March 24th, 2009
02:38 PM ET

Jack Nicholson: Political Prophet in 2009

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Robert Zimmerman
AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst

In the dramatic courtroom showdown between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in the film 'A Few Good Men,' Nicholson, in the role of Col. Nathan Jessep, famously declared to Lt. Daniel Kaffe, played by Cruise, "You can't handle the truth." As I sat in the movie theater in 1992 (yes, there were no DVD's at the time but it was a talkie and in color) awed by that powerful performance, I would never have imagined Jack Nicholson to emerge as a political prophet in 2009. Yet that dramatic line – a challenge to confront the truth - has special insight and wisdom now.

As the Obama administration faces an economic crisis of historic proportions, we hear a self-important refrain from too many political pundits, members of the mainstream media and the political establishment. The public will not be able to "understand," "get their arms around," "grasp" or "appreciate" the "financial stabilization plan," the "mortgage plan," the "economic stimulus program," the "small business loan program" or the "public-private investment program to buy toxic assets." You get the point. Take your favorite pretentious sound bites and place them into a sentence of your choice.


Filed under: AIG • Economy • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Robert Zimmerman
March 24th, 2009
02:14 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Fed chief wanted to sue AIG

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wanted to sue AIG in order to prevent $165 million in retention bonuses from landing in the hands of executives from the division that brought the firm to its knees, according to testimony he delivered before the House Financial Services Committee today.

But Bernanke said that he was advised against filing a lawsuit, because the government would have needed to pay "substantial punitive damages" if the Fed lost the case, essentially awarding extra benefits to the executives from the insurance company’s troubled financial products division.

Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner both faced tough questions this morning over the taxpayer bailout of AIG and the bonuses the company shelled out.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • Unemployment
March 24th, 2009
01:48 PM ET

Obama to beef up Mexico border policy

Editor’s note: Tune in to our special coverage on Wednesday as Anderson reports live from Mexico on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
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The Obama administration announced a major increase in security funding and the deployment of U.S.-Mexico border agents Tuesday as part of a comprehensive new plan to beef up resources at the Mexican border.

The plan commits $700 million to bolster Mexican law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. The funds will provide, among other things, five new helicopters to increase mobility for the Mexican army and air force as well as new surveillance aircraft for the Mexican navy.

The initiative is designed to help with Mexico's accelerating war against violent drug cartels.

The plan, developed by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, calls for doubling the number of border security task force teams as well as moving a significant number of other federal agents, equipment and resources to the border.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Border fence • Global 360° • Mexico
March 24th, 2009
01:40 PM ET

The racial economic gap widens

CNN's Tom Foreman reports on how the racial economic gap is widening during the recession.

Filed under: Economy • Race Gender & Politics • Tom Foreman
March 24th, 2009
12:06 PM ET

Goodbye Chang, So Long Singh

America's real immigration problem will soon be returning emigres.
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Reason Magazine
Shikha Dalmia

This country's floundering economy has never needed the world's best and brightest immigrants more—but, unfortunately, these immigrants have never been interested in this country less. So this would be a good time to roll out the red carpet and stand garland in hand on America's shores to usher in new talent. Far from taking away American jobs (as restrictionists argue), this talent creates more jobs by growing the economic pie.

Yet Congress last month decided to thumb its nose at immigrants who can fill top jobs in the high-tech sector. It added to the "stimulus" bill a provision that will effectively put foreign workers off limits to financial companies that receive bailout money through the Toxic Asset Recovery Program (TARP). The provision was sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley in particular has been acting like he has a new mission from god to chase away foreign high-tech workers who enter the country on temporary visas. These work permits are called H1-B visas and are specifically designed for "workers in short supply."


Filed under: Immigration • President Barack Obama
March 24th, 2009
11:00 AM ET

Life in Madoff's house of cards

A glimpse at life inside Madoff's criminal enterprise from two former employees. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.

Filed under: 360° Radar • T1
March 24th, 2009
10:57 AM ET

Mexican drug cartel violence spills over, alarming U.S.

Editor’s note: Tune in to our special coverage on Wednesday as Anderson reports live from Mexico on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
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The New York Times
Randal C. Archibold

Sgt. David Azuelo stepped gingerly over the specks of blood on the floor, took note of the bullet hole through the bedroom skylight, raised an eyebrow at the lack of furniture in the ranch-style house and turned to his squad of detectives investigating one of the latest home invasions in this southern Arizona city.

A 21-year-old man had been pistol-whipped throughout the house, the gun discharging at one point, as the attackers demanded money, the victim reported. His wife had been bathing their 3-month-old son when the intruders arrived.

“At least they didn’t put the gun in the baby’s mouth like we’ve seen before,” Sergeant Azuelo said. That same afternoon this month, his squad was called to the scene of another home invasion, one involving the abduction of a 14-year-old boy.


Filed under: Global 360° • Mexico
March 24th, 2009
10:45 AM ET

Morning Buzz: From Zero to Hero?

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Hey Bloggers! Investors are hoping for another big rally on Wall Street today after the Obama Administration’s plan to buy up toxic bank assets sent the Dow soaring on Monday, the biggest gain since November. Did Timothy Geithner go from Zero to Hero in a day?

Mr. Geithner will still get a grilling today on Capitol Hill though, when he joins up with Fed Chair Ben Bernanke to testify to lawmakers about what they did to rescue AIG and how much they knew about the now infamous bonuses.

His boss has a very big day today. President Obama is getting ready for this second prime time news conference, make sure you watch it on CNN tonight at 8pet! The Economy will be the main focus, and we can expect many questions about the bank rescue plan, AIG, and not to mention all the other hot potatoes on his plate such as Afghanistan, Mexico, Iran.


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
March 24th, 2009
10:45 AM ET

Next time

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Talking Points Memo
Josh Marshall

According to the Post's A1 story tomorrow, the administration is 'considering asking Congress' (i.e., this is a trial balloon) to give the Treasury Secretary powers to seize non-bank financial institutions: in other words, the Lehman Brotherses and AIGs of the financial world.

Also in the background is the emerging debate about what government agency is going to take on the new role as 'systemic risk regulator' - the Fed? or some new agency yet to be created. This is an issue that Elana Schor has been writing about at TPMDC. And it seems to be swirling in the background in the spat between the White House and Sen. Dodd.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Treasury Secretary
March 24th, 2009
10:39 AM ET

Dear President Obama #64: Look...up in the sky...

Reporter's Note: Our President has asked us to contribute ideas on how to help America. Having already flamed out in my Final Four picks, I’ll continue my efforts to write a letter each day.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I had an idea when I was little that I could fly. Really. Not like those flaky kids who just thought they could levitate if they concentrated hard enough. I truly believed I could design a way to emulate the birds and then the wide blue South Dakota sky would be mine. “Look! Who is that soaring above the Badger Clark Elementary playground? Why it’s Tom!”

Maybe it was because my Dad was in the Air Force, or because I loved birds, or because I already knew the story of the Wright brothers. Whatever the genesis, my dad had purchased some hockey sticks for us that winter, and they came tied to these long pieces of cardboard. I took one look, pushed the hockey sticks aside and declared with the unbounded enthusiasm that only a pre-schooler possesses, “These will make great wings!”


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