April 13th, 2010
12:26 PM ET

The death of a friend

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/europe/04/10/poland.president.plane.crash/smlvid.kaczynski.afp.gi.jpg caption="Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other Polish leaders were killed in a plane crash in western Russia on Saturday." width=300 height=169]

Allen Paul
Special to AC360°

I was in Warsaw, about to have a leisurely Saturday morning breakfast with a well-known documentary filmmaker, Wanda Koscia, when her husband, the Finance Minister of Poland called to tell her that a plane carrying half the nation’s leadership was down. Dismay, disbelief and despair in the face of untimely death left us in shock. What can be said in moments when an entire nation has suffered such a gigantic loss?

A second Wanda – Wanda Urbanska, an American television personality, whose program “Simple Living” appeared for many years on PBS – was with us. She had a meeting to follow at mid-day and wondered should she canceled it. We both urged her to go on, never exchanging a word on the obvious: this is precisely what Poles have always done in the face of all their terrible tragedies.

In the hotel lobby we scanned a list of the dead on the concierge’s computer screen. A name flashed, sending a chill down my spine—Andrzej Przewoznik, dear friend and high-ranking official in charge of on-the-ground arrangements at Katyn. Late the day before, we had visited for an hour in office.


Filed under: Global 360° • Opinion
April 13th, 2010
11:42 AM ET

Video: Adoption and rejection

Anderson Cooper talks about the outrage over the 7-year-old adopted boy sent back to Russia and other international adoption problems with Dr. Jane Aronson, international adoption specialist and founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation and with legal analyst Lisa Bloom.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Adoption • Dr. Jane Aronson • Lisa Bloom • Parenting
April 13th, 2010
11:30 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: Toyota takes another hit

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/t1.2010lexusgx460.jpg width=300 height=169]Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Still stinging from the recall of more than 8 million vehicles worldwide due to safety issues, Toyota is now dealing with yet another blow to its once-stellar reputation.

Consumer Reports has issued a safety warning on Toyota's 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV because of an increased rollover risk during a turn.

The magazine says it uncovered the problem during routine tests, and is urging car shoppers not to buy the GX 460 until this problem has been remedied.

The special designation given to the GX 460 by Consumer Reports - "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" - is rarely given by the magazine. The last time it was used was in 2001, on the Mitsubishi Montero Limited.

Game over?

Baseball legend and master of malapropisms Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Who knew Yogi was an economist?

The panel of economists responsible for identifying changes in the U.S. business cycle said Monday that it is “premature” to say whether the recession that began in 2007 has ended.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Toyota
April 13th, 2010
10:41 AM ET
April 13th, 2010
10:39 AM ET

5 presidents more 'radical' than Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.obama.hcreform.jpg]Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of John P. Avlon.

John. P. Avlon
CNN Contributor
Special to CNN

Newt Gingrich called President Obama "the most radical president in American history" at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last week.

The leader of the 1994 Republican Revolution is a smart man and a historian, so he must know better. But he's also exploring a run for president, an action that frequently suspends good judgment in pursuit of sound bites. Perspective is the first thing abandoned in hyper-partisan attacks.

So here is a look at five presidents who, it could be argued, exceed Obama in the "radical" sweepstakes.

1. Franklin D. Roosevelt: How about this for radical: a president who overturned the two-term precedent set by George Washington and ultimately won four terms in an era when dictators were in vogue worldwide. He also proposed expanding the Supreme Court to pack it with his own appointees, attempting to fundamentally alter the separation of powers. And his New Deal created the basis for the modern welfare state in the U.S., whose apex under self-styled inheritor Lyndon Johnson provoked a backlash that ushered in a generation of conservative resurgence.

2. John Adams: The nation's second president has been getting a well-deserved reappraisal, thanks to David McCullough's magisterial biography. But Adams' signing of the Alien and Sedition acts during the threat of war - effectively outlawing anti-government dissent and curtailing freedom of speech and freedom of the press - was a radically anti-democratic action and a black mark on this Founding Father's otherwise honorable service to our nation.

3. Andrew Jackson: The man on the $20 bill was the original populist president, a general who fought Washington elites, British soldiers and native American tribes alike. Old Hickory's wars with the Second National Bank, Congress and the Supreme Court were legendary. His native American removal policies rescinded previously agreed-upon treaties and brought about the infamous "Trail of Tears" that led to the deaths of thousands.

Keep reading to find out Avlon's surprising 4th and 5th choices for 'radical' Presidents...

Filed under: John P. Avlon • Opinion • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
April 13th, 2010
10:26 AM ET
April 13th, 2010
10:23 AM ET
April 13th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

Why controlling nukes is good politics

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/04/13/obama.hu.nuclear.meeting/c1main.obama.summit.cnn.jpg caption="According to Julian Zelizer, the American public prefers politicians willing to take risks to prevent nuclear war." width=300 height=169]
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Julian Zelizer.

Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

In the week leading up to the meeting of world leaders in Washington, President Obama has been demonstrating a strong commitment to nuclear arms control.

Last week, he signed the first major agreement with the Russians since 2002, which reduces the number of nuclear warheads and long-range missiles.

Obama released the Nuclear Posture Review, saying the United States would not use nuclear weapons against countries that complied with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked with conventional weapons. At the same time, the president said the countries that refused to abide by the treaty could be subject to nuclear reprisal.

Although Obama's Nuclear Posture Review does not go nearly as far as many of his supporters were hoping, some Republicans immediately attacked.

Sens. John Kyl and John McCain warned that "we believe that preventing nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation should begin by directly confronting the two leading proliferators and supporters of terrorism, Iran and North Korea. The Obama administration's policies, thus far, have failed to do that, and this failure has sent exactly the wrong message to other would-be proliferators and supporters of terrorism."

Some Democrats, constantly leery about appearing weak on national security, will buckle as the politics of nuclear weapons heats up when the treaty with the Russians reaches the Senate for ratification. But the administration should pursue this treaty aggressively and with confidence that they can win public opinion on this issue.

The president must remind fellow Democrats, as well as Republicans, that historically the public has tended to strongly support nuclear weapons treaties, and the presidents who pursue them.

Keep Reading...

April 13th, 2010
10:19 AM ET
April 13th, 2010
09:09 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 4/12/10

Editor's Note: You wrote in again with comments about the Russian adoption segment, including suggestions on what can be done in the future. You also had a lot to say about the Confederate History segment with many saying that the Civil War was not about slavery and "Changing history to be politically correct does not serve our nation."


Wouldn’t it make sense to have an "adoption period" for both parties to see if their compatibility is in fact compatible? If that would have been the "law", that child would not have been shoved around the way he was.

Thank you for the moving show about the adoptive parents and the Ranch for Kids in Montana. More people need to know that there are programs like this available to help adopted children and their families. Pricey yes, but ultimately they give a child a chance at a better life.

History doesn't lie! The civil war was not about slavery, but by the grace of God included it. It was about states wanting out of the union. We may see another civil war when states try to get out of Health care reform. The confederate flag has been made a racist flag because of the civil war historian ideology. You can't change the truth.

As you cover Confederate History Month, it does not serve the nation to re-write history. It obviously has not been long enough for our nation to honor those who died on both sides of that terrible war. However, it is historical fact that the war began over what was considered unfair taxation from an industrialized north on an agricultural south. Changing history to be politically correct does not serve our nation. France was supporting the south until a brilliant Pres. Lincoln changed the focus to slavery, something France could not support. Slavery will forever be a black mark on our history, but it was not the igniting factor to the Civil War.

Slavery, although an issue, was NOT the main reason for the War. State's Rights was. I doubt seriously if all the poor boys from Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, et al were fighting for slaves they did not have. Political Correctness is once again getting in the way of history.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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