March 16th, 2010
01:06 PM ET

Hate speech infiltrates social-networking sites, report says

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/TECH/03/15/hate.speech.social.networks/story.facebook.hate.speech.jpg caption="Online hate speech is 'almost all in the social-networking area,' Rabbi Abraham Cooper says." width=300 height=169]

Jesse Solomon

The unregulated nature of the Web has aided a proliferation of cyber-hate, according to a report the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance released Monday.

The report, Digital Terrorism and Hate 2010, notes that there are about 11,500 hate-affiliated Web pages, a 20 percent jump from last year's study.

According to the Wiesenthal Center, personal blogs as well as mainstream social-networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter are easily flooded with racist and terrorist-related content.

"The spike is not in traditional Web sites in the United States," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "It's more global and almost all in the social-networking area."

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March 16th, 2010
01:01 PM ET
March 16th, 2010
09:50 AM ET

Could House approve Senate bill without vote?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/16/senate.jpg]


A new twist in the battle over health care reform could allow the House of Representatives to approve a bill without actually voting on the legislation.

The House is preparing for an expected vote later this week on the roughly $875 billion bill passed by the Senate in December. Unanimous GOP opposition to the reform plan has left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, struggling to find the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate version of the bill.

But Rep. James Clyburn, the House Democratic vote counter and party whip from South Carolina, told CNN Monday he was "very comfortable" that the 216 votes needed to pass the Senate bill in the House were there.

"I think we have reached a significant consensus in our caucus. The will is there to get this done," Clyburn said on CNN's "Campbell Brown."

Under the strategy adopted by congressional leaders, once the House has passed the Senate bill – if it does – both chambers of Congress then would pass a series of changes designed in part to make the legislation more acceptable to House Democrats.

Now, a separate legislative maneuver being advocated Monday by some Democrats would allow the House to avoid a direct up or down vote on the Senate bill. Under the proposal, the full House would only have to vote on a rule declaring the Senate bill to be passed. The House would also vote on the package of changes to the Senate bill, which is more popular with Democratic representatives. The passage would signify that House members "deem" the Senate health-care bill to be passed.

"To resort to these kinds of tactics to deal with this [bill] is just plain wrong," Rep. David Dreier, R-California, said Monday.

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Filed under: Health Care • Raw Politics
March 16th, 2010
09:22 AM ET

Video: Women fear violence in Haitian camps

Sara Sidner

Carine Exantus should be sitting in her college communications class. Instead, the 22-year-old is teaching herself how to avoid being attacked by the men who live in her new neighborhood - a maze of makeshift shelters spaced so close together that it is hard to get between them but easy to get inside.

"I, like everybody else, live in a very precarious situation," said Exantus, who was forced to make her own shelter when her home was crushed in Haiti's January 12 earthquake.

"As a young woman," Exantus said, "I am afraid because I notice a lot of young men being aggressive toward women at night."

In her camp, there has already been trouble. The camp leaders told CNN that two cases of attempted rape have been reported in the past few days and one suspect has been arrested.

"When the guys don't have no money, their brain is not good," said camp leader Jean Joseph Rudler. "When they have no work or food and just sit around, it is bad. When a guy is drunk, he will do anything [to a woman]."

Women can be easily preyed upon when their four walls consist only of bed sheets or thin tents. But camp conditions, a government official said, isn't the underlying problem in Haiti when it comes to violence against women.

"I'm gonna be blunt," said Aby Brun, a member of Haiti's Commission for Reconstruction. "Promiscuity resulting in absolutely condemnable violence and abuse against women is something that has been going on in the slum areas and other levels of society for years. It's a cultural problem."

Exantus says she is often jarred awake by what she hears through the thin shelter wall. "There are some men who beat their girlfriends at night," she said.

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Filed under: Crime • Haiti Earthquake • Women's Issues
March 16th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

Nuclear plants need real security

Editor's note: Charles S. Faddis is a retired CIA operations officer and the former head of the CIA's unit focused on fighting terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/16/nuclear.plant.security.jpg
caption="A Citrus County Sheriff officer stands guard at the entrance to the Florida Power corp. nuclear power plant."]

Charles S. Faddis
Special to CNN

Several weeks ago, President Obama announced that $8 billion in government-loan guarantees would be made available to Southern Co. to begin construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia.

If built, it would be the first nuclear power plant constructed in the United States in almost 30 years. More importantly, this would be the first of what is expected to be many such projects initiated in coming years.

I am a big believer in the necessity for energy independence. I accept that we will all have to make some compromises in achieving that goal. I am willing to consider that nuclear power may have to be one piece of the plan we put together for how to break ourselves free from our dependence on foreign oil.

I would submit, however, that before we start building reactors we need to address another urgent matter. We need to make current reactors secure.

Roughly 18 months ago I started work on a project that ultimately lead to the writing of my recently published book, "Willful Neglect," on homeland security in the United States.

I examined security at a wide range of potential targets inside the United States, including chemical plants, liquefied natural gas facilities, biological research laboratories and nuclear power plants.

This was not a theoretical study. I did my homework up front, but after that, I went out on the street and I did what my 20 years in the CIA had trained me to do. I looked at all these targets in the same way as an adversary would. What I found was deeply disturbing. Eight years after 9/11, we had done little or nothing to enhance security in most areas.

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Filed under: Energy • Opinion • Terrorism
March 16th, 2010
08:58 AM ET
March 16th, 2010
08:49 AM ET

Dear President Obama #421: Driven to distraction...or somewhere...

Reporter's Note: President Obama, I guess, doesn’t drive anymore. I do. And I write letters. One every day to the White House. That’s some pretty good LPR…uh, Letters Per Reporter.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/16/obama.limo.jpg caption="President Barack Obama gets out of his chauffeured limousine."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

If I were President, I don’t care how fancy the big-bullet-proof-bomb-deflecting-Kevlar-coated-waffle-cooking-car was that I inherited; all I’d care about was whether or not I could drive it. Seriously. Do you think any guy ever has looked at a Lamborghini, or a Ferrari, or (in my case) a functional Vega and said “Wow, I wish I could be a passenger in that sweet ride!” No. Because driving is where it’s at. Accelerators, shifters, brakes, horns, the radio and that squirty thing that cleans the windshield; all your domain. Feel the power.

Ok. I’ll stop now, I know I’m just making you jealous because I’m pretty sure you’ll never get to drive a car again. Even when you leave office I suspect you’ll be under some kind of security mandate that says you have to be chauffeured around forever, and while some people may dig that, it’s one of my definitions of hell. That and two hundred miles of road without a Dairy Queen.


March 16th, 2010
07:04 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 3/15/10

Editor's Note: Your feedback was mainly about health care reform. Those on each side of the debate are unclear about the merits of the opposing argument. Some of you praised the information on “whale sushi,” and asked for more in depth reporting on the topic. We also heard from you about the Catholic church sex abuse, and victims contacted us to share their feelings on the situation.
Doesn't President Obama see that there are other issues more important than a health reform? Why is he trying to ignore other issues? We wanted a President not a dictator. A Health Reform is a violation of our constitution, FREEDOM.

Ok, one thing i don’t understand about the health care reform is some say they don't want "free-loading" well those people would rather pay insurance comp. (through taxes) to make experimental drugs that may not work, and make a PROFIT (off tax payers) rather than give the money to save a life right now and help the people that voted for them in the first place.

Good evening, my comment is in regards to health care, it seems the focus is only on the insurance companies and not on the medical providers, 2 weeks ago I took my daughter to Inova hospital Alexandria emergency room because she had colic, it took all of 50mins, given infant Tylenol, guess what my bill was ? $1,100.00 for what I was shocked when I got the bill from my insurance company, this is a rip off, I mean all that was done was temp reading minor observation, some questions. Now I understand how this complicates the problems for the insurance companies when they are being billed ridicules amount by the clinics. Thanks.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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