June 4th, 2009
05:21 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: June 04, 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 looks to reach the soul of the Muslim world
Winning the hearts and minds of a majority of people is a nearly impossible feat, especially when you're a politician.

CNN: What will Obama tell Muslim world? Experts make predictions
President Obama went to Notre Dame, a Catholic university, to do the abortion speech, and to the National Archives to do the Guantanamo speech, so James Zogby hopes when Obama gets to Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday, he'll do the Middle East speech.

CNN: Obama to express need for democracy, human rights
President Obama wants to form positive partnerships with Muslim nations to address issues "that matter to people's lives" such as economic development, education, health, science and technology, an administration spokesman said Wednesday.

CNN: Obama using Facebook, texting to push Muslim speech
Some of the new media tools that helped propel President Obama to the White House are going to get their first test run on the international stage Thursday, when he delivers a long-awaited speech to the Muslim world.

CNN: Sotomayor backers cite 1994 speech
Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor Wednesday circulated a speech she made in 1994 that includes similar remarks to her 2001 "wise Latina" comments, which have drawn fire from conservatives as racially insensitive.

CNN: Limbaugh ready to support Sotomayor?
A week after calling Sonia Sotomayor a "racist" in reference to her 2001 "wise Latina" remarks, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday he's now open to supporting President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

CNN: NH governor signs same-sex marriage into law
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed same-sex marriage into law Wednesday night. The bill, which passed the House 198-176 on Wednesday, also was approved by the state Senate 14-10.

CNN: House votes to force ethics committee to report whether it's investigating PMA
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to force the House ethics committee to report whether or not it is investigating any misconduct by House members relating to the PMA Group, a lobbying firm that secured millions of dollars in earmarks for its clients.

NYT: Telecoms Win Dismissal of Wiretap Suits
A federal judge on Wednesday threw out more than three dozen lawsuits claiming that the nation’s major telecommunications companies had illegally assisted in the wiretapping without warrants program approved by President George W. Bush after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Washington Post: SEC Chief Strives To Rebuild Regulator
On the morning of Feb. 4, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, sat in a confidential meeting reviewing financial crime cases when an assistant handed her a note. Schapiro read it and then asked everyone in the room to leave, except for her fellow commissioners and their aides.

Washington Post: Gritty First Job Shaped Nominee
Former New York police detective Chris Montanino remembers his frustration nearly three decades ago, when he was ready to go after child-porn distributors but couldn't find a prosecutor who would take his case seriously.

Washington Post: Obama Seeks More Aid For Displaced Pakistanis
President Obama has asked Congress for an additional $200 million in emergency aid for 3 million Pakistanis displaced by their government's ongoing military offensive against Taliban extremists, U.S. envoy Richard C. Holbrooke said Wednesday.

Wall Street Journal: House Lifts Lid On Its Expenses
The House will begin posting representatives' expense reports online, giving the public easy access to records of the millions of dollars lawmakers spend on staff and items such as catering, cars, computers and TVs.

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

CNN: New Orleans restaurants struggle to stay afloat
Patrons at Mat and Naddie's restaurant in New Orleans may start with mouth-watering shrimp and crawfish croquettes. Or if they are feeling a tad more adventurous, they might try the artichoke, sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic cheesecake.

CNN: Same-sex couples fight for immigration rights
Jared was forced to choose between a dying father and the love of his life.

CNN: Topless coffee shop burns down; official says it was arson
In the end, a coffee shop in Vassalboro, Maine, that gained national attention for its topless waiters and waitresses simply proved too hot - the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop burned to the ground early Wednesday morning.

CNN: Victims allege years of sexual misconduct by federal judge
He called himself the Lion King, the emperor of Galveston, and more simply, "the government."

CNN: Dealership has less than a week to sell all its cars
The clock is ticking for Ray O'Bryhim: he has less than a week to sell his last 40 cars.

NYT: Slump Pushing Cost of Drugs Out of Reach
A year or so ago, when customers buttonholed the pharmacists at Almand’s Drug Store here the questions were invariably about dosing or side effects. These days, they are almost always about cost.

NYT: Cleared of Terror Charges, a Target for Deportation
Youssef Samir Megahed toyed with a piece of lint on the other side of the bulletproof glass and described his case as simply “weird.”

USA TODAY: Benefit spending soars to new high
The recession is driving the safety net of government benefits to a historic high, as one of every six dollars of Americans' income is now coming in the form of a federal or state check or voucher.

USA TODAY: 'Supermax' prison draws attention in Gitmo debate
In the shadow of the majestic Rocky Mountains, you can find one of the grimmest places on Earth.

Wall Street Journal: Planning the 'Ike Dike' Defense
As the Gulf Coast braces for hurricane season, Houston-area leaders are pushing a plan to build a wall stretching some 60 miles along the coast, hoping to end the annual storm threat once and for all.

LA Times: For the 'funemployed,' unemployment is welcome
Michael Van Gorkom was laid off by Yahoo in late April. He didn't panic. He didn't rush off to a therapist. Instead, the 33-year-old Santa Monica resident discovered that being jobless "kind of settled nicely."

Washington Times: Pentagon audit finds flaws in clearances
The Pentagon may have issued top-secret clearances last year to as many as one-in-four applicants who had "significant derogatory information" in their backgrounds, including a record of foreign influence or criminal conduct, a little- noticed government audit says.

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

CNN: Egyptians await Obama, saying, 'It can't all be rainbows and roses'
Languishing in a Cairo prison last year, a prisoner noticed that every day, the prison staff would clean the adjacent cell, even though there was no one in it.

CNN: Ahmadinejad lashes out at Iran's ex-presidents
It's a first for Iran: a series of debates televised live ahead of the upcoming presidential elections next week. And Wednesday's was one to remember.

CNN: U.S. urges China to come to terms with Tiananmen Square
Twenty years after China's bloody crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the United States is urging the government to come to terms with its violent actions.

CNN: Air France jet may have broken up in ocean, not sky, official says
A 12-mile oil slick near where an Air France jet crashed Monday into the Atlantic Ocean indicates the plane likely didn't break up until it hit the water, Brazil's defense minister said Wednesday.

CNN: Purported bin Laden tape slams U.S. role in Pakistan
The emergence of a purported statement from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden about U.S. policy in Pakistan as the U.S. president embarks on a major trip to Muslim countries is no coincidence, the White House spokesman and a counterterrorism official say.

NYT: Israelis Say Bush Agreed to West Bank Growth
Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement “freeze.”

NYT: At Border, S. Koreans Heed a Blustery Neighbor
The soldiers stationed at the bunkers and outposts along this stretch of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas are on hair-trigger alert as they look across at a nuclear-armed North. But on a recent morning, they were visited by 120 civilians, mostly young women, who arrived in bright red and white buses.

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

CNN: GM gives tough love to its dealers
After announcing it will cut thousands of its car dealers, General Motors is asking its remaining retailers to sign more demanding contracts in what one auto dealer group calls "a gun-to-the-head" scenario.

CNN: 13 cities post unemployment above 15%
There were 13 unlucky cities with unemployment rates topping 15% in April, and another 93 saw joblessness climb above 10%, according to a government report released Wednesday.

Fortune: FDIC shelves toxic loan plan
Regulators shelved a controversial plan that aimed to cleanse banks' balance sheets of toxic assets.

NYT: Rising Interest on Nations’ Debts May Sap World Growth
As governments worldwide try to spend their way out of recession, many countries are finding themselves in the same situation as embattled consumers: paying higher interest rates on their rapidly expanding debt.

NYT: Regulator to Detail Plan for Derivatives
The new chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will ask Congress on Thursday to impose substantial new costs and restrictions on large banks and other financial institutions that deal in the complex and largely unregulated financial instruments known as derivatives.

Detroit Free Press: Indiana pensioners delay Fiat's purchase of Chrysler
Three Indiana pension funds will delay the closing of Fiat’s purchase of Chrysler at least into next week and possibly past the critical June 15 deadline after which the Italian automaker Fiat can abandon the deal.

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

CNN: Beijing clamps down on media
Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, information controls are stepped up in communist China.

CNN: Grading Conan O'Brien
Conan's"running" after ratings. CNN's Jeanne Moos asks "how'd he do?" in his debut.

CNN: Islam and comedy
Don Riddell speaks with a British Muslim comedian who's trying to bridge a deep chasm through humor.

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