May 17th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Rima Fakih

The 26-year-old from Dearborn, Michigan, was crowned Miss USA on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pageant-watchers say Fakih, of Lebanese descent, is thought to be the first Arab-American and Muslim to wear the crown, The Detroit Free Press reports.

According to TIME magazine, Fakih was raised in New York, attended the University of Michigan and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a minor in business administration. She won the Miss Michigan USA title in 2009. She told TIME, “I grew up watching pageants with my father, but never knew I can really do it. Possibly because I was picked on a lot in school, and had a very shy personality. I can proudly say that I don't think I would have reached so high and come such a long way had I not went through the pain I did growing up.”

Detroit Free Press: Detroit celebrates Miss USA's first Arab-American winner

Time: Miss Michigan USA Rima Fakih on serving others

Geno Auriemma

President Obama is scheduled to welcome the NCAA champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team to the White House on Monday. The president will honor the Huskies for their second straight NCAA Championship and back-to-back undefeated seasons.

According to the university, since Auriemma’s arrival as head coach in 1985, the Huskies have been transformed from a program with only one winning season into one with six national titles, 10 Final Fours, three perfect seasons in 1995, 2002, and 2009 - and 32 Big East titles. Auriemma, who moved from Italy to Pennsylvania with his parents at the age of 7, was elected to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He also has been named head coach of the U.S. National Team, which will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. Geno Auriemma bio

Paul Sacco

The father of a missing Greeley, Colorado, hiker says he is ready to travel to Nepal today on a mission to find his 23-year-old daughter. "I'm not coming back without her," Sacco told The Denver Post. "Dad's supposed to protect her, and here I am 12,000 miles away. It's crazy."

On Saturday, Aubrey Sacco was scheduled to take a flight from Nepal to Sri Lanka, where she was to spend the last week of her six-month trip. But the newspaper reports she was last heard from on  April 20 when she e-mailed about plans to hike alone through Nepal's Langtang trail. Nepalese government officials, the Nepalese army and the U.S. Embassy began searching the park's 52 miles of trails almost a week ago but have been unable to find her.

Denver Post: Father heading to Nepal to search for missing daughter, 23

Jonathan Alter

There’s still more to learn about the most covered individual in the country. Alter, the Newsweek columnist and historian, reveals new details in his book “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” which is scheduled to appear in bookstores on Tuesday. New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani writes that Alter “actually does give us a new perspective on the 44th president by providing a detailed look at his decision-making process on issues like health care and the Afghanistan war, and a keen sense of what it’s like to work in his White House, day by day.”

According to the newspaper, Alter reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was initially “too deferential to the president in meetings, just shy of obsequious”; that Defense Secretary Robert Gates, called “Yoda” by some White House staffers, was “almost certainly the most influential member of the cabinet”; and that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner bonded with the president because “they had the same ‘no drama’ style.” Obama reportedly read Alter’s 2006 book about FDR’s first 100 days before taking office.

New York Times: Penetrating the process of Obama's decisions

Zach Lipson

The Nashville, Tennessee, student is fulfilling his dream of being involved in the University of Kentucky basketball program. reports that Lipson has never played a minute of organized hoops. But he’s earned the position as a student manager on the Kentucky team. The senior at Christ Presbyterian Academy has overcome medical odds. He has a spinal deformity and will never be over 4 feet tall. Lipson told the website, "I want to tell people you don't have to fall and beat yourself up over your problems. You can take them and help them make you stronger. You can turn a losing situation into a winning situation." Perseverance pays off for student manager

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Vader

    Congrats to her. I hope she wins Miss Universe. We collectively should be proud. All of the negative comments on this page smell of jealously, bigotry, and ignorance. As Americans, we need to show some class (or get some class) and maturity.

    May 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sar

    As a female I am proud of her because she represents female equality. Here she is having muslim heritage and able to be educated and confident with herself when many people in other parts of the world are not. In Pakistan women there have only a 3% literacy rating. I believe she has a degree in economics, so good for her. Why shouldn't they have asked Miss Oklahoma the question on immigration. It is a big deal now and she should be able to answer that. She represents this country and will be traveling too. I think she answered it very well said her view but didn't offend anybody either.

    May 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jaime Greer

    Miss USA represents in a small way what is good about our country embracing interracial, multicultural peoples of the world freely with beauty. Diversity makes us strong. Beauty makes us appealing. Freedom makes us the USA. Congratulations Miss USA

    May 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Well said!! That is what makes the USA great....DIVERSITY!!!!

      May 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Laura

    I picked Miss Michigan to win from the start! She was my favorite all along, as soon as she walked out in her evening gown I knew she had it! She is beautiful, smart, and seems laid back and fun. That is why she won!

    PS: Whats up with all the racist comments? I think we have some haters in the house....

    May 17, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BabelFish

    Hey guys...I'm a Lebanon-born naturalized US citizen who lived in Dearborn, MI a while back. I agree that her heritage shouldn't be mentioned but I think it's being mentioned because the press wants to send a message that America is inclusive, equal opportunity, etc....I also think they want to give the Arab (and muslim) community some kind of ray of hope that they're not always targeted as the bad guys...I also think it was mentioned because she's first generation and her link to her ethnic background is still fresh (unlike Miss Oklahoma who is probably 5th generation and it would be weird to say White Anglo-Saxon Protestant wins Miss logically, yes, we shouldn't mention any of that heritage stuff....but we're not there yet....but believe me, America is far better than any other country on the racism front...really....

    Now about the Lebanese vs. Arab argument....I'm Christian Lebanese and I know that usually the Lebanese people saying they're not arab are mostly Christian.... I think there are several reasons why this happens.
    1) Because christians are a minority in the Middle East, Lebanese Christians like to differentiate themselves to stand out and not be assimilated, especially that the Arab world (and the rest of the world for that matter) does not differentiate between Arab & Muslim (denying Arabism is a debatable strategy because it ends up alienating the muslim arabs and we know that they're going to be the majority in the Mid East on the long run)....
    2) Arab" is often associated with Islam (in both the Arab World & the rest of the World). As a Christian, I see it as an insult that the Arab League has Qoranic scriptures on its building; this is not inclusive of me as an "Arab" Christian... I'm not as bitter about the rest of the world not knowing the difference (it's just innocent ignorance). Now because Islam is associated with rigid, medieval religious rules and customs, and because the Islamic religion did not evolve like the Christian one, Lebanese Christians (probably out of insecurity, but also out of self-protection of their reputation), tend to deny their Arabism.

    The best way to seal the Lebanese vs. Arab debate is this: tell me what your definition of an "Arab" is and I'll tell you if I'm one....Arab is not a race.... Semitic is a race.... Arabic is a language..Arab is not a religious.... Miiddle Eastern is an ethnic denomination....Arab isn't..... So, if Arab means muslim to you, I'm definitely not one, and I will continue to deny it as long as the Muslim world doesn't clearly distinguish between the two and INCLUDES the Christians....If Arab means a Semitic Middle-Easterner who speaks Arabic then I'm an Arab who is proud of Arabic Poetry/Arts/Music and the customs of generosity and hospitality. Bottom line, Lebanese Christians, including myself, says they're not Arabs out of "self-protection" in the face of ignorance.

    May 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Koula

      Babelfish Arabic language is dominating the Middle Middle Eatsern= Arabic and don't foget that we are all mixed by now..been marrying eachother for centuries. I'm UAE national but I have roots that go all the way to Iraq. Christian Lebanese make a big deal out of it..Even in their churches they speak Arabic...muslim and christian lebanese marry from eachother so there'sn't a big difference . Arabic is a great language and I'm proud of myself being an Arab today even though my great great great great grandparents spoke Aramic.

      May 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BabelFish

    Btw, the first Miss USA with arab american heritage is Julie Hayek, 1983...

    May 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
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