April 3rd, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Whatever happened to that doctor who looked like George Clooney?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/03/31/er.finale.drama/art.georgeclooneyer.gi.jpg caption="NBC's "ER," which ended on April 2, helped launch the careers of several actors, including George Clooney."]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

So apparently Thursday night was the final episode of ER. Which was news to me considering I thought ER went off the air ten years ago. I can only assume that the show ended its run with the guy who played Mr. Belding on Saved by the Bell in the role originated by George Clooney.

Not that I was ever really an ER fan to begin with. In fact, I'm not a fan of medical dramas in general. They're so unrealistic. Unlike my own life, which I spend loitering outside Audi of Manhattan dressed like Batman.

Seriously, I hate to break it you, but the medical community is not as sexy as it's portrayed on television.

Nurse, take this patient into the operating room. And when you're done, we should really talk about what happened last night in your Jacuzzi.

My grandfather is a doctor, so I know this to be true – expired Vicodin and surplus catheters, that's as romantic as health care gets in this country. George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles are not making sweet, sweet love behind that MRI machine, so stop peeking. And on the off chance you find yourself with a doctor who has Noah Wyle's good looks, well, he's just going to defraud your insurance company to fund his cocaine habit.

Furthermore, contrary to what Hollywood costume designers would like you to think, no one's butt looks good in surgical scrubs.


April 3rd, 2009
10:27 PM ET

Addiction and the Liberace of Astrology

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/03/art.vert.mercado.jpg caption="A May 2007 photograph of celebrity psychic Walter Mercado." width=292 height=320]

David Puente
AC360° producer

She's a beautiful actress with a dirty little secret. When I saw her posing in a magazine with Claudia Schiffer at the Cannes Film Festival, I recognized her from our years at NYU. Now through Facebook we're back in touch. That's where she confessed to me what was once unspeakable, her secret habit.

She's not the type you might think would obsessively call psychic hotlines and spend literally up to a thousand dollars a month on them. But that's the addiction she says she's been fighting for years with virtually no other support.

Unlike shopaholics or nail-biters for example, it's not easy to find a group to help those hooked on fortune tellers. If a highly educated model could be addicted to psychic hotlines, I thought, how many others are, but don’t know where to turn or might be too embarrassed to ask for help.


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Puente
April 3rd, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 04/03/09

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Tonight on AC360°, new details on the shooting rampage in Binghamton, New York. Plus, is it missile test or a just a communications satellite? Why North Korea has the world on edge tonight. And, Iowa's Supreme Court strikes down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on the same-sex marriage ruling during the commercials. Do you agree with the justices decision in Iowa? Sound off below. 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
April 3rd, 2009
09:03 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Bloodshed in Binghamton

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/04/03/binghamton.shooting/art.shooters.car.irpt.jpg caption="Police say the use of this car to block the back door of the immigration center suggests premeditation."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on AC360°, we'll have breaking details on the deadly shooting in Binghamton, New York. Police say the lone gunman killed at least 13 people before himself at an immigration services center.

Check out the photo. Investigators say the gunman used his car to block the back exit of the center and then entered in the front of the building, where he shot two receptionists.

One was killed. The other pretended to be dead and called 911.

According to police, the gunman then went into a classroom and opened fire again.

Up to 60 people are trapped in the building, dozens hide in the basement boiler room throughout the ordeal.

Who was the gunman? Tonight we have new details as police search his home. We'll have latest information for you.

Also tonight, President Obama and the First Lady continue their European tour. They're visiting France and Germany for a NATO summit. Mr. Obama spoke at a town hall meeting today. We'll have his message to the packed crowd.

Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
April 3rd, 2009
05:50 PM ET

Why President Obama got it right at the G-20

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/03/art.bangladesh1.jpg caption="A local man buys food at a marketplace in Bangladesh."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/03/art.nargis1.jpg caption="Because of Cyclone Nargis, a farmer in Myanmar is plowing his field weeks after the regular planting season. Natural disasters can exponentially increase the impact of the food and economic crises on the poor."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/03/art.turkana.jpg caption="In Turkana, Kenya, a woman hoes the fields in preparation for planting. At the G-20 this week, President Obama promised to double U.S. aid for global agricultural development."]

Robert Zachritz
World Vision

The President announced his plan yesterday to double U.S. assistance for global agricultural productivity and rural development and called for a comprehensive strategy to alleviate chronic hunger. Why now - when our own nation is hurting?

As a matter of fact, the Food Action and Research Center reported yesterday that 32.2 million Americans – nearly one in 10 – received food stamps in the month of January, a record high in the United States. The report illustrates the daily economic struggles American families are facing, and when we are suffering here at home, it can often be difficult to remember the needs of those beyond our borders. In tough times, it’s tempting to take care of ourselves before we address the needs of others. But some perspective may be in order.

Since 2007, the number of hungry people worldwide has increased to nearly 1 billion – nearly one in six people. These aren’t people who will have to eat at home more or buy cheaper groceries. These are people who will lack the nutrition necessary just to maintain basic health. These are children who could suffer stunted physical development or even permanent brain damage because they didn’t get enough of the right foods in their early years.

When Americans hit hard times, services like unemployment insurance and food stamps are available to ensure that individuals’ basic needs are met. But in the poorest countries, these social programs simply don’t exist. Many families spend as much as 75 percent of their income on food. When prices for basic staples rise, many people simply don’t eat.


April 3rd, 2009
05:50 PM ET

Eyewitness to Murder: The fatal moment of the King Assassination

Program Note: In 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 Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination this Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


CNN's Soledad O'Brien pieces together the story of the fatal moment in Martin Luther King Jr.'s death.
CNN's Soledad O'Brien pieces together the story of the fatal moment in Martin Luther King Jr.'s death.

Through first-hand witnesses and original documents from that time, special correspondent Soledad O'Brien reconstructs the evidence and the story of the death of Martin Luther King Junior. Her CNN Presents documentary, "Eyewitness to Murder: the King Assassination," airs this Saturday and Sunday at 8 pm, ET.

Among those contributing to this special program are former ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis, various policemen and firemen, the medical examiner, and the brother of accused killer James Earl Ray. We look at the man on the balcony who joined the CIA, the military intelligence agents on a nearby firehouse roof, the FBI officials who tried to drive King to suicide, but in the end, find no hard evidence pointing to any one other than Ray.

Editor's Note: In ‘Black in America 2,’ Soledad O'Brien investigates the innovative and unexpected ways people are confronting the most difficult issues facing their community in "Black in America 2." Watch this July on CNN.

Filed under: Black in America • Soledad O'Brien
April 3rd, 2009
05:10 PM ET

Tips from a hostage negotiator

Program Note: Tune in tonight for more on situation in Binghamton on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/04/03/binghamton.shooting/art.binghampton.scene3.irpt.jpg caption="The shootings and hostage situation took place at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York. "]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

How does a dangerous hostage standoff come to a peaceful end? One former FBI negotiator says it begins with hope.

“You focus on giving him a reason to live through this,” Byron Sage says of a suspect. “As soon as he starts to connect to that concept, he will realize he is responsible for any kind of actions taken against the hostages. What you are trying to do is…give him hope.”

Providing that hope often starts with a phone call. Sage, who was the Crisis Negotiation Program Manager with the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, says there are several options to persuade the gunman to answer. When responding to a hostage situation, law enforcement will “capture the lines,” a term used to describe how phone services going in and out of the target location are isolated or limited. By capturing the lines, the suspect can only talk to the police.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
April 3rd, 2009
04:49 PM ET

Pres. Obama reacts to the tragic shooting

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

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“Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the act of senseless violence in Binghamton, NY today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the people of Binghamton. We don’t yet know all the facts, but my administration is actively monitoring the situation and the Vice President is in touch with Governor Paterson and local officials to track developments.”

Filed under: President Barack Obama
April 3rd, 2009
04:48 PM ET

Obama slams North Korea's 'provocative' launch plans

Program Note: Tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET for more on North Korea.

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U.S. President Barack Obama sent a public warning to North Korea Friday, calling on Pyongyang to back off plans to launch what the United States believes to be a missile.

"Should North Korea decide to take this action, we will work with all interested parties in the international community to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it can't threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity," the president said at a news conference in the French city of Strasbourg.

He said his administration has "made very clear to the North Koreans that their missile launch is provocative. It puts enormous strains on the six-party talks and that they should stop the launch."

But, the president added, "The response so far from the North Koreans has been not just unhelpful, but has resorted to the sort of language that has led to North Korea's isolation in the international community for a very long time."


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