Category Archives: Chicago, IL

President Obama And Family Return To Chicago For Memorial Day Weekend

Posted by: Audiegrl

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Special thanks to Nesa Kovacs aka Princess Hype for creating this wonderful Michelle Obama Memorial Day tribute video.
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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Go, Tell Michelle: You’ve Read the Book, Now See the Play

Posted by Audiegrl

“When you and your family go to the spot under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, where Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, you will take with you our history of dreams deferred; however, you will also take with you our prayers and hopes for an America that is ready to build and dream anew.”~~Excerpt from a letter to Michelle Obama

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady was first published in January 2009. In December 2009, “Go, Tell Michelle” was named by book and movie critic Kam Williams as one of the 10 Best Black Books of 2009. My daughter gave this to me as my Mother’s Day present last year, and I highly recommend it. I thought it would be a great way to start off the new year (and new decade), to introduce the book to those who have not read it yet, and also give me a chance to provide a photo slideshow of our First Lady during the first year.

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First LadyGo, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady”, the award winning volume of 100 letters to Michelle Obama written shortly after the 2008 election of President Barack Obama has been adapted as a dramatic production. Drs. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram, co-authors and editors of the book, have been working with Dr. Robert Knopf, chair of University at Buffalo’s Drama Department on this dramatization. The outcome of this collaboration is Dr. Knopf’s adaptation, a one hour play that features three readers.

Dr. Knopf describes “Go, Tell Michelle: the Play” as more than a dramatic reading: “It is a montage of lost voices, personal stories, and heartfelt emotions unleashed by the tide of history that has swept the nation.” Under Dr. Knopf’s direction, storyteller Karima Amin, Brooks-Bertram and Seals Nevergold will give voice to the stories and poems in this dramatic adaptation.

The play will debut on January 19th at University at Buffalo’s Allen Hall on the South Campus on the eve of the first anniversary of President Obama’s historic inauguration. Performance time is 7:00pm and Jericka Duncan, reporter from WIVB-TV will act as Emcee. A second performance will take place at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library on January 20th. Both performances will be free and open to the public.

The Warmth, Style, and Grace of First Lady Michelle Obama

This is the short biography of Michelle Obama that introduced the Obama family to families across America. It originally played the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

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Drs. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram on C-SPAN Book TV (03/28/09)

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Opinion: Why the Greg Craig debacle matters

posted by Ogenec

A critical mass of influential people who once held big hopes for his presidency began to wonder whether they had misjudged the man. Most significant, these doubters now find themselves with a new reluctance to defend Obama at a phase of his presidency when he needs defenders more urgently than ever.

By ELIZABETH DREW

President Barack Obama is returning from his trek to Asia Thursday to a capital that is a considerably more dangerous place for him than when he departed.

While he was abroad, there was a palpable sense at home of something gone wrong

A critical mass of influential people who once held big hopes for his presidency began to wonder whether they had misjudged the man. Most significant, these doubters now find themselves with a new reluctance to defend Obama at a phase of his presidency when he needs defenders more urgently than ever.

This is the price Obama has paid with his complicity and most likely his active participation, in the shabbiest episode of his presidency: The firing by leaks of White House counsel Gregory Craig, a well-respected Washington veteran and influential early supporter of Obama.

The people who are most aghast by the handling of the Craig departure can’t be dismissed by the White House as Republican partisans, or still-embittered Hillary Clinton supporters. They are not naïve activists who don’t understand that the exercise of power can be a rough business and that trade-offs and personal disappointments are inevitable. Instead, they are people, either in politics or close observers, who once held an unromantically high opinion of Obama. They were important to his rise, and are likely more important to the success or failure of his presidency than Obama or his distressingly insular and small-minded West Wing team appreciate.

The Craig embarrassment gives these people a new reason – not the first or only reason – to conclude that he wasn’t the person of integrity and even classiness they had thought, and, more fundamentally, that his ability to move people and actually lead a fractured and troubled country (the reason many preferred him over Hillary Clinton) is not what had been promised in the campaign.

Craig’s ouster did not occur in a vacuum. It served as a focal point to concerns that have been building for months that Obama wasn’t pressing for all that might be possible within the existing political constraints (all that one could ask of a president); that his presidential voice hadn’t fulfilled the hopes raised by his campaign voice (which had also taken him a while to find); that he hadn’t created a movement, as he had raised expectations that he would; that would be there to back him up and help him fulfill his promises.

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Filed under Bad Journalism, Chicago, IL, Democrats, Editorial, Law, Opinions, Republicans, Uncategorized, Washington, DC

Democrats crush filibuster: court nominee survives Senate test

WASHINGTON—Democrats on Tuesday crushed a Senate filibuster against a controversial appeals court nominee, demonstrating to Republicans they can’t stop President Barack Obama from turning the federal judiciary to the left.

U.S. District Judge David Hamilton

The 70-29 vote limited debate over the qualifications of U.S. District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana, and assured his elevation to the Chicago-based appeals court. Sixty votes were needed to end the filibuster, but confirmation only requires a simple majority of the 100-member Senate.

Ten Republicans went against their own party leaders and voted to limit debate.

The vote emphatically warned Republicans that with only 40 senators, they’re too outnumbered to prevent Obama from making major inroads into a judiciary that was populated over eight years with conservative judges chosen by President George W. Bush.

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Conservative Trio Supports Transferring Gitmo Detainees To Illinois

posted by GeoT

**Update**

In a joint statement prepared by the Constitution Project, David Keene, founder of American Conservative Union, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and former representative and presidential candidate Bob Barr say moving suspected terrorists to the Thomson, Illinois prison facility, “makes good sense.” Taxpayers, they note, have already invested $145 million in the facility, which has been “little used.” And the surrounding community, they add, could benefit from increased employment once the prison becomes filled.

“The scaremongering about these issues should stop,” they add, noting that there is “absolutely no reason to fear that prisoners will escape or be released into their communities.”

source: Huffington_Post_Logo

**Update**

CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Sunday tried to build support and counter criticism of a proposal to sell a prison in rural northwestern Illinois to the federal government to house Guantanamo Bay detainees and other inmates.

Both Quinn and Durbin said the possibility of selling the prison to the federal government was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help create about 3,000 jobs, both at the prison and directly in surrounding communities in an area where unemployment has topped 10 percent.

source:

CHICAGO – The Obama administration may buy a near-empty prison in rural northwestern Illinois to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay along with federal inmates, a White House official said Saturday.

Thomson Correctional Center

The maximum-security Thomson Correctional Facility, about 150 miles west of Chicago, was one of several evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and emerged as a leading option to house the detainees, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a decision has not been made.

President Barack Obama wants detainees from the controversial military-run detention center in Cuba to be transferred to U.S. soil so they can be prosecuted for their suspected crimes.

It is unclear how many Guantanamo detainees — alleged terrorism suspects, many held without charges since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan — might be transferred to Illinois or when. Obama initially planned to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by Jan. 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has been hinting at a possible new use for Thomson, and he issued a statement saying he would hold a news conference Sunday to outline those plans.

Source:

More information:

Although nothing has been finalized as yet and the administration is still considering its options. However, if the government decides to shift the detainees of the Guantanamo Bay in this maximum security prison then the federal bureau would have to purchase the prison and then later lease a part of the facility to the Department of Defense so that few inmates from Guantanamo can be kept there.On Monday, officials are scheduled to visit the correctional center to inspect its conditions so that a final decision can be taken soon. At the same time, it has also been emphasized by the government, that ultimately the decision would be undertaken depending on how people in the remote town react to the relocation of the inmates.

However, the fact that administration is planning to shift the detainees has been welcomed by the residents of Thomson, as it is likely that the new venture would create a large amount of job opportunities in the small town and in turn would significantly contribute to improving the economic situation of the town. The prison in Thomson was built in the year 2001 but large part of the prison was not operational due to financial constraints.

souce: Thaindian_News_Logo

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Filed under 9/11, Al-Qaeda, Chicago, IL, FBI, Homeland Security, Illinois, Terrorism, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama to Mentor Washington Girls

Posted by Audiegrl

Will join staffers Desiree Rogers, Susan Sher, Tina Tchen, Valerie Jarrett

First Lady Michelle Obama, Fran Drescher and Sheryl Crow

First Lady Michelle Obama, Fran Drescher and Sheryl Crow

Chicago Tribune/Katherine Skiba—First Lady Michelle Obama — and some of her Chicago “sisters” in the White House — on Monday will launch a first-of-its-kind mentoring program with about 20 high school girls from greater Washington.

As the first anniversary of President Barack Obama’s election nears, it’s the first lady who is making history now. Call this chapter “Girl Power.”

Observers say her leadership and mentoring initiative has not been done by a first lady before. It will see Obama — and White House staffers including Valerie Jarrett, Tina Tchen, Susan Sher and Desiree Rogers, Chicagoans all — act as mentors to high school juniors and sophomores.

Jarrett is a senior White House adviser. Tchen leads its public liaison office. Sher is the first lady’s chief of staff. Rogers is White House social secretary.

The proteges were chosen by high schools, the Girl Scouts and military families, including Gold Star families who have lost a loved one, said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, the first lady’s spokeswoman.

A similar initiative for young men is coming later, she said.

Tchen, an attorney from Chicago long active in politics, said the program builds on a March event at the White House that saw high school girls interact with the first lady, White House officials and a cast of celebrities including singers Alicia Keyes and Sheryl Crow; actresses and sisters Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad; actress Fran Drescher; and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space.

The First Lady chats with Fran Drescher and Alica Keys

The First Lady chats with Fran Dresche and Alica Keys

Tchen said the program launch will see proteges visit their mentors’ offices and gather as a group for dinner. The inaugural class’s duration has not been decided, she said, adding that she expects discussions of college, careers, and balancing work and motherhood.

The mentors, she said, want to give proteges a “window to a wide variety of different opportunities to play out your dreams.”

Letitia Baldrige, who was a top aide to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, said the mentoring program was “definitely” a first for a presidential spouse. She called it “wonderfully imaginative,” but cautioned it will be difficult in part because of the ongoing commitment it requires.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Makes Chicago Olympic Bid in Copenhagen

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Prince Albert of Monaco at a reception following the opening Ceremony of the 121st IOC Session at the Copenhagen Opera House on October 1, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 121st session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote on October 2 on whether Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Madrid will host the 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

After arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark on Wednesday morning, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed a crowd at Chicago Mayor Daley’s welcome reception.

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY

AT MAYOR DALEY’S WELCOME RECEPTION

Admiral Hotel

Copenhagen, Denmark

8:03 P.M. CEST

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, everybody. So, as my husband would say, we are fired up and ready to go in here. (Applause.) It’s a good thing. Well, first let me begin by thanking my dear friend, my chit-chat buddy, Oprah Winfrey. She talks about me coming here without hesitation. This is a woman who’s got a pretty busy schedule – taping shows, traveling across the globe, a woman with a full plate. I think that folks out there should understand how Chicagoans, even those who weren’t born and raised here, feel a passion about the city, so much so that we dropped everything – dropped everything – to be a part of this team. So I want to give Ms. Winfrey a round of applause as well. (Applause.)

One reporter asked me in a press briefing, “So, what do you think Oprah adds to the team?” I said, “Oprah is Oprah.” (Laughter.) What more do you have to say? I said every single city who’s bidding wishes they had Oprah on their team, and we have her, and we are grateful that she is a part of this endeavor. (Applause.)

It is so nice to see so many familiar faces. I mean, we really do miss Chicago. We’ve made a wonderful home in D.C. The girls are great; Grandma is good. Bo is no longer a puppy; he’s a big dog now. (Laughter.) But it’s wonderful to reconnect to my hometown.

When I looked at the bid initially, I was overwhelmed by what a beautiful concept was presented. You know, everything about this bid speaks to what the city has to offer. Having the Games right along that beautiful, glorious lakefront; using the existing park structure to ensure that we’re making the kinds of investments and we’ll have the kind of wonderful leave-behinds that will benefit the city over the long run; the notion that Olympic athletes who visit the city will live centrally, they’ll be 15 minutes from any competition site, that they’ll be able to walk, ride or bus to some of the greatest cultural offerings that this nation, that this world has to offer – it will be an athlete’s paradise in so many ways, and we will have it at a time in the city’s climate that will actually be nice. (Laughter.) The lake won’t be frozen over.

So I am thrilled. I am proud of our bid, and I am proud of this team. And I have to ask you, are we ready to go with this, right? You ready to go? (Applause.)

This bid also means a lot to me personally because, as First Lady, as many of you know, I’ve made it a priority to bridge the gap between the White House and communities across D.C. and across the country. I’ve spent much of my first nine months trying to open the doors to the White House to kids who might not otherwise see themselves having access to these institutions, because that’s where I came from – communities like that where kids never dreamed that they could set foot in the White House, let alone live there.

So I’ve wanted to open the doors of the White House and bring new opportunities to so many young kids – kids living in the midst of power and prestige, fortune and fame, but never really seeing their connections to those institutions.

And Barack and I made a point of doing the same thing when we lived in Chicago – making the concerns of kids in all sorts of communities our own, because we have been on both sides of that bridge. In so many ways, we have lived full lives on both sides of that bridge. And for me, this is one of the best reasons I can think of to bring the Olympics to our city.

We need all of our children to be exposed to the Olympic ideals that athletes from around the world represent, particularly this time in our nation’s history, where athletics is becoming more of a fleeting opportunity. Funds dry up so it becomes harder for kids to engage in sports, to learn how to swim, to even ride a bike. When we’re seeing rates of childhood obesity increase, it is so important for us to raise up the platform of fitness and competition and fair play; to teach kids to cheer on the victors and empathize with those in defeat, but most importantly, to recognize that all the hard work that is required to do something special.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was little. I remember it to the T, some of those memories. And Nadia Comaneci is here, who – (applause) – and so many incredible Olympic athletes. But I remember, I told this story, when you scored that perfect 10, you bounced off the balance beam, off the parallel bars. I thought I could do that. (Laughter.) I didn’t know then that I would be 5’11”. (Laughter.)

But it was – it was an activity in our household when it was time for the Olympic Games, all of us gathered around the TV cheering on and being inspired by people who were doing things that were beyond belief. And I just think, wouldn’t it be great if that kind of spirit was happening right down the street in our community? Just think of that. Kids and communities across the city, in Austin, kids who grew up in Cabrini, kids who live so far from the city. Now just imagine if all of that was happening right in their own backyard. That’s what I think about. (Applause.)

It does something to a kid when they can feel that energy and power up close and personal. And for some kids in our communities and our city, around the nation, around the world, they can never dream of being that close to such power and opportunity. So that’s what excites me most about bringing the Games to Chicago – the impact that it can have on the lives of our young people, and on our entire community.

And I know that’s what all of you have been working for for these past few months. As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the President to come for these few days, so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home, and you have put together a phenomenal set of ideas that, no matter what the outcome is, we should be proud of as a city. (Applause.)

So now is the time for us to pull it through, you know. As Barack and I have looked at this, this is like a campaign. (Laughter.) Just like Iowa. (Laughter.) You got to – and the international community may not understand that, but Iowa is like a caucus, and you can’t take any vote for granted. Nobody makes the decision until they’re sitting there.

So the next few days really provide us with a real opportunity to hold some hands, to have some conversations, to share our visions, to make the world understand that this is an opportunity for the United States to connect to the world in a really important way at a very critical time, and for each of us to show them our passion and sincerity to be part of the world in a very special way, and to let people know that we understand that sports saves lives, that it makes dreams come true, that it creates visions in kids’ heads to make them think they can be the next David Robinson, the next Barack Obama, the next Nadia Comaneci, the next Oprah Winfrey. Those dreams have to start somewhere, and for so many, they start when they watch the Olympics. And if we can show people that we understand that power and that possibility, then they will have the confidence that not only will we have the city – the Olympics in a city that works, but will execute this thing with the kind of passion and openness and sincerity that the world so greatly wants to see in us.

So let’s get it done. Thank you so much.

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