June 26th, 2008
11:50 AM ET

Am I a security risk?

Gary Tuchman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

I was pulled over in the airport security line and given a secondary security search the other night. I knew the routine. Way too well.

You see, I am a regular when it comes to being a suspicious character in our nation's airports. I have been pulled out of line, and patted and searched dozens of times; probably scores of times.

And why is that? My name is not on a watch list. My offense that makes me a risk to the TSA: I travel with a lot of one-way tickets. Because of the nature of covering the news and not knowing how long I'll be at a story, I don't usually buy a roundtrip ticket.

Now, don't get me wrong; I am all for robust security. We certainly need it to be safe. And I'm not trying to say that I as a journalist, I should not have to deal with such a search. I'm willing to submit to my share of random searches.

What I think is wrong and actually not helping us stay safe is that this isn't random.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Gary Tuchman
June 26th, 2008
11:10 AM ET

Trying to get a story... When nobody's talking

This undated photo, supplied by the U.S. Army, shows Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, whose body was found Saturday morning, June 21, 2008, in a Fayetteville, N.C., motel room.

This undated photo, supplied by the U.S. Army, shows Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, whose body was found Saturday morning, June 21, 2008, in a Fayetteville, N.C., motel room.

Randi Kaye | BIO
360° Correspondent

Let me tell ya... it’s really hard to do a story when nobody is talking…

I took an early flight out of New York City to Fayetteville, North Carolina yesterday morning to dig on the report of a pregnant soldier from Fort Bragg who was found dead in a Fayetteville hotel room over the weekend. She was 7 months pregnant. Her body was found after someone noticed a bad odor coming from the hotel room.

After traveling for six hours (there are NO direct flights to Fayetteville) my producer and I first stopped at the local police department. We were politely handed a release with the same information they’d given us yesterday by phone and sent on our merry way...

Next, we headed to the hotel. After waiting about 15 minutes for the manager, who I’d already left a few phone messages for, he finally showed up. He was also very polite and again, not very helpful. He said he wasn’t allowed to tell us anything about the case or when Army Specialist Megan Touma checked in or visitors or anything at all! He said the police and the military have asked him to keep quiet. He was nice enough to let us shoot some exteriors of the hotel, including a shot of room 143 where she was found.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
June 26th, 2008
10:49 AM ET

The gap in Big Sugar's smile

A U.S. Sugar Corp. mechanical harvester cuts sugar cane in a field outside of Clewiston, Fla., Nov. 2001.

A U.S. Sugar Corp. mechanical harvester cuts sugar cane in a field outside of Clewiston, Fla., Nov. 2001.

Steve Turnham
AC360° Staff

Big Sugar's sweet deal with the U.S. Government is looking a little shakier today with the news that one of the nation's largest sugar producers, U.S. Sugar Corp., is closing shop and selling it's cane fields to the state of Florida.

For decades now American sugar producers have benefited from an arcane system that keeps sugar prices in the U.S. well above world prices. Despite loud complaints from candy manufacturers, many of whom have packed up and left for countries where sugar is cheaper, the propped up prices have survived.

It's simple political math. The average consumer barely notices the added cost, because the high price of sugar adds just pennies to the products we buy at the supermarket. But all those pennies add up to a huge payoff for the sugar industry: subsidies in the farm bill that just passed Congress are estimated to be worth about $10 billion over the next ten years.

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Keeping Them Honest
June 26th, 2008
10:10 AM ET

Everybody plays the fool

Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst
AC360° Contributor


One thing I love about the age of the Internet is folks can have rapid feedback.

Talking politics on last night's AC360°, I referenced a favorite song, "Everybody Plays the Fool," saying it was sung by The Spinners.

As someone with more than 4,000 songs in his iPod, I truly love music and thought they sang the song.

But by the time I got back to my office, I had about five emails from viewers saying I got the group wrong. It was the Main Ingredient.

One of those emails stood out.

Hey Roland! I loved that you mentioned my song "Everybody Plays the Fool" on Anderson's 360 today but it wasn't the Spinners that sang it. It was my group – The Main Ingredient. Which just goes to show you how true the song is! (Smile) Much love man. I love your commentary and wish you continued success!

All the best!

Cuba Gooding Sr.

My apologies, Cuba. Now I'll go and download the song and jam as I fly back to Chicago!

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Roland S. Martin
June 26th, 2008
09:12 AM ET

Gay in the Arab World

52 Egyptian men accused of allegedly engaging in homosexual sex during a party cover their faces as they arrive to the court for the second session of their case in Cairo, August 2001.

52 Egyptian men accused of allegedly engaging in homosexual sex during a party cover their faces as they arrive to the court for the second session of their case in Cairo, August 2001.

Octavia Nasr
Arab Affairs Editor

If you're a homosexual in the Arab world, there is a great chance you'll get the same treatment fifty two men did at an Egyptian gay disco on the Nile in 2001: arrested, their heads covered with white hoods, on charges of practicing debauchery and denigrating Islam. That would be the official treatment, which might be kinder than the one you get from your family.

In the documentary titled Gloriously Free, a gay man who fled Jordan after being shot and almost killed by his brother paints a grim picture. He’s identified with only a portion of his name “al-Hussein”: "There are laws concerning homosexuals. However there is no killing by the government by law. But there is still the traditional honor killing by family and persecution by society."

A society that is deeply rooted in the Islamic religion and its centuries-old laws.

Another Film, called A jihad for Love, explores the relationship between Islam and homosexuality, as well as the official stance from the religious authority. An unidentified sheikh interviewed for the film says with much conviction, "Homosexuality is a crime and is punishable in Islam by death."

The film shows the disturbing stand for gay people who practice Islam. FULL POST

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gay & Lesbian Issues • Octavia Nasr
June 26th, 2008
07:30 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Negotiating "unity"

Morning folks....

Lots of headlines....the biggest this am has to be: NORTH KOREA REVEALS ITS NUCLEAR SECRETS TO THE WORLD.... North Korea took a step closer to easing international fears about its nuclear activities when it released documents expected that will hopefully detail its plutonium stockpile to China. Under an agreement hammered out in six-nation talks that included the United States and China, North Korean leaders agreed to provide a full account of the plutonium, and "acknowledge" concerns about its nuclear proliferation and uranium enrichment activities. North Korea will also continue to cooperate with a process to ensure that no further activities are taking place. I guess diplomacy does work...

While the White House is a buzz with North Korea news, the rest of Washington is preparing for the FIRST JOINT appearance of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Tickets are hard to come by, unless you are a Clinton donor....The details appear to be top secret....we think it starts at 5:30 and we hear it is at the Mayflower Hotel. NO PRESS, NO CAMERAS....but hopefully LOTS OF CASH....Candy Crowley will be digging on this for us today...

We will also look at this Clinton-Obama merger...once rivals on the trail, now coming together as ONE...The NY TIMES reports: With the help of one of Washington’s best-connected lawyers, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are negotiating a thicket of complicated issues, like how to repay Mrs. Clinton’s campaign debt and her role at the Democratic convention. The talks come as they try to leave behind their intense rivalry and work out a plan to cooperate this fall. They have actually hired famed contract negotiator Robert Barnett to broker the deal......

BUT not so fast...not everyone is happy about this merger...The Financial Times reports: Angry diehards snub Clinton call for unity...In her concession speech less than three weeks ago, Hillary Clinton urged supporters to transfer their loyalties to her rival: “Today I am standing with Barack Obama to say ‘Yes we can’,” she said. “We will make history together as we write the next chapter in America’s story.” BUT there still a few angry Clinton supporters setting up Internet sites AGAINST supporting Barack Obama....doesn't sound like "unity" or even "harmony" to me....Jessica Yellin reports on this...

Randi Kaye stays in North Carolina and continues to dig on the alleged murder of Army Specialist Megan Lynn Touma...what happened in that hotel room where her body was found?

Gary Tuchman tells the tale of an 86 years old man who literally has to row a boat to get to his home in Foley, Illinois...."And he won't let me help him row." says Gary. This 86 year old guy has no phone..lives in a cluttered house with water rising..and boat parked outside. "Which I had to push cause it got stuck in mud...he won't leave because of his dog PeeWee who he wants to stay with him." The town is devastated. City hall is under water, but the stars and stripes still flies proudly above it.

And Anderson looks at the crisis in Zimbabwe....The move from dictatorship to democracy– looks like this in Zimbabwe...Women and children being chased by a gang loyal to President Robert Mugabe....ordinary citizens paying the price of change...THOMAS WOODS, SR. ASSOCIATE FELLOW HERITAGE FOUNDATION says "We are witnessing a dictator who has declared war on his own people, and is instigating a campaign of terror across the country." Ever since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Robert Mugabe THREE MONTHS AGO in the presidential election...the African nation has fallen into bloody chaos. Tragic....


Filed under: The Buzz
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