April 2nd, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/2/08

Breaking news tonight – and only 360° has it. Exclusive new information about your safety in the air. Congress is investigating but tonight, a pair of whistle-blowers talk only to CNN's Drew Griffin, telling us the FAA is more interested in protecting airlines than protecting us.  We're keeping them honest.

Please check out a post that may be helpful if you wonder why some comments get posted while others do not. LINK TO COMMENTS POST

And be sure to check out our new live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features Anderson and Erica behind the scenes on the set. We'll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

We'll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
April 2nd, 2008
09:26 PM ET

Autism: Shattering stereotypes

When you hear the word “autistic” what kind of image pops into your head? Most of you probably think of a young child, out of control, lashing out, screaming.

Well, I can’t wait to introduce you to a little boy that will shatter all those stereotypes. His name is Dylan Jackaway. He’s five and a half years old and he knocked my socks off from the moment I met him. He has piercing blue eyes that are full of passion and dark hair.

When I arrived at the apartment he shares with his mom, Gwenyth Jackaway, he greeted me immediately and invited me to sit down at his computer with him. I couldn’t resist.


Filed under: Autism • Randi Kaye
April 2nd, 2008
08:15 PM ET

Autism... in the Middle East

While growing up in the Middle East, I rarely saw people with disabilities. Not that they didn’t exist, but society’s judgmental and sometime harsh gaze forced most disabled people to be isolated. To this day, physical and mental disabilities are viewed as stigmas in the Arab world. Their guardians keep them hidden from view out of fear of being rejected or ridiculed.

On April 2, 2008 as the UN officially marked the first World Autism Awareness Day, I was pleasantly surprised to see parts of the Arab world pause and try to understand what Autism is, how to diagnose it and how to help those who suffer from the disorder.

The Dubai-based channel, Al-Arabiya, led the coverage with its anchor revealing a little bit of shock the staggering numbers: "One  in 160 children are diagnosed with Autism in Saudi Arabia alone," she said. Al-Arabiya featured reports on autism centers around the Middle East and young lives affected by the disorder. A reporter said, "Young Rashed and his family know the challenges all too well. So many children miss the chance at a better life because they get the wrong diagnosis which leads them to isolation and a condemned life as misfits."

Specialized websites and blogs were very busy throughout the Arab world.

The Dubai Autism Center asked for donations through a moving video explaining that children with autism are different and yet very much a part of society and in need of help.

The Autism Center in Lebanon recommended books on early intervention and how to communicate with the autistic population.

From Kuwait came an announcement about an upcoming therapist training program. And from Saudi Arabia, an explanation of autism in pictures and poetry and a thank you note that says:  "It is my world awareness day. Thank you for those who remembered me and joined me in celebration!" (see attached)

The State of Qatar boasts a major center for disabilities and autism. The first lady of Qatar was instrumental in establishing World Autism Awareness Day. Yet, on this day, the State's flagship network, Al-Jazeera, stayed away from the subject.

Back on Al-Arabiya, a young girl named Ghalia (which means precious in Arabic) stole the spotlight.  Her profile featured her lovingly kissing her father and reading with her mother. 

Ghalia’s mother said, "It is very hard for us now, but I have no doubt that because of her, we will earn paradise."

But in the here and now, long before paradise, a postcard on a Saudi website asks for compassion, love and opportunities for people with autism. It simply says "I need you to understand me and accept me. I am autistic and I am human." 

-Octavia Nasr, Arab Affairs Editor 

Check out these links to see more about autism in the Middle East. 

Comments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean?

Filed under: Autism • Octavia Nasr
April 2nd, 2008
05:30 PM ET

Pilots: Cockpit dangers being ignored

Editor's note: Check out Drew Griffin's report on CNN.com.
He'll have the full story tonight on 360° at 10p ET.

FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) – Regulators have largely ignored a series of dangerous incidents in which cockpit windshields in commercial airliners shattered in mid-flight, sometimes forcing emergency landings, according to an American Airlines pilots' group.

Since 2004, at least 10 windshields have had problems on Boeing 757s, mostly the result of wiring problems with windshield heaters that cause smoke to fill the cockpit and sometimes make those windshields crack, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Four incidents have been on American Airlines planes, the NTSB says.

An American Airlines flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made an emergency landing on January 30 this year after the cockpit filled with smoke.


Comments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean?

Filed under: Drew Griffin • FAA
April 2nd, 2008
04:51 PM ET

Obama Superdelegate: Dean’s plan to seat Florida delegates won’t work

Editor's note: Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin and has pledged his support to Sen. Barack Obama. He agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences.


I was glad to see the joint statement today by the DNC and the Florida Democratic Party over the seating of the Florida delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Governor Dean deserves to be applauded for his continuing efforts to make sure that the voters of Florida are heard and represented.

However, I want to urge caution to Governor Dean and the rest of the Florida delegation. The statement says: “We are all committed to doing everything we can to ensure that a Florida delegation is seated in Denver.” The only thing that can be done though is to allow for a revote of some sort, be it through a primary or a party-run caucus. Anything short of that, such as seating the delegations as is, and we open the floodgates for an even messier nomination process in 2012...


Filed under: Jason Rae • Raw Politics
April 2nd, 2008
04:39 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/2/08

Hey Bloggers!

It's time for ‘Beat 360°.’ Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day: Conan, a two-year-old male Chihuahua (he's on the left), joins his hands in prayer beside a Buddhist priest at Jigenin temple in Okinawa, Japan.

Beat 360°

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

UPDATE: Check out last night's winner!

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 2nd, 2008
01:28 PM ET

Justice memo approving harsh interrogations, and its impact


Eric Lichtblau, Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times reporter and author of 'BUSH'S LAW: The Remaking of American Justice'  is an expert on the Justice Department. Lichtblau, along with his colleague James Risen, broke the original story on the warrantless eavesdropping program in 2005

The 2003 Justice Department memo released Tuesday night, asserting an overarching, almost unchecked view of the president's wartime power, needs to be seen in the context of the Administration's efforts to justify the rough tactics it had used on al Qaeda prisoners for the first 1-1/2 years in the war on terror.

As I discuss in my new book, "Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice," John Yoo - the author of the memo released this week on the treatment of prisoners and of a still-classified opinion on the NSA wiretapping program - was the White House's point man in the Justice Department and was responsible for writing almost all the key opinions asserting presidential authority.

Despite his growing prominence in the early years of the war on terror, Yoo wasn't particularly well-liked at the Justice Department. His critics there saw him as a brilliant but sometimes sloppy lawyer who was too often willing to do the bidding of the White House and the Pentagon.

Justice Department lawyers complained that even the Attorney General wasn't aware at times what opinions Yoo was giving the White House.

"It will take 50 years," a Justice Department official who was critical of Yoo's work told me for my book, "to undo the damage that he did to the place." 

With many of the legal opinions from the early years of the war on terror still classified, it may take that long just to understand the tactics and legal tenets asserted by the Bush Administration.

– Eric Lichtblau, author and reporter for The New York Times

Comments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean?

April 2nd, 2008
10:57 AM ET

Imagine you're the pilot, and the cockpit windows start to shatter

And then the cockpit fills with smoke...
That's the real-life scenario Drew Griffin reveals in an exclusive report on 360° tonight: At least 10 times in four years on American Airlines flights of Boeing 757’s. Despite pilots' warnings, the problem is only now being acknowledged.
Also on 360° tonight at 10PM ET: In the presidential race, Dana Bash joins McCain as he storms MD and FL. Candy Crowley's with Obama and Suzanne Malveaux's with Clinton in PA. And Michelle Obama rallies at Carnegie Mellon University.
As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Soledad O'Brien talks with the one man who was with him on the balcony when he was shot and killed.
In our on-going reporting on our Planet in Peril, Miles O'Brien is there as Congressional discusses whether the struggling polar bear, losing habitat and food as the ice melts, should be listed as engendered.
What are your thoughts about all this? We'd like to know.
On the UN's global Autism Awareness Day: When Gwenyth Jackaway’s son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, she found 7 more mothers who used the same sperm donor. Three of their 12 children are on the autism spectrum, a rate 45 times higher than normal. Randi Kaye examines potential evidence of a genetic link.
And at 11PM ET, see our special hour on autism, and meet Amanda Baggs - she is autistic, smart as a whip and extraordinarily articulate. She also has a razor-sharp humor and, at the end of the day, you'll find her deeply moving.
Thank you for joining us.
– Barclay Palmer, 360° Senior Produder

Comments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean? 

Filed under: Airline Safety • Autism • Barclay Palmer • Drew Griffin • Raw Politics
April 2nd, 2008
07:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...for those who missed the show last night..huge news from Wal-mart!!! The story that Randi Kaye broke about a Wal-mart employee involved in car accident won't have to pay Wal-mart back.... Check out the top of Top Stories.

Also scroll down to Keeping them Honest ...news from the FAA following a series of reports Drew Griffin filed about airline safety. Drew has yet another shocking report tonight on AC360. He investigates reports of cockpit windowshields  blowing out in mid-flight... So grab your morning coffee and check out today's headlines...

Top Stories
Wal-Mart: Brain damaged woman can keep money...
A former Wal-Mart employee who suffered severe brain damage in a traffic accident won't have to pay back the company for the cost of her medical care, Wal-Mart told the family Tuesday.

Senate ready to help foreclosures...
Under pressure to help Main Street after the government saved a Wall Street firm from bankruptcy, senators ended weeks of partisan stalemate Tuesday and agreed to try to quickly pass legislation that could help some homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Pentagon ecpected to close Intelligence Unit...
The Pentagon is expected to shut a controversial intelligence office that has drawn fire from lawmakers and civil liberties groups who charge that it was part of an effort by the Defense Department to expand into domestic spying.

Wall Street show optimism...
Stocks started the second quarter with a soaring rally on Tuesday that sent the Dow Jones industrial average up nearly 400 points, its best performance in two weeks, as investors found reasons to take heart in a fresh round of mortgage-related write-offs at UBS and Deutsche Bank and a capital infusion at Lehman Brothers, the brokerage firm.

Laws didn't apply to interrogators...
The Justice Department sent a legal memorandum to the Pentagon in 2003 asserting that federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-qaeda captives because the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief overrode such statutes.

Wal-Mart: Brain damaged woman can keep money...
A former Wal-Mart employee who suffered severe brain damage in a traffic accident won't have to pay back the company for the cost of her medical care, Wal-Mart told the family Tuesday.

A look inside Al Qaeda...
If Al Qaeda strikes the West in the coming months, it's likely the mastermind will be a stocky Egyptian explosives expert with two missing fingers.

Basra battle raises questions about U.S. strategy...
Last week's inconclusive battle for Basra is raising new questions about the viability of U.S. military strategy in Iraq as Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker head to Capitol Hill next week to give their assessment of the U.S. troop surge.

Raw Politics
Obama to get endorsement of 9/11 commissioner...
Former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton is backing Sen. Barack Obama in an endorsement that could boost the presidential hopeful's national security standing, The Associated Press has learned

Dems take on big oil...
The Democratic presidential candidates are criss-crossing Pennsylvania this week, dropping in at gas stations and truck stops to convince voters they've got the best plan to tackle soaring gas prices and Big Oil profits.

Clinton to propose tax incentives...
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton is proposing $7 billion a year in tax incentives to encourage U.S. companies not to ship jobs overseas.

Problems for McCain...
John McCain faces a problem as he tries to close a deep fund-raising deficit against the two Democratic candidates for president: Both have been cleaning his clock among business interests that give mainly to Republicans.

Pro-life activists slam Obama..
Pro-life activists say Sen. Barack Obama's abysmal record on abortion issues is reflected by his remark that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" if they were to make a "mistake" as teenagers.

Dem turmoil tests party leader...
The turmoil in the Democratic presidential race has presented a sharp test of Howard Dean’s low-profile approach to leading the Democratic National Committee, bringing calls from many Democrats for him to take a more aggressive role in defusing the threat of a protracted and divisive nominating fight.

Keeping Them Honest
Lawmaker must pay $1 million...
A federal judge has ordered Representative Jim McDermott to pay the House minority leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, more than $1 million in legal fees in a dispute over a telephone call that was illegally taped in 1996.

FAA takes too many risks....
The Federal Aviation Administration is putting the public at risk with lax oversight and a too-cozy relationship with the airlines, a top lawmaker and aviation experts said Tuesday.

Program NOTE: See Drew Griffin's reports on AC360 TONIGHT - The dangers of Cockpit windshields

Crime & Punishment
Alaska town first murder...
Not much new happens in this sleepy little southeast Alaska fishing community, and the locals seem to like it that way.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Sex Murder & Tentacles...
Marine biologists studying wild octopuses have found a kinky and violent society of jealous murders, gender subterfuge and once-in-a-lifetime sex.

Filed under: The Buzz