Polly’s Hot Topics

Polly’s Hot Topics provides information on current political issues and the position of candidates or representative on issues. This includes recent laws and politically hot issues.  Some of these issues overlap but the important thing is that you learn and become familiar with current events. 

POLLY’S HOT TOPICS 2014

Syria

There are currently three types of sanctions that the U.S. government has imposed against Syria. The first of these was put in place through the Syria Accountability Act (SAA) of 2004. That legislation prohibits the export of most goods containing more than 10% U.S.-manufactured component parts to Syria. A second set of sanctions was implemented in the USA Patriot Act. These sanctions were levied specifically against the Commercial Bank of Syria in 2006. The third type of sanction contains many Executive Orders from the President that specifically deny certain Syrian citizens and entities access to the U.S. financial system due to their participation in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, association with Al Qaida, the Taliban or Osama bin Laden; or destabilizing activities in Iraq and Lebanon.

Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act

In May 2004, President Bush signed Executive Order 13338 implementing the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act which imposes a series of sanctions against Syria for its support for terrorism, involvement in Lebanon, weapons of mass destruction programs, and the destabilizing role it is playing in Iraq.

ISIS

ISIS started as an al Qaeda splinter group.

Also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Islamic State (IS).

The aim of ISIS is to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and in Syria

ISIS is known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts. It has taken over large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

The group currently controls hundreds of square miles. It ignores international borders and has a presence from Syria’s Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad. It rules by Sharia law.

ISIS’s initial strategy for revenue was through extortion and robbery. Recently, al-Baghdadi’s strategy shifted to generating resources through large-scale attacks aimed at capturing and holding territory.

Unable to serve under the new Iraq government after Saddam Hussein’s military was disbanded, former Iraqi soldiers became ISIS fighters, according to Middle East expert Fawaz Gerges.

Leader: 
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Very little is known about al-Baghdadi, but a biography posted on jihadist websites in 2013 said he earned a doctorate in Islamic studies from a university in Baghdad.

He formed the militant group in Salaheddin and Diyala provinces north of the Iraqi capital before joining al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al-Baghdadi was detained for four years in Camp Bucca, which was a U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq. He was released in 2009.

After ISIS declared the creation of the so-called “Islamic State,” he began using the name Al-Khalifah Ibrahim, and now goes by that name with his followers.

Marijuana/Dope/Mary-Jane, etc., You get the picture. 

Marijuana policy is nothing if not complicated.

A patchwork of laws governs its use, possession and sale. Federally, it’s illegal. But some states have decriminalized the drug, removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts. Some have allowed its distribution and sale for medical use. And, in Washington or Colorado, you can walk into any appropriately credentialed dispensary and buy it legally.

Gay Marriage

Marriage began to be a political issue in the 1990’s when some states began to ask if their constitutions permitted two people of the same sex to be married. This prompted action at the federal level to ensure that socially conservative states would not have to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.

To address the issue, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 (DOMA). The legislation passed with bipartisan support and had two main components. The first was the assertion that no state would have to recognize a same-sex marriage carried out in another state. The second component was to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the purposes of federal laws.

Although DOMA defined marriage for legal purposes, conservatives were still concerned that the law could be repealed or overturned by a court. In response to this concern, a movement began to gain steam to pass an amendment to the Constitution to define marriage. Attempts were made in 2004 and 2006 to pass the amendment through the congress. Although the amendment proposals garnered majorities, they did not receive the super majorities needed for an amendment to pass through the Senate.

Also in 2004, the House passed what it called the Marriage Protection Act. This legislation would have prevented the federal courts from addressing the issue of marriage. The legislation was not brought up for a vote in the Senate.

During this time, the marriage question was being debated within the states. In November of 2003, the Massachusetts supreme court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in the state was not legal. In May of 2004, the state began to issue same-sex marriage certificates. In 2005, Connecticut established civil union laws, and the state legislature enacted same-sex marriage in 2007 in response to a lawsuit. In 2009, the Vermont state legislature passed same-sex marriage laws with wide margins in both chambers. New Hampshire’s state legislative body also enacted legislation to make same-sex marriage legal in 2009, and New York’s followed suit in 2011. In 2009, the state supreme court in Iowa ruled that their constitution prohibited a ban on same-sex marriage, opening the door for the institution there. That sets the total number of states that currently permit same-sex marriage at 6.

While some states were moving toward same-sex marriage, others were moving away. From 1999 to 2008, 30 states voted on state wide ballot measures that banned same-sex marriage in the state. Some of those laws also made civil unions and domestic partnerships illegal. Of those 30 states, only Arizona failed to pass the ban. However even in that state, the ban was passed two years later when an additional ban on civil unions was removed from the ballot.

When a state voted on a proposed ban that contained only a ban on same-sex marriage, it passed with an average support of 66% of the population of that state. States that passed bans on same-sex marriage with additional bans on civil unions and domestic partnerships passed with an average of 71% of the support of the population.

When addressing a representative or candidate’s view on marriage, three questions are typicall asked. The first question is whether a person defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman or as something else. Typically, those that support legal marriage between two men or two women define marriage as the union of two people and remove gender from the definition.

The second question is whether or not the federal government should be involved in marriage. There are a number of conservatives and libertarian leaning Republicans that state that since marriage is not a power given to the federal government in the constitution, the federal government should not be involved. Those that support the involvement of the federal government point to taxation and other areas where the federal government provides rights to married people and assert that the government is already involved in marriage.

There is also a third group of social conservatives that oppose gay marriage and have asked the federal government to be involved in one way or another. Their argument usually surrounds the concern that if no federal law is in place, one judge in any state will assert that his state must recognize same-sex marriages in other states. These social conservatives have pushed for the previously discussed constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man and one woman. This is the third question looked for concerning a candidate’s position – if they favor government action at the federal level, is that action defining marriage as one man and one woman, defining marriage as something else, or ensuring that the federal government does not get involved.

North Korea Fires Missiles
North Korea fired two short-range missiles from its east coast Tuesday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited a South Korean official as saying, one day after conducting a nuclear test and firing another short-range missile.

North Korea Nuclear Test
South Korea formally announced Tuesday that it would join a U.S.-led effort to crack down on trafficking in weapons of mass destruction in response to North Korea’s new nuclear test.

Italy will consider accepting Guantanamo detainees
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Monday his country will consider accepting an unspecified number of detainees from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Nevada governor turns down Obama airport meeting
Nevada’s Republican governor has turned down an invitation from the White House to briefly greet President Obama when he visits the state tomorrow for a Democratic fundraising event, citing comments the president made earlier this year calling on companies that received taxpayer-funded bailouts to avoid wasting money on luxuries like company planes and Vegas vacations.

Powell vs. Cheney and Limbaugh
As Colin Powell fires back against Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh in the latest skirmish in the battle over the future of the Republican Party, a new national poll indicates that Americans have a much more favorable opinion of Powell than Cheney or Limbaugh.

Analysis: Powell flap gets GOP to ask ‘What kind of party are we?’
Colin Powell stirred up the Republican Party’s very public internal debate about the direction of the party and asserted it’s losing because it doesn’t appeal to moderates like him.

Uneasy political calculus of diversity and Supreme Court
Hispanic groups want history to be made with a Latino or Latina justice when President Obama makes his selection to fill the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy.

Washington Post: Fed’s Next Task: Reeling In Lifelines
As if the worst recession since World War II, the near collapse of the financial system, and the prospect of double-digit unemployment weren’t enough to deal with, the Federal Reserve now has something else to worry about: success.

Polly’s Hot Topics~ March 10, 2009

Gere:Clinton ‘misspoke in the moment’
Actor Richard Gere told Wolf Blitzer in an interview on Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “misspoke in the moment” when she said that human rights “can’t interfere with the global economic crisis.”

Top Obama officials meet to consider Gitmo detainees
Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called together several top administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to consider what to do with the detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

Washington Post: Democrats Stung by Dissenters
Democratic leaders in Congress did not expect much Republican support as they pressed President Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda. But the pushback they are receiving from some of their own has come as an unwelcome surprise.

NYT: Obama’s Budget Faces Test Among Party Barons
What the Democratic barons of Congress liked best about President Obama’s audacious budget was his invitation to fill in the details. They have started by erasing some of his.

Washington Times: Dean touts ‘perfect’ Obama health plan
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean warned that Republicans who stand against the president’s health care plan or try to label it “socialized medicine” will suffer at the polls in 2010, and admitted “enough is enough” when it comes to the Rush Limbaugh hullabaloo

Polly’s Hot Topics ~ February 6, 2009

Geithner Unveiling New “Financial Stability” Plan Monday

Even as the Obama administration struggles to sell a massive economic stimulus plan, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is planning Monday to unveil a separate financial stability plan that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars more to buy up troubled assets from banks and more broadly deal with the credit crunch and foreclosure crisis, according to two senior administration officials.

Justice Ginsburg has surgery for cancer

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman on the Supreme Court, had surgery Thursday for early stage pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court announced.

Clinton calls Kyrgyzstan base-closure decision ‘regrettable’

Kyrgyzstan‘s decision to close a strategic U.S. military base is “regrettable,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, but it won’t affect the U.S. military effort in nearby Afghanistan.

Senate adjourns without deal on stimulus package

The Senate wrapped up Thursday night after hours of sometimes acrimonious work without voting on a massive economic recovery plan championed by President Barack Obama.

Committee vote on Labor Department nominee postponed

A Senate committee Thursday delayed its confirmation vote for Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis, citing a need to review additional documentation.

Polly’s Hot Topics

January 30th, 2009

 

Illinois senators vote to oust Blagojevich from office
The Illinois Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to remove impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office.

Obama blasts bonuses for struggling Wall Street
President Barack Obama called the prospect that some of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout could end up paying for bonuses to managers of struggling financial institutions “shameful” Thursday.

GOP will face more pressure to back Obama’s plan
Voters in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Reno will wake Friday morning to a new radio advertisement calling on them to urge their Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus plan.

Politics plays a part in President Obama’s Super Bowl pick
President Obama made a major endorsement Thursday, announcing his support for the Pittsburgh Steelers in this Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown.

Obama and Palin attending same weekend dinner
Guess who’s attending the same dinner this weekend?

Day of vindication for grandma as pay law signed
For Lilly Ledbetter, it was a day of vindication over a decade in the making.

Polly’s Hot Topic

January 28, 2008

GOP targets Reid in new ad buy
National Republicans are using their first television ad buy of the 2010 election cycle to criticize Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in his own backyard, a Republican source tells CNN.

Obama tells GOP no compromise on tax rebates
President Obama told Republican House leaders Tuesday he plans to stand firm on the part of his $825 billion economic recovery plan that calls for tax rebates for nearly all working Americans — including those who make too little to owe income taxes.

Palin launches political action committee
Sarah Palin has launched a new political action committee called SarahPac, signaling that the Alaska Governor intends to remain a player in national politics even after her failed bid to become the country’s first female vice president.

After suspension for nodding at Obama, drum major quits
An Ohio man who was suspended as the drum major of a band for giving President Obama a nod during last week’s inaugural parade is calling it quits.

Biden apologizes to Roberts for oath of office joke
An aide to Vice President Joe Biden tells CNN he called Chief Justice John Roberts last week to apologize for a light-hearted remark he made over the flubbed Inauguration Day oath of office.

Bunning defiantly promises to seek re-election in 2010
Republican Senator Jim Bunning declared emphatically Tuesday that he is running for re-election in 2010, despite his cash-poor war chest and reports that some Republicans want him to step aside.

POLLY’S HOT TOPICS

JANUARY 22nd, 2009

Obama retakes oath of office after Roberts’ mistake
President Obama retook his oath of office Wednesday after Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed while delivering it at Tuesday’s inauguration.

Hillary Clinton sworn in as Secretary
Hillary Clinton was sworn in as the 67th U.S. secretary of state Wednesday afternoon after the Senate approved her nomination by a vote of 94-2.

Kennedy cites ‘personal reasons’ for dropping Senate bid
Caroline Kennedy has given up her bid for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. ~or she knew she was going to lose…

Guantanamo
Guantanamo Bay’s legacy of torture will hurt the United States even if President Obama makes good on a pledge to close the prison camp, a former inmate says.

Obama OKs ethics guidelines
Promising “a new era of openness in our country,” President Obama signed executive orders Wednesday relating to ethics guidelines for staff members of his administration.

Despite long odds, Coleman confident he will beat Franken
Sen. Norm Coleman for Minnesota, began packing his Capitol Hill office Wednesday, but indicated he has no intention of giving up his legal fight to serve another term in Congress.

January 19th, 2009

 

POLLY’S HOT TOPICS: Monday Jan. 19th, 2009

 

 

Obama speaks at Lincoln Memorial celebration
Inauguration nearly began Sunday afternoon as thousands gathered on the National Mall in Washington for a free concert featuring big stars from U2 to THE BRUCE to Beyonce.

Politician or Pop Icon?
In a framed photo for sale at one of the many souvenir shops in Washington, Barack Obama looks more like a movie star than a politician as he exits a vehicle in a black suit, red tie and sunglasses.

Big risk in Obama’s economic stimulus plan
Bolstered by wide Democratic margins in both chambers of Congress, the new administration assumes power Tuesday with a broad public mandate to repair the failing economy.

Washington visitors looking to be part of history

They came from around the world, braving bitterly cold temperatures, security and large crowds in the streets of the nation’s capital to see one man make American history.

Inauguration security forces ‘ready’
If anything were to go seriously wrong at Tuesday’s inauguration of Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is the man who would manage the crisis response. He is trying to make sure everything goes right.

Pelosi, Obama disagree on tax cuts, Bush investigations
Two days before President-elect Barack Obama is officially sworn in, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear she disagrees with the incoming administration on at least two issues.

Clinton thanks supporters, prepares for new supporting role
Sen. Hillary Clinton sent supporters what appears to be her final political e-mail Sunday, thanking them for backing her presidential bid as she now prepares for a new role in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration.

January 17th, 2009

Polly’s Hot Topics

Obama keeps Rollin…

The Amtrak train carrying President-elect Barack Obama and his entourage has left Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

Delawarians  brave cold to send Biden to D.C.

People began gathering at 4:30 a.m. Saturday at the train station in this capital city to see Joe Biden off to Washington –the final leg in his journey to the White House.

Bidens join Obama Express in Delaware

Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill arrived first and received a warm reception from a crowd of thousands, some of whom had been waiting for more than eight hours in the cold. He was introduced as “Amtrak’s No. 1 communter.”

Protestors lined up in Washington to greet Obama Express

President-elect Barack Obama isn’t back in Washington yet but the protestors have lined up to greet and remind him of a host of issues that await him following the swearing in.

January 16, 2009

Polly’s Hot Topics

Obama thinks he can keep his BlackBerry

Obama is finding it difficult to give up his BlackBerry.

President-elect Barack Obama told CNN Friday he thinks he may be able to “hang onto” his blackberry after all.

In an interview with CNN’s John King, he talked about the privacy issues that threaten his ability to maintain normal communications – and his optimism that, unlike his predecessor, he’s going to be able to keep using e-mail after he enters the Oval Office.

Then there’s the blackberry.

 

Blagojevich’s lawyer quits impeachment trial

CHICAGO, Illinois- Defense attorney Edward Genson will not represent Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his Senate impeachment trial, the U.S. attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois said.

motivated.

 

Coleman challenge trial set to begin January 26

MINNEAPOLIS  – The three-judge panel set to preside over former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s post-election legal challenge has set January 26 as the start date for the trial, the court announced Friday.

The judges also set January 21 as the date they will hear arguments on Democrat Al Franken’s motion to dismiss the legal contest.

Franken came out of the recount 225 votes ahead of Coleman, but Team Coleman maintains hundreds of voters were disenfranchised, and claims many votes may have been counted twice.


Obama says he always thought Bush was a ‘good guy’

After two years of traveling around the country criticizing President Bush, President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that he “always thought [Bush] was a good guy.”

“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country,”

Obama also said he thought Bush made “the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”


Clinton’s seat to be filled next week

Paterson said Friday he would pick Clinton’s Senate replacement next week.

New York Gov. David Paterson said Friday he is prepared to announce who will replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate immediately after the presidential inauguration.

January 15th, 2009

Polly’s Hot Topics January 15, 2009

Senate approves release of additional $350B for bailout

WASHINGTON— The Senate voted Thursday afternoon to release the remaining $350 billion dollars of the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP) bailout fund. The Senate’s 52-42 rejection of a resolution of disapproval on the release of the funds means that President-elect Barack Obama can spend the money with no additional restrictions.

Bush: ‘There are things I would do differently if given the chance’

Pres. Bush will make a prime-time address to the nation on Thursday night. The White House has released excerpts of President Bush’s farewell address to the nation tonight, as prepared for delivery. The president will reflect on Barack Obama’s inauguration, the response to 9/11 — and on “setbacks” he’s faced over the past eight years.  Watch the president’s speech tonight at 8 pm.

 

Caroline Kennedy losing ground in another NY poll

Kennedy is getting more bad news in the latest poll out of New York. A new survey of New York voters is the second poll in two days to find Andrew Cuomo pulling away from Caroline Kennedy. Four in 10 registered New York voters in a Marist poll released Thursday say they would would like to see Cuomo, currently the state’s attorney general, tapped as Hillary Clinton’s Senate replacement.

Gun control options ‘narrowed’ after high court ruling

WASHINGTON  — Attorney General-designate Eric Holder conceded during his confirmation hearing Thursday that the government’s options for regulating the possession of firearms have been narrowed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that the Second Amendment ensures an individual right to bear arms.

Burris sworn in as junior senator from Illinois

Roland Burris was sworn in to the Senate Thursday afternoon. Veteran Illinois politician Roland Burris was sworn in as the junior U.S. senator from Illinois on Thursday afternoon, following an extended political battle to claim the seat

 

Guantanamo Bay detention facility will be closed

President-elect Obama’s pick for attorney general said Thursday that the incoming administration will close the Gitmo detention facility. WASHINGTON — Attorney General designate Eric Holder said Thursday that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will be closed after President-elect Obama takes office, but not as soon as the administration would like.

House Dems offer $825B stimulus bill

After weeks of talks with President-elect Barack Obama’s top aides, House Democrats on Thursday released a summary of an $825 billion economic recovery package that calls for $275 billion in tax cuts and $550 billion in spending and aid to states.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., again expressed confidence that Congress would reach the mid-February deadline for getting a bill to Obama’s desk.

Clinton says farewell to the Senate

Watch Hillary Clinton’s Senate farewell on cnn.com/live. Sen. Hillary Clinton is delivering her farewell address to the Senate this hour.

Pastor Rick Warren praised President-elect Obama’s decision to invite an openly gay bishop to participate in inauguration festivities.

Rick Warren offered an olive branch to another minister delivering an inaugural invocation — an openly gay Episcopal bishop who had been critical of the evangelical pastor over his support for California’s Proposition 8.Warren, who is delivering the invocation at the Tuesday swearing-in ceremony, drew fire from some Obama supporters over his opposition to same sex marriage and abortion rights.

Biden says farewell to the Senate

Biden is delivering his farewell speech to the Senate. Biden formally resigns his seat Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. He was first elected to the Senate in 1972, at age 29.

January 14th, 2009

POLLY’S HOT TOPICS: Wednesday Jan. 14th, 2009

How long does Obama have to fix the economy?
How long will the voters give President Barack Obama to turn the economy around? The president-elect is already laying down markers:

Obama threatens dissenting Democrats with first veto
President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to persuade Senate Democrats to get behind his plan for the second half of the $700 billion bailout, warning he would veto a threatened disapproval resolution, according to senators who met with him.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee met Tuesday with treasury secretary nominee Tim Geithner over concerns involving his personal taxes and the immigration status of a former housekeeper, transition officials said.

Bush: President’s priority is preventing attack
The commander in chief’s priority is preventing another terrorist attack in the United States, President Bush told CNN’s “Larry King Live” Tuesday.

Clinton promises to renew U.S. leadership
Sen. Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that she aims to “renew America’s leadership” in a world that has undergone an “extraordinary transformation” since the end of the Cold War and is now facing “great peril.”

Officials shoring up inaugural traffic, security plans
With all the bridges and road closings on Inaugural Day, the problem isn’t just about getting people into Washington but getting them back out after Barack Obama is sworn in January 20.

Huckabee pans Palin’s interview with Couric
Sarah Palin has complained repeatedly that she was given unfair treatment by the media during her rapid political ascent last year

January 13th, 2009

POLLY’S HOT TOPICS: Tuesday Jan 13th, 2009

Burris says he’s honored to be seated in the Senate
Illinois Senate-designate Roland Burris said Monday afternoon that he is “truly humbled and honored” to learn he will be seated in the Senate later this week.

Obama to order Guantanamo Bay prison closed
President-elect Barack Obama plans to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay as early as his first week in office to show a break from the Bush administration’s approach to the war on terror, according to two officials close to the transition.

Roughly 10 advisors helping Clinton prep for confirmation
The team helping Hillary Clinton prepare for her secretary of state confirmation hearing includes roughly 10 advisors, from deputy designates Jim Steinberg and Jack Lew, Wendy Sherman, and campaign policy aide Jake Sullivan to her Senate foreign policy staffer, Andrew Shapiro.

Obama meets with Mexican leader Calderon
President-elect Barack Obama met Monday afternoon with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in the first face-to-face talks of the incoming U.S. leader with a foreign head of state.

Senate Republicans brace for ominous 2010
The 111th Congress has just barely begun as Senate Republicans brace for more grueling elections in 2010 that threaten to further weaken the party’s influence in Congress.

What will Obama do with his millions of online ‘friends’?
Has President-elect Barack Obama found the person to entrust with his predominantly online network of millions of supporters?

Obama’s rhetoric meets reality
In style and substance, Barack Obama is looking like he could be a different president than the candidate voters got to know during the campaign.

Bush touts accomplishments, admits mistakes
President Bush admitted mistakes but defended his accomplishments in the final White House news conference of his presidency Monday

January 9th, 2009

The real lesson of the Madoff case

When stock markets are soaring, people think they’re making money because they’re geniuses. But when the market tanks — which it always does, sooner or later — people look for villains to blame for their losses.

Which president should Obama listen to?

Incoming labor secretary vows to work for ‘hardworking families’

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for labor secretary, California Rep. Hilda Solis, promised to “improve the opportunities for hardworking families” as she began her confirmation hearings on Friday.

Obama names CIA, national intelligence directors

President-elect Barack Obama on Friday announced Leon Panetta as his pick for CIA director and retired Adm. Dennis Blair for director of national intelligence.

Key Democrats blast Obama stimulus plan

Key measures of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan are facing a barrage of criticism from some Senate Democrats, with one charging the plan’s tax breaks were a return to “trickledown” economics.

Consumer confidence called key to combating economic meltdown

President-elect Barack Obama declared has war on the economic meltdown, but solving the crisis will also depend on the ability to restore confidence in the nation’s consumers.

Gov. George Wallace’s former wife dies

Cornelia Wallace, ex-wife of four-time Alabama Gov. George Wallace, has died, the governor’s office announced. She was in her late 60s.

JANUARY 8, 2009

Obama, Bush and ex-presidents have ‘historic moment’
President-elect Barack Obama, President Bush and all of the surviving past presidents got together Wednesday for a historic meeting at the White House.

Obama appointee to face bruising confirmation fight
Barack Obama’s presidential transition, already disrupted by the sudden withdrawal of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, may face another challenge in the confirmation hearings of his pick for attorney general.

Joe the plumber headed to Middle East
Joe Wurzelbacher: Plumber. Campaign celebrity. Foreign correspondent?

Obama and Reid spoke about Burris
President-elect Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke about the Roland Burris situation Monday, according to a source familiar with the conversation.

Democrat: Blagojevich ‘called our bluff’ on Senate pick
Senate Democrats have no choice but to change their tone about Roland Burris becoming a U.S. senator because Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich “called our bluff” in appointing someone over their objections, a senior Democratic congressional source conceded Wednesday.

Porn industry seeks federal bailout
Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

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