October 23rd, 2009
04:23 PM ET

Airliner overshoots airport; controllers feared hijacking

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TRAVEL/10/23/airliner.fly.by/art.minneapolis.gi.jpg.jpg caption="An aerial view shows downtown Minneapolis."]
By Mike M. Ahlers

A passenger flight from San Diego, California, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, overshot its destination airport by about 150 miles Wednesday, and federal investigators are looking into whether the pilots had become distracted, as they claimed, or perhaps fallen asleep.

Air traffic controllers lost radio communication with the Northwest Airlines Airbus A320, carrying 147 passengers and an unknown number of crew, when it was flying at 37,000 feet, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. There was no communication with Flight 188 for more than an hour as it approached the airport, the board said.

When air traffic controllers finally made contact with the pilot, his answers were so vague that controllers feared the plane might have been hijacked, according to a source familiar with the incident.

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October 23rd, 2009
04:17 PM ET

White House First Family portrait

(Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz/Released by White House Photo Office)

The official first family portrait was unveiled Thursday on the White House Flickr page. The photo was snapped by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz on September 1, 2009 in the Green Room of the White House.

October 23rd, 2009
03:55 PM ET

Sweat lodge survivor: 'People were so disoriented'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/10/22/sweat.lodge.deaths/art.sweatlodge.knxv.jpg caption="Self-help author James Arthur Ray has hired investigators to investigate three deaths at an Arizona sweat lodge."]

A woman who was inside a "sweat lodge" at an Arizona retreat where three people died this month described people vomiting and screaming.

"Everybody was throwing up everywhere. There was spitting going on. ... People were so disoriented they were screaming at one point," said Beverly Bunn of Texas.

Three people died after spending time in the sweat lodge October 8 and nearly 20 others were injured. Two were pronounced dead shortly after they arrived at a local hospital and a third died October 17 after being hospitalized since the incident.

Bunn described a scene of horror and confusion inside the dome-like structure, which was covered with tarps and blankets and had hot rocks and water inside to create steam.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Sweat Lodge Deaths
October 23rd, 2009
03:45 PM ET

The presidential power failure

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/22/art.obamadesk.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

On a hot afternoon in 2003, as the work day was winding down, a massive power failure struck the Northeast. Maybe you remember it. More than 50 million people saw their computers, office lights, traffic signals, transit systems, telephones, electric massage chairs, and margarita blenders stop cold. They flooded into streets suddenly stripped of their electrical essence and began trekking home, wondering all the while what had happened.

And now we might see the same scene play out at the White House if the economy continues to lag because every week brings another indicator that the country’s financial problems are creating severe power shortages for all of the president’s plans.

Health care reform, green energy ideas, foreign policy proposals, and educational objectives – every one of them was expected to draw the usual and expected opposition. But now the economy is undermining those initiatives, too. When all else fails, his opponents can simply say “You know, we just can’t afford your changes right now.”

Take immigration. President Obama has spoken repeatedly about the need to grapple with our immigration policy. But our latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that the citizens of the country are rapidly moving to their own conclusions without his leadership. Three-quarters, the highest number ever, now say we must reduce the number of undocumented workers here, and a record 37 percent say they should simply be deported. That is the economy talking.


October 23rd, 2009
03:44 PM ET

Documents: LA’s proposed changes to medical marijuana law

Editor's Note: The Los Angeles City Council has long debated how to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. A proposed ordinance, drafted by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, was recently sent to the City Council. The measure would prohibit sales of medical marijuana. Most dispensaries would be forced to close, including 186 that the city allowed to operate according to authorities. Read the full draft measure below.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/22/california.pot.tax/art.medical.marijuana.generic.gi.jpg]

Carmen A. Trutanich
City Attorney

Honorable Members:

This office has prepared and now transmits for your consideration the attached revised draft ordinance, approved as to form and legality. This draft ordinance would add Article 5.1 to Chapter IV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) regulating the collective cultivation of medical marijuana, pursuant to state law, in the City of Los Angeles. Pursuant to instructions from your Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee, it includes several changes from the last draft ordinance transmitted on September 22, 2009. The changes are summarized below.

When this matter is considered, we will be prepared to discuss the impacts of this ordinance, the case of Los Angeles Collective Association, et a/. v. City of Los Angeles, LASC BC 422215 and any other relevant litigation. If necessary, we will ask that the meeting be recessed into closed session for this purpose, pursuant to Government Code section 54956.9(a) and (b)(1).

Find the full draft ordinance here...

Filed under: Marijuana
October 23rd, 2009
02:58 PM ET

Is the LA District Attorney ignoring the law?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/18/obama.drug.war/art.marijuana.gi.jpg]

Allison B. Margolin
Criminal Defense Attorney

As the Obama administration attempts to steer federal agents away from prosecuting marijuana dispensaries, the Los Angeles District Attorney and City Attorney’s Office is attempting to undermine that shift by articulating a deceitfully narrow view of the state law.

Despite reports of trillion dollar deficits nationally and a collapsing state economy, District Attorney Steve Cooley says his office is committed to closing down revenue-generating medical marijuana dispensaries and the LA District Attorney’s office continues to take prisoners of war in their fight against safe access to medical marijuana.

In doing so, LA City is threatening to plunge the state’s economy into further collapse by taking potential tax revenues that could be going to the state treasury. Moreover, the City’s position threatens to generate crime by forcing the huge demand for marijuana back to the street. If the free market has allowed for the proliferation of dispensaries, that demand is not going away. The avenue for its fulfillment will simply change and could go from safe to entrenched in the poly-drug trafficking black market economy.

Most alarming, perhaps, is that the District Attorney seeks not only to thwart the proliferation of these establishments but seeks to create a whole new class of felons – medical marijuana operators. And the DA’s view of the state law - that it does not allow for the operation of dispensaries - is not just shocking. It flies in the face of case law handed down by the California courts.


Filed under: Crime • Marijuana
October 23rd, 2009
02:16 PM ET

Mr. President, take all the time you need on Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/30/analysis.interrogations.report/art.cheney.gi.jpg caption="Dick Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 in the administration of George W. Bush. "]
Roland S. Martin

Mr. President, please take my advice: never listen to the nutty advice of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Trust me, he gave enough dumb advice to President George W. Bush during the last eight years that it's best that he just keep quiet on anything dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead of recognizing that his constant pushing for war in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the tragic events on 9/11, has put American in a tenuous position with the rest of the world, including our allies, Dick "I Took Five Deferments So I Wouldn't Have to Serve in Vietnam" Cheney wants to send more of our men and women into Afghanistan with absolutely no clue as to what the game plan is.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Dick Cheney • Roland S. Martin
October 23rd, 2009
01:30 PM ET

How marijuana became legal

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/21/medical.marijuana.policy/art.marijuana.gi.jpg caption="A federal move could encourage other states to make their own laws allowing medical marijuana use. "]

Roger Parloff
Fortune Magazine

When Irvin Rosenfeld, 56, picks me up at the Fort Lauderdale airport, his SUV reeks of marijuana. The vice president for sales at a local brokerage firm, Rosenfeld has been smoking 10 to 12 marijuana cigarettes a day for 38 years, he says.

That's probably unusual in itself, but what makes Rosenfeld exceptional is that for the past 27 years, he has been copping his weed directly from the United States government.

Every 25 days Rosenfeld goes to a pharmacy and picks up a tin of 300 federally grown and rolled cigarettes that have been sent there for him by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), acting with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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October 23rd, 2009
12:47 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Home sales spike

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/09/01/bernanke.id.theft/art.ben.bernanke.cnn.jpg caption="Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke urges Congress to enact reforms."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Sales of previously-owned homes rebounded sharply last month to their highest level in two years, getting a strong boost from first-time homebuyers.

Existing home sales jumped 9.4% in September after falling for the first time in four months in August, according to the National Association of Realtors. Year over year, sales were up 9.2% in September.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said much of the buying momentum came from people hoping to take advantage of an $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of November.


Filed under: AIG • Andrew Torgan • Finance • Housing Market
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