April 14th, 2008
12:22 PM ET

Pope's visit: Behind the scenes on 'Shepherd One'

Pope Benedict XVI

When Pope Benedict XVI touches down at Andrews Air Force Base tomorrow for the start of his April 15-20 pastoral visit in the United States, TV and radio commentators setting the scene are likely to refer to his plane as “Shepherd One.” The implied comparison to the U.S. President’s “Air Force One” is clever, but, alas, largely misleading.

In truth, there is no “papal plane” in the sense of a jet owned by the Vatican and used exclusively for papal travel. Instead, the pope flies on a regular commercial jet belonging to Alitalia, the Italian national airline, chartered by the Vatican for the period of a given trip. The pilots and crew are all Alitalia personnel.

Most of the passengers aboard the papal plane are actually journalists, representing a cross-section on the world’s major secular and Catholic media outlets. This time, 70 journalists are accompanying Pope Benedict to the United States, a figure which includes print reporters, TV and radio correspondents, producers, cameramen and photographers.

Journalists pay top dollar to fly with the pope – the roundtrip airfare this time is roughly $4800, comparable to a full-fare business class ticket for what usually amounts to economy class accommodations.


Filed under: John L. Allen Jr. • Pope Benedict
April 14th, 2008
10:22 AM ET

If there were any question about the Democrats...

If there were any question about whether the Democratic presidential candidates have been hurting each other's chances to become president, it would seem harder to argue that case now, right?

...now that Clinton is questioning Obama's character, as well as his comment that some Pennsylvania voters are "bitter."

...and now that Obama is saying, "Shame on her... (for) an insult to sportsmen... (and) talking like she's Annie Oakley."

Do you think they're undercutting each other's credibility, or their own... or will voters forgive and forget all this, and focus on what's said during the general election?

Do you think John McCain is benefiting from the Dems' infighting, even enjoying it?

We'd like to hear. Thank you for your thoughts.

–Barclay Palmer, 360 Senior ProducerComments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean?


Filed under: Barack Obama • Barclay Palmer • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics • Top Stories
April 14th, 2008
10:19 AM ET

Beat 360° 4/14/08

Hey Bloggers!

Happy Monday! Lets think BIG today... because 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: Here we see Sumo wrestler students trying to make babies cry during the 'Crying Sumo competition' at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan. The first baby that cries wins this competition. The ceremony has been taking place in Japan to wish for the good health of the child... It's thought that crying is good for the health of babies. (What!?!? Maybe when they cry ON THEIR OWN! Something tells me that scaring the daylights out of them with GIANT SUMO WRESTLERS might not be so helpful for 'early childhood development.')

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

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 14th, 2008
07:08 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...Happy Monday...

The story unfolding at the Polygamous' YFZ (Yearning for Zion) Ranch continues to dominate the headlines... The mothers of children removed are appealing to Gov. Rick Perry for help, saying some of their children have become sick and even required hospitalization. In the letter, they say the children are "horrified" by physical examinations they have undergone while in state custody. A few of the women actually spoke to local journalists...AND the invesitgation moves into a San Angelo courthouse this week as the state argues to retain custody of 416 children removed from their parents. Texas bar officials say more than 350 attorneys from across the state have volunteered to represent the children for free...David Mattingly has been pounding the pavement all weekend and will bring us the latest.

Gary Tuchman will be LIVE tonight from Colorado City - where hundreds of FLDS community members gathered last night - then blocked our cameras from seeing which "male" leaders were present...who was there? and what were they discussing? a Gary Tuchman will have all the details...

AND we sent Dan Simon north of the border to Bountiful, British Columbia where FLDS leader Winston Blackmore lives. Winston split from Warren Jeffs years ago, but he spoke to Dan about the raid in Texas among other things. Our cameras were also granted rare access to Blackmore and his family at what they call the "rodeo", a corral where the family rides horses and just kind of hangs out.

ALSO tonight SIU reporter Abby Boudreau introduces us to Richard Sonnen - Richard grew up in rural Idaho. When he was a junior in high school, he’d had enough being bullied and became obsessed with the Columbine massacre, and started planning a shooting at his own school. But he confessed his plans to his mother, who immediately had him committed to a mental hospital. When he got out, he went to college. But it happened all again. Police then took him into custody over alleged threats to blow up his college and local high school. Now almost 19, he’s on his own. Abby talks to Richard and his mom - it is a rare look inside the mind of a would-be school shooter.

OF COURSE, Candy Crowley will get you up to speed on the latest Hillary vs. Obama rift... At a campaign stop in Steelton, Pa., Obama said "shame on her...She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley," Clinton responded last night, at a CNN televised forum on faith and politics, that Sen. Barack Obama's remark about "bitter" small-town voters clinging to religion and guns raised legitimate concerns about his character....There are ONLY 8 days until the PA primary...the gloves are coming off...

AND speaking of gloves....the NY Yankee/Boston Red Sox rivalry hit a new all-time high. A construction worker, an obvious Red Sox fan, tried to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium....Well, the curse was foiled Sunday when after a tip jack hammers dug up the offending shirt from its burial spot....how great is that? YOU CANNOT make this stuff up...

Filed under: The Buzz
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