April 23rd, 2010
11:43 PM ET

Video: Newark education standards

Editor's Note: CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry has a blueprint for America’s teachers, parents, decision makers and anyone who cares about the education of America’s children. In our series ‘Perry's Principles,’ Steve identifies a challenge and highlights successful examples of how the challenge was solved by introducing you to the passionate people behind each approach. Every week, AC360° will illustrate one of Perry's Principles and tell you how you can be involved in educating America's youth.

This week Steve Perry talked with Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark New Jersey, who's pushing for change in one of America's most troubled cities.

As Booker faces re-election next month, he points to progress. Last month for example, there were no murders in Newark. That hasn't happened in more than four decades.

And when it comes to the public school system, which has been under state control since 1995 because of low performance and mismanagement, Newark's mayor says he's eager to take back control.

Watch the video above to hear more from Mayor Booker.

Filed under: Education • Steve Perry
April 23rd, 2010
10:30 PM ET

Meter man’s killing of poodle justified?






Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

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California authorities said a meter reader acted in self-defense when he killed a toy poodle after striking it with a metallic rod.

But Shirley Newman insisted her 6-pound pet never posed a threat to the worker. “He could have taken his meter stick and shooed her,” Newman told CNN. “Had he caused a laceration I would have said self-defense. But he shattered her jaw and broke her face.”

The incident happened on April 16 in Rancho Santa Margarita, a community in Orange County.

According to Newman, her four-year-old dog, Calisto, snuck out of a gate that surrounded the family’s garage. “I went to open the gate and my six pound poodle got out and I saw the gas meter man walking toward our house, “ she said. “I waved and said ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’ll come get her.’”

Newman said her husband, who went to retrieve the pet, was told by the meter reader “something’s wrong with your dog.” She said the worker, who is employed by the Southern California Gas Company, told her husband the dog was “convulsing.”


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
April 23rd, 2010
09:45 PM ET

'South Park' Security Threat: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on 360°, reports that security is beefed up outside the offices of Comedy Central after a radical Muslim web site takes on the creators of  'South Park' for depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a bear-suit.  Plus, an up close look at an Oregon church that shuns traditional medicine for "faith healing." Authorities say it's led to preventable deaths.  We'll also take you to Connecticut where two doctors are suing so they can help patients die with dignity.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

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 $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
April 23rd, 2010
06:49 PM ET

iReporters weigh in on the Arizona immigration policy

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CNN iReport

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a state bill Friday that requires police to determine whether a person is in the United States legally, which critics say will foster racial profiling and discrimination but supporters say will crack down on illegal immigration.

How do you feel about this immigration policy action? What would you recommend, and will you be attending a rally or event? Do you feel that you have been racially profiled? Share your perspective, experiences and images with CNN.

Go here to weigh in and see what others are saying...

Filed under: Immigration
April 23rd, 2010
05:20 PM ET

Report: SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed

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As the country was sinking into its worst financial crisis in more than 70 years, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors cruised porn sites and viewed sexually explicit pictures using government computers, according to an agency report obtained by CNN.

"During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated Commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time," said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general's office.

More than half of the workers made between $99,000 and $223,000. All the cases took place over the past five years.

Find the report SECReport here...

April 23rd, 2010
03:58 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Viewing Porn on the Job

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Instead of watching Wall Street, some staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission were watching porn. An investigation by the SEC's Inspector General reveals 33 employees or contractors at the agency were using government computers on official time to view pornography. All the cases took place in the past five years and more than half the workers in question made between $99,000 to $223,000.

In one instance, a senior attorney at SEC headquarters admitted to downloading pornography up to eight hours a day. The attorney downloaded so much porn on his government computer that he used up all the space on the hard drive and downloaded it to CDs or DVDs that he put in boxes in his office, the report said.

Another staffer tried to access pornographic websites nearly 1,800 times, using her SEC laptop over a two-week period. According to the report, she also had about 600 pornographic images saved on the hard drive.

A SEC spokesman said the employees involved have been disciplined or are being disciplined. Some have been suspended or dismissed.

Rep. Darrell Issa , R-Calif., the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said "it is nothing short of disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation's economy to the brink of collapse."

"This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority," Issa added.

Do you agree?

We've also got the raw politics of Arizona's controversial new law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure today over the objection of hundreds of people who've rallied against the bill at the state capitol over the past several days.

The legislation requires police to question people about their immigration status if there is a reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants. Previously, officers could only check someone's immigrations status if that person was suspected of a crime. Under this new law, immigrants must carry their alien registration documents with them at all times.

Critics say the bill will lead to racial profiling, while supporters say it will protect America against illegal immigration.

The governor addressed both at today's ceremony.

"Today, with my unwavering signature on this legislation, Arizona strengthens its security within our borders. Let me be clear, though. My signature today represents my steadfast support for enforcing the law. Both against illegal immigration and against racial profiling,” Gov. Brewer said.

The governor signed the legislation despite the outrage by critics, including Pres. Obama who called it "misguided."

Pres. Obama, though, admits the federal government must take action on immigration.

"Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," the president said.

Join us for these stories and much more tonight on 360° starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
April 23rd, 2010
03:04 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Home sales skyrocket

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Business News Producer

Sales of new homes shot through the roof last month at the fastest single-month rate in nearly 50 years as buyers snatched up properties before the expiration of an $8,000 tax credit.

New-home sales soared 26.9% in March, snapping a four-month streak of declines, the Census Bureau said.

And on a year-over-year basis, sales jumped 23.8% from March 2009.

New-home sales rose in every region of the U.S. The South saw the biggest jump - up 43.5%, while the Northeast saw sales climb 35.7%. The West and Midwest regions both saw single-digit percentage growth, with the West up 6% and the Midwest up 4%.

This follows a report on Thursday from the National Association of Realtors that showed sales of previously-owned homes - known as “existing home sales” - increased by nearly 7% in March as new home buyers looked to cash in before that tax credit expires on April 30.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Housing Market
April 23rd, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Stand With South Park!

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John Avlon
CNN Contributor
For The Daily Beast

Don’t screw with South Park—and don’t ever try to intimidate us into accepting Sharia law.

That’s the message Americans are sending upon news that the comedy team of Trey Parker and Matt Stone had received a fatwa-esque death threat for their 200th episode, which featured the Muslim prophet Mohammed dressed in a bear-mascot suit.

The obscure New York City-based Islamist supremacist group Muslim Revolution issued the warning alongside graphic images of the murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Their message read: “We have to warn Matt [Stone] and Trey [Parker] that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.”

Keep Reading...

Filed under: John P. Avlon
April 23rd, 2010
12:03 PM ET

What happened to McCain the maverick?

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Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Dear Sen. John McCain:

Say it ain't so. For many of us who have - over the years - admired your courage in tackling difficult issues, this was a painful and disappointing week.

A dozen years ago, I was writing a column for the Arizona Republic when I saw a story about your jaw-dropping support from Latino voters. You earned 60 to 70 percent of the Latino vote in re-election campaigns. You were quoted as saying that it was your "honor" to be well thought of by a population for which you had great respect.

I wrote a column commending you and saying that someone who spent 5½ years as a guest at the Hanoi Hilton probably doesn't take lightly a word like "honor."

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Immigration • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
April 23rd, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Supreme Court Poker

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Oh, what to do if you are a reform-minded president with a Supreme Court nominee to pick. Do you go with the experienced jurist who shows up with a deep knowledge of the law, a well-thumbed pocket guide to the Constitution, and perhaps his or her own black robe to help cut expenses? Or do you select the outsider; the common sense Solomon of the people who may not know that much about the law, but is willing to think progressively and by golly knows when someone is dealing from the bottom of the deck?

That’s just one dilemma facing President Obama as he begins playing solitaire with the big stack of resumes on his desk. And if you’ve ever tried to hire anyone for anything, you can imagine how tough his job is.

If you sign up the wrong teenager for the late shift at Dairy Queen and he starts botching the Blizzards, you can just sack him, and honestly what’s a little melted ice cream? But picking the wrong Supreme Court Justice is like hiring someone in France; once he or she is on the books, it’s pretty much for life. Or until that person quits, and you don’t hear of many Supreme Courters getting better offers.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Supreme Court • Tom Foreman
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