March 21st, 2008
09:50 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/21/08

John King is in for Anderson tonight. And since he's our Chief National Correspondent and traveled for the past week to Iraq and Europe with Sen. John McCain we'll cover that tonight.We'll also have the investigation into the candidates passport files, Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, and some more of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons.We'll start posting comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
March 21st, 2008
06:33 PM ET

The full story behind Wright’s “God Damn America” sermon

Editor's note: CNN Contributor Roland Martin has listened to several of the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Portions of the sermons have been excerpted in recent stories. Martin says listening to the full sermons help put the excerpts in context.

I just finished listening to the nearly 40-minute sermon Rev. Jeremiah Wright gave on April 13, 2003, titled, “Confusing God and Government.”


For those of us watching and listening to the media in the last week, it is better known as the “God Damn America” sermon.

Wright’s scriptural focus was Luke 19:37-44 (reading from the New Revised Standard Version).

In this sermon, Wright spoke about the military rule during biblical days, led by Pontius Pilate. It was clear, through his language, such as “occupying military brigade” that he was making an analogy to the war in Iraq.

“War does not make for peace,” he said. “Fighting for peace is like raping for virginity."

“War does not make for peace. War only makes for escalating violence and a mindset to pay the enemy back by any means necessary,” he said.

He then gets to the thesis of his sermon, saying, “y’all looking to the government for only what God can give. A lot of people confuse God with their government.”


Filed under: Barack Obama • Roland S. Martin
March 21st, 2008
06:11 PM ET

AC360 Special: SHOCK & AWE – 5 YEARS LATER


This weekend, make sure to watch the AC 360 Special SHOCK & AWE: 5 Years Later.  

CNN's award-winning reporters take an intriguing look back to the start of the Iraq war and where it stands after five years. 
Saturday & Sunday
11PM ET 
Don't miss it!

Filed under: Iraq
March 21st, 2008
05:40 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Happy Friday! There are new developments this afternoon in the paspport snooping case.  On the campaign trail, Barack Obama picks up a big endorsement, while Hillary Clinton gets snubbed.   And, look in the sky! It's a bird? It's a plane? No, it's a massive star explosion.  Here's your Afternoon Buzz:

Top Stories
Passport snooping
Sen. Barack Obama called for an investigation Friday into how the security of the passport files of the three remaining presidential candidates was breached.

Access to passport files gets easier 
At the same time agency workers were breaching the candidates' passport files, it turns out that the Bush Administration was in the process of greatly expanding the number of agencies and foreign governments that have routine access to that same database.

Four cavers found alive 
Rescuers found four spelunkers "wet and cold" but alive Friday afternoon in a cave in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Raw Politics
Gov. Richardson endorses Obama
Declaring that Sen. Barack Obama is an "extraordinary American," Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed Obama for the Democratic nominee for president on Friday.

Court throws out Florida delegates suit 
A federal appeals court Friday threw out a Florida man's suit over the Democratic National Committee's decision to bar Florida delegates from the party's national convention, saying he had no...

McCain meets with...
Republican presidential hopeful John McCain continues his "world tour". 

Crime & Punishment
Barry Bond's case delayed
The perjury case against Barry Bonds was put on hold for three months Friday, with prosecutors telling a federal judge they plan to obtain a new indictment against baseball's home run king.

Cop: Shooting was the 'last thing I wanted to do'
A detective accused in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man on his wedding day testified he shouted "Police! Don't move!" and believed the man's friend was reaching for a weapon before officers began firing.

Gunshots bring abrupt end to 911 call
A woman made a 911 call from her suburban mansion to report an attempted break-in, but her pleas were interrupted by gunshots, then silence: She had been...

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT 
Jamie Lee Curtis goes shirtless
The actress posed for...

Star explodes halfway across universe
The explosion of a star was so huge it set a record for the most distant object that could be seen on Earth by the naked eye.

Pope presides over Good Friday procession
Pope Benedict XVI recalled the martyrdom of early Christians thrown to hungry lions in the Colosseum as he presided over the traditional Good Friday Way of the Cross procession at the ancient arena under a driving rain.

Filed under: The Buzz
March 21st, 2008
05:24 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Let's end the week on a high note

All three presidential candidates’ passport files have been breached. If big names are getting a look from contractors, are the rest of us also being checked out? So many questions today, including:

– If the computers immediately flagged the breaches, why did it take so long to let Clinton, McCain and Obama know?

– How did these contractors get access?

– What information is in the files and how much did they see?

– Is this politically motivated?

– What other files were these contractors checking out?

Some answers are available for you HERE. For the rest, we’ll see you tonight at 10p ET.

One Colorado city is under a state of emergency after a local salmonella outbreak was linked to its tap water. More than 130 people have fallen ill, from infants to the elderly; seven people are still in the hospital. CHECK OUT THE STORY  

Remember the AP study on water a couple of weeks ago? Tap water in 24 metropolitan areas comes with more than just hydrogen and oxygen; anti-depressants, sex hormones, and antibiotics were also found in the water. I try to opt for tap water when I can to cut back on the waste from bottled water, but I admit that study gave me pause, even after being assured the H2O was OK to drink. After reading the story of Alamosa, CO, I’m a little leery again. The town is shutting down its water supply for up to two weeks to clean and disinfect it… though they still don’t know how the salmonella got into the water supply. Great.

The "Grande Dame of Piano Jazz" just celebrated her 90th birthday with two sets at Jazz at Lincoln Center and tributes from some of music’s biggest names. Not only is Marian McPartland still playing, she also has a radio show on NPR and isn’t even close to slowing down. I love her energy, her music, her zest. THIS  is who I want to be at 90.

– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Erica Hill
March 21st, 2008
03:50 PM ET

An agent, a green card, and a demand for sex

We are staking out the Bronx home of Isaac Baichu, the federal immigration adjudicator charged with offering a green card to a Colombian woman in exchange for oral sex. FULL STORY

We believe Baichu is home but won't answer the door. Why? Because I just called his home number and he inadvertently called me back a couple of minutes later asking for Sally Attia, his attorney.


Ms. Attia did answer the phone when I called her. She gave me the following quotes:

"There are always two sides to a story."

"We're denying any wrongdoing at the moment."

"Why would she plan to meet him and plan to record him if she was going to be forced to do anything inappropriate?"

At the moment, we are about to leave our perch outside Mr. Baichu's apartment in the hopes of sitting down with him and his attorney to get the other side of the story.

– Jim Acosta, CNN Correspondent

Program note: Watch for Jim Acosta's report tonight on 360° at 10p ET

Filed under: Jim Acosta
March 21st, 2008
03:48 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/21/08

Hey Bloggers!

It’s time for ‘Beat 360°.’ Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day:


Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Filed under: Beat 360°
March 21st, 2008
10:09 AM ET

The full story behind Rev. Jeremiah Wright's 9/11 sermon

Editor's note: CNN Contributor Roland Martin has listened to several of the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Portions of the sermons have been excerpted in recent stories.

As this whole sordid episode regarding the sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has played out over the last week, I wanted to understand what he ACTUALLY said in this speech. I've been saying all week on CNN that context is important, and I just wanted to know what the heck is going on.

I have now actually listened to the sermon Rev. Wright gave after September 11 titled, "The Day of Jerusalem's Fall." It was delivered on Sept. 16, 2001.


One of the most controversial statements in this sermon was when he mentioned "chickens coming home to roost." He was actually quoting Edward Peck, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan's terrorism task force, who was speaking on FOX News. That's what he told the congregation.

He was quoting Peck as saying that America's foreign policy has put the nation in peril:

"I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday did anybody else see or hear him? He was on FOX News, this is a white man, and he was upsetting the FOX News commentators to no end, he pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, he pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he was silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true, he said Americas chickens, are coming home to roost.”


Filed under: Barack Obama • Roland S. Martin
March 21st, 2008
07:11 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks....it is Friday. THANK GOD!!!! It has been a long news week...SO lets skip the introductions....grab your morning coffee and lets get right to this Friday headline party....

Editors NOTE:  Please do notice that "March Madness" has begun, I am an avid College hoops fan...so I have added a link to Sport Illustrated for all the latest scores...ENJOY!!!

Top Stories
Earthquakes in China...
A total of four earthquakes - the strongest of them a powerful 7.2 magnitude quake - hit western China on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Slump moves from Wall Street to Main Street...
In Seattle, sales at a long-established hardware store, Pacific Supply, are suddenly dipping. In Oklahoma City, couples planning their weddings are demonstrating uncustomary thrift, forgoing Dungeness crab and special linens. And in many cities, the registers at department stores like Nordstrom on the higher end and J. C. Penney in the middle are ringing less often.

An agent, a green card and much more...
No problems so far, the immigration agent told the American citizen and his 22-year-old Colombian wife at her green card interview in December. After he stapled one of their wedding photos to her application for legal permanent residency, he had just one more question: What was her cellphone number?

US Justice defends tactics used on Spitzer...
The Justice Department used some of its most intrusive tactics against Eliot Spitzer, examining his financial records, eavesdropping on his phone calls and tailing him during its criminal investigation of the Emperor’s Club prostitution ring.

Raw Politics
Bill Richardson to endorse...
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic race for president Friday, an Obama campaign spokesperson told CNN.

Obama passport breached...
On three occasions since January, Sen. Barack Obama's passport file was looked at by three different contract workers, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

McCain on the World stage...
Sen. John McCain on Thursday conceded that the British public is "frustrated" over the war in Iraq, but warned that the battle is not won despite recent improvements in the security situation.

Wall street darlings...
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who are running for president as economic populists, are benefiting handsomely from Wall Street donations, easily surpassing Republican John McCain in campaign contributions from the troubled financial services sector.

Back to square ONE...
A proposal to stage a new Michigan primary to give the state's voters a voice in the fiercely contested nomination battle between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama collapsed Thursday. Neither candidate appeared any closer to agreement over the fate of the state's 156 delegates to the party's national convention Aug. 25-28 in Denver.

Keeping Them Honest
Keeping Starbucks honest...
Starbucks got caught with its hand in the tip jar and was ordered Thursday to pay California baristas more than $100 million.

Crime & Punishment
Wrongly accused man freed...
Willie Earl Green walked out of a California courtroom as a free man Thursday after serving nearly 25 years in prison for the execution-style murder of a Los Angeles woman, which he insists he never committed.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
March Madness...
Who won and who lost in the NCAA tournament.

Public Health risk...
In a highly unusual outbreak of measles here last month, 12 children fell ill; nine of them had not been inoculated against the virus because their parents objected, and the other three were too young to receive vaccines.