December 29th, 2009
05:18 PM ET
11 months ago

Bristol Palin-Levi Johnston child custody fight goes public

An Alaska judge has denied Bristol Palin's request that her court fight with ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston over custody of their son be kept private to avoid a 'media circus.'
An Alaska judge has denied Bristol Palin's request that her court fight with ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston over custody of their son be kept private to avoid a 'media circus.'

(CNN) - An Alaska judge has denied Bristol Palin's request that her court fight with ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston over custody of their son be kept private to avoid a "media circus."

The daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is seeking full custody of 1-year-old Tripp, contending that Johnston is too immature to be a responsible father and that his mother's felony drug conviction makes her a danger to the child.

Bristol Palin filed for full custody in November, but Johnston is seeking shared custody. Both parents are 19. Their teenage relationship fell under an intense public spotlight after Sen. John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in August 2008.

Court documents, now unsealed, were published online Monday by the Anchorage Daily News.

Johnston joined the family at the Republican National Convention after the campaign confirmed that Bristol, then 17, was five months pregnant with his child. The couple broke off their engagement about two months after their son's birth in December 2008.

He has asked that the case conducted in public to protect him from Sarah Palin, whom he said was "powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive." But Bristol Palin's request that the case be sealed said public proceedings "will turn this custody case into a media circus which is not in Tripp's best interest."

FULL POST


Filed under: Bristol Palin • Levi Johnston
December 29th, 2009
04:52 PM ET
11 months ago

DNC calls GOP fundraising letter 'shameful'

A DNC spokesman is calling Rep. Pete Hoekstra's efforts to raise campaign cash in the wake of the Christmas Day terrorism attempt 'shameful'
A DNC spokesman is calling Rep. Pete Hoekstra's efforts to raise campaign cash in the wake of the Christmas Day terrorism attempt 'shameful'

(CNN) – A Democratic National Committee spokesman is calling Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra's efforts to raise campaign cash in the wake of the Christmas Day terrorism attempt "shameful."

"It was shameful that Republicans like Mr. Hoekstra would attempt to play politics with our national security at all, but raising money off it is beyond the pale," DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said in a statement. "Republicans are playing politics with issues of national security and terrorism, and that they would use this incident as an opportunity to fan partisan flames and raise money for political campaigns tells you all you need to know about how far the Republican party has fallen and how out of step with the American people they have become."

Earlier in the day, Hoekstra, a Republican running for governor in Michigan, sent a fundraising letter denouncing the "weak-kneed liberals['s]" response to the botched terrorism attempt.

"The system didn't 'work' here. Far from it! It is insulting that The Obama administration would make such a claim, but then again, these are the same weak-kneed liberals who have recently tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists right here to Michigan!" the letter, first reported by the Grand Rapids Press, reads. "My promise to you, as your governor, my first duty and most solemn responsibility is to keep Michigan safe!"

Hoekstra is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. A spokesman for his gubernatorial bid says the campaign stands by the letter.


Filed under: Uncategorized
December 29th, 2009
04:51 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama: Systemic, human failures let terror suspect on U.S. flight

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that a "mix of human and systemic human failure" allowed a terror suspect to board a U.S. airliner in the botched bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

In a brief statement to reporters during his vacation in Hawaii, Obama said information on the suspect should have been sufficient to alert authorities to prevent him from getting on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan.

"A systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable," Obama said, adding that the breakdown was "a mix of human and systemic failure."


Filed under: President Obama
December 29th, 2009
04:05 PM ET
11 months ago

California congressman to retire

California Republican Rep. George Radanovich announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress at the end of his term.
California Republican Rep. George Radanovich announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress at the end of his term.

Washington (CNN) – Republican Rep. George Radanovich announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress at the end of his term.

The California lawmaker said he will forego a run for a ninth term in the House to spend more time with his wife, Ethie, who has been fighting ovarian cancer for the past three years.

"During the past couple of months, Ethie and I have had deep and often emotional conversations giving thanks for our many blessings and setting our priorities as a couple and as parents," Randanovich said in a statement. "It was during these sessions that it became clear to me that the time has come for me to place my family first and my public service career second."

Randanovich is the 13th Republican congressman to announce plans to forgo a re-election bid in 2010, compared to 11 Democrats so far. He has already picked a successor to run for his seat – State Sen. Jeff Dunham, who Randanovich said has already agreed to run as the GOP candidate in the district.

Randanovich is the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and represents the 19th district in California, which includes parts of the cities of Fresno and Modesto and a portion of Yosemite National Park.


Filed under: Uncategorized
December 29th, 2009
01:47 PM ET
11 months ago

Orszag engaged to ABC News reporter

Peter Orszag, the Office of Management and Budget Director, is engaged.
Peter Orszag, the Office of Management and Budget Director, is engaged.

(CNN) - The White House's so-called "money-hunk" is engaged.

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag is set to marry ABC News correspondent Bianna Golodryga, Golodryga announced on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday.

The couple first met at the White House Correspondents Dinner last May, and the man who White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once said "made nerdy sexy" soon won Golodryga's heart.

"[He's] tall, dark and he could say Golodryga and spell it after our first date. That is a winner in my book," she said.

The 31-year-old Golodryga, has worked for ABC since 2007 and mainly reports on business issues. Orszag, 41, is the former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a former veteran of the Clinton administration.


Filed under: Peter Orszag
December 29th, 2009
01:18 PM ET
11 months ago

U.S. diplomats visit detained American in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) – U.S. diplomats were allowed access Monday to an American subcontractor detained by Cuban authorities, according to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana.

The visit is the first since the man's arrest December 5, U.S. Interest Section spokeswoman Gloria Berbena told CNN.

She declined to offer further details regarding the man's identity or conditions of his arrest.


Filed under: Cuba
December 29th, 2009
12:18 PM ET
11 months ago

DeMint defends blocking appointment of TSA chief

DeMint is blocking the appointment of a new TSA chief out of unionization concerns.
DeMint is blocking the appointment of a new TSA chief out of unionization concerns.

Washington (CNN) - Elected officials on Capitol Hill are planning to hold hearings in January to investigate the safety gaps in airline security, made more pronounced since the attempted bombing over Detroit on Christmas Day.

But one important officeholder, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, likely won't be present at any of the hearings - simply because his nomination is being blocked in the Senate.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, has been holding up the confirmation of Erroll Southers to be TSA chief, in an effort to prevent TSA employees from joining a labor union. Southers is a former FBI special agent and counterterrorism expert.

"The attempted terror attack in Detroit is a perfect example of why the Obama Administration should not unionize the TSA and allow our airline security decisions to be dictated by union bosses," DeMint said in a statement. "I hope this incident will lead the President to re-think this policy and put the interests of American travelers ahead of organized labor."

FULL POST


Filed under: Jim DeMint
December 29th, 2009
12:00 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN Poll: Obama brings new era of race relations?

ALT TEXT

African-Americans remain supportive of President Obama, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey.  (Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - African-Americans are incredibly supportive of President Barack Obama, but their enthusiasm appears to have dramatically dropped from earlier this year, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Tuesday, also indicates that Obama's presidency appears to have made blacks more optimistic about race relations, but less than one in five believe the new president has ushered in a new era of race relations in the country.

Full results (PDF)

More than nine in 10 blacks questioned in the poll approve of the job Obama's doing in the White House, far higher than 42 percent of whites who approve of his performance as president. But when asked how they personally feel about Obama's presidency, only 42 percent of black respondents say they're thrilled, with nearly half of those questioned saying they are happy but not thrilled. The 42 percent who are thrilled is down from 61 percent in January, when Obama was inaugurated.

FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama
December 29th, 2009
10:59 AM ET
11 months ago

The return of terror politics

Rep. Peter Hoekstra posted a message on Twitter accusing the administration of 'stonewalling.'
Rep. Peter Hoekstra posted a message on Twitter accusing the administration of 'stonewalling.'

Washington (CNN) – When President Obama spoke out on the terrorism scare in Detroit, Michigan, he entered a debate that had already begun over his administration's new approach to combating terrorism.

"As a nation we will do everything in our power to protect our country," Obama said while vacationing in Hawaii. "We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland."

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is being held for allegedly trying to blow up a flight carrying 300 passengers on Christmas Day. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility Monday for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. strikes on Yemeni soil.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano initially gave something of a thumbs up to the government's handling of the Detroit terror scare.

"One thing I want to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action," Napolitano said on CNN's State of the Union.

Within minutes, Republicans went on the attack.

"Earlier today Secretary Napolitano said the system worked. in fact the system did not work," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Full story


Filed under: Peter Hoekstra • Peter King • President Obama
December 29th, 2009
09:43 AM ET
11 months ago

Ridge: Terror suspect doesn't deserve 'full range' of rights

(CNN) - The man who allegedly lit an explosive on board a U.S.-bound international flight deserves none of the constitutional protections afforded American citizens, a former top Bush administration official said Monday.

Tom Ridge, who served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005, made the comments on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"I take a look at this individual who has been charged criminally, does that mean he gets his Miranda warnings? The only information we get is if he volunteers it?" Ridge said. "He's not a citizen of this country. He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States."

Ridge also said he was "not surprised" about reports that two former detainees in the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had joined up with the group that claimed responsibility for Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab's failed terrorist attack.

Full story


Filed under: Tom Ridge
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