From singing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and riding the subway to recording a program for a Chicago radio station, Kenya’s Afrizo singing group is on a tour like no other.
From singing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and riding the subway to recording a program for a Chicago radio station, Kenya’s Afrizo singing group is on a tour like no other.
The messy and chaotic weather – including a brief tornado warning – outside the mayoral forum Wednesday afternoon fit the candidates’ demeanors inside.
The White House celebrated programs addressing childhood obesity Tuesday and invited elementary school students from across the nation to help with the third annual fall harvest of the South Lawn garden.
 
 
 

Amer Taleb - Spring 2013

My first article was a wreck.

Sloppy. Boring. Over-sourced. Structurally, it violated every cardinal sin in journalism. I’ve been pretty resilient my entire life, but I have to confess that after being battered with a salvo of criticism from my editor, I felt like capitulating and dissolving all of my reporting dreams.

Of the factors that motivated me to stick with journalism, being able to report on Middle Eastern affairs was near, if not at the top. My father is from Lebanon, I lived there for two years in elementary school and I desperately wanted to make a significant and positive contribution to people across the globe, particularly in the Arab world. Based on my skills and interests, I thought journalism was the best method to accomplish that.

Today I’m a journalism junior from the University of Arizona in Tucson who has worked for almost a dozen outlets in every major medium. I’ve hosted TV and radio segments for Arizona Public Media, blogged for The Nation, called in election results as an AP stringer and have written for the Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Daily Wildcat.

The accomplishment that defines me the best is a news blog I started as a freshman about Tucson’s Muslim, Arab and refugee communities. By the time I left for D.C. last week, it was receiving a couple of thousand page views a month, and a print edition was circulating to prisoners throughout Arizona.

I’m honored to be reporting in the political capital of the planet for the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, especially when I reflect on how far I’ve come. Simultaneously, I’m humbled by how much I still have to learn and achieve.

My desire to be a story teller, I believe, will carry me to achieve the dreams I was so close to losing just a few years ago. I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity with SHFW, and I intend to make the most of it.

Anti-Islamic hate-crime rate differs greatly among states

Click on image to enlarge or download: Data source: FBIClick on image to enlarge or download: Data source: FBIWASHINGTON – Anti-Islamic hate crimes have increased significantly nationwide since 2009, but the trend is complicated to decipher at the state level.

Future of DOMA in doubt after Supreme Court arguments

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Edith Windsor, who sued to have Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act repealed, waves to a crowd of supporters after leaving the Supreme Court Wednesday. Most of the justices seemed in favor of striking down the law, which prohibits same-sex couples from receiving an array of federal benefits. SHFWire photo by Jess MillerClick on photo to enlarge or download: Edith Windsor, who sued to have Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act repealed, waves to a crowd of supporters after leaving the Supreme Court Wednesday. Most of the justices seemed in favor of striking down the law, which prohibits same-sex couples from receiving an array of federal benefits. SHFWire photo by Jess MillerWASHINGTON – Most of the Supreme Court justices signaled strong skepticism Wednesday toward a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that excludes same-sex couples from receiving a range of federal benefits.

Supreme Court questions validity of Prop. 8 gay marriage ban

Click on photo to enlarge or download: A pro-gay marriage demonstrator waves a sign at anti-gay marriage demonstrators staked out across the street. Thousands of people supporting both sides of the argument assembled outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning while the justices took part in oral arguments about the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 law. SHFWire photo by Ian KullgrenClick on photo to enlarge or download: A pro-gay marriage demonstrator waves a sign at anti-gay marriage demonstrators staked out across the street. Thousands of people supporting both sides of the argument assembled outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning while the justices took part in oral arguments about the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 law. SHFWire photo by Ian Kullgren

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court justices cast doubts on the constitutionality of California’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday, wondering if they should have  heard the case at all.

DHS management improving significantly in decade since 9/11

 Click on photo to enlarge or download: Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., left, and Tom Carper, D-Del., listen during a Senate hearing on the efficiency of the Department of Homeland Security. Many of the senators’ questions were based on a Government Accountability Office report that cited progress in many aspects of DHS management. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebClick on photo to enlarge or download: Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., left, and Tom Carper, D-Del., listen during a Senate hearing on the efficiency of the Department of Homeland Security. Many of the senators’ questions were based on a Government Accountability Office report that cited progress in many aspects of DHS management. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebWASHINGTON - A decade after its creation in response to the September 11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security is making significant strides to improve the “Wild West” and reckless environment that plagued the agency in its early years, according to testimony at a Senate hearing Thursday.  

Married Army interrogators reflect on 10th anniversary of Iraq War

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Carissa Pastuch and Charles Mink, who married after serving in Iraq, stand in front of Mount Nebo in Jordan in June 2012. They met during interrogation school in Arizona and worked at the same base in Iraq during the war. Photo courtesy of Charles MinkClick on photo to enlarge or download: Carissa Pastuch and Charles Mink, who married after serving in Iraq, stand in front of Mount Nebo in Jordan in June 2012. They met during interrogation school in Arizona and worked at the same base in Iraq during the war. Photo courtesy of Charles MinkWASHINGTON – Shrouded in the darkness of an Iraqi interrogation room, Sgt. Charles Mink couldn’t see much of anything besides the al-Qaida insurgent staring at him.

Tax reform vital to reducing deficit, experts tell Senate committee

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., disagrees with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Tuesday about whether tax expenditures should be considered “spending.” The committee heard ideas for reforming the nation’s tax code. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebClick on photo to enlarge or download: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., disagrees with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Tuesday about whether tax expenditures should be considered “spending.” The committee heard ideas for reforming the nation’s tax code. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebWASHINGTON - With sequestration already triggered and a federal budget deadline at the end of the month, the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday assessed ways to lift the country out of fiscal limbo by eliminating wasteful spending in the tax code.

Constitutionality of DNA collection challenged in Supreme Court

Click on photo to enlarge or download: People wait in line at the Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear arguments about the constitutionality of collecting DNA samples from people who are charged with, but not convicted of a crime. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebClick on photo to enlarge or download: People wait in line at the Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear arguments about the constitutionality of collecting DNA samples from people who are charged with, but not convicted of a crime. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebWASHINGTON – Lawyers battled in the Supreme Court on Tuesday about whether Maryland law enforcement authorities can gather DNA samples from people who are charged with, but not convicted of a crime.

Medal of Honor recipient honored at Pentagon

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Retired Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha speaks during a Medal of Honor ceremony honoring him at the Pentagon Tuesday. He is the fourth living recipient of the award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebClick on photo to enlarge or download: Retired Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha speaks during a Medal of Honor ceremony honoring him at the Pentagon Tuesday. He is the fourth living recipient of the award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebWASHINGTON – Afghan veteran Clinton L. Romesha was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes at a Medal of Honor ceremony Tuesday.

Afghan vet receives Medal of Honor

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Retired Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha receives a standing ovation Monday after being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama. Romesha led about 50 Americans to victory over 300 Taliban fighters in the 2009 Battle of Kamdesh. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebClick on photo to enlarge or download: Retired Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha receives a standing ovation Monday after being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama. Romesha led about 50 Americans to victory over 300 Taliban fighters in the 2009 Battle of Kamdesh. SHFWire photo by Amer TalebWASHINGTON – At the bottom of a valley in eastern Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha woke up Oct. 3, 2009, to explosions ricocheting throughout his compound. Racing out of bed to grab his machine gun, he and roughly 50 Americans were about to fight one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghan war.

Small businesses fear taxes, health-care costs

Click on image to enlarge or downloadClick on image to enlarge or downloadWASHINGTON - More than any other concern, taxes and health-care costs are corroding the morale of small businesses, a new Gallup poll found.

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