American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
June 9th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen!

Tuesday’s American Morning audience scolded Republicans for their constant “railing against the president and the Democrats,” suggesting that more would be achieved if the parties worked together. Others found Governor Palin and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich poor representatives of the GOP.

  • Jonathan: If the Republicans spent as much time trying to fix this country and actually come up with solutions as they do railing against the president and the Democrats, then there would be a lot achieved in America. Republicans care for the big corporations and the greedy, not the hurting and the needy.
  • Al: If Palin is all that the republicans have to put out there, then the party is in real trouble. It's a shame that our leaders have been reduced to polished, staggering idiots. She will end up finding her groove with the media, and we will not really know the real doofus inside. I'm sure she is a nice person (skeptical about this), but wouldn't Colin Powell be a seasoned individual with morals we can depend on in making decisions that lead our country? A real shame.
  • Jeff: Hey guys I heard your political commentators say Palin needs to get her problems back home fixed. She has been cleared of all charges brought to court. Maybe you guys aren't the most news in the morning!

What do you think about how the Republicans are or are not working with the Democrats? What would you like to see the Republicans do differently or the same?


Filed under: We Listen
June 9th, 2009
03:14 PM ET

Heath care minefield

One person who knows the health care minefield well is Mike Lux.  He was a special advisor to the president during the Clinton administration and worked inside the “Health Care War Room.”  As Lux told me, “He has the scars to prove it.”  Lux, who also served on the Obama transition team, says the current White House has learned from the “mistakes” of what was once called “Hillary Care,” the former first lady’s ill-fated fight for national health care reform. 

He says the Clinton administration made the mistake of crafting a complicated plan behind closed doors before dictating the policy to Congress.  This time around, Lux says the Obama White House deserves credit for allowing members of Congress to work out the details.  But he cautions the president may need to use some “muscle” in the end.  He’s doubtful Republicans will come on board to support a plan that offers the option of a government-run health care plan.  At the end of the interview Lux told me, if Republicans don’t come on board the Obama administration may have to “roll these guys.”

Filed under: Health • Politics
June 9th, 2009
12:16 PM ET

Gulfstream International denies allegations of safety violations

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="David Hackett, President and CEO of Gulfstream International, denies allegations against the company."]

By Allan Chernoff – CNN Sr. Correspondent

– Regional airline challenging FAA proposed fines
– FAA to monitor training programs

Gulfstream International Airlines' chief executive is denying allegations from current and former employees that the regional carrier has repeatedly violated safety rules in an effort to save money.

"Safety is our top priority," said David Hackett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fort Lauderdale-based Gulfstream, which operates Continental Connection flights in Florida and the Bahamas.

Former and current Gulfstream employees have alleged to CNN that the airline has allowed maintenance issues to fester rather than properly repairing aircraft, and that pilots have been pressured to fly beyond Federal Aviation Administration limits designed to prevent pilot fatigue.

"There's nothing that would be acceptable about pressuring a pilot to fly an airplane he felt unsafe about," Hackett told CNN.

The FAA has proposed a $1.3 million fine against Gulfstream for alleged maintenance and scheduling violations, a move that Gulfstream is challenging. The FAA cited Gulfstream for repeatedly scheduling pilots and flight dispatchers to work past mandated limits. Gulfstream concedes there were discrepancies between pilot logbooks and the company's computer system that tracks hours, but only one actual duty time violation of a pilot accidentally being scheduled to work eight days in a row.

Former Gulfstream schedulers and pilots, however claimed to CNN, that dispatchers were pressured to 'shave pilot hours' from prior flights so pilot flight schedules would not exceed FAA limits, such as 8-hours within a 24-hour period.


Filed under: Airline safety
June 9th, 2009
10:28 AM ET

Life inside a North Korean prison

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="T. Kumar of Amnesty International has studied conditions inside North Korean prisons."]

American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea. What kind of conditions would they face in a North Korean prison? Not much is known about them. But through the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, we have satellite maps showing the layout of one prison.

T. Kumar is the advocacy director for Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International and he has studied the prison conditions in North Korea. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday.

John Roberts: If they were sent to one of these prisons, what kind of conditions would they encounter based on the studies you've done?

T. Kumar: We have to divide the situation into two categories. First is about the living conditions. The living conditions are extremely harsh. It's overcrowded, very little food and very little, if any, medical attention. Then every day they have to work for more than ten hours. Very hard labor starting from breaking stones to working in the mines. And very little food again during the day.

Roberts: Very high rates of death in detention among these prisoners?

Kumar: Yes. It's a combination of facts why the deaths are occurring. Number one, it's hard and forced labor. Second, it's lack of food. And unhygienic environment…There is no medical attention at all in many cases. So combined of all of these issues, [there is a] very large number of people who die in these [prisons].


Filed under: North Korea
June 9th, 2009
10:12 AM ET

Expert: Replace ‘black boxes’ with new technology

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clive Irving tells CNN that new technologies could replace existing flight data recorders."]

24 victims from Air France Flight 447 have been pulled from the sea so far. The number one priority according to the Brazilian military is recovering the bodies, but searchers are also desperately looking for the flight data recorders before time runs out. The area they’re concentrating on is about the size of Nebraska, almost 80,000 square miles.

Clive Irving says the daunting task of finding the so-called black boxes should be a wake-up call for doing away with this “antiquated technology.” Irving is the editor of Condé Nast Traveler magazine and specializes in aviation reporting. He joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday.

John Roberts: Brazilian authorities released a photo of the vertical stabilizer from Air France 447. It was found yesterday. It’s eerily similar, if you remember, to American Airlines 587 where they pulled the entire vertical stabilizer out of Jamaica Bay.

Clive Irving: In fact, it looks just like a plastic model assembly kit where you clip the vertical stabilizer on the fuselage and if you pull it off…it's an extraordinarily clean break there.

Roberts: And the fact that it is a clean break and it seems to be pretty much intact, does that give you a thought as to how this plane may have come down?

Irving: I think I’d be very wary to make a connection between the two things. Remember, this is a composite, not a metal vertical stabilizer. So the whole physics of the thing and how it shears off might be very different to the circumstances of an all metal plane.

Roberts: With American Airlines Flight 587, the pilots over-corrected. They put too much pressure on it and it snapped right off. We know the weather was bad in the area this aircraft was flying through.

Irving: Well yes it was. It was very bad. But I think the wake-up call here is the most significant thing, is we had our eyes pointed to a completely new technology that we almost didn't realize was there because the only clues that we have so far since this crash came from the uploaded data, the 24 messages sent to the maintenance center at Air France. That's all we've got to go on at the moment.


Filed under: Technology • Transportation
June 9th, 2009
08:13 AM ET

New book: 'Obama's BlackBerry'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Barack Obama uses a BlackBerry or similar device as he walks to the Oval Office after returning to the White House in Washington, DC, January 29, 2009."]

It's no secret President Obama uses a BlackBerry. In fact, you might say he's even addicted to his.

"Obama's BlackBerry" is a new book that includes dozens of phony texts and emails that poke fun at the nation's first BlackBerry-toting president.

Rob Baedeker, the book’s co-author and a member of the San Francisco-based comedy troupe Kasper Hauser, joins “American Morning” today.

Read excerpts of the book:

Page 14 (PDF)
Page 15 (PDF)
Page 25 (PDF)
Page 28 (PDF)
Page 65 (PDF)

Filed under: Pop Culture
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