March 11th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

Vote to close 26 Kansas City schools creates racial tensions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/11/kansas.schools.meeting.jpg caption="Kansas City School Superintendent John Covington speaks at a press conference about the decision to close schools in Kansas City."]


The Kansas City, Mo., School Board voted 5-4 to close 26 schools in the district, while emotion and racial tension seeped from the decision.

At the moment the audience realized which way the vote was headed, emotions reached high levels.

"We must make sacrifices," board member Joel Pelofsky said.

Some in the audience screamed back, "Not our children!" The crowd put the emphasis on "our" after most of the criticisms involved what many felt was an unfair emphasis on closing urban core schools.

"This intentional continuation of the blighting of the urban core is scandalous and shameful," Kansas City Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks said.

Some in the audience walked out before the vote even happened, when it became clear how it was going to go. It was a vote that board president Marilyn Simmons described as along racial lines, with the only black board member, Airick West, voting yes. West was subject to catcalls declaring him Judas.

Retiring board member Helen Ragsdale affirmed the nature of the racial divide.

"Mr. Pelofsky, you don't know blight, you don't know struggle like I know struggle." Ragsdale said.


Filed under: Education
March 11th, 2010
12:08 PM ET

Mexican mogul Slim beats Gates as world's richest person

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/11/slim.forbes.jpg width=292 height=320]

Jason Kessler

Forbes magazine released its annual list of the world's richest people Wednesday, and for only the second time since 1995, Microsoft founder Bill Gates' name was not at the top.

This year, the title of "World's Richest" went to Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim, with a net worth of $53.5 billion.

Slim, whose holding company America Movil contains a sprawling collection of telecom assets, is the first non-American to be declared Forbes' richest person since 1994, when Japanese real estate kingpin Yoshiaki Tsutsumi held that honor. (He has since disappeared from the list entirely).

But Slim's financial edge over Gates is, well, slim, at least by billionaire standards - just $500 million. A $1 increase in Microsoft shares, the compilers of the Forbes list noted at a press conference Wednesday, could send Gates' net worth ahead of Slim's.

Also, were it not for his extensive philanthropy, Gates would have a net worth in the ballpark of $80 billion, Forbes' Matthew Miller estimated.

Keep reading...

March 11th, 2010
11:21 AM ET
March 11th, 2010
11:18 AM ET
March 11th, 2010
11:11 AM ET

Video: Gang member's death explored

Anderson Cooper | BIO
AC360° Anchor

Program Note: Five years ago we reported on gang violence in the Los Angeles community of Hollenbeck. This week, all week, we follow up on the neighborhood. Through the eyes of cops, criminals and crusaders, we witness the corrosive effects of violence and what's being done to prevent it. We take you inside the investigations of homicides as they unfold in a community where 30 percent of all killings remain unsolved. Tune in tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Hollenbeck
March 11th, 2010
11:09 AM ET

Karl Rove's Memoir: Act of Vengeance

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.rove.gi.jpg caption="Rove's memoir is a 'work of titanic pettiness', says Klein."]

Joe Klein

There is not much news in Karl Rove's memoir, Courage and Consequence, which is something of a moral triumph for the author. Rove is nothing if not loyal, and these sorts of books tend to create a stir only when they betray the boss. A significant amount of dirt is dished here — an astonishing amount, actually; this is a work of titanic pettiness — but it's all tossed at enemies of George W. Bush.

One example: Hillary Clinton is criticized for sitting down, rather than standing, for a photo with rescue workers three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bush, who had just arrived at ground zero, is standing for photos, and it simply doesn't occur to Rove that Clinton had already spent most of the past several days there, working desperately for her constituents. Rove is not always so unfair; he manages to demolish more than a few of the sillier attacks against him and the President. But this book is primarily an act of vengeance — and, in that sense, unintentionally revealing about the nature of the Bush presidency.


Filed under: Joe Klein • President George W. Bush
March 11th, 2010
10:59 AM ET

Why the Jihad Jane Case Is a Win for the Patriot Act

One of the few existing images of "Jihad Jane", Pennsylvania woman Colleen LaRose.

Massimo Calabresi

The Justice Department won't say whether provisions of the Patriot Act were used to investigate and charge Colleen LaRose. But the FBI and U.S. prosecutors who charged the 46-year-old woman from Pennsburg, Pa., on Tuesday with conspiring with terrorists and pledging to commit murder in the name of jihad could well have used the Patriot Act's fast access to her cell-phone records, hotel bills and rental-car contracts as they tracked her movements and contacts last year.

But even if the law's provisions weren't directly used against her, the arrest of the woman who allegedly used the moniker "Jihad Jane" is a boost for the Patriot Act, Administration officials and Capitol Hill Democrats say. That's because revelations of her alleged plot may give credibility to calls for even greater investigative powers for the FBI and law enforcement, including Republican proposals to expand certain surveillance techniques that are currently limited to targeting foreigners.


Filed under: Terrorism
March 11th, 2010
10:37 AM ET

New jobs bill is destined for failure

Samuel Sherraden
Special to CNN

Congress has stripped the jobs bill of the reinvestment in America's infrastructure that would put people back to work and make the country more prosperous in the long run.

Instead, the bill relies on tax credits that are too small and too temporary to make a dent in America's high unemployment.

The House of Representatives passed a relatively strong bill in December, which included $48 billion in infrastructure spending. Now the House and the Senate have adopted a bill that consists primarily of a payroll tax deduction for employers who make new hires and keep them on for a year. The original House jobs bill was $154 billion. The new bill is one-tenth the size.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Job Market
March 11th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #416: Courting the Supremes

Reporter's Note: In his State of the Union address, President Obama took exception to a ruling by the Supreme Court. Now, it appears they are taking some exception to even hearing that speech. Seems like a case for Judge Judy, but until she takes it up, I’ll address it in my daily letter to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/11/alito.sotu.jpg caption="The Supreme Court Justices remain seated while Democrats stand to applaud the President's criticism of the campaign finance ruling at the State of the Union address."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Now you’ve done it! You took a shot at the Supreme Court in your State of the Union address, and Chief Justice John Roberts is suggesting they may take their black robes and go home! Not even play anymore! It took a few weeks for this pot to boil, but as you’ve probably heard, he told a bunch of law students at the University of Alabama that he’s not sure why the justices should attend now that they’ve become nothing but political “pep rallies.” Uh…I mean the speeches, not the justices.

Apparently it troubled some of them that when you took that swipe at their campaign finance ruling all your fellow Dems stood up and cheered while, by rules of protocol, the members of the court had to pretty much just sit there texting their friends. (“OMG, the prez just punked us!”) You know what? That would trouble me too.

While politicians on both sides of the aisle have long tried to influence who is chosen for the Supreme Court, it has not been the custom for presidents to tee the whole gang up and drive them down the fairway in such a public setting; especially one where they simply cannot fight back without being furiously attacked. Out of respect for your office and their own, they are not supposed to show any partiality or reveal any opinions about anything you say. For example, Justice Alito probably should not have mouthed the words, “not true,” after your comment.


March 11th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Gang loyalty and rivalry led to death

Program Note: Five years ago we reported on gang violence in the Los Angeles community of Hollenbeck. This week, all week, we follow up on the neighborhood. Through the eyes of cops, criminals and crusaders, we witness the corrosive effects of violence and what's being done to prevent it. We take you inside the investigations of homicides as they unfold in a community where 30 percent of all killings remain unsolved. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/10/ayala.jpg caption=" Gang member Gabriel Ayala was killed in October 2004. Police believe Ayala was killed by a member of his own gang."]

Stan Wilson

CNN Producer

Los Angeles Police Detective Dewaine Field has solved dozens of gang-related murders in his thirty year law enforcement career. As supervisor of the gang unit in Hollenbeck, part of his job is breaking the code of silence and persuading informants to come forward. Fields says breaking that code in a gang-related murder is one of the most difficult challenges of solving a murder case.

In Hollenbeck, nearly thirty percent of the gang-related killings go unsolved because witnesses or informants refuse to talk. Even the perception of breaking the gang code of silence within a gang can result in death, says Fields.

The unsolved murder of gang member Gabriel Ayala is the type of case detective Fields is referring to. On October 16, 2004, Ayala was shot in the head at close range just moments before CNN cameras arrived in his Hollenbeck neighborhood. Fields says he knew Ayala well and used to serve warrants at Ayala's residence. "Gabriel's time was coming, he was too active, he played too hard trying to be too tough in his gang and it caught up to him," said Fields.

When Fields first examined the crime scene, he told homicide detectives it looked like an inside job. "Gabriel had a gun in his waist and never pulled it out and that tells me that he knew whoever killed him." Fields believes the events leading up to Ayala's execution began long ago.

Two years before Ayala was killed, a rival gang member, Francisco Sanchez was approached by two gunmen on a Hollenbeck area street. According to court records, the first suspect shot Sanchez multiple times. As Sanchez fell to the ground, a second suspect approached him and shot Sanchez again, records show.

Authorities suspect the murder of Sanchez was in retaliation for the killing of a rival two days earlier.


Filed under: Homicide in Hollenbeck
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