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November 24th, 2008
03:00 PM ET

Bush should do something to stop crisis

President Bush briefed world leaders on his G-20 economic summit Saturday at the APEC meeting in Peru.

President Bush briefed world leaders on his G-20 economic summit Saturday at the APEC meeting in Peru.

Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. He is the co-editor of "Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s" and is completing a book on the history of national-security politics since World War II, to be published by Basic Books.

The lame-duck president is believed to be one of the more impotent figures in American politics - a commander in chief who is unable to do much because he lacks political muscle.

Legislators know he'll be out of power after January 20. Very often the lame-duck president is deeply unpopular and has lost most goodwill even from members of his own party.

This is certainly the case for President George W. Bush. The president finishes his term as one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history. Democrats won control of Congress in 2006 and this year, they expanded the size of their majority significantly.

There is still the potential for a filibuster-proof Senate. Pundits, including some conservatives, feel the coalition Ronald Reagan built in 1980 has fallen apart. Bush was the captain of the Republican Titanic as it sank.

But Bush does not have to sit on his hands until January 20. Despite the conventional wisdom, lame-duck presidents can be effective.

Read more...


Filed under: Julian E. Zelizer • Raw Politics
November 24th, 2008
01:55 PM ET

The Heroes Among Us: Betty Nguyen

Editor's Note: To discover and reward our own colleagues doing their part to change and improve the world by sacrificing time and energy outside the office, we established 'My Heroes.' For several weeks we reached out to our staff for 'My Hero' nominations... After two rounds of judging, three winners and seven finalists were selected. Here are their stories:

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Betty handing out aid on one of her annual humanitarian aid trips to Vietnam.

Betty handing out aid on one of her annual humanitarian aid trips to Vietnam.

WINNER: Betty Nguyen | BIO
Anchor, CNN

Betty Nguyen established Help the Hungry in 2000. The foundation's global mission is to relieve human suffering by providing humanitarian aid to the less fortunate. The group distributes relief supplies during the most desperate times. Food, clothing, medicine and basic essentials serve as a life-line to families facing unimaginable and extreme hardships. These necessities also provide those in need with hope, while recognizing their dignity and ability to solve their own problems.

Help the Hungry was created from Betty's deep desire to help those in desperate need. When she and her mother returned to Vietnam for the first time since fleeing the war, the poverty, hunger and despair was still very evident. She couldn't help but think that it was only by sheer grace that her family was not suffering the same fate.

Betty is not just a face for this cause. Every year, she braves the difficult conditions of the monsoon season in Vietnam, spending weeks at a time in the flooded Delta region distributing aid that she has collected. This is a personal mission for Betty as she has family roots in Vietnam and a strong commitment to help the people of her birth country.

FULL POST


Filed under: My Heroes
November 24th, 2008
01:54 PM ET

What does the Obama generation mean for the older generation of civil rights leaders?

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson

Marjorie Valbrun
TheRoot.com

The image of the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. standing on the lawn at Grant Park in Chicago, tears streaming down his face as he listened to America's first black president address thousands of adoring supporters, is sure to be one of the iconic images of the historic moment.

It was a poignant sight—the first black man to make a serious run for the American presidency witnessing the first black man win the presidency. One could envision Jackson, 67, on the stage with Obama, 47, passing some metaphorical torch of black leadership.

Still, some of us wondered whether Jackson was crying for Obama or for himself. Was it a "damn-I'm-proud-of-you" moment or a "damn-it-should-have-been-me" moment?

It's a cynical thought, for sure. And it's worth remembering that not long ago the good reverend publicly let slip his Freudian wish to, well, you know, turn our next president into a eunuch. No need to revisit that embarrassing chapter of the presidential campaign, but some people believe it's time for Jackson and other black leaders of his generation to take a well-deserved bow and step back to let the new generation of black leaders take center stage.

Read more...


Filed under: Barack Obama • Marjorie Valbrun • Raw Politics
November 24th, 2008
01:52 PM ET

The Heroes Among Us: Eric Marrapodi

Editor's Note: To discover and reward our own colleagues doing their part to change and improve the world by sacrificing time and energy outside the office, we established 'My Heroes.' For several weeks we reached out to our staff for 'My Hero' nominations... After two rounds of judging, three winners and seven finalists were selected. Here are their stories:

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WINNER: Eric Marrapodi
Producer CNN Washington D.C.

All because of a re-assignment to CNN’s New Orleans in the last few years, Eric’s steadfast work behind-the-scenes (literally) rebuilding the city has impacted thousands of lives. Eric used his journalism skills to produce and edit his very personal journey “Signs Amid the Rubble”. That DVD has acted as a rally-call for volunteers and cash donations via churches around the nation to lend a hand. He’s gutted more than 350 homes and fed up ‘legions’ of volunteers red beans and rise all while boosting the energy and momentum around the communities being restored.

Eric Marrapodi is one of those rare individuals who comes along and is great at what he does as a journalist, and an even better person. While serving as a producer in the Gulf Coast Bureau for nearly two years, Eric did an amazing amount of work to help hundreds of families hurt by Hurricane Katrina.

Working as one of the organizers with his church Eric helped gut more than 350 homes - these are people who didn’t have the money to do the work themselves. Eric was involved in bringing other churches to New Orleans and once a week he and his wife would feed the legions of volunteers red beans and rice, and tell them about the community they were working to restore.

FULL POST


Filed under: My Heroes
November 24th, 2008
01:40 PM ET

LBJ’s daughter: Father opened door for Obama

Luci Baines Johnson says her father's dream was to give everyone the opportunity to achieve.

Luci Baines Johnson says her father's dream was to give everyone the opportunity to achieve.

Luci Baines Johnson
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Luci Baines Johnson is the younger daughter of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. She is chairman of LBJ Asset Management Partners, Inc. and vice president of BusinessSuites, a nationwide office business service center. She also serves as a trustee of Boston University. She has four grown children, Lyndon, Nicole, Rebekah and Claudia, one stepson, Stuart, and eleven grandchildren.

Forty-four years ago on November 2, 1964, I returned to Austin, Texas, with my parents and gave my last campaign speech at a rally in front of the Texas Capitol.

After campaigning in 26 states for five months I never got to vote for Daddy on November 3 - I was just 16 and too young to vote.

My father's dream was to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans regardless of the color of their skin or the quantity of their pocketbook.

On November 4, Barack Obama made good on those dreams. He walked through the doors of opportunity - flung open by Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the millions of men and women who supported the Great Society - and succeeded because of the "content of his character, not the color of his skin."

Read more...


Filed under: Barack Obama • Luci Baines Johnson • Raw Politics
November 24th, 2008
12:53 PM ET

Condition: Critical – Voices from the war in Eastern Congo

Editor's Note: Andre Heller worked as a logistics coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in the North Kivu region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He returned from the DRC in October, after working there for 14 months. Andre reflects here on his time in the DRC on the occasion of the launch of Condition: Critical, a multimedia project produced by Doctors Without Borders that shares testimonies of people whose lives are filled with violence, displacement, and hopes for the future.
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Andre Heller
Doctors Without Borders

It took about 24 hours for me to realize I was going to stay quite a while longer than the three months I originally signed up for. I would have stayed longer than 14 were I not so tired. I’d never seen a place with such beautiful terrain, fertile ground, and lively people. One of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been in my life. The sad reality of North Kivu is that constant fighting, displacement, and human suffering are as much a part of the landscape as the volcanoes around you. An area this war torn doesn’t leave one wondering if people are OK or not. You know there’s something wrong. It got under my skin and I didn’t want to leave.

When you watch this multimedia feature (Condition: Critical), imagine that for each person that gives their personal testimony, there are 125,000 you have not yet heard.

FULL POST

November 24th, 2008
12:05 PM ET

Crime Blotter: Century City Murder; Fugitive manhunt

Compiled by Gabriel Falcon
AC360 Writer

Welcome to the 360 Crime Blotter.

Some of the best crime writing comes from cops on the beat. But it’s not fiction. It’s fact, put down on paper in incident reports. We’re going to bring you their first-hand accounts. Taken from police department web sites, the official submissions run the gamut from mundane misdemeanors to the most serious of felonies. They all show what police officers across the country face 365 days a year. So let’s get started:

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Los Angeles Police Department

Detective Seek Help in Identifying a Suspect in Century City Murder Case

Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying an individual depicted in a surveillance video and composite drawing.

On July 28, 2008, at 6:30 p.m., Pamela Fayed, a resident of Ventura County, was murdered in a parking structure at 1875 Century Park East. On September 15, 2008, Robbery Homicide Division detectives obtained a warrant and criminal filing for James Fayed for the murder of Pamela Fayed. James Fayed appeared in court on a Federal matter where he was arrested.

The detectives believe that the person depicted on the surveillance tape may be an additional suspect involved in the murder. It is believed the individual may frequent the Cities of Oxnard and Ventura in Ventura County.

Anyone who has information is urged to contact Robbery-Homicide Detectives Salaam Abdul or Louis Zorrilla at 213-485-2135. After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or by texting CRIMES (274637) and beginning the message with the letters LAPD. Tipsters may also submit information on the LAPD website. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
FULL POST


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
November 24th, 2008
11:49 AM ET

The Heroes Among Us: Selah Abrams

Editor's Note: To discover and reward our own colleagues doing their part to change and improve the world by sacrificing time and energy outside the office, we established 'My Heroes.' For several weeks we reached out to our staff for 'My Hero' nominations... After two rounds of judging, three winners and seven finalists were selected. Here are their stories:

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Selah speaking with young me n who are members of his non-profit mentoring group, A Guiding Hand

Selah speaking with young me n who are members of his non-profit mentoring group, A Guiding Hand

WINNER: Selah Abrams
Production Engineer, Turner Studios

Selah Abrams – helped establish “A Guiding Hand”, a mentor program for young kids in the juvenile court system. As one of three founding (and remaining) volunteers he gives his time, money and heart to help these young boys change their outlook on life and the world, with the goal of letting them re-enter society as leaders and real men instead of as criminals.

Selah Abrams deserves recognition as a Hero because of his commitment and dedication to mentoring young men who are in the Fulton County Juvenile system through the “Guiding Hand” mentor program, which he helped establish. Selah has been one of the three members who has consistently run this non-profit organization from the inception. Selah typically meets with the kids bi-weekly to provide activities that range from one-on-one meetings to playing basketball games (mentees vs. mentors!), as well as assisting with homework. Selah's relentless efforts to providing support by being a friend and mentor to young men in need is often a life-changing act in itself. Mentees usually have a “hard shell” when they enter the program, which is by court order of the presiding judge, but once Selah lends his support to help “crack the shell”, anyone can see that these “high risk” young men are as creative, intelligent, talented, and have as much potential as kids identified as “high potential.”

FULL POST


Filed under: My Heroes
November 24th, 2008
10:08 AM ET

There’s no place like home for the holidays…and by home I mean a bar far away from home

Jack Gray
AC360 Associate Producer

Well, we’re just a few days away from Thanksgiving. Or, as I call it, Xanax Appreciation Day. The airports, railways and roadways will soon be filled with travelers heading home to be reminded of why they no longer live there. Then, on Thursday, families across this great land will gather around the table for heaping portions of turkey and passive aggression.

I myself will actually be staying in New York. I drew the short straw and was assigned to take care of Anderson’s goldfish, Regis Hussein Philbin.

But even though I have to work on the holiday I’m still going to make some time for myself. In fact, I’m thinking of going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That, or set my hair on fire. I haven’t decided.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Thanksgiving
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