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Voters forgive despite sex scandals
May 30th, 2013
04:26 PM ET

Voters forgive despite sex scandals

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – Two years ago, then Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner walked into a hotel ballroom in New York packed with reporters and admitted that he sent lewd photos to women he met online.

Now, he’s asking for a second chance as he runs for mayor of New York City. Every day on the campaign trail he finds himself apologizing, like he did at a recent mayoral candidate forum in the Bronx:

[4:55] “I’m sorry. You put a great deal of hope and confidence in me and I did some very embarrassing things and I regret them.”

A few weeks ago, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford won redemption in a special congressional election despite having run off with his Argentinian mistress for a week.

Kay Hymowitz is with the Manhattan Institute, a public policy think tank in New York and has written about these issues:

[2:53] “I think people are willing to forgive if they feel there’s been a real change and if they don’t have other choices that they’re not happy with and that seems the be the case here,” said Hymowitz.

But being given a second chance and actually getting people to vote for you are two different things.

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Filed under: Behavior • Culture • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
Terrorism or criminal act?
Notes and shirts sit outside Woolwich Barracks on May 23 – after a Muslim extremist killed an off-duty soldier who was wearing a "Help for Heroes" shirt when he was killed.
May 30th, 2013
09:03 AM ET

Terrorism or criminal act?

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Remi Brulin loves tracking the way America thinks about and talks about terrorism. He’s been doing it for years. He’s a visiting scholar at NYU’s Journalism Institute.

[1:47] Most people sort of agree on what terrorism should be. There’s violence of course, or the threat of violence. There’s the political aspect of it – and then there’s the issue of the target. Most people would agree the targets have to be civilians or non-combatants. There is a sort of agreement – until you start applying it to particular cases.

Then, Brulin says, all bets are off.

One reason is, no one can quite agree on a definition. A corollary of that is: it’s hard to keep politics out of it.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert who’s director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, remembers following the media coverage when Chechen terrorists laid siege to a school in Russia in 2004.

[3:34] All of the newspapers went out of their way to avoid using the word ‘terrorists’ and to call them fighters, militants, separatists. And I thought to myself, Gosh, if a bunch of armed people taking over a school with children – forcing children and their parents and their relatives and their teachers to live in horrible conditions for days on end, threatening them with death – I mean, if that’s not terrorism, what is? And yet, almost no newspaper of record or major media would call them terrorists.

That’s because the Chechens were fighting Russia – and at the time, Russia was no friend of the U.S.

Now, Hoffman says, terrorism has become a subjective term. He thinks there’s almost a fear of using the word and triggering a reaction – that’s a legacy of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

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Filed under: Crime • International • Justice • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare
Ahmed Errachidi, nicknamed 'The General,' was falsely detained at Guantanamo for more than five years.
May 9th, 2013
09:53 AM ET

A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare

By Jim Roope, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jimroopeCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - The Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility has been troubled since it opened in 2002. Last week President Obama renewed his pledge to close it:

[0:19] “That is contrary to who we are. It is contrary to our interests and it’s gotta stop.”

One hundred Guantanamo detainees are currently on a hunger strike protesting conditions and their continued detention without trial. According to the Department of Defense, 24 of the hunger strikers are being force fed with three of those being watched at a hospital.

Here is one man’s story that underscores the problems with Guantanamo, the seemingly random rounding up of suspected terrorists:

[0:46] “I am not a terrorist. I am only a cook.”

Ahmed Errachidi, a Moroccan citizen, was trying to raise money in 2002  for a heart operation his young son needed.  His idea was to import jewelry from Pakistan, but he was kidnapped by Pakistanis, sold to the Americans for bounty and taken to Guantanamo.

He spent over five years in detention, before a lawyer was able to prove that Errachidi was only a cook and not a terrorist:

[01:25] “His is one of the most ludicrous cases," says attorney Clive Smith. "And there were quite a few ludicrous cases that I came across at Guantanamo, but his was one of the worst.”

Errachidi wrote a book about his years at Guantanamo titled, The General: The Ordinary Man Who Challenged Guantanamo.

Listen to our podcast to hear more of Errachidi's story.

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Filed under: Faith • History • International • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
South Korea's Iron Lady
In this photo from 2008, South Korea's President Park Geun-hye pays tribute to her parents.
May 8th, 2013
10:35 AM ET

South Korea's Iron Lady

By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @CNNEmma

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - South Korean President Park Geun-hye continues her official visit of the United States today. In her first overseas trip, President Park will address a joint session of congress. Yesterday, President Park and President Barack Obama held a news conference in the East Room of the White House. The two talked security, culture and trade.

[:22] "Today we agreed to continue the implementation of our historic trade agreement which is already yielding benefits for both of our countries," said President Obama.

Obama also made a joke about k-pop star PSY, saying his daughters have taught him the ubiquitous dance moves. But k-pop is also big business and the latest export from a country that's grown its economy through trade.

FULL POST

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Filed under: International • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
Is it fair to tax on the Internet?
May 6th, 2013
01:22 PM ET

Is it fair to tax on the Internet?

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Washington (CNN) – Late this afternoon, the U.S. Senate is voting on and will likely pass what would be the largest expansion of taxes on the Internet.

The plan is called the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that gives States the power to insist that online company charge sales tax. (In return for that power, the Senate would require that states simplify their tax codes.)

That title, “Marketplace Fairness Act” points to the political problem here. This is a tax bill in a time when taxes are political outcasts. Why is the Senate poised to pass it now?

[2:45] "Because government is actually desperate for revenue, they’re looking at absolutely every corner they can hit," says Christopher Morris, chairman of the philosophy department at University of Maryland

State governments need money. However, the votes probably would not be forthcoming if the bill were called “The Increase Taxes On The Internet Act."

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