May 12th, 2009
03:50 PM ET

The poetry of Barack Obama

Program Note: Tune in tonight to see tonight's Poetry Slam at the White House on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

The New York Times

Following are two poems by Barack Obama that were published in the Spring 1981 issue of “Feast,” a 51-page student literary journal that described itself as "a semi-annual journal of short poetry and fiction collected from the Occidental College community.” The journal is no longer published, according to a college spokesman.


Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks
What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I’m sure he’s unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,


Filed under: 360° Radar • President Barack Obama
May 12th, 2009
03:29 PM ET

Video: Orphans flee Swat on foot

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

CNN's Ivan Watson follows 24 orphans who escape the war zone by walking for 20 miles.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Ivan Watson • Pakistan
May 12th, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Screams, 'We're down,' recorded in cockpit of crashing plane

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the plane crash from Randi Kaye on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/12/buffalo.crash.hearing/art.buffalo.crash.afp.gi.jpg caption="An investigator walks past the wreckage from a plane crash in Clarence Center, New York, in February."]


The pilot of a doomed plane that crashed, killing 50 people, said "Jesus Christ" and "We're down," seconds before the plane hurtled from the night sky into a house outside Buffalo, New York, in February.

The last sounds heard in the cockpit were First Officer Rebecca Shaw saying "We're" and then screaming at 10:16 p.m. on February 12, according to a transcript of the cockpit recording.

Seconds earlier, the pilot, Capt. Marvin Renslow, said, "Jesus Christ," as a sound "similar to stick shaker" was heard, the transcript said. Renslow said, "We're down," and a thump was heard before Shaw said, "We're" and screamed.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the transcript of the cockpit recording on Tuesday as it began a three-day hearing in Washington on the crash.

Continental Connection Flight 3407, operated by regional carrier Colgan Air, plunged into a house in Clarence Center, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one man in the house.

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May 12th, 2009
01:30 PM ET

It's time for Democrats to come out of the closet about gays in the military

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more on the issue when Anderson speaks to Lt. Dan Choi, Army National Guard, who was discharged for being gay. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/17/dont.ask.dont.tell/art.dont.ask.gi.jpg]

Robert Zimmerman
AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst

In the contentious battle for the Democratic nomination for president, one of the few issues that united the candidates and the party was a commitment to end the policy toward gays and lesbians in military service referred to as "don't ask, don't tell." This is the policy that requires our servicemen and women to either lie about or hide their sexual orientation in order to maintain their status in military service.

It is hard to imagine that 16 years ago this policy was regarded as an innovative approach to block the harassment and dismissal of gay and lesbian members of our armed services. Though a source of bitter controversy at that time, it was considered to be a step forward. However, it has clearly not accomplished its intended purpose and must end. President Barack Obama made that clear during the 2008 campaign and in his first 100 days in office. He has also been joined by Generals Colin Powell, John Shalikashvili, Iraqi war heroes such as Congressman Patrick Murphy and many others who have served our nation in support of that position.

So what is keeping the Democrats in the closet on this issue while brave gay men and women in the military are being fired for either being forced out of the closet or coming out on their own? Sure the Obama Administration is busy with a very full agenda. That comes with the job. The Truman Administration brought World War II to a victorious conclusion, rebuilt Western Europe under the Marshall Plan and also took the bold and controversial steps to integrate the military during a historically challenging time in our nation's history. The Johnson Administration signed into law landmark civil rights legislation during a very contentious and divisive time for our country.


May 12th, 2009
01:14 PM ET

Donald Trump and his hair will now announce their decision

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/04/16/lkl.donald.trump/art.donald.trump.cnn.jpg]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/05/11/ent.miss.california.usa/art.miss.calif.cnn.jpg caption="Miss California USA Carrie Prejean may lose her crown, a decision to be made by pageant owner Donald Trump."]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

I don’t know much about beauty pageants. All I know is that if I were ever in one I would begin all my answers with “Well, Mario Lopez, as they say on General Hospital…” and end them with “…in conclusion, in no way am I in favor of world peace.”

My lack of knowledge notwithstanding, I am aware that today is a pivotal day in the controversy over Miss California USA, a woman by the name of Carrie Prejean. If you don’t know the story by now, well, consider yourself lucky and go back to watching your DVDs of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

The rest of you have probably heard that Donald Trump – employer of newly crowned Celebrity Apprentice winner Joan Rivers (and her face) and himself an inspiration to millions of college students majoring in Beauty Pageant Ownership – announced today that Miss Prejean will keep her title. As always, for in-depth analysis of scandals involving nude pictures and fake breasts, I refer you to my colleagues at PBS.

By the way, yes, I’ve heard the rumors that Miss Prejean was or is dating Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps. Mr. Phelps has reportedly denied those rumors, although if true they would explain my hunch that Miss Prejean’s position on same-sex marriage has changed: She now supports it, provided both parties are stoned.


May 12th, 2009
01:14 PM ET

Vegas cops go viral


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/12/art.crime.vegas.viral.jpg caption="Surveillance footage of the moments leading up to a crime committed on a public bus, posted by the Las Vegas Police Department."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Tired of the Kill Bill Prairie dog? Need a break from laughing babies, Susan Boyle and the Evolution of Dance guy?

If you're looking for something new out of YouTube, maybe the Las Vegas Police Department can be of assistance. Sin City's finest has a channel all its own.

The clips give criminals a chance to be Internet stars, whether they're actively seeking the publicity or not. The YouTube videos may be entertaining but they are hardly entertainment.

The images depict suspects in real situations, committing brazen acts of crime, some of which are extremely violent.

The Las Vegas Police currently has 58 videos posted on its YouTube channel. With more than 11,000 hits, the most popular entry is the "Bait Car Arrest." Recorded in black and white from a concealed camera inside the vehicle, watch as a young man and woman allegedly steal a car.

While she smiles and jokes it up in the passenger seat, he, according to authorities, puts his foot to the gas and takes an illegal joyride. It's over in just a few minutes, ending with flashing lights, sirens and an arrest. You can watch it here.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
May 12th, 2009
01:14 PM ET

Gay soldier: Don’t fire me

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Lt. Daniel Choi on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/11/art.dan.choi.jpg caption="Lt. Daniel Choi is an Iraq combat veteran and a West Point graduate with a degree in Arabic."]

Lt. Daniel Choi
Special to CNN

Open Letter to President Obama and Every Member of Congress:

I have learned many lessons in the ten years since I first raised my right hand at the United States Military Academy at West Point and committed to fighting for my country. The lessons of courage, integrity, honesty and selfless service are some of the most important.

At West Point, I recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday. It taught us to “choose the harder right over the easier wrong” and to “never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.” The Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort.

Following the Honor Code never bowed to comfortable timing or popularity. Honor and integrity are 24-hour values. That is why I refuse to lie about my identity.

I have personally served for a decade under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: an immoral law and policy that forces American soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception and lying. These values are completely opposed to anything I learned at West Point. Deception and lies poison a unit and cripple a fighting force.

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May 12th, 2009
01:00 PM ET

Prof dug grave, shot himself in head, police say

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the suicide on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/05/12/georgia.professor.autopsy/art.suspect.uga.jpg caption="George Zinkhan, a professor at the University of Georgia, disappeared after the slayings of his wife and two others."]


A wanted University of Georgia professor killed himself with a single gunshot to the head after he dug his own grave and covered it with brush, police said Tuesday.

The manhunt for George Zinkhan ended Saturday when cadaver dogs discovered his body in Georgia's Clarke County, about a mile from where his red Jeep Liberty was found more than a week earlier, police said.

"Zinkhan's body was found in a small dugout area in the ground, covered with leaves and debris, and it was apparent that he took significant steps to try to conceal his body from being located," a statement from Athens police said.

Law enforcement officials determined that Zinkhan, 57, committed suicide after killing his wife, Marie Bruce, 47, Thomas Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63, outside a theater in Athens on April 25.

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May 12th, 2009
12:47 PM ET

Gates replacing top U.S. commander in Afghanistan

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the situation in Afghanistan on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/11/afghanistan.replacement/art.mcchrystal.gi.jpg caption="Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be taking command of NATO forces in Afghanistan."]


The United States replaced the top allied commander in Afghanistan on Monday, deciding "fresh eyes" are needed to reverse the course of the seven-year-old war there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

Gen. David McKiernan, who has held the post for less than a year, will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former special operations chief, Gates announced. He told reporters there was "nothing specific" behind McKiernan's removal, but that "new leadership and fresh eyes" were needed in a war that Washington admits it is not winning.

"We have a new strategy, a new mission and a new ambassador. I believe that new military leadership also is needed," Gates said.

McKiernan will remain in place until the Senate confirms the appointments of McChrystal and his designated deputy, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez. Both have previous experience in Afghanistan and more history with counterinsurgency operations than McKiernan.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Pentagon • Robert Gates
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