March 20th, 2009
11:47 PM ET

This one's for the bird brains

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/science/03/19/endangered.birds.report/art.birds.gov.jpg caption="The Western meadowlark is an endangered bird species, according to a new report."]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

As soon as I read today’s environmental headline, that nearly a third of America’s 800 bird species are in danger, I thought of the great sparrow massacre in China.

On May 18, 1958, the Chinese dictator, Mao, erroneously convinced that sparrows were eating large portions of China’s grain crop, ordered: “The whole people, including 5 year old children, be mobilized” to eliminate the sparrows. A former Chinese elementary school student, quoted in Judith Shapiro’s memorable book “Mao’s War Against Nature,” describes the slaughter. “The whole school went to kill sparrows. We climbed ladders to knock down their nests, and beat gongs in the evenings when they were coming home to roost.”


March 20th, 2009
09:58 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/20/09

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Tonight on AC360°, Friday fraudsters! Hard times are boom times for scammers who want to steal your money. The recession has only made them more creative. Tonight Joe Johns shows you the ploys these crooks are using – and how you can protect yourself. You may have received some of these calls and emails. They seem to be everywhere these days. We want to keep the live blog on this one topic. So, please share your thoughts on recession scams below.

Don't miss Randi Kaye's webcast during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")

2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)

3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)

4) No links

5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 20th, 2009
08:42 PM ET

Evening Buzz: The Man, The Message

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360, we’ll tackle a couple of key questions at the end of a head-spinning week for the White House. Is President Obama overexposed? Is he overextended? Both? Neither?

Mister Obama seemed to be everywhere this week - from a St. Patrick’s Day event on Capitol Hill to two town hall meetings in California to The Tonight Show. We counted 17 presidential photo ops in all. Meantime, back in Washington, the Obama administration was trying to douse the flames from the AIG bonus fiasco.

Some of the president’s critics say he should be spending more time in the Oval Office keeping a closer eye on the economic crisis and efforts to fix it. Do they have a point? Has President Obama taken on too many issues at once? What do you think?

We’ll also dig deeper on the fallout from the president’s remark about the Special Olympics that forced the White House to issue an apology. What’s your take?

But part of the money she’s turning down would go to special needs students. Meantime, today Palin took President Obama to task for making that insensitive remark about the Special Olympics.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, school superintendents in the state are already lobbying legislators to reverse Palin’s decision. They say they desperately need the stimulus money. We’ll have all the details.


Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
March 20th, 2009
05:05 PM ET

Citizens, not serfs

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/20/pm.aig.obama/art.aigreed.afp.gi.jpg caption="AIG's plans to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in executive bonuses is the latest controversy to enrage many Americans."]

Tanya M. Acker
AC360° Contributor
Attorney and Political Consultant

On the “Tonight Show” last night President Obama discussed the need to change the “culture of entitlement” on Wall Street.

It needs more than changing. How about scrapping it completely and then grafting on a little bit of character and common sense?

The other day, I asked a Bank of America representative why, after I used their electronic bill pay feature, it would take two days to refund into my account money that they did not timely deliver to a payee (according to the bank’s own specified delivery timeline and guidelines). I was essentially told that it was none of my business.

I am not kidding.


March 20th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Obama offers Iran 'the promise of a new beginning'

Editors Note: Tonight we will discuss President Obama's remarks about Iran with special CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

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President Barack Obama reached out to Iran on Friday — the start of the Iranian New Year — in a video message offering "the promise of a new beginning" that is "grounded in mutual respect."

The message is a dramatic shift in tone from that of the Bush administration, which included Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, in an "axis of evil." It also echoes Obama's inaugural speech, in which he said to the Muslim world, "we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

In Friday's video, Obama said: "The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right, but it comes with real responsibilities. And that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization."

March 20th, 2009
04:03 PM ET

Foreign country set to profit from US stimulus plan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/20/art.vert.spain.royalty.jpg caption="Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain arrive at The New York Public Library earlier this week." width=292 height=320]

David Puente
AC360° Producer

This week I got an unusually swank invite. Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia were in New York hosting a lunch reception to promote Spanish green companies. That’s a big part of your job if you’re a Spanish blue blood nowadays. You’re expected to help generate new business for your countrymen. And from the looks of it, this royal couple believes that the U.S. economic stimulus plan can mean big bucks for Spain. I can see what they mean.

It was after all President Obama who singled out Spain for its sustainable growth projects like the ones that the US badly needs to develop. Spain is a world leader in renewable energy, water management, and high speed railways. I love that AVE, and you know why if you’ve taken it to get from Madrid to Seville or Barcelona.


Filed under: David Puente • Economy • Global 360°
March 20th, 2009
03:55 PM ET

Boards are real culprits in AIG mess

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Nell Minow
Special to CNN

The stories about the outrageous $160 million bonus payments at AIG have all omitted the most important names.

They are the members of AIG's Board of Directors Compensation Committee.

These people should have been on the hot seat before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, alongside CEO Ed Liddy. Although there is a lot of blame to go around, ultimately the buck stops - or, I should say, the bucks should have stopped - with them.


Filed under: 360° Radar • AIG • Bailout Turmoil
March 20th, 2009
03:49 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/20/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on March 20, 2009.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!

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


Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
March 20th, 2009
03:16 PM ET

How many stories have you heard lately about outstanding American Muslim youth?

Eboo Patel
for WashingtonPost.com

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/02/09/muslims.america/art.sheikhwazir.cnn.jpg caption="Sheikh Salahadin Wazir discusses his Muslim community after Friday afternoon prayers in Clarkston, Georgia."]

I see the following headline in newspapers nearly every day: "Young Muslim Suicide Bomber Kills X People in Y Country." These headlines create problems that go deeper than the immediate violence, because the more sentences we read which begin with "young Muslim" and end with "terrorist", the more we expect those two things to be linked.

I usually write about the impact that the "young Muslim terrorist" frame has on non-Muslims, but I'm increasingly concerned about the impact it's having on Muslims too. My problem is not that young Muslims hear the terrorist story and aspire to that. It's that they hear the terrorist story, are repelled by it, but don't see an alternative grand narrative to aspire to because we haven't created one. As Alexander MacIntyre wrote, "I can only answer the question "What can I do?" if I can answer the prior question, "Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?"

So how do we communicate to young Muslims that we believe in their potential to create good in this world? We tell different stories…


Filed under: Faith
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