American Morning

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March 26th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

General challenges Obama on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

(CNN) – A three-star Army general is feeling the heat from his superiors after publicly challenging the president on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," saying a repeal of the military policy on gays would be "ill-advised."

So is there a price to be paid for breaking ranks with the commander-in-chief on this controversial issue? Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the report.

Filed under: Gay Rights • Military
March 26th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Hazards of the health care debate

(CNN) – Call it the hazards of health care reform: Voice mail death threats, bullet holes through windows, suspicious envelopes filled with white powder.

Fourteen members of Congress, including two Republicans now, are claiming they've been targeted. Both parties are blaming each other for fanning the flames of health care hate. Our Susan Candiotti has the report.

Filed under: Politics
March 26th, 2010
07:00 AM ET
March 26th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Avlon: Hate is cheap political tool

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is a senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of the new book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN Independent analyst John Avlon says an escalation of angry rhetoric and actions this week are the results of hate in the service of hyper-partisanship."]

By John Avlon, Special to CNN

In the wake of the health care vote, we’ve seen an escalation of angry rhetoric and actions, fueling this week’s wingnuts to ugly new heights of incitement.

At least ten members of the House of Representatives received death threats this week while Republican House Leader Eric Cantor reported that bullets had been fired at his district offices in Virginia. Four local Democratic Party offices and district congressional offices had their windows broken with bricks.

All this follows the online exhortations of militia leader Mike Vanderboegh, who wrote on his blog this past Friday: “If we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”

I interviewed Vanderboegh at length late last year for my book "Wingnuts." He is a self-described “former leftist” and SDS member who became a Second Amendment activist and leader in the militia movement during the 1990s. Last year, he co-founded a loosely-affiliated Hatriot group known as the Three Percenters.

Over the past year, he has detailed his unhinged opposition to the Obama administration: “You should understand that we are rapidly coming to a point in this country when half of the people are going to become convinced of the illegitimacy of this administration and its designs upon our liberty. Need I remind you that this side is the one with most of the firearms?”

This week he’s been hitting the radio show circuit to promote his message. This isn’t just wingnut stuff, it’s indicative of a new breed of Hatriot militias – those who believe its patriotic to fear the government and hate the president. It’s the politics of incitement.

At a time when Sarah Palin posted a Facebook page with gun-scope cross-hairs on the districts of Democratic representatives she is seeking to unseat this fall, the unhinged could be getting further encouragement from the former GOP VP nominee. In light of the death threats, decency and a modicum of good judgment should inspire Palin to take that map down immediately.


Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Wingnuts of the week
March 26th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

LIVE Blog: House OKs 'fixes' for health care law

Editor's Note: Welcome to American Morning's LIVE Blog where you can discuss the "most news in the morning" with us each and every day. Join the live chat during the program by adding your comments below. It's your chance to share your thoughts on the day's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules: 1) Keep it brief 2) No writing in ALL CAPS 3) Use your real name (first name only is fine) 4) No links 5) Watch your language (that includes $#&*).

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid autographs a copy of the health care legislation amendments after a news conference on March 25, 2010 in Washington, DC."]

Top stories:

House OKs 'fixes' for health care law

(CNN) - The House of Representatives passed a slightly altered health care "fixes" bill Thursday night, completing legislative action on President Obama's top domestic priority.

The so-called "fixes" bill, approved by a 220-207 vote, now goes to Obama to be signed into law. It makes changes in the broader health care reform measure that Obama enacted Tuesday.

Approval by both the House and Senate on Thursday concluded a tortuous legislative struggle for the health care reform legislation, which received no Republican support in any of the major votes in either chamber dating back to last year. FULL STORY

Gates eases ban on gays in the military

(CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday that the Pentagon will start to ease its enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

Among other things, Gates said the Pentagon is raising the threshold for what constitutes an appropriate level of information necessary to launch a "credible inquiry" into allegations of homosexual behavior.

The change, which will take effect in 30 days and apply to all current cases, is a reflection of "common sense" and "common decency," Gates said. "These changes reflect some of the insights we have gained over 17 years of implementing the current law, including the need for consistency, oversight and clear standards." FULL STORY

Sound off: Join the conversation on today's top stories. What do you think about the health care reform legislation or easing the ban on gays in the military? Add your comments to the LIVE blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.

Filed under: LIVE Blog
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