President Obama Laughs at His Haters During Speech at National Action Network Convention

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#TaniaOnTheScene - The 16th annual convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square hotel, took place just last week. I was given the amazing privilege to attend the event, take pictures, and post snippets from President Obama’s speech.

The events that took place had politicians, as well as leaders and inspiring people who got together to speak on different issues.

From gun violence, to women equality, to the role of media in crafting the social narrative, several topics were covered.

When the president addressed the exclusively invited crowd, I was able to record some of his speech, some of which he referenced minimum wage being raised to $10.10, reminiscing about his birth certificate, and more.

Take a listen:

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President Obama calls for Calm in the Wake of the Zimmerman Verdict

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#TaniaOnTheScene - Barack Obama issued a statement today on the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict saying that the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy but a ‘jury has spoken’.

The President described the teenager’s shooting death in Florida last year as a ‘tragedy for America’ while using the opportunity to renew his calls for tighter gun legislation across the U.S.

Obama said: ‘The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions.

'And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws and a jury has spoken.

'I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.

'And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.

'We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.

We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.’

George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

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Student Loan Rates Double Today

#TaniaOnTheScene - Interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford student loans doubled overnight, soaring from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent after Congress failed to reach a deal. 

Though lawmakers potentially could still pass a bill to undo the damage, Congress’ Joint Economic Committee has estimated the increase — unless and until it is reversed — will cost the average college student an additional $2,600.

Democrats have sought to keep interest on Stafford loans low, saying poor and middle class students need the help to get a college education. Republicans have proposed linking student loans to the financial markets instead of letting Congress set federal lending rates. President Obama included a variation of that market-based approach in the budget he sent to Congress earlier this year, leaving his fellow Democrats trying to block his efforts.

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After 53 Years of Journalism, She Will Announce Her Retirement Later Today

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#TaniaOnTheScene - Longtime ABC News personality Barbara Walters will retire from TV journalism in 2014, ABC reported late Sunday, closing a chapter on one of the most storied careers in broadcast journalism history.

She is expected to make the announcement tody on “The View,” a daytime talker she created in 1997.

Walters, 83, will remain executive producer of that show.

"I am very happy with my decision and look forward to a wonderful and special year ahead both on ‘The View’ and with ABC News," she said.

"I created ‘The View’ and am delighted it will last beyond my leaving it."

Rumors of Walters’ retirement surfaced in March. But she soon squashed them, saying on “The View” that “if and when I might have an announcement to make, I will do it on this program.”

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Nelson Mandela Update on Hospitalization

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#TaniaOnTheScene - South African leaders say anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela continues to recover after being hospitalized for a recurring lung infection.

President Jacob Zuma said Thursday the 94-year-old Mandela is doing “very well,” telling the BBC that South Africans “must not panic.”

An earlier statement by the presidency said the former South African president is “responding positively” to treatment. It said he remains under treatment and observation.


Mandela was taken to an unidentified hospital late Wednesday. The Nobel laureate was hospitalized for three weeks in December with another lung infection and gallstones.

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#TaniaOnTheScene- In case you missed Michelle Obama’s #DNC speech last night, here it is, in full.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s moving remarks, as prepared for delivery and released by the Obama campaign, to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

"If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream."

Jay Says Yay.. Jay-Z Backs Obama on Gay Marriage

Not only does Jay-Z believe President Barack Obama's recent endorsement of gay marriage was “the right thing to do,” the 42-year-old rapper also says “You choose to love whoever you love … It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination, plain and simple.”

Watch Jay’s full CNN interview below:

http://cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2012/05/14/sot-jayz-discrimination.cnn.html