CNN Senior Producer
The State Department said Friday that the processing of adoptions of Haitian orphans is “going quite well,” according to spokesman P.J. Crowley. But the U.S. stopped short of predicting or asking for a surge of American adoptions in the aftermath of the earthquake.
“It is not up to us to encourage that,” Crowley said at his afternoon briefing in Washington. “It is a reality that there are wonderful people here in the United States who have been focused on Haiti, who have been focused on trying to bring children who are orphans here to the United States. We, the United States government, have long supported this. We have to be respectful of the process. We have to be respectful of the government of Haiti because these are their children. These are the children of Haiti” Crowley said.
So far some 500 Haitian orphans, who’s paperwork had been underway in the U.S. and Haiti before the earthquake, have come to the United States since January 12.
Other children have been granted “parole” status to come to the U.S. for a variety of medical and humanitarian reasons.
“We know the tragedy in Haiti with the earthquake will create more orphans,” Crowley said. If that’s the case and there are American families who step forward we will support them after the earthquake just as we supported them before the earthquake. FULL POST
Barbara Starr | BIO
Defense Secretary Robert Gates will unveil the Pentagon's plan to prepare for repealing the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" law regarding gay soldiers at a committee hearing Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said.
"The Defense Department leadership is actively working on an implementation plan and the secretary will have more to say about this next week," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said on Thursday.
President Obama said in his first State of the Union address Wednesday night that he would work with Congress and the Pentagon this year to repeal the law that prohibits military members from acknowledging openly that they are gay.
According to the Senate Web site, the Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled an hour to discuss the issue at Tuesday's hearing on the fiscal year 2011 defense budget, which Gates will attend.
CNN Financial News Producer
Okay, maybe it really is time to pop the Champagne. The government says the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in more than six years during the fourth quarter of 2009.
The nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, rose at a 5.7% annual rate in the quarter. That was much stronger than had been expected and provides another sign that an economic recovery is taking hold.
Much of the improvement was driven by a turnaround in inventories, the supply of goods that businesses hold in anticipation of sales. But consumers were essentially bystanders in the fourth quarter, as personal consumption grew at only a 2% annual rate in the period.
Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States.
Toyota says fix coming soon
As Toyota's accelerator pedal recall expands into Europe, the Japanese auto giant says it has a fix for cars there - and that one will be coming soon for drivers in the U.S.
A company spokesman says Toyota is very close to announcing a solution to the issue, but Toyota still needs to get regulatory approval for a proposed repair in the U.S. and in Europe before a fix can be made.
The recall is to correct a problem that could cause the gas pedal to stick over time. Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. for the problem this week, although no repair procedure had yet been put in place.
The gas pedal recall is separate from an earlier one, begun in November to fix a problem in which the gas pedal can become caught on the edge of the removable floor mat. The floor mat recall was recently expanded so that it now covers a total of 5.3 million vehicles. FULL POST
A cross between the AC360° series “What’s Next” and the famed Proust questionnaire, AC360° Producer David Puente has devised his own set of questions for newsmakers. The Proust Questionnaire is a list of questions about one's personality. Its name is owed to the French writer Marcel Proust who popularized it at the end of the nineteenth century. At that time, it was in fashion to answer questions that revealed one’s tastes, aspirations, and aspects of one’s work and personality.
If in the Proust questionnaire the individual responding reveals his or her true nature, then in this questionnaire we’ll learn about the individual and about “what’s next” in the coming decade.
Now a divorced dad living in New York City, Will Swenson has come a long way from playing Jesus Christ in a promotional film for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Now Swenson gives life to ‘Berger’ in the Tony Award-winning revival of HAIR at Broadway’s Hirschfeld Theatre. And despite having grown up as a member of the conservative Mormon Church in Utah, he also reveals his support of gay marriage and his lack of patience for right-wing religious types, some of which he wants to excommunicate from the human race.
The HAIR New Broadway Cast Recording is Grammy nominated, and now re-released on vinyl.
1. What's better for the spirit, free love or the institution of marriage?
The best thing would be living in a society where anyone could live in the relationship of their choosing. Yes, anyone.
2. What is the trait you most deplore in hippies?
The female armpit hair thing. Sorry. Just being honest.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yuppies?
Tom Foreman | BIO
Here’s a political riddle: What’s the difference between President Obama and the iPad?
One is a bright, techie marvel, full of great promise that everyone has a lot of questions about. The other is a new type of computer.
When President Obama rolled out his State of the Union address this week, millions of Democratic loyalists heaved a sigh of relief. It was the return of Super-Candidate. Just as he appeared to be in dreadful shape, like Spiderman he jumped up from the pavement, and whipped out a web of wonder. In the soaring phrases of his campaign, he laid out a broad plan of revitalization. He called for a new spirit of bipartisanship. And most of all he talked about creating jobs, jobs, jobs.
Talk, however, is part of his problem these days. Much of what he said this week was an echo of what he said shortly after taking office. And the cynicism of voters about such grand schemes has clearly deepened in twelve months.