July 20th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 07/20/09

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

Tonight, Joe Jackson is speaking out about his son's death. Does he believe Michal is a victim of foul play? We'll have the latest. Plus, Pres. Obama's health care battle. Is he asking for too much? We'll have the raw politics.

Want to know what else we're covering? 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 20th, 2009
09:40 PM ET

Aim for Mars?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/space/07/20/nasa.future.human.exploration/art.aldrin.moon2.gi.jpg caption= "Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon on July 20, 1969. NASA is preparing to send astronauts back and build a lunar base."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Where were you 40 years ago tonight? On July 20, 1969 an estimated 500 million people were glued to their TV sets and even more tuned in to radios for live coverage of man’s first steps on the moon. At that historic moment, 10:57pm ET, Neil Armstrong uttered his now famous phrase: “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."  The 'A' may have gotten lost in translation.

40 years later, should America’s next giant leap be for Mars? The answer is yes if you ask Armstrong’s other crew members that day: Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Though, today, NASA is working on returning astronauts to the moon by 2020. The space agency also wants to create a lunar base that would let crews stay for up to six months by 2025. Critics say forget about the moon, aim for Mars.

Here are some interesting facts from NASA on the red planet:

– Mars is the fourth planet from the sun

– Average distance from Mars to the sun: 142 million miles (Earth: 93 miles)

– Mars is much colder than Earth: Average Temperature: – 81°F

– Length of Year: 687 Days

– The distance between Earth and Mars: up to 249,000,000 miles
(depends on orbit of the two planets)

– Time it would take to travel to Mars: At least 6 months (Watch this NASA video for more details)

– Time it takes to get to the moon: Two to three days

Destination: Mars came up in the conversation last night at the Apollo reunion at Washington’s National Air and Space Museum. “The moon is not a particularly interesting place. But, Mars is. And Mars is the closest thing to Earth's sister that we found so far,” said Collins. "I worry that the current emphasis on returning to the Moon will cause us to become ensnared in a technological briar patch, needlessly delaying for decades the exploration of Mars – a much more worthwhile destination," he added.

Aldrin also pushed for man to visit Mars. “If we persevere, we can reach Mars itself, 66 years after "Tranquility Base", which was 66 years after “Kitty Hawk.” We need a unified space vision. It was a great honor to walk on the moon. Isn't it time we continue our journey outward, past the moon?” he asked. He’s been making his pitch for Mars for a while. "We won the moon race; now it's time for us to live and work on Mars," Aldrin wrote on CNN.com last month. Read Aldrin’s commentary HERE.

What do you think? Moon or Mars? Sound off below.

Filed under: Maureen Miller
July 20th, 2009
07:07 PM ET

How many Gitmo prisoners return to fight?

Program Note: Peter Bergen will be on tonight talking about the situation in Afghanistan. Tune in AC360° 10p ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/20/bergen.guantanamo/art.peter.bergen.cnn.jpg caption="Peter Bergen says it's crucial to know how many ex-Guantanamo prisoners have gone back to the fight."]

Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann
Special to CNN

As President Obama awaits formal recommendations this month on issues surrounding the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it is crucial that policymakers and the public have an accurate picture of the threat to the United States posed by those detainees already released.

Contrary to recent assertions that one in seven, or 14 percent, of the former prisoners had "returned to the battlefield," our analysis of Pentagon reports, news stories and other public records indicates that the number who were confirmed or suspected to be involved in anti-U.S. violence is closer to one in 25, or 4 percent.

During his first week in office, Obama signed an executive order directing that the Guantanamo prison be closed by January 22, 2010, and suspending the system of military commissions that existed to deal with detainees in what the Bush administration termed the war on terror.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Cuba • Global 360° • Guantanomo Bay • On Our Radar • Peter Bergen
July 20th, 2009
06:29 PM ET

Beat 360° 07/20/09

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:

President Barack Obama meets with (from left) Senator Harry Reid, Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, LDS Church President Thomas Monson and Elder Dallin Oaks in the Oval Office. During the meeting they looked at a five volume geneology prepared by the Church's Family History Committee. (Official White House Photograph by Pete Souza)

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.


Staff Winner:

Jay Kernis

“Mr. President, the plan does look very complicated, but it does create 14 jobs in Milwaukee.”

Viewer Winner:


“…and this, Mr. President, is where the we propose you hide Vice President Biden for the next 3.5 years.”

__________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
July 20th, 2009
05:48 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Health care battle

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/20/health.reform/art.obama.healthcare.presser.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama and Republican leaders traded attacks on Monday over health care reform."]
Jacob Smilovitz
AC360° Intern

Tonight, as Democrats and Republicans battle over health care reform, we dig deeper to find out what it all really means for you.

President Obama today tried to stand his ground in the face of a mounting onslaught of GOP attacks. And, in hopes of galvanizing his base, the president even returned to some of his campaign rhetoric.

"This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses and breaking America's economy,” the president said today in Washington. “And we can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time, not now."

But on the other side, Republican leaders see their opportunity and are going on the offensive – with one GOP senator even declaring this Pres. Obama’s “Waterloo” moment.


Filed under: 360° Radar • The Buzz
July 20th, 2009
05:40 PM ET
July 20th, 2009
04:12 PM ET

Bronx Health Reach 2005 testimony

Program note: For more insight on race and the health care system, tune in tonight for Dr. Sanjay Gupta's segment "Medical Apartheid". He goes in depth with two patients who are victims of racial disparity. Watch AC360° tonight 10p ET and on Tuesday and Wednesday, 8p ET for Black In America.

Neil Calman, MD and Maxine Golub, MPH
Bronx Health Reach

Bronx Health REACH is a coalition comprised of 30 community-based organizations and 14 faith-based groups dedicated to eliminating racial disparities in health outcome. The Coalition has been working together since 1999, first examining the causes of racial disparities in the community through focus groups and literature reviews, and then implementing community based initiatives to address specific concerns such as diet and exercise, diabetes management, public health education, provider education, and legal and regulatory issues. The Coalition has trained community health advocates and faith-based
health coordinators to assist in these efforts.

The unfortunate reality is that people of color in this country suffer worse health outcomes than whites in virtually every measure of health, regardless of economic and insurance status. Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be under and uninsured, report greater
difficulty obtaining health care services, and suffer significantly worse health outcomes, including shorter life spans and increased deaths from preventable illnesses.

These disparities have been carefully documented by The Institute of Medicine, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund. Bronx Health REACH has identified a number of factors that contribute to racial disparities in health outcomes.

Click here for the full report...

Filed under: Black in America • Health Care
July 20th, 2009
04:03 PM ET

Documents: Billings' search warrant affidavit

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/07/16/florida.couple.slain/art.family.pnj.jpg caption="Byrd and Melanie Billings did not have any children together, but they cared for 16 children over the years."]
Program Note: Posted below is the search warrant affidavit authorities used to search Leonard Patrick Gonzalez's vehicle. Gonzalez is one of the eight suspects being charged in the robbery and murder of Byrd and Melanie Billings, the Florida couple known for adopting special needs children. For the latest developments on the Billings' murder case, tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET when we will be joined by Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.

Click here to read the search warrant affidavit.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
July 20th, 2009
03:49 PM ET

Video: Captured U.S. soldier 'scared'

Program Note: To watch more on what’s going on in Afghanistan and how the U.S. might respond, tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Afghanistan • Taliban
July 20th, 2009
03:41 PM ET

Clinton tough with de facto Honduran leader

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/honduras.clinton/art.clinton.zelaya.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton says she told President Jose Manuel Zelaya the U.S. supports a restoration of democratic order."]

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with the de facto head Honduras' government Sunday, warning of harsh consequences for the U.S.-Honduran relationship if he fails to accept a proposal by an OAS mediator to end the standoff with ousted president Jose Manuel Zelaya.

Assistant Secretary P.J. Crowley told reporters Monday that Clinton had a "very tough phone call" with de facto President Roberto Micheletti by phone from India, where she urged him to accept mediation efforts by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and "helped him understand the potential consequences of a failure to take advantage of this mediation."

The call came as pressure for a resolution to a political standoff in Honduras increased after the breakdown of talks between the two sides over the weekend.

"She made clear, if the de facto regime needed to be reminded, that we seek a restoration of democratic and constitutional order, a peaceful resolution," Crowley said. "She reminded him about the consequences for Honduras if they fail to accept the principles that President Arias has laid out."


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
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