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July 4th, 2009
11:44 PM ET

Dionne Warwick: "The Jackson Family Will Get Through This"

Thousands upon thousands of people have been physically close to Michael Jackson. Far fewer can claim Michael Jackson was close to them emotionally. Legendary singer Dionne Warwick knew Jackson better than most. She and her son, music producer Damon Elliott, spoke with CNN's Don Lemon about their rare friendship with a superstar, especially the making of "We Are the World."

Filed under: Don Lemon
July 4th, 2009
11:30 PM ET

"Have You Seen My Childhood?"

Michael Jackson described the song "Have You Seen My Childhood" as the most intimately personal and autobiographical of his career. Music producer Bruce Swedien worked with Jackson to record that song. He spoke with CNN's Don Lemon about the experience.

Filed under: Don Lemon
July 4th, 2009
05:05 PM ET

Alaska Lt. Gov. Parnell on Gov. Palin's Decision to Step Down

From copy editor Tracy Murphy:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin dropped quite a bombshell when she announced she was quitting yesterday. She is turning over the reigns to her Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell. CNN’s T.J. Holmes spoke with him this morning and got his take on her announcement and stepping into a new job.

You can watch T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen every Saturday and Sunday on CNN Newsroom starting at 6am ET/3am PT.

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Filed under: Clips from CNN Newsroom
July 4th, 2009
02:44 PM ET

TMZ: The Ultimate Hollywood Insider broke the news of Michael Jackson's death before it was officially announced to the world. CNN's Don Lemon talks with TMZ founder Harvey Levin about how the four-year-old Web site got the ultimate inside scoop.

Filed under: Don Lemon
July 4th, 2009
08:48 AM ET

Cutting back 4th of July festivities

Fireworks, food and family fun.  Three things synonymous with the 4th of July.

But from Florida to Arizona and New Jersey, a tough economy has forced many communities across the country to scale back their 4th festivities or cancelled them all together. 

Families are scaling back as well.  Many are bypassing big road-trips to stay closer to home.

What are you up to this 4th?  Are you at home?  Were firworks in your community cancelled.  Or did you still take that trip you've been planning since last year?  This is one topic we'll be discussing today at 4 P.M.  So tell us your plans and tune in.  Your comments could make it on air!

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
July 4th, 2009
08:31 AM ET

Making a difference in the Big Easy

This Independence Day weekend is loaded with headline stories. From Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s announcement to funeral and memorial plans for Michael Jackson to bubbling violence in Afghanistan. A complicated confluence of events. So it’s especially nice to bring you a couple examples of how kind deeds are changing lives in the still deeply wounded city of New Orleans.

While thousands of tourists are converging on NOLA for the Essence Music Festival which is this year paying tribute to the King of Pop, we wanted you to know about something else happening in the Crescent City. Check out my stories profiling the Roots of Music  and separately, musician Josh Charles.  

Roots of Music gives you a view of the potential every child, anywhere, has. And that along with nurture and good nature, every child is exceptional.

You’ll see what I mean when you watch the story. And if the children don’t inspire you( which I know they will), how about the founder of the program, Derrick Tabb.  Wow, what a big heart being shared so unselfishly. 

And then, check out what musician Josh Charles is doing. A talent who is using the power of lyrics to help impact the city in another way. And he’s got an inventive way to engage you to perhaps play a role.

I’d love to hear your impressions of New Orleans recovery and resilience.

We will air full stories from New Orleans throughout the weekend here on CNN.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
July 4th, 2009
04:50 AM ET

Ahead in the CNN Newsroom

North Korea launches seven missiles
Vice President Joe Biden speaks to troops in Iraq
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin calls it quits
Michael Jackson memorial and burial
America celebrates Independence Day

CNN Newsroom with TJ Holmes and Brooke Baldwin in for Betty Nguyen, 6am ET/3am PT

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Filed under: In the Newsroom
July 4th, 2009
04:01 AM ET

Palin Stepping Down as Alaska Governor

Governor Sarah Palin announced Friday that she will step down as Alaska's chief executive by the end of the month, and will not see re-election in 2010.

Palin, a Republican, was elected governor in 2006. She was tapped as Arizona Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate last year.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be sworn in on July 26. He'll join us this morning in the CNN Newsroom, beginning 6am ET/3am PT.

A Republican source close to Palin's political team told CNN's John King the governor's "book deal and other issues" were "causing a lot of friction up" in her home state, and that he believes that she is "mapping out a path to (the GOP presidential nomination in) 2012."

Veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins, however, questioned that assumption. "You don't just quit with a year and a half to go. You certainly don't do this as a stepping stone to run for president."

What do you think about Governor Palin's decision to step down with a year and half left in her term?

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Filed under: In the Newsroom