July 3rd, 2009
10:19 PM ET

Cirque du Sarah announces end of the Alaska '09 tour

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/03/art.palinprimetime.jpg caption="Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announces she's stepping down this month."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Cue the orchestra; a tune like you might expect from Yanni if he were thrown from an airplane with his fingers duck taped to a keyboard. High above the center stage a spotlight blooms like a fuel-air bomb on a hair thin wire. The background glows muted, and Warholesque with mountain ranges, rivers, glaciers, frost-bitten miners, and pink salmon. The gaping maw of a Kodiak is projected onto the hardwood, a hundred feet below.

Behold, the final act of Cirque Du Sarah.

Seriously, in all the weirdness of political theater that we’ve seen in recent years, the Governor of Alaska’s air walk from virtually nowhere only a year or so ago, to GOP darling, to pop culture puzzle, to this… this unexpected leap into the unknown this afternoon, left my mouth hanging open. (And in the wake of that Argentina hopping South Carolina Gov, that’s saying something…)


Filed under: Sarah Palin • Tom Foreman
July 3rd, 2009
10:00 PM ET

The meaning of patriotism

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/weather/07/03/weather.fireworks.safety/art.fireworks.gi.jpg caption="Fireworks? Family picnics? What makes you feel patriotic on 4th of July?"]

Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

For many years, my friend Eve hosted an old-fashioned Fourth of July picnic in the meadow behind her home. Hayrides, sack races, softball and tug-of-war. Grilled chicken, marinated onions, tomatoes and smores. Red, white and blue bunting. After dark, fireworks.

And a flatbed equipped with a microphone and speakers, for anyone who wanted to do a reading, lead a sing-a-long or, in general, speak their piece. After three decades, a production of this magnitude for some 200 invited guests became too much. Knowing that last year’s would be the final large-scale Fourth of July picnic in the meadow, I took my turn.

After suggesting that it was unfortunate that people have their patriotism questioned when they voice a vision for their country different than whatever holds popular sway at the time and that intolerance could be found at all ends of the political spectrum, I read a selection of quotes about patriotism, some of which are included in those offered here:

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” James Baldwin

“Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism – and wars.”Dale Carnegie

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.”Henry Clay


Filed under: David Schechter
July 3rd, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 07/03/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, the surprising career change for Gov. Sarah Palin. She's quitting her job as governor of Alaska by the end of the month. The big question tonight is: Why?

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. 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
July 3rd, 2009
09:18 PM ET

Lincoln cheese statue unveiled, head falls off

Greg Clary

The heat was just too much for a life-sized cheese statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington Friday, as the cheddar head slid off and shocked the gathered crowd.

A woman shrieked in horror when the head collapsed at her feet.

Troy Landwehr spent more than forty hours carving the statue out of a one ton block of Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese. The carving is for the annual Cheez-It Big Cheese events which are patriotic cheese carvings unveiled around Independence Day.

In years past, the carvings have included the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Mount Rushmore.

After putting Lincoln together again, Ledweher told CNN what type of cheese works the best for these carvings.

“The young cheddar works the best. It has the best oils and consistency. Other cheeses are too soft and will melt and (some) are too hard and you won’t get a smooth surface when you cut on them,” said Landwehr.

Apparently, this cheese wasn’t quite hard enough.

Filed under: 360° Radar
July 3rd, 2009
09:05 PM ET

Michael Jackson and that blond guitarist

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/03/art.jackson.guitarist.jpg caption="Michael Jackson rocking out with Orianthi during a rehearsal for his London comeback ."]

Asia Lindsay
AC360° Intern

Who is the blond female guitarist Michael Jackson dances with in the videotaped dress rehearsal for his tour - just two days before he died?

She is Orianthi Panagaris, an Australian guitarist who has recorded her own work and also played with Santana and also with Carrie Underwood at the Grammys.

She calls herself just Orianthi, and now she has been thrust into the limelight.

Orianthi has declined to talk about Jackson since his death, but here's what she tweeted:

“looking back on some wonderful memories and feeling really sad, MJ was ready and was taken far too soon, he was such a wonderful person.r.i.p”

We feel the same way, Orianthi.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
July 3rd, 2009
08:55 PM ET

Is Diprivan dangerous?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/07/02/diprivan.propofol.jackson/art.surgery.gi.jpg caption="Patients undergoing surgery may receive Diprivan to keep them sedated during the procedure."]

Elizabeth Landau

Diprivan is a powerful I.V. anesthetic drug used for patients undergoing certain surgeries and diagnostic procedures.

The drug is making headlines with the claim from a nurse who worked for pop icon Michael Jackson that the singer, who died June 25, had repeatedly asked her about the drug. Nurse Cherilyn Lee told CNN that Jackson had brought up Diprivan about three months ago, saying he needed it for insomnia and that his doctor said it was safe.

"He said, 'I am so sleepy. I cannot sleep. I want to have at least eight hours of sleep,'" Lee told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The medication, whose generic name is propofol, renders the patient unconscious for as long as doctors deem necessary. The patient wakes up almost immediately after the infusion is stopped, experts say.

But treating sleep disorders is not an approved use of the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says Diprivan should be given only by people trained in the administration of general anesthesia and who are not involved in the conduct of the surgery or diagnostic procedure.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Medical News • Michael Jackson
July 3rd, 2009
08:31 PM ET

Video: Lionel Richie: Singing with Michael Jackson

Andy Segal
CNN Senior Producer

In 1985, with famine ravaging parts of Africa, MJ and Lionel Richie teamed up to write a charity song for relief efforts. It was done on a tight deadline, with the biggest names in pop music adding their voices to what would inevitably be a hit single. But even before dealing with logistics, egos, and the technical challenges of making a record, Jackson and Richie first needed a song. And neither one could write or read music! So how did they do it? Lionel Richie explains.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson • Pop Culture
July 3rd, 2009
08:12 PM ET

Joe Jackson – Selling the ranch

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/03/art.joejackson.jpg]

Jennifer Wolfe
CNN Entertainment Supervising Producer

You heard Joe Jackson shill for his new record label “Ranch Records” twice at the BET awards and once at a family presser in Encino. Well the name is already taken.

I talked to Dixon Shanks on the phone, he confirms HE owns Ranch Records and says it has been his company since 2001. The label has about 8 artists and is based in Lufkin, Texas.

Shanks has not received any calls from the Jackson family or their representatives (as of this writing) asking him if he’d be willing to sell the name.

Filed under: 360° Radar
July 3rd, 2009
07:24 PM ET

It came from Wasilla

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/03/palin/t1home.palin.gi.jpg caption="Palin is stepping down."]

Todd S. Purdum
Vanity Fair

Despite her disastrous performance in the 2008 election, Sarah Palin is still the sexiest brand in Republican politics, with a lucrative book contract for her story. But what Alaska’s charismatic governor wants the public to know about herself doesn’t always jibe with reality. As John McCain’s top campaign officials talk more candidly than ever before about the meltdown of his vice-presidential pick, the author tracks the signs—political and personal—that Palin was big trouble, and checks the forecast for her future.

The crowds begin streaming into the Evansville Auditorium and Convention Centre a couple of hours before the arrival of the “special guest speaker” at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner on a soft Indiana spring evening—nearly 2,200 people in the banquet hall, 800 more in an adjacent auditorium watching the proceedings on a live video feed. The menu is thick slices of roast pork and red velvet cake, washed down with pitchers of iced tea, and when Sarah Palin finally enters, escorted by a phalanx of sheriff’s deputies and local police, she is mobbed.


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Filed under: Raw Politics • Republicans • Sarah Palin • Todd S. Purdum
July 3rd, 2009
06:59 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/3/09

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:

Former champion Takeru Kobayashi (R) and reigning champion Joey Chestnut look on at the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest official weigh-in ceremony July 2, 2009 in New York City. Chestnut defeated arch rival Kobayashi of Japan in an overtime battle last year by consuming 64 hot dogs. (Photo by Mario Tama/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
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