November 21st, 2008
02:49 PM ET

The minority, the most qualified, or both?

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune

More than 20 years ago, I got into an argument with a college roommate over affirmative action - one I've thought about since President-elect Barack Obama began nominating people to serve in the Cabinet and White House staff.

Back in the day, I supported racial preferences. Today, I oppose them - not because I buy the fairy tale that such policies discriminate against white males. They don't.

What bothers me is that racial preferences hurt those they're supposed to help by lowering standards, stigmatizing beneficiaries and camouflaging the degree to which African-Americans and Latinos are shortchanged at the K-12 level. But that's a discussion for another time.

Specifically, my roommate and I were arguing about whether companies or corporations that wanted to employ a diverse work force had to sacrifice quality in the process.

My roommate, who was white and considered himself a progressive, believed that was precisely the concession that had to be made. I disagreed, insisting that diversity need not come at the expense of merit.

The way my roommate saw it, the employer had to make a decision - hire the minority or the most qualified. I found it interesting that, in his scenario, the "minority" and the "most qualified" were never the same person.


November 21st, 2008
02:29 PM ET

Can Obama lead another New Deal?

Anthony J. Badger
Special to CNN

Students here in Cambridge watched in horror in September 2005 as they saw lines of desperate people snaked round the convention center and the Superdome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In the past couple of months, they watched with admiration the lines outside polling stations both on Election Day and in the early voting states. They found it difficult to imagine that voters in Britain would be prepared to queue for hours to vote.

No American election in recent history has aroused such interest in Britain among old and young alike. Partly, this is the result of the compelling drama of the long drawn-out primary battles, partly the result of the feeling that, whichever candidate was elected, there would be an end to the "arrogant unilateralism" (Robert McNamara's phrase in Cambridge in 2002) of U.S. foreign policy.

Partly, of course, it was the powerful narrative of an African-American running for the White House. Each August I teach 35 American high school teachers about the civil rights movement for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in the far-removed historic buildings of Clare College. This year they reported their students were unprecedentedly enthusiastic about both Barack Obama and the political process.


Filed under: Anthony J. Badger • Barack Obama • Raw Politics
November 21st, 2008
02:11 PM ET

Suze's back, and taking your questions

Program Note: Suze Orman will be on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET to discuss how to keep your money safe.

Have questions about how the continued economic trouble will change the market; affect your stocks, mutual funds, 401(k)... your job?

Submit your financial questions here for Suze Orman and watch AC360° tonight 10p ET to get them answered.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Suze Orman • T1
November 21st, 2008
01:50 PM ET

Do I have to pay extra if I’m buying a turkey that Sarah Palin watched get slaughtered?

Jack Gray
AC360 Associate Producer

Sorry, that sound you heard last night was me screaming.  I was having that dream again.  The one where I’m a turkey being put to my death and Sarah Palin is standing in front of me laughing.  I’m assuming you’ve seen the now-famous video from yesterday.  No wonder she needed that $150,000 from the RNC for new clothes.  Her old clothes were probably still covered in blood from last Christmas, when she blew Rudolph’s head off.

I mean, seriously, does no one listen to my advice?  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:  When you give a television interview in front of helpless warbling birds being fed into a wood chipper make sure to put down your hot cocoa.  Otherwise you just look ridiculous.

And while Sarah Palin was starring in her own version of Fargo her former opponent Joe Biden was celebrating a birthday.  He turned 66.  And his hair plugs turned 4.  By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that Madeleine Albright jumped out of a cake.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
November 21st, 2008
01:45 PM ET

Chat with America's most dangerous prisoner

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Tommy Silverstein has not one, but two personal web sites. He was also caged under Leavenworth for decades, and is the reason the ultimate maximum security penitentiary was built. His fellow inmates now include Ramzi Yousef, Ted Kaczynski, Richard Reid and Eric Rudolph.

And he wants to talk to you.

Who is Tommy Silverstein? If you want, he will tell you his story… And we’ll take you inside the prison where the worst of the worst call home.

And one added note: we're not advocating this. We're reporting it, so that you can know that Silverstein is out there in the blogosphere. Thank you all for your thoughts on it.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
November 21st, 2008
01:36 PM ET

For whom the bell Dingells

Congressman John Dingell (D-MI).

Congressman John Dingell (D-MI).

Joe Klein

Lord, things are moving fast...and also not. The stock market is moving south–fast. The number of jobless claims are moving north–fast. Economic panic is in the air...and the atmosphere is Washington is changing faster than a speeding ballot (ouch, sorry). There is a stirring in the Congress, too, where nothing of substance has happened in a long, long time. Today the hopelessly dopey auto makers received a couple of stark warnings: First, California's crusading Henry Waxman replaced the eternal John Dingell, patron saint of the gas-guzzlers, as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is great news for those who are looking forward to the greening of Detroit. Then Nancy Pelosi called out the Big Three, saying no bailout without a plan. Now, no one really believes the Democrats will wit(h)hold money from the automakers–but the Big 3 would have to be stupider than idiotic not to understand that higher gas mileage standards and a whole bunch of other requirements are coming down the pike. They have very few, if any, defenders left in your nation's capital and that's real progress.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Joe Klein • Raw Politics
November 21st, 2008
01:12 PM ET

"Nothing but death in the toxic air"

Editor’s note: CNN’s award-winning Planet in Peril returns this year to examine the conflict between growing populations and natural resources. Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Lisa Ling travel to the front lines of this worldwide battle. Ling has been a co-host of The View, correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic and Channel One. She filed this blog from Nigeria.

Lisa Ling
AC360° Special Correspondent

I’m so upset by what I experienced here today that I can barely think straight.

I’m in the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, a place essential to the U.S. economy.
The communities along the delta literally live atop a virtual goldmine—black gold that literally make’s the world’s engines run. Oil. Underneath the surface of the ground here, lies one of the richest sources of crude oil on the planet.

Nigeria is the 5th largest supplier of oil to the United States and is the 12th biggest oil producer in the world. It was discovered here in the 1950’s, and big oil companies have been pumping hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil out of the ground here ever since. Over the years, it’s made some people colossally rich. Colossally.

Logic would suggest that the people living above this tremendously lucrative resource would benefit from its riches. But the situation here defies logic. The millions of people who live along the delta are considered some of the world’s poorest. There is no electricity and clean water and basic services like medicine and quality education are severely lacking.

How can this be?

Filed under: Lisa Ling • Nigeria • Planet in Peril
November 21st, 2008
11:42 AM ET

Report: 1 in 8 Americans went hungry last year

Impact Your World: The global food market's shelves are getting bare and hunger activists say it will get worse. As the nation marks World Hunger Relief Week, more people are asking: Why are so many people starving and what, if anything, can be done to eradicate hunger? Learn how you can help


David Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

The young man, wearing a shirt and a tie, turned up just as the pantry operated by an Iowa food bank was closing for the night.

He knew it was after-hours. That’s why he was there.

He kept his gaze downward as he told the woman from the food bank that he had lost his job, had a wife and kids and was too embarrassed and ashamed to stand in line to receive a bag of groceries that hopefully would feed his family for a week.

I have a master’s degree. I shouldn’t have to do this, he said.

I heard this story last December, a few weeks before the Iowa presidential caucus.

Throughout this election season I talked with professionals and volunteers at food banks and pantries across the country.

The refrain was the same from Oregon to South Carolina, from Maine to Texas: Demand was rising, easily outstripping supply.

More and more new faces were standing in line; not looking anyone else in the eye, hoping not to be recognized by friends or neighbors.

Filed under: 360° Radar • David Schechter • Hunger
November 21st, 2008
11:29 AM ET

Holiday for 8-year old suspect

An 8-year-old boy charged as a juvenile in the killings of his father and a family friend following a controversial videotaped police interrogation will be able to spend Thanksgiving at home with his mother under a court-approved furlough. The young boy has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him. Police say he confessed to shooting the two men. Legal experts have criticized the methods used in the police interrogation. The boy did not have a parent or lawyer with him when he was questioned.

Mike Watkiss from Phoenix TV station KTVK reports on the reaction of townsfolk in St. Johns, Arizona.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Mike Watkiss
November 21st, 2008
10:57 AM ET

What happened to Mukasey?

Attorney General Michael Mukasey, 67, collapses while giving a speech at the Federalist Society dinner in Washington.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey, 67, collapses while giving a speech at the Federalist Society dinner in Washington.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Last night, Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed while giving a speech. CNN had a camera rolling during the event, giving us an unusual look at what happened. I got a call in the middle of the night to come take a look. (Watch Video)  Even doctors, while we read about diseases and see patients after they end up in the ER, we hardly ever witness things like this. I decided to blog about it this morning, hoping we might all learn something from seeing what happened to Mukasey.

During his speech, he seemed to have word-finding difficulties. He started to say a word, paused and repeated it. He then began to slur his words, and had a slight drooping of the right side of his face. After that, he slumped forward and passed out, requiring assistance to the ground. All of these events serve as clues as to what may have caused the problem in the first place.

Word-finding difficulties are sometimes an indication there is a problem with the speech center of the brain, typically located on the left side of the brain. It could be because of inadequate blood flow to the brain or sometimes bleeding within the brain itself, as was the case in late 2006 with Sen. Tim Johnson. (Read more) The fact that the right side of his body began to droop and he slurred words was also important signs. After all, the right side of the body is controlled by the left brain. Another clue:  He seemed to pass out, probably because of overall decreased blood flow to the brain. And, finally, he reportedly is now doing well able to talk and in good spirits. Clearly, whatever caused this seems to be temporary.  It could have been a fainting spell.

Read More..

Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Medical News
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