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Senior Producer, CNN'S D.L. Hughley Breaks the News
It was a noisy week here at D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.
Last weekend, in a conversation with Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, D.L. called Rush Limbaugh the ‘de facto leader of the Republican party’. “No he’s not,” Mr. Steele asserted. “I’m the de facto leader of the Republican party.”
Then Saturday, Rush Limbaugh—the “incendiary” entertainer himself—gave an energetic address (OK, that’s an understatement) to the Conservative Political Action Committee, in defense of his statement that he wants President Obama to fail.
And on Sunday morning on “Meet the Press”, the president’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel called Rush Limbaugh the “voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party."
These three incidents came together to create a firestorm of cable news chatter. But the problem with firestorms is that they throw off a lot more heat than light. In all the talk, we missed a chance to talk about what we really need: a loyal opposition.
Look, I’m as excited about our new president as the next guy, but presidents are like toddlers (OK, some presidents more than others…). They need firm boundaries or they’ll end up hurting somebody. A loyal opposition provides those boundaries: keeping the president and the ruling party accountable; questioning the motivation behind policy decisions; and most importantly, forcing the president and his party to defend their actions to the voters.
Voters can be supportive of the president and his party, but they shouldn’t be blindly loyal. We need a loyal opposition to keep our system functioning.
But… when the opposition gets all hot and sweaty, and jumps around like the Vegas-period Elvis … we don’t really need that so much.
President Obama sent a strong message this week at his White House health care summit, saying his goal is to enact comprehensive health care reform by the end of this year. He said every option should be on the table, except for the status quo, and vowed that “those who seek to block any reform at all, any reform at any costs, will not prevail this time around.”
Strong words in the face of a fierce battle that lies ahead.
More than 100 people were invited to the summit, including some industry lobbyists who have killed previous reform efforts. Mister Obama welcomed them but also sent a warning signal to everyone in the room, saying: “I want to be very clear, at the outset, that while everybody has a right to take part in this discussion, nobody has the right to take it over and dominate.
Until he took his name out of the running for Surgeon General, Dr. Sanjay Gupta could have been part of the White House reform effort.
Here at 360, we’re of course thrilled that Sanjay has decided to remain part of the CNN family – and we’re putting him right to work.
Starting on Monday, Sanjay will begin five days of health care reports for us. He’s spent the last three months focusing on the ideas in play in the Obama administration. He’s talked with President Obama at length about the issues – and will bring this insight to our health care series.
His first report on Monday will focus on the major reform that’s already happened in Massachusetts, which implemented universal health care in 2006. Employers are required to provide coverage; uninsured individuals are required to buy it and the government provides the necessary subsidies (and expands Medicare for the poor). So how is it working?
Sanjay will take us inside the bold experiment in Massachusetts for a progress report.
See you Monday at 10 p.m. eastern!
We did a story Rosarito Beach, Mexico on Thursday where narco-trafficker violence has cut tourism to virtually nothing. We did a live report in front of the largest nightclub in town.
Papa's and Beers is a well known established place; it can attract thousands of partiers in the peak of Spring Break. On Thursday night, it was open with music blaring, but there wasn't one customer inside.
During the day, I walked about three miles down Rosarito's main street. There were no customers in most of the stores I passed. When we finished our live report, we drove north, passing Tijuana, and the spot where three headless victims of drug cartel violence were found on Tuesday.
We then crossed the border and went to San Diego for dinner. The music was blaring outside the clubs too. But they were packed. Beer, wine and champagne were flowing. Expensive dinners were being served; money was being made, fun was being had.
I felt like my evening was spent on two different planets.
Yes, the economy is in difficult shape in San Diego, like it is in most of the United States. But the suffering is oh so relative. Just driving 20 minutes to the south proves that.
Ken Robinson | BIO
Former Special Operations and Intelligence Officer
The new perceived “crisis” in the stimulus initiative is the claim that there is no way to prioritize projects to get the greatest value from taxpayer dollars.
It’s true that not every “shovel ready” project merits funding. When prioritizing stimulus resources, the hard part is explaining the value of projects beyond how many jobs they create for one or two years.
But this is a manufactured crisis. A unique category of business software already is proving it wrong. The overall category is called “Decision Support Software.” I was using this software ten years ago, for the Special Operations, and Intelligence community. This methodology has successfully allocated tens of billions dollars for DOD, and special programs. But, most important, it left an audit trail, on how the decisions were made, and where the money went. Allowing for a measure of its effectiveness, and insuring due diligence and accountability!
Jill Dougherty | Bio
Foreign Affairs Correspondent
When it comes to Russia, the Obama administration has been talking about “pressing the reset button.” It’s meant to symbolize a possible new start in U.S./Russian relations that “crashed” after Russian invaded Georgia last August.
So when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva before sitting down to their working dinner in Geneva she was all smiles when she presented him a small green box with a ribbon.
Lavrov opened it and, inside, there was a red button with the Russian word “peregruzka” printed on it.
Amy Holmes | Bio
Even if Rihanna may not bear responsibility to her young fans for her private choices, surely Nickelodeon owes them more. Chris Brown remains in the running for the Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards Vote 2009. For realz:
Night is falling and I can see the Gateway of India from my Sea View room at the Taj in Mumbai, my favorite hotel in the world. There are boats coming and going, people eating and arguing, vendors buying and selling. A few minutes ago there was a band playing Sufi Muslim love songs, and now there is some sort of parade approaching - maybe a wedding, maybe a political rally. Drummers dressed in red uniforms, horn players in orange, dignitaries (the groom and his family?) in carriages drawn by oxen, a group of uniformed schoolchildren walking by, clapping along, utterly delighted.
The carnival of India.
It is chilling to think if I was sitting in this same room on November 26, 2008, I would have been witness to the nightmare of India, when a group of ten terrorists hijacked a boat and came ashore on the spot that I am staring at now, and attacked the building I am sitting in with guns and grenades - six explosions in total in this hotel.
They killed nearly 200 people and injured over 300 more, but they failed in their most important pursuit - to create a religious civil war in a city that had fallen prey to the ugliest version of the clash of civilizations in the recent past.
So why was this time different? Why did Mumbaikers overwhelmingly view November 26 as a case of pluralism vs. extremism, rather than Hindu vs. Muslim?
I've been asking journalists and religious leaders in the city this question, and here's what they've had to say:
1) The Muslim community came out against the terror attacks immediately and clearly and strongly. They organized press conferences and marches. They refused to bury the terrorists in Muslim cemeteries. "Since the ... terrorists were neither Indian nor true Muslims, they had no right to an Islamic burial in an Indian Muslim cemetery," the Indian Muslim journalist MJ Akbar told Tom Friedman in a widely read column.
2) The media paid attention. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, a Professor of Islamic Studies at St. Xavier's College and founder of an interfaith project in Mumbai, told me that Indian Muslims have long spoken out against terrorism, but their voices had rarely been carried by the media. This time, the media were not looking for messages of division, but instead messages of unity - and the Muslims of Mumbai were there with that message front and center.