[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/04/stimulus/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="President Obama says Congress must act "without delay" on his economic plan."]
President Obama is warning that a failure to act now on his economic stimulus plan "will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession."
Gulp! Will the Senate soon vote on the bill? Tonight we have late breaking details on the showdown.
Meanwhile, today Mr. Obama announced a $500,000 cap on executive pay for those financial companies that got a bailout from Uncle Sam. There will no longer be any cash rewards for failure.
Do you agree with Pres. Obama's crackdown?
We'll have these stories and more tonight on AC360.
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Editor's note: Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest, is professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, and a visiting professor at Emory University. His most recent book is "God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush."
President Obama's mention of "nonbelievers" in his inaugural address represents an important broadening of the circle of acceptability in American life, an acknowledgement of our growing diversity and a fuller embrace of the principles articulated in our nation's charter documents.
One of the hallmarks of American life, dating to the 17th century, is its religious pluralism.
The Atlantic seaboard during the colonial period was home to everyone from Puritans, Roman Catholics and Dutch Reformed to Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, Swedish Lutherans, Anglicans, Huguenots, Mennonites and Schwenckfelders. Jews arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654, refugees from South America after the Portuguese takeover of Recifé.
Somehow it all worked, especially in the crucible of religious pluralism in the Middle Colonies: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where William Penn launched his "Holy Experiment" of religious toleration.
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A tourist looks at monkeys in the road at the Margalla Hills National Park in Islamabad, Pakistan on February 3, 2009. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/04/elephant-performer-getty.jpg caption="A performer rides an elephant during a live performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus."]
AC360° contributor and In Session anchor
I met my first elephant at the Central Park Zoo, when I was a very little girl and I was smitten. Over the years, I read all about them and went to the circus whenever it came to town. So imagine the thrill when, as an adult, I had the good fortune to see elephants in the wild.
I have seen them feed. I’ve seen their burial rituals. I have even been charged by a mother elephant protecting her calf.
Dr. Robert Simmermon
I have been pondering the connection between President Obama and Mr. Rogers. I know, it sounds strange but here is how it goes.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I in no way see President Obama and Mr. Rogers as similar, with the exception that they are both good decent human beings.
Our President certainly has polish and presence and I am profoundly appreciative of his intelligence. But I want him to be a little more scuffed up for his own well being, and ours. To me, a good scuff mark is a solid predictor of longevity and endurance.
In August of 2001, Mr. Rogers, the same sweet guy who had been on PBS for 33 years, was hanging up his sneakers and cardigan sweater, 15 days before the world would forever change. The twin towers would collapse and so would the innocence of countless Americans. In a way, that pristine sweater was symbolic of the end of an era.
John F. Harris, Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei
Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.
In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.
And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the country at risk in ways more severe than most Americans — and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team — understand.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/30/rnc.chairman/art.michaelsteelemd.gi.jpg caption="Michael Steele was chosen Friday as the first African-American leader of the Republican Party."]
Sophia A. Nelson
I’ve been a Republican for a long time, more than two decades, and I have always been concerned about the poor relationship between the GOP and black voters. But I must admit that I had no idea things had gotten so bad for the Grand Old Party in terms of dwindling black participation.
Last Thursday at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington, I could count on one hand the number of blacks present. The representation among black women in the room was even more dismal.
On Friday, that number increased modestly, to about 20, as it became apparent that Michael Steele would be elected RNC chairman, making him the first African American to head the party.