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May 1st, 2009
02:09 PM ET

Time 100: Ann Coulter on Sarah Palin

Program Note: Tune in tonight to see the Time 100/Anderson Cooper 360° Special: The World's Most Influential People at 11 p.m. ET.

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Ann Coulter
For Time

Sarah Palin was arguably the most influential person in 2008, but no one notices because she wasn't influential enough to overcome the deficits of her running mate and win the election.

Until Palin, 45, burst onto the scene, Obama was headed for a Nixon/McGovern landslide. Palin may not have changed the election result, but she killed what otherwise would have been a rout.

John McCain was so preposterous a candidate (at least on a Republican ticket) that Palin was responsible for far more votes than the usual vice-presidential candidate. The biggest red flag proving her popularity with normal Americans is that liberals won't shut up about her. Palin is a threat to liberals because she believes in God and country and family — all values liberals pretend to believe in but secretly detest. There's a reason there's no "Stop Olympia Snowe before it's too late!" movement.

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May 1st, 2009
01:35 PM ET

Video: Defense Secy. Gates on policy

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks exclusively about Obama's foreign policy with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Robert Gates
May 1st, 2009
01:31 PM ET

Video: Defense secretary on Iraq

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks exclusively about the violence in Iraq with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iraq • Robert Gates
May 1st, 2009
12:47 PM ET

Zodiac killer was my father

Maura Dolan and Jessica Garrison
Los Angeles Times

The Zodiac, the hooded serial killer who menaced the Bay Area 40 years ago, has so fascinated the public that major motion pictures, books and blogs have been devoted to sifting through clues for his identity.

Just when you thought every angle had been covered, along comes Deborah Perez, who announced at a raucous sidewalk news conference in San Francisco that the Zodiac was her dad and she rode in his car when he went out to kill.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
May 1st, 2009
12:09 PM ET

Time 100: Chesley B. Sullenberger on Captain Richard Phillips

Program Note: Tune in tonight to see the Time 100/Anderson Cooper 360° Special: The World's Most Influential People at 11 p.m. ET.

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Chesley B. Sullenberger
For Time

Like most Americans, I closely followed the gripping story of the Maersk Alabama. The saga of the brave crew fighting off pirates armed with assault rifles read like an espionage thriller, but was all too real. It was a sobering, cautionary tale for sailors all over the world, and an awful ordeal for the crew's families as they awaited news.

I was deeply moved by the remarkable selflessness exhibited by Captain Richard Phillips, 53. To protect his crew, Captain Phillips made a conscious decision to put himself directly in harm's way, knowing full well that he might pay the ultimate price for his decision. Held hostage as a human shield in a small lifeboat with three pirates, he had little to hope for or cling to — except the knowledge that he had done absolutely everything he could to save the lives of the 20 sailors aboard his ship.

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May 1st, 2009
12:01 PM ET

What about my hundred days?

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

You judge a restaurant by the happiness of the diners, not the fame of the chef. The success of the shepherd is the health of his sheep. The best coach in the world is a failure if his team folds.

A lot has been written in the past week about President Obama’s first hundred days in office, and frankly I think most of the political pundits are missing the point. The real measure of any president is not how he is doing, but instead it is how we are doing. The people of the country. Normal Americans.

Now of course it is patently unfair to lay blame for the nation’s problems at President Obama’s door. We’ve built our economic, international, and infrastructure woes over many years and even Houdini could not have slipped out of this trap in a hundred days. In addition, President Obama has taken bold steps to address many of the issues confronting the country. You may agree or disagree with his ideas, but he has undeniably been a man of action.

Now, that said, let’s look at how our first hundred days have gone.

FULL POST

May 1st, 2009
11:59 AM ET

Swine Flu Impact

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Inside Higher Ed

The impact of the swine flu outbreak continues to grow on American colleges campuses - even as the confirmed cases appear small in number and relatively mild.

On Thursday, Texas Wesleyan University, Western Oregon University, and the Harvard Dental School announced plans to close temporarily - although no one at Texas Wesleyan is believed to have swine flu. The university has canceled all classes and campus events through May 5, effectively ending the semester early. A spokesman noted that school districts that educate the children of many employees and students had shut down, so the institution was worried about the ability of these parents to juggle responsibilities. Currently, the university plans to have students consult with faculty members on assignments, and to hold final exams on schedule.

Western Oregon announced that it is closing through Monday because of a likely diagnosis of a student with swine flu. Residence halls are remaining open, but other major facilities - including the library - will be shut.

At Harvard University, a dental student's possible case of swine flu has led the dental school to close all clinics and to call off classes today. Classes are also being canceled at the the university's medical school and public health school, which share a campus with the dental school. Harvard's medical campuses are located away from the university's main campus, in Cambridge.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Public Health
May 1st, 2009
11:44 AM ET

The Fairer Sex: What do we mean when we say we need more female justices?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/02/05/ginsberg.cancer.supreme.court/art.ginsburg.jpg caption="Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has undergone two bouts of cancer since she joined the court in 1993."]

Dahlia Lithwick
Slate

It's almost an article of faith among Supreme Court watchers that President Obama will fill the bench's next vacancy—and perhaps the one after that, too—with a woman. The current court's sole female member, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has said she is "lonely" there, and even if she's not the next to step aside and another women joins her, that's still just two out of nine. Americans seem quite certain that isn't enough. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, on learning in 2005 that John Roberts would take her place, declared him "good in every way, except he's not a woman." Americans concur. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken just before Roberts was appointed, 80 percent of respondents said it was a good idea to replace O'Connor with a woman, and 13 percent said it was "essential." And with women claiming a large share of responsibility for Obama's victory over John McCain, the demand for a more gender-balanced court is stronger than ever.

But why does Obama owe us another woman justice? Is it simply a matter of appearance? Is gender balance necessary for the court to have what political scientists like to call "social legitimacy"? Or is there something more fundamental that women bring to the bench—something about the way they decide cases—that makes the need for more of them so urgent?

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Supreme Court
May 1st, 2009
11:00 AM ET

Souter known as low-key, fierce defender of individual rights

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Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer

David who? was the initial reaction of Americans to a little-known judge from New Hampshire named in 1990 to sit on the nation's highest court. Even the nominee didn't know what to think when President George H.W. Bush called him with the news, telling supporters, "I was in a state of virtual shock."

David Hackett Souter had only been on a federal appeals court bench for a few months when he was tapped to replace liberal lion William Brennan, a choice many Republicans hoped would move the high court rightward and reshape American law.

"I think that is good news for all of us who are committed to the Constitution of the United States," said President Bush. "He'll be a superb justice for the Supreme Court."

In reality, Souter was in many ways a typical, old-fashioned Yankee Republican - a moderate with an independent, even quirky streak. Whether he became more liberal in his views after joining the Supreme Court, as many conservatives believe, may depend on your politics.

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Filed under: Supreme Court
May 1st, 2009
10:45 AM ET

Ten picks for Obama's Supreme Court

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/01/souter.retires/art.souter.afp.gi.jpg caption="Conservatives say Supreme Court Justice David Souter, nominated by a Republican, was a disappointment."]

Justin Jouvenal
Salon.com

In February 1980, Republican presidential aspirant Ronald Reagan declared that the U.S. Supreme Court needed fresh faces. The court had just declined to block a New York judge's ruling that the federal government should continue to pay for the abortions of poor women. Reagan called the court's refusal "an abuse of power as bad as the transgressions of Watergate" and said, "The court needs new justices who respect and reflect the values and morals of the American majority."

The court's minor procedural decision is long forgotten, but Reagan was able to realize his ambition to transform the Supreme Court. During his two terms as president, he appointed three new justices - Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy - and elevated William H. Rehnquist to chief justice. Reagan's picks often strayed from Republican orthodoxy, but he tipped the court in a conservative direction for a generation.

Barack Obama might have as much power to shape a new court as Reagan. Like Reagan, Obama could appoint as many as three justices before Inauguration Day 2013. John Paul Stevens, 88, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, are of retirement age, and Ginsburg is a colon cancer survivor. David Souter, 69, has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to his home in New Hampshire. (Kennedy, who has twice had minor heart procedures, is 72, as is Scalia.)

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Supreme Court
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