Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
May 23rd, 2012
11:51 AM ET

Alice Eve on her role in 'Men in Black 3' and working with Will Smith

Actress Alice Eve wanted Soledad to know one thing when she first stepped into the Starting Point studio this morning: the spectacular blonde hairstyle for her latest film is, in fact, her own hair.

On today's show, the “Men In Black 3” leading lady discusses the experience of working with seasoned stars Will Smith and Josh Brolin.

Eve plays the young Emma Thompson in the blockbuster trilogy’s final installment. She also starred as Emily Hamilton, the love interest of Edgar Allen Poe (played by John Cusack), in last month’s “The Raven."

Eve says she's no stranger to learning how to fit in; a good thing, considering she's new to the MIB series. She went to nine different schools during her educational career: "I swapped accents and cultures - and dress codes," Eve says, laughing.

The first “Men In Black," released in 1997, grossed close to $251 million domestically; the sequel, released in 2002, brought in about $190 million. “Men In Black 3” hits theaters this Friday.

May 23rd, 2012
11:43 AM ET

First openly transgender athlete competing for spot on American Olympic team

Keelin Godsey has an impressive record: he’s a two-time NCAA national hammer champion and took 5th at last year's USA Track & Field championship, among other accomplishments. However, what makes Godsey stand out is that he used to be a she.

Born as Kelly, Godsey is biologically female, but he self-identifies as a male. Next month, he’ll head to Eugene, Oregon to compete for a spot on the U.S. Women's Track and Field team, making him the first American Olympic contender to be openly transgender.

David Epstein and Pablo Torre join the Starting Point panel today to discuss the story they recently wrote about Godsey for Sports Illustrated.

The reporters explain that there's no uniformity across various organizations about the rules under which transgender athletes compete. To compete in a sexual category different than the one in which one was born, the Olympics require gender reassignment surgery as well as two years of hormones, while the NCAA says that only one year of hormone therapy is necessary.

Although the guidelines for transgender athletes remain unclear, the NCAA plans to take up the issue over the summer thanks to the attention drawn to the issue by athletes like Godsey.

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Filed under: Olympics • Sports
May 23rd, 2012
11:29 AM ET

Rep. Dreier: The U.S. 'looks forward to working with whoever is elected' in Egypt

For the first time in their country’s 5,000 year history, millions of Egyptians are heading to the polls today to cast their first free vote for the country's president. 

Twelve candidates are vying for the position and although it’s unclear who will win, there are four standout candidates that are garnering attention this afternoon.

On Starting Point today, Rep. David Dreier says the United States will be happy to work with whoever the Egyptians choose, because having a democratic system will facilitate what he hopes what will be an even better relationship between Egypt and America.

Rep. Drier, who is in Cairo as an official election monitor, calls the democratic process "inspiring" and stresses that Egypt and the U.S. share an "important strategic relationship."

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Filed under: Egypt
May 23rd, 2012
11:16 AM ET

Does the Secret Service have a culture problem? Sen. Ron Johnson weighs in

Four Secret Service agents who were dismissed during the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia are fighting back, saying they are being used as scapegoats to cover up a culture that’s been tolerated for a long time.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan will be testifying in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee about the scandal for the first time today.

On Starting Point this morning, Sen. Ron Johnson calls the Secret Service misconduct a "sad revelation" and says that he's interested in finding out how pervasive this type of behavior is at today's hearing.

While Johnson says that Sullivan seems to genuinely want to get to the bottom of the situation, he asserts that it's important to determine whether or not the scandal is in fact part of a larger, accepted culture in one of the government's most respected agencies.

May 23rd, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Wednesday, May 23, 2012

STARTING POINT PLAYLIST FOR 5/23/12

Sen. Ron Johnson kicked off today's Starting Point playlist with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," George Harrison's classic Beatles song. The track is widely considered to be one of Harrison's finest compositions, and was ranked among the greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone.

Political commentator Margaret Hoover was one of our panelists this morning, and brought along a diverse couple of songs for the playlist. Up first was "Eva" by Latin funk group Ozomatli. The track is off of the band's self titled 1998 debut album. Hoover also picked "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen, which has been recorded over a thousand times by artists ranging from The Grateful Dead to Motorhead.

Will Cain's first playlist pick today was The Black Crowes' "Jealous Again." The song was the band's first single, released in 1990. Will also picked Everclear's 1997 hit "Father of Mine."

Men in Black III star Alice Eve stopped by the Starting Point set today, and brought along Pitbull's "Back in Time." The song can be found on the soundtrack to the new film, which hits theaters this Friday.

Panelist Roland Martin picked a couple of throwbacks today. Up first was "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. The song was the first of many number ones for Michael Jackson, who has reached the top of the charts in six decades, including the current one with "Hollywood Tonight," which topped the Hot Dance Chart last year. Martin also picked the Parliament classic "Flashlight."

Do you have a suggestion for our playlist? Post your pick in the comment box below or send us a tweet at @StartingPtCNN!

May 22nd, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Senators propose new bill for immigrant entrepreneurs

A new bipartisan bill, Startup Act 2.0, aims to keep global talent in America by providing benefits to immigrants who launch startups.

On Starting Point this morning, Senators Mark Wagner (D-VA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) describe their bill, insisting that they don’t think an election year is an excuse to not get anything done.

Startup Act 2.0, essentially the sequel to the Jobs Act, offers new visa classes for immigrants, as well as incentives to invest in startups and tax credits for new businesses. It will also use existing federal funds to help universities bring their research to the market faster.

To be eligible, an individual must have completed graduate-level work in science, technology, engineering or math. Within a year, he or she must launch a business that has two full-time employees who are not family members, and their company must raise capital of at least $100,000.

May 22nd, 2012
11:41 AM ET

Romney adviser: Corey Booker was 'taken to the woodshed' by the White House

Following the Romney campaign’s controversial ad featuring Cory Booker, the Newark mayor is speaking out, saying that his words were taken out of context.

Romney campaign adviser Barbara Comstock appears on Starting Point this morning to respond to Booker's criticism, saying that it’s the White House, not the Romney campaign, who did some creative editing with video of Booker.

“Corey Booker spoke the truth and then the White House took him to the woodshed and tried to take him out of context in their own tape,” Comstock says.

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May 22nd, 2012
10:43 AM ET

'Dear World' photography project features Joplin tornado survivors

In honor of the one year anniversary of the tornado that ravaged their town, survivors of Joplin's tornado join New Orleans natives as part of the "Dear Me" photo project, a series of pictures by photographer Robert Fogarty that show devastated communities and people on the rebound.

On Starting Point this morning, Fogarty explains the concept behind the project, explaining that he brought his subjects to places of significance around Joplin and asked them to write how they were feeling with a Sharpie marker on their bodies.

In one photo, a man named Bradley German holds his son Brody. Across Brody’s back, under a huge scar, is the word “survivor.” Fogarty brought the two to St. John’s, the hospital they went to when Brody got his injury during the tornado, and photographed them there.

At the same hospital, Fogarty took pictures of Philip Wilkinson, a relatively unknown hero who took a wrench to a gas line at the hospital, ensuring that it didn’t blow up. Wilkinson's hands read “faith” and “hope.”

Fogarty's idea for the project came from the acknowledgement that society has become accustomed to fitting as much information as possible onto one space.

“I figured I’d distill everything down to a person’s story and message on their body,” Fogarty explains.

May 21st, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Are 'gap years' a good idea for students? Dr. Steve Perry weighs in

CNN education contributor Dr. Steve Perry isn’t a fan of gap years and believes that they only make it harder for students to go back to school.

“We’ve over diagnosed and over pampered this generation enough. I mean, for God’s sake, you want a gap, its called summer. Get over it,” says Perry on this morning’s Starting Point.

Perry believes that internships, studying abroad and taking a break between college and grad school are better options for students looking to engage other interests.

“In America, our persistence rates, our college matriculation rates actually have decreased over the past couple of years," Perry explains. "So, doing something like this only adds fuel to the fire for people to stay home.”

May 21st, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Wife of man imprisoned in Bolivia pleads for help from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Miriam Unger, wife of Jacob Ostreicher, an American who has been jailed in Bolivia since last June, is pleading for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help her husband.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to get involved here and I know that she can help my husband," Unger tells Soledad O’Brien on Starting Point today. "He needs to come home; he is ill and there will be irreversible damage if this is not escalated on a higher level.”

Ostreicher, a 53 year old flooring contractor from Brooklyn, N.Y, was arrested by Bolivian authorities under the suspicion that the money he used to invest in a rice business was drug money.

No evidence or charges have been brought against Ostreicher but under Bolivian law, people can be incarcerated for up to 18 months without charge.

At one hearing, Osteicher’s defense presented more than 1,000 translated documents that showed the source of all of his investment and proved that the money came from legitimate sources.

A judge ordered Osteicher released on bond from the Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz. However, after his family paid, the judge unexpectedly rescinded his own decision.

Jacob Ostreicher is nearing one month on a hunger strike to call attention to his case.

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