July 15th, 2009
05:18 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: July 15, 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: Kerry: Palin should check out 'the view from her front porch'
Call it Kerry vs. Palin, Round 2.

CNN: Poll: Majority of Republicans don't think Palin's qualified for prez
A majority of Americans think Sarah Palin is stepping down as Alaska's governor for political reasons, according to a new national poll, with a majority of Republicans now saying that they do not believe that Palin would be an effective president.

CNN: Hearings set on Obama plan to overhaul lending regulations
The Obama administration's plan to overhaul lending regulations — stemming from the housing and credit meltdowns, as well as the current recession — moves to Capitol Hill Wednesday with the start of three straight days of hearings. The House Financial Services Committee will get the banking community's input first.

CNN: High marks for Sotomayor after tough questioning
Sonia Sotomayor faced tough questioning Tuesday on political issues and controversial statements from her past, with both Democrats and Republicans saying she responded well and appeared certain to win confirmation as the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

CNN: House Democrats unveil health care reform plan
House Democrats unveiled their revised version of health care reform Tuesday, offering a proposal that includes a government-funded health insurance option, requires both individuals and employers to participate, and taxes the wealthy to help cover costs.

CNN: Raising taxes at center of health care reform debate
Republicans and Democrats continued to spar Sunday over how to pay for health care reform.

CNN: 8 nominees who didn't go to the Supreme Court
From the moment Justice David Souter announced he'd be stepping down, Washington has been gearing up for a confirmation fight. But as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Judge Sonia Sotomayor yesterday, "Unless you have a complete meltdown, you are going to get confirmed."

CNN: Commentary: What the 'wise Latina' remark meant
It is likely that Judge Sotomayor will face some questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week about her 2001 "wise Latina" remark.

CNN: Surviving a political sex scandal
It's getting a bit cliché: An apologetic politician admits to the public that, yes, he too has been caught in a sex scandal.

CNN: Specter outraises Pennsylvania opponents
Sen. Arlen Specter's campaign said Tuesday it raked in $1.73 million in the second quarter of this year, giving the Republican-turned-Democrat from Pennsylvania around $7.5 million in cash on hand.

Washington Post: Survivors of Attacks Sink Teeth Into Fight to Save Sharks
Chuck Anderson is in Washington today to save the thing that bit off his arm.

Washington Post: Air Force Project Being Probed Is Linked to Murtha
When an Air Force command in north Florida sought new battlefield technologies, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) steered millions in federal dollars its way to hire defense contractors.

Wall Street Journal: Obama Puts Arms Control at Core of New Strategy
President Barack Obama has moved nuclear deterrence to the top of the national-security agenda - and in his dealings in the past month with Iran, North Korea and Russia, revealed the issue to be an organizing principle to his foreign policy.

POLITICO: Legal hurdles could still loom in John Ensign scandal
Cindy Hampton once held the keys to John Ensign’s heart.

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

CNN: Police: Suspect sought after 7 arrests in Florida couple's slaying
Seven people are in custody in connection with the shooting deaths of a Gulf Coast couple known for adopting special-needs children, and one more person is sought, the sheriff of Escambia County, Florida, said Tuesday.

CNN: Investigator visits Jackson dermatologist office
The Los Angeles coroner's chief investigator visited Michael Jackson's dermatologist Tuesday to view medical records, the investigator said.

CNN: NASA to cut 400 jobs, contractor says
Four hundred space shuttle employees will be laid off beginning in October, a spokesman for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration contractor told CNN on Tuesday.

CNN: Man killed when car plunges into Grand Canyon
A man died after his car plunged 600 feet off the edge of the Grand Canyon's South Rim, authorities said Tuesday.

CNN: 5,000-pound shark washes ashore on Long Island
A 26-foot-long dying shark washed ashore Tuesday on a Long Island beach, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said.

CNN: Episcopal Church moves to accept more gays and lesbians
The Episcopal Church has moved decisively closer to full acceptance of gay men and lesbians, taking steps toward recognizing same-sex marriage and gay bishops.

CNN: NTSB: Sleep disorder may have contributed to Boston train crash
A Boston trolley operator killed in a crash last year likely had a sleep disorder and fell into a "micro-sleep" shortly before the collision, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday.

CNN: DC Metro crash hearing reveals frustrations, harrowing memories
The cause of a deadly Washington Metro subway crash last month remains a mystery, with one problem identified by investigators persisting even after engineers replaced a key part that was believed to be faulty, a top Metro official said Tuesday.

CNN: Airline finds 737-300s safe to fly after hole forms in one jet
Inspectors have found "nothing unusual" in the rest of Southwest Airlines' fleet of 737-300s after a football-sized hole in one of the jets forced an emergency landing, an airline spokeswoman said Tuesday.

NYT: Part-Time Workers Mask Unemployment Woes
In California and a handful of other states, one out of every five people who would like to be working full time is not now doing so.

NYT: To Shrink a U.S. Car, Chrysler Goes to Poland
For decades, automakers looking for the secret to small-car success would journey to Toyota City in Japan. These days, they are coming to Tychy.

Boston Globe: Immigrant fighting cancer and the fear of losing care
Eugenio Hernandez believes that coming to America saved his life.

Wall Street Journal: Some City Folk Are Mad as Wet Hens When Chickens Come Home to Roost
For three hours at a City Council meeting, residents clucked over the latest debate ruffling feathers here: Should homeowners be allowed to keep chickens in their backyards?

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

CNN: Mexican state awash in recent violence
In recent days, Michoacan, the home state of President Felipe Calderon, has become a flashpoint of violence in Mexico's deadly war against drug cartels. Since Calderon went after the drug cartels shortly after coming into office in 2006, more than 10,000 people have died across Mexico, about 1,000 of them police.

CNN: Robot chalks tweets on Tour de France route
Cycling at the Tour de France has taken a techie turn.

CNN: Charles Taylor refutes 'malicious' accusations at war crimes trial
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor expressed his incredulity at the testimony against him at his war crimes trial Tuesday, saying "there is no way" he is guilty of any of the charges.

CNN: Myanmar opposition skeptical of government's amnesty claim
Myanmar's pro-democracy opposition party said Tuesday it was skeptical of the government's plan to grant amnesty to political prisoners, despite an announcement to the United Nations that it would do so.

CNN: Inquiry into Indian brides 'virginity tests'
Reports that "virginity tests" were conducted on would-be-brides for a mass wedding has prompted India's federal woman rights watchdog to launch an investigation.

CNN: 300 jailed in 'flawed' Saudi terror trials
More than 300 men convicted by Saudi Arabia for taking part in terror plots have been jailed following trials criticized by a rights group for their lack of transparency.

CNN: UK Pentagon hacker fights extradition to U.S.
British man Gary McKinnon appeared in court Tuesday to try to prevent his extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for allegedly hacking into U.S. government computers at the Pentagon and NASA.

NYT: Afghan War’s Buried Bombs Put Risk in Every Step
The call came just after dinner: a pickup truck carrying Afghan national police officers had hit a buried bomb, and all five officers inside were dead.

NYT: In Azerbaijan, a Donkey Suit Provokes Laughs and, Possibly, Arrests
Late last month, a group of Azeri bloggers posted their latest tongue-in-cheek opus, a video in which a donkey holds a news conference before a circle of gravely nodding journalists.

NYT: With Help, Conductor and Wife Ended Lives
The controversy over the ethical and legal issues surrounding assisted suicide for the terminally ill was thrown into stark relief on Tuesday with the announcement that one of Britain’s most distinguished orchestra conductors, Sir Edward Downes, had flown to Switzerland last week with his wife and joined her in drinking a lethal cocktail of barbiturates provided by an assisted-suicide clinic.

Washington Post: In Deeply Split Honduran Society, a Potentially Combustible Situation
To many poor Hondurans, deposed president Manuel "Mel" Zelaya was a trailblazing ally who scrapped school tuitions, raised the minimum wage and took on big business.

LA Times: A tense yet colorful tour of Korean DMZ
Reporting from The Korean Demilitarized Zone - The "Do Not Cross" line here between North and South Korea has a prosaic feel to it: a concrete speed bump.

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

CNN: Tax the rich to pay for ... everything?
There may be reasons to tax the rich more, as a lot of people in Washington are talking about doing.

Fortune: The return of the $773,000 paycheck
The Goldman Sachs gravy train is back on track.

NYT: Mortgages Are Now a Bank’s Best Friend
For the last two years, housing has been at the center of the banking industry’s troubles. But for at least one quarter, it will help lift its results.

NYT: Germany Has Been Slow to Fix Its Banks
Farhad Farassat, a Munich-based entrepreneur, blames fickle banks for his difficulty getting a loan. But, like many Germans, his problem may be largely political.

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

CNN: New Harry Potter movie
Romance and tragedy rule "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

CNN: Todd Baxter with the Backstory
CNN Chief Cameraman Todd Baxter travels two continents, three countries and many hours for this Backstory on President Obama.

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