August 9th, 2010
11:35 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Michelle Obama

Her mother-daughter jaunt to Spain is turning into a PR tangle for the White House. It began with a New York Daily News column written by a Republican consultant last Thursday. Columnist Andrea Tantaros called the First Lady a ‘Modern-Day Marie Antoinette.’

“While she's spent her time in the White House telling parents they should relieve their chubby kids' dependency on sugar and stressing the importance of an organic veggie garden,” Tantaros wrote, “hopping a jet to Europe to meet with Spanish royalty isn't the visual the White House probably wants to project. Perhaps they've forgotten the damning image of John Kerry, on the eve of the 2004 election, windsurfing off the coast of Nantucket?”

While Tantaros reported a travel entourage of 40 friends and family, the White House is downplaying those numbers. Additionally Mrs. Obama has covered her own expenses on the trip, a spokesman said. The federal government, however, does cover the Secret Service tab - a hefty sum, according to critics.

Right-wing blogs are repurposing the story, and now making video blogs asking Americans what they think of the trip. Possibly making matters worse might be the remainder of the Obama summer schedule: a family weekend in the Gulf, followed by ten days in Martha’s Vineyard, which isn't far from Nantucket.

CNN: Michelle Obama and daughter arrive in southern Spain

NY Daily News: Material girl Michelle Obama is a modern-day Marie Antoinette on a glitzy Spanish vacation

Mark David Chapman

The man who killed John Lennon in 1980 is scheduled to go before a parole board sometime this week. It will be the sixth time since 2000 that Chapman has pursued an early release.

Chapman, now 55, is serving a 20-years-to sentence at the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility for the murder, which took place a close range in front of Lennon’s New York City apartment building.

A former mental patient, Chapman was holding a copy of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye when he shot Lennon. He had penned “This is my statement” inside the book cover. In 1992 Chapman told ABC’s Barbara Walters that voices in his head told him ‘Do it! Do it! Do it!” “I thought by killing him, I would have his fame,” Chapman said.

According to reports, Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, is asking the parole board to deny release. At least four letters against Chapman's release have been received by the board, while two others have been submitted in favor of releasing him. An Attica spokesman has indicated that Chapman has been a model prisoner since 1994. He even has special conjugal visits with Gloria, his wife of 20 years.

CNN: Man who murdered John Lennon up for parole again

TIME: Yoko Ono: No Parole for Lennon's Killer

Layne Morris and Omar Khadr

Layne Morris, a former U.S. Special Forces officer, will testify this week in the Obama administration’s first full military commission hearing to be held at Guantanamo Bay. The trial will focus on Omar Khadr, accused of committing terrorist acts and killing a U.S. Special Forces soldier while he was a child soldier of Al Qaeda. Khadr has been held in the facility since he was 15 years old.

Morris told the Toronto Star this weekend that he will tell the military commission about the events that happened in a July 2002 attack on him and other Delta officers in Afghanistan. During the attack, Khadr allegedly threw the hand grenade that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer. Shrapnel during the attack hit Morris causing him to lose an eye.

CNN has reported that Khadr is suspected of spying for Al Qaeda, as well as making and planting roadside bombs during the early days of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Now 23, Khadr—through his military attorney—has said his testimony was coerced through torture.

Ironically the trial will bring some sort of resolution for both men, the Star reported. For Khadr, a Canadian citizen, it could mean being any place else after eight years besides Guantanamo. For Morris, who is now retired in Salt Lake City: “I have to finish it, but as far as emotion, or do I have anything invested in it? I can't say that I do. I don't need that to feel like I personally have been avenged or a wrong has been righted or anything like that. I guess it has just been too long.”

The Star: U.S. soldiers will tell their stories at Khadr's trial

CNN: First trial of Gitmo prisoner under Obama administration to begin

Tom Little

The volunteer aide worker and optometrist who had made Afghanistan his second home since as early as 1983 was among ten aide workers shot to death last week by the Taliban.

Little, 62, was leading a team of providing eyecare to Afghan citizens in remote areas of the country when a Taliban convoy stopped them in Badakhshan province. The group's Muslim driver, survived only after pleading for his life and reciting a verse from the Koran, according to an account in the Washington Post.

A British eye surgeon, Karen Woo, who’d given up her practice to treat people, in Afghanistan was killed. So was Cheryl Beckett, a 32-year-old aide worker, who is the daughter of a Knoxville, Tennessee-based minister. Four other Americans, two Afghan citizens, and a German were also executed.

The New York Daily News reported that during the 27 years that Little worked in Afghanistan, he learned the local language, mastered the diplomatic patience required to survive the region, and supervised three 40-bed hospitals in three large cities, and three 10-bed facilities in smaller outposts in the country.

NY Daily News: New York optometrist, Tom Little, 62, one of six American aid workers killed in Afghanistan

Washington Post: Devastated Christian aid group pledges to continue work in Afghanistan

WBIR: Daughter of Knoxville minister among those found dead in Afghanistan

soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. USA

    GET OVER THE BLACK BS..... Juge by character not color

    August 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      USA
      You have no right to judge someone else, are you so above everyone else that you can judge someone with a pure heart.
      We in America do not judge by Character, we are the most racist nation in the world. You get over it.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ahlong

    Europeandesigner...you are a complete idiot for sprewing lies about our President and his family. Our President and First Lady does a wondeful job and I love them very much. You need to get your facts right before you eve write anything again babout the USA First Family. You stupid inconsiderate idiot. You are just like some of these coward, racists white americans that sprew out hate and racists comments. Get a life and mind your own business. As for her caboose at least she has one and she carries it very well. You are probably shaped like a box and your caboose is probably flatter than a pancake. Go to Hell!!!

    August 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Richelle

    Lucy- "It is what it is. And ignorant I am not."

    Oh, do explain. How exactly is our President a socialist or a communist? This should be entertaining.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Maria

    Who cares if the President or First Lady go on vacation, just because he's the President doesn't mean he should not live. Just as the rest of us are free to vacation if we'd like, so is he.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LDfromOhio

    OMG THE FIRST LADY WENT ON VACATION. People........give them a break. I guess a lot have forgotten that Mrs. Obama was working prior while our President was a Senator. Do ya think she may have saved some money? I believe that the majority of people are jealous because they can not afford a trip to Spain. I know I cant right now but I am not going to get all upset because somebody else can. Some need to stop throwing stones knowing they live in glass houses. We should put everybody's life on display to see how their money is being spent.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Europeandesigner

    "lis

    To everybody complaining about not being able to go on vacation: Perhaps you should have put a little more effort into your own education. Both Mr. and Mrs. Obama spent extra time getting advanced degrees, this has put them ahead. I put in the extra time as well and am still enjoying twice yearly vacations to Europe. The problem isn't that there aren't enough jobs, the problem is how poorly educated the American public has become. Can't find a job? Go back to University."

    ====================
    We had a good laugh about the "Obama's" [their CORRECT names are Soetoro] spending extra times getting a good education.. lol WHERE do you even have proof they HAVE an education? They told you he was/is a professor, HA! He was going door-to-door as a community ORGANIZER, met and had relationships with GAY power elites!! Unfortunately a few were killed, just read the cover-ups..
    You fools can't even see any of his schooling as they spent MILLIONS SEALING their records!! And YOU allow this Usuper and his chimpazee wife without absolute proof he was even born in the US, to run the WH.. sorry, but this guy was born in Indonesia!
    But you're correct that the American public needs a better education.. so they can ASCERTAIN that the elite FOOLED them and installed a Kenyan as their 'president' what a bunch of sorry morons you are.. lol

    Spain knows it, heck, the entire WORLD knows it and laugh at you, the only ones who do NOT seem to know are Americans!

    August 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Triple A

    From the BHO's mouth "If you can't pay your mortgage then you shouldn't be blowing money in Vegas". Well guess what Mr. President America cannot pay it's mortgage why are you blowing money in Spain? Oh wait thats right it's other peoples money so then it is ok to spend spend spend. You are trying to culture the class of people in America that live on other peoples money. Onward to the Novembers!!! They cannot come fast enough!!!

    August 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • objective

      Hey
      First: it was his wife that took a vacation
      Second : do you have any idea how much she makes ?
      Third: Michelle pays taxes as well ( so does the president)

      Guess you'd rather the upper 5% get the tax break and have Michella allocate her vacation money to them as well huh?

      If youre a fan of the GOP and your best ammunition is where the first lady takes a vacation......... than I'd seriously consider the idea that 2012 will be a cake-walk for the GOP or any TP memeber.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Triple A

      so it was his Wife that took a vacation...ok at least we aggree on that he gave the speach and she did the exact opposite
      Second : I don't care how much she makes she wasn't spending just her money
      Third: Michelle pays taxes as well ( so does the president) Ok good but so what

      Why would she give them her vacation money??? You are kinda starting to rant...not rave yet but there is still time 🙂

      Certainly not the best ammo. but if I gave a speech telling the country to tighten their belt then have Michelle go on this splurge I'd have egg on my face, but apparently the BHO and Michelle think spending OPM is a ok....

      And considering the Dems have lost two critical special elections (with the BHO personal backing) and the fact that several other solid seats are now in trouble I'd say that I'm not the only one feeling this way.

      Besides your reply was more kinda like raving but I will give you credit, you did no name calling so that is a plus. We got way to much of that on both sides.

      Come on Novembers!!

      Am a GOP'er but not a TP'er

      August 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ray

    I could not even afford a vacation this year with my kids. Maybe the Obama's would like to pick up the tab for my vacation. Maybe I could use Air Force 1.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • objective

      No
      What you should do is run fro president... and win
      And after you win when someone questions how your wife vacations. tell them sorry, it wont happen again.
      lol right?

      Now do you see how foolish you look
      😀

      I do

      August 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jeanne

    well the rest of us haven't been able to afford a local trip/holiday let alone overseas...its nice to know all the money they are spending in foreign countries helping their economy not ours..please someone post the date of the next potus election.i'm sorry for helping put this country in this spot...i promise i will not make the same mistake 2xs

    August 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Betty

    The Obama's are going to take every opportunity they can to do as many thing as possible at the cost of the America people. I do agree with the comment above that state: Obama has done nothing to help the country as a whole and he is not going to! Why, because he doesnt know how...Hillary was RIGHT- NOT ENOUGH EXPERIENCE-he was voted in because he BLACK and for no other reason....it is very say, this country needed someone to put an end to the events that occurred under the Bush Admin. – but Obama is not the answer-

    August 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lois

    Give me a break!! Why shouldn't the first lady take a vacation. Other first ladies did it and there were no complaints.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. objective

    Really fans of the GOP.... has it come to this (bashing the First ladies vacation) really? I have an idea. She should save that revenue and, give it to someone making more than $250,000 a year. ( I wonder what that person would do with the money.....?)
    THE FACT is 95% of Americans got a tax break but, some would rather that the other 5% get the tax break AND have Michelle allocate her vacation funds to the same 5% huh?
    Yeah we want to concentrate on making sure that 5% go to Spain instead huh?

    She took a vacation with her family. Simple as that. Many of the people on this forum would do the same given the opportunity.
    If your husband were the president (or your wife was the first lady) would you expect them to vacation at the Buget motel in FL?
    Some of you people come out of the woodwork b/c you think you have a plausible reason to bash the current administration (for whatever reason). I'm sure you feel as though your gripe is well thought out and relatively popular but youre VERY transparent.
    And I dont have to pull any card .... its that obvious.

    If you think you can do better that run for president.
    I hear it should be easy in 2012 🙂

    Remember that 95% of the people you see got a tax break you can expect a good portion of them to appreciate it in 2012.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ella01

      Keep drinking that kool-aid, objective (? really?). 95% of all Americans given a tax cut? 95% of all Americans just had their taxes hiked. That sad, tired, old line of propaganda from BO is still being spouted by people who just don't know any better. And if there is a good portion of Americans who still believe that in 2012, we have a bigger problem. BO just dug himself a HUGE hole and there is no way out. His fiscally irresponsible social agenda created an enormous deficit that can only be overcome with more revenue. One of the major revenue sources is tax dollars. Bush tax cuts, that by the way, actually cut taxes for EVERYONE (and they did, look it up from a non-partisan source), are about to expire. So what is he going to do? Extend the Bush tax cuts and keep the deficit growing? Allow them to expire and still try to find a way to spin "a tax cut for everyone"? Do you actually know what you're talking about? Do you know what the Bush tax cuts did? How about what letting them expire will do? There is no need to pull any card. It is not difficult to be publicly generous with someone else's money in order to keep yourself in elected office. I'm thinking people will wake up by 2012. If you're not one of them, there really isn't anything I can do about that except tell you to do your own research and not believe everything you hear from an elected politician's mouth. They don't have bad reputations for no reason...

      August 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Grandmadia

    I am a Canadian with many family members living in the US. My husband is unemployed and I am layed off til September but surprising enough I don't blame our federal or provincial gov't as you seem to. You declare to not wanting the gov't involved in your lives but you blame Pres. Obama for you not having a job.I thought you considered that socialism. Use your head the economy in the world is bad not just in the USA. I have had 1 vacation in 43yrs. but I think its great that Michelle Obama is taking this trip as you seem to be jealous of her.I have discovered that most Americans are never happy unless they can blame someone for everything that goes wrong preferably Pres. Obama. Grow up and check out the real world.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gginWI

    As a liberal Dem, I am disappointed in Ms. Obamas trip choice, I must agree with some of the posters that a domestic trip would have been a better choice. However I think that as a educated woman and mother, the FIrst Lady likely wants to give her daughters the benefit of travel and cultural experiences, I support that, I traveled with my children and now my grandchildren every chance we could get. Sometimes we gave up the newer car, video games or eating out to do it. But lets also be realistic here, ranting that the President and his family have lost touch with real people is nothing new, point out a president in recent history that has not been relatively wealthy ( compared to the average American) and used to a life of travel and first class accomodations. This is because our election system only offers us candidates that have advanced educations and wealth to sustain involvement in the political life. Who else can afford to put their career and earning capacity on hold for several years at a time while they campaign and hold office? And really do we expect the Presidential family to stay at the local Motel 6 when they travel? Whether its official travel or not they still represent the US. I wouldn't expect it of the Bush family anymore than the Obamas. Being President is a 24/7 job, look at before and after pictures of every president, the stress ages them tremendously, they deserve some downtime, not they ever really get off the clock. This has nothing to do with color, or political persuasion, just simple respect for the most difficult job in the world and the family that has to go along for the ride.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boney

      give the girls the experiences after they out of public office and doing it on our dime

      August 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boney

      'bama quit dying his hair....he knows going grey makes it look like he's working hard.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ella01

    Grandmadia – I agree with you, except our elected figurehead got that way by promising he would make it all better. If he's going to sell that crap in order to get into office, he better be able to back it up. I fully believe in keeping the government out of people's way and out of their lives. I suspect most of the argument here (and at the administration in general) is anger at the hypocrisy.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grandmadia

      There isn"t a politician in the world that doesn't lie there way in to power and promise the world, but when you get to be my age(and still trying to work to survive ) you learn to not take every thing they promise and see what happens. If some promises come to be then you are lucky.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ella01

      Grandmadia! I agree! And I have learned. Unfortunately, there are so many that haven't. That's why "Hope and Change" resonated with so many people – thus we got BO. We have a real problem with people who give so much credit to the federal government for doing so little and making so many more big problems. Congress is the only place in the world where people get big praise for making an effort to clean up a mess they made in the first place, and then getting elected again to do it over and over. That is my entire point...

      August 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Europeandesigner

      ..unfortunately, it'll only get worse..

      August 10, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
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