CNN Washington AM Note
April 1st, 2013
05:53 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: Texas DA, wife killed 2 months after deputy's slaying

A Texas community is on edge after a district attorney who said he would put away the "scum" who killed a colleague two months ago was shot to death alongside his wife in his home Saturday night. Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said he thought there was a "strong connection" between the slayings of Mike and Cynthia McLelland and the shooting death of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was killed on his way to work in January. Hasse and McLelland "worked on similar cases very closely," said Wood, the county's top elected official.

CNN: Life or death for Colorado movie theater shooter? Prosecution walks a 'tight rope'

Since the death penalty was reinstated in Colorado more than 35 years ago, the state has executed just one person. Now comes the case of James Holmes, who faces 166 counts of murder and attempted murder for a shooting at an Aurora movie theater that left 12 people dad and 58 wounded. If there ever was a poster boy for capital punishment, legal analysts say, the 25-year-old Holmes would fit the bill. On Monday, prosecutors will decide whether they will accept a defense request to take the death penalty off the table if Holmes pleads guilty.

CNN: Guns on campus: NRA to announce school safety measures Tuesday

The nation's largest pro-gun lobby is set to prominently return to the debate over gun rights and restrictions this week when it unveils the conclusions of its school safety initiative in Washington on Tuesday. The National Rifle Association first announced the National School Shield Program in December as its response to the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting a week earlier. It posted a bare-bones website and pledged to report back with a set of school safety proposals. On Tuesday the NRA will announce its own findings and issue a report on how they believe schools can prevent future gun violence similar to the Newtown tragedy.

WSJ: Hiring Spreads, but Only 14 Cities Top Prerecession Level

Employers are hiring more readily across the U.S., though only 14 of the nation's 100 biggest metropolitan areas have more jobs now than they did before the 2008-09 recession. Six of them are in Texas, according to researchers at the Brookings Institution, who recently analyzed local economic conditions through the end of 2012. All of the 14 appear to have benefited in some way from a stable employment base, anchored by either universities, government agencies or high-tech hubs, helping residents avoid the worst of the job losses suffered by other areas.

CNN: Former Klansman who apologized for racist past dies

He'd said his daddy always told him that a fool never changes his mind. And Elwin Wilson didn't want to be a fool. Wilson, a former Ku Klux Klan member who apologized for his racist past and specifically for beating a black man who went on to become a U.S. congressman, has died. He was 76. Wilson came to national attention when he publicly apologized to Georgia Rep. John Lewis. He and his friends attacked Lewis at a bus station in South Carolina some 50 years ago.

WHITE HOUSE:

WaPo: Beef with the sequester? At least one federal program was able to beat it.

The sequester was supposed to be something new in Washington: a budget cut you couldn’t beat. Once it hit, it hit. The money was gone, and nobody could get it back. That turned out to be true — for about three weeks. Then somebody beat it. Last week, President Obama signed a spending bill that gave the Agriculture Department’s food inspectors what everybody else wanted: a get-out-of-the-sequester card. Their program got $55 million in new money, which replaced almost all of what the sequester took. There’s a story there, about how power and lobbying can still make money appear in Washington, even in this age of austerity.

WaPo: Michelle Obama signals she may tackle tough issues in second term as first lady

In the first three months of her husband’s second term, Michelle Obama has made a splash as fashion icon, entertainer, cover girl. Her “The Evolution of Mom Dancing” video with Jimmy Fallon has racked up more than 15 million views on YouTube, and she’s back on the cover of the sartorial mag Vogue. But if this makes people think she’s settling for “soft power,” avoiding the tough issues — recent moves have shown this isn’t so. To the first lady’s conventional issues — healthy food, exercise and military families — add violence against youth. On April 10, she will attend a youth violence event in Chicago, moving close to the gun-control debate, one of the year’s most contentious political issues. Obama will urge business and civil leaders in her home town “to invest in expanded opportunities for youth across Chicago’s neighborhoods,” members of her staff said.

CAPITOL HILL:

CNN: Senators expect immigration legislation this week; Rubio signals no final agreement yet

Members of the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators working out immigration overhaul legislation said Sunday they expect to have a draft bill agreeable to their circle by the end of this week. But Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, a member of the group, issued a statement saying it was too soon to consider the deal struck. "I'm encouraged by reports of an agreement between business groups and unions on the issue of guest workers. However, reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature," he wrote. Shortly after that statement was released, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, signaled on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" that the deal will be reached within days.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Sides reach broad agreement on immigrant guest workers

CNN: Graham won't join gun legislation filibuster

Sen. Lindsey Graham does not support extending background checks to gun sales between two individuals, nor does he think such a bill would pass the Senate, but he said Sunday he will not hold the measure up with a filibuster. "The only way I would filibuster a bill is if Sen. (Harry) Reid did not allow alternative amendments," the South Carolina Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley." That means he won't be joining Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, on the Senate floor if the junior senator decides to protest the gun violence legislation Reid introduced this month.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Congress has own PACs to raise cash

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has an extra fundraising committee with the mission of electing Democrats “who share his commitment to building the middle class.” GOP Sen. Rob Portman, too, has a special political action committee, devoted to electing like-minded Republicans and promoting a “pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda,” as his spokesman describes it. But both Portman’s and Brown’s PACs spent more on other items – swank hotels and upscale dinners, airfare and political consultants – than they did in helping their respective party’s candidates win election, according to an Enquirer examination of Federal Election Commission data for the 2012 election cycle.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Clinton's first paid speech to be in April

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver her first paid speech since leaving office last month in late April, according to a Democratic source close to Clinton. The source told CNN the speech will be to the National Multi Housing Council in Dallas on April 24. The source did not disclose how much Clinton is being paid for the speech. The National Multi Housing Council bills itself as an association that represents rental apartment firms.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Super PAC preparing for Clinton candidacy beefs up fund-raising wing

LA Times: Healthcare an obstacle as Republicans court Latinos

As Republican leaders try to woo Latino voters with a new openness to legal status for the nation's illegal immigrants, the party remains at odds with America's fastest-growing ethnic community on another key issue: healthcare. Latinos, who have the lowest rates of health coverage in the country, are among the strongest backers of President Obama's healthcare law. In a recent national poll, supporters outnumbered detractors by more than 2 to 1. Latinos also overwhelmingly see guaranteeing healthcare as a core government responsibility, surveys show.

CNN: Flake calls a GOP presidential candidate endorsing same-sex marriage ‘inevitable’

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said Sunday that it is certain that a presidential candidate from the Republican Party will endorse same-sex marriage. Asked whether he could support a Republican presidential candidate someday who supported same-sex marriage on NBC's "Meet the Press," he replied, "I think that's inevitable. There will be one, and that I think he'll receive Republican support, or she will. I think that … the answer is yes."

WSJ: States Harden Views Over Laws Governing Abortion

States are becoming increasingly polarized over abortion, as some legislatures pass ever-tighter restrictions on the procedure while others consider stronger legal protections for it, advocates on both sides say. In March, Arkansas passed a law prohibiting most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, giving it the strictest laws against the procedure in the country. It was quickly surpassed by North Dakota, which last week banned the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The moves come after a record number of antiabortion bills were enacted in legislative sessions in 2011 and 2012, giving some states stricter regulation of the procedure including curbs on clinics and chemically induced abortions.

Politico: Mark Sanford-Elizabeth Colbert Busch showdown expected

Voters here have heard all the reasons to keep former Gov. Mark Sanford retired from politics. He’s damaged goods. He risks handing a safe Republican congressional seat to the sister of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert. The 1st Congressional District needs a conservative who lives the talk instead of issuing apologies. Yet, Sanford appears to be on the cusp of clinching the Republican nomination Tuesday for the right to take on Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a May 7 special election that’s sure to become a national spectacle.

Roll Call: When Does 'Appropriator' Become a Dirty Word? Perhaps in Georgia's GOP Primary

Candidates in the Georgia Republican Senate primary are jostling for the furthest right starting block in what’s likely to be a crowded race. Already the question is: Can a member of the Appropriations Committee, through which all past spending decisions have traveled, prevail in the new GOP era of fiscal restraint? Rep. Jack Kingston is the case in point. He’s the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and he’s expected to enter the Senate primary against Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: South Korea warns North of 'strong response' to any attack

The South Korean president on Monday warned North Korea that any provocative moves will be met with "a strong response" as the United States deployed stealth fighter jets in the tense region as part of joint military exercises. "If there is any provocation against South Korea and its people, there should be a strong response in initial combat without any political considerations," President Park Geun-hye said at a meeting with senior defense and security officials, according to her office. Her comments came after North Korea rattled off fresh volleys of bombastic rhetoric over the weekend, declaring that it had entered a "state of war" with the South and labeling the U.S. mainland a "boiled pumpkin," vulnerable to attack. The two Koreas are technically still at war after their conflict in the early 1950s ended in a truce not a peace treaty.

CNN: U.S. deploys stealth fighter jets to South Korea

The United States deployed stealth fighter jets to South Korea on Sunday as part of ongoing joint military exercises between the two countries, a senior U.S. defense official said. The F-22 Raptors were sent to the main U.S. Air Force Base in South Korea amid spiking tensions on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. military command in South Korea said they were deployed to support air drills as part of the annual Foal Eagle training exercises, which are carried out in accordance with the armistice that put an end to armed hostilities in 1953.

ALSO SEE: CNN: House Homeland Security member: North Korea not bluffing

WSJ: North Korea Eclipses Iran as Nuclear-Arms Threat

The twin nuclear crises the Obama administration faces in Asia and the Middle East underline a harsh reality for U.S. strategists: North Korea's weapons capabilities are far more advanced than Iran's. Pyongyang, as a result of decades of covert atomic work, is close to mastering the technology to mount one of its estimated dozen nuclear warheads atop medium-range missiles that are capable of striking U.S. allies South Korea and Japan, American officials and international nuclear experts believe. Iran, by comparison, has no atomic bombs in its military arsenal, nor the ability to deliver them, say U.S. and United Nations experts.

ALSO SEE: WaPo: North Korean secrecy on bomb test fuels speculation on nuclear advances

CBS News: 11 years in Guantanamo without trial or charges

Shaker Aamer, 47, a one-time U.S. Army translator incarcerated at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for 11 years, has never seen his fourth child. His son Faris was born the day Aamer arrived at Guantanamo, on February 14, 2002, a Valentine's Day full of heartache for the Aamer family. Aamer, Guantanamo detainee number 239, has never been formally charged with a crime and like most Guantanamo prisoners was not even captured by the U.S. military. Afghans villagers turned him over to U.S. troops 10 weeks before his transfer to Cuba. What separates Aamer from the other 165 detainees remaining at Guantanamo is he is the last one who is either a British legal resident or citizen, and the British government has asked for his return.

The Guardian: Make or break time for Afghan forces as Nato prepares to take step back

British commanders have warned that the war against the Taliban is entering its most critical phase as Afghanistan's security forces prepare to fight the insurgency on their own for the first time without Nato troops alongside them on the frontline. President Hamid Karzai is expected to announce that the Afghan army and police will shortly take the lead in combat operations across the whole of Afghanistan, and senior officers interviewed by the Guardian said the next six months – known as the "fighting season" – would show if the bold strategy had paid off.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

WaPo: Woman among those under consideration to lead FBI

The Obama administration has begun to search for a replacement for FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and for the first time one of the leading contenders is a woman. One of several people under consideration, according to current and past administration officials, is Lisa Monaco, who left a senior post at the Justice Department this month to become President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser. Mueller, 68, will step down Sept. 4 after 12 years on the job. Since taking the helm a week before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Mueller has overseen the bureau’s transformation into a worldwide counterterrorism operation.

Reuters: Exxon cleans up Arkansas oil spill; Keystone plan assailed

Exxon Mobil on Sunday continued cleanup of a pipeline spill that spewed thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Arkansas as opponents of oil sands development latched on to the incident to attack plans to build the Keystone XL line. Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said on Sunday that crews had yet to excavate the area around the pipeline breach, a needed step before the company can estimate how long repairs will take and when the line might restart.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Hartford Courant: Legislative Leaders Reach Agreement On Gun Control

After nearly a month of closed-door meetings, legislative leaders have reached bipartisan agreement on new gun control proposals that they intend to present to rank and file members Monday afternoon. "The leaders have had productive conversations through the end of the week," said Adam Joseph, spokesman for Senate Democrats. "The leaders are going to give all four caucuses an update of where negotiations stand ... our hope is to have a final vote in the immediate future." Legislators have been pushing for expanded background checks, a broader ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. A ban on magazines containing more than 10 rounds has been a thorn in the negotiations.

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Medicaid budget fails in House

House Democrats on Sunday night blocked passage of the $840 million Medicaid budget, a move to try to force a vote on expanding the program and to prevent Gov. Phil Bryant from running it by executive order. “The federal government is offering venture capital to expand the largest industry we’ve got in this state, and we can’t even get a vote and debate on it,” said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville. “So we’re doing what we have to do. We are going to have an up-or-down vote on Medicaid expansion — it may be in a special session — or we are not going to have Medicaid.”

The Detroit News: Michigan GOP explores further limits on unions

Arguments against Michigan's 5-day-old right-to-work law are prompting conservative activists and Republican authors of the historic legislation to consider other ways to reduce the power of public-sector unions. The law that took effect Thursday makes financial support of a labor union optional in unionized workplaces. Democratic opponents say it will lead to "free riders" or "freeloaders" who enjoy the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement because most labor contracts have exclusive representation clauses requiring the union represent all employees, whether or not they pay dues.

Des Moines Register: Branstad, Vilsack hint at plans for 2014 governor's race

The two powerful Iowans who would make an intriguing matchup for the 2014 governor’s race were together Friday for an agriculture event in Iowa. Asked about the governor’s race, Democrat Tom Vilsack told reporters he already has a job as U.S. agriculture secretary, but that he’s buying a house in Dallas County. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad talked about laying “the groundwork” for another run as Iowa governor but said he would make his announcement near the March 2014 filing deadline.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: APS officials to begin surrendering

The first of almost three dozen indicted educators are expected to walk through the doors of the Fulton County Jail around daybreak Monday to be searched, fingerprinted and processed as accused felons. If they time it right, some may not have to trade their street clothes for the orange jailhouse jumpsuits. They will already have made arrangements for bond and arrived at the jail early enough to be processed before court sessions start. Otherwise, those who haven’t made bond will stay locked up.

Staunton News Leader: Warner decides to run again in 2014

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., confirms that he is running for re-election when his first term expires in 2014. A former governor of Virginia used to making things happen, he is openly frustrated with his limited influence in the set-in-its-ways Senate. “I am amazed at how much time we spend in our party caucuses rather than talking to” colleagues across the aisle, Warner said Wednesday in an interview at the News Leader. Warner’s press secretary Beth Adelson confirmed his Senate re-election run by phone Thursday.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Clashes kill 2 in western Kenyan after election verdict

Two people died in clashes in western Kenya after the top court in the nation upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's victory in the presidential election. The deaths occurred Saturday in Kisumu, the stronghold of his chief rival, Raila Odinga. At least 22 others were hospitalized, the Kenya Red Cross said. Most of the casualties suffered gunshot wounds, said Abbas Gullet, chief of the local Red Cross. The rest of the country remained relatively calm after the ruling.

CNN: 2 dead in China from unusual bird flu strain

Two people in China have died and another remains critical after falling ill with a strain of bird flu not detected before in humans, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. Both of those who died, men aged 27 and 87, lived in Shanghai, while a 35-year-old woman in Chuzhou city in nearby Anhui province is in the hospital, the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission said Sunday, according to Xinhua. The victims all had initial symptoms of fever and coughing that then developed into severe pneumonia and difficulty in breathing, Xinhua reported.

CNN: Fighting surges in northern Mali

At least two militants were killed as Islamists and troops clashed Sunday in northern Mali, a military official said. The fighting between Islamists and French and Malian forces began in Timbuktu, Mali, after a car bomb blast at the city's western entrance Saturday night, Malian Army Capt. Modibo Naman Traore said. After the suicide blast, which injured one Malian soldier, Islamists launched an attack on the city, Traore said.

WSJ: Karzai Seeks Qatar's Help on Peace Talks With Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai traveled to Qatar in a bid to revive Afghanistan's faltering peace process and patch up relations with the wealthy Gulf emirate where the Taliban are establishing their main negotiating headquarters. Although the Kabul government initially billed the two-day weekend trip as a step toward boosting bilateral ties and attracting Qatari investment, efforts to bring the Taliban into direct negotiations with Mr. Karzai's administration were at the top of the agenda, officials said. Qatar's state news agency said Sunday's meeting between Mr. Karzai and the Qatari emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, focused on developing relations and "prospects of peace in Afghanistan."

CNN: Prosecutors question 'Egypt's Jon Stewart'

It was a welcome more suited for a rock star than a wanted man. A mob of cheering fans surrounded Egypt's high court on Sunday, chanting Bassem Youssef's name. Two years ago, Youssef was a heart surgeon producing satirical YouTube videos from inside his Cairo apartment. Now, he's one of Egypt's best-known television personalities, with a nationally broadcast program that has drawn comparisons to Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" for its irreverent take on Egyptian politics. But the popularity he won by pushing the boundaries of free speech comes with a price. Egypt's public prosecutor summoned Youssef for questioning on Sunday, accusing him of insulting President Mohamed Morsy and Islam. He was released on $2,200 bail in response to three lawsuits filed against him, the prosecutor general's office told CNN.

NYT: As Banks in Cyprus Falter, Other Tax Havens Step In

Bloodied by a harsh bailout deal that drives a stake through the heart of this Mediterranean country’s oversize financial industry, Cyprus now faces a further blow to its role as an offshore tax haven: the vultures from competing territories are circling. With a flood of e-mails and phone calls in recent days to lawyers and accountants here who make a living from helping wealthy Russians and others avoid taxes, competitors in alternative financial centers across Europe and beyond are promoting their own skills at keeping money hidden and safe.

ALSO SEE: Financial Times:  Scramble to find Cypriot cash escape route

Haaretz: Historic Damascus synagogue looted and burned

The 2,000-year-old Jobar Synagogue in the Syrian capital of Damascus was looted and burned to the ground. The Syrian army loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebel forces are blaming each other for the destruction of the historic synagogue, according to reports on Sunday. The synagogue is said to be built on the site where the prophet Elijah anointed his successor, Elisha, as a prophet. It had been damaged earlier this month by mortars reportedly fired by Syrian government forces.

BBC: Burma sees return of private newspapers

Private daily newspapers are being sold in Burma for the first time in almost 50 years, as a state monopoly ends. Sixteen papers have so far been granted licences, although only four were ready to publish on Monday. This is another important milestone on Burma's journey away from authoritarian rule, the BBC's Jonathan Head reports from the commercial capital, Rangoon. Until recently, reporters in Burma faced some of the harshest restrictions in the world.

CNN: Nelson Mandela's condition improving, doctors say

Former South African President Nelson Mandela's condition continues to improve and he had a restful day Sunday, the country's presidential office said. Over the weekend, Mandela was being treated for pneumonia, a government spokesman said Saturday.

BUSINESS:

CNNMoney: China cities move to cool red-hot housing market

What to do about China's housing prices? Two leading cities in China have announced new efforts to cool their property markets amid a return to rapidly rising housing prices. In guidelines published over the weekend, authorities in Shanghai directed banks to stop issuing loans to individuals attempting the purchase of a third home. Beijing announced that single residents will now be allowed to purchase only one home. Both cities said they would strictly enforce a 20% capital gains tax on income earned in property sales.

Reuters: India's top court dismisses Novartis plea for Glivec patent

India's top court has dismissed Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG's attempt to win patent protection for its cancer drug Glivec, a serious blow to Western pharmaceutical firms who are increasingly focusing on India to drive sales. The decision also sets a benchmark for several intellectual property disputes in India, where many patented drugs are unaffordable for most of its 1.2 billion people, 40 percent of whom earn less than $1.25 a day.

Financial Times: Emerging markets dump euro reserves

The euro’s challenge to the international status of the US dollar has been set back a generation as new data show developing countries dumping the European currency from their official reserves. Central banks in developing countries sold €45bn of euros in 2012, according to data compiled by the International Monetary Fund, cutting their holdings of the currency by 8 per cent. This highlights the damage Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has done to its standing in the international financial system as the chance of rivalling the dollar – one dream of the single currency’s founders – slips away.

CNNMoney: Stocks: Jobs take center stage

Investors will enter the second quarter looking for fresh signs that the U.S. economic recovery is strengthening. Markets have been reacting well to the broader recovery. The S&P 500 finished last week at a new high, after flirting with the milestone for weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been trading at record highs since early March. This week, investors will have their eye on the state of the U.S. job market, starting Wednesday with a report from payroll processing firm ADP on employment change, followed by Challenger jobs cuts and initial claims. All of these lead up to the closely watched monthly jobs report from the Labor Department on Friday.

NYT: Pay for Boards at Banks Soars Amid Cutbacks

Wall Street pay, while lucrative, isn’t what it used to be — unless you are a board member. Since the financial crisis, compensation for the directors of the nation’s biggest banks has continued to rise even as the banks themselves, facing difficult markets and regulatory pressures, are reining in bonuses and pay. Take Goldman Sachs, where the average annual compensation for a director — essentially a part-time job — was $488,709 in 2011, the last year for which data is available, up more than 50 percent from 2008, according to Equilar, a compensation data firm. Some of the firm’s 13 directors make more than $500,000 because they have extra responsibilities.


Filed under: Washington AM Note
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    This might be considered profiling but if the CO shooter looked as he does right now why didn't anyone see the crazy? This includes the "trained professionals".

    April 1, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  2. king

    Ahh these repubs and their oil lobbyist, when will these leader consider their constituencies and stop giving their lobbyist all the attention. oh i forgot lobbyist have money and their constituencies don't. they want Canada oil to past through the heart of this country to sell to china. how much jobs will this creates, oh maybe a 9 thousands. oh they must be talking about the jobs of folks cleaning up the mess, after it does way more damage to our environment.

    April 1, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |