American Morning

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August 18th, 2010
05:58 AM ET

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Juror: One vote blocked Senate seat conviction in Blagojevich case

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - The jury in the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was one vote short of convicting him of attempting to sell a U.S. Senate seat. Prosecutors have already said they will retry Blagojevich and will meet next week to plot their next move.

Blagojevich was found guilty Tuesday of lying to the FBI, but escaped convictions on 23 other counts in a trial seen as a partial victory for the former governor.

The jury, which deliberated for 14 days, said it was hung on 23 counts against him and on the counts against the former governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich.

The former governor faced charges including racketeering, wire fraud, attempted extortion and bribery. The two-term Democrat was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Barack Obama before he was elected president.

Juror Erik Sarnello, 21, told CNN affiliate WLS in Chicago the final vote on whether to convict the former governor of attempting to sell the seat was 11 in favor and 1 against.

"She obviously didn't see it," he said about the holdout. "Some things were so obvious to me."

The next court date is set for August 26, though prosecutors said they will try the case again. Read more

Share your thoughts: Should the planned Islamic center be moved?

Dr. Laura to end her radio show

Los Angeles, California (CNN) - Embattled radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN's "Larry King Live" she wants to "regain my First Amendment rights."

Schlessinger, 63, has been under fire for using the N-word repeatedly during an on-air conversation with a caller last week.

In announcing her decision "not to do radio anymore" after being in the business for more than 30 years, Schlessinger said, "I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry or some special-interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent."

National furor erupted when Schlessinger used the N-word 11 times in five minutes during a call August 10 with an African-American caller who was seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband's friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it's appropriate to ever use the word, with Schlessinger arguing it's used on HBO and by black comedians.

Schlessinger apologized the following day, saying "I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the N-word all the way out - more than one time. And that was wrong. I'll say it again - that was wrong."

Sound off: We want to hear from you this morning. Add your comments to the LIVE Blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.

Filed under: American Morning • LIVE Blog • Top Stories
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Jackie

    The mosque should stay, but maybe some American's should be shipped out. If anyone remembers Shirley Sherrod, who was first vilified by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart; he made false allegations that she was a racist-but through further investigation it was discovered she was talking about learning racial equality; even after her father was killed by a white racist she found a way to not hate white people.
    Now using that as an example in reference to the mosque that’s being built, I don’t believe anyone would deny the fact that Mrs. Sherrod had a right to hold onto the hatred she felt against white people. I also don’t blame the survivors of 9/11 for hating the terrorists. However, we deny those who lost loved ones on 9/11 the opportunity to realize that all Muslims are not terrorists?

    August 19, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  2. Margie

    I think people miss the point with the Dr. Laura rant. The N word holds no power over African Americans it hasn’t for many years. It will and always will bother some and not others. Me personally it holds absolutely no power over me. In a call for help and in not thinking before she spoke something Dr. Laura tells her listeners all of the time. She articulated the N word rather than use it in the way her caller articulated it, so she intended on making her point by not only using the word but relating it to comedy shows or rapper’s....which really had nothing to do with the woman’s problem. No she didn’t need to apologize for doing exactly what she wanted to do with little regard to the caller, listeners or her African American bodyguard who’s her dear friend. Keep it real.....don’t back track! I would never need to debate over something that should be so very apparent and the caller did not call for debate. The other comments Dr. Laura made were far worse in my opinion and the entire call should give people all of the insight into Dr. Laura that they need.

    August 19, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  3. Mxy

    Dr. Laura's point was the N-word is used freely among the black population. Just listen to rap music or look at youTube videos made by black artists. She was NOT expressing her personal point of view but merely pointing out fact. Why has this never been addressed in any of your interviews?

    August 19, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  4. Mola325

    The word Negus is an ancient word of Amharic origin that means "King", and the Kings of the regions in Ethiopia were adressed as Negus! It was taken by the Eurpoeans to mean Black, and later used to degrade people of African origin to mean ignorant I love the word and Yes I am a Black woman. It tells of Aftican historic greatness.

    August 19, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  5. Ronny

    Anybody attempting to use the "excuse" that the Mosque shouldn't be built near Ground Zero but fails to mention that there are strip clubs even closer is a bigot. American shouldn't be influenced by Christian extremists.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  6. Public School Teacher

    "increase" achievement. Is this really what anyone wants for education in the in the USA?

    Please acquaint yourselves with the writings of Diane Ravitch, who is qualified far beyond any other to speak on our nation's education history and ills, so that you gain a better picture of the issues our children, their schools, and their future face as politicians and businessmen attempt their hands at something they can not hope to do well, save our children from the ills of our society.

    August 18, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  7. MikeM

    Dr. Laura says she wants HER rights back? She has the right to say anything she wants. But, just as she tells her listeners, she also has to show responsibility. Apparently she thinks that when she's called upon to be responsible for her remarks, she is being discriminated against. Her bogus "apology" came across as totally void of feeling and showed absolutely no remorse. If she'd truly been remorseful, she wouldn't have waited a day. She says she had to cut the show short because she realized her error. If she really did, she should have said her apology then and there. All in all, she's pulling a Palin here, quitting rather than facing the real challenge of her position.

    August 18, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  8. Angela

    In response to the guest who was just on the show regarding the topic "Schools failing black males" I would like to make the following comments.

    First, the school are not failing black males or anyone for that matter. Students either succeed or fail based on their performance.

    Second, everyone has troubles and challenges in their lives on a daily basis. It's up to each individual as to if, and how they choose to handle each one.

    Third, threatening to punish and fire teachers if they don't pass certain students is quite harsh and illogical. Teachers should grade everyone based on performance and nothing else. They have enough to deal with as it is with parents who don't care and students who want something for free without constantly worrying about job security.

    When will we stop hiding behind labels i.e. color/ethnicity/religion/socioeconomic background and just appreciate the fact that we all have opportunities to learn and further educate ourselves regardless of the aforementioned labels?

    Either apply yourself and succeed, or don't and fail. If you want it – Work for it!

    August 18, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  9. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    The -N- word should have been put into the class of swear words such as the -F- word or the -G-D- word where a person dosnt loose there whole life respect like a common convict this word is being treated as if people are committing a felony .

    August 18, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  10. mike sey

    America talks a lot about 'Freedom' but really is a culture of fear and retribution.

    When a reported 70% of Americans oppose the building of an Islamic centre anywhere near Ground Zero ( even though there is a small and probably inadequate mosque there already) what else can one conclude?

    As to Dr. Laura, she fits right in and joins the America where everyone is a victim for 15 minutes to hear her tell it. Like so many of her ilk, she loves to dish it out but can't take it, and claims her rights are being denied and she lives in fear when others exercise theirs. Poor, poor Dr. Laura!

    August 18, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  11. chuck

    Sorry but you have nothing for me to state a comment on child being spanked. so here it is ................. i think that the doctor on your show this morning is a big part of our problem with child raising today!!! So many ask the question? – why are our young people going into malls and schools and killing others? I think the old saying is still a good one. spare the rod and spoil the child. I was spanked when it was warrented and i turned out just fine i do not hate my mom and dad for spanking me when i needed it, but these bleeding hearts that say dont spank your kids should look at the way things have gotten out of control and how so many children have gone into malls and schools and shot them up and killed others I feel if you need to spank your child you spank on the rear end and only the rear end, I think so many parents are afraid to spank there child because these bleeding hearts will cause them problems for spanking them and in fact if the parent is in control of themself and this is how they want to correct there child that is there right as the parent as long as it is done the right way and the spanking is on the butt. I think more should mind there own business and we wouldnt see so much about children going nuts in public. But understand me done right it is not child abuse and you raise yours your way and let me raise mine the way i feel is right but stay out of the lime light with your views on how everyone should raise there children this no spanking bull is one way and i feel the wrong way to raise a child. I love my boys and they are grown now and doing just fine and didnt shot up a mall or school, all they have done is get a nice life started for there wifes and children and have turned out great......... spanking alright or child abuse – good kids or bad kids – i think we have stuck our noises in everywhere and we just need to back off, spankings done right is not child abuse and people who preach it is should keep it themself and do what they feel is right for them as a family not try and push what they feel on everyone else......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2010 at 8:15 am |
  12. KAREN

    as usual comments were taken out of context,people weren't listening .

    August 18, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  13. Christine

    RE: BUILDING MOSQUE CLOSE TO GROUND ZERO: While it's true that in America, one can worship (or not) as one chooses, the community at this mosque must seriously consider the WISDOM of building it so close to Ground Zero.

    It is too cruel, too brutal to even consider locating a mosque just blocks away from the scene of such pain and devestation.

    We still suffer losses from 9/11. Hundreds of firefighters, police officers, and the other brave rescue workers now live with very serious and fatal diseases caused by exposure to very toxic elements left behind by the attacks.

    As fellow Americans, the community at this mosque must surely understand the outrage that would attract serious crimes such as vandalism.

    I remember the worldwide controversy when the Catholic Church announced plans to build a cloistered convent in Poland next to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.. As a Christian, I could quote admonishments from the Bible about peace and brotherly love, but everyone still recognizes that building a Christian convent/church next to Auschwitz is clearly inappropriate.

    The people who want to build the mosque must have more than adequate financial resources to build their mosque somewhere else. How else can they afford land in Manhattan? The mosque doesn't have to be so close to Ground Zero.

    August 18, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  14. Sal

    I have been watching your series on how hospitals are over charging for services rendered. This morning you spoke about c-sections and how often they are performed and that they are not as neccessary. Did you know that we live in an overweight country. If you have a BMI over 30 your need for a c-section goes to 50%. Everything is not always as cut and dry as your story makes it sound.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  15. Ronny

    Attempting to lay the blame on the graduation rates of black males solely on school is oniy shifting the blame. The largest part of the blame should be placed on the culture and upbringing of the young black males that shows them that it is cooler to be a "gangsta" than to stay in and work hard at school..

    August 18, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  16. Mrs. Svetlana Shales

    Re: Mosque near ground 0 site controversy :
    This project is a typical "in your face" provocation. Considering the opposition alone of most people who lost loved ones, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Co. still persist in their plan : 1) showing total insensitivity toward the distraught families of almost 3000 innocents killed senselessly, 2) betraying islam's ultimate goal of displaying a symbol of superiority over judeo-christian affiliations ; i.e., Pope John Paul II asked well-meaning Carmelite nuns to build their convent away from near the Auschwitz camp out of respect for jewish opposition; who will have the guts to tell the imam to build his mosque elsewhere for similar reasons?
    Nobody contests the right to practice one's religion or build a religious edifice on private property. The real point is that if the imam were sincere in promoting peace, he'd respect this justified strong opposition and move his preferred site some place away from that area.
    People who think building a mosque near the WTC is no big deal are very naive when it comes to islam's ultimate world control goal. Have they read the Kuran ? Do they know what they are talking about ? The imam's choice of this site has nothing to do with religion.
    S. Shales.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  17. Suze Diaz

    I am not Muslim, but as an American, I cannot believe a Governor is using his position of power to coerce a religious organization into doing what people of a different faith want them to do. Can you imagine the outcry if a government official tried to tell Christians where they could and couldn't build a community center?! I guess Newt is getting his wish fulfilled today- we are now more like Saudi Arabia than the America our forefathers fought to create.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:33 am |
  18. annamarie

    The islamic center should not be moved. As americans we need to see the difference between acting like a mob and being and upholding our american values and the bill of rights. Freedom of religion is one of those rights. No one religion has dibs on our country. god bless america.

    thank you

    August 18, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  19. TC in AL

    As far as the N word, if you listen to two black people using the word, they vary in the way they say it, and the context it's in, even between black people using the N word between themselves the word has different "tones" sometimes it's endearing, sometimes it's an insult, the best advice is for white people to be polite and not use the word directed at a black person all together, as it's always considered derogatory in tone and context.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  20. David

    I have no issues with the Constitutional right of a religious group to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan. I do however have concerns about this particular organization and what their longterm agenda may be. I'm also disappointed that CNN has never discussed the historic significance of the Cordoba name in order to educate the many Americans who are expressing their opinions on this issue. Cordoba was the historic Islamic religious center in Spain during its Muslim occupation. Is it simply an innocent coincidence that this group originally planned to name this religious center after the capital of a concurred Western country? Or would that have been a small victory for Muslim extremists who don't believe in freedom for all religions as we do? I hope that more Americans will educate themselves before expressing their opinions on this issue.
    – A concerned Iraq veteran

    August 18, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  21. MASH

    Dear CNN,
    About the mosque in Manhtthaen, America is misunderstanding the situation. No one care where the Mosque is Built No one even cares about a building the problem is so much bigger than that. The main problem here is Muslims period. That is the problem America fairs Islam because of what the idea given to America that every Muslim is a terrorist; mainly like Fox news and other channels that are raciest and give the wrong idea to Americans are the reason behind all this. Americans have lived with fair all their life first was Mexicans then Cubans, Porto Ricans, the Soviet Union, and then African Americans and last but not least now it is Islam. It is a fact on how the country keeps going and we have to just live by it.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:16 am |
  22. Pru Reardon

    No, the Mosque shouldn't be moved just because a lot of Americans are currently suffering from Islamophobia.

    Texas A&M University, '09

    August 18, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  23. Jeanne

    I'm ashamed of those Americans who use a "Community Center" as a way of pushing their agenda. Freedom of religion is a right we all have ALL THE TIME not when it suits our agenda. That being said...because a few radical (muslim) terrorists did a very bad thing doesn't mean all practicing muslims are them. I'm jewish and I don't hate all Germans because of the Nazis. This is really about the GOP ramping up their fear mongering and hate mongering to push their conservative agenda. They should be ashamed and should not be in positions to lead our country. Those americans who are listening should be ashamed to to follow them. The real problem is the americans listening and following. WHAT IS EVERYONE SO AFRAID OF?????????????

    August 18, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  24. David

    Concerning Dr. Laura Schlessinger, I agree with Ronny. If there was any wrong doing on her part, it was to believe that she had done something wrong at all. If a black person were to call a white person a 'cracker' on television, it would be his or her civil liberty. But when the shoe is on the other foot, it's racism. And in Dr. Laura's case, she was giving an example and a quote (in a manner of speaking) to back up her point. If white people should apologize for the words they use, then black people should have to as well. The double standard in America has become rediculous.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  25. Joshua Glantz

    I don't see a controversy in the case of building an Islamic Center near Ground Zero. Religious freedom is at the heart of our democracy. The anger seems to suggest that all members of Islam are responsible for the acts of a few. Equating 1.5 billion Muslims with terrorism is also an awful way to convince the larger world that we are not at war with them. The narrative in the world that the US is out to "get" all of Islam is given credence when we deny fundamental rights to our Muslim citizens.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  26. Chris

    This is really making me sick. The mosque should not be moved. I live in NYC and lost friends in 9/11...and I have friends who are Muslim. Those opposing the mosque have no idea what ideals America was founded on. Separation of church and state and religious freedom...what don't people understand?!?!? Not all Muslims are terrorists...grow up and open up a book, America!

    August 18, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  27. David

    I think they should move the Mosque from ground zero out of respect of those who died in the attacks as well as their familial survivors. However, I do have a suggestion as to an ideal location... The rear lawn of the white house, that way our president will be free to worship anytime he wants!

    August 18, 2010 at 7:08 am |
  28. Pauly

    The media has been focused on the 11-1 vote but the jury foreman said something very different.

    Jury foreman James Matsumoto said while he voted to convict Blagojevich and his brother on all counts, he knew from the first day of deliberations that the jury would have trouble coming to unanimous agreement.

    "It was a very arduous process," Matsumoto said. "Some people looked at it and said, 'He was only talking.'"

    Obviously "some people" caved in on their opinion to end the deliberations. One juror didn't & I commend her on that. Too many times people change their convictions to please others or to get a unanimous decision. If you're on a jury & you have a reasonable doubt, the law requires you to find the defendant not guilty.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  29. pfriday

    regarding the mosque: it is near the site of the world trade center
    – is there a need for a mosque
    – the developer knows what he is doing
    – how funded
    – religious freedom – except during christmas (mayors comments)
    – state land for mosque site???

    August 18, 2010 at 7:05 am |
  30. Ralph beach

    I wish I had supporters to run for President like Obama has... I would get America back to basics in order to fix everything that is wrong...Any takers?

    August 18, 2010 at 6:59 am |
  31. Pauly

    Dr Laura never really apologized. She said using the N-word was wrong but never said she was sorry. The media focused all the attention on her use of that word. Later in her program, she said she thought the election of a black President would end the demonization of white people. I would like her to explain how she has been demonized by black people. I would like her to explain how, as a white man, I am being demonized.

    The argument that blacks are allowed to use that word but not whites is ridiculous. It's not the word itself but the context of how it is used. I have been around other etnic groups that have used offensive slurs that would not be tolerated by someone outside their nationality.

    When Limbaugh called Steinbrenner a cracker. there wasn't much of an uproar. If a black entertainer had said the same thing, he would have been chastised. Especially when speaking of someone who had just died. We have a long history in this country in regards to ethnic slurs. The latest victims are Muslims & Arabs. Slurs against them are allowed in print & on the air. It's shamful & shouldn't be tolerated. Just as ethnic slurs against Hispanics, Jews, Italians, etc are.

    It's also ironic when the media bleeps the word or disguises it when quoting someone such as Dr Laura but have no problems showing signs using the same word at protests or raliies. In fact, one misspelled sign at a tea party rally was put up on every media station, newspaper, blog, etc. Not just at the time but since.

    August 18, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  32. Ralph beach

    Sure, Dr. Laura Schlessinger said the N-word but why harp over it? There are people in the world who say and do worse...It was said, people lashed back, and now they can get over it!

    August 18, 2010 at 6:50 am |
  33. Ralph beach

    And yes, The Islamic Center should be moved because it would be like a slap in the face to Americans!

    August 18, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  34. Ralph beach

    If Rod Blagojevich was found guilty of 1 count he is guilty of all of them...Why keep a person in Gov who is a liar anyways?

    August 18, 2010 at 6:43 am |
  35. Ronny

    Good Morning CNN!

    Blago got lucky – for the moment. If and when the Feds retry him – he will be convicted of most counts.

    Dr. Laura Schlessinger shouldn't have apologized for speaking the truth. Only in America must a person apologize for speaking the truth. The double standard bug has bitten another.

    Americans shouldn't listen to Pam Geller concerning the New York Mosque. She is Jewish and biased towards all Muslims. Her "opinions" doesn't reflect America's feelings nor is her agenda in the best interest of the country. Geller should be totally disregarded and ignored.

    August 18, 2010 at 6:07 am |