Wednesday’s deadline for filing income tax returns offered some Americans a timely excuse to vent their frustrations as demonstrators attended more than 750 Tax Day tea parties in cities like Boston, Washington, East Hampton, N.Y., and Yakima, Wash. The events were meant to protest government spending, particularly the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus package and its $3.5 trillion budget. The idea for the demonstrations grew in part out of a blast from Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator who on Feb. 19 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that the Obama administration was promoting “bad behavior” in helping people who were at risk of losing their homes and that Americans should protest with a tea party in Chicago. NY Times
The saga of the American merchant seamen who clashed with Somali pirates on the high seas off Africa ended early Thursday as the crew members were reunited with their families. A charter flight from Kenya brought the crew of the Maersk Alabama to Andrews Air Force Base, where they had a private reunion with their loved ones. CBS News
In the first visit by an American president to Mexico City in 12 years, President Barack Obama heads south of the border and will meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon later today. Over the weekend Obama travels to a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders on the island of Trinidad. Just as it was at the G-20 meetings earlier this month, the global economic crisis is certainly high on the president’s agenda, but it may be overshadowed by the epidemic of drug-related crime in Mexico. With almost 6,300 killings in Mexico last year, U.S. officials fear that violence will spill over the border. Obama will also face hot button issies such as trade and immigration. ABC News
President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, millionaires from his best-selling books, made $2.7 million last year and paid just under one-third of their adjusted income in federal taxes. While the income was far more than the U.S. median household income of about $50,000, it was quite a decrease from the $4.2 million the Obamas made in 2007. Both years, nearly all of the earnings came from Obama’s best-selling books. “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” — brought in about $2.5 million in royalties last year. Obama earned $139,204 as a Democratic senator from Illinois last year before leaving his seat after winning the November election. Michelle Obama received a salary of $62,709 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she was an executive. MSNBC
The Twitter Smack Down!
Ashton Kutcher has challenged CNN to a popularity contest on the social media site Twitter to see who can reach 1 million followers first. He says on Twitter that he will donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day in late April if he beats CNN, and 1,000 if he loses. CNN has agreed to do the same. So far, no single Twitter account has attracted 1 million followers, according to TwitterCounter and Twitterholic, two sites tracking the most popular Twitter users. Kutcher’s Twitter account can be found at http://twitter.com/aplusk and CNN’s breaking news Twitter account is at http://twitter.com/cnnbrk. CNN