January 11th, 2011
09:49 PM ET

Political Profiteers & the Tuscon Shootings – Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, the political profiteers, left and right, who are using the Tragedy in Tucson to raise money.
We're Keeping Them Honest. Plus, we remember the victims of Saturday's tragedy. And, new insight on the suspected gunman.

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
January 11th, 2011
07:08 PM ET

Arizona lawmakers take up funeral protest legislation

CNN Wire Staff

Tucson, Arizona (CNN) - The Arizona legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday targeting a Kansas church whose members have announced they plan to picket the funerals of the victims of Saturday's shootings in Tucson.

The proposed legislation would make it a misdemeanor to protest within 300 feet of a funeral from one hour before until one hour after a funeral, a spokesman for the state House said.

The action, according to House spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, is in direct response to the Westboro Baptist Church's announcement that it will picket the funeral of Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was among six people killed during Saturday's attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona.

The controversial church, based in Topeka, has made its name by staging protests at funerals of people who died of AIDS, gay people, soldiers and even Coretta Scott King.

Within hours of the church's announcements, Facebook groups sprang up to plan actions surrounding the funerals that would keep the church members - most members of the extended family of church founder Fred Phelps - separate from the mourners.

Tucson just isn't that kind of town, says Christin Gilmer, 26, referring to the actions of the church.

"For something like this to happen in Tucson was a really big shock to us all," she said. "Our nightmare happened when we saw Westboro Baptist Church was going to picket the funerals."

Gilmer and others are planning an "angel action" - with 8- by 10-foot "angel wings" worn by participants to shield mourners from picketers. Angel actions were created by Coloradan Romaine Patterson, who was shocked to find the Topeka church and its neon signs outside the 1999 funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man beaten and left on a fence to die in Laramie, Wyoming.

The angel action is part of a larger group, organized by Chelsea Cohen, a 20-year-old University of Arizona senior, aimed at showing Tucson's true colors.

"Once I heard that the Westboro Baptist Church was coming, I felt like something should be done to show support for the families," she said. "I don't have any experience in organizing these things. I thought I might get 50 to 100 people."

Full story

Updated: 7:07 pm

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
January 11th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Witness says he goofed, Jackson could have given himself fatal dose

Alan Duke

Los Angeles (CNN) - The prosecution's expert witness in the case against Dr. Conrad Murray admitted Tuesday he made a math mistake and that the recalculation supports the theory that Michael Jackson may have given himself the fatal dose of propofol.

Propofol is a surgical anesthetic that the Los Angeles coroner ruled killed Jackson in combination with several sedatives found in his blood.

Dr. Richard Ruffalo, an anesthesiologist hired by the prosecution, was the last witness before both sides rested in the preliminary hearing, held to decide if the involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray will go to trial.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor is expected to announce his decision later Tuesday.

"I actually made a mistake on that," Ruffalo said during cross-examination, referring to his calculation of the levels of propofol in Jackson's stomach fluid.

The admission drew an audible gasp from Jackson family members sitting in court.

Murray's lawyers suggest a frustrated and sleepless Jackson may have poured the surgical anesthetic propofol into his juice bottle while the doctor was out of his bedroom.

"Now it doesn't make sense unless he ingested it orally in a huge amount," Ruffalo testified.

But he said Murray would still be at fault, because he left dangerous drugs near a patient who was addicted.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Michael Jackson
January 11th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

Beat 360° 1/11/11

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:

Television personality Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi signs copies of "A Shore Thing" at Borders Columbus Circle on January 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo credit: Jason Kempin/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.

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Candy Crowley
“Snooki Stumped By Request For Her Autograph”


Ryan, Las Vegas
“It's really hard to sign these books without spell-check.”

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
January 11th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Giffords in key period after brain injury

Elizabeth Landau

(CNN) - After surviving a gunshot wound to the head at a political event Saturday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition, and Tuesday was seen as significant in her recovery.

The brain tends to swell the most on the third day after a traumatic injury, and it's a very good sign if she makes it past the third and fourth day, said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Department of Neurosurgery in Los Angeles, who is not involved in treating Giffords.

She has a breathing tube to protect her lungs, but is generating her own breaths, said Dr. Michael Lemole, chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, at a news conference Tuesday. Doctors say Giffords has been responsive to commands.

"It's simply asking her to raise fingers, to squeeze on their fingers. It's not at a point yet where they can ask her to talk, because she's still on a respirator. But the signs that she is conscious are manifesting and we're very excited," Mike McNulty, Giffords' campaign chairman and close friend, told CNN's John King on Monday.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
January 11th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Time.com: Loughner's six warning signs

(Time.com) - In retrospect, it's easy to see the evidence that Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner was mentally unstable. In his community-college classes, he would laugh randomly and loudly at nonevents. He would clench his fists and regularly pose strange, nonsensical questions to teachers and fellow students. "A lot of people didn't feel safe around him," a former classmate told Fox News.

Given these facts and the horrific turn of events at a Safeway supermarket on Jan. 8 that left six dead and 14 others injured, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition, could anything have been done to prevent the violence? What signs that trouble lay ahead were missed? What signs were observed but ignored? In short, what can be done to prevent a potentially ill or unstable person from harming others?

Full story on Time.com

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
January 11th, 2011
12:50 PM ET
January 11th, 2011
12:49 PM ET

Letters to the President: #722 'A call to action . . . or not?'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Presidents are often noticed for the legislation they get passed. But sometimes what they don’t pass matters, too. That’s what I’m writing about in today’s letter as the snow threatens.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, we’re expecting some relatively big snow here in DC today, and that should give me a chance to test my winter driving skills on the way home tonight. I’ve lived in enough places with real winters to have developed a pretty good repertoire over the years; turning with the skid, light taps on the brakes and accelerator, and the more advanced hell-for-leather “stomp on the accelerator, careen across three lanes, and barely scoot around the five cars that just piled up right in front of me” maneuver.

The secret in all of these actions, as you may know being from Chicago, is a measured response - not too much, not too little; not too soon, not too late. That is on my mind as I listen to the continuing political roar over what happened in Arizona. As is often the case, there are calls in DC for new legislation, talk about new controls on guns and on speech, and new security for elected officials.

You and your pals on both sides of the aisle can sort that out, but I would just caution that steps taken too rapidly in the wake of extraordinary events often prove rash in retrospect. Like a sharp turn with brakes on ice, such instant responses to tragedies, while certainly heartfelt, often skip a necessary period of real reflection and thought.

January 11th, 2011
11:34 AM ET

Producer’s Notebook: Hope survives, 30 years after first US AIDS diagnosis

Editor's note: Greater Than AIDS – a new national movement to respond to AIDS in America– is asking Americans to share their “Deciding Moments," personal experiences that changed how they think about the disease and inspired them to get involved. For many it is someone close to them who was infected. For some it was their own diagnosis. For others it was a realization that we all have a role to play. Tell us about your “Deciding Moment” by visiting: www.greaterthan.org/moment.

David Puente
AC360° Producer

(CNN) - A couple of months before the new year, I read that 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis here in the US. Immediately, I thought this was a story we had to cover on AC360°. That day I pitched the story and this week I am happy to be working overtime to get our hour long report – called “Hope Survives: 30 Years of AIDS” – to air this Friday at 9pm ET on CNN.

Related on CNN's Marquee Blog: AC360 to air special on AIDS in America

Since I began to research this story, I was interested in communicating that the AIDS crisis in America is alive and well, even if we in the media and society as a whole don’t discuss it as much as we did decades ago. At the same time, as I met more and more people living with HIV or AIDS, I realized that this was also a story full of hope. It is a mixed bag because, although AIDS is no longer the killer it once was, the stigma associated with the disease still destroys individuals. Yet so many of the HIV positive men and women I met in the last few months proved to me the strength of the human spirit – they have claimed victory over HIV because it is no longer the main focus of their lives. Sure they take their medication, watch their health and protect themselves but at their core they are much more focused on achieving their goals and living out their dreams than they are on their HIV status. So many of them are heroic – activists, long-time survivors, young people determined to live long, fulfilling, happy lives. That’s also the face of HIV in America today.

Sir Elton John; Mo’Nique; Phil Wilson, the Director of the Black AIDS Institute; Dr. Anthony Fauci, who oversees HIV/AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health; and a fashion designer, with a very inspiring story, named Mondo Guerra make up our panel for this Friday night’s program. I am extremely eager to hear what they have to say. I know it will be informative and will help bring AIDS back to the public discourse. We need that since there are still about 56,000 new cases of HIV in the US each year and at least 20,000 people still die of AIDS in our country yearly.

Filed under: 360° Radar • AIDS • David Puente
January 11th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
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