June 26th, 2009
05:11 PM ET

Michael Jackson's enemy was time

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/25/michael.jackson.international.reax/art.sydney.gi.jpg caption="Pedestrians in Sydney, Australia, watch a TV screen announcing Michael Jackson's death on Friday."]

Gene Seymour
Special to CNN

Seconds after the news first hit the airwaves, your own shock merged with everyone else's in the immediate vicinity. And you could feel it rolling through the rest of the planet like a runaway diesel.

As with most things you neither expected nor wanted to hear, you thought that there had to be more to it than what was being said.

Especially because it was Michael Jackson, who seemed too dominant, too other-worldly and, more than anything, too complex to be brought down by anything as simple as cardiac arrest. And also because most of what we'd been hearing about Jackson's personal life over the last decade and a half had been bizarre, sordid and sad.

It was to those aspects - the deepening isolation, the child molestation trials, the financial woes, the "Wacko Jacko" moments like that 2002 interlude on the balcony with the baby - that the talking heads on TV devoted tentative attention within minutes of the official announcement.

The commentariat presumed it had a responsibility to poke those embers for clues of something beyond the single, dreadful fact of Jackson's death. Even if we didn't care for this conversation, we had been conditioned by the most recent events to wonder, deep down, if there was something stranger or more unpleasant attached to his passing.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
June 26th, 2009
04:47 PM ET

Beat 360º 6/26/09

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:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs falls into a water dunk tank during a luau for members of Congress and their families on the South Lawn of the White House June 25, 2009. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
June 26th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
June 26th, 2009
02:45 PM ET

'Jackson did everything to the extreme'

Editor's Note: Patti Austin is a Grammy-winning singer, who worked with Michael Jackson on several albums, including “Off the Wall.” She called in to the CNN newsroom this afternoon to share her memories of Jackson. Here’s what she had to say:

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson.album.sales/art.jpg]

Patti Austin

I’m very, very sad about Michael. I wish I could say that it was unexpected. For those of us that knew him for anytime in his adult life, there was always a suspicion that there would never be an old Michael Jackson. But, it’s still shocking…It’s a shocking departure.

Part of it, for me, was connected to the mystique of genius. There seems to be a thing where poeple who are geniuses don'et seem to– Michael was tremendously type A personality wise, perfectionist. Being close to Michael…the first time I worked with him was on “The Whiz”, then we picked up again when we did “The Dude” and then “Off the Wall” and it become apparent that Michael did not take care of himself very well. He went through a short period when he hired a chef to try to eat a balanced diet. He very seldom did that.

He didn’t work out, he just worked and like a demon. He did everything to the extreme. We would get ready to go on stage to perform and he would stand in the wings, kinda like the Warner’s Brother’s frog, and then the lights would go up and he would become this demon on stage. And then he would finish and curl right back up into a ball again. Everything was done to the extreme. When you live your life at that level, you’re like a hummingbird, you don’t have a terribly very long life span. I think that had a lot to do with it.

I also think Michael internalized a lot of his grief. He was a very troubled spirit. You combine all of those elements and you burn out quickly.

I’m hearing so many people talk about Michael at this point, obviously, and his music. I was very, very, very lucky to be there during what I would call the golden years of his career. I think the stuff that he killed the most was the stuff that was created for him, and I don’t just say it because Quincy was my Godfather, but the stuff that was created for him by Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton and Bruce Swedien, who was…that was kinda like the holy trilogy for Michael Jackson. And anything he did with them was brilliant because everything they did with him was tailored for him and his voice and his personality.

That’s really the stuff that put Michael on the map. And he was able to keep himself there because he was a genius. And an absolutely brilliant performer and had that leg up that I was fortunate to have in my career, which was to come up in the industry in the time when all of the innovators were still around.

Read more about Patti Austin at her website.

Filed under: 360º Follow • Michael Jackson
June 26th, 2009
02:15 PM ET

Heating up in South Carolina?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/23/south.carolina.governor.hiking/art.mark.sanford.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Mark Sanford, who admitted having an extramarital affair, apologized to his Cabinet."]

David Mattingly
AC360° Correspondent

It's hot in here.

It's day two since Governor Mark Sanford emerged from a secret trip to Argentina to announce he had been having an affair with a woman there.

We're in a conference room built for about 30 people, but it might be holding more than double that number as the governor tells his cabinet to continue with their duties.

He apologized to all his cabinet members in a brief opening comment then he got down to state business.

All indications seem to suggest that Sanford is looking for a way to salvage his political career. I wonder if he is feeling the heat?

Voices on both sides of the aisle are calling for his resignation.

June 26th, 2009
12:53 PM ET

Lisa Marie Presley: 'He knew'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson/art.hospital.x17.jpg caption="Michael Jackson arrives at UCLA Medical Center on Thursday."]

Lisa Marie Presley
On Myspace

He knew.

Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general.

I can't recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my father's death.

At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, "I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did."

I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.

Fourteen years later I am sitting here watching on the news an ambulance leaves the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the cause of death and what may have led up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.

A predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me, but what I didn't predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened.

The person I failed to help is being transferred right now to the LA County Coroners office for his autopsy.

All of my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell and right now I am gutted.

I am going to say now what I have never said before because I want the truth out there for once.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
June 26th, 2009
12:30 PM ET

Top 10 Michael Jackson moments – do you agree?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson.us.reaction/art.glove.afp.gi.jpg caption="A gloved fan salutes Michael Jackson Thursday night outside UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California."]


From the Jackson 5 to Thriller, from family drama to legal trouble, Michael Jackson has led one of the most tumultuous careers of any modern entertainer.

1. A breakout star

As a scrawny 11-year-old from Gary, Indiana in child-sized bellbottoms and a radiant smile, Michael Jackson first stepped onto the scene at age 11 as part of the unforgettable Jackson 5.

2. Thriller

Jackson's 1982 album Thriller became a worldwide sensation and established the artist as a transcendent superstar. "Jackson is the biggest thing since the Beatles," TIME declared.

3. The single glove debuts

In a 1983 television special commemorating the 25th anniversary of Motown, Jackson debuted the crystal-encrusted glove that would become his most recognizable wardrobe hallmark.

4. Up in flames

A 25-five-year-old Jackson was filming a Pepsi commercial in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 1984 when a pyrotechnic display exploded behind him, burning his glossy Jheri curls as he sang "Billie Jean" in front of 3,000 fans.

5. Moonwalking

All the unverified accusations and nose jobs in the world can't change the fact that when Michael Jackson glided across the floor in skinny black pants and bright white socks, he looked like the coolest person in the world.

6. A private playground

Nestled in the hills of California's Santa Ynez Valley near Los Angeles, Michael Jackson's 2,800-acre estate was a child's fantasy.

7. An unexpected union

It was a match made in tabloid heaven: Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the King of Rock n' Roll, and Michael Jackson, the eccentric King of Pop, married in secret the Dominican Republic in May 1994.

8. Going over the edge

One minute, Michael Jackson was blowing kisses to fans from the balcony of his presidential suite at Berlin's Adlon Hotel. The next, he was clutching his 9-month-old son, Prince Michael II, with one arm as the child, with its face shrouded in a blanket, dangled precariously over the edge.

9. Living with Michael Jackson

One of the most revealing — and disturbing — glimpses into Michael Jackson's private life came during a blockbuster interview the pop star held with British journalist Martin Bashir in 2003.

10. On trial

In December 2003, months after the airing of a documentary in which Jackson held hands with a child and outlined his habit of sharing a bed with young boys, Jackson was charged with child molestation, alcohol and conspiracy charges that carried nearly 20 in prison.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
June 26th, 2009
12:23 PM ET

Has Goldman Sachs survived the recession?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/galleries/2009/fortune/0901/gallery.bestcos_toppay.fortune/images/goldman_sachs_f.jpg caption="Goldman Sachs reportedly handing out massive bonuses this year"]

Suvro Banerji
AC360° Intern

Goldman Sachs, the investment bank has not only paid back the $10 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money, but is also reportedly handing out massive bonuses this year. According to The Guardian, this is the largest bonus payouts in the company’s 140 year history.

In letters to Congress on June 16, Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein made it clear that the company would ensure that “compensation reflects the true performance of the firm and motivates proper behavior.”

The big question…where did this money come from? The Wall Street Journal reported that a huge chunk of the company’s recent profit came from ‘its fixed-income business, a less-risky arena than the illiquid derivatives and others products it loaded up on amid the credit bubble and Goldman has reduced its overall leverage from a year ago.’ Also, insiders say the company has benefited because competitors like Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.


Filed under: Economy • Wall St.
June 26th, 2009
12:02 PM ET

The White House numbers racket

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

There is something dazzling about a president on the rise, settling into the steady rhythm of power, stress, deal making, and neck-breaking. And when 70 percent of the populace approves of how the job is being done, well that’s a long ball down the short grass. And that was the story for the first President George Bush, the most popular president of the past three decades…uh, at least when they are measured five months into their first term. More on that in a bit.

Much has been made about the overwhelming public approval of President Barack Obama, and he is the king of the political hill: Charismatic, athletic, a quick thinker, a skilled writer, with a dazzling smile and a lovely family. That’s pretty much like going platinum in DC-land.

But based on the most recent “Poll of Polls,” a compendium of top public opinion surveys, Mr. Obama, with 60 percent approval, lags a full 10 percent behind the first Mr. Bush for the same period in their presidencies. Surprised? So was I. When it comes to popular politicians, it seems our memories are tres short (as the French say) and screamingly selective.

Ronald Reagan is hailed as one of the most influential presidents of our time. (Some Republicans, I am told, actually saw him walk across the reflecting pool one night.) His approval rating in his fifth month in office was 59 percent; about the same as Mr. Obama’s.

Bill Clinton, however, did not do nearly as well. Despite having ambitious legislative plans when he arrived in the Oval Office, he also put his wife in charge of health care reform, saw the first attack on the World Trade Center, and the disastrous raid in Waco. Result: 39 percent approval in his fifth month.

That’s in the ballpark of where the 2nd George Bush ended his presidency, although we should note that in his fifth month, long before the wheels came off, President GWB was doing just fine: 55 percent approval.

The point is, the popularity of a president this early in the game means little, unless he can translate it into success for the programs he is pushing. Reagan was popular, stayed that way, and left that way. Clinton was in deep trouble, rose, and exited with historically high support. The last George Bush started strong, ascended to nose-bleed heights after 9/11, and yet packed up his bowling trophies with ratings in the basement.

And the first President Bush we started off by talking about? Best start for any of the past five presidents, but didn’t even win re-election. It’s been said before: the times make the president, not the other way around.

June 26th, 2009
11:52 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The master of the moonwalk

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Is it just me or have Michael Jackson’s songs become a constant soundtrack since he died of cardiac arrest yesterday?

On the subway this morning, I sat between two people listening to iPods, bopping their heads and humming along to his songs - “Man in the Mirror” on my left, and “Billie Jean” on my right. After years of being appalled or perplexed by the odd look and behaviors of Michael Jackson, it seems it took his sudden death for everyone to rediscover just how much they loved the ‘King of Pop.’ As of last night, the Top 5 albums downloaded on iTunes were all Jackson’s.

We’ll bring you more on the details surrounding Jackson’s death tonight. We’re expecting to get results from an autopsy this afternoon which should provide more clues as to how the 50-year-old went into cardiac arrest. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be on to explain the results.

Jackson’s death is obviously something felt by people across the world. The 1,500 inmates in the Philippine prison who danced to ‘Thriller’ in the famous viral video will dance again on Saturday and hold a minute of prayer for Jackson.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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