April 4th, 2008
09:31 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/4/08

Happy Friday! We plan to start with Sen. Clinton's tax returns. Tonight we follow the money. The Clintons have made more than $100 million in six years. Some of the ways they've made that money and some of the folks they've been in business with just may surprise you.

We'll also look at Senator Obama's poll numbers. We'll tell you where he's lost support and try to figure out if that signals real trouble ahead.

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 4th, 2008
06:27 PM ET

Raiding a polygamy compound...


The followers of Warren Jeffs' FLDS church do not like to deal with outsiders. They don't trust them, and are often scared of them. 
I know that because I've been one of those outsiders trying to interview chuch members with varying degrees of, well, lack of success. 
So now, with law enforcement personnel raiding their compound in El Dorado, Texas, the tension level must be remarkably high.  Jeffs' church is the largest polygamous sect in the United States, with an estimated 10,000 members. 
Jeffs himself is in jail; convicted in Utah on charges related to arranging marriages of girls to men. He faces more charges in Arizona. But by most accounts, it appears he is still leading this church. 
Jeffs' followers believe he is a prophet of God. They believe his revelations hold more weight than state and federal laws. When I've asked followers what they think of children marrying older men, they say if the prophet says it's right, then it's right. 
The FLDS church is based in the neighboring towns of Colorado CIty, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. One of the reasons they moved hundreds, if not thousands of the members to El Dorado, Texas is because there is a huge wall around their compound offering privacy and protection. The idea is to keep outsiders away. 
Now the outsiders are on the inside. And undoubtedly much to the dismay of many in the church, they used the law to do it.

– Gary Tuchman, 360° Correspondent

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Filed under: Polygamy
April 4th, 2008
06:26 PM ET

Escape from Polygamy

I was standing in a copy store this afternoon when my cell phone rang. It was Carolyn Jessop. "They raided the compound. It's sealed off. They went in there with an armored personnel carrier, Texas Rangers, everything."

This is not the first time Carolyn Jessop has left me speechless.

When I first interviewed her for CNN two summers ago it was for a piece I was producing about the F.L.D.S. the polygamist cult run by Warren Jeffs.  Carolyn had escaped with her eight children; her then-husband, Merril Jessop, was one of Warren's top lieutenants. Since Warren Jeffs went to prison, Merril Jessop has been the man in charge.

I lucked into the interview with Carolyn at the last minute. I had not had time to talk with her before she showed up in my hotel room in Salt Lake City. She sat down, the camera started rolling, and she took my breath away...


Filed under: Barclay Palmer • Laura Palmer • Polygamy
April 4th, 2008
05:46 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Cops in Texas target a ranch that's home to about 400 followers of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.  On the campaign trail, the waiting is over. The Clintons released their tax returns this afternoon.  Meanwhile, John McCain got booed at a MLK event in Memphis.  And,  a big python causes a scare on a bus. Yikes! Here's your Afternoon Buzz:

Top Stories
Target: Polygamist Ranch
Search and arrest warrants are being served at a ranch occupied by several hundred followers of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

MLK Assassination 40 Years Later: Wounds still linger
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights icon, but for one man, he's something else: the father he barely remembers.

Huge job losses
Workers' pink slips stacked ever higher in March as jittery employers slashed...

Poll: America on the wrong track
More than 80 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, the highest such number since the early 1990s, according to a new survey.

Raw Politics
Clinton's release tax returns 
Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for the years 2000 to 2006 late Friday afternoon, ending weeks of speculation over her delay in making them public.

McCain booed during MLK speech 
Speaking at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, John McCain said Friday he was wrong to initially oppose a government holiday in memory of the civil rights leader.

Crime & Punishment
Death sentence in fetus-snatching case 
A woman convicted of murdering an expectant mother and kidnapping the baby from her womb received a federal death sentence.

Pirates seize yacht
Pirates seized control of a French luxury yacht carrying 30 crew members Friday in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's coast, the French government and the ship's owner said.

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT
Jackpot winner to boss: I'm outta here 
David Sneath has worked at a Ford Motor Co. parts warehouse for 34 years, but it didn't take him any time at all to walk out once he discovered he had won a $136 million Mega Millions jackpot.

7-foot python hitches ride on bus 
Commuters in the Philippine capital got a shock when they found an unwelcome passenger on their minibus.

Filed under: The Buzz
April 4th, 2008
05:41 PM ET

Dr. King's driver remembers the reverend's life, and death...

Editor’s note: Tom Houck was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal driver. He shares his thoughts with the 360blog about working with the King family, Driving Dr. King, and hearing the news of his death…


Tom Houck, personal driver for Dr. Martin Luther King, shares his thoughts with the 360blog on the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination; Recounting driving Dr. King around town, and how she found out about his death. Watch an in-depth interview with Tom.

I became a fixture in the King household. I was usually there six days a week, starting with ferrying the kids to school. At midday, I might go over to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SCLC, but I was always on call for Martin and Coretta whenever they needed me. I had a place at the table, for dinner with the family. I think I was the only chauffeur in the country afforded the luxury of lunch and dinner with their employer.

Dr. King’s hours with the family were at a premium. Every body wanted a piece of his time. He traveled constantly and was always in demand to make appearances across the country.

Our airport runs became more frequent. Whenever we drove back into town, there were three things Dr King always wanted. One was a pork chop sandwich from BB Beamon’s or Henry’s Grill on Auburn – neither of which are still around. He’d also crave a rib sandwich from Aleck’s BBQ Heaven on Hunter Street, which is now MLK Drive. Dr. King was a night person, often up until three or four in the morning, so he’d eat late whenever he could.

Third, he’d buy a pack of cigarettes. Like most smokers, Dr. King was forever trying to quit. Coretta thought Martin had stopped lighting up, until the day she found a pack of his favorite Salems in his coat pocket. He blamed the cigarettes on me. Naturally I agreed, even though Coretta knew I didn’t smoke at the time. From then on, he’d give me his cigarettes before we drove up to the house; but the next morning, he would always ask for them back...


April 4th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Restore the dream

Dr. King

Forty years ago today Martin Luther King was shot and killed.  I was just a baby, but everything about that day informed my childhood.  I was one of those four little children Dr. King dreamed would one day live in a nation in which we would not be judged by the color of our skin.  And that’s why his death tore a hole in our hearts. 

Martin had a voice so full of hope, so powerful that it could shatter the chains of oppression.  And thanks to him, we’ve come a long way.  A black woman is the face of America overseas, her predecessor, also black, has often been talked about for the Presidency.  And while he’s declined, another man is a viable candidate for that highest office in the land.  And all that’s good, but it’s not all good. 

The schools are still segregated, our cities are in decay, and one in nine young black men is in prison.  The dreams of true equality died with Dr. King on that day, so on this anniversary, let’s pick up the mantle and restore his dream. 

– Jami Floyd, “In Session” Anchor/360° Contributor

Read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session”
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April 4th, 2008
04:49 PM ET

Your questions... On our economy

your questions on our economy

We want your questions on our economy. We'll explore them in an upcoming AC360° special.

Have you ever wondered what the economy has to do with you?  Wondered why it mattered that Bear Stearns went bankrupt?  Wondered why your food, gas, and clothes cost more than they used to while your house is worth less? 

With home sales falling, foreclosures rising and a subprime meltdown hitting everyone from Main Street to Wall Street, the United States is in the midst of a financial emergency…

The U.S. is shedding jobs as oil prices and the cost of living continue to surge…

Money, housing and that nasty "r" word, recession, are on the minds of America’s voters.  The economy is the top topic in the presidential election.  Senators Clinton, Obama, and McCain all have ideas of how to fix things, but who is right? 

How did this happen? How COULD this happen? Who is to blame? Who has the answers?

Many questions – and we'll explore them in an upcoming AC360° special on our nation’s economy; unearthing the roots of the growing U.S. financial crisis.

We’ll tackle the big-picture questions, but we want to hear your questions... on our economy.

It’s your gas tank, your job, your home, your wallet...

Please post your questions... on our economy.

– David Reisner, AC360° Digital Producer

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Filed under: Economy
April 4th, 2008
04:06 PM ET

Floyd Flake: Meeting Dr. King

Dr. King

I met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1964 when I was a student/driver for Wilberforce University in Ohio. I was assigned to pick him up at the Cincinnati Airport and transport him to the campus where he was the graduation speaker. He was a man of great stature, and used the time riding to impress upon me the need to get engaged in the civil rights movement. That was my last personal encounter with him. After his visit, I took several trips to North and South Carolina on the Freedom Buses to integrate the lunch counters. 

The day he died in 1968, I was working in the school cafeteria; and when the news came over the radio there seemed to have been a "darkness" everywhere. Students were crying and screaming in utter disbelief that a man who had done so much for his people had been killed. The most difficult challenge was realizing that he had focused on non-violence as the means to changing America and the world; yet his life was taken by the violent act of a gunman.

The last speech that he gave seemed to have indicated his sense that he would not be alive much longer. He talked about seeing the "Promised Land." The most compelling statement for me was, "I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land."

In this year, when an African-American or a female will head the Democratic ticket, many African-Americans are heading global corporations, and voter rights, housing laws, and educational opportunities are available to all, we are in the Promised Land. But, there is much needed to be done. And though Dr. King is not physically with us, his spirit continues to push us toward living the better life in this Promised Land.

– the Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake

Editor's note: Flake is the senior pastor of the 10,000 member Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens. Before assuming the pastorate of Allen Church, Reverend Flake was the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and Dean of the Chapel at Boston University. He is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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

April 4th, 2008
01:23 PM ET

Tony Perkins: Martin Luther King on the place of faith


Forty years ago, an assassin gunned down a spirited visionary whose days were spent crusading against the very violence and bigotry that ultimately took his life.

Taken in the prime of his years and the height of his influence, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King would never live to see his dream of racial harmony realized. 

In the four decades since Rev. King’s death, the gulf between black and white remains the most intense divide in America—largely because we have sought unity through networking, public policy, or lobbying techniques... 


April 4th, 2008
12:17 PM ET

360 tonight: Shudders in the economy, Congress and the presidential race

Good afternoon, friends... How will the newest economic data play in the presidential race?

The unemployment rate shot up to 5.1% last month from 4.8%. That's a big jump, and the highest rate since 2005. The economy lost 80,000 jobs–the most in a single month in five years. Plus, a NYT/CBS poll finds 81% say the country is on the wrong track.

Against that backdrop, Joe Johns is keeping them honest, revealing Congress's most egregious earmarks - millions of your tax dollars spent on pet projects that many call a waste of money. As investigative journalist David Cay Johnston reports in his bestselling book, "Free Lunch," $98,000 goes to develop a walking tour of Boydton, Va., a town of less than one square mile with a population of 474.  Is that how you'd like your hard earnings spent?

Also on 360 tonight, Clinton, Obama and McCain honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 40 years after he was shot and killed on a motel balcony. Later, Clinton and Obama address the North Dakota Democratic convention. Obama holds a Town Hall in Indiana. Bill Clinton works North Carolina.

Drew Griffin monitors a congressional hearing on a wave of airline safety issues, with four under investigation for allegedly violating safety directives, and accusations the FAA is too cozy with industry to protect travelers, plus cockpit windshields and landing gear failing. What's going on here?

Continuing coverage of our Planet in Peril, Harris Whitbeck reports on the mysterious Dengue Fever ripping through Rio de Janeiro, with at least 54 deaths and nearly 30,000 illnesses already this year.  Could the fever threaten the U.S.?

Thank you for joining us at 10pm.

-Barclay Palmer, 360° Senior Producer


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

Filed under: Barclay Palmer • Drew Griffin • Earmarks • Raw Politics
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