July 21st, 2009
03:16 PM ET

Poll: Half disapprove of Obama on health care

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/21/art.obama0721.gi.jpg" caption="A new poll out Tuesday indicates that President Obama's approval rating on health care is below 50 percent."]

Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director

As President Barack Obama pushes back against critics of his health care plan, a new national poll indicates that half the country disapproves of how he's handling the issue.

That's the finding in a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday. Forty-four percent of those questioned in the survey approve of how Obama's dealing with health care, while 50 percent do not.

The poll is the fourth national survey in the past month to suggest that the president's approval rating on health care reform is now under 50 percent, joining an ABC News/Washington Post poll, a CBS News survey, and a Quinnipiac University poll. It is the first poll to show the number who disapprove of Obama's track record on health care higher than the number who give Obama a positive rating on that issue.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Health Care • President Barack Obama
July 21st, 2009
02:50 PM ET

The education of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/07/21/massachusetts.harvard.professor.arrested/art.henry.louis.gates.jr.gi.jpg caption="Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested last week on a charge of disorderly conduct."]

Jimi Izrael
The Root

The arrest of Harvard Professor Henry "Skip" Gates, at a minimum, quashes any talk of a post-racial America. It may not be the best example of racial injustice I've ever seen, but it's a great example of how life for black people is often complicated by class and race. If a mild-mannered bespectacled Ivy League professor who walks with a cane can be pulled from his own home and arrested on a minor charge, the rest of us don't stand a chance.

We all fit a description. We are all suspects.

The Cambridge Police Department was called to Skip's home after a woman , a passerby, reported a man trying to force his way into the house around lunchtime. Skip got locked out of his home like we all do from time to time, but the report says he was in by the time the fuzz rolled up, and once he presented his identification, the cops really had no other business there. This is the probably the place where this should have all been quite simple, but race and circumstances may have colored the scenario.


Filed under: 360° Radar
July 21st, 2009
02:33 PM ET

Raise a ruckus, make a difference

Program Note: In CNN's Black in America 2, Soledad O'Brien reports on the innovative and unexpected ways people are transforming the black experience by confronting the most difficult issues facing their community. Tune in on Wednesday, July 22 at 9 p.m. and Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m..

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/21/art.bia.soledadstandup.jpg caption="Soledad O'Brien has been the host of the first two installments of 'Black in America'"]
Malaak Compton-Rock
Special to CNN

In the words of my mentor and America's foremost child advocate Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of The Children's Defense Fund, it's time to "raise a ruckus people, it is time to raise a ruckus!"

CNN's "Black in America" raised many critical issues facing African-American people in this great country of ours. It was not pretty, it was not flattering, but it was very, very frank. The show delved into the negative issues that have plagued the African-American community for generations, i.e., crime, education, single parent families, drug abuse and the like.

People got mad. People sent many e-mails and letters to Soledad O'Brien and CNN and cried foul. People said "Black in America" was not consistent with the lives of many African-American people and was one-sided. Blogs and Web sites popped up all over the place where people "raised a ruckus" about the content of the show.

I read a lot of these comments. As a matter of fact, I was obsessed with people's views for many weeks after the documentary aired. And the more I read, the more I got angry. The more I read, the more I wanted to "raise my own ruckus." But I was frustrated and upset for a very different reason than most.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Black in America
July 21st, 2009
01:39 PM ET

Democrats messing up on health care

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/21/obama.health.care/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama says there is no time to delay on health care reform."]
Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

It's always hard to be optimistic about the passage of any kind of health care reform.

After all, history shows that for much of the past century, most attempts to reform the system have failed. There have been some exceptions - such as Medicare in 1965. But, for the most part, the political will has been insufficient to move anything. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

Here's where you have to give President Obama credit: He promised health care reform during the campaign, and he's trying to do what he said he would do. (He's also trying to do almost everything else he promised in the campaign at the same time, but that's another story.)

He has held health care symposiums and town halls, met with recalcitrant conservatives and moderates, and kept tabs with congressional leaders on their progress. And Wednesday night, he'll take the issue to the country in a prime-time press conference.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care • Raw Politics
July 21st, 2009
01:31 PM ET
July 21st, 2009
12:55 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Economy & TARP on Capitol Hill

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/12/health.care/art.capitollight.gi.jpg]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

It’s an extremely busy day on Capitol Hill.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is testifying before the House Financial Services Committee this morning, delivering his semi-annual report on the economy.

Bernanke told lawmakers that the economy has started to show signs of stabilization, although he cautioned that improvement is uncertain and likely to be gradual going forward. He also said the unemployment rate would be higher than preferred levels until at least 2012, but added that steps taken by the Fed to pump money into the economy have started to pay benefits.

Some lawmakers are questioning those steps taken by Bernanke and Co. however, arguing the economy has not yet taken a turn for the better for most Americans.

And down the hall, the oversight czar tracking the $700 billion bailout told lawmakers that he's concerned officials are not doing enough to prevent tax dollars from being wasted or pilfered.

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program who is testifying before a House Oversight panel, says officials should keep better tabs on how banks are spending taxpayer dollars.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • U.S. Federal Reserve
July 21st, 2009
12:10 PM ET
July 21st, 2009
10:42 AM ET

Morning Buzz: On death row for someone else’s crime?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/11/14/aa.texting.while.driving/art.driving.texting.gi.jpg]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Troy Davis has spent nearly 18 years on death row; convicted of killing an off-duty police officer. His attorneys say Davis is innocent and deserves a new trial. Since he was convicted in 1991, seven out of nine witnesses have recanted. Gary Tuchman spoke to two witnesses, the pastor who drove Davis home from the scene of the crime and Davis himself from prison. Gary will have more on the case tonight.

We’re also looking into what happened to Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Harvard scholar, who was arrested last week while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near the university. The prominent African American scholar believes he was mistreated because he is a black man in America. Joe Johns is in Boston where he’ll have the latest on the situation.

Do you text while you drive? Well, bad news - this kind of distraction is apparently equivalent to driving with a .8 blood alcohol level. In 2002, regular cell phone use by drivers caused around 955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents overall. We’re learning all of this from a federal study commissioned back in 2003, but the results are only being released now. That’s because the government never made the report public and consumer advocacy groups pushed to disclose the findings. Critics say this is a major cover-up. So why didn’t the government release the risks of distracted driving? Tom Foreman digs deeper.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
July 21st, 2009
10:14 AM ET
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