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November 13th, 2009
11:24 AM ET

The day my name got changed

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Rudy Ruiz
Special to CNN

The case of the New Mexico hotelier who required Latino employees to adopt English names and avoid speaking Spanish at work reminds us of the need for balance as we grapple with cultural evolution in America.

Many of us take our name and its pronunciation for granted. I imagine I did too - until I was 5 years old.

That's when my dad dropped me off on the front porch of Sunnyside School in Brownsville, Texas, the border town where I was born and raised. Like any kid on his first day of school, I was engulfed by longing and loneliness, staring forlornly at my dad through the screen door as he walked away.

When I turned to face the classroom, the teacher's mouth moved and I heard words, but I failed to understand. Tears pricked my eyes. I didn't speak English yet, having been home with my mom up until that first day of kindergarten.

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Filed under: Hispanic
November 13th, 2009
11:08 AM ET

Dear President Obama #298: My life in open enrollment purgatory

Reporter's Note: President Obama is off on another trip, and once again I am hoping for a postcard. After all, I write him every single day. You would think…oh well…

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

So I spent part of my day grinding through that unique circle of hell called my annual insurance review, or Open Enrollment, as the company memos euphemistically call it. It’s a good thing I’m not in charge, because I’d slap a new title on it to more properly foreshadow the misery you should expect; something like “Days of Rage” or “The Insurance Inquisition” or “Lunch with Karl Rove.” Remember that Elvis Costello line? It went something like, “They took me in the office and they told me very cleverly, the way that I could benefit from death and disability.” That’s pretty much how I feel.

Don’t get me wrong. My experiences with insurance companies, by and large, have been OK. Not great. Not like a shrimp po-boy. But OK, nonetheless. I’ve heard the horror stories of how insurance companies sometimes treat people, but I’ve been fortunate and have never had a big league problem with one of them.

No, my complaint is about the sheer complexity of it all. I’ve grown very frustrated in recent years that insurance companies, banks, grocery stores, accounting departments, credit card companies, and on and on and on have developed “customer” services that I don’t think really have anything to do with helping customers. To the contrary, I think they work up these fancy-pants websites to get us to do all their work for them. They tell us it’s to give us “options,” and “freedom,” and “choices,” but mainly it seems like a way for them to save money on hiring people who might actually help explain their services.

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November 13th, 2009
11:06 AM ET

Gay rights advocates need patience

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LZ Granderson
Special to CNN

I'm a single father of a 12-year-old boy who every five minutes seem to switch personalities on me.

One moment he's a starving student athlete hungry enough to eat a cow, the next he's a picky vegan.

I'm told by people much smarter than me that this is normal for a child going through puberty. And so, while I am not an overly religious man, I have found myself meditating on I Corinthians 13:4 to help me get through. Love is patient, love is kind.

I believe there is something each of us can pull from that Bible verse. We may not agree on spirituality or the existence of God, but we can agree that love is one of the most beautiful and mysterious forces. When I'm frustrated with my son, or a friend or even myself, I try to think about the characteristics of love described in I Corinthians before reacting. Be patient. Be kind.

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November 13th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
November 13th, 2009
10:50 AM ET
November 13th, 2009
10:46 AM ET
November 13th, 2009
10:33 AM ET

Morning Buzz: 9/11 alleged leader to be tried in NY

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce this morning that five Guantanamo Bay detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 attacks will be transferred to New York to go on trial in civilian court, according to an Obama administration official. This means accused mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees will be tried in a court house less than 10 blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center Attacks.

Meanwhile, we’re hearing reports about a major shakeup in the Obama administration. The White House's top counsel, Greg Craig, may resign today. Craig has come under criticism over the past few months. He was a key part of the President’s revamping of the U.S. policy on terrorism interrogations and detentions and he was at the center of the administration’s moves to release documents relating to the treatment of terror suspects under the Bush administration. Many of these decisions prompted quite a lot of backlash. Bob Bauer, who was general counsel for Obama during the presidential campaign, has agreed to take Craig’s place. We’ll dig deeper on what this means for the administration tonight.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
November 13th, 2009
06:35 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 11/12/09

Editor's Note: After last night's piece about the Catholic priest who fathered a son 22 years ago, many of you thanked us for bringing the story to light. We received a lot of comments about this story. What do you think?
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Interesting and yet another example of people not taking responsibility for their own actions. Why did the boy's mother engage (repeatedly) in sex with a priest and what did she expect out of it. Her beef is with the boy's father and not with the institution he violated in his sacrilege. It's good that you brought this travesty out; but now what? I wish the mother peace.

At 18 child supports stops for everyone else, but she feels she is entitled to receive it indefinitely. I wish I could have received $233,000 for my three sons, but I had to work 2 jobs to make ends meet and didn't complain. She needs to be grateful and enjoy him while she can. I lost 2 of my son and they were 18 and 26 years old when they died. She knew exactly what she was doing when she was sleeping with the priest. We are talking about two consenting adults. I don't think she was held at gunpoint nor raped. They both are to blame.

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Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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