Here’s a look at some of the stories on our radar for tomorrow:
RAW POLITICS: While Sen. Obama vacations in Hawaii and Sen. McCain spends the day in Michigan, Gary Tuchman is on the trail with Meghan McCain. She’s the 23 year old daughter of John and Cindy McCain and has her own blog in which she talks about life on the trail…and clothes, shoes, gossip, and other things that don't always seem so presidential. But could that be what John McCain needs to get a few more younger people's votes?
WELFARE FRAUD CASE: There’s a hearing scheduled in the case against Judith Leekin who was recently convicted of defrauding New York State out of more than $1 million through fraudulent adoptions. She will now face charges in Florida of abusing the 11 children she adopted.
JACQUES HEARING: Michael Jacques is due in court. He is charged with kidnapping his 12-year-old niece, Brooke Bennett, who’s body was discovered a week after she disappeared. It has been reported that Jacques was planning to initiate Brooke into a sex ring the day she disappeared.
PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION CONVENTION: The Parapsychological Association is an “international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psychic experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.” Their convention begins in Winchester, England and continues until Aug. 17.
For what’s in the program take a look at tonight’s Evening Buzz.
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360° Writer If I were president... we hear those four words a lot on the campaign trail. Tonight on 360°, we look at how John McCain and Barack Obama might handle a crisis like the Russian invasion of Georgia, when one of them is elected president. It's a touchy situation in Georgia right now. Just a few hours ago, Georgia and Russia agreed to a cease-fire proposal. The key word there is proposal. We'll have the latest details.
Also tonight, the raw politics of a cruical choice: picking your running mate.
CNN Senior Political Analyst
I'm unfortunately stuck in an airport tonight and cannot join the discussion about the way the candidates have responded to the recent face-off between Russia and Georgia. Perhaps I can add two cents on the blog.
As a general proposition, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama took different paths that represent two different approaches to foreign policy. Obama was much more the pragmatic, taking a cautious stance at first, calling for negotiations, when the facts were murky and it appeared there was some fault on both sides. As the Russians became more brutal and clearly went over the line, he hardened up, while still emphasizing the ultimate need for negotiations. In all of this, he was acting in concert with the Bush administration as well as NATO allies.
McCain by contrast was much tougher on the Russians right from the get go, siding entirely with the Georgians and their young democracy. He showed that he was experienced on the issue. His approach closely mirrored the hard line approach we often saw during the Bush first term, when neo-cons were often in the saddle.
“You’re just not pretty enough for our international audience, but we’ll still use your angelic voice!”
Somehow I doubt that was the exact phrasing Chinese officials used to tell little Yang Peiyi that she would not be singing/lip-syncing at the Opening Ceremony last Friday in Beijing, but if I were 7 years old, that’s how it would sound to me. It would sound like that if I were 27!
Here’s the deal: Yang Peiyi won a very difficult contest to sing the patriotic “Ode to the Motherland”, as the Chinese flag made its way into Beijing’s National Stadium. She still sang – on tape – but couldn’t be front and center to lip-sync the song because at the last minute, they put 9 year old Lin Maoke in to play the part. She’s apparently much prettier.
For the record, I think Yang Peiyi’s buckteeth are cute. Did I mention she’s SEVEN ?! Who has perfect teeth at age 7? And we wonder why young girls have complexes….
Focus on the Family is no longer asking its member to pray for rain on Barack Obama’s parade. A media producer with the conservative group posted a video on the group’s website asking people to pray for rain of “biblical proportions” in Denver on Aug 28 –the day Obama is scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Enough rain to drown out the speech and the network coverage.
The producer behind that spot said it was meant to be “mildly humorous”, but not everyone got the joke. Focus on the Family pulled the video – complaints came from within the organization, as well – noting prayer shouldn’t be used to bring harm.
When you buy kosher, you know exactly what you’re getting… but you may not know how all the details about how your kosher chicken got to you, and that’s a problem.
Last spring, an immigration raid at one kosher plant laid out violations including underage workers. That embarrassing revelation has added fuel to the “hekhsher tzedek” or “certificate of righteousness” movement – basically, a plan to certify not only the food products these plants make as kosher, but the working conditions there, as well.
Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst
A New York magazine cover story last week reignited the debate over Rev. Jeremiah Wright when it stated – without attribution – that the former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama was releasing a new book.
But his daughter, Jeri, told me today that the story is absolutely false.
"The only book we're working on is the history of Trinity (United Church of Christ) and I haven't even started editing that," Wright told Essence.com.
After I reached out to her, she called her father, who is teaching and ministering in Ghana (I ran into him last month when I was in the West African nation) and said he "laughed" when she asked about the book.
It's a historic event taking place on an international stage that's been seven years and $40 billion in the making. Opening ceremonies last week of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games were lauded as the most spectacular in history, with pyrotechnics blasting from the top of Beijing, China's National Stadium and a synchronized fireworks display firing off across the capital.
What has been mostly absent from Beijing, however, are protests. Although a unified China is the image that country's government is eager to portray, many human rights groups allege that China has orchestrated a massive cover-up.
Beyond human rights, questions remain about whether China has kept its promises to the world to improve in two other major areas of reform: freedom of the press and pollution cleanup.
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Sen. Joseph Lieberman and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge talk while Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain speaks at a Town Hall Meeting on the campaign trail in York, Pennsylvania, Tuesday.
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According to its web site, the West Palm Beach Police Department has 271 sworn officers in its ranks.
It also has an Internal Affairs Unit that probes allegations of misconduct.
This week, Internal Affairs has a new case to investigate – one that was captured on tape. The video, which was recorded by a patrol car dash-cam, was shot on May 26th.
The officers, Louis Schwartz and Kurt Graham, were responding to a report of a man wearing a ski-mask inside a pharmacy. When they arrived, police said the suspect, Pablo Gilberto Valenzuela, used pepper spray on Schwartz. He also allegedly bit one officer and spit on another. The 42-year-old suspect was arrested near the scene. The dash-cam picks up what happened next.
If you watch the video, it clearly shows Valenzuela being handcuffed on the ground. Seconds later, the officers are seen kicking and punching him in the face, Valenzuela’s body jerks upwards from the force.
There is more. As Valenzuela is being led away to a police car, a third officer, Jason Zangara, can be seen repeatedly punching the cuffed suspect in the face. He then falls to the ground. Valenzuela was charged with robbery, battery and resisting arrest.
Officer Graham resigned from the force last month. Officers Schwartz and Zangara were placed on administrative leave. The incident is under investigation.
Watch the video and judge for yourself.