May 6th, 2010
08:10 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Tom Strickland

The Department of the Interior chief of staff was in the Grand Canyon with his wife three days after the BP oil spill was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.

ABC News reports that even though his agency is charged with coordinating the federal response to the oil spill, Strickland was on what administration officials insisted was a "work-focused" trip far away from the massive spill.

According to ABC News, that trip included white-water rafting. When officials realized the spill was getting worse and Strickland was needed in the Gulf, a National Park Service helicopter removed him from the highly visited National Monument.

ABC News: As oil spread, Interior Department chief of staff in Grand Canyon

U.S. Department of the Interior: Strickland bio

CNN: Complete coverage of oil spill

Lindsay Graham

The Republican senator from South Carolina says that giving the government the power to block the purchase of firearms by suspected terrorists would undermine the Second Amendment.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke at a congressional hearing Wednesday and asked, "Shouldn't FBI agents have the authority to block sales of guns and explosives to those on the terror watch lists - and deemed too dangerous to fly? I actually believe that they should."

Legislation introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, and Rep. Peter King, R-New York, would give the attorney general the discretion to deny the transfer of a firearm when a background check reveals the purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and authorities believe the person may use the weapon in connection with terrorism.

The Huffington Post reports that Graham said the bill was an instrument of those who want to  ban guns altogether.

"We're talking about a constitutional right here," he said, explaining that he could not support legislation that would force "innocent Americans" to "pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back."

Huffington Post: Bloomberg argument shot down by pro-gun GOP senators

CNN Campbell Brown: Times Square attack cited in push for tighter gun laws

CNN video: Bloomberg talks terror on Capitol Hill

Susette and Bill Manassero

The American missionaries have devoted their lives to Haiti's children. They are part of an expansive and controversial missionary community that shelters thousands of Haiti's abandoned children. They manage the Lighthouse Orphanage and live in Port-au-Prince with their family, so that the young Haitians they care for do not have to leave their homeland.

Haiti has 380,000 children living as orphans, though CNN's Soledad O'Brien reports that in a country with unbelievable capacity challenges, the term "orphan" has a complicated meaning.

O'Brien tells the story of two orphans, six year old Cendy Jeune and former child slave Marc Kenson Oliphi, in a new CNN documentary, "Rescued," which premieres on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET & PT.

Child Hope International: The Manassero family

CNN video: Rescue of a former child slave

CNN AC360°: Shaquille O'Neal: Don't forget the plight of Haiti's children

Bret Michaels

The rock star say's he's feeling "lucky to be alive."

Michaels suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage - bleeding at the base of his brain stem - on April 21 and spent ten days in a hospital intensive care unit. In the first interview since his release, he told People magazine that he thought a burglar had shot him in the back of the head.

He said the brain hemorrhage "sounded like a handgun, like it literally popped."

Michaels, who appears as a contestant on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice," told People that his mind almost went blank and he asked his girlfriend, Kristi Gibson, to take him to an emergency room.

He said, "I knew I was slurring my words, and I was like 'OK, this isn't a headache. There's something really bad happening.'"

People: Bret Michaels reveals his emergency room plea

CNN video: Poison drummer on Bret Michaels

Aaron Melcher

The 24-year-old soldier and several members of his Afghanistan-based squad have produced a music video remake of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" that is so wild, it has been viewed 3 million times since it was posted April 23.

Married and the graduate of a North Carolina Christian school, Melcher warns on the YouTube website, "Prepare yourself for a fantastical journey." As the Lady Gaga hit plays, members of the 82nd Airborne - all men - lip-sync, tease each other suggestively, and gyrate in dusty boots and T-shirts, mimicking Lady Gaga's original choreography. At a change in the music, they are suddenly in homemade costumes of cardboard, spray paint and yellow police tape.

Sarah Kaufman wrote in The Washington Post, "Despite the distance, despite the exoticism, there's a powerful poignancy to this music video from a war zone, featuring young soldiers who could die tomorrow, who are, perhaps, funneling months - years? - of restlessness, loneliness and pent-up self-expression into a flamboyant 3 1/2-minute escape."

YouTube: 'Telephone' remake

The Smoking Gun: Afghanistan goes Gaga

Washington Post: Soldiers make a 'Telephone' connection with video

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. 5t1v

    stickland's aloofness reminds me so much of bush's when katrina hit. The issue durring the first few days of the accident was focused on the missing workers, so maybe he is getting his information, sadly, from the same place we are, the news media. I have to laugh also remmbering when G BUSH said he saw on t.v. the firstplane hot the world trade center on sept 11, footage that wasnt released until the next day. these peopl just dont know what they are doing, and the world is a huge mess as a result. BP should have known in the first day what kind ofdisaster they weredealing with and taken steps then for the worst case scenario. Now it 2 weeks later and they are finally looking like they are actually doing something to control the leak.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julianne

    LOVE YOU GUYS!! Keep up the creativity over there. Gaga, should pay these boys a visit for their amazing tribute to you ladies!!!!!!!!

    May 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The_VH

    I might be a liberal, but I'm definitely with the repubs/libertarians when it comes to the second amendment (I'm currently going through all the red tape of firearm purchase in DC). That said, Sen. Graham's claims are absolutely outrageous and self-contradictory. I mean how many everyday hunters and sportsmen are on the DHS no-fly list or some terror watch list? Furthermore, the government isn't going to take anyone's guns! There's a million reasons why, starting with the fact that you couldn't pay anyone enough to go up to some holler in like WV and try.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
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