May 18th, 2009
03:49 PM ET

Pots and Kettles

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Tanya M. Acker
AC360° Contributor

A “hag,” is how one conservative commentator described Speaker Pelosi, as he discussed the current controversy over “what she knew and when she knew it” with respect to the CIA’s interrogation techniques.

Really? A “hag”?

The issue of whether the Speaker is a hypocrite has very little to do with whether the interrogation techniques at issue are illegal – but fine. If you want to go down the road of discussing who may or may not be a hypocrite in Washington I think that people on both sides of the aisle would welcome that debate.

But must we really indulge the sexism and misogyny? Just as many conservatives have found a way to criticize President Obama without resorting to racist and other hateful rhetoric, one certainly can have a debate about the Speaker’s good faith without the silly references to “Botox” and facelifts.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Nancy Pelosi • Raw Politics • Tanya Acker • Women's Issues
May 18th, 2009
03:41 PM ET

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Jeffrey Toobin on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Jeffrey Toobin | Bio
CNN Senior Legal Analyst
New Yorker Columnist

When John G. Roberts, Jr., emerges from behind the red curtains and takes his place in the middle of the Supreme Court bench, he usually wears a pair of reading glasses, which he peers over to see the lawyers arguing before him. It’s an old-fashioned look for the Chief Justice of the United States, who is fifty-four, but, even with the glasses, there’s no mistaking that Roberts is the youngest person on the Court. (John Paul Stevens, the senior Associate Justice, who sits to Roberts’s right, is thirty-five years older.) Roberts’s face is unlined, his shoulders are broad and athletic, and only a few wisps of gray hair mark him as changed in any way from the judge who charmed the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, in 2005.

On April 29th, the last day of arguments for the Court’s current term, the Justices heard Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, a critical case about the future of the Voting Rights Act. Congress originally passed the law in 1965, and three years ago overwhelmingly passed its latest reauthorization, rejecting arguments that improvements in race relations had rendered the act unnecessary. Specifically, the bill, signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, kept in place Section 5 of the law, which says that certain jurisdictions, largely in the Old South, have to obtain the approval of the Justice Department before making any changes to their electoral rules, from the location of polling places to the boundaries of congressional districts. A small utility district in Texas challenged that part of the law, making the same argument that members of Congress had just discounted—that this process, known as preclearance, amounted to a form of discrimination against the citizens of the New South.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jeffrey Toobin • Supreme Court
May 18th, 2009
03:18 PM ET

Let's talk about Cancer

Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye's full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

This is not an easy subject. Cancer. I hate to even write the word. The only comfort in it, strange as it is, is that practically everyone has been touched by it. Practically everyone knows someone who had it or maybe even has it.

Nearly 9 million people watch the documentary "Farrah's Story" Friday night on NBC. I was not one of them. Why?

My grandmother died of cancer just before I graduated college. She had colon cancer which then moved into her stomach and spread throughout her body. I can still remember visiting her in the nursing home. She was so small and frail in her bed. She passed away just days before my college graduation. She was such a no-nonsense tough woman. Hard to believe anything could beat her but cancer did.

A couple years before my grandmother got sick my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had been smoking since she was 12. I will never forget the message I got on the answering machine in my college apartment. It was my mom telling me "I'm dying."

After numerous operations, doctors managed to save my mom. Incredible! She spent five months in the hospital without a cigarette and made all kinds of promises that she'd never smoke again.

It didn't last. I'm not sure how long it took but my mother started puffing away again. I've never smoked myself, so I can only imagine how addictive nicotine can be. She tried hypnosis and the nicotine patch. No luck.

Sure enough, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer again last year. This time it was her other lung. It had been twenty years since her original diagnosis and she'd been smoking all that time. Secretly mostly. She was so scared this time would be it. Death seemed to be on her doorstep like it seems it is for Farrah Fawcett now. She went through chemotherapy and radiation. She lost all her hair.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Medical News • Public Health • Randi Kaye
May 18th, 2009
01:26 PM ET

Video: Aung San Suu Kyi on trial

Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of violating house arrest terms. The military junta says she harbored an American visitor.

Filed under: 360º Follow • Global 360° • Human Rights • Myanmar
May 18th, 2009
12:44 PM ET

Video: Court orders chemo for boy

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports on a teen who must be treated with chemo, against his parents' wishes. We'll have more tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Health Care
May 18th, 2009
12:22 PM ET

Video: Boehner slams Pelosi

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear the latest on why Republicans want an apology or proof from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Watch this clip of House Minority Leader John Boehner speaking to John King on Sunday's State of the Union. Boehner and other top Republicans are demanding an apology from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or proof to back her claim that the CIA misled Congress about the use of harsh interrogation tactics

Filed under: 360° Radar • Nancy Pelosi • Raw Politics • Republicans
May 18th, 2009
11:57 AM ET

When Barack meets Bibi

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Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

Will President Barack Obama “throw Israel under the bus?”

Outlandish as that sounds, that’s the fear expressed by some ardent supporters of Israel in advance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit Monday to the White House.

While the leaders converse behind closed doors, there could be quite a show outside the White House if large numbers of people demonstrate on behalf of Israel or the Palestinians or on other Middle East issues.

Despite 60 years of support (to varying degrees) from the White House and Capitol Hill, despite tens of billions of dollars of economic and military aid (particularly since the 1967 and 1973 wars), despite the out-sized role of the Jewish community in American politics (especially in support of Democrats) and despite the feverish backing of Christian evangelicals, there are those who believe that the President Obama is prepared to sacrifice Israel to achieve other goals in the region.

To be sure, President Obama has supporters in the Jewish community for his Middle East policies. But a vocal segment that opposes the administration has been filling e-mail inboxes in recent days.

What’s going on here?

“Obama is changing the rules of Mideast pressure” was the headline atop an article by veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar in the Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz. “President George W. Bush enjoyed the title "friend of Israel" because he made do with paying lip service to pressure on Israel and passed around documents that lacked teeth. He taught the Israelis that it is possible to behave contemptuously and make a laughingstock of the road map, all the while preserving a most important strategic asset – special ties with the United States. Obama has already managed to alter the rules of the game of the U.S. in the Middle East; everyone, with no exception, is welcome to choose between understandings and sanctions, between carrots and sticks,” Eldar wrote.


May 18th, 2009
10:59 AM ET

Pomp and Circumstance and Breast Implants

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Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

All this talk about President Obama’s commencement speeches has gotten me a little bummed out. Sure, cable news producers aren’t exactly A-list speakers, but I’m still disappointed that not even one college invited me to deliver my inspirational address, “It’s All Downhill From Here.”

So, I thought I’d share with you – you being Anderson Cooper’s pet Komodo Dragon, Debbie – what I had hoped to share with the Class of 2009:

Good morning Class of 2009. It’s an honor to be here at (insert name of unaccredited plastic surgery medical school and/or halfway house). Never in a million years did I think I’d be awarded a doctorate, especially one printed on such lovely scented paper. But today isn’t about my degree or the pharmacist who is now obligated to fill those prescriptions I’ve been calling in for myself.

It’s about you.

You, who have proven that hard work and perseverance do indeed pay off. You, who exemplify the notion that education is the key to success. You, who will end up defaulting on your student loans to support your addiction to body glitter.

Indeed, today is a happy day. And you have much of which to be proud. But as joyous an occasion as this is, let’s not forget that these are challenging times for college graduates. The economy is in tough shape. Jobs are scarce. You know it, I know it, Kim Kardashian knows it.


May 18th, 2009
10:44 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: Pain at the Pump redux

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Gene Bloch
Managing Editor
CNN New York

The upward creep in gas prices is not letting up. AAA reports the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline increased to $2.311, up 3 tenths of a cent from the previous day’s price. This is the twentieth consecutive increase. In the last twenty days the average price of gas has increased 26 cents or 12.8 percent. The average price however is down $1.80 or 43.8% from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have regular unleaded gas prices of $2 and higher.

The monthly Lundberg Survey reports that gas prices are up 25 cents in two weeks, biggest jump in more than a year, but Lundberg says the trend likely won’t continue.

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham interviews Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on "Recession and Recovery: The Road Ahead."

The 1p event at the National Press Club will be coming in live.


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