants gathered on stage and gave the reasons they were here. For about an hour and a half after the opening speech, the stage was graced with the presence of multiple speakers from the Girl Scouts or with School Administrators, who spoke about equality for women. After all of this, Anna came back on stage and delivered a speech directed to President Trump. She asked for his help in giving women equal rights, but also detailed that the movement wouldn’t slow down or wait. It would continue with or without him. That line got lots of applause.

The march wasn’t at all what I was expecting. However, it was really inspirational to see high schoolers get together and organize a way to express themselves. The image of people of all ages and genders getting together to declare their beliefs is one I will never forget.

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The First 60 Hours President Trump’s first weekend filled with “alternative facts” at the White House

Photo Credit: Press Pool for Getty Images

It may not have had big, gold letters on the front, but the White House is now officially occupied by President Trump’s administration. From meetings with the CIA, a  Press Secretary’s first briefing, more swearing-in ceremonies, to meeting with foreign leaders, here is how President Trump spent his first weekend in office.

On Saturday morning, after attending the traditional post-inauguration day prayer service, Trump traveled to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He met with Senior agency members before addressing a capacity crowd of nearly four hundred people. His remarks were made in front of the wall of honor, a place where fallen CIA members are remembered forever by the stars on the wall.

This is my first stop officially, there is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump, there is nobody,” Trump remarked. The visit was perhaps reflective of the war of words between the intelligence community and the President prior to him taking office; for a period of time Trump refused to publicly agree with the agency’s conclusion that Russia intervened with the election.

However, Trump quickly got off topic during his CIA speech, in what became a campaign-style tirade against his favorite target: “I have a running war with the media, they are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”

Trump continued on with his address boasting with false statements about his inauguration. He described the rain as “stop[ping] immediately” at the beginning of the speech, and then “it poured right after I left [the podium].” Neither event happened, as many might remember the viral photos of former president George W. Bush trying to put on his poncho during the inaugural address.

Trump continued on by making comments about the crowd size at his inauguration. He commented that there were “like a million, a million and a half people.” Although the National Park Service does not put out crowd estimates, aerial photographs allow professors and scientists to estimate the density of the crowd. Steve Doig, a professor of journalism at Arizona State University, has previously given inauguration crowd estimates. He told The Atlantic that it allows experts to estimate the density of the crowd and multiply it by the area it covers, to produce “a reality-based estimate of the crowd.”

Doig went on to say that the “the claim that this is the largest ever is ludicrous on its face.”

Washington Metro System rider numbers fall short than both of Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inauguration.

The White House doubled down by sending out press secretary Sean Spicer in his first address to the press in the White House briefing room. Coming out with an aggressive tone, Spicer first debunked a journalist who incorrectly tweeted that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office (that press pool reporter issued a retraction — see more here.). He continued on to explain that incorrect numbers were printed about the crowd because “no one had numbers.”

However, he then said that this was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”

Spicer used false information about riders on D.C.’s Metro system to support his claim. Nielsen, the company that issues ratings information, had not yet put out numbers on online and television inauguration ceremony viewership. Spicer left the room without taking any questions.

President Trump spent Sunday discussing a wide range of issues from immigration, meeting with law enforcement at a reception, to Israel, and to reorganizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), among others.

His morning began before 5 am with a few tweets regarding the millions who participated in the Women’s March on Washington and other sister marches across the globe. Trump wrote that he watched the protests, but asked why the marchers didn’t vote.  Trump followed up with a much different tone about an hour and a half later, writing, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

After speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said his conversation was “very nice.” The White House later further elaborated that Iran, ISIS, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process were all discussed on the call. Netanyahu also accepted Trump’s invitation to join him at the White House next month. He also began discussions about moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Later in the morning, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said from the north lawn that the press secretary gave “alternative facts” in his description about the inaugural crowds.

NBC Political Director and Moderator of Meet The Press, Chuck Todd, continued the conversation about the falsehoods when Conway said, “If we’re going to keep referring to the press secretary in those types of terms I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

Back inside, Trump supervised while Vice President Mike Pence swore in 30 new White House staff members in the East Room. The President opened the ceremony with remarks. He started by holding up a piece of paper saying that it was the traditional personal note from his predecessor, former president Obama. “It was really nice of him to do that,” Trump said.

He sent his condolences to the people affected by the deadly weather in Georgia, saying that he will be speaking to Governor Nathan Deal after the ceremony.

Trump spoke of his busy day, telling the crowd that he had set up meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to negotiate the NAFTA deal. “We’re going to start negotiations on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border … I think we’re going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, for everybody involved.”

Lastly, at the time of this writing, Trump hosted law enforcement officers and first responders at the White House for a reception in their honor. There he shook hands with FBI Director James Comey, joking that Comey had “become more famous than me.”

Some Democrats blame Comey for Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the presidential election after he broke protocol to announce a new development in the investigation into her private email server days before the election.

Trump has said that Monday will be the true first day of his administration, although he certainly has already been busy.

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