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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.
June 6th, 2012
11:06 AM ET

Starting Point Playlist for Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Today's show kicked off with "Good Times, Bad Times," a Led Zeppelin classic from guest and TIME columnist Joe Klein. The song's famous guitar riff is reportedly the most difficult segment that lead bassist Jean Paul Jones ever wrote.

Also played:

Panelist Margaret Hoover's playlist:
Squirrel Nut Zippers - "Memphis Exorcism"
Bruce Springsteen - "Radio Nowhere"

Panelist Ryan Lizza's playlist:
Arctic Monkeys - "A Certain Romance"
Sharon Van Etten - "We Are Fine"

Panelist Will Cain's playlist:
Stoney LaRue - "Look At Me Fly"
Smashing Pumpkins - "Today"

Guest author Mark Kennedy Shriver's playlist:
U2 - "Pride (In the Name of Love)"

Guest LGBT activist Wade Davis's playlist:
Jay-Z ft. Kid Cudi - "Already Home"

Soledad O'Brien's playlist:
Rihanna - "Please Don't Stop the Music"

June 1st, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Friday, June 1, 2012

To celebrate the would-be 86th birthday of iconic star Marilyn Monroe, the performer's songs "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and "I Wanna Be Loved By You" were both played on today's show.

Also played:

Soledad's playlist:
Marvin Sapp - "Power"
The Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"

Panelist Abby Huntsman's playlist:
Robyn - "Dancing on My Own"
Simple Plan - "I'll Do Anything"
Keane - "Silenced By The Night"

Panelist Will Cain's playlist:
Kenny Chesney - "Out Last Night"
Dixie Chicks - "Lubbock or Leave It"
The Rolling Stones - "Brown Sugar"

And, corresponding with the singer's guest appearance, Ledisi's "Shine" rounded off the 8 o'clock hour.

May 22nd, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Tuesday May 22, 2012

Starting off the morning with style, Roland Martin's playlist had the panel dancing to the go-go beat of Chuck Brown's "Block Party." The Washington D.C. artist was a primary inventor of the go-go genre, and the 1900 block of 7th Street NW (between Florida Avenue and T Street) in D.C. was named posthumously for him.

Martin also played "Boogie Fever" by the Sylvers.

Wyclef Jean was Soledad's artist of choice, playing both "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" and "If I Was President" on the show. Just yesterday, Soledad returned from Haiti, Jean's birthplace. In 2010, Jean filed for candidacy in the Haitian presidential election but was denied because he had not resided in Haiti for five consecutive years.

Margaret Hoover mixed in a song from the All American Rejects with their track "Happy Endings" from the band's 2003 debut album.

Indy post-rock pick of the day: "They Move on Tracks of Never-Ending Light" by This Will Destroy You, from the playlist of guest panelist Robert Fogarty. Fogarty has dedicated himself to disaster photojournalism with his "Dear World" series and was on the show to promote his recent project in Joplin.

The classic sound of The Police's "Roxanne" wrapped up today's show, courtesy of panelist Will Cain. The song was ranked #388 on Billboard's greatest 500 songs of all time.

May 21st, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Lt. Gov. Simon: For the most part, Chicago law enforcement has been doing a 'fantastic job'

The NATO summit in Chicago attracted more than international officials; thousands of protesters, some peaceful, some less-so, rallied on Sunday with banners reading "War = Debt" and chants of "hey hey, ho ho, NATO has got to go," in an anti-NATO, anti-war demonstration.

The protestors encouraged participants to tweet hashtags such as #SolidarityWithChicago and #F***NATO to trend the topics and attract more attention to the cause.

After two days of protesting, the demonstrations turned violent yesterday. More than 45 people were arrested in the chaos, and a few law enforcement officers were injured as well.

Despite the riotous nature of the protests, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Sheila Simon describes the protests as "organized" and tells Soledad that they are a "really effective use of democracy where we have to tolerate and appreciate all opinions."

"The strategy has been all along to work with all the different law enforcement agencies in concert," Simon explains, "and I think for the most part they've been doing a fantastic job of making sure people are protected and that free speech rights are protected as well. It's a tough balance to get, but I think they're doing a good job."

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Filed under: Crime
May 18th, 2012
10:07 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Friday, May 18, 2012

In memorial of the passing of the "Queen of Disco," today's show playlist was filled with the songs of music legend Donna Summer.

"Love to Love You Baby," a literally orgasmic disco ballad, was the singer's first American hit. Featuring a backtrack of Summer's moaning and climax, the song made her an immediate sex symbol when it was released in 1975 and was banned from many radio station for its explicit content.

Other songs played in honor of Summers were "Hot Stuff" and "She Works Hard for the Money," famous hits from the 70s and 80s.

Bringing a little taste of Motown to the show, Guest John Avlon's playlist included Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Also on his playlist: "If I Had A Boat," by Lyle Lovett.

Brook Baldwin chose one of The Black Keys' most successful songs from her playlist: "Tighten Up" was a spontaneous melody created by the band on a day off and was listed as one of the top 15 "Best Whistling Songs of All Time" by Rolling Stone.

"Son of a Gun" by Vaselines came up on Margaret Hoover's song choices, as well as "Dear Friends" by Elbow. Christine Romans played "Peg" by Steely Dan.

And from Will Cain's playlist? 1996 country tune "Time Marches On," by Tracy Lawrence, a song which topped Billboard's country charts for three weeks straight and was the artist's biggest hit.

May 17th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Meat clerk 'hero' suspended from Safeway for breaking up a domestic assault

Ryan Young, a meat clerk at the Safeway in Del Rey Oaks, California, has been indefinitely suspended without pay from his job. But many agree he wasn't doing anything wrong: Young stepped in to stop an altercation between a couple when he noticed Quyen Van Tran abusing his pregnant girlfriend in the store.

Young was commended by the Del Rey Oaks chief of police and told that, were it not for his actions, things could have been much worse. Van Tran was arrested after the incident. However, Young was notified by his manager that he would be placed on leave from his job until further notice for what Safeway described to CNN as "legal reasons."

Young says that he and his wife are expecting their first child in October and this employment situation has created some unneeded stress for his family. Still, he doesn't regret his actions.

"If my wife or my sister was in the same situation, I would just hope that someone would step in and come to their aid as well," Young says.

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Filed under: Crime • Hero
May 16th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Wrong man executed: Columbia Law School challenges 23-year-old Texas verdict

It would appear from a recent Columbia Law study that America has executed an innocent man.

In 1983, 24-year-old Wanda Lopez was a gas station worker on a solo night shift. Warned of suspicious activity outside the store, Lopez was already speaking with a 911 operator when a customer drew his knife and demanded cash. On the emergency call tape, the gruesome story plays out: Lopez tries to cooperate. The sounds of a struggle come across the line, and then the phone goes dead.

Carlos DeLuna was identified by a lone eyewitness as the killer. Though his approximate physical appearance matched the witness recollection, DeLuna had no blood on his clothes and no trace of his presence at the scene of the crime. From initial arrest to execution, his trial took six years. DeLuna received a lethal injection in 1989.

The state already holds the record for capital punishment: Texas has executed 482 people since 1982, a statistic that is four times that of any other state.

Columbia Law School professor James Liebman and a team of 12 students devoted six years to scouring the case, and yesterday published their findings in Columbia University's Columbia Human Rights Law Review. The 400-page report details the story of the Corpus Christi night and two men, both named Carlos - one who was convicted of a crime that the other bragged of completing.

Liebman describes the process of the investigation to today's panel.

"We started looking at some Texas cases that put people on death row and got them executed based on a single eyewitness identification. One of the very first cases we came to was Carlos DeLuna, who from the very beginning said, 'I didn't do it, Carlos Hernandez did.'

"Nobody had ever identified this Carlos Hernandez," he explains. "We said, let's give it a day and see if we can find him."

May 16th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Psychology 'bible' to redefine addiction terms – 'Celebrity Rehab' counselor Bob Forrest on what this means for the treatment of millions

From wild "lost weekends" of your college years to even minuscule daily habits such as shopping, sex, video games, or internet use - now, even momentary lifestyle decisions can now get you labeled an alcoholic or an addict.

Recently, psychiatrists and specialists declared revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that would exponentially widen the definition of a mental addiction and could potentially cost insurers and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The expanded definition was originally proposed with the intent of diagnosing more untreated illnesses, and psychiatrists claim it will have intense social benefits in the long run. However, under the new wording, some 20 million substance abusers could be newly (and perhaps unnecessarily) diagnosed as addicts.

Bob Forrest, drug counselor on "Celebrity Rehab" and "Sober House," joins us on the show to share his opinion on the change. Forrest is a former Chemical Dependency Program Director at Las Encinas Hospital and a co-founder of Hollywood Recovery Services, launched in 2010.

"One argument is it's going to label a lot of people alcoholic," he says. "On the other hand, an argument is, more people will become more educated at an earlier age about their drinking and what it can lead to."

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Filed under: Addiction • Alcoholic • DSM
May 16th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Panelist Margaret Hoover opened today's show with the hit "Dog Days are Over" by Florence and the Machine. Originally released in 2008, "Dog Days" peaked at #21 on the US Billboard charts in late 2010 after a live performance on MTV's 2010 Video Music Awards, and it was also performed in haunting acapella by the Pentatonix on "The Sing-Off" last November.

Nirvana's "Come As You Are" came from Will Cain's playlist, as well as "Bittersweet" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The Colorado rock band was formed in 1986 and put out their platinum album "Sister Sweetly," featuring track "Bittersweet," in 1993.

Rob Brownstein brought us "Achin' to Be" by The Replacement, as well as Bob Schneider's "Blue Skies For Ever."

The main music of the day was from Superbowl champion, NY Giants quarterback, and guest Eli Manning. His extensive playlist on today's show included "The Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen, "Monday Night Football Theme" by Heavy Action, and a softer track from George Strait, "Troubadour." With 59 #1 hit singles, George Strait has had more #1 hits than any other artist in any genre, and his 2008 album of the same title was ranked #1 for U.S. country albums when it was released.

Last up was Plain White T's "Revenge," fittingly bringing in guest Madeleine Stowe, who stars as Victoria Grayson on ABC's "Revenge."

May 15th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

'Gateway-sex' bill in Tenn. attracts criticism – State Sen. DeBerry on why more efforts are needed to stem tide of teen pregnancy

"School is not a pickup place," Tennessee Representative John DeBerry says. That's the basis for the state's new bill, an initiative that will completely reform the way schools teach sex-ed and police PDA in Tennessee's public school systems.

The "gateway-sex" bill, as its being called, requires sexual education classes to "exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student's current of prior sexual experience."

Tennessee ranks in the top 10 states for high teen pregnancy rates. The current teaching has been abstinence-only; DeBerry insists that this new bill is a fresh approach to prevent intimate contact between teens and it should change his state's statistics.
Let's hope so: the teenage pregnancy statistics for Shelby County, Memphis are more than double those of the national average.

"This is America, we're the greatest country on earth," DeBerry says. "The only thing a person really has to have for a decent living in America is graduate high school and not have a child before you're ready to take care of that child."

But is limiting access to sexual knowledge the best alternative? Brooke Baldwin and today's panel discuss. See more from the interview below.

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