July 1st, 2009
03:37 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

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Fans across the globe continued to mourn Jackson today, six days after the 50-year-old singer went into cardiac arrest.

Michael Jackson’s will from 2002 was filed in a Los Angeles court this morning. His mother, Katherine Jackson is named as legal guardian of his three children. Debbie Rowe, the mother of his two older kids was “intentionally omitted.”

What does it all mean? Do you have questions about what happens to Michael Jackson’s estate – valued at more than $500 million?

Send us a text message with your question to 94553, and you might hear it on air!

The message MUST start with the letters AC, and then a space, then your name and question. If you do not include AC first with a space, we will not receive your text.

Filed under: T1 • Text 360
July 1st, 2009
03:23 PM ET

A coup is a coup: Lessons from Honduras

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/07/01/honduras.coup.OAS/art.president.honduras.un.jpg caption="Ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya appears Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly."]

Joy Olson
Executive Director, Washington Office on Latin America

Make no mistake, the sudden and clandestine removal of a president, while still in his pajamas, by the military is certainly a coup. Yes, military coups can still happen in Central America and there are lessons to be drawn from the recent coup d’etat in Honduras.

Neighboring countries and the U.S. continue to craft their responses to the ousting of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. It is clear, however, that the best way to deal with Central America’s first coup since 1993 is through multilateral engagement via the Organization of American States (OAS).

While some seek to stoke regional tensions by interpreting the situation in Honduras as related to Venezuela, multi-lateral dialogue offers a less polarizing solution to Honduras’ latest political turmoil. Restoring democracy in Honduras with OAS involvement offers a unique opportunity to strengthen relations throughout the hemisphere, forge consensus, and reinvigorate a regional body that is crucial in safeguarding human rights and democracy.


July 1st, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Jackson: 'Don’t ever talk about your dying'

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Jane Fonda

This is the longest I’ve gone without blogging for some time. But sometimes you just have to let life play itself out without comment. Like so many people, I have been in a wash of images and feelings about Michael Jackson. I knew him as well as one could know him during the time before he did “The Wiz” and up through “Thriller.” I couldn’t pretend to understand him.

There were so many complicated signals. Did he want me to be his ‘older women’ friend. He gravitated to older women. For solace? Succor? A beard? Did he want me to teach him the ropes? I never could quite figure it out. But I remember one day he was visiting me at my ranch north of Santa Barbara. It was the first time he had been in that region but he must have liked it because later he bought his ranch in that same area.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Michael Jackson
July 1st, 2009
02:25 PM ET

Franken victory is not funny

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/30/franken.ruling/art.franken.cnn.jpg" caption="Minnesota's Supreme Court ruled Democrat Al Franken the winner in the state's U.S. Senate race."]

John Feehery
Special to CNN

The metric system is the kind of thing that you can expect from the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority Democrats now have in the United States Senate.

After the Watergate scandal in 1974, Democrats trounced Republicans in the mid-term elections, getting 61 seats in the Senate and 291 in the House.

In the Senate, they adjusted the rules to make it harder for Republicans to filibuster (reducing the magic number from 67 to 60 to invoke cloture, which ends debate). In the House, they passed all kinds of reforms to take power away from senior members and give it to junior members. And Congress mandated that the American people embrace the metric system.

The metric system idea never really caught on, and although the pain of Watergate afflicted Republicans for another two elections, they eventually pulled themselves out of their deep hole, with some good ideas and a charismatic leader, who promised to restore America to greatness.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Democrats • Republicans
July 1st, 2009
02:25 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Jobs & housing remain in focus

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Reports out this morning show that the job market is deteriorating at a slower pace, but unemployment is expected to remain high for some time.

Payroll-processing firm ADP says private-sector employers cut 473,000 jobs in June, a 2.5% improvement from the revised 485,000 drop in May. That’s more than expected, but the May tally was revised lower.

While the economy has shown some signs of stabilization, unemployment is likely to remain high "for at least several more months," according to ADP. However, the firm said that the pace of the decline in the job market has slowed.

Looking ahead, ADP expects additional job losses of between 800,000 and 1 million by the end of the year.

Separately, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says the number of job cuts announced in June fell for the fifth straight month, after reaching a 7-year high in January.

Challenger said job cut announcements by U.S. employers totaled 74,393 in June, a 33% decline from May. That’s the lowest total since March 2008 and 9% lower than the number of job cuts announced in the same month a year ago.

Housing rebound continues

Home sales continued their modest upward swing in May, according to a closely-watched industry report that rose for the fourth-straight month for the first time in nearly 5 years.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.1% during the month, and was up 6.7% compared with May 2008. That’s was the first four-month run up in the pending sales measure since October 2004.

But the rise in sales contracts may not yield a like increase in completed sales, according to the NAR’s chief economist, because some contracts are delayed or falling through due to the application of new appraisal rules for many transactions.

Many industry insiders have complained that home appraisals are being too often based on values of foreclosed properties, which sell for significantly less than the homes of ordinary sellers.

Citigroup raises credit card rates

Citigroup has sharply increased interest rates on 13 million to 15 million credit cards it offers through co-branding relationships with retailers like Sears.

The move comes only a few months before new government rules are set to kick in that will make it more difficult for card issuers to raise interest rates and tack on more fees for borrowers.

And Citigroup, which will soon be 34% owned by American taxpayers as part of its latest government rescue, is not alone.

Other big banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, have been boosting rates on cardholders ahead of the looming crackdown. Most banks have argued that the higher rates are justified because the only way they can continue to offer credit to consumers is if they are able to make a profit from doing so.

Gas prices decline for 10th straight day

Gas prices dropped 3-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.63. That’s the 10th straight day of declines.

In the last ten days the average price has decreased 6.3 cents, or 2.3 percent. The average price of a gallon of gas is also down $1.484, or 36 percent, from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.135). The cheapest are in Missouri ($2.420).

New Orleans: The fastest-growing city in the U.S.

“The Big Easy” is making a big comeback. New Orleans has steadily won back some of the population it lost in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to a government report released this morning.

New Orleans lost more than half its residents during the deluge. Few large U.S. cities have ever had to cope with a disaster on that scale. Since then, it has been one of the country's fastest growing cities.

Freddie Mac gets another $6.1 billion

Finally, battered mortgage giant Freddie Mac has received $6.1 billion in new funding from the Treasury Department to help offset its mounting liabilities, according to a regulatory filing.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has been operating Freddie Mac since last fall, requested the funds for Freddie Mac after the firm's liabilities exceeded its assets by more than $6 billion, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Including the new $6.1 billion, Freddie Mac has now received $51.7 billion from the Treasury and has access to an additional $150 billion to help it stay in business.

Filed under: 360° Radar
July 1st, 2009
02:06 PM ET

Documents: UN report raises concerns over Iraqi landmines

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/01/iraq.landmines/art.landmines.file.afp.gi.jpg caption="Landmines are laid out after being turned in at an Iraqi police station in 2004."]
Editor's Note: According to a new report released today, Iraq has a landmine problem that could take decades to clean up. That fact concerns the report's authors – UNICEF, the U.N. Development Program, and the Iraqi Ministry of Environment – as it could jeopardize the country's commitment to the global treaty to ban landmines. To read the report in its entirety, click below. Tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET to hear the latest on the situation in Iraq from CNN's Michael Ware.

Click here to read the UN's report

Filed under: 360° Radar • Documents • Iraq
July 1st, 2009
12:41 PM ET

Is Gates giving 'Don't ask, don't tell' a closer look?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/01/gates.gays/art.gates.gi.jpg caption="U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says there may be flexibility in applying "don't ask, don't tell.""]

Barbara Starr
Pentagon Correspondent

Defense Secretary Robert Gates for the first time is outlining potential Obama Administration plans to selectively enforce the "don't ask don't tell" ban on gays in the military so that some gays could serve.

Gates says he is now looking at ways to make the ban "more humane" including letting people serve who may have been outed due to vengeance or a jilted lover. The remarks were made in a transcript released Tuesday by the Pentagon.

Gates told reporters traveling with him, "One of the things we're looking at - is there flexibility in how we apply this law?" As the "don't ask don't tell" law now stands, anyone who is openly gay in the military is expelled if they are found out.

Gates indicated he is looking at several options. "Let me give you an example. Do we need to be driven when the information, to take action on somebody, if we get that information from somebody who may have vengeance in mind or blackmail or somebody who has been jilted."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Barbara Starr • Gay & Lesbian Issues • Military • Robert Gates
July 1st, 2009
11:40 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Jackson’s health, Obama and Hondurama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/07/01/honduras.coup.OAS/art.honduras.unrest.afp.gi.jpg caption="Zelaya's supporters burn tires Monday near the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

More details are emerging about how Michael Jackson’s family is preparing to honor the famous star. Jackson’s body will be taken to his Neverland Ranch on tomorrow morning for a public viewing at some point in the next week. We’re also hearing details about a private memorial service on Sunday at Neverland. Reports say that Jackson’s may be filed today in Los Angeles County. Anderson is in Los Angeles and will have the latest tonight.

Meanwhile, more information is being revealed about Michael Jackson’s health. A nutritionist and nurse practitioner who says she worked with the singer told Anderson last night that Jackson suffered severe bouts of insomnia and pleaded for a powerful sedative despite knowing its harmful effects. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will explain the causes and effects of insomnia and the impact of certain sedatives on a body.

Later on today, President Obama will hold a national discussion on health care through an online town hall meeting in Virginia today. Do you plan on tuning in? He’ll field questions from the live audience, but also from people on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. What would you ask him?


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
July 1st, 2009
10:47 AM ET

Dear President Obama #163: Jobs, race and courting trouble

Reporter's Note: I really have a very hard time believing much of the press I’ve heard over the years about how often presidents exchange letters with members of the public.  Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, I have been sending a letter a day to the White House and it’s no picnic.  Still, I press on…

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Here’s the good news: I’m pretty sure the Supreme Court ruling on those Connecticut firefighters is not going to substantially hurt your nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. Yes, they turned around her decision in the case like a Miata on a wet road, and they effectively said the white firefighters and the one Latino in the lawsuit were discriminated against. And yes she’ll be hit with that during confirmation. But it’s probably not a deal breaker. She’ll get one of those fancy robes, and the first judicial cornerstone of your legacy will be set.

That said, you should read this decision carefully, because I suspect it foreshadows many tough battles ahead over a basic question: Are anti-discrimination laws fundamentally aimed at helping make up for past injustices by helping minorities move forward, or at preventing new discrimination?

A lot of Americans, from all ethnic backgrounds, are highly in favor of just treating people equally…regardless of race. We all know about our past problems, and no reasonable soul wants to repeat those. But when the discussion shifts from equality to reparation; including job quotas, paybacks for past wrongs, preferential hiring based on race; a lot of citizens want off of the train.


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