CNN Washington AM Note
July 3rd, 2013
05:18 AM ET
7 years ago

CNN Washington AM Note


CNN: No ‘active deception’ from Zimmerman, says cop
Jurors in the George Zimmerman trial got to hear his story again Tuesday, this time from Chris Serino, the lead investigator in the case, and Zimmerman’s best friend, Mark Osterman. On the trial’s seventh day, both of them recounted the story told to them by Zimmerman with minor variations - but no big inconsistencies. Court ended early Tuesday to give attorneys time to prepare their arguments for a hearing regarding the admissibility of evidence of Zimmerman's interest in the criminal justice field, including his course work pursuing a criminal justice degree, his rejected application to become a police officer and his request to do a ride along with police. Attorneys will present their arguments outside the presence of the jury when court resumes Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET.
ALSO SEE: WX Post: George Zimmerman trial: Race is a subtext, not the focus
WATCH: VIDEO Zimmerman friend gives sweaty testimony Darren Kavinoky talks to Brooke about Mark Osterman's testimony in court.

CNN: Arizona wildfire battle shadowed by losses; firefighters make some gains
Even the prospect of rain is little help to the crews fighting an Arizona wildfire that killed 19 of their comrades. But firefighters battling the Yarnell Hill blaze did get a boost from the U.S. military, which committed four specially equipped C-130 transports to the effort Tuesday. About 400 ground personnel and 100 incident management staff are working to control the fire, shadowed by the near-total loss of an elite team that was overrun by the spreading blaze Sunday.
CNN: Lookout warned team before fire killed 19, officials say
NYT: As Arizona Fires Rage On, Inquiry Into Firefighters’ Death Focuses on Wind

CNN: Stubborn heat wave, incessant rain won't let up before July 4
If you live on the West or East Coast, there's a good chance Fourth of July celebrations will either be scalding hot or drenched in rain. While the Northeast will get a reprieve from storms that left knee-deep flooding in some areas, heavy rain will pummel much of the Southeast.

WX Post: Sequester brings pain to the long-term jobless
The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration are having a big impact on the nation’s long-term unemployed, who have seen their federal jobless benefits shrink by nearly 15 percent, according to a report released Tuesday. The National Employment Law Project said the cuts lowered the average weekly payment from $289 to $246, further tightening an already difficult situation for workers who have been out of a job longer than six months.

USA Today: Sheriff: I won't let Aaron Hernandez get married
If Aaron Hernandez wants to marry his high school sweetheart and mother of his 7-month-old daughter, it's not going to happen while he's in the Bristol County jail, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. Whether Hernandez wanted to tie the knot for love or courtroom strategy, Hodgson won't have it.


CNN: Key Obamacare provision delayed
The requirement that businesses provide their workers with health insurance or face fines – a key provision contained in President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law – will be delayed by one year, the Treasury Department said Tuesday. The postponement came after business owners expressed concerns about the complexity of the law’s reporting requirements, the agency said in its announcement. Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses employing 50 or more full-time workers that don't provide them health insurance will be penalized.
SEE ALSO: Politico: 6 questions about the Obamacare mandate

WX Post: The politics of delaying Obamacare
By delaying a requirement that all large employers provide health insurance, the Obama administration heads off the unseemly spectacle of companies vowing to cut jobs or workers’ hours to avoid the costly mandate. But the late Tuesday action is not a free pass: It contributes to critics’ claims that the White House does not have the ability to launch its biggest legislative accomplishment on schedule.

The Hill: President Obama takes flak over Egypt
Lawmakers and experts on the Middle East are criticizing President Obama’s hands-off approach toward Egypt in the wake of the political crisis that has paralyzed the Arab world’s most populous country. They argue that upheaval in Egypt’s streets just two years after the end of the Mubarak era points to a string of mistakes by the administration. Instead of hoping the situation would work itself out after Egyptians elected a Muslim Brotherhood leader to the presidency last year, they say the administration should have conditioned U.S. economic aid to the creation of democratic institutions and pushed back hard against the arrest of U.S. pro-democracy activists last year.


Politico: GOP gloats over Obamacare delay
Obamacare opponents on Tuesday had a “We told you so” moment. As the Obama administration announced a one-year delay in the employer mandate, leading Republican lawmakers and political strategists painted the decision as an admission of the law’s failures – and a blatant attempt to shield Democrats during the 2014 elections.

WSJ: GOP, Dairy Farmers Clash Over Immigration
A comprehensive rewrite of U.S. immigration laws passed the Senate last week. In Wisconsin, dairy farmers, one of the state's biggest business groups, are embracing a stance not shared by some Republican lawmakers and their skeptical constituents, providing a preview of the debate to come. The farmers represent a powerful force pushing for an immigration overhaul. The industry's reliance on immigrant labor has deepened as milk producers have turned to nearly 24-hour milking cycles to boost productivity. Immigrant workers make up about 40% of hired labor on Wisconsin's dairy farms, according to a 2009 estimate from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Farmers say they can't find enough U.S. citizens to fill the shifts needed to milk cows three times a day, often with one overnight milking, every day of the year.

Politico: Agriculture, forestry, renewable energy interests urge Boehner to keep farm bill intact
A broad coalition of commodity, wildlife, forest and renewable energy groups is asking Speaker John Boehner to keep the farm bill intact and not split off the nutrition title as now being considered by the Republican leadership. A letter to Boehner released Tuesday lists more than 500 signatories brought together by the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union. A second from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition — more closely linked to grass-roots conservation and organic foods groups — also urges Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to work together to find some solution that keeps the bill together.
SEE ALSO: Roll Call: 5 Farm Bill Groups You Didn’t Know Existed

WSJ: Some Democrats Worry Newcomers Will Crowd Job Market
Democrats wary of immigration are a minority within their own party, but it is a group that is largely made up of lower-earning people. Now, with immigration proposals facing a difficult path through the House, the voices of these Democrats, combined with similar concerns voice by Republicans, could add fuel to the arguments that allowing more guest workers into the U.S. and legalizing illegal immigrants would squeeze the wages and jobs of native-born workers.


CNN: Texas abortion showdown continues
The battle over Texas' attempts to change its abortion law continued Tuesday at the state capitol. Crowds of pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates flooded a House committee meeting on a bill that would impose strict new regulations on abortions in the state. Inside the hearing room, it was quiet as people waited their turn to speak. But outside the hearing, it was prayer circles versus drum circles. Color-coordinated groups (blue and orange) huddled together throughout the statehouse, joined by ideology. Middle ground was hard to come by.
SEE ALSO: CNN: Perry to announce political future on Monday

WX Post: Dan Balz’s ‘Collision: 2012’ details Romney’s hesitation about presidential bid
Mitt Romney wasn’t always sold on running for the White House a second time, according to a soon-to-be-released book about the 2012 presidential campaign by The Washington Post’s Dan Balz. The book details the Republican’s early opposition to the idea and his later consideration of pulling the plug on his nascent bid. The book, titled “Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America,” is due out Aug. 6. It details the 2012 White House race through Election Day and its aftermath.

FOX: Illinois Gov. Quinn triggers backlash after changing concealed-carry bill
Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn triggered a backlash from his own party as well as the NRA on Tuesday after he unilaterally changed legislation meant to allow the carrying of concealed weapons. In a challenge to gun-rights supporters, Quinn moved to cap the number of firearms and rounds that can be carried by Illinois residents and ban guns from any place that serves alcohol. The move was a nod to the governor's gun-control base as the state faces a court-ordered July 9 deadline to allow concealed-carry.

NYT: G.O.P. Sees Opportunity for Election Gains in Obama’s Climate Change Policy
When President Obama announced strong measures to combat climate change last week, environmentalists who felt he had long soft-pedaled the issue for political reasons rejoiced. But many Republicans were just as gleeful — in the belief they had been handed a powerful issue to use against Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections in energy-rich states from Texas to Minnesota.

CNN: Bloomberg to host fundraiser for Manchin
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hosting a fundraiser at his home for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, later this month, a source familiar with the event confirms to CNN. Bloomberg, because of his wealth, has become one of the most prominent backers of gun control. He has praised Manchin for his leadership since he co-sponsored a measure, ultimately defeated by the Senate in April, to expand background checks for purchases at gun shows and over the internet.

Bangor Daily News: GOP leader Alexander Willette, 24, says he is a candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District
Assistant House Minority Leader Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, has announced that he will file the necessary paperwork Monday to become a candidate for Maine’s 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Willette, who is in his second term in District 7 of the Maine House, said he will build his campaign around his desire to cut spending and taxes in the federal government and bring jobs to Maine. Willette, 24, who is calling his campaign “Jobs NOW! for Maine,” has served as the assistant house minority leader since December. According to his campaign, he is the youngest-ever member of Legislative leadership and currently the youngest legislative leader in the United States. He said his youth and conservative values would serve Mainers well.


CNN: Snowden's asylum options dwindle
Edward Snowden's hopes of finding asylum from U.S. prosecution on espionage charges appeared to dim Tuesday as country after country denied his request or said he would have to find a way to travel to their territory to apply. While Bolivia and Venezuela seemed supportive, 11 of the 21 countries he's applied to, including Ecuador and Iceland, have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three - Brazil, India and Poland - have denied the request outright.
WSJ: For NSA, Hackers Are Needed, Risky
Politico: Edward Snowden steals the show

CNN: Bolivia: Presidential plane forced to land after false rumors of Snowden onboard
Bolivian officials say their country's presidential plane had to land in Austria on Tuesday after false rumors circulated that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was aboard the aircraft. Portuguese authorities wouldn't let President Evo Morales' plane land for refueling in Lisbon, Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra told CNN en Español. French authorities also wouldn't let the plane enter their airspace, he said. In a televised address late Tuesday night, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera described Morales as a "hostage of imperialism."
SEE ALSO: The Guardian has a live blog up covering the diversion of Bolivian president's plane

CNN: Two suspects arrested in alleged Canada Day plot
Two suspects have been arrested on terror charges and are accused of plotting to use explosive devices in Victoria, British Columbia, on Canada Day, which fell on Monday, James Malizia of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday. The alleged target was the B.C. legislature, according to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Wayne Rideout. Two Canadian-born citizens, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, have been charged with conspiring to place an explosive in or against a place of public use, with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; facilitating terrorist activity; and making or having in their possession an explosive substance with intent to endanger life, Rideout said.

HuffPost: Coast Guard Rape Case To Be Taken To South Carolina Court-Martial
A Coast Guard petty officer accused of rape, sexual assault and other charges will face a court-martial expected to begin in September in South Carolina, military officials said Tuesday. The commander of the Coast Guard district headquartered in Portsmouth, Va., said in a news release that a hearing found grounds to put Petty Officer 2nd Class Omar Gomez on trial in Charleston. The charges allege that Gomez, 35, engaged in a range of sexual misconduct from rape to inappropriate comments involving two civilians and six Coast Guard women. The investigation began after a reported sexual assault last September aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin, which is based in Charleston.


CNN: Negotiations to resume in San Francisco transit strike
For a second day Tuesday, no BART trains were running. The strike began at midnight Sunday after union leaders walked out of negotiations with BART hours before their four-year contract was set to expire. After two days of strikes that have stranded 400,000 daily commuters in California's Bay Area, officials from the transit unions and transit authority planned to start negotiations Tuesday evening.

Associated Press: Officials say 3rd day of strike likely
Transit officials say San Francisco Bay area commuters should prepare for a third day of transit disruptions as labor discussions with rail workers have not yet yielded an agreement. With talks going on throughout evening, the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency said late Tuesday there was no indication striking workers would return Wednesday. Talks resumed after political pressure mounted for a settlement.

WSJ: Freeh to Investigate BP Spill-Fund Payments
A federal judge appointed former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Louis Freeh to investigate alleged improprieties by an attorney involved in overseeing settlement payments related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The appointment is a victory for BP PLC, which has argued the court-appointed administrator has been approving payouts that are either too large or go to companies that didn’t actually suffer losses from the spill.

Business Week: Reagan National Airport Is Ground Zero in the American-US Airways Merger Review
Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport, the nearest and dearest to Congress’s heart, is one of only a few U.S. airports where, in order to fly in and out, airlines must own arrival and departure times. Now the airport and its “slot” system have become a focus of regulatory reviews in the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways. US Airways currently has more than half of National’s slots and about one-fifth of the market share there. Combined with American, the new airline would control about two-thirds of the airport’s slots—making it a natural target for rival airlines that want regulators to force the company to divest some of those. Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest would all like more Reagan slots.

CNN: Ex-Tiffany's exec accused of stealing $1.3 million in jewelry
A former vice president of product development at Tiffany & Co. is accused of stealing $1.3 million worth of jewelry from the luxury brand and selling it to an international jewelry company, an unnamed FBI spokesperson said. Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, was arrested Tuesday. She is accused of stealing 165 pieces of jewelry, including diamond bracelets, earrings and pendants, between January 2011 and February 2013. Officials said Lederhaas-Okun abused her position to check out the pieces and write off or cancel the costs of the jewelry, later reselling the pieces falsely as her own.


Houston Chronicle: Band of Brothers: 3 TX siblings enter West Point
There are brothers in arms and bands of brothers, and now there are Noah, Sumner and Cole Ogrydziak, three Texas brothers who began their cadet training together at West Point this week. For one of the few times in its long history, the U.S. Military Academy accepted three siblings into the same class. Eighteen-year-old twins Sumner and Cole and their 19-year-old brother Noah, of Nederland in southeast Texas, have each signed on for four years of academics and military training. If all three make it through the rigorous program, they will simultaneously toss their caps into the air as newly commissioned second lieutenants in the Army in 2017.

News & Observer: NC Senate gives preliminary approval to bill restricting abortions
A bill restricting abortions that popped up in the state Senate without public notice Tuesday evening and received swift approval would force clinics to meet expensive license requirements and make it more difficult for doctors to perform the procedures. Under the bill, which was tacked onto another measure dealing with Islamic law, abortion clinics would have to meet license standards similar to those of ambulatory surgical centers. According to legislative staff, only one clinic in the state currently meets that standard.

New Jersey Star-Ledger: PSE&G sues insurers over storm payouts
It's not just homeowners and small businesses that are fuming over flood insurance payouts after Hurricane Sandy. Public Service Enterprise Group, the parent company of the state's largest utility, has lashed out against its insurers, accusing them of shortchanging the company after the Oct. 29 storm. Public Service, whose PSE&G unit provides electricity to some 2.2 million homes and businesses, has named 11 insurers as defendants in a lawsuit it filed last month in state Superior Court in Essex County. The company claims that nearly all of these carriers have improperly denied it full coverage for the losses it incurred when Sandy's monstrous storm surge devastated its facilities and caused some $426 million in damage.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Man pushes for 'gay rights' license plate, wins
The man who was behind getting the state law changed for vanity tags spoke exclusively with Channel 2 Action News about his victory. Cyrus Gilbert applied for a "gay rights" vanity plate. After being told the tag was unavailable, he did some digging and found gay advocacy tags were banned in Georgia. He sued and won his case. Now, he has his new vanity plates that say "Gay Pwr." Although his attorney said lifting the ban is a step in the right direction, he believes progress still needs to be made.

WSJ: Oregon Explores Novel Way to Fund College
As lawmakers in Washington remain at loggerheads over the student-debt crisis, Oregon's legislature is moving ahead with a plan to enable students to attend state schools with no money down. In return, under one proposal, the students would agree to pay into a special fund 3% of their salaries annually for 24 years. The plan, called "Pay it Forward, Pay it Back," would create a fund that students would draw from and eventually pay into—potentially bypassing traditional education lenders and the interest rates they charge. The state would likely borrow for the fund's seed money, which could exceed $9 billion, but the program's designers intend it to become self-sustaining. Oregon's Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill, already approved by the House, that creates a study committee charged with developing a pilot program for Pay it Forward, Pay it Back. The legislature will decide in 2015 whether to implement the pilot.

Baltimore Sun: Women to lead state's highest court
Maryland achieved several milestones Tuesday as Gov. Martin O'Malley named the first woman to lead what will be the first female majority on the state's top court. The appointments, to be announced Wednesday in Annapolis, mark a shift in a male-dominated profession and put Maryland among a minority of states with their highest courts led by women. O'Malley elevated Court of Appeals Judge Mary Ellen Barbera to be chief — the highest-ranking judge in Maryland — and he appointed Court of Special Appeals Judge Shirley M. Watts to take the seat of retiring Chief Judge Robert M. Bell.


CNN: Bloodshed and blood oaths stain Egypt's protests, as military ultimatum runs out
Bloodshed intermingled with blood oaths early Wednesday in Egypt. Clashes killed at least 16 people, when angry opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsy met head on at Cairo University, according to the state-run EgyNews agency. Another 200 suffered injuries. Leaders of Egypt's army vowed to "sacrifice our blood," to defend the country, just hours after Morsy said he would not bow to their ultimatum to come up with a power sharing agreement.
WATCH: VIDEO New video shows violent clashes at the University of Cairo between Morsy supporters and protestors.

Times of India: In change of stance, India supports talks with Taliban
At a time when the US is seeking to directly engage the Taliban, India's shift away from its own "no-truck-with Taliban" policy became evident on Tuesday, when foreign minister Salman Khurshid said New Delhi supported dialogue with all sections of the Afghan society and armed opposition groups "including the Taliban". Although Khurshid, who was addressing a meeting of the Asean Regional Forum, stressed that any dialogue in Afghanistan must recognize all internationally accepted red lines, his remarks here amplified the shift in India's stand against Taliban's inclusion in negotiations with Afghanistan.

CNN: Drone strike in northwestern Pakistan said to have killed 17
A suspected U.S. drone strike in northwestern Pakistan has killed 17 people, intelligence officials said Wednesday. The attack Tuesday night targeted a compound and vehicle in the Dande Darpakhel area near Miranshah in North Waziristan, the officials said.

Associated Press: Japan party leaders debate ahead of July 21 vote
Leaders of nine Japanese political parties are appealing to voters in a debate the day before campaigning starts for upper house elections on July 21. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, the New Komeito Party, are expected to gain a majority of the 242 seats in the less powerful upper house through the election. That would give them control of both houses of parliament, making it easier to pass legislation after years of gridlock.

CNN: South Africa township voices 'still thanking Papa Madiba'
In the days of apartheid, Modipa said the white minority-ruled government confined black South Africans to the township after dark. He also said it was difficult to start a business, since white-owned banks refused to issue loans to blacks. And though the poverty that is visible today in Alexandra reflects the deep income inequalities and high unemployment that continue to plague South Africa, Modipa said this working class neighborhood has come a long way in the last 20 years.


CNNMoney: S&P downgrades Euro banks
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded three European banks on Wednesday, citing worries over the size of their investment banking portfolios and the impact of new regulations. The banks are Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, all of which rely heavily on investment banking to drive revenue growth. All three firms had their ratings cut from A+ to A.

CNN: Egypt unrest pushes oil prices near $100
Oil prices neared $100 a barrel Tuesday, as traders feared tensions in Egypt could spread to the broader Middle East. U.S. oil prices hovered around $99.50 a barrel Tuesday afternoon, the highest they've been in over a year. While oil production from Egypt is negligible, the country controls the Suez Canal and pipeline, which move about 4 million barrels of oil per day. Plus, the country is one of the largest and most powerful in the Middle East and North Africa - home to about a third of the world's oil production.
SEE ALSO: WSJ: Rising U.S. Oil Output Gives Policy Makers More Options

CNBC: Traders Watching Data for Clues to Jobs Report
Traders will be watching a batch of jobs-related data Wednesday for any sign the June employment number Friday could be better than the mediocre report economists expect. The consensus forecast is that 165,000 nonfarm payrolls were added in June, down from the 175,000 created in May, according to Reuters data. The employment report also is expected to show a one-tenth decline in the unemployment rate to 7.5 percent.

Bloomberg: GM, Ford Sales Rise as U.S. Pace Reaches 67-Month High
General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., makers of the best-selling big pickups in the U.S., said new-vehicle deliveries in June topped estimates as the industry selling pace accelerated to the fastest in 67 months. Ford sales of cars and light trucks gained 13 percent to 234,917, beating the 12 percent increase that was the average of 11 estimates. General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., makers of the best-selling big pickups in the U.S., said new-vehicle deliveries in June topped estimates as the industry selling pace accelerated to the fastest in 67 months. Americans are buying new cars and trucks at the fastest rate since 2007 as they replace the oldest vehicles ever on U.S. roads.

Bloomberg: Michael Dell Said to Face Mounting Odds Against Proposed Buyout
The odds are mounting against Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion bid to take Dell Inc. private. Institutional Shareholder Services, an investor-advisory firm, is leaning against the deal, according to people with knowledge of the matter. A negative recommendation by the influential firm would increase the likelihood that investors will oppose the proposal - unless Michael Dell and his partners sweeten the $13.65-a-share bid, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. While the banks financing the transaction are now working on a contingency plan to increase the offer, it’s unclear whether buyout partner Silver Lake Management LLC will continue backing Michael Dell chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc., the people said.
SEE ALSO: Reuters: Founder told to sweeten offer for Dell as Icahn ups the stakes

Filed under: Washington AM Note
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. king

    the repubs war on obamacare looks like its winning, this means millions of Americans will be left sprawled on the side of the side of the road without healthcare, and the status quo is maintained, because if you are waiting for the repubs to go against their so called free market ideology and come up with a universal healthcare law for the american people when they destroy oboamacare, you guys need to wake the bleep up. lesson not forcing big corporations to spend their money in America on Americans, just means lest money going to obamacare that feeds our local economy, and more money going to china, Swiss accounts, Cayman islands, to hide from the tax man. repubs just hate when big businesses spends money in America. they feels that big businesses should spend money in china and India and it doesn't matter if they take American jobs with them. yea they hate this president that much.

    July 3, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  2. tom l.

    rs, Dutch, Rudy, Sniffit, Dominican and Lynda should be stoked with the delay of the ACA. At least unemployment won't go up during an election year and the obvious complaints about the new law and how unworkable it is will be delayed by a year until after the election. This is really good news for you guys!

    July 3, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  3. GI Joe

    If Trayvon was white and Zimmerman was black ......................

    July 3, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |