April 23rd, 2009
11:37 AM ET
9 years ago

Blago ready to eat bugs for money

Blagojevich is said he is still looking for TV deals.

Blagojevich is said he is still looking for TV deals.

(CNN) - Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Wednesday he is just trying to support his family - and if that means eating bugs on a television reality show, so be it.

"I have to support my children and my family and if that means going into the jungle and having to east some bugs, it's just a testament to how much I love my kids," he told NBC Thursday about the upcoming program, "I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Here!," in which he was hoping to play a part.

The upcoming show plans to pit 10 celebrities in a Costa Rican village for a month while they battle each other in competitions and put their survival skills to the test. It will air nightly and viewers will have the final say on which celebrities have to go home early.

In the interview with NBC, Blagojevich said he was approached to be a cast member and thought it was an "exciting opportunity."

"The idea of being in the jungle toughening it out and creating a little civil society with other people and seeing you can govern that little society is not that unlike when I was governor of the fifth-largest state in America," he said.

Blagojevich stood to collect about $80,000 every week he survived on the show, according to reports.

But U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said earlier this week he would not lift the travel restrictions imposed when the former governor was indicted on federal corruption charges.

Zagel, in a Tuesday morning hearing, called the former governor’s participation in the show "a bad idea," and suggested Blagojevich find another way to earn money.

Filed under: Uncategorized
April 23rd, 2009
10:22 AM ET
9 years ago

Levi Johnston: I have a lawyer

(CNN) – Teen father Levi Johnston dropped a bombshell into the middle of the escalating family feud between Johnston’s family and the family of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose eldest daughter is the mother of Johnston’s infant son.

In an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Johnston, his mother, and his sister acknowledged that they have a lawyer and are contemplating taking legal action to protect Johnston’s parental rights.

“That is what we’re going to have to do next,” Johnston’s mother, Sherry, said Wednesday on Larry King Live. “We were just hoping that we wouldn’t have to,” Sherry Johnston also said.

But “that is the step we’re going to have to go,” Johnston’s mother said later in the interview.

The teen father said that he and Bristol Palin, Gov’s Palin’s daughter, do not have a formal custody agreement regarding Tripp, their 4-month old son.

While the young father and his mother at times appeared hesitant about the prospect of taking formal legal action, Mercede Johnston, Levi Johnston’s younger sister, seemed anxious to get the brewing custody battle in front a judge.


April 23rd, 2009
09:43 AM ET
9 years ago

Dems put new heat on congressional Republicans

A new ad paints Republicans as 'the party of no.'

A new ad paints Republicans as 'the party of no.'

(CNN) - One of America's largest labor unions is teaming up with a prominent liberal interest group to target congressional Republicans' economic polices, calling the GOP the "party of no" in a new national ad buy coming only days before President Obama's first 100 days comes to a close.

In the new television commercial called "Timeline," the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Americans United portray target Republicans over opposition to Obama's stimulus package, the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and legislation seeking to allow women to sue for equal pay for equal work.

"There have always been those who said NO to progress. But in times of crisis, Americans have never taken NO for an answer," an announcer says in the 30 second spot.

The groups say the ad, described as a "mid five-figure buy," will begin airing Friday nationally for five days on MSBC and on all the cable news stations in the Washington, DC area.

The TV spot comes the same day the Democratic National Committee is launching a Web ad that declares, "After 100 days, the Republican approach is 'just say no.'"

This new DNC web video is the latest in a series that portray Republicans in Congress as a party devoid of new ideas.

Republicans disagree, and state that in saying no to President Obama and the Democrats in Congress, they are trying to save American taxpayers money and are attempting to rein in what they consider out of control government spending.

So what do Americans think?

Fifty-eight percent of those questioned in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Coporation national poll said that President Obama had a clear plan for solving the country's economic problems. That was more than double the 24 percent who felt Republicans had a clear prescription for fixing the country's economic mess. Three out of four polled said the GOP didn't have a clear plan.

The same survey also suggests that 62 percent felt President Obama is doing enough to cooperate with the other party, while only 37 percent thought Republicans were doing enough to reach out to the other side.

Filed under: Republicans
April 23rd, 2009
07:56 AM ET
9 years ago

Report: Rice, Cheney endorsed use of waterboarding

Top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding as early as 2002.

Top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding as early as 2002.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique, as early as 2002, a Senate intelligence report shows.

On July 17, 2002, Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and then-national security adviser, said the CIA could proceed with "alternative interrogation methods," including waterboarding, when questioning suspected al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah.

The decision was contingent on the Justice Department determining its legality. A week later, the attorney general had determined the "proposed interrogation techniques were lawful," the report says.

Read the full report here [PDF]

The same techniques also were used in the interrogations of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri - the first person charged in the United States in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors - and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - thought to be the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.


Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Dick Cheney
April 23rd, 2009
05:11 AM ET
9 years ago

Woman who pleaded to Obama faces homelessness again

(CNN) - The homeless Florida woman who made a tearful plea for help from President Barack Obama earlier this year is still jobless and might be homeless again soon.

Henrietta Hughes caught the nation's attention in February when she cried for help during one of Obama's town hall meetings.

After her plea, Hughes was given a free home to live in temporarily. But she is still struggling to find a job and might soon lose that home, CNN television affiliate WINK reported Thursday.

Hughes, who is in her 60s, now faithfully goes to an employment center in Fort Myers in hopes of finding a job.

"It's almost our second home," Hughes told WINK.

She and her son have taken a computer class at the center to help land work. Hughes said she has applied for as many jobs as possible but has struck out. Her son has had no luck either.

Now Hughes says she feels time is running out. The home she lives in was donated by the wife of a Florida lawmaker. Once the house sells, Hughes will have to leave.

Hughes worries that she could end up living in her car again.


Filed under: President Obama
April 23rd, 2009
05:01 AM ET
9 years ago

Clinton: Dealing with climate change like trying to lose weight

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unusual comparison Wednesday during remarks that celebrated Earth Day.

"You know, oftentimes when you face such an overwhelming challenge as global climate change is, it can be somewhat daunting," Clinton said. "It's kind of like trying to lose weight - which I know something about. Where you think, you know, 'Oh, I only have to lose X number of pounds.' But it can seem like such a faraway goal."

Clinton observed that the State Department was "mixing messages" by using candy to entice employees to visit exhibits showcasing the agency's energy-saving projects.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
April 23rd, 2009
04:35 AM ET
9 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Thursday, April 23, 2009


The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.

CNN: Pelosi now says she was told Harman was picked up on wiretap
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she had been informed that Rep. Jane Harman had been picked up on a wiretap — after Tuesday telling reporters she didn't know.

CNN: Obama misreads Cuban offer, Fidel Castro says
President Obama misinterpreted Cuban President Raúl Castro's offer to start talks with the United States, Castro's brother Fidel said Wednesday, appearing to dismiss the U.S. leader's call for Cuba to release political prisoners.

CNN: FEMA to remain within DHS, nominee says
The man tapped to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency says the agency will remain under the Department of Homeland Security. But it was not immediately clear if nominee Craig Fugate was representing only his personal opinion or administration policy.

CNN: Obama announces plan to lease federal waters for clean energy
President Obama marked Earth Day Wednesday by announcing a new initiative to lease federal waters for the purpose of generating electricity from wind and ocean currents.

NYT: U.S. May Fill Afghan Civilian Posts With Military Personnel
The Obama administration is finding that it must turn to military personnel to fill hundreds of posts in Afghanistan that had been intended for civilian experts, senior officials said Wednesday.

Washington Post: Probe Into Auto Adviser's Firm Expands
Government officials are expanding their investigation of Quadrangle, the private-equity firm founded by the Obama administration's lead auto negotiator, as new details emerge about an alleged kickback scheme involving the New York state pension fund.

WSJ: Banks Get New Offer for Debt in Chrysler
The U.S. Treasury, in an escalating back-and-forth that may determine whether Chrysler LLC avoids liquidation, has quickly responded to Chrysler lenders that rejected an earlier Treasury bid to slash the car maker's debt.


Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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