May 1st, 2009
04:59 AM ET
11 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Friday, May 1, 2009


The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

For the latest political news:

CNN: Justice David Souter to retire from Supreme Court, source says
After more than 18 years on the nation's highest court, Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring, a source close to Souter told CNN Thursday.

CNN: Analysis: What's ahead for Obama in the next 100 days
After passing the 100 days benchmark, President Obama pushes on with a daunting task ahead of him: Tackling foreign and domestic issues while dealing with a Republican Party opposed to nearly all his major economic initiatives.

CNN: White House apologizes for undue alarm over Biden comments
The White House apologized Thursday "if anybody was unduly alarmed" by Vice President Joe Biden's comments that seemed to suggest Americans should avoid air travel or confined spaces of any kind.

CNN: Immigration agents told to target employers who hire workers
The Department of Homeland Security told its immigration enforcement agents Thursday to target employers who hire illegal workers, but also to continue to arrest the illegal immigrants it encounters.

Washington Times Exclusive: Interrogation blame spread to Congress
In a rare gesture, House intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes sent a letter this week to all CIA employees suggesting that Congress shared some blame for the CIA interrogation controversy and should play a more robust role in the intelligence policymaking process.

Washington Post: White House Cheat Sheet: Souter Retirement (Further) Roils Political Landscape
The news that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire as early as next month is likely to set off a massive campaign-style fight over the man or woman that President Obama nominates to fill the vacant slot on the bench, and could well sidetrack other legislative priorities of the administration.

WSJ: At Treasury, Big White House Role
On Jan. 20, Timothy Geithner took control of the Treasury Department, directing the government's response to the financial crisis.

NYT: In Military, New Debate Over Policy Toward Gays
Here at the military academy that is nearly as old as the nation itself, two cadets recently engaged in a modern debate: whether they agreed with President Obama’s pledge to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly.

WSJ: Cybersecurity Review Sets Turf Battle
President Barack Obama's cybersecurity review has ignited turf battles inside the White House, with economic adviser Lawrence Summers weighing in to prevent what he sees as a potential threat to economic growth, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

CS Monitor: Formula for an Obama press conference: 13 questions
Barack Obama has these East Wing presidential press conferences down to a science: He makes TelePrompTer-assisted opening remarks and then calls on exactly 13 reporters. Some sneak in more than one question, but somehow after the 13th member of the Fourth Estate has had his or her moment in the spotlight – always the AP first, then a mix of print, TV, and a few alternative outlets – the hour is up.

Bloomberg: ‘Beloved’ Michelle Outshines Obama, Speaks to Youth
Nine months ago, The New Yorker lampooned the political frenzy over Michelle Obama by portraying her as a camouflage-clad, fist-bumping radical. Now, 100 days into her tenure as first lady, she has emerged as the most popular figure in her husband’s administration.

Newsweek: Long Hot Summer
The long hot summer is typically a phrase that strikes fear in the hearts of politicians. In the '60s, it meant race riots in American cities. In the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks, it evoked an oblivious media obsessing over an intern who had gone missing and who was having an affair with a congressman, and a wave of shark attacks, which turned out to be not much of a wave after all.

Washington Times: EPA reviewing Bush policies
The Navajo Nation plans to earn $50 million annually by building a coal-fired power plant on its New Mexico reservation. But its plans hit a snag earlier this week, when the Environmental Protection Agency, citing air pollution concerns, moved to revoke a Bush administration permit and block the project.

For the latest national news:

CNN: Confirmed swine flu cases leap
Confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide increased to 257 on Thursday, up significantly from the previous day's total of 147, the World Health Organization reported.

CNN: Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful
The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.

CNN: Inaccurate 'swine' flu label hurts industry, pork producers say
The disease most people in the United States and worldwide know as "swine flu" is actually a combination of human and animal strains and has not been shown to be transmissible through eating pork.

WSJ: In California, Cases Suggest Border Origin
Doctors tracking swine flu in this state are investigating a new theory: What if it didn't originate in Mexico but instead had been floating around the border region for months?

Washington Post: Many States Do Not Meet Readiness Standards
More than two dozen states, including Maryland, as well as the District, have not stocked enough of the emergency supplies of antiviral medications considered necessary to treat victims of swine flu should the outbreak become a full-blown crisis, according to federal records.

US News & World Report: Swine Flu: 8 Ways to Get Your Family Ready
Pandemic flu plans aren’t just for governments: Families need them too, says Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a family doc in Boise, Idaho. And parents need to prepare now.

NYT: Panel Advises Clarifying U.S. Plans on Cyberwar
The United States has no clear military policy about how the nation might respond to a cyberattack on its communications, financial or power networks, a panel of scientists and policy advisers warned Wednesday, and the country needs to clarify both its offensive capabilities and how it would respond to such attacks.

Boston Globe: For children, an urban lifeline
he effort to help children in this one large swath of Harlem begins even before they are born, as street workers walk door to door, encouraging pregnant young women to attend a free crash course on parenting.

WSJ: Alternative Energy's Fortunes Shift With the Winds
James Dehlsen has spent decades trying to build a bigger and better machine to convert a breeze into electricity.

WSJ: Banker: 'What'd I Do Wrong, Officer?' Cop: 'You've Got Algae in the Pool, Sir'
Officials at a Citigroup Inc. office in St. Louis placed a call to this desert town recently. The bank had caught word that Indio was coming after the lending giant with fines and threats of criminal charges. The offense: an algae-infested swimming pool at 79760 Eagle Bend Court.

Boston Globe: Severin suspended for comments about Mexican immigrants
Jay Severin, the fiery right wing talk show host on Boston's WTKK-FM radio station, was suspended yesterday after calling Mexican immigrants "criminaliens," "primitives," "leeches," and exporters of "women with mustaches and VD," among other incendiary comments.

CNN: DNA leads to suspect in 1970s Los Angeles serial killings
A man who Los Angeles police believe raped and murdered dozens of women decades ago was arrested by cold case investigators this month after a computer matched his DNA to evidence from two killings in the 1970s.

Chicago Tribune: Wedding insurance buys peace of mind from this day forward
For years, some venues have required liability insurance for protection in case a guest is injured or causes property damage. General wedding insurance covers other details that are out of your control: vendors going out of business, a tornado on your wedding day, a damaged dress, lost rings, dead flowers, spoiled food or emergency schedule changes, among many other stress-inducing scenarios.

For the latest international news:

CNN: Report: Terror attacks up in Pakistan, Afghanistan
Terror attacks have spiked dramatically in Afghanistan and Pakistan as extremists in both countries strengthen their power and expand operations, according to a State Department report released Thursday.

CNN: Bush-era memos vindicate Abu Ghraib soldiers?
Interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and forced nudity did not violate laws against torture when there was no intent to cause severe pain, according to the Bush-era memos on the tactics released by the Obama administration April 16th.

CNN: Confirmed swine flu cases leap
Confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide increased to 257 on Thursday, up significantly from the previous day's total of 147, the World Health Organization reported.

CNN: Report: Saudi girl granted divorce
A court in Saudi Arabia has granted an 8-year-old girl a divorce from her 47-year-old husband, after twice denying the divorce request previously, local media reported Thursday.

NYT: Plea Deal Reached With Agent for Al Qaeda
During the nearly six years that Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri spent in isolation in a Navy brig as the last enemy combatant held on United States soil, he denied the government’s charges that he was a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda, his lawyers said. But on Thursday, in a federal courtroom in Peoria, Ill., that denial fell apart when Mr. Marri reached a deal with the government to plead guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda.

BBC: China database to track children
China is setting up a DNA database to help trace missing children, as the authorities struggle to tackle people trafficking.

Washington Post: In Remote Afghan Province, Mullen Finds Daunting Need
In this impoverished province on the Pakistani border, the U.S. military's most senior officer came face to face with the consequences of nearly eight years of American indifference and neglect in Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera: Kenya women stage 'sex strike'
Women's groups in Kenya have started a week-long "sex strike", in an attempt to press the country's leaders to resolve rifts and work together.

Times of London: British airline wipes Israel off the map
Passengers were shocked to discover that Israel had been wiped off the map by Britain’s BMI airline, which omitted the Jewish state from its digital charts on flights from London to Tel Aviv.

For the latest business news:

CNN: Chrysler files for bankruptcy
Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy Thursday. But a deal has been reached to combine the company with Fiat in order to allow Chrysler to stay in business.

CNN: BofA's Lewis: Down, but not out
Bank of America's Ken Lewis may be down, but he's far from out.

CNN: Chill out, Chrysler owners
The word "bankruptcy" in headlines along with the name of the company that made your car – or a car you're thinking about buying – could send your blood pressure soaring.

Bloomberg: U.S. Bank Stress Test Results Delayed as Conclusions Debated
The Federal Reserve is postponing the release of stress tests on the biggest U.S. banks while executives debate preliminary findings with examiners, according to government and industry officials.

Business Week: Help Wanted: Why That Sign's Bad
Surprising statistic: In the midst of the worst recession in a generation or more, with 13 million people unemployed, there are approximately 3 million jobs that employers are actively recruiting for but so far have been unable to fill. That's more job openings than the entire population of Mississippi.

Forbes: Why They Can't Boot Ken
Emboldened by their narrow victory Wednesday, Bank of America shareholder agitators continue to press for the removal of Kenneth D. Lewis as the company's chief.

LA Times: Chrysler's bankruptcy path is uncharted, but GM could follow
President Obama's decision to save Chrysler by pushing it into bankruptcy Thursday puts the major U.S. automaker in risky, uncharted territory and could portend a similar outcome for General Motors Corp. as it races to meet its own government restructuring deadline.

The Economist: Electric evangelist
German audiences are not always easy to warm up, especially when they are composed of conservative businessmen in dark suits. But the laws of cultural physics were repealed in Berlin last June when Shai Agassi addressed the annual conference of the CDU-Wirtschaftsrat, a business association.

In Case You Missed It
To watch the latest interviews and reporting:

CNN: Looking to the future

Republicans launch efforts to revive their image as they debate where the party should head. Jessica Yellin reports.

CNN: Communicator-in-chief
Media analyst Bill McGowan critiques different patterns in President Obama's speech and mannerisms.

CNN: Miss California in ad campaign
Miss California appears in a new ad campaign from a group that opposes same-sex marraige. CNN's Samantha Hayes reports

CNN: Bartender turns wine to water
Bartender Doc Hendley is helping provide clean water to communities worldwide.

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