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May 17th, 2012
11:06 PM ET

Does new evidence change Trayvon case?

Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin and Larry Kobilinsky discuss how new evidence impacts the Trayvon Martin case.

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Filed under: Trayvon Martin
May 17th, 2012
11:03 PM ET

Martin family lawyer: 'Still a strong case against Zimmerman'

An attorney for Trayvon Martin's family says despite new evidence they still have a strong case against George Zimmerman.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Trayvon Martin
May 17th, 2012
10:36 PM ET

RidicuList: Paleness haters

With beach season looming, Anderson draws a line in the sand and defends pale people everywhere, on the RidicuList.

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Filed under: The RidicuList
May 17th, 2012
10:34 PM ET

Tax records show charities spent millions on direct mail

If you've ever wondered how much money charities spend mailing you those glossy brochures and free address labels along with their request for a donation, the answer might surprise you.

CNN has found that this type of direct-mail marketing cost two veterans charities tens of millions of dollars.

Los Angeles-based National Veterans Foundation raised more than $22 million in donations over the past three years to help veterans, yet spent approximately $18.2 million paying its direct mail fund-raisers, according to IRS 990 forms.

For nearly a year, the charity has been trying - without success - to get out of its contract with Brickmill Marketing and its parent company, Quadriga Art, according to NVF's Rich Rudnick.

"We were told for two years it would be very expensive, then we'd be going into the black," Rudnick told CNN. "That never happened."

Read more...

May 17th, 2012
10:29 PM ET

Raw Politics: Proposed Rev. Wright ad

Cornell Belcher and Alex Castellanos discuss a Republican ad proposal causing a stir in both campaigns.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Raw Politics
May 17th, 2012
10:24 PM ET

KTH: Should charity marketers be avoided?

CNN's Drew Griffin uncovered yet another charity that asks you to help veterans by opening your wallets but then uses only a very small percentage of it to actually help veterans. One reason is because of a contract they have with a private company that sells fundraising and marketing for non-profits.

May 17th, 2012
08:05 PM ET

Letters to the President #1214: 'Facebook? I'll pass'

Reporter's Note: Not a day passes without me writing a letter to President Obama. A remarkable number, however, slip by with no response.

Dear Mr. President,

With all the kerfuffle over Facebook finally going public, I find myself pondering once again why this “thing” is supposedly worth so much money. Yes, I know a sizeable portion of our economy is now based on service and tech industries, and F’book counts in both categories. I realize that millions of people can’t imagine a day without updating their status or checking on what their friends are up to. And yet, I must say I’m still not impressed.

I have a Facebook account, but I don’t really know why. Every few weeks I sign in to see if somehow I’ve missed the point of the whole thing, and each time it continues to elude me.

Don’t get me wrong. I like people. I like knowing what they’re up to. But F’book seems to be constantly boiling over with posts about what people ate for lunch, or some inspirational sign they saw, or some video clip of a dog sneezing. When I signed up, I thought I might enjoy seeing pictures of friends and acquaintances, and sure enough, that was fascinating. For about six minutes.

I post things about myself once in a while, but I always feel weirdly egocentric even doing that. I mean, seriously, anyone who is really a friend already knows what I’m up to, and anyone who is not…do they care? Should they? I don’t think so.

Not to be mean about it, but I guess I just find Facebook boring; a land of shallow observations, goofy pictures, and cheap gossip, where time goes to die.

I know you’re a pretty techie kind of guy, so take heart: I won’t give up yet. Clearly if so many of my fellow Americans love this thing, and if investors are willing to spend as much money as they seemed poised to shell out for a piece of it, I must be missing something. But I can’t bring myself to invest too much in the quest for “Facebook meaning.” To me, it is at best a fun little fad. And, btw, woe unto all those investors if that turns out to be true.

Hope all is well with you.

Regards,
Tom

May 17th, 2012
07:13 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Who has the money donated for vets?

Editor's note: If you'd like to donate to military and veterans organizations, you can find information, reviews, and ratings for non-profit groups on CharityNavigator.org.

CNN's Drew Griffin has just uncovered a veterans organization, the National Veterans Foundation, is spending most of the donations they receive on something other than veterans.

This new discovery comes as Griffin has been reporting on money given to another group - the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. IRS documents show that not one dime of the $56 million raised by them went directly to veterans.

Yesterday Griffin asked one of DVNF’s volunteer board members how the funds were used. It appears most of the donations went to a private company hired by DVNF and other charities, including the National Veterans Foundation.

The website for Quadriga Arts states, "We offer nonprofit organizations, fundraising agencies and commercial brands innovative direct marketing campaign solutions that produce extraordinary results."

Find out more about that company's role in this investigation, the contracts non-profits signed with them, and what it means for money given to help those in need. Tune in to AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. tonight.

May 17th, 2012
07:02 PM ET

The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Syrian refugees, Obama, Romney, Barbour's pardons, Trayvon Martin, Backpage, Anderson on Jeopardy

What everyone’s talking about:

Anderson traveled to the Syria-Turkey border earlier this week to visit a refugee camp housing Syrians who fled across the border to escape the violence in their country. Families showed him pictures of their dead children, grandchildren, brothers, fathers, mothers, uncles - the list goes on. There have been more than 1,000 deaths since a U.N.-brokered ceasefire took affect in Syria about one month ago and the killings continue every day, according to human rights groups. With no end in sight, some are calling for more action from the United States. Sen. John McCain has been outspoken about providing weapons to the opposition. He’s urging President Obama to take a stand, calling it “shameful” not to help. with the U.N. plan fails. Professor Fouad Ajami, who was with Anderson in Turkey, points out that the Syrian crisis could be President Obama's Rwanda, meaning he could regret not getting more involved. Another topic that's been discussed frequently is whether Islamist extremists are gaining a foothold in the country after two car bombs were set off in Damascus last week. Sen. McCain says this very well could be the case, but one Syrian activist told Anderson there are no jihadis in Syria. CNN's Ivan Watson was able to sneak into Syria this week to report on a town controlled by the Syrian resistance. He also shows us Syrians who risk their lives digging for active landmines, with nothing but their hands and kebab skewers, along the route where refugees escape to Turkey.

FULL POST

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