May 14th, 2007

Private Equity Firm To Buy Chrysler Group For $7.4 Billion

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/private-equity-firm-to-bu_n_48399.html

DaimlerChrysler confirmed today that it will sell a controlling interest in its struggling Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management of New York, a private equity firm that specializes in restructuring troubled companies. The price being paid is $7.4 billion, mostly in the form of capital that Cerberus will put into Chrysler.

The deal unwinds a 1998 merger that was meant to create a trans-Atlantic automotive powerhouse.

Federal Loan Programs Fund Large Coal Plant Construction Plan

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/federal-loan-programs-fun_n_48402.html

A Depression-era program to bring electricity to rural areas is using taxpayer money to provide billions of dollars in low-interest loans to build coal plants even as Congress seeks ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

That government support is a major force behind the rush to coal plants, which spew carbon dioxide that scientists blame for global warming.

Pentagon Blocks Troop Access To YouTube, MySpace

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/pentagon-blocks-troop-acc_n_48406.html

Soldiers serving overseas will lose some of their online links to friends and loved ones back home under a Department of Defense policy that a high-ranking Army official said would take effect Monday.


The Defense Department will begin blocking access "worldwide" to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular Web sites on its computers and networks, according to a memo sent Friday by Gen. B.B. Bell, the U.S. Forces Korea commander.

Bank Officials: Docs Show Wolfowitz Knew He Was Playing Favorites

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/bank-officials-docs-show_n_48410.html

Documents circulating at the World Bank suggest that Paul D. Wolfowitz, the bank president, understood that his role in ordering a pay increase and promotion for his companion in 2005 might be seen as a conflict of interest but insisted on proceeding anyway, bank officials who are critics of Mr. Wolfowitz said Sunday.

The officials, speaking on the eve of a fateful week for Mr. Wolfowitz's efforts to remain head of the bank, said testimony and notes that Xavier Coll, vice president of human resources, provided to a bank committee investigating the matter supported the charge that Mr. Wolfowitz was aware of engaging in favoritism. One said the documents were "devastating" to Mr. Wolfowitz's case.

US Military Believes Missing Soldiers Abducted By Al Qaeda

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/us-military-believes-miss_n_48414.html

The U.S. military said on Monday it believed that three U.S. soldiers missing after an attack south of Baghdad on Saturday had been taken by al Qaeda or others associated with the militant group.

"At this time, we believe they were abducted by terrorists belonging to al Qaeda or an affiliated group and this assessment is based on highly credible intelligence information," Major-General William Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said in a statement.

School Board Sued Over "Brokeback Mountain" Screening In Class

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/school-board-sued-over-b_n_48419.html

A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film "Brokeback Mountain" in class.

The lawsuit claims that Jessica Turner, 12, suffered psychological distress after viewing the movie in her 8th grade class at Ashburn Community Elementary School last year.

FT: Dow Jones' Bancroft Family Divided Over Meeting With Murdoch

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/ft-dow-jones-bancroft-f_n_48426.html

Some Bancroft family members want to meet Rupert Murdoch to discuss his $5bn offer for Dow Jones - but they face stiff opposition from relatives.

Mr Murdoch has been pressing for a meeting with the Bancrofts since they rejected his $60-per-share offer for the media company and its flagship Wall Street Journal nearly two weeks ago. The Bancrofts, with 64.2 per cent of Dow Jones' Class B voting shares, represent the central obstacle between Mr Murdoch and one of the most influential media companies.

Militant Group Warns US To Stop Search For Missing Soldiers

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/militant-group-warns-us-t_n_48430.html

An al-Qaida front group that claims it has captured American soldiers warned the United States on Monday to stop searching for them and suggested it attacked the U.S. convoy as revenge for the rape and murder of a local teenager last year.

The U.S. military also said for the first time it believes the three missing soldiers were abducted by al-Qaida-linked militants after an attack that included three roadside bombs.

Tenet To Testify Before Congress On Pre-War Claim Of Iraq-Niger Uranium Trade

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/tenet-to-testify-before-c_n_48431.html

Former CIA Director George Tenet has agreed to cooperate with a House investigation into the White House's fraudulent pre-war claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapon. That assertion -- the infamous "16 words" in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address -- was a critical part of administration's case for war.

NBC Exec: "Highly Unlikely" Fred Thompson Will Return For Next "Law & Order" Season

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/nbc-exec-highly-unlikel_n_48433.html

NBC's top entertainment executive said Monday that he does not expect actor and potential Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson back on "Law & Order" next season.
NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly claimed no insider knowledge of Thompson's political plans, but his statement indicated the seriousness of Thompson's presidential musings. The former Tennessee senator has been making speaking appearances and blogging on issues in recent weeks as he considers a candidacy.

NBC Exec: Unlikely Fred Thompson Will Return For Next "Law & Order" Season

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/nbc-exec-unlikely-fred-t_n_48433.html

NBC's top entertainment executive said Monday that he does not expect actor and potential Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson back on "Law & Order" next season.
NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly claimed no insider knowledge of Thompson's political plans, but his statement indicated the seriousness of Thompson's presidential musings. The former Tennessee senator has been making speaking appearances and blogging on issues in recent weeks as he considers a candidacy.

US Gas Prices Hit New Record High

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/us-gas-prices-hit-new-rec_n_48436.html

Gasoline prices hit a new record at the pump on Monday, but traders sent oil and gasoline futures prices in different directions as they weighed mixed news from overseas.
The average national price of a gallon of gas hit $3.073 on Monday, up almost a penny from Sunday's also record-setting price. Gasoline is now well above the previous record of $3.057, set on Sept. 5, 2005, soon after Hurricane Katrina hit.

JK Rowling Appeals To Public: Please Don't Spoil Potter Ending

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/jk-rowling-appeals-to-pub_n_48440.html

J.K. Rowling has a request for those with inside dirt on her seventh and final Harry Potter book: Please keep it to yourself.

"We're a little under three months away, now, and the first distant rumblings of the weirdness that usually precedes a Harry Potter publication can be heard on the horizon," Rowling wrote on her Web site Monday.

BBC Reporter Explodes On-Air At Church Of Scientology Spokesman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/bbc-reporter-explodes-on_n_48455.html

A 40-second rant by a British Broadcasting Corp. reporter, shouting angrily at Church of Scientology official while researching a documentary, has become fodder for a simmering dispute now playing itself out in Internet video clips.

John Sweeney's outburst came as he was interviewing Tommy Davis, a Scientology spokesman who had objected to Sweeney's use of the word "cult." Sweeney's rant was captured by BBC's Panorama program, to air Monday, and Scientology video cameras.

Read the entire article here.

bbcrant.jpg

The Scandal That Won't Stop

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/the-scandal-that-wont-st_n_48462.html

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said Monday he will resign, the highest-ranking Bush administration casualty in the furor over the firing of U.S. attorneys, The Associated Press has learned.

McNulty, who has served 18 months as the Justice Department's second-in-command, announced his plans at a closed-door meeting of U.S. attorneys in San Antonio, according to two senior department aides. He said he will remain at the department until this fall or until the Senate approves a successor, the aides said.

Senate To Vote On War Funding, Troop Withdrawal This Week

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/senate-to-vote-on-war-fun_n_48469.html

Senate Democrats are staging a dramatic anti-war vote this week, with moderates collaborating behind closed doors on legislation that could call on President Bush to rethink his war strategy.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) announced Monday that members will decide whether to cut off money for the Iraq war next year, as well as a softer proposal calling for troops to leave this fall. The two measures would be offered as amendments to a water projects funding bill to be debated this week.

McNulty "Goes While Gonzales, Who Stonewalled The Committee, Is Still In Charge"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/mcnulty-goes-while-gonza_n_48462.html

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said Monday he will resign, becoming the highest-ranking Bush administration casualty in the furor over the firing of U.S. attorneys.

McNulty, who has served 18 months as the Justice Department's second-in-command, announced his plans at a closed-door meeting of U.S. attorneys in San Antonio. He told them he would remain at the department until late summer.

Media To Be Barred From Iraq Bomb Scenes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/media-to-be-barred-from-i_n_48459.html

Iraq's interior ministry has decided to bar news photographers and camera operators from the scenes of bomb attacks, operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf said on Sunday (local time).

His announcement was the latest in a series of attempts to curtail press coverage of the ongoing conflict, which has already attracted criticism from international human rights bodies.

Cheney Defends Guilty Wolfowitz: "Paul Is One Of The Most Able...I've Worked With Him A Lot"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/cheney-defends-guilty-wol_n_48471.html

Paul Wolfowitz should remain chief of the World Bank, Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday as the poverty-fighting institution moved closer to deciding Wolfowitz's fate.

The bank's 24-member board could very well make a decision this week. European members -- led by Germany, France and the Dutch -- are pushing for Wolfowitz to resign.

Clinton Advisor Advocates Hiring A "Chief Destruction Officer" To Transform The Workplace

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/clinton-advisor-advocates_n_48474.html

Add another consultant to the list of those advising Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton: John Kao, a corporate communications consultant who is based in San Francisco and advocates using the techniques of musical improvisation to get the creative juices flowing and leave competitors in the dust.

Senator Clinton paid Mr. Kao $70,000 to advise her during her Senate re-election campaign in 2006, but the payment did not appear in her financial filings until the end of the first quarter of this year. Howard Wolfson, a Clinton spokesman, said that Mr. Kao was continuing to advise Mrs. Clinton, without pay, in her presidential bid, on issues of innovation and how America competes in the 21st century market.

WSJ China Reporters Blast Murdoch: He Has A "History Of Making Editorial Decisions In Order To Advan

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/wsj-china-reporters-blast_n_48475.html

The pushback from the Wall Street Journal's journalists against Rupert Murdoch's bid to take over the paper is growing more and more intense.

Here's the latest: The paper's China-based reporters -- whose coverage won a Pulitzer this year -- have now sent a powerful letter to three key members of the Bancroft family, the Dow Jones Company's controlling shareholder. The letter -- to family members Leslie Hill, Elizabeth Steele and Christopher Bancroft, and to trustee Michael Elefante, all of whom are on Dow Jones' board -- warns that Murdoch could use the Journal as a tool to advance his business interests in China.

Lieberman To Raise Money For The GOP

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/lieberman-to-raise-money-_n_48476.html

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is never going to win any popularity contests among his party's liberal base -- a fact he seems decidedly unconcerned about despite his 2006 Democratic primary loss to Ned Lamont.

Not only has Lieberman endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) -- one of Democrats' biggest targets in the 2008 cycle -- but he's planning to co-host a fundraiser for her on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

World Bank Panel: Wolfowitz Scandal "Has Had A Dramatic Negative Effect On The Reputation And Credib

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/world-bank-panel-wolfowi_n_48477.html

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz broke bank rules in arranging a hefty compensation package for his girlfriend, a situation that has caused a "crisis in the leadership" at the institution, according to a report released Monday by a special bank panel.

The special panel said the bank's full 24-member board must consider whether Wolfowitz "will be able to provide the leadership" to ensure that the bank achieves its mission of fighting poverty around the world.

Democrat Lanny Davis Resigns From President's Civil Liberties Board Over Lack Of 'Independence"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/democrat-lanny-davis-resi_n_48483.html

The White House was hit by two sudden resignations late Monday when Paul McNulty, a top Justice Department official, and Lanny Davis, the only Democratic member of the president's civil liberties watchdog board, announced they were stepping down. Both resignations are likely to fuel allegations of White House political meddling in law enforcement and national security issues.

McNulty, the deputy attorney general, cited the "financial realities of college-age children" as the reason for his resignation. But a close associate, who asked not to be identified talking about private conversations, said that McNulty's decision to leave now was prompted in part by his disenchantment with both Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and top White House officials over their handling of the U.S. attorney controversy.

Laura Bush: "That's Right. I Used To Smoke. Uh-Huh. Uh-Huh"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/14/laura-bush-thats-right_n_48484.html

BLITZER: The first lady, Laura Bush, is trying to today to get the message out that heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States. She took her campaign to George Washington University Hospital.

And CNN's top doctor went along with her.

And joining us now, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

You were over at the White House today, Sanjay, speaking with the first lady. Women and heart disease, this is a huge, huge issue. And smoking is clearly a cause of a lot of these problems, heart disease, smoking. You spoke to her about that. What did she say?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I wanted to get right to it, because there's been a lot of rumors about whether she was a smoker and whether she still is a smoker. I decided to just ask her. This is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Were you a smoker at one time?

(CROSSTALK)

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: That's right. I used to smoke. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

GUPTA: Do you smoke anymore?

L. BUSH: No, I don't smoke anymore.

GUPTA: How did you quit?

L. BUSH: Well, it was very hard to quit. And smoking is very difficult to quit.

And I want to encourage people to not pick it up. It's very difficult to quit. And one of the good ways, I think, one of the easier ways to quit is the way the president did, when he smoked, which is when he was back in graduate school. And that was, he took up running. And I think, once you get up and exercise, smoking becomes counterproductive...

GUPTA: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

L. BUSH: ... and that it's easier to quit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: So,. she says she's no longer a smoker, period, paragraph. There was a lot of rumors about whether she might still be. But she doesn't.

And she said the president, by running, actually, because, I guess, he just had shortness of breath, stopped smoking as well.

Read entire transcript at CNN.com