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National headlines 3/9/11

Mar 09, 2011 4:09 pm
BP oil spill set for big screen
The Guardian has a story about how a major Hollywood company, Summit Productions, is developing a drama "showing the courage of workers on board the Deepwater Horizon rig in the moments leading up to April's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico." The rights were picked up to a New York Times article published in December which evoked the "raw emotion" experienced by those on board prior to the explosion which caused the spill, when 11 workers were killed and another 17 injured after methane gas from the well shot up out of the drill column and caught fire, creating one of the worst environmental catastrophes in US history. "This is a perfect fit for us – a suspenseful and inspiring real-life account of everyday people whose values are tested in the face of an impending environmental disaster," added Ricky Strauss of film company Participant, which is also involved in the project.

Number Of Underwater Mortgages Rises As More Homeowners Fall Behind
Derek Kravitz of Huffington Post has a story on how the number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose at the end of last year, preventing many people from selling their homes in an already weak housing market. About 11.1 million households, or 23.1 percent of all mortgaged homes, were underwater in the October-December quarter, according to recent reports. That's up from 22.5 percent, or 10.8 million households, in the July-September quarter. The number of underwater mortgages had fallen in the previous three quarters... but mostly because more homes had fallen into foreclosure.

National debt ceiling 101: Is a crisis looming?
Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor looks closely at the national issue of the day, and asks what's involved. His exhaustive story finds that, "With or without help from the debt-ceiling debate, the question is whether the needed political statesmanship will arrive before a debt crisis – a spike in interest rates or a credit-rating downgrade – forces the issue."

Government shutdown opposed by Americans in poll faulting cuts
The Washington Post reports that almost 8 in 10 people say Republicans and Democrats should reach a compromise on a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit to keep the government running, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. At the same time, lopsided margins oppose cuts to Medicare, education, environmental protection, medical research and community-renewal programs.
Among the few deficit-reducing moves majorities back are cutting foreign aid, pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and repealing the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 a year.
Fewer than half of respondents say cutting Medicare benefits or raising the age at which Americans receive Social Security retirement benefits would have a large impact on the deficit, and only 2 in 10 favor cutting Medicare benefits. When given five choices for the most important issue facing the nation, unemployment and jobs ranked first with 43 percent - - down from 50 percent in Bloomberg's December 2010 poll -- with the deficit and spending cited by 29 percent, up from 25 percent. Health care was chosen by 12 percent, the war in Afghanistan by 7 percent, and immigration by 3 percent. Asked to choose between jobs and the deficit, 56 percent called creating jobs the government's more important priority now, while 42 percent said cutting spending was. President Obama and congressional leaders have until March 18 to break an impasse over funding the government through the end of the 2011 fiscal year or risk a shutdown

Obama Ignoring the Constitution?
Fox News' Judge Napolitano announced on the Glenn Beck Show yesterday, March 8, that the President's new push for the incarceration of persons in Guantanamo Bay for the duration of their natural lives, even after acquittal, is not legal. During the previous administration, he argued the other side.