Several town hall meetings on health care reform are looking more like backyard brawls. Members of Congress are meeting with voters and facing verbal backlash. The question is: Is all this being staged? Plus, we wrap up our week-long look at the Manson murders. 40 years after the killings, see what life is like for Charles Manson behind bars.
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Life-saving medical procedures and drugs allow Americans to live longer and healthier than ever before. But for a growing number of uninsured Americans, paying for that care hasn't kept pace.
Click here to view an interactive timeline of US government's health care policy.
Also, click here to see side-by-side comparison of major health care reform proposals.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
US Department of State
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) is a dictatorship under the absolute rule of Kim Jong-il, general secretary of the Korean Workers' Party (KWP) and chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC), the "highest office of state." The country has an estimated population of 23.5 million. Kim's father, the late Kim Il-sung, remains "eternal president." Local elections held in July 2007 were not free or fair. There was no civilian control of the security forces, and members of the security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses.
The government's human rights record remained poor, and the regime continued to commit numerous serious abuses. The regime subjected citizens to rigid controls over many aspects of their lives. Citizens did not have the right to change their government. There continued to be reports of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, and political prisoners. Prison conditions were harsh and life threatening, and torture occurred. Pregnant female prisoners underwent forced abortions in some cases, and in other cases babies were killed upon birth in prisons.
Program Note: The summer months of 1969 were especially historic. Humans took their first steps on the moon, the Woodstock Festival rocked thousands of concertgoers, riots in New York sparked the gay rights movement and the strange Manson murders shook up southern California. All this week, AC360º will take a closer look into the mysterious lives of the Manson family murderers. Tune in for the 5 part series at 10 P.M. ET.
Read more about the Summer of 1969 here and the Mason murders below.
[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/05/california.manson.family.hearing/art.gi.jpg" caption="Susan Atkins, shown here after her indictment in the Manson murders, has been denied parole 17 times."]
40 years after Manson murders
The woman who stabbed pregnant actress Sharon Tate to death will be considered for parole from prison a month after the 40th anniversary of the killings that cast a shadow of fear over southern California.
Susan Atkins, 61, has been denied parole in 17 previous hearings, but the former "Manson Family" member now is terminally ill with brain cancer and is paralyzed.
Charles Manson used his hypnotic powers to direct Atkins and other "family" members to kill seven people, including the pregnant Tate, in a two-night rampage that terrorized the city of Los Angeles, California, in August 1969.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/08/07/iraq.kidnapped.boy/art.iraq.boy.cnn.jpg caption="Khidir, now 8, was kidnapped and held hostage for two years by operatives with al Qaeda in Iraq."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/08/07/iraq.kidnapped.boy/art.boy.dad.cnn.jpg caption="Khidir and his father, Abdul Qader, recently talked to CNN about his ordeal."]
Octavia Nasr | BIO
CNN Senior Editor, Middle East Affairs
He looks like any 8-year old at first glance. He likes to play with his toy car and he dreams of one day becoming a police officer just like his dad. But, if you look closely into these innocent-looking eyes, would you be able to guess that this little boy was kidnapped, tortured and forced into hard labor before being rescued by Iraqi forces? Physical scars from nails being hammered into his legs and cigarettes put out on the bare skin of his shoulders, are visible on his tiny body. But can you see the psychological scars much deeper underneath? Can anyone?
I grew up during Lebanon’s civil war and I’ve seen and heard many horror stories of some people who survived torture and others who weren’t as fortunate. There is still something terribly touching about every story I hear, especially when it involves children and innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with the war or its games. They don’t carry guns, they don’t shoot at anyone, they are in no one’s way, they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Khidir was in the wrong place at the wrong time when al Qaeda operatives in Iraq gave his father an ultimatum. They wanted the Iraqi forces to release some prisoners and because Khidir’s father is a police officer they kidnapped his six-year-old son to pressure him to release the prisoners. But Khidir’s father said he would have preferred his son to die a martyr than to release the terrorists. He didn’t realize his son would remain in captivity for almost two years. Khidir endured physical abuse and was made to work in the fields for his captors. Last December, he was rescued by Iraqi forces.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/07/health.care.scuffles/art.florida.town.hall.cnn.jpg caption="A Tampa, Florida, health care reform meeting sparks noisy exchanges between attendees."]
Town hall discussions on health care reform are getting ugly across the nation. Members of Congress are confronted by angry and aggressive crowds as the topic comes up. Tonight, we will show you the raw videos: the shouts and the anger heating up. But are these grassroot protests or just astroturf or both? Gary Tuchman will have more.
Rick Scott, a multimillionaire and a key leader of the opposition to Obama’s health care reform push will join us live along with senior political analyst David Gergen. Also, Ali Velshi will give us the raw politics behind the public plan and why this idea is so unpopular. The figure associated with health care reform amounts to one trillion dollars. How are lawmakers going to pay for it?
Also tonight, we'll show a far riskier behavior on the road than drinking and driving. According to a new study, truck drivers, who text behind the wheel are 23-times more likely to get in a crash. Yesterday, Illinois became the 17th state to ban texting while driving. It is also illegal in the District of Columbia. Tom Foreman is keeping them honest with a demonstration that may surprise you. And yes, the magic wall will be back in action.
Today’s society is beset by “urban legends” — rumors spread widely on the Internet that are not true.
One of the current urban legends making the rounds is that members of Congress get free health care. That is particularly in vogue today because Congress is spending much of this year debating how to reform the health care system for all the rest of us.
As a former member of Congress who represented Texas for 26 years, I know something about this subject from firsthand experience.
While in Washington, members of the House and Senate are entitled to routine treatment from the Capitol physician’s office with referral to either Walter Reed Army Medical Center or Bethesda Naval Hospital for anything serious. Members pay an annual fee for this privilege, which is like belonging to an HMO.
However, this coverage does not extend to a member’s family (spouse and minor children) and does not cover any illness or injury when a member is back in his or her home state.
In order to get health coverage for family members or for themselves when back home, members are treated like all other federal employees (such as clerks at the Agriculture Department or lawyers in the Justice Department). Thus, members of Congress are eligible to sign up for one of the variety of “cafeteria plans” offered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/03/20/charles.manson.prison/art.manson.corcoran.jpg caption="A new photo of Charles Manson shows his gray beard and the swastika tattooed into his forehead."]
In his latest mug shot, Charles Manson's wild-eyed stare is gone, as is most of his hair. Except for the swastika he carved into his brow during his murder trial, he could be any gray-bearded senior citizen.
If the photo authorities released early this week is any indication, the leader of a murderous band called "The Family," has mellowed some after almost 40 years in a California state prison.
He has had a lot of alone time.
Manson, 74, is locked away in protective custody, according to Sabrina Johnson, a spokeswoman at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Manson has his own cell. His exposure to prison neighbors that include mass killer Juan Corona and Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, is very limited, Johnson said.
Manson and four others - Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles "Tex" Watson and Leslie Van Houten - were convicted of murder and other charges in connection with a two-night rampage that left pregnant actress Sharon Tate and seven others dead.
Manson and the four "family" members' death sentences were overturned during the 1970s, when the death penalty laws were ruled unconsitutional. He is quietly serving out his life sentence. Although he once frequently gave bombastic rants on national television, he hasn't granted a media interview in years.