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White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers Steps Down

Posted by: Audiegrl

Chicago Sun Times/Lynn Sweet~White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers told me Friday she will step down next month, after presiding over 330 events in the White House in 14 months.

Rogers is departing after achieving a major goal of President Obama and First Lady Michelle — opening up the White House to make it the “peoples house.”

As we turn the corner on the first year,” Rogers told me, “this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world.”

Rogers told me it has been “an honor and a privilege to serve this president and First Lady, in what has certainly been a historic presidency.”

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Statement from the President and the First Lady on Desiree Rogers

We are enormously grateful to Desiree Rogers for the terrific job she’s done as the White House Social Secretary. When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People’s House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers. She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

ABC reports that Julianna Smoot is in the lead to take Desiree Rogers’ position as White House Social Secretary. Smoot worked as national finance director for Obama’s presidential campaign, and is currently U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s chief of staff.

Julianna Smoot joined the Office of the United States Trade Representative in February 2009 as the Chief of Staff.

Prior to joining the USTR, Ms. Smoot served as Senior Advisor to President Obama and served as Co-Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. In January 2007, Ms. Smoot joined President Obama’s Presidential Campaign as the National Finance Director. Prior to working for President Obama, Ms. Smoot served as National Finance Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, chaired by Senator Charles Schumer.

Previously, Ms. Smoot served as Senior Advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and as Finance Director for Senator John Edwards’ race for U.S. Senate. Ms. Smoot has also held positions with Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Chris Dodd.

Julianna Smoot, a North Carolina native, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Smith College in Northampton , MA .

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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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HBO Documentary Films: Outrage: Do Ask. Do Tell

Posted by Audiegrl

<i>Outrage: Do Ask. Do Tell</i>

Outrage: Do Ask. Do Tell

An official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, OUTRAGE investigates the hidden lives of some of the country’s most powerful policymakers – from now-retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy – and examines how these and other politicians have inflicted damage on millions of Americans by opposing gay rights. Equally disturbing, the film explores the mainstream media’s complicity in keeping those secrets, despite the growing efforts to “out” them by gay rights organizations and bloggers.

Barney Frank, the best-known openly gay member of Congress

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts)

Through a combination of archival news footage and exclusive interviews with politicians and members of the media, OUTRAGE probes the psychology of a double lifestyle, the ethics of outing closeted politicians, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. As Barney Frank, perhaps the best-known openly gay member of Congress explains, “There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy. It is very important that the people who make the law be subject to the law.”

The film also spotlights Michael Rogers, a gay activist and founder of blogACTIVE, a Washington, D.C.-based website dedicated to outing closeted public figures. Rogers feels it is necessary to expose the hypocrisy of those who may live one way in public and another way in private, explaining that his work is not about outing people who are gay, but rather about “reporting on individuals who are working against the community that they then expect to protect them.”

OUTRAGE was written and directed by Kirby Dick; producer, Amy Ziering; executive producers, Tom Quinn, Jason Janego, Ted Sarandos, Chad Griffin, Kimball Stroud, Bruce Brothers and Tectonic Theater Project; co-producer, Tanner Barklow; editors, Doug Blush and Matt Clarke; music, Peter Golub. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

Outrage: Do Ask. Do Tell is premiering Monday, October 5 at 9pm only on HBO. For more information, visit HBO.com.




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