August 24th, 2010
12:02 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Aijalon Mahli Gomes

Former President Jimmy Carter is heading to North Korea hoping to secure Gomes' release from a North Korean prison. The 31-year-old from Massachusetts was sentenced to eight years of hard labor in April after illegally crossing the border from China into North Korea.

"I don't know why exactly he did it [entered North Korea] but he just, I'm sure he felt, that God was saying to him: 'Good can come out of this,' " a teacher and friend of Gomes told NPR in a report today.

Gomes tried to commit suicide last month, according to North Korea. Foreign Policy magazine reports that the State Department secretly sent a team to visit Gomes earlier this month but was not able to get him released.

Last year, former President Bill Clinton intervened in the case of two American journalists - Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had allegedly crossed the border into North Korea - and they were released.

Foriegn Policy: Exclusive: Jimmy Carter headed to North Korea on rescue mission

NPR: Why Did Aijalon Gomes Cross Into North Korea?

CNN Political Ticker: Former President Carter to travel to North Korea to free American

Kim Lehman

The Des Moines Register reports that she may be one of the first Republican National Committee members to say publicly that she believes President Obama is a Muslim.

Lehman first shared her view of President Obama on August 19 with a Twitter message in response to a Politico news article. "@politico you're funny," Lehman wrote. "They must pay you a lot to protect Obama. BTW he personally told the Muslims that he IS a Muslim. Read his lips."

On Monday, Lehman told the Register she based her opinion on a 2009 speech the President gave in Cairo, Egypt. The "New Beginnings" speech is viewed as Obama's first attempt to speak directly to the Muslim world following the George W. Bush administration.

"[It] just had a sense of embracing or aligning with the Muslims," Lehman said, "I don't know. It was unnecessary the stuff he said. That's the whole point."

A White House transcript shows President Obama does not say he is Muslim. The White House says the president is Christian.

Des Moines Register: Iowa GOP committeewoman says she believes Obama is a Muslim

Politico: 31% of Republicans believe Barack Obama is Muslim The President's Speech in Cairo: A New Beginning

Garland Robinette

The New Orleans-based radio talk-show host came to the national light in 2005 for his haunting interview with Ray Nagin, and remains the region's champion amid the fallout of BP.

Robinette is a Louisiana native and Vietnam veteran who was a television news anchor and environmental reporter in New Orleans long before he began hosting his radio program on WWL.

Today Robinette's focus is on "Bad and Pathetic," as he refers to BP. Using his environmental journalism background, Robinette often details how BP and the federal government have failed to respond to the disaster properly or be transparent about the cleanup.

"We're not really part of the United States," Robinette said in a recent interview with filmmaker Spike Lee. "We are like a rich Haiti."

CNN: Mayor to feds: 'Get off your asses'

WWL: Robinette bio

Washington Post: Spike Lee's 'If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise

Crystal Renn

The plus-sized model is the face of a new ad campaign from Chanel. As reported in numerous agencies, the campaign comes as a bit of a surprise given Karl Lagerfeld's tough words about curvy models.

The Daily Telegraph noted that perhaps is why the black-and-white photo-allegedly taken by Lagerfeld himself-only shows the 24-year-old Renn from the shoulders up, wearing a fur off her bare shoulders. In the background, a bare-chested man is gazing at her from a bed.

Regardless, it's not first time she's worked with Lagerfeld. Perhaps more impressive than any photo layout, she recently walked the runway for Chanel's resort collection in St. Tropez. It should be noted that Renn is a size 10 - not size 16 - arguably the real industry standard for American plus-sized women.

"It's not about body size, it's about talent and effort," Renn said. "I hope the industry sees this as an example of that."

Daily Mail: Chanel casts plus-size Crystal Renn for new ad Crystal Renn on her new Chanel campaign

Linda Simons

On the day that the federal government fined Sea World $75,000 related in part to the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, a woman who is a former safety director at Sea World came forward alleging a coverup.

Linda Simons, who worked at the park for two months before she was fired, said Sea World refused to let her tell OSHA that the park was ill-prepared for such a whale attack.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" yesterday, Simons said Sea World also required that all employees receive the "Tili-talk" about Tilikum, the whale that killed Brancheau. According to Simon, all employees who work with the whales were told, "If you go into the water with Tili, you will come out a corpse."

Simons started at Sea World the week before the incident and was present during the response to the incident. In the interview, she said she was fired two months later because Sea World did not want her to talk with OSHA investigators about the safety concerns she observed at the park.

Sea World responded by saying that Simons was fired for her poor performance during the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's investigation, a charge she denies. Her motive for speaking out? "I want to make sure that it is investigated and that the safety of the team members that remain is not jeopardized," Simons told Good Morning America. "I think that if they're put into that close proximity, it could easily happen again."

According to, Sea World blasted her accusations and said she "used the threat of negative publicity to seek a sizable monetary payment from SeaWorld in exchange for her not going public with these false allegations."

ABC news: SeaWorld whistleblower: Trainer death caused by park's negligence

CNN: SeaWorld fined $75,000 for safety violations

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ZOOMER165


    August 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jangocat

    He's a fool traveling to communist countries. Now North Korea will probably let him go because they will get another photo op with an ex president, but the guys an idiot...

    August 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CATom

    They are sending Jimmy Carter??? They must not want this Gomes guy back.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shelly Man

    It would be best to leave him there. It was already a mistake bringing back those 2 women. By bringing him back, it will only encourage more people to cross over the border into North Korea.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Richard

    This guy went to N. Korea to convert people to become Christian. Why do we want to get him back? We have enough nuts in this country. NO MORE!
    Have a nice day!

    August 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SirRaleigh

    Why waste a presidential visit on this dude. President Clinton had to suck Jim Jong's balls to get those reporters freed. This guy crossing the border seems like a nut job.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |

    Like it or not....He did not respect that countries laws. He must be held accountable. As I want all illegal entry into the US to be swiftly expelled.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NickB5

    Leave him there. I'm sick of these idiots going into hostile countries and then acting surprised when they are imprisoned.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |

    Anyone traveling in other counties must be aware that your security cannot be guaranteed and you talk your life into your own hands....If eh attempted suicide.....then He must not be a very good Christian. Basically He's a fool and therefore not need back in the US. Let Him work it off. If He's released...He'll write a book and get 15 minutes of fame Here....I don't want to have to hear about His stupidity.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |

    Yes, I need to spell check.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bramep

    What hypocrates some of you are out right hatred and racism. None of you said anything when the Lings were brought back home or when the country sent someone there to get them. Here you have an AA and you talk about let him stay and why do we want him back. Think about it people. It is better to keep your mouth closed than to spew this vile hatred.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonathan

      I say let them express themselves... we need to see how far we have to go to love each and everyone..just as those who spew hatred only reveal their desperate need for love..

      August 24, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    I hope North Korea imprisons Jimmy Carter. That would be the best outcome of his visit.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Yelonde

    I have an uncle that crossed into North Korea from China a few years ago. He actually hiked a couple miles in for the hell of it, and took some pictures of the geography. Fortunately, he wasn't at all spotted, so he walked out without incident.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Redeye Dog

    We really need to get out of the business of sending former presidents to save misguided Americans.. This mentality of "They wouldn't dare harm one of our presidents" is ludicrous! What will we do when an insane dictator like Kim Jong-il takes one prisoner or worse?

    My advice – send Hillary...

    August 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don

    I wonder why people still try to cross into North Korea. If they chose to do stupid thing like this, then we should let them fend for themselves. This guy deserves the Darwin award.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonathan

      until its' your's 🙂

      August 24, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
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