May 8th, 2009
05:07 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: May 8, 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: Republicans rip Obama for insufficient budget cuts
Republican congressional leaders tore into President Obama's proposed 2010 budget Thursday, arguing that his spending cuts will do little to stem a rising tide of red ink.

CNN: Military procurement reform sweeps through Senate
The Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday to change the costly process of procuring weapons and equipment for the military, a budget reform pushed by President Obama.

CNN: CNN Political Ticker wins best political news blog
The CNN Political Ticker Thursday was named the best political news blog by Editor & Publisher and Media Week Magazines.

CNN Commentary: 5 reasons GOP will rebound
"It is important for us to have a strong Republican Party," Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tauntingly told a press conference on April 23. "And I hope that the next generation will take back the Republican Party for the Grand Old Party that it used to be."

CNN: Cheney: Mistake for GOP to 'moderate'
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is weighing into the heated internal debate over the future of the Republican Party, declaring it would be a mistake for the GOP to "moderate."

CNN: Palin pulls out of White House Correspondents' Dinner
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will miss a chance to chat up President Obama this weekend because she's cancelling plans to attend the White House Correspondents' dinner, but she's got a good excuse.

NYT: Elite Unit’s Problems Pose Test for Attorney General
A week after shutting down the criminal case against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska because it had been botched by prosecutors, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. delivered a pep talk to Justice Department lawyers.

Washington Post: Democrats Assail Obama's Hit List
President Obama's modest proposal to slice $17 billion from 121 government programs quickly ran into a buzz saw of opposition on Capitol Hill yesterday, as an array of Democratic lawmakers vowed to fight White House efforts to deprive their favorite initiatives of federal funds.

LA Times: Records suggest Pelosi, others were told of harsh interrogations
Congressional leaders were briefed repeatedly on the CIA's use of severe interrogation methods on Al Qaeda suspects, according to new information released by the Obama administration Thursday that appears to contradict the assertions of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

WSJ: U.S. to Appoint Top General to Kabul in Afghan Revamp
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to bolster the U.S. military leadership in Afghanistan by appointing a three-star general to Kabul, according to senior defense officials. The move underscores growing concern in the military over the course of the conflict and marks the first time since the seven-year war began that the U.S. will have two senior commanders there.

Boston Globe: Psychologists' e-mails stir interrogation issue
Newly public e-mails between psychologists involved in the Bush administration's controversial detention program have fueled a fierce debate over whether mental-health professionals should give advice on warfare, and whether the nation's largest psychology association tacitly blessed the government's use of abusive interrogations involving waterboarding and sleep deprivation.

The Weekly Standard: The U.K. and U.S. retreat to pre-Reagan-Thatcher economic policies
Thirty years ago this week, Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in the UK, promising a new future of growth and prosperity. She ushered in an era in which policymakers took for granted their role not as managers not of the economy, but as custodians of the conditions in which economic prosperity could occur. Shortly after her ascendancy to the top spot in British government, she was joined by Ronald Reagan in the United States, and the rest is history.

Bloomberg: Billionaire Donors Split With Obama on Law That May Hurt Hotels
Three Chicago billionaires who helped fund President Barack Obama’s election campaign are fighting legislation he backs that would make it easier for unions to organize hotels they own.

NYT: Souter’s Exit Opens Door for a More Influential Justice
A couple of days ago, Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations, asked constitutional law scholars for memorable quotations from Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court.

Financial Times: Obama keeps partners guessing on trade
During last year’s US presidential campaign Austan Goolsbee, then Barack Obama’s economic adviser, got into hot water when he told a Canadian diplomat not to pay too much attention to his candidate’s tough rhetoric on the North America Free Trade Agreement.

WSJ: Republicans and ObamaCare
Listen. That sound of silence? That's what's known as the united Republican response to President Barack Obama's drive to socialize health care.

LA Times: NASA's deep space missions may get new jolt of fuel
The Energy Department plans to restart its program of making radioactive fuel for NASA's deep space missions, the agency announced Thursday, a decision that came only hours after the National Research Council warned that the nation was fast running out of the fuel.

Washington Post: Obama Administration Is Bringing Nuclear Arms Control Back
In an Obama administration characterized by youth, they are a Cold War throwback, the aging arms-control experts who haggled with Soviet officials over nuclear weapons and testing.

NYT: The President’s Name Trips Up a Would-Be Voice of the News
The Amazon Kindle, an electronic reader, has been lavished with praise by hopeful newspaper and book executives who say they believe it has the potential to do for newspapers and books what the iPod did for music.

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

CNN: Drew Peterson charged with murder, authorities say
Drew Peterson, the former police sergeant who authorities call the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has been indicted on murder charges related to his third wife, Kathleen Savio, the Illinois state attorney's office said.

CNN: Wesleyan shooting suspect in custody
The suspect in the shooting of a Wesleyan University student will be arraigned Friday morning after surrendering to police without incident Thursday evening in neighboring Meriden, authorities said.

CNN: $250 checks going to millions of seniors Thursday
Grandparents, retirees and struggling seniors have waited months for this.

CNN: Nine people hurt in gas explosion in Maryland strip mall
Eight firefighters and a gas employee were injured Thursday when a gas leak at a strip mall exploded in Forestville, Maryland, officials from the Prince Georges County Fire Department said.

Forbes: Part-Time Nation
When the Labor Department releases monthly jobless data Friday morning, investors will focus on the non-farm payroll figure, and for good reason. Though lots of people lost jobs in April, it's widely expected those losses were fewer than the month before, which themselves were fewer than losses at the start of the year.

Oprah.com: Why right-brainers will rule this century
Your left brain is logical, linear, by-the-numbers; the right side is creative, artistic, empathetic. Oprah Winfrey talks with Daniel Pink about his groundbreaking book, "A Whole New Mind", and explores how right-brain thinkers are wired for 21st-century success.

USA Today: Recession, patriotism boost National Guard numbers
The Army National Guard witnessed a recruiting surge in small-town Waupaca, Wis., when the Zalusky sisters decided to enlist.

USA Today: National Guard to cut forces after recruiting creates surplus
As unemployment soars, a combination of cash incentives and aggressive recruiting has left the Army National Guard with a surplus of soldiers, and now it plans to trim its force, according to government documents and interviews with Guard officials.

NYT: Ready or Not, Katrina Victims Lose Temporary Housing
Earnest Hammond, a retired truck driver, did not get any of the money that went to aid property owners after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

NYT: What Happens to the American Dream in a Recession?
Given the battered economy, increasing joblessness and collapse of the housing market, what is the state of the American dream?

Washington Post: Hackers Want Millions For Data on Prescriptions
The FBI and Virginia State Police are searching for hackers who demanded that the state pay them a $10 million ransom by Thursday for the return of millions of personal pharmaceutical records they say they stole from the state's prescription drug database.

WSJ: New Cash-Flow Crunch on California's Horizon
California will face another cash-flow crisis as early as this summer if it doesn't find budget fixes or borrow an unprecedented amount of short-term funds, according to a report released Thursday.

LA Times: Dodgers' Manny Ramirez suspended 50 games after failing drug test
There was a lectern set up behind home plate at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, just as it was nine months ago, when Manny Ramirez was ceremoniously introduced to Los Angeles.

Boston Globe: Globe publisher sees future for paper
Boston Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley said yesterday that the threatened shutdown of the newspaper has been "extraordinarily difficult" for readers, advertisers, employees, and him, but the outpouring from the community has underscored the importance of restoring the Globe to financial health.

Denver Post: Nonprofit aims to cut citizens' fat
A nonprofit backed by $34.1 million aims to reverse weight gain and increase fitness among Colorado residents over the next five years.

McClatchy: Coal ash is damaging water, health in 34 states, groups say
People in 34 states who live near 210 coal ash lagoons or landfills with inadequate lining have a higher risk of cancer and other diseases from contaminants in their drinking water, two environmental groups reported on Thursday.

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

CNN: Malaysia arrests terrorism manhunt target
A terrorism suspect - whose 2008 escape from Singapore launched a global manhunt - has been arrested in Malaysia, according to authorities there.

CNN: Jailed Briton could be transferred from Laos to UK if convicted
A pregnant British woman jailed in Laos could be transferred to Britain to serve out her sentence if she is convicted under an agreement signed Thursday between UK and Laotian officials.

CNN: Pope to embark on Mideast tour
Pope Benedict XVI will leave for a weeklong tour of the Middle East Friday morning, the first papal visit to some of Christianity's most holy places since Pope John Paul II made the pilgrimage in 2000.

CNN: At least 31 dead, 50,000 homeless in Brazil flooding
Rain-induced flooding over large parts of Brazil have killed at least 31 people and left another 500,000 homeless, the government's civil defense agency said Thursday.

WSJ: Chávez Moves to Seize Oil Contractors' Assets
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez said Thursday his government will seize the local assets of some international oil-service companies starting Friday - a response to threats by several firms to stop their work in Venezuela because of nonpayment of bills owed by state-run oil giant Petróleos de Venezuela SA.

Jerusalem Post: US denies Israel access to F-35 computer
A refusal by the United States to allow Israel to repair computer systems in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at the heart of disagreements between the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon that have been holding up an official Israeli order for the fifth-generation fighter jet.

LA Times: Jordan first stop on pope's Holy Land visit
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Jordan today on a three-day pilgrimage to bless a tiny Catholic population and improve the Vatican's relations with a Muslim world greeting him with aloofness, anger and a slight hope that he may advance peace in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

LA Times: In Afghanistan conflict, Pentagon considers structural changes
The Obama administration's emphasis on the war in Afghanistan, including an influx of additional troops, has exposed weaknesses in U.S. military planning that top officers are scrambling to address.

Bloomberg: Medvedev Steps From Putin Shadow to Share Foreign-Affairs Power

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev took office a year ago dogged by perceptions he was a placeholder for predecessor Vladimir Putin. He marks his first anniversary today having carved out some zones of influence within Putin’s power structure.

Al Jazeera: Banks give Zimbabwe cash lifeline
Zimbabwe has secured nearly $430m in credit from two African banks as the country's unity government struggles to rescue an economy ravaged by years of mismanagement, political turmoil and hyperinflation.

Times of London: Ministers under fire over lavish expenses
Gordon Brown came under renewed pressure after it emerged last night that more than half the Cabinet face embarrassment over expense claims.

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

CNN: Stress tests: Banks need $75 billion
Ten of the nation's 19 largest banks will need to raise a total of $74.6 billion in capital, federal officials announced Thursday, bringing an end to relentless speculation about how much more money the nation's leading banks would need to withstand the recession.

CNN: NY Fed chair quits over Goldman role
The chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York resigned Thursday, days after coming under attack for his continuing involvement in a company regulated by the institution.

CNN: What's on Obama's chopping block
Even on the campaign trail last year, President Obama pledged to cull waste from the budget. On Thursday, he pulled back the curtain on his plans.

NYT: U.S. Says Ailing Banks Need $75 Billion
After subjecting the nation’s biggest banks to the most public scrutiny in decades, federal regulators ordered 10 of them on Thursday to raise a total of $75 billion in extra capital and gave the rest a clean bill of health.

Bloomberg: Geithner Bets U.S. Can Avoid Japan Trap Through Bank Earnings
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is betting that U.S. banks can do something their Japanese counterparts were unable to accomplish in that country’s “lost decade” of the 1990s: earn their way out of trouble.

NYT: GMAC, Among the Weakest, Seems in Line for a Bailout
It looks as if one more bank needs a bailout. And, four months ago, this bank was not even a bank.

Washington Post: Under Restructuring, GM To Build More Cars Overseas
The U.S. government is pouring billions into General Motors in hopes of reviving the domestic economy, but when the automaker completes its restructuring plan, many of the company's new jobs will be filled by workers overseas. According to an outline the company has been sharing privately with Washington legislators, the number of cars that GM sells in the United States and builds in Mexico, China and South Korea will roughly double.

The Economist: The greater of two evils
An unusually satirical country and western crooner, has captured monetary confusion better than anyone else. “Inflation or deflation,” he warbles, “tell me if you can: will we become Zimbabwe or will we be Japan?”

NYT: U.S. Drops Research Into Fuel Cells for Cars
Cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells, once hailed by President George W. Bush as a pollution-free solution for reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, will not be practical over the next 10 to 20 years, the energy secretary said Thursday, and the government will cut off funds for the vehicles’ development.

Washington Post: U.S. to Wind Down Help for Some Banks
The government signaled yesterday that its financial rescue efforts may have reached their high-water mark, announcing that the much-anticipated "stress tests" of 19 large banks showed that only one, GMAC, was likely to need additional taxpayer aid and that it would begin to unwind assistance for the healthiest firms.

WSJ: April Store Sales Seed Recovery Hopes
Warm weather, Easter sales and tax rebates convinced cost-conscious shoppers to open their wallets in April, propelling retail sales to the biggest monthly gain since August.

The Statesman: DJ to double investment in India
Dow Jones has major expansion plans for India and will double its investment in its Indian operation in each of the next two years, the company said today.


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