(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Talent and torment often go together.
History is filled with great artists and composers whose lives were a constant struggle against their own private demons. In the end, they leave us a great legacy of their works, but it seems the only real peace they ever found was when they stopped breathing.
Possessed of one of the greatest talents in the history of show business, Michael Jackson also seemed for much of his life to be a tormented, unhappy man. Following his death yesterday, there were reports of prescription drug use, including a shot of Demerol shortly before he collapsed and died from cardiac arrest.
His life was filled with episodes of bizarre behavior. Everything from his trial on child molestation charges - he was acquitted - to dangling his baby off a balcony, to the grotesque altering of his physical appearance through numerous plastic surgeries to his failed marriages. The press had a field day with Michael Jackson.
But there was also a kind, gentle man who donated much time and money to charity. Remember We Are The World? He and Lionel Richie wrote the words and music to that song, which raised millions for hungry people in Africa. When his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, he donated the settlement from a lawsuit - $1.5 million - to a hospital burn center.
As with all of us, there was more than one side to Michael Jackson.
Here’s my question to you: How would you characterize the life of Michael Jackson?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Barack Obama has generated an excitement and hope not seen in American politics in years, perhaps even decades. But behind the scenes, some of his field workers and volunteers are coming face-to-face with something very different: racism.
The Washington Post reports about what it calls "raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed – and unreported" in this election. Obama volunteers have had doors slammed in their faces, and have been called racially derogatory names. Some Americans apparently can't deal with the idea that Obama might become our first African-American president.
One volunteer reports being chased by dogs while canvassing in Indiana. Another woman in Pennsylvania gave up on phone-bank duty after one night... because of the negative responses from voters in her county, which is 98% white. Drivers yelled out racial slurs as they passed a group of black high school students holding up Obama signs in Indiana.
The campaign says these are isolated incidents and that most volunteers and staffers have had positive experiences. It says the election has reinforced Obama's view that "this country is not as divided as our politics." As for the candidate himself, he doesn't talk much about race.
He doesn't have to. Obama has won 30 of the 50 contests so far, including 5 of 12 primaries where blacks made up less than 10% of the voters. He also won in caucus states that are overwhelmingly white – places like Iowa, Idaho and Wyoming.
Here’s my question to you: Now that it looks like it will be Barack Obama against John McCain, how big an issue will race become?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?