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Shoshana Johnson Pens Her Story In “I’m Still Standing”

Posted by guest contributor: Shanti

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“In March of 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was only days old, world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.

Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. A video of Shoshana being interrogated by her captors was soon broadcast on Spanish-language television and then picked up by American media. Shoshana had become the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.

When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She appeared on news networks and national television shows such as Oprah, Ellen, The Tonight Show, and Larry King Live, but she was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq — until now.

Shoshana holds nothing back in this harrowing account of an ordinary woman caught in an extraordinary circumstance. She reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.

Divulging personal emotions and frustrations while raising fresh political issues, I’m Still Standing is the never-before-told and much anticipated story of the headline-making ambush, capture, and rescue described with the exceptional bravery and candor of a single mom and soldier who became an American hero. Source

CNN’s Larry King Live ~ Transcript of Interview with Shoshana Johnson aired February 2, 2010

KING: We welcome Shoshana Johnson back to LARRY KING LIVE. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were taken captive March 23, 2003. She was held prisoner 22 days. Author of a terrific new book I’m Still Standing; From Captive US Soldier to Free Citizen, My Journey Home.”

Before we get into this, what do you make of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy?

SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Silly. If men and women want to serve in our military, I really don’t care who they want to sleep with. It’s all about serving your country.

KING: So you would repeal it?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.

KING: It’s been seven years since you were a POW. Do you think about it a lot?

I'm Still Standing by Shoshana JohnsonJOHNSON: Still. Very much so. The conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in the media, so it’s hard to forget.

KING: How were you caught?

JOHNSON: During an ambush, vehicles were disabled. Basically, it seemed like the whole city of Nazariyah came out and participated in the ambush. I was shot and — shot and caught, basically.

Read the entire transcript here
Read a sample chapter

Shoshana Johnson tells her side of the story to Matt Lauer of The Today Show

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Shoshana Johnson actually said she wanted to tell her story, because there were a lot of distortions and half truths about the details of her capture. She wanted to set the record straight. I appreciate Shoshana’s resolve and passion for not only surviving the trauma of being a POW, but her courage and drive to THRIVE.~Shanti

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Filed under African-Americans, Army, Books, CNN, Culture, Entertainment, History, Iraq, Larry King, Larry King Live!, Marines, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, NBC, News, Politics, Television, Terrorism, The Today Show, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Veterans, Video/YouTube, War, Women's Issues

Ed Schultz v. Jonathan Alter: Schultz Ends Up in His Own Segment of Psycho Talk

Posted by Audiegrl

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek

Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter stepped forward to educate MSNBC’s Ed Shultz on the normal legislative process involving the health care bill. Alter accused Schultz of misrepresenting the totality of the billl, telling Schultz that, “You have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.”

Schultz’s take on the process was what our friend Ogenec would call ‘neo-progressive‘, and lacked understanding of what Alter called ‘the sausage making‘ involved in getting a bill through Congress. It was easy to see the direction the show was heading, when Schultz opened with a phone poll asking “Are you disappointed in the way President Obama is handling health care reform?Hit 1 for yes, and 2 for no. BTW, I took Ed’s poll, and after selecting 2 for no, they wanted to transfer me to a operator to discuss a time-share property. 😉

Neo-progressive opinions are nothing new, but are often exasperated by the 24/7 news cycle. The pundits and reporters don’t take time to understand the developments and the facts. Instead, must make a quick assessment of the facts, and make up the rest with speculation or half-baked ideas and opinions. This is not doing their viewers any favors and often unnecessarily leads to voters getting riled up, before they even know the facts.

So for me, I’m with Alter on this one. Even though he tried to explain (from experience) the long legislative process to Schultz, and all of the benefits that were in the new bill… but it was no use… To Shultz, everything hinged on the bill passing with Public Option, and anything other than that, was just a pile of junk.

Sorry Ed, but when you talk like this, you belong in your own segment of Psycho Talk.

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Filed under Bad Journalism, Barack Obama, Ed Schultz, Entertainment, Health, Health Care Reform, Jonathan Alter, Media and Entertainment, MSNBC, Neo-Progressives, News, Politics, Presidents, Public Option, Pundits (print), Pundits (television), Stupak Amendment, The Ed Show, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube

Definition of Cloture: An Agreement to Limit Debate NOT to Begin Debating

Posted by Guest Contributor Will Johnston from Mind Muse

UPDATE: Looks like I was wrong on this one. While cloture is a motion to end debate, on Saturday the Senate invoked cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill, not on the bill itself, making the statement that the senate agreed to begin debating the bill a true one. I should have looked more closely!

Time for a quick civics lesson! Countless news agencies are misreporting that yesterday’s Senate vote on the health care bill is a vote to begin debating the bill.

From the Washington Post:

After days of indecision, the last two Democratic holdouts — Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) — joined their caucus in supporting a motion to begin debate.

From the New York Times:

The Senate voted on Saturday to begin full debate on major health care legislation

From CNN:

the Senate voted to move ahead with a floor debate

These are just a few examples, but you can find countless others on Google News.

The problem?

They’re all wrong. The Senate voted to invoke cloture, a motion to limit debate on a bill or other matter (i.e. nomination) pending before the Senate.

In olden days, you couldn’t actually ever stop debate on a bill if any Senator wanted to keep talking about it. As you can imagine, this meant that if a couple of Senators were really opposed to something, they could just take turns talking about it until the rest of the Senators caved and moved on to the other things they needed to vote on. In an effort to help move things along, the Senate changed its rules so that if two-thirds of the Senators wanted to end debate, they could do so by invoking cloture. Yes, it sounds a lot like closure, and the two words have very similar meanings. They’re about bringing something to an end.

The bar for invoking cloture was still so high that it was nearly impossible to do. Getting two-thirds of the Senate to agree on everything is like getting two three-year-olds to eat all of their vegetables. In fact, cloture was only invoked five times during the next 46 years. Consequently, the Senate changed its rules to require only three-fifths of the Senators to vote for a cloture motion in order for it to pass.

I hope this little history and civics lesson has helped you understand what the Senate voted on last night. The fact is that the news agencies weren’t reporting what really happened. Cloture takes a bit more to explain well than can be put in a news article about another topic, so they took a shortcut. The party in control of Congress (currently the Democratic Party) sets the agenda and can debate whatever they want. They didn’t have to win a Senate vote to debate health care reform, they had to win a Senate vote to put an end to debating health care reform so they can actually vote on passing the bill.

How do I know so much about cloture? Well, I used to work for a Senator, so I learned a lot about what it was and how it worked. I didn’t really know the history part, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and Wikipedia pointed me to two articles on the Senate website that give the history of cloture.

Cloture Rule~March 8, 1917
Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate

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Filed under Bad Journalism, CNN, Democrats, Fox News, Government, Health, Health Care Reform, Media and Entertainment, MSNBC, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Public Option, Republicans, Senate, TV Shows, Uncategorized

Debbie Wasserman Schultz for President/Vice-President in 2016?

Written by Guest Contributor 2morrowknight

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

It almost happened in 2008. It could happen in 2016. At some point, and some point soon, we’ll see a woman in the White House. And her name might not necessarily be Hillary or Sarah. How’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz sound? I know, I know, you’re saying, “I’ve never heard of her. She doesn’t have the name recognition of Sarah Palin or the major public policy buzz of Kathleen Sebelius. And while she doesn’t have the baggage of a Michelle Bachman, she’s not a Governor or U.S. Senator.” All true. But listen up: Wasserman Schultz is riding a wave that will only get bigger, and she’s got a few advantages that few others in the field — woman or man — can match.

Here are five reasons she could be on the Democratic ticket in 2016:

Democratic Unifier
Throughout the 2007 and 2008 primary season, Wasserman Schultz was resolute in her support for Hillary Clinton. Whether on TV, radio, or in the blogosphere, Wasserman Schultz was unflappable. But when Barack Obama won the nomination, Wasserman Schultz quickly endorsed him and campaigned vigorously. None of this has been lost on Democratic leaders. Her tireless efforts to unify the Obama and Clinton camps won her kudos from the party faithful, and instantly made her a power player in national politics.

Florida. Florida. Florida.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz at a April town hall with her constituents.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz at a April town hall with her constituents.

Wasserman Schultz represents the Sunshine State in the U.S. Congress; having her on the ticket would give the Democrats the upper hand in the infamous I-4 corridor connecting Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa. Grab the middle and you win the state — Wasserman Schultz could be the Dems’ surest bet.

Her Jewish Heritage
Before last fall, nobody thought a Jewish-American would ever have a legitimate chance at the White House. But with the tolerant views of 80 million politically involved millennials who helped elect President Obama, Wasserman Schultz’s Jewish heritage won’t be a liability. How she weighs in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict between now and then will have a real impact on her standing in the Jewish community, but if she can find a way to please those folks while maintaining cred with younger voters, she could bring far more voters to the polls than Joe Lieberman did for Al Gore in 2000.

She’s Tough … Seriously!
Rep. Wasserman Schultz testifies during the nomination hearings for Judge Alito in January 2006.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz testifies during the nomination hearings for Judge Alito in January 2006.

By all accounts, she’s funny, engaging and benevolent. But if you’ve seen her on cable and network shows, you’ll know she’s also very skilled at dismantling nonsensical arguments, and, leaving unprepared opponents picking their faces up off the ground. And she has used her tenacity, and tirelessness, to fight for the rights of families, women and children.

The 2016 and 2020 Anniversaries
2016 isn’t just a presidential election year, it’s also the 100th anniversary of Jeannette Rankin being the first woman elected to the Congress. Her victory was all the more remarkable because women couldn’t vote — that didn’t come until four years later. The 2016 and 2020 elections promise to be reflective, euphoric and celebratory periods — and with her considerable political gifts, Wasserman Schultz could take full advantage of the great national mood.

And yes, I know, it’s still very, very early. A day in politics is like an eternity, and one day’s worth of political earthquakes could shake up or diminish any predictions. I know. But don’t tell me that a woman won’t be either president of vice-president seven years from now. I just wouldn’t bet against it. And I wouldn’t bet against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz being that woman.

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Meet 2morrowknight…

2morrowknightlrgHe’s a author, blogger, and community activist whose work has been published in the Huffington Post, The Stimulist, Womentality Magazine and Essence.com. He has lectured at leading colleges and universities, including Morehouse, Spelman, and Emory University. As a volunteer internet strategist for the Obama Presidential Campaign, he created an effective, “50 State” email list that helped increase traffic to the campaign website and helped neutralize the falsehoods and misconceptions about then candidate Obama. 2morrowknight’s first children’s book is scheduled to be released in early 2010. Follow 2morrowknight on Twitter

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Filed under 2016 Elections, Democrats, Elections, Opinions, Politics, Uncategorized, Washington, DC, Women's Issues