Tonight on 360°, keeping them honest. Is the effort to rein in Wall Street greed coming undone because of raw politics? Plus, the latest on the deadly earthquake in China and more.
Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.
Here are some of them:
1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/14/earmarks/art.pig.file.afp.gi.jpg caption="The CAGW identifies 'pork' projects, compiling them into a 'Congressional Pig Book' every year."]
Citizens Against Government Waste
The Congressional Pig Book is Citizens Against Government Waste's annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. This year's book identified 9,129 projects at a cost of $16.5 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for the fiscal year 2009.
A "pork" project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.
Read More about this year's Congressional Pig Book and pork projects here.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/06/liberal.republicans/art.specter.gi.jpg caption="Specter: won the 'Dunder-head Mifflin Award' for a $200,000 business center in Scranton."]
Here are so-called "Oinkers" of the year, listed in the "2010 Congressional Pig Book Summary," which was released on Wednesday by the nonpartisan group Citizens Against Government Waste.
• The Dunder-head Mifflin Award (from the fictional paper company of the sitcom "The Office") - Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pennsylvania, for $200,000 for design and construction of a small business incubator and multipurpose center in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
• Thad the Impaler Award - Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, for $490 million in pork, including $200,000 for the Washington National Opera for set design, installation and performing arts at libraries and schools, and $500,000 for the University of Southern Mississippi for cannabis eradication.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/14/t1.confederate.flag.jpg caption="Understanding the Confederacy key to knowing how the U.S. has evolved, according to S. Waite Rawls." width=300 height=169]
S. Waite Rawls III
Special to CNN
"I'm a big history buff," President Obama said in an interview with ABC News" George Stephanopoulos. "And I think that understanding the history of the Confederacy and understanding the history of the Civil War is something that every American and every young American should be part of."
I am sometimes asked the same question that Mr. Stephanopoulos put to President Obama: Why study Confederate history? And I agree with the president's response.
As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we look back to its centennial in the 1960s. A lot has happened in this country since then, and our appreciation of the lessons of history has changed with the times.
One constant has been the importance of the Civil War. It remains as the most important era of American history, a time when America withstood its biggest challenges to a constitutional democracy which then was still viewed as an experiment in a new form of government. The crucible of war defined the nation as we know it today, as we became "indivisible" and "with liberty and justice for all" for the first time.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/14/t1.confederate.flag.jpg caption="Confederate symbols have denoted opposition to equal rights, Grace Hale says." width=300 height=169]
Grace Elizabeth Hale
Special to CNN
It has been eight years since people in my state of Virginia got a chance to debate the meaning of the Civil War in front of the nation, and the comments posted on CNN and other news Web sites suggest our passion over the topic has not dimmed.
If Governor Bob McDonnell wants his fellow Virginians to think deeply about "how our history has led to our present," then his declaration of April as Confederate History Month has accomplished this goal, if not exactly in the manner he intended.
The problem with the celebration of Confederate History Month, however, goes far beyond McDonnell's "mistake" in not discussing the centrality of slavery in the Civil War in his original proclamation.
Confederate "history" means more than the four years during which Virginia and other states fought a war to form a separate country called the Confederate States of America. It refers to the many uses of Confederate symbols and evocations of Confederate history in the almost century-and-a-half since Appomattox as well.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/17/c1main.jpg caption="Moore is using her Twitter account to urge politicians to ban child slavery in Haiti." width=300 height=169]
Editor's Note: Watch AC360° tonight at 10pm ET to see Anderson Cooper interview actress Demi Moore on her visit to Haiti.
Actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have launched a new campaign to urge the Haitian government to ban child slavery and Moore is using her Twitter account to get politicians behind the effort.
Moore targeted several members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have Twitter accounts, tweeting to them over the weekend: “Help us end Child Slavery in Haiti.”
caption="A Facebook fan page for Colton Harris-Moore. He is suspected of stealing planes, boats, and luxury automobiles."]
The most wanted teen in America may soon be coming to a theater near you. Variety reports that a Hollywood studio has purchased the rights to a book proposal based on the elusive Colton Harris-Moore. The 18-year-old, who has been suspected of stealing boats, cars and planes, has been on the run for several years. He has also become a folk hero to thousands of admirers and supporters.
Harris-Moore has amassed a growing fan base on a Facebook tribute page. It lists more than 25,000 followers. Many of the entries encourage him to continue his life on the run. One recent post congratulated Harris-Moore by telling him “much love and respect man, you’re living my dream!!”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/05/art.gfx.wallst.jpg caption="Congress is taking on proposals to reform Wall Street and prevent future financial collapses."]
With the health care fight and two weeks at home behind it, Congress is taking on proposals to reform Wall Street and prevent future financial collapses.
Nothing has really changed since the Senate Banking panel passed an overhaul measure along party lines in late March – except that the rhetoric on both sides has sharpened.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came out swinging Tuesday and Wednesday, slamming Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd's bill as a "perpetual taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks."
Dodd, D-Conn., defended the bill on Wednesday, saying that nobody likes bailouts and "under our proposal they'll never happen again." Dodd also denied accusations he didn't work with Republicans on the bill and called their accusations "poppycock."
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), walks past someone in a pig costume during a news conference on April 14, 2010 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to release the annual '2010 Congressional Pig Book', which is a report on pork barrel spending in the federal budget. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Beat 360° Winners:
"Ya know, you should really put on some lipstick."
"Sarah, I thought we gave you a bigger clothing budget!"
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/14/art.vert.book.nell.painter.history.white.people.jpg width=292 height=320 border=0.5]
Nell Irwin Painter
Author of 'The History of White People'
Were there “white” people in antiquity? Certainly some assume so, as though categories we use today could be read backwards over the millennia. People with light skin certainly existed well before our own times. But did anyone think they were “white” or that their character related to their color? No, for neither the idea of race nor the idea of “white” people had been invented, and people’s skin color did not carry useful meaning. What mattered was where they lived; were their lands damp or dry; were they virile or prone to impotence, hard or soft; could they be seduced by the luxuries of civilized society or were they warriors through and through? What were their habits of life? Rather than as “white” people, northern Europeans were known by vague tribal names: Scythians and Celts, then Gauls and -Germani.
But if one asks, say, who are the Scythians? the question sets us off down a slippery slope, for, over time and especially in earliest times, any search for the ancestors of white Americans perforce leads back to nonliterate peoples who left no documents describing themselves.1 Thus, we must sift through the intellectual history Americans claim as Westerners, keeping in mind that long before science dictated the terms of human difference as “race,” long before racial scientists began to measure heads and concoct racial theory, ancient Greeks and Romans had their own means of describing the peoples of their world as they knew it more than two millennia ago. And inevitably, the earliest accounts of our story are told from on high, by rulers dominant at a particular time. Power affixes the markers of -history.