All posts by Tasha Giuda

University of Miami undergraduate from NH, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. Tasha is a singer, sorority girl, and UM Women's Club Soccer player who also works on UMTV (Univ. of Miami Television).

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Bob Woodruff Foundation Charity Event: A Night of Patriotism and Celebs in DC

More than 700 guests attended the fourth annual Bob Woodruff Foundation charity event “Stand Up for Heroes” on June 16. For the first time, the event was held right here in our nation’s capitol.

Comedian Jon Stewart and Grammy-Award winning band Train performed live from the Reagan Building, honoring America’s injured military members and their families.

The true celebrities of the night were the courageous service members themselves, many of whom bear physical reminders of the sacrifice endured while serving our country. Adorned with purple hearts on their chests and beaming spouses on their arms, countless war veterans were in attendance. Despite the charity’s serious nature, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart helped lighten the mood by reminding veterans why they should be thankful. “Even in their darkest times, remember, at least they don’t have blurry pictures of their genitals spread around the Internet,” Stewart joked, referring to the recent Weinergate scandal.

The star-studded event included Washington’s most powerful and influential leaders, from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen.  Prominent media members ranged from PBS’s Judy Woodruff, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, to Time Magazine’s Fareed Zakaria . Bob Woodruff himself hosted the event, along with his wife Lee.

The couple is a living testament of the difficulties in re-adjusting to normal life post-war injury.  Woodruff’s 2006 brain damage, caused by a bomb explosion while reporting for ABC News in Iraq, posed tremendous challenges for their family.  Despite physical and mental limitations, Woodruff made a remarkable recovery, evident as he and his wife of twenty-three years confidently stood before Thursday night’s packed audience.  “We witnessed the care our wounded were getting through the ICU, amazed by the dedication surrounding our troops, but this devotion can only go so far as the allotted resources allow. This is the need, this is the guiding force behind us starting this foundation, which is the reason why all of you are here, thank you so much,” Woodruff said.

It is this vital support for wounded war veterans and their families that simultaneously drives and unites the foundation’s members. Just ask Jon Stewart, who made sure to personally meet and take pictures with each service member individually at the event’s conclusion.  Throngs of admirers and media swarmed the comedian, asking for pictures and interviews. “Yes, sure, just let me go meet this Marine over here first,” Stewart replied.

Tasha Giuda

University of Miami undergraduate from NH, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. Tasha is a singer, sorority girl, and UM Women's Club Soccer player who also works on UMTV (Univ. of Miami Television).

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CA Couple Attempt to Sell Baby

walmart.jpgNo need to contact an adoption agency: couples seeking to expand their family need only visit Salinas, CA, where a couple has been charged with trying to sell their 6-month-old baby outside a Walmart.

According to authorities, 38-year-old Patrick Fousek approached two women outside a Walmart on Tuesday and asked if they were interested in purchasing his child for $25. As most sane people would, both women thought the man was joking. However, the doting dad’s growing persistence soon prompted the ladies to notify police.

Fousek and the child’s mother, 20-year-old Samantha Tomasini, were arrested Wednesday at 1 a.m. at their home. Shockingly, police say the couple was high on methamphetamine. The baby was taken by Child Protective Services, who were reportedly told by Tomasini that she had breast-fed the infant while under the influence. This is a couple who clearly holds their child’s welfare in the highest regard. Both parents are facing charges of child endangerment, and are being arraigned today. The nation antsily awaits the fate of these recession-istas who proudly took the former Walmart slogan “Always Low Prices” to heart.

Tasha Giuda

University of Miami undergraduate from NH, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. Tasha is a singer, sorority girl, and UM Women's Club Soccer player who also works on UMTV (Univ. of Miami Television).

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Utah Prisoner’s Execution: Barbaric?

ronnie_lee_gardnerAs death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner was being strapped into the Utah State Prison’s execution chair, family members held vigil outside. Gardner would not die by lethal injection or electrocution, however, he would instead be put to death by a .30-caliber Winchester rifle.

The Friday morning death of this convicted killer was the first execution by firing squad in the United States in fourteen years. How is this possible? Although Utah adopted lethal injection as the default execution method in 2004, Gardner was still able to choose the firing squad option because he was sentenced to death before the law changed. The executioners were all anonymous, certified police officers who volunteered to perform this controversial task. Each stood about 25 feet from Gardner behind a wall cut with a gunport, with a set of .30-caliber Winchester rifles aimed at a white target pinned over Gardner’s chest. One rifle was loaded with a blank, leaving the gunman who fired the fatal shot unknown.

Not surprisingly, this rare event has garnered considerable controversy. CBS affiliate reporter Fields Moseley, an eyewitness, stated at a post-execution press conference that he felt the shooting death was very violent and not at all clinical. Really?

According to Associated Press reporter Jennifer Dobner, “There was no blood splattered across the white cinder block wall at the Utah State Prison. No audible sounds from the condemned. I couldn’t see his eyes. I never saw the guns and didn’t hear the countdown to the trigger-pull.” Most of the additional eye witnesses from various news agencies seem to agree with Dobner’s description, even calling the scene nearly sanitary. So why the uproar? After all, Gardner died at the hands of a gun, the same weapon he used to murder attorney Michael Burdell during a 1985 failed escape attempt at a Salt Lake City courthouse. Coincidentally, Gardner was at the court facing a murder charge for the shooting death of a bartender one year prior. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Gardner freely chose to die by firing squad. The decision was not mandatory or forced; it is a case of one death row prisoner voluntarily choosing to end his life at the hands of gunmen.

Gardner told his lawyer that he made his decision because he preferred it, not to gain attention towards his case nor to embarrass the state of Utah.
Really?

On Wednesday, he asked to speak to CNN’s “Larry King Live.” Producers expressed interest in an interview; ultimately, however, Gardner was unavailable to the media due to Department of Corrections policy.

Additionally, according to MSNBC, Gardner tried to delay the execution when the Supreme Court denied multiple appeals. Days before his execution, he spoke of his desire to start a 160-acre organic farm and program for at-risk youth.

The man who just sparked a capital punishment controversy spent his last day sleeping, reading the novel “Divine Justice” (hmm…), watching the Lord of the Rings, and meeting with attorneys and Mormon bishop. He enjoyed his last meal two days prior to his execution- which included steak, lobster tail, and apple pie. Utah Prison spokesmen report he was relaxed; obviously, he knew what he was getting himself into and was content with his decision.

Most death row inmates are not given a choice of how to die. So why all the fuss?

Tasha Giuda

University of Miami undergraduate from NH, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. Tasha is a singer, sorority girl, and UM Women's Club Soccer player who also works on UMTV (Univ. of Miami Television).

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Miami Madness: Super Bowl XLIV

super_bowl_miamiThis year’s Super Bowl received a Miami makeover: South Beach, FL was invaded by throngs of Saints and Colts fans ready to party.

The chaotic Ocean Boulevard hosted a variety of sponsors and giveaways, endless outdoor restaurant options, and week-long live television broadcasts and performances along the beach. The Pepsi Stage presented hot artists such as Rihanna, Pitbull, and Timbaland, while viewers of the CBS Early Show woke up to live performances by Miami native Gloria Estefan, teen hearththrob Justin Bieber (whom we can thank for the largest group of screaming little girls in Super Bowl history), and country singer Winonna Judd.

My internship with CBS gave me an inside look into this amazing week of events: as a production assistant, I transported and readied models for a live rooftop fashion show at the Clevelander Hotel, helped build sets on South Beach in the pitch-black morning hours(intense ocean winds, sand, and 4 hours of sleep do not mix), and much more.

I had not fully realized before this week how much a victory for the Saints would mean for their home city- I honestly didn’t really care who won because the Patriots weren’t in it! (Guess we’re just spoiled..)

Then while I was in the midst of all the chaos and pre-Superbowl event planning, it was decided I’d cheer for the Saints and my future husband Reggie Bush (sorry Kim). The significance of the Saints victory truly sank in at the game’s conclusion, however. This city, devastated seemingly beyond repair, has just received an amazing honor and boost in morale that will hopefully catalyze a new optimistic spirit within New Orleans. Perhaps excluding Colts fans, our entire country should recognize and celebrate this great achievement for New Orleans, and continue to help towards their reconstruction efforts.

Tasha Giuda

University of Miami undergraduate from NH, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. Tasha is a singer, sorority girl, and UM Women's Club Soccer player who also works on UMTV (Univ. of Miami Television).

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