American Morning

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July 17th, 2009
01:16 PM ET
July 17th, 2009
11:55 AM ET
July 17th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

Key cleric wants Iran election prisoners freed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rafsanjani remains an influential figure in Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's circle."]

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) - One of Iran's most powerful clerics, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has called on the Iranian government to release those people arrested following last month's disputed presidential election.

"There is no need to have these numbers of people in prison," the former Iranian president said during his highly anticipated Friday sermon.

"Let them come back to their families. Let the enemy not laugh at us and criticize us. We must sympathize with those who have suffered damages. The system cannot lose them. If the system reapproaches them they will come back to us."

Tens of thousands of people gathered in and around Tehran University as Rafsanjani spoke for about an hour, according to witnesses at the speech. Iranian police used tear gas to disperse some of the crowds.

Rafsanjani backs reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi, the opposition candidate who challenged hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the disputed June 12 vote.

After weeks of silence, Rafsanjani has become increasingly vocal in opposing the brutal crackdown on demonstrators who protested election results.

Keep reading this story »

Video: Watch more about Rafsanjani's sermon

Filed under: Iran
July 17th, 2009
11:00 AM ET

Who might be responsible for Jakarta bomb attacks

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) - Indonesian authorities believe two suicide bombers checked into the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and carried out coordinated bombings Friday morning, killing themselves and at least six victims and wounding more than 50 others.

It is unclear what group is behind the attacks on the Marriott and the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel, Indonesia's National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso said at a news conference. He warned that the death toll could rise.

Indonesian authorities have detained several witnesses and others for questioning, and have sent forensic evidence from the scene for testing, a spokesman for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.

"It's all being studied now," Dino Patti Djalal told CNN.

Yudhoyono warned that it is still too early to determine who was behind the attacks.

CNN contributor Tom Fuentes spoke to John Roberts on CNN's "American Morning" Friday about what group may be responsible for the Indonesia bombings.

Filed under: Terrorism
July 17th, 2009
09:34 AM ET

Buy a truck, get an AK-47

The rough economy has been particularly tough on car dealers, so many of them have come up with innovative promotions to get vehicles off the lot.

And then there's this: starting in August, Mark Muller, president of Max Motors in Butler, Missouri will be giving away a free AK-47 assault rifle with the purchase of any truck. Muller spoke to Carol Costello on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday.

Carol Costello: Tell me about this promotion and why you decided to do this.

Mark Muller: Well, last year we gave away a free handgun with the purchase of any vehicle and it went over very well. It spiked our Web traffic. We sold, we estimate, 35 extra cars during the promotion than we normally would have and this year we're trying to sell an extra 100 cars more than we would. We're just trying to generate some traffic, generate some interest and enthusiasm and it seems to work real well. We're not just going to give people an AK-47 gun. Felons buy cars, too. What we are going to do is we’re going to give them a voucher where they can go to their local gun dealer or we have local gun dealers we would strongly recommend where they can go buy a gun and go through the proper background checks so the guns end up in the right hands.

Costello: How much does an AK-47 cost, I'm just curious?

Muller: It depends. You can get a good AK-47 for $450, maybe $500.

Costello: Some people watching this might think owning a handgun is one thing, but owning an AK-47 is something else and maybe this is just a tad irresponsible?

Muller: It's a little grandstanding. But how about that guy that just had him and his wife killed that had the twelve children with the seven guys coming through the door. I guarantee you he wishes he had an AK-47 as those maggots busted through his door and slaughtered him and his wife in front of his children. The purpose for guns like AK-47s is home defense.


Filed under: Gun rights
July 17th, 2009
06:38 AM ET

Is affirmative action still necessary?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Barack Obama walks onto stage to speak at the NAACP annual convention July 16, 2009 in New York City."]

With the election Barack Obama, some people are taking a second look at affirmative action. After all, they say, if an African-American can become president, does the nation still need a government policy to address the effects of past discrimination?

“We’ve come a long way in this country,” says the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell. “It is time that we say no to quotas and racial operate on racial preferences and quotas is idiotic and counterproductive.”

He’s not alone.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that by a 55–36 margin that Americans believe it’s time to abolish affirmative action.

“American Morning” sent producers to the streets of New York and Los Angeles, two of the most liberal voting big cities in the nation, to get reaction. Just as in the poll, most people were not fans of affirmative action.


Filed under: Just Sayin'
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