Friday, October 12, 2007
Your reaction to Lt. Gen. Sanchez's comments?
We're leading the program with comments by Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of U.S. troops in Iraq. Lt. Gen. Sanchez today referred to the situation in Iraq as "a nightmare with no end in sight."

Tonight's blog question is: do you agree with him? Why or why not?

Share your comments here on the blog. We'll also be reading some of them during the show tonight.

Posted By CNN: 8:28 PM ET
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'Anything goes' on Philly streets, teen says
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- On the streets of Philadelphia's toughest neighborhoods, just trying to get ahead can get you killed.

"You got a good-looking girlfriend, you're going to get shot; someone wants her," said 17-year-old Andre, who asked his last name not be used for this article.

"If you're getting a little money, you're going to get shot -- someone wants that. Any way you look at it, it's just a bad situation."

Andre is caught up in the tough life on the streets of Philadelphia's Southside neighborhood. At 13, he watched his brother get shot and killed in front of his home by another teenager. By 15, he was wanted for two counts of armed robbery and theft.

Click here to read more

By Ismael Estrada, CNN Producer
David Mattingly, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 5:39 PM ET
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Thursday, October 11, 2007
Flirting with disaster
Mercifully none of the victims at SuccessTech died, except of course the shooter. But Cleveland has been flirting with disaster all week.

Buried inside today's Cleveland Plain Dealer, a list of school gun incidents over the pst seven days: a mother arrested with a .22 after she caame to school to confront some students who jumped her son; special education student caught with a duffel bag stuffed with a semi-automatic rifle and 40 lbs of ammo. It goes on.

Where did Asa Coon get his guns? And what drove him to use them? We're asking those questions today.

-- By Steve Turnham, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 11:13 AM ET
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Shiny, happy people ... or not
Tonight we are doing something very different and pretty cool: As part of our "Planet in Peril" project, we are debuting a new song from REM called "Until the Day is Done." It's very, very powerful and evocative music, and we are jazzed the band made it available to us. But under the heading of "transparency" here's the backstory on how Michael Stipe and REM became a part of our "Planet in Peril" project, despite our clumsy efforts.

Early in the planning and shooting of the documentary (reminder: airs October 23 and 24 at 9 p.m.) we knew our research and storylines were solid and that our high-definition video from all over the world would be magnificent. So we wanted very strong and memorable music to make the doc even more powerful. Given their iconic status, legendary musicianship and longstanding interest in a lot of the issues our documentary would examine, we thought first of REM.

We've worked with Michael Stipe in the past and we guessed there could be a good fit. But we also knew it would come down to some very basic questions: Did the band have any new music coming out that might work with what we are doing? If so, would the timing work? And would the band even want be associated with our project?

That was the background when Charlie Moore -- who is executive producing the documentary -- and I cluelessly walked into the executive's office at Warner Music Group here in New York City. The folks there were fantastic. Charlie and I figured this would be a no-brainer. After all, we explained, CNN is owned by Time Warner and we were making a deal at Warner Music. All in the family, right? We'd get some sort of special consideration, get a deal done and then go have a little lunch. Totally clueless.

As we proceeded with our pitch, we vaguely noticed the thought balloon floating above this executive's head was: "These guys are rubes." So when we'd finished our clever pitch, the executive gently explained how a while ago Time Warner had sold Warner Music. They are not connected. No special consideration. We'd made a total hash of this. We were not "Shiny, happy people."

And yet, and yet, despite our uninformed if not self-destructive impulses (and with the invaluable help of Mark Shimmel of Turner Broadcasting) we are so, so fortunate to have this amazing music from REM, who, yes, loves our "Planet in Peril" project. In fact, Anderson is talking to Michael Stipe about it tonight on "360."

-- By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer


Dont Miss: REM debuting song on "360"
Posted By CNN: 2:57 PM ET
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Living the Bible, literally
AJ Jacobs was a man on a mission of Biblical proportions. His goal? To live the "Good Book" as literally as possible for an entire year, and yes, it wound up being as tough as it sounds.

Jacobs started by making a list of rules to live by based on his study of the Bible. He determined there are more than 700 decrees that he had to keep conscious of every waking minute of every day.

As you might imagine, some of the well-known rules of the Bible were not too tough to implement. "Thou shalt not kill", for example, was a no-brainer.

It was some of the more obscure rules, such as those suggesting one should stone adulterers, wear all white and smash idols, that proved most difficult to abide by.

"I grew up in a very secular home," Jacobs said. "I'm Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is Italian, so not very. But I've become very interested in religion, so I wanted this to be diving in head first and learning about religion."

Jacobs chronicled his adventure in "The Year of Living Biblically", a new book. Much to our benefit, beyond writing about his experience, Jacobs also had the foresight to bring a video camera along for the ride.

We'll show some of this video tonight and hear directly from Jacobs. He'll explain, among other things, why a 70-something lothario threatened him with violence and how he managed to out-Bible talk a Jehovah's Witness.

So here's my question: Which biblical rules -- when taken literally -- would you find most difficult to follow in modern society?

-- By Chuck Hadad, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 2:06 PM ET
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Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Are police guilty until proven innocent?
Last week, we saw video showing officers arresting 45-year-old Carol Anne Gotbaum for disorderly conduct at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. Minutes later, she died while handcuffed in a holding cell. Police deny any wrongdoing. They say their actions were proper and justified and no excessive force was used.

This week, we saw dashboard-cam video of a Ft. Pierce, Florida police officer punching and pepper-spraying a 15-year-old girl for violating the town's curfew. The teenager bit the officer on his arm -- before he punched her and pulled out the pepper spray. The city's police chief told a local newspaper that his officer acted properly.
As always, we want to hear from you. Tonight's blog question is:

Are police guilty until proven innocent?

Click on the comments section below to share your thoughts online. We'll also be reading some of your comments during the show. And a reminder, you can always send us a v-mail.

See you tonight at 10p.m. ET.
Posted By CNN: 9:34 PM ET
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Flip-flop or just flop?
Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped, despite her best efforts to play a prevent defense while enjoying frontrunner status. Will it hurt her in the polls or fundraising while she continues to race away from the pack? Probably not. Is it worse than the slips that many other candidates make? Not really.

But for a campaign that clearly prides itself on sweating the details, this is an embarrassing misstep.

Less than two weeks ago, speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus, she said she would like to give every baby born in America $5,000 to be used for education or maybe a new home one day. The critics howled. Her plan would cost $20 billion a year, and she appeared to have no idea how to pay for it. Republicans started beating the drum: Here come the "Tax and Spend Democrats."

Today, she threw out the baby and the bathwater. She's abandoned the idea, and says she never meant it as a policy plan anyway.

Still, what do you think: Was this an honest mistake, a miscalculation, or, as her opponents have suggested, an ill-conceived stab at pandering?

-- Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 5:44 PM ET
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Candidates cross lines for Iraq solution
Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sam Brownback are not getting a lot of headlines with their presidential bids. Their fundraising is weak; poll numbers abysmal. Yet they are the only two candidates actually doing what all the campaigns say needs to be done: They are uniting across party lines to promote a solution in Iraq.

The two men have joined forces to sponsor legislation aimed at stopping the fighting between Iraq's three major ethnic groups. The legislation encourages a "soft" partition of the country, with separate "states" for the Sunni, Shia, and Kurds. It calls for oil revenue sharing. There would still be an overarching national government, but these three segments of Iraq would have a great deal of control over their own police forces, their own security, their daily lives.

The measure is, at least for the moment, enjoying substantial, bipartisan support. What's more, many of the military, political and Middle East analysts I have talked to say this idea could work. It could quiet ethnic tensions, reduce violence, and allow America to consider a reasonable, safe, and relatively quick exit from this war, with most troops home by next summer.

Some Iraqis are wary, however, and say America should not have a say in such a matter anyway. Even backers admit it is not a perfect plan, as it could foreshadow an absolute collapse of the nation, an intense and open civil war.

So when Biden and Brownback stand side-by-side in Iowa later this week to promote this plan, some pundits will call it political desperation. Maybe it is. Raw Politics knows neither Biden nor Brownback is likely to become president.

But give both men this: The war is the number one issue of this campaign, and while the other contenders talk, talk, talk about what they might do if elected, these two are trying to do something now.

-- By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent


Editor's note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly referenced Mike Huckabee instead of Sam Brownback.
Posted By CNN: 3:48 PM ET
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Monday, October 08, 2007
Your thoughts on the presidential campaign?
Happy Monday! We've got a full plate tonight, beginning with Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Candy Crowley reports from Iowa on whether or not Senator Clinton is unstoppable. Plus Gloria Borger will weigh in from Washington. And, as always, we want to hear from you. Tonight's blog question is:

Have you decided for whom you are going to vote in the 2008 presidential election?

Click on the comments section below to share your thoughts online. We'll also be reading some of your comments during the show. And a reminder, you can always send us a v-mail.

In addition to politics we've got a lot more tonight including: a scandal at Oral Roberts University, tragedy at the Chicago Marathon, and a closer look at the risk of landslides across the United States. Plus: important information about the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Jamie McIntyre is Keeping Them Honest.

See you tonight at 10p.m. ET.
Posted By CNN: 8:00 PM ET
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Raw Politics: Let's get fiscal
Tom Foreman looks at the GOP presidential candidates' attempt to rebuild their party's image of conservative spending. (Click image at left to play video)
Posted By CNN: 6:14 PM ET
  10 Comments  | Add a Comment
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