The Washington Post
I ran into Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, one of American's Islam's foremost scholars, at the Presidential Prayer Service on Wednesday. His first words to me were, "This President is reaching out to us. It's good for the Muslim world to hear that."
"And good for America to hear it, too" I responded.
Not only was Obama the first President to mention the word "Muslim" in an inauguration speech, he did it with his hand out instead of with his fist clenched (to borrow a Presidential phrase). To say that there will be a new relationship with the Muslim world based on mutual interests means that it could be serious and long-lasting – America is not doing this out of charity, but out of strategy. To say that it will be based on mutual respect means that the Obama administration intends to approach 1/5 of humanity with a sense of dignity and equality, instead of threat and condescension.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/23/art.pakistan.protest.jpg caption="Tribesmen and activists of Pakistani Islamist party, Jamaat-i-Islami, shout during a demonstration in Islamabad on January 23, demanding an end to Pakistan military operations and US missile attacks against Taliban militants in lawless areas bordering Afghanistan."]
CNN Executive Producer
Politically, it looked like the perfect one-two combination. Just hours after President Obama signs an executive order mandating the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility (the jab), the U.S. launches a double missile strike against targets in Pakistan (the right hook). Just as the skeptics were grumbling that the order to close Guantanamo and other secret CIA prisons meant the new Administration was "soft on terror," Wham! Hellfire from above.
The strikes that killed at least 17 people made me think of a question posed yesterday by a trusted source, who also happens to be a former top official at the CIA. We were talking about the President's desire to close the detention facilities and what implications that could have. He asked me a very pointed question: Why is it that people do so much hand-wringing over what to do with detention facilities for terror suspects, but nobody bats an eyelash over a missile strike?
Editor's Note: Sen. Sam Brownback is a Republican from Kansas
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/21/guantanamo.justice/art.campjustice.gi.jpg caption="Prosecutions have been halted at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Justice after an order by President Obama."]
Special to CNN
The most important responsibility for any president is the safety and security of the American people.
By issuing Thursday's executive orders, President Obama has ensured that his success or failure in matters of national security policy will be defined in part by what he does with detainees.
It amounts to a test of whether the promises of the campaign trail can be reconciled with the fundamental responsibility of protecting all Americans.
I disagree with setting a date for closing Guantanamo Bay's detention facility because I believe that adhering to a schedule is less important than preserving our security.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/23/art.iceshelf.jpg caption="A New Zealand frigate patrols past the Ross Ice Shelf in the Southern Ocean in Antarctica."]
CNN Executive Editor
Professor David Vaughan has an infectious enthusiasm, even when he’s issuing dire warnings about the future of Antarctica. That’s where he is right now, at the Rothera Research Station. He’s just returned from a flight to the Wilkins Ice Shelf – which juts out of the western tip of the Continent. It will probably be his last.
An Englishman whose home is among the dreaming spires of Cambridge, where the British Antarctic Survey has its headquarters, Professor Vaughan has been visiting the world’s coldest places for twenty years. He was surprised to find that the Wilkins Ice Shelf, which began disintegrating a decade ago, hasn’t yet disappeared. But he says it’s in its death throes.
Last year, AC360° reported the Survey’s finding that a slice the size of Manhattan had broken off the ice shelf. Vaughan says the whole shelf is now connected to the rest of Antarctica by a strip of ice just a few hundred meters wide. It’s like looking at an hour glass. This huge slab of ice –11,000 square kilometres (the size of Jamaica) – is about to collapse into the sea. Maybe within weeks, maybe later in the year, says Vaughan.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/21/obama.business/art.obamafullday.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama plans to meet with his top economic and military advisers on Wednesday."]
Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek.com
“Never underestimate the other guy’s greed.” This isn’t just a classic line from the 1983 Brian De Palma film, “Scarface” (written by Oliver Stone). For many observers of Wall Street, it was greed that catalyzed the economic disaster we’re now clawing ourselves out of.
Isn’t it time to find a new basis for leadership?
Let’s consider the current period to be Wall Street 3G. The first generation, characterized by the largely unregulated expansion of business, ended with the Great Depression. In the second period, business was subject to more regulations but still had a great deal of freedom, leading to crisis we are now in. A crucial lesson from the first two generations is that a philosophy based on greed is both unethical and bad for business. Greed isn’t the only reason we’re in such a troubling situation, however. Honesty, accountability, fairness, and compassion have also been in short supply. I therefore propose the following leadership guidelines for investment bankers, entrepreneurs, C-level executives in organizations large and small, and everyone else whose decisions can affect the financial well being of other people.
CNN Financial News Producer
General Electric, the far-reaching conglomerate with industrial, financial and media operations, posted a 44% decline in profits this morning. GE is one of those few companies that’s considered a proxy for the overall economy - so if it’s hurting, everybody’s hurting.
But GE did reiterate its intention to remain a AAA-rated company and not cut its dividend. GE’s stock has taken a hit recently as investors braced themselves for the possibility of a cut to the company’s dividend or credit rating amid increased credit losses at its GE Capital financing unit and falling demand in the industrial economy.
GE’s results are weighing heavily on Wall Street today as the picture for corporate earnings continues to dim. The Dow fell by triple digits out of the starting gate, setting the stage for another rough finish to a holiday-shortened trading week.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/19/iraq.violence/art.iraq.gi.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier plays with a boy Monday while on patrol in Babil province, Iraq."]
Tom Foreman | Bio
Wars and marriages have this is common: They are often easier to get into than out of.
President Obama is repeating his intention of getting all American combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months. The plan is posted prominently on his new White House web site (which in my opinion is hands down much more inviting and user-friendly than the site was under the Bush administration) and it says plainly: If we immediately start pulling a brigade or two out every month, by mid-2010, they’ll all be gone.
The math works. We have about 140,000 members of the military in Iraq now. Remove two brigades, or 7,000 troops, each month and that deadline will be pretty much met.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/01/22/virginity.value/art.dylan.3.jpg caption="Natalie Dylan, 22, said she has put her virginity up for auction through the Moonlite Bunny Ranch."]
Is a woman's virginity worth $3.8 million? That's how much a 22-year-old from San Diego, California, said she has been offered through an auction she announced in September.
The woman, who goes by "Natalie Dylan," set up a private auction through the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada, has given her lots of "business opportunities," she said.
Her top bid comes from a 39-year-old Australian, but she has no immediate plans to settle the auction, she said in a recent interview with CNN.
Some men may seek virgins because they want them as trophies, or desire purity. But as to why men would bid so much money on virginity, she said she has no answer.