[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2009/LIVING/worklife/10/16/challenge.women.military/art.female.soldier.gi.jpg caption="A female U.S. soldier stands watch in Iraq in this file photo."]
Forty years ago, one-third of all workers were women; now nearly half are. Rather than increasing conflict or competition between the sexes, more than three-quarters of Americans (76% of men, 80% of women) view this as positive for society; only 19% say it's negative. And that view holds regardless of age, race or political ideology: 81% of African Americans view it as a positive change, along with 84% of Latinos, 88% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans.
An interracial couple is denied a marriage license. The justice of the peace says he's not racist. We're uncovering America. Plus, new details on the self-help guru at the center of a homicide investigation after two people died during a sweat lodge ceremony. Tonight, new insight on James Arthur Ray's spiritual retreat.
Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/16/louisiana.interracial.marriage/art.mckay.wafb.jpg caption= "Terence McKay says a justice of the peace refused to give him and his white girlfriend a marriage license."]
There are more calls for a white justice of the peace in Louisiana to resign for refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.
Today Louisiana's Republican governor Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu said Keith Bardwell broke the law and his license should be revoked.
The NAACP agrees.
"If he doesn't do what his position calls for him to do, he should resign from that position," Patricia Morris, president of the NAACP branch of Tangipahoa Parish, near the Mississippi line, told CNN Thursday.
Tonight on 360°, we're uncovering America with new details on the controversy.
Beth Humphrey, 30, who is white, and Terence McKay, 32, who is black, ended up going to another justice of the peace to get married.
You'll hear from the bride tonight. She says this case boils town to racism.
However, Bardwell told a local newspaper he's not a racist. He claims interracial marriages don't last.
"I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children," he added.
We also have a 360° follow on yesterday's balloon chase. Was it all a hoax? The Heene family says no. They've released the video they shot in their backyard as the homemade balloon hit the skies of Colorado. We also have the 911 call made by the Heenes when they thought six-year-old son Falcon was inside the balloon. That was not the case.
And we continue Dr. Sanjay Gupta's reports on cheating death. Tonight meet a woman who told Sanjay what it was like to die and why she believes there is an afterlife.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/16/cheating.near.death/art.laura.cnn.jpg caption="Laura Geraghty was shocked 21 times before she came back from cardiac arrest with tales of the afterlife."]
CNN Medical Senior Producer
Our special this weekend, “Another Day: Cheating Death,” includes the story of Laura Geraghty, a school bus driver in Massachusetts who survived a cardiac arrest that left her without a heartbeat for 57 minutes. While the medical aspect is astounding, just as interesting is the story Geraghty told when she was revived.
She’d floated out of her body, and found herself in a world of incredibly bright light – heaven, she says. While there she saw her son, daughter, granddaughter and even her ex-husband – who wouldn’t take her hand when she reached out to him. Eventually she came back to the real world.
Many cultures and religions describe a vivid world on the border of life and death, but the classic modern near-death experience, or NDE, was described by Dr. Raymond Moody in his 1966 book, “Life After Life.” While not every NDE includes the same features, among the most common – according to Moody – are bright lights, a tunnel, a sense of being out of the body and an intense feeling of peace and calm.
Most people who return from the verge of death with memories like this say it’s a life-changing experience. Many view it as direct proof of an afterlife – that the place they “visit” is the world we all will see after we die. But increasingly, near-death experience (a term coined by Moody) is being studied from the perspective of science.
Dr. Kevin Nelson, a neurologist at the University of Kentucky, believes an NDE is caused by REM activity, the same type of brain activity that’s linked to dreaming. REM activity, says Nelson, can be triggered by intense stress or even lack of oxygen. In fact, he says many people experience an out-of-body experience during fainting episodes, or if they momentarily lose blood flow to the brain – as in a massive head rush.
Editor's Note: Michael J. Rosenfeld, of the Department of Sociology at Stanford University has done a significant amount of research on family trends and social change in the United States. His book, "The Age of Independence: Interracial Unions, Same-Sex Unions and the Changing American Family," details the increasing number of interracial marriages in the United States.
Rosenfeld uses U.S. census data and in-depth interviews to examine the histories of families and couples.
See some of his findings here:
The increasing percentage of American couples that are interracial.
The decreasing support in the US for laws against interracial marriage.
Michael J. Rosenfeld
Department of Sociology
Until very recently, individual level census data from the past had never been available for scholarly analysis. What we knew about family life in the past came from diaries, from the official records of a few towns and churches, or from travel writers such as Tocqueville.
Now that we have individual level census records from 1850 through 2000, we are able to look into long term trends in family life in a way that inevitably must cast some of our previous assumptions aside. I use the newly available census data to describe the rise of the independent life stage, and the sharp increase in the number of interracial and same-sex unions in recent years.
My analysis of census data offers a new explanation for why the tumult of the industrial revolution failed to produce an increase in nontraditional unions: most families in the industrial revolution moved to cities and factory towns together, so the basic structure of parental supervision over young adults was maintained.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/09/21/cardiac.arrest.parade/art.gupta.parade.jpg caption="Sanjay Gupta says the latest CPR techniques can save the lives of vicitims of cardiac arrest."]
Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
Program Note: Tune in tonight to watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta report on a near-death experience. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Editor's Note: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, is author of the new book "Cheating Death," which will be published next month. This article originally appeared in the September 20, 2009, issue of Parade and Parade.com.
I am going to let you in on a secret: When a person's heart stops beating, it's not the end. Contrary to what you may think, death is not a single event. Instead, it's a process that can be interrupted.
Mike Mertz knows this firsthand. On January 23, 2008, the 59-year-old Arizona man was driving home from work. The last thing he remembers is pulling into his complex's driveway. Then his heart stopped. Corey Ash, a passing UPS driver, noticed a silver Saturn wedged between a palm tree and a wall, with the engine running and a person slumped at the wheel. Ash stopped to investigate. He switched off the car's engine, pulled Mertz out, and laid him on the ground. Ash called 911 and started pumping the older man's chest. The next few minutes would be absolutely critical for Mertz.
If you had been there, standing over Mertz's lifeless body, would you have known what to do?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/15/colorado.boy.balloon.family/art.wife.swap.heene.abc.jpg caption="The Heene family, known for storm chasing together, appeared on ABC's Wife Swap."]
The family of a boy who is believed to have set adrift a balloon in Colorado is known for storm chasing and conducting extreme science experiments together, according to the father's MySpace page.
Richard Heene describes himself in his profile as a storm chaser and the host of a documentary series and radio show that investigates
"the mysteries of science."
The Fort Collins family was also featured on the ABC show "Wife Swap."
"When the Heene family aren't chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm," the show's Web site said.
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:
At a birthday celebration for the First Family's dog, Bo, his brother Cappy sneaks a treat from a table in the Rose Garden of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009.
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 BEAT 360º WINNERS
"Cappy looks for government hand-outs at the White House."
"Just to show you, it’s not just politicians who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar in Washington."
The ACLU responds to Keith Bardwell's, Justice of the Peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refusal to perform interracial marriages: ACLU response to JOP