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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.
May 25th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Facing financial constraints, Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper decreasing publication

A Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper in New Orleans will only be printed three days a week instead of daily, and is laying off a third of its staff as a result.

The 175-year-old Times Picayune is merging with to form the NOLA Media Group. The newspaper will be home-delivered and available in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The website, meanwhile, will transform into a 24-hours-a-day news source.

Three Alabama newspapers are undergoing similar restructuring, causing many to wonder whether or not this is the beginning of the end for newspapers.

New York Times reporter Christine Haughney joins the Starting Point panel today weigh in on the difficulties local newspapers are facing in an increasingly digital world.

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May 25th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

'After Etan' author 'not convinced' that suspect in custody is Patz's killer

The NYPD announced Thursday that they've arrested Pedro Hernandez in the death of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago today.

Hernandez, 51, is a former Manhattan store clerk who lived in Patz’s neighborhood when the boy was killed. Hernandez told detectives he lured Patz into the basement of his store with a soda, choked him and disposed of his body in the trash.

No physical evidence or motive have been revealed at this time. Police say they were acting on a tip, and now have a written, signed confession by Hernandez in addition to 3.5 hours of video-taped statements.

Hernandez is expected to be arraigned later this morning.

The Patz family has been kept up to date with all of the developments. Police say Mr. Patz was surprised but “handled it well” after everything he’s been through.

"After Etan" author Lisa Cohen weighs in on this development in the case on Starting Point today, saying she is not convinced that Hernandez is the killer.

"I'd never heard his name before today," Cohen explains.

May 25th, 2012
11:05 AM ET

'The Demise of Guys:' Are video games and pornography ruining America's young men?

Where have all the good men gone? Nikita Duncan, psychologist, artist, and recent author, joins Starting Point today to offer her answer to that question: blame male struggles on video games and porn.

Together with Stanford professor emeritus and fellow psychologist Philip Zimbardo, Duncan authored the e-book "The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It," released on Wednesday.

As stated in the book, by age 21, the average guy has immersed himself in approximately 10,000 hours of video games - the equivalent of the amount of time it takes to earn two Bachelors degrees.

Duncan says that the digital era is literally rewiring how the male brain functions and creating a generation with an unprecedented addiction - to arousal.

Unlike drug or alcohol addicts, an arousal addict doesn't merely crave arousal each time, Duncan argues. Instead, he craves novelty: something new, something better, something different.

Duncan stresses that this mindset can be highly damaging to an individual's interactions and relationships.

"If you watch excessive amounts of porn, you're going to find it hard to have real life relationships, because you're developing your sexuality independently of real people," Duncan explains. "You're not going to be stimulated."

May 25th, 2012
09:51 AM ET

Indy 500 rookie Katherine Legge on what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated sport

Indy 500 rookie Katherine Legge is the ninth woman ever to qualify for the big race and she’s taking on a series of female empowerment initiatives as part of her new role.

On Thursday, Legge announced that she will wear the Girl Scouts logo on her helmet and become the organization’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) ambassador, encouraging girls to get into these important fields and follow their dreams.

Legge and her racing team, the first ever all-female team, join Starting Point this morning to talk about these initiatives and to explain how they're preparing for the Indy 500 this weekend.

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May 25th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Friday, May 25, 2012


Today's Starting Point playlist kicked off with a pick from one of our panelists, The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. Ryan picked "Blue Orchid" by The White Stripes. Former Stripes frontman Jack White recently scored his first number one album with his debut solo release Blunderbuss.

Lizza also picked "Wrecking Ball," a song by country great Emmylou Harris. The song, originally written by Neil Young, was chosen as the title track to Harris' 1995 rock album.

Christine Romans filled in for Soledad O'Brien in the anchor seat today, and picked a few songs for today's playlist as well. Up first was "No Brakes," a track from The Bravery's self-titled debut album.  Christine also picked "Make Some Noise" by the Beastie Boys and the Foo Fighters' "My Hero."

Alicia Menendez stopped by our panel this morning and brought along a pretty diverse bunch of tunes. Alicia's first pick was Salt N Pepa's 1993 smash "None of Your Business," followed by the late, great Selena's "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom."

"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" from Michael Jackson's legendary album Thriller also made Alicia's playlist today, as well as the current hit "International Love" by Pitbull ft. Chris Brown.

Will Cain also contributed a song to our playlist this morning: "It's Alright" by Big Head Todd & the Monsters. The track is off of the band's platinum 1993 album Sister Sweetly.

May 24th, 2012
11:38 AM ET

Grover Norquist weighs in on the latest CBO report

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that if Congress doesn’t vote to stop the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that start on January 1, 2013, the United States could topple off a “fiscal cliff” and back into a recession.

Despite these warnings, Congress can't seem to agree on how to address the problem.

On Starting Point today, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and author of "Debacle," explains how he thinks that Congress can prevent the economy from falling back into a recession, reiterating his refusal to increase taxes.

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May 24th, 2012
11:28 AM ET

Utah Sen. Mike Lee talks Romney campaign, federal regulation

Utah Sen. Mike Lee joins Starting Point this morning to talk politics– primarily, Romney's promise to cut the unemployment rate, the current housing market, and his state's infraction of a federal soda ban in schools.

An outspoken Mitt Romney supporter, Lee believes that Romney's laissez-faire approach to government is exactly what the country needs to relieve both the current 9.8 unemployment rate and 800 million dollars of equity debt in the housing market.

"When you have less revenue coming in the door, you have more money going out the door," Lee says. "You have to find ways of trimming." Romney, he insists, knows where and how to do so.

As for federal fines issued in his state over soda sales in schools, Lee says:

"It's certainly wildly inappropriate for the federal government to be saying 'look, you had a vending machine that was on too long in our opinion, so we're going to fine you $15,000.' This is going to cost real students real oportunities in the classroom. These are decisions that should not be made from Washington DC– they should be made at the local level."

May 24th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Joel Stein's 'Stupid Quest for Masculinity'

Joel Stein was "the kind of kid who grew up with an Easy Bake Oven," so he panicked when he found out that his wife was pregnant with a boy.

Once he found out the sex of his baby, Stein embarked on a mission to become manlier, which he details in his new book “Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity.”

As a part of his "macho" journey, Stein went on a series of “manventures” that included joining the Boy Scouts and fighting wrestler Randy Couture.

On Starting Point this morning, Stein explains the reasoning behind his goal, saying that he thinks that men "have lost a little bit of our self reliance and our confidence" because of technology.

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May 24th, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Ronald Kessler: Secret Service management 'condones security breaches'

Yesterday, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee about the agency’s prostitution scandal.

Sullivan called his agents’ behavior reckless and dumb, but argued that the scandal has nothing to do with the culture of the Secret Service.

On Starting Point this morning, Ronald Kessler, who broke the Colombian prostitution story, says that the problem in the Secret Service is "management laxness" and a management culture that condones security breaches that could "directly threaten the life of the president."

Kessler says that Secret Service agents see management “cutting corners,” so they figure that they can do the same.

“The real story is that this is a disaster waiting to happen,” Kessler says.

May 24th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, May 24, 2012


Today's Starting Point playlist kicked off with "Rebellion (Lies)" by Arcade Fire, a pick from panelist Margaret Hoover. The song was highly acclaimed, and is the band's most successful release to date in the UK, charting in the Top 20.

Margaret also picked Elvis Costello's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" and Lyle Lovett's "I've Been To Memphis." The song is from Lovett's 1992 album Joshua Judges Ruth, which skyrocketed to popularity after Lovett began dating actress Julia Roberts.

The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza was an SP panelist this morning and brought along a couple of greats: "Bye, Bye Baby" by Janis Joplin and Sonic Youth's "Silver Rocket," which Rolling Stone included in their list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.

Joel Stein, TIME columnist and the author of the new book Man Made: A Stupid Quest For Masculinity stopped by our show this morning and picked a couple of songs for our playlist: Pearl Jam's "Better Man" and "Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)" by Eels, who are likely best known for their 1997 Modern Rock hit "Novocaine for the Soul."

Per usual, panelist Will Cain picked a bunch of classics for our SP playlist. Up first was Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down",
which was Petty's first hit without his frequent band The Heartbreakers. Will also picked Stone Larue's "Look At Me Fly" and "Honky Tonk Woman" by The Rolling Stones.

Christine Romans picked "Blister in the Sun," a track from the Violent Femmes' debut album, which has been heard in many films and TV shows. "I love Midwest bands," Christine said of the Femmes, who hail from Wisconsin. "This song always reminds me of when I was a kid."

Economist Grover Norquist appeared via satellite from Washington, D.C. and picked "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MG's. The R&B band will celebrate fifty years together this summer.

Also heard on today's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien: "Fidelity," singer Regina Spektor's biggest hit to date.

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