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In the Nation magazine, actor-activist Sean Penn has penned and filmed “Conversations With Chavez and Castro.” He sat down with Cuban President Raul Castro in his first interview with the “foreign press.”

The pair talked for seven hours - with Mr. Castro airing his views of President-elect Barack Obama, and in a walk down memory lane, his own role during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis. Mr. Castro also shares details of the “secret but ongoing military relationship between the Pentagon and Cuba over Guantanamo.”

This is Mr. Penn’s second trip to Cuba. He also went to Venezuela with Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Brinkley to chat with President Hugo Chavez - who revealed his ideas of a “potential relationship with President Obama,” the Monroe Doctrine and “human rights and freedom of expression” under his presidency.


There are some things even a president can’t do, as President-elect Barack Obama is finding out.

In an interview with Barbara Walters that airs Wednesday, he told the ABC diva that he wants to keep his BlackBerry but is running into resistance.

A president’s e-mail may be subject to public records laws and to subpoenas. It also may pose a security risk for him to carry a traceable cellular device. He told Miss Walters he’s having to negotiate with the Secret Service, lawyers and White House staff.

Mr. Obama has long been known to love his BlackBerry and could often be spotted during the campaign happily thumbing away. He told ABC he wants to “break through the isolation and the bubble that exists around the president.”

“I’m negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House,” he said. “Because one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day.”


The latest job-approval ratings are in from Rasmussen Reports: 3 percent of voters rate Congress “excellent,” and 9 percent grant Congress a “good,” the pollster said Tuesday. The combined numbers equal a whopping 12 percent positive approval rating.

Still, it’s the highest ratings for the legislature since May - and up one percentage point since Election Day. Over the summer, just 9 percent gave the lawmakers positive ratings.

Meanwhile, 55 percent said Congress is doing a poor job and 31 percent rate lawmakers’ performance as fair.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Nov. 20-21.


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