Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Randi Kaye | Bio
The helicopter waiting for us was bright blue and yellow. That was our ride into the Los Padres National Forest in California. We were about two hours north of Los Angeles. After the dirt and sand swirling around us settled down, we climbed aboard.
Our pilot flew during Vietnam so I wasn't too worried when he took us into the canyon of the forest and hovered there while our photographer shot video of the "marijuana garden" below us.
Hovering in a canyon in a chopper is not for the faint of heart. We came to do a story for AC360° on the "marijuana gardens" that exist on public land - like national parks and U.S. forests. About 80 percent of marijuana grown outdoors is grown in those areas.
We came to the right spot here. As we hovered we could see the plants below us as well as the irrigation system the growers illegally installed in the forest. The system diverts the rain water to these “gardens,” so the rest of the forest is deprived of water while the marijuana plants thrive.
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs
Iranians beaten... and bloodied... Raw emotions filling the Internet and TV screens, capturing the world's attention in real time, for the first time at this scale since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Setting social networking sites on fire... From You Tube to CNN's I-Report, images from Iran are constantly uploaded, representing both sides, keeping the story going and feeding a worldwide curiosity about the future of Iran.
On one side, supporters of reformist Mir Hussein Moussavi, rejecting their candidate's defeat in presidential elections; crying foul, saying their vote was robbed and they want it back.
On the other side, President Ahmadinejad's supporters celebrated their candidate's victory in mass rallies as well. Their images were carried on the regular Iranian channels across Iran and around the world.
Tonight on 360°, election rage in Iran. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Tehran today to protest the country's presidential election. It was the largest anti-government demonstration since the 1979 revolution, and it turned bloody.
There are reports at least one person in the march was killed by milita members loyal to current Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The demonstrators are supporters of Mir Hussein Moussavi, and believe he was robbed of the presidential palace. Official results of Friday's election show Ahmadinejad won with more than 62 percent of the vote. But was it a legit vote? And, what does this all mean for U.S. relations with Iran? We'll have all the angles.
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Documentary Filmmaker and Author
As she sits on her couch looking back at me, Consuelo wipes the tears from behind her glasses and tries to tell me about the night her 18-year-old daughter was taken - suddenly and violently – and never heard from again.
Her trembling hands and shaking legs speak volumes of the pain she suffers day-in and day-out, wondering about the fate of youngest daughter. “Is she alive? Is she dead? Is she cold and hungry? Have they hurt her? If they did kill her where is her body?” These thoughts and many more, race through the mind of this single mother a hundred times a day.
Consuelo – not her real name; she’s too afraid to use her real name – is a 49-year-old mother of four. “Today is my baby’s 20th birthday. It’s been over two years and we’ve heard nothing.”
Consuelo can hardly speak her daughter’s name before her face flinches with pain and her eyes fill up again with tears. With a breath of exasperation and more than a hint of resentment she says, “No one has helped us, no one.”
All this week we'll look at the battle over legalizing marijuana. Tonight, we focus on the medical angle, in part through the eyes of award-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge. She used medical marijuana during her battle against breast cancer.
Currently, medical marijuana is available in 13 states (we'll show which ones during the program). Do you think it should be an option nationwide? Sound off below.
We'll also have the latest from Iran where a protest over Friday's presidential election turned deadly today. There are reports at least one person was killed while marching against the re-election of Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
They protesters are supporters of his leading opponent, moderate Mir Hossein Moussavi. They say the election was stolen from him.
Here's what makes this story so important: these are the largest anti-government protests in Iran since the revolution 30 years ago.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at the top of the hour. See you then!
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Jesse Flores works on a bust of President Barack Obama on June 13, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture was being transported to Presidents Park located near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
The Daily Beast
So let’s get this straight. We are supposed to believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected in Iran’s presidential election last week by a 2 to 1 margin against his reformist rival Mir Hossein Mousavi. That this deeply unpopular president, whose gross mismanagement of the state budget is widely blamed for Iran’s economy hovering on the edge of total collapse, received approximately the same percentage of votes as Mohammad Khatami, by far Iran’s most popular past president, received in both 1997 and 2001?
That Mousavi, whom all independent polls predicted would at the very least take Ahmadinejad into a runoff election, lost not only his main base of support, Tehran, but also his own hometown of Khameneh in East Azerbaijan (which, as any Azeri will tell you, never votes for anyone but its own native sons)…and by a landslide. That we should all take the word of the Interior Ministry, led by a man put in his position by Ahmadinejad himself, a man who called the election for the incumbent before the polls were even officially closed, that the election was a fair representation of the will of the Iranian people.
Editor's note: President Barack Obama spoke to the American Medical Association earlier today about his plan for an overhaul of the American health care system and cited economic stabiltiy as one of the most important reasons for reform. The American Journal of Medicine issued this news release two weeks ago about a recent study. Tune in to AC360º at 10 P.M. ET tonight and all this week for coverage on Obama's speech and the case for health care reform.
The American Journal of Medicine
In 2007, before the current economic downturn, an American family filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of illness every 90 seconds; three-quarters of them were insured. Over 60% of all bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 were driven by medical incidents. In an article published in the August 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, the results of the first-ever national random-sample survey of bankruptcy filers shows that illnesses and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of bankruptcies. The share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 50% between 2001 and 2007.
Following up on a 2001 study in 5 states, where medical problems contributed to at least 46.2% of all bankruptcies, researchers from Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Harvard Law School and Ohio University surveyed a random national sample of 2,314 bankruptcy filers in 2007, abstracted their court records, and interviewed 1,032 of them. They designated bankruptcies as “medical” based on debtors’ stated reasons for filing, income loss due to illness and the magnitude of their medical debts.
Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problemsrose by 49.6%. The odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause were 2.38 fold higher in 2007 than in 2001.