July 10th, 2009
11:30 AM ET

Rebranding Africa

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/07/10/ghana.obama/art.obamarose.gi.jpg caption="President Obama says he chose Ghana partly because of the country's commitment to democracy."]

Editor's Note: To watch Anderson's interview with President Obama in Ghana, tune in to AC360° on Monday night at 10p ET.

For the New York Times

Imminent. About now, actually.

Soon, Air Force One will touch down in Accra, Ghana; Africans will be welcoming the first African-American president. Press coverage on the continent is placing equal weight on both sides of the hyphen.

And we thought it was big when President Kennedy visited Ireland in 1963. (It was big, though I was small. Where I come from, J.F.K. is remembered as a local boy made very, very good.)

But President Obama’s African-ness is only part (a thrilling part) of the story today. Cable news may think it’s all about him — but my guess is that he doesn’t. If he was in it for a sentimental journey he’d have gone to Kenya, chased down some of those dreams from his father.

He’s made a different choice, and he’s been quite straight about the reason. Despite Kenya’s unspeakable beauty and its recent victories against the anopheles mosquito, the country’s still-stinging corruption and political unrest confirms too many of the headlines we in the West read about Africa. Ghana confounds them.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Africa • President Barack Obama
July 10th, 2009
11:30 AM ET

The NAACP at 100: Much more work to do

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/25/obama.poll/art.chicago.afp.gi.jpg caption="CNN's Blackin America premieres July 22-July 23 8p ET"]

Benjamin Todd Jealous
Special to CNN

As the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People prepares to celebrate its Centennial in New York, the city of its birth, I'm confident that we as a nation have turned an important corner on the long road toward racial and economic equality for all Americans.

Established in 1909 by a core group of black and white Americans, the NAACP's mission has been clarified and sharpened during our first 100 years. We have covered a lot of ground in the march to improve the lives of millions of Americans, but there remains much more work to be done.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Black in America • NAACP
July 10th, 2009
11:11 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: GM out of bankruptcy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/BUSINESS/07/06/gm/art.gm.afp.jpg caption="A GM dealership in Shanghai, China"]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

After a six-week trip through bankruptcy, the “new” General Motors came into the world today - owned by the government and free of tens of billions in debt and minus its unaffordable brands, dealerships and plants.

The sale of the valuable assets of the old company to the new GM was completed this morning.

"This is an exciting day for General Motors, one that will allow every employee, including me, to get back to the business of designing, building and selling great cars and trucks and serving the needs of our customers," GM CEO Fritz Henderson said.

"We deeply appreciate the support we've received. We'll work hard to repay the trust, and the money, that so many have invested in GM," Henderson added.

But he said he couldn't promise that GM would repay the $50 billion the government has already given or promised to GM.

And while there are a lot of changes at the "new" General Motors, at least two things will stay the same: its name and its iconic blue logo. FULL POST

Filed under: Economy • Finance • General Motors
July 10th, 2009
10:52 AM ET

We'll be hearing from Palin for a long time

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/palin.resignation/art.palin.interview.cnn.jpg caption="Sarah Palin's attorney said there is no legal reason that compelled her to resign as governor."]

Matthew Continetti
Special to CNN

"Everything changed on August 29 in politics in Alaska," Sarah Palin told NBC's Andrea Mitchell this week. The reference was to the day last year when John McCain announced that Palin, a 44-year-old mother of five who became Alaska's governor only in December 2006, would be his presidential running mate.

McCain's surprise pick altered the trajectory of the 2008 campaign - for a few weeks, at least - and launched Palin, until then an unknown political neophyte, on the path to global celebrity. But it also set in motion a chain of events that, a little more than 10 months later, would culminate in Palin's surprise announcement that she would leave her office effective July 26.

Before the day she joined the 2008 Republican presidential ticket, Alaskans saw Sarah Palin as a champion of ethics in government who had twice defeated oil interests, governed with Democrats in a bipartisan manner and brought down powerful members of her own party. She enjoyed record approval ratings, and her major initiatives had all been signed into law.

But the good times didn't last. By the following July, Palin's approval numbers had sunk to the mid-50th percentile, the coalition on which she governed had collapsed, and most of her time was spent combating a hostile media and frivolous ethics complaints.

What happened? The campaign.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
July 10th, 2009
10:36 AM ET
July 10th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Too much Michael?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/09/jackson.investigation/art.jackson.2005.gi.jpg]

Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
Ethics Columnist for BusinessWeek Online

It’s not a shame that the news media are devoting so much attention to the Michael Jackson story.

It’s unethical.

Here’s why.

Democracy is possible only with a truly free press, not one hijacked by a gossip-hungry public. Yes, Michael Jackson was a phenomenally talented human being, and the fact that his art deeply affected millions of people around the world deserves respect. But news organizations are a public trust, and their obsession now with all things Jackson betrays this trust.

Every Jackson story takes up precious airtime that could be devoted to issues that have a more direct bearing on our future: an economy that’s still in shambles, a health care system in desperate need of repair, the G8 summit—aren’t these stories at least as important as speculating about who will get custody of Jackson’s children?


Filed under: 360° Radar • Bruce Weinstein • Michael Jackson
July 10th, 2009
08:35 AM ET

Dear President Obama #172: Torture? Again?

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama is traveling throughout the world, and judging from my mailbox, he is visiting only places that have no postcards for sale.  Ahem.  I, however, have not given up on writing a letter every day to him.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/09/cia.congress/art.cia.gi.jpg caption="Democrats have accused the Central Intelligence Agency of misleading Congress."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve tried really hard not to ask for any favors in all of these letters. I didn’t ask you to help me power wash the patio last weekend. I have not requested that you declare a national “Give Tom a dollar day,” although I still think that’s a fun project the whole nation could really enjoy. And I didn’t even ask you to make it a felony for people to talk in movie theaters, despite that being a solid-gold-let’s-improve-the-quality-of-life-right-this-minute idea. But now I must beg your help.

Can you please make this CIA mess go away? I really don’t care which way it goes, I’ve just grown tired of hearing about it. And that’s not because I’m an unprincipled jerk who does not care about the rights of other people (although during rush hour, that might be a fair assessment,) it’s because this issue has now been grinding on for what seems like ages caught between a lack of verified facts and a lack of political will to find some.

If we tortured people and broke laws in the process, we ought to get on the case hard. Investigate with brutal impartiality, round up everyone who should be held responsible, regardless of party or pedigree, and throw the book at them. Heck, you can throw the whole library for all I care. And if nothing was done that was wrong, then can we please move on?

I figured after your pal, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi got caught up in the squeeze play over effectively calling CIA officials a bunch of liars, and then refusing to press charges against them, the whole thing was finally going to die. But no. Here it is, once again, ripping back into the headlines like a bad sequel to a worse movie.

I realize that sometimes things like this move in an incremental way. But this matter seems like it has been going nowhere for quite some time, satisfying neither liberals nor conservatives and producing few if any answers about who will or won’t be taken to task.

One way or the other, can you move it toward some sort of conclusion? I don’t ask for much. Call if you are inclined. But for heavens sake don’t use the hotel phone; the overseas dialing fees will be outrageous, and I’m sure every tax dollar you can save will be appreciated.



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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