Archives for April 2009

Just how well (or not) is President Obama Doing?

Copyright S. Christopher 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Michelle & Barack Obama

By: Rachel Steinman, guest blogger

Last week, I was questioned in my Legislative Politics class whether I thought President Barack Obama was doing a good job or not. 


After a night of celebrating my own election for Model UN, I could not think up a quick enough response to my professor’s question. 

I honestly did not have a formal opinion on how well or not President Obama was doing since his inauguration. 

Of course the initial couple of weeks after the swearing in, I was elated to see the President reversing many of the controversial executive orders that Former President George W. Bush implemented.

 I was also impressed in his Address to the Union back in February.

Then there were the personal articles that describe how the Obama family was settling into their new home and how Obama runs his administration.

Being a girly girl as it is, I also loved the stories about Sasha and Malia’s scavenger hunt in the White House and meeting the Jonas Brothers or finding out what First Lady Michelle Obama is wearing next (by the way Michelle, excellent choices in Europe, you looked FANTASTIC!)

However back to the original point: How would I grade President Obama’s job thus far.  The answer is simple he is doing just fine. 

Obama ran on a very heavy and lofty platform and he is taking it one day at a time. 

Not even Superman could fix the economy, restore America’s persona abroad, increase job employment, get the troops out of Iraq, deal with the situation in Latin America, and the rest of the many problems the United States President has to deal with in recent history. 

So far, President Obama has been able to push a massive economic stimulus package through Congress and on Tuesday report to the American people that the “first glimmers of hope” are coming through.

 Also on April 12, General Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq he believes that U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. 

So for a President that is just about to reach one hundred days in office, Obama is heading in the direction to be this century’s Superman.


Rachel Steinman is currently a International Relations and History major, with a minor in Art History, at the University of Florida. She is the 2009-10 UF Model United Nations president and she hopes to enter law school in fall 2009.



Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved. 

The Bogus “American Dream:” Higher Education Loans


Copyright LadyB. All Rights Reserved 2009.

By: Anuradha Pandey, guest blogger

One of the steps to attaining the American Dream of economic prosperity is getting a college education.

However, our society is so hypocritical that in order to reach the point on the ladder, that supposedly allows you to get a decently paying job, you have to take on massive amounts of debt.

Then you are forced to pay it off at a predatory interest rate before you can actually accumulate any wealth.

Many college graduates leave school with a mortgage before they even own a house.

It is appalling that our government does not find this the least bit inexcusable.

If you’re lucky, the tuition at your university is low enough that you only have to take on federal loans.

Most students aren’t that lucky and have to turn to private lenders who have made sure that student loan legislation that actually protects students doesn’t make it through Congress.

Prior to the credit crisis, Sallie Mae’s stock skyrocketed and its executives were routinely among the highest paid in the country.

Sallie Mae has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress in the last fifteen years.

In 1997, the Higher Education Act was amended under pressure from student loan companies to make defaulted student loans the most lucrative and easiest type of debt to collect.

The amendments allowed for huge penalties to be attached to defaulted debt, removed bankruptcy protection for students, allowed for wage garnishments, tax garnishment, social security garnishment, termination from employment, and withholding of professional certifications, among other draconian punitive measures.

In some cases, student loan defaulters have committed suicide after sustained mental harassment from debt collectors.

Where is the outrage?

According to a report released on April 9, 2002 entitled Too Small to Help: The Plight of Financially Distressed Student Loan Borrowers, while the lenders who made predatory student loans are potentially eligible for the government’s TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility) and TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailouts, student borrowers are deemed “too small to help.”

President Obama claims that a college education should be available to all Americans, but so far in the chaos that is the bank bailouts and the drama of “populist” outrage, neither the media, Obama nor the Democrats in Congress have said anything about helping the people who are supposed to be this country’s future.

The fact that we first have to bury ourselves in massive amounts of debt to have a chance at a decent job is yet another facet of the farcical American Dream that we are told about our entire lives.

The extortionist practices of higher education ensure that we have to become cogs in the machine when we graduate, and learning is no longer for learning’s sake.

We either become bloodsuckers or fall off society’s grid.

As much as I hate conspiracy theories, this is a case of the system making sure we fail.

Anuradha Pandey is a graduate student at the University of Florida. She has a B.A. in History, Religion and a minor in French from UF. Currently, she is a candidate for an M.A. in British Imperial History and hopes to pursue a PhD in the same field. In her spare time she is a political junkie


Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.




Your Smart Phone of Choice: #Blackberry , #iPhone , #Nokia ?

Smart phones are mobile phones that offer advanced capabilities — very similar to what you would find on your PC or laptop.
There is no specific industry standard for what is considered a smart phone, but there are some knacks that each carry:

  • operating systems
  • e-mail
  • Internet
  • e-book reading options
  • applications
  • built-in full keyboards
  • GPS
  • external USB and/or VGA connector
  • ample GB of space
  • typically 5.5+ pixel cameras
  • etc.

Basically, these phones are miniature computers you can hold in the palm of your hand.
With Nokia releasing their N97 in June 2009, and the fact, that everyone, besides me (yes, I’m so serious), owns a Smart Phone, I want to know which one you prefer and WHY?

Please vote below. 

In the “comments” section explain your choice of why you prefer a specific phone or why you do not.

If you voted “Other,” tell me why and which phone you prefer that is not listed above.

Sasha H. Muradali runs the Little Pink Book and SashaHalima PR. She has never owned a Smart Phone and is interested in finally make that purchase later this year. Your opinions in the matter would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

When PR is in need of PR

Last week, Smarta posted on their blog, “A Bad Lesson in PR from a PR Company,” about a PR agency in the UK that is in dire need of PR for itself. [Read more…]

Obama’s Beast Has Arrived in T&T

The BBC had it right when they said, The Beast looks like something out of a James Bond film.

Earlier today Barack Obama touched down on the Caribbean isle of Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas (April 17-19, 2009).

The focus for the President for the 5th Summit’s meet, is the reentry of Cuba.

The purpose of the Summit of the Americas is to bring together various Heads of State and government officials in the Western Hemisphere. They seek to develop solutions, share ideas and promote prosperity throughout the region.

The Little Pink Book obtained some exclusive pictures earlier of Obama’s Beast arriving in Piarco Airport.

Copyright Richard Teixeira. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Copyright Richard Teixeira. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Copyright Richard Teixeira. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Copyright Richard Teixeira. All Rights Reserved 2009.



Sasha H. Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ and SashaHalimaPR. 

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.


Inferi, Narcissa & Snape Oh My!

The 3rd trailer for the latest Harry Potter  film, “Year 6: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince,” just released and it’s looking pretty wicked.

Could this be the BEST Potter film to date? Or, are we being fooled and tempted with promises of delectable goodness, to a film rated PG?

I was under the impression the Potter films were supposed to get darker, just as the book series did?

  • July 15, 2009 cannot come soon enough!

April 25, 2009 UPDATE:
Director says, Potter is “actually about sex, potions, and rock ‘n’ roll.”

This film is a bit more sexualized than that. You know, in a way. We don’t see sex, but it’s kind of in there. And the relationships are a bit more complicated and romantic and convoluted. So we’re pushing into new emotional and kind of physical territory for Harry Potter.

It’s still a PG rating — what do you think?


Sasha H. Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ and SashaHalimaPR. 


Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

Twitter’s New Role in the World of Sports

By: Darren Heitner, guest blogger

Twitter is the new medium for athlete message distribution, because it allows athletes and their managers to broadcast their messages without any filtration.

Over the past few months, Twitter has seen substantial increases in its membership, coverage, and funding.  Most impressively, the social networking tool has seen large growth in the world of sports, an area that is often reluctant to embracing change.  As newspapers are folding and sports journalists are being laid off by the day, a new sports writer is emerging: the professional athlete.  With Twitter, guys like Shaq can talk directly to their fans without worrying that some writer is going to mis-quote them in an online or print piece.  The message is broadcast immediately and is more genuine.  Additionally, Twitter allows Shaq’s fans to respond to his Tweets.  It is a conversation instead of a one-way communication.

Many other athletes have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon lately.  One player has been reprimanded for Tweeting at half-time of an important game and an NBA owner was fined for Tweeting about a bad call by a referee.  Some teams hate the new technology, others like the Phoenix Suns, embrace it.  The Suns have practically every person in their organization on Twitter and have leveraged the service to gain more interaction with its fans and increase ticket sale drives.

Will Twitter put more sports journalists out of business?  How will PR managers control their athlete clients when all it takes is a text message from a phone to blast a message out to over 500,000 people?  These are some interesting questions to ponder.

Darren Heitner has more experience in the sports agent industry than most people that are more than twice his age. He has created the first sports agent blog on the internet,, which receives upwards of 5,000 unique visits per day from agents, athletes, media sources, and the general public.


 Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

Whipped By Lavender MAC Cosmetics and OPI Nails

Beautirati logo by Sasha H. Muradali. 2009 All Rights Reserved.

Copyright MAC Cosmetics. All Rights Reserved 2009.


Pink may be ‘the color’ of Spring 2009, but I’m convinced the fashion world is still reeling off of last winter’s lapis binge and are hanging onto lavender as a happy haven. 


It’s shown up on Fergie for MAC’s latest set of Viva Glam advertisements. Then, back-to-back, lavender lipsticks appeared in two separate campaigns: Cream Team (Lavender Whip) and Hello Kitty (Fashion Mews and Fast Friends).


Selling out quicker than most any other color from [Read more…]

You’ve got me feeling emotions

Let's Party Like it is 1773

Let's Party Like it is 1773

By: Stephanie Ruby, guest blogger

As a Democrat, I often watch the Republican Party in bewilderment.
O’Reilly’s yelling, Hanity’s crazy accusations and Limbaugh’s know it
all judgments seem to me, at least, crazy and part of fringe element in our public discourse.
So, why then are they so damn popular?
Today, April 15th, while you and I are paying our membership fee in to an organized society with roads and firefighters and police officers, the republicans will be hosting tea parties all across the nation to protest taxes.
Yes, taxes.
They are harkening back to the Boston Tea party which protested the tyranny of Britain’s taxation of the American people.
Because our current situation is much like the incredibly hard time of the late 1700’s.
My interest in the tea parties comes, mainly, from a point of reluctant admiration.
The Republican agenda right now is continually being drowned out by President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress.
Yet, the crazier they become…the more they say that President Obama is a socialist who will take away their guns, the more popular they become.
I’d like to think that reason is what dictates the choices that the general public makes.
So does the Democratic Party, which might be their problem.
What do you think is more effective?
Appealing to the rational or emotional side of people?


Stephanie Ruby is a lobbyist in Harrisburg, PA who has worked on multiple campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for the presidency. She helped organized the Women’s Caucus at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and she holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida with a concentration in Political Communication.


Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

Kumar Goes to the White House




By: Rachel Steinman, guest blogger

Normally, I promise to be more unbiased and demonstrate a professional demeanor when it comes to posting political blogs, but this week I am going through withdrawal of a particular actor that I have come to respect and “crush” on.  

Kal Penn is not your typical A-list actor like Angelina Jolie or Matt Damon.  Kal Penn is mostly known for his role as Kumar in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and its sequel Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, both not very highly regarded roles.  

But to judge him merely on these roles, you would have to judge many other notable actors for their first roles in Hollywood.  

Jennifer Aniston’s debut movie was in Leprechauns and Kevin Bacon played a narcissistic fraternity boy in Animal House.  

Kal Penn has proven himself that he can immerse himself into any role.

 Moviegoers got a taste of his dramatic chops in the independent film The Namesake.  

But this week, Kal took on his most challenging role yet, working for President Obama.

Taking on the position of associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Kal will be refraining from acting for the next four, possible eight years.  

While I will miss watching him on the silver screen, his work in the political arena will have a positive impact.  

More and more celebrities these days have taken on political causes to enhance publicity surrounding certain issues.  

With name recognition and a famous face, people are drawn to that cause.  

Take Angelina Jolie for instance on her role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.  Because of her role, not to mention numerous adoptions, world issues and UN work became a household name.  

With Kal Penn in the White House, there is no telling what that can do for public interest in DC politics.  

His role with the Office of Public Liaison will make Kal one of the major faces coming from the White House.  

Not only does he have the name recognition, but he also has the “cool” factor that teens and those in people in there 20s like.  

His celebrity status will help draw those who are not really into politics to become more interested in what is going on The Hill.  

He could help keep the momentum of youth involvement going outside of the election year.  

With an economic recession and a war being fought on two fronts, the youth of America need to have a vested interest in the politics.

So while I will miss my weekly dose of Kal Penn, I know he is doing bigger and greater things up in Washington DC.  

Who knows maybe he’ll become the next Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Rachel Steinman is currently a International Relations and History major, with a minor in Art History, at the University of Florida. She is the 2009-10 UF Model United Nations president and she hopes to enter law school in fall 2009.



Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.