January 21st, 2011
11:56 PM ET
January 21st, 2011
11:56 PM ET
January 21st, 2011
11:15 PM ET

'Don't ask, don't tell' cost tops $50,000 per expulsion, study finds

Charley Keyes
CNN Senior National Security Producer

Washington (CNN) - It cost more than $193 million for the Pentagon to implement the policy of removing gays and lesbians from military service over six years, a study says.

The Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog agency, looked at the cases of 3,664 active duty personnel forced to leave the service from 2004 to 2009 because of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

The cost came to an average of $52,800 to take each person out of the military and find and train a replacement, it found. And the report released Thursday says that 40% of those service members had skills in a "critical" occupation or foreign language such as Arabic, or both.

"Our calculation includes the cost to the services to recruit a new service member, provide him or her with basic training and graduate the service member from initial skills training in the occupational specialty in which a service member had been separated," the report said.

Of the cases examined by the GAO, 39%, or 1,442, service members who were removed under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy held "critical occupations" such as infantryman. Less than 1%, 23, had foreign language skills, like Arabic or Spanish, according to the report.

But the GAO noted that the number of people with critical skills and occupations might be even higher because of problems compiling the information.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Gay & Lesbian Issues
January 21st, 2011
10:30 PM ET
January 21st, 2011
10:06 PM ET

Keith Olbermann out of a job: Join the live chat

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

Breaking news tonight, Keith Olbermann has ended his show "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" with MSNBC.  We've got all the TV insiders to talk about the developments, and much more in the program.

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: 360° Radar • Live Blog
January 21st, 2011
08:34 PM ET

Is 'Skins' too skimpy?

Reviews were middling for MTV’s “Skins,” yet it looks like the show’s content was a bit too provocative for some.

As an advertiser pulls away from associating its product with the program and the Parents Television Council calls for Congress and the Justice Department to investigate "Skins" for possible child pornography, it seems even some of the network's executives are worried that the show is airing too much.

“Skins” is filled with a cast of lesser known actors ranging in age from 15 to 19, the New York Times reports, and of course, anyone under 18 is considered a minor. Given the young ages of the show’s stars and the risqué content, the paper says some MTV execs are concerned about violating federal child pornography laws, and have ordered producers to implement changes that would tone "Skins" down.

read more

Filed under: 360° Radar
January 21st, 2011
08:12 PM ET

Beat 360° 1/21/11

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 Ryan Seacrest attends the Bing Bar on January 21, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Bing)

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° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
January 21st, 2011
07:58 PM ET

Underage sex trade still flourishing online

Editor's note: In a statement dated December 28, backpage.com said it is "committed to preventing those who are intent on misusing the site for illegal purposes." Read an up-to-date list (PDF) of the safety measures backpage.com says it is taking.

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Her ankles and wrists are shackled. She's wearing used sweats in the bright colors of the jailhouse, orange, blue and yellow. She shuffles to the courtroom to face the judge, her mother, and an uncertain future.

Selena is a 13-year-old who was sold for sex.

She wants to go home to her house in the suburbs and the baby sister she hardly knows. And now, facing a sympathetic judge and a loving mother who wants to make sure she's safe, Selena is being told she can't go home.

"I want to go home and I want to be with my family, that's all I want," she tells Juvenile Court Judge William Voy, her face bathed in tears. "This isn't making me any better in here."

Selena was arrested by undercover police on the Vegas strip on prostitution charges. But although she exchanged sex for money, in the eyes of the law, she's a victim, by virtue of her age and the circumstances under which she was sold: by a pimp on the website backpage.com, a pimp who used drugs to entice her, and took everything she earned.

"It made me feel so nasty, I always just want a shower and get it off. I was like, oh, it's so disgusting," she said. "And it never made me feel pretty, not one time, not one time."

She told us she was seeing four or five men a day, at the standard rate of $300 for an hour, $150 for a half.

She may be a victim, but she can't go home, because no one trusts that she won't run again, back into the arms of a pimp.

Read more

Filed under: 360° Radar
January 21st, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Letters to the President #732: The age appropriate president

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is once again in the polls, and I’m once again writing a letter.

Dear Mr. President,

I have noticed in one of our latest polls that voters remain pretty much evenly split on whether or not you are succeeding or failing as president. Well, they tilt a little toward the “failing” side, but let’s not dwell on that.

What I’m struck by is the age divide. In short, younger Americans think you are doing fine. Older Americans think you’re messing up.

Why do you suppose this is? Heaven knows there is no shortage of theories, and I feel as if I have heard or read about them all. Mind you, I am neither endorsing nor refuting any, but here is a partial list of the notions I know are being batted around:

(1) Older people can’t accept that the president is black, so they certainly can’t accept that he is doing a good job.
(2) Younger people voted disproportionately for you, and they don’t want to admit it might have been a mistake. Opposite reason, same result for older people.
(3) Older people tend to be more conservative, you tend to be more liberal…and vice versa for younger folks.
(4) Younger voters like change. Older voters, not so much.
(5) Older people have worked their way up the pay scale and so are more targeted by your approach to taxation. Younger voters? Not paying the bills; not worried.


January 21st, 2011
02:12 PM ET
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