April 24th, 2009
05:05 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Friday, April 24, 2009

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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: Obama's approval rating high, but will it last?
Nearly two out of three Americans approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, according to an average of the most recent national polls.

CNN: Defense Department to release abuse photos, ACLU says
The Defense Department will release "a substantial number" of photographs showing abuse of prisoners at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

CNN: Holder buffeted by demands for memos, prosecutions
Attorney General Eric Holder was decidedly non-committal Thursday as he was buffeted on Capitol Hill by alternating demands to release — or not — more secret torture-related documents, and to prosecute — or not– Bush administration officials who wrote and approved those documents.

CNN: Senior McCain aide: The GOP is a 'shrinking entity'
John McCain’s general election campaign began as “the strategic equivalent of throwing a football through a tire at 50 yards” – and was doomed weeks before Election Day, his former chief strategist said Thursday.

CNN: The politics of 'torture' heating up in Washington
Who knew what, and when?

NYT: Ethics Panel Is Asked to Look Into Kennedy Leaks
The state’s top ethics panel is reviewing a request from three government watchdog groups to investigate the Paterson administration’s leaks of confidential information provided by Caroline Kennedy when she was seeking appointment to the United States Senate.

Washington Post: In Obama's Inner Circle, Debate Over Memos' Release Was Intense
As President Obama met with top advisers on the evening of April 15, he faced one of the sharpest policy divides of his young administration.

LA Times: U.S. plans to accept several Chinese Muslims from Guantanamo
The Obama administration is preparing to admit into the United States as many as seven Chinese Muslims who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in the first release of any of the detainees into this country, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The Economist: A new start in the Americas
Anti-Americanism was invented in Latin America as the expanding United States first swallowed a chunk of Mexico and then turned the Caribbean into an American lake, arousing nationalist resentment along the way. There have since been other, more co-operative strands in inter-American relations. But George Bush reminded many Latin Americans that what they like least about their northern neighbours is an attitude of overbearing arrogance. He thus offered an easy target for those, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who like to blame their countries’ problems on a foreign scapegoat.

Chicago Tribune: Barack Obama's barbershop may make cut on Style Network's 'Split Ends'
It's only a barbershop. But the Hyde Park Hair Salon is also the spot where Barack Obama used to get his hair cut, and because of that, it's been catapulted to fame.

US News & World Report: 10 Most Important Obama Faith Moments
From expanding the White House's faith-based office to opening his rallies with prayer, Barack Obama has embraced faith in a more visible way than any other president in recent memory. At the same time, Obama's actions on a variety of fronts, from abortion policy to accepting a speaking invitation at Notre Dame—a prestigious Roman Catholic university—have outraged religious conservatives. The confluence of these two phenomena have made for an explosion of "faith moments" in the first 100 days of Obama's presidency. Here are the 10 most important.

NYT: Gonzales Intervened on Lawmaker, Ex-Officials Say
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency concluded in late 2005 that a conversation picked up on a government wiretap was serious enough to require notifying Congressional leaders that Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California, could become enmeshed in an investigation into Israeli influence in Washington, former government officials said Thursday.

Roll Call: April Madness: Can GOP Win Back the House in 2010?
Cheerleading has its place, including on a high school or college basketball court. But not when it comes to political analysis.

The Weekly Standard: Oh, The Changes We'll See
Barack Obama is unhappy with much that preceded his occupation of the White House, and not only his predecessors conduct of foreign policy, for which he is a serial apologizer. Pre-Obama domestic policy also displeases him: any prosperity the nation enjoyed, he says, was built on a foundation of sand. That won't happen again: the trillions of debt he is loading on the nation's books will enable us to erect our post-recession house on solid rock, he says. Our world will never be the same again.

NATIONAL
For the latest national news: www.CNN.com.

CNN: South Carolina blaze rages in Myrtle Beach area
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency Thursday for a coastal county where a wildfire has consumed thousands of acres and destroyed dozens of homes.

CNN: FBI investigating finances of man accused of killing family, self
The FBI has begun interviewing clients of deceased Garden City, New York, lawyer William Parente as part of an investigation into his financial dealings, according to FBI spokesman James Margolin.

CNN: Dane Cook: Half brother in jail after 'terrible betrayal'
Comedian Dane Cook took a somber tone and described a sense of "terrible betrayal" in discussing the recent arrest of his half brother, who is accused of embezzling millions from him.

CNN: Quadriplegic child found dead in storage facility
Michigan authorities are investigating whether foul play led to the death of a 9-year-old quadriplegic girl whose body was found inside a public storage facility.

NYT: To Save Money, States Turn to Furloughs
Licenses for same-sex marriages were supposed be issued in Iowa starting this Friday. But because of a crimped state budget, court employees will be on mandatory furlough that day and the courts will be closed. Gay couples cannot start filing for their licenses until Monday.

Washington Post: Auto Retirees Brace for Hardship
As the Obama administration prepares to send Chrysler into bankruptcy court, with General Motors possibly to follow, one of the biggest losers may be the automakers' current and future retirees, a group of nearly 1 million people who could see their pensions and health-care funds slashed by tens of billions of dollars.

WSJ: Rising Costs Kick Price of Trusty Tin Can

The global recession is easing many costs for food and consumer-goods companies. Yet one simple but crucial product is soaring in price: the tin can.

Washington Post Op-Ed: Getting Real on Wind and Solar
Why are we ignoring things we know? We know that the sun doesn't always shine and that the wind doesn't always blow. That means that solar cells and wind energy systems don't always provide electric power. Nevertheless, solar and wind energy seem to have captured the public's support as potentially being the primary or total answer to our electric power needs.

Chicago Tribune: Softball death: Chicago boy, 14, falls on ball and dies an hour later
Maurice Davenport loved sports. He organized pick-up games in his neighborhood and even promised his great-aunt he would take care of her by becoming an NFL player.

WSJ: Cuban-Americans Ponder What U.S. Should Do Next
With the gradual passing of the generation of Cubans who fled their country after former President Fidel Castro seized power, a near consensus is emerging here for the U.S. to ease its harsh policies toward the island, just 90 miles away.

LA Times: Secrecy of civil suit against Sharon Stone raises questions
After "Basic Instinct," what could Sharon Stone possibly have to hide? The details of a lawsuit filed against her by a former attorney, it seems.

Denver Post: Women making strides in 'green' companies
Women are making great strides in green jobs. They are shaping climate-change policies, nurturing fledgling clean-energy companies and putting up wind-power projects to serve communities.

NYT: Plight of Carmakers Could Upset All Pension Plans
Decisions that the government will make soon on the future of General Motors and Chrysler could accelerate the decline of traditional pension plans, which have sheltered generations of workers from an impoverished old age.

USA Today: Digital IDs make clearing customs easier
For the first time, U.S. travelers flying overseas may avoid customs lines at a foreign airport by swiping a digital ID card.

SF Chronicle: Black officers' group to review BART police
The BART Board of Directors selected an organization Thursday to conduct a comprehensive review of the transit agency's police force.

Seattle Times: Veterans hope to rebuild their lives through Conservation Corps
At a subdivision in Southeast King County, nine people wield shovels, picks and machetes to hack down blackberry thickets that have overgrown a tiny wetland.

INTERNATIONAL
For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com/

CNN: Report: Reporters to be tried in N. Korea
North Korea has concluded an investigation of two detained American journalists, and they will stand trial, according to the nation's state-run news service, KCNA.

CNN: Thailand lifts state of emergency
The Thai government ended a nearly 2-week-old state of emergency Friday, following last week's widespread and sometimes violent political unrest.

CNN: ANC celebrate ahead of S. Africa vote tally
Votes were still being counted Thursday evening in South Africa's parliamentary elections, but the ruling African National Congress was already celebrating what party officials predicted will be a crushing victory.

CNN: Pakistan sends troops to area grabbed by Taliban
Pakistani authorities on Thursday deployed paramilitary troops to a district, only 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the capital, where Taliban militants appeared to be consolidating control after this week's landgrab.

NYT: Yemen Dispute Slows Closing of Guantánamo
The Obama administration’s effort to return the largest group of Guantánamo Bay detainees to Yemen, their home country, has stalled, creating a major new hurdle for the president’s plan to close the prison camp in Cuba by next January, American and Yemeni officials say.

Boston Globe: US fears Taliban gains in Pakistan
Top US officials are increasingly concerned about Pakistan's ability to confront the Taliban, who appear emboldened by the government's decision to cede a large part of its territory to the armed Islamic militants.

Telegraph UK: Budget 2009: Britain's debt will not be under control until 2032
“Debt freedom day”, when the national debt returns to sustainable levels, will not be reached until 2032 – another 23 years away, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com.

CNN: Time running out on Chrysler
Chrysler LLC faces the most difficult, and important, week in its 84-year history as the automaker tries to close three difficult deals in order to avoid bankruptcy.

CNN: Stocks stage late advance
Stocks staged a late-session rally at the end of a turbulent day, influenced by a weak housing market report, a mix of corporate results and the latest for the automakers.

WSJ: Morgan Stanley Eyes Big Trading Change
Morgan Stanley is considering changes to its biggest proprietary-trading desk, including spinning it out into a hedge fund or opening up the unit to outside investors, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Bloomberg: Bank of America’s Lewis May Face SEC Probe of Merrill Testimony
Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis may face scrutiny by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to disclose mounting losses at Merrill Lynch & Co. because of pressure from federal regulators to complete the takeover.

Financial Times: Microsoft growth hits buffers after 34 years
Microsoft’s revenues fell for the first time in its 34-year history in the opening months of this year, bringing an end to one of the most dramatic uninterrupted growth stories in modern business, according to figures released on Thursday.

In Case You Missed It
To watch the latest interviews and reporting: http://www.cnn.com/video.

CNN: Beyonce tells all
Larry talks with Beyonce Knowles about Pres. Obama, her new tour, and her new movie unlike anything she's ever done.

CNN: Entire town banned from hotel
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout talks with hotel owner Steve Donnelly about his decision to ban an entire town from checking in.

CNN: FBI-Muslim relations
The FBI and some Muslim groups are at odds after some agents may have infiltrated mosques. CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.

CNN: Restaurateur branching out
A Chicago restaurant owner is expanding despite a struggling economy. CNN's Ali Velshi reports.

CNN: 12-year-old star speaks to Larry
Hot on the heels of Susan Boyle, 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi took "Britain's Got Talent" by storm.


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