March 18th, 2010
01:35 PM ET

Hard economic times hit jury box

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Stephanie Chen

Juggling single motherhood in a recession is tough on 50-year-old Felicia Cinnamon. So is working in sales when clients are spending less money these days.

When Cinnamon received a jury summons a few weeks ago, her stomach sank. Not because she didn't want to perform her civic duty but because she couldn't afford to miss a day of work.

On Monday morning at Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Georgia, Cinnamon slumped in her chair in a crowded room of hundreds of potential jurors. She flipped through a book and munched on a granola bar as she talked about the burden of jury duty in tough economic times.

"I work on commission. Missing a day of work has a ripple effect," she said.

People have tried to dodge jury duty for as long the system has existed, but jury commissioners and legal experts say they are hearing more people cite financial hardships and the troubled economy.

With rising unemployment, pay cuts and foreclosures, missing a day or two of work - let alone spending possibly months on jury duty - has become impractical for families and business owners alike.

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Filed under: Economy
March 18th, 2010
11:52 AM ET

To battle computer hackers, the Pentagon trains its own

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Mark Thompson

After years of building firewalls and other defenses against relentless hacker attacks, the Pentagon is going over to the dark side of computer warfare. Only ethically, of course. The Defense Department, like most large organizations, has recognized that no wall is high enough to keep out skilled and determined hackers for keeps. Instead, it has decided that in order to anticipate and thwart those attacks, it needs to know what the hackers know.

"More than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to hack into U.S. systems," Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn warned last month. "Some governments already have the capacity to disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure." So the Pentagon recently modified its regulations to allow military computer experts to be trained in computer hacking, gaining designation as "certified ethical hackers." They'll join more than 20,000 such good-guy hackers around the world who have earned that recognition since 2003 from the private International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (also known as the EC-Council).


Filed under: 360° Radar
March 18th, 2010
11:45 AM ET

Video: Office March madness

Stephanie Elam
CNN Business News Correspondent

CNN's Stephanie Elam looks at the correlation between the NCAA basketball tournament and poor office productivity.

Filed under: Stephanie Elam
March 18th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

Video: Haitian 'orphans' reunited

Sara Snider

The kids at the center of a kidnapping case in Haiti are reunited with their families. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

Filed under: Haiti • Sara Sidner
March 18th, 2010
11:05 AM ET

Video: Priest's victim relives horror

Drew Griffin
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Ireland, one of the world's most Catholic countries, has been reeling from the revelation that Catholic leaders there covered up child abuse, including sexual abuse, by priests for decades.

But not all of the victims were Irish.

The Emerald Isle exported many priests over the years. And that's how one of Ireland's most prolific, known child abusers ended up in Rhode Island in the late 1960s.

Helen McGonigle was 6 when, she says, the Rev. Brendan Smyth fondled, raped and sodomized her.

She says she remembers him, dressed in white priest's robes, at the back sliding glass door of her bedroom.

"All I wanted to do was to escape, to fly away. There were little cubbies in my room - a twin bed with a headboard that had little cubbies," she remembers. "I just wanted to be tiny enough to hide in those little cubbies so he couldn't see me."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Drew Griffin
March 18th, 2010
10:57 AM ET

Video: Health care kickbacks?

Ed Henry | BIO
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Filed under: Ed Henry • Health Care • Raw Politics
March 18th, 2010
10:50 AM ET

Idaho challenges national health care proposal; more states may follow

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Dugald McConnell

Idaho on Wednesday became the first state to pass a law saying no thanks to part of President Obama's health care proposal.

The Idaho Health Care Freedom Act says in part, "every person within the state of Idaho is and shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty."

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, a Republican, said Wednesday he signed it because he believes any health care laws should ensure people are "treated as an individual, rather than as an amorphous mass whose only purpose in this world is to obey federal mandates."

Several other states may follow suit.

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March 18th, 2010
10:39 AM ET

Obama risks being called 'The Undecider'

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Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

President Obama has had trouble sticking with his decisions. In several high-profile cases during his first year in the White House, there has been a pattern where the president takes a position on an important matter, feels the political heat for what he has said, and then backs off.

If President George W. Bush was the self-proclaimed "The Decider" who insisted on staying the course regardless of how many problems emerged with a policy, President Obama is starting to run the risk of becoming known as "The Undecider" who is unable to stand firm after announcing a position.

In the case of President Bush, what might have been a source of political strength turned into a political weakness.

President Bush's famous Harvard Business School/CEO mentality led him to believe that he should not second-guess his decisions. But when conditions suggested that his decision might not have been good, he could stubbornly refuse to change course. Many believe this was the case in the first few years of the Iraq war, when the strategy for rebuilding civil society was not working and the country was descending into chaos.

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Filed under: President Barack Obama
March 18th, 2010
10:07 AM ET

Wal-Mart 'appalled' at announcement telling blacks to leave store

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Evan Buxbaum

New Jersey authorities are investigating an announcement made over a public address system at a southern New Jersey Wal-Mart telling "all blacks" to leave the store.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday, an unidentified male accessed the public address system at the Turnersville, New Jersey, Wal-Mart Supercenter Store, Gloucester County prosecutors said.

"All blacks need to leave the store," the voice announced.

Store management contacted the Washington Township Police Department, which opened an investigation in conjunction with the county prosecutor's office, Deputy Police Chief John Dalesandro said.

"The incident is being investigated by both law enforcement agencies as a suspected bias intimidation crime," local authorities said.

Wal-Mart corporate spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said the company is "just as appalled by this as anyone."

He emphasized that Wal-Mart, the world's largest public corporation, is working with law enforcement officials in investigating the incident.

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Filed under: Crime • Race in America
March 18th, 2010
09:16 AM ET
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