Starting Point live blog for Thursday, May 4th, 2012

This morning, "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" is live at 7am Eastern. Today, Soledad talks with panelists DeShawn Snow, author and TV personality, and former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of Redstate.com, will join the show as a panelist during the 7am hour, and former NFL player Jamal Anderson will contribute to the panel throughout the 8am hour. Our panel will be talking about the following top stories:

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    [UPDATED 7:15am ET] Jerome Cohen, friend of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, says that now that Chinese officials have offered to allow Chen to apply to study abroad, the "way is now open to resolving the crisis." Cohen calls the offer "a very quiet, low key Chinese solution" to the problem that will now allow the diplomatic standoff to be resolved and "put behind us."
    [UPDATED 7:25am ET] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks live about the trade negotiations that have been occurring over the past few days between China and the United States. She emphasizes that neither country "can afford to look at the world through old lenses."
    [UPDATED 7:38am ET] Starting Point panelist Erick Erickson weighs in on the rise of attack ads in the 2012 campaign, saying that if the nature of these ads continues until the election, we "may be on the verge of seeing a complete change in American politics," where candidates aren't running on pinned down policies.
    [UPDATED 7:46am ET] Anita Baker says that Twitter has helped her "come out of her box" and get to know her fan base in a different way. The Grammy Award-winning singer also describes her new album as an "organic" project that has "taken a lot of coffee."
    [UPDATED 7:50am ET] W Hotel "mixologist" shows Soledad how to prepare a mint julep ahead of tomorrow's Kentucky Derby. He says that over-muddling the mint is often the main problem people face when mixing the drink.
    [UPDATED 8:05am ET] Tim Abell, who conducted one of Junior Seau's last interviews on Monday, says that the NFL legend showed "no indication" of depression. David Biber, Seau's friend, says that the former football player "seemed to be in a very good mood" and was "lighthearted."
    [UPDATED 8:15am ET] Stuart Chaifetz, father who wired his son to expose bullying by his teachers, says that he decided not to release more audio from the incident because his desire for justice is more important than airing the other tapes. Chaifetz asserts that the school's investigation into his son's case is both a "vindication and a victory."
      [UPDATED 8:30am ET] Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., who's father was shot and killed in his apartment by police in White Plains, NY, says that he is "not surprised" about the decision not to indict the officer because Westchester county has "a history of questionable police shootings." Regarding the use of racial epithets during the incident, Chamberlain asserts that he'd like to see the police policy "that says it's okay to use the 'n' word against a person before shooting them."
      [UPDATED 8:35am ET]Christine Romans breaks down the Labor Department's April jobs report, which says that U.S. payrolls increased by 115,000 in April and the unemployment rate fell from 8.2% to 8.1% in March.