Brad Dayspring joins POLITICO

Tammy Haddad, Michael Steele, Brad Dayspring, Lauren Patapas

Tammy Haddad, Michael Steele, Brad Dayspring, Lauren Pratapas

Brad Dayspring, a longtime vocal advocate for Republican House members, is Politico’s new press hire. Dayspring most recently worked for the Walker campaign.

Dayspring, a regular at the annual White House Correspondents Garden Brunch, is married to Jake Tapper’s CNN press representative, Lauren Pratapas. In the photo above, they are featured at the Veep premiere party held at Dog Tag Bakery.

Jon Meacham SRO at The Jefferson Hotel


The Jefferson Hotel, Washington Women Technology Network, an interview with Jon Meacham

The Jefferson Hotel, Washington Women Technology Network, an interview with Jon Meacham

Pulitzer prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham packed in admirers at a Washington Women Technology Network “Cocktails and Conversation” gathering on Friday, November 20th at The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC.

Meacham’s new biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, is already a New York Times Bestseller. Meachan spent 17 years writing the book with access to President Bush’s personal diaries. He interviewed the president many times over the years, his family, colleagues and political enemies. Meacham’s previous biography of President Andrew Jackson, American Lion, won him the Pulitzer Prize.

Meacham, a Washington favorite, began his writing career at The Washington Monthly and became the youngest Newsweek editor where he created legendary covers and controverises with politicians and people of all stripes. He is currently and editor at Random House.

Co-hosted by Connie Milstein, co-founder of Dog Tag Bakery, Democratic commentator Hilary Rosen,and Julie Goon from Anthem, the crowd watched Megan Murphy, Bloomberg Bureau Chief and Tammy Haddad, WHCInsider editor, interview Meacham as he discussed the decades of public service and political moments that made President Bush’s career. It was an insider’s inside conversation detailing their triumph’s and disappointments. The interview will be uploaded to next week.

The Friday afternoon crowd included politicos and media. Stephanie Cutter, Neera Tanden, Holly Page, Kelley McCormick, Jill Zuckman, Jennifer Maguire, Ceci Connelly, Emily Lenzer and David Chavern. Long time Obama White House aides Ferial Govashiri and Ellie Schafer and the State department’s Nick Schmit.

Stpehanie Cutter, Hilary Rosen, Neera Tanden

Obama White House aide Ferial Govashiri and former Laura Bush CoS Anita McBride

Obama White House aide Ferial Govashiri and former Laura Bush CoS Anita McBride

Bushies including Anita McBride, whose husband Tom McBride, was a longtime personal aide to President Bush.

Journalists seen were James Hohmann, Glenn Thrush, Hadas Gold, Ruth Marcus, Henry Schuster, Jackie Kucinich and Carl Cannon from Real Clear Politics.

John Coale and Greta Van Susteren: Cambodian Irrigation System


Working with Samaritan’s Purse, John Coale and Greta Van Susteren have helped to build a 3+ mile canal and irrigation system in three villages in Cambodia.


Because of this project, the residents, and mostly importantly, the children of these villages won’t starve and are less vulnerable to human traffickers.


Thank you John and Greta for caring and doing.

CURE Epilepsy and Dog Tag Bakery Unit to Help Veterans with Epilepsy


Unknown-1 Unknown

On the eve of Veteran’s Day, Tammy Haddad welcomed CURE Epilepsy friends and supporters on behalf of Connie Milstein and Father Rick Curry co-founders of Dog Tag Bakery for a CURE Epilepsy fundraiser Tuesday night. (ret) Marine Sgt. John Lira, a recent Dog Tag program graduate, started the evening off with a salute to all our servicemen and women and veterans.

Susan Axelrod announced a grant from the Department of Defense to work together to research the effects of traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, while David Axelrod held a sign with a picture of his beautiful daughter Lauren who has suffered so much because there is no cure for epilepsy.

The evening came alive with the entrance of Singer Songwriter Paul Simon.  He performed his hits from the Dog Tag stage and enjoyed dinner with 70 supporters. Senator Al Franken joked with Paul Simon as the audience sang along to his hits. Simon delighted the crowd by greeting guests at each table in the educational center of Dog Tag Bakery. Paul Simon previously supported CURE by appearing at their Chicago event last year.

Guests included top White House aides Valerie Jarrett, Shailagh Murray, Lisa Monaco, and Sylvia Burwell plus Obama campaign veterans Joel and Lisa Benenson, Jim and Vicki Margolis, Stephanie Cutter, and Erik Smith.

Dog Tag Bakery co-founder Connie Milstein is also on the board of CURE Epilepsy. CURE is still accepting contributions for the veterans’ research at





CURE To Expand Work With Veterans’ Epilepsy Thanks To Department Of Defense Grant

Grant to enhance research into the effects of traumatic brain injury in veterans.



Chicago, IL- Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy today announced that it will create a new research program and focus with a grant of approximately 10 million dollars over 5 years to go toward epilepsy research in veterans with traumatic brain injury. The grant was awarded by the Department of Defense, Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, award number W81XWH-15-2-0069.

The grant will support a team approach to researching the prevention and treatment of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE). The incidence of epilepsy in active service members increased by an alarming 52 percent from 2006 to 2010.

Approximately 8 percent of those afflicted have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) , making it the most common predisposing condition. Twenty-four percent of military-related epilepsy is associated with prior TBI.

“Our veterans deserve much better after serving our country,” said Susan Axelrod, founding chair of CURE.  “In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the “signature wound” was traumatic brain injury. Those who suffer severe TBI face up to a 50 percent chance of developing Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE), with the symptoms of epilepsy (seizures) manifesting themselves immediately or even up to fifteen years post-injury.   At CURE we are committed to exploring the complex underlying mechanisms of post-traumatic epilepsy and ways to treat it more effectively and one day even prevent it entirely.”

“CURE applauds the U.S. Department of Defense for dedicating this significant amount of resources to epilepsy research,” said Robin Harding, Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful to those who back our effort to find a cure for this disease through research and by increasing awareness of epilepsy’s prevalence and devastating consequences for patients and their families.  Investing in research is the cornerstone of discovery and an ultimate cure.”

“The next great breakthrough is not going to come from a single researcher working in isolation,” said Julie Milder, PhD, Associate Research Director at CURE and Program Officer for the DOD grant. “We strongly believe in the power of collaboration and its ability to move science forward faster.  We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to move team science into the area of post-traumatic epilepsy– one that is desperate for greater understanding.”

Next steps for the program include convening a meeting of key opinion leaders in epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and veterans’ health to determine opportunities of biggest impact over the next five years. The outcomes of the meeting will serve as the basis for the development of a targeted team science research program which will be announced through a request for applications in late spring.



Trumbo’s Triumphant Return To Washington



Washington notables took to the red carpet at the Newseum to meet star Bryan Cranston and director Jay Roach and fete their new film from Bleecker Street Media, “Trumbo.” The scene was far different from the one 68 years ago when screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The film tells of Trumbo’s refusal to testify and be part of the HUAC’s witch-hunt for communists in the motion picture industry. Trumbo, a member of the Communist Party from 1943 to 1946, was one of the “Hollywood 10” – a group of writers and directors who would not name names.

Trumbo was blacklisted in Hollywood, and forced to cut his fee and write under a pseudonym in order to support his family. During this time, two of the screenplays written by Trumbo and credited to others, received Academy Awards: “Roman Holiday” (1953) and “The Brave One” (1956). It wasn’t until 1960 that he received billing again for his work, on Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” and Otto Preminger’s “Exodus.” The move essentially ended the blacklist.

Director Jay Roach (“Recount” “Game Change”) helms the film that stars Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) in the title role. Roach and Cranston answered questions after the premiere, moderated by the Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday. Those in the crowd included Senators Al Franken, Sheldon Whitehouse and Tom Udall, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Sally Quinn, Ambassador Lloyd and Ann Hand, Bob Bennett, author Michael Eric Dyson, and Ryan Williams. President Obama was well represented by Ferial Govashiri and her fiance Mohamed Mirghahari, Brooke Lillard, Klevis Xharda and Carlos Elizondo.

The film also stars Helen Mirren as Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper; Diane Lane as Cleo Trumbo, Dalton’s wife; John Goodman and Louis C.K. #Trumbomovie

Taya Kyle on her message of hope and healing for military families

At the last White House Correspondents Brunch, Taya Kyle, widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle, spoke with Rachel Greenberg for an episode of Volta Insider. Taya spoke about the importance of hope and healing for military families.


“Taya’s story is so inspirational. In the time since her husband was killed in 2013, she has made it her mission to let military families know it’s OK to share their suffering. She feels that anyone who is suffering from loss can draw a lot of strength and confidence from sharing with others so they know they aren’t alone.

“Her book, American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal, is just one of the many ways that she hopes to reach others with this message, along with the work she does through the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.”

Download the podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes.

Ellie Schafer cuts her own political path


The Grand Forks Herald recently featured a story about Ellie Schafer, director of the White House Visitors Office under President Barack Obama and daughter of former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer.

“Her journey with the Illinois senator who would become president started in 2006 when she worked on his book tour promoting “The Audacity of Hope”….Schafer, daughter of former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer, was quickly drawn to Obama, his message, his policy positions, his skills as a leader.”

Schafer’s job is one of the more powerful behind-the-scenes positions at the White House. “A total of 4.8 million people have visited the White House during her tenure, and 3.5 million of those guests were there for a function the visitors office oversaw, said Schafer, who acknowledges her job is taxing.”

As the daughter of a former governor, she “grew up around politics, and even as a kid she’d voice her opinions on the issues.”

“Ed Schafer said he and his daughter agree on the direction they want the country to head, but they differ on how to get there. Because of their close bond, he said, they can have a debate and afterward say, “I still love you.”

“It’s the way you wish politics would work,” he said.”

Read the article on From governor’s daughter to White House official: Ellie Schafer cuts her own political path

Another top politico joins the tech ranks; Blumenthal to SurveyMonkey

Mark Blumenthal will leave his post as senior editor at The Huffington Post to join SurveyMonkey as its first head of election polling.


“The move is a sign that, amid a period of intense change in the way pollsters collect data, SurveyMonkey — which began as a simple online survey tool — is beefing up its political polling.

“SurveyMonkey has spent the past few years trying to leverage the millions of people who participate in surveys on its website — with clients from Little League coaches to large corporations — into the political space. At the same time, as traditional telephone polling has faltered following the growth of cellphones and Americans’ increasing unwillingness to participate in polls, online surveys are more accepted now than they have been in past election cycles.”

“I’ve known Mark for a long time, and the opportunity came up to have him spearhead our efforts,” said Jon Cohen, vice president of survey research at SurveyMonkey. “Mark has been the foremost chronicler over the past decade of the changes in our industry.”

“We’re investing in elections by leveraging the unique data sources that we have, and how we can parlay that into changing survey research more broadly,” Cohen said.

Read more via SurveyMonkey swipes HuffPost’s Blumenthal to expand election polling

Young French designer Millinsky on the styles of Trump and Reagan

In a recent interview for the Volta Insider podcast hosted by Rachel Greenberg, young French designer, Millinsky, discussed what he thinks about Donald Trump’s campaign hat. “I think it’s funny that he’s doing a hat. It’s not really cool that he’s selling it. But yeah, I think he’s kind of copying what Ronald Reagan said in his campaign, like, ‘bring America back.’ It’s kind of the same vibe. I mean, if you copy someone, that’s not really creative, so I do not support that a lot. But as long as he’s doing it, if he likes it, whatever, I mean, go for it, Donald.”

He went on to explain that he doesn’t really follow American politics, but “the only thing I really follow is Ronald Reagan…To me he was like a living rock star, literally. He invited Michael Jackson to the White House. He was chill.”

When asked how he came up with the name NASASEASONS for his fashion line, Millinksy said that he wanted “a cool name. Something people knew about, but not related to the original thing.” He thought relating NASA and rockets to a clothing brand would catch attention, but was told he couldn’t use the name NASA on its own, so he came up with NASASEASONS instead.

Download this episode of the Volta Insider podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes. And follow @VoltaInsider on Twitter.

Zignal Labs Closes $15 Million in New Funding

Zignal Labs, the world’s leading realtime cross media analytics company, today announced the completion of a $15 million round of funding. The round was led by existing investors Andy Ballard of Figtree Partners; Mitch Cohen of Ross Investment Associates; and Jim Hornthal, co-founder and Chairman of Zignal Labs. The company will use the funds to continue to expand their sales, product and engineering operations.

Since 2011, Zignal Labs has continued to outpace the competition through rapid growth and product innovation. The company recently announced the launch of a new product, Zignal Command Center, a multi-screen display of the company’s realtime, cross media intelligence platform. Zignal Labs enables customers to see relevant stories and insights unfold with visually stunning analytics, spot trends and immediately take action with unprecedented accuracy.

“With this latest round of funding, we’ll be expanding our team and scaling our best-in-class technology that allows a wide range of industries such as global consumer brands, financial institutions, PR agencies, media outlets and political organizations to gain actionable insights across the media spectrum,” said Josh Ginsberg, CEO of Zignal Labs. “Through our breakthrough technology, the only realtime cross media analytics platform, our customers can confidently make data-driven decisions like never before.”