Daily Dispatches
First lady Michelle Obama
Associated Press/Photo by Evan Vucci
First lady Michelle Obama

Midday Roundup: Michelle Obama drops diplomacy at Democratic fundraiser

Newsworthy

It’s you or me, sister. First Lady Michelle Obama faced down a heckler during a Democratic fundraiser on Tuesday. The first lady was about half way through her 20 minute remarks when a gay activist interrupted to chastise her for her husband’s lack of action on anti-discrimination rules for federal contractors. Rather than wait for the woman to finish, or be escorted out, as her husband has done in the past when faced with angry protesters, the first lady stepped away from the podium and approached the activist. “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” she said. But apparently she didn’t do too badly. After telling the audience they could either listen to her or to the heckler, the audience booed the other woman out of the room. GetEqual, a group that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, later claimed the activist as one of their own.

Proof positive? French officials said on Tuesday they had indisputable proof that the sarin nerve agent has been used in Syria. Both sides have accused the other of using the gas, but France insists President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are to blame. The British Foreign Office said today it found the presence of sarin in several samples from Syria, but it stopped short of saying who deployed it. Rebel forces insist the Syrian army is using the chemical weapon against them. But Assad claims the rebels fired first. French news reports say journalists from the newspaper Le Monde smuggled out of Syria the samples that tested positive for sarin. They items came from Jobar, just inside central Damascus, and Saraqib, near the northern city of Idlib.

First phone call. Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has recovered enough from his wounds to talk to his parents for the first time since the April shootout with police and day-long manhunt that ended in his capture. Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old’s mother, played a recording of the call for a CNN reporter. When she asks if he’s in pain, the teen responds, “No, of course not. I’m already eating and have been for a long time. They are giving me rice and chicken now. Everything’s fine.” Except that he will soon face a host of charges, including murder, for his alleged role in the bombing that killed three and injured more than 200. Dzhokhar’s brother Tamerlan, 26, died during the gunfight with police. Authorities believe Tamerlan may have been the mastermind behind the attack. Prosecutors have not said what they plan to charge Dzhokhar with, or when the charges will be announced.

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Special appeal. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resisting pleas from Republican lawmakers and the family of a dying 10-year-old girl to modify the nation’s transplant rules to allow the child to get a new pair of lungs. If Sarah Murnaghan doesn’t get a transplant, she will die in a few months. She is on the pediatric waiting list, but children’s organs are rare. Her doctors say she could take a pair of adult lungs, but the transplant list rules prevent children under 12 from being classified as adults. Her parents say they’re not asking for a special exception but want Sebelius to lower the age for all transplant candidates to 10. During a House hearing Tuesday, Sebelius called the situation “agonizing” and said she had talked to the girl’s mother. But picking and choosing transplant victims wasn’t her place, she said: “I can’t imagine anything worse than one individual getting to pick who lives and who dies.”

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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