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Celebrating International Women’s Day: From Kabul to Washington, DC

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Mozhdah Jamalzadah

Mozhdah Jamalzadah

Mozhdah Jamalzadah

In August 2009, I performed at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC in celebration of Afghan Independence Day. At that event, I met Mr. Tim Nusraty, an Afghan-American who now works at the National Security Council at the White House. Many months later, Mr. Nusraty recommended me to perform at the White House on March 8, 2010 for International Women’s Day. When I learned that I was selected to perform, it was the second happiest day of my life. The first was the day I met President Barack Obama and his beautiful wife First Lady Michelle Obama. I have to say that meeting the President, the First Lady, and performing at the White House was surreal. I never thought in a million years that this dream would come true.

As an Afghan girl born in Kabul, Afghanistan and raised in Vancouver, Canada, I have made it my duty to fight for women’s rights and to promote education in Afghanistan. I decided that more than anything else, music would be the best way to do this. It was a long-term goal, and it involved a lot of time, dedication, and hard work, not to mention the many obstacles I would have to face to get there. I had never sung professionally in my life, and decided to start from scratch at the BC Conservatory of Music. Today, my lyrics are heard by millions of people throughout Afghanistan and the region.

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The song that I sang at the White House on March 8th was composed by my father and me to remember the young Afghan girls who were doused with acid in Kandahar City last year for going to school. The lyrics to the song are very powerful. Below is the translation to the lyrics of the Afghan song:

Afghan Girl

I’m a girl, I am an Afghan girl
I’m the daughter of the land of braves
Don’t break my wings, let me fly
Don’t break my crown, let me think
I want to be as free as a gazelle
I love my homeland just as Malali did
Sing my songs just like a nightingale in the gardens
Express myself the same as Zainab, Nazo, and Mehri in poetry
Don’t break my wings, let me fly
Don’t break my crown, let me think
I’ve a smile on my face like a flower
And live in open green fields
My heart is filled with love for my homeland
I’ll sing songs and poems for my land

Words can’t describe what I felt when I was standing in the East Room performing at the White House. I was so grateful. I now believe that dreams can come true and goals can be reached. My mother was with me during the performance and was more than lucky to sit next to the First Lady. Halfway through my performance I noticed Mrs. Obama holding my mother’s hand and I was so happy I almost forgot my lyrics. The First Lady is such an inspiration to women around the world, and I am thankful we have such an amazing role model.

Later that day after my performance, I was approached by Afghan media, and they all told me in great excitement that I had made history in Afghanistan and that never in the history of Afghanistan had there been a performance at the White House by an Afghan artist. Even the Afghan journalists who interviewed me became very emotional. I didn’t realize the impact my performance at the White House would have on my Afghan people. Recently I was offered to host my own show on 1TV in Kabul, Afghanistan. This show focuses on family matters, women’s issues, and the treatment of children. I jumped at the opportunity and moved back to Kabul. 1TV is the platform for me to spread awareness for the women of Afghanistan.

Thank you President Obama and Madame First Lady for this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank Afghan Ambassador Jawad, Ms. Columbia Barrosse, and Mr. Nusraty.

Mozhdah Jamalzadah is an Afghan singer, entertainer and model from Kabul, Afghanistan

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First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils Let’s Move…A Nationwide Campaign to Combat Childhood Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama Signs Childhood Obesity Memorandum

President Barack Obama signs the memorandum on childhood obesity, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in the Oval Office of the White House,Washington. Standing, from left are, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Secretary Services Kathleen Sebelius, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled her nationwide anti-childhood obesity initiative. President Obama signed a Memorandum on Childhood Obesity with the First Lady proudly standing by his side.

Mrs. Obama’s East Wing said she will be “joined by members of the president’s cabinet, as well as media, sports, entertainment, and business leaders,” plus mayors, member of the medical community and others at the White House event. Her press office has confirmed the following attendees:

  • Mayors Chip Johnson of Hernando, Mississippi, and Joseph Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts, who are leading efforts in their communities to reduce childhood obesity
  • Dr. Judith Palfrey, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Will Allen from Milwaukee, WI, who is a leader in the effort to bring fresh produce to inner cities and urban areas
  • Local students, including a student from DC’s Bancroft elementary school, and members of the 2009 national championship pee-wee football team—Watkins Hornets
  • Tiki Barber, NBC correspondent and former NFL football player

“Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled; nearly one third of children in America are now overweight or obese,” the East Wing said in a statement. “The First Lady will announce the elements of the nationwide campaign, which will put us on track to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs student Tammy Nguyen in the Red Room of the White House before an event announcing a campaign to combat the rapidly growing problem of childhood obesity while Tiki Barber checks his notes before they take the stage, Feb. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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First Lady Michelle Obama’s PSA for Let’s Move
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Let's Move

Click to visit Let's Move

Childhood obesity or excess weight threatens the healthy future of one third of American children. We spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions, and that number is growing.

Obesity rates tripled in the past 30 years, a trend that means, for the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents.

We need to get moving. Join First Lady Michelle Obama, community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity.

Let’s Move! has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

Let’s Move will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.

On Tuesday morning, Mrs. Obama sat down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, and in the evening with CNN’s Larry King to discuss her childhood obesity initiative Let’s Move Here’s are some excerpts of the those interviews:

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First Lady Michelle Meets with Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries

Posted by: Audiegrl

US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) seated alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (L) and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (R) of Iowa

US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) seated alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (L) and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (R) of Iowa

First Lady Michelle Obama met today with Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Discussing her childhood obesity initiative and steps that families, schools and communities can take to fight it.


First Lady Michelle Obama: “I want to begin just by thanking you all for taking the time to come and join us today.

As you are probably now more than aware, we’re in the process of launching a nationwide effort to dealing with the obesity epidemic in this country. And as you’ve seen, as I’ve been out there, as a parent, this is an issue that I care deeply about and I’ve spoken about in a very personal level. But I’ve learned that there are many parents around this country who are struggling with this issue, who are concerned about it and are looking for ways to help.

But one of the good news — pieces about this challenge is that this problem is imminently solvable, and that’s the good news. But it’s going to require us working together — not just the administration, but Congress, governors, mayors, parents, teachers. Anyone who has access to children in their lives is going to have to work together. And one of the things that’s also very clear is that this problem won’t be solved by any single federal solution. This is going to require national action.

So I’m very excited about the conversation that we’re going to have. The initiative that’s going to launch is really going to look at four key areas. And I talked about these before, but we’re going to try to increase the number of healthy schools in this country. We’re going to work hard to increase the level of regular physical activity that kids are getting in this country. One of the tougher challenges that we need to look at is improving the accessibility and affordability of foods because there are many food deserts in this nation, which makes it difficult for families trying to access good options. And we also want to do more to empower consumers to make better choices in their own lives.

Read more here

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TV Crew Interpreter Rescues Baby Winnie From Rubble in Haiti

Posted by: Audiegrl

Winnie is passed to Australian journalist Mike Amor

Winnie is passed to Australian journalist Mike Amor

After hearing many experts say that no one could survive more than three days without water, today we learned a lesson about the power of faith. An Australian television crew interpreter pulled a 16-month-old girl, Winnie Tilin, from the rubble of a house in Haiti on Friday, January 15, nearly three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the country.

In the ruins of a neighborhood, where a hillside collapsed, residents were desperately trying to dig out a young child who was crying under the rubble. She had been buried there for 68 hours with no food or water. Hearing her faint cries and concerned that rescue efforts were taking to long, a young man jumped into the concrete hole. Deiby Celestino was the TV crew’s interpreter from the Dominican Republic. Miraculously, after crawling over dead bodies to get to her, he was able to pull her out. Once free, he passed the child to Australian journalist Mike Amor.

Miracle baby, Winnie

Miracle baby, Winnie

It’s very emotional. I actually thought it was my own baby pulling out there,” said hero/rescuer Celestino “She did a great job staying alive for three days with no food or drink.

Once the child was pulled from the rubble, volunteers poured water over the girl. “Whose baby? Whose baby? Is it your baby?” asked Amor who passed the child to her Uncle. Unfortunately, Winnie’s parents were killed in the collapse of the family’s home. Her Uncle, Frantz Tilin, arrived to find her after losing his own pregnant wife in the earthquake.

Workers with Save the Children Fund fed Winnie and gave her fresh water to drink. STC medical experts determined the girl to be dehydrated, but expect her to recover well.

This is truly a story of the resilience of the human spirit and an example of a self-less act of heroism by a fellow human being.


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More Stories of Hope…

Amazing rescue as two-year-old boy is pulled from wrecked home in Haiti

A little boy named Redjeson Hausteen Claude, was saved by a Spanish emergency worker whose team have managed to reach the afflicted area.

A little boy named Redjeson Hausteen Claude, was saved by a Spanish emergency worker whose team have managed to reach the afflicted area.

A TWO-YEAR-OLD boy is plucked from the rubble of his home three days after it was destroyed by the Haiti earthquake.

Redjeson Hausteen Claude’s saviour Felix del Amo could not conceal his glee as he handed the child to his parents, Daphnee Plaisin and Reginald Claude.

Spanish and Belgian rescuers had listened to Redjeson’s fading cries as they dug for hours through twisted metal and concrete.

The tearful tot’s face broke into a huge smile as he clapped eyes on his mum and dad, who had tried to dig him free with their bare hands.

Amazingly, he had suffered only a few facial cuts.

Dramatic photographs captured the moment when the father of Redjeson saw a Spanish rescuer pull his terrified child from the wreckage: Click Image for Slide-show


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Google Threatening To Leave China Over Hacking & Email Leak

Posted by: Audiegrl

Google Inc. will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country after discovering that computers hackers had tricked human rights activists into opening their e-mail accounts to outsiders.

The change-of-heart announced Tuesday heralds a major shift for Google, which has repeatedly said it will obey Chinese laws that require some politically and socially sensitive issues to be blocked from search results that are available in other countries

Google disclosed in a blog post that it had detected a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China.” Further investigation revealed that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists,” Google said in the post written by Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

Google did not specifically accuse the Chinese government. But the company added that it is “no longer willing to continue censoring our results” on its Chinese search engine, as the government requires. Google says the decision could force it to shut down its Chinese site and its offices in the country.

Read Google’s blog post about Google.cn

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President Obama: Three New Initiatives to Help Community Health Centers

Posted by Audiegrl

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after signing a memorandum expanding government funded health clinics across the country, Dec. 9, 2009

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after signing a memorandum expanding government funded health clinics across the country

White House.gov—Two causes all Americans can get behind are initiatives to improve our health care system and create jobs in a struggling economy. In an effort to accomplish both at once, today President Obama announced that $600 million in stimulus money will go towards improving community health centers across the country:

Starting today, we’re making $88 million in funding available for centers to adopt new health information technology systems to manage their administrative and financial matters and transfer old paper files to electronic medical records. These investments won’t just increase efficiency and lower costs, they’ll improve the quality of care as well –- preventing countless medical errors, and allowing providers to spend less time with paperwork and more time with patients.

That’s the purpose of the final initiative I’m announcing today as well -– a demonstration project to evaluate the benefits of the “medical home” model of care that many of our health centers aspire to. The idea here is very simple: that in order for care to be effective, it needs to be coordinated. It’s a model where the center that serves as your medical home might help you keep track of your prescriptions, or get the referrals you need, or work with you to develop a plan of care that ensures your providers are working together to keep you healthy.

So taken together, these three initiatives –- funding for construction, technology, and a medical home demonstration –- they won’t just save money over the long term and create more jobs, they’re also going to give more people the peace of mind of knowing that health care will be there for them and their families when they need it.

And ultimately, that’s what health insurance reform is really about. That’s what the members of Congress here today will be voting on in the coming weeks.

Now, let me just end by saying a little bit about this broader effort. I know it’s been a long road. I know it’s been a tough fight. But I also know the reason we’ve taken up this cause is the very same reason why so many members from both parties are here today –- because no matter what our politics are, we know that when it comes to health care, the people we serve deserve better.

President Obama announces that the Recovery Act will provide new funding for Community Health Centers to finance new construction, modernize information technology, and build a “medical home” model. December 9, 2009

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Maine Question 1: We’re Working too Hard to Lose …

posted by GeoT

by Paul Hogarth‚ Nov. 02‚ 2009 SOUTH PORTLAND – I’m writing this on Monday, November 2nd at 2:00 a.m., and will get up early so I will be brief. This weekend has been intense, as myself and Jay Jonah Cash have placed “No on 1” campaign volunteers from New Hampshire, New York, Boston, Vermont and 20 Yale students in a South Portland hotel for our Drive for Equality program. It’s inspiring to see the passion as we sense this election’s national implications for marriage equality. And we’re still on the phones and sending out e-mails, asking folks to make spur-of-the-moment plans to drive up to Maine. Sign up at our website, and we’ll stuff as many committed volunteers into hotel rooms as we can.

We have a better ground game than our opposition, but it will be close. Literally before going to my bedroom for the night, a new poll came out with us down by 4 points. “We expect there to be almost twice as many voters over 65 as young voters,” said the pollsters, “but if that gap narrows so would the vote on Question 1. With a race as close as this, it all comes down to which side can get its people out to the polls. It could go either way depending on who actually shows up to vote.” We’re working too hard to lose this …

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The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Recorded_Attacks_wall02_1280x800Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

From the Stone Age to the information age, the undead have threatened to engulf the human race. They’re coming. They’re hungry.

Don’t wait for them to come to you!

This is the graphic novel the fans demanded: major zombie attacks from the dawn of humanity. On the African savannas, against the legions of ancient Rome, on the high seas with Francis Drake . . . every civilization has faced them. Here are the grisly and heroic stories–complete with eye-popping artwork that pulsates with the hideous faces of the undead.

timthumbOrganize before they rise!

Scripted by the world’s leading zombie authority, Max Brooks, Recorded Attacks reveals how other eras and cultures have dealt with–and survived–the ancient viral plague. By immersing ourselves in past horror we may yet prevail over the coming outbreak in our time.

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The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks

Download the PDF of the first chapter!

They have attacked Roman armies. The French Foreign Legion. Even prehistoric man. The undead have been a threat to humankind for millennia, and the living must always fight to survive. They’re coming. And they’re hungry.

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Zombies Join the Health Care Debate

After using the death panel and death book scare tactics, the only other talking point on health care reform the GOP can contrive would be Democrats turning Americans into zombies! Best-selling author Max Brooks joins Keith Olbermann to talk about the ridiculousness of the situation.

Ok, ok…I know we promised no politics today, but this was pretty funny. Max is the son of director Mel Brooks and the late actress Anne Bancroft. So he has funny in his genes.~~Audiegrl 😉

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Related Zombie Sites

The Official Zombie Survival Guide Web Site

Official World War Z Web Site

Max Brooks’ Official Web Site

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86 Year Old, Life-long Republican and WWII Vet on Gay Marriage- “What Do You Think I Fought For?”

Posted by Audiegrl

votenoon1maineIn this poignant video below, 86 year old Philip Spooner, who is a life long resident of Maine and a Republican, speaks out on the reason we need marriage equality in this country. The fight for marriage equality in Maine is coming up in two weeks. If the “No on 1” campaign is successful, Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality in the voting booth.

Get this video out to as many people as you can.

Transcript: Good morning, Committee. My name is Phillip Spooner and I live at 5 Graham Street in Biddeford. I am 86 years old and a lifetime Republican and an active VFW chaplain. I still serve three hospitals and two nursing homes and I also serve Meals on Wheels for 28 years. My wife of 54 years, Jenny, died in 1997. Together we had four children, including the one gay son. All four of our boys were in the service. I was born on a potato farm north of Caribou and Perham, where I was raised to believe that all men are created equal and I’ve never forgotten that. I served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1945, in the First Army, as a medic and an ambulance driver. I worked with every outfit over there, including Patton’s Third Army. I saw action in all five major battles in Europe, and including the Battle of the Bulge. My unit was awarded Presidential Citations for transporting more patients with fewer accidents than any other ambulance unit I was in the liberation of Paris. After the war I carried POW’s back from Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, and also hauled hundreds of injured Germans back to Germany.

I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman at my polling place asked me, “Do you believe in equal, equality for gay and lesbian people?” I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, “What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?” I haven’t seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.

I give talks to eighth grade teachers about World War II, and I don’t tell them about the horror. Maybe [inaudible] ovens of Buchenwald and Dachau. I’ve seen with my own eyes the consequences of caste systems and it make some people less than others, or second class. Never again. We must have equal rights for everyone. It’s what this country was started for. It takes all kinds of people to make a world war. It does make no sense that some people who love each other can marry and others can’t just because of who they are. This is what we fought for in World War II. That idea that we can be different and still be equal.

My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that three of them would have a certain set of rights, but our gay child would be left out. We raised them all to be hard-working, proud, and loyal Americans and they all did good. I think it’s too bad those who want to get married, they should be able to. Everybody’s supposed to be equal in equality in this country. Let gay people have the right to marry. Thank you

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine by Paul Hogarth

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine by Paul Hogarth

Posted by Audiegrl

gay_rights_sign_by_Beyond Chron/Paul Hogarth—I’m back home in San Francisco, after spending 10 days on the ground in Maine with the “No on 1” campaign. After my time there, I truly believe that – with our help – Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality at the ballot box, providing a roadmap for California to repeal Proposition 8. Maine activists have been working hard for five years to pass gay marriage, but events in the last few days now point to what should be an historic victory on November 3rd. With only 19 days left, what I’m seeing from the “Yes on 1” campaign reminds me of where “No on 8” was at this point last year – outgunned by the opposition, unable to control the message and at a loss about what to do. If Question 1 passes, it will be our fault for not having done more. But if Question 1 fails, those of us who get involved will have made history – which is why I hope to go back for the last four days. Here are the reasons for my optimism …

An Early Fundraising Advantage

votenoon1maineOne reason why I got involved in this effort was that “No on 1” said they only needed $3 million dollars for the entire campaign – a pittance compared with California efforts. “We’re a cheap date,” said campaign manager Jesse Connolly at this year’s Netroots Nation Convention. New fundraising totals that came out this week show that “No on 1” has already raised $2.7 million (with most of the money coming from Maine residents) – and bloggers are planning a big fundraising push for today that should keep them on track with their goal.

The bigger news, however, is that “Yes on 1” reported only raising $1.1 million – with a campaign debt of $400,000 (our side has no debt.) This provoked their spokesman Marc Mutty (who is on loan from the Portland Archdiocese) to send out an urgent message on October 13th that their cause was under “financial assault.” In the mass e-mail, which can be reviewed in full here, Mutty says they had known from the opposition’s superior ground game that our side had been raising more money. But they had “never dreamed the situation was as dire as it is,” and are now urging their supporters to make a “sacrificial contribution” to pass Question 1.

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Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth is the Managing Editor of Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, where this piece was first published.

To find out more about Beyond Chron, click here.

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