Overheard on CNN.com: Face on milk carton chipped away at our innocence
Etan Patz was 6 years old when he disappeared on May 25, 1979, on his way to a bus stop in New York City.
April 19th, 2012
06:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Face on milk carton chipped away at our innocence

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

A 6-year-old boy named Etan Patz disappeared in 1979 on his way to a bus stop in New York City. He became the face on the milk carton, symbolizing growing awareness of missing children. As police and federal investigators once again search for the boy's remains, many of our readers are mourning a certain loss of societal innocence. Several said the ongoing search is worth doing.

Search related to 1979 Etan Patz case under way in New York City

That face haunts this reader to present day.

Michael Burch: "I remember this little boy's face and name on milk cartoons. I was about his age, 5 at the time. Wouldn't you want your child's remains to be finally laid to rest after almost 33 years? I know I would check up every lead possible. Not a waste of time!"

One person was curious why a boy would be on his own.

lm517: "How are more people not weirded out by the fact that a 6-year-old was expected to find his own way home from an NYC bus stop? When they talk about the mom calling the school and all of his friends, it sounds as if they are talking about a missing teenager. I still hate that they went through this, but still, questionable parenting."

This reader talked about leaving the house alone, just as Patz did in 1979. FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • History • Missing Children • Overheard on CNN.com
April 19th, 2012
06:35 PM ET

Delta flight makes emergency landing at New York's JFK

A Delta Air Lines flight made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Thursday afternoon after encountering an engine problem the pilot said was caused by a bird strike shortly after takeoff.

"We lost our right engine due to the ingestion of birds," the pilot told the control tower.

Delta Flight 1063’s pilots told air traffic controllers of an engine-related problem shortly after the Los Angeles-bound plane took off from JFK around 3 p.m., FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.

‚ÄúAs a measure of caution, the pilot chose to turn around‚ÄĚ and landed the Boeing 757 at JFK, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said. All 172 passengers and seven crew members were OK, he said.

Delta needs to examine the engine before a bird strike could be confirmed, Black said.

Ali Velshi, CNN's chief business correspondent, was on the plane. He¬† said he heard ‚Äúa horrible grinding noise‚ÄĚ after the plane took off.

FULL POST

24 hours through the lens
April 19th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

The CNN Daily Mash-up

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We'll top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs. Your comments, as always, are welcome.

What could possibly go wrong?

An extreme sports enthusiast brought his gravity-defying sport to Imperial Beach, California, but officials quickly put the kibosh on it, CNN affiliate KGTV reports. Here are the new rules, in sum: Don't jump off buildings in Imperial Beach.

User comment  1: Don't blame teachers

In a discussion of how school dropout rates are measured, Cheryl S. wrote:

No matter how you calculate them, our country's dropout rates are outrageous and unacceptable. Why is it still possible for a minor to drop out? Every kid in this country should be at least graduating high school. The most common response to this these days is the blame the teacher mentality. Teachers can't make your kids go to school or show any respect once they're there, and yet they're blamed for all the consequences of bad and neglectful parenting.

User comment 2: Thanks, Pat Summitt

After Pat Summitt announced she was stepping down, we saw overwhelmingly supportive comments pour in about the University of Tennessee women's basketball coach. Eight months ago, Summitt, 60, revealed she had early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. President Barack Obama announced Thursday she will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her 1,098 wins are the most in major-college basketball history, and readers like hambdiscus said she set an example that has made it possible for others to succeed in women's athletics:

A fine lady, a sportswoman extraordinaire, a credit to her university, her city, her state and to this country. If there were a few more Pat Summitts in this world, college athletics would be the better by several orders of magnitude. Today I watched my granddaughter don the tools of ignorance and catch two games of fast-pitch softball for her college team. She is traveling a road that you made smoother even though your sport and hers differ. Thank you, Pat. A curmudgeonly old football fan wishes you the best. Godspeed.

Top video: Colombian hooker tells her tale

A New York Times reporter tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that he interviewed a woman who said she was one of the prostitutes who "hooked up with" American Secret Service agents in Cartagena, Colombia. Listen to her side of the story and what happened next:

[cnn-video url=http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/04/19/ac-secret-service-escort-incident.cnn]

(Related) Quote of the day: Stupid is as stupid does

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, isn't too impressed with the Secret Service and military personnel allegedly involved in the sex scandal in Colombia:

There will be committees of jurisdiction that will hold hearings on this.  But understand this - there is not a committee hearing that is going to take the place or stop people from being stupid.  There is not a bill we can pass to cause people to have common sense.  I mean think about this - people that are here to protect the president, they go to Colombia and have a fight with a prostitute over how much she should be paid?  That's either really stupid or a total lack of common sense.

iReporter remembers Dick Clark encouraging her

Maggie Kortchmar was a singer-songwriter who remembers the time in the 1980s when "American Bandstand" played one of her songs. The kids on the show gave it "pretty lukewarm ratings," she recalled. But host Dick Clark - who died Wednesday at 82 - seemed to like the song, she said. "After they were done he looked in the camera and he said, 'Maggie, I've seen this before, and I will tell you that sometimes when a song isn't rated well here it can go straight to No. 1. I think it was wonderful, and keep plugging.' How do you beat that? I felt much better."

On the horizon: GOP confab in Arizona

Republican leaders from every state are meeting at a posh Scottsdale, Arizona, resort to plot strategy for the November election. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a virtual lock to be the GOP's presidential nominee,  will address a Friday luncheon that is sure to be the event's biggest draw. Later that evening, Romney will attend a $50,000-a-head fundraiser in Phoenix for the joint "Victory Fund" he established with the RNC.

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Overheard on CNN.com: How free should free speech be? Readers' views divided
Musician Ted Nugent speaks at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia.
April 19th, 2012
04:51 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: How free should free speech be? Readers' views divided

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Columnist LZ Granderson argues in an opinion article today that Ted Nugent's recent remarks about President Obama were thinly veiled threats and suggests that the rocker ought to be arrested, although he concedes there is little precedent for such a response. Our readers were divided on this view.

Ted Nugent should be in jail

Argument 1: Free speech is free

Jason Asselin of Iron Mountain, Michigan, was outraged by Granderson's column. He said that arresting Nugent because of his remarks would be a violation of Nugent's right to free speech.

"I want to live in a world where you can speak your mind freely without fear of being arrested or imprisoned," Asselin said.

"Many people talk about locking Ted up for his comments. This is exactly what many countries do today: Lock people up for speaking their mind."

Some of our readers disagreed strongly with Granderson. FULL POST

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Celebrity • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Showbiz
April 19th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Official: Helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, likely killing 4 Americans

A Black Hawk helicopter crashed Thursday in southern Afghanistan, likely killing all four of its crew members - all of them Americans - a U.S. military official said.

The crash occurred in bad weather, though the official said "we cannot yet rule out enemy action."

Troops at a combat outpost in the area waiting to be picked up saw the crash happen, the official said. Another helicopter flying nearby was not affected.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
Levon Helm, co-founder of The Band, dead at 71
Levon Helm performs with The Band at the Fillmore East in New York in May 1969. On the right is Robbie Robertson.
April 19th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

Levon Helm, co-founder of The Band, dead at 71

Levon Helm, the drummer, multi-instrumentalist and singer for The Band who kept the band's heart for more than three decades, died "peacefully" Thursday afternoon, according to his record label, Vanguard Records. He was 71.

"He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul," the record label's statement said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Music • Showbiz
April 19th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Tennessee's Summitt: 'It has been a privilege'

Pat Summitt said Thursday it wasn't easy stepping down as University of Tennessee women's basketball coach, but nearly a year after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, it was time.

"It's never a good time (to step down), but you have to find a time that you think is a good time, and that time is now," she told reporters at Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena.

Summitt, whose 1,098 wins are the most in major-college basketball history, spoke to reporters a day after the school announced that she would now serve as "head coach emeritus," helping with on-campus recruiting and mentoring players. Her associate head coach, Holly Warlick, has been named Summitt's successor after being an assistant on the team's staff for 27 seasons.

Shortly before Thursday afternoon's news conference, the White House announced that President Barack Obama would award Summitt the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, CNN's Brianna Keilar reported.

FULL POST

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Sports • Tennessee
New search for first missing child pictured on milk carton
April 19th, 2012
01:17 PM ET

New search for first missing child pictured on milk carton

[Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET] Investigators began jackhammering into the basement of a commercial building in Lower Manhattan on Thursday as part of a search for a 6-year-old boy who disappeared in May 1979 on his way to a bus stop in New York City.

"We're looking for human remains, clothing or other personal effects," New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. "It's a very painstaking process."

Etan Patz's disappearance, considered a high-profile cold case, prompted authorities to splash the child's image on the sides of milk cartons in hopes of gathering more information. It is thought to be the first time that step was taken for a missing child.

"The FBI's Evidence Recovery Team is on the scene," FBI special agent Peter Donald said.

The excavation includes boring into the basement floors and walls of a SoHo building on Prince Street in Manhattan, near where the schoolboy is believed to have walked on his way to a bus stop more than three decades ago.

Dozens of police and federal agents have gathered outside the building and are expected to continue their search for the next five days.

Authorities have reason to think the new search could lead to the discovery of the boy's remains at that location, though remain wary after past leads in the case have not panned out, according to two sources.

February 2011: HLN's "Nancy Grace: America's Missing" looks at Etan Patz case

FULL STORY
Small plane with unresponsive pilot crashes into Gulf of Mexico
A Cessna 421, similar to the one pictured, reportedly circled the Gulf of Mexico for hours before crashing.
April 19th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

Small plane with unresponsive pilot crashes into Gulf of Mexico

[Updated at 2:16 p.m. ET]  A small plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed in the central Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after circling above the ocean for more than two hours, but it appeared intact after hitting the water, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

The tail of the twin-engine Cessna 421 remained sticking out of the Gulf about 120 miles west of Tampa, Florida, after it went down at 12:08 p.m. ET, said Chief Petty Officer John Edwards, a Coast Guard spokesman. The crew of a Coast Guard search-and-rescue plane watched as the Cessna made what appeared to be a soft landing, Edwards said.

A Coast Guard helicopter and the cutter Coho were expected to reach the site Thursday afternoon, he said.

The plane took off from Slidell, Louisiana, en route to Sarasota, Florida, with a single pilot on board, and had been circling at an altitude of about 28,000 feet, a Federal Aviation Administration source told CNN. The Air Force began monitoring the plane after noticing it flying erratically over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning, and planes sent up to investigate it reported the Cessna's windows were either iced or fogged over, Edwards said.

Mike Maddox, a manager at the Slidell airfield where the plane took off, confirmed there was a situation with a plane and said family members had been notified, but he had no further comment.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Air travel • Military • U.S. Coast Guard
Women to attend Marines' infantry school
The U.S. Marine Corps logo is seen at the Marines' base in Quantico, Virginia.
April 19th, 2012
10:34 AM ET

Women to attend Marines' infantry school

[Updated at 1:04 p.m. ET] The U.S. Marine Corps plans to allow a yet-undetermined number of female volunteers to enroll in the school that trains its infantry combat officers, the Marine Corps Times has reported.

The plan to open the Infantry Officers Course to women is part of the service's effort to determine which additional jobs may be open to women in the future, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Marines' assistant commandant, told the Marine Corps Times.

"We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers," Dunford told the Times for a story published Wednesday.

Enlisted women also eventually will have a chance to take infantry training, Dunford told the Times, which reported that it wasn't yet clear what path the women who complete the training would follow.

The decision to open the school to female volunteers is part of a research plan implemented after Congress directed the Marines to review their policies on assigning women to ground combat elements, Capt. Kevin Schultz, a Marines spokesman, told CNN on Thursday.

‚ÄúThe Marine Corps has initiated a measured, deliberate and responsible research effort in order to provide the commandant with meaningful data so that he can make a fact-based recommendation to the senior leadership of (the Defense Department) and Congress,‚ÄĚ Schultz said.

Under a 1994 U.S. military policy, women are restricted from formally serving in small ground units directly involved in combat. The reality of the last 10 years of war, however, has been that many women serve in support positions - such as military police or medics - that place them in harm's way. They are not formally assigned to combat units, but rather informally "attached," which means they do not get the crucial credit for combat duty that is needed for promotions to higher grades.

Over the last several years, advocates as well as some senior U.S. military commanders have increasingly called for more ground combat jobs to be open to women, Starr reported.

Earlier this year, CNN's Barbara Starr reported that the Pentagon was planning to open up nearly 14,000 jobs to military women - jobs that would place them closer to the front lines of combat.

Some of the newly opened jobs were to include specialties such as tank or artillery mechanic, missile launcher crew members and field surgeons in forward deployed brigade combat teams. However, women still would not be permitted in frontline jobs directly involved in combat such as infantry units or counterterrorism sniper teams.

The Marine Corps Times also reported that the Marines are developing "gender-neutral" physical fitness tests for combat tasks. Such requirements would not differ for men and women, and would suggest that women who wanted to perform such tasks must prove that they could do so at the level of their male counterparts, the Times reported.

Wanted: Women in top military roles

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Filed under: Marines • Military
April 19th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Thursday's live events

The 2012 presidential election can sometimes change at the drop of a hat.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:54 am ET - Oklahoma City bombing anniversary ceremony - A ceremony marking the 17th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City takes place.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics
30 years in prison for Chinese fisherman who killed South Korean coast guard
Chinese fishing boats encounter a South Korean coast guard boat while in the Yellow Sea in December 2010.
April 19th, 2012
04:17 AM ET

30 years in prison for Chinese fisherman who killed South Korean coast guard

A South Korean court on Thursday sentenced the captain of a Chinese fishing boat to 30 years in prison for murdering a South Korean coast guard officer during a confrontation in the Yellow Sea last year.

The court in the port of Incheon also handed down prison terms to several other crew members of the Chinese vessel, which the South Korean coast guard officials boarded on December 12 because they suspected it of fishing illegally.

The skipper of the fishing boat, Cheng Dawei, was convicted of stabbing the coast guard officer, Lee Cheng-ho, several times with a knife. Lee later died of his injuries and another coast guard official was wounded in the encounter.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Cheng, 43, but the court chose to give him a lengthy prison term and a fine of 20 million won, or about $17,500.

Nine other Chinese sailors received sentences of one and a half to five years for their roles in the clash, according to Judge Rho Jong-chan, a spokesman for the court.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: China • South Korea
April 19th, 2012
03:55 AM ET

Can Kim Kardashian conquer politics too?

Don't print up the official stationery yet, but reality star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian has designs on political office. More specifically, she'd like to be the mayor of Glendale, California.

Kardashian shared her political aspirations in a bonus clip for her sister Khloe Kardashian Odom's E! show "Khloe & Lamar."

"I decided, I'm gonna run for the mayor of Glendale," Kim said as the sisters tooled around Dallas. "So I have to buy a house there."

The Kardashian candidacy is a long-term goal, Kim acknowledged, saying it's probably another five years down the road. The next Glendale municipal elections are slated for 2017.

FULL STORY

Filed under: California • Celebrity • Politics • U.S.
April 19th, 2012
03:20 AM ET

Oregon man says naked airport protest was about free speech

John Brennan says he did not go to the Portland International Airport intending to get naked.

But after feeling harassed by airport screeners Tuesday, the 50-year-old Portland, Oregon, man stripped off his clothes in a protest that brought him even more attention from airport authorities, national headlines and a short stint in jail.

"I just took off my clothes and said 'See, I don't have any explosives,'" Brennan told CNN on Wednesday. "The individuals at TSA are just doing their job and the whole organization needs to find a balance between safety and privacy . They use fear and intimidation and it's got to stop somewhere."

The Transportation Security Administration had a different take on the incident.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Justice
April 19th, 2012
01:33 AM ET

Trayvon Martin: Governor to name task force to look at gun law

Florida's governor will announce Thursday morning who will be part of a task force that will look at the state's gun laws in the aftermath of the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

In March, as outrage was growing about the shooting, Governor Rick Scott said that Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll would lead the task force but said he would take time to figure out some of the other members.

"After listening to many concerned citizens in recent days, I will call for a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to investigate how to make sure a tragedy such as this does not occur in the future," Scott said at the time.

Also Thursday, Sanford, the city where the shooting took place, has scheduled a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. to provide members of the public an opportunity to discuss the incident, according to the Sanford mayor's office.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Justice • U.S.