February 3rd, 2012
08:09 PM ET

NYC street sign warns 'drone activity in progress.' Wait. What?

The red-and-white street sign posted near the Brooklyn Bridge–the one just below the NO STOPPING ANYTIME–looks legit until you stop and ponder its message: "Drone activity in progress." Wait. What?

OutFront digital producer Mark Joyella grabbed a photo of the sign and fired it off to the show team. Is this new? The NYPD's warning people of drones? When did this happen?

It didn't. The sign–one of a series of seemingly legit street signs posted around the city–is the work of a 28 year old Army veteran turned "radical art student" who told The New Yorker he worked with drones during two tours in Iraq, but was chilled by the idea of drones patrolling the skies here at home.

The sign got Erin Burnett thinking. "The strange thing is how easily we believed that sign about drone activity. Maybe we're conspiracy theorists. But it seemed to say something the world we live in. We were disturbed, but not, frankly, surprised that our government was watching us. Maybe we were just surprised they would tell us they were watching us."

Getting us–and you–thinking, of course, is what the provocative art project is all about:

Near each sign, they also stenciled a quote from a Founding Father, such as a warning from Ben Franklin that seems particularly apropos: “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Erin put it this way in her commentary:

"The sign in Brooklyn made us confront how we'd feel if drones were watching us here at home. If the drones caught a terrorist, or a murderer, would we be okay with the drones then? Ten years after 9/11–and ten years after the Patriot Act–we're still debating how much of our freedom are we actually willing to give up to maintain American freedom."

Filed under: Crime • Erin's Essay • National Security
February 3rd, 2012
07:45 PM ET

Toobin on end of Armstrong doping investigation: 'This guy is cleared. It's done. It's over.'

Federal prosecutors Friday announced they would close the investigation into alleged doping by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who has consistently denied using performance enhancing drugs. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the decision–which comes after years of rumors, reports and ongoing investigations–means "this guy is cleared. It's done. It's over."

Armstrong released a statement expressing gratitude for the Justice Department's decision, saying he looked forward to focusing on fatherhood, competition, and his work against cancer–without the investigation hanging over him.

Filed under: Crime
February 3rd, 2012
05:14 PM ET

Despite strong jobs report, unemployment 'needs to go up again'

The January jobs report–hiring surged, while unemployment fell–sent a spike through the markets on Friday, but CNN's Erin Burnett says there's a catch. "This is a really good jobs report," Burnett told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "It's been five months in a row that we've seen the unemployment rate drop. That is very, very significant." But for a full economic recovery, expect the unemployment rate to rise. "At some point before it recovers, it actually needs to go up again."

As Burnett explains, the jobs report only includes Americans who have been actively searching for a job in the last month–but there are many more who've quit looking out of frustration. "There's several million people who are truly disenfranchised," says Burnett. As the labor market improves, those people will start looking again–and that will cause the unemployment numbers to pop up. "Even though it's going down now, at some point...it actually needs to go up."

Filed under: Economic Strike Team • Economy
February 3rd, 2012
04:39 PM ET

Accused 'honeymoon killer' Gabe Watson to stand trial years after wife's death

A trial date has been set for May for an Alabama man accused of killing his wife during their honeymoon in Australia. David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson is scheduled to face murder and kidnapping charges February 13 in an Alabama courtroom, court officials said.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Australian media dubbed Watson "The Honeymoon Killer" after his 26-year-old wife, Tina, died October 22, 2003, while the two were diving at a historic shipwreck off the Great Barrier Reef.

Filed under: Crime