American Morning

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September 23rd, 2009
07:16 AM ET

Mad as Hell: Can we bridge the bitter divide?

By Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

Solutions – that's the tough part. We're on, hopefully, the tail end of a deep recession. We've been living beyond our means and there is a sense that not all of our politicians have been stand-up guys and gals.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A protester wears an American Revolution-era flag and an Obama picture during the Tea Party Express rally on September 12, 2009 in Washington, DC."]

So what IS the fix?

"We ought to fire all the politicians and get new ones," says Pennsylvania Republican Chris Wesling.

Distrust in politicians is in our DNA. But today, says Republican consultant Rich Galen, things are different. “Now you've got an entire population, on the entire continuum, from left to right, including that gigantic center that looks across the political landscape and sees nobody that they like, nobody that they trust and nobody frankly that they want to follow."

Still, at the Latrobe/Gateway football game in western Pennsylvania, there were some still willing to give politicians a chance. The president, after all, has a 55 percent approval rating. The fix for some – is Mr. Obama.

"He's swimming against the current, you know, and he's got a lot of energy and he's got a lot of a battle," says Stanley Zimmerman, an independent. At the Community of Reconciliation Church in Pittsburgh, the fix is about hope too – and about redirecting our moral compass.

Watch Carol explore the national divide Video

"There's no question in my mind the moral authority in this country is capitalism and narcissism," says Pastor Denise Mason, a Democrat. "It’s me and how much. ... That's the basis upon which most of us make our decisions."

Dolan Vogle, a Republican, shares the same sentiment. "It's a very me, me, me attitude," she says. "I'm at fault because I give to my kids all the time."

Carl Vogle likens social harmony to a football team. "Everybody's got to pull their weight and once you do that you have a winning team. Same thing with the government and with America. Everybody works hard, we're going to get there."

Filed under: Mad as Hell • Politics
September 23rd, 2009
07:12 AM ET

Suburb wants Gadhafi's tent taken down

NEW YORK (CNN) - The town of Bedford, New York, is not happy with a tent set up as part of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly, a town attorney said Tuesday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The tent is on property that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is renting in New York, WABC reported. "]

"I discussed this matter with town officials, and the town building inspector believes that this would constitute a violation of several town zoning and land use laws," Bedford town attorney Joel Sachs said. "I directed the town building inspector to immediately go to the property and issue a stop work order, which would the individuals to cease erecting the tent."

Sachs said if he had to he would take the issue to a higher court to get the tent taken down.

New York state Sen. Vincent Liebell confirmed to CNN affiliate WABC that Gadhafi had rented the property.

"He's not going to have many fans in Bedford or Westchester County, certainly not me," the senator said. "There's not going to be any welcome mat for him in Bedford."

The property is owned by the Trump Organization, which said in a statement: "We have business partners and associates all over the world. The property was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr. Gadhafi. We are looking into the matter."

Read the full story »

Filed under: Controversy
September 23rd, 2009
07:02 AM ET

The Obamas' love, partnership & politics

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Author Chris Andersen's new book gives an inside look into Barack and Michelle Obama's partnership."]

They are a power couple, a partnership and about as A-list as you can get: President and First Lady Obama.

No matter what you think about his policies, they are an intriguing team. So what makes this relationship tick?

In a new book called "Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage," New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen gives a peek into some of the Obama's most pivotal moments as the future first couple.

Read an excerpt from the book

Filed under: Politics
September 23rd, 2009
06:57 AM ET

Swim club penalized over racism complaint

(CNN) - The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission issued a finding of probable cause Tuesday that racism was involved in the decision last June by a suburban Philadelphia swim club to revoke privileges of a largely minority day care center.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Some kids from the Creative Steps Day Care center say club members made racist remarks."]

The commission ordered monetary damages for humiliation and embarrassment and a civil penalty of not more than $50,000.

The decision noted that none of the club's 155 paid members this year was African-American.

Last year, according to the decision, there were "179 paid memberships, none of whom were African American."

In addition, the decision noted that in 2009, the Valley Club "made a concerted effort to expand the geographic range of its membership by engaging in a marketing campaign.... The Respondent efforts were mainly directed at areas with overwhelmingly Caucasian populations.... The Respondent made no effort to direct such marketing efforts at areas with significant African American populations...."

Read the full story »

Filed under: Controversy
September 23rd, 2009
06:02 AM ET

Initial findings don't link Garridos to other girls

ANTIOCH, California (CNN) - Investigators who completed their search of the California property belonging to kidnapping suspects Phillip and Nancy Garrido said initial findings do not connect the couple to the disappearances of two young girls.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Ilene Misheloff, left, has been missing since 1989; Michaela Garecht disappeared in 1988."]

But police said that they have not eliminated Phillip Garrido as a suspect in the decades-old cases.

Bone fragments found on the couple's property near Antioch could be human but are "far too old to be relevant in our cases," said Lt. Chris Orrey of the Hayward police department.

Teeth found on an adjacent property are most likely from an animal, she said. And some anomalies found by ground-penetrating radar uncovered "chunks of concrete, tree roots, and in one case a floor mat," Orrey said at a news conference.

Investigators had already found bone fragments at the property in unincorporated Contra Costa County, but have not said if they are human.

"Although nothing [was found] that would definitively link Phillip and Nancy Garrido to the disappearance of Ilene Misheloff or Michaela Garecht, we're going to continue to follow up on the evidence that we have recovered," Lt. Kurt von Savoye of the Dublin Police Department said at the news conference.

Read the full story »

Filed under: Crime
September 23rd, 2009
05:51 AM ET

What’s on Tap – Wednesday September 23, 2009

Delegates walk past the UN building in New York on September 21, 2009. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Delegates walk past the UN building in New York on September 21, 2009. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Here are the big stories on the agenda today:

  • Outrage in a New York City suburb over Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi pitching a tent on property Donald Trump owns.  He's in the New York area for the United Nations General Assembly this week.  The State Department says he'll use the tent for entertaining. Full story
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is promising to seek leniency for three American hikers who've been held captive in his country for more than seven weeks.  He'll be addressing the U.N. General Assembly tonight. Those hikers’ mothers sent a letter to Iran’s president.  Did he respond?  One of them will join us live, with her plea.
  • New warnings about an alleged terror plot that targeted trains and subways in New York City.  Authorities say stadiums, hotels and entertainment complexes should also be on high alert... so- called “soft targets.”  We pride ourselves on being an open society.  So, how do we protect these wide open spaces with lots of people coming and going, every day? Jason Carroll is digging deeper this morning. Full story
  • It’s the video you can’t miss this morning.  A parking pole saves a child’s life.  It was the only thing between the car, and a little girl.  The car ended up stuck in the air! And the girl ended up... OK!  And everyone will be talking about her today. Watch

Filed under: What's On Tap
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