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Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
December 28th, 2012
09:31 AM ET

New documentary "Central Park Five" focuses on famous New York City murder case

In 1989 New York City, crime was common. But when a 28 year old Wall Street Investment Banker was beaten, raped, and left in a coma while jogging in Central Park, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and convicted. The infamous “Central Park Five” were exonerated after a serial rapist confessed to the crime in 2002, after they had spent six to thirteen years in prison. The case is the focus in a new documentary directed by Sarah Burns. She and one of the five, Raymond Santana, joins Ali to talk about the film and the case.

At the time, New York City was a “city on fire” and the fear of crimes like this continuing, authorities felt the need to point the finger at someone to ease some tensions. Burns says, “It made sense to people and a lot of that had to do with exactly what was going on in New York. The crime rates were extremely high. It was the peak of the murder rate, you’re dealing with the crack epidemic and people were afraid. It’s a different city that it is now and that contributed to people’s fear and their desire to have this solved and solved quickly.”

It makes it hard to see the impact the case had on a then 14 year old Raymond Santana through his constantly beaming smile. But he still worries, he says, “Always having that label of being looked at negative…come into a room and the person looks at you too long, do they recognize me as one of the Central Park Five and if so, is it negative or is it positive?”

The film showcases the facts that existed as well as what the media was feeding to the public. Thought the documentary is being praised for its journalistic integrity, it has its critics too. The Central park Five have filed a case against the NYPD for their wrongful convictions. The City of New York has subpoenaed the film’s outtakes in hopes of bolstering their case. Burns says, “We have refused to turn those things over. We believe we are protected by journalistic privilege, so we filed a motion to quash and we’ll wait for a judge to decide.”

December 28th, 2012
09:05 AM ET

Utah Shooting Sports Council Chairman Clark Aposhian & Teacher Kasey Hansen on free shooting lessons for Utah teachers

It's been two weeks since a gunman broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 teachers and students. The nation continues to mourn, and since then, there's been an ongoing debate about how to prevent another tragedy from happening. Some have even suggested arming teachers to combat violence in schools.

Teachers in West Valley City, Utah are taking this suggestion seriously. They were being taught how to properly handle a gun, among other lessons, in a six-hour seminar yesterday. The course was free and made possible by Clark Aposhian. Aposhian is the Chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council and has trained teachers how to use guns in Utah in the past. Kasey Hansen is a special education teacher who trained to use a gun at Clark's class. They both join “Starting Point” live from Salt Lake City with more.

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Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • Training
December 28th, 2012
08:47 AM ET

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) talks fiscal cliff standoff: 'problem...can't be shifted onto the middle class'

The countdown continues with just four days to go. Not just to New Years Day, but to the day the country falls over the fiscal cliff—unless leaders in Washington can reach a deal to avoid it. Key lawmakers will attempt to do that in a high-stakes meeting later today at the White House. President Obama is meeting with the four congressional leaders—Boehner, Pelosi, Reid and McConnell—at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. But the rhetoric is only getting more angry and disconnected in these final moments. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat from Michigan, joins “Starting Point” with more live from D.C.

Sen. Stabenow believes that there is more bipartisan talk in the Senate than in the House. “We're having a lot of very important, very good, positive conversations between Democrats and Republicans, I believe the president does. The tough part is in the House, where they have taken this very extreme position about protecting the wealthiest Americans at all costs, even holding middle class families hostage to do it. And that really isn't rhetoric,” Sen. Stabenow says. “That’s what we're seeing over and over again. We have one bottom line, and that is when we get all done, we gotta solve the problem and can't be shifted onto the middle class one more time. Other than that, we want to sit down and continue to solve it.”

December 27th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

Blogger publishes journalists’ home addresses after N.Y. paper posts map of gun permit owners' addresses

A New York based newspaper has sparked outrage this morning after its decision to publish a map pinpointing the addresses of people with gun permits. Published in The Journal News, which is based in White Plains, New York, the map shows homes where public records indicate someone living there holds a gun permit. It was part of an article called "The Gun Owner Next Door," and the newspaper says the information shown came from public records. It has readers online furious. Blogger Christopher Fountain is one of those readers, and he decided to strike back by posting the home address of most of the leadership and staff of The Journal News.

Fountain, who is a gun owner, says that The Journal News defended publishing the gun permit owners' addresses for safety purposes, but Fountain disagrees with the correlation between gun ownership and gun violence. He tells "Starting Point" that he decided to post the journalists' information because he felt that the newspaper "was bullying gun owners by conflating ... West Chester County gun owners with a horrible incident in Newtown, Connecticut ... one has nothing to do with the other." He adds, "I felt that they were using this to harass gun owners ... so I harassed them back."

Fountain's blog, "For What It's Worth", can be found at

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Filed under: Article • blog • Connecticut shooting • Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • harassment • Newtown • Sandy Hook • Shooting
December 27th, 2012
10:19 AM ET

'You're a mean one...' or are you? The Grinch joins 'Garden of Dreams' Foundation to help kids

An unlikely pair have teamed up this Christmas to help kids' dreams come true.

The "Garden of Dreams" Foundation, a non-profit charity that works closely with Madison Square Garden, will work with the infamous Grinch to make children's lives a little bit easier. The organization has helped more than 215,000 children and their families since it's inception in 2006.

Teaming up with the foundation this year, the Grinch, played by Dennis Kenney in Madison Square Garden's production, will host a book drive to help kids hit by Hurricane Sandy. The Grinch and four children helped by the "Garden of Dreams" Foundation join "Starting Point" on Thursday.

Filed under: Charity
December 27th, 2012
09:37 AM ET

Secret to Warren Buffett's success; CNN's Poppy Harlow tours his Omaha office for a clue: 'no email'

What is the secret to Warren Buffett's success? Perhaps the clue lies in his office.

The oracle of Omaha is arguably one of the best investors of all time, and one of the richest men in the world. But you wouldn't necessarily know that by the looks of Buffett's office. Though it's not everyday one gets a tour of it, that's exactly what he gave CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

The chairman of Berkshire Hathaway showed her around his Omaha headquarters. From sports jerseys to a model Mars Rover, to a presidential medal of freedom and a very old tube TV, what she found—and didn't find—might surprise you.

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Filed under: Business • Investment
December 27th, 2012
09:23 AM ET

"Devil Meets Prada" meets Washington; former Senate staffers dish on D.C. culture in new novel: "Capitol Hell"

Alicia Long and Jayne Jones are the authors of "Capitol Hell"; a book they’re calling "Devil Wears Prada" meets Washington D.C. Inspired by life on Capitol Hill, the novel follows a naive young girl who goes to work for a demanding boss and gets in way over her head. Except this time the young girl is working for a newly elected senator who's seen as a rising political star. The writers are former Capitol Hill staffers, who both worked for former Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Alicia Long and Jayne Jones come to the studio to dish on the new book this morning.

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Filed under: Books • D.C. • D.C. culture
December 27th, 2012
09:22 AM ET

Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT) talks possibility of a fiscal cliff solution just five days away from deadline: 'I'm really hopeful'

President Obama and the Senate are returning to Washington today after taking a Christmas Break. They now have only five days to act to avoid the fiscal cliff as they wait to see if the House will come into session. The GOP is meanwhile putting pressure on Senate Democrats to make the next move in the fiscal cliff standoff. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is a Democrat from Connecticut. He joins “Starting Point” live from D.C.

"I'm really hopeful," Sen. Blumenthal says. "I think there is still sufficient time to reach a deal if we use the common ground that we have. And that common ground is that nobody wants to go over the fiscal cliff."

December 27th, 2012
08:43 AM ET

Five days out from fiscal cliff, Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH): 'everything needs to be on the table'

President Barack Obama and the Senate are returning to Washington today after taking a Christmas Break. They now have only five days to act to avoid the fiscal cliff as they wait to see if the House will come into session. The House left town after Republicans failed to bring a vote on their own Plan B last week. Ohio Republican Congressman Steve Latourette seemed exasperated about that. Rep. LaTourette is a member of the Appropriations Committee. He joins “Starting Point” live from D.C.

Rep. LaTourette says "everything needs to be on the table" to reach a deal averting the fisacl cliff or "this is gonna be a huge problem."

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Filed under: Congress • Fiscal cliff • GOP
December 26th, 2012
10:13 AM ET

John Kilcullen on the damages after Christmas Day tornadoes hit Midwest

More than 190,000 people were left in the dark after tornadoes ripped through parts of the Midwest on Christmas Day. John Kilcullen, Mobile County Emergency Management Operations Director, joins "Starting Point" Wednesday to discuss the damages in one of the hardest hit areas, Mobile, Alabama.

Filed under: Extreme Weather
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