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February 24th, 2009
11:35 AM ET

Morning Buzz: President Obama and Gov. Jindal hit Primetime

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

President Obama will have his biggest moment yet at 9pet, next to the Inauguration. He will address a joint session of Congress and millions of YOU across the USA, delivering a critical speech to the nation about the economy.

This speech comes on the heels of signing the stimulus bill into law, and a new goal to halve the nation’s trillion dollar deficit. In other words: Spend! Cut!

In his address tonight, he is expected to strike an optimistic tone. Perhaps he is taking Former President Bill Clinton’s advice to sound more upbeat in his speeches. I guess he meant the parts when President Obama said “crisis could turn into catastrophe” and “the road ahead is not an easy one.”

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
February 24th, 2009
11:29 AM ET

Bank nationalization isn't the answer

William M. Isaac
The Wall Street Journal

People who should know better have been speculating publicly that the government might need to nationalize our largest banks. This irresponsible chatter is causing tremendous turmoil in financial markets. The Obama administration needs to make clear immediately that nationalization - government seizing control of ownership and operations of a company - is not a viable option.

Unlike the talking heads, I have actually nationalized a large bank. When I headed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) during the banking crisis of the 1980s, the FDIC recapitalized and took control of Continental Illinois Bank, which was then the country's seventh largest bank.

The FDIC purchased Continental's problem loans at a big discount and hired the bank to manage and collect the loans under an incentive arrangement. We received 80% ownership of the company, which increased to 100% based on the losses suffered by the FDIC on the bad loans.

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Filed under: Economy • Raw Politics • U.S. Federal Reserve
February 24th, 2009
11:28 AM ET

Bailout bank blows millions partying in L.A.

TMZ Staff
TMZ.com

A bank that received $1.6 billion in bailout money just spent a fortune last week in L.A. hosting a series of lavish parties and concerts with famous singers ... and TMZ cameras caught it all

Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, sponsored the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. We're told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking.

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Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy
February 24th, 2009
11:17 AM ET

Statement from Rupert Murdoch

This New York Post cartoon by Sean Delonas sparked a debate over race and cartooning.

This New York Post cartoon by Sean Delonas sparked a debate over race and cartooning.

Rupert Murdoch
The New York Post

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

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Filed under: 360º Follow • Race in America
February 24th, 2009
10:58 AM ET

Americans aren’t cowards on race

Tara Wall
CNN Contributor

First, we're a nation of whiners; now, we're a nation of cowards.

The coward comment comes from none other than President Obama's newly minted attorney general, Eric Holder.

The remarks were part of a speech Holder delivered for Black History Month. Yet, even in that context, the words came across as arrogant, condescending and not at all becoming a statesman.

One dictionary definition of coward is "lacking courage." Stinging words for a country at war, where white and black soldiers are shedding the same color blood. Are they cowards?

Ironic too that Holder's remarks come at a time when the nation has just elected its first black president and witnessed the confirmation of its first black attorney general (Holder himself). Forget that more whites than blacks cast their ballots for a black man to lead the nation. So this is how Holder says thanks?

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Filed under: Race in America • Tara Wall
February 24th, 2009
10:50 AM ET

Five things to look for in Obama's speech

Michael Scherer
TIME

In any given week, the President of the United States will give maybe a half dozen speeches and make public remarks at twice as many events. But often the words that history most remembers are delivered only once a year, usually in January or February, when the President travels the length of Pennsylvania Avenue to address a joint session of Congress. This is the single moment when the President gets to set out the broad sweep of his own plans, proposes his own benchmarks for success, and establishes the tenor of his administration.

It was before a joint session that John F. Kennedy announced in 1961 his plans to land a man on the moon "before this decade is out." "The era of big government is over," Bill Clinton declared before a joint session in 1996. In 2002, George W. Bush used his address before Congress to denounce the "axis of evil, arming to threaten peace in the world," a foreign policy vision that will forever define his legacy.

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February 24th, 2009
10:41 AM ET

Air traffic controller on flight 1549: "It hit me hard"

Mike Ahlers
CNN Homeland Security Producer

For three now-famous minutes, the most frightened people in the world may have been the crew and passengers aboard US Airways flight 1549, as the plane headed for a splashdown in the Hudson River.

But for the next half hour, that unwelcomed distinction may have gone to Patrick Harten, the air traffic controller who communicated with Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and then watched flight 1549 disappear from his radar screen.

"It was the lowest low I had ever felt," Harten, a 10-year veteran controller, said in testimony prepared for a congressional hearing Tuesday. It is Harten's first public appearance since the crash, and he will appear alongside the Flight 1549 crew.

Industry officials have praised Harten's cool demeanor during the January 15 incident, including the way he gave options to Sullenberger, how he cleared another airport for an emergency landing, and how he did not overburden the crew by requesting unnecessary information.

But Harten said the "hardest and most traumatic part of the entire event was when it was over."

"During the emergency itself, I was hyper-focused. I had no choice but to think and act quickly, and remain calm.

"But when it was over, it hit me hard. It felt like hours before I learned about the heroic water landing that Capt. Sullenberger and his crew had managed," he said. "Even after I learned the truth, I could not shake the image of tragedy in my mind. Every time I saw the survivors on the television, I imagined grieving widows."

The incident occurred about three hours into Harten's eight-hour shift, but only 15 minutes after he was assigned to handle departures from New York's LaGuardia airport. Harten said he instructed flight 1549 - which used the call sign Cactus 1549 - to climb to 15,000, then turned his attention to another aircraft.

When he turned back to 1549 to instruct him to turn west, Sullenberger advised him he had lost power in both engines because of a bird strike, and needed to return to LaGuardia for an emergency landing.

"While I have worked 10 or 12 emergencies over the course of my career, I have never worked an aircraft with zero thrust capabilities," Harten's testimony says. "I understood how grave this situation was."
Harten says he "made a split-second decision" to offer him runway 13, the closest runway, and contacted LaGuardia tower to clear the runways for an emergency.

When Sullenberger radioed "We're unable," he directed the plane to runway 31. Sullenberger again said "Unable."

Sullenberger suggested Teterboro airport, Harten said.
Harten said that coordinating with controllers in Teterboro, they determined that Runway 1 was the best option and cleared it for an emergency landing.

But Sullenberger said "We can't do it," adding, "We're going to be in the Hudson."

"I asked him to repeat himself, even though I heard him just fine. I simply could not wrap my mind around those words," Harten said. "People don't survive landings on the Hudson River; I thought it was his own death sentence. I believed at that moment, I was going to be the last person to talk to anyone on that plane alive."
Harten said he lost radio contact with 1549 and the plane disappeared from his radar screen as it dropped below New York's skyscrapers.

"I was in shock. I was sure the plane had gone down," he said.
But 1549 flickered back onto his radar screen, suggesting the plane had regained use of one of its engines.

Harten told the plane it could land at Newark, seven miles away, but he got no response.

"I then lost radar contact again, this time for good."
Soon thereafter, Harten was relieved of his radar position - a routine move following a major incident.

"I was in no position to continue to work air traffic. It was the lowest low I had ever felt. I wanted to talk to my wife. But I knew if I tried to speak or even heard her voice, I would fall apart completely."
Instead, he sent her a text message: "Had a Crash. Not ok. Can't talk now."

His wife thought he had been in a car accident.

"Truth was I felt like I'd been hit by a bus," he said.

Harten said it was six hours before he could leave work, after reviewing the tapes, filling out paperwork and making an official statement. All five crew members and 150 passengers survived the crash.

"It has taken over a month for me to be able to see that I did a good job: I was flexible and responsive, I listened to what the pilot said and made sure to give him the tools he needed. I stayed calm and in control."

"I returned to work this week, and while it may take time for me to regain my old confidence, I know I will get there," he said.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Chesley Sullenberger
February 24th, 2009
09:01 AM ET

Obamas host first dinner

Michelle Obama prepares for the Obama administration's first official dinner. CNN's Erica Hill reports.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Michelle Obama
February 24th, 2009
08:56 AM ET

The Shot: Joaquin at the Oscars

At the Oscars, Ben Stiller does a spot-on impression of Phoenix's appearance on "David Letterman."


Filed under: T1 • The Shot
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