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July 24th, 2008
03:55 PM ET

Poet Jon Goode: A man of his word

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

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Black in America's spoken word poet, Jon Goode, tells it like it is. Watch Jon Goode perform live
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Dana Rosenblatt
CNN Reporter

It's one of the monthly gatherings at Urban Grind coffee house that has lured talent as spoken word emerges from the underground.

Artists such as Tommy Bottoms, Goldie, Chas, Nukola, and TheresaThaSongbird take turns at the microphone testing their poetic skills. These new bohemians of varying talent coin rhymes about subjects ranging from AIDS and prostitution, to high gas prices and the pangs of unrequited love.

But it was the MC who got the most props that night...

Read more...


Filed under: Black in America • T1
July 24th, 2008
12:50 PM ET

Growing up segregated

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.vert.book.loyalties.jpg width=292 height=320]

Editor’s Note: In 1989, Carl Bernstein published a memoir about growing up in a segregated, McCarthy-era Washington, titled Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir. Part of the book focuses on Washingtonians –including Bernstein’s parents and their black and white friends – who worked to desegregate public places in the nation’s capital. It was a Jim Crow town, including its restaurants, hotels, and the segregated schools that Carl attended until he was in the sixth grade, when the Supreme Court struck down segregation of public education– in the case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. It is a little remembered fact that the companion case to Brown was Bolling v. Sharpe, in which the justices held unanimously that “Racial segregation in the public schools of the District of Columbia is a denial to Negro children of the due process of law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.”

The following excerpt from Loyalties describes the demonstrations Bernstein participated in—as a child–in 1951 and 1952. FULL POST


Filed under: Black in America • Carl Bernstein
July 24th, 2008
12:12 PM ET

Press passes a joke!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.fakepasses2.jpg]
Anastasia Diakides
CNN Political Producer

Editor's Note: Anastasia Diakides is covering the McCain campaign.

The hilarity about Obama's trip continues.

When we landed in Wilkes-Barre PA on Tuesday, we got on the press bus and got fake french press passes that have the statue of liberty in front of an American flag with the words, "McCain Press Corps/JV Squad/"Left Behind To Report in America."

On the back there is a picture of a Frenchman in a beret in front of a shadow of the Eiffel Tower pouring wine and it says "Le groupe de presse de McCain/L'equipe junior/"Laisse en arriere pour faire un rapport en Amerique"

Just to note though, the French side is not accurate. I guess they are trying to be the anti-arugula candidate so they can't have an accurate French translation!


Filed under: Barack Obama • T1
July 24th, 2008
12:01 PM ET

With Obama in Berlin – Ich bein ein reporter

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.obama.tel.aviv.jpg caption="Senator Barack Obama, waves as he boards his campaign plane in Tel Aviv, Thursday. Obama is en route to Berlin, kicking off the European leg of his overseas trip."]
Candy Crowley
CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Tel Aviv to Berlin – aboard a plane we can believe in.

If I have calculated the time difference correctly, you are reading this blog at approximately… next winter.

So here I am with the presumptive Democratic nominee - streaking across the Middle East and Europe on a five-day campaign trip …oh sorry. A journey to discuss substantive issues with important U.S. allies, Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams.
FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Candy Crowley • Raw Politics • T1
July 24th, 2008
09:56 AM ET

McCain's Foreign Policy Frustration

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.mccain.plane.jpg]
Joe Klein
AC360° Contributor
TIME columnist

"I had the courage and the judgment to say that I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war," John McCain said during a Rochester, N.H., town meeting on July 22. "It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

It was a remarkable statement, as intemperate a personal attack as I've ever heard a major-party candidate make in a presidential campaign, the sort of thing that no potential President of the United States should ever be caught saying. (A prudent candidate has aides sling that sort of mud.) It was also inevitable.

You could see McCain's frustration building as Barack Obama traipsed elegantly through the Middle East while the pillars of McCain's bellicose regional policy crumbled in his wake. It wasn't only that the Iraqi government seemed to take Obama's side in the debate over when U.S. forces should leave (sooner rather than later).

Read more...


Filed under: Barack Obama • Joe Klein • John McCain • Raw Politics • T1
July 24th, 2008
09:41 AM ET

Recessions and black America

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

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CNN's Stephanie Elam examines the impact of a recession on blacks in the U.S.
CNN's Stephanie Elam examines the impact of a recession on blacks in the U.S.
Stephanie Elam
CNN Business News Correspondent

When I set out to do a story on the effect recessions have on black Americans, I was prepared for some dire statistics. I wasn’t pleasantly surprised. Here’s my biggest takeaway: as the unemployment rate increases for the population overall in a recession, the increase among blacks is roughly double. And when a recession hits, blacks take longer to regain employment after the economy recovers.

As if that isn’t bad enough, it was what I learned about younger black Americans that really left an impact. According to John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the unemployment rate for black teens is about twice that of white teens. In the recession that lasted from 1980 into 1982 – the black teen unemployment rate skyrocketed to 50 percent. FULL POST


Filed under: Black in America • Economy • Stephanie Elam
July 24th, 2008
08:41 AM ET

A conversation that's long overdue

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.biabanner.jpg.jpg]LaNeice Collins
"Black In America" Producer

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I signed on for the documentary project, Black in America. Years of walking around in this skin meant I pretty much have being black down to a science. And when it comes to being black one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you will have to answer a lot of questions, primarily from non-black people. Questions like "Do you tan?", "How do you get your hair like that?", and "What’s wrong with saying someone black is articulate?"

I was worried that this project would only scratch the surface of what it meant to be black in this country, rather than really examining the challenges and triumphs that we face everyday. How do you fully explain the great success of the black middle class in the last 40 years, but at the same time explore the tremendous growth of the black male prison population and dozens of other topics in only four hours?

The process wasn’t an easy one FULL POST

July 24th, 2008
08:04 AM ET

Latinos to Obama: "¡Si, se puede!’’

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.lainovote.jpg]
William Schneider
Senior political analyst

"This election could well be determined by Latino voters,’’ Barack Obama told the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on July 8. That’s why Obama and John McCain both showed up, three weeks in a row this summer, to speak to Latino political organizations.

How did Latino voters get so much clout? Latinos are 15 percent of the population. But they were only eight percent of the voters in 2004. Nearly half the nation's Latinos live in California or Texas. Neither is a battleground state. Moreover, since 1972, Republican candidates have averaged only about one third of the Latino vote. So why are Latino voters so hotly contested this time?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
July 24th, 2008
07:45 AM ET

Man, does Afghanistan need help

Watch Reza Sayah's report on Senator Barack Obama's trip to Afghanistan
Watch Reza Sayah's report on Senator Barack Obama's trip to Afghanistan

Reza Sayah
CNN International Correspondent

Saturday in Kabul a grungy little boy with big brown eyes chased me for a block, begging me to buy a pack of Juicy Fruit gum. He could not have been more than four years old.

In downtown Kabul women in burqas begged along the streets as monster size U.S. armored vehicles rumbled by. That same day a NATO air strike that was supposed to take out militants killed nine Afghan soldiers instead. Sunday in southeastern Afghanistan two NATO mortar shells missed their targets and killed four civilians.

Man, does Afghanistan need help.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • War on Terror
July 24th, 2008
07:45 AM ET

Hunt for a double killer

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.schwartz.jpg caption="Mark Schwartz and Christina Petrowski-Schwartz"]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

A crime story here in New York has the city buzzing. Who killed a prominent divorce lawyer and his mediator wife?

Here's what we know. The couple, Mark Schwartz and Christina Petrowski-Schwartz, were found in their bedroom about a week ago, shot in their heads at point blank range. Their dog was quiet and tied to a tree in the backyard, leaving some to speculate that the killer was familiar to the husband and wife. This was a double homicide in a peaceful residential neighborhood in Brooklyn known as Marine Park.

In any investigation, detectives always look for a motive. In this case, it may come down to money. FULL POST


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Maureen Miller
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