Tag Archives: today

First Lady Michelle Obama Graces Cover of USA Weekend

Posted by: Audiegrl

America’s mom-in-chief, Michelle Obama

USAToday~For Michelle Obama, mother of two very active girls, Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, “taking care of family” comes first, Obama tells USA WEEKEND Magazine during an exclusive interview in the Map Room at the White House.

Obama’s self-appointed title projects the image of a mother in charge — a power-mom fully in command of her own brood who has decided to help the nation’s children, too. Her “Let’s Move!” initiative to conquer obesity in America’s children is a perfect extension of Obama’s own carefully plotted household.

Baring those famous biceps in an explosive fuchsia-colored dress and metallic heels, Obama is no Donna Reed from an era past. But when it comes to her family, her take is unapologetically and forthrightly old-fashioned. Even she is surprised at “how much I draw on my own childhood and my mother’s style of mothering.” Indeed, her mother, Marian Robinson, 72, lives right above the first family on the third floor of the White House and is a key part of the Obamas’ family support system. (Just before our photo shoot, we spotted Robinson taking a morning walk on the grounds.)

Even though Obama sought advice early on from her predecessors Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and even Tipper Gore, wife of former vice president Al Gore, she notes that “the beauty of this role [is that] it’s unique to the person who’s sitting in this position, and you define it.”

The goal is “regular little kids

A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, ex-corporate attorney and professional hospital administrator, Obama is applying her formidable smarts and pragmatism to focus intently on making sure that Sasha and Malia feel like “regular little kids.”

“You’ve got a lot of people who are willing to help and to make life easy,” Obama says. “We have to just make sure that people aren’t walking in behind them doing things they should be doing for themselves.”

“We have to set some pretty clear boundaries with the staff to ensure the kids still take ownership of their spaces,” she says. “We have to demand that.”

“First grandma” Robinson embraces the do-it-yourself message — she “has to sneak to do her own laundry.” The girls’ turn at tackling the dirty-clothes pile is coming. “Malia doesn’t know this yet,” Obama confides, “but she’s going to be doing her own laundry, too. She can’t go to college never having done her own laundry!”

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Cover photo shoot by Kwaku Alston, Stockland Martel for USA WEEKEND. Michelle Obama’s Hair: Johnny Wright; Make-up: Derrick Rutledge.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Uncategorized

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

First Lady Michelle Obama Appeared on The Today Show

Posted by: Audiegrl

It’s been a little over a year since First Lady Michelle Obama stepped into her role at the White House, and she sat down today with Matt Lauer from the Today Show on Wednesday, February 3, and reflected on her time so far and her future goals.

She noted that she would like to look back and feel like she affected somebody’s life because she was here, which brings on her new initiative on childhood obesity, an increasing problem in the nation, since statistics show that one in three kids is obese. “The most shocking sort of reality that really hits you is that the young generation is on track for the first time in this nation’s history of being less healthy, having a shorter life span than their parents.” The First Lady said the problem is solvable, and they will be striving for attainable goals, but the broad vision is to “change the health status of an entire generation.”

On balancing her work with being a mother: “I find a level of comfort in that role.” She acknowledged that there are challenges, but that she remains the same person she was before she entered the White House. “What people have seen over the course of the year is really Michelle.” She maintained the same for the President, who she says despite challenges that face the nation, “handled the pressure with that same level of grace that he came here with.”

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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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Filed under Children, Culture, Entertainment, First Lady Michelle Obama, Media and Entertainment, NBC, Networks, Politics, Pop Culture, Television, The Today Show, TV Shows, Women's Issues

Award Winning Actor Robert DeNiro to Play Governor George Wallace in ‘Selma’

Posted by: Audiegrl

Alabama Gov. George Wallace stands at the entrance of Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1963

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Robert DeNiro has been cast as Alabama Governor George Wallace in director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) upcoming civil rights film, “Selma“, which is about the 1965 march in Alabama that was “the political and emotional peak of the civil rights movement.”

Robert Deniro

Award-winning Actor Robert DeNiro

Wallace was the controversial political figure known for his Southern populist pro-segregation attitudes. He famously said in his 1963 inauguration speech, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

To stop desegregation by the enrollment of African-American students Vivian Malone and James Hood at the University of Alabama, Wallace stood in front of Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963, until federal marshals, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, and the Alabama National Guard forced him to step aside. (see clip below)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led marches between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama to protest Wallace’s unwillingness to give African-Americans their rights. The violence against peaceful marchers led to a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that ultimately led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young and James Farmer on January 18, 1964

Some of the other key roles that need to be cast in Daniels’ film include President Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr.

ComingSoon.net did an brief interview with Daniel’s last October, and discussing the film, he said, “It’s a moment in time in Martin Luther King and LBJ’s (life) around the signing of the Civil Rights.

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Filed under African-Americans, Birmingham, AL, Children, Cities, Civil Protest, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Education, Entertainment, History, Hollywood, Law, Lyndon B. Johnson, Media and Entertainment, Movies, News, Non-Violence, Politics, Presidents, Racism, Selma, AL, Students, Uncategorized, United States, US, Washington, DC

It’s In Our Hands: Census Kicks Off 2010 Portrait of America Road Tour

posted by: Audiegrl

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke can be followed on Twitter at @SecLocke

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke can be followed on Twitter at @SecLocke

Secretary Gary Locke~~Yesterday, I started my new year in Rockefeller Center on the Today Show to kick off our huge push to get people to take part in the 2010 Census.

One of my resolutions is to help make this the best, most accurate Census count ever.

The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau spends 10 years planning how to best count everyone living in America and then New Years comes – and the rubber hits the road! Which is literally what’s happening this year.

Today, we’re sending out a small fleet of 13 vehicles – which we’re calling the Portrait of America Road Tour – that will drive across the United States and Puerto Rico to get the word out about the 2010 Census.

We’re doing this for the oldest of reasons – because our Constitution tells us to. Every 10 years, since 1790, we’ve counted ourselves – every single person living in America. This count determines how we divvy up about $400 billion in federal aid to states to help pay for things like schools, roads, hospitals and police and firemen.

For the 2010 Census, we’ve added some high tech twists to the traditional Census process. Everyone is still going to receive a Census questionnaire in the mailbox, so please – FILL IT OUT, and mail it back. The form is very simple, and has only 10 questions that should take about 10 minutes to complete, and the questionnaire comes in numerous languages.

I’m counting on the Road Tour to get the word out and encourage people to participate. Our little armada of vehicles will drive more than 150,000 miles, be seen by an estimated 18 million people and stop at more than 800 community gatherings, celebrations and sporting events.

Anybody who wants to can learn about the Census and how to fill out a Census form. If you want, you can explain why you’re taking part in the Census, and then you can upload your story onto an interactive website. And you can follow the tour and see other people’s stories by tracking the Road Tour on Twitter, Facebook or through the Road Tour blog. Happy New Years and make sure to follow the Portrait of America Road Tour on the web at:

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Filed under Agencies, Cabinet, Census Bureau, Gary F. Locke (Sec of Commerce), Government, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Technology, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube