Reporter's Note: President Obama and Congressional Republicans are basically daring each other to jump off the fiscal cliff. I’m daring them to reconsider and read my latest letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
When penguins in Antarctica are ready for a swim but fearful that a predator, such as a sea lion or killer whale, might be lurking in the water they have a simple way to deal with the problem. As a group, they start crowding closer and closer to the edge of the ice pack, bumping, nudging, and pushing each other, until one of them falls off the edge. If he disappears in a bloody froth, they all hang up their beach towels and go back to reading Fifty Shades of Gray or whatever it is they do to pass those long, cold winters.
If however, he pops his little black and white head up from the waves and says, “Oh, very funny guys. I can’t stop laughing out here. You’re hilarious,” then the rest of them jump in too, slapping him on the back and offering him extra tidbits of fish to make amends.
At least that is how I understand the situation. I’ve never witnessed it firsthand, but this is what I’ve read.
In the animal world, I suppose it passes for a good plan. Sure, if you’re the penguin who gets served up like a plate of foie gras, your afternoon pretty much sucks. But this system reduces the risk for everyone else and in the grand scheme of penguindom, keeps the flock alive year after year.
I mention it because as you, your Democrats, and the Republicans keep waddling closer to the edge of the fiscal cliff, I can’t help but see images of penguins all over Capitol Hill…trying to see who falls over the edge first. Here is the difference, though: When the penguins do it way down south, only one falls. In this game that you are all playing, it may be true that some of your…or one party may fall faster than the other…but if you mess around about making a deal long enough we will all fall. And the fate for elected officials of all stripes may be very ugly down in the murky waters where angry voters swim…and wait…
Call if you can. I’m around.
What everyone’s talking about:
The fiscal cliff deadline is 27 days away, and the talks have yielded no progress. In a CNN/ORC poll taken a few weeks ago, 67% said they thought officials in Washington would behave like “spoiled children” during negotiations. Neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be willing to compromise on the deal. Instead they’re pointing fingers, and getting nowhere. We’re Keeping Them Honest.
There are signs that the Syrian government may be preparing to unleash chemical weapons on their own people, according to a U.S. official. CNN’s Arwa Damon is currently in Syria and says civilians have no way to protect themselves from that kind of attack if it happens. Fran Townsend and Bob Baer also believe that the country’s chemical weapons are “deadly serious.” Anderson also spoke to Sen. John McCain who believes that the international community needs to take out Assad and secure the chemical weapons.
For years, we've reported on the mysterious enclave of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints near the Utah-Arizona border. We thought we've seen it all. But tonight Gary Tuchman reports on a development that raises new questions about the Church run by jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
Gary received a tip that Jeffs, from his prison cell, ordered all schools closed this week so the children could harvest pecans. Gary went to the ranch in question and found hundreds of children in the fields. As soon as he got out of his car, the children all started scattering away from him, and eventually running in the opposite direction.
Gary talked to the owner of a neighboring hog farm, who told him the child labor has gone on for a week or two over a period of years.
The past year brought historic changes, democratic milestones, devastating tragedies, and acts of heroism that will never be forgotten.
In 2012 Anderson traveled across the country and around the world seeking the truth. He met people who were struggling against seemingly insurmountable odds: Syrian refugees, gunshot victims in Colorado, New Yorkers who lost everything they had, widows facing a harsh new reality.
There were crimes that divided communities and launched important conversations about discrimination and ethics. In some cases, justice was served. Convicted of child sex abuse, Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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