July 22nd, 2009, by

People are not digging his “mom jeans,” and polls show (see Washington Post-ABC News and USA Today-Gallup) that President Obama’s approval rating has slipped some, particularly when it comes to healthcare policy.

He addresses that issue in a primetime news conference Wednesday night calling on lawmakers to move quickly on overhauling healthcare even as hope fades that Congress will pass reform bills by the time it breaks for August recess.

But what do you think about President Obama’s work so far? How about his progress on healthcare policy? Is he doing a good job? Share your thoughts below.

July 21st, 2009, by

This is shaping up to be an interesting week around the universe.

The Moon, Sky, Mars and Google: President Obama marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing by vowing (with no specifics) to uphold NASA’s mission. Google, which is already being accused of trying to take over the Milky Way, marked the anniversary by adding the Moon to the destinations that users can explore on Google Earth (also see Sky and Mars).

Jupiter: An Australian amateur astronomer, who keeps his eye on Jupiter in his spare time, discovered an Earth-sized scar on the solar system’s largest planet. The last time scientists saw something like this on Jupiter was 15 years ago, when the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet hit the planet.

International Space Station: Astronauts on a 16-day mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavor are tweeting and answering questions posted on YouTube (with help from colleagues on Earth).

The Sun: And last but not least, Wednesday, Asia will experience the longest total solar eclipse expected this century. The eclipse is expected to last more than six minutes.

July 10th, 2009, by

Triple negative breast cancer recently claimed the life of longtime executive producer of The Tavis Smiley Show on Public Radio International—Sheryl Flowers. Flowers was 42.

But you’ve probably never heard of triple negative breast cancer. It is an aggressive form of breast cancer that is so named because the three receptors that successful breast cancer treatment targets—estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and  human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)—are not found in women with this breast cancer subtype.

If you want to learn more about triple negative and other types of breast cancer, check out these resources.

1) Watch tonight’s show (see clip below). Tavis devotes the entire show to a discussion of breast cancer. He talks to one of the leading authorities on cancer risk assessment, Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade and breast cancer survivors Diahann Carroll and television writer Jessica Queller.

2) Visit the Web site for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, which has set up a memorial fund in Flowers’ memory.

3) Learn more about the disease and find support at You can also get help detecting breast cancer by joining the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s early detection plan.

4) Also check out Tavis’ heartfelt video blog about his friend and colleague.

July 3rd, 2009, by

Are you firing up the grill? Watching a fireworks show? (Hopefully not producing your own fireworks show.) Loading up the family and going on a roadtrip?

Well, don’t forget to also have an eco-friendly holiday weekend. Check out the video below and these tips for adding some “green” to your red, white and blue. And share your “green” 4th of July tips with us.

And for your reading pleasure, be sure to honor the day by reading the full text of The Declaration of Independence. Be safe!

June 30th, 2009, by

Talk about a celebration. Iraqis took to the streets to celebrate step one in U.S. troop withdrawal—removing U.S. troops from cities and towns across the country.

June 30th was declared “National Sovereignty Day” as Iraqi security forces took over control of Iraqi cities from U.S. troops six years after the U.S.-led invasion.

Seemingly emphasizing just how significant it is that Iraq would now be securing its own urban areas, a car bomb attack in Northern Iraq cut short the festivities, killed at least 20 people and injured 40.

“Those who think that Iraqis are not able to protect their country and that the withdrawal of foreign forces will create a security vacuum are committing a big mistake,” Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said Tuesday in a televised address.

June 29th, 2009, by

There are those YouTube members who upload video. Then there are those YouTube members who upload video that also happens to be news (you know who you are).

For all of those citizen journalists in the crowd, YouTube launched its new YouTube Reporters’ Center project Monday to help aspiring reporters learn tips from seasoned journalism professionals.

The list of journalists and reporters who contributed to the project is impressive, with videos from Bob Woodward, Katie Couric, Arianna Huffington and, of course, Tavis Smiley, to name a few.

To see Tavis and his colleagues share their thoughts on how to report the news, visit


June 25th, 2009, by

Legendary pop star Michael Jackson died Thursday at a Los Angeles hospital.

Check out Jackson obits from USA Today and

Take a look at photo galleries of MJ from the Los Angeles Times and BBC News, and check out the Michael Jackson YouTube channel.

Michael Jackson was occasionally a topic of discussion on the show. In a conversation a few months before his death, Tavis talked with singer-songwriter James Ingram about working with the “King of Pop.” Also Grammy-winning artist Ne-Yo discussed being compared to Jackson in his 2007 appearance.

Share your MJ thoughts, memories and favorite songs below.

June 23rd, 2009, by

The Obama administration, which has created several “dot gov” Web sites to coincide with its policy initiatives, has created The latest dot gov is a site that helps volunteers find service work in their community, as well as register volunteer organizations and share volunteer stories.

The President and First Lady are also calling on Americans to volunteer this summer in a new nationwide initiative called “United We Serve.” Here’s the message from the First Lady.


June 10th, 2009, by

“Web 2.0” became the one-millionth English word Wednesday (Does “one-millionth” count as a word?), according to The Global Language Monitor, a Texas-based Web site that tracks the creation of new English words.

One million English words? (And does “one million” count as one word or as two words that contribute to a one-word idea?)

Nonsense!” say some linguists. It’s impossible to count words. A “stunt,” say others. There are no certified rules for legitimizing words. (And would “legitimize” count as one word and “legitimizing” as another word? Seems a bit redundant.) 

Ultimately experts call the entire idea of counting words rubbish but admit that English has more recognized words than any other world language. (Do we count “words” and “word” separately? Make that two for “word/words.”)

The Global Language Monitor says it’s a celebration of the world’s wordiest language at the very least. (We’re counting “it’s” as a word along with “it” and “is” just for fun).

Let’s celebrate English! Yippee!

Is “yippee” even a word?

June 4th, 2009, by

President Obama’s highly anticipated speech Thursday morning in Cairo has received a variety of responses from communities in the Middle East.

Obama began his speech with the Arabic greeting “As-Salamu Alaykum” and attempted to balance competing interests throughout the region in his address.  How successful he was at doing that remains to be seen.

But all of this preparation for the big Mideast speech seems to have put the White House in “America <3 Muslims” mode.  In the run-up to the speech, the White House thought it would “share with you a few stories of Muslim Americans who are proudly serving the nation in the federal government.”

Check out the video and also tell us what you thought of Obama’s speech about America’s relationship with the Muslim world.


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