POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, May 31, 2011
May 31st, 2011
05:42 AM ET
12 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, May 31, 2011

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

For the latest political news: http://www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN Poll: Obama's approval rating edges up thanks to foreign policy
President Barack Obama's performance on national security and international affairs and his image as a strong leader appear to be behind his rising approval rating, according to new national poll conducted as the president was on an overseas visit to four countries. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday indicates that Obama's approval rating among Americans stands at 54 percent, with 45 percent saying they disapprove of the job he's doing as president.

Wall Street Journal: Cyber Combat: Act of War
The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force. …In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," said a military official.

Miami Herald: Rubio’s backers pull him in two directions on immigration issue
Conservative activists — still raw over what they say was his role in blocking illegal immigration legislation while speaker of the Florida House — say the burgeoning Republican star needs to deliver on campaign rhetoric for tougher enforcement. …But Rubio has not made an effort to sponsor immigration legislation or even highlight the issue — it is not listed on his website, tea party members note. He is being torn in opposite directions by his base: Washington’s Republican elite and Florida’s grass-roots activists who propelled him into office. The establishment is eagerly positioning the charismatic 40-year-old son of Cuban exiles as the Hispanic face of the party.

Boston Globe: Small-scale donations dwindling for Brown
Since Brown took office in the US Senate, the share of those small contributions has plunged from 54 percent of his financial haul during the race to 15 percent during the first three months of 2011. As Brown raises money for his 2012 reelection bid, he has accepted a greater percentage of large contributions from the typical Washington roster of industry political committees, business executives, and corporate lobbyists.

CNN: Crowds wait and wait and wait for Palin
A crowd of more than 100 waited and waited throughout a hot and humid Memorial Day at one of the Gettysburg battlefield's major monuments hoping Sarah Palin would show up. As evening broke they were still waiting. The crowd, made up of both tourists and local citizens, had different reasons for showing up – some wanted to urge her to run for president, others just wanted a glimpse. Some of them said they understood why she could not provide more details of when and where she was stopping because she might run late and because of security concerns.

For the latest national news: http://www.CNN.com

CNN: Fewer unaccounted for from devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri
Officials in Joplin, Missouri, trimmed the list of people still missing Monday, more than a week after the most-deadly U.S. tornado in more than 60 years tore through the city. Twenty-nine people remain unaccounted for, down from 43 on Sunday, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety. That figure includes three people whose families have reported them as dead. …Early Sunday, Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr told CNN the death toll was 142. State officials have released the names of 101 victims.

New York Times: Housing Index Is Expected to Show a New Low in Prices
Even as the economy began to fitfully recover in the last year, the percentage of homeowners dropped sharply, to 66.4 percent, from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. The ownership rate is now back to the level of 1998, and some housing experts say it could decline to the level of the 1980s or even earlier. …Housing is locked in a downward spiral, industry analysts say, not only because so many people are blocked from the market — being unemployed, in foreclosure or trapped in homes that are worth less than the mortgage — but because even those who are solvent are opting out.

Austin American-Statesman: State lawmakers ordered back to work today
With senators unable to broker a last-minute deal on school finance, the Texas Legislature gaveled the 82nd session closed Monday, followed quickly by Gov. Rick Perry calling legislators back for a special session to begin this morning. Perry, who determines the agenda of special sessions, directed the Legislature to consider the school finance bill, which would reduce the amount owed to school districts by $4 billion, and a Medicaid measure.

CNN: Counterprotesters confront Westboro Baptist Church at Arlington
Protesting members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church were met with an unlikely group of counterprotesters Monday at Arlington Cemetery. Hours before President Barack Obama led the nation's Memorial Day observances at the Tomb of the Unknowns, three members of the Westboro Baptist Church were challenged by others who disagreed with them - including members claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan.

Sports Illustrated: The Downfall Of Jim Tressel
[Former Ohio State football coach Jim] Tressel was forced out three days after Sports Illustrated alerted Ohio State officials that the wrongdoing by Tressel's players was far more widespread than had been reported. SI learned that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, Tressel's second season at Ohio State, and involved at least 28 players - 22 more than the university has acknowledged.

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

CNN: Explosions, gunfire erupt in Yemen's capital city, witnesses say
Sanaa residents reported hearing heavy explosions and sporadic gunfire for several hours early Tuesday, one day after security forces set fire to tents and tore through demonstrators' camps in Freedom Square in Taiz with bulldozers, an activist and eyewitnesses said. …Meanwhile, government forces launched airstrikes against Islamic militants in the coastal city of Zinjibar, where fierce fighting raged Sunday.

CNN: Witness: Syrian military surrounds one town, shells another
Two people died amid protests in Syria on Monday, as government troops and tanks surrounded one town and apparently shelled another for a second day, according to protest organizers and a witness. …The deaths bring to 12 the total number killed since troops entered towns in Homs province early Sunday to end protests against government rule, according to the committee. Ten people, including two children, died Sunday.

CNN: Egyptian general admits 'virginity checks' conducted on protesters
A senior Egyptian general admits that "virginity checks" were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities. The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

CNN: Honor goes to teacher who broke out in song as shots rang out before kids
A preschool teacher in northern Mexico was recognized for her courage after a viral Internet video showed her calmly leading the class in song as gunshots went off outside, state media reported. In the video, Martha Rivera Alanis can be heard telling her kids to get on the floor and stay down. "Let's sing a song!" Rivera Alanis shouts. The children agree. At least one little girl smiles.

CNN: Blatter denies FIFA in crisis and will seek fourth term in charge
A defiant Sepp Blatter shrugged off allegations of corruption within FIFA Monday and said he would press ahead with his bid to be re-elected as president of football's world governing body for the fourth time. Blatter will be the sole candidate in Wednesday's election in Zurich after Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, the only person standing against him, was suspended by the FIFA ethics committee Sunday, along with fellow leading official Jack Warner.

For the latest business news: http://www.CNNMoney.com

CNN: Japan's economic woes continue
Japan's unemployment rate rose to 4.7% in April, up 0.1% from March. It was the first jump in unemployment in six months in the wake of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, reported Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The data did not factor in three hardest hit prefectures in the tsunami region: Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Those areas saw massive infrastructure and job losses, suggesting the actual unemployment in the country is worse than today's figures suggest.

Wall Street Journal: AT&T's Critics on Deal Growing
Opposition is steadily growing to AT&T Inc.'s proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA, as competitors, state regulators and elected officials have come out in recent days expressing concerns about the acquisition from Deutsche Telekom AG. The views add to pressure on a combination—of the second- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the U.S.—that has already raised serious initial concerns at the Justice Department, which is worried it will hurt competition, according to people familiar with the matter.

USA Today: Business travel takes toll on workers' health
The study, which analyzed data gathered from roughly 13,000 workers, found that those who traveled more than 20 nights a month were 2.61 times more likely to report they were in poor or fair health than those on the road one to six days a month. And they were 1.92 times as likely to be obese, a condition that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

In Case You Missed It…
New York Rep. Anthony Weiner says someone hacked his Twitter account to send a lewd photo. Dana Bash reports.

Filed under: Political Hot Topics
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. 100% ETH

    Do you think journalists prepared and deliver the right informations into the public???

    25% yes
    75% NO

    May 31, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  2. diridi

    Sarah Palin is an idiot.....in a nutshell....does she want Medicare?????What a joke, like fools believe her kid's prank...

    May 31, 2011 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  3. T'sah from Virginia

    CNN Poll: Obama's approval rating edges up thanks to foreign policy
    If Americans only LQQKed at the BIG PICTURE it would have never DROPPED – honestly!!

    Wall Street Journal: Cyber Combat: Act of War
    Better watch out who you HACK or there’ll be TANKS at your DOOR!!!

    Boston Globe: Small-scale donations dwindling for Brown
    Because Brown did a flip-flop and the TP no longer supports the Clown!!!

    Miami Herald: Rubio’s backers pull him in two directions on immigration issue
    Well, he should follow his roots; forget the TP because they will ALWAYS boo-hoo and need TISSUES!!!

    CNN: Crowds wait and wait and wait for Palin
    A crowd of 100 WAITED – OMG – When they could have been sailing!!!

    Still “yawning” from the weekend – off to work, HAVE A NICE DAY!

    May 31, 2011 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    CNN Poll: Obama's approval rating edges up thanks to foreign policy
    I do understand the motivation by Republicans to criticize the President on everything, including is Mid-East peace comments. To a degree, I understand Netanyanhu's motivation behind his remarks, but still find his actions reprehensible for a national leader to wave his finger at Obama as if he were a child. (He stood before the US Congress and conveyed the same message Obama did and got a standing ovation for it.)

    Obama was correct in driving home the point that any peace negotiation with Palestinians must begin with the orignal borders. The reason for this elephant-in-the-room obvious. On the Palestinian side, there are factions that do not recognize the existence of Israel. The border has always been on the table as THE starting point because it puts takes the issue of Israel's right ot exist OFF the table. Apparently, Netanyahu does not have the vision to see that. And, neither do many US politicians who are willing to go along with whatever a Netanyahu says.

    May 31, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    CNN: Crowds wait and wait and wait for Palin
    I feel it is an insult against our fallen to turn a memorial rally into political theater. It was wrong to let her speak at the Rolling Thunder rally. Rumor has it a former organizer of the event had invited her. Too bad, that must be why the person is a former organizer. As for the people waiting for hours for Sarah Palin, I have one thing to say. 'Aw gosh, darn it.'

    May 31, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    USA Today: Business travel takes toll on workers' health
    Someone should do a study looking how frequent business travelers abuse drugs and alcohol. (A LOT!)

    May 31, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    New York Times: Housing Index Is Expected to Show a New Low in Prices
    Home prices are still too high. We saw decades worth of price increases over the span of a few years. The prices were not driven by the value of the homes, but rather the price of the mortgages that could be sold. I saw modular homes that sold for $50-70K in 1996 hit $350-450K by 2006. That was crazy. Most of those homes now sell for $90-150K. There are still quite a few of them out there still asking for over $250k, and they ain't selling.

    May 31, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Sports Illustrated: The Downfall Of Jim Tressel
    NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes who hold scholarships from working jobs that would exceed the equivalent dollar amount of a full scholarship. That means a s-a on a full scholarship cannot work, and one on a partial can work very little.

    The Saga of Two Students: A True Story
    Two students from the same high school attended the same college on full scholarships. One was a football player, while the other was a trumpet/trombone player in the marching band. Both had to participate in daily practices during the fall and spring, which lasted 2-4 hours. The musician could take his talent and play in a local band in the campus bars and clubs. The athelete could not work, and was flat broke all of the time. Fortunately, both lived in a dormitory and got free meals.

    May 31, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    CNN: Counterprotesters confront Westboro Baptist Church at Arlington
    The SCOTUS was wrong. My pursuit of happiness (peace and privacy) trumps someone else's freedom of speech exercises that are AIMED at disrupting my pursuit of happiness. During more sensible political times, such protest actions would have been called bias crimes.

    May 31, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |